“Bosey” Foote Prize to Honor UM Community Members for Campus Beautification Efforts

UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 28, 2016) – Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote, who came to Miami in 1981 when her husband, Edward T. “Tad” Foote II became the University of Miami’s fourth president, always made it her mission to turn the school’s grounds into a “Campus in a Tropical Garden.”

UM’s former first lady, who passed away on May 5, 2015, at the age of 76, knew that the setting was just as important as labs and libraries in contributing to the institution’s mission, and over time the beautification of the Coral Gables campus became her legacy.

Now, in memory of that legacy, the University has created the Roberta “Bosey” Fulbright Foote Prize, which will be presented to a member of the UM community—faculty, staff, student, or trustee—who has made a meaningful and lasting contribution to the beauty, humanity, and future of the campus.

Current UM President Julio Frenk announced the award last Wednesday at the on-campus memorial service for former President Foote, who passed away in February.

The first prize will be awarded on Earth Day, April 22, 2017.

During her 20 years as UM’s first lady, “Bosey” Foote put herself into almost every leaf, blade of grass, frond, and flower that now flourishes on campus, taking an active role in many efforts—from landscape architecture and design to tree selections.

She supported UM’s John C. Gifford Arboretum, a collection of rare plants and trees maintained for educational and research purposes and to inspire an appreciation for tropical vegetation.

“Bosey” Foote opened a series of palmetums featuring palms and cycads from several countries. Her work improved and continues to enhance what it touched, making buildings brighter, vistas more colorful and textured, and breezeways, walkways, and seating areas more inviting.


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White House Recognizes Ph.D. Candidate as Champion of Change

Special to UM News

UM's is recognized by Vice President Joe Biden.

Vice President Joe Biden recognizes UM nursing student Valerie Halstead.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 26, 2016)The White House has honored 10 student leaders, including the School of Nursing and Health Studies’ own Valerie Halstead, for their efforts to change the culture around sexual assault and dating violence on their campuses.

Halstead, a registered nurse who is pursuing her Ph.D. in nursing at UM, was recognized as one of the nation’s “It’s On Us White House Champions of Change” for her work with the University of Miami President’s Campus Coalition on Sexual Violence and Prevention. She was nominated for the award by coalition leaders.

“This honor recognizes not only my work but the work of the campus coalition,” said Halstead, whose dissertation research is exploring how campus health centers can implement best practices when caring for victims of sexual violence. “It empowered me to keep striving to make a difference in students’ lives.”

The April 14 gathering included a roundtable discussion with White House officials and policymakers who wanted to learn about the frontline campus initiatives represented by the students. It was followed by student-led panels on ending the rape culture and on engaging men and communities in this effort. Halstead spoke about the coalition’s efforts to engage students in an ongoing dialogue on sexual assault and about the importance of providing victims with appropriate health care resources.

The event closed with remarks by Vice President Joe Biden, who with President Obama launched the It’s On Us campaign in September 2014 to wake up  colleges and universities—and the nation—to the epidemic of sexual violence on their campuses. Halstead had an opportunity to share her thoughts about her work with the vice president, who, as a U.S. senator, sponsored the landmark 1994 Violence Against Women Act. “He’s very dedicated to this issue and genuinely invested in changing the culture,” Halstead said.

Halstead plans to stay in touch with the other awardees and to collaborate at the national level. “It was inspiring to be a part of the national conversation and to meet others who are passionate about the same challenges,” she said. “The gathering was a huge force for collaboration and change.”


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Professor a Vital Player in Colombian Peace Talks

Special to UM New

UM College of Arts & Sciences professor to be a special advisor to Colombia’s president as the country continues peace talks with FARC leaders


Elvira Maria Restrepo

Elvira Maria Restrepo, assistant professor of geography and regional studies at the University of Miami College of Arts & Sciences, is taking a public service leave for one year to be a special advisor to Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos while the government continues its peace process with FARC guerrillas.

“I am very excited to join President Santos’ team as they work to build a cohesive plan for peace in Colombia,” said Dr. Restrepo. “This is a unique and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The Colombian government is very close to signing an agreement after more than five decades of war and more than three years of negotiations. As a member of the team, I will be responsible for creating strategies to build peace and implement post-conflict initiatives.”

Dr. Restrepo, who lived in Colombia for 25 years, is an expert in Colombian politics and its justice system. She has written and published numerous research articles and books on Colombia, such as The Colombian Criminal Justice in Crisis: Fear and Distrust (2003), which focuses on the country’s failing judiciary system. She also wrote the entry for Colombia in the first Encyclopedia of Transitional Justice (S. Lavinia and N. Nedelsky, editors, Cambridge University Press, 2013), as well as her most recent publication related to peace building, Against all Odds: Women Victims of Conflict in Colombia (Palgrave Communications, 2016).

