Pre-engineering program starts at Sarasota-Manatee campus

The USF System is working to showcase its commitment to expanding academics by launching a pre-engineering program at USF Sarasota-Manatee (USFSM) in collaboration with USF Tampa.

Beginning in Fall, the Bridge to Engineering program allows students at USFSM to take their first two years of engineering classes locally before transferring to the Tampa campus to finish their studies.

“(The program) allows students from this area to take two years of courses here,” said Charlie Terenzio, director of communications and marketing for USFSM. “They can still live at home, save some money before going into that world-class engineering program that the College of Engineering has up in Tampa.”

Students who enroll in the program will take USFSM pre-engineering courses such as math, physics, chemistry and engineering, which mirror the curriculum at USF Tampa.

In order to transfer to the College of Engineering in Tampa, students must have a 2.0 overall GPA and a 3.0 in requisite math and science classes. Students who meet the required GPA will be guaranteed admission to the mechanical engineering program at USF Tampa.

The university system expects the program to encourage students to stay in the Tampa Bay area during and after college.

“(Students) would still have local connections, and the hope would be maybe they could do internships back here in their local community and be able to find jobs when they graduate, if they want to stay in our area,” said USFSM Regional Chancellor Sandra Stone.

The partnership follows USFSM’s plan to establish a College of Science and Mathematics by Fall 2016 in order to meet the growing demand for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.

“We were hearing from our local community that there was a shortage of engineers and [employers] were having to go out of state to recruit for engineering positions,” Stone said. “We thought about that as part of our growing STEM programs that that might be something we could contribute to.”

Stone expressed her excitement for the program and the positive impact it will have on students in the Tampa Bay area.

 “I just think it’s a good example of how we can work better together to provide really high-quality education to the students in [the USF System] service area,” Stone said.