Hoist The Colors

By Jenna Marina

ORLANDO, Fla. (July 31, 2017) — When the City of Orlando raises its new flag today on its 142nd birthday, it will be a particularly proud moment for UCF alumnus Tim Eggert.

Eggert, who graduated from UCF with honors in 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in art, crafted the winning design (pictured above). The new flag was selected from more than 1,000 submissions in a contest that the City of Orlando launched in February.

With more than four months of public input and committee discussion, the final design was officially approved by the Orlando City Council on July 24.

Eggert explained a little more about the process, the symbolism within the flag and why he’s proud to live in this city.

Q:  How did your idea for the flag first take shape?
A: The only idea I had was the Lake Eola fountain surrounded by the ‘O.’ Nothing else really came to me. The fountain seemed like a good foundation for the flag since it is a landmark of Orlando and has come to be an important meeting place to many people. I really wanted to have a reflection in the water and forming an ‘O’ seemed like the best way to incorporate that.

Q: Unity was a central theme in the design from the start. Why did you feel so strongly about incorporating unity?
A: Orlando is a diverse city — both in its residents as well as in the people who visit it. I wanted to convey unity and a sense of welcoming with the design.

Q: Unity was a central theme in the design from the start. Why did you feel so strongly about incorporating unity?
A: All entrants had to submit a hand-drawn design on a note card. From there I drew it on the computer and then we tweaked it over the course of a few in-person meetings. It was very collaborative. I came up with the revised look of the fountain spray, and they had the idea to split the color to have the top be white and the bottom be blue. We introduced the gold in the final stage, and we chose a blue that reflected the City’s brand.

Q: In addition to unity, there are now several layers of symbolism within the flag’s design. What is your take on those?
A: As the design evolved, so did the meaning. Parts that evolved were the colors and the reflection in the water. The reflection (seven shapes total) stands for the six commissioners as well as the mayor. That was something that was incorporated after tweaking the design and meeting with the City’s staff. The introduction of the orange/gold color was also part of the design process. I love the addition of gold to the flag and the meaning of sunshine and hope it brings.

Q: How does it feel to know that you’re part of this historic day at the official flag raising and that you’ve played a unique part in creating a lasting symbol for this city?
A: I love how the flag raising is coinciding with the city’s 142nd birthday. It’s exciting to be a part of history.

Q: This isn’t the first community project you’ve been involved in. You have a sunset painting on an art box by the downtown YMCA in Mills 50 district. Why do you take such pride in being an active part in this community?
A: I grew up in Orlando and have seen this city become a uniquely creative place. The arts are all around this city, and I think it is important to help cultivate that by being involved.

Q: Why are you proud to be a UCF Knight and represent this university?
A: I’m proud to be a UCF Knight because I loved my experience there. I had some amazing professors and learned so much. It shaped who I am professionally and personally.

Five Things Alumni Need to Know this Week—Sept. 12, 2016

osisirex-launch

1. To Bennu and back! On Friday, the OSIRIS-REx launch could be seen from UCF’s campus — home of physics professor Humberto Campins and associate professor Yan Fernandez, who will have an active role in analyzing data of the seven-year mission. OSIRIS-REx is bound for Bennu and is scheduled to encounter the mountain-sized asteroid in 2018. It’s NASA’s first mission to return a sample of an asteroid to Earth. A successful mission will provide scientists enough material from the asteroid’s surface to better understand how planets formed and how life began in the solar system.

2. UCF Football is hosting Family Weekend at 7 p.m. on Sept. 17 against Maryland, one week after playing in front of the largest crowd in program history (109,295) at Michigan’s Big House. Saturday’s Indoor Tailgate will start at 4 p.m. and is free for all UCF alumni and their guests.

3. Everyone’s favorite bobbleheads have returned! The Knightro Bobblehead Series kicked off for the 2016-17 season with a football-themed Knightro donning a black uniform. There are several ways to start collecting the new set – those details can be found here.

4. The UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center hosted a GoBabyGo car-building event for 10 toddlers late last week. 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. Dozens of volunteers, including UCF alumni, helped at the event and capped the day by cheering on the child drivers in a race on Memory Mall.

