AIMÉE ALEXANDER, Times Staff Writer


Aimée Alexander works as a staff writer and editorial assistant at the Tampa Bureau. She covers everything from community events to charities to the occasional reality TV star. A native of St. Petersburg, FL, she attended University of South Florida St. Petersburg's Journalism and Media Studies program.  She would love to hear your story ideas.


Phone: 813-226-3408


  1. White House internship strengthens calling to public service

    Human Interest

    Vincent D'Agostino had his eye on the White House Internship Program long before he landed it last fall. The Homosassa native learned of the program several years ago, but the timing wasn't right. He had more important things to focus on, such as giving back to the world. "There was a bigger part of me that just wanted to help others, listen to their problems and help navigate them toward solutions." Two years after earning his bachelor's degree in psychology from Flagler College, D'Agostino joined the Peace Corps and headed to Swaziland, Africa, devoting two years to creating HIV/AIDS support groups and teaching English. Upon returning to the United States, he secured a job with Suncoast Hospice, and later began attending Stetson University College of Law part time. He graduated in 2012. Determined to apply to the internship program one last time, D'Agostino thought his experiences in law school, coupled with his passion for people with HIV/AIDS, might give him the edge he needed. He was right and was invited to the program in September. D'Agostino, who lives in Seminole Heights with his partner and their pet cockapoo, recently spoke with Times staff writer Aimée Alexander about his journey to becoming a White House intern and what's on the horizon....

    Vincent D’Agostino has worked with the Peace Corps in Africa and Suncoast Hospice. The law school graduate recently interned with the Office of National AIDS Policy at the White House.
  2. Weekend Conversation: Cinde Cortelyou

    Human Interest

    Cinde Cortelyou had her doubts about entering Hallmark Cards' Girls Gotta Laugh greeting card contest in 2010. On a whim, the Tampa resident created a card for the contest and just 48 hours later received word that her entry was a winner. Using a black-and-white photo of her stern-faced great-grandparents stiffly posing with twin infants — her mother and aunt —she penned a cheeky question: "Do these babies make me look fat?" On the inside, the card read: "Nah, you always look hot." Cortelyou works for the state of Florida, helping determine eligibility for Medicaid. "It's my left brain's activity," she said. "When I am not working, creating award-winning greeting cards for Hallmark balances out my right brain." Cortelyou recently sat down, with dog Zoe by her side, and spoke with Times staff writer Aimée Alexander about her success with winning three greeting card contests and what's in store for the future....

    Cinde Cortelyou, 56, holds her greeting card design, which won a Caring Bridge contest in 2013, in front of a canvas reproduction of the card’s photo. She chose a sunset for the grief card because, she says, “I thought about how life passes us by like a sunset, from day to night, and life to death.”
  3. Life Center leader healed by helping others with grief

    Human Interest

    Sheryle Baker has built her life around finding healing by helping others.

    The executive director of the Life Center of the Suncoast grew up in the shadow of her older brother Ira's illness. Baker was only 16 when her brother died, and she emerged with questions.

    Her perspective shifted after meeting psychiatrist and author Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, an expert in the field of death and dying and creator of the Five Stages of Grief. Ross served as a mentor for Baker, helping her find a way to transform her grief into a meaningful career....

    Sheryle Baker, 65, has served as executive director of the Life Center for 30 years. Baker, who was mentored by Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, is part of a team that provides grief and trauma counseling.
  4. Sunrise Community's super fundraiser aims for awareness, support

    Human Interest

    For Barbara Hobbs, raising awareness about adults with special needs is a deeply personal issue.

    Hobbs serves as the voice of the Feb. 1 Super Tailgate for Charity fundraiser for Sunrise Community, a nonprofit organization that provides support for adults with disabilities. She says her involvement has helped define her true purpose in life.

    Hobbs came to know Sunrise two years ago. While going through a divorce, the full-time mother of four made a things-to-do list and "Taking care of her family" topped the list....

    Barbara Hobbs found Sunrise Community while helping her mentally disabled niece.
  5. Joy of Merchant Marine's visit to SS 'American Victory' ends in sorrow

    Human Interest


    Earl Joseph Mayo had a knack for timing. Married for 56 years, his wife, Fran, said the hands of a clock could fall off and Earl would still rise each morning at 6:30 on the dot. • The morning of Nov. 16 began in the usual way, with Earl and his wife sharing a quiet breakfast in their scenic senior mobile home community tucked away in Zephyrhills. She had strong coffee; he had his usual cereal mixture of half Honey Nut Cheerios and half Special K with sliced fruit on top....

    Fran Mayo holds the American flag given to her family by Bill Kuzmick, executive director of the SS American Victory. The flag was raised and lowered on the day her husband was aboard.