By Wendy Sarubbi | April 6, 2018 11:16 am

UCF’s annual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation celebrates outstanding achievements of the university’s faculty members, staff and students.

The Reach for the Stars awards are presented to five early-career professors for their research and service to the university. The research interests of the associate and assistant professors range from fiber optics to tuberculosis drugs to emotional intelligence.

President John C. Hitt selects the recipients, who receive a $10,000 annual research grant for three years, which can be renewed based on their promising work. This is the fifth year UCF has given Reach for the Stars Awards.

Congratulations to:


  • Dr. Debopam Chakrabarti – College Award for Excellence in Research
  • Dr. Mohtashem Samsam – College Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching
  • Dr. Magdalena Pasarica – College Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching; University Award for Excellence in Graduate Teaching
  • Dr. Kyle Rohde – UCF Reach for the Stars Award

Retiring Faculty:

  • Nadine Dexter, Dr. David Balkwill, Charlotte Harvey


  • Heather Holman – Founders’ Award
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