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St. Petersburg College will mark its 125th commencement ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday, July 26, at First Baptist Church of Indian Rocks. About 350 of the 1,121 graduates are expected to participate.

“We congratulate the students – and their families – who have persevered to this graduation milestone. They always inspire us with their determination,” said President Bill Law.

SPC dates back to 1927 when it became Florida’s first two-year institution of higher learning. There were 48 members of the first graduating class in 1929.

Saturday’s ceremony is expected to last about an hour. Featured speakers include Crystal Hampton, representing four-year programs, and Tait Sorenson, representing lower division programs.

“I’m 35, but (my mom) still treats me like her baby girl, saying how proud she is of my accomplishments and being selected as the commencement speaker,” said Hampton, who will earn a bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration. Read her story here.

“The faculty and the advisors at SPC really encouraged me in finding the roadmap that would get me where I wanted to be,” said Sorenson, who will earn his A.A. degree from SPC and pursue a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Central Florida in the fall. Read his story here.

Graduates and guests can check our instructions page for the big day. You can also follow social media posts and catch a live stream of the ceremony on our page dedicated to the ceremony.

Here are our summer graduates by the numbers:

Summer-2014-graduation-infographic[1]


Waiting tables and bartending in St. Petersburg wasn’t cutting it for Tait Sorenson.

After graduating from high school in Montana, Sorenson made his way to Florida in 2008. What he found during the recession, however, was a very unstable living and future.

“During the recession, it was so hard to keep a job or get enough hours to live on,” said Sorenson, who will graduate from St. Petersburg College Saturday with his A.A. degree and will speak at commencement.

Sorenson took a cue from friends who were attending SPC and from his father and brother, both in engineering. This fall, Sorenson will pursue his bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering at the University of Central Florida.

“I figure it’s a little easier to stay employed as an engineer in a recession rather than sales or something. It’s a little more stable.”

In two weeks, Sorenson will complete a summer internship at NASA, where he has been assisting with the website. He plans to eventually pursue a master’s degree in Space Systems Design.

Sorenson started with only a couple classes at SPC in the fall of 2011 but soon found himself immersed in college life. While taking an Honors class, he was encouraged to become an officer for his Student Government Association. At an SGA event at the Downtown Campus, he signed up for a Study Aboard trip to Costa Rica, where he met some students in Phi Theta Kappa who encouraged him to join them.

“I learned from other students how to be successful, how to study and get good grades,” said Sorenson, who was named to the 2014 All-Florida Academic Team for his academic achievement, leadership and service to the community. “I encourage every student to get plugged in, to network and collaborate with others. A lot of students just came and go to class, and they never know what else is there for them.”

Sorenson also credits SPC’s faculty and advisors for getting him on the right path.

“They really guided and encouraged me in the whole process,” Sorenson said. “The advisors sat me down and really helped map out what it would take for me to receive a bachelor’s in aerospace. SPC really helped mold that roadmap for me.”


Crystal Hampton

Crystal Hampton

When Crystal Hampton crosses the stage during SPC’s summer graduation on Saturday, it will be an achievement not just for her but also for her family.

With a bachelor’s degree in Health Services Administration in hand, Hampton will become the first college graduate in her family.

“I know they’re all very proud of me,” said the native of London, Ky. “My mom talks about being proud of me all the time. I’m 35, but she still treats me like her baby girl, saying how proud she is of my accomplishments and being selected as the commencement speaker.”

Prior to pursuing her bachelor’s degree, she completed an associate degree in nuclear medicine from Bluegrass Community and Technical College in Lexington, Ky., and worked for two years at the Orlando VA Medical Center.

Hampton pursued a health care career because of her late father, Carl Cupp, a veteran who died of heart disease at age 53.

“Nuclear medicine is a field that involves cardiac imaging, among other things,” she said. “I thought maybe I could help keep another daughter from losing their father by working in this field.”

Hampton’s deep respect for the military and sacrifices made by U.S. military servicemen led her to pursue a career at the VA.

“My father was a veteran, but I also have the utmost respect and appreciation for all veterans,” Hampton said. “It’s nice to be able to give back and help serve those that so bravely served us.”

In addition to being a full-time student, Hampton also works full-time as the Lead Nuclear Medicine Technologist for the Bay Pines VA Healthcare System.

“Working full-time and going to school full-time was challenging, especially while trying to maintain my 4.0. GPA,” said Hampton, who has leaned upon the steadfast support of her husband, Troy Hampton, and the advice and guidance of her SPC advisor and professor, Floyd Butz. To fit in classes around her busy work schedule, she mainly took classes online.

She is considering going on to pursue a master’s degree in health care administration. Her ultimate goal is to continue working at the VA and to move up as a health care administrator or manager in radiology and to continue help saving lives and serving our nation’s heroes.


Fast-Track to FallOn July 21 at five campus locations throughout Pinellas County, St. Petersburg College will host Fast-Track to Fall events to help students finish enrollment requirements before the fall term begins.

