Stories of Impact: How the UCF Burnett Honors College is cultivating talent and inspiring excellence.
UCF Burnett Honors College logo
Issue 4 - April 2020
As I work remotely, I am reflecting on our community of BHC Scholars. The essence of universities is founded in engagement and relationships. Whether it be in class with fellow students and faculty, doing undergraduate research, or hanging out in the Burnett Honors College building, BHC Scholars choose interaction. Students learn about collaboration and developing networks while faculty and staff thrive on their interactions with others. Knowledge is spread through contact. So what happens to this foundational truth when contact stops? We shift what contact means.

I will be the first to admit that the thought of connecting electronically just didn’t feel like it could be possible. I am, however, going to err on the side of optimism. While different from walking through the lobby and talking to students about their plans, Zoom and other online platforms have their advantages too. Obstacles of time and place are diminished. Students can join us from work, home, or anywhere. Could it be technology is an equalizer? It provides opportunities to engage for those who otherwise might not be able to. Even with the rise of social media, perhaps we have been slow to truly embrace the idea that relationships can be interactive and personal even with miles between us.

Let me be clear—I miss seeing students in the building and talking with them in person. I miss the events and the joy of seeing students engaging and sharing bread together. The challenges of today are opening our eyes to how technology will need to be a part of the honors college of the 21st century. How will we capture the best of in-person and connecting remotely to provide opportunities for all to participate in our community? At the next Frito Pie Friday, we look forward to seeing you tele-web in on the big screen in the lobby. Join our LinkedIn communities and connect with students, alumni, or be a mentor.

We are rising to the challenge of using technology to create a space for all BHC Scholars to be a part of our community—regardless of distance. In the meantime, please enjoy learning more about the events of this year, such as our trip to Miami to open up markets for our students to work and thrive. Check out Family Field Day, where students, parents, alumni, and staff came together to celebrate the honors community. Read more about the BHC Business Leaders Luncheon where Orlando’s business leaders joined us to learn more about the talent at the BHC. We will continue to have these events once the time and place for them returns, but until then, we will be here, using technology to find ways to connect, build relationships, and keep this community strong from wherever we may be.

Sheila Amin Gutiérrez de Piñeres, Ph.D.
Dean, UCF Burnett Honors College
At the Burnett Honors College, we are utilizing LinkedIn to build community within the college as well as across the globe. All incoming BHC scholars create a LinkedIn account as part of Honors Symposium, and there is a group just for our students, UCF Burnett Honors Scholars.” In this group we post professional development articles, internship and employment opportunities, and academic success tips. In addition, LinkedIn has many tutorials and videos on professional development geared directly to college students. Topics include resume writing, interview skills, and networking. We also have a group for our alumni, Burnett Honors College Alumni.” This group allows us to stay in touch with our alumni and for our alumni to continue to connect with each other. Here we share college updates as well as follow the success of our graduates. Our alumni and friends serve as mentors providing advice on academic programs and career paths to our current scholars in the group UCF Burnett Honors College Mentor Program." By using the LinkedIn platform, people from near and far can participate. Not only do we have BHC alumni from across the U.S. participating, but we also have graduates from as far away as Hong Kong and Kazakhstan. Our alumni are eager to share their experiences and expertise and BHC Scholars just need to reach out and ask for advice. LinkedIn provides a far-reaching community of professionals who support our vision of cultivating talent and inspiring excellence.
BHC Student Spotlight:
Michèle Guillard

In the midst of chaos and social-distancing, one Burnett Honors College student has made it a priority to continue pushing for the importance of physical exercise.

Read more.
BHC at Brickell City Center:
Hosted by Akerman LLP and moderated by Chris Marlin, president of Lennar International, Dean Sheila Piñeres and guest Dean Michael Georgiopoulos participated in a fireside chat conversation with selected business leaders from South Florida. The group discussed the challenges and opportunities that careers in STEM-based disciplines present, specifically by focusing on how to promote employment opportunities, save in talent acquisition, and provide quality internships. UCF’s leadership showcased the depth and breadth of students and educational programs at the university. This event was an important part of the Burnett Honors College strategy to ensure opportunities for Scholars throughout the state. Approximately 20% of BHC Scholars are from South Florida and 71% of South Florida BHC Scholars are in STEM fields. The Burnett Honors College is a key STEM pipeline for Florida and the southeastern United States.
Special thank you to our host committee: Alex Galvez, Brittnie Bassant and Walter Robinson.
BHC Business Leaders Luncheon:

Approximately 50 of Central Florida’s top business men and women attended the second annual Burnett Honors College Business Leaders Luncheon, hosted by Akerman LLP, on March 4, 2020. The theme of luncheon was, “Cultivating Talent. Inspiring Excellence: the Burnett Honors College commitment to untapping potential in Orlando through InSpire.” InSpire is a collaborative new scholarship program between BHC and Elevation Foundation which seeks to engage high performing but economically disadvantaged students with the Burnett Honors College. The luncheon included a presentation from BHC student, Jasmine Masri, who discussed her work as a tutor to Elevation Scholars, and expressed her excitement on the impact that it will have on the talented students she has worked with. Dean Sheila Piñeres then discussed the history of the Elevation Scholars program, and how the new InSpire Scholars program would create unparalleled educational mobility opportunities for students from Central Florida’s most distressed neighborhoods. The event concluded with the keynote speaker, Mr. Bob O’Malley, who is the vice president of government affairs for Brightline, the only privately owned, operated, and maintained intercity passenger rail system in the United States. Bob discussed Brightline’s efforts to bring a passenger rail system tying together Orlando and Tampa, and how this connector would change the face of travel and business between and within the two cities.

View photos from the event.
BHC Family Field Day:

The Burnett Honors College held Family Field Day on February 22nd for approximately 300 students, family, alumni, and friends. The event, which featured cotton candy, a petting zoo, BBQ, and yard games, was highlighted by the attendance of so many members of our extended Honors family. We can’t forget to mention the visits from Knightro, The Golden Knight, Pegasus, and Knugget! We were blown away by the turnout, and we sincerely hope you had as much fun as we did. We cannot wait to celebrate our BHC family again next February!
Want to know more?
Get involved. Contact Renzo Martorella for more information.
UCF Burnett Honors College
12778 Aquarius Agora Dr.
Orlando, FL 32816

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