Robert Kersten, P.E.

Dean & Professor Emeritus
University of Central Florida
Member Since: 

Robert Kersten, P.E.What you do: I'm active in several professional society committees, including representing NSPE on the American Association of Engineering Societies' task force for the Pan American Union of Engineering Associations. This task force is leading the Engineering for the Americas Initiative, including participation in the Plan Panama Work Group on Human Resources, which includes the Organization of American States' support of EftA. The enhancement of engineering education throughout the hemisphere is vital to the social and economic development of the Americas.

Biggest professional role model? Several college-level faculty who saw some potential in me and never ceased trying to improve the outcome.

What do you think companies need to do to attract younger generations into the engineering industry? Perhaps that's the wrong question—that is, we should seek to encourage our young people to utilize their engineering skills wherever they may be employed. As professional engineers, we are (or should be) leaders, innovators, entrepreneurs, and diplomats (influencers of public policy). These aspects are not always within the "engineering industry."

If you weren't an engineer, you'd be: If not attracted to engineering, most likely I would have had a career in the U.S. Navy.

Proudest engineering accomplishment: At UCF, I served as founding dean of the College of Engineering and participated in a variety of activities that have made engineering a major force in the state: I served on the Mid-Florida Industrial Development Commission; initiated the development of the Central Florida Research Park; and pioneered joint efforts with other universities in Florida to enhance the funding base for engineering education and research. Today, UCF is the second largest university in the United States.
Another accomplishment was the opportunity to lead an NSPE-formed task force to enhance engineering education and research within the National Science Foundation. President Reagan signed legislation that would amend the organic act creating the NSF by including in the mission statement the following language: "initiate and support research fundamental to the engineering process and to strengthen engineering research potential and engineering programs at all levels in the various fields of engineering."

Your hobbies? Genealogy (family history), the study of Will Rogers, and travelling.

Finish this sentence: In 10 years... I hope to see all six grand children through college and settled in careers. (Three are engineers.)

You joined NSPE: for professional development reasons, and opportunities for serving the profession and the public.

Your desert island book: The Holy Bible.