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June 2022

President-elect soon to arrive on campus

headshot of Dr. Moez LimayemDr. Moez Limayem, UNF’s president-elect, is set to arrive on campus Aug. 1, one month after his confirmation vote is expected by the Florida Board of Governors at its scheduled June 29-30 meeting. Limayem is coming to UNF from the University of South Florida, where he has served since 2012 as the Lynn Pippenger Dean in the Muma College of Business, with more than 7,000 students on three campuses.

UNF faculty, students, staff and community members were provided numerous opportunities to meet and provide feedback on Limayem and the other three finalist candidates, which was shared and reviewed by the Board of Trustees. In selecting Limayem, Kevin Hyde, Chair of the Board, said the trustees especially appreciated his experience working in the Florida State University System and with USF. “As we celebrate UNF’s 50th year, we look forward to Dr. Limayem using his experience, leadership and engaging style to continue to build on our strong history, growing opportunities for students and enhancing the University’s critical role in the region and beyond.”

His tenure at USF as dean included success leading a team that raised more than $126 million, which included numerous multimillion dollar gifts to support the success of students, career readiness and entrepreneurship. He also promoted student success with the addition of a student success center and various initiatives that boosted the freshman retention and job placement rates.

Limayem also developed strong ties with the Tampa business community, serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Tampa Bay Chamber of Commerce and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. He was recently named by the Tampa Bay Business Journal to its “Power 100: Tampa Bay’s most influential business leaders of 2022.”

2021-22 Faculty Association award winners announced

2019 Convocation at UNFCongratulations to all the 2021-22 Faculty Association Award winners announced in May, who will be recognized at the 2022 Fall Convocation, scheduled for Friday, Sept. 30 at 10 a.m. in the Lazzara Performance Hall.

Distinguished Professor:
Michele Moore
, Brooks College of Health
Stuart Chalk, runner-up, College of Arts and Sciences

Outstanding Community-Engaged Scholarship:
Kristen Hicks-Roof
, Brooks College of Health

Outstanding Faculty Scholarship:
David Hoppey
, College of Education and Human Services
John Parmelee, College of Arts and Sciences
Raphael Crowley, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Outstanding Graduate Teaching:
Chitra Balasubramanian
, Brooks College of Health
Jody Nicholson, College of Arts and Sciences

Outstanding Faculty Service:
Nicholas de Villiers
, College of Arts and Sciences
Peter Magyari, Brooks College of Health

Outstanding Adjunct Teaching:
Frederick Baldwin
, Brooks College of Health
Carolyn Ball, College of Education and Human Services
Leonard Ferman, Coggin College of Business
Kathryn Grant, College of Arts and Sciences

Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching:
Timothy Groulx
, College of Arts and Sciences
Alan Harris, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction
Madalina Tanase, College of Education and Human Services
Melissa Bush, College of Arts and Sciences
Courtney Azzari, Coggin College of Business
Terri Ellis, College of Arts and Sciences
Nilufer Ozdemir, Coggin College of Business
Jenifer Ross, Brooks College of Health
Anirban Ghosh, College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

Ukrainian struggles touch UNF

Dr. Andres Gallo with Dr. Tetiana MomotWar has now been raging in Ukraine for 98 days. No one understands the tragedy of this reality better than Dr. Tetiana Momot, a visiting instructor from Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, located about 30 miles from the Russian border.

“It’s very painful, very painful to watch the news,” said Momot, though she continues to follow the war closely. “I get news all the time about what is going on, and I hope and pray … I can’t believe that this could happen in the 21st century.” Recently, she saw images that show the damage to buildings at the university where she taught — the O.M. Beketov National University of Urban Economy in Kharkiv. For the near future, certainly, there’s no going back.

Coping with the war
Momot has been teaching undergraduate Principles of Microeconomics in the Coggin College of Business since August 2021. Working with students at UNF has helped her to cope. “I so enjoy teaching and working with the students,” she said. “I’m so appreciative because they were interested in the situation. We even worked on a project about the economic consequences of the war.”

The visiting instructor is also grateful for her business colleagues, who she said have helped to create a family environment for her and Boddan Chalyy, her college-age son. “I feel like family here,” she said. “That is for me very important, especially in this situation. When I came from a faraway country, I felt that family support and this is very important for me and my son.” Her married daughter remains safely in Asia with her husband.

Her journey to the United States began years ago. As a graduate student, she took advantage of several international exchange opportunities at Kansas State University and then again at DePaul University in Chicago. Years later, her husband, who was a U.S. citizen, had concerns about safety in Ukraine and encouraged her to remain in Jacksonville. According to Momot, tensions with Russia have been building for many years.

Then, on a visit to see his family in Macedonia, her husband contracted COVID-19 and died. Now, she and her son, who has enrolled at UNF, remain in the area. Wanting to continue teaching, she reached out to UNF to ask about opportunities.

Dr. Russell Triplett, chair of the Department of Economics and Geography, said that Momot’s background in financial and construction economics and her research and teaching experience at a business college were a good match for the department’s needs. The department plans to renew Momot as a visiting instructor for next year. “She has been a great addition to our department,” Triplett said, “and we’ve really appreciated her working with us and teaching for us, and so that was a pretty easy call, but given the circumstances I think it was absolutely the right thing to do.”

