PEGASUS The Magazine of the University of Central Florida
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NOT SIMPLY RED A D D I N G
C O L O R
T H E
R E D
P L A N E T
18 THE INSIDER Dr. Mike Reynolds helps Russians help themselves.
30 COMING HOME TO FIND THEIR VOICES Dr. Janet Whiteside turns a research lab into a home.
36 CAMPUS WILDLIFE This class crawls, flies and eats bugs.
NATION’S BEST Amy Nicholl, ’12, recently won her second national title from the National Scholastic Surfing Association. She competed as a member of the UCF Surf Team. 2 / FA L L 2 0 1 2
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To experience the fear & the thrill —the emotion of
trying something new—
makes the invisible visible at
UCF. READ ON.
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PUBLISHER University of Central Florida C H A I R , B OA R D O F T R U S T E E S Michael J. Grindstaff, ’78
CONTENTS FA L L 2 0 1 2
VO LU M E 1 9
UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT John C. Hitt P R OVO S T A N D EXECUTIVE VICE PRESIDENT Tony G. Waldrop VICE PRESIDENT A N D C H I E F O F S TA F F John F. Schell
VICE PRESIDENTS W. Scott Cole Helen Donegan Maribeth Ehasz Deborah C. German Alfred G. Harms, Jr. Robert J. Holmes, Jr. Daniel Holsenbeck William F. Merck II M.J. Soileau Todd Stansbury
EDITOR IN CHIEF Terry Helms A S S O C I AT E E D I T O R Michelle Fuentes C R E AT I V E D I R E C T O R Brandon Dunnick DESIGNER Lauren Haar, ’06 PHOTOGRAPHY
UNLESS OTHERWISE NOTED
Danielle Taufer PRODUCTION MANAGER Sandy Pouliot WEB EDITOR Patrick Burt, ’08 ONLINE PRODUCER Roger Wolf, ’07
WEB PROGRAMMERS Chris Conover, ’11 Jo Greybill, ’10 CONTRIBUTING EDITOR Anne Botteri CONTRIBUTORS Adria Borek, Kim Capps, Regan Dunnick, Emily Ellyn, ’08, Mark Freid, Diane Levine, Geoff Levy, Angie Lewis, ’03, Dante Lima, Peg Martin, Joan McCain, ’82, Liz Meyer, Walt Middleton, Susan White PEGASUS ADVISORY BOARD Barb Abney, ’03 Richard Brunson, ’84 Cristina Calvet-Harrold, ’01 Michael Griffin, ’84 Mike Hinn, ’92 Valarie Greene King Zack Lassiter Tom Messina, ’84 Karl Sooder Dan Ward, ’92 Elizabeth Wardle Suhtling Wong
6 Home Away …
8 The Horseshoe
Football Knights score in front of 105,000
10 First Impressions
Faculty offices on display
12 International Perspectives Diversity linked to innovation
14 On Campus
16 Faculty Spotlight
Hospital Hospitality; European Politics
18 The Insider
Revamping Russia’s legal system
23 Red State/Blue State
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Predicting the 2012 election
24 Not Simply Red
UCF on Mars
Shot of the day
30 Coming Home …
Hope from Aphasia House
34 Swell Eats
Easy, tasty recipes
36 Campus Wildlife
News and announcements
46 Back in the Day
First home football game
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MAILBOX JUST THE FACTS
Thank you for the look back at the FTU yearbook staff in 1971. It was a privilege to chronicle that year with some of the most creative, resourceful and dedicated people I’ve ever known. I would just like to note a slight typo on my graduation year, which was actually 1974.
This is with regard to the article on page 19 of the Summer 2012 issue of Pegasus. While the first three items actually state facts, the last [item] clearly expresses nothing more than an opinion. The “fact” present provides nothing to refute the notion of the previous paragraph that size is irrelevant, or that “despite its great size, UCF has not yet had a great impact.”
Andy Mayhew, ’98 via email
Editor’s response: Andy, we agree with you that this fact stands out and is different. But as written, it’s undeniable that UCF’s enrollment number means … something.
Jeff Budd, ’97 via email
Editor’s response: Hi, Jeff, and thanks for the Thompson story. We hope you saw UCF track star Afia Charles run for Antigua and Barbuda at the London Summer Olympics.
Impressive (yes, & BIG) issue of Pegasus mag from @UCF. Nice job! I also downloaded the @UCFALUMNI app. Go Knights!
Jody Mask, ’96 via Twitter
The “Big Issue” was distributed to all alumni and resulted in a deluge of address changes. In total, 2,900 addresses were updated for this issue. To update your address online, visit ucfalumni.com/ contactupdates.
JoAnne Cross, ’08 via email
Kathy Blum Parent via Facebook
Julia M. Cabrera-Woscek, ’96 via Facebook
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed the magazine! I read it cover to cover.
… There was a UCF male track athlete named Kemel Thompson who ran the 400-meter. Due to the Title IX restructuring and loss of the men’s track program, Thompson transferred to the University of South Florida to finish his college track career. He went on to be a two-time Olympian in the 400-meter hurdles for Jamaica. So technically, UCF does have a male track Olympian.
My son’s a freshman at UCF and this is the first issue that I’ve seen. I was impressed with all the articles, especially the one about Mr. Rosen. I look forward to seeing the next issue.
I was surprised, but it was a good surprise. THANK YOU! It made me feel the passion of the Golden Knights all over again!
Cole NeSmith, ’07 via Twitter
IS BIGGER BETTER?
Erik Stenbakken, ’93 via email
@UCF Fantastic design, layout, photography and illustration in the summer Pegasus mag.
P O P U LA R
Patty Gray Neff, ’74 via email
Editor’s response: Sorry, Patty! And thanks. By bringing this to our attention, we caught another error. There were 16 alumni shown but 21 names listed. Obviously, a few individuals were “not pictured.”
I have to say I was VERY impressed with the last issue of Pegasus. It’s well done in every regard.
S T O R I E S that generated the most online page views last issue
ONLINE FEEDBACK So different compared to 6,000 [students] in 1969.
Alan Tschirgi Sr., ’71 via Facebook
Loved this edition of Pegasus! I have always been proud to be a Knight, and the info provided in the magazine keeps that passion burning!
Kari Ulch Hendrickson, ’89 via email
I just received Pegasus in the mail yesterday. What a wonderful publication—it makes me proud to be in the UCF family.
Andy Jacobsohn, ’09 via email
I got your “Big Issue” in the mail this morning and WOW. As an alum, I am very proud of the growth at UCF… I enjoyed reading the magazine and look forward to the next one!
Jerrica Schwartz, ’09 via email
Bigger isn’t always good. Less one-on-one time with teachers and more streamlined classes.
Email email@example.com Mail UCF Marketing P.O. Box 160090 Orlando, FL 32816-0090 Phone 407.823.2621 Fax 407.823.2567 Pegasus is published by UCF Marketing in partnership with the UCF Foundation, Inc. and the UCF Alumni Association. Opinions expressed in Pegasus are not necessarily those shared by the University of Central Florida. ©2012 UCF all rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without permission is prohibited. Pegasus is a registered trademark of the UCF Alumni Association.
Lance Wamsley Electrical engineering major via email
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S EC T ION (COVER STORY)
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HOME AWAY FROM HOME
n move-in day you wake up early, hope for good weather and head to UCF. Find your residence hall. Unpack the car and the boxes. Bright purple carpet—check. Guitar—check. Meet your roommate. The adrenaline’s pumping because you’re on a mission. Earlier in the week was different. At home you may have gone through photo albums with your parents or played one more board game with a younger sibling. You said good-bye to Pops and Grandma. And maybe the hardest drill was packing your room. Deciding what to save and what to toss. Experiencing a tidal wave of emotions as your old room suddenly looked larger. From feeling nervous to excited, move-in day is more than a day. It’s an 18-year journey.
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PHOTO BY WALT MIDDLETON
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THE HORSESHOE UCF capped off a 5-play, 78-yard drive to tie Ohio State with this 1-yard touchdown pass from Blake Bortles to Justin Tukes. Final score: OSU 31, UCF 16.
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F IR ST IMP RESSION S
Dr. Michael Georgiopoulos readies his office for his first day as interim dean at the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Hidden from view is Dr. Gene Paolineâ€™s collection of New York Mets memorabilia.
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PEGASUS M AGAZ I NE Dr. Carolyn Hopp, ’01, shows off her favorite keepsake from her UCF student days—the Order of Pegasus award.
hat do you notice most when entering someone’s office? And how does that impression impact you? Office décor is a behavioral footprint. It can be intentional or accidental. Choices can range from traditional to contemporary to comfortably cluttered. Knickknacks, photos, stacks of paper, plants, expensive furniture: These all say something about you and the place that you may spend more waking hours at than home.
Dr. Paul Jarley, College of Business Administration dean, displays his baseball collection in his office.
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INT ERN ATION A L P ER SP EC T I V ES
France Netherlands 16
Here are a few facts about where and what our faculty have studied.
DOCTORAL DEGREES BY FLORIDA INSTITUTION
University of Central Florida
University of Florida
Florida State University
University of South Florida
Florida Atlantic University
TOTAL DEGREES FROM
IVY LEAGUE SCHOOLS
TOTAL DEGREES FROM
Puerto Rico 6
DOCTORAL DEGREES IN
Physics 41 Psychology
Business Admin. Sociology 24
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32 27 27
South Africa 24
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To prepare students to compete in a global economy and multicultural workforce, UCF employs faculty who have received their education from all over the world. Their broad backgrounds and experiences contribute to a diverse learning environment.
