Students from each of UCF’s 10 colleges were honored for their dedication to excellence in academics, leadership and community services during the annual Founders’ Day ceremony Wednesday.
Jessica Marie Ortega, is an art history major with a minor in Italian and Renaissance studies. She is a member of the President’s Honor Roll and the President’s Leadership Council. She is a grants and research intern at United Arts of Central Florida, and in the past was a peer ambassador at The Burnett Honors College.
Jessica Fears is a National Merit Scholar who aspires to teach the next generation of business students. An economics major with a math minor, she’s debated moral dilemmas as a member of UCF’s Ethics Bowl team. She’s also worked as a researcher for UCF’s Institute for Economic Competitiveness.
Caitie Corrigan is an Elementary Education major who is passionate about helping young children. She uses her compassion for children and her love for teaching as a volunteer group grief facilitator for New Hope for Kids’ Center for Grieving Children, where she works with groups of children coping with feelings of grief and loss after the death of a loved one. She’s used that experience to create a guide for elementary school teachers who work with grieving children as part of her Honors in the Major thesis. She’s also a member of the UCF Rugby team and a recipient of the Order of Pegasus.
Dunia Villaverde came to the United States from Cuba when she was 11, and now hopes to continue her studies at UCF by enrolling in the College of Engineering and Computer Science for her graduate studies. She is president of UCF’s Alpha Pi Mu industrial engineering honor society and has been an intern for Lockheed Martin.
Robert Gottfried, a Legal Studies major, is a member of the President’s Leadership Council and the vice president of the UCF Honors Congress. He is a member of UCF’s moot court team, and this year, he and three team members made UCF history when they became the first students to earn bids to compete in the American Collegiate Moot Court Association’s national competition. In the fall, he will start law school at Loyola University in Chicago, where he will focus on advocacy and intellectual property.
Allison Muniz has been recognized by her college for embodying the values of professionalism, leadership and service. Muniz is a student leader with exemplary grades and extensive work experience in her major. She’s a member of Omicron Delta Kappa National Leadership Honor Society, a former Student Government Association senator and has served as a board member of the LEAD Scholars program.
Heardley Moses Murdock is a molecular biology and microbiology major who will graduate from UCF this spring with a 4.0 GPA. He is a team leader in The Burnett Honors College and a supplemental instructor in the Burnett Community Scholars program, where he volunteers more than 600 hours to teaching in local public schools. He also is a recipient of the Order of Pegasus.
Samuel Foarde is a Nursing major. Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes during his first year at UCF, he’s since spent his time studying the disease, raising funds to combat it and supporting others through his participation the UCF Type 1 Knights group. For his Honors in the Major thesis, he’s focused on the roles that family, peer and school support systems play in diabetes-related stress, conflict and metabolic control. He’s also volunteered with Relay for Life, Give Kids the World, the Boys and Girls Club, Meals on Wheels and the International Thespian Association.
Ariel Horner is a Biology major and teaching assistant who will enter the master’s program this fall. She has hosted educational videos about her main interest, reptiles and amphibians, and is organizing a UCF festival to address amphibian conservation. She has traveled to Ecuador to collect scientific specimens of reptiles and amphibians, and has worked with the Back to Nature Wildlife Rehab Center, Brevard Museum of History, Tennessee Aquarium and Central Florida Zoo & Botanical Gardens.
Rachel Brill is a leader on campus and in the community. An interdisciplinary studies major with concentrations in social sciences and the humanities, she’s made an impact on campus as vice president for the Student Government Association and a member of LEAD Scholars and Pi Beta Phi sorority. She also has led Volunteer UCF and has made three Alternative Spring Break trips. Last year, she organized a campus event called Pack to Attack Hunger, where students gathered on Memory Mall to package 40,000 items to send to Nicaragua, raising $10,000 to support the project.
Outstanding Thesis Awards
Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
First Place: William W. Crosby for “An Evaluation of Tracheostomy Care Anxiety Relief Through Education and Support: A Pilot Study,” directed by Mary Lou Sole in the College of Nursing.
Runner-up: Amanda M. D’Ambra for “Minimizing Incivility in the Workplace to Increase the Retention of New Graduate Nurses,” directed by Diane Andrews in the College of Nursing.
Sciences, Engineering, and Technology
First Place: Lucky V. Tran for “Effect of Rib Aspect Ratio on Heat Transfer and Friction in Rectangular Channels,” directed by Jayanta Kapat in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.
Runner-up: Brent E. Wimberly for “Identification of Spatiotemporal Nutrient Patterns and Associated Ecohydrological Trends in the Tampa Bay Coast Region,” directed by Ni-Bin Chang in Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering.