Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 17

1. A story for those young at heart: A new program at UCF pairs seniors and children to play games together. The goal is for participants to become more active and to have positive social experiences, where the adults feel a greater sense of well-being and purpose by helping the children, and the kids learn more about aging.

2. UCF recently was selected to receive two awards totaling $3.1 million from the U.S. Department of Energy’s SunShot Initiative that is focused on making solar energy systems more efficient and affordable. The research projects will be led by two alumni, Kristopher Davis 07 ’11MS ’15PhD and Joe Walters ’13MS.

3. The American Athletic Conference preseason poll for football will be unveiled Tuesday at its annual media day. Fans can tune in at 8:30 a.m. on The American’s Facebook and YouTube pages.

4. You might learn a thing or two in this Ted Talk with alumna Gail Lovelace Menasco ’08:

5. The latest issue of Pegasus examines how UCF grads are at the center of a creative boom in Central Florida.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 10

1. Matt Williams ’16 is making UCF proud in the NBA Summer League with the Miami Heat. After netting 14 points on July 6, he started against San Antonio on July 8. The Heat have a game at 4:30 p.m. today against the Wizards, which will air on NBA TV. Williams is one of more than 10 Knights who started professional careers in their sport in 2016-17.

2. Florida sunshine making it hard to read your phone screen while you’re spending your summer days at the beach? UCF professor of optics and photonics Shin-Tson Wu, PhD, and his team of researchers developed a film that coats cellphone screens to cut down the glare. Their inspiration? The eyes of a moth.

3. A team of UCF researchers has discovered a potential new weapon in the fight against tuberculosis, which is one of the top 10 causes of death worldwide. Their research studied extracts of sponges and other marine organisms to see if they could kill the dormant tuberculosis bacteria. Findings of the study published in June in the journal Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.

4.  An associate professor of computer science at UCF recently had his startup get picked up by Uber.

5. A new restaurant is expected to open on University Boulevard this week. Toasted’s menu features a variety of types of grilled cheese sandwiches as well as burgers and salads. The restaurant plans to hire 20 new workers and has signed a five-year lease.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—July 3

1. One UCF professor’s musical composition has been selected to be performed by the National Symphony Orchestra at a U.S. Capitol concert for Labor Day. Stella Sung’s The Peace Corps, which was inspired by a painting of President John F. Kennedy, will also be conducted at a Fourth of July celebration in Cincinnati.

2. This comes at no surprise – UCF Athletics was outstanding in 2016-17. In this retrospective breakdown, we learn that every sport was represented on the all-conference team by at least one student-athlete, with an overall total of 62 honorees, and a record 11 programs made postseason appearances. Still need to get your season tickets for 2017-18? Visit UCFKnights.com or call 407-823-1000.

3. The UCF police department wants to make sure you are Snapchatting safely with the app’s newest Maps feature, which allows others to see when users are not home along with other location information. They provide step-by-step instructions for how to turn on “ghost mode” as a way to keep your privacy intact.

4. Give this guy a gold star! UCF professor Marshall Schminke was one of four professors recognized for their excellence with a national Master Ethics Teacher Award. A well-deserved honor for a man who has previously served as an expert witness on corporate ethics in U.S. District Court proceedings.

5. Companies that grew up in the UCF’s business incubators sustained 4,710 jobs and added more than $725 million to the region’s gross domestic product in the past two years, according to a newly released economic impact study. Check out our most recent alumni spotlight on one of those businesses, Nurses First Solutions.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 26

UCF student Cole Kolasa is kayaking 800 miles this summer

1. The Rosen College of Hospitality Management is getting a new food service lab thanks to a $1.5 million commitment from the J. Willard and Alice S. Marriott Foundation. Construction is expected to be completed by 2019. By the way, Rosen is ranked among the top five hospitality management programs in the world, enrolling more than 3,700 students and offering five undergraduate and two graduate degrees, in addition to a doctorate in hospitality management.

2. UCF stands for opportunity, and that’s true of a recent study of head coaches nationally. UCF was the only school to earn an ‘A’ for racial and gender hiring practices for women’s teams’ head coaches in a new report released June 23 that examined 94 schools from eight different conferences. Charge On!

3. Two alumni walk into an Italian restaurant… no joke here. UCF Alumni Board member Dean Caravelis ’02 ’03MBA recently sat down for a Q&A with co-founder and CEO of RIP-IT Jason Polstein ’02 ‘03MS to discuss successful startups, career challenges and life as an entrepreneur. Here’s a snippet of the full interview:

“The people who really stand out during interviews are the people who show up and say, ‘Hey, this is my skill set. I can show you in the past how I move x to y, I can tell you how I did it, and by the way, this is my 90-day roadmap of how I can create value for your company once you hire me.’ That really shows that this person hasn’t only done something in the past that’s of value, but spent the time to try and understand our business and came to the interview prepared in pitching themselves in how they’re going to generate more value for our company.”
— Jason Polstein ’02 ’03MS, co-founder and CEO of RIP-IT

4. UCF has received a silver rating for its sustainability by a program within the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education. UCF’s ranking is credited to numerous categories including its energy-efficient buildings, how campus is used as a living laboratory and its commitment to diversity.

