USFSP Professors Dig Up an Ancient Discovery

Digging for new discoveries is one of the most important aspects of archaeology. Sometimes you might not even know what you are looking for, but you might be surprised by what you find.

Doctors John and Kathy Arthur,  anthropology professors at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg, know this exact feeling. During a cave excavation in Mota, Ethiopia, the Arthurs and their team discovered a human skeleton. Their findings were published in the journal Science and the Tampa Bay Times.

What makes this discovery significant is that the DNA of the individual contains the first complete ancient African genome.

“In the past, the few African specimens they had before they could only reconstruct part of the genome. This is the entire thing,” Dr. Kathy Arthur said.

A genome is the complete DNA sequence of an organism. This discovery will shed some light on the early interactions of ancient Africans and Eurasians, and the ways in which they lived.

The Arthurs named the individual “Bayira” which means “first born” in the Gamo language. Geneticists from the University of Cambridge determined that the individual dated back 4,500 years. They said he was about 5-foot-tall and lived to be about 50 years old.

The Arthurs plan on continuing their research on the Gamo people. They hope to be back in Ethiopia by 2017.

“They say we want the world to know our history, we want our nation to know and we want our children to know too. We want to pass this on to our children,” Dr. Kathy said.

 

 

 

Share-A-Bull shares their success

With more than 320 buildings on campus, covering about 1700 acres, the University of South Florida is what some might call a huge campus.

Students have the task of trekking across campus to get to their classes on time. Some choose to drive, some choose to walk and some choose a slightly more interesting option.

The Campus Recreation Center rang in the new school year by introducing Share-A-Bull bikes, a program which they define as an “enjoyable, safe and emissions-free way to travel while increasing physical activity”.

Morgan Francis, the Assistant Director of Outdoor Recreation, is pleased with the program’s participants.

“We average 25 rides per bike. There are 16 other programs like this; same company, same manufacturer, and they average five rides per bike. So we’re doing five times more than any other program in the world”.

The numbers are keeping Francis happy, but there are a few things he hopes students stop doing with these bikes.

“It’s free and so students treat it like they do anything else that’s free. We actually have video of people riding them downstairs, so we’ve had to take some of them off service and do some repairs”.

Even with a few students mistreating the bikes, the program has been a great addition to the campus.

The best part is not that it’s free to students, but that it’s easy.  All you have to do is download the app and register. Then, you can find a bike, punch in your code and you’re free to roam.

To learn more, visit: https://usf.socialbicycles.com

To download the app, search: Social Bicycles

 

Salsaween, the best of two worlds

 

Greg McBride had never been to an event quite like the Latin American Student Association’s Salsaween Halloween celebration on Wednesday evening.

McBride, a junior studying international business at USF Sarasota-Manatee, was visiting his friends at USF Tampa, and they decided to go to the event hosted in the Marshall Student Center Ballroom. He said he heard about the event from one of his friends and decided it would be a cool event to go to.

“I’m not in the club and neither are any of my friends,” McBride said. “But all of us are either from Peru or Venezuela so we know Spanish culture.”

Salsa music coming from the event in the ballroom could be heard upon entering the MSC. The lights were dim and there were Halloween decorations all around the room including a giant blow-up arch adorned with skulls in the entryway. There were balloons, tables with decorations and even food like chips and salsa and Cuban sandwiches. One of McBride’s favorite activities at the event was the photo booth.

“I went in with all my friends a bunch of times. There were a lot of props to choose from and I really liked the big crazy glasses and the hats,” McBride said. “I’ll go to any event that has a photo booth and free food.”

At one point during the evening there was a break from salsa music, and a student band came up and played a few popular songs. The dancing didn’t stop though. The crowd of about 150 people loved the music and seemed to enjoy it just as much as the Spanish music.

There was also a costume contest. Students were wearing everything from super hero costumes, to elegant dresses, to traditional salsa dancing outfits. Some students, like McBride and his friends, weren’t wearing costumes at all.

“I don’t really dress up,” he said. “I’m going to another Halloween event on Friday and I’m not wearing a costume for that either.”

Even though Salsaween was first and foremost a Halloween event, students and club members were able to come together and enjoy an evening of music, dancing, food and friends. It is one of the club’s most anticipated events each year.

“I’ve had a lot of fun here so far and I would want to go to another event hosted by the club,” McBride said. “And I loved being able to come with my friends and meet other people who appreciate Spanish culture.”

