Dozens of fifth graders are expected at USFSM on Thursday for “What I can be with a College Degree.”

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee set to host Sarasota fifth graders this week

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: April 22, 2019

Bulls Notebook: Brunch on the Bay a celebration of givingChildren form impressions about college and careers long before high school, which is why the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee this week will welcome fifth graders from Bay Haven and Emma E. Booker elementary schools in Sarasota.

The annual event, “What I can be with a College Degree,” allows young students to visit the campus to imagine themselves in college and think about possible careers and the importance of good grades.

The event is scheduled for Thursday from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

More than 100 students will visit USFSM to hear presentations from Career Services and Admissions counselors and attend arts-integration classes provided by the School of Education.

Arts integration is a teaching method that combines the arts with academics to help children understand and retain academic material.

“What I can be with a College Degree” was introduced six years ago by Marie Byrd, PhD, director of the School of Education. The idea was to encourage students to think about their futures and focus on their grades as they prepare for middle school and high school. The event is held annually at USFSM.

“This event is held prior to a key transition period for the fifth graders of Emma E. Booker Elementary and Bay Haven Elementary as they enter middle school for the next academic year. It serves as a reminder that college is possible regardless of their personal circumstances, racial/ethnic identity or socioeconomic background. That mindset is vital as they encounter the upcoming changes and challenges in their middle and high school years,” Byrd said.

Arriving by buses, the students will gather at the Selby Auditorium for welcoming remarks by Byrd and USFSM Regional Chancellor Dr. Karen Holbrook. Then they’ll divide into four groups to attend the sessions by Career Services, Admissions and the School of Education.

Later, they’ll enjoy lunch at the campus café, then meet at the Selby Auditorium at 1 p.m. for a concluding 30-minute video. The video will include self-portraits of the fifth graders in future careers, affirming what they will become after they receive college degrees. Principals from Bay Haven and Emma Booker are expected to attend as well.

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

USFSM Instructor Wins Women in Leadership Award

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee set to host Sarasota fifth graders this week

Dr. Sunita Lodwig addresses a class in Tanzania.

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee congratulates Sunita Lodwig, PhD, for winning the Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Faculty Research Award on April 10 at the annual WLP dinner at USF in Tampa.

Lodwig said she’ll use the award grant to further children’s education in Tanzania: “This award will go a long way toward opening up the riches of the Information Age to young children, and enhance their thinking, goals and future.”

The USF System WLP Faculty Research Award recognizes USF System faculty whose research and creative efforts focus on women, women’s issues and women’s initiatives.

Lodwig, an information technology instructor in the College of Business, has focused on bringing computer hardware, software and instructional support to schools in Iringa, a city of 151,000 in central Tanzania. In addition, she developed an instructional program and has twice traveled there to instruct teachers about computers and the Internet. Her efforts have focused on helping children, particularly girls and young women.

“To see their faces when you help them, these children are so very grateful,” Lodwig said. “Many of these schools lack the most basic of educational materials, items that we take for granted in the west.”

Lodwig has twice applied for the WLP research award and was thrilled to finally win it. She said she’ll use the $5,000 WLP grant to purchase hardware and software to assist more school children, including girls and young women, in Tanzania.

Her work in the East African nation began in 2008, when she was introduced to Stan Muessle, a former IBM executive and the founder of Sarasota-based Global Outreach, which supports educational efforts in Tanzania. After visiting schools there in 2009, Lodwig was “hooked,” and she has supported the organization ever since. In spring 2016, during a sabbatical, she returned to Iringa for three and a half months to work on new projects there.

“These children are yearning for an education and they soak up everything you teach them,” Lodwig said. “It’s amazing how quickly they learn. Their thirst for knowledge touches one deeply.”

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host George Ritzer, author of ‘The McDonaldization of Society’

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee set to host Sarasota fifth graders this week

George Ritzer

Ever enter a housing development and realize you can’t tell one street from another? Or notice how clothing styles, consumer products, stores and restaurants, and even shopping centers all exhibit a kind of homogenization?

In fact, our entire social structure seems to be running headlong toward sameness, says sociologist and author George Ritzer, a distinguished university professor at the University of Maryland.

Ritzer’s book, “The McDonaldization of Society,” originally published in 1993, chronicles this phenomenon. In it, he argues that McDonald’s is model for a rational society in which the emphasis is on efficiency, predictability, calculability and control. It also is a rational system with a number of irrationalities.

