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Current Member Biographies

Douglas

Name: Deena Albashir
Hometown: Brooklyn, N.Y.
Class Year: Senior
Major: Biomedical sciences with a minor in psychology
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, Pre-Pharmacy Club, MSA, ACA
Hobbies: Baking, traveling, shopping, singing, spending time with family and friends and movies

Why did you choose USF?
During my senior year of high school, I remember attending several college campus tours with one of our advisers. After visiting four different campuses, I knew that USF was where I wanted to attend. The campus was so beautiful and welcoming. I felt a sense of belonging, and I had a strong feeling that USF would give me the college experience I was hoping for. I couldn’t be more happy to say that I was correct, being a Bull has been one of the most rewarding experiences in my life!

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew about all the opportunities and organizations USF has to offer. It’s so important to take advantage of these opportunities from the very beginning and really put yourself out there in order to meet new people and gain from your experiences. Travel abroad, join new clubs, attend campus events, utilize the resources available to you, etc. This will make your stay at USF that much more fulfilling, right from the get-go!

What do you like most about your major?
It is very flexible and well-rounded. A biomedical sciences major gives you a little taste of everything.

Douglas

Name: Alyssa Culp
Hometown: Merritt Island, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: History and religious studies
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, Phi Alpha Theta, USF Scuba Diving Club
Hobbies: Scuba diving, reading, movies, hiking, traveling and kayaking

Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because out of all of the other colleges I visited it was the one place where I felt welcome and at home. The staff welcomed my family, and I and made sure that any question we had was answered and made sure that as a student I was aware that USF provides many opportunities for students to excel no matter their major. The University of South Florida went above and beyond to make me comfortable and to want to be a part of the Bulls family.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
One thing that I wish I knew before coming to USF was how to network and get myself out and involved. While being a student at USF, I have slowly learned how to become involved, but before arriving at USF I was focused on only academics and did not understand that networking with professors and staff as well as connecting with other students is very important and advantageous to an academic’s career and education.

What do you like most about your major?
Being a double major in history and religious studies has taught me how to dig through the past and be able to uncover people’s cultures, beliefs and actions. What I like most about being a history major is that through my research it has given me the opportunity to be a voice for people, even when they are no longer living. History helps their voice and past live on.

Douglas

Name: Ashley Derisme
Hometown: Valley Stream, N.Y.
Class Year: Senior
Major: Psychology
Clubs/Organizations: Bulls for Moffitt, Dance Marathon, USF Navigators, CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society
Hobbies: Reading, dancing, painting, crafting, spending time with friends and family, and singing


Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of the unique diversity. Not only does USF house one of the most diverse student populations, but USF also offers a wide variety of academic and social opportunities. When I first toured USF, I fell in love with the campus; upon returning I witnessed the kindness, dedication and integrity in the many staff members and students that I met. Since that moment, I realized I found a new place I could call home.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
Take advantage of your professor’s office hours. It is the best place to develop a relationship outside of class, which is important for your network. Also, it is a great place for one-on-one homework help, which can make a difference between an “A” and a “B.”

What do you like most about your major?
I love that in psychology, the things that I learn will not only help me in my career, but also in everyday life. Learning how people think, react and behave gives me a unique advantage in being more appropriately prepared when interacting with depressed or anxious individuals.

Douglas

Name: Martha Gonzalez
Hometown: Cape Coral, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: Economics with a minor in history and Chinese
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society , Provost Scholar’s Program, PSP Big/Little Program
Hobbies: Reading, gardening, crossfit, baking, and Game of Thrones!


Why did you choose USF?
USF had the best variety of scholarships from any of the Florida public universities. Being a relatively new university, there was more opportunity for me to become involved in forging our history with many new clubs and activities. All in all, the people are friendly and genuinely interested in hearing your story and are very open to new ideas. Its location in Tampa means greater opportunities to apply for jobs and start your career after graduation. Tampa is also a relatively young city with lots of activities and events to get involved in so it’s easy to find something you love without going too far from campus!

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew how busy I would become when I entered college. In high school, everyone gloats about how great college is, having only two or three classes a day, starting at 12 p.m. or later. The reality is that you work much, much harder than in any of your high school classes. Especially when you begin taking your upper level courses. Getting involved on campus, studying for classes, while also finding time to take care of yourself and relax is a rather daunting task, believe it or not!

What do you like most about your major?
Economics is an incredibly diverse and flexible field. With a major in economics, there is a possibility in entering politics, working for major corporations, not-for-profit organizations and many more. You are highly employable both at home and internationally, because an economist’s opinion is almost always a necessity no matter where you go.

Douglas

Name: Samantha Holland
Hometown: Jupiter, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: Interdisciplinary social sciences (public administraion and political science)
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society
Hobbies: Reading, going to the beach and Netfilx


Why did you choose USF?
A variety of reasons! The beautiful campus was the first aspect about USF that made me interested in the campus. My major is also unique to USF and is not offered at many other schools. Also, the community at USF is so welcoming and diverse and made me feel at home.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew about all of the amazing opportunities and how important it is to get involved in organizations the first year. Even though everybody told me this, I also wish I knew how fast time flies at USF.

