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The University of Tampa
SSME Bulletin May 2014  
  Dean's Note  
  • Dean's Note
  • Outstanding Faculty Awards
  • Outstanding CSSME Majors
  • Students and Faculty Present Research
  • A Well Deserved Retirement
  • Math Students Discover DaVinci
  • Psychology Student Selected for Research Fellowship
  • Criminology Student Tracks Down Opportunity
  • ID&T Students Conduct Program Evaluations of ACE Undergraduate Services
  • SSME Faculty Awards and Accolades
  • SSME Faculty and Students on the Move
  • Additional Faculty Scholarship

There is a good chance that by the time you receive this newsletter we will be assembling at the Tampa Bay Times Forum for the 138th Commencement of the University of Tampa.  And while it is certainly true that Commencement Day is thought to be the best day of the year for graduating students and their families, commencement often serves as the capstone of our recognition, awards and accolades for our students and faculty noting their annual accomplishments and achievements.  Accordingly, much of this final issue of the SSME Bulletin for the 2013-14 academic year celebrates these achievements.

If you are anything like me, as you read about these students you will marvel at their activities and accomplishments.  Just a sampling have our students teaching middle school in Ghana; conducting research in Sub-Saharan Africa; making multiple academic presentations at scholarly conferences; interning at the U.S. Attorney’s Office; and being accepted into Ph.D. programs at top tier universities in Mathematics and Clinical Psychology.  Were we this active and accomplished as undergraduate students?

In reality such accomplishments not only speak to the quality of our students here at UT, but we have to recognize that students often reach this level of accomplishment through the mentorship of a great faculty.  Faculty members who not only take the time to do a great job in the classroom, but invest their time with their students outside the classroom as well.  That is the real difference here at UT.  It is through faculty-mentored research opportunities, seminars, honors tutorials and independent studies that turn good students into great students.  So as you read about our students and their achievements, remember that there is often a faculty mentor in the background who is guiding, teaching and encouraging.

As noted, this is the last issue of our college newsletter for the year and it also marks the completion of my first year here at the University of Tampa. And in that regard I want to thank both SSME faculty and staff for making my transition to UT and to Tampa in general a smooth one.  I wish you all an enjoyable summer and I look forward to greeting a new incoming class of freshman in August.


Jack Geller, Dean

2013 - 2014 Outstanding Faculty Awards

Deletha Hardin - Outstanding Teaching
This year, Dr. Hardin, associate professor of psychology, stood out among the faculty for her commendable teaching.  She keeps her course content up-to-date by including the most current theory and research, requires an apt amount of rigor from her students, and incorporates original and authentic assignments into her classes.  Kim Cummings, chair and associate professor of psychology, said, "Her students regularly comment on her knowledge of the field, her engaging teaching style and approachable demeanor as well as her passion and enthusiasm."  A social psychology student said, "She has lots of concern for her students and is driven to help them succeed."

Netra Khanal - Outstanding Scholarship and Research
During the past year, Dr. Khanal demonstrated exceptional scholarship.  Dr. Khanal authored two published papers, a third paper was accepted for publication, and a fourth paper submitted for publication.  Dr Khanal serves on the editorial board for the Global Journal of Mathematical Sciences; and as President of the Association of Nepalese Mathematicians in America, he organized and presented at academic sessions in Nepal during 2013.  In January of 2014, Dr. Khanal also presented at the Joint Mathematical Meeting in Baltimore, MD.  "As strong as Netra is in the areas of teaching and service / student involvement, he surpassed expectations in scholarship during the past year" said Dr. John Sumner, chair and associate professor of mathematics.

Elizabeth Littell-Lamb - J. Richard Piper Award for Outstanding Service
As Chair of the Faculty Development Committee (FDC), Dr. Littell-Lamb, associate professor of history, provides invaluable and outstanding service to the faculty.  She leads the committee in evaluating and making recommendations for faculty development and professional support programs such as Dana grants,  Delo research professor grants, and sabbatical leaves.  "In her role as Chair of the FDC, Dr. Littell has distinguished herself as a strong leader and tireless advocate for the faculty," noted Dr. Norma Winston, professor of sociology and chair of the Government, History & Sociology department.

