SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 13, 2017) – Within weeks of his emcee performance at the 2017 World Rowing Championships, Dan Veitkus was busy again, only this time he was singing.
“I’ve always loved singing,” he said. “It’s something I’m passionate about, and if I have the opportunity, I’ll pursue it every way I can.”
That opportunity had him center court about 7:30 p.m. at Miami’s American Airlines Arena, microphone in hand.
A pre-season matchup, many in the audience were casually chatting and searching for seats when Veitkus stepped forward.
“They stopped, and everything got quiet once I started singing,” he said.
Veitkus, 20, an aspiring country music singer and musician, said he’s played in front of crowds before, but even he was feeling a few jitters when he strode toward center court. The stirring rendition is known to challenge even seasoned professionals.
All that dissolved, however, once he struck the first few notes. The rest of the anthem went smoothly too, with audience members cheering at the end. As the last note trailed off, Veitkus gave a fist-pump and waved to the crowd, which included his mother and father.
“I felt pretty good about it,” he said a few days later. “For me, it was a huge step forward. I’ve never played a venue like this, never nothing bigger than a coffee shop.”
Veitkus conducted interviews and emceed many events at the rowing championships two weeks ago. He said he was hoping to gain singing experience when he contacted several sports teams a couple of weeks before that.
The Heat responded. They liked his video and, after a few emails and phone calls, they booked him for Monday night.
With that performance under his belt, he’s now hoping to sing at other games as well, and not just basketball.
“I think it would be really fun to keep doing this,” he said. “More than anything, it will give me some good exposure and experience. Maybe it will help me make some inroads into the music industry.”
Four faculty to present at conference
Kudos to four faculty members – Drs. Kim Badanich, Anthony Coy, Christine Ruva and Jay Michaels – for being chosen to present their work at a conference of the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology.
The four will talk about methods they use to improve student learning.
Dr. Badanich will focus on techniques for students to improve retention of statistical concepts.
“Associating concepts with visual icons, or mental tattoos, can aid in the learning process,” she said. “My work examines the impact of repeatedly presenting a visual icon representing the meaning of a statistical formula on the ability of students to think critically about statistical results.”
Dr. Coy will talk about statistics and methods courses. His presentation is focused on using team-based learning techniques to improve retention and understanding in these courses.
“These can be some of the more challenging courses students take,” he said. “Team-based learning helps students find the statistics and research methods material more relatable and interesting, which promotes learning and retention of concepts.”
Drs. Ruva and Michaels will showcase their work using simulated research review boards to increase students’ understanding of ethical research techniques.
“Awareness of ethical and social responsibility is increasingly important as society continues to become more globalized and diverse,” said Dr. Michaels. “Through this exercise, students are challenged to demonstrate their knowledge by critically evaluating a hypothetical study in terms of possible ethical concerns, demonstrating their capacity to
take an abstract concept and apply it to a realistic scenario.”
The faculty won’t simply present their work, but also learn what techniques other nationally renowned professors are using.
Dr. Badanich has attended the conference several times before.
“I come back to campus refreshed and ready to conquer my classes with new ideas for shaping my students,” she said.
The conference is set for Jan. 3-6 at the TradeWinds Island Grand Hotel at St. Pete Beach. To register or for more information visit, www.nitop.org.
The National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology is co-sponsored by the Association of Psychological Science and the University of South Florida Department of Psychology.
CLASS collecting for Puerto Rico relief
Several USF Sarasota-Manatee faculty have stepped up to aid relief efforts in Puerto Rico.
With food, water and other necessities in short supply on the island, USFSM’s College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences is working with Help Puerto Rico SRQ, a local initiative of mostly health care professionals.
The group is seeking toiletries for children and adults, including toothpaste, sunscreen, shampoo, diapers, razors, candles, DD batteries, lighters, acetaminophen and Band-Aids, among other items. Canned food and baby food are needed as well.
Although organized by the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, staff and faculty from other colleges are also urged to contribute. The collection started when Dr. Jane Rose, dean of the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences, was approached by Profs. Roberto Jimenez-Arroyo and Silvia Blanco.
“It feels really good to do this because I think it’s important that we show our students about the importance of reaching out and helping when people are hurting,” said Blanco, a social work instructor and Cuban native.
Jimenez-Arroyo, a Spanish instructor, was born in Puerto Rico and came to Florida in 2001 to attend USF.
“We decided to get involved because Puerto Rico is a very vulnerable part of the United States that is facing a humanitarian crisis, and as Americans and as human beings, we can’t simply look the other way,” he said.
“Also, there are about a million Puerto Ricans in Florida whose families and lives are directly affected by this disaster, so in a way, any help that we can give Puerto Rico is help we are giving to many of our fellow Floridians,” Jimenez-Arroyo said.
Items may be dropped off at Dr. Rose’s office. Contributions will be taken to a Help Puerto Rico SRQ drop-off location.
Separately, Dr. Theresa Gilbertson, a USFSM anthropology and religious studies professor, amassed about 200 pounds of clothing donated by family members, including some children’s clothing.
Dolphin Aviation flew the clothes to Puerto Rico this week.
“They said they would be happy to help and delivered it for free,” Dr. Gilbertson said.