As the coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to dominate daily news cycles, UCF experts in areas ranging from hospitality, tourism, economics and student health services are helping shape the conversation surrounding the effects of the virus on various industries and the community as a whole.

Kenneth Adams, professor

— Ph.D. in criminal justice from State University of New York at Albany
— Research interests include police use of force, adjudication, juvenile justice, mentally ill inmates and corrections

  • Miami Herald: Florida prisons boss can’t release inmates amid COVID-19. But can he furlough them?

Salvador Almagro-Moreno, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in microbiology from University College Cork
— Research focuses on the evolution and emergence of pathogenic bacteria

Barbara Andraka-Christou, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in law and social science from Indiana University
— Expertise includes health services, health policy and substance use disorder
— Leads a working group with other faculty and graduate students at UCF about substance use disorder treatment in the court system

James Bacchus, distinguished university professor of Global Affairs and director of the Center for Global Economic and Environmental Opportunity

— Founding judge and was twice the chairman – the chief judge – of the highest court of world trade, the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, Switzerland
— Former member of United States Congress
— Former international trade negotiator for the United States

Carissa Baker ’08 ’18PhD, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in texts and technology from UCF
— Expert in theme parks and attractions, narrative and culture, guest experience, media studies, technology and sustainable tourism
— Industry experience includes years in operations at Disney and Universal on both coasts and consulting on theme park projects in a few countries

Paul Banerjee, clinical professor emergency medicine

— Medical degree from the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine

Larry Barton, distinguished university professor of crisis management and public safety

— Ph.D. in international relations and public policy from Boston University
— Named the highest-rated instructor for more than a decade at the FBI Academy and U.S. Marshals Service where he teaches courses in threat evaluation to federal and state law enforcement
— Selected as the first Fulbright Scholar to Japan in crisis management

Deborah Beidel, trustee chair, Pegasus Professor and director of UCF RESTORES

— Licensed psychologist with a Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh
Author of more than 250 scientific publications including journal articles, book chapters and books on the treatment of anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder and has been the recipient of over $19 million dollars in research funding 

— Recent work focuses on utilizing technology to translate and disseminate efficacious treatments for anxiety disorders and PTSD into standard clinical practice

Annette Bourgault, assistant professor for the College of Nursing

— Ph.D. in nursing, Georgia Health Sciences University
— Research focus in areas of critical care and evidence-based practice
— Research scientist with Orlando Health and editor for Critical Care Nurse, a journal of the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses
— Experience as nurse educator in critical care during SARS outbreak in Ontario, Canada

Rick Brunson ’84, associate instructor

— Before joining the UCF faculty in 2003, worked as a reporter or editor at newspapers throughout Central Florida, including the Sentinel, the Tampa Tribune and the Daytona Beach News-Journal
— Serves as the instructor/advisor for the award-winning magazine, Centric, and advises the Nicholson School of Communications and Media’s chapter of the Radio Television Digital News Association

  • 90.7 WMFE: Intersection: Trust In The Media, Reporting On COVID-19 & Emergency Management In The Pandemic

Mark Bush, lecturer and undergraduate health services administration academic program coordinator

— Ph.D. in healthcare administration from Central Michigan University

Laurie Campbell, assistant professor

— Expertise includes instructional design and technology

Thomas Cavanagh ’06PhD, vice provost for digital learning

— Earned his Ph.D. in texts and technology from UCF

— Research interests include e-learning, technical communication, and the societal influence of technology on education, training, culture, and commerce
— Named an Online Learning Consortium Fellow in 2014

James Clark, associate lecturer

— Earned a Ph.D. in history from University of Florida
— Research interests include Florida history, U.S. South and presidential history

  • Politico: Florida’s No-Rules Vibe Gets a Coronavirus Reality Check

Robertico Croes, director of the Dick Pope Sr. Institute for Tourism Studies and associate dean for Rosen College of Hospitality Management’s Research and Administration

— Earned a Ph.D. in applied economics from University of Twente
— Expertise in tourism economics, human development, poverty and destination management with special interest in small and developing economies
— Has published four books and is a contributor to more than a dozen books

Michael Deichen, associate vice president for student health services

— M.D. from University of South Florida
— Areas of interest include emerging public health threats and emergency response
— Experience in dealing with numerous communicable-disease threats, including H1N1, Ebola and Zika virus

Carol Ann Dykes Logue, site manager of Central Florida Research Park Incubator

Chris Emrich, associate professor

— Founding member of the newly formed National Center for Integrated Coastal Research (UCF Coastal)
— Research interests include hazards geography, social vulnerability, disaster recovery and resilience, emergency management decision support and geospatial information science

Cameron Ford, associate professor

— Ph.D. in business administration from Pennsylvania State University
— Founding director of the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership and StarterLab — Director of UCF Blackstone LaunchPad

Alan Fyall, associate dean of academic affairs at Rosen College of Hospitality Management

— Ph.D. in destination management from Bournemouth University
— Visit Orlando endowed chair, interim chair of the Tourism, Events and Attractions Department and director of graduate programs at the Rosen College of Hospitality Management
— Research interests relate to smart and sustainable tourism and destination resilience in Florida, the Caribbean and South East Asia

— Published widely in the areas of tourism and destination marketing and management, including 22 books

Latha Ganti, professor of emergency medicine and neurology

— M.D. from Ponce School of Medicine (Ponce, Puerto Rico)
— Research interests include emergency medicine and vascular neurology

Jeanette Garcia, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in exercise physiology from the University of Virginia
— Expert in special populations, mixed-method designs, behavioral medicine and activity assessment

Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and dean of UCF College of Medicine

— M.D. from Harvard Medical School

Jane Gibson, chair of clinical sciences and professor

— Ph.D. in pathology/laboratory medicine from University of Florida
— Specialty includes molecular genetics and molecular pathology

William Gordon ’09EdD, lecturer

— Earned his Ed.D. in educational leadership from UCF
— Co-authored a nationally and internationally recognized textbook, Developing the Curriculum

F.E. Enrique Guerra-Pujol, instructor

— J.D. from Yale Law School
— Research interests include markets, property rights and the philosophy of law

Maria Harrington, assistant professor

— Research focus is on virtual nature and the aesthetics in the perceptual ambient array and information science theory as it relates to reality and beauty found in natural environments using augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), GIS simulations, and new media art to explore the phenomena of human reactions
— Has consulted on projects using AR and VR with the Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Spectrum News 13: UCF App Helps Those Isolated by Coronavirus Get Outdoors

Richard Hartshorne, professor

— Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction with a focus on educational technology production and technology and teacher education from University of Florida
— Research interests include emerging technology in K12 and higher education,  online and blended teaching and learning, technology in STEM and social studies education

Gordon Henry, lecturer

— Ph.D. in applied behavior analysis from Western Michigan University
— 29 years of experience serving as a professor and administrator in psychology departments and business schools at colleges and universities nationwide

James Hickman, Professor

— Ph.D. in chemistry from M.I.T.
— His lab involves the creation of new test-beds of functional human-on-a-chip systems to investigate spinal cord repair, ALS, Alzheimer’s, diabetes and other diseases.

Robert (Robin) Hines, associate professor

— Ph.D. in epidemiology from the University of Alabama at Birmingham

— Primary role at the College of Medicine focuses on research in the field of population health with an emphasis on cancer epidemiology

Aubrey Jewett, political science associate professor

— Ph.D. in political science from Florida State University
— Specializes in American national, state and local politics and policy with an emphasis on Florida

Naim Kapucu, Pegasus Professor and director of the UCF School of Public Administration

— Ph.D. in public and international affairs from the University of Pittsburgh

Research interests include emergency and crisis management, network leadership and governance, decision-making in complex environments, and social inquiry and public policy and collaborative public management

Marcia Katz, associate dean for Clinical Affairs at College of Medicine

— M.D. from Boston University
— Practicing pulmonary and critical care physician

Kerlene King ’10MS, manager of Learning Management System Services for UCF Center of Distributed Learning

— Master’s degree in management information systems
— Utilizes LMS data to assist in improving student success.

Michael Kinzel, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Pennsylvania State University
— Working on developing a lozenge that thickens the saliva and reduces droplets and aerosols from a cough or sneeze

Amanda Koontz, associate professor

— Ph.D. in sociology from Florida State University
— Research interests include social inequalities, culture and consumption, identities and social psychology

Anand Krishnamoorthy, associate professor

— Ph.D. in management science (marketing) from University of Texas at Dallas
— Research interests include advertising competition, distribution channels and sales force management

Richard Lapchick, eminent scholar, endowed chair and director of the UCF DeVos Sport Business Management

— Ph.D. in international race relations from the University of Denver
Human rights activist, author, pioneer for racial equality and internationally recognized expert on sports issues

— President of the Institute for Sport & Social Justice

Eunkyung “Muriel” Lee, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in epidemiology, with an emphasis on cancer epidemiology from the University of Miami
— Registered dietitian nutritionist

Kristy Lewis, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in oceanography and coastal sciences from Louisiana State University
— Core member of UCF’s Sustainable Coastal Systems Cluster
— Work explores the impacts of disturbances (such as habitat loss, oil spills, and climate change) on fish communities and humans using coastal resources using various ecological, statistical, and geospatial modeling techniques

Karol Lucken, associate professor

— Ph.D. in criminology from Florida State University
— Research interests include punishment in America, victim services and judicial behavior and decision-making in civil protection order hearings

  • Miami Herald: Florida prisons boss can’t release inmates amid COVID-19. But can he furlough them?

