South Lake SGA hosts Fall Festival

LSSC's South Lake campus recently held their annual Fall Festival, complete with sand art, apple twists and corn hole games.

The college crucible

College does not kill religious beliefs; it refines them with fire. It is here, for the first time, that many of us have been taught how to think. We shouldn’t be afraid of this; we should embrace it.

LSSC invites community to Lakehawk Preview Day

Lake-Sumter State College invited high school students and members of the community to LakeHawk Preview Day at the Leesburg campus to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a LakeHawk.

Part time and seasonal hiring event offers local jobs for students

Employers from 16 different companies participated in the job hiring event hosted by the Career Development Services office of Lake-Sumter State College.

South Lake SGA hosts Pumpkin Bowling Challenge

South Lake students continue the decade-long tradition of Pumpkin Bowling.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

South Lake SGA hosts Fall Festival

Story by Nicole Gato, Staff Writer
Photos by Nicole Gato

Jason Lykins, Joshua Labayne and Michael Crews enjoy the sand art booth at the South Lake campus Fall Festival.
On Nov. 18 Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus held their annual Fall Festival. The event took place in Building 1, and it was open from 11a.m.-1 p.m. for all students who wanted to stop by and enjoy what the LSSC South Lake SGA had prepared. Samantha Dicaro, SGA President for the South Lake campus, mentioned that the event was meant to be held under the main pavilion on campus, but due to unexpected cold weather, all activities were moved into the main lobby of Building 1. 

The event included free food, games and crafts. Outside, participants made fresh, warm apple twists. Inside, two tables were set up with sand art for students to create by filling bottles of various shapes with layers of colored sand. Michael Crews, South Lake’s SGA senator was enthusiastic about the craft, saying, “We have sand art…it’s really fun!”

A third table was set up with free giveaway bags that included a Lake-Sumter tumbler, candy and a flyer for the SGA. Students also had the opportunity to participate in a friendly game of corn hole, which was set up indoors.

About 50 students overall came by to enjoy the Fall Festival, evidence of its success in getting students involved and giving them a fun way to celebrate the Fall season.

Director of Activities Claudia Mercado-Morazo works the sand art booth.
Jeffery Rivera and Michael Nix watch others participate in the corn hole games.

Monday, November 17, 2014

The College Crucible

Story by Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Illustration by Katie McKay


The Thanksgiving season is coming, along with the traditional practices of overindulging in family feasts, watching football, and fighting to the death over toys on Black Friday.

But let us not forget who started the Thanksgiving holiday. It was begun by a group of pilgrims who crossed the ocean looking for the freedom to think for themselves and form their own opinions about religion and life in general, rather than following the traditions handed to them in their home country.

Today that freedom to think and examine and create our own opinions is first encountered in college, but it seems to be doing anything but reinforcing faith. The ideas many of us have inherited from our parents about God and the beginning of the world suddenly seem doubtful in the light of new knowledge in an environment that values logic, science, and evidence above all.

But college does not kill religious beliefs; it refines them with fire. It is here, for the first time, that many of us have been taught how to think. We shouldn’t be afraid of it. Rather, we should embrace this new skill and use it, rather than sheepishly following whatever our parents have taught us or whatever line of thought sounds the most convincing and socially acceptable to us at the moment. If we do this, we will have missed the entire purpose of our education.

Finding the truth should be our ultimate goal, rather than following whatever arbitrary notions please us. Realistically, truth does not change. It is merely our comprehension of it that does, and often. Gravity was still in existence before we acknowledged it and sought to understand it; and it will not cease to exist if we alter our opinions of its existence.

So where is that truth? Is it in the lab, or in a temple? One thing we can know for certain is that neither modern science nor any traditional religion has all the answers. Science is often wrong, and it changes often, though it continually moves towards a more accurate understanding of the physical world. There would be no more research if we had discovered everything for certain. At the same time, all religions are prone to stubbornly-held traditions, changes in opinion, and divisions.

