Juan Arias, '19
Juan Esteban Arias was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia, and moved to the United States at the age of 14. He is currently pursuing a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a minor in physics. As a dance instructor for Latin Rhythm (UCF’s Latin dance club), Juanes found a passion for teaching others. Through research, he found a passion for science. In combining the two, he hopes to explore science & inspire others as a chemistry professor in a university. He is currently performing computational studies on metastable-state photoacids under the guidance of Dr. Karin Y. Chumbimuni-Torres.
Ahmad Azim, '17
Ahmad Azim was born in Kabul, Afghanistan. He immigrated at the age of 5 to the United States and grew up in Jacksonville, Florida. He is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Photonic Science & Engineering and a minor in Mathematics. Ahmad conducts research at the Laser Plasma Laboratory as part of the laser development team in CREOL, the College of Optics & Photonics. Currently, his research interests include temporal and spatial coherent combining of laser pulses for generating high-energy, high-power ultrafast lasers for applications in plasma and atomic physics. Ahmad is currently working on the development of a novel picosecond pump laser for a quasi-single-cycle optical parametric chirped-pulse amplifier system using multidimensional coherent pulse addition.
Desia Bacon, '17
Desia Bacon is from the small town of Callahan, FL. She left her hometown for UCF to pursue her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Minor in Cognitive Sciences and Leadership Studies. Her passion lies in working with children and researching questions pertaining to cognitive development and language acquisition. Desia has previously researched children's understanding of linguistic color categories under the guidance of Dr. David Barner as part of the University of California San Diego, STARS Summer Research Program. Desia plans on obtaining her Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology in hopes of continuing research, becoming part of a professoriate, and mentoring other underrepresented students.
Karla Badillo-Urquiola, '14
Karla Badillo-Urquiola entered UCF in 2010 after graduating from the International Baccalaureate program. She is pursuing her Bachelor's degree in Psychology, while earning a minor in Writing and Rhetoric and a certification in Interpretation and Translation. Dedicated to her community, Karla has served on the Undergraduate Studies Student Advisory Committee and is a co-founder of Knight PALS, a student organization focused on autism. In January of 2012, she earned the Undergraduate Researcher of the Month award. Currently, she works under the supervision of Dr. Stephanie Lackey, director of ACTIVE Lab, at the Institute for Simulation and Training. Karla's research interests include military psychology, combat profiling detection and development, terrorism and counter-terrorism, human factors, simulation, and human robotics interaction (HRI). Her ultimate goal is to earn a Ph.D. in Modeling and Simulation.
Lori Lu Barnard, '13
Lori Lu Barnard
Lori Lu Barnard, wife, mother, Registered Respiratory Therapist and former Marine Corps noncommissioned officer was born and raised in Florida. She is often found volunteering in her community with her family. Lori takes pride in mentoring other first generation students through tutoring, sharing information on higher education opportunities, and encouraging fellow students to follow their passions into a meaningful career. As an Accelerated Communication Sciences and Disorders student, Lori challenges herself with early graduate work as an undergraduate. Lori takes an active interest in her field through her student memberships with the Florida Association of Speech-Language Pathologists (FLASHA), National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), as well as the University of Central Florida (UCF) chapter of NSSLHA. She is passionate about research that translates into best-practice therapy. Her daughter inspires her research on the effects peer mentoring has in early language acquisition. Lori is equally enthusiastic about working with medical scientific technology and novel therapies to aid persons with brain injury, especially her fellow veterans. Her previous research includes coding and meta-analysis, as well as educational and team-writing patient-driven protocols for pediatric patients. Lori purposes to earn her Ph.D. with a goal of teaching and actively researching clinical applications for her field to improve her community.
Danielle Barnhill, '15
Danielle Barnhill was born and raised in Pensacola, Florida. She was awarded an Associate of Arts in Pre-Engineering from Pensacola State College. She is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Environmental Engineering at the University of Central Florida. She plans to pursue her Ph.D. focusing on the intersection of urban infrastructure and the environment. With these goals in mind, she plans to make her career a narrative of sustainability and resilience in the face of climate change.
