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Science and engineering alumni gathering spotlights success

CSE faculty and alumni gathered in the STEM building lobby at UH-Clear Lake
College of Science and Engineering alumni gathered for a networking reception to explore new ways to help students find more internship and career opportunities in the community.

Although the COVID-19 pandemic caused many high school and college students to delay their college plans, the College of Science and Engineering at University of Houston-Clear Lake saw an overall 12% increase in enrollment from fall 2019 to fall 2021 — when most other colleges around the country were experiencing record enrollment declines.

"What's happening in the CSE is extraordinarily important," said UH-Clear Lake President Ira K. Blake, who spoke at the University Advancement Alumni Association networking reception last week, attended by 27 UHCL alumni active in the local engineering, technology, and oil and gas industries.

"What these numbers signal to me is that our CSE faculty are committed to providing the kind of quality educational experience that connects to careers, and part of the increase during the COVID pandemic is because of the success of our alumni as models for our students," she said. "What is impressing students is how clearly their educational experience is relevant to the careers they'll be having."

Blake said that since the beginning of the pandemic, the College had seen a 10% increase in undergraduate students and a 19% increase in graduate students.

"Since 2015, we've had a grand total of 31,947 students, new and continuing, for each fall and spring term," she said. "One of our markers of success is the work our alumni do. Through their work on the advisory boards, and by just meeting and talking to our students, they are so important to their guidance and mentoring."

CSE Advisory Board Chairman and UHCL alumnus Michael Squyres, who recently retired as president of Flo-Cal, Inc., said one of his goals was to create a larger sense of community among CSE alumni. "I hope to create networking opportunities for career growth, and provide feedback to the university as to curriculum, to further advance its relevance to industry," he said.

UHCL alumna and CSE Advisory Board member Kathy Tamer said that the College needed everyone's help. "This is a call to action," she said. "You have the knowledge and the opportunities and we need advocates for the students. This is only the beginning."

Networking can have a powerful impact on career advancement. University Advancement will host a networking reception for UHCL College of Business alumni on Oct. 26.