During extended hours from 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., college staff will be on hand to help students wrap up any outstanding items, including:

  • applying to SPC
  • submitting transcripts
  • taking the College Placement Test
  • registering for classes
  • paying tuition

“The purpose of these events is to let applicants know that they can get everything done in one visit,” said Patrick Rinard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Services.

The admissions and registration processes recently changed so students can register quickly and more conveniently, Rinard said. Students now see an advisor when they register to make sure they are on track.

10502125_765178160199200_1561435716025633752_n“With all hands on deck, this day should significantly move the needle toward a fall enrollment increase,” Rinard said.

SPC locations hosting Fast-Track to Fall events include:

  • Clearwater Campus, 2465 Drew St., Clearwater
  • Seminole Campus, 9200 113th St. N, Seminole
  • SPC Downtown Center, 244 Second Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • St. Petersburg/Gibbs Campus, 6605 Fifth Ave. N, St. Petersburg
  • Tarpon Springs Campus, 600 Klosterman Road, Tarpon Springs

Geekness Day is July 13 and St. Petersburg College has shared posts from some of our resident geeks, as well as information about the work they’ve done for and at the college.

Chad Mairn – Information Services Librarian at St. Petersburg College

ChadMairn

Chad Mairn

I consider myself a geek primarily because when I find something that interests me I become passionate about it and, as a result, I want to learn as much as I can. I like to tinker and take things apart too. Many years ago, I built computers. In fact, I had 12 in my house! I used a few for music composition, some for gaming, and a few were used as firewalls and honeypots. I wanted to be a hacker  – the good kind, but I was never any good at it.  I did learn, however, to be careful when using a computer and/or a mobile device and to not give hackers an easily opened window into my digital world. Now, I am primarily interested in emerging STEM technologies that benefit people and “geek out” over these technologies often!

My proudest geek moment happened just a few weeks ago during our Innovation Lab’s [Makerspace @ SPC] grand opening. The Tampa Tribune wrote a nice piece on the lab.  I was able to share my passion for technology and also share the philosophy behind the lab, which essentially is to provide a space for people to be creative with technology and share ideas and projects.

As of right now, the Innovation Lab [Makerspace @ SPC] has the following things:

  • FreeFab3D Monolith 3D Printer built locally using other 3D printers
  • littleBits Synth Kit
  • Arduino Genuine Mega 2560 Circuit Board Experimentation Kit
  • LEGO Mindstorms NXT 2.0
  • Avid Fast Track Duo Audio Interface with Pro Tools Express
  • An iMac, 2 Linux computers, and 1 Windows computer
  • A variety of Open Source Software applications for 3D printing, design etc.
  • MaKey MaKey: Original Invention Kit
  • Cubelets KT06 Kit
  • ProtoSnap LilyPad Development Board
  • 2 CanaKit Raspberry Pi Ultimate Starter Kits
  • Apollo Precision Tools 53-Piece Tool Kit
  • Parallax Programmable Boe-Bot Robot Kit
  • Elenco Deluxe Learn To Solder Kit
  • Samsung 32-Inch 1080p LED HDTV with Logitech TV Cam HD for Skype Calls
  • Chromecast for multimedia streaming to the TV
  • Atari 1040 ST computer
  • Reference Collection including books and magazines

Tim Staney - Assistant Director of Interactive Marketing at St. Petersburg College

TimStaney1

Tim Staney

Hi. My name is Tim Staney, and I work as St. Petersburg College’s Assistant Director of Interactive Marketing. I’m a geek; I have to be. It’s my job. I don’t read binary well, but the Mashable! RSS feed is like TV for me. In my spare time, I like to program, design and tinker with code. I dream in hexadecimal colors and I think life should be as logical as jQuery. And sadly, yes, that really is my license plate.

1. What makes you a geek? I get excited, probably more than I should, by new technology and have always been an “early adopter.” I had one of the earliest digital cameras, the Sony Mavica that used 3.5 inch floppies for picture storage. Looking back I can imagine how “geeky” I looked with my camera and a box of floppies. Today I just pine away for the latest Apple device or a new iOS beta – and dream about shaving a few microseconds off the load time of the SPC website.

2. What is your proudest geek moment? One of my favorite geek moments was tweeting for the college during President Obama’s visit to the St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus on Sept. 8, 2012. I had one iPhone for tweeting and a “spare” phone for picture-taking.

3. What is your geek motto/favorite geek quote? It may be hard to imagine Henry Ford as a geek, but he famously said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” I think ‘geekiness’ is often about innovation — being disruptive, pushing the envelope, and maybe even making people a little uncomfortable with the status quo. Great technology fills needs we didn’t know we had.

4. Who is your geek role model? Steve Jobs, hands down.

SPC staff were asked by SingleHop to participate in Geekness Day. Get more information about SingleHop and private cloud hosting.