ORLANDO, April 15, 2010 — Two College of Medicine faculty members, a college administrator and a Molecular Biology and Microbiology student hoping to become a doctor were honored recently during UCF’s annual Founders’ Day ceremony. The awards recognize extraordinary contributions to the university community through teaching, research and service.
Dr. Mohtashem Samsam, assistant professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at the College of Medicine’s Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, received a Founders’ Day award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In her nomination letter, Dr. Roseann White, associate director of the Burnett school, stated that Dr. Samsam “takes a clinical approach to basic science [and so] students learn the subject with practical applications.” He has received the UCF pre-medical American Medical Students Association Golden Apple Award for excellence in teaching for the past five years in a row. Dr. Samsam is the faculty advisor for the UCF Health Occupations Students of America and the Clinical Anatomy and Physiology student associations. In addition to teaching the highest enrolled course in the school, Dr. Samsam also is a frequent lecturer at Central Florida elementary and middle schools.
Dr. Ken Teter, assistant professor of Molecular Biology and Microbiology at the Burnett school, was recognized for Excellence in Graduate Teaching. “Not only has Dr. Teter excelled in classroom, teaching… (he) played a significant role in directing the thesis/dissertation research of multiple graduate students,” Dr. White said in her nomination. During his 5½ years of teaching at UCF, Dr. Teter has sponsored projects for one Master’s and five Ph.D. students and has served on 21 thesis/dissertation committees. Dr. White called him an “excellent mentor,” adding that the effectiveness of his direction “is documented by the many publications and presentations of his graduate students and their timely progress toward graduation.” Dr. Teter has an exceptional record of grant funding through numerous organizations including the National Institutes of Health.
Dr. Robert Armacost, the College of Medicine’s special advisor to the dean, was one of five professors who received emeritus status. Provost and Executive Vice President Terry Hickey also received the honor. Emeritus professors and vice presidents have worked at the university for at least five years, and have retired or are retiring this year. Emeritus status grants them a lifetime link to UCF and honors the major professional contributions and distinction that they achieved in their careers at the university. Dr. Armacost retired in 2006 after serving as a faculty member in the Industrial Engineering and Management Systems department for 11 years. During that time, he was an outstanding teacher and secured more than $2.4 million in funded research. As graduate coordinator, he established two new tracks, led a major revision of the Industrial Engineering doctoral program and strengthened mentoring support for students. He also created an “adopt-a-high school” program that reached out to potential students. He received the university-wide Award for Professional Service in 1997. From 2000 until his retirement, he served as founding director of the University Analysis and Planning Support Office where he implemented new planning models and data analysis methods to support university decision-making. After retirement, Dr. Armacost began serving as special advisor to Dean Deborah German, helping to establish the College of Medicine by supporting accreditation, faculty and staff hiring, strategic planning and diversity initiatives.
Dr. German presented the College of Medicine’s student Founders’ Award to Jennifer Bazemore, a Molecular Biology and Microbiology major who is a LEAD Scholar, member of the Burnett Honors College, and Vice President of the UCF Pre-Professional Medical Society. She has studied the therapeutic potential of drug agents to treat cholera and E. coli infections through the UCF Program for Undergraduate Research Experience (PURE). Her research mentor describes her as independent, hardworking and responsible, and says she brings a high level of enthusiasm to her work. Jennifer is also involved with International Medical Outreach and volunteers locally with Camp Boggy Creek for children with illnesses and Florida Hospital as a patient companion. She plans to become a physician and has been accepted by a number of medical schools, including UCF.
Dr. German praised the winners and said she was honored to celebrate UCF’s excellence in teaching, research and community service at Founders’ Day. “This is why we’re all here,” she said.