December 2013


NASA's ChemCam Team Meets at DSU to Discuss Mars Findings

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(L-r) Four scientists -- (l-r) Dr. Lionel D'Uston of the Centre des Etudes Spatiales et Planetaires, France; DSU graduate student Alissa Mezzacappa; Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, DSU professor of physics; and Dr. Ben Clark of the Space Science Institute, Colorado – all members of NASA’s ChemCam Team, work during a recent meeting of the Mars mission scientists at DSU.

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This group of scientists are part of NASA's ChemCam Team, which met at DSU on the week of Dec. 16 to discuss the latest findings from the Mars Curiosity mission. Over the last 17 months, the Curiosity Rover has been on Mars sending back data from its exploration of the Red Planet. Recently members of the ChemCam Team of the Mars Science Laboratory Team met at Delaware State University to discuss the latest findings from that exploration. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, who is a member of the Curiosity ChemCam Team, hosted a week of meetings Dec. 15-20 of about 32 ChemCam scientists – which is the group NASA has established to oversee the laser and remote micro-imager on the Curiosity. Dr. Melikechi is the dean of DSU’s College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology, the University’s vice president for research, innovation and economic development, professor of physics and the founder of DSU Optics Program. Curiosity landed on Mars in August 2012 and has been sending data back ever since. “The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the data that the ChemCam collects on a daily basis,” Dr. Melikechi said. “We are also planning for the measurements that will be taken in the future on Mars.” Also participating on the ChemCam team and in the meetings is Alissa Mezzacappa, a DSU graduate student. ChemCam is the laser-based technology on the Curiosity Rover. The ChemCam shoots an infrared laser – more than a million watts of power – at rock surfaces on the planet. The resulting light is read by the unit’s spectrometer, data that is sent back to the scientists on earth. The ChemCam utilizes a technology called laser-induced spectroscopy, which has been used to determine the composition of objects in extreme environments such as nuclear reactors and on the sea floor. However, this is the first time the technology has been used in space exploration. The mission has already provided the scientists with a wealth of new information about Mars. In the September issue of the journal Science, an article entitled “Soil Diversity and Hydration as Observed by ChemCam at Gale Crater, Mars” revealed that significant traces of water have been found in the Martian soil. Dr. Melikechi was a co-author of the article.

The President's Open House for Students -- Photo Slideshow

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Dr. Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams greet a young one from the Child Development Lab during their annual Christmas Open House for students.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams the University’s First Lady Robin Williams opened up their residence to students on Dec. 5 for their annual Christmas Open House. For images of the event at the President’s Residence, click on the below photo slideshow:

DSU Social Work Receives Affordable Health Care Act Grant

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Frances Livingston, MSW student, Takeya Perez and LaQuinta Stanford, both of the Delaware Division of Health & Social Services, Josephine Seals, MSW, Tara Paratovi, consultant, Kimberly Williams, MSW, and Aaron Holman, consultant, all take a photo op break from an Affordable Health Care Act training session.

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The Department of Social Work has been awarded a grant in the amount of $183,500 to train selected state employees about the Affordable Health Care Act.    The training will ensure that the service centers provide accurate information to Delaware residents regarding eligibility for insurance under the legislation and various plans from which they can choose to obtain affordable insurance.   The Department of Social Work has hired three Marketplace Trainers who will work out of Canby State Service Center in Wilmington, the Department of Labor in Dover and the Adams Service Center in Georgetown, DE. When necessary, the staff will also assist the state service centers in registering and enrolling consumers in qualified health insurance plans.    A part-time program manager will work with Dr. Marlene Saunders, chair of the DSU Department of Social Work, and the project staff to ensure smooth operations.

Despite Snow, DSU Choirs Perform Dec. 8 Concert -- Photo Slideshow

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The DSU Choirs refused to let the weather stop their concert, much to the appreciation of the 70 people that attended the event.

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The Dec. 14 snowstorm threatened to cancel the scheduled DSU Choirs “Gloria” concert, but the choir decided that it could not disappoint the 70-some people that braved the icy road condition to attend the event. Despite the absence of the Phillos Brass group – who could not get out of Philadelphia on Sunday – the DSU Choirs performed what songs they could for the enjoyment of all in attendance at the EH Theater. For images from the DSU Choirs concert, click on the below photo slideshow.

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