Friday, March 1, 2013

STEM Expo wows students with science

Hundreds of area high school students were wowed by science during Daytona State College’s first-ever STEM Expo held recently at the News-Journal Center in downtown Daytona Beach.

Motivational speaker and scientist Kantis Simmons gets the
students fired up with the help of audience volunteers.
The expo was part of the colleg's STEM Community Scholars Program that is designed to entice more students to pursue degrees and careers in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields.

The Science Cheerleaders got the morning off to a stirring start. The group of current and former professional sports cheerleaders, who also are working or pursuing careers in STEM fields, tour the nation to recast the image of scientists and engineers, challenging stereotypes with their own personal stories and encouraging more girls to study the sciences.

Kantis Simmons, a rocket scientist, author and motivational speaker, inspired the students with his story of how he overcame a physical disability and low self-esteem to earn two STEM-related master’s degrees and find success in careers with Mobil Chemical Co., CIBA Vision and NASA. “The future is whatever you make it be,” he told the students.

LaKisha Holmes, Daytona State math professor and principal investigator on the STEM Community Scholars grant, said the expo was a resounding success. “Our goal was to expose and engage students in the careers and professions that are possible by obtaining degrees in the STEM disciplines,” she said. “Judging by the enthusiasm of all the students, I think we were able to get our message across: that careers in the STEM fields are open to anyone who has the desire and will to pursue them.”

Throughout the day, students were treated to breakout sessions featuring chemists, physicists, engineers and other STEM professionals who introduced them to various scientific concepts in easy to understand and often entertaining ways. Dozens of STEM-related businesses also showcased their wares, as did area colleges and universities. “We thank everyone who came together to make the expo possible, and we’re looking forward to an even better event next year,” Holmes said.

Now in its third year, Daytona State’s STEM Community Scholars Program is funded by a five-year grant from the National Science Foundation. In addition to attracting students to STEM-related fields, the program also provides STEM scholars support through scholarships, mentoring and other forms of academic and social activities.

Read local coverage of the event from the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

Daytona State hosts evening with music/motor sports icon Mike Curb

Mike Curb
Mike Curb, the Renaissance man who has influenced the worlds of music, motorsports, politics and philanthropy, offered a personal perspective of his accomplishments and experiences to a capacity News-Journal Center audience gathered on Wednesday evening, Feb. 13.

“The secret to becoming successful as an entrepreneur is to be prepared,” said Curb, the year’s first guest of Daytona State College’s L. Gale Lemerand Entrepreneurial Speaker Series. “I think the opportunities for entrepreneurial activities have never been better. The key is if you have an idea, stick with it. You don’t have to be the best at anything, but if you can get the best people around you, you can build something that will last.”

Curb Records, which he founded more than 50 years ago as a young college student, singer and songwriter, is one of the most successful independent labels in the country. Curb’s motorsports teams have won national championships with some of the biggest names in racing. He’s a former lieutenant governor of California and served as an advisor, confidant and campaign operative to presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford. The Mike Curb Family Foundation has donated millions in support of music education, health-care programs and cultural arts.

Most recently, Curb has committed to donate $500,000 over five years to support Daytona State’s Mike Curb College of Music, Entertainment and Art. He reflected on the rewards of being able to give back through philanthropy, saying investing in the future of students leaves a permanent mark on their lives as well as their communities.

Read more from the Daytona Beach News-Journal.

College's QEP taking shape as freshman seminar

Daytona State College’s first-ever quality enhancement plan will be a one-credit hour freshman seminar targeting first-time-in-college associate of arts students who narrowly pass the Postsecondary Education Readiness Test (PERT).

The college’s QEP Development Committee has been working with a pre-proposal topic entitled “Learn to SOAR, First Year Academy: Students Optimizing Academic Resources,” which was the winning topic among three finalist contenders selected last April by college-wide vote. The committee has been refining the proposal into a QEP that is feasible, measurable and supported by research. Thus far, the committee has developed the seminar’s overarching goal and desired student learning outcomes. Recently, committee members broke into  groups to begin writing the first draft of the full QEP that will be submitted to Daytona State’s accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), in late summer.

Daytona State to host Women's History Month luncheon

Dr. Pamela Carbiener will be honored for her work and community service over the last 20 years
Dr. Pamela Carbiener
The Daytona State College Center for Women and Men and its advisory board will host their annual luncheon recognizing National Women’s History Month on Thursday, March 28, from noon to 1:30 p.m. The luncheon will be held in the Hosseini Center (Bldg. 1200), on the Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.

 This year’s luncheon honors a local woman who has made a difference in many lives through her work and community service over the past 20 years. Dr. Pamela Carbiener has served on the Board of Commissioners for the Halifax Health Systems, chair of Daytona State’s Center for Women and Men Advisory Board, board member for “Healthy Start” and trustee for the Bert Fish Foundation. Among her most recent accomplishments, she helped to bring the FSU College of Medicine Regional Campus to Daytona State’s main campus and mentors many of its interns. She is a strong advocate for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) disciplines and encourages students to embrace these subjects and to not be influenced by stereotypes.

Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer (USAF, retired) will serve as keynote speaker for the event. Her contribution as a “Woman in STEM” was most recently observed in her role as commander of the Warner Robins Air Logistics Center, Air Force Material Command at Robins Air Force Base, Georgia. 
Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer will serve as keynote speaker for the March 28 luncheon at Daytona State College
Maj. Gen. Polly Peyer

National Women’s History Month, designated by Joint Resolutions of the House and Senate and proclamations by six American presidents, is an opportunity to learn about and honor women’s achievements today and throughout history.
The luncheon is open to the public. Seating is limited; reservations and payment must be made by March 15. Cost for the luncheon is $25 per person; proceeds benefit the Center for Women and Men. All payments must be received by March 15, 2013.

For more information or to purchase tickets online, visit, call (386) 506-3564 or email

Notables. . .

Professor earns school volunteer award

Dr. Betty Green
Prof. Betty Green of Daytona State’s School of Education was recently awarded the VIPS 20-Year School Volunteer Award from Volusia County Schools.
Dr. Green has been a longtime supporter of the area’s public schools, particularly at Campbell Middle School in Ormond Beach.
Annette Martinson, area superintendent for the school system, said dedicated volunteers like Dr. Green are making a difference in the success of the area’s students. “Last year alone, Volusia County Schools recorded 814,545 hours served by volunteers,” she said. “This equates to a value of over $15 million. Through the individual commitment of all, our students will graduate with the knowledge, skills and values necessary to be successful contributors to our democratic society.”

Daytona State lady hoopster earns top conference honors

Abigail Asoro
Abigail Asoro, a Daytona State College Women's Basketball freshman forward, has been named Mid-Florida Conference Player of the Year by a poll of conference coaches.

The 6-foot-1-inch Asoro, who hails from Sweden, was the top vote-getter among 12 players chosen to represent the 2012-2013 All-Conference First Team. She received a total 95 votes. Although the Lady Falcons finished fourth overall this season in Mid-Florida Conference play, Asoro was recognized for her outstanding individual performance, having averaged 23.4 points per game and 10.1 rebounds.
"We are very proud of how Abigail has developed as a player," said Falcons Coach Cal Cochran. "Her fundamentals are outstanding, she plays with an intensity that motivates our entire team, and I believe the best is yet to come with her."
Cochran said Asoro's feat is even more noteworthy when one considers that she only began playing basketball about five years ago. "She's a late bloomer," he said, "but I think Cinderella has finally arrived at the ball."
Asoro also is in contention for NJCAA All-American Team status to be announced this spring. 
Three students were named to the Mid-Florida All-Conference Second Team.
Ka’ya  Johnson, a guard and forward, ranked 15th in the coach's poll. Guards Paden Smith ranked 17 and Kyla Muhammad ranked 20th. All are freshmen who will return to the team next year. Freshman guards Jeena Potts and Diajah Davis received honorable mentions, ranking 30th and 33rd respectively.

School of Emergency Services to hold March 6 open house

The Daytona State College School of Emergency Services will hold a ceremony and open house to celebrate the new location at the college’s Advanced Technology College, Wednesday, March 6, at 2 p.m.

Current students in criminal justice, emergency medical services and fire science programs will open the ceremony promptly at 2 p.m. with presentation of colors. The open house continues until 4 p.m. and offers industry leaders and the public a chance to see what these programs do to prepare topnotch practitioners in the field.
The Advanced Technology College is located at 1770 Technology Blvd., Daytona Beach (1/2-mile north of LPGA Blvd., off Williamson Blvd.).

For additional information, call (386) 506-4202.

Daytona State administrator receives national volunteer honor

Kent Ryan
Kent Ryan, dean of Daytona State College’s Flagler/Palm Coast Campus and planned giving director of the college’s Foundation, has earned the President’s Call to Service Award by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.

Established in 2003, the award is the highest national honor bestowed upon Americans in recognition of their volunteer service. Award recipients must meet specific volunteer criteria that meets national or community needs.

“It is an honor to be recognized,” Ryan said, “but the reality is I love what I do, so to me it is second nature to help others. I believe in our communities and I have for years tried to help wherever I can.”

Among his many volunteer and community service activities, Ryan has been a longtime fundraiser for the Boy Scouts of America. Last year, he also founded the Volusia/Flagler chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP), an international organization that works to advance philanthropy and foster the growth of fundraising professionals by promoting high ethical standards in the profession. He also is co-founder and a board member of the Estate Planning Council of the Fun Coast, a group that promotes education and communication among estate planning professionals.

Ryan noted volunteer service is increasingly important, nowadays, particularly in the non-profit world. By the same token, those who give of their time and talents gain a treasure trove of intangible benefits. “Many of these organizations, whatever their mission is, cannot survive without volunteers,” he said. “This is why it is so important to step forward and help. But the relationships that you build in doing so, some of them become lasting ones, which to me is a personal reward that is immeasurable.”

There are three levels and four categories of the volunteer award varying by age. Awards can be received by an individual, family or group for volunteer hours given during any 12-month period. Ryan’s award recognizes his more than 4,000 hours of documented volunteerism and represents a lifetime of service.
Recipients receive an official award pin, a personalized certificate of recognition and a letter of congratulations from the President of the United States.