Golden Bull Awards
Congratulations to the 2021 Golden Bull Award winners! Take a moment to learn more about these exemplary students and consider your own nomination. You can also explore the winners from previous years.
Please view the virtual awards ceremony below.
Sahiti Priya Akinapalli
Sahiti is a graduating senior, majoring in Chemical Engineering in the College of Engineering. She is also a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College.
Sahiti is a USF student-leader who is motivated to help others have an easier path toward success. As Vice President of the USF chapter of the Chemical Engineering professional organization, AIChE, she planned and hosted industry plant tours and expert panels to provide professional development opportunities for engineering students. The organization’s Events Chair in 2018, she worked with 20 local professionals to create workshops on resumes and conduct mock interviews. She also initiated bowling, karaoke, paintball, and mini-golf social programs. Her initiatives increased student participation by 40%.
An innovative member of a team, during her time with the Kimberly Clark co-op program, she piloted and implemented a change in engineering processes that saved 40 minutes of staff time and $1,000 per color change in spectrometry. In her Cortevea Agriscience co-op, she implemented a new infrastructure that saved the company over $135,000 in one year. A model engineer, global citizen, honors student, and leader, Sahiti is making the engineering profession and leadership roles more accessible.
Samia is a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Health Sciences with a concentration in Biological Sciences and a Minor in Psychology. She is from West Palm Beach, Florida.
Samia has been an instrumental mentor and leader among her peers. As a Student Government Senator, she worked to represent the consolidated student body across the Sarasota-Manatee, St. Petersburg, and Tampa campuses.
As Editor-in-Chief for Sparks Magazine, a non-profit that disseminates a student-run publication for the Asian and Pacific Islander American community, Samia promotes cultural diversity. Through her writings in this outlet, Samia advocated for human rights and social justice. She collaborated with a team of ten members to successfully lead the publication of Issues 18 and 19.
Leda is a Bachelor of Arts in Mass Communications candidate from Brazil.
As Editor-in-Chief of the award-winning USF student newspaper, the Oracle, Leda has been instrumental in overseeing the process of content creation across five different sections of the publication. She assigns, schedules and edits stories while managing a team of 20 students. Additionally, she is responsible for conducting interviews and investigating breaking new stories. As Editor, she has shifted the distribution of the Oracle to other platforms beyond traditional print. She created a podcast and is using cutting-edge tools to create compelling videos for social media channels such as Instagram. Leda is pioneering changes that will pay dividends for years to come at the student newspaper.
In addition to her work on the Oracle, during the summer of 2019, Leda was selected to serve as an orientation leader for international students. Alongside the other OLs, she helped welcome over 300 students from more than 25 different countries to USF. Leda was moved by her interactions and made life-long bonds with students from all over the world. For her dedication to student success, she was named Most Valuable Player.
Scarleth L. Andino
Scarleth is a graduating senior finishing the requirements to earn her Bachelor of Sciences in Biology.
Scarleth has dedicated her time at USF to helping empower others to follow their dreams through her roles as a Community Leader Coordinator, the Director of the Campus Activities Board, and member of the Alternative Spring Break team. She encourages other students to seek out involvement and make the most out of their time at the University. Scarleth has made campus involvement her passion by also serving her peers as a member of the Latin American Student Association, American Chemical Society, Craft-a-Bull, the Organization for Women Leaders, and a USF Ambassador.
Scarleth is driven to help others by pursuing a career in medicine. She currently works as a mutli-skilled technician at Sarasota Memorial Hospital and will be pursing a Master’s degree after graduation while on her path to become a physician.
Matthew is a Bachelor of Arts in English candidate with a concentration in Professional Writing, Rhetoric, and Technology in the College of Arts and Sciences. His hometown is Tampa, Florida.
