When business leader and longtime education advocate Gary Chartrand announced plans to create a STEM hub in the area, Jacksonville had its work cut out for itself. The city ranks low when it comes to STEM – with only 19 percent of local jobs in STEM fields – and education was lagging behind.
Outside the university auditorium where dozens of educators, school board members and lawmakers filed in, University of North Florida engineering senior Marshall Curry showed off the large drone-like submarine he’d spent the last five months creating with classmates.
“Here we have the prototype design…We have to program it to be autonomous,” he said.
Curry and seven other engineering students in the UNF’s TeleRoboics Club, are building the robotic submarine to compete in the U.S. Naval Research-sponsored International RoboSub Competition in California this July.
The device was one of several projects, crafted at UNF, the Museum of Science and History, and Jacksonville Zoo and Gardens on display at the kick off to the region’s first annual STEM2 Forum. That’s STEM2 – or STEMM – as in the Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Medical fields, where jobs are expected to grow by a rate of about 17 percent over the next decade.
“Over the past decade, jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) have grown at a rate three times faster than non-STEM jobs. The Northeast Florida Regional STEM2 Hub is a new entity solely dedicated to accelerating the growth of STEM initiatives in the Northeast Florida region. We discuss this new push with Gary Chartrand, outgoing Florida Board of Education chairman.”
There’s a new initiative in Jacksonville focused on science, technology, engineering, math and medical programs.
The new STEM2 Hub, and an upcoming STEM2 Forum, are designed to help more students succeed.