Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 20

1. March Madness continues for the UCF men’s basketball team tonight when the Knights face Illinois State in the second round of the NIT. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. UCF is coming off its first victory in the NIT in program history after a 79-74 win over Colorado. UCF (22-11) has matched its most wins in a season since 2005, and following Monday’s contest against Illinois State, will have played more games than any other season in program history.
The Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter is encouraging Illinois-based Knights to make the road trip. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

In other UCF Athletics news… shoutout to the ladies! The women’s basketball team ended its historic season Sunday in the second round of the WNIT, finishing with a 21-12 overall record, the program’s best mark since the 2010-11 campaign. The UCF softball team notched its first win over a Top 25 opponent this season with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Baylor on Sunday afternoon. Up next, the Knights host the nation’s No. 1 team, Florida State, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. A standing room only crowd is expected, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to guarantee your seats to the matchup.

2. Here’s a story that will make you feel good: a record number of UCF students volunteered their time last week on service projects abroad through the Alternative Break Program during their spring break. More than 50 students traveled on one of three trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic or Costa Rica as part of UCF’s Alternative Break Program that connects students with volunteer opportunities across the U.S. and the world.

3. Twenty-two UCF graduate programs were ranked in the top 100 in their respective fields by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2018 released last week. UCF’s best ranked program is counselor education in the College of Education & Human Performance, which moved up two spots to No. 7.

4. Each year UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving awards more than $50,000 in scholarships to UCF students demonstrating strong academic ability and significant extracurricular and community involvement. UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving is pleased to again offer more than a dozen scholarship opportunities for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Apply for scholarships by April 2 based on eligibility by following these simple steps:
1. Read all scholarship criteria online at http://ucfalumni.com/students/scholarships and complete ALL required supporting documents prior to submitting your application.
2. Log into myUCF.
3. Select “Student Self Service.”
4. Click on “Scholarship Application” > “Home Page” > “Add New Scholarship.”
5. Complete and submit application(s).

5. The UCF College of Medicine had its best Match Day yet — of the 114 senior medical students, 113 were matched to residency programs last week. Match Day is the culmination of medical students’ fourth year, when they decide on a specialty and find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on their specialty. Some of this year’s class are staying in state at programs such as Florida and USF while others are going to programs such as Baylor, Brown, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 18, 2016

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UCF Cheerleading claimed the runner-up position at this weekend’s national championships! (PHOTO: Chris Schubert)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF Cheerleading squad was the runner-up at this weekend’s College Cheerleading National Championships at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. This was the Knights’ 11th-straight top-four finish. Congratulations to all of these amazing student-athletes! Go Knights! Charge On!
  2. U.S. News & World Report ranked UCF’s online programs as among some of the best in the nation, including the university’s online bachelor’s programs, which jumped from No. 50 last year to No. 20 this year.
  3. Two teams of UCF students are each designing a subsystem for passenger pods, which would be part of a 760 mph “Hyperloop” transportation system proposed by entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of SpaceX and Tesla Motors. The system could transport passengers between Los Angeles and San Francisco in just 30 minutes.
  4. UCF is partnering with LinkedIn to launch a new app focused around students entering the workforce. The app will allow students to network with employers and search for jobs from both LinkedIn- and UCF-specific platforms, such as KnightLink.
  5. Nine-year-old Alvin Garcia Flores is the latest recipient of a 3D-printed bionic arm from UCF’s Limbitless Solutions. Flores was surprised with the “Star Wars”-themed belated Christmas gift on Thursday, when Darth Vader himself presented it to Flores in front of his classmates at Gateway Elementary in Omaha, Neb.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 4, 2016

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(From No. 5 below:) Palmer Vorkapich, a 6-year-old patient at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, lights up during a visit from Ion, a therapy dog owned by UCF College of Medicine student Christa Zino.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Knights had much to be proud of last year! Check out just a few of them in this list from UCF Today of the “15 Moments that Made Your Heart Burst with Knight Pride in 2015.”
  2. With $20 million needed in community support for the UCF Downtown campus, alumnus and CEO Alex Martins, ’01, and the Orlando Magic stepped up, contributing $1.5 million toward the project. And, just this morning, it was announced that the CFE Federal Credit Union has committed its own $1.5 million. Keep up with all the latest developments on the UCF Downtown campus at ucf.edu/downtown.
  3. UCF economist Sean Snaith says Florida’s economic future is merry and bright, with the state’s housing market continuing to improve, and job growth forecasted to continue to outperform the U.S. labor market.
  4. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected a UCF team to receive a P3 Award — a first in UCF history — which recognizes student projects that benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by using environmental solutions that move the nation toward a sustainable future. The winning project focuses on ways to make algae biofuel easier and less expensive to produce.
  5. To help cheer up patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, UCF second-year medical student Christa Zino regularly brings her therapy dog, a 2-year-old boxer named Ion, for visits.

UCF Joins Harvard, MIT and Stanford among Nation’s
“Most Innovative Schools”

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By Chad Binette
Assistant Vice President, UCF Communications and Marketing

The University of Central Florida ranks alongside Harvard, MIT, Stanford and Duke among the most innovative universities in the country, according to U.S. News & World Report’s Best Colleges 2016 guide.

University presidents, provosts and admissions deans around the nation selected the institutions they credit with making the most innovative improvements in curriculum, faculty, students, campus life, technology or facilities.

UCF was tied as the 13th “Most Innovative School” along with Georgia Tech and the University of Southern California. This is the first year the category has been included in the magazine’s annual rankings.

“We added this ranking so that college officials could pick schools that the public should be watching because of the cutting-edge changes being made on their campuses,” according to the magazine.

In the magazine’s overall rankings, UCF moved up four places on the Best Colleges listing of national institutions, from 173rd to 168th, and eight places among public universities, from 99th to 91st.

A total of 1,376 colleges and universities are included in the rankings.

The “Most Innovative Schools” list included three of UCF’s partner institutions in the University Innovation Alliance. The alliance consists of 11 top public research universities working together to help more low-income and first-generation students earn college degrees.

Alliance member Arizona State University ranked No. 1 in the nation for innovation, while Georgia State University placed No. 5 and Purdue University ranked No. 21.

UCF also was tied for 50th for online degree programs and 131st for best business programs. The university also is listed among the nation’s best colleges for veterans.

The print edition of the “Best Colleges 2016” guidebook will be available on newsstands Sept. 29.

This story originally appeared Sept. 9, 2015, on UCF Today.