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The College of Liberal Arts &
Sciences at the University of
Florida is the largest college on
campus, with more than 700
faculty members responsible
for teaching the majority of the
university's core curriculum to
at least 35,000 students each
year. CLAS has more than
12,000 undergraduate students
pursuing a variety of disciplines
through its 35 majors and 45
minors. Additionally, nearly
2,000 graduate students are
attaining advanced degrees in
About Alumni CLASnotes
Alumni CLASnotes is published
twice a year by the University
of Florida College of Liberal
Arts & Sciences for its alumni
and friends. Please send all
correspondence to Editor,
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Gainesville FL 32611-7300 or
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on the COVER
CLAS scientists use the remains of
largest snake ever found to estimate
the climate 60 million years ago.
Photo by Timothy K. Hamilton.
M' Ulmm gge
CLASact: Todd Barry
The up-and-coming comedian, actor, and writer answers a few questions.
Remains of the largest snake ever found suggest tropics were hotter in the past.
Predicting the Invasion
Study shows when invasive species will travel by air.
lFlavors for Conservation
Which Amazon fruits will catch on next?
The people of CLAS know that every little bit helps.
A new program may have the answer to Florida's math and science teacher shortage.
Winning the Fight Against Malaria
,4 Grant funds development of modeling tools for malaria elimination.
Updates from CLASmates
Keeping up with CLAS
There are plenty of ways to stay connected with your alma mater.
REMAINS OF THE LARGEST SNAKE EVER FOUND
SUGGEST TROPICS WERE HOTTER IN THE PAST
The largest snake the world has ever known-as long
as a school bus and as heavy as a small car-ruled
tropical ecosystems only 6 million years after the
demise of the fearsome Tyrannosaurus rex, according
to a new discovery published in the journal Nature.
Partial skeletons of a new giant,
boa constrictor-like snake
named "Titanoboa" found in
Colombia by an international
team of scientists and now at
the University of Florida are
estimated to be 42 to 45 feet
long, the length of the T-rex
"Sue" displayed at Chicago's
Field Museum, said Jonathan
Bloch, a UF vertebrate
paleontologist who co-led
the expedition with Carlos
Jaramillo, a paleobotanist from
the Smithsonian Tropical
Research Institute in Panama.
Researchers say the extinct
snake was even larger than the
wildest dreams of directors of
modern horror movies.
snakes really spark people's
imagination, but reality has
exceeded the fantasies of
Hollywood," said Bloch, who
is studying the snake at the
Florida Museum of Natural
History on the UF campus.
"The snake that tried to eat
Jennifer Lopez in the movie
Anaconda is not as big as the
one we found."
Jason Head, a
paleontologist at the University
of Toronto in Mississauga
and the paper's senior author,
described it this way: "The
snake's body was so wide
that if it were moving down
the hall and decided to come
into my office to eat me, it
would literally have to squeeze
through the door."
Besides tipping the scales
at an estimated 1.25 tons,
the snake lived during the
Paleocene Epoch, a 10-million-
year period immediately
following the extinction of the
dinosaurs 65 million years ago,
The scientists also found
many skeletons of giant turtles
and extinct primitive crocodile
relatives that likely were eaten
by the snake, he said. "Prior to
our work, there had been no
fossil vertebrates found between
65 million and 55 million years
ago in tropical South America,
leaving us with a very poor
understanding of what life was
like in the northern Neotropics,"
he said. "Now we have a window
into the time just after the
dinosaurs went extinct and can
actually see what the animals
replacing them were like."
Size does matter because the
snake's gigantic dimensions are a
sign that temperatures along the
equator were once much hotter.
That is because snakes and other
cold-blooded animals are limited
in body size by the ambient
temperature of where they live,
"If you look at cold-blooded
animals and their distribution
on the planet today, the large
ones are in the tropics, where it's
hottest, and they become smaller
the farther away they are from
the equator," he said.
Based on the snake's
size, the team was able to
calculate that the mean annual
temperature at equatorial South
America 60 million years ago
would have been about 91
degrees Fahrenheit, about 10
degrees warmer than today, Bloch
The presence of outsized
snakes and turtles shows that
even 60 million years ago the
foundations of the modern
Amazonian tropical ecosystem
were in place, he said.
Fossil hunting is usually
difficult in the forest-covered
tropics because of the lack of
exposed rock, Bloch said. But
excavations in the Cerrej6n Coal
Mine in Northern Colombia
exposed the rock and offered
an unparalleled opportunity for
discovery, he said.
After the team brought the
fossils to the Florida Museum
of Natural History, it was UF
graduate students Alex Hastings
and Jason Bourque who first
recognized they belonged to a
giant snake, Bloch said. Head, an
expert on fossil snakes, worked
with David Polly, a paleontologist
at the University of Indiana,
to estimate the snake's length
and mass by determining the
relationship between body size
in living snakes and using that
relationship to figure out body
size of the fossil snake based on
Harry W. Greene, professor
in the department of ecology
and evolutionary biology at
Cornell University and one of
the world's leading snake experts,
said the "colossal" ancient boa
researchers found has "important
implications for snake biology
and our understanding of life in
the ancient tropics."
"The giant Colombian
snake is a truly exciting
discovery," said Greene, who
wrote the book Snakes: The
Evolution of Mystery in Nature.
"For decades herpetologists have
argued about just how big snakes
can get, with debatable estimates
of the max somewhat less than 40
a*~I"'I 1 ~ r
THE IVAS ON
Study Shows When Invasive Species Will Travel By Air
A new study forecasts when climate factors
such as temperature, humidity and rainfall
will match at geographically distant airline
departure and destination points, which
could help to shuffle invasive species, and
the diseases they may carry, across the globe
along I' 1", 1l1IlI, routes.The findings
provide a framework that could help people
who monitor airline flights-and the people,
baggage and cargo aboard-to plan more
efficiently and accurately for detecting and
Andy Tatem, who holds a joint position
at the Emerging Pathogens Institute and the
University of Florida's geography department,
said his model uses the latest forecast data for
climate change and air traffic volumes.
