The Beat: Gators Giving Back

Quote of the Week

“Chestnut brown canary/Ruby throated sparrow/Sing a song, don’t be long/Thrill me to the marrow.”  – Stephen Stills painting a beautiful picture in his opus Suite: Judy Blue Eyes. Stills will speak at the fall commencement ceremonies this weekend.

World Changers

Emails like the one below are why we started this newsletter. Alumna Nermine Khouzam Rubin and her daughter Samantha (currently a senior at UF) climbed Mount Kilimanjaro, and ripped off a Gator Chomp at 19,341 feet to raise awareness for their recently-founded nonprofit Water4Mercy!

Here’s what Nermine had to say about the trip and Water4Mercy:

Inspired by Samantha, in early 2018 Nermine founded Water4Mercy, which seeks to transform the world one person at a time by providing schools, medical clinics, and villages in third world countries in Africa with permanent and sustainable water and agricultural solutions.

With Israeli partner innovation:Africa, Water4Mercy is bringing advanced solar, water, and agricultural technologies to remote African villages.

The advanced solar powered water wells with remote monitoring result in 100% successful implementation of optimal, clean water to schools, medical clinics, and villages throughout Africa.

Drip irrigation for farming is then implemented and is a means for the villagers to get out of poverty and move towards financial self sufficiency. ONE & DONE!!

Incredible, right?! Nermine and Samantha are making a serious change in the world!


After checking out Water4Mercy’s website, it’s easy to see why Nermine was moved to action. The images alone are powerful enough, but the statistics are absolutely staggering — 1.8 billion people using drinking water contaminated with feces; the equivalent of 15 laps around a football field spent searching for water; 350 million people living in sub-Saharan Africa in need of water.

It always sounds like lip service when we say that Gator Nation is everywhere, and that we’re changing people’s lives daily. But Nermine and Samantha are one more bit of proof of the kindness that UF pumps out on the reg.

If you’re interested in checking out what Water4Mercy is all about, here’s a link to the site. Here’s a direct link to their donation page. We thought their swag was pretty cool, too, so here’s the link for that. We also found this case study particularly interesting. And here’s a link to a separate site to see just how, after receiving funds for a village, the team turns money into clean water.

As with past links, we’re not explicitly saying go donate to this site. But, as Gators, we’re gonna support Water4Mercy to the fullest, and showcase yet another set of Gators doing well in the world. And please send us more emails! Our inbox is open for all Gators who are doing great.

We’re also here for the pics of Gator Chomps over the globe!

mt kilamanjaro gator chomp



Antarctica Is Gator Country

Last week we wrote about Ph.D. candidate Christina Davis becoming one of the first people in the history of mankind to explore Mercer Subglacial Lake in Antarctica. Well, Christina should feel a sense of home while down on the frozen continent, because alumnus Jeff Wilson has already claimed Antarctica as Gator Country.

Jeff emailed us this great pic of he and his son (literally) chilling down south and repping the Gators.

gators in antarctica

So, let’s see here, in one week we’ve covered the top of Mount Kilimanjaro to down in Antarctica. Not too shabby, Gator Nation. Like we said, we’re here for alllll the global Gator photos.


Gator Tracks

Here’s a smattering of articles, images, and all things Gators from the week. Enjoy!

Propelling Space Travel

Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo successfully flew into space this week, and it included a tech payload that was developed at UF!

More on the space mission here
And bonus pic of the payload here!

Smart Irrigation

UF researchers have received a five-year, $5 million grant from the USDA to work with growers on using alternative watering systems. Pretty cool stuff here, as the scientists will go into locations that have faced some form of drought, and test domestic wastewater, brackish groundwater, and surface water that does not meet regulatory requirements. The intent is to curb excessive freshwater usage and overcome drought conditions by using the Internet of Things.

More on this awesome agriculture here

Inventor U

Dr. Christine Schmidt, chair in the Department of Biomedical Engineering, and Dr. Philip Koehler, a professor in urban entomology, have been named 2018 fellows in the National Academy of Inventors.

Dr. Schmidt invented the tech to create a decentralized transplant tissue, while Dr. Koehler has been a stalwart supporter of the educational model (in other words, through videos, trainings, and mentorship, his hands are all over modern entomology).

More on the inventors here

We’ll Do It Live

President Fuchs filmed a Facebook Live at the College of Design, Construction and Planning, talking with students who were showing their end of semester projects. If you went through any of the Design school (say, if you’re the wife of somebody who sends out a weekly alumni-based newsletter), this FB Live is for you! It’ll bring back some memories — of the projects and camaraderie, and probably of some of the insomnia.

Watch Facebook Live here

Sports Corner

Six Bits

    1. Baseball’s new ballpark will break ground in February, be finished in 2020, and has renderings that look like something straight out of Disney.
    2. Alex McMurtry has been named one of the NCAA Today’s Top 10 Award recipients. She’s one of only 10 (!!!) student-athletes recognized for their successes on the field, in the classroom and in the community by the NCAA Honors Committee.
    3. Defensive end Jachai Polite was named to the AP All-America Second Team. 386 stand up!
    4. Holly Carlton, Thayer Hall and Rachael Kramer have all been awarded American Volleyball Coaches Honorable Mention All-America accolades.
    5. Between donating to Toys for Tots and making a wonderful visit to the children’s ward at Shands, the softball team is certainly spreading holiday cheer.
    6. Here’s an up-close visual of what it was like for sophomore Oliver Crawford to make the Team USA tennis roster.


UFact of the Week

The first commencement held at Florida Field took place in 1937! You can check out a photo of that ceremony here.

See y’all next week!

Go Gators!