St. Petersburg College is unveiling two exciting new programs for the Fall 2021 Term. With these certificates, students can be job-ready in in-demand fields in less than a year.

Medical Device Networking and Cybersecurity

The 23-credit-hour Medical Device Networking and Cybersecurity Certificate was created at the request of local healthcare organizations and medical device companies who urgently need skilled professionals who can prevent the tide of data breaches and hacking of complex medical equipment.

Engineering Dean Natavia Middleton said the field is not only lucrative, with a high starting salary, it’s also rewarding.

“If you’re someone who likes working with computers and troubleshooting, and if you would like to work in a field that helps people, this would be a great career choice,” Middleton said.

Since medical device security not only impacts healthcare facilities but can also impact the delivery of patient care, this certificate teaches students the latest technology and tools necessary to provide a strong line of defense for critical and life-saving medical equipment that is at an increasing risk of cyberattacks.

Middleton said there are many career options available in this field, including cybersecurity analyst, medical device specialist, and network security analyst.

“This field is growing so quickly, she said. We’re looking at a projected 31 percent increase in jobs in this area over the next eight years.”

Learn more about this career and how you can get into the program here.

Audio Production and Engineering

sound engineer stands behind the board facing the stage awash in purple lighting

The new 24-credit Audio Production and Engineering Certificate offers students the credentials to get a job in the music and entertainment field as sound engineers, studio technicians or digital audio workstation operators.

SPC Humanities and Fine Arts Chair Nathan Muehl said the career is a great blend of technology, collaboration and critical thinking and listening. Muehl said that there are many different types of job opportunities that this certificate will open up, including on cruise ships, at concert venues or casinos, and of course, in recording studios.

“If you have a passion for music, music technology, live sound and concerts, and if you like working with people and solving problems, this career would be a great fit,” Muehl said.

The standalone certificate covers content such as Apple Mac foundations, studio recording techniques, acoustics, live sound and professional audio production, and wraps up with 60-hour internship at the college’s live music venue, The Palladium, which hosts live acts weekly.

“This experience will give students a chance to work with not only the technology, but also with musical groups,” Muehl said. “Then they’ll have that experience on their resume when the begin their job searches.”

The program’s slots for Fall Term have begun to fill, but there is still room for more people to sign up. Anyone interested can fill out this survey.

SPC Instructional Technology Coordinator Chris Littlewood was recently one of six people from across the state who were appointed by Governor Ron DeSantis to the Florida Independent Living Council.

Littlewood, of Seminole, is a past Vice President of the Association of Late Deafened Adults and is a member of the Hearing Loss Association, Florida Association for the Deaf and the National Association for the Deaf Emergency Management Committee. Littlewood earned bachelor’s degrees in social sciences and secondary education and his master’s degree in instructional technology from the University of South Florida.

“We are so proud of the work Chris does on behalf of people who are deaf or hard of hearing and others with access and functional needs, both personally and professionally,” said Eileen LaHaie, Executive Director for SPC’s Center for Public Safety Innovation.

The Florida Independent Living Council is an organization that promotes independence, full access, and informed choice for people with disabilities.

Littlewood said that in his appointment, he will provide input for the Florida State Plan for Independent Living, and more.

“I’ll advise on improving the independence and quality of life for all Floridians with disabilities and focus on improving the quality of life for youth with disabilities,” he said. “I’ll also make recommendations so that people with disabilities have equal access to the community resources as a result of emergencies and disasters.”

One of the other appointees, Whitney Harris, also has an SPC connection. Harris earned a Bachelor of Science degree from SPC’s Orthotics and Prosthetics department in 2012 and serves as Executive Director of the Florida Alliance for Assistive Services & Technology based in Tallahassee, Florida.

Littlewood, who began losing his hearing in his early 20s, now has progressed to a severe to profound hearing loss. He said the experience has moved him to get involved in advocacy.

“It runs in my family,” he said. “So I have been a self-advocate for all disabilities for more than 15 years now.”


Each year, St. Petersburg College honors some of the engaging, caring faculty who helped generations of students succeed by bestowing upon them the title Professor Emeritus.

This year, the honor goes to Dr. Nan Morelli-White.

For more than 35 years, Morelli-White educated and inspired countless students and colleagues, sharing her passion for literature and the humanities. She began her St. Petersburg College career in 1985 as a full-time instructor on the Tarpon Springs Campus, but her home base for more than 30 years was the Clearwater Campus. She served the College for more than 30 years as an FGO representative. She retired in February 2020 and lives in Safety Harbor. 

Morelli-White worked tirelessly developing curriculum and teaching in SPC’s Interdisciplinary Studies Program.

“I had the honor of co-teaching an Interdisciplinary Studies Class with Nan for several years,” said SPC Communications Professor Dawn Joyce. “The students were drawn to her knowledge and command of the English language, her vast knowledge of the arts, and her spunky personality. I’m so honored I had the opportunity to teach and work alongside such an amazing faculty member.”

Morelli-White often served as a mentor to new faculty, generously sharing her knowledge, training and teaching experiences.

“She took me under her wing when I began teaching full time at SPC,” said SPC Communications Professor Dr. Susan Benson. “She was always happy to share her time, her experience, her course materials, and her friendship – and she is indeed a dear friend. Dr. Morelli-White is a brilliant scholar, and her passion for literature and the humanities has engaged and inspired countless students.” 

In September 2020, Morelli-White co-authored an article with Joyce, titled, “Colleges Need a Makeover: Adapting to Change One Class at a Time,” which was published in the Journal of Higher Education Theory and Practice. In addition, she has co-authored articles with St. Petersburg College instructor Greg Byrd for the Modern Language Association of America on the teaching of poetry. She has attended and presented at education conferences across the globe, including such places as Great Britain, Greece and Spain.

Morelli-White has been described by her colleagues as a kind soul whose passion and dedication have truly made a difference in the lives of many.

“Her sense of humor and willingness to mentor me and so many of her colleagues and students are her gifts,” said retired SPC Dean and Professor Emerita Martha Campbell. “She values the academic community and has spent her career paying close attention to what students say and what they write.  As a professor emerita, I am proud to welcome her to our community.”

African American man wears virtual reality goggles

In an effort to support African American males who are beginning their collegiate journeys, St. Petersburg College is hosting a free, three-week intensive boot camp at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus that centers around science, technology, engineering and math.

The FAAME – STEM Boot Camp, which runs from 10 a.m. until noon each day, will begin July 26 and run through August 13. Participants will take developmental courses Monday – Thursday from 10 a.m. – 12 noon. On Fridays, the group will take a STEM-related field trip in the Tampa Bay area to places like Knowbe4 and the Innovation Lab at the SPC Seminole Campus library.

“Once you expose people to different things, they start to take advantage of different opportunities,” Brother to Brother Program Manager Aaron Keith said. “The field trips will show them a variety of ways a STEM degree can look if they decide to major in one of those areas. They may see something that they thought was outside their realm of possibility.”

Attendees will be offered academic workshops, laboratory experiences, career sessions and STEM-related field trips throughout the Tampa Bay area.

The FAAME – STEM Academic Bootcamp has been designed to support African American male students in their academic preparedness as they enter College. This free bootcamp helps participants build their academic confidence through developmental courses and provides them with relevant information and experiences in the STEM field. This program is open to recent high school graduates and/or current students who are interested in building their academic profile before the Fall semester.

“This boot camp will provide the foundational resources in reading, writing and math that they need to build their confidence,” Keith said. “This is a free opportunity to equip them to be successful when they get to college and show them some opportunities for great jobs with good wages.”

Prospective students who are interested in the FAAME – STEM boot camp can visit here, or RSVP here.

St. Petersburg College had the honor of hosting the Florida State Board of Education’s monthly meeting on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, at the Seminole Campus Conference Center.

Dr. Williams wears a blue dress suit while standing at a podium in front of a large group of people.

