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LEAD Scholars
Dr. Ginny Botts

Ginny works with and teaches in the Strategies for Student Success (SLS 1501) program at UCF. She received her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Vanderbilt University and her doctorate from UCF. In addition to working with SLS, Ginny advises the Alpha Omicron Pi chapter at Rollins College and volunteers as a mentor for Support our Scholars. In her spare time, Ginny continues to conduct research on student success and student athletes, attends college football games, travels, and spends time with her husband and Labrador Retriever.

Arian L. Bryant
Associate Director, Department of Housing and Residence Life

Arian L. Bryant is the Associate Director of Residence Life at the University of Central Florida. He began his professional career with the New York State Legislature in 1999, serving as a legislative aide and researcher. In 2002, he returned to higher education as a Residence Director with the Residence Life Department at the State University of New York at Albany. He moved on to become a Community Director at Montclair State University, then a Residence Life Coordinator at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, before joining the UCF family. Arian holds a Master of Science degree in Educational Administration and Policy Studies with a concentration of Policy Analysis from the State University of New York at Albany, and a Bachelors of Arts degree in Political Science from the same institution.

Brad Crawford
Director, Baptist Collegiate Ministries

Originally from Georgia, Brad received an undergraduate degree and a masters degree (MBA) from the University of Georgia. He also holds a masters degree (M. Div.) from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. His business experience includes six years in sales and management in Moultrie, Georgia and Gainesville, Florida. He enjoys reading and traveling, and is an avid sports fan. Brad and his wife, Julie, have three children: Amy, Andrew, and Evan. He teaches our Basic Spiritual and Advanced Spiritual practica.

Shameika Daye
Coordinator, Nicholson School of Communication

Shameika is a proud Knight and has received both her Bachelor’s degree in Business Management and her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Central Florida. She began working at the university in 2007 and currently serves as the Coordinator of Academic Programs at the Nicholson School of Communication. As an alumnus of the LEAD Scholars program, she is excited to have the opportunity to be an instructor for the program. Shameika enjoys spending time with family and friends as well as reading, writing, cooking, and training for various 5ks to marathons across the United States.

Mark Gumble
Assistant Vice President for Learning Support Services

Mark Gumble started working at UCF in 2005 as the Director of Academic Services for Student-Athletes (ASSA) prior to being promoted to an Assistant Vice President for Learning Support in 2011. In his current role Mark is responsible for implementing student success strategies and programs for first year students to help increase retention, persistence and graduation rates. Mark’s professional leadership style has been influenced by his 10 year college wrestling coaching career (1988-97), postgraduate studies, dozens of books he has studied on the topic, and facilitating leadership practices at national conferences hosted by the National Collegiate Athletics Association. Prior to working at UCF, Mark taught courses and worked at Binghamton University (NY) and San Diego State University (CA). When not at work, Mark can often be found touring central Florida on his road bike or on the water fishing from his kayak.

Dr. Lynell Hodge
Assistant Director, Housing & Residence Life

Lynell Hodge is the Assistant Director of Assignments for UCF’s Housing & Residence Life. Lynell earned her Doctorate from the University of Central Florida in Higher Education and Policy Studies and Master’s from The Florida State University in Higher Education. She has worked in Student Affairs since 2005 in residence life and business operations. Lynell has been an instructor with Lead since 2012 and her professional interests are student leadership development, service learning, spirituality, and women’s equality in educational settings. Fun fact: Lynell has been a National Pie Judge for the American Pie Council since 2010.

Ellen Hughey
Assistant Director, Department of Housing and Residence Life

Ellen Hughey is an Assistant Director in Housing and Residence Life at UCF. She is originally from Columbus, Ohio; however, has lived in Tennessee, Minnesota and now Florida. Ellen is an outdoors enthusiast and ice cream connoisseur-always up for trying new flavors and spots. She is thrilled to be a LEAD Scholars instructor.

Jeannie Kiriwas
Associate Director, UCF Student Union

Jeannie Kiriwas is entering her tenth year of working with undergraduate students and is thrilled to return to her alma mater of UCF after working at two other institutions. In addition to being a graduate of the LEAD Scholars program, she earned a Bachelor’s of Hospitality Management and a Master’s of Educational Leadership from the University of Central Florida and completed a Master’s of Business Administration from Stetson University. As the Associate Director of Event Services for the Student Union she loves being at the Heart of Campus and getting to work with an amazing team of professionals and students. She believes in a strength based approach to education and that life is made meaningful because of our shared duty to each other and our communities. She also enjoys spending time with her husband, young son, and dog.

Donna M. Mercado
Latin American Studies and Women’s Studies

Donna M. Mercado has been with UCF since 2006 and currently serves as the Senior Admissions Specialist for the Latin American Studies and Women's & Gender Studies Program. In addition to advising students in these two programs, Donna is currently a Program Leader for a Study Abroad to Puerto Rico experience, hosted by the Latin American Studies Program. She has served as a guest speaker at different Hispanic student organizations at UCF as well as for other academic institutions, leadership organizations, and community events around the Central Florida area. Originally from Puerto Rico, she received her Bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from the Inter-American University of Puerto Rico and her Master’s degree in Education from Auburn University, Alabama. She is now preparing to pursue a PhD degree in Communications. Donna started working at UCF as an Academic Advisor for the office of First Year Advising and Exploration, and also had the opportunity to teach SLS 1501 – Strategies for College Success several times during the following years. Donna is a very active member of the Hispanic community here in Orlando, and currently works as a volunteer in many community organizations, including directing the Spanish Choir at Most Precious Blood Catholic Church in Oviedo. Donna has four children; Valeria who graduated from UCF in 2013 and currently works for the UCF Undergraduate Admissions Office, Richie who currently serves as a Corpsman in the United States NAVY, Gabriela who is going into her junior year as a double major undergraduate student at UCF, and Marcos who is going into eighth grade. Donna will be teaching LDR 2001-Foundations of Leadership and LDR 2002 - Intermediate Foundations of Leadership.

