University of South Florida St. Petersburg



USF Camp Rocky week 1 participants

Week 1 USF Camp Rocky participants

Bulls In the Burg: June 2024 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.

You’re invited: Campus Comfort Dog Snowbird’s Swearing In

comfort dog snowbird with officer Mark Lickenfelt

We welcome the community to join us for the swearing-in ceremony for Snowbird, a Goldador (a mix between a Golden Retriever and a Labrador Retriever) who is USF St. Petersburg’s first-ever comfort dog. Along with his handler, Ofc. Mark Lickenfelt, Snowbird’s job will be to deliver goodwill and quiet compassion to students, faculty and staff.  The swearing in ceremony will be held on June 20 at 2 pm in the Nelson Poynter Memorial Library with a light reception to follow. Learn more about Snowbird's important role as USF St. Petersburg's first-ever comfort dog here.

USF St. Pete Seeks Innovation Scholar Mentors

male mentor sitting at table with female student

Are you passionate about nurturing the next generation of innovators? USF St. Petersburg invites you to become a mentor for the Innovation Scholars Career Exploration program at USF St. Petersburg! As a mentor, you'll have the opportunity to guide and inspire students as they embark on their entrepreneurial journeys. Whether you're a seasoned industry professional or a recent graduate eager to give back, your expertise and insights are invaluable. Join us in shaping the future of innovation by visiting our website for more information and to sign up today.

Business School hosts Chamber leaders’ event “Inside St. Pete”

room of people listening to Regional Chancellor Christian Hardigree

The Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance hosted the St. Petersburg Area Chamber of Commerce’s “Inside St. Pete," a day-long introduction to St. Petersburg civic, cultural and business life that began with a warm welcome to campus by Mayor Ken Welch and Regional Chancellor Christian Hardigree. “It was an amazing day, expertly put together with a great blend of panels, from the arts, to leaders from the City, education, developers, community members, residents and more,” said USF Finance Analyst Dan Wood, who participated in the day of events.

Speakers included Rui Farias, Executive Director of the St. Pete History Museum, City Council Members Brandi Gabbard and Gina Driscoll and visits to the Maritime & Defense Technology Hub, Tropicana Stadium, the Historic Deuces, the Imagine Museum and Webb's City Cellar.

High School Students' Poetry Celebrated in 2024 POLGO Anthology

poetry out loud graphic

The 2024 Florida Poetry Out Loud Gets Original (POLGO) anthology went to print this month, featuring the original poems of 66 high school students from across Florida. This collection highlights the creative talents of young poets and serves as a complementary event to the statewide Poetry Out Loud (POL) competition, which focuses on poetry recitation. Both events are organized and hosted annually by the University of South Florida St. Petersburg. This year’s POL Florida winner, Niveah Glover from Jacksonville’s Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, achieved national recognition by winning the POL national competition and a prize of $20,000.

The POLGO Florida competition specifically showcases students' original poetry. USF partners with Keep St. Pete Lit, a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating and promoting St. Petersburg's literary community, to select the poems and host an open microphone competition.

The 2024 POLGO Competition Winners for Best Content were:

  • First Place: Grace Jaye, Academy of the Holy Names, Clearwater
  • Second Place: DeJaya Hardy, Miami Norland Senior High School, Miami
  • Third Place: Yan Luis Lebron Santiago, Howard W. Blake High School, Tampa

The winners for Best Performance were:

  • First Place: DeJaya Hardy, Miami Norland Senior High School, Miami
  • Second Place: Yan Luis Lebron Santiago, Howard W. Blake High School, Tampa
  • Third Place: Indigo Marescot, Creekside High School, Jacksonville

The POLGO anthology will be published by St. Petersburg Press. Each selected student will receive a complimentary copy, and the anthology will also be available for purchase on Amazon.

