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50 ON 50:


Cover photo by Grace Howard

MEET THE STAFF Editor Art Director Digital Editor Copy Editor Editorial Team

Danny Romero Shannon Scheidell Sara Lane

Visual Team Dany Son Grace Howard Carolina Navarro

Samantha Rosenthal

Digital Team Allison Olcsvay

Jessica Gilbreath Sarah Judsen Jennifer Kopf Eric Quitugua Nicole Saavedra

Marketing Jacey Juehring Director Adviser Rick Brunson Nicholson Dr. Robert School Chandler Director

Not pictured: Allison Olcsvay and Grace Howard

Centric wins ‘Best Student Magazine’ award The Society of Professional Journalists, the nation’s largest organization of broadcast, print and online journalists, honored the fall 2012 issue of Centric magazine with a Mark of Excellence Award in the “Best Student Magazine’’ category. The fall issue was published under the direction of Editor Ashley Annin, Art Director Jessica LaBruzzo and Digital Editor Emon Reiser. SPJ’s Mark of Excellence Awards recognizes the best in collegiate journalism each spring. Centric won second place in the Southeast region of the United States.


Centric | Spring 2013



was a year filled with rich history. Martin Luther King Jr. was leading the civil rights movement, and Beatlemania was taking the world by storm. But down in Florida, a small, yet important, bill was signed into law: Bill No. 125. June 10 was the day when the Florida Legislature decreed that the school that would eventually become the University of Central Florida be established. Fifty years later, the university has evolved drastically from its Florida Technological University roots to the second-largest university in the United States. In 2001, the UCF Creed was adopted with the help of LEAD scholars and students, who helped formulate a core set of values that UCF can be proud of. The creed -- with its focus on integrity, scholarship, community, creativity and excellence -- has helped students go from being brand-spanking new freshmen to confident graduates ready to succeed in the world. In this issue, we have decided to divide our magazine into five different sections, each representing one of the core values of the UCF Creed and spotlighting some of UCF’s shining Knights. The word “shine” means “to emit light, to distinguish oneself in an activity or field; to excel.” To capture that glow isn’t easy, and we couldn’t be more excited to share with you, in this semester’s issue, some of the shining Knights who faithfully embody UCF’s creed.



COMMUNITY 4 5 6 8 9


UCF’s Scariest Day | RAs LEDTHEWAY To Be or Not to Be | GREEK LIFE VS. NON-GREEK LIFE Building a Home From the Heart | HOMELESS STUDENT OPENS UP Roommates from Hell | IT DOESN’T GET WORSE THAN THIS I Work The Night Shift | NIGHT CREW HORROR STORIES









20 Student, Machine & Environment | RENEWING WATER SUPPLY 21 Voice of Hope | PROFESSOR SPEAKS FOR THOSE WHO CANNOT 22 Knights Making a Difference | TAKING COMMUNITY TO HEART



Photo by Dany Son University of Central Florida students watch the news with rapt attention as they stand around the center of the Student Union. by

| Samantha Rosenthal


ust past midnight, in the dark hours of March 18, the scariest day in UCF’s 50-year history began to unfold. On the third floor of Tower I, police say gunman James Seevakumaran, plotting to kill his fellow residents, pulled a fire alarm to draw them out into the hallways. But his plan was thwarted and he ended up killing himself. As UCF police quickly secured the building, the 500 scared and confused residents of the tower were calmly led to safety, comforted and fed by their resident assistants, who emerged as the day’s unsung heroes. Jason Hoffmann, a 22-year-old micro and molecular biology major, has been an RA in Tower I since 2010. “It was nerve-racking because you got bits and pieces of information, and you were literally just waiting,” he said. “It was also frustrating because you would do your best to help everyone, but we could not answer their questions.” Jake Bonne, the on-call coordinator for Housing and Residence Life that


Centric | Spring 2013

morning, arrived at the scene to assist the RAs. “They did everything they were asked to by the police — everything that we, Jason Hoffmann as a professional staff, asked them to do. They were around and present for the entire situation,” Bonne said. “I think that that just really speaks to the caliber of the individuals that we have — our staff and their dedication to their students.” The RAs understood it’s the little things that count. They provided students with food, water and linens. They even went to a local drugstore Photo courtesy of AP to get contact solution if a student Police block off a street near Tower 1 on March 18 needed it. The RAs tried to do comafter hundreds were evacuated. forting things to let the students know “I think they did a really good job they were really there for them. of remaining calm and just helping us Katherine Riedi, a 20-year-old leave the building,” Riedi said. “I saw sophomore studying legal studies who a couple of the other RAs from the lives on same floor as the gunman, was grateful for how the RAs handled other floors come and help out, and as shocking as it was for them, they did a the crisis. pretty good job.” l


TQ BE, OR NOT TO BE UCF students give their point of view on their Greek or non-Greek lifestyle in college. by

| Sarah Judsen

Photo by Grace Howard


he Hatfields versus the McCoys, Coke versus Pepsi, Muslims versus Jews—the world has always seen its share of famous rivalries. On almost every college campus, the tension between Greeks and non-Greeks is quite obvious, with stereotypes shrouding both groups. Some may say it is a rivalry, but to others it is a mere difference in lifestyle. Here at UCF, students from each side have their opinions about the path they chose—and about what they think of their counterparts. l

Rachel Smith*

“So many people think, ‘All you guys do is party and it’s so fake,’ but really it’s not like that at all. I know there are fake people and party people in sororities and those who are not in sororities. I feel like with other schools, like FSU and UF, their Greek system runs the school, but UCF hates us and is always trying to get us in trouble. Every little thing that happens, any stupid thing that happens at a bar, if the person is Greek then it’s like everyone who’s Greek did it. A random person could do something like that at a bar, and it’s not like all of UCF is blamed.”