Angela Newland
Care Manager for Student Care Services

Angela Newland serves as a Care Manager for Student Care Services and has been with UCF since 2011. Angela meets with students daily who are dealing with different types of challenges during their college career. Angela’s additional responsibilities include working with the UCF Cares initiative to educate, and provide resources to the UCF community, along with serving on the Just Knights Response Team, and contributes to the Higher Education Case Managers Association (HECMA) communications committee. Previously, Angela has previously worked in the Department of Housing and Residence Life at UCF, and in various Social Work roles in community agencies. Angela received her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Central Florida and her Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology from Michigan State University. Angela enjoys sports, the beach, and volunteering.

David Oglethorpe
Communication Coordinator, Office of Student Involvement

David Oglethorpe, Communications Coordinator, is responsible for OSI’s public relations and marketing efforts, in addition to all public records request for both OSI and the Student Government Association. David also oversees OSI’s Creative Services team – including the Design Group, OSI Productions, and OSI Web Service. Prior to his position in OSI, David served as an academic advisor at UCF in First Year Advising and Exploration and as the Assistant Director for Media Relations with Jacksonville University’s athletic department. David earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Strategic Communication from The Ohio State University and completed his Master of Arts degree in Educational Leadership/Higher Education here at UCF. He is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Education and Policy Studies at UCF

Ann Marie Palmer
Associate Director, Case Manager

Ann Marie is a graduate from Rollins College with a B.A. in Psychology and Religious Studies and a graduate from the University of Florida with an M.A. in Religion and an M.Ed in Education, specializing in Student Personnel in Higher Education. Ann Marie has been at the University of Central Florida since June 2011. Her favorite thing about UCF is the amount of events and programs available to students and the diversity of the campus environment.

Rosemarie Timothy
Coordinator, Office of Student Conduct

Originally from Louisville, Kentucky, Rosie Timothy serves as a Coordinator with the Office of Student Conduct at UCF. Rosie received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Hanover College in 2008, and her Masters of Public Administration from UCF in 2011. Prior to working in Student Conduct, Rosie worked with Housing and Residence Life at UCF for three and a half years. Rosie and her husband, Kerion, are proud parents of one, Jaxon Zion, who was born in January of 2014.

Dr. Joshua Truitt

Joshua Truitt, Ph.D. is a Postdoctoral Associate and Special Assistant to the Dean of the UCF College of Education and Human Performance. He is an instructor for the UCF LEAD Scholars Academy, and is active in several charitable and civic organizations. Dr. Truitt received his B.S. and Ph.D. from UCF, and MBA from Rollins College.

Dr. Denise Twyford
Instructional Design Team Lead, CDL

Dr. Twyford has been associated with UCF since 2007 in the Center for Distributed Learning, where she holds a faculty rank of Assistant in Instructional Design. In her current role, she supervises a team of instructional designers, provides project management for several UCF faculty development programs, and engages in scholarly research activities. She holds an Ed.D. in Organizational Leadership, Higher Education from Nova Southeastern University; M.Ed. in Guidance and Counseling from Boston University; B.S. in Psychology from UNC-Pembroke; and, LPC licensure (Licensed Professional Counselor). Dr. Twyford’s work has included management, consultations, seminars, teaching, and curriculum development for coursework, TV, radio, and newspaper formats. Dr. Twyford has taught traditional and online courses in the areas of organizational communication, leadership, and conflict management for more than 15 years.

Nathan Vink
Assistant Director, Outdoor Adventure

Originally from Michigan, Nathan has been the Outdoor Adventure Assistant Director since January 2014. He started at UCF in 2012 as the Outdoor Adventure Coordinator prior to being promoted. Nathan holds an MA in Higher Education and Policy Studies from UCF and a BA in Journalism from Butler University. Nathan has over 14 years of experience leading outdoor and experiential education programs for such schools as the Colorado Outward Bound School and The Four Corners School. He is a Wilderness First Responder, PCIA Climbing Wall Instructor, certified Whitewater River Guide and Swift Water Rescue Technician.

Haley Winston
Assistant Director, Office Student Involvement

Haley Winston, Assistant Director for the Office of Student Involvement, advises the efforts of the Volunteer UCF (VUCF) Board of Directors. Haley received both her bachelor’s degree in Art History and master’s degree in Educational & Counseling Psychology with a focus in College Student Personnel from the University of Louisville. Currently, she is pursuing a Doctorate in Education and Policy Studies at UCF. Haley teaches student success and leadership courses. She has had experience working with service learning, civic engagement, academic advising, new student orientation, homecoming programming, fraternity and sorority affairs, parent engagement, and first generation college student retention.