Five Things Alumni Need to Know This Week – June 11, 2018

Photo of President Hitt and Knightro1. The new issue of Pegasus magazine is out, and it is dedicated to President John C. Hitt H’17 in honor of his 26 years at UCF. The publication is a great tribute to a great man, and we were particularly struck by these words written by Hitt himself: “That’s the modern-day version of a knight: You do what has to be done, and you try to do what’s best for all.” Give it a read, and have the tissue box nearby.

2. The ChargeOn Tour is headed to Tampa tonight at Tropicana Field for the Rays’ game against the Toronto Blue Jays. You must purchase a ticket to the baseball game at the box office in order to attend the program that will feature Director of Athletics Danny White and football head coach Josh Heupel. Here’s the rundown:
6-6:50 p.m.: Pregame UCF ChargeOn Tour appearance with entrance at Gate 4 through Republic Bank Draft Room
6:50-7:10 p.m.: Autograph session at the Press Level by section 221
7:10 p.m.: First pitch of Rays vs. Blue Jays game

3. As Police Chief Richard Beary ’04MS prepares to retire after 11 years at UCF and 41 years of law enforcement service, UCF is conducting a comprehensive, transparent search for a new campus safety leader. Four UCF Police chief finalists will be on campus this month to meet with students, faculty and staff members, and other partners.

4. Hawaii is looking to ban sunscreens with the ingredient oxybenzone because of  research conducted by UCF associate professor John Fauth. Fauth and a team of international researchers in 2015 published a study that showed oxybenzone disrupted coral reproduction and caused bleaching.  Coral bleaching is destroying reef and impacting local economies and ocean species that depend on the reefs for survival. Legislators in Hawaii crafted a bill to ban sunscreens with the ingredient in May. The legislature approved the bill, which awaits the governor’s signature.

5. This week, the Orlando community unifies in remembrance, love and action as we honor the 49 lives lost and those impacted by the attack at Pulse on June 12, 2016. A vigil at UCF will be held June 13 from 7-8:30 p.m. in front of the Pulse mural at the Student Union, and Millican Hall will be lit up after dusk.

In addition to UCF’s vigil, there are several events from blood drives to art exhibits to remembrance ceremonies taking place around Orlando.  View the list here.

Photo of Pulse mural at UCF
A mural, located on the Student Union, memorializes Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher Andrew “Drew” Leinonen ’07 ’09MA, two Knights killed on June 12, 2016.

Five Ways Philanthropy Impacted UCF This Year

turtles
Image taken as part of the UCF Marine Turtle Research Group’s permitted research

1. Research
Thanks to donor support for more than three decades, UCF’s Marine Turtle Research Group has played an integral role in sea turtle recovery on Central Florida beaches. Last year, UCF’s section of the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge – which was created in 1991 because of UCF research – counted a record 14,905 green turtle nests. In comparison, there were less than 50 nests when UCF first started monitoring the area in the early 1980s. And they are seeing growth in other turtle populations, too — this year saw 17,192 loggerhead nests (second highest since 1982) and 55 leatherback nests (highest since 1982).

History was made in July when UCF and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reached an agreement to establish a permanent conservation research facility along the Brevard County coastline. The new agreement allows UCF to build a new facility at the refuge that will not only protect research equipment and house workers overnight, but also foster collaborations with visiting scientists and international research partners.

UCF must raise $5 million within the next five years to construct the new buildings. Want to help? Here’s how.

2. Resources for Student-Athletes
In order to achieve their level of success on the field and in the classroom, UCF’s teams need a team of their own to support them. This year, several members of their team stepped up to the plate in a big way.

Thanks to John Euliano’s $1.5 million gift, the baseball team is on its way to having a state-of-the-art facility. This facility will not only benefit the student-athletes, coaches and fan experience, it will also provide an edge in recruiting.