Grant Tucker



“For as much of a bad rap fraternity life has, it really teaches you how to manage your time. Yes, we like to go out and party and we definitely like to party more than anyone else, but at the same time, fraternity members’ GPAs are higher than UCF non-Greek GPAs. My dad always used to say, ‘work hard, play harder,’ and that’s the kind of mentality I have and I think a lot of people in Greek life have. As far as individuality, the fraternity doesn’t make someone conform. It’s a personal choice. Some people have their cliques in high school and they come to college and they want to stay in their cliques. There are people who aren’t Greek who do that.” *Name has been changed

Zinnia Valdes

“I don’t really see the reason of ‘going Greek’ besides having to pay a lot to join or going to socials when I can just join a club of my interest. Being Greek, some people may get distracted from their responsibilities by attending unnecessary events they have. Obviously, it may look good on your résumé for some reason, but I know others who are Greek and have not gained much from it other than having over 2,000 friends on Facebook and some connections here and there. If you have the right intentions and right motives then you will make the best out of it, but just going out doesn’t help your future.”

Ryan Schahrer

“Spring semester last year, I rushed. Once I got in, I realized that not everyone had as much in common as you’d think. It became a job rather than a fun thing to do. Dropping the fraternity gave me lots of free time and let me hang out with the people I actually cared about. They wanted me to value the fraternity above everything else, and that was my biggest struggle. I value the individual; I care more about the relationships I have with people than the image of a fraternity. It does open doors, but you have to sacrifice a large part of who you are, your time and your individuality. I wouldn’t rush again.”

Volume 3 | Issue 1



FROM HOMELESS TO HOMECOMING After wandering for years, veteran finds his place at UCF photo and story by


| Dany Son

ho has ever considered a university student being homeless? The idea contradicts itself when one considers all the expenses of attending a university. Some stereotypes that come along with being in college are that students only eat pizza and ramen, they party too much, and they’re always broke. But for one, U.S. Marine Corps veteran Christopher O’Connor, a graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in social work, his struggle was homelessness. At the age of 16, O’Connor left his family’s Kissimmee house and moved up north to Delaware Valley High School in Milford, Pa. to finish his diploma and pursue baseball. “I lived out of the trunk of my car, went from one house to another,” said O’Connor. While playing baseball, his motivation to do well was to win, not just the game but also a meal. “If I hit a double, I thought maybe someone’s parents would take me out to eat,” he said. He would wash his baseball uniform in his home economics class before the next game. O’Connor eventually moved back to his parents’ house after graduating. But just because it’s a house, doesn’t make it home. “I didn’t have a room at my parents’ apartment,” said O’Connor. “I didn’t feel like part of the household.” His mom told him he needed to change his life. In 2004 he decided to


Centric | Spring 2013

enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps. After boot camp at Parris Island, O’Connor attended the School of Infantry at Camp Geiger to become a machine gunner before deploying to Iraq. The day before his 20th birthday, O’Connor was tasked to perform a sweep on foot for roadside bombs when he was struck with a remote detonated improvised explosion device. He sustained multiple shrapnel wounds and barely dodged the possibility of amputating his leg. After the explosion, O’Connor went from medical facilities in Abu Ghraib Prison in Balad, Iraq then moved to Landstuhl, Germany to finish recovering. “I was afraid of losing who I was as a Marine—not being adequate enough to be in the fight, not having the same life. I planned to be in the Marine Corps for the next four years. I never considered how life would be as a wounded [Marine].” The physical recovery was a battle of its own, but transitioning to civilian life was another. Upon his return to Kissimmee, O’Connor enrolled at Valencia Community College, where he either stayed with a friend or one of his parents. “I probably lived in at least 20 different addresses in the past seven years,” said O’Connor. “I would rather stay in a car or out where people were partying than stay on a couch.” After O’Connor’s first year at Valencia, he transferred to UCF to pursue a degree in social work.

“My most rewarding experience was graduating and being recognized at graduation for overcoming adversity,” said O’Connor. Now, while working on his graduate degree, he hopes to start a non-profit to provide transition homes for homeless veterans. O’Connor currently works as a Peer Mentor at the Veterans Academic Resource Center near the UCF Arena while attending class full time and interning. “He provides vet to vet mentoring for new and continuing student veterans,” said Stacie McLeod, program coordinator at VARC. “His role is tremendously important, to have someone who understands their experience and the transition from military to student life.” In July of 2012, O’Connor traveled to Washington, D.C. to present an award at the National Association of Social Workers. “It was the most fulfilling experience in representing myself, the Marines and UCF,” he said. After 10 years of not having a place to call home, through Operation Homefront, O’Conner has just been offered a mortgage-free home here in Oviedo where he lives by himself. “It was my Aha!-moment. Life is truly beautiful. I appreciate it so much more. Even when you’re back against the ropes, you’re still in the fight.” O’Connor has two months remaining for his graduate program and has plans to attend Clark Atlanta University in Georgia to get his doctorate in social work with a concentration in public affairs. l

“ �

I lived out of the trunk of my car, went from one house to another.

Volume 3 | Issue 1


COMMUNITY Illustration by Anna Nativ


HELL By | Sara Lane


any students come to UCF their freshman year not knowing anyone. Coming here alone, students are often forced to sign up for random roommates or go on websites like to find someone to room with. Eric Lee, an engineering senior, lived on campus in Nike Apartments where he was paired with international students. A lot of them came over just for the experience and not to actually go to school, as a result, they would go out most nights and come back highly intoxicated.


Centric | Spring 2013

Rowdy relations between students sharing spaces “In their drunken stupor, they set the fire alarms off multiple times in a two week period,” Lee said. In situations like Lee’s and most other bad roommate issues, communication is the best way to solve the problem, according to Sarah Hart, Area Coordinator of Nike Apartments. A sophomore, Jamie Bell*, studying interpersonal and organizational communications had a roommate who did just that. As tensions rose, Bell pursued mediation with her resident assistant. Bell’s roommate would call her names and verbally attack her and her guests that would come to the Lake Claire apartments on campus. Hart explained that when students live on campus, each resident assistant is required to lead a meeting between

each set of roommates where a contract will be set up. “Having a conversation like this at the beginning can help alleviate tension when stress and bothersome habits begin rearing their ugly heads,” Hart said. In the case of Bell and her roommate, Bell’s roommate would write inappropriate messages to her, which resulted in heightened animosity between the women. “We see roommates do this all the time,” Hart said. “They go through a ‘honeymoon’ stage and then become passive aggressive for fear of confrontation.” “She took everything I said and did as an attack against her,” Bell said. “… It was a miserable experience.”l *Name has been changed.


