Archives (Accolades)

“Emanating excellence through the achievements of faculty, staff and students in the Department of Tourism, Recreation and Sport Management”


06/28/2016: DR. TREVOR BOPP was promoted from Lecturer to Senior Lecturer.

06/2/2016: DR. SVETLANA STEPCHENKOVA was awarded tenure and was promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor.

05/20/2016:  DR. STEPHEN HOLLAND and Doctoral Student MINSEONG KIM were recognized by The 2016 Global Hospitality & Tourism Conference for their paper titled “Linking Corporate Social Responsibility, Environmental Marketing, and Market Performance in the Foodservice Industry.” Their paper was nominated by Conference Editors for the 2016 Best Paper Award. The goal of the conference is to thoroughly examine contemporary global issues in hospitality and tourism disciplines. The aim of the conference is also to bridge the gap between academics and hospitality industry. The conference serves as an important forum for academics, researchers, industry practitioners, government organizations, and students to exchange dialogue about research findings and insights related to contemporary global issues that the world’s hospitality, foodservice, and tourism industries are facing.

5/20/2016: Current event management students CHRISTINA HERNANDEZ and DANIELLE PENA were awarded the Harvey Franklin Campbell Student Scholarship Award to attend the Florida Festival and Event Association’s Annual Convention and Tradeshow held on August 9-12, 2016 in Orlando, Florida at the Hyatt Regency Grand Cypress Resort. Click here for the full story.

5/18/2016: TRSM Graduate Assistant BINGJIE LIU is the recipient of the J. Desmond Slattery Graduate Student Research Award from the Travel and Tourism Research Association (TTRA) for her submission: “Developing Effective Crisis Responses.” This new award is given to a master or doctoral student to assist with their thesis or dissertation. Click here for the full story.

4/28/2016: TRSM alum SAMANTHA WILEY of Chancey Charm Weddings has been chosen as a winner of The American Small Business Championship hosted by SCORE, a national nonprofit dedicated to mentoring small business owners, and generously supported by Sam’s Club, a leading U.S. membership club serving small businesses since 1983. The Championship awarded the title to 103 small businesses for their dedication to the success of their businesses. The American Small Business Champions will each receive a $1,000 Sam’s Club gift card, an all-expense-paid trip to a regional training event, SCORE mentoring for one year and publicity throughout the year. Samantha Wiley earned the title of American Small Business Champion by submitting an online application answering the question “What dream would you be able to achieve if you were to win this Championship?” Click here for the full story.

2/26/16: DR. DAN CONNAUGHTON, Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs, was selected and participated in the 2015-2016 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program (SEC ALDP). The goals of this program are to be proactive in building the academic leadership pool in SEC universities and to prepare current academic leaders to meet the challenges of academic leadership.


11/2/2015: DR. TIMOTHY KELLISON and Graduate student ELODIE WENDLING participated in the Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference and won the Best Professional Paper for their topic: “Fan and Nonfan Participation in a Suburban Stadium strategy: An Analysis of the Atlanta-Cobb No-Vote Subsidy Case.”

09/08/2015:  DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAYDR. HOLLY DONOHOE and Doctoral Student OGHENEKARO OMODIOR were recognized by The Journal of Park and Recreation Administration (JPRA) for their paper titled “Efficacy of the Theory of Planned Behavior in Predicting the Intention to Engage in Tick-Borne Disease Personal Protective Behavior amongst Visitors to an Outdoor Recreation Center.” Their paper was selected by Editors for the 2015 Best Paper Award. The JPRA is the official publication of the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration.It was established by the Academy to bridge the gap between research and practice for administrators, educators, consultants and researchers; the journal provides a forum for the analysis of management and organization of the delivery of park, recreation and leisure services. They will be recognized at the Academy General Membership Meeting on September 17th in Las Vegas, NV.

08/11/2015: 2015 Sport Management Graduate HANNAH THEIS was honored as an Outstanding Leader at the University of Florida at the 2015 Summer Graduation Ceremony. The selection committee for Outstanding Graduating Student Leaders considers the quality and scope of leadership activities, university-wide leadership, experience, special awards, recognition and recommendations of faculty, staff and students. Fellow Sport Management student HOLLY POLE was also recognized for her scholarship and leadership at the University of Florida and was awarded the Honorable Mention for Outstanding Leader. Holly will be starting her Master’s Program in Sport Management at UF in the Fall. Click here for photo.

06/23/2015: DR. DOUG DEMICHELE was promoted from Senior Lecturer to Master Lecturer. He is the first professor in the College of Health and Human Performance to be awarded this title.

06/19/2015: Graduate student STAVROS TRIANTAFYLLIDIS was awarded the College Scholarship from the Florida Facility Managers Association. The scholarship is to assist with anyone who is interested in pursuing a career in the public assembly facility management and/or related field.

05/15/2015: Graduate Student BINGJIE LIU was awarded the NTA Luray Caverns Graduate Research Scholarship from the Tourism Cares organization. This scholarship was established in 1988 to defray the educational costs incurred by a student conducting research on a thesis, dissertation or terminal project relating to travel and tourism.

04/24/2015:Graduate student ORI BABER won First Place in the Social Sciences category at the Second Annual Florida Statewide Graduate Student Research Symposium. Ori was one out of the three graduate students from the University of Florida who won first place in their research category. His paper was titled: “Can Urban Brownfield-to-Greenspace Redevelopment Encourage Childhood Physical Activity?” See full article here.

04/15/2015:  Current Doctoral Candidate ASHLEY SCHROEDER was awarded the Graduate Student Teaching Award. This is the first time a graduate assistant from TRSM has been chosen for this prestigious award. For the full press release, click here.

03/20/15: DR. HOLLY DONOHOE was awarded an International Faculty Research Development Travel Grant. This grant will be used to explore vector borne diseases and their impacts on nature-based tourism and recreation. The grant will enable her to further international collaboration with the National Center for Scientific Research in France.

03/20/15: DR. BRIAN MILLS was awarded an International Faculty Development Grant. This grant will enable him to travel to the Netherlands, England, and Ireland to build collaboration with European researchers on labor and industrial organization in competitive sports.

03/16/2015: SHINTARO SATO (Ph.D. candidate in sport management program) was selected for Runner-up of student research competition 2015 North American Society for Sport Management conference. – (Ko serves as chair of the dissertation committee)

03/16/2015:  SHINTARO SATO (Ph.D. candidate in sport management program) received “2nd place” award for student research competition in the 2015 Southern Sport Management conference. – (Ko serves as chair of the dissertation committee).

03/16/2015:  DR. YONG JAE KO  received 2014-15 HHP Doctoral dissertation advisor/mentor award.


11/18/2014: DR. SVETLANA STEPCHENKOVA was selected by the International Tourism Studies Association (ITSA) for its Best Emerging Scholar in Tourism (BEST) Award.  She will be recognized for her achievement at the 5th ITSA Biennial Conference at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia.

11/10/2014: DR. HEATHER GIBSON  received the 2014 HHP International Educator of the Year Award. The award recognizes achievements in international engagement as it relates to teaching, research and service. She will be recognized at a university-wide reception on November 19th during the annual celebration of International Education Week.

8/26/2014: Undergraduate student MELISSA CHAPMAN, a senior majoring in Recreation, Parks & Tourism with a specialization in Tourism & Hospitality Management, won the American Express Scholarship offered by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Foundation (AH&LEF) for the second year in a row! Melissa won a $2,000 cash prize to go along with this award, which was earned by only seven students. For a list of all 2014 AH&LEF scholarship recipients, click here.

8/07/2014: JOHN EGBERTS, Associate Director and Adjunct Faculty for the Florida Traffic and Bicycle Safety Education Program (FTBSEP), has been chosen as this year’s SHAPE Florida Sport Educator of the Year. This award comes from his outstanding work with Florida schools and physical educators via the FTBSEP and Florida SRTS programs. He will be honored for his accomplishments during the SHAPE Florida convention on October 16-18, 2014.

7/09/2014: Undergraduate student MARISSA TORRES, a junior majoring in Recreation, Parks & Tourism with a specialization in Recreation and Event Management, was awarded the Sharif Rahman Scholarship of $1,000 on behalf of the Foundation for International Education (FIE) for the Fall 2014 semester program in London.

6/13/2014: DR. STEPHEN HOLLAND was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor.