In the summer of 2020, Matthew co-founded a new student organization, Minorities in Pre-Law. Matthew came up with the idea of a minority-centric student organization after seeing the lack of representation at many pre-law events he attended. His goal is to use this organization to bring together a community that has been historically marginalized and give minorities in pre-law a larger voice at USF. Since founding the organization, he has led several initiatives that demonstrate his leadership and school spirit. He organized an Allies in Law Mentorship Program for 75 current USF students in collaboration with Boston University. He also partnered with several law school admissions exam preparation organizations to offer webinars for Minorities in Pre-Law members. Matthew also created a law school admissions data resource. In sticking with the organization’s theme of providing equal access to all, he formed a Women in Pre-Law Committee within the organization, aiming to combat sexism in the legal field and promote the voices of women in the pre-law and legal communities.
KaLeigh is a Bachelor of Science candidate in Civil Engineering and member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. She is from St. Petersburg, Florida.
In the words of one recommender, “KaLeigh has changed my understanding of what is possible to accomplish at USF.” In her first two years of college, KaLeigh worked 30 hours a week while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average as an engineering honors student. During the summer of 2020, she was promoted to full-time, where she now works as a Senior Concrete Lab Technician at Engineering Consulting Services Florida LLC. In her role, she handles raw materials, operates specialized equipment, conducts tests, documents results, produces reports, and directly communicates with architecture and engineering firm clients. She has earned certifications in ACT Concrete Strength Testing, CTQP LBR Testing, and ACI Aggregate Base Testing.
KaLeigh’s delight in challenge and teamwork is evident in her commitments beyond academic and professional experiences. KaLeigh joined the USF Women’s Cross Country and Track and Field team. In only her second year of competitive running, she was the top finisher for the team at the UCF Invitational with a new personal best time of 18:47.
Camila Yumi Cernawsky Nakandakari
Camila is a Political Science and Mass Communications major with a Concentration in Journalism. She is also a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College.
Camila’s consummate professionalism, engaging personality, and broad skillset set her up as a leader among her peers. She brings a critical, diverse perspective to whatever she does and is committed to making her community a better place through action. An avid volunteer, Camila has dedicated more than 300 hours of service as an undergraduate. Additionally, Camila served on the campaign for Monique Scott for Hillsborough County Court Judge, as an intern for the Florida Senate, and as a Florida House of Representatives intern.
Following these experiences, Camila was selected to be part of an interdisciplinary, cross-institutional field research project during the 2020 Presidential Caucus in Iowa. The USF team worked with students from other institutions. Collectively they developed a survey that focused on understanding voters’ expectations of the President and how they assess presidential candidates. This research project inspired Camila to pursue individual research on the intersectionality of gender and politics.
Prantik is a senior majoring in Chemical Engineering from Chittagong, Bangladesh.
Prantik has been a dedicated student leader since his sophomore year. He volunteered on the Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering Undergraduate Advisory Board where he worked with fellow board members to bridge the gap between students and the chemical engineering faculty. He worked as an Engineering Tutor for Engineering Student Services and took the initiative to host individualized tutoring workshops. These sessions helped the college maintain 100% retention rates for those participating.
Prantik has displayed an innate ability to lead by representing USF at the 2019 Global Grand Challenges Summit hosted in London. He was able to leverage his engineering knowledge to lead a group of international students. Together they devised an innovative water filtration design project, which will ultimately lead to a more sustainable future.
Aldo-Jorge Coelho Jesus
Graduating in August 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology, Aldo-Jorge Coelho Jesus is from New Bedford, Massachusetts.
Aldo is the current President of the Harborside Activities Board, USF St. Petersburg campus’ programming organization. Previously with HAB, Aldo served as the Director of Films and the Director of Stage Acts. Aldo has also served as Peer Coach for the COMPASS Student Experience Office. Other organizations that Aldo has been a member of include Black Student Association, P.E.E.R.S., Pride Club, and the Office of Multicultural Affairs. He also had a hand in starting the Poetry Club, Civil Liberties Union, and the Photography Club.
In the classroom, Aldo volunteered with Dr. John Arthur to collect, clean, and categorize shells from Wheeton Island to gain experience in the fields of paleontology, archaeology, and anthropology. He also submitted a presentation for the Student Research Symposium.
Jennifer L. Eubanks
Jennifer is a graduating senior, Bachelor of Arts in English candidate.
Jennifer’s desire to leave an impact on future generations by setting and example of aiding others has encouraged her to be involved in a variety of local community projects. She is an active volunteer at Willis Elementary, Harvest United Methodist Preschool, Windsor Assisted Living Facility, and St. Jude’s. Additionally, as a member of the honors program, Jennifer has focused her research on childhood food insecurity in the Sarasota-Manatee region and hopes to publish her paper in order to bring awareness to this important community issue.
In addition to her work in our community, Jennifer has lead her peers at USF as the President of the English Society and Sigma Tau Delta, leads a team professionally as the Senior Store Manager at FedEx, and is a dedicated mother and family member.
Jeffrey is a medical student in the Morsani College of Medicine from Los Angeles, California.
Jeffrey’s academic and co-curricular work has focused on providing crucial health services to the medically-underserved community in Tampa. In his research, he collaborated with local neurosurgeons and PhD students to conduct and design innovative projects. He completed clinical trials and analyzed the potential socioeconomic impact of disseminating specific health information to the community. His research has resulted in 18 publications and more planned or in-review. To continue his contributions to the medical community’s compendium of global healthcare knowledge, Jeffrey also serves as an ad-hoc reviewer for scholarly articles in academic journals under a faculty physician’s counsel.
As President of the Neurological Surgery Interest Group, Jeffrey heard the call for interdisciplinary collaboration and spearheaded an expansion of community engagement. With his guidance, the Neurological Surgery Interest Group has welcomed students from nursing, physician assistant, physical therapy, and more, promoting a paradigm of inclusion and leveraging the unique strengths of each discipline to best care for the community. As co-founder and Co-President of the organization with fellow Golden Bull winner Grace Wei, he is actively supporting several projects focused on providing crucial health services to the those not receiving adequate care in the community.
Joshua is a senior, graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology.
Joshua has defined his experience at USF through service to his peers. He has served as a USF Ambassador, a Box Office Bulls executive board member, the President of the Biology Club, and a founding member of the West Indian Student Association. But his
primary service to his peers has been as a leader within Student Government. Joshua served two terms in the judicial branch, leading the team as Chief Justice last year. This year, he took on the challenge of becoming the inaugural Governor of the Sarasota-Manatee campus within a OneUSF Student Government, representing and advocating for his peers with the administration and alongside his colleagues from the other USF campuses.
Additionally, Joshua works alongside his family members to run Ghansiam Farms, taking care of a dozens of farm animals every day. He wants to continue serving others as he pursues a career as a physician and will continue his work with Covenant Research after graduation.
Bridget is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with a minor in Deaf Studies. She is also a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. Her hometown is Indianapolis, Indiana.
Bridget’s clear desire to serve others as a skillfully trained, well-informed, and compassionate nurse is evidenced by her accomplishments and experience as a student at USF. After completing the Cultural Constructions of Disability course, Bridget presented her final project, “A Double Disadvantaged Population: The Intersectionality of Risk Factors in Disabled Indigenous Australian Populations,” at the USF Undergraduate Research Conference in May of 2019. Here she received an outstanding research award for her work.
In the summer and fall of 2020, she developed a unique tool for siblings of people with disabilities. Her thesis, titled “For the Siblings: Providing Resources for Siblings of Children with Disabilities,” brings together her interest in research, personal experience, and desire to provide tangible help to overlooked communities. The tool she created and presented at the 2021 USF Undergraduate Humanities Conference is a reflection guide. The tool is designed to prompt conversations among families about perceptions, challenges, expectations, and joys experienced when navigating disability. Two versions of Bridget’s guide have been adopted by the Joseph Maley Foundation for use in their camps.
