Igniting Innovation: Long Branch Elementary STEM Day at FSCJ Showcases the Future of Autonomous Mobility

JTA beep FSCJ STEM event 18

At the heart of innovation lies the power of education and community engagement, key pillars for shaping the workforce of tomorrow. On May 23, 2024, Long Branch Elementary School students were given a unique opportunity to experience the future of autonomous technology and artificial intelligence at a STEM educational event hosted by Florida State College at Jacksonville’s (FSCJ) downtown campus. This event, organized by Beep and the Blue Lagoon Foundation, and including partners from the Jacksonville Transportation Authority (JTA), underscored the vital connection between education, technology, and workforce development.

Bridging the Gap Between Education and Innovation
The day began with eager third through fifth grade students boarding buses at Long Branch Elementary for an exciting field trip to the FSCJ Downtown Campus for an engaging and educational experience.

Marcus Dixon of JTA, Patrick Hall of CL Stuart Institute, Ravi Kolahalam, Bri Kimmel, Rachel Hansen from Beep, and Paul Soar of FSCJ extended a warm welcome, introducing the students to the exciting world of autonomous vehicle (AV) technology and mobility. The event kicked off with an overview of Beep’s innovative projects and a presentation by Ravi, Beep’s Product Manager, who delved into the engineering wonders behind AV technology, emphasizing the workforce opportunities and educational pathways available in this innovative field.

Hands-On Learning and Exploration
To bring these concepts to life, students participated in a series of interactive station breakouts. The group was divided into three teams, each rotating through different activities designed to inspire and educate.

  • Video of Commissioning Engineer into Map Matching Activity: Ravi and Paul guided students through an interactive map-matching activity, demonstrating the practical applications of AV technology and the critical thinking skills needed in this field.
  • Lunch and Group Conversation: Rachel facilitated a lunch session where students could discuss what they had learned, fostering a collaborative environment for sharing ideas and insights.
  • Beep Autonomous Shuttle Rides: Led by Bri, students and chaperones experienced firsthand the cutting-edge technology of autonomous shuttles, gaining an understanding of the real-world applications of their studies.

As the groups rotated through the stations, the engagement, excitement, and curiosity among the students exceeded all expectations. Each activity provided a unique perspective on the technology that is set to revolutionize transportation and the numerous career opportunities it presents.

Preparing for the Future
This event was not just about showcasing technology but also about inspiring students to consider careers in STEM fields. Discussions emphasized the foundational education components necessary for advancing into AV technology programs, highlighting the importance of starting early to build a solid knowledge base.

Patrick Hall and other presenters emphasized the significance of taking initiative now, encouraging students to pursue their interests in technology and engineering. The Q&A sessions allowed students to engage directly with industry professionals, further igniting their passion for learning and discovery.

A Glimpse into the Future
As the students concluded at FSCJ and prepared to return to Long Branch Elementary, they carried with them more than just their belongings—they left with a newfound inspiration and a clearer vision of the future possibilities in the realm of autonomous technology and AI.

This event highlighted the crucial role of community engagement and education in preparing the next generation for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow. It showcased how initiatives like these can spark interest in STEM careers, equipping students with the knowledge and motivation needed to succeed in an increasingly tech-driven world.

Continuing the Journey
Building on the success of this event, plans are underway for future collaborations, including a comprehensive student engagement symposium at Tradition Preparatory High School. These initiatives aim to create a continuum of educational opportunities, ensuring that students remain engaged and inspired as they progress through their academic journeys.

Further, Beep’s mobility-as-a-service approach focuses on meaningful integration into a community by approaching each deployment with the support of city and regional governments and transportation authorities, collaborating with state and local officials on best practices for the safe, effective integration of AVs within multimodal mobility networks. Also trusted by Department of Transportation entities nationwide, Beep has worked with JTA on the country’s first autonomous vehicle repair and service curriculum at Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ), paving the way for workforce development supporting emerging technologies into the future. 

By fostering a culture of innovation and providing pathways to engineering and tech jobs, we are not only preparing our students for the future but also ensuring that our community thrives in the era of autonomous technology and AI. The future is bright, and it begins with events like Long Branch Elementary STEM Day, where education meets innovation, and the possibilities are limitless.

Contact Us

Bring Beep To Your Community

If you want to provide safe, convenient, eco-friendly mobility services in your area, reach out to Beep. We will help you assess the benefits and impact you can realize for your town, city, business or campus.

Contact Us Today