 

App rewards students for paying attention

By Hayley Phillips

 

TAMPA—

 

A recent app, Pocket Points, rewards students for paying attention in class.

Launched in 2012 by creator Mitch Gardner, Pocket Points is now sweeping college campuses. When activated, the app counts the minutes a student does not utilize any other features on their phone. The points accumulated can then be used for discounts at local businesses.

“You can lock your phone, and it’ll start counting points. So as you start counting points, the more discounts you earn,” Jordan Loren, the University of South Florida Pocket Points ambassador, said.

Here’s the catch. You must be in class to earn points.

“The geo-fence . . . goes off wifi, so it’s set up from all of the hospital buildings, including all the academic buildings, MSC, and ROTC and the Rec Center as well,” Loren said. In other words, the only way to reap the benefits of the app is to pay attention in the classroom. USF student Tyler Moss says he does not mind putting his phone away for the greater good.

“I think the app is great . . . It really incentifies students to stay in class and uh, focus and you know, earn little rewards for doing so,” Moss said.

Loren says her favorite reward is the buy one get one free salad at So Fresh.

“I mean buy one get ones are great anywhere, and I love So Fresh,” Loren said.

Other local businesses who participate in the Pocket Points reward program include: Smoothie King, Are Pita, Graffiti Junktion, Cazador Grill, Total Nutrition, Babylon Hookah Lounge, Vitamin Discount Center and Planet Beach. Students also have the option to redeem points via online shopping at stores such as The Cabana Shop, COAST Apparel, ForELyse.com and many others.

Anyone can download the app for free today at the App Store for iPhones and Google Play for Android users.

 

 

Name brands at prices you’ll love

If you’re looking for upscale fashion at a fraction of the price, Encore Boutique and Consignment is a store you want to stop at.

Encore Boutique is the only upscale consignment store in Land O’ Lakes. Owned by Julie Taylor since 2008, the boutique offers shoppers the ability to buy name brand items without paying name brand prices. The merchandise is constantly changing since people bring in items for Taylor to consign. This keeps customers returning to see what new things are for sale.

“We have some shoppers and consignors who have been with us for seven years,” Taylor said.

Inside the small boutique you’ll find a variety of items from dresses, pants, bags, jewelry, shoes, belts, and other accessories. The store follows the latest trends and does not accept clothing that is deemed outdated. Taylor says she doesn’t accept everything. Items needs to be cleaned, pressed and hung on hangers before she’ll even look at them.

“I’m very particular and consigning with me isn’t for everyone because of that,” she said. “My feeling is that if I wouldn’t want to buy it, why would someone else?”

Consignors have the option of having unsellable items returned to them or donated to local charities. The main charities Taylor donates to are Hospice Life, Dress for Success, and Shriners. If the items do sell, consignors are paid by check once or month or a given store credit.

“We have a diverse group of consignors,” Taylor said. “Some like to make money on their clothes and others are shoppers who simply like to recycle their clothes because they’re tired of wearing the same things.”

If you’re in the Land O’ Lakes area, be sure to make a visit to Encore Boutique and Consignment.

Local band takes Tampa by storm

A local band, The Applebutter Express, is drawing in crowds from all over the bay area. Kyle and Shannon Biss started the band as a vocal duo back in 2004 when they met in high school before getting married in 2011. Since then, they added Joe Trivette as a fiddle player and Matt Desear as the bassist to complete the band.

“I always knew that Shannon could sing because she was in chorus, but she wanted nothing to do with it at first,” Kyle said. “She didn’t want to sing in front of a bunch of people. Once I finally got her up there the first time, she was fine and I realized we had this chemistry on stage together.”

The Applebutter Express has a unique sound given to their use of stringed-instruments like the ukulele played by Kyle. Their folk-like, bluegrass style is more uplifting than most music played today. What first started as a hobby for the band, has led to performances all throughout Florida and even to other states for festivals such as Bonnaroo.

“We would start to go to local festivals and campsites, walk around and perform for people around there by singing and playing around,” Shannon said. “We didn’t think of doing anything professional yet. We decided one night after so many positive responses from people that maybe we can do something with this. That was enough encouragement to go to open mics and tryout for local gigs and now it’s a whole thing.”

The band members do not focus on a certain niche when it comes to their audience and their eclectic music has drawn in a variety of listeners from children to seniors. 

“What’s really funny to me is that kids just take to us,” Shannon said. “I guess that we are good dancing music for kids. Really we get crowds of all ages because we do a lot of 60s and 70s covers and that kind of thing. That’s the music that we are really into, Allman Brothers and Grateful Dead, so we get a lot of older fans from that.  But we get a little bit of everybody.  A lot of people you wouldn’t expect.”