What the future holds
For the past few months, Momot has also been teaching some of her former Ukrainian business students online, yet realized more help was needed. On her initiative, a project in Coggin is underway to create online workshops and classes for her students, many of whom are refugees scattered around central and eastern Europe.

Andres Gallo, director of Coggin’s International Business Program and professor of Economics, and Kate Mattingly Learch, director of Study Abroad, are working with Momot to leverage UNF’s faculty expertise to allow these students to make progress in their business degrees, hoping to give them a sense of continuity in a challenging situation. “We asked UNF for help to see what we could do,” Gallo said. “In the end, we are asking faculty members to volunteer. We are trying to put together classes for the fall semester that will allow these students to receive credit from their university in Ukraine ... We have a unique opportunity because we have Tetiana here, and she is in contact with these students — and it creates a very real and tangible opportunity for us to help.”

To move the program forward, Interim President Pam Chally sent a letter to President Babeav, president of O.M. Beketov Kharkiv National University, explaining the ways UNF can support their students. "In addition to online business classes through Coggin, the Ukrainian students will be able to enroll in a dedicated noncredit English as a Second Language course taught by UNF’s Language Program, at no cost to them," Chally said. "The bravery and spirit of the Ukrainian people are an inspiration to the world, and our University wants to assist them as best as we can."

As the online project develops, Momot will continue to work with her students over the summer. Though she longs for the war to end, she knows her countrymen will not give up the fight for freedom. Many, just like her, had family killed years ago under Russian rule, and they have no desire to go back. “With the help from so many countries, I believe our army should win the war,” she said. “I hope and pray.”

Pictured in Inside email: (from left to right) Jane Braglia, Dr. Tetiana Momot and Ruth Lopez

Osprey Racing motors to its best finish

Osprey Racing team 2022UNF’s Osprey Racing student club had a record-setting performance, up 12 spots from their previous best, to place 18th out of 120 international teams in the Formula SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) Collegiate Design Series competition at the Michigan International Speedway in May. Last year, the team had their previous best performance and placed 30th.

The four-day competition in Michigan hosts 120 teams from across the globe competing in static events including a business presentation, engineering design evaluation and a budget cost analysis, as well as dynamic events including acceleration, skidpad, autocross, and endurance/fuel economy.

The engineering and business goal of the competition is to develop and construct a single-seat, open wheel race car (aka Formula-style) targeted for the nonprofessional weekend autocross racer. Key metrics for the race car are the best overall package of design, construction, performance and cost.

The 16 students on the team, a mix of engineering and business majors, worked all year to design and build the new race car, the 10th rendition of the Osprey Racing vehicle created for the SAE competition and includes a newly designed frame. The team is led by team captain Nathan Stratton, mechanical engineering student, and faculty advisor Dr. John Nuszkowski, engineering professor.

The Osprey Racing club plays a significant role as a way for engineering and business students to work together and apply what they learn in the classroom. Learn more about the student club

What to know before you go to the beach

By Byron E. Jones

Now that summer is near, there’s no doubt large crowds will flock to Florida’s many beaches to enjoy fun-in-the-sun activities. That’s certainly true on the First Coast, where there’s no shortage of beaches to choose from.

As you make beach plans for the summer, whether you intend to soak up the sun, surf the waves or search for buried treasure, you and your loved ones can have a great time while making safety a priority. Before your outing, consider these safety precautions and tips from our campus experts:

Sunscreen on skinUse Sunscreen
While beach life has its rewards, one of the drawbacks is direct exposure to the sun. According to the Skin Cancer Foundation, about 90% of nonmelanoma skin cancers are associated with exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds. Among the various rays from the sun to which humans are exposed, ultraviolet rays (UVA and UVB) are the most dangerous. UVB rays produce sunburn while UVA rays penetrate deeper into the skin causing wrinkles, skin damage and skin cancer.

UNF’s Dr. Julie Merten, associate professor of public health, has conducted extensive research on sunscreen and minimizing skin cancer risks. To combat skin damage and reduce the risk of skin cancer while outdoors, Merten recommends the following:

  • Apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen (SPF 30 or higher) 30 minutes before going outside
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours all over
  • Try to avoid the sun during peak hours (10 a.m. – 4 p.m.)
  • Wear sunglasses and seek shade
  • Consider wearing SPF clothing

Merten also advocates for the daily use of sunscreen. “Sunscreen isn’t just for the beach or outdoor days,” she said. “We get a lot of sun in our area from driving, errands, reflections — so find a great daily sunscreen lotion.”

Learn more about Merten and her research.

Swimmer in the waterPractice Water Safety and Supervision
If you’re headed to the beach for a swim, there’s a chance you could encounter strong waves, rip currents and undertows. According to the American Red Cross, swimmers have been known to panic and exhaust themselves when getting caught in fast-moving currents — specifically rip currents. A rip current moves water away from shore and out to sea beyond the breaking waves.

Water safety experts such as Heather Kite, director of operations for UNF Recreation and Wellness, encourage beachgoers to visit beaches with lifeguards on duty and look for postings about surf conditions before entering the water. Kite is a water safety enthusiast with 20 years of experience in aquatic programming. She is also an instructor-trainer of water safety and lifeguarding for the American Red Cross.

