Rebecca Forman

Rebecca Forman has written 10 posts for The Digital Bullpen

15 companies were hiring at the College of Business Corporate Connections event

Photo credit: Rebecca Forman

It’s incredibly difficult to find a job these days, right? Think again.

On Thursday, in the College of Business Atrium, sat tables with 15 companies waiting to talk to graduate students of the college. All of them had full-time positions to fill.

Lindsay Burke, a graduate student earning a master’s of science in marketing, arrived decked out in her business attire, ready to mingle with her possible future employers.

“I hope to make at least some sort of connections for some possible job opportunities,” she said.

Burke was most excited to talk to Nielsen, which is one company she would like to do data and market research analysis for.

Another company represented was Internet retailer Web Direct Brands. The CEO, Anthony Gaeto, who is a USF alum, enjoys coming to campus because it is a tie to the community.

“We’ve actually got four people that we’ve recruited from these types of events. One of them being our vice president and one of them our director of operations,” he said.

Gaeto realizes this is a challenging job environment but he said students are coming to the table with lots of talents. He shared some advice as to what impresses him and makes students stand out.

“We really look for a sort of consistency, an ethics in their past jobs. We shy away from people who change jobs every six months. Even if you’re a bag boy for three years, it shows the ethics to stay with your work,” he said.

So, Bulls, there are jobs out there waiting for you – you just have to look in the right places. Heck, I even got asked what I was doing after graduation!

Companies in Attendance:

  1. Chase
  2. TQL (Total Quality Logistics)
  3. Bisk Education
  4. Tech Data Corporation
  5. Defense Contract Audit Agency
  6. Verizon Wireless*
  7. Nielsen
  8. First Investors Corporation*
  9. Citigroup
  10. Northwestern Mutual
  11. Target Corporation
  12. Kass Shuler, PA*
  13. Accounting Principles
  14. Prudential
  15. Web Direct Brands

* denotes new to the event

College of Business ’25 under 25′ program applications due March 6

Photo credit: Rebecca Forman

Ryan Spellins remembers how important last year’s 25 Under 25 award in the College of Business was for him.

The recognition has helped him land a pretty sweet job.

“I’m going to be starting as a financial analyst for Goldman Sachs in the middle of March. I just received that job offer this week,” he said.

Ryan Spellins/Courtesy: USF

He had planned to enter the Marine Corps for flight school, but when military cuts delayed everything, he decided to pursue his other passion: finance. Now, he’s on his way to Salt Lake City, Utah.

“It just gave me the opportunity to network and be comfortable with high-up management, executives, and just really be involved with the community,” he said.

The College of Business is taking applications for its 25 under 25 program, which recognizes 25 undergraduates under the age of 25 who have demonstrated excellence in at least two of the following four areas: scholarship, professional development, leadership, and community/campus service.

Applicants must be admitted to the College of Business and have a minimum 3.0 cumulative GPA at the time of application.

Below is a video the College of Business has provided for tips on filling out the application, which is due no later than 11:59 p.m. on March 6.

Status update: Understanding Facebook’s IPO

Last week Facebook announced an IPO valued at $5 billion, a record for Internet companies.

But what does it all mean?

Firstly, an IPO stands for Initial Public Offering. It essentially means Facebook is changing its profile from private to public and allowing the public to buy stock in the company and own a piece of the pie.

“When going public you need to produce profits,” said Mikael Bergbrant, Ph.D. candidate in the department of finance in the College of Business. “When you’re a private company, many times you can leave out the possibility of future profits. But once the stockholders start having an input, then they usually want to see the bottom line really start increasing.”

Bergbrant said the impact this will have on the individual user relies on the stockholders.

One benefit of these new developments is the release of Facebook’s once private financial information.

Facebook is said to hold a value between $75 and $100 billion and it generated $3.71 billion in revenue in 2011.

It may surprise you that Zynga (the company responsible for your growing addiction to “Words With Friends” and all of the games that end in ‘ville’) made up 12 percent of that 2011 revenue.