2013 - 2014 Outstanding CSSME Majors

At the end of the academic year faculty members in each department select high-performing students for special recognition.  This year the following students were selected for these special academic honors:


Sydney P. Booth - Sydney was selected as an outstanding criminology and criminal justice graduate for her high grade point average as well as being a leader among her peers.  Sydney sets extraordinary high standards for herself and works diligently in exceeding those standards.  A criminology professor commented "She always does more than required, and has a habit of asking truly thought-provoking and penetrating questions that stimulate a lot of class discussion. If all of my students were like Sydney Booth, I just might have the easiest job in the world".

Jacy Curtis - Jacy was selected as the outstanding criminology and criminal justice intern. Jacy took the initiative to get hands-on experience in her field of interest by completing an internship with The United States Attorney's Office.  She also participated in a mock trial for the American Mock Trial Association.  Jacy also participated in A Brighter Community, Inc. and Kids @ UT for the Residence Hall Associaton.  Because of her natural leadership abilities, she has been selected for a management position in the University of Tampa's Admissions Office.

Samantha R. Zaleski - Samantha was selected as an outstanding criminology and criminal justice graduate due to her knowledge of and passion for criminology as well as her work ethic.  Samantha's project about the effects of foster care placements on the rates of reported juvenile delinquency in the state of Florida ”led to one of the best undergraduate research proposals I have ever read," said Dr. Susan Brinkley.  The paper that Samantha co-authored on methamphetamine addiction was presented at a national conference and accepted for publication.


Anna AlferiEducation is a passion for Anna Alferi, secondary English education major.  She has been a tutor in UT's Saunders Writing Center for 3 years.  Last summer, she traveled to Ghana, Africa to teach English in a middle school.  Recently, Anna along with another student researched comprehension strategies for different learners. Through their research, they have identified three strategies for educators to utilize and manipulate as needed.  After graduation, Anna hopes to begin her teaching career with Hillsborough County Public Schools.

Sonja L. Beckenstein - Having a learning disorder has not prevented Sonja Beckenstein from achieving her education.  As an elementary student struggling with dyslexia, Sonja received inspiration and learned skills to succeed in school from her third grade teacher.  By the time she was in middle school, Sonja was an honor roll student.  Sonja will graduate Magna Cum Laude at the end of the Spring 2014 semester with her baccalaureate degree in Elementary Education.

Taylor Gabel - Taylor attributes much of her success at UT to the encouragement she has received from her mentors in the education department.  She credits her instructors with providing her with valuable skills in preparation for her career as an educator.  During the Spring semester, Taylor worked with UT's Educational Leadership Group to research iPad and smartphone applications available for students to use in the classroom and presented at the 25th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning.  Taylor said, "My goal is to one day impact my students' lives and to become the role model and mentor to my future students, the way Dr. Smyth, Dr. Johnston, and Professor Tankersely have been to me."

Kaylee Nonnemacher - Since the second grade, Kaylee has wanted to be an elementary school teacher.  Kaylee said, "I feel that a great education is the most important thing anyone can have, and I consider it an honor to give that gift of education to the spirited and creative minds of elementary age students."  With the techniques and strategies she has learned from workshops and her classes at UT, Kaylee incorporates fun, excitement, and humor into her lessons in order to provide her students with an entertaining learning environment.  After graduating Summa Cum Laude, Kaylee plans to remain in Tampa and teach in the Hillsborough County School District.

Government & World Affairs

Andrea Morris is the recipient of the Pi Sigma Alpha award.  Andrea is a double major in Mathematics and Government and World Affairs. She has a minor in History and a Certificate in International Studies. Andrea is an active member of the Honors Program, has attended several conferences, and participated in Harvard National Model United Nations for three years. Last year, Andrea was awarded an Honors Research Fellows and studied Gender Inequality and Poverty in sub-Saharan Africa. She studied abroad in Spain during her sophomore year. Andrea graduates UT with a 3.9 GPA.


