Graduate Awards of Excellence

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 Dr. Woo Hyoung Lee.

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 Dr. Mohamed Abdel-Aty.

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