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October 2021

How Well Do You Know Our Interim President, Dr. Pamela Chally?

Pamela Chally at Market DaysAfter 28 years of service to UNF, Dr. Pamela Chally needs no introduction. She is well known on campus and around Northeast Florida. Instead, we wanted to talk with her to learn more about her new role, and, yes, maybe just a bit more about her personally.

Q. After serving in several top administrative roles at UNF, you continued to teach. It seems that you were this close to retirement and relaxing mornings with coffee and a newspaper. And now you’re our interim president. Why did you agree to serve as interim and fill your schedule from morning to night?
“Why did I agree to serve? There are three reasons. I really do love UNF, and because I was asked to serve, I wanted to serve. UNF is also such a great place. We’re on a very upward trajectory; we have great programs, we’re moving toward becoming an R2 institution, which is tremendously exciting in terms of research, and the quality of our students keeps increasing. The third reason is the strong connection between UNF and the community. There are great things happening in the Jacksonville community, and it seemed like the perfect time to have this opportunity.”

Q. Where did you grow up?
“I grew up on a farm, 65 miles west of Chicago, in a small rural area. We had corn and beans and raised cattle and hogs. It was a full-fledged farm. I had two brothers who were close in age, so my chores were primarily in the house, but I helped bale hay, I helped take care of some of the animals, I had sheep for some of the 4-H projects. Yes, I was a farm girl, definitely a farm girl, in midwestern rural Illinois. There were 46 students in our graduating class. My husband is one of them; we dated in high school and then got married a number of years later. I think growing up on a farm, you learned a lot about faith and family. Your parents are generally home all the time, and you work together as a family. And growing up in a small school like that, I had the sense I could do anything, and I wasn’t afraid to try new things.”

Q. Any defining moments during your early education that you care to share? Lessons learned? Important people?
“Well, certainly my parents had a big influence on me. They were very supportive. I’m the oldest of five. They always gave me the idea I could do whatever I wanted to. Someone who has had a huge influence on me is Rod, my husband. For all practical purposes, we grew up together, and he’s such a big supporter.”

Q. You earned a nursing degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Why did you choose a career in healthcare?
“I attended the University of Illinois at Chicago. One of the things that was so nice about where I lived, even though it was out in the country, we were close enough that we went into the city multiple times a year, so we had great access to Chicago. Why nursing? My mom found this piece of paper, the writing looks like I was about six years old, that said, ‘When I grow up, I want to be a nurse so I can take care of my brother Gary. Gary has asthma.’ And so it’s all my brother Gary’s fault. I also have to say though that back then, there were a lot of courageous women who were stepping out into exciting careers, but for most people my age it was nursing, teaching or secretarial work. And so nursing just always seemed right. And I imagine Gary had something to do with it, so I still blame him.”

Q. You then went on to earn a master’s and doctoral degree. Why is education important to you, and why have you stayed here at UNF?
“Education opens so many doors. I certainly didn’t go into nursing thinking I was going to be the interim president at the University of North Florida. I thought I was going to take care of kids with asthma. But because of education, there’s just so many doors that open. It just gives you a fuller and a better life. Staying at UNF goes back to my husband again. We’re a team. We did move a lot when we were first married, but his job eventually landed here, and there was a great opportunity for me here and it just kept on growing.”

Q. Tell us about your family?
“Rod and I have two children. Both are UNF alums. Our daughter Jennifer majored in biology, went on to medical school and is a pediatrician in Jacksonville. Our son, Jonathan, majored in finance and economics, studied law at Vanderbilt and is an attorney in Atlanta; his wife, Jeanna, is also a UNF alum. We have five granddaughters, ranging in age from 14 to 21. The oldest one is a junior here. My granddaughters are so much fun.”

Q. You served as dean of Brooks College of Health as well as interim provost and VP of Academic Affairs. Were there lessons you learned that you bring to your new role?
“One of the things that has always helped me was that whether people like it or not we’re all working together. The whole concept of teamwork is the only way that I know to be successful. And there are many really good people at UNF who feel about UNF the way that I do, and so that is a tremendous help.”

Q. You certainly know the University well after working in various positions for nearly three decades. What do you see as the biggest challenges facing UNF?
“During this pandemic, I certainly have a huge responsibility to keep people safe. Another important area are our performance based metrics. Those are still a big deal for us, and that relates directly into funding; when we are successful, we’re rewarded. I’m also concerned about diversity. The number of students of color at UNF is not representative of our community, and the same is true of staff and especially faculty. That’s something that I’m really concerned about too.”

Q. Can you identify one achievement or something essential that you want to leave with UNF during your interim role?
“Of all the things that I would really like to do is to have a real commitment to our values. I think we’re going to grow in excellence through these values: integrity, respect, accountability and innovation, especially integrity and respect. They aren’t new words, they’ve been talked about at UNF for years, but not everybody feels that we practice those values. So I especially want people to feel respected, no matter what they do here, because everybody is so important.”

Q. What’s one idea or piece of advice that you’d like to share with the campus community as you begin your work as interim president?
“This is maybe more about me than the campus, but I am an Illinois girl, and this quote is from Abraham Lincoln: ‘I will do the very best I know how, the very best I can, and I mean to keep on doing so until this ends. That is my goal.”

