Inside USF: The Podcast


Welcome to “Inside USF: The Podcast,” created especially for University of South Florida faculty, staff and alumni.  We know you’re busy – so busy, in fact, that it can be hard to find the time to learn about the important work taking place across our three campuses. We’re here to help. Every other Friday, we’ll talk with a member of the faculty or staff about their expertise and their contributions, including in ground-breaking research, inspiring community service efforts, the arts, athletics and much more. You’ll meet members of the faculty and staff who, like you, are helping USF make an impact as a fast-rising urban research university.

Where to Listen

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Season 1 | Episode 17 - listen to a preview

USF St. Petersburg campus Regional Chancellor Martin Tadlock and College of Marine Science Dean Tom Frazer discuss how the state of Florida and coastal communities nationwide will benefit from the research being conducted at USF.

Additional resources

Martin Tadlock headshot.


Tom Frazer headshot.



Up Next:

Our Jan. 28 episode will feature a conversation with Neudy Nunez, director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs. She will share details of the university’s observance of Black Heritage Month, which begins Feb. 1.

Season 1 | Episode 16

A new USF task force is exploring ways to recruit, enroll and graduate more Latino students and forge stronger connections with Tampa Bay’s Hispanic community. In this episode, task force co-chairs Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman and Paul Dosal discuss what will be ongoing efforts to develop a comprehensive approach that focuses not only on success in the classroom but also enhances students’ sense of belonging to the USF community. They also discuss other diversity, inclusivity and equity initiatives, including the expansion of the Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Additional resources


Dr. Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman headshot.


Paul Dosal headshot.


Season 1 | Episode 15


Mark Sharpe, chief potential officer for the Tampa Innovation Partnership, which includes USF as a founding member, discusses ongoing efforts to transform “Uptown”, including the redevelopment of the former University Mall into Rithm at Uptown and a partnership with Florida Blue designed to provide better health, housing, employment and other opportunities in the area.

Additional resources

Mark Sharpe

Season 1 | Episode 14


Although the genetic counseling profession has been in existence for half a century, public awareness of it remains very low. USF’s accredited genetic counseling graduate program is the first and only such training program in Florida, and Director Deborah Cragun explains why the program was created and the role these health care professionals play in helping families understand a variety of potential health risks.

Additional resources

Headshot of Deborah Cragun.  

Season 1 | Episode 13

Kathy Black, professor of aging studies on USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus, is a leading scholar and proponent of age-friendly practices. In this episode, she discusses what it means to be age-friendly and her extensive efforts at the local, state and national levels, including with the Florida Department of Elder Affairs and AARP.

Additional resources

Kathy Black, professor of aging studies on USF’s Sarasota-Manatee campus.

Season 1 | Episode 12

This episode is devoted to wastewater -- a topic most of us tend not to think about or discuss, particularly when it comes to the significant issues related to wastewater in other parts of the world. For civil and environmental engineering Professor Daniel Yeh, however, developing the technology to address global sanitation concerns – the NEWgenerator-- has been a priority.

Additional resources

Daniel Yeh with the NEWgenerator

Season 1 | Episode 11


Elaine Singleton, executive director of the Monica Wooden Center for Supply Chain Management & Sustainability, part of the Muma College of Business, analyzes ongoing disruptions to the world’s supply chain and potential short- and long-term impacts on product availability and prices.

Additional resources

Elaine Singleton headshot

Season 1 | Episode 10

This is an important time in USF’s history as the university searches for its eighth president. Mike Griffin, vice chair of the USF Board of Trustees and chair of the USF Presidential Search Committee, discusses the process, including the already robust response to an electronic survey that seeks input on specific qualities members of the community would like to see in the next president. Based on the level of interest, the search committee plans to extend the deadline for submission of the survey.

Additional resources

Mike Griffin headshot

Season 1 | Episode 9


In USF’s Office of Supplier Diversity, Assistant Vice President Terrie Daniel and her team track a variety of metrics, such as “spend” and “utilization”. But, as Terrie emphasizes, enhancing supplier diversity is about more than dollars and percentages. As one of the largest economic drivers in the Tampa Bay region, USF can create opportunities for more minority-, woman- and veteran-owned businesses to grow their enterprises, and in the process, change lives. And, all members of USF’s faculty and staff can play a role in this initiative.

