Awardees of the Regents' Honor Awards for Graduate Students Announced

May 07, 2020
Submitted By: Desiree Kleykamp

Regents’ Honor Awards for graduate students is 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. Ordinarily the presentation of these awards takes place at the annual Graduate Student Research/Creativity Symposium. Unfortunately, this year it was canceled due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the UHart campus being closed. Nonetheless, this year there is a group of most deserving students we are pleased to present and celebrate. They were picked from among a group of outstanding applicants by an evaluation committee in each of the schools/colleges. 


Doctoral Recipients:

Victoria Benson will receive her Doctor of Psychology degree from the University of Hartford in May 2022. Prior academic study included 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. Victoria arrived at UHart with extensive clinical experience! While pursuing the PsyD degree, Victoria 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. Victoria 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. Victoria 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 will receive his Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership degree from the College Education, Nursing and Health Professions in May. Glenn also holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from the University of Connecticut and a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University. He 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. Glenn, 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 Glenn 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.” Glenn is already on his way toward having a highly successful and productive career in higher education!  


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


Perry Roth will receive 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. Perry 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, Perry’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. Perry 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 will complete 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. Katy is a scholar athlete who served as captain of the UHart volleyball team. While completing her graduate work, Katy 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. Katy’s thesis, an extension of an earlier advertising project, is investigating 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: In May, Sultan will be receiving a Master of Engineering in Structural Engineering from the College of Engineering, Technology, and Architecture.  Sultan previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering degree from the University of Hartford in 2019. During his time at UHart, Sultan 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, Sultan took numerous design courses and collaborated with peers on several projects ranging from building planning to bridge replacement design. Sultan 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. Dr. Ameh Fioklou praised Sultan 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.”


In May, Whitney Kent will be receiving a Master of Science in Prosthetics and Orthotics degree in the College of Education, Nursing and Health Professions. Previously, Whitney earned a Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Sciences from the Rochester Institute of Technology. During her graduate studies at UHart, Whitney served as a Teaching Assistant mentoring first-year master’s students on lower limb orthotics coursework. Whitney 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 Whitney contributed to a 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 will soon receive his Master’s in Business Administration with a concentration in Business Analytics from the Barney School of Business. He earned a perfect 4.0 GPA while also working full time at CIGNA. Originally from India, Pavan earned a Bachelor of Technology degree at Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University and a Master of Science at Southern Illinois University. Pavan 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. Pavan 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 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, Dan 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.  Dan 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.” Dan Avery is an accomplished and compassionate music educator committed to having the arts be part of the lives of all students.