A celebration of success: Seminole State’s Spring 2017 Commencement

SANFORD, Fla. (May 3, 2017) – Seminole State College of Florida awarded more than 2,000 degrees and certificates, including more than 100 bachelor’s degrees, in the Spring 2017 Collegewide Commencement Tuesday night at the University of Central Florida’s CFE Arena.

In her address, Seminole State President Dr. E. Ann McGee noted significant developments at Seminole State, such as the exciting growth of the College that includes offering a master’s degree in international business through a partnership with Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen, Scotland, and the addition of two more international master’s programs in the works for fall.

She also highlighted Seminole State’s Cyber Security Specialization, which ranked first among the 30 best online cybersecurity programs, and the College’s nursing program, which is ranked No. 1 in the nation. But most of all, she celebrated the students’ achievements and the faculty and staff who help them succeed.

“Our strength has always been the personal touch that we offer students…the personal interest that our faculty and staff take in our students that helps them reach their full potential,” she said.

Dr. McGee went on to share that two of the graduating students, Gustavo Diaz Galeas and Cathryn “Cate” Kandle, are winners of the 2017 Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship, one of the most lucrative scholarships for transfer students in the nation.

She also recognized achievements outside the classroom. The Seminole State Raider softball team clinched its first-ever regular season conference title and set a school record for wins, finishing at 53-11. The Raider women’s golf team won its fourth straight National Junior College Athletic Association Region 8 golf championship, earning a trip to the National Championship in late May.

A few of the graduates enjoyed a moment in the spotlight, as Dr. McGee shared their unique stories:

Juan Moyers, of Apopka: Moyers was born on the Caribbean Island of Hispaniola. After losing his job and going through a divorce, he began his education at Seminole State at age 38 and credits his instructors, his family and his five children with being instrumental in his success. Moyers, one of 12 children, earned a bachelor’s degree in business and information management and is the first of his brothers to graduate from college.

Saskia Fanord, of Orlando: Fanord is a first-generation college student. After starting at Seminole State in Spring 2014, Fanord left school and worked part time to support her family while her dad recovered from serious injuries sustained in a car accident. She returned to college in Spring 2016 and says her involvement in student organizations helped her persevere through school and the tough times in her life.
Stevanna “Stevi” Ames, of Clermont: Ames, a student-athlete, excels in the classroom and on the softball field as a shortstop for the Raiders. She was named to the 2017 All-Florida Academic Team and was selected as Raider Athletics’ Female Athlete of the Year. During her freshman year of high school, her 1-year-old cousin died from brain cancer. That tragedy inspired her to become a nurse. She plans to earn her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in nursing and work with children battling cancer.

Randall Arana Vargas, of Oviedo: Vargas works 30 hours each week to help support his family. Despite a busy work schedule and home life, he exceled in his studies and is a member of Seminole State’s Grindle Honors Institute, Phi Theta Kappa and the Student Government Association. He wants to study business and sociology at Florida State University to be near the state capitol and maximize his opportunity to build relationships with legislators and politicians.

Mahaila La Spina-Burgess, of Longwood: La Spina-Burgess is an Australian citizen who moved to the United States two years ago. Her biggest challenge academically was adjusting to the way classes are taught in America. While working full time, she earned a GED with honors in two subjects. She will continue her studies at Seminole State to pursue a career in business and fashion design.
Seminole County Sheriff Dennis Lemma, a former adjunct professor in Seminole State’s Criminal Justice Academy, provided the keynote speech for the ceremony, motivating students to understand the importance of balancing higher education with learning life’s lessons.

“In the highly technical and complex society we live in today, we must have a sound academic foundation,” said Lemma. “Education is more than books and concepts. It also means being socially and emotionally capable to interact in a positive and meaningful way. Commit yourself to self-improvement and learn something new every day. Embrace the concept of perpetual learning.”

During the ceremony, Seminole State also announced its Endowed Teaching Chairs. Professors Dr. Patrick Blythe, John Delgado, Dr. Laila Nimri and Leslie Sammarco each received a $5,000 award for earning the prestigious distinction.

Two Seminole State honors students named 2017 Jack Kent Cooke Scholars

SANFORD, Fla. (April 24, 2017) – Seminole State students shine again! For the third consecutive year, multiple honors students at Seminole State College of Florida were named winners of one of the nation’s most prestigious and lucrative scholarships.


