Stetson University In the News, April 23-29, 2021

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Top Stories:

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Rajni Shankar-Brown, PhD

• Associate Professor and Jessie Ball duPont Endowed Chair of Social Justice Education Rajni Shankar-Brown, PhD, was featured in an article at PR for the People entitled, “Homeless in America: The Work of Rajni Shankar-Brown, Ph.D.” on April 19. Shankar-Brown currently works not only as an educator but also as a grassroots organizer to combat homelessness. Shankar-Brown was also featured in the April 19 article, “April is National Poetry Month!” on the same site. The article spotlighted her poetry collection, “Tuluminous!”

• Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Studies Jason Evans, PhD, was featured on a panel about the alarming number of recent manatees deaths. More than 500 manatees have died since Dec. 1 from cold stress and starvation from the loss of sea grass in the Indian River Lagoon, due to overdevelopment and other human impacts on water quality. The multi-part series, entitled, “A Lagoon of Hunger,” was uploaded online to the Spectrum News In Focus website on April 18.

• The $10 million planned gift from Steven and Donna Overly to Stetson University College of Law was mentioned in the Tampa Bay Business Journal on April 26.

• Details for Stetson’s Class of 2021 upcoming graduation were published in the West Volusia Beacon article, “Class Notes: Stetson University graduation just around the corner,” on April 20.

• Stetson University won first place in a Launch Your Venture competition, sponsored by Boeing HorizonX, for Swally, a student-created budgeting app company. The winners, according to an April 8 Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University News article, were awarded $10,000.

Christopher J. Ferguson, Ph.D., Stetson University
Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD

• Professor of Psychology Christopher Ferguson, PhD, and Assistant Professor of Sociology Sven Smith, PhD, were cited in the Spectrum News 13 article, “Economic factors a strong predictor of homicide rates, Stetson University study finds,” on April 19. “Most of the best predictors actually were the economic factors, so with homicides,” Ferguson said, “countries that had income inequality tended to have higher homicide rates.”

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Sven Smith, PhD

• Stetson University’s Environmental Club cosigned a Coalition Letter to President Joe Biden regarding the climate crisis. The letter, entitled, “Coalition Letter to President Biden: Addressing the Climate Crisis’ Domestic Impacts on Maternal and Infant Health Outcomes,” was published on the Human Rights Watch website on April 20.

• Chelsea Hage, an entrepreneurship and marketing student, was featured in the Hometown News Volusia article, “‘Everyone deserves a special day’ in Volusia,” on April 22. Hage started a nonprofit called, “Birthday Candles For Kids,” which provides birthday parties and supplies for children who are homeless, orphaned or in foster care. Director of the Prince Entrepreneurship Program Lou Paris, MBA, also was quoted in the article.

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy wrote an April 6 analysis for Talking Points Memo called, “Georgia’s Unique And Bloody History With Voter Disenfranchisement.”

• Law Professor Luz Nagle was quoted in an April 23 article from the International Bar Association called, “Weinstein appeal leaves victims in limbo, raising serious questions about justice system.”

• Visiting Assistant Professor Robyn Powell was quoted in an April 22 article in the Tampa Bay Times called, “Florida ‘disability abortion’ bill has some critics in the disability community.” The article was also featured in the Miami Herald, Bradenton Herald, Yahoo! News and Yahoo! News Canada.

• Ray Nault was appointed vice president of Enrollment Management at Stetson, as reported by the West Volusia Beacon in the April 20 article, “Stetson appoints VP of enrollment.”

Stuart Michelson, PhD

• Roland and Sarah George Professor of Finance and Chair of Finance Stuart Michelson, PhD, was cited in the U.S. News & World Report article, “7 Best New ETFs to Buy,” on April 22.

• Washington Garcia, DMA, was featured in the Orlando Sentinel’s April 15 “People on the Move” segment after being appointed dean of Stetson’s School of Music.

• Executive Director of Professional and Corporate Education and Professor of Practice Bud Hanson was quoted in the West Volusia Beacon article, “Stetson offers online sustainability series,” on April 17.

