Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week MEGA EDITION—April 24

*If you’re graduating and picking up your cap and gown this week, make sure you keep reading because we’ve got five more things especially for our newest alumni!

1. USA Today gave a shoutout to UCF football assistant coach Jovan Dewitt for an app he produced to help with recruiting. Dewitt, a math and physics double major during a two-time Division II all-America career at Northern Michigan in the late 1990s, considers the app a side project – so he’ll still be coaching up the linebackers and special teams come Fall.

2. Staff, alumni and friends of the Burnett Honors College raised nearly $38,000 to establish the Alvin Y. Wang Endowed Scholarship to honor the longtime dean’s service to the university. They surprised him with the news late last week at a celebration of his tenue. Dean Wang plans to step down and focus on teaching in the classroom, so luckily he’s still sticking around.

3. Hot air balloon rides, a rocking concert, food comas and a friendly battle on the gridiron – the UCFastival and spring game was a rousing success. And UCF has all the coverage you could possibly want, complete with videos, recaps and photo galleries.

4. The Orlando Sentinel featured 10 people who make Orlando great, and we’re happy to say we recognize some names as Knights! Chris Castro (Class of 2010) of IDEAS For Us; Mary Palmer, a former professor and the former Dean of the College of Education; and Ryan Rivas (Class of 2005), publisher at Burrow Press, all made the list – and here’s why they did.

5. Just in time for Earth Day, a UCF chemistry professor just found a way to trigger the process of photosynthesis in a synthetic material, turning greenhouse gases into clean air and producing energy all at the same time. The process has great potential for creating a technology that could significantly reduce greenhouse gases linked to climate change, while also creating a clean way to produce energy. Score one for science!

Five More Things – Graduation Style
To our newest alumni, we’ve got nothing but love for ya this week. Here are some need-to-knows about graduation that includes opportunities for free swag! Also, if you’ve got any questions about graduation, chances are, the answers lie here.

1. The #UCFGrad cap Instagram contest is in full swing and four prizes are up for grabs, including a legacy brick on Knights Terrace at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. Here’s how to win:
> Decorate your grad cap
> Post it to Instagram
> Tag UCF alumni in the photo & use #UCFGrad in your caption!

2. Speaking of grad caps, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center is hosting a decorating party all week. Visit us between 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. any day this week and get your hands on all the decorating materials you need to stand out in the crowd on graduation day. Plus, we’ve stocked a candy bar to give you the energy you need to get your cap on point.

3. Need some tunes to commemorate the occasion? Here’s a Spotify playlist made especially for the Class of 2017 by the members of the class themselves! Happy listening!

4. Planning on taking a much needed vacation after all that hard work and walking across the stage with diploma in hand? Consider checking out UCF’s worldwide travel packages.

5. Still need to make your class gift? You haven’t missed your chance. Help out future UCF students and be a part of a lasting legacy by making a gift of $20.17.

Dean’s Sendoff Surprise

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 20, 2017) – As the first member of her family born in America, Melonie Sexton ’07 was a first generation student at UCF when she received an email from Dean Alvin Wang about participating in a research project.

Before she graduated, Wang encouraged her to attend graduate school and continued to be her mentor, even when she moved to Tennessee to pursue a doctoral psychology program at Vanderbilt University.

Sexton, who now teaches at Valencia College, said over the last decade Wang has become more than a mentor to her. She considers him a friend.

So when she heard that the Burnett Honors College was honoring Wang’s service to the university with an endowed scholarship in his name, she knew immediately she wanted to contribute to it.

“He’s the first person outside of my family to tell me that I could actually do anything with my life. Your parents are supposed to say, ‘Yeah you’re going to be a doctor, a lawyer.’ But hearing it from a dean was the push I needed,” she said. “He deserves having a scholarship in his name. I think that’s what he embodies. It makes perfect sense to me.”

Wang announced in fall 2016 that he would be stepping down as dean by August 2017 to focus his time in the classroom as a psychology professor. At the time, the Burnett Honors College staff collaborated on the idea of a proper parting gift.

At Wednesday’s celebration of his tenure, the Burnett Honors College surprised him with the Alvin Y. Wang Endowed Scholarship, which has grown to nearly $38,000 in commitments and will support undergraduate research candidates in the honors college.

Of the 74 donors who contributed, 31 are alumni.