Kate Mansfield, associate professor

— Ph.D. in marine science from College of William and Mary
— Marine scientist and sea turtle biologist
— Research interests include marine biology and vertebrate zoology with an emphasis on sea turtle ecology, behavior, habitat use and conservation

Luis Martinez-Fernandez, professor

— Ph.D. in history from Duke University
— Expertise includes Latin America, the Caribbean, education and Latino / Hispanic politics, culture and society

Carolyn Massiah, associate lecturer

— Ph.D. in marketing from Arizona State University
— Serves as associate chair of Department of Marketing

— Research interests include consumption experiences, commercial friendships, commercial social support, ethnic consumption, nested identities, sense of community and social networks

Don Merritt ’15PhD, director of UCF Office of Instructional Resources

— Ph.D. in texts and technology from UCF
— Experienced in the study of virtual environments, video games and accessibility

Ady Milman, professor

— Ph.D. in business administration from University of Massachusetts at Amherst
— Expertise in tourism planning and development, airline management, travel agency management, theme park and attraction management, consumer behavior, international travel and international academic programs

Kevin Murphy, professor

– Ph.D. in hospitality and tourism management from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

— Expertise in food service and hospitality human resources, food safety and sanitation

Lindsay Neuberger, associate professor

— Ph.D. from Michigan State University
— Research interests include health campaigns, translational research, and risk communication

Michael Pape, professor of practice

— Ph.D. in biochemistry from Purdue University

— Expertise includes entrepreneurship, problem solving and technology/science and business interface

Daniel Paulson, associate professor

— Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Wayne State University
— Director of the Orlando Later-Life Developmental Research (OLDeR) Lab at UCF

— Clinical and research interests include late-life depression and interventions for caregivers of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease and other life-limiting disorders

Jennifer Peck, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in criminology from the University of South Florida
— Research interests include racial/ethnic disparities in the juvenile justice system, treatment of disadvantaged groups throughout juvenile court processing, and special populations in courts and corrections

Abraham Pizam, Linda Chapin Eminent Scholar Chair in Tourism Management

— Ph.D. in business administration from Cornell University
— Founding dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management and served in that role for more than 15 years until his return to faculty in 2018
— Expertise includes tourism planning and development, tourism safety and security, consumer behavior, hospitality and tourism marketing, hospitality and tourism human resources management and hospitality cross-cultural management

Roberto Potter, professor

— Ph.D. from the University of Florida

— Research interests include inter-organizational operations, human trafficking and correctional healthcare

Kimberly Renk, associate professor

— Ph.D. in clinical psychology from University of South Florida
— Head of Understanding Young Children and Families research laboratory

Fernando Rivera, professor

— Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Nebraska
— Founding director of the Puerto Rico Research Hub and is recognized as one of the leading voices with regards to Puerto Rico in Central Florida

— Research interests include medical sociology/sociology of health, race and ethnicity, and the sociology of disasters

David Rozek, assistant professor

— Ph.D. from University of Notre Dame
— Research examines cognitive and behavioral interventions for posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), suicidal thoughts and behaviors, and depression

Erin Saitta ’06 ’10PhD, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in chemistry from UCF

— Chemistry education researcher

Gerald J. Schiffhorst, professor emeritus of English

Eric Schrimshaw, professor

— Ph.D. in social and personality psychology from City University of New York
— Serves as chair of the Department of Population Health Sciences
— Research interests include HIV/AIDS research and prevention, sexual health, LGBTQ health disparities and social determinants of health

Valerie Schulz, health sciences instructor

— Registered dietitian nutritionist and certified diabetes educator
— Licensed nutrition and dietetics professional

J. Blake Scott, professor

— Ph.D. in English from Pennsylvania State University

— Studies medical rhetoric and has focused on the AIDS crisis of the 1980s

Sudipta Seal, professor and chair of UCF Material Sciences and Engineering

— Ph.D. in materials engineering from University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee

— Expertise in engineering materials with nanoparticle additives

Ryan Seilhamer ’03 ’09MA, assistant director of mobile strategy and innovation

— Project manager of UCF Mobile app
— Publications include various peer-reviewed journal articles, a book chapter, and numerous industry-leading website articles

Timothy Sellnow, professor

— Ph.D. in communication from Wayne State University
— Research focuses on bioterrorism, pre-crisis planning and strategic communication for risk management and mitigation in organizational and health settings
— Served in an advisory role for the National Academy of Sciences and the World Health Organization

Sean Snaith, director of UCF’s Institute for Economic Forecasting

— Ph.D. in economics from Pennsylvania State University

— Nationally recognized economist in the field of business and economic forecasting

