Congratulations graduates

The University of Florida College of Public Health and Health Professions honored spring 2022 graduates at two recognition ceremonies held Sunday May 1 at the Phillips Center for the Performing Arts. More than 3,000 graduates, faculty, staff and guests gathered to celebrate graduates of the college’s bachelor’s and master’s programs. A university ceremony held April 28 recognized doctoral graduates.

In his welcome remarks, David R. Nelson, M.D., senior vice president for health affairs and president, UF Health, acknowledged PHHP Dean Michael G. Perri, who is stepping down from his role this summer after leading the college for 15 years.

Since 2007, the college has added nine new degree programs at the bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. Enrollment has grown from 1,700 students to nearly 3,000. More than 700 students a year now graduate with a degree from PHHP, up from 450, Nelson said.

Perri also has overseen the recruitment of more than 85 new faculty positions in support of university hiring initiatives, including one focused on artificial intelligence. When Perri began in this role, the college’s faculty generated $14 million in external research awards. That number now totals $45 million, and places the College of Public Health and Health Professions ninth in National Institutes of Health research funding at schools of public health at public universities.

Michael Lauzardo
Dr. Michael Lauzardo

Michael Lauzardo, M.D., served as the distinguished speaker and recipient of the college’s Darrel J. Mase Leadership Award. Lauzardo is an experienced public health practitioner trained in pulmonary medicine and epidemiology who has worked directly with state and local health departments throughout Florida and the U.S. for the past 25 years. He is the director of one of four U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Tuberculosis Centers of Excellence and has also been very active internationally working in tuberculosis in low- and middle-income countries. Most recently, he has served as director of UF Health Screen, Test, & Protect, the public health response to reduce the risk of COVID-19 at UF. His COVID-19 control contributions have earned national recognition by the CDC and the Gold Humanism Honor Society and numerous local awards, including the Gainesville Chamber of Commerce Community Champions Award. When he is not working at his “day job,” he is helping manage the Keira Grace Foundation for Children’s Cancer, a foundation he and his wife created in 2005 to provide lifesaving care to children with cancer in Latin America.

The college also honored four faculty members who received awards recognizing teaching, mentoring and advising. 

Fedele, David

David Fedele, Ph.D., received both a college and university Doctoral Mentoring Award. He is an associate professor in the clinical and health psychology department. He directs the Pediatric Behavioral Health Lab where graduate students gain experience investigating the effects of psychosocial aspects of chronic conditions on overall health. After completing their doctoral degrees his students have gone on to successful careers as scientist-practitioners in pediatric psychology, working to improve the health of kids with chronic conditions.


John Lednicky, Ph.D., also received a PHHP Doctoral Mentoring Award. He is a research professor in the environmental and global health department whose research focuses on aerovirology, virus discovery and surveillance, and influenza virus studies. His lab has discovered multiple viruses and variants, and he has sequenced the full genome of some of these. Since January 2020, a major thrust of his work has been related to COVID-19; students in his lab receive world class training in viral detection and analysis.

Mike MoorhouseMichael Moorhouse, Ph.D., was named the college’s Faculty Advisor/Mentor of the Year. He is the director of the Bachelor of Health program and a clinical assistant professor in the occupational therapy department. He is directly responsible for the educational and advising needs of more than 400 pre-health junior and seniors, and is heavily involved in student life as faculty advisor to four student organizations. His research interests include undergraduate pedagogy, hazardous substance use among young adults, and measurement theory.

Liz WoodElizabeth Wood, D.H.S., M.P.H., received PHHP’s Undergraduate Teacher of the Year award. She is a clinical assistant professor in the environmental and global health department. She is the director of public health outreach and alumni engagement where she works with undergraduate and graduate students. She teaches courses primarily in Global Public Health and Global Health Disparities and has integrated virtual exchange with countries like Egypt, Spain, and St. Lucia, as well as past study abroad programs in Haiti.

The college presented the Dean’s Scholar awards to an undergraduate and graduate student.

Jillian Zuwala Jillian Zuwala, a bachelor of health science student majoring in communication sciences and disorders, received the Dean’s Scholar, Undergraduate award. Her honors thesis, directed by Yonghee Oh, Ph.D., has implications for improving the sound perception of individuals who have difficulty hearing when multiple people are speaking. Zuwala graduated summa cum laude and will attend the University of Colorado at Boulder to pursue a doctor of audiology degree. 

