Colleges Losing Engineering Students, UF Responds
"What first drew me to engineering was playing with legos and then that became cars," says UF graduate student Luther Lloyd.
He says he plans on staying in the engineering program, specifically the automotive garage.
“It fulfilled two needs: an engineering project to keep me involved and spending my free time well as well as letting me go racing which was something I really wanted to do.”
Lloyd spends his time with the Society for Automotive Engineers- a University organization that gives students a chance to get involved early on in their careers by building cars that they can race. But UF is losing engineering majors to other disciplines. Students say they feel bogged down with math and science courses.
Caitlin Soriano is one of those who switched majors.
"I've been in some interviews and I considered grad school as an engineer, but it just didn't fascinate me anymore and it just got boring," she says. "So I decided to switch and I realized I like being with people, and helping people, so now I'm pre-med!"
Some say the lack of hands-on experience in the first few years of the program is to blame because students aren't getting excited like Lloyd before they leave.
"For us the attrition rate is fairly high," says College of Engineering Dean Cammy Abernathy, "and most of that attrition occurs during the freshmen and sophomore years when they don’t see a lot of engineering content. We have been trying to push more engineering content into those years.”
But Luther Lloyd hung in there...driven by a need for speed.
“You work on it, you get your hands on it and at first you don’t really know much, you’re just trying to figure out what all the different parts do, how it all goes together and then you start to realize ‘OK this is cool, but how can i make it better.’”
Meanwhile, college instructors try to drive home the love of engineering in newer students that Luther Lloyd already has.
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