Archive for the ‘Tarpon Springs’ Category

Students fish seining (netting) and going through their catch at Howard Park.

Students fish seining (netting) and going through their catch at Howard Park.

From cave rappelling to fossil gazing, the Science Adventurer’s Club at St. Petersburg College makes experiential learning fun and interactive for all students.

The Science Adventurer’s Club is one of three student science clubs at the Clearwater Campus. In this environment, students who are interested in natural sciences can participate in research projects, field trips, lectures and community service activities. They do not have to be science majors to participate—all that is required is a passion for learning an interest in all things science.

The club got its start about three years ago when students were dissatisfied that there wasn’t an extracurricular opportunity for students to enjoy science together in a social environment.

“On several occasions, students in my science classes made comments about how they wished there was some place they could hang out and speak with other students about science,” said Monica Lara, Instructor of Natural Science at the Clearwater Campus. She is one of the club’s four faculty advisors, along with Clearwater Campus instructors Carl Opper, Erin Goergen and Mike Stumpe.

Science clubs at SPC include:

  • Environmental Consulting Society – SPC Downtown
  • Environmental Science Club – Seminole Campus
  • Sustainability Club – Tarpon Springs Campus
  • Science Adventurer’s Club – Clearwater Campus
  • Undergraduate Science Research Society – Clearwater Campus
  • Tri-Beta National Biological Honor Society – Clearwater Campus

Lara’s teaching assistant, Michael Goltz, who often was present when these conversations took place, asked whether she would be willing to serve as a club advisor if students started a new club. Goltz, who ended up serving as the club’s first president, has remained connected to the club even though he is now a student at the University of South Florida.

“I agreed to it because I thought it would be a lot of fun and that there had been a lot of people hinting that it was something they would be interested in,” Lara said. “It supplements a lot of what we discuss in class and helps it make more sense.”

Lara said the club also fosters a collaborative culture among the students. In this environment, students primarily learn from each other. As they share their experiences, they teach one another best practices on how to go about taking on various tasks and projects.

“We do have some fun, adventurous trips, but the main focus is that students have to do the science,” she said. Through the club’s many field trips, including rappelling into the Dames Caves in Citrus County, students learn about geology, sea level rises and drops, ecology and conservation.

In addition to field trips, students also participate in volunteer projects such as science fairs, beach and reef cleanups, and Marine Science Day at the University of South Florida. These opportunities and experiences allow students to network with professionals in the field and prepare them for the workforce or graduate level work.

Students also benefit from the club’s partnership with Lara’s out-of-class research group and Reef Monitoring, a 501(c)(3) non-profit research organization that she helped establish with SPC instructor Heyward Mathews in 2005.

“I enjoy getting that experience as it is helpful in preparing me for a potential career in science,” said Shannon Senokosoff, 29, a biology major and vice president of the Natural Science Adventurer’s Club. Since graduating with a degree in art from the University of South Florida, he was not satisfied working as a motion graphics designer and decided to go back to school and pursue his passion for biology at SPC.

Students in the Science Adventurer’s Club go rappelling during a field trip to the Dames Caves.

Students in the Science Adventurer’s Club go rappelling during a field trip to the Dames Caves.

“Getting out there, getting involved in the community through volunteer work and conservation, it puts you in a position where you’re interacting with people that might have positions in different organizations like the Florida Wildlife Commission,” Senokosoff said. “It helps build those connections.”

Lara said the hands-on experiential learning serves as a way to get students to understand what science is really about by doing it and not just hearing about it in a classroom.

“Getting those kinds of experiences – that experiential learning – really sticks with them for the rest of their lives,” she said.


Want to learn more?

The Science Adventurer’s Club meets every other Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the marine biology lab (NM 161) at the Clearwater Campus.

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Child's Play

Kevin Grass
Child’s Play, 2013
Acrylic on panel, 60 x 44 in.

The new exhibition at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art celebrates the creative and wide-ranging talents and accomplishments of the St. Petersburg College art faculty.

The show demonstrates the commitment and dedication of the arts faculty to art education while also displaying high standards for their own artistic development.

