USFSM’s Fall 2019 Commencement is set for tonight at the Bradenton Area Convention Center.

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee fall commencement set tonight at Convention Center

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: December 16, 2019

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SARASOTA, Fla. (Dec. 16, 2019) – The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will hold its fall commencement exercise at 6:30 tonight at the Bradenton Area Convention Center, 1 Haben Blvd., Palmetto.

Of the 245 candidates expected to graduate from USFSM’s four colleges – Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, Business, Science & Mathematics, and Hospitality & Tourism Leadership – 215 are baccalaureate candidates and 30 are master’s degree candidates. Of the total, about 160 are expected to participate in the exercise.

Among the candidates for graduation are Bashar Roumia, a biology student who fled violence in his home country of Syria to seek a better life in the United States. Roumia has been named Outstanding Graduate and is one of three winners of the King O’Neal Scholar Award for academic excellence.

In addition, special awards will be presented to Jay Michaels, PhD (Outstanding Professor), Jennifer Serafino (Golden Bull Service and Outstanding Leadership Award), Isabella Hetherington (King O’Neal Scholar) and Madison Touchton (King O’Neal Scholar).

Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD, will represent USF Sarasota-Manatee at the ceremony and USF System President Steven C. Currall, PhD, will preside. Phillip Wagner, PhD, regional vice chancellor for academic and student affairs and core curriculum coordinator, will serve as ceremony reader.

This will be the first commencement ceremony at USF Sarasota-Manatee for Currall, who became USF System president on July 1.

USF Sarasota-Manatee Faculty Senate President Michael Gillespie, PhD, will bear the University Mace. Jay Riley, director of business outreach and engagement, will serve as processional announcer and Celeste Ouwendijk-Thom, an undergraduate USF music education major, will perform the National Anthem and USF Alma Mater.

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Master of Education program recognized by online education guide

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee has been recognized nationally for its online Master of Education (MEd) in Educational Leadership program., a Seattle-based online educational guide, listed USFSM on its recent ranking of 50 top public institutions in the United States that offer the online degree program.

Marie Byrd, PhD

The ranking, described as a “student-focused comprehensive research guide,” is based on an assessment of 1,604 accredited colleges and universities nationally. USFSM’s program was ranked No. 38 for having the “Best Concentration Options.”

“Our Educational Leadership Program offers three distinct concentrations designed to meet the varied academic and professional needs of future and current educational leaders,” said Marie Byrd, EdD, director of USFSM’s School of Education. “Under the direction of the Program Coordinator Dr. Brianne Reck, the concentrations allow for emphasis in kindergarten through 12th grade Public School Leadership, Non-Public or Charter School Leadership or Curriculum Leadership. The variety courses, small class sizes and personalized curriculum allow for the preparation of educational leaders who are highly qualified to meet the challenges of today’s public and private schools.”

The research guide is designed to help prospective students sort through various MEd programs.

USFSM’s Master of Education in Educational Leadership program is accredited by the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education. The School of Education is part of USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences.

The ranking can be viewed here:

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee’s School of Education, visit

USFSM’s Kathy Black, PhD, is set to address 19th Annual Selby Scholar Symposium

Kathy black usfsm
Kathy Black, PhD

Kathy Black, PhD, will deliver the keynote address at the 19th Annual Selby Scholar Symposium, set for Dec. 27, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Michael’s On East, 1212 S East Ave, Sarasota.

Black, a professor of aging studies, public health and social work in the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, will discuss intergenerational issues.

She has worked in the field of aging for more than 40 years as a researcher, educator and practitioner, and she helped introduce Age-Friendly Sarasota, a countywide effort to promote active, healthy and engaged living for people of all ages.

The symposium is sponsored by the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.

For more, including ticket information, visit

Reverse Career Fair set for March 26, expanded to include USFSM, SCF, Ringling College and NCF

Bulls Notebook: International Education Week returns to USFSM
Last year’s Reverse Career Fair was held at the Selby Auditorium.

Last fall’s “Reverse Career Fair” sparked positive feedback from students and employers while earning recognition as a best practice by the National Association of Colleges and Employers.

Now, USFSM’s Career Services Office is partnering with State College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design and New College of Florida to create the first “Regional Reverse Career Fair,” scheduled for March 26 at New College.

USFSM’s Career Services Office will accept student applications for the fair through Jan. 31.

To participate, apply through Handshake at

For questions, contact Ben Hyland (Heins) at or Bart Stucker at

Last year’s reverse career fair was a success with 82 percent of participants – USFSM students and recent graduates – receiving job or internship offers.

“Those student participants earned their success,” Hyland, coordinator of internships and career readiness, said. “They took the training seriously, prepared well and nailed it. We are beyond excited to do this again, especially with our education partners around the community.”

Traditional career fairs empower employers, who wait behind tables for applicants to approach them. Reverse career fairs flip that dynamic so that students are able to spotlight their skills and achievements while fielding employers’ questions.

Not every student who applies and sends in a résumé will be accepted for the fair; only 40 will be chosen. The application process closes Jan. 31, with interviews to select finalists scheduled for Feb. 10-14.

Visit for more information.

USFSM welcomes 4th Annual Financial Literacy Day: Understanding Global Markets & Finance

Loretta J. Mester, PhD

Loretta J. Mester, PhD, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland, will lead a distinguished lineup of speakers at the Fourth Annual Financial Literacy Day: Understanding Global Markets and Finance, set for Feb. 14 at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Other featured speakers include Jay Bryson, PhD, managing director and acting chief economist at Wells Fargo Bank; William A. Strauss, senior economic advisor at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago; and Michael McKee, an international economics and politics correspondent on Bloomberg TV and Radio.

Cumberland Advisors, the Global Interdependence Center (GIC) and USF Sarasota-Manatee are sponsoring the half-day event.

To register, visit

Also featured will be:

  • Megan E. Greene, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School
  • Nicholas Colas, co-founder of DataTrek Research, which produces the DataTrek Morning Briefing on investment and economic news
  • John R. Mousseau, president, CEO and director of fixed income at Cumberland Advisors
  • Dave Nadig, managing director of, which provides news and analysis about exchange-traded funds
  • Chris Hartshorn, chief commercial officer at risQ, Inc., which models financial risks posed by climate change
  • Christopher Whalen, chairman of Whalen Global Advisors, LLC, and the author of three books, including, Ford Men: From Inspiration to Enterprise (Laissez Faire Books, 2017)
  • Eddie Sanchez Jr., DBA, a professor of finance at USF Sarasota-Manatee

David R. Kotok, chief investment officer and chairman of the board of Sarasota-based Cumberland Advisors, and USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD, will offer welcoming remarks.

Bloomberg-certified recruiting event set for USFSM
David Kotok

“This year we plan to deeply discuss credit and debt markets with a worldwide perspective,” Kotok said. “We will examine payments systems, electronic and virtual. And we will hear a keynote from the member of the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee. We assembled a blockbuster speaker lineup for the region to hear, question and appreciate.”  

Created in March 2017 to promote financial education, Financial Literacy Day is intended as a forum for investors, state and local officials, financial institutions, market analysts, pension trustees, policy makers and members of the general public to learn more about financial markets and economic issues and to pose questions to experts.

The Fourth Annual Financial Literacy Day: Understanding Global Markets and Finance will feature panel discussions focused on two chief topics: the bond market, which will explore categories of debt and debt influences, including budget deficits and central bank quantitative easing; and Real Time Payments (RTP), which will examine digital currencies, including Bitcoin and Libra, and mobile payment services such as Venmo.

Mester, who became president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland in June 2014, will deliver the keynote speech. She is a distinguished and widely respected economist who participates on the Federal Open Market Committee in the formation of U.S. monetary policy. She oversees 1,000 employees in Cleveland, Cincinnati and Pittsburgh who conduct economic research, supervise banking institutions and provide payment services to commercial banks and the U.S. government.

For more information about the Fourth Annual Financial Literacy Day: Understanding Global Markets and Finance, including the agenda, speakers and speakers’ biographies, visit

The Perlman Music Program returns to USF Sarasota-Manatee this month

Itzhak Perlman
Itzhak Perlman and The Perlman Music Program return this month to USF Sarasota-Manatee.

The Perlman Music Program/Suncoast will celebrate its 16th annual Sarasota Winter Residency from Dec. 23 to Jan. 4.

For more than two weeks, PMP students, faculty and staff will take over USF Sarasota-Manatee for intensive training and development. The public is invited to more than 20 free orchestra and chorus rehearsals, master classes, student recitals as well as special ticketed events. Most events take place in a heated performance tent on the USFSM campus, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Visit for tickets and the PMP Sarasota Winter Residency schedule.

Founded in New York by Toby Perlman in 1994, the Perlman Music Program(PMP) offers unparalleled musical training for students 12 and up who play the violin, viola, cello, bass and piano.

With a faculty led by renowned violinist, conductor and music teacher Itzhak Perlman and comprising some of the most gifted musical talents of our time, the PMP offers an artistic and personal experience that changes students’ lives forever.

USF Sarasota-Manatee, Northwestern Mutual to host ‘FinTech 2020: Financial Services and the New Digital Economy’

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee and Northwestern Mutual will explore artificial intelligence, Big Data, cybersecurity, blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies during an upcoming conference, “FinTech 2020: Financial Services and the New Digital Economy,” on Friday, Jan. 24, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail.

The one-day conference will examine existing and emerging digital technologies and their influence on financial services, from investment to backroom operations, and identify advances and other digital trends that are likely to play a dominant role in future investing. Visit to register.

“We are thrilled to provide the opportunity to foster discussion about some of the really exciting new technology that is already shaping the financial services sector and will continue to do so in the years to come,” said USF Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD, who will welcome the speakers.

Among FinTech 2020’s topics are emerging technologies such as those below, which create unique challenges as investors and wealth managers work to adapt and prosper:

  • Blockchain
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI)
  • Machine Learning
  • Digital Start-Ups
  • Digital Regulation
  • Crypto Assets
  • Cybersecurity
  • Big Data
  • Analytics

Carol Grunberg, Enterprise Leadership Group and vice president, Northwestern Mutual, will deliver the keynote address and lead a lineup of financial and technology experts.

“Technology is impacting the way consumers interact with and manage their finances, and also providing new opportunities for the industry to leverage data and insights to create a more integrated and dynamic digital experience for clients,” Grunberg said. “FinTech 2020 will bring a range of global perspectives, such as insights from technology giants in the U.S. as well as abroad in China, to discuss how technology and innovation are shaping the future of financial services.”

Other speakers and panelists include:

  • John Jorgensen, president and CEO, the Sylint Group
  • Nick Wichert, senior director of strategic business development, Northwestern Mutual
  • Rachel Wei West, CEO and founder, InfoAlliance LLC
  • Thomas E. Becker, PhD, interim dean, the College of Business, USF Sarasota-Manatee
  • Kiran Garimella, PhD, chief scientist and CTO, KoreConX; professor, USF
  • Eddie Sanchez, PhD, professor of finance, USF Sarasota-Manatee
  • Bhuvan Unhelkar, PhD, professor of information technology, USF Sarasota-Manatee
  • Greg Smogard, PhD, assistant vice president of innovation and business development, USF Sarasota-Manatee

“This conference will appeal to anyone with an interest in digital technology and its impact on the financial sector, from bankers and wealth managers to the average investor who simply wants to learn more about technology and its influence on financial services,” Smogard said. “It should be an interesting and insightful conference.”

For more information or to register, visit To learn more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

USF Sarasota-Manatee, Sarasota Chamber set ‘Career Shadowing Day’

Students and executives gather for Career Shadowing Day last fall.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students can learn more about potential careers and expand their job and internship options through a unique partnership between USFSM and the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

Applications are now being accepted for Career Shadowing Day on Jan. 31, from 8:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Students will shadow executives at their place of business and then enjoy lunch at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce.

The event is a great opportunity for USFSM students to learn about career fields, network with local executives and learn more about job and internship opportunities. Students will be matched with the CEOs and other executives depending on their career interest. The event is limited to 12 students.

To participate, students must email their resumes and career interests to Jay Riley,, or Toni Ripo,, by Dec. 17.

Drone TETRA 2020 tech conference coming to USF Sarasota-Manatee

Drone TETRA 2020 will be held on Feb. 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at USF Sarasota-Manatee.

Interest in drone technology is soaring with conventions and expositions globally. Now, the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee is partnering with drone experts to hold a conference to explore drone use in educational, commercial and recreational settings.

Drone Technologies, Education, Training, Research and Applications (TETRA), or Drone TETRA 2020, will be held on Feb. 21, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., at USF Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

The all-day event will focus on the technology’s rapidly growing role in recreation, agriculture, utility inspections, public safety, surveying, mapping, cinema, photography and national defense and security.

“This conference is for anyone with an interest in drones, from the casual user to professionals who want to learn more about drone technology and its potential uses,” conference co-chair Ehsan Sheybani, PhD, said.

The event’s speakers will include Robert Bishop, PhD, dean of the College of Engineering, the University of South Florida; Yu Zhang, PhD, associate professor, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, USF; and Marvin Andujar, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and engineering, USF.

Also scheduled is a special session to examine the science and engineering behind drones, including Artificial Intelligence, Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality and the Internet of Things.

Sheybani, an associate professor of information systems and decision sciences, and Giti Javidi, an associate professor of information technology and cybersecurity, are serving as conference co-chairs. Both are from USF Sarasota-Manatee.

The conference includes lunch and refreshments. To register or for more information, including conference fees, visit

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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