St. Petersburg Collegiate High Schools (SPCHS) will host a socially distant, “drive-in” graduation ceremony for 105 graduates from 9-11 a.m. on Friday, Aug. 7, at the SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, science building parking lot, 6605 5th Ave. N.

The Collegiate High School located at the SPC Tarpon Springs Campus will also celebrate its inaugural graduating class since opening in fall 2019.

“I am very proud of our very first class of graduating students,” said Dr. Ian Call, SPCHS Tarpon Springs Campus Principal. “Each and every one of these students will have a very special place at SPCHS as part of our inaugural graduating class from SPCHS on the Tarpon Springs Campus.”

“The class of 2019-20 will forever hold a special place in my heart,” said SPCHS St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus Principal Raquel Giles. “They have faced enormous challenges, but I am beyond confident in their ability to rise above the adversities of life as I have witnessed their courage, resilience and perseverance.”

The ceremony will be streamed via Facebook Live at facebook.com/SPCCollegiateHighSchool so graduates and guests can hear the ceremony from their car. Graduates will have the opportunity to walk across the stage, with their guests socially distant at a designated area. All staff, students and guests will be required to wear a mask.

SPCHS offer students in grades 10-12 the opportunity to simultaneously earn a high school diploma and an Associate in Arts degree.

The first Collegiate High School at the SPC St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, which opened in 2004, has consistently been recognized as a high-performing, nationally ranked school. Since opening, it has earned an “A” rating from the State of Florida. The online ranking site Niche recently listed the school as #1 in the 2020 Best Public High Schools in Tampa Area list. In 2017, it received the honorary National Blue Ribbon as an Exemplary High Performing School by the U.S. Secretary of Education. Newsweek named it the 55th best high school in America in 2016. One of only 10 Florida schools to make the list, it held the second ranking in the state.

For more information, visit spchs.spcollege.edu.

St. Petersburg College is a 2020 recipient of a $100,000 grant award to support the launch of the SPC’s Diversity in Energy Initiative in partnership with Duke Energy Florida. The program will target and recruit historically underserved lower-income, minority and female populations for careers in the energy field and connect them to related educational pathways.

“We are proud to be able to exercise our relationships to bring awareness and access across our communities, especially in underserved areas,” said Dr. Matthew Liao-Troth, SPC’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. “This career nationally averages an annual salary of over $77,000, and it is in demand locally and regionally. We expect to have many successful graduates of the program.”

Duke Energy Florida is awarding $655,000 in grants to 19 workforce development and education programs as the region tackles economic disruptions from the coronavirus pandemic. The grants support education and training programs that address the most pressing skills gaps in communities served by Duke Energy Florida, as well as programs to cultivate the energy sector’s future workforce.

“At Duke Energy, we believe philanthropic giving is important to help our cities, our towns and our communities not only survive the current COVID-19 pandemic, but also grow and thrive,” said Catherine Stempien, state president of Duke Energy Florida. “During these unprecedented times, attracting, training and educating a diverse workforce for the future with the skills employers need can help our communities emerge from this pandemic stronger and more resilient.”

Clearwater Neighborhood Family CenterSt. Petersburg College is partnering with the Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center to offer the third annual Rising Above: Not An Option! Youth Experience. The free event

offers a safe environment to discuss issues, find common ground and produce solutions that even youth can participate in to create a better community. Attendees can join the program virtually on July 22, 23 and 24 from 11:30 a.m. – 1:45 p.m., and anyone interested can register here.

With help from the Collaborative Labs team, SPC will provide multiple presenters, swag from the Clearwater Campus, and virtual tours of SPC’s Clearwater campus’ natural science labs and the Gibbs campus’ arts and music spaces.

The conference sessions, which will be conducted on the virtual platform Hopin, are geared toward a wide audience, 6th graders to adults, with a maximum 200 youth and 100 adults, but performances and keynote speakers are open to 400 participants.

Keynote speakers will be SPC Psychology Professor, Dr. Carleah East, who also leads the college’s Project H.E.A.L. program, which encourages mental health awareness for faculty, staff and students. East will be joined by two other keynote speakers, Micah MP3 Poole of Michael Pool & Associates, LLC, and Lloyd Cooper III of LC3 entertainment.

The three-day event will offer workshops, games, performances, activities, prizes, an essay contest and video contest.

The Clearwater Neighborhood Family Center Special Projects Coordinator Michele Edwards says that since the inception of the event, now in its third year, SPC has been a main supporter and sponsor.

“The majority of our presenters and activities are from the talented SPC Community,” Edwards said. “Our hope is that our youth will look into SPC as a means to further their education, and we are confident that our participants from all over the country and the world will enjoy this Youth Experience.”


St. Petersburg College (SPC) and National University of Health Sciences (NUHS) have collaborated to allow students to complete both a Bachelor of Science in Biology and Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) degree in less time.

The Advanced Scholars Program is a joint recruitment and dual admission effort that creates a coordinated curriculum specifically for exceptional students who maintain a 3.0 GPA or higher at SPC.

“National University of Health Sciences and St. Petersburg College have enjoyed an exceptional relationship for many years,” said NUHS President Joseph Stiefel, MS, EdD, DC. “We have found yet another way to work together for the benefit of our students and our community. Collaboration is the cornerstone to our success, and I look forward to much more with SPC.”

NUHS is one of 17 educational institutions that are part of the University Partnership Center (UPC) at SPC.  The UPC provides students in the Pinellas County area with integrative educational opportunities with students from other schools and healthcare disciplines, and access to a wide variety of services and programs on multiple campuses. This innovative campus-sharing program allows NUHS to offer its Doctor of Chiropractic program through SPC.

“NUHS has been a UPC partner for over a decade now, and they continue to find ways to connect with​ and support the SPC family,” said Catherine Kennedy, Associate Vice President, Academic Affairs and Partnerships at SPC.  “Here is an example of us all coming together to ​benefit students, who can make their last year of their SPC biology bachelor degree also their first year of their NUHS doctor of chiropractic degree, all while studying here in Pinellas County.”

Qualified students will complete three years of undergraduate study or a minimum of 90 semester credits leading toward their Bachelor of Science in Biology with a subplan in cellular and molecular biology at SPC. Before completing their undergraduate degree, students will then start the five-year DC program at NUHS. After successful completion of all coursework in the first four trimesters at NUHS, they can be granted their bachelor degree from SPC.

“Many limited entry programs have additional requirements needed to be admitted, but this partnership will lessen a student’s time to completion for both their bachelor’s degree and their chiropractic degree,” said Dr. Natavia Middleton, Dean of Natural Science and Engineering at SPC. “We welcome any student who feels that they want to pursue their bachelor’s degree in biology, as this partnership will fulfill our commitment of service to Floridians who may not otherwise have had this opportunity.”

For more information or to apply to the Advanced Scholars Program at SPC and NUHS, contact Nikkia Parchment at NUHS at 727-302-6461 or email nparchment@nuhs.edu.

St Petersburg College will offer the chance to win a free three-credit course by attending the Get It Done virtual event with six sessions offered July 13 – 16 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 2020 term, which starts Aug. 17.

Participants will also have the opportunity to learn how to submit documents, navigate the college’s online student platform called MySPC, 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 13
  • Registration at 10 a.m. on July 14
  • Financial Assistance Services at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on July 15
  • Quick Advising and Open Q&A at 10 a.m. on July 16

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

  • Eva Christensen, SPC Director of Admission and Records
  • Christy Costello, SPC Director of Online Student Services
  • Sue Kubler, SPC Career and Academic Advisor
  • Reggie Reed, SPC Director of Recruitment Services
  • Gigi Reiter, SPC Student Support Manager
  • Berta Royer, SPC Sr. Student Support Coordinator
  • Todd Smith, SPC Executive Director of Financial Assistance Services

By attending any of these virtual event sessions, participants could win a free three-credit course. Following each day of sessions, one scholarship for a free three-credit-hour course will be given away. A person must enroll in an SPC course as a result of attending the webinar to be eligible for the giveaway. Recipients will be randomly selected.

