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College of Engineering Honored With Excellence for Veterans Award

June 28, 2018

The University of Kentucky College of Engineering has been recognized with an Engineering Excellence for Veterans Award. The award recognizes academic institutions that are leaders in helping veterans bridge the gap between military and civilian worlds.

By Lindsey Piercy, UKPR

The University of Kentucky College of Engineering has been recognized with an Engineering Excellence for Veterans Award from the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE).

The award, founded in 2015 by the ASEE Military and Veterans Division, recognizes academic institutions that are leaders in helping veterans bridge the gap between military and civilian worlds.

Universities chosen to receive the honor had to meet the following criteria:

  • Be among the U.S. News and World Report’s top 200 major national universities and colleges.
  • Be in Military Times Top 60 “Best for Vets.”
  • Be among the Top 100 “Best for Vets in Engineering” schools in U.S. News and World Report rankings.

The College of Engineering is part of a strong campus wide reputation and tradition for supporting the brave men and women who serve.

“Veterans bring great knowledge, skills and work discipline to their studies. We want to make the college welcoming and supportive for these men and women who have served our country," Larry Holloway, interim dean of the College of Engineering, said.

In the spring of 2018, 84 undergraduate and 3 graduate students, who self-identified as veterans, were enrolled in engineering disciplines. They represented approximately 22 percent and 4 percent, respectively, of the total enrollment of students who self-identified as veterans at the university.

"Our veterans bring to the college their practical skills, work ethic, leadership, motivation and sense of purpose," Laura Marie Letellier, lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said. "They are role models, which inspire us all to be better students and educators."

Letellier, a retired lieutenant commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve, along with the College of Engineering, has long been dedicated to helping veterans excel in their education endeavors.

At the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, the college provided the final increment of funding needed to launch the “Teaching Student Veterans” Faculty Learning Community (FLC). The FLC, organized through the University of Kentucky Center for the Enhancement of Learning and Teaching (CELT), aims to provide faculty with the best practices for integrating military veterans with traditional students in the classroom.

The college also offers the  First-Year Engineering (FYE) Program. Through engineering classes, taught by top faculty, students can quickly discover more about the field. For traditional students, it's a three-course series, but transfer students are offered an accelerated two-course series. The classes are specifically designed for the success of transfer students, which often include veterans. The courses provide them with the engineering education that coincides with the practical skills they bring to the program.

"We offer world-class engineering education in multiple undergraduate and graduate programs from world-class faculty. We also provide opportunities for undergraduate research and have a strong internship and cooperative education program," Letellier explained. "These venues provide our students with opportunities to apply and master the classroom material. For veterans, who come to us with substantial leadership skills, these venues are particularly suited to their talents."

Whether veterans are entering college for the first time, transferring from another school or returning after a deployment, Letellier said, the goal is to ensure the transition in and out of the classroom is as smooth as possible.  

"When I was notified of this award, I understood this to be an affirmation that our college is in fact achieving the vision of a place where veterans are supported; where wonderful, courageous young people, like those whom I led, are truly welcomed," Letellier said. "This award honors faculty and staff both within the College of Engineering and also the larger University of Kentucky community who have worked for years for the success of our veterans and indeed all students."

The award was presented during the 2018 ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition in Salt Lake City, Utah June 24-27.

For more information on resources available to student veterans at UK, visit the Veterans Resource Center.  

This article originally appeared in the June 28, 2018 edition of UKNow. For the full article, click here.