Ms. Dina Busciglio Sheridan
English, Class of 1998
I chose USF Honors because I had taken honors courses at my small private high school and wanted the challenge and individualized attention I knew the Honors Program would offer.
I really enjoyed my time at USF and, in all honesty, the Honors Program really made the difference. Coming from a high school class of less than 70 people, I felt a little lost on such a big campus. The Honors Program gave me a smaller group to fit into and the administrators made me feel welcome and significant in such a large student body. After figuring out my major, I maintained a 4.0 GPA for 8 consecutive semesters while working for my father in his orthodontic office and being an active (and very busy member) of the USF SunDolls and Tampa Bay Buccaneers cheerleaders.
I certainly felt more challenged in the Honors classes that I took, but there was also a bigger sense of freedom, individuality, and creative thinking in those classes. That gave me confidence in other areas to aim higher.
I visited other schools before selecting USF and the Honors College but I felt more at home at USF. Dr. Silverman played a huge role in making me feel valued and not like just another number at this vast institution.
After graduation, I went on to Stetson University College of Law and earned my Juris Doctor degree, with a concentration in Advocacy. I spent four years as an Assistant State Attorney prosecuting all levels of criminal charges. I now own my own law firm, Busciglio & Sheridan Law Group, with my husband and I practice criminal defense, traffic ticket law, and domestic violence law.
Here's what I would say to a prospective student: If you have the option to go to the USF Honors College versus any other school, I highly recommend the USF Honors College for the excellent course selection, the quality of students with whom you will be surrounded, and the individualized attention you will receive from the outstanding staff of the Honors College.
Mr. James Ascher
Mathematics & Humanities, Class of 2002
After graduating in 2002 from the University of South Florida Honors Program with a Bacholor
of Arts double major in Mathematics and Humanities, James P. Ascher continued his education at
the University of Florida, taking a Masters of Science in Mathematics in 2005 in abstract algebra
studying under Jorge Martinez. In addition to his coursework, he taught Calculus, Math for
Liberal Arts Majors, and Precalculus, winning an award for excellence in teaching.
Earning an Institute of Museum and Library Science (IMLS) grant to study the future of
academic librarianship, he returned to the University of South Florida to study library science
with a focus on bibliography, book history, and special collections. At the USF Tampa library he
worked as an archivist for the Kamlet Collection, the records of an entrepreneurial chemistry
laboratory, and as a rare book cataloger with Mark Greenberg. During this time he won a
graduate student research award for the Sixth Annual Graduate Research Symposium and an
attendance scholarship for the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference. He earned
his MLS in 2007 and took a professorship at the University of Colorado Boulder.
At CU Boulder, James P. Ascher is Assistant Professor in the Libraries and in English where he
catalogs rare books, teaches book history, and directs the ScriptaLab colloquium, faculty
seminar, and lecture series. In 2008 he earned the Rare Book School: William Reese Company
Fellowship in American Bibliography and the History of the Book in the Americas for his
scholarship. His research explores bibliography within new media, the infrastructure of printing,
and submerged histories in libraries. His published work includes bibliographical methods,
issues in diplomatic transcription, processes for collection surveys, and methods training and
recruiting librarians. He also serves as a lab instructor teaching descriptive bibliography at the
Rare Book School at the University of Virginia. During 2012 he organized the 54th Annual Rare
Books and Manuscripts Section Preconference, served as the Vice-President for Publications of
the American Printing History Association, and served as Treasurer for the Fellowship of
American Bibliophilic Societies.
In fall 2013, he will be entering as a doctoral student in English Literature at the University of
Virginia where he will be focusing on bibliography and 18th century English literature,
particularly focusing on libertinism, censorship, and the history of obscenity.
Mr. Phillip Grosshans
English, Class of 1996
I graduated from USF and the Honors program in 1996. I believe I was one of the few students admitted as a transfer from a community college, and at the time I was there, I was certainly the oldest by a few years. As a bright individual who didn’t follow a normal high-school to college academic path – for instance dropping out of high school for a year to play in a punk band in 1987 – I need a little extra help to move forward. Dr. Silverman and the Honors program took a chance on me, and I don’t think I disappointed anyone. I finished my B.A. in English, winning USF’s top honors for an undergraduate English major, with accolades from my professors. After a year in graduate school, I realized that I did not want to move forward in the “publish or perish” life of a humanities career track with an eventual professorship as a goal. My wife and I moved to Durham, NC, and I reinvented myself, first as web-publishing/internet communications person, and then as a well-respected member of the burgeoning field of research administration while employed at Duke University since 1998. I have served for more than 10 years in leadership positions within research administration professional societies, becoming a well-respected and consulted member of my field. For several years, I was the chief research contract negotiator for the non-medical portion of Duke University at Duke’s Office of Research Support where I had the authority to sign and bind Duke to grant and contract agreements. I am currently the administrative director of a large National Science Foundation funded center, the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, spanning Duke University, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina State University. The center, NESCent, brings together leading evolutionary scientists from across the world to answer pressing questions by fusing evolutionary data from across a multitude of scientific fields. I cannot begin to express how grateful I was to have been in the Honors Program; the opportunity shaped and sharpened my mental acumen and provided opportunities to me that I would never have had without participating. Those two years cemented my continued intellectual curiosity ever since, and I hope that you will have an opportunity to have a similarly wonderful experience.
Mr. Andrew Quecan
Electrical Engineering, Class of 2008
Starting at USF in 2004, Andrew Quecan entered as a Kosove Scholar and an Honors Undergraduate Research Scholar. He immediately began participating in the Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) working with Prof. Chris Ferekides in the Department of Electrical Engineering and with Prof. Susan A. MacManus in the Department of Government and International Affairs. In the Thin Film Electronics Materials Laboratory, Andrew worked with Prof. Chris Ferekides on CdTe solar cells. In his junior year, he transferred to work with Prof. Hua Cao in the Terahertz Research Laboratory on electro-optics. With Prof. MacManus, he worked on several topics including campaigns, public finance, women studies, demographics, and Florida state politics. In his senior year, Andrew used the Honors Thesis to further refine his research skills as he combined his electrical engineering background and political science research. Andrew is grateful to his research advisors at USF who provided research opportunities and their time as mentors. The Honors College made this connection possible and also supported the USF Forensics Society where he competed in national debate tournaments. Andrew was an active member and President during his junior year of the Kosove Society where he was able to develop life-long friendships and participate in community service activities. Andrew enjoyed working with the Urban Scholars Outreach Program, a tutoring program for K-12 students. He is grateful to Harri and Ruth Kosove for their generous scholarship and hopes to honor their legacy and dream.
Taking advantage of USF’s combined degree program, Andrew completed a MSEE during his senior year with an expertise in wireless communications and signal processing necessary to attain an internship with MIT Lincoln Laboratory. He graduated in 2008 as a King O’Neal Scholar with a BSEE, a BS in Finance, and a MSEE. Andrew was awarded a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship to attend graduate school. He decided to attend Stanford University to pursue a PhD in electrical engineering. He conducted research in the Photonics and Networking Research Laboratory on green networking and in the Wireless Communications Research group on vehicular wireless networks. While in Silicon Valley, he worked as a program manager for Broadcom Corporation which develops cutting-edge wireless technologies. After taking patent law courses at Stanford, Andrew decided to pursue intellectual property law. Earlier this year, he passed the patent bar and became a registered patent agent with United States Patent and Trademark Office. Putting his PhD program on hold in 2011, Andrew is now pursuing a JD at The University of Texas School of Law in Austin. Carrying on the legacy and values of the Kosove Society, Andrew is again teaching in urban communities with Street Law.
