Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Nov. 23, 2015

30-under-30-awardees

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. On Friday evening, the UCF Alumni Association honored 30 young alumni (see photo above), for their outstanding achievements, during its inaugural 30 under 30 awards dinner.
  2. C-SPAN network’s Campaign 2016 mobile newsroom visited the UCF campus on Wednesday to broadcast an interview with psychology Professor Deborah Beidel about her studies of anxiety, trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder, and provided an opportunity for students and others to board the bus and learn about the public affairs’ network’s political coverage and other programs.
  3. Last Monday, UCF journalism students got to hear from the parents of Steven Sotloff, a former UCF journalism student who lost his life at the hands of ISIS. In his honor, his family has established the Steven Sotloff Memorial Endowed Fund. (Plus, his legacy lives on in UCF students.)
  4. UCF hired The State University of New York at Buffalo’s Danny White as its new athletics director. “Danny is one of the nation’s rising stars in college athletics, and his talent, determination, energy and creativity will guide our program to a bright future,” UCF President John C. Hitt says.
  5. UCF’s Programming Team won its fourth-consecutive “Battle of the Brains” competition, a super-contest of computer programming. Three UCF computer science students dominated over their competitors from universities in the Southeast, advancing them to the World Finals, representing the best of 10,000 computer programming teams from 90 countries.

Teaching the Science of Communication

UCF associate professor is putting his major to good use, educating the next generation of speech-language pathologists

KenyattaRivers

Kenyatta Rivers, ’88, ’90, Ph.D. | Associate Professor/ASHA Fellow
Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders
UCF College of Health and Public Affairs

By Angie Lewis, ’03

Majoring in speech-language pathology as a UCF student, Kenyatta Rivers, ’88, ’90, Ph.D., has brought his education full circle, as he’s now an associate professor in the College of Health and Public Affairs.

The department may have changed names since he graduated — from communicative disorders to communication sciences and disorders — but its mission has remained the same: “to empower our students to achieve their greatest potential as clinicians, scientists, scholars, and professionals. By providing the foundations of our discipline and through the use of innovative technology, we enable our graduates to be leaders who positively impact individuals and their communities.”

As a professor, Rivers plays a vital role in educating the department’s students so that they can one day follow in his footsteps, helping children, adolescents and adults acquire effective speech, language and communication skills.

He thoroughly enjoys passing on his knowledge and experience to his students. He says his favorite course to teach is Language/Literacy Disorders and Differences in Children and Adolescents, because it allows him to provide master’s degree students with a working knowledge of language disorders in preschool and school-aged populations, which will enable them to serve as productive collaborators in delivering appropriate services in a variety of settings.

While Rivers spends much of his time teaching the next generation of speech-language pathologists, he also makes time for countless research projects, numerous philanthropic organizations, and UCF football games with fellow Knights.

Communicating Q&A

Q. What has surprised you most about being in your profession?
A. How much students and others look to you for guidance in all areas of their lives

Q. Besides your office essentials (e.g., laptop, etc.), what’s one thing you always bring with you to work?
A. Professional and popular magazine articles

Q. If you could teach a college course in any other department, what would it be?
A. Death and dying from a multicultural perspective

Q. Advice for someone who wants to do what you do?
A. Know your profession, develop a high level of competence in an areas(s) that you’re interested in, and then let the real you shine

Q. How do you decompress?
A. Attend and participate in a variety of community events, along with visit the elderly, attend rodeos, monster truck shows, and drag racing shows

Q. What’s the biggest misconception about you?
A. I don’t take lunch breaks.

Q. What’s one thing you’ve done that will go down in history?
A. My work on the development of pragmatic language skills in African-American children and adolescents.

Q. What/who always makes you laugh out loud?
A. My students

Q. Favorite food?
A. Chocolate cake

Q. If you had to choose another career, what would it be?
A. Possibly hospitality management, nursing, occupational therapy or biology, with an emphasis on marine life

Q. If you had to wear one item of clothing for the rest of your life, what would it be?
A. A bow tie

Q. If you could socialize with anyone for a day, who would you choose?
A. Meet Michael Jackson or Prince to better understand their creativeness

Black & Gold Gala 2015 — Professional Achievement Award
College of Health and Public Affairs

COHPA-Rousseau
College of Health and Public Affairs Dean Michael Frumkin presented the college’s
2015 Professional Achievement Award to Bernard Rousseau, ’98, 00, Ph.D.
Bernard Rousseau, ’98, ’00, Ph.D., CCC-SLP, ASHA Fellow | Associate Vice Chair for Research/Chancellor Faculty Fellow/Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Hearing and Speech Sciences, and Mechanical Engineering, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

The UCF Alumni Association and College of Health and Public Affairs presented their 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Bernard Rousseau at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.

Bernard received his Ph.D. in communicative disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2004. He’s a recipient of the certificate of clinical competence in speech-language pathology from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His scholarly interests include the study of voice and voice disorders.

In addition, he is the editor of Perspectives on Voice and Voice Disorders for the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association. His work has been published in many leading journals in the fields of otolaryngology, hearing and speech sciences, and medical speech-language pathology.

Bernard came to UCF as a Direct Connect student and earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in communication sciences and disorders. In addition to being honored at the 2015 Black & Gold Gala, he will be featured as a guest speaker for a student lecture and at a reception hosted at the home of UCF Professor Dr. Martine Vanryckeghem.

