Group Title: Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Title: Florida
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Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00073685/00018
 Material Information
Title: Florida news for alumni and friends of the University of Florida
Uniform Title: Florida (Gainesville, Fla.)
Physical Description: v. : ill. ; 31 cm.
Language: English
Creator: University of Florida National Alumni Association
Publisher: University of Florida National Alumni Association
Place of Publication: Gainesville, Fla
Publication Date: Winter 2010
Copyright Date: 2010
Frequency: semiannual
regular
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Genre: periodical   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: University of Florida.
Dates or Sequential Designation: Vol. 1, no. 1 (June 2000)-
General Note: Title from caption.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00073685
Volume ID: VID00018
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: oclc - 44739131
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Gone to the Dogs, Indeed


I am so displeased and disappointed
with the headline story about Tom (BSBA
'92) and Tami Thurston (BSR'93) ("Gone
to the Dogs," fall 2009). It is sad that of all
the wonderful and benevolent things with
which alumni are involved, you choose this
taboo topic to grace your cover.
It is very condescending when an intel-
ligent publication tries to make light or
fantasy of a cruel and controversial "sport"
with a report that glorifies a couple as if
they are heroes for the rest of the working
world. The Iditarod is a cruel, grueling and
inhumane event that should not be glori-
fied in any way.
It does not matter if the dogs live in the
lap of luxury their entire lives; they are still
required to run a grueling race that often
results in deaths for many dogs each year.
The dogs have to run the race ... whether
they want to or not. They are not given a
choice. How is that sport?
Let's not overlook the egregious amount
of abuse that goes on in the breeding of
these "sport" dogs. If you are going to
glorify the life of a working-class-gone-Idi-
tarod family, you need to portray all sides of
the story. I found there were many respect-
able organizations presented by Google
who are speaking out against this sport.
Would this family earn the same respect
had they chosen to go off and breed world-
class cockfighting roosters or dog-fighting
pit bulls? Of course with the Iditarod, the


dogs are not pitted against each other, but
they certainly are pitted against the harsh-
est conditions on Earth and human will,
not their own. I am sure there is a wor-
thy alumnus out there fighting the good
fight for more regulation as it relates to
all sports involving animals. Now that is a
story worth telling.
Robin Day (BA'95)
Parkland

Fraternity Prank
In "My Old School" in the fall Florida,
Jim Fisher* (BAE'52, MED '60, EDD '66)
wrote a story about the SAE lion and about
the SAE fraternity sending phenolphtha-
lein as flour to the Pikes across the street.
It just so happened that a few days before,
another pledge and I had put a 6-foot trac-
tor tire around the neck of the SAE lion and
set it on fire. I think the SAEs had enough. I
still don't know how they found out we had
done it. Anyway, it didn't react as fast as Jim
reported, but it caused a lot of disruption in
many classrooms. Finally, after having the
county and state health inspectors check
our kitchen, an SAE pledge spilled the
beans. It was then that the peace treaty was
prepared and signed on toilet paper during
the homecoming parade.
A good time was had by all.
-Frank Thullbery*(BSA'52)
Lake Wales


FLORI-DUH


We editors admit we are flawed. We pro-
duce and read thousands of words that we
stare at repeatedly until they become a
blur. Something is sure to slip through.
Reader David Kent recognizes our
flaws, too, but consoles us with the
thought that others have done worse. It's
in the spirit of schadenfreude that we
present his letter:

I leap forward as your "Flori-duh"
champion to make a pertinent point.
Both the fall Florida (32 pages) and
the Nov. 7 Science News (34 pages)
arrived today. While Florida contained
only a couple of common typos rock


'n' roll for rock'n' roll (page 8) and prin-
ciple caregiver for principal caregiver
(page 25) Science News contained a
greater number. I at once canceled my
subscription to the latter.
I look forward to the next issue of
Florida, which I fully intend to savage, as
any good adopted Gator would.
-David Kent
Austin, Texas

We welcome all of our readers to savage
our work, and we're pleased that many of
you do. If you find an error, send it to us
at Florida@uff.ufl.edu or P.O. Box 14425,
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425.


Winter 2010: Volume 11, Number 1

Senior Editor
Liesl O'Dell* (BS'92)
Florida@uff.ufl.edu

Editor
Cinnamon Bair*

Contributors
Jillian Kremer (2JM)
Marissa Gainsburg (3JM)

Managing Editor
David Finnerty*

Design
Scott Harper
Kate Finkel

Florida is published three times a year and sent free
to alumni, parents and friends of the University of
Florida. Opinions expressed in Florida do not neces-
sarily reflect the opinions of the editors or official
policies of the University of Florida, the University of
Florida Foundation or the UF Alumni Association.

Editorial Staff
352-392-5491
Fax:352-392-7676
Florida@uff.ufl.edu

UF Alumni Association
P.O. Box 14425
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425
352-392-1905
888-352-5866

Copyright 2010

On the Cover: Laden with E. coli, salmonella and other
bacteria, these tomatoes await testing in UF microbiol-
ogist Max Teplitski's laboratory on campus. Results of
his and other UF scientists' interdisciplinary research
could change food safety guidelines from the farmer or
rancher all the way to the grocer. Additionally, three
UF food safety experts are serving on a Congressional
taskforce charged with improving existing safety
guidelines. The task force is expected to offer findings
early this year. Learn more on page 22. Photo bySarah
Kiewel (BSJ '05).


Write Us
Send your corrections, story suggestions, letters or
address changes to:
Florida@uff.ufl.edu or
Florida magazine
P.O. Box 14425
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425








UF^ UNIVERSITY of

UFIFLORIDA
The Foundation for The Gator Nation


2 | Florida


SwAmp TALK


*UF Alumni Association member









FLORIDA
Winter 2010 | Magazine of The Gator Nation

14 The Nation's Thanks
A new GI Bill makes a UF education financially attainable for a new
generation of veterans.

18 Big Snakes,

Bigger Problem
With native species hanging in the balance, UF takes an active role
in controlling Florida's growing population of Burmese pythons.

22 Out of Date
It's been decades since U.S. food safety guidelines were written.
UF researchers say it's time to start fresh.

IN EVERY ISSUE


8 Chat Room
Get Involved: David Mica is talking to legislators about UF and
explains why you should, too.
10 Simply Said
Learn the latest about UF people and developments. "
11 GatorAid .
After They Come Home: A new UF center makes sure wounded
service members get the best care.
12 Stadium Road
Landing on Her Feet: Gymnast Amanda Castillo is hungrier than ever
for competition.
13 Playing Field
Flex your brain cells with these mind games.
26 I'm a Gator
On the Run: Bobsledder Steve Mesler is racing for Olympic gold.
28 My Old School 2 6
Join other alumni on this walk down memory lane.
Watch Steve Mesler (BSESS '00) and his USA bobsled team-
30 Back in Time mates compete in the Olympics in Vancouver. The four-man
bobsled races begin Feb. 26. Check for updates in the racing
Gator Guidebook: The "F Book" is in its fifth year of revival, schedule at www.vancouver2010.com/olympic-bobsleigh.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 3
























































































Jody-Anne Greenwood (BA '06) prays for the thousands of Haiti earthquake
victims at a candlelight vigil Jan. 15 in the J. Wayne Reitz Union amphithe-
atre. Following the catastrophe on Jan. 12, it took several days to confirm the


safety of two UF journalism graduate students, who had been filming a doc-
umentary in Haiti, and two UF/IFAS faculty members, who were running two
different UF international programs there. Since then, more than a dozen UF


4 Florida























































































groups have made efforts to help. Students re-established Gators United
for Haiti, which first formed after four hurricanes traumatized the island in
2008. They aim to raise $50,000 for relief efforts. Also, faculty and staff


in the College of Public Health and Health Professions, College of Medicine
and Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences organized relief missions. UF
forensics teams and Shands at UF medical teams also planned mission trips.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida | 5











































































L ,


_. -
i I "
:i.
i.. i.


