UTEP’s College of Engineering Boasts Record Number of Spring 2020 Graduates
Last Updated on August 19, 2020 at 12:00 AM
Originally published August 19, 2020
By UC Staff
The engineering industry has a multitude of talented new recruits in its hiring pool after The University of Texas at El Paso’s College of Engineering celebrated a record number of spring graduates, marking a major milestone for the college.
Spring 2020 was a record-setting semester for the College of Engineering, which saw its greatest number of graduates to date at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The growth in engineering graduates has been particularly strong in the last three years. Out of the more than 2,300 graduates of UTEP’s class of 2020, the College of Engineering saw 303 undergraduate students earn a degree. That figure represents a 43.6% increase from spring 2017.
This year, 102 graduates earned master’s degrees, a 37.8% increase compared with spring 2017, and 23 graduates earned doctorates, a 76.9% increase compared with spring 2017.
“This is certainly a momentous occasion,” said Patricia Nava, Ph.D., interim dean of UTEP’s College of Engineering. “I am extremely proud of our graduates, and also extremely proud of all the faculty and staff within the College of Engineering who are responsible for this high rate of student success and achievement.”
Many majors within the college also saw a significant increase of graduates this spring. For example, the departments of mechanical engineering and computer science awarded 102 and 53 undergraduate degrees, respectively. This marks a 141% increase for computer science from spring 2017.
“We are extremely proud of computer science’s contributions to this milestone for the College of Engineering. It is definitely a good time to be a computer scientist,” said Salamah Salamah, Ph.D., department chair of computer science. “With the department’s significant advances in contemporary areas of computer science such as cybersecurity, data science, software engineering, machine learning and artificial intelligence, as well as our continued focus on the advancements of our students, we absolutely anticipate the enrollments and number of graduates for computer science to continue to grow significantly in the future.”
UTEP’s College of Engineering is recognized as a national model among public universities for changing the face of engineering by providing access to innovative research and academic opportunities to historically underserved students. Undergraduate and graduate students have ample opportunities to perform research and gain real-world experience to enrich their education and training while making them strong contenders for top engineering jobs or graduate school. Accessibility to these unique experiences positioned the college for a record number of graduates.
“The College of Engineering has had a longstanding tradition of engaging our students in UTEP Edge Experiences,” said Norman Love, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and undergraduate studies and associate professor of mechanical engineering. “Over the years, our students have increasingly participated in top-tier research, internships and co-ops, global programs, and student leadership positions, to name a few. These high-impact practices generated by our faculty and staff naturally result in mentoring and increased student engagement. It is rewarding to see that students have taken advantage of these opportunities and how it has contributed to this milestone.”
Industrial and systems engineering graduate Carmen Almeraz made the most of her time at UTEP and took advantage of as many high-impact experiences as possible. The newly minted graduate was eager to capitalize on the knowledge and training she received as a UTEP engineering student to bolster her professional career when she graduated in May.
"My experiences as an orientation leader, adviser, research assistant and teaching assistant opened up so many networking and professional opportunities for me,” Almeraz said. “I am more than excited to start applying my engineering skills in the workplace … as a sustainment integrator at Lockheed Martin."
The college’s record setting number of graduates came during a challenging time for many students due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Despite the myriad challenges presented by the pandemic, UTEP engineering students adapted and persevered to complete their degrees.
The more than 400 College of Engineering graduates are invited to join the rest of UTEP’s class of 2020 at Commencement during a virtual ceremony at 5 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12, 2020 at utep.edu/utepgrad. The University’s Spring 2020 Commencement ceremonies were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.