Of equal importance for the student-athletes is ensuring a quality education. Northwestern Mutual worked with UCF Athletics to develop the Northwestern Mutual Everyday Champions Scholarship Program, which will fund three student-athletes’ scholarships per year over the next three years. In total, this will provide nearly $150,000 in student-athlete scholarship support.

3. Experience Learning
Students and faculty from UCF’s medical, nursing, physical therapy and social work schools provided free care to nearly 200 Apopka-area farmworkers back in July. The team’s philanthropic spirit fueled their mission, allowing UCF students to render care to people who really needed it while learning invaluable experience along the way. Faculty helped by outfitting the clinic’s facilities while the College of Medicine held a bake sale to pay for medication and food they provided to the farmworkers on the day of care.


It’s just one of the many service contributions that Knights participate in worldwide every year, allowing them to apply lessons learned in the classroom and simultaneously fulfilling one of the university’s primary missions: Impacting our society positively. Here are a couple more service learning programs at UCF funded by donations:
The Burnett Honors College
Knights Without Borders

4. Giving Lives Back
This year, alumnus Jim Rosengren ’81 gave a generous gift of $1 million to UCF RESTORES, allowing the PTSD clinic to have a fighting chance of keeping its doors open and continuing to treat veterans with uniquely effective techniques (and train new therapists in those techniques).

“After three weeks of treatment, 67 percent of veterans no longer have PTSD — and more importantly, at follow-up six months later, we haven’t seen them relapse,” said Deborah Beidel, a UCF Pegasus Professor of psychology who leads the UCF RESTORES clinic.

The $5 million Department of Defense grant that allowed Beidel to establish the clinic in 2011 only covers treatment of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans, not those from other conflicts. Nor does it allow Beidel and her colleagues to treat other groups, like first responders, who actually suffer from PTSD at a higher rate than the military.

To continue its mission and work, the clinic needs to rely on private philanthropy to fund the program’s annual costs. You can be the difference: Donate Now. (Be sure to click the designation drop down and select UCF RESTORES)

5. A New Partnership for Rosen, Arts and Humanities

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Gregory Elias, a Curacao-born lawyer and businessman, had never stepped foot on campus when he donated $5 million to establish the Gregory Elias Entertainment Management Program, a partnership between the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and College of Arts and Humanities.

Thanks to his generosity, nearly 200 students are pursuing an education they are passionate about, which aligns with Elias’ goals.

“It’s not about money, it’s about love,” he told them when he visited UCF for the first time in September. “If you don’t have the love for what you are doing, you cannot succeed and be happy.”

 

 

 

UCF Alumni Honors 30 under 30

Alumni association recognizes 30 young, successful Knights during inaugural awards dinner

30-under-30-awards

By Angie Lewis, ’03

The UCF Alumni Association was proud to host its inaugural 30 under 30 awards dinner Friday, Nov. 20, honoring the outstanding achievements of 30 successful Knights.

Young alumni currently make up one-third of UCF’s alumni population, making them the university’s largest constituent base. The 30 under 30 awards program allows the UCF community to celebrate the achievements of these young alumni and the impact they’ve made in the areas of business, research, leadership, arts, community, education or philanthropy.

Awardees were chosen based on nominations submitted by fellow Knights, friends, families and co-workers.

Many of this year’s recipients — most of whom traveled back to campus from locations across the country — were also recognized on the field during the UCF vs. ECU football game Thursday night, alongside the UCF Alumni Association’s 2015 Distinguished Student Award winner, Yudeysis Cores, and 2015 Michelle Akers Award winner, UCF’s Limbitless Solutions.