• Assistant Professor of Political Science Kelly Smith, PhD, was featured in an April 29 Fox 35 segment offering an expert opinion on President Joe Biden’s address to Congress.

• Associate Professor Rajni Shankar-Brown was quoted in the Skills Hub article, “Best Tools to Support and Motivate Remote Learners.”

• Vikram Ahmed, EdD, director of Enterprise Information Systems, was quoted in the MSN article, “4 ways to join the real-time enterprise revolution” on April 26. “Almost all modern applications require real-time capabilities,” Ahmed said.

• Stetson Athletics was mentioned in the Times-Delphic article, “How COVID has changed this year’s relays,” on April 26. Stetson’s March 26 football game against Drake was cancelled due to issues with COVID-19.

• Former chair of the Stetson University Department of Education, Robert Maurice Leahy, PhD, won the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award from Marquis Who’s Who, as reported by a press release on April 23.

• Destiny Rodriguez, a digital arts major with a journalism minor, published an article at the West Volusia Beacon entitled, “FOODIE FILE: New restaurant casts its spell on DeLand,” on April 22. The article introduces readers to Spellbound Cafe, a new restaurant opening up in DeLand.

• Law Professor Andrew Appleby was quoted in an April 19 article in TaxNotes State called, “Maryland’s Digital Advertising Tax Draws More Litigation.”

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy was interviewed for Slate’s Amicus podcast on April 10 for an episode called, “Why are Republicans upset about corporate free speech all of a sudden?” It was picked up by the Election Law Blog.

• Law Professor Peter F. Lake was quoted in an April 18 article in The Post and Courier called, “How USC is stumbling in handling sexual harassment and assault cases like other colleges.”

• Law Professor Peter F. Lake was quoted in a article called, “ Litigation Trendspotter: In COVID Tuition Refund Cases, Courts Continue to Differ on Whether Schools ‘Promised’ In-Person Learning,” an excerpt of which was featured on the TaxProf Blog on April 23.

Other News:

Catherine Cameron

• Law Professor Catherine Cameron was quoted on the Literary Hub website on April 19 as part of an excerpt from the book, “The Thing about Florida: Exploring a Misunderstood State,” by Tyler Gillespie.

• Law Professor Ellen Podgor’s article, “Obstruction of Justice: Redesigning the Shortcut,” was recently published in the BYU Law Review and featured on Twitter.

• Visiting Assistant Professor Robyn Powell’s article, “The Americans with Disabilities Act and Termination of Parental Rights Cases: An Examination of Appellate Decisions Involving Disabled Mothers,” was recently published in the Yale Law & Policy Review.

• Visiting Assistant Professor Robyn Powell’s forthcoming article, “Becoming a Disabled Parent: Eliminating Access Barriers to Health Care Before, During, and after Pregnancy,” is set for publication in the Tulane Law Review and was featured on the HealthLawProf Blog.

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy will speak as part of a book club event with Building Bridges for America on May 3.

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy wrote an April 23 analysis for the Brennan Center for Justice called, “The Supreme Court’s Looming Dark Money Decision,” which was also picked up by the Election Law Blog.

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy wrote an April 26 piece for Nation of Change called, “The Supreme Court’s looming dark money decision.”

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy’s Brennan Center for Justice article was quoted in an April 26 article on The Fulcrum called, “Supreme Court hears case that could endanger election transparency rules.”

• Law Professor Ciara Torres-Spelliscy’s article, “The Political Branding of Us and Them: The Branding of Asian Immigrants in the Democratic and Republican Party Platforms and Supreme Court Opinions 1876-1924,” was recently published in the New York University Law Review and featured on the Legal Theory Blog.

