MS Future Plans and Congratulatory Notes

Fall 2020

Anthony Bartolino

After graduation, I plan to utilize my degree to help the older population. 

Mario Chang

Mario Chang works in the lab with his mentor.

After graduation, I plan on working toward my PhD as a student in the UF Graduate Program in Biomedical Sciences.

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported me throughout this process! I cannot thank my mentor, Dr. Kilberg, enough for all his guidance, advice and lessons that I will never forget. I am so appreciative of my committee members, Dr. Merritt and Dr. McKenna, for being so helpful throughout my studies. I would also like to thank everyone in the Biochemistry and Molecular Biology office for always going the extra mile to make sure I had everything I needed. Lastly, thank you to all my friends and family for their unconditional support!

Congratulatory notes from family and friends

Dear Mario, We want to take this opportunity to tell you how proud we are of you, not only for your professional achievements but for your growth as a person and as a human being.  We love you with all our heart and we wish you all the best, that you achieve all your goals and dreams. Congratulations! – With love, Mom, Alexis, Jose, and Annie

Dear Mario, I am so proud of you and who you have become. It was amazing to see all of the things you have accomplished throughout the years, and I can’t wait to see what you’ll accomplish next! Congratulations! You’ve earned it! Love you! – Ana

Congratulations, Mario! I am incredibly proud of how hard you have worked over the past two years and am always in awe of your endurance and passion. You’ve had to overcome so many obstacles and yet you did it all without complaint. I know you have so many great things to look forward to and I’m so excited to be on this journey with you. I love you!  – Jessica Abbate

Terra Beth Kidd

My goal is to work either in a local VA medical center or to open a practice as a geriatric social worker, working alongside a geriatrician to offer person-centered medical care to the aging population. 

I want to thank my amazing partner, Jonathan, for supporting me and taking care of us on evenings I have been in class or writing papers. I also want to thank my kids for always being my driving force to do better and to keep pushing to accomplish anything that crosses our path. Brooklynn, Levi, Christopher and Jonathan, I love you all more than you can possibly know.  

Jamie McCone

After graduation, I plan to pursue a career working with older adults to enrich their lives with programs that include physical, mental and social activities. 

Hayley Catherine Moyer

My plans post-graduation are to continue my work in Dr. Jim Wynn’s lab, with the intention of finishing our investigation and submitting our work for publication. I’d like to thank Dr. Wynn for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow as both a scientist and human. I’d also like to thank my family for all of their support and encouragement through this journey. 

Tiffany Schyler Nelson

Post-graduation I will be working a as research technician in the department of ophthalmology and plan to pursue a PhD in biomedical sciences starting fall 2021. Thank you to my friends, family, and mentors for your endless support and encouragement as I continue to pursue my dreams. Favorite quote: “Every passion has its destiny.” – Billy Mills

Trenton Nobles

After graduation, I am looking at potentially going to PA school or pursuing a career in health care administration.

Inga Leigh Oberst

When I graduate, I will continue to work in the field of instructional design. I also hope to share what I have learned with others by writing about aging issues and teaching gerontology. Ultimately, I dream about being involved in affordable housing initiatives for older adults in the Seattle area. 

I want to thank my kids, Spencer and Kate, and my husband, Edward. Without their love, support and understanding, I could never have completed this program. I also want to thank my parents, Bill and Inga Oberst. They are the reason I first graduated from UF back in 1994, and the reason I was compelled to study gerontology now. I have felt their presence every step of the way as I have worked toward this degree. I also want to thank the amazing professors in the gerontology program at UF. What I have learned from each of you is life-changing!

Inga Oberst wears graduation regalia while standing outside with her two children.

Isabella Simonsen

After graduation, I plan to use my degree to help older adults on a larger scale.

Kristin Watts

Kristin Watts sits in a field of sunflowers while holding her two young sons.

I am currently pursuing an AND, and I have served in the Army Reserves as a dental sergeant since 2010. My long-term goal is to become a health and wellness director for an assisted living community.

I would like to thank all of my family and friends for their ongoing support and encouragement throughout my studies and into the future. Favorite inspirational quote: “Success is never found. Failure is never fatal. Courage is the only thing.” – Winston Churchill 

Jennifer Chun Yu

After graduation, I am seeking employment in the biotechnology industry.

Summer 2020

Ghayath Dakkouri

I would like to continue my studies, and attain both a PhD and a residency in diagnostic and nuclear medical physics. I would like to thank the medical physics program faculty, and my wife and family, for always being by my side and helping me achieve my accomplishments.

Congratulatory notes from family

“Congratulations to the best husband, and soon-to-be father, ever! Good looks, brains, heart and another diploma? Wowzers! We are so proud of you!” — Your loving wife and son

“Congratulations from Sweden! We are sure today will be only the first of many proud, successful moments for you.” —The Dakkouri family

“Congratulations today and best wishes for all your tomorrows! We can’t wait to see where life will take you next. Either way, we are sure it’s great!” —The Ramadan family

Nickolas Giovanni Diodati

Thank you to all the wonderful members of the department of oral biology for making me feel like I am home, as well as to my wife and family for their unwavering support and inspiration.

