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Five Things Alumni Need to Know—April 18, 2016

#UCFastival by UCF Knights on Exposure

  1. On Saturday, a record crowd of 23,147 enjoyed an unforgettable day on campus at the #UCFastival.
  2. On April 25, a sample of alumni will receive an email from Gallup on behalf of UCF. The university has partnered with Gallup to bring the Gallup-Purdue Index most well-known and respected instrument measuring alumni attitudes and opinions.
  3. Electrical engineering student Joe Sleppy’s Capacitech Energy, LLC, won the annual UCF Joust New Venture Competition on Friday, April 15.
  4. UCF student engineers have constructed a floating solar panels.
  5. The 25th Annual Symphony Under the Stars is scheduled for this Thursday evening. The event is free and open to the public.

7 Questions with Todd Robbins, ‘11

7 Questions with Todd Robbins, ‘11

Todd Robbins, ’11 (right), Director of Operations and Facilities at North Shore Day Camp–TLC Family of Camps, Long Island, New York with former Secretary of State and presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton.

Todd Robbins, ’11 has had quite a journey since graduation just five years ago, from working in Orlando’s nightlife scene to planning events for a presidential candidate. In his own words, he shares how his undergraduate experience prepared him to conquer change and new challenges.

Can you describe your career journey since graduating from UCF’s Rosen College?

I’ve been keeping busy since graduating in 2011! During my last semester of college and the following year, I worked as the assistant general manager of a bar/club on the east side of Orlando where I met my wife, Jessi, who also worked there and is a 2013 graduate of UCF’s Rosen College. Shortly thereafter, I got a job as a front desk agent at Rosen Shingle Creek Hotel. Shingle Creek is a great stepping stone for all Rosen College students. While working at the hotel, I was contracted to manage the artist and press-only yacht at Ultra Music Festival 2013. Now, that was an experience!

As time went on, I needed a change; a big one might I add. I resigned from my position at Shingle Creek, and Jessi and I packed up and moved to New York together. We both took summer job positions at Tyler Hill Camp in the Pennsylvania Poconos. That summer, I worked as the assistant food service director, helping oversee food service for 800+ people for the 51-day season. Without being aware, the position at Tyler Hill turned into the interview of a lifetime. My every move that summer was part of the “interview process.” I was introduced to Tyler Hill’s executive director midway through the summer while I was on a visit to Timber Lake Camp, his home base. We had a quick conversation and once the summer was over, I went in for a formal interview. A few months later, I accepted a position working full-time at North Shore Day Camp and have been there ever since.

I have been able to utilize the many skills that I learned in my communication and management classes at Rosen and apply them daily when talking to parents, staff and campers, along with overseeing different departments at camp. Almost three years into the position, I’ve had the privilege of planning many events for our “off-season” business. Among those events were several fundraisers for former Secretary of State and presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, one of which I am currently in the process of planning. The event is expected to host more than 500 guests, including high-ranking political officials, celebrities and fortune 500 CEOs.

What’s your favorite thing you’ve been able to do so far in your career?

It’s hard to choose a favorite. I truly enjoy each and every part of my job! I think one of my favorite things so far in my career is to be able to walk around the property and reflect, “I had something to do with that project” or “Wow, that was a great thing I was a part of.” As we continue to build and update our property, it’s great to see what changes have been implemented since I’ve been on board. Every change allows for a better summer for each and every one of our campers, which is what matters most!

How did your experience at Rosen College prepare you for the industry and your current role?

I began my first year and a half at UCF as a Finance major with a minor in Marketing. I’m glad I made the switch. As a hospitality student and employee, you are given the opportunity to put a smile on people’s faces. This is something I just couldn’t resist.

Learning from professors with 15+ years of first-hand experience at great companies, such as Disney and Universal, is also a plus. I was exposed to topics that I never thought I would need to know or use in everyday life, but that was proven untrue. I keep the tools from Rosen close to my heart; they helped me grow as an individual and gave me the tools needed to work in the hospitality industry.

What was your favorite part about attending Rosen College?