Truth, still, does not change. We have to find it. We have to think. We have to research, test and prove to dig it out of all the opinions and traditions with logic.

Most start out by inheriting their faith from their parents, whether it is a faith in a deity or in science, or a mix of both. At some point, though, we can no longer rely on what our parents tell us is the truth without evidence – not unless we are willing to continue life as blind sheep.

My personal faith has not suffered because of attending college, which is commonly stereotyped as an atheistic, liberal environment that stifles any religious beliefs. Rather, my faith has grown and become something more refined: recognizable but improved and different from what I grew up accepting. I still believe in God. I still believe that He created the universe. But I no longer believe that the earth is only 6,000 years old, as some Christians claim. Rather, I’ve found a strong correlation between the story of the Big Bang and the story that starts with “Let there be light.”

College taught me how to investigate the claim that a Jewish teacher named Jesus rose from the dead. It showed me how to systematically disprove theories that didn’t add up, and how to research ancient historians and scholarly evidence for an accurate understanding. My conclusion was that he did rise, and I am more confident claiming this now that I have researched it.

But this is just my personal journey thus far. If I keep investigating and find proven evidence leading to a different conclusion, I will believe that instead. Ignorance may have once been bliss, but it is no longer satisfying once one learns to think.

So as you slog through the beginning of the season of Thanksgiving, prayers, Christmas stories, political correctness, Hanukah, Kwanza and Santa Claus, embrace the power of logic. Follow the facts and find truth, wherever that may lead you. You may be surprised where you end up. And when you get there, share it with the rest of us.

[Edit Nov. 19: Updated illustration.]


Thursday, November 13, 2014

How to identify a college kid

Comic by: Katie McKay


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

LSSC invites community to LakeHawk Preview Day

Story by: Kristen Binning, Media Editor
Photo by: Kristen Binning

Community members and high school students gather in the
Magnolia Room for LakeHawk Preview Day.
On Nov. 8 Lake-Sumter State College invited high school students and members of the community to LakeHawk Preview Day at the Leesburg campus to get a glimpse of what it’s like to be a LakeHawk.

Dr. Mary Ann Searle, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dr. Charles R. Mojock President of Lake-Sumter State College both presented messages of inspiration to welcome possible future students. “Do what makes you happy and the money will come later,” Dr. Searle said after explaining that the number one major chosen by students is “undecided.”

Dr. Mojock went on to explain that being the first member of a family to attend college can be scary, but he said, “We assure you, help is here for you along the way.”

After the welcome, community members and future students split into two groups. One group was provided with a student panel for a Q & A session, and the other with a Financial Aid Workshop presented by the Assistant Director of Financial Aid Donna MacDonald.

Afterward, student ambassadors led attendees on campus tours ending at the Health Science Center. Once again those on tour split into two groups to participate in mock classroom presentations in rooms 207 and 208. In room 207, Tanya Harris-Rocker, Education and Student Development instructor, gave a presentation of what the Foundations of College Success course would entail. In room 208, Tim Kane, BAS Organizational Management instructor, gave a presentation on the Human Resource Management Course offered here at LSSC.

Later, attendees had the option of filling out an enrollment application with the assistance of admissions personal. The application fee was waived for the event. Attendees were invited to attend the baseball game beginning at 1 p.m. on the same day against Hillsborough Community College. Hillsborough walked away the winners in the game but those who attended the LakeHawk Preview Day walked away winning valuable information for the future.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Part-time and seasonal hiring event offers local jobs for students

Story by: David Renna, Managing Editor
Photo by: David Renna

Students meet with local employers in the Leesburg campus Quad in hopes of getting hired.
On Nov. 4, the Career Development Services office of Lake-Sumter State College hosted a job hiring event at the Leesburg campus Quad. Employers from 16 different companies were present, offering seasonal and part-time jobs.

Fast food restaurants, such as Johnny Rockets and Waffle House, were looking for entry-level staff as well as cooks; Bealls was looking for sales associates, Lowes and Office Depot were also looking for entry-level staff, and AutoZone was looking for drivers and storefront employees.

