This is a package made for my Mobile Journalism class at UCF:
Exceptional faculty from each college were honored at the Founders’ Day Honors Convocation in the Pegasus Ballroom on Wednesday afternoon.
“This is the first time I’ve had the chance to be a part of this ceremony, but what a great way to honor our faculty,” Interim UCF President Thad Seymour said. “Its staggering to see the long term commitment of so many of our faculty members.”
The award ceremony, held annually since 1990, serves as an opportunity for UCF to recognize faculty and staff for outstanding teaching, advising, research, professional service, librarianship and instructional design. This included recognition of UCF Reach for the Stars Award recipients and Pegasus Professor Award recipients.
Reach for the Stars recipients are early career professionals with highly successful research and creative activity with a national impact. Awardees received a $10,000 grant. This year, UCF recognized three individuals with the honor.
•Tim Hawthorne, assistant professor of geographic information system in the college of science, involves everyday citizens in data collection to deliver information that can be used to enhance and protect their communities and their natural resources.
•Megan Nickels, assistant professor of STEM education in the College of Medicine and the College of Community Innovation and Education, uses robotics and immersive virtual reality to develop children’s mathematical thinking and to deliver education to critically ill children so they don’t fall behind in school during extended hospital stays.
•Pamela Wisniewski, Assistant professor of computer science in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, researches how people use technology to make meaningful connections with one another, as well as ways to mitigate the dangers encountered online.
Nickels says it’s an honor to be recognized alongside of her colleagues.
“It’s really humbling to know that your work is recognized and honored at this level and that there’s a broader picture, for me, with what I am doing with children who are medically complex, Nickels said.
Pegasus Professor Award Recipients are the highest honor of excellence. This award is for UCF professors who have showed excellence in every area – teaching, research and service. The award is determined by the president, and recipients received a $5,000 research grant and a $5,000 stipend. Four UCF professors were chosen for this honor.
•Josh Colwell’s, Department of Physics in the College of Sciences, research works to uncover the story of the solar system and the formation of habitable planets like Earth throughout the galaxy
•Naim Kapucu, College of Community Innovation and Education, has led creation of six new degree programs, and has brought top journals in the field to UCF
•Tison Pugh, College of Arts and Humanities, arrived at UCF in 2001 after receiving his doctorate in English literature from the University of Oregon, and he has also published 19 books in 17 years.
•Martine Vanryckeghem’s, College of Health Professions and Sciences, research in fluency disorders has led her to co-author standardized diagnostic tests for children and adults that investigate the emotional, behavioral and cognitive effects stuttering can have on an individual. Her work has been translated, researched and published in 30 different countries.
The Master of Ceremonies, Dr. Manoj Chopra, has hosted the ceremony for 12 years now. He says it’s exciting to be able to honor the UCF faculty.
“These are my colleagues, I’ve been here for 26 years, I know most of them,” Chopra said. “Overall, it was nice to recognize accomplishments of your colleagues of many years now.”