CO U N T R I E S REPRESENTED
I N C LU D I N G 1 3 9 D O C TO R A L D E G R E E S
EXCLUDES U.S. AND U.S. TERRITORIES
South Korea 5
TOP 5 COUNTRIES
FACULTY RECEIVED DEGREES FROM
INTERNATIONAL DEGREES FROM
Algeria, Argentina, Armenia, Australia, Bangladesh, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, Fiji, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, India, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Lithuania, Mexico, Moldova, Netherlands, New Zealand, Nigeria, Pakistan, Poland, Puerto Rico, Romania, Russia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Syria, Taiwan, Turkey, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Uzbekistan and Venezuela NOT MAPPED:
Locations with two or fewer degrees
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The Burnett Honors College hosted Rent-APup, a monthly event that allows participants to walk rescued pets. RentA-Pup helps rehabilitate animals that have been previously abused, injured or abandoned.
UCF women’s soccer defeated the University of Miami 1-0 in overtime.
CAMPUS Knights know how to have fun and show their school spirit. Named “Best Campus Tradition 2011” by the National Association for Campus Activities, Spirit Splash kicks off Homecoming on Friday, Nov. 2.
HOMECOMING 2012 Our Days as Knights Thursday, Nov. 1 Black & Gold Gala UCF Arena, 6:30 p.m. ucfalumni.com or 407.823.2586 Friday, Nov. 2 Black & Gold Day Everywhere, all day! Homecoming Golf Tournament Grand Cypress Golf Club, 7:30 a.m. registration; 8 a.m. shotgun start ucfalumni.com or 407.823.2586 Black & Gold Takeover Downtown Orlando, 9 p.m.–midnight ucfalumni.com or 407.823.2586
The campus gets dressed up to celebrate its 50th anniversary.
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Saturday, Nov. 3 Indoor Tailgate Party UCF FAIRWINDS Alumni Center, 4-6 p.m. ucfalumni.com/tailgate or 407.823.2586 Homecoming Football Game UCF vs. SMU Bright House Networks Stadium, 7 p.m. FOR MORE UPCOMING E V E N T S, V I S I T E V E N T S . U C F. E D U .
UCF College of Medicine Dean Deborah German welcomed 100 new M.D. students at this year’s White Coat Ceremony.
Students placed thousands of flags on the free speech lawn to commemorate 9/11.
John Deeb, ’01, filmed UCF’s new TV commercial. It will air during football games this fall. Visit youtube.com/ucf to view the commercial.
Knights united at Bright House Networks Stadium for the year’s largest pep rally—Friday Knight Lights.
The Rock the Vote tour bus made a stop on campus. Since 1992, the organization has registered more than 5 million young adults to vote. P E G A S U S . U C F. E D U / 15
FACULTY SP OTLIGH T
T GE LL E W ON SO
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enver Severt knows that hospitals can offer drastically different types of care. His 3-day-old son, Noah, spent his short life in two facilities whose care was so contradictory that Severt was compelled to apply his knowledge of hospitality management to patient care. “At the first hospital, Noah was having trouble breathing. A nurse came in and asked us his name, claiming a file had been misplaced. Four hours later the nurse returned, asked his name again, took out a pen, and wrote our son’s name on her hand. It made for a frustrating, traumatic experience,” says Severt. Noah passed away from hypoplastic left heart syndrome at the second hospital. It was this hospital’s extraordinary service that motivates Severt today. He refers to the compassion demonstrated by the neonatal intensive care unit physician as “the best service encounter of my life.” “The medical outcome can be bad, but it doesn’t mean the service to the patient has to be compromised.” Now Severt, an associate professor at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management, assists hospitals in researching how they administer service, from a patient’s admission to their discharge from a facility. The studies are conducted to help hospitals improve satisfaction scores, which the government reviews for Medicare reimbursements. “We did an emergency department study on the flow of patients. We learned that hospitals are sophisticated but fragmented entities,” he says. “The management is separate from the nurses, volunteers and physicians.” The studies aid hospitals in breaking down communication barriers between nurses, physicians, hospital management and employees, and help all of the independent professionals to work as a unit. “Improvement can come by making everyone’s job more efficient, by transferring medical records properly, or simply by spending more time listening to patient needs,” says Severt. “In a hedonistic business like leisure, the guests want to be there. No one wants to be a guest at a hospital,” Severt says. “But a bed is a bed, and patients compare them. It’s the consumer-based nature of our society.” F
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Dr. Kerstin Hamann, College of Sciences
THE PULSE OF EUROPEAN POLITICS
hile the rest of the U.S. is preparing for another contentious election cycle, Dr. Kerstin Hamann has her finger on the pulse of Western European politics. Hamann, the UCF political science chair, knows that the heart of Western European politics lies in the actions of the collective, or more specifically, the European Union (EU). Though this concept may be unfamiliar to those followers of American politics who regard the U.S. as sovereign and capitalistic versus socialistic, the challenges Europe faces also impact the U.S., which is one reason why more Americans should pay attention, Hamann says. “The greatest myth is that Western Europe is socialist. They are market economies that operate under a democratic nature. Socialism implies that the productive forces are owned by the state,” Hamann explains. “None of this is true; you have private ownership of productive forces, and you also have democratic elections. They are certainly not socialist like we see in Cuba, where there is a state-planned economy and no democracy.” Most of Western Europe, however, is part of the EU, a partnership between 27 countries that developed a single market based on a standardized system of laws. The EU also developed the euro—the currency adopted by 17 of its 27 nations—which has its pros and cons.
“Western Europe is an interesting beast. You have all the independent nations with their voter-elected governments,” Hamann says. “Increasingly bound by the EU, many countries have given up a portion of their national sovereignty. They only have as much power as their allies.”
“The greatest myth is that Western Europe is socialist.” The euro prevents countries in financial crisis, such as Spain and Greece, from enacting strong economic policies because they can’t independently devalue their currency like the U.S. In many ways, Hamann says, the global economic crisis has been most challenging for Western Europe. “There have been different proposals in the EU; the euro is still fairly new to these countries. They are trying to find solutions that are economically feasible and politically acceptable,” Hamann says. “The catchphrase is true: We do live in an increasingly interconnected world. If you want to understand economic crises, it’s important to know what is going on in the rest of the world.” F
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S EC T ION (COVER STORY)
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T HE IN SI DER After 50 trips in 12 years, UCF Professor Mike Reynolds is transforming the Russian legal system, one visit at a time.
herever Dr. Mike Reynolds goes in Russia, the Federal Security Service (FSB)—modern-day Russia’s equivalent of the Soviet KGB—is close on his tail. “It took years for my friends to admit to me that every time I left, an FSB officer would come knocking to ask, ‘What did he say? What was he here for?’ I guess my visits were a bit of an issue.” The issue could stem from the fact that Reynolds’ friends include people like Dr. Anatoly Nikonov. As director of international relations at the Volgograd Academy of the Russian Internal Affairs Ministry, Nikonov is one of the most influential men in Russia (the ministry, abbreviated MVD, is the Russian police force). When Reynolds, a UCF criminal justice professor, met Nikonov in 2001, the meeting touched off a cultural exchange that would deepen over the next decade. “The Russian culture is all about personal relationships,” Reynolds explains. “It takes numerous dinner meetings and spending time with one another to develop respect and acceptance. But once that is established, it is very hard to destroy. Then, you have insiders that help facilitate your programs and make the previously impossible possible.”
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T H E IN SIDER
“Russians could learn what Americans do to build that trust.”
“Russians don’t really trust their legal system,” Reynolds says. “In focus groups of Russian citizens, we would ask, ‘If your child was lost by themselves and they needed help, would you tell them to go to a policeman?’ The answer was ‘absolutely not.’” Reynolds is quick to add that it would be unfair to judge the Russian system for its current shortcomings. “Yes, there is police
corruption. Yes, there are human rights violations. But this is a young country that came out of rough conditions. The Soviet Union collapsed in 1989. Russia didn’t really re-emerge until 1991. They’re not going to build a new system overnight. We (the United States) certainly didn’t.” In 2007-2008, Reynolds was awarded a Fulbright grant to support his Russian research. During that period, he taught the first crime analysis and mapping course in the history of the MVD higher educational system. He also became the first American scholar to live on an MVD academic compound. “The Moscow Fulbright office thought it was a mistake at first,” Reynolds recalls. “They’d never heard of the MVD allowing an outsider to live on the grounds.” Reynolds credits his unprecedented level of access to his approach. “Understanding what we do, how we do it, and how we got to where we are is very helpful for the Russians,” he says. “But instead of lecturing them about our outstanding societal achievements (and in the process, demeaning theirs), we have to become trusted confidants
Reynolds (center) stands alongside Russian academy cadets after they receive their five-year university degrees and second lieutenant commissions. Ivan Zamylin, ’11, (far left) later earned his M.B.A. at UCF.
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and share our experiences—warts and all. So that has always been my approach. Let’s be friends, learn to trust one another, and then see what mutual benefits we can share.” The benefits of such friendship are vast, according to Sergey Lyapin, a Russian construction engineer who met Reynolds at the American Information Center in Volgograd. “We’ve lived in seclusion for so long,” Lyapin says. “The idea of human rights didn’t even exist under the Soviet Union. After all these years of dictatorship, this exchange is very important ... it gives us new inspiration to improve our country.” Opening Eyes and Changing Lives
In addition to research collaboration, a hallmark of UCF’s partnership with the Volgograd Academy of the MVD is the student and faculty exchange program. Over the past eight years, 166 UCF students have visited Russia, and UCF has hosted 21 academy cadets. “We attended lectures, toured juvenile detention centers, sat in on court proceedings, and met public defenders, prosecutors and
PHOTOS COURTESY OF MIKE REYNOLDS
What Nikonov made possible was a groundbreaking partnership between UCF and the Volgograd Academy of the MVD, which serves as the premier training institute for anyone planning a career in the Russian legal system. The partnership allowed Reynolds to establish a network of contacts that included police officers, investigators, prosecutors, judges and generals. Over the years, the contacts became friends, and the friends became valuable contributors to Reynolds’ research, which focuses on the Russian police system.
