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University of Nevada, Reno joins NASA, Intel, Google for engineering celebration

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The University of Nevada, Reno College of Engineering, rated among the best engineering colleges in the country, was part of an inaugural celebration of the White House’s “Stay With It” campaign to graduate 10,000 more engineering students each year nationwide. The event today was a FACEBOOK LIVE viewing broadcast from Georgia Institute of Technology to top universities around the country.

About 100 engineering students attended the mid-day event, which included serving pie in celebration of Pi Day – 3.14, in the Davidson Mathematics and Science Center.

“We enthusiastically support this initiative to increase the engineering workforce, and can put our state in a leadership position for doing so,” Manos Maragakis, dean of the College of Engineering, said. He was recently invited to attend a meeting at the White House with President Obama to announce the “Stay With It” program. “It was inspiring to hear the President offer such important support for engineering.”

“He talked about creating 10,000 new engineers a year in our country, which is above the normal annual total, and to create 100,000 more engineers in 10 years,” Maragakis said with a smile. “This would be a doubling of the engineering workforce in only a decade. His words reminded me that this wasn’t just talk; this has been adopted as a national priority.

“The President of the United States has now said, ‘This is a priority because this country is about technology, it is about innovation, and this is how we must grow the economy.’

“This is a strong message. I don’t care about the politics of it. This is the first time in 50 years that this country is talking about, as a national priority, creating more engineers.”

And it’s not just rhetoric, Maragakis said. Corporations such as Intel, Google and Comcast have been working with the White House through the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness to build the program that encourages engineering students to “Stay With It” and graduate with engineering degrees.

At the viewing party, students heard about a variety of opportunities available within their degree in engineering, and personal stories, to motivate them. They were invited to join the program – a national online community – to help them graduate and start a successful career in engineering. A special message from President Obama was also played.

“Our College is committed to a globally competitive undergraduate and graduate engineering and computer science education, state-of-the-art competitive research and high impact outreach,” Maragakis said. “We have made significant progress the last few years spreading the word about the excellence and competitiveness of our programs, attracting more students, and increasing our retention and graduation rates.”

The College of Engineering has graduated more than 1500 students in the past five years. There are 2,000 students currently enrolled. U.S. News and World Report just announced its new college rankings and the College of Engineering did very well, with civil engineering being ranked 47th in the nation and environmental engineering ranked 65th. Mechanical engineering also appeared high on the list.

The College of Engineering, as a whole, has also been highly ranked in both the “best undergraduate engineering programs” as well as “best graduate schools” categories.

“This is a remarkable achievement, for three of our seven programs to be ranked so highly,” Maragakis said. “Especially when you consider that we are competing with megaschools around the country. This is a huge accomplishment for our small school.”

For an interview with Dean Maragakis on the University of Nevada, Reno’s engineering program accomplishments, visit: http://www.unr.edu/nevada-today/news/2012/engineering-in-the-room-hpf.

Nevada’s land-grant university founded in 1874, the University of Nevada, Reno has an enrollment of 18,000 students and is ranked in the top tier of the nation’s best universities. Part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, the University has the system’s largest research program and is home to the state’s medical school. With outreach and education programs in all Nevada counties and with one of the nation’s largest study-abroad consortiums, the University extends across the state and around the world. For more information, visit www.unr.edu.

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