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DSU Receives 4 Nominations for HBCU Awards

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DSU’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) has been nominated for the 2016 HBCU Best Research Center Award.

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Delaware State University has been nominated as a finalist for four honors in the 2016 HBCU Awards. The categories of nomination include: Male President of the Year -- President Harry L. Williams HBCU of the Year -- Delaware State University Male Student of the Year -- Dr. Jalaal Hayes, who completed a Ph.D. in Chemistry at age 22 – the youngest doctoral completion in DSU’s history Best Research Center Award -- DSU’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) “Just to be nominated is a great honor,” said Dr. Williams. “To be considered among the top HBCUs is proof that Delaware State University is moving on the right trajectory of higher education excellence.” The winners will be decided by a vote among Historically Black College and University presidents, along with a selected group of HBCU faculty and alumni, as well as by journalists who cover HBCUs. The nominations are national recognition of the achievement of HBCUs. “Your accomplishments over the past academic year have set your campus apart among a grand collection of achievements at historically black colleges and universities nationwide,” said Jarrett Carter of HBCU Digest. The winners will be announced at the 2016 HBCU Awards ceremony that will be held on July 15 at 7 p.m. at the University of the District of Columbia in Washington, D.C.  

DSU Board of Trustees Swears in New Member

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John Ridgeway, a Toyota corporate manager and DSU alumnus, is sworn in as the newest member of the DSU Board of Trustees by David Turner, board chair, during the body's June 16 public meeting.

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The DSU Board of Trustees welcomed a new member to its august body and bid adieu to three outgoing members during its June 16 public meeting. Board of Trustees Chairman David G. Turner formally swore in John Ridgeway, a Toyota corporate manager and DSU alumnus, as its newest member. During the same meeting, Mr. Turner announced the departure of two members – Wesley E. Perkins and Jim W. Stewart III, whose terms will expire on Sept. 1 and Aug. 31, respectively. Mr. Turner also announced the April resignation of board member Robert E. Buccini. (l-r) Jim W. Stewart III, David G. Turner, Wesley E. Perkins Because Mr. Buccini’s term was due to expire on Aug. 31, the board voted for Mr. Ridgeway to both complete Mr. Buccini’s term as well as serve a subsequent six-year term (which will end on Aug. 31, 2022). Mr. Ridgeway is currently the corporate manager of Toyota’s Eastern Territory Service Center, which is based in Owings Mills, Md. Prior to arriving at Toyota in 2006, Mr. Ridgeway spent two years as a senior vice president of Customer Service and Support for Bank of America. He also previously held director posts for Sears, Roebuck and Co. All told, the DSU alumnus brings 24 years of corporate experience to the DSU board. During his undergraduate years at then-Delaware State College, Mr. Ridgeway earned a B.A. in Business Administration. Mr. Perkins and Mr. Stewart attended their last scheduled public DSU board meeting on June 16. Mr. Perkins was first appointed to the board by then-Gov. Ruth Ann Minner in 2005, and has served on a number of committees – most notably as the chair of the Presidential Search Committee in 2008-2009, which resulted in the selection of DSU’s current president, Dr. Harry L. Williams. Mr. Stewart was appointed as a member by the board in 2007. He has served as chair of the board’s Executive Committee and its Development and Investment Committee. Mr. Buccini was appointed to the board in 2011 and served as a member until April of this year. Mr. Turner commended all three for their work on the board and thanked them for their DSU service.

2015-2016 retirees honored during banquet

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Retirees attending the banquet, from left, shown with President Harry L. Williams, center, were Leon Thayer, Wanda Brown, James Whitaker, Veronica Hopkins, Sandria Johnson, Christine Spady and Sherron Stevens.