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THE MOTHERLAND CALLS This 279-foot statue, which commemorates World War II’s Battle of Stalingrad, sits on Mamayev Kurgan. “Even today, the Russians are extremely grateful to the Americans and other Allies for their assistance during this decisive battle,” says Reynolds. P E G A S U S . U C F. E D U / 21
T H E IN SIDER
judges,” says Rachel Wimmer, a UCF criminal justice student. “It was a great way to learn about the Russian government at all different levels.” Ivan Zamylin, a cadet who graduated from the Volgograd Academy of the MVD in 2008, was surprised to discover that “in the U.S., 95 percent of people trust the police. Russians could learn what Americans do to build that trust.” According to Reynolds, the learning has already begun. In addition to cadets, UCF has hosted academy presidents, senior faculty members and generals. “Our guests visited the Oviedo and Ocoee (Fla.) police departments, went on ride-alongs, and some even witnessed arrests. Here, they see police officers treating everybody humanely regardless of their social status. They see a very efficient criminal justice system where everybody is innocent until proven otherwise.” Though the visits last only a few weeks, Reynolds believes they will have a long-term impact on Russia. “These cadets are now working their way into the Russian police system,” he says. “One day they will emulate and implement what they saw here to improve the human condition there.” Dr. Sergey Zhevlakovich, major general of the MVD and deputy head of the Moscow University of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Russia, was recently tasked to reform small city police systems to make them more humane and effective. After seeing community policing units in action in America, he implemented the practice himself. “It was the first time that rural Russian police were trained to become proactively involved in the community in a positive way, rather than simply look for crime,” Reynolds says. In 2010, Volgograd Academy of the MVD General Vladimir Tretyakov awarded Reynolds an honorary faculty appointment— the third in the academy’s history, and the first ever to be given to an American. “I was really shocked,” Reynolds says. “An appointment like this requires the unanimous approval of a faculty member committee. It was quite an honor. And it demonstrates the value in developing working relationships that evolve into colleagues and friends.” “The work that Dr. Reynolds has done is simply extraordinary,” says Dr. Michael Frumkin, dean of UCF’s College of Health and Public Affairs. “It’s a perfect match for the mission of the college: strengthening communities and changing lives.” The Power of Politics and Friendship
“I get really frustrated at people who say that the American legal system is somehow superior to Russia’s,” Reynolds says, dismissing the offending statement with a wave of his hand. “We’ve had more than 200 years to deal with our problems. We fought a civil war over human rights. We lived through a human rights movement. Russia is following the same journey that we followed.” The journey picked up pace in 2011, when Reynolds, in partnership with the Volgograd Academy of Public Administration, secured a $645,000 grant from the U.S. Department of State to establish three human rights centers that would offer legal services to citizens in southern Russia. They established the first center by expanding resources at an existing legal clinic in Volgograd. “We quadrupled the number of students there. And we had four professional, bar-certified lawyers working in the clinic,” says Reynolds.
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Over the course of 2011, the clinic dealt with 160 cases. “It ranged from people not getting their pensions on time to people who were beaten by the police and held in jail,” says Reynolds. “About one-third of the cases dealt with serious matters of police abuse. Two cases are at the European Court of Human Rights.” Shortly before the grant was due for renewal in December 2011, Russia held their parliamentary elections. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party retained dominance despite capturing less than 50 percent of the popular vote. Across the country, protesters took to the streets, alleging vote rigging and manipulation. The effect, according to Frumkin, was “a sea of change in the political sphere … Putin’s overwhelming and indisputable authority was challenged for the first time.”
“We’ve had more than 200 years to deal with our problems. We fought a civil war over human rights. We lived through a human rights movement. Russia is following the same journey that we followed.” The Kremlin had also announced numerous reforms that hampered the ability of Russian nongovernmental organizations (NGOs)— including universities—to work with foreign partners. “They passed some laws making it more difficult for NGOs to get foreign funds. Some NGO activities became potentially criminal,” Reynolds explains. “We were supposed to establish two more clinics in two more locations, but no one would touch it.” Frumkin explains, “Once the new rules were in place, potential partners were very reluctant to get involved in a program supported by the State Department.” Lacking the partners required for fulfillment, Reynolds’ U.S. Department of State grant was not renewed. However, he remains actively engaged in Russia. UCF recently formalized new education and research partnerships with the Volgograd Academy of Public Administration and the Volgograd State Pedagogical University. Despite the unstable political climate, these partnerships—a product of Reynolds’ strong network of friends and successful collaboration with the Volgograd Academy of the MVD—are expected to proceed as planned. F Reynolds’ research will be published by CRC Press in the upcoming book, Understanding the Modern Russian Police (co-authored by research partner Dr. Olga Semukhina, an assistant professor at Marquette University), due out in January 2013.
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RED STATE BLUE STATE PREDICTING THE 2012 ELECTION AS WE LOOK TOWARD the general election in November,
Central Florida once again finds itself in the crosshairs of the presidential campaign. There is an old saying in Florida politics “that the further north you go, the further south you get.” Every pundit in America knows that South Florida typically votes Democrat, North Florida typically votes Republican, and the I-4 corridor determines the outcome of the Florida vote. It is interesting to listen to the Democratic pundits who make the argument that President Obama’s re-election chances grow as Central Florida’s demographics change. This belief, that there is a Hispanic monolith that moves in only one direction or is motivated by unique issues, is mistaken. Central Florida’s diversity will certainly be an issue in the upcoming election, however, the real drivers will not be those issues that separate us, but rather the challenges we face together as a nation. On virtually every indicator—jobs, economic growth, national security, foreign affairs, transparent governance, national debt, Medicare and Social Security—President Obama has failed to deliver the promises candidate Obama made. We live in difficult times, our families are struggling, and this president’s campaign has been to blame “the other guy” for these problems. He has established no clear path. His campaign has gone from “Yes We Can” to “Why I Couldn’t.” He will try to make this election a battle of rhetoric rather than a referendum on his performance. Central Florida and America are much smarter than that. He will not fool us again.
Tico Perez, ’83 Co-founder, Edge Public Affairs and political strategist
ONCE AGAIN, we enter the closing months of a presidential
election. All eyes are on Florida. President Obama stands ready to become the first Democrat since FDR to win Florida twice, and a win in Florida will all but guarantee a return to the White House. Nearly 50 percent of all Florida voters live in the I-4 corridor, with 10 percent of the state’s voters coming from the Orlando metro area. The I-4 corridor is vital for a Democratic win. With every passing cycle, our tri-county region becomes more central to Democrats, and in this case President Obama, winning Florida. As all of us who call the region home know, Orlando is changing before our eyes. We are quickly becoming a diverse metropolitan community, home to one of the largest Puerto Rican populations in the world. This growing Hispanic population is not only changing our region’s demographic makeup, but also its politics. Formerly a red zone, the Orlando metro area gave the president almost half of his entire margin of victory in 2008, and it is Orlando that is truly changing the nature of the I-4 corridor. Since the president’s win in 2008, our area has become even more diverse. This political reality should only strengthen President Obama’s chances here this year. If President Obama capitalizes on that growth, he will win the region by a larger margin than he did four years ago. By winning Florida a second time, with a great deal of help from Central Florida, President Obama will leave behind a state that is friendlier for future Democratic presidential candidates.
Dick Batchelor, ’71 President, Dick Batchelor Management Group P E G A S U S . U C F. E D U / 23
S EC T ION (COVER STORY)
More than 35 million miles away, UCF is on board the NASA Mars Curiosity rover. Dr. Daniel Brittâ€™s invention helps calibrate the colors for the Mars Hand Lens Imager, which takes extreme close-ups, 24 / F A L L 2and 0 1 2the Mast Camera, which images the landscape. IMAGE COURTESY OF NASA/JPL-CALTECH/MSSS
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NOT SIMPLY RED Visual cues help earthlings search the alien planet. In August 2012, NASA’s Curiosity rover landed on Mars, following an eight-month flight and what NASA engineers described as “seven minutes of terror.” The vehicle descended through Mars’ atmosphere, decelerating from 13,000 mph to a dead stop while the mission’s team of engineers were able to do nothing more than look on and hope for the best. And when the $2.5-billion vehicle landed successfully, UCF was on board.