This year, Ritzer updated his book and added the subtitle, “Into the Digital Age,” which, as the name implies, reflects how digital consumption sites, including, are building off these same realities and, in some cases, connecting them back to brick-and-mortar consumer sites.

On Friday, April 26, Ritzer will visit the Selby Auditorium at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee, 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, to discuss his seminal work.

The event runs from noon to 1 p.m. It’s free and open to the public.

Ritzer’s work impacts disciplines beyond sociology and is well-known in academic circles. Scholars have cited his original book almost 10,000 times and it has been translated into more than 15 languages.

USFSM Research Administration Faculty Fellows Melissa Sloan, PhD, and Murat Haner, PhD, acquired funding from USF ResearchOne and the Duvall Family Studies Initiative to invite Ritzer to USFSM.

“We feel very fortunate to have such a world-renowned scholar visit our campus, and we are excited to hear about the updates in the newest edition of his book and consider how they might influence our own work,” Haner said.

Students attend security training in Washington, D.C.

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee set to host Sarasota fifth graders this week

Paige Morrison and Sami Araboghli

Two USF Sarasota-Manatee students are learning to evaluate security threats and vulnerabilities and create strategies to defeat them as part of a unique partnership with a Washington, D.C.,-based security consultancy and intelligence advisory firm.

The students, Sami Araboghli and Susannah “Paige” Morrison, interdisciplinary social sciences majors, recently traveled to outside the nation’s capital to attend the crash course in assessing risks and identifying vulnerabilities in critical infrastructure. Specifically, they learned about the CARVER decision-making system developed by CIA counterterrorism officials during the 1970s.

CARVER (Criticality, Accessibility, Recoverability, Vulnerability, Effect and Recognizability) is used by intelligence officers, military special operations teams and risk management professionals to rank and assess risks and vulnerabilities. The technique is based on a methodology known as CARVE that was employed by American bombardiers in World War II to evaluate targets.

In addition to attending classes, the students performed a live “target analysis” as part of a field exercise and gave presentations afterward about their experience.

Vienna, Va.,-based Security Management International (SMI), which is comprised of former CIA, FBI and military personnel, provided the training.

“I thought it was definitely interesting because I haven’t had that kind of experience in the security field and this helped me to understand how to go about analyzing security threats,” said Morrison, a senior who graduates in December. “They had many experts there, and it was interesting to see how widely these techniques are used by different organizations.”

Araboghli, who will become a senior this fall, was impressed as well.

“It made me more aware of how to build upon the analytical skills that I’ve learned already in order to identify vulnerabilities and security risks to make an organization safer and more secure,” he said.

The students attended classes alongside professionals in security and intelligence fields, including the U.S. Navy, the Federal Energy and Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Orlando SWAT team.

As part of their training, they assessed security risks at a nearby shopping mall and Metro train station. They evaluated the locations’ security-related strengths and vulnerabilities, then afterward delivered a report to the class about possible ways to attack and cripple the targets as well as strategies to protect them.

Luke Bencie, SMI’s founder and a former intelligence officer, said he was impressed by the students.

“SMI has been offering national security students from Georgetown, George Washington and other D.C.-based universities free seats in the CARVER course for almost a decade. Sami and Paige definitely held their own and proudly represented USF. We would welcome back students of their caliber any day,” he said.

Jay Riley

Jay Riley, director of business outreach and engagement at USFSM, helped arrange for Araboghli and Morrison to attend the five-day training. The two received grants from the campus’ Veterans and Military Success Center and USF Women in Leadership & Philanthropy to pay most of their travel expenses.

Riley said the experience not only afforded unique training for the students but also a valuable networking opportunity. Earlier this year, Araboghli completed an internship at SMI as well.

“The work of Luke Bencie and SMI is helping to make our nation safer,” Riley said. “Their work, and the importance of security overall, cannot be underestimated. USF Sarasota-Manatee is fortunate and grateful to partner with SMI. Internship programs and training courses, like this one, help our students succeed both in the classroom and the job market after they graduate.”

Ribbon-cutting set for new first-floor offices

Students, staff and faculty may have noticed new offices on the first floor near the FCCI Rotunda: the Honors Program Center and Learning Support Services Center, or Tutoring Center.

A ribbon-cutting to officially welcome all of these offices is set for Wednesday, April 24, at 2:30 p.m. All students, staff and faculty are invited to attend.

USFSM Faculty & Staff Recognition Awards are held

Bulls Notebook: USF Sarasota-Manatee set to host Sarasota fifth graders this week

Sandy Justice, flanked by Dr. Karen Holbrook (left) and Dr. Denise Davis-Cotton, wins the Distinguished Staff Award as nominees Briana Byers, Darren Gambrell and Sarah Gentry enjoy the moment.

USF Sarasota-Manatee last week recognized dozens of faculty and staff for their unique contributions during the academic year. The annual event, the Faculty & Staff Recognition Awards, was held last Thursday at the Selby Auditorium.

Included were several new awards created and presented by the Staff Advisory Council: Distinguished Staff Award (Sandra Justice); Spirit of USFSM Award (Briana Byers); Inclusion Excellence Award (Darren Gambrell); Emerging Staff Award (Carlos Moreira); and Trail Blazer Team Award (Alternative Spring Break: Christine Uphoff and Katie Hinds).

Justice provided a highlight-reel moment when, after receiving her award, she blurted out: “I can’t believe it. Up there, they’re so amazing. I can’t believe it. I’m so lucky to work with such world-class people. You guys are awesome.”

“You’re awesome,” someone yelled back.

The USF System Outstanding Staff Award went to Allison Dinsmore, assistant director of student success in the Office of Academic and Student Affairs. Several other employees were acknowledged for length of service. Jannine Palmer, Jon Klasinski and Marilyn Nunan received the Quiet Quality Award.

Nunan’s award, announced by Christopher Bolgiano, came as a surprise. She was nominated last summer, but the award wasn’t announced until Thursday’s ceremony. Nunan received a standing ovation as she stepped forward to accept her award, a framed certificate.

Also recognized were: Sunita Lodwig, PhD, and Stephen Rushton, PhD, for Outstanding Professor, fall and spring semesters, respectively; Community Engagement Award, Helene Robinson, PhD; Excellence in Service, Michael Gillespie, PhD; Excellence in Teaching, Prof. Karen Atwood; Excellence in Research, tenured, Cihan Cobanoglu, PhD; Excellence in Research, pre-tenured, Zacharias Pieri, PhD.

“The Staff Advisory Council did a lot of work with these awards and I am so thrilled that they created such an exciting atmosphere,” said Aaron Reecher, graduate academic advisor and graduate admissions specialist. “The staff awards have come a long way, and this will be something the USFSM staff can look forward to every year.”

One Bulls Bistro session remains for spring semester

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The Bulls Bistro is set Wednesday at 5:30 p.m.

Only one Bulls Bistro session remains for the Spring Semester.

Join us Wednesday, April 24, as we go California Dreaming! Sir Adam Carmer will offer his insights on how to taste wine like a pro. Sample a selection of Napa- and Sonoma-inspired cuisine and wine.

A unique and popular event, Bulls Bistro takes diners on worldwide culinary tours as faculty and students collaborate to create an exciting and wide-ranging menu at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab, 8130 Lakewood Ranch Main St.

Each $25 ticket entitles bistro diners to three hors d’oeuvres and either two glasses of wine or two glasses of craft-brewed beer. The sessions are held from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Tickets are available at

Microsoft training set for April 26

The Microsoft Store at UTC is offering an interactive “Microsoft Teams” training session on Friday, April 26, from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., in room A205 at the USFSM campus.

Faculty and staff are invited to bring a laptop/tablet to learn more. Microsoft Teams is a new workspace platform that brings together chat, document collaboration, people and tools in one secure location.

Microsoft Teams can help you, and the people you work with, to:

  • Chat in small groups or entire Teams, reducing your dependency on email and making communication faster.
  • Schedule meetings directly in Teams with integrated calendaring.
  • Voice and video chat with your coworkers, reducing the need for in-person meetings.
  • Integrate with your favorite apps like Trello, Box, Google Drive, and Microsoft suite for a complete experience.
  • Store and collaborate on files, instead of spending time emailing a document back and forth.
  • Customize your team and create an experience that works for you.

To register or for more about the training session, visit USFSM’s Professional Development page.

In addition, the Microsoft Store at UTC will provide educational discount cards for use at its store. Faculty and staff can also visit the digital device bar to sample the latest gadgets.


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