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Three DSU Students Take Trip with Living Freedom Riders

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(L-r) DSU students Jacquaniese Washington, Jonpaul Brown and Kristyn Green were selected to take part in the U.S. Department of Education's commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the enactment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. As part of the event, the students spent time with living members of the Freedom Riders movement of the early 1960s.

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Three DSU students recently received firsthand accounts of what it was like to be a part of the dangerous Freedom Riders’ journeys through the country’s Deep South during the early 1960s. Kristyn Green stands outside photos of the president and vice president at the U.S. Department of Education where the event began. The Del State students – Jonpaul Brown, a junior from Schenectady, N.Y.; Kristyn Green, a senior  from Philadelphia; and Jacquaniese Washington, a sophomore from Birmingham, Ala. – all mass communications majors, were selected to take part in the U.S. Department of Education’s July 1 commemoration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 signing. Because Ms. Washington grew up in Birmingham, the celebration of the Civil Rights Act had poignant significance for her. “I have family members who were hosed in the same street that I went to school at – or who could only eat at certain restaurants, whereas I can eat at all restaurants with my white or Asian friends,” Ms. Washington said. “It is important for me to know my history and to be able to meet people who have sacrificed so much.” As part of the commemoration, living members of the Freedom Riders were also celebrated for their protest of the southern states’ illegal discrimination in interstate bus travel. The Freedom Riders protest was one of several forms of civil protests that led up to the 1964 passage of the Civil Rights Act. As part of the experience, the DSU students joined the Freedom Riders for a bus trip from Washington D.C. to the old House Chambers in Richmond, Va. The living veterans of those protests shared stories of their experiences on those dangerous rides through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana in the early 1960s. “These individuals were beaten and they bled for what they believed in,” said Ms. Green. “There is nothing more humbling than sitting shoulder to shoulder with someone who has been spit on, smacked, hosed, bitten and beaten so that we can be treated fairly and so that our dreams can be obtained.” Jonpaul Brown poses proudly with two unidentified Freedom Riders. Jacquaniese Washington said it was important to meet people who had sacrificed so much. Mr. Brown and Ms. Washington were chosen as student documentarians for the event as a result of their journalism and videography skills. They were given media passes, and they videotaped interviews of the Freedom Riders and others that they will put together as a documentary.  The student filmmakers have been asked to share their finished product – which they have already entitled “A Ride of a Lifetime” – with the U.S. Department of Education. Ms. Green is a student activist whose community involvement and strong application won her inclusion in the event. She will give a reflection presentation on her experiences on the trip in the fall at DSU. The trio also took part in the event’s opening ceremony at the U.S. Department of Education, which included the singing of “We Shall Overcome” as well as a keynote address from Hank Thomas, an original freedom rider. Additionally, student NAACP members recited poems, sang and presented original artwork, one special one being “Black Rushmore.” The day’s events were culminated with the Freedom Riders giving autographs upon the group’s return to the U.S. Department of Education. “Without civil rights I wouldn’t be able to have my own business, to go to college and gain knowledge to be the type of man I want to be down the road,” Mr. Brown said.

DSU Faculty Awarded $400,000 NSF Grant

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The three-year grant – which totals $399,908 – will enable DSU to invest in information technology resources that will facilitate the implementation of cyber-learning that use web technology that can provide a rich and immersive learning environment.

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A group of DSU faculty members led by Dr. Andrew Lloyd of the Department of Biological Sciences has been awarded a National Science Foundation grant that is expected to put the University in the forefront of institutions of higher education by implementing  “cyber-learning” strategies to improve STEM instruction and increase student achievement and retention. The three-year grant – which totals $399,908 – will enable DSU to invest in information technology resources that will facilitate the implementation of cyber-learning that use web technology that can provide a rich and immersive learning environment. The grant will expand DSU’s distance learning infrastructure in support of the cyber-learning strategies, which will be broadly adopted throughout DSU’s biological sciences curriculum as well as in other STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses. Cyber-learning technologies will be used to implement inverted or “flipped” classroom model in the core courses for students majoring in the biological sciences. In a flipped classroom, learning activities that are normally carried out inside the classroom, such as lecturing and reviewing PowerPoints, take place outside of class, and learning activities that are normally completed at home, such as applying the course concepts in homework assignments, become the focus of in-class work. “This grant will allow us to implement teaching techniques which research has shown to be effective in enhancing learning,” said Dr. Lloyd, the principal investigator of the grant. Co-principal investigators of the grant include Dr. Leonard Davis, chair of the Department of Biological Sciences; Dr. Sabrina McGary, associate professor of biological sciences; Dr. Michael Boone, associate vice president of distance learning; and Dr. Rebecca Fox-Lykens, director of the Center for Teaching and Learning.    

