Skip to Main Content
Hicks Honors College

Recent Hicks Honors Graduates


Nothing makes the Hicks Honors College more proud than to hear and share tales of success from our soaring Ospreys. We can't wait to see what they will do next, and what you can too!

Maria Encinosa at Harvard medical school

Maria Encinosa '21

Maria Encinosa, a 2021 Hicks Honors College alumna, is fascinated by the intersections between healthcare and sociocultural environments. While still an undergraduate, she wrote her article “Embodied Injustices: COVID-19, Race, and Epigenetics” which combats myths of innate biological difference between racial groups and the normalization of minority sickness. This piece, and her conference presentations, earned her the SOARS 2021 Undergraduate Researcher of the Year Award. 

Maria holds a dual degree in Biomedical Sciences and International Relations & Politics with minors in Anthropology and Spanish from the University of North Florida. As a passionate member of the Hicks Honors College, she co-designed and taught a novel course that develops students as deep learners as they pitch solutions to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. 

Maria was just accepted to Harvard Medical School with a near full-ride scholarship, and while moving away from Florida is bittersweet, she is looking forward to the incredible opportunities ahead of her. Maria even received a shout-out from Jaxtoday in recognition of all her hard work.

Congratulations Maria!

Amra Kajdic '23

Amra Kajdic graduated from the Hicks Honors College and UNF in the spring of 2023. As a Biology major and Leadership minor, Amra was heavily involved with both the UNF and Jacksonville community. On campus, Amra founded the UNF chapter of MEDLIFE: an organization that partners with low-income communities in Latin America to improve their access to medicine, education, and community development initiatives. Amra served as the MEDLIFE club President for 3 years.

In addition, Amra conducted research in Dr. David Waddell's skeletal muscle atrophy lab on campus for four years, which she used as her honors Capstone project. She credits this experience as the reason she was able to present her research at a national Cell Biology conference in Washington D.C.

Amra believes her biggest accomplishment at UNF was gathering over 1,040 hours of volunteer work with groups such as MASS Clinic, Vision is Priceless, Medlife, Habitat for Humanity, and Lutheran Social Services. This does not include the incredible number of hours she accumulated in Dr. Waddell's research lab.  

Amra chose to move to Washington D.C. to work at the National Institutes of Health where she is researching leukemia's molecular mechanism. After her research is complete, Amra plans to apply and attend medical school to be come a physician with a long-term goal of opening her own free clinic to serve the immigrant and refugee community. 

Amra Kajdic graduation photo
Amy Granillo graduation picture

Amy Granillo '23

Amy Granillo, a Psychology major and Social Welfare minor, graduated in the spring of 2023. During her time at UNF, she was heavily involved in both in the Hicks Honors College and campus community. 

In the Honors College, Amy co-founded and served as Vice-President of Unidos in Honors, a special interest group in the Honors Student Union (HSU). She was also the HSU On-Campus Representative and Unidos in Honors Representative. In addition, Amy was an honors Colloquium facilitator in the fall of 2020 and the Diversity Initiatives Consultant for the Honors Advisory Panel.

Outside the Honors College, Amy participated in: Child Psychology Club (Treasurer and Communications Chair), Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, Phi Kappa Phi (Vice-President); Career Discoveries (Peer Career Coach); Student Academic Services (Academic Coach); Family Therapy Associates of Jacksonville (Intern); Jewish National Fund Caravan for Democracy (Ambassador).

Amy also conducted research as an undergraduate, ultimately publishing her paper "Community: An Essential Pillar of Success" which analyzed the role of community in the development of passionate leaders. She presented her findings at the Florida Collegiate Honors Council and National Society for Minorities in Honors. 

Amy has moved to Chicago to pursue a M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling.