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African journalists from the 2010 Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists pose along the USFSP Waterfront.

Visiting African journalists to participate in public forum

USF St. Petersburg and the U.S. State Department’s Edward R. Murrow Program for Journalists will sponsor a public forum on African-American and African journalism on Friday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m. at the University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S.

The forum, which is free and open to the public, will feature a panel discussion involving distinguished African-American journalists from the Tampa Bay area and representatives from a visiting delegation of noted African journalists.

The panelists will discuss their experiences and challenges practicing journalism in their respective settings. The forum is free and open to the public.

The Tampa Bay journalists participating in the panel discussion will be Dalia Colon, WUSF multi-media reporter/producer; Eric Deggans, National Public Radio TV critic; Boyzell Hosey, Tampa Bay Times Director of Photography/Multi-media; Ivan Penn, Tampa Bay Times business writer; and Erica Riggins, Bay News 9 morning anchor.

The panel discussion is part of a program hosted by the USF St. Petersburg Department of Journalism and Media Studies for 12 African journalists Oct. 31 to Nov. 6. The Edward R. Murrow program brings emerging journalism leaders from around the world to study journalistic practices in the the United States in a public-private partnership involving the Department of State, the Aspen Institute and several prominent schools of journalism throughout the nation.

After initial sessions in Washington, DC, the participants attend academic seminars and field activities with faculty and students at various schools of journalism.

“The opportunity to host these distinguished journalists from Africa is evidence of the international impact of our program in journalism and media studies,’’ said Vivian Fueyo, interim Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Deni Elliott, Eleanor Poyner Jamison Chair in Media Ethics and Press Policy and chair of the Department of Journalism and Media Studies, said the opportunity to exchange ideas is what makes the Murrow Program so exciting. “We can learn a great deal from each other about how journalism is evolving globally in the digital age,’’ she said.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn (far left) with Reuben Pressman

Entrepreneurship Program co-founder, graduate honored

Daniel James Scott, associate director of the USF St. Petersburg Entrepreneurship Program, has been named Technology Leader of the Year by the Tampa Bay Technology Forum, and Reuben Pressman, the program’s first graduate, has been named Rising Star.

The honors were announced Friday night during the Forum’s 10th Annual Industry Achievement Awards Gala at the Hilton Tampa Downtown.

In addition, Sam Esfahani, a member of the College of Business Advisory Board and chief information officer of the financial services firm PSCU, was a finalist for CIO of the Year.

Tim Curran, an adjunct faculty member in the USFSP College of Business and CEO of the Global Technology Distribution Council, was a finalist for the Technology Leader of the Year award won by Scott.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

Tim Curran teaches evening business class.

“It was a great night for everyone at the College of Business,” said College of Business Dean Maling Ebrahimpour, Ph.D. “Quality is a hallmark of the college,and particularly among our faculty, students and community partners.”

Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said the awards highlight the growing strength of the three-year-old Entrepreneurship Program. “Recognition from the community is the best praise possible,” she said.

Tampa Bay Technology Forum CEO Heather Kenyon said, “I was thrilled to see that the Entrepreneurship Program at USFSP had such a strong showing at the Tampa Bay Technology Forum Industry Achievement Awards. Both Daniel and Reuben are incredible advocates for the entrepreneurial community. The passion and dedication to assist others and to grow technology companies locally has benefited numerous early stage companies and the awards they received are well deserved.”

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Daniel James Scott (far right) with Tampa Bay Technology Forum Board member Joel Playford

Scott founded the technology company Alorum and co-founded the seed-stage investment fund Gazelle Lab. Earlier this year he was named the Small Business Administration Florida Small Business Advocate of the Year and recently was named the Entrepreneurship Educator of the Year by the Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Reuben Pressman is the CEO and Founder of Check I’m Here, a startup company that helps universities measure and increase campus engagement and allocate funds more efficiently through the use of student ID cards.