Photos by Grace Howard


Photo by Grace Howard Scenes from The Mad Hatter.

Confessions from the night crew by

| Sarah Judsen


ith over 60,000 UCF students inhabiting the Orlando area, some pretty wild things are bound to happen once the books—and morals—are put away for the day. UCF never fails to come to life at night when students go out to their favorite bars, clubs, and restaurants. Yet the interesting stories lie with the people who work those long, grueling night shifts. Katie Bartlett, a former Lazy Moon employee, worked every Friday night—the busiest night of the week – for five months. The UCF junior recalls cringe-worthy stories of the dreaded overnight shifts at the popular pizza joint. “One time this guy was doing ‘the challenge,’ which is when you eat a large 30-inch pizza in under two hours,” Bartlett said. “He projectile-vomited all over everyone and then he gave us all five dollars to clean it up.” And while it was fun at times, the job defintely was stressful. “I’ve cried so many times and had so many mental breakdowns,” Bartlett said “I would literally just walk into the cooler and cry. Everyone was throwing up; everyone was opening all the Parmesan shakers and throwing them. I was just miserable.” Other late-night workers, like Mad Hatter bartender Austin Hunt, view the night shift from a different perspective. “It’s the best college job,” said Hunt, a UCF business major who, like Bartlett, has seen his share of shenanigans at

work. “It’s like going out but at the same time you’re working and making money.” Gary Sanders, a barback at The Mad Hatter, has many stories to add to the list, covering everything from drunken brawls to even opening one of the bar’s coolers to find a couple having—ahem—a party of their own. “When you’re around the bar scene for so long it all really starts to get normal. I’ve even seen people get punched and karate kicked in the face,” Sanders said. UCF police officer Frank Imparato has his share of outrageous stories from his night duty shifts as well. “We’ve had students passed out in stairwells, doorways, rooftops, in the streets—anywhere you can imagine, every weekend. It’s very typical,” Imparto said. On game day, Imparato once had to tell an intoxicated man who was riding around on an electric cooler to get off or else he’d be forced to give him a DUI. That’s right, a DUI for riding an electric cooler. “You couldn’t make this stuff up if you tried,” Imparato said. “You think you’ve seen it all until you get the next call about something else.” Be it hilarious, crazy, disgusting, annoying or outright ridiculous, there’s no doubt that an overnight shift in the UCF area is far from boring. In Bartlett’s words: “Everyone thinks they’re such comedians after 2 in the morning."l

Volume 3 | Issue 1



BRINGING SATURN DOWN TO EARTH Professor brings space exploration to life at UCF by

| Shannon Scheidell


y looking at the gaps between the debris that make up Saturn’s rings, Professor Josh Colwell has achieved the ability to time travel – in a sense. As a child, Colwell dreamed of becoming an astronaut. As he grew up, that dream turned into him wanting to become an astronomer, and now he’s combined all his talents into one career: teaching. “What we’re studying now is how objects that are millimeters in size grow to become larger and larger over time,” Colwell said. This can lead to more research on the development of planet formation and the origin of the universe. His father was an English professor, and he’s now following in his footsteps. Colwell attended the University of Colorado in addition to his experience at UCF beginning in 2007. Since then he’s won the mini payload competition for the space station and his photos of Saturn’s rings have been featured on the “Daily Show” with Jon Stewart. He is now studying the rings around Saturn with data from the Cassini spacecraft, along with a team of NASA and European scientists.

10 Centric | Spring 2013

Photo courtesy of Josh Colwell Josh Colwell’s “Prime” experiment was tested in zero-gravity in space, where his team of UCF students measured the intermediate step between the separation of particles and the formation of planets.

Colwell’s team has discovered a way to examine the light that shines through the gaps in the rings. By looking at the space between the particles of debris, Colwell states they can determine the time between interactions of the particles. Like an X-ray looks through your body, NASA’s Ultraviolet Imaging Spectrograph camera (UVIS) is used by Colwell to take photos and produce a 3-D image of the rings. These particles stick to one another and somehow grow to become larger and evolve over time. “We’re trying to understand the origin and evolution of Saturn’s rings,” Colwell said. This discovery has enabled them to determine how the individual particles are oriented in relation to the planet. The arrangement of the particles can tell us how they came to be stuck in space, hanging around the midsection of the planet like a belt. Gravity plays a large part in the formation of planets. Analyzing the data collected from Colwell’s measurements of the rings around Saturn can bring us closer to determining how our planet came to be positioned as the third rock from the sun.

The particles themselves range in size from that of a marble to the size of a car. They are made of water and ice, like snowballs orbiting Saturn. They are bumping into each other, constantly changing and evolving over billions of years, which studies have shown. The moons orbit Saturn and cross paths through the gaps in the rings. The overall shape of the rings looks much like your fingers when you hold them up to your face. His students call it Colwell’s granola bars. “You see pictures in a book, but when you see them through a telescope with your eyes, they’re really there. It’s really spectacular,” Colwell said. l

Photo courtesy of Josh Colwell The rings of Saturn.


DREAM ON UCF students dare to dream of their perfect jobs after graduation


e all came to UCF for a reason, and we all have dreams that fuel all those late nights cooped up in the library. Through the haze of exams, essays, quizzes and countless hours studying, we sometimes forget the motivating force that brought us here. We asked UCF students what their dream jobs are and where they hope to see themselves in the future.

photos and story by

| Jessica Gilbreath

1. Computer Engineer “I’m not a computer engineer yet so all I have are ideas, but I definitely want to be a parts manufacturer for a corporation like Microsoft or IBM,” Michael Scotto, a sophomore studying computer engineering, said as he rebuilt a sensor robot for his Engineering I class. Scotto’s dream job is to design computer parts that will defer heat from the machines to make them faster. 2. Film Editor Cameron Collins, a senior studying cinema studies, dreams of becoming a film editor for big budget summer movies. “I did TV production all through high school; I did the morning announcements, which definitely sparked something,” Collins said. “My aunt and uncle are actors here in Orlando, and I really look up to them.” 3. Museum Curator “My ultimate dream job is to run an art museum in Europe--something crazy like the Luxe,” said CaraJean Robertson. She is a sophomore studying humanities with a minor in medical anthropology. l

1 2

3 Volume 3 | Issue 1




Photos and story by | Samantha Rosenthal

Blair Troop, a 19-year-old sophomore, dresses up as the popular Star Wars character the stormtrooper. He roams UCF in costume, interacting with students and scanning campus for rebel forces — striving to bring peace and school pride to his fellow Knights.

12 Centric | Spring 2013


hether you are sitting out by the Reflecting Pond or cheering in the student section at a basketball game, there might be a chance of catching a glance of a character that is not normally seen walking around a college campus— UCF’s very own local celebrity, the UCF Stormtrooper. The force is strong and full of UCF spirit when it comes to Blair Troop, a 19-yearold sophomore and mechanical engineer major, who is the man behind the mask of the ever-popular character who is slowly becoming a common sight at UCF. “Since my name is Blair Troop, for a while I always had some sort of nickname behind Troop,” Troop said. “I’ve been a fan of Star Wars and the film, so I’ve gotten ‘Stormtrooper.’ ” “Sometimes when I meet new people, I’m kind of shy, but when I’m trooping it doesn’t matter who you are. I am a very [much] more outgoing person.” Troop said he dresses up as the legendary Star Wars character not because he wanted fame or popularity at UCF, but he genuinely loves the reactions from people that see him on campus. “It’s more about putting smiles on people’s faces. Making people really look around because I’ve walked around and people have walked by and not even noticed me.” On the Facebook and Twitter accounts he has created for the UCF Stormtrooper, he writes as if he is an actual stormtrooper who is protecting the school from “droids.” One post even states: “ ‘Hunting for droids tonight at the UCF vs Rice basketball game. My allies at the UCF Gauntlet will be assisting me in my search. Go Knights!’ ” l


CREATIVITY photos and story by

| Grace Howard


Who: Patrick Sylvester Style: Folk Sounds like: The Avett Brothers Favorite song to play: “For One World”


atrick Sylvester is a Renaissance man. The 20-year-old UCF junior, majoring in acting, likes to use his musical talents to further himself in the acting world. He recently received the role of Judas in the production of “Godspell” at the Theater Downtown because the producers wanted a live musical accompaniment and he was able to play the guitar. With his clean voice backed by string instruments like the banjo, ukulele, and guitar, (all of which he plays himself) he is a breath of fresh air in the gritty folk genre. His inspiration comes from life, nature and, most of all, love. “Past, present and future loves are a big part of what influences my writing,” Sylvester said. He released a solo album August 2012 titled “Life And Muses,” which is available on iTunes. He also keeps viewers hooked to his music by posting a video on his YouTube channel every Monday.

Who: Ovibes Members: Calvin Hawley, Samuel Sickles, Joey Trentacoste, Ian Notario, Derek Hyde and Chris McShane Style: Reggae/Ska Rock Sounds like: Rebelution verything happens “


Who: Brandon “B.Payne” Payne Style: Rap Sounds like: Travis Porter Favorite song to play: “Karaoke (Dedication)”


ailing from Fort Lauderdale, Payne for a reason” is the has brought his motto for Ovibes own style to the drummer, Joey Central Florida area. The most Trentacoste, and it’s hard recent trend in rap has been to deny. Most of the Ovibes to break the molds (Kendrick members were found while Lamar and A$AP Rocky come sitting on a UCF shuttle bus. to mind) that were formed in Word spread when some previous years by Southern students overheard lead singer rappers making chopped Ian Notario and Trentacoste and screwed trill rap, West talking about their band and Coast rappers making smooth from there everything seemed California flow rap, and East to fall into place. For a band that has only been together for Coast rappers making lyrically one year and has only officially focused rap. Payne is not fazed produced three songs, they have by these molds and believes in “being yourself because played a laundry list of shows from headlining at Backbooth there’s only one you.” With in downtown Orlando to open- fifteen mix tapes produced by the age of 21, this UCF senior, ing for The Supervillains in Sanford. Ovibes has a smooth majoring in event management, has been busy cultivating his reggae sound and a name that came from a saxophone playing sound for years. Payne is best Rastafarian stranger, describing known for his song “Tonight” reggae as a ‘sensation from the off his last mix tape “Jus Vibe,” which came out in 2011. The vibration’ combined with the song became popular in clubs band’s Orlando home base. Their first self-titled album is set in the Orlando area. Payne is anticipating the release his new to release in July. mixtape “CRAMlife” in March.

Listen to these artists at!

Who: The Getbye Members: Kyle Smith, David Pendry and Alex Taylor Style: Gypsy Rock Sounds like: Modest Mouse


lot has changed since Centric first did an online profile of The Getbye in 2011. All the members are now UCF alumni, and they are down to three members since guitarist Alex Smith left the band. Even since they graduated, it’s hard not to recognize that their music still resonates within the UCF community when a UCF student walks by and says, ‘You guys rock!’ in the middle of our interview. In the two years since the last interview, they have played a televised event at the Metrodome in Minneapolis in front of 20,000 people. They also played with big names like Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Coolio and Puddle of Mudd at Rockapalooza in Jackson, Mich. and did a tribute to the late Ryan Dunn for their good friend Brandon Novak from Jackass. Four years since the band’s formation, one thing hasn’t changed and that is what drives them--music, peace and love. l

Volume 3 | Issue 1




UCF’s very own superhero tells us how you really can do it all By | Samantha Rosenthal


t a university as vast as UCF, it is seemingly impossible for students to engage in all the opportunities presented. But Eddiedelso “Eddie” Garcia, a 21-year-old senior pursuing a public administration degree and nonprofit management minor, is taking that challenge in stride. A familiar face on campus, Garcia has been involved in university activities since his freshman year in 2009. He has been part of the President’s Leadership Council (PLC), Beta Theta Pi fraternity, Knight-Thon, SGA and the LEAD Scholars Program. Garcia has also volunteered at Boys Town and Alternative Spring Break in Birmingham, Ala., and he believes that community service has helped him grow and impact others. Originally from Queens, NY, he grew up in a different environment than most young people. “Queens, I feel, made me grow up faster,” he said. “Living in New York, it’s such a different environment than from Florida or Orlando. From such a young age, we’re independent. We’re taking public transportation, and my parents were never so worried.” Garcia is a first-generation college student who, at first, had trouble finding his place at UCF but always had the desire to help and serve others. This attitude helped him receive the President’s Scholarship and win the Orlando Magic Maker award for community service in the Central Florida area. “I felt that my parents really sacrificed so much for me to go to school, and academics were what was going to take me far in life. It’s something that my parents didn’t have, so I felt that it was up to my brother and I to be that beacon of hope for my family to get them out of the supermarket business they have worked in their entire life,” said Garcia.