5. Courtney Paulson, an alumna of UCF and The Burnett Honors College, will look to defend her title on “Jeopardy!” tonight, Sept. 12. The 2011 graduate won the quiz show at the end of its season on July 29 with a total prize of $11,700. Tune in locally on WFTV Channel 9 at 7 p.m. Good luck, Courtney!

Burnett Honors College Alumna Wins “Jeopardy!”

Courtney_Paulson_AD_07-29-16_SN_7355 (002)

 

By Brittany Pigott, The Burnett Honors College

ORLANDO Fla. (Aug. 8, 2016) — On an average day, Latin and sports do not go together in the same sentence. Unless, perhaps, you’re a contestant on “Jeopardy!”

Luckily for UCF and The Burnett Honors College alumna Courtney Paulson, she is well educated in both.

Paulson ’11 won the July 29 airing of America’s favorite quiz show, “Jeopardy!” thanks to her successful guess on this final question: This Catholic university gets its name from the Latin words for “new” and “house” and was in the news in Spring 2016.

“I had taken Latin in high school, and the first school I thought of was Notre Dame, and knew the Latin word for new was nova by watching a taping of Jeopardy earlier that day, but I couldn’t think of a school that had nova at the end,” she said. “Until I remembered watching the last March Madness game when Villanova had won. I’m a huge sports fan.”

Paulson, originally from Minnesota, attended UCF as a National Merit Scholar. She graduated in 2011 with her Bachelor of Science in statistics while receiving recognition for completing both University Honors and Honors in the Major. Outside of Honors, Paulson was also a part of the math club, athletics tutoring program, physics society, astronomy club, Marching Knights and completed a college work experience internship with Lockheed Martin.

“Once I visited UCF I was sold and made my decision to attend the day we got home,” Paulson said. “It’s so hard to pick a highlight when you get to spend four years in Orlando, Florida, but I loved everything about UCF and was so sad to leave.”

She then decided to further her education after receiving a full ride into the business statistics Ph.D. program at the University of Southern California.

“I was able to bypass getting my master’s since I already had the research experience by completing a thesis through the Honors in the Major program,” Paulson explained.

She is currently enjoying a two-week break after completing eight years of continuous schooling before she moves to Maryland to start her professional career as both a researcher and professor in Statistical Regressions and Business Analytics at the University of Maryland.

“I grew up doing trivia leagues in high school and was also a part of the Honors College bowl team, so I always knew I wanted to be on ‘Jeopardy!’ I actually took the online test periodically and auditioned back in high school for their teen tournament,” Paulson said.

After nailing the timed online 50 question quiz, she was then invited to an in-person audition. The audition consisted of another quiz and a mock version of the game, as well as a personality interview. After passing the online quiz and feeling very confident in the face-to-face audition, she was put into the contestant pool where she could be called anytime within the next 18 months.

After going through the process a few times, she finally got the call to put her trivia skills to the test.

“I had no idea what to expect. You spend the day doing practice rounds and watching the other people compete. You basically have a whole day of free jeopardy trivia, answering daily double and final answer questions, where you get to stand up in front of the podium and ring the buzzer,” Paulson said. “It’s the ultimate nerd experience.”

Paulson’s episode was taped the last week of April and aired on July 29. Although there were many rigorous questions about U.S. Code, women authors, word origins, scary sounding animals, battleships, musicians and traveling Ireland, she came out as the champion with a total prize of $11,700.

Paulson returns to “Jeopardy!” on Sept. 12 when she will look to defend her title.

Want to be the next “Jeopardy!” contestant? Click here to start your journey. 

Five Things Alumni Need to Know — Feb. 15, 2016

professors-love-story
UCF neuroscience Professor Kiminobu Sugaya and UCF music Professor Ayako Yonetani bring personal experience to their Music and the Brain class in The Burnett Honors College. (See No. 1 below.)

Here are five things you should know this week:

  1. Seven years ago, when UCF music Professor Ayako Yonetani played the final movement from the Violin Partita in D minor by Johann Sebastian Bach, she had no idea that she’d also composed a love story for UCF neuroscience Professor Kiminobu Sugaya. Now, the pair teaches the Music and the Brain class in The Burnett Honors College.
  2. Thanks to a special harness system, UCF’s new, first-of-its-kind therapy cafe allows traumatic brain injury survivors an opportunity to take the next step in their recovery.
  3. A collaboration between the University of Central Florida and Florida Hospital awarded its first $20,000 seed grant to a team that will study the fundamentals of cough in patients with head and neck cancer.
  4. Last week, the Orlando City Council unanimously voted to provide $75.2 million in support for the UCF Downtown campus.
  5. The CFE Arena is offering a $5 discount to students and alumni for this Friday’s show featuring comedian Katt Williams. (The discount is available only at the arena box office.)

