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InsideAugust 2018

Around Campus

Meet UNF’s First Lady

Maria Szymanski reads to children at UNF Preschool

When Maria Szymanski enters a room, the ambience noticeably changes. There’s a little more energy in the space, a little more life, and perhaps even a few more smiles. UNF’s new First Lady clearly loves people, and she radiates positivity. She’s approachable, charismatic and fun, and that enthusiasm now extends to the University of North Florida. INSIDE had the good fortune to sit down with her to learn more about her background, her life as an elementary school teacher, her passions and, yes, her husband.

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I was born in Greece and moved to the United States when I was eight years old. We moved to Asheville, North Carolina, where there was a large Greek community. It was an amazing place to grow up. This was a community of people who were motivated to provide opportunities for their children. It was the American Dream. They came here for a better life.

What are some of your earliest memories here?
I was placed in second grade at a public school, and I didn’t know the language. I was very, very fortunate. I had this amazing second grade teacher — Mrs. Van Story. As soon as I stepped into this world, she made the biggest difference for me.

She sought out ways to help me — in the community and in the school. She had other students from different grades take me to recess and to the library to help me read. When we talk about education, we talk about the whole child and individualized instruction. This teacher knew what I needed, and she brought those resources to me.

To have that type of individual in my life really made an impact on me. She not only helped me adjust to new surroundings, but it was my introduction to what education was about. I was a second-grader learning all this step by step ... though I didn’t know it yet.

Tell us about your college experience.
I went to the University of North Carolina at Asheville and majored in psychology because I always loved and was fascinated by human thinking. But one day I stepped into a classroom for a field exercise to interview students, and I knew right off that I needed to teach. I needed to be in the classroom. I thought, “I can make a difference right here with all these students — 20-30 children at one time. This is where I can really have an impact.”

My family was not surprised when I told them I planned to get a teaching certificate. They knew education would be a part of my life, but they wanted me to find it out for myself.

How did you and President Szymanski meet?
We were both at UNC Asheville. You can’t help but notice David. He’s 6’6”. I had seen him around quite a bit. He was a student with three scholarships including an academic scholarship (a plus, I thought), and he was on the basketball and tennis teams.

One day, a friend of ours decided to introduce us. She thought we would click. We met at a college dance, and she was right — there was an instant charisma. We dated for a while, then got married after graduation.

What was your first job out of college?
I was hired to teach fifth grade in that same elementary school! It was amazing, and my favorite teacher was still there. I remember going down to her room and telling her what an impact she had on me. It is incredible how an individual can change your whole life ... and put you on a certain path.

I only had the position for half a year before moving to Tennessee. I got my master’s degree in elementary education at Tennessee State University, while David was at Vanderbilt getting his degree. After that, I taught Pre-K, was a curriculum developer for a Pre-K school, taught kindergarten for many years, as well as third, fourth and fifth grades.

What or who inspires you?
My 5-year-old granddaughter inspires me. When you look at the world through a child’s eyes, it changes your outlook — you see all the love in the world … and there’s curiosity. It is important to continue to explore, participate and have fun. As adults, we need to stay curious as we go through our lives. When you’re curious, you never stop learning — and curiosity makes you act!

What has been most satisfying in your life?
Of course, teaching and so many family moments, but I think right now, David and I are experiencing one of the most significant times in our lives — to be here at the University of North Florida. It is impossible to describe how excited and motivated we both are, and it is the same with our children, our entire family and our friends. There is so much encouragement, enthusiasm and support. Our friends say to us, “This is your school” and we feel it. This is where we are meant to be.

What do you look forward to in the coming months?
I can’t wait for the fall, and visiting the campus more. I’m so eager to walk around and meet more students. I met lots of faculty and staff during the Open House, but can’t wait to get to know more employees at UNF and learn about what they do and what’s important to them.

Of course, employees would love to know more about our President. Since you know him better than anyone, is there anything about David Szymanski that you would like to share with us?
I would want everyone at UNF to know that he values people. It doesn’t matter what your title is. He believes in the team approach — that everyone’s role is important. That is how he has always been. David is definitely efficient, and he likes to do things the correct way and in a positive way. He’s a big motivator. He’s also quick with his humor and that always puts people at ease.

Maria Szymanski’s view of the world is refreshing, and while the title of First Lady may be new, it is most fitting for the kind, outgoing and gracious President’s wife. Over the course of the semester, there will be numerous opportunities for faculty and staff to meet her. She is looking forward to visiting with employees on Friday, Sept. 7 at the Faculty and Staff Appreciation Breakfast as well as before and after Convocation.

Around Campus

Researchers await answers — and baby gators

Dr. Adam Rosenblatt and student researcher Molly O'Brien monitor the alligator nestsIncubating eggs requires patience.

Just ask Dr. Adam Rosenblatt, assistant professor of biology, and UNF student Molly O’Brien. The two researchers are nearing the end of a project that is the first of its kind: imposing future climate-change scenarios — elevated temperature and increased rainfall — on alligator eggs to see how they respond.

