University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus



Brunch on the Bay

Campus Insider November 2022

Explore the November Campus Insider to discover what faculty, staff and students on the Sarasota-Manatee campus have been getting up to this fall: Brunch on the Bay, Bloomberg Day, faculty awards and beer science. To receive the newsletter in your inbox each month, click here.

Tickets and sponsorships available for 2022 Brunch on the Bay on Nov. 6

A limited number of tickets remain for the 2022 Brunch on the Bay, the premier fund-raising event at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

This year’s event — from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 6 — will support planning for a new Nursing/STEM building and other exciting initiatives at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, as well as student scholarships. 

Attendees at Brunch on the Bay will enjoy fine cuisine prepared by several local restaurants and caterers and students from the campus’s School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. For more information about tickets and sponsorships for the 2022 Brunch on the Bay, contact Pam Gleason at (941) 359-4603.

Brunch on the Bay

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The Nursing/STEM building promises to physically transform the Sarasota-Manatee campus, enrich the campus’s academic offerings for students and faculty and complement wider efforts to address employment needs in the region and beyond. 

Karen Holbrook, chancellor of the Sarasota-Manatee campus, said Brunch on the Bay celebrates the powerful, mutually beneficial connection between the campus and the Sarasota-Manatee region, and assures the campus can fulfill its commitment to providing affordable access to the region’s preeminent state research university. 

The Nursing/STEM building “will signal students, parents, funding agencies, friends and donors that we are committed to providing a contemporary, high-quality educational experience supporting the community’s demand for more nurses and science and technology graduates with the knowledge and skills needed to enter the talent pipeline,” Holbrook said. 

The $61.7 million, 75,000-square-foot Nursing/STEM building will double the size of the Sarasota-Manatee campus’s nursing program; increase new majors in the health disciplines and other programs; and fill the need on campus for teaching and clinical labs and research facilities. The building, which earlier this year received an initial $3 million appropriation from Gov. Ron DeSantis and the Florida Legislature, is currently in the planning and design stage. 

Since 1994, Brunch on the Bay has drawn community supporters to the beautiful grounds of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus on Sarasota Bay. Brunch on the Bay has raised more than $6.1 million, funding more than 1,500 student scholarships. 

For more about Brunch on the Bay and plans to expand the Sarasota-Manatee campus, watch this recent interview with Holbrook

USF officials are mindful that this year’s Brunch on the Bay comes as parts of the area continues to recover from Hurricane Ian. The storm did not damage the Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

"Our students, faculty and staff are volunteering, fundraising and putting forth extra effort to provide critical resources and to help those in need because of the storm,” Holbrook said. “Our sense of gratitude for our good fortune, and for the chance to help those who are hurting, is strong as we look forward to this year’s Brunch on the Bay.” 

The USF Federal Credit Union is the title sponsor of the 2022 Brunch on the Bay, and Dr. Mona Jain and her daughter Dr. Anila Jain are the event’s co-chairs. 

Drs. Jain are USF alumnae and longtime supporters of the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Anila Jain, a member of the Campus Board, was among the first organizers of Brunch on the Bay. 

Bloomberg Day shows high school students how Sarasota-Manatee campus can prepare them for Wall Street

About 120 Manatee County high school students recently took a field trip to the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus for a crash course on how the Muma College of Business — and especially the campus’s high-tech Bloomberg Lab — can help prepare them for a career on Wall Street. 

The inaugural Bloomberg Day, sponsored by donor Steven Drelich as a way for the Sarasota-Manatee campus to use the lab for educational outreach, provided the students with primers on investments, high finance and other business-related topics presented by finance professor Eddie Sanchez, other faculty and alumni. 

Sarasota-Manatee Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook welcomed the students to campus. 

Bloomberg Lab Classroom

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Joni Jones, Sarasota-Manatee campus dean for the Muma College of Business, and Suzanne Gregalot, assistant director of admissions, pitched the students on how the offerings at USF  can prepare graduates for successful business careers. Other breakout sessions on financial literacy and investments were led by Cumberland Advisors regional director of investments Todd Engelhardt, president and CEO John Mousseau and Sarasota-Manatee alum Lindsey Aleman, also with Cumberland Advisors, an investment management firm in Sarasota. 

A centerpiece of the business program at the Sarasota-Manatee campus is the David Kotok and Cumberland Advisors Bloomberg Lab. The lab hosts 10 Bloomberg Terminals that allow students access to real-time data from markets around the world, in addition to news, research, and powerful analytics used by top decision-makers in finance, business and government. More than 300 USF students have received a comprehensive introduction to financial markets through the Bloomberg Market Concepts e-learning course and earned a certificate of completion — and gained an invaluable edge when seeking a job in the industry. 

