STEM Programs Crucial for Students
Image Source FIRST LEGO League
Summer is coming to an end and students are heading back to campus. While students learn basics such as reading, writing, science, and math, often they lack opportunities for more specialized skills/programs proven useful for jobs in STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) related industries.  According to panelists on “New Pathways to Stem” a Harvard-sponsored talk, it was suggested that a large population of students are not being “fully prepared for STEM careers. Brigid O’Rourke at The Harvard Gazette discusses how additional STEM related programs were created to fill gaps, yet schools still experience difficulties with access to these programs and resources. “Increasing access and opportunity in STEM is crucial say experts” — Harvard Gazette. 

The U.S Bureau of Labor and Statistics shows a growth of 79 percent in STEM occupations in the past three decades and are projected to grow another 11 percent by 2030. This projection means the need for STEM skilled talent will be in high demand for years to come.

New STEM related programs, classes and resources are becoming more accessible not only on campus but through online platforms as well. The panel discussed how critical it is to make STEM education more readily available. The new programs and new ways of learning can help expand access to STEM while creating a more inclusive workforce.

Locally, most primary and secondary schools have added programs such as robotics, pre-engineering and coding as electives for students to choose. These classes can provide the outlet needed to prepare curious individuals who are eager to make changes and solve some of the world’s most challenging issues.

One of the programs most local schools participate in is the FIRST LEGO league event. This program introduces students ages 4 to 16 to STEM through hands-on learning. According to their website, the event is made up of three divisions to “inspire youth to experiment and grow their critical thinking, coding, and design skills through STEM learning and robotics.”

The season begins with regional tournaments and championships. This gives teams an opportunity to show off skills, inventions, and compete with their robots. Some teams will receive an invite to compete in FIRST LEGO World Festival against teams outside of the US.

To find out more about the program and to learn how to participate, visit www.firstinspires.org. 
 
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TechFarms Welcomes Dr. Stephen Dunnivant
TechFarms is pleased to announce the addition of Dr. Stephen Dunnivant as the new Director of Business Development at TechFarms. Dr. Dunnivant, long-time mentor at TechFarms, brings over 30 years of service across three Florida colleges with experience creating groundbreaking models that guide business, industry, higher education, and regional economic development.  

Dr. Dunnivant has played a critical role at TechFarms since the beginning. He first met Steve Millaway, founder, and CEO of TechFarms, while collaborating on Gulf Coast State College’s Advanced Technology Center (ATC). Together they worked to create a facility with resources to cultivate talent that would bring software development, engineering technology, and so much more to Panama City and surrounding areas.It was during their time together that the idea of TechFarms was born. While the center would provide the necessary resources for individuals to thrive in the field of technology, the area still lacked the entrepreneurship piece that was so critical to the growth of the local economy. Entrepreneurship was the key to keeping all of the talented individuals here locally and further contribute to the economic growth and transformation of the area for generations to come.The vision was for TechFarms to become the hub for area students to gather, share ideas, and take them to the next level. As one of the company’s mentors, Dr. Dunnivant helped guide these entrepreneurs on their path to success.With Dr. Dunnivant’s recent retirement, he is now available to expand his role beyond mentoring for the incubator and help develop and nurture critical partnerships with the local community and beyond as part of the business development team.TechFarms is extremely excited to have him on the team in such an important role and look forward to his contributions.If you have questions or ideas, and would like to contact Dr. Dunnivant, you can reach him at sdunnivant@techfarms.com
New Tech Alert
Amazon Announces Launch of CodeWhisperer
Image Source: TechCrunch
This summer, Amazon launched CodeWhisperer, an AI Pair programming tool. This tool can autocomplete entire functions based on a comment or a few keystrokes. Amazon trained the tool on billions of publicly available open-source codes. They ensured measurements were put into place to prevent biased code from being generated.  Developers can preview CodeWhisperer as part of their Amazon Web Services (AES) Toolkit. The user can choose between different suggestions and functions. This has been in the works for years and only a small number of developers were a part of the initial testing phase.     
Events and Updates
6th Annual Women in Science Conference
Image Source: Escience.org
The sixth annual Women in Science Conference will take place on September 29th at the Northwest Florida State College in Niceville, Florida.
The local conference is a celebration of women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics related professions. The lineup features four professional speakers in various STEM related fields. The conference is an opportunity for local students, specifically middle and high school, to mingle with the speakers and other local STEM industry professionals.All proceeds benefit the Emerald Coast Science Center’s Girls Engaged in Making (GEM) workshops. For More information, visit escience.org. 
SBDC to Host Workshop
The Small Business Develop Center at UWF will host a workshop on August 25th for those interested in starting a business. The three-hour workshop will go through concepts and discuss important questions to help get you on the path to a successful start.  For more information or to signup visit their website for more information. 
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We’re Hiring
With the conclusion of Summer, we say goodbye to our two summer employees Megan and Adrianna. Both are headed on to new adventures and starting their first semester at college. We will miss their positive attitudes and wish them the best of luck.TechFarms is still hiring so feel free to reach out or share or information if you know anyone that would be a good fit.
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At TechFarms, We Strive to Help Your Ideas Thrive
TechFarms is a business incubator focusing on the technology sector.
We provide entrepreneurs a place to make their ideas real,
with makerspace, equipment, prototyping facilities,
business and technical mentoring, and more.