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InsideNovember 2015

Around Campus

New Hicks Honors College to expand students’ experience

Honors students release balloons after the announcement of the Hicks Honors College at UNFThe University of North Florida added its sixth academic college last month - the Hicks Honors College - further expanding learning opportunities for some of UNF’s highest achieving students, thanks to a multimillion dollar donation.                            


Formerly known as the Honors Program, the new College, which received the support of the Faculty Association and was approved by the University’s Board of Trustees, was made possible by a $7 million gift from long-time friends of UNF - Ann and David Hicks.


Surrounded by more than two dozen Honors students sporting the new College’s T-shirts, President John A. Delaney touched on the fact that the gift comes at a particularly important time for UNF.


“The fall freshman class is the smartest ever at UNF with an average high school GPA of 4.02,” he said, mentioning that these are students who want to be challenged academically.


 “The Hicks Honors College will provide high-achieving students with a transformative, four-year experience,” Delaney said. “This will include taking classes from the University’s most accomplished faculty and engaging in experiential, high-impact learning in a community of academic excellence.”


The gift creates an endowment that provides $80,000 a year for junior and senior Honors students selected as Hick’s Fellows to travel to conferences, participate in academic competitions, conduct special projects and more.


Undergraduate research opportunities will also be funded, allowing for students to work with faculty in their chosen disciplines. An additional $180,000 will be allocated to give about 60 students a year the chance to study abroad. The overall Honors curriculum will expand, offering a community-centered and outreach-focused learning environment at UNF and in the Jacksonville community.


“The Hicks Honors College will prepare these students for a lifetime of leadership,” Delaney said.


Henok Daniel, a sophomore Honors student majoring in chemistry, has enjoyed his honors experience and looks forward to the changes.


“The Honors faculty have done such a great job providing a diverse academic environment,” said Daniel, who was excited to hear about the new investment in the program.


He thinks having the distinction of a College may inspire more students to join. Prior to the announcement, about 580 students were registered in the Honors Program. Daniels believes becoming a College widens the appeal to students to take the Honors route.


“I think new students at UNF may consider Honors in the future,” Daniels said. “The College elevates the status of the program and provides more opportunities.”


The Hicks have been longtime supporters of UNF.  The couple - huge advocates of HabiJax - a regional Habitat for Humanity International affiliate - originated and provided significant funding for the Pathways to Success Scholarship program, which paves the way for students living in HabiJax and public housing to attend UNF. Ann, a UNF alum, currently serves on the UNF Foundation Board and is a former member of the Board of Trustees. She also provides additional scholarship assistance to students.  In honor of their tremendous service to UNF and the Northeast Florida community, the building formerly known as UNF Hall (Building 53) was renamed Ann and David Hicks Hall in 2012.


Jazmyne Jackson, an honors student who spoke at the event, was overwhelmed by the Hicks’ gift to the University and said it would only make a good program even better.


“They are remarkable human beings,” she said.  “I’m floored by their generosity and their willingness to invest in us!  I’m proud to be a Hicks’ Honors Student.”

Around Campus

UNF faculty and staff make House Calls

Dan Moon (left) greets students during the House Calls eventOn an ordinary Wednesday evening in the middle of October, having freshly baked cookies delivered to their door was a welcome treat for freshman Leah Brown and her roommate. The fact that they were hand delivered by the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of Undergraduate Studies Daniel C. Moon, and the Director of Admissions Karen Lucas was pretty cool, too.


It was all part of the University’s first House Calls event where 89 faculty and staff members visited every first-year student’s room on campus to check in, see if they needed anything and answer any questions they may have. If the students weren’t home, they left a doorhanger with key information.


“I think this is awesome,” Brown said of the dorm visits. “It’s nice to know that they care.”


The event was a collaboration between the Provost’s Office, Enrollment Services and Housing and Residence Life.


Bob Boyle, director of Housing and Residence Life, said it is important to provide opportunities for students, particularly first-year students, to feel connected and comfortable on campus. 


“It sends a message that it’s not just business as usual at UNF,” Boyle said of the House Calls event. “There are a lot of people here who care.”


In addition to the cookies, the two-person teams were equipped with lists of pertinent phone numbers, as well as raffle tickets for free UNF swag.


“House Calls was an incredible, collaborative partnership across the University community that was successful beyond our expectations,” said Cathy Cole, marketing and communication director in Enrollment Services, who coordinated the event. “The event was so successful and the response from students and volunteers so positive, that we will most certainly be hosting House Calls again – most likely each semester,” Cole said. She said that staff was able to follow up with many students on questions they had and challenges they were facing.


“House Calls is a critical university-wide initiative that helps with two of our performance-based metrics - retention and graduation rates,” Dan Moon said.


“During the two-hour event, faculty and staff engaged with students in their on-campus homes and gave them a chance to really connect outside of the classroom in a meaningful way. It is through activities like these that we are able to make a difference in the lives of individual students and help them to understand the resources they have available to them, the personnel on campus to assist them and that they are not alone during their four-year experience,” he said.


“They can start, stay and finish strong through programs like this.” 

Around Campus

Academic tech symposium cultivates faculty/staff collaboration, innovation

Georgette Dumont addresses the crowd during last years Symposium.Dynamic ideas and thought-provoking presentations will be incubated on campus this month when the University of North Florida hosts the third Academic Technology Innovation Symposium. This mind-expanding event highlights innovative practices by UNF faculty and offers a forum for interactive learning and discussion on the current use and potential for academic technology to support teaching, learning and research. The symposium is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 6 in the Student Union and is being coordinated by UNF’s Center for Instruction and Research Technology.


The theme of this year’s symposium is “Engaging Students: What’s your Blend?” Presentations pondering that topic will be broken into three different categories to make them faster paced than the average academic conference. There are innovation spotlights (20-minute, TED talk-style lectures with question-and-answer sessions), five-minute pitches (quick-hitting presentations that identify academic problems and propose solutions) and digital and printed poster presentations. Presenting UNF faculty and staff will discuss new and unique accomplishments, projects, ideas and initiatives demonstrating their innovative approaches to interdisciplinary teaching and scholarship.


The creation of the symposium can be tied to the University’s continued adoption of distance learning techniques across campus, said Deb Miller, director of the Center for Instruction and Research Technology. Three years ago, Miller said UNF’s Distance Learning Committee suggested organizing an event that could document the innovative work of faculty in the distance learning arena. That idea morphed into a symposium, which has featured a number of academic visitors from different regional institutions, as well as distinguished keynote speakers.  This year’s keynote address will be delivered by W. Gardner Campbell, the vice provost for Learning Innovation and Student Success, dean of University College and an associate professor of English at Virginia Commonwealth University. His talk, titled “Blended Learning – A Taxonomy of Student Engagement,” will discuss how hybrids of online and face-to-face learning experiences can best encourage student engagement.


Previous years’ symposiums have discussed personalizing student/teacher interaction in a digital environment, closing the loop on online discussions and screencasting lectures. These presentations have sparked conversations and promoted collaboration between faculty across colleges. This year’s event features brand new faculty presenting, along with other faculty who’ve participated each year and improved learning in their classes by employing different digital strategies.


Staff are also invited to participate. Maria Atilano, the marketing and student outreach librarian for the Thomas G. Carpenter Library, will be discussing social media listening during a poster presentation. Atilano runs the Library’s social media accounts and will elaborate on how she uses Twitter to monitor online conversations pertaining to the Library and interacts with different student populations.


“It’s a great engagement tool - especially around the time when students are getting their acceptance letters,” she said. “By congratulating them and welcoming them to UNF, they become more engaged on campus.”


Registration is required for this event and can be done through  the Center’s website.

Around Campus

Stein Prize promotes artist advancement at MOCA Jacksonville

Museum guests view a recent Project Atrium exhibitThe Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, a cultural resource of the University of North Florida, recently announced the creation of the Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize.


Highlighting the work of emerging artists is at the core of MOCA Jacksonville’s artistic and educational mission. Thanks to the Steins, who are now partnering with MOCA Jacksonville, the Museum will be able to award a burgeoning artist with the prize of having their work displayed in a MOCA Jacksonville exhibition and added to the public program at the Museum. The chosen artist will also have their work acquired as part of the Museum’s Permanent Collection and will receive a stipend.


“MOCA Jacksonville plays a crucial role by introducing emerging contemporary artists to the community,” said Marcelle Polednik, director and chief curator. “The Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize highlights this central aspect of MOCA’s mission. The generous award supports the extensive professional development MOCA provides for young artists, helping prepare them for exhibitions, building their portfolios, coaching their public presentations and documenting and promoting their work.”


The Steins’ major gift also helps sustain MOCA Jacksonville’s efforts to seek out and cultivate the growth of promising, emerging artistic talent. The search for new talent requires an ongoing survey of the landscape of contemporary art, including substantial staff research and travel.


Additionally, the Stein Prize recipient’s work will appear at MOCA Jacksonville as part of a featured exhibition or “Project Atrium” installation in the upcoming year.


“This prize marries our passion for contemporary art and our strong belief in MOCA Jacksonville’s mission to identify and professionally develop emerging artists,” Brooke said.


Stein, who is a member of MOCA’s Board of Trustees. “We are proud to sponsor the work MOCA does to bring these distinctive artists to Jacksonville as resources for the public and our local creative community.”


The first Brooke and Hap Stein Emerging Artist Prize will be awarded in March 2016 and every March thereafter.


MOCA’s social media followers can follow the entire process by searching #SteinPrize on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.


Swoop Summary

UNF mens soccer players during the seniors gameWelcome to the Swoop Summary. Every issue of Inside, we’ll be bringing you a recap of all the UNF Athletics accomplishments you need to know from the past month. These are just a few highlights. For a full breakdown, head to UNF Athletics for all the latest Osprey news, stats and info.   



UNF men’s soccer clinches regular season title on senior night -


The North Florida men's soccer team clinched a share of its first-ever Atlantic Sun Regular Season Championship with a 2-0 win against USC Upstate. The Ospreys finished 4-0-1 in Conference play and will be the No. 2 seed in the Atlantic Sun Conference Tournament. 


Follow the men’s soccer’s tournament journey.



Frontline dominates as UNF volley tops Stetson in thrilling comeback -



The North Florida volleyball team rallied from a 0-2 deficit to earn a thrilling five-set road victory Saturday afternoon over Stetson at the Edmunds Center.


Relive the comeback victory with a full game recap.  


Pietschmann named to CoSIDA Academic All-District team -


North Florida men's soccer player Helge Pietschmann was named to the Academic All-District team, annually selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). The International Business major is one of three Atlantic Sun student-athletes on the list.


Learn more about Pietschmann’s award. 



Colubiale earns A-Sun All-Conference Second Team and All-Freshman honors -


Freshman forward Krista Colubiale was named to the Atlantic Sun All-Conference Second Team and All-Freshman team.


Read on for more about this outstanding freshman Osprey.


Professors awarded NSF grant for rock quality assessment tool

Science and Engineering buildingProfessors in the School of Engineering at the University of North Florida were awarded a grant for more than $185,000 by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop an automated quantifiable textural-based weathering classification system for limestone rock specimens, which will benefit not only Florida but the U.S. economy and society.


With this funding, Drs. Nick Hudyma, UNF professor of civil engineering, and Alan Harris, UNF associate professor of electrical engineering, will work together to develop a surface roughness rock-quality assessment tool that will be used for characterizing weathered limestone for the design of major bridge and building foundations throughout the state. This grant is one of five NSF grants the University has received in the last year.


When tunnels and foundations for buildings and bridges are designed to be supported by weathered rock, it’s important to understand the magnitude in the decrease of strength and stiffness caused by weathering. Weathering, which has a negative effect on the strength and stiffness of rock, is currently assessed using visual descriptions. Previous studies have shown it’s very easy to visually distinguish unweathered and highly weathered rock specimens but intermediate weathering states are often misclassified, leading to inaccurate assessments of rock mass quality.


“This measurement-based assessment system will be more robust than the visual-based system. This will lead to more economical and sustainable designs of infrastructure supported by weathered rock,” Hudyma said. “This research can also be utilized for the assessment of rock joint roughness, which can lead to safer and more economical rock slopes.”


Weathering assessment will be based on 2- and 3-D computer-based algorithms applied to point clouds, a set of 3-D data points, developed through laser scanning and photogrammetry of rock cores. The assessment tool will be based on the same framework as the Geological Strength Index system, which is currently used for rock mass classification.


This research involves UNF undergraduate students in both civil and electrical engineering and will help positively impact engineering education at the undergraduate level.


“This grant is a fantastic opportunity for our undergraduate students to work on an interdisciplinary team, which gives them an opportunity to solve a problem that none of them would be able to work on without the collaborative effort,” Harris said.


Help honor high-achieving Osprey alumni

UNF alumni with Ozzie outside Alumni HallUNF alumni do amazing things! You know it. We know it.


Help us honor UNF’s most distinguished alumni and should-be alumni by nominating someone for a distinguished award to be presented at the Alumni Recognition Dinner and Awards Ceremony the week of Homecoming. Award selection is made from candidates who possess the highest standards of integrity and character, who have distinguished themselves through professional accomplishment or service to the University and beyond and who positively reflect and enhance the prestige of the University.