Outgoing Student Affairs VP Kemal Atkins Honored at Reception

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Outgoing VP with Student Affairs directors: (l-r) Ebony Ramsey, Michelle Fisher, Pam Adams, Provost Alton Thompson, Stacy Downing, outgoing Student Affair VP Kemal Atkins and his wife Julia, Jeff DeMoss, Lisa Hinton, Jordin Williams, Phillip Holmes, Matt Fortune and Paula Duffy.

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DSU honored Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs, during a June 26 farewell reception in recognition of his four-year leadership tenure at the institution. Stacy Downing, associate VP of Student Affairs (at mic), presents Kemal Atkins (center) with a gift signed by all the directors of the SA division. Mr. Atkins is leaving DSU to become the vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment at Keene State College in Keene, N.H. He will assume his new post there on June 30. During his four-year tenure as vice president, Mr. Atkins’ accomplishments included: Established the DSU’s Title IX Office and led its compliance coordination. Established a leadership/officer training program for the Student Government Association. Created the Office of Spiritual Life and the University chaplain position. Created the Student Employment Office, which improved  the student hiring process and provided professional development to student employees. Redesigned and expanded freshmen Living and Learning Communities. Expanded Student Leadership Development programs, which resulted in a 20% increase in student candidates for student organization leadership positions Established the Student Affairs Professional Development Program. Created the Student Affairs Assessment Committee to focus on student learning outcomes. Mr. Atkins was also instrumental in the work of a number of DSU committees including: the Strategic Planning Steering Committee, Campus Master Plan Steering Committee, Retention Committee, Enrollment Management Council, Institutional Effectiveness Committee, President’s Blue Ribbon Commission, President’s Senior Leadership Team and others. At the time of the reception, DSU President Harry L. Williams was in China on University business. However, before his departure, Dr. Williams noted that Mr. Atkins organized Student Affairs with focus and with strategic vision during his tenure. “Under his leadership, the many units that provide a true holistic experience for students thrived. He also played an important role in our enrollment and retention successes, as well as created the very necessary student employment office,” said Dr. Williams. “We appreciate his strong commitment and guidance as a vice president and senior officer in my management team. We wish him only the best as he takes on a greater challenge in his career path.” Prior to his arrival to DSU, Mr. Atkins served in 2008 and 2009 as the vice provost for Student Affairs at East Carolina University in Greenville, N.C. He also led college access, as well as academic and student affairs initiatives at the University of North Carolina General Administration from 2001 to 2008. Mr. Atkins has a BA and MA in English Literature from Appalachian State University in Boone, N.C., and expects to complete an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from DSU within the next few months.

$25,000 Raised Through DSU’s Third Annual Scholarship Sunday

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Scholarship Sunday Committee members Rev. Pamela Adams, DSU director of spiritual life and University chaplain; Rev. Frances Rogers, co-pastor of Central Baptist Church of Dover; Rev. Anthony Wallace, pastor of Crossroads Christian Church of Dover; Rev. Shanika Perry, executive minister at Bethel AME Church, Wilmington; hold a display check with DSU President Harry L. Williams, representing more than $25,000 raised in connection with the March 9 Scholarship Sunday

