Dr. Dionne Champion
RESEARCH ASSISTANT PROFESSOR COLLEGE OF THE ARTS CENTER FOR ARTS IN MEDICINE
“Since moving to Gainesville, I have enjoyed walking and bike-riding through Hogtown Greenway and Loblolly Woods, spending time at Westside Park, and getting to know my neighbors. Through my work in the Center for Arts in Medicine, I have had the opportunity to learn about and engage with people in various communities here in Gainesville. I have spent my career developing programming and doing research on learning at the intersections of arts and STEM with Black children in informal community settings. I see opportunities through my work to effect positive change in communities like Porters Quarters, Lincoln Estates, Duval and East Gainesville.”
Dr. Dionne Champion is an engineer, dancer, arts educator and education researcher. Champion’s work focuses on the design and ethnographic study of learning environments that blend STEM and creative embodied learning activities, particularly for children who have experienced feelings of marginalization in STEM education settings.
Dr. Jane M. Carrington
ASSOCIATE PROFESSOR DOROTHY M. SMITH ENDOWED CHAIR AND CO-DIRECTOR OF FLORIDA BLUE CENTER FOR HEALTH CARE QUALITY COLLEGE OF NURSING
Dr. Jane M. Carrington is the Dorothy M. Smith Endowed Chair, co-director of the Florida Blue Center for Health Care Quality and associate professor in the UF College of Nursing. Carrington’s work involves research in informatics, establishing programs and projects to increase the health of the state of Florida, and increase patient outcomes.
“The Florida Blue Center aims to improve the health of Floridians and that starts here with the University of Florida and Gainesville. It’s nice to see an active and vibrant community so engaged with the university, bringing a sense of consciousness with health and well-being. Exploring the many farmers markets here has been a great way to make healthy decisions, meet new people and support small businesses. Additionally, coming from the Arizona desert, I was surprised by the greenery and lushness here, and I’ve been fascinated exploring the outdoors and learning all about its ecosystem. Gainesville is called The Swamp for a reason!”
Dr. John Lai
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF AGRICULTURAL ECONOMICS UF/IFAS COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES
“I first moved to Gainesville for my undergraduate education. Since returning, I enjoy volunteering at the Hitchcock Food Pantry, getting the store ready behind the scenes for its patrons, to help build the community. I am also part of a research team that focuses on reducing the reliance of patrons on food pantry assistance, which would have an impact on the local UF community by increasing the resilience of the patrons. My research and volunteerism have brought me closer to my community by gaining a deeper understanding of the challenges residents face.”
Dr. John Lai is an assistant professor of agricultural economics who instructs courses in strategic selling and risk management. Lai also conducts research and has recently been working to investigate statewide agricultural economic impacts and losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, which has wide scale effects on agricultural businesses and production operations throughout Florida.
Dr. José Valentino Ruiz
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF MUSIC BUSINESS & ENTREPRENEURSHIP COLLEGE OF THE ARTS SCHOOL OF MUSIC
“Upon moving to the beguiling city of Gainesville, what caught my attention was the vibrancy and celebration for cultural and artistic expressions exuded by the local residents. This is also true for my work at the College of the Arts, where I lead initiatives and teach curricula pertaining to music business and entrepreneurship at the School of Music. It’s amazing to work and live in a sector of society that allows me to reach my full potential as a professor, performer and producer. There is a spirit of unity here when working with students, for which I am grateful.”
Dr. José Valentino Ruiz is an Emmy® Award Winner and was a recording engineer for a Grammy® Award Winning Album. Ruiz delivers high-energy performances in Gainesville and around the world. He is currently building a new curriculum in the School of Music to help students become successful entrepreneurs.
Dr. Miguel Acevedo
ASSISTANT PROFESSOR OF WILDLIFE ECOLOGY AND CONSERVATION UF/IFAS COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURAL AND LIFE SCIENCES
“My wife and I were surprised how much Gainesville had grown since we last were here in 2013. We like the rural living and spending time outside. Having great birding spots at biking distance from home is a great plus. We also love salsa dancing! I’m not sure if people know that Gainesville has a vigorous salsa dancing community.”
Gainesville is also a great place to do my research. I study parasites in lizards – brown anoles, specifically – and they are everywhere here. My work is interdisciplinary, and I enjoy that the University of Florida gives opportunity for that.”
Dr. Miguel Acevedo studies quantitative population ecology, which he likens to being an “ecological detective” solving the mysteries of nature. His work frequently has him collaborating with mathematicians, statisticians, engineers, computer scientists, geographers, epidemiologists and wildlife ecologists.