So how does all of this affect the 845 million monthly active users?

“If you have new money, you can introduce new applications, new programs,” said Erdem Ucar, who is also a Ph.D. candidate in the College of Business. “There are good things and bad things, but basically they go public because they need to raise funds.”

In the short term, the site will most likely not see many changes. Facebook might implement new site tactics when there is pressure to keep the shareholders happy. They could develop new ways of advertising, like making money off of private user data.

It will certainly be interesting to see how this affects Mark Zuckerberg, who will now make one dollar every year, and whether he will give up his position as CEO.

USF students save lives

Jordanna Bergman, a sophomore studying biology, took time out of her day to donate blood at the Florida Blood Services bloodmobile outside of the Sun Dome parking lot.

Bergman started donating blood in high school after a cross country fundraiser encouraged her to do so. She donates as often as she can, which is every three months.

Why donate blood? “Why not,” she said.

Donating one pint of blood can save up to three lives. According to the USF Donors Facebook page,  USF donates approximately four thousand pints each year.

Bergman also received a coupon for a free appetizer at T.G.I. FRiDAY’S and a sports bottle.

Bloodmobiles can be found every Tuesday at the Sun Dome and every Wednesday outside of the Marshall Student Center from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

International Fest offers daily multicultural events for USF students, staff during International Education Week

The countdown is on for International Education Week, a nationwide effort promoted by the U.S. Departments of State and Education that will feature more than a dozen events.

The theme for the 12th annual International Education Week is “International Education: Inspiring Students Locally to Succeed Globally.”

“It celebrates the benefits of understanding the world around us so we can better communicate and collaborate with others from different cultures,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a video on the U.S. Department of Education’s YouTube channel. “It is an ideal opportunity to inspire students to broaden their horizons through global learning, foreign languages and international exchange.”

USF’s International Education Week will showcase music, performances, lectures, conferences and exhibits. Monday, Nov. 14, will feature four events, including a lecture about the July 22 shooting massacre in Norway.

The anthropology department will host a reception and lecture by Thomas Hylland Eriksen, a professor of anthropology at the University of Oslo in Norway. He will speak about global threats to multiculturalism and how anthropology can help to make sense of such events.

Tuesday will be dedicated to the second annual International Fest, to be held from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Martin Luther King Jr. Plaza.

“This year’s International Fest hopes to educate students about different cultures and make them aware that they are part of a global community,” said Samantha Toro, International Fest committee chair of Student Government. “In modern times our daily activities do not just have an impact on our local communities — they affect people thousands of miles away whose cultures and worldviews may be very different from our own. International Education Week hopes to expose American students to the different nationalities they may not interact with on a daily basis, but with whom they are still economically, politically, and socially intertwined.”

Student Government is hosting International Fest. Its website boasts that more than 150 student groups and organizations will be present with informational booths, food tastings and multicultural music and dance performances.

USF’s Herd of Thunder show band will kick off the event with a parade of flags presentation. The event is free and open to the public. More than 1,500 people are expected to attend.

Wednesday will feature three events. One of those events will be USF’s first “National Day of Languages.” Club Creole will host a celebration of languages from every part of the world. The event encourages individuals and organizations to join in and give attendees a basic lesson in their own language. This event will be in the Marshall Student Center from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Thursday’s schedule has five events listed. Among those is an event to commemorate the Peace Corps’ 50 years of global contributions. Peace Corps Deputy Director Carrie Hessler-Radelet will give a keynote address and a panel of Peace Corps volunteers will share their experiences. The event will be broadcast live for those unable to attend.

International Education Week will wrap up on Friday with a photography exhibit called “Faces of Hope: The Forgotten Children of Peru” being shown in the Centre Gallery of the Marshall Student Center.

