Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—August 28

1. Congrats to this year’s 30 Under 30 award winners, who were recognized in a special ceremony at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center over the weekend. View the gallery highlighting this outstanding group who is making its alma mater proud.

2. The countdown to college football is over! UCF Football is back in action this Thursday at 6 p.m. at home against FIU. Check out some new, exciting things the team has going on this year, and don’t forget to stop by UCF Alumni’s Indoor Tailgate, which kicks off at 3 p.m. Thursday at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

Out of town and in need of a watch party? Visit ucfalumni.com to find the most up-to-date information on locations for official watch parties nation-wide.

3. The UCF women’s soccer team knocked off No. 4 North Carolina on Friday in double overtime with a 2-1 win. To put it in the simplest terms: it’s a BIG deal. Read more about the historic win, and trust us, you’re going to want to watch this video:

4. The UCF College of Sciences Distinguished Speaker Series is back this September with six UCF faculty who are experts in topics relevant to the natural, computational, social or behavioral sciences and the developments in their respective fields. The 2017-18 series will be held monthly at Tuscawilla Country Club at 6 p.m., from September 2017 to April 2018 (excluding November and December).

5. Save the date for this year’s film fall showcase hosted by UCF School of Visual Arts and Design. Some of the finest examples from the previous year’s crop of student films will be brought together for a single night of celebration on Sept. 8 from 7-9:30 p.m.

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

college-of-med-fireworks

 

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.

Moving Moment

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (Sept. 9, 2016) —  Ten, red Lightning McQueen cars lined up side by side at the edge of Memory Mall on Friday. Their drivers were all ready to push the go button on their steering wheels at the sound “start your engines.”

Ten children received motorized, child-sized cars at a build event sponsored by Orlando Health for GoBabyGo. GoBabyGo is a national effort to provide children without the ability to walk, a way to get around. The organization retrofits motorized toy cars for children with special needs.

Friday’s event took place inside the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center from 9 a.m. to noon before the kids took their wheels outside for a spin. Dr. Lindley Westervelt, a physical therapist at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children, is a two-time alumna who graduated from UCF’s physical therapy doctoral program in 2011 and was on hand to lend assistance.

Before taking their new ride outside, children practiced on a "race course" inside FAIRWINDS Alumni Center
Before taking their new ride outside, children practiced on a “race course” inside FAIRWINDS Alumni Center

She helped put together and modify the cars in the same room that her graduate banquet was held in while she was a student. The cars were outfitted with pool noodles, swimming kick boards and other materials to ensure safety and stability for their drivers.

“I think it’s great to see the alumni working with different programs in the school, especially this,” she said. “I love the kids. I’ve been in pediatrics since I came out of school. I love being creative like this.”

UCF has been working with GoBabyGo creator, University of Delaware professor Cole Galloway, and his non-profit to offer the program to Central Florida. Dr. Jennifer Tucker is a pediatric specialist and physical therapy faculty member who oversees GoBabyGo at UCF.

Friday’s build event was the first of the new school year and more are scheduled to take place throughout the year. Tucker said hosting the event at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center seemed like a perfect fit.

“In looking at having a space, a place that really represents us, it just seemed to make the most sense, particularly with the Orlando Health partnership, that we would showcase it at the alumni center at the heart of the university,” Tucker said.

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UCF alumna Dr. Lindley Westervelt

The recipients of the cars hailed from Orlando, Winter Garden, St. Cloud, Volusia, Daytona and Perry, Florida. The need is so high in in the Southeast that one family drove more than 450 miles from Bishop, Georgia, to be a part of the day.

Tucker said GoBabyGo has built approximately 40 cars since the program started at UCF in 2015, and she receives applications daily for children of all mobility levels.

For some children who are delayed in achieving mobility milestones, the cars give them a chance to go out and play until they develop their skills. For other children who will likely need wheelchairs in the future, the cars allow them to learn more about mobility and body movement without leg usage.

The volunteers and the children’s families capped the day by cheering and waving black-and-white checkered flags as the children cruised down Memory Mall. It symbolized the teamwork Tucker has witnessed and experienced since taking on the GoBabyGo program.

“This has been fast moving and gathered momentum on its own and just really tapped into a need that exists in the community. We’re excited to have the means to meet that need,” Tucker said. “We think it’s a great avenue for alumni (to get involved). You don’t have to be a health care professional to help them. You can be a business major and come and help build a car.”

UCF Communication Alumni Launch Mentorship Program

Nicholson School of Communication student Vanessa Rodriguez (left) talks with Paula Machado, '12, a reporter for InfoMas.
Nicholson School of Communication student Vanessa Rodriguez (left) talks with Paula Machado, ’12, a reporter for InfoMas.

By Anne Shirley Lewis, UCF Knightly News
Co-authored by Julia Anderson, UCF College of Sciences

UCF Nicholson School of Communication students met with their mentors for the first time at the pilot mentorship program breakfast, which was held by the UCF NSC Alumni Chapter on Wednesday morning in the FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

The purpose of the program is to connect students with alumni who share similar academic backgrounds, professional interests and career fields.

