Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Resource Development’s grant funding success helps students change their lives

Dr. Theodore Sofianos
For Daytona State College freshman Kelsie Patrick, a scholarship she received through a National Science Foundation STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Community Scholars grant has opened the door to a trove of knowledge and understanding that will provide long-term benefits as she pursues a career in environmental engineering.
“If it wasn’t for the STEM program, I wouldn’t have gotten the same kind of guidance I’ve received,” Patrick said. “I got a lot of valuable information about the field I hope to go into from the mentors I met through the program.”
The associate of arts major will ultimately transfer to Meredith College in Raleigh, NC, to pursue an advanced degree and hopes to one day launch her own business in the field of environmental engineering.
Patrick is just one of a large number of Daytona State students who are benefitting from nearly $7 million in federal, state and local grants secured by the college last year through its Office of Resource Development. Those grants range from over $1 million to just a few thousand and provide assistance to a diverse range of the college’s student population – from men and women who need help making a new start in life,  to adults with disabilities, international students and those enrolled in advanced academic, workforce training and entrepreneurial programs.
The grant tally does not include nearly $70,000 from two additional awards that are still pending, according to Dr. Theodore Sofianos, who assumed the helm of Daytona State’s Resource Development Department midway through last year, after Dr. Nancy Morgan was slated to lead the college’s reaccreditation initiative.
“We are very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish this year,” Sofianos said. “It is especially significant during a time when funding is becoming increasingly competitive because of shrinking budgets. But much of the credit for our success should go to the faculty and staff who collaborated with us with so much enthusiasm.”
The latest complete funding year, which ended June 30, 2011, brought the total grant dollars secured by the college to more than $28 million over the past four years.
Resource Development’s success rate – the number of grants funded vs. the number of applications submitted - was 66 percent for 2010-2011, 24 percent higher than the state average. The college has averaged a 64 percent success rate over the last 11 years, Sofianos said.
Many of those dollars directly support teaching and learning, removing barriers and opening doors to higher education, workforce training and new opportunities for literally thousands of students.
Noemi Vazquez is one of them. A mother of three whose husband is disabled, the 52-year-old Deltona resident began taking classes in Accounting Technology full-time after being laid off as a bookkeeper during the peak of the recession. She received assistance with tuition and textbook costs through the Women’s Center New Directions program, made possible in part through a Carl D. Perkins Applied Technology Education Act grant, as well as the college’s Student Support Services TRIO program, also funded through grant dollars. She earned her associate degree last May with a 3.87 grade point average. Today, she is enrolled in the college’s Bachelor of Applied Science in Supervision and Management program.
Toni Diamond
Daytona State’s Fresh Start program, funded through a grant from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity and other private donations, helped Toni Diamond shed a difficult past and prepare for a new beginning.  Designed for women 35 and older who are in transition due to divorce, separation, death of a spouse or caring for a disabled spouse, the program provides a supportive environment that helps students overcome obstacles to going back to work or starting college. “Fresh Start gave me new focus,” Diamond said. “It helped me to discover my purpose in life.”
That purpose is to help other women who face circumstances similar to her own. Today, she is pursuing her Associate of Science in Human Services degree and is a volunteer with the Domestic Abuse Council. Although she no longer receives scholarship assistance through Fresh Start, she qualifies for Workforce Development funds as well as a Pell grant to pay her educational expenses. 
Kevin Para
Like Vazquez and Diamond, Kevin Para, 50, is a non-traditional student who is reaping the benefits the college’s grants effort. By chance, the AA student picked up a flier about the STEM Community Scholars program at the college’s New Smyrna Beach-Edgewater Campus and inquired. “It’s been love ever since,” he said. The former New Smyrna Beach utility commissioner said the academic and professional relationships he has developed since becoming a STEM scholar have proven to be valuable. “STEM is very specific in that it helps us all find direction as students,” he said. “There is a culture within the STEM community that allows us to build all kinds of different relationships within the college with other students and faculty.”
Through the program, Para discovered his true passion is in design. He intends to transfer to the University of Florida to pursue a degree in Architecture upon graduating from Daytona State.
Vitor Nunes
Brazilian-born Vitor Nunes is among 84 students representing 16 countries who have benefited from a $2 million, five-year US Department of State Community College Initiative grant that largely funds Daytona State’s Office of Global Education and Affairs initiatives. The 27-year-old information technology major will earn 33 credits and certification in JAVA programming during his year at Daytona State, not to mention perfecting his English language skills.
“This opportunity came to me at the perfect moment, but I had no idea how great an experience it would be,” he said. “It’s so much more than studying. I’ve developed so many friendships, international friendships, and you start to understand the world better. You realize that we all have cultural differences, but in our hearts we are all the same.”
Nunes, who carries a 4.0 GPA, said he is most impressed with how his professors are preparing him to immediately enter the workforce upon graduation. “Our classes are much more hands-on here than at my university in Brazil,” he said. “I am very impressed with my professors and with how well equipped the facilities are.”
Sofianos said there is a vast range of grants available for the education community, and added the Resource Development Department strongly encourages faculty and staff to investigate new opportunities.
“Grants are a major source of funding for new programs and program enhancements at Daytona State College, and most have a direct, positive impact on students,” he said. “We are successful only because of the collaboration and enthusiasm that is shared by all who are involved in the grant development process. We are here to serve all faculty and staff in promoting, investigating, facilitating and managing all grant initiatives and opportunities.”

