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Florida Senators Honored with UCF Public Service Awards

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By Zenaida Kotola

The University of Central Florida recognized U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson and Florida Sen. Andy Gardiner among others Wednesday night with 2016 Public Service Leadership Awards.

The awards are designed to honor elected officials, public-service professionals, nonprofit leaders and volunteers who have demonstrated leadership in and commitment to the field of public service.

"These awards recognize some incredible people in our community who have dedicated their lives to making the world a better place for all of us," said Michael Frumkin, dean of the College of Health and Public Affairs. "They truly embody the college's mission of Strengthening Communities. Changing Lives., inspiring our students as role models for the future careers."

Many of the honorees attended a ceremony Wednesday evening at the Morgridge International Reading Center on the main UCF campus.

The 2016 winners are:

Exemplary Public Service Lifetime Achievement Award: Nelson

Exemplary Public Service Leadership Award, elected official: Gardiner

Exemplary Public Service Leadership Award, nonelected official: Ajit Lalchandani, Orange County administrator

Exemplary Public Service Organization Award: Central Florida Commission on Homelessness

Public Service Career Achievement Award: Pamela Landwirth, president and CEO of Give Kids the World

Young Public Service Professional Award, Jessica Schwendeman, assistant director of Volunteer Resource Center at Heart of Florida United Way

Several UCF graduates also were honored with Alumni Achievement Awards during Wednesday's ceremony:

Public Administration, John Titkanich, '01, city manager
 of Cocoa

Nonprofit Management, 
Anna Eskamani, '12 and '15,
 senior director of public affairs and field operations, Planned Parenthood of Southwest and Central Florida

Urban and Regional Planning, Erin Sterk, '08 and '14,
 city planner III, Osceola County

Research Administration, Winona Ward, '15,
director of research, Management Services, University of California

Emergency Management and Homeland Security, Michelle Cechowski, '12,
emergency preparedness manager,
 East Central Florida Regional Planning Council

The annual recognition is part of UCF's Public Service Recognition Week. UCF's School of Public Administration, the College of Health and Public Affairs Alumni Chapter, and the Central Florida Chapter of the American Society for Public Administration hosted the celebration.

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— 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)
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— 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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