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March/April 2020

Commencement 2020 Update

While none of us could have expected we would be in the position we are in now, having to make alternate plans for our Commencement ceremony, we want you to know how important it is for us to still honor and recognize all of our students for their accomplishments. As you know, they have worked extremely hard to get to this point and deserve a special recognition during this time.


We strongly considered postponing the ceremony to a later date this summer, but as the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 changed daily, we felt it was best to move forward with a virtual ceremony. We will partner with MarchingOrder, a commencement ceremony vendor, to develop and host the virtual ceremony on July 2, 2020. We hope that launching the ceremony on this date will allow our students to be able to share this memory with family and friends as they gather to celebrate the Independence Day holiday (assuming gatherings are safe and allowed at that time).


We will work with MarchingOrder in the coming weeks to gather student information, record names, collect pictures and record guest speakers to develop a comprehensive ceremony that is special for our students. Students who are eligible for the 2020 Commencement Ceremony are being notified and more details will be shared as we move forward.


If you have any questions, email


Visionary Impact Plan

As an update on the strategic planning process, 2020 Visionary Impact Plan, the Community/College Town Hall that was originally planned for April 24 will be rescheduled. Be on the lookout for an updated invitation requesting your participation soon. So far, there have been a variety of opportunities to join the conversation through surveys, campus/center forums, and leadership meetings. You can view the notes and other information by clicking on the button below.


The Visionary Impact Plan report to the District Board of Trustees will be given during the August board meeting.

Learn More

FinTech Training Grant

Governor Ron DeSantis held a press conference at FSCJ to announce that he is awarding $3.67 million through the Florida Job Growth Grant Fund to our College and St. Johns River State College to create the Northeast Florida Fintech Initiative. The initiative represents a partnership between both colleges, regional schools, nonprofits and numerous financial services companies to provide new financial technology, or “FinTech” training and certification opportunities. The award will help create two FinTech Technical Certificates, a FinTech Support Technician Boot Camp Academy and will embed skills and coursework into existing programs. 

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Congratulations to the Faculty, APC and CEC Awards Recipients

Each year we ask students, faculty and staff to submit their nominations for the Distinguished Faculty Awards, Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award, Administrative and Professional Collaborative Exceptional Service and Initiative Award and the Career Employees’ Council Recognition of Excellence Award.


Congratulations to the recipients of this year’s awards listed below:

Distinguished Faculty Awards

Dr. Brad Biglow, Professor of Anthropology

Dr. Johnny Bowman Professor of Logistics

Dr. Shawna Coram, Professor of Business and Accounting

Suzanne Hess, Professor of English

Dr. Guerino Terracciano, Professor of Early Childhood Education


Distinguished Adjunct Faculty Award

Brian Wiley, Professor of Psychology


Administrative and Professional Collaborative Exceptional Service and Initiative Award

Dr. Jeff Hess, Dean of Communication


Career Employees’ Council Recognition of Excellence Award

Bryan Stewart, Student Services Administrative Support Manager


Click on the button below to learn more about each award recipient. Full-time recipients will receive $1,000 and the adjunct faculty awardee will receive $500. Additional recognition will also continue throughout the academic year.

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FSCJ Student Emergency Assistance Fund

Whether it's losing a job, paying a bill or getting access to groceries, there are new mountains our students have to climb due to COVID-19.

The FSCJ Student Emergency Assistance Fund can provide the help they need during these uncertain times. Please consider making a donation today. Your gift, combined with others, can make an immediate impact for our students who are facing hardships. We believe brighter tomorrows are ahead and, on behalf of our students, we thank you for your support.


myGradPlan is Coming to FSCJ

FSCJ is in the process of launching a new student success management system, myGradPlan. The system is specially designed to help our students along their path to graduation. In addition, it will provide faculty and staff access to a single-screen summary of relevant information that will allow us to serve our students more efficiently and holistically.

Our intended timeline for the student-facing launch is October 2021 for Spring Term registration. Information sessions and pilot groups will be hosted in the weeks and months ahead. Be on the lookout for additional details and click on the button below to view the informational flier.

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Stepping Stones

FSCJ is launching a new workforce and employment initiative, Stepping Stones, to give graduating high school seniors a clear plan to help them achieve their personal and professional goals. Stepping Stones will serve students from the greater Jacksonville area, specifically in low-income, high-needs schools, who are unsure where they should go next in their journey. Through accelerated career-related training and personal critical soft-skill development, participating students will work toward employment in high-wage careers with room for advancement.


Specialized industry certificate tracks include:

• Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA)

• CompTIA™ A+ Certification

• Supply Chain Management (SCM Principles; Customer Service Operations)

• Manufacturing (Occupational Safety and Health (OSHA) and HAZWOPER)

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FSCJ Graduate Receives Scholarship Through Phi Theta Kappa and Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation


Caleigh Balestra, a recent graduate of the Florida State College at Jacksonville (FSCJ) Honors Program, was named a 2020 Coca-Cola Academic Team Bronze Scholar by Phi Theta Kappa and the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. In honor of her selection, she will receive a $1,000 scholarship and commemorative medallion.

