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Press Release for Wednesday, September 23, 2015

UNF Students Awarded International Computing Honor Society Scholarships

Media Contact: Joanna Norris, Director
Department of Public Relations
(904) 620-2102

Upsilon Pi Epsilon, the international honor society for the computing and information disciplines, awarded scholarships totaling $3,000 to two students in the School of Computing at the University of North Florida for leadership and excellence in the computing and information disciplines.

UNF graduate student Spencer Southard, who is working on his master’s degree in computer science, and Thomas Petrocelli, a UNF senior majoring in information systems, were each awarded a UPE special recognition scholarship for $1,500.

“I’m very proud of the caliber of our students that is exemplified by receiving two scholarship awards from UPE, the first international honor society dedicated to Computing and Information,” said Dr. Sherif Elfayoumy, UNF interim director for the School of Computing.

Southard, a Southside resident, is currently a research assistant at the University and is exploring aspects of computer vision and machine learning to develop a system for interpreting American Sign Language in real time. He’s also a software engineer intern at Beeline, where he’s working to make improvements in the company’s core applications. Upon earning his master’s degree from UNF, he would like to work for a company that utilizes machine learning to build autonomous drones and driverless vehicles.

Southard has served in numerous leadership roles on and off campus. He currently serves as chapter president for UNF’s UPE chapter and for the Association for Computing Machinery, UNF chapter. Additionally, he previously served as president of the University’s Microsoft Developers Network and led development efforts on the creation of educational software for a school in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Petrocelli, a St. Augustine resident, is currently a programmer/analyst for Venus Fashion, where he develops, deploys, maintains and supports the company’s proprietary resource planning application software. He also has served as an intern as a Web developer/designer with Digital Pathways and Lemon Frog Learning. After graduation, he anticipates pursuing a career in Web development or data science.

Petrocelli was recently inducted into the UPE Honor Society and looks forward to serving his local chapter in various roles. He’s been on the UNF Dean’s List with honors and the UNF President’s List with honors. Prior to attending UNF, he received a Certificate of Excellence in Information Technology from Florida State College at Jacksonville, where he was also on the Dean’s List and President’s List, both with honors.

UNF’s School of Computing is dedicated to the promotion of an academically exciting and progressive intellectual climate, characterized by a superior program of instruction, peer-recognized scholarship, effective support services, and productive professional community involvement.

UNF, a nationally ranked university located on an environmentally beautiful campus, offers students who are dedicated to enriching the lives of others the opportunity to build their own futures through a well-rounded education.