Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste

Keron Jean-Baptiste has been named Associate Provost of SPC’s St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

Jean-Baptiste joined St. Petersburg College in 1999. He has worked in student services for fifteen years. During his tenure, he has served as an Academic Advisor on the Seminole, Midtown, and St. Petersburg/Gibbs campuses. He has also served as a Coordinator of the Information Technology Readiness Academy, College Recruiter, Site Coordinator at Midtown, Senior Staff Assistant in testing, and Student Support Advisor on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

For the past year, he has served as the Interim Associate Provost on the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus and has been actively engaged in several strategic projects within the College Experience, including development of the new comprehensive advising model.

A former St. Petersburg Jr. College student, Jean-Baptiste earned his Bachelor’s degree in Business Management from National Louis University, holds a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership, and is currently a Doctoral candidate at Nova Southeastern University.

Jean-Baptiste joins the campus leadership team under new Provost Jamelle Connor.

The Florida TRADE Consortium and the Manufacturers Association of Florida Center for Advanced Manufacturing Excellence (MAF CAME) have joined forces to promote opportunities for women in manufacturing. The Manufacturing Experience: A Woman’s Perspective, was held on June 4, in Orlando. Key female executives and leaders in Florida manufacturing participated in a discussion on key issues for women in the manufacturing industry. Watch the event on YouTube.


Key female executives and leaders in Florida manufacturing participated in a discussion on issues for women in the manufacturing industry at the June 4 event – The Manufacturing Experience: A Woman’s Perspective.

“We always look for ways to improve our industry, promote manufacturing and introduce new career opportunities to our communities,” said Amanda Bowen, MAF CAME. “Along with the Florida TRADE Consortium, we decided to highlight exceptional women in the Florida manufacturing field at the June STEM Forum. The panel was nothing short of inspirational. Women of different backgrounds, cultures, generations and education engaged in an interactive dialogue to reach out and connect with other women.”

Jessica Glover, a manufacturer with Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems, sat on the panel. “Participating on the women in manufacturing panel at the STEM Forum was so much fun. We laughed, shared stories and brought a wide variety of backgrounds to a great discussion! Hopefully it will open young minds up to all the possibilities available in manufacturing, educate them on how to get there and break through some stereotypes.”

“These ladies rocked the house!” said Dr. Gary Graham, Director of the Florida TRADE Consortium. “They were engaging, very interesting and were the highlight of the STEM Forum. It was great to partner with the MAF Center to make this event happen. Our hope is that teachers, counselors and women of all ages use this video to learn about the careers and opportunities that are available in the manufacturing industry.”

“Approximately 75 percent of the current manufacturing industry is male,” said Bowen. “This is 2015. It’s time to break the mentality that manufacturing is ‘dark, dirty and dangerous’ and let everyone know it’s okay to follow your passion – even if that passion leads you down a road of science, technology, engineering or mathematics. Manufacturing careers are on the rise; with advances in technology, there is no end in sight for the opportunities in Florida’s future. Women have every right to be a part of this movement. We want girls in middle and high school to understand what manufacturing is and to take advantage of the trainings the TRADE Consortium has to offer. This industry is something to be proud of. It’s a place to grow personally and professionally. It’s a place where a passion can turn into a career, and as one of our panelists stated — ‘it’s lucrative!’”

For more information about MAF CAME, please visit www.MAFCenter.org. For information about the Florida TRADE Consortium, visit www.fltrade.org.

From left: Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board; Dr. Bill Law, SPC President; Maria Edmonds, Chair, Juvenile Welfare Board; Robert J. Fine, Jr., Chairman, SPC Board of Trustees.

From left: Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board; Dr. Bill Law, SPC President; Maria Edmonds, Chair, Juvenile Welfare Board; Robert J. Fine, Jr., Chairman, SPC Board of Trustees.

At St. Petersburg College’s Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, June 16, officials from SPC and the Juvenile Welfare Board of Pinellas County announced a new partnership to strengthen training for early childcare professionals and better prepare young learners.

jwb-logoOfficials with SPC’s College of Education and the SPC Foundation worked with the Juvenile Welfare Board (JWB) to develop the partnership, in which JWB is providing $54,000 to fund 30 scholarships for students to earn certificates through the college’s Early Childhood Education program. The intent is to improve school readiness rates and close achievement gaps by preparing local childcare workers to provide high quality early childhood education.

“This is an excellent opportunity and excellent demonstration of partnerships that we have going,” said Dr. Marcie Biddleman, Executive Director, Juvenile Welfare Board. “It’s special because it’s St Petersburg College. We have a lot of children in our early learning programs, and they will not get to St Petersburg College for their education if we can’t get them started right. Hopefully this will be a continuation of educated citizens that will make a difference here in Pinellas County.”

Scholarships will be available for childcare workers currently working 20 hours or more in licensed early childcare centers (residential or commercial) in Pinellas County (as identified by JWB). The scholarships will fund up to 12 credit hours for classes taken on the Clearwater Campus, to prepare the students toward a certificate in early childcare development, with specializations in Infants and Toddlers or Preschool. Both 12-hour certificates can be counted toward SPC’s Early Childhood Education A.S. degree.

“The benefits and the value of this partnership will extend far beyond the student recipients, as they go back to their workplace and better prepare our earliest learners,” said Frances Neu, Executive Director, SPC Foundation. “Then we’ll see the real benefits,” she said.

Former SPC Associate Provost Maria Edmonds, who now chairs the Juvenile Welfare Board, called the agreement her dream.

“It is my pleasure that we have this collaboration,” Edmonds said. “We need more of these partnerships in our community. One individual or one organization alone cannot do it, but together we can do a lot.”

International Film Festival: Henry & JuneSPC International Programs proudly presents the International Film Series screening of Henry & June (1990) on Thursday, June 25. This Academy Award nominated film brings literary art to life and provides a deeper understanding of famed writers Henry Miller, his wife June, and Anaïs Nin in 1930s Paris.

Shown in conjunction with the Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art exhibit, Henry and Abe: Finding America, the event will be held on the Tarpon Springs Campus in the Challenge of Modern Art Interactive Gallery. The doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the film screening begins at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be served.

Please note, this film has an NC-17 rating and no one 17 and under will be admitted.

For more information about the event, call 727-341-4732.

Recipients of St. Petersburg College’s Presidential Scholarship represent some of the best and brightest high school seniors in Pinellas County. This year, 64 students were selected as SPC 2015 Presidential Scholars and will receive a total of $455,000 in tuition scholarship awards.

The group had an average weighted GPA of 4.29, an average SAT score for Reading and Math of 1102 and an average ACT score of 25.

“These are some of the most exceptional students in Pinellas County and we are thrilled they have chosen to attend St. Petersburg College,” said SPC President Bill Law.

Presidential Scholarship Award winners from 2014-15 are honored at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus.

Presidential Scholarship Award winners from 2014-15 are honored at the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus.

SPC’s Presidential Scholarship provides full tuition for 60 credit hours of study at St. Petersburg College. As Presidential Scholars, this select group of students is invited to join the President’s Scholars Counsel and will meet with President Law during their enrollment to gain an inside look at college operations and activities and share their perspectives on student affairs.

Presidential Scholarship recipients are selected annually based on merit and test scores. The program is open to Pinellas County residents who meet the following criteria:

  • High school seniors attending a school in Pinellas County and anticipating a May graduation with a standard high school diploma
  • Florida resident
  • U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien or Dream Act eligible
  • Anticipate a weighted cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 at the end of the seventh semester of high school
  • Have taken the ACT/SAT Exams

Until last year, the Presidential Scholarship covered up to 15 credit hours per term for one year following high school graduation. The expanded credit hours covered under the new requirements are intended to help students complete a program of study, whether an associate degree for high school seniors or a bachelor’s degree for those who have already earned an associate through dual enrollment or Early College programs.

“St. Petersburg College offers a quality education that prepares students for personal and professional success, so we want to be their first choice,” said Frances Neu, Vice President for Institutional Advancement & Executive Director of the St. Petersburg College Foundation. “We want to be part of the conversation and in front of students as they are making their decisions about college. We are the most prudent choice there is.”

Since 2004, SPC has awarded more than $3.1 million in Presidential Scholarships. This cohort’s awards total $455,000.

Students apply for the Presidential Scholarship during the fall of their senior year in high school and have until January to submit an application.

Recipients, and the high schools they attend are:

  • Calvary Christian School: Nicholas Grosseibl
  • Clearwater High School: Rachel Ahrens, Rocy Danielle Barruel, Anisa Hasaj, Mediha Muhic, Jacie Parsons, Sofia Romero, Lori Rossi, and Melisa Trockels
  • Countryside High School: Laura Bednark, Amy Bhatt, Abigail Jensen, Thomas Labella, Ciara Ngin, and David Russell
  • Dixie Hollins High School: Racquel Cummings
  • Dunedin High School: Rebekah Brouillette and Erin Murphy-Johns
  • East Lake High School: Doyle Dempsey, Shea Duncan, Thomas Fisher, Lacey Kozlowski-Coward, Halle Kozlowski-Coward, and Brandon Yates
  • Indian Rocks Christian School: William Bechtel, Sophia Davis, Joshua Smith, Steven Turco, and Joseph Williams
  • Lakewood High School: Erica Wells
  • Largo High School: Anthony Del Vecchio, Rachel Kerwood, and Justine Murray
  • Northeast High School: Dylan Brooks, Kirsten Campbell, Dakota Cuthbertson, Sarina Martins, Marcos Perez Bencomo, Adrian Roldan, and Jacari Thompson
  • Osceola Fundamental High School: Abigail Beale, Alexis Deveaux, Samantha Iannotti, Anita Nguyen, Ethan Surprenant, and Magdaliene Vricos
  • Palm Harbor University High School: Austin Burnham, Ryland Carlin, and Alexis Gagliardotto
  • Pinellas County Homeschool: Shelby Henriksen, Emily Smith, and Samantha Witsey
  • Pinellas Park High School: Christian Bekas, Kristine Caraig, Casandra McDonald, Destiny Presley, and Louisa Slobodenko
  • Seminole High School: Etasa Evans, Zachary Hill, Leslie Laperriere, and Cheyanne Wallace
  • St. Petersburg Collegiate High School: Sonya McCabe
  • St. Petersburg High School: Jamie Montgomery
  • Tarpon Springs High School: Shanti Robinson
Karen Kaufman White

Karen Kaufman White

After 31 years at SPC, Karen Kaufman White, Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus is retiring in July.

“I’ve had the good fortune to know Karen White since her first days at “SPJC.” She has always been a patient and focused educator, working on behalf of students and faculty, ready to take on new challenges,” said SPC President Dr. William Law. “Her early work to design and launch the Ethics Program at the College has proven to be a mark of distinction for all of us. Her work to lead our St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus as a provost at the end of her career has similarly been a beacon of service and support for our students. We wish her well in the next phase of her life.”

Initially a high-school English teacher and later a civil trial lawyer, White joined SPC in 1984 as Dean of Open Campus, managing what was then the college’s largest campus. During that time she supervised the successful launch of the Applied Ethics Program, including a required course for all degree-seeking students, the first program of its kind in the U.S. Later, she was Instructor-in-charge of the Applied Ethics Department and an adjunct Applied Ethics Instructor.

“Every SPC graduate takes with them a gift from Dr. White in the skills that they learn in PHI 1600 Applied Ethics,” said Susan Demers, SPC Dean of Public Policy and Legal Studies. “Her hard work in crafting the original Applied Ethics course and the legacy of her leadership are the backbone of our department. Her passion for justice, attention to detail, and generous spirit make her the living exemplar of critical thinking applied to life. We will miss her and wish her the best but I hope she knows where home is!”

In 1999 she became the Coordinator for Project Eagle I, a large federal grant aimed at building a national model for increasing access to four-year degrees and workforce training for community college students.

She also served as Special Assistant to the President and Dean of International Programs prior to accepting the position of provost in 2008.

“One could not have scripted a professional journey that would bring more joy and satisfaction than the career that unfolded for me at St. Petersburg College,” said White. “I am forever grateful for the privilege of learning from and working with such wonderful colleagues in serving our community and helping our students succeed.”

Jamelle Conner has been named Provost of the St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus.

With the recent move by President Obama to normalize relations with Cuba, a door to economic opportunity has been opened to Tampa Bay business, cultural and educational interests. The Obama initiative has been praised by those who feel the embargo has been ineffective in advancing human rights for Cubans and, after 50 years, it’s time to try a new strategy. But others oppose any relaxation of the embargo until the Cuban government commits to human rights reform.

The implications of this policy will be debated by a panel of prominent local leaders at a forum sponsored by the Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College and the Global Action Coalition. The forum, titled Cuba: Embargo or Not?, will be from 6-8 p.m. June 30 at the Poynter Institute, 801 Third St. S., St. Petersburg. Admission is free, but advance registration is requested.

Debating the pros and cons of easing the trade embargo will be:

  • Janet Long, Pinellas County Commissioner who led a local delegation on a good-will visit to Cuba last fall
  • Patrick Monteiga, Editor and Publisher of La Gaceta weekly newspaper in Tampa and frequent traveler to Cuba
  • Col. E.J. Otero, (U.S. Air Force, ret.) former senior officer at Central Command and Special Operations Command, MacDill Air Force Base
  • John Wilson, former anchor, Fox Channel 13, will serve as moderator.

Relaxing of the trade embargo offers a special opportunity for the Tampa Bay region, which has a rich history of relations with Cuba as well as airports and deep-water ports capable of handling increased trade with the island nation. Miami, which might be considered the natural hub for such commerce, is home to 850,000 Cuban exiles, many of whom strongly oppose easing of the embargo until political prisoners are released from Cuban jails and reparations for confiscated property are made.

For further information, call 727-394-6942.

The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions at St. Petersburg College is a resource for academic enrichment, a non-partisan venue for civil, objective debate of topical public issues, and a center to promote better government. Its mission is to support a broad array of research, training, educational and policy analysis and support activities at the local, state, regional and national levels.


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