The Beat: We Did It, Gator Nation!

Quote of the Week

“Stay connected, to one another and to the network of Gators spread across this globe. And come back, we will be here for you along the way.”  – Onye Ozuzu, dean of UF’s College of the Arts, addressing graduates during fall commencement.


Well, fam, we did it. We finally did it. We got ourselves a satellite. Last Sunday, NASA launched a UF satellite into space. The bad rascal is fittingly named CHOMPTT, short for CubeSat Handling Of Multisystem Precision Time Transfer.

“We’ve spent five and a half years to get to this point, and the launch is always the riskiest part,” said mechanical and aerospace engineering Associate Professor John Conklin. “Having passed that hurdle, it feels great.”

Now it’s time for CHOMPTT to go to work and show off that Gator Standard. CHOMPTT’s mission is to make GPS synchronization more accurate, thus making mapping even tighter and preventing any Michael Scott driving into a lake mishaps.

“On the Earth, your cell phone is accurate to about six meters when you go outside. What we’re trying to get it down to is six centimeters,” said Seth Nydam, a doctoral student who is working on the project.

From where we sit, six meters is already pretty darn good. But six centimeters?! That’s silly. So will it be successful? According to Conklin, CHOMPTT is already doing things never before seen on Earth.

“I mean, we already are successful, our clocks are working on orbit, that’s a first, no one has ever demonstrated an atomic clock operating successfully on such a small satellite as ours … so we’ve already hit a first with the mission.”

Ya know, only atomic clocks running perfectly in sync with the Earth’s orbit, no big deal or anything. Go Gators!


Education Evolution

One of the real challenges with academia is that many university professors are teaching only so they can receive research grants. Education is the byproduct. Sure we learn, but they’re not natural educators; their passions lie elsewhere.

This issue can be a barrier to entry for some students seeking out a certain path. It can also hamper career development. Leaders of the vet school have recognized this, and are working to rectify the situation.

“We veterinarians don’t get taught how to teach,” said Juan Samper, D.V.M., the college’s associate dean for academic and student affairs. “We come in trying to emulate the great teachers we had, but in these changing times, technology is affecting the way we do things. The newer generations have a different way of learning, and we need to think about how we as educators adapt to these different learning styles.”

In order to create a better educational structure, the vet school has formed the Southeast Veterinary Educational Consortium, a collection of professors and professionals from all around the Southeastern United States. Members institutions of the consortium include UGA, University of Tennessee, and NC State, among others. UF put up the initial sum to kickstart things, and was then joined by the fellow members.

“Many people might not know that when faculty come to a veterinary school, they’re often teaching their trade and may not know the most effective way of sharing their knowledge,” said Samper. “Our goal is to address this by combining the mindset of professional veterinarians with that of teachers.”

Together, members of the consortium will share their best practices from their relative areas of expertise. As a result, the veterinary profession as a whole will blossom. There will be less siloed learning, more collaboration, and a stronger, more well-rounded group of students entering the workforce.

“It’s different to teach in the classroom than in clinics, as it’s different to teach residents than it is to teach veterinary students. There are lots of levels of teaching and we need to address this and make sure we excel in all these facets,” Samper said.


Gator Tracks

Here’s a smattering of all things Gators from the week. Enjoy!

Well-Deserved Cred

Our main man, Scooter Magruder, was profiled by the New York Times. Pretty cool to learn a little about his craft, including all those t-shirts. Congrats, Scooter!

Read Scooter’s profile here

DOE Grant

The engineering school has received a $5 million (!) grant from the U.S. Department of Education to develop STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teachers across the state. The money will go toward lesson plan creation that ladders up to real-world tech jobs, more networking opportunities for educators, new technology, and more!

More on the grant here

Walking Cavefish

Yes, you read that headline correctly. UF participated in a study of walking cavefish, the only fish able to walk across land, in order to learn more about water-to-land transition in fish 400 million years ago.

Wild evolutionary stuff here

Consumer Habits

If you’re at all interested in e-commerce, we recommend checking out this article on probabilistic selling. The easiest way to describe probabilistic selling is to picture buying a hotel room through, say, Expedia — you purchase at a lowered fixed rate, with the provider saying it could be a parking lot view, or it could be a gorgeous beach view. The seller has already determined what room it’ll be, but consumers are left to their own hopefulness. To be expected, this head vs. heart technique has been a major coup for retailers.

More on probabilistic selling here

Home For Christmas

Here’s a nice little pick-me-up during the holidays: a set of conjoined twins that underwent separation surgery have returned safely home. The twins were born in May, underwent the precarious surgery in October and now, thanks to the great staff at Shands, will spend Christmas at home with their family. Best of all, the twin girls are expected to both make full recoveries and live healthy, normal lives! Once again, just wonderful work by the entire crew at Shands.

Read the heartwarming story here

Sports Corner

Six Bits

    1. Dan Mullen reestablished Central Florida as Gator Country, cleaning up Lakeland High and helping us jump in the national recruiting rankings.
    2. Outfielder Wil Dalton has been named to the preseason All-America Third Team.
    3. The baseball team is ranked No. 6 in Collegiate Baseball’s NCAA DI Preseason Poll!
    4. For the 27th time since 1991 the volleyball team has finished inside the Top-15!
    5. Junior golfers Sierra Brooks and Marta Perez, and freshman Clara Manzalini are on the Fall Watch List for the 2019 Arnold Palmer Cup!
    6. Speaking of the Arnold Palmer Cup, sophomore John Axelsen has earned a spot on the Fall Watch List for the men!


UFact of the Week

Last weekend’s commencement was the first time ever that each of UF’s colleges recognized each student individually rather than en masse.

See y’all next week!

Go Gators!