University of Miami Newsletter
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October 2015

Meet Faculty Master, Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood

Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood

Laura Kohn-Wood is the Faculty Master in Pearson Residential College. Dr. Kohn-Wood has been a faculty member at the University of Miami since 2009, currently serving as an Associate Professor and Chair of the Educational and Psychological Studies Department in the School of Education and Human Development. Dr. Kohn-Wood is a Clinical/Community Psychologist and her research program Race, Ethnicity, Culture and Promotion of Strengths (RECAPS) focuses on race, ethnicity and culture in relation to the experience of psychological distress among diverse populations, with an emphasis on race-based protective factors and the promotion of positive coping and mental health among African Americans. She has also studied the relationship between mental health and violent behavior among youth, and she has examined gender, race and ethnic differences in response to mental illness and mental health service utilization. Dr. Kohn-Wood has conducted extensive community-based participatory action research and intervention projects with community and faith-based organizations in urban areas such as Detroit, (Michigan) and Liberty City (Miami, Florida), including the development of a successful collaborative service-learning program for undergraduate students. Dr. Kohn-Wood teaches a Community Psychology (EPS 361) undergraduate course for the Human and Social Development major, as well as courses for the graduate Community & Social Change and Counseling Psychology programs.


Dr. Kohn-Wood is originally from Seattle, Washington but left home to attend Howard University, receiving a B.S. in Psychology in 1990. In 1996 she completed a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, with a specialization in Community Psychology, at the University of Virginia. She completed a two-year clinical internship/fellowship in Clinical Psychology at the University of California, San Francisco Medical School, with a focus on serving ethnic minority and underserved populations. Following her internship, Dr. Kohn-Wood completed a two-year Primary Care Research Post-doctoral Fellowship at Georgetown University School of Medicine, in the Clinical Economics Research Unit and the Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Kohn-Wood was a faculty member in the Department of Psychology at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, Michigan from 1999 - 2008, achieving tenure in 2005.

Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood
At UM Dr. Kohn-Wood has served on task forces for Civic Engagement, LGBT Resources, Black Students’ Concerns and the Faculty Senate Committees for Athletics, among other service roles. Dr. Kohn-Wood received the 2012 Faculty of the Year Award from the Office of Academic Enhancement, the 2012 Engaged Faculty Fellow Award from the Office of Civic Engagement, the 2013 Outstanding Faculty Member Award from the Association of Greek Letter Organizations, and is a proud member of the Spring 2015 Initiation Class of the (UM) Iron Arrow Honor Society. She recently received the "Spirit of Service Learning Award (Higher Education)" from the Returned Peace Corps Service Members of South Florida.

Dr. Laura Kohn-Wood
After living in many parts of the U.S. Dr. Kohn-Wood believes Miami is the best and not just because of the weather! Dr. Kohn-Wood lives in Pearson #139 with her family including spouse London Wood and son Lian, age 9. As a family they enjoy traveling - especially trying out as many Florida beaches as possible, watching Canes' Sports, and going to the movies. Lian practices Brazilian Jiujitsu and is a major video gamer, including playing Minecraft whenever he can. Dr. Kohn-Wood and her family love living in the residential college system, getting to know students on a personal level, and serving as an academic and programming resource for residents.  

For My City- Homecoming 2015

Town Hall with President Frenk
October 30-November 7
Each year the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC) takes pride in creating and programming all of the Homecoming festivities. These events are designed to unite the campus and fill each Hurricane heart with pride. University of Miami students, alumni, and staff, as well as future Hurricanes from the surrounding communities, fill the campus to capture the UM spirit enriched with traditions of the past and creativity of the future, the upcoming 2015 Homecoming will offer a full array of events for everyone.

For a full list of Homecoming events this year, visit the following link:

UM Alternative Breaks

UM Alternative Breaks (UMAB) serves to provide diverse, quality alternative breaks in order to engage participants in their local, national and global communities and foster a life-long commitment to social action and social change. It is a student-led, student-run organization that sends student on trips across the country every fall and spring break to work with a variety of social justice issues. Each UMAB trip emphasizes an importance in issue-specific education, strong direct service, reflection and reorientation.