Two research questions remain unanswered: How many eggs will hatch? And, will the baby gators that emerge be females or males? The answers — and babies — are expected to arrive by the end of the month.

The research began in June with 400 alligator eggs sheltered in 20 artificial nests on a University rooftop; half were wrapped in plastic to increase the temperature by about 5 to 6 degrees, mimicking what scientists predict the climate will be in the Northeast Florida area by the end of the 21st century.

Because the sex of alligators is determined by nest temperature — not genetics — colder or warmer nests produce more females than males. Therefore, Rosenblatt and O’Brien are testing whether increasing the heat will tip the scales toward female gators, thus raising concerns for the sustainability of the population. Or, are alligator eggs resilient?

“We just don’t know the answers yet, because no one has done this before,” Rosenblatt said. “Researchers in Africa and Australia have measured the temperatures in crocodile nests in the wild, but no one has ever done an experiment like this.”

So, for now, they wait. O’Brien continues to monitor the nests and gather data on temperature and humidity. The baby gators may start “chirping” as early as mid-August, letting the world know they are ready to break free. O’Brien and other students will be listening. “We will be going up there every three hours during the day for a few weeks until all the nests have hatched,” O’Brien said.

Once the babies chirp, they will be moved into the lab for closer monitoring. Rosenblatt explained that the hatchlings chirp in the wild to alert the mother to remove the grasses covering the nest and be ready to help. “Sometimes the mother will pick up an egg in her mouth and help crack the egg a tiny bit to help the baby,” Rosenblatt said.

But how many eggs will hatch? Again, no one knows. Rosenblatt said that in ideally controlled conditions, about 80 percent of the eggs hatch. Since UNF has experimental conditions, he’s expecting maybe 50 to 70 percent.

Despite the uncertainty, both are eagerly awaiting what may well be the most exciting part of the experiment. O’Brien, who has enjoyed the hands-on, applied knowledge learning — even dabbling in carpentry to build the wooden nest structures — has been monitoring the nests all summer and is eager to hear the babies chirp. “I’m going to be a mother,” O’Brien said. “These are going to be my baby alligators.”

More facts about alligator eggs:
  1. Alligator eggs love heat and humidity; ideal incubation conditions are between 85–95 degrees Fahrenheit with 90–100 percent humidity.
  2. Female alligators don’t lay eggs every year, but over a lifetime, a mother alligator may lay more than 300 eggs. Despite those numbers, on average only one of those offspring will survive to adulthood to replace the mother.
  3. In the wild, alligator babies fall prey to many other creatures and roughly 90 percent won’t survive through their first year of life.
  4. Researchers are also interested in looking at how climate change may affect the sex of sea turtles, which is also determined by temperature.

Around Campus

Movies on the House

Popcorn and movie tickets

UNF strives to bring its diverse campus community together to engage with one another and learn. More than 20 years ago, Jason Mauro, associate professor of English, created “Movies on the House,” also known as MOTH, to give UNF students, faculty and staff an opportunity to bond and grow through film – free of charge.

Watching a movie at the cinema with family and friends was once a revered, communal affair. But as time and technology progressed, allowing audiences to view movies from the comfort of their own homes, the enchantment of movie-going has been lost for some. With the domination of major blockbuster films, some movies are never released in mainstream theaters or disappear quickly because they cannot compete for box office dollars. Many movies that spark discussion, social change and emotional growth get overshadowed.

Mauro recognized this problem two decades ago and designed a solution with the support of then-interim president, E.K. Fretwell. In hopes to bring back interpersonal and intellectual engagement that certain movies offer, MOTH was created.

After a showing of “The Tillman Story,” Mauro, who also serves as the director of the series, recalled the impactful discussion about the documentary that examined a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan, which came from a crowd comprised of diverse political and socioeconomic views.

“Everyone was respectful and respected, and it brought out an incredible range of views,” Mauro said. “It was a moment when I stood back and thought, ‘this is what a university is.’”

Though viewings came to a temporary hiatus in 2013 due to 35mm film format dying out in the movie world, "Movies on the House" is back and better than ever. Not only will the screenings resume at the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater on campus with up-to-date technology for quality viewing experiences, MOTH has partnered with the Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville, an institute of UNF. MOCA wanted to revive their film series. With alternating weekly showings on campus and at MOCA, faculty, staff, students and others in the community will have ability to watch films, discuss movies while also enjoying food and games.

The first movie of the MOTH season, “Colossal,” will be screened in the Andrew A. Robinson Jr. Theater on Sept. 5 at 7:30 p.m. View the movie schedule.

Around Campus

MOCA Jacksonville takes new direction with retail shop

GENERATION US shop at MOCAMOCA Jacksonville is transitioning its retail shop to welcome GENERATION US, a contemporary lifestyle loft that will feature newly redesigned MOCA merchandise, alongside unique gifts and home furnishings. GENERATION US @ MOCA is set to open this fall.