Yan Solihin, professor of computer science

— Ph.D. in computer science from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
— Director of UCF’s cyber security and privacy cluster
— Research interests include secure execution environment and computer architecture

Kenneth Stanley, Charles Millican Professor in Computer Science

— Ph.D. in computer science from University of Texas at Austin
— Research interests include artificial intelligence, artificial neural networks, evolutionary computation, neuroevolution, artificial life, machine learning, video game AI, generative and developmental systems, indirect encoding

Axel Stock, associate professor of marketing

— Ph.D. in management with specialization in marketing from Purdue University
— Expert in consumer purchasing and product scarcity
— Research interests include game theory, economics of uncertainty and information, competitive strategy, product management, pricing and product scarcity strategies

Kelvin Thompson ’99MA ’05EdD, UCF Center for Distributed Learning executive director

— Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from University of Central Florida
— Regularly addresses groups throughout the U.S. on topics related to online/blended learning and educational technology
— Co-hosts TOPcast: The Teaching Online Podcast

Jill Viglione, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in criminology, law and society from George Mason University
— Expertise includes corrections, program implementation and evaluation and survey research

Larry J. Walker, assistant professor

— Ed.D. from Morgan State University
— Has nearly a decade of experience working in rural, urban, and suburban school districts
— Research interests include traits of successful leaders, recruitment and retention of black male teachers, the impact of environmental factors on the academic performance and socio-emotional functioning of black students and how federal and state policies impact under-served and marginalized populations

Linda Walters, Pegasus Professor

— Research interests include human impacts in the marine environment

Youcheng Wang, dean of the Rosen College of Hospitality Management

— Ph.D. from the University of Illinois
— William C. Peeper Preeminent Professorship in Destination Marketing
— Expertise in hospitality and destination marketing, customer relationship management, destination image and branding
— Co-editor of Journal of Destination Marketing and Management and is the author of four books and more than 150 scientific publications

Tracy Wharton, associate professor

— Ph.D. in social work from University of Alabama
— Research interests include healthcare access and quality of care for older adults, dementia caregiver support in community based settings and environmental support for aging in place, and on early identification of high risk behaviors in dementia

Danny White, vice president and director of athletics

— Doctorate in higher education from University of Mississippi

Chrysalis L. Wright, associate lecturer

— Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Florida International University
— Research interest centers around media and technological influences on development and behavior (broadly defined)

Haofei Yu, assistant professor

— Ph.D. in environmental health from University of South Florida

  • Daytona Beach News-Journal: Coronavirus: Less driving means cleaner air, experts say

Shunpu Zhang, chair of the UCF Department of Statistics & Data Science and professor

— Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Alberta, Canada
— Research interests include general statistical methodology, Bayes and empirical Bayes methodology, bioinformatics, large scale multiple hypothesis testing and its applications, financial portfolio optimization, sampling technology, statistical methods related to influenza virus genotyping and big data analytics


Deborah German, vice president for health affairs and dean of UCF College of Medicine

Shantel Hebert-Magee, College of Medicine associate professor

Kevin Mercer Mitchell, adjunct professor of history

Rob Panepinto, director of Innovation Districts Strategy and Partnerships

Gary Rhodes, associate professor of film

Michael Strawser, Nicholson School of Communication and Media professor

Larry West, health management and informatics professor


If you are a UCF faculty or staff member with expertise related to the coronavirus and its community impact, please email Heather Smith ( at the UCF communications department.

More to Share

In addition to conducting interviews with news reporters, UCF faculty and staff are also sharing practical information through social media and other outlets to help us adjust to life in a time of social distancing and remote learning.

WUCF’s “Meet the Helpers”

WUCF TV’s Meet the Helpers is a multiplatform project for teaching children about first responders and other community helpers and better preparing them for emergency situations.

  • How to Talk to Your Kids About Coronavirus

Amanda Groff ’03 ’07MA, associate lecturer and online undergraduate coordinator

— Ph.D. in anthropology from University of Florida— Won the inaugural Chuck D. Dziuban Excellence in Online Teaching Award in 2012

Alisha Janowsky, assistant chair and director of psychology undergraduate program

— Ph.D. from Florida Atlantic University

Roslyn Miller, instructional designer for UCF Center of Distributed Learning

— Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from Mississippi State University
— Research interests include effective instruction, learner motivation and STEM education
— Has presented at regional and national conferences, published articles in education journals, and served as a peer reviewer for education journals

Bruce Wilson, professor, and Rebecca Schiel, postdoctoral researcher

— Wilson’s research interests: politics of Central America, the Carribbean, and Latin American countries, comparative judicial reform, political economy, and political parties and interest groups
— Schiel’s research interests: human rights, civil-military relations, international political economy and democratization