Four SCF Students Named to All-Florida Academic Team

In recognition of Florida College System Month, SCF highlights its value to the community. SCF provides life-changing educational experiences to students and prepares them for the workforce while partnering with local educational institutions and businesses to boost the economy.

(Bradenton, Fla., April 1, 2015) — State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) students Constanza Lanata Gustaf, Alexis Holsapple, Brandie Hyde and Megan Orlando were named to the 2014 All-Florida Academic Team, which recognizes outstanding students for their academic achievement, leadership and service to their community.

“Our SCF students are extremely deserving of recognition for their hard work, leadership and stellar academic performance. Their success in winning these awards is a testament to their own commitment to excellence and to the quality education and support provided by SCF professors and advisers,” said SCF President Dr. Carol F. Probstfeld.

This year’s All-Florida Academic Team is composed of 124 students who were nominated by their respective colleges to the All-USA Academic Team competition sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) International Honor Society. Awardees will be recognized with special medallions at an awards ceremony April 9 in Tallahassee.

, a Punta Gorda resident and native of Argentina, came to SCF after an eight-year career in hospitality management to pursue a new career in information technology. She is vice president of leadership for the Alpha Mu Upsilon chapter of PTK Honor Society at SCF Venice, where she helped organize the regional conference and plan community service projects, including a drive to collect items for Englewood Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS). Gustaf also has volunteered for Big Brothers Big Sisters, Habitat for Humanity, Backpack for Kids, March of Dimes and participated in the Sarasota Music half-marathon. She works as deputy clerk at the Justice Center in Punta Gorda and is a member of the Sarasota Young Professionals.  After graduating with an Associate in Science in Network Administration and Security in May 2015, she plans to complete a summer internship with Caldwell Trust and earn a bachelor’s degree in information technology with a concentration in project management at the University of South Florida.

“I'm so happy with State College of Florida because I was able to attend classes in the evening and online and work my full-time job. I’ve gotten to network with peers and professors that are in the same industry, which has led me to job opportunities. SCF has definitely been the best choice for me,” Gustaf said.

Holsapple,an Englewood resident, came to SCF as a dual-enrolled student at Lemon Bay High School in 2013. She is vice president of service for the Alpha Mu Upsilon chapter of PTK International Honor Society at SCF Venice, where she helped organize community service Englewood projects, including a drive to collect items for Ears Animal Rescue Sanctuary (EARS). She works at Publix and also has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, United Way and March of Dimes. Holsapple also serves on the SCF Interclub Council and Student Activities Budget Review Committee. After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree in May 2015, she plans to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at Florida Gulf Coast University.

“Getting involved at SCF allows you to get to know professors and it opens so many doors, especially scholarship opportunities. I came to SCF because I wanted to save money and graduate debt free,” Holsapple said.

Hyde, a North Port resident, is a first-generation college student who has persevered to achieve her dream of a college education. At SCF, she discovered her passion for public safety while taking a Career Explorations course with SCF Instructor Jane Dickerson.

“Before taking the class, I didn’t know what came naturally to me. I always chose jobs that I thought would be marketable, not what I enjoyed. I found an interest in law, which is what drew me to public safety administration and homeland security,” Hyde said. 

Hyde already has gotten a head start on her new career. She is a student assistant for the Department of Public Safety at SCF Bradenton during the week, and on weekends, she works at SCF Venice as a licensed security officer employed by Allied Barton Security Services. She considers SCF Venice to be like home. She loves working nights so that at the end of her shift, she can enjoy watching the sun rise and the critters start looking for breakfast.

At SCF Venice, Hyde participated in the Student Government Association, the Pop Culture Club and the Swamp Scribes Creative Writing Club. She served as the secretary of the Swamp Scribes Creative Writing Club, organizing and promoting open mics and poetry slams, and recruiting students at Club Rush and Spring Fling events. 

She served as a staff editor of Elektraphrog, SCF’s online literary and arts magazine, and her work of poetry, “Figment Memory,” and fiction, “Psych,” were published in the Fall and Spring 2013 issues of Elektraphrog.

Hyde was instrumental in arranging a reading by author Bryan Dietrich, which included an open discussion and book signing at SCF Venice.  She also held a book drive and sale to benefit the Boys & Girls Club of North Port, volunteered to help the Environmental and Zoology Club and Green Team paint bat houses, and promoted the April 2014 Alcohol Awareness demonstration at SCF Venice, which resulted in the highest campus participation to date.

Hyde is a member of the Alpha Mu Upsilon chapter of PTK International Honor Society.

After graduating with an Associate in Arts degree, she is continuing at SCF to earn bachelor’s degrees in public safety administration and homeland security. Her goal is to become a protective security advisor for the National Protection and Programs Directorate under the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

Orlando, a Bradenton resident,had no direction for her career before coming to SCF, where she started withremedial mathematics and English courses. With the help of her professors, she discovered her love for science and won a prestigious National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates within the Marine Immunology Program at Mote Marine Laboratory.

“Most people may say that their parents are the most influential people in their lives, but for me, it’s Dr. Matt Thomas, my first college science professor, who taught me all that I know,” Orlando said. “Most people may say that their parents are the most influential people in their lives, but for me, it’s Dr. Matt Thomas, my first college science professor, who taught me all that I know,” Orlando said. “He really challenges me to go through ‘mental gymnastics’ to find the right answer. His technique of teaching requires all of us as students to think, which is an important tool because we can apply it to other classes and to life.”

Orlando has shared her passion for science with high school students in Manatee and Sarasota counties as an ambassador for the SCF Biotechnology Alliance for Suncoast Biology Educators (BASBE) student club.

She also worked as a student assistant in SCF’s natural science department and volunteered for BioFlorida and at Roskamp Institute, where she is working a vision research program and studying mild traumatic brain injury in mouse models.

After graduating in May 2015 with Associate in Arts and Associate in Science in Biotechnology degrees, she will spend 10 weeks working at Mote Marine Laboratory and continuing at SCF to complete pre-requisite trigonometry and calculus courses for her bachelor’s degree.

For Orlando, it will be difficult to leave SCF, where her lab partners have become her best friends and her professors have served as her mentors.

“I love SCF because I’ve met people here who have changed my life. It has been more of a home to me than anywhere I've ever lived. Everyone here treats me like family,” she said.

She plans to earn a Ph.D. in biotechnology or neuroscience with the goal of becoming a neuroscience researcher to help find a cure for brain injuries or debilitating diseases of the mind.

Connie Gustaf
Constanza Lanata Gustaf

Alexis Holsapple
Alexis Holsapple

Brandie Hyde
Brandie Hyde

Megan Orlando
Megan Orlando


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