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Office of Vice President and Chief of Staff
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Office of Vice President and
Chief of Staff
Florida Gulf Coast University
10501 FGCU Blvd S.
Fort Myers, FL. 33965-6565

Phone: (239) 590-1006
Fax:     (239) 590-1066

Press Release


Outstanding Graduates Honored with FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society and Soaring Eagles Society Awards

FORT MYERS, FL - Florida Gulf Coast University Alumni Association Board of Directors welcomed one distinguished graduate into the Alumni of Distinction Society, and five graduates into the Soaring Eagles Society at the annual Celebration of Excellence awards ceremony in April.

The Alumni of Distinction Society is the highest honor the association bestows on a deserving graduate. This year, the FGCU Alumni of Distinction Society award was presented to Zach Katkin, 2007 graduate from the College of Arts and Sciences.

Katkin is CEO for Atilus, an internet advertising agency, which provides internet marketing and web development services throughout Southwest Florida and the United States. Atilus was founded with friend and former classmate Harry Casimir, class of 2005. Atilus is the only Google AdWords Certified Partner Firm in Southwest Florida. Katkin is also winner of the prestigious Addy Award, the largest advertising competition with over 50,000 entries annually, for his work on helping to construct the WGCU Public Media website at FGCU, and winner of the Webby Award and the Summit Award for his outstanding contribution to high web development standards. Katkin is committed to giving back to the community. Atilus donates its services to the Island Coast AIDS Network (ICAN) and the Lee County Boys and Girls Club.

The Alumni Association also welcomed five graduates into the Soaring Eagles Society to honor alumni who have earned a degree from FGCU within the last decade. The recipients are:

Lisi Lau is a graduate of the College of Arts and Sciences, communications. She has dedicated her professional career to giving back to others. She is associate director of Global Community Engagement, a non-profit organization that sponsors service learning projects and volunteer programs in the Dominican Republic. Her involvement began while she was still a student, traveling to the Dominican Republic on an alternative spring break trip. She is a candidate for a masterís degree in international service, leadership and management graduate program at the School for International Training.

Jenna Martin is a graduate of the U.A. Whitaker College of Engineering. As a student, she assisted with an international project in Bolivia working to improve fresh water supplies for natives. For her work, she was elected Student of the Year in 2009. She received her master's degree in environmental engineering from USF. Currently, she is now project engineer at HSA Engineers and Scientists. She is a member of the FGCU Department of Environmental and Civil Engineering Board. Martin continuously gives back to others as she sponsors a child in the Philippines through Compassion International, distributes care packages, and collects shoes and other necessities for orphans in Honduras.

Jessica Essary, a graduate of College of Education, is making strides in her field. She was selected to the Executive Board of the Association for Childhood Education International while still a graduate student. She has published and presented numerous papers in her field. To further her commitment to education, she conducted her dissertation research in one of the poorest nations, Tanzania. Through her observations, Essary created a grant proposal and was funded to provide greatly needed support to the area. She graduates this spring with a Ph.D. in elementary education from the University of Buffalo.

Kimberly Patterson is a graduate of the College of Health Professions. She received both her bachelor's and master's degrees in health science at FGCU. Since graduation, she has devoted her career to education, earning a specialist in educational leadership of brain-based learning certificate at Nova Southeastern University. She was named Social Studies Teacher of the Year. She successfully teaches through lecture, team-building and progressive learning strategies for the School Board of Broward County. Patterson also teaches for the North Carolina Virtual Public Schools, and is an adjunct instructor for Palm Beach State College.

Braxton Rhone is a graduate of the Lutgert College of Business. As an undergraduate at FGCU, he served as the student body treasurer, and voted as the student body president. He is currently a financial advisor for Bank of America Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. His accomplishments include being recently appointed by the Governor of the State of Florida to the District Board of Trustees at Edison State College, where he is the youngest member.

For more information, media representatives should contact Kimberly Williams at (239) 590-1087.

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