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DSU recognized for its military friendliness

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For the third time, Delaware State University is among the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools nationwide named to G.I. Jobs’ Military Friendly Schools list, joining a select group of just over 1,700 institutions out of 12,000 VA-approved schools recognized in 2013 for the support, flexibility and value they offer to active duty military, veterans and their dependents. What makes DSU most unique is that it has a dedicated Office of Veterans Affairs. “It’s one of the benefits we have that most universities don’t,” said Wendelin Henry, who as Veterans Affairs coordinator assists the more than 100 veteran, active duty, National Guard and Reserve, and military dependent students enrolled each semester with all aspects of their DSU journeys. This includes everything from helping to make the application and registration process easier to assisting with understanding how military benefits may translate into college benefits to providing advocacy, coordinating services and encouraging involvement in campus activities. Education benefits  For eligible military students or dependents, DSU’s Office of Veterans Affairs offers personal attention in managing and administering education benefit programs, including Active Duty, the Post 9/11 Montgomery GI Bill, the Yellow Ribbon Program, Vocational Rehabilitation, Selected Reserves, and Survivors’ and Dependents’ Educational Assistance. At DSU, eligible military students who enroll are awarded six elective credits based on their discharge papers. DSU also recognizes the American Council on Education-recommended college credits for professional military education, training courses and occupational experience of service members and veterans. Active duty military students receive in-state tuition, as do National Guard and Reserve members who are stationed in Delaware, Henry said. DSU has entered an agreement with the Department of Veterans Affairs to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program of the Post 9/11 GI Bill. The University matches the VA up to 50 percent of unmet out-of-state tuition and fee charges for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students eligible for Yellow Ribbon. Also under the Post 9/11 program, eligible military students attending DSU’s VA-approved Flight School may currently receive up to $10,970 in tuition and fees per academic year. Advocacy, counseling and activities In addition to financial assistance, the Office of Veterans Affairs works with military students to encourage academic success, positive social interaction on campus and overall enhancement of their experience, making sure their distinctive needs are met while at DSU. The office coordinates vocational, educational and professional counseling, evaluation of abilities and aptitudes, tutoring and rehabilitative services, and VA Work-Study opportunities available from the Department of Veterans Affairs. It initiates contact with military units and commanding officers on a student’s behalf as needed. When a student is deployed, the Office of Veteran Affairs works up front to make sure the readmission process goes “as easy as possible” upon return, Henry said, helping with the transition back to civilian and University life. Henry, herself a retired master sergeant with 21 years of service in the U.S. Air Force at Dover Air Force Base, said it can be a challenge bringing military students — many of whom are nontraditional students with outside lives and families — into campus activities. Though academics are the main focus, the Office of Veteran Affairs tries to get students more involved socially through campus and community events. A military student organization, DSU FORCES, was started in Spring 2011. The FORCES participated in and hosted the first National Roll Call of Operation Enduring Freedom/Operation Iraqi Freedom casualties in November 2011, calling the names of more than 6,000 dedicated service men and women. The Office of Veterans Affairs has an open door policy. In her work with military students, Henry uses a holistic approach, aiming to help students full-circle by easing their transition from the military to a University setting and then continuing to assist during their journeys to graduation. “I try to connect them with all of the services they need from the beginning ... and then follow them to make sure they are succeeding in their academic careers,” she said. For more information about veteran services at DSU, contact Veterans Affairs coordinator Wendelin Henry at 302.857.6376 or whenry@desu.edu.

