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Inside UNF — December 16, 2022

Programmed to succeed

When UNF master’s student Conrad Testagrose accepted a graduate research assistantship at Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, he wasn’t sure what to expect. Now several months in, the computer science major finds the work captivating and enjoys applying the theory he’s learned in the classroom to help solve practical problems in the real world.

As a bonus, he’s also found a possible career path.

Conrad Testagrose working at Mayo Clinic“It’s been phenomenal at Mayo,” Testagrose said. “What I’ve realized here is that in the future if I can find work in data science or Artificial Intelligence in a clinical setting, I think it would be right up my alley. I really enjoy it and find it’s just fascinating to be learning from the clinicians and data scientists here.”

Testagrose didn’t take a direct path into computer science. In his senior year as an undergrad, he realized that his choice of biology and pre-med just wasn’t the right fit. At the suggestion of a friend, he enrolled in a bioinformatics course, which uses computation and analysis to interpret biological data. That choice changed everything. “I came out of that class understanding the value of programming and realizing that computer science is applicable to so many other disciplines that I wanted to explore,” he said.

He now believes a clinical setting may be the perfect blend of his academics in biology and computing. Working in Mayo’s radiology area, Testagrose has been using his programming knowledge, yet also has some understanding of the underlying biological concepts. He’s working on a team that is trying to find ways to use artificial intelligence to assist radiologists, who review mammography images and then must assign a breast density value to each patient. If AI can help make those classifications more precise, there could be important health implications, as the risk of breast cancer increases with higher density values.

Looking back at the road he’s traveled, Testagrose is happy with the choices he’s made and feels that everything has now fallen into place. “It’s been an incredible experience here at Mayo, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Testagrose said. “You just learn so much when you’re learning from experts in the field.”

Message from the President

As our semester comes to a close and we prepare for the Winter Break, I want to extend my heartfelt holiday wishes to each of you. The University of North Florida is truly a special place, and as your new president, it has been such a joy for me getting to know the campus and all of you over the past five months. I’m honored, grateful and proud to call UNF my home.

Today, we join together for Commencement and celebrate more than 1,100 spring graduates. This has always been one of my favorite days of the year! It is not only a meaningful time for our graduates and their families, but also for all of us here on campus. Sharing the unified goal of student success, this milestone reminds us, once again, why we are all here. We are proud of these students who worked so hard to earn their degrees, and we wish them incredible prosperity and continued success!

As we head off for Winter Break over the next few days, I hope you all will have the opportunity to take a much-needed breather and enjoy quality time with friends and family. I know you have worked incredibly hard this semester, and this time offers an opportunity to relax, recharge and prepare for the year ahead.

I appreciate all that you do, and wish you and your family peace, joy and the happiest of holidays! 

UNF professor wins award for heat mapping project

By Mattison Hansen
Media Relations Specialist
Dr. Adam Rosenblatt, University of North Florida biology assistant professor, was recently awarded the Resilience Champion Award at the Jacksonville Environmental Protection Board’s (JEPB) 2022 Environmental Achievement Awards.
Dr. Adam Rosenblatt the Resilience Champion AwardRosenblatt won the award for his leadership of the Jacksonville Heat Mapping Project, the largest urban heat mapping study ever conducted in the United States.
The heat mapping campaign was led by UNF and the City of Jacksonville to identify local urban heat hotspots, raise awareness about heat risk, incorporate local perspectives to produce heat maps and engage the community in pursuing climate solutions. The work is funded in part by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Rosenblatt is an expert in behavioral ecology, climate change and food web dynamics. His research aims to understand the effects of environmental change on the functioning of ecological communities and food webs through laboratory and field-based experimentation as well as observation of nature. He also advocates for common-sense solutions to climate change and urban development issues at the local and national levels.
Read more about Professor Rosenblatt and the 2022 JEPB Awards.

