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Archive for March, 2011

Beyond The Polo: Simara Zafir

Simara Zafir is an actively involved student. From volunteering to creating fundraisers, Simara knows what it takes to be a student leader, outside of the Orientation Polo. Simara currently serves as president of her honors gerontology society, Sigma Phi Omega, and is a member of the American College of Health Administrators. When it comes to helping others, Simara is the perfect candidate! Although she is heavily involved with her organizations, Simara also volunteers with hospice. Her civic engagement illustrates her passion for assisting those in need.  Due to her passion for helping others, Simara is also a Site Leader for the Dr. ANV program which tutors children Sunday mornings.

In the near future Simara plans on becoming a Site Leader for Horses for Handicap. When it comes to Bull Pride, Simara demonstrates her love for green and gold proudly. Simara was recently chosen as a USF Ambassador. She also represented the beautiful territory of Canada in the Miss International 2011 pageant; she took home the honor of Miss Congeniality.

She is also involved with Best Buddies, a mentoring organization on established by the College of Education.  In regards to her future, Simara would like to establish her own nursing home but intends on working hands-on within the field first. Once she gains the necessary skills, Simara plans on opening a nursing home on the beach.  It is obvious, that this 2009 OTL is not only a determined Bull but also a true leader.

Make sure you’re working on your new student checklist!

Transfer Student Checklist First Year Student ChecklistAs a new student to the University of South Florida, there are certain items that you must complete prior to the first day of class.

Please click on the image below to review the checklist below to make sure that you complete everything.

These checklists contain links to a lot of information from offices all across campus, and is designed to help you complete all of your paperwork and “tasks” prior to your first day of class.

If you find that you’re confused or lost, please don’t hesitate to contact our office at (813) 974-3060 or We can’t wait to meet you!

Beyond The Polo: Matthew Diaz

Matt Diaz was a 2008 Orientation Team Leader. The experience taught him many useful life skills such as “always being 5 minutes early for a meeting,” time management, and helped him to become more outgoing and charismatic.

Since being an OTL he has held many leadership positions, such as USF Amassador, Senate President Protempore, and was just elected as the USF Student Body President. He is an active member in the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity and has served as their Senior Marshall of the Standards Board.

One of his most meaningful experiences at USF was when he acted as a site leader for Alternative Spring Break. He says that it, “made [him] appreciate everything [he has] in his life and how fortunate [he is] to be in college.” Matt will be graduating in the spring of 2012 and plans to go on to law school. He is very appreciative towards his former position as an OTL. Being an OTL, “made me love USF and made me feel more like a USF bull.”

Beyond The Polo: Shannon Wilde

Shannon WildeShannon Wilde, a member of the 2010 OTL team, is in the process of making a lot of big plans for her future. Within the next two weeks she will be finalizing her plans to study abroad in Argentina for a semester. She will be living in a homestay where she can practice her Spanish speaking skills and hopefully become fluent by the time she returns to the States. During her Orientation experience, she really started to figure out what her true passions are. The OTL experience helped confirm her desire to major in International Business. She is hopeful that her semester in Argentina will be a helpful addition to her major.

After the summer, she started a job as a student assistant in the Office of the Provost. In this position, she works with the Provost’s administrative assistant to organize his calendar. She coordinates his appointments, plans his travel itinerary, and helps wherever else needed. The Provost works a lot with international affairs, so she has gotten to work alongside that department, providing valid work experience for her future. In October, Shannon had the chance to meet Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia. She says that was definitely one of the most rewarding experiences she has ever had!

Being an OTL greatly helped Shannon find many of the resources that brought her to where she is today. She learned a lot about what is available to her when it was her job to teach incoming students about what USF has to offer. Shannon says that, “it was definitely an invaluable experience.”

Beyond The Polo: Ashlee Boyd

Ashlee Boyd, a member of the 2010 OTL team, is currently a District Coordinator for A Quantum Leap Tutoring and Educational Consultation. She is a student coordinator for two Leadership and Civic Engagement organizations (BSB and LEAD Week) and very involved in the Tampa Bay community.

She is certified in CPR and First Aid for both children and adults and has also completed 40 hours childcare training with the Department of Children and Families. She has 6 years of experience in a variety of positions within the field of Education. Her abundant experience with children from infancy to age 16 has grown her passion for education throughout the years.

She was an Assistant Director of an After-school program, Pre-school teacher, substitute teacher and a SES tutor. Working with children is a passion of hers. Her love for children and their success, keep her motivated to help each student reach their greatest potential.

Ms. Boyd is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology at the University of South Florida. She has an AA degree from Hillsborough Community College of which she obtained in December 2009.

Being an Orientation Team Leader helped build her leadership and people skills. After the summer, she has thrived in her current job because she now realizes that knowledge is power. She strives to know all she can and enjoys making a difference. As an OTL she feels as though she was able to make an impact, and throughout her life making a positive impact in society is her ultimate goal. After obtaining her Bachelor of Arts in Sociology she plans to attend graduate school and work towards a Master’s degree within the field of Education.

Beyond The Polo: Jessica Barber

After completing the position as an Orientation Team Leader, many students are inspired to become even more involved within the University. Jessica Barber, an OTL from 2009, is a perfect example. Jessica worked with Orientation on team “Bull Pride,” in 2009 and has been filled with green and gold pride ever since.

She began her position as a Resident Assistant in Kappa Hall in 2009 and is currently an R.A. in Castor Hall. Jessica says being an Orientation Team Leader allowed her to tell students about living as a bull and her R.A. position allows her to extend that by showing them how to live as a USF student. Aside from being a Resident Assistant, Jessica also worked as a retreat facilitator in the Office of Orientation. Jessica calls this an “eye-opening” experience, one of the greatest and most rewarding things she has been a part of since she started her student career. As a facilitator, Jessica was able to plan the retreat for the 2011 Orientation Team Leaders and watch them grow as a new team all in one weekend.