Class Notes -- Spring 2013

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Alumni participate in College of Business’ Black Executive Exchange Program The College of Business’ annual Black Executive Exchange Program event welcomed keynote speaker Eddie Brown, founder and president of Brown Capital Management and the author of Beating the Odds — Eddie Brown’s Investing and Life Strategies, as well as about 20 visiting business executives who spent the day with students through classroom visits and workshop sessions.  Among the visiting executives were nine DSU alumni: From left are Derek Thompson ’80, Leland Nelson ’96, College of Business Acting Assistant Dean of Undergraduate Programs and Director of the College of Business Advisement Center Lisa Dunning, Ron Pinkett ’84, Kevin Washington ’86, President Harry L. Williams, Eddie Brown, Sherman King ’89, Provost Alton Thompson, College of Business Dean Shelton Rhodes, Enid Wallace-Simms ’74, Jamahal C. Boyd ’97, Ernest Ackah ’99 and S. Renee Smith ’88.   From left, Delores and Dr. Donald Blakey, Patricia Randolph, Gov. Jack Markell, Ruth Shelton and President Harry L. Williams. Alumni Shine in Harriet Tubman Program During an event in which Gov. Jack Markell signed a proclamation making March 10 Harriet Tubman Day in Delaware, DSU alumni represented themselves well through music and dramatic presentations. As a kickoff to 10 days of events celebrating Tubman’s historic contributions as the conductor of the Underground Railroad — which coursed through the First State — the proclamation signing was part of a program at the Old Statehouse in Dover. During the program, alumnus Dr. Donald Blakey ’58 gave some relevant black history of the central Delaware area, and his wife and alumna Delores Blakey ’62 portrayed the conductor of the Underground Railroad. The Blakeys were joined later by alumna Ruth Shelton ’96 and Pat Randolph ’69 as part of the Don Del Interdenominational Choir and gave a music selection during the program.   1987 Roslyn Wyche-Hamilton — best-selling author of Finding Joy In Pain, published in 2009, and Finding Joy In Pain 2, published in 2010, received a book deal with Kensington Urban Soul in New York City. Finding Joy In Pain 3 will be in bookstores soon. Wyche-Hamilton graduated from then-Delaware State College with a degree in Accounting and Business Administration.  She has a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Wilmington University. 1991 Alisha Broughton of Milton, Del., was named the winner of a Jefferson Award, a prestigious national recognition system honoring community and public service in America. As part of the award’s local recognition, she was featured on WBOC-TV Channel 16 in February. Broughton has volunteered more than 1,000 hours in 18 months, including service at the Family Outreach Center Lincoln, Del., where she tutors children in the Milford and Cape Henlopen school districts; she conducts workshops such as bullying, teen pregnancy, domestic violence, study habits, scholarship assistance and more.  Broughton also volunteers at Children and Families First as a trainer.  She has taught classes in  effective interviewing, job placement and how to start a business. She also does seminars each month titled “Seminars by Alisha Broughton, to teach women and men tools for daily living.” Broughton received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism/Mass Communication from Delaware State University, a master’s degree in Education from Wilmington University and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership (Education) and Business Management.   1994 From left are Brice Watson, a United Airlines pilot and 1994 DSU Aviation Program graduate; Matthew Jones, a senior Aviation Management major and winner of a DSU speech contest on the topic of Tuskegee Airmen; and George Watson Sr., Brice Watson’s grandfather and an original Tuskegee Airman (maintenance mechanic). The Watsons spoke to a group of DSU Aviation students at the Aviation Program’s hangar in March. 1997 Michelle Smith-Sample was named laboratory director at Heritage Medical Center in Shelbyville, Tenn. In her new position, she oversees the hospital’s laboratory, chemistry, hematology, coagulation, serology, microbiology and blood bank. Smith-Sample was previously the area manager for the Eastern Shore for Laboratory Corporation of America in Salisbury, Md. She received an AAS & BT in medical technology, a Bachelor of Science in Biology/Medical Technology from Delaware State University and a Master of Science in Management from Wilmington University. She is currently working on her second master’s degree in Health Care Administration. Sharon N. Williams joined the Central District Forum for Arts & Ideas in Seattle, Wash., this year as its managing director. Williams graduated from Delaware State University with a Bachelor of Arts in Television Production and in 2000 with a Master of Business Administration. Williams is the founder of the Mahogany Project, a theater and film organization in Seattle. 1999 Ernest Ackah is the owner of Boss Barbershop in Dover, Del. He previously  worked as an investment accountant, including nine years at BNY Mellon —  previously PFPC (PNC GIS) — in Wilmington, Del., where he held supervisory positions. He has also worked at T. Rowe Price in the Baltimore, Md., area where he held a team coordinator position. Already being an accomplished barber, Ackah pursued his passion, opening his barbershop in 2011. Ackah received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Delaware State University. He received a Master of Business Administration from Goldey-Beacom College in 2006.   Clifton Hayes, assistant principal at Howard High School of Technology in Wilmington since 2006, was selected as the 2013 Delaware Secondary Assistant Principal of the Year by the Delaware Association of Secondary School Principals. In addition, he was recently selected as the new principal for Delcastle Technical High School for the upcoming school year. Hayes earned his bachelor’s degrees in Elementary and Special Education from Delaware State University and his master’s degree in Special Education from West Virginia University. He is currently a doctoral candidate at DSU. He was previously a special education teacher in math and social studies at Howard from 2001 to 2004 and a discipline specialist at Delcastle Technical High School from 2004 to 2006.   Kelley Wilson-Everett co-founded Youth Angel Scholars Inc., a 501C3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to help youth ages 13-18 transform in the areas of health, civic service, academics, entrepreneurship and leadership. The Youth Angel Scholars Teen Transformation Program provides a variety of yearlong activities designed to cultivate youth members personally and professionally. In March, the organization held the second annual GEAR Up Career Day Exhibition, providing Philadelphia youth with an interactive approach to entrepreneurship and to GEAR Up (Gain Early Awareness and Readiness) for career success. Jamahal Boyd ’97, the program’s keynote “Scholar Guest,” provided youth participants, exhibitors and parents with a wealth of knowledge about understanding personal branding and using it to develop the “elevator speech” to get the job interview.  He also touched on how attire helps make a great first impression. Aaron Wright has been named the director of operations of the Washington (D.C.) Marriott. With nearly 15 years at Marriott International, Wright previously was director of hotel operations since April 2011 at the Bethesda (Md.) Suites Marriott. He began his career as an intern at the Wilmington (Del.) Downtown Courtyard; upon graduation, Wright joined the Philadelphia Airport Marriott as the assistant restaurant manager. Over the years, he has held multiple management positions including dual assistant general manager of both the Renaissance SouthPark and Marriott SouthPark hotels in Charlotte, N.C. Wright received a Bachelor of Science degree in Hospitality and Tourism Management from Delaware State University. He resides in Maryland with his wife and two sons.

