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Students Prepared For Laboratory Jobs IRSC AIDS BUSINESS START-UPS IRSC Presents New Season of Music and Drama

Spring 2013


IRSC Innovation


he new William and Helen Thomas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Center at the Indian River State College Ken Pruitt Campus creates a unique synergy between IRSC and biotechnology firms to support research and jobs. The $18.5 million Center serves as a multi-faceted training resource for medical and scientific research institutes, while helping to attract biotechnology firms to the area - with well-paying career and advancement opportunities. Located in the region’s Research Hub, the recently opened Center is located near the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute and Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies. Both nationally acclaimed medical research firms provide internships and employ IRSC students and graduates. Biomedical research requires a laboratory-trained workforce to assist in the quest for answers to the world’s most pressing medical and scientific questions. Highly-skilled technicians, research assistants and scientists trained in state-ofthe-art laboratories and techniques are in

demand. The Thomas STEM Center provides that environment, giving students the chance to gain laboratory experience in fields targeted for regional, state and national economic growth. Students began training in the highly sophisticated Center on January 7, 2013. The three-story 56,000 square-foot building houses seven laboratories in genetics, ecology, chemistry, molecular science, botany and microbiology. Its teaching laboratories are specially designed to clarify concepts linking math and science to practical research and industry applications.

(Bottom left) IRSC graduates Lisa Tack, Adam Carroll, and Reginald Brown contributed to DNA research projects at Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies. (Below) Now majoring in Behavioral Neuroscience and Sustainable Development at Columbia University, IRSC honors graduate Corwin McCammon works at Columbia’s Earth Institute on global health issues. (On cover) IRSC Student Robert Tack assists with cancer research at the Vaccine and Gene Therapy Institute.

IRSC Innovation


Agriculture industry aided by IRSC partnership


ne of the most pressing problems for the United States agricultural industry is citrus greening. To assist in combating this devastating disease, IRSC stepped in to link agriculture research and education. The scientists at the U.S. Horticultural Research


IRSC Innovation

Lab (USHRL) in Fort Pierce were interested in using new technologies to study the genetic diversity in the bacterium causing the disease. However, they did not have access to the needed genome sequencer. Recognizing an opportunity to link real-world research with learning, the

(Left) IRSC biology student Alexis Rice, center, works closely with Robyn Baber, USDA Genomics Laboratory Technician, to analyze DNA sequences using the highly sophisticated Ion Torrent genome sequencer.

Spencer Marshall is among the 60 IRSC students interning at biomedical research institutes and laboratories.

College equipped the biotechnology laboratory in the new Thomas STEM Center with the much needed Ion Torrent genome sequencer. Scientists now utilize this equipment to analyze DNA for their research while engaging students in the process. “This is a win-win for everyone, and is a wonderful example of how the collaboration between IRSC and the USDA will solve agricultural problems, while providing a real-world learning opportunity for students,” said Dr. Robert Shatters, Research Molecular Biologist with USHRL. In addition to working on DNA Research in her laboratory classes, Alexis Rice,

25, has spent the past few months as an intern in the genomics laboratory at the USHRL. The Bachelor’s Degree in Biology student is interested in bioinformatics, a rapidly growing branch of science that deals with storing, retrieving and analyzing biological data. ‘I feel like it’s a puzzle and I like solving puzzles,” she said. “Bioinformatics is at the edge of the field and pulls all the life sciences together. I’m really excited to be able to get more laboratory experience through my internship and develop a broader background.” Alexis is one of 60 IRSC students interning at local biomedical institutes on a variety of projects.

