Archive for the ‘bachelor’s degrees’ Category

At the June Board of Trustees meeting, St. Petersburg College officials presented information on the college’s strategic priority of providing baccalaureate education and the success rates and demographics of those students. The typical SPC bachelor’s degree graduate is a 31-year-old female who works at least part-time and takes classes online.

This spring, the Florida Legislature barred all 28 Florida colleges from creating new bachelor’s degree programs for a year. Legislators want to review the rapid growth of such degree programs at state colleges, which produced 5,009 graduates in 2012-2013, nearly double the number from the previous two years.

Since 2001, state colleges have offered bachelor’s degrees to meet workforce needs, such as shortages of nurses and teachers. But lawmakers worry state colleges are competing with state universities. Today, 24 state colleges offer 175 bachelor’s degrees.

SPC began with three bachelor’s degrees, in nursing, education and information technology in 2001. It now offers 24. Since 2008, a total of 7,355 students have earned bachelor’s degrees from SPC, which averages 1,000 graduates a year. Baccalaureate students make up 12% of SPC’s enrollment and 20% of its graduates.

“Our baccalaureate students are not traditional students,” said Jesse Coraggio, Associate Vice President Institutional Effectiveness, Research and Grants. “When we talk about competition that may exist between the state college and the university, once you look at the data, there really is no competition. We’re talking about very different needs of students and very different student groups.”

Typically, bachelor’s degree students at SPC outperform lower division students “because they’ve already made it through that part of their academic career,” Coraggio said. They are more committed to graduating and earn their degrees in an average 6.7 semesters. Nearly 90% complete their program within three years. Their course success rates average 85%, compared to lower division course success rates of 74%.

They also earn more money. A report commissioned by the Legislature shows graduates with bachelor’s degrees earn about $18,000 more than those with associate degrees at the mid-point of their careers.

“These programs have been very instrumental in helping mid-career adults get a credential that will move them forward,” said SPC President Bill Law. “There is not a single program on that list that (University of South Florida) president Judy Genshaft did not sign off on in her office, and in fact most of them started in her office” as a way to take pressure off the university, he said.

BOT Chairman Deveron Gibbons called SPC’s bachelor’s degrees essential for those who cannot afford to attend a state university.

“I’m telling you right now, some of these folks would not be going to college at all if they had to travel, or they had to move,” Gibbons said. “They just wouldn’t be able to go through a full baccalaureate program. They couldn’t do it without all the things that are right here in this county that help them be successful.”

To learn more, view the presentation at the 37:20 point of the video.


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Several news outlets published stories about the work of Michael L. McCauley, a graduate of SPC’s Orthotics and Prosthetics bachelor’s degree program, and O&P program director Arlene Gillis, who recently traveled to the Florida Keys with a group from the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge to conduct research on prosthetic swim legs.

The underwater study is one of four Gillis’ team is conducting with the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge, whose missions are now part of the school’s curriculum, the Tampa Tribune reported. Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge has partnered with SPC to find ways of building better prosthetics. In addition, participants on this study took part in an operation with a group of young divers from the Tampa Bay area to help restore the Gulf of Mexico’s population of staghorn coral, which was nearly wiped out a few years ago, according to the article.

The News-Press, Stars and Stripes, the Key West Citizen and the Mote Marine Laboratory in Sarasota also carried the story.

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Perhaps you take swimming in the water that helps define the state of Florida for granted. For amputees without legs, however, just getting from a beach chair to the water’s edge can be forbidding.

“When they go to the beach they have to take their leg off and hop to the water,” said Michael L. McCauley, a graduate of St. Petersburg College’s Orthotics and Prosthetics bachelor’s degree program. “We want them to be able to swim without a care in the world like the rest of us. That’s my goal.”

Chris Corbin and Evan Olson participate in last year’s Combat Wounded Veterans Challenge trip to the Florida Keys.