A slew of healthcare companies came looking for registered nurses as well as senior caregivers (which have flexible hours and are entry-level). Companies such as ResCare HomeCare, Community Health Centers, Visiting Angels, Caregiver Services and Home Instead Senior Care were also offering positions.

A couple of local businesses came to search for a more focused skillset of workers. Flying Colors of Leesburg offered jobs for painters, upholsterers and part organizers for airplanes for their company and were willing to train on the job. Husebo Advertising & Public Relations had open positions for designers and video editors for their advertising firm.

Job listings from the event can be found at: www.myinterfase.com/lssc/student. Further information can be obtained by emailing careers@lssc.edu.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

South Lake SGA hosts Pumpkin Bowling Challenge

Story by: Nicole Gato, Staff Writer
Photos by: Nicole Gato


South Lake students gather for SGA-hosted Pumpkin Bowling.
The Student Government Association at Lake-Sumter State College’s South Lake campus hosted their annual Pumpkin Bowling Challenge Oct. 28 on the sidewalk by Building 2.

The winning teams were The Drop Kicks in first place, The Crabs in second and The Brownies in third. Each winner took home a medal and a goodie basket, courtesy of the Lake-Sumter SGA.

The smell of funnel cakes and corn dogs filled the air, along with the sound of upbeat music and the chatter of students. Tables were lined up with real pumpkins decorated and prepared for the game. The event was open to all students, with bowling available to anyone who could rally up a team of three to participate. 

A whiteboard sign gives the details for Pumpkin Bowling. The event attracted bowlers in groups of three to compete and enjoy free food.
The event ran from 11 till 1 p.m., making it easy for students who wanted to come by to show off their pumpkin bowling skills or grab a bite to eat between classes. The professionally-made funnel cakes and corn dogs were free to students, as well as bottles of water. Linda Karp, the Student Life Manager, was very enthusiastic about the event, and said, “We have people lined up to bowl. It’s a very competitive sport around here.”

Karp also stated that the Pumpkin Bowling tradition at Lake Sumter started about 10 years ago, and mentioned that she was very pleased with the large attendance; students were lined up to play even before the event officially began. Rachael Harris, secretary for the SGA says, “It was a huge success, and I hope that Pumpkin Bowling will continue to be an annual tradition at Lake-Sumter State College.”

Monday, November 3, 2014

Last home volleyball game to honor sophomores

Story by: Jake Sikkema, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Jared Hester

Lake-Sumter State College's Lady Lake Hawks spike the ball at a
game against Trinity College on Sept. 9.
Come out and support our Lady Lake Hawks tonight in the last home game of the season. Sophomore Night will celebrate the careers of Kelsey Showalter (6), Madyson Maxwell​ (11), Carol Kiam-Assato (13), Nyasia Dunlap (15) and ​Emily Smith (23). The game is designed to honor the students who are about to finish their volleyball careers. The match will take place in the Everett A. Kelly Convocation Center on the Leesburg campus Monday, Nov. 3, at 7 p.m. against Webber University JV.

Attendance is free for students, faculty and staff.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween Horror Nights 24 set to scare for a few more days

Story by: Jeremy VanCise, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Universal Studios Orlando