The following evening, alumni, families and friends, as well as members of university administration, advancement staff, and academic and volunteer leadership, and the evening’s host, UCF alumnus Todd Woodard, ’95, gathered for the awards celebration, held in the Grand Ballroom of the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

This year’s 30 under 30 inaugural class included:

Joshua A. Andone, Esq., ’11

Attorney, Hale, Hale & Jacobson
College of Business Administration

Stephanie C. Bolyard, MSENVE12

Graduate Research/Teaching Assistant, UCF
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Keith Brawner, ’08, MSCPE10, PhD13

Adaptive Tutoring Scientist, United States Army Research Laboratory
College of Engineering and Computer Science

Naomi Brownstein, ’08

Assistant Professor, Florida State University College of Medicine
The Burnett Honors College & College of Sciences

Janelle N. Burrowes, ’13

Service Director, Boys & Girls Club
College of Arts and Humanities

Shelby J. Campbell, ’08

Doctor of Audiology, My Family ENT
College of Health and Public Affairs

Amanda N. Castro, ’12

Anchor/Reporter, 41NBC/WMGT
College of Sciences

Chris Castro, ’10

Program Manager, Office of Sustainability & Energy/Senior Energy Advisor to Mayor Buddy Dyer, City of Orlando
College of Undergraduate Studies

Brett R. Chiavari, ’07

Owner & President, BC Restaurant Group
College of Business Administration

Aaron Dietz, MA13, PhD14

Research Associate, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
College of Sciences

Reshad D. Favors, Esq., ’10

Attorney & Fellow, Congressional Black Caucus Foundation/United States Congress
College of Business Administration

Julie Frost, ’12

Performer, Comfort Crew for Military Kids
The Burnett Honors College & College of Arts and Humanities & College of Sciences

Christopher R. Frye, ’13

Physics Ph.D. Candidate, Harvard University
The Burnett Honors College & College of Sciences

Andre Garcia, ’08

Human Factors Engineer, Northrop Grumman Corporation
College of Sciences

Lindsay C. Gartrell, ’10

Corporate Training Manager, The Kessler Collection Inaugural Class
Rosen College of Hospitality Management

Adam J. Giery, ’08, MA11

Principal, Strategos Group
College of Education and Human Performance

Jen Glantz, ’10

Founder and CEO, Bridesmaid for Hire
College of Arts and Humanities & College of Sciences

Kristin Harris, ’11

Associate Celebrity Editor & Talent Relations, Buzzfeed
College of Sciences

Jake Junot, MBA11

Vice President of Global Accounts, C3Research
College of Business Administration

Bridget D. Keefe, ’09, MPA11

Executive Director, Downtown Orlando Partnership
Rosen College of Hospitality Management & College of Health and Public Affairs

Jamile M. Kitnurse, ’08, MBA10, MSBM11

Regional Marketing Manager, Diamond Resorts International
College of Business Administration

Stephanie Ann Koszalka, MSW12

Director of Human Trafficking Victim Services, Florida Abolitionist Inc.
College of Health and Public Affairs

Albert C. Manero, ’12, MSAE14

Lab Director, The Limbitless Project
The Burnett Honors College & College of Engineering and Computer Science

Lauren Niederhiser, ’12

Assistant Project Manager, Walt Disney Imagineering
The Burnett Honors College & College of Engineering and Computer Science

Gregory A. Pearlman Jr., ’08

Financial Advisor, Northwestern Mutual
College of Business Administration

Leigha Audrey Proctor, ’10

Director of Business Development, Transperfect Translations
College of Sciences

Aubree A. Rider, ’10

Co-founder & Owner, The Heroes Group
College of Business Administration

Danny A. Rivera, ’12, MPA14

Special Assistant to Mayor Teresa Jacobs, Orange County Government
College of Health and Public Affairs

Colton J. Tapoler, ’12

Instructional Lead, Florida Virtual School
College of Arts and Humanities & College of Education and Human Performance

Victoria Vighetto, ’10, MNM13

Executive Director, March of Dimes Central Florida Division
College of Health and Public Affairs

Congratulations to all! Go Knights! Charge On!