Antonia Bass, '15
Antonia Bass was born in Adana, Turkey and grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida. She is pursuing a Bachelor's degree in Biotechnology. Antonia is a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and Pre-Professional Medical Society. Currently, Antonia is the Public Relations Officer for Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS UCF Chapter). Her current research entails the development of antimicrobial surface coating nanomaterial to be used in bandages. She plans on obtaining her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences and conduct research on infectious diseases.
Itza Beltran, '17
Itza Beltran was born and raised in Bucaramanga, Colombia and moved to the United States at the age of 12. She transferred to the University of Central Florida from Valencia College in the Fall of 2014 where she is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering. She is passionate about the creation and implementation of new "Green" technologies. She recently started working at the Center for Advanced Turbines and Energy Research under the supervision of Dr . Jayanta Kapat. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in mechanical engineering and continue doing research in clean-renewable forms of energy.
Adee Benartzy, '12
Adee Benartzy is a junior Art History major and McNair Scholar at the University of Central Florida. Her specific interest within her field is mid-late nineteenth century and early twentieth century art, specifically in France, and the role of said era's contribution to the overall evolution of visual culture and the consequent rise of Modernism. Adee works at the UCF University Writing Center as a writing consultant and volunteers at the UCF Art Gallery. Born in South Florida, Adee Benartzy was raised in Tel Aviv, Israel until the age of seven. From early childhood, art has been an omnipresent part of her life. She indulged her passion for studio art and participated in a high school magnet program for the visual arts. At UCF, Adee had an opportunity to further explore the arts and discover a new passion—art history. Following a backpacking trip to Europe during the summer term of her freshman year, Adee recognized her love and appreciation for museum work, as well as the art of the mid-late nineteenth century and the flowering age of modernism. Adee’s future plans include a study-aboard experience and museum internships. She also intends to participate in the Honors in the Major (HIM) program. Adee is interested in pursuing a PhD in art history.
Anil Bozan, '12
Anil Bozan was born in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. During his freshman year at UCF, Anil’s participation in the EXCEL program further fueled his fascination of flight. Anil was also able to enjoy his math and physics courses, which piqued his interest in engineering. During his sophomore year, he served as a Resident Assistant for the Department of Housing and Residence Life, Recording Secretary for the Student Panel for Engineering and Computer Science, and Committee Chair for the 2010 UCF Engineer’s Week Committee. Currently, Anil is participating in the UCF/Lockheed Martin Work Experience Program and the NSF funded Young Entrepreneur and Scholar (YES) Scholarship Program. He aspires to obtain his doctorate of philosophy in aerospace engineering so that he can contribute to the future of the aerospace industry.
Lianne Brito, '19
Lianne Brito was born and raised in La Habana, Cuba. She moved to the United States in December of 2010. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering with a minor in international engineering. After starting her college career at UCF with the LEARN program, she developed a passion for research. She has explored her research interests within civil engineering by gaining experience in the construction, structural, and geotechnical fields. Lianne also dedicates her time to extracurricular activities by taking on roles such as UCF STEM Ambassador and Communications Chair for the SHPE student organization’s Executive Board. Her future plans are to obtain a Ph.D. in civil engineering and become a professor.
Steven Carrion, '16
Steven Carrion was born in Colombia, and moved to the United States at a young age. He is majoring in Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Central Florida. His research interests include determining how anthropogenic activity affects marine ecological communities and their biological interactions, and using this gathered knowledge to establish effective mitigation techniques. In the future he hopes to work collaboratively with local communities and professionals to create multi-perspective solutions for the restoration and management of coastlines. Previously, he has worked through an NSF REU to study the effects of the BP oil spill on marine invertebrates in marsh sediment, and jellyfish proliferation research with the cross-Mediterranean MED-JELLYRISK programme in Italy. He is currently working under an undergraduate grant studying ways to improve the cultivation of the salt marsh grass, Spartina alterniflora, for conservation and restorative purposes. Fueled by his passion for science, discovery, and advocacy for the surrounding environment, he aims to obtain an interdisciplinary doctoral degree in Marine Biology.
