Friday, January 29, 2016

STU’s First Exchange Program Students Recap Croatian Adventures

One of many photographs taken by Sebastian Angelini during his semester in Croatia.
Over the years St. Thomas University (STU) has hosted many students from other countries via its international exchange program, but this past fall was the first time STU students participated in the semester-long program with STU’s partner university Zagreb School of Economics and Management (ZSEM) in Croatia.
Business majors Roy Kim, 22, and Sebastian Angelini, 21, spent an unforgettable semester exploring, learning, and country hopping throughout Europe. They immersed themselves in different cultures, traditions, and foods all while receiving a top-notch education and transferable credits.
Throughout the semester they were students, but also explorers creating unforgettable memories and friendships. For STU senior Roy, one of the biggest shocks he experienced was not one relating to culture, but beauty.
“The people of Croatia were just absolutely beautiful – inside and out,” Roy said. “They were something out of the movies you watched as a kid. They reminded me of princess and princes, and they were all so kind and willing to help.”
Sebastian, also a senior, said his biggest shock was the scenery. 
“Before arriving in Croatia, I didn’t really know much about the country – other than what I read and pictures I saw on the internet – so everything was surprising, but in a good way,” said Sebastian. “The landscape was picturesque with mountains, forests, and beaches, and the people were very welcoming.”
Both Roy and Sebastian lived in separate apartments within walking distance of the university. Roy lived alone, and Sebastian roomed with a French roommate, which he found on a Facebook page opened by previous exchange students to facilitate living situations and the transition into a foreign country.
In the classroom things weren’t much different than their classes at STU. Mostly everyone their age spoke English, and when they came across a non-English speaker they’d use hand gestures or Google translate to communicate.
“My classmates were from all over the world, and the professors are amazing teachers and were very accessible,” said Roy. “I’m still in contact with my professors, it’s an amazing relationship in which I’m still learning from them.”
Although they were learning a lot in the classroom, they were also learning outside of the classroom. When they weren’t in class or studying for exams, Roy and Sebastian were getting into adventures around Europe. On the weekends they would country hop - go to nearby countries and explore - or explore Croatia. They traveled to different cities throughout Croatia, and to surrounding countries: Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Slovenia, Hungary, France, Bosnia, and to Germany for Octoberfest.
“When you travel you meet different people, and see amazing things,” said Sebastian. “You learn a lot about yourself, your friends, different cultures, and about the places you’re visiting,” said Sebastian. “That’s not something that can be taught during a lecture or in a book.”
STU and ZSEM have an academic exchange agreement where both institutions can offer both graduate and undergraduate students an opportunity to do part of their studies at each other’s campuses. Both Roy and Sebastian say it’s one of STU’s hidden gems, and more students should take part in it.
“Take a chance, and just do it,” said Sebastian. “It’s an opportunity to meet people from all over the world and create memorable, epic experiences.”
For more information about the STU/ZSEMS exchange program, please contact Judith Bachay,

Alumni Share Career Advice with 12 Bobcats

From left to right: Lorena Hidalgo, Ben Bobillo, Johanna Wilson, Watsonie Denis, Jose Fuentes, Anne Noel, Gabryella Augustin, Laitza Germain, June Wambua, Kristian Gellibert
St. Thomas University Alumnus Jose Keichi Fuentes shared insights and advice about life after college with current STU students during the recent “Dining With 12 Bobcats” event, which took place Wednesday, Jan. 27, at the offices of Becker & Poliakoff.

Jose, who graduated from STU in 1990 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, is a government relations consultant who represents local government, other public bodies and private sector clients in environmental, safety, infrastructure and water resources at the state and local levels.

Organizers of the event, Lorena Hidalgo, director of alumni relations, and Cristina Lopez, associate director of career service, say events like this help bring the growing STU community together, and offer current students the opportunity to develop relationships with alumni in various professional fields.

“We truly appreciate Jose and other alumni who take interest in our ever-growing STU community,” said Hidalgo. “The goal behind these events is to help current students expand their career networks while also learning some secrets to career development from former STU students.”

If you’re a current STU student interested in attending the next “Dining with 12 Bobcats” event, be on the lookout for an email from Career Services containing an invite. To learn more about the program, please contact Lorena Hidalgo at, or Cristina Lopez at

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Vatican Official to Speak at STU's First International Conference on Climate Change

Business leaders, innovators, leading experts, and academics will gather at St. Thomas University (STU) during its first international conference on climate, nature and society taking place Feb. 18-19. The two-day conference, spearheaded by STU’s Institute for Bioethics, will tackle the science and social impact of global climate change with talks from leading experts in the field.

Pope Francis's right-hand man on climate change, and President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, Cardinal Peter Turkson, will be at the conference speaking about our social responsibility to mobilize and curb climate change. Cardinal Turkson, who helped draft the eco-encyclical “Laudato Si’: On Care For Our Common Home,” will also be participating in panel discussions and Q&A sessions during the two days.

Laudato Si’ is the first papal encyclical in the 2,000 year history of the Catholic Church devoted solely to environmental issues highlighting the crisis posed by climate change, and our collective responsibility to pass along a clean and safe planet to future generations.