6/13/2014: DR. KYRIAKI KAPLANIDOU was granted tenure and promoted from Assistant Professor to Associate Professor.

6/13/2014: DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAY was promoted from Associate Professor to Professor.

6/2/2014: Thiago Souza, a M.S. student in Recreation, Parks and Tourism, was awarded the Internal Call of Projects grant funded by Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation. The grant was initially for $9,000 and it is going to fund the Competitiveness Index for National Parks project that Thiago is a part of.

6/2/2014: Current doctoral student ASHLEY SCHROEDER received the ASTA Holland America Graduate Research Scholarship valued at $4,000. The scholarship was awarded on behalf of Tourism Cares, a leading non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and enrich the travel experience for future generations. Ashley plans on using her scholarship to fund her dissertation research.

6/2/2014: Current doctoral student Ha Ny Kim received the NTA Luray Caverns Graduate Research Scholarship valued at $3,000. The scholarship was awarded on behalf of Tourism Cares, a leading non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve and enrich the travel experience for future generations. Ha Ny plans on using her scholarship to fund her dissertation research.

2/20/2014: Former doctoral student CHUL JEONG and coauthor, Dr. Stephen Holland was selected by Journal of Travel & Tourism Marketing Editorial Board members as one of the two recipients of the “Martin Oppermann Memorial Award” for the Best Article of the Year 2012 for their article “Destination Image Saturation.” Chul was a PhD student under the advisement of DR.STEPHEN HOLLAND. Their award-winning article was based on the dissertation he did in our department. He graduated from TRSM in 2009 and is now a professor at the School of Tourism at Hanyang University in Seoul, Korea.

2/18/2014: DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAY was appointed to the International Travel and Tourism Research Association Board of Directors.

1/21/2014: DR. EVANGELOS CHRISTOU and DAWN SHORES were selected by HHP’s Teacher of the Year committee as this year’s College Teacher of the Year and Adviser of the Year, respectively. Both of their dossiers will be sent to the university-wide selection committee for consideration for the university-level awards.


ERIKA YOSHIDA, a master’s student previously under the advisement of Dr. Asli Tasci, won the Best Student Poster Award at the 2013 International Geographical Union (IGU) Kyoto Regional Conference in Kyoto, Japan (August 4-9, 2013). She was one of four awardees of the Distinguished Student Poster Presentation. Erika’s poster was entitled, “The Gap in Definitions: Heritage Tourism in Japan and Overseas.”

WONSEOK “ERIC” JANG with the 2nd place plaque for Advertising Division – Top Ranked Papers at the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference in Washington, D.C. (August 8-11, 2013). [See accolade dated 5/16/2013.]

05/24/2013: Undergraduate student KAYLA LUM, an Event Management major, was selected to receive the 2013 IATAN (International Airlines Travel Agent Network) Ronald A. Santana Memorial Scholarship from Tourism Cares. Kayla won a $1,000 scholarship for being an exemplary representative of the future of the travel, tourism, and hospitality industries. Kayla has now also been invited to attend the Tourism Cares Student Mentoring Program at the NTA/UMA (National Tour Association/United Motorcoach Association) Travel Exchange to be held in February 2014 in Los Angeles, California. Kayla was recommended for the scholarship by Dr. Kelly Semrad.

05/16/2013: WONSEOK “ERIC” JANG, a first year doctoral student in Sport Management along with DR. YONG JAE KO, his advisor, and two others submitted their paper entitled, “Scarcity Effects on Luxury, Limited Edition Products” to the 2013 Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) Conference. The conference is the most prestigious conference in the fields of journalism and mass communication. The paper was submitted to the Advertising-Research competition division and won the award for Advertising Division – Top Ranked Papers. Only three papers are picked for this selective award each year.

04/07/2013: WONSEOK “ERIC” JANG, a Ph.D. student under the advisement of Dr. Yong Jae Ko, won first place for the Department of Tourism, Recreation & Sport Management Graduate Student Award at the Stanley Lecture & Research Symposia.  His award-winning poster was entitled, “Scarcity Effects on Luxury, Limited Edition Products.” Eric won a $150 travel award to use for research purposes within the year.

