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Remembering Dr. Zorn, Knightcast, & UCF

Ten years ago, I started college at the University of Central Florida, majoring in Radio/TV and minoring in Anthropology. I was really interested in Anthropology – maybe even as a major, so before I started school, my parents drove up with me to visit the university and I scheduled a meeting with a professor whose work really called out to me. Her name was Dr. Elayne Zorn. She was kind enough to meet with me as an incoming freshman and answer questions about the school and the anthropology program.

I ended up completing a minor in the anthropology program when I graduated after I transferred to UF a few years later, and consider what I learned in my anthro classes (a few of them with Dr. Zorn) to be worth just as much as my communications and journalism classes were, in my career now as a wedding photographer (isn’t the photography of modern weddings the ultimate in the study of a crazy human cultural experience?!).

In my Communications program, I met a few guys, Sean Rugg and Nick LoCicero, and Sean’s good friend, Ben Del Vento. We all became friends and discovered that we had an interest in creating a student-run radio station. UCF had a radio station, but it was not student run; instead it was the home of the local NPR channel. There was only one student-produced show which ran over the audio signal of UCF’s carrier TV channel, and I volunteered there with Nick and Sean during my freshman year. I’m not sure what the listenership was, but we wanted something that was much more accessible and widespread, since the student show was only available on-campus.

With no chance of taking back the WUCF NPR radio station, we took matters into our own hands, and created WKNT Knightcast, a shoutcast internet radio station. If we were going to get anywhere, it was clear that we’d need faculty support. We were unable to obtain support from the Radio/TV department – their job was to promote the one student-run show on the UCF TV channel – so we needed to look elsewhere.

Immediately I thought of Dr. Zorn. I had become close with her since starting my first semester and I felt that I could ask her to help us out. She was a little unsure, at first — after all, the whole idea of internet radio was very new back then and I’m not sure exactly if she understood how it worked – but she took a leap of faith and agreed to be our first ever faculty advisor!

Dr. Zorn was a good person who helped us out when we really needed it, and her support helped Knightcast grow significantly from getting SGA to recognize us to obtaining our first studio space. Those were exciting times….

Knightcast will be 10 years old this fall. Sometimes I look back and it feels like yesterday when we had our first meeting with Dr. Zorn to talk about bringing our dream of Knightcast to life.

I’m thankful I was able to be her student, too. Dr. Zorn was a great teacher, and we shared many, many conversations throughout my freshman and sophomore years of college. She was an inspirational person, a great mentor, and a friend to me.  I’ve always thought about her over the years, even though we hadn’t talked in a long time. She had a lot of influence on my choosing to continue to study anthropology, and that has made me the person I am today. Thanks, Dr. Zorn – you will aways be remembered!

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judyAugust 10, 2010 - 5:29 pm

What a beautiful tribute to such an inspirational educator. She was a wonderful role model and a great human being.

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