Three UCF faculty members Monday were presented with the annual Women of Distinction award by the university’s Center for Success of Women Faculty. The awards recognize some of the unique ways that faculty members contribute to the success of UCF.

The recipients chosen this year for excellence in community engagement and outreach were:

  • Michele Gregoire Gill, an associate professor in the School of Teaching, Learning & Leadership in the College of Education & Human Performance. In 2010, Gill founded Galileo School, a free charter school that has become a partnership school with the university and serves as a site for hosting UCF education interns, students’ field experiences, and faculty guest lectures. Galileo School in the low-income area of Midway near Sanford is known for its educational innovations and a positive community resource in the area.
  • Judy Simms-Cendan, an associate professor of clinical sciences in the College of Medicine. Cendan is the founding faculty advisor of the free, student-run KNIGHTS Clinic and director of the college’s international programs, in which she mentors students to serve the low-income and uninsured in our community and abroad. In interdisciplinary service trips to the Dominican Republic, students learn cultural and language skills to better serve our local Hispanic population. Her pediatric gynecology practice also provides sensitive-care for adolescent girls in Central Florida.
  • Jennifer Tucker, a lecturer in the Department of Health Professionals in the College of Health & Public Affairs. As a practicing pediatric physical therapist, she has developed relationships in the community that strengthen her courses and research at UCF. A big part of her community engagement is caring for children with disabilities.
  • The fourth annual Women of Distinction awards were presented during President John C. Hitt’s reception for new women faculty members. He also gave the three recipients $1,000 to be used for professional development.

    “All of our applicants were amazing, were involved in a huge variety of community engagement and outreach efforts,” said Linda Walters, director of the center and a biology professor.