Dr. Ali R. Malex
Philosophy, Biology & Psychology, Class of 1992
Taking the 'Scenic Route' through my college career, I obtained degrees in Philosophy, Biology, and Psychology at USF. The one most important component of my College experience though was my family at was was then the Honors 'Program', the precursor to the College it has become today. Had it not been for my Acquisition of Knowledge class, I would never have developed the passion for Philosophy that was the cornerstone of my education, nor would I have bonded with the Mentors I had through my educational experience that led to a Semester in Italy studying the Philosophy of Art and Literature in Florence with the Study Abroad program. That same education in Philosophy has provided the essence of of all that I have accomplished as an Interventional Neurologist. Board Certified in Neurology, Neurocritical Care, and Vascular Neurology (Stroke) and Fellowship trained as one of the few Endovascular Neurosurgeons, I provide the best care I can to my patients now as the Chief of Neurology and Director of the Comprehensive Stroke Center at St. Mary's Medical Center in West Palm Beach after serving as Faculty at USF's College of Medicine for six years. But it was the Family that was The Honors Program that helped me get to where I am today, and the friendships I formed then, are still amongst my closest.
Mr. Arthur Ringness
Finance, Class of 1990
Art graduated from The University of South Florida with a degree in Finance in 1990. He considers the most valuable part of his undergraduate education to be his enrollment in the Honors College during his Sophomore year. Honors allowed him to add a core Liberal Arts curriculum to his undergraduate studies, and allowed him to meet an incredible array of some of the brightest students and best professors at USF.
After graduating, Art went to Naval Officer Candidate School and served in the United States Navy as an Intelligence Officer. In 1991, he deployed to the Persian Gulf during Desert Storm with a Helicopter Mine-Countermeasures Squadron. After being discharged from active duty, he attended the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, where he received his MBA in 1994.
Upon graduating from Duke, Art worked in London from 1994 to 2001, as a credit derivatives trader with Merrill Lynch from 1994 to 1997, then as a trader and Credit Derivatives Product Manager for Morgan Stanley from 1997 to 2001. Art moved into sales in San Francisco in 2001 as a corporate bond specialist. In 2008, he became a Managing Director and took over as Head of Fixed Income Sales in the San Francisco Office. In 2010, he assumed the additional role of Senior Relationship Manager for priority clients on the West Coast.
Art lives in San Francisco with his wife Kadi, three kids (a boy and two girls) and a dog.
Mr. Wayne Paugh
Mechanical Engineering , Class of 1993
I attended USF from 1987-1993 and earned a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering (I was honored as the most outstanding graduate of my class of approx 50 in the Mech Eng Dept). I also earned a B.A. in Communications.
I chose USF primarily due to the opportunity to participate in the Honors Program and the quality of the College of Engineering. During high school, I initially began to investigate USF because of its academic reputation within the renowned New College in Sarasota. I knew friends who were in attendance at that school -- but I was also aware that it did not have the engineering offerings I wanted.
Later, I was invited to a personal interview with Dr. Stuart Silverman in Tampa. As a result of that meeting, I developed a strong interest in pursuing the chance to blaze a path within an emerging program of distinction. I felt an instant rapport with Dean Silverman. That was the clincher.
From the perspective of an incoming student, the 1987 inception of the Honors Program was based not solely on prior academic achievement but also focused on student growth as an individual. In my mind, the vision, passion, and dedication of Dr. Silverman foreshadowed the tremendous growth of the Honors Program and is what separated it from other schools.
I remember the personal interview emphasized not just raw academic achievement -- but evaluated other talents in order to assess the best "fit" in the program. The program appeared to value another dimension in the student -- essentially, how the program might enable the student to achieve self-actualization. It was more than a core of classes -- the experience encompassed aspirations for both career and personal development.
To that end, my relationship with Dr. Silverman began in early summer of 1987 and has continued for what is now approaching 25 years. In that regard, the Honors Program was as much a personal experience as it was an academic challenge. It was not a sterile path to scholastic achievement but an interactive journey that emphasized student relationships and offered unique classes to facilitate creativity and stimulate critical thinking. And I am fortunate for having participated in the program.
Since graduation, I went on to work as an applications engineer, earned a Masters in industrial engineering / technology management, and then ultimately changed course toward law school in Washington, DC to study intellectual property law.
After earning a JD and later an LL.M., I served as legislative counsel in the U.S. House of Representatives and then served during both terms of President G.W. Bush's administration, including Chief of Staff of the US Patent and Trademark Office and as the President's International Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, known colloquially as the "IP Czar".
I have since relocated to Denver, CO to serve as an Assistant Chief Counsel with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and am currently enjoying the environmental benefits of beautiful Colorado.
Ms. Samantha Gomes
Philosophy & Communication Sciences and Disorders, Class of 2006
I was a 2006 graduate of USF and the Honors program. While at
USF, I was active in the Honors college, as well as in the Philosophy
and Communication Disorders programs, from which I received dual B.A.
degrees. My experience with the Honors program solidified my love of
learning and, in my opinion, provided the foundation for most of what
I have done since then. Honors offered me a little bit of everything I
wanted from my college experience. I was able to hone my critical
thinking and logical argument skills in Thought Seekers Circle, the
Honors think-tank of my cohort. I also made my first (and second)
trips out of the country with Dr. Silverman and my Honors peers, and
got a chance to mentor younger students as the co-chair of the Pillars
program. My senior year I even got the opportunity to teach a selected
topics course with fellow Honors grad Melissa Rundfeldt on philosopher
and USF Professor Dr. Charles Guignon’s book “On Being Authentic”. I
didn’t realize at the time that this would be my first experience in
my chosen career path.
After a short detour, I entered the University of Connecticut
Communication Department in the Spring of 2007. While at UCONN I have
developed a research program focusing on New Communication
Technologies – with a focus on the social uses and effects of these
technologies. But more importantly, as a professor of both intro and
upper-level courses (My favorite – Gender and Communication), and as a
tutor for UCONN’s Intercollegiate Athlete population, my at times
tangential academic career developed into a love for teaching and
higher education that resonates with my time spent at USF.
As the educational chapter in a lifelong academic career ends,
I am excited to be returning to USF and the Honors College as an
adjunct professor. To the Honors faculty, staff and students who have
been along for the ride: thank you. The intellectual growth, the
lifelong friends, the inspiring mentors and all of the unforgettable
opportunities – I would recommend USF Honors to any student who craves
knowledge and a good challenge, every moment was worth it!
Dr. José Luis Beltrán
Biology, Class of 1998
Doctor Jose Luis Beltran was born in Quito, Ecuador. He started his studies at the Cotopaxi Academy American International School from pre-Kinder to 11th grade. He completed his studies in Chamberlain High School in Tampa and graduated with honors. He received his Biology Bachelor of Science from the University of South Florida with the Honors College, Biology Department Honors, and Magna Cum Laude. Dr. Beltran was the most highly recruited Hispanic to Dental School and was even offered many scholarships. He attended Harvard School of Dental Medicine and earned his Doctorate of Medical Dentistry (DMD). He then pursued 5 years of training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Texas Houston Health Science Center. During his training, he earned his Medicine Doctorate (MD) from the University of Texas at Houston and did one year of General Surgery Residency in the Houston Medical Center including M.D. Anderson Cancer Research Center. During his preparation, he was thoroughly trained in dento-alveolar surgery, dental implants, orthognathic surgery, facial trauma, maxillofacial pathology, and cosmetic and reconstructive surgery.
