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Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Diane Smith-Pinckney, UNT HSC

Faculty & Staff Spotlight: Diane Smith-Pinckney, UNT Health Science Center

Diane joined the HSC in October 2019 after a distinguished career as journalist at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram mostly covering education. Reporting and writing remain passions and she uses those skills daily handling internal and external communications for the campus, and telling the stories of faculty, staff and students as they work to understand and solve complicated problems from cancer and Alzheimer's to West Nile virus and COVID-19. Judging by either end of her hyphenated last name, you might not guess where this wife (that's her husband Roger in the photo) and mom of three boys was born and raised, however, she covered a major international news event there two decades ago, and lately she's been trying to perfect some of the tasty dishes she grew up eating. There's much more to our HSC colleague, so read on and get to know Diane.


What is your favorite aspect of your job?
I like discovering the different ways we help people in Tarrant County. HSC professionals are working to understand and solve complicated problems – from cancer to the West Nile virus to COVID-19.

What is your proudest work moment?
Last Spring, as the world grappled with a mysterious pandemic, the HSC communications/marketing team worked swiftly to inform the campus and the community about efforts to help. These endeavors included setting up multiple COVID-19 testing sites, providing masks and documenting the work the HSC health experts were doing in the community. I jokingly referred to HSC News as the “breaking news team.” This spirit continues today as HSC works with community partners to bring vaccine equity to hard-to-reach communities. Highlighting this work makes me proud.

What is your proudest non-work moment?
My proudest non-work moments are just being available for my three sons – whether helping with school, cheering when they participate in sports or cooking their favorite food.

What is a fact about you that may surprise your colleagues?
I was raised in the former Canal Zone in the Central American country of Panama. I moved to Texas at age 18 in the late 1980s. During the 1999-2000 New Year’s Day holidays, I documented the official and ceremonial turnover of the Panama Canal from the United States government to the Panamanian government as a journalist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

I love Jane Austen and I reread, “Emma” and "Pride and Prejudice” every few years because I like to see how my perspective of the characters changes as I change.
Movie?: I really like movies so it is hard to pick one. Still, one of my favorites is “Giant,” because it tells a story of Texas through the lens of a complicated family during West Texas’ oil industry boom. This 1950s-era movie does this while also tackling sexism, racism and bigotry (gosh, now I want to watch it again).
Hobby?: I like to learn new things so my hobbies are always changing. My latest hobby is trying to learn to cook recipes from around the world. Lately, I am focusing on East Asian food and trying to practice the Panamanian recipes I grew up eating.