Gates scholar winner
Salina Som, a senior at St. Petersburg Collegiate High School, is one of only 1,000 students nationwide to be named a Gates Millennium Scholar. She was one of 52,000 who applied. She will receive a scholarship to attend any accredited college or university in the United States.
St. Petersburg College, which sponsors St. Petersburg Collegiate, credited Som's strong leadership, community service and academic achievements.
Som was born in Cambodia, and moved to Boston with her family when she was 3 months old. They came to St. Petersburg when she was in first grade. Her father, Savonn Som, just celebrated 10 years on the custodial staff at SPC. He said he never dreamed of things like having a car or getting an education. He gives his daughter all the credit. "I just worked hard to put her in school," he said.
Salina will graduate Tuesday with her high school diploma and an associate of arts degree from SPC. She plans to pursue a bachelor's of science degree in chemistry from the University of Florida, followed by a doctorate in pharmaceutical engineering.
This is the second consecutive year that SPC has produced a Gates Millennium Scholar. Maria Thurber won the award last year and is now a student at Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., studying international relations.
USFSP prof to speak at world conference
USF St. Petersburg psychology professor and department chairman James McHale is one of six U.S. experts invited to address the 14th World Congress of the World Association for Infant Mental Health in Edinburgh, Scotland, next month.
McHale was recognized at the congress a decade ago for introducing the framework of "co-parenting across diverse family systems" as an innovative way of strengthening families around the world. Co-parenting — wherein divorced or separated parents maintain a stable relationship with their children — is gradually catching on but still has a long way to go before gaining wide acceptance, McHale said.
The model has been the basis of USFSP's Infant-Family Mental Health certificate program.
Odds and ends
In the flurry of activity at the end of the session, Florida lawmakers approved $10 million for the new business school that USFSP is planning at the corner of Fourth Street and Seventh Avenue S. The school would like to break ground on the $27.3 million project this year — providing Gov. Rick Scott approves the allocation.
Reminder: SPC has given students more flexibility this year by adding an extra summer term to run June 2 through July 24.