Museum Director Caitlín Doherty has made continuing MOCA’s commitment to downtown revitalization a priority in her first year as director. “Our new venture with GENERATION US is a first step in a larger initiative to revitalize downtown,” Doherty said. “Our plan also includes a lobby redevelopment to make the first floor of the museum an open community space, and creating a destination retail store to bring more people downtown aligns with that vision.”

MOCA holds a prime location in the downtown Jacksonville landscape, on the corners of Laura and Duval Streets, next to the Jacksonville Public Library and across the street from Jacksonville City Hall. MOCA located there in 1999, purchasing the former Western Union Building Telegraph building. In 2003, it completed its renovation of the building and opened its doors to the public as downtown’s premiere visual arts destination.

MOCA shares a unique brand alignment and focus on contemporary design with GENERATION US, which is owned by local interior designer Troy Spurlin and currently located in the 5 Points neighborhood of Riverside. Spurlin has a history with MOCA Jacksonville and served as the director of marketing and special events from 2004 to 2007.

Get to Know

Brian Becker

Brian Becker headshotBrian Becker: Coordinator, Benefits and Retirement

What do you do at UNF? Mainly, I help prospective, new and current employees understand and register for their benefit and retirement plans.

What do you enjoy about working here? As a HR professional, I get to meet a lot of people. Meeting and helping the UNF community is very rewarding.

How long have you lived in Jacksonville? I have lived in this area since 2008. Where else have you lived? I have also lived in Gainesville and before that Hollywood, Florida.

Tell us something that might surprise us about you. I’m a father of four. I have an 8-year-old boy and … wait for it … 4-year-old GGB TRIPLETS. 

What one memory do you most treasure and why? I treasure a bunch, but my wedding day and my kids’ birthdays are at the top. I hit the lotto with my family.

If you could have a dinner party and invite any four people, from the past or present, who would be on your guest list? Jimmy Buffett, Derek Jeter, Steve Spurrier and Walt Disney. Why these choices? Buffett became a billionaire in flip flops knowing 3 chords and copyrighting one word “Margaritaville.” He island hops flying his own planes and seems to have the chillest life ever. Jeter, c’mon … iconic SS of the New York Yankees that did it during my era of fandom. I’m a UF grad, and Spurrier is hilarious — he would keep us entertained. Disney, picking the brain of the person with the greatest imagination ever would be awesome.

If you could do another job for just one day, what would it be? Just a day … President of the U.S.A. I need to know all the secrets, but don’t need to have the responsibility of leading the free world every second of every day.

What superpower would you like to have? The ability to read minds. How would you use it? I’d only have one use … to know what my kids were thinking at any given time, LOL.

What would be the title for the movie version of your life? The Adventures of TripDaddy ... see the answer to the surprise question below.

What one food do you wish had zero calories? PIZZA

Where would you like to go on a dream vacation? I've been pretty lucky and have seen most of the states already. I put Europe on the bucket list, but something I’d really like to do, maybe sooner than that, is an Alaskan cruise.

Tell us a few of your favorite things.
Board game: What do you meme?
Childhood memory: Long summer days out on the baseball fields
Movie line: "Stupid is as stupid does."
Physical activity: Hitting the gym and playing softball

Around Campus

Osprey Profile: Desiree Miller

Desiree Miller headshotWhat is your major and why did you choose it? My major is communication with a concentration in advertising. I chose it because I think communication is a foundation on how we interact with others, and for advertising, I’m always marketing ideas to my friends and my family.

Why did you decide to attend the University of North Florida? I was interested in the small class size and what I make of my college experience. I knew I could grow at UNF.

Where are you from? Originally Houston, Texas, but I’ve lived in Jacksonville for nine years.

What do you like most about UNF? The connections I’ve made here with faculty, coworkers and friends. I have flourished, and honestly, I have my experiences at UNF to thank for that.

What has been your coolest UNF experience so far? Being a first-year mentor and joining a sorority! Joining Alpha Chi has been life-changing. My sisters support me in everything I do. I have ample time for school, work and hobbies. But I love being able to give back to my community and help through our philanthropy. Helping out at our local Hubbard House, a domestic violence shelter for victims, humbles me to do better in school and be thankful for my opportunities. Being a First-Year Experience mentor is amazing. I love mentoring people and helping them discover their passions.

Who is your favorite professor? Do you have a favorite class? My favorite professor is Diane Matuschka. She helped me become comfortable with public speaking and knowing my audience. Her class was probably my favorite class so far.

What does being an Osprey mean to you? Being an Osprey to me is making the most of my experience. Whether that’s joining clubs, playing sports or finding a group of friends I love to hang with. In college you are here to get your degree, but I think balance is a great thing to have.

What’s your favorite UNF tradition? Swooping at basketball games

When you’re looking to de-stress and relax a bit, where do you go on campus? I love hanging at the Green. It’s a calm environment, and fresh air is always good.

If you could meet one historical figure for coffee, who would it be? Franklin D. Roosevelt because his “fireside chats” inspire me to improve communication in all aspects.

If you could witness any historical event, what would you want to see? Neil Armstrong walking on the Moon. That just sounds really cool. I would love to walk on the Moon.

