Torch Awards 2013

The Torch Awards recognizes the university’s most outstanding alumni for contributions to their fields, the community and their alma mater. During the 2013 Torch Award Gala, two alumni of the Robert Stempel College of Public Health & Social Work were recognized.

Community Leadership Award

Presented to an alumnus/a who has demonstrated exemplary service and civic involvement in his/her community.

Beth Davalos MSW ’94, LCSW, Coordinator of the Families in Transition Program, Seminole County Public Schools


Beth Davalos, a licensed clinical social worker, has dedicated her life to making a meaningful difference in the lives of homeless children and their families. She was hired in 2003 by Seminole County Public Schools to coordinate and implement a program called Families in Transition, a program that protects the educational rights of homeless children. In her role with the organization, Davalos has identified and served more than 10,000 homeless students, working with hundreds of agencies, organizations and community members to help stabilize their lives, access basic needs and provide opportunities for these children and their families. Additionally, she makes presentations to the community and works with the media nationally and internationally to increase awareness and understanding of child homelessness. Last year, Davalos was featured twice on the CBS’ news show 60 Minutes. Her efforts have stimulated more than $8 million in donations to Central Florida organizations to help homeless families.

Check out the FIU Magazine story on Beth Davalos’s work:

Distinguished Alumni Awards

The Distinguished Alumni Awards recognize alumni who have brought honor and distinction to the university through their notable record of service and achievement in a particular discipline, organization or cause.


Carol Novak ’91, Founding Board Member, Kristi House

Carol Novak is committed to building a stronger and healthier community for children and at-risk families in Miami-Dade through her volunteer work. In 1993, she served on a Governor’s Task Force to evaluate the system of care for children in our community. After that, she became an operations and management consultant to the Department of Children and Families until 1995. Novak left to form the Child Advocacy Center as a full-time volunteer. Novak is a founding member and has served on its Executive Committee since 1996. She has also served on the Board of Friends of Sylvester at the Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center and the board for the Statewide Network of Child Advocacy Centers. Novak is a graduate of FlU with a bachelor’s in social work. A 30 year resident of Miami, she currently lives in Pinecrest with her husband. Together they have three grown children.

Author: Cecile Houry

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