04/04/2013: DR. HEATHER GIBSON was selected as a new member of the UF Academy of Distinguished Teaching Scholars. Recipients must have strong evidence of the integration of superior teaching and research and a record of distinguished scholarly accomplishment that has garnered recognition at the national and/or international level. Five or fewer are selected annually and Dr. Gibson will have the lifetime privilege of retaining the title Distinguished Teaching Scholar.

03/14/2013: DR. J.O. SPENGLER was selected as the 2013 University of Florida Research Foundation (UFRF) Professor from the College of Health & Human Performance. This professorship honors faculty with distinguished research and scholarship records.  Dr. Spengler will receive funding to support his research and to recognize his research accomplishments.

02/27/2013: DR. LORI PENNINGTON-GRAY is the recipient of the College of Health & Human Performance Doctoral Dissertation Advisor/Mentoring Award for 2012-2013. The award encourages and rewards excellence, innovation and effectiveness in mentoring doctoral students through their final dissertation. Nominations for the award come from current graduate students, graduate alumni, faculty members, graduate coordinators, department chairs, school directors, college deans and higher-level administrators.  Lori will be recognized as one of the award winners at a reception date to be announced by the President’s office.

02/21/2013: YELYZAVETA “LIZA” BERDYCHEVSKYa Ph.D. student under the advisement of Dr. Heather Gibson, was selected as the winner of the 2013 Association for Academic Women Lockhart Dissertation Fellowship competition.  Liza will receive a $2000 cash award for this great accomplishment.  This reception will take place on Wednesday, March 27th at the University of Florida’s President’s home.

02/21/2013HEE YOUN KIM, a Ph.D. student under the advisement of Dr. Yong Jae Ko, was selected as a finalist in the 2013 Association for Academic Women Lockhart Dissertation Fellowship and the Association for Academic Women Emerging Scholar competition.  Hee Youn will receive a certificate of accomplishment and a $1000 cash award from the Association for Academic Women Emerging Scholar fund.  This reception will take place on Wednesday, March 27th at the University of Florida’s President’s home.

01/24/2013: ASHLEY SCHROEDER, a Ph.D. student under the advisement of Dr. Lori Pennington-Gray, won 3rd place to receive the International Federation for Information Technology and Travel & Tourism (IFITT) Thesis Excellence Award.  Ashley’s award-winning thesis was entitled, “Caught in a Crisis: International Travelers’ Likelihood of Social Media Use.”  The award was presented at the ENTER 2013 conference in Innsbruck, Austria.

01/17/2013: ERIKA BANKS-PAYNE was selected to receive the Division Three 2013 Superior Accomplishment Award.  These awards recognize efforts that go beyond normal assigned duties of work and are very competitive.  Erika will be recognized at a reception in Emerson Hall on February 20th and will now be considered for a university-wide Superior Accomplishment award.

Invited Speakers:

03/27/2013: DR. YONG JAE KO was invited to speak at the University of Michigan on two different topics.  His first session was entitled, “Trust and Donor Behavior,” at UM’s Sport Management Program Research Seminar. The Seminar was held for the faculty and Ph.D. students.  His second session was entitled, “Taekwondo as a Global Physical Culture: Past, Present and Future,” at UM’s Nam Center for Korean Studies for all faculty and students.

DR. YONG JAE KO was invited to present at the 2013 Global Sports Talent Forum held at the Seoul Olympic Parktel. This was Dr. Ko’s first time presenting at this conference. His presentation was entitled: “Student Athletes on Balancing School and Sports.” Click here for the full press release

DR. DAN CONNAUGHTON spent two weeks in Korea and China respectively. For the first week, he was invited to present at the 2013 International Conference of the Korean Association of Sports & Entertainment Law hosted by Chung-Ang University. He delivered a presentation entitled “Legal Issues in the National Collegiate Athletic Association.” The second week, he was invited to present at Capital University of Physical Education and Sports & Tsinghua University. His seminar was entitled: “Methodologies utilized in legal and risk management research.” Click here for the full press release

02/26/2013KATERINA BEREZINA, a Ph.D. student, and her advisor, DR. KELLY SEMRAD, were invited to speak at a general session of the 2013 Club & Hotel Controllers Conference.  They will present a session entitled, “Hotel Flash Sales: Beneficial or Detrimental” in Minneapolis, MN on Wednesday, June 26th.  Other invited academic speakers will be coming from schools such as Cornell University and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University.



