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Graduate Award Winners

Of the thousands of students pursuing their graduate education at UCF each year, four students are selected from a group of nominees in each college as the university winners in the areas of Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching, Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant, Outstanding Master’s Thesis, and Outstanding Dissertation. Each award recipient is recognized throughout the university community as having shown truly exceptional work.

UCF also recognizes two faculty members for their dedication and guidance in the mentorship of doctoral students. Outstanding faculty are nominated for the award by graduate faculty or doctoral students who graduated in the past year.

Award for Excellence by a Graduate Teaching Assistant

Soheil Salehi Mobarakeh, Computer Engineering PhD, College of Engineering and Computer Science

Mobarakeh is a doctoral student in the Computer Engineering PhD program. Mobarakeh was described as the most effective, responsible, innovative and caring GTA his adviser has ever had. He helps students have a better understanding of computer organization via hands-on experience. Mobarakeh’s teaching style is highly effective, and in fact, it is so innovative that a paper outlining his pedagogy has been accepted for presentation to the American Society for Engineering Education Southeast Section Conference.

Award for Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching 

Arielle Gaudiello,  Mathematics PhD, College of Sciences

Gaudiello is a doctoral student in the Mathematics PhD program. Gaudiello is a dedicated teacher who creates a welcoming environment in which students feel comfortable seeking her help and advice. Her teaching style is highly effective and students perform exceptionally well in her classes. Gaudiello also relates mathematical concepts to everyday uses and tries to integrate interesting and relatable topics into her lesson plans.

Award for Outstanding Master's Thesis

Jared Church, Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science 

Church’s thesis is titled: Dishwashing Water Recycling System and Related Water Quality Standards for Military Use. His thesis focused on recommending water quality standards for dishwater recycling for military use. In remote locations with limited water supply, such as those in military instillations, it is imperative to conserve freshwater. The U.S. Army and U.S. Navy have been working on standards for greywater and they have requested his paper for future consideration. Church has published his results in several national conferences and also in the journal Science of the Total Environment. Church is continuing his studies in the Environmental Engineering PhD program at UCF and he has received the NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium doctoral fellowship for 2015-2016. 

Award for Outstanding Dissertation

Dr. Juneyoung Park, Civil Engineering PhD, College of Engineering and Computer Science

Dr. Park’s dissertation is titled:  Exploration and Development of Crash Modification Factors and Functions for Single and Multiple Treatments. Dr. Park’s research focused on a critical assessment of the newly developed Highway Safety Manual. He identified critical flaws in the manual and provided novel solutions to rectify numerous issues and improve the prediction of traffic accidents. His work has already been incorporated into the CMF Clearinghouse and will impact the future version of the Highway Safety Manual. Saving lives and suffering is the utmost objective for engineers, and his work will achieve that. His mentor was Mohamed Abdel-Aty, PhD.

Engineering, Physical Sciences, and Life Sciences Faculty Mentoring Award

Robert Peale, PhD,  Professor of  Physics, College of Sciences 

Dr. Peale's students describe him as an outstanding mentor and great physicist. His eagerness to teach his students has been described as extraordinary. Dr. Peale’s vision and support have enabled his students to become managers and leaders in their chosen professions, whether in academia or industry. 

Social Sciences, Humanities, Education, Business, Fine Arts and Health Sciences Faculty Mentoring Award

Carey Rothschild, PhD, Instructor, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health and Public Affairs

Dr. Rothschild's students describe her as a model of research expertise. She provides guidance and assistance where needed, yet allows students the autonomy to complete their research goals. She believes that professionalism refers to upholding the core values of the physical therapy profession: altruism, excellence, caring, ethics, respect, communication and accountability.


The University of Central Florida is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award degrees at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Contact the Commission on Colleges at 1866 Southern Lane, Decatur, Georgia 30033-4097 or call (404) 679-4500 for questions about the accreditation of the University of Central Florida.

Please note the commission's expectation that contact occur only if there is evidence to support significant non-compliance with a requirement or standard. For other information about UCF’s SACSCOC accreditation, please contact the university's SACSCOC liaison in UCF's Office of Academic Affairs.

| © 2015 University of Central Florida - College of Graduate Studies