Archive for the ‘Seminole Campus’ Category

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College will host a forum featuring local candidates seeking public office and information about key issues that will be on the Nov. 4 ballot. The free event is open to the public and will be held:

5:30-9 p.m., Thursday, Oct. 2
Digitorium UP 160
Seminole Campus
9200 113th Street N
Seminole, FL 33772

The debates are presented in an effort to dispel voter apathy and to honor the importance of an informed electorate. Facing off will be candidates for Pinellas County Commission from Districts 2 and 4, and candidates for the eight most highly contested seats in the state legislature. Also up for debate will be three proposed amendments to the State Constitution.

Admission is free but advance registration is requested.

A distinguished panel of experts will question the candidates and provide background on the issues. They are:

  • Frank Alcock, associate professor of political science, New College of Florida, Sarasota
  • Adam Smith, political editor, Tampa Bay Times
  • Roy Slater, social science professor, St. Petersburg College
  • Noah Pransky, investigative reporter, WTSP 10 News, St. Petersburg
  • Moderator: Joni James, deputy editor of editorials, Tampa Bay Times

The debates will be split into three one-hour sessions, with the first two combining state legislative races whose district borders are relatively contiguous, for the convenience of voters interested in their home district candidates. A brief discussion of the three constitutional amendments will precede the candidate debates. The schedule is:

  • 5:30-6 p.m. – Constitutional Amendments 1 2, and 3
  • 6-7 p.m. – House Districts 65, 66 and 67
  • 7-8 p.m. – Senate District 22, House Districts 68 and 69
  • 8-9 p.m. – County Commission Districts 2 and 4

The event is co-sponsored by the Tampa Bay Times.

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The 40-acre park Natural Habitat Park at SPC’s Seminole Campus will serve as one of two public landscape locations for the Florida Native Plant Society Pinellas Chapter’s eighth annual Tour of Native Landscapes on Saturday, Sept. 27.

The self-guided tour, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., will involve a total of six sites throughout Pinellas County. Participants are given maps and information about each site and they can visit them on their own based on their schedule during the day.

Candace “Candy” Arnold, President of the Pinellas Chapter of the Florida Native Plant Society, said that restorative efforts were part of the reason why the organization selected SPC’s Natural Habitat Park as one of the locations for the tour.

“One of the reasons is that our mission is the restoration of native plants and native plant communities,” Arnold said. “The habitat is just absolutely gorgeous.”

In 2010, the Natural Habitat Park opened after undergoing a restoration, removing exotic and non-native vegetation to better highlight the natural plant life.

“We thought this would be a great opportunity for our members to see what great restoration can look like,” she said. “If you see some of the pictures from before when they were removing some of the exotic plants, it was thick with exotics. Now it’s filled with beautiful native vegetation.”

Maura Scanlon, Assistant Professor of Biology in Environmental Science Technology at the Seminole Campus, said the habitat also serves as green space for relaxing and as an outdoor classroom for field studies.

“It is ideal as it highlights not only the beauty of native plants and animals, but also how impacted urban land can become ecologically functional again through wetland restoration,” Scanlon said.

While the habitat has not been featured on the landscape tour in prior years, members of the Florida Native Plant Society have served as speakers for students in the Associate in Science Environmental Technology program and Seminole Environmental Club at the Seminole Campus.

The Natural Habitat Park is teeming with life – including more than 250 species of birds, dragonflies, reptiles and native plants. The park features a 200-yard-long boardwalk with 12 viewing stations, a 50-seat teaching pavilion, a floating dock and a butterfly and sculpture garden.

Students from the SPC Seminole Environmental Club will provide assistance to visitors and answer questions during the tour.

“Having the park be a stop on the tour provides an opportunity for the public to learn more about SPC, our programs, and this great resource,” Scanlon said.

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Ridgecrest Elementary

SPC psychology students are learning, experiencing and giving back all at the same time. Seminole Campus Psychology Professor Sharon Olsen, herself a former SPC student, is teaching her students outside the classroom to make a difference at Ridgecrest Elementary School in Largo.

While Professor Olsen’s out-of-class assignments are the perfect marriage of academics and civic engagement, they also ignite a passion in her students.


After piloting the program over the last year, students from her beginning and advanced psychology classes will spend a minimum of one hour a week this fall serving as mentors, tutors and role models at Ridgecrest. Some are returning to serve again.

Students in her General Psychology class will write a 2,000-word reflective response to their experience, integrating their understanding of psychological theory into their experiences. More advanced students in her Developmental Psychology of the Life Span class will develop an action plan for a project that students in Olsen’s future classes can facilitate.

Olsen’s students come from a wide variety of majors. Some plan to be teachers. Some are pursuing careers in medicine or counseling. So her assignments are structured with enough flexibility to respond to the natural interests of her students.

One of her advanced students, Honey Smith, plans to pursue a career in substance abuse counseling. After serving in the Coast Guard for six years, she is finishing up her last few months on inactive duty ready reserve and pursuing an A.A. degree at SPC. Last year she tutored high school students in an afterschool program, helping them prepare for the FCAT. Next week she starts as a mentor at Ridgecrest Elementary.