“When visiting the beach this summer, keep the three S’s in mind — sun, surf and supervision,” Kite said. She recommends the following should you encounter a rip current:

  • Stay within the visibility of a lifeguard.
  • Never swim against the current.
  • Stay calm and swim parallel to the shore until you are no longer in the current.
  • If you are unable to swim out of the current, float on your back or tread water until the current slows before swimming back to shore.
  • Call for help if you see someone caught in a rip current and encourage them to swim parallel to shore until they are out of the current.

When visiting the beach with small children, Kite recommends constant supervision as incidents around water tend to happen due to a lapse in supervision. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning is a leading cause of death for children ages one to four.

If interested, RecWell offers lifeguard certifications through the Competition Pool Complex.

Sources: Facts and information shared were sourced from American Red Cross Water Safety Instructor lesson plan materials and CDC drowning facts.

Student holding a sharkLookout for Sharks
Although shark attacks are rare according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), it’s best to be aware of their presence to ensure your safety. While shark encounters are unavoidable, shark experts suggest understanding shark behavior will help you know when and where to swim.

Our resident expert is Dr. Jim J. Gelsleichter, associate professor of biology and director of the UNF Shark Biology Program. Gelsleichter, who has researched sharks for 30 years, says most of the sharks that appear in First Coast waters are temperate species that prefer warmer waters (around >20C or >68F). They usually appear locally between March and October, then migrate south during colder months (per tag recaptures). He believes their presence is likely due to several factors including reproduction and fish populations. Per the UNF Shark Biology Program’s research, the most commonly found sharks in the local area are the sandbar, Atlantic sharpnose and bonnethead shark.

To minimize the chance of a shark attack, other than avoiding the water, Gelsleichter recommends beachgoers do the following:

  • Avoid swimming out too far
  • Limit swimming activity when sharks are actively feeding (dusk and dawn)
  • Avoid wearing things that may attract sharks (the reflection from jewelry looks like fish scales)
  • Avoid swimming with open wounds or during menstruation
  • Avoid swimming near people actively fishing for sharks

“It is important to keep in mind that sharks are always in the water and rarely bite humans,” Gelsleichter said. “There is a good chance that, if you are at the beach during the summer, sharks are likely nearby and don’t have any interest in you.”

The UNF Shark Biology Program has been surveying shark populations off the First Coast, from St. Augustine, Florida, to Darien, Georgia, for the past 12 years. The goal of the surveys is to determine the catch composition of local shark populations, identify areas that are important to them and determine annual trends in shark abundance.

Learn more about Gelsleichter and his research.

Summertime reading suggestions

Person reading seated on stack of booksLooking for a taste of literary escapism this summer? Whether you’re hitting the beach or cooling off indoors, here are some reading recommendations from the Thomas G. Carpenter Library faculty and staff to check out and enjoy.

The Carpenter Library is open this summer for all your browsing and research needs!
Article submitted by Maria Atilano, Student Outreach Librarian

Faculty Forum: Meet Raphael Crowley

portrait of Dr. Raphael CrowleyDr. Raphael Crowley is an associate professor for the Taylor Engineering Research Institute and the School of Engineering in the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction. He is the recipient of the 2021-22 Outstanding Faculty Scholarship Award that will be presented at Convocation this fall. The award recognizes faculty members who perform meritoriously in the area of scholarship.

What courses do you teach?
All sorts of courses in civil, coastal and port engineering. For undergrads ― classes like Fluid Mechanics, Numerical Methods and Computing, and Mechanics of Materials. For grad students ― classes like Water Wave Mechanics, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Port and Harbor Engineering, Coastal Processes and Coastal Structures.

What research are you doing?
My research is mostly under the umbrella of “coastal resiliency” and is often collaborative with colleagues in Biology. Currently funded projects include:

  • An FDOT-funded project involving examining underwater noise that may harm fish and other marine organisms during bridge construction. This work is being conducted with Dr. Gelsleichter’s group in Biology.
  • A project funded by the Florida Building Commission involving examining beach houses that were destroyed during Hurricane Michael in October 2018.
  • Research funded by the UNF Foundation aimed at using naturally occurring bacteria to strengthen shorelines and mitigate erosion. This work is a collaborative effort with Dr. Ellis from Biology and Dr. Wingender from MSERF.
  • A project funded by the Institute of Environmental Research and Education to examine the performance of artificial oyster reefs that were placed as part of Dr. K. Smith’s research. Particularly exciting about this project is that this summer we will be installing several more oyster reefs along the coastline near Kingsley Plantation/the Timucuan Preserve in collaboration with Jacksonville’s “Green Team.” These efforts will be supported by the National Parks Foundation.

Past research has involved similar topics ― development of a maritime management plan for Duval County; erosion around bridge foundations; and I even assisted with designing water erosion countermeasures for the Port of Singapore. I also do quite a bit of work with United States Naval Officers as part of their Ocean Facilities Program.

How long have you worked at UNF?
I got here in August of 2013. I finished my Ph.D. at the University of Florida in 2010 and stayed there as a postdoc until 2013 when a one-year visiting line opened at UNF. I had always thought that UNF/Jacksonville would be a good destination. I sort of gambled that after the one-year visiting appointment ended, maybe I could get UNF to want to keep me. I’m glad it worked.

