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Sunday, October 01, 2023

Monika Oli doesn’t let the learning curve slow her down.

Oli, a UF microbiology and cell science professor, was honored as UF Teacher of the Year at a ceremony held at the president’s house last week.

She said she didn’t expect to win because of the heavy competition.

“There’s so many people, so many faculty, so many great teachers on campus that it was quite a surprise,” she said.

Oli began teaching at UF in Spring 2011. She is credited with revamping the microbiology curriculum.

Microbiology and cell science chairman Eric Triplett said he counted on Oli to modernize and organize the department’s lab system.

“It’s a big job,” he said. “She works countless hours and puts a lot of thought and creativity.”

Yordanis Diez, a 23-year-old UF microbiology and cell science senior, has been Oli’s teaching assistant for four semesters. He wrote a recommendation letter for her application.

“She loves what she does,” he said. “It could not have happened to a better professor.”

Oli said her education from Germany, Scotland and the U.S., and her outside work experience set her apart from the competition. She is thankful for the teachers who helped her succeed.

“Once you feel how it feels to be inspired by somebody, I think, only then, you can give it back,” she said.

Contact Colleen Wright at

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