Award categories include:

  • Distinguished Alumni Achievement Award
  • Young Alumni Achievement Award
  • Alumni Service Award
  • Honorary Alumni Award

Nominations must be submitted with an official nomination form and include necessary supporting documentation no later than Friday, Nov. 20. See our website for more details.


For questions, please contact the Office of Alumni Engagement and Annual Giving by calling (904) 620-4723 or e-mailing

Get to Know

Christina Levine

Christina Levine headshot Department: University Development and Alumni Engagement 


Job title: Director of Development, Major Gifts 

What do you do? I cultivate relationships with individuals, corporations and foundations to secure transformational gifts to support multiple areas of the university. Additionally, I work with the Advancement Committee of the UNF Foundation Board to execute a successful annual Board Drive and Board Initiatives program. 


Years at UNF: Five years in February 

Tell us about your family: I have a husband and two teenage boys, ages 13 and 16. I’m from Nassau, Bahamas and none of my own relatives are in the United States - most are in the Bahamas or Cyprus, where my father grew up. 


If you could choose any other career, what would it be and why? Before I came to UNF, I worked in advertising and sales, but I think I’ve found my niche in development. I’m people-oriented and wanted a meaningful career that involved building relationships with people making a positive impact in the community. 


What would you like to do when you retire? I don’t know if I will retire truthfully - I have to be busy. But if I do someday, I would love to volunteer to help underserved youth or those with special needs.


What is your favorite thing about working at UNF? It’s a community within a community. It’s also extremely inspiring. I am very proud of our students and the generous commitment from so many donors. 


What is the best thing you ever won? I’ve won two pretty great things actually. I was a big sister for eight years with Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Florida and won tickets once to take my little sister to see Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum. That was a special time together. I also was the proud first recipient of the “Some Pig” Award given out by my boss, Josh Merchant. It was based on the movie Charlotte’s Web where the spider tries to bring recognition to the pig. Josh wrote up a wonderful description of the award and what attributes it recognizes. What made it even more meaningful was that it was a trophy that he won as a child growing up on a farm! It’s proudly displayed in my office. 


What band(s)/musician(s) would perform the soundtrack to your life? Definitely the Bee Gees. I love classic disco, and I love to dance. 


Describe your favorite UNF-related memory? There are several, but I think the most exciting was the Atlantic Sun Championship basketball game. Being present for that historic moment made me feel such amazing pride in our University. Sharing the moment with students, faculty, staff and donors was thrilling. 


What is your favorite way to blow an hour? If I lived closer to the ocean, I’d probably say a walk on the beach. But for now, I’d have to say TJ Maxx.


If you were asked to paint a picture about anything you wanted, what would you paint? Probably tropical flowers. I love the tropics and vibrant colored flowers. It reminds me of my childhood growing up in the Bahamas. 


What was the best money you ever spent? Adopting our two dogs - Bella, a Boston Terrier and Patches, a Brittany Spaniel. They bring such joy to our family and will be a fond part of my sons’ childhood memories. 


Is there a piece of technology that you just couldn’t live without? Definitely my iPhone 


What is the proudest/happiest moment of your life? Certainly, the birth of my two children. But another proud and very special day was when I became a U.S. citizen in 2002. I was sworn in the same year my second child was born, so knowing that I would share citizenship with my husband and children was meaningful. 


What was the first concert you ever attended, and what was the most recent concert you attended? The first was U2 in college. Most recently, I saw Weird Al Yankovic at the Florida Theatre. I went for my 13-year-old son, but I have to say, I had a blast! 


What person had the greatest impact on your life? My father. He had the mindset that you can do anything that you put your heart and mind to. He came to the Bahamas from Cyprus. English was his second language, but he accomplished so much through hard work and determination. He was very family-oriented and also very driven. 


What are you most passionate about? Kindness and embracing diversity. I believe the world would be a better place if we were all compassionate and respectful of others. I think it’s important to try to touch people’s lives in a positive way. 


Who is the most famous person you ever met? Donald Trump at an event in the Bahamas. 


Tell us something about you that even your friends don’t know: When I was a child living in the Bahamas, I threw out a message in a bottle from our boat and someone responded. It was a boy from another part of the island, and we ended up being penpals. 


Last book read: “StrengthsFinder 2.0”

Faculty and Staff

UNF regaliaBrooks College of Health


Public Health: Dr. Natalie Arce Indelicato, assistant professor and clinical director of clinical mental health counseling, presented an educational program on "Using Community-Based Learning Assignments to Cultivate Counselor Community Engagement" and a poster titled "Beyond the Department: An Inclusive Approach to Organizing Practicum and Internship Fair" at the Association for Counselor Education and Supervision in Philadelphia, Pa.


