Exercise and Health

Faculty Members Share Stories from Path to Full Professorship

Two of the University of West Florida’s finest, Dr. Ludmila Cosio-Lima and Jonathan Fink, were honored during the Rite of Passage lecture series event Oct. 7 by their colleagues, students, family and friends.

The lecture series gives educators the opportunity to share lessons learned on the way toward being promoted to the highest level in teaching, a full professorship.

Cosio-Lima, who is program coordinator for exercise science, gave a presentation called “Seven Countries, 12 States and Four Nationalities Later.” It reflected her international background. Her mother is from Brazil. Her father is from Mexico, and she spent her primary and secondary school years in a German school, Alexander von Humboldt, in Mexico. Following college at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in recreation administration, she played professional tennis in Europe and Japan.

“When I was very young, my father looked at me, and he put his hand on my shoulder. He told me he wanted me to have a balanced life,” Cosio-Lima said. “I was lucky that my father encouraged me to be involved in sports, to play a musical instrument and be involved with the arts from the get-go when I was a little girl,” she said.

She returned to the United States to obtain a master’s and a doctoral degree in clinical exercise science at Springfield College in Massachusetts. She worked doing research at the U.S. Army Research Institute of Environmental Science from 1996 to 2003. She then completed her postdoctoral work at Hartford Hospital in Connecticut as a clinical research associate in cardiology.

“My purpose in life is to be an example for young people, to show them that balance is important and that you keep going no matter what happens,” said Cosio-Lima, who embodies this goal herself as a nationally ranked competitor in Ironman Triathlons.

At UWF, Cosio-Lima is responsible for the exercise science program’s endorsement by the National Strength and Conditioning Association and the American College of Sports Medicine.

Cosio-Lima said she could sum up her academic career and her attitude toward life with a quote from Winston Churchill: “Success is not final; failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts.”

Jonathan Fink, professor of English and director of creative writing at UWF.

After Cosio-Lima spoke, Jonathan Fink, professor of English and director of creative writing at UWF, discussed his craft with a presentation called “Poetry, Nonfiction and the Clear Expression of Mixed Feelings.”

He also read aloud one of his essays and several of his own poems during the presentation, which he introduced by saying, “I always tell my students that poetry give us the language to navigate the complexities of life.”

The author and poet’s work has appeared in national publications, such as Poetry, The New York Times Magazine, Slate, Witness, The Southern Review and Virginia Quarterly Review. He has won prizes from several literary magazines, and his kudos includes the Editors’ Prize in Poetry from The Missouri Review and the McGinnis-Ritchie Award for Nonfiction/Essay from Southwest Review.

“I encourage students to write about things with which they have a complicated relationship,” Fink said. “The writing is much richer.”

Fink has completed fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Florida Division of Cultural Affairs and also serves as editor of Panhandler Magazine and Panhandler Books for the University.

He is the author of two poetry collections: “The Crossing” and “Barbarossa: The German Invasion of the Soviet Union and the Siege of Leningrad.”