USF Firefighter Based Exercise Study Shows Progress

The University of South Florida is showing progress in a firefighter based exercise study they funded this May. The study spans four departments, including St. Pete, Temple Terrace, Tampa, and Hillsborough County.

This study utilizes five exercises to strengthen firefighter’s lower backs and core in hopes of reducing the risk of injury.

Firefighters carry approximately 75 pounds in gear alone, though this number can rise to over 100 pounds when additional gear is needed for a call. This weight in addition to the need to respond quickly puts firefighters at a higher risk for back injuries and chronic back pain.

St. Petersburg Division Chief of Safety and Training, Joseph Bruni has been seen his fair share of these injuries throughout his work in the department.

“We have about 50 to 55 injuries a year in a department of this size of 350 personnel,” Bruni said, “and the leading injuries that we see are back and knee injuries”

Bruni who completes the exercises himself speaks highly of the study and what it has accomplished for him.

“It’s helped a great deal as far as my back feels and at the age that I’m at now and the years that I have on the job,” Bruni said. “The exercises that I’ve been doing here in the study has helped substantially.”

While the potential for the final Fall 2017 results are too soon to tell Principal Investigator, John Mayer can attest that what they have accomplished so far is working.

“Anecdotally we have some evidence to support that the exercises are indeed helping the firefighters with their job and to prevent back injuries,” Mayer said.

The next installment of this study can be seen later in this year as the research team pushes towards the potential for national implementation.

Affordability of education abroad

 

Once the haze of being accepted into the USF in Florence summer abroad program wore off, reality kicked in and showed up asking for payments.

Louise Cardenas, 19, didn’t expect to be in such a financial bind. Finances had never been an issue since she had been receiving aid since her first semester at USF. With no coverage being offered for her trip over the summer months, Cardenas was at a crossroads.

“I don’t think that abroad programs are affordable for the average student  trying to minimize unnecessary spending,” Cardenas said. “The only way to realistically study abroad is by paying out of pocket because you can’t count on scholarships or financial aid.”

The USF Education Abroad office has well-established programs in over 25 countries giving students a variety of choices, but many shy away from the thought of even applying because studying abroad is associated with being unaffordable.

Students are encouraged to seize the opportunity to take anywhere from a semester to a year abroad. While the motivation for studying abroad for each student is different, the most common reason is for the experience and introduction of a new culture.

Students already hold the financial responsibilities of paying up to $6,410 for tuition alone not including housing, books or miscellaneous expenses. Any additional financial expenses could be difficult to fund.

Each program cost varies on the location and the amount of time spent on the program. Most semester programs are estimated on the higher end of about $5,000 for tuition and housing. When adding on airfare, passport fees, books and travel money, the price dramatically increases. Students must consider whether the experience is worth the stress it could bring financially.

Jim Pulos, the associate director of Education Abroad, has encountered many students who believe that abroad programs are cost prohibitive.

“It’s a common misconception,” said Pulos. “We have designed our programs to be within the range of  most students’ finances.”

In some cases the costs of a program can result in being around the same price or cheaper than a normal semester. Pulos recommended that all students seek financial assistance.

The office holds regular funding sessions inviting presenters from other on-campus scholarship offices. Students are also eligible for grants, loans and scholarships open exclusively to students studying internationally. In the past, as much as $34,550 have been given away in scholarships.

Programs like USF in Florence are prime examples of the scholarship exclusivity offered. The Florence School of Record scholarship is a $1,000 award available to 35 of the programs committed students.

USF abroad offices are dedicated to making the programs affordable, but each student’s eligibility varies. Many students don’t qualify for grants or miss scholarships due to limited awards. One students experience could be entirely out of pocket while another may never know the stress of the financial side of spectrum.

Irene John, 20, was one of the fortunate students who had her expenses covered by the George W. Jenkins Scholarship. John traveled to Costa Rica last spring and has made plans to apply for another program.