What do you enjoy most about working here?
The students ― we truly have some exceptional students, and I have really enjoyed working with them. Equally important ― industry support here is incredible. Taylor Engineering in particular has gone above and beyond to support our mission in coastal and port engineering.

How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t working?
I mostly hang out with my family. My wife and I just had our first child in August. He is now about 9 months old, so that takes most of my time. When I can get a couple of minutes away from the little one, my golden retriever is always ready to play fetch, go for a run on the beach, take a swim, or just sit by my feet and watch either a Liverpool soccer match or a Gator football game.

Where did you grow up?
A small town in the finger lakes region in upstate New York called Skaneateles (pronounced Skinny-Atlas). Fun fact ― Skaneateles is an Iroquois term that means “long lake.” Another less fun fact ― Skaneateles averages about 100 inches of snow every year.

Where did you go to school?
My undergrad was at Bucknell University in Lewisburg, Pennsylvania. My M.S. and Ph.D. are both from UF.

What’s the greatest bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
This might sound kind of juvenile, but Wayne Gretzky is famous for saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take” (among other things). When I was younger, that message always struck me as poignant, even after it became a comedy bit on “The Office.” Later in life, my Ph.D. advisor, Dave Bloomquist, and the late Dave Lambert used to tell me variations of the same thing relatively often. I’ve tried to live my life that way ― just go for it ― and for the most part, it’s served me pretty well.

Who inspires you and why?
Would it be bad to say Gretzky again? Kidding. I think in another life I could have been an astrophysicist and have always found inspiration in Stephen Hawking’s work. “A Brief History of Time” is one of my favorite books, and I even took Quantum Physics in college for fun. (I have a weird sense of “fun.”) I’ve always loved learning the physics about why we’re here, how things work the way they do, etc. I suppose engineering is astrophysics-adjacent, so I’m not that far off.

What is a fun fact about you many people may not know?
I was a D1 athlete in college (Patriot League!). As a freshman, I walked onto Bucknell’s Rowing team and did that through my junior year. When I got to UF, I coached the women’s crew team for three years as a grad student. Crew is the best sport ― it teaches you to push yourself beyond your perceived physical and mental limits. When you see the Olympic rowers being carried away from their boats after a race because they can’t walk ― they aren’t just being dramatic. Rowing a 2,000-meter race really is that intense.

Get to Know: Meet Khadijah Rushdan

Khadijah RushdanKhadijah ”KD” Rushdan is an assistant coach in the Athletic Department. She was recently inducted to the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame, which strives to honor the heroes of sports within Delaware and those who have brought recognition to Delaware by their accomplishments elsewhere. A Delaware native, Rushdan rose to prominence as a standout basketball player at St. Elizabeth High School in Wilmington, Delaware, and became the first Delaware high school athlete in any sport to be recognized as a first team all-state selection five times. Rushdan continued to excel at Rutgers University, receiving numerous accolades, and was selected 15th overall by the Los Angeles Sparks in 2012. She spent a season in the WNBA before playing for Maccabi Ramat Chen in Israel from 2012-13. Read more about her accomplishments online.

What are your thoughts on your recent honor?
Being inducted into the Delaware Sports Museum and Hall of Fame was an incredible honor. While picking up a basketball was never about the accolades or any type of honor of this magnitude, it’s a great feeling to reflect on what your legacy can be for those that come after you. It’s also validation of the sacrifices that were made by not only myself but those around me to ensure I was able to always be my best version. It’s humbling to know that the state you grew up in thinks that highly of you, and it leaves me speechless. But none of this would be possible without the strong support system I’ve had along the way or the incredible coaches and teammates who I now call sisters that have been by my side. For me, if I win, we all win! I just want to continue to inspire the younger generation and make my state proud.

How long have you worked at UNF?
I just completed my fourth season.

What does your job involve?
Mentoring student-athletes on and off the court. Recruiting high character and talented young ladies to represent both the University, athletic department and program. More specifically, I am our defensive and player development coordinator, and I oversee defensive strategy and adjustments for the team. Also, as our player development coordinator, I oversee and organize the overall skill development of players to ensure they are seeing consistent growth in their game to perform at a high level.

What do you enjoy most about working here?
The people. I am blessed to be able to work with such an incredible group of young women every day.

How do you like to spend your time when you aren’t working?
With family; I have a 2-year-old, so being able to be present as he grows up is important.

Where did you grow up?
Wilmington, Delaware

Where did you go to school?
High School: St. Elizabeth; College: Rutgers University

What’s the greatest bit of advice you’ve ever been given?
Listen with the intent to be influenced, not to respond. But as I get older, I would add — Don’t negate self-care.

Who inspires you?
My college coach, C. Vivian Stringer. She is the epitome of strong, bold, loving and confident. She exposed me to many different facets of life, taught me the importance of carrying myself in a respectful manner. More importantly, she found a way to challenge us while still getting the best out us. As a coach she taught me the importance of building genuine and authentic relationships and being able to have high expectations for players but also finding ways to love on them. It goes with the saying “people don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care.” She is true representation, and if I can be only a fraction of the coach she was for me, I would be happy.

What is a fun fact about you many people may not know?
I almost, almost chose tennis over basketball.

