Safia Centner, a health sciences major, recently received one of UCF's most prestigious honors, the Order of Pegasus. Her involvement on-campus and in the community has contributed to receiving this honor, as she started her own nonprofit organization that has donated over 5,000 craft kits to children. Upon graduation, Safia plans to attend medical school with future plans of becoming a pediatrician, believing that this award will encourage her to continue to grow, achieve, and excel in all that she does.

What does receiving the Order of Pegasus mean to you?

Receiving the Order of Pegasus is truly a great honor. It not only provides me with a personal sense of accomplishment, but raises the bar for continued commitment and greater expectations to excel, achieve, and make a difference.

How did you achieve this honor?

UCF offers many amazing service, research, and leadership opportunities. I am a National Merit Scholar, LEAD Scholars Academy graduate, Burnett Medical and Honors Scholar. I also received the Congressional Gold Medal for Youth. I serve on the executive board in Honors Congress, Relay for Life of UCF, and Be the Match at UCF. I created opportunities for peers to obtain medical shadowing, am a peer mentor, and serve as a genetics learning assistant. I have participated in pediatric cardiology and gastroenterology research. I presented a poster on the Prevalence of Anxiety and Depression in Children with POTS at the American Autonomic Society’s international meeting. I am currently working with Dr. Suha Saleh on my Honors in the Major thesis. My twin sister and I co-founded Kits for Kids, a nonprofit organization, which has created and donated over 5,000 craft kits to sick children. I have volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House and volunteered over 350 hours at Nemours.

What is your long-term goal, and how will the Order of Pegasus help you get there?

My long-term goal is to attend medical school and become a pediatrician. I want to continue to serve my community and help others. Order of Pegasus is a recognition of achievement and excellence. This award will continue to set high standards for my commitment to continue to grow, achieve, and excel as I embark on my journey in medicine. I hope to continue to excel in all that I do.

What advice do you have for others who may want to achieve the Order of Pegasus?

My advice would be to get involved and engaged as early as possible, and to find your passions.  UCF offers so many amazing opportunities, and it is up to you to take advantage of them. Find a cause or organization that you care about deeply. Commit to what you enjoy doing so you can make a great impact. Take the time to know your peers, classmates, organization members, and professors. This will allow you to make connections and can provide opportunities you may not have had otherwise.

What is your favorite hobby?

Some of my hobbies are cooking, traveling, and photography. Due to my Indian heritage, I love cooking Indian food with my family. I also love to travel and have been to several countries and many U.S. national parks. My favorite place that I have traveled is Iceland!