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NOT SIMP LY RED
NASA’s Go-To Guy
“I expected it to work, so I was pretty calm about the whole thing,” says Dr. Daniel Britt, UCF physics professor and inventor of the color calibration targets that reside on the Curiosity rover. “I looked forward to seeing where it would end up and what it would look like … and I wasn’t disappointed.” Britt’s color calibration products are the key to making the color in the images shot by the Curiosity rover’s cameras precise, balanced and recognizable relative to how we see color on Earth. “We see color as light going through an oxygen atmosphere at normal temperature and pressure,” Britt explains. “To understand color on another planet—viewing things through an atmosphere with alien temperatures, less pressure, half again as far from the sun—we need a reference, a chip that tells us what blue is, what red is, what green is. When [scientists] take a picture on Mars of the calibration target and then take a picture of something else, they can back out what blue is supposed to look like so it makes sense to us. It’s a color reference chart.” While his work on Curiosity has captured significant attention, Britt says Mars hasn’t always been his primary focus. “I went to grad school at Brown because I wanted to work on planetary exploration and asteroids,” he says. “Mars is a sideline.” A sideline, perhaps, but Britt has played an important role in just about all of NASA’s Mars missions over the past 15 years, serving as the project manager for the camera on the Mars Pathfinder, and providing calibration targets on the Spirit and Opportunity rovers, and the Phoenix lander. Regarding the calibration targets, for which he has become the go-to guy, Britt says simply, “I’ve got the space-qualified design, which has gone through vibration, thermal, vacuum, radiation and UV testing. And once you go through all this, it becomes a half million-dollar project—$10,000 to make the target and a half million for testing. So now it’s cheaper for NASA or the instrument makers to call me and say, ‘Dan, can you make this for us?’” If It Were Easy, Everybody Would Do It
Dr. Daniel Britt, College of Sciences, holds the materials used for the calibration targets. The materials are extremely stable, flexible and “innocent,” meaning they will not damage tools on the Curiosity rover.
To become a successful interplanetary scientist, learning to navigate the solar system is only one of the challenges. You must also learn how to navigate the bureaucracy of NASA. “What is it like working with NASA?” Britt asks rhetorically. “Well, if it were easy, everybody would do it. It has its own frustrations and rewards. But if you’re using public money, that’s just part of the landscape. They’re trying to balance what they think is an interesting planetary program with the money Congress gives them. They are fairly generous, allocating more money than the National Science Foundation, for example. Compared to a lot of space nations, we’re doing okay.” And what would he want if he made the rules? Britt doesn’t hesitate. “I would like the taxpayers to give me half a billion dollars so I could collect samples from the Martian moons.”
There’s no doubt that Mars is reddish. But with Britt’s color targets, scientists can distinguish between rust and yellowish brown or earth tone. In addition, color images help identify surface compositions.
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“The moons collect debris, sediment and other particles tossed off by Mars that trace back to the earliest days. The same particles are now buried deep on Mars, but I believe they are retrievable on the surface of the moons.
In the Field of Space Science, UCF is a Shining Star
While the space-related buzz these days revolves around the more than 7,000 shuttle-related jobs eliminated in Central Florida, Britt and his colleague Dr. Joshua Colwell have reason to be optimistic. Colwell, a professor in the Department of Physics’ Planetary Sciences group and interim assistant director of the Florida Space Institute, says, “Overall, the space program and UCF still have a number of points of intersection. NASA has budgeted $5.4 billion just for science. That’s a significant amount of money for scientific research.” Britt agrees. “The problem the space industry has is that it’s still very expensive to get into space, and NASA has limited funds. Up to now, a big chunk of NASA was committed to getting humans into space, but today, the science continues on, and UCF is doing pretty well in that.” Colwell is a member of the science team on the Cassini mission to Saturn, and his experiments have flown on a space shuttle, as well as on suborbital flights, including rockets and parabolic airplanes. Earlier this year, Dr. Joseph Harrington and doctoral student Kevin Stevenson led a team that detected UCF’s first planet, named UCF-1.01, which is located 33 light-years away. Dr. Humberto Campins, an international expert on asteroids and comets, is involved in a mission to collect samples from a nearby asteroid. The samples, Campins says, “should be rich in primitive materials, specifically organic molecules and hydrated minerals from the early days of our solar system. If successful, it could give us clues about the birth of water and life in our world.”
If You Think You’re Right, You’re Probably Wrong
With the success of his work, Britt seems like the right person for young scientists to turn to for career advice. And indeed, his advice is simple. “If you’re the kind of person who worries “We see color as light about being wrong, you’re in the wrong profession,” he says. “We [planetary scientists] going through an oxygen learn new stuff all the time. Reality keeps atmosphere at normal challenging our assumptions. As an explorer, you’re trying to discover the reality, just temperature and pressure. like Columbus. He was dead wrong about To understand color on his assumptions, but he discovered two new continents.” another planet … we need Being wrong is, in fact, the very thing a reference, a chip that tells that motivates Britt to go to work every day. us what blue is, what red is, “We thought we knew a whole lot about the solar system 20 years ago,” he says, “but we what green is.” were wrong. What gets me excited about the work I do in space science is that this is a big “We could bring samples back to Earth and analyze them grain by grain to learn, for solar system, and we’ve only scratched the example, how warm and hospitable Mars may surface. There’s something new to be learned once have been.” all the time.” F
Dr. Joshua Colwell, College of Sciences, holds an impact chamber from the Physics of Regolith Impacts in Microgravity Experiment (PRIME), designed for microgravity and reduced gravity parabolic airplane flights. The results help scientists understand the early stages of planet formation, the evolution of Saturn’s rings, and the working environment for astronauts and robots on the surfaces of the moon and asteroids. P E G A S U S . U C F. E D U / 27
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Enid Guerra: UCF; where I got my Marketing BSBA, this is where I found my soul mate!!!! Go UCF!!!!
Bonnie Giles: Life in the South isn’t all mosquitoes.
Joe Jervis: Unrecognizable since my time there in the early 80s. I think our homecoming opponent was Fort Lauderdale Art College. Apparently that is just a small part of what UCF has become. Unreal. No idea where these buildings even are.
Ryan Esdale: Biked down that path 5 times a day living in Lake Claire wondering where I’d be in 3 years. And here I am! 3 years later. On Facebook.
Steffi Hudson: School of AWESOME.
Emanuel Rivart: my next university :)
Daric Jacob Jakey: Wow, this is beautiful. Makes me want to attend this school!
Xavier VanDiemon: wait, that’s real
Jeannine Myette Ballenberger: Wow. Not the same campus. Totally different than when I was there!
Carol A Mansell: Can I go back to school???
Dillon Freeman: ugh i love this place
Jennifer Hunter: wow in a few years’ time things have changed again. Under Construction Forever!!!
Adrian Gutierrez: Hold up … Where did this lake and bridge come from? I graduated in December and suddenly our campus looks like the Bahamas ...
Seth Duff: And people say they don’t like UCF’s campus ... How can you hate this?
Justin Wells: Hard to believe this was the unpaved parking lot I used on my first day of classes in 2000.
C O M I N G H O M E TO F I N D T H E I R
Those with stroke and brain injuries learn to speak again at Aphasia House.
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his is the kitchen,” Dr. Janet Whiteside, chair of the Board of Clinical Educators at the UCF Communication Disorders Clinic, says with pride. “And this is the garage. The men love this room.” It’s as if she’s giving a tour of her own home, pointing out photographs on the wall (all taken by, and of, clients), knickknacks on the bookshelf, and a kitschy beach cruiser bicycle leaning against the wall. “This is the fulfillment of a dream I first had in 1974,” she says. “I was at Vanderbilt University when I had the idea that people with communication disorders, like stroke survivors, would benefit from going through intensive therapy in a homelike setting. I knew it would be called Aphasia House.” Today, Aphasia House is a reality, built out of a modest office suite at the Central Florida Research Park, and generating tremendous results. According to the Mayo Clinic, “Aphasia typically occurs suddenly after a stroke or a head injury. But it can also come on gradually from a slowly growing brain tumor or a degenerative disease.” What makes it most devastating is that it doesn’t affect a person’s
intellect. An individual with aphasia can usually process information fine; however, he or she may have difficulty comprehending language—and alarmingly—can’t formulate or articulate the words to express his or her thoughts, ideas, wants or needs. Kelly Carroll, who is currently enrolled in the UCF Communication Sciences and Disorders master’s program, interned at Aphasia House. She recalls, “When all of a client’s methods of communication—gestures, writing, speaking— have failed, the feelings of frustration and defeat come through loud and clear. We could read our clients’ disappointment in their tone of voice, body language and facial expressions.” Each Aphasic is Unique
The National Aphasia Association reports that more than 100,000 Americans acquire aphasia each year. Sadly, according to Whiteside, there are fewer than 10 intensive therapy clinics in the U.S., and none are based on her innovative homelike model, nor are any others affiliated with a university.
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CO MING HOME TO F IN D T HEI R VOIC ES
T O P L E F T : To speed up results, clients receive one-on-one attention from familiar faces in homelike settings. Here, a client communicates with a student using an iPad application in the Aphasia House den. T O P : As part of his therapy, one client used photography to share his feelings. When he passed away, his granddaughter donated his artwork, which now graces Aphasia House, and began volunteering her time. L E F T : Built as the result of an anonymous $25,000 donation, Aphasia House feels like a home, both in environment and in the level of care.
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Whiteside insists that each of her clinicians focuses on one client (she eschews the word “patients” or just about anything that evokes a medical environment), creating a customized treatment program. “No two people with aphasia are the same,” Carroll notes, “and the individuals we worked with were all very unique, both in personality and aphasia.” A Home for Aphasics From All Over the Country
It is the combination of intensive one-onone treatment plans and the unique homelike setting that has attracted nationwide attention and helped build Aphasia House’s reputation. “Many clients travel from all over the country to come here,” UCF graduate student Cyndel Barbarossa says. “My client was from Kansas, and his wife used Skype to watch his therapy sessions.” Yet, while Aphasia House is attracting serious national attention—Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ speech-language pathologist recently visited—Whiteside wants people to know that there is more to it than just pretty pictures and comfy couches. The environment has a therapeutic purpose. “Environment really does enable one’s ability to communicate,” she says. Conversations happen more organically, and memories are triggered more easily when people are surrounded by familiar things. UCF graduate student and former Aphasia House intern Kelly Keating, ’10, explains, “The person is going through all these changes. Their lives have been changed … by the stroke or brain trauma. Things they took for granted, such as speaking, they couldn’t do anymore. Other environments—doctors’ offices, hospitals, clinics—can be cold and sterile. But Aphasia House, with its family pictures, gardening tools and kitchen … gives a calming feeling. It’s less intimidating.” Denette Schweikert can relate. An awardwinning artist and successful businesswoman, Schweikert suffered a stroke last year. Since then, she has spent hours in the sterile rooms of hospitals and doctors’ offices, with their fluorescent lights, cold tile floors, and papercovered exam tables. As she talks about her time at Aphasia House, however, she brightens. “The environment is what makes it,” she says. “The ladies are all so caring and concerned. We drink coffee and talk to different people. Your family can be there too, to watch and see what’s going on.”