Mistelle is pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering from the College of Engineering. She is from Kingston, Jamaica.
Since Mistelle arrived on campus, she immediately began to invest herself in the USF community. Mistelle has proven herself to be a mentor and role model. She served as an Engineering ambassador. In this capacity, she represents the needs of the engineering department on campus while simultaneously working to convey the values and mission of the College of Engineering to prospective students and families.
Furthering her dedication to this academic field she helped coordinate the Association for Environmental Engineering and Science Professors Converging COVID-19 conference. In this initiative, she brought together hundreds of students, faculty, and experts from all over the country to discuss environmental health and equity in relation to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heather is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Medical Anthropology. Her hometown is Lenoir, North Carolina.
Heather’s research interests include substance use disorders, infectious disease, harm reduction, mental health, stigma, patient experience, and emergency medicine. Using her research interests for community benefit, Heather drafted a proposal and presented it to the Hillsborough County Commissioners Behavioral Health Taskforce. Part of her work included town halls and engaging the local police departments to lay out harm reduction principles and protection of first responders as key principles for public health. Through her work, she convinced the taskforce to adopt needle exchange programs in Hillsborough County. They enacted this resolution in February 2020 and have since voted-in Heather as a sitting member of the Taskforce.
Additionally, Heather created a novel treatment pathway for opioid use disorders at Tampa General Hospital. This program received a 2020 recognition in Becker’s Hospital Review for leading the state in opioid use disorder care. It achieved a 99th percentile national rating on opioid prescribing, treatment, and harm reduction measures.
Emma is from Coatesville, Pennsylvania. Emma will graduate in May 2021 with a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and Policy and a Minor in Geography. She is also a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College.
While at USF St. Petersburg campus, Emma co-created the Business for Good Internship at USF, served as the Proposal Advisor for the Student Green Energy Fund, was an Academic Tutor for the Student Success Center and worked as an Office Assistant in the Office of Student Accessibility Services.
While serving as the Vice Chair of SGEF, Emma spearheaded the ORCA Biodigester project which required research, conversations with administration, project proposal creation, and budget configuration. Emma has shared the ORCA success story with over 100 press sources and presented student research experience at the 2-day Synapse Summit conference 2020.
Emma’s other legacy project is the Business for Good Internship which she came up with after her internship for a local investment firm with the main task of certifying the firm as a B Corporation. Emma worked with USF staff member from the Bishop Center and local business owner to co-create the Business for Good Internship. The internship program will partner students and local businesses so interns will help the local businesses become certified B-Corporation. The pilot semester, Spring 2021, has 27 interns from across 20 academic majors and 7 businesses.
Maisha Z Khan
Maisha received a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering from the College of Engineering in the fall of 2020. She came to USF as an international student from Bangladesh.
Maisha’s leadership style involves creating opportunities for others. She institutionalizes mentoring programs, hosts training and networking sessions, demystifies leadership and provides professional development opportunities for peers. As Conference Chair for the 2020 Southeast Regional Conference of the National Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers, she supervised a team of 15 and obtained $11,000 in industry sponsorships. This conference included students from universities and colleges across the Southeastern United States.
Maisha developed her engineering skills while working in multiple research labs, eventually narrowing her interests to engineering solutions in support of sustainability. Her senior capstone project focused on improving a wastewater facility. The project won Best Design in her class. She was awarded the Fall 2020 Outstanding Chemical Engineering Undergraduate Student Award as well as the 2020 Dean's Circle of Merit Award for Leadership by the Honors College.
Maria Clara Novoa
An international, transfer student from Bogota Columbia, Maria Clara Novoa is our next Golden Bull recipient. Maria will earn her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology degree with a Minor in Leadership in May 2021.
While at USF St. Petersburg campus, Maria has served as the Vice President and President of the International Club, works as a student assistant in the USF World office, and developed a project for a class to raise donations for Community Action Stops Abuse (CASA).
