What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Assistant Professor, College of Science. I have a joint Appointment between the Department of Chemistry and the National Center for Forensic Science.
What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I started my life at UCF as a Graduate Teaching Assistant and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Chemistry Department while I pursued my Ph.D. Degree.
Post-Doctoral Associate at CREOL at UCF. I conducted research in laser-based analysis of forensic items.
Lecturer in the Chemistry Department at Howard University in Washington, DC
Forensic Chemist in Fire Debris and Explosives at the US Army Criminal Investigations Laboratory (USACIL) in Fort Gillem, GA. I conducted case analysis of military crimes in Fire debris.
While working at USACIL, I simultaneously worked as an Adjunct Professor of Chemistry in the Natural Sciences Department at the Atlanta Metropolitan State College in Atlanta, GA.
Research Physical Scientist at the Defense Forensic Science Center, which is the higher level organization over USACIL, in Fort Gillem, GA. In this position, I lead 7 educational internship programs, I developed and managed a Human Research Protection Program, I initiated and managed 3 research programs, and I was an R&D Program Manager.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and Forensics at UCF.
What is your academic background?
2004 – B.S. Chemistry (ACS Certified) at Howard University
2007 – Ph.D. Chemistry at University of Central Florida
What is your favorite UCF memory?
One of my favorite UCF memory was when I was a graduate student. I remember wanting to complete a chemometric analysis of analytical data one night, but I realized that I was missing some data points. So I decided to drive back to campus at 2:30 am to process these data points and finish my analysis before the morning. However, it was a bit scary on Research Parkway at that time of the night and I didn’t want anyone to realize that I was in this building by myself, so I worked in the dark to download the necessary data points for my algorithm.
If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
If I couldn’t choose money, then would change the parking situation and the flow of traffic. Sometimes this can be unbearable, especially for faculty members who do not work on campus and thus have to fight for parking when they have a meeting in the middle of the day. Maybe there could be an off-campus faculty parking lot, which a few spaces. Just a thought, lol.
What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
One thing that I would share with my fellow colleagues, would be to take the time and make it a priority to find balance between your professional and private aspects of yourself. You never want to miss the events that can be truly important or inspirational as you make your way through this life.
If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I would like a building dedicated to Faculty and their Family members. This would be a location that provide an area for family members to hang out, especially when faculty members cannot pull themselves away from their work. Additionally, this would be a place dedicated to increasing moral and recreation of faculty members, especially new faculty to UCF. Here they can find out about vacation locations that faculty can go one, discounted trips for UCF or just faculty, or even sabbatical opportunities is really nice locations to which they could bring their family. Anything that could increase the moral of faculty members (i.e. concerts, UCF events, vacations, etc) could be centralized in this location.
If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
If given the opportunity, I would choose to have lunch with Provost Dr. Dale Whittaker. I would like to learn about his vision for Academics, Research & Outreach at UCF. I am also interested in learning why he chose to come to UCF as Provost. What did he see here that he thought he could build upon to continue growing UCF. This would help me in identifying pathways that I can pursue to be in line with the university’s vision.
Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
I feel that I am still working towards my personal success goals. But at this time, I believe that Dr. Michael Sigman and Dr. Cherie Yestrebsky have been instrumental in supporting me on my path. They have provided so much support, mentorship, guidance, and encouraging words on this path.
Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
I think that my most inspirational teacher would have been my Guidance Counselor in high school. At that time, I was thinking about going to a University in my home state of New Jersey. When I told this to her, she looked at me incredulously and exclaimed, “Why? You are so much better than that University. You have so bright that you can go anywhere and excel.” Almost immediately she opened her web browser and we started looking for universities outside of New Jersey that had great Chemistry BS Programs. Along with my parents, whom have always told me to set and achieve my goals, this guidance counselor was the other person who constantly pushed me to achieve more than I initially sought for myself.
What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why?
The experience that inspired me the most during my undergraduate career were my internships and research opportunities as a whole. I cannot identify one alone, because each one gave me the necessary information to develop the best career path for myself. In some experiences, I learned that this was not something that I wanted to do, which was just as important as those experiences where I learned things that I would like to do as a professional. Regardless of the research that I pursued during this time, ultimately I learned, 1) how to app0ly the knowledge that I learned in school, 2) what worked and what didn’t in real life as opposed to my laboratory classes, and 3) where I could fit in the world of chemistry after graduating. With this information, I was able to adjust my career trajectory. I also developed a network of mentors who helped me on my journey to where I am today.
What is your favorite restaurant or food?
My favorite meal is ackee and saltfish with dumplings. This is the Jamaican National Dish.
What is your favorite movie, book or music?
This has always been difficult to isolate one thing. But if I had to choose, I really enjoy the 5th Element movie. For some reason, whenever it is on I must watch it. I also love conscious music that make you think about social issues, such as Bob Marley or Morgan Heritage.
What is your favorite vacation destination?
There are many locations that I wish to go, but my favorite would be a Caribbean beach. Especially if that beach is located near the historic city of the island, where I could learn its history.