For more information, please call or email Sofianos at (386) 506-3103, sofiant@DaytonaState.edu.

March 2 – 9 is Brazilian Week 2012 at Daytona State

The Office of Global Education and Affairs at Daytona State College will host a symposium next month to kick off a weeklong series of activities focusing on Brazilian business, educational and cultural opportunities and activities. All events are free and open to the public.

“We hope to shed light on the many prospects available to the people of Central Florida through potential partnerships in business, culture, education and a variety of other means,” said Carlos Robles, a Brazilian Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Daytona State who is the primary organizer of Brazilian Week 2012.

The Brazilian Symposium starts at 9 a.m. Friday, March 2, in Bergengren Hall (bldg.110) on the Daytona Beach Campus, 1200 W. International Speedway Blvd. Speakers representing nearly a dozen US and Brazilian colleges, universities and major corporations will present on topics as diverse as global business connections, study abroad programs, politics and culture. The one-day symposium will wind down at 5 p.m. in the college’s Theater Center (bldg. 220) with a Brazilian-Afro Dance Workshop conducted by Rita Silva of the Brooklyn Arts Council, NY.

But the symposium only marks the beginning of Brazilian Week 2012. Activities will resume on Monday, March 5 and continue throughout Friday, March 9, with an eclectic variety of presentations, roundtable discussions and cultural entertainment. (Download a full schedule of activities.)

Also participating is the Southeast Museum of Photography, which will feature nightly screenings of Brazilian films in the Madorsky Theater, located inside the Hosseini Center (bldg. 1200), culminating Brazilian Week 2012 with a showing of the internationally acclaimed Waste Land, a documentary about the work of photographer Vick Muniz.

Brazil is Latin America’s largest country and currently boasts one of the world’s most robust economies. The country is set to host the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

For more information about the week’s events, please call or email (386) 506-3837, bradyj@DaytonaState.edu.

Daytona State photo student awarded Ad Fed scholarship

Chelsea Perez, a third-semester student in Daytona State College’s Associate of Science in Photographic Technology program, has been awarded the 2012 Jim Shipley Scholarship by the American Advertising Federation of Daytona Beach.

Chelsea Perez
The $1,000 merit-based scholarship is awarded to Volusia County residents who are actively pursuing studies at area colleges and universities to prepare for careers in advertising, marketing, public relations, graphic design, multimedia design, photography, fine art and other related fields.

Perez was presented the award at the Advertising Federation’s annual ADDY® Awards competition banquet held this month at the Shores Resort and Spa, Daytona Beach Shores.

“We’re very proud of Chelsea for receiving this honor,” said Daytona State Photography Professor Steven Benson. “She submitted a solid overall scholarship application package, one that indicates she is passionate about photography and has been actively working to perfect her skills since high school.”

Perez is a 2009 graduate of Seminole Ridge Community High School, Loxahatchee, FL, where she earned a 4.0 grade point average and won numerous awards for her photography. She earned her Associate of Arts degree from Palm Beach State College with a 3.95 GPA in May 2011 and enrolled in Daytona State’s photography program that summer. Perez currently holds a 3.65 grade point average and is a member of the college’s Student Photography Association.

