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St. Petersburg College is collaborating with Culturing Solutions to provide a space at the Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. for an outside laboratory to demonstrate Hybrid Algae Production Technology. Culturing Solutions has been working on converting algae to biofuels since 2008 and has had amazing breakthroughs in the past few years.

SPC students and faculty will participate in the production and harvesting of the algae. This collaboration will provide SPC students with a learning opportunity that will enrich the environmental science curriculum for the College of Natural Sciences and Engineering.

A pilot project will begin in Aug. 2017 that will explore efficiency of Culturing Solutions, Inc. Hybrid Photobioreactor technology that produces biomass. The biomass will be fed to anaerobic bacteria to produce renewable natural gas that can be used in combined cycle turbine generators to produce electricity. As an added benefit, this process captures carbon dioxide, a harmful greenhouse gas.

Culturing Solutions’ production of biomass at St. Petersburg College will allow for participation in the George Barley Water Prize, which is a competition of technologies that remediate and clean up the Everglades. If Culturing Solutions wins the prize, then a donation to create a student scholarship will be offered to the college.

To learn more about Culturing Solutions, visit www.culturingsolutions.com.  To receive project updates, visit blog.spcollege.edu/science-mathematics-educational-information or contact Dean Tsoupeis, dean@culturingsolutions.com, (727) 686-5291, Natavia Middleton, Middleton.Natavia@spcollege.edu, (727) 398-8288 or Chad Mairn, Mairn.Chad@spcollege.edu, (727) 394-6917.

St. Petersburg College held its 134th commencement ceremony on Saturday, July 22 at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks in Largo.

SPC Summer 2017 Graduation

SPC President Dr. Tonjua Williams celebrated the graduates’ achievements, thanked faculty, staff and the Board of Trustees for the support and care they’ve shown students, and shared in the applause as the new alumni showed gratitude to their families and friends. Williams thanked the students for choosing SPC to pursue their education.

“We were privileged to serve you,” she said.

President Williams also had a special message to share with the new graduates.

“St. Petersburg College is a special place where opportunities are endless, hope is never deferred and dreams come true,” she said.

At Saturday’s ceremony, the youngest graduate was 18 years old, the oldest was 68 years old and 10 graduates were over the age of 60. Fifty-eight percent of the graduates were female.

With this graduating class, St. Petersburg College has awarded 164,366 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927.

SPC awarded:

  • 611 Associate in Arts degrees
  • 150 Associate in Science degrees
  • 61 Bachelor of Applied Science degrees
  • 20 Bachelor of Science degrees
  • 175 certifications

Ann Donald and Karen Sanford addressed their fellow graduates and guests. Donald earned a bachelor’s degree in Educational Studies and Community Leadership and Sanford earned an Associate in Science in Veterinary Technology. Both speakers shared inspiring messages with their fellow classmates in the Class of 2017.

“Take with you today a sense of pride in your accomplishment, and be optimistic at all of the prospects the future brings,” Sanford said. “If you should stumble and lose your way, remember it is okay to make mistakes. Be willing to make the difficult choices and have the resolve to accept challenges as they arise, but above all, be a student of life, and seize opportunity when it presents itself. You, too, may just find your happiness along the way.”

“As we embark on our exciting next steps in our lives, remember, when the road gets tough I encourage you to draw on your strengths that helped propel you to get here today,” Donald said.

SPC Summer 2017 Graduation

Ann Donald

Donald said it took her 10 years to graduate, as she was raising a child and working full time.

“I leave you with three things. One, do not be afraid of failure. Failures are the stepping stones to success. What’s important is picking yourself back up, and learning from them,” Donald said. “Second, reach back and help another student or potential student. Tell them your story. It only takes one person to change another person’s life. And finally, as you pursue your future goals surround yourself with positive people, people who lift you up, keep you grounded and push you to never stop achieving your dreams.”

2017 Presidential Scholarship CeremonyThis year, 37 of the best and the brightest students from across Pinellas County were selected as the St. Petersburg College 2017 Presidential Scholars. They will receive a total of more than $248,000 in tuition scholarship awards.

The event was held July 18 at the Clearwater Campus Auditorium.

Presidential Scholars were congratulated by:

The Scholars and their family members were also treated to a speech from Deveaux, who graduated in May from SPC summa cum laude with a dual bachelor’s degree in Paralegal Studies and Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing Technology.

Alexis said, “The mission of St. Petersburg College to ‘promote student success and enrich our communities through education, career development, and self-discovery’ has become a moniker and guiding principle in my life.”

This year’s Scholars had an average weighted GPA of 4.38, an average SAT score for Reading and Math of 1235 and an average ACT score of 26.

SPC’s prestigious Presidential Scholarship recognizes outstanding achievement among Pinellas County high school students. Graduating seniors from public, private, parochial, and home school environments, who have a minimum weighted GPA of 3.5 are eligible to apply.

The scholarship provides full tuition for 60 credit hours of study at SPC. As Presidential Scholars, these students are automatically accepted into the SPC Honors Program, which is committed to ensuring the optimal educational experience for dedicated and talented students.

Presidential Scholarship recipients are selected annually based on merit and test scores.

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

 

St. Petersburg College will hold its 134th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 22 at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks, 12685 Ulmerton Road, Largo.

The youngest graduate is 18 years old, the oldest is 68 years old and 10 graduates are over the age of 60. Fifty-eight percent of the graduates are female.

With this graduating class, St. Petersburg College will have awarded 164,366 degrees since the college – Florida’s first community college – was founded in 1927.

SPC will award:

  • 611 Associate in Arts degrees
  • 150 Associate in Science degrees
  • 61 Bachelor of Applied Science degrees
  • 20 Bachelor of Science degrees
  • 175 certifications

Ann Donald and Karen Sanford will address fellow graduates and guests. Donald will earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Educational Studies and Community Leadership. Sanford will earn an Associates of Science.

Summer 2017 Graduation By-The-Numbers

St. Petersburg College wants to help Tampa Bay residents train for a successful career in a high-demand STEM field that could earn workers as much as $68,000 a year.

And the college is getting a boost in order to produce those graduates.

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded SPC a nearly $620,000 Advanced Technical Education grant to create a sustainable pipeline of trained biomedical engineering technicians and expand education and career opportunities for this growing industry.

In addition, the grant will allow SPC to develop a new certificate integrating medical device networking and cybersecurity to train technicians in critically-needed skills at the forefront of technological innovation and allow for curriculum dissemination across multiple institutions.

“This highly competitive grant opens pathways for high school students, technicians in the field and veterans to begin a career in biomedical engineering technology as soon as possible, meeting the growing needs of employers,” said Dr. Brian Bell, a Biomedical Engineering Technology professor at SPC and Principal Investigator for the grant.

SPC is already investing in this high-demand program. A brand new biomedical engineering technology lab will open at the Tarpon Springs campus this fall. Students last week got a sneak peek of the lab, outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.

Biomedical engineering technology, or BMET, is a thriving industry. Last year in Tampa Bay, more than 900 jobs were posted for BMET or similar jobs.  These technologists and technicians offer high level support to doctors and nurses through the complex integration of medical and clinical systems. And with growing security threats worldwide, they also protect from cyberattacks.

“Prior to 2016, there were no accredited BMET programs within a three-hour radius of Tampa Bay,” Dr. Bell said. “Employers in the region had to look elsewhere for advanced technician talent. This grant changes that.”

Tampa Bay ranks second in the state and third in the nation with the most FDA-regulated medical device establishments. With more than 300 companies and over 10,000 employees, the region continues to be a growing, world-class biotech hub.

Locally, Pinellas County alone contributes one fifth of the state’s medical device revenue with 70 percent of the 10,000 regional medical technology jobs.

Demand for BMET jobs is expected to grow by 30 percent over the next decade. US News and World Report lists “medical equipment repairer” as one of the best healthcare jobs to pursue in 2015, and Money Magazine lists the biomedical equipment technician career as one of “The Five Best Jobs You’ve Never Heard Of.”

The three-year grant project will build the college’s new biomedical engineering technology Associate in Science degree by developing curriculum that will help students cross-train between cybersecurity, health sciences and biomedical engineering technology, including the opportunity to obtain industry certifications simultaneously. The project will also create pathways between these degree program areas to recognize an individuals’ prior learning and skills to accelerate their time to degree completion.

Those interested in learning more about biomedical engineering technology at SPC and the different ways the grant could help prospective students, including those with skills in electronics, mechanics, device troubleshooting and repair should visit www.spcollege.edu.

The St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus hosted its second annual Women2STEM Summer Kickoff to a full house on Monday, July 10. The event encouraged women to work toward careers in science, technology, engineering, and math with a series of Saturday workshops. Workshops begin on Saturday, July 15, and conclude on Saturday, August 5.

Inspiring Women to Excel

The kickoff event was a phenomenal opportunity for guests to network with industry experts and educators. Women already established in successful STEM careers met with prospective students. Coming from employers like Morphogenesis, Tech Data, Florida Wildlife, and MedXChange, they worked alongside guests in a team-building exercise.

P1160429The goal of the exercise was to build the tallest tower out of sticks and marshmallows in the shortest amount of time. The challenge highlighted the importance of creativity, problem-solving skills, and collaboration. The Saturday workshops will feature creative exercises like a biology murder mystery.

After the exercise, a panel discussion provided information on getting started in STEM. The panel was moderated by Student Success Manager Kay Morgan and Dr. Natavia Middleton, Dean of Natural Science and Engineering. Panelists talked about the importance of people skills, mentors, and what they like about working in the field. 

STEM at St. Petersburg College

The free summer workshops at Women2STEM will prepare prospective students to engage in a successful return to school.

From the new Biotechnology Engineering program to computer programming, these skills are in demand. Keep up with the latest on the Women2STEM workshops and other upcoming Women2STEM events on Facebook.

Interested in STEM? Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Science and Mathematics, Technology, and Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts programs on the college website.

Bay Pines Dedication CeremonyMore than 80 people filled the new community room at SPC’s new Bay Pines STEM Center on June 28 to dedicate the science labs in honor of Dr. John Chapin.

Dr. Linae Boehme-Terrana and Marcia Chapin, Chapin’s wife, welcomed community leaders, faculty and staff to the new center.

“It’s a tremendous honor to be here on behalf of my late husband, John Chapin,” said Chapin. “St. Petersburg College Bay Pines STEM Center was near and dear to his heart and the success of students.”

Former State Sen. Dennis Jones recalled the day that he, Dr. Bill Law and Chapin looked at the property to assess it’s value and potential purpose.

“They were talking immediately,” he recalled of Law and Chapin. “The wheels started turning that day.”

Chapin’s daughter, Kristen Johnson, recalled growing up in science labs alongside her father, and discussed his passion for students and science.

“He was more than a science guy,” said Johnson.  “He was a believer in people. This center is the embodiment of his beliefs. Thank you for letting a little piece of him be forever that teacher in the science labs.”

Dr. Natavia Middleton, Dean of Natural Science and Engineering, gave remarks on the future of the center and its impact to the community.

“I like to think of the future of STEM here as really a public service to our community,” she said. “We hope that every experience will allow the community to engage with science.”

Longtime friend and colleague Dr. Bill Law reflected on how Chapin and he served together over the years at different jobs in Florida and Texas. He remarked on Chapin’s dedication to the project.

“This was his dream,” Law said of Chapin. “Unfortunately, he couldn’t make it to the finish line. But none of us were here at the beginning of the college, and none of us will be here at the end. But along the way we’ll make marked contributions.”