UNF to honor students with exceptional service history at spring commencement

Sam Chaney

UNF students Sara-Marie Saliba and Ayshka Elise Rodriguez-Velez will be honored for their “outstanding records of volunteerism and caring spirits” as they cross the stage at spring commencement on April 27.

Saliba, who will be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, will be receiving the Senior Service Award for her seven-year commitment to the St. Maron Catholic Church and Holy Family Catholic Church.

Saliba will be receiving the Senior Service Award. Photo courtesy of the University of North Florida.

Saliba has also volunteered for Mayo Clinic’s optical shop and emergency department, as well as tutored at the Suzlbacher Center for two years, gone into the community to mentor Jacksonville youth, revived UNF’s Red Cross Ospreys Club and served as the volunteer chair and vice president of the UNF Student Nurses’ Association.

According to the University, the Senior Service Award is awarded by the UNF Alumni Association to students who provide exceptional service to the University or the community.

Rodriguez-Velez, on the other hand, will be graduating with a Master of Science degree in electrical engineering and plans to pursue a career in biomedical application.

She will be awarded The Caring Award, which is intended to recognize students who demonstrate the spirit of caring, humanitarianism and volunteerism exemplified by Albert Ernest, according to the University.

Rodriguez-Velez will be receiving the Caring Award. Photo courtesy of the University of North Florida.

Rodriguez-Velez’s recognition comes as a result of her involvement in various volunteer programs that assist and encourage students interested in STEM fields, such as Introduce A Girl to Engineering Day and the SHPE Jr. program at Ribault High School.

Such programs reportedly “offer hands-on activities [and] give children from underrepresented households opportunities to see the world beyond their backyards.”

Additionally, Rodriguez-Velez has been a member and officer of the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering.

Rodriguez-Velez has remarked how it is her hope, as a Hispanic female engineer, to “inspire other young women and Hispanics to pursue their dreams, no matter what they may be.”

Spring commencement will take place in the UNF Arena, Bldg. 34 on April 27 at 9 a.m for the Brooks College of Health and the College of Education and Human Services, 12:30 p.m. for the Coggin College of Business and the College of Arts and Sciences and 4 p.m. for the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. Spinnaker will also be live streaming the graduation ceremonies on channel 16-1.

For more information or news tips, or if you see an error in this story or have any compliments or concerns, contact [email protected].