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Clarence J. Banks

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Clarence J. Banks Finance associate, Asset Management at Prudential Financial Management with a Finance and Banking Concentration, 2014 2014 Presidential Leadership Award recipient   “DSU and the College of Business molded me and helped me grow into a young professional.”   DSU: What made you decide to major in your field of study? CLARENCE: Fall semester of my freshman year I realized that nursing [original major] wasn't what I wanted to do or my passion. I spoke with Mrs. Janet McCrea in the College of Business Advisement Center and changed my major to Business Management, concentration in Marketing. I went to the Business Forums and found out about different clubs. I joined the Investment Club because it sounded interesting. I met a senior, Shohaj Khan, who enlightened me about finding your niche. I loved numbers, business and the concept of finance. I then changed my concentration to Finance & Banking.   DSU: What was your overall experience like as a student at DSU? CLARENCE: I loved my experience as a student at DSU. It was the best four years of my life that I would not change. As I look back at old resumes and pictures, I see how much I have grown as a person and a professional. Sometimes I wonder how successful I would be if I went to a bigger school where I wouldn't interact act with students and the faculty as much as I did at DSU. There are many opportunities at this institution, and it is continuing to grow. I am a proud alumnus of The Delaware State University.   DSU: How were you involved on campus as a student? CLARENCE: I was very involved on campus – a Senior Resident Assistant, Aspire Scholar, president of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, chairperson of the Accounting & Finance Club, chapter treasurer of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc., former treasurer of the Men's Council and, most importantly, a mentor.   DSU: What advice would you have for a student looking to find success in your field? CLARENCE: I would tell a fellow student to get the most experience you can get, even if it is unpaid. Make sure you get something out of everything you do – whether it's learning more about your major and what you really want to do in life or simply building your professional network. The opportunities are available, you just have to work for it and do your best once someone gives you a chance. Make the most out of all internships and things you do on campus.      

Charles D. McMillan, DVM

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Charles D. McMillan, DVM Veterinarian, Red Bank Veterinary Hospital Pre-Veterinary Science, 2004   “Delaware State helped prepare me for a career in veterinary medicine by being a place that facilitated and rewarded individuality, creative thought and hard work.”   After graduating from DSU with a Bachelor of Science degree, Charles D. McMillan went on to obtain a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 2012 from Tuskegee School of Veterinary Medicine. DSU: What made you decide to major in your field of study? CHARLES: This remains the most common question I get asked and continues to be the most difficult one to answer. The story is kind of boring – or romantic – depending on how you look at it. I can say with absolute certainty that becoming a veterinarian was the only thing I have ever wanted to be. I believe veterinary medicine is a career that many people are infatuated with but one that only chooses a few. Stated differently, I feel the field chose me and I am truly blessed to be doing something that I am meant to do. I love veterinary medicine.   DSU: What was your experience like as a student at DSU? What memories do you have from your time on campus? CHARLES: I have many fond memories of my time at DSU but want to reserve this time to mention a man who means the world to me and was the single most integral part of my success outside of my parents. Dr. Richard Barcewski was my academic advisor and professor in over a half dozen courses throughout my time at DSU. Dr. B, which is how most of us referred to him, cared and nurtured my ambitions. He has a kind and warm spirit and made me believe my goals were not only possible but that he could not envision anyone else who better deserved to achieve them.   DSU: How were you involved as a student on campus? CHARLES: I was involved on campus with the U.S. Department of Agriculture lab. I worked in that laboratory with some amazing people for over two years. In addition to this, I played football for two years for the Hornets.   DSU: What advice would you have for a student looking to find success in your field? CHARLES: The best advice I can give to students looking to embark on a career in veterinary medicine, or any career, would be to become invested in your career choice. Learn all that you can about your future career – from expectations to limitations. Love your choice so much that you are willing to do it for free (internships, externships, volunteering) if not only for a little while, for the insight and experience gained is priceless!  