Father Alfred Cioffi, the Florida Blue endowed chair in bioethics and director of STU’s Institute for Bioethics, said he hopes this conference educates, but more importantly, unleashes actions and ideas to curb global climate change.

“Because we now have the capacity to destroy the environment – a capacity we’ve only begun to see on a global scale in the past three to four decades – we also have a new responsibility to care for it and prevent its destruction,” said Father Cioffi.

On Thursday, Feb. 18, speakers will be addressing what is scientifically known regarding global climate change. Speakers and their lecture topics include:
  • Dr. Richard Muller, astrophysicist from the University of California, Berkeley, and director of the Berkeley Earth Institute. Muller will be discussing the big picture on climate change.
  • Dr. John Van Leer, physical oceanographer at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Van Leer will be addressing the physical, chemical and geological aspects of climate change regarding the world’s oceans.
  • Dr. Chris Langdon, marine biologist at University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. Langdon will be addressing oceanic biological and ecological effects of climate change.

On Friday, Feb. 19, speakers will be delivering keynote talks examining the potential social impact of global climate change. Speakers include:
  • Dr. Claudio Cioffi-Revilla, computational social scientist at George Mason University. Cioffi-Revilla will talk about the dynamic interaction between natural and social complexities.
  • Greg Hamra, South Florida entrepreneur, sustainability educator and environmental activist. Hamra will be discussing the socio-political and economic impacts of climate change.
  • Cardinal Peter Turkson, who will be addressing the role of human social conscience in our time.
While general admission costs $60 for both days and includes lunch, admission is free for full-time students presenting a photo ID.
For more information and details on the schedule of events, please visit:

Friday, January 15, 2016

STU Panel Discusses the History and Popular Devotion of Our Lady of Charity

Replica of Our Lady of Charity, which arrived from the Guanabo Parish from the Archdiocese of Havana to Miami in 1961. Photo credit: The Voice.

On Saturday, Jan. 23, experts will gather at St. Thomas University (STU) to talk about the history and popular devotion of Cuba’s patron saint, Our Lady of Charity (La Virgen de la Caridad). During the “La Virgen de la Caridad: Historia y Devoción Popular” panel discussion, speakers will present the history of the beloved Cuban Marian image from its origins in the 17th Century to its significant role in Cuban culture and Catholic religion within the island and abroad to the present.

This event is part of “Latino Americans: 500 Years of History” project, a national initiative sponsored by National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Library Association.
Speakers include:
  • Emilio Cueto, Cuban attorney, author, actor, and avid collector of Cuban memorabilia. He is also the author of “La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre: En el alma del pueblo Cubano" ("Our Lady of Charity: The Heart of the Cuban People)
  • Olga Portuondo Zúñiga, Cuban Historian, and author of “La Virgen de la Caridad del Cobre: Simbolo De Cubania”
  • Father Jorge Catasús, Cuban musician and composer
Both Olga Portuondo Zúñiga and Father Jorge Catasús will be travelling from Cuba to this event.
The event will be held in Spanish, and begins at 1 p.m. in STU's Convocation Hall.
Please RSVP to Dr. Maria D. Espino at

Thursday, January 14, 2016

STU Tackles Financial Crimes with New Compliance Certification

St. Thomas University (STU) launched the Money Laundering & Financial Crimes (MLFC) Institute, a one-of-a-kind program offering an internationally recognized certification in anti-money laundering, countering the financing of terrorism and the prevention of financial crimes. The 15-week program covers topics such as the smuggling of migrants, human trafficking, cybercrimes, environmental crimes, counterfeited medicines, and illicit trading in firearms. This program provides the necessary foundation to launch a career in the lucrative field of compliance.

“There is currently a shortage of qualified certified anti-money laundering labor in the US and abroad,” said Som Bhattacharya, dean of the Gus Machado School of Business at STU and chairperson of the MLFC Institute. “With our foreign university partners, we are launching the first international academic certification inspired by Financial Action Task Force recommendations. This certification aims at developing individuals able to work for any regulated industry or regulatory agencies.”
According to Michelle Martin, president of the MLFC institute, this initiative will provide hands-on education to students, addressing a weakness often cited by prospective employers.

“The course is offered by experienced teachers and distinguished guest speakers eager to share their experience in the field,” said Martin. “We will transfer practical knowledge to our students ensuring an efficient integration in the marketplace.”

This program is suited for professionals seeking work in compliance departments, as well as senior managers, attorneys, accountants and auditors desiring to improve their understanding of compliance issues. Staff of regulatory agencies, law enforcement and public agencies handling procurement activities such as city managers, department managers and port or airport managers are also targeted by this program.

“We believe building capacity within the public sector is as important as in the private sector given the level of exposure to corruption these organizations face in South Florida,” said Jean Morency, co-founder of the MLFC Institute.

Upon completing the course students will be given a two-year membership to the MLFC Institute with access to job boards, digital manuals and other educational aids. They will also receive a six-month subscription to the screening tool, and discounted rates to professional events and resources.