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FSCJ's SGA President Named FCSSGA President of the Year


Congratulations to our Collegewide President SeQoya Williams who was recently named the 2019-20 Florida College System Student Government Association (FCSSGA) President of the Year. This honor is given to one SGA president from the 28 Florida College System (FCS) institutions who has provided distinguished service to their respective college’s SGA.

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FSCJ Author Series Welcomes Craig (and Fred) Grossi

Just in case you missed it, this year's FSCJ Author Series welcomed Craig and Fred Grossi on March 4 and 5.


Check out the latest episode of Downtime with Day to see some highlights from one of his presentations.


March/April Recruitment Update

While we continue to adjust to our new surroundings, the Office of Recruitment and Admissions also continues to do the vital work of student outreach and supporting our incoming students. Our admissions team is in the final stage of testing our brand new online orientation, which is expected to launch on May 1, while the recruitment team also continues to do the critical work of outreach to prospective students.

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Employee Assistance Program

FSCJ's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) is a short-term, confidential counseling and crisis intervention service available for employees through Health Advocate. College employees and their families can access needed support at no cost.


The Health Advocate staff follow careful protocols and comply with all government privacy standards. All medical and personal information is strictly confidential, and your privacy is protected. Contact the 24-hour Careline at (877) 240-6863 or email

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Board Highlights

Review the highlights of the April 14, 2020, meeting of the FSCJ District Board of Trustees:

  • The District Board of Trustees approved continuing contract status for the following full-time faculty members, effective with the 2020-21 faculty contract year:
    • Professor of Biological Sciences Ivetta Abramyan
    • Professor of Psychology Alisa Aston
    • Professor of Economics Sofyan Azaizeh
    • Professor of Psychology Ann Brown
    • Professor of Digital Media Isaac Brown
    • Professor of Psychology Benjamin Clark
    • Professor of Spanish Jannaefer Coleman
    • Professor of Fine Arts Mark Creegan
    • Professor of English Eugene Francis III
    • Professor of Speech Paul Hendrickson
    • Professor of Legal Studies Faith Litvack
    • Professor of Psychology Nobuko Mizoguchi
    • Professor of Biological Sciences Christopher Perle
    • Professor of Sociology Rebecca Reeder
    • Professor of Communication and Media Claire Rhodes
    • Professor of Biological Sciences Paul Weinman
  • The District Board of Trustees approved faculty sabbatical for the following full-time faculty members, effective with the 2020-21 faculty contract year:
    • Professor of English Amy Baskin
    • Professor of Mathematics Alfred Mulzet
    • Professor of Photography/Digital Imaging Mark Sablow
    • Professor of Humanities Dirk Wendtorf
  • The District Board of Trustees acknowledged completion of the curriculum review and purge process that was conducted in Spring Term 2020 for the fall 2014 through summer 2019 timeframe, resulting in zero college credit courses needing inactivation in Spring Term 2020.


You can find more information on the Board of Trustees meeting on our website.


BlueWave Cross Country Teams Receive Academic Awards

Every year, the NJCAA Cross Country Coaches Association honors the top programs whose teams hold the highest grade point averages. The 2019-20 FSCJ men's cross country team ranked 17th in the nation with a combined GPA of 3.403 and the FSCJ women's team ranked 19th in the nation with a combined GPA of 3.406. Both teams were awarded the NJCAA Cross Country Scholar All-America Award.

FSCJ Athletics Announces 2019-20 Award Recipients

FSCJ's Athletics department recently announced the recipients of the 2019-20 awards. The Student Athletes of the Year are Jhoanna "Elizabeth" Sandoval (Volleyball) and Sam Jackson (Men's Basketball). The Faculty Member of the Year is Dr. Betsy Stoutmorrill and the Staff Person of the Year is Christie Wilson. Click the button below to learn about the Team Award Winners, Female Athlete of the Year, Male Athlete of the Year, Faculty Member of the Year, Support Staff Person of the Year and our athletic all-conference and all-region recipients by sport.


Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

Congratulations to Professor of Advanced Manufacturing Alan Zube for his selection as the 2020 FLATE Distinguished Manufacturing Post-Secondary Educator of the Year Award by the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center of Excellence-FLATE. The award recognizes excellence in teaching in Florida in association with local industry partners for continuous improvement of the academic program, keeping it closely tied to industry needs. FLATE Award winners are selected from submitted nominations from around the state. Nominees are judged by an awards committee made up of industry representative(s), FAITE board member(s), past awardee(s), and member(s) of the FloridaMakes Workforce Leadership Committee. named FSCJ’s Associate in Science (A.S.) in Nursing (R.N.) (Bridge Option for Paramedics and Licensed Practical Nurse) in their list of Best Paramedic to RN Programs.

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University Headquarters ranked FSCJ as #10 in the Top 50 Colleges and Universities in the United States with the Lowest Tuition Costs. The results were based on in-state tuition.

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FSCJ's Marketing and Communications department received the Bronze Prize for the FSCJ Donor Report in the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) National Paragon Awards.