One of my fondest memories is driving to and from UCF’s main campus with my friends listening to music and enjoying the beautiful weather. In all seriousness, my favorite thing about Rosen College was the small, tight-knit classes and community. You feel that everyone cares from the first time you step on campus. Unlike a lot of my friends at other colleges across the country, I had the ability to talk to my teachers whenever I needed something. They gave feedback on a more personal level rather than via e-mail or office hours. I liked that. I enjoyed that the professors knew my name and I also enjoyed having classmates who were similar, like-minded individuals who were there to learn about the hospitality industry.

Do you think your degree gives you a competitive advantage compared to your peers? How so?

I really do believe that having completed courses like hospitality communications, hospitality finance, restaurant management and even the sanitation course gave me an upper hand. I was able to understand how to communicate more effectively with individuals in the business world as opposed to someone who went to school for accounting and learned solely the art of accounting. I was able to take many of the tools I learned at Rosen College and implement them into my job.

What advice would you give to current and potential Rosen College students?

I would tell them not to take it for granted. Not one bit of it. If you get the great opportunity to go to Rosen, you are putting yourself in a great place. Rosen was recently listed as one of the top five hospitality programs in the WORLD. The school deserves it. As I said before, the administrative staff and professors genuinely care about each and every student. UCF is a phenomenal university, so be sure you support its athletics and go to class. It will only help the school continue to grow and develop into an even better institution than it already is!

Favorite quote:

“Do it now. Later may become never.”

– Unknown

To meet other Rosen College alumni and find out what they’ve been doing since graduation, please visit hospitality.ucf.edu/our-alumni.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know—April 11, 2016


  1. Casey Field, a 4EVERKNIGHTS student ambassador, was recently honored at the Order of the Pegasus ceremony. Congratulations, Casey!
  2. Dr. Will Crampton, an associate professor of biology, will present about “The Electric Amazon” on April 20 downtown Orlando. The presentation is part of the College of Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series.
  3. UCFastival is this Saturday! Tailgating opens at noon, and space should be reserved on Memory Mall. General admission tickets are free.
  4. UCF Celebrates the Arts closes out its second year on Saturday. Check out this weekend’s schedule.
  5. Knights Terrace is the place where your lifelong pride, passion and support for UCF is on display every day. A personalized brick is the perfect gift for a UCF grad. Learn more about Knights Terrace.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know – April 4, 2016


  1. UCF’s Knight-Thon broke the $1 million milestone for Children’s  Miracle Network, which makes UCF the eighth institution to reach the landmark.
  2. UCF’s new women’s basketball coach, Katie Abrahamson-Henderson was welcome last week by the athletics family.
  3. Reserve an alumni spot on Memory Mall for tailgating before the UCF Football spring game on April 16!
  4. The College of Medicine is one of 60 medical schools across the country recognized by the White House for pledging to teach medical students about the dangers of prescribing opioids to patients for pain.
  5. UCF Celebrates the Arts kicks off this Friday at the Dr. Phillips Centers for the Performing Arts.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know—March 28, 2016

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The Rosen College of Hospitality Management ranks among the top five hospitality and hotel management schools in the world, according to CEOWORLD Magazine.
  2. UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White announced the hiring of Johnny Dawkins as the men’s basketball program’s seventh head coach.
  3. The 18th Annual UCF College of Business Alumni Chapter Endowed Scholarship Golf Tournament is scheduled for April 22. All alumni are invited to hit the links for a fun day on the course with fellow alumni, faculty and friends.
  4. The UCF Board of Trustees approved three new degree programs last week including a master’s of science in biomedical engineering, a master’s of science in data analytics and a bachelor of science degree in entertainment management.
  5. With UCF’s spring football game just around the corner, take a minute to get to know Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White and Head Football Coach Scott Frost.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know—March 21, 2016

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Students of the UCF College of Medicine celebrated Match Day on Friday, March 18. Many matched into their top choices for residency, greeting the news with screams, cheers and hugs as they opened their envelopes.
  2. On Tuesday, March 14, Governor Rick Scott approved $20 million in state funds in support of UCF Downtown.
  3. The Florida Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System, released the performance funding achievements of the state’s public universities and UCF tied for first place.
  4. The Florida Interactive Entertainment Academy, an anchor of UCF’s planned downtown campus, achieved its first No. 1 ranking after two years as the second-ranked school in North America.
  5. Twenty UCF programs were ranked among the top 100 in their fields by U.S. News & World Report in its Best Graduate Schools 2017 guidebook.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know—March 14, 2016