The certificate course is scheduled to begin Feb. 6, and registrants have the option of attending the courses on campus or online. For more information, please visit the MLFC Institute’s website.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Miami FC Announces St. Thomas University as Official Training Headquarters

From left to right: Stu, STU Mascot; Msgr. Franklyn Casale, STU President; Antonio Barreto, Miami FC CEO; and Alessandro Nesta, Miami FC head coach.

Miami FC announced today the team has partnered with St. Thomas University (STU). STU will be the official training grounds of Miami FC, providing the club with its practice and training facilities. As part of the partnership, the soccer club will donate a state-of-the art lighting system valued at $415,000 for the university’s soccer fields and provide valuable internship opportunities with the club.

“I would like to give a big thank you to St. Thomas University for opening its doors and allowing us to call their fields our home training base,” Riccardo Silva, Miami FC co-owner said. “I’m glad we could make this partnership happen. This is a great facility to grow the team that we have envisioned for the City of Miami.”

St. Thomas University President, Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale believes that this relationship is a great step in the right direction for both the university and the soccer club. Msgr. Casale comments that the university is happy to contribute to the development of soccer in South Florida.

“We are very excited to be the new training home of Miami FC, and we’re excited to see what the future holds,” said Msgr. Casale. “This partnership is a great win for our soccer community, sports enthusiasts, and St. Thomas University.”

As the official start of preseason training kicks off for the Miami FC, the technical staff and players are looking forward to hitting the pitch as they gear up for the upcoming North American Soccer League (NASL) season. Alessandro Nesta, Miami FC head coach, will be inviting back those players that made it through open and invitational tryouts last year as trialists. Those trialists will be attempting to land a spot on the final roster and will also train alongside the 11 signed players that have been announced thus far.

“These training sessions are going to be the ones that count the most,” Nesta said. “The first few practice sessions are going to set the pace and tone for what we are ultimately looking to reach this season. I have full faith that we as team will work together and create something great.”

For more information about Miami FC or to purchase tickets, please visit

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Miami FC to Announce New Training Headquarters at St. Thomas University

Pictured above, from left to right: Antonio Barreto, Miami FC CEO; Riccardo Silva, owner of Miami FC; and Alessandro Nesta, Miami FC head coach.
St. Thomas University (STU) and Miami FC, South Florida’s new NASL team, will host a joint press conference Wednesday, Jan. 13, announcing their new partnership. STU will be the training home of Miami FC, providing the club with its practice and training facilities. As part of the partnership, Miami FC will donate a $415,000 state-of-the-art lighting system for the university’s soccer fields, and provide university students with internship opportunities within the organization.

Event speakers include Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale, president of STU; Antonio Barreto, Miami FC CEO; Alessandro Nesta, Miami FC head coach.

The press conference begins at 9:30 a.m. in the Fernandez Family Center Lobby.

Immediately following the announcement, the team will have its first official practice on the STU soccer fields.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

St. Thomas University Hires Cybersecurity Expert Dr. Gurvirender Tejay

Dr. Gurvirender Tejay
Dr. Gurvirender Tejay, a leading cybersecurity expert, has joined St. Thomas University (STU) as the “Gary Goldbloom Endowed Distinguished Chair in Cybersecurity Management.” Tejay will spearhead the university’s new and innovative program designed to address one of the most challenging issues for businesses today.

Tejay's extensive research includes information system security, information technology strategy, and information quality. His research has been presented in various conferences, including the International Federation for Information Processing, Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, and Americas Conference on Information Systems.

“Dr. Tejay’s expertise will set our program apart from the rest,” said STU President Msgr. Franklyn M. Casale. “He will build upon the university’s strong commitment to student success and prepare students for professional careers in cybersecurity management.”

While other university programs focus solely on the technical aspects of cybersecurity, STU’s multi-disciplinary program includes coursework in computer science, business policies, criminal justice, as well as information technology.

“The cybersecurity management graduate and undergraduate programs at STU differ from those offered at other schools,” added Dr. Somnath Bhattacharya, dean and professor of accounting at the Gus Machado School of Business, which will house the program. “We approach cybersecurity deficiencies as much more than just computer and network weaknesses.”

Demand for cybersecurity experts is surging after attacks on high-profile companies such as Sony, JPMorgan Chase, Target, and even governments were reported. Miami ranks in the top 20 for cybersecurity job opportunities, according to an analysis from Burning Glass Technologies.

“While nurturing scholars and ethical leaders in cybersecurity, we will strive to establish St. Thomas University as a hub for cybersecurity activities in South Florida,” said Tejay. “The cybersecurity field is quite complex and continuously evolving to meet the challenges of digital society, and we want to leverage the opportunities presented in this dynamic environment to strengthen our program and benefit our students.”

Tejay, who has a doctorate in business information systems from Virginia Commonwealth University, also has a master’s in computer science from the University of Chicago, and a master’s in economics from University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee – where he also received his bachelor’s degree.

Last year, STU established the Gary Goldbloom Endowed Distinguished Chair in Cybersecurity to hire a cybersecurity industry expert. The chair is named after one of the university’s trustees.