UF plant biologist Pam Soltis receives SURA’s Distinguished Scientist Award

March 7, 2018
Natalie van Hoose

University of Florida plant biologist Pam Soltis will receive the Southeastern Universities Research Association’s 2018 Distinguished Scientist Award, given annually to a scientist whose extraordinary work fulfills the association’s mission to “advance collaborative research and strengthen the scientific capabilities of its members and the nation.”

Pam Soltis

Soltis, a distinguished professor and curator at the Florida Museum of Natural History at UF, will be presented with the award and its $5,000 honorarium at the SURA Board of Trustees meeting at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility in Newport News, Virginia, on April 26.

A member of the National Academy of Sciences and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Soltis studies plant diversity, with emphasis on the origin and evolution of flowering plants, plant genome evolution and conservation genetics. She uses genomic methods, natural history collections and computational modeling to understand patterns and processes of plant evolution and identify conservation priorities.

To help increase the public’s understanding of biodiversity, she joined an interdisciplinary team to create multimedia art pieces and an animated film that use the “Tree of Life” as a metaphor for how all living things are related to one another.

In nominating Soltis for the award, UF Vice President for Research David P. Norton wrote that her work in genetics and genomics was not only groundbreaking for plant scientists but for all scientists who want to understand the genetic relationships between populations and species.

“Dr. Soltis’ research has dramatically changed our understanding of the natural world,” Norton said. “Her work uncovers new relationships in the Tree of Life, illuminates fundamental aspects of plant biology, points to areas of greatest conservation concern and continually pushes the boundaries of what is possible in bioinformatics. In addition to being a world-class researcher, Dr. Soltis also shows a tremendous commitment to training and mentoring the next generation of scientists and engaging the minds and imagination of the public. UF is very fortunate to have such a leader.”

SURA Board of Trustees Chair Kelvin Droegemeier, who is also vice president for research at the University of Oklahoma, said, “Dr. Soltis is the kind of researcher every university hopes to have on its faculty. She is a renowned scholar cited in respected journals, an aggressive researcher winning multiple grants and a passionate teacher impacting scores of students.”

Soltis has won numerous honors for her contributions to the study of plant diversity. Jointly with Doug Soltis, she received the Darwin-Wallace Medal from the Linnean Society of London, the R. Dahlgren International Prize in Botany, the Asa Gray Award from the American Society of Plant Taxonomists, the Botanical Society of America’s Merit Award and the Stebbins Medal from the International Association of Plant Taxonomists. Thomson Reuters named her one of the World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds in 2014. She also won the Botanical Society of America’s Centennial Award.

Soltis earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Central College and a doctorate degree in botany from the University of Kansas. She joined UF in 2000, after serving on the faculty of Washington State University for 14 years.

She is the founding director of the UF Biodiversity Institute and a member of the UF Genetics Institute.

She has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal articles and oversees a diverse lab of more than a dozen graduate students and postdoctoral fellows and routinely trains at least five undergraduate students per semester.

Soltis has received more than $37 million in support for her research on the evolutionary history and genomics of flowering plants. She became the lead investigator on the project that launched the new Genetic Resources Repository at the Florida Museum and is one of the principal investigators for iDigBio, a project that made UF the hub for the NSF-funded program to digitize the collections of all U.S. natural history museums. This led to a $27-million award that has brought widespread recognition to UF for its leadership role in bioinformatics. She is also a co-principal investigator of a $7-million Department of Energy project to pinpoint the genes that allow certain plants to fix nitrogen and engineer this genetic pathway into other plants for food and fuel.

“I am very honored to receive this award,” Soltis said. “I have a fantastic group of collaborators at UF and elsewhere, and this award is for all of them as well. I’m also thankful for the supportive environment at UF, where collaboration is both valued and encouraged.”

SURA is a nonprofit consortium of more than 60 research institutions in the southern U.S. and the District of Columbia.

The SURA Distinguished Scientist Award was established in 2007, commemorating the organization’s 25th anniversary. SURA’s development & relations committee manages the solicitation, screening and selection of the recipient from a SURA member institution. The president and trustee of each of SURA’s member research universities are eligible to make one nomination for the Distinguished Scientist Award.

Soltis joins UF College of Pharmacy Dean Julie Johnson, who received the award in 2015, and microbiology Distinguished Professor Lonnie Ingram, who was recognized in 2008.

Science & Wellness

New butterfly species named for Field Museum’s Emily Graslie

March 8, 2018
Natalie van Hoose
Florida Museum of Natural History, biodiversity

As the Field Museum’s chief curiosity correspondent, Emily Graslie has plunged elbow-deep into wolf guts, dug up 52-million-year-old fish fossils and unpacked species classification using candy as stand-ins.

Graslie gives the public behind-the-scenes access to natural history collections via her educational YouTube channel “The Brain Scoop,” uncovering how museum specimens help us better understand and protect the life around us.

In recognition of her outreach efforts, scientists have named a new species of butterfly in her honor: Wahydra graslieae.

“We thought that after spending years explaining why specimens are important and bringing natural history collections to the attention of the public, Emily was definitely someone who should have a bug named after her,” said Andy Warren, senior collections manager of the Florida Museum of Natural History’s McGuire Center for Lepidoptera and Biodiversity. “She was really overdue for this kind of recognition.”

Wahydra graslieae is a dark rust-colored skipper with jagged bands of silver scales on the underside of its hind wings. The species is known from a single specimen collected in the Ecuadorian Andes in 2004 by Warren’s collaborator Harold Greeney.

The butterfly, about the size of a postage stamp, was stowed away in a Tupperware box of specimens waiting for identification until 2016 when Warren and visiting colleagues Eduardo Carneiro and Diego Dolibaina from the Federal University of Paraná in Brazil decided to tackle the backlog.

“We were an assembly line,” Warren recalled. “I was photographing the specimens, and they were dissecting and illustrating the genitalia,” one of the best means of narrowing butterflies to genus or species.

To the untrained eye, Wahydra graslieae may not be the showiest butterfly, but when Warren – a skipper expert – saw it, he immediately thought, “Wow, that’s bizarre.”

“We knew it was a new species, but we just had no idea even what genus it was. Nothing else looks like it,” he said. “Once Eduardo made the call that it was a Wahydra, it clicked. It was really a group discovery.”

