Meet The Charge On: Rise Above Panelists

For this year’s homecoming week, we are bringing back our ChargeOn Panel 


This event will provide a unique professional development opportunity for UCF Alumni’s graduates and friends to hear from some of our greatest alumni, faculty, staff and students. This year’s theme will be ChargeOn: Rise Above and our panelists will share how they are breaking barriers, overcoming adversity and rising above expectations through innovation in their industries.  


We have a lineup of panelists who embody the ChargeOn mentality to come tell their story and share their work with Knight Nation. Learn more about the panelists below and then come hear from them on Oct. 16!



Shainna Ali ’10 ’12MA ’16PhD  

As recognized by the graduate studies department in 2015, Dr. Shainna Ali is "a true UCF Knight." Within a decade, she earned her bachelor's degree in anthropology, master's degree in mental health counseling and doctoral degree in counselor education at the University of Central Florida. During that time, she was actively engaged with, and proudly represented, her fellow Knights. She has placed first in the area of education at the Graduate Research Forum and went on to represent UCF as she placed first in the 2015 Florida Statewide Research Symposium. As someone of Guyanese descent, Shainna has committed herself to combatting the daunting 2016 statistic that Guyana had the highest suicide rate across the globe and it was nearly triple the global average. On top of managing her private practice in downtown Orlando, Ali fulfills an ambassador role for Guyana by the International Registry of Counselor Education Programs.


Learn more about Shainna in this UCF Today article.


Dr. Deborah Beidel

Deborah C. Beidel, Ph.D., ABPP is Trustee Chair and Pegasus Professor of psychology and medical education and director of UCF RESTORES at the University of Central Florida. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in clinical research at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic. Dr. Beidel holds diplomates in clinical psychology and behavioral psychology from the American Board of Professional Psychology. Dr. Beidel is the Director of UCF RESTORES, a clinical research center dedicated to trauma and PTSD. She has been the recipient of over $31 million dollars in federal research funding throughout her career. Her recent work focuses on developing effective treatments for PTSD for veterans, active duty personnel, first responders and survivors of mass shootings, utilizing technology to enhance effective treatments into standard clinical practice.  


Learn more about Dr. Beidel and the work being done at UCF RESTORES in this UCF Today article.




Albert Manero ’12 ’14MSAE ’16PhD  

Dr. Albert Manero is the president of Limbitness Solutions, a non-profit and direct support organization for the University of Central Florida. Limbitless Solutions is an engineering innovation company that helps children in need through the design and delivery of multi-gesture bionic limbs. The team uses additive manufacturing (3D printing) to design artistic and personalized bionics that maximize both expression and function, and donates each device to families in need. Albert holds a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from UCF, as well as research collaborator appointments from both UCF and Mayo Clinic Jacksonville. He was a Fulbright Scholar to Germany during his doctoral research, and completed the Mirzayan science policy fellowship with the National Academy of Engineering. His research looks to advance accessibility to bionics and inclusivity in STEAM education, while leading in mixed learning laboratory opportunities for interdisciplinary student research at UCF.


Learn more about Albert and the work being done at Limbitless Solutions here.




Konya Plummer
Konya Plummer is a student-athlete in her senior year at UCF, who recently returned from leading Jamaica’s historic journey to the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup as team captain. Konya began playing soccer when she was 14 and the neighborhood boys turned her away when she showed up one night to play. She set out then to never sit on the sideline again — she started training and became tougher, stronger, and eventually became such an accomplished player that young soccer players look up to her and teammates follow her lead. In her first season at UCF, Konya appeared in nine games. During her first game, she scored the only goal of the season in a 1-1 draw at Maryland. Konya was in an out during her first season at UCF, helping the Jamaican Women’s National Tam become the first Caribbean country to qualify for the 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.


Learn more about Konya and her incredible journey to the Women’s World Cup in this article from Pegasus.


Our panelists will be led in discussion by Eric De Salvo ’09!



Eric serves as an assistant athletics director in the brand advancement office, while heading the athletic department's digital and social media efforts. He oversees all content coming from the UCF Knights and UCF Football pages while working closely with the athletics communications team on its strategy for the remainder of the 15 varsity sports' official accounts. Prior to joining the brand advancement team in late summer 2013, DeSalvo was an assistant director in athletics communications. He returned to Orlando in the fall of 2011 after graduating from UCF in 2009.

During his stint in athletics communications from 2011-13, the Jacksonville, FL., native served as the main contact for baseball, volleyball, rowing, women's golf and assisted with football. He was named the American Volleyball Coaches Association Midwest Region Sports Information Director of the Year for the 2011-12 season. Before returning to UCF, DeSalvo earned his M.A. in applied communication in 2011 from Northern Arizona in Flagstaff, while serving as a graduate assistant in the media relations office. He was the primary contact for the nationally ranked cross country and track & field teams.





Come hear from this incredible group  on Oct. 16 from 7:30-9:30 a.m. Register here!