UCF Honors Best and Brightest Students on Founders' Day

UCF Honors Best and Brightest Students on Founders’ Day

Deborah German, dean of the College of Medicine, presents a student award to Getasha Doobay. (Photo by Nick Russett)

Students from each of UCF’s colleges who have excelled in academics, leadership and community service were honored today during the annual Founders’ Day ceremony.

College of Arts and Humanities Kerrianne Reilly is pursuing a bachelor of arts in history, with minors in Russian Studies, Middle Eastern Studies and Linguistics. She has complemented her study of history with study of the Russian and Arabic languages. She completed the Russian language sequence in her first two semesters at UCF by skipping into the fourth semester class after only one semester of study. Reilly is an undergraduate research assistant in the Russian language program, where she has contributed in the writing and publication of an academic article for publication in journals related to Russian language and teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL). She has presented at professional conferences, including the Central Florida TESOL conference and the International Film and Peace Festival. Reilly also has participated in the STARTALK Intensive Russian Language Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense, and a U.S.-Russia Peer-to-Peer Dialogue Program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. She is a member of the Russian Club at UCF and a peer tutor of Russian and Arabic. Reilly also has helped in the creation of a photo storytelling project that will be used internationally for teaching and promoting English language education.

College of Business Administration Natacha Jerome is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science in finance and marketing in the professional-selling track. As a student ambassador for her college, Jerome works with faculty to plan talks and events to connect students with employers. The College of Business Administration changed its onboarding class procedures based on her undergraduate research papers, which were presented at the Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. Jerome is a student facilitator for the LEAD Scholars Academy, culture director of the Multicultural Student Center and a volunteer for the U.S. Dream Academy. She is a former project manager for Junior Achievement, helping organize a teach-in for Sadler Elementary School students. She also is former chair of the John T. Washington Honor Society and a peer mentor at the Student Academic and Resource Center. Jerome has received several scholarships, and works as both a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret and a student assistant in the Multicultural Student Center.

College of Education and Human Performance Ashley “Nikki” Craig is expected to graduate with a bachelor of science in elementary education in May. As a volunteer, Craig has taken three trips to Haiti, where she helped assist with orphanages, the elderly and child-sponsorship programs. That experience helped shape her Honors in the Major thesis, “An Empowerment Unit Plan for Haitian Restavek Children,” which examined the situation of restaveks – Haitian children sent to work as domestic servants because their parents are unable to support them. Craig presented her research at The International Conference on Poverty, Globalization and Schooling: A Holistic Approach in February and the Southern Regional Honors Council in March, and is expected to present at Eureka: Student Research Talks in April. “[Craig’s] intellect and big brain, her strong analytical skills, her communication skills, her compassion and her big heart, along with her need to make a difference in the lives of others, certainly make her a strong candidate for our Founders’ Day Award,” wrote College of Education & Human Performance professor Sherron Killingsworth Roberts.

College of Engineering and Computer Science Aiman Salih is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering. Along the way, he’s accumulated a GPA of around 3.9, earning spot on the dean’s list and the president’s honor roll several times. Salih visited the Sudan to tutor students at his former high school and talk with them about the importance of education. He currently conducts research in the UCF MIST Lab under Dr. Jiann Yuan through a National Science Foundation grant. Salih is a member of the National Society of Black Engineers. Salih is a transfer student from Valencia College, where he was president of the Muslim Student Association and a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the Florida Engineering Society. He plans to pursue a master’s degree in electrical engineering at UCF.

College of Health and Public Affairs Carly Jensen is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor’s degree in social work. She has already been admitted to UCF’s master’s of social work program. As president of the Bachelor’s of Social Work Student Association, Jensen recruits students for events and fund-raisers benefitting the community. Jensen, who has been a mentor as a Burnett Community Scholar, has maintained a 4.0 GPA in her major. At the same time, she has interned with the state Department of Children and Families and volunteered as a guardian ad litem and with hospice, Big Brothers Big Sisters and the Coalition for the Homeless. Jensen’s goal is to work with families impacted by child abuse and neglect, and she has been awarded a Title IV-E Child Welfare Stipend as part of a program designed to prepare top-quality social workers to work as case managers or child-protective investigators.

College of Medicine Getasha Doobay is in the pre-professional track in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, with a minor in chemistry. She is expected to graduate in May. Doobay has been inducted into the Order of Pegasus, the highest academic honor for UCF students. She is conducting stem cell research on heart disease in the lab of Dr. Dinender Singla. She is a LEAD Scholar and a member of the Pre-Professional Medical Society and the American Medical Student Association. Doobay also is a longtime volunteer at Shepherd’s Hope, a free clinic where she has taken on a managerial role after volunteering for hundreds of hours. She is also a tutor in subjects ranging from chemistry to literature, a service she offers free to fellow students. Doobay already has been accepted into multiple medical schools.