Honey Smith“I am excited to develop and submit an action plan to begin an anti-bullying program within Ridgecrest,” said Smith. “I look forward to continuing my volunteering long after my time with Dr. Olsen comes to an end. It is such a wonderful program that allows us to give back to our community.”

Smith has found a real connection between what she is learning about the developmental stages of life in Olsen’s class and her volunteer work with students.

“It has really helped me to be a better mentor to see and understand what they may be going through or what their struggles are.”

Last term, some of Olsen’s students researched the differences and similarities between students in Ridgecrest’s gifted program and general education mainstream classes.

“They are all learning that it is a bigger world than their current experiences,” said Olsen. “They are seeing cognitive and psychosocial development a real world setting. They are learning to recognize and respect social and cultural diversity. This experience is providing a real world framework for their understanding of the theories we discuss in the classroom.”

Civic engagement

This week, Olsen met six of her students at the University of South Florida to experience a lecture by Dr. Jane Goodall, the world-renowned scientist known for her research on chimpanzee behavior and environmental conservation. As a result of the experience, some of her students are exploring how they could introduce Goodall’s Roots and Shoots program as part of their action plan assignment with the students at Ridgecrest.

Olsen’s work at Ridgecrest was inspired by Dr. Joseph Smiley, Dean of Social & Behavioral Sciences, who encourages all his faculty to be involved in civic engagement.

“Sharon Olsen’s collaborative partnership with the Ridgecrest Elementary School 360 Project is one example of how faculty are working to take SPC students to a new level of civic engagement,” Smiley said. “We strongly believe it is very important for faculty and students to give back to the community and it is important for the success of SPC students.”

Civic engagement is also part of SPC’s Seminole Community Educational Ecosystem that exposes students in nearby elementary, middle and high schools to the Seminole Campus to stress the value of attaining a college degree.

“This program provides an invaluable service for Ridgecrest students and an invaluable educational experience for SPC students,” said Seminole Campus Provost James Olliver.

The work at Ridgecrest started originally as a part of the 360-degree outreach efforts of Pastor Richard Landon, Anona United Methodist Church, who has since expanded to other elementary and middle school campuses in the area “educational ecosystem.” Landon addressed SPC students at last week’s Working Wednesday event on Seminole Campus.

This year, the SPC students in Olsen’s class will be wearing SPC t shirts provided by student government funding as they volunteer at Ridgecrest, further solidifying their connection to SPC and helping the students to envision a future for themselves as college students.

“I feel like the partnership with SPC is a true win-win,” said Michael Moss, principal at Ridgecrest Elementary. “It is great for the students at Ridgecrest, having a large group of students visiting our school that serve as mentors, tutors and role models. It is really having a positive impact.”

As part of the Ridgecrest 360 program, SPC students visiting the school offer great support for Ridgecrest teachers and enriches their experience by exposing them to the interests of others.

“I also see how it benefits the students from SPC,” Moss said. “I feel like it cultivates a sense of civic mindedness and service learning for them.”

Next week Aimee Stubbs, Learning Specialist in Disability Resources at SPC, will meet with some of Olsen’s students outside of class to help them understand learning differences, what potential challenges they may face with students and strategies and resources that will make them more effective in their roles as mentors and tutors.

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Students and employers participate in the first Working Wednesday at the SPC Seminole Campus on Sept. 3.

Students and employers participate in the first Working Wednesday at the SPC Seminole Campus on Sept. 3.

On Wednesday, Sept. 3, the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus hosted its first Working Wednesday, a weekly event that aims to bring together students and potential employers. This week’s event in the University Partnership building featured Wendy’s, Achievement Via Individual Determination (AVID) tutoring and Anona United Methodist 360° partnership.

“There are lots of opportunities for students at Wendy’s,” said Jack Dederrico, a member of the Wendy’s human resources team who attended the event. Wendy’s is working with SPC to help business students put the skills they learn in the classroom to use in the real world while earning money and valuable experience. The partnership with the college puts students on a fast track to store and general manager positions at Wendy’s.

Sean Michael Dauria, a business administration student who is in the management training program at Wendy’s, said he appreciates that his employer works with his school hours and that he can work in his field of study.

Through AVID, SPC students have the opportunity to earn money as tutors in 42 Pinellas County schools. The program focuses on students who fall in the middle level achievement range and often are the first members of their families to attend college. Brian Morrison, a director at AVID, said an ideal tutor has strong communication skills, patience and is able to build relationships with students.

“St. Petersburg College students are good candidates for AVID tutor positions,” Morrison said. “Many were part of the program in Pinellas County schools and have an easier time relating to students.”

SPC student Robert Murzynski II, who spent time at both the Wendy’s and AVID tables and had trouble deciding on just one company, said he was looking forward to seeing the employers that come to campus for next week’s event.

