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Student Testimonials - COAS Award Winners From Past Years

Department of Art & Design

Outstanding Student in Graphic Design: Peter Nguyen

As for my success at UNF, I attribute it to my hard work, determination, and willingness to have an open mind to be creative and seek new goals. Every professor I have studied under has made some impact in my life and education , especially the professors of my given concentration, both current and past. They have taught me the foundation to build my future career upon and encourage me to keep exploring possibilities . Special thanks goes to my family and friends for their support through the years in times both good and bad to keep me focused on my goals.

Department of Biology

Academic Achievement Award: Ashik Shrestha

I attribute my success to my parents, friends and teachers. My parents have always been supportive and encouraging. My friends here at UNF have been helpful and I have learned a lot from them. The UNF Biology Department is great, especially my mentor/teacher Dr. Judith Ochrietor, who has been my source of inspiration.


From my part, I just carried my responsibility as a student. I have worked hard for my achievements, and am going to continue doing so in my future.

Excellence Award: Kathryn Mince

I think that I stayed motivated and focused and surrounded myself with people who kept me on the right track (family, friends, professors). I have always strived to be the very best at everything I do, and have always participated in a large variety of activities. However, school was always #1 for me and was put above everything else. My research professors, Dr. Michael Lufaso and Dr. Judith Ochrietor, were incredibly supportive both in the classroom, research labs, and outside of class. There is also Marcia Ladendorff, my first Honors professor for a 6-hour honors class called Constructing Realities. Without her class, I can honestly say that my college experience would have been completely different. Finally, there is Matt Davies, whom I had for several chemistry labs and currently grade for. He has been very supportive and always there to offer a helping hand or just someone to talk to. My family has always supported me in all of my endeavors. Their support always encouraged me to do my very best at everything I do. My friends helped shape me into the person I am today and kept me sane on my path to getting into medical school. I stayed determined and focused on achieving my goals. I allowed myself to participate in a variety of activities, clubs, and leadership positions . I love UNF and have absolutely loved my last 4 years here. I am incredibly sad to have to leave, but so grateful for all the experiences I gained. I could not have asked for a better undergraduate education.

Department of Communication

Academic Achievement Award: Nicole Hernandez

The biggest contribution to my academic success would be my parents because they have always emphasized devotion to academic success and completing coursework above the teacher's expectations. As for who on campus made a difference in my life, I can't say only one person. Dr. Paula Horvath-Neimeyer and Dr. Berrin Beasley have afforded me wonderful opportunities outside of the typical journalism coursework. They have both shown amazing support and offered a lot of guidance during my years at this university.


Dr. Robert Bohle also contributed because I never walked away from his classes without having improved some skill or been exposed to a certain element of mass communication. Dr. John Parmelee and Dr. Brian Thornton have also sparked my interest in a possible career outside of reporting, in particular academic research and practicing law, respectively. Amanda Billy, a friend and fellow student journalist, has always been a sounding board and great editor for assignments, or just life in general. I don't think I did anything specific outside of committing myself to performing my best, pushing myself to improve, and doing what was asked of me with a pleasant attitude.

International Studies Program

Outstanding Undergraduate in International Studies: Robert Conrad

I think that the professors here on campus made the greatest contributions over all. They are the unsung heroes of this university. There is one professor in particular that made the greatest impact on my time at UNF: Dr. Pamela Zeiser. Her enthusiasm for her course material is infectious. For instance, she turned a course on International Relations Theory into something truly enjoyable and interesting, which was incredibly unexpected. She graciously took me on, mentoring me in research, reviewing draft after draft, and bringing my Thesis document to fruition. I just wish there was some way I could repay her for all she has done, she turned me into a scholar. Professor Nancy Soderberg is also a teacher worth mentioning. She exposed me to a field of study that I am now passionate about and has instilled the confidence in me to achieve greatness and do well in this chaotic world. Both Professors Joanne Davis and Linda Gaskin (RIP) made learning French and Latin a "piece of gateaux," and made what was to be a daunting experience quite the opposite. I was thankful to have met Professor John Oliver, who taught me more than I could have ever expected to learn about myself... but, the course was Sexuality and Spirituality. He made me comfortable with being me and opening my eyes to what I want and crave in this life. To wrap this up, I would also like to extend my appreciation to Dr. Ron Lukens-Bull for guiding me during the Honors Portfolio process, Professor Thomas Serwatka for teaching a groundbreaking course on homosexuality, and Meghan Hotchkiss at the Study Abroad Center for helping me get to Cyprus last year. I'm sure there are many others I am forgetting to mention though!!


My family, mainly my mom and step-dad, have acted as my rock. Whenever I am feeling overwhelmed or daunted by some obstacle or have a problem, they are always there to guide me through it and talk things over with. They've acted as my motivators to keep me going and they have always encouraged me to persist no matter what.


I can attribute my success to those mentioned above and this never-ending drive I've had in me my whole life that keeps me going. I somehow managed to pull off great grades while working full time. I've had to sacrifice fun for the most part of the last two years, but it will be undoubtedly be worth it in the long run.

Department of Languages, Literatures & Cultures

Spanish Scholar: Lucía Allen

I attribute my success at UNF to my parents. It may sound like a cliché, but my mother and father instilled in me a desire to perform to the best of my abilities. I had the continuous support of several staff members at UNF, including Dr. Otilia Salmon, Prof. Nuria Ibanez, and Dr. Jorge Febles. Having the support of my friends and family, but also knowing they expected me to succeed, factored into my success at the University of North Florida.

Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Outstanding Graduate Student in Mathematics: Anuradha Priyadarshani

It was a great opportunity to attend to University of North Florida as a graduate student in Mathematics with graduate teaching assistantship. Although I'm an International student, I was fortunate enough to have great professors and friends. In this peaceful environment, I was able to complete my studies very successfully.