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—March 20

1. March Madness continues for the UCF men’s basketball team tonight when the Knights face Illinois State in the second round of the NIT. The game will tip at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. UCF is coming off its first victory in the NIT in program history after a 79-74 win over Colorado. UCF (22-11) has matched its most wins in a season since 2005, and following Monday’s contest against Illinois State, will have played more games than any other season in program history.
The Chicago UCF Alumni Chapter is encouraging Illinois-based Knights to make the road trip. Check out their Facebook page for more info.

In other UCF Athletics news… shoutout to the ladies! The women’s basketball team ended its historic season Sunday in the second round of the WNIT, finishing with a 21-12 overall record, the program’s best mark since the 2010-11 campaign. The UCF softball team notched its first win over a Top 25 opponent this season with a 4-2 victory over No. 14 Baylor on Sunday afternoon. Up next, the Knights host the nation’s No. 1 team, Florida State, on Wednesday at 5:30 p.m. A standing room only crowd is expected, so be sure to purchase tickets in advance to guarantee your seats to the matchup.

2. Here’s a story that will make you feel good: a record number of UCF students volunteered their time last week on service projects abroad through the Alternative Break Program during their spring break. More than 50 students traveled on one of three trips to Guatemala, Dominican Republic or Costa Rica as part of UCF’s Alternative Break Program that connects students with volunteer opportunities across the U.S. and the world.

3. Twenty-two UCF graduate programs were ranked in the top 100 in their respective fields by U.S. News & World Report’s Best Graduate Schools of 2018 released last week. UCF’s best ranked program is counselor education in the College of Education & Human Performance, which moved up two spots to No. 7.

4. Each year UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving awards more than $50,000 in scholarships to UCF students demonstrating strong academic ability and significant extracurricular and community involvement. UCF Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving is pleased to again offer more than a dozen scholarship opportunities for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Apply for scholarships by April 2 based on eligibility by following these simple steps:
1. Read all scholarship criteria online at http://ucfalumni.com/students/scholarships and complete ALL required supporting documents prior to submitting your application.
2. Log into myUCF.
3. Select “Student Self Service.”
4. Click on “Scholarship Application” > “Home Page” > “Add New Scholarship.”
5. Complete and submit application(s).

5. The UCF College of Medicine had its best Match Day yet — of the 114 senior medical students, 113 were matched to residency programs last week. Match Day is the culmination of medical students’ fourth year, when they decide on a specialty and find out where they will spend the next three to seven years of their lives, depending on their specialty. Some of this year’s class are staying in state at programs such as Florida and USF while others are going to programs such as Baylor, Brown, Harvard, Mayo Clinic, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Yale.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Nov. 7

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1. The College of Medicine’s 10-year anniversary was one for the books. Missed the celebration? Check out the Facebook gallery. And now a word from Dr. Deborah German, vice president for medical affairs and founding dean of the medical school:

“After a decade together, I am still continually amazed by what we can achieve when we work together. Ten years ago, President Hitt’s vision was of a medical school that would serve our Central Florida community by offering the very best in medical education, research and patient care. Today that dream has become a reality.”

2. Thanks to a solid defensive effort – no kidding, UCF safety Drico Johnson outscored Tulane himself – UCF Football nabbed a 37-6 win on Saturday to kick off its three-game homestand. The UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate helped get gameday started (Photos: Indoor Tailgate | Game ), and this Saturday, you can do it all again. FAIRWINDS Alumni Center will open its doors at 9 a.m. for the noon kickoff against Cincinnati on ESPNU. #UCFansWear gold to the game. Out-of-towners, need a watch party?


3. In a salute to Veterans Day Weekend, UCF Football’s game Saturday is Military Appreciation Day. Military, veterans and first responders receive free entry to the game. Those looking to secure tickets are encouraged to do so ahead of Saturday by registering here. They will also be eligible to purchase tickets at a discounted rate for friends and family attending the game with them.

4. We’ve got three words for ya: Light Up UCF. It’s bigger and better than ever in its ninth year. The festivities begin Nov. 18 with a new light show featuring more than 30,000 lights and music. The nightly activities run through Jan. 7. More details.

