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Harvesting Hope

What is your favorite part of the idea cycle? The time when we sow hope in amazing potential, the periods of harvest when dreams are realized, the time in between when transformation occurs, or when we renew hope to achieve even more?

Elliot Sklar, Ph.D. nurtured for NSU the seed of hope that greater healthcare could be provided to people experiencing housing insecurity. Last spring, NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine graduated the first wave of students who participated in special training integrated into all four years of their medical school curricula. You can see the profound impact on students in the team’s video and read why Sklar feels the amazing potential for Project H.O.P.E. (Homelessness in Osteopathic Predoctoral Education) remains strong in this issue’s faculty profile.

The ability to fan flames of hope through lyrics is one reason why fans across the globe, together with TV and documentary film producers, turn to rising star and Farquhar alumnus Griffen Anthony ('07). Read how NSU faculty and classmates helped Anthony find hope and take "essential risks" along his pathway to success.

Hope in our future is also renewed through our profile on Rebecca Urrutia. Urrutia is a dual admission student who prior to taking her place in the Physician Assistant program represented NSU as a pole vaulting competitor and a presenter at the 2014 World Congress on Endometriosis. She has accomplished much despite suffering health issues her entire young life, including the disease she now researches.

NSU supporters have been harvesting hope for a remarkable 50 years. You and NSU are reasons to believe in the amazing potential of the next 50. 



Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, Ph.D.,
Vice President for Advancement and Community Relations

Faculty Profile | Elliot Sklar, Ph.D.

Associate Director of the Master of Public Health Program
Project Director, Project H.O.P.E.

Project H.O.P.E.
If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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“There are no formal teaching centers in healthcare for the homeless in the country, and that needs to change,” says Elliot Sklar, Ph.D. Through Project H.O.P.E., NSU has emerged as a leader in this exploding area of healthcare.

People are hurting and feeling invisible. Frustrated patients who can’t receive timely care at overburdened centers resort to emergency room visits where only the most pressing need is addressed, which is a disservice to people in distress as well as tax payers. Still, providing more direct services is only part of the solution. The need for specially-trained physicians is great.

Medical schools are in a prime position to help dispel perceptions that serve as barriers to care. Special training can also equip practitioners to accurately assess housing stability, prescribe feasible treatment, and empower patients in distress to become their own best advocates. Such training plays to the strengths of the mind, body and spirit approach taught at NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (COM).

The five-year grant for Homelessness in Osteopathic Predoctoral Education (H.O.P.E.) was funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The investment allowed Sklar to secure agreements with such facilities as Camilla’s Health Concern so NSU could rotate up to five students per month under the required one-student-to-two-preceptor-level supervision.  A partnership was also fostered with the Taskforce for Ending Homelessness in Broward County which allowed students to work on mobile units bringing care to the streets. As a result, NSU has already produced 1,000 medical students who will carry with them lessons from the 28 hours of training integrated across all four years of medical school and unique hands-on experiences.

In addition, Project H.O.P.E. team members facilitated sensitivity training for the Broward Sherriff’s Office, made 25 international presentations on NSU’s groundbreaking model and helped share with regional physicians tips for combatting burn-out.  

Unfortunately, the five-year grant supporting Project H.O.P.E. runs out in July 2015.

Sklar says:

With $1 million, we can sustain Project H.O.P.E., secure unique rotation opportunities for students, track data beyond residency, and provide the expertise and resources needed to expand the program across all Health Professions Division disciplines.

With $5 million, we can endow one or two professorships and leverage the experience of prominent practitioners who lead this concept of teaching in their respective health care centers.  We can also explore opening a center to provide more service and hands-on experience opportunities. Being able to work with diverse and disadvantaged populations is a competitive advantage that also makes students eligible for significant debt forgiveness opportunities.

With $10 million, we can see our model expand across the country. There currently are no formal curricula in place, no formal models, no process of accreditation. The medical community caters to other populations with special needs, for example with HIV, but no such thing exists for individuals who are housing insecure. Meanwhile, South Florida has the third highest rental housing burden in the nation (Sun-Sentinel 2014), and states across the country are undergoing Medicaid and Medicare expansion and facing challenges best met by specially-trained practitioners.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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Excerpts from the interview with Elliot Sklar, Ph.D.

I am most proud of the relationships that I have forged with individuals from the community that have experienced homelessness. One lady in particular I have been acquaintances with for four years.

“When we first met, she had been undergoing chemo treatments. She is schizophrenic, in her early 50s, and is originally from New Jersey.  She found herself here in South Florida after suffering a nervous breakdown. She had been looking after her mom and she neglected her own care and did not seek help when she had a lump in her breast. Then her mom passed away and by the time her breast cancer was diagnosed, it was stage four.

She was given just a couple of months to live. That was four years ago.

I keep in touch with her on a weekly basis either by email or by phone just letting her know that there is someone out there who cares. She is cancer free, but she was in chemo for three years and so she suffered erosion to her mandible and her jaw, had teeth fall out, and needed to have had rods put into her bones and her feet and legs.

She had her jaw completely reconstructed and received her oral health care at the NSU dental clinic in North Miami Beach. So today she has veneers and a great smile.

“I also have been working with her case manager over the last couple of years in the Single Room Occupancy (SRO) facility in which she lives so she could better access services as needed. This past year, last Thanksgiving, was the first time that she was able to travel up to New Jersey to get back in touch with her son, who she had been estranged from for over a decade and was privileged to be there while he proposed to his now fiancé.

“Her goal this year was to get in better shape because she was going to see her ex-husband at the wedding… the same concern that many of us have. So she managed to get her breast reconstruction surgery. The surgeon was so kind and understanding of what she had been through that while she was under, he gave her a tummy tuck at the same time.

“She just came back from her son’s wedding last month. She hasn’t sent me photos yet, but she promised me she will.

She feels incredible. She has given her a new lease on life. She has her family back. She wants to date, she wants to get a part-time job.

This is why I come to work every day, because you can really make that difference in people’s lives. I feel incredibly humbled and very proud of what we as an institution do to make an impact. That to me is such a profound takeaway.”

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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Student Video - Natalie

Watch Video

Student Video - Brandt

Watch Video

“My personal takeaway from the rotation was not just about a catalog of data or facts, but also about the hope that my restored sense of humanism and social responsibility will be more durable and intrinsic in the future care I will provide.”

-    Mark Alexander Gonzales, D.O., class of 2012
“I can’t describe in words what an eye-opening and amazing experience this was.

"It was interesting hearing the stories of the individuals we saw today, and they helped me to better understand the struggles that many people have to overcome.

"It was very uplifting to see the taskforce give the homeless resources and hope that may otherwise be difficult to obtain. The staff at the Taskforce were extremely friendly and provided us with great information.

"Thank you for such a unique and wonderful opportunity. I highly recommend that you encourage future students to part-take in this program!”

- Hanna Coyle, PA-S, Class of 2015

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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Alumnus Profile | Griffin Anthony Ochigrossi

2014 Distinguished Alumni Award, Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Known professionally today by his first and middle name, Griffin Anthony’s pathway to success included circling back to his early love of music. Anthony cut his teeth at age 12 as a drummer for his childhood band “The Ripptides.” His bandmates included the children of a legendary guitar player and an Academy Award-winning film score producer. He went on to study percussion and later the guitar. As a teen, he also worked backstage at both the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals in Rhode Island before emerging as a celebrated touring and recording artist, independent singer/songwriter and composer.

In between, Anthony was recruited by NSU to play baseball.


Anthony Griffin

Known professionally today by his first and middle name, Griffin Anthony’s pathway to success included circling back to his early love of music. Anthony cut his teeth at age 12 as a drummer for his childhood band “The Ripptides.” His bandmates included the children of a legendary guitar player and an Academy Award-winning film score producer. He went on to study percussion and later the guitar. As a teen, he also worked backstage at both the Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals in Rhode Island before emerging as a celebrated touring and recording artist, independent singer/songwriter and composer.

