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UCF Named Most-Admired Employer for Minorities in Science

By Barb Abney
Feb. 22, 2010
UCF's EXCEL program has attracted about 800 students since 2006, when it began offering scholarship support, residential learning communities and more.

The University of Central Florida has been recognized as a most-admired company by a spectrum of publications that cover the impact of minorities in critical scientific areas.

The list includes surveys of readers and editors of U.S. Black Engineer & Information Technology, Hispanic Engineer & Information Technology, Women of Color and Science Spectrum Online magazines regarding their impressions of diversity programs at today’s top organizations.

UCF and the other recipients were recognized last week at the 24th Black Engineer of the Year STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Conference in Baltimore.

“Our recognition as a most-admired employer is a testament to the importance of diversity and mentoring to the faculty, staff and students at the College of Engineering & Computer Science and throughout our university,” said Marwan Simaan, the college’s dean. “We are constantly working hard to enhance the diverse and inclusive environment that helps to make us one of the most dynamic engineering and computer science colleges in the country.”

UCF has made inroads in increasing the retention rates of all students, and specifically underrepresented populations, in STEM disciplines through a variety of specialized programs.

A program known as EXCEL has attracted about 800 students since 2006, when it began offering scholarship support, residential learning communities, a customized curriculum focused on applications of calculus, and aggressive mentoring and tutoring.

Individual faculty members also serve as role models for underrepresented students. Lesia L. Crumpton-Young, a professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, recently received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mentoring for her work with minorities in science and engineering.

Pamela McCauley-Bush, an associate professor of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems, has encouraged student participation in the Black Engineer of the Year Awards Conference since her arrival at UCF in 1993. She served as a founding member of the advisory board for the Women of Color in Technology Conference, and she has held leadership roles for many national events.

Peter Delfyett, University Trustee Chair and a professor of Optics, Physics and Electrical and Computer Engineering, has been honored nationally for his work in creating new paths for minorities in science. He has been named a “Trailblazer” by Science Spectrum, and he won a Black Engineer of the Year award in 2000.

Bruce Furino, a specialist in data management and director of the College of Engineering & Computer Science’s Outreach Office, developed the prototype for the university’s Internet Science and Technology Fair. The event brings together online high school students, including many from underrepresented populations; their teachers; and industry advisers to work on real-world problems, such as auto pollution and flood prevention.

Tyrone D. Taborn, founder of the Black Engineer of the Year conference, said recognizing organizations such as UCF that are cultivating the next generation of scientific leaders is crucial to strengthening a knowledge-based economy.

UCF is one of 16 most-admired universities on this year’s list, which was selected by readers and editors of the publications involved. Other organizations on the list include Penn State and Iowa State universities, Apple, Xerox and GlaxoSmithKline.


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