Bold. Innovative. Excellent. Each year, UCF Alumni honors the best of what the university has to offer with its 30 Under 30 awards. These Knights are beacons of the UCF creed in their professional workplaces and local communities, helping make the world a better place.

The 2020 class of 30 Under 30 honorees includes leaders in space exploration, civil engineering and even dunking basketballs. These alumni were chosen for their great professional success, commitment to helping others and track record of giving back to UCF and their local community.

“This year, as much as any in the past, we are impressed by the extraordinary things our young alumni are doing in their professional and civic communities.” — Marley Hughes ’11, chair of UCF’s Young Alumni Council

“At UCF we continue to showcase what a truly remarkable young alumni community we have with our 2020 30 Under 30 recipients,” says Marley Hughes ’11, chair of UCF’s Young Alumni Council. “This year, as much as any in the past, we are impressed by the extraordinary things our young alumni are doing in their professional and civic communities. These young leaders continue to set an incredible example for our alma mater. On behalf of the Young Alumni Council, I extend my sincerest congratulations on this well-deserved accomplishment.”

Nominations for the awards were accepted online from Nov. 26, 2019, to Jan. 5, 2020. Nominations were reviewed and scored by UCF staff and previous award recipients, and winners were selected by the UCF Young Alumni Council. The finalists were then confirmed by the UCF Alumni Board based on the following criteria:

  • Must be a graduate of the UCF (undergraduate or graduate degree)
  • Must be age 29 or under on May 1, 2020
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a lifelong relationship with Knights and strive to uphold UCF Young Alumni values

The 2020 award recipients will be honored in a formal ceremony on May 9. Below is a complete list of the 2020 winners, listed alphabetically. Past recipients can be found on the UCF Alumni website.

Andrew Aboujaoude ’18

B.S. Biomedical sciences
Burnett Honors Scholar

Jessica Aksu ’13 ’18MBA
Caroline Castille ’15

B.S. Finance
B.A. Spanish 

Frankie Catalfumo ’13

B.S. Health sciences 

Peri Chajet ’16
B.A. Advertising / Public relations

Brittany Dansereau ’13

B.A. Radio / Television

Juan Escobar ’12 ’14MA

B.A. Public administration
M.A. Educational leadership

Brandon Fair ’13

B.A. Political science

Tacko Fall ’19

B.S. Interdisciplinary studies 

Angelica Garcia ’17MS

M.S. Modeling and simulation

Sarah Goldman ’14

Bachelor of Social Work

Michael Herman ’13

B.S. Civil engineering

Christopher Jones ’13

B.S. Statistics

Jenna (Doerfler) Kelly ’13 ’14MBA ’15MSBM 

B.S. Event management
M.S. Sport business management
Master of Business Administration 

Steven Lerner ’13

B.A. Public administration

Blake Lynch ’14

B.S. Nursing

Paula Machado ’12

B.A. Radio / Television

Santiago Martinez ’14

B.S. Marketing

Marsha Mena ’15 ’16MSW

Bachelor of Social Work
Master of Social Work

Kristina Merritt ’12 

B.S. Psychology
B.A. Political science

Michael Metzner ’16MD

Doctor of Medicine

Alexis Neigel ’15MS ’17PhD

Ph.D. Psychology

Nikunj Patel ’17 ’19MSAE

B.S. Aerospace engineering
M.S. Aerospace engineering

Andrea Piazza ’19MA

M.A. Counselor education

Jonell Radabaugh ’15

B.S. Mechanical engineering
Burnett Honors Scholar

Amanda Schultz ’17

B.S. Nursing
Burnett Honors Scholar

Emily Smith ’13

B.S. Event management

Jade Taylor ’14

B.A. Interpersonal / Organizational communication

Alexandra Thompson ’13

B.A. Advertising / Public relations

James Weschler ’14