Press release from Florida State University’s Panama City campus: Future Physicists of Florida chapter named for donors

From FSU’s news office:

The Florida State University Panama City local chapter of the Future Physicists of Florida announced Saturday will be renamed in honor of James T. and Jana L. Cook in recognition of the Cook’s $100,000 gift that will provide lasting support for STEM education initiatives at FSU Panama City.

The chapter is now named the Dr. James T. and Jana L. Cook Future Physicists of Florida FSU Panama City Chapter.

The Future Physicists of Florida was founded in 2012 to prepare promising middle school students for college majors in physics, engineering and STEM related fields. The FSU Panama City chapter inducted its inaugural class in 2015.

Recently, Cook became involved with the Future Physicists program, joining Paul Cottle, a physics professor at Florida State University in Tallahassee, at a presentation to Mosely High School students and their parents.

“Not only is Dr. Cook passionate, but he knows how to relate to people and make the subject matter fun,” Cottle said.

Cottle has been working with FSU Panama City through Future Physicists of Florida to get students in Bay District Schools excited about physics.

“After the dean arranged a meeting between Dr. Cook and Dr. Cottle, it was evident in follow-up conversations that a passion for physics had been discovered,” said Mary Beth Lovingood, director of development at FSU Panama City. “Thanks to the generosity of Jim and Jan, we can put that passion into action by having annual resources to sustain and ramp up our STEM efforts.”

The gift establishes the FSU Panama City STEM Institute Endowed Fund which will provide reoccurring annual funds to support STEM activities at FSU Panama City and around the district. The Cooks created the fund to encourage others who are passionate about STEM education to contribute.

“We know that the academic success of all of our students is a job for the entire community,” said Ginger Littleton, Bay County school board member and STEM liaison for the FSU Panama City Foundation. “Naming this chapter of the Future Physicists of Florida after the Cooks is one way to honor their commitment to the success of STEM scholars in our community.”


From left to right:  Bay County School Board Chair Ginger Littleton, FSU Physics Professor Paul Cottle, Jana Cook, Dr. James Cook, FSU-PC Dean Randy Hanna


They came, they saw, they conquered: Orlando Science School comes to FSU for their induction ceremony

Last Friday, after a tour of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, inductees, parents and teachers arrived at the FSU Physics Department for a ceremony featuring Professor Susan Blessing, a high energy physicist and the architect of an undergraduate program now recognized as a model for the nation.


Orlando Science Schools visitors after a tour of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory


Quarks and leptons in ordinary stuff – by Professor Susan Blessing


The Orlando Science Schools inductees


Professor Blessing and inductees watching alpha particles zip around after the ceremony

Make-up date: Orlando Science School FPF inductees coming to FSU on Friday

Hurricane Matthew could make them wait, but in the end they are coming, anyway.

FPF inductees from Orlando Science School will be visiting FSU on Friday afternoon for a visit to the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory and an induction ceremony with Scientific Keynote Speaker Susan Blessing.  The OSS delegation had originally been scheduled to attend the October 7 FPF induction at FSU along with two Tallahassee schools, but they were prevented from traveling by Hurricane Matthew.

This Friday’s induction ceremony, which will begin at 3:30 pm, will be the first ever held in the FSU Physics Department’s lecture hall in the Richards Building.  Previous FPF induction ceremonies at FSU have been held at the university’s conference center and one of the institution’s newer lecture halls in the center of campus near the Student Union.


The 2015 Orlando Science School FPF inductees

Monroe County Superintendent: “we need to inform and educate students and parents to help them understand that significant decisions made at age 15 or 16 will affect their future”

From this morning’s Key West Citizen:

Nine of the “Top 10 College Majors That Earn the Highest Salaries” are in the field of engineering, according to US News, and more than half of the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 30 fastest-growing occupations through 2024 require advanced math and science courses — trends which reinforce the need to encourage students to begin preparing for their futures.

High paying, in-demand occupations are far different than those available even in the most recent decades, and “we need to inform and educate students and parents to help them understand that significant decisions made at age 15 or 16 will affect their future,” said Monroe County Schools Superintendent Mark Porter….

…Copying the success of the county’s Take Stock program, Cottle has implemented a mentoring program for students who might benefit from one-on-one relationships with college students majoring in the sciences and engineering. Currently, eight college students from three universities are working with Monroe County students, providing them a perspective that they cannot get from someone currently in the field they are interested in pursuing.

“They’re similar ages with similar experiences,” said Cottle, which is far different than the advice they might get from a working professional.

Opening future doors by exposing students and parents to options they may not know exist plays a large role in the FPF program and is one of the reasons why Porter and the school system is so supportive.

“The world and the economy is changing, and education has to change as well,” said Porter.


A wonderful Friday evening in the Florida Keys: The 2016 Monroe County FPF induction ceremony

Some scenes from the 2016 Monroe County FPF induction ceremony, held last Friday evening at Marathon Middle/High School.


Monroe County District School Science Supervisor Courtney Oliver addresses the inducted students and their families


Monroe County Superintendent of Schools Mark Porter – a former math teacher – welcomes the audience


FSU astrophysicist Jeremiah Murphy talks about his dog – and the cosmological events that provided the elements that make her up


Jeremiah Murphy answering questions from students after the ceremony. One of the attendees said it was like having a “rock star” there.

190 Monroe County middle school students to be honored at FPF induction ceremony on November 4

The Future Physicists of Florida will induct 190 Monroe County middle school students in a ceremony at Marathon Middle/High School on the evening of Friday, November 4.  This will be the second year that Monroe County has held an FPF induction.

There are about 600 8th graders in Monroe County middle schools this year, so the number of students being inducted is close to one-third of the size of a district-wide class.

The scientific speaker for the Monroe County induction will be FSU Physics Professor and astrophysicist Jeremiah Murphy, shown below.  Professor Murphy’s research is described here.


Photo credit:  Panama City News-Herald

FPF inducts students from Tallahassee’s School of Arts and Science, Raa Middle School

Students from two Tallahassee schools – the School of Arts and Science and Raa Middle School – were inducted into the Future Physicists of Florida last Friday on the FSU campus.  FSU Physics Professor Susan Blessing introduced the students to the world of elementary particles during the ceremony.

Julie Sear of the School of Arts and Sciences provided the photos from the ceremony shown below.