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Delaware State University hosted its annual President’s Banquet for Retirees on June 16, featuring seven of the fifteen employees who retired during the 2015-2016 academic year. The banquet included a trip down Memory Lane (retiree childhood photos), a fashion show specifically for retirees, a serenade, a poem and a tribute (remarks by administrators, supervisors and/or colleagues).  President Harry L. Williams presented the retirees with gifts and dinner for the retirees, their families and guests. The event was directed and emceed by Brenda F. Farmer, director of University Events and Ceremonies, as a production of the Division of Institutional Advancement, Dr. Vita Pickrum, vice president.  

DSU Testing Services Office Earns National Certification

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DSU Office of Testing Services and Program staff: (l-r) Dr. Amystique Y.H. Church, test center administrator; Bruce O. Taylor, testing specialist; Britanny Douglas, testing associate; and Sheldon S. Taylor, testing assistant.

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Delaware State University’s Testing Services and Programs Office has been awarded the National College Testing Association (NCTA) Test Center Certification for meeting the national standards for such work. Based in the Thomasson Building on campus, the DSU Testing Services and Programs Office has been evaluated by the NCTA Test Certification Committee, which reviewed the office’s application package and also made a site visit. The committee found that the center meets the established standards for adequate facilities, test integrity, confidentiality, staff training, contracts, testing manager and staff, services and public relations. The NCTA Governing Board accepted the committee’s recommendation  and awarded the DSU office a five-year certification. “Our achievement of this national recognition reflects quality customer service, standards of excellence and integrity-based test security that DSU Testing Services and Programs provides to our customers,” said Dr. Amystique Y.H. Church, Test Center administrator. “The accreditation serves as a testament by being recognized and emulated for our innovative and successful processes.”       To earn the certification, a mission statement for the DSU Testing Office had to be developed. Found to be acceptable by the NCTA Test Certification Committee, it reads: The mission of the Testing Services and Programs Office is to assist DSU students and the surrounding communities in assessing their knowledge, skills, and abilities as it relates to higher and continuing education by providing a variety of programming to engage and promote student success and testing credentialing certifications. This is accomplished through the use of written, computer-adapted assessments, workshops and testing instruments.   Testing Services and Programs is committed to a diverse environment that encourages students and staff to function independently while demonstrating their inter- and intra-dependence as members of the collegiate community. We set the standard of excellence in the testing center by providing quality services to our DSU community and surrounding communities in the Delmarva Peninsula. Delaware State University, University College, Testing Services and Programs subscribes to the NCTA Professional Standards and Guidelines. Dr. Lisa Dunning, association vice president of University College and Academic Affairs, said the University is “extremely proud” of the testing center’s accomplishment. “The significance of this achievement for DSU’s Testing Services and Programs (TSP) is grounded in the quality, integrity and professional standards which are demonstrated through TSP’s customer service, and testing processes,” Dr. Dunning said.  “Under the leadership of Dr. Church, the test center has re-envisioned and designed programs and services that adhere to a new level of commitment and excellence.” The Office of Testing Services and Programs administers more than 1,000 exam offerings, including the College Level Examination Program, English as a Foreign Language Test, PRAXIS I and II, New Student/Transfer Placement Test, GED, ACT, State of Delaware Certification Testing, Pharmacy Technician/Real Estate Certification, and many more. It also has more than 100 vendors/partners.

DSU-SAP Holds 1st Training Sessions for HBCUs on Campus

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(L-r) Brian Reaves, SAP senior vice president; Barry Granger, DSU Board of Trustees vice chairman; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Maj. Gen. Bruce Crawford; Brig. Gen. Patrick Burden; Donna Covington, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. Devona Williams and Dr. Wilma Mishoe, DSU Board of Trustees members. The generals shared how the U.S. Army uses the SAP systems and needs graduates familiar with the technology.

