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Alex Boylan: Next we have Kristy, an Assistant Professor of Biology who specializes in coastal research, which is a big deal in Florida. She’s going to tell us about her work with the environment and how UCF’s focus on local research has the potential to better the world.

Kristy, you’re on now.

Dr. Kristy Lewis: Thanks, Alex.

Florida is certainly famous for its beaches, but the state also has many other ecosystems to explore. From the coastlines to the heart of Central Florida, UCF’s location is a major asset for students who want to participate in field research, while learning beside some of the best and brightest scientists working to conserve the environment around us.

I was specifically drawn to UCF to join the National Center for Integrated Coastal Research. Here, I work with researchers from diverse study areas to find solutions to pressing issues like sea-level rise and the harmful algal bloom caused by red tide, both which impact Florida’s number 1 industry, tourism. Addressing these issues head-on could potentially prevent millions of dollars of lost revenue for Florida communities.

Our center’s efforts showcase just a few of the initiatives that have received national recognition for their impact. UCF’s strides in solar energy have been recognized with several awards by the US Department of Energy, and we even harvest our own honey at the UCF Arboretum as an official Bee Campus USA. Our Marine Turtle Research Group partners with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and has established a permanent research facility on the Space Coast.

UCF research has also led to the ban of certain sunscreen ingredients due to their harmful impacts on coral reefs. Our biologists and engineers are working tirelessly to find new ways to protect Florida’s threatened coral reefs. These fragile ecosystems are not only important to the health of the ocean, they also generate billions of dollars in local income, provide more than 70,000 jobs, and protect the state’s shorelines from storms and hurricanes.

Everyone at UCF recognizes the importance of protecting our planet, and it all starts right here in our own backyard. When you attend UCF, you’ll have unique opportunities in the classroom, in the sand, out on the water, and in the wild. We’re ready for you to come join us in shaping the future of our home.

Back to you, Alex.

Alex Boylan: Thank you, Dr. Kristy. That was great.

From sea to solar, UCF seems like a great place to study ways to better understand and protect the world around us. Talk about making an impact.

Thanks again, Dr. Kristy, for all the important work you and other researchers at UCF do for us.

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