UCF College of Business Hall of Fame 2016

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. On Feb, 25, the UCF College of Business inducted three alumni into the Hall of Fame. Carrie Callahan, ’92, Carrie Hall, ’86 and Larry Tobin, ’83 were celebrated along with seven other alumni who were recognized for entrepreneurial career success. PHOTOS
  2. On March 16, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., a Refugee Simulation Camp on Memory Mall will give people a small taste of what it means to face such dire circumstances
  3. UCF Emeritus Professor of Art, Steve Lotz will showcase his personal exhibition at the Orlando Museum of Art through June 5.
  4. The UCF College of Nursing Alumni Reunion registration deadline is approaching! RSVP by March 18.
  5. UCF Vice President and Director of Athletics Danny White announced Thursday night that head men’s basketball coach Donnie Jones has been relieved of his duties, effective immediately.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — March 7, 2016

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF College of Sciences hosted its second annual Outstanding AlumKnights awards ceremony on Thursday, honoring 10 Knights from each of the college’s nine departments, as well as the Nicholson School of Communication.
  2. Pegasus Magazine was delivered to mailboxes and inboxes last week. Read a digital copy, or download the Pegasus Magazine iPad app.
  3. Hear ye, here ye! The Orlando Shakespeare Theater, in partnership with UCF, presents performances of “The Tempest” through March 27 staring UCF alumna, Gracie Winchester, ’14, and “The Adventures of Pericles” through March 26.
  4. Did you know UCF has a student belly dancing club? The Shimmy Knights are dedicated to promoting positive body image and teaches students who want to learn the art of belly dancing!
  5. Looking for ways to get involved? View the UCF Alumni events calendar to find a local event near you!

College of Sciences Recognizes its Newest Group of Outstanding AlumKnights


On March 3, the UCF College of Sciences and its alumni chapter hosted their second annual Outstanding AlumKnights awards ceremony. The college’s dean, Michael Johnson, hosted this year’s festivities, which took place in the Grand Ballroom of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, where guests enjoyed music, cocktails, heavy hors d’oeuvres and a photo booth, in addition to the award presentations.

Congratulations to all of this year’s Outstanding AlumKnights!

The 2016 awardees were:

  • Anthropology | Amanda Groff, Ph.D., ’03, ’05, ’07, lecturer, UCF Department of Anthropology
  • Biology | David Breininger, Ph.D., ’09, lead wildlife biologist, NASA Ecological Programs, Kennedy Space Center
  • Chemistry | Robert DeVor, Ph.D., ’03, ’08, scientist/principal investigator, Vencore Inc.
  • Communication | Marci Gonzalez, ’05, reporter, ABC affiliate, New York
  • Mathematics | Robert Muise, Ph.D., ’88, ’90, ’03, senior staff systems engineer, Lockheed Martin
  • Physics | Howard Bender III, Ph.D., ’97, ’98, R&D program manager, National Security Technologies LLC
  • Political Science | Carol Lawrence, ’71, attorney at law, Carolyn J.B. Lawrence P.A.
  • Psychology | Diane Robinson, Ph.D., ’06, ’10, program director, Cancer Support Community/Integrative Medicine Department, UF Health Cancer Center, Orlando Health
  • Sociology | Monica Mendez, Ph.D., ’02, ’08, executive director, Dress for Success Pittsburgh
  • Statistics | Tiffany Wills, ’06, assistant vice president/actuary, Hannover Life Reassurance Company of America


Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Feb. 29, 2016


Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Dr. Phillips Charities made the largest private gift to UCF Downtown on Tuesday, investing $3 million in the campus project.
  2. UCF Career Services and the UCF Alumni Association hosts a Meet Your Mentor networking event designed to motivate, inspire and empower young women to pursue leadership roles in various industry fields on Tuesday evening.
  3. Thinking about going back to school? Learn more about the UCF Professional MBA program during a special Lunch & Learn series at the UCF Executive Development Center (downtown Orlando) on Thursday from noon to 1 p.m.
  4. The spring football game is scheduled for April 16 at 7 p.m. Campus activities will begin at noon, and will feature tailgating, music and motocross.
  5. The UCF Arboretum is celebrating the completion of a new campus greenhouse that will support its educational and research efforts. The public is invited to a ribbon cutting and open house that will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Friday, March 25.
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