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Delaware State University recently opened up a new world for the faculty and students of a group of Historically Black Colleges and Universities through an eight-day Project Propel workshop in which they learned about the globally used SAP enterprise applications. A group of participants mostly from North Carolina Central University are engaged in learning Design Thinking as part of the Project Propel training held on campus for faculty from nine HBCUs. In a unique collaboration initiative, the first Project Propel training session for HBCUs was conducted by DSU and SAP, with 41 faculty members attending from Bennett College, Fayetteville State University, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University, North Carolina Central University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University and Virginia State University. The participants learned about the SAP ecosystem skill sets that their students will need to be competitive in a global job market in which many companies are utilizing SAP systems. SAP is a top market leader in enterprise resource planning; more than 300,000 companies in 190,000 countries use SAP enterprise application software systems – including 87% of the Forbes 2000 companies. The ultimate Project Propel goals are to enable HBCUs to empower their students with the knowledge of the latest SAP technologies and to prepare them with the critical skills that are in demand among companies in the SAP ecosystem. “With such demand for skill sets in the areas of Big Data/Analytics, next-Generation ERP and Design Thinking, there is the opportunity for 100% career placement at elevated income levels for these students,” said Brian K. Reaves, senior vice president and head of Diversity and Inclusion for the Office of the CEO at SAP. The attending institutions also learned about DSU’s establishment of STOMPP (Skills, Talent, Opportunity, and Movement Through Project Propel), a campus organization that exposes students to the career opportunities and the skill sets that are in demand in connection with SAP technologies.   All of the visiting faculty members came with the same primary motivation – to better prepare students to compete in the global job market.  “We recognized early on that all the Fortune 500 companies run on SAP,” said Dr. Benedict Uzochukwu, associate professor of technology at Virginia State University. “If you are graduating students without the skills that are in demand now, what is the point?” HBCU participants in the Project Propel Training at DSU take a break for a photo op. The participants received training from June 1-8 on SAP enterprise resource planning systems, as well as related concepts in big data/predictive analytics, S4/HANA design thinking/innovation, and how to integrate such areas into their schools’ curriculum. Dr. Carlos Thomas, associate professor of management and marketing at Southern University in Louisiana, said exposing students to SAP technologies is a way of cultivating the greatness in them. “We want our kids to be competitive,” Dr. Thomas said. “They are asking for the opportunity to compete and demonstrate the genius that is in them. It is all about developing their skill sets into a marketable resource.” Dr. Angela Miles, who teaches organizational behavior at North Carolina Central University (NCCU), said everyone exposed to SAP technologies is better at what they do. “We want to make our students more viable in the marketplace and to learn a skill set that will be very marketable,” Dr. Miles said. “Even as faculty, these are good skill sets for us to have, especially with respect to analytics and big data.” Barry Shuster, interim chair of the NCCU Department of Hospitality and Tourism Administration, said the integration of SAP systems-related skill sets will greatly expand the possibilities for his students. “My hope is to help my students develop the traditional soft skills and management skills required by the hospitality and tourism industry, but also teach them the data analytics skills and the design thinking, which will set them apart from other hospitality programs,” he said. “It will allow students to go not only into general management, but also hospitality finance and other areas that involve more technical skill sets.” Dr. Donna Grant, the chair of NCCU’s Department of Computer Information Systems and also the program coordinator for the Project Propel that is being established at that university, commended SAP and DSU for reaching out to other HBCUs. “I have been involved as part of an HBCU for 8½ years now, and I have never had an initiative where we have worked together,” Dr. Grant said. “ I think it is fabulous, because when we work together, we are much more powerful. We can work with each other, learn off of each other and we don’t have to re-invent the wheel. We can make our students more marketable, and take them a notch higher and they can really progress.” DSU College of Business graduates Julian Vanderhost and Leah Williams speak to the Project Propel gathering about the student organization STOMPP. According to the online site EPR Software 360 – which provides evaluative comparisons of EPR software providers – SAP is the top enterprise resource planning market share leader in the world, particularly among Fortune 1000 and Global 5000 companies. It notes that the company has achieved its success due to its “extremely deep accounting and distribution software suites along with tightly integrated financials, manufacturing, human resource, payroll and customer relationship management software systems.” DSU established its initial Project Propel partnership with SAP in 2015. Over the last year, College of Business faculty and some recent graduates received the requisite training that has enabled them to integrate SAP technologies and concepts into the curriculum and expose DSU students to the skill sets in demand for this technology. The formation of STOMPP saw more than 150 students – from all five of the University’s colleges – register to be a part of the organization, through which their horizons were broadened through a speakers’ series and workshops. It also provided training for students who were unable to take the courses that were integrated with the SAP materials this past school year. The robust development of Project Propel at DSU has put the University in its current leadership position of being able to not only serve as the site where other HBCUs can receive the same training, but also share its experience in curriculum integration and the engagement of the students. Meanwhile, DSU is developing its own team of “thought leaders” – currently faculty from the College of Business and the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology who are able to teach the concepts. DSU and SAP will continue to provide support for other HBCUs through the establishment of a SAP/DSU website (saphbcu.desu.edu) that will serve as a resource for additional information. Donna Covington, the dean of DSU’s College of Business and director of the DSU/SAP Center of Excellence, said with the success of the first training of HBCU partners, DSU will be looking forward to providing training for additional HBCUs. At the same time, DSU will also continue to expand the internal training to other DSU colleges and strengthen the student engagement work on campus through STOMPP. “We’re just starting; there is a lot more to do to take it across the University,” Dean Covington said. And that will give DSU more experience and innovations to share with other HBCUs in the future.