After a 10-year departure from Tampa and extensive training, Dr. Beltran moved back home to Tampa where he believes is the best place to offer his services. His first office, Beltran Dental Surgery, opened on January 2009 in Hunter’s Green, and his second office, All Dental Tampa, opened in February 2009 across Britton Plaza on Dale Mabry.
On his free-time, Dr. Beltran likes to play soccer, train for triathlons and marathons, and enjoys listening and playing his saxophone. He competitively participates in triathlons where he has consistently placed in the top 5 of his age-category. He always looks forward to a healthy competition. His first language is Spanish, but is fluent in English.
Dr. Jose Beltran is very grateful to the Honors College for giving him a premier education and set him up to attend elite Graduate schools like Harvard. As a thank you to the Honors College and USF, he and his brother, David, have set up the Beltran Brother Scholarship Fund. Viva USF Honors College!!!
Mr. Daniel B. Ravicher
Materials Science & Political Science, Class of 1997
Daniel B. Ravicher was a 1997 graduate of USF and the Honors Program.
At USF he studied materials science and political science, writing his
Honors Thesis on morality in late 20th century American politics.
After graduating from USF, Dan went to the University of Virginia School
of Law, where he was the Franklin O'Blechman Scholar of his class and a
recipient of the Mortimer Caplin Public Service Award. After graduating
from law school in 2000, Dan worked as a patent attorney at two law
firms representing high technology and pharmaceutical clients before
leaving private practice to start a non-profit organization focused on
ensuring the patent system benefits the public. Dan later joined the
faculty of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where he currently teaches
and continues to run the non-profit he founded. As a result of his
accomplishments and professional reputation, Dan was named to both
Managing Intellectual Property magazine's '50 Most Influential People in
IP' list and IP Law & Business magazine's 'Top 50 Under 45' list. He
has also twice testified as an invited witness before Congress on the
topic of patent reform.
Commenting on USF and the Honors Program, Dan recently said, 'I could
not have had a better college experience, and my happiness and success
were a direct result of Dr. Silverman and the Honors Program, which
exposed me to subjects and people I would have otherwise never known.
During law school and then later as a practicing attorney and law
professor, I have never met anyone I thought was more prepared to
achieve their goals than I was.
Mr. Jamal Currie
Art, Class of 1998
Jamal Currie moved to Milwaukee, WI after receiving his MFA from the USF Fine Arts Department in 1998 to take a position as an educational coordinator in the city's public access television station. His work at the station led to an artistic team membership with Express Yourself Milwaukee, Inc., an arts organization dedicated to bringing an arts curriculum to under-served and adjudicated youth in Milwaukee, and to his current position as an Associate Professor of Time-Based Media at the Milwaukee Institute of Art &Design.
Currie says, "The honors curriculum, with it's undergraduate thesis requirement and supportive culture, provided a core-of-study of great breadth and depth of experience, setting the stage for my blend of community and creative work. I reflect upon my time spent in it often, and it greatly informs my pedagogical style and practice in the classroom, I'm a much better artist and teacher for having been privy to the model.
Dr. Yousef Turshani
Mathematics & Chemistry, Class of 2002
Dr Yousef Turshani initially placed USF at the bottom of his short list of universities to which he applied as a senior at Boca Ciega High School in 1998. He was part of the inaugural class of the Center for Wellness and Medical Professions magnet program and though he felt that medicine was his likely post-graduate path, he wanted a rich, diverse and stimulation undergraduate education to prepare him. It was upon meeting Dr. Silverman at an information session that he was sold on the Honors Program (now Honors College) and USF. He went on to get a double degree- BA in Mathematics and BA in Chemistry (Biochemistry emphasis) while also completing his pre-med requisites in 2002.
In addition to the heated debates of the small and stimulating Honors College courses, he took part in extra curricula that ranged from being a Senator in the Student Goverment to a math tutor to a member of the resident hall association. As an undergraduate research scholar, he learned to think critically and devise research questions in 3 different research labs across the sprawling urban campus (engineering, medicine, chemistry). He credits the opportunity to study abroad in Oxford, England his junior year after taking the MCAT for instilling in him the confidence that he can not only study abroad but one day even work and volunteer for those that would most need his skills around the world.
Dr. Yousef Turshani is a board certified pediatrician currently volunteering his skills for 1 year as part of "Doctors without Borders" in Bulwayo, Zimbabwe. He is a consultant for pediatric HIV, caring for infants and children in one of the largest HIV centers in the world as well as training future nurses and doctors of Zimbabwe. He is also a volunteer faculty member, serving as an Assistant Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at the University of California-San Francisco where he completed his residency in 2009.
Ms. Katheryne Downes
Psychology, Class of 2003
In December of 2003, I graduated Magna Cum Laude with a BA in Psychology from the Honors College at USF. Completing my education through the Honors College provided a number of unique advantages throughout the course of my studies. Smaller classes taught by the best professors allowed us to experience the benefits of a large university combined with the one-on-one time with instructors found in smaller institutions. It also provided me with the contacts and references to gain several research position placements within Alzheimer’s research facilities and with Shriner’s Hospital located on campus. These two volunteer positions help me earn my first paid position at Florida Mental Health Institute where I began working while completing my BA. This first paid position also led to my first co-authored peer-reviewed manuscript published in the Journal of Contemporary Pediatrics. After graduating, I was offered a full-time position serving as an evaluation coordinator for a federal research grant with three sites in Hillsborough County.
In the Spring of 2005, I was accepted into the Masters of Public Health program, specializing in Biostatistics. Shortly thereafter, I obtained both a teaching and research assistantship and had the opportunity to teach masters-level epidemiology and biostatistics. By the time I graduated in August of 2007, I had picked up a second specialty in epidemiology and completed an internship in outbreak investigation at University Community Hospital. Thanks to the encouragement of my mentors at the College of Public Health and my former colleagues at Florida Mental Health Institute, I had a job waiting for me as the first new statistical data analyst hired by the USF Health Office of Research.
For the past few years, I have provided assistance to countless investigators: designing clinical trials, providing statistical analysis, and teaching research methodology to medical students, medical residents and faculty in the College of Medicine. Since August of 2007, I have also co-authored 15 manuscripts in a variety of different publications including the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology, Journal of Maternal, Fetal, and Neonatal Medicine, Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Fetal and Pediatric Pathology and the Journal of Neurosurgery. It has been an amazing experience all the while. Looking forward, I have plans to complete a PhD in Public Health in the next couple of years and perhaps become a faculty member at USF!
Ms. Cayla Clark Lanier
Marketing, Class of 2003
Moving from a small town in Florida’s Panhandle, the transition to life at USF was daunting at first. So many people, so many cultures, so many things to do! Taking advantage of all USF has to offer can be challenging when you don’t have friends to push you to take the risk or share the experience. Choosing to live in the Honors College residence hall was one of the best choices I made, as I quickly made friends with my roommate and other students along the hall with whom I shared those first year classes. The Honors College students, staff, and courses provided a small college feel that allowed me to thrive as a student at USF. Ms. Geiger and Ms. Lazzara guided me through the decision to change my major from Chemistry to Marketing when Organic Chem got the best of me. My relationships with them led to being hired as a Peer Mentor in the first year Ms. Geiger created the program to provide a personalized experience for freshmen as they visited the Honors College during their Orientation to the university.
After graduating with Honors and a BA in Marketing, I attended the University of Texas at Austin for the master’s program in advertising. My Honors College coursework and challenging classroom experiences, including Thesis, more than prepared me for my graduate coursework and I excelled both in and out of the classroom. An internship in my first year taught me that while I enjoyed learning about the creative process of creating ads, working in the industry did not match my personality, lifestyle and goals. After finishing the program, I secured a job running a scholarship program for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Texas. Through this position I worked with middle school and high school students on SAT prep, Financial Aid workshops, and other college readiness initiatives. I saw the need for students to get good advice from their counselors and advisors in order to achieve their goals. I was reminded of the good advice I received from Ms. Geiger and Ms. Lazzara and tried to deliver that to students who were just learning that college was an option for them.
