Instructor Joe Askren looks over a beer-making system.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM receives brewing equipment donation

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: February 05, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Feb. 5, 2016) Joe Askren, an instructor at the College of Hospitality and Technology Leadership, thought it was all a joke until the man on the phone assured him he wanted to make a donation.

A retiree looking to move to a condo on the beach, the caller was hoping to donate his beer-making system to a worthy cause. Turned out, the equipment wasn’t any old home-brewing operation.

More than three-feet high, the gleaming stainless steel equipment came with three boilers, an automated temperature regulator and all the hoses and extras needed to create a brew as good as those made by professional brewers.

“I was blown away when I saw it,” said Askren who, along with chemistry professor Dr. Ken Caswell, teaches a beer-making class that’s proved a favorite among biology and hospitality students. “This will only add to the overall learning experience.”

Askren isn’t sure about the cost, but estimates the system runs well into the thousands. He and Dr. Caswell used it to craft their first 10-gallon batch a few weeks ago. Slowly fermenting inside a walk-in cooler at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab in Lakewood Ranch, the ale should be ready for consumption any day.

Dr. Caswell said the equipment will augment existing lessons about the chemistry and microbiology behind brewing. Those lessons include tours of local breweries, such as Big Top Brewing Co. in Sarasota, and visits by brew masters. The class wraps up with the students trying their hand at actual beer making.

“With our new equipment, we can help students gain practice with brewing before they visit the external sites,” Dr. Caswell said, adding the students will take turns experimenting with beer recipes.

Askren said the donor, who wishes to remain anonymous, is welcome back any time to see how his system is being used.

USFSM joins Ringling and New College for American Cancer Society event

For the first time ever, USF Sarasota-Manatee, Ringling College of Art & Design and New College of Florida are teaming up to support the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life.

Relay for Life is an event to honor cancer survivors, remember loved ones and raise funds to fight cancer. More than four million people participate in 6,000 relays annually in 24 nations.

Five USFSM teams comprised of three to eight students each are expected at the upcoming competition dubbed, “Relay for Life of Suncoast Colleges.” The event is scheduled Saturday, Feb. 27, from 6 p.m. to midnight at New College.

“Our students are really excited about this,” said Kim Mones, director of student engagement. “They’ve been working on this since September.”

The event is similar to a relay race in which athletes pass a baton as they circle a track. No baton is needed here, however, and, if they wish, participants may jog or walk the make-shift, quarter-mile course, said Mones. She added the event was suggested by a New College student and quickly expanded to include USFSM and Ringling. The public is invited as well.

In addition to the relay, several other events including “extreme” musical chairs and three-point-shooting contests are scheduled. Also, there will be costumes, themed laps, food and other fun activities.

To sign up, learn more or to make a donation, visit Relayforlife.org/suncoastcollegesFL.

New faculty coordinator of research named 

Dr. Jenni Menon Mariano has been named the new faculty coordinator of research beginning at the conclusion of this semester. She will work with Dr. Richard Reich to ensure a smooth transition.

Dr. Mariano is an associate professor in the College of Education. She earned her PhD from Stanford University in 2007 before joining USFSM. She brings more than 15 years of experience in leading educational and research projects in the U.S. and abroad.

In consultation with the Faculty Senate and USFSM administration, Dr. Mariano will: organize and lead activities to support research; facilitate ongoing conversations among faculty groups about research; disseminate information about research opportunities in teaching and learning; develop and manage a faculty research mentor program and work with the Faculty Senate to determine need and priorities for resources, including grants, to support research.

Dr. Osborn paper to be published 

Congratulations to Dr. Dina Osborn. The College of Education professor recently received notice that her article “The Discursive Construction of ‘Normal’: A Critical Examination of A Beka Curricula” will be published by “Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association.”

To read an abstract, visit http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00131946.2015.1120207.

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