DSU Announces 2016 Faculty Excellence Award Recipients

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Dr. Mukti Rana, chair of the Dept. of Physics, and Dr. Andrew Lloyd, associate professor of biology, are two of the recipients of the 2016 Faculty Excellence Award. They received the honor in the category of research and teaching, respectively. 

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Delaware State University recently honored three faculty members as its 2016 Faculty Excellence Award recipients. Honored were: Faculty Excellence Award for Teaching – Dr. Andrew D. Lloyd, associate professor of biological sciences. Dr. Lloyd has been heavily involved in curriculum development through his work as chair of the Department of Biology Curriculum Committee and as a member (and most recently chair) of the General Education Committee.  He has provided leadership for a comprehensive review of the biology undergraduate curriculum, which included developing two new courses for first-year biology students that emphasize active learning and multidisciplinary coordination. This has been implemented through a three-course learning community that weaves quantitative reasoning and language arts throughout the first-year coursework. In General Education, Dr. Lloyd has taken a leading role in instituting and expanding a comprehensive system of assessment of the program’s student learning objectives. In addition, since 2009, Dr. Lloyd been the principal investigator of federal grants totaling nearly $1 million as well as the co-PI on another $2.5 million in federal grants, all to support undergraduate education initiatives. He has demonstrated a strong commitment to student advisement, particularly in his role as a health professions advisor.   Faculty Excellence Award for Research – Dr. Mukti Rana, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics and Engineering. As a PI and co-PI between 2010 and 2015, Dr. Rana has obtained more than $12 million in grants for his laboratory and the DSU Optical Science Center for Applied Research, which has sustained his research program and supported his undergraduate and graduate students. He has served as advisor and mentor to one doctoral candidate, three graduate and 15 undergraduate students as well as three high school students. Dr. Rana has also established a student branch of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers at DSU. In addition, Dr. Rana has published seven refereed journal papers, seven refereed conference presentations, book chapters in three different books and provided support for student involvement in 12 poster and oral presentations. He has also served as an expert resource for the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, the National Science Foundation and the Office of Naval Research.              Dr. Mazen Shahin   Faculty Excellence Award for Service – Dr. Mazen Shahin, professor of mathematics and director of the Alliance for Minority Participation at DSU. Under Dr. Shahin’s direction, more than $12.5 million in external funding has been obtained for the successful implementation of the following: the Bridge to the Doctorate program; Changing the Equation for Science and Mathematics Learning initiative; the Science and Mathematics Initiative for Learning Enrichment; The Philadelphia Alliance for Minority Participation (AMP) program, Phases V and IV; the Science and Technology Academy for Residence Scholars summer program for high school students; as well as international research experiences for AMP students in China.

