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The following is an excerpt from the April 26 issue of The Wichita Eagle. Zulma Toro-Ramos, dean of the College of Engineering at Wichita State University, contributed to the article.

Leaders converge to grow aviation

Tuesday, April 26, 2011 | Share

Gov. Sam Brownback held his first economic summit in Wichita on Monday, focusing on the aviation industry and what Kansas can do to maintain and grow the sector.

The summit —"Kansas Aviation: Soaring into the Future" — was attended by about 160 leaders from large and small aviation companies, the state's colleges and universities, unions, and local and state government.

More also should be done to help foreign engineering students take jobs with Wichita companies after graduation, leaders said.

A large portion of engineering graduates are ethnically diverse, but companies have to battle bureaucratic obstacles to hire them.

"There has to be an effort to increase the number of visas to international professionals, Brownback said. "That's where the bottleneck lies."

Eighty percent of Wichita State University engineering undergraduates are domestic students, said WSU College of Engineering dean Zulma Toro-Ramos. However, 75 percent of the engineering master's degree students are international students, while 80 percent of doctorate-level students are international.

They come here for their education, but take that training back home with them, leaders said.

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