Eight UCF students earned a $5,000 scholarship with their award-winning plan to keep college students engaged in extracurricular activities during the COVID-19 pandemic. UCF College of Business students Armando Barrial, Tomas Daza, Maria Pacheco Naranjo, Karen Ortiz and UCF College of Engineering & Computer Science students Natalia Colmenares, Juan Pablo Gomez, Julia Da Silva and Paul Stuckey won the “Best Business Solution Scholarship,” presented by Dell, at the inaugural HSI Battle of the Brains competition Saturday, Oct. 17.

HSI Battle of the Brains puts Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) head-to-head in a national championship showcase of top Latinx talent from colleges and universities across the country. LeeAnn Roberts, Ph.D., Interim Director of the College of Engineering & Computer Science Office of Diversity and Inclusion, and Carlos Valdez, Ph.D., Lecturer in the Department of Integrated Business, coached the UCF team through the development process, which included a marketing plan and financial projections.

“It was my honor and pleasure working with our talented business and engineering students,” Valdez said. “This was an incredible team effort that would not have been possible without the work of UCF HSI Director Cyndia Muniz and coach LeeAnn Roberts from the College of Engineering & Computer Science.”

Student teams from 12 universities competed for cash prizes and scholarships in a variety of cross-discipline categories. The UCF team had 24 hours to develop and present a technical solution that stimulates students in a virtual learning environment.

“These students made UCF proud and represented the university well as a successful Hispanic Serving Institution,” Valdez said.

Overall, UCF ranked among the top five finalists in the inaugural competition. The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley finished in first place and Fairleigh Dickinson University ranked second.

About the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Science

The College of Engineering and Computer Science is one of 13 colleges at the University of Central Florida – a public research university in Orlando. Since opening in 1968, the college has become one of the largest in the nation, playing a significant role in fueling the region’s engineering and technology talent pipeline. Its six academic departments offer 40+ bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees, specialty tracks and certificates. Its $50-million annual research enterprise pushes the boundaries of science, addressing society’s greatest challenges and aspirations in aerospace, computing, energy, the environment, healthcare, transportation, and more. The college is strengthened by innovative industry partnerships and diverse faculty, students and staff who together create a welcoming, entrepreneurial hub of learning and discovery.

This story was originally published by the UCF College of Business