University Announces Recipients of Regents' Honor Awards for Graduate Students

May 22, 2020

The University of Hartford has announced the recipients of its Regents’ Honor Awards, the highest recognition the University gives to its graduate students. The awardees not only have a very high graduate GPA, they have also excelled in their research or creative projects and/or served the academic community.

Doctoral Recipients

Victoria Benson

Benson will receive her Doctor of Psychology degree from the University of Hartford in May 2022. Her prior academic study includes earning a Master of Arts in Clinical Psychology from the University of Hartford, a Master of Arts in Community Psychology from the University of New Haven, and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Southern New Hampshire.

Benson arrived at UHart with extensive clinical experience. While pursuing the PsyD degree, she has worked as a graduate research assistant with Professor Kathy McCloskey on a project that she will be building upon as a focus for her own dissertation research. She has also worked in the UHart Access-Ability Services, providing support for students with disabilities as well as at the Yale University/Connecticut Mental Health Center facility, where she conducted psycho-educational interventions and also worked with adults who struggled with substance use. Benson has also contributed to four research studies which have resulted in journal publications. 

Professor McCloskey wrote in her letter of recommendation: “Victoria is a wonderful scholar, and is consistently thorough, timely, and conscientious in all her work. She demonstrates humor, has a quick mind, and the energy and enthusiasm to match her intellectual prowess.”

Glenn Knight

Knight received his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree from the College Education, Nursing and Health Professions this month. He also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University.

Knight is currently employed as Assistant Director of Continuing Studies at Wesleyan University where he manages Graduate Liberal Studies Student Services. He also currently teaches part-time at both Wesleyan University and the University of Hartford. Knight, furthermore, is the Chief Executive Officer of Emic View a multinational educational services company. He has additionally begun to accomplish an impressive list of scholarly publications and professional conference presentations.

In his application Knight comments “…in my opinion, the most remarkable aspect of my education at the University of Hartford was the immediate and direct applicability of what I have learned.”

Kelly Blochlinger

Blochlinger received a Doctor of Physical Therapy degree in May. She also earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Health Science from the University of Hartford in 2017. Blochlinger wrote in her letter of application: “This University has fostered my love for learning and my love for the physical therapy profession. It also helped me to develop another passion for teaching.”

During her undergraduate studies, Blochlinger worked as a teaching assistant for the physics department and, while completing the three-year DPT program, she contributed to three more classes as a teaching assistant by providing support for students completing earlier parts of the program. She also collaborated with her professors on multiple research projects. One in particular was with Associate Professor Sandra Saavedra that examined the effects of optimal trunk support on academic engagement in children with moderate to severe neuromotor disabilities. The research was successfully submitted for poster session at the CT APTA conference.  

Blochlinger, recognized for her expertise, was also selected to complete her acute care clinical affiliation at the prestigious Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. She has a passion for learning, teaching, and helping others.

Perry Roth

Roth received his Doctor of Musical Arts degree in Saxophone Performance from The Hartt School this May. He previously received a Bachelor of Music from the University of South Carolina and a Master of Music degree from Louisiana State University.

Roth currently performs with the Barkada Saxophone Quartet, which was the first saxophone quartet to win the prestigious Fischoff National Chamber Music Competition Grand Prize. He also was the first saxophonist in history to participate in the New Music Workshop at the highly regarded Norfolk Chamber Music Festival in Norfolk, Connecticut. While at Hartt, Roth's chamber ensemble also won first prize at the annual Hartt Chamber Music Competition in 2018 and he won the 2019 Paranov Solo Concerto Competition. Roth has also devoted substantial time and effort, well beyond the doctoral degree requirements, to teach Hartt precollege and undergraduate students and participate in numerous masterclasses at colleges/universities and professional meetings. 

Hartt studio saxophone Associate Professor Carrie Koffman wrote in her letter of support, “Perry is a sensitive artist and creative thinker, and I have a great deal of respect for his intellect, musicianship, and character.” Perry is an accomplished performing artist and devoted teacher, someone who already is an inspiration to future generations of musicians.

