What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
I am currently a Full professor and Chair of the Department of Anthropology in the College of Sciences. While my responsibilities are mostly administrative I also teach on occasion, and I maintain my research agenda.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I started at UCF in 1999 as an Assistant professor. I was hired ABD, so I was not in any other positions before coming to UCF (only as a student).
What is your academic background?
I received my BA in Archaeology (honors) from Simon Fraser University in 1993, an MSc in Human Biology from the University of Guelph in 1995, and a Ph.D. in Anthropology from McMaster University in 1999.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
This is a tough question! Having been here for 16 years, I have many good memories. Probably what stands out to me most is the major change that has happened in the institution over the past 16 years, and most definitely the creation of the College of Sciences, our department separating from Sociology, and the development of our graduate program. All of these things happened pretty much in tandem. On a personal note, receiving promotion and tenure is one of my best memories.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
SPACE!! The building of new buildings to support faculty office, a faculty club, and laboratory space.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Never be afraid to ask for help.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
This is a difficult question… I would rather that I could choose that something be named after someone I’d like to honor.
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 that I would have to say the Provost. This job intrigues me, and I would love to have a conversation with him about what took him down this path.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
There are many individuals during my career at UCF who have helped me succeed. I would have to name Dr. Allyn Stearman as one of the individuals who probably made the most impact on me as a junior faculty (and also as an Associate aiming for Full).
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
I have had three people at different stages of my education that inspired me. During my undergraduate degree Dr. Mark Skinner took me under his wing and provided me with opportunities as an undergraduate (including publishing) that were not the norm. During my MSc my advisor, Dr. Susan Pfeiffer, was a remarkable mentor. She showed me that women could succeed in the academic arena. During my Ph.D. my advisor, Dr. Henry Schwarcz, really inspired me to go in to academia. He mentored me in many ways to prepare me for academia so my first couple years in the tenure-track stream were not as surprising as they might have been. All three of these individuals also inspired me to become a strong mentor for my own students.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
One of my most influential classes that steered me in the direction of Anthropology was my Introduction to Anthropology course taught by Dr. Earl Nelson (he based it all on the Vikings, which was fascinating). This, in tandem with my first field experience in the Kingdom of Tonga, really solidified my career plans.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
I am a huge fan of Mediterranean food in general.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I do not have any one particular favorite, but a series of favorite movies and books (each has something different to offer). Movies include (in no particular order) Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart, Star Wars (the original series), Goonies (to name a few). Favorite books include Catcher in the Rye (J.D. Salinger), I know this Much is True (Wally Lamb), The Hobbit (J.R. Tolkien), The Harry Potter series (JK Rowlings). My music tastes are very eclectic, and I like everything pretty much.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
Home to Canada!