Q & A with our outstanding alumni

PHHP Outstanding Alumni 2010

Outstanding alumni less than 10 years since graduation:

Tara Creel Anderson, Public health master’s ’07

Daniel M. Bagner, Clinical and Health Psychology PhD ’06

Ryan Scott Baker, Doctor of Audiology ’07

Jamie L. Pomeranz, Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. ’05

Teonette Ogues Velasco, Physical therapy master’s ’04

Outstanding alumni more than 10 years since graduation:

Carol H. Gwin, Occupational therapy bachelor’s ’69

Karen L. McCulloch, Physical Therapy bachelor’s ’83

Jack T. Stephens, Health Administration master’s ’71

Tara Creel Anderson, D.V.M., Ph.D., M.P.H.

Public health master’s ’07

Anderson recently completed her doctoral degree at the UF College of Veterinary Medicine with a research focus on the epidemiology of canine influenza virus. Her professional interests include emerging and zoonotic viral diseases, epidemiology and public health. She hopes to pursue a career in infectious disease research that will benefit both animal and public health.

My favorite UF memory: I have many wonderful memories from UF, but my favorite would have to be taking campus walks with my husband. We’re fortunate to have such a beautiful campus. 

Best lesson learned at UF: To cherish your faith, family, and friends; and to prioritize them along with your professional goals.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: I have been fortunate to work with many wonderful professors during my time at UF, however I’ve particularly appreciated Dr. Don Forrester’s mentorship. I took his graduate level wildlife diseases course as a pre-veterinary undergraduate student. His course introduced me to the concept of “one medicine,” and I was struck by the realization that wildlife, domestic animal, and human health are intimately intertwined. Dr. Forrester sparked my fascination with infectious diseases and multidisciplinary research, and set me on my career path. He has been a very special mentor, both personally and professionally, for many years.     

People would be surprised to know: I enjoy singing (alto) in our church choir. 

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Daniel M. Bagner, Ph.D.

Clinical and Health Psychology Ph.D. ’06

 Bagner is an assistant professor of psychology at Florida International University. After completing training at Brown Medical School in 2009, Bagner was hired by FIU, along with several internationally-known researchers, to develop a new doctoral clinical science program in child and adolescent psychology. FIU recently named Bagner a Top Scholar in recognition of his career development grant award from the National Institute of Mental Health. He conducts research on evidence-based interventions for children and their families.

My favorite UF memory: One of my most memorable times at UF was the night the Gator basketball team won their first national championship. Celebrating their victory on University Avenue at midnight with friends and watching students climb on street signs and traffic lights was an unforgettable moment.

Best lesson learned at UF: Patience and persistence are the two most important attributes to being successful in academics.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: My mentor, Sheila Eyberg, had a profound impact on my career. She taught me how to conduct well-designed research studies, write and edit manuscripts in a thorough manner, and supervise students. Most importantly, she provided me with the tools to help improve the lives of young children and their families.  

People would be surprised to know: I have become an avid runner and completed three half-marathons in New Bedford, Mass., and Miami, Fla. I hope to one day complete a full marathon.

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Ryan Scott Baker, Au.D.

Doctor of Audiology ’07

Baker is a clinical audiologist with Audiology by Accent whose areas of focus include adult and pediatric diagnostic audiometry, tinnitus evaluation and management, adult amplification, auditory electrophysiology, aural rehabilitation counseling, hearing conservation, and assistive listening technologies. He currently serves on the AAA/HLAA “Get in the Hearing Loop” task force and is an advocate for hearing loop placement in public venues and homes. Baker worked as a clinical assistant professor at UF from 2007 to 2010. Before pursuing his doctorate, Ryan worked for CNN as a satellite news gatherer in Atlanta.

My favorite UF memory: There were so many great moments while at UF and all revolve around my classmates in the Au.D. program. I was fortunate to have a great group of aspiring Au.D.s support me in the program and in the process made lifelong friends. We studied together, partied together, celebrated births, engagements and weddings, shared our trials and triumphs and I will always look back fondly on those days. Thanks Au.D. class of 2007!