Concert Program to Take Audiences on a Special Journey

Conductor Erin Bodnar (left) with soloist Sunshine Simmons at Wind Symphony rehearsalMusic has power.
It can lift your mood. It can evoke emotion. And sometimes it can inspire. This year, a unique concert project will strive to do all those things and one more ― advocate for female composers and female performers.
Dr. Erin Bodnar, conductor of the UNF Wind Symphony and the Concert Band, kicks off the project on Oct. 11 with the first concert of four planned throughout the academic year. Each performance by the Wind Symphony will include music composed by women and women of minorities with solo performances by women, including several UNF faculty members. In May, the student musicians and soloists will come together again to have the music recorded by a recording service. Bodnar, now in her fourth year at UNF, proposed the idea last year and received a grant from the Foundation Board.
“It’s our version of research with our students, our creative scholarly work, that will provide an invaluable and authentic professional experience for our students,” Bodnar said. “Many university students don’t have a recording experience until they are out in the field.” She also sees benefits for the audiences. “As I select music to record, I believe that I can be an advocate for the best music possible by being an advocate for female composers and female soloists,” she said.
First Soloist from UNF Faculty
For the Oct. 11 concert, Dr. Sunshine Simmons, associate professor of clarinet, will join the Wind Symphony to perform “Black Montuno” by Ivette Herryman Rodríguez, a Cuban-born composer now teaching in New York. The music is new, having been performed only once, which allows Simmons and Bodnar to collaborate on the performance of the piece.
Simmons, in her eighth year with UNF, has performed with many ensembles and as a soloist over the past 20 years. This concert presents several new opportunities for her. “I’m getting to put out my interpretation of the piece, which is pretty new, and I’ve fallen in love with because it’s just so fun to play,” Simmons said. “And I also get to work with my students, not just on a teaching level because we’re actually collaborating together.”
Yet performing a new piece of music as a soloist, in contrast to revisiting music she’s played over the years, requires extra preparation, according to Simmons. Sometimes the biggest challenge is working around her teaching schedule. “I try to focus on the quality of the practice I have — be it one hour or four hours,” Simmons said. “It’s really fun to have something to be able to sink your teeth into. We call it woodshedding, which means that you go over and over your part ― in private though probably not in a woodshed ― and really put in the time to be able to perform it flawlessly.”
Practice also reduces performance anxiety, Simmons said. “There are always nerves on some level, but you learn to focus more on the goal. The focus should be how much can I bring to this? How much can I give the audience? I do tell my students that as well when they perform recitals. ‘This is for you, but this is also for everybody listening.’”
Conductor and Students Collaborate to Create that Listening Experience
As part of their preparation, the student musicians have spent time learning about Cuban music. Bodnar has involved them in listening projects to hear music that influenced the composer, so they have a better idea of how to perform the piece. “This is the music that the composer Ivette Herryman Rodríguez grew up on,” said Bodnar, explaining that she reached out to the composer to have a conversation about how she created the piece. “The way it ends is so cool. It ends just with the clarinetist playing. The composer said she chose that because to her it was like the musician just walking away at the end of a gig.”
Though Bodnar helps the group prepare, she said the students are responsible for putting in the practice time on their own to learn the music, which they received at the beginning of the semester. When the symphony comes together for rehearsal, about 16 hours in total before the concert, it’s the chance for them to see how their part fits with the whole group. “The best part of my job is making music with the students, and that doesn’t necessarily happen just at a concert,” Bodnar said. “It happens at rehearsal. And that’s very fulfilling for me. I get to see them becoming musicians on their own.”
As the conductor, Bodnar’s work on creating an audience experience begins months ahead when she selects the music. “The way I program a concert is to put contrasting music together, so you go to different places as you’re listening to the music,” she said. “My hope for every concert is to have the music take the audience somewhere. We always want to take them on a journey. Now that we are featuring work by female composers and female soloists, that journey will take a special path.”
Listen to a brief excerpt of the upcoming solo that was filmed during a recent rehearsal. To enjoy the entire performance, join the UNF Wind Symphony and Concert Band Monday, Oct. 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Lazarra Performance Hall.

Faculty Association Presents Honors Online for 50th Annual Convocation

Dr. Mei Zhao“I have always believed that a great dream, requires a great team. While we can do a lot by ourselves, we truly can achieve the impossible with a great team.”
With those words, Dr. Mei Zhao, winner of the 2021 Distinguished Professor Award, accepted the honor, not for herself, but on behalf of the entire Brooks College of Health. And though she stood alone at the podium for the online presentation of the 50th Annual Convocation Awards, Zhao brought all her colleagues with her into the spotlight, using most of her speaking time to name individuals and explain how they had contributed to the success of the Department of Health Administration that she chairs. “
It’s not me who can achieve this much,” she said. “It’s really the entire team … Our department has achieved so many great accomplishments in such a short period of time.”
The annual Convocation recognizes the achievements of faculty in the areas of International Service, International Leadership, Teaching, Scholarship, Service and Advising, as well as naming a Distinguished Professor and runner-up. On this 50th such occasion, Dr. Mei Zhao was selected as the 44th Distinguished Professor and the runner-up was Lynne Arriale, professor of Jazz Studies in the School of Music.
Zhao, who has worked at UNF for almost 20 years, was introduced by her former student and a fellow Health Administration faculty member, Brent Johnson. Calling her a “kind and caring person,” Johnson also praised Zhao for her many teaching awards, her successful efforts in developing multiple nationally ranked programs and her many scholarly articles and presentations. Yet, her charismatic personality and passion for her work is what he recalls most from his first meeting with Zhao to learn more about the Master of Health Administration program.
“Dr. Zhao made coming to UNF an easy decision. She also made staying at UNF an easy decision,” Johnson said.
Read Dr. Zhao's full speech.
Watch the 50th Annual Convocation presentation online.