Each of these events has a flyer with details that can be found on USF World’s website at

Study abroad trip encourages GloBull Ambassador

Joshua Leigh and Meg Fishco are GloBull Ambassadors who help guide students who are considering a study abroad program. Photo / Rebecca Forman

Despite a less-than-perfect childhood, which included a custody battle that kept him from traveling, Joshua Leigh finally realized his dream of going abroad and is now helping others do the same.

Leigh, a USF sophomore majoring in international business, is a part of Education Abroad’s new outreach program: GloBull Ambassadors. The program allows USF students who have traveled abroad to serve as ambassadors, share their experiences with other students and answer questions brochures and websites cannot, Leigh said.

“I just recently came back from a four-week summer program over in England, and I had a great time there and I learned so much about myself,” Leigh said. “I just feel like I want to kind of give back in a way to the people who haven’t or to the people who are worried, because I was there.”

Meg Fishco, a senior majoring in English literature, is also a GloBull Ambassador. She said she studied abroad with Leigh.

“When I first met Josh, I became acquainted with the small town life he was used to,” Fishco said. “Josh welcomed the new experience with open arms and in return has blossomed into an independent, young man who is ready to take on the world and encourage others to do so also.”

Born and raised in Brandon, Fla., Leigh had just 15 students in his graduating class at Providence Christian School, making everything about this trip a pretty big deal. He said it was his first time out of the country, his first time flying alone and his first international flight.

“I’ve always wanted to travel, ever since I was a little boy,” he said. “Everywhere fascinated me. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to go to as many places as I wanted, due to my parental status. I have a sister and we live with our dad, but I haven’t talked to my mom in five years.”

Leigh’s parents divorced when he was three years old. Much of his upbringing involved a custody battle filled with legal issues that made it impossible for him to even leave the state, he said.

“It was a hindrance in the way that I wanted to travel, but I do feel like it happened for a reason,” he said. “I feel like I’m a stronger and wiser person for that, so in a way it balanced out. And plus, I’m kind of glad that I traveled later on because I feel like I know more about myself and it’s something I can truly appreciate now, rather than just going there for fun.”

Leigh said the trials of his upbringing helped bring him a stronger relationship with his father.

“There was a time when everything was going on that we didn’t, but I feel like now we’re strong and we have a better relationship, because we were able to go through all of the hardships together,” he said. “He was my No. 1 fan and was always supporting me and putting me and my sister first.”

Leigh is available to students in the library Starbucks every Thursday from 2:15 p.m. to 4 p.m. as a GloBull Ambassador. Meanwhile, he’s already thinking about his next trip: Italy, a country he’s always wanted to live in, he said. He advised students to make the most of every day as he’s learned to do.

“Not every day is granted,” he said. “We just have to live life to our fullest potential and we just have to do what we want to do ultimately, just because you never know what’s going to happen.”

International student recruitment efforts prove effective

A report from International Services reveals that the University of South Florida’s international student enrollment has reached an all-time high, with a 20 percent increase over last year.

The total fall enrollment for international students was 1,745, according to a tally released last month.

USF has been working toward increasing its international student population using overseas expos and student programs. INTO USF offers programs designed for international students who want to earn a degree in the U.S. but need assistance with language and other entry requirements.

Ghassan Sunbul, a student in the INTO USF program, came to the U.S. from Saudi Arabia nine months ago.

“I came here to Tampa since my brother studied here, so he has experience about Tampa,” he said. “I also know that what motivated me to come here is the weather; the weather is also like my country.”

Sunbul is at the highest level of the academic English portion of his program and wants to continue at USF to pursue a degree in civil engineering.

“I know a lot of things. I’ve learned a lot of things, especially in English,” he said. “We study English and then we get prepared for our majors.”

Sunbul is not the only one with this story. According to the report, Saudi Arabia ranks third in the top 10 countries list with 90 students enrolled.

In the past, the majority of the international students at USF came from India. This year China has the most with 289, which is 16.6 percent of the total enrollment. India has fallen to second with 226 students.

The report speaks to this trend at USF and reflects on how it’s mirroring the national trend.

