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By Nikki Cabus

FAU offering free course to military veterans who want to become business owners

Read Time 3 Minutes

Military veterans hoping to start or grow a business can learn the basics through a free course offered by Florida Atlantic University’s Adams Center for Entrepreneurship.

The FAU Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program (VFEP) consists of workshops and networking sessions to help veterans determine whether their ideas, businesses, products or services are marketable to the general public. It will take place every Tuesday and Thursday, beginning Oct. 24 through Nov. 16, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at FAU’s College of Business Building, Room 112, 777 Glades Road, Boca Raton campus.

Participants will produce and complete a business model and be paired with an entrepreneur mentor to guide them through the program. To register, click here.

“Creating a business is a dream for many Americans, and this is a vitally important program that gives veterans the opportunity to learn what it takes to start, run and maintain a successful venture,” said Kevin Cox, Ph.D., director of the Adams Center.

The program is in partnership with Veterans Florida, a nonprofit organization created by the State of Florida to help military veterans transition to civilian life and to promote Florida’s status as the nation’s most veteran-friendly state. The FAU Veterans Florida Entrepreneurship Program is completely funded by Veterans Florida. Veterans Florida provides powerful tools for veterans to take advantage of the benefits of living and working in the Sunshine State.

This 8-week entrepreneurship course is a comprehensive educational program designed for current or future business owners providing Veterans the knowledge and skills they need for starting and/or growing their businesses. In addition to the in-depth educational program, all participants are paired with a successful entrepreneur who provides direct guidance and mentorship throughout the program and beyond.

The classes are open to Florida residents who are honorably discharged veterans, active-duty members or members of the United States Reserves. It also is open to spouses who attend with another participant who meets the qualifications.

Those who successfully complete the course will be eligible to enter FAU’s Business Pitch Competition for veterans in spring 2024. The annual event gives prospective entrepreneurs the chance to compete for startup seed funding.

This is the ninth consecutive year that FAU has hosted VFEP, but the first time offering a startup course in the fall. Past participants of FAU’s VFEP include Steve Edwards, owner of Premier Virtual; Logan Skees, of Valdaeon; and Jonathan Borgwing, CEO of LearnVig.

“It’s great having a lengthy and successful history,” Cox said. “We now benefit from an extensive network of alumni who support the program.”

Each year the program invites local CEOs and business professionals to present their startup ideas as part of their ‘pitch competition. Last year, one of the program’s winners was Steven Edwards, a U.S. Army Veteran in the 82nd Airborne Division and former Florida National Guard. He completed the program in 2020 and one of the program’s winners. Not only did Steve’s company win the pitch contest at the local level, but he also went on to win at the national level, which earned him additional funding and resources.

“Through the Florida Veterans Entrepreneurship Program, I not only found the tools to build and run a successful business but a community that understood the unique challenges veterans face when transitioning to entrepreneurship,” said Edwards.

“This program didn’t just change my life; it empowered me to shape my own destiny. Winning the annual VFEP Statewide pitch competition was the icing on the cake, showcasing the program’s incredible capacity to turn veteran entrepreneurs into success stories. Like every program, the more you put in it, the more you get out of it.”

Just last month, Edwards announced that Premier Virtual has been acquired by the global firm Careerminds.

The FAU Adams Center prepares students and entrepreneurs in all disciplines who are looking to become successful business owners. It was named in 2001 for Scott Adams, an FAU Tech Runway alumnus and CEO and co-founder of STRAX Intelligence Group.

For more information about FAU’s VFEP, contact the Adams Center at Adamscenter@fau.edu or 561-297-3653.

 

By Nikki Cabus

Florida remains #1 for higher education in U.S. News and World Report rankings for the seventh year

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U.S. News & World Report has once again named Florida the top state in the country for higher education.

Florida’s higher education system has held the top ranking since the inception of the rankings in 2017. This achievement can be credited to the collective commitment of our elected leaders, the Board of Governors, and the state universities to student success and affordability.

“Florida’s success would not be possible without the exceptional leadership at our 12 public universities, Governor DeSantis’s commitment to excellence in higher education, and the unwavering support of our legislative leaders. I am truly grateful for their investment and continued support,” said Brian Lamb, chair of the Board of Governors, which oversees the State University System.

“Florida has long been a national leader in higher education, and retaining this #1 ranking proves the Florida way is working. By prioritizing student success, with an emphasis on providing all students a high-quality, low-cost education, Florida’s universities are leaning in to produce top-tier talent to meet workforce needs, increase research capabilities, and retain the best and brightest faculty whose excellence and expertise provide the platform from which we create the future.”

Metrics considered by U.S. News & World Report include the time it takes students to complete two- and four-year college programs, the cost of in-state tuition and fees, and the debt burden that college graduates carry. Florida improved on two of the five metrics in the recent rankings, including four-year graduation rate and educational attainment. We remained #1 for the lowest tuition and fees.

The State University System recently announced a 12 percent five-year increase in graduation rates and a 49 percent year-over-year drop in the cost-to-the-student for a bachelor’s degree. Due to support from elected leaders and initiatives that drive down costs, the average State University System student pays less than $3,400 for a bachelor’s degree once financial aid is included. Additionally, 75% of resident undergrads had no loans during the 2020-21 academic year, up from 69% the previous year.

“This recognition affirms the incredible collaboration among our universities, our System, and Governor DeSantis and our State Legislature to prioritize Florida’s students,” said Ray Rodrigues, chancellor of the State University System of Florida. “Accountability is key, and the state’s investments in performance-based funding have given our System the tools necessary for our students to achieve a higher quality of education, graduate faster, with little to no debt.”

Accountability is critical to the System’s continuing rise in productivity and reputation, and the state’s investments in performance-based funding have provided the tools necessary for this ranking. In the fall of 2020, the Board of Governors added a dashboard on the homepage that provides a transparent way for all interested parties to monitor our System’s performance on these prioritized metrics.