Over Fall Break, 41 University of Miami students, including 8 Site Leaders, participated in a UMAB Fall Break trip. Students traveled throughout the state of Florida and performed service with community agencies working with issues relating to homelessness, children with terminal illnesses, environmental stewardship and community revitalization. Some of the projects that students completed over Fall Break included creating a basketball court, laying mulch, fundraising, tutoring and painting a mural.


Applications for UMAB Spring Break trips are open now and are available via OrgSync and are due on Friday, Oct. 30th. Participants will travel all throughout the United States for these trips. For more information on UMAB please check out our website or email us at

UM Alternative Breaks

Letter from Student Health Services

Student Health

Dear UM Family member: As we continue to focus public health challenges, it is a good time to remember that Flu season is approaching and immunization is important to prevent the spread of this common and potentially serious illness.

If your student has not already been immunized, please encourage them to do so before traveling for Thanksgiving break.  Flu shots are available at the Student Health Service by scheduling an on-line appointment at (for "Visit Reason" choose "Flu Shot'), or just by dropping in between classes and other activities.

Additionally, for student convenience we offer flu clinics at various locations around campus. More information is available on our website.

Wishing all a healthy and successful semester.


University of Miami Student Health Service

Fall 2015 Commencement Ceremony

Commencement is a special time at the University of Miami. Our graduates have worked hard, and commencement is our time to celebrate with the students and their guests. The Fall 2015 Commencement ceremony will take place at 10 a.m. on Thursday, December 17, at the BankUnited Center on the Coral Gables campus. This is a combined ceremony for the awarding of all law, graduate, and undergraduate degrees, except M.D., from all schools and colleges.

Guests do not need tickets or parking passes, and there is no limit on the number who may attend. The BankUnited Center is an ADA facility with ample seating for guests with disabilities. Shuttle service will run to and from the Pavia Garage, the BankUnited Center, and the University Center at Stanford Circle. There will be no shuttle service at the Ponce de Leon Garage. 


All graduates will assemble in the Fieldhouse at the BankUnited Center at 9 a.m. The Academic Procession of alumni, faculty, and graduates will enter the BankUnited Center at 9:45 a.m. All guests should be seated by this time. The ceremony will last approximately two hours. Schools and colleges will host receptions for the graduates and their families and guests. Please contact your school or college for more information regarding time and location.

Professional photographers will photograph each graduate as he or she walks across the stage. A complimentary copy will be mailed to the graduates along with instructions for ordering additional prints, which can be viewed following the ceremony at


University of Miami Commencement announcements, invitations, and other graduation products may be ordered at All graduates who purchase a class ring will be invited to attend the Official Class Ring Ceremony with their family and friends on April 20, 2016. For more information regarding the Ring Ceremony contact the Office of Alumni Relations at (305) 284-3416


For other commencement information visit, or register for the Parent and Guest listserv on our website to receive additional commencement notices.

Please do not hesitate to contact our office with any questions! We can be reached at 305-284-1824 or


We look forward to welcoming you to campus in December!

U Guardian App

U Guardian App
UMPD is proud to introduce our newest safety service: U Guardian, now available to all UM Students, Staff, and Faculty absolutely free.

U Guardian is a new smartphone personal safety app for IOS or Android devices, which provides a few great options for added safety both on and off campus, including a one-touch button to contact Campus Police or 911, a virtual safety escort with GPS capability, the option to build your own personal safety network with the people you trust, and the ability to optionally pre-register any information you are comfortable sharing with UMPD for  increased response time and quicker transfer of information when you need to call campus safety.     


Please watch this brief, 2-minute video online to learn more about U Guardian’s safety features from UMPD’s Chief David Rivero, Student Govt. President Brianna Hathaway, and UMPD Crime Prevention Officer John Gulla:


To download the app, visit on your smartphone and click the appropriate download link for your type of smartphone (Android or IOS).


Alternatively, you can also find the app by simply visiting the ITunes store (for IOS) or Google Play store (for Android) from your phone and searching for “Rave Guardian.” 


Once the app has downloaded, you must use a University of Miami email address in order to access U Guardian, our specific version of the platform, which includes the correct “Call Campus Police” button,  and additional UM specific features.


Non-UM Students, faculty, and staff have access to a limited, but functional version of the app free as well, via the same process above, which integrates fully with the U Guardian version. 