Brenda Silvils '77 helps young girls reach their full potential

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Alumna Brenda L. Silvils works to bless others in the same way she was blessed. Brenda Silvils ’77 launched a financial systems upgrade firm, BLS Consulting, in 1998 and the nonprofit Free2Rise Educational Foundation in 2011. Two other DSU alumni are also part of the Free2Rise foundation: Kisha Webster '95 is its program director, and Helen Mitchell '77 is a board member. Silvils was not raised by a traditional mother and father, but instead was brought up by a succession of loving great-grandparents, aunts and uncles. During her undergraduate years at then-Delaware State College, she was fortunate to have several Del State faculty members and administrators who were surrogate parent figures who shared their wisdom and kept a watchful eye for her. Because she understands the benefit of having positive and nurturing people who helped her navigate life from childhood to her early adult years, Silvils has established a foundation in the greater Washington, D.C., area to provide young girls there with adult angels to help them make something of themselves. Silvils’ Free2Rise Educational Foundation is a nonprofit organization committed to enriching the lives of girls in grades 6-8. The organization was originally established in 2011 to help girls who are children without natural parents, but over its first few years it has expanded to include other girls who come from challenging circumstances such as single-parent homes. Guided by the “FREE” acronym of preparing girls to become Forever Responsible, Educated and Empowered to rise to their full potential, the foundation does so by providing advocacy, educational enrichment, life skills guidance, cultural exposure and travel experiences. “If young girls don’t have angels show up in their lives to guide them, then they are at risk at never becoming all that they can be,” Silvils said. Having had a “village” of family, friends and Del State folks helping to steer her life in the right direction from her childhood in her native Milford, Del., to her undergraduate years in Dover, she graduated from DSC in 1977 with a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education. She affectionately notes several Del State personalities who were especially supportive of her during her undergraduate years — such as Jethro C. Williams, the then-admissions director, sociology faculty member Ernestine Brittingham (“who was my surrogate mother”) and Dr. Richard Wynder, dean of students (“he was known as the Godfather”). “There were others as well,” Silvils said. “Delaware State College was a very nurturing place.” Her professional life, however, did not manifest itself as a school teacher. Career in financial systems upgrades Following a short stint with a Philadelphia law firm and an unsuccessful attempt to settle in Atlanta, she returned to the Mid-Atlantic region in 1979, where the road to her professional calling began with Computer Science Corporation (CSC), where she started as a project accountant and progressed to the post of assistant controller during 15 years with the company. During her CSC years, she became well-skilled in accounting and the implementation of financial systems upgrades. After she left CSC, she completed her MBA/International Business degree at George Washington University. She then worked from 1995-1998 for INTERSAT (International Telecommunications Satellite Organization), where she became astutely proficient in working with Oracle technology applications for financial systems upgrades. Confident that it was time to launch her own financial systems upgrade firm, she established BLS Consulting in late 1998. Over the last 16 years, she has become a sought-after consultant for financial system upgrade work using Oracle software technology, tackling projects for companies such as the Ciena Corporation, GE Global Exchange, IBM, SERCO/Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp., the Government Printing Office, The MIL Corporation and several others. Some projects can be completed in a few months, while others are multi-year endeavors. “I can only do one project at a time,” she said. “Once the project is done, I have to find a new project.” She added, however, that because of the track record she has established, companies frequently seek her out for projects. Free2Rise and other DSU alumni While continuing to make her mark with her BLS Consulting firm, Silvils has found the energy and passion to focus on the girls she supports through Free2Rise. “I believe to whom much is given, much is required,” Silvils said. “It is therefore my charter to identify and provide positive role models and opportunities for young girls who don’t have the benefit of biological parents, as well as for other girls who need help to overcome life obstacles.” Silvils also has some DSU alumni help with her foundation. Helen Mitchell, a friend from the Class of 1977, serves as a board member. Kisha Webster, Class of 1995, is working as the program director for the foundation. Mitchell is the owner of The Meeting Advisor Inc., which plans and coordinates conferences and conventions worldwide. Amid her business professional schedule, she finds time to support the Free2Rise endeavor. “Our mutual friendship (dating back to their DSC freshman year) and knowing how Brenda feels about this cause got me involved, as I share in that passion,” Mitchell said. “To be able to mentor and know this small amount of support could make a big difference, it was a good fit for me.” Webster said she met the Free2Rise founder in 1997 through a charter school where she taught Silvils’ grandson. The commonality of their alma mater and the desire to help young girls create bright futures for themselves formed a shared purpose for the two women. “Since then, she has served as a mentor to me,” said Webster, who graduated from DSU with a bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education. “As a former teacher and assistant principal, she knows that was an area of my life that was purpose driven, and she made me a part of the foundation’s work.” Webster is now director of education and community engagement for Welcoming Schools, through which she provides professional development training for teachers in the Mid-Atlantic region. Just as she works to provide teachers with the knowledge to achieve the best outcomes for their students, she is also looking to achieve the same with the girls through social, cultural and academic enrichment. “The greatest purpose is for the girls to see that other people are invested in their future,” Webster said. “It takes much more than your family to make you great.” This year, Silvils and her foundation are launching the Inspire Girls2Rise Educational Enrichment Program to provide the reinforcement of academic skills. “We are working primarily with middle school girls, so when they age out, they will know that they are going to college,”  Silvils said. -- Story by Carlos Holmes

Alumni Ambassadors Outreach Day

Alumni Ambassadors Outreach Day and Spring Open House
 

DSU will launch the first-ever Alumni Ambassadors Outreach Day that will be held in conjunction with its Spring Open House from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, April 12, 2014.

