Coco Montes,a USF sophomore infielder, was recognized by the American Athletic Conference during a big week for USF baseball. The team went 5-0 and had a huge win against Florida State. Montes totaled three runs, his second home run of the season and a team-high five RBIs. Montes said he is ready to continue this type of play throughout the rest of his sophomore year.
“My body feels a lot better than last year,” Montes said. “Just being able to come out here and start winning, that’s going to be the biggest thing for me.”
The second baseman was recruited out of Miami with the vision that he could immediately have an impact on USF’s baseball program. Montes had a big freshman year, but has improved since then.
Both Montes and head coach Mark Kingston said they believe that confidence has a lot to do with it.
“He is just a better all-around player. He’s taken the second base very well,” Kingston said. “I just think his confidence is at an all-time high.”
Coco Montes says being AAC’s player of the week is nice, but he’s more proud of the fact that his team had a great week.
Students and parents filled the halls of Fox Chapel Middle School on Wednesday to take part in Leadership Day.
Arianna Carter, a seventh-grader and member of student government, spent the day playing in the band and working behind the scenes to make the day run smoothly.
“Leadership Day is a day that we show Hernando County what the seven habits are and how we use them to help the community,” said Carter.
The Leader in Me is a school transformation model, developed in partnership with educators, that empowers students with the leadership and life skills they need to thrive in the 21st century.
Magen Schlechter, a teacher at Fox Chapel, said this program allows students to learn what it means to be a leader and how little changes in their personal life can help them persevere.
“Each habit represents certain character features that we should work on and improve on day-to-day to help us be the most effective leaders we can be,” Schlechter said.
Over 25 projects took part in Fox Chapel’s third-annual Leadership Day. The school’s Beta Club will be nationally recognized by the Leader in Me program for completing over 350 hours of community service.
Carter, a member of the Beta Club, is inspired to continue being a leader outside the classroom.
“We really just help around the community,” Carter said. “I heard that high schools have beta clubs too and I’d like to help more.”
For Schlechter, watching her students embrace this program is one of many things she’s happy about.
“I’m really proud that the kids have found something to be proud of,” said Schlechter. “You see kids in a new light and they become completely different people and it’s an awesome thing.”
This year’s student government elections at the University of South Florida may mean more for students than ever before.
Now that President Moneer Kheireddine and Vice President Shaquille Kent have secured the victory, they are pushing their platform, “Hear the HERD.”
“It stands for heritage, entertainment, access and representation,” said Kheireddine.
Their mission is to bridge the divide between the student body, student government and USF administration. One way in which they hope to achieve this is via an online petition system, meant to gather physical evidence in support of their agendas. The system would give students a voice to tackle obstacles like limited parking and dining options.
The two also intend to focus a lot of their efforts on mental health.
“We will be advocating to the Florida legislature to increase funding for mental health and also awareness,” Kent said.
They want to provide more resources not only to students, but also to the mental health counselors on campus, who are often fully booked by students. They aim to provide funding in order to increase the current amount of mental health employees USF offers.
Kheireddine understands that while they “won’t be able to accomplish everything on their platform within one year,” they still intend on making a difference.
Nielsen is a widely known company, one that is constantly looking for new candidates to represent them. Nielsen studies consumer habits in more than 100 countries.
Jennifer Hurst is a manager with Nielsen, as well as a leader in the business-improving organization.
“Nielsen is a market research company,” said Hurst. “We are the science behind what’s next, so we measure what people watch and what people buy.”
Nielsen visits USF and surrounding communities every year, according to Hurst. The USF campus is one of the communities Nielsen enjoys visiting because of the type of candidates they receive.
The candidates chosen to work with Nielsen all have three key things in common: leadership skills, community service and passion.
Steve Filus, majoring in computer science at USF, cites the work environment at Nielsen as a major draw for him. Many potential candidates, like Filus, are excited to have the opportunity to get one-on-one time with a company of their dreams.
“So the work-life balance that they have there is the biggest piece for me,” said Filus. “They also are involved in the community. That’s one of the most important things for me for a place of work.”
The closest Nielsen in the Tampa Bay Area is in Oldsmar, Florida. However, the distance does not prevent the candidates and Nielsen from connecting.