Maria also represented USF St. Petersburg campus at the Florida International Leadership Conference. She currently holds an internship in Psychology and has become a Registered Behavior Technician which allows her to apply knowledge of therapy for autistic children with maladaptive behaviors. Maria has also been interviewed by the Tampa Bay Times on her perspective of American traditions like Thanksgiving. She used the opportunity to highlight the International Club and the “Friendsgiving” initiative.
Mackenzie L. Osborne
Mackenzie is a transfer student graduating May 2021 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology with a Minor in Leadership Studies. Mackenzie is from Seminole, FL.
During her time at USF St. Petersburg campus, Mackenzie has served as a Research Assistant, a Directed Study student, and presented at the Spring 2021 USF Undergraduate Research Convention, all under Dr. Wendy Rote. She is a member of the Psi Chi Honor Society and has represented USF St. Petersburg campus in Tallahassee under the supervision of Dr. LaDonna Butler at the Crime Survivors for Safety and Justice assembly in February of 2020.
Outside of her involvement on campus, Mackenzie is heavily involved in several Pinellas County grassroots foundations. Her work with the Central Park Performing Arts Foundation and the Pinellas Youth Symphony has spanned over a decade and she’s assisted to raise over $600,000 for the placement of Pinellas County’s children into theater and music performance camps which are empirically proven to improve children’s academic and social skills.
Mackenzie hopes to enroll in the USF Tampa’s Clinical Psychology PhD program for Fall 2022 semester.
Nicole is a graduating senior, finishing her Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology.
Nicole’s passion for education and dedication to service have defined her academic career. She has lead the Psychology Club and helped them provide opportunities to students to connect with community partners - like the Roskamp Institute, Centerstone Behavioral Health, and the Child Protection Center. Her dedication to her academic pursuits can be shown through her research assistantship with the Psychology Department and her internship at the Roskamp Institute. She has been awarded the prestigious opportunity present her research at the USF Psych Expo and the Society for Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention.
Additionally, Nicole is dedicated to serving the community by helping organize book drives and serving as a nursery caregiver and vacation bible school youth leader at Englewood United Methodist Church. Nicole wishes to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience after she graduates.
Jessica is a Bachelor of Science candidate in Business Analytics and Information Systems with a concentration in Cybersecurity from the Muma College of Business. Her hometown is Naples, FL.
Business honors student Jessica is determined to consistently put her best foot forward. As a freshman, she competed in USF’s annual Elevator Competition and earned second place out of 200 students. Since then, she earned membership in the invitation-only Bulls Business Community, became part of the Business Honors Program, joined the Order of the Golden Brahman, and became part of the Phi Chi Theta Business Fraternity. She was named to the Muma College of Business 25 under 25 as a junior.
As a Senator for Student Government, Jessica worked on behalf of students by serving on the Senate’s Finance Committee, Policy Committee, Activity and Service Fee Recommendation Committee, and the Consolidation Task Force Committee. She served as the Tampa Deputy Financial Officer for Student Government’s first consolidated term as part of OneUSF. She also served on the Campus Allocation Funding Committee where the group allocated over $18 million Activity and Service Fee dollars to Registered Student Organizations, Student Success Departments, and Funding Council Committees.
Edlin is a Ph.D. student in the College of Arts and Sciences, majoring in Sociology. He is from Hollywood, FL.
His dissertation research project explores inequality and identity among Dominicans of Haitian descent in the Dominican Republic.
During his time at USF, Edlin has facilitated a variety of collaborative events for the general student body, with a focus on providing spaces for students of color. In 2018, he helped develop and host a forum on African American marginality and emotions titled, ‘Between Men and the World: Race, Masculinity and Affective Capital’ for USF’s Intercultural Student Leadership Conference. In a joint effort with Student Life and Residence Education, he co-facilitated a Real Talk Series on The ABC’s of Colorism during Hispanic Heritage Month. This program was named Honorable Mention for “Program of the Month” by the National Residence Hall Council. In association with the Honors College, he served as a co-leader to USF’s study abroad trips to the Dominican Republic and Panama.