“Data from the Open Doors report in 2010 shows that USF remains on par with national enrollment numbers,” said Associate Vice President for Global Affairs, Dr. Maria Crummett. “China and India are the top two countries represented in the U.S.”

According to the Institute for International Education’s Open Doors 2010 report, China brought more students to the U.S. than any other country and 30 percent more Chinese students than the previous year.

The numbers reflect the strong Chinese economy, but it also shows that a degree from the U.S. is still a hot commodity.

USF has international students from 125 countries. The countries range from Angola to Uzbekistan. Not only does this add diversity to the university, but USF views international students as financial opportunity.

Programs like INTO USF hope that when international students complete the program they will attend USF as degree-seeking students. According to a statement by USF Provost Ralph Wilcox, these students pay nearly three times the tuition and fees that a resident student pays.

USF recently went to Russia to recruit students and has its sights set on Kazakhstan. USF also participated in the European Exposition in London from Oct. 13 through Oct. 15.

Lack of interest, involvement brings student global awareness into question

Low attendance and lack of buzz associated with USF World events have the department wondering what is causing this predicament.

Whether in events highlighting foreign leaders, such as one last year featuring a Saudi prince, or in social media, all things international are not always at the top of USF students’ interests.

“I don’t think USF students pay enough attention, but I think we’re increasing our attention,” said Anh Phan, a junior majoring in business administration. “We’re definitely working on it by having more international students come to our school and [by] having the international festival as well as different events year-round for students to make them integrate better.”

USF World officials said they aim to give students plenty of opportunities to get involved in international events, but officials did not address the overall lack of student interest directly.

“At USF World we are excited about the international opportunities for students,” said USF World Marketing and Communications officer Amanda Gilmer. “We work to offer a variety of events that will appeal to all students. From study abroad experiences to guest lectures and cultural events, we aim to help create global citizens.”

This time last year, USF World hosted Prince Turki al-Faisal of Saudi Arabia. USF World viewed the event as an honor and likened it to President Barack Obama speaking at a university in a foreign country. Yet overall student interest was low, except among Saudi students, who made up a majority of the audience.

USF World is working to build an audience through social media. With more than 47,000 students enrolled across the entire USF system, USF World only has 478 “likes” on Facebook, and its YouTube page has 31 videos totaling 6,134 views and 21 subscribers.

In a time when international student enrollment is on the rise and campus diversity is expanding, USF World hopes students will choose to attend at least one event each semester and get involved. They feel an increase in interest level and word-of-mouth could be just what the program needs.

Another resource USF World uses to spread global awareness to students is the USF Confucius Institute. It opened in 2008 and USF was the first university in Florida (and the first major public research university in the Southeastern United States) to establish a Confucius Institute.

According to the website, the purpose of the institute is to assist the educational and business communities in Tampa to develop closer ties with China through Chinese language instruction and cultural exchange. The cultural center is located in the Human Services Building in room 214.

Phan says she has heard of the institute but has never participated in any of the events.

The latest USF World event was scheduled for Oct. 18 in the Marshall Student Center and featured USF students who studied for a year at Nankai University in China.

USF World is housed in the 75,000-square-foot Dr. Kiran C. Patel Center for Global Solutions and its event calendar is full of upcoming events and seminars.

USF improves planning and financing for study abroad with new database

Photo by Rebecca Forman

Students gathered despite afternoon showers for the fall Education Abroad Fair in the walkway between Cooper Hall and Burger King where USF World staff spoke of new software that changes the way students study abroad.

Director of the Education Abroad Office Amanda Maurer said StudioAbroad transforms the way students customize and personalize their study abroad plans.

“It’s a leading system that allows students to put in any criteria they want and they can search and they can find programs, and not only USF programs, but some outside programs we’ve already vetted,” she said. “So that way we’re expanding the number of opportunities, making it easier for students to find good programs, even if it isn’t going to be sponsored by USF.”

