Archive for the ‘awards’ Category

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

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St. Petersburg College (SPC) is ranked in the top tier of Florida schools listed by U.S. News & World Report as the 2020 Best Online Programs for Veterans and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs. The college placed second in both categories among Florida College System (FCS) institutions that participated in the rankings. In Florida, SPC was listed seventh for Best Online Programs for Veterans and eighth for Best in Online Bachelor’s Programs.

In the southern region, SPC ranked 16th for Best Online Programs for Veterans and 21st for Best in Online Bachelor’s Programs, according to U.S. News & World Report. Nationally, the college was listed 39th in the first category and 58th in the second.

“We are proud to be recognized for the work we’re doing to help our students thrive and find pathways to a brighter future,” said Dr. Tonjua Williams, SPC President. “These rankings reflect the dedication, passion and talent of our faculty and staff, who put our students and their success first.”

In the category Best Online Programs for Veterans, U.S. News & World Report recognized SPC for its affordable, accessible and reputable programming.

“At SPC we love our veteran students,” said SPC Veteran Affairs Coordinator Allison Shenofsky. “We understand the commitments of our nation’s military, and we work hard to continuously provide those brave men and women with quality education that is approved for study under their Active Military, Reserve/National Guard and GI Bill benefits. Our commitment is to our students’ success, and I’m so glad to see that we are being recognized as having been successful in this commitment!”

The ranking criteria for Best in Online Bachelor’s Programs included engagement, services and technology, faculty credentials and training, and expert opinion.

“Offering online courses for more than two decades, St Petersburg College continually searches for new ways to innovate, engaging students in the online classroom and providing a full range of online services to support students outside the classroom,” said Vicki Westergard, SPC Executive Director of Instructional Design and Development, Online Learning and Services. “We serve students who can’t come to campus due to distance, as well as local students who want to complete a degree on their own time, without having to put aside job, home and family.”

In September 2019, the college also announced it placed sixth among Florida public and private colleges that participated in the 2020 U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges study. SPC ranked 17th as a top public school in the southern colleges region. These are the highest-ranked public colleges and universities within its ranking category among 12 states in the regional south.

SPC also ranked 45th as a top performer on social mobility out of 84 schools in the southern region. This ranking highlights the college’s effort to advance economically disadvantaged students who are less likely than others to finish college.

On the ethnic diversity index, SPC scored .57 among public and private colleges in the southern region.



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Growing up in Syracuse, New York, St. Petersburg College’s Engineering Technology Program Director Lara Sharp came from a science-minded family. Her mother and grandmother were nurses, her father a science teacher and grandfather a math teacher. So when her seventh-grade math teacher invited her to take an exam that would allow her to take a higher-level math class, she didn’t even flinch.

“She gave us all a study packet. I brought it home, and every night after dinner for the entire school year, I would walk across the street to my grandparents’ house, where my grandfather would tutor me,” Sharp said. “It was hard, and sometimes there were tears, but he wouldn’t let me quit.”

The hard work at her grandparents’ kitchen table paid off when Sharp made a perfect score on the test. Years later, it’s still paying off, because on Sept. 13, Sharp was named one of the 2019 STEM Women of the Year from Girls Inc. of Pinellas.

Girls Inc. of Pinellas offers opportunities for girls to explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields through hands-on experiences and leadership roles, giving them room to take risks and make mistakes, free from distractions. Each year, the organization honors local people who encourage young women to enter careers in STEM.

“It is very humbling to get this award,” Sharp said. “Though I never thought of myself as a trailblazer or a woman engineer. Only an engineer. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”

A Scientific Journey

Sharp, who earned an undergraduate degree in chemical engineering from the University of Buffalo, said her interest in the field stemmed from one of her sci-fi heroes: the chief engineer aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise, Scotty.

“The first time I ever thought about being an engineer was after seeing a Star Trek movie,” she said. “Everyone wants to be Kirk, but I wanted to be Scotty. It wasn’t Kirk saving the day. It was Scotty.”

Sharp went to work as a chemical engineer after earning her degree, and immediately began work on a Master’s in Business Administration at the University of Massachusetts. Though she loved her engineering job, she wanted to teach like her father and grandfather, so she began teaching high school chemistry. Sharp’s career trajectory ultimately brought her to her current position at SPC four years ago.