In January the USFSP Entrepreneurship Program was named the Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Program in the United States by the U.S. Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship. And in April, members of the student Entrepreneurship Club won the prestigious Collegiate Entrepreneurs’ Organization Startup Simulation Challenge for the second year in a row.

Learn more about how to support the Entrepreneurship Program.

Agata Tuszynska, author of Vera Gran: The Accused. Photo by Patrycja Makowska

Sembler Florida Holocaust Lecture to feature author discussing controversial Polish singer, ‘The Accused’

Vera Gran was one of the most famous singers in Poland when the Nazis invaded and sent her to the Warsaw ghetto and eventually to the Treblinka concentration camp, only to spend the rest of her life fighting accusations that she was a Nazi collaborator.

Gran’s story will be recounted by Polish author Agata Tuszynska on Nov. 18 at 3:30 p.m. in the Debbie and Brent Sembler Florida Holocaust Museum Lecture at the USF St. Petersburg University Student Center Ballroom, 200 6th Ave. S. The lecture, presented by the USFSP Honors Program, is free and open to the public.

During the lecture, Tuszynska will discuss her book, Vera Gran: The Accused, and play recordings of Gran’s musical performances.

The Boston Globe called The Accused “a book of extraordinary depth and power that sets one tormented individual on a lifelong struggle across the moral cloudland.”

Before World War II, Gran performed at theaters and cabarets across Poland. During the war she was forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, where she often performed with Wladyslaw Szpilman, whose memoir was the basis for the film “The Pianist.” Both were eventually sent to Treblinka, the Nazi concentration camp. Szpilman was among those who later accused Gran of being a collaborator, though he later recanted. Two official inquiries cleared Gran, but the stain persisted until her death in 2007.

Tuszynska’s book sheds new light on a neglected chapter in history, said Elizabeth Gelman, executive director of the Florida Holocaust Museum.

“Much research has been done and disseminated on events during the Holocaust, but there is less written about the struggle for reconciliation in the wake of mass violence,’’ said Gelman. “Vera’s story is fascinating, raising philosophical questions about choices and the price of survival. It’s also chock full of intrigue, suspicion and paranoia.”

Vivian Fueyo, Ph.D., Interim Regional Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, said USFSP is proud to partner with the Florida Holocaust Museum for this lecture series. “This promises to be a thoughtful, provocative lecture and we thank Debbie and Brent Sembler for their support,” she said.

Thomas Smith, Ph.D., director of the USFSP Honors Program, said the lecture will benefit both students and the general public. “We are pleased we can present an author with the reputation of Agata Tuszynska,” he said. “Her talk goes to the heart of what the Honors Program is all about – to deepen our understanding of complex issues.”

The Honors Program at USF St. Petersburg is now in its 20th year of offering academically gifted, highly motivated students an exceptional undergraduate education. A distinguished faculty guides special seminars and lectures and provide Honors students with an array of research opportunities culminating in an original senior thesis.

Learn more about the Honors Program.

Adam Eisenberg is the first graduate of the Digital Journalism and Design Program.

First Digital Journalism and Design graduate already putting new skills to work

Adam Eisenberg was an online producer working at the South Florida Sun-Sentinel when he decided to pursue a master’s degree in journalism.

He went looking for a program grounded in the digital age that would take his skills to a new level.

“A lot of the programs I looked at were very theory-based and I wanted something really practical that focused on digital journalism, something that until now didn’t exist,’’ Eisenberg says.

He found what he was looking for at the USF St. Petersburg Digital Journalism and Design Program. So a year ago he left his job and joined the program’s founding class.

Last month he became the program’s first graduate and is back at the Sun-Sentinel applying what he learned.

Because the program is fully online, Eisenberg was able to take classes at his home in Pompano Beach on Florida’s East Coast without ever stepping foot on the USFSP campus.

“It really hits that sweet spot in terms of practicality,” Eisenberg says. “It was something I was really looking for: The skills that are really required of journalists today. And the fact that it was online made it the perfect match.”

