img_0395-x2The United States Constitution was signed on Sept. 17, 1787, and so The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) honors Sept. 17 as Constitution Day and Citizenship Day as part of Constitution Week.

From Sept. 12-24, 2016, more than 38,000 new citizens participated in 240 naturalization ceremonies across the nation, and at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus, 122 new American citizens took the oath of allegiance at their Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, Sept. 16.

The Hon. Elizabeth A. Kovachevich, United States District Judge of the Middle District of Florida, led the new American Citizens, representing 32 countries, through their Oath as family and friends proudly witnessed.

SPC student Pa Yang gave an emotional opening address, speaking about her family traveling from Laos to make the U.S. their new home.

“I know you’ve worked hard and accomplished so much to be here today,” said Yang. “I’m proud of all of you who are in front me today. I congratulate you all on behalf of St. Petersburg College and to you I say, ‘Welcome home!’”

img_0307-x2Brittany Anchor, President of the Student Veterans Association at the Clearwater Campus, led the Pledge of Allegiance and described the ceremony as a beautiful thing to witness.

“I work directly with veterans who fought for our freedom and understand the value of our liberties,” said Anchor. “I get to witness people who also had to go through a life-changing process and now can enjoy the same liberties we value. It’s a beautiful thing.”

Music Education student Kodey Beard sang the national anthem and “God Bless America”.

“I never thought I would witness this day, but I’m really glad I had the opportunity,” said Beard.

The 122 new citizens came from the following countries: Albania, Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, People’s Republic of China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Haiti, Honduras, India, Indonesia, Italy, Jamaica, Lithuania, Mexico, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Peru, Philippines, Poland, Romania, Russia, Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, United Kingdom, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Following the ceremony, Donald Jarrell, Community Relations Officer for the United States Citizenship Immigration Services, held an information session in the ES building about the process of becoming a United States Citizen.

View more pictures here.

St. Petersburg College Foundation received $46,332 in scholarship funds from the Florida College System Foundation (FCSF). The funding presentation took place at the Board of Trustees’ meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 20. FCSF awarded more than $893,000 in scholarship funds to Florida’s 28 colleges throughout the state. The scholarships are aimed at relieving the nursing shortage and helping students who are the first in their family to attend college.

SPC Foundation scholarships include:

  • Nursing and Allied Health scholarships:
    • $15,524 from Florida Blue
  • First Generation scholarships:
    • $25,680 from Helios Education Foundation
    • $5,128 from Bank of America

img_0446-lSPC student and Helios Education scholarship recipient Yadira Aguilar Rivera received $1,500 as a first-generation college student. She’s a sophomore working toward an Associate in Arts degree in General Education. She hopes to complete a Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

“I had to work two jobs in order to pay for college because of my immigration status,” said Rivera. “This scholarship enables me to focus on what’s important for my education. It allows me to be one step closer to my goal without financial uncertainty.”

With more than 60 percent of SPC students relying on tuition assistance, the Foundation’s scholarships are increasingly important in helping these students achieve their academic and career goals.

The SPC Foundation is accepting applications for scholarships until Sept. 28 for the Spring 2017 term. All materials, including application and letter of recommendation, must be submitted by 5 p.m. Sept. 28 to be eligible for Spring 2017 consideration. Applications for 2016-2017 Study Abroad Scholarships will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Nov. 1.

For more information about scholarships and to apply, visit the SPC Foundation website.

isps-bannerSt. Petersburg College is hosting one of the most widely-watched events of the political season on Monday, Sept. 19: a debate by candidates for U.S. House District 13. The debate will be staged at the Palladium Theater, 253 5th Ave. N., St. Petersburg, and is co-sponsored by SPC’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions, the Tampa Bay Times and WTSP 10News. WTSP will broadcast the debate live from 7 to 8 p.m.

Political observers in Florida and around the nation are closely watching the campaign in District 13, which covers central and south Pinellas County. That’s because it is one of 15 House seats targeted by the Democratic Party nationally to gain control of Congress, and it features two well-known local candidates with a record for reaching across the aisle to seek consensus. They are former Gov. Charlie Crist, a Democrat, and the incumbent, U.S. Rep. David Jolly, a Republican.

Long held by Republicans, District 13 became a more competitive district after being redrawn by court order in 2015. It is considered a swing district in the battle over control of Congress in this election. Rep. Jolly was elected in 2014 following the death of U.S. Rep. C. W. Bill Young, who held the seat for almost four decades and was a widely respected centrist.

Rep. Jolly has to an extent followed Young’s example, voting against his party’s majority on several key policy issues in his first term and speaking out against Congress’ focus on fund-raising at the expense of legitimate legislative work.

Former Gov. Crist spent most of his political career as a Republican, but switched to Independent for an unsuccessful run for the U.S. Senate in 2010 and to the Democratic Party in 2012.

The event is open to the public and admission is free, but tickets are required. Tickets are available at the Palladium box office, limit two per person, beginning at noon Wednesday, Aug. 31. For more information on the event, please visit the Institute’s website or call 727-394-6942. For questions regarding tickets, please contact the Palladium Box office at 727-822-3590.

spc_horz_rbIn response to the recent, nationwide closure of ITT Technical Institute (ITT Tech), St. Petersburg College (SPC) has developed a transitional team to support ITT Tech students.

SPC has a team of admissions, advising, and financial assistance staff members ready to assist ITT Tech students to enroll in classes as early as September 12 (SPC’s Express Term) or October 10 (one of SPC’s 8-week fall modules). SPC offers several programs aligned to ITT Tech programs, including Information Technology, Business, Health Sciences, Criminal Justice and Drafting and Design.

SPC staff can help answer questions about:

  • Transcript evaluation and credit transfers
  • Financial aid
  • Degrees and certifications
  • Academic programs, including any specific requirements
  • Veterans’ Services

Note: SPC is waiving its $40 application fee to students displaced by the ITT closure.

spc-itt-tech-help“We are prepared to assist ITT Technical Institute students who are looking to finish their degrees or certification programs,” said SPC President Bill Law. “This is an unfortunate situation that has affected thousands of students working to build a better future for themselves and their families through their pursuit of higher education, and we hope we can accommodate ITT Tech students in achieving those goals.”

St. Petersburg College offers regionally accredited college certificate programs, associate degrees and bachelor’s degrees, as well as a number of workforce certification programs. Many industry-recognized certification programs may be completed in just a few months.

SPC, Florida’s oldest community college and the first in the state to offer four-year degrees, has 10 learning centers conveniently located throughout Pinellas County and offers many programs completely online. The college also offers students many free resources, including: advising by certified career and academic advisors, tutoring and homework help, job prep, internships, accessibility services, and much more.

For more information, students can contact SPC at (727) 341-4400 or information@spcollege.edu.

College Visit Day

Pinellas County high school students can take a day off from classes on Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to visit St. Petersburg College’s open house events. Open to high school juniors and seniors, these events count as an official college visit day. While events will vary slightly from campus to campus, students can:

  • Explore different majors – and the careers they lead to
  • Take a tour of our beautiful campuses
  • Learn about how to pay for college
  • Attend College 101 Seminars
  • Learn how to apply to SPC
  • Attend motivational seminars
  • Enjoy free refreshments

Ask for your official college visit letter to take back to your school as proof that you attended the event. Choose the campus nearest you:

6-29-10_096-XLIn response to local industry needs, St. Petersburg College announces two newly accredited associate in science degrees: Biotechnology Laboratory Technology and Biomedical Engineering Technology. The programs, which recently received Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) accreditation, began at the beginning of the Summer and Fall 2016 semester.

“The biotechnology program at St. Petersburg College was specifically tailored and designed from the very beginning so that students get the exact skills that employees want,” said Michael Shamblott, a member of SPC’s Biotechnology Laboratory Technology Advisory Committee and associate professor at the University of South Florida’s College of Medicine. “I know that if I hire graduates of SPC’s program, they will be able to perform in a lab and help me be productive.”

The Biotechnology Laboratory Technology A.S. Degree prepares graduates to work as a biological technician, a job that paid $34,500 in the Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater Metropolitan Statistical Area as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Jobs can be found in clinical research, the pharmaceutical industry or for biotechnology and biomanufacturing firms.

Program Director Kathy Siegler says students are ready for the technical requirements of laboratory jobs because they get hands-on skills.

“They will be very well prepared to jump right into a biotechnology laboratory and be a productive employee,” Siegler said. “They will be better prepared to work in a biotechnology laboratory than a student with a four-year science degree.”

The Biomedical Engineering Technology A.S. Degree prepares graduates to work as a medical equipment repairer, a job with a median salary in the Tampa MSA of $40,560, as of May 2015, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Graduates can find job opportunities at health care facilities, companies that manufacture, install, manage and service medical equipment and public health and government agencies.

Program Director Lara Sharp said that the training biomedical students receive in the program is a direct reflection of what they will see in a job, and the jobs are good.

“Biomedical Engineering Technology is an opportunity to enter a growing field with good pay that allows a student to work with technology that can make a person’s life better,” Sharp said.

“For someone who is interested in working in a medical device field, I would definitely recommend St. Petersburg College because their program is very applicable to what you’re actually going to do in the industry,” said James Moore, Director of Operations at CardioCommand, a certified medical device manufacturer based in Tampa. “Nationwide, there is a skills gap in regards to technical skills. The programs that St. Petersburg College have put in place are right on target with regards to what we need for biomedical technicians.”

Since the Summer of 2015, the Women on the Way (WOW) program has hit the ground running by opening three new centers. They are now celebrating 35 years of service since 1981.


On Monday, Aug. 22 at the St. Petersburg/Gibbs campus, faculty, staff and students attended the WOW Center’s grand opening.

“It is such a needed program on this campus,” said St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Provost Jamelle Conner. “I know it will make an impactful difference for our students.”

SE-Open-House-169x300Over the summer, WOW opened a new location at the Seminole Campus in the University Partnership Center, with Pepper Harth as an Advisor. Prior to that, in August of 2015, the Cecil B. Keene, Sr. Student Achievement Center welcomed the program and Nikishea Wright-Richardson took the role of Advisor. Next, the Tarpon Spring Campuses will host the program starting in Spring of 2017.

“I am very excited about the growth of the program, and the tremendous support we receive from the college and the community,” said WOW Coordinator Shirley Crumbley. “This year we not only celebrate 35 years, but the expansion to other campuses.”

St. Petersburg College launched its Women on the Way (WOW) program in 1981 as a resource and support center for women who were entering college in larger numbers than ever before in the history of the United States. The goal was to provide women – many of them the first in their families to attend college – with the skills and resources to be successful in an academic setting.

WOW-doors-and-sign3-1-300x256The effort was spearheaded by Dr. Vilma Zalupski, the college’s first female Provost (Clearwater Campus), Bobbie Hinson, Career Center Director, and Maria Edmonds, a psychology instructor who later became an Associate Provost. Edmonds was WOW’s first coordinator.

Services provided by WOW include scholarship assistance, workshops and seminars on topics such as time management, parenting, and success strategies, a Textbook Lending Library, and access to additional resources and referral information for social services.

Today, more than 300 women college-wide participate in WOW programs.

“I am very proud of the students in our program, and I get to see first-hand lives being transformed. WOW!” said Crumbley.