Shannan RichShannan Rich, who received a Ph.D. in Epidemiology, received the Dean’s Scholar, Graduate award. Her activities have included serving as the lead member of the Student Health Epidemiological Analysis and Research Group, and as an ad hoc peer reviewer for several scientific journals, as well as participating on the UF and Florida Department of Health COVID Screen, Test & Protect team. She has already published 24 peer-reviewed journal articles, including eight as first author. Following graduation, Rich will join the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemic intelligence service officer.

View recordings of the Spring 2022 PHHP Recognition Ceremonies

Student Awards


PhD Preliminary Exam
Man Chong Leong

Online MS Outstanding Student
Ryan Widner

MS Outstanding Student
Yutao Zhang

MPH Exemplary Student in Biostatistics
Yui Fuji


Molly Harrower Memorial Award for Excellence in Psychodiagnostic Assessment
Andrea Mejia

Eileen B. Fennell Graduate Student Teaching Award
Brittany Rohl

Clinical and Health Psychology Student Research Award
Catherine Dion

Florence Shafer Memorial Award for Excellence in Psychotherapeutic Counseling
Colee Evangelista

Stephen Boggs Dissertation Award
Erin Corcoran

Health Psychology Research Award for Excellence in Clinical Health/Medical Psychology Research
Erin Ferguson

Jenny Sivinski Memorial Award for Excellence in Community Service
Erin Ferguson

Geoffrey Clark-Ryan Memorial Award for Excellence in Pediatric Psychology Research
Erin Moorman

Nathan W. Perry Scientist Practitioner Memorial Scholarship for Excellence in Integrating Science and Practice
Erin Moorman

Robert and Phyllis Levitt Neuropsychology Award for Excellence in Clinical Neuropsychology Research
Francesca Lopez


Outstanding Master in Health Science Student
Katherine Buschang

Outstanding Student Research Award
Olga Munoz

Outstanding Master in Public Health Student
Remy Powell

Outstanding Student Public Health Service Award
Ashton Creasy-Marrazzo


Best All-around MPH Epidemiology Student
Jean-Paul Russo

Outstanding MPH Epidemiology Student
Alexandra McMohan

Epidemiology Ambassador Award
Spencer Gorelick


MHA Student Service Award
Luke Dewlow
Sam Milligan III

MHA Outstanding Student of the Year
Magdalena Araya
Novia Love

MPH Academic Excellence Award
Eduardo R. Osegueda

MPH Outstanding Graduate of the Year
Nicole Rossomano

PhD Outstanding Student Award
Zhigang Xie


John J. Benton Endowed Scholarship
Zoe Lohse

Exemplary MPH Student
Devon Mims

Exemplary MPH Student in Social & Behavioral Sciences
Kelsey Witmeier


Alice C. Jantzen Award for Excellence
Ke’Andra Clayton

Jane Slaymaker Memorial Award
Carolina Castillo

Ann Sirmyer Ballard Memorial Award for Outstanding Graduate
Shelby Waldron


Edna L. Povey Scholarship
Kara Payne

Thomas B. Abbott Scholarship in Communication Sciences and Disorders
Amber Gerasimchik
Kerestyn Kesgiropoulos

Karen Klenberg Scholarship
Rosemari Richardson

Carl Crandell Scholarship Fund
Allison Layne

Joseph Kemker Fellowship in Audiology Endowment
Elisabeth Rymer


Dean’s Scholar – Undergraduate
Jillian Zuwala

Dean’s Scholar – Graduate
Shannan Rich

Michelle Brooks Yates Scholarship
Johanna Lucas

Judson A. Clements, Jr. Memorial Scholarship
Alaina Carpenter

Anna F. Gutekunst Scholarship
Isabella Satizabal

Sam and Connie Holloway Endowed Scholarship
Elle Chomlongluk

Horace and Vivian Sawyer Endowed Scholarship
Geneve Simeus

Ronald J. Spitznagel Service Fellowship in Health Sciences
Shane Mathew