Thursday, November 17, 2011

College sees growth in STEM program participation

“Life is all about collecting keys,” said Kantis Simmons. “There are many doors to opportunity. Your goals should be to collect the keys that will open them.”

Simmons, a leading motivational and academic success strategist, was a keynote speaker during a symposium this month dedicated to highlighting Daytona State’s Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Community Scholars program. STEM is a five-year National Science Foundation grant-funded initiative geared toward recruiting students, particularly under-represented, first-generation college students, into STEM-related college majors.

Motivational speaker Kantis Simmons inspires students at a
recent STEM Scholars symposium.

Now in the second year of the grant, Daytona State has seen a surge in STEM-related academic program enrollment, just as state and federal government leaders have called for more emphasis on STEM education from K-12 through the college level.

“Our objective is to help students find the right path, earn their two-year, STEM-focused degree and go on to earn a STEM-related four-year degree,” said Karen Peterson, the college’s STEM Community Scholars coordinator. “We try to demystify the STEM-related fields to show students how they can be applied to our everyday lives.”

Daytona State offers both associate of arts and associate of science programs that qualify as STEM majors, including biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering, environmental science, mathematics, physics and more. Many lead to careers which, according to a recent Georgetown University study, have the lowest rates of unemployment in today’s job market.

In the past year, the STEM Community Scholars ranks have nearly doubled in size to 580 students this fall semester. Once in the program, students are immersed in a continual and intrusive academic environment that includes personal attention and advising, peer mentoring and coaching, and developing strong social ties with classmates through academic opportunities and extracurricular activities similar to this month’s on-campus symposium which featured Simmons, various employability and study skills workshops and a showcase of local STEM businesses such as Raydon Corp., Teledyne Technologies, Hudson Technologies, Tara Technologies and a host of other members of the Volusia Manufacturers Association.

While there is no typical STEM student, Peterson said all share some common traits, including the ability to earn a four-year degree and the drive to do the work necessary to earn one. While STEM Community Scholars receive a small stipend, they must agree to attend classes regularly, complete their assignments and maintain a 2.75 grade point average.

“When we get them in during the first semester, we discuss the bachelor’s degree program and institution each student is ultimately interested in attending, and we reverse engineer their Daytona State College program of study so they have the classes required to improve the likelihood of being admitted to their chosen program,” she said. Transfer institutions Peterson most works with include Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and each of Florida’s public universities. STEM students also are eligible to transfer into Daytona State’s three Bachelor of Science in Engineering Technology degree concentrations.

As America’s students lag in math and science when compared to peers around the world, President Barack Obama has made improving STEM education one of his priorities, pledging to increase funding to support such programs. The administration has identified three overarching priorities for STEM education, including increasing the ability of students to think critically in science, math, engineering and technology; improving the quality of math and science teaching; and expanding STEM education and career opportunities for underrepresented groups, including women and minorities.

In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott also has signaled increased funding for higher education programs focused on the STEM disciplines in the coming legislative session.

Find out more about Daytona State’s STEM Community Scholars program on the Web.

Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk dubbed the "Boss of Sauce"

Dave Anderson and Gale Lemerand pose wth Chef's Boss of Sauce
winner John Masiarczyk and his wife Barbara.
Deltona Mayor John Masiarczyk, thanks to his wife Barbara, has earned a year of bragging rights that go with being named the “Boss of Sauce” during the inaugural Mayors’ Fun Coast Barbecue Cup hosted this week by the Daytona State College Foundation.

Barbara Masiarczyk's "Smokey John's BBQ Sauce" won the Chef’s Boss of Sauce Award after nearly 300 barbecue lovers from throughout the community rendezvoused at Daytona State’s Mori Hosseini Center to sample the competition among mayors from Daytona Beach, DeLand, Deltona, Holly Hill, Ormond Beach, Ponce Inlet and South Daytona.

The event challenged each mayor to enter his or her own barbecue sauce, or one from a constituent or restaurant from within the city they represent. Sauce samples were served over meats prepared by
Daytona State’s culinary program students and chefs, and the public was invited to vote on their favorites for 50 cents per vote.