“If I didn’t have my scholarship, I would still choose to study abroad,” John said. “The money is nothing in comparison to the experience you get to have.”

The response from students who have participated in abroad programs is conclusive in the money being worth the experience.

Cardenas happens to be one of the 35 students in her program who have received the scholarship award. Although it doesn’t calm her worries about the financial expenses she’s still dealing with, she is at ease knowing that the abroad offices do indeed offer assistance as advertised.

“Money plays a huge part, but it isn’t everything,” Cardenas said . “I would encourage everyone to apply regardless of their funds because like they say this is once in a lifetime.”

Singing for Shriners Reaches New Heights, Hospital Shows Appreciation

In 2012, the University of South Florida chapter of the Theta Chi fraternity had a wonderful idea for a philanthropy event that would provide fundraising for a worthwhile cause. The event would also intend to provide incredible entertainment for all involved. Theta Chi focused on the local community and realized that they could help bring funding and awareness to the Shriners Hospitals for Children-Tampa located on USF’s campus.

Groups, primarily from the Greek community, collaborate in order to select two songs to be performed on the day of the event. This year, the concert had the most registered groups ever, with 10 female performances and 5 male performances competing for the title of champions.

So where does the fundraising come in? That process begins months before the actual day of the event. Each group contributes a registration fee and is expected to make an effort to raise funds from the USF community by encouraging t-shirt and ticket sales. The higher the funds raised, more points are added to the overall performance scores at Singing for Shriners.

When performance day came along, the Theta Chi brothers experienced an unexpected dilemma, as the audience reached maximum capacity in the theatre. Of all the problems that they could have faced this was a welcome one.

Jessica Hill, the Public Relations Specialist at Shriners-Tampa, was front and center for the show, even speaking on behalf of the hospital to the crowd.

“It means so much to have the support”, she said. “Theta Chi, in doing this, is helping to send love to the rescue for so many kids in our area.”

USF student Ally Lindsay has been attending the event for several years and she said that although it’s always nice to have a night full of entertainment, having representatives from the Hospital in attendance, “It'[s] a very important part of the event because you can see these people and see where all the money that everyone’s raising is going to.”

The performances didn’t disappoint and the crowd was enthralled from beginning to end. Perhaps the best part of the evening was finishing off the event with Theta Chi handing over a check to Shriner’s Hospital for $11,000.

A Place To Play, Learn And Grow

The Glazer Children’s Museum hosts a wide variety of interactive exhibits with topics ranging from the deep ocean to deep space, which kids can play with to understand the world around them. Open year-round, the museum is constantly cycling through new events to make every visit a unique experience.

“As far as the events go, it’s an all staff kind of opinions. All of us continue to feed our opinions as to what will work and what caters to the families in which we serve,” said Alyssa Ortiz, marketing and communications manager at Glazer.

Frequent visitors to the museum have the option to purchase memberships. According to the museum website,  members gain access to special features, including: invitations to member-only events and previews, discounts to partnering organizations, museums, and aquariums, three dollars off general admission for guests and more.

For visitors that frequent the museum less often, there are still many activities that all children can enjoy.

“I love bringing my daughter to the museum because the museum offers so many different activities for her to learn and do,” said Vu Lieu, a visitor at the Glazer Children’s Museum.

Parents can be confident that their children will enjoy learning through interactions with various activities in a safe, controlled environment.

Visit the Glazer Children’s Museum and start the journey to a bright future.

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Photo courtesy of the Glazer Children’s Museum website.

Eckerd Kids’ Friends of the Children program becomes first to only work with foster care kids

For over 20 years, Eckerd Kids has been helping at-risk youth in the Tampa community.

Their Friends of the Children program provides these youths with a professional mentor to work with them through life. The mentors begin their work with the students when they are in kindergarten or first grade, and they remain with the students through to their high school graduation.

“I love the role I’m working in now,”said Justin Goldsmith, one of Eckerd’s professional mentors. “I wake up every morning and I thank God for putting me in this predicament to help the youth.”