In between, Anthony was recruited by NSU to play baseball.

“There were other schools that made offers, but after my first official visit, I undoubtedly knew where I’d be finishing up my college career,” Anthony said.

Anthony’s coach at the time, Michael Mominey (now NSU’s Athletics Director), felt the student-athlete’s frustration when season-ending injuries sidelined the talented pitcher for two straight years.

“[Mominey] impressed upon me that I can still lead my teammates off the field and mentor the younger pitchers,” Anthony said. But a startling coincidence took the support the student found at NSU to new heights.

The NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative for NSU at the time was Mark Cavanaugh, Ph.D., associate professor at Farquhar’s College of Arts and Sciences from which Anthony would still graduate. Cavanaugh shared Anthony’s unique combination of interests in music, sports and psychology. In addition, the professor is a conductor, arranger and composer.

“Dr. Cavanaugh loaded me up with volumes of books outside of class and introduced me to some of my favorite authors,” Anthony said. “I was lucky enough to experience artistic culture prior to my experience at NSU, but it wasn’t until I was a Shark that I gained the insight, conviction and knowledge needed to put the wheels in motion.”

Anthony leveraged his studies to delve deeper into his songwriting and began to moonlight around Miami at such music venues as Tobacco Road, The Van Dyke, Bardot, Bougainvillea’s, Churchill’s, Jazid and Transit Lounge. Eventually, Henry Olmino of the South Florida-based Orange Music Company, approached Anthony about writing and recording commercially-appealing music for advertising agencies, film companies and television networks.

“In retrospect, it was the boot-camp training I needed in order to make a run at things on the national level,” Anthony said. “Without the support of my NSU classmates, teammates and professors, I wouldn’t have taken the essential risks necessary to succeed.”

In Florida, Anthony commented that forward-thinking bandmates and the rich Cuban roots challenged him to write songs that were hip and highly “danceable”. Back in his home state of New York, fans held him accountable for ensuring his songs were also clever, truthful and bold.

It’s special when a tune connects to audiences in both locations,” Anthony said. “A great song or piece of music will engage the limbic system of our brains, evoking strong emotion. It’s all about selecting the right tools for the job.”

I am wildly obsessed with better understanding the human condition,” Anthony added. “As humans, our range of expression is vastly complex, yet we’re bonded by the unifying forces, seeking ‘validation’ and ‘love’.”

Anthony’s approach seems to work. The artist is touted as the #1 independent artist in the state of Florida on both MySpace and ReverbNation Charts and was named last year as a finalist in the New York Festivals Television and Film Awards category for Best Original Music. Additional honors include an Independent Music and Entertainment Association’s 2013 Songwriter of the Year nomination. He also has been commissioned to compose, arrange, and produce scores for HBO, ABC, NBC, CBS, E!, The Oxygen Network, The Tennis Channel, VH1, and MTV.

Exhibiting NSU’s core value of community is also integrated into Anthony’s musical pursuits. His charitable working relationships has produced products for Catskill Mountainkeeper, SPCA animal rescue, Toms Shoes and Lululemon Athletica.

If NSU didn’t award me a [baseball] scholarship, I wouldn’t be the man I am today,” Anthony said.

Anthony’s next full album “The Making of A Man” is on track to drop next summer.

If you would like to learn more about supporting undergraduate students studying at NSU's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, please email Director of Development Diane Schachtman, or call her at (954) 262-8348.

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Rebecca UrrutiaStudent Profile | Rebecca Urrutia

Trustees Scholarship Recipient (Undergraduate)
Dean's Scholarship Recipient (Undergraduate)
Bright Futures Scholar (Undergraduate)
Coca-Cola Hispanic Scholar (Undergraduate)
National Health Services Corps Scholarship Recipient (Graduate)

MMS Graduate Student, NSU's College of Health Care Sciences
B.A., NSU's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences

Suffering from health conditions throughout her young life drove Rebecca Urrutia to seek a career in the health care field and take advantage of NSU’s dual admission program. Even prior to taking her seat as a Physician Assistant graduate student this summer, Urrutia worked in the lab of Idhaliz Flores, Ph.D. who guided her research on endometriosis – an inflammatory disease of the reproductive system that causes physical and emotional stress, pain that she has experienced first-hand.

Urrutia says research is the best avenue to helping students understand what it takes to advance medicine.


Since middle school I knew I wanted to work in the healthcare field,” said Rebecca Urrutia, a graduate student in NSU’s Physician Assistant program within the College of Health Care Sciences.

I personally dealt with a lot of health problems growing up – hospitalizations, surgeries, asthma and allergies. It has been difficult to see relief, but I feel like that has pushed me more toward this path. I was always very passionate about science, but having to deal with those problems myself made me realize that I can use that to be a better health care provider.

I can honestly say: ‘I know what you’re going through. I know what it feels like to be getting ready for surgery or to have a doctor tell you they don’t know what is wrong with you’.

One of the diseases I struggle with is Endometriosis. I was diagnosed my sophomore year of college and I have had five surgeries for it since then. The research I conducted was for Endometriosis. I have a personal connection to it and together with a mentor of mine, we actually submitted a manuscript for publication a couple of months ago. If it gets published, I will be a co-author on that article.

Being one of the youngest presenters [in Brazil at the 2014 World Congress on Endometriosis, an event that occurs only once every three years] was intimidating. But it really was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be there and have the chance to present my research, and to have people come up and tell me that they were impressed by it and to ‘keep up the good work’. It was life changing.

Research opportunities help students better understand what it takes to advance medicine.

The Dual Admission program was incredible beyond my belief.  NSU is one of the few colleges in the area that has a Physician Assistant program, and when I heard about the program’s success rate I was really attracted to the idea. Just the reassurance from the first year of undergrad that if I met all the qualifications, then I was guaranteed a spot.

Once I visited [NSU], I was completely sold. I didn’t apply anywhere else.

“Obviously, the Physician Assistant and Dual Admission programs were more of a factor, but the ability to compete at the collegiate level was also a huge blessing. I really do have a passion for sports as well. And athletics covered my book fees.

[Through track] I made a lot of great friendships. I was not one of the strongest athletes on the team, so I really stepped up and tried to be a leader. Because it is an “individual” sport, it was easy to be hard on ourselves and to feel like your value comes from how you perform. I felt like people needed to be encouraged and reminded ‘you are more than an athlete’.

“I started the Physician Assistant program in May, and it has just been incredible. I love it, and there is not one day where I think ‘maybe I should have done something else’. I know that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

Every single one of the professors is here to help you succeed. I feel so supported by them. That makes a big difference in your education because the classes are very hard and the information is difficult. They are here to help you, and it will make a big difference in my career.”


If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Denise Rau, or call her at (954) 262-2163.

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In honor of Guy Harvey's academic and environmental passion and tremendous philanthropy, Nova Southeastern University (NSU) announced that one of the university's landmark buildings will now be known as the NSU Guy Harvey Oceanographic Center.

Harvey's latest gift will provide scholarships to undergraduate and graduate students studying marine science, and enhance the work performed by students, faculty and other oceanographic researchers.

For many years, NSU has enjoyed a special working relationship with the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer Guy Harvey, Ph.D. and the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation.

In 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) was founded at NSU. It now leads the way in pioneering genetic shark research and tagging/tracking programs. In 2007, NSU unveiled a 160 'x 50' Guy Harvey Shark Mural at NSU's Don Taft University Center. Harvey's largest mural to date features different shark species with authentic replicas mounted to give the mural its unique three dimensional look. In 2008, the Guy Harvey Foundation was established to fund research and education projects aimed at conserving the marine environment so future generations can enjoy and benefit from a naturally balanced ocean ecosystem.

Now, the relationship between Harvey and NSU is being taken to the next level.

