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Whatever the area – science, engineering, medicine and of course education – a good foundation is essential to success. That is why we put so much thought into developing the Pillars of Excellence at Florida Tech.

As we head into the New Year, here’s a look at our pillars and why they are more relevant than ever.

Hardware and Software Cybersecurity: It doesn’t take much hunting through the news to see why this pillar is so critical. On Nov. 30, Marriott said it had been hacked and that the personal data of 500 million customers may have been compromised. This field matters well beyond the confines of the hospitality industry. The new battlefield may very well be fiber optics and processors.

Ocean/Lagoon/Climate Science and Engineering: From the dire warnings of the 1,600-page federal National Climate Assessment issued late last month to our own struggling Indian River Lagoon, the health and fate of our planet may be the only story that will have a bigger impact on the future than cybersecurity. Faculty members across our colleges are working to better understand the problems and how to solve them.

Aerospace and Space Systems: From our ideal vantage point here on the Space Coast, we are witnessing two major ongoing stories in this arena: the rise of the commercial space business, and mankind’s quest to reach, and colonize, Mars. From our FAA Center of Excellence for Commercial Space Transportation to our Martian gardening research and the Aldrin Space Institute, Florida Tech is heavily involved in both.

Autism Treatment and Research: In 2018, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that 1 in 59 children is diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. From powerful telehealth initiatives to deeply researched Applied Behavior Analysis approaches to international partnerships such as the training agreement launched this year with the Brazilian state of Paraná, Florida Tech’s Scott Center for Autism Treatment remains a vital national and international resource.

Human-Centered Design and Manufacturing: This pillar allows our faculty to play key roles in both responding to, and helping to shape, the evolution of multiple technology-oriented sectors, from factories to space tourism.

Consider the topics – cyberspace, the environment, space, health and manufacturing. We determined that these are important touchstones for our faculty and students and their research and learning here at Florida Tech, but we also believe they are key challenges facing society.

As we look to 2019 and beyond, I am proud that Florida Tech, like other renowned universities, seeks not just to educate students, but also to help improve the world.

My best wishes to you for a safe, happy and enlightening New Year.

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