Outstanding Alumna Psyched About UCF
There isn’t a typical day for Neuropsychologist Diane Caroline Robinson, Ph.D., ’06, ’10.
There she is responsible for the administration, oversight, provision and leadership of all oncology related social wellness and psychosocial support programs of the Cancer Center. She also manages the Integrative Medicine Department personnel, supervises the clinical facilitators, counselors, students, and adjunct instructors, and works closely with physicians, administrators and Cancer Center leadership.
“I never know what each day is going to bring – and I love it,” Robinson said. “I have administrative, research, supervisory, and clinical roles so I could be giving a speech, creating a new program for our patients, being interviewed by the media, participating in a committee, planning new research, or meeting new patients.”
Robinson earned both her master’s and doctoral degrees in clinical psychology from UCF.
“The UCF Clinical Psychology Program gave me flexibility to create my own experiences, and even courses, when the direction I wanted to go in wasn’t available,” Robinson, who was awarded the Provost’s Fellowship at UCF, said. “It also allowed me to go to school and raise my son without disrupting my family life.”
Since graduating Robinson has stayed connected with her alma mater, coming back to speak to students, teach as an adjunct, and supervise UCF students at the hospital.
Robinson was selected as an award recipient based on her outstanding accomplishments in the field and commitment to the university.
In 2014 Robinson played a significant role in the launch of the Cancer Support Community at Orlando Health – where she now serves as program director.
“I still feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude for having this become a reality for our community,” Robinson said. “All the services we provide are free of charge for anyone impacted by cancer in Central Florida – so that no-one faces cancer alone.”
Robinson explained this was the first time that any hospital had committed to putting on a full Cancer Support Community inside its walls, and just the second hospital in the nation to become an affiliate.
“It was something that I wasn’t sure was going to happen,” she said. “So many incredible people were involved – from the Cancer Center team to some extraordinarily dedicated philanthropists.”
Robinson shared more on her time at UCF and her advice to students/alumni in the spotlight responses below.
How has your UCF degree helped you in your career?
The lessons I learned at UCF were phenomenal, but even better were the opportunities that were given to me through UCF into the larger community. I was able to put into real-world practice the lessons that I was learning in the classroom.
What is your best UCF memory?
Other than actually graduating? The amazing relationships I made with some of my fellow grad students. Even though some are now scattered around the country, we still keep up with each other. It’s fun to watch them have their own children now that my own son has grown and about to graduate college.
What piece of advice would you give to current students as well as UCF alumni?
Don’t let other people define you or buy into that self-doubting definition – that way you can avoid the trap of limiting yourself. I always ask myself why not try? If I fail then that means there’s just something else I need to learn, and I can use that information to figure out what to do next. I like to think that failing at something ultimately is just part of the learning process. Even though it’s tough at the time you often learn most through adversity – it forges you and makes you stronger and more creative.
Robinson answered some more questions in our ‘get-to-know-you’ portion of the interview.
What do you do for fun?
Eat! I really like to try new food and experiment in the kitchen. Other than that hanging out with my family, friends, and cats.
Where is the farthest you have traveled?
I am from England, so have been lucky enough to travel throughout Europe. I also lived in Kuwait and the Caribbean, and visited parts of Asia. I really enjoy traveling and exploring new cultures (and their food)!
What or who inspires you?
Every day at the Cancer Center I meet the most incredible people. We have dedicated physicians and team members, and patients whose incredible attitudes makes me feel so very privileged to do what I do. They give me the inspiration to try and do better each day.