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Campus Insider: USF research associate director receives research fellowship

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Sandra Justice, associate director of research at the University of South Florida, has been presented a fellowship grant to study the impact of the university’s summer grant-writing workshop series.

Justice, who is based at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, has been involved in the series since 2002 when she worked at the Tampa campus. She received the grant in December from the peer-reviewed “Journal of Research Administration.”

“I am really grateful for the support I’ve received from the campus regional chancellor, Karen Holbrook, and Keith Anderson (interim vice president for research, innovation and knowledge enterprise at USF),” Justice said. “These are the people who have encouraged me the most to take on new initiatives and push the boundaries.”

sandy justice

Sandra Justice

Justice has titled her research and writing project, “Articulating impact: an examination of ROI for grantsmanship programs in research development.”

Specifically, she will examine the immediate and long-term impacts of the workshop series on grant procurement over the past 15 years as well as how the series has encouraged researchers to seek government and foundation grants to conduct their work, even years after the workshop’s conclusion.

Justice will explore how the series has driven the quantity and quality of grant submissions and how they’ve helped cultivate cross-college collaboration and improve compliance training. She will also look at similar programs at colleges and universities across the country.

Established by psychology Professor Sandra Schneider in 2001, the eight-week series was created to help researchers in the College of Arts and Sciences write and apply for grants. It soon expanded to include faculty and graduate students of any USF college and department.

The most recent series, held online last summer, attracted 350 researchers, from graduate students to tenured professors.

Justice led the sessions, walking attendees through the often-complex application process by relying on a combination of one-on-one and group presentations.

“It’s eight weeks because it typically takes eight weeks to write a grant proposal,” she said. “This program is about developing great grant applications, from the research idea to developing a methodology and identifying interview subjects and a solid budget.”

The effort represents the first time Justice, herself, has conducted a research project for publication and comes as she considers pursuing a doctoral degree in research administration. She says she has long admired the work of researchers and their societal contribution, and now she hopes to accomplish the same herself.

“What I value most about my job is the opportunity to support research because I believe that research creates change and leads to better communities and better living for everyone, and I want to be part of that change,” she said. “I like to know that I’ve contributed to that change.”

Justice said she expects to complete the work this fall and submit the article for peer review next winter and then to be published next spring.

Virtual Reverse Career Fair coming to USF Sarasota-Manatee campus

The Reverse Career Fair, a popular annual job fair that debuted three years ago at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, is returning in a virtual format on March 25 from 2 to 5 p.m.

Students must register by Friday, Feb. 5, to participate to meet many of the region’s top employers. Send a resume to Toni Ripo in Career Services,, to attend.

The Reverse Career Fair is a twist on traditional career fairs where job seekers visit employers’ tables to chat and drop off resumes. Instead, employers visit the job seekers to ask about their skills and experience.

The first Reverse Career Fair was held in November 2018 and was an immediate success. Of the 26 students and alums who attended, 82 percent were offered at least one full-time job or internship. The National Association of Colleges and Employers now recognizes reverse career fairs as a best practice.

For more information, visit the Reverse Career Fair website,

Black faculty and staff sponsor Feb. 9 open discussion of USF HR policies

Darren Gambrell, assistant director of student services at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, will help facilitate an important discussion next week about USF’s human resources policies and practices.

The discussion, scheduled for Feb. 9 from noon to 1 p.m., is open to all USF faculty and staff.

Gambrell will be joined by USF Chief Human Resources Officer Angela Sklenka and Frank Pyrtle III, a faculty member in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. The discussion’s theme is, “Investing in Human Capital: Policies and Practices that support the recruitment, retention and sustainability of Diverse Employees.”

Gambrell will focus on different staffing categories within USF, the benefits associated with each category and the support services in place to assist staff members.

“This is an extremely important discussion for staff and faculty because knowledge is power, and although the workshop is provided by Black faculty and staff members, the information in the workshop is universal and beneficial to all USF employees,” Gambrell said.

Visit here to register for the discussion.

The talk is sponsored by the USF Institute on Black Life, the USF Black Employee Steering Committee and the USF Black Faculty & Staff Association and comes as USF celebrates Black Heritage Month in February.

Visit here to learn more about how USF is marking Black Heritage Month.

For more about national Black History Month, visit

Professor from Sarasota-Manatee campus awarded $180,000 from AARP

Kathy Black, a faculty member at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, has received an $180,000 grant from the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) to continue her oversight of Florida’s growing network of age-friendly communities.

“I am so proud of this opportunity to continue working with AARP,” she said. “I was an AARP policy intern more than 30 years ago and I’ve remained connected to AARP ever since then. I really love their mission, and I’m very proud to continue my association with AARP.”

The grant marks the third year of funding for Black, a professor of aging studies, public health and social work in the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences. An expert in aging, Black studies age-friendly practices in public and private settings and often is called on for advice about how to implement age-friendly programs.

In addition, Black often lectures about age-friendly practices, which can range from easy-access public transportation to age-friendly building codes and environmental features that are designed to assist elderly and handicapped people.

Communities are designated “age-friendly” by the World Health Organization. Currently, about 500 communities in the United States bear the age-friendly designation, including Sarasota. About a quarter of those communities are located in Florida and Maine.

To learn more about the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit

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