Graduate Excellence

By: Graduate Studies on

The UCF College of Graduate Studies recognized graduate students and faculty for excellence in research, teaching and mentoring at an awards ceremony during the Fourteenth Annual Graduate Research Forum on April 4, 2017.

Each year the Graduate Council Program Review and Awards Committee reviews college nominations and recognizes graduate students for the University Graduate Awards of Excellence and Awards for Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral students. The nominations are very competitive and the selection is especially challenging.

Graduate Awards of Excellence Winners

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Sarah Gitto, Biomedical Sciences PhD, College of Medicine

Sarah Gito is a doctoral student in the Biomedical Science PhD program. Gitto is always ready and prepared to answer any questions regarding experiments or techniques. She does her best to spark interest in her students and has learned that providing real-world relevance to the laboratory techniques can help engage students.

Arup Kumar Ghosh, College of Engineering and Computer Science (HONORABLE MENTION)

Arup Kuma Ghosh receives and honorable mention. Ghosh is a doctoral student in the Computer Science Program. He was nominated because of his dedication to teaching and mentoring students, his ability to mentor other GTAs, his superb efficiency, and his remarkable dedication to his GTA duties. His students describe Ghosh as “extremely fair” in his assessments, “knowledgeable on the material,” and “interested in [students’] learning.” One student observed, “Professor Ghosh loves programming, and it shows.”

College Winners

Amber Bass – College of Sciences
Tyler Campbell – College of Arts and Humanities
Arup Kumar Ghosh – College of Engineering and Computer Science
Sarah Gitto – College of Medicine
Annemarie Kaczmarcyzk – College of Education and Human Performance

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

Mahsa Khoshnoud, Business Administration PhD, Finance Track, College of Business Administration

Mahsa Khoshnoud is an excellent teacher and has done an outstanding job of preparing and executing her teaching assignments. Her student evaluations consistently rank high. Students regularly comment that her course is demanding, but describe Khoshnoud as knowledgeable, respectful, helpful and genuinely concerned for the success of the students.

College Winners

Victoria Claypoole – College of Sciences
Brian Druckenmiller – College of Arts and Humanities
Vierne E. Placide – College of Health and Public Affairs
Masha Khoshnoud – College of Business Administration

Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis

Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences

Christian Garcia,  College of Engineering and Computer Science

Garcia is from the Aerospace Engineering MSAE program and was mentored by Yunjun Xu, PhD.

Garcia’s thesis is titled: Geolocation of Diseased Leaves in Strawberry Orchards for a Custom-Designed Octorotor.

Garcia’s thesis focused on the design and control of an octorotor to survey citrus/strawberry fields for disease detection. In this research, he was the main person to design, manufacture and flight test an innovative octorotor platform. Garcia has published two peer-reviewed conference papers and has one journal paper under review. His research is innovative, employs hands-on engineering design techniques, and contributes significantly to new software, algorithm, and theoretical development.

Social Science, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Art and Health Sciences

Rosanna Scott, College of Sciences

Scott is from the Clinical Psychology MS program and was mentored by  Daniel Paulson, PhD.

Scott’s thesis is titled: Cerebrovascular Burden and Depression: Examining a Process Model of Geriatric Developmental Psychopathology.

Scott’s thesis is comprised of two complementary studies: 1) the relationship between cerebrovascular risk (hypertension, diabetes, etc.) and later-life depression; and 2) the relationship of a gene and associated protein with dementia risk. In addressing these unanswered empirical questions, she managed large, complex datasets and employed advanced statistical methods for the analysis of longitudinal data. Scott has presented her work at the annual meeting of the Gerontological Society of America and has published in the International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry and the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, both leading journals.

College Winners

Larry Baca – College of Graduate Studies
Michael Brooks – College of Arts and Humanities
Christian Garcia – College of Engineering and Computer Science
Kritika Kedarinath, College of Medicine
Yoko Negoro – Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Rosanna Scott, College of Sciences

Award for Outstanding Dissertation

Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences

Afshin Dehghan, PhD, College of Engineering and Computer Science

Dr. Dehghan is from the Computer Science PhD program and was mentored by Mubarak Shah, PhD.

Dr. Dehghan’s dissertation is titled: Global Data Association for Multiple Pedestrian Tracking.

Dr. Dehghan’s research focused on object tracking, one of the most fundamental problems in computer vision. He tackled the data association component of object tracking and contributed three novel methods for solving data association. During his PhD studies, Dr. Dehghan significantly contributed to several high visibility research projects that involved his profound knowledge of computer vision coupled with great programming skills. He has a stellar publication record, with Google Scholar showing that his papers have received 863 citations. Many of his publications are in prestigious computer vision conferences and journals.

Social Science, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Art and Health Sciences

Jeremy Townsend, PhD,  College of Education and Human Performance

Dr. Townsend is from the Education PhD, Exercise Physiology Track and was mentored by Jeffrey Stout, PhD.

Dr. Townsend’s dissertation is titled: Intramuscular TNF-? Signaling in Response to Resistance Exercise and Recovery in Untrained Males.

Dr. Townsend’s dissertation was the first to examine the nuclear factor kappa B signaling cascade in response to muscle damaging exercise in healthy males. This pathway is the most studied pathway in conditions like cancer and cachexia, and it is considered to be the pathway associated with rapid skeletal muscle loss. Dr. Townsend’s study demonstrated how resistance exercise can acutely upregulate this pathway as part of the body’s recovery and regeneration process. He has authored two papers from his dissertation, one in the European Journal of Applied Physiology and the other in Physiological Reports.

College Winners

Jeremy Townsend, PhD – College of Education and Human Performance
Afshin Dehghan – College of Engineering and Computer Science
Esha Sehanobish, PhD – College of Medicine
Maggie Cotto, PhD – College of Arts and Humanities
Tracy Becker, PhD – College of Sciences
Alan Paris, PhD – College of Graduate Studies
Valeriya Shapoval, PhD – Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Shabu Veghese – College of Health and Public Affairs

Two faculty members are selected each year that show great dedication and guidance in the mentorship of doctoral students for the Award for Faculty Excellence in Mentoring Doctoral Students in the following disciplines: Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Arts and Health Sciences and Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences.

This year, the two faculty members recognized for their excellence in mentoring doctoral students are Mubarak Shah, PhD and Rosa Cintrón, PhD.

Dr. Shah’s students describe him as a great mentor and an excellent teacher/researcher who has established one of the most famous Computer Vision groups in the world.  He mentors his students to become creative in their research and learn to think out of the box. On a regular basis he invites top researchers to visit UCF, give talks and spend time with students. Dr. Shah helps his students develop the research, communication and networking skills to be successful leaders in their field.

Dr. Cintrón’s students describe her as always there for her students. She fosters a supportive relationship among her doctoral students through regular group meetings to discuss their progress and challenges, and to help them renew their commitment to complete their dissertations and graduate. Her students count themselves fortunate to have had Dr. Cintrón as mentor, guide, teacher and inspiration.

The following faculty were nominated in the following categories by their graduated doctoral students.

Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences Nominees

Ronald DeMara — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Joshua Colwell — College of Sciences
Debra Reinhart— College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mubarak Shah — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Yongho Sohn  — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Subith Vasu Sumathi — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Pamela Wisniewski — College of Engineering and Computer Science

Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Arts and Health Sciences Nominees

Maureen Ambrose — College of Business Administration
Rosa Cintron — College of Education and Human Performance
Robertico Croes — Rosen College of Hospitality Management
Lin Huff-Corzine — College of Arts and Humanities
Suzanne Martin — College of Education and Human Performance
Stephanie Vie — College of Arts and Humanities

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