The Applebutter Express already released two CDs and plans to have more. Their recently signed publishing deal and featured song “Hey, my brotha”  in Ron Howard’s film “The Good Lie” foreshadows they have nothing but a successful future to look forward to for years to come.

 

 

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USF implements reading days to help relieve stress of finals 

 

TAMPA, Fla.- The University of South Florida’s academic calendar has some changes that will help students during the most stressful time of the year, finals week.

When USF students were asked if they knew what reading days are, most were unaware of the calendar change.

“I do not know what reading days are,” said Erica Exalien.

“Kind of, I’ve heard about it but I’m not totally sure,” said Cole Nixon.

The spring 2016 semester will accommodate for two reading days on Thursday, April 28 and Friday, April 29. There will be no assignments due, tests given or even class on these days.

“Reading days are a period between the semester and the beginning of finals… so traditionally it’s used for students to prepare for finals,” said Student Body President Andy Rodriguez. “The amount of time varies depending on the school so some schools do one day, some schools do two days, some schools do three days, and there’s also schools that do an entire week off from school to prepare for finals.”

Other Florida universities have also implemented these reading days for spring 2016. This includes the University of Central Florida with one day, the University of Florida with two and the University of North Florida with three. Positive feedback is being heard around the state.

“It will give students an opportunity to be a little less stressed out when trying to prepare for one of the most stressful times of the year,” Rodriguez said. “Finals is when you will see students not eating, not sleeping or their hygiene is lacking because they need to get ready for what a bulk of their grade is going to be.”

Local brewery introduces 2 new beers

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
The Tampa Bay Brewing Company brews their own beer (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

In 1992, the Doble family started a home brewing shop by the name of Brew Shack. Due to its successes, John Doble II, his wife Vicky, and two of their sons, David and John III, decided to open The Tampa Bay Brewing Company in 1995. Since it was created, the company has been making beer to satisfy just about every taste around the bay area.

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
A segment of the brewing equipment (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

The company is not only a brewery, it is also a full service restaurant and bar that is located in Centro Ybor. Its two most popular beers are Reef Donkey APA and Old Elephant Foot IPA, which happen to be the only two beers that the brewery cans and distributes. Both beers can be found in local liquor stores and some gas stations around town. David, the Co-Founder and Head Brewer, said exactly how the Old Elephant Foot IPA got its name:

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
Customers enjoying their drinks at the Tampa Bay Brewing Company (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

“One of my older brothers, Mark, actually had an old elephant foot garbage can and we needed a name for India Pale Ale. We are sitting around having a few beers, and his old elephant foot actually came up in the talk and we… you know… that’s perfect… Old Elephant Foot IPA.”

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
Members of The Mug Club can have their mugs hanging from the bar’s ceiling (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

As a family owned business, the Dobles try to make every customer feel like family. They created “The Mug Club” in 1997, which allows customers to register for a small fee. Joining “The Mug Club” gets you special discounts, a T-shirt, and your own mug that you can decorate and leave at the pub – in your assigned hanging spot – to use every time you visit. The entire pub is decorated with these mugs, wheat and beer bottles.

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
The Tampa Bay Brewing Company has plenty of space for customers to relax in (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

The Tampa Bay Brewery has been featured on the Food Network multiple times and has won various awards for its beer-infused meals. Karen and Scott Frohlich were having lunch with their family and said:

(Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)
Other than beer, the bar serves delicious food (Photo credit: Jennifer Mejia)

“On the Food Network we saw the food that they were preparing and it just looked delicious. So we decided to come over.”

The Tampa Bay Brewing Company is a friendly and family oriented establishment that is suitable for even the youngest of them all, and even man’s best friend. The outside bar allows owners to bring their pets and hang out while enjoying a drink or two.

 

From humbling beginnings to a bustling university

Just about everything great has humble beginnings. The University of South Florida is no different. When USF opened in the fall of 1960, it only had three buildings – the Administration building, the University Center and the Chemistry building.

The University Center doubled as a dorm for women back then but has since been torn down, the Marshall Student center now takes its place. MSC is now a central gathering location for all students on campus. According to USF student Kaysha Alvarez, ”MSC is a great meeting place for all people on a campus as large and diverse as our own.”

At the time, the Chemistry building housed all departments. Interesting enough, you can teach any subject in a chemistry building but you can only teach chemistry in a chemistry building.