Since April, Anona United Methodist Church’s 360° ministry has partnered with SPC, working closely with the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on the Seminole Campus. The partnership brings together the church, schools, businesses and nonprofits to support children from the cradle to a career with an emphasis on character and education.

The partnership’s programs include providing tutoring to students at Ridgecrest Elementary School, running a summer reading program and refurbishing donated laptops for use by students.

SPC alumnus Hugh Adcock, former President of InterVarsity, connects college students with volunteer opportunities through the partnership. According to Rev. Landon of Anona United Methodist, the 360° program hopes to award college credit to SPC students who volunteer with the program in the future.

Members of the Wendy’s Human Resources team said they had eight very strong candidates for management positions within the first hour of the event. Students said they enjoyed having more time to talk to employers and speak with college students already working within the organizations.

Working Wednesdays will continue each week until Nov. 19. Events are held from noon until 2 p.m. in the University Partnership building lobby on the Seminole Campus.

SPC student Chris Demmons, who writes for SPC’s student newspaper, Sandbox News, provided this report.

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SPC President Bill Law congratulates one of the Presidential Scholarship recipients.

St. Petersburg College honored its 105 Presidential Scholarship recipients this week.

SPC President Bill Law and the college’s Executive Team welcomed our 2014-15 Presidential Scholars to the college at an event held at the Seminole Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 5.

Student speakers included Salwa Shamsi representing Phi Theta Kappa and Carmen Mendez-Rivera representing the Honors College.

Scholarship recipients were honored on stage and given a certificate for their accomplishments.

The Presidential Scholarship covers up to 15 credit hours per term for one year following high school graduation. Since 2010-11, SPC has awarded over $1.2 million in Presidential Scholarships.

See more photos from the event on the college’s Facebook page.

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St. Petersburg College is teaming up with the Seminole Community Library to host the Mid-Pinellas Comic Con (and Maker Con), a comic book and popular culture convention at the Seminole Community Library on Saturday, Aug. 9. The inaugural event is free and open to the public from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.


From superheroes and gaming to technology demonstrations, there is a little something to bring out everyone’s inner geek. The fun-filled event features activities, discussion panels and displays that center around comics, gaming, costume and cosplay (costume play) competitions, sci-fi, anime, technology and more.

“This event will be especially attractive to Pinellas residents who may not attend other fan conventions because of the distance or cost,” said Chad Mairn, librarian and Innovation Lab Manager at the SPC Seminole Campus. He has been working closely with Library Director Mike Bryan and college officials to help plan and coordinate the event. He also has worked with Greg Plantamura from the TARDIS Riders in Pinellas group, who assisted with planning the successful Clearwater Library Comic Con last year.

Although this event is being held the weekend after the popular Tampa Bay Comic Con takes place in Tampa, Mairn said that the Mid-Pinellas Comic Con (and Maker Con) will help serve the community by providing more visibility to a variety of popular culture interests.

Representatives from SPC’s pre-admissions department and digital media program will be at the event to talk about the college and its digital media classes. The college offers classes that encompass a variety of topics including video game development and animation, digital imaging, storyboarding and other related topics.

Science and technology fans will get a chance to experience SPC’s new Innovation Lab, which houses a 3-D printer, robotic kits, littleBits synthesizer modules, Pro Tools, Raspberry Pi/Arduino kits, and other technologies. The lab is free and open to the public with a valid library or SPC student ID.

Discussion panels about costuming, horror entertainment, Doctor Who, feminism in comics and other favorite fan topics will be held throughout the day. Participants are invited to listen in as DC Comics artists and writers Amanda Conner and Jimmy Palmiotti discuss their work and experiences as industry professionals.

Busch Gardens® Tampa will join in the fun with a Howl-O-Scream discussion panel from 11 a.m. to noon. The Howl-O-Scream team will discuss the Florida’s top-rated Halloween event’s history and provide a behind-the-scenes look at how they make a terrorizing event so successful each year.

Gamers on the Edge, an organization of gamers who help raise money for good causes, has organized two gaming tournaments throughout the day to benefit All Children’s Hospital.

The Seminole Community Library at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus is located at 9200 113th St., Seminole. For more information, contact Chad Mairn at 727-394-6917.

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Fast-Track to FallOn July 21 at five campus locations throughout Pinellas County, St. Petersburg College will host Fast-Track to Fall events to help students finish enrollment requirements before the fall term begins.

During extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., college staff will be on hand to help students wrap up any outstanding items, including:

  • applying to SPC
  • submitting transcripts
  • taking the College Placement Test
  • registering for classes
  • paying tuition

“The purpose of these events is to let applicants know that they can get everything done in one visit,” said Patrick Rinard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services.

The admissions and registration processes recently changed so students can register quickly and more conveniently, Rinard said. Students now see an advisor when they register to make sure they are on track.

10502125_765178160199200_1561435716025633752_n“With all hands on deck, this day should significantly move the needle toward a fall enrollment increase,” Rinard said.

SPC locations hosting Fast-Track to Fall events include:

  • Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater
  • Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole
  • SPC Downtown Center, 244 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

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