The University of Florida’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering has been recognized with the 2018 Engineering Excellence for Veterans Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE). This award is given to recognize academic institutions that are leaders in helping veterans bridge the gap between military and civilian worlds.
“Our veterans and current active members made the sacrifice so we can enjoy the freedom that our country is proud of,” said Cammy Abernathy, Dean of the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. “It is our duty and honor to provide these outstanding women and men with educational opportunities for a smooth transition back to the community as they move from the front lines to solving society’s problems as engineers. This recognition from the ASEE underscores our commitment and pride in supporting our veterans.”
During the Fall 2017 and Spring 2018 semesters, there were 12 active duty members, 66 veterans and 211 dependents enrolled in engineering disciplines and degree programs. The university, which earned the 2017 Military Friendly School designation, enrolls approximately 2,000 veterans, active duty members and dependents in undergraduate and graduate studies altogether.
In addition to dedicated programs such as the Collegiate Veterans Success Center, Office of Student Veteran Services and Collegiate Veterans Society, UF also provides active duty and ROTC students opportunities to excel both in and out of the classroom.
Daniel Prestridge, Petty Officer 3rd Class, served as an electronic technician in Yokosuka, Japan before transitioning to UF. Now a mechanical engineering student at UF, he has found the ability to use what he learned in the Navy to excel in the classroom and in the lab.
“The Navy showed me a way to deal with pressure and deadlines while maintaining a professional attitude,” he said. “At UF, I get to work alongside actual engineers from multiple disciplines and in doing so, I can see how they approach problems in different ways – it is amazing.”
UF also offers opportunities to interact with military leaders and peers on a national scale. Through the guidance of Lt. Gen. Franklin “Buster” Hagenbeck, the William H. Wadsworth Director of the Engineering Leadership Institute, students have the opportunity to attend conferences held at the United States Military Academy, also known as West Point.
“Events like the National Conference on Ethics [at West Point] provide our Gator Engineers the opportunity to meet, interface and engage in deep discussions on critical topics with a diverse array of students from across the country,” said Hagenbeck.
Other national conferences attended by students in the Engineering Leadership Institute include the McDonald’s Cadet Leadership Conference at West Point, National Institute of Leadership Achievement, Simmons Leadership Conference and more.