(From left) Jamie Bateman, Amy Bohan, Richard Shepard, and Bobby Sconyers

AVON PARK, Fla. – Sept. 26, 2019 – The South Florida State College (SFSC) Foundation recently awarded four Innovation Grants to College employees. The recipients are Amy Bohan, Dr. Mintoo Patel, Bobby Sconyers, and Richard Shepard.

The SFSC Foundation offers these grants to support self-contained projects that make an innovative contribution to the College by improving the quality of the teaching and learning process. All SFSC employees are eligible to apply for an Innovation Grant. The maximum level of funding per project through this grant program is $1,500.

“We are grateful to our faculty and staff for recognizing the needs of our students and exploring creative ways to enhance the student experience at SFSC,” said Jamie Bateman, executive director of institutional advancement. “The SFSC Foundation is eager to get behind faculty and staff and support them in these growth initiatives.”

Amy Bohan will use the award to look at the microRNA levels in circulating canine plasma and determine their role as biomarkers for congestive heart failure. Students will learn how to isolate microRNA from canine plasma and then perform a series of lab tests to examine the gene express levels between dogs in heart failure and dogs that are not. The monies will allow students to expand their knowledge outside the classroom. They will learn how to read and understand scientific articles from well-established research journals. Students will learn how to collect scientific data by performing a variety of lab techniques and tests. They will then be able to represent SFSC at scientific conferences, presenting a talk or poster of their work done in the SFSC labs under Bohan’s guidance.

Dr. Mintoo Patel

Dr. Mintoo Patel, adjunct instructor of biology, will use her award to acquire reagents and labware to conduct a research project for students enrolling in the courses under “Selected Topics in Biology and Biology Honors.” The research project enhances student learning by teaching scientific methodology and presentation, and students gain a deeper understanding of biology through STEM activities.

Bobby Sconyers, professor of dental assisting, would like to upgrade the Dental Education Department’s oral cameras by purchasing a second Eye Special C-III digital Dental camera for $2,795. The grant money will be included with other money from the Department toward the purchase. By training the students with a state-of-the-art camera, students will be prepared when they go into the workforce.

Richard Shepard, EMS professor, plans to better prepare students for the National Registry Paramedic Examination, which is required for Florida Paramedic Certification. He requested the purchase of a two-day test preparatory course for current paramedic students. The course would be hosted at SFSC and has a success level of greater than a 95% pass rate for first-time test takers. He requested 10 enrollments at $125 each. The preparatory class will better prepare students to take and pass the exam on the first attempt, allowing them to enter the workforce more quickly and give them the opportunity to become successful in their agency.

For further information about the SFSC Foundation Innovation Grants, contact Bateman at 863-784-7181 or Jamie.bateman@southflorida.edu.