Carol Ann Pohl
What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Coordinator, Undergraduate Programs, Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Department, College of Engineering and Computer Sciences
What is your history at UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I came to UCF as a high school student to take clarinet lessons in 1980. I never even considered another university when it came to making applications and was accepted as part of the class entering in fall 1982. I participated in the Marching Knights for three years, making the first trip with the band to EKU and attending the 10th game of the 0-10 season in 1982. I gained employment as a Student Assistant in May 1986 with the then Civil Engineering and Environmental Sciences Department, which has since changed names twice and is now the Civil, Environmental, and Construction Engineering Department. I graduated with honors in May 1987 with dual degrees in Business Administration, Marketing and Music Performance. I hired into a USPS position (Secretary Specialist) in September 1987 in two part-time jobs, one for the College of Engineering Dean’s Office the other with the CEES Department. Within the year, the CECE Department position became full-time. I was responsible for assisting with research budgets, travel reimbursements, word processing/typing of letters, research proposals, research reports and exams, exam duplication and so forth – I used a typewriter (with carbon paper), a Decmate II word processor (with 5¼ inch floppy disks), and a ditto machine amongst other “technology”. I remember when we got the first desktop computer in the office – an IBM. And I took on the “social” responsibilities – when we had an event, it was most likely organized by me. I was reclassified to Senior Secretary and I also was heavily involved in searches for department faculty, engineering dean (twice), department chair, VP for Research and Graduate Studies, and university president. I also took the lead for the department in assisting the ASCE Student Chapter with the hosting of the National Concrete Canoe Competition. As an Office Assistant, I took on the department’s graduate program responsibilities including processing applications, preparing files, processing tuition waivers, preparing programs of study, assisting with final graduation paperwork, as well as being the department accountant. I was named as UCF Employee of the Month in August 1995 and the College of Engineering Employee of the Semester in summer 1996. As Office Manager I took on more of a leadership role for the department and was responsible for the hiring of all student/OPS hires as well as the final department preparations of faculty and staff hiring packages. I was promoted to Administrative Assistant and I took on leadership responsibilities when Relay-for- Life came to campus in 1998, walking in the first one as a 30-day cancer survivor and then working on the organizing committee for the 1999-2004 events here at UCF. I also helped in the establishment of the Relay- For-Life at Sanford with our public-private partnership team UCF CECE and CPH Inc. I am proud to say that the teams I personally was associated with in 10 years managed to raise over $250,000 for the American Cancer Society. I was recognized with a USPS Leadership Award in March 2000. In 2003 I was appointed as the Coordinator Administrative Services (Academic Advisor) and then later had a title change to Coordinator Academic Services, the position I currently hold. I was one of the first two professional advisors in an academic department in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. My duties now involve scheduling classes, advising students, keeping track of alumni, interacting with our local industry through industrial advisory and corporate affiliate boards, and coordinating special events among a few other things. I was able to arrange for a posthumous degree for one of our students who was tragically killed returning from a student competition and had an advance graduation ceremony for another who, as a US Army Reservist, was shipping off for a third tour of duty to the Middle East. In 2006 I was the CECS nominee for the University Advising Award.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
Thirty two years and I’m only allowed one favorite memory!?! Assisting the SUS Chancellor’s Office, Florida Board of Regents and Dr. Gary Whitehouse with the search for a University President which brought us Dr. John Hitt and the phenomenal growth this university has seen. Participating on the Building Committee for the Engineering 2 Building, being part of the ground-breaking ceremony and having the architects accept my layout for the CECE offices. September 15, 2007 and watching the campus come to life for our first on-campus football game at the stadium that I watched from my office window and which had quite a few of our department’s students and alumni working on the actual construction project and of course incredible pride as a UCF Knight when we won the Fiesta Bowl (although I couldn’t make the trip). I would also be remiss if I left out my favorite marching Knight memory of the 1984 – a half-time show that started with a corner entry to Richard Wagner’s Ride of the Valkyries (try marching in ¾ time!), included the new Olympic Fanfare and Theme by John Williams, and concluded with a tribute to the USA.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
I would increase our level of funding from Tallahassee. The state legislature is still run largely by Seminoles and Gators who seem to think UCF should be kept a best kept secret especially as it relates to funding. We need more laboratory facilities, we need more faculty, and we need the resources to lower the student to faculty ratios. Also, add a Veterinary Medicine Program to the College of Medicine. Many of the treatments that ultimately end up being used by humans start as therapies for our animal population.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Seize your opportunities as they come along in life. I’ve been fortunate to have traveled to 50 states and 7 continents because I did take advantage of opportunities in the first 50 years of my life. Life is to be lived to the fullest extent possible, and that was reinforced in my life with an ovarian cancer diagnosis in 1998.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Orbit Restaurant – high atop the city of Sydney, Australia with a 360 revolving view of the city and harbour.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
A scholarship for an engineering or medical education for child from Kenya with the stipulation that they return to Kenya to help improve conditions such as water, sanitation, and medical treatments for their home villages or to apply the medical education to the wild animal population to make sure our planet doesn’t force them into extinction. Of all the places I’ve visited, my trip to Kenya probably impacted me the most. I was able to visit not only the magnificent wild animals in their native surroundings, but also got to interact with two Maasai villages. I am proud to be a sponsor of a child in Kalawa, Kenya and am looking forward to how I might be able to assist the gentleman who was our driver/guide with the development of an orphanage he is building in his home-town near Nairobi. The trip was a good reminder that the joy of life is not in all the things and gadgets we have at our disposal here in the US, for some of them a pencil or sheet of paper are rare things to be treasured.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
I think it would probably be President John Hitt. Having met him before he was our president, I would be interested in talking to him about his first visit to UCF and what he may have first envisioned through his interview process back in the Fall of 1991 that developed into the plans and aspirations we have seen come to fruition in his nearly 22 years as president. I’d also like to know what his plans for the future include.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I wish I could thank Dr. David Jenkins (he passed away in 2008) who took a chance on a student and hired me at the recommendation of my Sigma Alpha Iota sister Martha Roberts who was then the office manager for CECE; Dr. John Paul Hartman (he passed away in 2002), Dr. John Dietz (now retired), and Dr. Manoj Chopra whose high standards and fine examples have impacted my own advising practices; and Dr. Debra Reinhart who realized that having a professional advisor in the CECE department made sense and that I was the best candidate for the position.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Mrs. Carolyn Smith – my first grade teacher, who on the last day of class, brought each of us up to the front of the room and “forecast” what our career path might be – she said I would be an educator, I don’t think she was so far off the mark. She taught us that learning is fun and has great value even at that age. She truly cared about her students.