New Healing Garden Provides Respite in the Heart of Campus

Campus Healing GardenMembers of the Osprey community joined former President and First Lady Szymanski on Sept. 15, as they hosted the dedication of the new Healing Garden on UNF’s campus. The garden will provide a place of calm and natural beauty for all to enjoy, promoting relaxation and peacefulness on UNF’s bustling campus for students, faculty and staff.
Located just outside of J. Brooks Brown Hall, near the Healing Place sculpture and reflection pond, the Healing Garden includes a rose parterre and therapeutic self-healing labyrinth. The garden will also feature an array of perennial flowers and other plants that not only add to the beauty of the space but will attract helpful insects like bees, which are critical for maintaining a healthy ecosystem.
Submitted by the UNF Media Relations staff

Free Things to Do in October

Project Atrium MOCAMOCA: Project Atrium
Open now through Jan. 16; free for UNF employees and one guest

Damian Ortega is a leading Mexican artist whose work always plays with scale, ranging from the molecular to the cosmic, and this Project Atrium combines both.
See MOCA hours online.

‘Yet We Are: Personal Narrative and Shared History’
Open now through Nov. 12
Lufrano Intercultural Gallery
This group art exhibition examines relationships between the singular and collective, regarding identity-formation, histories, community building, resistance and cultural response. Lufrano Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. and Friday 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

La Fond Exhibit text of Holocaust the Dehumanization of ManOpening Reception: ‘Holocaust – The Dehumanization of Man’
Thursday, Oct. 7, 5 – 7 p.m.
UNF Gallery of Art
This is the first solo exhibition for local sculptor La Fond (Diane Insetta, which will feature a large sculptor work, text installations and video content from her career. Gallery hours are Monday – Thursday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Friday by appointment.

2-Sentence Horror Story Contest
The Carpenter Library is hosting a two-sentence horror story contest. All UNF students, faculty and staff are welcome to participate.
Submissions will be accepted online until Friday, Oct. 15.
Three winners will be chosen to receive gift cards.
Learn more about the contest and make your submission online.

The Cummer Family other fall workshops Chamber Music Series presents Amy Petrongelli, soprano with Denise Wright, piano
Tuesday, Oct. 19, 7:30 p.m., Fine Arts Recital Hall
Free, but registration requested.
Dr. James Hall, artistic director

Organic Gardening Workshops at the Ogier Gardens
Oct. 8, Oct. 22, from 10 – 11 a.m.
Learn the basics to starting your own garden with Ogier Gardens Coordinator, Kevin Anderson.
Home gardening can improve your health and save you money.
See other fall workshops.

Jennifer Griffin (left) and Greg Myre (right)"National Security: Global Hotspots and Blind Spots" Jennifer Griffin and Greg Myre
Saturday, Oct. 23, 7 p.m., Herbert University Center
E-tickets will be available on Monday, Oct. 4
Jennifer Griffin currently serves as a national security correspondent for FOX News Channel and is based out of the Washington D.C. bureau. She joined the network in October 1999 as a Jerusalem based correspondent. Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on the intelligence community, a position that follows his many years as a foreign correspondent covering conflicts around the globe.
Free, but e-tickets required.

The Justice Sessions: Poetry of the Land - Bringing Hip Hop and Agriculture Together
Thursday, Oct. 28, noon to 1 p.m., Zoom
Dr. Constanza López, UNF associate professor, speaks with “El Aka,” a community leader from Comuna 13, Medellín, Colombia. This presentation will discuss the history of Comuna 13, el Aka’s experience growing up in a place devastated by armed conflict, his fight to obtain a voice through art and hip hop, the link between hip hop and agriculture, and El Aka’s vision of community and governance.
Learn more and register.

Get to Know: Meet David Morris

David Morris sitting on a raised landscape bedDavid Morris is a groundskeeper for Physical Facilities in the Landscaping and Grounds Division who works hard to keep UNF's campus beautiful. In addition to planting flowers and bushes throughout the campus, he maintains UNF's grounds including all the grass and beds on campus that require edging, blowing and trimming. Morris came to UNF through the Alden Road Exceptional Student Center, which partners with the University of North Florida. He received praise during the unveiling of the Healing Garden from then-President David Szymanski and was named a Presidential MVP by the former president for his high-quality, outstanding work and great attitude.
How long have you lived in Jacksonville? My entire life.
What one memory do you most treasure? Getting this job at UNF because I have met so many good people and made a lot of friends while working here.
If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, from the past or present, who would be on your guest list? President Obama, Joe Biden, Ashton Kutcher and LeBron James because the influence they have had on me and the world.
If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? ESPN Sportscaster because I love sports.
What superpower would you like to have? Flying so you get around to places faster.
If you ruled the world, what would you change on Day 1? I would end all crime.
What would be the title for the movie version of your life? “David Saves the Day” because I try my best to help people whenever I can.
What’s at the top of your bucket list? To see the Jacksonville Jaguars to go to the Super Bowl and win.
What one food do you wish had zero calories? Any and all junk food.
Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I’m a very shy person.
Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? Hawaii because of the beautiful beaches.
Tell us a few of your favorite things.
Band: The Rolling Stones
Food: Fried Chicken
Movie: "Spider-Man"
Smell: Money
Sport to watch: Football