 Dr. Tes Tuason, along with C. D. Güss and L. Orduňa, published “Strategies, Tactics and Errors in Dynamic Decision Making” in the Journal of Dynamic Decision Making.


Coggin College of Business


Transportation and Logistics: Robert Frankel, director of the Transportation and Logistics Flagship Program, was recognized as an Outstanding Associate Editor by the Journal of Business Logistics. 


Marketing: Ronald Adams, Konstantin Kostin and A. Coskun Samli, professors of marketing and logistics, wrote “Assessing Business Opportunities in BRIC Countries” for publication in AIMS International Journal of Management.


College of Arts and Sciences


Chemistry: Dr. Bryan Knuckley, with students Hao C. Nguyen and Andrew Salsburg, published “Development of a Plate-Based Screening Assay to Investigate the Substrate Specificity of the PRMT Family of Enzymes” in September’s ACS Combinatorial Science.


Drs. Thomas Mullen and Corey Causey and their colleague, Dr. Daniel Santavicca from the Department of Physics, received a National Science Foundation grant of more than $250,000 for “RUI: A Molecular-Ruler Process to Create Nanostructures through Self- and Directed-Assembly.”


History: Dr. Philip Kaplan published “Soujourner in the Land: the Resident Alien in Late Period Egypt” in “Walls of the Prince: Egyptian Interactions with Southwest Asia in Antiquity.”   


 Mathematics and Statistics: Dr. Peter Wludyka presented “Using SAS to Create an Effect Size Resampling Distribution for a Statistical Test” at the Southeast SAS Users Group in Savannah in September.


Music: Dr. Nick Curry formed a trio, the Lawson Ensemble, with Jacksonville Symphony Orchestra members Aurica Duca and Clinton Dewing. The trio will present several free chamber music concerts each year at UNF and participate in other concerts around the region.


Philosophy and Religious Studies: Dr. Andrew Buchwalter published his edited collection Hegel and Capitalism in September through the State University of New York Press. 


Physics: Dr. John Hewitt, with Dr. Marianne Lemoine-Goumard, published a review article, “Observations of Supernova Remnants and Pulsar Wind Nebulae at Gamma-ray Energies,” in a special edition of Comptes Rendus Physique on gamma-ray astronomy.


Dr. Chris Kelso was awarded a grant by the NASA Florida Space Research program for his proposal, “Developing a Dark Matter Analysis Tool.”


Dr. Gregory Wurtz, with A.Y. Bykov, T.V. Murzina, N. Olivier and A.V. Zayats, published “Coherent Lattice Dynamics in Topological Insulator Bi2Te3 Probed with Time-resolved Optical Second-harmonic Generation” in Physical Review B. With his colleagues M. E. Nasir, W. Dickson and A.V. Zayats, he also published “Tuning the Effective Plasma Frequency of Nanorod Metamaterials from Visible to Telecom Wavelengths” in Applied Physics Letters.  


Political Science and Public Administration: Dr. Joshua C. Gellers presented “Climate Refugees: Uncertainty and Insecurity” during the International Studies Senior Seminar Lecture Series at UNF.


Dr. G. G. Candler published “‘Assimilação crítica’ and research on the periphery” in Cadernos.


Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work: Dr. Jenny Stuber presented “Class Dismissed? College Students’ Discourses of Class Difference and Inequality” at Pomona College in Claremont, Calif.


Dr. Suzie Weng, with colleagues J. S. Lee and S. Ivory, published “A Strengths-based Empowerment Approach to Durable Solutions: From the Perspectives of People Who Are Forced to Migrate” in Forced Migration Review.  


College of Computing, Engineering and Construction


Computing: Dr. Patrick Kreidl, jointly with Dr. Shigang Chen from the University of Florida, gave a presentation titled “New Technologies for Network Defense Analysis Based on Malware Behavior” at the Florida Center for Cybersecurity’s Research Symposium in October.


Engineering: Dr. Adel el-Safty was named “Educator of the Year” by the Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute (PCI). PCI is a national scientific, technical and professional organization. The award recognizes research and teaching. He received the award at the PCI national convention in Louisville, Ky. in October.


College of Education and Human Services


Foundation and Secondary Education: Dr. Daniel Dinsmore presented three papers at the European Association for Research on Learning and Instruction conference in Limassol, Cyprus: “The Benefits of Self-explanation for More Difficult Types of Transfer Problems;” “Tracking the Relation Between Measures of Prior Knowledge and Reading Comprehension,” co-authored with Emily Fox from the University of Maryland, and “Elementary and Middle School Students’ Development of Epistemic Stance and Higher Order Thinking,” co-authored by Meghan Parkinson. 