Unlike UF and FSU, USF was the first state university built in an area that was already a bustling city, completely different from Tallahassee or Gainesville. “When I came here 27 years ago, this campus was a desert, not a University,” Gerry G. Meisels, Professor of Chemistry and Director, says. When the University began, all the land that is now home to the USF buildings, was barren and blowing sand was a huge problem.

The University started with 900 students and today the system serves 36,000. USF not only had students full of pride, we were also the first school in the state with air conditioned buildings.

Student merges motivational message with apparel business

“Progressively Getting Better.”

The term coined by University of South Florida student, Imani Lee, is a social movement that encourages positivity and productivity.

“When I came to USF I decided I wanted to take the term to the next level,” Lee said. “I wanted to start my own company to actually use this message and incorporate it with a medium that everyone could use.

Lee believed apparel would be the perfect way to promote his motivational message. He specifically designed athletic apparel to allow athletes to define themselves, rather than being defined by the brand they’re wearing.

“It’s something unique in terms of not only providing an apparel line for athletes,” Shaquille Kent, a USF student said. “It’s a constant motivation. Whether its sports, whether its school, it’s always something that you’re progressively getting better at.”

Lee said he has plans to partner with businesses such as the YMCA and Alpha House of Tampa in order to host campaigns to spread awareness of the movement.

“We’re going to have basketball tournaments and we’re going to be doing food drives,” Lee said. “A portion of those proceeds that we collect will go to whichever company we’re partnered with.”

Lee said he also has goals of creating motivational workshops, a production crew and a record label.

“When I say progressively getting better I’m talking about now and in the future,” he said. “Me and you — all of us as a whole — we are connected. We do have a global conscious and we should make that consciousness more productive. This is the future.”

Florida Focus Health Brief 11-18-2015

In this Florida Focus Health Brief: Warnings are being posted by Florida beaches with bacteria risk; a study links obesity with early onset of Alzheimher’s; contact wearers are at hygiene risk; a CDC report shows that your heart age could be older than the rest of your body

Producer: Allison Leslie
Director: Brooke Harris
Anchor: Jason Raven
Technical Director: Bridget White
Graphics: Rickey Kim
Graphic Operator: Alexandra Abraham
Audio: Alicia Naspretto
Camera Operators: Christi Owiye and Doug Calderone
Teleprompter: Krista Gutierrez
Web Producer: Allison Lippitt
Graduate Assistant: Brooke Harris and Danielle Quichocho
Faculty Advisors: Cathy Gugerty

 

 

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The double life of Emily Kenyon

University of South Florida student Emily Kenyon is changing the face of engineering. She earns her living as a model while working toward a degree in mechanical engineering.

Kenyon, 22, began modeling when she was 15 years old. Her job has taken her around the globe to centers for high fashion such as Milan, Italy.

“It was amazing, the culture was awesome,” she said.

While her summers are spent abroad, she spends the school year in Tampa.

“I just keep in mind that I’m going to be an engineer for a lot longer than I’m going to be a model,” Kenyon said.

Friends like Bret Callahan even take notice of her work ethic.

“She works a lot…[she’s] up earlier than me, but also up later than me working or studying,” he said.

Like modeling, Kenyon’s love for engineering has been present since a young age. Her father, Dean Kenyon, is the president of KPI Engineering Inc. and also earned a degree in mechanical engineering at USF.

Kenyon works for her father and hopes to take over the company one day.

“I do a little bit of Computer Aided Design drawing work for him,” she said. “I also can answer phone calls, make copies and run bids.”

Whether she is posing for the camera or studying textbooks, Kenyon says that she enjoys the busy life. She recalls a memory when her worlds collided.

“Two years ago, I was doing a runway here in Tampa and I had out my Calculus 2 notes and I was studying and someone said ‘…I think you’re the first person I’ve ever seen to be doing their engineering homework backstage at a fashion show’,” she said.

