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Recent graduate Christopher Clifford ’21 was one of 26 students honored by UCF with the Order of Pegasus. Awarded each spring, the distinction is the university’s most prestigious student honor.

Clifford, an electrical engineering major with a bioengineering minor, was president of the Type 1 Group at UCF, a community that helps students transition to college while living healthy and fulfilled lives with diabetes. His research focuses on developing a cure for Type 1 diabetes. Clifford’s work at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, focused on differentiating stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells for transplantation into people with diabetes. At the AdventHealth TRI, he served as a volunteer researcher where the group pursued novel biomarkers relevant to Type 1 diabetes onset and diagnosis.

While attending UCF, Clifford was a Burnett Honors Scholar, an Astronaut Scholar and UCF’s first Gates-Cambridge recipient.

“UCF has been a great place for me to discover my academic interests and encourage my personal growth,” he said. “Being such a large university, I found my home in my student organization, the honors college and the engineering department, where I built great relationships with my peers and professors.”

This fall, Clifford will be moving to Boston, Massachusetts, where he will start his Ph.D. program in medical engineering and medical physics at Harvard-MIT.

“I am so excited for this next step, where I plan to study how the immune system is implicated in Type 1 diabetes, with the goal of developing robust cell therapies for people like me living with diabetes,” said Clifford. “In the future I look forward to making new friends, becoming a teacher and a young scientist!”