Little is known about the genus Wahydra, a group of small Andean skippers found from Venezuela to Argentina with most species in Ecuador. Wahydra are rare in collections, primarily because they’re tough to find in the wild, living at high elevations where poor weather conditions predominate, Warren said.

In this obscure genus, Wahydra graslieae is distinct, much darker than other described Wahydra species and with pointer forewings and metallic silver scales that have previously only been found in very distantly related skippers.

“Wahydra graslieae seems to be this whole new clade,” Warren said. “It’s expanding our concept of what Wahydra diversity looks like.”

In the last few years, five new species of Wahydra have been described, but scientists have likely just started to scratch the surface of the genus’s diversity, he said.

Warren said of the 15 identified Wahydra species, scientists only know the host plant for a few, and all eat bamboo. He said that every 1,500-foot increase in elevation in the Andes results in a complete turnover in bamboo species and the butterflies that feed on them.

“That would explain the rarity of Wahydra and the patchiness of their distribution,” he said.

But fieldwork is not the only way to find new species. Museum collections themselves are also good places to look.

“I guarantee that the compactors in the McGuire Center are full of undescribed species,” he said. “That’s part of the value of museums. Without these collections, there’s no way to document biodiversity on Earth. It’s hard to know where to put conservation resources unless you know what’s really out there.” 

Wahydra graslieae could likely be rediscovered, “with a little bit of luck and effort,” Warren said.

Graslie said she will eagerly be following the research efforts on Wahydra graslieae.

“Someone might look at Wahydra graslieae and be completely underwhelmed by what they see. After all, it's tiny, and lacks the explosively dynamic colorations and patterns that come to mind when you think of a monarch butterfly or an atlas moth – two animals, by the way, that already have names with gravity. Monarch. Atlas. But this is not them,” Graslie said.

“This is Wahydra graslieae, a little-known creature that comes to us with more questions than answers. In that way I feel a sense of kindredness with this animal and am absolutely honored that Dr. Warren and his team saw fit to associate such a curious skipper with my name. I can't wait for further research to reveal more information about them.”

The description of the new species was published today in Zootaxa.

The Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES) and the International Biodiversity Foundation provided fellowship support for this research.

Science & Wellness

Hidden pictures reveal the lost art of fore-edge painting

March 12, 2018
Alisson Clark
UF Libraries

Society & Culture

How vaccination is helping to prevent another flu pandemic

March 8, 2018
Nicole lovine

A UF expert on infectious diseases discusses the effect an effective vaccine could have had on reducing the impact of the 1918 flu pandemic.

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An injectable flu vaccination. Flu vaccines lessen the likelihood of getting the flu and its severity. Flickr/, CC BY-SA

Nicole Iovine, University of Florida

Researchers believe that over 50 million people worldwide died in the 1918 flu pandemic, making it possibly worse than even the Black Death that began in the 14th century.

Could another catastrophic pandemic like the 1918 pandemic occur again? Yes, unless we protect ourselves better. To do that, we should emphasize high compliance with the flu vaccines that are currently available while we pursue the longer-term goal of a better vaccine.

I am a board-certified infectious disease physician as well as the epidemiologist at University of Florida Health. I have seen the ravages of flu firsthand as well as studied and quantified outbreaks. If vaccines had been available in 1918, there is no doubt that the death toll would have been lower.

The flu past and present

Influenza has been infecting humans for thousands of years. It was described by Hippocrates as early as 412 B.C. While the symptoms of influenza and the common cold overlap – including cough, fever, runny nose, headache and body aches – influenza is more severe.

People whose immune systems are compromised, pregnant women and people aged 65 and older are at particularly high risk for complications from influenza. This includes respiratory failure and death. Usually, the mortality rate is about 0.1 percent. While this doesn’t sound like much, multiply it by hundreds of thousands of infections every year, and the death toll mounts up.

In 1918, the death toll was exceptionally high, at about 2.5 percent. When the 1918 virus was reconstructed from influenza victims buried in the Alaskan permafrost, we scientists gained some insight into why: The reconstructed virus harbored mutations that enabled it to bind to cells deep in the lungs, causing a viral pneumonia. That is distinct from the less serious upper airway infection that flu usually causes.

A flyer from the Chicago Department of Health in 1918, warning residents of the danger of influenza and pneumonia. John Dill Robertson/Chicago Department of Health

However, the 1918 virus was similar to other flu strains with regards to its propensity to cause a well-known complication of influenza called “post-influenza bacterial pneumonia,” or PIBP. The thinking is that damage to the lining of the respiratory tract caused by influenza renders a person susceptible to secondary infection by bacteria. In fact, most influenza-associated deaths that occur during normal flu seasons are caused by PIBP.

Vaccination essential

Death from PIBP continues to be an important driver of influenza-related mortality. Therefore, prevention is key. Vaccination is a crucial component of prevention efforts, and is recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for all individuals 6 months of age and older.

However, only about half of all eligible people get the flu shot. Two misconceptions contribute to low vaccination rates: that the vaccine causes influenza and that the vaccine doesn’t work.

The first misconception is easy to dispel. The influenza shot contains only a virus that has been killed, or inactivated. There is no live virus in the vaccine that could cause infection. It’s as simple as that. You can’t catch flu from a dead virus.

Some people will still insist that they came down with the flu because of the vaccine. Confusion may occur if you are vaccinated and then develop influenza a few days later. Here’s why.

You can develop flu after you receive the vaccination, but that doesn’t mean the vaccine gave you influenza. Instead, it means you were already infected with influenza when you were vaccinated. Typically, your body needs about two weeks for the immune response to develop after a flu shot.

Since a person can transmit influenza 24 hours before symptoms begin, you may not realize from whom you caught it, because that person may have appeared healthy.

Challenges of making an effective vaccine

A second misconception about the shot “not working” stems from an overly broad extrapolation of “vaccine efficacy” studies. These are designed to approximate how many influenza infections are prevented by vaccination. However, vaccine efficacy studies don’t tell us how sick a vaccinated person may be.

Many studies show that vaccination decreases the severity of influenza as well as influenza-related complications. This is an enormous benefit.

People also misconstrue concerns in the efficacy studies about the difference among influenza subtypes.

There are four main influenza subtypes that infect humans. Two are dubbed “flu A.” They are defined by key proteins, called hemagglutinin (“H”) and neuraminidase (“N”), found on their surfaces. The influenza A subtypes that cause most infections are subtypes H3N2, the prevalent subtype this year, and H1N1.