Philip R. Cavanagh is the recipient of the J. Ryan Beiser history award for outstanding academic achievement.  Philip enrolled at the University of Tampa after serving as a non-commissioned officer in the U.S. Army.  He is an ROTC cadet who will be commissioned a Second Lieutenant before he graduates on May 10.  Philip believes studying history "gives knowledge of people who came before us; their trials, tribulations, and accomplishments serve as a guide for the modern human endeavor."

Beatrice Visconti, winner of the Herbert C Laub History Award, will graduate with a double-major in history and government & world affairs, a minor in Asian studies and a certificate in international studies.  When asked what excites her about history, Beatrice Visconti states emphatically “Everything. How one person's speech affects the history of a nation – this is what excites me about history.” What drives Beatrice to academic excellence is her passion:  “Because I am passionate about history, writing and studying is effortless.” She also credits her professors whose enthusiasm fuels her passion.  Beatrice’s goal is to serve her country of Italy as a career diplomat.


Daniel Erhmann - Daniel was selected as an outstanding mathematics major for his wide interest in mathematics.  During his four years at the University of Tampa, he served as president of the math club, interned with the Department of Defense performing statistical analysis, and began the university's math clinic. During his senior year, he did independent studies in algebra, number theory, real and complex analysis, and topology.  Daniel has been accepted to the Ph.D. in mathematics program at the University of Pittsburgh where he will study algebra and number theory.

Emily Grams - Emily's high marks qualified her as an outstanding mathematics major. Emily, a Florida native, chose to attend the University of Tampa in order to swim and earn her degree in finance.  During her first semester, she decided to add mathematics as a second major.  She will also graduate with a minor in mathematical programming.  In addition to her studies, Emily has been involved with swimming, clubs, and math tutoring in the ACE Center.  After graduation, she hopes to begin her career in investment banking.

Anthony Jachec - Anthony was selected as an outstanding major for his high marks in mathematics courses and his contributions to tutoring services.  Anthony graduates with a major in mathematics and minors in finance, mathematical programming and business administration.  After graduation, he plans on entering corporate finance.  Regarding his experiences at the University of Tampa, Anthony said, “I have had great experiences that I will never forget and made lifelong friends.”

Betsie Last - Betsie was selected as an outstanding major because of her wide interest in mathematics.  She has worked as a mentor in the biology department and as an instructor at Mathnasium.  Betsie has been accepted to the M.S. in mathematics program at Georgia Tech.  She would like to pursue a career in the field of mathematical biology where she can combine her love of math and interest in biology.

Andrea Morris - As well as being an outstanding graduate in government and world affairs, Andrea was also selected as an outstanding student in mathematics.  During her junior year, Andrea attended the University of Oxford where she studied number theory. After graduation, she will attend the University of Rochester to pursue a Ph.D. in Political Science, specializing in game theory, statistics, and mathematical modeling.

Day Von Walker - Day Von is a sophomore from Bronx, New York majoring in mathematics.  He was selected due to his high marks in his mathematics courses as well as his contributions to the math club and tutoring services.  Day Von works at the Jaeb computer center and is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon.  He also serves the community by volunteering as a math tutor for the AVID program at the Rampello Downtown Partnership School.


Addie Freeman - Addie will graduate this semester with the highest grade point average among psychology majors.  Stephen Blessing, associate professor of psychology said that Addie "always comes to class bright and enthusiastic, and is always well prepared.  Her performance is consistently at the top of the charts.  She truly is an outstanding graduate."


Morgan A. Parker - Morgan will graduate with a major in applied sociology and a minor in law and justice.  Morgan said "My life goal was to influence the next generation, to encourage them and motivate them to create a better world".  Her passion for equality and prosperity in society grew through her coursework that included classes such as Global Sociology, Race and Ethnic Relations, Law and Social Policy.  She thanks her professors Dr. Bruce Friesen, Dr. Alisa Smith and Dr. Norma Winston who challenged her and her classmates to think critically about human rights and provided them opportunities succeed.  Morgan said "I am fully prepared to be a credible voice in the world because of my UT education and my UT experience".