Sharon Carter, '14
Sharon Carter was born in Gainesville and grew up in a small town in northern Florida. She attended Daytona State College and transferred to UCF in 2010. She is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in biology. In the summer of 2012, Sharon worked with Dr. Al-Shehbaz conducting a palynological study of endemic plants from South Africa at the Missouri Botanical Gardens. Currently, Sharon has been working with her mentor Dr. Christopher Parkinson doing a phylogenetic study of rare snakes from Papua New Guinea. Her research interests include all aspects of evolutionary biology with a special focus on phylogenetic relationships. She plans to obtain a doctorate degree and eventually become a professor.
Jennifer Carvel, '18
Jennifer Carvel was born and raised in Miami, Florida. She is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Biomedical Sciences . Her passion for alleviating homelessness has led her to begin a non-profit organization, Hearts for the Homeless Orlando, that provides blood pressures screenings to the homeless in addition to general heart health information and free clinic locations. Jennifer is currently researching the efficacy of social services on the homeless in terms of alleviating psychological homelessness. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology and become a college professor.
Stephanie Castillo, '15
Stephanie Castillo is originally from Venezuela, but was raised in Florida. She earned her Associate in Arts degree from Valencia College in Orlando, Florida. Stephanie transferred to UCF fall of 2012 to pursue a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry. She is an active club member of the Society Advancing Chicanos and Native American in Science, the American Chemical Society, and conducts research in her spare time. Stephanie is currently researching green synthesis of silver nanoparticles using extract of black tea with curcumin as a fluorescent marker. Her research interests are in biochemistry and materials science. Her future educational plan is to obtain a Ph.D. in Chemistry and potentially conduct research for an industry or university in the emerging fields of materials science for biological modulation, sensing, and imaging.
Hardeo Chin, '17
Hardeo Chin was born in Kingston, Jamaica and raised in South Florida. He is pursuing a bachelor's degree in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Central Florida. Hardeo has served as President and Senator of the National Society of Black Engineers. He is currently researching the effects of mistuning on turbomachinery. His research interests include gas turbines, propulsion and combustion. He plans to obtain his Ph.D. in Aerospace Engineering and work in the Research & Development section of an Aerospace Company.
Krystal Christopher, '12
Krystal Christopher was born on the US Virgin Island of St. Thomas. She grew up on the Islands of Antigua and St. Croix before calling West Palm Beach, Florida home. She is currently pursing a Bachelor's degree in both Psychology and Sociology as well as a minor in Women Studies with a certificate in Behavioral Forensic. She hopes to study mental health counseling or marriage and family therapy in graduate school, ultimately leading to a Ph.D in Counseling Psychology.
Christy Clarke, '13
Christy was born and raised in Orlando, Florida. She is currently an Early Childhood Development major. From a young age, she has had a strong passion for working with young children and families. She served as the transfer liaison on the University's Student Undergraduate Research Council for the 2012-2013 year. She actively promotes research on campus and mentored 150+ students during the 2012-2013 academic year as the peer mentor for the Office of Undergraduate Research. She is intrigued by research that involves mother and infant interactions and attachment. She is also interested in studying socio-demographic factors in underrepresented populations. Currently she is completing an undergraduate honors thesis under the supervision of Dr. Anne Culp and an internship at the Early Learning Coalition of Orange County under the supervision of Dr. Cindy Jurie. She is interested in pursuing her Ph.D. in child and family sciences or a related field.
Raven Cokley, '13
Raven K. Cokley
Raven K. Cokley was born and raised in the beautiful city of Sarasota, Florida. In 2009, she graduated from Riverview High School's International Baccalaureate Program. She is a psychology major with a Spanish minor and a certificate in leadership studies. Raven has always had a passion for working with and mentoring troubled youth, by helping them to grow, develop, and ultimately find their place in society. Her research interests include all facets of multicultural counseling: self-esteem issues in teenage girls, addressing minority high school retention, adolescent pregnancy rates, and exploring spiritual concerns. Upon graduation with her bachelor’s degree, she plans to earn a Ph.D. in adolescent counseling psychology.
