The Center provides programming to public and private K-12 schools in their efforts to bring forth reform related to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education.
Programs for Educators
Schulze Summer STEM Institute for TeachersToggle More Info
At the Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers Workshop for K-12 educators, participants will be immersed in the research-based practice of writing and facilitating engaging inquiry-based STEM activities focusing on the SW Florida environment. Inquiry-based pedagogies have been shown to improve student engagement, comprehension, and retention. The workshop infuses technology into the week and incorporates field instruction. FGCU faculty from the College of Education and the College of Arts and Sciences and Conservancy Staff bring a balance of expertise to you during the workshop week. The Whitaker Center for STEM Education at FGCU takes a systemic approach to enhancing and reforming STEM education by providing professional development opportunities for K-12 educators, conducting research in STEM teaching and learning, developing innovative curricula, resources, and materials, developing and supporting programs for students, and building strong community partnerships. The Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers workshops are developed through collaboration between the Conservancy of Southwest Florida education staff, Whitaker Center FGCU faculty associates, Vester Marine Field Station, and Lehigh Elementary STEM faculty. The Schulze Summer STEM Institute for Teachers connects real-world environmental research with evidence-based, hands-on instruction. Since 2013, the STEM Institute has worked with over 200 K-12 teachers from the five county area and beyond! Summer camps are also offered at the Conservancy. Your child/children could experience the wildlife of southwest Florida through outdoor adventures, field trips, and nature discoveries, all while you attend our workshop.
In cooperation with the Conservancy of Southwest Florida, the Whitaker Center offers week-long Summer Teacher workshop sessions for K-12 faculty centered on empowering teachers to develop inquiry-based pedagogy that works for their classroom. These workshops facilitate the integration of STEM disciplines within the conservancy themes and offer teachers hands on experience integrating technology and the great outdoors into their activities.
Date: June 24-28, 2024 OR July 15-19, 2024
Application Deadline: April 15th
High School Programs
SunChaseToggle More Info
High School Solar Go-Kart ChallengeIn 2013 Dr. Joe Simmons, the first Backe Chair for Renewable Energy at FGCU, had a vision to develop area high school student interest in engineering and renewable energy technologies through a solar go-kart competition held on campus. Since that first year the FGCU Faculty, Students, and Staff have worked hard to host and promote this event, and we hope to continue to work with each of you to continue to improve SunChase every year!
Race Date: April 13, 2024
Registration Deadline: March 20, 2024
Registration Cost: $500 per team
All teams must have a signed agreement and waiver to participate.
For Technical Questions, Please Contact
For Registration-Related Questions, Please Contact
Middle School Programs
Girls in Engineering, Math, and Science (GEMS)Toggle More Info
Girls in Engineering, Math, and ScienceGirls in Engineering, Math and Science (GEMS) is a hands-on program dedicated to promoting science education for all regional middle school students by enthusiastic professionals and undergraduates as facilitators and role models in a supportive environment. GEMS provides a launching pad to develop an early interest in engineering, math, and science as an impetus to higher education and highly-skilled careers. Previous activities have included bioengineering, chemistry, biological science, biotechnology, forensics, astronomy, math, civil engineering and environmental science.
Upcoming Event Dates: April 20th; 9:00am-12:30pm with sign-in beginning at 8:30am.
Registration Deadline: Open Until Full
What is the Program?
This half-day event encourages all middle school students to engage in hands-on activities related to engineering, math and science.
Where is the program going to be held?
All activities will be held on the Florida Gulf Coast University campus in Fort Myers on the first floor of Whitaker Hall.
When will the next program be held?
The next event will be announced about 1 month in advance.
Does the program cost anything?
This program is FREE to all participants. Registration is required and parent permission is collected in writing.
Who will be in the program?
Middle school students (grades 6-8) from our local community will interact with FGCU STEM majors and faculty during the event.
What do I wear?
Comfortable clothes that you would wear each day to school.
What will happen?
Students will engage in two hands-on activities in a STEM area developed and led by FGCU faculty and student assistants.
Do my parents/guardians need to be there?
No. All activities are supervised by university personnel.
How do I get there?
Each participant will need to arrange her transportation to and from the FGCU campus. Sign-in runs from 8:30-9:00 am and the program begins after sign-in is completed (around 9:00AM) and ends at 12:30PM.
A special thank you to present and past sponsors including Dr. Bert Holmes and AAUW Fort Myers/Lee County. We would also like to thank the dedicated teachers, FGCU students and faculty who have helped to make this program great for our middle school students.
We are actively seeking GEMS financial sponsors for the future events. Contact the Whitaker Center Director, Dr. Heather Skaza Acosta (firstname.lastname@example.org) if you or your company would like to sponsor: 239-590-7444Questions, comments, or concerns?
Please contact GEMS@fgcu.edu
Summer Research Opportunity (SRO)Toggle More Info
For over a decade, the Whitaker Center for STEM Education has sponsored a two week event for middle school students interested in STEM. These students must have participated in the Thomas Alva Edison Regional Science Fair. They must prepare an application to be chosen to participate in a Summer Research Opportunity at Florida Gulf Coast University. SRO offers a hands-on experience of collaboration on a complete and genuine research problem from hypothesis generation and initial design, through field and laboratory data collection, culminating in data analysis and interpretation. The SRO program is staffed by FGCU faculty and Student Assistants and takes place each summer. Your school is neither endorsing nor sponsoring this event nor endorsing the views of FGCU.
Coding AcademyToggle More Info
After a tremendous success over the years (since 2015), the organizing team of the FGCU Coding Academy is glad to announce the 2024 Coding Academy (Spring, Summer and Fall). Our immersive Coding Camp offers fun projects, activities, and valuable coding skills with coding programs in Python.
Elementary School Programs
Looking for Something Else?
As RequestedToggle More Info
We also offer a variety of programs that can be tailored for your classroom needs!
Teachers interested in bringing an age appropriate forensic activity to their classroom should contact: Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney
The Whitaker Center can coordinate nature walks through campus with an FGCU naturalist for school groups interested in visiting the campus. Contact our office to arrange a visit to hike campus trails, tour the Food Forest, and slough slog the swamps!
For more information, please contact Campus Naturalists.
Patricia Krupp - email@example.com
Related FGCU Department ProgramsToggle More Info
Community Partnered ProgramsToggle More Info