CEAS and Belcan Strengthen Local Partnership at Alumni Event

By:    Brandon Pytel
Date: June 27, 2018

Last week, University of Cincinnati alumni and Belcan employees met to discuss ideas for the future.

Dean Orkwis addresses room.

CEAS interim dean Paul Orkwis, PhD, addresses Belcan employees.

In 1906, the University of Cincinnati (UC) founded the first cooperative education (co-op) program. Over a hundred years later, UC has relationships with more than 1200 different companies for students in the College of Engineering and Applied Science (CEAS) alone. Ranging from research to industry opportunities that span across the globe, co-op expands students’ professional and geographic horizons. One prominent co-op company is right in UC’s backyard.

Belcan, LLC, an engineering consulting firm headquartered in Cincinnati, hires a number of UC co-op students every year, and many of these students go on to work full time for the company. Last week, a number of these alumni met at a luncheon at UC Blue Ash to discuss how to build upon their relationship with their alma mater.

“Walking through the halls of our office, I saw many Bearcat claws,” said Jeff Hill, design and product support engineering manager at Belcan, who helped organize the event. “I wanted to get these people together to see how we could create a stronger relationship with UC and hire some additional co-op students.”

outside shot of innovation hub building.

The 1819 Innovation Hub will be a central part of UC's strategic direction, Next Lives Here. Photo courtesy of Andrew Higley.

On top of meeting some fellow Bearcats in their company, UC alumni were introduced to the university’s new strategic direction, Next Lives Here. Three platforms are central to this direction: academic excellence, urban impact and innovation.

“These pieces connect to become central to where we’re going as a university,” said CEAS interim dean Paul Orkwis, PhD, who kicked off the event. “The industry is changing, and academia has to change, too. UC plans to be at the forefront of that change.”

A central part of this change is the new 1819 Innovation Hub, which officially opens in July.

“The goal is to bring companies in and facilitate access to UC talent, from students to faculty,” said Orkwis. “The 1819 Innovation Hub will pair UC with industry to put words into action.”

Speaking to academic excellence, Orkwis discussed UC’s Master of Engineering programs that focus on emerging areas in additive manufacturing, cybersecurity, robotics and automation, aero-systems operations and artificial intelligence.

Through strategic partnerships with companies like Belcan, UC can identify industry applications for these ideas and technologies.

Bryan Brown addresses room of people.

CEAS research associate Bryan Brown discusses UAV research at the event.

The event concluded with CEAS research associate Bryan Brown discussing the exciting work in the Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) Master Lab. The lab is currently conducting several projects sponsored by the Department of Transportation and Department of Homeland Security. Brown and other researchers study and design UAVs, commonly known as drones, for use in several innovative projects.

Discussing these technologies, Orkwis said, “We want to be a leading urban university that makes an impact on the world.” By building upon well-established relationships with companies like Belcan, UC continues to drive innovation through research, academic excellence and industry collaboration.

Are you or your company interested in collaborating with UC? Contact Ann Terry, associate director of alumni relations for the College of Engineering and Applied Science, at ann.terry@uc.edu or 513-556-4469.