GivingTuesday benefits UNF projects

GivingTuesday thank you flyerThis year's GivingTuesday at UNF, part of a worldwide celebration of generosity, proved to be a great success benefiting UNF students and the Jacksonville community. The event, held Nov. 29, raised more than $9,000 for various campus projects.
Director of Annual Giving Kristy Herrington expressed her gratitude for the overwhelming support. "We are thrilled when the UNF community rallies together on days of giving such as GivingTuesday and our upcoming UNF Giving Day on March 22," said Herrington. "Together we raised over $9,000 from 162 donors for a variety of projects across UNF, showcasing the philanthropic dedication of our alumni, faculty, staff and friends."
GivingTuesday donors who generously contributed $10 or more can expect to receive a pair of limited-edition UNF socks in the coming weeks.
Missed out on GivingTuesday? You still have the opportunity to make a gift of any size to support the Lend-A-Wing Pantry, Meals on Wings and the Student Success Fund. President Moez Limayem is personally matching all gifts — dollar for dollar — up to $50,000!
Learn more about giving to UNF via payroll deduction (accessible only from your UNF network computer).

January Faculty and Staff Mixer

Ozzie mascot on tableJoin fellow employees for next month's Faculty & Staff Mixer on Thursday, Jan. 12 from 4-6 p.m. in the Talon Room lounge in Osprey Commons, Building 16.
Enjoy great conversation, light bites and nonalcoholic drinks at no charge. A cash bar is also available. 
Stop by and catch up with your fellow Ospreys at the first mixer of 2023!

Strategic Plan Renewal Task Force announced

UNF Osprey water fountainPresident Limayem recently announced members of the Strategic Plan Renewal Task Force, charged with reviewing and reviving the current strategic plan that was developed three years ago. The Task Force will be providing input and findings from the review, and making adjustments as needed.

The president shared the goal of developing a clear, comprehensive Strategic Plan that will support UNF’s elevation in the SUS, grow our national reputation and continue to enhance the success of our students from enrollment to employment. The Strategic Plan Renewal Task Force will engage with internal and external stakeholders over the upcoming months through listening tours, town hall meetings and surveys.

Members of the Strategic Plan Renewal Task Force are:

  • John Kantner, Co-Chair, Associate Provost for Faculty and Research; Professor of Anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Chitra Balasubramanian, Co-Chair, Associate Professor of Physical Therapy, Brooks College of Health; Chair, Strategic Planning Advisory Committee, Faculty Association
  • Edythe Abdullah, Dean, Division of Continuing Education
  • Juan Aceros, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction
  • Maria Atilano, Student Engagement Librarian, Thomas G. Carpenter Library
  • Ashley Ballard, Senior Director, Recreation and Wellness
  • Justin Begle, Director, Academic Technology, Information Technology Services
  • Natasha Christie, Associate Dean for Student Learning, College of Arts and Sciences; Associate Professor of Political Science
  • Karen Cousins, Associate Vice President, Strategy and Implementation, Office of the Provost
  • Terry Evans, Director of Admissions, Enrollment Services
  • Devany Groves, Chief Budget Officer, University Planning and Budgets
  • Carrie Guth, Assistant Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer
  • John Hale, Associate Vice President, Administration and Finance
  • Olga Igolnikov, Assistant Vice President of Advancement Operations and Annual Giving, UNF Foundation
  • Nathan Kunz, Associate Professor of Management, Coggin College of Business
  • Curt Lox, Dean, Brooks College of Health
  • Deb Miller, Assistant Vice President, Digital Learning and Innovation
  • Nancy Miller, Associate AD of Compliance and Administration, UNF Athletics
  • Jody Nicholson-Bell, Associate Professor of Psychology, College of Arts and Sciences
  • Amanda Pascale, Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management, College of Education and Human Services
  • Nathaniel Rodefer, UNF Student Body President
  • Manny Velásquez-Paredes, Director, LGBTQ Center
  • Ginny Walthour, Director, Strategic Communications

The Strategic Plan renewal process will be conducted with continuous engagement from the UNF Board of Trustees Strategic Planning Committee, overseen by Committee Chair Jason Barrett and Board Chair Kevin Hyde.