After getting married, my husband, Tony, and I decided to move back to Florida to be closer to our families. Tampa was a natural choice, as I was already familiar with the city and knew where to look for housing ahead of our move. When a position as an academic advisor for the Honors College at USF opened up, I jumped on the chance to work for the program that had such a positive influence on my college experience. I must say,it felt a little like coming home, and I jumped up and down later that day when Dr. Silverman called to offer me the position.
Dr. Silverman’s and the staff’s commitment to student success and providing a top-notch student experience is contagious, we work our best for our students. I now run the Honors Orientation program; hiring, training and directing the Peer Mentors on how to provide that same welcoming experience I felt when I was a student. My degree in advertising is useful as I manage our social media presence and promote the college in new and innovative ways.
The Honors College supports students to help them achieve their passions, whether it is to start a women’s soccer team, or a non-profit foundation like Women In Need, or to travel abroad. What I love most about my job, is that the College continues to support me in my passion: serving students to enhance their collegiate experience and help them make the most of their USF years.
Mr. Brian Fender
Philosophy, Class of 1996
Brian Fender graduated from USF in 1996 with a bachelors degree in Philosophy and a minor in Economics. Brian credits the USF Honors College (then the "Honors Program") for instilling in him a love of learning and putting him on the path to success. After graduation from USF, Brian entered the University of Florida College of Law on a full academic scholarship. Brian excelled at UF Law, graduating with honors and serving as a Senior Editor on The Florida Law Review.
After graduating from law school, Brian entered the private practice of law. After a stint practicing law in Washington, D.C., Brian returned to Tampa in 2005 and is now an equity shareholder and director of GrayRobinson, P.A. GrayRobinson is one of the largest law firms in Florida with over 250 attorneys and 10 offices across the state.
Brian represents a diverse client base, from start-up technology companies to large corporations as well as various municipalities and universities. Brian is a graduate of the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Tampa Class (2007) and has been selected as a "Rising Star" and "Up-and-Coming Legal Elite" by Florida Super Lawyers and Florida Trend magazines. Brian is currently licensed to practice law in Florida, Illinois and Washington, D.C. and is a frequent lecturer on finance law matters.
Brian is married with two young daughters and resides in Tampa.
Mr. Paul Berry
Biology, Class of 1998
I chose USF Honors so I could combine the benefits of enrolling in a large university while also receiving the personalized attention of a small college. I majored in Biology (1998). USF offered great campus resources and extracurricular activities. USF Honors offered a challenging curriculum and small classes that were a pleasant respite from the large lecture halls. It was clear from my first day that Dr. S and the rest of the leadership were committed to my success.
Since leaving USF, I spent a year in a research lab at Baylor College Medicine before continuing my education at Washington University School of Medicine. While enrolled at WashU, I spent a year at the National Cancer Institute. Upon graduation I pursued surgical training at Texas A&M Health Science Center. During the short breaks between operations I met my wife and we had our wonderful son. I now have a private Plastic Surgery practice in Central Texas, Surgical Renewal & Aesthetics. My USF Honors experience was an important step in developing the problem solving, communication and team building skills that I use everyday.
Mr. Christian Marble
International Studies, Class of 2010
Christian Marble was an International Studies major at USF, graduating summa cum laude in December 2010. While at USF, he participated in on-campus voter registration during the 2008 election, interned for two Members of Congress, and served in various roles as a member of the Student Government Senate. During the fall 2009 semester, the Honors College sponsored Christian's studies in Washington, DC through American University's Washington Semester Program, where he interned on Capitol Hill and pursued research at embassies and think tanks. During his last semester at USF, Christian was a staffer on a congressional re-election campaign while completing his Honors Thesis on Turkish foreign policy.
After graduating, Christian joined former Tampa City Council member Bob Buckhorn's campaign for Mayor of Tampa, a campaign that succeeded in emerging from a crowded field to enter and ultimately win the March 2011 runoff election. Not long after Mayor Buckhorn's inauguration, Christian was accepted as a White House Intern for the summer of 2011, joining young professionals from around the country to serve in President Barack Obama's administration.
Christian strongly believes he wouldn't be where is today without the Honors College. The mentorship of Honors staff helped him hone skills and find new avenues for political engagement on and off campus, and the college's coursework provided opportunities to learn about topics outside of the normal curriculum and engage with peers of all majors. The Honors College helped Christian realize his goals and dreams by fostering personal growth and encouraging intellectual curiosity.
Dr. Chris McRae
Communication, Class of 2004
I graduated from the University of South Florida in 2004 with a B.A. in Communication and a minor in Business Administration. I then earned my M.A. in Communication at USF, and my Ph.D. in Speech Communication at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. My research emphasis is on the relationship between music performance, specifically jazz, and human communication. I am now a new faculty member in the Department of Communication at USF where I am excited to continue my teaching and research.
The Honors College played a huge role in my undergraduate success and overall happiness at USF as an undergraduate student. I was introduced to a variety of faculty members, and I was encouraged to try new courses and ways of thinking. The Honors College made the daunting size of USF manageable, and provided me with a quality educational experience. This experience included the development of invaluable relationships with faculty members across the University.
The relationships and support from the Honors College helped me to choose an appropriate major area of study. I came to USF thinking I wanted to study engineering, but my horizons were broadened after being introduced to a wide range of perspectives. These relationships also helped me to find several different employment opportunities both on and off campus. One of these opportunities included working as a peer advisor for the Honors College which led me to realize how much I enjoy interacting with students, and helped me in making my decision to attend graduate school
Now, that I am beginning to develop my career as an academic, I understand even more the importance of opportunities such as the Honors College at USF. Public education is a vital part of a democratic society, and programs like the Honors College provide a quality educational experience that truly values students and the learning process. As a result of this fact, I believe my choice to be a part of the Honors College has continued to create possibilities for me.
Ms. Cherisse Braithwaite
Environmental Science and Policy, Class of 2009
My name is Cherisse Braithwaite and I am originally from Trinidad and Tobago. I was one of the first 2 awardees of the International Undergraduate Scholars Award (IUSA) in 2005 and I graduated from the Honors College at USF in 2009 (BSc. Environmental Science and Policy). After graduation, I worked as a community organiser in South Florida with the non profit organisation Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ). In 2010, I moved back to Trinidad where I worked in the Corporate Health, Safety and Environment Department at the state-owned oil company, Petrotrin. I was also accepted to the International Institute of Industrial Environmental Economics at Lund University in Sweden to complete a Masters degree in Environmental Management and Policy. This August, I moved to Lund, Sweden to complete my final year of my Master's degree.
Ms. Jennifer Apgar
Mathematics Education, Class of 1993
Jennifer started at USF in 1989, back when the Honors College was still the Honors Program. She quickly became involved with the planning of dances, picnics and helping with the Cardboard Box City for the USF Children’s Festival(great photos from back then). And, she spent many hours in the Lounge playing Spades and Hearts (and still plays the occasional game of online Spades). She believes the early years of the Honors Program had an amazing group of students who became like a second family. This program was an amazing transition from high school to college and Dr. Silverman was and still is a driving force of what is now the Honors College.