The database also allows students to apply for everything online, rather than hand in paper applications.

Maurer also said StudioAbroad assists in the safety and risk management areas of the study abroad process.

“When students are abroad, we can hit who’s in Italy right now and then automatically up will come all of the students in Italy,” she said.

This feature allows them to send text messages to students to let them know what to avoid, as well as other important messages.

Maurer also spoke on the development of the Education Abroad Office in the Marshall Student Center. This office will soon be staffed from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will offer information and answers to student’s questions and concerns.

One of the primary concerns of students who want to study abroad is if such a trip is financially possible in today’s economy. Assistant Director of Education Abroad Jim Pulos was at the fair and said they do several things to make it work for students.

“One, we try to keep our programming very similar to the same price range a student might have spending a summer or a semester here on campus,” he said. “Additionally, we work to give a scholarship funding base that the student can add to their existing financial aid, which can be applied to study abroad. Then, hopefully the scholarships might be the assistance they need to tip it in favor of them financially going overseas.”

Marcus Tellez, a senior majoring in religious studies, just got back from studying abroad at the University of Tasmania in Australia.

“Personally, this is something I’ve always wanted to do, so I’ve always saved up for it,” he said. “But there’s scholarships and people don’t realize how many there are that you can apply for. There’s websites full of scholarships you can apply for. I applied to random ones, I got random ones, and there’s a lot of help out there you just have to look for it.”

Tampa Bay broadcast meteorologists answer top weather questions

Meteorologists Steve Jerve, L-R, Andy Johnson and Bobby Deskins speak at USF. Photo by Rebecca Forman

The active 2011 hurricane season, recent weather-related tragedies and the impact social media has had on reporting were among the hot topics discussed during a panel of broadcast meteorologists Thursday in the new Interdisciplinary Science Teaching and Research Facility. The panel, ironically, was delayed by the weather, a crushing rainstorm.

The event was hosted by Dr. Jennifer Collins, USF professor and president of the West Central Florida Chapter of the American Meteorological Society.

Brian LaMarre, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service in Ruskin, kicked off the event by asking what has prevented storms from striking Florida this season.

“There’s been a lot of dry air and a lot of shear,” said Andy Johnson of WTVT. “I think one of the main factors, which we saw early on back in May, was the development of a higher than normal pressure level across Texas, which led to the drought and fires. In a way, that caused the East Coast trough to amplify, and that is the main reason we haven’t seen the storms.”

This weather pattern is not suitable for hurricanes, but the panel insisted preparation is still necessary.

LaMarre spoke of an assessment released Wednesday by the weather service that included best practices the offices provide, but also said there could be better ways to communicate warnings to the public. The report focused on the May 22 Joplin, Mo., tornado that killed 159 people and said the public is becoming more desensitized the more they issue warnings.

“That is the tricky part, the complacency,” said Bobby Deskins of WTSP. “I come from North Carolina, and in my earlier broadcasting experience, we would go on air for severe thunderstorm warnings. Down here we don’t do that, and for the most part if it’s a tornado warning, we go on air. That right there is a whole lot better because otherwise it just gets over and over and people don’t take it seriously.”

Audience member Alan Archer, president of the Continental Weather Corporation, was concerned that members of the community, namely college students, do not pay enough attention to weather alerts. He worries there is not enough coverage.

“If the weather service issues a warning on the weekend, 95 percent of the radio stations in any given city don’t have anyone there, it’s all voice tracks,” he said. Meaning the person that sat down at a computer on Friday afternoon read liners into automation and you think you’re hearing the person live, but there’s no one there.”

Steve Jerve of WFLA explained that social media has changed the way broadcast meteorologists report on the weather.

“Social media has blown up. For us, it’s quite a phenomenon to watch,” he said. “People are engaged in social media of all ages and it’s where people are. You can find a lot of information on Twitter and watch it on your phone. Phones are just transforming everything. You can put pictures or video on there even before the networks have it.”

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