“This has been a great surprise. Thank you for making a gift like this to our students possible,” Wang said. “I always ask myself this question – how did someone like me, who aspired to become faculty and a professor, end up becoming a dean? The reason why I was able to stay in an administrative role for 16 years and enjoy it all the time was because of the people I was able to work with. It begins with my wonderful staff. It certainly includes the students. Meeting the talented, the interesting, the inquisitive student at Honors makes my day. It’s a very enriching, positive experience that I would never want to replace.”

Wang became a member of UCF’s faculty in 1987 and later joined the Burnett Honors College in fall 2001 as an associate dean. He served as interim dean for one year in 2005 before officially being named to the position in fall 2006.

Over the last 12 years under his leadership, the Burnett Honors College has flourished. In that time, 42 students have received national awards, including one Rhodes Scholar and 35 Fulbright Scholars.

In fall 2016, 289 National Merit Scholars were enrolled in the honors college, marking a university record and the second-most among Florida state universities that year.

Wang implemented the Burnett Honors College Medical Scholars Program, which reserves a spot for undergraduates in UCF’s College of Medicine provided that the students meet all the eligibility and performance criteria included in the program.

To enhance learning for honors students, he initiated international study abroad programs, developed service-learning opportunities and led highly successful philanthropic efforts to support new programs. In fact, three service learning trips to Nicaragua, South Africa and Mexico are slated for later this spring.

“I think Alvin would agree that the most important measures of success are the enriched academic experiences and support given to our nearly 5,500 university honors and honors in the majors student that have graduated while he’s been dean. Their dreams and accomplishments have been shaped in part by their time here at the honors college,” said Martin Dupuis, associate dean of the Burnett Honors College. “He supports everyone to excel at what they do. He established a very high professional standard by example, and those of us who have worked with him are better for it.”

Perhaps the most telling sign of his influence are those students, like Sexton, who have a pursued a path as educators themselves, following in his footsteps. Sexton said the biggest lesson she learned from him was to pay it forward.

“Be a role model and pay it forward. That’s what I try to live by,” she said. “If just one of my students said ‘Dr. Sexton said I can do it, and so I can,’ then I feel like I’ve truly paid it forward.”

Contributions are still being accepted for the Alvin Y. Wang Endowed Scholarship. Visit www.ucffoundation.org/alvinwang

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 17

1. Not much of a surprise — UCF Football announced last week the name change of Bright House Networks Stadium to Spectrum Stadium. The first event to be held in the building under the Spectrum Stadium name will be UCF’s annual Spring Game, which is taking place Saturday at 6:30 p.m. There is a full day of events surrounding Spectrum Stadium prior to the Spring Game, with the second UCFastival slated to get started at 11 a.m. Learn more about the UCFastival lineup.

2. The city of Orlando’s newly created Creative Village Development Review Committee on April 11 approved UCF’s plan for the $60 million Dr. Phillips Academic Commons, which will house programs for both UCF and Valencia College and more. It has been described as what will become “the heart of UCF Downtown.” A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for May 11 and construction likely will start this summer. Here’s where you can find more information about the plans.

3. Keep an eye on UCF’s women’s golf team, who is ranked No. 28 in the nation. The Knights are currently in the lead on day two of the American Athletic Conference Championship after setting a tournament record with a combined score of 284 (-6) Sunday. UCF captured the crown in 2015 and hopes to reclaim it Tuesday.

4. UCF’s first patent application was filed 30 years ago this month, and since then, the university has made a name for itself nationally in regards to innovation. Learn more about the history of patents at UCF and goals for the future in this story.

5. Shoutout to Keith Sutliff ’10, who premiered his film “The Mason Brothers” in Hollywood last week. Sutliff graduated with a degree in criminal justice and his credits for the film include writer, director, actor and producer. Check out the trailer below.

Wise Words

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 10, 2017) — UCF Celebrates the Arts, now in its third year, hosted a panel April 9 featuring four alumni who discussed how to “Go Far with a Degree in the Arts.”

We share some of the lessons learned in the two-hour panel that was held at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts and live streamed on UCF’s official Facebook page.

First, get to know the panelists.

(L to R): Christopher Walker, Georginia Hurge, Randy Hurt, Elissa Cordero Hansen

Elissa Cordero Hansen ’10 works in Los Angeles as a stereoscopic artist (stereo-what? Stereoscopy is a technique for creating or enhancing the illusion of depth in an image, often used to create a 3D-effect). The digital media alumna currently works at Walt Disney Animation Studios and has collaborated on feature films such as “Big Hero 6,” “Zootopia” and “Moana.”

