News and Events

CLAS Students Sweep Leadership Awards

This article was originally printed in the December 2005 issue of CLASnotes.

Left to right: Justin Zumsteg, Stephanie Bates, Melissa A. Moukawsher, Joshua Gellers. Not pictured: Denise Bird.

Left to right: Justin Zumsteg, Stephanie Bates, Melissa A.
Moukawsher, Joshua Gellers. Not pictured: Denise Bird.

Several CLAS undergrads lined up with more than 1,200 graduating students at the O’Connell Center early on Saturday morning, December 17 and were recognized as UF Outstanding Male and Female Leaders and Scholars. Each fall, four Outstanding Male and Female Leaders are chosen for their academic record and service to UF, and this year all four are CLAS majors. In addition, the college has two Four-Year Scholars, honored for maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

Stephanie Bates is an Outstanding Female Leader and has earned a classical studies degree from CLAS and a degree in family, youth, and community sciences from the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences. She is pursuing her master’s degree in CALS. Bates is the co-founder and executive director of Campus Connect, an honors organization designed to inspire incoming students to network and find their niche on campus. She also has served as a Hume Hall residential advisor and as an honors staffer for the 2004 Preview orientation team. Memorable UF Moment: Skydiving for the first time with the Falling Gators.

Denise Bird also is an Outstanding Female Leader with a major in psychology and minors in women’s studies and pre-law. During her tenure as president of the Women’s Leadership Council, the group earned the Most Improved Organization at UF award in 2004. She also served as president of Recurso, a student organization raising awareness for children afflicted by AIDS, cancer and malnutrition. Bird has been a Florida Cicerone and First-Year Florida peer leader. She plans to pursue her master’s degree in conflict analysis and resolution and also attend law school. Miss least about UF: Surprise afternoon rain showers.

Joshua Gellers is honored as both a Four-Year Scholar and an Outstanding Male Leader. Having maintained a 4.0 grade point average, Gellers has earned a degree in political science and a minor in geography. He was a University Scholar, and after studying abroad at the Universiteit Utrecht, he returned to UF as an official recruiter for the program. He also has served as vice president of the CLAS Student Council, associate justice of the Student Honor Court and editor-in-chief of the UF International Review. Gellers was a finalist for the prestigious national Marshall Scholarship and plans to pursue a PhD in international relations with aspirations of becoming a university administrator. Memorable UF Moment: Staying up until 4 am to build the CLASSC homecoming parade float.

Melissa A. Moukawsher has maintained a perfect 4.0 grade point average and is recognized as a Four-Year Scholar, graduating with degrees in history and political science. She interned on a defense contract with the National Guard in June of 2005, and her position required her to assist in the standardization and evaluation of 55 National Guard units responsible for responding to threats from weapons of mass destruction. Moukawsher has mentored elementary school students through CHAMPS and volunteered with UF’s Arts in Medicine Program. Having scored in the 99th percentile on the Law School Admissions Test, Moukawsher intends to pursue a degree in international and national security law and has applied to Harvard, Yale, Georgetown and UF. A Favorite UF Memory: Walking through campus during the winters and appreciating the beauty of the buildings and the landscaping.

Justin Zumsteg, a scholar and a talented athlete, is honored as an Outstanding Male Leader for his service to benefit student-athletes and the community. He is graduating with dual degrees in physics and astronomy. A member of the UF Men’s Swimming and Diving Team, Zumsteg finished fourth in the 400m medley relay at the US Spring National Championships. He earned academic All-Conference and All-American honors and also was named the 2005 Southeastern Conference Men’s Swimming and Diving Scholar Athlete of the Year. Zumsteg has been inducted into the UF Sports Hall of Fame and the University Hall of Fame. He was a nominee for the prestigious Rhodes scholarship and plans to attend medical school at UCLA, Duke, Harvard, or Vanderbilt Universities. Miss Most About College: Community feel at UF and Gator friends.

—Allyson A. Beutke

Photos

Jane Dominguez

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