Gustavo Diaz Galeas and Cathryn “Cate” Kandle were awarded the Jack Kent Cooke (JKC) Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship – worth up to $40,000 a year to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year college or university and up to $50,000 a year to pursue graduate studies. Diaz Galeas and Kandle were among 55 scholars selected this year to receive the award nationwide.


Kandle began attending Seminole State as a homeschooled, Dual Enrollment student and is majoring in biology. She hopes to transfer to Cornell University in the fall. She will continue her education as a biology major with a focus on sustainability. Kandle works as a student tutor in Seminole State’s Academic Success Center.


“It feels unbelievable,” says Kandle. “The Jack Kent Cooke scholarship has opened up my options so that I can go where I want.”


Diaz Galeas is studying computer engineering. He hopes to attend MIT in the fall. Diaz Galeas is the programming director in the STEM Student Club and also serves as an embedded tutor for the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) grant program and for the Academic Success Center.


“Because I am an international student, trying to find financial resources is really hard,” says Diaz Galeas. “The very fact that I got this scholarship means that I don’t have to worry about taking out loans, and I don’t have to worry about working. I can focus fully on my studies.”


Both Kandle and Diaz Galeas will miss the sense of community and the support from faculty and the Grindle Honors Institute that are found at Seminole State.


“I have felt like around every turn at Seminole State, someone has had my back,” says Kandle. “I never felt like I am in this alone. There are people who are always willing to help me and extend their hands to me.”


All of the JKC winners show financial need and strong records of academic achievement as indicated by grades, leadership skill, awards, extraordinary service to others and perseverance in the face of adversity.


Since 2006, Seminole State has produced a total of 17 JKC scholars, including a national record-tying four scholarship recipients in 2015. The Jack Kent Cooke Foundation says its Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship is to community college graduates what the Rhodes Scholarship is to overseas study.


JKC Scholarships fund the costs of attending college not covered by other financial aid, plus academic advising, stipends for internships, study abroad and opportunities to network with other JKC scholars and alumni.

Seminole State Biology Colloquium Series Presents Filmmaker Paul Rosolie April 19

SANFORD, Fla. (April 12, 2017) – As part of the Biology Colloquium Series, the Seminole State College of Florida Environmental Initiative Club and Biology Department will host nationally known speaker Paul Rosalie, as he presents his topic, “Protecting the Wildest Place on Earth: Conservation in the Amazon.” This free event will be held on Wednesday, April 19, from 7 - 9 p.m., in the Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G) at the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.


As seen on Discovery Channel, Paul Rosolie is a naturalist, author, explorer and award-winning wildlife filmmaker who has specialized in the western Amazon for nearly a decade. 


As an author, Paul’s mission is to blend adventure and conservation with the aim of reaching a broader audience and including more people in an ecological call to arms.


Rosolie will share his experiences in the Amazon Rainforest and discuss his memoir, Mother of God, detailing his adventures in the Peruvian Amazon, the most bio-diverse wilderness on Earth. Learn about his wildlife encounters and how his conservation project, Tamandua Expeditions, uses tourism to support rainforest conservation.


Seating for this free event is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A reception and book signing (with books available for purchase) will immediately follow the presentation.


For more information about the author, please visit paulrosolie.com.


For more information about the Biology Colloquium Series, please contact Dr. Debra Socci at 407.971.5077. To view past speakers at Seminole State, visit the community speakers webpage.


About the Biology Colloquium Series: Seminole State’s Biology Department hosts the Biology Colloquium Series to present topics and issues related to various fields of biology. The Biology Department invites panelists and speakers to participate in the colloquium by serving as experts on these subjects. To learn more about the Biology Department, please visit seminolestate.edu/biology.

FL Main Streets Demonstrate the Importance of Fully Funding VISIT FLORIDA

The Florida Senate and House each passed their respective budget bills. As we anticipated, the House's proposed funding level for VISIT FLORIDA is $25 million, a 67 percent cut to VISIT FLORIDA's budget. The Florida Senate, however, matches the Governor's recommendation of fully funding VISIT FLORIDA at $76 million. The budget conference process, where the House and Senate will negotiate and determine what's in the final budget, could begin as early as next week. When this next phase begins, it will be more important than ever for you to reach out to your legislators to ensure VISIT FLORIDA is fully funded. We ask that you stand ready to advocate for full funding for VISIT FLORIDA and will be back in touch with a specific call to action when needed.