Masiarczyk’s recipe was selected tops in tastiness by a panel of judges that included Michael Benedict, a
Florida Bar-B-Que Association certified judge and owner of Benedict Advertising, Daytona Beach; Daytona State Culinary Chef David Weir; Ken Mincer, executive chef of Stonewood Grill and Tavern, Ormond Beach; and honorary judge Chuck Eaton, husband of Daytona State College President Carol Eaton. In addition, event patrons also voted a delectable concoction entered by South Daytona Mayor George Locke called “Kati’s Special Sauce” as winner of the People’s Choice Award. The recipe was prepared by Kati Hall, daughter of South Daytona Police Chief William Hall.
South Daytona Police Chief Bill Hall and his daughter, Kati, took
home the People's Choice Award.
“The Foundation would like to thank all of our contestants and judges for helping to make this a most enjoyable, successful and yummy event,” said Foundation Executive Director Donna Sue Sanders. “We’re already looking forward to next year’s competition.” 
The event was inspired by an L. Gale Lemerand Entrepreneurial Speaker Series activity held the same evening, which featured Dave Anderson, founder of Famous Dave’s of America, a national restaurant chain with more than 170 locations. Anderson inspired the audience, which included many students from the college’s business programs, with his story of a humble start as an entrepreneur who experienced many failures along the road to eventually becoming one of the most recognized names in the restaurant industry.

NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to be on display Nov. 21 at Daytona State

The Volusia County Health Department will bring the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt to Daytona State College on Monday, Nov. 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.  A portion of the quilt, dedicated to those who have succumbed to the AIDS virus, will be on display in the Photography Hall (bldg. 530) atrium located on the Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd.
The same evening, the Gay-Straight Alliance student organization also will present the Academy Award winning documentary “Common Threads: Stories from the Quilt” at 5 p.m. in the Madorsky Theater, located in the Hosseini Center (bldg. 1200). The film describes the creation of the largest ongoing community arts project in the world.
The NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt is an outgrowth of the original AIDS Memorial Quilt conceived in 1987 in San Francisco to memorialize AIDS victims and create awareness of the deadly virus. The Quilt was first displayed on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., containing 1,920 3X6 panels. As it traveled the US, more panels were added. The Quilt was last displayed in its entirety in 1996 at the nation’s capital, where it covered the entire National Mall and consisted of 44,000 3X6 panels containing nearly 100,000 names (17.5 percent of US AIDS victims at the time). As the AIDS epidemic continues to claim lives, the quilt has continued to grow. Portions of the quilt are on display throughout the country. 

Today, there are NAMES Project chapters across the US and independent Quilt affiliates around the world. The Quilt to be displayed at Daytona State is under the care of the Region 1 NAMES Project Foundation Chapter.  It is a powerful, visible symbol of the AIDS epidemic and provides unique opportunities to engage discussions about HIV/AIDS.
For more information about the display at Daytona State, please call Bruce Cook at (386) 506-4417, email:
For more information about the Quilt, visit

College’s Professional Council launches Operation Care Package

Daytona State’s Professional Council has successfully completed the first phase of Operation Care Package, an initiative that began during fall semester to benefit college employee family members currently on active overseas military duty.
The council recently collected enough donated items to send 20 care packages containing calling cards, sun block, snacks and other items to a squad of 40 troops serving in Kuwait, where Kathryn Williams, the daughter of Operation Care Package organizer and college research analyst Cassandra Wilmore, is serving a six-month tour. Rudy Perez, nephew of ESOL Coordinator Isabelle Perez, who is stationed in Bahiram, also received care packages for his squad during the first phase of the initiative.
“I was so very impressed with the initial response of this effort, it brought tears to my eyes,” Wilmore said. “Personally, it gave me a special bond with my co-workers who also have children in the military. I find it very comforting to be able to communicate with others who are dealing with the same situations.”
Operation Care Package will continue, with collections beginning in January for another shipment slated just prior to Spring Break. At least two active duty family members of college employees will be selected to receive packages, perhaps more depending on the number of donated items received.
More information on how you can support this effort and the types of items being sought as donations can be found on the Professional Council website.

Notables. . .

Will Dunne
Will Dunne, Daytona State College’s dean of health, wellness and intercollegiate athletics, has been inducted into the Florida College System Activities Association Hall of Fame. A 23-year veteran of Daytona State, as well as an alumnus, Dunne throughout the years has consistently guided the college’s varsity sports programs toward high athletic and academic achievement, including several “Academic Team of the Year” awards.
The FCSAA Hall of Fame is comprised of administrators, coaches, advisors, officials, student-athletes and other nominees who have contributed a minimum of 10 years to FCSAA or one of its member institutions. Inductees are selected by their FCSAA peers.
The college Planning Council  is seeking ways that will help Daytona State College conduct its daily business more efficiently. The council’s Operational Effectiveness and Accountability Committee this week emailed a survey to all college faculty and staff, seeking input on areas where costs savings can be had, where energy usage can be reduced and where services might be enhanced through the use of volunteers. Faculty and staff are asked to provide their ideas and suggestions and complete the survey by Nov. 30. The survey results will be considered as Planning Council proposals are developed in preparation for the next budget year.