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The dividends of DSU’s third annual Scholarship Sunday were celebrated at the June 12 DSU Board of Trustees meeting with a check presentation of more than $25,000. The Scholarship Sunday Committee presented DSU President Harry L. Williams with a symbolic display check representing the $25,172.84 that was raised among 43 participating churches in Delaware. The committee was represented in the check presentation by Rev. Mishoe Paige, pastor of Star Hill AME Church of Dover; Rev. Anthony Wallace, pastor of Crossroads Christian Church of Dover; Rev. Frances Rogers, co-pastor of Central Baptist Church of Dover; Rev. Shanika Perry, executive minister at Bethel AME Church, Wilmington; and Rev. Pamela Adams, DSU director of spiritual life and University chaplain. Scholarship Sunday was held on March 9, 2014 on which date participating churches took special collections on behalf of scholarships for DSU students. The contributing churches included: Beacon Lighthouse Fellowship Church Dover Bethel AME Church                                           Symrna Bethel AME Church                                         Wilmington Bethuel Seventh Day Adventist Church Dover Burton Chapel AME Milton Buttonwood United Methodist Church New Castle Byrds AME Church Clayton Calvary Baptist Church Dover Camden Friends Meeting Camden Canann Baptist Church New Castle Central Baptist Church Dover Christ Episcopal Church Dover Crossroad Christian Church Dover Fairview AME Woodlyn, PA First Baptist Church of Cheswold Cheswold First Pilgrim Baptist Church Camden Friends Meeting House Camden Friendship Baptist Church Lewes Graham AME Church Greenwood Hubert AME Church Frederica Jesus Is Our Lord (Church of Deliverance) Dover John Wesley AME Dover Macedonia AME Seaford Manna Christian Fellowship Wilmington Mother AUFCMP Church Wilmington Mt. Calvary AME Church Seaford Mt. Carmel Seventh Day Adventist Harrington Mt. Joy United Methodist Church Wilmington Mt. Plymouth AME Church Felton Mt. Zion AME Church Dover Mt. Zion Church Georgetown New Elizabeth AME Church Wilmington  New Life Fellowship Ministries Lincoln Pentecostal Church of God Lincoln Simpson United Methodist Wilmington Solid Rock Baptist Church Dover Star Hill AME Dover Tabernacle FGB Cathedral Wilmington The Resurrection Center Wilmington Union Baptist Church Lincoln Wesley UM Church Dover  Whatcoat United Methodist Church  Dover   

DSU President Honors the University's 2014 Retirees

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Nine of this year's 2014 retiring class: (l-r) Dr. Margaret-Rose Agostino, Ernestine Brittingham, Dr. Anuradha Dujari, Louise Hudson, Dr. Yvonne Johnson, James Perrine, Harry Sanchez, Dr. Marlene Saunders and Dr. Susan Yost.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams held his annual Banquet for Retirees on June 12 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. Nine of this year's 21 retiring DSU employees participated in the program, as supervisors, colleagues, family and friends honored them and celebrated their years of service. Among this year's participant, the longest tenures were Dr. Yvonne Johnson, associate professor of music, at 43 years, followed by Ernesting Brittingham, at 42 years.

Dr. Murali Temburni Awarded $200,000 Research Grant

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Dr. Temburni hopes his research will bring a better understanding of neuronal networks as well as to make progress in the development of therapies for epilepsy.

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Dr. Murali Temburni, DSU assistant professor of biological sciences, was recently awarded a two-year, $200,000 Research Initiation Grant by the National Science Foundation HBCU-UP for his neuroscience research on understanding “The Role of Astrocytes in Neuronal Synchronous Activity in the Brain.”   Dr. Temburni – a molecular biologist who became a DSU faculty member in 2012 – is doing research in neuron communications, especially in the area of synchronous activity that is critical in brain development. Because abnormal synchronization can lead to epileptic seizures, Dr. Temburni’s research strives to gain a better understanding of the development of neuronal networks as well as to make progress in the development of therapies for epilepsy.   Toward those scientific objectives, Dr. Temburni has developed a research project that studies the synapse formation using the developing chicken brain as a model system.   According to Dr. Temburni, this project would not have been possible without input from his mentor, Dr. Melissa Harrington, the director of the Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, a DSU neurophysiologist and collaborator, as well as Dr. Tomasz Smolinski, a computational neuroscientist, and support from Dr. Leonard Davis, chair of the DSU Department of Biological Sciences.   Dr. Temburni’s team of researchers includes Karla Sanchez, a graduate student, and undergraduate students Nkoli Agbazue, Jaskirandeep Kaur and Kasey Cosden, who are generating exciting data which confirms their initial suspicions – astrocytes are necessary for neurons to synchronize their activity. The team is currently working on unraveling the molecular pathways that are involved.   This NSF-funded project will also involve high school students from the Early College High School at DSU. Certain ECHS students interested in research will be selected to work in Dr. Temburni’s lab and will participate in the project along with peer undergraduate mentors.   According to Dr. Temburni, “catching them early” is the surest way of hooking students on scientific research – and this project will help achieve that goal, which is aligned with the goals of the ECHS.

