Tuesday, October 31, 2017

$2.5 Million Gift to STU's Human Trafficking Academy

Pictured above, holding the check, from left to right is Katherine Fernandez Rundle; John Brunetti; and Msgr. Franklyn Casale.

Earlier today, St. Thomas University hosted a joint press conference at the State Attorney’s Office in Downtown Miami announcing John Brunetti’s generous gift of $2.5 million toward our Human Trafficking Academy. The gift will help build on the academy's success, and exponentially grow its services, which include professional and prevention education, victim and survivor counseling, legal assistance, and education. 

“I am determined to help educate others on human trafficking, provide support to trafficking survivors, and to stand up for the rights and the dignity that they deserve,” said Brunetti, chairman of Hialeah Park and Casino. “This gift will not only strengthen, but advance the Academy’s commitment to its mission of providing dignified care to victims and survivors, as well as informing the public of this horrible threat to society.”

President Msgr. Franklyn Casale’s voice is unwavering when speaking against human trafficking. He is the spokesperson on human trafficking for the Institute for Intercultural Human Rights at the St. Thomas School of Law, and has testified before the United States Congress on the reauthorization of the Human Trafficking Act.

“I am extremely grateful to Mr. Brunetti for this important contribution,” said Casale. “This gift, one of the biggest toward curbing human trafficking, will establish the Academy as the center for all anti-human trafficking efforts. It will be a collaborative center unifying the nation’s experts and programs focused on victim care and support, and the education of responders and public agencies.”

Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami’s state attorney, and the Academy will collaborate to find synergies and take advantage of each other’s resources to create awareness of human trafficking issues, and to better understand the needs of local and global victims.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

St. Thomas University and Barry University Join Forces to Provide Relief in the Florida Keys


Hurricane Irma made a direct hit in the Florida Keys as a Category four storm on Sept. 9, 2017. More than a month later the spotlight has faded from the Keys, but the damage is still widespread. Many families in the lower keys are still reeling from the damage brought to their homes, while the closure of many hotels and restaurants has meant a lack of work for those in the service industries.

It was with this in mind that St. Thomas University and Barry University joined forces on Saturday, Oct. 14, for the first-ever South Florida Catholic university disaster-relief response day.

Co-sponsored by the St. Thomas University Center for Community Engagement and the Barry University Center for Community Service Initiatives, the day brought together the universities’ staff and students with parishioners, community organizations, and local parks to support long-term relief and clean-up activities in the Florida Keys.

At San Pedro Catholic Church in Tavernier, students worked to remove debris from the Church
property, as well as to support local parishioners in tree removal and clean-up. At John Pennekamp State Park in Key Largo, students worked on rebuilding a nature path that had been destroyed by the storm. In Marathon, closer to where Hurricane Irma had made a direct hit, students worked to clean up the Crane Point Hammock Nature Center and prepare it for re-opening to the public.

“We know that the damage in the keys pales in comparison to what happened in Puerto Rico and
other areas of the Caribbean,” said Anthony Vinciguerra, coordinator of the STU Center for Community Engagement. “That said, there are parts of the keys that are still suffering, and we wanted to be able to respond. We are one Archdiocese, from Broward to Key West, and as such we felt we had to do something.”

Courtney Berrien, associate director of the Barry University Center for Community Service Initiatives agreed.

“Barry and St. Thomas share a common commitment to making a difference in the world, and both colleges regularly have service trips and service learning classes. That said, we often operate in our own silos. Hurricane Irma provided the opportunity for us to come together, to connect to our neighbors in the keys, and to make a bigger impact by working together.”

Students raved about the experience, commenting on the personal relationships they built with their fellow Catholic university students, as well as their newfound friends in the keys. St. Thomas and Barry encourage those interested in supporting relief in the Florida Keys to donate to Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Miami, which is working to support the long-term recovery for those most impacted by the storm.

For more information contact: Anthony Vinciguerra at the St. Thomas University Center for Center for Community Engagement; 305-628-6717; avinciguerra@stu.edu.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Students develop leadership, communication skills at Adelante’s annual leadership conference


A group of student leaders accompanied by Dr. Josie Oramas, associate dean of student affairs, represented St. Thomas University at Adelante’s Annual Leadership  conference this past weekend in San Antonio, Texas. The conference offers Hispanic students across the United States networking and confidence-building opportunities to help them succeed in today’s competitive job market. Alysha Coyle (SGA President), Tyler Schmitt (SGA Secretary of Communications), Emily May (Resident Assistant), Jose Pupo (Resident Assistant) and Jamar Alexis (Student Ambassador) participated in the leadership development event dedicated to enhance students’ planning and management skills while providing insightful professional advice and helping them realize their full potential.