The Environment is Comfortable, but the Treatment isn’t Easy
Aphasia House’s clients receive intensive therapy four days a week, four hours a day for six weeks. They work one-on-one with Whiteside and her team of clinicians, all UCF graduate students. But not all the work is done on site. At a nearby restaurant, clients face their fears—by ordering a meal. Communicating with family or sympathetic clinicians is one thing, but facing an impatient server adds a layer of stress. But this is the point, to return to living a normal life. And once this hurdle is cleared, when the meal is ordered and on its way, this sense of accomplishment often leads to more success.
It is the combination of intensive one-on-one treatment plans and the unique homelike setting that has attracted nationwide attention.
Clinicians are also encouraged to use their imaginations to develop innovative therapeutic techniques. Carroll says, “We used the iPad quite frequently. I would preprogram the target sentences, and the client would use those as the stimuli for melodic intonation therapy, which requires the client to tap out the syllables of the phrase or sentence he or she wants to say.” Keating, too, turned to technology in planning her client’s therapy. She made a video of just her mouth saying simple words and phrases. “Ball.” “Computer.” “Kitchen.” Her client watched the video intently, working hard to emulate the way Keating’s mouth and lips moved. Keating recalls with pride, “It worked.” For client Schweikert, the entire approach worked. She completed her second, six-week session, and her clear, confident voice conveys true pride in her achievement. “I did a lot better than I ever thought I would. But it was about the fourth week when I said, ‘Oh my gosh!’ and realized that all of a sudden, I could talk again.” That type of breakthrough is great, but it is only the beginning. Whiteside explains, “We are concerned with how the loss of language changes one’s ability to participate in life. The goal of Aphasia House isn’t simply to get people talking again. It is to get people
working, spending time with friends, going bowling, baking with their grandchildren, tinkering with their cars. The goal is to get them living again.” Now, Schweikert’s goal is to regain her fine motor skills so that she can paint again. And the confidence she has gained from her time at Aphasia House will certainly help her fulfill that goal. But the clients aren’t the only ones changed by their experience here. “One thing Aphasia House taught me about patient care,” Barbarossa says, “is to be my client’s greatest listener. As a 23-year-old preparing to embark in the real world, I learned how to effectively communicate with adults, both with and without communication disorders.” The impact that Aphasia House has had on so many people—clients, their families, Whiteside’s students and herself—is clearly something she takes great pride in. In ways she probably never could have anticipated when the idea first came to her almost 40 years ago, Whiteside has built a house where dreams really do come true. F What is Aphasia? Aphasia is an acquired communication disorder that impairs a person’s ability to process language, but does not affect intelligence. Aphasia impairs the ability to speak and understand others, and most people with aphasia experience difficulty reading and writing. What Causes Aphasia? The most common cause of aphasia is stroke (about 25 to 40 percent of stroke survivors acquire aphasia). It can also result from head injury, a brain tumor or other neurological causes. How Common is Aphasia? Aphasia affects about 1 million Americans, or one in 250 people—making it more common than Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy. Source: National Aphasia Association
Dr. Janet Whiteside, College of Health and Public Affairs
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SWELL EATS Adorned in retro fashion, Emily Ellyn, ’08, balances her studies with her chef skills. Here, the former Food Network contestant delivers dorm room dining ideas fit for any age.
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After graduating from The Culinary Institute of America, Ellyn earned two master’s degrees in hospitality management—one in Paris and another at UCF’s Rosen College of Hospitality Management.
She’s now pursuing her Ph.D. in hospitality education. The cheerful chef can also be found teaching food and beverage classes, and developing her Retro Rad culinary television career.
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BURRITO OF CHAMPIONS 2 (6-inch) whole-wheat tortillas 3 eggs 2 tablespoons shredded cheese blend 2 tablespoons salsa 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro
GOURMET GRILLED CHEESE Butter Garlic salt 4 slices sourdough bread 2 slices cheddar 2 slices havarti 2 slices Gruyère 2 slices pepper jack
Place tortilla on a plate and microwave for 10 seconds to soften. Coat inside of a 2-cup microwave-safe cereal bowl with nonstick cooking spray. Break eggs into bowl and beat with a fork until blended. Add salt and pepper to taste. Place bowl in microwave and cook on HIGH for 30 seconds. Gently stir and microwave 15 to 30 seconds longer, until eggs are almost set. Place eggs on tortilla. Fold bottom of tortilla over eggs, then fold in sides. Top with cheese, salsa and cilantro.
Butter 1 side of each bread slice and sprinkle with garlic salt. Flip bread over and layer with cheeses and pepperoncini. Top with bread slice. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Grill sandwich on one side until the cheese begins to melt, then flip. When bread is golden brown and cheese is gooey, carefully pull each sandwich apart and stuff with spinach and tomato.
2 tablespoons sliced pepperoncini 1/4 cup fresh spinach 2 slices fresh tomato
PHOTOS BY GEOFF LEVY
CHICKEN DUMPLING RAMEN SOUP SERVES 2 Soup: 3 cups low-sodium chicken broth 2 carrots, peeled and sliced 1/4 cup diced white onion 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels 2 stalks celery, sliced 1/4 teaspoon poultry seasoning 1/2 teaspoon dried turmeric 2 packets ramen noodles, any flavor 1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, combine broth, vegetables, poultry seasoning, turmeric, and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, cover, and simmer 8 to 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine biscuit mix and milk to make dumpling dough. Add crushed ramen noodles and chicken to soup and stir well. Divide dumpling dough into 6 mounds and gently spoon on top of soup. Cover and cook 7 to 10 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into dumplings comes out clean.
Dumplings: 3/4 cup biscuit mix 1/4 cup milk
Download the Pegasus iPad app for Ellyn’s bonus recipes—dessert and a snack.
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College life at UCF wouldn’t be the same without them.
“We bought the land to build a university, not a nature preserve,” UCF biology Professor Emeritus Jack Stout says, as he stands before a 4-by-4-foot aerial map of the campus, studying it intently. “But it turned out to be both.” Hurriedly crossing from asphalt parking lot to glass and concrete buildings, busy students, faculty, staff and visitors aren’t the only beings who call this campus home. Despite the fact that these 1,415 acres are intended to create an ideal environment for higher education, they also happen to provide an ideal environment for a wide array of reptiles, amphibians, mammals and birds, as well as varied plant life.
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Preservation and the Master Plan
Dr. Stout points to an area in the northwest corner. “Lake Claire,” he says, “is actually two sinkholes that coalesced. It’s home to bass, bluegill, gar, soft-shell turtles and the occasional alligator.” Gray squirrels, raccoons, sandhill cranes and the North American river otter also call UCF home, as do creepy creatures like the evening bat, striped newt and the two-toed amphiuma, a snakelike salamander that grows up to 4 feet in length and has four vestigial legs, each with two useless toes. A number of threatened or protected species also make their homes on the UCF campus, including the sand skink and the gopher tortoise. The master plan for the university specifically designates some areas 38 / F A L L 2 0 1 2
as preserves, resulting in significant areas of the campus remaining untouched. These areas, Stout points out, offer “excellent examples of traditional Central Florida ecosystems.” “The sand pine scrub in the northwest corner of the campus is one of the oldest and most endangered habitats in the state,” he says. This area is home to such wildlife as the Florida mouse, scrub lizard and gray fox. And eagle-eyed visitors can commonly spot an array of birds, from the red-bellied woodpecker to the red-shouldered hawk, in the treetops. Gone but not Forgotten
While it has been years since wild hogs were spotted on campus, this land was home to them at one time too. The Florida scrub
jay has also left UCF. “They are gone,” Stout says. “They moved out of Orange and Seminole counties.” Another former campus resident is the indigo snake, a “huge but gentle” species which preys on other snakes and helps control the population of more dangerous species, including the eastern diamondback rattlesnake. Their loss, Stout says, “is a real shame.” From Virgin Wilderness to Outdoor Classroom
The common perception that UCF acreage was predominantly cattle farms prior to the development of the university is only partly true. This land has been inhabited for centuries and used in a variety of ways.
ILLUSTRATION BY REGAN DUNNICK
“Many years ago, I met a man who was one of the original planners of the campus,” Stout says. “He showed me to an area around Lake Lee that had these big flat tiles—the remnants of an old homestead—that created a beach-like effect on the lakeshore. This was not virgin wilderness before the campus was built,” he says. Excitedly, he points to the north shore of Lake Lee. “This was a Confederate rest and rehabilitation camp during the Civil War.” Pointing to another area, he continues, “Much of this land used to be part of the turpentining industry. They collected resin from the longleaf pines and used the pine tar to waterproof ships, ropes and sails for the Navy.”