Adam Savage of Discovery Channel's "MythBusters" sits atop a miniature
house he and co-host Jamie Hyneman built at UF to test whether it's better to
open or close windows during hurricanes. The pair used UF's hurricane simu-

6 Florida


lator designed by Civil and Coastal Engineering assistant professor Forrest
Masters to blast the house with wind and rain to test the theories. The epi-
sode, called "Hurricane Windows," aired Nov. 4. Video clips can be viewed at

































N


dsc.discovery.com/videos/mythbusters-hurricane-windows. In December,
another national TV show filmed in Gainesville. "Extreme Makeover: Home
Edition," featured the family of Tobin (BMus '03) and Jill Wagstaff (BA '01).


UF's marching band, cheerleaders and Albert and Alberta pumped up the
crowd when host Ty Pennington yelled "Move that bus!" Find the episode at
abc.go.com/shows/extreme-makeover-home-edition/episode-guide.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida | 7






leg~oo


Get Involved

David Mica is talking to legislators about UF and explains why you should, too.


As a longtime Tallahassee
lobbyist, David Mica* (BA'77)
understands what it takes to
be heard by the Legislature -
and why it's important. Mica,
executive director of the Flor-
ida Petroleum Council and a
former UF Alumni Associa-
tion president, says that's why
he's involved with Gators for
Higher Education, an advo-
cacy program that connects
alumni with state officials to
talk about Florida's educa-
tional needs.

There are many opportunities
to get involved with UF; why
did you join this program?
I have been around the leg-
islative arena in Florida now
for more than a quarter of a
century. I fully recognize the
value of grassroots involve-
ment and the importance of
personal involvement in ini-
tiatives like this that can assist
those things I value and am
passionate about.

Is this program only for those
who are politically savvy?
Absolutely not! First, I believe
we all are tasked in a democracy
to be as politically savvy as we
can be. Beyond that, the whole
design of Gators for Higher
Education is to keep time and
tasks minimally invasive.

What effect does a grassroots
program such as Gators for
Higher Education have on the
legislative process?
When The Gator Nation speaks
with unity, the echoes resound
through the halls of the Capi-
tol. On most of these occasions
it is in step with our sister
institutions and for the greater
good of all higher education.


David Mica is a Gators for Higher Education member and says you can be,
too. Join the grassroots effort at http://gatorsforhighered.ufl.edu.


But occasionally, we need to
lead the way to move toward
our own goals.

Being the first formal
grassroots program at
UF, what is the program's
outreach potential?
The potential is equal to the
active participation of our
friends and alumni. We all
know that with the growth
of other public and private
universities in our state par-
ticularly those in the large
urban areas with large legisla-
tive delegations competition
for limited resources is very


tough. We need to do all we can
to ensure our collective effort
and our fair share are appro-
priately considered.

As a former UF Alumni
Association president, how
would you engage UF's more
than 300,000 alumni to
get involved with Gators for
Higher Education?
It is very simple. Sign up and
read the information as it
comes to you from time to
time and take action when
requested. It really is easy,
takes only minimal time and is
so valuable to UF's efforts. Tell


another Gator to sign up and
participate, too.

Can one voice make a
difference in government?
At the end of the day, elected
officials really want to repre-
sent their constituencies, and
they can't do so without hear-
ing from you. Will it be your
voice that is included in the
formation of their directions,
or someone else's? One voice
added to others collectively
shouts a message.

Why is it important to contact
your district legislator about
the importance of UF?
No one is more important to
an elected official than the
people who can vote for him
or her. You are their employer.
Your opinion appropriately
communicated to elected offi-
cials is a critical part of the
formation of their priorities
and decision making. If higher
education and UF don't seem
to matter much to their vot-
ers, it is seldom a priority to
them. Genuine, well-informed
expression of interest to your
legislator about the well-being
of the University of Florida
has and will always make a
huge difference.

How can this program help UF
gain more state funding and
policy support?
In these tough economic
periods when funding prior-
ities are being reviewed and
redone, your voice needs to be
heard over and over about the
value and return on invest-
ment that UF provides Florida
now and in the future. Your
involvement can assist in
achieving the very best results.


8 Florida


*UF Alumni Association member






I ALUMe i AsSg gION


Get in the Club

Think Gator Clubs aren't for you? Think again.


Whether you'd like to participate in an International Gator
Day community service project; support local students who
plan to attend UF; watch UF sporting events with other
Gators in your town; enjoy outdoor activities, such as skiing
parties arranged for UF alumni and fans; or participate in the
many professional and social networking opportunities with
fellow Gators, one of the UF Alumni Association's 99 Gator
Clubs is waiting for you.
Learn about club activities at www.ufalumni.ufl.
edu/GatorClubs. When you join a Gator Club, you
automatically become a UF Alumni Association member,
which provides a wealth of discounts, access to various
services and invitations to special events.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida | 9








"If this performs in tests in the ocean,
there is no limit to the size of ship
that it goes on."
I UF materials engineering professor Anthony Brennan, whose
company Sharklet Technologies is developing a non-toxic sur-
face layer that may prevent barnacle growth when applied to
ship hulls. If it works, he estimates the U.S. Navy could save
approximately $1 billion in barnacle removal costs.

"The idea is that every soldier gets a
box or just something to open. It's
like a gift."
Laura Lentz, the UF Alumni Association's former associate
director of membership and marketing, who asked Student
Alumni Association members to fill and return new-member
welcome boxes with non-perishable food items or Gator
paraphernalia, so the association can ship them to alumni
serving in the military overseas.

"What would take an entire year pre-
viously can now be done in four
nights. This is a real game changer."
Astronomy professor Stephen Eikenberry, about the UF-devel-
oped FLAMINGOS-2 camera/spectrometer instrument,
which was installed on the Gemini South telescope in Chile
and began initial testing in mid-September. The testing ends a
seven-year, $5 million effort involving 30 UF scientists, engi-
neers, students and staff.

"This truly keeps the 'student' in
'student-athlete.'"
President Bernie Machen, after the announcement that UF
joined the 11 other Southeastern Conference universities in
launching the SEC Academic Network, a Web site designed
to promote all the schools' academic and research endeavors.
The site was established by the SEC, its universities and ESPN.

5 "We are not concerned. Our priority
is quality, not quantity."
President Bernie Machen, upon the news that the University
of Central Florida's enrollment (53,537) has surpassed UF's
(49,679), making UCF's student body the largest in Florida.


Therapeutic Design (ther-a-PYU-tik dee-ZINE) n.


The concept that one's environment plays a role in the healing process. The new Shands
Cancer Hospital at UF includes many features, including large windows that allow in sun-
shine, recessed lighting that reduces glare, the Garden of Hope for quiet reflection and the
Sanctuaries of Silence and Peace for prayer and meditation.


Take


Note

Out With the OldAbout
300 people said farewell Oct. 9 to
Shands at Alachua General Hospi-
tal, Gainesville's first community
hospital. Shands HealthCare closed
the facility Nov. 1 to make way for a
UF technology incubator, which will
be built there along with an office
complex. Alachua General Hospital
opened in 1928.

In With the NewThesame
day Shands HealthCare closed AGH,
it opened its new cancer hospital
and critical care center on Archer
Road. Of the 1,150 staff employed at
AGH, about 1,130 have been placed
in new positions, said Shands CEO
Tim Goldfarb.