5. Just in time for Election Day, Knightro’s latest bobblehead has been revealed, and he pulls off red, white and blue just as well as black and gold. One guaranteed way to get your hands on “Knightro For President” is to purchase men’s basketball season tickets. Speaking of basketball, heads up: the women’s team holds its home opener this Sunday at 2 p.m. and the men will tip off at CFE Arena a day later (Nov. 14) at 7 p.m.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Oct 31

1. Everyone’s favorite honorary UCF cheerleader was on hand Saturday at the Knights’ football game. Julianna Linton, who received a prosthetic arm from Limbitless Solutions this year, was decked out in Black and Gold and joined the UCF spirit team on the sideline in her hometown of Houston. She also met her favorite player UCF linebacker Shaquem Griffin after his career day on the field. It’s a story that will give you all the feels. We suggest you check it out. Want more good vibes on to start off your week? Then you must read thisjulianna-stunt

2. UCF’s College of Medicine is celebrating its 10-year anniversary this Saturday in style with a progressive dinner through the state of the art facility, cocktails, live entertainment and interactive demonstrations by faculty and students. Learn how you can be a part of the special evening.

3. President Barack Obama visited UCF’s campus on Friday. His appearance was just the second time a sitting U.S. president has visited the university. Here’s a rundown of the day, courtesy of the Orlando Sentinel.

4. Ten UCF staff and alumni were named by Orlando Business Journal as the area’s 40 top professionals under 40 years old. Congrats to our #AlumKnights!

5. In case you missed it, kickoff for this Saturday’s rescheduled football game is slated for 5 p.m. Tickets and parking that were purchased for the Oct. 7 scheduled date (postponed due to Hurricane Matthew) will be accepted for the Nov. 5 game. If you are still in need of tickets, you can purchase them here. Of course, we’ll be hosting our UCF Alumni Indoor Tailgate, starting at 2 p.m. #UCFansWear black to the game.

Finally, UCF Alumni wishes everyone a safe and Happy Halloween! PSA: You can have a chance to win every 2016-17 Knighto Bobblehead by submitting your best UCF themed pumpkin on Instagram tonight by midnight. Tag your photo with #UCFcarveon!

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Sept. 19, 2016

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1. The UCF community was introduced to IGNITE: The Campaign for the University of Central Florida on Sept. 16. IGNITE is the most ambitious fundraising effort in our history — an intense, focused and strategic effort to raise $500 million in philanthropic support by June 2019. More than 66,000 people have contributed donations of all sizes to reach approximately $275 million to date. Let’s keep it rolling!

2. UCF’s annual State of the Union address, delivered by President John C. Hitt, will take place on Tuesday at 3 p.m. For those unable to attend, viewing access will be available on Facebook at Facebook.com/ucf.

3. We love to see Knights helping Knights! A UCF alumnus, who has chosen to remain anonymous, challenged UCF to match his $1,000 commitment to fight hunger in support of Knights Pantry. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is promoting a Skip-A-Meal-Challenge this month that encourages people to skip a meal, and instead, donate the money they would have spent. Knights Pantry is one of the food bank’s partners, so funds raised by UCF will benefit the pantry.

4. Limbitless Solutions visited the White House this week for the White House Design For All Showcase. The event is designed to highlight the ways that assistive technology breaks down barriers, reduces stigma and improves the quality of life for Americans with disabilities. We’re so proud of Albert Manero and his team at the College of Engineering and Computer Science!

5. UCF recently selected Hospital Corporation of America, the nation’s largest hospital company, as its partner to build a proposed teaching hospital next door to the College of Medicine in Lake Nona. Under the plan, HCA will pay all costs to build and operate the hospital; UCF will seek no state funds for the project. The two will share governance of the facility on a 50-50 basis.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Aug. 15, 2016

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1. Less college debt? Where do we sign? Turns out, 48 percent of undergraduates at UCF carry no debt upon graduation – well below the national average.

2. UCF is partnering in a new national project called Re-Imagining the First Year of College that is designed to increase student success, particularly for students who are low-income, first-generation or racial minorities.

3. There’s a new, clear bag policy for UCF football games and you’re going to want to read it. Some key items you will not be able to bring into Bright House Networks Stadium include purses, diaper bags and non-approved seat cushions.

4. Four PhD students at the UCF College of Nursing are receiving full scholarships thanks to the help of three new grants totaling $85,000.