Both parties know exactly what they want to gain from the other.
Following the departure of Matt Hill, USF’s previous men’s tennis head coach, to Arizona State, the men’s tennis program decided that the best fit for the new head coach was already there. After serving as assistant coach for one season, Ashley Fisher was promoted to the head coach position for the 2017 season.
During his one year with the program, Fisher helped lead the team to their third-straight American Athletic Conference title, a No. 13 national ranking and their third trip to the NCAA tournament.
Before joining the USF tennis program, the Australian native had a successful 13-year professional tennis career. He was ranked in the top 20 in the world while winning four ATP World Tour doubles titles.
“We are a very lucky team to have an ex-professional tennis player to be as a head coach,” said senior player Vadym Kalyuzhnyy. “It’s just a more professional work environment.”
Although the ultimate goal is to win matches, Fisher is focused on the process this season.
“We just want to create a great program. We already sort of have that, there has been a lot of success here, but we want to kind of keep pushing forward and get the program into the top ten and start competing for national championships,” Fisher said.
Another mission of his is to connect and mentor each of the players.
“It’s nice to win tennis matches, but we have a greater responsibility in that we have to mentor these student-athletes and impact their lives and we have a big opportunity to do that,” he said. “I want to be remembered as a great tennis coach, but probably just as importantly I want to connect with these guys and kind of be there for the rest of their lives.”
The University of South Florida is filled with students from all over the world, and if we took a closer look, we can see all of the amazing characteristics that the students bring with them.
Rafael Migoyo is a senior graduating Dec. 10, 2016 with a degree in Aging Sciences. His parents brought him to the United States from Cuba at the age of five so that he could receive a better education.
When he isn’t busy doing research, Migoyo enjoys photography and investing.
“I learned those things when I was thinking about the opportunity that I was given coming into the United States…” said Migoyo. “So I said to myself, ‘what’s something my mom and dad aren’t doing because they weren’t raised here?’”
Once he graduates, Migoyo wants to take a year away from school to work on some research with his friend, and research adviser, Angie Sardina. From there he will continue his education so that he can specialize in Geriatrics.
“Rafael has a bright future ahead of him,” said Sardina.
When asked where he would like to be in the future, Rafael stated that he wants to merge his two passions: Medicine and Photography.
“I would like to marry both of those things and travel the world as a doctor helping people, but also doing photojournalism,” said Migoyo
Over 400 students gathered at the University of South Florida for an evening of Winter Wonderland.
Winter Wonderland is a holiday tradition put on by USF’s Center for Student Involvement and Fraternity and Sorority Life. This year’s event was called “Winter Wonkaland.”
With finals quickly approaching, students were able to relax for a night before the studying begins.
One of the organizations within the Center for Student Involvement is the Campus Activities Board. Christa Haran, Executive Director for the CAB made this event possible.
“It’s basically winter themed, just to bring winter back to Florida because we don’t really have that here. This year is Willy Wonka themed,” Haran said.
Winter Wonkaland included lots of bright lights, colors, and of course, candy. In addition to Wonkaland, winter activities were set up around the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza.
Those activities included ice-skating made out of synthetic ice, wood painting and stuff-a-plush, which is like Build-A-Bear. Winter Wonkaland wouldn’t be complete without snow, a cappuccino cart and munchies to snack on.
Asahi Hossain is a junior at USF and this was her second year attending Winter Wonderland.
“It’s like finals week. It’s a nice way to wind down. It’s good weather out and I’ve heard a lot about this,” Hossain said.
Hossian arrived at Winter Wonkaland thirty minutes after it began and said that all of the stuff-a-plush bears were gone, as well as wood circles to paint on and candy. There were no short lines either for the cappuccino cart or food table.
Despite running out of supplies and long lines, Hossain said, “It’s still nice to be out here with friends.”
TAMPA- The $133 million student housing project at the University of South Florida is well underway.
“The Village” will replace what is now the Andros area on campus. The project includes five new dorms, a dining hall called “The Hub,” and a recreational facility named “The Fit.”
The first installment of the project will include 2 dorms that will open for Fall 2017. The second installment will begin after that and include the rest of the facilities. The entire project is expected to be finished in time for the Fall of 2018.
