Sen. Bill Nelson tours Florida Polytechnic University

By Katie Jones, Reporter
Last Updated: Friday, August 11, 2017, 4:47 PM EDT

U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson stopped by Florida Polytechnic University on Friday to meet with students and tour the newly accredited campus.

  • Florida Polytechnic campus just a few years old
  • It broke off from USF to form own university
  • Sen. Nelson said state needs a school focusing on STEM

Students like Randy Lopez had the chance to show the Florida Democrat Nelson projects they're working on for the upcoming school year. Lopez has started a company called "Logentix" and developed a device that gives vehicles self-driving capabilities.

"Our device is essentially a very smart dash cam, so it attaches to your windshield and connects to existing hardware on your vehicle. It essentially augments the driver's visibility, so we're not trying to replace the driver but really make driving safer," Lopez said.

Lopez started the company as a side job but has teamed with classmates at Florida Polytechnic University to further his vision.

"Since it's a smaller campus and it's brand new, starting really innovative projects is much easier," Lopez said.

The campus is just a few years old and was conceived from a bit of controversy after breaking off from USF to become its own university. Nelson said it was money well spent. He said Florida needs a school that focuses solely on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. (STEM).

"This is how we're going to remain competitive in the global market place by being smarter, faster, more ingenious and creative than the rest of the world," Nelson said.

Because of this type of intensive education, Nelson believes these students will be on the forefront of the future.