There are also two influenza B subtypes. They are called Yamagata and Victoria.

Every spring, scientists and public health officials from around the world meet to determine the vaccine formulation for the coming year, based on what they know about the strains that are circulating at that time.

Each influenza vaccine will contain both influenza A strains and one or both of the influenza B strains, depending on whether you receive a formulation with three strains or one with four strains. Efficacy can change each year because flu viruses are constantly mutating, so that the viruses causing infections might be quite different from the vaccine strains chosen months earlier.

For example, over the past few years, the efficacy for vaccine for H1N1 and the B strains has been 40-60 percent. Efficacy for H3N2, however, has been lower, probably because it seems more prone to mutation.

While H3N2 is the predominant strain this season, one in four people who develop influenza will be infected with H1N1, Yamagata or Victoria. Efficacy is historically relatively high for the H1N1 vaccine. Therefore, people who are exposed to that strain but have received a flu shot would have a greater likelihood of being protected.

People, who are eligible for the influenza shot but choose to skip it, unnecessarily place themselves at increased risk for acquiring any of the four influenza strains or for a more severe disease if they do contract influenza. They also endanger others around them by potentially transmitting the infection.

Why doesn’t influenza vaccine efficacy exceed 60 percent? Vaccination against other diseases like measles or tetanus yields efficacy of 90 percent that lasts many years. The problem with influenza is its propensity to mutate, such that the strains causing disease this year are a bit different from last year’s.

When these changes occur in key viral sites such as in hemagglutinin, our immune system doesn’t recognize the mutated virus as well, and efficacy declines. Significant mutation can occur within a season too, as happened during 2014. Initially, the H3N2 vaccine strain chosen for the vaccine in February 2014 was well-matched to circulating strains, but by October of that year, H3N2 with mutated hemagglutinin had emerged and was different enough such that H3N2 efficacy declined to 17 percent.

Yearlong circulation likely increases mutation

While people tend to think of influenza as a wintertime disease, since it usually peaks sometime between December and February in the Northern Hemisphere, flu is around all year. The year-round presence of influenza viruses amplifies the chance that mutations will accumulate. This leads not only to reduced efficacy but also increased potential for a pandemic.

This problem could be solved if we could engineer a vaccine that stimulated an immune response against a region of the virus that was less prone to mutation. It would be even better if this viral target were common to all influenza strains. Such a “universal vaccine” is the Holy Grail of influenza research.

The ConversationThere are early-stage trials going on right now. If we are to prevent another catastrophe like the 1918 influenza pandemic, we must continue to support research efforts aimed at developing a universal influenza vaccine.

Nicole Iovine, Associate Professor, Infectious Diseases, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Science & Wellness

Why are we so sleep deprived, and why does it matter?

March 8, 2018
Michael S. Jaffee

A UF neurologist explains why sleep is so important, just in time for the return to daylight saving time and the hour’s sleep loss we experience the night we move our clocks forward.

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As many as 70 million Americans may not be getting enough sleep. Men get fewer hours of sleep than women. Akos Nagy/Shutterstock.com

Michael S. Jaffee, University of Florida

As we prepare to “spring forward” for daylight saving time on March 11, many of us dread the loss of the hour’s sleep we incur by moving our clocks forward. For millions, the loss will be an added insult to the inadequate sleep they experience on a daily basis.

Surveys show that 40 percent of American adults get less than the nightly minimum of seven hours of sleep recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the National Sleep Foundation. The National Institutes for Health estimate that between 50 million and 70 million people do not get enough sleep. These recommendations for minimal sleep are based on a review of many scientific studies evaluating the role of sleep in our bodies and the effects of sleep deprivation on our ability of our body to function at our peak performance level.

I am a neurologist at the University of Florida who has studied the effects of both traumatic brain injury and sleep impairment on the brain. I have seen the effects of sleep impairment and the significant effects it can have.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, American adults currently average 6.9 hours of sleep per night compared with the 1940s, when most American adults were averaging 7.9 hours a night, or one hour more each night. In fact, in 1942, 84 percent of Americans got the recommended seven to nine hours; in 2013, that number had dropped to 59 percent. Participants in that same Gallup poll reported on average they felt they needed 7.3 hours of sleep each night but were not getting enough, causing an average nightly sleep debt of 24 minutes. Fitbit in January 2018 announced results of a study it conducted of 6 billion nights of its customers’ sleep and reported that men actually get even less than women, about 6.5 hours.

Why sleep matters

The problems caused by sleep shortage go beyond tiredness. In recent years, studies have shown that adults who were short sleepers, or those who got less than seven hours in 24 hours, were more likely to report 10 chronic health conditions, including heart disease, diabetes, obesity, asthma and depression, compared to those who got enough sleep, that is, seven or more hours in a 24-hour period.

There are more challenges for children, as they are thought to have an increased sleep need compared to adults. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine recommends that children 6 to 12 years of age should sleep nine to 12 hours a day and teens 13 to 18 should sleep eight to 10 hours daily on a regular basis to promote optimal health.

A Sleep Foundation poll of parents suggested that American children are getting one hour of sleep or more per night less than what their body and brain require.

Researchers have found that sleep deprivation of even a single hour can have a harmful effect on a child’s developing brain. Inadequate sleep can affect synaptic plasticity and memory encoding, and it can result in inattentiveness in the classroom.

Every one of our biological systems is affected by sleep. When we don’t sleep long enough or when we experience poor quality of sleep, there can be serious biological consequences.

When we are sleep deprived, our bodies become more aroused through an enhanced sympathetic nervous system, known as “fight or flight.” There is a greater propensity for increased blood pressure and possible risk of coronary heart disease. Our endocrine system releases more cortisol, a stress hormone. The body has less glucose tolerance and greater insulin resistance, which in the long term can cause an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes. Also, sleep deprivation causes a reduction in growth hormone and muscle maintenance.

We also rely on sleep to maintain our metabolism. Sleep deprivation can lead to decreased release of the hormone leptin and increased release of the hormone ghrelin, which can be associated with increased appetite and weight gain.

The human body also relies on sleep to help with our immune system. Sleep deprivation is associated with increased inflammation and decreased antibodies to influenza and decreased resistance to infection.

