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Public Policy Internships at FIOG gearing up for exciting 2018 legislative session

Robyn Odegard, FIOG Project Manager and USF Liaison to the Washington Center, and Matthew Chernesky, Graduate Assistant with the USF School of Public Affairs internship programs recently attended two career fairs at USF. They had a great time chatting with students about their goals and how the Public Policy Internship Programs and The Washington Center fit into their plans before the graduate. They attended the University-wide Internship and Career Fair as well as the USF Health and Human Services Career Fair. Both events were sponsored by USF.

As a member of The Washington Center Liaison Advisory Board, Robyn also attended the annual board meeting in DC at Washington Center Headquarters at the beginning of October. The Florida Legislature provides $8,000 of funding to offset program and housing costs to Florida students to attend TWC programs. USF continues to have approximately 20 students per year participate in these programs, where they are placed in agencies in Washington DC, participate in professional development programs and career readiness, and an academic seminar.

Learn More about Public Policy Internships and The Washington Center

Sarasota County contracts with FIOG to conduct yearly Citizen Opinion Survey 

For over ten years, Sarasota County has worked with the FIOG to poll its citizens. This annual survey asks respondents to rank the importance of the county's work on specific quality-of-life issues, giving citizens a voice in the policy-making process and strengthening their trust in local government. 

The 2017 Citizen Opinion Survey is Sarasota County’s 26th citizen satisfaction survey; the FIOG has been administering this project for over ten years. These kinds of surveys are used to solicit citizens’ views on the need for, efficiency, and effectiveness of a wide array of public services and policies. They are also a good gauge of the responsiveness of public officials to citizen inquiries and the transparency of the policy-making process. The 2017 public opinion poll, a telephone survey of a random sample of 800 Sarasota County residents 18 years of age and older, was conducted from May 8-May 28, 2017 by Susan Schuler & Associates, Inc.

Learn More and read the Executive Summary

USF's Dr. Susan MacManus coauthors Politics in Florida, Fourth Edition

Politics in Florida, Fourth Edition is the the most comprehensive and current book available on one of the nation’s largest, most competitive, and most racially– and ethnically–diverse swing states.

The book, written by USF Distinguished Professor Dr. Susan MacManus and three others, dissects Florida's political atmosphere and gives a comprehensive look at the many factors that contribute to its importance in American politics.

Learn More about Politics in Florida

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USF FIOG offers first Code Enforcement Class in Naples

Since the retirement of the former director at the FIOG at FGCU, FACE Code Enforcement classes have not been offered in Southwest Florida. In order to accommodate the high number of people coming from that area for training, the USF FIOG in partnership with the city of Naples will be holding a Fundamentals of Code Enforcement class in Naples in October/November of 2017.

“We are very excited to be able to offer this training opportunity to better in Southwest Florida to better serve the needs of Code Enforcement Offices and Officers,” said Robyn Odegard, FACE Program Coordinator at USF FIOG.

CRED program graduates three classes in 2016

In 2016, the Community Real Estate Development Certificate Program at USF gained alumni from the Tampa Bay and South Florida regions, and saw its first graduates from the North Florida region. The 54 newest alumni range in background from USF graduate students to well-established professionals in the community development, real estate and financing realms.


Pictured, listed in alphabetical order: Bridgette Green, Tameka Gaines Holly, Maurice Martinez, Suzanne Pickett, Chelcie Rivers, Sonia Roberts, Paul Tutweiler, Thomas Waters, Jerel Williams, Valerie Williams


FIOG, School of Public Affairs' Assets and Needs Assessment in Greater Sun City Center makes headlines

CRED Tampa Bay 2016 gains 24 alumni in anniversary year

In May of 2016, the Community Real Estate Development Certificate Program at USF celebrated its tenth anniversary class of graduates during the program's culmination. The alumni range in background from USF graduate students to well-established professionals in the community development, real estate and financing realms.

