UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA â€˘ ORLANDO
Aspiration Meets Opportunity
See inside for profiles of 20 amazing individuals, inspired by their surroundings, and producing extraordinary results. Hear in their own words the seismic changes that are possible when aspiration meets opportunity.
Everything starts with the desire to be more than you are today. A highly coveted brand. A more stimulating place to work. A more skilled researcher. A better partner. A better prepared student. A better quality of life. A worldâ€™s first. A chance to grow up. At UCF we provide the opportunity for students to mature, for faculty to excel and for alumni to contribute in countless ways.
Katherine Fersadt First class
Katherine Fersadt has made UCF history. But who could imagine that she came to America just five years ago and knew little English? In Venezuela, her mom taught her strong values. Like giving back. You donâ€™t want to go through life without meaning. You need to help as many people as possible. As a hospital volunteer she learned: Patients need to be treated as individuals. And her moment in UCF history? Itâ€™s big. Katherine is the first student accepted into the new medical school.
Dr. Henry Daniell
You don’t usually look to lettuce to solve the world’s greatest health challenges, but Dr. Henry Daniell has a vision. My goal is for UCF to be the world’s first university to produce plant-based vaccines and biopharmaceuticals. Henry’s anthrax vaccine earned him a congratulatory call from the Director of Homeland Security. And he continues researching possible cures for diabetes and other autoimmune diseases. But how did it all start? UCF gave me the opportunity to build my team and design my own lab.
Lalita Booth From Homeless to Harvard
As a Truman scholar, Lalita Booth is an example of hard work and dedication. But as a former homeless mother, she is something much greater—an example of the resilience of the human spirit. Things that are worth achieving are unreasonable. Set unreasonable goals and pursue them unreasonably. Her unreasonable goals have led to a Harvard dream, a stable home for her son, the start of her nonprofit, Lighthouse for Dreams—and George W. Bush’s Literacy Task Force consulting her thesis.
Dr. Peter Delfyett LASER FOCUSED
Dr. Peter Delfyett sees the future and likes what he sees. The biggest opportunity UCF offers me is that it’s a growing, dynamic university. And I can help shape the future of the university. He was invited to the White House to accept a National Science Foundation young scientist award. He’s been voted the Black Engineer of the Year. So why does Peter stay when he could work almost anywhere in the world? Imagine being the first professor at the first college of optics and photonics in the nation—that’s a great opportunity.
Cheryl Hines Serious Enthusiasm
After graduating with a TV/Radio degree, Cheryl Hines worked several jobs before her big break on the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. She credits her education with getting her started. I learned how to edit here at UCF. Without my education I would have been lost. And there is still so much more in her future. With three new films and her directorial debutâ€”Serious Moonlightâ€”she knows what it takes to make it. Do not be afraid of failing. Most people are so afraid of failing they never even try.
Dr. Deborah German Painting a picture of what’s possible
How do you convince nationally renowned medical faculty to join a college with no facilities built, no programs and no students? If you’re Deb German, dean of the UCF College of Medicine, you appeal to their pioneering spirit. The chance to be the first, to leave their imprint, can be a very powerful motivator. The tangible results of their efforts will be here for their family, their grandchildren and beyond to see. Who is an ideal candidate? They must be experts in their fields. And courageous scholars and leaders energized by this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
READY TO RESEARCH
A National Merit Scholar and psychology major, Drew Hampton knows progress when he sees it. The recent construction of the psychology building shows the university’s commitment to an already top-notch research environment. Taking advantage of UCF’s atmosphere of opportunity, Drew conducts research on the interaction between humans and machines. He’s also planning for his future. It’s great how willing the professors are to help me prepare for graduate school.