Friends of the Children is the first program to work exclusively with kids in the foster care system. Many of the students that are chosen for this program are considered the most vulnerable students in their area.

“When I was 4, I didn’t have any friends. I was all by myself,” said Kaden Figueras, 7, a student in the Eckerd program for two years. “Now I’m being a leader and having fun.”

The program has nine mentors working with over 60 students across Pinellas, Pasco and Hillsborough counties.

“I just want to let the youth know that they can be leaders, or they can be whatever they want to in life,”Goldsmith said.

USF BASEBALL FIGHTS CANCER ON THE FIELD

For the second straight year, the USF Baseball team partnered up with the V.S. Cancer Foundation to shave their heads in order to raise money in support of the fight against childhood cancer.

“It’s such a great thing to do. Hopefully we make a small dent in conquering this disease someday,” said Mark Kingston, head coach of the USF Baseball team. “We’ll always want to do our part.”

It takes a lot of passion and a lot of drive to make it to the division one level, let alone be successful. The Bulls channel that same energy to give back and help others.

“We have it so good,” Kingston said. “To be able to give back to children that are battling terrible diseases like this, it’s important to gain that perspective.”

This event hits especially close to home for pitching coach Billy Mohl, who lost his wife to cancer in 2013.

“I promised my wife when she passed away that I would do something in terms of raising money for cancer research,” Mohl said. “I can think of no better way to do it than on a baseball field with all these guys.”

There were 74 other schools around the country who participated in this year’s V.S. Cancer fundraiser. The Bulls raised more than $11,000, the eighth most out of any school.

The proceeds will be split between the V.S. Cancer Foundation and Tampa General Hospital.

Student Rush brings Lightning tickets to students for a fair price

Over the past few years, the Tampa Bay Lightning’s Student Rush ticket program has gained popularity.

The program gives students with a valid high school or college ID the chance to purchase the best available tickets shortly before game time at a fair price.

“We think it’s a great program for both sides,” said Patrick Abts, the Lightning’s Digital Marketing Manager who oversees Student Rush. “It allows us to fill some of the last remaining seats with some of our best fans.”

Students are allowed to line up for Student Rush tickets as early as 7 a.m. on game days, and remain in line until two hours prior to game time to be given a wristband with their number in line.

Thirty minutes before game time, the students are led to the box office where they can purchase the best available tickets at a discounted rate. For the playoffs, any remaining lower level seats will be sold for $50, which normally ranges between $100 and $300. Standing room and upper level tickets will be sold for $25.

“Student Rush is amazing,” said Kristen Thomas, who arrived at 9 a.m. for tickets. “We do this all the time. It gives us a chance to root on the Bolts when we normally wouldn’t be able to afford playoff tickets. “

Organizers believe that if the Lightning continues through the playoffs, the demand will continue to grow and ultimately exceed the supply.

“We’re guaranteeing 100 tickets per game for the playoffs,” Abts said. “We don’t know until game time whether they are lower, upper, or standing room, but we’re guaranteeing 100 per game and may have more depending on the game.”

Abts and his colleagues agree that the best way students can guarantee themselves a Student Rush ticket is to arrive as close to 7 a.m. as possible.

Plant High School’s Mary Radigan wins Teacher of the Year

Students at Henry B. Plant High School are united by special needs instructor, Mary Radigan.

Radigan leads several programs for her students that teach more than academics. They learn work and social skills that are critical for life after graduation.

“The staff and the student body embrace this population and there’s so much acceptance to diversity,” Radigan said. “The whole world is inclusion.”

She was recognized as Hillsborough County’s Teacher of the Year in March for her work. Plant High Principal Robert Nelson is grateful to have her on his staff.

“She takes it to the next level,” Nelson said. “The patience she has for her kids, the kindness, and the way she advocates for them set her apart.”

Students learn basic work skills at a coffee shop on campus. They brew, sell, and deliver coffee right outside of their classroom.