Pictured, listed in alphabetical order: Gerald Abdul–Wasi, Michael Binafegha, Sylvia Borden, Amanda Conte, Marcella Faucette, Kayon Henderson, Roderick Henderson, Cheryl Howell, Clive Kofi‑Hunt, Joel Ilensanmi, Cheryl Joseph, Nigel Joseph, Bomin Koh, Mara Latorre, Geri Lopez, Katina McClinton, Belix Parks, Pedro Parra, Heather Rayford, Shawnda Roberts, Kristine Socall, Tina Swain, Carolyn Michelle Wagner, Tom Wodrich


FIOG Staff volunteers at Metropolitan Ministries' Holiday Tent

Before the holiday, the FIOG staff volunteered at the annual Holiday Tent as part of our annual tradition of giving back for the holidays. Pictured in front of the tent's tree are Angela Crist (center), and from left to right: Becky Clayton, Iris Lage, Cambry Lichtenberger and Robyn Odegard.


CRED Connects 2015 Alumni to positions in the community development field

TAMPA, FL -- The Community Real Estate Development Program at USF not only works towards reviving communities, but creates an alumni network of passionate practitioners. During CRED Tampa Bay 2015, two of our recent graduates networked within the "CRED Family" to land positions in the field. Learn more about Nina Venter and Khalil Majied:

CRED helps Nina Venter (Tampa Bay, 2015) land internship with CDC of Tampa

Photo of Khalil Majied

During CRED Tampa Bay 2015, then-USF graduate student Nina Venter studied community real estate development alongside Frank Cornier, the Director of Real Estate Development for the CDC of Tampa. This connection helped Venter land a paid internship with the CDC.

Venter reflects on CRED and her internship:

"By the time the CRED course started just a few months ago, I was almost halfway through an MA in Sociology and wondering what I want to do with all that I’ve learned about people and places, and all that I love about people and places.

I was fortunate enough to work through CRED with a passionate and motivated group of people that showed me exactly where our hearts intersect with our work. CRED was an intense journey of collaborative skill building, learning, and growth.

However, what makes CRED are the people you meet who share a certain enthusiasm for the work that only comes from the heart.

By the time the CDC of Tampa approached me with an incredible internship opportunity, I was confident that I am both passionate about the work and equipped with skills I couldn’t find in a sociology class. CRED opened up a door for me at the CDC of Tampa that gave me the opportunity to hone in on my CRED skills, acquire new skills, and learn about local communities. I am grateful."

Cornier also comments on Nina's work with the CDC of Tampa:

"After CRED, the CDC of Tampa had the privilege of having Nina Venter join the CDC family for the Summer. Nina became our Development Assistant, by way of a paid internship.

Nina was involved with all aspects of our acquisition rehab program. This included initial site visit and inspection of potential properties for acquisition, scheduling of 3rd party inspections, construction draw requests and inspections, invoice processing, cost tracking, assisting with funding/financing applications, coordinating utility services with utility providers and municipalities, property information research, and lots more.

Needless to say, she is greatly missed. She was a pleasure to have here at CDC and she made quite an impact."



Khalil Majied (Tampa Bay, 2015) joins the City of Tampa's Housing & Community Development Division

Photo of Khalil Majied

As a result of the CRED program, Khalil Majied was able to connect with fellow classmate Vanessa McCleary, who is the Housing and Community Development Manager for the City of Tampa. As a result, Majied joined the city working for McCleary.

Majied speaks to the impact CRED had on himself and his career:

"The CRED program gave me the knowledge base I needed to understand the complexities of working in Community Real Estate Development. The class gave me the ability to network and gain mentoring from seasoned professionals, who were willing to aid in my personal and professional growth.

Soon after graduation, I was contacted by fellow classmate Vanessa McCleary about an employment opportunity with the City of Tampa's Housing & Community Development Division. Since July 13th, 2015, I have been personally assisting Mrs. McCleary in her role as Division Manager and would not have been able to if it wasn't for the educational experience afforded by the CRED program at the University of South Florida."

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