This is the first program of its kind, said Shaloni Prine, ’07, assistant director of the UCF College of Sciences Alumni Relations. If this pilot does well, it will be implemented throughout the entire college.

Mentors share experiences, provide new perspectives and insight into their specific industry, enhance the mentees’ skill sets and add knowledge about advancement, according the mentorship handbook.

Alumni working in the areas of radio-television, journalism and public relations were selected as mentors for the pilot program. The diverse selection of alumni represent companies including EA Sports, Hearst News Corp., News 13 and the Orlando Sentinel.

Students in the Nicholson School are nominated by their professors to be a part of this program. The nominated students are paired with alumni for a three-month mentorship program ending in July.

Each mentor and mentee is required to meet a minimum of three times — whether that be face to face, via phone or by email — and discuss career information, common interests, accomplishments and dos and don’ts of networking.

“It’s really your network, which is key to your development,” says Lauren Gustafson, ’08, chair-elect of the UCF NSC Alumni Chapter. “It’s the network that you build that is crucial to moving to the next step. Every job I’ve had, I’ve gotten from people I know.”

UCF faculty members Tim Brown and Rick Brunson attended the event on behalf of the Nicholson School of Communication.

If you’re interested in participating as a mentor in the Knights & Squires mentorship program, please email [email protected].

Read the original story.

Sponsor Spotlight: FAIRWINDS Credit Union

Thanks to a $1.2 million gift from FAIRWINDS Credit Union, in 2005, the UCF Alumni Association finally established its permanent home on campus. It was a friendship between fellow Knights Tom Messina, ’84, executive director of the UCF Alumni Association; Mike Hinn, ’92, former alumni board member; and Dianne Owen, ’93, ’97, executive vice president of marketing for FAIRWINDS Credit Union, that built the foundation of this special partnership, which provided UCF alumni their own place on campus to attend and host events.

UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center
The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center opened in the fall of 2005.

As the official student banking provider of the university, FAIRWINDS’ on-campus reach extends beyond the alumni association. So, we sat down with Dianne, who is also the immediate past chair of the association’s board of directors, to find out more about this important partnership.

Q. Why did FAIRWINDS Credit Union choose to partner with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. The bigger question to ask is why wouldn’t FAIRWINDS partner with the UCF Alumni Association? UCF is a critical part of the foundation of the Central Florida community. The university is committed to building a better community for us all, not just for Knights. FAIRWINDS shares that same philosophy. As the largest Central Florida-based financial institution, FAIRWINDS is committed to serving the members of our community. UCF alumni make up a significant portion of that population, with so many UCF graduates remaining in Central Florida. We realize the impact that UCF alumni have on our local economy, and we want to be there to serve their financial needs and help improve their financial well-being.

Q. How many alumni are employed by FAIRWINDS Credit Union?
A. Approximately 22 percent of our employees are UCF alumni, with even more currently attending UCF. More specifically, FAIRWINDS’ eight-member Executive Management Team consists of seven UCF alumni. As a team, we really do bleed black and gold!

Q. How has FAIRWINDS benefited since partnering with the UCF Alumni Association?
A. Partnering with the UCF Alumni Association has afforded us exposure to a large influential group of graduates responsible for shaping our Central Florida community. The alumni association is a strong and relevant network of “movers and shakers.” Our partnership has afforded us numerous opportunities to interact and put our name and our mission in front of this successful group. Additionally, the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center alone, with its numerous events, has provided significant brand exposure for us as well.

Q. How does FAIRWINDS contribute to the UCF Alumni Association?
A. In 2001, FAIRWINDS committed $1 million to the UCF Alumni Association to help build an alumni center on campus, now known as the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center. We continued with this commitment beyond its original term due to the mutually beneficial relationship we have fostered with the alumni association. FAIRWINDS has also committed human resources. President and CEO, Larry Tobin ’83, served on the UCF Foundation Board of Directors for six years, and I have served on the UCF Alumni Association Board of Directors for 12 years, which includes serving as immediate past chair.

Q. How is FAIRWINDS involved with UCF Homecoming?
A. FAIRWINDS and its crewmembers always take an active role in Homecoming. From the golf tournament and football game to the Black & Gold Gala, FAIRWINDS crew will be there. And, for the past couple of years, and again this year, FAIRWINDS sponsors the UCF Alumni Homecoming Suite Sweepstakes. All alumni are invited for their chance to win the FAIRWINDS Suite at Bright House Networks Stadium for the Homecoming game. Watch your email for this year’s sweepstakes!

Q. Are there any other points you’d like to share about the partnership?
A. Financial literacy and improving our members’ financial well-being is at the heart of what FAIRWINDS represents. We are excited to work with UCF alumni to achieve this goal, and we are equally excited to be able to work with UCF students prior to graduating. As the UCF Student Banking Partner, it provides us with the opportunity to get students on the right path to financial success upon becoming proud UCF alumni.