What three traits define you? Ambitious, responsible and optimistic

Do you have any advice for high school students? Make sure you balance your life. Make the most of your academics. Take care of yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. BE TRUE TO YOURSELF.

When will you graduate? What do you want to do after graduation? I graduate December 2019, and I want to be either an academic advisor or a project manager, which both require meeting deadlines and communicating effectively.


Balloons with UNF logoMilestones
Congratulations to the following employees with a milestone anniversary:

30 Years
Denis Bell, Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Jay Coleman, Professor, Academic Affairs
David Courtwright, Professor, History
Arthur Kimball, Professor, English
Bradley Richards, Senior Landscape Grounds Supervisor, Physical Facilities
Otilia Salmon, Associate Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education
Jingcheng Tong, Professor, Mathematics and Statistics

25 Years
Pamela Chally, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs 
James Garner, Professor, Physics
Marcia Ladendorff, Senior Instructor, Communication
Jason Mauro, Associate Professor, English
Doreen Radjenovic, Associate Professor, Nursing
Katherine Robinson, Associate Professor, Nursing
Jeffry Will, Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

20 Years
John Anderson
, Associate Lecturer, Physics
Doria Bowers, Professor, Biology
Sharon Cobb, Professor, Economics
Michelle DeDeo, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Linda Deland, Executive Secretary, Academic Affairs
Roberta Doggett, Associate Instructor, Communication
Daniel Dreibelbis, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Delores Irvin, Office Manager, Public Health
Jeanette Johnson, Assistant Director, Academic Support Services, Academic Affairs
Bronwyn McLemore, Coordinator, Research Program Services, Florida Institute of Education
Betsy Nies, Associate Professor, English
Anthony Rossi, Professor, Biology
Cheryl Van Deusen, Professor, Management
Michael Wiley, Professor, English
Pamela Zeiser, Associate Professor, Political Science and Public Administration

15 Years
Mark Ari
, Senior Instructor, English
Elissa Barr, Professor, Public Health
Bernadette Buckley, Associate Professor, Clinical and Applied Movement Science
Keith Cartwright, Professor, English
Richard Chant, Associate Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education
Linda Connelly, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Jeffrey Durfee, Director, IT Network Security Services, IT Security
Sabrina Foust, Program Assistant, Business Services Administrative
Robert Frankel, Professor, Marketing and Logistics
Miguel Gabertan, Assistant Controller, Controller
Andres Gallo, Professor, Economics
Matthew Gilg, Professor, Biology
Christoph Guess, Professor, Psychology
Gregory Gundlach, Professor, Marketing and Logistics
John Hatle, Professor, Biology
Wanda Hedrick, Professor, Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL
Donald Hutton, Faculty Administrator, Health Administration
Christopher Johnson, Associate Professor, Coggin College of Business
Dag Naslund, Professor, Management
Stephynie Perkins, Associate Professor, Communication
Zornitza Prodanoff, Professor, School of Computing
Gordon Rakita, Professor of Anthropology, Director, Academic Technology
Norman Rothschild, Professor, History
Jane Sander, Assistant Professor, Nursing
Oliver Schnusenberg, Professor, Accounting and Finance
Maria Schonning, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Jacqueline Shank, Senior Instructor, Nutrition and Dietetics
Simon Shiao, Associate Professor, Music
Shari Shuman, Vice President, Administration and Finance
Jillian Smith, Associate Professor, English
Michael Toglia, Professor, Psychology
Ma Teresa Tuason, Professor, Public Health
Kathy Weglicki, Coordinator, Student Financial Aid, Financial Aid Office
Bart Welling, Associate Professor, English

10 Years
Beyza Aslan
, Associate Professor, Mathematics and Statistics
Michelle Boling, Associate Professor, Clinical and Applied Movement Science
Sherri Charles, Senior Accounts Payable Representative, Controller
Pieter de Jong, Associate Professor, Accounting and Finance
Nicholas de Villiers, Associate Professor, English
David Deeley, Instructor, Communication
Maria Fernandez Cifuentes, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures and Cultures
James Gelsleichter, Associate Professor, Biology
Lakshmi Goel, Associate Professor, Management
Caroline Guardino, Associate Professor, Exceptional, Deaf and Interpreter Education
Nuria Ibanez, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Aiyin Jiang, Associate Professor, Construction Management
Chitra Lakshmi K Balasubramanian, Associate Professor, Clinical and Applied Movement Science
Beven Livingston, Associate Professor, Clinical and Applied Movement Science
Samuel Mathies, Instructor, Communication
Traci Mathies, Instructor, Communication
Katie Monnin, Associate Professor, Childhood Education, Literacy and TESOL
Ryan Shores, Assistant Professor, Nurse Anesthesia
Alicia Sitren, Associate Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
Robert Slater, Associate Professor, Accounting and Finance
Madalina Tanase, Associate Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education
Brenda Vose, Associate Professor, Criminology and Criminal Justice
John White, Associate Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education
JeffriAnne Wilder, Associate Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Yongan Wu, Associate Professor, Languages, Literatures and Cultures
Pingying Zhang, Associate Professor, Management