Bloomberg Terminal software is now becoming available for students and teachers at some Manatee County public high schools, thanks to funding from a special property tax approved by county voters to, in part, boost curriculum programs, said Cynthia Saunders, superintendent of the School District of Manatee County. 

Last year, three subscriptions to Bloomberg Terminal software were installed at Southeast High School for students dually enrolled at the Sarasota-Manatee campus, and this year they are also going in at Lakewood Ranch and Manatee high schools, for students in AP economics classes. Teachers at the schools are taking the BMC courses through USF so they can incorporate the terminals into their lessons, said Kathryn Wald, an instructional and curriculum coordinator with the School District of Manatee County. 

Saunders said officials hope to eventually install Bloomberg Terminal software at all of the county’s high schools.  

Professor Sanchez, who demonstrated some of the capabilities of the Bloomberg Terminal software as students visited the lab, called it the “Ferrari of financial applications.” In the competition for entry-level jobs in finance or for spots in graduate schools, listing a Bloomberg Market Concepts certification on a resume or application can make a big difference, said Sanchez, who formerly worked on Wall Street as a hedge fund portfolio manager and securities analyst. 

“You can’t have these skills early enough,” he told the high schoolers. 

The Bloomberg program is part of a growing relationship between the school district and USF that has seen some 1,000 high school students dually enroll in college classes. 

High school students who want to learn more about the Muma College of Business at the Sarasota-Manatee campus can take an extended tour of the campus. 

Kristi Hoskinson joins USF Sarasota-Manatee campus as assistant vice president of strategy and campus initiatives

Kristi Hoskinson, a veteran business and government executive with extensive experience in program management, employee training and development, marketing and communications and consulting, has been named assistant vice president for strategy and campus initiatives at the University of South Florida’s Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

Hoskinson described her new role as an interdisciplinary position that will touch on the campus’s academic, student success and other functions. Hoskinson is still finding her footing in her new job, but she said she anticipates working with others to shape the direction of myriad projects, including the development of the Baldwin Risk Partners School of Risk Management and Insurance and planning for a new Nursing/STEM building, a centerpiece of campus expansion efforts. 

Kristi Hoskinson

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“I am thrilled to be joining the senior leadership team at USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus, an organization that touches so many parts of life in the region in such tremendous ways,” Hoskinson said. “I hope that the experience I’ve gained and the contacts I have made during my more than 20 years in the area will help USF as we embark on a period of transformative growth for the Sarasota-Manatee campus.” 

Hoskinson first came to the attention of campus Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook when, as a representative for the FCCI Insurance Group, where she worked, Hoskinson implored officials at a public hearing to not let consolidation of the three USF campuses affect the operation of the School of Risk Management and Insurance, which has produced numerous graduates now working in the insurance industry in Sarasota-Manatee and beyond. 

“Her experience in business and other fields, and with helping organizations develop strategies for success, makes her a perfect fit with so much we are doing right now on the Sarasota-Manatee campus,” Holbrook said. “You will see Kristi contributing to many of the exciting initiatives taking place now and in the future at USF.” 

In her new role, Hoskinson is now involved with RMI leadership in setting a strategic course for the school, after Baldwin Risk Partners, a Tampa-based insurance services firm, donated $5.26 million — the largest gift in the history of the Sarasota-Manatee campus — for the expansion of its programs. The goal now, Hoskinson said, is to ensure the gift strengthens and grows the talent pipeline between USF classrooms and the industry. 

A native of Canada and former competitive figure skater, Hoskinson got her first big break when at the age of 22, she was promoted from being a cast member to performance director for Disney on Ice, a position she held for three years. She later was recreation manager for Manatee County government and ran the employee wellness program for the School District of Manatee County. 

Hoskinson, who describes herself as a “professional nomad,” also started a consulting firm helping businesses develop employee wellbeing strategies and programs. In 2015, she joined FCCI, where she held various positions in training and development, marketing and communications and customer experience. Hoskinson also worked for a year as vice president of CareerEdge at the Sarasota Chamber of Commerce, in charge of its workforce development program, before joining USF in early October. 

Volunteer positions she has held include being a board member for CareerSource Suncoast, the Team Tony Cancer Foundation and the Lakewood Ranch Business Alliance. 

Hoskinson said her new job gives her a chance to fulfill a life-long passion for education — her mother was a teacher, her father an elected member of a local school board in Ottawa, Ontario. She originally had planned a career in education before earning a degree in health, another passion of hers, from Eastern Oregon University. 

She said she is excited to now be working on projects that promise to affect the lives of USF students. 

“That’s my inspiration every day.” 

USF partners with Kerkering Barberio accounting firm to honor professors, student

The University of South Florida Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy in the Muma College of Business has named three accounting faculty members in the school as Kerkering Barberio Fellows, a prestigious honor that recognizes continued excellence in undergraduate teaching. 

