All posts by Chris Demmons

New Water Sampling Well at Bay Pines STEM Center

Melinda Hamsher examines clay from water sampling well.

In March, the St. Petersburg College Bay Pines STEM Center received a brand new water sampling well that will help the college’s environmental science students practice their skills and monitor the sensitive ecosystem around the STEM Center.

“This will enable our students to gain hands-on field experience with the same kinds of equipment they will be using when they graduate and start their careers,” said Environmental Science Professor Maura Scanlon, who was on site for the well installation on March 16.

Bay Pines STEM Center Water Sampling Well

Enviromental science students now have a water sampling well at St. Petersburg College Bay Pines STEM Center. The new well is both an excellent resource for students, and it will help monitor the ecological health of the area. The Enviromental Science Program will be receiving monitoring equipment through a grant from the American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation (NSF). #STEM

Posted by St. Petersburg College on Friday, March 16, 2018

Florida Professional Geologist Melinda Hamsher and her team from Value Environmental Services sunk the 12-foot well behind the STEM Center in just a few hours. After the installation, Hamsher checked the water quality and found normal results for the area.

“We installed this monitoring well in order to have a permanent access point into the groundwater. We use these wells to check for things like salt water intrusion, pH changes, and in my particular industry, which is petroleum and hazardous waste contamination, we check for contaminants in the groundwater,” said Hamsher.

Clean groundwater is the key to a clean environment. Groundwater provides drinking water for 90 percent of all Floridians, in addition to providing water for industry and agriculture. Contaminated groundwater is a serious risk. Common contaminants like gasoline, oil, pesticides, and fertilizer can pollute groundwater and spread rapidly through an ecosystem. In addition, Florida has the added risk of saltwater intrusion into the aquifer.

Environmental science students will use the well to hone their skills, and it will help provide a vital watch on water quality. Monitoring equipment will be provided by a grant from American Association of Community Colleges and the National Science Foundation.

The installation of the sampling well provides another great tool to help students in the Environmental Science program prepare for their future careers.

Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Environmental Science Technology Associate of Science and Bachelor of Applied Science in Sustainability Management.

Astronaut Alumna to Land at Women2STEM Symposium

Astronaut Stott STS133

Astronaut and St. Petersburg College alumna Nicole Stott will speak at the Oct. 16 Women2STEM Symposium on SPC’s Clearwater Campus to help celebrate women’s roles in science, technology, engineering, and math fields.

Women2STEM Celebrates Diversity

Stott is one of several guests who will speak at the symposium, to be held in the Arts Auditorium on October 16 from 5 to 7 p.m. Also joining Stott on the panel will be FOX 13 Meteorologist Lindsay Milbourne, and Pinellas County Schools K-12 STEM Specialist Laura Spence. The event is free and open to the public.

Making history with astronaut Nicole Stott

Nicole Stott studied aviation administration at St. Petersburg College and went on to become a NASA astronaut. Stott made history in the first live Twitter event from the International Space Station in 2009. Join her 162K followers on Twitter or check out the commencement address she gave to SPC graduates in May 2010.

Stott joined NASA in 1988, and was selected for astronaut training in 2000. She served as a Flight Engineer on International Space Station Expeditions 20 and 21 crews, as well as the Space Shuttle Discovery for STS-128 and the Atlantis during STS-129.

She was the first astronaut to paint in space. Since her retirement from NASA, she has been pursuing her passion for art, working with oils, acrylics, and mixed media. She is a perfect example of what women can achieve in the fields of science, technology, engineering, and math.

STEM at St. Petersburg College

From the new Biotechnology Laboratory Engineering program to computer programming, STEM skills are in demand by employers.

Interested in a STEM career? Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Science and Mathematics, Technology, and Engineering, Manufacturing, and Building Arts programs on the college website.

Clean Water Brings Muddy Water Blues to Seminole Campus

Utility workers at Muddy Water Blues conference

Clean water brought local and state environmental officials and experts from the private sector to St. Petersburg College Seminole Campus in early February.

Muddy Water Blues Technology Transfer Workshop

Attendees came to learn about the latest technology at the Florida Department of Environmental Protection’s Florida Muddy Water Blues Technology Transfer Workshop. 

The conference’s goal is to share information on performance-based technology and help keep Florida’s water clean. It also provides an opportunity for vendors to collaborate and see what others in the industry are doing.

The group learned about best management practices in erosion and sediment control from guest speakers and demonstrations on-site.

Muddy water SPC table
Professor Scanlon talks about the Environmental Science program at the Florida Muddy Water Blues Workshop at the SPC Seminole Campus.