The State University System of Florida is a constitutional body led by the 17-member Board of Governors.  The System has 12 universities and more than 430,000 students, making it the second-largest public university system in the nation.  Responsibilities include defining the distinctive mission of each institution and managing the System’s coordination and operation.  The Board appoints a Chancellor who serves as the System’s chief executive.  For more, visit flbog.edu

By Nikki Cabus

FAU announces winners of 2023 ‘Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition’

Read Time 4 Minutes

Florida Atlantic University has announced the winners of the 7th annual Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition.

Hosted by the Graduate College, this year was the first live and in-person ‘s 3MT® Competition since the pandemic. It was held at the Boca Raton Campus Student Union with students, faculty, and the public in attendance.

Developed by the University of Queensland (UQ) in 2008, the idea for 3MT came about at a time when the state of Queensland was suffering severe drought. To conserve water, residents were encouraged to time their showers, and many people had a three minute egg timer fixed to the wall in their bathroom. The then Dean of the Graduate School, Emeritus Professor Alan Lawson, put two and two together and the idea for the 3MT competition was born.

Since 2011 the popularity of the competition has increased, 3MT competitions are now held in over 900 universities across more than 85 countries worldwide.
In November 2013, the first Universitas 21 (U21) 3MT competition was held with several universities from around the world competing in a virtual competition. The 3MT® competition challenges graduate students around the world to pitch their research in only 3 minutes to a live audience.

FAU’s 3MT® is a venue for graduate students from various disciplines to interact with one another and discuss their research and its implications. The competition provides an opportunity for undergraduates, alumni, industry partners, various on-campus departments, institutions and the community to gain exposure to high-level, cutting-edge research at FAU.

The goal of the 3MT® competition is for FAU graduate students from all colleges and departments to cultivate the ability to explain their research, including both breadth and significance, in a language appropriate to an audience containing both specialists and non-specialists in three minutes or less. The 3MT® competition provides FAU graduate students with the opportunity to sharpen their professional development skills, reignite their passion for discovery, promote preeminent research, and foster community.

  • Skills development for research candidates
    Participating in 3MT develops academic, presentation and research communication skills, while developing research candidates’ ability to effectively explain their research in language appropriate to a non-specialist audience.
  • Building research culture in universities
    3MT provides a valuable opportunity for HDR candidates to come together (live or virtually), get to know one another and talk about their research. It also provides a supportive environment in which schools, institutes and universities can provide presentation skills training.
  • Building external relations for the university
    3MT winners may go on to represent their university at national and international 3MT competitions which provides an excellent networking and professional development opportunity. Previous 3MT finalists have benefited from invitations to a variety of other networking events following their participation in the competition.

At FAU’s annual competition, over $30,000 in scholarship prizes are awarded annually to winners from both the Preliminary Rounds and the Championship. Distinguished FAU community members serve judges and a public vote determines the People’s Choice winners. FAU’s 3MT® Championship Award is generously sponsored through the Dr. Eric H. Shaw 3MT® Championship Award Endowment Fund.

A panel of distinguished FAU community members determined the 2023 first-place, runner-up, and second runner-up championship winners. This year’s FAU 2023 3MT® Heat & Championship judging panel included: Dr. Stacy Volnick, President, Florida Atlantic University, Dr. Michele Hawkins, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Larry Faerman, Vice President for Student Affairs and Nikki Cabus, Chief Executive Officer, South Florida Tech Hub. More than 200 online votes submitted by public viewers named the People’s Choice Award winner.

“Conducting research is a critical component of graduate education, and being able to effectively communicate the significance of that research to a broad audience is a valuable skill,” says William D. Kalies, Ph.D., interim dean of the Graduate College.

“The graduate students at Florida Atlantic perform impactful research, and the Graduate College is honored to support this annual competition and provide a platform for students to gain experience presenting their research to the public while having the opportunity to earn scholarships.”

A total of 51 graduate students pitched their research projects to a live audience with 19 of them awarded scholarship prizes in the championship round. The championship winners of the 2023 3MT® competition are:

FAU championship winner and recipient of the Dr. Eric H. Shaw 3MT® Championship Endowment Award* (tie)

Title: “From Poop to Parent: Examining Paternity in Dynamic Atlantic Spotted Dolphin Populations in the Bahamas”
Presented by: Hayley Knapp, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Faculty Advisor: John Baldwin, Ph.D.
Title: “Corrosion is in the Air”
Presented by: Ingrid Santillan Barragan, College of Engineering and Computer Science
Faculty Advisor: Francisco Presuel-Moreno, Ph.D.
FAU 3MT® runner-up and People’s Choice Award
Title: “So, You Wanna Build a Protein?”
Presented by: Amish Mishra, Charles E. Schmidt College of Science
Faculty Advisor: Francis Motta, Ph.D.
FAU 3MT® second runner-up
Title: “‘What Does A Surgeon Look Like?’: How Stereotypes May Negatively Impact Recruitment Into the Least Diverse Specialty in Medicine”
Presented by: Emmanuel McNeely, Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine
Faculty Advisor: Jennifer Caceres, Ph.D.

The two (We had a tie!) championship winners and recipients of the $2,500 Dr. Eric H. Shaw 3MT® Championship Award also will represent FAU at the Conference of Florida Graduate Schools at the University of Miami from April 17 to 19 and present their 3MT® research. For more information on FAU’s 3MT® competition or to see all submissions and heat winners, click here.

FAU offering free course to military veterans who want to become business owners
Florida remains #1 for higher education in U.S. News and World Report rankings for the seventh year
FAU announces winners of 2023 ‘Three Minute Thesis (3MT®) Competition’