After several years of just taking courses (lots of mathematics and a physics for an elective) Jennifer decided to pursue a degree in education and graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor’s in Mathematics Education. Jennifer started her education career at the first middle magnet school in Hillsborough County, Middleton Middle Magnet School of Technology. Over the years, although the name and theme of the school have changed several times, Jennifer continues to work as an eighth grade mathematics teacher at what is now the county's first all girls public middle school.
Throughout the nineteen years she has worked at what is now Ferrell Girls Preparatory Academy, Jennifer has pursued a Masters degree at USF in Instructional Technology, and become a National Board Certified Teacher. Currently she continues to participate in and facilitate trainings on topics ranging from mathematics to technology implementation. And, when football season starts you will find her at the USF football games (or at a watch party with Lisa Provenzano Heugel)! Go Bulls!
Mr. James Hudson
International Relations & Biology, Class of 2009
I entered USF as a National Merit and Research Scholar. While I had a fair amount of choice, USF was at the top of my list for one reason: opportunity. More often than not, the Honors College was behind that opportunity by providing support, encouragement, and guidance. I attempted to take full advantage of the academic options offered and graduated summa cum laude with two degrees and a minor, four years experience assisting in research labs, and, most importantly, teaching and leadership skills.
After graduation, I moved to Bremen, Germany, with my fiancée. There I completed a Master’s program in International Relations. During the program I acted as representative for the diverse cohort of students representing 13 different nationalities. Additionally, I spent time working as an editor for the local research institute. Soon thereafter, I returned to the teaching position I’d held at the Princeton Review while at USF, teaching students worldwide over the internet. While finishing my Master’s thesis, my professional responsibilities shifted towards Research and Development. I am now the Digital Content Manager, reporting directly to the Vice President for Content Development at the Princeton Review. My responsibilities include managing a geographically dispersed team, establishing best practices, and providing training.
My time at USF, especially in the Honors College, uniquely prepared me for this diverse range of both academic and professional experiences. The groundwork was laid through interacting with an amazing group of students, hearing a wide variety of excellent speakers, taking challenging courses in an assortment of fields, and receiving support for research involvement from the moment I arrived on campus. In retrospect, attending USF and the Honors College was one of the best decisions I have made.
Dr. Katherine Strange Burke
Women's Studies, Class of 1994
Katherine Strange Burke is a Research Fellow at the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology, University of California, Los Angeles as well as a Research Associate in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures at the same university. She is Associate Director of the Jaffa Cultural Heritage Project, a partnership that began in 2007 between the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Jaffa, now a southern suburb of Tel Aviv, sits on the Mediterranean coast of Israel and has been continuously inhabited from prehistory to the present. The project includes archaeological, geological, conservation, and art historical studies that contribute to understanding the long history of this city (see JCHP websites and Facebook page at http://www.nelc.ucla.edu/jaffa/, http://www.antiquities.org.il/jaffa/description.asp, and http://www.facebook.com/groups/jaffaculturalheritage/). As medieval archaeological specialist her role in this is to conduct research on the early Islamic, Crusader, and late Islamic occupations of the town, spanning the seventh to early sixteenth centuries CE. Her primary subject of analysis has been the ceramics unearthed by numerous excavations at Jaffa over the past several decades.
In the early 1990s at USF Katherine majored in Women’s Studies, which she enjoyed immensely for the diversity of fields one could study, all approached from a fresh angle. Being a part of the honors college provided her with a sense of being in a small liberal arts college. She even enjoyed the very late-night study sessions in the honors dorm. The honors classes were challenging and stimulating, particularly Dr. Waugh’s philosophy class entitled “Theory of Knowledge.” Dr. Silverman was keen to help her find scholarships and achieve academic success in the program and after.
After graduation Katherine worked here and there while she took Arabic language classes at USF with the intent of eventually entering graduate school in anthropology and conducting research on women in the Middle East. By fluke she happened upon the field of Islamic Archaeology, however, and decided to test its suitability by undertaking the Islamic Art and Archaeology Master of Studies at the University of Oxford in 1997–98. It was a fit, so she returned to the US to enter the PhD program in Islamic Archaeology in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations at the University of Chicago. Graduate study brought chances to excavate in Syria and Turkey and to travel in Jordan and Lebanon. Six months of research in Egypt provided the data for her dissertation on Quseir al-Qadim, a thirteenth-century Red Sea port in Egypt (text available as a pdf at https://oi.uchicago.edu/research/library/dissertation/strangeburke.html).
In her first year at the University of Chicago, Katherine met Aaron Burke, a fellow student assistant in the department library who was pursing a doctoral degree in Ancient Near Eastern Archaeology. They married two years later. They now live in Los Angeles with their two young sons, who accompany them on fieldwork in Jaffa every summer. Aaron is Co-director of the JCHP and Associate Professor of the Archaeology of the Levant and Ancient Israel at UCLA.
Mr. Ryan McLaughlin
Advertising, Class of 2004
Ryan McLaughlin attended the University of South Florida from 2000-2004, majoring in Advertising (Mass Communications) and graduated with honors.
Following graduation, Ryan began his career at Modernista!, an award-winning boutique advertising agency in Boston, as a strategic planning and client service coordinator working on TV and Print for the Hummer account. Following Modernista!, his desire to work within the digital space and passion for the automotive industry, led him to Arnold Worldwide, to work on the prominent Volkswagen account. After honing his skills in client service, he decided to migrate to Saatchi and Saatchi in Los Angeles to work on the 2nd largest automotive account in the United States, Toyota. At Saatchi, Ryan was a strategic planner and led strategy on Toyota's Trucks and Motorsports divisions. Additionally, he was responsible for Saatchi's Action Sports Initiative, a program created to better understand the wants and needs of the actions sports subculture, through ethnographic research.
During his time at Saatchi his curiosity and enthusiasm for social media grew. When social media, as a practice, began moving towards consumer relationship marketing, Ryan went to work at Rapp Collins on a variety of clients (Toyota, Lexus, Neutrogena, Bank of America, Hasbro) as a trend analyst and strategic planner, creating social media experiences for their consumers. Following a brief stint as a freelance social media strategist where he worked on L.A. Fashion Week and the PGA Tour, Ryan was tasked with building out the Social Media practice at Initiative Media. He led strategy on clients such as Hyundai, Kia, VIZIO and Best Western. Currently, Ryan is the Director of Social Media at R/GA in New York City, the digital agency of the decade, where he leads social media strategy for Walmart, the world's largest retailer.
Ryan attributes his experience in the USF Honors Program as pivotal in setting him up with a trajectory of success, to allow his future career to flourish. Honors at USF was a source of inspiration during his time on campus, due to the hands-on and personal nature of the staff and curriculum. Perhaps, most importantly, it provided a sense of community for high-acheivers, that have great desire to discuss, debate and make decisions on the most important and pressing issues that impact our collective future. As an industry thought leader in the social media space, Ryan continues to draw upon his experiences at the University of South Florida.
Mr. Grant Fowler
Physics, Class of 2004
As a local of the Tampa Bay area, I chose to stay close to home for my college education, and I'm certainly glad I did. The Honors College provided classes and experiences with intense thinkers and diverse points of view. I found the enrichment of both top-notch faculty instruction and a community of high-performing peers was fundamental to my growth and education. Dr. Silverman cultivates a unique and important community for ensuring every student is challenged and feels at home in a large university. He has been a great mentor to me both during and since my time with the Honors College, and I remember his staff as the most helpful and knowledgeable on the entire campus.
After graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2004, I decided to continue with USF in the physics department through graduate school, where I earned a Master's degree in 2006. There, I studied under Professor George Nolas, where I enjoyed working in the Novel Materials Laboratory on experimental thermoelectric nanomaterials synthesis and characterization, gaining scientific laboratory skills, learning technical intuition and hands-on problem solving, just as USF was growing as a full-fledged world-class research university.
