All posts by Lara Sharp

Architecture Grad in Spotlight

Linaea Floden

The Tampa Bay Chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) recently put their December spotlight on St. Petersburg College Alum Linaea Floden in their monthly showcase of women in architecture and local Tampa Bay leaders in the industry.

Floden, who decided to go back to school at the age of 27, started her journey towards Architecture at SPC as an Associate in Arts transfer student. In the spotlight, Floden named an SPC professor as an important mentor.

“Susan Elftman will always be the voice of reason in design, in my mind,” Floden said.

Elftman helped Floden find her design voice and provided the female role model she sought. Elftman called Floden a “force”.

“She completed the Architecture AA and a Bachelor’s Degree in Sustainability Management at SPC as a single mom with with four kids under 10 years old,” Elftman said. “She commuted from Treasure Island every day to class and later to USF, leaving her home at 5 a.m. to arrive and get coursework completed before class. She was always passionate, deeply committed and very driven, and it’s very gratifying to see her work being recognized and rewarded.”

The first in her family to attend college, Floden went on to earn an associate degree in Architecture and a bachelor’s in Sustainability from SPC and a master’s in Architecture from the University of South Florida. She has also earned licensure as an architect, and is a board certified Healthcare Architect. She is now the Southeast Regional Director of Architecture for the Ryan Companies.

Floden told AIA that passion was what fueled her hard work to get where she is today.

“Passion is what drives us to work through the challenging and complicated and often convoluted problem scenarios,” she said. “All so that we can reveal the harmony, beauty and poetry that is the earmark of good design.”

Read the entire article about Linaea Floden here.

MasterCut Tools Donates to Engineering Technology

MasterCut Tools Corp, located in Safety Harbor, recently donated machining tools to St. Petersburg College’s Engineering Technology department. These high precision tools will be used in SPC’s CNC milling machine located in the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies on the Clearwater Campus. The milling machine is used to rapid prototype parts in the Digital Design and Modeling specialization of the Engineering Technology A.S. degree. SPC Alumnist and CNC machinist, Ryder Fitzpatrick, worked with MasterCut Tools to arrange the donation.

Engineering Week Celebration at SPC

National Engineers Week is held in February, and SPC will take part with its own Engineering Week including free events, open to both the public and SPC students.

February 18-24, 2018 is National Engineers Week. This celebration was started in 1951 by the National Society of Professional Engineers, in conjunction with President George Washington‘s birthday. President Washington is considered the nation’s first engineer, notably for his survey work.[1} 

SPC’s Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts program is celebrating with our own Engineering Week, during which we’ll offer several events open to both the public and current SPC students.

Open Houses

We’ll be hosting two open house events. The first, on February 19, 2018, will feature our Biomedical Engineering Technology Open House. This event is on Monday, February 19, 2018 from 4:30-6 p.m. in room BB 121 at our Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 East Klosterman Rd., Tarpon Springs.

On Wednesday, February 21, 2018, we’ll host our Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts Open House from 6-7:30 p.m., in the CC building’s Clearwater Campus Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies laboratory workshop at 2465 Drew Street in Clearwater.

Both laboratories contain equipment specific to the disciplines being taught in the BMET and Engineering Technology/Building Arts programs.  Program faculty and advisors will also be on hand to answer questions.

Career Exploration Events

Have you ever thought of being an engineer, engineering technologist, BMET technician, or construction supervisor?  How about Architecture?  The Career Exploration and Careers in Engineering Panel events are two opportunities to learn more about the programs in the department, meet faculty and students, and talk to career counselors.

The Engineering Career Explorations Event will be on Tuesday, February 20, 2018,  from 12:30-1:45 p.m., in room ES113 at our Clearwater Campus,  2465 Drew Street in Clearwater.

Also on Tuesday, February 20, you can take part in our interactive Engineering Career Exploration Workshop, which will explore careers in the Engineering field. This event will be at SPC’s Gibbs Campus, 6605 5th Avenue N, St. Petersburg, in room SA 135.

The Careers in Engineering Panel Event will consist of at least four different types of engineers who will share their stories about becoming an engineer and why they chose their field of engineering. This event will be on Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 5-6:00 p.m., in room ES 127 at our Clearwater Campus,  2465 Drew Street in Clearwater.

Catapult to success!

Finally, we’ll have some fun while learning about engineering and building arts at our Catapult Competition. We’ll build scale-sized wooden catapults and launching items (we haven’t decided what to launch yet) to see what gets the best distance.  Yes, it’s a competition, so there will be prizes! Join us for our Catapult Competition on Thursday, February 22, 2018, from 12:30 -1:45 p.m.,  in the CC building at our Clearwater Campus,  2465 Drew Street in Clearwater.

Please contact Lara Sharp at with questions about the programs and week’s events.

