Level Up on Presence and Belonging

Level Up on Presence and Belonging

A production of the 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 at UF. Join Antonio each week for a fresh episode of Level Up.

Episodes

March 8, 2021 24 min
In this final episode of Level Up, Antonio comes full circle with Dr. Wolfgang Sigmund, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, in the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering. Wolfgang was one of the first people to welcome Antonio to UF when he arrived in July 2018 and has been a great supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts on campus. Wolfgang discusses how difference encourages critical thinking and original...
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In this episode, Antonio speaks with Dr. Robert Thomas, Associate Professor of Business Law and Technology and Assistant Dean for Diversity and Inclusion at UF's Warrington College of Business. Robert talks about the exciting changes taking place at Warrington and invites UF undergraduates to consider the opportunities "that are hard to pass up." He also shares that creating belonging is the responsibility of everyone i...
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February 23, 2021 21 min
In this episode Antonio talks with Jennifer Setlow, Associate Dean for Academic and Student Affairs with the College of the Arts. Jen shares how being outside the norm can provide a unique perspective that leads to innovation and change. Jen’s background as a lighting designer informs her work as someone who helps others find the stage for their talents and shines a light on their achievements.
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February 16, 2021 17 min
In this week’s episode, Antonio talks with Twanna Hodge, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Librarian for the Smathers Libraries. Antonio and Twanna talk about how research and facts are the basis for any inclusion project, how being a lifelong learner helps create belonging for others and how educating oneself is a powerful act. Twanna shares that her core value of leaving the world a better place than she found it fuels her passion ...
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February 9, 2021 36 min
In this week’s episode, Antonio speaks with Dr. David Julian, Associate Professor of Biology and Director of the SF2UF Bridge Program and the MARC GatorStar Program. David and Antonio discuss how the institutional deficit perspective encourages administrators to change policies and practices so all students succeed, and how data can help us understand where we have deficits. Learn how innovation in IDEA can help UF get to the Top 5...
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February 2, 2021 35 min
As we begin the celebration of Black History Month, Antonio speaks with Dr. David Canton, the newly arrived Director of UF’s African American Studies Program. Dr. Canton is a renowned historian who brings to UF his rigorous eye for research and passion for the history of Black Studies, the commonalities across the African diaspora and for connecting the academy with the community. He talks about his vision for building a department...
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January 26, 2021 19 min
In this week’s episode, Antonio talks with Karissa Raskin, Civic Collaboration Specialist for the City of Gainesville. Find out how the stars aligned for Karissa after an admission’s error led her to a career she would not change for anything. Karissa also discusses how finding mutual benefit and reciprocity in community engagement is where the magic happens.
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January 19, 2021 32 min
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Dr. Rachel Carrico, an assistant professor of dance studies in the School of Theatre + Dance. Rachel shares her varied path to her “dream job” at UF and talks about what it means to have the freedom to belong. She also talks about her revolutionary experience with the Faculty Success Program, which she calls a “gift of support” for first-year faculty members.
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January 12, 2021 23 min
Welcome to Season 5 of Level Up! In this week’s episode, Antonio catches up with Dr. Lenny Urena Valerio, Associate Director of Administration for the Center for Latin American Studies and a scholar of European history. Lenny shares that learning from students is one of the best gifts she could receive and how, as a first-generation student, she gets joy from mentoring others to help clear their paths to success. Lenny also talks a...
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December 15, 2020 17 min
We close out Season 4 of Level Up with our guest Lomaro Caldwell. Lomaro is a web developer with UFIT who has found a home here in Gainesville and credits his colleagues for his sense of belonging. Can you jerk vegetables? Tune in to find out!
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December 8, 2020 26 min
In this episode, Antonio talks with Savanna Turner, PhD student in the Department of Agricultural Education and Communications and president of the Collegiate Veterans Society. Savanna shares how the Collegiate Veterans Society gave her a sense of belonging that she did not even know she was missing when she returned to UF as a graduate student. Learn more about this great resource for student veterans in this episode of Level Up!
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December 1, 2020 34 min
In this episode, Antonio talks with Audrey Gainey, Director of Talent Acquisition and Onboarding at UF. Audrey tells a story about how her 7th grade guidance counselor helped her find her identity through a language arts festival and Langston Hughes’ poem “Freedom Train.” You’ll also hear about Audrey’s amazing Gainesville non-profit Flourished, Inc. (sheflourished.org).
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November 24, 2020 40 min
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Ledora Brown, Senior Publicist at Pitch Publicity and Howard University alum, and Amy Summers, Owner/President of Pitch and UF alum. Ledora and Amy find a common thread in their stories of belonging in a sense of homecoming. They also talk about their exciting collaboration with UF and Howard—a seminar series called Identifying the Elephant in the Room aimed at empowering future professionals t...
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November 17, 2020 35 min
In this episode, Antonio is speaking with Andrew Telles, Director for Collaborative Initiatives at UF. Andrew describes his work as building capacity for the long-term benefit of the community and he talks about two innovative projects in East Gainesville that draw on the knowledge of community stakeholders to develop solutions.
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November 10, 2020 22 min
In this episode, Antonio talks with Dr. Maria Leite, Coordinator for College Assessment and Diversity Initiatives in the College of Education, as well as a Campus Diversity Liaison and Crucial Conversations Trainer. Hear how Maria has found belonging by reconnecting with colleagues from her work in a theater school in Brazil and finding connections with the work she does today advancing IDEA at UF.
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November 3, 2020 18 min
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Virginia Grant, Executive Director of Gainesville Black Professionals and Publisher of Synergy magazine. Virginia talks about her role in breaking stereotypes about the Black community and shaping the landscape for those coming behind her.
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October 27, 2020 40 min
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Osubi Craig, Director of the Center for Arts, Migration and Entrepreneurship in UF’s College of the Arts. Osubi talks about belonging as showing up, digging in and becoming part of your community. He brings this open spirit to CAME, which he calls a “think and do” center. Tune in to find out how this center is contributing to culture as a key economic driver in Florida.
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October 20, 2020 23 min
In this episode, Antonio catches up with students Stefanie Assakawa and Gabby Whitler. Stefanie and Gabby are officers in the new student organization In Between UF, and they talk about how this student organization allows them to express all parts of their rich heritages and find belonging in difference. They also share how they are making the most of this time in quarantine through the power of habit and saying yes to things that...
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October 13, 2020 21 min
In this episode, Antonio talks with Dr. Talline Martins, Director of the Office of Graduate Professional Development. Talline shares how her experience emigrating from Brazil as a teenager helped her find belonging with others who made similar journeys. She also talks about her exciting work breaking down barriers to success for UF graduate students and busting myths about graduate school for underrepresented undergraduates.
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October 6, 2020 33 min
In this episode, Antonio speaks with Dr. Brittany Southern, a research regulatory analyst with UF Research, and Dr. Carl Southern, a resident with the Department of Small Animal Clinical Science in UF’s College of Veterinary Medicine. Brittany and Carl talk about their formative years at Tuskegee University, where faculty are like family and where the culture of love and rigor helped them to thrive. Join Antonio for this deep dive...
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