Comings and Goings

Who's New

This list includes those individuals who are filling the newly appointed Faculty full-time positions, full-time A&P positions and full-time Career Employee positions.


Faculty Full-Time

  • Robert Wechsler - Professor of Automotive Technology


 A&P Full-Time

  • Abdul Aziz Saeed M Abumilha - Interim Program Manager
  • Vanessa Alston - Program Manager
  • Bradley Bartlett - Engineer II-Network
  • Kerri Burns - Business Analyst-Curriculum and Scheduling
  • Ayshea Golden - Instructional Program Manager
  • Jennifer Hanna - Business Analyst-Student Services
  • Chelsea Hunt - Interim Director Program Development
  • Karen Kelley - Instructional Program Manager
  • Laura Pitois - Interim International Admissions and Academics Coordinator
  • Peter Snell - Executive Director of Network & Server Systems and Datacenter Architect
  • Kip Strasma - Executive Director of Project Development
  • Yamileska Yantin Luberza - Coach - Women's Volleyball


Career Full-Time

  • Julie Abbott - Interim Student Success Advisor II
  • Byron Batanes - Accounting Specialist I
  • Sherron Brown - Student Success Advisor II
  • Raina Durrence - Senior Research Analyst
  • Aldrena Edwards - Academic and Career Coordinator
  • Lorena Fuentez - Interim Program Coordinator
  • Breadford Hall - Student Success Advisor II
  • Michael Hodges - Senior Security Officer


  • Katrina Holloway - Case Manager/Career Specialist
  • Megan James - Call Center Representative II
  • Jermaine Lazenberry - Integrated Systems Specialist
  • Gerald Lee - Plant Service Worker
  • Jessica Lerman - Financial Aid Advisor II
  • Maureen Malone - Administrative Assistant II
  • Daniela Marra - Interim Student Records Analyst I
  • Harvey Monroe - Senior Plant Service Worker
  • Jillian Moody - Financial Aid Advisor II
  • Neal Newton - Armed Security Officer
  • Vanessa Pence - Library Assistant II
  • Robbie Roberts - Assessment Coordinator
  • Reginald Robinson - Academic and Career Advisor
  • Arlisa Royal - Plant Service Worker
  • Stephanie Shaffer - Administrative Assistant II
  • Jozefina Shkoza - Interim Student Success Advisor I
  • Missoura Smith - Library Assistant I
  • Andre Speight - Plant Service Worker
  • Shemonique Washington - Student Services Coordinator
  • Michael Whitlock - Interim Case Manager/Career Specialist
  • Jason Whittington - Academic Department Coordinator
  • Natasha Williams - Interim Administrative Specialist
  • Scott Yaun - Distance Learning Assessment Coordinator


Who's Retiring

The following employees have recently retired, or will soon be retiring, from FSCJ:

  • Deborah Logan
  • Robin Woolbright

In the News


FSCJ's faculty, staff, students, programs and leadership are often highlighted by local and regional media outlets - online, on air and in print. Read all of the recent articles regarding important activities happening within the College by clicking here.


A marine, stray dog and how they saved each other; FSCJ features memoir at annual author series

Published on Learn more.


Citizens, FSCJ offering information technology course

Published on Learn more.


FSCJ to receive $1.52 million for construction education

Published on Learn more.


FSCJ's downtown Jacksonville cafe offers training, bargain lunches

Published on Learn more.


Rob Clove Talks Bandstand: The Musical, Presented by FSCJ Artist Series

Published on Learn more.


Upcoming Events


FSCJ In Action

Our Women's Basketball team volunteered with the Donna Foundation to support the Donna Marathon Weekend festivities. The team spent two days volunteering at the race expo to assist with a variety of pre-race and race day activities.


Did You Know?

Did you know we have a website dedicated to FSCJ's response to COVID-19? This website is where you can find the latest updates, helpful resources and support information. Visit


BlueWave News Quiz


Test your knowledge. To ensure all faculty and staff have an opportunity to submit answers, the quiz winners will be selected at random from entries with all questions answered correctly. You have until 6 p.m. on the day the newsletter is distributed to email your answers to The three winners will receive a BlueWave promo pack when the College resumes onsite work! Please note: Previous quiz promo prize pack winners, while eligible to submit answers, are not eligible for additional prizes for six months.


1) What is the name of the new student success management system?

    a. Stepping Stones

    b. myGradPlan

    c. myFSCJ

    d. Visionary Impact Plan


2) When will the virtual Commencement Ceremony be held?

    a. May 7, 2020

    b. June 2, 2020

    c. July 2, 2020

    d. July 4, 2020


3) What college has partnered with FSCJ for the Northeast Florida FinTech Initiative?

    a. University of North Florida

    b. Flagler College

    c. Tallahassee Community College

    d. St. Johns River State College


4) What place was the FSCJ men's cross country team ranked in the nation for their combined GPA?

    a. 17th

    b. 19th

    c. 3.403

    d. 4.0


5) Who was recently named the 2019-20 Florida College System Student Government Association President of the Year?

    a. Caleigh Balestra

    b. SeQoya Williams

    c. Craig Grossi

    d. John Avendano


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