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


SGA leaders at Florida College System conference in February.

The past few months have been a real challenge for St. Petersburg College students, with more than 1800 classes moving online mid-semester. We would like to honor students who went above and beyond their studies to serve as members of the college’s Student Government Association. Despite being quarantined for COVID- 19, these SGA leaders persevered in their duties. We thank them for their time, service, and dedication to their fellow students and to the entire college.

We would also like to recognize our 2019-2020 Academic Year student award recipients. The academic performance and dedication to self-improvement demonstrated by these students is exemplary, and they stand as true examples of what it means to be a St. Petersburg College Titan. We congratulate them on their achievements this year and look forward to their continued success.

2019-20 Student Government Leaders

Allstate Center

  • Shi’Niqua Vaught, President

Caruth Health Education Center

  • Brandi Jordan, President
  • Sarah Choi, Secretary
  • Jonah Hoppe, Treasurer
  • Sherie Evans, Parliamentarian
  • Cynthia Faulkner, Sergeant of Arms
  • Harvey Toro, Historian
  • Andy Conway, PTA SGA Representative
  • Chris Kolaxis, PTA SGA Representative
  • Sharon Wattam-Nelson, Radiography SGA Representative
  • Rebecca Byrd, Nursing SGA Representative
  • Whitney Skerritt, Dental Hygiene SGA Representative
  • Katsiaryna Durant, Dental Hygiene SGA Representative

Clearwater Campus

  • Maria Stourgioti, President
  • Nate Dean, Vice President
  • Rajiv Rambaran, Secretary
  • Tera Frazier, Historian

Downtown Center

  • Brittaney Hall, President
  • Saeem Fakir, Vice President
  • Raheim Davis, Secretary
  • Jorge Malacara, Treasurer

Midtown Center

  • Jeff Thomas, President
  • Maria Scruggs, Vice President
  • Rose Adamson, Legislative Liaison/Secretary

Seminole Campus

  • Noora Khaleel, President
  • Grace Galuski, Vice President
  • Kwanjittra Kaeo-Unruean, Secretary/Treasurer
  • Tomás Ortega, Legislative Liaison
  • Jessica Brooks, Historian
  • Jack Brown, Historian
  • Andrew Davis, Parliamentarian
  • Bradley Wojtiuk, Sergeant of Arms

St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus

  • Tiffany Albritton, President
  • Christy-Lynne Lapine, Vice President
  • Megan Greene, Secretary
  • Daniel Small, Public Relations Representative

Tarpon Springs Campus

  • Jair Marrero, President
  • Maxime Thiaulier, Vice President
  • Nick Bull, Treasurer
  • Isabel Ribas, Legislative/Jurisprudence
  • Paul Chaves, Event Liason

Ben CrumpSt. Petersburg College’s Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions hosted a webinar on June 23, 2020, titled Criminal Justice Reform: Progress and Challenges. The event brought noted Criminal Justice Attorney Ben Crump, who is representing the families of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, whose deaths have raised concerns over racial injustice.

More than 250 participants, many of whom were local attorneys, joined in to hear Crump, who joined the call while en route to Milwaukee to meet with the family of another client. Crump said he hadn’t planned to join the meeting from his car, but duty called.

“Because Black lives matter, when we get the call we have to answer the bell,” Crump said. “If we don’t fight for marginalized, disenfranchised members of society, who will?”

Crump, a Jacksonville attorney who has taken the nation’s helm in civil rights law, discussed the details of the Breonna Taylor case, offering a chilling account of a couple who thought they were experiencing a home invasion when, actually, the police were executing a “no-knock” warrant in search of drugs.

