The Institute for Strategic Policy Solutions presents a new and unique design for civic dialog with its first Speed Date Your Local Leaders program on Dec. 3. The event will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the Clearwater Campus, Room ES-104. The event is free and open to the public, but participants are required to register in advance.

SPC’s policy institute is dedicated to elevating civic engagement through public forums that offer in-depth exploration of today’s critical issues. The Speed Date format gives community members a special way to connect with community leaders in an informal setting.

This is an opportunity to meet face to face with representatives from government, business, not-for-profit and education arenas. The leaders will rotate from table to table every seven minutes, offering each group of participants an opportunity to ask questions or offer ideas that might never have prompted a phone call, email or public testimony.

Eighteen local leaders have committed to participating. They are:

  • Clearwater Mayor George Cretekos
  • Clearwater City Manager Bill Horne
  • Clearwater Police Chief Dan Slaughter
  • SPC Clearwater Provost Dr. Stan Vittetoe
  • Clearwater Regional Chamber of Commerce President Bob Clifford
  • TechData Director of Human Resources Marian Morlock
  • Tampa Bay Business Journal Publisher Bridgette Bello
  • JWB Director of Public Policy Debra Prewitt
  • AARP Florida Associate State Director of Advocacy Laura Cantwell
  • Pinellas County Administrator Mark Woodard
  • Pinellas Education Foundation Vice President of Development Robin McGowan
  • Pinellas Sports Commission Director Kevin Smith
  • Platinum Bank Senior Executive Vice President James Ray
  • Clearwater Marine Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Frank Dame
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Vice Chair John Morroni
  • Pinellas County Board of Commissioners Member Janet Long
  • Morton Plant Mease Hospital Foundation President & CEO Ernestine Bean
  • Pinellas County Schools Deputy Superintendent Dr. William Corbett.

Speed Date Your Local Leaders is modeled after a program by the same name offered by the Institute’s partner organization, The Village Square Tallahassee. And following the Tallahassee template, free pizza and soft drinks will be provided.


March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

Pictured above are: Brenton David, Karen Donovan, Jacob Lurvey, David Creighton, Jeffrey Schultz,Jason Hoven, Madeline Rondo,Kristina Phillips, Jeff Thomas, Representative David Jolly, Bill Fleming, Earnest Gant, David Weatherspoon, Tina March, Rafael Rivera, Mohammed Shaker, Chris Clark.

When the new Pinellas Bayway Bridge opened Oct. 17, members of St. Petersburg College’s Student Veterans Association (SVA) and Males Achieving Excellence (MAX) were on hand as volunteers. Festivities included a 5K run, a paddle board flotilla, a pool party, a beach party and a ceremonial lighting of the bridge.

The SVA and MAX volunteers helped set up the beach bash, provided water at the aid stations for the runners, helped with traffic flow, distributed safety lights to the spectators and moved the equipment from the starting line to the finish line before and after race. The race was so successful that plans are already in the works to do it again next year.

The activities were captured by volunteer photographer Charlie Harris, an SVA member from the Clearwater Campus. Check out all the photos in the SVA Facebook gallery.

Fees from the race topped $15,000 and were donated to the Associated Marine Institute Kids, a program that supports troubled children, and to Tampa BayWatch Marine, an organization that protects and restores the Tampa Bay estuaries.

Article courtesy of Rafael Rivera Nieves, CPO, USCG, (ret.)


AntonioParis

Professor Antonio Paris will get a behind-the-scenes look at NASA when he attends the launch of the Orion Spacecraft.

Antonio Paris, a Professor of Astronomy at St. Petersburg College, was selected by NASA to attend the launch of the Orion Spacecraft at Kennedy Space Center on Dec. 4.

According to NASA, more than 30,000 applicants submitted their names for 150 VIP passes to the launch. NASA required applicants be accredited scientists, engineers, or educators in the space science field; have recently published a space science-related article, paper or book; be a “social media extravert”; and be in good standing in the scientific community.

The two-day event will provide Professor Paris the opportunity to tour NASA facilities at Kennedy; meet and interact with NASA engineers, scientists, and astronauts; learn about NASA’s Orion Spacecraft and the importance of this historical test flight; view and take photographs of Orion at the launch pad; meet fellow space enthusiasts who are active on social media; meet members of NASA’s social media team; and have VIP access to the launch of Orion.

According to NASA, “Orion spacecraft is built to take humans farther than they’ve ever gone before. Orion will serve as the exploration vehicle that will carry the crew to space, provide emergency abort capability, sustain the crew during the space travel, and provide safe re-entry from deep space return velocities.”