03/16/2012- DR. J.O. SPENGLER has been elected as the President of the Sport and Recreation Law Association. The association is a nonprofit corporation whose purpose is to study, disseminate, and address information regarding legal aspects of sport and recreation. They serve the academic and practitioner communities in both private and public sport and recreation settings.


Keynote Addresses:

07/21/2011- DR. DAN CONNAUGHTON was selected as a keynote speaker to present his research on “Legal Issues in the U.S. Sport Industry” at the 22nd Pan-Asian Congress of Sports and Physical Education. The conference was held in Beijing, China.


04/13/11- DRS. MATTHEW WALKER & TREVOR BOPP are overseeing a NASCAR Kinetics program for UF students that was recently highlighted in the Gainesville Sun. The program is designed to provide students with a hands-on marketing experience in the sport industry world.

04/13/11- TRSM professor, DR. STEPHEN HOLLAND, was recently interviewed on camera by WUFT TV’s Torry Polwin for Channel 5 news regarding what the potential impacts are if federal budget impasse results in closure of Florida national parks.


05/04/2011- DR. HEATHER GIBSON was selected as the “Outstanding Kinesiology Professional” in the prestigious Neag School of Education Alumni Society 2011 Awards at the University of Connecticut. This is an important honor for Dr. Gibson, as social scientists are not commonly selected for the award.

03/25/11- JOHN EGBERTS has been selected at the Florida Bicycle Association’s Bike and Pedestrian Educator of the Year for 2010-2011. Founded in 1997, FBA is an educational and charitable organization that focuses on inspiring and supporting people to enjoy life through biking in a safe manner. John accepted his award at the 2011 Florida Bike Summit in Tallahassee on the steps of the Old Capitol.

03/16/11- IGNATIOUS CAHYANTO, a TRSM student, has received a $1,000 grant from the Southeast States Chapter of Travel and Tourism Research Association to complete research for his dissertation on hurricane evacuation. The award will be presented to him at the STS Spring Meeting / SE
TTRA Research Symposium March 29, 2011 in Destin, FL.

03/05/11- TRSM students, SOPHIA D. MIN, MINKIL KIM, & DAEYUN KIM, received the Top Paper in Sport Marketing Track Award at the 2011 Association of Marketing Theory and Practice (ATMP) Conference recently held in Panama City, FL. Drs. Chong Kim at Hanyang University (Korea) and JAMES J. ZHANG at the University of Florida, were the advisors of the study entitled “Dimensions of Market Demand associated with Professional Women’s Basketball Game Events in Korea.”

03/05/11- LUKE L. MAO, a TRSM student, received the Top Paper in Service Marketing Track Award at the 2011 Association of Marketing Theory and Pratice (ATMP) Conference in Panama City, FL. Drs. Chong Kim from Hanyang University in Korea and JAMES J. ZHANG from the University of Florida, were the advisors. His study is entitled “Exploring the Factors Affecting the Perceived Program Quality of International Sport Education Programs: A Case of a Chinese Sport University.”

01/10/11- DR. JAMES ZHANG was selected as the 2011 Sport Professional of the Year by the Southern District Association of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. This award recognizes an active sport-field professional for his or her outstanding contributions to sport. Dr. Zhang will be recognized this February at the Award Luncheon during the SDAAHPERD Convention in Greensboro, NC.

01/05/11- IGNATIOUS CAHYANTO, a TRSM student, has received a $4,000 ASTA Holland American Cruise Line-sponsored scholarship from Tourism Cares, a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the travel experience for future generations. Each year, as part of the Tourism Cares Scholarship Program, the prestigious scholarships are presented to deserving travel, tourism and hospitality students from across the United States and Canada. Mr. Cahyanto will examine the relationships between tourists’ individual characteristics and their risk information behaviors. He believes tourists are an at-risk population, particularly in the event of a crisis because of language barriers and potential lack of knowledge concerning risks presented by hurricanes in the state of Florida. The findings will be of considerable interest and importance to those in Emergency Management, Response Service Teams, policy makers, and Destination Management Organizations.