Dr. Dilek Kayaalp recently published a journal article titled “Living with an Accent: A Sociological Analysis of Linguistic Strategies of Immigrant Youth in Canada” in the Journal of Youth Studies, which was also accepted for a conference. In addition, Kayaalp will present her paper titled "Accent Hierarchy and Linguistic Experiences of Minority Youth in Canada" at the International Political Science Association’s 24th World Congress in July.  


Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL: Dr. Stacy Boote recently published an article with Dr. Craig Berg from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. "Format Effects of Empirically-Derived Multiple-Choice Versus Free-Response Instruments when Assessing Graphing Abilities" was published in the International Journal of Science and Mathematics Education.


Drs. Nile Stanley and Hope Wilson have recently published an article titled “Storytelling, Values and Perceived Resilience Among Chinese, Vietnamese, American and German Prospective-teachers” in The Universal Journal of Educational Research. 


Drs. Nile Stanley and John Ouyang have been awarded a $6,000 research grant to investigate the effectiveness of the storytelling method of adolescent, Chinese second-language learners. They have also conducted workshops for the Duval County foreign language teachers.


Dr. Christine Weber and Wendy Behrens presented a session on “Making differentiation decisions” at the 21st biennial conference of the World Council for Gifted and Talented Children International Conference in Odense, Denmark in August.


Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management: The U.S. Embassy in Manama, the capital of Bahrain, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, invited Dr. Terence Cavanaugh to share his expertise with students and educators in Bahrain. Dr. Cavanaugh participated in the “Toward Digital Empowerment in Education” conference in October where he spoke about “Digital Empowerment from Digital Literacy to the Make Movement” and offered a workshop on “Finding Your Transitional Application.”  He also conducted workshops teacher specialists from the Ministry of Education, teachers and students at the Bahrain Teachers College in University of Bahrain, and a workshop for English language teachers focusing on “Bookmapping: Literature, Reading and Interactive Maps.”


Drs. Nicholas Eastham and Terence Cavanaugh presented “3D Printing: You Don’t Have to be a Designer” at the Florida Association of Science Teachers (FAST) conference in Tallahassee in October. In addition, Dr. Cavanaugh presented “Building Your Own Open Source Science Textbook” and “Strategies for the Retooled Science E-textbook.”


Dr. Matthew Ohlson was named to the National Public Policy Committee of Kappa Delta Pi, International Honor Society in Education.


Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education: Dr. Susan Syverud presented a workshop “Increasing the Reading Achievement of Young Struggling Readers” at the fourth annual TEACH Conference, an event sponsored by WJCT and Community First Credit Union to engage, empower and inspire teachers.


As board director for the Association for the Gifted, Dr. Christine Weber gave a presentation at the 69th annual Florida Council for Exceptional Children Conference in Orlando titled “Challenging Academically Diverse Learners Using Tiered Assignments.”  In addition, Drs. Susan Syverud, Debbie Reed, Janice Seabrooks-Blackmore and Karen Patterson, along with student leaders from the UNF Chapter of the Student Council for Exceptional Education Bailey Hersh, Savannah Myers, Juliana Santucci, Tessa Aldophson, Aaron Hancock and Quintia Hemphill, presented, “A University-Schools Partnership that Fosters Citizenship for Children with Disabilities,” “Preparing Candidates to Become Change Agents for Struggling Readers, Including Children with Disabilities,” and “Teacher Preparation in an Urban PDS Contex: Working with Struggling 7th Grade Math Students.”


Center for Urban Education and Policy: CUEP faculty associate Drs. Katrina Hall and Mary Rose, center director, presented "Building Literacy Through Play" in October at the Duval County Health Department as part of the Duval County Public Schools Parent Academy series. The same workshop will be provided in November.  


Office of the Dean: Drs. Betty Bennett, Megan Possinger, Jennifer Kane, John Kemppainen, Marsha Lupi and graduate assistant, Jade Yuen, participated in the Florida Association of Colleges for Teacher Education meeting in St. Petersburg in October. 