“Oh, and over here,” Stout says, referring to a small parcel of land east of the cypress dome, a stand of old cypress trees that grow tallest in the middle, “was almost certainly a homestead. There are sabal palms in that area as well as other parts of the campus, and this is not sabal palm habitat,” he says adamantly. “I am sure that they originated as part of planned landscaping.” For several minutes, Stout stands before the large map, clearly lost in thought. Then, quietly, he says, “You know, this campus has everything you would want in Central Florida. It’s the perfect place for an ecologist to teach. I have a classroom right outside the door.” F
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Lee Driggers, ’72, named the new head baseball coach at East Texas Baptist University. Marilyn McNabb Mallue, ’72, professor emerita of psychology at Saint Leo University, presented the Marion Bowman Distinguished Service Medal for her extraordinary levels of achievement and service during her three decades at the Catholic teaching university. Denis Noah, ’72, managing partner of Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., named as “Fort Myers Best Lawyers Litigation— Real Estate Lawyer of the Year” by Best Lawyers in America. Sen. Lee Constantine, ’74, named president of the U.S. Green Chamber of Commerce’s Southeast region. Craig Miller, ’74, former CEO of Ruth’s Chris Steak House, opened Miller’s Field, a new restaurant and sports bar, in Orlando. Ron McDuffie, ’76, and David Shipman, ’81, performed in “12 Angry Men” at the Mad Cow Theatre in August. Robert Easton, ’77, won the 2012 Alumni Merit Award from Broward College. Bob earned his associate’s degree there before attending UCF. William Patterson, ’78, retired after 23 years as owner/operator of a landscaping business. Stuart Sixma, ’78, is celebrating his 30th anniversary as a financial advisor with Morgan Stanley Smith Barney.
’80s Walt Griffin, ’81, is the superintendent for Seminole County (Fla.) Public Schools. Brenda Street Barnett, ’82, retired as school psychologist from the Carter County (Tenn.) School System.
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Daren Mays, ’82, and his wife Sheila Mays, ’84, along with their son, Derek Mays, ’09, and daughter, Alisha Mays, ’11, started their own business, TeamsandTailgates.com. Susan Moxley, ’82, is the superintendent for Lake County (Fla.) Public Schools. Barbara Jenkins, ’83, is the superintendent for Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools. Mark Geary, ’84, promoted to associate professor in the College of Education at Dakota State University. Thomas Slogar, ’86, is now of counsel with Gobel Flakes in Orlando. Robert Chapin, ’87, moved to Los Angeles two years after graduating and became a visual effects artist and supervisor. He’s also worked as an actor and stuntman and starred in the feature film “Ring of Steel.” Recently, he began prepping to direct his first feature film, “The Hunted.” Steven Kerstein, ’88, started a new job as product manager for Thomson Reuters. Michael Williams, ’88, is the Southeastern booking agent for BiCoastal Productions. DeAnna Cooper, ’89, a Chicago-based producer, is readying her first film since moving back to the Midwest seven years ago from Los Angeles. In June, DeAnna’s 3-D feature film, “I Heart Shakey,” was released theatrically in select cities. Mike Trueheart, ’89, elected vice president of Ewing, Blackwelder & Duce Insurance.
’90s Brian Flynn, ’90, P.E., joined Gannett Fleming as regional highway design manager. William Miller Jr., ’91, joined Broadcom Corporation as senior vice president and chief information officer.
Bob Kodzis, ’84, artist, performer and entrepreneur, draws a portrait of Zach Galifianakis on the sidewalk at Disney’s Festival of the Masters. Jeff Palla, ’91, promoted to senior vice president of franchise operations for La Quinta Inns & Suites.
Lt. Col. Kevin Cochie, ’94, works in the U.S. Army Office of Legislative Affairs.
John Schmid, ’92, started his construction company in 2002 with his brother, George, and one other employee. Ten years and $200 million in business later, Schmid Construction celebrates its anniversary. The 24,000-square-foot headquarters in Clermont, Fla., is now home to 39 employees.
Terri Francis, ’94, is an associate professor of film studies and African American studies at Yale University.
Greg Tynan, ’92, appointed as county criminal judge of the Ninth Judicial Circuit Court, Orange and Osceola counties (Fla.), in January. Prior to this appointment, Greg served 15 years as assistant state attorney for Orange County. David Heckaman, ’93, oversees new hotel development, new technology direction and physical infrastructures for the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. He also is the principal consultant of HeckamanGroup and co-owner of StructureWide. He is married to Michele, ’93, with whom he has two children. Rae Ward, ’93, joined the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida as marketing director.
Alphonso Jefferson Jr.,’94, selected as the new assistant to the county administrator in Broward County (Fla.). Jittinun “Looky” Boonsathirakul, ’95, assumed the role of department chair of educational psychology and guidance at Kasetsart University in Bangkok. Melissa Cossentino, ’95, works as director of operations for the Army’s procurement mission. Randy Koporc, ’95, president of Fifth Third Bank, named as one of nine directors of the Buckhead Coalition. Elizabeth Williams-Riley, ’95, named president and CEO of the American Conference on Diversity. Kimberly Denver, ’96, manages the Army’s procurement mission.
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K N I G H T N AT I O N Stefanie Nation, ’06, ’08, finished fourth in the 2012 Bowling’s U.S. Women’s Open, a historymaking bowling championship held under the famous Reno Arch in Reno, Nev. This is the first time the championship event was held outdoors. At UCF, Nation was a four-year member of the UCF Bowling Team and placed second at the national championships during her senior year. Nation earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in interpersonal communication.
PHOTO COURTESY OF USBC
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Mary Hammock, ’97, earned her master’s degree in nursing at Emory University in 1999 and opened her own pediatric medical practice in Marietta, Ga., in 2011. She has authored six children’s books. Jay Hogue, ’97, named as an assistant gymnastics coach at the University of Georgia. Eric Barber, ’98, and Nick Zivolich, ’03, celebrated their third year as cofounder and founder, respectively, of No Limit Marketing & Advertising. Mark DiGesare, ’98, named TD Bank’s vice president, commercial relationship manager, for the Commercial Lending Group in Winter Park, Fla. Aimee Gurtis, ’98, turned a hobby into a new business venture called Whim Wham Art Studio in Ormond Beach, Fla. Valarie (Waskom) Angle, ’99, and Randy Polito, ’03, both received their master’s degrees in liberal studies from Hollins University in Roanoke, Va. Mimi Chan, ’99, directed “Pui Chan: Kung Fu Pioneer,” which was accepted to screen at the Central Florida Film Festival. Mimi is most notorious for being the model and martial arts video reference for Disney’s “Mulan.” Brian Mathews, ’99, joined the University Libraries at Virginia Tech as associate dean for learning and outreach.
’00s Andy Bardos, ’00, re-joined the Tallahassee, Fla., office of GrayRobinson, P.A. as an ofcounsel attorney. Christopher Blackwell, ’00, received tenure from UCF. Chad Hart, ’00, hired as senior vice president and business banking sales team manager at BankUnited. Richard Coronado, ’01, founder and CEO of Reliable Systems Solutions, has formed a partnership with Ops A La Carte, a professional reliability engineering firm headquartered in Santa Clara, Calif.
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Dina Castillo Ward, ’01, joined The Unger Law Group as an associate practicing in immigration law and liability defense. Harsh Arora, ’02, promoted to the head of the litigation division at Spiegel & Utrera, P.A. Heather Forbes, ’02, a nationally known author and licensed clinical social worker, facilitated a free training seminar, “Why Tokens Aren’t Working: Helping Children with Difficult Behaviors,” hosted by The Marsh Foundation. Patrice (Dawkins) Jackson, ’02, selected as a 2012-13 Teacher Ambassador Fellow at the U.S. Department of Education. Renee (Vicknair) Lama, ’02, started her own graphic design business in 2011, and has had her work distributed internationally. Sari Mankuta, ’02, and Ryan Kitelyn, ’98, were married March 3 at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills, Fla. Alumni in the wedding party included Terry Surrency, ’95, and officiant Jon Niebch, ’06. Adam Singh, ’02, president of InternEdge in Orlando, was the keynote speaker at the sixth annual Millennial Mega MashUP event in Miami. Bryan Stewart, ’02, certified financial planner, appointed as associate financial advisor at Stewart, Stewart & Associates. Kimberly Banks, ’03, promoted to CFO at the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Jaimie (Gossett), ’03, married Dennis Sprenkle, ’01, on March 17 in Islamorada, Fla. Alumni in the wedding party included Khon Luu, ’01; best man John Santo, ’01; Jeff Zinnert, ’01; Caryn Drew, ’02; Jennifer Hagge, ’02; and Amanda Rantuccio, ’02. Other alumni in attendance included Darin Patton, ’95; Michael Drew, ’98; Paul Hagge, ’99; H.J. Kennedy, ’99; Cortney Cohn, ’00; Joe Liguori, ’00; Jennifer Russo, ’01; Christine Caldwell, ’02; Tom Eriksen, ’02; Alan Fowler, ’02; Kelly Fowler, ’02; Alaina Haddad, ’02; Kristen Murphy, ’02; Stephanie Neverdousky, ’02; Heather Peña, ’02; Jose Rivera, ’02; Amanda Zinnert,’02; Kristin Luu, ’03; Marco Peña, ’03; Kyle Rivera, ’03; and Caroline Eriksen, ’10. The newlyweds live in Orlando, where Dennis works as a program manager with Crawford Thomas and Jaimie works at IZEA.
Andrew Kelly, ’03, and his wife, Kristina, welcomed their first child, son Blake Daine, on Feb. 23. Andrew owns Orlando-based roofing company Performance Roofing.