Best lesson learned at UF: Don’t wear a Seminole t-shirt and sit in the UF student section during the UF-Florida State football game.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: The late Carl Crandell influenced me in many ways, especially by teaching me to be an effective counselor. Dr. Crandell showed me how to listen to patients and be in the moment with them. Forget about how busy you are, pull up a chair, look them in the eye and listen. It’s a simple but powerful tool and it has made me a better audiologist. Applying this advice daily has helped me achieve a relationship with my patients that otherwise would not exist. He would warn us to “turn off the cassette tape” when we counsel patients and speak not from a script but from your heart. This advice is a must for counselors and for life in general.    

People would be surprised to know: Most things about me are little known because I am not on Facebook but some may not know that I play keyboards in Gainesville for a Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers tribute band called “Heavy Petty.” I also write and perform original music for a band called “Discount Hi-Fi” (while wearing my custom musician ear plugs, of course!) 

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Jamie L. Pomeranz, Ph.D., CRC, CLCP

Rehabilitation Science Ph.D. ’05

Pomeranz is an assistant research professor in PHHP’s department of behavioral science and community health. His clinical background includes working with people with spinal cord injury, traumatic brain injury and developmental disabilities. His research interests include tobacco cessation for individuals with disabilities, life care planning for returning veterans with catastrophic injuries, and life care planning implications of locomotor training for individuals with spinal cord injury. He has developed 15 peer reviewed publications and a book chapter on life expectancy for individuals with disabilities. He is the first rehabilitation counselor to receive funding from the National Institutes of Health as a principal investigator. His NIH project involves developing one of the first empirically-based tobacco cessation programs for people with disabilities.

My favorite UF memory: Walking across the stage during my Ph.D. graduation.

Best lesson learned at UF: If you aren’t a Gator fan then become one. It’s just easier.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: Craig Velozo. He taught me the importance of mentorship. 

People would be surprised to know: I have a twin sister. 

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Teonette Ogues Velasco, M.S.

Physical therapy master’s ’04

 Velasco is a staff physical therapist and clinical instructor at the University of Delaware and a clinical research coordinator under Gregory Hicks, Ph.D. Her interests are in the older adult spine and the use of ultrasound imaging to explore trunk muscle size and function for the advancement of evidence-based practice and assessment of physical therapy treatments in patients with chronic low back pain. She has presented nationally at the geriatric section at the Combined Sections Meeting and at the Annual APTA Conference and Exercise and Physical Activity in Aging Conference.

My favorite UF memory: My first football game in 2002 when we played against Miami (FL). The experience of the roar of the stadium, shouting the cheers, and singing “We are the Boys” was when I truly became a Gator.

Best lesson learned at UF: To wear sunscreen at all times!

People would be surprised to know: I danced for an arena football dance team prior to starting PT school.

Advice for current students: Strive for a great career and do not settle for just work. Be passionate with what you do and continue to embark on learning experiences.

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Carol H. Gwin, OT/L, FAOTA

Occupational therapy bachelor’s ’69

Gwin is a governance consultant for the American Occupational Therapy Association. She had an active clinical career for 14 years in developmental disabilities, rehabilitation, mental health and acute care. She then worked for AOTA for 25 years in a variety of positions, including assistant director of practice, practice and technology program manager, and regional representative. Prior to retiring in May 2009, she was the association’s governance specialist, working with the Board of Directors and the Representative Assembly.

My favorite UF memory: The farewell dinner party for my OT class at the Primrose Inn in downtown Gainesville. We had so much fun that night telling stories about each other over the two years we had been together. We also roasted the faculty. I never laughed so much as I did that night, and to this day, still cherish the lifelong friends I made from this class.