They also built and now maintain an organic garden on campus. Soil and plants grown are studied by AP Environmental Studies students. The fruits and vegetables are used in the school cafeteria.

“I like it because of the exposure,” Radigan said. “They’re out there working and it promotes inclusion with the students walking by.”

Additionally, Radigan is a coach of the Unified Special Olympics teams. Plant High Special Olympics teams for flag football and basketball competed at the state level this year.

“To be a successful school you want to give them those extracurricular activities,” Nelson said. “You want to create that culture where kids are excited to come to school.”

 

 

Water sports fun and competition for the family

The Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team hosts weekly shows on Saturday nights from April to October at its home location in Oldsmar in Tower Lake.

The team has been around since the 1960’s. It focuses on both the entertainment and competitive side of water skiing.

“Most of the families that join us, join us because they want to get their kids involved in something,” said Steve Sacone, the team president. “They’re not looking to get involved in typical youth sports, they’re looking for something a little bit different.”

Veteran skier and University of South Florida professor Dr. Larry Dunleavy is focusing on the upcoming Southern Regional Championship in Sarasota June 18-19.

“We’ve won a bunch of times, but the competition is getting better all the time,” Dr. Dunleavy said. “We’re always looking for fresh faces to help improve the team.”

The team is always looking for new members and there is never a limit on how many people can participate. Anyone looking to join can find more information on the the Tampa Bay Water Ski Show Team website or go to one of its many practices during the week.

Gumbo Boogie Band Brings Swamp Sound to Town

The Gumbo Boogie Band has been bringing the sound of the swamp to audiences nationwide since 1995, and this Sunday they bring their instruments to Ace’s Lounge in Bradenton.

Their sound is reflective of the band’s name, combining zydeco influences with modern rock to create melodies that pay homage to both the past and the present. Most importantly, they maintain a catalog of original work and covers that are sure to satisfy audiences who prefer these two genres.

It is not often that Bradenton plays host to musical acts with national renown. The Gumbo Boogie Band has performed with established acts such as Buckwheat Zydeco, one of the foremost musicians within the zydeco genre.

The quartet is headed by Ryan Langley, who handles vocals while also playing the piano and accordion. The other three members are drummer Chaz Trippy, saxophonist Ken Smith, and bassist/vocalist Steve Wigginton.

Despite performing together for over 20 years, the band remains in touch with its roots, as they have not reached a level of stardom that precludes them from the less glorious aspects of life as a musical act. This includes hauling their own equipment from gig to gig.

“We all bring our own equipment to each gig, and the degree of help provided varies from venue to venue,” said Ryan Langley. “In the case of Ace’s, owner Renee is who we contacted to sort out the details of when to arrive and what to expect.”

When it comes to performing at Ace’s, the band plans to arrive roughly an hour before their 5 p.m. performance time for a number of reasons.

“Typically we go through our set, testing our gear and going through a brief warm-up to make sure our sound is where we want it to be,” said bassist Steve Wigginton.

However, music is not the only thing that is typically discussed as the band passes the time leading up to a performance. They simply spend too much time together for the minutiae of life not to come up.

“Most of the time we find ourselves talking about what is going on in our lives, family and all of that,” said Smith. “Other times we discuss possible venues that we could play in the future.”

The pre-performance set up and discussions are all part of the group’s shared musical passion. Their existence as a band allows them to collectively follow their individual ambitions as musicians.

The Gumbo Boogie Band’s next stop: Ace’s Lounge located at 4343 Palma Sola Blvd. in Bradenton.

Admission is free and music begins at 5 p.m. Sunday.

Tampa Pride Rises Strong Again

Live entertainment, influential guest speakers, and the waving of rainbow flags dominated the streets of Ybor City during the second annual Tampa Gay Pride parade and festival.

With the legalization of same-sex marriage passed in all 50 states since June of 2015, supporters and newcomers in the LGBT community are thrilled with the return of Tampa Pride, and vow for continued efforts to end discrimination in Florida.