The Orion test flight on Dec. 4 will be a two-orbit, four-hour flight to test many of the craft’s systems most critical to safety, including avionics, attitude control, parachutes and the heat shield, according to the NASA website.


Collegiate Model United Nations Conference

Nine of the 12 students from the SPC Model United Nations team during the trip to Washington, D.C..

Nine of the 12 students from the SPC Model United Nations team.

The Model United Nations Team at St. Petersburg College received top international honors at the Collegiate Model United Nations Conference held Oct. 31-Nov. 2 in Washington, D.C.

A team of 12 students competed in a UN simulation with more than 800 American and international students. The SPC team was awarded the top prize of Outstanding Delegation putting the group in the top seven percent of teams that competed.

Two SPC students, Kane Magnuson and Mason Kerr, also were awarded the Outstanding Delegate in Committee award for their work on reducing inequality on the Economic and Social Council.

“The Model United Nations Team at St. Petersburg College is a very serious and successful academic team,” said Earl Fratus, social science instructor, who along with fellow instructor Randy Lightfoot traveled with the team. “Our students work very hard, for weeks and months to prepare for their competition and they consistently do a wonderful job of representing us.”

The students represented Austria in the simulation and prepared for the conference by researching issues, practicing diplomatic simulations and drafting solutions to global issues.

“The Model United Nations Program at SPC provides a platform for students to learn about global issues while researching and drafting solutions for issues from the perspective of countries they might not know much about,” said Roy Slater, social science professor. “Students gain valuable research and writing skills, and public speaking skills.”

Slater is one of three faculty advisors, along with Heather Roberson, associate professor of Social Science, and Roberto Loureiro, academic department chair of Social and Behavioral Science.

The students who competed in the Model UN Team for SPC include:

  • Andi Menaul
  • Maxximilian Seijo
  • Jermaine Evans
  • Isabel Martinho
  • Mason Kerr
  • Alexander Ramnath
  • Amy Currotto
  • Ryan Walker
  • Haneen Kantar
  • Jordon Liggett
  • Kane Magnuson
  • Lewis Morgan

Florida Model United Nations – Gainesville

SPC teams also competed in the Florida Model United Nations simulation with nearly 20 other Florida institutions in early October. SPC had three teams competing – one earned an Honorable Mention award (ranking in the top 20 percent) and a second team earned a Distinguished Delegation award (ranking in the Top 14 percent).

The teams represented Belgium, Republic of Korea and Austria.

The students traveling were:

  • Carlos Ortega Perez
  • Derek Hopkins
  • Matthew McMahon
  • Lindsey Velde
  • Amy Currotto
  • Ryan Walker
  • Armando Pellot
  • Keith Greenberg
  • Alexander Haydon
  • Lea Jarnberg

St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college's peer advising program.

St. Petersburg College student peer advisors participate in a radio interview about the college’s peer advising program.

Three St. Petersburg College student peer advisors accepted an invitation to speak about their experiences in the college’s peer advising program on Tampa Bay Tomorrow, a local radio show that airs on 970 WFLA. The segment aired Oct. 19 and 20.

Listen to the peer advising radio interview on the WFLA website.

“It’s great to be a part of something that sets SPC apart from the other state colleges in Florida,” said Adam Bailey, a student veteran and peer advisor at the Seminole Campus.

Since it began in Fall 2013, the peer advising program has enjoyed great success. In addition to being able to assist other students, peer advising also gives students an active learning experience.

The program, which originally was funded by the Student Government Association, began with two students and has since expanded to include five student peer advisors. Each peer advisor goes through a month of intensive academic advising training before they can start helping other students.

Some peer advisors assist up to 20 students a day, said Malena Buck, Student Life & Leadership Coordinator at the Seminole Campus.

Peer advisors have met with more than 800 students since its beginning. The program is expanding into different departments, with peer advisors now assigned to Veterans Services and Career Services. They also provide assistance with the My Learning Plan in the Learning Commons on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 7 pm.

Being able to share about their experiences during the radio interview was an exciting learning experience for the peer advisors.

“It was such a privilege to represent SPC and share about a program that enhances the college experience,” said Melissa Joy Petrescue, student peer advisor.

“The peer-to-peer experience is what I’m going to hold onto for a long time,” said Melissa Dabydeen, student peer advisor at the Seminole Campus. “The leadership skills and experience gained will assist me with future endeavors.