Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 11, 2016

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. UCF Head Coach Scott Frost continues working to rebuild the football program, last week announcing the arrivals of Erik Chinander, former outside linebackers coach at Oregon, who will take over as the Knights’ defensive coordinator; Greg Austin, former assistant offensive line coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, who will lead the Knights’ offensive line; and Marcus Castro-Walker, former director of player personnel for Arizona State, who will serve as UCF football’s director of player development. (Hear from Frost and Chinander in the video above.)
  2. The UCF Rosen College of Hospitality Management has partnered with the United States Tennis Association to offer a new B.S. degree in professional tennis management.
  3. Thanks to a $1.5 million grant, UCF researchers could shed new light on undetected pollution lurking beneath the seafloor of the Gulf of Mexico following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.
  4. The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators recognized UCF Multicultural Academic & Support Services with the Excellence Award Bronze Certificate.
  5. For the third-consecutive year, the UCF women’s flag football team claimed the national title! Way to go, ladies! (Plus, check out the newest inductees into the UCF Athletics Hall of Fame.)

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Jan. 4, 2016

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(From No. 5 below:) Palmer Vorkapich, a 6-year-old patient at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, lights up during a visit from Ion, a therapy dog owned by UCF College of Medicine student Christa Zino.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Knights had much to be proud of last year! Check out just a few of them in this list from UCF Today of the “15 Moments that Made Your Heart Burst with Knight Pride in 2015.”
  2. With $20 million needed in community support for the UCF Downtown campus, alumnus and CEO Alex Martins, ’01, and the Orlando Magic stepped up, contributing $1.5 million toward the project. And, just this morning, it was announced that the CFE Federal Credit Union has committed its own $1.5 million. Keep up with all the latest developments on the UCF Downtown campus at ucf.edu/downtown.
  3. UCF economist Sean Snaith says Florida’s economic future is merry and bright, with the state’s housing market continuing to improve, and job growth forecasted to continue to outperform the U.S. labor market.
  4. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency selected a UCF team to receive a P3 Award — a first in UCF history — which recognizes student projects that benefit people, promote prosperity and protect the planet by using environmental solutions that move the nation toward a sustainable future. The winning project focuses on ways to make algae biofuel easier and less expensive to produce.
  5. To help cheer up patients at Nemours Children’s Hospital in Orlando, UCF second-year medical student Christa Zino regularly brings her therapy dog, a 2-year-old boxer named Ion, for visits.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Dec. 14, 2015

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Wondering what this pic is all about? Check out No. 5 on our list!

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. For only the second time in its history, all three branches of UCF SGA’s Senate are led by women. The 48th Student Senate’s executive branch is led by Student Body President Cait Zona, the legislative branch is led by Speaker of the Senate Meghan Kircher, and the judicial branch is led by Chief Justice Taylor Scimeca. Congratulations, ladies!
  2. Throughout final exams week, which finally comes to an end tomorrow, the Student Union, Student Academic Resource Center, Counseling and Psychological Services, and UCF Police’s Safe Escort Patrol Service have been helping students ease some of the stress that can come with test taking (and the holidays).
  3. UCF chemistry Ph.D. candidate David Nash, ’11, MS14, and his team, which is developing a smartphone-based handheld drug system for law enforcement applications, was selected to further advance their innovation at the national level through the National Science Foundation I-Corps program.
  4. Last week in Tallahassee, Florida Gov. Rick Scott presented the Champion of Service Award to UCF mechanical engineering Ph.D. candidate Albert Manero, ’12, MSAE14, for his work with Limbitless Solutions.
  5. A group of student-athletes is spreading Christmas cheer with the help of Mariah Carey, some jolly dance moves, and a video that’s making its way around the Internet.

These Guys Know what they Want for Christmas

A group of UCF student-athletes is spreading Christmas cheer with the help of Mariah Carey, some jolly dance moves, and a video that’s making its way around the Internet.

When seven Knights, including four UCF cheerleaders and a former UCF baseball player who met through the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, posted the above video to YouTube, they had no idea it would attract more than 20,000 views in less than a week!

“We honestly just wanted to make a fun Christmas video for something to look back at when we have kids one day, and be like, ‘Hey, look, your dad was cool!'” explains UCF junior Joshua Gicker. “We’re all single, so, maybe before it’s over, we could meet our future wives through this!”

Guess you never know! Happy holidays, Knights!