Inaugural golf tournament honors beloved UNF professor

By Byron E. Jones

Ozzie riding on a golf cartThe Dr. James Sorce Inaugural Golf Classic was held Nov. 28 to honor the memory of Dr. James Sorce, assistant professor of Construction Management, who passed in 2020. The UNF College of Computing, Engineering and Construction and Dr. Sorce’s family partnered with nonprofit construction contractor Builders Care for the charity event to raise funds for scholarships for students in the Construction Management program. Festivities included a breakfast, silent auction and awards luncheon.

This year’s event, held at the Marsh Landing Country Club, included 80+ tournament participants and raised nearly $19,000 for the Dr. James Sorce Construction Management Scholarship, established in 2020. The original plan included awarding one recipient each year but thanks to additional funding, two award recipients will be selected every year. The recipients of this year’s scholarship include junior Liam Morgan and senior Victor Gattuso. 

Caleb Garrett, associate director of development for CCEC, participated in the tournament and was thrilled to witness the overwhelming support from those who knew Sorce. “So many people had connections to James,” said Garrett. “To have Elena, James’s wife, be the face of this event was really impactful.”

The tournament was attended by family, friends, colleagues and representatives of Sorce's fraternity, Sigma Chi. Several UNF coaches and Ozzie also attended to support the cause as Sorce was a dedicated fan of UNF Athletics — particularly men’s basketball.

A UNF alum himself (’98), Sorce served in the Construction Management Department for 15 years as a professor and advisor — winning several faculty of the year awards.

Learn more about the Dr. James Sorce Construction Management Scholarship.

Man practicing golf swing
Supporters at a charity event
Golf course
UNF students with Ozzie

Engineering students win big at national convention

By Mattison Hansen
Media Relations Specialist
A group of 50 University of North Florida students recently attended the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) conference. This was the most participation UNF has ever seen at the largest annual gathering of Hispanics in STEM, the SHPE 2022 National Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina.
UNF students at the 2022 SHPE conferenceThe SHPE UNF chapter celebrated its first win for the Student Chapter of the Region, defeating other prestigious schools in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. For the third year in a row, SHPE UNF received the award for Best Spirit in Region and at least one UNF student placed first in a nationwide competition.
UNF student Blayne Curtis won first place in the Nissan Design Challenge, which includes a $9,000 check for his team and a job offer from Nissan. Miguel Bolante won third place in the Nissan Design Challenge, which includes a $2,000 check for his team. Rebecca O'Neal and Arielle O'Neal won first place in the Extreme Engineering Challenge, which includes a $10,000 check for their team.

Get To Know: Dr. Misha Bogomaz

Dr. Misha Bogomaz sitting on a benchDr. Misha Bogomaz is the new director of the UNF Counseling Center. He is a licensed psychologist and certified group psychotherapist. He's also board certified in group psychology and a fellow of the American Group Psychotherapy Association. He has experience and interest in group psychotherapy, group dynamics, leadership, followership, group unconscious and group decision making.

What does your job involve?
As director of the UNF Counseling Center, I will be leading the department and focusing on mental health on campus. We have an amazing staff and I hope students seek out our services!
How long have you worked at UNF?
8+ years
What do you enjoy most about working here?
Community is my favorite part of UNF. I have made lifelong friends and colleagues who have dedicated years to higher education. UNF allowed me and others to thrive professionally. Everyone is committed to students as well as their own personal and professional development.
How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t working?
My wife and I have a dog and seven cats. We love to go on walks with our dog and spend time in Asheville, North Carolina, at least once a year. Taking latin dance classes always brings me joy and playing Playstation is a great escape.
Where did you grow up?
For the first 16 years of my life I grew up in Siberia. The city of Tomsk is known as Siberian Athens.
Where did you go to school?
Illinois School of Professional Psychology
What’s the greatest bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
"You have power over your mind — not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength." by Marcus Aurelius
Who inspires you and why?
Marcus Aurelius, Roman emperor. His literary work "Meditations", a series of notes he wrote to himself, has been a source of guidance and inspiration for many years.
What is a fun fact about you many people may not know?
I love learning about history and I'm currently reading a few books about the fall of the Roman Empire.

