Faculty & Staff

*These are the 2018 faculty and staff and are subject to change*

Mike Weigold (ADV) – Program Director; Associate Dean for Undergraduate Affairs and Enrollment Management & Director of Distance Education

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born in New York City, love to travel, love Italy and all of the experiences that it offers.

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Hard working, loyal, high expectations.

What are your must-have items when traveling? Laptop, coffee, Google maps

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Every place I’ve been has been wonderful.  London, Paris, Barcelona, Kyoto, Dublin, Edinburgh, Venice, Rome, Sydney, all amazing.  Every destination has something spectacular to share.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Pizza. But then I couldn’t eat it.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Well, go.  You will never regret it for a second.  Do you homework and learn about the places we are going.  Make new friends.  Live without the distractions of home.  Be an Italian for one month


Debbie Treise (ADV) – Advertising Professor; Senior Associate Dean Division of Graduate Studies & Research

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. Hhhmmm…let’s see…born in Buffalo, worked as a creative director for many years at 8 different agencies and television stations, developed and owned a business in Houston.  I have two wonderful sons, got my PhD at Tennessee (go Vols!), I’m a flight instructor and love to travel!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Silly, optimistic, happy – life is good!

What are your must-have items when traveling? iPod (loaded with audiobooks), iPad (loaded with all the TV shows I don’t get the time to watch), computer

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Tough choice.  This is my 15th study abroad trip and I love every place we’ve been.  If forced, I guess I’d say Italy.  I lived there for a few years, so it feels like home…

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Easy one here – Chicago hot dogs!

What are you most looking forward to on our upcoming trip? Another easy one – love getting to know and spend time with students on the trip.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Know this will be a chance of a lifetime.  Keep an open mind, positive spirit, and be open to making new friends and experiencing new things.  Can’t wait to meet all of you!


Bridget Grogan (TEL) – Multimedia News Manager, Division of Media Properties

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born in Georgia, raised in Florida and have a passion for driving fast cars. I hate living where it snows. I LOVE teaching college students. They keep me young.

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Organized, silly, passionate educator

What are your must-have items when traveling? iPhone for taking pictures, comfortable shoes, hot rollers

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. I can’t decide.  I would have to say Ireland is a favorite because I got married there.  But there are so many other places I truly love…the Greek Islands, Barcelona and Seville, Spain.  I also love Belgium, Austria, France, the Netherlands, England, Germany.  And I am super-excited about ITALY!!  It’s on my bucket list.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Chocolate Gelato.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? As Mike says, do your homework and learn about the places we will visit.  The month goes by very quickly so it’s a good idea to make a list of your must-go places that you don’t want to miss.

Pack light and save room for souvenirs.  No need to pack 30 outfits.  No one will notice or care if you wear the same thing twice or ten times.  I over-packed last year and regretted it!


Tim Sorel (TEL) – Telecommunication Professor

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. 10th year at UF. I am a professional director of photography for film and TV.

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Imaginative, vocal, sentimental

What are your must-have items when traveling? Canon C100, laptop with Adobe Creative Cloud, cell phone, sunglasses, sunblock and running shoes.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Boston, MA where people have my kind of “attitude” 

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Vanilla iced birthday cake

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Be prepared to be adventurous. There are many group events but be willing and open to explore with a friend or a small group of friends


Kim Walsh-Childers (JOU) – Journalism Professor

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was born in Roswell, NM, while my dad was in the Air Force (which could explain a lot, eh?), but I grew up in a small town in southwest Missouri. I got my bachelor’s in journalism at the University of Missouri-Columbia and worked as a health reporter for several years before going to UNC-Chapel Hill for my master’s and Ph.D. My husband (a potter) and I have two sons, both of them now UF students. We also have two cats, a goofy Labrador retriever and two horses. We’ve now spent more than a year of our lives in Ireland, but this will be my first trip elsewhere in Europe – can’t wait!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Passionate, responsible and goofy.

What are your must-have items when traveling? Laptop, walking shoes, camera.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Ireland. I loved New Zealand, loved Canada, loved Japan. But I feel connected to Ireland in a way that’s almost creepy. It felt like home from the first time I landed on Irish soil.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Aaargh – I have to pick just one? OK, pizza. No, wait, steak. No, wait, really good cherries…

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? It’s not going to be like living in Florida or anywhere else in the United States. Relax and go with the flow, taking advantage of the chance to experience a totally different culture and to make new friends.


Tom Mueller – Advertising Professor

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I was in the sport and entertainment business – sponsorships, sport sanctioning, event management and agency work. My last big account was taking rally car racing into the ESPN X Games in Los Angeles in 2006. From there, I went to UF and earned my PhD in Advertising in 2009. One of my greatest experiences at UF has been traveling with the Mike Weigold world tour since 2007!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Persistent, diligent and trustworthy.