DSU Band Director Randolph Johnson Announces Retirement

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About 2,500 band members have performed under the direction of Randolph Johnson during his 20 years at DSU. More than 60 of his former students are band directors throughout the country.

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Delaware State University has announced the retirement of Director of Bands Randolph J. Johnson, who has been the director of bands at DSU for a total of 20 years.  Mr. Johnson has worked a total of 40 years as a music educator and has had two separate tenures at Delaware State University.  He was first hired as director of bands in 1990 and worked in that position until 2001.  He returned to the University in 2007 and will retire from his career as director of bands and a music educator at DSU. Randolph Johnson was known for his spirited enthusiasm as he directed the Approaching Storm Marching Band during football halftime performances. He is most proud of the academic achievements of the students in the band.  Throughout his 20-year career, the band has had a graduation rate of more than 70 percent.  Within the last year, two students recruited to the University by the band received the Presidential Academic Award at Commencement.  This award is presented to the senior with the highest GPA in the graduation class.  Under his leadership, the DSU Band has been an organization that promotes the education and citizenship of its members.  Mr. Johnson has more than 60 of his former students who are band directors throughout the country, including the states of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi and Louisiana.  Many of his former students are doctors, judges, lawyers, teachers and some are even professional performing musicians. In addition the outstanding band performances at DSU’s Alumni Stadium, some of the highlights for the band during Mr. Johnson’s tenure are performing in the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Parade, as well as for NFL games, NBA games and NASCAR races.  The band has also had two performances in the London Parade in London, England, performed in Paris, France, and toured Europe, which included visiting the countries of The Netherlands, Germany and Belgium. Mr. Johnson is a native of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and a graduate of Southern University.  He began his professional career as a graduate assistant with the world famous Southern University Band in 1976.  Prior to his arrival at Delaware State University, he was a high school band director for 11 years in the states of Kansas, Mississippi and his home state of Louisiana. In 1988, Randolph received his first appointment as a university director of bands at Elizabeth City State University in Elizabeth City, North Carolina.  He was also employed by Winston-Salem State University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as marching band director and jazz band director before his first tenure at DSU. After his departure from DSU in 2001, Mr. Johnson was appointed supervisor of music for a school district in the state of New York.  Prior to his return to the University in 2007, Randolph was employed by Alcorn State University as the Jazz Band director and the coordinator of Music Education for the Music Department.  During his years at Alcorn State University, all 12 of the Music Education majors who took the praxis exam passed and received certification as music teachers in the state of Mississippi. Combining those stints with his DSU tenures, Mr. Johnson has worked a total of 40 years as a music educator.     Mr. Johnson gives special thanks to his wife Diana for her continuous support.  She has allowed him to seek out his dream in being a college band director, a very demanding and time consuming occupation. Without an understanding spouse, success would not have been possible.  They have one child, a son named Kevin who lives in the Atlanta suburb of Snellville, Georgia, with his wife, Chandra. Randolph would like to thank the Administration of the University for giving him the opportunity to reach his goals.  Particular thanks go to DSU President Harry L. Williams and Associate Provost Dr. Bradley Skelcher for their support of the students and the band program.  Mr. Johnson gives a special thanks to all current and former band staff members.  Without their dedication and hard work, the band would not have been successful.  Randolph also thanks his brother, Mr. Roy J. Johnson, who arrived at Delaware State University with him in 1990 and served in the position of associate band director at DSU for four years.  He would also like to thank the DSU alumni and the community for their support.  But most of all he would like to thank the 2,500 band members who performed in the band during his 20 years at DSU.  These dedicated students helped to enrich the University and also enrich the life of Mr. Johnson.    Randolph plans to turn over his baton in August to the new director of bands at the University.     Randolph wants everyone to know that “The Hat” will be retired as well. The University will begin a national search immediately to fill the position of director of University Bands. 

