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The Academy of Senior Professionals

The Academy of Senior Professionals at Eckerd College


ASPEC Member Sheila Penrose Promotes Gender Balance in Leadership

Sheila Penrose, ASPEC member since 1998, is, once again, on the forefront of Women’s leadership in the USA. She is one of the 24 founding supporters of the 30% Club, as it launched here in America. This group is committed to better gender balance at all levels of organizations by voluntary actions. It hopes to increase female representation in senior leadership and especially on the boards of public companies, in the near term. (One of her fellow founders, in the USA, is Warren Buffet.)

The original group, composed of Chairs and CEOs, began its work in the United Kingdom (UK), in November 2009. Its goal was to increase the number of women to 30% on the boards of FTSE-100 companies, by 2015. The success rate in the UK has been monitored and growth of women directors from 12.5 % in 2010 to 20.8% in March 2014, is being reported.


We wish Sheila and her group (both in the USA and the UK) continued success in this journey to overcome the global phenomenon of gender imbalance.

Sheila is currently Chairman of JLL Inc. and on the boards of McDonalds Corp. and Datacard Group, as well as several not for profit organizations. She is Co-Founder and Chair of the Corporate Leadership Center, a non-profit organization promoting senior business leadership development.


ASPEC Fellow Herb Snitzer recently featured on TEDxTampaBay

Herb Snitzer has been a professional photojournalist for over fifty years. His work has been featured in LIFE, Look, The Saturday Evening Post, Fortune, Time and other national magazines as well as for the New York Times and Herald Tribune. Through interest in music, social and political issues, Herb's work expresses perspectives on freedom, equality and justice. His work is in the collections of many museums and private collectors; the Museum of Modern Art, Houston Museum of Fine Arts and Boston Museum of African American History, and the collections of Elton John, Bill Cosby, Bill & Hillary Clinton to name a few. Herb's storytelling is legendary--the past will truly come to life through Herb's stories.

Herb Snitzer

Herb was recently featured on TEDxTampaBay speaking about "Telling Stories Through Pictures."  Herb was named ASPEC Fellow in May 2013, and actively participates at ASPEC.

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Sanderlin School Nominates Ann Rascoe Outstanding School Volunteer of the Year

ASPEC member Ann Rascoe has been nominated by Sanderlin IB World School as Outstanding School Volunteer, Senior Category.

Ann Rascoe with Flight

Ann has been an ASPEC member since 1998.  Her background as a reading specialist makes her uniquely qualified to tutor three kindergarten children twice per week at Sanderlin.  Ann also helped create a handbook and orientation for tutors.  An artist of note, Ann also helps promote student srtists by getting them exhibited at ASPEC.

In the past, Ann has piloted and implemented programs in public schools, oriented toward mainstreaming children with physical, mental and emotional disabilities.  She has also been a board member of various community agencies related to children and youth. 

Ann is shown here with her painting "Flight."

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ASPEC Supports Eckerd College's Summer Science Splash Camp

Eckerd College has a unique Summer Science Splash Camp for middle school students. This will be the third year for this one-week residential science camp for students entering 7th, 8th or 9th grade, in August or September. It will be offered twice over the summer of 2014: July 6-11 and 13-18. The camp is funded primarily by the II-VI Foundation which pays 80% of the $1150. (ASPEC plays an important role in providing scholarships for students whose family cannot pay the entrance fee of $270.)

The theme of this year's camp will be: “From Thermodynamics to Turbulence:  The Science of Many-Body Systems." Summer Science Splash students will make cold water boil, build chaotic systems, observe flames without burning, and synthesize inorganic molecules. The science of these systems deals with a huge number of particles (“many-body systems”) and is driven by thermodynamics, the study of energy and heat. All of these explorations will take place in the state of the art science building: the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences. The science program is developed and taught by Eckerd College Professors and several local high school and middle school science teachers.

During their free time campers will enjoy the college’s recreational facilities including the outdoor swimming pool, tennis courts, sand volleyball court and more. At night they’ll take part in a variety of supervised activities. Campers are supervised by Eckerd students who serve as counselors.

ASPEC members will be invited to visit the camp while it is in session. Each year, students from the Sanderlin IB World School come to ASPEC to thank the members for their support and to tell them what the camp experience has meant to them.

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SunTrust Grant Used to Build a Rain Garden

March 9th a transformational improvement take place on the ASPEC grounds east of the main parking lot. Currently, a drainage ditch collects rainwater from the areas surrounding Lewis House, where the water is slowly absorbed and drained into the water table. Alison Ormsby, Eckerd Environmental Studies Professor and her students will create a rain garden with a host of native plants which will prove to be a visual improvement with a functional twist. The existing cypress and willow trees in the area will be preserved and integrated with the new garden, as the Pickerelweed, scarlet milkweed, wilcox, cordgrass, tar flower, climbing aster, swamp rose, cardinal flowers, fire bushes, creeping sage and new cypress tree adjust to their new environment.


A rain garden is beneficial in a space such as this, because it further reduces flooding caused by sudden amounts of rainwater while simultaneously reducing erosion and pollution through run-off in the local marine ecosystem, and provides a natural habitat for plants and animals. Along with its natural benefits, this rain garden will also benefit the integrated ASPEC and Eckerd College communities as students, faculty, and ASPEC members take advantage of the chance to work together to complete the project. Plant signs and labels within the garden will lend a long-term educational element as students, members, and visitors set foot on this remarkable campus.

The Rain Garden Project is funded with a SunTrust Grant. For more information on SunTrust Grants please visit Intergenerational Learning Opportunities.