Additional resources

Terrie Daniel headshot

Season 1 | Episode 8

When it comes to USF football, Jim Louk has seen it all – literally. The voice of the Bulls and radio play-by-play broadcaster hasn’t missed calling a game – all 285 of them – since the first kickoff in 1997. As the Bulls launch their 25th anniversary season, Jim reflects on the challenges of getting the program off the ground and some of the highlights, including upsets over Notre Dame, Auburn and West Virginia. He also shares fond memories from other USF Athletics programs, as well as his perspective on why efforts to develop new facilities are so critical.

Additional resources

USF Football 25th anniversay logo

Season 1 | Episode 7

Tampa native, fifth-generation Floridian and USF alumna Rhea Law shares some of her perspectives as the university’s new president, including about USF’s strengths and challenges, and the role it plays in the growth of the Tampa Bay region. She also reflects on her days as a student, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in management while putting herself through school as the university project administrator for the Office of Sponsored Research. Long involved in a variety of organizations across the region, many related to public policy or economic development, President Law also discusses her commitment to service. She even shares a few fun stories about racing – she used to race motorcycles -- a passion she has long shared with her husband.

Additional resources

Interim President for USF, Rhea Law

Season 1 | Episode 6


As his presidency comes to a close, Steven Currall reflects on an eventful two years, which included the adoption of USF’s Principles of Community and a 10-year strategic plan. He also discusses the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives that have been implemented, as well as next steps he hopes the university will take. Currall also shares his perspective on COVID-19, including some of the lessons that have been learned along the way. And he discusses the “brilliant choice” of Rhea Law as prospective interim president, saying she is “respected, trusted and has extraordinary credibility across the Tampa Bay community.”

Additional resources

USF President Steven CurrallUSF President Steven Currall recording episode 6 of Inside USF: The Podcast.

Season 1 | Episode 5

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman, a fourth-generation West Tampa native, serves as USF’s interim vice president for institutional equity, senior advisor to the president and provost for diversity and inclusion, and associate professor of sociology. In this episode, she shares updates on some of the key equity, diversity and anti-racism initiatives that USF has implemented over the past year. Among them is the effort to re-imagine the Office of Diversity, Inclusion & Equal Opportunity, which has included multiple virtual town halls that attracted hundreds of participants. Elizabeth also has worked with the Office of Decision Support to create the Diversity, Anti-Racism & Equity Dashboards, and she explains the importance of the metrics as well as more nuanced aspects that go beyond the data. She also discusses efforts to encourage more high-achieving students of color to enroll at USF, and outreach to the Tampa Bay community.

Additional resources

Elizabeth Hordge-Freeman

Season 1 | Episode 4

‘Seeking Truth at High Velocity’

That’s the motto of USF’s Institute of Applied Engineering (IAE). To get a sense of the institute’s capabilities, think about the sandwich you had for lunch the other day. Now, imagine that sandwich is actually a communications satellite. That is, in fact, what the IAE created: Three small satellites, each the size of a sandwich, that have been orbiting the Earth since January. Robert Bishop, dean of USF’s College of Engineering, is the president and CEO of the institute, which was created in 2018. Intentionally located off-campus so engineering is “on display” for the public to see, the IAE searches for solutions “on a time scale that’s not common in some other traditional engineering research institutions,” Bishop says, adding, “Our focus is on applied engineering rather than basic research.” Its partners include U.S. Special Operations Command, headquartered at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa. The institute is in the second year of a five-year, $85 million contract that paves the way for researchers and students to collaborate with the command to help solve significant challenges facing the nation.

Additional resources

USF Institute of Applied Engineering logo

Season 1 | Episode 3

Sarah Howard, curator of public art and social practice at USF’s Contemporary Art Museum, gives us a behind-the-scenes look at the exciting “Skyway 20/21: A Contemporary Collaboration,” which opened at the museum this week. The collaboration also is being featured at the Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg; The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Sarasota; and the Tampa Museum of Art. Sarah, fellow curators at the other three art museums and a guest curator with extensive international experience reviewed 300 submissions from Tampa Bay artists, selecting 49 to share their creations across the four institutions. A number of the participating artists are affiliated with USF. We also learn about the Contemporary Art Museum’s permanent collection and plans for upcoming exhibitions.

Additional resources

Skyway. A contemporary collaboration 20/21.