Inadequate sleep has been associated with a negative effect on mood as well as decreased attention and increased memory difficulty. In addition, someone who is sleep deprived may experience a decrease in pain tolerance and in reaction times. Occupational studies have associated sleep deprivation with decreased performance, increased car accidents, and more days missed from work.

The role of the brain

Researchers have known for a while that brain health is an important aspect of sleep. Notably, sleep is an important part of memory consolidation and learning.

Newer research has suggested another important aspect of sleep for our brain: There is a system for the elimination of possibly harmful proteins such as abnormal variants of amyloid. This waste removal process, using what is known as the glymphatic system, relies on sleep to effectively eliminate these proteins from the brain. These are the same proteins found to be elevated in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. Studies show that older adults with less sleep have greater accumulations of these proteins in their brains.

Our sleep-wake cycle is regulated by the circadian system, which helps signal the brain to sleep using the release of the natural hormone melatonin. It turns out that our body’s system for regulating melatonin and our sleep schedule is most powerfully controlled by light.

There are cells in the retina of our eye that communicate directly with the brain’s biological clock regulators located in the hypothalamus and this pathway is most affected by light. These neurons have been found to be most affected by light waves from the blue spectrum or blue light. This is the kind of light most prominent in electronic lights from computers and smartphones. This has become a modern challenge that can adversely affect our natural sleep-wake cycle.

Additional factors that can hamper sleep include pain conditions, medications for other conditions, and the increased demands and connectedness of modern society.

The ConversationAs we prepare for daylight saving time, we can be mindful that many athletes have been including planned sleep extensions (sleeping longer than usual) into their schedule to enhance performance and that many professional sports teams have hired sleep consultants to help assure their athletes have enough sleep. Perhaps we should have a similar game plan as we approach the second Sunday in March.

Michael S. Jaffee, Vice chair, Department of Neurology, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Science & Wellness

#YouToo? When the predator is your partner

March 8, 2018
Carmen Diana Deere

A UF Distinguished Professor Emerita stresses the importance of shining a light on conjugal violence against women, even as the #MeToo movement continues to gain momentum.

File 20180302 171274 1p0trom.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
A street theatre performance on domestic violence at the Bridge Market Plaza in Chandigarh, India (2016). Biswarup Ganguly/Wikimedia, CC BY-NC

Merike Blofield, University of Miami and Carmen Diana Deere, University of Florida

In 2018, the International Women’s day can be proud to now count on the #MeToo movement, recently praised by the United Nations experts in women’s human rights.

Yet if sexist violence against women has been under the spotlight and denounced in every context over the last few months, it is crucial to remember that most physical and sexual violence against women is at the hands of their partner.

In France, the case of Alexia Daval, who was found murdered in October 2017 and whose husband, Jonathann, finally confessed to the crime in January, was heavily covered by European media. In June 2017, even before Alexia’s death, several scholars and feminists denounced conjugal violence that is too often described as a “crime of passion”.

Such murders of women are all too common. In Argentina, the killing of 19 women in 18 days sparked massive protests against gender violence in 2016, spreading across Latin America in the past two years under the banner of “Ni una mas” (“not one more”).

According to the World Health Organization, 38% of all female murders globally (compared to only 6% of male murders) are perpetrated by a current or former spouse or partner. The prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) more broadly is at “epidemic” proportions: 30% of women world-wide who have been married or in a consensual union have experienced physical or sexual violence at the hands of their partner. While such violence can affect men, in the vast majority of cases, including in Europe, the woman is the victim and the man the perpetrator.

The economic, social and health consequences for women, their families, communities and societies, are tremendous, even if they have not received the political attention they should.

Compared to women who have not experienced such violence, abused women are more than twice as likely to have experienced an unintended pregnancy that ended in an abortion, almost twice as likely to experience depression, and more likely to have a premature or low-weight birth. Almost half of the women who experience physical or sexual violence by partners report sustaining physical injuries that require medical assistance.

A series of factors

Decades of research in both developed and developing countries suggest a series of individual, relational, community and societal risk factors associated with women becoming victims of intimate partner violence, and men becoming perpetrators.

Individual risk factors include witnessing their mother being the victim of abuse, experiencing physical or sexual abuse themselves as a child, the harmful use of alcohol as a trigger factor, and the acceptance of violence as justifiable behaviour.

Relational risk factors include controlling behaviour by the male partner, marital discord, and large age and educational gaps between the two partners. Community-level risk factors include high neighbourhood unemployment, poverty and/or crime rates, a high proportion of illiteracy, and presence of individuals who justify intimate partner violence. Gender inequality is also strongly associated with high levels of IPV. As the WHO stated in a 2010 report “Preventing intimate partner and sexual violence against women”:

“Gender inequality and male dominance reduces the opportunities for women to be involved in decision-making at every level; decreases the resources available to women; and increases acceptance of the use of violence against women.”

Education and asset ownership mitigate risks

A consistent result from developing countries is that women’s education is associated with a lower risk of physical violence particularly their having completed secondary schooling.

Being economically active turns out to be more complicated; some studies find it decreases the risk, while others have found no relation or even a backlash effect. What may matter more is whether women control the income they earn, and especially if they own assets. Economic vulnerability – fear of losing access to shelter and being deprived of the means of generating an income – is one of the reasons that abused women often stay in an oppressive relationship.

Ownership of a dwelling or land may provide women with a concrete option, a place to which to move or the legal standing to be able to exclude an abusive spouse from the home. It may also increase women’s bargaining power in a relationship and deter abuse by reducing a women’s tolerance to violence and raising its cost to men. The potential protective role of homeownership when women themselves own a dwelling has been shown in studies ranging from India to the US.

But which assets – land, housing, savings – increase women’s bargaining power and deter abuse may depend on the context. Carmen Diana Deere and co-authors argue that it is women’s share of couple wealth that most likely increases their bargaining power in a relationship. They found that in Ecuador, women’s share of couple wealth was a protective factor against physical violence from a partner, and in Ghana, against emotional abuse.

How can the state help

The state also plays a crucial role in ameliorating – or aggravating – gender inequalities. The 1993 United Nations Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, which recognized violence against women as a violation of women’s human rights, was a watershed agreement on the global level.