IRSC Innovation


APPLIED RESEARCH LEADS TO REAL-WORLD SOLUTIONS Projects seek answers for energy efficiency and impact of hurricanes


ow can cleaner solar panels save time and money for the nation’s largest producer of solar energy? How does the ozone layer affect weather patterns? IRSC students are seeking answers

to these real-world problems through applied research that inspires the imagination and connects knowledge. Through partnerships with energy companies, laboratories, businesses and educational

institutions, students have unique opportunities to contribute to entrepreneurial development. The initiative is based in the IRSC Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

“IRSC has focused on development of a future-oriented culture and entrepreneurial thinking for a pro-active approach,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “Through internships and exposure to advanced research environments and the latest technology, our students are energized and engaged in active innovation with businesses and university partners.” 6

IRSC Innovation

(Above left) Optimal alignment of a laser system engages students in the Photonics Laboratory in the Indian River State College Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. (Below) The Center has gained national recognition for cutting-edge instruction in emerging technologies and alternative energy and serves as headquarters for the Power Plant Technology Institute. (Above right) Institute students Hector Perez and Matthew Caliandro gain hands-on experience at the Brown Center and through paid internships at the St. Lucie Nuclear Power Plant.

NextEra Energy, the nation’s largest producer of solar energy is faced with the time and expense of cleaning solar panels, and keeping the panels clean and efficient is of major interest to the energy firm, parent company of Florida Power & Light. IRSC students are looking for a solution by developing and testing coatings at the


nanotechnology level that repel dirt while still allowing sufficient light to get to the panel. Another project engaged members of the Engineering Club in launch of a weather balloon 20 miles into outer space. By pooling their knowledge of calculus, physics, meteorology,

and communications, the “engineering nerds” estimated the path and landing spot of the large balloon which is used to gather data on the ozone layer. The data will be shared with South Carolina State University, which is conducting a study on the effects of weather patterns and hurricanes on the ozone layer.

IRSC Innovation



Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute Fosters Business Start-ups


cross the country, small businesses employ half of all private sector employees and generated 65% of new jobs over the past 17 years. On Florida’s Research Coast, locally owned companies are the primary drivers of economic health and new job opportunities. With the

Dan K. Richardson Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI), IRSC is taking the initiative to offer a wide range of programs and services to encourage entrepreneurship and business success particularly in emerging technologies.

“IRSC is well positioned to provide flexible, customized assistance to help new and existing businesses increase productivity and profits,” said Dr. Edwin R. Massey, IRSC President. “We are committed to expanding the College’s leadership role in support of entrepreneurship and economic development.”

IRSC Graduate Named One of Nation’s Top Young Entrepreneurs Sarah Pizarro, center, opened Ability Health Care and now employs 45 people providing home health care. Her success was recognized with the Empact 100 Showcase Award for the top 100 entrepreneurs under 30 with revenue over $100,000 per year. “My professors at IRSC were so helpful and their knowledge and experience helped me expand – the business has grown 400 percent!”

Introducing the Virtual Incubator The new Virtual Incubator offers a wealth of knowledge and resources for the launch of a successful start-up. Housed in the Brown Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at the IRSC Main Campus, the Virtual Incubator creates a practical, productive and affordable working environment that fosters collaboration. A structured 18-month approach helps clients find success every step of the way as they bring ideas to commercialization. 8

IRSC Innovation

Small Business Development Center (SBDC)

Corporate and Community Training Institute (CCTI)

New and existing businesses can take advantage of the IRSC Small Business Development Center, offering “no cost” business consulting at all IRSC campuses.

Serving hundreds of area business owners, managers and employees, the Corporate and Community Training Institute delivers an array of professional development opportunities from customer service to social media. For more information, call 888-283-1177 or visit


IRSC President, Dr. Edwin Massey, fourth from left, joined college and Foundation presidents and business leaders in Washington, D.C. to support development of successful entrepreneurs across the country.

