University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus



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USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Insider June 2021

USF Summer Grant Writing Workshops

The University of South Florida Summer Grant Writing Workshops return this year with a diverse schedule of webinars to help faculty, student researchers and others sharpen their grant writing skills to attract funding to their projects.

Offered by USF for more than 15 years, the eight-week program is now hosted by the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus and continues to see growth, even more so since the workshops are now offered online. Registration for this year’s program more than doubled, with over 825 participants from seven countries in the 2021 cohort, representing 40 distinct institutions including Georgia State University, University of Michigan and Moffit Cancer Center.

The online program is offered every Wednesday, from June 2 through July 21, from 12 to 2 p.m., with registration closing on June 10. Workshops will be recorded and available to attendees to view at any time during the series.  Panelists include representatives from some of the nation’s largest research funders, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Office of Naval Research, along with USF experts.

“Now that this program is online, we are able to expand our reach and impact,” said Sandra Justice, associate director for USF Research and Innovation based on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “I’ll be joined by keynote speakers and subject matter experts from across the nation to explore topics, strategies and resources to help researchers develop competitive proposals.”   

Justice leads the weekly sessions, which are designed to guide researchers through the grant writing process to create successful proposals. The program also provides participants with templates, samples, guides, videos and other select resources.

“This is a phenomenal undertaking, an amazing feat for a small campus to reach out and engage with researchers from around the world to help them enhance their grant-writing skills,” said USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Regional Chancellor Karen A. Holbrook, PhD. 

“Grant writing is not a simple task, it requires specific skills and knowledge,” Holbrook continued.  “I am so pleased that our team of outstanding professionals are able to provide this service and enable participants to learn and engage with experts in the process.  Participants will certainly be ahead of their peers when submitting grant applications.”

Visit to register for the Summer Grant Writing Workshops. Registration closes on June 10. Attendees will have access to all program materials and have the opportunity to earn a USF certificate and a badge in grant writing.

For additional information view this online document or contact the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Office of Research via email at

USF Sarasota-Manatee campus recognizes outstanding staff

The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Staff Advisory Council announced this year’s staff awards, recognizing staff for their outstanding service and commitment to USF and the community.

The five categories recognized are the Emerging Staff Award, Spirit of USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Award, Inclusion Excellence Award, Trail Blazer Award and Distinguished Staff Award. A special category was created this year, the Step Up Award, to recognize the dedication, high-standards and care employees demonstrated during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sarasota-Manatee campus staff, faculty and students nominate a staff member by submitting an electronic nomination form, providing detailed reasons as to why that nominee deserves the award. A group of community members review the nominations and select one recipient for each category. The Step Up Award recipients were chosen by their peers at the Sarasota-Manatee campus.

“I’m extremely proud of the nominees and recipients of this year’s staff awards,” said Karen A. Holbrook, regional chancellor of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. “They have balanced the unique demands of pandemic working conditions with patience, care and creative solutions so that USF could continue to maintain operations and serve our students, faculty and community. I am grateful for their continued service, dedication and hard work.”

Emerging Staff Award

The Emerging Staff Award is presented to a new OR up-and-coming eligible employee who demonstrates high-quality service, a strong work ethic, and has made a meaningful impact on the campus in a short period of time.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Angie Fairweather
  • Clara Villanueva - Recipient
  • Danielle McCourt
  • Elaine Giles
  • Mario Dimitraskovic Jankovic

Spirit of USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Award

The Spirit of the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus is awarded to an eligible employee who demonstrates genuine concern for others; fosters a welcoming and supportive work environment, and enthusiastically promotes campus pride.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Carlos Moreira - Recipient
  • Evan Fruehauf
  • Lynn Nixon
  • Marilyn Nunan

Inclusion Excellence Award Nominees

The Inclusion Excellence award is awarded to an eligible employee who embodies SAC’s core value of inclusiveness by promoting and fostering an environment where students, faculty, staff, and other members of the campus community feel respected by and connected to one another.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Cristyne Ramirez
  • Dr. Davis-Cotton - Recipient
  • Kati Hinds

Trail Blazer Award

The Trail Blazers Award is presented to a team* of eligible employees who have taken an innovative and collaborative approach to create and/or enhance best practices that has positively impacted the university and/or the greater community and allowed others to make meaningful gains.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Academic Affairs and Student Success Scholarship Committee
  • Cristyne Ramirez and Tim Thomas
  • Digital Learning - Recipient
  • Kati Hinds and Christine Uphoff
  • Office of Advising
  • Student Engagement
  • Student Services
  • Distinguished Staff Award

The Distinguished Staff Award recognizes one eligible employee who consistently goes above and beyond for the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee by providing ongoing, outstanding service to the university and/or the greater community. This individual can be counted on to foster a positive community culture at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus by promoting collaboration, unity, and innovation and has demonstrated both initiative and the ability to follow through.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Darren Gambrell
  • David Croxford
  • Elaine Giles
  • Jay Riley
  • Krista Lee
  • Sarah Gentry – Recipient

Step Up Award

The Step Up Award is presented to those staff who through their efforts helped bring out what is best in the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus during the COVID-19 pandemic. We are extremely grateful for the dedication, high standards, and care of our employees. Staff employees to be honored with this award will have demonstrated extraordinary efforts to maintain critical operations, assist faculty and students in transitioning to online classes, support critical research and ensure the safety and well-being of others.

Nominees and Recipients

  • Cristyne Ramirez - Recipient
  • Darren Gambrell - Recipient
  •  Evan Fruehauf
  • Gabby Jarmozsko
  • Kati Hinds
  • Sarah Gentry - Recipient
  • Dr. Ovathanasin
  • Tim Thomas - Recipient
  • Timi Hager
  • Toni Ripo

Meet the new USF Sarasota-Manatee governor and lieutenant governor, Riffatul Islam and Jovanna Arce

New USF Sarasota-Manatee campus student Gov. Riffatul Islam and Lt. Gov. Jovanna Arce, both Class of ’22, bring a fresh perspective to their roles.

Riffatul Islam

The biology majors and aspiring physicians say they’re both dedicated to helping the campus fully reopen after most classes were shifted to online learning due to COVID-19 more than a year ago.

“In a way, being student governor is almost like being a physician,” Islam says. “Both jobs are about outreach.”

Their main goal now, they say, is to help the campus return to normalcy, including a return of popular on-campus events and club activities.

Among other plans, they want to team up with the Office of Student Engagement to encourage a robust student club membership drive this fall and a return throughout the year of popular on-campus events, including Week of Welcome, the annual spring carnival, movie nights, food truck festivals and other activities.

“We want students to come back and feel comfortable on campus and get back to doing things together again,” Arce said.

Added Islam: “Basically, we to bring back what it means to be a true USF Bull. We know the past year has been hectic, not just for me, but for all of us, especially with virtual classes. But we have an opportunity now to change all of that.”

Jovanna Arce

Additionally, Arce wants to see the USF Bull Bucks program come to the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Like a bank debit card, Bull Bucks allows students to make purchases, including for books and campus café items, while providing an alternative to cash and other payment forms.

“We’ve also talked about trying to have an Amazon locker here, so students can order things and pick them up on the campus,” she said. “But our main goal now is to help students get back into the swing of things, especially after COVID and having everything virtual.”

The two admit they face an uphill climb, but they’re used to challenges.

Arce works three part-time jobs in addition to her heavy caseload of pre-med classes, while Islam maintains a full slate of on-campus responsibilities. In addition to serving as campus governor for the Student Government Association, he’s a USF Ambassador and a freshman/transfer student orientation coordinator. He’s also a member the Order of the Golden Brahman and Phi Delta Epsilon.

For more about Islam and Arce, check out this recent story.

Stephen Rushton and Ildiko Toth receive teaching awards

Stephen Rushton wins College of Education faculty teaching award

Steven Rushton

USF College of Education Associate Professor Stephen Rushton has been a named winner of The Margaret Burlington Tritle Undergraduate Teaching Faculty Award, an annual recognition presented to a College of Education faculty member who demonstrates outstanding teaching.

“I’m genuinely humbled and honored to receive this award,” said Rushton. “I know that Margaret Burlington Tritle was an excellent teacher and it’s humbling to receive this recognition.”

Rushton has focused his scholarship on communication skills, interpersonal relationships and, most recently, the neuroscience of the learning process. He joined the faculty at the Sarasota-Manatee campus in 1998 as an assistant professor.

Rushton supervises student teachers and teaches both graduate and undergraduate courses in creativity, classroom management, the writing process, science and qualitative research. He frequently receives positive feedback from students and has received the campus’ Outstanding Undergraduate Teaching Award three times (2001, 2007 and 2014), and the Outstanding Professor Award, presented by the graduating class, twice (2003 and 2019).

Also awarded was Sophia Han, an associate professor of early childhood education and the program coordinator for USF’s Early Childhood Education undergraduate program.

The Margaret Burlington Tritle Excellence in Teaching Faculty Award was created in 2017 through a gift to the College of Education by USF alumnus Lawrence Tritle to honor his late wife’s teaching legacy.

Margaret Burlington Tritle was a USF alumna who graduated in 1966. Faculty recipients receive a $1,500 award to support research, professional travel, and other activities related to teaching and scholarship at USF.

Ildiko Toth awarded by Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy

Ildiko Toth

USF accounting instructor Ildiko “Ildi” Toth has been awarded the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy Advisory Council Outstanding Teaching Award.

Toth, a level II instructor in the Muma College of Business at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, teaches intermediate accounting courses and the accounting Internship course. She previously taught Tax 4001: Concepts of Federal Income Taxation on the Tampa campus.

“It’s very humbling. I did not expect to receive this,” said Toth, who joined the Sarasota-Manatee campus faculty in 2014.

Her areas of research include individual and corporate taxation issues, business ethics and issues related to learning, curriculum design, decision making and judgment. She is a member of the American Institute of CPAs and the Florida Institute of CPAs.

Two winners of the award were named. Toth was chosen as winner in the undergraduate teaching category, while Bei Dong, an instructor in the Muma College of Business on the Tampa campus, was awarded in the graduate teaching category.

She said the award is especially meaningful because it’s based on student feedback. She said she takes pride in seeing students transition to successful careers and often reaches out to students and graduates about internship and job opportunities.

“It’s nice to able to do something to positive,” Toth said. “When you can impact someone’s life in a positive way by preparing them for the profession and helping them secure internships or jobs, it’s a wonderful feeling.”

GLOCER education and research event returns June 8-10

The University of South Florida welcomes the return of the Global Conference on Education and Research (GLOCER), June 8-10, after a year-plus absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The conference will be held virtually.

“This will be GLOCER’s fourth conference, and we are more than pleased to welcome the many brilliant scholars from around the world who represent different disciplines under the umbrella of education and research,” said USF Muma College of Business Professor Cihan Cobanoglu, one of the event’s organizers.

Cihan Cobanoglu

The conference, sponsored by the USF M3 Center for Hospitality Technology and Innovation, generates wide interest each year, but this year’s event surpassed expectations with more than 350 papers submitted for presentation by 500 authors from more than 30 countries. That’s more than twice the number of submissions of past conferences.

Cobanoglu said the strong response could be due to the pandemic, which has made conference attendance easier thanks to technologies like Zoom and Microsoft Teams, and also the desire by scholars to share their research and receive feedback from others.

Attendance at GLOCER is free.

Among other discussions, the conference will host three panels featuring USF faculty members, Professor Alexis Nicole Mootoo, Associate Professor Janelle Wells and Assistant Professor Adam Carmer:

  • “Salary Equity in Academia across Gender and Race: Are we there yet?” is scheduled for June 8 at 11 a.m. Panelists include moderator Deanne Williams-Bryant, professor and chief academic officer of the Bob Billingslea School of Hospitality Management, Bethune-Cookman University; Anjala S. Krishen, professor of marketing, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas; Robert K. Toutkoushian, professor of higher education in the Institute of Higher Education, University of Georgia; and Alexis Nicole Mootoo, professor and associate vice president, resource management and community development for student success, University of South Florida.
  • “The Impact of Artificial Intelligence/Robots on Education” is set for June 9 at 9 a.m. Panelists include: Chong Guan, associate professor of marketing, Singapore University of Social Sciences; Rinat Rosenberg-Kim, head of the Mindful Learning Technologies Lab, Israel Institute of Technology; and Daniel Schiff, a PhD candidate at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Schiff studies the social, ethical, and policy implications of artificial intelligence.
  • “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in the Classroom: Instruction for Instructors” is scheduled for June 10 at 11 a.m. Panelists include Shawn Andre Murray, assistant professor of tourism and hospitality marketing and interim director of the Culinary Arts Institute, Montgomery County Community College; and Janelle Wells, associate professor in the USF Vinik Sport and Entertainment Management program, Muma College of Business. Adam Carmer, an assistant professor in the USF School of Hospitality and Tourism Management, Muma College of Business, will moderate the discussion.

“The reputation of GLOCER is growing and this is evidenced by the high level of speakers we attract to the event each year, and this year is no exception,” Cobanoglu said.

The annual conference comes a month after the popular Global Conference on Services and Retail Management (GLOSERV) was held virtually from May 10 to 13. Cobanoglu was one of the organizers of that conference, which was jointly sponsored by USF and the University of Naples Federico II, Italy. The conference content has been converted to a free course and available to the public at

“Events like this unite many of the world’s top minds in their fields of study,” he said. “It’s a great time for sharing knowledge and for learning. I am honored to be a part of both of these events.”

For more about GLOCER, visit

USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Veteran Services Coordinator Carlos Moreira named assistant chairman of July 4th Parade in Sarasota

Carlos Moreira

USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Veteran Services Coordinator Carlos Moreira has added a new duty to his long list of responsibilities: He’s helping to coordinate the July 4th Parade in Sarasota.

In addition to overseeing the Office of Veteran Success and serving on numerous committees around campus, Moreira is helping to line up parade participants as the event returns to the downtown.

The parade will begin at 8 p.m. at Mound Street (U.S. 41) and Orange Avenue and end at Bayfront Drive (U.S. 41) and Main Street (J.D. Hamel Park). A fireworks display will follow at 10 p.m.

Already, 30 groups are lined up for the event, which, in addition to veterans and military personnel, will pay tribute to first responders, medical professionals and other front-line workers who have helped in the fight against COVID-19.

Parade Chairman Dan Kennedy reached out to Moreira a few weeks ago about assisting with logistics. Despite a busy schedule, Moreira readily agreed to help.

“I’m just honored and grateful for the opportunity to provide support to this local event that recognizes, along with our military and veterans, our first responders, specifically our nurses, who have contributed so much time and energy and worked so hard during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Moreira said. “I think many times they don’t get the recognition that they deserve.”

Moreira also serves on the regional chancellor’s Advisory Council on Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; the campus’ Multicultural Affairs Committee; the Staff Advisory Council (secretary) and he chairs the campus chapter of the SALUTE Veterans National Honor Society.

He said the Office of Student Veterans will be among the marchers, however Moreira will not actually participate in the parade despite his continued service in the Marine Corps.

“I’ll be too busy making sure everything is right and everyone is there on time,” he said.

The parade is sponsored by Suncoast Charities for Children, the Sarasota Patriotic Observance Committee, Sarasota Downtown Enrichment Association and City of Sarasota as part of Suncoast Summer Fest’s “Celebrate Sarasota.”

Brunch on the Bay Impacts Student Lives

We are so pleased to announce that Brunch on the Bay will be returning to the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus on Sunday, Nov. 7, 2021, and tickets and sponsorship packages are now available. 

It has been a long, challenging year for our students, with many feeling the financial impact of the pandemic as they’ve balanced work, school and home life. 

Simply stated, our students need our community's support now more than ever. Consider attending the 27th celebration of Brunch on the Bay, one of the region’s premier social events of the season, to invest in our students and the future of our community. Attendees will enjoy exquisite cuisine from local restaurants and caterers, wonderful comradery with friends and the opportunity to support student scholarships.

Meet Scholarship Recipient Jennifer Eubanks

Brunch on the Bay and Badger Bob's Scholarship recipient Jennifer Eubanks is a non-traditional, first-generation student who made the decision to return to college after a 20-year gap to focus on her family. “Scholarships and Brunch on the Bay have been an important part of my success. I couldn’t be where I am today without them,” she said. “Being able to take the stress of the financial burden away and truly being able to focus on my studies has reaffirmed my decision to go back to school, and it’s made all the difference in the world.”

For Jennifer and countless other students, scholarships helped turn dreams of a college education and enriching career into a reality. To hear Jennifer’s story, click on the video link here. To learn more about Brunch on the Bay, visit or contact Pam Gleason at or 941-359-4603.

USF Sarasota-Manatee campus in the news

USF Sarasota-Manatee raises $10M for 'transformational' campus project (Paywall)

Colleges in Manatee and Sarasota ease COVID restrictions as fall semester approaches

USF Associate Professor Marie Byrd wins research award

USF students learn the value of empathy, creative thinking in new collaboration

USF students learn the value of empathy, creative thinking in new collaboration with Ringling Art Museum

First graduates of USF's accelerated nursing degree program boost struggling workforce

HIGHER LEARNING: Appreciating two groups of heroes, teachers and nurses

New reading standards to roll out in Sarasota-Manatee elementary schools next year

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