Donna Covington Announced as New College of Business Dean

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Delaware State University has named Donna T. Covington as its new dean of the College of Business.        Donna T. Covington   Ms. Covington arrives at DSU after serving over the previous year as the interim dean of the College of Business and Computer Science at Kentucky State University. Prior to that, from 2010 to 2013 she served as director of Title III and Special Projects at KSU.   Her tenure in academia was preceded by more than 25 years in director and executive posts in the corporate world and two years as an executive director in church administration.   After serving in managerial posts early in her career at Texas Instruments and IBM, Ms. Covington served in an ascending succession of director and executive posts with Lexmark International Inc. from 1991 to 2007. During that 16-year period, she held director posts in a diverse variety of areas including global reengineering, supply chain, and business systems. She would later be elevated to vice president of supply chain and vice president of customer service.   She also served as an executive director for Bethel Harvest Church in Nicholasville, Ky., from 2007-2009, and as an administrative and leadership development director for Consolidated Baptist Church of Lexington, Ky.   Ms. Covington possesses a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Centre College in Danville, Ky., a Master of Science in Analytical Chemistry from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and a Master of Arts in Christian Leadership from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Ky.   She will begin her tenure at DSU College of Business dean on Aug. 4

June Accomplishments and Events

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    DSU Public Safety Represents in Annual Special Olympic Torch Run Officers from the DSU Police Department recently participated in the 2014 Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run, which raised funds for Delaware Special Olympics. Taking part in the Torch Run were Cpl. Joy Simmonds (above left carrying the torch), Ptl. Heather Golding, Ptl. Jennifer Bastianelli, Ptl. Carter Skinner and others. Yury Markushin Ph.D. Candidate Awarded Scholarship Yury Markushin, a founding officer of a newly established DSU chapter of SPIE (an international academic society for optics and photonics), has been awarded a $2,000 scholarship from the national SPIE organization. Mr. Markushin, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Physics and Engineering, has been awarded a 2014 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics or related field. His research is focused on design and implementation of a polarimetric scanning Laser Detection and Ranging System (LADAR). He is also a founding member and a vice-president of SPIE student chapter at Delaware State University, which was formally established in May. “I am proud to accept the SPIE Optics and Photonics Educational Scholarship and honored to be a part of SPIE as a student member,” said Mr. Markushin. “That gave me a priceless opportunity to learn about the latest innovations and findings in the field of Optics and Remote Sensing.”

DSU's Dr. H. Boukari Awarded $175,000 Research Technology Grant

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The new Spectrometer funded by the grant will advance Dr. Hacene Boukari's research on fluorescent molecules, the assembly processes of macromolecules and the complex interactions of diverse proteins.

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Dr. Hacene Boukari, an associate professor of physics and a scientist in Delaware State University’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR), has been awarded a $175,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Defense that will fund the acquisition of a world-class fluorescence correlation spectrometer.   The spectrometer will give OSCAR a state-of-the-art capability in quantitative imaging. The technology will enable DSU scientists to apply a fluorescence correlation spectroscopy technique that exploits the specificity of fluorescence to investigative diverse physical and chemical phenomena as well as biological functions at near single-particle level.   “It will impel the research activities of my group, which focuses on understanding the fundamental properties of intramolecular processes in fluorescent molecules, the assembly processes of macromolecules such as tubulin proteins, sickle-cell hemoglobin, and the complex interactions of diverse proteins or other biomacromolecules embedded in their host environments.” said Dr. Boukari, who has been striving to establish a vigorous research program in soft-matter physics and optical sciences at the University.   Projects from other DSU researchers will also benefit from the new technology acquisition. In addition, some DSU students will be exposed to and trained in this advanced multi-disciplinary technology where different complementary disciplines are combined, including optical instrumentation and microscopy, optical physics, physics-based modeling of particles interactions, signal-processing, nanochemistry, and cellular biology.      “I am very excited about this award,” said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, and vice president for research innovation and development at DSU.  “It is another strong testament from the Department of Defense to the quality of research we are pursuing at Delaware State University, especially in the area of optical sciences.”

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:

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