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One year after UCF’s 50th anniversary of classes, the university celebrated another milestone — the inaugural classes held for the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering.

The Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering marked the occasion by hosting a launch party for students and faculty on Sept. 19. The event included a meet-and-greet for students as well as a career panel featuring industry professionals and faculty.

The doctoral degree was developed by the aerospace engineering faculty with the purpose of meeting the industry demand for a workforce equipped with scholarship and research capacity at the graduate level.

“There are over 2,000 aerospace-related companies in Florida with many hiring for research and development and also working on developing innovations never before explored,” said Associate Professor Seetha Raghavan, the faculty coordinator of aerospace engineering programs. “Such ventures point to the need for expertise related to high-level research offered by advanced level Ph.D. degrees.”

A total of 34 students, including Quentin Fouliard, are enrolled in the program. Fouliard is on track to become the first UCF student to graduate with the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering. He began earning his doctorate in mechanical engineering, but his interest in aerospace led him to switch programs before his final semester.

“I have always been passionate about aerospace engineering,” he said. “The switch from mechanical engineering to aerospace engineering was, for me, a logical choice, because of the specialization and conformity with the research projects that I have led for the past four years at UCF.”

After Fouliard graduates in December, he plans to start a career in the development of advanced aerospace materials. Future graduates will be similarly equipped for careers as engineers and researchers for private and governmental organizations and laboratories.

To learn more about the Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering, visit the program information page.