Season 1 | Episode 2

While access to health care continues to be a challenge for many Black Americans, their opportunity to attain optimal health is also impacted by a variety of social factors, according to Kyaien Conner, associate professor in USF’s Department of Mental Health Law & Policy. Unless the significant disparities in who has access to education at all levels, gainful employment and safe and affordable housing, as well as in who is over-represented in the criminal justice system, are addressed, disparities in health outcomes will persist. In this wide-ranging conversation, Conner also explores the historical issue of mistrust in the Black community with regard to health care and mental health care, the need for more providers of color, the importance of medical students learning cultural humility and a recent grant award that supports her community-based Care Transitions Intervention research. Conner also shares her passion for West African dance and the “life-changing moment” when she learned she had been selected as a member of the cast for the Eddie Murphy comedy, “Coming 2 America.”

Additional resources

Examination of The Evidence-Based Care Transitions Intervention Enhanced with Peer Support to Reduce Racial Disparities in Hospital Readmissions and Negative Outcomes Post Hospitalization

Dr. Kyaien Conner, PhD, LSW, MPH, Associate Professor in the Department of Mental Health Law and Policy, received a $2.5 million dollar research award funded by the Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI AD-2019C1-16066). Her project is entitled: Examination of The Evidence-Based Care Transitions Intervention Enhanced with Peer Support to Reduce Racial Disparities in Hospital Readmissions and Negative Outcomes Post Hospitalization. This grant is a large research grant via PCORI’s Addressing Health Disparities mechanism that will examine the impact of a community-based Care Transitions Intervention (CTI) enhanced with peer support to reduce disparities in hospital readmissions and other negative post-discharge outcomes (e.g. mortality, quality of life, ED visits) among older African Americans and Latino/Hispanics living with chronic disease. Dr. Conner is principal investigator (PI) on this project and has Co-I's from multiple USF colleges and departments: Mental Health Law and Policy (Drs. Amber Gum and Larry Schonfeld), Nursing (Dr. Usha Menon), Internal Medicine (Dr. Daniel Haight), Public Health (Dr. Jason Beckstead), Aging Studies (Dr. Hongdao Meng) and Child and Family Studies (Dr. Linda Callejas). This project will also fund two doctoral students in the interdisciplinary PhD program in Behavioral Healthcare, Erica Anderson, MS and Ana Aluisy, MS. This award is in partnership with 3 local hospitals (Tampa General, Advent Health and Lakeland regional). Dr. Conner hopes that this research will contribute to the evidence base supporting culturally relevant community-based interventions toward reducing disparities in health outcomes.  

Kyaien Conner in full make-up

Kyaien Conner, associate professor in USF’s Department of Mental Health Law & Policy, in full West African dance make-up.

Season 1 | Episode 1

One of the lessons learned over the past year is that individuals and teams can accomplish goals, meet deadlines and maintain effective communications while working remotely. As we emerge from the pandemic, while many are anxious to return to our campuses on a full-time basis – or whose jobs require that they do so -- many others may prefer to continue working remotely or establish a hybrid arrangement. Donna Petersen, dean of the College of Public Health and chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force, and Angie Sklenka, vice president and chief human resources officer, share their perspectives on how we can create a healthy future together as we re-imagine what work will look like, both near- and long-term.

Additional resources

Inside USF: The Podcast. Recording of the first episode of the first season. Host Tom Woolf with guests Angie Sklenka and Dr. Donna PetersenLeft to right: Angie Sklenka, vice president and chief human resources officer; Tom Woolf, Editor-in-Chief and host; Donna Petersen, dean of the College of Public Health and chair of the USF COVID-19 Task Force.

Season 1 Trailer


To our production team at WUSF Public Media, and to Jack Wilkins, director of Jazz Studies in the USF School of Music, for the use of "Black Bucket Stomp," which is from his CD, "The Blue and Green Project" on Summit Records.

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For transcripts, please email and indicate the episode you are requesting.

Have an idea for a future episode?

We welcome your suggestions for colleagues we should interview, or topics we should explore, in future episodes. Share them by filling out our submission form. Here are some general ideas about what we’re interested in:

  • Groundbreaking research
  • Unique programs/initiatives
  • Efforts that make a positive difference for others
  • University-wide initiatives
  • USF-community partnerships