“We are thrilled that NSU’s relationship with him and his foundation will continue for many years to come,” said George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D., president and CEO of Nova Southeastern University. “I am particularly excited that his gift will help the next generation of marine biologists, researchers and oceanographers continue the important work that our Oceanographic Center is doing. I commend Dr. Harvey for his commitment not only to our environment, but to our students as well.”

“Today’s announcement is an extension of our long relationship with Nova Southeastern University,” said Steve Stock, president of Guy Harvey, Inc. and Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, based in Davie, Florida. “This is a great win-win opportunity offering tremendous exposure to both of our brands, and our joint mission to study and manage the world’s marine fishes and their ecosystems.”

I am extremely pleased to have my name associated with Nova Southeastern University’s world-class Oceanographic Center in Hollywood and to further my relationship with the university,” said Harvey. “The cutting edge research work being conducted by the Guy Harvey Research Institute at the Oceanographic Center is something I am very proud of and hopefully the additional funds from this arrangement will help ensure the continued growth of the research and educational work ongoing at the Center.”

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Wendy Wood-Derrer, or call her at (954) 262-3617.

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NSU has received two Title V Grants through the U.S. Department of education totaling approximately $7 million. The grants were announced during a press conference with U.S. Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz.

The funding will allow NSU to develop specific programs and services to better meet the needs of Hispanic/Latino and other diverse students who are pursuing high-demand science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) related programs and careers, particularly those related to computer science.     

One specific example is the effort led by NSU's Gregory Simco, Ph.D., and Meline Kevorkian, Ed.D. (co-administrators of one of the grants) to expand post-baccalaureate educational opportunities and post-baccalaureate academic offerings for Hispanic college students and students from ethnically diverse populations who are attending institutions of higher education.

"The grant award will be utilized to increase the number and/or percentage of Hispanic/Latino and other students pursuing targeted computer science-related graduate degrees," said NSU Associate Provost Meline Kevorkian, Ed.D. "It will also be used to increase the number of targeted computer science-related graduate degrees awarded at NSU and develop a more seamless pathway to success from baccalaureate to graduate studies to career."

As our technology-driven society becomes increasingly complex, an advanced degree has become an expectation for many competitive and financially rewarding computer science positions. However, when compared to overall population diversity, the number and proportion of Hispanic/Latinos seeking and earning graduate degrees, especially in fields related to the Computer Sciences, remains sorely lacking.

NSU is recognized as a Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) as defined by the U.S. Department of Education. Students will also benefit from an expanded support model that identifies and effectively addresses student needs upon admission through graduation.

"NSU continues to achieve high-reaching goals in its commitment to invest in resources designed to maximize its impact for all students," said Gregory Simco, Ph.D., professor at NSU's Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences. "The goal is to build a flexible, supportive, and effective academic pathway so that students with bachelor's degrees can more efficiently transition to (and through) computer science-related graduate degrees." 

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Elaine Blattner, or call her at (954) 262-2409.


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NSU is home to some of the world's top marine biology and ocean ecosystem researchers and experts. Now those research efforts are being given a boost.  NSU is one of 12 organizations selected to receive part of $140 million from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI) for continued research in the area of oil spills and how we respond to them.

“The world’s oceans are changing as a result of many global and varied local and regional pressures,” said George L. Hanbury II, Ph.D, president and CEO of NSU. “The Deepwater Horizon oil spill event has posed a significant, but yet unquantified stress to the ocean life essential for Florida and the nation. Thanks to this substantial award from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative, NSU will soon be developing urgently needed knowledge to evaluate deep-sea fish and other organism impacts after a significant oil-spill disturbance.

The NSU-led research consortium, entitled Deep-Pelagic Nekton Dynamics of the Gulf of Mexico (DEEPEND) will be directed by Tracey Sutton, Ph.D., an associate professor at the NSU Guy Harvey’s Oceanographic Center. Research will be focused on the pelagic (open ocean) realm, from the surface to depths of over one mile, which is the largest ecosystem component of the Gulf of Mexico.

“The deep Gulf of Mexico is an amazing ecosystem, with biodiversity as high, or higher, than any ecosystem of its kind, according to our current knowledge,” Sutton said. “We are still discovering new species within its depths after over 200 years of investigation. It behooves us to better understand its nature and functioning, as the societal benefits of the Gulf in its entirety are enormous.

Sutton and NSU Guy Harvey's Oceanographic Center scientists Tamara Frank, Ph.D., Joseph Lopez, Ph.D. and Mahmood Shivji, Ph.D. will team with scientists from Florida International University (Drs. Kevin Boswell and Heather Bracken-Grissom), Texas A&M University (Drs. Ron Eytan, Jay Rooker and David Wells), the University of South Florida (Dr. Chuanmin Hu), the University of South Florida, St. Petersburg (Heather Judkins, Ph.D.), Florida Atlantic University (Jon Moore, Ph.D.), the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (Drs. Brad Penta and Sergio deRada), and the San Antonio Zoo (Danté Fenolio, Ph.D.) to produce exciting discoveries from the oceanic Gulf that will be accessible to the public and scientific communities, and with substantial educational outreach.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Wendy Wood-Derrer, or call her at (954) 262-3617.


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Funded by a generous donation by the SEACOR Foundation, the SEACOR Experimentation System at NSU's Oceanographic Center comprises 30 replicate tanks for experiments. Each unit consists of a water table that holds two 30-gallon pollutant/stressor mixing or application tanks and one 40-gallon experimental aquarium.

The sytem allows for experimentation with various levels of pollutants such as oil, as well as their chemical evolution products over time, which makes it possible to research the effects of climate change, ocean acidification, and pollution -- all listed as top threats to coral reefs by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The resulting model is used to predict different scenarios of reef impact and to evaluate various levels of chronic and catastrophic exposures that can be used for making policy decision.


Most recently, NSU research augmented by the SEACOR System led to the university convening this month industry and scientific experts from around the world for a technical forum on the role of dispersants in oil spill reponse. Officials and experts from such diverse areas as Australia, Europe, South America, Alaska and the Gulf States presented the latest scientific and operational information on the use of dispersants to emergency response planners and decision-makers. The goal of the forum is to lay a foundation of knowledge and create a framework for analysis and decision-making for the use of dispersants in oil spill response.

One of the forum's sponsors, Clean Caribbean & Americas (CCA) of Fort Lauderdale, has also decided to sponsor a multi-year laboratory research project on the effects of oil and dispersed oil on coral, which will be conducted at NSU's Oceanographic Center – one of the few institutions in the world with an active coral nursery.

This type of research is not new to Richard Dodge, Ph.D., dean of the Oceanographic Center. He was one of the principal researchers in a seminal field study in Panama in 1984 which studied the effects of oil and dispersed oil on tropical marine ecosystems.  Much of the analysis of dispersant use options in coral reefs today stems from this research.

“The state of the art has advanced much in the decades since the Panama study,” Dodge said. “We seek additional and fundamental knowledge of the effects of oil and dispersed oil on coral reef ecosystems so that best mitigation and cleanup can be implemented.”

This research project will be managed by NSU's Oceanographic Center Ph.D. candidate Abigail Renegar, and supported by other scientists from NSU, NCRI, Texas A&M University and James Cook University in Australia, as well as scientific support from NOAA and several oil companies.

“This research will provide new information on the sensitivity of corals to oil and dispersed oil, linking field studies with controlled laboratory experiments that examine a range of possible hydrocarbon exposures,” Renegar said. “What we learn from this study will be essential to decision-making and response should a spill potentially impact coral reefs.”

Bernhard Riegl, Ph.D., is the NSU faculty principal investigator of the project. He has long been involved in environmental stressors to coral reefs.

“If we learn how to tackle impacts that we can closely manage and tightly control, such as oil-spills by the use of dispersants, then there is hope that we may also learn how to tackle impacts that are much harder to manage – such as those imposed by human population pressure and climate change,” said Riegl, who is also the as well as the Associate Director of NSU’s NCRI.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Wendy Wood-Derrer, or call her at (954) 262-3617.