“Education is where I belong,” she said. “I love it. Being able to do both engineering and teaching is very rewarding.”

Sharp, who just finished a second master’s degree from the University of South Florida three years ago, said that as a woman, she understands the challenges that young women entering STEM fields face.

“I was one of three girls in a class of 40, with no female instructors,” she said. “At times it was difficult. One professor actually told me it was a privilege for women to be able to go to college.”

The opposition only motivated her more.

“I may have had to work harder in undergrad than the boys,” Sharp said. “I probably did have something to prove, and I had to develop a shell. But I never had to compromise who I was. I didn’t have to stop being a woman.”

A Role Model

SPC Workforce Institute Program Director Susan Garrett nominated Sharp for the award, noting her creativity, innovation and inspiration in furthering SPC’s efforts to encourage women and young girls to enter STEM fields.

“Lara is a great role model of a STEM professional,” Garrett said. “Not only has she overcome some stereotypes of women in engineering, she has also worked hard to mentor and encourage other women to be bold and take the steps to the career paths they have both interest in and intelligence for. She is a great role model.”

SPC Lab Specialist Sara Warmouth earned her Associate of Arts degree in Engineering Technology under Sharp’s tutelage. She says Sharp inspired her and gave her space to develop confidence in her own abilities.

“She was always supportive as a teacher,” Warmouth said. “But her ideas never outweighed mine. It was always a collaborative effort. She wanted me to carve my own path and succeed.”

Sharp says that though great strides have been made in making education more equitable, there is still important work to be done.

“One stat that bothers me is the fact that more women are getting degrees, but the numbers aren’t changing in the workforce,” she said.

Sharp says she is humbled by the honor of the award.

“I’m very proud, and I like being recognized for my achievements, but I look forward to a time when there are no more “firsts” when it comes to women in STEM, and there is total equity in the educational and professional world, and people are recognized not as men or women who are leaders in their field, but as people being the best at what they do.”

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Grant managers recognizedOn September 5, 2019, St. Petersburg College (SPC) held its first Grant Manager Award ceremony. Five grant managers were recognized for their leadership on projects ranging from federal to locally funded projects.

“Implementing a grant-funded program adds a level of complexity, as one faces challenges that can be difficult to manage, especially at an institution as large as SPC,” noted Katie Shultz, SPC Executive Director of Grants Development. “Our grant managers are often the unsung heroes who keep our grant programs going, balancing the needs of the College, the funder and the students served.”

On average, 30 federal, state, foundation and local grants are awarded and managed through the Grants department annually. Grants enhance and support the impact that SPC has on its students and the greater Tampa Bay community. Funded projects vary in subject areas and focus, from workforce development, STEM programs, scholarship based programs, academic pathways, student support and more.

Among those recognized at September’s Grant Manager Award Ceremony were:

Rookie of the Year: Kelliann Ganoo

Ganoo was recognized for her work on the Bridges 2 Baccalaureate (B2B) program, a National Science Foundation-sponsored project that supports underrepresented minorities in STEM programs, as they transfer to Baccalaureate programs across three community colleges, including SPC.

Marvelous Multitasker: Marie Couch

Couch won her award for her role in Perkins, a Florida Department of Education-administered grant that envisions all students will achieve challenging academic and technical standards and be prepared for high-skill, high-wage or high-demand occupations in current or emerging professions.

High Five Award: Ernest Gant

Gant was recognized for his role in PITCH (Providing Instruction for Tomorrow’s Collegians and Hires), a City of St. Petersburg Cohort of Champions program. The PITCH program provides high-quality educational, career and character-development training for African-American males through industry-wide certifications or college degree support.

Mountain Mover: Susan Biszewski-Eber

Biszewski-Eber moved mountains in her work on Apprenticeship, a consortium grant led by Florida State College of Jacksonville. She works with businesses and other partners to close the workforce skills gap faced by the Information Technology, Manufacturing, Healthcare and Construction/Trades industries across Florida, by promoting the growth and expansion of quality and innovative apprenticeships programs.

Time After Time: George Carbart

Carbart has worked for 20+ years on TRIO Student Support Services (SSS), which provides year-round mentoring and support for college students through a textbook lending library, workshops, academic advising, tutoring and other activities.

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St. Petersburg College (SPC) is ranked first in Florida and sixth in the nation among associate colleges for sending students abroad, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) 2018 Open Doors Report. Over the last year, more than 150 SPC students have traveled to other countries while earning college credit.

SPC Study Abroad in ParisDr. Ramona Kirsch, Director of the Center for International Programs, highlighted that the program’s success is attributed to a collegewide collaboration and the students’ willingness to expand their out-of-classroom experience.

SPC student Maria Dotsok strongly encourages other students to travel abroad and experience new cultures.

“It is a wonderful experience to travel abroad and become a global citizen,” Dotsok said. “I would give one bit of advice to the students: don’t think – do it!”

SPC has a broad range of study abroad programs throughout the world. For 2019-20, the planned programs include:

  • Students will study the Maori culture in New Zealand while living with host families in the Maori village.
  • Social and health sciences students will study at the Nelson Mandela University in South Africa.
  • Humanities students will travel to Greece and the island city of Kalymnos.
  • Students will travel to Costa Rica to study biology.
  • Students will study the theatre arts in England, which includes viewing a performance at the Globe Theatre and visiting Shakespeare’s home Stratford on Avon.
  • Students will study the Spanish language in Spain.
  • Dental hygiene students will travel to Jamaica to offer community volunteer services.

Learn more about SPC’s Center for International Programs online, or email studyabroad@spcollege.edu.

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St. Petersburg College (SPC) is ranked second in Florida and sixth in the nation, among associate colleges, for sending students abroad, according to the Institute of International Education (IIE) 2017 Open Doors Report. Over the last year, more than 140 SPC students have traveled to other countries.

Study Abroad report

Dr. Ramona Kirsch, Director of the Center for International Programs, celebrated the report naming SPC among leading institutions for study abroad education and emphasized the importance of out-of-classroom experience for students.

“When I arrived at SPC a little more than five years ago, SPC was not even on the radar for study abroad,” said Kirsch. “Now, in just a little over five years, we have increased study abroad participation by 113 percent.”

SPC has a broad range of study abroad programs throughout the world. The upcoming 2018-19 programs include:

  • Veterinary Techology students will be working to assist troubled sea turtles in Australia
  • Students will discover what makes India a cultural and religious force
  • Social psychology in a global context will be explored in Ireland
  • Students will be working with varying ecosystems and scuba diving in Israel
  • Students will be studying World Literature and Culture in Japan
  • High school students will say Bonjour Québec as they study International Relations and do service learning activities in Canada

Learn more about SPC’s study abroad program online or email studyabroad@spcollege.edu

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best-vocational-trade-schoolsSt. Petersburg College has been recognized as one of the best online vocational trade schools in the nation by The Community for Accredited Online Schools (AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org). As a leading resource for higher education and college accreditation information, the site released its annual ranking for the 2016-2017 school year, honoring St. Petersburg College as the #6 Best Online Vocational Trade School in the Nation.

“We wanted to highlight schools like St. Petersburg College, who are striving for excellence in education,” said Doug Jones, CEO and Founder of the Community for Accredited Online Schools. “These colleges offer an exceptional educational experience, upholding rigorous accreditation standards and showing an overall commitment to maximizing student success.”

In order for universities to qualify for this ranking they must hold public or private not-for-profit status and carry institutional accreditation. Top schools are determined by using a value-based methodology that analyzes more than a dozen qualitative and quantitative data points.

“St. Petersburg College prides itself on providing excellent educational opportunities for students to advance in their professions or move to new careers,” said Dr. Anne Cooper, SPC Senior Vice President of Instruction and Academic Programs. “From accounting to Veterinary Technician, our students online have a clear path from academics to careers.”

For a complete list of online vocational trade schools for 2016-2017 and more information on the methodology used to rank each school, visit the following page:


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2017_bfv_collegesMilitary Times has announced its Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings. St. Petersburg College was ranked among the top 30 four-year schools. SPC ranked highest as a community college that offers four-year degrees.

The eighth annual rankings factor in the results of Military Times’ comprehensive school-by-school survey of veteran and military student offerings and rates of academic achievement.

As with all Best for Vets rankings, Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 is an editorially independent news project that evaluates the many factors that help make colleges and universities a good fit for service members, military veterans and their families. More than 500 colleges took part in this year’s detailed survey.

“We limit our list to encourage competition, and we genuinely hope this helps raise the bar for veterans on campus,” said Amanda Miller, editor of Best for Vets.

Military Times’ annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey asks colleges and universities to meticulously document a tremendous array of services, special rules, accommodations and financial incentives offered to students with military ties; and to describe many aspects of veteran culture on a campus. These institutions were evaluated in several categories, with university culture and academic outcomes bearing the most weight.

Military Times also factors in data from the Veterans Affairs and Defense departments, as well as three Education Department sources: the IPEDS Data Center, College Scorecard data and the Cohort Default Rate Database.

For the full Best for Vets: Colleges 2017 rankings, and survey methodology, go to: www.militarytimes.com/bestforvets-colleges2017

The rankings will be published online at MilitaryTimes.com, as well as ArmyTimes.com, NavyTimes.com, AirForceTimes.com and MarineCorpsTimes.com as of Nov. 1; and will appear in full in a special magazine issue of Military Times on newsstands in mid-November. The release of this year’s list also marks Military Times’ inaugural declaration of the month of November as Veterans Month. The independently owned media company is celebrating veterans beyond Veterans Day, with 30 days of veteran-focused coverage.

Military Times’ Best for Vets rankings include Colleges, Career & Technical Colleges, Business Schools, Franchises, Employers, Law Enforcement and Places to Live.

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About Military Times

The Military Times digital platforms and print products are the trusted source for independent news and information for service members and their families. The military community relies on Army Times, Marine Corps Times, Navy Times and Air Force Times for reporting on everything important to their lives, including: pay, benefits, finance, education, health care, recreational resources, retirement, promotions, product reviews, and entertainment. Military Times is published by Sightline Media Group. To learn more, visit www.militarytimes.com.

About Sightline Media Group

Sightline Media Group, formerly Gannett Government Media, was established in 1940 as Army Times Publishing Company, an independent publishing company reporting on military news and information. Since then, the company has expanded into defense and government news, and has launched or acquired more than 13 periodicals and extended its brand globally into the online and broadcasting arenas. For more information, visit www.sightlinemediagroup.com.


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Online Colleges ranked St. Petersburg College number one out of 112 Florida peer institutions for Best Online College. The college received a 99.61 overall rating. Each year, more than 20,000 students take classes through SPC’s award-winning eCampus online learning program. More than 650 online courses and dozens of degrees can be taken completely online.

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SPC student journalist win awards

The St. Petersburg College student newspaper The Sandbox News rocked the student awards in the Florida Society of News Editors (FSNE) Journalism contest by winning 11 out of 24 student awards–all while vying against large universities like the University of South Florida, University of Florida and Florida State University.

The Sandbox is written by students, including dedicated staff writers from the Mass Media Communications program. Volunteers make up the majority of writers, creating a diverse writing atmosphere.

As shown in this event, SPC has a strong Mass Media Communications department that utilizes the newest and strongest skills to best serve the news landscape and help students succeed.

SPC Mass Media Communications Professor and Newspaper Mentor Kathy Bryson said writing for The Sandbox is a great opportunity for any student.

“All careers are impacted by or look for coverage in media,” she said. “Everyone has a story, and working on the paper helps you learn how to communicate it effectively, whether in print, video or photos. We’re very proud of our FSNE winners who did great work!”

The winners and their respective categories can be found below. To read more about the awards and students visit our Communications blog

Non-Deadline Reporting 3rd David Jolly on his Senate Race Fred Arnold
Commentary 1st To METI, or Not to METI? That is the Question! Douglas  Marshall
Commentary 2nd The Islamic State Viviana  Angelini
Commentary 3rd Cell Phone Apps Help Meet Transportation Needs Pat  Denney
Sports 3rd Make Your Volunteer Time “Special” Juliana  Rangel-Acevedo
Multimedia 2nd St. Pete Action Sports Fred Arnold
News Photography 2nd Shine On St. Pete! Angel  Gonzalez
News Photography 3rd American Victory Merchant Marine Museum Nicolas Gatti
Sports Photography 1st Lady Titans vs. Skagit Valley College Robert  Gale
Sports Photography 2nd Titans First Loss Does Not Upset Jenna  Jean
Sports Photography 3rd Lady Titans Fall To Broward College Seahawks Chris Demmons

See photos from the FSNE banquet on Facebook.

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