TIME’s Person of the Year: Selene San Felice

TIME Magazine consistently makes an effort to honor heroes and survivors in their TIME’s Person of the Year edition. In the 2018 issue, they did so by recognizing the Capitol Gazette and their staff members. On June 28th, 2018, five lives were lost to a mass shooting held in their offices. During this atrocity, shielded beneath a desk, reporter and UT alumnus Selene San Felice hid from the gunman. Luckily, she remains with us as one of those spared. During an interview with reporters, San Felice claimed that she would never give up her life as a journalist, stating that it “is what [she] is meant to do,” even after she “was almost killed for it.” It is a great comfort to know that even in the face of tragedy and loss, individuals like San Felice remain steadfast in the pursuit of their passions and drives. She is a testament to strength and loyalty: a true Spartan. It is a great honor to UT to have brave and steadfast students and alumni such as Selene San Felice.

Published Works: Nejat Nassir

The buildings of Downtown Tampa towering behind Honors student Nejat Nassir (2018)

Out of the many accolades and accomplishments that students seek throughout their time at the University of Tampa, becoming published remains as one of the most highly regarded. Nejat Nassir managed to snag a publication with the work she created in NUR 346, Expressive Arts in Healing: Health Promotion Through the Arts. Coming from a family of migrants to the US, Nassir views the refugee crisis in Syria with a heavy heart; as such, she responded with actuation rather than apathy, performing meaningful research into easing the burden of migration through artistic expression. Nassir views the expressive arts as a powerful “catalyst for change” and thus researched the ways in which various modalities of artistic expression can influence emotional rehabilitation. The International Expressive Arts Association (IEATA) showcased her work on in their official newsletter.

Good work, Nejat!

Honors Tutorial Spotlight: Shannon Fernandez-Denmark and Samantha Courtney

Shannon Fernandez-Denmark and Samantha Courtney beginning their PowerPoint presentation for eighty enthralled fourth-graders at Cimino Elementary

An Honors Tutorial can go just as far as a student’s imagination, passion, and ingenuity can take it. This allows for Honors students to develop creative opportunities for themselves with the help of willing professors, which is exactly what Honors students Shannon Fernandez Denmark and Samantha Courtney did alongside Dr. Ann Williams, Professor in the Biology Department. Rather than simply internalizing course material and vocabulary pertaining to the Microbiology course, they wanted to take it a step further; they wanted to teach a course to eighty fourth-graders at Cimino Elementary. What could be better proof of proficiency than being able to translate the content in a fun and exciting way to young children?  On November 15th, Fernandez-Denmark and Courtney saw the actualization of their project with an hour-long “Microbiology: Food and You” presentation. They received an extremely positive response from not only their advising professor, but also the students and teachers at Cimino Elementary. These two students stand as one more example of the dedication and creativity of many of the students in the Honors program.

Oxford Abroad Showcase: Gontse Molosiwa

Honors student Gontse Molosiwa has taken hold of one of the many opportunities the Honors Program has to offer: the Oxford Abroad Experience. Read below to hear her take on this incredible personal journey:

Gontse taking in the sights in front of Oxford University (2018)


Picturesque, picturesque, picturesque…and did I say picturesque? This word is embedded in my mind whenever I walk the streets of Oxford. The buildings ooze of history and it is a very student friendly city. The University of Oxford is a masterpiece in itself. It is made up of 38 colleges and I am associated with Christ Church. The tutorial system has enabled me to have in-depth one-on-one conversations with my tutors about subjects I care about such as economic development and business ethics. It is a rigorous system but I am grateful for this opportunity because it has completely changed my perspective on academia. I highly encourage my peers to study abroad here! Oxford University embodies an intellectually and visually stimulating environment and I am grateful to the Honors Program for this opportunity. The highlight of my study abroad happened in October. I got to see to my president (H.E Mokgweetsi Masisi) give a lecture about democracy and economic development in Africa at the Saïd Business School! I even got interviewed by the Botswana Television News afterward and was featured in a news segment back home. Oxford has been lovely so far. I get to meet new people every day, travel to new places, and broaden my mind. What more could one ask for? 

One of the goals of UT’s Honors Program is to help provide opportunities such as those Gontse has experienced. Of course, it’s not up to just the Honors Program; students need to seize opportunities as well!

Honors Tutorial Spotlight: Gabrielle Cohen

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A showcase of the intricate and fascinating ceramics of Gabrielle Cohen.

Honors tutorials provide the opportunity for students to not only create their own unique Honors experiences but also explore individualized avenues within their disciplines. Gabrielle Cohen took the opportunity of a tutorial to heart, working alongside Jack King, Professor in the Art and Design Department, to craft herself the opportunity to dive deep into the world of ceramic sculpting. The results were, according to Professor King, inspiring. Cohen created a series of masterworks, revealing a keen focus on the interaction between positive and negative space, as well as the best possible glaze to complement her original formations.  Dr. Jack King had only great things to say about his student’s accomplishments:


In every aspect of her project, I have been extremely pleased with Gabrielle’s work and remain most confident she will prove to be one of the better artist’s we will have graduated from the University of Tampa. It has truly been an honor to have worked closely with her this semester.

With her newfound knowledge, Cohen plans to complete a larger, more detailed project of the same kind, continuing the pursuit of an increasingly skilled craft.