14 Centric | Spring 2013

Eddie Garcia remains humble despite the many awards he’s won and attributes his success to the lessons his parents taught him.


Photo by Grace Howard

Between putting together Beta’s Best Dance Crew and O-Team and participating in Mr. UCF and Homecoming Court, Garcia was also a 2013 Order of Pegasus recipient, which is the most prestigious honor at UCF that recognizes exemplary performance by undergraduate and graduate students. “It’s something that means not only a lot to me but to my family, the people who helped me get here and taught me so much about myself and about life,” he said. “This is really an award not only for me, but for everyone throughout my UCF experience that has helped me get to where I am. It’s for them, too.” Vince Rossy, a UCF alumnus, said after being Eddie’s mentor for PLC it was clear that Eddie was a different kind of leader. “He is someone who doesn’t tend to gloat or boast about his positions,” said Rossy. “He is very humble. He’s not someone who celebrates and brags about his achievements. He just kind of lets his achievements speak for themselves, and that’s what I think is a great quality about him.” Dr. Nancy Marshall, vice president and assistant chief of staff, has worked closely with Garcia ever since he landed his position as a PLC member. She believes Garcia is a mature person who never settles— he is always stepping up and out to help his peers. “Everybody likes Eddie, and that’s interesting,” she said. “Because you have some leaders that are successful but maybe people don’t like them, and I don’t know anybody who doesn’t like him. He is just good energy and a great guy.” As graduation approaches, Garcia has made plans for the future, hoping to pursue an acting career. He has found acting is his true passion. Originally, Garcia planned on attending law school for the first three years he was at UCF, until he interned abroad in Australia. After interviewing with professionals in various career fields he was interested in, he realized law was not his true calling. “I was going to law school for all the wrong reasons,” Garcia said. “I wanted to go because it would save me time and make good money, which I felt I needed because I needed to help my family. That kind of put more pressure on me to just get a degree that would help my family financially. I realized that you can’t be successful doing something you don’t like and going to law school would not have been something I wanted or liked.” Garcia plans on moving to New York after graduation this spring. He will take acting and the other necessary classes that will help him pursue a career in that field. He currently is taking classes locally to prepare himself. “I can’t believe how fast my time has come up,” said Garcia. “But everything I’ve done, all the lessons I’ve learned and all the memories, I’ll always have them with me no matter where I go. They’ll always hold a special place in my heart. So no matter if I’m in California, New York or anywhere in the world, UCF is always going to be a part of me.” l

Photo courtesy of Eddie Garcia Garcia and Alex Harrison were a part of O-Team to welcome incoming UCF students at orientation.

“ ” He is someone

who doesn’t tend to gloat... He just

kind of lets his

achievements speak for themselves.

Volume 3 | Issue 1



1Millican Pint of blood President Charles N. 6acresManmade brushfires destroyed 500 13 Restaurants/eateries on campus are donated in 1969 for the Vietnam of FTU property. “The whole thing operated by Aramark. This includes fast War’s “Blood for Peace” drive. (below)

makes me sick all over,” President Millican said while witnessing the aftermath.

food, convenience stores and even catering.

7newspaper TH day of October 1968 FTU’s first was released. It was titled

14 Apollo 14. Watching the

“F.T.U.???” and was only 4 pages long. Its front-page story read “Florida Tech Opens” and a transit schedule to and from downtown Orlando was also provided.

landing was the grand prize for guessing the identity of the mystery knight in a 1971 newspaper. (right)



Million dollars needed to start phase one of building UCF (then FTU).

2as Florida University names. We began Technological University

16 Members who joined the Black Students Union

years by the numbers

(FTU) in 1966 and changed to the University of Central Florida in 1978. Fun fact: UCF became Shuster University in 1988, but only for the filming of “Superboy,” the college version of “Superman.”

(BSU) when it began in 1969. Only 25 black students attended FTU at the time.


Years since UCF football moved to Division I-A.

The University of Central Florida turns 50 this year, and although that’s relatively young for an institution, it’s already seen countless achievements and experienced memorable moments in history. Here are just a few.

By | Carolina Navarro

3World Space Mountain seats on the Disney 8university’s Volumes of “Pegasus” – the 18 : Age of freshman Karl Clayton Van ride. A model car can be seen on yearbook. The first volume Meter when he became the first student display in the engineering building. UCF students helped design the mechanics of the ride.

4Millican UCF Presidents. Dr. Charles N. became FTU’s first president in 1965. Dr. H. Trevor Colbourn followed from 1978 to 1989, when he was succeeded by Dr. Steven Altman from 1989 to 1991. Finally, Dr. John C. Hitt assumed office in 1992 and has been serving UCF ever since.

5Knightro. Mascots before UCF has seen the likes of the Citronaut (right), Vincent the Vulture (who lives on the 5th floor of the library as taxidermy), Sir Wins-a-lot, Puff, and Mack the Knight.

16 Centric | Spring 2013

was published in 1970 and although it wasn’t produced annually, seven others followed with the last one being named “The Knight” in 1989. (right)

9endp.m. was the of dorm visitation hours on Friday and

fatality since FTU’s open. The university’s front page story read “Hall Road and Alafaya Trail turn to glass in the rain. Slow down! If not for your sake, for everyone else’s. Get to class late one day if necessary, but get there!” when he died at the wheel.

19 TH day of March 1967 FTU’s groundbreaking ceremony. Two shovels were used - a silver-plated one for photographs, and a second $3.50 shovel.

11 Years since 20 Acres Harris Rosen donated to 10 TH day of the UCF Recreation develop the Rosen College of Hospitality June UCF turns 50.

Saturday nights in 1969.

Happy Birthday!

and Wellness Center opened on January 4.

12 Was the rank of “The Blair Witch Project” on Chicago Film Critics Association’s list of “Top 100 Scariest Movies.” The film was created by UCF students and eventually became the most successful independent movie of all time.