Florida Focus 11-17-2015

In this Florida Focus News Brief: A fatal car crash kills a man and closes a busy road; HART uses taxis for speedy transportation services; Pinellas High School received fake shooting threats; State House rejects stronger “Stand Your Ground” Law; Bank of America ranks lowest in customer satisfaction

Producer: Allison Leslie
Director: Bridget White
Anchor: Alexandra Abraham
Technical Director: Jason Raven
Graphics Builder: Daniel Trujillo and Elizabeth Rutherford
Graphics Operator: Elizabeth Rutherford
Audio: Bianca Montenegro
Camera Operator: Allison Lippitt and Edna Ruiz
Teleprompter: Rickey Kim
Web Producer: Adrianna Clark
Graduate Assistants: Brooke Harris and Danielle Quichocho
Faculty Advisor: Cathy Gugerty

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Operation Coexist: Making a Difference Through Music

St. Petersburg– Operation Coexist is a nonprofit organization that provides music education to at risk youth and kids in the foster care system. The 5013c began in 2012 in St. Petersburg and over the last few years it has grown into something that is reaching further than founder Katie Talbert ever imagined.

“I cannot describe the feeling I get when I think about the program and the impact I am seeing from it. Everyone seems to want to help me, to volunteer their time. Even famous musicians are reaching out,” Talbert said.

Children ages 4-18 years get the opportunity to take free music lessons and perform in groups or solo acts to showcase what they learn at Noisemakers, better known as “The School of Rock.”

Music is healing and organizations such as Operation Coexist use the power of music to better the lives of children in need, and make a positive impact and difference in the community.

Moffitt Cancer Center Celebrates its 30th Anniversary

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vk4F3A-jKH0&feature=youtu.be

Back in 1981, Florida Legislature passed a bill that allowed the creation of Moffitt Cancer Center. Later, in Oct. 27, 1986, it opened for the first time at the University of South Florida, making it the first cancer center in the state.

Moffitt Cancer Center was named after cancer survivor H. Lee Moffitt.

“He didn’t even want it to be named after him,” said Moffitt Media Relations Coordinator Steve Blanchard, “so, they had to trick him to get him out of the building when they named it after him and he came back, and it was a surprise to him.”

Over the years, Moffitt Cancer Center had broken new grounds in terms of architecture, funding and research.

“Moffitt is on the leading edge and the cutting edge of research for cancer, and they always are ten steps ahead of research,” stated Clinical Science Lab Coordinator Portia Weiss, “I think by the growth that the hospital is doing and the research and the teams we have in place here makes it a fantastic place to work. So, I’m very happy to be a part of this team.”

“This upcoming year is a very big year for Moffitt Cancer Center and I’m excited to see what we do next year, but it is very important to remember that until there is a cure for cancer then Moffitt is going to be right there in the middle of the fight,” said Blanchard.

Taste of Honey event ensures sweet time for all

The sixth annual Taste of Honey was held at the USF’s botanical gardens today. Over a hundred different varieties of honeys were available to taste test. Kim Hutton, USF’s botanical gardens program coordinator, thinks it’s really nice that students and staff bring home honey from their travels.

“We have some students that went to Africa and different spots and they remember us and come back.” explained Hutton.

Along with the cost of admission, gift baskets were raffled to raise money. The event raises money for the botanical gardens’ beekeeping club. There is no specific goal, but costs of maintaining the program can be expensive.

The club meets once a month starting in November for a year. Lessons include basic beekeeping instruction and hands on experience with honey bees. The students become certified beekeepers when they graduate from the program. Hutton says the beekeeping program is their way of serving the community. Beekeepers will remove bees from your home free of charge.

According to Hutton, Hillsborough County has the most certified beekeepers in the state of Florida. Brent Weisman, Florida master beekeeper, is the instructor of the beekeeping program. The ideal goal for him is to have a barn and instructional pavilion where school groups can learn about bees. Weisman hopes the general public could learn and understand more about bees.

“They are beneficial for human life, they have evolved over millions of years, they are not dangerous, and they are not aggressive.” he says.

 

 

Wheels are rolling in Tampa

The 22nd Annual Tampa Am skating competition dropped into the Skate Park of Tampa, drawing out hundreds of people to watch young skaters prove themselves in the world of extreme sports.

The event takes place over three days, with two qualifying rounds and finals. The winner advances on to compete in Street League, a nationally broadcast skateboarding event that opens doors to sponsorship opportunities and professional skating careers.

“It’s kind of like an art, making my mind create things I like to do,” competitor Miles McKenny says about skating. “Seeing me progress is another good thing.”

This is something McKenny hopes he can pass down to future generations of skaters, saying that his favorite thing to do is help younger skaters work on their tricks.

There was a sense of community throughout the entire three-day event, and as the pool of competitors became smaller and smaller, the crowd became bigger and bigger. The sense of community is what keeps a lot of skaters going.

“You walk around and everyone has the same feeling as you,” Daniel Toss said. “It’s a good group of people and something fun to do.”