One work in the exhibition showcases faculty members in another way. The painting Child’s Play by Kevin Grass, show here, features images of arts faculty members from the Clearwater Campus: Jonathan Barnes (on the ladder), Kim Kirchman (in the swing) and Frank Duffy (in the blue shirt). Kevin Grass’ wife Michaela Oberlaender (in the tree) teaches art history classes at the college.

The exhibition opened the week of March 6 and continues through April 20.

The exhibition features works by full-time art faculty members Jonathan Barnes, Barton Gilmore, Kevin Grass, Marjorie Greene and Kimberly Kirchman.

Participating adjunct faculty are Linda Berghoff, Frank Duffy, Ya La’Ford, Francesco Gillia, Barbara Hubbard, Elizabeth Indianos, Susan Johnson, Chris Otten, Rebecca Skelton, McKenzie Smith and Joseph Weinzettle.

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St. Petersburg College Early Childhood Education students, faculty and local professionals will attend an innovative workshop that trains teachers to use active, arts-based experiences to teach preschoolers about science, technology, engineering and math.

Funded by an SPC Innovation Grant, the workshops will have an immediate impact on the children in one local Head Start Center and continue to impact future teachers as SPC begins to implement the new method into their Early Childhood classes as early as this fall.

“We want to make sure everyone is aware of scholarly research on STEM to meet the unique needs of children in their setting,” said Anne Ryan, SPC professor and coordinator of Early Childhood A.S. degree program. “To me this is the incubator. We want to generate new ideas that get children excited to learn.”

Workshop for Professionals

On March 3-7, a Teaching Artist from the Wolf Trap Institute for Early Learning Through the Arts will spend the week with about 70 3-4 year olds and their teachers at a Tarpon Springs Head Start Center.

In anticipation of the art that these children will develop, highlights from the Wolf Trap program will be displayed at the Leepa-Rattner Museum during the month of September.

Workshop for SPC students and faculty

Students and faculty in SPC’s Early Childhood Education program can also learn about teaching STEM through the arts at a workshop on Thursday, March 6, 6-9 p.m. in the teaching auditorium at the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art. Contact Anne Ryan to reserve your spot as space is limited. If space is available, the program will also be open to local early childhood professionals seeking continuing education credit.

SPC Early Childhood Education Program

SPC’s Early Childhood Education program serves students currently working in the early childhood field or those preparing for a career. The program is designed to give students a smooth transition from certificate to associate degree to bachelors degree.

“Well meet them where they are in their early childhood career and help them reach their next goal,” said Ryan.

Other Upcoming Early Childhood events

Early Care and Education Conference – Preschool Track
Saturday, April 26, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

SPC Week – Early Childhood Info Sessions
Wednesday, March 5, 4 and 6 p.m.
St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

Related Links

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TarponSpringsSeven students from the Latinos United Club at the Tarpon Springs Campus represented St. Petersburg College at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute in Chicago earlier this month.

The conference, attended by 3,700 students from 30 states, featured the theme “Dreamers to Visionaries and the Pursuit of Destiny.” Held Feb. 13 – 16, the event offered 32 workshops focused on a variety of leadership topics.

The SPC students and advisors, Dr. Dolores Teter and Maria Ward, were impressed with the quality and number of presenters.

Dr. Antonia Novello, the former U.S. Surgeon General for the United States, presented in two forums. In addition, Angelina Salinas, the first Latina and now retired Major General in the U.S. Marine Corps, was recognized. Countless other male and female role models included congressmen, mayors, vice-presidents, health and social agency professionals, consultants and educators.

Students were encouraged at the conference to work hard, pursue an education and take pride in their heritage. Among the expressions heard at the event were:

  • The harder you work, the luckier you are!
  • The best revenge is success!
  • Act like your name is already on the door or it will never be!
  • You were born an original, don’t die a copy!
  • Character is what you are when no one is watching!
  • Celebrate your accent, it just means you know more than one language!
  • Seek tutoring in the areas of weaknesses and become a tutor in the areas of strengths!
  • A tutor is a double winner!
  • Build your vocabulary and read at least 25 pages a day!
  • Leadership is action, not a position!
  • Toughest moments give you the most important strengths!
  • Education is a loan to be repaid with the gift of self!