Swooping Into UNF's Past: The 2010s

We are highlighting four UNF milestones from each decade in celebration of the 50th anniversary. Here are our picks from the 2010s with events also happening in Jacksonville, the United States and the world.


UNF entrance signAt UNF
UNF is named one of the nation's 50 "Best Value" public colleges and universities according to the Princeton Review. 

In Jacksonville
Alvin Brown is sworn in as mayor of Jacksonville — the city’s first elected African American mayor. (July 1, 2011)

In the United States
The U.S. Military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy banning open homosexuality in the armed forces was officially repealed. (Sept. 20, 2011)

In the World
Osama Bin Laden is found and killed by U.S. Navy Seals in Abbottabad, Pakistan. (May 2, 2011)

a road view of UNF Biological Sciences BuildingAt UNF
The Biological Sciences building opens with 27 faculty research labs and a 6,000 gallon-capacity seawater system.

In Jacksonville
The Jacksonville Giants minor league basketball team win their first American Basketball Association (ABA) Championship, defeating the South Carolina Warriors in a best-of-three series. (March 2012)

In the United States
Barack Obama is re-elected President of the United States, defeating his Republican challenger Mitt Romney. (Nov. 6, 2012)

In the World
The United Kingdom informs the World Health Organization about a novel coronavirus case originating from Saudi Arabia. (Sept. 22, 2012)

banner for UNF Hicks Honors CollegeAt UNF
The University of North Florida adds its sixth academic college — the Hicks Honors College  further expanding learning opportunities for some of UNF’s highest achieving students.

In Jacksonville
Lenny Curry becomes the eighth Mayor of Jacksonville. (July 1, 2015)

In the United States
Per Nielsen Media Research, NCIS is ranked the No. 1 primetime television series in the U.S. for the 2015-16 season.

In the World
Cuba and the United States, ending 54 years of hostility between the nations, reestablish full diplomatic relations. (July 20, 2015)

Student walking on UNF campusAt UNF
The Princeton Review names UNF among the "Best Colleges in the Southeast" region for eight years running.

In Jacksonville
Hurricane Matthew causes flooding and power outages in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas. (Oct. 7, 2016)

In the United States
Donald Trump wins the 2016 election for the U.S. presidency. (Nov. 9, 2016)

In the World
The 2016 Summer Olympics are held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil — becoming the first time that the Olympics are held in South America. (Aug. 5-21, 2016)

Additional timeline information available online from the Thomas G. Carpenter Library.

Read more about UNF's 50th anniversary.

Inside News Roundup

Swimmer Morgan RayUNF student Morgan Ray to compete for TEAM USA at 2022 Para Swimming World Championships
Morgan Ray, a University of North Florida Brooks College of Health sophomore student and Paralympic athlete, will represent Team USA at the 2022 Para Swimming World Championships in Funchal, Madeira, Portugal from June 12-18. Learn more about Ray and the competition.

Osprey Community Engagement Medallion presented to 13 students
The University of North Florida Center for Community-Based Learning recognized 13 Spring 2022 graduates for their volunteer service and considerable lasting contributions to the greater community with the Osprey Community Engagement Medallion: Brin Balcom, Deanna Bartley, Samantha Burke, Nichole Cohen, Destiny Cole, Mahelet Dalke, Katherine Hall, Bonnie Leonce, Chloe Lopez, Gabriella Marquez, Elena Pellumbi, Atalia Vazquez, Rodrica Wright. Learn more about the medallion winners.

Dr. Amy LaneUNF awards the Terry Presidential Professorship to chemistry professor Dr. Amy Lane
UNF selected Dr. Amy Lane, a professor in the UNF Department of Chemistry and director of the Advancement of Women in Natural Sciences program, as the recipient of the 2022-25 Terry Presidential Professorship. The professorship recognizes faculty achievements through the support of outstanding scholars. Learn more about Dr. Lane and the professorship.

‘First Coast Living’ visits UNF Eco Adventure for a ride on the zip line
UNF offers open-to-the-public nature trails and Eco Adventure programming that provide a unique escape into natural Florida right in the heart of Jacksonville. From miles of beautiful, serene walking trails on UNF’s nature preserves to the team-building Osprey Challenge ropes course and zip line, UNF Eco Adventure has something for everyone to enjoy. The “First Coast Living” anchors recently stopped by to tour Eco Adventure and to take a ride on the zip line. Watch the First Coast Living video.

Taylor Leadership facilitated a leadership training sessionUNF students help facilitate leadership training for Jacksonville Jaguars
UNF’s Taylor Leadership Institute recently facilitated a leadership training session for members of the Jacksonville Jaguars staff. Institute director Matt Ohlson was joined by Mia O’Brien, multimedia production director at 1010XL Sport Radio, in hosting the workshop while five UNF leadership students led engaging, team-building activities. Taylor Leadership strives to provide real-world learning experiences that benefit not only UNF students, but community partners as well.

UNF Alumni Association presents Senior Service Award to Nagat Khalifa
The University of North Florida Alumni Associate presented the Spring 2022 Senior Service Award to Nagat Khalifa at this year's commencement in recognition of her outstanding service to the University and community through volunteerism. Khalifa is graduating from UNF’s College of Arts and Sciences with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies and a minor in Political Science, with the focus on the politics of social justice. She is a first-generation American and committed volunteer for the local refugee and immigrant communities. Learn more about Nagat Khalifa and the award.

