Annual Award Recipients

FYE Instructor of the Year 2016-2017


Whitney LosapioWhitney Losapio

Director of Advising in the UConn School of Engineering

Whitney currently serves as the Director of Advising for the UConn School of Engineering. Whitney began her professional career at UConn as a member of the original School of Engineering advising staff, hired to facilitate the transition to a joint staff/faculty advising model. She served as an Academic Advisor primarily for Civil & Environmental Engineering. In addition to her advising role, Whitney teaches a first-year seminar course for the Engineering House Learning Community and manages the Engineering Tutoring Center. Prior to coming to the University of Connecticut, Whitney worked as a College Access Advisor at On Point for College, Inc. in Syracuse, New York. As an Access Advisor, Whitney worked with inner city youth to pursue their college goals despite financial and academic barriers.


A true UConn Husky, Whitney received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Connecticut, graduating summa cum laude as an Honors Scholar. Following her time at UConn, she earned her Master’s in Higher Education with a focus on college student development from Syracuse University. An active member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA), Whitney has presented at various NACADA conferences on topics such as promoting college student self-advocacy, supporting first generation college students, training staff in a peer tutoring center, and teaching a first-year seminar course for your advisees. A motivated, life-long learner, Whitney truly loves working with college students and is passionate about student success. As she tells her students regularly, teaching her FYE course is the best part of her job!


Maryann MorrisMaryann Morris

Lecturer and Advisor in the Department of Allied Health, College of Agricultural Health and Natural Resources

Maryann Morris is a Lecturer and Academic Advisor in the Department of Allied Health Sciences. She is a Registered Dietitian. Ms. Morris began her career at the University of Connecticut in the 1980's as the University Nutritionist for Student Health Services, held a joint appointment with the School of Allied Health and later worked in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. In 2005 Maryann joined the Department of Allied Health Sciences. In her position as Advisor and Lecturer, Maryann assists undergraduate students in planning their academic programs and formulating career goals. She is the instructor of a FYE Allied Health Learning Community course each fall. She teaches AH 4242 Counseling and Teaching for the Health Professional, and team teaches AH 1100, Introduction to Health Professions. Her areas of interest are health counseling, how people process health information and the mechanisms that drive behavior change. Maryann is the advisor to the FitUConn Club.

John T. Szarlan Memorial FYE Mentor of the Year 2016-2017

Jia (James) Lun

Consumer Behavior, Expected Graduation May 2017

Jia has mentored three times for FYE: twice in an international 1800 and once in the UNIV 1820 class entitled Antarctic Endurance. In addition to FYE, Jia is active in the Chinese Student Scholar Association and various UConn Leadership Programs. He received a UConn IDEA grant to develop a culinary website that introduces contemporary cuisine by Chinese students and documents the history of Chinese restaurants in the US.


Joseph MariniJoseph Marini

Biological Sciences, Expected Graduation May 2018

Joseph embraced the challenge of mentoring a class of Student Support Services (SSS) freshmen who already knew each other after a summer together, with him being a new fall addition. He provided extremely high levels of both relational and academic support, with his contributions actively furthering the holistic growth of his students. Joseph is an active member of the Korean Student Association. He has worked as a Resident Assistant and Tutor for UConn’s First Star Academy, which provides academic and college preparation to high school students in foster care. He also has worked for the last 3.5 years as a Faculty and Staff Assistant at the Homer Babbidge Library.


Mona Patel photoMona Patel

Pathobiology, Expected Graduation May 2019

Mona is from Westchester, NY and attended Ardsley High School. Mona has been part of the Public Health House Learning Community for the past two years, and is a member of the Pre-Physician Assistant Society and the Husky Ambassador Program. Outside of UConn, Mona is a certified Emergency Medical Technician and holds a black belt in karate.


Mona was an FYE Mentor in Fall 2016 for Dr. Jaci L. Vanheest’s class. Her goal as an FYE Mentor was to make first year students’ transition to UConn comfortable and exciting. She also wanted her students to be aware about the incredible opportunities available on campus and to help foster the growth of amazing leaders! She plans to use the knowledge she gained through the FYE Program to not only help achieve her ultimate goal of becoming a Physician’s assistant but also a leader.


 Archive of past winners