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Zootastic Family Fest

ASPEC Director Ken Wolfe has been working hard to get Eckerd students involved in this year’s “Zootastic Family Fest.” Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, along with Great Explorations Children’s Museum and Sunken Gardens, have collaborated to bring the adventure of the Zoo here to St. Petersburg. Intergenerational learning is an essential part of ASPEC, giving members the opportunity to interact with the students and faculty of Eckerd, and to contribute to the community by sharing their personal experiences and insights from their diverse array of backgrounds.

Guests will have the opportunity to meet with the Zoo’s animal trainers and hear presentations by the Zoo’s Veterinarian on animal health and nutrition. Animal shows such as “Zoo Keeping 101,” “Native Florida Wildlife” and a wetlands demo with animals, and a mock manatee rescue, will also be performed throughout the day.

Lowry Park Zoo will provide educational displays including hands-on activities featuring the following animals; rhino, elephant, giraffe and African penguin. There will be plenty of activities, arts and crafts and face painting available to guests. The event will be held Nov. 16 at Sunken Gardens, and will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is priced at $5 a person.

Click here for more information on this upcoming event:

ASPEC’S Woman to Woman Mentoring Program

ASPEC is preparing to initiate a pilot project matching its women member volunteers, as mentors, to Eckerd College sophomore women who will be invited to join the program.

The program is designed to facilitate establishing an individualized relationship which will best meet the needs of the participating student and their assigned mentor. As in existing ASPEC mentoring programs on campus, mentors will serve as role models, assist the students with exploring future career opportunities, provide networking situations with women leaders in the community and on campus, and focus on professional development and empowerment issues.

Select members of the Eckerd faculty and administrative staff will assist the ASPEC mentors in developing guidelines and conducting a training program which will emphasize Eckerd’s extensive resources and related policies and procedures.

The initial mentor training program will take place on Friday, September 20th, from Noon to 3:00 PM, at Lewis House and a “meet and greet” dinner, for participating students and mentors, will follow the next week (date to be determined).

ASPEC women, who have not already signed up to participate, may do so by contacting Julia Lewis or the ASPEC administrative staff. We currently have 20 volunteers but would welcome additional members who wish to participate.

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ASPEC Members Contribute to Summer Science Splash Camp 2013

Thanks to a significant grant from the II-VI Foundation and the generosity of many ASPEC members, the Summer Science Splash Camp was made possible, allowing middle school students to participate in experiments and enjoy the amenities the James Center for Molecular and Life Sciences has to offer at a fraction of the cost. Valued at $1,150, the 20 full scholarships ASPEC members donated allowed campers to participate in the week-long residential science camp for $250.

summer science

In 2007, Carl Johnson, founder of II-VI Inc., founded the II-VI Foundation because “he has found that the ability of engineers to solve problems has declined,” said Rick Pernell, current director of the foundation in Bridge­ville, Pa.

More than 100 campers enrolled in the Science Splash Camp, many of which are from local middle schools such as Sanderlin, Bay Point and Academy Prep.

The campers lodged in traditional legacy dorm, Epsilon, and participated in a variety of labs, daily quizzes and activities including swimming and basketball, over the course of the week. ASPEC members were invited to stop by the James Center anytime during either of the week-long sessions to see the kids in action and partake in some of their science experiments. President of ASPEC Julia Lewis was impressed by the campers’ knowledge and their eagerness to learn, despite being on summer vacation.

This year, the camp’s theme was “the summer of the electron.” According to Eckerd’s website, “Modern life depends on the motion of electrons: from computer circuits to chemical reactions in fuel cells.” Campers learned how to make batteries out of potatoes, solar cells and conductive stylus pens for iPads out of empty white-board markers; activities that were designed by the local teachers, Eckerd students and Eckerd professors that made up the camp staff.

Eckerd professors among the camp staff were Professor of Physics Anne Cox and Associate Professor of Chemistry Chris Schnabel. “The kids are excited to learn how things work,” Cox said. “This camp goes above and beyond what they are learning in school.”

To learn more about the II-VI Foundation visit http://ii-vifoundation.com/index.html

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Therapy Dogs help students de-stress during finals

Eckerd College Organization of Students (ECOS) and Pet Council collaborated with ASPEC associate member Amy Beilis for a “doggy de-stress” hour, where therapy dogs were brought to campus to give students a study break and relieve some stress during finals week.

More than one hundred students lined up to play with the five dogs-- a collie, a golden retriever, and a few labs. The furry friends were accompanied by their owners (Beilis and her colleagues), members of the local chapter of Therapy Dogs International, who own and train their therapy dogs.


Julia Lewis, president of ASPEC, was thrilled with the turnout. “We thought we were going to have about 20 or 30 kids, and there were well over 200.”  The event was made possible after the leader of the local chapter met with the ASPEC-Student Liaison committee in February. “We are looking into doing this event in both the fall and spring semesters this upcoming year,” Lewis said.

The event was a huge success, and students look forward to another visit from the dogs and their owners.

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Read previous news stories:

Baby Boomer Seminars at ASPEC

ASPEC Debate Team

ASPEC 2013 Member Art Show

ASPEC and the Sanderlin IB World School

ASPEC members featured in critically-acclaimed film


Is ASPEC the Place for You?

Are you excited by the idea of enriching your retirement in a welcoming, supportive community while you:

  • engage in peer led learning
  • work with college students
  • volunteer in the community
  • have fun and make friends

Come and try us out and see if ASPEC is the place you want to be. Click here for membership information.

Click here for ASPEC membership information

The Academy

The Academy is a life long learning organization for adults on the Eckerd College campus. Our members, whether working, retired, regular visitors to Florida or seasonal "Snowbirds" seek a lifestyle that provides intellectual exploration and stimulation, meaningful productivity and an active social life.