5. A partnership between UCF Health, the UCF College of Medicine’s physician practice and My Health Onsite opened a new health center for Osceola County Sheriff’s Office members and their families.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 25, 2016

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The UCF College of Nursing is one of just 60 nursing schools in 33 states to receive funding to participate in this year’s white coat ceremony, which promotes humanistic, patient-centered, compassionate care among future generations of registered nurses. (See No. 2 below.)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Oviedo High School teachers Will Furiosi, ’13, MAT14, and Jessica Ortega, ’13, fell head-over-heels for each other — and education — at UCF. READ MORE
  2. On Jan. 10, nearly 200 students from the UCF College of Nursing ceremoniously began their clinical practice with an inaugural white coat ceremony and joined a nationwide initiative to promote compassionate care.
  3. UCF freshman Nick Drivas has been invited to perform with Grammy Award-nominated entertainer Michael Feinstein as part of the “Michael Feinstein: A Sinatra Centennial” concert Jan. 29 at the Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts.
  4. On a career break and thinking of returning to work? Unsure about what you want to do and where to start? Interested in changing career paths? Join UCF alumni and other returning professionals for an information-packed, half-day program that includes return-to-work strategies, and tactics on resumes, interviews and job searches.
  5. Running through Jan. 31, Theatre UCF, in collaboration with the Association to Preserve the Eatonville Community, presents “Spunk and the Harlem Literati,” an adaption of the play “Spunk” by Zora Neale Hurston. The production is part of the 27th annual Zora Neale Hurston Festival of the Arts and Humanities.

There’s No Place Like … a Classroom

A pair of Knights fall head-over-heels for education — and each other — at UCF

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Will Furiosi II, ’13, ’14 & Jessica Ortega, ’13 | Teachers, Oviedo High School

By Angie Lewis, ’03

Fascinated with infectious disease and pathogenic bacteria, Will Furiosi, ’13, ’14, had dreams of working at the Centers for Disease Control. But, during his senior year of pre-med classes at UCF, he decided that teaching science might be more fun.

So, after completing his bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences (with a minor in business administration) in 2013, he continued his education at UCF, on a full scholarship, graduating with his master’s degree in teacher education in 2014. Now, instead of wearing head-to-toe protective garb in a lab every day, he only needs to slip on a pair of safety glasses when conducting experiments with his AP biology and chemistry students at Oviedo High School.

And, in case he has any accidents, his emergency contact, fellow Knight and bride-to-be Jessica Ortega, ’13, is just a few hallways away, teaching AP art history and honors humanities.

To call this couple of Knights ambitious is an understatement.

During their time at UCF, both were active members of The Burnett Honors College and the President’s Leadership Council.

In addition, Furiosi was a recipient of the 2013 Order of Pegasus (the most prestigious and significant award a student can attain at UCF) and graduated top of his class in the College of Medicine, as well as Summa Cum Laude from the university. And, to get in some physical exercise (and fun!), he also played four years on the university’s Ultimate Frisbee team.

When asked about the proudest moment of his life so far, he says it was the near flawless execution of his engagement plan that was six months in the making, but, he adds that a close second is a toss-up between finishing with perfect 4.0s as valedictorian of his high school and finishing top of his class at UCF.

“While there is more prestige accompanying the UCF distinction, completing the feat in high school showed that I could set my mind to something years in advance and achieve it,” he says.

Educating Q&A

Why did you choose to attend UCF?
JO: My family made an unexpected pit stop on the way to a ski trip on President’s Day weekend senior year and I applied to UCF that night. I felt just like Dorothy (in “The Wizard of Oz”) coming home the moment I stepped onto the campus. I knew I couldn’t go anywhere else after that moment.

Do you have any hidden talents?
WF: I can play multiple musical instruments — bassoon (it’s been a while for this one), flute and saxophone — and, I have a knack for taking musical tunes and making my own lyrical renditions.

If life were a song, what would the title be?
WF: I’m going to take a different spin on this and choose a good song for life: “Warning” by Incubus. It’s about a warning that you shouldn’t let life pass you by. Instead, you should live life to the fullest because everything could be gone in an instant.
JO: “I’m On Top of the World” by Imagine Dragons, because that’s how I try to feel every day, especially in front of 100-plus high school students!