Through motivational speeches, these student leaders learned how to become competent candidates for corporate America and created professional and educational networks leading to door-opening relationships.

Our students were grateful for the experience and acknowledged that it made a great impact on their lives because it gave them “the opportunity to network with others in a professional and diverse environment.”

Our students also made an impact during the conference. They were interviewed by different corporations’ representatives, and were invited to dinner for further networking. Jamar Alexis was approached by Koch Industries, Inc.; Emily May was offered an internship at Eli Lilly; Jose Pupo was offered a job at Elanco. Upon graduating they will be contacted by the representatives for potential job opportunities.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

St. Thomas University Welcomes Students from Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands


St. Thomas University faculty and staff officially welcomed 55 students from Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands on Wednesday, Oct. 18. The university kicked off its welcoming celebrations with a lot of laughter, traditional Caribbean foods like Mofongo and arroz con gandules, and a lot of hope for the future.

Shortly after Hurricanes Irma and Maria, St. Thomas University began offering free room and board through the spring 2018 semester for up to 100 college students in Puerto Rico and affected islands who wish to continue their studies.

“Our main objective is to provide affected college students continuity in their education,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, provost of St. Thomas University. “After the devastation they’ve been through, continuing their studies is one way to get back into the routine, and to feel a sense of normalcy.”

One displaced Puerto Rican student, Rosamari Palerm Nadal, who recently arrived at STU, says the university and its faculty and staff have been very accommodating.

“St. Thomas has made my transition so easy,” said Rosamari, a senior majoring in biology. “The professors are helping me catch up and understand the material they have already covered. Words can’t express how thankful I am for everything St. Thomas has done for me and the hard work its staff and faculty have put into seeing me succeed.”

Alongside of the customary scholarships, STU is providing a 50 percent Disaster Relief Scholarships to help alleviate financial burdens through Spring 2018.

Interested students should call the Registrar’s Office at (305) 628-6612 or go to www.stu.edu/support to apply.

Thursday, October 5, 2017

STU at Harvard

Fabian Heinrich, a graduate student at the Gus Machado School of Business, attended a graduate course at Harvard as part of his graduate studies. Although the course was part of the Harvard MBA program, it was offered at the Harvard Law School, and taught by Dr. Bruce Hay, who used to clerk at the United States Supreme Court.

The class “Judgment and Decision Making” met twice a week for three hours. The first half of each class consisted of the professor teaching, while the second half focused on discussions based on short case analyses and the application of what was learned in lectures.

The class material was tested during midterms and final exams. A final presentation in which student groups had to analyze real life scenarios concluded the course.

According to Fabian, “During the seven-week course, the professor taught us how biases influence the decision making of individuals and how to best approach them.” Fabian added that “the semester was a once in the lifetime experience.”

Fabian Heinrich graduated from STU at the top of his class with a Bachelor of Business Administration in international Business in December 2016. Currently, he is completing his MBA degree in Business Administration with a specialization in Finance and a certificate in Data Analytics, Class of 2018. He is a role model in the classroom and leads by example on the field where he spearheads the Bobcats’ soccer team as team captain.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

St. Thomas University Offers Free Room and Board to College Students Affected by Hurricanes

St. Thomas University is offering free room and board through the Spring of 2018 for college students in Puerto Rico and affected islands in the Caribbean who wish to continue their studies. The deadline for Fall 2017 semester applicants is Oct. 13.

“Our main objective is to provide affected college students continuity in their education,” said Dr. Irma Becerra, provost of St. Thomas University. “After the devastation they’ve been through, continuing their studies is one way to get back into the routine, and to feel a sense of normalcy.”

Students will receive free room and board on a first-come, first-serve basis upon continuing their studies at STU. A free meal plan compliments of Metz Culinary Management will be provided for students enrolled in the program, and books will be provided on the first day of class courtesy of Follet.

Displaced Puerto Rican student, Rosamari Palerm Nadal, recently arrived at STU to take advantage of continuing her studies uninterrupted.

“St. Thomas has made my transition so easy,” said Rosamari, a senior majoring in biology. “The professors are helping me catch up and understand the material they have already covered. Words can’t express how thankful I am for everything St. Thomas has done for me and the hard work its staff and faculty have put into seeing me succeed.” 

Alongside of the customary scholarships, STU is providing a 50 percent Disaster Relief Scholarships to help alleviate financial burdens through Spring 2018.

STU will also work with the leadership of its sister institutions in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean to support in any way possible.

Interested students should call the Registrar’s Office at (305) 628-6612 or go to www.stu.edu/support to apply.