Phil Dalhausser Power-Serving For Gold
Known as the Thin Beast for his aggressive beach volleyball game and his 6’9” frame, Phil Dalhausser never imagined playing club volleyball at UCF could lead to Olympic gold at the 2008 Beijing Games. Volleyball was my hobby. Now he plays six days a week and maintains a relentless weight training and workout program. I’m not really one to pat myself on the back, says Dalhausser modestly. But it’s his commitment to being the best that has the sports world watching. It’s always nice to get respect from your colleagues, he says as he prepares for the 2012 London Games.
Photo courtesy of Federation of International Volleyball
Dr. Richard Lapchick TODAY’S ATHLETES, TOMORROW’S LEADERS
What’s bigger than the final score? Or the championship ring? To Dr. Richard Lapchick, UCF professor, DeVos Sport Business Management Program Chair, Director of both the National Consortium for Academics and Sports and the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport, there’s more. We’re trying to develop better people, better citizens. We want our graduates to evolve into community servants, interested in all of humanity. Are our efforts paying off? The Consortium convinced 28,500 former athletes to earn college degrees. And along the way, these former athletes reached out to 16.5 million teenagers. There are opportunities for helping others while helping yourself. That’s the real miracle of sports.
Dr. Bill Fisher Cutting-edge Hospitality
The plan is simple. Build a state-of-the-art college in the worldâ€™s most famous tourist destination for the worldâ€™s largest industry. I have seen a lot of schools across the U.S. and nothing compares to the Rosen College of Hospitality Management. As UCF professor and Darden Eminent Scholar Chair, Bill is also past President and CEO of both the National Restaurant Association and the American Hotel & Lodging Association. Employers see it too. Typically, each graduate receives several job offers. Our industry partners know our students have completed hundreds of hours of required internships and have been taught by the best faculty in the business.
Brandie Hollinger Caring for Future Generations
As UCF’s first female Student Government Association president, Brandie Hollinger knows a thing or two about being a communicator and advocate. And as a pediatric nurse at Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children—one of the top children’s hospitals in the country—she uses those skills to provide the best care to her patients. The rigorous academics and hours spent in the hospital working directly with patients really prepared me for the job. Brandie learned leadership skills at UCF that she says have been crucial to her success with the children she treats and their families. As a student, you always had someone to fall back on, now it’s your responsibility. Already a leader of her peers, she’s taking on the greatest responsibility of all: future generations.
Blake Van Brunt Servant Leader
Blake Van Brunt expects the extraordinary. Because no one person is ordinary. I always knew I wanted to serve and lead. A giver not a taker, Blake leads a group of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity brothers on a Habitat for Humanity project one day and collects food for Second Harvest the next. I have become the best that I can be for all the right reasons. Where does he go from here? Well, Blake will enroll in medical school where he will continue helping people.
Dr. Stella Sung NEW RULES FOR MUSIC MAKING
Piano lessons at age eight. A classical pianist at age 13. Sitting in the new UCF Center for Emerging Media in downtown Orlando, Stella teaches todayâ€™s creative pioneers. We are on the cutting-edge for the next generation of composers. Stella knows UCF has the faculty, facilities and the drive necessary to be among the best. The possibilities are endless here. There is enormous freedom to develop innovative ways to integrate music into film, digital media, video games and interactive media.
Dr. Lisa Dieker
Using Technology to TEACH THE TEACHERS Professor Lisa Dieker is developing cutting-edge training tools, like virtual reality and simulation technology, similar to those used by a pilot in flight training, to improve teachers’ skills. In this simulated environment, we expose teachers to a variety of settings ranging from calm to chaos. Like a pilot, they can practice under a variety of stressful situations. Lisa uses innovative techniques to eliminate barriers that would prevent students—including students with disabilities—from reaching their full potential. The best teachers empower their students and improve a child’s self-esteem. And we’re providing the tools to help teachers do just that.
Circuit Judge Jose Rodriguez is the real deal, full of energy, emotion, passion, love. And it is our honor to call him an alumnus. As a founding member of the Hispanic Bar Association and recognized as a â€œmentorâ€? by the National Association of Drug Court Professionals, Judge Rodriguez gives much more than he takes. Had it not been for UCF, I would not have had the opportunity, the privilege, to grow up here, to see the place expand. What I am today is due in large part to UCF.