Natalia Marques de Silva, '10
Natalia Marques da Silva
Natália Silva was born in São Paulo, Brazil. She moved to the United States with her family in December of 1999. She developed an interest for the Arts early on and chose the path of Art History to educate others in what she views as an important vehicle for expression and cultural interaction. In addition to being a McNair Scholar, Natalia also participates in the RAMP and HIM Programs.
Sarah Davenport, '18
Sarah Davenport was born and raised in Naples, Florida. She is pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Anthropology. Sarah is passionate about environmental and food sustainability which has led to her active involvement as a volunteer with organizations such a Hebni- an African American founded nutrition consult organization- teaching food insecure populations how to grow their own food in a practical way. Her current research, conducted under the guidance of Dr. Joanna Mishtal, is concerned with the agenda and practices of an environmental sustainability focused organization in Central Florida, and how they incorporate sustainability initiatives and equity. Upon completion of her bachelor’s degree, Sarah plans to attend graduate school and attain a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology with which she will use to continue to conduct applied research and work as a professor.
Samuel Deane, '19
Shirley Dorsainvil, '17
Shirley Dorsainvil is born and raised in Boynton Beach, Florida. She is pursuing her bachelors in Psychology at the University of Central Florida. Shirley serves as the Internal Vice President of the cultural organization Club Kreyol and the Secretary of Transfer Knights. She is a current Undergraduate Research Assistant for the Department of Psychology Personality, Relationship Development/Dynamics (PRDD) Research Group. She is interested in the meaning of marriage, sexual dysfunction specifically hypoactive sexual desire, long distance relationships, military couples, sex and couples therapy, intimacy and relationship problems, infidelity and resolution of infidelity in relationships, diverse families, effects of marital conflict on family members, achievement issues in low-income, minority, and at-risk populations. She plans to obtain a MA in Marital and Family Therapy and a Ph.D. in Social/Personality Psychology in order to pursue a career in providing therapy to military families and conducting research.
Amber Dukes, '10
Amber Dukes was born in Ocala, Florida. She is earning dual degrees in Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies, both with the distinction of Honors in Major. Her research interest is in Evolutionary Psychology with a focus on morality. Her current research project is an exploration of the 7 deadly sins from an evolutionary perspective. Previously, her research has explored variables associated with attraction to psychopaths. She was a participant in the 2008 Summer Research Academy, and is a Ronald E. McNair Scholar. Amber was selected to do summer research at the University of Pennsylvania with Dr. Robert Kurzban as part of the Leadership Alliance. At UCF, Amber is mentored by Drs. Charles Negy, Bernadette Jungblut, and Mason Cash.
Shekinah Fashaw, '15
Shekinah is pursuing an interdisciplinary studies degree, focusing on biomedical sciences and public affairs in Undergraduate Studies, and minoring in health services administration. Her academic achievements include the President's Honor Roll and dean's list every semester. As a McNair Scholar and a member of The Burnett Honors College, she is conducting independent health services research and looking forward to presenting at future conferences. She has also worked as a research assistant in the College of Nursing through the LEAD Scholars Assistantship program. She is a proud member of Alpha Kappa Psi professional business fraternity, as well as the President's Leadership Council. As a founding member of two student organizations, she values servant leadership and creating opportunities for others. She served in Student Government Association during her entire academic career; most recently, as the director of Student Affairs and as the Outreach chair on the Golden Rule Review Committee. Her passion for continuously investing in others is what drives her. She served as a student representative on the Capital Improvement Trust Fund Fee Committee as well as the Student Activities Committee leader for SDES PROGRESS initiative. For all of her achievements Shekinah has also been recognized with UCF's highest honor, the Order of Pegasus. She plans to obtain her Ph.D. in Public Health and work in a government or research organization that focuses on health policy.
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