Andric honored as distinguished engineering educator
Since his arrival at Palm Beach State College in 2010, Associate Professor Oleg Andric has developed a reputation for preparing top-notch graduates in demand by local employers in the energy and power generation, aerospace and advanced manufacturing industries. Now The Engineers’ Council has recognized his impact by presenting him with its Distinguished Engineering Educator Award.
“The award means a huge validation and recognition from the industry,” says Andric. “With this recognition, more companies will be eager to look at our students and graduates and bring them on as interns and employees.”
Andric received the award at the 2016 National Engineer’s Week Honors and Awards Banquet Feb. 19 at the PGA National Resort & Spa. The annual event honors engineering professionals in many capacities, with the educator award going to an individual who has contributed significantly to engineering education, mentorship and leadership.
When Andric took over the reins of Palm Beach State’s Electrical Power Technology Associate in Science degree program, he had a vision for how his students could fill the county’s need for STEM-skilled technicians.
“In order to have a successful program you need to have three very strong pillars of support,” notes Andric. “One is to attract really enthusiastic students who are willing to learn, another is to have the support from administration and a great team of colleagues with whom to work, and the third is the support of the industry. I think that we have all three ingredients right here.”
It was his strong relationships with business partners that led Andric to develop the new Engineering Technology A.S. degree program that launched last fall. A new lab with cutting-edge technology added to the positive buzz, as well as the success of Andric’s graduates, who’ve built their own good reputations for being hard-working and knowing their stuff. “There’s absolutely no reason why we should not be one of the best-recognized engineering technology programs,” says Andric, who received PBSC’s Bravo Award in 2015, the College’s highest employee recognition honor.
Andric also serves as faculty advisor for the student Energy Club, and club members, including Joshua Peralta, attended the banquet.
“He really knows how to connect with students…he knows how to take complicated theories and break them down into simpler ideas and then build back up to the complexity of it,” says Peralta, who graduates this spring and plans to get his bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering. “I’ve really benefited a lot from him in terms of just gaining so much knowledge and being able to apply it to the various projects that we have within the club. He’s been a mentor for me as a young engineer, guiding me as to how the industry works. He’s a great professor.”
In addition to his academic responsibilities, Andric is co-principal investigator for an $868,105 grant from the National Science Foundation awarded to the College last year to develop student interest in STEM fields, from middle school to enrollment at PBSC. A research, systems and electrical engineer with nine granted patents, Andric and his colleagues are gearing up for the grant’s BEST (Boosting Engineering, Science and Technology) summer program for high school students to improve college readiness.
“I am delighted by the national recognition of Professor Oleg Andric,” says Robert Van Der Velde, J.D., associate dean of academic affairs for the Palm Beach Gardens campus, where Andric is based. “His focus is consistently on his students and preparing them for good jobs in local industry. He sets high expectations for his students, but they know he is dedicated to student success and respond well. The 100% placement rates in his programs are testimony to his commitment.”