UCF’s graduate engineering program has ranked among the nation’s top 10 in the country for Hispanic students, marking the 10th consecutive year it has made the top 10 list.

Hispanic Business Magazine ranked the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science seventh in its 2014 Best Schools for Hispanics list. The publication ranks the top 10 graduate programs in the country in medicine, law, business and engineering.

The graduate programs at Georgia Institute of Technology, University of Texas at Austin and Purdue were ranked the top three, respectively. UCF came in ahead of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cal Poly Pomona and the University of Florida which ranked 8th, 9th and 10th.

The rankings are based on questionnaires sent in by schools, enrollments, the percentage of Hispanic faculty members, the number of programs that recruit Hispanic students, retention rates and student services.

CECS has nearly 1,300 graduate students, of which 12 percent are Hispanic. And 9 percent of postgraduate degrees are earned by Hispanics.

“CECS proudly supports UCF’s goal to become more inclusive and diverse,” said Michael Georgiopoulos, CECS dean. “Throughout the years, our college has had a strong Hispanic population in its mix, reflecting the diverse population in the central Florida region and the state.”

“The more diverse CECS is, the more students are able to gain a competitive advantage in the global economic and technological market,” said Fidelia Nnadi, director of the CECS Office of Diversity and Inclusion, an office established in 2011 to improve recruitment, mentoring and retention of students from underrepresented groups.

Mauricio Diaz, a senior studying electrical and computer engineering, is president of UCF’s chapter of the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE). With 124 members, SHPE is one of the largest engineering-related student groups at UCF and is the nation’s seventh-largest SHPE chapter.

UCF’s and CECS’s vast array of opportunities offered to students with diverse backgrounds boosts student success, according to Diaz. Groups like SHPE help students hone their leadership skills and provide camaraderie, support, volunteer opportunities and a sense of community.

“UCF is a great place to study engineering and has some of the best research labs in the nation. When the university strives for diversity and supports organizations like SHPE, it attracts diverse students who want to come to UCF to be part of such a great community,” Diaz said. “UCF is a place where you don’t have to look far to find an opportunity to succeed.”

Other engineering and computer science organizations at UCF geared to supporting diverse students include the Society of Women Engineers and the National Society of Black Engineers.

— CECS –