To start the meeting, attendees heard from Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, who voiced his support for action items on the agenda concerning new standards for civics curriculum in public schools. DeSantis also introduced his wife, First Lady of Florida Casey DeSantis, who spoke about the state’s mission to fight the stigma surrounding mental health and help students who are struggling with substance abuse.

SPC President Tonjua Williams then took the podium to address the Board and recount the efforts that SPC has made in offering robust workforce programs that lead to fulfilling careers. The college has been focused on re-skilling and up-skilling students and making sure that they have the resources they need to achieve economic mobility.

Workforce education is also near and dear to DeSantis, who made it a goal for Florida to be the best state in the nation for workforce development by 2030 through the state’s Get There initiative.

St. Petersburg College student Ashlynn Wells was also honored during the meeting by Florida College System Chancellor Kathy Hebda, who awarded her the Commissioner’s Leadership Award for outstanding leadership and service as a student in the state of Florida. Wells accepted the award with her mother by her side.

Shortly after, Williams took to the podium again, this time in the capacity as Vice Chair of the Florida College System Council of Presidents, a role she recently took over. She gave a brief summary of initiatives on which FCS has focused, mentioning that it collectively serves more than 730,000 students and that 95 percent of state college students stay in Florida for work after graduating. Williams acknowledged the rapidly changing world and how situations like COVID can have a lasting impact on a student’s education.

“The needs of the students change so often, we need to pivot as needed to meet those needs,” she said. “We have to continue to be creative, innovative, and nimble.”

St Petersburg College will waive its $40 application fee during the Get it Done virtual event from July 20-22 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. During these interactive sessions, participants can complete their college application, get help with the financial aid process, and learn how to find and register for the Fall 2021 Term, which starts Aug. 16.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn how to submit documents, navigate the college’s online student platform, and even chat live with our admission, financial aid, or advising teams. The Get it Done virtual schedule will include:

  • How to Become a Titan at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 20
  • Registration at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 21
  • Financial Assistance Services at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 22

SPC’s online career and academic advisors, financial aid counselors, and student services staff will provide insight on how to successfully navigate theacademic journey from application to graduation. Speakers will include:

  • Brooke Janik, SPC Student Support Manager
  • Faith Pieterse, SPC Admissions Recruiter
  • Jerrick Rivera, SPC Admissions Recruiter
  • Will Scott, SPC Assistant Director of Financial Assistance Services
  • Kellie Ziemak, SPC Director of Student Support
  • Todd Smith, SPC Executive Director of Financial Assistance Services

To secure a spot for this virtual event, visit spc.edu/done.

From health care to technology, St. Petersburg College is working with local employers to fill in-demand careers through its apprenticeship program. Recently, the Florida Department of Education (FLDOE) awarded the college a $25,000 grant to support the initiative.

SPC’s Apprenticeship Coordinator Jennifer Bodnar believes the funding will help local businesses rebound after the pandemic.

“Everyone is struggling since Covid, so to be able to have this funding, which allows employers not to pay out-of-pocket,” Bodnar said. “It offers us to give an incentive to employers and the apprenticeship program, to build it further.”

The college partnered with Community Health Centers of Pinellas (CHCP), a not-for-profit health care organization that provides affordable, primary health care services to the residents of Pinellas County. The grant funds are supporting SPC’s apprentice students, who are working at CHCP, by providing textbooks, tablets and uniforms for the program. The funding will also support hiring an administrator to help expand the program into other industries such as solar energy and manufacturing.

St. Petersburg College apprenticeship initiative is on the raise, as the college continues to work closely with industry leaders to ensure our graduates gain the skills they need to quickly enter the workforce.

Back in April 2020, SPC received $199,739  from FLDOE to establish a Clinical Medical Assistant (CMA) Pre-apprenticeship Program that will support the growing workforce need for medical assistants. The program helps students gain education and experience while creating a pipeline of skilled workers to enter the medical field. The program will also be a gateway for those interested in further pursuing a career in the medical field, such as in nursing or radiology.

“We are deeply committed to providing high quality training that will help meet the critical need for professionals in the medical field while providing opportunities for students to gain employment and economic stability,” said SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams.