“The officers were in plain clothes, and didn’t identify themselves as police,” Crump said. “Kenny Walker tried to protect his castle – he was a registered gun owner – by shooting a warning shot, police unloaded 25-30 rounds blindly into the apartment. Tragically, Breonna was mutilated with eight bullets.”

Crump then explained how Walker was arrested for attempted murder, and pointed out the juxtaposition of Walker’s treatment versus the men accused of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, who was out jogging when he was confronted by Gregory and Travis McMichael, a video shows.

“Never have I seen self-defense so vividly distinguished (by race),” Crump said. “When the police came, the McMichaels said it was self-defense. Police accepted their word, and they slept at home in their beds at night for 10 weeks before they were arrested. The police arrested Kenny Walker that night and charged him with attempted murder, and he faced life in prison if convicted. The charges have been temporarily dropped, but they could still be re-introduced. We see two justice systems in America. That’s why we need reform.”

On the subject of George Floyd, who was killed after being detained on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill, Crump said the video is the crux of change.

“I believe George Floyd’s tragic killing was so riveting,” Crump said. “That video has been viewed over 175 million times in America alone. Because we cannot unsee that video, it represents the best opportunity for systematic police reform in America.”

Crump also discussed the problems within the U.S. prison system.

“When you’re in prison, you are literally a slave of the state,” Crump said. “What we have in America today is the intellectual justification of discrimination. They come up with technical reasons that allow poor people to get the most injustice.”

ben crumpISPS Executive Director Kimberly Jackson said the organization has a commitment to remaining a community convener on political, social and economic issues.

“We wanted to have a solution-oriented conversation, primarily with attorneys in our area, to discuss what Pinellas County is doing right and what we need to work on,” Jackson said.

Sixth Judicial Circuit Public Defender-Elect Sara Mollo discussed the goals of the Public Defender’s office, which include juveniles, mental health and abolishing the death penalty. On the subject of the latter, Mollo spoke about how labeling mentally ill people is an issue in the justice system.

“Vernacular is important,” Mollo said. “When you start to think about how you talk about things, it changes the narrative. Why would I say my client is schizophrenic, when they are actually a person who suffers from schizophrenia? Calling someone a behavior makes it sound like a choice.”

Mollo also encouraged attendees to get to know their legislators.

“There are good people in the legislature,” she said. “You just have to ask for specific things to make legislation.”

Before signing off, Crump thanked the ISPS for having the event, and stressed how important their work is.

“ISPS is so vital because we need a think tank to tell people what we’re fighting for,” he said.

visa scholarshipSt. Petersburg College students interested in a career in Business may be able to earn a certification that will make them job-eligible in only two weeks. The college has partnered with Visa to offer 10 scholarships to SPC students for training for its inaugural Visa Dispute Resolution Certification program.

In the payments industry, dispute resolution professionals manage payment card disputes and generally work for financial institutions, such as a bank that issues credit cards, or payment processors. This new certification will help elevate the role within the industry, provide professional credibility for those who earn the credential and help people expand their career prospects.

Visa selected the greater Tampa-St. Petersburg area for its inaugural Dispute Resolution Certification classes due to a high consolidation of financial institutions in the community and is partnering with St. Petersburg College to assure a highly personalized experience and local control over scholarship awards.

College of Business Dean Marta Przyborowski said the scholarship, which will cover the cost of the certification classes, materials, and the accompanying certification exams, offers students a myriad of benefits.

“This certification will allow students to establish professional credibility, attain new skills, and become an important contributor to an organization’s overall success,” she said.

Scholarship candidates must meet the following eligibility criteria:

  • Current SPC students pursuing a degree in business
  • Pinellas County residents (preference will be given to city of St. Petersburg residents)
  • Demonstrated financial need
  • 2.5 or higher GPA

Learn More

The certification classes are slated to start August 3 and will be delivered via online instruction over a two-week period. To be considered for the opportunity, interested students are urged to complete the Visa Dispute Resolution Scholarship Application by Friday, July 17.

