Six COS Students Recognized With 2020 Order of Pegasus

Six College of Sciences students were recently awarded the Order of the Pegasus, the highest student achievement at the University of Central Florida. Here are the 2020 winners.

Samantha Berg

“UCF’s remarkable faculty and programs developed me into the strong researcher and individual I am today. Upon entering The Burnett Honors College (BHC), I immediately became involved with Honors Congress and its fundraising committee where I planned and oversaw fundraisers for events such as Knight-Thon and Relay for Life. Subsequently, I was elected Director of Fundraising. In this role, I further nurtured my passion for fundraising and building relationships by organizing activities to support various charities and strengthening relations with BHC staff. Following this, I ran for Director of Recruitment within Honors Congress, an executive position which allowed me to present at various campus events and an Honors Council Conference in Washington, D.C. I also had the opportunity to gain a global perspective by participating in an international service-learning program. Since my first year at UCF, I have also explored my passion for psychology and research by cultivating laboratory experiences and increasing my critical thinking skills through UCF RESTORES, multiple independent research projects, and conducting trauma research as part of the NSF-funded Research Experience. I also discovered a passion for mentorship when I began working as a Peer Mentor for the Office of Honors Research. Moreover, I mentored students as the President of the Psi Chi Psychology Honor Society and as a teaching assistant for Research Methods in Psychology and for Honors Symposium. In Spring 2019, my desire to continue developing my leadership experiences prompted me to apply and be accepted into the President’s Leadership Council.”

“Being a member of the Order of Pegasus reinforces my identity as a Knight. This award is significant to me because it is a reflection of my love and dedication to UCF and a recognition of my achievements and commitments while attending.”

Giorgi Beruashvili

Giorgi Beruashvili is majoring in International and Global Studies with a minor in Diplomacy and a certificate in Intelligence and National Security. During his first two years, Beruashvili served as a wellness ambassador of the Student Development Office, and as the president of Valencia International Club at Valencia College — East Campus. After transferring to UCF, he continued involvement through joining the Student Government — Legislative Branch, the Department of Housing and Residence Life as a Resident Assistant, and 2019–2020 President’s Leadership Council. As an undergraduate researcher, he has increased awareness on the Russo-Georgian War through his internship with the United Nations Association of Orlando Chapter. Additionally, with the Honors in Major- Undergraduate Thesis, he explored the phenomenon of female terrorism and associated vulnerabilities in the counter-terrorist forces. Throughout his undergraduate path, Beruashvili has maintained a 4.0 GPA, striving for the excellence pillar of the UCF Creed.

“Being the recipient of Order of Pegasus 2020 award made me realize that one is not defined by the odds, as I find myself being an image of two of the most underrepresented communities on campus leadership – international and transfer students. This prestigious award does not only signify my accomplishments but also the ones of people who have been supporting my academic and professional leadership development. That list would include my parents, mentors, advisers, professors, and peers who have stood by me and transformed me into someone I am today.”

Jenna Davydaitis

Colorado-born, but Florida-raised, Jenna is the middle child of a family of five. Her parents, a librarian and a pilot, instilled the importance of curiosity in her from a young age. Growing up, the Dovydaitis family would spend their summer vacations crisscrossing the country on extensive road trips, exploring both cities and national parks. Jenna credits her family, these adventures, and the many books she read on them, with jump starting the passion for learning that has persisted into her adulthood.

Stephanie Jarmak

Stephanie is pursuing her Ph.D. in Physics on the Planetary Sciences track.  She received her B.S. in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and her M.S. in Physics from Texas A&M University-Commerce. She is currently a graduate research assistant in the UCF Center for Microgravity Research where she explores the earliest stages of planet formation through low-velocity collision experiments in microgravity. She has made critical contributions to UCF’s first two small satellites, along with several other parabolic and suborbital flight campaigns. She has demonstrated a commitment to her community through her active role in expanding mentorship opportunities and resources to underrepresented groups within UCF.

“I am deeply honored to receive the Order of the Pegasus Award, and I owe much of my success to the incredible support I received from my UCF mentors and peers. Though I am reflecting on this honor while physically isolated in the throes of a global pandemic, I am grateful I was able to successfully defend my Ph.D. in the virtual presence of many of the amazing people that helped shape my emergence as a planetary scientist. My future is pretty exciting with a baby and doctorate both arriving in May, and I look forward to making UCF and the Order of the Pegasus proud as I continue my pursuit of scientific excellence and advocacy for members of my community.”

Madeline Mills

Madeline Mills is a senior majoring in Political Science pre-law with a minor in Global Peace and Security Studies. She has immersed herself in the LEAD Scholars Academy, the Panhellenic community and Student Government. Madeline has traveled to the Clinton Global Initiatives Foundation twice to represent her project, receive funding and promote a solution to food insecurity on college campuses. She has traveled to the White House to have discussions on the current state of our nation. Madeline has been recognized nationally as the top servant leader at the University of Central Florida as the Newman Civic Fellow. As the student body vice president, she has chaired and overseen various committees, and has collaborated and organized campus-wide initiatives.

“Being inducted into the Order of Pegasus is a humbling experience and truly makes me reflect on all the mentors, professors, and friends that shaped me into who I am. With their guidance, I have discovered new passions through various involvements from gardening, to sorority events, to leading the student body as vice president. The University of Central Florida has been my launchpad to achieve new heights and continue to reach for the stars.”

Ryan Ridenbaugh

Ryan Ridenbaugh graduated from the University of Central Florida in 2016 with a B.S. in Biology. Currently pursuing a M.S. in Biology, his research focuses on the mechanisms and interactions that drive speciation, and what it means to be a unique species. Through an international collaboration with researchers from Australia and New Zealand, his work at UCF has been crucial to developing an alternative pest management program and reducing harmful pesticide use in the New Zealand forestry industry. Beyond his research, Ryan has taken an active role as a leader at UCF. To date he has mentored three graduate students, seven undergraduates, and four high school students involved in a wide range of research projects.

“I am incredibly honored to have received this award. I began my journey as a Knight six years ago as an undergraduate transfer. Without the mentors, opportunities, and resources available for students at UCF, I would not be the scientist I am today.”

Comments are closed.