Brandon H. D'Arezzo - Brandon was selected as an outstanding sociology major.  As part of his studies in sociology, Brandon completed an internship with Metropolitan Ministries where he worked in the volunteer services department.  His duties included introducing volunteers to the organization and organizing volunteer operations.  In addition to his studies in sociology, Brandon served as president of GLTSBA Pride, a resident assistant, and also a coordinator in the Wellness Center where he led yoga, meditation, and stress-reduction classes.  Brandon hopes to begin a career in community mediation, specifically victim-offender mediation. Using the skills that he acquired through his sociology training, Brandon expressed that he desires to work towards furthering equality and human rights.

Students and Faculty Present Research 

On Wednesday, April 30, over 150 students and faculty members gathered in Fletcher Lounge to present their research on a variety of topics within the disciplines represented by the College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education.  A group of faculty members judged each of the 72 posters, and prizes were awarded as follows:


  • Grand Prize:  Effects of Various Exercises on Vocal Performance of Music, Ashley Matthews (GWA)
  • Runner-Up:  Sociosexuality as a Predictor for Peer-to-Peer Sexual Harassment in the Academic Environment, Stevie Ruzich and Scott Husband (PSY)

  • Rising PSY:  A Cup of Neuroticism, Please! A Study of Personality and Addiction,   Gabriela Conti Stenftenagel (PSY 200)

Thank you to all faculty members and students who participated and assisted in the success of this conference.

A Well-Deserved Retirement

There are few faculty members on campus who have a greater institutional memory than Dr. George Botjer (History).  Arriving at UT in 1962, Botjer received his B.S. and M.A. in History from New York University and his Ph.D. in History in 1973 from Florida State University.  He was appointed as an instructor in 1962; an assistant professor in 1966; he was promoted to Associate Professor in 1974; and was promoted again to full professorship in 1983.

A Europeanist and Geographer, Botjer integrated these two disciplines, carving out a unique experience for UT students that will not likely be replicated again. He pioneered the certificate program in European Studies; published “A short history of Nationalist China, 1919-1949” in 1979; and Sideshow War: A History of the Italian Campaign, 1943-1945” in 1996.  In fact Botjer noted that he just received a new book contract to complete a manuscript on the history of Samuel Morse and the invention of the telegraph.  Needless to say, he plans to stay busy in his retirement.

On April 27 President Vaughn and Provost Stern conferred on Dr. George Botjer the title of Professor Emeritus of History. The faculty and staff in College of Social Sciences, Mathematics and Education congratulate Dr. George Botjer on his wonderful career and wish him all the best on his well-deserved retirement.

Faculty and Students Present Research to Board Trustees

On March 27, selected UT students along with their faculty mentors had an opportunity to present their undergraduate research projects to the University of Tampa's Board of Trustees.  It was a wonderful afternoon and was both informative and enlightening to the trustees. The following are the SSME students and their faculty mentors that participated:

The Impact of Inequality on Trade Openness
Jessica Gores and Dr. Denis Rey (GWA)

The Effects of Trade Liberalization on Political Participation in Latin America
Kimberly Gordon and Dr. Denis Rey (GWA)

Underlying Forces Driving Female Workforce Participation in Latin America During the Market
Reform Era

Milena Boasherlieva and Dr. Denis Rey (GWA).

Body Image Concerns and Judgments About Cosmetic Surgery
Victoria Lopez and Dr. Michael Stasio (PSY).

C.S.I.: Columbia:  Testing the Concept of the "C.S.I. Effect" in Latin America
Danny Santamaria and Dr. Anthony LaRose (CRM).

Expectation of Privacy in the Digital Age
Robert Barton and Dr. Alisa Smith (LJA).

Anti-Bullying Education and Practice
Trevor Joenson and Dr. Pattie Johnston Prof. Merrie Tankersley (EDU).