Interested students can learn more here, or contact the College of Business at COB@spcollege.edu with any questions.

St. Petersburg College’s Foundation, in collaboration with Grow Smarter, will provide residents of St. Petersburg whose jobs have been impacted or lost in the service, retail and hospitality areas due to COVID-19 an opportunity to receive a scholarship for full tuition, books and materials.

Grow Smarter began in 2014 as a partnership between the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce and the City of St. Petersburg to enhance the city’s ability to support diverse economic growth. The Grow Smarter Strategy identified five target industry sectors primed for growth and development in St. Petersburg:

  • Marine & Life Science
  • Data Analytics
  • Specialized Manufacturing
  • Creative Arts & Design
  • Financial Services

To be eligible, an applicant must be a St. Petersburg resident who has been impacted by job loss in the service, retail or hospitality areas due to COVID-19. To apply, they must complete an online application, share how the Grow Smarter scholarship will assist with their career goals, and provide proof of residency. The application can be completed remotely.

Participation is limited, and not all qualified applicants will receive a scholarship. The deadline to apply is Friday, July 24, and the application can be completed here.

SPC’s Downtown/Midtown Campus Provost Tashika Griffith said this organic partnership provides much-needed assistance to individuals impacted by COVID-19.

“Our collaborative effort is a point of pride, knowing its impact on the community we serve,” she said.

St. Petersburg College is a proud partner of LEAP Tampa Bay College Access Network (LEAP Tampa Bay), a network of more than 50 community partners committed to changing lives by connecting residents to education and training beyond high school. The network recently announced a new partnership with Complete Florida to re-engage local working-age adults in education and training. Called Complete Tampa Bay, this initiative will directly assist those with prior college or technical training experience by providing free, personalized coaching and support to help them complete their college degree and/or credentialing programs.

“This hands-on approach to college and training enrollment will help streamline the often confusing and overwhelming process experienced by returning adult learners,” said Chuck Tiernan, director of LEAP Tampa Bay. “We’re thrilled to embark on this new partnership with Complete Florida that will, for the first time, allow our program to use a completion coach model to help this population not only re-enroll, but successfully move through the process to credential completion.”

Primarily funded by a grant from Lumina Foundation, Complete Tampa Bay’s personalized coaching model will help returning adult learners understand how to find available education and training options, what financial support may be available, access tutoring, and connect them to local education partners that can support the completion of their education and training goals. Complete Tampa Bay’s local education partners include: University of South Florida, University of South Florida St. Petersburg, Hillsborough Community College, St. Petersburg College, Hillsborough Technical Colleges, and Pinellas Technical College.

An estimated 330,000 adults living in Tampa Bay have earned some credits but never completed their college degrees and/or credentialing programs, according to a 2017 American Community Survey. The Complete Tampa Bay initiative aligns with the state of Florida’s “Sail to 60” goal and the national “GOAL 2025” movement, all of which seek to have 60 percent of working-age adults hold (acquire) such credentials and degrees.

In addition to supporting the re-enrollment of adults who already have credits, this initiative will strive to create new opportunities and remove barriers for the region’s African American, Hispanic, and low-income populations, which have historically experienced gaps in educational success.

“Complete Florida is thrilled to partner with LEAP Tampa Bay,” said Dr. Michelle Horton, director of Complete Florida. “LEAP Tampa Bay’s proven record of helping returning adult students finish a post-secondary certificate or degree enhances the quality of life for those living in Hillsborough and Pinellas counties. That work is in perfect alignment with Complete Florida’s goal to increase degree attainment rates and keep the workforce and the economy of our state thriving.”

To contact a completion coach or learn more about the Complete Tampa Bay initiative, visit www.completetb.org.