All posts by Donna Smith

CTE Month Spotlight: Tanya Glover-Carter

CTE Month Spotlight. Student pictured is Tana Glover-Carter.

This profile is part of a series celebrating Career and Technical Education (CTE) Month at St. Petersburg College. Be sure to check out the full story to read more about the experiences of SPC students. To explore all of our degrees and credentials, visit

Tanya Glover-Carter, 46, came to Florida in 2015 after she and her husband inherited a home in Clearwater from his late mother. She was pregnant and sober after years of substance abuse and the illness and heartbreak that come with it. In 2016, her husband died in a car accident on the Memorial Causeway Bridge, leaving her a widow and single mom. She soon relapsed and spiraled back into addiction. Three years later, she was sober again and living in a halfway house, when a housemate offered up a dare that would change her life.

“I would wake up early and read my Bible and meditate every day,” Glover-Carter remembered. “My roommate said, ‘You always have your head stuck in a book – you should go back to school!’”

The next day, Glover-Carter, who dropped out of school in ninth grade, eventually earning a General Education Diploma, enrolled in SPC’s Addiction Studies certificate program. Sober now “two years and some change,” she graduates this May.

“I chose Addiction Studies because I’ve been trying to stay clean since I was 18,” she said. “It has been challenging, but I was hell bent to finish because the only things I’d ever finished were a jail sentence and childbirth.”

Glover-Carter wasn’t just challenged by the program. She completed her studies while, at the same time, the widow with a young child was completing probation requirements, taking a two-hour bus ride each way from home to classes, and in the middle of the program, she suffered a stroke. Even with the extraordinary obstacles, she maintained a 3.4 GPA.

Her sponsor encouraged her to join SPC’s Women on the Way, where she says she gained emotional support. She also complimented her professors, who were supportive, and the Financial Aid office, which helped her figure out how to pay for her classes. She also received two scholarships, the Joseph and Vilma Zalupski Endowed Scholarship, and the Florence Cole Bellenger Scholarship.

Glover-Carter said when she finishes in May, she hopes her new credentials, combined with her life experiences, will help her land a job at a treatment center. But she’s not done: She has her eye on SPC’s Community Healthcare Worker Certificate.

“I don’t know what doors God is going to open,” she said, “But now I have a purpose, and it’s a do or die situation, if I’m going to reach my full potential.”

SPC Honor Students Present Research Findings

St. Petersburg College‘s Seminole Campus chapter of Psi Beta, the National Honor Society for Psychology Students, has had many successes, most recently when SPC Psi Beta members Mackenzie Moreno and Sabrina Mitchell worked closely with their chapter advisor and Psychology professor Sharon Olsen to conduct research at SPC. Moreno and Mitchell recently presented the research findings in a poster session at the 2018 American Psychological Association convention in San Francisco.

Olsen said the study was not only a learning experience for the students involved, but for all her students.

“The out of class learning experience was tremendously impactful for my Psychology students,” Olsen said. “I have been able to take this student research experience into my Psychology classrooms and give my students a very close to home and real world example of research in the field of Psychology.”

About the Study

The students assisted Professor Olsen in collecting and analyzing the data for their study, titled “The Relationship between Narcissism and Grit in College Aged Students.”  Data for the study was collected from 35 SPC students and 1,839 students from over 40 two-year colleges that participated in the nationwide research project. The hypothesis they were working off of was that students with higher scores on the narcissism scale would have lower levels of grit than those with lower scores on the narcissism scale.

What They Found

The team found that the results for both samples did, in fact, show significant negative correlations between the two variables. In their summary, they wrote:

“The results of the present study are compelling in light of the attention that higher education is placing on civic engagement, service learning, and volunteerism. Recent research has suggested that service opportunities such as these might, in fact, increase self-efficacy, improve engagement, and perhaps even lessen the influence of negative traits such as self-entitlement and narcissism. Developing and strengthening opportunities for civic engagement, service learning, and volunteerism in colleges could prove to be invaluable in reducing self entitlement and narcissism, thereby opening a pathway for development of grit.”

If you would like more information about civic engagement, service learning, and volunteer opportunities at SPC, please visit SPC’s Center for Civic Learning and Engagement blog at

Student Researchers

Moreno graduated from the Early College program at SPC in the spring of 2018, and transferred to USF this fall to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, with an emphasis on Industrial Organizational Psychology.

Mitchell finished her coursework for an AA degree at SPC, and is applying to transfer to university.

Olsen said she was very proud of both students who worked with her on the study.

“The project took over a year to complete, and it was all completely voluntary. Mackenzie and Sabrina even funded their own trips to present the study, and were thrilled to professionally connect with others in the field of Psychology. They even met a few well-known Psychologists that the learned about in the classroom!”

Interested in Joining Psi Beta?

First chartered in the summer of 2016, this Psi Beta chapter holds inductions every fall and spring semester. Seminole campus students are eligible for induction if they have earned at least 12 college level credit hours, a B or higher in any psychology course, and have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.25. In addition to participating in campus events, Psi Beta also hosts events related to the field of Psychology.


SPC history professor Angie Zombek to appear as expert on geneology TV show

Angie Zombek

St. Petersburg College faculty members make their classrooms come alive with their passion and excellent research capabilities, and on Sunday, April 2, SPC Assistant Professor of History Dr. Angie Zombek will show those qualities to the world when she appears in an episode of TLC’s celebrity genealogy show, “Who Do You Think You Are?”, an Emmy-nominated series in which viewers get a look at the family histories of popular celebrities. In the episode, Dr. Zombek will help actress Jessica Biel trace the surprising history of her Civil War ancestor.

Additionally, Dr. Zombek, who has written her first book, Penitentiaries, Punishment, and Military Prisons: Familiar Responses to an Extraordinary Crisis during the American Civil War, was referred to the show’s producers by a colleague from Georgia Southwestern State University, Glenn Robbins.

“Given my research on imprisonment in the Civil War Era, I was a good “fit” to help Jessica understand her ancestor’s actions,” Zombek said.

Zombek was first put to work sifting through a stack of old documents that pertained to Biel’s ancestor’s history and helped the producers make sense of his actions and the predicament in which he eventually found himself..

Once filming proceeded, Zombek helped guest star Jessica Biel read through documents from her ancestor that were written in 19th Century script, which was full of interesting spellings and punctuation.

“She stopped at one point and asked me how I don’t go blind reading documents like these all the time for my research,” Zombek said. “At one point, she read one document as it appeared to her, which created quite an entertaining alternate narrative! Overall, she did very well reading these difficult texts, given that it was her first attempt at reading 19th century script.”

After filming with Biel, Zombek rode with the local film crew as they captured “approach” shots driving up to the property on which Jessica’s ancestor lived. This is a 160 acre farmstead that is only accessible by dirt road.

“I have a whole new appreciation for how hard film crews work to get approach shots of various locations,” she said.

Zombek said the experience made for a long day, but was very rewarding.

“The entire day lasted from 7 a.m. – 11 p.m., with travel to and from St. Louis and Miller County, Missouri. The filming of the scene with me and Jessica took about four hours between dialogue and different shots of the documents that we went over. The approach shots took about three hours with the film crew. My experience with the producers, Jessica, and film crews was amazing. It was a long day, but it was very energizing.

The opportunity to be an historian on TV was a bucket list item for Zombek – and it could be a recurring one.

“The producers said that they would definitely keep me in mind if they have another celebrity with a Civil War story,” Zombek said.

The episode will air at 10 p.m. on Sunday, April 2 on the TLC channel.