Alice Coleman '66 rebounds from accident, finds career success

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Without a doubt, social work was a career destiny for Alice Smith Coleman. Never mind that during her years at then-Delaware State College from 1962-1966, the institution had not yet established its social work degree programs. Alice Smith Coleman '66 was recently honored by the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Never mind that one week before she was due to walk across the DSC Commencement stage to receive her diploma, her life was irrevocably altered in a car accident near the College that left her in a wheelchair for life. Coleman would go on from that traumatic accident to further her studies and become a wife, a mother of two sons, a lifelong career social work counselor and an earnest community leader. Oh yes, and a very nice person. “She was always a calm and compassionate person,” said Kenneth Burton, a licensed practical nurse who worked with Coleman throughout most of her 38-year career at the Delaware Psychiatric Center (formerly the Delaware State Hospital). “She always went above and beyond as a social worker.” The former Alice Marie Smith’s pictures from the 1966 DSC yearbook reflect a confident student destined for success — as secretary of the Student Government Association, president of the Delta Sigma Theta sorority, a member of the Sociology Club and the editor-in-chief of The Statesman. Coleman’s aspirations were in social work. However, because DSC would not establish its degree program in social work until the 1980s, she majored in sociology, largely under the instruction of Dr. Maurice Thomasson and his wife LaVerne Thomasson, a longtime teaching team in the department. She recalled Dr. Thomasson — who was the department chair — as a very deliberate, but not loud speaker. She recollected there was a lot of “meat” in what he said, so it paid for the students to pay attention. “He didn’t put up with a lot of nonsense,” Coleman said. “You either knew it or you didn’t.” Her future seemed exceedingly bright in the spring of 1966, as she was graduating in the top 10 percent of the class. She had dated her future husband Norwood Coleman ’63 since her freshman year and was engaged to marry him, and she had been accepted to graduate school at Atlanta University. All life systems for her appeared to be go. And then the car accident took place that would challenge all of her promise. Coleman said she doesn’t remember the accident, which took place on U.S. 13 (now also known as DuPont Highway) less than a mile north of the College. She said that her car turned over, which resulted in serious injuries made worse by the people who extricated her from the wreck. “They didn’t immobilize my neck when they took me out of the car,” she said. Taken initially to Kent General Hospital in Dover, where the emergency medical staff seemed doubtful about her chances for survival, she was transferred to the then-Delaware Division of Wilmington Medical Center, where the medical staff was a bit more hopeful. “They told me that I would live only about 10 years,” Coleman said. So as her sister Elizabell Smith (now Massey) walked for her at Commencement, Coleman began her arduous journey to dispel those pessimistic prognostications. Building a life In the days and weeks following the accident, Coleman said she was uplifted by the concerns of the DSC community. “Half the graduating class came to visit me, and so did (DSC President) Dr. Luna Mishoe and his wife,” she said. “There were so many flowers in my room, it was almost like a funeral.” At first, Coleman was paralyzed from the neck down. Her then-fiancé Norwood Coleman — a DSC graduate in music who had joined the Air Force Band and was returning to Delaware from an assignment in Alaska at the time of the accident — noted that even in the state of being in traction as the result of her injuries, her natural social work inclinations manifested themselves. “There just happened to be another DSC student in the same hospital room who had been in a totally different accident (hit by a car) and was extremely emotionally distraught. Even in the state of being in traction, Alice talked to her and tried to calm her down,” Norwood said. He added that soon thereafter, a Spanish-speaking patient who didn’t speak English was moved into her room, and from her bed Alice assisted the doctor by using her college Spanish to help interpret. “People didn’t know if she was going to live or die, and here she was giving of herself,” he said. Eventually some nerve functions began returning in her arms. This helped fuel her desire to overcome her circumstances. “There was talk of putting me in the Delaware Home and Hospital for the rest of my life,” Alice said. “I thought then that there was no way I was not going to do anything, because I had worked so hard.” In considering her options while going through six months of rehabilitation, she knew Atlanta University was out. Its social work department was on a third floor at a time when accessibility for persons with disabilities was not yet a law requirement. Coleman found out about the University of Illinois, where it had a program in which people