Excited to start a career in STEM, I was fortunate to find a position with a contractor for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration to support the International Space Station from mission control in Houston, Texas. After some intense training, I became one of only 40 certified THORs (Thermal Operations Resource Officers) at NASA, and I was given the responsibility for operating the thermal control systems of the spacecraft in real time! Just as it's shown in the movie Apollo 13, I worked as a member of the team of technical operators monitoring spacecraft system health and status 24/7/365. After my time in mission control, I moved on to a position in Safety and Mission Assurance as a software analyst and systems engineer, ensuring that the software updates developed for the systems I previously operated continue to work smoothly and safely.
I highly recommend the Honors experience for any individual looking for thorough, meaningful education. In my opinion, it has helped me significantly in moving forward into the world as a well-rounded and thoughtful citizen, more aware and appreciative of the world we live in.
Mr. Ryan Walsh
History, Class of 2011
Ryan came to USF in 2006 from the Chicago area after his brother graduated from the Honors College. He was immediately impressed with the Honors community’s open door policy upon meeting Dr. Silverman and the Honors advisers in the winter of 2006. After Ryan matriculated at USF, Honors helped him navigate the abundant resources available to students and create rich academic, extracurricular and international experiences at USF. Ultimately, Ryan’s international experiences as an exchange student at Nankai University and work experience as an intern with INTO University Partnerships in China during 2009-2010 influenced his decision to continue pursuing an international education and career.
After returning from China in 2010, Ryan worked at USF Education Abroad as a co-coordinator of Asia Programs, the INTO Center as an English Conversation Leader and the USF Confucius Institute as an assistant. After working on nationally competitive scholarship applications with the Office of National Scholarships, Ryan became a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant for the 2011-2012 year. He is currently teaching English at Gwangyang High School in South Korea and plans to return to China in order to complete a master’s degree in Chinese History.
Dr. William McKibbin
Phsychology, Class of 2004
I came to USF in Fall, 2000. While I had the opportunity to attend several universities, USF, and especially the Honors College (or Honors Program as it was called back then!), just ‘felt right’ in a way I couldn’t explain to anyone. My intuition could not have been more right! I remember going to orientation and getting help from a senior student in setting my schedule. While he did schedule me for an 8:00am Intro Psych, I forgive him. That’s because he also got me into the class that quite literally changed my life: a section of the Honors course Acquisition of Knowledge. My section was taught by Dr. Marc Defant, (a geologist, actually!) who first introduced me to evolutionary psychology. Hearing about this field provided me with the greatest sense of intellectual excitement and curiosity I had ever felt before or since. The ‘light bulb’ above my head had gone off. I never looked back. All my Honors classes were great, and prepared me for graduate study. But this class was the one that showed me exactly what I would be studying when I got there.
I graduated from USF in May 2004. Since leaving USF, my life has taken me to some unexpected but welcome places. I received my Ph.D in Evolutionary Psychology from Florida Atlantic University in 2010. I know that my Honors classes and research experience played an important role in getting into a PhD program. For that I am incredibly grateful. Along the way to that Ph.D., I married the love of my life, got to travel to all sorts of wonderful places, and made life-long friends. As I write this, I am starting my second year as a tenure-track assistant professor of psychology at the University of Michigan – Flint. In my free time, I run, kayak, take care of our diverse menagerie of animals, and occasionally get in a bit of gaming. I stay active in my field, and have several exciting research projects about sexual conflict from an evolutionary psychological perspective. My most recent and exciting project though, has to be the twins we recently discovered we have on the way. Life has taken me to some great places, and I truly have USF and especially the Honors College to thank for it!
Mr. Anton Hopen
Interdisciplinary Sciences, Class of 1992
Anton Hopen graduated from the USF Honors Program in 1992 with a degree in Interdisciplinary Science. Anton attended the University of Florida College of Law where he was elected Chancellor of the Student Body. After law school, he served as a criminal prosecutor in Pinellas County for three years trying nearly fifty (50) criminal cases to a jury verdict. He passed the U.S. Patent Bar examination in 1998 and has been managing partner of Smith & Hopen, P.A. since 1999, the largest intellectual property law practice in the Tampa Bay area. Anton is Board Certified by the Florida Bar in Intellectual Property Law, only one of 121 attorneys nationally to hold this distinction. His clients include the University of South Florida, Florida State University, Moffitt Cancer Center, Circle-K Stores, Jabil Circuit, University of Central Florida, Florida A&M, and Colorado State University. In 2009 he founded the USF Young Innovator Program that encourages children to apply science and math creatively (WUSF coverage). He is married to fellow lifetime alumni member Lisa (Nicholson) Hopen. Anton holds a commercial Coast Guard Master’s License and his wife and four children sail regularly on their sailboat. The USF Honors Program significantly impacted his appreciation of education and the need to provide young people a diverse and meaningful college experience.
Ms. Lisa Provenzano
Mass Communications, Class of 1993
Lisa started at USF in 1989, back when the Honor’s College was still the Honor’s Program. She quickly became involved with the Honor’s Student Council planning dances, picnics and organizing the Cardboard Box City for the USF Children’s Festival. And, like every good Honor’s student, she spent many hours in the Lounge playing Spades and Hearts (the card games of choice back then).
Writing for the USF Oracle, Lisa decided to pursue a degree in Journalism and graduated in 1993 with a Bachelor’s in Mass Communication. After a brief career at the Tampa Tribune, she returned to USF to get another Bachelor’s, this time in Engineering Information Systems.
In 1997, Lisa started her software development career with IBM. During her time there, she moved from Programmer to Senior Software Engineer. She left IBM in the spring of 2003 and decided to USF once again working to complete her Masters in Computer Science.
Later that summer, she began her career at Nielsen Media Research. She joined a team as the primary developer of the report engine for an application in the Advertising Information Services (AIS) department. From Senior Software Developer, she moved onto Project Manager for the group and recently joined the Platform Definition Team as the Subject Matter Expert for the AIS reporting tools.
Since her first graduation from USF, Lisa has been active in the Alumni Association. She was heavily involved with the Tampa Chapter and served as the Football Game Watch Party co-chairperson for 2 years. She also has spoken to numerous groups on campus and was involved with campus recruitment for Nielsen. In 2009 she was appointed to the National Board of Directors and she was elected as Secretary to the Board in 2011.
Lisa currently lives in Odessa with her husband, Ben, and their two miniature schnauzers, Rocky and Toro. They are expecting their first child in February 2012.
Dr. Jeannette Capella
Biology, Class of 1990
Since the age of seven, I wanted to be a physician. Nothing else ever made sense for me. However, I was the eldest child of a single mother who could never afford to send me to college, let alone medical school.
Fortunately, USF started offering the seven year program combining an undergraduate degree with the medical doctorate at about the same time I was ready for college. With the help of first Dr. Schenck, the first Honors Program director, and later Dr. Silverman, I was able to win scholarships and work study assignments to pay my way. At the same time, the Honors Program provided me with a well-rounded “renaissance” education which prepared me well for the challenges of being a surgeon.
After graduation from medical school, I went on to train in General Surgery and Surgical Critical Care. For eleven years, I practiced Trauma Surgery in an academic setting, teaching residents and medical students, and conducting research in teamwork training for trauma teams. Most recently, I have started a position as an Assistant Trauma Director at a center in Pennsylvania. The schedule allows me time to pursue international disaster response and humanitarian missions. I feel that all my education, training and experiences to this point have prepared me for this kind of work. I hope to use this to help people in need all over the world.