Georginia Hurge ’12, a film alumna, is project manager and in-house producer at the Orlando-based company Strong Films, which focuses on the experience of a brand or product. Strong Films has worked with companies such as Disney, Universal and Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, and is responsible for the viral video The Thank You Project.

Christopher Walker ’08 is an award-winning documentary filmmaker and member of the production company and filmmaking collective, No Weather Productions, based in New York City. His directorial debut “Welcome to Leith” premiered at the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. Starting out as an editor, the cinema studies alumnus has cut films on subjects including street dance, the War on Drugs and white supremacy.

Randy Hunt ’05, who earned his degree in art with a specialty in graphic design, is vice president of design at Etsy, where he leads a team of designers, researchers, writers and artists creating the end-to-end brand and product experience, both online and off. Etsy was honored with the National Design Award in 2014.

Lesson 1: A career in the arts is hard but not impossible.

“A lot of people ask me why I chose to pursue a career in the arts. It can be a really tough industry. To me, it never really felt like a choice. It’s really important to have that passion because that’s what is going to drive you to work hard and keep trying even when you fail.” – Elissa Cordero Hansen

“My time at UCF gave me the tools that allowed me to do what I’m doing. It’s not easy, at all. I don’t want to sugar coat it. But if you really believe in what you’re doing, it’s easy to start doing it.” – Christopher Walker

Lesson 2: Be resourceful and find great mentors.

“Luckily, I’ve got really great mentors at Disney that are always there to answer my dumb questions. I make it a habit to write everything down so I never ask the same question twice. For me, I’ve found that fear is a really good motivator. If I needed to, I would stay late on my personal time and figure out how to do things. I would give myself a time limit. If I can’t figure this out in one hour, I’m going to ask for help.” – Elissa Cordero Hansen

Lesson 3: Even if you aren’t a classic “creative type,” you can pursue the arts.

“I wouldn’t necessarily classify myself as creative but it’s always exciting to be around creative energy and around those kind of people. I think what’s important for me that I’ve learned is there is space for you being in a creative environment even if you’re not typically what people consider as creative or an artist. Take what you are good at and hone those skill sets. You can contribute to help make something beautiful.” – Georginia Hurge

Lesson 4: Get by with a little help from your friends.

“A lot of people that we work with at Stronger Films are people we went to school with or people that we know. You know that you can trust their quality of work and who they are. They’re going to give their best effort because you have a relationship with them. You trust each other, you respect each other not only as friends but as colleagues. That’s huge, especially if you’re a small business and you’re trying to build and grow. You want to have people in your corner who respect your craft and can also help you achieve the things that you need to get done.” – Georginia Hurge

“When we started a marketplace business, the first software developer we hired was a person I had a high school job with. He was also a competent software engineer (laughs) but the reason I knew he existed was because he had been friends. … Building relationships with professional colleagues, peer colleagues – we use each other for all sorts of information and problems we might need to solve.” – Randy Hunt

“When I started individual language, I instantly connected with everyone in my class because we had so much in common and that had never happened to me before. I feel like that’s what kind of made me find my voice. When you have to create art and show it to your whole class, it can be really scary, so having a group that you’re comfortable with, it pushes you to experiment with things and you’re less afraid to be vulnerable and to show them things that might suck, but they don’t care because they’re your friends and won’t judge you for it. Everywhere I’ve worked, the thing I’ve taken away with me the most is the friendships that I’ve made.” – Elissa Cordero Hansen

Lesson 5: Take risks.

“My advice is to take advantage of every opportunity that you get to learn and grow and give it all of your effort. Don’t feel like you have to have the perfect portfolio or reel before you take those risks because chances are as an artist, you’re never going to feel 100 percent ready and you could miss out on some incredible opportunities.” -– Elissa Cordero Hansen, who knew nothing about stereoscopy (her current field) when she applied to an entry level position at Digital Domain, a prestigious visual effects company. Spoiler alert: she got the job.

“I wouldn’t worry about the fact that ‘I’m studying the arts and I need to get a job.’ Your educational experience will prepare you for things in life whether or not you’re in that space. That pressure to make it be something really specific, I think, can block you from discovery of new things.” – Randy Hunt

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 10

 

Courtesy of Tony Firriolo
1. Season tickets for the 2017 UCF Football campaign are now on sale. Several new seating options are available to fans for the upcoming season. Included in the new offerings are a family plan, a number of sections now available in the south end zone, an even lower price for access to the Carl Black & Gold Cabana and a new Stadium Club.

