By Dolly Rairigh Glass

STEM-Workshop-GroupThe National Center for Simulation (NCS) is working with academia, industry and government to develop a four-year program for high school students in Modeling and Simulation (M&S). In July, a STEM/M&S Task Force met at Hagerty High School in Oviedo to develop a four year framework, course standards and curriculum that will meet the State of Florida requirements and lead to college-ready and workforce-ready graduates.

This initiative, led by Hank Okraski (Retired NAWCTSD Head of Research and Engineering), began about a year ago when the NCS Education and Workforce Development Committee conducted a M&S Symposium for a small group of Florida teachers in Orlando. The simulation industry presented examples of simulation systems and stressed the need for mathematics and science to work in our industry.This meeting resulted in the identification of required industry competencies, sparking the interest of teachers in getting simulation into the classroom.

Given this information and a model program in M&S developed under the aegis of Old Dominion University (ODU), the Task Force commenced work on identifying industry requirements and corresponding education units for the classroom. The ODU program was modified to include new units for real-time simulators, project management, logistic support, innovation and commercialization. Special emphasis was given to providing hands-on opportunities integral to the instruction. Further, the group allocated the units of instruction over the four-year program, and the resultant program consists of two academic tracks: software development and visual systems. A request for establishing the program in the State of Florida will be initiated by Orange and Seminole Counties.

Introduction of the new program is expected to take place at I/ITSEC and NCS will solicit further review comments from attendees. The information will be accessible on the NCS website for teachers and educators throughout the nation. Orange and Seminole County, government and industry representatives will be at the STEM Pavilion to answer questions. Members of the STEM/M&STask Force are as follows: Dr. Kim Dahl, Clayton Donnan, Kevin Gouvia, Lyn Higgins, Michael Hunter, Charles Lynch and Dr. Dona Poniatowski from Seminole County Public Schools; Mark Hunt, Daniel Martinez, Gary Nelson and Phil Tillery from Orange County Public Schools;Sunny Simmonds (Advisor), Naval Air Warfare Center Training Systems Division; Dr. Charles Hartshorne, University of Central Florida; Hank Okraski (SES-Ret), Task Force Leader, NCS Board of Directors and Duane Hume (Framework/Standards Guidance), Florida Department of Education.

(Pictured from left to right) Dr. Kim Dahl (SCPS), Phil Tillery (OCPS), Hank Okraski (Okraski and Associates), Clayton Donnan (SCPS), Lyn Higgins (SCPS) and Chas Lynch (SCPS) were some of the participants in the NCS STEM/M&S Task Force curriculum workshop.