DSU Appoints Dr. James Ammons as New Provost

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Dr. James H. Ammons' first day as the DSU provost and vice president of Academic Affairs will be July 18.

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Delaware State University today announced the appointment of Dr. James H. Ammons as its new Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs after months of searching and days of campus interviews with various stakeholders.                         Dr. James H. Ammons Dr. Ammons – a native of Winter Haven, Fla. – is currently a professor of political science at Florida A&M University (FAMU), his alma mater. His career at FAMU spanned two separate tenures totaling 27 years as a tenured professor and executive administrator – including serving as that institution’s president from 2007-2012 and as its provost and vice president of Academic Affairs from 1995-2001. In between those FAMU tenures, Dr. Ammons was the chancellor at North Carolina Central University from 2001-2007. Dr. Ammons’ wealth of experience includes leading each institution’s strategic planning process and aligning those outcomes with academic excellence and quality programs.  A few highlights in Ammons’ career are the development of 22 new degree programs, increased enrollment and the re-establishment of the FAMU College of Law.  DSU President Harry L. Williams said the faculty, students, Search Committee, Board of Trustees and Administrative Council selected Ammons as their first choice in this search. “I’m excited about the opportunity to bring Ammons into the fold of DSU,” Dr. Williams said. “We are fortunate to have an individual of such great talents and academic experience.  I’m particularly enthusiastic that Ammons has the background and experience which will allow him to hit the ground running.”  Dr. Ammons said that he is excited about the opportunity to join the community of scholars at Delaware State University.  “It’s an honor to be a part of the academic excellence that is evident at DSU,” he said. “I have worked across the HBCU arena and I am impressed with the magnitude of innovation and student success that is displayed at Delaware State University.”  Dr. Ammons’ number one priority at Delaware State University is to continue to “move the needle” on retention, graduation and gainful employment at DSU. “Together, we will continue to strive to be a model HBCU and a model for higher educational institutions around the world,” the new provost said. He has a Bachelor of Science in Political Science from Florida A&M, a Master of Science in Public Administration and a Ph.D. in Government, both from Florida State University. Dr. Ammons will replace Dr. Alton Thompson, who resigned from the University on March 4.  The new provost and vice president of Academic Affairs will begin his post at DSU on July 18th.   

DSU President in Sussex Co. -- Photo Slideshow

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Dr. Harry L. Williams gave a Sussex County gathering an update on the current successes at Delaware State University.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams took his “State of the University” address back on the road again, this time to Rehoboth Beach, Del., in Sussex County. Dr. Williams gave his address at a May 18 breakfast reception at the Rehoboth Beach Country Club, in which he shared the University’s highlights and challenges with a group of Sussex County elected officials,  business and community leaders, as well as others from Kent and New Castle counties. To view images from the event, click on the below photo slideshow link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157668523829386/show The reception was sponsored by EDiS.

DSU Graduates Featured in EOS Science Publication

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(L-r) Melissa Sims of Stony Brook University, and DSU graduates Adairé Heady, and Ashley Thompson, also MS graduates of the Stony Brook, examine one of NSLS’s beamlines. Beamlines are paths of accelerated particles, used in this case to study properties of crystal structures. Credit: Lars Ehm

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Delaware State University and two of its science graduates are highlighted in an article entitled “Creating Career Paths for African-Americans Students in Geosciences” in the online publication EOS Earth & Science News DSU graduates Ashley Thompson, who graduate in 2011 with a BS in Physics, and Adairé Heady, who graduated in 2010 with a BS in Physics with an Engineering emphasis, are highlighted for their subsequent graduate studies successes at Stony Brook University in New York. Ms. Thompson and Ms. Heady are featured in the article’s section “Program Successes.” To access the article, click on the below link: https://eos.org/project-updates/creating-career-paths-for-african-american-students-in-geosciences

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