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.
Dr. John Denny, Associate Director
Dr. John Denny joined the Honors Program as an Assistant Director in 2006 and served as Interim Director from 2007 to 2009. In addition to academic advising, John serves as the admissions liaison for the Honors Program and is the Fulbright Program advisor for UF. He came to the University of Florida in 2001 as Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Disability Resources. He was instrumental in opening the Disability Resource Center at Reid Hall, the first-ever designated center for students with disabilities at the University of Florida. John is an alumnus of the University of Florida, earning his bachelor's degree in Psychology in 1992. After working in community mental health for two years, he attended the University of South Florida where he completed his Master of Social Work. John interned at the Moffitt Cancer Center after receiving a scholarship in Oncology Social Work from the American Cancer Society. His research at Moffitt examined the effectiveness of a support group intervention on young adults' adjustment to cancer. He has six years experience in health care providing medical social work services and has worked with patient populations in oncology, infectious disease and acute care rehabilitation. John earned his Ph.D in Higher Education Administration at UF's College of Education. His research interests concern the effects of participation in undergraduate research programs and critical thinking ability. He is an avid music lover who enjoys spending time in the outdoors with his wife Christine, daughter, Ella and son, Tyson. John likes to play guitar, hike and kayak. He's also an award-winning amateur zymurgist.
Dr. Denny can answer questions regarding: The Honors Program, General Advising, Honors Admission, Honors Professional Development, United World College Scholars, and The U.S. Student Fulbright Grant Program.
Ms. Regan Garner, Assistant 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, Assistant 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. Her dissertation focused on the online teaching experiences of honors instructors across the country.
She has published journal articles and book chapters related to first year seminars, undergraduate research, and educational technology. She currently serves on the editorial boards for the Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, the Journal of The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition, and Honors in Practice. Dr. Johnson has been involved with many professional organizations including the National Academic Advising Association and the Florida / National Collegiate Honors Council. She is 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 has completed both StrengthsQuest Educator and Mentoring and Advising training through Gallup. She is happy to meet with honors students who have completed the StrengthsQuest assessment to discuss their results. Honors students interested in taking StrengthsQuest should contact her for more information. Her top 5 strengths are: Significance, Restorative, Relator, Learner, and Competition.
Dr. Johnson can answer questions regarding: The Honors Program, General Advising, Honors Professional Development, Lateral Admission, Honors Daily Opportunities Listserv, Preview Orientation, Student Honors Organization, Honors Without Borders, H-Camp (Honors Retreat), Partners in the Parks, Honors 1G Mentoring Program (first-generation college students in Honors), Honors Social Media Accounts, and Undergraduate Research.
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.