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Starry Knights Event Honors COHPA Alumna

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By Marisa Ramiccio

The stars aligned and the Space Coast Knights came together for the fifth annual Starry Knights event.

The Space Coast University of Central Florida Alumni Chapter hosted Starry Knights V at Eastern Florida State College's Planetarium and Observatory on July 16. The event, which offered networking opportunities, food, photos, a silent auction and more, was organized in part by School of Public Administration alumna Michele Jones and College of Business Administration alumna Kimberly Prosser.

Jones, a graduate of the public administration and emergency management programs, led the portion of the evening dedicated to the Debbie K. Phillis Scholarship. The Space Coast Alumni Chapter created this scholarship in 2009, in memory of Debbie K. Phillis, an alumna and passionate supporter of UCF. Phillis is a two-time graduate of UCF, having earned her bachelor's degree in legal studies from the College of Health and Public Affairs and her master's in counselor education. She was a founding member of the Criminal Justice and Legal Studies Alumni Chapter as well as the former chair of the Space Coast Alumni Chapter.

In 2011, the alumni chapter began offering the scholarship, which provides $1,000 scholarships to two UCF students from Brevard County, and is awarded on an annual basis.

This year, there were 32 applicants and seven finalists for the scholarship, including a graduate student from the Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders. The winners were Elyse Robertson from the College of Education and Human Performance and Sarah Sacra from the College of Sciences.

To keep the scholarship funded, the Space Coast Alumni Chapter pledged an endowment goal of $25,000, which it reached that night.

Also in attendance that evening was Dana Blickley, the guest speaker and recipient of the of the Notable Knight Award, which is given to distinguished alumni who live in Brevard County. Blickley is a two-time alumna of the school, having received her Bachelor of Science in Public Administration in 2003 and her Master of Public Administration in 2010. She currently serves as the Brevard County Property Appraiser.

To see photos from the Starry Knights event, check out Florida Today's photo gallery of the event.

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The health care informatics master's program at UCF really helped me connect with the industry, meet people at conferences and sit for the most-desired certification exams."
— Michael Neimann M.S. in health care informatics ('14)
My internship with the District 9 Medical Examiner’s Office was one of the greatest experiences of my life. I gained an excellent understanding of the medical examiner’s office and the criminal justice field in general."
— Adam Stubley B.S. in criminal justice, criminal profiling certificate ('11)
UCF provides its physical therapy students with an excellent education and prepares them to work in the most challenging of settings."
— Jamie Dyson Rehabilitation Supervisor, Orlando Regional Medical Center
UCF's program provided me the opportunity to expedite my student experience while attaining practical experience working within local health systems."
— Daniel Barr V.P. at National Children's Hospital; M.S. in health sciences, health services administration track ('04)
My master's education helped me see the big picture of the nonprofit industry. UCF showed me how to see the different fundraising tools within the Central Florida area."
— Krysti Griffith Executive Director of Growth from Grief; Master of Nonprofit Management ('12)
The course opened my eyes to grant writing ... I learned a great deal and you [Barbara Howell] are truly an excellent instructor."
— Deborah Reith Master of Public Administration student who secured a $10,000 federal grant through a course project; B.S. in criminal justice ('86)
The skills I learned during my time at UCF are what made my transition to law school so seamless."
— Jacqueline Iaquinta Touro Law Center student; B.S. in legal studies ('10)
As an inaugural graduate of the M.R.A. program at UCF, I can attest to the outstanding curriculum developed for research administrators. "
— April Heyward Post Award Services Coordinator, University of South Carolina; Master of Research Administration ('13)
It was at UCF that I first learned many of the skills that I’ve since honed, including mapping with GIS software - an ability I found invaluable to my search for internships, graduate-level coursework, and employment."
— Richard "Ben" Hagen Research and Communications Associate, New Economy Project, New York City; B.S. in public administration ('10)
I am excited to be able to give back to the program that invested so much in me. It is truly and honor and a privilege."
— Carlos Gual Instructor of Athletic Training; B.S. in athletic training ('09)
The faculty advisor [at my medical school] was amazed that I had the opportunity to truly participate in the full spectrum of research as an undergraduate. "
— Chase Cavayero, medical student at Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicince, B.S. in health sciences - pre-clinical ('13) 
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