UNF balloonsMilestone anniversaries

Congratulations to the following employees who will celebrate a milestone anniversary at UNF in November:


20 years

Jonathan Brenton, Senior IT Network Engineer, Systems Engineering

Alice Davies, Office Manager, Accounting and Finance


15 years

Mina Baliamoune, Professor, Economics

Timothy Maddox, Assistant Director of IT Security, ITS


10 years

Tracy Milligan, Assistant Director, Research Program Services, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Samantha Lento, Facilities Management Coordinator, University Housing


Five years

Alice Eng, Associate University Librarian, Library

Jennifer Garrow, IT Support Specialist, User Services

Andrew Hambidge, IT Support Coordinator, User Services  

Patricia Kapcio, Assistant Director of Online Programs, Distance Learning

 Anthony Morrison, Radiology Technologist, Student Health Services

Jenny Neidhardt, Office Manager, Childhood Education Literacy and TESOL

Shawn Ochrietor, Maintenance Supervisor, Physical Facilities

Peter Rivera, Program Services Coordinator, Small Business Development Center

Melinda Rojas, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Writing Center

Midori Stephens, Education Training Programs Coordinator, Small Business Development Center

Chunging Zhao, Analytical Instrumentation Faculty, Chemistry



The following employees were either hired by UNF or were promoted from OPS positions recently:

Rodrick Andrews, Associate Director of Student Financial Aid, Financial Aid Office

Michael Augustine, Groundskeeper, Crossings

Marlene Best, Executive Secretary, Major Gifts                       

Adam Cooke, Assistant Athletic Coach, Men's Cross Country/Track

Glenda Edwards, Custodial Supervisor, Custodial Services

Kathryn Esquer, Mental Health Counselor, Counseling Center                 

Tracy Gale, Parking Attendant, Parking and Transportation Services

Taylor Gillespie, Career Development Services Coordinator, Coggin College of Business

David Havener, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management

Calvin Hines, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Mary Hirsch, Academic Support Services Coordinator, Honors

Nikolaus James, Teaching Laboratory Specialist, Art and Design                    

Joseph Janaski, Law Enforcement Officer, University Police Department

Portia Johnson, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Sylvia Johnson,  Custodial Worker,      Custodial Services

Dee Dee Jones, Accounts Payable Receiving Associate, Controller                         

Amie Karnbach, Coordinator, Admissions                        

Kiersten Lampe, Outreach Coordinator, MOCA

Cindy Lee, Custodial Worker, Student Union

Maria Mark, Coordinator of Academic Programs, Environmental Center

Danica Mandarano,  Coordinator, Admissions

Allison McLarty, Office Manager, Confucius Institute

Heather Milton, Coordinator, Admissions                        

Sheila Montemayor, Registered Nurse, Student Health Services           

Marria Nelson, Office Assistant, University Housing

Heather Patterson, Research Special Project Coordinator, President's Office                

Kelly Perkins, Program Assistant, University Housing

Maria Perricone, Administrative Secretary, Brooks College of Health

Ashley Petit-Bois, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Melanie Plourde, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Erica Rahman, Office Assistant, Student Government

Andrew Rush, Course Media Developer/Coordinator, Center for Instruction and Research Technology

Christine Sandy, Program Assistant, Continuing Education

David Sanford, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services                        


Great job

The following employees were promoted recently:


Edythe Abdullah, Interim Dean, Continuing Education

Marc Berkovits, Assistant Director, Admissions

Julie Dann, Accounting Associate, Student Affairs

Kenneth Fonder, Library Services Specialist, Library

Kelly Anne Gomes, Admissions Processing, Enrollment Services Processing Office

Ashlie Hudnall, Admissions Processing Coordinator, Enrollment Services

Rabena L. Johnson, Administrative Services Coordinator, Academic Technology and Innovation

Brenda Mesmain, Senior Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Adam Margulies, Budgets Coordinator, Business Services

Chere' Morella, Operations Coordinator, Recreation

Alison Noonan, Student Affairs Coordinator, Taylor Leadership Institute

Virginia Smith, Program Assistant, University Center

Diane Stover, Office Manager, Military and Veterans Resource Center

Bruce Turner, Associate Director, Academic Center for Excellence

Kellie Woodle, Director, Academic Center for Excellence

Dona Yazbec, Office Manager, Brooks College of Health



Heartfelt well wishes in their new endeavors for the following employees, who left UNF recently:

Jon Farrell, Groundskeeper, Grounds

Germaine Fernandes, Senior Custodial Worker, Custodial Services

Jonathan Lee, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services 

Dustin Mattox, Groundskeeper, Grounds

Thien Nguyen, Custodial Worker, Physical Facilities

Alanna Pharr, Office Manager, Foundations and Secondary Education

Ouida Powe, Jacksonville Commitment Director, Enrollment Services

Courtney Wethington, Coordinator, Admissions

The Goods


Cocoa closeupIt’s true that cocoa lacks the sweet, rich flavor of chocolate, but it can still be a versatile and tasty addition to your pantry. Jackie Shank, registered dietitian nutritionist and undergraduate program director in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program, debunks myths and offers useful tips for adding cocoa to your diet.


