Scheidel Foundation Awards $10,000 Grant to SCF Studio for the Performing Arts

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) is building a new Studio for the Performing Arts with the help of a $10,000 grant from The Scheidel Foundation to kick off the $3.5 million capital campaign.

The new Studio for the Performing Arts, which will be funded largely through private donations, will be strategically joined to SCF’s Neel Performing Arts Center and Howard Studio Theatre. It is being developed to support the growth of music, art and theatrical programs, and as the largest community performing arts center in Manatee County to provide an outreach to populations with limited access to such amenities.

The Studio is designed to be an inviting space for students and the community. The new $3.5 million studio will offer intimate performances, deeper learning experiences for students in practice rooms and recital areas with ideal acoustics. A nearly 6,000-square-foot recital hall will include a grand piano, performance lighting and sound system with recording capability. It will seat 175 visitors for concerts and shows. The room will be used as the primary rehearsal space for musical theatre, choral and vocal classes. It also will be ideal for SCF’s master classes, featuring visiting artists, and recitals.

A new 1,100-square-foot dance studio will offer opportunities for students to study movement and staging. The studio includes retractable curtains, moveable seating and a floor designed specifically for dance. The new facility will include 1,620-square-feet of practice rooms. An instrument storage room will allow SCF to provide professional instruments to students who might not otherwise be able to afford them, offering SCF’s music program a recruiting advantage and students an opportunity to perform at their next level.

To discuss naming rights or ways to become a benefactor, contact Barbara Bourgoin at or 941-752-5398.

SCF Alumna Uses Biotech Research as Springboard for New College Degree

Kristine Cerbone, a State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) alumna, took the research she did at SCF and used it as a springboard for her undergraduate thesis to graduate from New College of Florida.

Cerbone earned an Associate in Science in biotechnology in 2014 and went on to graduate from SCF with an Associate in Arts in 2015. She transferred to New College in the Fall of 2015 where she studied biology. At SCF she worked with Dr. Matthew Kierle and team on a project aimed to identify southwest Florida fungi.  Cerbone used techniques learned in the biotechnology program to extract DNA from mushrooms and which helped lead to the identification of the specimen. She involved the entire biotech class in working to isolate the DNA to a specific group or species of mushroom.

Her thesis defense at New College focused on the procedures she discovered that identified the fungi down to the family classification with a 90 percent accuracy rate. In successfully defending her undergraduate thesis, Cerbone showed that to identify the species she would need to refine some of her techniques. She said defending the thesis was a nerve-racking experience, but she felt well prepared. Her professors had critiqued her research all along and that taught her to stay calm during her defense. She also said Brad Oberle, a New College professor and botanist on her thesis committee, was particularly interested in fungi and said he had learned a lot from her research.

Cerbone worked at SCF while she was a student at New College. It was both rewarding and challenging, she said, especially because she was taking 16 credit hours per semester. She is working part time at SCF until she is ready to go to graduate school where she would like to get involved in cancer research. At SCF she works as a laboratory assistant, preparing material and agents for science classes, including biology and biotech. Cerbone said she loves the collaboration at SCF, from being a student here to working in the lab.

“The teamwork here is amazing,” Cerbone said. “We all back each other up on tasks to get them done.”

For more information on SCF’s biotech program, contact Matt Thomas at or 941-752-5624.

Huisking Family Foundation Donates $10,000 for Digital Production Studio

The Huisking Family Foundation has donated $10,000 to the State College of Florida Foundation toward building a Digital Production Studio in the new SCF Library & Learning Center. The $10,000 pledge qualifies for a SCF Trustee/Director match, making the donation a total of $20,000.

The Digital Production Studio is integral to students who study filmmaking and digital production at SCF and will provide students with the tools they need to succeed. The equipment will be state-of-the-art and the space will allow for individual projects and collaboration. SCF alumni include artists who have studied film and digital production at the College and have taken their talents to Hollywood, including screenwriter Mike Le and cinematographer Ryan Bodie.

The Huisking Family Foundation primarily supports arts and culture, education, the environment, animal protection, hospitals, health and human services and religious purposes. The foundation was established to perpetuate and preserve the memory of the late Lieut. Frank R. Huisking, who served as co-captain of a B-24 bomber during World War II and was lost, along with his crew, when the bomber went down over Italy in 1944.

SCF, Manatee-Sarasota Purchases 74 acres – Future Home of SCF Parrish

State College of Florida, Manatee-Sarasota (SCF) has purchased 74 acres in Parrish to build a new campus in alignment with SCF President Dr. Carol Probstfeld’s first strategic priority. Aimed at increasing the College’s physical presence in the rapid growth area east of I-75 and north of the Manatee River, SCF Parrish is located at 11680 Erie Road, Parrish, FL 34219.

“The new Parrish campus will provide those living north of the Manatee River an open access institution for enhancing their skills and furthering their education,” said Probstfeld. “SCF plans to offer general education courses leading to an A.A. degree as well as workforce degrees and certificates that are relevant and will benefit students and employers in the region.”

The population in SCF’s new service area is nearly 40,000 and continually increasing, according to county data. The Manatee County School Board has purchased 95 acres directly across the street from the SCF property to build a new 334,000-square-foot high school to open in 2019. SCF Parrish will be easily accessible to students, meeting another strategic priority of increasing student enrollment and retention rates. It also will provide accessibility and expanded opportunities for dual enrollment students.

“SCF will collaborate with the community to make sure SCF Parrish meets the needs of the surrounding area and our greater Manatee and Sarasota communities,” added Probstfeld.

The addition of SCF Parrish has been the vision of President Probstfeld since her inauguration in November 2013. This vision foresees SCF being at the center of the economic, educational and cultural life of the community. SCF’s 2015-2020 Strategic Plan also sets bold goals that ensure open access to all students, a concierge-style student experience and curriculum and programs responsive to workforce needs.