“She’s honest, funny, and down to earth. I’ve never seen a speaker like her” said Angelina Dees, a first year Criminal Justice and Forensic Analysis Major, of Dr. Jan Garavaglia’s speech to UCF First Generation College Students on November 10.

As the keynote speaker for the Fall First Generation Speaker Series, Dr. Jan Garavaglia, chief medical examiner with Florida’s District Nine Medical Examiner Office in Orlando, spoke to more than 300 students about being the first in her family to attend college, her desire to become a doctor and her path to becoming a forensic pathologist. “Dr. G” not only inspired students by sharing her stories and insight, she also stayed after the program to talk to a long line of students waiting to get her signature, take a picture or simply get her advice.

“Dr. G is an inspiration. I plan to attend medical school in order to practice forensic pathology as well,” said senior Nicole Harvilla, forensic science major. “I cannot wait to help people in the same way she does.”

 Student Development and Enrollment Services’ staff members Jennifer Muscadin and Natalia Leal, who coordinated the event, shared that Dr. G’s main desire for coming to UCF was simply to make a difference in students’ lives. “This is the type of speaker that we are aiming to bring to campus through the First Generation Speaker Series, individuals whose main interest is to make a positive impact on first generation students” said Muscadin.

Developed by the MASS’ First Generation Program and PRIME STEM Project, the speaker series connects UCF first generation students with outstanding leaders and scholars, not only so that they can get insight and information from individuals in their fields of interest, but also so they can begin to build their own professional networks.

This series is possible through the sponsorship of the Parent and Family Fund SDES Creed Grant and campus partners including Career Services, Pre-Med AMSA, McNair Scholars Program, RAMP, Office of Undergraduate Research, and EXCEL.

MASS and the PRIME STEM Project are in the Division of Student Development and Enrollment Services.