Wendy Turk is the School of Education's first honors program student.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM senior accepted into honors program

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: October 06, 2017

SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 06, 2017)USF Sarasota-Manatee’s School of Education now has an honors program student. Wendy Turk, a senior, is the first education student to be accepted into USFSM’s honor’s program.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM senior accepted into honors program

Dr. Maria Byrd

“Wendy is the epitome of student excellence and the recognition she’s receiving is well deserved,” said Dr. Marie Byrd, director of the School of Education.

Education students usually don’t apply for the program. Unlike students in other majors, education students lack the flexibility to take courses above their required program requirements without incurring higher tuition costs and, potentially, adding another semester. They’re also constrained by internships and busy class schedules. As a result, few apply.

However Turk, who enjoys research and writing, saw the program as a goal. “I like to be challenged,” she says.

Which is why she jumped at the opportunity last year while working on her Student Showcase research project. She said she was in the midst of that research-intensive program, studying the effects of arts-integrated teaching, when she learned about the more rigorous honors program, which stretches over three semesters.

Program participants take three, three-credit classes over the spring, summer and fall terms. The first semester typically sees students and their faculty advisors developing a thesis and strategy for tackling the work. Students also conduct preliminary research. The second and third semesters usually involve research and writing. Throughout the effort, the students update their advisors and seek advice.

At the end, they each turn in a 40-page thesis, which after review and editing, is submitted for publication.

Turk is focusing her thesis on teacher self-efficacy in classroom management. Essentially, she’s examining how teachers’ confidence levels impact their ability to manage daily classroom activities, including behavior. She’s hoping to develop a tool to measure self-efficacy standards.

“If you know how to understand a teacher’s self-efficacy, then you can understand what their needs are in order to target professional development,” she said.

Turk admits the honors program is difficult, but says the rewards – the knowledge she’s gained through the research – is worth the effort. She hopes to attend graduate school with an eye toward a PhD in educational law and policy and notes that having a published thesis could boost her chances of being accepted.

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Dr. Helene Robinson

That Turk excels in her studies isn’t surprising to Dr. Helene Robinson, her faculty advisor.

“I’ve had the pleasure of having Wendy in two courses before serving as her mentor in the honors program,” Dr. Robinson said. “Wendy has always demonstrated high levels of critical thinking and gone above and beyond in her work.

“Her research project for the honors program is yet another example of her creativity and innovation by offering a new perspective on a challenging issue in education,” she said. “She is a rising superstar and will become one of the future leaders who transforms our educational system.”

USFSM acknowledges 9/11

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Students, faculty and staff gather to remember 9/11 victims, as well as those who died in the Las Vegas attack.

Students and faculty passing through the campus’ rotunda Monday afternoon might have noticed a larger crowd than usual.

USFSM’s Student Veterans Society, members of Sarasota’s veterans’ community and USFSM faculty and staff were gathered for “Patriots Day” to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks while also honoring those who died in Las Vegas on Oct. 1.

As the participants bowed their heads in a moment of silence, they wore matching “Remember 9/11” T-shirts. USFSM had intended to commemorate 9/11 last month, but the service was postponed due to Hurricane Irma.

Carlos Moreira, president of the Student Veterans Society and a Marine Corps veteran, said that ceremonies such as this unite us as Americans, regardless of racial, ethnic and religious backgrounds.

“As Americans, we always pull together in tragedy,” he said.

USFSM student Sami Araboghli, a Marine reservist, agreed, saying the hallmark of Americans is that “we always get up again.”

“Even though we are different ethnically, in our religions and our backgrounds, on days like today we come together to remember that we’re all Americans,” he said.

Bulls Bistro returns for fall semester

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The Bulls Bistro will resume Oct. 19.

The Bulls Bistro will be on hiatus next week but resume its fall schedule the following week. The next bistro is Oct. 19.

The popular dining experience, where teams of students and faculty from the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership present an eclectic menu of tapas-style dishes, typically runs Thursdays from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., at USFSM’s Culinary Innovation Lab, 8130 Main St., Lakewood Ranch.

The evening includes three hors d’oeuvres, one sweet tapas and two glasses of wine or craft-brewed beer. The cost is $25 per guest.

Last year’s bistros were tremendous successes, with tickets selling out at nearly every event. Come out for an enjoyable evening. For tickets or a complete schedule, visit usfsm.edu/culinary-innovation-lab/bulls-bistro/.

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