(The University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science issued the following news release.)
ORLANDO, Fla. – A $75,000 donation to the University of Central Florida from Duke Energy Florida will provide critical resources to support the transformation of engineering and computer science students into professionals and future leaders in their fields.
The funds will be used towards priority areas in the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, specifically in programs designed to build leadership skills in students, including UCF’s Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2), and UCF’s Senior Design “Boot Camps” – training workshops for teams enrolled in the Senior Design capstone course – a requirement for graduating seniors.
The donation adds to a previous $75,000 grant from the Duke Energy Foundation to support UCF’s College of Engineering and Computer Science projects including the Girls Excelling in Math and Science mentorship program, Senior Design, and diversity, equity and inclusion programs.
“At UCF, while our engineering and computer science students are learning the core technical aspects of their disciplines, they are simultaneously learning important ‘soft skills’ and leadership qualities that are critically important in the workplace,” says Michael Georgiopoulos, dean, UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science. “The years of support from Duke Energy help make UCF’s leadership-building programs possible. We are extremely grateful for their gift.”
The gift adds to the longstanding relationship between Duke Energy Florida, the Duke Energy Foundation and the University of Central Florida. Over the years, Duke Energy and its foundation have given more than $5 million to support UCF programs that have benefitted thousands of students. In addition, the Duke Energy Welcome Center at UCF serves as a high-visibility information portal about the university designed to attract prospective students to UCF.
“For more than a decade, Duke Energy, its legacy companies and its foundation have invested in the University of Central Florida and its Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “There is an immense need for engineering and computer technology leaders across the board, and we are honored to be able to support this program and continue transforming students into the skilled professionals and leaders needed in Florida and beyond.”
With financial support from Duke Energy (then Progress Energy), the Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute (eli2) at UCF was born in 2010, a program that has provided leadership skills-building opportunities for thousands of engineering and computer science students.
Opportunities include hands-on workshops and “Leaders Up Close” seminars, classes to earn an Engineering Leadership Minor or Certificate, the eli2 maker spaces on campus designed to enhance creativity and collaboration, Senior Design Boot Camps that help student teams with their projects; and other programs specifically focused on enhancing student creativity, innovation, collaboration and accountability.
“Duke Energy championed students’ leadership development from the very beginning of eli2,” says Tim Kotnor, a professor in UCF’s Department of Industrial Engineering and Management Systems and director of UCF’s Engineering Leadership and Innovation Institute. “What started out as initial support of 31 students 15 years ago has burgeoned into a college-wide culture of student leadership engagement that has impacted the education and professional development of more than 20,000 students and alumni.”
Senior Design, a capstone course in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, begins for students with Boot Camp, provided by eli2: an all-day interactive session for newly formed senior design teams to bolster teamwork and project ideation. The eli2 Boot Camp is designed to help student teams collaboratively design their projects from start to finish, including budgeting, timelines, prototyping, testing, and overcoming challenges to get their projects to the finish-line: the Senior Design showcase, where the projects are presented to a public audience and alumni judges.
In April, 917 graduating seniors participated in UCF’s Spring 2022 Senior Design virtual and live showcase, featuring 185 projects designed by collaborative teams of graduating seniors in engineering and computer science.
The University of Central Florida is one of the nation’s largest producers of engineers and computer scientists and is the nation’s top workforce supplier to numerous key industries, including aerospace, energy, utilities, financial technology (“fintech”), healthcare, and defense industries. UCF was named the nation’s No. 1 workforce supplier – and top preferred supplier – to the aerospace and defense industries by Aviation Week Network.
Duke Energy Florida
Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns 10,300 megawatts of energy capacity, supplying electricity to 1.9 million residential, commercial and industrial customers across a 13,000-square-mile service area in Florida.
Duke Energy (NYSE: DUK), a Fortune 150 company headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is one of America’s largest energy holding companies. Its electric utilities serve 8.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky, and collectively own 50,000 megawatts of energy capacity. Its natural gas unit serves 1.6 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Ohio and Kentucky. The company employs 28,000 people.
Duke Energy is executing an aggressive clean energy transition to achieve its goals of net-zero methane emissions from its natural gas business and at least a 50% carbon reduction from electric generation by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The 2050 net-zero goals also include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. In addition, the company is investing in major electric grid enhancements and energy storage, and exploring zero-emission power generation technologies such as hydrogen and advanced nuclear.
Duke Energy was named to Fortune’s 2022 “World’s Most Admired Companies” list and Forbes’ “America’s Best Employers” list. More information is available at duke-energy.com. The Duke Energy News Center contains news releases, fact sheets, photos and videos. Duke Energy’s illumination features stories about people, innovations, community topics and environmental issues. Follow Duke Energy on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.
UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science
The University of Central Florida’s College of Engineering and Computer Science in Orlando is among the nation’s largest producers of engineering and technology workforce talent. The college’s six academic departments offer 40+ bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, tracks and certificates. Its $50-million annual research enterprise addresses society’s greatest challenges and aspirations in aerospace, computing, energy, the environment, healthcare, transportation, and more. The college is strengthened by innovative industry partnerships and diverse faculty, students and staff who together create a welcoming, entrepreneurial hub of learning and discovery. Visit cecs.ucf.edu to learn more.
Duke Energy Florida – Audrey Stasko
Media line: 800.559.3853
University of Central Florida – Kimberly Lewis