5 Years
Edythe Abdullah
, Dean, Continuing Education
Emma Apatu, Assistant Professor, Public Health
Ernestine Baldwin, Accounts Payable Receivable Associate, Small Business Development Center
Leah Case, Assistant Director, Alumni Engagement
Chiradip Chatterjee, Assistant Professor, Economics
Carlos Corrales, Custodial Worker, Osprey Fountains
Raphael Crowley, Assistant Professor, Civil Engineering
Darryl Davis, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Misty deSmit-Pyle, Fine Arts Production Specialist, Fine Arts Center
Nicole Dix Pangle, Assistant Scientist, Biology
Russell Dubberly, Director, Disability Resource Center
Dana Hart, Assistant Professor, Accounting and Finance
Laura Jackson, Instructor, Exceptional Deaf and Interpreter Education
Alirez Jahan-Mihan, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics
John Kantner, Professor, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
Donna Kirk, Director Athletic Compliance, University Compliance
Brian Kopp, Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering
Ko Sze Lee, Assistant Professor, Foundations and Secondary Education
Kaitlin Legg, Director, LGBT Resource Center
Dallas Maddox, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
Stephen Perkins, Assistant Athletic Coach, Men's Basketball
Sarah Provost, Assistant Professor, Music Flagship
Patricia Richards, Instructor, Student Health Services
Swapnoneel Roy, Assistant Professor, School of Computing
Nicholas Ryan, Academic Advisor, Advising
William Self, Instructor, Nurse Anesthesia
Andrea Snell, Coordinator, Events Planning, Fine Arts Center
Tara Sunquist, Coordinator, Administrative Services, University Compliance
Leigh-Ann Thompson, Coordinator, Grants Administration, Office of Research and Sponsored Programs

Zhiping Yu, Assistant Professor, Nutrition and Dietetics
Jennie Ziegler, Instructor, English

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

Heath Barker, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
Ivory Brown, Child Development Teacher, UNF Preschool
Payton Cantrell, Student Affairs Specialist, Center for International Education
Maria Carter, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Center
Bryson Clifton, Office Manager, Office of the Dean of Students
Marcelino Cruz, IT Software Engineer, Enterprise Systems
Rebecca Durney, Assistant University Librarian, Library
Brian Easley, Groundskeeper, Custodial Services
Kyle Enriquez, Assistant Director, Development/Alumni Engagement
Soraya Fernandez, Regional Facilitator, School Readiness, Florida Institute of Education
Brigid Fitzpatrick, Program Assistant, Student Affairs
Tamika Ford, Custodial Worker, Custodial Services
Jessica Gonzalez, Assistant Director Child Development Center, UNF Preschool
Adam Hill, Groundskeeper, Grounds
Ryan Hunter, Marketing Publications Coordinator, Enrollment Services Communication Systems
Osama Jadaan, Professor, Mechanical Engineering
Alexandra Kuntsevich, Administrative Secretary, Student Government Business and Accounting Office
Trevor Lynch, Student Affairs Specialist, Recreation
Zachary Mott, Parking Service Associate, Parking and Transportation Services
Hinal Pandya, IT Software Engineer, Enterprise Systems
Khadijah Rushdan, Assistant Athletic Coach, Women's Basketball
Mary Strain, Director of Development, MOCA Jacksonville
Amy Wisenbaker, Assistant Director, Academic Support Services, Enrollment Services 
Summer Wright, Academic Support Services Coordinator, One-Stop Center

Great Job
The following employees were promoted recently:

Joshua Buckley, Parking Services Associate, Parking and Transportation Services
Lisandra Carmichael, Interim Library Dean                            
Matthew Grandstaff, Student Affairs Specialist, Student Affairs
Denean Gray, Senior Parking Services Supervisor, Parking and Transportation Services
Kayleigh Harrison, Student Affairs Specialist, Student Government Business and Accounting Office
Lauren King, Budget Associate, Student Government Business and Accounting Office
Amanda Lovins, Associate Director, COAS Operations
Patricia Madrid, Coordinator, Budgets, Library
April Mattedi, Business Services Financial Specialist, Career Management Center
Jessica Perriera, Parking Services Associate, Parking and Transportation Services
Megan Porter, Coordinator, Budgets, Education and Human Services
Michelle Rancharan, Coordinator, Treasury
Jessica Russell, Office Manager, Economics
Susan Russo, Coordinator, Admin. Services, Brooks College of Health
Jennifer Spaulding-Givens, Assistant Professor, Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Kenton Strickland, Parking Service Supervisor, Parking and Transportation Services
Benjamin Taylor, Coordinator, Outreach and Recruitment, Military and Veterans Resource Center
David Thomas, Stores Receiving Supervisor, Housing and Residence Life
Katrina Willis, Office Manager, Student Government Business and Accounting Office

