May 2014


DSU Dean and Doctoral Student Recognized by NASA

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(L-r) Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and optics doctoral student Alissa Mezzacappa have been included in NASA's Group Achievement Award in recognition of the ChemCam Team's work on the Mars Curiosity Rover mission.

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As members of NASA’s Mars Science Laboratory ChemCam Instrument Development & Science Team, DSU’s Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and doctoral student Ms. Alissa Mezzacappa have received one of NASA’s Highest Honor Awards – the Group Achievement Award.    The ChemCam team has received this award “For exceptional achievement defining ChemCam’s scientific goals and requirements, developing the instrument and investigation, and operating ChemCam successfully on Mars.”   This NASA Honor Award is presented to a number of carefully selected teams who have distinguished themselves by making outstanding contributions to the NASA mission.   Dr. Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, as well as vice president for Research, Innovation and Economic Development, along with Ms. Mezzacappa, a Ph.D. candidate in optics, have been active members of the ChemCam team and have assisted in the analysis of data sent back from the Curiosity Rover that has been on Mars since August 2012.   The ChemCam (Chemistry and Camera suite), one of 10 instruments on the Curiosity, is being used to study the soil and rocks at each place the rover stops. The ChemCam shoots an infrared laser – more than a million watts of power – at various rock surfaces on the planet. The resulting light is read by the unit’s spectrometer and the data is sent back to earth.

DSU Announces 2014 Faculty Excellence Award Recipients

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The 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients and categories: Dr. Dawn Lott (university/community service), Dr. Jung-Lim Lee (research and creative activity), Dr. Raymond Tutu (teaching), and Dr. Clytrice Watson (advising).

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Delaware State University has named four faculty members as the institution’s 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients.   The University has selected the below faculty members in the following categories of Teaching, Research/Creative Activities, University/Community Service and Advising:   Faculty Excellence in Teaching Dr. Raymond Tutu, assistant professor of history, political science and philosophy, has become noted for his student-centered teaching philosophy that inspires innovative and critical thinking. His teaching methods include class interactive discussions, field trips, seminars, and oral presentations and the use of appropriate technology. Regarding program and curriculum development, through the inclusion of a Geographical Information System he has revised the Population Analysis elective course in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice. He and another colleague were awarded a DSU PRIDE Grant to further enhance and integrate the University’s internationalization through curriculum development and student/faculty exchanges. Dr. Tutu contributed to student enrichment activities through a grant awarded him by the U.S. Institute of Peace Public Education for Peace-Building for a guest lecture series on the Arab Spring. Dr. Tutu has also been a co-advisor to the African Students Association. His participation in workshops organized by the Association of American Colleges and Universities is a demonstration of his involvement in teaching development activities. He has developed a tool for evaluating global competence among students (the first results would be presented by one of the students he mentored during Honors Day in April 2014).   Faculty Excellence in Research and Creative Activities Dr. Jung-Lim Lee, assistant professor of food and nutritional sciences, has been an exemplary faculty member in the Department of Human Ecology. To initiate actual research activities in the Human Ecology Department, he set up the department’s first laboratory named “Food Microbiology lab” in 2011. Dr. Jung-Lim Lee has been successful in attracting funds to support his research endeavors. Of the 15 grant proposals he has submitted, eight have been successfully funded, resulting in a just over $1.4 million in federal grants for DSU.   In two years (between 2011 and 2013), Dr. Lee published five peer-reviewed articles; he currently has four manuscripts under review. Additionally, he has been invited to two international conferences as a guest speaker and has presented five posters at professional meetings as a representative of DSU. As a research advisor, Dr. Lee has trained and mentored a total of 17 undergraduate and graduate students through various projects. Two graduate students received a 2nd place award in oral presentation at the Associated Research Directors (ARD) meeting in 2013 and in poster presentation at the DSU graduate research symposium in 2012 respectively, and one undergraduate student was awarded 1st place in oral competition at the ARD meeting in 2013.   Faculty Excellence in University and Community Service Dr. Dawn Lott, professor of mathematics, has demonstrated a commitment to service that is easily seen in the multiple roles she has served in her department and college as well as on the University level. While she has served on numerous committees for her Department of Mathematics and her College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, she has also served the University on the: Excellence Award Committee, Living-Learning COMMONS Committee, Provost Council, Student Affairs Strategic Planning Committee and University Strategic Planning Council. In addition, Dr. Lott has been the director of the DSU Honors Program since 2009, in which she has created a four-year Honors Program curriculum that allows students to integrate honors courses into their departmental academic schedule.   Outside of DSU, she served as a reviewer in numerous journals in her field; she also belongs to many professional associations, including the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Mentor Network, Institute for Broadening Participation, Mathematics Association of America (MAA), Committee on Minority Participation in Mathematics and others.   Faculty Excellence in Advising   Dr. Clytrice Watson, associate professor of biological sciences, has made advising and mentoring a major focal point of her DSU tenure, which began in 2006. In addition to serving as an academic advisor, she has advised students – ranging from high school to graduate – in scientific research. Tracking the success of her students has been critical in improving her advising and mentoring practices to ensure that she provides her students with the adequate tools they need to succeed beyond DSU.   Dr. Watson is the primary advisor for forensic biology majors and minors, an academic program she was instrumental in developing. She keeps diligent records for all of her advisees and tracks their progress through their curriculum from their freshman year until graduation and beyond. She provides extended hours during pre-registration to ensure students are adequately advised. Students received an email directing them to make their advisement appointment two weeks prior to the pre-registration period. Dr. Watson has a well-established advisement meeting process, in which students prepare a draft of their schedule for Dr. Watson’s review, which leads into discussion about any academic difficulties and the plan for the following year.   The 2014 Faculty Excellence Award recipients were honored during a May 29 luncheon hosted by DSU President Harry L. Williams and Provost Alton Thompson. Each recipient received a monetary award of $2,500.  

