If you pull back the curtain on the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science, you’ll find a talented team of staff members working hard to keep the college’s operations running smoothly and efficiently. The CECS staff is the backbone of the college, and without them, our faculty wouldn’t be able to give their all to the students. To give them the recognition they deserve, we’re shining a spotlight on our staff — who they are, what they do, and why they chose to work at CECS.
Staff Spotlight: Bonnie Esparza
When you walk into the Department of Computer Science’s suite, you’ll notice a new but familiar face among the staff. Bonnie Esparza, formerly of the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering, has transferred to the CS department for a much-deserved promotion.
Esparza now guides computer science students through their academic journeys as an Academic Advisor II. She previously held an Academic Advisor I position in the MAE department.
To add to her good fortune, Esparza has also been named the Employee of the Semester by the College of Engineering and Computer Science for Spring 2021.
“Bonnie was voted the Employee of the Semester because of her dedication and compassion for her students,” says Pete Alfieris, the chair of the CECS staff association. “Her commitment to provide a successful path for her students is impressive. She is always willing to assist and provide support.”
Esparza joined the college in 2017 as an admissions specialist for MAE. During the past four-and-a-half years, she advised a number of undergraduates, walking them through petitions, overrides, academic plans, policies and procedures. She met with prospective students during the college’s open house events, and welcomed incoming students during their transfer orientation. She also assisted with accreditation program review, submitted and collected annual student outcomes data, ensured the faculty submitted grades on time and helped with the graduate program when necessary.
Although she’s done a lot over the past few years, what Esparza enjoys the most is being of service to the college’s students.
“I love meeting with the students and helping them figure out their path towards successful completion of their educational goals,” she says. “My calling has always been to help. Every professional job I’ve had has been focused on helping. It gives me a sense of purpose. The greatest joy I get from my work is when I see students graduate.”
Esparza is certainly no stranger to being of service. She served in the Army National Guard for 13 years and even did a tour of duty in Iraq. She was discharged with the rank of sergeant.
Now she’s embarking on a new chapter of service with CECS, and she hopes to continue to make a difference in her new role.
“I’m hoping to be able to demonstrate more of my leadership skills,” Esparza says. “I hope to be able to make a difference in the IT students’ college experience by providing them with the guidance required for successful completion of their educational goals.”
Esparza’s very first memory of UCF is her interview with the MAE department. Now she’ll make a whole new set of memories with the students, faculty and staff of the CS department.
“Overall, I have many wonderful memories with the MAE department and great admiration for the college’s dedication to making a difference in our students’ educational experiences,” she says. “There are so many moving pieces and efforts that are not always seen or noticed and without them, we could not be as successful as we are. I am grateful to be part of the UCF community and more specifically, part of the CECS team.”