This information was originally published Dec. 10, 2015, by Brigitte Snedeker on KnightNews.com. It has been edited in accordance with AP and alumni association style guidelines. See original post.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Dec. 7, 2015

UCF engineering students, from left, Mathew Coalson, Evan Dipsiner, Keenan Bosworth, Caroline Kamm and Rebecca Shea are among the many members of the UCF chapter of Engineers Without Borders to build an aquaponics system to help the Bithlo community.
UCF engineering students (left to right) Mathew Coalson, Evan Dipsiner, Keenan Bosworth, Caroline Kamm and Rebecca Shea are among many other members of the UCF chapter of Engineers without Borders, who built an aquaponics system to help at-risk youth in Central Florida’s Bithlo community.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. A group of students in the UCF chapter of Engineers without Borders spent 18 months building an aquaponics system for Central Florida’s Bithlo community, which will benefit students at the Orange County Academy, a private school serving at-risk youth.
  2. UCF’s Seminole County Alumni Club will host a Networking Knight, in conjunction with a toy drive and fundraiser, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at the new Red Cypress Brewery in Winter Springs, which is owned by UCF alumnus Ryan Parker, ’09.
  3. Well, the rumors were just that — rumors. After much speculation that Bowling Green’s Dino Babers would be UCF’s next head football coach, it was instead announced last Monday that Oregon’s Scott Frost will be George O’Leary’s permanent replacement. “Fans better buckle their seat belts, because we’re going to punch the accelerator and go fast around here,” Frost said in his first press conference. Get ready, Knights!
  4. Knights who use service animals on campus are stressing the rules of etiquette when it comes to interacting with their furry friends.
  5. Looking for some fun holiday activities to do with the family this month? Visit Light Up UCF for ice skating, an ice slide, holiday movies, a light show, ferris wheel rides and, of course, Santa! And, this year, alumni can take advantage of the following discounts (online and at the box office):
    • $3 off ice skating with code ALUMNS
    • $17 for the Ultimate Pass with code ALUMNU

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Nov. 30, 2015

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(PHOTO: Bernard Wilchusky, Central Florida Future)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. On Dec. 1 and 2, UCF Emergency Management and the UCF Police Department are teaming up to offer a series of classes to teach students, and faculty and staff members how to think and act quickly in the worst-case scenario. Shots Fired is a two-part class that educates attendees about the UCF Alert emergency notification system and the “Run. Hide. Fight.” method of reacting to an active shooter.
  2. After a devastating 0-12 season, the excitement is building for who will become UCF’s next head football coach. Multiple sources — including the Central Florida Future, SB Nation and Syracuse.com — are speculating Bowling Green’s Dino Babers may be George O’Leary’s replacement. But, with a MAC Championship game on the line Friday, Babers isn’t confirming anything. Stay tuned!
  3. Two UCF music alumni literally blew past the competition on their way to winning national trumpet auditions for high-profile bands. Ron Schaer, ’02, won the principal trumpet audition for the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra in Los Angeles, and Francis Franqui, ’04, won a spot as a bugler in the U.S. Army Fife and Drum Corps.
  4. On Dec. 3 at 7:30 p.m., three UCF choruses will perform a free concert, titled “Songs in Waiting,” at St. James Cathedral in downtown Orlando, to celebrate the holiday season. The performance features the University Chorus, the Women’s Chorus and the Chamber Singers, as well as many vocal and instrument soloists, and will be led by David Brunner and Kelly Miller, faculty members in the UCF School of Performing Arts.
  5. Looking for the perfect holiday gift for the UCF Knight in your life? UCFKnights.com has great ideas for him, for her, and for kids!

UCF and USF Put Aside Rivalry in Spirit of Thanksgiving

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The Palm Beach alumni chapters of the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida — two schools that are traditionally rivals — put their competitive spirits aside Tuesday night, combining a team of 50 volunteers at the Big Heart Brigade at Palm Beach Gardens’ Fire Station 63. Together, along with countless additional community volunteers, the schools helped assemble 75,000 meals for people in need across South Florida.

UCF and USF face off Thanksgiving evening at 7:30 in Bright House Networks Stadium. The game will air live on ESPN.

 

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

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Oct. 26, 2015

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Ericka Dunlap, ’04, performed the National Anthem during the 2015 Black & Gold Gala awards ceremony on Thursday night.

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. The UCF Alumni Association celebrated the achievements of 16 Knights who have “Reached for the Stars” during its 2015 Homecoming Black & Gold Gala on Thursday evening. In addition to 11 Professional Achievement Awards, the association presented awards for Distinguished Student, Distinguished Alumnus, and Service to UCF, as well as the Michelle Akers Award and Champions Award. (Individual articles will continue to be posted throughout the coming weeks.)
  2. After the Knights fell 59-10 to No. 21 Houston during Saturday’s Homecoming game — the eighth straight loss this season — Head Football Coach George O’Leary announced his immediate retirement late yesterday.
  3. This week’s alumni events include a College of Business Administration Alumni and Student Networking Knight tonight, and the UCF San Diego Alumni Club’s Knight at the Museum tomorrow night.
  4. Concluding LGBTQ+ History Month, UCF will host Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” actress Lea DeLaria (“Carrie”), who will serve as keynote speaker during the closing ceremony tomorrow afternoon.
  5. U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) congratulated UCF’s two-time national champion Cyber Defense Competition Team in a Senate floor statement on Oct. 20.