Myth: Cocoa comes from chocolate.

Truth: Both cocoa and chocolate are food products that come from cacao (kah-KAH-oh) seeds, also called cacao beans. The beans gather in pods on tropical Theobroma cacao trees, and they’re naturally bitter and lack aroma. To process, the beans and surrounding pulp are fermented for several days, dried to about 7 percent moisture, and then roasted for 30 to 60 minutes at 250- 320 degrees to transform the flavor. Next, the beans are cracked open, and the inner “nibs” are collected and ground into a thick, dark fluid called chocolate liquor. The creamy liquor is about 55 percent cocoa butter with protein, starch and fiber suspended within it. It can be further processed into chocolate, cocoa butter or cocoa powder. To make cocoa powder, the liquor is pressed through a fine filter that retains the cocoa particles but allows the rich cocoa butter to flow through.  


Myth: Cocoa is too bitter to be a useful ingredient. 

 Truth: It’s true that natural cocoa powder can sometimes have a bitter flavor. It’s also acidic, with a pH of 5. However, there’s another type of cocoa powder available that’s made from cacao beans treated with potassium carbonate, an alkaline substance that raises the pH to 7 or 8. This is called alkalized or “Dutched” cocoa, named after Conrad van Houten, the Dutch manufacturer who invented it. Dutched cocoa has a milder, less bitter flavor than natural cocoa.


Myth: It doesn’t matter which type of cocoa - natural or Dutched - is used in a recipe.

Truth: It matters, especially in baked goods that depend on leavening. For example, if a chocolate cake recipe uses baking soda as a primary leavener, you’ll need to use the more acidic natural cocoa to properly react with the baking soda and ensure adequate carbon dioxide. Lots of carbon dioxide will properly leaven the cake and result in a nice height and lovely texture.


Myth: Cocoa is too high in fat and calories to regularly include in the diet.

Truth: Due to the processing method described above, most of the fat-rich cocoa butter is separated from the cocoa particles, leaving just small amounts in the cocoa powder. In fact, one tablespoon of cocoa powder has a scant 0.5 grams of fat. It’s also low in calories with just 10 per tablespoon and has no sugar. But even if cocoa was high in fat and calories, as is chocolate, it’s still okay in moderation. 

Myth: There aren’t many ways to use cocoa in the diet.  

Truth: Recipes using cocoa powder as an ingredient are plentiful. From baked goods to beverages and more, recipes abound. Cacao beans are an excellent natural source of healthful antioxidant nutrients called flavanols, and many people are adding cocoa powder to their recipes for that reason. Cocoa will add a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods and smoothies but won’t contribute sweetness, so you may have to adjust for that.


Here’s a recipe featuring cocoa that is simple yet surprisingly tasty and nutritious. Hershey’s dark cocoa, which is a blend of both natural and Dutched cocoa powder, was used for this recipe.


Maple Cocoa

1 cup whole milk or soy milk (or other alternative)
2 tablespoons dark cocoa powder
1 tablespoon maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 pinch of salt


Combine ingredients in a medium pot and warm on medium-low heat, whisking until frothy and hot.


Nutritional Analysis per serving:

Calories- 219, Total Fat- 9 grams, Saturated Fat- 5 grams, Cholesterol- 24 milligrams, Protein- 8 grams, Carbohydrate- 33 grams, Fiber- 2 grams, Sodium- 213 milligrams, Calcium*- 32 percent, Iron*- 26 percent.
* Percent Daily Value


Recipe adapted from Mother Nature Network, “5 Healthy Hot Cocoa Recipes” by Melissa Breyer, available online.


The Goods is a monthly column about food myths and facts by faculty members in the Nutrition and Dietetics Flagship Program and runs monthly in The Florida Times-Union’s “Taste” section. Have questions about cocoa? Contact Shank at .   

Bright Birds Know

Students on the GreenIncoming freshman at UNF boast some of the highest academic profiles in the entire State University System. The new students boast an average high school GPA of 4.02 and average quantitative and verbal SAT scores of 1218, making UNF a destination for high-achieving students.  


Bright Birds Know is a monthly feature highlighting interesting facts, figures and stories about the University of North Florida. Do you have a thought-provoking entry that you want to share with the campus community? Get involved by submitting your own Bright Birds Know item to Matt Coleman at .