While UMPD still has our Safety Escort service available 24/7 on campus, over 100 blue-light emergency phones on campus, and is always actively patrolling campus, commuter students may find the app’s virtual safety escort feature helpful as an additional safety option to utilize when having to travel back to a parking lot alone or headed into campus during non-business hours.


If you have any questions or comments about U Guardian, please contact UMPD Crime Prevention Officer John Gulla via email at or call 305-284-1105 anytime.

Toppel Helps Students Get Career Ready

At the Toppel Career Center, we understand the importance of helping students explore their options, prepare accordingly, and connect with professionals in their field of interest. Throughout these phases of their career education, we believe it’s critical to empower students to become career ready. That’s why we offer programs like UShadow, an opportunity to 'shadow' a UM alumnus or employer in order to gain knowledge about a specific career field or work environment.

Career readiness is not just about finding and getting the right job--it’s about being ready once you’re there. The core competencies of career readiness broadly prepare UM students for a successful transition into life after the U. Through these competencies, we aim to help students raise and reach the professional standards in their given field. The Toppel Internship Program, for instance, provides students with a structured field experience that includes an orientation, career readiness-related learning outcomes, and a reflection seminar--not to mention the 1-credit transcript notation.


Here at Toppel, we teach students the importance of identifying and communicating how their skills, experiences, and strengths are relevant to their career path and through a selection of core programs, services, and events, we provide them outlets to explore these. Once students are on the job, however--whether it’s an internship, their first job after graduation, or their last job before retirement--there are many skills ‘Canes need to succeed.

Employers tell us--and anyone who will listen--that there are certain competencies all students need. These include critical thinking/problem solving, oral/written communications, teamwork/collaboration, leadership, professionalism/work ethic, career management, and information technology application. Many of these skills are learned through the UM curriculum, and Toppel provides ample opportunity to solidify these skills in the context of careers.

The Professional Development Academy (PDAcademy) is one of the most select and intensive career readiness initiatives offered to UM students. PDAcademy is an 8-week course that involves professional career advisors, industry professionals, UM faculty, and a curriculum that is designed to provide students the skills necessary to be career ready. As one excited PDAcademy member put it, “the Professional Development Academy covers information that is not touched upon in a typical class setting, yet is still required to excel in the professional workplace.”

Please encourage your student to come to the Toppel Career Center. Whether they have not yet selected a major, are unsure what to do with that major, or have specific professional goals they aspire to, we can help your student become career ready.


Visit for more information or contact us at 305-284-5451.



The President’s Coalition on Sexual Violence Prevention and Education recently  presented the results of its pilot survey of students, detailing attitudes on the University of Miami campus toward unwanted sexual behavior and bystander intervention, prevention programming resources available around the University, and how comfortable victims have been to utilize campus services following some kind of nonconsensual behavior. This data will serve as a baseline to help shape future University programming by a group of key UM administrators, faculty and students, who were appointed in May 2014 by UM’s former President, Donna Shalala.


A subcommittee of the Coalition developed an electronic survey that was modeled after existing resources from educational, private and government institutions, including the “Not Alone” survey toolkit, created by the White House Task Force to Protect Students From Sexual Assault. Last Fall semester, the pilot survey was sent to 16,774 enrolled students, aged 18 or older, however, only 1,036, or 6.2%, of students agreed to participate, 954 of which completed the survey.


In this first-time survey, students were asked a series of questions about the attitudes they experience on the UM campus. They were invited to share their opinions about the University’s sexual misconduct written-complaint policy, perceptions of other students, their experiences with a variety of behaviors believed to be associated with “rape culture,” their awareness of and participation in sexual-violence prevention programming, and their awareness of and comfort with on-campus resources.

To read the results, and to learn more about the resources available all over campus, please visit

News at UM

Flash Mob Performance Honors Sylvester Breast Cancer Patients and Physicians


Easterlin Named Distinguished Alumnus


New Studio will ‘Fuel Innovation’


UM Opens the Fate Bridge Across Lake Osceola


The University of Miami | Department of Orientation & Commuter Student Involvement
Shalala Student Center, Suite 203 | 1330 Miller Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146
(305) 284-5646 |