NEFEC's Rural Initiative for STEM Education (RISE) seeks to develop connections among students, teachers, schools, higher education, businesses and industries to develop a STEM workforce for Florida’s rural regions. RISE builds partnerships with STEM professionals to provide...

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We connect STEM business partners, STEM College partners, and Legislators with STEM Educators so that we can work together to improve STEM Education for the students we serve.

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We provide professional learning in content and pedagogy for teachers, leadership support for administrators, career support for guidance counselors, and opportunities for students.


May 8, 2015 / 9:00 – 12:30

View the Article & Pictures Here!

FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Program of Study

Students from Columbia County School District completed a two week work experience at Ichetucknee Springs State Park. The work was part of the FloridaLearns STEM Scholars Program of Study, in which the students have the opportunity to become Designated STEM Scholars.

These are the students’ reflections on this experience:

"The STEM Icehetucknee Internship was truly an unforgettable experience. Over the course of two weeks, I gained knowledge in fields I had previously known little or nothing about, participated in hands-on activities, and made lasting memories. It gave me opportunities to broaden my horizons and discover what I'm interested in. Whether it was canoeing down the river, scoping gopher turtle burrows, working with an enviroscape model, or removing invasive water lettuce, every activity was engaging and informing. The knowledge I gained from this internship has proved itself useful even after the end of the two weeks. The memories I made and all the fun experiences I had made the Ichetucknee STEM Internship a truly enjoyable one."

Shelbi Fennell

"My STEM experience during the two weeks spent at Ichetucknee Springs State Park was extremely interesting and eye-opening. I learned about the environment around me and how exactly humanity affects it. Even places so pristine like Ichetucknee can be hurt by simple things such as fertilizer -miles away. This experience made me look at the environment extremely differently. Plus, it helped me understand the biology field, which I am planning to pursue."

Corey Yorke

"My experience at Ichetucknee was very educational and I enjoyed it greatly. Getting to go this week and learn about the various ecosystems and people that lived in the area throughout the years was great. Learning more about the area where I live and where I enjoy my summers and how important it is was really cool to me. My favorite thing that I got to do was getting to kayak down the river, something I had wanted to do for a while. I learned a lot and at the same time got to have a fun, relaxed time. I definitely wouldn't trade the experience for anything."

Dustin Carwile

"I enjoyed working with the students, too. It was a wonderful experience to share the park with the STEM group and provide them with memories that will last their lifetime. I wish there were experiences such as the STEM Internship when I was a kid! :-) I look forward to future opportunities to work together with you and Columbia County Students."

Ginger Morgan, Ichetucknee Park Ranger


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For all upcoming professional development opportunities, please see School Support.