Department of Environmental Protection representative Hal Lunsford said that this workshop is the largest ever, with more than twice the attendees of last year’s program. He credited that success to the work of Theresa Mannix, Executive Director of the Suncoast Utility Contractors Association, and Professor Maura Scanlon from St. Petersburg CollegeScanlon was on hand to welcome students and provide information about SPC’s Environmental Science program.

Students at the day-long event had the opportunity to:

  • network with those already working in the field
  • learn about the latest technology in erosion
  • sediment control best management practices

The event provided students a look at the challenges experienced by experts in the field and what steps they take to meet those challenges.

Environmental Science program at SPC

The Environmental Science program at SPC provides opportunities to do good and get hired in an in-demand industry.

As the world grows more complex, so does the need to take care of it. A degree in this fast-growing field prepares students for a variety of roles in state or local government, or the private sector. Students learn how people impact the environment and society tries to keep it in check through regulation and compliance.

Learn about careers in science at Women2STEM

Photo of students at lab bench

Find out how you can help save the world at the Women2STEM seminar at the upcoming St. Petersburg College Clearwater Campus. This is the perfect time to learn about careers in science and environmental technology.

Starting July 9 and continuing every Saturday until July 30, Women2STEM gives women the opportunity to learn about careers in science, technology, engineering and math.

  • Counselors will be on hand to talk about opportunities in these exciting fields
  • Start out on the right foot with the right support network
  • Receive mentoring from successful women working in the field today
  • Learn to be more organized and reduce stress

There will also be seminars on student, life and money management for women. Lunch will be provided. This is the perfect time for you to discover a career in science!

Women in STEM

Women in STEM careers earn 30 percent more than women who work in non-STEM jobs, according to the White House Office of Technology Policy. Women are underrepresented in these fields, and employers are looking for smart, creative women to work in STEM jobs, especially in science. Environmental science and biotechnology are growing fast, and this is a great opportunity to kick start a new career.

Learn how humans affect the world and how to manage pollution. Play a vital role in building a cleaner and greener tomorrow. There has never been a time when this field was more important. It’s is a great way to be part of the environmental solution while making good money.

Mark your calendar. The seminar starts on July 9 and continues on July 16, 23 and 30 from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Read more about the Women2STEM program in the college’s news blog.

Have questions? Contact Marcia Martinez at (727) 791-5951.

Taking care of Mother Earth; Earth Day events around SPC


Go green with these Earth Day events all week around St. Petersburg College. From Tarpon Springs to the Allstate Center, students will be pitching in to leave the Tampa Bay area a little better than they found it.

  • The Tarpon Springs Campus Environmental Science Club will host guest speaker Aaron Metz of the Climate Reality Project on Monday, April 18, at 9:30 a.m. in EP-451.
  • The SPC Downtown Environmental Society is performing a block cleanup on April 18. Meet your neighbors, and make the neighborhood a better place from 11:15 a.m. – 12:15 p.m., starting out from the lobby.
  • Earth Fest takes place on the Tarpon Springs Campus in the courtyard from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. on April 19, with snacks and information for students.
  • SPC Health Education Center is giving away reusable SPC lunch bags and a free smoothie to students in the lobby on April 20 from 11:30 am until 1 pm.
  • SPC Downtown hosts a discussion on wildfires on April 20 from 12:30 – 1:30 p.m. in DC-210.
  • Tarpon Springs will hold a campus cleanup on April 21, starting in the multipurpose field from 12:30 – 2 p.m.
  • The Environmental Society of SPC Downtown will hold a discussion on water issues on April 21 from 12:30 – 2 pm in DC-210.
  • Students and faculty are invited to the campus beautification project on the Allstate Center on April 22 on the south patio from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • The Environmental Science Club of Seminole Campus will hold their annual natural habitat park clean up from 10 a.m. – noon on April 23. The club will be planting bee friendly, native plants and cleaning up in and around the park.
  • The Clearwater Campus will showcase sustainable technology, including four Tesla electric cars, from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on April 23. The first 200 students will receive a free boxed lunch courtesy of the Engineering Club and the Natural Sciences Department.
  • The SPC Underwater Research Society will be clearing debris that has built up under Pier 60 on May 21 with the help of the Science Adventurers Club. Last year, the club removed hundreds of pounds of rope from beneath the pier. From 9 a.m. – noon at Pier 60, 1 Causeway Blvd., Clearwater Beach. Event is free and open to the public.

Get involved with environmental science-related clubs on Tarpon Springs, Seminole and Downtown campuses. Visit your campus Student Life and Leadership office to learn more.