Honors Program Staff
Dr. Kevin Knudson, Director
Dr. Kevin Knudson, known to his students as Dr. K, was born in Wisconsin, but grew up in Winston-Salem, NC. He earned a B.S. in mathematics from the Honors Program at Virginia Tech in 1990; he was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa. He completed his Ph.D. in mathematics at Duke University in 1996. Dr. Knudson received a postdoctoral fellowship from the National Science Foundation which he used to work at Northwestern University. His first tenure-track job was at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI; after three years he left for a position at Mississippi State University. In his seven years at MSU, Dr. Knudson rose to the rank of professor of mathematics and was appointed associate director of the Shackouls Honors College. His primary responsibilities were the creation of the Honors Undergraduate Research Program and the direction of MSU’s Distinguished Scholars Program. He also served as acting director of the College in the fall of 2008. Dr. Knudson was appointed Director of the University Honors Program and Professor of Mathematics at UF in July, 2009.
The author of over 20 papers and a research monograph, Dr. Knudson works in the field of algebraic topology. His current research interests are in the areas of computational topology, topological data analysis, discrete Morse theory, and the homology of linear groups. When he is not thinking about math or the Honors Program, Dr. Knudson enjoys tennis, yoga, cycling, cooking, and reading. He is an avid baseball fan (although he has no talent for the game) and a coffee snob. He also folds origami and plays the dulcimer. He is married to book artist Ellen Knudson; they have one son, Gus. For more information about Dr. K, please visit his homepage.
Ms. Regan Garner, Associate Director, Advisor
Regan came to the Honors program by way of the Office of Admissions, where she was employed for five years. In her capacity as Assistant Director and National Merit recruiter in that office, Regan enjoyed working closely with prospective Honor students and their families. She was also instrumental in the development of the UF Welcome Center. Regan has a BA in Classical Studies and a M.Ed. in Social Foundations from UF. Her research interests are desegregation and the impact of socioeconomic and ethnic diversity on the American public school experience. Her thesis "School Without a Name" is a history of school desegregation in Gainesville and the founding of Eastside High School. It was published by the UF Journal of Law and Public Policy in 2005.
An avid cyclist, Regan has been a Gainesville resident for twenty years. She is always available to "talk town" and will happily recommend local restaurants, coffee shops, and entertainment to anyone interested in exploring the local community.
Ms. Garner can answer questions regarding: The Honors Program, General Advising, Honors Professional Development, Honors Ambassadors, The Washington Center Internship, Study Abroad in Lancaster England, Honors Internship Credit, and Prestigious Scholarships
Dr. Melissa Johnson, Associate Director, Advisor
Dr. Melissa Johnson received a B.A. in Classical Studies and History and an M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro where she was a Katherine Smith Reynolds Merit Scholar and Phi Beta Kappa initiate. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Technology from the University of Florida and continues to teach for that program as an adjunct. Her dissertation focused on the online teaching experiences of honors instructors across the country.
Dr. Johnson publishes and presents extensively on topics related to first year seminars, honors education, and educational technology. She is currently editing a book on digital transformations in undergraduate honors education and is serving on several journal editorial boards. Dr. Johnson is the incoming chair of the Advising High Achieving Students Commission and an Emerging Leaders Program Mentor for the National Academic Advising Association. She is also the principle investigator for a NACADA grant studying honors advising across the United States. She has been a cluster facilitator for LeaderShape Florida and is involved with the national Partners in the Parks program.
Dr. Johnson can answer questions regarding: The Honors Program, General Advising, Honors Admission, External Fundraising for the Honors Program, Honors Completion Requirements, Honors Daily Opportunities Listserv, Honors Social Media Accounts, Internal Honors Scholarships and Travel Grants (except Lombardi/Stamps), and Partners in the Parks.
Mrs. Kristy Spear, Advisor
Kristy Spear grew up in Miami and moved to Gainesville in 2004. Before joining the Honors Program, she spent several years in human resources with responsibilities ranging from training and development to global faculty recruitment. Capitalizing on the experience she gained in HR, Kristy transitioned to a role in career services. As the Assistant Director for Career Development at the Career Resource Center she designed and implemented programs to aid students in career exploration and preparation. Many of these programs were presented at national conferences and used as model initiatives at other institutions. Kristy’s interest in career development may be attributed to some of her unique employment experiences- ballroom dance instructor, Scareactor at Halloween Horror Nights and pyrotechnician to name a few.
Kristy earned an interdisciplinary B.S. degree from the University of Central Florida with a focus on Health and Communication and graduated with a minor in Hospitality Management. She received her M.Ed. from the University of Florida in Educational Leadership and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Technology. When not at work or studying, Kristy spends most of her free time outdoors kayaking or biking with her husband. She enjoys reading, traveling, music (playing, listening, or dancing to) and never turns down an opportunity to learn something new.
Mrs. Spear can answer questions regarding: The Honors Program, General Advising, Honors Professional Development, Student Honors Organization, Honors without Boarders, Honors Ambassadors, Honors First Generation Mentoring Program, Honors Internship Credit, and H-Camp.
Ms. Fran Green, Office Manager
Ms. Green is the Honors program office manager. She has been with the Honors Program for 6 years. Fran graduated with her AA from Santa Fe Community College and now attends UF, majoring in Eastern Asian Languages.
Ms. Green can answer questions regarding: United World College.
Ms. Green's office hours are:
and by appointment.
Ms. Gretchen Garrett, National Merit Coordinator, Program Assistant
Gretchen joined the Honors Program in early 2011, having spent many years in the UF Department of Mathematics. She welcomes visitors to the Honors Program and can answer general questions regarding advising and learning opportunities.
Ms. Garrett can answer questions regarding National Merit and National Achievement. Ms. Garrett's National Merit hours are:
and by appointment.