“I think it’s a big influential part of the LGBT community,” said Achilles, an LGBT supporter. “You know it’s phenomenal. So, why not share it with the world?”

The event not only attracted new festivalgoers, vendors were also drawn in by the large crowd.

“It’s my first time, and I’m kind of loving it,” said Kara Wroblewski, owner of Happy Place Tie Dye.

While her company earns a profit from hand dyeing plain white t-shirts into any color the customer wants, Wroblewski said she also favors meeting new people at the festival.

“The people are sweet, I love it,” Wroblewski said. “Any time you can get a group of like-minded people together, it’s the way to go.”

The Pride celebration not only aims to usher in newcomers and supporters, forming a family with the LGBT community is another goal.

“They may have not have had the best past, they may have been thrown out or kicked out or lived on the street,” said Lindsey, a festivalgoer. “So they find a place to fit in, and be a part of a family because they want to be loved.”

 

Walking for a Cause

The American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life may be about raising money for cancer research, but it also honors those who have been affected by the disease.

Relay for Life events around the nation give survivors a chance to celebrate their good health with event activities such as the Survivor Lap. This lap opens every Relay for Life event around the country.

“Whenever you take a lap around for the Survivor Lap, everyone is just cheering you on and there’s all this positive energy just, like, hope for survival,” said caregiver Genevieve Rodriguez. “It’s just a great atmosphere.”

Cancer survivors receive a special T-shirt and sash to wear during the duration of the event so that everyone knows they have overcome the disease.

Their caregivers also receive a commemorative sash to wear.

“Now as a survivor of an insidious breast cancer, which could come back at any time, to be considered a survivor is a wonderful miracle,” said survivor Eileen Golisz.

Luminary bags are another way that Relay for Life participants can honor family and friends that are continuing to fight or have died of cancer.

Each bag is decorated and then lined up along the track. They are lit with candles during the Luminaria Ceremony that takes place at night along with a silent lap, where participants walk the track in silence to memorialize loved ones who have died of cancer.

To learn more about Relay for Life and its contributions to the American Cancer Society, visit www.relayforlife.org.

Baseball league creates lasting friendships for special needs children

Baseball can be more than just a sport. America’s pastime has this unique ability to bring people from all different walks of life together. This is especially true for Buddy Baseball commissioner Russ Oberbroeckling.

“My sister has a league in Illinois,” Oberbroeckling said. “ Once I saw how well that league was going up there I figured we should have this here in Tampa. We started in the fall of 2009 and we have two seasons a year, we’re just finishing up our fourteenth season.”

Based in Temple Terrace, Buddy Baseball is a non-competitive league for boys and girls with special needs. The players are each paired with a buddy that they will spend the entirety of the season with.

“For typical kids, they don’t have a lot of chances to interact with kids with special needs,” Oberbroeckling said. “But now they do. They want to volunteer their time and get to know these kids. Not only that, but when they see them out in the general public, they are a little more receptive to them.”

Thanks to Buddy Baseball, players like Zach Mueller have been given the opportunity to break down social barriers.

“I like to play baseball with my focus kids,” Mueller said.

Mueller has been involved with Buddy Baseball for its entire existence. His mother, Kim, has seen the effect the league has had on her son and his teammates.

“Once the buddies come out here, I think they see that life isn’t always about being able to run the bases like an average kid can,” she said. “I’m hoping that if at least just one buddy of the hundreds that have come through in the last 14 seasons, take away from it that life isn’t always so simple.”

This league isn’t about the results. Simply put, it’s about the memories and the experiences that will last forever.

“No matter what, win or lose,  we are baseball winners,” Mueller said.

How a nationwide nonprofit organization is helping Tampa

Proclaiming that they are the “first name in second chances,” Eckerd is a nationwide nonprofit organization that focuses on providing solutions that help struggling families and young adults thrive.