What are your must-have items when traveling? My Garmin running watch to save all my run loops, my traveler’s wallet that I wear around my neck, and my old Boy Scout compass…it helps me know which way to walk when I come out of a subway station or am traversing a new community.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. I love all the UF study abroads because the students make the trips memorable. The energy is infectious. I like anywhere outside the USA because it allows me to remain connected to other lifestyles and cultures.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Peanuts and tropical trail mix.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Enjoy this wonderful time in your life. You’ll make some friendships that will stand the test of time. Explore, but always stay aware of your surroundings. Use the time to reflect and think about the next chapters in your life.


Katy Robinson – Public Relations Ph.D. student

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. My heart is in Florida, and my roots are in Maine. Most recently, my love of people and passion for relationship-building has led me to pursue my Ph.D. at UF. That love and passion powers my research, made me a Gator, a mom (best thing ever), and makes me think every day is a new opportunity for a new person, a new relationship, and a new experience.

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Loyal. Direct. Compassionate.

What are your must-have items when traveling? I try to bring my best self on every trip, I pack light and let memories and friendships be my must-haves and souvenirs, this really cuts down on luggage costs too! That said, I’m rarely without a notebook, lip-gloss, and the citymapper app.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Santorini & Mykonos, Greece. Because they have many cats, and I love cats. I love the people of Greece too, they are genuine and sincere. They invite you to enjoy their culture through their fresh and delicious food, in a way you truly feel. Greece is an amazing place.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Coffee. Coffee should be added to the periodic table of elements.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? The new experiences Italy and the amazing group of study abroad students and travelers is about to share together! And cats. And coffee.


Amanda Kastrinos – Ph.D. Student  & Program Coordinator

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a science and health communication researcher working on my Ph.D. I went to UF for undergrad, and I loved it so much I decided to never leave! Aside from science and being a UF student, my other great love is traveling. I’m a big fan of museums and sight-seeing, but my favorite thing to do while traveling is explore the outdoors.

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Curious. Enthusiastic. Silly.

What are your must-have items when traveling? Comfortable shoes. Invest in some Birkenstocks!

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. I don’t think I can narrow down to one place, but my top three are definitely Greece, Denmark, and Switzerland.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? PASTA

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Walk as much as you can and leave time for exploring. When you get home you’ll be grateful for all the memories you made along the way!


Summer Shelton – Ph.D. Student & Program Coordinator

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a third year PhD student in health communication. (But I also studied for a time at that school which shall not be named..FSU). I love to travel but have not made it to Australia yet so am very excited for the trip this year!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Dry-humored, Caring, Fun-loving

What are your must-have items when traveling? Phone charger, access to my e-mail, nothing else really; I travel fairly light.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Nice, France. It’s just really beautiful,  relaxing and I really want to retire and open up a flower shop there some day.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Cake, birthday. See also cake, cookie.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Be open-minded and try new things. As I tell my mom when traveling abroad with her, you didn’t come to INSERT RANDOM TRAVEL DESTINATION HERE to live exactly how you do at home!


Colin Kearney – Ph.D. Student & Program Coordinator

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a third-year doctoral student studying media history. I was born and raised in Virginia and although I come from an Irish and German heritage, am thrilled to add a bit of Italian to the mix!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Loyal, quick-witted, multi-dimensional

What are your must-have items when traveling? Phone charger, laptop charger, tablet charger, Los Angeles Chargers (you see the pattern)

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. New Orleans, Louisiana. Incredible food, music, and history throughout the city

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Pasta.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Take in as much of this opportunity as possible. In the immortal words of Ms. Frizzle from The Magic School Bus, “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” and have a great experience!


Vaughan James – Ph.D. Student & Program Coordinator

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Tell us a little bit about yourself. I’m a native Floridian, born in Miami. Flash forward to now and I’m a third-year Ph.D. student studying science and health communication here at UF. I’m a great big nerd – I like reading and video games, quiet coffee shops and uncrowded museums. I’m a big fan of travel, though I’ve never been to Italy – I think it’ll be a great addition to the list!

If you could describe yourself using three adjectives, what would they be? Calm, poised, witty

What are your must-have items when traveling? Headphones and something to give me recommendations on the best place to eat.

Best place you’ve ever traveled and why. Japan, and Mount Koya specifically. That was some of the most beautiful scenery I’ve seen in my entire life.

If you could have an endless supply of any food, what would it be? Noodle soups of any kind. I could drown in ramen or pho. Coffee is a close second.

What advice do you have for our students about traveling abroad? Take it all in, and don’t be afraid to feel a little uncomfortable. Try a new activity, order blindly in a restaurant – if you’re too worried about looking like a fool, you won’t have near as much fun.


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