Assistant Director of Communications, Gregory Bowers, said that there has been a push for more housing on campus for quite some time now. He believes that adding more beds will provide an opportunity for more students to succeed by living on campus.
“The conversation about bringing new halls on (to campus), of course, is always going to be a financial one from the start.” Bowers said. “The way we were able to move forward was by doing what is called a public-private partnership.”
The project is receiving private funding from Capstone-Harrison Street. The agreement is that the company will finance, build and operate The Village for the next fifty-two years. USF will then become the owners of that space.
Residents in the area are noticing some noise throughout the day. Ryan Williams is a freshman living in the Kappa dorm. He’s excited about the project, but does admit the noise can be annoying.
“It’s a little loud sometimes. Sometimes there will be a really loud, low vibration you can hear pretty much anywhere. That’s a little annoying,” Williams said.
Williams said he is excited to see what The Village will bring to the north end of campus.
“It’ll bring a lot of people together to live on campus,” Williams said.
The University of South Florida Riverfront Park offers a unique experience to its students and alumni by providing outdoor recreational activities from canoeing to even a ropes course.
With the advantage Florida brings to its residents, USF is able to offer its students and alumni a place to de-stress and relax after a hard day at work or from studying. The park has a wide range of activities available. The ropes course is a common favorite among it students and is an activity many people have never done before.
“I take them up on the ropes course which is about 55 feet high and they go through obstacles and stuff and they eventually zip line down,” ropes course facilitator Hunter Mitchell said.
The park is also on the banks of the Hillsborough River, allowing the park to offer canoeing and kayaking to its visitors. Many times, canoeing and kayaking is very expensive to go out and experience. At Riverfront Park students can rent canoes and kayaks from $5 to $10 and a full usage pass for $45.
“At USF Riverfront Boat House, we provide students the opportunity to rent out kayaks, single-person kayaks, two-person kayaks and canoes,” boat house facilitator Esteban Baute said.
The park also offers team-building activities that help USF students build leadership skills and make new friends.
“It gets people talking in case they don’t know each other and we just really establish trust and communication and really get groups closer together after they come out here,” Mitchell said.
With over 49,000 students at USF, making friends can be tough. USF Riverfront Park allows students to make new friends easier and bring different people together by offering these activities.
Sport Clubs at the University of South Florida offer students the chance to be able to live out their sports dreams of being college athletes, but not necessarily playing at the Division 1 level.
“This way students that are not at as high a level as NCAA athletes, still have an environment where they can go out and have fun and participate in their sport of choice.” Supervisor Sam Cathcart said.
USF Sports Clubs offers many different types of sports to USF students. They also offer unique sports including Water polo, Quidditch, and even Kendo. The wide range of sports available allows many different students to get involved with the sports clubs.
Also, many students who play sports during high school assume they are going to play sports in college and are often disappointed when they try out for the college team and do not make the cut. USF Sport Clubs allows these students to still be able to play the sports they loved back in high school. Club teams are often much more laid back than college teams allowing the players to enjoy their time more while they are playing.
Students are also able to create their own clubs if they wish to do so. “There’s Bullsync that you can go onto if you are interested in joining a sports club. That has all the information,” Jordan Mckenzie of USF Campus Recreation said. “As well as how to join a club. If you want to start a new club you are able to go on Bullsync and that’ll answer your questions as well.”
USF Sport Clubs give a unique future to something many students thought they would never be able to do again.
The fifth annual Clearwater Beach Chalk Art Festival welcomed local and regional artists to display their talents on the Clearwater Beach sidewalk.
“There are so many amazing artists here,” said artist Julie Greene.
For the festival, Greene drew a chalk version of Omar Rayyan’s “The Favorite” catching the attention of people passing by.
“I love the face on the little girl,” visitor Gust Ristas said about Greene’s drawing.
Greene wasn’t always a chalk artist. She’d been experiencing what she described as an artist’s block until she discovered her chalk art talent.
“I was sitting outside one day and my kids were riding their bikes and scooters and the bucket of sidewalk chalk was sitting next to me and I just started doing these great big quotes,” said Greene about how she got started.
