Toppel Career Center Recognizes Career Champions

Esther Ponce de Leon of Delta Sigma Pi, Malik Bibby, and Celeste Amadei
By Jennifer Palma

Esther Ponce de Leon of Delta Sigma Pi, Malik Bibby, and Celeste Amadei

Toppel Career Center Recognizes Career Champions

By Jennifer Palma
Members of the University of Miami community and UM partners recognize those who support career readiness with the Toppel Awards.

During the second annual Toppel Awards, student recipients were recognized for their many achievements which have helped advance career services beyond the University of Miami’s Toppel Career Center. Through peer nominations and a selection committee, students, administrators, recruiters, and employers were awarded for their dedication to impacting the future careers of UM students.

Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director of the Toppel Career Center, was quick to mention that “career services are everyone’s business at the University of Miami.” While he and his team consistently lead the way through various career-based initiatives, Garcia attributed much of the Center’s success to career champions both on and off campus. The Toppel Awards were created to honor and recognize the outstanding achievements and tireless efforts of the many champions from the past year.

Student Group of the Year

Noted for their continuous support of career-focused events, Delta Sigma Pi was awarded Student Group of Year. The coed business fraternity was recognized for its commitment and passion for career readiness by hosting their own career events, alumni panels and workshops throughout the year. The fraternity’s endeavors often include non-members and have had a great impact on the UM community.

Graduate Student of the Year

Among the many “career champions” in attendance, Miller School of Medicine graduate student, Celeste Amadei, echoed the importance of mentors as she accepted the award for Graduate Student of the Year.

As a Ph.D. student in biochemistry and molecular biology, Amadei took it upon herself to fill a void for children in Miami-Dade County. In an effort to provide education, outreach, and mentorship to children interested in science, she founded Women in Biomedical Science. The organization encourages children to explore career options in science-related fields and provides mentoring and support along the way.

Undergraduate Student of the Year

As a student who has benefitted from the support of mentors during his time at UM, Malik Bibby stressed the importance of giving back during his acceptance of the Toppel Award for Undergraduate Student of the Year.

“I encourage you to give as much as you can to everything around you,” he said as he thanked everyone who offered support during his time as a student.

Bibby, a senior in the School of Education and Human Development and trained military medic in the Florida National Guard, was praised for his unique leadership abilities that inspire those around him. In his numerous roles on campus, Bibby is consistently recognized as a student who empowers other students to be the best version of themselves in every aspect of life.

In addition to recognizing the student career champions, the ceremony also celebrated the partnerships across and beyond campus that have been essential to Toppel’s success. The awardees for the 2017 Toppel Awards are listed below:

Excellence in Career Education

Justin A. Tatman, School of Education & Human Development Department of Kinesiology & Sport Sciences Clinical Education Coordinator, Lecturer Athletic Training Program

Distinguished Administrator

Shirelle Jackson, director of student athlete development, UM Athletics

Student Group of the Year

Delta Sigma Pi

Student of the Year (Graduate)

Celeste Amadei

Student of the Year (Undergraduate)

Malik Bibby

Alum of the Year

Kara M. Cavuto

Recruiter of the Year

Catherine Rodriguez, U.S. Department of State

Employer of the Year (Private)


Employer of the Year (Public/Not-for-Profit)

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Local Employer of the Year

Northwestern Mutual

Inaugural Patricia Toppel Award (Administrator)

Ann Helmers, director of career services at the College of Engineering

Inaugural Patricia Toppel Award (Employer)

Kathleen Cymbaluk, Federal Bureau of Investigation