German posters against domestic abuse and violence, 2011. Metro Centric/Flickr, CC BY-SA

Governments around the world have since then passed laws and directed more resources to combatting this problem. Laws that ensure the ability to receive a protective order, assistance with custody issues, and child support all strengthen the position of women by making exit from a violent relationship more feasible. Strong support for victims, such as well-trained healthcare personnel, availability of shelters, a responsive police and court systems are also necessary.

One innovative policy has been to set up women’s units or police stations to improve the ability of authorities to respond to women’s needs. Countries taking such steps are primarily in Latin America and Africa, but also Asia and Europe.

All such programs can help victims come forward, protect them from retaliation, and reduce violence. In the United States, the expansion of legal-assistance programs after the Violence against Women Act of 1994 helped reduce IPV – by one account up to 21% in just the first four years after its passage.

While these and other initiatives can help reduce intimate partner violence, comprehensive solutions will continue to elude us until we reconceive intimate partner and sexual violence as a “men’s issue”, not only a “women’s issue”. Programs that directly engage men and boys in violence prevention can make a dramatic difference in changing violent attitudes and behaviour, especially when they reach adolescence.

A social initiative called ‘Slap her’ video-recorded reactions from young boys confronted to violence against girls.

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, where nearly two-thirds of women report violence at the hands of their partner, a 15-week program targeted 324 men and their partners. Three years later, most of the partners involved reported that violence at home had stopped altogether. After workshops in Mumbai, India, the number of young men who reported using violence against their partner decreased more than two-fold

Getting more political will and resources behind programs targeting men requires getting men on board as partners and allies. A promising signal are organizations run by men, for men, promoting this cause, such as Promundo on a global level, or local organizations, from the United States to Chile.

The ConversationThis post belongs to a series of contributions coming from the International Panel on Social Progress, a global academic initiative of more than 300 scholars from all social sciences and the humanities who prepare a report on the perspectives for social progress in the 21st Century. In partnership with The Conversation, the posts offer a glimpse of the contents of the report and of the authors’ research.

Merike Blofield, Associate Professor, University of Miami and Carmen Diana Deere, Distinguished Professor Emerita of Latin American Studies and Food & Resource Economics, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Society & Culture

Want better sex? Try getting more sleep

March 8, 2018
Laurie MIntz

A UF psychology professor discusses research that demonstrates a two-way relationship between sleep problems and sexual problems, as well as between satisfying sex and sound sleep.

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Sleep affects sex, and sex affects sleep. It’s important to pay attention to both. VGstockstudio/Shutterstock.com

Laurie Mintz, University of Florida

One in 3 American adults do not get enough sleep. Sexual issues are also common, with as many as 45 percent of women and 31 percent of men having a concern about their sex life. While these might seem like distinct concerns, they are actually highly related.

How are sleep and sex related? I’ll state the obvious: We most commonly sleep and have sex in the same location – the bedroom. Less obvious but more important is that lack of sleep and lack of sex share some common underlying causes, including stress. Especially important, lack of sleep can lead to sexual problems and a lack of sex can lead to sleep problems. Conversely, a good night’s sleep can lead to a greater interest in sex, and orgasmic sex can result in a better night’s sleep.

I am a sex educator and researcher who has published several studies on the effectiveness of self-help books in enhancing sexual functioning. I have also written two sexual self-help books, both based in research findings. My latest book, “Becoming Cliterate: Why Orgasm Equality Matters – and How to Get It,” is aimed at empowering women to reach orgasm. More pertinent to the connection between sleep and sex, my first book, “A Tired Woman’s Guide to Passionate Sex,” was written to help the countless women who say they are too exhausted to be interested in sex.

The effect of sleep on sex among women

The reason I wrote a book for women who are too tired for sex is because women are disproportionately affected by both sleep problems and by low sexual desire, and the relationship between the two is indisputable. Women are more likely than men to have sleep problems, and the most common sexual complaint that women bring to sex therapists and physicians is low desire. Strikingly, being too tired for sex is the top reason that women give for their loss of desire.

Conversely, getting a good night’s sleep can increase desire. A recent study found that the longer women slept, the more interested in sex they were the next day. Just one extra hour of sleep led to a 14 percent increase in the chances of having a sexual encounter the following day. Also, in this same study, more sleep was related to better genital arousal.

While this study was conducted with college women, those in other life stages have even more interrelated sleep and sex problems. Menopause involves a complicated interaction of biological and psychological issues that are associated with both sleep and sex problems. Importantly, a recent study found that among menopausal women, sleep problems were directly linked to sexual problems. In fact, sleep issues were the only menopausal symptom for which such a direct link was found.

Motherhood is great, but the demands of a new baby can exhaust a new mother. Sleep can become more appealing than sex as a result. FamVeld/Shutterstock.com

Interrelated sleep and sexual issues are also prevalent among mothers. Mothers of new babies are the least likely to get a good night’s sleep, mostly because they are caring for their baby during the night. However, ongoing sleep and sexual issues for mothers are often caused by having too much to do and the associated stress. Women, who are married with school-age children and working full time, are the most likely to report insomnia. Still, part-time working moms and moms who don’t work outside the home report problems with sleep as well.

While fathers also struggle with stress, there is evidence that stress and the resulting sleepless nights dampen women’s sexual desire more than they do men’s. Some of this is due to hormones. Both insufficient sleep and stress result in the release of cortisol, and cortisol decreases testosterone. Testosterone plays a major role in the sex drive of women and men. Men have significantly more testosterone than women. So, thinking of testosterone as a tank of gas, the cortisol released by stress and lack of sleep might take a woman’s tank to empty, yet only decrease a man’s tank to half full.

The effect of sleep on sex among men

Even young men can lose interest in sex if they are sleep-deprived. Antonio Guillem/Shutterstock.com

Although lack of sleep and stress seems to affect women’s sexual functioning more than men’s, men still suffer from interrelated problems in these areas. One study found that, among young healthy men, a lack of sleep resulted in decreased levels of testosterone, the hormone responsible for much of our sex drive. Another study found that among men, sleep apnea contributed to erectile dysfunction and an overall decrease in sexual functioning. Clearly, among men, lack of sleep results in diminished sexual functioning.

I could not locate a study to prove this, as it stands to reason that the reverse is also true. That is, it seems logical that, as was found in the previously mentioned study among women, for men a better night’s sleep would also result in better sexual functioning.

