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Tiphenee Hartigan, left, SPC Dental Hygiene Administrative Services Specialist and Amy Krueger, SPC Dental Hygiene Chair, deliver medical supplies to area hospitals.

SPC donates thousands of medical supplies to local hospitals

ST. PETERSBURG — St. Petersburg College’s Health Education Center recently donated more than 26,000 medical supplies to local hospitals in need.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tampa Bay area hospitals have expressed needs for essential supplies to care for patients.

“It has been such a humbling experience to witness the depth of compassion our team at SPC has demonstrated during this very challenging time,” said Deanna Stentiford, SPC HEC acting provost. “Our instructors quickly jumped in as a team to assess what was needed in our community and how to facilitate getting these supplies out ASAP.”

Stentiford and Amy Krueger, SPC dental hygiene academic chair, safely delivered the supplies to St. Anthony’s, St. Joseph’s Children’s and All Children’s hospitals including:

  • 25,720 gloves
  • 260 protective gowns
  • 10 pairs of goggles
  • 120 N95 masks
  • 150 level 3 masks
  • 400 surgical caps
  • Three tubs of disinfectant wipes

In addition to donating supplies, SPC is lending 11 ventilators.

“The responses of our partners when we arrived struck deeply in my heart seeing how they try to adapt to their ‘new normal’ working environments. They are the unsung heroes,” Stentiford said.

Various faculty members also are going the extra mile to replenish the supply of needed medical supplies by creating 3D printed face shields and masks. From the Orthotics and Prosthetics program, Academic Chair Tim Fair printed 50 face shields. Susan Elftman, an adjunct professor of architecture with the Building Arts program, is using a 3D printer from her classroom and open source files to create medical face masks for healthcare professionals. Jonathan Barnes, Chair of Humanities and Fine Arts, has received widespread media attention for spearheading 3D printing of face shields.

Faculty and staff are helping to support the community through these efforts in addition to their work at SPC, which remains open and has moved all classes fully online through the summer term.

“We will continue to work on ways to help and support our frontline healthcare professionals. Although it is a challenging time for everyone, we will get through this as a team with SPC and our community working together. We are Titan strong,” Stentiford said.

Achieva extends scholarship application deadline

Achieva Credit Union recently announced that it would extend the application period for its Achieva scholarship competition from March 31 to April 24.

Each year, Achieva offers two scholarship categories to deserving students. Eight $2,000 scholarship awards will be given this year, along with three $2,500 awards. To be eligible for the $2,000 Achieva Credit Union scholarship, applicants must be Achieva Credit Union members in good standing and either be a high school senior or currently enrolled in college or vocational training school. To be eligible for the $2,500 Hugh “Max” Kriever Memorial Scholarship and the Trellis Poe and Jack Berthy Honorary Scholarships, applicants must be Achieva Credit Union members in good standing and be a student committed to majoring in education.

Applicants must complete an application and submit a short essay addressing the question, “What is the greatest financial challenge facing your generation and how will you prepare to overcome it?”

Applicants will be evaluated on a range of factors, including academic accomplishments, extracurricular activities, community involvement and future goals. Answers to essay questions about responsible money management and financial literacy in relation to community impact will also be taken into consideration.

Achieva has awarded more than $170,000 since the beginning of this program in 2005.

For information, visit www.achievacu.com/Events.

USF medical engineers making face shields

TAMPA — The University of South Florida College of Engineering recently delivered 100 face shields to Tampa General Hospital.

The program is one of several ongoing initiatives at USF to address the nationwide shortage of personal protective equipment. Medical staff wear the shields over face masks while interacting with patients to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

The USF Mini-Circuits Design for X Laboratory has developed an assembly line under the direction of Dr. Michael Celestin to create the face shields with materials such as mylar, elastic and foam. Celestin and his team are producing one per minute and hope over the next month to manufacture 10,000 face shields to be donated to Tampa General Hospital, USF’s primary teaching hospital and the USF Health faculty practice.

"USF Engineering is totally committed to supporting our medical front line workers and local community,” said Celestin. “As we come together and find new local manufacturing solutions, build new interdisciplinary ties, and are pressed to innovate with available resources, it's clear that we will emerge stronger than before."

“This is the first time we’ve had a medical emergency that’s required engineers to partner with the Morsani College of Medicine in an effective and fast way,” said Dr. Robert H. Bishop, PE, dean of the USF College of Engineering. “We are facing a real-world crisis where we need to deliver and that’s exactly what we are doing.”

“We face a national shortage of personal protective equipment and our USF College of Engineering is helping to fill the gap with their innovative design and production approach to help protect our frontline providers,” said Charles J. Lockwood, MD, senior vice president of USF Health and dean of the Morsani College of Medicine.

In addition to face shields, USF researchers from a variety of disciplines are working tirelessly to develop new methods to combat COVID-19 and to produce materials that can help better protect our medical community.

Local private nonprofit school ‘lifts’ students’ spirits

SEMINOLE — LiFT Academy, LiFt University/Transition Program and LiFT Your Heart Day Program, located in Seminole, are keeping all of their students engaged in a virtual classroom by utilizing Zoom.