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NSU prides itself on being an educational institution that provides continuing community outreach locally, nationally, and internationally via clinical programs and research, as does the College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-COM), which has been a community outreach exemplar since its inception.

Proof of this fact was evidenced in September when NSU-COM claimed the top spot in the university’s Fiscal Year 2014 Community Collaboration Database, which serves as a compilation of the community outreach endeavors conducted annually by NSU’s 18 colleges, schools, and centers.

“Thanks to the diligent efforts of our faculty, staff, and administration, NSU-COM partnerships, collaborations, and community engagement are well-represented in the database,” said Anthony J. Silvagni, NSU-COM dean, in regard to the 608 approved projects submitted by the college. “Once again, our college leads the way in service to our community.”

Each year, NSU completes an assessment of community collaborations and shares the results with leadership, academic, and administrative/support units in order to improve the quality of its service in the community. The database keeps university leadership, as well as the Carnegie Foundation, informed about the many presentations and projects that occur throughout the year.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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Published in Our City Davie

Seventeen-year-old Grant Besner of Davie is a big believer in the saying “Laughter is the best medicine.” Through his website,, he has been encouraging others to do the same. Llama Mama: Healing Through Humor aims to cheer up children that are dealing with trauma in their lives.

Grant has always used humor to deal with difficult situations. In 2006, it helped him cope with the loss of his 11-year-old brother, who passed away after a five-month long battle with Leukemia.

As a kid going through a truly horrific experience, there was nothing I really could do to escape the reality I was living in,” said Grant. “So, rather than keeping my head down, I got back on my feet and just tried to keep laughing and living, and it helped me get through it all. Life is way too short to be unhappy.”

Last year, while he was volunteering at a hospital and joking around with kids, he was reminded of the powerful effect that laughter can have on healing.

“By using humor, I was able to make the day better for the sick children,” said Grant. “I decided to create a funny website to cheer up kids who are struggling or dealing with loss. I would be able to draw upon my experience to help other kids dealing with similar issues.”

In March 2013, he launched Llama Mama, an interactive website that features funny jokes, photos, videos and more. As editor, Grant makes sure that all of the content is appropriate for young children, and has no “triggers” that would set off any kind of negative emotional response. Some of his friends help him manage the website, including Alexander Lieberman, Carter Graves and Zachary Chase.

Llama Mama has already been a huge success. Grant says child life specialists in over 14 of America’s top ranked children’s hospitals share the website with their patients. Additionally, Llama Mama has already received more than 10,000 page views. Despite the success, however, Grant still isn’t satisfied.

“This is something that has the potential to help a whole lot of kids, and we’re not going to stop until every child who needs a laugh knows about this website,” said Grant. “I want them to know there’s a place they can go to escape whatever they’re dealing with and just smile for a minute. It will make all the difference.”

Grant is hoping to attend Duke, Brown or Yale in the fall 2015. He currently attends NSU's University School and has a 4.87 GPA. He is Interpretation Event Leader for his Speech and Debate team, captain of the swim team, and vice president of Student Council. He was recently named Top 6 in the country for Humorous Interprettaion at the Yale University Speech and Debate Tournament.

 If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Wynne Avellanet, or call  her at 954-262-3617.

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The story about the homeless in the City of Fort Lauderdale has generated local, national and international attention and highlighted a number of factors related to the issue of homelessness.  The timing is synergistic given that Nov. 17-20 is National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week.

The student group Alpha Phi Omega and the Office of Student Leadership and Civic Engagement at NSU prepared activities to take action and generate awareness during this week.  Among the most significant events was the Oxfam America Hunger Banquet, held in the Don Taft University Center Arena on Nov. 17.  When guests arrived, they drew tickets at random that assigned each to a high-, middle-, or low-income tier—based on the latest statistics about the number of people living in poverty.

Each income level received a corresponding meal.

The 20 percent in the high-income tier were served a sumptuous meal; the 30 percent in the middle-income section ate a simple meal of rice and beans; and the 50 percent in the low-income tier helped themselves to small portions of rice and water. NSU also had representatives from community affiliates whose work centered on hunger awareness to facilitate conversation as well as help in group reflection at the tables.

“Homelessness is a problem that plagues our community, county and country. NSU students participating in these events want to make a difference and help change the sobering statistics that remind us every day how many people are living without food and shelter,” said Aaron Hackman, assistant director of student leadership and civic engagement at Nova Southeastern University.

Other events included:

Wednesday, Nov. 19: Hunger and Homelessness in Broward County Panel
4:30– 6 p.m. Location, NSU, Carl DeSantis Building, Room 1047

Representatives of local community affiliates including the HOPE Outreach Center and Broward Regional Health Planning Council’s Dania Beach Garden Patch had a panel discussion about hunger and homelessness in Broward County, and also fielded questions from students interested in learning more about ways they can get engaged.
Thursday, Nov. 20: Movie: Pursuit of Happyness
6-9 p.m.  Location: NSU University Center Performing and Visual Arts Theater (PVA)

The film Pursuit of Happyness (2006, starring Will Smith) portrays the real-life struggle of a man and his son and how they dealt with homelessness.  Following the film, students discussed the movie and different ways they can continue to take action.

Over the past five years, NSU has emerged as a leading university for healthcare for the homeless and other diverse populations. Students from NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine (NSU-COM) have been involved in Project H.O.P.E. (Homeless in Osteopathic Pre-doctoral Education) with the main goal of improving student and professional perceptions and attitudes by providing homeless-specific core lectures (facilitated in part by unsheltered individuals), service-learning opportunities, and clinical field rotations in facilities serving individuals experiencing homelessness.

Most recently, Project H.O.P.E. developed a partnership with the TaskForce for Ending Homelessness, Inc. in Broward County. The latter provides outreach services to the homeless via two mobile units that venture out into the local community two times each day, 365 days a year. In addition to NSU-COM doctoral students, students in NSU’s physician assistant, nursing, occupational therapy and master of public health programs are now benefitting from the volunteer opportunity.

If you would like to learn more about supporting undergraduate students studying at NSU's Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences, please email Director of Development Diane Schachtman, or call her at (954) 262-8348.


NSU is helping to change the future of a country through the reestablishment of a Lymphatic Filariasis Clinic in Leogane Haiti.  Heather Hettrick, PT, PhD, CWS, CLT, CLWT, Associate Professor in the Department of Physical Therapy, is the Program Director responsible for the operations and management of the clinic.

Lymphatic Filariasis (LF) is a parasitic infection spread by mosquitoes that is endemic in 83 countries with over 1.3 billion people at risk of contracting it.  In the Western hemisphere, LF is endemic in seven countries.  Eight-eight percent of Haiti is a risk zone for Lymphatic Filariasis.  Leogane is the LF risk center in Haiti with a population of 250,000. At the start of control efforts in 2000, there was 99% rate of exposure and greater than 80% rate of infection.

The University of Notre Dame (South Bend, Indiana) has had a functioning LF initiative in Leogane at Hospital St. Croix since 1997.  The original clinic was funded by multiple sources including the Gates Foundation—LF patients from 10 regions in Haiti and four other neighboring countries were treated.  Haitian LF therapists were trained by American volunteers.  Until 2009, the clinical program was available for genital and extremity LF.  The clinic closed in 2009 due to loss of funding, loss of trained clinical LF therapists, and an absence of international lymphatic and academic awareness or support.

NSU in collaboration with the University of Notre Dame, the International Lymphedema & Wound Care Training Institute ( ILWTI), the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Alliance for Wound and Lymphedema Care (WAWLC), medi for Help, Bandages Plus, FarrowMed, Circaid and others embarked on a more comprehensive program. In addition to training local clinicians and establishing networks of in-village voluteers, the program in Haiti is poised to become a “Center of Excellence” for the study and treatment of a most serious neglected tropical disease--Lymphatic Filariasis. 