Osprey Profile: Meet Kate Jaurigue

Kate Jaurigue standing on a sidewalk in the Bamboo GardensKate Jaurigue is a Hicks Honors Student and engineering major studying civil engineering. She wants to integrate environmentally friendly methods into the design and creative aspects of the field to help minimize our carbon footprint.
Why did you decide to attend the University of North Florida? Since UNF is considered a medium-sized school, class sizes are smaller and allow professors to provide more one-on-one opportunities with students, which is exactly what I was looking for. With the smaller class sizes, I’m able to get more hands-on experience and be prepared for my career.
Why did you choose the Hicks Honors College? The unique opportunities the Hicks Honors College offers their students is the main reason why I decided to join the college as well as commit to the University. The program has supportive faculty and offers funding to allow students to enhance their college experience. For example, I am co-leading the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) Honors Interest Group with a goal to connect Honors students who identify as AAPI or express interest in learning about Asian cultures.
Where are you from? I’m from Orange Park, Florida, which is about 40 minutes away from campus.
What do you like most about UNF? UNF has a very welcoming atmosphere and a sense of community that I think is important because it made the transition from high school to college much smoother for me. The thought of college itself was overwhelming after graduating from high school; however, the comfortable feeling the UNF campus provided made me feel at home.
What has been your coolest UNF experience so far? So far, the coolest UNF experience I’ve had has been joining SWOOP Squad and becoming a campus tour guide. This opportunity has led me to grow as an individual through networking and improving my social skills. Plus, I think it’s really cool to meet prospective students before they commit to the University and then seeing them the next semester on campus as an Osprey.
Who is your favorite professor? Do you have a favorite class? My favorite professor is Dr. Akan. She teaches many civil engineering classes and is willing to put in the extra time and work to make sure her students fully understand the concepts she teaches. I took statics with her, which has been my favorite class so. Statics was my first civil engineering course, and I enjoyed learning the concepts and then applying them in our bridge design project at the end of the semester.
What does being an Osprey mean to you? One of my favorite UNF sayings is that “We swoop together.” That’s why I love being an Osprey because we always look out for each other and come together to support our peers.
What’s your favorite UNF tradition? My favorite UNF tradition is Market Wednesdays because it brings both the UNF and Jacksonville community together. It is the perfect place to meet new people and see the different organizations on campus and off campus.
When you’re looking to de-stress and relax a bit, where do you go on campus? My favorite spot on campus to de-stress is at Eco Adventure. I love how I can drive just a few seconds off the main hub of campus and walk through the nature trails or go paddle boarding.
What three traits define you? I’m a very innovative person, especially since I’m an engineering major. When it comes to developing a solution, I aim to think of both efficient and creative ways. I’m also an easily adaptable person when it comes to adjusting to a new environment or routine. On top of those traits, I’m a compassionate individual. I’m able to understand a different perspective and care for others.
Do you have any advice for high school students? My advice would be to not be afraid to try something new. It might lead to even more opportunities and unique experiences that you may not have thought of.
When will you graduate? What do you want to do after graduation? I will graduate Spring 2023 and plan on working with a company in the Jacksonville area that works on a broad range of projects like transportation systems and structures.

October is LGBTQIA+ History Month

Manny Velásquez-Paredes in front of rainbow wingsLGBTQIA+ History Month is a month-long celebration of the history of the diverse lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community and the importance of civil rights movements in progressing gay rights. At UNF, the LGBTQ Center has planned a number of events:
  • UNF will participate in River City Pride Oct. 2
  • UNF will hold its own PrideFest Oct. 5, from 3 – 6 p.m., including a Pride Parade from the Green to Osprey Plaza that will have music, fun and games. This will be the first Pride march and festival at UNF.
  • The UNF Film Program, LGBTQ Center and Digital Humanities Institute present "The Committee," a documentary screening and Q&A with the filmmakers Dr. Robert Cassanello and Dr. Lisa Mills, both from UCF, on Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. on Zoom. The Committee is a documentary film about the little-known Florida Legislative Investigative Committee of the State Legislature from 1956-65. Florida Senator Charley Johns chaired the committee, and its aim was to root out communist and homosexual teachers and students from state universities. It was successful in either firing or expelling more than 200 suspected gay and lesbian citizens. Join us for a virtual screening followed by a discussion with the filmmakers about the making of the documentary (by UCF professors and students), Florida LGBTQ history and why this history is relevant today.
  • Oct. 13 will be a collaboration with Market Days
  • Coming Out Day @ MOSH, Saturday, Oct. 16, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The LGBTQ Center will be hosting two discussions during the event: one on nonbinary community and one on LGBTQ parenting
  • Cooking with LGBTQ, Wednesday, Oct. 20 Noon - Nutrition/Dietary Program
  • Queers & Cupcakes, Tuesday, Oct. 26, noon -1 p.m. Join us for our excuse to eat cupcakes, hang out and discuss with the featured LGBTQ faculty and staff member about their experiences being LGBTQ+. This month, we’ll be chatting with the center’s staff: Manny, Dwan and Haiden
  • In addition, we’ll bring back the #UNFWingsOfPride, which will be located throughout the campus for people to view and use as a backdrop for selfies.
Information provided by the LGBTQ Center.

