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Amy Scherzer's Diary

Amy Scherzer's Diary: MOSI's Hispanic Scientist of Year, Ybor City Museum Society gala

MOSI's National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala

It's full STEAM ahead for the Museum of Science and Industry, where the buzz-acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math incites educational endeavors and boosted Saturday's sold-out National Hispanic Scientist of the Year Gala to raise nearly $380,000 for MOSI's student YES! Team. Telemundo anchor Edgardo del Villar emceed and chef Kim Bailey catered for 450 black-tie guests honoring Raul Cuero, founder and president of the International Park of Creativity in Bogota, Colombia.

Dr. Cuero shared his rise from poverty to internationally known biologist and inventor as he did the day prior mentoring 1,300 at-risk youth on Meet the Hispanic Scientist Day. Explaining his scientific quest evolved from playing with the cockroaches his grandmother used for home remedies, Cuero's message: It's not where you came from or where you are now, it's what transpired in the process.

Ybor City Museum Society anniversary gala

Friends of Cecilia and Rafael Martinez-Ybor and Mary and Manny Alvarez spoke of decades of devotion to Ybor City cultural preservation as they introduced the four honorees at the 30th anniversary Ybor City Museum Society Gala. Global economic developer Robin Ronne shared humorous tales of traveling with Martinez-Ybor, great-grandson of the founder of Ybor City. Bank branch manager Shari Middleton saw many heads nodding in agreement when she said, "No one says no to Mary."

Board chairman Steve Barbas also spoke passionately of Ybor family ties at the Sept. 28 celebration at the Italian Club.

Gala co-chairs Gilda McKinnon and Leo Alvarez thanked past presidents with a Ferlita Bakery medallion depicting the 1923 building that became Ybor City Museum State Park. A video, filmed by Hillsborough Community College broadcast students, told the 250 guests of the society's preservation work. Emcee Brendan McLaughlin, WFTS-Ch. 28 anchor, led by example, not just encouraging nonmembers to join the support group, but buying a membership himself.

Italian-American Women of Excellence

Italian Club Ladies Auxiliary president Gilda Capitano joined Rosalie Perrone center stage Saturday to present the 12th annual Italian-American Women of Excellence awards to four super-achievers who treasure their heritage as they fulfill careers goals.

Christina Laronga is a surgical oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center. Mary Mulhern serves on the Tampa City Council and numerous civic boards. Tracy Midulla Reller is an art professor at Hillsborough Community College and Stephanie Cannella Van Belzen works for Otsuka Pharmaceutical.

Admirers, including Jack and Nora Lamb, Cookie and Booky Buchman, Yolie Capin, Mercedes DiMaio and Harry Cohen, celebrated their success during lunch at the restored L'Unione Italiana with entertainment by the Frank Rey Dancers.


Today: Frankie's Friends Unleashed for Hope, A Speakeasy Affair to benefit emergency and specialty pet care; 6:30 p.m.; Centro Asturiano; $100; (813) 549-6978 or

Today: An Evening with American Idol finalist Scott MacIntyre benefits VSA Florida; 8 p.m. concert; $15; 9:30 p.m. reception, $150 or $250 per couple; USF Marshall Center; (813) 974-0715 or

Today: Cars & Couture benefits Autism Speaks; 6-11 p.m.; Tampa International Jet Center; $50, advance; $65 at the door; (727) 580-9328 or

Saturday: Dream Gala, Mad for a Cure benefits JDRF Tampa Bay chapter; formal '60s attire optional; 6:30 p.m.; A La Carte Event Pavilion; $300; (727) 344-2873 or

Amy Scherzer's Diary: MOSI's Hispanic Scientist of Year, Ybor City Museum Society gala 10/15/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 5:30pm]
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