Christopher P. Wang
Christopher is a medical student in the Morsani College of Medicine from Beijing, China.
Christopher exhibits strong leadership qualities making him worthy of the Golden Bull Award. This past summer, he was the primary driver of a clinical research project focused on melanoma brain metastases. He collected a patient database of 1200 people with over 50 data points per patient. With the help of one colleague, they collected the data in 2 months. This database has already led to several abstracts being accepted at national neurosurgical and neuro-oncology meetings and will be the source of numerous impactful publications.
Additionally, he serves as the President of two Interest Groups on campus- the Neurological Surgery Interest Group and Anesthesiology Interest Group. Despite the challenges of the past year, Christopher has been actively working with the USF Department of Neurosurgery and neighboring institutions, including the University of Central Florida and Nova Southeastern in Clearwater to create a centralized source of neurosurgical research and clinical opportunities. He assisting other students in writing scientific protocols, manuscripts, and abstracts. In his pursuit of sharing knowledge, Christopher also mentors students and provides guidance for graduate programs.
Grace is a second-year medical student in the Morsani College of Medicine from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Grace has excelled in providing leadership within the USF community. To bridge the gap between public health and medicine, Grace cofounded the Public Health Interest Group at the College of Medicine and serves as Co-President. Under her leadership, the group has launched K-12 public health teaching initiatives, created drives for community partners, welcomed guest speakers from health departments and medical centers, provided dual-degree guidance for students, and more. She is also the Co-President of Service of the Dermatology Interest Group, where she leads sun safety awareness and skin cancer prevention initiatives to promote integrating advocacy as healthcare professionals. Finally, Grace serves as the Director of the PLEXUS Mentorship program, an interdisciplinary mentoring initiative that supports undergraduates in their health professions journey with mentors from across USF Health.
Grace has also made research and academic excellence a priority since starting at USF. She has published and presented meaningful publications on dermatological conditions, cancer research, and population-based prevention studies for vulnerable groups. She is currently spearheading a number of service-based projects that aim to make valuable impacts on pediatric sun safety, teledermatological skin cancer detection, and racial and ethnic disparities in cutaneous oncology.
Mary Beth Williams
Mary Beth is a Bachelor of Science candidate in Finance and a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. Mary Beth comes to USF from Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
As a Peer Mentor Lead for the Honors Foundation program, Mary Beth refocused the curriculum on material that would best support incoming freshmen. She introduced topics related to Personal Finance and professional development. Over the past two years, she trained 85 Peer Mentors and 20 Peer Mentor Leads on the importance of developing healthy finance habits.
She also served as a Tampa Campus Council Committee member for Student Government, delivered presentations for the Honors Foundations Training program and Student Staff Leadership Institute, and assisted in a publication for Our Narrative as part of a research assistantship with Dr. Ryan Carney. She served as a resident assistant to 485 building residents and 36 direct residents. Mary Beth also completed internships with CitiBank and J.P. Morgan Chase Bank.
After graduation, Mary Beth will return to JP Morgan as a member of their full-time Corporate Analyst Development Program.
Carolyna Yamamoto Alves Pinto
Carolyna is a Bachelor of Science candidate in Biomedical Engineering and a member of the Judy Genshaft Honors College. Her hometown is Cuiaba, Brazil.
During her time at USF, Carolyna has demonstrated a motivation to help others learn and grow. She is a cofounder of the Biomedical Engineering Society (BMES) at the university. As Vice President and President in the first years of the society, she recruited members, created a monthly professional development series called “Evening with an Engineer”, supervised the budget, and formed a Research and Development division that managed student access to workspace for modeling medical devices. Showing creativity, she personally developed the society’s t-shirt design. Continuing as an active member, Carolyna helped the organization be recognized as an official chapter of the national Biomedical Engineering Society and mentored subsequent organization leaders.