2020 Top 10 Seniors UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences

Each spring, the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences (CALS) recognizes outstanding senior students at its annual Scholarship and Leadership Awards Banquet. These women and men represent the highest standards in the college experience, academics, campus involvement, community service, research, and more.

Adrian Dougherty

Adrian Dougherty’s childhood in Fort Myers, Fla., and high school volunteer experience in environmental education led her to pursue a degree in Wildlife Ecology and Conservation. As an aspiring wildlife biologist, Adrian looks to understand the human-environment connection in an effort to preserve our natural resources. With minors in Spanish and international studies, Adrian completed two study abroad trips to Belize and Ecuador. She will join the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on Merritt Island’s Sea Turtle Management program after graduation. Adrian hopes to pursue a role in the environmental sector of the Peace Corps before attending graduate school in the future.

Case Emerson

An animal sciences major from Lake Butler, Fla., Case Emerson is a member of the CALS Ambassadors, Collegiate Farm Bureau and Alpha Gamma Rho Fraternity. He participated in Cohort 9 of the CALS Leadership Institute, where he completed a service project and traveled to Morocco. Through his fraternity, Case volunteers with the Winn Dixie Hope Lodge, and during high school football season you can catch him on the Union County Radio- WUCR 107.9 LP FM as an on-air sports broadcaster. Case participated in the UF Intercollegiate Meats and Live Animal Evaluation team representing CALS at various competitions across the country. After graduation, Case looks forward to pursuing a master's degree in Agricultural Education and Communication at UF.

Dariel Liakhovetski

A microbiology and cell science major from Boca Raton, Fla., Dariel Liakhovetski credits UF Online with allowing him to collaborate with his science idol, Dr. David Sinclair of Harvard Medical School. Dariel has been a teaching assistant for several labs within his major. In addition to his love for science, Dariel is a classically trained cellist and was a top 7 finalist on America’s Got Talent with his brother, Emil. With a passion for community service, Dariel has fundraised for Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Children of Chernobyl Foundation, and a program that shares the arts with Parkinson’s disease patients. Dariel plans to attend dental school after graduation.

Genaveve Henson

An agricultural education and communication major from Myakka City, Fla., Genaveve Henson will graduate with minors in Extension education, leadership, management and sales in agribusiness, and mass communications. Genaveve is a CALS Ambassador, member of Alpha Tau Alpha Honor Society, and member of the Agricultural Communicators and Leaders of Tomorrow. She has served in leadership roles in the CALS Student Philanthropy Council, Gator Collegiate Cattlewomen, Gator Collegiate FFA, Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority, and UF Collegiate Farm Bureau. In addition, Genaveve works at the UF Foundation as a student fundraiser and supervisor. Her honors thesis addresses best online sales practices for the horticulture industry, and she will graduate Summa Cum Laude.

Hannah Montgomery

A native of Melbourne, Fla., Hannah Montgomery will graduate with dual degrees in environmental science and sustainability in the built environment. During her time at UF, Hannah has been a Reitz Scholar, Florida Blue Key STEM Professions Day Divisions director, member of Gators Going Green and Action Student Government, sister of Alpha Delta Pi, and a teaching assistant. Hannah has volunteered as a conversation partner for exchange students as well as with several organizations including Project Princess and Strong Roots Movement. Within the college, Hannah is a CALS Ambassador, member of the CALS Leadership Institute Cohort 9, and vice-president of the CALS Philanthropy Council. After graduation, Hannah plans to attend law school to specialize in environmental and agricultural law.

Kaylin Kleckner

An entomology and nematology major from Ocala, Fla., Kaylin Kleckner remains active in Florida FFA, completing her American Degree and facilitating national leadership conference sessions at the national office. During her first year at UF, Kaylin was selected to be on the Freshman Leadership Council. She has completed independent research projects on bees and leaf-footed cactus bugs, earning a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Her honors thesis addresses the results of her research on leaf-footed cactus bugs. After graduation, Kaylin plans to attend graduate school to study honey bees. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, reading, bullet journaling, beekeeping, and participating in Vida Springs Church activities.

Kristina Rodriguez

An environmental science major from Miami Beach, Fla., Kristina Rodriguez founded The Strong Roots Movement and the Sustainable Ocean Alliance organizations on UF’s campus. She is part of the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program, and volunteers as a mentor at Girl's Place, Inc. Throughout her time at UF, Kristina has completed several internships including a fieldwork with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service in Hawaii and undergraduate research at the UF Whitney Lab for Marine Bioscience. She has also had the opportunity to speak in international settings, such as at The Economist’s World Ocean Summit in Abu Dhabi and the Our Ocean’s Conference in Bali. Kristina’s career goals include translating science into policy that promotes sustainable marine conservation.

Nicole Davi

With a major in family, youth and community sciences and a minor in nonprofit organizational leadership, Nicole Davi of Gainesville, Fla., plans to attend law school and work in political advocacy. Her time as a Guardian ad Litem and interning with organizations like Children’s Legal Services and the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute has led to her desire to advocate for foster youth. As a University Scholar, Nicole has led an independent research project titled “Barriers to Foster Parent Recruitment.” She has also served in leadership roles for the Public Leadership Society and volunteered with Kids Count. After graduation, Nicole plans to move to Washington, D.C. in an effort to gain experience on Capitol Hill.

Sarah Teman

A wildlife ecology and conservation major from Parkland, Fla., Sarah Teman is an undergraduate researcher in the University Scholars Program. She studies the effects of rodent seed foraging from diverse habitats on invasive plants in southern African savannas. In addition, Sarah has conducted research in Belize under a USDA grant studying mammal occupancy. Last summer she interned with a non-profit where she provided triage and long-term care for sick and injured seals in southern Maine. Sarah serves as a lab assistant in UF’s Aquatic Animal Health Lab, and is president of UF's Student Chapter of The Wildlife Society. After graduation, Sarah plans to pursue graduate degrees studying ecology with a career goal of supporting conservation through cutting-edge research.

Vada Hammons

An animal sciences major from Sarasota, Fla., Vada Hammons is pursuing a career in veterinary medicine. She currently serves as the president of UF Sigma Alpha Professional Agricultural Sorority and is a CALS Ambassador. At UF, Vada works as an emergency surgical technician at UF's Small Animal Hospital, and conducts research in the Brooks’ Equine Genetics Laboratory. This research experience has provided Vada with the opportunity to present her findings at both the Equine Science Society Symposium and International Plant and Animal Genome Conference. Vada is completing her honors thesis on a gene that affects Chestnut coat color shade variations in horses.


UF/IFAS Photo; UF Photo