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Most kids William Maillis’ age recently graduated from elementary school, but Maillis, 11, graduated from St. Petersburg College on Saturday, July 21 with an associate in arts degree.

William Maillis

According to his father, Peter Maillis, it became obvious that William was special when, at seven months old, he began speaking in complete sentences.

“I asked him to lie down in his crib, and he said, ‘I don’t want to,'” Peter recalled. “He also surprised an entire waiting room at the doctors office when he said, ‘I want milk.'”

Early Bird

William was able to identify numbers by the time he was 6 months old, and he could say the alphabet forward and backward by age 1. He was performing multiplication by age 2, learned algebra at age 4, and was declared a genius at 5 by a psychologist, who noted that children like him are about 1 in 10 million.

After starting kindergarten at age 4, William had surpassed elementary school curriculum by the time he began third grade. He transferred to high school, where he had already earned some credits. After earning his high school diploma at age 7, William began studying at a local community college in Pittsburgh, before Peter, a Greek Orthodox priest, was transferred to the Tampa Bay Area. William was enrolled at the University of South Florida and already beginning classes when the family hit an unexpected snag: William is too young to receive federal financial aid. So they dropped all but two classes, finished the semester and enrolled at St. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs Campus.

“We’re out of state,” Peter said, “and SPC was a lot more affordable.”

Earning Respect

William surprised many fellow students and professors during his time at SPC.

“At first, they would ask me how old I was and if I was really in the class,” William said. “But eventually they’d get used to it.”

Not only did he succeed in his classes, he was even a leader in many of them. Peter remembered being approached after one of William’s classes by a “burly” guy who asked him if he was William’s dad.

“He said, ‘at first I thought it was a joke, but when I heard him speak in class, I asked him to be my lab partner,’” Peter said.

Tarpon Springs Campus Provost Rod Davis said that William really didn’t need any extra help.William Maillis

“William was a regular student,” Davis said. “He came here, put his nose to the grindstone and did what he had to do. He worked extremely hard and won all of our hearts.”

Peter said that William got everything he needed at SPC.

“The faculty and everybody over there was very supportive,” he said. “He was very well challenged.”

Still A Kid

Though he is surrounded by adults, William still gets lots of time in with other kids in the family’s church. He enjoys playing tag, hide-and-seek, football and basketball. Like other kids, he also enjoys video games. Unlike other kids, his favorite is a strategic history game, in which players envision alternative histories.

“It’s fun to theorize,” William said. “Like, what if Germany had won World War I?”

His father reported that he actually plays more than the average kid.

“He has lots of play time because he learns so fast,” he said. “He might have classes on Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but the rest of the time he plays and plays.”

Future Plans

Of all his classes, William said Astronomy was his favorite, and he hopes to become an astrophysicist and work for NASA. He also hopes to explain some of the mysteries of the universe.

“So many people these days think that religion and science are separate,” he said. “But priests and bishops in the olden days used science to talk about God. I want to prove that God does exist through science, so that the world can know.”

William’s plan is to finish his Bachelor’s degree in physics, then earn a PhD in astrophysics by the time he’s 18.

Though it’s time for William to move on, Davis says that he is sure that SPC was the right place for him.

“William found in SPC a place where he could grow and show what he needed to show to the community. I think his experience here speaks volumes not only of him, but also of SPC’s faculty, administration and students. We really care if the student succeeds. That’s why we do what we do.”

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SPC College Visit Day

Eligible Pinellas County seniors are invited to St. Petersburg College’s “College Visit Day” from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 11, for open house events. These open house 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
  • Tour campuses
  • Learn how to pay for college
  • Attend College 101 Seminars
  • Learn how to apply to SPC

Students should ask for an official college visit letter to take back to their school as proof they attended the event. Campuses hosting College Visit Days are:

For more information, call 727-341-3400 or visit stpe.co/collegevisitdayfall17.

 

 

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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.

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tarpon-springs-community-resource-fairSt. Petersburg College’s Tarpon Springs Campus will host its first Annual Community Resource Fair on Feb. 25.

There will be more than 30 vendors providing employment assistance, financial aid workshops and children’s activities. Representatives from Pinellas County Veterans Services as well as Social and Human Services will also be in attendance.

The college will waive the application fee for individuals who complete an SPC application this Saturday.

The Leepa-Rattner Museum of Art will offer free admission to the museum.  There will be lots of giveaways including $1,200 worth of gift cards, donated by the Tarpon Springs Rotary. In addition, there will be refreshments at the event as well as complimentary shuttles provided by Friendly Kia.

The event, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., will be held in the Agora Courtyard, at 600 Klosterman Rd., Tarpon Springs. The fair will include:

  • Waiver of SPC’s $40 application fee
  • Employee assistance table
  • Financial Aid workshops
  • Children’s activities
  • Financial services  
  • Health Care services
  • Social and Human services
  • School supply refresh/book giveaway for students

For more information, contact Coleen Ghozali at ghozali.colleen@spcollege.edu or 727-712-5477.

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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:

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College Visit Day

Pinellas County high school students can take a day off from classes on Oct. 14 to visit St. Petersburg College campuses. Open to high school juniors and seniors, these events count as an official college visit day. At each event students can:

  • Explore different majors … and the careers they lead to
  • Take a tour of our beautiful campuses
  • Learn about the free resources to help students succeed
  • Find out how to apply to SPC
  • Enjoy free refreshments
  • Ask for an official college visit letter to take back to their school as confirmation that they attended the event.

Choose the campus location nearest you. Get more information and reserve your spot online today:

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Calcaterra_Banner-lowres

Regina Calcaterra, New York Times best-selling author of this year’s One Book, One College selection Etched in Sand, spoke to a packed room of more than 150 people at the Clearwater Campus on Wednesday, Jan. 28.

“It’s an honor for me to be here, as it would be for any author,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra appeared at four SPC campuses Jan. 28-29 to discuss her memoir, participate in Q&As and sign copies of her book.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

SPC student Nan Jeong, 38, speaks with Calcaterra during her book signing.

Etched in Sand follows Calcaterra and her four siblings through their tumultuous childhood framed by an alcoholic, abusive, and often absentee mother. The inspiring coming-of-age story, with themes of tenacity, hope, resilience and unconditional love among siblings, spent many weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.

An engaging speaker, Calcaterra elicited gasps, tears and applause as she discussed how she and her siblings “survived on the fringes of society” and “broke the cycle of abuse” in one generation.

Calcaterra spoke about the teachers and professors who helped her lift herself from a life of poverty, homelessness and abuse to become a strong, accomplished woman. Those mentors repeatedly told her, “The only way out of poverty is through education,” Calcaterra said.

Calcaterra, an attorney for the state of New York, served as Executive Director of two New York State commissions, and is a former Chief Deputy to the Suffolk County (N.Y.) Executive.

Through a survey, college employees chose Calcaterra’s book as the featured title of SPC’s common reading program. The goal of the program is to get everyone at the college reading and discussing the same selection. Past books on the reading list have included Water for Elephants, The Art of Racing in the Rain and The Last Lecture.

See more photos on the college’s Facebook page.

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