Daughters & Sons Event a Hit

By Barbara Melendez


TAMPA, Fla. (April 23, 2010) – Yesterday morning parents brought their children to the University of South Florida for Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and the Marshall Student Center Ballroom buzzed with approximately 200 especially young voices as they anxiously awaited the start of their activities on campus.


The youngsters were treated to a warm and enthusiastic reception by USF President Judy Genshaft, USF Head Football Coach Skip Holtz, USF Women’s Soccer Coach Denise Schilte-Brown, and USF Health CEO Dr. Stephen Klasko.


To view a video and a photo album of the event, please visit the USF Facebook Page.


Schilte-Brown got the group energized with a round of stretches and exercises, and with that they spread out to see a variety of university career options and later observe their parents at work. 

“This is an occasion where we see how deeply connected we are to the community and get a sense of how extensive the USF family truly is,” said Sandy Lovins, associate vice president of the Division of Human Resources. “From everything I’ve seen and heard, everyone had a great time and we look forward to doing this again next year.”

One group of students got involved in making the pizzas that were served at lunch as they learned how Dining Services/Aramark makes and distributes meals to the thousands who work and live on campus. Others took part in art and dance exercises at the College of The Arts. 


At the College of Nursing students donned hospital gowns and masks, toured the main lab and visited the simulation lab where they used stethoscopes, saw an IV being used and interacted with Dr. Michael Sloan who pretended to be a car crash victim. With a simulated “wound” that was programmed to bleed, he proved to be a graphic example of what nurses have to deal with on the job.


An afternoon session with staff members of University Communications and Marketing introduced a group of children to the way news is gathered and sent out to the media. They then engaged in an exercise where they interviewed each other and wrote their own stories.


USF News Director Lara Wade was impressed with the students in her session. “They were a serious group of students who I think have the potential to be public relations professionals some day,” she said. “And our staff had a wonderful time seeing children who reminded us of ourselves at their age – the ones who like to write and are curious about the world.”


Deon Barksdale, a sixth grader from Orange Grove Middle Magnet School, son of Monica Barksdale in Student Health Services reported that, “President Genshaft gave a touching speech this morning.” He also interviewed seventh grader Kassidy Wollert, daughter of Deedra Wollert Hickman in the English Department. He found out that she “enjoys reading most of the time.” 


In her interview of Barksdale, Wollert noted he wanted “to find out what his mom does when he’s at school,” and “His mother works in Student Health Services but he would rather be an actor.” He is already getting practice in his chosen career and served as the interviewer during an on-camera interview exercise that was part of the session.


Nicole Cannon, home-schooled daughter of Joleen Canon, from educational outreach, interviewed fellow eighth-grader Morgan Lynch, from Carrollwood Day School, daughter of Pamela Lynch. Cannon reported that Lynch was “excited about being here” and wanted “to know what employees do at USF.” In turn, Lynch reported that Cannon enjoys writing and was “interested to see what goes on at a university.” 


Valentina Rios is a friend of Redwan Alqasemi‘s (mechanical engineering) daughter, Lama, both ninth-graders from Wiregrass Ranch High School.  She interviewed nine-year-old Abby Douglas, daughter of Beverly Douglas, assistant director of human resources and one of the organizers of the day. Valentina quoted Abby as saying, “I really enjoyed decorating the pizza,” and that “her favorite part was eating the pizza.”


Building Services’ Sheila Burgess had two daughters at the UCM session. Ivy Burgess, from LLT Academy, interviewed Beverly Douglas’ brother, kindergartener Tyler Douglas, who “likes to see a lot of happy kids and he had a lot of fun.” 


Ikia Burgess, Terrace Community Middle School, and Alqasemi interviewed each other.  Burgess wrote, “Lama Alqasemi had a great time and learned a lot of great things.  She went to the dance and theatre school.  We are learning to write stories.” 


Alqasemi reported, “During Ikia’s visit… learning about the university her mom works in has been fulfilling and overall an interesting experience.  One thing is for sure, April 22nd will be a memorable day for her as well as an educational one.” 


This group was encouraged to look for this article to see how they made news on a special day for all involved. 



Photos by Aimee Blodgett



The University of South Florida is one of the nation's top 63 public research universities and one of only 25 public research universities nationwide with very high research activity that is designated as community engaged by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  USF was awarded $380.4 million in research contracts and grants in FY 2008/2009. The university offers 232 degree programs at the undergraduate, graduate, specialist and doctoral levels, including the doctor of medicine. The USF System has a $1.8 billion annual budget, an annual economic impact of $3.2 billion, and serves more than 47,000 students on institutions/campuses in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Sarasota-Manatee and Lakeland. USF is a member of the Big East Athletic Conference.