Five College of Medicine faculty are among 31 women being honored by UCF Faculty Excellence during March for Women’s History Month. The women were nominated by peers and colleagues for their impact on campus and the wider community. This year’s College of Medicine honorees include physicians, a racecar-driving molecular biologist, a librarian and a researcher studying fertility in elephants.
Meet the honorees.
Dr. Camilla Ambivero
Assistant Professor, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences, College of Medicine
Once a Knight, always a Knight. Dr. Ambivero, an Italian-Brazilian immigrant, came to UCF 17 years ago as an eager freshman and has not left since. After completing her undergraduate studies in microbiology and molecular biology at UCF, she stayed on to complete her master’s and later a Ph.D. She now teaches courses in microbiology, immunology and molecular biology at UCF’s main and Osceola regional campuses and continues to conduct research in microbiology on how mitochondria in cells functions under different stresses, such as lack of oxygen, and how these changes can ultimately cause disease.
When she is not in the lab or the classroom, you can probably find her driving racecars at events around Florida with her brother who builds cars and races professionally.
“This recognition is a great honor for me to represent not only our department, but also all the young women who are interested in science, regardless of their background,” she said. “There is no obstacle we cannot overcome when we put our mind to it. The most rewarding feeling so far has been the email I received from a former female student who said I was a role model to women in STEM, including herself.”
Dr. Feroza Daroowalla
Associate Professor, Medical Education, College of Medicine
Dr. Daroowalla is a practicing pulmonologist and a medical educator who has been involved at the medical school, post-graduate and professional development levels, for most of her career. Currently, she teaches at the UCF College of Medicine in all four years of the curriculum and provides pulmonary and critical care for patients at the Orlando VAMC.
She is board certified in internal medicine, pulmonary disease, critical care medicine, hospice and palliative medicine, and occupational medicine.
“Our group of Women’s History Month Honorees is but an example of the diverse and accomplished women at UCF leading and creating positive change at the University and beyond,” Dr. Daroowalla said. “I am indebted and grateful to all the women who support us now, opened doors for us in the past, and I work to widen the path for those that follow.”
Dr. Tina Dow
Assistant Professor, Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences
Dr. Dow has been an assistant professor in the Burnett School of Biomedical Sciences since 2016. She received her master’s and Ph.D. in reproductive physiology from the West Virginia University. She has spent the last 12 years investigating physiological and endocrine factors contributing to infertility in female elephants.
She recently began a research collaboration in Botswana to study male elephants, specifically physiological factors that influence how they utilize natural resources and how that facilitates possible human-elephant interactions.
“It is such an incredible honor to be recognized among such an esteemed and diverse group of women,” Dr. Dow said. “Women’s History is not just about accomplishments, but also hard work, dedication, and perseverance. As such, the achievements of my fellow honorees are nothing short of inspirational.”
Dr. Olga Karasik
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, College of Medicine
Dr. Karasik is a leader in training internal medicine residents through the College of Medicine’s consortium with HCA Healthcare. She joined the UCF College of Medicine in 2014 as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine and is now the associate program director for the Internal Medicine Residency Program.
She completed her medical training at the Technion Israel Institute of Technology Medical School in Haifa, Israel followed by an internal medicine residency at Maimonides Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. She is a licensed physician in the state of Florida, and is certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.
“I am delighted and honored to be recognized as one of the 31 women acknowledged by UCF in the month of March,” Dr. Karasik said. “It is my hope to be able to support, motivate and inspire many women and men, young and old, who will keep inspiring others. Together we will grow as a community to become better and kinder human beings for a better and kinder society.”
Medical Instructor Librarian, Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library, College of Medicine
Williams joined the Harriet F. Ginsburg Health Sciences Library team in 2010 as a library technical assistant, and now serves as the user services librarian. She is responsible for creating library promotional and informational displays and materials, markets and promotes library events and services, and assesses the needs of the different patrons who utilize library resources. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Studio Art and a master’s degree in library and information studies from Florida State University, as well as a certificate in information architecture. Her artwork can be seen on display as part of the library’s décor.
“I feel extremely humbled to be included in this list of faculty,” Williams said. “This recognition helps me embrace the reality that the work I do does in fact make an impact, and that that impact has a further reach than I ever would have anticipated. I consider myself to still be fairly early in my career as a member of UCF’s faculty, so being included in this group of outstanding educators is really encouraging and makes me excited to see what more I can do to be a good representative for my college and the university as a whole.”
The honorees will be celebrated March 31 during a reception at the Burnett House.
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