LiFT — which stands for Learning Independence for Tomorrow — has both a K-12 school and a four-year post-secondary transition program for young adults. LiFT also provides a day program for adults who are finished with their schooling but want to continue to work on employment and independent living skills.

Even though students are able to see and socialize with each other via Zoom classrooms, last week, LiFT U director Lois Mays and her staff took the personalization one step further. Mays and the LiFT U staff wanted their students to know how much they value and miss them. They made "care packages" and delivered them to all of the LiFT U students via the LiFT Mobile Learning Lab.

STEM Teacher Shannon LoRusso prints face masks

ST. PETERSBURG — As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to expand globally, the supply chain for masks and face shields continues to be stressed.

Admiral Farragut Academy STEM teacher Shannon LoRusso found a way to help by using a 3-D printer to print Montana masks and face shields for hospital use. Before Admiral Farragut Academy closed, she took the 3D printer from the Lower School STEM Lab home and the school provided her materials such as the computer and numerous rolls of PLA filament.

“My cousin is a nurse who just moved to Port Charlotte, and is super excited about receiving

these and hopefully she will be allowed to use them,” LoRusso said. “The hospital she works at is low on masks and the hospital in Pennsylvania she worked for before she moved was directing the nurses to use a bandana.”

LoRusso found the design files for the face masks online at www.makethemasks.com. Available for free public use, the software comes with design files to create a 3D printable mask. LoRusso is making the masks from PLA filament, one of the recommended materials. The key benefit is that the mask itself can be sanitized and reused.

LoRusso has also found a way to make face shields through www.budmen.com. The shields consist of a visor made by LoRusso of PLA filament on a 3D printer, and a hand-cut clear polythene shield that the hospital or recipient would then provide. The shield can be easily replaced if hospitals do not want to sterilize the shields daily.

LoRusso, along with her daughter, Farragut eighth-grader Julia, are able to make two to three masks a day.

“When my mom and her cousin started talking about the lack of protective equipment it made me curious about how I can help,” Julia said. “My mom showed me the website about making masks for the hospitals and I thought it was a great idea.”

JA Tampa Bay offers free online learning resources

Junior Achievement of Tampa Bay is offering free online learning resources to help student engagement during the closure of schools.

The online programs are available to download completely free of charge for students, teachers, parents and guardians. The resources are categorized by elementary school, middle school, and high school, offering valuable and fun learning tools spanning K-12 grades.

Alongside this, JA Tampa Bay is in constant consultation with local school district educators to deliver stemCONNECT programming, JA Personal Finance, and the existing JA blended curriculum via Zoom virtual lessons – led by teachers, JA volunteers, or JA staff.

The lessons are engaging, can last up to thirty minutes and cover topics such as; tracking income and expenses on a budget, how to calculate monthly car payments, deciding on a college and how to financially plan for college, fundamental financial literacy, STEM information, career planning, personality assessments linked to career possibilities, and how to manage the current economic climate.

“This is a huge progression in providing essential learning tools for our students at this time,” said Moez Limayem, dean of the University of South Florida Muma College of Business and vice chair of program impact at JA Tampa Bay. Limayem added, “Now more than ever, the future of our community must be founded in financial literacy education for our young people. We are providing those relevant learning tools from which we can empower the next generation with the capacity, knowledge, and inspiration to build a better tomorrow for themselves and their community.”

JA Tampa Bay is also offering volunteers the opportunity to remain engaged with students. Through the virtual volunteer program, individuals are able to share their personal career stories with students, which will be shared through online and blended-learning programs.

For information on the organization, visit jatampabay.org.

Kiwanis Club of Seminole Breakfast offers scholarship

SEMINOLE — The Kiwanis Club of Seminole Breakfast is offering the Colonel Mildred Imogene Butler Nursing Scholarship for nursing/medical students at St. Petersburg College.

This year will be the eighth annual opportunity afforded participants in the St. Petersburg College Nursing Program. The application period is April 15 through May 15 and covers one full academic calendar year, from the fall semester through summer semester.

Application and requirements may be obtained online at www.kiwanisseminolebreakfast.com or at St. Petersburg College through Kathy Boylson, administrative assistant, by email at Boylson.Kathleen@spcollege.edu; or Amanda Daniels, academic chair, at daniels.amanda@spcollege.edu. Due to COVID-19 concerns, all applications must be obtained via the website or an email from Boylson or Daniels. Completed applications are to be submitted by email to Boylson or Daniels or to Kiwanian Lee Walters at Drtslsmn4@gmail.com.

The scholarship is in memory of Col. Mildred Imogene Butler, who began her service in the United States Army Air Corps as a registered nurse anesthetist in the European theater during World War II. She retired in 1970 after 26 years in the Air Force while achieving the rank of colonel.

Butler passed away at the age of 93 in 2015 but left a legacy to the Kiwanis Club of Seminole Breakfast Foundation for providing scholarships towards the study of qualifying students pursuing a degree in the medical field, preferably as a registered nurse at St. Petersburg College.

Since 2013, the Kiwanis Breakfast Club Foundation has provided over 31 scholarships benefiting students in the St. Petersburg College Nursing program.

For additional information, call Lee Walters at 727-319-8343.