MBA student Miguel Nieves at the Community AIDS Network in Sarasota.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM student finds meaningful work at HIV/AIDS group

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: February 24, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Feb. 24, 2017) – Miguel Nieves hadn’t given much thought to the non-profit sector, but when an opportunity came up at the Community AIDS Network (CAN), part of the Comprehensive Care Center, the USF Sarasota-Manatee MBA student and USF alum (Class of ’11) started thinking seriously about a career change.

He found he liked the idea of earning a living at an organization that makes a difference in people’s lives. “I thought it would be rewarding at an intrinsic level to be there,” he said.

So the 27-year-old spoke with USFSM’s Career Services Office, which arranged an interview for an internship. Now Nieves does financial reporting for the organization.

“This is my first time working for a non-profit,” he said. “It’s very professional, but at the same time the camaraderie here is amazing. They’ve welcomed me like family since day one.”

The feeling is mutual. After working as an intern through the fall semester, the organization last month offered Nieves a permanent full-time position, which he jumped at.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM student finds meaningful work at HIV/AIDS group

CAN Chief Executive Officer Richard Carlisle

“Miguel is awesome,” CAN Chief Executive Officer Richard Carlisle said. “He has a great work ethic. You can assign him any task and he just runs with it. I wish I could copy him and make 30 of him.”

It turns out the organization might need more such dedicated employees given its recent growth.

Started more than 25 years ago in Sarasota, CAN – which offers medical and educational services to people with HIV and AIDS – has expanded in recent years to 24 non-profit clinics, including satellites, in 20 Florida locations from North Port to Jacksonville. Two years ago, the organization had 38 employees; now it employs 110.

That expansion is bittersweet news, says Carlisle. On one hand it means the organization is helping more Floridians than ever. But on the other, it exemplifies the continuing spread of HIV as more services are needed to fight the disease that causes AIDS.

In fact, Florida is No. 1 in the nation for newly diagnosed HIV cases. Closer to home, new HIV cases in Sarasota jumped by 15 percent in 2014 compared with the previous year’s total.

“We do everything we can to help,” he said, referring to CAN’s medical and educational mission. “We’ll even pay for rides so people can come to the clinic to receive treatment to stay on their regimen. It’s that important.”

While AIDS cases have diminished somewhat, he says, cases of HIV have increased, meaning HIV is spreading while people are living longer with the disease. “We’ve treated patients as young as 13 and as old as 92,” Carlisle said. “Unfortunately, this disease doesn’t discriminate.”

To learn more about the Community AIDS Network or to volunteer, please visit

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee’s MBA program, visit

Dr. Kosten to attend facilitator training

Bulls Notebook: USFSM student finds meaningful work at HIV/AIDS group

Dr. Lora Kosten

Kudos to Dr. Lora Kosten of the School of Education for her selection to the “Mind in the Making Facilitator Institute,” a three-day seminar.

As a new facilitator, Dr. Kosten will conduct workshops with local public school educators to teach the seven essential life skills: focus and self-control; perspective taking; communicating; making connections; critical thinking; taking on challenges; and self-directed and engaged learning.

The institute, open to only 30 individuals, is scheduled to run from Feb. 28 to March 2 at the Goodwill Corporate Training Center in Bradenton.

Fun & Fitness Expo set for next week

From Alcoholics Anonymous to the Youfit Health Clubs, dozens of health and fitness vendors are expected to stop by USF Sarasota-Manatee’s courtyard on Wednesday, March 1, as part of the annual Fun & Fitness Expo.

Sponsored by USFSM, New College of Florida and the Counseling and Wellness Center, the annual conference is expected to draw nearly 50 vendors and feature refreshments and fun activities.

The event is free and runs from 1 to 5 p.m.

Cooking clash set for Monday

Bulls Notebook: USFSM student finds meaningful work at HIV/AIDS group

Students and faculty will compete in a “cook-off” Monday.

The College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership is getting out the knives – plus the pots, pans and soupçons.

The college is prepping for its inaugural “Student-Faculty Cook-off” scheduled Monday, 5:30 p.m., at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch. The culinary showdown, sponsored by USFSM’s HFTP Student Club, will feature hospitality faculty and students squaring off in the CIL’s demonstration kitchen.

The teams will prepare the same appetizers and entrees for a panel of judges consisting of hospitality students.

The event is free. Seating is limited to 20 hospitality students. For tickets, contact The winning team will receive a trophy.

“It’s really just for fun, but it gives us an opportunity to network and for faculty and students to get to know each other,” student club President Frida Bahja said. “It’s also good for the club to attract new members.”

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