University Beat

University Beat is a radio and television program that focuses on the research and work at the University of South Florida and how it benefits the Tampa Bay area, Florida, and the world around us.

Each week, reporter Mark Schreiner looks at the latest USF efforts in medicine, engineering, education, arts and sciences and explores other programs that reach out to both students and the community.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Florida is called the “Sunshine State,” but we don’t really live up to the name when it comes to solar power.

Research by the Solar Energy Industries Association shows that while we’re third in the nation for rooftop solar potential, we’re 14th when it comes to solar capacity that’s actually been installed.

The University of South Florida is trying to change that, with ground-breaking research and solar installations at both the Tampa and Saint Petersburg campuses.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

One of the trademarks of Judy Genshaft's tenure as President of the University of South Florida has been an effort at raising the school's national reputation when it comes to research.

The result of that work was on display Wednesday when she made her annual address to faculty, staff and students.

USF St. Petersburg

The goal, according to school officials, is for USF St. Petersburg to have 10,000 students enrolled by 2025. But to turn the campus from a commuter school to one where students live and study is going to take the addition of residence hall beds - a lot of them.

The school is taking steps towards the addition of a new residence hall by seeking out a suitor who will finance and build a facility under a public-private partnership (P3).

Mariana Sánchez Ramírez

University of South Florida senior Mariana Sánchez Ramírez received a political awakening in Cleveland in July.

The Mexican born 22-year-old was one of a hundred students invited to take part in the Washington Center for Internships and Academic SeminarsRepublican National Convention event. The independent nonprofit group invites students from around the world to gain college credit through various political programs.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

Bill Nagely was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2009, and for the past three years, he and his wife, Sheila, have made the hour-long drive from their home in St. Petersburg to the University of South Florida Health Byrd Alzheimer’s Institute in Tampa.

"It’s really improved our quality of life to be able to have the resources they have here at Byrd," Sheila Nagely said. "They have a wonderful support group, which really helps me, and they just are connected with all the resources that we need."

Almost 3,000 students will wrap up the summer - and a major step in their education - by receiving degrees this weekend from the University of South Florida.

The three schools of USF System will confer degrees to approximately 2,924 graduates, with around 1,500 marching in a pair of ceremonies at the USF Sun Dome Saturday.

Daniel Yeh / USF College of Engineering

For USF graduate research assistant Robert Bair, work he normally does in the laboratory isn’t as easy when he’s out in the field. And in this case, we literally mean a field in India.

"So a lot of things happen that you wouldn’t expect in a lab - a few weeks ago we had a few coconuts from a tree fall onto our data logger, and of course, not a lot of damage was done, but it wasn’t something we expected," he said recently via Skype. "And we had to rearrange the site configuration just so that wouldn’t happen again so we could prevent further damage."

TV coverage of the 2012 elections
iStock Photo

"The days of surprise about actual election outcomes in the big data world are likely to be fewer in the years ahead, at least to those who may have access to such data."

Those are the opening words of an article written by a University of South Florida Muma College of Business professor and his research assistant, who broke down nearly a half billion minutes of TV viewing in 2012 to determine that what people watch could show who they'll vote for president.

John Kersten (USF)

The University of South Florida men's basketball program is under NCAA investigation for possible academic fraud issues.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

You would think after playing defensive end for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for nine years, and then 11 more as a Tampa firefighter, John Cannon might have back pain.

But the engineer-driver said he feels pretty good, thanks in part to a short exercise program TFR put together with researchers from USF Health - a program that, with the help of a $1.3 million federal grant, will soon be tested by firefighters in the Tampa Bay area's three largest departments.

Jesse McLane / WUSF TV

A University of South Florida student who came to the United States from Mexico when she was 6 years old is in Cleveland this week, working and studying at the Republican National Convention.

USF Communications and Marketing

A trio of rankings recently came out on a variety of subjects, and for the University of South Florida, two out of three weren't bad.

USF picked up the top spot in a national ranking of public universities when it comes to student success and once again made the top 10 among public universities for U.S. patents.

But it placed almost right in the middle of some 700-plus schools in Money magazine's "most valuable" universities.

WUSF TV

Teddy Mullet has always liked building things by hand. While his cousin bought a kit to build a laser, Mullet decided to buy the parts separately and make his own. So when he was in his junior year at Sarasota Christian School, he was thinking of applying to University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee.

One problem – USFSM had no engineering program.

Recent USF graduates Victor Sims (left) and Frank Cirillo are both running for political office this year.
campaign Facebook pages

CORRECTION posted at 7/5/16 3:30 p.m. Copy and University Beat radio report updated to indicate Frank Cirillo graduated from USF's Tampa campus and not USF Sarasota-Manatee.

This year, while a lot of college students are getting ready to vote in their first presidential election, two recent University of South Florida graduates are running for office.

Glenn Nickerson / WUSF TV

In 2009, University of South Florida School of Architecture and Community Design students Sean Verdecia and Jason Ross watched Hurricane Katrina and the aftermath.

What struck them was the lack of quick, proper shelter for the victims of an event like this.

"The Committee" website via UCF

Thanks in part to work by WUSF TV, more than 70 public TV stations around the country will air an award-winning documentary that looks back at a 1950s and 60s legislative effort that targeted a then fledgling University of South Florida.

"The Committee," which was produced by faculty and students at the University of Central Florida, examines the Florida Legislature Investigation Committee -- also known as the Johns Committee, after its chairman, state senator and former governor Charley Johns.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

UPDATED at 2:30 p.m. on 6/23 with Pres. Genshaft quote and information on how USF will use the funding.

The University of South Florida is one step closer to joining the University of Florida and Florida State University as one of the state's elite public universities - and one step closer to receiving the funding that goes with that ranking.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

  If you drive through the Unity Park area of St. Petersburg, maybe looking for parking for Tropicana Field, you’ve probably seen Faith House Florida - a collection of four brightly colored apartment houses and a garden on 15th Street North.

What makes Faith House stand out in the oak canopy lined neighborhood, surrounded by single family homes, is that it’s a structured residential program for people battling substance abuse issues, recently released prison inmates and homeless people.

Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

  It’s a problem that affects 700,000 people in the ten-county Tampa Bay area: food insecurity.

Thomas Mantz, the Executive Director of the group Feeding Tampa Bay says food insecurity is when people like you and me don’t have consistent access to food due to a lack of money or other resources. 

Pressure Builds In Debate Over FAMU President's Contract

Jun 8, 2016
Florida A&M University

As the Florida A&M University Board of Trustees prepares for a crucial meeting, a powerful Tallahassee pastor and former trustee said Wednesday the panel should not renew the contract of FAMU's embattled president, Elmira Mangum.

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