It is intended that the clinical and research work documented in Haiti over the next several years will verify, support and build upon the historic documented progress for LF.  Leogane can be a center for international training of LF therapists; specifically trained under resource poor, nation conditions, Hettrick said. 

Two additional satellite clinics are slated to open over the next 18 months in Northern Haiti to reach the more remote parts of the country.  Opportunities for volunteers to join medical missions, conduct research, and earn a unique international dual certification in lymphedema and wound care are available. 

Training of local Haitian clinicians began in December of 2013 through efforts by the Brazilian embassy, with follow-up training and clinic logistics established in January 2014 between NSU and ILWTI.  From this collaboration, a modified and novel Complete Decongestive Therapy approach to manage LF in Haiti is being developed.  Further, protocols for each of the seven stages of LF are being designed for adaptation to environmental and cultural challenges present in Haiti.  This can have major influence on future therapy globally. Plans are also in place to develop a scoring system to rate the stage of lymphedema and skin involvement (based upon the existing staging system) to facilitate outcomes and quality measures.  

Dr. Hettrick is currently working on funding for sustainability of the clinic.  View Album

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Denise Rau, or call her at (954) 262-2163.

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Florida Congresswoman Lois Frankel, D-22, was recently on NSU’s main campus to research the wide array of services the university provides our student veterans. Congresswoman Frankel is planning to incorporate some of the information in her bill proposing funding for campus resource centers similar to that at NSU.

Frankel was greeted at the NSU Veterans Resource Center by NSU Chancellor Ray Ferrero, Jr., J.D., Dean Kimberly Durham, Psy.D, of The Institute for the Study of Human Service, Health and Justice, Susanne Marshall, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean, and Jayme Cassidy, J.D., staff attorney at the Veterans Law Clinic at the Shepard Broad Law Center. Also on hand was NSU alumni, Fred Roger, Executive Director of The Veterans Trust, and Jared Link 2nd Lt. USAF, BSC, a Psy.D. candidate in neuropsychology concentration.

Congresswoman Frankel, whose son served as a Marine in the Middle East, said she would like to establish funding at all colleges and universities for veterans services such as counseling and job placement, along with the creation of veterans resource centers. “The operative idea is for a regional, networked approach,” she said, “with an accounting of the results.”

Chancellor Ferrero pointed out that NSU is a very active partner in Mission United, where he serves on the executive committee, which is run by Broward County United Way and is a critical program supporting military service members, veterans, and their families with issues of acclimation to civilian life. He said providing support services to NSU’s more than 1,000 student veterans is a priority for the university.

“Most of our veterans come here reluctant to speak out and they keep to themselves,” said Chancellor Ferrero. “That’s why we established this support center.”

Veterans Trust Executive Director Roger agreed, “When I came home four years ago from Fallujah to Fort Lauderdale, my family asked my why I had changed so much. It takes peer support, just as we had the buddy system in them military, to adjust.”

Dean Durham told Congresswoman Frankel that the university offers a comprehensive package of services to our student veterans. She said NSU offers veterans tutoring, career development, psychological services, legal services, family therapy, scholarships and more.

The NSU administrators and Rogers agreed they would work with Congresswoman Frankel’s office on her bill for funding and regional coordination of college and university and college veteran resource centers.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Susie Marshall, Ph.D., or call her at (954) 262-3014.


Since writing about Sherpard Broad Law alumnua Carrie Sarver's experience and gratitude for NSU's groundbreaking AAMPLE(R) (Alternative Admissions Model Program for Legal Education) program, the NSU graduate made a second gift to the AAMPLE Program scholarship fund.  

Here are letters from the first two recipients of an AAMPLE Scholarship:

I am writing this letter to thank you for the AAMPLE scholarship I received because of your donation. I am very honored to be one of the first two members to receive the award based on performance from the summer. It is comforting and inspiring to know that you went through the AAMPLE program and now have reached a position of success where you can give back.

Having to go through the AAMPLE program definitely put a chip on my shoulder. I wanted to prove to myself that just because I didn’t test off the pages on the LSAT did not mean that I could not still thrive in law school. Although the AAMPLE grades do not count towards my GPA or credits, they gave me confidence entering into the fall semester.

I am paying for law school entirely with student loans and the money received from the scholarship you provided is doing more for me than words can describe. It has taken a load of stress off my mind, but most importantly it made the decision to purchase supplements for classes an easy one!

I just wanted to express my gratitude and let you know that it is truly making a difference to me.

Knowing that there is an AAMPLE alum that would give back to the program motivates me to be in a position to do the same.

Thank you,
-    Maxwell

Words cannot begin to express how grateful I am to have received the Carrie Sarver AAMPLE Scholarship. The AAMPLE program was the most amazing blessing. And to receive this reward as a result has made that experience all the sweeter.

Through the AAMPLE program, I have truly found myself. I was so lucky that Nova Southeastern University gave me an opportunity to prove myself; and in the midst of studying for Negotiable Instruments and Fourth Amendment Law, I found a sense of joy and a self-confidence that I haven’t had in years.

Your achievements serve as a testament to both the AAMPLE program and the Shepard Broad Law Center as a whole. I am honored and grateful to have been one of the first recipients of this reward.

I’ll end my letter with a quote that I love from Issac Newton, “If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Thank you for being my giant.

Yours sincerely,
-    Anya

To learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Susan Stephen, or call her at (954) 262-6261.

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National Average Also Bested By NSU Graduates

For the third consecutive year, NSU’s Orlando’s Physician Assistant (PA) program can boast a 100 percent first time pass rate on the Physician Assistant National Certification Exam (PANCE). Additionally, graduates of the program in Orlando have bested the national average for the exam for the past four years.  The PANCE is required of every graduate in order to become a certified PA.

A physician assistant (or PA) is a nationally certified and state-licensed medical professional.  PAs practice medicine on healthcare teams with physicians and other providers.  They practice and prescribe medication in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and all U.S. territories, with the exception of Puerto Rico (AAPA, 2014).

“Exceptional results are achieved by exceptional students,” said Lorilee Butler, MPAS, M.Ed., PA-C, director of NSU Orlando’s PA program.  “We strive to select the most outstanding candidates for our program. Beyond possessing a good GPA,” Butler said, “it is also important to have a strong drive and determination.  With our hearts in the right place, we can make a difference in the lives of our patients.”

Butler accounts for this continuing success by emphasizing the program’s traditional curriculum, the increased use of high fidelity medical simulation, and clinical decision-making case studies have provided the students with a strong academic foundation.

The Orlando PA Program students complete their clinical rotations locally in many private clinics, the Florida Hospital system, Orlando Health System and the Heart of Florida system. Such comprehensive training leads to certain employment, Butler said.

The need for quality PA’s is clearly demonstrated,” said William H. Marquardt, M.A., PA, DFAAPA, associate dean for physician assistant education, at NSU’s College of Health Care Sciences. “The job openings are out there, and we’re filling them.”

NSU also offers the PA program at NSU’s campuses in Fort Lauderdale, Jacksonville and Fort Myers, Fla.

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Denise Rau, or call her at (954) 262-2163.

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Public Health Online, a leading online resource for public health education and careers, recently published a new list of the Best Online Master of Public Health (MPH) Programs for 2014-15. NSU's College of Osteopathic Medicine’s Online Public Health Program ranked No. 17 out of the top 50 in the United States.

“NSU is proud to be ranked among the best master of public health programs in the nation,” said Cyril Blavo, D.O., M.S., M.P.H. & T.M., F.A.C.O.P., director and professor of public health, Master of Public Health Program, NSU’s College of Osteopathic Medicine. “A value deeply entrenched in our university is providing services to those who may not otherwise have access, and educating community leaders and health care providers in the tenets of public health is a proven way to achieve this goal.”

Included programs not only meet the standard of excellence of traditional on-campus public health programs, but also provide students the flexibility to continue their higher education through the graduate level while working and building experience in their chosen field, according to Public Health Online.