Math Students Discover DaVinci

A group of students from the UT Math Club led by Drs. Angeleska and Toro took a field trip to Bradenton on Saturday March 22 to see “The DaVinci Machines”. The exhibition arrived in Florida from Florence, Italy, where the machines were designed and constructed by a team of scientists and artisans who used the craftsmanship and construction techniques originally found in Leonardo’s prolific drawings and codices. The interactive machines on display include the DaVinci bicycle, hang glider, and air screw, to name a few.  This was an entertaining and hands on experience for the students. They enriched their knowledge and appreciation for the renaissance genius, DaVinci - an inventor, scientist, artist and engineer. We all left the exhibition with the message “Discover the DaVinci in You”.

Psychology Student Selected for Research Fellowship

Logan Cummings, a senior at the University of Tampa, is 1 of only 12 students selected by the American Psychological Association (APA) to participate in a Summer Science Fellowship at George Mason University.  The six-week program provides students an opportunity to experience psychological science and prepare for graduate studies.  Logan will be working under the guidance of Dr. Craig McDonald to study top-down processing and the effects of nicotine on executive control processes.

Logan expressed excitement and ambition for his ongoing studies and research in psychology.  For almost two years, Logan has conducted research with Dr. Deletha Hardin, associate professor of psychology.  Their research was presented during the 2013 SSME Undergraduate Conference.  After graduating from the University of Tampa, Logan plans to enroll in a Ph.D. program in clinical psychology with an emphasis in neuropsychology and neuroscience.

Criminology Student Tracks Down Opportunity 

Criminology major Danny Santamaria ('15) conducted her own investigation on the campus of the University of Tampa to track down not a criminal offender, but an opportunity to become involved in undergraduate research. Through her persistence and creativity, she eventually obtained an opportunity to work with Dr. Tony LaRose, associate professor of criminology and criminal justice.  She recently shared her strategies and advice via posts on the New Jersey SEEDS (Scholars, Educators, Excellence, Dedication, Success) website.  Danny's posts can be viewed at

ID&T Students conduct Program Evaluations of ACE Undergraduate Services
During the Spring 2014 semester, IDT graduate students in the Introduction to Program Evaluation course conducted an evaluation of several services provided by the Academic Center for Excellence (academic coaching, academic exploration, tutoring service and a life skills course). The results of the evaluation helped inform those supervising the programs. The reports and presentations of the evaluations were shared with the director Janice Law and staff of the Academic Center for Excellence. Commenting on the evaluation, Rebecca Bauer, Assistant Director of the Academic Center for Excellence noted, “this evaluation is great and I especially enjoyed feedback from the students and the recommendations. The students were very professional and were great to work with on the project.”

SSME Faculty Awards and Accolades

Angela Angeleska, assistant professor of mathematics, received an NSF-AWM grant to support her interdisciplinary research project titled: "The Mathematics of Genome Assembly". Seven such grants are awarded annually on competitive basis, with a purpose of establishing research collaborations and enhancing the research activities of women in mathematics.  Dr. Angeleska will use the grant to continue her collaboration with a research group at the Max Planck institute in Potsdam, Germany.

Liv Coleman, assistant professor of government and world affairs has been selected to participate in the "U.S. - Japan Network for the Future.  This program brings together Japan specialists with diverse expertise to engage in policy-relevant dialogue regarding research topics and ways to strengthen the U.S. - Japan relationship.  Over a two-year period, participants will attend meetings, workshops, and a week-long study trip in Japan.  During the last meeting in January 2016 at a public symposium in Washington, D.C., participants will present their papers and discuss policy issues.   Additional information on the program can be found at

Instructional Design & Technology Graduate Student were Inducted into Phi Kappa Phi

Congratulations to the newest members of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society our very own UT Instructional Design & Technology graduate students (left to right): Marquis Holley, Nikisha Watson, Karen Garcia, Ileana Wilburg and Jamal Wilburg! These students were inducted to the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society on March 21, 2014. Phi Kappa Phi's mission is "To recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others." Felicitaciones!

