Archive for the ‘academics’ Category

Peg Connell

Peg Connell

Peg Connell, director of Disabilities Resources, who is retiring in December, was honored at Tuesday’s Board of Trustees meeting. She began her career with St. Petersburg College in March 1998.

“Ms. Connell, throughout this time, has insisted on and maintained high standards for herself and her staff, which has resulted in several federal grant awards to the college and the establishment of the Able Trust Grant, which has placed more than 100 students with disabilities in professional, career-oriented employment since its inception two years ago,” Dr. Bill Law read from the resolution honoring Connell.

Connell has served as the president of the Florida Special Needs Association and the St. Petersburg College chapter of the Florida Association of Community Colleges. She was a founder of Florida AHEAD (the Florida Association on Higher Education and Disabilities) and served as the association’s president in 2011-12. She received the association’s Award of Excellence in 2013.

Connell will always be remembered for her work in establishing the highly successful Narrowing the Gulf annual conference at SPC, which brings more than 200 people to the EpiCenter each year to address the needs of under-represented college students across the state.

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Professor Antonio Paris will get a behind-the-scenes look at NASA when he attends the launch of the Orion Spacecraft.

Antonio Paris, a Professor of Astronomy at St. Petersburg College, was selected by NASA to attend the launch of the Orion Spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 4.

According to NASA, more than 30,000 applicants submitted their names for 150 VIP passes to the launch. NASA required applicants be accredited scientists, engineers, or educators in the space science field; have recently published a space science-related article, paper or book; be a “social media extravert”; and be in good standing in the scientific community.

The two-day event will provide Professor Paris the opportunity to tour NASA facilities at Kennedy; meet and interact with NASA engineers, scientists, and astronauts; learn about NASA’s Orion Spacecraft and the importance of this historical test flight; view and take photographs of Orion at the launch pad; meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media; meet members of NASA’s social media team; and have VIP access to the launch of Orion.

According to NASA, “Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.”

The Orion test flight on Dec. 4 will be a two-orbit, four-hour flight to test many of the craft’s systems most critical to safety, including avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield, according to the NASA website.

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Collegiate Model United Nations Conference

Nine of the 12 students from the SPC Model United Nations team during the trip to Washington, D.C..

Nine of the 12 students from the SPC Model United Nations team.

The Model United Nations Team at St. Petersburg College received top international honors at the Collegiate Model United Nations Conference held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C.

A team of 12 students competed in a UN simulation with more than 800 American and international students. The SPC team was awarded the top prize of Outstanding Delegation putting the group in the top seven percent of teams that competed.

Two SPC students, Kane Magnuson and Mason Kerr, also were awarded the Outstanding Delegate in Committee award for their work on reducing inequality on the Economic and Social Council.

“The Model United Nations Team at St. Petersburg College is a very serious and successful academic team,” said Earl Fratus, social science instructor, who along with fellow instructor Randy Lightfoot traveled with the team. “Our students work very hard, for weeks and months to prepare for their competition and they consistently do a wonderful job of representing us.”

The students represented Austria in the simulation and prepared for the conference by researching issues, practicing diplomatic simulations and drafting solutions to global issues.

“The Model United Nations Program at SPC provides a platform for students to learn about global issues while researching and drafting solutions for issues from the perspective of countries they might not know much about,” said Roy Slater, social science professor. “Students gain valuable research and writing skills, and public speaking skills.”

Slater is one of three faculty advisors, along with Heather Roberson, associate professor of Social Science, and Roberto Loureiro, academic department chair of Social and Behavioral Science.

The students who competed in the Model UN Team for SPC include:

  • Andi Menaul
  • Maxximilian Seijo
  • Jermaine Evans
  • Isabel Martinho
  • Mason Kerr
  • Alexander Ramnath
  • Amy Currotto
  • Ryan Walker
  • Haneen Kantar
  • Jordon Liggett
  • Kane Magnuson
  • Lewis Morgan

Florida Model United Nations – Gainesville

SPC teams also competed in the Florida Model United Nations simulation with nearly 20 other Florida institutions in early October. SPC had three teams competing – one earned an Honorable Mention award (ranking in the top 20 percent) and a second team earned a Distinguished Delegation award (ranking in the Top 14 percent).