IRSC President Speaks at Nation’s Capital

IRSC has been working closely with the Principium Foundation to conduct a Business Plan Competition supporting start-up and early stage companies. Entrepreneurs recently introduced their companies in a “Shark Tank” format at the IRSC Richardson Center in Vero Beach. Inaugural Champion Dan Dooley, President and COO of TruMobility, received a $25,000 check and a package of free legal, accounting and mentoring advice. Second place winner, Coletta Dorado of Azzly One Click Patient Care Management took home a $15,000 check. Principium Foundation Directors include:

Dr. Massey addresses growing role of colleges in spearheading entrepreneurship for economic growth Speaking on the vital role of higher education in rebuilding the economy, IRSC President Dr. Edwin R. Massey addressed the issues of technology transfer and industry collaboration for a national summit on innovation and entrepreneurship. The views shared at the October event will inform the Administration’s policy decisions and funding allocations regarding state and community college encouragement of entrepreneurship in their regions. Dr. Massey spoke as a member of the Presidents for Entrepreneurship Forum, which was formed by the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship (NACCE). Focusing on the development of industry clusters as engines of

economic development, Dr. Massey was also asked to speak at the 10th Annual NACCE Entrepreneurship Conference in Chicago. NACCE is the nation’s leading organization focused on promoting entrepreneurship through state and community colleges. On the Treasure Coast, Dr. Massey was recently awarded the first Peter Hegener Leadership Award by the Economic Development Council of St. Lucie County. Dr. Massey was recognized for his vision and exemplary leadership of community and economic development.

Seated (left to right) Kevin Barry and John Moore (Partners–Rossway Moore Swan) Standing (left to right) Ed Tighe, retired entrepreneur and independent trustee, who also acted as a mentor and a judge for the 2011 Entrepreneur Summit at IRSC; Jan Pagano, Associate Dean of Administrative Services at IRSC, and Michael Corbit, the Regional Talent Acquisition Manager at Workforce Solutions. Missing from photograph are Russell Bjorkman, an international corporate attorney and Vinny Olmstead, founder of Vocap Ventures.

IRSC Innovation


IRSC graduates — now teachers — motivate middle and high school students 10 IRSC Innovation

t might look like green slime to the sixth graders, but it’s oobleck, a mixture of cornstarch and water used to teach children about liquids and solids. The changes in the substance under varying conditions help middle schoolers understand that there may be more than one solution to a problem – a useful concept in both science and life. The oobleck experiment is one of the fun teaching experiences used by Amanda Sartain, a sixth grade science teacher at Northport K-8 School. Amanda, (at left), earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Middle School Science from IRSC in 2010 and was soon hired by the Port St. Lucie middle school. Recently, the Vero Beach resident was recognized with the Award of Promise by the Florida Association of Science Teachers for maintaining a classroom atmosphere that encourages a positive attitude toward science.

Amanda and other IRSC School of Education graduates are valued by area school districts. Kelli Siters, a math teacher at Port St. Lucie High School, was honored as the 2012 St. Lucie County Outstanding First Year Teacher of the Year. “I was attracted to math education by a passion to make math easier for students,” Siters said. IRSC develops exceptional teachers through exceptional learning opportunities. Education majors in the Florida Research Experience for Pre-Service Teachers (REPT) collaborate with scientists from Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution/Florida Atlantic University, Ocean Research and Conservation Association (ORCA) and the Smithsonian Marine Station. The program is offered through the Center for Ocean Sciences Education Excellence/COSEE Florida based at the IRSC Main Campus. During the summer, 11 future teachers evaluated the growth of oysters for the aquaculture industry, analyzed the health of the Indian River Lagoon and tested fish toxicity in local waters. Now, as middle and high school teachers, the IRSC graduates share their enthusiasm and research experiences with their own students, inspiring the next generation.

Future science teacher Erik Wile, (left), gains in-the-field experience with Dr. Edie Widder, President of the Ocean Research and Conservation Association (OCRA).

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ANNIE GET YOUR GUN May 9, 10, 11, at 8:00 p.m. and May 11, 12 at 2:00 p.m. The popular hit musical, ANNIE GET YOUR GUN, offers a rollicking version of the life of Annie Oakley, a sharpshooter who starred in Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. Songs include There’s No Business Like Show Business, Doin’ What Comes Natur’lly and Anything You Can Do. Presented in the McAlpin Fine Arts Center, IRSC Main Campus. Tickets $15.