Halloween Horror Nights 24 at Universal Studios Orlando offers scares for just a few more nights.
For those who love a good jump scare, this year’s Halloween Horror Nights is worth the trip.
On Sept.  19, Universal Studios unleashed Halloween Horror Nights 24. For those unfamiliar with the event, on select nights in September and October, Universal Studios is transformed into a hellish place that hosts eight haunted houses and four “scare zones.” The event attracts hundreds of thousands of horror aficionados each year.
This year’s offerings are diverse, with a variety of haunted houses to tour. Some take their themes from familiar horror brands such as “Halloween,” “Aliens vs. Predators” and “The Walking Dead.” Other film-oriented houses are “Dracula Untold” and “From Dusk Till Dawn.” There are also four houses based on original Halloween Horror Nights concepts, including the living-doll-themed Dollhouse of the Damned, cannibal-themed Roanoke, and the clown-centered Giggles & Gore Inc.
The Halloween and Dollhouse of the Damned houses are the best of this year’s event. Houses that are based on intellectual property are hit or miss, but most often misses. Halloween’s house this year beat the odds, recreating numerous scenes from the original film while including small bits from other films in the series as winks to dedicated fans. Dollhouse of the Damned works because it cleverly plays off of childhood fears of fanged teddy bears and the odd faces of baby dolls. There are a few clever scares, but what brings it to life is that the “scare-actors” are actively committed to their jobs.
Not all the houses are hits, with From Dusk Till Dawn and Dracula Untold being especially underwhelming. While it was obvious that a lot of thought and time went into the creation of the Dracula Untold set, the scares are severely lacking. The scare-actors seem bored and sparse. From Dusk Till Dawn contains a few good scares and a good set but as a whole feels very disjointed.  Even The Walking Dead house, which is double the size of all the other houses, is just mediocre, not bad or good, with scares that are too sparse for its large size.

"The Purge" has its owns scare zone this year, and is one of the most effective of the street experiences.
However, the houses aren’t the only attractions. Halloween Horror Nights also has four street experiences that set the stage before visitors even set foot in a haunted house. The four scare zones are mostly original concepts, with one scare zone built around the horror film “The Purge.”  This scare zone places participants in the middle of an annual Purge event, with masked killers roaming the streets ready to “unleash the beast within.” Other scare zones include the decadent MASKerade: Unstitched, Bayou of Blood and Face Off – In the Flesh.
The Purge “scare zone” is by far the largest and most effective of the scare zones, and includes masked girls giggling and frolicking about with machetes. The highlight of this “scare zone” is the leader of the “Purge,” who is in the crowd of people with a microphone, pointing out who specifically should be targeted for “purging.” The “scare zone” works well, and is one of the best parts of the event as a whole.
The other “scare zones” are well decorated, but lack the scares of past years. MASKerade: Unstitched is the most beautiful, with amazing ball gowns and ornate masked faces. However, this feels more like a photo-op zone than a “scare zone.” Bayou of Blood is interesting, but a major aspect of the “scare zone” was removed after the first week of attendance. Originally there was a ritual sacrifice that scared guests so much that Universal was pressured to remove it. There is now an obvious sense of something missing, and it feels like the heart of the scare is gone.
As a whole, the better attractions make up for the lacking ones, and Halloween Horror Nights 24 delivers what it promises: a night of good scares. oHor

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SGA hosts LSSC’s traditional pumpkin bowling to relieve mid-term stress

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Photos by: Katie McKay

SGA member Gerard Cruz sends his pumpkin toward the pins, which were set up in the Leesburg campus quad at LSSC.
On Oct. 15, around 240 people attended Lake-Sumter State College’s annual tradition of pumpkin bowling on the Leesburg campus. The event was hosted by the Student Government Association, and participants included faculty, staff and students from all over campus.

Real pumpkins were used in place of bowling balls, which made any score far more impressive, as the gourds tended to veer left or right depending on their shapes. Any busted pumpkins were promptly wrapped with orange duct tape and reused.

Faculty and staff ended up taking all the medals. First place went to the Facilities team, second place went to the Learning Center team, and the Athletics team scored third.

Chase Rowe relaxes with his phone on the sidelines of the pumpkin bowling games.
According to Student Government member Amy Gandy, the pumpkin bowling event is so popular because “it doesn’t make any sense and its fun and you get to throw pumpkins! Why not?” She adds that “it’s a great stress reliever,” especially since the event occurs around mid-term exams.

Cindy Lackey, Assistant Director of Student Life, estimates a turnout of around 240 who showed up for free food and bowling.

Rob Estes, a supervisor in the Facilities department, believes pumpkin bowling to have been started about nine years ago by Heather Elmatti, an assistant professor of speech and journalism at LSSC, and continued ever since.