Family members, close friends, and former colleagues of the late Catherine Holmes Crumbs gathered at the St. Petersburg College (SPC) Health Education Center (HEC) on Monday, June 28, 2021 to dedicate the nursing skills lab in her name.

Four people including Dr. Williams stand next to a poster featuring the smiling face of Catherine Holmes Crumbs.

Crumbs was a clinical instructor with the SPC College of Nursing from 1990 until her retirement in 2013. But according to her peers and students, Mrs. Crumbs was much more than just a teacher. She was an inspiration who pushed everyone to be the best version of themselves, even continuing to tutor students after she had retired.

Speakers at the dedication ceremony were quick to extoll her many graces, as well as the fierce way she helped those she cared about.

“Anyone who knew Sister Crumbs knew that if she loved you, she gave you an assignment. She put you to work,” said Reverend Brian Brown, pastor for St. Mark Missionary Baptist Church. “She taught you that every day you have worth and every day you have value.”

Other speakers included Dr. Eric Carver, Provost of HEC, Dr. Latiena Williams, Clinical Nursing Professor at the University of South Florida, James O. Simmons, former CEO of the Pinellas County Urban League (PCUL), Watson Haynes, current CEO and President of PCUL, and Dr. Tonjua Williams, President of SPC.

Williams spoke fondly of her friendship with Crumbs, whom she worked alongside when Williams was an academic advisor at HEC in the early 90s.

“I would not be who I am in this role if she was not who she was in hers,” said Dr. Williams.

SPC graduate Aniyah Willis is presented with a scholarship from LaPorsha Crumbs.

SPC nursing graduate Aniyah Willis (’21) also spoke at the event and was named the first-ever recipient of the Catherine Holmes Crumbs Memorial Scholarship. The award was presented to her by Crumbs’ granddaughter, LaPorsha Crumbs, who is also a nurse and an SPC alum. LaPorsha now works at SPC in the College of Nursing and had the honor of officially unveiling the nursing skills lab dedicated in her grandmother’s name.

“There are thousands of people walking the halls of hospitals and teaching at this college because of Mrs. Crumbs,” said Dr. Williams. “Her legacy will live on through this program and its students.”

To learn more about the SPC College of Nursing, visit spcollege.edu/nursing.

On Friday June 18, St. Petersburg College Workforce Education held an informal Graduation/Completion Ceremony for all of the Electrical Lineworker Program students who successfully completed the program. The celebration, which included the graduates and their families and friends, was held at the SPC Allstate Campus Power Florida Training Center. This was the first cohort of this new program, which started on March 15. 

Students completed 14 weeks – 336 hours – of intensive hands-on training with St. Petersburg College instructor Steve Magenheimer, a former Duke Energy employee and current PowerTown Line Construction employee. Magenheimer sees a bright future for the group.

“There are around 25 different entities in the state looking to hire workers, including Duke Energy, TECO, Florida Power, PowerTown, local municipalities and contractors,” Magenheimer said. “The pay and benefits are outstanding wherever you go.”

Out of the 14 students enrolled in the program, 11 of them have already have full-time jobs as a result of the program, and program leaders are working to get the other students employed, as well. The class included certifications in Restricted Class A CDL (in partnership with Pinellas Technical College), OSHA 10 Safety Training, Bucket Truck Rescue, Pole Top Rescue, and CPR/AED & First Aid.

The Electrical Lineworker Program was made possible through valuable partnerships with Duke Energy, Pinellas County Urban League, PowerTown Line Construction, Pinellas Technical College and CareerSource Pinellas. Thanks also go to Dr. Eric Carver and everyone at the Allstate Campus for their hospitality and for hosting this amazing program on their beautiful campus.

The second cohort class, which is full, starts on July 12, and future cohorts will begin in November 2021 and March 2022. If you are interested in getting more information about this program, please contact Dan Fumano at  (727) 341-4430 or fumano.dan@spcollege.edu. All interested applicants are encouraged to apply by completing this interest survey.  Once the survey is complete, you will be regarding future classes that we will be conducting interviews for and filling.