To continue to draw visitors to every part of Florida, this week, VISIT FLORIDA announced a new initiative to showcase Florida Main Street communities. In partnership with the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association (FRLA) and the Florida Department of State's Florida Main Street Program, VISIT FLORIDA has begun including these historic Florida communities on the Florida Attractions Finder - a popular online tool where visitors can personalize their Florida experience. As part of the launch, VISIT FLORIDA has added an initial grouping of eight Main Streets to the Attractions Finder and will continue to work with these communities to highlight additional Main Streets throughout the spring and summer.

For more details, please contact AttractionsFinder@VISITFLORIDA.org

Additional City Services Available Now on Fridays at Sanford City Hall

The City of Sanford is pleased to announce that starting Friday, April 7, 2017 additional City services will be available on Fridays at City Hall.  We look to accommodate the increased growth in Sanford and to meet our customer’s needs both now and in the future.


With this new change, the City of Sanford Building Department and Public Works Department will be staffed on Fridays from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.  The Building Department permit counter staff will take in permit applications, answer any questions related to building permits and vertical construction applications and setting up future building inspections.  Staff will also issue Building Permits that are ready for pick up, business tax receipts that have been approved by Planning and Development, and they will accept business tax applications. 


The Public Works Administrative Office will be available on Fridays to handle trash concerns, hand out recycle bins, and provide critical services such as pot hole repairs, hazardous sidewalks, and downed stop signs.


The Utility Department will continue to be open for billing and customer service inquiries on Fridays from 8:00 am – 1:00 pm.   

Seminole State Speaker Series to Feature World-Renowned Astrophysicist

SANFORD, Fla. (March 27, 2017) – The Seminole State College of Florida Speaker Series will host world-renowned astrophysicist, Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, as he presents the topic, “Reach for the Stars, No Matter What the Odds.” This free event will be held on Wednesday, April 5, from 7 - 9 p.m. in the Fine Arts Concert Hall (building G) at the College’s Sanford/Lake Mary Campus.


Dr. Hakeem Oluseyi, a regular on Discovery Network, Science Channel and National Geographic, is a world-renowned astrophysicist, teacher, inventor and humanitarian. He grew up in impoverished Mississippi and the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans with many of his “role models” involved in the worlds of drugs and crime. Nicknamed “The Gangsta Nerd” many years ago, Dr. Oluseyi embraces this identity as it speaks to his past, present and future, as someone who believes in the power of passion and dreams.

Currently, Dr. Oluseyi has five degrees, 80 publications including books, scientific and technology publications, more than 11 patents and has received several fellowships, honors and awards.

Dr. Oluseyi’s mission is to pass on knowledge, process and results to the next generation, along the way dispelling the myth of what it takes to be a scientist. In his presentation, he will share his story and his exciting work with the 100 Year Starship Project to help lay the groundwork for the first human mission to a nearby planetary system.  

Seating for this free event is first come, first served. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. A Q&A period, reception and a special telescope viewing will immediately follow.

Seminole State’s Speaker Series is co-sponsored by CFE Federal Credit Union. For more information, please visit the Speaker Series website. For a full list of events at Seminole State, please visit the Newsroom calendar.  

Related Event: Telescope Viewing

Following Dr. Oluseyi's presentation, guests are invited to step outside and experience the fascinating world of astronomy while viewing the wonders of the night sky through the planetarium's telescopes. Weather permitting, enjoy the view from the lawn between buildings G and C. This event is hosted by the Emil Buehler Perpetual Trust Planetarium at Seminole State College of Florida. For more information on the Buehler Planetarium, visit the planetarium website.




Media contact: Donna Wright, 407.708.2694, wrightdm@seminolestate.edu

PM Promotions Looking for Show Sponsorships

Single Show Sponsorship: You choose the show you want to sponsor.


Annual Sponsorships also available. Please contact Michele Holley at pmpromos@pmgraphix.net.




GOLD Sponsor


Company name on all printed materials. Excluding tickets due to space.

Mentions on all social media week of event (plugging your business and your sponsorship of #supportlocalmusic).




Company Logo on all printed materials. Excluding tickets due to space.

Mentions on all social media and on PM Graphix website for two weeks prior to event (plugging your business and your sponsorship of #supportlocalmusic).

Two Free tickets to the sponsored show.




Company Logo on all printed materials. Excluding tickets due to space.

