Cherie Yestrebsky

Professor and Interim Chair, Department of Chemistry 2016 Womens History Month

What is your current job title and responsibilities (please make sure we know your College, Department, etc.)?
Interim Chair and Professor, Chemistry Department, College of Sciences

What is your history at UCF and before UCF? (past job titles, responsibilities)
I was a NSF postdoctoral researcher in Environmental Engineering from 1994-96 and then was hired as the first female Assistant Professor in Chemistry.

What is your academic background?
B.S. from UCF (1990) and Ph.D. from USF (1994)

What is your favorite UCF memory?
My first interdisciplinary projects. I love working on collaborative projects and learning more about other disciplines.The creation of faculty clusters is an amazing collaborative process and if we do this right, without anyone being overly territorial, it could pay off in a big way with new opportunities for larger projects that are completely housed within UCF. It is an exciting time to be at UCF!

If you could change one thing at UCF, what would it be? ($ and time no object)
It should be part of our culture to respect the work of all of our colleagues, across disciplines and within disciplines. No two areas of research have the same expectations for scholarly output. Diversity of research and talent is incredibly important for UCF to thrive. Academia is not a one-size fits all endeavor.

What is one piece of advice you would like to share with your colleagues?
Be perpetually positive and pleasant to everyone. It brings more success and satisfaction to everyone in your workplace.

If UCF was going to name something in your honor, what would you like it to be and why?
I love teaching large first-year chemistry courses and part of my research has focused on better practices for teaching large classes. With this in mind, I would like to have a large teaching auditorium named after me.

If you could have lunch with anyone at UCF (who you do not normally eat lunch with), who would you choose and why?
Dr. Hitt. I would love to hear his ideas (in a one-on-one conversation) about the strengths of the university and areas where he thinks we can rise to higher levels. I would like to tell him about my department: the faculty, the students, and our aspirations.

Who at UCF would you like to thank for your success?
There are too many colleagues to list them all. I’ve worked with many people who have recognized my passion for my work and have encouraged me to keep trying even when facing opposition. I am so proud of my students who have certainly been a huge part of my success. Every one of my doctoral students has been a blessing to me. I am in awe of their accomplishments and I take great joy in following their career successes.

Name and describe a teacher or researcher from your past who truly inspired you and why.
Dr. Nechampkin, my first Chemistry professor in college, who really impressed upon me that I am an intelligent person with unlimited potential. Also, Lois McNamara, my humanities professor, who awakened my love of the arts and humanities.

What undergraduate or graduate class/program/experience inspired you the most and why? Undergraduate research made me realize I could solve complex problems and that other professionals were very interested in the solutions.

What is your favorite restaurant or food?
Every time I visit my brother in California we go to this fabulous sushi restaurant where I eat way too much but enjoy every bite!

What is your favorite movie, book or music?
Movies: I’m not a big movie watcher but when I do watch one it must have a happy ending. There is too much stress in life to watch sad movies.

Book: Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation by Joseph J. Ellis. My favorite books always seem to be about history.

Music: Almost anything by Nora Jones or Corrine Bailey Rae

What is your favorite vacation destination?
No competition on this one: Rome Italy


Contact Us

Linda Walters, Director of the UCF Center for Success of Women Faculty

Phone: 407-823-1113

Mailing Address
Center for Success of Women Faculty
University of Central Florida
P.O. Box 160955
Orlando, FL 32816-0955

Physical Address
4365 Andromeda Loop N
Millican Hall, Suite 351
Orlando, FL 32816-1997

Internal Mail (UCF)
Center for Success of Women Faculty
MH 351