Greene claimed that chalk art helped her get through artist block and even get back into other forms of artwork.
“I felt like the creative juices started flowing again,” Greene said.
The creative juices were flowing for visitors at the festival as well. Singer-songwriter Danny Mcelroy put his talent on display by singing a portion of a song he wrote.
“My dream is to be a musician, you know, and like tour, you know, and make money off of being a performer and musician,” Mcelroy said.
The Sam and Martha Gibbons Alumni Center at USF was filled with love and well-wishes as students and their families gathered to celebrate their journey at USF at the fall 2016 official Ring Ceremony.
Students who have completed at least 75 credit hours toward their degree earned the opportunity to purchase a class ring. Giving them a chance to reflect not only on their academic accomplishments, but also their memories at USF.
“We had become bowl eligible and it was the first time we were bowl eligible since 2011,” said Joseph Couture, a USF student receiving his ring. “I saw the student population just jump off the stands and jump onto the field.”
The night’s festivities began as the Alumni Association’s Executive Director, Bill McCausland, greeted those in attendance. The Honors College Dean, Dr. Charles Adams also played a role in the ceremony as he presented each senior with their ring, which carries a special meaning for some in attendance.
“I had a high school graduation ring and it helped me remember all of the memories throughout high school,” said Pricella Morrison, another ring recipient. “I thought it would be great to commemorate all my achievements at USF here as well with a ring.”
Senior Kendyl Muehlenbein echoed that feeling.
“I really wanted to capture my USF experience in something that I could have for the rest of my life,” Muehlenbein said. “Other than just memories and a degree.”
Those memories are what students will carry with them as they dip their rings into the Alumni Center fountain to ensure success after they graduate, knowing that they always have a piece of their university on their hand.
The International Students Association at the University of South Florida organized International Night on Nov. 13, which is an event how diversity and union could go hand-and-hand.
Samuel Bai is a USF international, graduate student who was invited to perform at the event to show his passion for music. When he was just a little boy, Bai taught himself how to play the flute like his father.
“In China you have to get immersed into the atmosphere and feel the music,” Bai said.
Music, laughter and applause overpowered everything else during the event. Every group that performed included students from around the world and they incorporated their cultures in their performance.
USF Homecoming King, Kenny Ezevillo, hosted the event and showed great enthusiasm.
“The Diversity here is incredible,” Ezevillo said. You get to meet people from all over the place and everyone is so friendly.”
Most of these students are neither dance nor music majors. They join these groups as an outlet from the stress that comes from studying for tests and assignments. At the same time they are embracing new cultures and traditions.
“I think it’s really important to have these kind of events because it really opens culture to anyone who wants to come,” Kori Conklin, a USF molecular and microbiology student, said. “It’s really nice, because you get to experience something that’s not normal to you and it opens your world view.”
The University of South Florida was just named the best 4-year college in the nation for veterans.
USF’s Office of Veteran Success serves over 1500 student vets. Some of the programs that they offer are vet-to-vet tutoring, mentoring, success classes, VA work-studies and community networking events. The purpose of each program is to provide veterans with the necessary skills to succeed.
The office also works with USF staff members to help veterans transition back into school. Staff members can attend the “Got Your Six” workshop, which teaches them how to become better resources for student veterans.
Daniel McNeill is the office manager for the Office of Veterans Success. He says that the program is an overview of common stereotypes, strengths, weaknesses and ways to help veterans adapt back into academia.
“We created this presentation to educate USF faculty and staff to allow our veterans to transition more easily,” said McNeill.
McNeill also said that one thing he hopes that staff members take away from “Got Your Six” is that the transition phase isn’t something to take lightly. Student veterans are making drastic life changes, and they need support from faculty during this time.
Dr. Laura Anderson, a chemistry professor at USF, attended “Got Your Six” because she wanted to learn different ways to help student veterans in her classes.
Student veteran, Victor Perez, served in the Navy and is transitioning back into school. He says that the office has really helped him get back into the school mindset.
“The office of Veteran Success has taught me about all of the benefits that I could be eligible for… especially vet-to-vet tutoring [and] mentoring,” said Perez.
ZenChristian Mott is a unique college student. She runs a very successful blog that is catered to assist incoming female students, called http://www.peacencurlz.com/.
