USFSM's Spring Commencement is set for today at 6:30 p.m.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM graduation set today

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: May 07, 2018

SARASOTA, Fla. (May 07, 2018) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will celebrate its spring commencement today at 6:30 p.m. at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Of the 344 candidates anticipated to graduate from USFSM’s four colleges – Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Science & Mathematics, and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership – 301 are baccalaureate candidates and 43 are master’s degree candidates. Of the total, 238 are expected to participate in the exercise, including 37 master’s degree candidates.

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Dr. Judy Genshaft

Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee and USF System President Dr. Judy Genshaft will preside. Dr. Bonnie Jones, assistant vice president for institutional research and effectiveness at USFSM, will serve as ceremony reader.

USFSM Faculty Senate President Dr. Fawn Ngo will bear the university’s mace. Jay Riley, director of business outreach and engagement, will serve as processional announcer and Vincent Sclafani, a student at USF’s College of the Arts, will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

Special awards will be presented to: Dr. Jessica Grosholz and Dr. Jean Kabongo (Outstanding Professors), Geborah Joseph-Smith (Outstanding Graduate), Carlos Moreira (Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award), Deborah Vaughan (Paul Searls Webecke Award) and Constanza Lanata and Daniel Slabaugh (King O’Neal Scholars).

USFSM Regional Chancellor to discuss area’s biotech future

Bulls Notebook: USFSM graduation scheduled today

Dr. Karen Holbrook

USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook will discuss her vision for scientific research in the region during a meeting Wednesday, May 16, of the Sarasota-Bradenton chapter of BioFlorida.

Dr. Holbrook, who has a strong history in the life sciences, will speak at about 6:15 p.m. She is expected to discuss the future of the region’s life sciences industry as well as USFSM’s plans to develop a science and research building with teaching laboratories, research labs and classrooms. Afterward, Dr. Holbrook will answer audience members’ questions.

Jason Gaskill, the chapter’s business co-chair, will offer opening remarks. Nancy K. Bryan, president and CEO of BioFlorida, will provide closing remarks.

BioFlorida represents 6,000 establishments and research organizations in the biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, medical technology (devices and diagnostics), health IT and bioagriculture sectors that collectively employ nearly 83,000 Floridians.

The meeting is scheduled May 16 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota. Registration is $45 for non-members, $25 for members and $15 for students.

To register, visit

For more information, visit

Arts-integrated teaching symposium set mid-May

Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton

Teachers and future teachers will benefit from an arts-integrated teaching symposium May 18-19 at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

This free conference sponsored by the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-integrated Teaching (PAInT) will feature workshops to help educators create arts-integrated strategies, develop partnerships with arts organizations, design collaborative lesson plans and use arts integration to build community.

Guest speakers include A. Hasan Davis and Jeanette McCune. Davis, a motivational speaker, is the author of Written Off: How One Man’s Journey through Poverty, Disability and Delinquency is Transforming the Juvenile Justice System. McCune is the director of school and community programs at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

Other speakers include Dr. Helene Robinson of USFSM; Kelli Maldonado, director of education and community engagement at the Van Wezel Performing Arts Hall; Karen Bell, outreach and education manager, the Circus Arts Conservatory; and Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, coordinator of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-integrated Teaching (PAInT).

The conference will be held at USFSM’s Selby Auditorium, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

For more information or to register, visit

Bright Futures Scholarships expanded to summer classes

The popular Bright Futures scholarship program is being expanded to cover summer classes at state universities and colleges, including USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Thanks to a change in legislation, the state-run scholarship program will be open to the 44,000 “academic scholars,” who stand out as high achievers.

The expansion occurred during the 2017 legislative session. Bright Futures, funded primarily by the Florida Lottery, was first enacted in 1997.

The program is open to college and high school students.

To learn more, visit

Gambrell named ‘Man of Valor’ by NAACP Youth Council


Darren Gambrell

Congratulations to USF Sarasota-Manatee Student Engagement Coordinator Darren Gambrell for being named a “2018 Man of Valor” by the Sarasota County NAACP Youth Council.

Gambrell, who received an email from the chapter a few weeks ago, said he was surprised by the award, which acknowledges, “extraordinary service toward the development of children, youth and families in Sarasota through work in the community and in their church.”

“It’s always good to be recognized for the work you’re doing, to be validated,” he said.

He’ll be recognized with other Men of Valor at an awards breakfast June 23 at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, a recreational facility in Sarasota. He said he intends to bring his wife, Latricia, and their 5- and 9-year-old sons.

Gambrell, a USFSM Class of ’05 alum, said the recognition stems from his involvement in outreach programs connected to the campus, the Manasota Black Chamber of Commerce and the Sarasota-Bradenton chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., as well as to the Sarasota Family YMCA Young Achievers program.

“I was pretty shocked, but also honored,” he said of the award. “It’s always nice when someone recognizes the work you’re doing.”

USFSM researchers have busy summer thanks to grants

USF Sarasota-Manatee professors have a busy summer ahead thanks to generous grants from the USF System. Altogether, Drs. Kathy Black, Feng Hao and Jody McBrien received more than $25,000 in USF grants to defray costs as they continue their research.

Kathy black usfsm

Dr. Kathy Black

Dr. Black will head to Toronto in August thanks to a $2,500 travel grant.

The gerontologist will attend the International Conference on Ageing’s “14th Global Conference on Ageing,” where she will present a paper with co-authors Dr. Stephen M. Golant of the University of Florida and Esther Greenhouse, an environmental gerontologist.

Their paper, “Aging in the Right Place: Considerations for Optimal Living,” examines factors related to aging at home, as well as issues related to housing and community, including housing policies.

feng hao usf usfsm

Dr. Feng Hao

Dr. Feng Hao will use a $10,000 grant as he studies Sarasota residents’ attitudes toward climate change. Research indicates varying attitudes toward climate change based on the respondents’ age, education, geography and other factors. Specifically, the 2016 Yale Climate Opinion survey shows that Sarasota residents worry less about global warming than average Floridians. Dr. Hao’s survey will seek to identify the reasons associated with this.

“The purpose of this study is to test the impact of aging and assess the interaction between aging and other factors by analyzing data of a random sample,” he said.

“Significant differences are expected to be identified in climate change perception, literacy and behavior among respondents of different age groups,” Dr. Hao said. “The findings will address the gap in the literature and provide policy implications, especially to design tailored educational programs for older generations.”

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Dr. Jody McBrien

Dr. McBrien, meanwhile, received an $11,000 grant to help as she analyzes research conducted last summer about refugees in Japan.

A professor in the School of Education, Dr. McBrien is developing an article about resettlement issues there. She’s also editing a book, “Educational Policy and Practice in the English-Speaking Refugee Resettlement Countries,” which includes chapters by authors from the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Ireland, New Zealand and Australia. The professor needs to review each chapter and return them to the authors for changes.

Finally, through two separate grants, she’s planning two trips abroad. One, toward the end of the summer, is to an academic conference in Australia. The other is to Greece, where she’ll attend a conference about refugees then volunteer and conduct research at a refugee camp. Refugees and migration are longtime areas of scholarly interest to Dr. McBrien.

Discussion about circus arts, impact of Ringling set May 17

Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, coordinator of the Florida Center for Partnerships for Arts-Integrated Teaching, will participate in a May 17 panel discussion about the circus arts.

The discussion, “Legacy and Learning: The Cultural Impact of the Circus in Sarasota,” will examine the impact of John Ringling’s decision to relocate the Ringling Bros. Circus to Sarasota from Bridgeport, Conn.

Other panelists include Karen Bell, outreach education manager for the Circus Arts Conservatory; Jennifer Lemmer Posey, associate curator of The Ringling Circus Museum; and  Deborah W. Walk, assistant director of legacy and circus at The Ringling.

The discussion is sponsored by the Florida Historical Society as part of its 28th annual meeting and symposium. The three-day conference, “Under the Big Top: History, Culture and Architecture,” includes paper presentations, round-table discussions and featured speakers.

The event will run May 17-19 at Hyatt Regency Sarasota, 1000 Boulevard of the Arts, Sarasota. The panel discussion is set for May 17 at 10:15 a.m.

For more information, visit

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