Math Club Receives Outstanding Organization of the Year Award

The Math Club won the prestigious and competitive award for “Outstanding Organization of the Year”. In the past year, the Math Club members lead by Dr Angeleska were very active and visible on campus. They worked on different volunteering projects such as math tutoring on campus and outside of campus, WorldWide book drive, T-shirt design, Sigma Scholarship, etc. They also organized field trips and open house events for which they recently won a second place (awarded by the admissions office).  The award was announced and presented to Dr. Angela Angeleska (the Math Club Faculty Advisor) and Shaquille Glover (Math Club vice -president) on April 15 at the Leadership Awards Night at UT.

SSME Faculty and Students on the Move

Education majors Taylor Gabel, Taylor Johnston, and Courtney Loftus presented "Integrating Smart Phone Use into the University Classroom" at the 25th International Conference on College Teaching and Learning in Ponte Verda Beach, Florida.  Pattie Johnston, assistant professor of education, and Merrie Tankersley, clinical education director and lecturer, worked with the students in preparation for the conference.

Trends & Issues in the Instructional Design
Job Market!

On April 1, 2014 graduate students in the Trends and Issues in ID&T course presented research results and interesting findings from the analysis of 150+ ID&T job ads in the United States and abroad. The students were divided into groups and each group focused on a specific job market (faculty, corporate, higher education/K-12, government/military). The results of the research were shared with fellow graduate students to inform their instructional design job hunt! The presentations were also lived stream online to other students in the program.

ID&T Students will be presenting their research at the AECT International Conference
Nikisha Watson and JoAnne Scott, Instructional Design & Technology graduate students, had research proposals accepted to the AECT 2014 International Convention that will take place in Jacksonville, Florida later this year. Congrats Niki and Jo!

Additional  Faculty Scholarship

Ryan Cragun and Jason Sumerau presented "The Hallmarks of Righteous Women:  Gendered Background Expectations in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" at the Southern Sociological Society's 77th Annual Meeting in April.  Dr. Sumerau also served as an organizer, presider, and panelist for two sessions of "Write Where It Hurts:  Negotiating the Emotional Challenges of Doing Deeply Personal Research".

Leslie Jones, assistant professor of mathematics, recently had two papers accepted for publication.  "Otter versus Pufferfish:  The Functional Importance of Geometry in Nature." was co-authored with colleagues Dan Huber and Rebecca Waggett of the University of Tampa's Biology department and will be published in Dimensions in Mathematics.  "The Additive Damage Model:  A Mathematical Model for Cellular Responses to Drug Combinations" was co-authored with Ardith El-Kareh and Timothy Secomb of the University of Arizona and Mark Dewhirst of Duke University and will be published in Theoretical Biology.

Robert Kerstein, professor of government and world affairs, co-authored and presented "Tourism, arts and downtown revitalization in Asheville, NC" along with colleague Elizabeth Strom from the University of South Florida at the Urban Affairs Association Conference that was held in San Antonio, Texas.

Enilda Romero-Hall, assistant professor of education, along with colleagues from Old Dominion University, presented "Animated Agents in Simulated Environments: Effects of Emotive Responses on Visual Attention, Emotion, Performance, and Perceptions" during the Instructional Technology SIG Poster Session: Cognition, Multimedia, and Games at the American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting in Philadelphia.  Dr. Romero-Hall also participated as discussant for the Instructional Technology SIG Paper Session:  Information and Communications Technology, Technological Pedagogical Knowledge, Technological Pedagogical Content Knowledge, and Technology Integration in the Classrooms.

Norma Winston, professor of sociology, presented "Connecting with the Community in an Applied Sociology Class" at the University of Central Florida's 8th annual Public Administration Research Conference.

Dr. Winston also coauthored "Undergraduate Students as Applied Sociologists: Community-Based Research Related to Homelessness" with Laura Nichols, associate professor of sociology at Santa Clara University.  The article discusses how sociology students at the University of Tampa and Santa Clara University benefited from the practical application of sociological theory and methods in projects related to homelessness.


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