At the age of 20, this University of South Florida student is a mentor, yoga instructor, author, blogger and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor.
“It is kind of for everybody. It’s a personal and natural hair blog,” Mott said. She describes the blog additionally by saying it is for, “women in the college lifestyle, love at being 20 and being young in this generation”.
Mott is a junior. She is also a double major in English and psychology. She is focusing on psychology as it pertains to childhood trauma. The blog began as an assignment for her creative writing class.
Subscriber Brittney Ball follows http://www.peacencurlz.com/ regularly and particularly enjoyed Mott’s posts. When asked what about Mott made her subscribe, Ball said, “Zen’s a junior, so she’s spent a little time in college and understands the difficulties and I think she has a nice perspective”.
Mott is passionate and wants to help people. She is careful to say that the website has no racial preference. When asked what incoming freshman could stand to gain from her blog, Mott responded, “practice self-love more.”
University of South Florida alumni cheerleaders were welcomed back on the field during the homecoming football game against University of Connecticut.
“Homecoming’s really fun,” said Sandy Clarke, the USF All-Girl Cheerleading head coach. “It’s that time of year where everybody kind of comes back.”
As alumni, the former cheerleaders had the opportunity to come back to Raymond James Stadium and cheer among the current USF cheerleaders during the pregame show.
“I definitely miss being on the field though and it was cool getting to be on the field for just pregame,” said Sara Blaylock, former USF cheerleading captain.
Being back on the field wasn’t the only upside to homecoming, however. Some of the alumni cheerleaders were seeing each other for the first time in years. Head coach Clarke remembers how special the reunions were when she was on the team.
“I remember when I was on the team looking at the alumni that would come back to practices and thinking, ‘oh that’s so cool, they’re so genuinely excited to see their old teammates,’” said Clarke.
Blaylock describes the relationships made while on the USF cheerleading team as unforgettable. In fact, Clarke, Blaylock, and Jessica White, another USF cheerleading alumna, said that the friendships were some of their favorite things about being a USF cheerleader.
“They’re just lifelong friendships,” said Clarke. “It’s very fun.”
Clarke mentioned growth as being another one of her favorite things about the program. Since becoming a part of the program in 2002, Clarke has seen it evolve over the years. Blaylock even noticed growth in her four years on the team.
“I think it’s just growing into something really good,” said Blaylock.
The USF football team ended homecoming week with a 42-27 win over UConn. The Bulls will travel to Philadelphia next weekend to face Temple for their fourth conference game.
The University of South Florida organization Bulls For Kids has begun their fundraising efforts in order to benefit John Hopkins All Children’s Hospital by hosting seasonal events on campus.
Appropriately named after the 1966 Charlie Brown televised special, The Great Pumpkin Day invited students to purchase a pumpkin, promising that one hundred percent of all the proceeds will go directly to the hospital.
“John Hopkin’s All Children’s Hospital is local, and it feels good knowing that you are helping out an organization that is really close by.” said USF student Jayla Pugh.
Bulls for Kids is part of USF’s Dance Marathon, a movement of student-run philanthropies benefiting Children’s Miracle Network hospitals around the country. Bulls for Kids is the largest student run philanthropy on campus.
The Bulls for Kids Promotions Director, Clarisse Fres, provided activities that students could participate in with their pumpkin.
“You can decorate them with paint and these other art supplies. Or you can take it home and do whatever you want to do with the pumpkin,” Fres said.
With waivers signed and safety goggles worn, students were also given the option to smash their pumpkins by raising it above their heads, and launching it towards the ground. Pumpkin smashing was offered as a way for students to relieve stress.
All these smaller events are leading to the main Bulls for Kids event in the spring: the 12-hour Dance Marathon, which is where most of the donations come in.
According to leadandserve.usf.edu, Bulls for Kids broke its long-standing record at USF last year by raising $130,011.29 more than any other year before and an 82% increase from the 2015 marathon.
“It’s a year-long process,” Fres said. “Now that this year is around, we’re going to try and raise $200,000.”
Bulls For Kids has no doubt that they will reach this goal, especially with registration for the Dance Marathon already accepting teams and donations.