The effect of sex on sleep

While sleep (and stress) have an effect on sex, the reverse is also true. That is, sex affects sleep (and stress). According to sex expert Ian Kerner, too little sex can cause sleeplessness and irritability. Conversely, there is some evidence that the stress hormone cortisol decreases after orgasm. There’s also evidence that oxytocin, the “love hormone” that is released after orgasm, results not only in increased feelings of connection with a partner, but in better sleep.

Additionally, experts claim that sex might have gender-specific effects on sleep. Among women, orgasm increases estrogen, which leads to deeper sleep. Among men, the hormone prolactin that is secreted after orgasm results in sleepiness.

Translating science into more sleep and more sex

It is now clear that a hidden cause of sex problems is sleeplessness and that a hidden cause of sleeplessness is sex problems. This knowledge can lead to obvious, yet often overlooked, cures for both problems. Indeed, experts have suggested that sleep hygiene can help alleviate sexual problems and that sex can help those suffering from sleep problems.

The ConversationPerhaps, then, it is no surprise that both sleep hygiene suggestions and suggestions for enhanced sexual functioning have some overlap. For example, experts suggest sticking to a schedule, both for sleep and for sexual encounters. They also recommend decreasing smartphone usage, both before bed and when spending time with a partner. The bottom line of these suggestions is to make one’s bedroom an exclusive haven for the joys of both sleep and sex.

Laurie Mintz, Professor of Psychology, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Science & Wellness

There are dozens of sea snake species in the Indian and Pacific oceans, but none in the Caribbean. Why?

March 13, 2018
Harvey Liillywhite

The director of UF’s Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory discusses why sea snakes are found in only some of the world’s oceans, explaining that the answer lies in a combination of climate and geography.

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Yellow-bellied sea snake (Hydrophis platurus). Coleman M. Sheehy III, Florida Museum of Natural History, CC BY-ND

Harvey Lillywhite, University of Florida

Beachgoers often find unusual things that have washed up with the tides. But many people were surprised when a venomous yellow-bellied sea snake recently was found alive on California’s Newport Beach. Sea snakes are less well-known than other marine reptiles, particularly sea turtles, even though they number more than 60 species, most of which evolved 1 to 8 million years ago.

Sea snakes are found only in the Indian and Pacific oceans. For many years, herpetologists and biologists like me have pondered why there are no sea snakes in the Atlantic Ocean or the Caribbean Sea. With colleagues at the University of Florida and elsewhere, I’ve recently proposed some answers to this long-standing question.

Wide-ranging, with limits

In some ways it was not surprising to see a yellow-bellied sea snake, Hydrophis platurus, wash ashore in California. This is the only species of sea snake that is “pelagic,” drifting and following the broad circulation patterns of oceanic currents. It has the broadest distribution of any squamate reptile (the group that includes lizards and snakes), ranging from the tip of South Africa across the Indo-Pacific to the Pacific coast of Central America. The snake that turned up at Newport Beach was the fourth found in California since 2015.

Global distribution of sea snakes, with Coral Triangle region circled. Lillywhite et al., BioScience 68 (1), 2018., CC BY-ND

Normally, however, this far-ranging sea snake occurs in more tropical waters where temperatures are appropriate for it. Why not the Caribbean or Atlantic? I tackled this question with Coleman Sheehy III, collections manager at the Florida Museum of Natural History; Harold Heatwole of North Carolina State University; François Brischoux of France’s National Committee for Scientific Research; and David Steadman, curator of ornithology at the Florida Museum of Natural History. In our study we considered sea snakes’ biology, evolutionary history and environmental conditions that we believe have prevented them from migrating into the Atlantic.

Climatic and current barriers

Not all sea snakes spend their entire lives in the ocean. Some species, called sea kraits, can live on land or in water and lay their eggs on land. This limits their range because they need to stay near land to reproduce.

In contrast, all entirely marine sea snakes are viviparous: They give birth to fully-formed young at sea, without laying eggs. This essential trait allowed the pelagic yellow-bellied sea snake to extend its range across the entire Indo-Pacific from an area of origin somewhere in the Coral Triangle of Southeast Asia.

By the time it reached Central America’s Pacific coast however, the Isthmus of Panama had formed, fully separating the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. When the Panama Canal opened in 1914, it became possible for an occasional sea snake to enter Caribbean waters accidentally. However, this species tends to drift with currents, so it is highly unlikely that enough could pass through the canal and find one another to the east to establish a breeding population. In fact, no population of sea snakes has been established on the eastern side of the canal since its completion in 1914.

Banded Sea Krait (Laticauda colubrina) returning to the sea in Malaysia. Bernard Dupont, CC BY-SA

Sea snakes also could enter the Atlantic Ocean by swimming from the Indian Ocean around the tip of Africa at the Cape of Good Hope. Yellow-bellied sea snakes do occur in the waters immediately east of the cape, but two major obstacles prevent them from traveling farther west.

First, just west of the cape, the Benguela Current brings upwelling of very cold water to the coast of southwestern Africa. This current is 200 to 300 kilometers wide, and its water is too cold – about 55 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit at the surface – for sea snakes that might drift there to survive for long or reproduce.

Second, as my research has shown, sea snakes require fresh water for drinking and will dehydrate at sea without it. They drink from “lenses” of fresh or brackish water that form temporarily on the ocean’s surface after large downpours of rain. But the climate of coastal southwest Africa is characterized by a large zone of permanent high pressure, which makes the region very dry with almost no rainfall.

Evolving from land to sea

Sea snakes also could become established by making evolutionary transitions from terrestrial or freshwater habitats to marine habitats in the island systems of the Caribbean. We know that elapid snakes – a family of venomous snakes with short, fixed-front fangs, such as cobras – have done this in the Coral Triangle region.

Indeed, most of today’s sea snakes originated and evolved into different species in this part of the globe between 2 to 16 million years ago. At that time, this region was a vast wetland complex associated with Southeast Asia and the Australasian archipelago.

Land and sea are interlaced throughout the Coral Triangle, and have been so for several million years. This region is also characterized by high rainfall, low and variable water salinity, and relatively stable tropical warm temperatures. Throughout much of its geological past, sea levels rose and fell many times, opening and closing marine corridors and causing mangrove fringes and mud flats to form and disappear. All of these conditions are favorable for evolutionary transitions from land to sea, and stable, shallow marine habitats have persisted for the past 3 million years.