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

CON-white-coat
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

Will+Jessica-web

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.

UCF Alumni Honors 30 under 30

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

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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!

Black & Gold Gala 2015 — Professional Achievement Award
The Burnett Honors College

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The Burnett Honors College Dean Alvin Wang presented the college’s 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Susan Rozelle, ’94.
Susan D. Rozelle, ’94, J.D. | Associate Dean for Faculty and Professor of Law,
Stetson University College of Law

The UCF Alumni Association and The Burnett Honors College presented their 2015 Professional Achievement Award to Susan Rozelle at the annual Black & Gold Gala on Oct. 22.

After teaching at Capital University, Seattle University, and the University of Oregon, Susan joined the faculty at Stetson University in 2009. Her primary research interests are in the areas of criminal responsibility and death qualification.

She’s presented at scholarly conferences across the country, from Georgetown University Law Center to the University of California at Berkeley. She’s also been a legal commentator in the popular press, appearing on ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX evening news, as well as on NPR and FOX News Radio.

Susan comes from a family of Knights, which includes her late father, Samuel Gross, ’89, and brother, Alan Gross, ’91. She graduated summa cum laude from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in philosophy.

Learn more about Susan:

4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassadors Receive Order of Pegasus

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While attending a 4EVER KNIGHTS meeting in March, two of this year’s Order of Pegasus awardees, seniors Gerald Richardson and Jill Dutmers, posed for a photo in front of the Knights for Life wall at the UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center.

Jill Dutmers and Gerald Richardson, two of the UCF Alumni Association’s 4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassadors, were awarded the 2015 Order of Pegasus — the university’s most prestigious and significant award a student can attain.

The Order of Pegasus recognizes exemplary performance by UCF bachelor’s degree students in the areas of academic achievement, outstanding university involvement, leadership and community service. Master’s degree students, doctoral, professional or M.D. students are selected separately based on academic achievement, professional or community service, leadership, and publication or research experiences.

  • Jill Dutmers is an undergraduate majoring in English literature in the College of Arts and Humanities, and is a student in The Burnett Honors College. She’s a member of the Honors Congress and President’s Leadership Council, and has participated in numerous service projects for the UCF community. Dutmers also serves as president of 4EK. She’s currently deciding which law school she’d like to attend. (She’s been accepted into seven.)

“My four years at UCF has afforded me incredible opportunities and experiences that have shaped not only how I view the world, but also how I view myself,” Dutmers says. “The education I received and leadership skills I gained have me a stronger, more polished, more confident Knight.”

  • Gerald Richardson is an undergraduate majoring in biomedical sciences in the College of Medicine. He’s a third-generation Knight. He’s involved with the Student Undergraduate Research Council and the President’s Leadership Council. Richardson also gives free, private tutoring, was a member of the 2014 UCF Homecoming Court, and participates in countless community service activities.

“At UCF, I have been afforded the unique opportunity to serve as a university ambassador, contribute to the well-being of the Central Florida community, and explore my passion for research, all while acquiring the scientific foundation necessary to pursue a career in medicine,” Richardson says. “I owe all of my success and professional maturity to the unwavering support that UCF and The Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences have displayed for my academic and extracurricular endeavors.”

The 4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassadors are a group of student leaders, chosen to serve as the liaisons between students and alumni. They operate as an extension of the UCF Alumni Association and oversee the programming and benefits for 4EK general membership. These student ambassadors uphold UCF traditions and leave a lasting legacy.

Two former 4EK Ambassadors have also been awarded Order of Pegasus: Todd Currie, who won it this year, and Jamie Gregor, ’13, who won it during her junior year, in 2012.

Congratulations to these exceptional Knights!

More Info

4EVER KNIGHTS Student Alumni Association
4EVER KNIGHTS Ambassadors

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.