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Press Release

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

DOE Press Office
(850) 245-0413

Florida Students Challenged to Team Up and Work on Real-World Engineering Solutions
~ Florida is one of 25 states participating in competition focused on science and technology ~

TALLAHASSEE – Lieutenant Governor Jeff Kottkamp joined representatives from the Florida Department of Education (DOE) and the Leon County school district at Leon County’s Amos P. Godby High School today to announce Florida’s participation in the national Real World Design Challenge. The Design Challenge, created by a team of 22 partners from industry, government and education, is an annual Challenge that provides high school students in grades nine through 12 the opportunity to work on real-world engineering issues using cutting edge technology in a team environment.

“The innovative industries of science and engineering are vital to the continued growth and health of Florida’s diversifying economy,” said Lt. Governor Kottkamp. “Through the Real World Design Challenge we have the opportunity not only to motivate the scientists and engineers of tomorrow but also to focus on creative real-world solutions to today’s aerospace challenges.”

Through the Real World Design Challenge, student teams confront a challenge facing the nation’s leading industries and work to identify a resolution. This year’s challenge will focus on aeronautics and energy usage. Participating students will have the chance to apply their classroom lessons to technical problems facing today’s engineers, mathematicians and scientists and to utilize professional quality engineering software to develop their solutions. Teachers participating in the Challenge are also able to obtain professional development opportunities as well as software engineering tools valued at nearly $1 million as part of the Challenge program. Each team also gets up to four mentors from industry, government, and higher education in science, mathematics, engineering and aeronautical design.

“Through the Challenge, all Florida students will have access to the best resources, enabling them to build 21st century skills that will help to make Florida’s future workforce more competitive in a globally competitive economic environment,” said Dr. Ralph K. Coppola, Director of the Real World Design Challenge.

Students throughout Florida stand poised to tackle the Real World Design Challenge thanks to continued growth in career and technical training opportunities throughout the state such as the Information Technology (IT) Academy implemented at Godby High School in 2007. Godby’s IT Academy, a magnet program, is focused on helping students earn nationally-recognized industry certifications in science and technology-related subjects through a small, personalized community. Florida currently has more than 100 career academies in science, technology, engineering and math that range from biotechnology to environmental studies. In addition to their career academy experiences, Challenge participants will have the opportunity to personally network with professionals in their field of study and utilize industry-specific technologies.

“The Challenge is an excellent opportunity for our students to showcase their knowledge in critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math,” said DOE Chancellor of Public Schools Dr. Frances Haithcock. “This educational experience will provide the perfect forum to help train our future engineers and scientists, and I’m eager to see what our talented students can do in this competition.”

The Real World Design Challenge bridges the needs of industry with the future of education, and teaches innovation, creativity, and collaboration using the expertise that industry, government and higher education have been honing for decades. The goals of the initiative are to inspire and engage all students in science, technology, engineering and math education and highlight the potential future workers in science and engineering fields.

To learn more about the Real World Design Challenge, visit http://www.scied.science.doe.gov/RWDC/index.html.