5. Cole Kolasa, a UCF environmental engineering major, is making waves as he paddles nearly 800 miles down Florida’s Gulf Coast this summer. Why? He hopes to raise $10,000 to support artificial reefs in Hernando County. Follow along with his journey.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 19

Deborah Beidel, RESTORES clinic director

1. UCF’s RESTORES Clinic, which treats those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, had a big win last week. It will receive $3 million in federal funds, and coupled with $2.5 million from the state’s budget, the program should have enough funding for the next two years, said Deborah Beidel, the clinic’s director. Want to help keep it going longer? Click here.

2. GAMEDAY ALERT! The American Athletic Conference, CBS Sports Network and UCF Athletics have announced that the Knights’ season-opening football game versus FIU will be played Thursday, Aug. 31, at 6 p.m.

3. Check out the most recent alumni spotlight featuring Vince Cotroneo ’83, who is celebrating his 25th year in Major League Baseball as a radio broadcaster as he watches his son follow in his footsteps. Got a story tip of your own? Share it with us.

4. On Saturday, Limbitless Solutions will be at the Pop Parlour UCF from 2-6 p.m. and is looking for some friends to hang out with for a live simulcast the sold out TEDx Orlando. Those who RSVP for the free event will enjoy a complimentary popsicle and will also see an arm demo from some of the Limbitless team before the simulcast, which features three-time alumnus Albert Manero!

5. Congratulations to three-time alumnus Christopher Blackwell ’00BSN ’01MS ’05PhD, who was awarded the 2017 Outstanding Nurse Practitioner Award by the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculties!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 13

1. A mural was painted in the heart of campus as a tribute to two Knights who died at Pulse Nightclub in honor of the one-year anniversary of the tragedy. It was designed by artists Michael Pilato and Yuriy Karabash and features UCF student Juan Ramon Guerrero and two-time alumnus Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen.

2. Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook and author of the bestseller “Lean In,” will be on campus June 27 at 7:30 p.m. to take part in a conversation with alumnus George A. Kalogridis, president of the Walt Disney World Resort. Tickets for the event are available through Eventbrite.com, and in addition to a guaranteed seat, all ticket holders will also receive an autographed version of Sandberg’s new book, “Option B: Facing Adversity, Building Resilience, and Finding Joy.”

3. You may have heard that tickets to TEDx Orlando – featuring two Knights – are SOLD OUT, but we’ve got you covered. If you didn’t claim a ticket to this coveted event, join us for a LIVE simulcast of TEDx Orlando at the Pop Parlour UCF location on June 24 at 2 p.m. RSVP here.

4. It was a record-setting year in fund-raising for UCF Athletics as the Knights have received more than $10 million in cash gift revenues from fund-raising in the 2016-17 fiscal year and strive to reach $10.5 million by the end of June. Learn more.

5. Here’s a heartwarming story just in time for Father’s Day. Yina Wu ’14 and her husband, fellow UCF doctoral student Qing Cai, thanked UCF engineer professor Mohamed Abdel-Aty for his role in the start of their relationship by naming their son after him. Abdel-Aty said he was surprised and honored that the 3-month-old was named after him, and a picture of the baby and himself sits on his desk alongside one of Cai and Wu’s wedding.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—June 5

1. In case you missed it, kickoff times have been announced for three of UCF’s first four home football games of the 2017 season. Some good news that will beat the heat – they’re all night games. Full details can be found on UCFKnights.com.

2. As part of “UCF Remembers” on June 8 for the Pulse anniversary, a fleet of Big Red Blood Buses will be at UCF’s Veteran’s Commemorative Site from 2 to 8 p.m. and are currently accepting appointments. Free parking will be available in garages H and I. Register to donate blood by visiting: https://admfin.ucf.edu/blooddrives/special-event/

3. UCF now has a one-stop-shop for internships, interviews, careers, events and resources. Career Services and Experiential Learning recently introduced Handshake, which is available to all UCF students and alumni.

4. UCF Theatre’s summer production of “The Lion in Winter” opens June 8 at 7:30 p.m. Performances are scheduled through June 18. Purchase tickets at theatre.cah.ucf.edu.

5. A UCF trio that included alumnus Josh Linge ’14 ’16MS rose to the top at a national computer programming competition. In addition to the team’s national title, the group finished 13th in the world out of more than 12,000 entries. Linge’s next stop: Facebook’s Seattle office.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 30

1. Today we’re talking NCAA postseason for UCF Athletics – and there’s a lot to cover.

For the first time since 2012, the No. 22 UCF baseball team will be heading to an NCAA Regional tournament. The Knights will be the No. 2 seed in the Tallahassee Regional and will match up against No. 3 seed Auburn at noon on June 2.

