University of South Florida St. Petersburg



Concierge financial group with USF staff members

USF alum Bill Cummings and his financial firm recognize the need for veterans and military connected USF students to feel welcomed and at home while visiting the Veteran Success Center.

Bulls In the Burg: April Community Relations Roundup

USF St. Petersburg is an urban university that aims to integrate seamlessly into the fabric of the city and region, enhancing opportunities for students, businesses and the public. This community roundup series highlights the ways that USF faculty, staff, students and administration are active in the community. If you’d like to engage with USF St. Petersburg, or are a campus staff, faculty or student interested in engaging with the community, please contact Caryn Nesmith, Community Relations Director.

Techstars Startup Weekend Tampa Bay gives entrepreneurs chance to transform ideas into businesses  

three adults at event table for startup weekend tampa bay 2024

Techstars, in partnership with the USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship, brought aspiring entrepreneurs from around Tampa Bay to USF St. Petersburg for Startup Weekend Tampa Bay 2024. During the three-day event at Lynn Pippenger Hall, 15 teams transformed their ideas into businesses, which they then pitched to a panel of judges, including Alison Barlow, executive director of the St. Petersburg Innovation District, Allen Clary, director of the USF Nault Center for Entrepreneurship, and Nault Center Advisory Board members Patrick Maslanka, Taylor Villegas and James Faison. The judges selected the top three ideas from the event. Care Collective, a gig-economy caregiving platform, took first place, followed by Click Brain, an AI-enabled SEO website plug-in, and Prodisphere, an AI sports scouting and valuation platform. 

The event returned to the Tampa Bay area after a four-year hiatus. Techstars is the world's most active pre-seed investor supporting many of the world's best entrepreneurs with a portfolio equal to ~$100B in cumulative market cap. 

Suicide prevention walk raises $16,000

people participating in the suicide parade walk

On April 6, more than 200 people joined the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention for a walk around campus to bring awareness in preventing suicide and solidarity to those who have experienced loss or struggles related to suicide or suicide ideation.  At the event, participants chose beads representing their loss or struggles around suicide. “I wear blue beads in support of suicide prevention, purple beads in honor of friends and family I’ve lost, rainbow beads to honor the LGBTQ+ community and green beads for my own personal struggle,” said Campus Assistant Director of Prevention Services Courtney Safko, who helped organize the walk. In partnership with USF St. Petersburg, the AFSP raised more than $16,000, with the biggest donation from Team Bee, a group from Land ‘O Lakes, FL.

USF Graphic Arts Students Shine in Mock Interview Night

students participating in graphic design mock interviews

In late March, Graphic Arts senior students engaged in mock interviews with Tampa Bay design professionals. As part of a senior project portfolio class led by Graphic Arts Associate Professor Jennifer Yucus, 19 students paired with industry experts from PPK, Chappell Roberts, the City of St. Petersburg, Hype Group, Trickey Jennus and Girls Rock St. Pete to hone their interview skills and exhibit their portfolios. These professionals not only provided invaluable interview practice, but also offered insightful feedback on the students' portfolios, elevating their readiness for the professional realm. The success of the mock interview night underscores USF's dedication to equipping students with hands-on, industry-relevant experiences that prepare them for thriving careers post-graduation.

“Discover Your PATHe” event en Espanol!

students and families attending PATHe event in USC ballroom

On April 6, the Pinellas Access to Higher Education (PATHe) welcomed Pinellas County students and their families for the first ever “Discover Your PATHe” en Espanol.  In partnership with Pinellas County Schools, ESOL, St. Petersburg College and the Hispanic Outreach Center, the PATHe Team welcomed more than 30 Pinellas County families to campus for a day entirely in Spanish. Students interested in higher education learned about college options and explored career paths, while being exposed to USF St. Petersburg. 