Naomi Gonzalez, ’04, named one of Orange County (Fla.) Public Schools’ 2011-12 Outstanding Partners in Education for her contributions, dedication and mentoring of students from Winter Park Tech’s Avalon Campus Nails Specialty Program.
Katie (Myers) Mehl, ’03, public relations coordinator for Citrus Memorial Health System and president-elect for the Nature Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association, passed her exam for accreditation in public relations, entitling her to use the APR professional designation.
Alex Harkins, ’04, married Andrea Freeman on May 12 at the Vinoy Renaissance Resort & Golf Club in St. Petersburg, Fla. They met at UCF in 2004. Alumni in the wedding party included Brad Morgan, ’06. Andrea is pursuing her master’s degree in physician assistant studies at UF and Alex is a sales manager for an employee benefits insurance carrier in Tampa, Fla.
Marco Peña, ’03, is running for the Florida House of Representatives 49th District. Marco works for the Florida Hospital Diabetes Institute and Translational Research Institute for Metabolism and Diabetes. Brian Quarterman, ’03, and wife Kristina (Greer), ’00, welcomed son Brayden Jameson on Jan. 28. The family resides in Jacksonville, Fla. Joseph Regenstein IV, ’03, earned the professional designation of certified financial planner. Joe is a financial planner for Rainstone Financial in Oviedo, Fla. Brie (Turek) Sachse, ’03, appointed as assistant administrator for communications at the Federal Aviation Administration.
Falyn Leichner, ’04, and her husband, Scott, ’05, welcomed their second son, Rylan Daniel, on April 13. Lindsay (Strong) Keegan,’05, accepted a position as a communications specialist with GE Aviation in Evendale, Ohio. She relocated there with her husband, Pete, ’05, in March. Kristin Rothbauer, ’05, joined Visit Orlando as a community relations manager. Dodie Selig, ’05, passed her exam and became a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Justin Barnaky, ’06, and his wife, Maria (Tyler), ’06, welcomed their first child, Caden James, into their UCF Knights family on Dec. 18.
Douglas Beck, ’08, snorkels near the island of Ko Phi Phi Don in Thailand. “I’m so glad I waited to travel until after I received my degree. Most of the travelers here are young and have not yet started college. My education has given me confidence that most others don’t have.”
Arielle Capuano, ’06, co-founded Levinson & Capuano, a matrimonial and family law firm.
Jeanine Bindhammer Green, ’07, is the founder of Jeanine A. Green, P.A., a general practice law firm.
Jennifer Fox, ’06, is an assistant manager at Panera Bread.
Brandon Guadalupe, ’07, promoted to senior analyst at the Veterans Affairs Office of Inspector General.
Laura Kern, ’06, married Matt Scott, ’08, on April 7 aboard the Carnival Dream ship. Alumni in the wedding party included bridesmaid Courtney Austin, ’06, and maid of honor Allison Jones, ’07. Current UCF nursing student Adriel Perez was the best man. Laura also joined the Metro Orlando Economic Development Commission as associate director of marketing and communications. Capt. Dan Minnocci, ’06, deployed to Afghanistan with the 439th Air Expeditionary Advisor Squadron. 1st Lt. Chad Neilsen, ’06, appointed as the public health officer at Niagara Falls Air Reserve Station. Casey Neilson, ’06, received her MBA from the UCF College of Business Administration. Shelbey (Aleshire) Rudling, ’06, and husband Will, ’06, welcomed their little Knight, Liam, on Jan. 24 in Jupiter, Fla. Terra Sickler, ’06, joined Young DeLoach as an attorney practicing in the areas of general civil litigation, foreclosure defense and real estate law. Jason Valle, ’06, promoted to senior bond underwriter at International Fidelity Insurance Company in July. Huong Van, ’06, joined First Virginia Community Bank as vice president, commercial lender. Huong is a candidate for a master’s degree in real estate development at George Mason University and is a member of Commercial Real Estate Women in Washington, D.C., where she served as community action chair in 2010-11 and was a Rising Star Award nominee in the organization in both 2009 and 2010. Derek Arnholtz, ’07, and his wife Jennifer, ’06, welcomed son, Ethan William, on April 12.
Jason Goldberg, ’07, joined the executive performance coaching firm Fasold Global Consulting as COO and peak performance strategist.
Jaime (Kawa), ’07, and husband Peter Counce, ’99, welcomed their first son, Nolan James, on Feb. 15. Beverly Jean Long, ’07, earned her medical degree from the University of South Alabama College of Medicine. Beverly is continuing her clinical training in obstetrics and gynecology at the University of California, Irvine Medical Center. John MacIver, ’07, joined the Foundation for Government Accountability. Kezia (Brittlebank), ’08, and Michael McLaughlin, ’03, were married May 4 at English Gardens in Winter Park, Fla. The bride’s sister, Tirzah Brittlebank, ’12, was in attendance, as well as the groom’s aunt, Valarie Greene King, director of UCF’s Office of Diversity Initiatives. Aryn Flax, ’08, and Adam Ostrowsky, ’09, were married Feb. 12 at the Hyatt Regency Bonaventure in Weston, Fla. The happy couple resides in Coral Springs, Fla., where Aryn works as a speech pathologist and Adam works for the Department of Homeland Security. Jessica Kennedy, ’08, hired as an attorney at the Law Offices of Daniel F. Dill.
Lindsey Maguire, ’08, joined Coldwell Banker Premier Properties as a realtor. Christina Ruiz, ’08, promoted to programs and events manager at the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida. Stephanie Wilken, ’08, is communications manager for Western Growers, an agricultural trade organization whose members in California and Arizona grow, pack and ship more than half of the fresh produce in the U.S. Jon Andrews, ’09, an Army staff sergeant, earned a Pat Tillman Foundation scholarship and is currently pursuing a medical degree at Duke University.
PHOTO COURTESY OF SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS
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Bruce Miller, ’10, seems destined to become one of the best lead blockers in the NFL, but when the 49ers drafted him, Samuel Lam of The San Francisco Examiner wrote, “The hardest thing to pick up on Miller is that he has never played the fullback position before.”
Shanna Fortier, ’09, won the Robert J. Ellison Memorial Award for Excellence in Portfolio Photography and the 2011 Florida Press Association Better Weekly Newspaper contest, for which she also won first place in the portfolio photography and sports photography categories for newspapers with circulations of more than 15,000.
’10s Ricardo Barbosa, ’10, completed 12 weeks of basic training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in Parris Island, S.C. Kate Biggs, ’10, now works in celebrity relations for IZEA.
Amanda Myers, ’09, received the Workers’ Compensation Award from the Mississippi College School of Law.
Seaman Marie Bryant, ’10, completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill.
Lysa Ravesi, ’09, received the Adams and Reese Pro Bono Award from the Mississippi College School of Law.
Seaman Alexander Castro, ’10, completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill.
Nicole Senkel, ’09, is an RN at Orlando’s Winnie Palmer Hospital in the Mother Baby Unit. Ensign Kenneth Stanley, ’09, received his commission as a naval officer after completing Officer Candidate School at Officer Training Command in Newport, R.I. Talisha (Torres), ’09, married Stewart Bernard, ’08, on July 7 in Deerfield Beach, Fla. Alumni in the wedding party included Jennifer Bernard, ’08; Stuart Hindman, ’08; Lindsay (Spennacchio) Jacob, ’09; Leslie Nevarez, ’09; Jerrica Schwartz, ’09; Gregory Territo, ’09; Meagan Murphy, ’10; and Jerad Jacob, ’11. Joshua Glenn Wilson, ’09, elected to serve on the board of directors for the Florida Symphony Youth Orchestra.
Airman Yasmin Fernandez, ’10, along with fellow sailors aboard the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, formed a Coalition of Sailors Against Destructive Decisions committee. Jennie Hayes, ’10, entered her 3L year at Stetson University College of Law, where she received a 2012-13 Public Service Scholarship. Ates Isildak, ’10, and Lauren Dwyer, ’11, are the front man and backup singer, respectively, for South Florida shoegaze group, The Band in Heaven. In March, the band performed at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas.
Ryan Kruse, ’10, joined IZEA’s inside sales group as an account director. Seaman Kathryn Nolander, ’10, completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill., with honors.
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Necole Pynn, ’10, hired as a communications coordinator for the Arts and Cultural Alliance of Central Florida. Seaman Luis Rodriguez, ’10, completed U.S. Navy basic training at Recruit Training Command in Great Lakes, Ill. Brittany Davies, ’11, is a third-grade teacher at Galileo School for Gifted Learning in Sanford, Fla. Noah Hershman, ’11, has been working as a show producer, board operator and part-time, on-air personality for South Florida’s 640 AM Sports. Kimberly (Newsome), ’11,
and husband Jim Reynolds welcomed their son, Micah James, on March 26. Stephanie Quilty, ’11, joined IZEA, as an associate within community and customer support. Abraham Rodriguez, ’11, P.E., owns engineering consulting firm ThermoCivil, which achieved minority certification status to do business with Orange County (Fla.). Deanna Velazquez, ’11, graduated from Vanderbilt University with a master’s degree in education and is now teaching at a high school in a suburb of Nashville, Tenn. Philip Carter, ’12, joined IZEA’s software engineering department. Philip is a former member of the U.S. Air Force. Amelia Guldi, ’12, hired as an account manager with IZEA.