Free Things to Do

Urban Spaces installation view at MOCA JacksonvilleUrban Spaces/Public Places
Exhibition on view now through Jan. 8; MOCA Jacksonville
Free admission for UNF employees and one guest.
During the 2022 fall semester, University of North Florida students met at MOCA for their Photography Practicum course. Utilizing MOCA Jacksonville and downtown Jacksonville as a studio, students from Associate Professor Alex Diaz' class developed photography that documented the people and places of Downtown, and created works that responded to their urban surroundings (Urban Spaces installation view at MOCA Jacksonville, 2022). Learn more about this exhibition.

Fall 2022 Senior Exhibition Showcase
Exhibition on view now through Jan. 20; UNF Gallery of Art and Lufrano Intercultural Gallery
Free admission for UNF employees
This annual exhibition showcases intriguing and creative works from graduating seniors. Artwork includes ceramics, drawing, new media, painting, photography, printmaking and sculpture. Learn more about this exhibition.

© Milagros, Installation view, 2021. Young at Art Museum, Davie, FL.Project Atrium: Milagros
Exhibition on view now through April 9; MOCA Jacksonville
Free admission for UNF employees and one guest.
Florida artists Felici Asteinza (b. San Pedro Sula, Honduras) and Joey Fillastre (b. Lakeland, Florida) founded the MILAGROS Collective in 2008. They create site-specific works with an exuberant style that champions the hand made and the intuitive, and welcomes interactivity for the public of all ages. Their public artwork energizes public spaces with effervescent patterns and colors, music and light, that obliterate the seams between structures and will highlight the unique attributes of the MOCA Atrium (© Milagros, Installation view, 2021. Young at Art Museum, Davie, FL). Learn more about this exhibition.

"Don't Blame it on ZEN: The Way of John Cage and Friends"
Exhibition on view now through May 7; MOCA Jacksonville
Free admission for UNF employees and one guest.
This interactive and multidisciplinary exhibition explores the enduring legacy of John Cage through works by Cage himself as well as artists that worked with him. A leading voice of postwar avant-garde, Cage was perhaps both the most provocative and influential American composter of the 20th century. Learn more about the exhibition.

Art + Politics: Grounding Dialogue
Exhibition on view now through Feb. 5; MOCA Jacksonville
Free admission for UNF employees and one guest.
MOCA Jacksonville will display student artwork from the fall 2022 Blocktoberfest. The event, in partnership with FSCJ, allows students to develop large-scale woodblocks using a steamroller to print. Prints will be on view at MOCA. Artwork shown from Associate Professor in Printmaking, Sheila Goloborotko's students, with special thanks to FSCJ Professor Patrick Miko. Learn more about the exhibition.

Cummer Family Foundation Chamber Music Series Guest Artist Recital
Tuesday, Jan. 10, 7:30 p.m., Recital Hall of the Fine Arts Center
Featuring Louise Toppin, soprano and Denise Wright, piano. Dr. James Hall serves as artistic director.