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

Lisa DiBenedetto, Assistant Athletic Trainer
Kathleen LeGros, Coordinator, Budgets, Education and Human Services
Damiana Sorrell, Academic Advisor, Advising
Kaci Bemis, Assistant Director, Annual Giving
Alex Lane, Groundskeeper, University Housing
Robert Farnsworth, Library Services Specialist, Library
Rachel McFarlane, Assistant Athletic Coach, Men's Cross Country and Track
Joel Lamp, Associate Athletic Director, Development, Athletics
Lindsay DiAngelo, Student Affairs Specialist, Student Government, Student Union
Billy Duke, Maintenance Supervisor, Housing and Residence Life

MaryLynne Schaefer, Assistant Athletic Coach, Women's Basketball
David Havener, Maintenance Mechanic, Maintenance and Energy Management
Ashton Lewandowski, Coordinator, Student Affairs, Student Wellness Complex
Keith Hufford, Associate Director, Enterprise Systems
Krista Bracewell, Instructional Designer, Distance Learning Fee
Kimberly Ray, Procurement Associate, Procurement Services
Ennio Garcia, Custodial Support Worker, Custodial Services
Ashley Mayfield, Coordinator, Residence Life, Osprey Fountains 

Faculty and Staff

Regalia for UNF faculty and staff accomplishmentsBrooks College of Health

Chaka Brittain had a manuscript accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Nursing2018.

Dr. Cynthia Cummings presented two posters and discussions at the International Nursing Research conference in Melbourne, Australia, July 21-23. The talks were “Incorporating moral resilience into an undergraduate nursing curriculum” and “Do Nursing students’ attitudes toward persons with intellectual and developmental delays change after immersion in a community program.”

Dr. Michele Moore, with S.B. Griner and K. Wilson, published “The relationship between physical dating violence and alcohol and drug use among high school students in an Urban Florida county,” 2018 Florida Public Health Review, 15, 83-93.

Dr. Jonathan Pabalate, nurse anesthesia faculty member, was a lecturer in Budapest, Hungary, on June 18 at the International Federation of Nurse Anesthetists World Congress (13th World Congress of Nurse Anesthetists) on the topic of Artificial Intelligence Applications in Modern Healthcare and Anesthesia.

Dr. Helene Vossos has been an invited educational specialist as an abstract reviewer (for 22 abstracts) by the American Nurse Association for its 2019 Pathway to Excellence conference, hosted by the American Nurse Credentialing Center.

Coggin College of Business

Dr. Ronald Adams, professor emeritus of marketing, presented “The Common Sense Nutrition Disclosure Act: Small Business Lifeline or Impediment to Informed Consumer Decision Making?” at the 25th Recent Advances in Retailing & Services Science Conference (EIRASS), Maderia Island, Portugal, July 17.

Lisa Brunson, administrative secretary in the Small Business Development Center, was recognized at the state level as the Overall SBDC SuperHero.

Margaret Cirillo, coordinator for Research Program Services in the Small Business Development Center, was one of 10 Valor Award Recipients among employees at Florida SBDC for her “heroism, dedication and selfless efforts to help small business” following Hurricane Irma.

Dr. Nathan Kunz, assistant professor of operations management, received the Emeral Highly Commended Paper Award 2018 for the article “Toward a dynamic balanced scorecard model for humanitarian relief organizations’ performance management” published in Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management.  

Cheryl Lynch , coordinator of research programs in the Small Business Development Center, was one of 10 Valor Award recipients among employees at Florida SBDC’s for “heroism, dedication, and selfless efforts to help small business” following Hurricane Irma. She also earned the Florida State Star Award for being an “extraordinary performer” who has made significant contributions to the Florida state network. This is the highest award achievable by SBDC employees.

Blake Stockton, coordinator for research program services in the Small Business Development Center, was recognized for earning the Florida Rising Star Award for his “leadership in leveraging social media and digital marketing to market and deliver services to clients in Northeast Florida.”

College of Arts and Sciences

Dr. Siho Nam presented a paper entitled “Cognitive Capitalism, Free Labor, and Financial Communication: A Critical Discourse Analysis of Social Media IPO Registration Statements” at the annual International Association for Media and Communication Research conference in June.

Dr. Hannah R. Malcolm presented a poster of her students Hannah M. Dickinson and Maggie McGovern’s work titled “Furthering the understanding of how MscS senses membrane tension in E. coli” in South Hadley, Massachusetts, at the Gordon Research Conference: Ion Channels.

Dr. Mike Aspinwall, with his colleagues K.Y. Crous, J.E. Drake, R.E. Sharwood, M.G. Tjoelker and O. Ghannoum, published “Photosynthetic capacity and leaf nitrogen decline along a controlled climate gradient in provenances of two widely distributed Eucalyptus species” in the journal Global Change Biology (June).

Dr. James P. Beasley presented the paper, “Chora, Assembly, and Reinvention for Social Action,” at the Biannual Conference of the Rhetoric Society of America.

Dr. Laura Heffernan, with her co-author Rachel Sagner Buurma, published “The Classroom in the Canon: T.S. Eliot's Modern English Literature Extension Course for Working People and The Sacred Wood” in PMLA (June).

