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Archive for October 2010

KnightSat II Competing to “Launch” New Project

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A recent article in the Central Florida future highlighted a campus group of engineers looking to build something out of this world. The UCF group KnightSat II is a select team of UCF engineering students. The team has made recent headlines for their participation in the national Pepsi Refresh Project.  The competition continues until October 31st and people can vote until that time to determine which idea they like most. The reward for finishing in the top two is a $250,000 grant which KnightSat II will use to implement their idea for launching a satellite into orbit.

KnightSat II is representing the University of Central Florida in a national competition conducted by the United States Air Force. The University Nanosatellite Program give UCF engineering students a forum to promote their ideas and compete with schools across the country. The KnightSat II satellite is designed to clear away debris that currently orbits Earth. Orbital debris is an issue when it collides with satellites operating around Earth’s orbit. 

A representation of orbital debris around Earth

KnightSat II engineers are preparing a final model to present to the UNP in January during the final review session. KnightSat II does receive some funding for its ideas however not enough to put the satellite into action. The final results of the Pepsi Refresh Project could provide the necessary funding to change ideas into reality. There will be more to come on this campus team of engineers. KnightSat II states its mission is to develop quality engineers that are prepared professionally and technically for the real world and to enhance future careers in the aerospace industry. We’ll find out if that mission is being accomplished.


Written by ArthurVolpe

October 27, 2010 at 7:39 pm

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UCF Students Provide Link to Government Jobs

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Campus green organization I.D.E.A.S. started in 2008 under the direction of co-founders Chris Castro and Henry “Hank” Harding. I.D.E.A.S. stands for Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions and the goal of the organization is simple. Educate students in environmental sustainability and conservation efforts while providing those students with volunteer and service opportunities. The result of these efforts has been numerous projects that have impacted the University of Central Florida and the Central Florida community. Recycling challenges, beach cleanups, pond restorations, clean energy bike rallies, and plastic reduction campaigns have all been put into action over the past several years. I.D.E.A.S. top leaders are taking their ideas beyond Central Florida thanks in part to the Department of Energy. 

I.D.E.A.S. promotes conservation at UCF

Chris Castro was an intern at the Department of Energy in 2009. Upon completion of his internship, Castro was asked to participate in a new pilot program for the country. In an effort to increase interest in department programs, The Department of Energy started a new method of recruitment. The Student Ambassador Program takes former Energy interns and pays them a stipend to return to their respective campuses and promote department ideas. Each paid intern earns the title of student ambassador. Chris Castro represented the department’s southeast region. Energy believes more interested students will look for department internships when they have the opportunity to listen to someone they know and has already worked for the organization. Typically government organizations take one day campus visits where they meet students and gather resumes. Now the recruitment process is extended over an entire year.

The Energy Department is pushing its new Student Ambassador Program because of new employment demand. According to a Partnership for Public Service 2009 report, The Department of Energy is expected to hire more than 800 new employees over the next two years. Energy believes students who intern with the department will look towards government jobs once they graduate college. The program is described as being much more personal and interactive than just simple web browsing or e-mail. Energy also believes the program will be more cost effective than hiring full time recruiters. Getting students comfortable about working for the Energy Department is priority number one.

UCF goes green

The University of Central Florida is in a rare position. UCF student Chris Castro was one of only six original interns to become a student ambassador. In 2010 there are eight regional representatives across the country. University of Central Florida students interested in working for the government have a direct connect to the energy department through two of their fellow students. Henry Harding says students are much more inclined to listen to people their own age. The program makes it easier to relate information to a younger generation. Castro agrees saying that the program also will give students an advantage when applying for future government positions.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 22, 2010 at 7:31 pm

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I.D.E.A.S. on Energy

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Recent interviews with the co-founders of I.D.E.A.S. at the University of Central Florida shed some light on the Department of Energy and its Student Ambassador Program. Chris Castro and Henry Harding were both very supportive of the department and its efforts to actively recruit young people. Castro is the National Expansion and Operations Director of I.D.E.A.S. at UCF. He was one of only six interns to participate in the program last year and now he represents the department in its designated Southeast region. Chris went on to say that his experience within the department was invaluable. He stated he now has a better understanding of how the Department of Energy operates and how government organizations function as a whole. Chris was able to take this knowledge and apply it upon his return to the University of Central Florida. Students looking to get involved with the Department of Energy now have a reliable option to talk with on campus.

Henry Harding spoke of the importance of the Student Ambassador Program as well. Harding is I.D.E.A.S. Public Relations and Facilitation Director. In his opinion the program makes department policies much more relatable to college students. I.D.E.A.S. is promoting its own policies with the help of The Southern Energy Network. Through its partnership with the Energy Department many interested students are finding ways to get involved. Harding says students find it much easier to talk to him about potential opportunities at the Department of Energy. Rather than hearing facts from people who are much older, students at UCF can now learn about the department’s ideas and perhaps gain future employment.

There is much more to come on this story including what the future holds for people involved with the program. The impact of the program on the UCF community will also be discussed as well as how I.D.E.A.S. is spreading across the country.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 21, 2010 at 12:15 am

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Energy Department Actively Recruiting

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The United States Department of Energy is changing the status quo in its recruiting efforts. Recently the department started the Student Ambassador’s Program in an effort to actively find students interested in working for the government. Previously, Energy Department officials traveled to college campuses and met with interested students over the course of one day. The process is changing however as the Department of Energy will hire more than 800 new employees in engineering over the next two years.