Favorite inspirational quote: “So, let’s get to it — it’s calling like a flame, through the darkness and the night: The world suspended on a golden chain.” — Polly Samson/David Gilmour

Alexandra Taylor Gillette

Alex Gillette hails from Wellington, Florida, and attended the University of Florida for her undergraduate studies. There, her passion for forensics began and was stoked by wonderful friends, family, teachers and some decomposing pigs. Upon graduation, she will begin employment at the University of Florida’s forensic toxicology laboratory.

Favorite inspirational quote: “A sword wields no strength unless the hand that holds it has courage.”

Megan Elizabeth Glassell

My post-graduation plans include continuing on to PhD studies in medical physics.

Russell Barbour Hawkins, M.D.

After graduation, I will be finishing my general surgery residency and then going on to be the pediatric surgery fellow here at UF. I plan to be an academic pediatric surgeon after my training is complete.

Qingqing Peng

Eight people stand and pose for a photo inside a restaurant.

I have been admitted to the biomedical sciences PhD program at UF. I would like to acknowledge everyone who played a role in my graduate studies. First of all, my parents and my husband, who supported me with love and understanding. Secondly, my committee members, each of whom has provided patient help and constructive advice throughout the research process. Lastly, I thank all my lab mates and friends for their daily scientific and mental stimulations. Thank you all for your unwavering support.

10 people stand and pose for a photo in the outdoor seating area of a restaurant.

Bonnie Nicole C. President

I hope to continue my studies here at UF in the medical physics PhD program.

I would like to acknowledge Dr. Wesley Bolch for being an amazing and supportive mentor and my family, friends and colleagues for their continued support and encouragement.

Favorite inspirational quote: “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” — Nelson Mandela   

Jacob Connor Ricci

I have accepted a position for the next year as a research fellow at Orlando Health Radiation Oncology and will be working with the medical physics team to develop a physician free adaptive planning workflow for their MR LINAC. While working in Orlando, I am applying to MD-PhD programs with the hope of attending medical school and continuing my research in medical physics and radiation therapy specifically.

To my family, friends, and my mentors, I want to say thank you. You all mean the world to me and, without you, I would not be standing where I am today.

Haley Lynn Russo

Haley Lynn Russo poses for a photo outdoors.

Upon finishing my master of science in forensic medicine degree, I obtained a position as a medicolegal death investigator for the Cook County Medical Examiner in Chicago, Illinois. I am excited for this opportunity and look forward to pursuing the field that I spent the last two years working toward. One of my proudest moments throughout my graduate degree was completing my thesis, titled Comparing Decomposition: Interspecies Variation Within Postmortem Interval Estimation Using Total Body Score and Accumulated Degree Days. I absolutely loved working with my mentor, Dr. Lerah Sutton, on this research and hope to continue various research endeavors throughout my career.

I want to thank my mother, father, sister, brother-in-law and great aunt, who have endlessly supported my unique academic pursuits. They provided me with the best education possible, and my professional success would not be where it is without their encouragement, so for that I am particularly grateful. Furthermore, I owe special thanks to Dr. Lerah Sutton, a mentor, friend and committee member, for her continued support through my academic studies and research endeavors. Through her guidance, I found passion and love for the field of forensic science. I am additionally grateful to my other committee members, Drs. Jason Byrd, Bruce Goldberger and Adam Stern, for their guidance and assistance throughout my research project and writing of my thesis. Finally, I am thankful for my friend and co-worker Kate Laventure. Over the years we have worked side by side and accomplished many goals together. She was invaluable to my studies and research efforts, so it is to her that I offer my deepest and sincerest thanks. 

Colin James Schaeffer

After graduation I am continuing on to the PhD track to eventually get my doctorate in medical physics.

Jakob Lavy Shoti

My goal is to enter the biotech industry by working at a gene therapy company. I plan on taking this time to decide whether to enter a PhD program or stay in industry. 

Favorite inspirational quote: “Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” — Pele

Cheyenne Paige Tardie

After graduation, I plan to continue my career as a deputy coroner investigator with the Los Angeles County Department of the Medical Examiner-Coroner. I look forward to all of the challenges and experiences that being a medicolegal death investigator will bring. I also plan to spend any newfound free time with my husband and our two dogs. I’d like to thank my husband, Chad, for his unyielding support and caring, as well as his constant encouragement to chase my dreams.

Soleil Torres

Two vials in an orange holder.

My future plans include continuing research on KSHV circular RNA in the lab of Dr. Rolf Renne. I thank my family, friends and lab members for everything they’ve done to help me achieve this moment.

Favorite inspirational quote: “No fire is ever the same fire. You and the flame change with every moment. You are one flame, and you are many.” — F. C. Yee

Annalicia Vilchez

This fall, I am attending the University of Colorado in Colorado Springs, where I have been accepted into the doctoral program in clinical psychology with a concentration in geropsychology. I will also be teaching undergraduate psychology online at the University of Colorado. My main focus for the future is to conduct clinical research, earn a doctorate in clinical psychology and raise my two beautiful daughters in the process.