Dr. Alison J. Bruey's book, “Bread, Justice, and Liberty: Grassroots Activism and Human Rights in Pinochet's Chile,” was published by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Dr. Philip Kaplan published the chapter “Early Geography” in the Oxford Handbook of Science and Medicine in the Classical World, edited by Paul Keyser and John Scarborough (Oxford University Press).

Dr. Renate Falkner chaired the panel discussion, “Creative Adjuncting: New Norms in Academic Music Teaching,” presented a lecture titled “Double Troubles: On Double-stop Techniques and Pedagogical Approaches,” and served as a juror for the Orchestral Audition Seminar and Competition at the American Viola Society Festival at the Colburn School of Music in Los Angeles in June.

Dr. Gary Smart taught and performed as a pianist-composer at the eighth annual National Music Festival in Chestertown, Maryland. His works, “Mandela” for clarinet and piano; “Street Music” for string duo; and “Pinfeather Rag” for piano duo; were featured during the two-week event in June.

Dr. Jason T. Haraldsen and student Thomas LaMartina published “Dirac Nodes and Magnetic Order in M2X2 Transition-Metal Chalcogenides” in Physica Status Solidi - Rapid Research Letters (June).

Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work

Dr. JeffriAnne Wilder, associate professor of sociology, contributed a letter to the book “WOWsdom! The Girl’s Guide to the Positive and the Possible.” The book, edited by Donna Orender, offers advice to young girls from women in leadership. The Florida Times-Union profiled the book on July 22. 


College of Computing, Engineering and Construction

School of Engineering
Dr. Adel ElSafty
chaired a conference session in Paris on July 20 at the Annual International Conference on Composites/Nano Engineering, ICCE. He presented two papers: Combined effect of sustained load, corrosive solutions and elevated temperature on the durability and long-term performance of CFCC tendons; and Experimental investigation on the effects of alkaline solution, temperature and resin type on tensile strength of GFRP bars. ElSafty, with Amr El-Nemr, Ehab A. Ahmed and Brahim Benmokraned, published “Evaluation of the flexural strength and serviceability of concrete beams reinforced with different types of GFRP bars, Engineering Structures,” 173 (2018) 606–619, July 2018. ElSafty with Ahmed H Ali, Hamdy M Mohamed and Brahim Benmokrane, also published “Effect of applied sustained load and severe environments on durability performance of carbon-fiber composite cables,” Journal of Composite Materials (July 2018). 

Dr. Osama Jadaan, with Brian Oistad, Andrew Wereszczak and Branndon Chen, published “Threshold angle and valid fracture of the sectored flexural specimen,” International Journal of Applied Ceramic Technology, July.

College of Education and Human Services

The college welcomed Tracie Davis, representative of the Florida House of Representative District 13, to tour the College and the new STEP Lab.

Leadership, School Counseling and Sport Management
Dr. Luke Cornelius
, Ph.D. J.D., had his article “Examining Adequacy Trends in School Finance Litigation,” cited in the ruling of Martinez v. New Mexico in the New Mexico 1st Judicial District.

Museum of Contemporary Art Jacksonville
Artists and MOCA staff members Anthony Aiuppy and Ben L. Thompson were recently awarded career development grants from The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida through the Art Ventures initiative. They were chosen by a selection panel from more than 40 applications, based on the applicants’ artistic accomplishments, their proposal to use the funds to further their work, and the extent to which their artistic practice is rooted in Northeast Florida. Aiuppy is currently the J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver Educator for Family and Children’s Programs at MOCA. Thompson serves as MOCA’s deputy director.

Student Affairs

Dr. Lucy Croft
, associate vice president for Student Affairs, contributed a letter to the book “WOWsdom! The Girl’s Guide to the Positive and the Possible.” The book, edited by Donna Orender, offers advice to young girls from women in leadership. The Florida Times-Union profiled the book on July 22.

Administration and Finance


Chef Paul Rich holding a panUNF Dining Services Executive Catering Chef Paul Rich recently won the Chartwell’s Be a Star Competition for Culinary Associate of the Year for the Southeast. Paul has been a part of food service at UNF for more than 20 years, and even met his wife Mirline while working in catering at the Adam W. Herbert University Center. He won the Cuisine/Culinary category for the entire Southeast region which includes Florida, Alabama, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia and Louisiana. 


Thomas G. Carpenter Library

Student Outreach Librarian Maria Atilano presented a concurrent session at the NEFLIN 2018 Hot Topics Conference: Libraries Unplugged on June 15. Her presentation “Finals Week Unplugged: Fostering Student Success with Snacks, Dogs, and Naps” discussed the many ways the Carpenter Library supports student academic success during finals week. 