Mr. Zac Flowerree
English Literature & Philosophy, Class of 2007
With dual majors in English literature and philosophy, Zac Flowerree graduated summa cum laude from the USF in 2007. While at the Honors College, Zac received a research scholarship and was a research assistant for professors in the Communication Department and the Philosophy Department. With generous funding from the Honors College, Zac also started a competitive intercollegiate speech and debate team that competed in tournaments across the country. Along with Dr. Georg Kleine, Zac co-taught a class on rhetoric for a section of Honors Arts & Humanities. Zac recognizes that each of these unique opportunities would not have been possible without the support of the Honors College.
After graduating from USF, Zac received a one-year academic fellowship to study the relationship between faith and the academic disciplines at the Trinity Forum Academy in Royal Oak, Maryland. Upon completion of the fellowship, Zac matriculated to The Law School at University of Chicago. During law school, Zac was a vice-president in the Federalist Society, a student attorney for the Employment Discrimination Project, a staff member for the University of Chicago Legal Forum (which published his Student Comment in 2010), and a recipient of the Thomas R. Mulroy Prize for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy. Zac graduated with honors from University of Chicago in 2011. After graduating, Zac accepted employment with the international law firm of Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago.
Dr. Janet Frank
Psychology, Class of 1990
I graduated from the Honors Program in 1990, and suffice to say, it made a positive enough impact that Dean Silverman is a professor with whom I still keep in touch, even 20+ years later!
From USF with a degree in psychology, I attended the University of South Carolina, earning a Ph.D. in Clinical-Community Psychology in 1996. From there, internships, residencies, and jobs took me to Gainesville, St. Augustine, Rhode Island, and back to Gainesville again, where I have resided since 2000.
I worked as a licensed psychologist in various private practices, specializing mostly in chronic pain, adult ADHD, and recovery from trauma until 2006. At that point, a lifelong curiosity about marketing led to a career change to advertising sales at Naylor, LLC, where I am currently employed. Ad sales is FUN, FUN, FUN!
I am married to a fabulous man, Troy, since 2003, and have a 22 year-old stepdaughter and a 16 year-old stepson. I am passionate about my gluten-free lifestyle, which resolved a host of health issues, and enjoy cooking, leading a local branch of the Gluten Intolerance Group, visiting with family and friends and exercising (kettlebells are cool!).
Dr. Paul Grivas
Biology & Chemistry, Class of 1997
Dr. Paul C. Grivas is an attorney with Grivas Law Group, P.A. in Bradenton, Florida. Dr. Grivas focuses primarily on foreclosure defense, but also has significant experience in personal injury, labor and employment law, estate planning, environmental law, land use, health law, family law and contract disputes.
Dr. Grivas has been a panelist in continuing legal education courses in foreclosure defense and bankruptcy law. He has extensive pro bono experience with Legal Aid of Manasota, where he taught courses on filing for divorce. He received the Distinguished Pro Bono Service Award from Florida State University College of Law.
Dr. Grivas has extensive experience with the Florida Departments of Community Affairs, Environmental Protection, and Health. He is a member of the Florida Bar and the Federal Bar for the Middle District of Florida.
- Juris Doctor: Florida State University College of Law
- Doctor of Philosophy, Toxicology: University of South Florida
- Master's in Public Health, Toxicology: University of South Florida
- Bachelor's in Chemistry: University of South Florida
- Bachelor's in Biology: University of South Florida
Dr. Sheldon Salins
Biology, Class of 2000
The day my dad dropped me off at Mu dorm, I vividly remember him saying, “If you work hard for the next ten years, you can play for the rest of your life. But if you play for the next ten years, you will need to work hard for the rest of your life.” My time at the University of South Florida included working hard (as well as playing hard). Majoring in Biology, I took advantage of every opportunity that a large world renown university affords. However, being in the Honors Programs gave me a niche and exposed to more diverse and better opportunities at USF. For example, the [Honors] program’s affiliation with the medical school, I was a first year undergraduate working in the research department of the Medical Microbiology and Immunology Department. Doing state-of-the-art research over four years and publishing my research allowed me to stand out when it came to applying for post graduate school. The Honors program allowed me an increased diversity of classes and the smaller classes provided more intimate setting with the professors and my program mates. With the basic science classes having almost 200-300 hundred students and class questions being shoved off to teaching assistants because the professors were inundated with their own work, it was nice to be able to have a conversation with my Honors professors during office hours or in the evening hours when a question arose.
After my time at USF, I studied dentistry at the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. I further pursued my research interest and graduated with Honors from my research from the Harvard School of Dental Medicine. My well rounded education allowed me to connect with my classmates on a deeper level. After receiving my DMD from Harvard, I ventured to the west coast and specialized in Orthodontics at the University of California at Los Angeles. UCLA and USF have many similarities which made me feel that my postgraduate education was similar to my college education, including large campus, strong sports programs and beautiful weather.
Currently, I am practicing orthodontics outside San Francisco. I am grateful for all the experiences I have accrued during the 11 years of my professional education career. I still volunteer and teach at all the institutions that helped shape me into the professional I am today. USF and the Honors Program for laying down the foundation that helped shape me into who I am today, Harvard for the dental education and its problem based learning style, and UCLA for providing the tools that my career is built on.
Dr. Matt Harwell
Biology, Class of 1994
Matt Harwell completed the Honors Program curriculum with a BS in Biology and a minor in Geography in 1994. Matt's Honors Thesis project looked at ecosystem impacts in seagrasses in Biscayne Bay following impacts from Hurricane Andrew. Matt leveraged his Honors Thesis to immediately enter a Ph.D. program at the College of William and Mary's marine science school, where he worked on seagrass ecology and ecosystem restoration efforts, including publishing a seminal article in the journal Ecology, changing an existing paradigm on seagrass population dynamics. Matt's Post-Doctoral fellowship was spent working on restoring freshwater submerged aquatic vegetation in Lake Okeechobee, the second largest freshwater lake wholly contained in the continental U.S. It was here that Matt devoted the next decade to Everglades and South Florida ecosystem restoration.
For 8.5 years, Matt served as the senior ecologist at the A.R.M. Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge, a 220 square mile wetland at the northern end of the remaining Everglades. Matt's work at this Refuge -- often considered one of the most politically sensitive wetlands in the country -- focused on using science to best manage the fish and wildlife and trust resources. Specifically, he: (1) served as an expert witness for the Justice Department on water quality pollution in the Everglades; (2) managed a multi-year, multi-million dollar water quality monitoring and modeling program; (3) recruited, taught, and trained students at the community college, undergraduate, and graduate levels as well as several post-docs. Completing a decade of work in South Florida for the U.S. Department of Interior, Matt also helped steer a 10-year, $10M per year interagency science program looking at characterizing the health of the many South Florida ecosystems as part of the larger $13B Everglades restoration program, including developing assessment strategies and science-based adaptive management strategies. Just this fall, Matt has taken on the role of Branch Chief for the Ecosystem Assessment Branch of the USEPA's Office of Research and Development's National Health and Environmental Effects Research Laboratory located in Gulf Breeze Florida where he will be leading a team of 21 scientists and support staff exploring a number of science topics ranging from ecosystem goods and services to human well being.
The USF Honors Program gave Matt the skills and support to develop his interests in biology, ecology, and geography during a time when most biology majors at USF were focused on the medical fields. There was a direct relationship between Matt's Honors Thesis efforts and his resulting graduate and post graduate work in aquatic plant ecology. With the solid background Matt gained at USF, Matt developed the ecological background and expertise to kick start his career. Matt has been married to Donna Lotten Harwell for 17+ years and is the proud father of two.