The Dance Marathon officially begins on Feb. 25, 2017. Registration ends Dec. 11, and donations are being accepted until 9 p.m. at the event.
Enrolling at USF for the first time after moving away from New England was a culture shock for freshmen Brianna Bizier.
After attending the Week of Welcome event “Welcoming to a Rewarding Year, Welcome to a Rewarding Career,” the education major said she is happy to find comfort on campus.
“My first impression coming here was that it was big and almost daunting because I came from a small high school in New England,” Bizier said. “By applying for the Provost’s Scholarship Program, I am confident that it will open opportunities to pursue my future career as an English teacher.”
After meeting the staff and faculty from the College of Education at the TECO Hall, Bizier said USF is well prepared in offering their services to help students succeed in college.
“As I got to know the school more, I learned that the staff and faculty are very welcoming and helpful,” Bizier said. “When life gets tough, students have to ask for help because you cannot do everything in life alone.”
Even other freshmen at the event were seeing USF in a positive light.
“Networking with people is important in earning a college education because it influences how you would achieve your goals in life,” said Jonathan DuQuaine, a major in mathematics.
With a love for math and a passion to teach, DuQuaine aspires to be a high school math teacher.
“I had a few teachers in the past that really love math, which inspired me to be more fluent with all levels of math like calculus and algebra,” DuQuaine said.
DuQuaine is confident that his new techniques and way of presenting his knowledge would be beneficial.
“When I teach, I want to be able to instruct what I know to students and feel good about passing new knowledge to them,” DuQuaine said.
With the College of Education inviting freshmen to the WOW event on Aug. 25, the assistant director of Student Academic Services Lindsey Williams said the new school year is looking bright.
“So far, we have about 92 first-year students who entered in the summer and fall semester, and are pursuing a degree in the College of Education,” Williams said. “We want to show that USF has a lot of opportunities for students to succeed in college, and after they graduate.”
Members of the Online News Association (ONA) travel from all over the country once a year to gather and discuss digital media. ONA is a nonprofit membership organization for digital journalists. It connects journalism, technology and innovation. This year, the ONA16 conference was held in Denver, Colorado.
“There are people here that I’ve seen that I follow on Twitter and… whose work I’ve admired that I have run into here,” Charlie Smart, a student from the University of Connecticut, said. “It’s been really cool just to meet all of these people and sort of have this shared interest of online news.”
Not only is the conference a great opportunity for students to learn, but also for professionals in the online news business. It teaches about the latest technologies like chat bots, analytics, Facebook live and 360 virtual reality.
Michelle Baruchman, a student from the University of Georgia, believes that ONA is simply innovative.
“From what it began in 1999, they were talking about like just having a website, and now, it’s evolved into 360 and virtual reality and cloning and you know just crazy stuff,” Baruchman said.
The association has over 2,000 members from around the world. People can check its website to find out if there is a local chapter near them. Joining ONA gives a person the opportunity to network and share insights with other students and professionals.
“ONA provides grants for research projects and fellowships for students to come,” Baruchman said. “They help foster your community within local areas and regional areas and then just mentorships.”
St. Pete Festival helps to build the city’s reputation as a harbor for the arts and celebrates local artists and their creations with 57 dedicated events ever weekend through September
On Sept. 17 a series of curated dance performances took the streets of downtown St. Petersburg. It was part of Our Town: A Moving Dance Tour of St. Pete, an original art installation directed by USF assistant professor of dance Andee Scott. Scott has wanted to create a piece of moving public art for some time now.
“I think it’s just fun to think of the audience as part of the performance,” said Scott.
The project received an overwhelming amount of support by all those who joined the tour and even those who chose to stay on the sidelines. Dozens of members of the community attended the event to discover something new about their city. Scott, together with the St. Pete Dance Alliance and Dance Linkages, are already in the process of putting together an even bigger art installation.
The audience traveled through the streets of downtown from one performance to the next and experienced historic sites in a new way. Dancers and performers from around the Bay Area were invited to participate in the event. Alex Jones, a choreographer from Collective Dance Soles Company, directed one of the seven performances of the evening.
“It was really nice to be asked to be a part of something so awesome,” said Jones.