TAMPA, FL – Feb. 5, 2020 – Six University of South Florida alumni aged 35 and younger have been named USF Outstanding Young Alumni in recognition of their exceptional professional and community contributions.
This year’s award recipients include three practicing physicians who are changing lives far beyond their patients’; an artist whose award-winning work supports conservation efforts; a businessman leading a 74-year-old company into a new era; and Florida’s 2020 Teacher of the Year, a beloved band director who teaches more than music. They will be recognized at a special awards ceremony and reception April 16.
Here are USF’s 2020 Outstanding Young Alumni and the USF degrees they hold:
Dr. Marlene “Joannie” Bewa, MPH ’18 – physician, public health researcher, Fulbright scholar; founder Young Beninese Leaders Association, which trained 10,000 youth on reproductive health/HIV in Benin Republic; research assistant USF College of Public health; Women in Leadership & Philanthropy scholar; Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Goalkeeper
John Brennan, Music Studies ’12 – professional wildlife artist focused on natural history and conservation; accomplished flutist; recipient of numerous local and national awards, including state duck stamp contests, raising thousands of dollars for conservation; Tampa Bay Business Journal’s under 30 “Up and Comer” in 2017
Dr. Nicholas DeVito, Microbiology ’08 and MD ’12 – oncologist and immunotherapy researcher at Duke Cancer Institute; recipient of the 2018 Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation’s Physician-Scientist Training Award; creator of USF Morsani College of Medicine’s peer-taught Step 1 medical licensing exam course and physician shadowing program
Rogan Donelly, MBA ’18 – third-generation president of Tervis Tumbler Co., producer of the iconic double-walled insulated cups; introduced Tervis’ first non-plastic collection – stainless-steel and a company conservation focus, including reducing use of disposable plastics; serves on numerous community boards
Dr. Dakeyan C. Graham, PhD Music ’15 – 2020 Florida Teacher of the Year, 2013 semi-finalist for GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year and twice a Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year; director of the “superior” rated band at Tampa’s King High School; board member of music education nonprofit Instruments of Change
Dr. Chinyere “ChiChi” Okpaleke, Biomedical Sciences ’08 and MS Medical Sciences ’10 – family medicine hospitalist physician for BayCare Health System and international medical missionary; founder of Reality Speaks nonprofit, serving student-athletes and people in need; owner of Be Dope Do Yoga, a free community yoga program; recipient of BayCare Medical Group’s Golden Compass Award for Service
About the USF Alumni Association
The USF Alumni Association is a member-based nonprofit organization comprised of former students and friends of the University of South Florida. The association helps USF’s 353,000 alumni stay connected and provides meaningful ways for USF Bulls to support, promote and protect their university. For more information, visit www.usfalumni.org, like our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/USFalumni or follow us on Instagram.com/usf__alumni and Twitter @USFAlumniAssn.
About the USF Outstanding Young Alumnus Award
The USF Outstanding Young Alumnus Award was established in 2004 to annually recognize young alumni who have demonstrated emerging and unique innovation, creativity and success in their careers. The awards ceremony and reception are planned April 16 at the Gibbons Alumni Center in Tampa. Watch for ticket sales at www.usfalumni.org