Alumni Notes and Announcements We welcome your announcements and high-resolution photos (minimum 3 megapixels, 300 dpi). Submissions are included as space permits. Email
Mail Pegasus Alumni Notes P.O. Box 1600406 Orlando, FL 32816-0046 Phone
Ronald Schultz, ’74, passed away Nov. 4, 2011. He was 65. After graduating from then-FTU with a bachelor’s degree in psychology, Ron earned his master’s degree at USF and his doctorate at UF. He wrote two books, Looking Upward: Facing and Reaching Beyond Spinal Cord Injury in 2006 and When Freedom Fails in 2011. Bruce MacFarlane, ’91, died in Kandahar, Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 1186th Transportation Company, 831st Battalion, which is based in Jacksonville, Fla. Bruce spent 12 years on active duty and was very patriotic, with an American flag always flying from his home. He is survived by his wife and two children. Rita Reutter died at home July 13. While pursuing her master’s degree in guidance counseling at then-FTU, Rita ran for and was elected as the 1977 Homecoming queen, making her America’s oldest Homecoming queen at age 58. After her win, she appeared on “The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” Ginel Thermosy, a young Haitian cancer patient who was helped by many UCF medical students, lost his battle with the disease in July at the age of 22.
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Al Burnett passed away on Sept. 7, in his summer home in Rockport, Maine. Al was born in Denver, Pa., the son of Al and Esther, and attended Drexel University with a full athletic and academic scholarship. Following graduation, he returned to Ephrata, Pa., where he met his beloved wife Nancy, who passed away less than a year ago. Al’s success as an entrepreneur began at a very early age. When he was five years old, he sold his mother’s vegetable soup from a red wagon. While in college, he sold Fuller Brushes door to door in downtown Philadelphia and managed a campuswide candy business with his fraternity brothers. In the 1950s, he established Twin Kiss, a family restaurant franchise that quickly expanded to 234 locations in 11 states. Nancy and Al moved to Winter Park, Fla., in 1966 with their family after the acquisition of Contemporary Cars. This was the first of 16 automobile dealerships he purchased in Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee. Al was a highly respected entrepreneur and philanthropist with a long tradition of charitable giving to support young people and the community. He and Nancy were among the strongest supporters of higher education in the state of Florida. In recognition of their generous legacy at UCF, he received an honorary doctorate, and the university’s president’s home, Honors College and School of Biomedical Sciences in the College of Medicine are named in honor of Nancy and Al. “One of the qualities I admired most in Al was the love and devotion he had for his family,” UCF President John C. Hitt said. “Martha and I will always treasure the friendship we shared with Al and Nancy. He touched many lives through his enormous generosity toward UCF.”
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Man Alive: Transforming Your 7 Primal Needs Into a Powerful Spiritual Life Patrick Morley, ’72, former president of the UCF Foundation Board of Directors, wrote Man Alive: Transforming Your 7 Primal Needs Into a Powerful Spiritual Life.
Over the last four decades, Patrick has met one-on-one with thousands of men. In Man Alive, Patrick shows men God’s plan to harness their raw, restless energy, pull them out of mediocrity and propel them toward the lives they were meant to live. Patrick is also the author of The Man in the Mirror, which has sold 3 million copies and is considered one of the 100 most influential Christian books of the 20th century.
Everglades Photographer Kayli Heddon is sent on an airboat tour of the Everglades to create a controversial photo essay for the governor. Stranded alone with her handsome and enigmatic Seminole airboat guide, Kayli learns that trust means everything in the dangerous River of Grass, and a skilled partner can make a difference in survival. Everglades is the first novel of Stephanie McCarty, ’75, who writes under the pen name Petie McCarty.
Bait for Fish Bigger Than I Am Casey (Tennyson) Swann, ’83, published her third book, Bait for Fish Bigger Than I Am. It follows 2008’s Lessons from a Falling Leaf and 2010’s Secrets of the Southern Shells. Casey created and publishes chART charity art magazine and owns advertising agency Cutting Edge Communications, both based in Winter Park, Fla.
Cosmic Entity Cosmic Entity, by Mark A. Strain, ’92, describes how space and time—the universe—came from nothing: a perfect balance of positive and negative energy. All matter that exists today, from the rings of Saturn to the dirt beneath our feet, was created from the seething fireball when the infant universe was less than one second old.
The Consulate: A Special Agent Wyckoff Thriller A rogue Chinese diplomat attempts to compromise a classified U.S. project. A former CIA case officer turned FBI agent matches wits with the enemy. Find out what happens in The Consulate: A Special Agent Wyckoff Thriller. Author Thomas Stutler, ’89, is an attorney, security consultant and weapons dealer. He is also a former FBI special agent.
Suicide Kings As a young woman in Florence, Diana Savrano’s life is a privileged one of elegant balls, handsome suitors and frivolity. But the sudden death of her mother leaves her adrift and abandoned. As she sobs over her mother’s casket, another member of the procession reveals the awful truth: Before her last days, Diana’s mother had joined a Luciferian cult. But someone does not want such secrets revealed, and they are willing to send assassins to keep her silent. Worst of all, the further she follows the intertwined threads, the closer they appear to lead to her father. Suicide Kings is the first novel by Christopher J. Ferguson, ’04.
Fly By Night A top-secret drone crashes in the Horn of Africa. The CIA is prepared to write off the loss until evidence surfaces that the wreckage of its prized aircraft is hidden in a hangar. The U.S. government must find out what is in the hangar. Jammer Davis is the National Transportation Safety Board’s biggest headache, but also its best solo operator. As Davis enters this inhospitable world, he finds two disparate mysteries intertwined and a conspiracy that will threaten America like nothing before. Fly By Night was written by Ward Larsen, ’83, a multiple award-winning novelist and former U.S. Air Force fighter pilot.
1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War
Stone Upon Stone Stone Upon Stone, by Brian Barnette, ’89, is an illustrated tale of two souls who walk together, but in time, realize that they have placed “stones” in their paths, separating them from each other. The book is a means by which to acknowledge a mutual breakdown in communication, without blame or assertions of right or wrong. In the end, it’s a love story.
A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul In A Year on Your Path to Growth: Daily Inspirations to Reconnect with Your Soul, licensed mental health counselor Keri Nola, ’02, provides the daily compassion and comfort people yearn for and deserve, while inspiring them to reconnect with their authentic selves.
1781: The Decisive Year of the Revolutionary War by Robert L. Tonsetic, ’96, features a deeply researched history filled with a colorful array of characters. The realistic, detailed battle scenes reflect an accomplished author personally experienced in the thick of combat. Robert is a former U.S. Army colonel and author of a renowned trilogy of works on Vietnam combat.
Winged Descent Heather Dencker, ’06, self-published Winged Descent, a contemporary fantasy novel that combines mythology and romance and written primarily for women. Heather is an elementary special education teacher.
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B AC K IN THE DAY
What a Rip How one torn pair of jeans cemented the destiny of a Knight. BY JOAN MCCAIN, ’84, ’05
The call on the hall pay phone in my dorm was from my high school friend, David Kruhm, ’84, an engineering major at UCF. We were both in our sophomore year, but I attended Flagler College, a small, private school in St. Augustine, Fla. I was enjoying my college experience, and so was David. But he had a new sense of pride. And that’s why he called. “Want to come to Orlando for the first UCF home football game?” David asked me. Now, this was a longdistance call, and most college students didn’t have enough change to keep dropping coins into a pay phone. (Yes, this was the Dark Ages.) “Sure,” I said, because I didn’t have time to ask questions and figure out if I cared enough to spend the $12 bus fare to see a game. Late Friday afternoon David showed me around the campus. In 1979, there were about 12,000 students at UCF, and you could see the Reflecting Pond from every classroom building. Compared to my campus, it was huge. Yet, surprisingly, I wasn’t overwhelmed. I was intrigued. The first home game took place on a beautiful Saturday night. It was Sept. 29, 1979, and UCF was playing Fort Benning. As we walked into the stadium, it was hypnotic. I wasn’t a football fan and had never been to a college game before. Growing up in Central Florida, I really didn’t have a team to root for—especially without Gator alumni in my family. And, let’s face it, in 1979 the Gators weren’t really anything to get worked up over, were they? But I was drawn into the Tangerine Bowl by an undeniable force. First, it was the lights. Once I stood in the upper bowl, it was the spectacle. A horse galloping on the
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field. A band marching. Cheerleaders—men and women— building human pyramids, flying in the air. Black. Gold. And the kickoff hadn’t even started. David nudged me. “C’mon,” he said. He hopped a fence and pointed to some open seats in the lower bowl, near some of his engineering buddies. I couldn’t take my eyes off the field. And as I took my supporting foot off the fence, my favorite jeans caught on the top of the links. I was stuck. David quickly hiked me up, setting my pant leg free, and we were over. The score was 7-6 UCF. Instinctively, I knew something happened to UCF that had nothing to do with the score. And something happened to me that really had nothing to do with football. David mailed me an application and information about my major. And as I sat in my private school dorm, wearing my ripped favorite jeans, I filled it out. I was going to be a Knight. Because on that magical Saturday evening, I hopped a fence into my future. I saw what could be. And it held a promise of something big. F In 2005, McCain earned a master’s degree in mass communication from UCF and joined the faculty of the College of Sciences’ Nicholson School of Communication as an advertising/public relations instructor. She is an avid sports fan and a season ticket holder for UCF Knights football.
ILLUSTRATION BY REGAN DUNNICK
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C O V E R : This enhanced-color image of sand dunes reflects the natural beauty evident on Mars. Formed by wind, the dunes and ripples are trapped in an impact crater and provide insight about the sedimentary history of Noachis Terra. IMAGE COURTESY OF NASA/JPL-CALTECH/UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA