What is your current job title and responsibilities?
I am an Associate Professor and the Beat M. and Jill L. Kahli Endowed Professor in Oncology Nursing at the College of Nursing. My responsibilities include conducting research and teaching. I am also the CON Honors in the Major Coordinator.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF?
I became a nurse in 1993 and moved to Cleveland Ohio to start in a graduate program at Case Western Reserve University. During that time, I worked as a Bone Marrow transplant nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. After graduation in 1997, I moved to Orlando and worked as a staff nurse in oncology at Orlando Health, then as the Cancer Care Coordinator for bone marrow transplant patients at MD Anderson Cancer Center Orlando. I started at UCF in 2003 as the Project Director for an NIH funded grant in the School of Nursing. During that time I was also an instructor and started teaching the oncology elective and the nursing research course. Around that time, the School of Nursing started a PhD program and I was in the inaugural class. Once I graduated in 2007, I joined the faculty full time- and the rest is history!
What is your academic background?
I started out as a history major at Rollins. Shortly after graduation, I realized history was not my path. I applied to nursing school at Florida Atlantic University and was accepted. I immediately started graduate school and received my Master of Science in Oncology Nursing in 1997.
What is your favorite UCF memory?
My favorite memory was probably the first time I walked into the arena as faculty for graduation. Being “played in” by the bagpipers was truly an awesome experience.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be?
I wish we could give more personalized attention to students who need extra time to succeed. In nursing, sometimes you have a student who could be a really great nurse, but is not making the grades. They try really hard, but fall a little short. I wish we had the time and faculty to do some one on one or small group tutoring to get them to understand better or in different ways. These students are fantastic individuals who would make great nurses, but need a little extra help.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
My main piece of advice would be to find work/life balance. It is unreasonable to be on email and webcourses 24/7. We all need time away from work. We all need work-free vacations. I would recommend not looking at email once you go home and not looking at it over the weekend. But if you do look, try not to reply until Monday. Very few requests need immediate answers.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I would like to have the UCF ropes course named after me. While not everyone likes to hang from wires attached to ropes, I think the ropes course offers opportunities to see what you can do that is way outside the box. I think it is a good way to throw your mind for a loop and not take yourself so seriously and think about yourself as rigidly.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
This is a really hard question. I would have lunch with Melody Bowden from FCTL. I met Melody shortly after I arrived at UCF and have worked with her on the UCF IRB. I think Melody has great perspective and I like hearing her views on things. She gets me to think more broadly.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I would like to thank several of my colleagues at the College of Nursing for my success. I have been very lucky to surround myself with amazing and supportive people. They know who they are. I would not be where I am without them.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
I can’t say that I have been inspired all that often, but I am really impressed by the researcher who is able to surround themselves with a good team who all want to be there. This could be colleagues, students, and assistants all working together for the same good purpose. I want to hear other people’s ideas and perspective on the work we are doing and the work we are planning. I hate working as an island. I want to collaborate with other disciplines and get students interested in research. I want to be part of that kind of team.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
My new favorite restaurant is Dovecote in downtown Orlando. I am also a sucker for duck- if there is duck on the menu, I have to have it!
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
I love historical fiction and books that get me to “travel” to different places and times. If a book allows me to get lost in another world, I am happy.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
I have too many favorites to name. The people I am traveling with make a location or vacation special. I love traveling with my family. My husband, parents, sisters and their families, and my brother all make vacations wonderful.