University of South Florida

College of Education

Tampa | St. Petersburg | Sarasota-Manatee


Two undergraduate students

USF College of Education proudly awards two undergraduate students with the Graduation with Distinction Award

Two undergraduate students have been honored with the Graduation with Distinction Award due to their excellence in academics, professional development, community service, research and scholarship while a student at USF.

Marcy Cherryhomes
BS in Elementary Education

Cherryhomes graduated with a 3.98 GPA maintaining straight A’s throughout her college journey, all while working and raising two daughters. She was involved in USF clubs and campus activities and was an active volunteer in the school system. These important events have fostered a positive community environment to bridge home and school while also raising funds for a wide variety of learning materials to further support student learning.

Her internships of field experiences have helped her create meaningful opportunities for student learning, collect ongoing data, analyze data to adjust and adhere to student needs and synthesize her findings to share in showcase formats. She is proud of the action research she has conducted and now has the distinct honor to present a culmination of her direct instruction research at the university-wide USF Professional Research showcase which will include many other fields of study.

Cherryhomes received her ESOL and Reading endorsements. She incorporates her education into every lesson plan, regardless of the subject area. “I can have complete knowledge of a subject area, but it is only effective if I can make meaningful connections with my students,” said Cherryhomes.

She is looking forward to starting her teaching career. "It has been an amazing journey, not always an easy one and most of the time not what I expected (due to uncontrollable real-life factors like covid). I've learned so much from such an eclectic group of amazing professors that I feel incredibly fortunate to have met them. The support my family has shown me throughout this journey has been unimaginable. I couldn't have done it without them and I will be forever thankful for their encouragement and sacrifice to allow me the time needed to follow my dream of teaching!” said Cherryhomes.

Amanda Higley
BS Elementary Education

Inspired by her teachers as an elementary student, Higley has always wanted to pursue a teaching career.  During her time at USF, she participated in many organizations and had many experiences, working to improve herself as a USF Bull, educator and global citizen. Higley graduated with her BS in Elementary Education and minors in Psychology and Deaf Studies.  

Higley received the Global Citizen Award through the Office of High Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research, participated in the Judy Genshaft Honors College curriculum and was involved in the School of Music with the Herd of Thunder Marching Band, Rumble Pep Band and Kappa Delta Pi.  Higley feels her membership in Kappa Delta Pi and the SunCoast Area Teacher Training Honors Program, serving as President her junior and senior years, offered in-depth engagement with the College of Education community and provided professional development.

“I sincerely appreciate the College of Education faculty, particularly Dr. Randi Latzke, for stability and support throughout my internship experiences, my advisor Alyssa Chism in partnership with Megan Braunstein in the Judy Genshaft Honors College for offering guidance and so much more than course planning and registration and Dr. Jennifer Jacobs for providing opportunities to grow outside the walls of a classroom through the Studying and Teaching in Costa Rica study abroad program and SunCoast Area Teacher Training Honors Program,” said Higley.

Higley feels experiences in and out of the classroom have helped shape her as an educator. She looks forward to continuing her education and starting her career as an elementary classroom teacher.  “My time in the College of Education has provided the knowledge and skills to support my success in the classroom, feeling prepared with the advice and guidance of incredible mentors within the university and community partners,” said Higley.

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About the USF College of Education:

As the home for more than 2,200 students and 130 faculty members across three campuses, the University of South Florida College of Education offers state-of-the-art teacher training and collegial graduate studies designed to empower educational leaders. Our college is nationally accredited by the Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation (CAEP), and our educator preparation programs are fully approved by the Florida Department of Education.