8th Rank UF's Levin College of
Law received from Hispanic Busi-
ness magazine for recruiting and
retaining Hispanic students. This
is the seventh time in nine years
that the law school made this list's
top 10.

Dear Soldier Withhelp
from The Gator Nation, more
than 2,500 child-written letters
and drawings have said "thank
you" to American servicemen and
women overseas. Schools in Ala-
chua County and Jacksonville
participated in The Gator Troops
program, which also collected
donated toiletries.

2nd UF's spot on the "Top 20 pub-
lic colleges in America with the
highest percentage of Jews" list,
according to Reform Judaism mag-
azine. UF is one of five Florida
universities to make the list.


10 Florida


RlalunAnrl


GLOSSARY






































Pete Herrick (left) with his wife, Diana, received the 2007 Rear Adm. Lewis B. Combs Award at the U.S. Navy Seabee Ball in Crystal City, Va., in March 2008.
The award salutes individuals who continue the legacy of the Seabees and the Civil Engineer Corps.




After They Come Home

A new UF center makes sure wounded service members get the best, most up-to-date care.


When the mortar hit, Pete
Herrick had a feeling of
flying through the air.
Six days later he woke up
halfway around the world in Bethesda, Md.
"My initial thought was I was happy I
was home alive," Herrick says.
Later Herrick learned the extent of his
injuries: shrapnel had struck every part of his
body except his head and stomach. His left
leg had to be amputated, and a hit to his neck
fractured the tips of his third and fourth cer-
S vical vertebrae, causing quadriplegia.
A self-employed custom carpenter and
father of two, Herrickjoined the Navy
Reserve in July 2001 at age 34, and his
mobile construction battalion was deployed
to Ramadi, Iraq, in spring 2004. There, his
unit came under mortar attack, killing five
service members and wounding 33.
S Herrick was hospitalized for 11 months,
receiving specialized care for polytrauma
severe injury to several body parts -
before starting the long process of rehab.


The complexity and severity of injuries
sustained by U.S. military personnel pres-
ents complicated challenges for health
providers. To ensure service members such
as Herrick receive the most advanced care,
UF's College of Public Health and Health
Professions founded the Florida Trauma
Rehabilitation Center for Returning Mili-
tary Personnel. The center addresses rehab
and long-term health needs, from improv-
ing mobility to treating post-traumatic
stress disorder. To make sure new rehab
approaches transfer from labs to clinics, the
center is collaborating with the Veterans
Health Administration, seven UF units and
other rehab and consumer groups.
The center's goal is to eliminate or min-
imize disability through the advancement
of rehabilitation science, says William
Mann, the center's director and chair of
the Department of Occupational Therapy.
Although taking care of injured ser-
vice members is the center's first priority,
the work will also be applied to the care of


older adults and others, such as those with
neuromuscular disorders, brain injury and
spinal cord injury.
"The wars America is now fighting will
end," Mann says. "But the need for rehabili-
tation research and education will remain."
Among the services Herrick received
is a special computer system that allows
him to manipulate the cursor using an
infrared camera and a sensor on the tip
of his nose.
"I'm abig advocate for continued ther-
apy," says Herrick, adding that it prevents
joint stiffness and has given his shoulders
more movement.
"I credit the therapy with keeping me
healthy," he says.
Jill Pease
Learn more by contacting William
Mann, director of the Florida Trauma
Rehabilitation Center for Returning Military
Personnel, atwmann@phhp.ufl.edu. To sup-
port the center, contact Marie Emmerson at
352-273-6540 or emmerson@ufl.edu.

www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida | 11













































Senior Amanda Castillo has racked up seven All-American titles and places on the 2007 and 2008 AII-SEC First Teams. Since joining the Gators in 2007,
she considers the floor exercises to be her best event.




Landing on Her Feet

Back from an ankle injury, gymnast Amanda Castillo is hungrier than ever for competition.


the split second when she suffered
the injury or the flash of realization
that her season was over.
This was different, a surreal scene when
she was looking into the stands at the SEC
Gymnastics Championship in Nashville
and saw her parents. They were there to
offer Amanda Castillo the support that
couldn't be supplied by her crutches.
"They were debating whether or not to
go because I was injured," Castillo says.
"The girls were warming up for floor,
which is my favorite event. And I looked up
in the stands and saw my parents cheering.
I started tearing up."
Nobody had a tougher postseason last
year than this dynamic UF gymnast. Just
eight days before the SEC meet, Castillo
suffered a severe injury to her heel. A ten-


don pulled away from the bone while she
was making her last tumbling pass during a
meet at Utah.
Just like that, her junior season was
gone at the worst possible time.
Castillo had surgery two weeks later and
has bounced back for her senior season.
"It was devastating," Castillo says. "It was
a very emotional time for me. I knew I had
to be strong for my teammates, but it was
really tough not being able to help them."
Florida survived Castillo's absence to
have another Super Six season (UF fin-
ished fourth in the nation), but the Gators
will always wonder what could have been
with her in the rotation.
Castillo, however, isn't looking back. Not
with only one more year to be a Gator.
"It's my last year, and I want to enjoy it,"
she says. "I know I have to focus harder


than ever. I hope to be back where I was. I
know it's going to take a lot of hard work,
a lot of dedication, a lot of rehab, a lot of
ice. But being an athlete, you have to go
through these things.
"There is no question that when you go
through something like this, it changes
your perspective," she says. "You miss the
taste of postseason competition, and it
makes you hungrier.... It makes you want
it more.
Castillo says her injury has made her
enjoy gymnastics more.
"It makes you appreciate your talent
more," she says. "It is going to make me
work harder to get what I want."
What she wants is to be there in April
when Florida will host the national cham-
pionships, with her parents in the stands.
PatDooley (BSJ'76)


12 | Florida






II NG FIEL


Test Your Knowledge


A UF study says having confidence in your memory actually improves
your memory. To that end, sharpen your pencil and come play.
Think you remember the righteous slang of 1985, or are you just a
wannabe? To celebrate our Silver Society inductees (alumni who
graduated 25 years ago) this year, we've created this gnarly quiz.


1. If you were a stud in the '80s, you would describe a pretty girl as
(a) bodacious (b) tubular (c) gnarly
2. How should one respond to the question, "What's your damage?"
(a) Eat my shorts. (b) Nothing, take a chill pill. (c) Barf me out.
3. Adding the word mondoo" to a phrase makes it:
(a) cooler (b) smaller (c) bigger
4. If you are stoked after a Gator football game, you are:
(a) upset (b) excited (c) ready to fight
5. Which of these was not an expression of Valley Girls?
(a) As if! (b) Gag me with a spoon. (c) Like, totally.
(d) All of the above were used by Valley Girls. No doy.
If this photo evokes memories of your Members Only jacket, you may be a member of the class of 1985.
Come to the Silver Society reunion on April 10. Details are at www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/events/SilverSociety.


Get Spirited


1. UF's official student ambassadors
2. Become a UF Tradition Keeper by filling
out this.
3. The UF Alumni Association's Great Gator
Escapes ___ program offers domestic
and international adventures with groups
of other Gators.
4. T-shirts (given out just before home
football games)
5. Induction into this group celebrates your
25th anniversary of graduation from UF.
6. Party for graduating seniors


7. These foster alumni relations in 99 areas
around the world.
8. UF graduates 35 years and younger
9. Exclusive discounts and benefits for
UFAA members
10. Gator Nation ___ take place three hours
before football gametime.
11. The UFAA is located in Alumni Hall.
12. Group of alumni who graduated 50 years
ago or more
S 13. UF has the largest ___Alumni
S Association in the nation.
>,
14. UFAA members get priority seating
E
at this event held the night before the
homecoming football game.


Think you know what the UF Alumni Association has to offer? Try your
knowledge below. Find help and information at www.ufalumni.ufl.edu.