Next week, McCauley and O&P program director Arlene Gillis will travel to the Florida Keys with a group from the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge to conduct research on prosthetic swim legs. McCauley will observe amputees swimming with and without their prosthetic legs to measure their air intake, heart rate and buoyancy and how long it takes to swim certain distances. The results will help improve prosthetics built for water and thereby the quality of life for amputees who want to pursue active lifestyles.

Founded in 2010, the CWCV works to improve the lives of wounded and injured veterans through rehabilitative challenges and to further the science related to their injuries and treatment. Some of their recent trips have taken them to glaciers in Alaska, the depths of the Grand Canyon and the heights of Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak.

SPC O&P students and graduates have joined these trips to conduct research, such as anatomical reactions to changes in environment; the effects of stress, extreme weather and altitude on prosthetics, post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury and the effects of temperature change on overall pain levels, spastic moments in the lower extremity and hand function. McCauley’s love of the ocean has prompted him to focus on activities beyond land.

“There’s very limited research on underwater prosthetics,” said McCauley, who graduated from SPC in 2011 and manages an orthotics and prosthetics practice in Nashville. “Right now, they make swim legs just so they don’t rust. There’s so much more we can do, but we need the research.”

Technology advancements in just the past decade have helped transform modern prosthetics. Today, amputees can reasonably rely on their new limbs to help them conduct daily activities. Beyond that, however, sports like diving require specialized limbs that can be costly.

“Buoyancy is a pretty big deal,” McCauley said. “When we dive, we have to get neutrally buoyant. For amputees, we have to weigh the legs down so they can stay down.”

For his part, McCauley will focus partly on able-bodied swimmers to monitor their swimming styles, propulsion of kicks and angles of feet and knees. The information will help fine tune the mechanics used in the limbs.

The rest of the Combat Wounded Veteran Challenge group will assist SCUBAnauts International, a group of high school marine science students, in cleaning, monitoring and restoring underwater coral reefs in conjunction with MOTE Marine Research Laboratory. The veterans will also mentor the youths in military-centric dive training and underwater navigation under the supervision and instruction of elite United States Army Special Forces Combat Divers.

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Katelyn Sovocool

Katelyn Sovocool

St. Petersburg College alumna Katelyn Sovocool is a finalist for the Jack R. Lamb ESE Rookie Teacher of the Year district award by the Suncoast 176 Chapter of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Sovocool, 24, a full-time Autistic Spectrum Disorder (ASD) kindergarten teacher at Plumb Elementary School in Clearwater, completed a bachelor’s degree in Exceptional Student Education (K-12) with a certification in Elementary Education with ESOL and Reading Endorsements.

“When I first started the education program at SPC, I wanted to receive a degree in Elementary Education,” she said. “But, after the informational sessions provided, I learned about the Exceptional Student Education program and felt as though I needed to pursue that degree.”

Although none of her family or friends had a disability and Sovocool had little experience with exceptional students, she felt that she was still making the right choice. “Once I was accepted into the program, I knew I was right where I was meant to be.”

“SPC helped me prepare to reach my dreams of becoming an educator by providing me with a quality education and an unsurpassable experience in the educational field,” said Sovocool. She hopes to make a difference through her career by providing each of her students with the highest quality education possible.

Sovocool is in the running with two other new teachers for the award:

  • Marissa Miranda from Hamilton Disston School
  • Crystal Grimmer from Bardmoor Elementary

Finalists will be recognized and winners will be announced at the Suncoast 176 Chapter’s 35th annual banquet at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 25, at Ruth Eckerd Hall.

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The Honors Biology Club is sponsoring the 1st Annual Science Poster Symposium on Monday, April 1.

The symposium is an excellent opportunity for the entire St. Petersburg College community to learn more about the Biology Baccalaureate Program. Biology students involved in undergraduate research, literature reviews or other academic endeavors will present posters describing their projects. In addition, some faculty members will present information on their research interests, which is an excellent way for future students to learn about available research projects.

Please send an email to spchonorsbio@gmail.com and let us know that you are interested in attending.

The symposium will take place from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Clearwater Campus in ES 104.