Discover Your PATHe offers immersive, simulative college life experiences for Pinellas County high school students, offering interactive activities and sessions showcasing college fit and student experience, career and major exploration, college admissions and financial aid education, and networking opportunities with each other and current college students. The PATHe team offers four of these experiences every year. Upcoming Discover Your PATHe events include Discover Your PATHe: Elevating Excellence (in collaboration with Pinellas County schools) on June 14, 2024 and Discover Your PATHe: Summer Camp Experience on Monday, June 24 to Friday, June 28, 2024. Learn more about PATHe here.

Spoonbill Bowl brings high school teams from across the state for- High School Ocean Sciences Competition held on campus

winners of the spoonbill bowl

The 19th annual National Ocean Sciences Bowl brought high school teams from all over the state of Florida to campus. Also known as the Spoonbill Bowl, the event is a high school academic competition and program that addresses a national gap in environmental and earth sciences in public education by introducing students to and engaging them in ocean science.  The event consists of a round-robin and single-elimination format for teams. The format involves a timed competition of multiple-choice or short-answer questions within the broad category of the oceans. Questions are drawn from the many disciplines used in studying the oceans (physics, chemistry, geology, atmospheric science, biology, etc.) as well as topics that contribute to the oceans (economics, history and culture).

Congratulations to the 13 amazing high school teams who competed. The first place team was from P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School in Alachua County (Photo Credit: Alexa D.). Other winners included Wharton High School in second place, Navarre High School came in third and the Barron Collier High School took home the Sportsmanship award. Around 40 volunteers from USF St Petersburg, USF College of Marine Science, Eckerd, USGS, FWC, NOAA and more made this event a success.

New Campus Tours for Business and Community Leaders

In-person tours of the USF St. Petersburg campus are available for prospective students and their families from Monday through Friday, where student navigators guide visitors. The public can also visit the St. Petersburg campus on their own schedule with a self-guided tour. See campus tours and events for prospective students here. The campus is now offering tours tailored to the interests of community and business leaders. Golf cart tours are available for community members every 1st and 3rdFriday of the month from 2 – 4pm or by appointment. Please contact to schedule yours. Tours are available for up to five people. 

Concierge Financial Supports Veterans and Military Connected Students

concierge financial team group

USF alum Bill Cummings and his financial firm recognize the need for veterans and military connected USF students to feel welcomed and at home while visiting the Veteran Success Center. This is why Concierge Financial has made a 3-year commitment to support a coffee bar within the center, complete with drinks and treats for our military connected students to enjoy in-between classes or between their job and classes. Thank you Bill, Tim, Scott and the entire Concierge Financial Team for supporting veteran students at USF.

Mayor’s Youth Congress visits campus

City of St. Petersburg’s Mayor’s Youth Congress

The City of St. Petersburg’s Mayor’s Youth Congress (MYC) visited campus on March 29, taking a tour, dining in The Nest and hearing from our Admissions and Pinellas Access to Higher Education (PATHe) teams. The MYC is a program that provides young people access to city government and gives them a voice in decision making that affects the community. The MYC is made up of teens from Teen Councils at the St. Petersburg Parks & Recreation Department’s recreation centers. Two designated executive officers from eleven recreation centers participate in MYC through leadership roles within their communities and provide advice and input to the Mayor on issues aimed at improving the community for all youth. Teens in MYC participate in several activities, including community service projects. 

Sunrise Rotary of St. Petersburg supports service learning

Thanks to a $3,300 sponsorship from the St. Petersburg Sunrise Rotary Club, students participated in an Un-BULL-ievable Service Trip. Embracing the Rotary mantra of “service above self,” 13 students took part in an alternative spring break trip geared towards community service in Nashville, Tennessee. The students worked with several local non-profits, doing volunteer work around the subjects of homelessness and food insecurity. The service break gives students the opportunity to reach outside their comfort zone, contributing to the world beyond their local involvement. The students will present to the Rotary Club about their experiences and promised to volunteer during the Sunrise Rotary Club’s annual fundraiser Shuffle, Brew and BBQ on April 27.