DI


DI'


IL


IL


ID


Find trivia and crossword answers on page 30.
www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 113


11 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


15 1 1 1 1, 1 1 1 1 1 1 1


- I I I I











































































































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The NATION'S






THANKS

A new GI Bill makes a UF education financially attainable
for the latest generation of veterans. ByPhil Long


J ulio Morelos (3ENG) tried to go to college while on
active duty in the Air Force. But that mission was side-
tracked three times by overseas deployments, including
one to Afghanistan where he worked as a facilities engi-
neer and twice volunteered to help neutralize weapons caches.
For Morelos, who wants to become a structural engineer, a new
Post 9/11 GI Bill is bringing both extra money and peace of mind.
"It allows me to finish up what I started eight years ago," says
Morelos, a former sergeant, now a junior studying civil engineer-
ing at UF
"The GI Bill benefits ... are too good. If I don't use it now, I'll
never use it," Morelos says.
With the days of bullets and roadside bombs behind them,
student veterans are saluting the more lucrative Post 9/11 GI Bill,
the latest chapter of a World War II-era program that brought
thousands of veterans to UF more than 60 years ago.
The updated bill is seen by many as a fitting reward for service
members who faced danger, injury and death during military service
since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.

Getting Their Due
Before the Post 9/11 GI Bill, service members were required to
sign up early in their military careers and pay $100 a month for
year to be eligible for the Montgomery GI Bill. It pays veterans
$1,368 a month or $49,248 over 36 months.
The Post 9/11 GI Bill pays a UF student as much as $18,000 more
because it covers tuition, fees, up to $1,000 a year for books and sup-
plies, plus tutoring fees and $1,280 a month for housing expenses.


Many student veterans today are eligible for both versions of
the bill: three years of Montgomery payments and a year of Post
9/11 benefits. Student veterans who qualify for four years can earn
up to $70,000 in educational payments.
Another recent change in the law means that support from GI
Bill benefits can no longer count against students when they apply
for other financial aid.
"This is a 747 compared to a four-engine Constellation," Mark
Rosenberg, former chancellor of Florida's State University
System, says of the new GI Bill. Rosenberg, now president of
Florida International University, led the charge to get universities
prepared for the increase in student veterans.

The Path to a Degree
Tamsen Pintler, an Army medic, treated more than 100 soldiers
during her deployment to Iraq. Now she is close to getting her
bachelor's degree in nursing at Santa Fe College in Gainesville.
One of many student veterans whose educational careers will
take them from Santa Fe to UF, Pintler is on track to enroll in UF's
master's degree program in nursi ng.
"I have a 3-year-old I have to take care of," Pintler says as her
daughter, Sahara, jabbers and plays in the background. "I couldn't
have a full-time job and go to school and take care of my daughter."
There were about 17,000 student veterans in Florida in spring
2009, a number that is expected to rise substantially this year,
according to the Board of Governors' staff. UF veteran advocate
John Gebhardt says he expects the school's veteran student
population to grow from 380 last year to about 640 this year.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida | 15















Decades of Giving Back
More than 60 years ago the famed World
War II GI Bill transformed UF. The bill was
the ticket to Gainesville that swelled the cam-
pus by nearly 8,000 men just back from fighting.
Those soldier-scholars went on to earn enough
money in life that their taxes repaid the gov-
ernment's largess many times over, officials
estimate.
Today the degree is just as valuable, but
the number of veterans on campuses is not
nearly as great. That's because America has
a smaller, all-volunteer military. It runs
without the massive comings and goings of
drafted soldiers such as those who fought in
World War II and stayed until it was over.



"Having this benefit is

huge because we can ...

support our families and

improve ourselves."

Nate Evans (3ALS)


Like their World War II counterparts, how-
ever, today's veterans are often more focused
and mature, Gebhardt says. They make very good
students but they aren't just undergraduates
anymore.
Many student veterans who have
exhausted their old GI Bill benefits are using
the new bill to enroll in graduate courses,
Gebhardt says. That's because the Post 9/11
GI Bill allows veterans to apply their tuition
benefits toward graduate school, but only at
the undergraduate rate.
"Glory hallelujah, isn't this wonderful? They
have earned it," says Gebhardt, who has helped
keep UF a leader among U.S. schools dealing with
veterans' issues.
Still to surface are the veterans who didn't
sign up for Montgomery GI Bill benefits but,
because of the economy or just a desire to
get a college education, will take advantage
of the Post 9/11 GI Bill, Gebhardt says.
Service personnel have 15 years from their
discharges to use the benefits. Most will
likely show up first at community colleges.


Help During Hard Times
Going to school makes sense to veterans
such as Nate Evans (3ALS), a married father
of two who commutes to UF from the family's
rental home outside Alachua.
"Having this benefit available is huge because
we can kind of ride this [tough economic] storm
out a little bit, support our families ... and
improve ourselves," says Evans, who served six
S years in the Army.
0 Evans spent part of his time in the Army
as a Blackhawk helicopter mechanic. He
was deployed to Afghanistan where he
drove convoy trucks, helped local gov-
ernment officials build schools and power
generators and worked with local police.
Evans couldn't find a suitable job in
California after his discharge, so he and the fam-
ily returned to his wife's native Florida. Now he is
junior majoring in food resource economics.
His wife, JeanAnn (BS'03), is an animal tech-
nician in the Intensive Care Unit of the UF
Veterinary Medical Clinic.
Evans is considering law school, and he
wants to spend a portion of his time doing
volunteer work for veterans and others.

All for One...
Veterans at UF and Santa Fe are a tight-knit
group. One soldier who helps keep them together
is Jason Yulee (3LS).
Were it not for the GI Bill, he says, "I would
probably be working full time and trying to
S attend classes when I had time."
Now he can concentrate on classes and on
his responsibilities to others in the collegiate
veterans' society.
"The toughest thing for most college
students is just paying the tuition and books
... and lab fees, etc.," says Yulee, an Army radio
and computer network specialist who served
in Iraq. Yulee's father became a police officer
using the GI Bill. Yulee is studying political science
and plans to apply to law school at UE
Former Chancellor Rosenberg sees the new
bill as an education boon and a message.
"It's a statement of gratitude on the part
of this country, which the veterans deserve,"
Rosenberg says. "They have made signifi-
cant sacrifices in very extreme conditions
for their country."
Learn more at www.registrar.ufl.edu/va.


16 Florida















































From left: Nate Evans (Army), Tamsen Pintler (Army), Julio Morelos (Air Force), Timothy Kirchner (Navy), Jason Cohenpeer (Navy), Jason Yulee (Army) and
Ernesto Rancel (Marines) are among the 640 veteran students attending UF this fall.




GI Bills at a Glance


2 Types of GI Bills: the Montgomery GI Bill,
which since the 1980s has required veterans
to pay into their educations while they
served, and the Post 9/11 GI Bill, which took
effect Aug. 1 and does not require a pay-in.

$1,200 Cost to veterans to receive the
Montgomery GI Bill. To be eligible, a student
must have signed up at the outset of his or
her military career.

$0 Cost to veterans for Post 9/11 GI Bill.
Benefits are available to military personnel
even if they did not sign up at enlistment.

90 Days of active service a veteran must
have served since Sept. 11, 2001, to be
eligible for the new GI Bill benefits.


36 Months of active duty a veteran must
have served to get 100 percent benefits paid
over 36 months. Benefits decrease as length
of service decreases a veteran with only
90 aggregate days of active duty would
receive 40 percent of the benefit.

$67,000 Amount UF student veterans
could receive using the Post 9/11 GI Bill,
including tuition, fees, $1,000 for books and
supplies, money for tutoring and $1,290
for housing (based on taking 15 hours per
semester and 10 hours in the summer for
three years).