At the Eckerd Achievement Academy office in downtown Tampa, teachers Stephen Zambito and Tamara Johnson are just some of the staff that has been hired to teach some at-risk teens in the Tampa Bay community. Through this program their goal is to obtain their high school or GED diploma when traditional schooling options are no longer an option.

Johnson and Zambito create a safe place for these students who often come from broken homes and were children of the foster care system. Many of the students love it at Eckerd and consider it a family type atmosphere.

Every job comes with its ups and downs. Johnson said the hardest part of this particular job is getting attached to the students. “These kids are like my own and it’s really hard when one day they are here and the next day they are gone.” She also said that when they lack motivation it is hard to steer them in the right direction.

Zambito expressed the same sentiment saying, “Over the ten years I have done this I have definitely learned patience.”

Eckerd not only provides high school and GED diploma services, but also juvenile justice, child welfare, and behavioral health services for those in need. For more information about Eckerd please visit Eckerd.org or call 800-554-HELP.

 

 

 

 

Local Dads, USF Student Team Up to Save Lives

Two Tampa dads are hoping to prevent hot car deaths with the help of their new invention. It’s called Sense-a-Life and it’s a wireless and Bluetooth powered system made up of sensors, pressure meters, and a cellphone app.

Fadi Shamma, a pharmacist, and Jim Friedman, an engineer, teamed up to end tragic stories of children being left in vehicles.

“It brings such agony of a child being hurt no matter who it is,” Shamma said. “And so I’m like, ‘Jim, you’re an excellent engineer. You’re great at what you do. You know, here’s a problem, let’s come up with a solution.’”

When the driver door opens and a child is in the car seat, a voice alert comes on to remind the parent to take the child out. Then, an alert is sent straight to his cellphone. If the child is still not removed, an alert is sent to a second parent or guardian. The app will also notify police, if needed.

The app was created by USF student Masud Hossain, who is the co-founder and CFO of Sense-a-Life.

“It’s very easy and simple to use and I think it’s a simple solution to a common problem”, Hossain said.

According kidsandcars.org, 38 children die each year from being left in a hot vehicle.

“We’re selling a simple reminder,” Shamma said. “And if our simple reminder system, you know, will help a parent double check or think twice and it saves one life a year, we’re happy.”

Friedman, Hossain, and Shamma’s collective goal is to make this device affordable so that every car seat has a Sense-a-Life installed. Their product will be on the market later this year. For more information and to support their Kickstarter campaign, visit www.sensealife.com.

 

Up-And-Coming Production Company Growing In Tampa

Diamond View Studios is a local production company devoted to creating excellent content. With a crew of 15 team members, creative juices are always flowing in their new state of the art studio located right off Bearss Avenue.

“Every single person who works there is truly passionate about video and about creating terrific content,” said operations manager Jonathan Hickson. “You come in and we’re having fun and it looks like we’re just playing around but really, we’re working really hard and we’re creating content that we’re proud of.”

Diamond View’s clientele is quite diverse, ranging from the University of South Florida to companies like Red Bull and Allstate.

“We’re constantly looking for new creative concepts — new hardware we can use, new software we can use. We’re always just striving to take it to one more level above what we already are right now,” said Shane Sackett, a recent intern turned associate producer.

Founded in 2007, the company outgrew office space after office space before setting their eyes on an available brick building. The open space and modern design of the studio are hard to miss, and Tampa Bay Business Journal recognized them as the 2016 Coolest Office Space.

“I didn’t think I’d like working anywhere as much as I do working at Diamond View,” Hickson said.

Production inquiries can be sent through their website, diamondviewstudios.com, or their telephone number, 800-613-9693.

Corolla Turned “Truckolla”

There are many reasons people in the United States love trucks.  They are great for driving off-road, hauling trailers and managing fuel economy.  Trucks are the kind of vehicle that can turn boys into men in a heartbeat.  However, can a car be like a truck or at least look like one?

“Turning cars into trucks can happen,” said Nikola Vlacic, a graduate from the University of South Florida.