in wheelchairs were accepted. She applied and was invited to come take a test. “I thought it would be an academic test, but the first thing they asked me to do was to get out of my chair,” Coleman said. “They wanted to see how long it would take and if I could take care of my physical needs. They explained that they don’t cater to people in a wheelchair.” She was accepted and completed her Master of Social Work degree in the spring of 1967. Coleman said she was not only academically fulfilled there. “I learned more about myself in a wheelchair.” Meanwhile, Norwood remained a faithful love in her life. In the weeks following the accident, she told Norwood that there was nothing she could do for him. “I told him that he might as well go find someone else,” Coleman said. “But he didn’t.” The couple was married on March 1, 1969, and went on to produce two sons. “I had friends who told me that because of her injuries, I shouldn’t marry Alice,” Norwood said. “But everything that has happened since has confirmed for me that I made the right decision in marrying her. She was able to take care of her responsibilities as a mother, and between us she was the disciplinarian with our sons. She has always been very focused and determined.” Their oldest, Norwood Jr., would become the third member of the immediate family to graduate from DSU (2006 and 2007), as he followed his mother’s career footsteps by earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees in social work. He is now a clinical supervisor for the Wilmington Child Development Community Policing Program. Their youngest son, Michael, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Florida A&M University and is currently continuing his education and working as a mechanical engineering research associate at Florida State University. Career and community service One month after her wedding, Coleman began working for the Delaware State Hospital as a psychiatric social worker. Any doubts that she could do the work were effectively dispelled, as she would continue there until her retirement in 2007. As a social worker, she was responsible for three units in the hospital; her work involved doing intake assessments, helping patients with discharge planning, as well as doing individual/family counseling and other patients’ services. She noted that her career advancement was helped by her determination not to use her wheelchair-bound circumstances as an excuse to do only so much, but instead to continually try to see what more she could do. Being grateful for the opportunities she had also helped, she added. “There have been some challenges, but I just kept trying,” Coleman said. “If the Lord can bring you to it, He can bring you through it.” That includes the chronic pain she has had to live with from her injuries. Nevertheless, with the exception of some time off to give birth to her two sons and a couple of operations, she missed very little time from work during her 38-year tenure with the Delaware State Hospital. Burton, her work colleague, noted that in working in a mental health facility, Coleman had to often deal with patients who “acted out,” but she always kept her composure. “She never took anything personal, and I never heard her raise her voice or make any derogatory comments in response to such challenges,” Burton said. Coleman’s dedicated service was rewarded in 2004 when she was promoted to director of Social Services, a leadership post she maintained until her retirement. Even in retirement, she has not stopped her dedication to social work. She now operates her own private counseling service out of her Stanton, Del., home, focusing on families, children and marriage counseling. “At the State Hospital, I had to work to get people interested in themselves and their treatment,” she said. “That was different from what I do now, because most of these people (adults) have jobs and they want to deal with their issues.” Throughout her life, Coleman has also been prolific in community service work. She has served on the state’s Workforce Investment Board, Vocational Rehabilitation Council and the Division of the Visually Impaired Council, as well as a panel member of the Delaware Child Death Review Committee. She is a member of the state Advocates for Persons with Disabilities, a former vice president and board member of the United Way of Delaware, a former vice president and former board member of Goodwill, and has been involved in numerous other community service endeavors. She is a member and past president of the Delaware Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, which recently honored her with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Among her other numerous honors is her induction into the Hall of Fame of Delaware Women (2000) and the Living Legacy Award from the Delaware Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women (2011). Looking back, she is glad she didn’t take the easy road after her injuries. “I could have just gone home and my mother and sister would have taken care of me,” Coleman said. “I think people don’t know that no matter what you do, it is only a fraction of what you can do.” -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