The Coral Triangle covers 5.7 million square miles and is the most diverse and biologically complex marine ecosystem on the planet. NOAA

Similar changes occurred in the Caribbean, but the Coral Triangle is a much larger and more complex system. Multiple ancestral lineages of snakes occur in Southeast Asia, and there are four to five times more viviparous (live-bearing), estuarine species within the Coral Triangle than occur in the Caribbean.

In my view and that of my co-authors, the presence of appropriate lineages of snakes and a dynamic of ecological conditions favored speciation of sea snakes in the Coral Triangle much more so than in the Caribbean or anywhere else in the Atlantic Ocean. Indeed, the Coral Triangle, broadly defined, appears to be the only region where viviparity is characteristic of the majority of estuarine snakes. These snakes live in coastal waters contacting freshwater habitats, and they were most likely to undergo an evolutionary transition from terrestrial or freshwater to marine habitats and give rise to sea snakes.

Navigating changing oceans

Could future oceanic and weather conditions permit sea snakes to disperse from the Indo-Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean? I believe this is quite unlikely. Thus, we do not expect any sea snake to show up on the beaches of Florida, like those occasional snakes that have drifted to land on beaches in California. There is simply no source.

There are already signs that some populations and species of sea snakes are in decline or have gone extinct, owing to changes in rainfall patterns, water temperatures, environmental contamination or human exploitation. Future climatic changes might bring negative as well as positive impacts on the biogeography of sea snakes.

The ConversationFrom my own experience watching sea snakes swim with graceful undulations over coral reefs, losing them (or any other marine organism) would be tragic and could threaten the health of coral reefs where sea snakes are top predators and considered to be harbingers of ecosystem change.

Harvey Lillywhite, Professor of Biology and Director, Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Science & Wellness

UF honored for Internationalization Initiatives

March 13, 2018
Margot Winick

NAFSA, the Association of International Educators, announced today that the University of Florida has been selected as one of five institutions to receive the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization. The award will be formally presented during International Education Week on November 13 in Washington D.C.

UF is being honored for its broad commitment to international education and research, grounded in its fundamental goals of preparing our students to meet the challenges of a globalized world, striving for faculty research excellence with a global impact, and advancing campus diversity. A key component of the effort is UF’s 2014 Quality Enhancement Plan, entitled “Learning without Borders: Internationalizing the Gator Nation,” which was presented as part of UF’s reaccreditation process.

“We are pleased and proud to receive the 2018 Senator Paul Simon Award recognizing UF’s efforts in international education,” said UF President Kent Fuchs. “This award affirms our commitment to international students, education, research and exchange as essential to the college experience, the pursuit of knowledge and the betterment of people everywhere.”

Over 150 countries are represented in the UF community. This includes over 6500 international students, on campus or pursuing practical training, as well as almost 2,000 visiting international scholars every year.  Some 2,200 UF students studied abroad last year in over 100 destinations.  UF has almost 500 collaborative agreements with partner institutions across the world, and at any given moment UF faculty can be found around the world engaged in research and teaching.  

The Simon award recognizes UF’s efforts to support and expand this global reach.  This includes incentives to support international research linked to larger global learning outcomes, such as the Faculty Global Fellows Program and the Research Abroad for Doctoral Students grants. The Learning without Borders initiative, housed in the UF International Center’s office of Undergraduate Academic Programs has involved a significant investment in internationalize the UF undergraduate curriculum and the expansion and increased access to study abroad programs.

“Our goal is to help UF students develop the skills and knowledge that will enhance their competitiveness in the global market for talent.  And we want help our students become good global citizens, doing their part to steward the earth’s resources, improve the quality of human lives, and be proactive contributors to the search for justice and equality,” notes Leonardo Villalón, dean of UF’s International Center. The Simon award recognizes both UF’s commitment and our significant progress towards that goal.

To learn more, visit here.

Global Impact

National Freedom of Information Coalition to relocate to UF

March 15, 2018
College of Journalism and Communications
College of Journalism and Communications

NFOIC joins a renowned FOI Center and First Amendment Project at the College of Journalism and Communications

The University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications and the National Freedom of Information Coalition today announced that NFOIC will be relocating its headquarters to the University of Florida.

UF’s College of Journalism will now be home to three units at the forefront of freedom of information and First Amendment issues: NFOIC, the Joseph L. Brechner Center for Freedom of Information and the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project.  NFOIC will be located inside the Brechner Center and the two organizations will collaborate to create research and public-awareness projects advancing the access rights of journalists, and all citizens, to information about issues of public concern.​

NFOIC, currently located at the University of Missouri School of Journalism, is a nonpartisan alliance of state and regional organizations promoting collaboration, education and advocacy for open government, transparency and freedom of information (FOI). Its affiliates include citizen-driven nonprofit FOI organizations, academic and First Amendment centers and journalistic societies.

The Brechner Center, founded in 1977, works to educate journalists, policymakers and the general public about the law of access today and how it should work tomorrow. The Center is a source of research, expertise and advocacy about the law of gathering and disseminating news across all platforms and technologies.

The Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project is a non-profit, non-partisan organization dedicated to current and contemporary issues affecting the First Amendment freedoms of speech, press, thought, assembly and petition. Its activities include filing legal briefs, authoring scholarly articles, publishing op-ed commentaries and presenting speeches and papers at conferences and symposia across the country.

“By forming an alliance, our efforts in protecting and advancing the public’s access to information will be amplified. This is particularly true at the state and local level, where civic life at the grassroots level is fundamental to a well-functioning democracy,” said Diane McFarlin, UFCJC dean.  “This work is more critical than ever.”

“Relocating to UFCJC and working with the prestigious Brechner Center strengthens our goal to enact needed legislative and administrative reforms to government transparency,” said NFOIC Board President Mal Leary. “The challenge to ensure state and local governments and public institutions provide access to their records and proceedings continues to grow.” Leary is a political correspondent for Maine Public.

The Brechner Center is led by Frank LoMonte, a nationally known media lawyer and former executive director of the Student Press Law Center.  He was named director of the Brechner Center in 2017.  The Brechner First Amendment Center is headed by Professor Clay Calvert, Ph.D., the Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication at UFCJC and one of the top First Amendment scholars in the country.

"With this strategic alliance, and with the vast resources of our journalism and law schools, the University of Florida becomes the preeminent center of thought leadership about improving public policy to advance the public's access to essential information,” LoMonte said. “The NFOIC's work as the nation's watchdog over state legislation affecting the public's right-to-know complements and augments our role at the Brechner Center in working with stakeholders from journalism, government, law and technology to make information more accessible and civically useful." 