On Feb. 26, with the help of his friends, he proved this to be true.  The car that Vlacic chose to get the job done was his beloved 2001 Toyota Corolla.  As a result, the car went from Corolla to “Truckolla” in a 12-hour conversion.  Sit back, relax and see the all new 2016 Toyota “Truckolla” come to life.

Tampa Bay residents Walk Like MADD to end drunken driving

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is an organization that was founded in 1980 by a mother whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. MADD introduced designated driver programs as a solution to drinking and driving, which brought the organization more exposure and awareness to the importance of not driving under the influence. The MADD West Central Florida affiliate was created 32 years ago in Hillsborough County to further educate the community on the preventable issue.

MADD Hillsborough hosted an annual Walk Like MADD fundraising event. Their goal was to raise money for the victims of the community and to remember the lives lost. There were vendors as well as music and games to get the community excited about coming out for MADD’s 3-mile walk.

Sgt. Jason Napoli is in charge of the Hillsborough County DUI Enforcement squad; he has seen a significant response to what MADD is doing.

“Well they’re important because we’re recognizing the victims of drunk driving and celebrating the work that mothers against drunk driving does here in the community,” Napoli said.

Along with fundraising, MADD is making other strides to improve the issue. They work heavily with the Sheriff’s Office and other organizations to keep the roadways safe.

“MADD has partnered with Uber to make ride sharing a more convenient option after late nights partying,” said Daniel Mayer, an Uber representative. “Our overall mission is to just provide a safer alternative for people trying to get home safe after drinking.”

MADD has made significant progress with education and the community but their executive board feels there is a lot more work to do with regards to preventing the crime.

MADD Hillsborough County is always accepting donations and volunteers; for more information visit http://www.madd.org/fl/westcentralfl

 

 

USF’s Solar Energy Fair

On Saturday Mar. 26, the Solar Energy Society at USF held their annual Solar Energy Fair. It is an event created to help teach the Tampa community about the latest innovations and technologies offered around the city. At this year’s event, there were Question and Answer panels with University professors and specialists; however, the true heart of the event lies with the students who make it all possible.

This year, two USF graduates presented their research to the public in order to share their new ideas. “I have always been a solar enthusiast,” said Arun Kumar. “I hope that these technologies and my research can be used in Third World countries to help other people.”

New breakthroughs are also coming from female students, such as Francesca Moloney who said: “From an early age I knew I wanted to focus my career on something in the environment.”

Both of these students hope to take their research and implement them at the university and across the Tampa Bay area. If their research and innovations succeed, they hope to apply them around the world. They aspire to build awareness in the community about the research being conducted, so that people can make wiser choices in their everyday lives.

USF NAVIGATORS DRAW STUDENTS CLOSER TO FAITH

Among a list of hundreds of student organizations on campus, one feels its message is especially life-changing. The USF Navigators are a non-denominational community of students with a mission to grow in their relationship with God and to impact the world around them.

“It’s bringing you into fellowship more, helping you grow in your faith more and teaching you how to dissect the Bible and understand the overall meaning,” Monica Pritchard said.

The group achieves this fellowship in a few ways. This past spring break, the USF Navigators went on a service trip to Atlanta, Ga. On a more local scale, they meet Wednesday nights in room 3707 of the Marshall Student Center for Nav Night.

Additionally, they host different Bible studies throughout the week, participate in intramural sports together and share in fellowship through different extracurricular activities.

“Bible studies are just a great way for students to grow closer to the Lord and closer to each other as they pursue the Lord together,” said Luc Lawrence, a USF Navigators staff member.

Most recently, the USF Navigators held a night of worship, where a student band played songs of praise. Those in attendance were welcome to come and worship as they felt called to. In the fall, the group will be transitioning to a new campus director, Andrew Duran, as the current director Chris Gatlyn moves to Virginia.

“It’s a good atmosphere, it’s good people and it’s a good purpose,” Pritchard said.