Best lesson learned at UF: How to observe people for who they really were and not let prejudices influence the observation. Dr. Alice Jantzen made us sit in front of a busy elevator in Shands for an hour and write down everything we saw. Then she critiqued us and I learned a lot about myself and gained an important skill that helped me serve my clients and colleagues effectively throughout my career.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most: Dr. Jantzen was the founder of the OT program (it was the only one within the deep south in the ’60s) and a mentor to me.  She admitted me to the program even when my grade point was below 3.0 and was always pushing me until her death to do the best I could no matter what job I had. She obviously saw in me a lot of potential that I did not see when I was in my 20s. She was an outstanding scholar in OT and very outspoken about having the profession move to master’s entry in the ’60s. We did not do it until the late ’90s. She was always way ahead of most of her colleagues, publishing extensive scholarly articles. She hated the politics within the profession and could get to the point faster than anyone I ever knew. She inspired me in the ’60s and still does in the 21st century.

People would be surprised to know: In 1995, my husband and I sold everything we owned and moved aboard our 36’ Morris sailboat. We sailed the east coast of the U.S. and the Caribbean islands for two years. We had no car or health insurance, just the dream of sailing full time aboard our boat. I became a very accomplished sailor and survived living with my husband 24 hours a day, 7 days a week! We have been married 42 years.

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Karen L. McCulloch, Ph.D., P.T., N.C.S.

Physical therapy bachelor’s ’83

 McCulloch is a professor and assistant director for Distance and Continuing Education in the division of physical therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches neuromuscular rehabilitation and functional outcome in the Doctor of Physical Therapy and Ph.D. in human movement science programs. Her clinical practice in neurorehabilitation is focused on traumatic brain injury. She has consistently served the neurology section of the American Physical Therapy Association in leadership roles and is currently the director of education.

My favorite UF memories: Our physical therapy class was small and classes were intense so we were a close knit group that did our best to enjoy learning how to be PTs. We had more than our share of class clowns that kept it interesting including memorable faculty impersonations. Some of us went to our first professional meeting in Atlanta, piling many into hotel rooms to save money. We have many funny memories from that trip!

I also am completely a Gator — even though I live in the heart of ACC basketball country, in the fall everyone knows I’m a Gator football fan. Since we were 0-10-1 my first year at UF, you might not think the fan bug would have bitten me so strong. My son and I did UF Game day when we returned to Gainesville — wish I was closer!

Best lesson learned as a PT: In our profession there is so much to learn, the degree program was just the start of it. It is a privilege to have chosen lifework that is such a good match for my personal values and priorities — to exercise intellectual curiosity every day while working with a range of different people, whether students or patients, to solve problems together….is an exceptional thing.

UF faculty member who influenced me the most:  We were guided by a wonderful group of faculty, but because I ended up specializing in neurologic rehabilitation, Martha (Marty) Wroe was one of my strongest influences, not only in school, but afterwards since I followed her lead and became involved in the Neurology Section of APTA. I remember she “read my palm” at one of our parties and offered great life advice — that continued in correspondence over the years where she urged more balance in life. Given all her world travels, clearly she has that part figured out. It was GREAT to see her, Claudette Finley and Jane Day at the awards ceremony. “Ms. Wroe” is as sharp as ever, still giggles with abandon, and drives her rolling walker faster than I usually walk.

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Jack T. Stephens, M.H.A., M.B.A.

Health administration master’s ’71  

Stephens retired last year from his position as president/CEO of Lakeland Regional Medical Center, a non-profit facility and Florida’s fourth largest hospital. He served in this capacity for 26 years. During his tenure at Lakeland Regional Medical Center, Stephens guided the expansion and renovation of facilities, including the Lakeland Regional Cancer Center, the Center for Advancing Quality of Life, the Rehabilitation and Sports Medicine Clinic, the emergency department, and operating rooms. In addition, he led initiatives to bring new programs and technologies to the Polk County area, including a state-designated trauma program, inpatient palliative care, robotic surgery, chest pain center, computer-navigated surgery, stroke interventions, lymph node mapping and advances in radiation therapy.