University Beat
8:00 am
Wed August 6, 2014

Tales from the Border: USF Professor Visits Texas & Mexico

Migrants ride trains known as "La Bestia," or "the Beast," through Mexico to reach the U.S. border.
Credit John Moore / Getty Images/courtesy NPR

If things had gone as planned, USF Department of Anthropology Associate Professor Heide Castañeda would have spent the last two months in Texas and Mexico on a pair of research projects. She was going to talk to "mixed status" families on both sides of the border - families who have both legal and undocumented immigrants living in the United States - as well as meet with immigrants returning to Mexico.

Instead, she arrived just as the world's attention turned to the increasing number of Central American migrants fleeing their homes for what they thought was the promised land of the U.S.

Castañeda talked to University Beat on WUSF 89.7 about her visits to Sinaloa, Mexico, and McAllen, Texas, and what she saw there.

Here are some highlights from that interview:

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University Beat
4:02 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

USF Special Collections Shows Off 'Favorite Things'

1 of only 2 wooden scale models of a sculpture Picasso was going to create for the USF Tampa campus in the 1970s. The model will be on display at a USF Tampa Library Special Collections event Thursday.
Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

They're not raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens, but the staff of USF Tampa Library's Special Collections is putting a few of their favorite things on display for the public for one day only.

According to Special Collections' librarian Andy Huse, the event, A Few of Our Favorite Things (Thursday, July 17 from 1-3 p.m.), allows he and his colleagues on the library's fourth floor to show off some of the most interesting objects, ranging from centuries-old spiritual texts and rare maps to Babylonian clay tablets and Victorian-era novels.

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Law & Order
11:07 am
Sat June 28, 2014

Al-Arian Charges Dropped

File photo of former USF professor Sami Al-Arian, who had all charges against him dropped by federal prosecutors Friday.
Credit Associated Press

Federal prosecutors on Friday dropped all charges against former University of South Florida professor Sami Al-Arian, whose criminal contempt case had sat in limbo for five years in front of a skeptical judge.

Al-Arian had been a target of the Justice Department for more than a decade. He was initially charged with playing a leadership role in the terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad. He ended up taking a plea bargain on greatly reduced charges after a jury failed to convict him following a lengthy trial.

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Health News Florida
11:17 am
Thu June 26, 2014

USF, All Children's Announce Project

Originally published on Thu June 26, 2014 10:35 am

The University of South Florida has donated 1.4 acres in downtown St. Petersburg to All Children’s Hospital for a “research, education and training facility” that would benefit pediatric care, the two organizations said in a joint statement on Wednesday.

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University Beat
3:14 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

Trading Lab Goggles for Beer Goggles at Pint of Science

A glass with the Pint of Science Festival logo.
Mark Schreiner WUSF 89.7 News

Even though she's relatively new to the research world, Crystina Bronk knows there's a not-so-complementary - but partially true - stereotype about her and her colleagues:

"We’re not ‘people-persons,’ like, you can’t have it all, right? You can’t be good at science and be good at talking to people!" said Bronk, a graduate student in the University of South Florida Cancer Biology Program.

It's funny how a little blueberry ale can change that.

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University Beat
9:40 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

USF Benefits from State Budget

Rocky the Bull joined USF students in a visit to the state Capitol earlier this year to talk to legislators about the university's budget priorities.
Credit USF News

Among the big winners in the 2014-15 state budget signed by Gov. Rick Scott on Monday is the University of South Florida, which picked up funding for a number of projects that still needed support.

According to USF News, all five of the university's top legislative priorities were met.

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University Beat
2:29 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

USF Nixes Student Divestment Effort

Members and supporters of the USF Students for Justice in Palestine stand outside the USF Foundation's Investment Committee meeting Wednesday on the USF Tampa campus with their petition, signed by over 10,000 students.
Mark Schreiner WUSF 89.7 News

Ahmad Saadaldin and members of the group USF Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) thought that this time, they were going to be successful. For over a year, they've been working to change how the University of South Florida's $391 million endowment operates when it comes to politically sensitive areas, particularly in relation to Israel and Palestine.

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University Beat
5:15 pm
Tue May 27, 2014

Using Art to Help Close Cold Cases

Left: facial composite put together by Dr. Erin Kimmerle using a 3-D facial reconstruction of a skull and other information found at a Sumter Co. crime scene. Right, a photo of Martha "Jane" Wever, who was positively identified because of the composite.
USF Dept. of Anthropology

In April 2013, the decomposed remains of a woman were discovered behind a truck stop at I-75 and State Road 44 in Sumter County. Authorities there weren’t able to identify her, so they turned to Dr. Erin Kimmerle and the USF Forensic Anthropology Laboratory for help.