“Earning a master’s degree and having work experience could be the difference between getting the job and not,” said Wes Harris, founder of Public Health Online. “Today’s working professionals need the flexible learning options these online MPH programs offer. It’s important for students and working professionals to know their options when it comes to furthering their careers."

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss other giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Ashley Sharp, or call her at (954) 262-1510.

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The University School Suns Robotics team (U.S.S.R.) has won its third consecutive Tournament Championship title this season, defeating top-ranked teams in each of the three VEX Robotics State Qualifiers.

Outscoring all teams, the U.S.S.R. team has overwhelmingly dominated the competition and earned two spots in the Florida VEX Robotics State Championship.

Competitive robotics teams are tasked annually with designing and building robots to play against each other in a game-based engineering challenge. Mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, and computer science concepts are combined to build innovative robots designed to score the most points possible during a challenge.

VEX Skyrise is the game for the 2014-2015 competition year, and the focus ison robots demonstrating stability, accuracy, and height.

In addition to building remarkable robots, “robotics students learn lifelong skills in problem solving, teamwork, and leadership, while also making great friendships” remarked Alexander Lotz, grade 12, when asked what makes the University School robotics program unique.

 If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Wynne Avellanet, or call  her at 954-262-3617.

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Reflecting its commitment to the South Florida IT community, ITPalooza will once again be hosted by NSU's prestigious Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences (GSCIS). Under the leadership of Dean Eric S. Ackerman, Ph.D., the GSCIS partnership with ITPalooza promises to offer attendees the very best of South Florida technology.

The event already boasts more than 2,000 registrants, 60 speakers, 65 sponsors and 50 user groups and will take place Thursday, Dec. 4 at NSU's main campus.

In addition to the hiring fair, technical sessions and vendor exhibits, this year ITPalooza will feature a dedicated executive track focused on the unique needs of CIOs and other top-level IT Executives, said ITPalooza Founder and CEO of SherlockTech Staffing, Alex Funkhouser.

New Track for CIOs

If you would like to learn more about NSU's Graduate School of Computer Information and Science, or to discuss giving opportunities please email Director of Development Elaine Blattner, or call her at (954) 262-2409.

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On Oct. 29, the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship at Nova Southeastern University held its Entrepreneur Hall of Fame Members’ Reunion at the home of Jamie and Terry Stiles. Terry Stiles is a 1998 Hall of Fame honoree.

The reunion was attended by many Hall of Fame members including 1999 honoree, H. Wayne Huizenga. Celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, the Entrepreneur Hall of Fame program was established in 1990 to recognize the achievements of outstanding entrepreneurs. In April 2014, a ceremony was held to induct James Donnelly, Guy Harvey and Manny Medina.

Attendees (shown in the accompanying photo) complete photo album:

Front row: Armando Leighton, Jr., Founder & CEO, CRS Jet Spares; Jack E. Abdo, Vice Chairman of the Board Executive Committee, BBX Capital Corporation; H. Wayne Huizenga, Chairman & CEO, Huizenga Holdings; Joseph C. Amaturo, Amaturo Group, Ltd.; Thomas J. Miller, CEO, Miller Construction Company; Mike Jackson, Chairman & CEO, AutoNation Inc.; Steven J. Halmos, President, Halmos Holdings; James R. Dunn, Owner & President, S.P.D. Group, Inc. D/B/A, J.R. Dunn Jewelers; Mitchell W. Berger, Partner, Co-Chair, Founder, Berger Singerman, P.A.; Terry W. Stiles, Chairman & CEO, Stiles Corporation; J. Preston Jones (Dean, Huizenga Business School).

Back Row (Left to Right): James A. Cummings, President & CEO, James A. Cummings, Inc.; Charles L. Palmer, President & CEO, North American Company LLC; Ralph A. Marrinson, President, Marrinson Senior Care; James Donnelly, Founder & CEO, Castle Group; Jordan Zimmerman, Founder & Chairman, Zimmerman Advertising; George L. Hanbury II (President, Nova Southeastern University); Michael E. Maroone, President & CEO, AutoNation, Inc.; Douglas J. Von Allmen, Chairman & Founder, Beauty Alliance, Inc.; Rick Case, Chairman & CEO, Rick Case Automotive Group; Miles Austin Forman, President & Investor, American Marketing and Management; Philip P. Smith, Chairman & CEO, Phil Smith Management, Inc.; Keith Koenig, President, City Furniture; William E. Mahoney, Jr., Founder & President, Mahoney and Associates, Inc.)

If you would like to learn more about NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, or to discuss giving opportunities please email Director of Development Elaine Blattner, or call her at (954) 262-2409.


NSU's women's basketball team has been ranked No. 1 for the first time in school history by coaches in Tuesday's USA Today poll. In addition, the Sharks were voted No. 1 in the Division II Media Poll, sponsored by D2SIDA, also released on Tuesday.
The Sharks received 24 out of the possible 30 first-place votes cast in the USA Today Coaches' Poll and 734 total points to rise from No. 4 in the Nov. 4 preseason poll to the top spot. Preseason No. 1 West Texas A&M dropped into a tie for No. 8, No. 2 Cal Poly Pomona is now No. 17, and No. 3 Drury fell to No. 7.
The only other SSC school ranked in the top 25 besides NSU and Tampa is Rollins, who moved up from No. 23 to No. 14. Among those teams in the "Others Receiving Votes" is Florida Tech.

In the Division II Media Poll, sponsored by D2SIDA, the Sharks leapfrogged last week's No. 1, Drury receiving 14 out of 16 first-place votes and 397 total points, with only No. 2 Emporia State (375 points) and No. 9 Seattle Pacific logging a single top vote between them. The top 10 in the media poll is as follows: NSU, Emporia State, Gannon, Harding, Lewis, Stonehill, UT-Permian Basin, Rollins, Seattle Pacific and California (Pa.). Tampa ranks No. 15.

The Sharks will have their first-ever game as the top team in the nation Friday, November 28, hosting Stillman in the NSU Thanksgiving Classic at 2 p.m. The next day, also at 2 p.m., they will face Union (Tennessee), who received 50 votes, which would rank them 31st..



NSU's men's basketball coach Gary Tuell announced the signing of three outstanding high school seniors to National Letters of Intent.

"I couldn't be happier," said Tuell. "We not only added three outstanding basketball players to our program, but we've signed three student-athletes with impeccable academic credentials and tremendous character. These young men are perfect fits for our basketball team and our university. They exemplify our core values and fit seamlessly into our style and system of play. We believe all three of these guys will step in and contribute immediately as freshmen. They were the top three players on our 'Wish List' in August and I'm thrilled that we were able to land all three."

Inking National Letters of Intent to play for the Sharks in 2015-16 are Dwayne Gibson, a 6-4 guard at Park Tudor HS in Indianapolis, Indiana; Austin Marciniak, a 6-3 guard at Green HS in Uniontown, Ohio and Nikita Orap, a 6-5 guard who hails from Moscow, Russia but is in his second year as an exchange student at Chaminade-Madonna HS in Hollywood, Florida.
"You can sum up this recruiting class in very few words," said Tuell. "High character, high academics, exceptional shooters with good length and outstanding skill levels. These guys all handle and pass the ball extremely well, are very unselfish and probably the best group of shooters to enter NSU in the same recruiting class. They're winners who solidify our 2015-16 roster and more than fill the needs we will have when we lose Stian Berg (Sr., Baerum, Norway), Brian Cahill (Sr., Arlington, Va.), Maurice Fuller (Sr., Westfield, Ind.) and Justin Jeangerard (Sr., Weaverville, Calif.) to graduation in May."
Gibson is perhaps the most recognized of NSU's newcomers, in part because he begins his fourth year at Park Tudor High, winner of three of the last four Indiana Class 2A state championships. Current NSU freshman Troy Spears was once a teammate of Gibson's at Park Tudor before Spears transferred to his hometown Martinsville High for his final two years. "He's a great player," Spears said of Gibson. "I'm really excited that we're going to be reunited again in college."

