Meet the team! Here are the CERT Program Directors and a little bit about them

Program Leadership

Meet the team! Here are the CERT Program Directors and a little bit about them

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Elizabeth received her Master of Public Health (MPH) from the University of South Florida in Global Disaster Management and Humanitarian Relief. In 2013, she was invited to teach at USF as an instructor for the public health undergraduate program in homeland security & emergency management. She is currently pursuing her Doctor in Public Health (DrPH) degree in Public Health Leadership.​ 

In 2013, Ms. Dunn started training students, faculty, and staff in the FEMA Basic CERT in an effort to bring CERT to the university. She now serves as a FEMA CERT Instructor, Train-the-Trainer for future CERT Instructors, and organizes HSEEP compliant exercises in Hillsborough County. In addition, Ms. Dunn is a Shelter Manager, a Disaster Action Team (DAT) Lead, Adult & Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED Instructor, and Hands-Only CPR Lead Trainer for the American Red Cross. She also serves as the faculty advisor for the USF Red Cross Club, USF HOSA, and Photography Club. 

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Elizabeth Dunn, MPH, CPH
Program Director

Why I believe in CERT? >

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Building a resilient community takes a team, and the CERT program is designed to bring people together to strengthen communities before the storm & be able to respond to the needs of others during & after a disaster

Maria Paula is an international student from Peru, currently, she is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Public Health with a minor in Community-Engaged Homeland Security and Emergency Management at the University of South Florida (USF). In the future, she has plans to pursue an MPH in Global Health. Prior to coming to the United States, Maria Paula was attending medical school in Peru where she realized how inequality impacts people’s health. As a medical student, she was an intern for a community health care center and an OB/GYN neonatal specialty hospital.

What I have Learned >

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Being part of CERT has given me more opportunities than I could ever have. I have a clear understanding now that not only clinical staff can saves lives.

Maria Paula Ibarcena-Woll
Deputy Director

Why I Joined >

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Katherine Patino
Co-Deputy Director

I got involved with CERT because I wanted to be on the front lines of disaster response and recovery!

Kat is a senior studying Public Health with a concentration in Community Engaged Homeland Security and Emergency Management. During Hurricane Irma, Kat served as a Shelter Manager where she was able to serve the county as a member of CERT. She is passionate about mental health, music, and elevating others. She is an avid reader and a huge supporter of the New York Giants and the South Florida Bulls football team. Go Bulls!

Rachel is a sophomore pre-nursing student at the University of South Florida. She wants to become an emergency room nurse and eventually work as a nurse anesthetist. She is passionate about the field of medicine and is excited to give back to the community around her through the Community Emergency Response Team. Rachel also enjoys outdoor activities such as rock climbing, hiking, and kayaking. 

Personal Thoughts >

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Community Liaison Officer
Rachel Kline

Become the kind of leader that people would follow voluntarily; even if you have no title or position.

Personal Thoughts >

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Being part of USF CERT has  been an invaluable experience to me, and together with the team, I hope to protect the community & support others in times of need.

Ca Hoang
Administration Director

Ca is a senior at USF, pursuing concurrent degrees in Statistics and Public Health. She aspires to become a biostatistician and will thus pursue graduate school after completing her undergraduate studies. Although she is new to the CERT program, she looks forward to developing herself and to contributing to the community together with the team.

Adesola Orogade is a junior at the University of South Florida pursuing a Bachelor’s in Public Health and minoring in Psychology and Applied Behavior Analysis. She enjoys participating in volunteering activities individually and with various organizations. She also enjoys working and learning different perspectives of life and reality with the people she works with.

Inspirational Quote >

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“The first and most important choice a leader makes is the choice to serve, without which one's capacity to lead is severely limited.” - Bob Marley

Adesola Orogade
Grants Officer

What is needed to Serve  >

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The vulnerability and need brought by a disasters must be met with compassionate resilience.

Cameron Goetgeluck
Health & Medical Director

Cameron is a recent graduate from USF where he obtained his Bachelors degree in Cell & Molecular Biology with a minor in Community-engaged Homeland Security and Emergency Management. He found his interest with training others in response exercises through a student instructional and learning assistant position at USF and looks forward to serving the CERT community.

Makenzie is pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science in Public Health, with a concentration in Global Health at the University of South Florida. She is picking up a minor in Homeland Security and Disaster Relief as she grew up on the Florida Keys, very knowledgeable on hurricanes and their impact. She has completed research and volunteer hours around Tampa Bay and Monroe Country, focused on improving vulnerable populations. Following graduation, she plans to volunteer with the Peace Corps before pursuing medical school.