Innovative sex ed program moves into phase 2

welcome to choosing myself

USF faculty Dr. Jill McCracken and Dr. Cheryl Vamos launched a program evaluation of Choosing Myself, a comprehensive trauma-informed sex education program for marginalized and justice-involved youth, in both Tampa and St. Petersburg. This innovative and inclusive program is dedicated to recognizing and addressing multiple systems of oppression to reduce sexual and gender-based violence and address systemic racism by recognizing and challenging the structural inequalities that disproportionately affect marginalized communities. The ongoing evaluation is funded by a Department of Health and Human Services Teen Pregnancy Prevention grant and is led by USF faculty Dr. Jill McCracken and Dr. Cheryl Vamos. Drawing on contributions from students, faculty, and staff across various departments, this project seeks to further refine and validate the curriculum. 
USF is partnering with Allies for Healing, a local community-based non-profit organization that provides holistic education and services, and they bring their expertise in trauma-informed and healing-centered care to further enhance the program's impact. Integrating trauma-informed care is crucial because it acknowledges the profound impact of trauma on individuals' lives and focuses on creating safe, supportive environments that foster healing and resilience. This second phase builds on the successful implementation of this program in 2023 in the Tampa Bay region and Savannah, GA across four locations with 25 youth graduating after successful completion of the 20-hour curriculum. Phase 1 saw an encouraging 90 percent overall satisfaction rate among participants. Phase 2 is scaling up the evaluation with 41 youth currently participating in the program. The expansion aims to further assess the program's effectiveness and reach, ultimately contributing to systemic change and improved outcomes for marginalized youth.

Camp season kicks off on campus

female kissing a fish while another female watches

This year marks the 33rd year of the Oceanography Camp Especially for Girls! During the month of May, the College of Marine Sciences trained graduate and undergraduate student staff members to lead field trips, labs, and engaging activities for campers. In June, the program welcomed 30 graduating 8th graders to our beautiful waterfront campus for a three-week marine science camp. The camp’s mission is to inspire and motivate teens entering high school to consider career opportunities in the sciences.

Additionally, USF St. Petersburg campus recreation launched Camp Rocky in June, offering a safe and educational environment for future Bulls of all ages: Little Bulls (7-8 years); Junior Bulls (9-10 years), and Senior Bulls (11-12). Each week of camp featured a unique theme, including science, nature, arts, and sports, with corresponding activities and field trips tailored to enhance the theme experience. Other campus camps featured reading and math proficiency. In addition, the annual Fantasy Fishing camp is being held on campus this summer.   
Registration is still open for a number of camps, including Cyber Camp (elementary and middle school ages), Discover Your PATHe (middle school and high school), and the College of Education’s Ultimate STEM Camp.

USF Night with the Threshers

usf night with the threshers game info graphic

The Pinellas County Alumni Chapter of the USF Alumni Association is hosting USF Night with the Threshers on Saturday, July 20, 2024 at 4 pm. Tickets include open seating at the corner picnic terrace and in Section 119 and 120, as well as all you can eat hotdogs, hamburgers, peanuts, popcorn and soft drinks. Learn more and get your tickets here.

Applications open for construction-focused mentor protégé program

USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity 2025 Mentor Protégé Program group

USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity 2025 Mentor Protégé Program actively engages Tampa Bay area small and diverse construction-focused subcontractors in a comprehensive training and development program. We are excited to welcome Skanska USA as our 2025 program partner. This 10-week initiative aims to fortify businesses and enhance their capacity. Participants benefit from instruction provided by USF faculty and staff, Skanska USA, and other USF strategic industry experts.

Program Information:

  • Application Period: May 1, 2024 - June 28, 2024
  • Program Launch Date: August 1, 2024

For full details about the program and how to apply please click here.

Employ-A-Bull: Marketing major signs anthem on Rays’ game day

haven performing sign language of the national anthem at the Rays game

Haven Griner's summer internship at the Tampa Bay Rays is turning out to be more than she expected. As a member of the Tampa Bay Rays team, she was hired to help entertain the crowd during games. But, when the team learned she was fluent in American Sign Language, she was asked to fill-in during the national anthem. Griner was already familiar with signing the song, so she was able to fill in with ease. Haven grew up in the St. Petersburg area and is a marketing major with an American Sign Language minor.

College of Ed, MOTE Marine Lab partner to offer community-based education internship

worker at MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium speaking to a group of kids

The College of Education continues to grow its Bachelors of Science in Educational Studies (BXS) program, partnering with community-based organizations for field experience internships. One of our newest community partners, MOTE Marine Laboratory and Aquarium, is hosting its first summer intern from the program, leading a group of students through a marine science summer camp. Campers explore the wonders of marine animals and environments, participating in STEM education over the summer. Our St. Petersburg student intern plans curriculum-based lessons, manages students, and teaches in the informal educational setting while completing her final internship. The BXS program allows students who want to work in education but in nontraditional educational settings the chance to gain hands-on experiences in community-based placements.

Other new community-based partnerships include Selby Gardens, the Ringling Museum, and the McDonald Training Center, as well as other museums and nonprofit organizations. Partnerships for interns in the BXS program continue to expand where teaching and training are an integral part of the organization. This allows the College of Education to grow relationships with community partners. 

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