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Business newsmakers: Harris named dean at Florida Tech College of Engineering and Science – Florida Today

John Harris recently was named the new dean of the College of Engineering and Science at the Florida Institute of Technology in Melbourne.
Harris is a distinguished scholar, and considered one of the leaders who oversaw dramatic increases in faculty and research funding as chair of the University of Florida’s electrical and computer engineering department.
He spent 29 years at UF, the Gainesville institution with more than 53,000 students, including the last 11 years as department chair.
Harris earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical engineering at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and his Ph.D. in computation and neural systems at California Institute of Technology.
“Even though there are questions about how rankings are done, people pay attention. Faculty, Ph.D. students when looking for a school, undergrads — every which way, people look at rankings. Even employers consider rankings,” Harris said. “Rankings by themselves are not important, but all of these rankings are based on metrics that matter very much.”
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Annual department research expenditures rose more than 150 percent over Harris’  tenure as department chair at UF, approaching nearly $24 million. That is the seventh-largest expenditure among all electrical and computer engineering departments in the United States.
Harris, 61, was born and raised in Holmdel, New Jersey, about an hour outside of New York City.
At MIT, Harris became interested in the brain and neural systems, and how to solve engineering problems with inspiration from the brain.
He knew people at Caltech, so after graduating with his degrees from MIT, Harris headed west.
He started in a Ph.D. program co-founded by Nobel Prize-winning physicist and Caltech faculty member Richard Feynman, computational and neural systems.
Jasmine Gyant recently was promoted at Lifetime Counseling Center to its school-based services manager and summer programs coordinator position.
Gyant, a Palm Bay resident, previously was a school-based mental health therapist at Lifetime Counseling Center.
Gyant graduated from the University of South Florida with a master’s degree in clinical mental health counseling, and is a certified first responder counselor.
Lifetime Counseling Center is a program of the Space Coast Health Foundation. It offers professional, confidential counseling to children, adolescents and adults, either in person at offices in Cocoa or Melbourne, or virtually.
As a contracted behavioral health provider for Brevard Public Schools, Lifetime Counseling Center employs clinicians who provide mental health and substance abuse counseling services on site in more than 25 local schools.
GrayRobinson recently announced that Christina Morelli joined its Private Client Services Section in the firm’s Melbourne office. Morelli focuses her practice on elder law, estate planning, retirement planning, and trust and probate administration.
She is skilled in drafting wills, revocable living trusts and irrevocable trusts, including charitable trusts and grantor trusts.
She also has experience handling the creation of Individual Retirement Account conduit trusts and other tax planning trusts, durable powers of attorney, and advanced directive living wills.
Morelli represents individuals from medium to high net worth, individual and corporate trustees, and tax-exempt charities and private foundations.
She often counsels clients in matters of estate planning and succession planning for the benefit of them and their loved ones, and provides guidance to individuals navigating the administration of probates, guardianships and trusts.
Morelli received her law degree from Stetson University. She earned her undergraduate degree in information technology from Florida State University.
Morelli is affiliated with the Elder Law Section, the Real Property, Probate and Trust Section, and the Young Lawyers Division of The Florida Bar, in addition to being involved with guardian ad litem.
GrayRobinson is a multidimensional team of attorneys, advisers and consultants. Its nearly 300 professionals partner with businesses and individuals to resolve disputes, anticipate industry shifts and harness forward momentum.
The firm serves clients nationally from 15 offices across Florida and in Washington, D.C.
Heather Allen recently started a new position as assistant director at Eastern Florida State College Career Planning & Development Center.
Allen received her bachelor’s degree in operations management from the University of Central Florida. She received her master’s degree from UCF in career and technical education. 
She joined EFSC’s Career & Development Center as a coordinator in November 2014.
Allen formerly was the office manager for the Computer Care Clinic, and currently owns The Suntree Computer Teacher, which specializes in teaching seniors how to use their computers and other electronic devices.
Rachel Horst, the digital communications coordinator for the city of Cocoa, recently was given the Rising Leader Award from the Florida Public Relations Association.
She is an active member of the Space Coast chapter of the FPRA, and currently serves on the chapter’s board.
Prior to joining the city of Cocoa as digital communications coordinator, she was social media manager for the Coalition on Adult Basic Education. Before that, she was a communications technology specialist for Brevard Public Schools.
If you have a Business Newsmakers item you’d like to publish, please email details to Wayne T. Price at wtpkansas@yahoo.com or contact him at 321-223-0230.    
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