What do you like most about your major?
I like how my major lets students see information from all different perspectives and academic disciplines. Interdisciplinary social sciences is not a major that is available at every university. Within this major, students are allowed to select two concentrations to focus on while at USF. Personally, my concentrations are public administraion and political science. Because my future plans are to go into environmental policy, this major is perfect, as it allows me to focus my studies on the exact aspects of what I want my graduate studies to be in and what my future career plans are.

Douglas

Name: Amanda Kerstman
Hometown: Houston, Texas
Class Year: Senior
Major: Psychology, communication
Clubs/Organizations: Dean’s Student Leadership Society, Green and Gold Guides
Hobbies: Exploring new beaches and hanging around animals


Why did you choose USF?
There was no specific reason as to why I chose to attend USF. But as soon as I got here, I realized Tampa Bay and USF had a lot to offer, especially being located near so many zoos and aquariums.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew how fast time would fly being in college. I wish I would have been more aware that my time at USF would go so quickly.

What do you like most about your major?
I love how broad and specific all of my classes are and the different programs and opportunities the department offers to its students. In the psychology department, I am a part of our own honors program where they put us through a structure similar to how a master’s thesis is completed, but in two semesters. I think it is a great chance for students to get experience on what it is like being a graduate student but while in your undergraduate career.

Douglas

Name: Jasmin Lankford
Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: Mass communications (Magazine Production) with a minor in creative writing
Clubs/Organizations: Dean’s Student Leadership Society, SLS, The Poets at USF, Her Campus USF and Black Student Union
Hobbies: Writing, reading, shopping and hanging with friends and family


Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of the beautiful campus and the lively atmosphere. As soon as I stepped foot on campus, I knew I had found my home. I met so many friendly people within my first few days at USF, and I found a variety of organizations that matched my interests.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew more about the study abroad opportunities available for students. Many students might be discouraged from study abroad because it can be expensive, but there are so many scholarships, advisers and other campus resources in place to make any and all travel dreams come true.

What do you like most about your major?
I like that there are several different categories within mass communications. So, I have been able to learn a wide range of important skills in my specific field as well as gain insight on others.

Douglas

Name: Jeremy Lomax
Hometown: Memphis, Tenn
Class Year: Senior
Major: Biology
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean Student Leadership Society, Progressive Black Men Inc., African American Culture Club, Marine Biology Club, New Student Connections Leadership Network Leader
Hobbies: Fishing and basketball


Why did you choose USF?
USF was a chance for me to begin my career in the marine sciences, as Memphis was entirely too far from the ocean for my liking. Upon doing more research on the university, I found that it was home to one of the leading scientist in my field (Philip Motta, Ph.D.). Three years later I find myself working in his lab, and I couldn’t be happier.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
Before I came to USF, I wish I knew how important it was to get involved. If you are trying to make USF a home away from home, that sets you up for future success I cannot stress enough the merits involvement holds. I loved my first year in college, but I know I could have done so much more.

What do you like most about your major?
My major is both exciting and challenging. We are presented with great opportunities to be actively involved in our fields of study from shadowing, to research, to volunteering at Moffit. I have been able to connect to many friendly grad students, post docs and well-known professors from USF and universities across the nation.

Douglas

Name: Alauna Martinez
Hometown: Waldorf, Md
Class Year: Senior
Major: Biomedical sciences with a minor in Spanish
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, Pre-medical American Medical Student Association (PAMSA), Bulls for Moffit, USF Honors College, Latin Dance Club
Hobbies: Reading, painting, volunteering, singing, baking, playing the violin and dancing


Why did you choose USF?
As an out-of-state student, people often ask why I chose USF and my answer is simply this: diversity. When I was looking at schools for my undergraduate career, I really was hoping to find a home at a university where I would thrive and learn more about myself and the world in general. I wanted a true balance between academics, school spirit and unique opportunities that would make me even more of a well-rounded individual as I pursue my dream of becoming a doctor.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
How fast the time would fly! It seems like only yesterday that I was a freshman getting started, and it is crazy that I have only one more year here at USF. I have made so many memories and had so many opportunities while here. I am excited to become a USF alumna! If there was one thing that I would tell upcoming and current graduates it would be to ENJOY IT! You are only an undergraduate once, so make the most of it, and don’t rush your experiences while here.

What do you like most about your major?
I enjoy the fact that everything that I’m learning is culminating in my ending years as an undergraduate and that I can now take what I’ve learned and apply it to my future experiences as a physician. It is exciting to think that my major is specifically preparing me for my future, and I look forward to using it to help save people’s lives.

