New Sociology Professor Returns to UCF

Armato MugA 1992 University of Central Florida graduate has returned to his alma mater to teach the next generation of knights.

Michael Armato, Ph.D, is a new faculty member in the Department of Sociology, who began this fall semester. He came to UCF from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, where he had been teaching for 10 years.

An ‘Orlandoan’ at heart, Armato grew up in Altamonte Springs. He graduated from UCF with a bachelor’s degree in marketing. Shortly after graduation, he discovered a field that allowed him to study and be an advocate for human society. He went on to get both his master’s and doctoral degrees in sociology.

“I wanted to make the move back here to be near relatives and because of all the exciting stuff going on at UCF,” Armato said. “In Illinois, budgets are contracting and people are getting laid off across the state, and here is UCF hiring a bunch of people.”

At Armato’s previous institution, he was a core faculty member of the Women’s and Gender Studies program. His main areas of study are gender inequalities and notions of masculinity, which he hopes to continue researching at UCF.

“Coming to such a diverse university, I feel like I have a hand to play in moving toward a more gender-just campus,” Armato said. “It’s important to me.”

Armato also said that UCF’s status as a university with high numbers of first-time-in-college students was a draw for him as an educator. He was the first in his family to attend college and is an avid supporter of public education.

Armato has received a warm welcome to the UCF Department of Sociology thus far in the four weeks he has been here.

“When I came in for my interview, there were about 20 faculty members that showed up to talk to me,” Armato said. “I thought ‘Wow, that’s definitely an indicator of the engagement in the department.’ It was really impressive.”

When he isn’t teaching, Armato enjoys spending time with his family, which includes his three-year-old daughter.

“She takes up most of my free time and my not-free time,” Armato said. “Which is rewarding and fantastic.”

He’s also a fan of mopeds. He owns two scooters, one of which he restored to working condition from broken on his own.

Armato hasn’t lived in Orlando since 1995. He has not gotten lost on campus in the month that he has been teaching – a feat in its own right. He’s been noticing new buildings every day on his commute to work; a commute through his hometown that has changed over 20 years.

“Growing up in Orlando, UCF provided certain opportunities for me and it’s kind of surreal to be back,” Armato said. “But my heart is definitely here and definitely in it – all because of the students.”

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