Graduate Awards of Excellence Winners

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 Thirteenth Annual Graduate Research Forum on April 5, 2016.

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. 

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching
Arielle Gaudiello, College of Sciences.

Arielle Gaudiello is a doctoral student in the Mathematics PhD program. Gaudiello is a dedicated teacher who creates a welcoming environment in which students feel comfortable seeking her help and advice. Her teaching style is highly effective and students perform exceptionally well in her classes. Gaudiello also relates mathematical concepts to everyday uses and tries to integrate interesting and relatable topics into her lesson plans.

College Winners
Mohamed Awwad – College of Engineering and Computer Science
Grant Bohl – College of Arts and Humanities
Heidi A. Eisenreich – College of Education and Human Performance
Bradley A. Lang – College of Business Administration
Jill E. Plumer – Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant
Soheil Salehi Mobarakeh, College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Soheil Salehi Mobarakeh is a doctoral student in the Computer Engineering PhD program. Mobarakeh was described as the most effective, responsible, innovative and caring GTA his adviser has ever had. He helps students have a better understanding of computer organization via hands-on experience. Mobarakeh’s teaching style is highly effective, and in fact, it is so innovative that a paper outlining his pedagogy has been accepted for presentation to the American Society for Engineering Education Southeast Section Conference.

College Winners
Aline Zghayyar Abassian – College of Education and Human Performance
Vierne E. Placide – College of Health and Public Affairs 
Sara Raffel – College of Arts and Humanities
Sara Ann Sacra – College of Sciences

Award for Outstanding Master’s Thesis
Jared Church, College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Jared is from the Environmental Engineering program and was mentored by Woo Hyoung Lee, PhD.

Jared’s thesis is titled: Dishwashing Water Recycling System and Related Water Quality Standards for Military Use.

Church’s thesis focused on recommending water quality standards for dishwater recycling for military use. In remote locations with limited water supply, such as those in military instillations, it is imperative to conserve freshwater. The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy have been working on standards for greywater and they have requested his paper for future consideration. Church has published his results in several national conferences and also in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Church is continuing his studies in the Environmental Engineering PhD program at UCF and he has received the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium doctoral fellowship for 2015-2016.

College Winners
Kaylin A. Ratner – College of Sciences
Emily C. Brennan – College of Arts and Humanities
Massimo M. Villinger – College of Optics and Photonics
Mattan Hoffman – College of Education and Human Performance

Award for Outstanding Dissertation:  Juneyoung Park, PhD, College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Juneyoung Park, PhD is a graduate of the Civil Engineering PhD program and was mentored by Mohamed Abdel-Aty, PhD.

Dr. Park’s dissertation is titled:  Exploration and development of crash modification factors and functions for single and multiple treatments.

Dr. Park’s research focused on a critical assessment of the newly developed Highway Safety Manual. He identified critical flaws in the manual and provided novel solutions to rectify numerous issues and improve the prediction of traffic accidents. His work has already been incorporated into the CMF Clearinghouse and will impact the future version of the Highway Safety Manual. Saving lives and suffering is the utmost objective for engineers, and his work will achieve that.

College Winners
Ashley J. Blount, PhD – College of Education and Human Performance 
Kumel H. Kagalwala, PhD – College of Optics and Photonics
Veethika Pandey, PhD – College of Medicine
Leandra Preston-Sidler, PhD – College of Arts and Humanities
Benjamin D. Sawyer, PhD – College of Sciences
Travis J. Wiltshire, PhD – College of Graduate Studies

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 Robert Peale, PhD and Carey Rothschild, PhD.

Dr. Peale is with the Department of Physics. His students describe Dr. Peale as an outstanding mentor and great physicist. His eagerness to teach his students has been described as extraordinary. Dr. Peale’s vision and support have enabled his students to become managers and leaders in their chosen professions, whether in academia or industry.

Dr. Rothschild is from the Physical Therapy program. Her students describe Dr. Rothschild as a model of research expertise. She provides guidance and assistance where needed, yet allows students the autonomy to complete their research goals. She believes that professionalism refers to upholding the core values of the physical therapy profession: altruism, excellence, caring, ethics, respect, communication and accountability.

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

Engineering, Physical Sciences and Life Sciences Nominees
Deborah Altomare — College of Medicine
Zenghu Cheng — College of Optics and Photonics
Ronald DeMara — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Steven Duranceau — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Ahmad Elshennawy — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Xun Gong — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Florencio Hernandez — College of Sciences
Dmitry Kolpashchikov — College of Sciences
Juin Liou — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Robert Peale — College of Sciences
Michael Proctor — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Talat Rahman — College of Sciences
Nazanin Rahnavard — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Mehmet Tatari — College of Engineering and Computer Science
Subith Vasu — College of Engineering and Computer Science

Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Arts and Health Sciences Nominees
Christopher Blackwell — College of Nursing
Thomas Bryer — College of Health and Public Affairs
Mary Ann Burg — College of Health and Public Affairs
Susan Chase — College of Nursing
Thomas Cox — College of Education and Human Performance
Anne Culp — College of Education and Human Performance
Juli Dixon — College of Education and Human Performance
David Gay — College of Sciences
Peter Hancock — College of Sciences
Atsusi Hirumi — College of Education and Human Performance
Jay Hoffman — College of Education and Human Performance
Bruce Janz — College of Sciences
Mary Little — College of Education and Human Performance
Barry Mauer — College of Arts and Humanities
Rudy McDaniel — College of Arts and Humanities
Elsie Olan — College of Education and Human Performance
Carey Rothschild — College of Health and Public Affairs
James Szalma — College of Sciences
Stacy VanHorn — College of Education and Human Performance
Stephanie Vie — College of Arts and Humanities
Carolyn Walker-Hopp — College of Education and Human Performance
James Wright — College of Sciences 

Share This Article

Featured Content image

Chemistry Student Working to Develop Sustainable Technology to Clean Water Worldwide

Nearly 800 million people are without clean drinking water in the world, and for the environmental chemist and second-year doctoral candidate Lorianne Shultz, this is no small problem. In her...

Read More

Featured Content image

UCF Partners with Adobe to Personalize Reading Experiences for Students, Adults

The increase in remote work and e-learning sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic means more people are reading in digital formats, from eye-straining, small-text documents to PDFs that have embedded pictures...

Read More

Featured Content image

Several Knights to Present at Adobe Max’s Free, Virtual Conference This Week

The Adobe Max 2020 Creativity conference kicks off Tuesday and this year the event is completely virtual and free. Celebrities alongside tech gurus will discuss products and the power to...

Read More

Featured Content image

OSIRIS REx Ready to for Touch-n-Go Maneuver on Tuesday, Oct. 20

Four years after it launched, NASA’s OSIRIS REx NASA mission is closing in on its big day. On Oct. 20, the spacecraft is scheduled to complete its touch-and-go move to...

Read More