Don’t forget, the 2017 UCFastival and Spring Game are around the corner on April 22.

2. Other news out of Athletics: The Knights will face off annually against a new league foe. Wichita State will join the American Athletic Conference in men’s and women’s basketball and Olympic sports beginning July 1.

3. UCF Celebrates the Arts got a thumbs up in the Orlando Sentinel. The team’s production of “Oklahoma!” was praised for its collaboration. Read the story here.

4. Flags will be at half-staff and a remembrance ceremony will take place Tuesday in the Pegasus Ballroom of the Student Union for an Eternal Knights Memorial Service honoring 18 students who passed away in the past 12 months. One of those students is Kailyn Jones, whose legacy is living on through scholarships.

5. A group of UCF students is working to develop a robot that could revolutionize the medical industry. The robot is intended to assist doctors in performing precise medical procedures. Doctors will input start and endpoint markers on the human body, and the robot will follow instructions. “We have outstanding students, and I think they are the future workforce,” said Zhihua Qu, a professor who is leading the group. “And while they’re studying, they can already make a contribution.”

Knight’s Legacy Lives On Through Scholarships

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (April 6, 2017) – Before her death, Kailyn Jones was on the path to becoming a second-generation UCF alumna. She wanted to help people, especially children, as a physical therapist someday.

Although her own dream will tragically remain unrealized, two other students will have help achieving theirs thanks to a scholarship established in Jones’ name.

“Kailyn was such a good person. She loved to do good. I think she would be absolutely honored to do this for someone else,” said Ricardo San Jose, Kailyn’s uncle, a UCF alumnus and a current student in UCF’s family nurse practitioner program. “She saved a couple lives with her organ donation. Her heart is still beating in another right now.”

A scholarship was set up in memory of Kailyn Jones, a student at UCF who died in a car accident in June 2016.

Jones was killed in a car accident on Jun. 12, 2016 — the same date as the Pulse nightclub shooting. She was on her way home from babysitting family members at her grandparents’ house when another car drove into on-coming traffic.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, the driver hit a concrete barrier near a traffic circle at Maitland Summit Boulevard and Pembrook Drive, flipped and landed on top of Jones’ Honda Civic, records show.

San Jose, who works as an emergency room nurse, awoke early the next morning to find at least a dozen missed calls from his sister Lillian San Jose, Kailyn’s stepmother.

San Jose’s partner, Chris Blackwell, who is an associate professor at UCF, had known Kailyn for seven years and was as heartbroken as the rest of her family.

“I’ve worked in the ER, trauma, I’ve seen everything. But when it happens to you, there’s nothing that can prepare you for that,” he said. “It’s this instant sense of loss.”

At her funeral everyone wore purple for lupus awareness, a condition she was diagnosed with. Person after person spoke about Jones’ impact on their life and what a light she was to them. Blackwell felt compelled to do something.

When it was mentioned in her eulogy that she was going to join fellow family members as an alumna of UCF, Blackwell said the idea to do a scholarship clicked for him. He made a $1,000 donation and his family’s foundation, the Gary L. Blackwell Family Foundation, also made a $1,000 donation. These funds were used to support two student scholarships during the spring semester.

“I thought it would be a nice honor for her family to create a scholarship. Not only because it’s their alma mater, but maybe it would give them some comfort to see that somebody is pursing the same steps that their daughter would have pursued, and will have a somewhat easier way to do that,” Blackwell said.

On April 4, Jessica Recio, a nursing student who was awarded one of the scholarships, met Jones’ parents at the College of Nursing’s annual scholarship luncheon where students are invited to meet their donors for the first time. Blackwell and San Jose felt it was appropriate for Jones’ parents to attend in their place.

Kailyn Jones’ family members, Maurice Jones (purple shirt) and Lillian San Jose (black and white dress), met one of the scholarship recipients, Jessica Recio (right of San Jose).

Recio is a part-time graduate student in the middle of her second semester in UCF’s family nurse practitioner program. She has worked full time as a nurse at Orlando Regional Medical Center for the last year. She hopes to pursue a career in pediatrics after she graduates in 2019.

Recio said when she first applied for the scholarship, she wasn’t aware of the meaning behind it but has learned more about Jones over the last few months.