Representatives for SGA’s Paint Night and SAFIRE’s Humans Versus Zombies game were both present at the event to gather signatures and participants.

Paint Night will be on Nov. 13 from 4:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. A canvas will be provided to participants, along with paint and brushes for those who cannot supply their own. Tickets are $8 until Oct. 28. From Oct. 29 through Nov. 4, they are $10. From Nov. 5 to Nov. 12, they are $12. Tickets are $14 the day of the event.

Student David Knoras launches his pumpkin bowling ball down an improvised lane.
LSSC math professor Nicole Osborn gets ready for a shot while fellow team member and math professor Judith Hayes watches. The Math Department team won first place in last year's pumpkin bowling competition, but was beat out this year by the Facilities team.
Around 240 students attended the event over the course of the day for free food and pumpkin bowling.
The prize medals were displayed during the event. First, second and third place went to the Facilities team, the Learning Center team and the Athletics team respectively.
Rob Estes chooses to use one of the larger pumpkins for his turn.
Estes makes a shot.
After one more shot, Estes gets a spare.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Net neutrality depends on us

Story by: Katie McKay, Editor-in-Chief
Comic by: Katie McKay

"Hey, let's race. Winner takes all."

Net neutrality has become a hot topic as of late. College students are getting especially involved in the debate and for good reason: internet usage is higher among young adults between 18 and 29 than in any other age group, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. Results of the debate over net neutrality will affect the lives of college-age users more than any other group, so it makes sense that we should have a stake in what happens.

Large Internet service providers like Comcast, AT&T and Verizon are pushing the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for rules that allow them to create fast and slow lanes on the Internet and charge a fee for the faster ones. An article in Smithsonian Magazine explains that these companies “complain that their pipelines are getting choked as more Americans stream more bandwidth-hungry media, like TV, online. To upgrade their hardware, the cable and phone companies say, it’s only fair to charge extra fees to the websites and services that send out these floods of data, like Netflix or Google’s YouTube.”

This doesn’t sound like such a bad idea at first. If big websites coughed up a few extra dollars, college students could watch cat videos—sorry, I mean academic tutorials a little bit faster.

The problem is what would happen to smaller websites as a result. Video streaming sites wouldn’t be the only ones paying for faster internet; every company that can afford it will invest in quicker speeds for the simple fact that consumers choose faster sites.

According to New York Times journalist Steve Lohr, a study by Google engineers found that “people will visit a website less often if it is slower than a close competitor by more than 250 milliseconds.” That’s almost twice as fast as the blink of an eye.

Even if the new Internet fast lanes only speed up service by 250 milliseconds, paying websites already have a distinct advantage over smaller ones that cannot afford the speed, such as blogs or smaller websites like Etsy or non-profits like Wikipedia. Small businesses and startups will also be in this category, and that includes the sites that college graduates create as they become entrepreneurs and try to break into the business world.

Without net neutrality, it may become impossible for smaller sites to compete with the quicker, sleeker, richer ones, especially if Internet service providers are also allowed to block or slow the applications and content that they choose, which is another aspect of the fight.

Savetheinternet.com, run by freepress.com, is a website devoted to protecting net neutrality. It explains that a lack of net neutrality not only hinders small businesses, but also poses a threat to freedom of expression on the Web. In an ironic twist, Internet service providers claim that the First Amendment’s protection of editorial rights for those who transmit the speech of others gives them the right to determine what websites consumers can access.

Savetheinternet.com compares the methods that will be used to control content to the methods currently used by the National Security Agency (NSA) to monitor the actions of Web users. A lack of true privacy, they say, will also follow the absence of net neutrality.

Altogether, the Internet could become like cable TV: who and how much we pay determines what we can access. The Internet would be faster, yes, but amateurs and startups could be choked out by businesses that can pay for better service, or they could be blocked out entirely if they compete with a paying website. Taken to the extreme, the Internet could end up with relatively few large websites and no smaller ones.

Freepress.net, through savetheinternet.com, provides tools and help for becoming informed, contacting members of the FCC, writing to members of Congress and writing in to local newspaper editors to support net neutrality.