Students earn AutoCAD certification

Congratulations to six SPC Engineering Technology students who received their AutoCAD User Certification in June.  These students proved their commitment by attending a two-hour boot camp prep class on Saturday mornings for about two months. Their instructor, Mr. Steven Torres, an adjunct in the engineering technology department, spent time reviewing material from AutoCAD I and II and practicing the material to gain more confidence.

Certification helps verify a skill set and lets employers know that a possible new hire has the ability to start work immediately.

What it means to have AutoCad certification

Employers look for the most qualified and highly trained candidates. Many candidates say they are the best, but few can back up the claim. Being a Certified AutoDesk User allows current and future employers to know for a fact that you are not only dedicated to your profession, but that you are that highly trained and qualified candidate they are searching for. It also demonstrates that you are willing to go the extra mile in order to stay up to date and relevant in the CAD world. Being certified is more than a piece of paper, it’s a commitment to being the best. It is proof positive that you are not only prepared, but you excel in your field.

Celebrating the National Week of Making

June 17-23, 2016 was declared the National Week of Making by President Obama.

“Makers and builders and doers — of all ages and backgrounds — have pushed our country forward, developing creative solutions to important challenges and proving that ordinary Americans are capable of achieving the extraordinary when they have access to the resources they need.”

– President Obama, National Week of Making Proclamation

In conjunction with the National Week of Making, 20 middle school students designed and built robot cars in the Collaborative Center for Emerging Technologies on the St. Petersburg Collge Clearwater campus the week of June 20, 2016.  The robotics camp, led by engineering technology faculty Greg Lewis, was meant to inspire students to explore robotics, programming, and 3D modeling and printing.  Students also used SolidWorks to design a custom piece for their robot that was 3D printed on-site.  The highlight of the camp was when the students performed time trials with their robot cars through an obstacle course.  Students and teams with the fastest times were awarded medals.  A second camp will be offered the week of July 11th.

“I am so proud of all the students, volunteers, staff, and faculty that worked on putting this camp together.  It is so energizing to see young minds excited about STEM and to see the amazing things they accomplish in just a week”–Lara Sharp, Program Director of Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts.

robot pic

SME Tampa Bay 2016 Scholarships

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME) Tampa Bay is accepting scholarship applications for the 2016-2017 Academic year.

These scholarships provide dedicated and deserving students with additional funding to assist in successfully transitioning from high school to technical institutes, community colleges, vocational schools, colleges and universities.

Scholarships in the following amounts will be awarded:

  • High School: $1,000, $500 and $250
  • College/University: $2,000, $1,000 and $500

The deadline to submit an application is 9:00 PM on Sunday, June 12, 2016. Eligible students should apply online at

Scholarships will be presented at the June 23, 2015 awards banquet.


SPC Biomedical Engineering Technology students attend AAMI conference

The Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI) conference was held in Tampa June 3-6, 2016.  This annual conference was a great opportunity for SPC students to network and be exposed to a wide variety of career opportunities within the biomedical engineering technology (BMET) and health care technology management (HTM) professions.

Students interacted with future employers, learned from industry experts and learned how to interact with professionals within the BMET and HTM professions.

SPC adjunct professor receives biomedical engineering technology honor

At the conference, SPC BMET students also had the chance to congratulate one of their professors, Carlos Villafane, who received the AAMI BMET of the Year Award. Villafane is able to share his experience and expertise from working for BayCare Health System with SPC’s BMET students as an adjunct.

SPC BMET AAMI 2016 Carlos V. BMET of the Year 2016

SPC Engineering Technology Adjunct wins BMET of the Year Award

Carlos Villafane is an adjunct in the Engineering Technology department’s BMET specialization at St. Petersburg College.  This award, sponsored by AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) and GE,  is given to a biomedical equipment technician (BMET) to recognize individual dedication, achievement and excellence in the field of healthcare technology management.

The award is given to a candidate who has demonstrated sustained achievement and excellence in the field.  Candidates have to hold an ICC certification in either CBET, CRES, or CLES and have a minimum of five years work experience.


SPC Engineering Students Visit a Local Manufacturer

SPC’s Introduction to Engineering class visited a local manufacturer, Monin, Inc., in Clearwater in April.  Students were taken on an in-depth tour of the facility with Director of Operations Mike Brewster and other members of Monin.  Students got to see the bottling process in action and learn about automation, packaging and process engineering.

Monin, Inc. was started in France, but established its U.S. presence in Clearwater, Florida several decades ago.  The company produces flavored syrups, purees, and concentrates.Monin 2016

Tampa Bay area primed for advanced manufacturing

Check out this video from the Tampa Bay Partnership detailing how St. Petersburg College’s engineering technology programs play a role in the advanced manufacturing industry in the Tampa Bay region.

For more information about engineering technology at St. Petersburg College, please contact Program Director Lara Sharp at or visit