Cpl. Nicole Parton '01 is first female Del. State Police helicopter pilot

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A graduate of the DSU Aviation Program has made history with the Delaware State Police. Cpl. Nicole Carol Parton, who under her maiden name Dimon graduated from DSU in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Airways Management (now called Aviation Management), has become the first female helicopter pilot in the history of the state law enforcement agency. Cpl. Nicole Parton of the Delaware State Police graduated from DSU in 2001 with a bachelor's degree in Airways Management. The accomplishment returns Parton to her original aspiration to fly, which began when she first enrolled in the then-DSU Airway Science Program in 1992. Parton — who grew up in a rural area outside of Tunkhannock, Pa. — attended DSU full-time only during her freshman year, but then became a part-time student so she could work full-time. From 1993 to 1998, she worked for Summit Aviation in Middletown, Del., where at that time the DSU Airway Science Program maintained its planes. She then shifted her professional pursuit to law enforcement when she was hired in 1998 as a trooper by the State Police. After successfully completing the DSP Academy, Parton worked the highways and byways of Central Delaware as a trooper. With the State Police, she found a professional niche that she really enjoys. “It is a noble profession, although it can sometimes be a thankless job,” she said. “I know it sounds like a cliché, but just about everyone comes into (police work) because they want to help people.” Parton said she tries to make any contact she has with the public a positive experience — whether it is responding to a complaint, providing assistance, working with victims or even writing a traffic ticket. Yet she never stopped her part-time journey toward a degree. However, she was forced after 1998 to revise her degree emphasis. Although she had earned her private pilot license in 1993, family matters led her to change her degree pursuit from flying (Airway Systems) to Airway Management. “My dad died in 1998,” said Parton, the adopted daughter of Robert and Kelly Dimon. “I switched over to the management side, because it cost less and it was less pressure on my mom.” She would complete that degree at DSU in 2001, and a couple of years later she was promoted to detective in the Domestic Violence and Major Crimes sections of the DSP Troop 3 in Camden. She also began teaching a section at the DSP Police Academy on “Crimes Against Persons.” As she progressed in law enforcement, she also enhanced that career by continuing her progression in aviation. While working as a trooper, she earned her commercial, instrument and helicopter flying ratings. By 2011, a full-time position as a line pilot (helicopter) opened up, and Parton broke a DSP gender line by becoming the first female trooper to fill that post. She has been in career heaven ever since. “I love it,” she said. “I can’t believe I get paid to go to work every day.” The helicopter pilot says that it is an exciting job in which every day is different. “We provide a unique service. We fly the injured to the hospital and we can give them the best chance for survival by getting them there during what we call that ‘golden hour’,” Parton said. “We get to chase bad guys in pursuits from the air.” Through it all, Parton has found time to raise a family. She is married to Alfred Parton, a retired DSP SWAT commander who is currently in Afghanistan as a contractor. Their union has produced one 9-year-old daughter, and Parton is a stepmother to two boys. -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