Dr. Sean Snaith MARKET DRIVEN
Dr. Sean Snaith is an economics professor and director of the UCF Institute for Economic Competitiveness. He spends his time thinking about the future—and he sees a bright one for UCF’s research and for Central Florida. Florida’s economy is creating a need for research. We know people pay attention to what Sean says—his forecasts appear regularly in the media. Eventually, as Florida continues to grow, I want the IEC to become more involved and to help shape economic policy in the state.
Richard Cravens Black & Gold and Blue Man
A lot of my fun memories at UCF came from being in the band. And after years of performing as a drummer—from UCF’s marching band to theme parks—Richard is using his psychology degree and his music skills to make a career out of entertaining others. As a performer in Orlando’s Blue Man Group, Richard brings high energy and improvisation to the stage every night. We have to be quick to react, especially when one of the guys does something we’ve never seen before. Richard may come back to UCF someday to use his degree and apply his performing skills as a teacher. I think it would be cool to come into a class and just lecture
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utilizing my practical applications.
With opportunities comes excellence. That’s how Orange County Mayor Crotty views the world. Just out of high school, Richard Crotty couldn’t afford to go away to college. Lucky for him—and us—UCF was affordable and accessible. I believe access breeds success. So, as State Representative, Crotty spearheaded the first and most successful Prepaid College Tuition program in America. Today, Mayor Crotty’s vision for success is Innovation Way, a hub of first-class schools, medical centers, shopping and recreation. Through good planning and visionary leadership, success is assured.
Hye Jung Kim CALCULATED FUN
Being at UCF is exciting. There are so many organizations to get involved with. But Hye Jung Kim’s experiences aren’t just fun and games. She volunteers for Give Kids the World, an organization which helps terminally ill children visit Orlando. Looking ahead? Hye loves kids, mentors students and wants to be a math teacher. Math needs strong teachers to make it fun. And knowing Hye, we’re sure she’s perfect for the job.
Chris Iannello Rocket Man
Deputy Chief Engineer Chris Iannello still gets goose bumps when a rocket launches. It’s as touching and moving as when I was 17 years old. He’s worked on NASA projects for 20 years, including the Shuttle and Hubble. Iannello credits UCF for the hands-on training he received. For aerospace and NASA, UCF is among the best in the country. And opportunities are still coming his way. Today, Iannello is working on Constellation Program Ares—the next generation of moon-bound and Marsbound NASA launch vehicles.
Other Prominent Alumni Michelle Akers Eichenblatt, ’89 #1 Women’s Soccer Player in the World: Gold Medalist 1996 & 2000 Aric Almirola NASCAR driver James Atchison, ’92 President & COO, Busch Entertainment Corporation John C. Bersia, ’77 Pulitzer Prize Winner Fernando “Frank” Caldeiro, ’95 NASA Astronaut Stephen Christian , ’02 Lead singer/songwriter for Anberlin Erika Dunlap, ’05 Miss America 2004 Alan Eustace, ’79 Vice President, Google John Hart, ’73 Major League Baseball Executive, Texas Rangers R. Glenn Hubbard, ’79 Dean, Columbia University Graduate School of Business
Jim Hunt, ’77 Vice President/CFO, Walt Disney Laurette Koellner, ’77 President (Retired), Boeing International Nelson Marchioli, ’72 President & CEO, Denny’s Corporation Brandon Marshall, ’06 Wide Receiver, Denver Broncos Clay Newbill, ’82 Executive Producer, ABC TV Angel Ruiz, ’78 President & CEO, Ericsson North America Asante Samuel, ’99-’03 Cornerback, Philadelphia Eagles Kevin Smith Running Back, Detriot Lions Al Weiss, ’76 President, Worldwide Operations, Walt Disney Parks & Resorts
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