April 5 was an evening of celebration as UCI inaugurated the first Latino Excellence and Achievement Dinner honoring outstanding graduate students, faculty, and alumni supporters of UCI's Latinx community. The evening was especially meaningful given UCI's new status as a Hispanic Serving Institution.
The event was the inspiration of PhD in Education graduate Veronica Newhart, who believed the time had arrived to celebrate the accomplishments of UCI's Latinx community. During the evening, Dr. Newhart was awarded special recognition as the recipient of the School of Education's Outstanding Graduate award. As explained by guest emcee Elsa Ramon (also a UCI alumna),
Dr. Newhart has become a leader on the use of telepresence robots to promote social and educational inclusion. She coordinated a senior class gift that allows UCI students with chronic illness to continue attending school via a robot. She has received a National Institutes of Health Ruth L. Kirschstein Institutional National Research Service Award, a prestigious postdoctoral trainee fellowship through the Institute for Clinical Translational Science.
Dr. Newhart's path to her doctorate has included numerous awards for her scholarship and contributions: UCI Graduate Opportunity Fellow, Faculty Mentor Program Fellow, Public Impact Distinguished Fellow, and UC President's Dissertation Year Fellow. As a Postdoctoral Fellow on the NIH-Funded ICTS TL-1 Training Program in Translational Biomedical Research, she will be continuing her research on telepresence robots for chronically ill children with postdoctoral mentor Distinguished Professor of Education Jacquelynne Eccles.