For the ninth straight season, the UCF track and field program will be represented at the NCAA Championships after the 4×100 relay team was among the top 12 at the NCAA East Preliminary Round to advance to Eugene, Oregon. The NCAA Outdoor Championship takes place from June 7-10 at historic Hayward Field.

Two other teams wrapped up their seasons among the top 25 in the country over the weekend. The three-time American Athletic Conference champion rowing team posted its highest finish in program history, closing out the NCAA Championship in 18th place. Meanwhile, the men’s golf team finished in a tie for 14th at the NCAA Championship, marking the Knights’ best finish since 2009.

2. In case you missed it, big news from everyone’s favorite big man, Tacko Fall, who chose to forego this year’s NBA Draft and return to UCF for his junior season in 2017-18. Read his heartfelt letter to fans about his decision.

3. As the Orlando community prepares for the one-year mark of the Pulse tragedy, UCF has several events scheduled to honor and remember the 49 lives taken on June 12, 2016. The public is encouraged to come together at blood drive, remembrance ceremony and art exhibit all scheduled to take place on campus June 8.

4. After graduating May 6 with her bachelor’s degree in political science, Burnett Honors College alumna Rebecca Fate almost aced the LSAT and is headed to Harvard. And how sweet is this – she credits an elementary school teacher for her success. Good luck Rebecca, and we expect to see you sporting black and gold around Harvard Yard!

5. UCF’s rise to national prominence under the direction of President John C. Hitt is featured in the latest edition of Florida Trend magazine, which hit stands over the weekend. “Strength in Numbers” is the cover story in the June edition that focuses on higher education in the state.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 22

1. Congrats to the UCF baseball team and first-year head coach Greg Lovelady who hit it out of the park over the weekend with their series win over nationally ranked USF for the Knights’ first conference championship since 2004. UCF clinched the No. 1 seed in the American Athletic Conference Tournament in Clearwater and will face East Carolina on Tuesday at 7 p.m. on CBS Sports Network. For complete championship information, including how to buy tickets — we’re looking at you Tampa Knights – please visit theamerican.org.

2. If you know a young alumnus or young alumna doing great work, we want to hear about it! Nominations for UCF Alumni’s 30 Under 30 are now open until May 28. FYI, those nominated must be age 30 or under on June 30, 2017, and self-nominations are not considered.

3. Just when you thought graduation was over… we bring you the graduating class of the College of Medicine! Congrats to the 113 M.D. students who received their degrees over the weekend, including this former Broadway actor.

4. UCF Alumni is hosting several Freshman Welcome events around the state in June and alumni are welcome to attend to support our newest Knights! These free events with light hors d’ouvres and beverages are a great opportunity to share your black and gold bond with the next generation. Check for events in your area:
*Southwest Florida – June 3, 2-4 p.m.
*Jacksonville – June 4, 1-3 p.m.
*Southeast Florida – June 8, 6-8 p.m.
*Tampa — June 28, 6-8 p.m.

5. UCF police chief and alumnus Richard Beary was inducted into the Florida Law Enforcement Officers’ Hall of Fame on Saturday. Beary, who earned his master’s in criminal justice in 2004, has led UCF’s police force since 2007.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—May 15


1. The ChargeOn Tour begins Tuesday and will feature UCF head coaches Scott Frost (football) and Johnny Dawkins (men’s basketball), Director of Athletics Danny White and other Knights coaches over five stops from May 16-18. Here are the full details – including RSVP links – for the events.

2. In case you missed it, the Central Florida community came together last week to break ground on the new downtown campus that is expected to serve 7,700 students from UCF and Valencia College when it opens in 2019.

Adding some extra flavor to the event were local businessmen and brothers, Brandon ’10 and Adam Chandler of Pop Parlour. They honored the special occasion with a cool new frozen pop, which is still available in stores this week.

3. Shout out to the UCF rowing team for earning its third-straight American Athletic Conference trophy over the weekend! With the win, these Knights join the UCF women’s golf and indoor track and field teams as league champions this year.

Speaking of conference championships — the baseball team has a chance to clinch its first crown since 2004. And they are about to go head-to-head against USF for all the marbles this Thursday-Saturday at home in the final series of the regular season. You won’t want to miss this. Buy tickets

4. The U.S. Army Cyber Center of Excellence will look to UCF for training and research support as a result of a new memorandum of understanding. UCF is qualified to provide the training because of its status as a designated National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education by both the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security.

5. A group of UCF students who make up the Lunar Knights Mining Club will compete this month in NASA’s national Robotic Mining Competition that was developed to help in the exploration of Mars. The competition is designed so NASA can be presented with outside ideas of how to mine on Mars, a goal of future space exploration.