$49,248 Amount UF student veterans
would receive within three years on the
Montgomery GI Bill.


$70,000 Total amount a UF student vet-
eran could receive by exhausting his
or her Montgomery benefits, plus one
year of Post 9/11 benefits to finish a four-
year degree.

6 Years a service member must serve to be
eligible to transfer his or her Post 9/11 GI Bill
benefits to an immediate family member.
The service member must also commit to
serve four more years in the military.
15 Years veterans have from the time
they are discharged to use their Post 9/11
GI Bill benefits.
For more information, visit www.servic-
e2scholars.org. Sources: Veterans Affairs
Administration and UF documents.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 117



























































With native species hanging in the balance, UF takes an active role
in controlling Florida's growing population of Burmese pythons.

By Sarah L. Stewart
18 | Florida







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Ankle deep in murky, brown water, six young men -
biologists, research technicians and a park service
employee among them slog from the helicopter into
the wilderness of Everglades National Park, vegetation
and muck slowing every step. The transmitter signal
grows stronger as they enter a stand of trees, and the
men know they're getting close.
Several hundred meters from the dry refuge of the aircraft, the
radio receiver has located the beast, invisible beneath the water.
One of the men lunges for its tail, grabbing hold of the 150-pound
rope of muscle and bone. Ten feet away, Michael Cherkiss (BSF '96,
MS'99) feels something writhe in the sediment beneath his feet.
It's the head of a 16-foot Burmese python, and she's not happy
about being caught. The men wrestle the massive reptile into a
canvas sack, then affix the sack to a pole that they alternate carry-
ing in pairs back to the helicopter.
"That was a tiring one," says Cherkiss, a wildlife biologist at UF's
Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center.
Back at the lab, they'll replace the old radio transmitter in the
snake's body cavity with a new one. Once the snake is re-released,
the transmitter will tell researchers the snake's location and -
they hope lead them to others of her kind.
Though their job descriptions resemble a cross between
Indiana Jones and Crocodile Dundee, Cherkiss and his fellow
UF scientists don't prowl South Florida swamplands for the
mere adventure of tackling some of the world's largest snakes -


though that's part of the appeal. They are on the front lines of a
multifaceted effort to control a species threatening to irrevers-
ibly alter the River of Grass.

PERFECT INVADERS
Native to Southeast Asia, Burmese pythons arrived in the
United States via the pet trade throughout the 1980s.
Despite the beauty of their brown-and-tan skin pattern, it's
hard to imagine many creatures less suited for domestication:
Burmese pythons are 11/2 to 2 feet long when hatched, double in
size during their first year of life, and reach 6 feet or more by age
3. Full grown, the snakes can span more than 20 feet and weigh
almost 200 pounds.
Python sightings in Everglades National Park rose gradu-
ally during the 1980s and'90s as some pet pythons escaped their
cages, were released by irresponsible owners or were set free by
Hurricane Andrew. Several years ago, the discovery of python
nests and hatchlings indicated a breeding population thriving on
the Everglades' 1.5 million acres.
"This is absolutely the perfect habitat for them," says Frank
Mazzotti, who turned a childhood spent wishing he were Tarzan
into a career as a UF associate professor of wildlife ecology, study-
ing large reptiles in the Everglades since the '70s.
Burmese pythons are excellent swimmers ideal for South
Florida's wetlands, where they prey on virtually anything that
moves within the ecosystem.


The presence of pythons in the Everglades poses a threat to the area's food chain. Therefore, researchers such as Mark Perry (left) and Matthew Brien -
both former wildlife biologists at UF's Fort Lauderdale Research and Education Center are trying to track the snakes and learn their habits.

20 | Florida










"The highest priority in


controlling the expansion of


Burmese pythons is removing


reproducing females. That's


the Holy Grail."
Frank Mazzotti,
UF wildlife ecology associate professor



By studying what pythons are eating, UF wildlife research assis-
tant Mike Rochford helps identify how the snakes are affecting
the Everglades. Snakes captured by the National Park Service are
euthanized and necropsied by park scientists, who fill bags with
the snakes' stomach and gut matter that they freeze and send to
Rochford. He sorts through the bags, searching for hair, feathers,
skulls, teeth and other clues as to what pythons have been eating.
"It's very glamorous," Rochford says. "There are some days I
can taste it in my mouth at the end of the day."
Glamorous, no, but useful: Rochford has uncovered remains of
everything from bobcats and marsh rabbits to deer and alligators
in pythons' stomachs.
The effects are tangible. Marsh rabbits used to be found all over
the park, but now they've almost disappeared, Mazzotti says. Even
more worrisome are remains of endangered species such as the
Key Largo woodrat and water birds of special concern such as
limpkin and white ibis also found in pythons' stomachs.
"It's quite an impressive list (of prey), and in some cases very
disturbing," says Mazzotti, who leads the UF python effort.
Today, tens of thousands of Burmese pythons reside in and
around Everglades National Park, indicating potentially dire
consequences for some of the park's native species unless the
invaders can be stopped.

PYTHON PATROL
Attempting to remove pythons from a place Scott Hardin of
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission calls
"Valhalla from a snake perspective" requires a team effort.
Several years ago, UF joined the National Park Service, U.S.
Geological Survey, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, South Florida
Water Management District and Davidson College in studying the
pythons' behavior and thereby learning how best to capture them.
It's starting to pay off: The park reports that more than 1,300
pythons have been removed from the Everglades and surrounding
area since 2000 with nearly half of those captures in the past
two years.
"The highest priority in controlling the expansion of Burmese
pythons is removing reproducing females," Mazzotti says. "That's
the Holy Grail."
Methods of capture include python traps, or large boxes with
funnel-shaped entrances ("Think of a minnow trap on steroids,"


Mazzotti says). UF researchers are developing bait that better tar-
gets pythons and traps that are better designed to keep captured
pythons contained.
Tracking the snakes with radiotelemetry as Cherkiss and
his team did with the 16-footer provides insight into the ani-
mals' movement and behavior patterns and leads directly to more
python captures. During breeding season, adult pythons often
gather in groups; if one snake has been implanted with a transmit-
ter, scientists may capture the whole group.
"I'm encouraged that the more we learn about the animal, the
more we know about how to manage it," says Hardin, exotic spe-
cies coordinator for the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation
Commission. "It's building that body of knowledge."
Though the team is getting better at capturing pythons,
Mazzotti doubts the practicality of eradicating Florida's Burmese
pythons entirely. But he defines success by reducing python num-
bers and halting expansion of their current range.
"I think we can stop'em dead in their tracks."
To support this research, contact Josh McCoy at 352-273-2087
or Joe Mandernach at 352-392-5457


Pythons captured by UF researchers are fitted with radio transmitters so
they can be tracked and studied. Former UF wildlife technician Justin Davis,
left, helps Mike Dorcas, a Davidson College associate professor, implant a
transmitter, which lasts as long as the battery that powers it.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 21






















It's been more than a century since food safety

guidelines were created in the United States.

UF researchers say it's time to start fresh.


