All posts by Sharon Setterlind

New Flex format for technology classes

The College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT) offers a variety of teaching methods and course modalities it its programs. This fall, SPC will introduce a new Flex format for some technology classes.

Online technology classes

A major portion of the classes are offered in the online format that allows students the convenience of not being constrained by commuting or traveling or the times classes are being offered especially for the working student. Online classes in CCIT focus on teaching hard and specific skills that will get students a job and are designed to prepare the student not only in general critical thinking and analysis skills, but practicing for tasks they will need to have in the workforce.

Adrian Tillman
Adrian Tillman

“When I first took an online class some 8 years ago, I was distraught at the level of disengagement by my professors,” said Adrian Tillman, a programming professor at SPC. “The thought at the time was that posting reading and homework assignments somehow constituted an effective learning experience. I believe that advances in technology now provide an opportunity for teachers to engage their students in new and creative ways. We need only embrace them.”


Chaz-Rae Moncrieffe
Chaz-Rae Moncrieffe

“I’m currently taking Professor Tillman’s COP 2801 JavaScript class online and he’s been a good teacher, but I was completely impressed by his feedback for my final assignment,” said Chaz-Rae L. Moncrieff. “He took the time to create a video for me! He went through my code and showed me just what I could improve and change. I never expected that sort of feedback from an online class. It helped me immensely. I’m very happy and impressed with this teacher and the effort he puts in to help his students.”

New Flex format starts this fall

Blended and online teaching modalities are not for all students and CCIT will be offering this Fall 2016 a Flex course format. This course is designed for students who would like the flexibility to attend classroom sessions or complete all work online. Students have the option to attend regularly scheduled face-to-face class meetings but physical attendance each week in the classroom is not required. All required instructional materials are online; students should have strong computer skills and hardware just as they would with an online class. CCIT will be piloting this new format in the following courses:

  • Programming C++ for Business (CGS 2402)
  • Introduction to Computer Programming (COP 1000)
  • Local Area Network (CNT 1000)
  • Install & Configure Windows (CTS 1328)

If you need additional information please contact Lynn Rohling at

New technology faculty, academic chair hired for Fall 2016

St. Petersburg College welcomes three new technology faculty members to start this fall.

Dawn Ellis

Dawn Ellis, Academic Chair
Clearwater Campus

Dawn Ellis earned a master’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in computational engineering from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She also taught computer science at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga for six years. For the last six years she served as Academic Department Chair of Computer Science at Florida Keys Community College. While there she led a team of students to win the prestigious NASA Engineering Challenge. One of only three  Florida colleges awarded a $134,000 grant from the Florida Space Grant Consortium, her students are now eligible for NASA internships. South Florida’s Rep. Carlos Curbelo talked about the honor recently on the House floor.


Henry Cutler
Henry Cutler

Henry Cutler, Faculty
Tarpon Springs Campus

Henry Cutler has Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees in Information Technology and a Masters of Education in Instructional Technology from the University of South Florida, Tampa. He has also taken electronics classes at the Wentworth Institute of Technology, Boston University and Lowell Institute (MIT). He has been working in the technology field for more than 30 years as an Electronic Engineer and Project Manager. He is also a published renewable energy expert and inventor for three U.S. patents.



Jun Thomas Ma
Jun Thomas Ma

Jun Thomas Ma, Faculty
Seminole Campus

Jun ‘Thomas’ Ma earned his Master of Science in Computer Science from University of Maryland Eastern Shore and his MBA from Salisbury University in Maryland. He is an AP Computer Science Reader/Rater for Educational Testing Service (ETS). He taught six years at Shorecrest Preparatory School as a Math/Computer Science teacher and most recently served as the Math Department Chair at Admiral Farragut Academy. He was one of the three 2014 recipients for the Barrett Family Foundation for Excellence in Math/Science Teacher Award. He has taught at SPC as an adjunct instructor in the past year.

Nancy Russell retires from SPC after 30 years of service

Nancy Russell and SPC President Bill Law
Nancy Russell and SPC President Bill Law

Nancy Russell retired after 30 years of service to St. Petersburg College with her last 16 years dedicated to the College of Computer and Information Technology (CCIT).

Russell received her bachelor’s degree in Library Science from Illinois State University in 1972 and worked for 13 years as a librarian at the East Moline Public Library in Illinois.

She began her career at St. Petersburg College in 1985, working part time as a Clerical Assistant in the Industry Services Department. In 1987, she worked with Susan Demers to complete the American Bar Associate accreditation process.

Russell’s passion for working with students led to a promotion in 1997 when she became an Academic Advisor for the Business Technologies Department (now known as CCIT). She was promoted again in 2000 to Academic Coordinator in the department, a position she holds today.

“I love every minute of it,” said Russell during a recent Board of Trustee’s meeting where she was honored for her service. “I’m losing a large chunk of my family because you all are my family.”

