2022 College of Sciences Year in Review 

A glimpse at another year of exploration, innovation and scholarship in the College of Sciences.  

Over the course of the year, College of Sciences faculty, staff, and students worked hard to accomplish great things. At the heart of their accomplishments is a desire to create a greater tomorrow and a stronger community.  

Follow along to read our top 10 stories from 2022. 

1. Shooting for the Moon 

With roots in the 1960s space race, UCF has worked closely with NASA and Kennedy Space Center to further space exploration and discovery. This past year, UCF Knights were involved in the monumental Artemis program and the Artemis 1 mission in November.  

Learn how these Knights are helping us reach the moon once again.  

2. Analyzing Flood Risk to Build Prevention Plans 

With natural disasters at the center of many news stories this year, planning for natural disasters is of the utmost importance. That’s why a team of UCF researchers conducted a study to analyze where flooding is likely to occur—providing a pathway for flood-protection techniques for cities around the world. 

Read how this study is making an impact here. 

3. Strengthening Data-Based Research at Minority-Serving Institutions 

Earlier this year, three UCF professors were selected to participate in the Leveraging Big Data to Achieve Equality program aimed at promoting the success of Black and Latino students in postsecondary education. Their work will be instrumental in continuing to support our position as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  

“I am thrilled that our faculty are engaged in this important national project in support of HBCUs and HSIs. This is a great example of what it means to serve with intentionality through research.”

Cyndia Morales Muñiz ’13EdD, Director of HSI Culture and Partnerships 

Learn more about this important work here.

4. Supporting Suicide Prevention Training for First Responders 

UCF RESTORES was equipped with a $1.4 million First Responder Regional Support Grant from the Florida Department of Children and Families to strengthen its behavioral health and suicide prevention services for first responders in Central Florida.   

See how UCF is supporting the mental health of first responders. 

5. Two College of Sciences Faculty Members Receive Pegasus Awards 

Associate Dean of Research and Facilities Enrique del Barco, Ph.D., and Nicholson School of Communication and Media Professor Timothy Sellnow, Ph.D., were selected for this year’s Pegasus Professor Award. The award is UCF’s highest faculty honor. Both honorees have received national and international recognition for their innovative work.  

Hear their stories. 

6. UCF Selected for Mission to the Moon’s Mysterious Gruithuisen Domes 

UCF planetary scientists Assistant Professor Kerri Donaldson Hanna, Ph.D., and Associate Professor Adrienne Dove, Ph.D., were selected to lead a $35 million mission to a part of the moon never before explored. The goal of the mission is to study the Gruithuisen Domes’ chemical composition and discover how the dust interacts with the spacecraft and a rover.  

Learn more about the mission here. 

7. UCF Professors Share the Stories Behind Their Innovative Work

In 2021, UCF was ranked as the 15th most innovative university in the U.S. by U.S. News and World Report. This past year, several professors shared their stories on what pushes them to develop groundbreaking solutions to challenges. 

Read their stories here. 

 8. UCF Alumna Inspires Girls and Women to Aim for the Stars 

Kathleen Loftin ‘89 ‘00MS ‘09PhD works for Kennedy Space Center as the Center Chief Technologist. Her research on growing food on the moon is paving the way for exploration of the moon. Over the course of her career, she has overcome obstacles to revolutionize the field of space research. 

“My message for girls and women: Never doubt yourself. If anyone doubts you, use it as motivation. I still do that. We’re all capable of anything. There is no glass ceiling. Just look how far we’ve come and look what we’re about to do next.”  

Kathleen Loftin ‘89 ‘00MS ‘09PhD, Center Chief Technologist at Kennedy Space Center 

Read her interview here. 

9. Sociology Associate Professor Recognized as National Geographic Explorer 

Associate Professor Timothy Hawthorne, Ph.D. was named a 2022 National Geographic Explorer in recognition of his work helping communities around the world thrive. The $30,000 grant from National Geographic will help support his work on the nation’s first GeoBus.  

Explore his GeoBus project here. 

10. Virtual Reality Lab Expands Psychology Research Initiatives 

A new virtual reality lab in the Department of Psychology will help in the study of human behavior. The lab has hand tracking gloves and biofeedback sensor technology to create immersive real-world environments.  

Learn how this technology will help the future of psychology at UCF. 

Embracing the Promise of the Future 

As the semester winds down and we near the end of 2022, we look forward to what 2023 will hold for the College of Sciences and UCF. Together, Knights are working to build a brighter future where all voices are heard.   

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