Level Up on Presence and Belonging is a production of the Office of the Chief Diversity Officer at the University of Florida. Each week, CDO Antonio Farias interviews a member of the university community to hear their story of belonging and to learn about their work here at UF. Join Antonio each week for a fresh episode of Level Up. Below is a list of previously aired episodes.
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In this episode, Antonio speaks with Dr. Jeremy Waisome, postdoctoral associate with the Department of Computer and Information Science and Engineering. Find out why Jeremy is known as the poster child for the College of Engineering’s outreach opportunities and how she is paying it forward.
In this episode, Antonio sits down with Sindia Rivera-Jimenez, a chemical engineer and a lecturer for the Institute for Excellence in Engineering Education. Find out why Dr. Rivera is a happy engineer and learn about an amazing carbon capture project on this episode of Level Up!
In this episode, Antonio catches up with MBA candidates Chris Salinas and Michael Gordon. Chris and Michael share that their sense of belonging comes from working with small, close-knit teams working toward a common purpose. And, find out what Marie Kondo and the Coast Guard have in common in this episode of Level Up!
In this episode, Antonio is speaking with Dr. Donna Parker, Assistant Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Diversity and Health Equity with the College of Medicine. Donna tells us how a family tragedy sparked her interest in medicine and how she found belonging in the United States after emigrating from Jamaica as a college student.
In this episode, Dr. Feihong Wang, a lecturer in the Department of Psychology, tells us how the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity’s programs have given her a sense of empowerment and control over her long-term personal and professional goals
In this episode, Trokon Johnson, a fourth year graduate student in Electrical and Computer Engineering, shares how vulnerability is a source of strength and joy and gives us a glimpse into the future of super computers.
In this episode, Antonio is speaking with Dr. Michael Bowie, Assistant Professor and Director for Community Engagement and Diversity Outreach in the College of Veterinary Medicine. Michael walks us though his journey to belonging from Washington, DC, to Swaziland, to his home at UF.
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Naz Erenguc, Associate Director of Admissions for the MBA program and President of the Association for Academic Women. Naz shares how her deep ties to Gainesville and the university have forged her sense of belonging.
In this episode, we hear from Jania Lowe, a second year journalism student, who tells us how particpating in Gatorship, a social justice and inclusion retreat, was a transformative experience that gave her a deep sense of belonging at UF.
In this episode, Antonio sits down with Dr. Hazel Levy, a professor in the Department of Pediatrics, whose research interests include molecular biology and gene therapy vector development. Hazel talks to us about how great teams and strong leaders spur innovation and discovery.
In this episode, Mary Kay Carodine, Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs, introduces two key concepts: stepping in and the power of “I don’t know.”
In this episode, Antonio talks with Michelle Smith, Assistant Dean for Inclusion with the College of Health and Human Performance and the Levin College of Law. Michelle is a triple Gator, who recently returned to UF after serving as the Chief Change Agent for Gainesville Regional Utilities. Michelle shares how creating belonging for others became her life’s work and how heavy lifting and belly laughing are two of Michelle’s secrets to finding joy.
In this episode, Antonio talks with Gerardo (Gerry) Altamirano, Assistant Dean and Director of the Disability Resource Center. Gerardo talks about finding belonging through his first-gen, Mexican American and queer identities. He also tells us about the secret / not-so-secret agenda of the DRC.
In this episode, we're talking with Diedre Houchen, a postdoctoral fellow with the Center for Race and Race Relations at the Levin College of Law at UF. Diedre shares how a personal connection with a professor gave her, as a nontraditional student, a sense of belonging in the academy and how she replicates that experience with her own students today.
In this episode, we'll hear from Will Atkins, Associate Dean and Director of Multicultural and Diversity Affairs, MCDA. Will talks about his experience with PAACT—a three-day program that focuses on the successful transition of incoming Black first-year students at UF that Will calls his place of belonging. Will also talks to us about his vision for MCDA as a model for the campus.