Elaine Gerlt, 21, a senior pursuing a bachelor’s of science in nursing, has been selected as a recipient for the Order of Pegasus, the university’s most prestigious student award. She is the third nursing student to ever receive this high honor. She will be recognized April 6 at the university’s annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation.

“Being chosen as an Order of Pegasus recipient is the most humbling experience I have had at UCF. I am so thankful,” says Gerlt. “Receiving this award is validation in the highest form that I have been able to make a difference, and that is all I ever wanted out of my collegiate career.”

Gerlt participated in the LEAD Scholars program and serves on the President’s Leadership Council. She is a member of Chi Omega sorority and the Panhellenic Council. She is a member of the Student Nurses Association and the UCF Student Conduct Board, and is a member and former president of Sigma Alpha Pi National Honor Society.

She is also actively involved in community service and has participated in several events, including Ability Field Day hosted by Best Buddies, the American Association Heart Walk, and Feeding Children Everywhere.

“The quality of her work and dedication to others and our community demonstrates her drive for excellence in everything she undertakes,” says Kelly Allred, assistant professor and undergraduate BSN program coordinator. “Elaine is an exceptional individual and an exemplar undergraduate student at this university.”

Besides her various roles in student organizations and community service, Gerlt was selected to participate in UCF’s Homecoming Court in fall of 2015.

“She exhibits beauty, no doubt, but her beauty is not just on the outside. She is honest, caring, competent, confident, and represents the College and the university very well,” says Allred.

Despite having a busy schedule, Gerlt manages to reach high academic achievement and maintain a high GPA.

“Nursing is a very challenging upper-division program. Maintaining a high GPA along with her extensive leadership and service activities is phenomenal,” says Mary Lou Sole, dean of the College of Nursing.

After graduation, Gerlt plans to pursue a career in women’s health and has accepted a graduate nurse position at a local women’s hospital. In the future she hopes to become an OB/GYN nurse practitioner.

“I chose to become a nurse because I know that the difference between a good hospital experience and a bad hospital experience is contingent upon the level of care provided by a nurse,” says Gerlt.  “I want to make a tangible difference in the lives of my patients.”

Order of Pegasus recognizes students who embody a high sense of academic achievement, outstanding university involvement, leadership, and community service. Students must be nominated by individuals who broadly represent the university community. A formal application, essay, and at least two recommendation letters are required to be reviewed by the selection committee.