Brandon Campus News
National Science Foundation - A Long Time Supporter
of Technician Education in Florida
The National Science Foundation Advanced Technological Education program (NSF ATE) has been a champion of technician education in Florida. Since 1991, NSF ATE has been working with two-year technician education programs and invested millions of dollars to help Florida’s technical education system reach its potential. This strategy has been a game-changer in the Sunshine State.

The first NSF ATE grant was awarded to Brevard Community College in 1994. The mission was to establish a national clearinghouse for curricular and faculty development programs, as well as educational media supporting programs that infuse science and mathematics into technological education programs. A second grant equaling $470,000 was awarded to Seminole State College in 1995 to develop new curriculum to help students connect the dots between physics and their chosen technical fields. In 1996, NSF ATE provided $250,000 to Broward Community College to form a consortium with academic and industry partners to develop a BMET program to train qualified biomedical engineering technicians.

From 1997 through 2001, NSF ATE accelerated its support of AS technical education in Florida. In 1998, NSF awarded a $300,000 grant to Hillsborough Community College to create a hands-on applied learning experience for students enrolled in aquaculture, environmental science technology, economics/business, and humanities programs. In 1999, Valencia College was awarded a $1.1 million dollar grant to coordinate the development of the Tech-4 High-Technology Industrial Education Consortium. In 2002, Al Koller from Brevard Community College and Marilyn Barger of HCC were designated as principal investigators at SpaceTEC® and FLATE—two Florida-based NSF ATE centers of excellence.

The year 2004 saw NSF ATE investing in Florida’s engineering technology infrastructure. FLATE, the NSF ATE Center of Excellence at HCC-Brandon, received funding with a major objective to install a statewide engineering technology AS degree program. The ET degree is currently offered at ten community/state colleges across Florida including Hillsborough Community College. It is supported by FLATE’s “Made in Florida” outreach campaign designed to educate students, educators, and industry about Florida advanced manufacturing workforce. To date, NSF ATE has awarded over $6 million in grants to HCC alone. Faculty members in Florida’s technician preparation programs have great ideas, and NSF ATE is prepared to fund those good ideas and turn them into best education practices.

For more information on NSF grants, contact Dr. Marilyn Barger at or visit and For an in-depth coverage of NSF’s commitment to Florida’s technician education, read the January and February edition of the FLATE’s Focus.
Article Written By: Brandon Campus Staff.