"The problem is that as the global
transport networks expand, we're getting more
and more invasive species and pathogens
coming from different parts of the world that
have survived isolated for thousands of years,"
said Tatem, who joined UF in January. "But
now they have this high-speed link going
between different regions of the world."
The study was published online Jan. 22
in the journal Ecography, and the work was
performed in his previous position at the
University of Oxford.
Tatem predicts a peak risk will be
reached in June 2010, when multiple factors
converge to create a month when the climate
factors at i1..... 11 i l. origin and destination
airports would be most similar.
"The model shows us that climatic shifts
are not greatly i,'i .. ,- i over the next few
years,"Tatem said. "But the great increase in
traffic volumes from expanding economies in
India and China are likely to have a i,...i. ...
effect on moving species. This gives us much
more of a detailed idea on the importance of
key risk factors and how these change over
time, compared to previous work we did in
Tatem reached his conclusions by
S. ... .1 ... I, I... cale global climate models
for 2009 and 2010 prepared by the Hadley
Centre for Climate Prediction and Research
with models forecasting traffic volumes on
existing airline networks, prepared by OAG
Worldwide.The airline models include more
than 35 million scheduled flights between
3,570 airports on more than 44,000 different
But exactly how native species wind
up aboard an outbound passenger or freight
aircraft is still being studied.Tatem said it
can be a combination of goods, transport
and people bringing things aboard either
accidentally or knowingly.
"Some studies have shown that
mosquitoes can fly on randomly, or they
may get into baggage,"he said. "But some
things, like plant pathogens, happen when
people purposely bring fruit aboard, or they
may bring in a plant that makes it through
inspections, or they may just have seeds stuck
in the soles of their shoes."
These activities compound over
the entire global system, threatening
local economies, public health and native
ecosystems. In 2007, a biological invasion was
documented from a single invasive insect in a
study conducted by York University biologists
Amro Zayed and Laurence Packer. A different
2007 study by Andrew Liebhold, published
in American Entomologist, examined records
of U.S. Department of Agricultural inspectors
encountering invasive species in airline
baggage. Liebhold, a research entomologist
with the Northeastern Research Station of
the U.S. Forest Service, reported that infested
fruit, mainly from the tropics, was the most
commonly intercepted commodity, and that
flies, cicadas, planthoppers, aphids and scale
insects were the most commonly intercepted
Liebhold said Tatem's study provided
fascinating predictions about expected trends
in the accidental transport of invasive species
"Unfortunately, unwitting air passengers
have too frequently provided transport of
plant pests and human diseases and this trend
has increased with elevated intercontinental
passenger traffic," Liebhold said. "Hopefully,
government agencies will pay attention to
these results and utilize them to strengthen
inspection activities at airports in order
to protect the world from the devastating
impacts of alien species on natural ecosystems
as well as on human health."
photos by Nigel Smith
Geographer Nigel Smith has spent his career
researching and promoting fruits most of us
have never heard of, but which might some
day be grocery staples. For more informa-
tion on this rainforest bounty, pick up a copy
of Smith's book Amazon River Fruits, or visit
National Geographic News at
www.tinyurl.com/amazon-fruit to read a fea-
tured article on his research.
Opposite&Above: Rich in vitamins C and A,
aguaje (Mauritia flexuosa) is the Amazon's
answer to oranges and carrots. It is one of
more than a hundred wild and domesticated
fruits available to residents of Peru's Pacaya
Samiria National Reserve.
Left: Mainly a children's treat in the Peruvian
Amazon, the sweet, juicy yumanasa (Muntin-
gia calabura) is common along the banks of
As the economy travels down a bumpy road with unemployment
rates at all-time highs, many across the globe are in need of help as
they find themselves without food and shelter. During these times
of great unrest, there has arisen a selective few who have taken up
the cause of the less fortunate. At the University of Florida, a new
breed of leader dedicated to public service has been born.
Dr. Ed Kellerman reminisces on his
parents' volunteering their expertise
in eye care for rural tribesmen across
Kenya. It was their devotion to the
African people that instilled in him and
his brother, Phil, a lifelong dedication
to public service.
As a senior lecturer in the Dial Cen-
ter for Written and Oral Communication
in CLAS, Ed and Phil Kellerman are
embarking on a new course: Nonprofit
Leadership. The duo has developed this
team-teaching program courtesy of a
grant from the Bob Graham Center for
Public Service. With special topics in
nonprofit leadership and management,
the course comes complete with a lecture
series as well as real-world experience to
prepare students for entry into the non-
profit sector. Currently the program has
18 students from a variety of backgrounds
such as agriculture, business and liberal
arts. Even members of the student or-
ganization Heal the World, which raises
money for international and domestic
projects, participate in the program.
The two nonprofit organizations
the program focuses on are the Harvest
of Hope Foundation, which helps mi-
grant farm workers, and Project Nepal,
which runs the Nabha Deepti School for
orphaned schoolchildren in Kathmandu.
Ed Kellerman serves on the board of both
organizations. For the Harvest of Hope
Foundation, the Kellerman brothers man-
aged to bring together 141 bands, includ-
ing Less Than Jake and Against Me!, for
a benefit concert at the St. Johns County
Fairgrounds in St. Augustine, Florida.
With more than 17,000 attendees, the
three-day event was a great success.
Over the years Kellerman has
helped Harvest of Hope to raise more
than $600,000, but with the onslaught of
a down-turned economy, donations have
experienced a slow decline.
"At the grassroots level, students are
still ... r ..,i rl......."Kellerman said.
This is evidenced by the $450 re-
cently raised by Harvest of Hope during
a fundraising event at The Atlantic, a
Gainesville social club. On the larger lev-
els, donations are being delayed as corpo-
rations feel the economic crunch.
Kellerman believes better leadership
is needed in today's students and that the
corporate world could stand to benefit
from the skills students develop.
Born to a family that didn't have much,
Department of Psychology professor
Dr. Carolyn M. Tucker grew up in
a small Virginia town with plenty of
culture-and high cholesterol.
"For African-Americans, food is a
way of expressing ourselves and our love
and affection,"Tucker said.
Yet, for Tucker, who once weighed
more than 200 pounds, at what point did
the price of comfort become too much?
With this question in mind, Tucker
launched the Family Health Self-Em-
powerment Project for Modifying and
Preventing Obesity. Funded by a $1.1 mil-
lion grant from The PepsiCo Foundation,
the program teaches children, adolescents
and their caregivers in low-income fami-
lies, how to live healthier lifestyles. More
than 600 families across the U.S. will par-
ticipate in a training program that extends
over a two-year period. To calculate the
effectiveness of the program, interactive
workshops will be tested to give partici-
pating families the education and training
they need to gain control of their eating
habits and better manage their weight.
Another program Tucker has instituted is the Cultur-
ally Sensitive Health Care Research Project. Federally funded,
the program evaluates whether the affects of providing cultur-
ally sensitive healthcare to patients influences their adherence to
"A passion of mine is conducting research aimed at health
promotion and reducing health disparities," Tucker said, "and
preparing the next generation of researchers-both minority and
majority students-who are committed to minority health and
reducing health disparities. If I have any kind of legacy, I hope
it will be this research and mentoring. Right now there is such a
strong need for both."
In her own research group at UF, she encourages and pro-
motes a culturally diverse working environment. Because of this
.1 ii. 1. .., Tucker was awarded UF's first President's Humani-
tarian Award in 2002. Many students have found Tucker's teach-
ings to be of great benefit to them, and tout her as one of the
most influential mentors of the college. That reputation earned
her UF's Doctoral Dissertation Advisor and Mentoring Award.
Mike Gunter listened in disbelief to the small voices in front
of him as they professed they were upset the school year was
coming to an end. He was not shocked because the children
claimed they would miss their academic studies. Instead, his
shock stemmed from the realization that school was the only
place they received a regular meal.
During his time as a volunteer coach at Westwood Mid-
dle School and the Boys and Girls Club of Alachua County in
Gainesville, Florida, Gunter was hit by a harsh reality: there really
were children who had no food at home. Armed with a passion
and an idea, Gunter approached the Boys and Girls Club and
local businesses to address the hunger issues plaguing many chil-
dren in the community. With this one step, Gunter set in stone
his promise to make a difference.
In collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club, Gunter
formulated his idea into an organized plan and presented it to
the University Athletic Association. As a maintenance mechanic
with the UF Department of Biology, Gunter knew he could
count on the kindness of UF alumni, the Gator Nation, to help
him in his cause.
The UAA embraced the idea. The program, now dubbed
the Gator's Canned Good Challenge for Kids, asked fans and
others to donate canned foods when attending home games.
"The (women's) basketball team...they have my support
forever. Those girls came out and worked their tails off for us,"
Gunter said. The team not only boxed the various donations, it
even went so far as to tote boxes around the stadium to collect
more food items.
There was only one problem the volunteers encountered
while taking donations. Location. Nestled between the Stephen
C. O'Connell Center and front of Ben Hill Griffin Stadium,
many fans found the walk too long to donate. Next year he plans
to have various locations around the stadium as a convenience to
The Gator's Canned Good Challenge for Kids managed
to collect more than 15,000 pounds of food during UF's 2008
football home games. Of the donations given,the Boys and Girls
Club received 200 pounds of food each game. The majority of
the donations were reserved for The Bread of the Mighty Food
Bank to distribute among the general community. Though most
food banks charge a small administrative fee to organizations
that use their services, the Boys and Girls Club are glad to be
able to offer its pantry at no charge to its members.
With continued success, Gunter hopes to explore more op-
tions for spreading word about the program. He hopes to extend
the program into more Florida athletic venues, reach out to those
who don't attend Gator games and set up donation stations in
local businesses to involve the whole community.
When asked if he thought he would ever be able to cre-
ate such a program, Gunter humbly replied, "No...not really. It
just kind of happened. We started out on the wing last year, not
knowing what we were doing-We still don't," he laughs, "but
we're getting better at it."
Terri Lowery, 2008-2009 President of the Leadership
Gainesville Alumni Association, urged board members to
brainstorm problematic issues affecting Gainesville. The
group wanted to plug into the community as a way of giving
back and chose education as its focus.
With help from the School Board of Alachua County,
the LGAA chose Rawlings Elementary as the school with the
greatest need.To get a better understanding of the school's needs,
Lowery and Greg E.r ..11.. ,.l.. Gainesville Community Rede-
veloli,, .. ., ..... il,. school officials to discuss the group's
plan. The LGAA proposed ideas to start influential programs in
three areas: a speaker series, a mentoring program and a block
"This program takes advantage of the diversity of strengths
and interests amongst the Leadership Gainesville Alumni," said
Dr. Margaret Fields, Assistant Dean in the College of Liberal
Arts & Sciences-who is both an alumna of Leadership Gaines-
ville and a current board member. She saw this as an opportunity
to foster community involvement from an early age.
Since September 2008, guest speakers have pre-
sented to Rawlings' third- and fourth-grade classes. The
topics have covered issues such as career alternatives,
character development and honest discussions about per-
sonal issues some of the students face on a day-to-day basis.
The mentoring program consists of 10 mentors who each
workwith three children.The s,.. ll r. II i ll. i i ..... ii ..h.. ,..i
"Pea Pods," have participants selected by school staff As a way to
develop life skills, the Pea Pods also provide accountability and
On a grander scale, the LGAA organized
its third program: the Rawlings Block Party.
The party was created to assist the school in
nurturing relationships between staff and par-
ents in the surrounding neighborhood.
"The event definitely had a positive im-
pact in the community," said Candy Taylor,
LGAA Board Secretary and co-organizer, "I
was pleasantly surprised by the response from
the families." The event also provided ac-
cess to valuable information that would ben-
efit families, and "many parents expressed their
gratitude for putting on an event where their
families could go, have a good time and obtain
valuable information." The valuable informa-
tion came at a price that all student attendees
could afford. Each child had to bring a parent
or legal guardian to participate in the activities.
As reports of economic doom and gloom con-
tinue to flow out of radios and televisions, there
are those who are able to see the light at the end
of the tunnel. Who will be there to help those
trapped in the darkness? Fortunately, leaders
like Ed Kellerman, Mike Gunter, Carolyn M.
Tucker and members of the LGAA have taken
notice. Taking up their own brand of torches,
these new leaders are taking time to carve paths
in the community that help light the way.
With less than 10% of the state's vacancies
for mathematics and science educators filled
and lower performance scores in these subjects
nationwide, the question nags-where are the
qualified teachers and what can schools do to
strengthen their recruitment?
A new program at UF may have the answer.
UFTeach, a collaboration between the College
of Education (COE) and the College of Liberal
Arts & Sciences (CLAS), is a curriculum based
around students seeking education degrees in
math and science. Patterned on the UTeach model
at the University of Texas at Austin, UFTeach is
designed to support qualified new teachers and
aspiring teachers through their induction process
integrating teaching techniques with research
methods and practical field experience. UF is
joining its efforts with 12 other colleges and
universities, including Florida State University
and the University of California at Berkeley.
With the PROTEACH masters program
already in place at UF, this initiative and others
like it is what undergraduates need, especially
when it comes to training, according to UFTeach
master teacher Dr. GriffJones.
"This program could better prepare them
for a career in teaching, and allowing new teachers
to have students in their fields without pedagogy
or a degree is lowering standards and setting them
(the teachers) up for failure,"he said.
UFTeach covers from 25-28 credits and
can be treated as a minor. After a preview session,
students of UFTeach sign up for Step 1, a COE
3-credit course that coaches students in project-
based instruction, which involves drawing up
lesson plans with a partner-and teaching them
to elementary school students at the PK. Yonge
Developmental Research School or in the
Alachua County school district.
"In a lot of programs, most students don't
get field experiences until junior year and with
this program, they start as freshmen," said Gloria
Weber, a master teacher for UFTeach. Weber
added that she loves being able to watch the
growth and development of the students as they
learn to deal with younger kids.
As the student pairs learn to design and
deliver lesson plans, a mentor teacher, who is
present at all times and who provides immediate
feedback, attends them. A master teacher also
supervises them and gives additional help.
UFTeach currently has 12 middle school teachers
working as mentors from four schools in Alachua
County, including Lincoln and Howard Bishop
and also 14 elementary school teachers from
schools like J.J. Finley and Glen Springs.
Also taught in Step 1 is inquiry-based
instruction, a student-centered, teacher-guided
learning method.With this practice,teachers learn
to step out of the way and let students investigate
the lesson plan and relate it to their own interests,
thereby helping to develop critical thinking skills
through analysis, questions and solutions, and
making their 1. "i.". i, I 1.I.. to themselves.
"We don't want them (the teachers) to be a
sage on the stage,"Jones said. "We want them to
be a guide on the side."
Weber agreed."The kids are actively engaged
in their own learning, not little vessels that we fill,
and this is how people can truly learn," she said.
Students will continue from Step 1 to Step
2, another COE course that covers inquiry-based
lessons in designing science and mathematics
lesson plans. After that, students will move
on to CLAS courses such as the Fall 2009
"Perspectives in Math & Science," taught by the
History Department, and "Research Methods" in
Spring 2010, taught by the chair of the Physics
Department, Dr. Alan Dorsey, who is also co-
coordinator of the UFTeach program along with
Dr. Tom Dana, the associate dean of the COE.
Since its inception in 2008, the program
has received generous praise and unexpected
interest from students. While approximately 25
students were anticipated for the first session,
over 50 students registered, prompting the staff to
open up a new class to accommodate them. The
group includes 35 female students, eight Hispanic
students, four African-American students and
four Asian students. Twenty-five students have
returned to complete Step 2 of the program.Jones
attributed this early success in part to the grants
that fund UFTeach.
"There was no funded, specific
program that was co-operative, until now,
he said. "The money made the difference
and it's allowed for new resources to
Backed by a $1.4 million grant from
the National Math and Science Initiative
(NMSI), sponsored by Exxon/Mobil,
UF will match the money over five years
with another $1 million endowment
from NMSI at the end of this period.
The Helios Foundation has made a $1
million gift to both UF and FSU and in
addition to many private donors, UF has
a new grant pending from the Smallwood
Foundation, which may enable UFTeach
to offer paid internships starting in the
summer of 2010, according to Dr. Dimple
Malik Flesner, associate director of
If internships become available, they
could assist in encouraging students to
stay and remain immersed in the program.
With the temptations of high-paying
research jobs and other avenues for math
and science majors, it can be difficult for
educators to keep students interested in
the toil of teaching. But even if students
decide that teaching is not their field,
the experiences they take away can be
invaluable to their career development.
"We're casting a large net," said
Jones. "Some students may never go into
teaching, but I think they'll know more
about what education is and they can be
advocates, as well as better communicators
Katrina Short, the teaching assistant
for UFTeach, noted that the staff focused
on reaching the students in many ways
and that effective instruction works on
many levels. She is confident that this
curriculum will continue to thrive.
"The interest in the courses
themselves prove the success of this
program," she said.
Jones agreed, and added that
UFTeach was not the only valuable show
in educational programs for Florida,
noting that there were many wonderful
programs out there.
"We're just trying to develop some
integral courses that really address the
heart of what it means to be a good
teacher,"he said."We need to change what
the teachers say and how they say it so that
it keeps students' interest and helps them
to truly understand teaching."
For more information on UFTeach,
please visit the website at
In wealthy countries, the war against malaria was won nearly
half a century ago, but the disease continues to afflict
communities in the developing world.
Now the University of Florida is doing what it can
to help fight malaria. UF recently announced that
it has received a $1.5 million grant from the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation to develop modeling tools
for malaria elimination. This is the first time a UF
researcher has been awarded a direct grant from the
David L. Smith, associate director of disease
ecology at UF's Emerging Pathogens Institute and an
associate professor in the biology department, will lead
work on the new project. Smith's previous research has
focused on policy-oriented science related to malaria
outbreaks, spread and management.
"To plan, we need to understand how malaria
parasites move around in humans, and we also need
to understand the interplay between economic and
ecological aspects of malaria elimination," said Smith.
"These are difficult questions to answer, but we hope
to provide some quantitative advice to help guide
countries as they make strategic decisions about
The Emerging Pathogens Institute brings
together researchers from diverse fields to develop
control, diagnostic and treatment plans including
vaccines and other antimicrobials for new and emerging
diseases. The institute's focus is to develop the research
capabilities to prevent and contain outbreaks of new
diseases that threaten Florida, the rest of the country
and ultimately the world.
This research is also part of efforts by the Malaria
Atlas Project to develop evidence-based high spatial
resolution maps of malaria endemicity. The modeling
tools will help to fill gaps in malaria theory so these
maps can be used for malaria elimination planning.The
new research will increase the general understanding
of disease transmission.
"We want to connect malaria transmission
models, malaria endemicity maps and high-resolution
human population maps," said Andy Tatem, a new
member of the Emerging Pathogens Institute and the
UF geography department, who helped develop the
Roland H. Gomez, Jr. (B.S., in
Arts & Sciences, 1963), a civil
litigator and lawyer, received the
Henry Latimer Center for Pro-
fessionalism's Award for his ser-
vice as a mentor to young lawyers,
his longtime community involve-
ment with the Optimist Club, his
work as director of North Dade
Pet Rescue, and his devotion to
creating a girls soccer program,
which he ran for over 20 years.
Ronald M. Keyser (B.S., Physics
and Math, 1965; M.S., Physics,
1967; Ph.D., Physics, 1970) has
been named General Chairman
of the 2010 IEEE Nuclear Sci-
ences Symposium and Medical
Imaging Conference. This nine-
day, annual conference attracts
over 1500 scientists from around
the world. He is a Senior Scien-
tist with ORTEC-AMETEK in
Oak Ridge, Tennessee. He and
his wife, Merry, have two chil-
dren and three ....i. l.i.i ..
Donald Songer (B.A., Political
Science, 1967) has recently been
named the Olin D. Johnston
Professor in Political Science at
the University of South Carolina.
His most recent book, The Trans
formation of the Supreme Court of
Canada: An Empirical Examina
tion was published by the Univer-
sity of Toronto Press in January.
Joseph A. Alfred (M.S., Math-
ematics, 1972) was promoted to
director of patent licensing and
sales at AT&T in January. He
will be responsible for develop-
ing wireless, broadband, and
standards-based patent licensing
Kelli Edwards Brown (B.A.,
Arts & Sciences, 1979) is a cer-
tified geriatric care manager
who serves on the board of the
Florida Geriatric Care Manager
Association and chairs the Com-
mittee on Aging for Dunedin,
Florida. Dunedin was the first
city in Florida to be certified as
Elder Ready. Brown was in pri-
vate practice for eight years and
has been with Care Resources for
the past three. At the national
conference in 2009, she received
the Outstanding Chapter Menm
ber Award. She is an active advo-
cate for the elderly and their con-
cerned parties in her community.
John P. Hussey (Ph.D., Eng-
lish, 1971), Professor Emeritus
of English at Fairmont (WV)
State University, has published a
collection of novellas set in 19th
century Concord, Massachusetts,
The Ghosts of Walden.
David Vacca (B.A., Political Sci-
ence, 1978) received his MBA
specializing in acquisition and
contract management from the
University of Dallas in 1986.
After leaving UF, he became an
officer in the U.S. Navy, and later
joined the Federal Government
as a contract specialist. He has
been with the General Services
Administration since 1990. In
2001, David was recognized as
Contracting Officer of the Year.
Samuel L. Wright, Sr. (B.A.,
Psychology, 1974) was recently
named Student Ombudsman at
the University of South Florida
and appointed to the State of
Florida African American Task
Force. He was re-elected Second
Vice President of the Hillsbor-
ough Branch of NAACP in No-
Dawn Cusick (B.A., English,
1989) has two nonfiction chil-
dren's science books coming out
this August: Bug Butts and Ani
mal Tongues. She wrote and ed-
ited craft and how-to books for
20 years, while attending school
part time to earn a certificate
in biology at the University of
North Carolina-Asheville and
an M.S. in biology at Western
Carolina University. Her books
are the convergence of two pas-
sions: publishing and science.
She is also a part-time biology
instructor at Haywood Com-
munity College in Clyde, North
Laura Jane Deleruyelle (B.A.,
Speech Pathology and Audiol-
ogy, 1984) is completing her
Doctor of Nursing degree from
Case Western Reserve Univer-
sity. Her doctoral thesis topic
covers menopausal symptom re-
lief and side effects experienced
by women on compounded bio-
identical hormone therapy and
women taking synthetic conju-
gated equine estrogen and pro-
gestion hormone therapy. She is
employed at Bradenton Urgent
Care Center and Carlos Arios
Edward Hobson (B.A., Politi-
cal Science, 1983) was promoted
to program manager in charge
of criminal investigations and
physical security at the U.S. Peace
Corps headquarters in Washing-
ton, DC. Previously, he served six
years as the regional security of-
ficer for Peace Corps in East Af-
rica, based in Uganda and Kenya.
He is also an accomplished wild-
life artist; one of his paintings is
currently on display as part of the
"Art of Conservation" exhibit at
the Hiram Blauvelt Museum in
Oradell, New Jersey.
Stephen Kraus (B.S., Psychol-
ogy, 1986) received his Ph.D. in
social psychology from Harvard
University in 1991 and taught at
UF from 1991-1993. He recently
co-authored The New Elite Inside
the Minds of the Truly Wealthy, a
research-based look at the lives
and lifestyles of the wealthiest
one percent of Americans. He
is vice president of the Harrison
Group consulting firm and lives
in San Francisco with his wife
and five-year-old son.
Alma B. Little (B.S., Chemistry,
1982) is Senior Associate Dean
for Academic Affairs at Flori-
da State University College of
Medicine. She currently serves as
chief academic officer with over-
sight responsibility of the medi-
cal school curriculum on the six
regional campuses in Florida.
RobertJoseph Nolan (B.S., Psy-
chology, 1985) is Adjunct As-
sociate Professor of Human De-
velopment at Eckerd College in
St. Petersburg, Florida. He is also
president of New Pinnacle Perfor-
mance Counseling in Bradenton.
Harsha V. Ramayya (B.A.,
Speech Communications, 1986)
has been named senior account
executive at New Horizons
Learning Center in Jacksonville,
Florida. He served as Presi-
dent for the Northeast Florida
American Institute of Banking
Council, as an adjunct instructor
at Florida Community College
in Jacksonville, completed the
Graduate School of Bank Man-
agement at the University of Vir-
ginia in 2001, and is a member
of the Florida Banker's Society.
Ramayya maintains his passion
for communications as a radio
announcer, and has worked for
Clear Channel radio in Orlando
and Cox Radio in Jacksonville.
s d us y
Ronald I. Rei .i t. Si. 1 /....I.._,.
1e .' . .l .. i .,1 . i,.i. . ,.. . .
to lh 1 I. 4. |. i ] i..,, ..I 1i,,.i. ,.,, ,-
tis I I, i . .. 1... I I ... ... I ,
as Physician ot the hear by the Iilorida
Osteopathic M medical Association. H
lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife
Jackie and his three teenage children.
Terry M. .Truex (BA., Geography,
le .-... I ,, ., lI,, 1 1... ,, ,,,,. h .,,. h .
in -",. ,- ,,, .i .,.._ ,,, ,, .i
as Physician ot the 'lear by the lorida
Osteopathic Medical Association. He
lives in Ponte Vedra Beach with his wife
Jackie and his three teenage children.
Terry M. Truex (B.A., Geography,
1989) is a Vice President and Regional
Information Systems Manager at Kim-
ley-Horn and Associates, Inc. in West
Palm Beach, Florida. In November he
married Brandy Upright (B.S., Public
RobertJ. Sniffen (B.A., Political Sci-
ence, 1990) of Sniffen Law Firm, P.A.,
Tallahassee, has been listed in Florida
Trend Magazine's "Legal Elite" in La-
bor and Employment Law. He was also
recently named in the 2009 edition of
The Best Lawyers in America publica-
tion as one of the country's top attor-
neys in Labor and Employment Law.
Lea Phillips Todd (B.A., English) has
returned to school after several years
of successful teaching in Nebraska
and Florida. She completed her M.A.
in Education, Culture, Curriculum
and Change from the University of
North Carolina at Chapel Hill and is
currently working toward a Ph.D. in
Education. She currently teaches un-
dergraduate courses at UNC-CH. She
and her husband, William C. Todd
(UF 1997), have added two baby gators
to the family: Scarlett is three years old
and Mason is seven months.
continued on page 16
A simple man, Erik van Brero has led
a life ripe with intrigue and adventure.
Boin Into a family with a giandfathei vwho fed
mole than thllty families though the suLII))ot of
his soap bIusiness, and parents lwho helped shel-
tel Vwolunded troops dlling the Nazi invasions, van
Bieio wVas influenced by his sull ou101ndings to have a
Van Bieio toulled in Vietnam as the Executive
Office at SupLIIeme Headqual teis Allied Powvels Eu-
rope. He saw the build up of Vietnam and helped
start the process that brought American troops
Today, as a program manager and senior direc-
tor with Nakuuruq Solutions, van Brero helps pro-
vide contractual services to various federal govern-
As an elementary student taking his first step
on U.S. soil, van Brero was already at a disadvantage.
He didn't speak English, but with his parents' help,
he conquered the language in five months.
While at UF, van Brero experienced his fair share
of mischief. As a senior Alpha Tau Omega fraternity
brother, he helped initiate a young Steve Spurrier.
Van Brero remembers being house manager and
prodding Spurrier when he felt his charge wasn't
working hard enough. At a Touchdown Club event
in Washington, van Brero asked Spurrier, in his heavy
Dutch accent, if he remembered him. "I remember
that voice!"Spurrier replied.
Majoring in Political Science, van Brero hoped
to become a lawyer, "but back in those days we still
had the draft" He went into the ROTC to get his two
years of service out of the way, "I went into the mili-
tary...and 20 years later," he laughs,"I retired. So ob-
viously I didn't make it to law school."
His time in the military brought him to Vietnam,
where he met and befriended local nationals and at-
tended some of their weddings.
Yet not all of his experiences were light-heart-
ed. While camping in a war zone city, underground
tunnels were found with blueprints of the field he
was stationed six months earlier.The blueprints con-
tainted "a picture of the officers' quarters...
and in the room was my name-of all my
roommates'names'.The officers discovered
that some of the local nationals that visited
to shine the soldiers'shoes and ready their
uniforms had collected the valuable infor-
The military bug has also bitten his
wife, Gay van Brero. An Army Civilian Em-
ployee, she currently works for the Garrison
Commander of the Fort Myer Military Com-
munity, in Fort Myer, Virginia. The installa-
tion supports the Pentagon and Arlington
National Cemetery and houses 43 gen-
eral officers that work with the Pentagon,
where she was stationed during the 9-11
attacks on NewYork and Washington.
"That plane came almost directly over-
head before it went into the Pentagonvan
Brero said."She was working that day when
it hit. The three-star general that was killed
at the Pentagon was actually one of her
A grandfather of 14, van Brero's life is
now filled more with the laughter of family
and friends rather than the harsh sounds of
gunfire. He hopes that when all is said and
done, he will have left his grandchildren
with the simple message: Respect all oth-
ers and you will be respected in return.
Earl D. Fisher (B.A., Sociol-
o.,., 'i; ) is an insurance agent
with AllState property and ca-
sualty licensed in Florida and
Jason Graham (B.A., Classi-
cal Studies, 2001) was recently
promoted to regional marketing
specialist for the Penn Mutual
Florida regional office. He will
cover the Central and Northern
regions of Florida. He earned
a Masters degree in Business
Administration from the Rol-
lins College Crummer School
of Business in 2007.
Harrison Hove (B.A., Politi-
cal Science, 2005) earned his
American Meteorological So-
ciety certification in 2008, be-
coming the youngest certified
broadcast meteorologist in the
country. He now works as a me-
teorologist for the Ohio News
Network based in Columbus,
Stephen K. Rice (Ph.D., So-
ciology, 2006) is an Assistant
Professor of Criminal Justice
at Seattle University. His areas
of focus include criminological
theory, race and ethnicity, and
emotions and crime-restor-
ative justice, procedural justice,
This February, Justice Charles T. Wells
(1961, Political Science), dressed in his orange and blue
Gator robe, was honored by the Florida Supreme Court
in a ceremonial session in its Tallahassee courtroom. The
Orlando native practiced law for many years in Florida
before Governor Lawton Chiles appointed him to the court.
He is best known for presiding over the Florida Supreme
Court during the presidential election cases of 2000. He
also confronted the terrorist attacks of 9-11 during his
term as Chief Justice, and created the first comprehensive
emergency management plan for Florida's state courts as a
result. When asked about his colorful sartorial choice at his
retirement ceremony, he joked that he felt that he could get
away with wearing the robe on his last day: "What are they
going to do, fire me?"According to his wife, Linda F. Wells,
Esq. (also a 1961 CLAS alumna), there was much Gator talk
during the retirement ceremony from the various speakers,
former legislator Dudley Goodlette, 9th Circuit Court Chief
Judge Belvin Perry, former Justice Stephen Grimes, Florida
Bar President John G. White, and clerk Candy Messersmith
(all of whom but Belvin are certified Gators).
Death in a Prairie
Lloyd Wright s LRAIRIE
and the Taliesin p lie
no details in this true-crime mystery
of scandal, murder, Wright's legendary
career and tangled personal life.
Born to Run.
11Io It.. . Miami lawyer must solve
the suspected murder in this fast-
The Ghosts of
the lives of ., A',aJr,,l
Hawthorne, Alcott, and denizens
of 19th-century Concord,
Set partly in
Florida, this novel
of love, betrayal,
sex, and rivalry explores the pursuit of
happiness, revenge, and murder.
The New Elite.
Inside the Minds of
the Truly Wealthy.
Jim Taylor, Doug
Stephen J. Kraus
wealthy are misunderstood, argue
authors; assessing this group is
indispensable to sales, product
development, and advertising success.
Peter A. Meylan
all 25 Florida z a S
turtle species includes distributions,
habitats, ecology, threats, status, and
The Lone War Tl tnr
Cry:A Western Vl r4
Novel. George E.
lead in the face of
disease, famine, ."-a -. La
and constant battle. Meanwhile,
adventurers travel the western U.S.,
seeking their fortunes.
Kitchen. Janis J.
short stories, A*
150 recipes in this celebration of
family, storytelling, and, of course,
David H. Price,
(. .,.I, ,.[ .1. _1..
role in WWII,
Price examines ethical issues raised
when social scientists tackle national
TIE illl nillnli
The Trans- Ie FEIE[( NIIII
formation ofthe -
Supreme Court of -
examines effects ofinstitutional
changes on the Court proceedings
using in-depth interviews and analysis
of Court decisions.
Fellow recognizes donors for annual
contributions of $500-$999.
Associate recognizes donors for annual
contributions of $1,000 $2,499.
Advisory recognizes donors for annual
contributions of $2,500 $4,999
Director recognizes donors for annual
contributions of $5,000 $24,999.
Chair recognizes donors for annual
contributions of $25,000 $49,999.
Tenured recognizes donors for annual
contributions of more than $50,000.
Membership is based on afiscal-year
calendarfrom July 1 to June 30.
To join the Dean's Circle or to make a
contribution, please visit www.uff.ufl.edu/
the form and mail to: College of Liberal
Arts & Sciences, University of Florida
Foundation, PO Box 14425, Gainesville
FL 32604. For more information,
please contact Christy Popwell or
Melissa Tyrone in the CLAS Office
of Development and Alumni Affairs:
Can't afford to join the Dean's Circle at
this time? We still need your help, even if
you only have a few dollars to share. Gifts
of any size are greatly appreciated, and
may be eligible for a charitable income tax
IN THE CIRCLE?
The Dean's Circle recognizes the generosity of alumni, friends, faculty and
staff who make annual gifts of $500 or more to the Dean's Fund for Excellence. As
a member of the Dean's Circle, your investment helps meet the educational needs
of our students; take advantage of extraordinary opportunities and meet new
challenges in teaching, research and service. The Dean's Fund for Excellence provides
the resources needed to: fund scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students;
offer students and faculty seed grants for pursuing new research interests and other
academic endeavors; provide scholarships and awards to students for travel abroad
experiences and experiential learning; invest in new technologies and equipment;
improve classrooms, labs and other facilities.
To demonstrate our appreciation, members receive invitations to events hosted
by the Dean and on-campus lectures and symposiums. In addition, Dean's Circle
members are recognized in CLASnotes magazine, the e-newsletter of the College of
Liberal Arts and Sciences, and online on the Dean's Circle honor roll.
Enclosed is my gift of $ E My company matches gifts; form is enclosed.
Name(s) as you wish to be listed
Please enclose a check made payable to the University
of Florida Foundation, or submit your credit card
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to: D Mastercard D Visa
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From January 10-21, Sharon Austin,Associate
Professor of Political Science, accompanied
19 University of Florida students to Washing-
ton D.C. to participate in the Campaign 2008:
Presidential Inauguration Seminar Series.
Sponsored by the Washington Center, this seminar ex-
amined the new administration of President Barack Obama
and the role of the media in determining the outcome of the
2008 election and the candidates' use of it during their presi-
dential campaigns, the political and policy changes that are
likely to result from the 2008 election, the potential relation-
ship between the new president and Congress, the role of the
new vice-president during the next four years, the impact of
this presidency on the war in Iraq and the war on terror, and
the ability of the new presidential administration to address
economic problems in America. Approximately 800 students
from the U.S. and Guam and 100 professors participated in
the program's activities.
During daily morning sessions,
the participants listened to lectures by
speakers such as Ambassador Hus-
sain Haqqani of the Islamic Republic
of Pakistan, CBS News Correspondent
Bob Schieffer, CNN Correspondent
Dana Bash, Sam Donaldson of ABC
News, former ABC Nightline host Ted
Koppel, Pulitzer-Prize winning journal-
ist Clarence Page, FOXNews commen-
tators Brett Bayer and Juan Williams,
and USA Today columnists Cal Thomas
and Bob Beckel. Two of the morning
sessions were televised on CSPAN's
Washington Journal Live. Students par-
ticipated in brown bag discussions fa-
cilitated by Dr. Austin, and in the after-
noons, they visited historic sites in the
District of Columbia such as the Cana-
dian Embassy, the Center for American
Politics,the Chamber of Commerce, the
Chinese Embassy, the Israeli Embassy,
the Fund for Peace, the Newseum, the
U.S. Capitol, the U.S. Supreme Court,
and the White House.
At the end of the program, the
students had the option of attending
commemorative activities celebrating
the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King
Jr. and the inauguration of President
Obama. "It was a very busy week be-
cause the students also visited college
campuses and found out about intern-
ships and jobs in Washington," said Dr.
Austin. "The organizers of the program
wanted them to learn things that would
change their lives forever. I think they
accomplished their mission."
'Vl -" I *1
a4hi Aeifnfl acrMiiIrI em
MAMlOIT 1IONMANM DOUGLAS
am a reg Eamanceimmumagera a nauma
JACK E. DAVIS
Jack E. Davis (History) has written
the first comprehensive biography
of Marjory Stoneman Douglas,
whose life and writing were in-
strumental in the preservation of
the Everglades. In An Everglades
Providence he finds that the inter-
twined stories of Douglas's life and
south Florida's wetlands illuminate
the way Americans changed their
views on ecology and conservation
over the course of the twentieth
century. While reconstructing this
larger picture, Davis recounts the
shifts in Douglas's own life and
her instrumental role in the mak-
ing of a positive wetland image,
the creation of a national park, the
expanding influence of ecological
science, and the rise of the modern
Benjamin Hebblethwaite (Lan-
guages, Literatures, and Cultures)
was the principal subject matter ex-
pert and editor of the development
team for Haitian Creole Express,
a multimedia distance-learning
course designed to provide U.S.
Government employees and fam-
ily members assigned to work in
Haiti with basic familiarization
with the Haitian Creole language
and Haitian culture. The courses,
based on the traditional Familiar-
ization and Short Term (FAST)
courses offered in the classroom at
the U.S. Department of State For-
eign Service Institute, prepare the
learner to get things done despite
limited linguistic ability by mak-
ing use of essential language and
Milagros Pefia, director of the
Center for Women's Studies and
Gender Research and professor
of sociology, was awarded a Dis-
tinguished Book award from the
Latino/a section of the American
Sociological Association (ASA),
the premier organization in the
field. Pefia's book, Latina Activists
across Borders: Women's Grassroots
Organizing in Mexico and Texas.
The ASA awards committee noted
that they were impressed with the
theoretical contributions, meth-
odological rigor, and substantive
findings on pastoral as well as sec-
ular feminist movements among
Latinas in the border area.
Manuel VWsquez (Religion) and
Philip Williams (Political Science)
are co-editors ofA Place to Be: Bra
zilian, Guatemalan, and Mexican
Immigrants in Florida's New Desti
nations-the first book to explore
migration dynamics and com-
munity among Brazilian, Guate-
malan, and Mexican immigrants
in America's new South. The au-
thors adopt a fresh perspective to
explore patterns of settlement in
Florida, including the outlying ar-
eas of Miami and beyond. Stellar
contributors from Latin America
and the United States address the
challenges faced by Latino immi-
grants, their cultural and religious
practices, as well as the strategies
used, as they move into areas ex-
periencing recent large-scale im-
UF UNIVERSITY o
College of Liberal Arts & Sciences
PO Box 117300
Gainesville FL 32611-7300