Spectrum Summer 2021

On the Cover

As seen from the Longmire Building’s south entrance, the historic and peaceful Mina Jo Powell Alumni Green beckons students, faculty, and alumni alike to emerge from the isolation of the pandemic and rejoin the thriving Florida State community. In 1950, this lawn hosted the last of nearly 50 years of commencement ceremonies. Today, it remains a gathering place and serene setting for special occasions. Photo by McKenzie Harris. Photo editing by Tom Morgan.

Alumna Jasmin Graham is a shark-saving superhero bringing new perspectives to marine science

For many, “shark” conjures images of fearsome predators. In reality, sharks are a large, complex group of elasmobranch fish essential to the vitality of Earth’s oceans. There are more than 1,000 known species of sharks and rays, from behemoths like the whale shark to the palm-sized dwarf lanternshark.

Biological Science | Spectrum Summer 2021
Alumnus Ryan Benk helps create one of America’s most popular morning news programs

Ryan Benk came to Florida State University because he wanted to learn how to tell stories. He did and has since found tremendous career success, just not in the medium he would have guessed before his time in Tallahassee.

English | Spectrum Summer 2021
Attorney and Grad Made Good Neil St. John Rambana guides immigrants on the path to citizenship

When the time came for Neil St. John Rambana to choose where he would attend college, he wasn’t just seeking a good education. He was also looking for a lifestyle change.

English | Spectrum Summer 2021
FSU alumna Jessica Hensley uses statistical skills to help Olympic athletes excel

As the eyes of the world turn to Tokyo for the Olympic Games this summer, the hard work of Florida State University alumna Jessica Hensley will take center stage. The former collegiate athlete is not competing in the games, but conducting key statistical analysis for Team USA in her role as a data analyst for the United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee.

Statistics | Spectrum Summer 2021
The students of “FSU Weather” are ready for their close-up

Turn on your TV in Tallahassee any weekday around 6 p.m. and you’ll likely see meteorology students from Florida State University’s Department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science hard at work in front of the greenscreen. The “FSU Weather” show, which broadcasts live on 4FSU and also streams on YouTube, gives students interested in broadcast meteorology a chance to put their on-air skills to the test.

Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Science | Spectrum Summer 2021
Sam McLoughlin explores demographic and political elements shaping America’s modern religious landscape

In 2016, Sam McLoughlin experienced a political awakening. While McLoughlin, a Lake Mary, Fla., native, had cycled through a selection of dream jobs growing up — being a veterinarian, a chef, or a journalist all held appeal — none of them stuck. Political science, however, was a different story.

Religion | Spectrum Summer 2021
Unconquered Scholars Program supports formerly at-risk students in pursuit of an FSU degree

"When I was battling homelessness, I felt like Atlas, the ancient Greek Titan, carrying the world on his shoulders, as I tried to hold myself and my family together,” said Isaac Parfait. Thanks to the Florida State University Unconquered Scholars Program and his own determination to succeed, Parfait, a 2020 alumnus of the Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, now works in Chicago for Three Point Media, a digital production firm for state and national political ads.

Florida State News | Spectrum Summer 2021
Hamidreza Rahmani’s biophysics research may pave the way for new heart treatments

What can a water bug tell us about the human heart? The answer could one day save your life. Physics doctoral candidate and interdisciplinary researcher Hamidreza Rahmani is analyzing flight muscle contractions of a Thai giant water bug, Lethocerus indicus, because of its similarities to human heart muscles.

Physics, Biological Science, IMB | Spectrum Summer 2021
As the pandemic passes the one-year mark, FSU continues to lead in the fight against COVID-19

When the sun rose over the Donald L. Tucker Civic Center in Tallahassee April 17, the air crackled with anticipation. For the first time in over a year, Florida State University was hosting in-person commencement ceremonies.

Florida State News | Spectrum Summer 2021
Arts and Sciences student affairs professionals help FSU students finish strong

Kirstin Soper was instantly captivated by Florida State University’s one-of-a-kind campus and its overwhelming sense of community. Her first impression was one shared by many incoming freshmen: a feeling she had just found her new home.

College News | Spectrum Summer 2021
Alumnus Clay Ingram returns to campus as FSU’s chief lobbyist

Like many Florida State alumni, Clay Ingram first became a Seminole standing next to his mailbox, reading a letter. The difference, however, was Ingram’s letter arrived when he was a junior in high school. And it came from Bobby Bowden.

Florida State News, College News | Spectrum Summer 2021
Postdoctoral scholars contribute to Florida State’s research excellence

Roberta Tatti is essential to the research pursuits in Florida State’s interdisciplinary Program in Neuroscience, but she’s not a faculty member. Or a staff member. Or a student. Tatti and nearly 250 other researchers at FSU hold a role unlike any other at the university — they are postdoctoral scholars.

Florida State News, College News | Spectrum Summer 2021