Phalen Brown came to Florida in 1993 to attend college, but he quickly felt like he was in over his head at the vast university.

“I didn’t have great study habits,” Brown, 46, said. “When I was growing up, my grandmother would always say, ‘You need to get your lesson’, but that was a pretty general statement, and even though she meant to be supportive, I needed more specific instruction on how to succeed academically.”

Brown decided college wasn’t for him, moved to Tampa and got a job in a call center. He trained to be a licensed practical nurse, and he did that for a while. A couple of years back, he enrolled at St. Petersburg College to work on a degree in Data Analytics. When he got a call and an email last summer inviting him to join SPC’s newly resurrected Brother to Brother program, he decided to accept, and there, he found a safe, supportive group that was designed solely to lift him -and others like him – up to success.

Phalen Brown

“College always felt overwhelming to me, but the interaction and support I get in Brother to Brother is enormous,” Brown said. “I’m able to express my needs, ask questions and share my struggles, and, with all the campus support, I don’t have to wait for answers.”

Men With A Mission

SPC’s Brother to Brother program seeks to address low success, retention and completion rates among African American male college students by addressing their barriers to success. Brother to Brother Program Manager Aaron Keith said that negative influences can be systemic, financial or personal, or they can be in the form of a lack of preparedness for college or a lack of family support.

Often, struggling students are resistant to asking for help, so Brother to Brother seeks to not only help African American male students find academic success, but also to build a supportive community at SPC where members feel comfortable expressing their needs. The group also nurtures relationships in the community in order to build bridges and encourage the men to be locally active.

“We try to achieve this through local resources, mentoring and forms of engagement that encourage and support their academic achievement, promote their personal and professional development, and identify barriers to their success,” Keith said.

Addressing All Angles

In his first year as program manager, Keith has accomplished a lot. He ordered technology equipment, developed outreach and engagement centers at SPC’s Gibbs and Downtown locations, secured scholarship money and hosted a networking event – all in addition to the regular engagement activities he hosts for participants. Brother to Brother members must meet one-on-one with program staff on a biweekly basis for close mentoring and attend biweekly “Power Hours.” Program participants connect over lunch with each other, along with other Black males on campus and in the community. Brother to Brother members can also reach out to Campus Champions, SPC employees who volunteer to be mentors, if they have an immediate issue that they need help with.

“The goal is to have as much help and advocacy as possible,” Keith said. “Campus Champions are volunteers, and we want to have multiple people on campus who our students know can advocate for them.”

The program also offers a Barbershop Talk series, an hour or so each month where the men can find a safe space to openly discuss issues that affect them. Keith solicits anonymous submissions for topics before the meetings, so the conversations can be wide-ranging, with the freedom to talk about things that might be a burden to their success or just things that they want to know more about.

“We talk about world events, financial concerns, current events – just about anything,” Brown said.

Another element of the program is community service. Members are encouraged to complete at least one hour per month volunteering. Keith said group members have donated time to many organizations and initiatives including the Boys and Girls Club and Keep Pinellas Beautiful.

“We want them to be present and invested in the well-being of the community,” Keith said. “It gives them the experience of being an active part of the community, as well as the joy of helping others.”

It’s not all seriousness. Keith pulls the group together for an outing each month to do something fun where they can just hang out and bond. The variety of support offered through all the engagement activities allows the program to address every angle.

“Each activity serves a different purpose from each member,” Keith said. “We have such a wide range of ages – between 17 and 60 – and each one is in a different place in their lives. We want to offer a wide variety of things that target each person’s needs.”

A Growing Family

The program, which boasted 40 members last year, is really taking off. Keith said they are expecting 82 members in the Fall 2021 semester. And the results are showing in the first cohort’s grades: they earned a 2.92 median GPA.

“It’s definitely a great start,” Keith said. “We need to continue to expand our efforts and numbers and do our best to support these guys and help them be the best versions of themselves.”

Brown said he just wants more people to know that this kind of help is out there.

“Just check it out,” he said. You’ll see it’s a safe space, and they truly want to see people succeed.”