By Stu Hutson
Photography by Sarah Kiewel (BSJ '05)


I n 1959, as some NASA researchers were struggling with
how to deliver manned rockets into space, other scien-
tists were dealing with yet another problem: the food the
astronauts would have to take with them.
Although it had been more than a century since the
Pure Food and Drug Act passed (a response to Upton Sinclair's
1906 novel "The Jungle" set in filthy Chicago stockyards), there
weren't standard methods of clean and safe food preparation. So,
NASA researchers used the best knowledge of the time to develop
a standard method of decontamination and preservation, a system
known as Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points (HACCP,
pronounced HAS-sip).
While many might think the dietary influences of NASA
research are limited to globs of Tang and brittle chunks of freeze-
dried ice cream, the truth is that HACCP has been the standard
of food safety for decades. But now, researchers at UF's Institute
of Food and Agricultural Sciences are leading a call for this 1960s
space-age science to undergo a revamp worthy of the modern bio-
technology era.
"Think about materials science, genetics, bacteriology and all of
microbiology," says UF microbiologist Max Teplitski. "We know a lot
more than we knew half a century ago. Recent food safety scares have
shown us that maybe it's time we started applying that knowledge."
HACCP is largely based on choosing points during handling and
processing to eliminate or reduce possible hazards from food in
essence, simple decontamination and preservation.


"On many levels, it's effective and has given us an unparalleled
level of food safety," Teplitski says. "But it's a very black-and-white
view of a system that is anything but simple."
For starters, bacteria have excellent survival skills. They can
adapt to decontamination methods such as heating. Bacteria
have been shown to survive in underwater thermal vents nearing
200 degrees as well as outer space. It's not a big surprise that, for
example, a heat-resistant strain of Salmonella has become prob-
lematic for the almond industry.
One of the biggest tools in a bacterium's bag of tricks is simple
group behavior. Only in the last 10 years have researchers truly
begun to understand a phenomenon known as biofilm formation.
Simply put, a biofilm is created when stressed bacteria clump
together in a thick, protective goo that's all but impenetrable to
heat, cold, abrasion and antibiotics. Anyone who suffered from
unrelenting childhood ear infections likely has sinus-clung bio-
films to thank for the experience.
To form these structures, however, the bacteria must communi-
cate in the language of excreted chemical signals. By deciphering
these signals and how they affect gene expression, researchers can
learn to disrupt them and break up the biofilm. But in the process
of understanding bacteria communication, why only use that
knowledge to disrupt their formation?
Outside of his food-safety work, for instance, it's not unusual to
find Teplitski on a diving expedition to study Caribbean coral reefs.
Some coral excretes chemicals that coax the growth of biofilm


22 Florida


















































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coatings that serve as a protective barrier from pollution. If
researchers could help spur this growth, it may help stem the
ongoing massive coral die-offs.
The same understanding can be brought to food safety.
Virtually all plants and animals have an ongoing complex chemi-
cal conversation with bacteria. As pathologist Delphine Saulnier


the commonly sited rule of only eating oysters in months with an
"r." In October, the test had a final review for government approval
and may soon allow oyster lovers to chow down year-round.
Advancements in genetic technology might soon play a role in
food safety even before food reaches the processing stage. So far,
much of the genetic work with food crops has focused on mak-


at Baylor University points out, the
human metabolism is strongly linked to
digestive-tract bacteria. Lactobacillus,
commonly consumed in yogurt, may
even help fend off diabetes.
"For a long time, I think the food
industry has focused on getting rid of
bacteria as if it were all a bad thing,"
she says. "But now, probiotics are very
common, and [scientists] are looking
for ways to integrate good bacteria into
our food."
The recent trend of food items such
as probiotic yogurts isn't the first real-
ization that bacteria shouldn't be


"We know a lot more than

we knew half a century ago.

Recent food safety scares

have shown us that maybe it's

time we started applying that

knowledge."

Max Teplitski, microbiologist


ing things easier for farmers, such as
producing insect-resistant or drought-
tolerant crops. However, the future of
transgenic food will help consumers,
says UF geneticist Maria Gallo.
Using genetics to boost a plant's own
defense mechanisms may allow fewer
chemicals and treatments for the food
on its way to consumers. And transgenic
food may be able to deal with one of the
fastest growing food safety concerns
- food allergens. Gallo is working to
eliminate the three proteins in peanuts
that can result in potentially deadly
allergic reactions for nearly 3 million


uniformly seen as an enemy. Understanding chemical signaling
and gene expression in bacteria as well as fungi could potentially
revolutionize the cheese industry not only making cheese safer,
but healthier and more flavorful, as well.
Nonetheless, detecting and eliminating bad pathogens is per-
haps the most crucial part of ensuring food quality especially
in foods commonly consumed raw, such as produce and seafood.
New advancements in mapping and detecting the genetic infor-
mation of pathogens are beginning to make inroads.
UF food scientist Anita Wright is helping to develop tests that can
rapidly examine food for traces of genetic material unique to patho-
gens. One such test would identify the bacteria Vibrios in oysters.
Vibrios, which flourishes in warmer water, is the main reason for


Americans. So far, she's managed to nullify one of them.
It will be years before her work, or that of many others,
reaches the consumer. HACCP is still the most sophisticated
method of ensuring food safety, and the researchers emphasize
that in developing new methods, extreme care must be taken.
"We need to develop a system in which we are very careful,"
Gallo says. "For example, if you make a peanut without allergens,
you have to be sure to get rid of all the allergens, or else you could
make someone very sick. On the way to food safety, you have to be
sure that you don't become the problem yourself."
Learn more about food safety at www.SolutionsForYourLife.com
and click "food safety" under "Families and Consumers." To support
this research contact Joe Mandernach at 352-392-5457


Ir


Food scientist Anita Wright is developing tests
that could make oysters safe to eat year-round.


Microbiologist Max Teplitski is studying how
bacteria can be harmful and helpful.


Geneticist Maria Gallo could someday make
peanuts allergen-free.


24 | Florida


I;q












































(Clockwise from left) After tomatoes got their share of bad press in 2007, UF helped develop training programs for Florida workers, growers and packers.
UF geneticist Maria Gallo hopes to improve peanuts' reputation, as well, by neutralizing the proteins that sometimes cause deadly allergies.


Leader in

the Field

UF is not only reforming the scientific
approach to food safety, it's helping lead the
way for near-term policy changes. For the
last 10 months, three UF experts have been
working as part of a 13-member U.S. Food
and Drug Administration task force charged
with improving the way America's food
safety is regulated.
The experts are Glenn Morris, director of
the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute, Doug
Archer, IFAS associate dean for research,
and Martha Roberts, IFAS special assistant
to the dean of research.
The task force was convened at the
behest of Congress by the Institute of
Medicine of the National Academies. The
team will deliver its findings in early 2010.


I he bacteria Vibrios has given oysters a bad reputation in summer months. New stood safety research,
however, is changing the rules.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 25






I.I


Exercise and sport sciences alum Steve Mesler, and his teammates, made history by claiming the 2009 men's Bobsled World Championship crown in
Lake Placid, N.Y. USA Bobsled awarded its 2009 Team of the Year honors to Mesler's squad, know as the "Night Train."




On the Run

Decathlete-turned-bobsledder Steve Mesler will be racing for gold at this year's winter Olympics.


the blink of an eye. That's how
Steve Mesler* (BSESS'00) felt
nine years ago when he made his
first bobsled run at an Olympic training
course in Park City, Utah. One moment the
former Gator decathlete was stepping
into a 500-pound sled, the next he was
plunging down an icy chute at 85 mph,
pinned to the floor of the tiny car by the
stress of 4.5-Gs (astronauts experience 5
Gs at blastoff).
"It was like someone put a stick of
dynamite in the sled," he says. "I mean, we
just took off. I was thinking: 'this can't be
right. No way is the driver in control.'
"It was ridiculous. I was scared."
Mesler also was hooked. The Buffalo,
N.Y., native found himself in Salt Lake City
only eight months later, an alternate for
Team USA in the 2002 Winter Olympics, a
remarkable turn of events for a Floridian
who prefers flip-flops to mountain boots.