Camp Rocky registration is open

group of kids with rocky at camp rocky in 2023

Discover the transformative experience of Campy Rocky with USF St. Petersburg Campus Recreation. Beyond just a fun day, the camp offers a safe and educational environment for Little Bulls (7-8 years); Junior Bulls (9-10 years), and Senior Bulls (11-12). At Camp Rocky, young participants are empowered to make everyday decisions within their groups, fostering valuable learning experiences. The action-packed summer program includes a variety of daily activities such as arts and crafts, swimming*, fitness and exercise, indoor and outdoor games, boat rides and special guest appearances from other campus partners. Beyond regular daily camp activities, each week will center around a unique theme, with corresponding activities and field trips tailored to enhance the theme experience. Refer to the schedule below for details on weekly themes. Experience an unforgettable summer adventure! Information and registration here.

Student Governor participates in St. Pete Iftar Dinner

student governor adbul muqeet khawaja speaking at event

Campus and student leaders attended the 2024 City of St Petersburg Iftar Dinner, hosted by the Tampa Bay Area Muslim Association. The event commemorates the month of Ramadan and a community breaking of the fast associated with the holy month. Themed around "breaking bread together with love and compassion," the event exemplified the power of hospitality and community. The approximately 800 attendees were encouraged to mingle, share tables with individuals of differing beliefs and foster genuine connections and understanding.  In the words of campus student governor Abdul Muqeet Khawaja who spoke at the event, "In a world often marked by division, the Iftar Dinner serves as a beacon of hope, showcasing the beauty of diversity and the strength found in unity. Events like these are not just about sharing a meal; they're about breaking down barriers, celebrating our differences and embracing what unites us as human beings. They remind us that in diversity lies our greatest strength, and through compassion and respect, we can build a more inclusive and harmonious society." 

Student spends spring break helping hospitality businesses

Marza Hiatt and Brooke Hansen

(left to right) Reese Gargano and Marza Hiatt

Sustainability Studies and Honors student Marza Hiatt spent her spring break on Sanibel and Captiva Islands interning with Brooke Hansen, associate professor of instruction in the USF School of Hospitality and Tourism Management. They were helping businesses recover from Hurricane Ian through sustainable hospitality development consultations with presentations and site visits that focused on how to certify with Florida Green Lodging and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Clean Marinas program. Hansen is also working with hospitality businesses in the area to rebuild from the hurricane with LEED standards for resiliency. This is an extension of a destination stewardship program that Hiatt and Hansen are developing for the state of Florida through Keep Florida Beautiful, with a pilot project in Pinellas County with Keep Pinellas Beautiful called the Hospitality Eco-Partnership. Hiatt will continue her paid internship through the summer and help to coordinate three outreach events for marine tour operators in St. Pete, John’s Pass and Dunedin with a focus on sustainable practices for better boating and marine stewardship in our tourism industry. Anthropology major Reese Gargano has also recently joined as an intern for the projects and upcoming workshops. 

Employ-a-Bull: Anthropology student designs tours at MAACM

shannon gicker speaking at the museum

Shannon Gicker is gaining valuable experience in anthropology during her internship at the Museum of the American Arts & Crafts Movement. One of her main projects is revamping audio tours to better help visitors take in what the museum is presenting to them. Gicker graduates this summer, and when she finishes her internship, she intends to continue at the museum in a bigger role in the museum’s education department.  

A Survey for Business Professionals to Share Expertise with Future Leaders

Dr. Sandy Weiss is an Assistant Professor of Instruction for the University of South Florida MUMA College of Business

Dr. Sandy Weiss is an Assistant Professor of Instruction for the University of South Florida MUMA College of Business.  After 15 years of corporate experience, she recently transitioned to academia full-time. Given her professional leadership experience, she has a strong desire to ensure her students know how they can leverage their knowledge and skills to excel in the corporate world.  Information from this survey will be compiled and leveraged to help provide them with information that will aid in their transition to becoming a young professional.

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