Hispanic Heritage Month is Underway

Hispanic Heritage Month 2021 flyer more details to the leftEach year at UNF, National Hispanic Heritage Month begins Sept. 15 and runs through Oct. 15. The significance of this date range relates to the independence observances of Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Mexico, Chile and Belize. Hispanic Heritage Month is sometimes referred to as Latinx Heritage month, to be inclusive of all identity groups and the experiences of indigenous and non-Spanish speaking people from Latin American countries. Celebrations hosted during this time focus on sharing the history, cultures and contributions of Hispanic people.
Here are the free events planned for October at UNF:
  • Inclusion Fuzion Trivia; Monday, Oct. 4, 6 - 7:30 p.m.; Location: Instagram: @ospreylife
  • LASO Café Takeover; Thursday, Oct. 7, 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.; Osprey Cafe
  • Hispanics in Uniform; Tuesday, Oct. 12; Noon - 1:30 p.m.; MVRC, Building 2, Suite 1100
  • Nuestra Noche; Friday, Oct. 15, 6 - 8 p.m.; Osprey Plaza
Information provided by the Department of Diversity Initiatives. 

News from Human Resources: Open Enrollment Begins Oct. 11

Woman looking at laptopIt's October again and time for employees to review their benefits during Open Enrollment. Pre-recorded webinars are also available online. 
Open Enrollment Dates have been set
The Division of State Group Insurance has announced that Open Enrollment for the 2022 plan year begins on Monday, Oct. 11, 2021, at 8 a.m. and ends on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, at 6 p.m. If you are eligible for benefits through the State Group Insurance Program, this is the once-a-year window to change your benefits outside of Qualifying Status Change events. Confirm your notification information is current in People First. If you have questions about the enrollment process, call the People First Service Center at (866) 663-4735 or log into your People First account on
2022 Open Enrollment Pre-recorded Webinars Available
The 2022 Open Enrollment Benefit Webinar Series is now streaming online. Pre-recorded videos are available to view year-round:
Division of State Group Insurance — Benefits
Division of State Group Insurance — KEPRO Employee Assistance Program (EAP)
Additional investment webinars are also available online.
Take advantage of this great resource to learn about provider plans at your convenience. If you still have questions, sign up for live interactive webinars to learn more. Check your plan eligibility and register for webinars online.
For more information, please contact: Benefits and Retirement at or (904) 620-2903.

UNF News Roundup

UNF to publish unseen historical documents on Black Jacksonville
Faculty affiliated with the Digital Humanities Institute and the Africana Studies program have been awarded a highly competitive $100,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant for a project on “Documenting Black Jacksonville: The Viola Muse Digital Edition.” Learn more about the project.

New construction management graduate program is building the future
The College of Computing, Engineering and Construction is now accepting applications for a new Master of Science in Construction Management degree program that will launch in spring 2022. Graduates of the program will find employment opportunities in the many disciplines of construction management including single family residential, multi-family residential, heavy civil, commercial and industrial construction.
Learn more about the new graduate program.

Lunar CoronaPhysics Department announces 2021 student photo contest
The University of North Florida’s Department of Physics is now accepting creative submissions for the 2021 Physics Photo Contest. The annual competition challenges students of all ages to take original photos that showcase a natural or contrived concept of physics. The contest is open to any interested college, high school, middle school and elementary school students in the greater Jacksonville area. Learn more about entries for the contest.

Researchers to conduct large-scale lab testing on sinkholes
UNF researchers will be the first in Florida to conduct large-scale laboratory testing of sinkhole mechanics. Dr. Ryan Shamet, civil engineering assistant professor, was recently awarded a Florida Department of Transportation project grant for “Validation and Update of the Sinkhole Index,” a project that will aim to better understand the potential of sinkhole formation prior to any collapse at the surface. Learn more about the testing.

2021 Diversity ChampionUNF recognized as Diversity Champion
The University received the 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award from INSIGHT Into Diversity magazine and is recognized as a Diversity Champion, scoring in the top tier of all HEED Award institutions. This is the seventh year that UNF has won the award and been recognized for its steadfast commitment to diversity. The annual HEED award is presented by the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. This national honor recognizes U.S. colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion. Learn more about the recognition.

UNF receives NSF instrument grant
UNF received a $247,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to purchase a magnetron sputtering thin film deposition system that will further enhance cutting-edge physics and engineering research and teaching at the University. The deposition of thin films with precisely controlled physical properties is an essential component of many important technological applications, including the fabrication of integrated circuits, the creation of optical components and the development of wear-resistant coatings. Learn more about the grant.