Master’s Degree Recipients

Katy Henchy

Henchy completed a Master of Arts degree in Communication in the College of Arts and Sciences this spring. She also graduated in 2018 from the University of Hartford with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication.

Henchy is a scholar athlete who served as captain of the UHart volleyball team. While completing her graduate work, she was also active as a Graduate Assistant in the Office of Marketing and Communication with, among her many duties, managed and edited UNotes submissions and contributed to H Magazine. Hechy's thesis, an extension of an earlier advertising project, investigated the effects of advertising messaging on young adult awareness of the detrimental environmental impact of single-use plastic straws. 

Assistant Professor Kristin Comeforo, Graduate Program Director, wrote in her letter of recommendation: “Katy is quite simply one of the best that has passed through the halls of UHart. She is not only smart and articulate, but also just a great person who cares about her community.”

Sultan Alyami

Alyami received a Master of Engineering in Structural Engineering from the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture in May. He previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Hartford in 2019.

During his time at UHart, Alyami served as a Graduate Assistant and tutor, where he supported and assisted students in need of additional help. He also volunteered in the International Office with the arrival of new international students. Also during his graduate studies, Alyami took numerous design courses and collaborated with peers on several projects ranging from building planning to bridge replacement design.

Alyami has been very active in service to the University and his profession of civil engineering. He has been a tireless member of many student clubs such as the American Society of Civil Engineers, American Concrete Institute, and American Institute of Steel Construction. Assistant Professor Ameh Fioklou praised him by writing in his letter of recommendation: “Sultan is an exemplary student-scholar as well as a person of tremendous character with significant leadership skills.”

Whitney Kent

Kent received a Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics degree in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions i n May.Previously, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

During her graduate studies at UHart, Kent served as a Teaching Assistant mentoring first-year master’s students on lower limb orthotics coursework. She wrote in her letter of application about an exceptional summer intern experience at Care Partner O&P in Ashville, North Carolina.  “I observed everything from patient care interactions to the in-house fabrication of orthotic devices.”

This past year, Kent contributed to two research projects with professors Goodworth and Felmlee. Program Director Matthew Parente wrote in his recommendation letter: “I have received numerous compliments about Whitney’s tremendous clinical skills from her clinical preceptors and the patients that she has encountered.” Whitney has the kindness, intellect and drive that will serve her well in her career.

Venkata Pavan Chetapalli Satya

Satya received his Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Analytics from the Barney School of Business in May. He earned a perfect 4.0 GPA while also working full time at CIGNA. Originally from India, Satya earned a Bachelor of Technology degree at Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University and a Master of Science at Southern Illinois University.

Satya is a member of the first cohort of CIGNA sponsored MBA class. He currently works as a Senior Application Delivery Manager at CIGNA in the Reporting and Data Analytics area and looking now to pursue Senior Leadership and Executive positions. He proudly wrote in his letter of application: “With the knowledge that I gained in the MBA program, especially in the analytics domain, I was able to complete my certifications in Machine Learning, Health Care Data Governance and also become a Certified Data Management Professional.” 

Professor Bharat Kolluri wrote in his letter of recommendation: “Pavan is one of the finest graduate students I have encountered in the last several years I have been teaching at the Barney School of Business.”

Daniel Avery

Avery received his Master of Music Education degree from The Hartt School in September 2019, finishing the degree with a 4.0 GPA.

After earning an undergraduate degree in Music Education at The Hartt School in 2001, Avery has had an exceptional career as a music teacher at Northwest Catholic High School in West Hartford, Connecticut. There, he has built and maintained a very successful choral music program. For example, the Northwest Catholic Jazz Singers have participated in the Berklee High School Jazz Festival each year since 2001. 

Avery has also been extremely active in the local community as a choral director and accompanist, performing at CT All-State festivals, benefits, senior living centers, charity events, and church services. Professor Dee Hansen wrote in her letter of recommendation: “As an innovator and leader in music education, Dan led the growth of the Northwest Catholic Intensive Education Academy Unified Jazz Band. This effort provides programs for students with physical, mental, and learning challenges. Dan’s work in this area is notable and important.”


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