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Order of Pegasus
April 04, 2018
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ORLANDO (UCFKnights.com) - Twenty-two UCF students have been named recipients of the 2018 Order of Pegasus, the university's most prestigious student award. The new class that was chosen from 79 nominations includes four student-athletes. The four chosen were Anothony Catotti (Men's Basketball), Bailey Ranson (Track and Field), Taylor Wickey (Volleyball) and Matthew Wright (Football).

Anthony Catotti, an Orlando native, came to UCF on a full National Merit Scholarship. Catotti is in the College of Business Administration and College of Education and Human Performance. He is double majoring in both management and sport and exercise science with a minor in coaching.

"I have been challenged to think on a global perspective, to learn what it means to be a part of a team and a community, and to do what it takes to be a part of something special, to leave your legacy as a winner on and off the court, and to be a champion in every single day of your life," Catotti said, describing his time at UCF.

Catotti is also a member of The Burnett Honors College, serves as a volunteer peer tutor, and proudly maintains a 4.0 GPA. As an aspiring author, Catotti is currently writing his first young-adult fantasy novel and will look to publish his work after its completion.

Catotti served as a student manager for the men's basketball team for his freshman and sophomore years at UCF. However, injuries and a lack of scholarship players in the 2016 season allowed Catotti to be promoted to the Knights roster as a walk-on. Catotti has made four career appearances; his only shot attempt was a successful layup against Bethune-Cookman.

After graduating from UCF, Catotti says he wants to continue giving back to the community through youth sports and athletics.

Bailey Ranson, a nursing major, is a pole vaulter who has excelled in the classroom making the President's Honor Roll List every year and was named to the AAC All-Academic team every year since 2014. Last season, she placed 14th in the pole vault during the South Florida Collegiate track meet.

Although Ranson has found great success on the pole vault runway during her time at UCF, she says her proudest accomplishments stem from the classrooms and service organizations that have allowed her to make and impact and grow into an intelligent and compassionate leader. Following her love of neuroscience, Ranson served under Dr. Modianos as an undergraduate teaching assistant for a physiological psychology course.

Following graduation, she plans to work as a Critical Care Registered Nurse at a large hospital. After gaining experience in the field, Ranson plans to continue her education in a Doctor of Nursing Practice graduate program. Ranson says through her studies, research, and clinical work as a nurse she strives to foster a healthier community through emphasis on health education and chronic disease prevention.

Ranson is also a member of The Burnett Honors College. There she focused on the coupling of academic achievement with service learning. Ranson volunteered for organizations such as Shepherd's Hope, a free health care clinic for the uninsured, and Meals on Wheels, a meal program for senior citizens at risk of malnutrition. In partnership with Knights without Borders and Courts for Kids she traveled to Tuequecito, Panama to build a multipurpose sports court for a small countryside village.

"Through the power of sport I was able to foster meaningful relationships and serve as a positive role model to children thousands of miles from UCF," Ranson said.

Taylor Wickey is one of just six graduate students to receive The Order of Pegasus.

Wickey was able to graduate cum laude with her bachelor's degree in three years, and also pursue a Master's degree from the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. Wickey was on the Dean's List every year of her undergraduate career, and she was named to the American Athletic Conference All-Academic Team all four years she was on the Volleyball team.

"It just shows the emphasis that athletics puts on the importance of academics and taking advantage of what UCF has to offer," Wickey said. "It just shows what kind of facilities we have and people we have to help us get here."

She was captain of the volleyball team for two years and helped UCF reach the postseason in 2014 and 2017, including a NIVC Sweet Sixteen finish. Wickey was also able to help lead her team to the highest team GPA in UCF Volleyball history.

Wickey is most grateful that UCF gave her a platform to help others in the Orlando community. She participated in volunteer opportunities such as Relay for Life, Miracle League, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. After she graduates with her Master's Degree, Wickey plans to pursue a career in sports marketing, working for a professional team.

Matthew Wright is a member of the Knights football team and is in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. Wright is an aerospace engineering major. He is also a member of the Burnett Honors College. During his undergraduate career he has been able to study in lab hybrid carbon fiber reinforced polymers.

Wright is a three-year starter for the football team. He kicked 80 for 81 on PATs, adding 12 field goals made on 15 attempts. After his time at UCF, his goal is to work for NASA.

"The whole academic staff is working together with the athletic staff to make sure we have every opportunity to do well on the field and in school," Wright said. "It's nice to have all that positive support."

All four student-athletes were honored at a ceremony on April 2. Undergraduate students are chosen based on their outstanding achievements in the areas of academics, university involvement, leadership and community service. Graduate students are selected based on the same merits as well as publication or research experiences. The average GPA of the 2018 Order of Pegasus class is 3.91, the highest in the Order of Pegasus history. Because of the breadth of accomplishments required for this award, the Order of Pegasus is the highest student award that can be attained at the university.

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