See more photos from the event on the Tarpon Springs Campus Facebook page.

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All St. Petersburg College campuses will celebrate African-American History Month with events and awards ceremonies throughout February.


Angie Shaghaghi

Among the highlights will be an appearance by Tarpon Springs native Angie Shaghaghi, a successful entrepreneur who has appeared on a number of Food Network shows, including Chopped, Cutthroat Kitchen and Hey, Can You Cook?

She will be the keynote speaker at the north county Mac J. Williams Excellence Awards at 7 p.m. Feb. 20 in the Clearwater Campus Arts Auditorium. The Mac J. Williams awards honor outstanding high school students.

Shaghaghi runs a business called Creative Cooks, which teaches cooking classes to children in public/private after-school programs, community centers, nursing facilities and homes.

Other highlights include:

  • African-American History Month Quad Event, all day, Feb. 13, St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus
  • Jump Start Your African-American Genealogy, 1 p.m. Feb. 13, Clearwater Campus
  • Munch & Learn: Race & Ethnicity: Perceptions, Prejudice 7 Power, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 18, Seminole Campus
  • Taste of Soul, noon, Feb. 19, Tarpon Springs Campus
  • The Rhetoric of Dr. Martin Luther King, 12:30 p.m., Feb. 19, Clearwater Campus
  • Poetry Slam, 5:30 p.m., Feb. 19, Clearwater Campus
  • South county Mac J. Williams Excellence Awards, 7 p.m., Feb. 24, Palladium
  • Soul Food Festival, noon, Feb. 25, SPC Midtown
  • Black Trivia Competition, 6 p.m. Feb. 25, Clearwater Campus
  • Soul Food Festival, noon and 4 p.m., Feb. 26, SPC Downtown

For complete listings, see www.spcollege.edu/aahm.

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RajaramDr. Lakshminarayan Rajaram, a math professor on the St. Petersburg College Tarpon Springs Campus, recently received a prestigious Hind Rattan Award for 2014 in recognition of his outstanding teaching/research services globally and achievements in the fields of biostatistics, mathematics and public health.

This award is given to distinguished non-resident Indians who have made exceptional contributions to society through their achievements in their respective fields. This honor is bestowed by the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) Society of India, an organization under the umbrella of the Government of India.

Dr. Rajaram was one of the 25 recipients selected from the worldwide Indian diaspora by an advisory board that includes former Prime Minister of India. He received the award from the Central Minister Tariq Anwar at a gala ceremony during the 33rd International Congress of NRIs in the historic Ashok Hotel on the eve of Republic Day in New Delhi. Dr. Rajaram also participated in the Republic Day parade celebrations as a special guest of the NRI diaspora.

As an invited faculty and a keynote speaker, Dr. Rajaram teaches highly intense courses and workshops in research methods, clinical research and statistical methodologies as applied to clinical and public health research in countries such as China, Ecuador, India, Netherlands, Spain, United Kingdom and West Africa.

Before coming to SPC in 2000, Dr. Rajaram worked as a biostatistician in the Division of Endocrinology and Metabolism of the Johns Hopkins University Medical School, in the Clinical Research Division of a pharmaceutical company, and the Institute of Aging at the University of South Florida.

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CarneyDr. Conferlete Carney plans to retire from his position as provost of St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs Campus after the end of the current semester, no later than June 30.

In a note to all college faculty and staff Wednesday, President Bill Law said:

We celebrate with him this milestone in his impressive career and congratulate him on his many accomplishments both here at St. Petersburg College as well as in his prior career in private industry.

Dr. Carney is an outstanding educator, a patient and thoughtful colleague and a genial and well-met friend. Conferlete has been a vital part of our success in implementing The College Experience, contributing his unique skill to help design and launch our Individual Learning Plans, in particular.

