Campus Insider: USF students, Tervis Tumbler president to lead Wednesday discussion about virtual learning, work protocols amid COVID-19

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USF students, Tervis Tumbler president to lead Wednesday discussion about virtual learning, work protocols amid COVID-19
SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2020) – University of South Florida student Ambassadors are set to host a dynamic and engaging online discussion this week about the shift to virtual meetings and other online communication in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Adapting to a New Reality: Virtual Info Session hosted by USF Sarasota-Manatee Campus Ambassadors” is set to feature a discussion with USF Career Advisor Toni Ripo, a representative of the USF Alumni Association and special guest Rogan Donelly, president of Tervis Tumbler in Sarasota and a USF alum, MBA ’18.

The unique event is set to be held virtually on Wednesday, Oct. 14, from noon to 1 p.m. Visit the event website to RSVP and learn more.

Brittany Targaszewski, president of the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus Ambassadors, said the session couldn’t be more timely as students and professionals strive to adapt to new safety protocols. The campus is hosting the event.

“We chose this topic because most of our students and staff can relate to the many changes they’ve had to undergo since COVID-19 struck,” said Targaszewski, a biology major. “We decided to reach out to Mr. Donelly because he’s not only achieved great success at a young age, but he’s also had to make numerous changes to his company while adapting to the ‘new normal.’”

The meeting will include a discussion with Ripo titled, “7 Habits of Virtual Meetings,” followed by a presentation by Donelly about Tervis and a Q&A session with the executive.

Tervis, a third-generation family owned business, manufactures insulated drink containers. Recently, it partnered with USF students to seek feedback on products it was developing. Donelly said he agreed to the talk in order to help students as they prepare for new careers.

“This was important to me because it’s important to share the way business is being done in an environment with so much change,” he said. “The better informed our students are, the more successful they will be in making a positive impact on the world.”

Jay Riley, director of business outreach and community engagement at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, assisted the Ambassadors with the event.

“The great thing about this program is that it connects students to successful professionals to give them real-world insights into how companies like Tervis are adapting during the pandemic,” Riley said. “We are extremely grateful to Rogan for taking the time to speak with our students, and the USF Ambassadors have done an amazing job organizing this event.”

USF celebrates LGBTQ+ History Month

As a supporter of diversity, equity and inclusion, the University of South Florida recognizes and salutes LGBTQ+ History Month, celebrated each October.

As part of that recognition, the USF Office of Multicultural Affairs will host several online student events this month, including four Safe Zone talks to learn about the LGBTQ+ community and LGBTQ+ issues; a discussion that explores the intersectionality of race, ethnicity, sexual orientation and gender identity; and several additional talks and other events to promote understanding of LGBTQ+ issues. Online registration is now open for students.

LGBTQ+ History Month started in 1994 after Rodney Wilson, a Missouri high school teacher, gathered other teachers and community leaders to dedicate a month to celebrate and teach gay and lesbian history. The group selected October because public schools are in session and existing traditions, such as Coming Out Day (Oct. 11), occur during that month. Visit to learn more.

The USF Sarasota-Manatee campus’ Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion has issued a statement in recognition of LGBTQ+ History Month:

“Students who belong to the LBGTQ+ community bring a variety of perspectives to our campus. As a part of our community, LBGTQ students help us broaden our horizons by teaching us about the experiences they have had in their journeys to gain equality, which have heavily influenced their careers, family and interactions with society.”

For about the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, visit

USF professor, graduate student examine older adults’ perspectives in new article

USF Professor Kathy Black and graduate student Dylan Jester explore perceptions of adults ages 50 and older in a new article, Examining Older Adults’ Perspectives on the Built Environment and Correlates of Healthy Aging in an American Age-Friendly Community.

The article, published Sept. 27 in the open-access “International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health,” examines older adults’ perceptions toward parks, public transportation, affordable housing and other forms of community infrastructure.

The study relies on data from a 2015 survey of 1,100 seniors in Sarasota County. The researchers examined the respondents’ perceptions toward infrastructure and other community features as related to their health circumstances, including mental and physical wellbeing and “resilience,” or comfort level with their own aging.

“What we found is that people who rated their mental and physical health and resilience as really great viewed these community features as less important than people who rated their health sub-optimally,” said Black, a professor of aging studies at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus. “Our findings suggest that older adults with poorer physical and mental health may rely more heavily on such features as transportation as they age.”

She partnered with Jester, who is pursuing a PhD in aging studies and Master of Public Health in epidemiology, to help analyze the data.

Their analysis found that the oldest respondents and those reporting higher incomes both deemed housing and transportation as “less important.” The researchers theorized this might have been due to the belief that they have enough resources for the future and will not require additional support. However, that’s not always the case among older adults. As Black noted, “People generally outlive their safe-driving abilities by seven to 10 years, and many will need alternative mobility options.”