NFOIC plans to complete its relocation by summer 2018.

Society & Culture

What the National School Walkout says about schools and free speech

March 15, 2018
Clay Calvert

In the wake of a massive national student walkout protesting lax gun laws, the director of UF’s Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project suggests that school officials should carefully consider whether punishing the protesters is the right course.

File 20180313 30983 1xqtjkl.jpg?ixlib=rb 1.1
Students from South Plantation High School, carrying placards, protest in support of gun control. Carlos Garcia/Reuters

Clay Calvert, University of Florida

Thousands of high school students across the nation left their classes March 14 precisely at 10 a.m. for 17 minutes.

The walkout served two purposes: to honor the 17 people – including 14 students – killed exactly one month ago at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, and to call for stronger gun control laws.

Organized by a Women’s March unit called Youth Empower and promoted on Twitter with the hashtags #Enough and #NationalSchoolWalkout, students throughout the country took to the streets and gathered at various places to call attention to the problem of gun violence in schools and in their communities.

Some schools are threatening to punish these young activists. But others are trying to work with them. As one article put it, “The response from school districts has been mixed, with some threatening to suspend students and others promising to incorporate the walkout into a civics lesson.”

Enter the First Amendment

From my standpoint as director of the Marion B. Brechner First Amendment Project at the University of Florida, all of this raises important questions about the scope of First Amendment speech rights for high school students. Are the students who exit their classes immune from punishment?

A starting point for answering this question is to understand that the First Amendment only protects against government censorship, not censorship by private entities. Thus, only public school students have First Amendment speech rights. Private school students do not.

California is an exception to this rule. It has a statute known as the Leonard Law that extends First Amendment speech rights to students at private nonreligious high schools. No other state has such a statute.

From black armbands to student walkouts

The second point is that the U.S. Supreme Court recognized in 1969 in a case called Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School District that public high school students do have First Amendment speech rights while on campus. Those rights are limited, however. Specifically, the right of free speech ends when there are facts that might reasonably lead “school authorities to forecast substantial disruption of or material interference with school activities.”

In Tinker, the Supreme Court ruled in favor of several students who wore black armbands to their schools to protest the war in Vietnam and to support a truce over the winter holidays. There was simply no evidence that the passive expression of a political viewpoint on a sleeve might substantially and materially disrupt educational activities.

Like Tinker, the student walkouts today are a form of political expression and, in particular, dissenting political expression because the students object to current gun laws. Such speech lies at the heart of the First Amendment.

As Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the court in a nonstudent speech case in 2010, “Speech is an essential mechanism of democracy, for it is the means to hold officials accountable to the people.” He added that “political speech must prevail against laws that would suppress it, whether by design or inadvertence.” With today’s walkouts, students want to hold lawmakers accountable for what they view as lax gun control laws.

Not immune from punishment

School officials who punish students for walking out of class today have the right to do so as long as they are enforcing regular attendance policies in a consistent manner. They could also argue that leaving class for 17 minutes amounts to a substantial and material disruption of educational activities, per the rule from Tinker.

On the other hand, missing 17 minutes out of a school day and, in turn, an entire school year seems neither substantially nor materially disruptive. Punishing students for a brief but important moment of political activism may be sending the wrong message about freedom of speech in a democratic society.

Many universities have said they will not hold it against applicants who are punished due to today’s walkout. As Richard H. Shaw, dean of undergraduate admission and financial aid at Stanford University, stated, “Given the nature of this national tragedy and the true and heartfelt response of students in expressing their perspectives and expectations, the University will not consider the choice of students to participate in protests as a factor in the review of present or future candidates.”

The price of civil disobedience

So the choice to walk out and face possible punishment ultimately is left to the students. Sometimes that choice may be worth it. As Frank LoMonte, director of the Brechner Center for Freedom of Information at the University of Florida recently put it:

“The effectiveness of ‘civil disobedience’ has always depended on a willingness to throw yourself in the way, whether that is sitting-in at a lunch counter or occupying the university president’s office. But that also means accepting that disciplinary or even legal consequences may result.”

The ConversationThe bottom line is that the First Amendment does not give public high school students a right to walk out of classes. It does, however, give administrators a critical justification for shielding them from punishment and to take advantage of a teachable moment about the importance of political protest in the United States.

Clay Calvert, Brechner Eminent Scholar in Mass Communication, University of Florida

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Society & Culture

University of Florida selects new senior director for the Career Resource Center

March 15, 2018
Margot Winick

Ja’Net Glover, who has served as interim director of the nationally recognized Career Resource Center at the University of Florida, has been appointed the new senior director for the career center, effective March 23.

The career center serves 52,000 UF students and alumni by providing services such as helping connect job seekers with employers and offering students individualized career education and guidance to enrich their college experience and prepare them for life after graduation. Its Career Showcase is the largest career fair in the Southeast.

At CRC, Glover has led the department through a $9.6 million expansion of the center, continued to expand and implement an embedded career-liaison model in each of UF’s schools, and diligently worked to enhance student engagement with career services. The CRC is expected to reopen this summer.

The center’s expanded suite will total 29,000 feet in the Reitz Union, and include more interview rooms and multipurpose spaces to hold programming events and services, all geared toward helping students plan for successful careers and take advantage of opportunities.

“I am excited about the combination of Ja’Net’s experience within the Career Resource Center, within the community and with employers,” said Dr. Mary Kay Carodine, assistant vice president for Student Affairs. “Ja’Net brings more than a decade of experience to this role and has a true understanding of the necessity of career services on our campus. Ja’Net’s leadership, engagement with stakeholders and team focus will move career services and the university toward top 5 as UF continues to focus on learning, engagement and meaningful work.”

Prior to her role as interim director for the Career Resource Center, Glover served as the Senior Associate Director for Career Services at UF, where she provided leadership and strategic direction for the center’s college liaison engagement, employer relations and fiscal management. Previously, she worked with the Alachua County Division of the American Heart Association, where she collaborated extensively with the Chamber of Commerce to enhance internship opportunities.

Glover holds a Master of Science in Management from UF’s Warrington College of Business Administration and a Bachelor of Science in Recreation, Parks and Tourism from the College of Health and Human Performance at UF.

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