Alumni are encouraged to reach out to middle and high school students and bring them to the DSU campus for the event. The prospective students will attend an academic fair in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium, tour the campus and have an opportunity to visit individual academic colleges to meet with faculty and administrators.

Alumni Interviews

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From Ernst & Young to BET, see how some of our alumni are making their mark on the world.
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From Ernst & Young to BET, see how some of our alumni are making their mark on the world.

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See how these alumni are making their mark on the would.   KaLonna D. Maull Supervisor, Perdue Farms Inc.'s, Further Processing Department  BS, Food and Nutritional Sciences, 2010 MS, Food Science, 2012 DSU: What made you decide to major in Food and Nutritional Sciences? KALONNA: I was interested in that major because (a younger family member) was diagnosed with juvenile diabetes. My family's whole focus was on that. read more>   Christina Collins District Sales Manager, Monsanto Agri-Business, 2008 DSU: What made you decide to major in Agri-Business? CHRISTINA: I actually started as a Marketing major, but switched after speaking with a few people in the College of Agriculture. I met the program leader of DSU’s Cooperative Extension, which helps urban youth get involved in agriculture, who got me thinking about Agri-Business. read more>   Tony Anderson Digital Journalist, BET Mass Communications, 2007 DSU: How did you first decide to come to Delaware State? TONY: Well, I had been accepted to a few colleges, but I didn’t really know what I wanted to do coming out of high school. Like most young people, I didn’t really have much direction as to what my future would be.  read more>   Ralph Wesley P.A. Announcer for the Washington Wizards; Voice-Over Artist Mass Communications, 2005 DSU: How did you originally decide to come to Delaware State? RALPH: I visited the campus while I was in high school; I believe it was 2000. I really wanted to see the Department of Mass Communications, and one of the students took us around the facility and showed us everything.  read more>   Erika Grant Audit Intern, Ernst & Young; Accepted in Vanguard’s Acceleration into Financial Professionals Program Accounting, 2012 DSU: You’re at an internship with Ernst & Young now, preparing for a full-time position with Vanguard. How’d you get into the field? ERIKA: One thing that definitely helped was the size of the accounting program at DSU. Our graduating accounting class was only about 15 students, so we were a little bit more close-knit. Since we were all from different areas, we had a wide variety of networks and contacts to share.  read more>   Alicia Reed Staff Development Coordinator, Pinnacle Rehabilitation  Nursing, 2007 DSU: Can you talk a little bit about your experience in the Nursing Program? ALICIA: The biggest thing I enjoyed about the program is that it’s designed to give students a lot of real-world experience. I started clinicals my sophomore year, working directly with the nurses and patients in different facilities.  read more>   Jenel Cobb Project Manager, Niiki Pharma Biology, 2003 DSU: How did you originally decide to come to Delaware State? JENEL: In the spring of 1999, I believe, I went on a tour of a few Historically Black Colleges and Universities. I loved the overall feeling of Delaware State. I remember thinking that the campus itself was beautiful, and that the students seemed to really be enjoying themselves there.  read more>   Deondra Short Student Trainee, Department of Defense Forensic Biology, 2012  DSU: You’re beginning your career with an exciting position at the Department of Defense. How did you get started on this path?  DEONDRA: Actually from the moment I started out freshman year, I had freshman seminar classes that helped in the area of professional development. I was able to build a resume that detailed all of my skills and areas of expertise, which put me in the mindset to start preparing for my career.  read more>    

Pride Tours Registration

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It’s all about Pride!

The 2013 Pride Tours are underway and DSU is coming to your town!

DSUAA Legacy Hall of Fame Mixer

The Delaware State University Alumni Association Cordially Invites You to Support the

Legacy Hall of Fame Mixer

Friday, October 17, 2014
(Homecoming Weekend)
9:00 pm to 1:00 am
Delaware State University
Bank of America Building Lobby

Tickets: $25.00 per person
Net proceeds to benefit the Endowed Alumni Legacy Scholarship Fund