Name: Mary Lai Rose
Role with JCCI: Forward Mystery Guest Lunch Speaker
JCCI: What do you do from 9-5?
MR: I am the Director of Urban Initiatives in the Center for Urban Education and Policy. The Center is based in the College of Education and Human Services at the University of North Florida.
JCCI: What do you do outside of work?
MR: I wouldn’t call myself a foodie because I don’t eat EVERYTHING but I do like to eat, cook, watch other people cook, talk about and take pictures of food, read cookbooks, visit markets and kitchenware stores, and fantasize about working in a cafeteria. I love walking on the beach with my dog Einstein and my husband Jason during any season except summer.
JCCI: How & when did you get involved with JCCI or JCCI Forward?
MR: The first JCCI event I attended was the Quality of Life 2012 report release on January 30, 2012. I was starting to explore community events and organizations in Jacksonville after moving here from State College, PA where I was a graduate student at Penn State. I was drawn to JCCI because of my interest/background in research.
JCCI: What is your favorite hidden gem in Jacksonville?
MR: Being a food lover, I love exploring places to eat, especially hole-in-the-wall, Mom ‘n Pop type places. I’ve discovered several delicious BBQ, soul food, and seafood restaurants in Jacksonville but I would say my THREE favorite hidden gems are Silver Star Restaurant on Blanding Blvd. for their dim sum menu (analogous to Chinese tapas or small plates; served Sat-Tues), Mi Pueblo Latino Market on Beach Blvd. for their Mexican food cooked in the back of the market, and Pancitan ATBP Restaurant, also on Beach Blvd., for Filipino food. These cuisines remind me of home in the San Francisco Bay Area.
JCCI: What community issue is on your radar that doesn’t get enough attention right now?
MR: To answer this question in a different way, I’d like to share a community issue that I want to learn more about. As a relative newcomer to Jacksonville, I have been impressed by the cross-sector involvement, community collaborations, and philanthropic investment in improving the access to, and quality of education in Duval County. This community has really rallied together around the issue of education! On the other hand, there is a sense that work is being done in silos, and people feel disconnected from ongoing efforts. The questions on my mind are: How can we do better as a community? Who or what is needed in order to advance our work to the next level of collaboration? How can we coordinate our efforts to maximize our collective effectiveness given limited resources? Also, how are we measuring success so that we can gauge our progress and know which direction we need to go?
JCCI: Why is JCCI important to you and Jacksonville?
MR: JCCI is like a drop-in center for adults who want to get involved in the community. JCCI brings people together from across the city to learn about important issues affecting our community, and to propose and work toward solutions. As someone interested in community-based, participatory research, I appreciate having an organized inquiry process that is open to everyone. The staff of JCCI has been a tremendous help to me by providing information, resources, and connecting me to people in the community. I think I owe JCCI a fruit basket or something… ;-)
JCCI Forward hosts a Mystery Guest Lunch several times a year. You never know who you'll have lunch with - or what the topic will be....but they are always entertaining and enjoyable!