Learn more about Bernard:

Black & Gold Gala 2015 — Professional Achievement Award
The Burnett Honors College

BHC-Rozelle
The Burnett Honors College Dean Alvin Wang presented the college’s 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Susan Rozelle, ’94.
Susan D. Rozelle, ’94, J.D. | Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Law,
Stetson University College of Law

The UCF Alumni Association and The Burnett Honors College presented their 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Susan Rozelle at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.

After teaching at Capital University, Seattle University, and the University of Oregon, Susan joined the faculty at Stetson University in 2009. Her primary research interests are in the areas of criminal responsibility and death qualification.

She’s presented at scholarly conferences across the country, from Georgetown University Law Center to the University of California at Berkeley. She’s also been a legal commentator in the popular press, appearing on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX evening news, as well as on NPR and FOX News Radio.

Susan comes from a family of Knights, which includes her late father, Samuel Gross, ’89, and brother, Alan Gross, ’91. She graduated summa cum laude from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Learn more about Susan:

UCF Professor Explains Why We Look at Gross Stuff

Rubenking

By Christin Senior
UCF Today

Ever wonder why you can’t help but rubberneck at a car crash as you’re driving by?

Bridget Rubenking says it’s all about evolution. Rubenking, an assistant professor of radio and television at the University of Central Florida’s Nicholson School of Communication, was a featured guest on HuffPost Live with host Nancy Redd on July 23 as part of a panel discussion on viewing gory images and videos on the Internet.

During their conversation, Rubenking shared findings from her research on why humans feel compelled to view things that elicit disgust, such as blood, guts and body products. Her research involved measuring various physiological responses experienced by 130 undergraduate students as they were shown video clips of disgusting scenes in entertainment media, such as the infamous toilet scene from the movie “Trainspotting.”

“We found that once disgust was introduced in a scene, people started paying attention a lot more…” Rubenking said. “Surprisingly few people stopped and turned away.”

Her research, titled, “Captivated and Grossed Out: An Examination of Processing Core and Sociomoral Disgusts in Entertainment Media,” was published by the Journal of Communication in 2014, and has since been featured in media outlets such as the Daily Mail, ABC News, New York Magazine and Science Daily.

“It’s a very evolutionary fit thing to rubberneck at gore and gross images,” she said. “It’s inherently human to pay attention to these things, because we want to avoid it. We tend to gawk at the scene of a car accident so that we know to avoid this happening to us.”

WATCH VIDEO

This story appeared July 24, 2015, on today.ucf.edu. It has been slightly edited in accordance with AP and alumni association style guidelines. See original article

17-Year-Old UCF Graduate Lands Software Job

AdrianGilliam
(Photo: Central Florida Future/Courtesy of Adrian Gilliam)

By Bridgette Norris
Central Florida Future

Most students graduate college in their early 20s, but Adrian Gilliam was ready a bit earlier.

At age 17, Adrian graduated from UCF this spring with a computer software job awaiting him at Optima Healthcare Solutions.

“Living in Orlando influenced my decision to attend UCF,” he says. “UCF has a really good engineering program — especially for computer science. I never was really trying to be the youngest graduate. But, being such a young graduate is something I’m proud of. I’m just a normal [alumnus].”

Adrian is one of UCF’s youngest graduates, in addition to a 16-year-old who graduated in 1998, according to a press release.

Michael Gilliam, ’93, Adrian’s father and College of Business Administration alumnus, says he was beaming ear to ear when he watched his son walk across the stage at graduation.

“I don’t think age had anything to do with [him] maintaining good grades and involvement,” Michael explains. “He just set his priorities and spent a lot of time making sure he had acceptable grades and high enough grades to get into graduate school if he decided to do that. I think it was just a matter of him setting his priorities.”

At the age of 4, Adrian started home schooling through Florida Virtual School. As he continued to learn online, taking honors and advanced placement courses, he was also learning martial arts and Mandarin, in which he is now fluent.

He enrolled at UCF at the age of 13.

“I think from the beginning, a lot of what encouraged me to take this route was my parents,” Adrian says. “As I started progressing, I definitely became more self-motivated. If I hadn’t of taken the route I did, I would be going into my senior year [of high school].”

His father accredits his patient and helpful personality to his involvement with martial arts.

In 2007, Adrian won his first of several national-level tournaments at the U.S. Open Karate Championships. At age 10, he earned his black belt.

“Growing up, people always said, ‘Don’t you miss normal school, or wish you went to normal school?’ Adrian says. “But, you can’t miss something you never had. I was very happy with the experience and opportunities I had. I felt like I was still able to get social interaction through things like martial arts while still being able to excel academically.”

He jokes about his biggest struggle at UCF being that he was not able to sign up for the Recreation and Wellness Center because he wasn’t 18.

During his time on campus, he served as president and vice president of the Asian Pacific American Coalition, senator for the College of Engineering and Computer Science in the Student Government Association, and an undergraduate teaching assistant for an introduction to programming course.

Although Adrian is currently taking a break from school, his long-term goal is to continue his education and eventually become a professor.

This article appeared in a May 20, 2015, edition of the Central Florida Future online. It has been slightly edited for style. See original story.