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The Sarasota Herald-Tribune published an article July 21 about SPC graduate Natasha Clemons, the mother of a Bradenton man who died in an officer-involved shooting on June 11 in Sarasota County. Clemons’ classmates and professor, Dr. Sandra Campbell, helped her afterward. They pulled together to purchase her a new lab coat for work that lists her as having received her bachelor’s degree in nursing.

In the article, Clemons said when she walked down the aisle at SPC’s graduation ceremony she planned to carry a photo of her son. Clemons, 40, is the second in her immediate family to receive a college diploma. Her late son graduated from Eastern New Mexico University in December.

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Bonnie Loghry, during her most recent trip to Bangladesh in March.

Bonnie Loghry, during her most recent trip to Bangladesh in March.

Armed with desire for knowledge and helping others, Bonnie Loghry has followed her passion for public health education to four countries in the past four years. During that time, she also earned a bachelor’s degree in veterinary technology from SPC.

Loghry, who works as a Veterinary Technologist and an Occupational Health and Safety Trainer at Yuba College in northern California, is a registered veterinary technician with more than 30 years of experience in developing vet tech course work. She is an OSHA-certified safety specialist who focuses on assessing and troubleshooting veterinary workplace safety.

As a working mom of two children, she had made a few attempts over the years to get a bachelor’s degree but had never found anything that piqued her interest until she discovered SPC’s Veterinary Technology program.

“I evaluated vet tech curriculum from other colleges and they just didn’t really light my fire,” Loghry said. “St. Petersburg College offered the best well-rounded, in-depth curriculum. That’s why I chose them.”

She enrolled online in the veterinary technology program in spring 2008 and graduated in May 2011. When she enrolled, her supervisor encouraged her to take an international trip to Haiti to instruct local veterinary agents in large animal medicine and surgery. Hesitant at first because she had never traveled outside the U.S., she eventually agreed to go on what would be a life-altering experience.

“When we were there, we would drive out to some really remote place and basically set up shop under a tree, and villagers from all around would start showing up with their animals,” she said. “Giving them some rudimentary skills that they could then use to help their neighbors with their animals was very rewarding, and I was absolutely hooked after that.”

Loghry went on several more overseas trips over the next few years, paying for some herself as well as with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development’s Farmer-to-Farmer program.

Her trips have included:

In 2009, she travelled to Luxor, Egypt to work with Animal Care in Egypt and Egyptian veterinarians to teach treatment and care of small and large animals to the community.
In 2011, she travelled to Haiti with the Farmer-to-Farmer program, training Haitian veterinarians in sustainable veterinary practice, public health and occupational safety.
In March 2012, she travelled to Bangladesh for two weeks working with ultra-poor women, teaching animal husbandry and how best to care for their goats.

“In developing countries, their dependence on their animals is so different than what we have here. We don’t realize how dependent we are on animals because we can go to the local store and buy food and not think about it,” she said. “These folks, they need donkeys in order to get to the river to get water. I guess it just brought me back down to ground level of what veterinary medicine is all about.”

Two of her SPC instructors remember her fondly.

“Bonnie is wonderful and she represents St. Petersburg College well,” said Wendy Rib, Instructor of Veterinary Technology. “She’s made significant contributions both during her tenure here at the college and since she’s graduated. She’s already embarked upon some fantastic steps within her career.”

“Because we are an online program and we have a diverse pool of learners, I think it’s very beneficial as a student to expand yourself by being opened up to other points of view,” said Cindy Grey, Faculty in Veterinary Technology. “I think the program itself is set up for these students to engage each other and exchange ideas, and that it certainly was very helpful in her taking the next step in her education and career.”

“I can’t say enough about the whole baccalaureate degree program in veterinary technology, but those two ladies in particular are amazing educators and just lovely people,”Loghry said about Rib and Grey. “Every chance I get, whenever anybody calls and wants me to say something about St. Petersburg College, I just go on and on until people’s eyes start rolling into the back of their heads—mostly because of those two ladies.”

Loghry has been accepted into the Master of Public Health program at the University of California, Davis, where she will begin classes in August.

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