As college students and members of a generation that relies on and uses the Internet more than any other, we need to have a voice in this debate. Everything can change in the blink of an eye (or even 250 milliseconds) if we’re not careful.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

LSSC intramural sports struggle for participation

Story by: Jake Sikkema, Staff Writer
Photo by: Katie McKay

Recent ping pong games on both the Leesburg and South Lake campuses were cancelled due to lack of participation.
One benefit of being involved with Lake-Sumter State College, whether as a student, faculty or staff member, is the opportunity to participate in intramurals. However, Jill Semento, the head of intramurals at the college and also the head softball coach, has had trouble this year with people showing up to participate.

For instance, the intramural department made plans to host a ping pong tournament. However, it did not happen at the Leesburg Campus or the South Lake Campus because no one showed up.

Flag football has only had one person show up so far to a game, so pick-up games are the only way to participate. Coach Semento’s vision is for flag football to eventually have a tournament, but currently there is not enough interest to have full team sign-ups.

Intramurals are, and have been, a part of the Lake-Sumter college experience. With available sports that range from basketball, football and even cornhole, there is a wide variety from which students can choose.

Additionally, students are able and are encouraged to request other sports that they wish to play alongside other students, faculty and staff. These intramurals are played on both the Leesburg and South Lake Campuses.

Students are eligible to participate in the same sport on different campuses in the same year, and times can be changed based on the schedules of those interested.

Fall intramurals include ping pong, flag football, cornhole, and soccer. Basketball, volleyball and dodgeball will be offered in the Spring.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

LSSC Foundation raises funds for scholarships with Spirit Night

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna


Meghan Waller, an employee of Chick-Fil-A, runs the prize wheel at the LSSC Foundation Spirit Night.
On Sept. 22, the Lake-Sumter State College Foundation hosted a Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A in Mount Dora. Students who ordered a meal that night directly helped fund the organization, with Chick-Fil-A promising 15 percent of the proceeds. The LSSC Foundation also had information about upcoming scholarships that would become available starting Oct. 1. Chick-Fil-A was also running an activity booth where students could earn prizes, such as gift cards.

The LSSC Foundation is a direct support organization formed in 1980 to assist the college in providing excellence in education, servicing the community and assisting students with financial aid. Through the LSSC Foundation, 143 scholarships totaling $112,000 will be available to students throughout the month of October. The LSSC Foundation raises funds through events and by garnering support from the community.

Spirit Night is one such event that the LSSC Foundation runs annually. They have previously run the event at Ruby Tuesday and Chili’s Bar & Grill. “We see a rise in students needing money, so we try and do more events like this to help support our program,” said Claudia Morris, the Alumni Scholarship Coordinator. Last semester, the LSSC Foundation had 487 applicants—the most they have ever had for a semester.

Every fall, the LSSC Foundation renews its efforts to raise funds in anticipation for the next school year. In 2013, the LSSC Foundation aimed to raise $235,000 from September to the end of December. They exceeded the target goal at $261,380. In total, the LSSC Foundation raised $3,647,417 in 2013. This, in turn, directly supported scholarships and school programs, such as the college library, the nursing program, instructional equipment, the bachelor’s degree program and the support of faculty.

Dr. Charles Mojock,  president of LSSC, and Claudia Morris, Alumni and Scholarship coordinator, support the Spirit Night at Chick-Fil-A.
On Oct. 25 the LSSC Foundation will be hosting their second annual “5K Fun Run Monster Dash” starting at Silver Lake at the back of the college. The event had a turnout of 125 runners last year and the LSSC Foundation is hopeful to have more runners this year. Students receive a discount for signing up at $15, whereas the fee is $25 for all other runners. Runners receive T-shirts and goodie bags for participating and are encouraged to dress up. Registration will begin at 7 a.m. the day of the race, which will begin at 8 a.m.