Nutrition and dietetics students conduct outreach in Ghana
UNF nutrition and dietetics graduate students led by Dr. Lauri Wright, associate professor, recently returned from Ghana where they provided training and clinical support to nutrition professionals across the country. The team learned about treatment guidelines and preparing refeeding formulas at the Princess Marie Louise malnutrition hospital. They also screened children in the community for malnutrition. Learn more about the outreach program.


UNF Balloons for DatelineMilestones
Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary in September:
15 Years
Maria Atilano, Associate University Librarian, Library
Rabena Leonzon, Coordinator, Budgets, Coggin College of Business
Rebecca Mantilla, Assistant Director, Financial Aid Budget Audit, Financial Aid Office
10 Years
Susan Eisenberg, Assistant Director, Academic Advising Services, CCB Advising
James Guppenberger, Laboratory Manager, Chemistry
Marie-Christine Malek Richard, Assistant VP, Academic Student Affairs
Freddie Moody, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Marvin Thompson, Senior Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities
5 Years
Natasha Chapman, Academic Advisor, First Year Advising
Eric Dickey, Associate Director, Procurement Services
Emily Gebbia, Budget Coordinator, University Development and Alumni Engagement
Terrence Synnott, Associate Director, Prospect Research, University Development and Alumni Engagement
The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions recently:
Lauren Boardman, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Andrew Bracken, Academic Advisor, CCB Advising
Chase Driscoll, Basketball Operations Director, Men's Basketball
Alexander Gainous, IT Software Engineer, Enterprise Systems
Tami Johnson, Endowment Analyst, Advancement Services
Jean Lipsky, Coordinator, Special and Major Gifts, University Development and Alumni Engagement
Josh Lowy, IT Security Analyst, IT Security
Kaitlyn Minnicks, Coordinator, Academic Support Services, Undergraduate Research
Stephanie Muñiz Bordonaba, Events Planning Associate, Student Union
Tyler Stahl, Assistant Athletic Coach, Men's CC/Track
Joseph Stewart, Coordinator, Distance Learning Support, CIRT
Tiffany Sukys, Academic Advisor, BCH Advising
Brian Verkamp, Vice President and CIO
Indira Willadsen, Office Assistant, Undergraduate Studies
Great Job
The following employees were promoted recently:
Courtney Diaz, Marketing Publications Specialist, School of Music
Michelle Drinks, Director of Development, College of Education and Human Services
Krystina LeFils, Assistant Director, Academic Support Services, Admissions
Rebecca Mantilla, Assistant Director, Financial Aid Budget Audit, Financial Aid Office
Mae Parlette, Associate Director, Instructional Design, CIRT
Mohanad Saoor, Senior Control Systems Technician, Maintenance and Energy Management
Leigh-Ann Thompson, Assistant Director, Research Program Services, ORSP
The following employees have left UNF recently:
Alaa Alakashi, Program Assistant, Nursing
Maureen Baker, Director, Spinnaker Media
Abigail Crosten, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Center
Raymond Drayton, Pest Control Technician, Grounds
Serhii Dubynskyi, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
Thomas Elliott, Senior Document Scanning Representative, ORSP
Neal Fisher, Associate Director, Parking and Transportation Services
Ernest Fulton, Desktop Support Engineer, User Services
Cathie Gordon, Office Manager, Coggin College of Business
Ronald Kephart, Associate Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Joy Magnon, Office Manager, University Police Department
Michael Maltese, Office Manager, Taylor Leadership Institute
Melanie McLemore, Coordinator, Residence Life, University Housing
Lisa Monroe, Faculty Administrator, Florida Institute of Education
Deandria Robinson, Applications Systems Analyst, IPTM
Otilia Salmon, Associate Professor, Teaching, Learning and Curriculum
Walter Schuller, Coordinator, Computer Systems Technology, School of Computing 
Jennifer Serotta, Assistant Professor, Nursing
James Shoemaker, Senior Engineer, Tech Designer, Physical Facilities
Lori Stanton, Administrative Secretary, Electrical Engineering
Nancy Sulinski-Steffens, Instructional Specialist, IPTM
Rickie Williams, Groundskeeper, Grounds
Casey Zender, Academic Advisor, COAS Advising
In Memoriam
The UNF community is saddened to learn of the recent deaths of several UNF employees:
Mimi Jefferson passed away Sept. 6. Mimi worked as the director of the Head Start State Collaboration Office within the FL DOE Division of Early Learning in Tallahassee. Read more online.
Dr. J. David Lambert passed away Sept. 8. He was the former director and integral supporter of the Institute of Environmental Research and Education and associate professor of Geographic Information Systems in the Coggin College of Business. Dr. Lambert’s family is working to establish an endowed scholarship in his name and will host a celebration of life in October. Read more in Dr. Lambert’s obituary.
Dr. Elizabeth "Betty" Lane Furdell, Professor Emerita of History, passed away Sept. 17. Dr. Furdell taught British and European history at UNF for 27 years. Read more in Dr. Furdell’s obituary.