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Rebecca Morgan

• Law Professor Rebecca C. Morgan wrote the following blogs for the Elder Law Prof Blog:
April 20: Takeaways from CMS Guidance on SNF Visitation
April 20: Proposed Changes to the Provision of Long Term Care
April 21: 55 and Older and In Debt
April 23: New Research Briefs from NCEA
April 28: Call for Proposals Aging, Health, Equity, and the Law Conference
April 29: Call for Papers: AALS Section on Aging and the Law 2022 Annual Meeting

• Law alumna Simone Marstiller and student Cameron L. Perkins were featured in a story on Gunster’s website about a new Leadership Training Academy that the firm created to “serve and inspire the next generation of Florida attorneys by providing them with substantive leadership, legal training and mentorship opportunities while they are law students.” Marstiller was a speaker and Perkins an attendee.

• Stetson Law was mentioned in a news announcement from Freeborn & Peters LLP regarding their sponsorship of the First-Year Appellate Advocacy Competition for Stetson University College of Law students for the fourth year in a row.

Alumni News:

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Jacob deGrom

• Former Stetson pitcher Jacob deGrom was featured in the Boston Globe article, “The Red Sox are up against one of the best in Mets ace Jacob deGrom, but does he really have the stuff of legends?” on April 27. The article describes deGrom as “the best pitcher in baseball.”

• Alumnus Carlos Betancourt was quoted in the April 23 Newsweek article, “Joe Biden’s Plan to Raise Capital Gains Tax Sends Bitcoin Tumbling.” Betancourt is the cofounder of BKCoin Capital in Miami. “The proposal would put the effective tax rate at above 50% in certain states and would be detrimental to job creation,” he told the publication.

Carlos Betancourt

• Alumna Blair Parke published the article, “3 things to do when you feel like God is telling you to do something,” at on April 22.

• Alumna Lauren Baker Murray was recently hired as the inaugural executive director of Pasco-Hernando State College’s Instructional Performing Arts Center, as reported by The Suncoast News article, “Pasco-Hernando State College names leader for new Instructional Performing Arts Center,” on April 22.

Baptist Health reported that alumnus Michael Ammiano, senior vice president and commercial account director at Harden, a Gallagher Company, was appointed board member of Baptist Health on April 27.

• Law alumna Theresa Jean-Pierre Coy appeared on Court TV for analysis of the George Floyd murder trial.

• Law alumnus Matthew H. Perry was mentioned in the Tampa Bay Times as one of five attorneys under consideration for U.S. attorney for the Middle District of Florida. This was also featured on Yahoo! News.

• Law alumna Onchantho Am was featured in the Florida Bar Young Lawyers Division latest #YLDisME campaign video.

• Freeborn & Peters LLP announced that partner and Stetson Law alumnus Jason Stearns has been appointed by the president of the Florida Bar to serve as chair of the Florida Rules of Civil Procedure Committee, effective July 1, 2021.

• Law alumna Nirupa Netram, Lotus Solutions LLC founder and CEO, has been appointed to The Florida Bar’s Diversity and Inclusion Committee, according to Gulfshore Business.

Person in Front of Laptop next to Stetson University Mug.
Stetson University in the News is a weekly roundup of media coverage that mentions Stetson, its faculty, students, staff and alumni.

• Law alumnus Samuel G. Oliver was named to the Public Defender Supervisory Panel– Atlantic Circuit by Georgia Gov. Brian P. Kemp.

• Several Stetson Law alumni were featured in the Tampa Bay Business Journal’s feature, “People to Know in the Law.” They included Cornelius Demps, Karen Mornielli, Harvey Ford, Gina Grimes, Traci Koster and Truett Gardner.

• Law alumna Leslie Stein was featured in the Tampa Bay Business Journal on April 27 as a 2021 Top Corporate Counsel lifetime achievement honoree.

• Stetson Law LL.M. alumnus James Beckwith joined the St. Petersburg office of Banker Lopez Gassler, according to an announcement from the firm.

• Henderson, Franklin, Starnes & Holt, P.A., announced that Law alumnus Steven Gendreau joined the firm as an associate in the Tort & Insurance Litigation Department.

• Seven attorneys submitted applications for the vacancy created by the retirement June 30 of Duval County Judge Ronald Higbee, including Law alumna Margaret Gibbs Gulliford, who is currently an assistant state attorney in the 4th Judicial Circuit, according to the Jacksonville Daily Record.