EXCEL Celebrates 10 Years


On Saturday, November 19, 2016, EXCEL at the University of Central Florida hosted an event in honor of its ten year anniversary.

A group of 50 faculty, alumni and students celebrated at a special tailgate in the Harris Corporate Engineering Center before UCF’s home game.

The EXCEL program at UCF is aimed to increase student success in the first two years of their college career in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) discipline through multiple programs and initiatives.
Dean of the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science Michael Georgiopoulos, Ph.D., welcomed attendees and gave an overview of the past ten years of the program.

Cynthia Young, Ph.D., vice provost for Faculty Excellence and International Affairs and Global Strategies, also spoke on additional achievements.

Together the two discussed statistics of the program’s success.

The faculty announced that first year EXCEL students’ retention to the university is above 90 percent. And EXCEL students graduate from the university at 74 percent, with 52 percent in STEM majors.

“If EXCEL were to be applied across the nation it would have achieved three-fourths of President Obama’s goal of increasing the number of STEM graduates by 1 million in a decade,” said Georgiopoulos.

img_1332Georgiopoulos and Young also said EXCEL has recruited 200 students per year with a total participation of 2,009 students since 2006. And EXCEL students experience an overall STEM retention rate of 60 percent, whereas non-EXCEL students have a 42 percent retention rate.

EXCEL is also proving exceptionally well with groups underrepresented in STEM disciplines, the two said.

The students who helped host the event had the opportunity to hear from four alumni of the program; TJ Garnett, Jessica Lehrer, Eduardo Morales, and Angela Rodriguez. The alumni hosted a panel at the event, answering questions and offered insight to the current EXCEL students.

Melissa Dagley, Ed.D., executive director of STEM Initiatives and director of EXCEL was enthusiastic about what this event means for the future.

“The reunion was a great start to our efforts to engage our EXCEL alumni with the current students,” she said. “We are excited about providing more opportunities for interaction with the alumni and current students in the coming months.”

EXCEL alumni interested in speaking to students in the STEM Seminar course or participating in future events, please contact Melissa Dagley at EXCEL@ucf.edu.

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