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 available by late July, 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!
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.
Sarah Swiersz '20, an interdisciplinary studies alumna, BHC Scholar, and Order of Pegasus recipient, conducted extensive undergraduate research on topics ranging from botany and coastal geoscience to space law and political ecology.
Isaac Valdiviezo '20, a biology alumnus, BHC Scholar, and NSF Graduate Research Fellow, has been admitted into UCF's conservation and integrative biology Ph.D. program, and ultimately plans to become a biology researcher at a university.
Zachary Stein '20, an aerospace engineering graduate, BHC Scholar, and Fulbright recipient, will be traveling to Germany to conduct research on aircraft engines at the German Aerospace Center in Cologne.
Victoria Millington, a biomedical sciences student, BHC Scholar, and Order of Pegasus recipient, plans to either attend medical school and specialize in oncology, or pursue a Ph.D. in cancer biology after graduation.
Angelina Leary '19, BHC Scholar, NSF Graduate Research Fellow, and first-year clinical Ph.D. student, hopes to become a psychology faculty member conducting research at an R1 institution.
Reilly Dearth, an industrial engineering student and BHC Scholar, says studying abroad in Brazil gave him a better understanding of how to tackle real world engineering problems.
Irene Tanner '20, BHC Scholar, Fulbright recipient, and NSF Graduate Research Fellow, will be pursuing her computer engineering Ph.D. at UCF this fall, and hopes to work in healthcare informatics or data science.
Gary Hoppenworth, a Goldwater Scholar and BHC Scholar, plans to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science, and hopes to conduct both theoretical and applied research at a national laboratory.
Through the UCF Legislative Scholars program, Alex Crispin '20, a political science graduate and BHC Scholar, got to work directly with legislative staff and learn the legislative process first-hand.
Giorgi Beruashvili '20, a political science graduate and BHC Scholar, says his experience conducting undergraduate research and serving in student government, on the President's Leadership Council, and as a resident assistant has been essential to his success.
Miranda Foster, a digital media student and BHC Scholar, learned about proper recycling methods during a lock-down, as well as using recycled materials to construct protective masks, through the Windows to the World course.
Kyle Benkel '20, BHC Scholar, attributes his experience playing as a wide receiver for UCF's football team to providing him with the leadership and discipline necessary to achieve the Order of Pegasus.