Details on the recognition for Dr. Carney and the plans for his replacement will be forthcoming. For today, I hope you will drop him a note to congratulate him for his contribution and to wish him well in the next season of his life.

St. Petersburg College is better for his service and we will miss his presence when he departs.

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In a report from WFLA.com, SPC Professor Adrian Tillman, a practicing software engineer, shared information about how cell phones can be tracking where users have been without them knowing it.

“We live in an information society now and information is everywhere,” Tillman said in a the report. “It’s a beautiful thing, but at the same time you have the gift and you have the curse.”

Tillman, who is at the Tarpon Springs Campus, teaches classes in computer and information technology and has been developing large scale software systems across many different industries and platforms for the last 10 years, according to his faculty page.

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Dr. Jennifer Haber, SPC Communications FacultySt. Petersburg College communications professor Dr. Jennifer Haber received a national award for using social media and technology to engage her students.

Haber is the 2013 recipient of Crestron’s Summum Bonum Award. Latin for “the highest good,” the national award is presented to teachers with a track record of improving student achievement and making a difference in the lives of their students.

A national provider of classroom equipment, Crestron will present Haber with a plaque and a check for $2,000 at an event on the Tarpon Springs Campus on Jan. 15, 2014.

“Technology is everywhere and evolves constantly,” Haber said. “As educators it’s important that we keep trying new technologies that can help our students be better learners.”

Haber finds time to learn about and test new technologies by utilizing the resources and expertise her campus Instructional Design Technologist (IDT) provides.

“Jennifer is always reaching out to explore new ways to solve challenges with technology,” said Karen Hesting, Tarpon Springs IDT. “She is not just adding technology to make her course shiny. She is doing it to help her students succeed.”

Each term she picks one or two new technologies to learn about and decide if they will help her students be more successful. This term it was Facebook groups and ANGEL rubrics.

Facebook Groups

FacebookOn Facebook, students not only are responding, but also are initiating conversations on content and reaching out to her and other students.

“It’s not about being complicated or overly techie but about knowing your audience and learning how to communicate with this generation where they are at,” she said. “I login to ANGEL maybe once a day to check for student communications. Facebook notices on my phone are an ongoing conversation with my students. I want them to know I am available. It’s not like I respond instantly all the time. But when I can and it matters – I do.”

Dr. Jennifer Haber Facebook conversation

Sample Facebook Group conversation with students.

ANGEL Rubrics

ANGEL 8 includes a grading rubric that connects to drop boxes, discussion forums, and essay type assessment questions. Check out a recent Technology Project and the Rubric developed for the assignment.

Top Tech Tools

Here are a few of Haber’s top technology and social media picks and how she uses them:
Top Tech Tools

  1. ANGEL rubrics – for grading
  2. Google Voice – for communication
  3. Facebook – for discussion
  4. Twitter – for content/readings
  5. SnagIt – for paper review
  6. Turnitin – for paper review and plagiarism detection
  7. YouTube – for content
  8. Camtasia – for content

WITS Blog Resources

Awards and conferences

In addition to the recent Crestron award, Haber also received the CETL Critical Thinking Grant (2012) and Travel Grant (2013). Funds from the travel grant were used to present at the Sloan Blended Learning Conference in July 2013 in Milwaukee, WI. She also attended the Campus Technology conference this summer in Boston.


Dr. Jennifer Haber has been teaching at SPC for 15 years, full-time for the last 12. Her educational background is in teaching and technology. Her bachelor’s and master’s degrees are in English from the University of Florida and University of Central Florida respectively. Her Ph.D. is in Curriculum and Instruction with a cognate in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida. At home, she is a soccer mom with two children ages 8 and 11. She loves to travel with her husband and children and has a goal for her children to visit all 50 states.

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10 News filmed an event this week at the college’s Tarpon Springs Campus where more than 80 fifth graders from Tarpon Springs Elementary spent the day at college.

The event, called “Commit to Complete: TSES Class of 2021”, was meant to provide the students with an early taste of the college experience. The Tampa Tribune also published an article about the event.

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