That was only the first step in Mesler's
unlikely Olympic odyssey, journey he
hopes will end in February on a Canadian
mountaintop, with a 2010 Winter
Olympics gold medal around his neck.
Last winter Steve Holcomb (driver) and
Mesler (pusher) joined with Justin Olsen
and Curt Tomasevicz when the U.S.
claimed the gold at the 2009 World
Championships. They were the first
Americans to triumph in the four-man
event at Worlds or the Olympics since 1959
- an alarming sight to their European
rivals with the Vancouver Games hovering
on the horizon.
"Everybody's gunning for us," Holcomb
says.
A European bobsledder once compared
the sport to driving 90 mph through a
mile-long tollbooth with 13 turns, no
brakes and a stuck gas pedal.
Broken fingers, separated shoulders and
bloody crackups are as routine as cold


temperatures. So are ice burns. In fact,
many racers have smelled their own flesh
burning from the friction of sliding down a
winding course beneath an overturned sled.
"Crashing a four-man sled is kind of an
every-man-for-himself endeavor," Mesler
says. "If you can help the guy next to you
get out, you try to do it. But often there's
not much you can do."
The challenges don't end there in this
sport. Some wonder why Mesler, who grad-
uated from UF with honors, didn't become
an engineer or salesman or teacher,
tapping into his natural intelligence and
easy charm. Instead, his only money comes
from a meager monthly stipend from the
U.S. Olympic Committee, and he struggles
to make ends meet in his adopted home-
town of Calgary, Alberta, site of North
America's best push facility.
As his college friends started families
and careers, Mesler was literally bouncing
around Europe on the World Cup circuit. At


26 | Florida


*UF Alumni Association member









31, he still enjoys the grind, playing poker,
enjoying an occasional beer with team-
mates and following the Gators from afar
- he collects UF memorabilia during his
rare downtime. But mostly he trains and
races and then heads to the next mountain
town, hungry to add to
his collection of more
than 30 World Cup "This sport I
and two World
Championship medals. A lot of pec
"He is a unique long. But S1
guy," says Holcomb.
"He's very tough, let anything
which is what a lot of
people don't have. way. He's tl
This sport beats you team. He li
up. A lot of people
don't last long. But guy in chari
Steve won't let
anything get in his -
way. He's the voice of
our team. He likes to
be the guy in charge." bob
Mesler always
dreamed of standing
on an Olympic podium, clutching a medal
- but not in a parka.
So passionate was Mesler for track that
at 13 he started training in his unheated
Buffalo garage in midwinter. In 1996 he
won the pentathlon at the National High
School Track and Field Championship,
which helped him earn a scholarship to
Florida escaping Buffalo's winters.
"I didn't look at any school north of
Virginia. I was going south of the Mason-
Dixon Line," he says.


Although he ranked sixth in school
history (6,817 points) in the decathlon by
his final meet, nagging injuries crippled
Mesler's track career at UF, not to mention
his Olympic plans.
"Everybody kind of knows I didn't live


)eats you up.

ple don't last

even won't

g get in his

ie voice of our

kes to be the

ge."

Steve Holcomb,

Mesler's USA

sled teammate


up to my potential,"
he says. "It was a
weight on me.... It was
terrible."
After graduating
from UF with honors
and a degree in sport
and exercise sciences
in 2000, Mesler
worked as a substitute
teacher, a personal
trainer and a high
school track coach.
But he couldn't bear
the thought of being
an ex-athlete, so he
e-mailed Team USA
bobsled coaches,
listing his height,
weight and speed.


"All I asked them is: 'Can I do it? If I
can't, you won't hear from me ever again."'
Mesler recalled. "They answered me
literally the next day, saying I needed to
put on weight."
So Mesler headed to the weight room,
adding enough bulk to receive an invitation
to a June 2001 training camp in Utah. He
dazzled coaches with his rare combination
of speed and power, crucial factors in a
sport measured in such finite time. "A
genetic freak," Holcomb calls him.


Steve Mesler (second from right), who earned SEC academic honors at UF, says he keeps in touch with
some UF athletics staff and has spoken to classes on campus about the dangers of performance-enhanc-
ing drug use. He's pictured here with his teammates (from left) Todd Hays, Pavel Jovanovic and Brock
Kreitzburg after they won the 2006 four-man bobsled World Cup in Switzerland.


The USA team bobsled used at the World Cup
Championship in New York. Bobsled tracks are
typically about 1,200 to 1,300 meters and drop
about 120 meters from start to finish.

Pushing the bobsled is all about
strength and speed. Mesler discovered
how much hangs on a millisecond in the
2006 Olympics, where his team expected
to win. Instead, Team USA 1 placed seventh
and Mesler left Torino, Italy, in a funk,
four years of preparation wiped out in a
couple minutes.
Yet even in the worst times, Mesler has
never lost his passion for bobsledding or
for the camaraderie of the World Cup Tour,
which bounces from Austria to Italy to
Germany to North America.
"Our team is so much fun," he says. "We
have such a healthy environment for
winning."
Though he's been away from UF for
almost a decade, Mesler says he still
loves his Gators. He even had a Slingbox
installed on his parents' TV several years
ago, which allows him to watch local TV
on his computer anywhere in the world.
When Florida beat Oklahoma in the 2008
national football championship, he was
able to provide a running commentary in
a hotel room in Cortina, Italy, much to the
chagrin of his teammates.
"After that, he was a little annoying to be
around for a while," says Tomasevicz, who
played football at Nebraska. "He's always
got stories about Florida."
But on the track, Mesler is all business,
always motivated by a dream as ancient as
the Olympics themselves. In fact, he's had
a recurring dream over the years about
walking into his parents' home in Buffalo
with a gold medal.
"It's been nine years. It's a long World
Cup season, a long time (to be) in Europe,
a long four years between Olympics.
"Now, I'm ready to do this, to accomplish
my goals."
Clay Latimer

www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 27






MY OLDISCHOOL


I Remember When


Illustrations by Ethan Long


Just before Thanksgiving 1947 or 1948
my buddy Dave and I were boondocking at
Newnans Lake when we found ourselves
directly under a tree full of turkey buz-
zards. Before thinking much about it Dave
shot one with his rifle ... a clean kill.
We took it back to town and dropped
by my brother's house with it. He was a
(Gainesville Sun) photographer and took a
picture of Dave and me holding the buzzard.
I can't say how the evil plot was devel-
oped, but we dressed the bird and gathered
some choice cuts that we took to one of the
eateries across University Avenue from
the campus and asked the cook, who we
knew, to prepare them for us. We told him
we had been helping a farmer dress
turkeys and these cuts were our wages. He
did a great job.
Now Dave had a roommate, an otherwise
very nice guy who was in the habit of help-
ing himself, without asking, to any food in


the dorm room at the top of Sledd Hall. It
was not uncommon for Dave and others to
buy burgers and fries, etc., and bring them
back to the dorm to eat while studying.
Dave and I bought some real turkey
meat when we picked up the buzzard meat,
along with some choice sandwich makings,
and went back to Dave's room. Right on
schedule his roommate came along and
dug into the goodies.
Dave and I were careful to hog the real
turkey, so the roommate helped himself
generously to the buzzard, although I, at
least, had several bits of it and found it not
at all bad.
The next day or so the campus newspa-
per got wind of the story and printed their
version of the whole incident. Of course,
Dave and I got an evil eye the next day
from the cook who had cooked the meat,
but we left it on the basis of "you don't tell
and we won't tell."


Some many years later we made contact
with the roommate and we all had a great
laugh about it. Those were happy days.
Rene Rogers* (BSEE '50)
Sunnyvale, Calif.

