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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!

Kristy Ramirez '23

Kristy Ramirez certainly did not have a typical university experience. In 2020, Kristy started her college career online due to the COVID-19 Pandemic but, over the last four years, has still managed to ensure that just about everyone in the Honors College knows her.

Kristy graduated this past fall with a BA in Psychology and minors in Criminal Justice and Digital Marketing. She worked in the Hicks Honors College office for three years during which she held the titles: Student Assistant, Social Media Lead, Off-Campus FTIC Events Coordinator, and Colloquium Fellow. Kristy is also a well-loved community leader in the Honors Student Union Special Interest Group-Unidos. Kristy started as a regular member in 2020 shortly after the Interest Group’s formation, attending Zoom events before becoming the Head of Public Relations in 2021. Then, in early 2023, Kristy became President of Unidos where the Interest Group quickly became “her baby.” Kristy and her team worked hard to improve event attendance, and their efforts were rewarded when attendance almost tripled, the majority of these attendees being freshmen who enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and fun conversation. Kristy’s favorite event by far was “Karaoke Night,” which also happened to be Unidos’s most well-attended event ever!

In addition to her heavy involvement in Unidos, Kristy was also the Communications Chair for the Child Psychology Club and a Public Opinion Research Lab Student Interviewer. Outside of UNF, Kristy worked as a Case Manager at Mind360, an Academic Advisor with the Arc of Jacksonville, and a volunteer with Night to Shine at the Tim Tebow Foundation for over five years.

Kristy also spent two months in Nantes, France studying the Psychology of Human Behavior at Audencia. While there, she learned “so many” life skills and about the French culture, both of which she will value forever. Italy happened to be a nice side trip along the way.

Kristy feels her greatest accomplishments are her work at the Hicks Honors College, being President of Unidos, and being the first in her family to graduate from college. Now, she is applying to master’s Clinical Mental Health Counseling programs at UNF and JU where she hopes to become a certified Mental Health Counselor.

Girl in black dress and wearing a dark blue graduation cap stands in front of a UNF sign.
Portrait photo of a woman in an orange halter top posing in front of a river.

Nicole Knorr '22

Nicole Knorr graduated from the Hicks Honors College and UNF in the Spring of 2022 with a Bachelor of Music in Voice Performance and a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies, with a focus on Piano and Composition. While a student, Nicole co-founded the UNF Composer's Collective, a space for student composers to share their work, receive feedback, and discuss new ideas. She also served as President of the Composer’s Collective for two years.

Nicole is currently working on her master's at the prestigious University of Michigan which she chose because of the impressive faculty and alumni work she has seen. She loves how active her program and its graduates are in the music community. She also loves learning from a wide variety of voices and artists who show her how different music practices can be.

If you are familiar with UNF Shakespeare’s OTHELLO: A Multilingual Production of Shakespeare’s Tragedy, then you are also familiar with Nicole’s work. Nicole, by recommendation of Dr. Kaplan and in partnership with Professor Pewitt, composed musical motifs for each character, created ambiance with sound design, and even composed a tune for Desdemona’s Willow Song. In total, Nicole composed over an hour’s worth of music and is honored to have been involved in the project. Very impressive!

But Nicole’s compositions don’t stop there. This summer, Nicole’s hard work will take her to France to participate in Du Vert A l'infini, a music festival focusing on approaches to compositions from a non-Eurocentric perspective. The festival will focus on Iran, Syria, and the United States, and Nicole is excited for the opportunity to meet new people in the same field as her and to premiere her new work in France.

Check out what Nicole has been up to on her website Nicole Knorr | Composer or find her on Instagram @nicoleknorr

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!