Director, UF Innovation Academy
Jeff Citty serves as the founding director for the Innovation Academy and has eighteen years of experience in higher education in building programmatic solutions to help solve issues in higher education. He received his Ed.D. in Higher Education Administration, focusing his dissertation on retaining engineering students through first year extended bridge programs. Dr. Citty provides vision, leadership and strategic direction in the development and attainment of the Innovation Academy priorities. As the founding director of the program he oversees all curricular and co-curricular aspects of the program as well as building the institutional infrastructure for the program. Dr. Citty teaches the Creativity in Context course and continues research in retention and advising. Before joining the Innovation Academy, Dr. Citty served as Assistant Director for Undergraduate Student Affairs at UF’s Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering and as the Program Director for the Engineering Freshman Transition Program (EFTP). In 2009, he was recognized by the National Academic Advising Association with an award for Outstanding Advising. Additionally, he was recognized by the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) as a runner-up for best conference paper in 2012.
Assistant Director, UF Innovation Academy
Yesi B. Sevilla serves as the Assistant Director for the Innovation Academy, and has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles across varying global biotech and healthcare industries, consulting and higher education. Sevilla focuses on the day-to-day IA operations, overall success of the IA mission, and serves as the Department Advisor for the IA Ambassadors. Most recently, she actively consulted across multiple industries and served as the Editorial Director & Business Strategist for a regional publishing firm. Sevilla’s diverse industry background, global business acumen and multilingual skills serve to support and promote the IA vision of graduating optimistic innovators utilizing design thinking to solve global challenges through experimental and creative problem solving.
Academic Coordinator, UF Innovation Academy
Dr. Diane “DP” Porter-Roberts serves as the Academic Coordinator for the Innovation Academy and has over 25 years of higher education experience in teaching, student affairs, and residence life. DP holds a PhD in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida. She is also a three-time graduate of Appalachian State University with degrees in Middle School math and language arts; K-12 Reading; and Curriculum, Instruction, and Supervision. DP’s research interests include: college student transition, engagement, and success; student learning outcomes assessment; competencies of student affairs professionals; and the power of humor, creativity, and play in our lives. Prior to joining Innovation Academy, DP was a faculty member and coordinator of the Student Personnel in Higher Education graduate program in the UF College of Education. She has been teaching creativity courses for IA since 2014. DP received the UF President’s Humanitarian Award in 2000 and was a participant of the inaugural UF Next Level Leadership Class of 2007. In her spare time, she likes to travel with her family, visit Disney World as much as possible, and explore the world through her son’s eyes.
Lecturer, UF Innovation Academy
Charlie Cummings is the first full-time faculty member for the Innovation Academy where he will teach Innovation Minor courses. Charlie joined the IA team from UNC Chapel Hill where her was the Makerspace Program Manager for the university-wide makerspace program, BeAM. Cummings brings extensive art and interdisciplinary instructional experience to the IA classroom. Charlie is also a studio artist and owner of a nationally recognized ceramics gallery. His artwork can be found in significant collections including the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, the Crocker Art Museum and the Dalai Lama’s personal collection.
Natasha Livingston serves as the Administrative Specialist for the Innovation Academy. She completed her BS in Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida. Natasha has over 20 years of experience in leadership roles in the insurance industry and brings those skills to promote the Innovation Academy’s vision through office management, event coordination and supporting students, parents, faculty, and staff. In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, loving on her varied assortment of animals, and visiting Walt Disney World as much as possible.
Lucy Searcy received her Bachelor’s in Psychology from Saint Leo University and earned her Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of North Florida. Prior to emerging herself in the field of Academic Advising, Lucy conducted research on processes of relationship development, maintenance, dissolution, and inter-partner communication. She also worked on several university-wide retention and graduation projects at the University of North Florida and Georgia State University that helped identify barriers to student success. Given her extensive background in psychological and educational research, she understands and embraces the developmental trajectory of learning.
Doug Haake received both his Bachelor of Science in Journalism and his Master’s Degree in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa. He has spent most of his professional career in academic advising, including stints at Middle Georgia State University, Texas State University, and most recently with the University of Texas at Austin. Doug has worked on multiple student success programs, including first-year student seminar classes, graduation initiatives, student mentor training, and promoting transfer student resources. Additionally, he brings experience in collaboration, having worked closely with student-athlete services and study abroad programs. Doug enjoys working with students to ensure that they feel connected, motivated, and knowledgeable.