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.
Early one spring morning, after taking a biology exam, Novonaca Touch decided to take the Bull Runner home instead of her usual route. She was dropped off in front of her home where she found a white envelope with her name engraved at the top right corner.
She carefully opened the envelope and began to read the letter. Her eyes filled with tears when she saw the words “Congratulations you have been accepted.”
The 22-year-old had applied for Yale School of Medicine during her fall semester at the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. She had dreams of attending a prestigious medical school ever since she was a little girl living in Cambodia.
“I never thought in my wildest dreams that something so monumental like this would happen to me” she said. “Throughout my four years in college I have worked extremely hard and it is just a blessing see how it has paid off.”
Touch was born and raised in Kampot, Cambodia. Her family moved to Tampa four years ago.
“I don’t consider myself a foreign exchange student, but I can relate to the culture shock,” she said. “Americans are open and liberal. People from my country, especially women are more reserved and want to live a private society.”
Touch is currently a senior and studying biomedical science. She plans to use her passion for emergency medical care to join Doctors Without Borders.
“I come from a country where medical care is not easily accessible to everyone in need,” Touch said. “My mission in life is to practice medicine in my home town and give back to as any people as possible.”
She has been accepted to numerous graduate medical schools, including USF College of Medicine. She has received scholarships and study aboard opportunities to further her career.
Myra Phal —a relative of Touch— has also graduated from USF, receiving her Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Science as well.
“I couldn’t be happier for Novonaca,” she said. “She has such a kind heart and loveable personality. I’m going to be a bit broken hearted when she moves out of Tampa, but I know she will make us proud.”
Touch will begin Yale School of Medicine fall semester of 2016. She will be graduating from USF spring 2016.
“Nervous is the only word to describe how I am feeling,” she said. “Yale is not just an ordinary school… it’s kind of a deal here in the states. I really just want to take this journey one step at a time and make my family and other students with the same background proud of my achievements.”
Touch’s younger sister Dara is next in line to attend USF. She hopes to eventually work side-by-side with her sister.
“Novonaca and I have always had a close relationship. It would be awesome to work under her practice,” she said.
Yale School of Medicine has already begun to make Touch feel like part of the community. She has received royal blue and white decorated care packages to match the color of her new school as well as welcoming her to the next chapter in her life.
“2016 is going to be my year,” she said. “I am so grateful to be a positive role model to young women who are working hard to further their education.”
St. Petersburg, Fla – It’s a semicentennial celebration and the proud colors are green and gold. USF St. Pete campus is celebrating its 50th year of operation in 2015.
The campus kicked off the year’s celebration in June with a ceremony and street renaming. Those who attended the event included USF President Judy Genshaft, Regional Chancellor of USFSP Sophia Wisniewska, Mayor Rick Kriseman, students and alumni.
“It marks 50 years of extraordinary students, brilliant faculty and dedicated staff.” said Sudsy Tschiderer, USF St. Petersburg Alumna. “It’s about our students that are here now and up to 50 years ago.”
The school campus has a rich history that lies with the students and the buildings on campus. The campus features three main colleges. The College of Education, College of Arts and Sciences and the Kate Tiedemann College of Business, which is currently being built.
Student life has grown over the years of the university’s operation. When first opened in 1965, the school welcomed 260 students bused in from local cities. The student body population has expanded to an average of 6,000 students per semester. Even with the expansion, USF St. Petersburg has a vast size difference compared to the Tampa campus.
“I love that the class sizes are a little bit smaller so the teachers are into their students.” said Nicole Ward, a USFSP student. “It’s definitely a more intimate setting that I need in a class.”
Through the remainder of the year USFSP will host several events and seminars reflecting on the anniversary.
“Since I’ve been at this campus there are so many things that I love and I’m so glad I’m here to participate in this special year.” said Tschiderer.
For more information on upcoming anniversary events and celebrations visit USFSP.org/50years
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.