Upon earning her AS degree, Perez plans to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Photography from the University of Central Florida through a partnership the university shares with Daytona State. The bachelor’s program classes are conducted in Daytona State’s School of Photography with cross-level instruction by faculty from both institutions.

A collection of Perez’s work can be viewed on her website at perezpixels.weebly.com.

For more information about Daytona State’s photography program, please contact Dan Biferie, program chair, at (386) 506-3581biferid@daytonastate.edu.

School of Applied Business presents first Delaney Award

Student Rachel Carter has been selected the first recipient of School of Applied Business’ Delaney Award for her outstanding work in the college’s new Introduction to Business Information Processing (ISM2000) course.
Rachel Carter, right, accepts her award from
Dr. Evelyn Delaney
In ISM2000, students learn information processing concepts and develop (or improve) their knowledge of Microsoft Office software programs – including Word 2010, Excel, PowerPoint and Access. The students then apply that knowledge and their critical thinking skills as part of a professional project where they take on the role of a sole proprietor for a smart phone company.
The award is named after Dr. Evelyn Delaney, a senior professor at Daytona State who developed the course and is among four faculty who teach it. Carter was selected when applied business faculty voted unanimously that she submitted the most outstanding project in the highly competitive contest.
 “The professional project required in ISM2000 mirrors the types of tasks performed by entrepreneurs, managers, administrative assistants, etc. as they seek to achieve a competitive edge,” Delaney said. “The course poses students with a set of unique and challenging requirements, which is why we decided to recognize the most outstanding student with a certificate, $100 and lunch at CafĂ© 101 (the Daytona State culinary program’s student-run teaching restaurant).
Carter enrolled in Daytona State in 2010 after receiving a bachelor’s degree in French and linguistics from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif., in 2006. In between, she spent three years in the Peace Corps in the country of Benin in West Africa.  She will graduate from Daytona State in May with certificates in Accounting Applications/Computerized and Accounting Technology Operations-Tax Preparation.
Meanwhile, the ISM2000 course continues to grow. Last fall 117 students enrolled in the course. This spring semester, the course has 161 students. It can be used as an elective toward the Associate of Arts general education degree and is required for many business degrees and certificates at Daytona State.

Notables. . .

Daytona State College President Carol Eaton recently was granted president emeritus status at Frederick Community College, Frederick, Md., where she was president for six years before joining Daytona State last year.

The Daytona State College Foundation reports that its Taste of the 24 event held in January at Daytona International Speedway during the Rolex 24 at Daytona was a grand success. More than 1,300 guests attended the event, according to Donna Sue Sanders, executive director of the Foundation. The event helped raise more than $66,000 after expenses to support student scholarships and campus growth initiatives, Sanders recently reported to the college’s District Board of Trustees.

Visit Dr. Ron Eaglin’s Adventure Racing blog as he shares his harrowing adventures during the 10th annual Patagonian Expedition Race, what some have called the wildest race in the world. The associate vice president of Daytona State’s School of Technology’s blog includes postings from the race, describing how his team has had to endure navigating a disabled kayak while traversing 10-foot seas during the early leg of the competition held last week. Unfortunately, the team was not able to complete the grueling course; however, Eaglin’s account of the event is nonetheless intriguing, inspiring and compelling. Eaglin, an avid adventure and endurance racer, was a member of Team Discovery and Research, one of only 20 teams in the world to be selected to participate in this prestigious 600-kilometer race that includes biking, trekking and kayaking, and took the competitors over mountains, through narrow fjords and along imposing glaciers before finishing at the southernmost point of the Americas.

Daytona State music student Raymond Milcarsky recently won the brass division of the Florida College System Activities Association Artist Competition in conjunction with that same organization’s annual Winter Music Symposium held this year at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. In addition to the immediate honor of being selected a winner from a pool of up to 20 other competitors from the Florida State College System, Raymond will receive a $1,000 scholarship, through the organization, to a Florida state university of his choice to continue his pursuit of a music degree. This year, two vocal students also competed for honors. Dwayne Williams, baritone, won the men's vocal category, while Coral Pitter, soprano, placed second (first honorable mention) in the women's division. Dwayne will receive a $1,000 per year scholarship to any university in the state of Florida. This award will be in addition to other scholarships he may be offered. "Dwayne and Coral are wonderful students and singers, and we are very proud of their accomplishments," said Dr. Norton Christeson, assistant chair of the School of Music, Entertainment and Art.