Gov. Markell Appoints DSU's Dr. Heckscher to Natural Areas Council

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell has appointed Dr. Christopher Heckscher, DSU assistant professor of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, to serve as a member of the Delaware Natural Areas Advisory Council (DNAAC).   As an eight-member council created by state law, the DNAAC advises the cabinet secretary of the Delaware Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) on the administration of nature preserves and the preservation of natural areas.   As a governor’s appointment, Dr. Heckscher had to go through a state Senate confirmation hearing on March 26, during which time he received the legislators’ approval to serve on the council.   “In the field of conservation and the environment, it is a prestigious appointment,” Dr. Heckscher said, adding that he believes he is the first DSU faculty member to be appointed to the DNAAC.   Dr. Heckscher is both an entomologist (one who studies insects) and an ornithologist (one who studies birds).  Last year, he gained some notoriety within the entomology science community when he discovered a new species of firefly – Photuris mysticalampas –  which he substantiated in a published peer-reviewed paper.   In addition to his firefly research, he has also broken new ground in the study of the previously unknown migration patterns of the Veery songbird.   Dr. Heckscher has been a DSU faculty member since 2008.

2014 President's Society Reception -- Photo Slideshow

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A group of DSU alumni pose in front of a NASCAR racer that was parked in front of the MLK Student Center where the President's Society Reception took place.

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Delaware State University honored its President’s Society-level donors – who contribute $1,000 or more annually to the University for scholarships – during a May 29 reception in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.For images from the President’s Society Reception, click on the below photo slideshow:

DSU Receives $1.4M Grant for West Africa Project

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The USDA Foreign Agricultural Service has enlisted a team of DSU faculty members to provide technical expertise in researching and evaluating ongoing USDA projects in the West Africa region DSU ASSESS Team: (l-r) Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, Dr. Samuel Besong, Dr. Marikis Alvarez (principal investigator) Dr. Albert Essel and Dr. Michael Casson. The team has been awarded a five-year, $1.4 million USDA grant to evaluate U.S. government agriculture, environmental and trade programs in 21 countries of West Africa. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is providing the DSU faculty team with a $1.4 million grant over five years as part of its “Analytical Support Services and Evaluations for Sustainable Systems in Agriculture, Environment and Trade (ASSESS)” program. The program is a partnership between DSU, University of Rhode Island and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana. Dr. Marikis Alvarez, associate dean for research in the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences, is the principal investigator, heading a DSU team that includes: Dr. Albert Essel, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the Department of Human Ecology; Dr. Hankoua Bertrand, senior research scientist; and Dr. Michael Casson, director of the University Center for Economic Development and International Trade. As part of the ASSESS Program, the DSU team will evaluate the impact of U.S. government projects related to agriculture, the environment and trade in 21 countries of West Africa.  The team will assist in the development of a Regional Center of Excellence, which will be a facility in Ghana where monitoring and evaluation training will be given to West African countries. Dr. Alvarez said the information gathered through the evaluation process will be used in future USDA Foreign Agricultural Service decisions and policy making. “This project is catalyzing an interdisciplinary approach in its implementation by using DSU’s relevant expertise from diverse areas,” Dr. Alvarez said. He added that the project will help DSU build additional internal capacity for such activities, as well as provide the University some leverage that could result in future significant grants.

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