Degrees Launch Career of Service for 30 Under 30 Winners

Two alumni from the School of Politics, Security, and International Affairs are recipients of the UCF 30 Under 30 Class of 2020 award.

Kristina Merritt ’12 and Brandon Fair ’13 are being celebrated for their achievements and service in their respective careers.

Merritt, a dual major in psychology and political science, uses her background from the University of Central Florida and Stetson University College of Law to make a difference in the lives of children locally through her involvement in nonprofit organization, Junior League of Tampa.

“The League is dedicated to promoting volunteerism and service that develops the potential of women, and improving communities through effective action and trained volunteers,” said Merritt. “I particularly focus on child welfare and child education, which is a great example of how I was able to blend the education I received from my two undergraduate degrees.”

After six years with J.P. Morgan Asset Management in Chicago, where he advised 401k fiduciaries on plan investments, Fair now serves the Orlando community by using his knowledge and experience as a financial advisor at Edward Jones.

“I help people achieve their financial goals,” said Fair. “In this field you have to be a great critical thinker, and an even better communicator. My major in political science and my time at the University of Central Florida gave me the ability to be able to understand the complexities of global economies, and more importantly, how to simplify and communicate these concepts to even the most inexperienced investors.”

Both alumni have taken their important experiences as undergraduates, such as founding a sorority or taking on impactful academic challenges, and integrated them into their professional and personal lives.

“I was a founding member of the Pi Xi Chapter of Delta Zeta sorority,” said Merritt. “That experience gave me so much confidence as a public speaker and leader of a community. I use these skills as tools on a daily basis.”

Fair shares a similar sentiment in his leadership and communication development.

“I was honored to hold the position of president of the UCF Alumni Chicago chapter. With so many amazing alumni in the Chicago area, it’s a big responsibility to lead one of the largest regional chapters in the country. The skills in communication and leadership I learned during my undergraduate are instrumental in being able to successfully execute such an awesome responsibility,” Fair said.

The 2020 class of 30 Under 30 were chosen based on their professional success and service geared towards giving back. Both Merritt and Fair are no exception to the outstanding honorees recognized this year.

“This award is very meaningful,” said Merritt. “There are remarkable alumni being honored here and I am so proud to be a part of it.”

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