Sarah Gates Honored as UCF 2019 "30 Under 30" Class Recipient

Wuerffel Trophy's PAC 12 Conference Representative to be honored on April 13 in Orlando

On March 7, the University of Central Florida (UCF) Alumni announced the winners of its fifth annual 30 Under 30 Awards. Amongst the 30 recipients are mental health counselors, marketing and communications specialists, attorneys, psychologists, scientists, engineers, nurses, business owners, a Broadway performer, and other accomplished professionals.

“Our 2019 30 under 30 recipients are extraordinary examples of what it means to represent UCF with pride,” says Jazmine Rodriguez ’10 ’12 , chair of UCF’s Young Alumni Council. “The impact this group has made in the world — through both their professional and personal lives — is an inspiration for all Knights to continue to reach for success. To think that these 30 individuals are just getting started is truly exciting. On behalf of the Young Alumni Council, I extend my sincerest congratulations on this well-deserved accomplishment. We are truly grateful to share an alma mater with such incredible individuals.”

Sarah Gates with Baker Mayfield and ESPN's Tom Rinaldi at the 2015 ESPN College Football Awards Show Dinner

Open-nominations for the 2019 class were accepted on from Jan. 7 through Feb. 7. Nominations were reviewed and scored by UCF Alumni staff and previous 30 Under 30 recipients, and winners were selected by the UCF Young Alumni Council. The finalists were then confirmed by the UCF Alumni Board based on the following criteria:

Must be a graduate of the University of Central Florida (undergraduate or graduate degree).Must be age 29 or under on April 13, 2019.Nominees for 30 Under 30 must demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a lifelong relationship with Knights and strive to uphold UCF Young Alumni values.

The winners will be recognized in a formal ceremony on campus at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center on April 13. Below is the complete slate of honorees, listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Shainna Ali ’10 ’12MA ’16PhD College of Sciences College of Community Innovation and Education Burnett Honors College

Chelsea Ball ’12 College of Sciences

Andrea Bejarano ’12 College of Sciences

Kate Champnella ’14 College of Sciences

Victoria Claypoole ’15MS ’18PhD College of Sciences

Tyler Egbert ’11 College of Community Innovation and Education

Kacie Escobar ’13 College of Sciences Burnett Honors College

Chris Garcia ’12 ’13MBA College of Business

Sarah Gates ’14  Rosen College of Hospitality

Danielle Gelfand ’13 College of Undergraduate Studies

Jean Pierre Gilbert ’11 College of Business

Fawn Goldstein ’14 ’17MA College of Sciences College of Community Innovation and Education

Meyonka Gray ’13 College of Engineering and Computer Science

Jamie Gregor ’13 College of Sciences College of Business Burnett Honors College

Abby Jaros ’14 College of Arts and Humanities

Ali Kurnaz ’13 College of Sciences

Darius Lana ’11 College of Sciences

Amanda Leyva ’18 College of Nursing Burnett Honors College

Jonathon Little ’11 College of Sciences

Valerie Moses ’13 ’19MBA College of Sciences College of Business Burnett Honors College

Selina Mullenax ’12 Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Jenny Nguyen ’ 16PhD College of Sciences

Lee Perry ’18 College of Undergraduate Studies

Trevor Persaud ’14 College of Undergraduate Studies

Dominic Piscitello ’12 College of Sciences

Danielle Price ’14 College of Sciences

Ashley Rogan ’10 College of Sciences

Nicholas Simons ’14 College of Business Burnett Honors College

Alyssa Tanaka ’12 ’13MS ’15PhD College of Sciences College of Engineering and Computer Science

Alvaro Velasquez ’14 ’16MS ’18PhD College of Engineering and Computer Science Burnett Honors College


Why was the Wuerffel Trophy created?  We felt that there was a void in major college football awards. Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel put it best when he wrote, “The Wuerffel. It’s about time. There’s an award for the best quarterback, best running back, wide receiver, best linebacker, best center and even best kicker and punter. Why not one for the best human being?”


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