The teams represented Belgium, Republic of Korea and Austria.

The students traveling were:

  • Carlos Ortega Perez
  • Derek Hopkins
  • Matthew McMahon
  • Lindsey Velde
  • Amy Currotto
  • Ryan Walker
  • Armando Pellot
  • Keith Greenberg
  • Alexander Haydon
  • Lea Jarnberg

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St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college's peer advising program.

St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college’s peer advising program.

Three St. Petersburg College student peer advisors accepted an invitation to speak about their experiences in the college’s peer advising program on Tampa Bay Tomorrow, a local radio show that airs on 970 WFLA. The segment aired Oct. 19 and 20.

Listen to the peer advising radio interview on the WFLA website.

“It’s great to be a part of something that sets SPC apart from the other state colleges in Florida,” said Adam Bailey, a student veteran and peer advisor at the Seminole Campus.

Since it began in Fall 2013, the peer advising program has enjoyed great success. In addition to being able to assist other students, peer advising also gives students an active learning experience.

The program, which originally was funded by the Student Government Association, began with two students and has since expanded to include five student peer advisors. Each peer advisor goes through a month of intensive academic advising training before they can start helping other students.

Some peer advisors assist up to 20 students a day, said Malena Buck, Student Life & Leadership Coordinator at the Seminole Campus.

Peer advisors have met with more than 800 students since its beginning. The program is expanding into different departments, with peer advisors now assigned to Veterans Services and Career Services. They also provide assistance with the My Learning Plan in the Learning Commons on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 pm.

Being able to share about their experiences during the radio interview was an exciting learning experience for the peer advisors.

“It was such a privilege to represent SPC and share about a program that enhances the college experience,” said Melissa Joy Petrescue, student peer advisor.

“The peer-to-peer experience is what I’m going to hold onto for a long time,” said Melissa Dabydeen, student peer advisor at the Seminole Campus. “The leadership skills and experience gained will assist me with future endeavors.

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St. Petersburg President Bill Law speaks at the inaugural Moving the Needle conference.

St. Petersburg President Bill Law speaks at the inaugural Moving the Needle conference.

Jesse Coraggio, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants at St. Petersburg College, speaks at the Moving the Needle conference.

Jesse Coraggio, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants, headed up planning the conference.

On Wednesday, Nov. 5, St. Petersburg College kicked off the inaugural Moving the Needle conference. The event is designed for college and university leaders across the country to engage in collaborative discussions about methods through which to improve the use of data leading to student success.

SPC, the oldest state college in Florida, is trying to change the way administrators at other institutions think about and use data, share best practices and learn from one another through this two-day conference. Key events are being streamed live online.

“A big piece of the conference is creating a culture where college officials and faculty embrace ways they can use data to help increase student achievement,” said Jesse Coraggio, associate vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants.

SPC President Bill Law, a self-proclaimed “data guy,” began Thursday morning’s session by emphasizing the importance of using data to promote student success. He discussed the business intelligence data that SPC administrators receive each morning that allows them to monitor what is or is not working and how the college can better serve students each day.

Dr. Law also shared about The College Experience, the college’s initiative that monitors data for five key areas. The data allows administrators to track students’ actions to help them finish what they start, and is shared in weekly meetings that any SPC employee can attend remotely.

The College Experience is attracting attention from colleges around the United States. Even before traveling to Florida for the conference, Diane Snyder, vice chancellor of Finance Administration at Alamo Colleges, was familiar with the student success initiative and had listened to some of SPC’s weekly morning meetings remotely.

Dr. Mark David Milliron, chief learning officer at Civitas Learning, speaks at the Moving the Needle conference.

Dr. Mark David Milliron, chief learning officer at Civitas Learning, speaks at the Moving the Needle conference.