DECISION HEIGHTS May 23, 24, 25 at 8:00 p.m. and May 25 at 2:00 p.m. Follow the lives of six extraordinary women as they train to become members of the Women Airforce Service at the height of World War II. Presented in the Wynne Black Box Theatre at the IRSC Main Campus. Tickets $15

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CONTEMPORARY BROADWAY - DESSERT CABARET June 6, 7, 8 at 7:00 p.m. and June 8 at 2:00 p.m. Join IRSC’s talented musical theatre students for selections from the world of contemporary Broadway, including selections from Rent, Songs from a New World, Wicked and In the Heights. Dessert and coffee will be served during the performance. Presented in the Wynne Black Box Theatre at the IRSC Main Campus. Tickets $20

Call the IRSC Box office at 772-462-4750 Monday to Friday, 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. to reserve your seats.

Check for a listing of next season’s performances. Two popular musicals in January and February plus drama, light comedy and variety concerts will delight our audiences.

Call 772-462-4750. Tickets go on sale in September, 2013.

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Clark Advanced Learning Center is No.1 in international robotic competition


he tension builds as the players rush down the field to score, yet not a single player breaks a sweat. The competitors are robots designed, built and programmed by teenagers. High school students from Clark Advanced Learning Center on the IRSC Chastain Campus joined with other Martin County students to create KRUMM, named after a Real Monsters character who is always ready for an adventure. Their KRUMM was ready for success! The feisty robot beat out worldwide competition from over 2,000 teams to earn first place and become World Champion in the FIRST Robotics Competition. In addition to scoring baskets on a 24’ x 54’ field, the robot had to balance on a bridge in the middle of the field. “The competition combines the practical application of science and technology with the fun and excitement of a championship sporting event,” said Lynn Krieger, Information Technology Master Instructor at Clark. “It’s incredibly

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exciting and gratifying for our students to be recognized as the World Champions.” FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and

Technology) is supported by a network of Fortune 500 companies, educational and professional institutions. Since 1989, the FIRST competition has challenged high school

students from the U.S. and around the world to develop a robot in six weeks that can successfully compete in a game environment. Team members participate in the Martin County FIRST Robotics Team 180, also known as the SPAM Robotics Team, which engages students in a wide variety of activities related to technology. The winning Clark team members are Bradford Blankman, Zachery Christie, Ronald Orr, Lucas Rufo, Jade Zsiros and IRSC student Keegan Conway. Rookies new to SPAM are Rachel Blais, Zachary Pruger and Nathan Taylor. For more information, visit Clark Advanced Learning Center is an A-rated charter high school that offers sophomores, juniors, and seniors the opportunity to utilize technology through project-based learning and earn college credits at no cost through Dual Enrollment in an enriched college environment. For more information, call (772) 419-5750 or visit

Kayla English, R.N. Martin Memorial Hospital Recipient – IRSC Foundation Scholarship

Communities That Support Higher Education Flourish • Facilitate achievement in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM)

• Support training for careers in biomedical research

• Encourage entrepreneurship in emerging fields

• Help deserving students obtain an education “Education is the pathway that leads to individual empowerment and the realization of a community’s full potential.” Edwin. R. Massey, Ph.D., IRSC President

INDIAN RIVER STATE COLLEGE FOUNDATION Providing hope, scholarships, and educational support for 46 years Leave a legacy or make a difference now (772) 462-4786

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Institutional Advancement Department INDIAN RIVER STATE COLLEGE 3209 Virginia Avenue Fort Pierce, FL 34981-5596


William and Helen Thomas Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Center at the Indian River State College Ken Pruitt Campus in the region’s biotechnology hub IRSC Innovation

Spring 2013

Spring 2013 IRSC Innovation Magazine  
Spring 2013 IRSC Innovation Magazine  

Spring 2013 edition of IRSC Magazine