Geography students receive Champions for Change Award

Published: April 7th, 2016

Category: Featured, News

2016 Champions for Change Ms. Paula Roetscher and Mr. Tyler James. Image courtesy Dr. Sadie Ryan.

2016 Champions for Change Ms. Paula Roetscher and Mr. Tyler James. Image courtesy Dr. Sadie Ryan.

Two Geography undergraduate students were recognized with the Champions for Change Award at the Earth Day celebration this week.

Ms. Paula Roetscher (double major in Geography and Sustainability Studies and a minor in Arabic Language and Literature) and Mr. Tyler James (major in Psychology, minor in Geography) both received the award for their research and advocacy work. The Champions for Change awards recognize individuals or groups in the UF community who have made significant contributions in the areas of sustainability and health in their time at UF and are issued by a partnership of the Office of Sustainability and Healthy Gators.

Ms. Roetscher received the award in recognition of her work to make Gainesville the first Welcoming City in Florida in collaboration with City Commission and various community organizations. She was also recognized for role in organizing a conference on immigration issues and an event about Islamophobia in the past months. Finally, her work with Dr. Jane Southworth in mapping the growth of refugee camps over time based on satellite images was also mentioned.

Mr. James received the award in recognition of his Additionally, he was recognized for his work with GatorWell Health Promotion Services in developing population-based health communication interventions to promote behavior change surrounding sleep hygiene and helmet safety. In addition, he has served on the Student Health Advisory Board since August 2015 where he reviews the plans, policies, and procedures of the Student Health Care Center. Tyler is also a HIV testing, prevention, and linkage counselor with the Florida Department of Health, working through GatorWell’s HIV testing program. In this position, Tyler has conducted peer counseling and outreach tabling to educate UF students on how to reduce their individual risk of being exposed to HIV. In addition to being a health education practitioner, Tyler has conducted research with Dr. Sadie Ryan in the area of HIV stigma in college students – to help identify ways to potentially reduce HIV stigma to increase accessibility to care.

Upon graduation, Ms. Roetscher will start a full time job as the Executive Director of the newly founded nonprofit Welcoming Gainesville, Inc. and Mr. James will be continuing on at UF, starting a PhD in Health Behavior at the College of Health and Human Performance.

Congratulations, Paula and Tyler!





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