Col. Nathaniel McQueen '01 makes history in top State Police post

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Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. of the Delaware State Police says the Master of Social Work degree he earned at Delaware State University has helped him deal with countless people issues he is confronted with in law enforcement on a daily basis. His social work knowledge along with the rest of his broad-based law enforcement experience has helped elevate McQueen to a pinnacle of law enforcement — in January he was named by Gov. Jack Markell as the superintendent of the Delaware State Police. Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. of the Delaware State Police graduated from DSU in 2001 with a Master of Social Work degree. In ascending to that top post, McQueen is the first African-American to serve as DSP superintendent. McQueen — who earned a MSW from DSU in 2001 after earning a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Science from Wilmington College in 1996 — is in his 25th year as a state trooper. He said his opportunity to become the highest ranking state trooper was made possible by his predecessor, Col. Robert Coupe. Coupe — who was appointed DSP superintendent in 2009 — brought him on to be a part of his executive staff. “I didn’t really see myself as possibly becoming superintendent until I came on executive staff and got to know the inner workings of the department from that level,” McQueen said. “Col. Coupe saw the executive staff as the future of the DSP, so he had a succession plan in which he worked to develop us.” Coupe’s management style of grooming the DSP’s future leaders was something that resonated with McQueen. “One of the highlights of my career was when I was at the rank of sergeant, because it was the first time I got to manage people and help them develop,” the superintendent said. He added that the “succession plan” will continue under his leadership as head of the DSP. Although born in South Carolina, as a baby he moved with his parents Nathaniel and Carolyn McQueen Sr. to Wilmington, Del., where he grew up. He graduated from Hogdson Vo-Tech High School in Newark, where he studied commercial art. After he joined the State Police in 1988, the commercial art background came in handy, as he served for a time as a sketch artist, one of his career highlights. “I worked one-on-one with victims and helped them take part in solving their case,” McQueen said. “I did crime scene reconstructions, facial and composite drawings.” In working his way up to superintendent, McQueen previously served in an ascending progression of posts, including patrol and detective sergeant, a member of the DSP Critical Incident Stress Management Team, the officer-in-charge of the Honor Guard Unit, a patrol lieutenant at Troop 3 Camden and a deputy troop commander at Troop 2 Bear responsible for the Major Crimes Unit, Domestic Violence Unit, Polygraph Examiner and Youth Aid Unit. In 1991, he received the DSP Police Valor Award. “I assisted the operator of a vehicle that had been struck by a train,” McQueen said. “As a second train was approaching, I assisted the operator by removing her from the area of the track.” After serving as commander at several troop locations, he began his stint on the executive staff as the operations major managing all troops statewide. McQueen said his time at DSU was beneficial to his career progression. “I am part of so many boards and committees that run the gamut of kids, social services, sexual crimes and many other areas, and my social work master’s degree background helps me negotiate through those boards and work with other state agencies,” he said. Most notably, McQueen recalled Dr. John Austin, the then-chair of the DSU Department of Sociology (currently the director of DSU Sponsored Programs), as being very helpful to him in his studies, as well as Dr. Marlene Saunders, current assistant professor of social work, and two deceased instructors, Dr. George Johnson and Dr. Larcy McCarley. -- Story and photo by Carlos Holmes

DSUAA Legacy Luncheon and Hall of Fame Inductions

YOU ARE CORDIALLY INVITED TO THE NEXT EVENT

TO BE ANNOUNCED

Net proceeds from this affair will support the Alumni Legacy Endowed Scholarship Fund
 benefiting DSU students who are children and grandchildren of alumni.

 

Fourth Annual Holiday Dinner Dance

Please support the

Sussex County Alumni Chapter's

FOURTH ANNUAL HOLIDAY DINNER DANCE

and

SCHOLARSHIP FUNDRAISER

5:00 - 10:00 p.m.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Millsboro Town Center

Tony Anderson

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  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. But my cousin had gone to Delaware State University. My father and I would go and pick her up from school, and every time we’d go there, it just looked like so much fun. She used to hate coming home and I just said, that’s the experience that I want.   DSU: So how did you end up in Mass Communications after not really knowing what you wanted to do? TONY: I was always the class clown, so I knew I wanted to do something in entertainment and television. When I first got to school, I was an undecided major, and I took television classes and computer classes.  One of my classmates asked me to host his on-campus television show. I had no experience, I didn’t know what I was doing, but I just did it. The show ended up becoming really popular and from there, we just caught the bug. We began to produce plays on campus and tape all of the events, and I started doing interviews with the students and putting them on the campus television show. Once it became popular on campus, our confidence grew. And from there, I just kept going with it. Then I switched my major to Mass Communications with a concentration in Television Production and then Broadcast Journalism.   DSU: Did your classwork translate to your current job? TONY: Absolutely. As a digital journalist at Black Entertainment Television, I shoot, edit, write and produce my own stories, all things that I had been doing during my time at Del State. A lot of the opportunities I had in the Mass Communications department led me to where I am today. For instance, my classmates and professors encouraged me to attend a conference held by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) my senior year. I was able to show people my reel – which was a collection of interviews I had done at Del State – and they were really interested in helping me. That’s how I landed my first gig at Channel One. If my peers in the Mass Communications department hadn’t urged me to attend the conference, I might not have been able to get my reel into the right hands. I really encourage all aspiring journalists to get to the NABJ conference at some point.    DSU: Do you have any other advice for incoming students? TONY: Take advantage of all the opportunities that are offered to you. Pick up a camera and shoot your own show – there aren’t a lot of places where you can get hands-on your freshman year – or go in after class and ask for some extra help. In my experience at DSU, everyone was more than willing to give it. My classmates and I would help out with each other’s television shows, work together in class, share advice and contacts. Our professors really noticed when we were putting the work in and would do everything they could to help us succeed.   