"Dwayne visited four or five DI programs before coming here," said Tuell. "Having Troy here certainly helped us. But he and his family were impressed with our program, our university and our people. There's something about Dwayne… he has an air about himself, a special presence… and you notice it right away. He is extremely humble but he carries himself in a way that's unique. There's a calming confidence about him that carries over to the way he plays."

Tuel added, "Dwayne wears a size 17 shoe and we think he may have another little growth spurt before he finishes maturing." (Gibsion is a high-flying 6-4 guard/forward.) "He really gives us length and athleticism on the perimeter and he has tremendous vision. As well as he shoots the three, he's just as talented as a creative passer. He's going to be a terrific college basketball player and leader."
Gibson, who plans to pursue a career in medicine, was attracted in part to NSU because of its medical school and the opportunity to be on a campus where he could build relationships with a variety of different medical professionals.
Marciniak has been dribbling basketballs since he learned to walk. His father, Chris, has been the director of the year-round north Ohio Shooting Stars Basketball Camps for over 20 years, instructing nearly 40,000 youngsters including one very famous former camper: LeBron James.Marciniak, who averaged 15.1 points per game as a junior, had interest from a number of NCAA DI and DII schools before choosing NSU. Marciniak, who has over a 4.0 GPA, was first attracted to NSU by its marine biology program.

"There was just a different 'feel' at NSU that I didn't experience anywhere else," Marciniak said, explaining his reason for choosing the Sharks. "You could tell the players really cared about each other on and off the floor. There was a camaraderie among the teammates that I didn't see at other places," he said. "Plus, I really liked the style of play and the unselfishness of the players."

"Austin is a beautiful shooter," said Tuell, "but he's also very crafty with the ball and able to get into the paint and create problems. He's tough-minded and competitive. He's a gym rat. He's all about ball. I loved talking ball with Austin because he's someone who really understands the game and wants to win. He's a very mature young man and he's driven to succeed on and off the court."

Orap's route to NSU began at the Kaunas Pushkin Sports Academy in Lithuania, where he drew the attention of several basketball scouts and gurus. The Moscow native was advised to take his game to the United States and eventually he landed with coach Andre Torres at Chaminade-Madonna College Prep HS in Fort Hollywood. The 6-5 guard arrived for his junior season in 2013-14 and was an immediate impact player for coach Torres' talented squad.
"Nikita is one of the best pure shooters in South Florida," says Torres. "He has a great passion for the game, high basketball IQ and the work ethic to match."

Orap, a future business major, had a number of DI schools flirting with him and encouraging him to sign in the spring, but Chaminade's Torres thinks he made the right choice by signing with NSU early. "NSU is an ideal fit for Nikita," said Torres. "He was looking for a top academic institution with a strong business program. And he wanted a basketball team with a coaching staff he liked and a style of play that would complement his skill set. I think NSU had everything he was looking for."
"I watched two games and loved the style of play and especially the unselfishness of the players," said Orap.  "They played the game the right way, the way I was taught to play it. And I loved the feeling of family with the team. I'm very excited to be coming to NSU."
"Dwayne, Austin and Nikita are three talented young players who had both Division I and Division II opportunities," Tuell said. "Instead, they chose NSU because of our academics, our facilities, our campus, our people, our program and the hard work by both the coaching staff and the players."

"Our players did a great job in helping us recruit. Dwayne, Austin and Nikita recognized what we're trying to build here," he added. "They saw how they fit into our future and wanted to be a part of it. I can't thank them enough for their commitment to NSU, to our program and for placing their faith in me. I'm humbled by their commitment to help me build this program and I'm thrilled to have the opportunity to coach them, both individually and collectively.

If you would like to learn more, or discuss opportunities to support student-athletes, please email Director of Development Diane Schachtman, or call her at (954) 262-8348.


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NSU's men's soccer right back Mattia Marzetti (Jr., Rome, Italy) has been named to the 2014 All-Sunshine State Conference Tournament team.
Marzetti played 200 minutes in the SSC Tournament and helped lift the Sharks into the semifinals for the first time since 2009. Marzetti scored an equalizer on the road against the Rollins Tars in the 83rd minute on a penalty kick, the first goal of his career. He had previously played 3,542 minutes on the back line for NSU and was making his 40th start.
Marzetti later was part of five Sharks to score in the penalty kick round, which propelled the Sharks to the semifinals. Against No. 4 Lynn, Marzetti played the full allotment of minutes and kept the Sharks competitive against the host school and eventual tournament champion.
Marzetti is expected to return in 2015 for his senior campaign, alongside his two center backs. All three will be seniors next season.

In addition, NSU had three soccer players, one woman and two men, named to the 2014 All-Sunshine State Conference second team Sierra Lelii (Jr., Seminole, Fla.), Nicola Brivio (Jr., Gallarate, Italy) and Andrea Giombetti (Sr., Rome, Italy).
Lelii earned her first SSC honor after leading the Sharks with 10 goals this season, doubling her previous career high. She scored game-winners against Palm Beach Atlantic and Flagler and also added three assists. She finished the year with a 60 percent shots-on-goal percentage.
Brivio will make his third straight appearance on the All-SSC squad in 2014. Brivio, listed as a defender, played multiple positions this year and assisted on a pair of goals. He's amassed 10 assists in his career and has also been a standout academic student. He was recently named Academic All-District and is up for Academic All-America later this season.
Giombetti was honored for the first time by the conference after making 55 saves and completing an illustrious career. Over the course of his career, Giombetti has played in over 4,700 minutes, more than any other goalkeeper during the Sharks' SSC era. His 202 saves ranks him fourth all time at NSU and he's one of three keepers in school history to record 15 shutouts in a career.

If you would like to learn more, or discuss opportunities to support undergraduate students, please email Director of Development Diane Schachtman, or call her at (954) 262-8348.

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Countless studies show that for many students their academic performance is better when a mentor is involved. Having that one-on-one interaction allows students to bolster what they are learning in the classroom as well as learning “real-world” lessons from those in whose footsteps they hope to follow.

Following that model, NSU is proud to announce a new program – the Executives and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence (EEiR) program. The program, designed for students in NSU’s H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship, will provide students with opportunities to engage with accomplished executives and entrepreneurs from the business community.

“We are really excited to see this program come to fruition,” said J. Preston Jones, D.B.A., dean of the H. Wayne Huizenga School of Business and Entrepreneurship. “Classroom lessons are vital to all students, but the chance to meet with successful business leaders is priceless – it helps raise our program to a new level.”

Participants of the EEiR program will visit NSU’s Huizenga Business School on its main campus throughout the academic year attending prescheduled meetings and events with students. With their wealth of knowledge and experience, executives and entrepreneurs will inspire and influence Huizenga School undergraduate and graduate students as they prepare for their future business careers. They will provide one-on-one career advising, mentoring, meet with clubs, and visit classroom sessions.

“I am pleased to be involved with the Executives and Entrepreneurs-in-Residence Program at the Huizenga School,” said Mr. Steve Halmos, CEO of Halmos Holdings.  “I believe a program of this type should be available to students at all business schools today.  In addition to gaining a theoretical understanding of business from classroom instruction, students should have opportunities to interact and learn from people who have actually created a business and have experienced the kinds of things being discussed in the classroom.  I look forward to participating in this program and helping the Huizenga School prepare the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

Any business leaders who are interested in participating in the program are urged to call NSU at 954-672-7223, ext. 25159.