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 Optics and Photonics

CREOL-Effenberger
College of Optics and Photonics Dean Bahaa Saleh presented the college’s
2015 Professional Achievement Award to Frank J. Effenberger, ’95.
Frank J. Effenberger, ’95, Ph.D. | VP, Access Lab, Futurewei Technologies

The UCF Alumni Association and College of Optics and Photonics presented their 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Frank Effenberger at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.

Frank is considered a world expert in the field of fiber access networks and passive optical networks.

In 2008, he became the chairman of International Telecommunication Union, the United Nations’ specialized agency for information and communication technologies. In 2011, he was named as Huawei Fellow, and, in 2015, he was named as a fellow of both the OSA and the IEEE. He holds 60 U.S. patents.

Before joining his current company in 2006, Frank was a systems engineer at Motorola. Prior to that, he served at Quantum Bridge Communications, where he managed the system engineering group. He also held other positions in the fiber optics industry, with Science Application International Corporation, Bell Communications and Discovery Semiconductors.

He earned his undergraduate in engineering and engineering physics in 1988 at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, N.J., and a master’s degree in optics from the University of Rochester in 1989, ranking first in his class.

Learn more about Frank:

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:

UCF Alumni Introduces New Awards for Young Alumni

30_UNDER_30_LOGO_Final-web

This fall, the UCF community will gather to celebrate the achievements of young alumni who continue to “Reach for the Stars” in their professional and personal lives. Young alumni currently make up one-third of our alumni population, making them our largest constituent base. So, to help recognize some of the great work they’re doing, the UCF Alumni Association is introducing its inaugural 30 under 30 awards program!

 

 

Eligibility and criteria includes:

  • Must be a graduate of the University of Central Florida (undergraduate or graduate degree).
  • Must be age 30 or under on Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Must have made an impact in one or more of the following areas:
    • business
    • research
    • leadership
    • arts
    • community
    • education
    • philanthropy
  • Must demonstrate a commitment to maintaining a lifelong relationship with UCF.
  • Must strive to uphold the tenants of the UCF Creed.
  • Must be willing to submit a professional head shot that can be published by the UCF Alumni Association and other UCF entities, as deemed appropriate.
  • Self-nominations will not be accepted.

Know someone who deserves to be recognized? Nominate him/her!

2015 timeline:

July 3 | Nominations open
July 31 | Nominations close
Aug. 3 | Nominees contacted to submit additional information, including a professional head shot and a resume/CV
Aug. 16 | Deadline for nominees to submit additional information
September | Inaugural class of 30 under 30 honorees notified
Nov. 20 | Inaugural class of 30 under 30 awards dinner

Questions?

Contact: Latoya Jackson, ’12

 

Finding Neo

Alumnus works to help cancer patients get reliable diagnosis for treatment

BradleyCampagna-lab-web

Bradley Campagna, ’11 | Cytogenetic Technologist, Neogenomics Laboratories

By Daniela Marin

In an effort to raise awareness and funds from sparked conversations, the Movember Foundation encourages men from around the world to sprout and sport mustaches for an entire month for men’s health issues.

Biotechnology graduate Bradley Campagna, ’11, is one of many “mo bros” who has begun his hairy journey in the fight against prostate and testicular cancer, and mental health problems. And, though a full-blown mustache might ordinarily cause concerns in a professional work setting, Campagna’s position as a cytogenetic technologist delivering results to cancer patients lands him in a unique position.

Campagna says most of his co-workers at Neogenomics Laboratories in Fort Myers, Fla., participate in cancer-awareness initiatives, making them understanding of his growing facial hair. In honor of breast cancer awareness month in October, Campagna and his co-workers organized a potluck and donated all of the proceeds to breast cancer research.

Not a whole lot of people know the way your body works on a molecular level, and to be able to educate people, even if it’s something small, is a great benefit.

“It’s really relevant to my field of work, so I try to keep up with all initiatives,” he explains. “Most people at work do it [too], so they are very understanding. It’s fun. You just have to stay away from Chuck E. Cheese and places like that so you don’t look like a creep.”