The program, launched in fall 2012 under the leadership of Associate Professor of Journalism Mark Walters, has attracted a mix of students, from recent undergraduates to mid-career journalists looking to enhance their knowledge and skills.

 “You’re interacting with a really wide range of interesting people in these courses,’’ says Eisenberg.

The program uses technology to great effect to increase interaction among students and professors, he says, including video conferencing and course message boards. “I really feel like I know these people so well even though we haven’t met face to face,’’ he says.

Each of the program’s 12 courses addresses a different aspect of digital journalism, providing a solid foundation of skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the fast-paced world of online journalism. The topics include multimedia reporting, digital media technology, photojournalism, digital video and audio production, visual communication and entrepreneurial journalism.

Eisenberg says he is putting all the knowledge and skills he acquired in the past year to good use every day and has recommended the program to others.

“As we enter the second year of this program, we have been very pleased at the response we are getting from our students,’’ said Walters.

Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs, said Eisenberg’s success is heartening and reflects the hard work of Walters and the rest of the digital journalism faculty. “This program is an example of the kind of innovative academic programs USF St. Petersburg offers to meet the needs of students, regardless of where they live, and to prepare them for today’s workforce,’’ she said.

Anthropology Professor Jay Sokolovsky conducting field research in Mexico.

Jay Sokolovsky wins national award for innovative aging research

USF St. Petersburg Anthropology Professor Jay Sokolovsky, Ph.D., has won a national award from the American Anthropological Association for his nearly four decades of groundbreaking research and leadership that led to the creation of a new area of study focused on aging.

Sokolovsky, coordinator of the USFSP Anthropology Program, will receive the 2013 Robert B. Textor and Family Prize for Excellence in Anticipatory Anthropology during the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting in November. The award honors pioneering contributions in anthropology that encourage informed policy choices.

Before Sokolovsky began studying impoverished elders living in single room occupancy hotels in Midtown Manhattan in 1974, aging was not recognized as a subspecialty among anthropologists. “It was considered an off the wall topic,’’ Sokolovsky recalls. “Until the late ‘70s or early ‘80s, aging wasn’t a dignified place for anthropologists to work in.” Other anthropologists discouraged him from focusing on aging, he says.

Sokolovsky pressed on, developing some of the first university courses on the subject, writing the primary textbook in the field used at 70 universities, working as the founding editor of a book series on aging, co-organizing and leading the Association for Anthropology and Gerontology and presenting at conferences around the world and at the United Nations.

Today the American Anthropological Association Interest Group on Aging and the Life Course, which he helped found, boasts 750 members.

“For over three decades, Jay has labored to direct anthropological attention toward late life maturity as both a process that all human populations experience and the lived experience of older citizens,” wrote Dena Shenk, Ph. D., director of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte Gerontology Program, in a letter nominating Sokolovsky for the Textor award. “I have been witness not only to his literally helping chart a new subfield of anthropology….but also benefitted from his mentorship early on in my career.”

“I am especially honored to be recognized by my professional peers, who when I began doing research on aging more than two decades ago, warned me that I should direct my intellectual energy in other areas,” Sokolovsky said. He has has been invited to be a keynote speaker on Global Aging at the Open University in Barcelona in November.

Sokolovsky has been at USF St. Petersburg since 1996. He came to Florida in 1993 as a National Institute on Aging Senior Research Professor in the Department of Aging and Mental Health at the Florida Mental Health Institute. He conducted a study of how different ethnic communities in the Tampa Bay area dealt with symptoms of dementia among family members.

He earned a master’s degree and Ph.D. from Penn State University and a B.A. from Brooklyn College. He is the author of The Cultural Context of Aging, Growing Old in Different Societies, Teaching the Anthropology of Aging, Old Men of the Bowery and Indigenous Mexico Engages the 21st Century (to be published in 2014).

“We are fortunate to have one of anthropology’s intellectual leaders on our faculty,” said Vivian Fueyo, interim regional vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Dr. Sokolovsky is an example of the kind of world-class scholarship we enjoy at USFSP and our students are the greatest beneficiaries.”