Ralph Wesley

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Ralph Wesley   P.A. Announcer for the Washington Wizards 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. When he told me that I could get hands-on with all of the video and audio equipment as soon as I got there, I was really excited. He also said that if I wanted to, it was possible to have my own show as a freshman. I loved the fact that I’d able to get my feet wet as soon as I stepped on campus.   DSU: Did you end up taking advantage of that? RALPH: Definitely. I was a bit shy when I first got to school, but I realized fairly quickly that there were a lot of other students in the same situation, with the same interests that I had. I talked to a few people, and a classmate invited me to come hang out with him at the on-campus radio station. He showed me the ropes and let me stand in for him a few times when he couldn’t make it. From there, I started getting involved in the television side. After getting involved in a few other shows, my friend and I launched our own sketch comedy show, “Consider the Following.” It was the first unscripted comedy show of its kind on campus.   DSU: What kind of reaction did the show get from your fellow students? RALPH: Everyone seemed to love the show. I think our classmates appreciated that there was programming put on by other students who took it seriously and were in tune with what the student population wanted to watch. They’d recognize us on campus and be really excited about the show. That was a great thing about Del State – all of the camaraderie. There’s a lot of diversity, students from all different walks of life, but since it’s a relatively small campus, everyone learns to work together and support each other. I think that’s something that’s pretty unique to DSU.   DSU: Did you have any other unique experiences at Delaware State? RALPH: One experience that really stands out in my mind is the one that got me started in public addressing work. I had mentioned to a few people that I was interested in becoming a PA announcer on campus, and I was put in touch with Dennis Jones, who oversaw that at the time. He took a few minutes to talk with me and invited me to come out to a baseball game and see what it was all about. Dennis gave me a few tips and told me to announce the batter’s name. I remember being really nervous, and I looked around at the few other people in the press box, who seemed shocked. I guess I did okay, because he had me start announcing the football games the following season!   DSU: So that was your first step toward becoming the voice of the Washington Wizards? RALPH: It was. The work I did as a PA announcer for the Del State sports teams definitely put me on the path toward my job today. In addition to working with the Wizards, I’m also a producer at ESPN 980, a radio station in D.C. So all of the time I spent in the studio at DSU is coming back to me. It was great to get a leg up – to not only figure out what I love to do, but to actually gain hands-on experience during my time in school.  

Jenel Cobb

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  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. During my visit, I had the opportunity to speak with the president at the time, who looked at my transcript and application and told me about some of the scholarships that would be available to me. I discussed it with my family and we decided DSU would be a great fit for me.   DSU: How did Delaware State help you on your career path? JENEL: The position that I have now requires a strong research background, a lot of which I gained during my time at DSU. My freshman year general biology professor was the first to lead me in that direction – he introduced me to a researcher at the University of Delaware, where I interned and realized my love of research. But I’d say the biggest impact Delaware State had was leading me on the path to earning my Ph.D. in Pharmacology. I was involved in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) program, which gave me more research experience and guided me toward graduate school.    DSU: Can you speak a little more about the MARC Program? JENEL: The MARC program is sponsored by the National Institutes of Health and aims to help underrepresented students in the sciences be better prepared for education at the Ph.D. level. Starting my junior year, I was able to get financial support from the program, in the form of a scholarship and stipend. We also attended weekly meetings where we were introduced to researchers from different universities and exposed to the career possibilities that were available to us. I also completed my own undergraduate research each summer.      DSU: What other memories do you have from your time at DSU? JENEL: One of my favorite memories is all of the time spent at football games, watching the band. There are certain songs that the band plays where everyone in the stands gets up and does a dance. It’s a really fun atmosphere. Even for people who weren’t necessarily interested in football, the games were a place to socialize and get into the spirit. The energy at the games is something that I think is really special to Delaware State.

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