Besides avoiding children, Campagna spends his days in the processing lab at Neogenomics preparing samples for analysis. On other days, he obtains results by analyzing isolated white blood cells from patient samples such as blood or bone marrow.

“I get a much more sense of pride when I do the analysis because, regardless of the result, both a positive or negative result can be great,” he says. “A negative result means the patient is in remission and their treatment is working. At the same time, there is nothing wrong with a positive result because that means the doctor actually found the problem and the patient can now begin treatment.”

In addition to analyzing samples, Campagna particularly enjoys working in his field because of the knowledge he can provide to others.

“Not a whole lot of people know the way your body works on a molecular level, and to be able to educate people, even if it’s something small, is a great benefit,” he says. “[Biotechnology] isn’t something that a lot of people do, and not a lot of people know about it, and that’s what I find very interesting.”

In fact, Campagna was one of only 102 UCF biotechnology undergraduates in the class of 2011.

After earning his bachelor’s degree, Campagna worked as a bartender until landing his first career job with Neogenomics, at which point he was able to pursue the additional certifications and licenses required to work in a clinical laboratory.

“Neogenomics has absolutely been a great first job,” he says. “They put me through their own training program where I was able to get the further education experience I needed. The company has grown so much, and I’ve had every opportunity to grow with them. I’m thankful for that every day.”

We Mustache You to Read This Q&A

Q. Favorite UCF professor/class?
A. I can’t say that I had a favorite professor. They were all different and every professor had a different way of teaching, which I liked because it reached out to all the different ways of learning. As for a favorite class, they were all tough, but I found one of the most interesting was molecular biotechnology. It was hard, but some of the things I learned were very, very interesting.

Q. Proudest moment?
A. I think my proudest moment would be back in January, when I received a CARE award. Every quarter, our company gives out these awards to employees who have gone above and beyond, and they recognize that. It was really nice to be recognized for a lot of the extra work I had been doing.

Q. Most rewarding aspect of your job?
A. Definitely getting the results out. That’s the whole point of what we do. We’re very customer focused and patient focused. Being in an oncology lab, we may not actually meet the patients, but behind every sample there is a patient who’s sick and waiting for a test result, so it’s definitely really nice to help do that for them.

Q. What/who inspires you?
A. Besides my family, everyone who supports me. My girlfriend supports me all the time, and she inspires me. Everybody who’s close to me has really helped me out, and I’ve needed every bit of it.

Q. What did you want to be when you grew up?
A. As a little kid I wanted to be a vet, but what kid doesn’t? I never saw myself getting into this when I was smaller, that’s for sure. It’s something you kind of fall into.

Q. How do you hope your career will transition/grow over the next five years?
A. I used to have a really good five-year plan, and I don’t really have one anymore. The past year alone has changed so much. I see myself with Neogenomics, and I definitely see myself in the medical field. I just want to keep growing regardless of who that’s with.

Q. Any hidden talents?
A. I’m pretty good at watersports. Before I started working full time, I loved surfing and wakeboarding.

Q. If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?
A. I’d probably be a pilot. Everybody always dreams about flying, but you don’t really see too many pilots, and I think it’d be really cool.

The Burnett Honors College

The Burnett Honors College Associate Dean Martin Dupuis (left) presents the college's 2014 Professional Achievement Award to David Huffaker, '97. (PHOTO: Brandon Chestnut)
The Burnett Honors College Associate Dean Martin Dupuis (left) presents the college’s 2014 Professional Achievement Award
to David Huffaker, ’97.
(PHOTO: Brandon Chestnut)
David Huffaker, ’97 | Senior Researcher, Google Inc.

Professional Achievement Award 2014

While attending UCF’s Burnett Honors College, David Huffaker experienced a collaborative work dynamic that would ultimately set him up for his dream job. While participating in CREATE, the newly formed Center for Research, Education, Arts, Technology and Entertainment, he gained valuable experience he now utilizes in his position as a quantitative user experience researcher.