The five-year gift from the accounting firm announced last year provides that the Lynn Pippenger School of Accountancy name one Kerkering Barberio Fellow on each of the three campuses. 

The 2022 Kerkering Barberio Fellows are Ildiko Toth, from the Sarasota-Manatee campus; Patricia Gaukel, from the St. Petersburg campus; and Luke Richardson, from the Tampa campus. 

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Kerkering Barberio welcomed the fellows and USF officials to its Sarasota office for a reception on Oct. 24. Also at the reception was student Shawn Sachdeva, recipient of a scholarship funded by Kerkering Barberio’s gift. 

KB’s gift encompasses multiple components in the school, including scholarships to students and the fellowship program. 

The fellowship program recognizes faculty who have a history of excellence in delivering classroom instruction, proficiency in their field, as well as extensive engagement with the professional community.  

“It’s always been a priority for our firm to support and mentor the next generation of accountants, and this gift offers a greater opportunity for us to make a difference,” said Rob Lane, Kerkering Barberio’s managing shareholder. “We look forward to engaging with these fellows to further support their efforts in the classroom and beyond over the next five years.”  

The firm’s gift also will support annual accounting scholarships that will be awarded through 2026. 

USF sarasota-manatee campus leadership and faculty recognized for 'remarkable work' at Global Excellence Awards ceremony

Roberto Jimenez Arroyo, a Spanish instructor on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, and Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook were formally recognized at the USF World Global Excellence Awards held on Oct. 20 in the Gibbons Alumni Center on the Tampa campus for contributing to the advancement of USF’s global footprint. 

Jimenez Arroyo received the 2022 Global Excellence Award for advancing global student success. He was nominated by Wendy Baker, director for USF World on the St. Petersburg campus. 

“Roberto is a student advocate, an impressive scholar and a wonderful colleague,” Baker said. “I know I speak for many people across the institution when I say it is a pleasure to work with him to advance global learning and a privilege to honor his many significant contributions to global student success.” 

“I believe in international education. This is my passion,” said Jimenez Arroyo, a member of the Education Abroad Advisory Council. “To the extent that I can help facilitate it and be a vehicle to help people from each of USF’s three campuses and help USF World make new partnerships, I’m a happy guy.” 

In July, he led a group of 12 students to Salamanca, where they studied at Estudio Sampere and immersed themselves in the Spanish language and culture. The trip was the first of its kind since USF consolidated accreditations in 2020. It’s also a first since the COVID-19 pandemic disrupted regular scheduled programming. 

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“Those relationships or those potential links we either had or were thinking about having before the pandemic and everything happened … I want to be instrumental in bringing those back together,” said Jimenez Arroyo. 

Holbrook, who served as the senior vice president for USF World from 2010 to 2013, received the 2022 Global Visionary Award, along with Provost Emeritus Ralph Wilcox, former USF World vice president Roger Brindley and Donna Petersen, chief health officer and senior vice president for USF Health. 

"It is a great honor to receive the 2022 Global Visionary Award,” Holbrook said. “I was honored to lead USF World and, with our team, establish the goals and vision for globalizing USF. The foundation has been so elegantly advanced by the recent leaders to place USF at the forefront among international programs at universities.” 

Jimenez Arroyo is a two-time — soon to be three-time — graduate of USF. While pursuing his master’s degree on the Tampa campus, he participated in a “transformative” study abroad trip to Spain. 

“I saw the impact an experience like that has, not only on me, but on those around me,” he said. “The other participants were really discovering aspects of themselves and perspectives about their futures they had not considered. Professional. Personal. People saying, ‘I want to go back,’ and ‘I want to work here.’ ‘I want to change my major.’ And, I was like, ‘I want to be part of that.’ I want to help people have those experiences. I want people to be transformed by being in a space in which they can look at themselves from a distance and in a different cultural context. That’s very powerful.” 

Jimenez Arroyo is committed to expanding study abroad and other global exchange opportunities for all USF students. He is working with the Institute for the Study of Latin American and the Caribbean (ISLAC) and Brandon McLeod, director for USF World on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, to develop a new virtual global exchange opportunity in conjunction with Universidad Marista de Mérida, in Mexico. He is also in talks with a university in Costa Rica. 

“I would love to expand our reach into Latin America,” Jimenez Arroyo said. “We’re in Florida. Our students are already living, working, interacting with people from Latin America. The more we can strengthen those bonds, I think, the better it’s going to be for our students professionally and culturally. It’s going to help them better navigate their own communities.” 

Alumni Spotlight: Bryan Jacobs is here to serve

When Hurricane Ian tore through Fort Myers and the surrounding areas in September 2022, leaving hundreds of Floridians stranded in its wake, Bryan Jacobs, a USF alum, Marine Corps veteran and owner of The Liberty Smokehouse, leapt into action.  

“In the Marine Corps, we’re ‘the first to fight.’ There’s something so powerful about those words. You’re the first to create the opportunities for others to thrive,” said Jacobs, who drove south to provide “hot, whole, fresh meals” to those hit the hardest by the Category 4 hurricane. 

Bryan Jacobs

“There's a real gap in those first five to seven days, right after a storm, where there’s no fresh food, no water, no community, no hope. You’re walking around like a zombie. And the big organizations don’t have the ability to move as fast as we do. There’s so much red tape,” Jacobs said. “Our mission is and was to come in and bring people together at a strategic point and create hope one plate at a time. By coming together over food, it creates an opportunity to rebuild — not just physically, but emotionally as well.”  

Jacobs spent four days in Fort Myers Beach, serving up to 1,000 meals each day, before focusing his efforts on Pine Island. 

“The community is starting to come back,” he said. “It’s going to be a slow build, but there’s a lot of beauty in the process.” 

The value of an opportunity to rebuild is not something Jacobs takes lightly.  

In 2005, upon re-entering civilian life after serving in Afghanistan and Iraq, Jacobs felt adrift without his “tribe.” He soon found himself living in his car.  

“I got out of the military, and I kind of went through this face-falling adventure. Ended up going through about 33 different jobs, figuring out everything I didn’t want to be, everything from car sales to gutter sales to air conditioner sales,” said Jacobs. “I sold lawn mowers. I was a bouncer, a phlebotomist, a personal trainer, a rehab specialist, a door-to-door guy. It wasn’t until 2009 that I really began rethinking things.”  

It was then that Jacobs enrolled at USF, where he was involved in student veteran affairs, founded the Vets-2-Chefs program and received the 2017 Col. Frederick J. Graves Veteran of the Year award.  

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After graduation, Jacobs went on to study culinary arts at l’Institut Paul Bocuse in Lyon, France, and innovation management and leadership at Haaga-Helia in Helsinki, Finland. Back home in the States, he opened a fine dining restaurant in Boston and founded Vets 2 Success — a nonprofit organization that trained homeless and displaced military veterans and family members in food arts and brewing programs — before turning his attention to his latest project, the Liberty Smokehouse.  

“What I was doing with Vets 2 Success was beautiful, but at the same time it wasn’t enough,” Jacobs said. “If I’m going to create an opportunity for veterans, then I better be able to hire them. I better be able to provide more than education and training and a changed mindset.”  

For Jacobs, the pandemic served as a reset and an opportunity for him to again ask himself, “What is it that I can do?”  

The answer was obvious to Jacobs. 

“Be the first to fight and create an opportunity through innovation, kindness and doing what we love to do — cook. And help people find hope through community and food.”  

Thus, the Liberty Smokehouse, a wood fire mobile restaurant housed in a retired "deuce and a half” was born. In addition to providing disaster relief in the aftermath of storms like Hurricane Ian, the Liberty Smokehouse also creates community in peacetime.  

“Part of our mission is to go to American Legions, set up our restaurant and invite people to learn about American history, veteran history, veteran initiatives, community initiatives, who veterans are, what they do, what their community needs are and why the larger community should be involved in the American Legion,” Jacobs said. “History’s important, not because we did it right, but because we did it wrong. And that’s the beauty of having a past.” 

The Liberty Smokehouse will open its first, physical location at the American Legion, Post 111, in the Seminole Heights neighborhood of Tampa. There, Jacobs plans to relaunch the Vet-2-Chef program.  

“We’ll train the veterans, employ them and then hopefully create an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP), where 20% of the revenue goes back to the employees, so they become, in part, owners of the project.”  

In the meantime, Jacobs is working on outfitting his mobile concept with sustainable energy sources, thereby increasing its response time and overall flexibility. 

“It’s simple. My purpose is to change lives through food,” Jacobs said. “On both sides of the plate.” 

Staff Spotlight: Carlos Moreira looks out for his 'band of brothers'

Some 10% of the students at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee are “military connected,” meaning they are on active duty, in the reserves or National Guard or are a veteran. Or maybe their parents or other family member are serving or served. 

At the Military and Veterans Success Center on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, one of their own, Carlos Moreira, helps military-connected students address their unique challenges and find the support and resources – everything from a scholarship to a place to socialize with other veterans to just a sympathetic ear – they might need to succeed, both in and out of the classroom. 

Carlos Moreira

"A lot of times we don’t think of the stress that veteran students are going through. But if we’re able to minimize some of that stress, it will allow them to be more successful,” said Moreira, a U.S. Marine Corp veteran and director of campus engagement for veteran success and alumni affairs at the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “And then after school, what's next? Once you graduate, are you going to look for a job? Are you going to go into continuing education, probably go for another degree? How can we help you with your next chapter? 

“It’s just us looking out for our brothers and sisters,” Moreira said. 

Moreira, who was living in the Bronx, N.Y., was still a teenager when he joined the Marines in January 2000 when he traveled to Parris Island, S.C., for basic training. That started a 15-year active-duty career that took him to various locales, including Afghanistan in 2014. 

Drawn to Sarasota because his brother and his family lived in the area, Moreira enrolled at the Sarasota-Manatee campus in 2015, eventually earning undergraduate degrees in finance and risk management and insurance, and a master of business administration. 

Moreira continues to wear the uniform as a first sergeant with a United States Marine Reserve unit based in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

With Veterans Day approaching on Nov. 11, we chatted with Moreira about his time in the military, his work at USF and why he is committed to the 9/11 remembrance ceremony he organizes each year on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. 

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What does Veterans Day mean for you? 

Moreira: It recognizes those individuals who served who are still alive and thank them for their service. Many times, we only think about Veterans Day to honor them and be thankful to them. But there's a lot more that goes behind the scenes that people don't understand. Just the mindset, that stress that you go through and that your family's going through because they’re worrying about you. 

As veterans, we sign a blank check for our government. At any point in time, we could be sent to war. There's nothing that we can do other than strap on our packs and lace our boots, and go and say goodbye to our families. That dedication to give up our lives, to support the Constitution and the nation, is what sometimes people don't understand. They say, ‘Thank you for your service,’ and carry on, but some don’t have a real understanding of the sacrifice they made. Because people don't understand doesn't mean that they don't care. They're still grateful, they're still thankful. But sometimes they really don't understand what veterans really went through. Some of them went to a combat zone and are doing great. Some of them came back, but they're not doing so great, meaning they probably had an injury and now they need support and assistance. 

Why did you join the Marine Corps? 

Moreira: I had graduated from high school and during the spring of 1999 I was working for my mom. I wanted to go to college, but I was extremely independent. I just wanted to do things on my own. And I really wanted to be challenged. 

Growing up, I had seen the Marine Corps commercial of the Marine fighting the dragon. It was exciting to me. So, I went to the recruiting station in Bronx, N.Y. I went upstairs, where all the services had offices. I was just standing there, and I'm like, OK, I don't know which way I'm going to go. So, the Army guy came out and he started being the typical recruiter, telling me about the Army and everything like that. And then the Marine stepped out and heard the conversation. He's like, ‘Oh, you're looking into joining the service. If you want to be part of a real branch of service, and you want a real challenge, and if you want to get your hands dirty, come see us,' and just walked off. The Marine didn't sell me anything. He told me if I wanted the honor and to be one of the best, to go see him. 

You reported to boot camp in Parris Island, S.C., in January 2000. About a year and half later, the U.S. was attacked on 9/11. Did that cause you to rethink your decision to join the military? 

Moreira: It didn’t change how I looked at my decision to join the military. I think at that point in time, I was glad that I was in the military. And the reason is, because one, I'm from New York. I was stationed in California. When the second tower went down, I tried to call home, but the phones were not working. That evening, I was finally able to get ahold of my dad and my mom. I was scared, I was angry. I had all those mixed emotions going through me, but my family was OK. and I was glad that I was in the military. And like every typical Marine at that point in time, I was like, sign me up, send me away. I'm ready. So, of course, they didn't do it. I never went to Iraq, and I didn’t get sent to Afghanistan until 2014.

The past few years, you have been the organizer of the annual 9/11 memorial event on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. What do you hope people take from the ceremony? 

Moreira: I hope we are educating people about what took place, especially our students. Our students, more and more, were not even born during that time. Secondly, we want to remember and honor those who passed. Also, right now, we barely have anyone alive who served in World War II. Same thing with Vietnam. But with 9/11 there are many who are still alive and can tell their story. 

Every guest speaker we have had was there. They are alive, they still have a story. They can come and tell us what they went through. We just want to keep telling the story and remind people of what took place. That incident shaped our history, it shifted our lives. We had never been attacked here at home, other than at Pearl Harbor. I do get emails and after every event I talk to people who say, ‘Wow, that was another great, phenomenal speaker because the story they tell is from a different perspective.’ And people remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when 9/11 took place. 

What’s one thing you learned during your more than 15 years of activity duty with the Marines that has stuck with you to this day? 

Moreira: I would say it is a mix of things. Definitely the discipline and the sacrifice, but also caring for and loving others. That ties into everything that I do at USF. I always try to find opportunities to meet the needs of veterans, the student veteran population, and find opportunities for our veteran students or military connected students, which includes their family members, wives, kids, whatever, and find assistance, support and resources for them. I don't mind doing the actual work. I don't mind spending hours, staying up late, working on weekends, to bring something that will be beneficial to our student population. That’s something that the military did train us to be, to make us a band of brothers and sisters and look out for one another. 

How did you end up at USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus? 

Moreira: I got out of the military, and I left California in August 2015. And I came straight over here. We wanted our son to be close to family in Sarasota. The other reason why we came over here was because I was looking for universities and I saw that University of South Florida was one of the top ranked schools for military-connected students and for the student veteran. I later learned there was a campus in Sarasota, so that’s where I enrolled and eventually graduated from.

Did you find the Sarasota-Manatee campus to be a good place for veterans? 

Moreira: I did. Todd Hughes was in the role I am in now. I was able to relate to how he was taking care of the students, even though I was a student, how he was there for them, trying to find them the assistance, support and resources they needed. I'm like, 'OK, I like this, I'm enjoying this. And I'm able to help out my brothers and sisters, this is great.’ And while I was a student, I worked for him as a VA work study student, so that allowed me to learn a lot more, allowed me to do programming and expand and grow while he was here. When he left, I was going for my master’s, and he asked me to apply for the job. He said I would be a great fit, and I was like, sure, why not do it. 

What makes your job rewarding? 

Moreira: What makes it rewarding is that knowing that I can help someone accomplish a goal and be successful. A lot of times, veterans leave the service and find themselves afraid of civilian life. I ask them and tell them, ‘What are you scared about? Look at everything that you accomplished. You should not be somebody that should be walking around scared. You used to be somebody; you should be walking proud. You have a lot to give and to provide. You know, the same way you walked when you had the uniform on and were proud. Why are you doubting yourself?’  They say, ‘Well, you know, I've never been a civilian. I don't know what to expect.’ And I say, ‘Well, that’s simple, the same respect that you give is what is going to be provided to you, but don't be scared.’

If you are talking with someone who is about to leave the military and they want to go to college, what do you say to convince them that USF is for them? 

Moreira: I definitely tell them this is best the place to come. We support our military connected students. The Office of Veteran Success, we are here to help you. We are not perfect, but we will go above and beyond to take care of those in need. Especially on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, where we are smaller, a lot of times once you engage it becomes like a family. We are taking care of students before they come, while they are here and after they leave. 

Student Spotlight: Paola-Marie Mannino Wants you to get involved

Paola-Marie Mannino, a fourth-year marketing major on the Sarasota-Manatee campus and the voice behind the social media channels for the Office of Student Engagement and the Campus Activities Board, was elected to the Royal Court at the Homecoming Ball during USF Homecoming 2022

“I almost didn’t do it,” said Mannino, who identifies as an introvert. “It was a whole dilemma.” 

“Even though I felt like I knew enough people to where, like, when they saw me, they’d be like ‘Oh, I know her. I’ve seen her around campus. I’ve had a conversation with her.’ or ‘I’ve seen her at an event.’ I was still, like, I don’t know if this is for me,” said Mannino. "Having to fill out the application and talk about yourself in the third-person … It was definitely outside my comfort zone.” 

Paola-Marie Mannino

A month after the fact, Mannino describes the experience as “a whirlwind.” During the Homecoming Ball, she was surprised to find herself, along with other members of the Royal Court, sitting at a table with university President Rhea Law. 

“It was super cool because we all went around the table introducing ourselves,” Mannino said. “Everyone who ran definitely has their list of accolades and their own ways of becoming an engaged student. It was really, really cool to see the individuality of what an engaged student can be.” 

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When Mannino first arrived on the Sarasota-Manatee campus in 2019, she quickly got involved in student government at the encouragement of her orientation leader, former student body vice president Kayla Collins.  

At Collins’ recommendation, Mannino applied for a position with the marketing and promotions office

“It was completely empty at that point,” said Mannino. "She was like, ‘You should just go for it. Go for the director role. Build your own office. Hire your own coordinators, and take the lead on everything in that space.’” 

Mannino refers to her time as director — her first ever job — as “one of the biggest learning experiences.” 

“Going into it at ground zero gave me autonomy that, I don’t think I would have had elsewhere,” said Mannino, who left her position during the pandemic. “So, from the get-go at USF, I was learning how to be flexible and adapt and be open-minded and let my own ideas blossom.” 

The experience taught Mannino a valuable lesson in leadership. 

“When I went into the role, I didn’t consider myself a leader, really. So, it was an opportunity to explore what being a leader meant to me — and how maybe managing people is different from being a leader,” Mannino said. “When you’re leading a group it’s more about instilling a sense of purpose and the importance of what we’re doing and offering touchpoints of motivation. Rather than just saying, as a manager, ‘This is your task and this is when you need to get it done by.’” 

These days, Mannino is leveraging her royal status and newfound leadership skills to promote the Cross College Alliance, a network comprised of five institutions dedicated to higher education and community building in the Sarasota-Manatee area. 

“It’s an initiative to bring the Sarasota-Manatee campus together with New College of Florida, Ringling College of Art and Design, the Ringling Museum of Art and State College of Florida,” said Mannino. “Right now, we’re coordinating hurricane relief efforts in south Sarasota County.” 

The alliance is hosting a “day of service” on Nov. 12 to supply aid. Students from across the USF system are encouraged to attend. Volunteers are encouraged to sign up via BullsConnect.

Above all else, Mannino hopes to inspire community in her fellow Bulls. 

“I’m just a student trying to engage other students,” Mannino said. “These shared experiences are bigger than us. We're doing something outside ourselves.” 

USF partners with brazilian university to brew better beer, engage in virtual global exchange

Joe Askren, a professor of instruction in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management on the Sarasota-Manatee campus, partnered with Priscila Veiga dos Santos, a professor of food science at the Universidade Estadual Paulista in Brazil to bring virtual global exchange to his ever-popular Introduction to Beer Science course. 

Askren’s “hands-on” course introduces USF students — all of whom are over the age of 21 — to the science of beer, the brewing process, pairings with food and brew pub operations. 

“This is the first time we’ve ever collaborated with another university,” said Askren, who has been teaching the course since 2014. “This has been an incredible learning opportunity for both student and professor.”

Introduction to Beer Science students visit Calusa Brewery

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“The class is lecture-based the first four weeks. Then we make two all-grain beers from scratch in our brewing lab on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. Thanks to the support from donors, we’ve been able to acquire some impressive home brewing equipment for our lab sessions.” 

Askren’s students collaborated with students in Veiga dos Santos’ Industrial Fermentation Processes class via Padlet, a real-time web platform in which users can upload, organize and share content to virtual bulletin boards. The Brazilian students served as consultants, providing recommendations for how to modify and enhance the USF students’ recipes and produce a more robust final product.  

“They have way more knowledge on these processes than I do,” said Pedro Abdo Breviglieri Nader, a fourth-year student enrolled in Askren’s course. “It was very interesting to see how deep you can go in the subject.”  

“This has been the best class I’ve taken,” added Kyle Troupe, a fourth-year student majoring in criminology on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “The amount of chemistry that goes into brewing beer is astounding. If you are to even use a different water source it can drastically change the flavor of the final beer.”  

After the beer is brewed, Askren teaches the students about conditioning, carbonating, packing and marketing. He then takes them on tours of breweries in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota. The students’ final projects take various forms, from studies of beer trends to research on the third-party distribution system.  

“You have these students who come in, they know nothing about brewing, and some of them are excited, some of them are a little intimidated but want to learn about it. A couple of them don’t even really like beer,” Askren said. “And it’s funny — by the end of the semester, some of those students are ordering equipment on Amazon. They really get into it.” 

Both Nader and Troupe said they plan to invest in home brewing kits when the semester ends.  

“Joe does a great job of keeping everything seem doable in a way that I feel like I could do it at home,” Nader said. 

In an effort to meet student demand, course capacity will double from 20 to 40 available seats in the spring. Askren also plans to open it up to students under the age of 21.  

“The class is super popular,” Askren said. “It fills up a semester before.”  

Askren teaches a variety of food and beverage courses, including Restaurant Management (HFT 3263) and International Food & Culture (HFT 3894). He plans to launch a new online course titled History and Culture of Beer. Read more about it and other courses offered on the Sarasota-Manatee campus in the course catalogue

USF professors participate in inagural inquiry initiative

Marie Byrd, an associate professor of educational leadership and policy studies at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus, has been selected to participate in the inaugural Inquiry Initiative sponsored by the Association of Teacher Educators (ATE). 

The first-of-its-kind initiative aims to cultivate and support collaborative research inquiries over a three-year span by bringing together 80 educators and education scholars from across the United States. In six focus groups, participants will collaborate and explore the status of opportunity gaps in primary and secondary education. The initiative will lead to the creation of sustained and sustainable professional partnerships, pedagogical innovations, research presentations and education policies. 

“It was an ideal opportunity to apply for this three-year initiative on the opportunity gap,” said Byrd, who has been a member of ATE since 2012 and is currently serving her third and final year on the board of directors. “I greatly value the focus of the organization.”

Marie Byrd

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Ilene Berson and Michael Berson of the Tampa campus were also selected to participate.  

Byrd’s own scholarship addresses the cultural competence of teachers and leaders as well as the development of social and emotional learning skills in public schools. 

She recently received a Creative Scholarship Grant from USF to integrate social and emotional learning skills in an after-school pilot program at the Skills Center of Tampa Bay, a youth development organization that promotes life skills and academic success through team sports.

“Research has shown that when out-of-school programs focus on the needs of the whole child, including social and emotional learning, they assist in narrowing the opportunity gap between high- and low-income students, improve behavior and academic performance and reduce school absences,” said Byrd, who is under contract with Wayfinder, a social and emotional learning curriculum initiated at the Stanford Institute of Design to support high school students develop a sense of purpose and belonging.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic interrupted daily life, Byrd was working with United Way Suncoast to host an after-school program for K-6 children living in a lhousing community in Sarasota County.  

“The community had an existing program but with the grant from United Way Suncoast, we were able to enhance it with social and emotional learning and character development,” Byrd said. 

In 2021, she was awarded a USF Women in Leadership and Philanthropy Award for her research involving the social and emotional learning of Black girls.  

“It’s always been in my intention, whether it’s professionally or personally, to shine a light on the needs of underserved students who may not receive the opportunities that others may have.” 

Before coming to USF in 2008, Byrd was a teacher, reading curriculum specialist and, later, an elementary school administrator in the Miami-Dade public school system. She says the experience, which exposed her to students from various cultures and socioeconomic classes, prepared her for a career in higher education. 

“It’s why my research is focused on improving practice,” said Byrd, who received the local, state and national Big Sister of the Year Awards for her work with Big Brothers Big Sisters in Miami-Dade County. “I know from first-hand experience the needs.” 

Byrd says the inquiry initiative is “a step in the right direction.”

“We’re all very passionate about dismantling and promoting the dismantling of inequities,” Byrd said. “It’s a tall order, but it’s great to be in a group of like-minded professionals from different parts of the country.”  

She hopes the initiative will lead to greater awareness and action. 

Danielle McCourt named director for university communications and marketing on usf sarasota-manatee campus

Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook has named Danielle McCourt director of University Communications and Marketing on the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee campus. McCourt previously served as assistant director and associate director. She stepped into her new role this summer.      

“Danielle has done a wonderful job leading the communications and marketing team. I know she will continue to do so in this new role,” Holbrook said. “She is passionate about our mission and the role we play in the community, and she brings with her valuable experience in marketing, strategic planning, business operations and project management." 

Danielle McCourt

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As director, McCourt will play a key role in telling the Sarasota-Manatee campus story, shaping communications strategies, overseeing university marketing and branding efforts and collaborating with others on the senior leadership team. She will be deeply involved in the crafting of the communications strategy for the upcoming campus expansion projects, including the new on-campus housing and student center complex and the Nursing/STEM building. 

“It’s an exciting time to be part of the Sarasota-Manatee campus,” McCourt said. “We are on a trajectory of growth that will provide even more opportunities to our students, faculty and staff and our community.”  

McCourt brings a unique skillset to her role. Like the Sarasota-Manatee campus, her own story is one of transformation and perseverance.

After graduating high school, McCourt pursued an associate degree at St. Petersburg College while working full time at Achieva Credit Union, where she rose through the ranks, from teller to accountant to marketing specialist, and was invited by senior leadership to participate in their management training program. Upon completing her associate degree, McCourt transferred to USF’s St. Petersburg campus, where she majored in accounting for a year before switching to marketing. 

As a first-generation college student, McCourt credits scholarships, tuition reimbursement programs and her maternal grandmother’s unwavering support for getting her to where she is today. 

“Growing up, we had very little,” she said. “I started babysitting at 12 and got my first job at 15. I just wanted to make enough money so I didn’t have to live like that. Initially, that was the core of my ambition. And then, as I started to get into working and going to school, I just wanted to keep learning. My goals switched. It became less about me and more about what I could do to help others. I came to a point where I really had this calling to be more of service and help people directly.”   

McCourt, a certified yoga and meditation instructor, went on to design and launch a health and wellness business, delivering custom programs, workshops and courses all with the goal of improving client wellbeing. As an independent consultant, she also provided multimedia support for a range of marketing campaigns. In 2020, she joined the Sarasota-Manatee campus as an assistant director of communications and marketing. 

“I chose USF because of my personal commitment to helping others,” she said. “My experiences through college, working in different business units, operating my own business and coaching others, led me here.”    

Her new role will create more opportunities for her to help others. 

“USF is making a difference,” she said. “Whether that's through scholarship, education, career development, research… we are changing lives. And I’m excited to work with a talented team to tell those stories and implement campaigns to support those initiatives and propel USF forward.”  

This fall, McCourt embarked on a new academic journey by enrolling in the Professional Weekend MBA program on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. She says the flexibility of the hybrid program will help her be successful both professionally and academically. 

“In yoga, there’s this idea of the ‘beginner’s mind,’” McCourt said. “Don’t assume. Take the time to step back and really look at the situation or experience or event. Having that beginner’s mind has really helped me tackle difficult situations, remove the judgement, remove the assumptions and ask, ‘What can I learn right now?’”  

“I have a lot going on,” McCourt says. “But I have a great team at USF and at home and am excited for what’s to come.” 

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