Combining a three-dimensional scan of the woman’s skull with photos from the scene and other details, Kimmerle says they were able to use Photoshop and put together a composite image of what the woman likely looked like.

"The more information that we can learn from the scene or autopsy helps inform us about those individual characteristics, for example, using her own glasses in the image," Kimmerle said at a press conference earlier this year. "But it’s really just based on skeletal anatomy and we hope that it will trigger someone's memory or bring new information to light."

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University Beat
6:25 pm
Wed May 21, 2014

Pols, Scientists Discuss Future Research Funding

Panelists at the recent Biomedical Research Roundtable include (from l-r): Moffit Cancer Center's Dr. Thomas Sellers, USF VP for Research and Innovation Dr. Paul Sanberg, USF President Dr. Judy Genshaft, U.S. Reps David Jolly, Kathy Castor and Dennis Ross. Moffitt CEO Dr. Alan List is at the podium.
Credit Mark Schreiner / WUSF 89.7 News

It may be an understatement, but biomedical research is a big business.

The National Institutes of Health has an annual budget of around $30 billion, and since it provides most of the federal funding for research at universities and laboratories, it supports over 400,000 jobs across the country.

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University Beat
5:18 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

Silverman, Voice of USF Graduations, Retires in Style

USF President hugs Stuart Silverman, dean of the USF Honors College, after presenting him with the President's Fellow Medallion at a USF Spring Commencement Ceremony May 2.

In addition to the graduates honored during the University of South Florida's Spring Commencement Ceremonies, Dr. Stuart Silverman was singled out after almost half a century of service.

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University Beat
5:17 pm
Tue May 13, 2014

USF Spring Commencement by the Numbers

The view from the stage as USF graduates sing the Alma Mater at a commencement ceremony
Mark Schreiner WUSF 89.7 News

The recent Spring Commencement Ceremonies at the University of South Florida were certainly big on numbers, according to this week's University Beat.

Over 6,400 hundred degrees were awarded at seven ceremonies - Five exercises were held at USF's Tampa campus, and one each at USF St. Petersburg and USF Sarasota-Manatee. It's the most degrees ever conferred in a single commencement by the USF System.

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Health News Florida
10:07 am
Mon May 12, 2014

HHS Overpaid USF $6.5M

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 1:11 pm

The University of South Florida is being asked to repay $6.5 million in U.S. Department of Health and Human Services grant money it claimed, The Tampa Tribune reports.

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University Beat
8:39 am
Wed May 7, 2014

Student Healthcare Innovators Do Battle 'Shark Tank' Style

12 teams of competitors from 8 state universities faced off at the 2nd Annual State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition
Candace Kaw

Twelve teams of students from eight Florida universities recently faced off at the Second Annual State of Florida Healthcare Innovation Competition to determine whose medical technology reigned supreme -- and the winners walked away with $10,000.

"The competition brings together collegiate healthcare innovators from across the state, and allows them an opportunity to pitch their innovation ideas, concepts, and products before a panel of qualified judges," said Dr. Michael Fountain, director for event co-sponsor, the University of South Florida Center for Entrepreneurship. "In addition to winning cash prizes, these innovations gain insight from these world-class experts to help them move their technologies forward."

A wide variety of products and ideas was pitched, from a Google Glass application for people with cognitive and physical disabilities to a grocery store chain that sells healthy food in low-income neighborhoods.

"I think it speaks, very clearly, to the breadth of what can be done in healthcare innovation, whether it starts out with an application all the way to a small molecule," Fountain added.

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University Beat
11:11 am
Fri May 2, 2014

Family of Grads, Retiring Announcer among USF Commencement Highlights

Kathryn, David and Matthew Turner will all receive degrees at this weekend's USF Spring Commencement ceremonies.
Credit GradImages

In addition to the "to selfie or not to selfie" debate, there are a number of other stories making news at this weekend's University of South Florida Spring Commencement - including a family of graduates, a former migrant worker turned educator, and a USF professor whose voice is recognizable to thousand of alumni.

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University Beat
1:09 pm
Tue April 29, 2014

Mini-Horse, Dogs Provide Break During USF Finals

Tucker greets a USF student. The 5 year-old puggle and the other dogs, most rescues, are part of Therapy Pet Connection, Incorporated.
Mark Schreiner WUSF 89.7 News

Is there a better way to handle the stress of final exams than by petting a miniature stallion?

Okay, it's not Wellness USF's entire plan to help students manage the fear of the last days of class, but Scooby Boo, a tiny 12 year-old horse (wearing USF green sneakers), is one of the organization's secret weapons to provide a break from the pressure.

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