Management. The Mediterranean resortstyle campus is the largest hospitality management education facility ever built.

21 Million dollars used to expand the UCF Recreation and Wellness Center in 2010. The facility grew by 65,000 square feet.


33 Years since construction of the heart 41 Years since FTU’s art department 22 Months it took to create FTU’s of campus, the Student Union, began. attended the 1972 Munich Olympics. They official seal. It was presented to the public on April 5, 1968.

23 : Age of Maluso, also known to UCF as Pegasus. The gray Andalusian stallion (right) played the role of Pegasus from 2009 to 2012.


Hours Subway is open in the Student Union on Mondays-Thursdays. Today it is one of the most successful franchised Subways in the United States and number one in the Orlando market.

were the only U.S. art department invited to participate and were commissioned to create sails and other art for the world to see.

34 Dollars is the current price for a Blue Man Group ticket at the SGA Ticket Center. They usually retail for $62.84 at the gate.

42 Years since UCF alumnus George Kalogridis began working as a busboy at

when FTU first opened.

43 Thousand serial subscriptions can be found in the UCF library.

35 Cents for a oneway fare from downtown Orlando 36 Years since Rita Reuter became homecoming queen at age 58. The news made her a campus celebrity and landed her on the “Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson (below), introducing her and FTU to America.

25 TH day of November 1968 that Dr. Charles N. Millican was inaugurated

28 Miles to the Rosen College of Hospitality Management, or about a 40 minute drive.

29 Thousand dollars is the estimated cost for a non-Florida resident to attend

46 . A copy of the Vulgate Bible was published in 1546. That copy now lives in the UCF library and is one of the oldest printed books in the university’s collection.

37 .2 percent was UCF’s minority enrollment in 2012 (up 20.3% since

48 -hour art marathon was created 38 : Age Daniel Tosh (below) will turn in the 1970s. The feat, which tested the this year on May 29. He graduated from artists’ physical stamina and endurance, was UCF in 1996 with a marketing degree and now hosts his own show on Comedy Central.

32 Years since UCF installed its own telephone system, reducing its reliance on outside telephone companies.

regarded as the first 48-hour art marathon in the country, according to Dr. Walter Gaudnek.


Dollars (plus 95¢) was the price for a Sea-nymph Waterbed in a 1970s newspaper ad. UCF would go on to break the world record for most people on a waterbed. One-hundredsix students achieved this on Feb. 5, 1981.

$ 30

31 Doctoral programs and degrees were offered at UCF in 2012.

47 UCF football players have gone to the NFL.

President Hitt took office in 1992).

the university. This includes tuition & fees and room & board for fall/ spring based on 14 hours per term.

-Plus samples of brick were tested to construct the university’s buildings. Despite the budget cuts and more economicallyaffordable cinder-block boxes, FTU opted for antique colonial red as its official brick.

of Arthropods, which is located on the first floor of the Biology Building, includes thousands of insects and fauna, mainly for educational purposes.

registered vehicles and parking violations.

26 . The university’s time capsule will be opened in 2026. have also brought talent like Panic! At the Disco, LMFAO, and Snoop Dogg.

44 0,000 -plus specimens in UCF’s Bug Closet. The Stuart M. Fullerton Collection 45 Years since first traffic citations were issued on campus. Write ups included non-

as president of Florida Technological University. Fun fact: The Supreme Court of Florida was in attendance.

27 Years ago the Beach Boys performed for Homecoming. SGA’s efforts

Disney’s Contemporary Resort. He is now president of Walt Disney World.

Photo courtesy of Twitter

Years since a dream of creating a 50 university emphasizing an “Accent on the

40 Years since the Orientation Team (O-Team) was created. UCF was the first university in Florida

Individual” and the assurance that one could “Reach for the Stars” was turned into reality. Over the years that dream has grown and made UCF the second-largest university in the nation in terms of enrollment. This has translated into more than 60,000 dreams, goals and opportunities.

to have guided freshmen tours and activities led by O-Team members, which helped bring in students to the young university.

* Images and information courtesy of the Special Collections & University Archives Department, University of Central Florida Libraries, Orlando, Florida

39 Years since FTU skipped production of its yearbook, “Pegasus,” since its creation in 1970.

Volume 3 | Issue 1



GOING THE DISTANCE This track coach not only believes in physical strength, but in strength of the heart by | Nicole Saavedra

Photo by Dany Son “I’d been running for so long, some of it I knew what to do. God just put it in me,” said Coach Caryl Smith Gilbert.


or Caryl Smith Gilbert, success is elusive. “I don’t think I’m successful,” Smith Gilbert said. “I don’t think I’m doing too much now.” In her six years as UCF’s track and field coach, Smith Gilbert has led UCF to four Conference USA track and field championships and has been named the C-USA Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the Year for three consecutive seasons. “It’s not really what does she mean to the program, she is the program,” assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jeff Chakouian said. “Everything we do is under her guidance.” Smith Gilbert has built UCF’s track and field program, but who built Smith Gilbert?

18 Centric | Spring 2013

The high school coach

Tony Wells changed everything. Smith Gilbert was 24 years old, with a degree in film and television production, and no desire to coach. Then, the call from her former high school coach came. Go back to your high school, Wells told her. They want to hire you as head coach. “I said, ‘I’m not going there,’” Smith Gilbert said. “’I don’t like kids. I don’t like girls. I don’t want to be around any of that.’ He said, ‘Yeah, you’re going there today.’” She went, and ended up coaching George Washington High School in Denver to two state titles and three All-America selections. Tony, who coached in Colorado for over 20 years, taught her everything he knew. “I’d been running for so long, some of it I knew what to do. God just put it in me,” Smith Gilbert said. “I knew what to do at certain times. Other things, I learned.”

The college icon

Smith Gilbert coaches her athletes in two ways. The first way she learned from Wells. The second way, which is endurance based, she learned from Bob Kersee, a volunteer coach at UCLA. Smith Gilbert molds her coaching philosophy based on her interactions with coaches around the country, and Kersee has been a big part of that. She ran into Kersee at the Olympic Trials and spoke with him. “Kersee [is] one of the greatest coaches in track and field history in regard to how his athletes perform,” said Smith Gilbert’s husband, Greg. “Those are the people you want to stay in contact with.” “It’s been a focal point throughout her career to take what she’s learned from her mentors and do the best she can.”