“It makes me sad but at the same time I’m really honored. I hope that I can make their family happy and proud,” Recio said. “I still have student loans from getting my nursing degree in the first place, so I am grateful to have help with this degree.”

Cami Osier, a physical therapy student and the other scholarship recipient, earned her bachelor’s degree in sports and exercise science as a Burnett Honors Student in 2015. She is currently pursuing a doctorate at UCF and hopes to one day become a pediatric physical therapist, just like Jones.

Jones will be one of the 18 students whose lives will be honored on April 11 at the Eternal Knights Memorial Service, an annual day of remembrance for the UCF community, family and friends for the lives of those lost in the past 12 months.

San Jose and Blackwell both said that Jones was a connector for their family and her friends, and they acknowledged she is still finding ways to do that, even after her death.

“She could walk into a room and just brighten everyone’s life. Full of humor, could make the grumpiest person laugh,” her uncle said. “It’s still difficult knowing that she’s gone. And it always will be I think. I think our family is dealing with it in healthy ways, and she would be proud of us.”

 

To learn more about supporting student scholarships at UCF, please visit ucffoundation.org.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—April 3

1. UCF Celebrates the Arts, an annual showcase featuring an interactive exhibition of student artwork, starts Friday at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. To get your ready for your days at the theatre, read this alumni spotlight on Desmond Newson, who scored a role in the national tour of “Hamilton,” which began in San Francisco in March.

Also, check out the complete UCF Celebrates The Arts schedule.

2. The Board of Governors approved the UCF Lake Nona Medical Center late last week. Construction is pending a final state agency approval but could begin as early as 2020. This will mark a new era for our community, our students, our faculty and our researchers. Read more here.

3. The next time you settle in for a night of Netflix-ing, consider watching “The Discovery.” The new release featuring Robert Redford, Jason Segel and Rooney Mara was written by film alumnus Justin Lader ’06.

4. Do you know someone in need of some financial help for college? UCF Alumni awards more than $50,000 in scholarships every year. The deadline for scholarship applications is April 5. Learn more about how to apply, criteria, etc. at ucfalumni.com.

5. Baseball won its conference-opening series against No. 11 Houston over the weekend. The Knights are back in action at home on Wednesday against Stetson at 6:30 p.m before heading to Tampa this weekend for the War On I4 against USF.

Speaking of the War On I4, UCF added to its commanding lead, 36-15, thanks to the No. 39 men’s tennis team’s 4-2 win over No. 26 USF on Saturday’s Senior Day. USF is the fourth top-30 opponent that the Black and Gold has knocked off this season.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 27

1. The big news this week is that UCF men’s basketball is taking over New York City for the NIT Final Four. The #kNYghts tip off against TCU at 9 p.m. Tuesday on ESPN in Madison Square Garden. The official ChargeOn Pregame Party at Carragher’s Pub is sold out. Knights fans who couldn’t make it to New York City can cheer together from afar at one of UCF’s official watch parties around the country. Check the watch party list for more information.

2. UCF alumnus Matthew Laurence ’06 is being compared to “Percy Jackson” creator Rick Riordan thanks to his debut fantasy novel “Freya,” which was published last week to positive reviews. The story tells the tale of a young girl who is a forgotten goddess, and it takes place in — where else?! — Orlando!

3. Information surrounding the UCFastival and football spring game was released late last week and it includes a jam-packed day of fun for the whole family. The UCFastival will begin at 11 a.m. at IOA Plaza on April 22 and features a concert by country music star Lauren Aliana; Food Truck Wars (featuring more than 40 food trucks from the state of Florida); hot air balloon rides; and much more. Click here for the full details.

4. The UCF faculty and staff’s annual Believe campaign wrapped up on March 22 with a collection of $1,010,644 in support of the university’s goals. This year’s campaign set a new record for participation level with 2,045 members of UCF’s faculty and staff pulling together to make an impact. For an in-depth look at the success of Believe, visit our Exposure gallery, which features video, photos, anecdotes and facts from celebration event.

5. Issa Batarseh, a professor in UCF’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering who is recognized worldwide as a leader in power electronics, has been named as a 2017 inductee to the Florida Inventors Hall of Fame. Batarseh is the third UCF researcher to receive the honor since its inception in 2014.