June is Pride Month

Rainbow heartJoin the LGBTQ Center as it celebrates Pride Month with a special Drag Queen Brunch fundraiser on Sunday, June 12, in the John A. Delaney Student Union ballrooms. Alongside the drag queens performing this year, the event will also feature LGBTQ+ comedians.

All proceeds will go to the LGBTQ Center to continue to create educational and fun programming, provide scholarships to LGBTQ+ youth, create a safe space for the community, offer free HIV/STI testing and a food pantry, and much more.

The brunch and entertainment begins at noon. A special VIP reception will be held for VIP ticket holders at 11 a.m. Learn more about the event and buy tickets.

Faculty and Staff

Osprey FountainBrooks College of Health
Dr. Kristen Hicks-Roof
, assistant professor in the Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, with others, published “Colors of Fruits and Vegetables and Diabetes Risk in the United States Hispanic/Latino Population: Findings from Hispanic Community Health Study/Study of Latinos” in Nutrition and Diabetes. 2022 12(1): 1-10. Also, Hicks-Roof contributed two articles: “Add a Nutrition Expert to your Healthcare Team” to UNF Inside, May; and with Caroline Jury: “Nutrition Check: The SMART Way to Manage Your High Blood Pressure” Florida Newsline, April. In addition, Hicks-Roof participated with others in securing several grants: (1) An Interprofessional Approach of a Food Forest on Cost Savings, Mental Health and Sustainability Practices, Health Innovation Grant, $9,977: (2) An Evaluation of social determinants of health (SDOH) in prepared patient plans on home life success: Interprofessional knowledge translation and continuity of care, Health Innovation Grant, $9,997; (3) Self-Perceived Empathetic Teaching Practices and Cultural Competence Among Educators in Healthcare Disciplines, Health Innovation Grant, $4,920; and (4) Training Educators to Address Diverse Patient Populations, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Diversity and Inclusion Mini-Grant, 2022, $1,000 (PI).

College of Arts and Sciences

Mark Ari, assistant professor of creative writing, published the essay “Looking Back on Louis” in Doubleback Review, April. In addition, Ari presented the audio-visual installation “Via Brooklyn Bridge” at the Florida Digital Humanities Conference, April.

Dr. Nicholas de Villiers, professor of English and film, gave an invited lecture, “Sleepy and Cruisy Queer Cinema with Tsai Ming-liang's Goodbye, Dragon Inn” at Sleeping Giant Fest, Sun-Ray Cinema, April.

Tara Kelley, associate English instructor, published, “Well, It’s Election Day … Again: How a Multi-day Memetic Narrative Captured the World’s Collective Anticipation during the 2020 Election Week Limbo” (co-authored with Jessica Birthisel and Stacie Meihaus Jankowski), April.

Dr. Felicia Bevel, assistant professor of history, was awarded an American Council of Learned Societies Project Development Grant.

Dr. Charles Closmann, associate professor of history, published “Environmental Destruction during War,” in “Routledge Handbook of Environmental Security,” edited by Richard A. Matthew, Evgenia Nizkorodov, and Crystal Murphy, New York, 2022.

Philosophy and Religion Studies
Dr. Jonathan Matheson
, professor of philosophy, gave the keynote address "Why it's OK not to think for yourself" at the Notre Dame/Northwestern Graduate Epistemology Conference on April 22.

Dr. Milena Korostenskaja, part-time professor in psychology, was the key-note lecturer "Combining MEG, EEG, ECoG," at the BCI & Neurotechnology Spring School, April 2022.

College of Education and Human Services
Dr. Tara Rowe
, adjunct professor and director of the THRIVE program, is the 2022 Administrative and Professional Gabor Award Winner. The award is presented to an individual who not only shows excellence in overall job performance and works effectively and harmoniously with others, but also has contributed to the University in activities outside of the normal scope of the position description.

Dr. Mark Halley, assistant professor of ASL/English Interpreting, after winning Tier-2 Faculty Development Pandemic (FDP) Funding in 2021, used the funds to earn CoreCHI™ certification. The certification, which is held by only approximately 100 ASL/English interpreters in the United States, demonstrates knowledge of healthcare interpreting and strengthens the ability to teach healthcare interpreting to our undergraduate and graduate students. Learn more about CoreCHI. 

Dr. Jennifer Renée Kilpatrick, assistant professor of deaf education, was an invited speaker at Hearing Loss in Schools presented by Nemours Children’s Specialty Care in May.  Kilpatrick presented on the Science of Reading, sharing the recent history and legislation related to literacy instruction, terms and strategies related to Science of Reading, and some key takeaways for parents and professionals working with children with hearing loss.

Dr. Diley Kayaalp, associate professor in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum, and her students Selma Melayna and Aniltoye Yaoshar, were interviewed by Jeannie Blaylock from First Coast News about the relationship between the mispronunciation of unpracticed names and racial microaggression. The segment aired on Tuesday, May 24. Watch the news coverage online.

