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Legacy Pointe at UCF Residents Judge College of Engineering and Computer Science's Senior Design Showcase

Photo: Daniel McCullough
Photo: Daniel McCullough

Residents at a senior living community about a mile from the University of Central Florida campus are finding ways to give back and stay connected with a new generation of students. 

Legacy Pointe residents were invited to judge the College of Engineering and Computer Science’s Senior Design Showcase.

WMFE spoke with mechanical engineer George Ruth and software engineer Nancy Cosgrove about why they’re inspired by the next generation.

Read the full interview below. 
Danielle: So George, in a Pew Research study, three out of four Americans said they're committed to lifelong learning. So you're in good company at Legacy Pointe. What are you most excited about participating in when it comes to classes or other activities this fall on UCF's campus?

George: Well, I think mainly the programs that they're going to have at Legacy Pointe, plus the option of being able to possibly monitor lectures, concerts, plays, some sporting events, and just the contact with the campus, which I've missed over the retirement years.

Danielle: Nancy, the National Institute on Aging found that participating in an active lifestyle, like the one at Legacy Pointe, can improve lifespan, cognitive function, mental health well being, did this go into your decision?

Nancy: Absolutely. You know, a lot of my friends would say like, well Nancy, you could live on the beach for what you're paying for Legacy Pointe? And I tell them, UCF is my beach. Everything that's going on there, not to mention just walking around the campus, you know, when you're outside, your brain has to engage so much more than if you're walking on the treadmill inside or something like that. So it's all good. It's all good. And plus, we are doing we are research subjects, also so I've done like two cognitive studies on campus.

Danielle: And you both helped in a really big way, when you participated as judges at the UCF College of Engineering and Computer Sciences' Senior Design Showcase. Were you excited to get back into the field and to interact with the next generation?

George: Well, I can tell you that I was in awe of the progress that's been made, since I was last engaged in this business. And I just felt really blessed to be able to interact with these people and to see what they were doing.

Nancy: And I was kind of shocked that I was able to keep up. They're really, you know, anybody that worries about the future, our future is so secure. We just need to get out of the way and let these students have at it.

Danielle: You know, this was the first year that this showcase was held virtually, and you had to judge 170 projects online. Was this a hard environment to kind of judge the projects, you know, using only a virtual environment?

Nancy: The first couple of days, we judged their projects asynchronously. I mean, just we just judged their presentations. But then on Friday, we had the live round where we interviewed the students live. I think it was, you know, I don't want to go overboard and say it was a great way to do things because I want us to get back to like life as it was. But it was very adequate let me say that.

Danielle: The field of STEM careers like science, technology, engineering, math is expected to grow by 8.8% by 2029. Would you recommend young people pursue a STEM education and what advice would you give them entering the workforce?

George: Well, I think the basics of science and engineering and math are basic for everybody really. But I wish that we could imbue all young people with an exposure to those fields. They should be convinced that it's not that hard. If you're interested in it. I think it's a good way to engage your brain and your whole person into pursuing things that are valuable and will continue to be valuable in the future.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.