Winners of the Graduate Awards of Excellence

By: Graduate Studies on

The University Graduate Council Awards Committee had the difficult task of selecting the 2011-2012 award recipients from a list of deserving nominees. The awards are given to the most outstanding student nominees, and they are recognized throughout the UCF community as having shown truly exceptional and commendable work. Each university winner received a commemorative plaque, as well as a $1500 cash award.

The students below received the University Graduate Awards of Excellence.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching

Kelly J. Grillo (College of Education) – Dr. Grillo recently graduated with her PhD in Education in the Exceptional Education Track, with a focus on secondary inclusion, technology and science education. She has been a Graduate Teaching Associate for three years instructing mixed mode and online courses to pre-service education majors to work with and support persons with disabilities.

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Andrea Cumming (College of Engineering and Computer Science) – Andrea is currently pursuing her Environmental Engineering PhD. She has served as a GTA for UCF’s Civil, Environmental and Construction Engineering Department for courses such as Chemical Process Control, Biological Process Control, and Introduction to Environmental Engineering courses, while also serving as a graduate research assistant.

Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis

Zhao Wang (College of Engineering and Computer Science) – Zhao completed his MS in Electrical Engineering and is now working toward his PhD in the same field. The title of his thesis is Nonlinear Estimation and Control for Assistive Robots. Zhao has several publications based on his Master’s thesis.

Award for the Outstanding Dissertation

Haitham Bahaitham (College of Engineering and Computer Science) – Dr. Bahaitham graduated in December 2011 with his PhD in Industrial Engineering. His dissertation is entitled A Framework for Quantifying Sustainability of Lean Implementation in Healthcare Organizations. He has prepared and submitted articles for presentation in the Industrial and Systems Engineering Research Conference.

The following students were nominees for the university-level award, as they received the award within each of their colleges. The nominations were very competitive and the selection is always very difficult every year. The quality of work and achievement of those students nominated were remarkable, and all nominees are to be applauded.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching – College Winners

  • Jonathan Cazalas – College of Engineering and Computer Science, Computer Science PhD
  • Matthew E. Hurst – College of Business, Finance PhD
  • Eric D. Olson – Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Department Hospitality Services PhD
  • Sonia Stephens – College of Arts and Humanities, Texts and Technology PhD
  • Anna Turner – College of Sciences, Communication MA

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant – College Winners

  • Michael McConville – College of Arts and Humanities, History MA
  • Rachel Odom – College of Sciences, Biology MS
  • Brittany Pease – College of Medicine, Biomedical Sciences PhD
  • Kimberly Zahller – College of Business, Accounting PhD

Award for the Outstanding Master’s Thesis – College Winners

  • Pranav Garg – College of Medicine, Biotechnology MS
  • Kay D. Jolicoeur – College of Education, School of Teaching, Learning and Leadership, Mathematics and Science Track
  • Clelia B. Lima – College of Nursing, Nursing DNP
  • Joanna H. Spielvogel – College of Health and Public Affairs, Communication Sciences and Disorders MA
  • Leanna Thomas – College of Arts and Humanities, History MA
  • Kristen Van Vonderen – College of Sciences, Communication MA

Award for the Outstanding Dissertation – College Winners

  • Jennifer M. Foster – College of Education, Counselor Education and Supervision PhD
  • Debra A. Hunt – College of Nursing, Nursing PhD
  • Manuel Rivera – Rosen College of Hospitality Management, Education PhD, Hospitality Education Track
  • Elizabeth Swart – College of Sciences, Sociology PhD

Award for Innovative Thesis or Dissertation – College Winner

  • Stacey L. Diliberto – College of Arts and Humanities, Texts and Technology PhD

Congratulations to all of the outstanding winners!

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