Dr. Matt Ohlson, associate professor of educational leadership and faculty coordinator for the Taylor Leadership Institute, will present “Start with Happy: Using Positive Leadership to Increase Collaboration and Outcomes Amongst School Leaders” with school administrators from Orange and Flagler Counties at the Florida Association of School Administrators Conference in Orlando on June 6. In addition, Ohlson was joined by Mia O’Brien, multimedia production director at 1010XL Sport Radio, in hosting a workshop with five Taylor Leadership Institute leadership students who led engaging, team-building activities and presented best practices to the staff at the Jacksonville Jaguars. Read more about Dr. Matt Ohlson's workshop.

The Center for Community-Based Learning
Dr. Alarie Gibbs
, curricular community engagement coordinator, participated in the Spark Fundamental Certification, a partnership with Normal Next, at the Jessie Ball DuPont Center in May. As part of the day-long workshop on design thinking, Gibbs teamed up with members of the Jacksonville Public Education Fund to deliver a presentation to industry professionals utilizing the Spark Framework for Design Thinking. Learn more about the event.

Dr. Justin Sipes, Community-Based Learning Center director, was chosen to participate in the NASPA Institute for Aspiring Vice Presidents of Student Affairs hosted in Ponte Vedra, Florida, in January. The institute is held every other year and attendees are selected by a panel of Vice Presidents of Student Affairs. Read more about the NASPA organizationSipes also co-facilitated a semester-long Campus Compact Community of Practice, “Supporting Engaged Faculty Development,” with colleague Dr. Dominic DelliCarpini from York College of Pennsylvania throughout the Spring 2022 academic term. Learn more about the program. Sipes moderated the panel “Transition and Change from the Perspective of Mid-Career Professionals” at the Gulf-South Summit and Compact22 Virtual Conferences in March with colleagues from universities across the United States. As a part of the Gulf-South Summit, Sipes was also a panelist for the session, “Directors of Service-Learning,” and oversaw the conference evaluations process. Sipes is a member of the executive committee for the Gulf-South Summit and of the planning team for the 2023 event in Athens, Georgia, at the University of Georgia.

In addition, Sipes was selected by the American Council on Education to be in the inaugural group of Certified Consultants for the Carnegie Elective Community Engagement Classification. As an ACE trained and certified consultant, Sipes is a recommended resource to institutions embarking on the classification process as either first-time or reclassifying campuses. In addition, Sipes will have a chapter, “Setting the Stage for Performance and Accountability through Expectations,” published by IGI Global in the forthcoming book, “Leadership Strategies for the Hybrid Workforce: Best Practices for Fostering Employee Safety and Significance.”

Susan Trudeau, co-curricular community engagement coordinator, presented “A New Model for Student-Driven Civic Education” at the 2022 Gulf-South Summit and Compact22 Virtual Conferences in March. Trudeau is also an active member of the state group for NASPA, NASPA-FL, and serves as the Case Study Coordinator for the annual drive-in conference.

Five free things to do in June at UNF

View of Ogier GardensIntro to Organic Gardening
Friday, June 3
10 – 11 a.m. Ogier Gardens

Home gardening can improve your health, save money and incease food security. Learn the basics to start your own garden with Kevin Anderson, Ogier Gardens coordinator. See all the Ogier Gardens workshops.

Jacksonville Bicentennial: The Birth of The Emerald Trail
Tuesday, June 7
7 – 8 p.m. MOCA Jacksonville

This slideshow by Wayne Wood, Jacksonville’s historian-at-large, will explore the innovative plan by architect Henry John Klutho in 1929 to turn Hogans Creek from an eyesore into an elegant pedestrian greenway. Free, but registration required.

Attractive Native Plants
Friday, June 17
4 – 5 p.m. Ogier Gardens

Learn about attracting native species of birds and pollinators using native plants with April Thomas, Ogier Gardens staff member. Find more workshops offered at Ogier Gardens.

Project Atrium: Chiharu Shiota; Letters of Love(1)Project Atrium: Chiharu Shiota ‘Letters of Love’
Exhibition on view now through June 16
MOCA Jacksonville

For Project Atrium, Shiota has created an immersive environment with suspended red ropes throughout the space. Weaving traces of hope for human connectedness, the ropes enclose letters of love received by the artist from across the globe. Admission is free for a UNF employee and one guest. See museum hours.

Kara Walker: ‘Cut to the Quick’
Exhibition is on view May 20 – Sept. 25
MOCA Jacksonville

Offering a broad overview of her career, this exhibition positions Kara Walker as a leading artist of her generation through more than 80 works in a variety of media, such as prints, drawings, paintings, sculpture and film. Admission is free for a UNF employee and one guest. See museum hours.


UNF Balloons for DatelineMilestones
Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary in June:

30 Years
Tracey Britton, Specialist, Library Services

25 Years
Raymond Bunch, Coordinator, Student Affairs

20 Years
Myron Kelly, Maintenance Mechanic, Physical Facilities
Thomas Van Schoor, Assistant Dean, Office of the Dean of Students

15 Years
Dedra Harris, Campus Operator, Campus Operator

10 Years
Daniel Choisser, ITS Manager, User Services
James Taylor, Assistant Director, Institute of Environmental Research and Education
George Toomer, Supervisor, Custodial Services

