Student Achievements & Honors

Congratulations to the following students for their respective achievements and thank you for representing the College so well

The School of Social Work names outstanding students each year. The Outstanding Student Interns of the Year, announced in April 2013, were:

  • BSSW Student Intern of the Year: Scarleth Lazo (nominated by Marianne Weiss, Big Brothers Big Sisters)
  • MSW Foundation Intern of the Year: Kelly Hasson (nominated by Sasha Aaronson, City Year)
  • MSW Advanced Clinical Intern of the Year: Stefanie Del Toro (nominated by Shannen Davis, Gulf Coast Safe at Home)

Some noteworthy practicum placements/achievements:

  • During the Fall 2012 semester, Paulette Edwards (EOH) conducted her practicum at South Miami Hospital/Baptist Health with the Center for Research and Grants. Her project was entitled, “A Comprehensive Approach: Developing an Environmentally and Occupationally Safe Department” and focused on the initial stages of building The Baptist Health Cancer Institute. Ms. Edwards provided a coordinated approach to workplace health promotion for occupational safety and health to be considered in the design and execution of the Cancer Institute and to meet the health and safety needs of Radiation Therapists. Ms. Edwards’ preceptor, Shakira Henderson, was recognized as a 2013 PATH Awards recipient for Advocacy.
  • During the Fall 2012 semester, Francesca Guzzone (EOH) conducted her practicum at GLOWS-FIU. The Global Water for Sustainability (GLOWS) program is a consortium financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) working to increase social, economic, and environmental benefits to people of the developing world. GLOWS works on-the-ground to implement water supply, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) services, improve water management practices, and build local capacity” (GLOWS FIU, 2012). Ms. Guzzone assisted in developing a water-guide manuscript related to Water Quantity and Water Quality, Water Productivity and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene topics. The water-guide will be published by USAID and will be released to the public. The purpose of the water-guide is to give the general public information related to water; from how to implement a program to how water hygiene can reduce the risk of water-related illness.
  • During the Spring 2013 semester, Chintan Bhatt (EPI) conducted his MPH practicum with the Miami-Dade County Health Department, Tuberculosis Program. He developed a Tuberculosis Prevention and Control Guidelines For Homeless Service Agencies in Miami-Dade County, Florida as a guide for emergency shelters, day centers, safe havens, supportive housing programs, Single Room Occupancy (SROs), and other programs that work with people experiencing homelessness. The Guide has been uploaded onto the Miami-Dade County Health Department’s website. Link:

Tracy George, a student in the Health Promotion and Disease Prevention program, was recently accepted for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Associate Program (PHAP). This program is a competitive, two-year, paid Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) fellowship. Each PHAP associate is assigned to a state, tribal, local, or territorial public health agency and works alongside public health professionals. After completing the program, PHAP graduates are qualified for future jobs with government public health agencies and are uniquely prepared to pursue an advanced degree in public health. George will conduct her fellowship in New Orleans, LA. Her first year assignment is Maternal and Child Health (MCH).

Karl Krupp, who will start this fall as a Ph.D. student in the Department of Health Promotion and Disease Prevention, was awarded the bronze medal for the “Best Oral Presentation for Translational and Implementation Sciences” during the 14th International Union Against Sexually Transmitted Infections World Congress that took place in Vienna July 14 to 17, 2013.

Sabrina Sales Martinez, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, was selected by the American Society for Nutrition (ASN) to join its student blogging program. Sales Martinez, whose research interests focus on nutrition and HIV, will be part of a group of nine students who will blog on nutrition related topics through May 2014.

Miguel Cruz, a doctoral student in the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, has been selected by the Hispanic-Serving Health Professions Schools as a “primary mentor” for the Student Mentorship Program for Hispanic Health Research (sMPH2r). This nine month web-based national mentorship program is geared towards undergraduate juniors, seniors who have applied or been accepted to graduate schools, and first year graduate students in the health professions who have demonstrated commitment in research and working with the Hispanic community. Each mentee is matched with a team of three mentors: a primary mentor (senior research in academia), a secondary mentor (doctoral student or senior researcher without an active project), and a tertiary mentor (researcher at Mentee’s institution).

Seven students from the RSCPHSW’s Department of Dietetics and Nutrition attended The Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting in Boston in April 2013. They are pictured below with Dr. Adriana Campa, Associate Professor for Dietetics and Nutrition.


Left to right: Sabrina Sales Martinez, Celines Martinez, Santhipriya Pedamallu, Sonya Luisi, Dr. Adriana Campa, Janet Diaz Martinez, Mary Parsons, and Irene Hatsu

Katerine Diaz, an outstanding undergraduate student in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, was selected as one of only eighteen students to become a 2013 National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK) Short Term Research Experience for Underrepresented Persons (STEP-UP) Fellow by the American Physiological Society (APS). The STEP-UP Fellowship provides hands-on summer research experiences for undergraduate students who are from groups underrepresented in science. The program helps students explore biomedical research careers and provides exposure to the core NIDDK mission areas of diabetes, endocrinology, metabolism, nutrition, obesity, and digestive, liver, urologic, kidney, and hematologic diseases. In late May, Diaz joined the lab of Dr. Karen L. Sweazea, Professor in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University, to begin her work in skeletal muscle regulation of glucose in birds. In the future, Diaz plans to attend medical school.

Read about Katerine’s summer: 

Jerica ColeyJerica Coley, an undergraduate student in the Department of Dietetics and Nutrition, was named AP All-American for a second time. Coley is a driving force on FIU’s women’s basketball team. Despite her heavy practice and games away from home Jerica manages above 3.0 GPA. This is the second time that Coley has been named an All American by the Associated Press. She leads the nation in scoring with an average of 26.3 points per game. She is FIU’s first ever student athlete to win Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year twice. Her excellence on the court is all the more impressive in combination with her achievements in the classroom and in the lab.

Read more about Jerica Coley: 

Brian O. Anderson, has been accepted to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (GEH) internship in Atlanta. Brian joined the FIU Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work in fall 2011. In addition to studying for his MPH, Brian began volunteering at the South Florida Asthma Consortium – an organization exploring disparities in asthma to vulnerable populations in South Florida. During the summer of 2012, Brian conducted an internship with the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education (NAFEO) at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, MD. His work there resulted in a research paper/presentation and participation in a forum which included FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg, members of Congress, and some Florida representatives.

Brian is one of the two recipients of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA Public Health Traineeship) scholarship. For this scholarship, Brian works with a faculty mentor to explore the incidence of leukemia in Hispanic pediatric subjects and whether the disease is related to pesticide exposure.

In addition to his academic and volunteer activities Brian still finds time to participate in his church activities. He is also a writer and cartoonist/illustrator for the FIU newspaper—the BEACON.


Author: Cecile Houry

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