Spectrum Winter 2021

On the Cover

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every facet of life and forced adjustment in the ways we work and live. As a university known for its strong sense of community, this period of isolation has challenged us to maintain those bonds despite our distance. This edition’s cover reminds us of the traditions that bind us to FSU and to each other and the Tallahassee campus that feels like home.

Photo illustration by Tom Morgan. Original photo by FSU Photography Services.

FSU alumnus brings decades of experience to new role at alma mater

Joel Trexler vividly remembers a family trip to the pet store that would ultimately set his future career into motion. At age 12, he was already an enthusiast of dinosaurs and snakes, but was awestruck when he came across an aquarium filled with a colorful collection of tropical fish.

College News | Spectrum Winter 2021
Florida State University alumnus Kerry Gilmore finds his calling with chemistry

As an undergraduate at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island, Kerry Gilmore saw himself becoming a marine biologist. The Massachusetts native had a passion for science and longed for a career that would make a difference in the world. As graduation neared, he enrolled in a class that would unlock a new fascination.

Chemistry and Biochemistry | Spectrum Winter 2021
Jim Jones taught three generations of FSU students to love American history and became a legend in the process

One day, when James P. “Jim” Jones, was still teaching at Florida State University, he wasn’t feeling particularly well: He passed out in class and bumped his head on a wall. Everything turned out fine but Jones insisted on memorializing the event, using a marker to draw a black circle where he hit his head and joking, “This will be the mark I leave on the university.”

History | Spectrum Winter 2021
Florida State University students, faculty and staff persevere during a challenging year

2020, the year that saw COVID-19 become a global pandemic has officially drawn to a close. Although we’re not sure what 2021 will hold, a new chapter is certainly a welcome one. Despite difficult circumstances, the Florida State University community rose to 2020’s biggest challenges.

Florida State News | Spectrum Winter 2021
FSU senior combines passions for biology, Spanish to study the science of language

Triplet Alexis Kidd was learning Spanish in high school when she noticed a big difference in how easy learning a new language was for her and how challenging the experience of learning that same language was for her brother.

Modern Languages and Linguistics, Biological Science | Spectrum Winter 2021
Air Force ROTC cadet preps for an international career

Nearly 15 years ago, Florida State University senior Tetiana Panina and her family emigrated from Ukraine to the U.S. to pursue a better life.

Modern Languages and Linguistics, Computer Science | Spectrum Winter 2021
Arts and Sciences students excel as Presidential Scholars and beyond

When Florida State’s Presidential Scholars program admitted its first class in Fall 2014, just 25 students were selected from the 800 promising scholars who applied. Known thereafter as the Scholars Class of 2018, this elite group was the vanguard of a recruitment strategy to attract pre-eminent scholars to FSU — a strategy in which the College of Arts and Sciences continues to be a formidable presence.

College News | Spectrum Winter 2021
Anthropology grad student applies STEM techniques to uncover forgotten societies

Tara Skipton was already engaged in studying past civilizations when she arrived at Florida State University in 2019.

Anthropology | Spectrum Winter 2021
There’s an old joke that goes something like this: A tourist asks a musician, “How do you get to Carnegie Hall?” The musician answers, “Practice, practice, practice!”

Researchers in Florida State University’s Cognitive Psychology Program would add the word “deliberate” to that punchline and tell you the role deliberate practice plays in developing world-class expertise is no laughing matter.

Psychology | Spectrum Winter 2021
Florida State University reacts to tensions of race, diversity in America

As citizens across the U.S. took to the streets this summer, marching for social justice, equality, and police reform, students, faculty and staff from Florida State University joined the movement and grappled with how to address systemic racism not just in the nation, but also within the institutions of academia.

Florida State News, College News | Spectrum Winter 2021
FSU-led team earns NSF grant to study effects of heat waves on sea urchins

Sea urchins are like a canary in a coal mine. They give scientists an early warning for the future impact of rapid and extreme warming events, and their reactions to events like El Niño and to climate change are immediate and dramatic.

Biological Science, OSTA | Spectrum Winter 2021