MBA student Chris Brown (left) and Alison Watkins, USFSP professor of information systems and associate dean for graduate and certificate programs.

Graduate student and business professor collaborate on insider threat research

Chris Brown wants to find the next Edward Snowden before he strikes.

The USF St. Petersburg College of Business graduate student is researching a new way for government agencies and businesses to identify potential insider threats like Snowden, the former National Security Agency contractor who admitted leaking classified information.

“The NSA has the ability to track what people do on computers but they’re not making sense of all that data,” Brown explains.

Brown aims to fix that and is working closely with Alison Watkins, USFSP professor of information systems and associate dean for graduate and certificate programs. “She basically helped me advance what I had done” during his fellowship, Brown says. They have published three research papers for national conferences.

“This is a really good idea he has developed,” Watkins says. “Chris is great to work with. You give him an idea and he runs with it. Everybody dreams of finding someone like that.”

Brown’s interest in insider threat research began three years ago with a fellowship at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash, working with Frank Greitzer, then the lab’s chief scientist of cognitive informatics. “He let me go on a wild good chase,” Brown recalls, “and I came up with this linguistic approach.”

His USF St. Petersburg BA in Anthropology informed his research. “As an anthropology student I knew a fair amount about linguistics,” he explains. “So I thought, there’s got to be a way to infer behavior by looking at subtle variations in the way they use common words.” He ties that to demographic information on social media. “We can’t say that a person is absolutely going to do something,” Brown explains. “But what we can say is this person represents a statistically higher risk.”

They are in discussions with a major U.S. bank about testing the method.

Brown, who is a semester away from graduating with an MBA, praises the collaborative atmosphere of USF St. Petersburg. “I think that one of the unique things about this place is that a student like me can develop a working relationship with a faculty member that can lead to applied research that can make a difference,”he says.

Ashlie Flannigan (l), who placed third in a national Jane Austen essay writing contest, with her mentor, Amy Robinson, visiting assistant professor of English Literature.

Student wins third place in national Jane Austen essay contest

A USF St. Petersburg graduate student has won third prize in a national essay contest sponsored by the Jane Austen Society of North America.

Ashlie Flannigan, who is pursuing a Master of Liberal Studies, will be honored during the society’s annual general meeting in Minneapolis, Minn., in late September. Her essay, “The Empirical Austen: Finding Nature and Nurture in Pride and Prejudice,” was entered in the graduate division and was one of more than 200 submissions. She will receive a $250 scholarship and a membership in the Jane Austen Society.

The essay explores the idea of natured and nurtured traits and characteristics as witnessed among the friends and families in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. It also looks at the language that Austen uses to delineate the two influences on behavior and personality.

Flannigan’s essay grew out of a course taught by Amy Robinson, visiting assistant professor of English Literature, called “Selected British Authors: Jane Austen.” It is the second time one of her students in that course has been honored in the Jane Austen Society essay contest. April Sopczach, who graduated from the English Education graduate program, placed second in the 2011 contest.

“That Ashlie ranked so highly with that much competition is really impressive,” said Robinson.

Flannigan said she has been a fan of Jane Austen’s since she first read Pride and Prejudice as a teenager and has enjoyed delving into the more scholarly aspects of her work. “I think it’s what’s underneath the stories, what she was trying to do as a woman,” she said. She plans to pursue a Ph.D. and teach on the college level. She is looking forward to attending the JASNA meeting next month and getting to know other “Janeites.”

“We are all extremely proud of Ashlie’s accomplishment,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “It reflects the high caliber of students we attract to USF St. Petersburg and the strong mentoring they receive from our excellent faculty.”

A banner welcoming students to Residence Hall One.

Students move into residence halls this weekend, classes begin Monday

More than 550 freshmen and returning students will move into residence halls at USF St. Petersburg this weekend as they prepare for the first day of classes on Monday.

Residence Hall One and the Residential Tower at the University Student Center will be at capacity for the fall semester. To accommodate students as they move in this weekend, Second Street S between 5th Avenue S and 6th Avenue S will be closed to thru traffic.

Freshmen will move in on Saturday and returning students on Sunday. Students can begin moving in at 9 a.m. on both days.

