What has the Burnett Honors College been up to during this time?
Well, I’m so glad you asked. Through various means (having conversations with you before campus closed, reading your responses to our surveys, and listening to you during our many Chatting Over Chai Zoom sessions) we were able to get a good sense of what you wanted: a more versatile and comfortable space to be in. With the BHC building currently closed, we have used this time to respond to your request and refresh our space accordingly. I’m so excited to tell you about the changes!
First up, the computer lab has been redesigned with a focus on collaboration. We have added tables that more easily allow for group work, updated our computers with the software you requested to support your academic needs, included wireless printing, and added laptops that are available for check out so you can work anywhere in the building. The lab has become a more open space and is currently getting a face lift – say goodbye to the old wallpaper, and hello to a fresh coat of paint!
You also asked for a designated space to collaborate and meet in groups. BHC 131 (the classroom at the end of the long hallway in the building) will soon become exactly that space. Classes will no longer meet in that room, but it will be used often and serve several purposes. We are adding rectangular tables and chairs so you can study together and work on group projects. Though I enjoy seeing you on the couches in the lobby while you work on your assignments and projects, something tells me tables and chairs would make you happier. Don’t worry – I will be stopping by this new space to check on you and find out what you are up to from time to time.
Additionally, though we know you love sleeping on the benches in the hallway, it is time to upgrade the furniture there to provide more ample seating. (You can still take the occasional cat nap before class – you deserve it.) The entire hallway will have sofas, tables to separate them, and lots of outlets to charge your devices. We hope you can enjoy this additional seating while you are waiting for class to start, or simply appreciating our beautiful garden in the comfort of air conditioning.
Speaking of the garden, we upgraded the outdoor sofas with new seating cushions as well as a supersized umbrella, which offers a shaded space to meet and enjoy the fresh air. The koi pond continues to be a beloved place of tranquility; the fish are doing well, but they do miss you and are awaiting your return.
Finally, I wanted to let you know about our new event tents! Once the weather improves, and as policy permits, our new event tents will provide a place where we can be outside together with shelter from sun and rain. One of the first events we’d like to utilize these tents for is our Dean’s Welcome Frito Pie Friday outside the Reading Room. Can’t you taste the food already?
We hope to have a building tour video highlighting these updates and others soon, and we’re so excited to show you what we’ve done. When you return, you will find that your beloved BHC building has been refreshed into a more inviting space where you can comfortably build community with each other. See you soon!
Victoria Orindas and Naim Shaqqou, BHC Scholars and president and vice president of SALT Outreach respectively, and other UCF students have started their own student organization chapter, SALT Outreach at UCF, to assist Orlando’s homeless population by providing free clinical and health-related services.
Padmavathi Ganduri, BHC Scholar and integrated business major, completed a virtual summer program with The Fund for American Studies, where she was a research analyst intern for Public Spend Forum. After graduation, she hopes to attend law school and become an attorney.
Alyssa Mickle, BHC Scholar and biomedical sciences and engineering double major, is planning to complete her Honors Undergraduate Thesis this fall with the goal of finding more effective ways to test osteoarthritis drugs and better engineer arthritis damaged tissues.
Riya Shah, BHC Scholar and biomedical sciences student, is a Burnett Medical Scholar and Burnett Research Scholar who is conducting research for her Honors Undergraduate Thesis at Lake Nona.
Brenna Maginness '20, theatre design and technology alumna, served as a costume designer for UCF theatre productions during her time at UCF, and is currently working on a master's degree in fashion culture and histories.
Basma Heda, BHC Scholar and mechanical engineering major, hopes to start working toward her master's degree in mechanical engineering while finishing undergrad at UCF.
Karla Sanabria Matos, BHC Scholar and education major, hopes to implement a university wide program dedicated to helping instruct students with chronic illnesses.
Brett Fazio, BHC Scholar and computer science major, previously interned with Google and is a member of UCF's programming team, both of which have helped him to develop the necessary skills for his field.
Andrea Tomasini '20, BHC Scholar and finance alumna, hopes to work up to a management position in the financial services industry.
Naim Shaqqou, a BHC Scholar, computer science and biomedical sciences double major, and Type 1 diabetic, has been very active in helping his community, volunteering his time, and mentoring international students.
Bridget Vincent '19, BHC Scholar and biology alumna, recently received the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship. Studying gopher tortoises and other sea life while at UCF has motivated her to research marine biology!
Devin Burris, BHC Scholar and biomedical sciences major, plans to get her Ph.D. in molecular biology or neuroscience after graduation, and ultimately work with genetic therapy for neurological disorders.
Emily Irigoyen, BHC Scholar, management major, and College of Business Student Ambassador, plans to work in global management consulting after graduation.
Anestacia Robinson '20, BHC Scholar and biology alumna, conducted research on the genetic effects of multiple chromosomes across wild sunflowers, which could hold implications for engineering more resilient and sustainable crops. After graduate school she plans to become a university lab researcher.
Anishaa Sivakumar '20, BHC Scholar, Burnett Medical Scholar, and biomedical sciences alumna, was active in Honors Congress, Pre-Med AMSA, and as a Symposium Team Leader during her time as a student, and conducted research investigating glioblastoma and Parkinson's disease.
Heidi Waite ’17, BHC Scholar, biology alumna, and Ford Diversity Fellow, is pursuing her Ph.D. in marine biology at UC-Irvine, and plans to work in conservation research or science communication after graduation.
Victoria Orindas, a biomedical sciences major and BHC Scholar, active as a LEAD Scholar peer mentor and with Volunteer UCF, has conducted research related to treatment of prostate and breast cancer. When she graduates, Victoria plans to attend UCF’s medical school and ultimately become a dermatologist.
Riley Havel is studying amino acids from meteorite samples that could have clues to how life began on Earth. After graduation, she plans to pursue a graduate degree in planetary science.
Lindsay Martin '20, a BHC Scholar, biomedical sciences alumna, and NSF Graduate Research Fellow, plans to become a researcher studying vector-borne diseases, working to improve global health outcomes.
Rayner Seavey '20, BHC Scholar and biology alumnus, plans to work as a physical therapist. He says that the Fulbright will help him gain a better understanding of the world and become a culturally sensitive member of the healthcare community.
Abigail Weisse '20, a biology graduate, BHC Scholar, Fulbright recipient, and future medical student, plans to teach English at the University of Málaga on Spain's southern coast.
Maria Bower '20, an environmental engineering grad, BHC Scholar, and Order of Pegasus recipient, will be working to address the opioid epidemic in New York over the next year as part of the National Health Corps, supporting patients during their recovery and helping them to obtain medications for addiction treatment.