UCF Alumna’s Outstanding Environmental Work
Jane Provancha ’78 is an environmental enthusiast, a University of Central Florida alumna and the Department of Biology’s 2017 Outstanding AlumKnight. Provancha received her award at the College of Sciences Outstanding AlumKnight award ceremony on March 2, 2017.
The award will add to Provancha’s long list of impressive achievements. From a UCF student to the Environmental Projects Manager for the NASA Environmental and Medical and Services Contract at Kennedy Space Center, Provancha’s environmental work has taken her many places over the years.
Provancha graduated from the University of Central Florida with a bachelor’s degree in biological science in 1978. Besides gaining basic knowledge surrounding her passion, Provancha’s time as a UCF student gave her the opportunity to grow as a professional in her field.
“The engagement with professors who were conducting research at the time gave me a significant perspective and advantage networking toward my career and potential additional education,” Provancha expressed.
According to Provancha, the friends she made and the inspiring instructors she had contribute to some of the fondest memories she has as a UCF graduate. Since graduating, she has stayed in touch with the university through activities related to her interest.
“I’ve maintained collaborative activities with professors in the biology department related to sea turtles, fish and dolphins,” Provancha said. “In some cases it related to encouraging or mentoring graduate students.”
Over the last three decades Provancha has collaborated and worked for multiple partners in conducting and designing ecological surveys and monitoring. She was also a visiting scientist for the World Wildlife Fund in Mozambique, Africa in 2008 and 2009 to build capacity by developing protocols and training field teams to conduct aerial surveys of dugongs in the Bazaruto Archipelago National Marine Park.
Although Provancha’s work is extremely rewarding, it has proven to be tough at times.
“The early years were very fulfilling as a wildlife biologist in the field,” Provancha said. “It was exciting and interesting and the interaction with weather and all things outdoors was fun but sometimes extremely challenging.”
In January 2010 she helped coordinate a large scale response to a freeze event that stunned more than 2,500 sea turtles in the northern Indian River Lagoon. In the summer of 2010, after the Deep Horizon Oil Spill, Provancha was requested by the National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to coordinate and manage the incubation and release of sea turtle nests translocated from the Gulf of Mexico to KSC on the Atlantic coast.
With so many outstanding accomplishments already under her belt, some may wonder what her secret is. According to Provancha, being open and humble is the key to reaching your goals.
“Go out there and get involved, try everything that interests you, be open, collaborate, ask questions and be humble,” Provancha advised. “If things get too crazy, move on and keep your eye on the big picture.”