5 Years
Sheresa Divens, Coordinator, Residence Life Programming
Sierra Ejankowski, Academic Support Services Specialist, Political Science and Public Administration
Bettina Elgado Cross, Office Manager, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education
Carrie Guth, Assistant VP, Chief Human Resources Officer, Human Resources
Laura McCloskey, Associate Director of Data Records Management, Human Resources
Timothy Parenton, Head Athletic Coach, Baseball
April Price, University Librarian, Thomas G. Carpenter Library
George Rainbolt, Professor, Academic Affairs

The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions recently:
Jhezaryn Joy Alba, Accountant, Controller
Harold Anderson, Events Planning Coordinator, MOCA Jacksonville
Hether Celetti, Board Relations Coordinator, Board of Trustees
Maritza Choisser, Academic Support Services Manager, Academic Affairs
Jesse Dove, Coordinator of Simulation Center, MedNexus – Nursing
Michelle Edmonds, Professor, Nursing
Theodore Geep, Senior Library Services Associate, Thomas G. Carpenter Library
Michael Kilbane, Instructor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
Daniel Lopez, Development Associate, University Development/Alumni Engagement
Alec Pequignot, Groundskeeper, Physical Facilities
Kayliana Quiver, Coordinator Youth Program Compliance, Sport Fit Camp
Kimberly Singer, Associate Director Research Program Services, Florida Institute of Education
Courtney Stevenson, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Student Services

Great Job
The following employees were promoted recently:
Cheresa Boston, Assistant VP of Research, ORSP
Donovan Faustino, Senior ITS Engineer, Systems Engineering
Ashley Helmick, Assistant Director of Alumni Engagement, Alumni Services
Jason Lewis, IT Network Engineer, Networking Services
Courtney Moore, Accountant, Controller
Melody Nauta, Business Operations Manager, Computing, Engineering and Construction
Shelby Scanlon, Coordinator Communications, Center for Instruction and Research Technology
Nicholas Soriano, Systems Analyst, Quality Control and Work Management

The following employees have left UNF recently:
Christina Bacon, Basketball Operations Director, Women's Basketball
Shawn Brayton, Director of Academic Support Services, Assessment Activities
Adam Chalmers, Assistant University Librarian, Thomas G. Carpenter Library
Brishauna Conner, Office Assistant, Quality Control and Work Management
Cynthia Cummings, Professor, Nursing
James Guppenberger, Laboratory Manager, Chemistry
Jessica Harris, Student Affairs Specialist, Department of Diversity Initiatives
Lauren Hodge, Manager of College Communications, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management
Kelly Hovinga, Assistant University Librarian, Thomas G. Carpenter Library
Madeline Lee, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Student Services
Jody Morgan, Academic Advisor, COAS Advising
Judith Newbold, Accounting Associate, Advancement Services
Trenten Oliver, Desktop Support Engineer, User Services
Stephanie Paige, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Physical Therapy
Megan Porter, Associate Director, COEHS Operations
Melinda Powers, Coordinator of Research Program Services, Small Business Development Center
Ronnesha Rodgers, Social Media Coordinator, Marketing and Communications
Connie Roush, Associate Professor, Nursing
Brittany Santos, Budgets Coordinator, Music
Linda Skrla, Professor, Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management
Kristin Smith, Associate Director, University Housing Operations
Lori Stanton, Administrative Secretary, Psychology
Brittany Walker, ITS Management Specialist, User Services

Swoop Summary

Golf player on the courseGolf Team Competing at the 2022 NCAA Men's Golf Championship
No. 33 North Florida men's golf looks to complete another historic season on a strong note in the NCAA Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club from May 27-June 1 in Scottsdale, Arizona. Learn more about this year's NCAA Championship.

North Florida Student-Athletes Achieve 3.46 GPA as a Department
For the 22nd-straight semester, North Florida Athletics' student-athletes combined to post over a 3.0 department-wide grade point average (GPA), doing so with flying colors at a 3.46 GPA as announced by the Student-Athlete Center for Excellence (SACE). Learn more about this academic achievement.

Runners competing in track and fieldPedroza, O'Gorman Show for Silver on Final Day of ASUN Outdoor Track Championships
Robert Pedroza and Aidan O'Gorman showed out in their finals races at the ASUN Outdoor Track and Field Championship at the Visit Jax Track at Hodges Stadium on Saturday, May 14. Pedroza placed second in the 800m final and O'Gorman followed that up with a runner-up finish of his own in the 1500m. Learn more about the final day of the 2022 ASUN Outdoor Track Championships.

Women's Golf Finishes Season in Eighth at NCAA Tallahassee Regional
No. 49 North Florida women's golf wrapped up the final round of play in Tallahassee to finish the tournament in eighth place at the NCAA Tallahassee Regional — their best placement in an NCAA Regional tournament in program history. Learn more about this year's NCAA Tallahassee Regional.

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UNF campusUNF again ranks as a value university

UNF was ranked close to the top third of more than 600 four-year colleges selected for value by Money magazine for its 2022 Best Colleges list. To find those universities around the nation considered a “great investment,” Money considered quality of education, affordability and graduate earnings outcomes.

According to Money, the purpose of the ranking is to guide families in making what many consider to be one of the biggest financial decisions people will make. In fact, a recent survey from NORC at the University of Chicago indicated that roughly three-quarters of Americans view the high cost of college as the biggest barrier to earning a degree. 

See Money’s recap of UNF’s numbers, that includes costs, financial aid and student success.
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