Most embarrassing moment?
WF: I’m sure I’ve had more embarrassing moments, but … I ripped my pants, right in the center of my butt, right in the middle of the school day earlier this school year.

What were you most surprised to learn after becoming a teacher?
WF: I was most surprised to hear how much unsubstantiated or biased research is used to influence educational policy and how much time and money is wasted in constantly trying to reinvent the educational wheel.
JO: That kids (or anyone for that matter) never listen to you the first five times you say something. It drives me nuts having to repeat what I already have written on the board a million times a day. I seriously waste at least a few minutes a class period repeating myself and that adds up!

What kind of life advice do you give to your students?
WF: I encourage students to continue to learn as much as possible, get involved in activities to determine their interests, and become financially literate (something we should do more of in public school).
JO: Figure out your passions and pursue them regardless. These students have too many people telling them what they “should” do with their lives. They need more quiet time to just sit there and thing about what THEY want to do, not what their parents, counselors, friends or teachers think is best for them. They’re too afraid of making the “wrong” choice, but I tell them that if they learned something for the experience, it can never be a “wrong” choice.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Dec. 21, 2015

Former Olympian and UCF alumna Michelle Akers (left) hosted the latest delivery of a Limbitless Solutions arm in Powder Springs, Ga., to Lila Brooks Pearson (right front) of South Carolina.
Former Olympian and UCF alumna Michelle Akers (left) hosted the latest delivery of a Limbitless Solutions arm in Powder Springs, Ga., to Lila Brooks Pearson (right front) of South Carolina.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. More than 5,000 students joined the UCF alumni family this past weekend during three fall commencement ceremonies. Congratulations, Class of 2015! Here are some things all new grads should know.
  2. A team of UCF students delivering bionic arms to make 12 children’s Christmas wishes come true was featured Dec. 13 on NBC’s “TODAY Show.” Limbitless Solutions, the UCF-based nonprofit organization that provides 3D-printed bionic arms and hands to children at no cost to their families, started its 12 Arms for Christmas campaign with a special delivery to a 5-year-old South Carolina girl, which included the help of UCF alumna and Olympic gold-medalist Michelle Akers, ’89.
  3. UCF is working hard to secure funding for its planned downtown campus, which would create 2,000 new jobs and have an annual economic impact of $205 million, including $90 million in wages.
  4. A UCF College of Medicine resident was honored with the nation’s top residency research award for his study of a unique heart attack victim he met in the emergency room.
  5. Need a break from all the holiday stress this week? Come out to the CFE Arena on Tuesday and support the UCF Women’s and Men’s Basketball teams! The ladies take on Oklahoma State at 1 p.m., and the guys take on Bethune Cookman at 7 p.m. Go Knights! Charge On! Also, now through Jan. 3, you can catch a performance of “Peter and the Starcatchers” at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater.

This is our last “Five Things” list for 2015. See you in again in 2016! Happy Holidays, Knights!

Black & Gold Gala 2015 — Professional Achievement Award
College of Medicine

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College of Medicine Dean Deborah German presented the college’s 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Dr. Michael Makowski, ’80.
Dr. Michael Makowski, ’80 | Eye Physician/Surgeon, Tomoka Eye Associates

The UCF Alumni Association and College of Medicine presented their 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Michael Makowski at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.

Mike earned his bachelor’s degree in molecular biology/microbiology from UCF, then went on to earn his medical degree from the University of South Florida in 1984. He did his internship at Greenville Hospital System in South Carolina, and his residency at the Medical College of Georgia. 

He is an ophthalmologist and partner with Tomoka Eye Associates, Daytona’s largest and most popular ophthalmology group, with multiple subspecialists and the latest diagnostic technology. His focus is on cataract surgery, glaucoma, oculoplastics and corneal transplant. He’s a member of the American Academy of Ophthalmology, American Medical Association, American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgeons, Volusia County Medical Society and Flagler County Medical Society.

Mike received the Patients’ Choice Award in 2008, 2011 and 2014, and Compassionate Doctor Recognition in 2011 and 2014.

He’s married to fellow Knight Sandi (Wing), ’80, with whom he has two adult sons.

Learn more about Michael: