The University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee unveiled Momentum magazine (formerly Research: USF Sarasota-Manatee) before an audience of roughly 500 donors, community members, faculty, staff and students at Brunch on the Bay on Nov. 5. The rebranded publication captures the unstoppable force propelling the campus' ongoing commitment to producing innovative scholarship and providing a world-class educational experience to its talented and diverse students by highlighting faculty and student research, community engagement efforts and campus expansion projects.
“All of this wonderful work, and more, by our faculty and students is occurring at an exceptionally exciting moment in the history of the Sarasota-Manatee campus,” said Regional Chancellor Karen Holbrook. “I invite you to enjoy this magazine and the interesting work that these stories recognize.”
Available in print and online, Momentum features updated reporting on various ongoing projects, including the Booker Literacy Project. Supported by Sarasota philanthropists Joe and Mary Kay Henson and their Henson Fund, the project connects USF students with students from one of Sarasota’s most economically disadvantaged public middle schools, demonstrating the campus’s ability to address an issue challenging the community.
“Booker has told us that their assessment scores have improved for their sixth-grade group,” said Lindsay Persohn, an assistant professor of literacy studies at USF Sarasota-Manatee and one of the leaders of the project. “They said their reading scores were higher than they’ve been.”
The magazine also features a series of stories about campus expansion projects, including the first-ever student center and residence hall on the Sarasota-Manatee campus and the Nursing/STEM building being planned for the campus.
“We are at pivotal moment in the history of our campus during which we will enhance what we can be for our students and faculty and the community we are proud to serve,” said Holbrook. “With the support of our friends and supporters, we will build an enriched and more vigorous campus experience brimming with vitality and purpose and as we invest in a new generation of thought leaders for Sarasota-Manatee and beyond.”
In a special section titled, “Research on Tap,” readers are invited to learn about the decade-long relationship faculty and students at USF Sarasota-Manatee have with the local craft brewing and distilling industries.
“We were kind of nervous about getting connected and having one of the local breweries adopt us,” said Joe Askren, a professor of instruction in the School of Hospitality and Tourism Management who teaches the popular Introduction to Beer Science course on the Sarasota-Manatee campus. “To this day, the industry support is unbelievable.”
Elsewhere in the magazine, Lisa Penney, a professor of management in the School of Information Systems and Management, shares “encouraging” data that mindfulness may combat stress to improve decision-making and performance outcomes.
“Mindfulness is a metacognitive skill that’s about being aware of where your attention is and thinking about thinking,” Penney said. “We tend to spend most of our time on autopilot, unaware of where our attention is focused and run around by our thoughts and feelings. With mindfulness practice, we begin to understand that you are not your thoughts; you are the person who is aware of your thoughts. And that little bit of space is what gives you the ability to choose where you focus your attention and gain perspective to see things a little bit more clearly.”