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Until recently, Cynthia and Ricardo had little in common. Both are rising juniors, but Cynthia attends Sickles High School while Ricardo is a student at Blake Magnet High School for the Performing Arts. She plays the flute; he plays guitar. She wants to be a cosmetologist; he is leaning toward engineering. But this summer, Cynthia and Ricardo are spending five weeks as classmates in the STEM TEC (STEM Training for Emerging Careers) summer program.
STEM TEC originates from a partnership between CareerSource Tampa Bay, Junior Achievement, Hillsborough Community College, and Hillsborough County Public Schools. Cynthia and Ricardo were both invited to Sickles high school - along with 240 students ages 16-18 to be part of the five-week program offered at five other campuses including; Blake, East Bay, Freedom, and Newsome high schools. STEM TEC offers a focus on science and technology education. Students experience exciting field trips to locations such as Florida Polytechnic University and NASA. Their classroom lessons involve entrepreneurship workshops, life skills, career investigations, and computer and science classes. Participants work individually and in teams on engaging projects such as mastering basic coding and web design essentials; designing a website, and building a rocket.
When asked about STEM TEC, Ricardo stated, “It is a lot more than I expected. I am surprised every day at all the things I can do and learn.” Cynthia enjoys all the classes, and she says that “the summer will give me the opportunity to upgrade my skills. Plus, this will look good on my resume or college application.” Making new friends from all over with various interests are among the additional bonuses of the program for both Cynthia and Ricardo.
David Rittenour is the science instructor for STEM TEC at Sickles. He teaches science and coaches track and cross country during the regular school year. From an educator’s point of view, he is excited to be able to “provide a platform for learning while having fun.” For both Cynthia and Ricardo, the decision to attend STEM TEC was well worth it, although it required some sacrifice – Ricardo missed a huge family wedding in Ecuador, and Cynthia is postponing being with her father in Minnesota until later in the summer. In Rittenour’s words, “STEM TEC rocks!” It’s obvious that Cynthia and Ricardo agree wholeheartedly!
For more information about STEM TEC, click here. You may also call Marilyn Craig-Wicktor, CTE Program Advisor and STEM TEC Coordinator for HCPS, at (813) 231-1912.View Full Album