Photo by Dany Son Husband Greg Gilbert and son Osiris play out on the field.

Photo by Dany Son Latisha Bowen practices hurdles during a Tuesday morning training.

The husband

Former NFL linebacker Greg Gilbert first saw Smith Gilbert in the gym at the University of Alabama in late 2010. He was dating someone else at the time, so it took a year for him to introduce himself. “She seemed like such a nice person, it would have been a shame to get to know her without the ability to potentially date her because I was dating someone,” Gilbert said. “I took a gamble and it happened to work out.” That gamble paid off when the they finally married. The facilities and the weather were the perfect starting point to build a program, but she says she probably wouldn’t have accepted the job if she hadn’t had the blessing of her husband. “My husband inspires me,” Smith Gilbert said. “He holds me to a certain standard. When I don’t think it can be there, he’s always there to encourage me. He believes in me when I don’t believe in me.”

The friend

To Smith Gilbert, coaching is about more than results on the track. It’s about connecting with others, and she can trace that back to when she first met Bev Kearney. Kearney coached at the University of Texas until resigning in January. “Bev taught me about people,” Smith Gilbert said. “It’s a lot of people skills, things that you can’t [teach,] how to treat people.” Chakouian said that Smith Gilbert is more than a coach to her student athletes. “They look at her as a mother figure, a woman who is doing the right thing in the world,” Chakouian said. “That’s what she’s trying to create, not just people who run fast or throw far, but trying to create young women so that when they leave here they can conquer the world and get everything they want.” l



Two-time Colorado state champion in 200-meter dash and long jump


Three national titles Three-time All-American at UCLA Three-time Colorado state champion in 100-meter dash


Five C-USA titles Five Seasons as assistant coach at University of Tennessee


Six Seasons at UCF Six-time C-USA Outdoor Track and Field Coach of the year Six All-Americans and four competitors in the Olympic Trials in 2012

Volume 3 | Issue 1



NATURE MEETS MAN AND MACHINE For some UCF engineering majors, their senior project isn’t just about being hands-on but also lending a helping hand by

| Sara Lane


n the Engineering 2 building there is a cart from Space Mountain on display, a main attraction at Disney’s Magic Kingdom, because students helped to create it through a senior design class. Students must complete this class in order to graduate with an engineering degree. Here they have to propose, design and create a project within their field of study. Since 1968, UCF students have been using these projects to gain hands-on experience while still in school. Through partnerships with many large organizations, students are presented with opportunities they would not find elsewhere. Steven Duranceau and four engineering students, selected from the UCF Society of Environmental Engineers, have used their project to impact people outside of UCF. They formed the “Strategic Engineering Infrastructure Plan for the Bithlo Rural Community.” Florida Hospital began forming the Bithlo Scientific Advisory group to bring water to this underprivileged community. The hospital was looking to involve the university, since Duranceau does research on drinking water, waste water and landfills, they came to him, he said. Bithlo is a small community about 10 minutes away from UCF’s main campus.

20 Centric | Spring 2013

Photo by Danny Romero From left to right: Christine Hall,Vincent Chiu, Erica Laberge, Alex Magliacane and Steven Duranceau.

They have been in a receivership since 1920, which means that they are poor in funds and resources, so they had to file for bankruptcy as a community. “On the south side of 50, there are these manufactured homes—trailers – and none of them are sewered,” Duranceau said. “Running water is no such thing out here. So people have to walk across 50 to the water main to get fresh water.” Bithlo has many issues with its local environment, like leaky oil from abandoned gas stations, low maintenance on water wells and under-maintained septic tanks. Alex Magliacane is working on the wastewater treatment plan aspect of the project. He said these issues can impact environments nearby. The wastewater treatment plant will go on what was once used to illegally dump

oil. Erica Laberge, one of the four students, is planning the budget for excavation in the chosen area in which all dirt must be removed. “It’s a real project, so we can possibly help people with what we learn and we get a taste of what it will be like when we leave college,” Vincent Chiu, a student helping with the wastewater treatment plan, said. Christine Hall, a graduate student who began working on the project as a senior, used a computer program, WaterCAD, to map out the design and flow of the new pipelines throughout the community. She extended the pipelines from Orlando’s main water source. “We are the connection between man, machines and the environment, while trying to protect all three,” Duranceau said. l



Christine Mouton speaks up for many at UCF whose experiences have left them at a loss for words by

| Eric Quitugua


t 7 a.m., Christine Mouton is in her office, sipping hazelnut coffee and sifting through emails. She receives updates from her staff about weekend calls, corresponds with the UCF deputy chief and prepares for the classes she teaches at UCF: Victims in the Criminal Justice System and Domestic Violence. “My staff will be the first to tell you, I’m a workaholic,” Professor Mouton laughed. But this is just the beginning of what Mouton does here at the university. As the director of UCF Victim Services, she helps people move on from traumatic experiences and find a new equilibrium. Many of her clients are students who have endured sexual assaults, dating violence and/or stalking. She provides them with many resources: health care, obtaining injunctions for protection and even transportation to rape crisis centers. “I live this stuff every day,” she said. She indeed has lived this stuff every day for nearly 20 years. In 1994, Mouton lived with her husband at Eglin Air Force Base in Fort Walton Beach, Fla. There she worked for the public defender’s office when a particular case influenced her decision to switch from defending perpetrators to advocating for their victims. “I knew the family that was involved because it was a military case,” Mouton said. She was assigned to help interview an Air Force technical sergeant, who was accused of killing his wife and two children. Mouton’s daughter was in a taekwondo class with the sergeant’s son. The man would be found guilty and be sentenced to death two years later, but Mouton felt the victim’s family was ignored.

