Dr. Rachel DiSesa: “I have a better toolbox to represent UF as a science communicator”

In a recently published article, we gave an overview of the Employee Education Program and how UF faculty and staff can take advantage of the program to advance their careers and achieve their goals. Read it here.

Rachel DiSesa, Ph.D., began her professional journey at the University of Florida as an hourly administrative assistant. 17 years later, after countless hours of after hard work and determination, DiSesa now holds a doctorate degree from the University of Florida and is the assistant director of enrollment marketing for the UF College of Pharmacy — successes she partially credits to the UF Employee Education Program, or EEP.

DiSesa was hesitant about the program at first. “I knew it was a benefit when I was hired,” she said, “but thought it was only for undergrads, and I already had my bachelor’s.” After speaking with a co-worker, however, she learned she could also take graduate and select online courses through the program, which motivated her to apply.

DiSesa, who went on to earn both her master’s and doctorate degrees through the EEP, was able to take courses that helped her advance professionally and gave her the confidence boost she needed in her career. Her new skills combined with her experience and the degrees she earned, positioned DiSesa on a direct path to professional advancement, opening the doors to new positions at the University of Florida.

“[Thanks to the EEP] I have a better toolbox to represent UF as a science communicator and advocate for higher education,” she said.

For anyone interested in participating in the EEP, DiSesa has some useful insights to share for navigating the program — “Talk to another employee who has also been through your program. There are tons of tips and tricks that you’ll need to graduate. For example, get to know the academic coordinators,” said DiSesa. “Most graduate degrees expect you to take courses outside your college. It can be tough to know if there are seats left, and many of them are controlled at the department level.”

DiSesa also encouraged those interested in the EEP to discuss their plans with their supervisors, as they can become their biggest advocate. “The biggest contributing factor to my success was the support of my leadership team.”

Are you interested in participating in the Employee Education Program? The deadline to apply for the spring 2024 semester is Dec. 15 at 5 p.m. Visit the EEP website to learn more and apply.

Read our previous spotlight on fellow EEP participant Taylor Munson.