While working for the College of Computer Technology she set up and maintained the H1B grant, the Sector Grant, and the HITT grant, advised all students in technology certificate programs, A.S. degree programs, and the BAS degree program, coordinated registration of internship students and assisted the Dean with the Guaranteed Academic Schedule.

Nancy will be missed in the College of Computer and Information Technology. The advising work she did for students and the faculty members have been instrumental in the growth of the department over the years. No matter what project she was working on she would drop what she was doing to advise a student really going the extra mile to ensure student success.

An active member of the Association of Florida Colleges, Russell served as SPC Chapter President, Membership Chair and Site Representative.  She served as an Exemplary Practice Judge for the Curriculum Commission for two years and received the Unsung Hero award from the SPC chapter in 2002 and Unsung Hero award from Region IV in 2003. In 1988 she was voted as an honorary member of Phi Theta Kappa and served on the Clearwater Campus Career Employee Council for two years.

An avid volunteer, Russell also gave time over the years to a variety of causes including Dollars for Scholars Thrift Store where she served on the Board of Directors including the role of President from 2011-13; Women on the Way; church activities including Feeding America, sack lunches for Tent City, coordination of Operation Christmas Child collections; and Kimberly Home Thrift Store.

Since 2000, she has been a member of Delta Kappa Gamma’s Gamma Chapter, an International Women Educators Society, and has served as treasurer for 15 years. She is also currently serving as the First Vice President for the local chapter.

Pipeline of talent for technology jobs is growing

The pipeline of qualified talent for technology jobs in the Tampa Bay area is strengthened by St. Petersburg College’s use of committed industry leaders on their advisory committees, and the development of a flexible and relevant curriculum that includes internships and apprenticeships. As a result, SPC has become a  leading resource of IT job talent in Tampa Bay.  More importantly, the efforts change lives and the economic landscape of the community.

Strengthening partnerships and building a sustainable pipeline of talent for technology jobs

On Friday May 20, St. Petersburg College hosted the Technology Executive Council of the Tampa Bay Technology Forum (TBTF) in a session designed to highlight the College of Computer and Information Technology’s (CCIT) programs and the role of their advisory committee.

Dr. Sharon Setterlind
Dr. Sharon Setterlind

Dr. Sharon Setterlind, the Dean of CCIT, shared with a group of more than 35 Tampa Bay IT executives about how advisory committee members:

  • Promote SPC academic programs
  • Advise on industry needs for curriculum development
  • Provide internships
  • Prepare students for the workplace
  • Support events and career fairs
  • Participate in the bachelor program’s Capstone
  • Serve on scholarship committees

Dr. Bill Cross reached out to the group to take part in the Enterprise Experience where a team of students are sent out to a local business to work on an IT problem.

John Kuemmel, CIO, Triad Retail Media informed the group of his company’s positive involvement in the Capstone project last year and reinforced the value of participation.

John Kuemmel

Muslim Gadiwalla, CIO of the City of St. Petersburg, who actively serves on the CCIT Advisory Board, talked about how the City of St. Petersburg has supported the CCIT Internship Program and has in fact, hired a few SPC students.  His comments were echoed in the videos of CCIT Chair Chris Paul and advisory member and alum, Mayra Harley.

Muslim Gadiwalla
Muslim Gadiwalla

Internships and apprenticeships help students land local technology jobs

Susan Biszewski-Eber, past Internship Coordinator for CCIT and now Apprenticeship Coordinator on a $5 million Department of Labor grant, provided information on the value of the CCIT internship and apprenticeship programs.

Internships are required in all CCIT A.S. programs and are a paid or unpaid 3-credit-hour course used for end-of-program assessment. Apprenticeships are paid full-time, year-long, in-field experience, with structured on-the-job training. The value of apprenticeships are that they reduce turnover, improve revenue growth and are cost-effective solutions to training and retaining a professional workforce.

The TBTF recently released a new study on the employment gap in the Information Technology field.  John Shedd, CIO Arbitron Forums and chair of the TBTF Workforce Committee supported the study by explaining a need for developing a talent pipeline for technology jobs using new initiatives and out of the box thinking.

Daniel James Scott, Executive Director of TBTF after the meeting said “more than ever, we are excited about our continuing and deepening partnership with CCIT and the entire college.”

St. Petersburg College will continue building the IT talent pipeline through its CCIT programs that include internships, capstone experiences and apprenticeships by forming partnerships with local IT industry leaders.

Capstone courses give SPC students real-world experience

Management Capstone

The Capstone course for the Technology Development and Management (TDM) BAS degree provides the student the opportunity to demonstrate what they learned from the program overall and then apply it to solving real technology management problems. The ideas developed and cultivated in the course itself are intended to provide an enduring perspective that can help students make sense of an increasingly globalized and technology intensive business environment. During the course all students are required to complete an information technology Executive Interview as the Enterprise Experience consisted of an interview with a senior IT executive at a business enterprise of the student’s choice.

