Cody Amato, a UCF nursing student, won first place in the Health Sciences category at the Showcase for Undergraduate Research Excellence (SURE) competition on April 1, 2011. Ellita Williams, also a UCF nursing student, was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the same category. Both earned scholarships.

SURE is hosted annually by UCF’s Office of Undergraduate Research. The event provides a venue for undergraduate students to present their research to a broader audience. The Showcase demonstrates how student research builds upon and enriches the UCF undergraduate experience.

Amato, an Honors in the Major (HIM) student, wrote his undergraduate thesis and presented his poster on “Effectiveness of Subglottic Suctioning in the Prevention of Ventilator-Associated Pneumonia.” He was mentored by Dr. Mary Lou Sole, a professor in the UCF College of Nursing and an expert on the subject.

Williams, a RAMP Scholar, spent a year assisting Dr. Anne Norris, another professor in the UCF College of Nursing, and worked on her NIH-funded research project. From this year-long research experience, Williams wrote and presented her poster on “Comparing Middle School Latinas Who Have and Have Not Participated in Various Sexual Behaviors.”

Other Nursing Student Entries at the 2011 SURE Competition:

  • Lauren Flaherty (HIM student), Poster Title: “Effectiveness of Nonpharmacological Techniques for Procedural Analgesia in the NICU,” Mentors: Dr. Kelly Allred, Ms. Sigrid Ladores (Nursing), Dr. Jeffery Cassisi (Psychology)
  • Amy Howard (HIM student), Poster Title: “The Effects of Preoperative Education on Stress in the Pediatric Population,” Mentor: Dr. Kelly Allred (Nursing)
  • Shahzia Lakhani (HIM student), Poster Title: “Preventing Neuromuscular Deconditioning in Critically Ill Patients,” Mentor: Ms. Christina Amidei (Nursing)
  • Marie Shultz (HIM student), Poster Title: “Factors Related to Stress in Nursing Students,” Mentor: Dr. Maureen Covelli (Nursing)
  • Molly Wilhelm (SMART Scholar), Poster Title: “Understanding the Experience of Being Diagnosed with Breast Cancer in Older Women,” Mentor: Dr. Victoria Loerzel (Nursing)
  • Angela Zimmerman (HIM student), Poster Title: “Nursing Interventions in the Care of Patients Undergoing Induced Hypothermia,” Mentor: Ms. Christina Amidei (Nursing)
  • These talented nursing students will graduate in May with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree.

    Established in 1989, Honors in the Major (HIM) is the oldest and most prestigious undergraduate research program at UCF. Designed to encourage students to undertake original and independent work in their major field, each student selected into the HIM program must research, write, defend and publish an original Honors thesis that serves as the capstone product of their undergraduate career. The research is then eligible to be presented in competitive research events such as SURE. Visit for more information.

    The UCF Research and Mentoring Program (RAMP) is designed to provide undergraduate students, who may be interested in pursuing graduate education, with research experience while working closely with a faculty mentor. In addition, the students participate in a variety of workshops designed to increase their awareness and knowledge of graduate school education. The aim of this program is to encourage more students from those populations who are traditionally underrepresented in graduate education to attend graduate school. Visit for more information.

    Student-Mentor Academic Research Teams (SMART) is UCF’s premier undergraduate research program that is designed to help students identify and work with faculty mentors in a research area of shared interest. SMART students assist faculty on their ongoing research projects in all academic disciplines; work may entail laboratory activities, library research, the collection and compilation of survey data and/or artistic endeavors. Some students, however, develop their own independent research projects under the supervision of their faculty mentor within the SMART Program.