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Dr. Jacobs is an Associate Professor of U.S. and International History. He earned his Ph.D. in History at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill in 2002, and he joined UF and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) in 2003. His research focuses on U.S.-Middle East relations, a field in which he has published one book (Imagining the Middle East: The Building of an American Foreign Policy, 1918-1967, UNC Press, 2011) and is

Marianne Vernetson

Associate Director


Marianne Vernetson is the associate director for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service. She helps oversee the day-to-day management of the Center, develops and manages the Center’s public programs, and organizes residency programs for visiting scholars. Additionally, she oversees the selection process for the Bob Graham Citizen of the Year Award and the Brian Dassler Young Floridian of the Year Award, and develops partnerships and shared programming among those interested in public leadership, public

Tim Karis, Ph.D.

Undergraduate Coordinator


Timothy Karis (Ph.D. University of California, San Diego, 2013) is the undergraduate coordinator for the Bob Graham Center, and a lecturer in the International Studies Program at the University of Florida. As undergraduate coordinator, Karis will help integrate the Center's focus on civic engagement, public leadership, and public service with the International Studies program and curriculum. International Studies offers a vibrant, dynamic undergraduate program with approximately 275 students who pursue careers in government service, with

Leah Honaker

Administrative Coordinator


Leah Honaker is an Administrative Specialist II, and is the first person many will see when coming into the office. She is responsible for overseeing and managing many of the administrative activities for the Bob Graham Center for Public Service, including finances and events. She completed her Bachelor's Degree in Anthropology with a minor in Native American studies at the University of Florida. After graduating, she joined the University of Florida as an Administrative Assistant


Hania Abou al-Shamat is a researcher affiliated with the Center for Global Islamic Studies and the Center for African Studies. She received her Ph.D. in Political Economy and Public Policy from the University of Southern California. Shamat has been a fellow at the American Research Center in Cairo (2011-2012) and a Fulbright scholar in Turkey (2013-2014). Shamat’s research interests are interdisciplinary spanning the areas of politics, economics, law, and history, with a particular focus on

Dorothy Zimmerman

Communications Director


Formerly the communications director of the Florida Sea Grant College Program, Dorothy Zimmerman has been a communications professional at the University of Florida since 1999. Her professional and personal accomplishments demonstrate an enduring interest in advancing citizens’ awareness of issues, increasing their ability to make knowledgeable decisions and engage with their community. She led one of the national Sea Grant network’s most impactful communications programs, consistently recognized for its innovation and cost-effectiveness. She has also

Bob Graham

Former Senator and Governor of Florida


Senator Bob Graham is the former two-term governor of Florida and served for 18 years in the United States Senate. Graham also served for 12 years in the Florida legislature for a total of 38 years of public service. He is recognized for his leadership on issues ranging from healthcare and environmental preservation to his ten years of service on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence – including serving as chairman in 2001-2002. After retiring

Zachariah Chou

Communications Student Assistant


Zach Chou is a senior majoring in journalism and political science, and minoring in public leadership at the University of Florida. He serves as an editorial assistant and photographer for the Bob Graham Center. Zach is a frequent contributor to the Independent Florida Alligator and The Gainesville Sun. His op-eds have been been published in the New York Times. He holds the office of senator in the UF Student Government. "A desire to change the