Four College of Sciences Doctoral Students Selected for Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship  

College of Sciences graduate students contribute important scholarship and research that is crucial to the future of their various disciplines, from the natural sciences to communication studies.  

This year, four outstanding COS doctoral students, representing three disciplines, were selected for the prestigious Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship. “The Dissertation Completion Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to some of our doctoral students to focus on their research as they are finishing up their dissertation. This support is particularly helpful during this crucial time when students also apply for jobs. We’re proud of our outstanding doctoral students,” said Pegasus Professor and Associate Dean Kerstin Hamann. 

The full list of recipients is below: 

  • Stephanie Fuehr – Integrative Anthropological Sciences PhD 
  • Ann Schlotzhauer – Industrial and Organizational Psychology PhD 
  • Karla Cardona – Integrative Anthropological Sciences PhD 
  • Rui Yang – Big Data Analytics PhD 

Stephanie Fuehr 

A woman smiling in front of a wall.

What led you to choose UCF?  

The courses offered by my department, access to an isotope preparation lab, the ability to assist with forensic casework and a funding offer led me to choose UCF.  

What does this fellowship mean to you?  

This Fellowship means a lot to me and is enabling me to finish my dissertation in a timely manner.  The off-campus job I had last semester significantly slowed down my progress for data analysis and writing.  Within a few weeks of receiving the Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship I was in a much better head space and had made significant progress on my dissertation. This fellowship now allows me to write every day.  

What are your post-graduation plans?  

After graduation I plan to apply for jobs and submit three of my dissertation chapters to journals for publication. 

Ann Schlotzhauer 

A woman in a blazer standing in front of a pond.

What led you to choose UCF? 

I was initially impressed by the resources that a large, highly research-productive university like UCF could offer to graduate students, but it was the dedicated I/O Psychology faculty and friendly students that really sold me. 

What does this fellowship mean to you? 

The Graduate Dean’s Dissertation Completion Fellowship is a huge help, allowing me to commit my full attention to my dissertation and do my best work. It is one example of the resources that first drew me to UCF and that have enabled me to thrive here. 

What are your post-graduation plans? 

I will be starting as an Assistant Professor in Psychological Science at Missouri University of Science and Technology in the fall. 

Karla Cardona 

A smiling woman wearing a tan vest and scarf.

What led you to choose UCF? 

Well, in my case the decision was not too complicated. I have been working with my advisors for more than 10 years in archaeological projects in Guatemala. When Dr. Callaghan and Dr. Kovacevich told me that there was a strong possibility for the Department of Anthropology to open a PhD, I got really interested. Then, the PhD at the Department became a reality, so I talked with Drs. Callaghan and Kovacevich and other colleagues about the opportunity and the pros / cons of returning to school. Of course, I also checked UCF, the courses, the living conditions and accessibility. So, after a long consideration, I decided to pursue the PhD and began the application process. 

What does this fellowship mean to you? 

Obtaining the fellowship has been such wonderful news. I was worried about how this Spring semester would go, because I needed to get a job and try to finish the dissertation and knew it would be difficult, demanding and that my dissertation writing would be affected. So, by mid-November 2023, I got an email saying I was among the candidates considered for the fellowship, and the possibility was extremely comforting. Then the following week (the day before my birthday) I got the email saying I had been selected for the award; it was great news and an even better birthday present!  

I was so humbled to be selected and appreciate the opportunity so much. At that moment, my obvious anxiety went away (a bit) because with the fellowship I had the financial stability needed to finish and graduate from the PhD! 

What are your post-graduation plans? 

Very simple, continue working to preserve cultural heritage in Guatemala! My main aim of studying for the PhD was to obtain the skills that would allow me to be a better archaeologist to work for the preservation of cultural heritage in my home country. I plan to continue directing archaeological projects and working with the communities that surround archaeological sites. Also, if the opportunity comes along, I would like to obtain a post-doctorate here at UCF. I do have the interest in teaching at local Guatemalan universities, be able to propose cultural projects and be an active participant in the proposal of inclusive cultural policies in Guatemala. 

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