Swoop Summary

North Florida Athletics logo on a Osprey fountain backgroundTrack & Field Places Five on USTFCCCA All-Academic List

A group of five North Florida track and field student-athletes were among the list of honorees garnering All-Academic recognition from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) for the 2017-18 season. The UNF athletes recognized were Eden Meyer, Claudia Jalon, Nick Morken, Tyler Stahl and Fynn Timm. Learn more about North Florida track and field

Women's Golf Places Five on WGCA All-American Scholar ListFive students from the UNF women's golf team
The Women's Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) All-American Scholars were announced featuring a total of 1,011 women's collegiate golfers including five University of North Florida student-athletes. The quintet of Osprey linksters recognized with this prestigious honor included Courtney Cobb, Teresa Conroy, Mindy Herrick, Kaye Kwon and Sydney Shrader. Learn more about women's golf

Men's Basketball Unveils 2018-19 Schedule

Entering his 10th season at the helm of the North Florida men's basketball program, head coach Matthew Driscoll has again amassed a challenging schedule for his 2018-19 Osprey team. The slate includes 12 home games at UNF Arena and features a tournament trip to Cancun at Thanksgiving. Season tickets are currently on sale. Learn more about men's basketball.


Fall Season Tickets On Sale Now
North Florida season tickets are on sale now for women's and men's soccer as well as volleyball. Season tickets for UNF women's soccer contests are just $30, or $25 for youth (under 18), seniors, military members, UNF alumni and faculty. Learn more about season tickets.


Ospreys Announce Group Experiences, Birthday Packages
North Florida announces exciting opportunities for groups and birthday outings for the 2018-19 season. Learn more about group experiences.

The Goods

Stocking up Before a Storm

Dried fruits and nutsMost of us think about stocking up with nonperishable foods just before a storm. But it’s a good idea to plan ahead and purchase items when they are on sale and there are plenty of options available. One important thing to consider and balance out is the price differential between large and small packages. Large packages generally cost less, but you may lose money from waste if the item is not eaten and then spoils from lack of refrigeration.

Myth: You need to stock up with nonperishable foods just before a storm.

Fact: Actually, it’s a good idea to always have about one to three days of nonperishable foods. A refrigerator or stove may break; a downpour may cause electricity to be down a couple of days. Being prepared for any emergency helps reduce stress when the unexpected happens. A hurricane? While some recommendations say to plan for about three days and others for seven, it is probably better to plan for seven days, so you do not find yourself short of food. After all, those nonperishables last and can be eaten later.

Myth: You should only get bottled spring water in preparation for the storm.

Fact: There are many types of waters. The important thing is, no matter the type, it must be safe to drink. Have at least one gallon per person per day. If you save tap water, make sure the containers are clean and safe for storing water. Mineral water has dissolved mineral solids; spring water comes from a specific underground or surface source (artesian comes from a well) that is not a community water system; distilled water has been filtered to remove natural minerals and contaminants; sparkling water has carbon dioxide for fizz (fizzy water). You may have a preference; the key is to have water and obtain what is most available and economically practical for you.

Myth: You should not buy fresh fruit and vegetables to prepare for a storm.

Fact: You can get a few fresh fruits and vegetables, such as apples, oranges, avocados and peppers, for one to three days. However, the majority of fruits and vegetables you get in preparation for a storm should be canned and dried such as canned peaches (ideally in light syrup or water) and applesauce, dried fruit (such as raisins), fruit juices (not fruit drinks), canned vegetables or vegetable juices.

Myth: It’s important to stock up on dairy and meats.
: Some persons forget they may not have refrigeration and stock up on items such as dairy and animal proteins such as meats, poultry and fish. This will be a huge economic loss should these items spoil due to lack of electricity. Consider dairy items such as powdered, canned or UHT (ultra-high temperature milk, which is not refrigerated until open), nut-based milks and nonrefrigerated pudding cups. Again, remember that large sizes, once open, will need refrigeration, so balance large and individual serving size packages. If you buy prepackaged individual size cheeses, buy a small amount that will last 1-2 days in a refrigerator that is without power and slowly getting warm. Stock up on canned chicken, tuna, meats, peanut and other nut butters, nuts and seeds. If you have a small portable stove, consider some canned soups and stews.

Myth: There are no healthy grain options.
: Grains are a very important category to include and there are many options. Buy a range of dry whole grain cereals to eat with milk or nut milks or as a healthy snack. Cheerios, Mini-Wheats, Cracklin’ Oat Bran, a variety of granolas are available. Whole grain snacks such as prepared popcorn, whole wheat pretzels and a variety of crackers can be among the key staples. Healthy comfort foods such as oatmeal raisin cookies are available. In addition, buy a loaf of bread that may last 1-2 days and eat that first to avoid waste. You can even get canned Boston Baked Bread with raisins (a traditional New England dish of Baked Beans and Boston Baked Bread is a healthy combination) and instant rice (but check for the price of individually packaged cooked rice).

Have a question? Contact Dr. Judith Rodriguez at Written by Judith Rodriguez at the University of North Florida’s Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, a Flagship Program.


Spread the Word

UNF student working on laptopTwo of UNF’s online programs received national recognition this summer. Best College Reviews named the University of North Florida among the Top 50 online Registered Nurse to Bachelor Science in Nursing programs for 2018, ranking No. 14 in the nation. And recognized UNF as having one of the nation’s Top 25 “Most Affordable Online Child Development Degrees.”

Spread the Word!