When Jessica was asked to sum up her life Beyond the Polo, she said: “I have grown a lot since my position as an OTL ended. At that time, I thought that my fun and involvement at USF was over. I have realized that being an OTL only opened doors in my life and challenged me to take on new roles and set higher goals. I will only continue to grow!” Jessica Barber is a great example of how life Beyond the Polo is filled with growth and opportunity. Go Bulls!

Beyond the Polo: Catlin Layton

Ms. Catlin Layton was born November 14th in Panama City, FL to David and Catherine Layton. Catlin is the oldest of two siblings, and she is definitely a great role model for her younger brother Brian. Catlin is a member of the 2010 Orientation Team, and she still remembers those long but lovely summer days as if they were yesterday. As a senior, whose expected graduation is next Fall (December 2011), Catlin still isn’t sure what to expect of her post college life. As a history major, with a minor in political science , Catlin is a very strong and intelligent young woman. Her intellectual skills have been a great asset to the USF community. Catlin is currently a tutor for the athletic department, where she mainly tutors athletes in history, public speaking, and English. Catlin also holds the distinguished position of Director of Programming at the University Lecture Series here at USF. Catlin is a very humble young woman, with a bright future ahead of herself. She says her love for USF is unmeasurable and that her plans are to say in Tampa after graduation because she loves it here so much.

*A Fun Fact*
As a member of the 2010 Orientation Team Catlin earned the nick name “momma Catlin” for her gracious attitude and loving support. Catlin also found love within the Orientation department as her boyfriend Jeff Burgess is a member of the 2009 Orientation Team.

Beyond The Polo: Katy Steeves

Ms. Katy Steeves was born on March 21st in Alabama, where she spent the majority of her childhood, until 2005 when she and her family moved to Bradenton, Fl. Katy graduated from Manatee High School in 2007, and she began her journey as a University of South Florida Bull that fall. Katy stepped right in and began to leave her impact on USF’s campus as a member of the 2008 Orientation Team. Directly proceeding the summer as an OTL, Katy furthered her interest in Orientation as a student assistant in the Office. Katy worked in the office for two (2) years from August 2008-August 2010, where she gained a variety of both personal and professional experience.

Katy is now a senior, whose expected graduation is Spring 2011. As a Magazine Journalist major, Katy finds interest in magazines such as Cosmo and Allure; whose content generally focuses on fashion, and makeup. Katy has had the opportunity to participate in two internships that correspond with her major. Last Fall (Fall 2010), Katy had an internship with the fashion designer Kimberly Hendricks, where she was involved with graphic design and promotions. This semester (Spring 2011), Katy has an internship with Creative Lofting, which is a local newspaper/magazine. Both internships are great experiences and portfolio builders. Besides Katy’s interest in both Orientation and Magazine Journalism, she also works at Michael’s (along with Jasmine Hollis, 2010 OTL) and she participated in Campus Crusade for two (2) years.

*A Fun Fact*
As the youngest of three (3) children, Katy  is clearly the one with the brains in the family because she choose to be a *BULL*, while her sister sided with the *SEMINOLES*, and her brother settled for the *GATORS*  Katy we are glad you made the right decision.

Beyond The Polo: Danielle Goldsby

In speaking to Danielle Goldsby about having the opportunity to work as a 2009 Orientation Team Leader, she had many positive things to say about the program and how it has helped her. Ms. Goldsby stated that the OTL process and position allowed her to see the endless possibilities and exciting resources on campus which are available to all students.  It also enabled her to interact with many diverse student organizations.

She felt that the exposure it gave her and the discipline which the process taught her helped to empower her to help people around her, both those serving on the Orientation team and the students and families that she interacted with.  It taught her that USF is a community, which she has become quite fond of over the years.  By understanding and wanting to help the community around her, she feels that is what helped her to become a leader. This experience further influenced her continual work ethic in what she is involved in now.

In looking at what Ms. Goldsby has been involved with after completing the Orientation Team Leader process, she stated that she is currently in an accelerated Master’s program. She wants to teach high school foreign language and English as a second language.  She also wants to help her students that were a part of her team throughout the summer and empower them to be leaders and active community members in the same way that the OTL position helped her.

Beyond The Polo: Dan Shelnutt

Dan Shelnutt was a member of the 2007 Orientation Team Leader and had these insights to share on how the position helped him succeed in his endeavors during his time at the University of South Florida, as well as at the University of South Carolina, where he currently works as a part of the Master’s program.

Regarding the OTL position, Mr. Shelnutt had this to offer:  “The OTL position was my first leadership position on this campus, and to this day, I still consider it the best leadership experience I had the opportunity of holding….I will remember the position most for the confidence I gained.” Mr. Shelnutt further explained what this confidence meant to him by stating that it gave him the “confidence to speak in front of people, confidence to show my Bull Pride, and confidence to lead.”

After being offered the OTL position, Mr. Shelnutt assured himself of his school spirit and ability to relate to others and was more than excited to share this with incoming students. After his OTL summer Mr. Shelnutt stated that he reached a turning point in his undergraduate experience and used his newfound confidence to serve as a Resident Assistant for 3 years, as well as having the honor of being one of the first Senior RA’S. He also became a 3-term SG Senator and chaired the finance committee for 2 terms.

After graduating in the Spring of 2010, Mr. Shelnutt was accepted to attend the University of South Carolina, where his passion for working with first-year students is now part of his education as a first year Masters’ Student in Higher Education and Student Affairs.