UNF Dateline balloonsMilestones
Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary in December:
20 Years
Michael Holmes, Assistant Director, Endpoint Management, ITS
Torrell Poole, Groundskeeper, Residence Life Programming
15 Years
Karla Calliste-Edgar, Divisional Budget Coordinator, Hardware / Software (Cyberinfrastructure)
Deborah Reed, Associate Instructor, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education
10 Years
Mark Perez, Coordinator IT Support, Service Management
5 Years
Maria Beattie, Lead Child Development Teacher, UNF Preschool
Tia Esposito, Coordinator, Library Services
Audra Larsen, Coordinator, Career Development Services
Katherine Meuti, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Jutima Simsiriwong, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Jack Wombough, Senior IR Programmer Analyst, Institutional Research
The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions recently:
Farah Anabtawi, Coordinator, Academic Support Services, International Business Curriculum
Miesha Belford, Program Integrity Accountability Review Coordinator, Florida Institute of Education
Kyle Brooks, Assistant Athletic Coach, Baseball
Barbara Cabe, Office Manager, Music
Armenay Chakour, Police Communications Operator, University Police Department
Kelsie Conroy, Instructional Specialist, English Language Program
Adell Coulliette, Operations Assistant, MOCA
Mattison Hansen, Media Relations Specialist, Marketing and Communications
Julia Hensler, Assistant Child Development Teacher, UNF Preschool
Rosa Hernandez De Morales, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Stephanie Hitchens, Graphic Designer, University Development and Alumni Engagement
Cindy Howard, Accountant, Controller
Devan Jackson, Police Communications Operator, University Police Department
David Lelis, IR Analyst, Institutional Research
Adam Polansky, Assistant Director, Development, Athletics
Dawn Washington, IR Analyst, Institutional Research
Jamie Winegardner, Office Assistant, Quality Control and Work Management
Great Job
The following employees were promoted recently:
Jose Acevedo, Persistence Coordinator, Undergraduate Studies
Jennifer Bass, Business Services Financial Specialist, University Center
Jason Edgar, Associate Director, Student Government, SG Business and Accounting Office
Callie Funderburk, Manager Marketing and Events, University Center
Hanadi Hamadi, Associate Professor, Health Administration
Kishia Hill, Persistence Coordinator, Undergraduate Studies
Westin Huettner, IT Software Engineer, DL - ITS
Charles Kennedy, Assistant Director Marketing, Small Business Development Center
Paige Lilley, Director Graduate School, Graduate School
Brent Morente, Jr IT Security Engineer, Information Security
Michael Morris, Assistant Director Operations, DL-UNF Online
Gabriela Vargas Uribe, Associate Director, Welcome Center
Ambrey Wilson, Senior Academic Advisor, First Year Advising
The following employees have left UNF recently:
Karina Anderson, Program Assistant, Small Business Development Center
Marsha Blasco, Assistant Director of Content, Marketing and Communications
David Cutter, Floor Care Worker, Physical Facilities
Tori Dillard, Assistant Director, Admissions
Kimberley Downs, Director, Project Management Office
Donovan Faustino, Senior IT Systems Engineer, Systems Engineering
David Gertler, Academic Advisor, CCEC Advising
Stephen Miske, Academic Advisor, COAS Advising
Daniel Nicolas, Associate Director, Employee Labor Relations, Human Resources
Ashlee Shaner, Coordinator Data Management, Advancement Services
Donald Stratmann, Police Communications Operator, University Police Department

In Memoriam
UNF faculty and staff were saddened to learn of the deaths of two members of the campus community recently: 
Wesley Prince, floor care custodial worker, passed away Oct. 31. Read his obituary online.
Richard Knutelsky, maintenance mechanic, passed away earlier this month on Dec. 3. Read more online.

Swoop Summary

2023 Blue and Gray Bash flyerThe date, time, details and registration information for the annual Blue and Gray Bash have been announced for February 2023. This year's event is sponsored by Stellar and will be held Friday, Feb. 3 from 7-10 p.m. at The Brumos Collection. A special VIP reception will also be hosted with UNF President Moez Limayem between 6 and 7 p.m. for those that register with the VIP package. Learn more and register today!

Here's a couple upcoming events:

Swimming vs. Indiana State
Saturday, Dec. 17, 11 a.m.  |  UNF Competition Pool Complex  |  Free Admission
Men's Basketball vs. Davis and Elkins
Monday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m.  |  UNF Arena  |  Purchase Tickets
Men's Basketball vs. Florida National
Thursday, Dec. 29, 7 p.m.  |  UNF Arena  |  Purchase Tickets
Men's Basketball vs. Austin Peay
Saturday, Dec. 31, 2 p.m.  |  UNF Arena  |  Purchase Tickets
Women's Basketball vs. Lipscomb
Saturday, Jan. 7, 2 p.m.  |  UNF Arena  |  Free Admission