UCF celebrated the accomplishments of some of the university’s brightest students this week when 19 of them were inducted into the Order of Pegasus.
“The Order of Pegasus is the highest honor the university gives to students,” said President John C. Hitt. “It recognizes outstanding graduating seniors and graduate students who have demonstrated exemplary university and community involvement, leadership, academic achievement, and service.”
There were more than 70 students nominated for the honor. Among this year’s recipients are, guidance counselor, spaceship designer and doctor.
Each winner has impressive academic credentials and multiple examples of leadership skills. They also are shining examples of active citizens involved in the community and trying to make it better.
Todd Currie, for example, is pursuing his degree in event management through the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. He also worked with Volunteer UCF to create the Sunday Knight Food Share, a volunteer program that provides meals to more than 100 homeless people in downtown Orlando.
There’s also Jorge Andres Hernandez, a student majoring in biomedical sciences in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences. Not only has he worked to get into medical school, but he was also named as a second-team All-American pitcher of the UCF Club Baseball Team in 2014. And when he wasn’t studying or playing sports, he was volunteering as mentor, medical translator, teacher and caregiver for a variety of organizations that support the underprivileged and underserved communities in Orlando, Tampa and Miami, including Shepherd’s Hope, BASE Camp, Clean the World, San Jose Mission Clinic and others. Next year he plans to begin medical school.
Sheridan Kushner, an early childhood development major spent her off hours helping children in a variety of ways from volunteering at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children to UCF Knight-Thon. She hopes to become a guidance counselor and help guide young people to bright futures.
Then there’s Albert Manero, a Florida native pursuing a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. His dream is to design space planes. In his spare time at UCF he founded Limbitless Solutions, a nonprofit organization that creates 3-D printed arms for children missing limbs. His team, which includes friends and classmates from a variety of colleges at UCF, delivered its first arm in June and is now working with more than 100 countries to help children around the world. Along the way Limbitless Solutions has garnered international media attention and even caught the interest of actor Robert Downey Jr., also known as Iron Man. Downey helped deliver one of the team’s newest arms to a child.
Manica Pierrette, a student pursuing her master’s degree in educational leadership, is planning to help children in another way. The active volunteer has helped children in Central Florida by arranging for donations of school supplies. She co-chaired the inaugural Heart of Mercy Back to School Bash, which provided thousands of school supplies, free food and haircuts for school-aged children. She hopes to one day develop a nonprofit youth leadership camp for boys and girls that will focus on academic excellence and service, as well as professional and personal development.
All the recipients are impressive and have unique stories. For a list of all the winners and short biographies about their accomplishments and their future plans click here.