Five Reasons To Get MAD This Wednesday

In case the Madness hasn’t reached you yet, allow us to fill you in. The UCF men’s basketball team is in the middle of an historic postseason run in the NIT and just toppled top-seeded Illinois State on the road.

What does that mean? It means it’s March 21 and we’re still talking about basketball at UCF, which hasn’t happened since 2011. The Knights are hosting Illinois on 7 p.m. Wednesday in the NIT Quarterfinals, and here are some reasons why #AlumKnights need to go.

*If you live out of town and can’t make the trip, KEEP READING! THIS STILL APPLIES TO YOU!

• Of 351 Division I men’s basketball programs in the country, only 32 are still alive in either the NCAA Tournament or NIT. Out of the 32, the Knights are the only team from the American Athletic Conference and one of two teams from the state of Florida still playing basketball right now.

• UCF will be playing for a shot at the NIT Final Four in New York City at Madison Square Garden.

• They will also be playing for win No. 24, which would match the second most victories in a single season in UCF’s Division I history — and they’re doing it with just seven scholarship players.

• Until this year, UCF had never hosted an NIT or NCAA game in school history. The Knights are about to host their second.

• Until this year, UCF had never won an NCAA Tournament or NIT game in school history. They’ve now won two.

Oh, and have we mentioned that we have some family on the team? Senior captain Matt Williams is already an #AlumKnight. Before he broke all of the team’s 3-point records, the Orlando native earned his bachelor’s degree last August in interpersonal and organizational communication with a minor in diversity and social inequality.

Ticket Situation
For the out-of-towners: You can donate a $4 student ticket to help pack the Knightmare student section. CLICK HERE to help out the college kids (c’mon, we’ve all been there).

Season ticket holders, the Knights haven’t forgotten about your support all year long. Log in to your account by 5 p.m. Tuesday to claim your seats for the matchup. After 5 p.m., unclaimed seats will be released to the general public. CLICK HERE

Everyone else: Tickets range from $12 to $20, and you can purchase them via Ticketmaster. CLICK HERE

If you have any questions, please call the UCF Athletics Sales & Service office at 407-823-1000.

Let the world know you’re attending with this social media avatar:

 

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—March 20

1. March Madness continues for the UCF men’s basketball team tonight when the Knights face Illinois State in the second round of the NIT. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. UCF is coming off its first victory in the NIT in program history after a 79-74 win over Colorado. UCF (22-11) has matched its most wins in a season since 2005, and following Monday’s contest against Illinois State, will have played more games than any other season in program history.
The Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter is encouraging Illinois-based Knights to make the road trip. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

In other UCF Athletics news… shoutout to the ladies! The women’s basketball team ended its historic season Sunday in the second round of the WNIT, finishing with a 21-12 overall record, the program’s best mark since the 2010-11 campaign. The UCF softball team notched its first win over a Top 25 opponent this season with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Baylor on Sunday afternoon. Up next, the Knights host the nation’s No. 1 team, Florida State, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. A standing room only crowd is expected, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to guarantee your seats to the matchup.

2. Here’s a story that will make you feel good: a record number of UCF students volunteered their time last week on service projects abroad through the Alternative Break Program during their spring break. More than 50 students traveled on one of three trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic or Costa Rica as part of UCF’s Alternative Break Program that connects students with volunteer opportunities across the U.S. and the world.

3. Twenty-two UCF graduate programs were ranked in the top 100 in their respective fields by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2018 released last week. UCF’s best ranked program is counselor education in the College of Education & Human Performance, which moved up two spots to No. 7.

4. Each year UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving awards more than $50,000 in scholarships to UCF students demonstrating strong academic ability and significant extracurricular and community involvement. UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving is pleased to again offer more than a dozen scholarship opportunities for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Apply for scholarships by April 2 based on eligibility by following these simple steps:
1. Read all scholarship criteria online at http://ucfalumni.com/students/scholarships and complete ALL required supporting documents prior to submitting your application.
2. Log into myUCF.
3. Select “Student Self Service.”
4. Click on “Scholarship Application” > “Home Page” > “Add New Scholarship.”
5. Complete and submit application(s).

5. The UCF College of Medicine had its best Match Day yet — of the 114 senior medical students, 113 were matched to residency programs last week. Match Day is the culmination of medical students’ fourth year, when they decide on a specialty and find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on their specialty. Some of this year’s class are staying in state at programs such as Florida and USF while others are going to programs such as Baylor, Brown, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale.