University of South Florida

Judy Genshaft Honors College

Tampa | St. Petersburg | Sarasota-Manatee


USF Judy Genshaft Honors College Celebrates 344 Graduates at Spring Celebration Ceremonies

The University of South Florida (USF) Judy Genshaft Honors College honored the academic achievements of 344 exceptional Spring 2024 Honors graduates through celebratory ceremonies held across USF’s three campuses. These ceremonies presented graduates with the prestigious Judy Genshaft Honors College medallion and highlighted the unique academic journey of each student.

The Spring 2024 class collectively achieved an impressive average GPA of 3.8. Among them, 41 USF King O’Neal Scholars graduated with a perfect GPA of 4.0. Nearly one-third of the Spring 2024 graduates self-identified as first-generation college students, and 75% of all Honors graduates hail from the state of Florida.


In addition to fulfilling the requirements of their respective degrees, each Honors graduate completed dedicated Honors coursework, including either an Honors thesis or an Honors capstone research project. Honors graduates also fulfilled either two global experience requirements and a 50-hour service commitment or an experiential learning requirement encompassing two activities from career and leadership development, community service, creative and artistic pursuits, global experiences, or research.

These outstanding achievements were acknowledged through remarks from USF leaders at the Tampa Honors Graduation Celebration Ceremony, St. Petersburg Honors Graduation Dinner, and Sarasota-Manatee Graduation Celebration.


Meet a few of the Judy Genshaft Honors College’s newest alumni members:


Honors graduate Neha Dantuluri receives her Honors Medallion

Neha Dantuluri received dual degrees in information science in health informatics and biomedical sciences. Through her Honors capstone course research, she utilized funding from the Genshaft-Greenbaum Global Explorers program to travel to Hyderabad, India, to intern at a domestic violence resource center.  

During her time at the University of South Florida, Dantuluri was inspired by her firsthand observations of gender violence and health disparities and her research focused on addressing these critical issues. Through her thesis and numerous presentations at conferences, such as the Johns Hopkins National Humanities Symposium and the USF Undergraduate Research Conference, Dantuluri shared her work and advocated passionately for diversity, equity, and inclusion in research and was recognized with the Dean’s Circle of Merit Award in the category of research for her dedication to bridging health disparities and gender inequality.

Next, Dantuluri will be completing a master's in biomedical informatics at Harvard Medical School. After which, she will attend medical school to become a physician.


Honors Graduate Bethany Jowers smiles outside of the Judy Genshaft Honors College building

Bethany Jowers received her dual degree in biomedical sciences and world languages and cultures with a concentration in Spanish and Latin American studies. Her Honors thesis project evaluated the feasibility and reception of a new community health tool in the Dominican Republic, the dot survey. Using the dot survey method, she assessed HIV/AIDS knowledge and perceptions in the area.  

Through her experiences, including a transformative internship at Tampa General Hospital's Transplant Institute and her involvement in the Cancer Communication Lab, Jowers conducted important research in the health care field. Jowers was recognized as a King O’Neal Scholar with a perfect 4.0 GPA, and as USF’s 2024 Ralph C. Wilcox Outstanding Graduate. She was also recognized with the Judy Genshaft Honors College Dean’s Circle of Merit Award for research for her commitment to making undergraduate research more accessible to younger students through her involvement with the USF Office of High-Impact Practices and Undergraduate Research.

Next, Jowers will pursue an M.A. in applied anthropology and complete an M.D.-PH.D. in anthropology with the goal of becoming a physician-social scientist. She will also be the Curriculum Support Graduate Assistant at the Judy Genshaft Honors College, working with Associate Dean Dr. Lindy Davidson.  


Honors Graduate Audra Nikolajski laughs during the Honors Graduation Celebration Ceremony

Audra Nikolajski received her degrees in English and political science with a minor in education. Her Honors capstone project allowed her to hone her narrative skills as a means of identity exploration and collaborative storytelling.

Throughout her time at USF, Nikolajski demonstrated consistent dedication to uplifting others, as demonstrated by her numerous leadership roles and meaningful initiatives. She represented and served the Honors student body as a Student Council Executive Board member for three years, serving as a volunteer committee co-chair, community and leadership coordinator, and finally serving as president. Beyond the USF campus, Nikolajski has interned with the Hillsborough County School Board, advocating for educational equity and transformation. She also coordinated numerous opportunities for other students to join in serving the Tampa Bay community through Honors Student Council. In addition to being named a King O’Neal Scholar in recognition of her sterling GPA, Nikolajski was also a recipient of the USF Golden Bull award and the Dean’s Circle of Merit Award in the category of service.   

Next, Nikolajski will be pursuing a master’s degree in public policy with a specialization in education policy through a full scholarship at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

DYLAN Schmucker

Honors Graduate Dylan Schmucker smiles while listening to Dean Charles Adams

Dylan Schmucker graduated with a degree in biology. His Honors capstone investigated how to improve the resources and support provided to teens aging out of foster care in Manatee County. After conducting interviews and research Schmucker presented his findings to the Department of Health to help increase awareness.

During his time at the Judy Genshaft Honors College, Schmucker exhibited exceptional leadership. As the first Honors peer mentor at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, Schmucker displayed dedication and initiative in guiding freshmen through their college experience and creating meaningful connections. His leadership skills have enriched multiple organizations that he has been involved with, including Student Government, athletics, his workplace, and physical therapy shadowing, reflecting Schmucker’s ability to foster connections and lead effectively in diverse settings. Schmucker received the Dean’s Circle of Merit Award in the category of Leadership and also graduated as a King O’Neal Scholar with a perfect 4.0 GPA.

Next, Schmucker will be entering the USF Doctor of Physical Therapy Program.  


Honors Graduate Sofia Simancas

Sofia Simancas graduated with a degree in global business with a concentration in marketing. She completed two Honors research capstone courses, one in which analyzed the weakening child labor protections in the United States and their economic and cultural implications, and a second in which she worked as a consultant to assess business operations and provide constructive advice.

During her time at the St. Petersburg and Tampa campuses, Simancas found rich and welcoming communities where she built friendships as she explored her academic interests. In her freshman year, Simancas attended the Honors Chinsegut Hill overnight retreat. As an out-of-state student, the retreat provided her with the opportunity to connect with other students, learn about Native American history in Florida, and experience kayaking with manatees for the first time.

Next, Simancas will be working part-time, spending time with family, and plans to apply to an MBA program.


Honors Graduate Nafisa Uddin poses with Associate Dean Lindy Davidson

Nafisa Uddin received dual degrees in biomedical sciences and international studies, as well as a minor in biomedical anthropology. Her Honors thesis explored how medical anthropology is integrated into the current medical school curriculum across the globe. Through close examination of these curricula, her thesis analyzed how to integrate medical humanities for a more holistic medical education.

During her time in the Judy Genshaft Honors College, Uddin embraced diverse cultures, spearheading initiatives like Tampa's annual International Mother Language Day and the Acing Accessibility Course – all aimed at promoting inclusivity for students with disabilities internationally. As a U.N. Millennium Fellow, she initiated Project Butterfly Effect, a mentorship program empowering children to advocate for humanitarian causes through their talents. Uddin’s commitment to global citizenship deepened through immersive experiences, including a transformative study abroad trip to the Dominican Republic and an internship with Global Health Catalyst, where she explored the intersection of international relations and medicine. As Uddin finished her final year at USF, she continued to expand her global initiatives, including collaborations with the Tampa Student Council to address mental health disparities across cultures. Uddin’s accomplishments were recognized as a King O’Neal Scholar and with the Dean’s Circle of Merit Award for global citizenship.

Next, Uddin will be heading to medical school to pursue an M.D./M.P.H. and work in disaster relief medicine as well as international medical diplomacy.


Many of the Spring 2024 Honors graduates are concluding an undergraduate journey that began during the height of the disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. As such, the Honors graduation celebration and USF commencement ceremonies provided not only an opportunity to recognize the graduates but also a chance for families and friends to gather and celebrate the determination and dedication of each student. Overall, USF awarded over 7,000 degrees to students from 46 states and 89 different nations.

Members of the Honors community can watch the Spring 2024 Graduation Celebration Ceremonies on the Judy Genshaft Honors College YouTube channelread more about the University of South Florida’s commencement ceremonies, or learn more about the Judy Genshaft Honors College Dean’s Circle of Merit award

Return to article listing



About Honors News

Committed to intellectual curiosity, global citizenship, and service across three unique Tampa Bay campuses, Honors News shares the exceptional stories of the Judy Genshaft Honors College.