Order of Pegasus is the most prestigious and significant award a student can attain at the University of Central Florida. Order of Pegasus recognizes exemplary performance by UCF bachelor’s degree students in the areas of academic achievement, outstanding university involvement, leadership, and community service.
Anthony Cattoti sees the virtue in athletics, how it inspires a young person to dream, to stay in school, graduate, and go to college. He feels athletics empower youth to learn to work and grow in a team environment. To Anthony, athletics provides healthy role models who reach out into the community, ready to give the same support and encouragement this Order of Pegasus recipient experienced growing up.
Anthony is a dual major in sport and exercise science and business administration management with a minor in coaching. He is also a member of the Burnett Honors College and a student athlete on the UCF Men’s Basketball team. He maintains a 4.0 GPA. He attributes much of his growth to youth and amateur athletics.
“I would not be close to the person that I am today if it were not for youth and amateur athletics. It is my dream to give back, and try to be the great mentor and coach to young people that my teammates and I were so fortunate to have over the years.”
As with mentors in youth and amateur athletics who helped shape Anthony, many of his earliest mentors were authors of his favorite books. “I only started playing sports in high school, but I have been a huge bookworm my whole life.” He is writing his first young adult fiction series and believes writing is another “opportunity to reach and positively influence youth.”
Anthony volunteered as an assistant coach, clock-operator, and statistician in youth basketball working camps and clinics. He was invited to speak to incoming business administration students about selecting a major, and spoke to Seminole High School students about the college preparation process. Anthony also mentored children in an Orange County elementary school to teach life lessons, such as the importance of doing well in school and looking forward to going to college. “I’ll never forget their faces, how they lit up the moment I opened that door. And they never stopped smiling.”
Prior to college, Heather Holman never realized the difference one person could make. She had a glimpse, though, of what one person could do having known individuals who used Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA), a national organization that recruits ordinary citizens from the community who are prepared to speak on behalf of abused and neglected children in court. Today, Heather — through her sorority Kappa Alpha Theta — fundraises for CASA. In addition, Heather spends many hours at Shepherd’s Hope, a clinic which offers free healthcare to the uninsured. She chaperoned youth at a center for the visually impaired and assisted in the Literacy Council helping adults learn how to read. All of her generosity is paired with a packed academic schedule. She is a dual major in sport and exercise science and biomedical sciences.
“With this combined degree, I am learning a more holistic approach to healthcare with a deeper understanding of exercise and nutrition as preventative medicine.”
Heather aims to earn a combined doctoral degree in medicine and philosophy to work with patients and contribute to major discoveries in biomedical research. Heather says UCF gave her the opportunity to work with cutting-edge technology, push intellectual boundaries, lead others towards success, and help underserved populations — all of which provided a strong foundation for this Order of Pegasus recipient to further her education in medicine and research, so that her “future career can have a meaningful impact on society.”
Currently, Heather is working in Dr. Kiminobu Sugaya’s lab to delay the progression of Alzheimer’s disease by using targeted nanoparticles to deliver a therapeutic protein. Heather says 85,000 people die annually from the disease. Heather lost her grandmother to Alzheimer’s. “I hope my research can contribute to the field so that fewer people have to suffer like my grandmother.”
Check out the UCF Today article for more on the university’s 22 Order of Pegasus Recipients.