Campus Life

UWF College of Professional Studies honors first class of Emerge Scholars

The University of West Florida College of Professional Studies recognized the eight students who will be the first to graduate as “Emerge Scholars” today during a faculty forum.

“The Emerge Program offers students in the College of Professional Studies opportunities to extend their education beyond the walls of the classroom and to apply their knowledge in real-life learning activities,” said Dr. Stacie Whinnery, interim dean of the College. “Emerge students participate in high-impact experiences and professional skill development designed to prepare them to ‘hit the ground running’ as they move into careers and/or continue their education.”

Each of the students participated in the Emerge Program, which was developed to help College of Professional Studies faculty design and utilize high impact practices, such as collaborative assignments and projects, diversity/global learning and learning communities, which deepen student learning and engagement. By using a combination of techniques, these practices raise levels of performance, retention and success for all students.

Students who have earned the distinction of “Emerge Scholar” include:

  • Chandler Carney, B.A. Legal Studies
  • Michaelangelo Alvernia, Sports Management
  • Deborah Elliot, B.S. Hospitality Management
  • Anika Langaigne, B.A. Social Work
  • Sarah Olive-Smith, B.A. Legal Studies
  • Deborah Rentfrow Flynn, B.S. Hospitality Management
  • Sharee Rosado, B.A. Education
  • Wanda Dannette Wallace, Master of Social Work

As part of the Emerge Program, the students were required to participate in two high impact practice experiences and complete reflection pieces, which they presented at conferences, the UWF Student Scholar Symposium or Emerge Faculty Forums.

The College of Professional Studies collaborated with the UWF Career Services and Leadership and Service departments to develop professional skill requirements for Emerge Scholars, focusing on leadership, social responsibility and career development.

The students were required to complete professional skill experiences and reflect on them through a series of papers; complete a career development tool kit, containing a resume, cover letter, references and letters of recommendation; and present at a mock interview event.

To earn her designation as an Emerge Scholar, Carney completed an internship with the local law firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Procter, P.A. She was also chosen to participate in an immersive study abroad experience in Japan in May.

“Participating in the Emerge Program was the most valuable learning experience I gained at UWF,” Carney said. “I was able to gain real-world connections and learn new skills through my internship, and I am looking forward to experiencing a different culture and engaging in service learning projects during my trip to Japan. Being an Emerge Scholar has allowed me to distinguish myself among other college graduates.”

After graduation, Alvernia plans to work for a professional sports team in a major U.S. city. During his time at UWF, he worked with a team of four other students to develop engaging activities for children attending the UWF Argo Kids Camp and completed a field experience with the Blue Wahoos. He also served as the vice president of the Sports Management Club. Through his involvement with the Emerge Program, Alvernia said he was able to utilize the knowledge and skills he learned in the classroom in real-world environments.

“The high impact practice projects that were part of the Emerge Program helped me develop close relationships with my professors, and serving as a leader for the Sports Management Club provided me with a close group of friends and a network of peers that will help me throughout my life and my career,” he said. “The experience I gained professionally through my field experience with the Blue Wahoos and my work with Argo Kids Camp was also a great way to apply what I’ve learned in the classroom, and to show me that I have learned the skills I need to succeed after graduation.”

For additional information about the Emerge Program, visit