Faculty and Staff

Osprey FountainCoggin College of Business
Advisors Abbie Demcher and Andrew Bracken joined the Coggin College of Business Advising Office Sept. 7.
Diane Denslow, associate instructor of management, published “Small business survivaland COVID-19 - an exploratory analysis of carriers” in the journal Research in Transportation Economics, with Larry C. Giunipero, Ph.D and Ania Rynarzewska, PhD.
Dr. Bruce Fortado, professor of management, published the book “Analyzing Organization Cultures, New York and London,” through Routledge, a first-tier academic publisher of research monographs.
Dr. Natalie Mitchell, instructor of marketing, had a paper accepted for publication titled “Antecedents to Luxury Brand Consumer Behavior,” in the Journal of Product & Brand Management.”
College of Arts and Sciences
Dr. Candice Tahimic, assistant professor of biology, and her colleagues published a bioinformatics-based study “Mammalian and Invertebrate Models as Complementary Tools for Gaining Mechanistic Insight on Muscle Responses to Spaceflight” in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, August.
Dr. Stuart Chalk, professor of chemistry, presented three sessions of the Committee on Publications (CPCDS) of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s (IUPAC) at the IUPAC 2021General Assembly, August. Chalk also presented a talk at the American Chemical Society (ACS) Fall 2021 meeting titled: “What’s the Future of Digital Chemical Units?”
Dr. Arthur Omran, visiting assistant professor of chemistry, with his colleagues C. Oze, B. Jackson, C. Mehta, L. M. Barge, J. Bada, and M. A. Pasek, published “Phosphine Generation Pathways on Rocky Planets” in Astrobiology, September.
Dr. E. Sullivan, assistant professor of chemistry, with her colleagues C. F. Apuzzo, D. C. Platt, I. Seger-Held and M. A. Jones, published “Leishmania Tarentolae Novel Responses to Bi3+-doped Strontim Aluminium Oxyfluorides” in Heliyon, September.
Dr. Maureen McCluskey, visiting instructor of English, designed and styled costumes showcased in the New York Guitar Festival in August.
Marcus Pactor, associate instructor of English, published "Back Alleys and Hidden Corners" in Heavy Feather Review, August.
Will Pewitt, instructor of English, published the poem "operating costs" in High Shelf, August.
Dr. David Stephen Bennett, visiting assistant professor of History, won the American Journalism Historians Association 2021 Margaret A. Blanchard Award for the best doctoral dissertation dealing with mass communication history. 
Dr. Charles E. Closmann, associate professor of history, published a review essay “Nature in the City: Parks, Pollution, and the Challenge of Sustainability,” in Journal of Urban History (online version), (July 2021): 1-7, accessed Sept. 23. 
Dr. David Courtwright’s book, “The Age of Addiction: How Bad Habits Became Big Business,” has appeared in a Turkish translation. Dr. Courtwright is Professor Emeritus of History.
Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. T. Grimes, assistant professor of statistics, with his colleagues S. Ahn and S. Datta, published “The Analysis of Gene Expression Data Incorporating Tumor Purity Information” in Frontiers in genetics, August.
Philosophy/Religion Studies
Dr. Jonathan Matheson, assistant professor of philosophy, together with his colleague Kirk Lougheed, co-edited the collection Epistemic Autonomy (Routledge), to which he contributed “Introduction: Puzzles Concerning Epistemic Autonomy” (with Kirk Lougheed) and a chapter “The Virtue of Epistemic Autonomy.”
Also, Matheson together with Valerie Joly Chock published “The Possibility of Epistemic Nudging: Reply to Grundmann” in Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective.
Dr. Maitri Warusawithana, assistant professor of physics, published “Asymmetric ferroelectricity by design in atomic-layer superlattices with broken inversion symmetry” in Phys. Rev. B, August.
Political Science and Public Administration
Dr. Joshua C. Gellers, associate professor of political science, delivered virtual invited talks on “Robot Design and Robot Rights” at the IEEE International Conference on Robot and Human Interactive Communication’s Workshop on Design-Centered HRI and Governance, and “Strategies for Success and Understanding Academic Integrity” as part of the Fulbright Pre-Departure Orientation hosted by the US-Sri Lanka Fulbright Commission in August.
Dr. Elizabeth Brown, associate professor of psychology, published “Nevertheless, she persisted (in science research): Enhancing women students’ science research motivation and belonging through communal goals” in Social Psychology of Education, June.
Sociology/Anthropology and Social Work
Dr. Jenny Stuber, professor of sociology, published the book, "Sociology of Education: A Systematic Approach" (Routledge), with co-authors Jeanne Ballantine and Judson Everitt.
College of Education and Human Services
Dr. Hope (Bess) Wilson, associate professor, with graduate assistant co-authors Julie Johnson and HwanHee Song, published online “Effects of transdisciplinary STEAM lessons on student critical and creative thinking,” which is about the effects of transdisciplinary lessons (e.g., STEAM) on the critical and creative thinking of students. Wilson also published online “Reflections on Experiences at a Residential Science and Math High School: An Alumni Survey,” in the Journal for the Education of the Gifted. This article is one is about the long-term effects of participating in a specialized residential school for high achieving math and science high school students
Dr. Terry Cavanaugh, professor and co-director of Educational Technology, and Dr. Luke Cornelius, associate professor and director of Higher Education Administration, published a budget workbook for Higher Education leaders in April. This is the first work of its kind specifically for Higher Education and teaches practical techniques for preparing and presenting unit budgets for college and university administrators and students. It also includes details concerning budget cycles, analyzing budget data, and preparing capital projects. The authors are now working on a companion version for K12 school budgeting.
Marlena Jenkins, Crissy Benton, Dominique Keys and Lindsay Gallon have been recognized as 2021-22 Holmes Scholars. The UNF Holmes Scholar Fellowship is awarded to students who are actively working to complete their doctoral degree in PK-12 education and demonstrate a commitment to equity and diversity.
Marketing and Communications
Bill Delaney, director of Strategy and Project Management, recently published “Secret Jacksonville: A Guide to the Weird, Wonderful, and Obscure.” The book profiles 80 different unusual and underknown places and stories from across Jacksonville, St. Augustine, Fernandina and the whole First Coast.