Along with several other administrators from Alamo Colleges, Snyder decided to attend the conference because her institution does not yet have a business intelligence or significant data warehouse and she said that they are trying to free up some funds to do more work in this area.

She was among more than 150 attendees from 26 colleges and universities that attended the conference, including eight presidents and 37 vice presidents. Attendees traveled from as far as Texas and Wisconsin, and included representatives from the Community College Research Center and Achieving the Dream National Reform Network.

The event’s keynote presentation was given by Dr. Mark David Milliron, chief learning officer at Civitas Learning. Milliron was the founding chancellor of Western Governors University, Texas, and also served as deputy director for postsecondary improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

In his keynote, Milliron spoke about leveraging design thinking and advancing analytics for education and said he was excited that St. Petersburg College was catalyzing this kind of conversation. He described today’s greatest challenge as the need to help radically more students succeed and help students become more engaged in their education.

Travis Thompson, senior director of academic tracking and advising at the University of South Florida, participates in the Q&A with Dr. Mark Milliron.

Travis Thompson, senior director of academic tracking and advising at the University of South Florida, participates in the Q&A with Dr. Mark Milliron.

“Thirty years ago, we only needed some students to be educated at the highest level. Now we need most students to have some kind of post-secondary education,” he said, emphasizing the need for tough-mindedness and the use of creativity in how institutions approach this challenge. “It’s going to mean the deep-data work and design thinking. It’s going to be bringing together the best of both science and art, art and science, to be able to help those students cross that stage.”

“There are millions of students on that pathway who want to use this as an opportunity to change their lives,” he said. “There are students in our midst who have made huge, life-changing decisions to be on this pathway. It is worth every bit of our effort to bring that tough-mindedness and creativity to help them succeed.”

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turbovoteJust in time for the Nov. 4 midterm election, St. Petersburg College has been mentioned in the National Journal for its efforts to engage students in the voting process. The article talks about how colleges and universities are using technology to promote voter engagement among college-age students and help get them to the polls.

As part of its effort to increase student voter engagement, SPC partnered with TurboVote, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, to adopt an innovative “one-stop-shop” voter engagement platform. TurboVote’s Election Day memos include ballot previews with links to candidates’ websites to help voters make informed, educated decisions at the polls.

“The purpose is to make it as painless as possible for students to register to vote,” David Klement, executive director of the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at SPC, was quoted as saying in the article. “Knowing how many young people are tech-savvy and do everything on their cell phones or computers, it’s an electronic platform.”

In TurboVote’s blog update on Oct. 6, St. Petersburg College was ranked in the Top 20 with 425 student registrations out of more than 200 TurboVote colleges and universities in the U.S.

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When Sheila Cowley saw a need for quality, student-created content for MYRA – Make Your Radio Active – the student radio station at St. Petersburg College, the adjunct instructor jumped in head first.

Cowley began her first semester at SPC in the fall by teaching an Audio for Broadcast course in the Music Industry/Recording Arts program at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus. Now students are creating content for the station.

“Our aim is to fill the MIRA station with new original content that constantly reflects what’s happening at SPC,” said Cowley, who worked at WMNF radio for nearly 25 years. As operations manager, she oversaw the equipment, facility, training, FCC compliance and engineers.

For the MYRA radio station, she wants to produce announcements, feature interviews, live broadcasts and public service announcements. Students in her class have already produced station IDs and promotional spots for the Palladium Theater and are crafting features about the Music Industry/Recording Arts program to draw prospects to the workforce program.

“All the work in the class is practical and hands on, since radio’s a skill you only develop by doing,” Cowley said. “There’s no sitting around. While there are some really good written references, really everything we do is listening and working.”

In September, SPC students toured WMNF to see the transmission process – an experience that will help prepare them for the Society of Broadcast Engineers’ exam so they can earn certified radio operator credentials in the future.

“The skills you learn for radio – writing for broadcast, broadcast production standards, editing for length and content – those are skills that serve you well in many fields, including film and video,” Cowley said.

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