College of Nursing Jae Kook Lim was born in Panama, moved with his family to South Korea at age 8 and then to the United States two years later. After adjusting to changing cultures, he is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science in nursing. Lim just completed a term as the Breakthrough To Nursing Director on the board of directors of the 60,000-member National Student Nurses’ Association, and he’s also vice president of the Student Nurses Association’s UCF chapter. He has earned more than 400 hours of clinical experience while working at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, Florida Hospital Celebration Health, Florida Hospital East Orlando and Dr. P. Phillips Hospital. Lim is a former Student Government senator and former Orientation Team member. He also works as a lab assistant in the College of Nursing. Lim has volunteered with the Knight-Thon Morale Committee, the Vietnamese Student Association, Filipino Student Association, Korean Student Association and Asian Student Association. Lim has been awarded several scholarships, and been listed on both the dean’s list and the president’s honor roll.

College of Optics and Photonics Josie Lorenzo studied graphic design, film and print making while attending an arts high school – Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach – and tries to maintain that creative thinking now that she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in photonic science and engineering from the College of Optics & Photonics at UCF. While an undergraduate researcher at the Nanoscience Technology Center, Lorenzo was co-author of an article in the scholarly journal Applied Materials and Interfaces about her team’s research into polymer solar cells. She is vice president and one of the founding members of the Society of Optics Student, and a board member of the CREOL Association of Optics Students. Lorenzo has volunteered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation and UCF Knight-Thon. She has been awarded a UCF Gold Pegasus Scholarship, a SPIE Optics and Photonics Scholarship and a Northrop Grumman Scholarship. Lorenzo has also been listed on the president’s honor roll.

College of Sciences Julie Deslauriers is expected to graduate in May with a bachelor of science degree in biology, with a minor in business administration and a certificate in leadership studies. She was recently inducted into the Order of Pegasus, the highest academic honor a student can achieve at UCF. During her time at UCF, Deslauriers has also received the Distinguished Undergraduate Researcher Award and the Student Leadership Development Rising Star Award, and earned a place on the President’s Honor Roll and dean’s list every semester. She is a member of the President’s Leadership Council and an alumna of the LEAD Scholars Program, where she served as the leadership development director. As a Research and Mentoring Program Scholar, she works in the Coastal and Estuary Ecology Lab to preserve the integrity of the ecosystem. Deslauriers co-founded “Don’t Shop, Adopt,” an organization focused on assisting shelter animals. She is also the vice president for the Pre-Veterinary Society.  Additionally, she served as an ambassador for Elect Her, a program that trains college women to campaign for student government and future office. Deslauriers was a team captain for Knight-Thon, and participated in the Alternative Break Program at UCF. She plans to attend the College of Veterinary Medicine at Purdue University.

College of Undergraduate Studies Jacqueline Meyer is pursuing a bachelor of science in environmental studies with minors in mathematical biology and political science. Meyer is also in the Burnett Honors College. She serves on the President’s Leadership Council, is a symposium team leader in the Honors Cornerstone Course, a Burnett Honors College Scholar Mentor and a civic intern for the Office of Research and Civic Engagement. In addition, she is an active volunteer at the UCF Arboretum’s organic community garden and a Green HERO. She is a member of the Honors Congress, where she has served on the volunteer committee. During spring break 2015, Meyer volunteered at the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge as part of the Honors Alternative Break Program. She also works as a transition advisor in the Office of Interdisciplinary Studies. Meyer recently participated in a collaborative research effort focused on cypress domes on campus with UCF’s Landscape & National Resources and Arboretum programs, and presented the results of that research at the 2016 Showcase of Undergraduate Research Excellence. Meyer, a sophomore, is expected to graduate in spring 2018.

Rosen College of Hospitality Management Jessica Getlik is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in hospitality management in the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, where she holds a 3.99 GPA. She is expected to graduate in May. Getlik works full time as manager of resort activities at Orange Lake Resort, supervising a team of 20 employees. She has regularly earned spots on the president’s honor roll and dean’s list, and is the recipient of several scholarships. She is a member of Phi Eta Sigma National Honor Society, Eta Sigma Delta International Hospitality Honor Society and Professional Conventions Management Association. Getlik’s volunteerism includes Give Kids the World and Volunteer UCF. She plans to pursue job opportunities with a resort or cruise line after graduation.