Dr. Restrepo will take her leave from the University of Miami in June and plans to travel back and forth from Colombia to her home in South Florida once she takes on the role as special advisor to President Santos.

“I hope this is a successful mission,” she said. “I care deeply about this issue and am a great believer that Colombia can make this peace process happen. This endeavor will be a restructuring of the individual and collective players in Colombia. My immediate goal is to advise the government and help initiate pilot projects geared to societal reconciliation, before scaling them up to the national level.”

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Graduate School Recognizes Faculty, Staff, and Students

UM News

Graduate students from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science join Graduate School Dean Guillermo “Willy” Prado, left, as he presents Rosenstiel’s M. Danielle McDonald with the 2015-2016 faculty mentor of the year award.

Graduate students from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science join Graduate School Dean Guillermo “Willy” Prado, left, in presenting M. Danielle McDonald, center, with the 2015-2016 Faculty Mentor of the Year Award.

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 18, 2016)—The Graduate School recognized its top graduate students and faculty at the 2015-2016 Graduate Awards Ceremony, including the Miller School’s WayWay M. Hlaing as the Outstanding Graduate Program Director and the Rosenstiel School’s M. Danielle McDonald as Faculty Mentor of the Year.

The ceremony, held April 15 on the Moss Terrace at the Shalala Student Center, encourages the UM community to celebrate the work of all of its graduate students, faculty, and staff, focusing on accomplishments throughout each school and college. In addition to Hlaing, associate professor of epidemiology and director of the epidemiology Ph.D. program, and McDonald, associate professor of marine biology and ecology, seven students from multiple disciplines and all three campuses were honored in categories of Graduate Student Exemplar, Outstanding Research Assistant, and Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant.

They are:

Outstanding Teaching Assistants:
Julia Wester, The Graduate School

Outstanding Research Assistants
Xin Gao, College of Engineering
Alejandro Mendez, Miller School of Medicine
Noah T. VanBergen, School of Business Administration

Graduate Student Exemplar
Rebecca P. Duncan, College of Arts and Sciences
Andrew Fisher, Miller School of Medicine & College of Arts and Sciences
Odelya Kadosh, School of Education and Human Development

View more pictures from the ceremony on Facebook.

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Toppel Career Center’s Garcia, Haimes Honored by NACE

By Barbara Gutierrez
UM News

CORAL GABLES, Fla. (April 12, 2016) – Two members of the Toppel Career Center have been honored with national awards from the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), the leading association for career services at nearly 2,000 colleges and universities nationwide.

Christian Garcia, associate dean and executive director of Toppel, was honored with the Mentor of the Year Award, while Samantha Haimes, associate director for career readiness, has won NACE’s Rising Star Award.

The annual awards recognize outstanding work at the national level. The Mentor of the Year Award recognizes an individual who has selflessly demonstrated leadership and the ability to serve as a quality mentor to one or more individuals. Garcia, who has worked at UM since 2001, has mentored several young professionals through the NACE mentoring program for the past three years.

One of those he mentored was Jeffrey L. Alston, assistant director of Employer Relations and Internships at The College of Brockport- SUNY. Alston nominated Garcia for the award and in his nominating letter said, “The growth I have experienced through this relationship has been exponential.” He also noted that Garcia offered tips and advice that helped him improve in his job, including how to facilitate group discussions and presentations.

“My mentor has exceeded the title of mentor and has become my Career Services Big Brother,” said Alston.

“Of all the awards that I could ever win, this one means the world to me because it recognizes the deep relationships I have made through the NACE Mentorship Program,” said Garcia, who holds a Master of Science from Florida State University. “I have learned from my mentees, just as they have learned from me, and that’s what makes this program such a rewarding experience. I was truly surprised and touched by the honor.”

Haimes, who has a Master of Science in Education from UM, has been working at Toppel since 2012. Her award recognizes her strong leadership potential and contributions to the career services profession and the NACE organization. It comes with a $1,500 prize from Spelman Johnson, a premier executive search firm committed to serving higher education.

“This award means so much to me,” said Haimes. “It is such an honor and at the same time a welcomed responsibility to rise to the occasion and continue to contribute to the field of career services, to students, and to my colleagues alike. I feel very proud, humbled, and motivated.”

The Toppel Career Center’s mission is to help students and alumni develop career-related skills by providing high quality resources, services, programming, and events that will prepare them for a lifetime of career success.

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