The Department of Energy Logo

Interested students will now learn about the Energy department through their own peers over an entire year. Student interns that work in the Department are designated as student ambassadors when they return to school. The ambassadors receive a stipend to educate students and promote the department goals. Ambassadors work with college organizations to manage presentations and organize green events.  The program actively seeks future employees in the Department of Energy and provides information on energy and environmental conservation.

At the University of Central Florida, campus green organization I.D.E.A.S. is working with the Department of Energy to promote the Student Ambassador Program. The group recently made a presentation on the program during its first trip to the Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference. The group hopes to provide opportunities for students to get involved and promote energy awareness on campus. For more information on the U.S. Department of Energy view the webpage.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 18, 2010 at 1:00 am

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I.D.E.A.S. in Action at UCF and Beyond

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The University of Central Florida, like most college campuses, is full of new ideas that promote the process of higher education. However, at UCF a campus organization has used the term for much more than just education. I.D.E.A.S stands for Intellectual Decisions on Environmental Awareness Solutions. The national organization is described as a  non-profit group started to educate, empower and engage students in environmental stability through research and development. The group provides education and volunteer opportunities through hands-on conservation projects and scientific research in renewable energy technologies.

I.D.E.A.S. promotes environmental awareness

The University of Central Florida chapter of I.D.E.A.S was co-founded in 2008 by Chris Castro and Hank Harding. Recently I.D.E.A.S. represented UCF at the Southeast Student Renewable Energy Conference in Athens Georgia. In partnership with the U.S. Department of Energy I.D.E.A.S. presented the Student Ambassador Program. The campus green organization will be furthering the department’s university outreach efforts. It will also be providing students with valuable opportunities to get involved with the Department of Energy.

The organization has many events planned in the near future at the University of Central Florida. These events include lake cleanups and a challenge during the next home football game. UCF will compete with 90 universities nationwide in an attempt to recycle the greatest percentage of materials during tailgate and game day hours. There will be more information to come concerning the impact this group is having on UCF, its students and the Central Florida Community.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 13, 2010 at 8:37 pm

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Valencia College May Give UCF Students a Second Chance

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The year 2009 was a tough one at the University of Central Florida. During that time administration was forced to make tough decisions regarding the school’s budget. The result was the elimination of several degree programs from the UCF curriculum. Included in the cuts were the cardiopulmonary sciences, engineering technology, and radiologic imaging sciences. More than 1,000 UCF students were potentially effected by the budget cuts and lost programs. 

Budget cuts have affected key programs at UCF

In recent weeks Valencia Community College has received approval by the Florida State Board of Education to begin their first bachelor’s degree program. The school patiently awaits final approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools in December. Once finalized, the new degree program can begin at Valencia in 2011. It would be the school’s first bachelor’s program in its 43 year history. With the support of the University of Central Florida, Valencia College now has the opportunity to reestablish a bachelor’s program in the Radiologic and Imaging Sciences. In 2009 UCF was the only school in the state of Florida to offer a four year degree in the discipline.  While an associate’s degree is sufficient to become a radiologic technician, positions in management require the attainment of a higher degree.

The Central Florida area is looking at rapid growth in the field over the next 4 years. Orange, Osceola, Lake Sumter, and Seminole Counties expect close to 1,000 job opening in radiology by 2014. Some critics have argued that rapid expansion of community colleges have begun to compete with four year institutions in an unhealthy way. Florida Governor Charlie Crist signed legislation in 2008 allowing community colleges to more readily offer four year degrees. Across the state today 18 community colleges offer 111 four year degrees.  The University of Central Florida approached Valencia College to look into the possibility of recreating a degree program in high demand.

Valencia Community College has the ability to offer the program at a lower overal cost than UCF. According to the American Association of Community Colleges, the average annual cost of tuition at community colleges is $2,544. Compared to $7,020 spent in the same timeframe at a public four year institution.

The UCF and Valencia College partnership remains strong

Student Government Vice President Taylor Lochrane says their remains a great connection between the UCF and Valencia and the  relationship between the two schools hasn’t changed. Most Valencia students will still look to UCF as their next place for higher education. The president of Valencia Sandy Shugart has been quoted as saying this new program is an evolution in the school’s programming mix but not a shift in the school’s mision. Valencia College has no plans to add more undergraduate programs at this time.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 8, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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Valencia CC Attempts to Meet Central Florida Demand

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Recent numbers released by Economic Modeling Specialists Incorporated show potential growth in the Central Florida job market. Orange, Osceola, Lake Sumter, and Seminole Counties are expected to see more than 800 openings in the fields of Radiology and Imaging services by 2014. The fields of electrical and computer engineering should see more than 200 job openings in the same period of time. These fields of study are expected to be the fastest growing in the Central Florida region in the next four years.

Radiology is a fast growing field in Central Florida

Valencia Community College hopes to meet demand in these fast growing fields with the beginning of their first undergraduate degree program as early as next year. The college is still awaiting approval from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools which is expected in December. Valencia is picking up degree programs that were lost at the University of Central Florida in July of 2009 due to budget cuts. The pressure should be on for Valencia to produce a quality program that can meet the demand for Central Florida employers. Valencia believes their program will be able to attract students looking for a program that costs less than the one formerly offered at UCF.

Written by ArthurVolpe

October 4, 2010 at 8:08 pm

Posted in Uncategorized