Mentions on all social media and on PM Graphix website for month of the event (plugging your business and your sponsorship of #supportlocalmusic).

Four Free tickets to the sponsored show.

Mentions on our WJRR and IHEART Radio promotion spot (if applicable).




April 1st = Every Mother’s Nightmare

May 6th = Saliva: Live and Unplugged

June 3rd = Sanford Hurricane Party, PM Promotions has stage inside of the West End Trading Company

August 5th = Facelift: Alice and Chains Tribute

November 4th = KORN AGAIN: KORN Tribute band from the U.K.

PM Promotions of PM Graphix Opens in Full Swing

PM Graphix’s promotion department, PM Promotions, opened full swing on Jan. 1, 2017, at the mark of PM Graphix’s 17 year anniversary.


PM Graphix started as a “concert/band promotion” company back in 1999 when we were PM Graphix Plus.  We did a lot of printing for musicians and promotion, band logos, etc.. but it just was not fulfilling at the time. So we decided to steer in a different direction and go full force with PM Graphix, dropping the ‘Plus’, and opened our Printing and Graphic Design company in January of 2000.


Now 17 years later, PM Graphix is doing beyond wonderful and PM Graphix has no plans of ever stopping. This has given Paul and I a great opportunity to pursue something we both have always loved, music, and we were finally able to open the promotion side up again and unveil PM Promotions, a division of PM Graphix. We have been planning and working on this for several years.


PM Promotion’s main focus is to promote local music by teaming up Florida's best local bands with National and International signed acts. There is a plethora of talented musicians in Florida that no one knows about so why not use our musical resources to help extend their reach.


PM Promotions also wants to bring as many people to downtown Sanford, my hometown, as we can by having all of our events in a local venue, The West End Trading Company, located at 202 S. Sanford Avenue. There is so much to offer here and personally, I was always burnt out on having to drive out to Orlando or Daytona to find any nightlife or good concerts. Then driving home, that was always the worst part. I am so happy I have this chance and the opportunity to make a change about something I’ve always wanted to change. As well as being able to help out the community I love and help support all of the people in it in a positive way.


#pmgraphix  #pmpromotions  #supportlocalmusic  #supportlocal

SBA Deadline to Apply for Economic Injury Disaster Loans in Florida is March 23

ATLANTA – The U.S. Small Business Administration is reminding small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small aquaculture businesses and most private nonprofit organizations in Florida of the deadline to submit disaster loan applications for economic injury resulting from the Orlando attack on June 12, 2016.  The deadline to apply for a working capital disaster loan is March 23, 2017.


“Businesses that suffered economic losses as a result of the attack and want to apply for
low-interest loans from the SBA are urged to do so before the March 23 deadline,” said
Frank Skaggs, director of SBA Field Operations Center East in Atlanta.

Low-interest disaster loans are available in Orange County and the neighboring counties of Brevard, Lake, Osceola, Polk, Seminole and Volusia in Florida.


Working capital disaster loans up to $2 million are available at 4 percent for small businesses, and 2.625 percent for private nonprofit organizations with terms up to 30 years. The loans are intended to pay fixed debts, payroll, accounts payable, and other expenses that could have been paid had the disaster not occurred.  To be considered for this assistance, eligible entities need to apply by the deadline.


Applicants may apply online using the Electronic Loan Application (ELA) via SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela 


Applications and program information are available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-659-2955 (1-800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing), or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from the SBA’s website at www.sba.gov/disaster. Completed applications should be mailed to:
U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.


The deadline to return economic injury applications is March 23, 2017.

ePathways Announces Next Internship Expo

It is with great enthusiasm that ePathways announces the next Internship Expo to be held Tuesday, April 11th, at NOAH's Event Venue in Lake Mary.  This event will connect students to employers interested in hosting interns this summer and/or fall.  Our goal is to increase our employer partnerships for spring to maximize learning opportunities for students. 


SCPS ePathways is actively seeking 150 employers interested in partnering with the district to provide students with authentic workplace experiences that allow students to apply the skills and knowledge developed in the classroom to the real world of work.  Employers interested in supporting workplace learning commit to providing 133 hours of paid or unpaid work to a high school student in the summer or fall of 2017 (June-July and/or August-December).  Business partners are supported by district administrators who facilitate the internship by conducting site visits, communicating with parents and schools, etc.


If you would like to participate in the next Internship Expo, please complete the intern request form to reserve your table for networking with students. More Info HERE