USF Sarasota-Manatee welcomes the return of students this week as the spring semester starts.

Bulls Notebook: Week of Welcome returns as USF Sarasota-Manatee kicks off spring semester

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: January 15, 2020

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SARASOTA, Fla. (Jan. 15, 2020) – USF Sarasota-Manatee students are receiving a warm “Week of Welcome” to kick off the spring semester this week.

Week of Welcome is a mix of fun events held each spring and fall across USF campuses to welcome the return of students. Among the Week of Welcome events planned at USF Sarasota-Manatee this week are:

  • Today – Student, Staff, Facul-Tea Party, 2-4 p.m., Information Commons. Enjoy tea and homemade baked goods.
  • Today – House Party, 6:30-9:30 p.m., Student Commons.
  • Thursday – Chill-A-Thon, noon-3 p.m., Student Commons. Enjoy stuff-a-plush, coloring and a cereal buffet.
  • Thursday – Diversity Lecture Series featuring former U.S. Ambassador Eric S. Rubin, 5:30-6:30 p.m., Selby Auditorium. Learn about diplomacy and foreign affairs.
  • Friday – Bingo Night, 6-9 p.m., Selby Auditorium. Win prizes and enjoy the mashed potato bar.
  • Saturday – Sandwich Social, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Student Commons. Stop by for a sandwich from Newk’s.

USF Sarasota-Manatee students to assist with MLK Day events

Darren Gambrell

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s Multicultural Affairs Committee (MAC) and Black Student Union (BSU) will assist with the Education and Career Expo on Monday, Jan. 20, (Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day) from noon to 2 p.m., at the Steve Lewis Community Center, 1720 26th Ave., East, Bradenton.

The Education and Career Expo is presented by the Sarasota Alumni Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.

USF Sarasota-Manatee’s MAC and BSU will help with set-up and educational activities throughout the event. For more information, contact Darren Gambrell at

The two organizations also will lend a hand at the 2020 Sarasota MLK Memorial Breakfast and Community Awards, Jan. 20, from 7:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., at the Robert L. Taylor Community Complex, 1845 34th St., Sarasota. This year’s keynote speaker is Rachel Shelley, PhD, principal, Booker High School.

For tickets to the breakfast and awards ceremony, visit

Ribbon-cutting set for USF Health College of Nursing Skills Lab at the Sarasota-Manatee campus

The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee will host a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony today for the new USF Health College of Nursing Skills Lab at the Sarasota-Manatee campus to support its Accelerated Second Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing (BSN) degree program.

Designed for students who already have earned a bachelor’s degree, USF’s Accelerated Second Degree major offers a pathway for students to earn a nursing degree through a four-semester, 16-month program. Students beginning the program in spring 2020 will graduate with a BSN in May 2021 and be fully prepared to help meet the documented needs of the regional health care industry.

The opening of a new state-of-the-art Nursing Skills Lab at the Sarasota-Manatee campus provides students with the opportunity to learn and hone their skills in a simulated hospital environment. Harvard Jolly Architecture designed the nine-bed Nursing Skills Lab; Creative Contractors, LLC, with support from the USFSM Facilities Planning and Management team, completed construction of the project.

WHAT: Media will have an opportunity to capture photography and video at the event and interview USF administrators.

WHEN: Wednesday, Jan. 15, 5:15 p.m.

WHERE: USF Sarasota-Manatee, Room A205 (second floor), 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

WHO: USFSM Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD; USF College of Nursing Dean Victoria L. Rich, PhD, RN, FAAN, and other representatives of the USF College of Nursing and USF Sarasota-Manatee.

* For more information about Accelerated Second Degree Nursing programs at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, please visit:

USF Sarasota-Manatee to host Feb. 22 Open House

The Open House is for prospective freshman, transfer students and graduate students.

USF Sarasota-Manatee will hold an Open House on Saturday, Feb. 22, for prospective freshman students, transfer students and college graduates seeking master’s degrees.

The session for freshman and transfer students is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. inside the campus’ Selby Auditorium. The session for master’s degrees will run from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with check-in at the campus’ FCCI Rotunda. USF Sarasota-Manatee is located at 8350 N. Tamiami Trail, Sarasota.

Students, faculty and support staff from Financial Aid and Admissions will be on hand to explain all that USFSM has to offer, as well as opportunities for financial aid and scholarships. Learn about USFSM’s many degree programs, affordable tuition and how its small classroom sizes facilitate collaborative instruction.

“This Open House is our chance to really show off everything that makes USFSM part of a preeminent university system,” said Brandon Avery, assistant director of admissions.

“Students don’t just hear about the many programs offered here, but learn how to properly finance their education, add value to their degree and move into their chosen career in a timely manner,” he said. “We really hope students learn about all that’s offered at USFSM and enjoy this opportunity.”

Learn about USFSM’s four colleges and specific degree programs, including:

  • Accounting
  • Biology
  • Communication Science & Disorders
  • Criminology
  • Cybersecurity & Information Technology
  • Elementary Education (future teachers)
  • Finance
  • Hospitality Management
  • Pre-Engineering
  • Risk Management & Insurance

Learn also about our unique partnerships, such with as USF’s College of Engineering, Stetson University College of Law and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine (LECOM), which provide a pathway to degrees in engineering, law, medicine and dentistry.

Visit to learn about USFSM degree programs.

To attend the USFSM Open House, visit

USF Sarasota-Manatee student joins Florida Worldwide Citrus

Breanna Durrance

Florida Worldwide Citrus, the Bradenton-based producer of citrus oils and other products, is welcoming another USF Sarasota-Manatee student after hiring USFSM alum Lukas Oest last spring.

USFSM student Breanna Durrance started this week as a sales executive intern and will work full-time as a sales executive after she graduates in May.

“We are excited to have Breanna join our team,” Florida Worldwide Citrus CEO Arthur Soudijn said. “She is very personable and skilled. I believe she is a great addition to our dynamic team and will help us further enhance our U.S. sales strategy for the coming years.”

The company began seeking a sales executive in November. The hiring process involved several rounds of interviews.

“I am thrilled,” Durrance said. “This was the toughest interview process I’ve ever gone through and I am excited to become part of this exciting company and team.”

Oest was USFSM’s outstanding graduate for spring 2019.

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

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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.

USF Sarasota-Manatee fair to ‘turn the tables’ on internships
Ben Hyland

“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:

  • 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

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.

Special reduced pricing is available to USF and Cross College Alliance faculty, staff and students.

  • USF and CCA Faculty, Staff and Student conference participants: $49 (includes lunch and reception) 
  • USF and CCA Faculty, Staff and Student streaming participants: $29 (does not include lunch or reception) 
  • USF and CCA faculty and students who attend as part of an assignment: Free (does not include lunch or reception)

“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 team up for ‘Career Shadowing Day’

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.

Career Shadowing Day allows students to shadow executives at their places of business. Afterward, the students will enjoy lunch at the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce in downtown Sarasota.

The event, set for Jan. 31, is a great opportunity for USFSM students to learn about career fields, network with local executives and find out 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.

Drone TETRA 2020 tech conference coming to 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 conference is free.

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. Registration is free. To register or for more information, visit

For more about USF Sarasota-Manatee, visit

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