What does it mean to lead >

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Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family

—Kofi Annan

Makenzie Wright
Health & Medical Deputy Director

Sara Robinson recently graduated with her Bachelor of Science in Public Health and Marketing.  In the Fall 2021, she will begin her Masters' of Science in Public Health (MSPH) with a concentrated in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She is passionate about helping others, and getting involved in her community!

What does it mean to lead >

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"Helping one person may not change the world, but it could change the world for one person." -Anonymous

Sara Robinson
Media & Communications Director

Destinie Pinho is a student at USF majoring in health sciences. She aspires to become a pediatrician and after completing her Bachelor's degree she plans to apply to medical school. Destinie has always loved and felt a passion for helping people. Although she is new to the CERT program, she looks forward to getting involved and to be able to help others in time of need.

Quote that I live by  >

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"Leadership is about vision and responsibility, not power."

             - Seth Berkley

Destinie Pinho
Media Officer

Personal Quote >

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To me being a CERT leader means benefiting my community and educating others on emergency preparedness.

Caitlin Farrell
Media Officer

Caitlin Farrell is a third year student at USF studying public health. She is interested in epidemiology and public health education. After graduating from USF she plans to work in a global health position and attend graduate school. Outside of public health, her interests include running, reading, and baking.

Allison received her Bachelor’s Degree in the spring of 2021 at the College of Public Health with a concentration in Global Health from the University of South Florida. Although Allison has been previously serving her community with her optical services as a Licensed Dispensing Optician, she will be transitioning to her future career in Emergency Management in the Tampa Bay Area. Allison will also be furthering her education by pursuing her Certification in Public Health.

Allison aspires to further support the public by engaging and training community response efforts to increase awareness and strengthen bonds in the community.

Personal Thoughts >

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A leader is someone you look to that will help you become the best version of yourself. That’s what I want to be when I grow up.

Allison Turner
Training Officer

Personal Thoughts >

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Being a CERT       Leader is simply put as Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "To handle yourself, use your head; to handle others, use your heart."

Vasanthkumar Pattoor
Training Officer

Vasanthkumar 'Vasanth' Pattoor is a sophomore at the Judy Genshaft Honors College of the University of South Florida with a double major in Biomedical Science and Public Health. Once he completes his Bachelor's degree, Vasanth wants to pursue his medical degree to train as a Trauma Surgeon. As a leader, he prioritizes effective collaboration and communication and is optimistic about what the future has in store for USF CERT!

Kelly received his Master of Arts in Emergency Management and Homeland Security from Arizona State University. He also holds a Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) with a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Management from USF. Kelly works as an Emergency Management Coordinator for Tampa Electric Company.

 

Kelly’s experience includes being a medic in the Army National Guard, as well as a supervisor for a private ambulance company. Kelly volunteers as an Emergency Medical Technician and is on the board of directors for the Sun City Center Emergency Squad. Kelly is a certified instructor for the FEMA CERT, Stop-the-Bleed, Emergency Medical Responder, CPR and NAEMT courses. Kelly serves on the Higher Education Committee for the Florida Emergency Preparedness Association (FEPA) and is working towards his Florida Professional Emergency Manager (FPEM) certification. Kelly has been a member of USF CERT since 2014.

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Why I joined >

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Kelly Knigge, M.A.
Emergency Management Advisor & Instructor

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Personal Thoughts >

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Jay Rajyaguru, FAEM
Emergency Management Advisor & Instructor

Jay Rajyaguru is an alumnus of the USF College of Public Health with his Bachelor of Science in Public Health (BSPH) with a minor in Homeland Security and Emergency Management. Currently, Jay works for the Hillsborough County Office of Emergency Management as an Emergency management Planning Coordinator.

 

Jay is a certified FEMA CERT Instructor and has been with the CERT program since Fall 2016 and remains an active supporter of the USF CERT program serving on the board as an Advisor. He is an American Red Cross Shelter Manager, Hands-Only CPR Instructor, and a certified Stop-The-Bleed Instructor.

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APPLY FOR A LEADERSHIP POSITION

​If you are interested in applying for a leadership position click on the Join our Team button below. We currently have the positions of public information officer, secretary, instructor, and assistant instructor open. You may also apply to be a non-voting member, this is someone who sits in on the meetings and can take on additional tasks but does not have a designated position.