The LSSC Foundation will also be hosting the 2014 Distinguished Alumni & LSSC Hall of Fame Awards on Oct. 9 at 5:30 p.m. at the Mission Inn Resort & Club in Howey-in-the-Hills. The Foundation will award alumni, distinguished members of the community, faculty and staff for the roles they have played in the community. Ticket prices are $35 per person, which includes a gourmet dinner. Students are welcome to attend.

For more information about the scholarships available from the LSSC Foundation, or for more information about the 2014 Distinguished Alumni & LSSC Hall of Fame Award ceremony, contact Claudia Morris at morrisc@lssc.edu or at (352) 365-3539.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Success rates soar to new heights with Math Emporium at LSSC Leesburg Campus

Story by: Kristen Binning, Staff Writer
Photos courtesy of Beth Skipper

Math Emporium instructors and assistants are continuously
available to help student excel in their work.
After receiving a five-year $2.9 million dollar grant, Lake-Sumter State College began its plans to build a Math Emporium: a facility and learning program designed to give math students interactive and individual attention with the goal of improving mathematic skills college-wide. The summer semester of 2014 was the Math Emporium’s first test, with promising results.

The Math Emporium model consists of a computer lab in which students may follow a structured course at their own pace. Peer and instructional assistants are constantly available to answer any questions students may have on-site. Students are required to devote three hours per week to the math courses, divided between class, the Emporium, and tutoring.

Melanie Wells, a math instructor for Leesburg Campus, says, “I think we have a great mix in the MAT 1033 course. There are video lectures in the course content in MyMathLab. Students can pause and rewind to hear something again. During our lecture time each week, students can ask further questions. I try to use our class time to go over problems that students typically make mistakes on and to reiterate definitions, symbols and processes.”

The course was redesigned to provide individual attention to students. Before the redesigned courses, students would sit through three hours a week of lecture time while an instructor worked out problems on the board. “As technology has changed over the years, we felt the time was right to modify the content delivery and increase the interaction between faculty and students in the learning process,” said Thom Kieft, Associate Dean of the South Lake Campus for LSSC.

Kieft was awarded a small grant by the college to begin investigating the redesign of math courses in 2011. LSSC faculty got the chance to tour Math Emporiums at other colleges. Based on what they found, the college decided to remodel the math courses. After receiving information that the college was eligible for a Title III grant, grant writers Julie Cripe, Dr. Kristy Lisle and Kieft spent six weeks in 2013 creating the proposal. “In late September 2013, we learned that LSSC was awarded the $2.9 million Title III grant and it would begin on October 1st 2013,” says Kieft.

Sybil Brown, the Mathematics Department Chair at LSSC, notes that “Many students are commenting that the individual one-on-one time assistance they are receiving is very helpful.”

“Having to devote three hours a week to this course is difficult,” says Ryan Kelly, a student at LSSC’s Leesburg campus, “but regardless it is very helpful and has helped me through the course, especially the tutors.” 

Ryan Kelley uses MyMathLab, a self-paced math program, in the Emporium.
The Emporium’s first trial run was this summer. “Prior to the summer, our historical success rate was about 59 percent in MAT 1033,” Brown stated. “Over the summer, with three sections of MAT 1033 taught in the Emporium, the success rate was 75 percent. There are many factors that impact success rates but we believe that one of those is the new format.”

MAT 0018, MAT 0028 and MAT 1033 have been redesigned so far. MAC 1105 will be the next course offered in the Math Emporium in the upcoming spring semester. The South Lake Campus emporium is scheduled to open in late 2015, when all four math courses will be available.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Florida’s ban on texting while driving seems to be all bark and no bite

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

Florida's texting and driving ban is a good effort, but has brought about little actual change.
On Oct. 1, 2013, Florida enacted a ban on texting while driving, but it seems as if the new law has done little to help cut down on the issue of distracted driving. According to the Tampa Bay Times, fewer than 1,800 citations have been issued since the law was passed.

Last year, Florida joined 43 other states in banning texting while driving as part of a national effort by the federal government to crack down on distracted driving. On Oct. 1, 2009, President Barack Obama passed an executive order to encourage federal leadership on reducing text messaging while driving.