“We are very pleased to welcome the Class of 2017 along with our many returning students,” said Regional Chancellor Sophia T. Wisniewska. “The start of a new academic year is always energizing but this year is particularly exciting as we launch new academic programs and begin to lay the groundwork for continuing progress in the coming years.”

A series of Week of Welcome events are planned for students, beginning Saturday with a Pajama Jam party for freshmen, the annual Freshmen Convocation on Sunday, a Welcome Back Party on Monday and a comedy show at the Mahaffey Theater Thursday night.


Education student wins four track events in National Veterans Wheelchair Games

UPDATE: Dwayne Scheuneman won all four track events he entered on Monday, July 15. He also won medals in three field events: Gold for discus, silver for javelin and silver for shot put. His rugby team won both games and have another round on Thursday.


Dwayne Scheuneman is always on the move. Whether he’s dancing, racing, or studying, he approaches life with a high level of energy.

That’s why when the Navy veteran injured himself in a swimming pool accident more than 15 years ago, his first words after realizing he was paralyzed were, “Game on.”

It’s with that vigor that Scheuneman approaches all of life’s challenges – from traveling across town in the snow on a bus in Buffalo, N.Y., or teaching a classroom full of children at St. Petersburg’s Great Explorations preschool. He currently is pursuing his Elementary Education degree at USF St. Petersburg.

His decision to move away from the snowy climate in the North led him to the Tampa Bay area, where he has found an incredible support system within the Haley Veterans Hospital as well as the USF community.

“So I raced in Jacksonville for about a year, and that is just where I started figuring out the whole track and field scene, and when I was there I heard that James A. Haley had a whole unit for spinal cord injuries and decided to move to Tampa in 2000,” said Scheuneman.

Dwayne Scheuneman is studying Elementary Education.

Dwayne Scheuneman is studying Elementary Education. Photo: K. Hennig

His racing days were just beginning – his competitive nature kicked in and he was hooked. He raced for several years and participated in the Veterans Wheelchair Games in Los Angeles in 2003. He stresses the importance of having an active lifestyle and what the Veterans Wheelchair Games can provide to vets.

“It’s an opportunity for disabled vets. The importance of the game is it really is an outlet, helping vets dealing with injuries, and as the recreational therapist at VA tells me, you can maximize your potential, find that o­utlet,” said Scheuneman.

Scheuneman got involved with dance and became so passionate about teaching children and adults with mixed abilities that he started his own dance company, REVolutions, leaving his track days behind.

He performs all over the country and has been collaborating with USF’s Dance department for more than 10 years, including a project called The Rolling Dance Chair.

Dwayne on the track

Dwayne on the track. Photo: K. Hennig

It was only when he was dealing with a recent shoulder impingement that he started to go back to the VA for occupational therapy. He then learned the 33rd Veterans Wheelchair Games would be held in Tampa, and his competitive spirit kicked in.

“I thought the games are here in Tampa, I want to represent Tampa, and the Tampa VA has always been supportive of me, so I’ll compete in these games. I don’t know if I’ll keep racing after that. Since I’ve been training I’ve started to think maybe I can dance and race, so that’s where I am today,” says Scheuneman.

The events he’ll be participating in are the 100, 200 and 400-meter track events, which will be Monday, July 15, at 8 a.m. at Jefferson High School in Tampa. Also, he’ll swim in the 100 freestyle at the Long Center in Clearwater at 7 p.m. Monday, July 15th, and play in a few rugby matches, which are throughout the week.

Learn more about the 33rd Veterans Wheelchair Games in Tampa and view a schedule of events.

HarborNotes Plus Cover

HarborNotes Plus looks back at an amazing year

The 2012-2013 academic year was full of exciting milestones for USF St. Petersburg. Take a look back with us in our special 16-page electronic newsletter full of photos and highlights, called HarborNotes Plus.

Page through it now or print this version.

HarborNotes Weekly, University Advancement’s electronic newsletter, returns this fall with the latest news and events about USF St. Petersburg. If you are not subscribed, sign up now so you don’t miss an issue.

You’ll find it in your inbox each Friday during the fall and spring semesters. Look for the subject line, “Five Things to Know About USF St. Petersburg.”