Swoop Summary

UNF Men's Basketball athlete posing with basketballMen’s Basketball Schedule Released — Tickets on Sale Now!
Comprised of a Who's Who of perennial power college basketball programs in non-conference action combined with traditionally strong ASUN Conference play that features several new faces, North Florida men's basketball coach Matthew Driscoll, in his 13th year at the helm, has put together one of the most challenging schedules in program history for the Ospreys in 2021-22. Season tickets are on sale now for $180. This season features a special “SWOOP Select” mini-package ($80) including an upper level reserved seat for four games (Austin Peay, Jacksonville, Lipscomb, FGCU) PLUS a food voucher for a free hot dog and soda. See the full schedule. Buy tickets online.
Bryan Baker on the Toronto Blue JaysBaker Makes MLB Debut, Spins Scoreless Inning
On Sept. 5 in Toronto, former UNF baseball right-handed pitcher Bryan Baker made his Major League Baseball debut with the Toronto Blue Jays, fanning one in a scoreless inning of work during the Blue Jays' 8-0 win against the Oakland Athletics. Learn more about his debut.
Men's Golf Finishes Fifth at Season Opening Rod Myers Invitational
The North Florida men's golf team earned a fifth-place finish in the season opening Rod Myers Invitational hosted by Duke led by a pair of Top 10 individual performances from Nick Gabrelcik and Grant Sutliff. Learn more about the match.
Deputy Athletic Director Ervin LewisErvin Lewis Chosen Chairman of NCAA Track & Field/Cross Country Committee
North Florida Deputy Athletic Director Ervin Lewis was recently selected to serve as chairman of the NCAA Division I Track & Field/Cross Country Committee for the 2021-22 season. Lewis, who has served as a member of the NCAA committee during the past three seasons, will now be the point person with responsibilities of directing all aspects of the group. Learn more about Lewis’ appointment.
2022 UNF Athletic Hall of Fame Class Announced
The University of North Florida Athletic Department in conjunction with the UNF Athletic Hall of Fame Committee announced the 2022 Hall of Fame Class featuring a group of four former athletes, an administrator and a pair of history-making teams. Learn more about the honorees.
Women's Soccer Battles Florida to Scoreless Double Overtime Draw
North Florida women's soccer extended its undefeated streak to five matches after battling in-state rival Florida to a 0-0 double overtime draw Sunday night at Donald R. Dizney Stadium. Learn more about the match.

Your Diet and COVID-19

Healthy foodsWe have known for some time that being obese can increase your risk for getting COVID-19. But how does your diet affect the disease?
Though diet was not directly linked to your risk of contracting COVID, a recent study found that your diet can affect the severity of your symptoms should you become ill.
And the impact was significant. People consuming a plant-rich diet had a 73% lower risk of severe disease and those consuming a plant-rich diet with fish had a 59% lower risk. However, people who reported eating a low carb, high protein diet were four times more likely to develop moderate to severe COVID-19 symptoms. Why? Nutrient-dense diet helps build a strong immune system and decrease inflammation.
Which foods should be included?
Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals that build your immune system and decrease inflammation.
Whole grains contain a type of fiber that acts as an antioxidant again inflammation.
Fish such as salmon contain omega-3’s that fight against inflammation.
The bottom line is that while it doesn’t replace getting vaccinated or wearing a mask, a high-quality diet makes you healthier and hardier. Just another example of how what you eat can prevent and manage so many diseases.
Submitted by Dr. Lauri Wright, Ph.D., RDN, LD/N, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, Chair and DCN Co-Director

Spread the Word

UNF campusThe University of North Florida is ranked as a ‘Best National University’ in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 edition of Best Colleges for the third consecutive year. The list includes rankings of more than 1,400 colleges and universities across the country.
In addition, UNF was ranked in six other top lists by U.S. News & World Report with the University’s undergraduate business, computer science, engineering and nursing programs being ranked among the best in the country, as well as UNF being named a ‘Top Public School,’ and ‘Top Performer in Social Mobility.’
Learn more about the rankings and Spread the Word!
Inside UNF is a monthly publication produced by Marketing and Communications.
Marsha Blasco, Editor; Contributing writers this issue: Dr. Lauri Wright, PhD, RDN, LD/N, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics, Chair and DCN Co-Director; UNF Newsroom articles were contributed by Media Relations.