Spring 2016 Capstone presentations

The College of Computer and Information Technology currently completed its Spring 2016 Capstone presentations where fourteen teams of 4-5 students demonstrated their culmination of studies through senior project case studies presented to a panel of instructors and local technology industry leaders.

A special thank you to instructors: Dr William Cross, Dr. Nathan Heinze, and Sandra Beck who taught the classes and conducted the presentations. To CCIT instructors: Shane Hamilton, John Long, Therezita Ortiz, Chrissy Risberg, Adrian Tillman and Darlene Westberg, To local industry professionals: Alberto Contreras (Verizon), Joseph Cuenco (ResolvNow), Dan Doyle (Bayside Solutions), Muslim Gadiwalla (City of St Petersburg), Maurice Hamilton (TechData), Mayra Harley (RESERVEC), Chris Paul (Melitta USA Inc.), Bruce Philipoom (Raymond James), Harold Schomaker (City of Largo),  and a special thanks to Nancy Russell, Academic Department Coordinator who provided snacks and water.

Capstone student testimonials

Following are some testimonials students provided on their journey through the TDM program:

“I knew that I needed this Bachelors of Applied Science in Technology Management for expanding my IT skill sets and knowledge for different employers in the Tampa Bay Area. I feel like this program prepares us for the real world in the workplace and we as Technology Management graduates and potential future graduates need to apply from what we know in the textbook and applied it to the real world and also going back to school for our IT certifications for our continuous learning with different IT concepts if I can make it then you can make it too.”  — John Swain

“The Capstone Project dealing with Daktronics was not only a challenge from the case perspective but it was a challenge getting everyone to agree on the problem and solutions. This class transformed us to think and act how we would normally have to in the real world and gave us a chance to practice real live situations. While not everyone was comfortable presenting, we made sure to focus on each others strengths during the presentation and ensured the whole team that it would go great. With the moral support from one another we were able to get the most nervous team members through the presentation. Overall I really enjoyed this challenging experience and if I had a chance to would urge everyone to consider this as more than just a school assignment.” — Tanja Focakovic-Omeragic

“As may be typical of many SPC students, I returned to college after many years in the work force to complete a Bachelor’s degree. When deciding to return to school, I applied to and was accepted at both SPC and the University of South Florida. I choose to complete my diploma with SPC for two reasons. The first and most obvious reason was financial – I am happily walking Saturday knowing I do not owe thousands in student loans. The second reason I choose SPC, which is likely more important to the college, was the practical course offerings. In route to my degree, I obtained a certificate in web development. The practical skills like JavaScript and Photoshop helped me earn a promotion with my previous employer. The combination of business skills such as writing proposals and gathering project requirements combined with practical knowledge in database design and programming training proved very beneficial in the next phase of job searching. I feel fortunate I was able to gain professional level employment as a programmer working for the state government a few months prior to graduating. SPC gave me the confidence to not only complete my bachelor’s, but that I could achieve even more goals moving forward. I took the GRE in January and am currently applying to graduate programs. I continue to feel assured my decision to complete my degree with SPC was the best option – it has allowed me to feel free to continue my studies without the burden of debt already present.” — Alic Bandy

A special thank you from the College of Computer and Information Technology


On Thursday, April 14, the 3rd Annual College of Computer and Information Technology Career Exploration Event was held at St Petersburg College in the Conference Center at the Seminole Campus.

Dr. Sharon Setterlind, Dean of the College of Computer and Information Technology at St. Petersburg College, welcomed attendees and introduced the keynote speaker Fritz Eichelberger, CEO of Hotspaces. The panel discussion was led by Dr. Bill Cross, a faculty member in the Technology Development and Management BAS program.


The panel included:

  • Dan Doyle, CEO, Bayside Solutions
  • Maurice Hamilton, VP of Technical Services, Tech Data
  • Bruce Philipoom, VP of Infrastructure, Raymond James
  • Keith Archibald, VP of Network & Professional Services,  Vology

The group addressed what employers are looking for in IT staff and how to become part of the IT workforce.

After the keynote presentation and panel discussion, 150 current and prospective students as well as SPC alumni met face-to-face with a number of Tampa Bay area employers and talked about opportunities at their companies and how to break into the field. This unprecedented networking opportunity is sure to give our students a solid foundation to base their career on as they join the Tampa Bay Information Technology community.

The companies included:

  • BayCare
  • Bayside Solutions
  • City of Largo
  • Digigone
  • Fridy Enterprises
  • Geographic Solutions
  • Hot Space
  • Netwolves
  • Raymond James
  • Reservec
  • Tech Data
  • Veredus
  • Vology

On behalf of the College of Computer and Information Technology at St. Petersburg College, I would like to thank our keynote, panel, alumni and the students who attended our career exploration event. It is my hope that it helps to build a bright future for our students, businesses and the Tampa Bay Information Technology Community.