Paula Smith

Paula Smith
Mentor: Dr. Christopher Pryor
Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
"I have always wanted to make an impact in an area I am very passionate about-- people with disabilities. Growing up with an autistic brother has given me a different perspective on life and a continuous appreciation for the little things. My brother's goals and dreams for his future have made me an advocate for people with disabilities, specifically in the work place. I am hoping that my research will contribute towards making an impact in the community as well as to help fill in some of the gaps found in the research."


Business Administration: General Studies with a focus on Pre-Law



Research Interests

  • Hiring practices
  • Disabilities
  • Perspective Change

Academic Awards

  • Machen Florida Opportunity Scholars 2014
  • University Scholars Program 2016


  • Undergraduate Assistant for the MFOS Program
  • Peer Leader for First Year Florida
  • Member of the Student Conduct Committee


  • Nursery Worker at Greenhouse Church
  • Gator Plunge Volunteer

Hobbies and Interests

  • Public Speaking
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business and Law Interest
  • Working Out

Research Description

Utilizing The World Café Model To Elicit Perspective Change In Employer Hiring Practices Towards People With Disabilities
For my research, I want to design a World Café Model in order to bring together the different stakeholders in the issue of employment for people with disabilities. According to their website, the World Café Model uses seven design principles which make it a ""powerful social technology for engaging people in conversations that matter, offering an effective antidote to the fast-paced fragmentation and lack of connection in today’s world. Based on the understanding that conversation is the core process that drives personal, business, and organizational life, the World Café is a way of thinking and being together sourced in a philosophy of conversational leadership."" My research will test this method to determine if it is an effective tool to use when addressing the barriers encountered by persons with disabilities in the workplace. My goal is to use this tool to help initiate important conversations that need to be had by the community in order to change employer perception on hiring peoples with disabilities.