It has been said that if you remember the
'60s, you weren't there. I remember some
of the '60s, which confirms the premise: I
was only partially there.
Steve Spurrier (BSPE '81) was quarter-
back of the Florida Gators in 1966. I was
there and started "bleeding orange and
blue." The game I remember most was
against Auburn and it was in October,
which always began a series of games for
the Gators against our most intense SEC
rivals. The game had been a strange one:
We were killing them statistically but the
score was close. There were about two
minutes left in the game and the Gators
faced a fourth and long from about 40


28 Florida


*UF Alumni Association member











yards. [Historian] Norm Carlson (BSBA
'56) points out in his stories about this
game that this was not the first field goal
Spurrier had kicked, nor did Spurrier wave
the regular kicker off the field. The 100,000
of us there (the stadium probably held
only 60,000 back then) saw it all. Spurrier
called his shot and booted a game-winning
40-yard field goal to defeat Auburn. Sorry,
Norm, the legend of "The Kick" lives on.
Thus began my total devotion to the
orange and blue, which peaked for me
in the 1968-69 seasons. My involvement
was a bizarre one because on a daily basis
I would write stories about all the Gator
sports and athletes. I was very much a
homer and was not ashamed to pronounce
my support of all things orange and blue,
in print, every chance I got. My non-
sports related activities included sit-ins at
Tigert Hall, demonstrating with the Black
Student Union, experimenting with drugs
and occasionally going to class. It was the
best of times.
The Athletic Department tolerated me
with the utmost of respect and afforded me
the benefits of traveling with the football
and basketball teams on away games, sit-
ting with the press at all games, paying my
expenses and indulging my edgy stories. It
was all great, and I was probably the most
fortunate Florida Gator student journalist
of that time.
I believe I crossed the line in the spring
of 1969. It was an article about a black ath-
lete being recruited from a Californiajunior
college, a track star. I met him at a Black
Student Union party during his recruit-
ing trip and spoke with him about college
life and what he expected it to be like in
Gainesville. My conclusions primar-
ily that it would be very different for him
on a newly integrated campus may have
changed his mind about accepting a schol-
arship to UF. I wrote about his interracial
dating and lifestyle, and that I thought it
would not be well received in Gainesville.
Regardless of the correctness or incor-
rectness of my opinion, it was hurtful to
the university athletic department and
Coach Jimmy Carnes. Athletic Director
Ray Graves* and Coach Carnes were always
gentlemen to me, and I was disrespectful to
them. I apologize, and have tried to make
amends over the years by making contribu-
tions to the university, which I also do for
other reasons. I want to take this opportu-


nity to publicly say, "I apologize to Coach
Carnes and Coach Graves."
UF may have had struggles with integra-
tion, but I believe the administration, staff
and students always tried to do the right
thing and treat everyone with respect.
Marc Dunn (BS '69)
Hollywood

The greatest memory I will always cherish
happened in 1956 while I was at UF. I was
in the Sigma Kappa Sorority and my boy-
friend, Jim Dyches (BSBA'58), had just
given me his Alpha Tau Omega fraternity
pin. Several nights later, the ATOs came
over to the sorority house to serenade me
and I tape-recorded it.
Years later, our son, James Jr., also
an ATO at Florida, surprised me with a
Christmas gift: He had recorded my ser-
enade on a CD. It brings tears to my eyes
every time I play it.
June Jolley Dyches* (BSJ '58)
Marco Island

My buddy and I spent our 1993 spring
break hiking, mountain climbing and
rappelling in the Appalachian Mountains
in Georgia. We also got snowed in and
ended up pushing cars out of a ditch with
a pr .f. i. dl-re tl. r Pidl "Th.

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ta In i I-. .. I ,.,I ..,.. I [ iii I

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together and drove my buddy's red CJ-7
Jeep to the top floor of the garage. We
then tied a rope onto the vehicle's roll bar
and buckled on our rappelling harnesses
- we were off down the side of the con-
crete structure.
I was "fortunate" enough to be the sec-
ond man down. Upon my arrival to the
ground, I was greeted by another friend of
mine with his hands raised above his head,
followed by two undercover UPD officers
who had apparently been staking out the
area looking for car thieves. As my buddy
and the rest of the crew fled the scene in a
crimson blur, I'll never forget the officer
who said, "Is that your buddy?" Yes it was,
yes it was.
We were let off with a warning and a
brief discussion of liability insurance, and
I have long since forgiven the desertion
by my good friend. I was happy to share
this experience speaking as his best man
at his wedding.
Vadim Archipov* (BA'95, MESS'98)
Riverview

Write Us
Florida@uff.ufl.edu or at Florida magazine,
P.O. Box 14425, Gainesville, FL 32604-2425.


www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 29


*UF Alumni Association member







BACK N TIM


"F Book"


6-inch, 58-page black hard cover book which included
campus organization information, the university's con-
stitution and a directory of all faculty and students. It
was based on Georgia Tech's "T-Book," as well as a pocket guide
given to UF freshmen by the YMCA to help them get acquainted
with campus.
Over the years, athletics information, the grading policy, a cam-
pus map and how to study the Bible came and went in the book.
Some memorable pages of the books, however, are the freshmen
rules, seen in volumes published from 1928 through 1948. They
included wearing rat caps, saying hello to everyone on campus and
not cutting across the grass in the Plaza of the Americas. The last


of the old "F Books" was published in 1960 after a revision turned
it into a type of daily planner.
The "F Book" was revived in 2006 by then-president of the
Cicerones, Bigad Shaban (BA'06, BSTel '06). The new book is
bigger 120 pages of full color but still pays homage to its his-
torical roots. Students can photograph themselves completing
various UF traditions, which are explained in the book. If a student
completes 40 or more of the traditions, he or she earns the right to
be called a Tradition Keeper. The book is produced by the Cicero-
nes executive board, which continues the tradition of being purely
student-developed.
Jillian Kremer (3JM)
See the 2009 "FBook" at www.ufalumni.ufl.edu/saa/fbook/virtual.


30 Florida


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I CAMPAIGN


We All Stick Together


That's because of you, The Gator Nation. Almost
200,000 alumni and friends have reached into their
pockets so far during UF's Florida Tomorrow fund-
raising campaign to ensure that future Gators and, indeed, all
Floridians thrive.
Thanks to your contributions, UF is recruiting talented
professors and students who are blazing trails in their chosen
fields; more books are in the libraries and better equipment in


Since 2005, when tf


142,061 of you have given a gift to UF.
64,688 of you are first-time UF donors.
40,511 of you made an annual pledge when telephoned by
student callers.
3,377 of you gave to the Florida Opportunity Scholars program,
which supports disadvantaged students who are the first in their
families to attend college.

Campaign progress as of Dec. 31, 2009

Total goal $1.5 billion


U IFLORIDA
THE CAMPAIGN FOR THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


laboratories; families and communities across Florida and
throughout the world are benefitting from service and research
projects; and Gator researchers are delving deeper into the
mysteries of our times than thought possible even a few years ago.
With little more than two years remaining in UF's $1.5 billion
fundraising campaign, there's still an abundance of needs. But with
the help of contributors at all levels, The Gator Nation will continue
bettering the lives of the hundreds of thousands of people touched
byUF each year.

























e campaign began:
1,921 of you gave gifts-in-kind, such as research equipment,
musical instruments and medical supplies.
45,115 of you supported a college's general fund, so deans could
enhance programs.
And your alumni association ballooned to 54,550 members, whose
dues support UF.





$1.04
BILLION


How will you change tomorrow?
Visit www.floridatomorrow.ufl.edu or call (352) 392-5472.
www.UFalumnimagazines.com/Florida 31





UW UNIVERSITY of NPI
UF FLORIDA
Florida Magazine
University of Florida Alumni Association
P.O. Box 14425
Gainesville, FL 32604-2425




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