“Nobody’s speaking up for them, if you understand what I’m saying–at least on my side of the fence at the time,” Mouton said. “This was a horrible thing that happened to them, and I think that was what influenced me [to become an advocate.]” Today, in addition to defending victims at the university, Mouton educates students on victimization through crime prevention workshops. “I don’t know if you’re familiar with Broken Windows Theory,” she said. “If you have a property in a community and there’s a broken window and nobody fixes it, it’s the first step to deterioration of the community because it shows that the community doesn’t care or the person who owns the property doesn’t care.” She uses this theory in reference to past work in helping renovate a Sanford Boys and Girls Club, yet she can easily also have been referring to the UCF community. “I want to speak up for the people that don’t understand the system; that

don’t know how it works,” Mouton said. Mouton’s coworkers say that her desire to help people goes beyond her job. “Christine has said [there was a time] when she had been in Publix and somebody’s going at it in front of her and she will purposely say ‘can you hand me a magazine?’” said Christey Oberbeck, a victim advocate for UCF Victim Services. “She does a really good job at making sure we have what she calls‘self-care,’ ” advocate Bryan Williams said. For Mouton, that involves driving home without music. She can process better the stories she hears every day at work. It eases the emotional demand before she’s home with her family. When she’s back at work, she’s better able to help victims, none of which she will ever forget. “I can still remember who they were and what their individual situations were, and that will always influence the work that I do,” Mouton said.l

Photo by Dany Son Christine Mouton humbly accepts the responsibility of helping every student she can. “My staff will be the first to tell you, I’m a workaholic,” she said.

Volume 3 | Issue 1





How many Knights does it take to change the face of the community? by

| Danny Romero


hese Knights have the drive and the passion to go above and beyond to fight for a cause. They are more than just college students; they inspire and give back to the community.

Photo by Danny Romero Aubrey Kuperman, a senior majoring in history, works with HERO and Page 15 to provide supplemental learning for children up through high school on reading and writing.



Photo by Danny Romero Tamara Rose Khan, a senior studying business, founded the Rose Run Series to give back to local charities. Photo by Shannon Scheidell Travis Drake, a junior majoring in political science, is the volunteer coordinator at the Zebra Coalition.

22 Centric | Spring 2013

1. In step with the community If you happen to see costumed people running around Lake Claire on campus, don’t worry, you haven’t landed in the middle of a movie. Most likely, you are witnessing a themed 5K run sponsored by Rose Run Series, Inc., the idea of UCF student Tamara Rose Khan. Khan’s Rose Run Series is a nonprofit organization that hosts charity run/walks that benefit different organizations in the Orlando community. In Halloween 2012, participants dressed up in costumes and ran in the first ever Rose Run event, which raised money for the Meningitis Foundation. “Our mission is to make exercise an enjoyable social activity while bringing awareness to different causes,” Khan said. All of the 5K run/walk events are themed. Among other charities that benefit from the Rose Run 5K include the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Center for Memory Disorders and Coins for Kids.

Jennifer Kopf contributed to this report

2. Earning his stripes A chance encounter on an airplane with the multicultural affairs director at Rollins College gave Travis Drake the opportunity to volunteer with The Zebra Coalition. The organization helps homeless lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered (LGBT) youth and aims to foster hope, dignity and self-respect for them. It does so by providing services such as counseling, shelter, medical services, food and more by collaborating with similar organizations.


Photo by Danny Romero Nicole Preston, a master’s student in nonprofit management, is the community coordinator for the Knights Helping Knights Pantry.


Photo courtesy of Kyle Shelton Kyle Shelton, a UCF film alumnus, gives back to the four-legged community by volunteering through the Orange County Animal Services.

“For me personally, it’s close to my heart,” said Drake. “I tell the youth that I’ve been there and I’ve been through what you’re going through and it gets better.” Drake was a runaway during his teenage years and found support with the Zebra Coalition. He now volunteers at the Zebra Coalition house organizing information sessions and joining the youth in interactive activities. “No two zebra stripes are exactly alike and that’s the approach that the Zebra Coalition takes,” Drake said. “No two youth are exactly alike, we assess the clients that come in and develop a personalized track based on their needs.” 3. A true HERO Education and the basic skills of reading and writing are some of the most important fundamentals in life, yet many children in Orlando remain underserved. That’s where UCF student Aubrey Kuperman comes in. Kuperman volunteers as part of the Honors Educational Reach Out (HERO) program and works with Page 15, an organization committed to providing reading and writing education for all students living and attending public school in Orlando, helping children of all ages up to high school. “Part of what we’re trying to do is set an example that you can get this done, get good grades and keep moving forward,” said Kuperman. “My favorite part is when they say ‘I don’t need your help and I just want you to check it’ that means I know they paid more attention in class and they think they can do it themselves. That’s what we’re trying to do, to empower these kids to do it themselves.” Kuperman also does charity drives and community outreach, and works with the Camaraderie foundation, a community organization that helps build a community for veterans and is co-president of Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.


4. A Knight in the pantry Being a college student can be rough, with books, tuition and housing fees; costs can add up, leaving little to no money left for food. That’s where the Knights Helping Knights Pantry, run by Nicole Preston, comes in. Preston, a nonprofit management graduate student at UCF, works as the community coordinator for Knights Helping Knights Pantry, which provides students with items such as canned food, clothing and much more. Preston recognizes the tremendous value of the Knights Pantry. “I know we’re helping a lot of students, she said. “We have fellow Knights come in and talk to us and let us know that without the pantry, they wouldn’t be able to eat.” The name Knights Helping Knights comes from the fact that many students donate the items and the entire pantry is student-run, with no faculty members present. “Students can come in every day if they need to and it can get them through a difficult time when they have no food to eat,” Preston said. “When they get back on their feet, they give back to us, so then we have more.” 5. Saving lives, four legs at a time Many college students would love to own a pet, but their busy school schedules and housing restrictions, will not allow them to have a furry friend. UCF graduate Kyle Shelton found a way to spend time with several animals and give back to his community. “I grew up owning dogs all my life up until college,” Shelton said. Shelton chose to volunteer at Orange County Animal Services because he said he liked that the facility focused its volunteers’ attention on potential adopters. “Adopting a pet practically means saving a life,” he said. “[It] gives the animal a second chance at living out its life and helps to control the over-population of stray animals.” l

Volume 3 | Issue 1


UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center Spring Special Present this offer to receive $150 off your next event space rental fee! Open for alumni & student groups for banquets, formals, meetings and more.

Call 407-823-2278 Offer valid on new bookings through June 1, 2013. Based on availability. Located across from the UCF Arena.

Centric Magazine  

Spring 2013 Issue