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New opportunities and a ruckus await the incoming class of Bulls

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It was the first day of fall orientation for more than 200 Bulls in the USF College of Public Health, and this is how they kicked off the morning of Thursday, Aug. 21.

http://youtu.be/w1iZAFXnSfI

With a bam and a boom and a twirl of the baton, the best and brightest of USF’s Herd of Thunder Marching Band gave new Bulls a lesson in school spirit. Under the direction of drum major Michael Lebrias, The Herd introduced students to USF’s fight song, alma mater and other spirited tunes.

Drum  major Michael Lebrias directs members of USF's Herd of Thunder Marching Band

Drum major Michael Lebrias directs members of USF’s Herd of Thunder Marching Band

 

It’s tradition in USF Health for academic leadership to welcome new students at orientation. They share news from their respective colleges or schools and help demonstrate how everyone at USF Health has a role to play in “Making Life Better.”

“You need to look no further than current headlines to see the impact of public health in society,” said Dr. Bryan Bognar, vice dean for educational affairs in the Morsani College of Medicine and a COPH graduate. “The Ebola outbreak involves health care providers, first responders, health educators and disease detectives, also known as epidemiologists.”

“It’s important that we work together as a team—not only to stop the spread of diseases like Ebola, but also here in USF Health," said Dr. Bryan Bognar, a graduate of the COPH

“It’s important that we work together as a team—not only to stop the spread of diseases like Ebola, but also here in USF Health,” said Dr. Bryan Bognar, a graduate of the COPH

 

Dr. Donna Petersen, dean of the COPH, illustrated public health’s monumental impact on society.

“As public health professionals, you facilitate the discussion, but the community ultimately decides.” Raise your hand if you drove here today,” Petersen said. “Now, who wore a seatbelt and why?”

Someone answered, “Because it’s the law.”

Donna J. Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH

Donna J. Petersen, ScD, MHS, CPH

 

Petersen went on to explain that it took decades of research, advocacy, awareness and educational campaigns before anything changed. Public health professionals organized community and legislative efforts, but “we as a society decided it was okay to have a law to protect us and mandate seatbelt use.”

The incoming class includes traditional college-aged students and working professionals like Lea Heberlein-Larson, MPH.  She is acting virology administrator and medical laboratory scientist III / virology supervisor with the Florida Department of Health Bureau of Laboratories. In addition to working in public health, she also mentors graduate students in field experience.  And, as of 8 a.m. on Aug. 25, she is a doctoral student in the college’s online DrPH program.

L to R: New graduate students Lea Heberlein-Larson and Jo Encizo took a quiet moment to reflect on the daylong orientation schedule … before the Herd of Thunder came marching in to the auditorium.

L to R: New graduate students Lea Heberlein-Larson and Jo Encizo took a quiet moment to reflect on the daylong orientation schedule … before the Herd of Thunder came marching in to the auditorium.

 

Exciting perks for incoming students include a new dining facility, fitness center and multi-purpose space.

“If all goes according to plan, ground-breaking for the 30,000-square-foot addition is in January,” said Joe Ford, assistant vice president for The WELL—a space dedicated to Wellness, Engagement, Leadership and Learning for all USF Health students. “Most of you during your time here will be able to take advantage of these new programs and services.”

In the meantime, Ford invited students to visit The WELL and become frequent users of the small and large group study spaces, meeting rooms and computer stations.

Members of USF's Herd of Thunder marching through The WELL en route to fall orientation.

Members of USF’s Herd of Thunder marching through The WELL en route to fall orientation.

 

By day’s end, the new Bulls had been schooled in academic policies 101, met their respective department chairs and academic advisers, participated in numerous icebreakers, and learned about ways to enhance their academic and extra-curricular experience via the USF Resource Expo.

“Thanks for taking your educational journey with us,” Bognar said.

And, on behalf of the 2014 incoming class, “Go Bulls!”

Go Bulls!

Go Bulls!

 

Office of Academic Affairs staff members Michelle Hodge and Bunana Wakil distribute welcome bags to new students.

L to R: Office of Academic Affairs staff members Michelle Hodge, MPH, and Bunana Wakil distribute welcome bags to new students.

 

During the USF Resource Expo, attendees participated in a ResearchAmerica! Campaign.  Members of the Global Health Student Association shared why they think medical research matters.

During the USF Resource Expo, attendees participated in a ResearchAmerica! Campaign. Members of the Global Health Student Association shared why they think medical research matters.

 

Majorette Tiffany Jocker strikes a bullish pose.

Majorette Tiffany Jocker strikes a bullish pose.

Story by Natalie D. Preston, Photos by Preston and Ellen Kent, USF College of Public Health.

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