Mr. Bret Lawrence McCabe
Psychology, Class of 2000
Bret Lawrence McCabe is a graduate of USF’s Honors College, class of 2000. Psychology Major.
Following graduation, Bret moved to Los Angeles, California where he worked in the film and music video industry. While in Los Angeles, Bret worked alongside such prominent Film Directors as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, Michael Bay, Tony Scott, as well as, Producer Jerry Bruckheimer. His film credits while in Los Angeles include: Black Hawk Down, Catch Me If You Can, Pearl Harbor, Moulin Rouge, Planet of the Apes, and Master and Commander: Far Side of the World. In addition, he has met and worked with such Hollywood names as: actors Leonardo DiCaprio and Vince Vaughn, musicians Dave Navarro, Snoop Dogg, Dr. Dre, and Missy Elliot, as well as, comedian Dana Carvey, After returning to New York in 2002, Bret attended Villanova University School of Law. During his years at Villanova, Bret was awarded honors for his work in immigration law, translating legal documents for those seeking citizenship in the United States, as well as, completing an externship in the Public Defenders Office of Philadelphia. In addition, Bret was integral in initiating several successful donation drives for the citizens of Philadelphia, which garnered him the Dorothy Day award for Pro Bono Service. Prior to graduation, he had been a Sweet-Sixteen finalist in the Villanova University School of Law Moot Court competition, which was finally judged by United States Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito. As such, he has gained an extensive interest in litigation, and a strong desire to work daily within a courtroom setting. Bret has once again returned to New York, where he is awaiting his New York State Bar Examination results, and plans to attempt to work at the Brooklyn District Attorney’s office.
He is currently employed as a project manager for a large construction and demolition firm in Manhattan.
Ms. Christina Coers Alvarez
Biology, Class of 1993
After obtaining my BS in Biology in 1993, I took some graduate courses while working in a team conducting cardiovascular research, publishing our work in 1995. I enjoyed the hands-on OR and critical care experience involved with this research. I then decided to pursue a different career and obtained my BS in Nursing in 1997 at USF. I started my career as a registered nurse at All Children's Hospital. I then moved to Pasco and now work at Brandon Regional Hospital part-time. My chosen specialty is Neonatal Intensive Care. I enjoy the acuity, procedures, and critical thinking skills that are required in caring for these infants. I also find fulfillment in assisting and educating families. I enjoy my work and appreciate the flexibility that it gives me to spend time with my family. But, the most important use of my time is caring for my two sons who are on the Autism Spectrum. My experience at USF and in the Honors Program have prepared me with the tools I need to research published articles for the latest information, vetting out the poor studies in the process, and being proactive in seeking out the best therapies and medical treatment for them. My highest priority is guiding and assisting my children in reaching their fullest potential. My education has prepared me fully for this daunting task.
Mr. Adam King
Accounting & Business Economics, Class of 2008
Adam Starr-King, currently a student of international relations at Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies graduated a King O'Neal Scholar from the Honors College at USF with dual degrees in Accounting and Business Economics in 2008.
Having become interested in Chinese language and politics after participating in the Wang Foundation's Service Learning Program in China in 2006, Adam decided to become a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taiwan, where he lived and worked from 2008-2010. After teaching English, studying Mandarin Chinese, and engaging in a variety of musical activities (including auditioning for Taiwanese Idol) in Taiwan, Adam returned to the US for graduate school. In December, Adam will begin a 5 year term as Consular Adjudicator in the American Embassy in China.
Adam considers his experience at the Honors College at USF as one of the formative events of his life, stating "Without the opportunities that the Honors College provided for interaction with expert, caring professors and intellectually stimulating classmates, I would not have been able to accomplish nearly as much as I have. I am extremely thankful for my Honors College experience and would recommend the Honors College to prospective USF students without reservation."
Ms. Donna Lotten Harwell
International Studies & Italian, Class of 1994
Donna Lotten was a 1994 Honors Program cum laude graduate with dual majors in International Studies and Italian, with a minor in French. Donna used her broad educational background in International Studies to focus her Honors Thesis project on the significance of international wetlands classification schemes and resultant legislation over the previous several decades. Donna used this exercise, along with strong research skills developed at USF, to take her initial interests in the law to earn a JD from the University of Richmond -- at the time, the only law school in the nation that required Environmental Law for its first year students. Donna developed strong research skills, caught the legal writing and teaching bugs, and received accolades as a law student for her service to others. While in Virginia, Donna actively practiced law in a number of fields ranging from children/family law to real estate to environmental law.
Following a move to South Florida in 2000, Donna utilized her research and writing skills as a legal editor for a nationally renown legal publishing company focusing on providing 'case reporters' to the legal community. Shortly thereafter, Donna and her husband started a family -- two great kids now 10 and 8 -- at which point Donna took on the dual-career role of raising a family and being a professional in the legal field. Donna has spent the last handful of years utilizing her background in developing and teaching legal courses at several community colleges and at a national on-line program. To date, she has taught dozens of environmental science students the field of environmental law, and many hundreds of paralegal students assorted legal writing and research skills.
The USF Honors program strongly supported Donna's dual degree efforts while exposing her to critical thinking and research skills. She developed her interests in environmental law with her Honors Thesis, which was paramount to her going to law school after USF. Exposure to great Honors Program professors also helped facilitate her interest in teaching. As a result, all of Donna's career activities have some direct ties to the USF Honors Program. Donna has been married to Matt Harwell for 17+ years and is the proud mother of two.
Dr. Ashley Donnelly
Literature, Class of 1999
My time at USF was absolutely enhanced by my engagement with the Honors program. I took courses in small groups with renowned faculty members studying the sciences and the humanities in a holistic, mind-expanding way that normal liberal arts programs are not able to offer. I still have my books from my favorite classes and remember how cool it was to work with a Dr. from Moffitt studying virology while my friends were in giant seminar classes doing standard biology. The Honors College was both supportive and challenging, and inspired my career path in academia.
Ms. Shirley Samson
Psychology, Class of 2006
When considering the universities to which I applied, USF didn’t really stand out much initially, that is, until I received an invitation for A Day with Honors to attend with my parents. I had never been to Tampa, so I wasn’t sure what to expect exactly, but upon arriving, the area appeared friendly enough, and the Honors student volunteers for the event were extremely enthusiastic, warm, and sincere, giving us a good first impression. And then we met Dr. Silverman, who instantly made us feel that USF was the right place for me. From then on, Honors would have a significant impact on me and my life by exposing me to new ideas, expanding my horizons, and showing me different perspectives between Honors classes and the overall Honors experience. In fact, during the Spring of 2003, I joined the Spring Break in London trip with Honors with the aid of the Terrell & Neva Sessums Scholarship, which proved to be quite an opportunity and adventure.
After graduating from USF and taking a year off, I decided to return to England to pursue my MSc in Social and Applied Psychology from the University of Kent in Canterbury, UK. I enjoyed my master’s there so much that I decided to continue with my education and pursue a PhD in Social Psychology, with the first year spent at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, CA conducting studies related to the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election. I am currently in the process of finishing up writing my doctoral dissertation.
Looking back, the Honors College and Dr. Silverman have always been available to me both as a student and as a person in general. I still sporadically stop by when visiting friends in Tampa and see Dr. Silverman, and he always makes the time to speak to me despite his busy schedule. In fact, Dr. Silverman makes it a point to know all of the Honors College students and is also available for parents to contact if necessary, despite us being adults. This is an extremely unique quality that I’ve learned to appreciate even more now that I’m finishing up a PhD and makes me look back even more fondly on my time at USF.