UCF Salutes Women Who Shaped the University

UCF Salutes Women Who Shaped the University

The University of Central Florida’s Center for Success of Women Faculty is saluting 31 women who have contributed to the university’s 50-year history.

The recognition of faculty, staff and administrators begins today and coincides with National Women’s History Month. The acknowledgement is particularly meaningful to the center’s interim director because these women have all made or are making positive contributions to UCF in everything from scientific research to the culture of the campus.

“We have some amazing women here and I’m guessing most of our UCF community doesn’t know most of them,” said Linda Walters, the center’s interim director. “Studies show women tend not to promote themselves and their achievements, but they are truly an important part of our university’s success.”

The center’s mission is to recruit and retain the best women faculty and help them advance in their careers. The center offers an array of resources to help faculty women navigate academic life and balance life and work issues.

The March campaign is one way to recognize the contributions women faculty and staff make. That’s why one woman will be featured on the center’s website every day throughout the month. The center’s program assistant, Fran Ragsdale, came up with the idea, and  the executive council made the nominations and selected the winners. Council members excluded themselves from consideration.

Among the winners that will be featured:

Dr. Debra Reinhart, Pegasus Professor in Engineering currently on assignment at the National Science Foundation as a program director for the Environmental Engineering Program. Reinhart has a long history with UCF. She graduated from the university when it was called Florida Technological University.  She left to start her academic career and returned in 1989. She moved through the ranks from an assistant professor to full professor before becoming an associate dean, interim chair and interim director of the NanoScience Technology Center. At UCF, Reinhart’s current position is assistant vice president for research and commercialization for the UCF Office of Research and Commercialization.

Maggie Leclair, an assistant to the dean of the College of Sciences. She previously was an administrative assistant in the Nicholson School of Communication. She’s a long-time UCF employee and supporter and  has a special place in her heart for the College of Medicine. She purchased a brick in the school’s plaza in honor of her mother, Betsy Coull, a nurse who spent her life taking care of others. “Maggie” is best known to many as the past-president of the UCF Women’s Club, and chief fundraiser for their undergraduate and graduate student scholarships.

Dr. Maren Fragala, an assistant professor of Sport and Exercise Science. She joined the UCF family two years ago and has already been making an impact with the local geriatric community. As part of her research, she’s investigating an exercise program that improves muscle quality in older adults. At the end of phase one of her study she found all her participants had improved. She hopes one day UCF will expand its Institute of Exercise Physiology and Wellness to create a world class Center for Healthy Aging and Faculty Wellness Research Center where all the equipment and resources are available to extend UCF exercise training programs to any older adult and faculty member free of charge.

Check the center’s website (http://womenfaculty.afia.ucf.edu/ ) everyday in March to find out a little more about each winner and discover the many faces that make UCF a special place for its students, employees and surrounding community.