Douglas

Name: Josh Miller
Hometown:New Port Richey, Fla
Class Year: Junior
Major: Biomedical sciences with a minor in public health
Clubs/Organizations: CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, USF Green and Gold Guides, USF Honors College
Hobbies: Video games, football, baseball, kayaking, and going to concerts (I love live music)


Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of the comforting atmosphere the campus creates for incoming students. When I was deciding what school I wanted to go to I wanted a modern campus that made me feel like I belonged there. The moment I set foot on campus I knew it was the only place I wanted to be. It was the only university I applied to and luckily I got in or I wouldn’t be typing this right now.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I had known how accepting the student community was of all walks of life, that way I wouldn’t have been so cautious to try new things or be myself. Getting involved and finding the real you is the best thing USF can do for anyone, and I wish I wouldn’t have been so apprehensive about doing so my first year here.

What do you like most about your major?
What I like most about my major is the difference I can make and the challenge that it provides. Nothing good in this life comes without some kind of struggle, and I feel like my major is a perfect example because it is so challenging, but it’s so rewarding when you figure out such a hard concept to grasp.

Douglas

Name: Alex Odell
Hometown: Tampa, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: History and finance with a minor in management information systems
Clubs/Organizations: USF Housing and Residential Education, Alpha Sigma Phi Fraternity, CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, Bulls Business Community
Hobbies: Cooking, canoeing, hiking, and a “Big Brother” fanatic!


Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF because of the unlimited opportunity it provides to students. Whether it be the dozens of campus resources or many different organizations, I knew I would never be short of opportunities at USF. Being an urban campus, USF provides a unique chance for students to get involved on and off campus and network with professionals of all career paths.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew more about getting involved! Freshman year went by so fast, and I waited to get involved until my sophomore year! Getting involved is the best way to make valuable friendships with other Bulls!

What do you like most about your major?

Douglas

Name: Natalie Robinson
Hometown: Lutz, Fla
Class Year: Senior
Major: Biomedical science with a minor in American Sign Language and biomedical physics
Clubs/Organizations: USF Chapel Center: Vice President, CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, USF Honors College Student Council Advertising Committee, USF Stampede of Service, USF Relay for Life, Bulls for Kids (Dance Marathon)
Hobbies: Kayaking, biking, swimming, reading, church events, studying, researching medical schools


Why did you choose USF?
I came to USF because I felt that the community here was most welcoming. Students at USF truly value education, involvement and work hard to make new USF traditions. Because USF is younger than UF and FSU, the value of our degrees are constantly growing and the school is finding new ways to increase the educational level. My major is biomedical sciences so having lots of hospitals and research opportunities at USF prepares me more for medical school. USF is close to my home and both my parents are alumni so it’s close to our hearts as well!

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
One thing I wish I knew was how to get involved as a commuting first year student. It was harder to adjust from high school to college when I didn’t live in a residence hall. I also wish I had known more about which classes to take my first semester so that I didn’t get put into the wrong classes for my major. Lastly, I wish I had known that I wasn’t the only one struggling to decide what major and career to pursue. It’s okay to explore options before committing to one single career path!

What do you like most about your major?
My major focuses solely on the graduate program I want to get into, medical school. I like that it allows me to take different upper level science classes while still staying on the correct path and working toward my ultimate goal. I feel as if there is an unspoken of network that connects all of the biomedical sciences students on campus. We all understand each other’s class loads and struggles. Everyone always gives advice and tips that helped them succeed in the same classes you are taking or are going to take.

Douglas

Name: Amy Van Sant
Hometown: Atlanta, Ga
Class Year: Junior
Major: Mass communications (Public Relations) with a minor in hospitality
Clubs/Organizations: USF Women’s Volleyball Team, CAS Dean’s Student Leadership Society, MentoringU Athletics Program
Hobbies: Playing volleyball, being on, in or near the water; cooking; working out and taking naps


Why did you choose USF?
I chose USF for its beautiful location, diversity and endless opportunities. I absolutely love the weather and all that the Tampa Bay area has to offer.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I knew how fast time was going to fly so I could appreciate every passing day. It’s easy to get caught up in academics, athletics and working, but having a social life is a big part of the college experience.

What do you like most about your major?
I love the power that public relations holds in our society, and specifically our generation. Public relations will only become more essential as media and technology continues to advance.

 

Douglas

Name: Thomasina Watson
Hometown: Nanticoke, Pa
Class Year: Senior
Major: Biomedical sciences and public health, minor in communications
Clubs/Organizations: Center for Leadership and Civic Engagement: Civic Engagement Board, Lead Fellows, Alpha Omicron Pi Sorority, Pre-med AMSA
Hobbies: Netflix, eating, concerts, spontaneous dancing, camping out on the 2nd floor of the Club Lib, trying to sleep, moshing and finding free food on campus


Why did you choose USF?
I fell in love with the campus. USF has the big university feeling like FSU and UF, but we still have a great, close-knit community. I also love USF’s diversity. Many of my friends are completely different from me, and I love learning from them.

What is one thing you wish you knew before coming to USF?
I wish I had known which courses to take my first semester based on the teachers and difficultly. It also would have been helpful to know that it does get a little chill in Tampa during the "winter" and that closed toed shoes are a must. Flip flops and socks are not the way to go.

What do you like most about your major?
It is challenging, yet very interesting..