The inaugural group of business mentors includes:

Napolean Brandford, III CoFounder/Chairman, Siebert Brandford Shank & Co., LLC
Dr. Connie Ast Caldwell, Sr. Associate Pastor, First Presbyterian Church of Ft. Lauderdale
Grant Cardone International Sales Master/Entrepreneur/Author, Cardone Enterprises
Nicholas Castaldo Senior VP/Chief Marketing Officer/Equity Partner, Anthony’s Coal Fired Pizza
D. Keith Cobb Independent Business Consultant/Strategic Advisor
Dr. John DiBenedetto Recently retired Executive VP/Chief People Officer, General Parts International, Inc.
Louise Dill Independent Management Consultant/Strategic Sales & Marketing
Steve Haley President/CEO, Aplicor, Inc.
Steve Halmos CEO, Halmos Holdings, Inc.
David Hoyte President/Managing Member, Transformation Management, LLC
Dale Ledbetter President/CEO, Ledbetter Enterprises, Inc.; Ledbetter & Associates, P.A.
Merri Grace McLeroy Owner, Chief Strategist & Director, Integrated Marketing Strategies, LLC
John E. Oxendine Chairman, President/CEO, Blackstar, LLC & Blackstar LP
Tim Petrillo CoFounder/President, The Restaurant People, Inc.
Bruce Scott President/CEO, Scott Alarm

If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities please email Director of Development Elaine Blattner, or call her at (954) 262-2409.

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NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center is one of the nation’s most outstanding law schools, according to The Princeton Review. The education services company features the school in the new 2015 edition of its annual book, “The Best 169 Law Schools.”

We recommend NSU’s Shepard Broad Law Center as one of the best institutions a student could attend to earn a law school degree,” said Robert Franek, Princeton Review Senior VP-Publisher. “We chose the 169 schools we profile in this book based on our high regard for their academic programs and our reviews of institutional data we collect from the schools.”

Princeton Review’s ratings also consider the opinions of students attending the 169 law schools. In total, 19,500 law students responded to the 80-question survey soliciting opinions of their school’s academics, student body and campus life as well as about themselves and their career plans.

“It’s gratifying to be recognized by the Princeton Review as one of the country’s top law schools,” said Jon M. Garon, J.D., Dean of NSU’s Law Center. “We are continuing to strive for excellence in preparing our students for successful careers in law, ones that also positively impact the fabric of their communities.”

The book’s two-page profile on NSU, describes the law center as: “having a strong emphasis on legal writing,” and “a hands-on approach to legal education.” It also said NSU students “learn how to be a good legal practitioner.” (The book is available at Random House / Princeton Review, $22.99).

If you would like to learn more about Shepard Broad Law Center, or to discuss giving opportunities, please email Director of Development Susan Stephan or call her at 954-262-6261.


For online shoppers, NSU has some tips and information to help keep you safe in cyberspace. Shopping online can be fun and convenient, but there are a few pitfalls that come with the experience as well.

“With the significant increases in data breaches, phishing attacks are going to be more sophisticated this holiday season,” said Yair Levy, Ph.D., professor of Information Systems and Cybersecurity at Nova Southeastern University’s (NSU)’s Graduate School of Computer and Information Sciences.

Online criminals steal information from companies, then use it to send phishing e-mails to individuals that look legitimate because they contain personal information. It’s when you click on suspect links in such e-mails that you fall victim to their trap. Levy said consumers must be especially vigilant this time of year and avoid clicking on links contained in any suspect e-mail.

Stay ahead of would-be Internet crooks by following these steps to stay safe during online interactions:


“Open sesame” is not so good. Use a combination of alphanumeric and pass phrases to create strong passwords that are difficult to guess or break. Do not record passwords in accessible spaces such as your desk drawer. If you want to store the password on your computer, encrypt that file using encryption software from a recognized vendor. Do not share your password, secret code, or answer to the secret question with anyone. Finally, remember to change your passwords on a quarterly basis.


No independent second life. Be aware that your virtual life is not separate from your real life. Any data provided on social networking websites (e-mails, chats, blogs) leaves an electronic trail and has the potential to be viewed by other users. Practice prudent posting and create usernames or e-mail addresses that do not contain any information that is directly traceable to you. Don’t forget that even if you delete the information, the data may still exist.


Look for the lock for trusted websites before engaging in any online transaction. The small “lock” icon in your web browser will tell you whether the transactions are encrypted or not. Also, secure websites usually have an address starting with https:// instead of http://. Finally, check the site you are visiting for web seals of approval such as BBBOnline, Truste, WebTrust, and Verisign. These webseals are awarded to merchants who abide by information security and privacy guidelines outlined by the government and industry groups.


I am not the weakest link. With a little caution and awareness, an individual can serve as the strongest defense against social engineering attacks. These attacks involve tricking people to divulge confidential or private information to perpetrate a computer crime. Be prepared to say NO. For example, if you get a call claiming to be from your bank technology support, do not provide any confidential information (such as account number or password) at that time. Instead, call back using the phone number from your records. Social engineering attacks may also be carried out using emails or automated software programs. Always check the source of any e-mail or automated program.


Not so private computers. Be careful while using a public computer or wireless networks including Wi-Fi hotspots. While using computers provided in the library or at an Internet café, do not allow automatic log-on or the option to remember your username and password. If you’re using a mobile device, it is always recommended to use your own data plan to gain access without the need to “agree” for the terms when accessing free Wi-Fi, as by clicking on that “agree”, it can download a malware to the mobile device.  Also, don’t forget to delete visiting history, cache and cookies after use. Avoid online financial transactions while using public wireless networks.


E-mail safe sense. Do not open or click on any suspicious e-mail. Make it a habit to never fill out forms or provide information through links provided in an e-mail, instead go directly to the website of the merchant by typing the web address and then fill out the online form if necessary. Use encryption when sharing sensitive personal information online.

“Avoiding online fraud can seem like a tricky proposition especially during the holiday shopping season,” said Wei Li, Ph.D., who helped develop these tips with information security expert and professor Gurvirender Tejay, Ph.D. “Criminals develop new scams every day, but with a few simple safety precautions you can greatly reduce the likelihood that you will fall victim to an Internet crime.

 If you would like to learn more, or to discuss giving opportunities please email Director of Development Elaine Blattner, or call her at (954) 262-2409.


When you turned on the television this month you were probably inundated with stories about Ebola, ISIS and the midterm elections. Thanks to the NSU public affairs team and the subject matter experts at several of our colleges, NSU has been at the forefront of these topics by providing expertise and commentary to various media outlets both locally and also on a national level.

Professor Charles Zelden, Ph.D., from the Farquhar College of Arts and Sciences was featured in numerous news media providing his analysis on hot topics discussed during the midterm elections such as voter eligibility laws, amendments on ballots, the politics of Ebola and medical marijuana and its potential impact throughout the country.  Assistant Professor Dustin Berna, Ph.D., from the Graduate School of Humanities and Social Sciences penned an opinion piece discussing the ISIS and the global threat they pose.

This month the NSU public affairs team tackled these sobering yet critically important topics that are significant to Americans as well as international audiences. We also continue to receive media coverage on the diverse cultural events and programs that NSU provides. Events at the Alvin Sherman Library continue to be publicized in the Sun Sentinel, Miami Herald and local television news outlets. This month the Irish Film Festival and LIVE Arts for Families! were among the programs highlighted.

During the month of October and early November, NSU stories were circulated to more than 2.2 million viewers across the globe and stories were placed in the media with an estimated advertising value equivalency of $20.6 million. 

Please visit visit NSU’s News Center to view additional press releases, stories and guest editorials disseminated to the news media by your Public Affairs team.  (You can also view other NSU news sources, including the SharkFINS newsletter, The Current student newspaper, Radio X, Sharks United TV, Dateline Health and the Video Forum.)

You also can subscribe to receive each of our news releases in real-time.

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Giving Tuesday
Date: December 2, 2014
Time: All Day

Link for Giving Tuesday

Celebration of Excellence

Celebration of Excellence

Date: January 31, 2015

Time: 7:00 p.m.

If you would like to learn more, please email Lyn Larose.


Giving back and lovin' it!

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