Florida State Senator Nancy Detert, who led sponsorship of the bill, acknowledged that “[It] isn’t the perfect bill” in The Ledger on Feb. 6, 2013. Sen. Detert had been trying to pass the bill since 2009 but won little support. It wasn’t until the penalties were brought down that it was finally seen and passed by the Florida Legislature on Oct. 1, 2013.

Unlike other states that made it a primary offense to text while driving, Florida statutes define it as a noncriminal traffic infraction, also known as a nonmoving violation, or a violation that does not earn points on a Florida driver’s license that would lead to a license suspension. This has made it difficult for law enforcement to enforce the law, as it first requires a driver to commit a moving violation, such as speeding or running a red light, before they can issue a citation. Even then, the first offense is only a $30 ticket.

There are fewer than 1,800 citations that have been issued since the law past, which is a rather small number compared to other nonmoving violations. According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, there were 3,000 citations in 2009 for failure to dim lights. The reason it has become so difficult to issue a citation for texting while driving is that law enforcement cannot prove the offense without phone records.

The U.S. Department of Transportation stated in a 2013 research finding that, at any given daylight moment across America, approximately 660,000 drivers are using cell phones or are manipulating electronic devices while driving. And according to a Harris Poll in 2011, 49 percent of drivers with cell phones under the age of 35 admitted to sending or reading text messages while driving. So it seems the statistics aren’t matching up with the citations that have been issued so far.

“It’s not a problem you can get rid of,” said Johnny Trignano, a Lake-Sumter State College student at the Leesburg Campus. This seems to ring true with studies concerning the mind frame of drivers who text while driving. According to a study done by the Ad Council in 2012, 42 percent of young adult drivers were very confident or somewhat confident that they could safely text while driving.

Unless the ban on texting while driving receives harsher penalties, it seems as if this law acts more as a posted sign than as a true deterrent to a real and serious issue that affects drivers in Florida.

Student Nurses’ Association runs bake sale to support future nurses

Story by: David Renna, Copy Editor
Photos by: David Renna

SNA Treasurer Jenny Im, President Marisol Cervantes, Audrey Uson and Courtney Hamilton staff the bake sale. They raised over a hundred dollars to help nursing students.
The Student Nurses’ Association (SNA) ran a bake sale on Sept. 22 at the Leesburg Campus Quad. Brownies, muffins, cupcakes, heart-shaped cookies with an EKG pulse inscribed in frosting, pumpkin bread and even dog treats were some of the selections available. The organization raised $104 to help nursing students pay for their schooling fees.

SNA is part of the National Student Nurses’ Association, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to mentor nursing students and prepare them for initial licensure as a Registered Nurse (RN) as well as to encourage professional growth, such as résumé building. There are chapter organizations at the Leesburg and South Lake Campuses.

SNA also works to be involved locally. “That’s going to be our main goal: helping our community,” said Marisol Cervantes, president of SNA at the Leesburg Campus. On Oct. 30, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. SNA will be running a “trunk-or-treat” event in the parking lot near the Health Science Center. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Nursing is set to become one of the biggest growth industries in the near future in America. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of registered nurses is projected to grow 19 percent by 2022. Florida is prime real estate for nurses due to the high Baby Boomer population. The Villages, the fastest-growing micropolitan area in the United States, has a median age of 66 years, making it a target for future nursing jobs.

According to the Florida Center for Nursing, there are going to be an estimated 4,100 new RN positions created in the state of Florida in 2014. It is predicted that this growth will continue at such a rate that at some point, there will be a higher demand for RNs than there are nursing students who are graduating. “We’re going to be saving your life one day,” said Cervantes. “I would hope my nurse got As and Bs in her classes.” SNA aims to help nursing students do just that.

Nursing students interested in becoming part of SNA may sign up for membership at www.fnsa.net or contact Assistant Professor in Nursing Nicole Tinny at tinnyn@lssc.edu for more information.