Dr. Joe Askren looks over USFSM's beer-making system.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM wraps week with role at beer fest

By: Rich Shopes

Posted: October 28, 2016

SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 28, 2016) From gender rights to craft beer to the Brexit’s impact on Florida, USF Sarasota-Manatee this week played a key role in assisting or hosting lectures, panel discussions and other events, including Saturday’s Sip the Sunshine craft beer festival.

The four-hour festival, which features more than 100 beers from 50 microbreweries statewide, will include six hearty brews made by USFSM students, staff and faculty, including the dean of the College of Science & Mathematics, Dr. Paul Kirchman.

The festival runs from noon to 4 p.m. at Nathan Benderson Park, 5851 Nathan Benderson Circle, Sarasota. Afterward, Blues Traveler will headline a concert.

In addition to rubbing elbows with brewing experts, USFSM is expected to benefit directly from the festival. Some proceeds from ticket sales will be set aside for the campus’ science of beer courses – a collaboration involving local microbreweries, the College of Science & Mathematics and the College of Hospitality & Tourism Leadership.

“This is a tremendous opportunity for us to be involved in what really is an unprecedented event, bringing together this many brewers from around the state,” said chemistry instructor Dr. Ken Caswell, who teaches some of the science of beer classes. “It also showcases some of the work we’ve been doing.”

Of the six beers USFSM will debut for the public, four have been crafted by students with help from local brew masters. The others were made by staff and faculty, also in collaboration with brewers.

Tickets to the concert are $25. Tickets to the Sip the Sunshine festival, which includes admission to the concert, are $45 ($125 for VIP). Call 941-216-5396 or visit sipthesunshine.com.

Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business

Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business

The festival concludes a busy week for USFSM that started with a presentation by Dr. James Curran, dean of the College of Business.

Dr. Curran led off with a marketing presentation Tuesday morning to members of the Greater Sarasota Chamber of Commerce at the Selby Auditorium. His presentation, part of a series of monthly educational discussions known collectively as Chamber University, focused on marketing.

Dr. Curran challenged attendees to better understand their target audience as well as their product’s strengths and weaknesses and those of their competitors.

“Whenever Jim Curran talks I listen,” consultant and chamber member Jackie Simmons said.

Afterward, Dr. Curran remarked how he enjoys opportunities to lecture and interact with students. In addition to his administrative duties, the dean teaches a marketing class to MBA students on Saturdays.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM wraps busy week with role at beer festival

Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu

Later that day, Dr. Cihan Cobanoglu moderated a panel discussion also at Selby.

The discussion, to a packed house, focused on the impacts locally of Britain’s exit from the European Union, or “Brexit.” A haven for many British visitors, Florida not only attracts a sizeable share of UK tourists but also investors.

The panel consisted of Brian J. Mariash, a senior financial advisor at Mariash Lowther Wealth Management in Sarasota; Jo Ann M. Koontz, a local attorney and certified public accountant; Elliott Falcione, executive director of the Bradenton Area Convention and Visitors Bureau; and Kelly Defebo, director of sales at Visit Sarasota County.

The consensus seemed to be that, despite the Brexit, Florida remains a good place for investing and that Sarasota and Manatee counties aren’t likely to experience a decline in English tourists. However, pricier destinations such as the theme parks in and around Orlando could see a drop-off as Brits look to scale down vacation spending.

Bulls Notebook: USFSM wraps busy week with role at beer festival

Dr. Jody Lynn McBrien

Also this week, Selby Auditorium played host to a conference entitled, “Gender Rights as Human Rights: Where are we in 2016?”

The discussion focused on the challenges women face around the world.

The panelists were Elizabeth Scott Osborne, advocacy director for U.S. National Committee for UN Women, Gulf Coast chapter; Dr. Jody McBrien, associate professor in USFSM’s School of Education; Leen al-Fatafta, a Jordanian sociology and gender studies student at New College of Florida; Noelle Polk Clark, advocacy director for the United Nations Association, Tampa Bay chapter, and the rape crisis manager at Suncoast Center, Inc.; and Dr. Phillip Wagner, director of general education at USFSM’s School of Education.

About 60 people attended. After remarks by the panelists, a question-and-answer session followed. Leen al-Fatafta was “very impressive” in what marked her first public speaking engagement, Dr. McBrien said.

“I thought it was a real good turnout,” she said. “It was very well received and people said they would like to see more of these kinds of things, very positive feedback.”

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