“People who are healthy are not really thinking about the future because they feel good and they’re doing great,” she said. “And our communities can go a long way in helping people to remain active and engaged as they age.”

The professor was contacted about writing the article after meeting a colleague from the World Health Organization earlier this year. Black was invited to help the WHO train leaders across the world to adopt healthy-aging policies in their respective countries. The article was published after a rigorous peer-review process.

“Working with Dr. Black was a pleasure,” Jester said. “She is a leading researcher in this area and is internationally respected. I primarily do work on geriatric mental health and this study widened my perspective on the importance of ecological factors in older age.”

USF professor recognized by magazine after winning national award

The ASHA Leader, a publication of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, has recognized USF communication sciences and disorders Instructor Jenna Luque for receiving a 2020 ASHA Award of Excellence.

Luque’s award, announced earlier this summer, resulted from her work assisting the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus chapter of the National Student Speech Language Hearing Association (NSSLHA), a group that supports students enrolled in speech, language and hearing programs. Luque is the chapter’s faculty advisor. Her award, known as the “Making Waves Award,” came in NSSLHA’s Advisor Honors category.

“It means so much to me to win this award,” Luque said. “I was on the NSSLHA board as an undergraduate student, and then I started a graduate chapter when I was in grad school. I love that I have come full circle as a faculty advisor.”

Luque was nominated for the award by the chapter’s executive board. NSSLHA’s website published a list of winners on its website earlier this summer; news of the winners was publicized in the ASHA Leader’s October issue.

“I try very hard to support the students, and I really appreciate that they feel that way too,” she said. “To hear that the national NSSLHA chose me from among nominees from across the whole country is mind blowing. I am honored and grateful.”

USF professor explores institutional investor behavior in new article

Wondering what’s going on with your under-performing pension fund?

University of South Florida business professor Eddie Sanchez explores the cost-averse tendencies of institutional investors, including pension fund managers, in a new article, The unexpected and stickiness behavior of institutional investors in index funds, published in the “Journal of Managerial Finance” (Sept. 10).

The article examines why institutional investors in S&P 500 Index funds seemingly ignore high levels of past underperformance and “stick to funds” with worse index-adjusted returns or high expense ratios.

“We hypothesize that institutional investors tend to remain with a fund because of higher agency or administrative costs,” the article said. “Several institutional funds require delegated monitoring or guarantee insurance. The costs involved in these requirements might make it difficult for institutional investors to move to other funds, even in cases of low-performance or increased fees, which is likely to lead to the unexpected behavior. Indeed, we find that the holdings of institutional investors are stickier than those of retail investors.”

Co-authored by Junho Oh of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Kowloon, Hong Kong, the 32-page article is the first for Sanchez, who worked on Wall Street for more than 20 years before earning a doctorate in business administration in August 2019.

He now serves as a finance instructor at the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus and directs the campus’ Bloomberg Financial Markets Lab. He and Oh teamed up for the article after learning they held similar research interests while doctoral students at the University of Florida.

As their research deepened, they found that institutional investors often sounded like retail investors when it came to avoiding fees associated with switching from one index fund to another. To an extent, this limits their ability to pivot out of under-performing funds.

“To me, it’s a feather in my cap because I’m moving from the practitioner side to the academic side,” he said of the article. “I’m very proud of this work.”

Research Readiness Day set for Oct. 22

The USF Office of Undergraduate Research for campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee have collaborated to organize “Research Readiness Day 2020,” a special online interactive event designed to equip students with the knowledge and tools to become involved in research and deliver presentations at the 2021 Spring Research conference.

The virtual Teams event is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 22,from12:30 to 2:30 p.m. All USF undergraduate students are encouraged to attend.

In addition to understanding why students should get involved in research, attendees will learn about faculty-mentored research, hear from student researchers about their projects and view examples of past conference presentations.

Faculty members who teach during the event are encouraged to consider a “virtual class field trip” to the Teams meeting or share this opportunity with their undergraduate students.

RSVP to the event here.

To learn more about the USF Sarasota-Manatee campus, visit

About the University of South Florida
The University of South Florida is a high-impact global research university dedicated to student success. Over the past 10 years, no other public university in the country has risen faster in U.S. News and World Report’s national university rankings than USF. Serving more than 50,000 students on campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee, USF is designated as a Preeminent State Research University by the Florida Board of Governors, placing it in the most elite category among the state’s 12 public universities. USF has earned widespread national recognition for its success graduating under-represented minority and limited-income students at rates equal to or higher than white and higher income students. USF is a member of the American Athletic Conference. Learn more at
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