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DSU's Dr. Pokrajac Achieves Algorithm Advancement

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Dr. Dragoljub Pokrajac, DSU professor of computer and information sciences, stands in front of a poster detailing research that has led to an algorithm advancement that has received a provisional patent. Dr. Pokrajac developed the algorithm along with two scientists from the University of Pennsylvania.

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3/29/12 Dr. Dragoljub M. Pokrajac, professor of computer and information sciences, has joined two other professors at the University of Pennsylvania to come up with a new algorithm that could lead to a more accurate diagnosis of breast cancer. The algorithm – which has already achieved provisional patent status – enables the creation of a breast model with specific tissue and ligament compositions that can give doctors quick guidance on the best imaging technique – such as mammograms, MRI, CAT scans, etc. – that should be used to provide the best diagnosis information. (L-r) Dr. Predrag R. Bakic, Dr. Andrew D.A. Maidment, both of the University of Pennsylvania, and DSU's Dr. Dragoljub Pokrajac have developed a new algorithm that could lead to a more accurate diagnosis of breast cancer. “Previously, the creation of such models would take days,” Dr. Pokrajac said. “We can do it in 10 seconds.” The new advancement is primarily the work of Dr. Pokrajac, along with Dr. Andrew D.A. Maidment and Dr. Predrag R. Bakic of the University of Pennsylvania. “The best thing about this advancement is that it can determine very quickly the best imagery technique that should be used to visualize the breast, thereby saving a lot of time and money,” the DSU professor said. Dr. Pokrajac said the algorithm allows scientists to quickly create models that can vary the parameters of the breast anatomy and imaging  – such as the ligament and skin thickness, the percentage of fat and even the x-ray voltage – to reach conclusions about the most effective imaging technique that should be used. In addition the algorithm’s medical application, Dr. Pokrajac said it also has application for the analysis of materials. “We are actively looking for someone in material science who would be interested in trying simulated modeling on materials,” he said. The research that resulted in this algorithm was partially funded by a Department of Defense grant, of which Dr. Fengshan Liu, professor of mathematics, was the principal investigator. Dr. Xiquan Shi, associate professor of mathematics, and Dr. Charlie Wilson, associate professor of biological sciences, were co-principal investigators, while graduate students Feiya Chen and Fatima Boukhari also assisted in the research. The provisional patent was funded by the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, which is led by its dean, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi. Support was also provided by the Office of Innovation & Economic Partnerships at the University of Delaware.

Mr. DSU Justin Caesar Wins 2012 Mr. HBCU Title

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3/29/12 Justin C. Caesar, the 2011-2012 Mr. DSU, has added a new crown for his head after recently winning the 8th annual Mr. Historically Black Colleges and Universities Pageant in Jefferson City, Mo. Mr. DSU Justin Caesar, the 2012 Mr. HBCU Mr. Caesar, a senior public relations major at Delaware State University, won the top title over 13 other HBCU university and college kings who competed in the 2012 pageant. The competition consisted of a three-minute oratory and talent category, as well as a question and answer challenge. For the talent category, he came up with a creative monologue – which he gave while lying in an actual casket. “I portrayed our past ancestors as rolling over in their graves while seeing how this generation has taken for granted what they fought for,” Mr. Caesar said. “There just happened to be funeral home near the competition site, and they let me use one of their caskets.” All of the contestants were asked to give three-minute oratory on the theme “HBCUs, the Cornerstone of our History – Black Men, the Catalyst for the Survival of These Institutions.” In his oratory, Mr. Caesar affirmed the value of HBCUs in producing the African American male leaders of the future. “HBCUs were designed to use education as a means of breaking the mental captivities of slavery,” he said in his oratory. “Men such as William Jefferson, the white founder of Morehouse College, had the vision that one day the Morehouse men of today would be the catalyst of change in tomorrow’s society.” In the question and answer category, Mr. Caesar was asked: “If he could switch places with a historical figure, who would it be and why?” “My answer was Thurgood Marshall, and I used his quote that we need to ‘change the way that we see the world’,” Mr. Caesar said. “As African-Americans, we are presented with many barriers and obstacles in life, but we have the ability to change that and overcome.” Mr. Caesar, who is from Newburgh, N.Y.,  is slated to graduate in May. He said that he already has a job waiting for him in Atlanta, Ga., where he will work as a sales specialist for the MillerCoors LLC. It is the second time that a Mr. DSU has won the Mr. HBCU title since the University began crowning a king in 2005. Harold Burnett, Mr. DSU 2006-2007, won the Mr. HBCU title in 2007.  

DSU and Barclays Announce New Internship Program

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DSU President Harry L. Williams (third from left) expresses his excitement over the new Barclays internship program. Standing behind him is the first intern group of DSU students: (l-r) Dwight DeLoatch, Cliff Streater, Tiona Campbell, Palesa Motshidi and Carmen Mikhaiel.

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U.S. Sen. Tom Carper, DSU President Harry L. Williams, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and Barclaycard CEO Amer Sajed. Barclays has launched a new annual internship program with Delaware State University in which six DSU students will work at Barclaycard US in its Credit Risk Organization for a two-month assignment. Amer Sajed, CEO of Barclaycard US, and DSU President Harry L. Williams unveiled the new Barclays Bank Mentor Program during a media event at the Barclaycard site in Wilmington. Also in attendance and speaking in support of the initiative were U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper and U.S. Sen. Chris Coons. “This program underscores the commitment of Barclays to citizenship, community and the future of Delaware – its young people,” said Mr. Sajed.  “We’re focused on ensuring that our energy, ideas, expertise and passion are leveraged to help the different causes we support.  This program illustrates this approach in action because our colleagues will leverage their mentoring skills and share their knowledge to help young people.” Dr. Williams said the program is part of a series of new initiatives to make Delaware State University stronger and enhance its national reputation. “We are very proud that a major company agreed to provide our students with this type of support,” Dr. Williams said. "Initiatives like the Barclays Bank Mentor Program help DSU to achieve the vision by providing an opportunity for our students to build upon their academic training in the skills necessary to become the first choice of employers in this industry. " Each student will have Barclays business mentor and receive important, marketable experience through assignments in gathering data, conducting analysis, leveraging computer programs such as Excel and SAS, working on teams, implementing programs and presenting to a corporate audience. Carmen Mikhaiel, a DSU student and Barclays intern, spoke on behalf of the other interns. “In the business world, this program is great for networking and will boost our resumes -- an advantage after graduation when we go into the work force,” she said. Barclaycard employee and DSU alumna ('98) Lisa Bacot is the mentor of DSU sophomore Tiona Campbell. Sen. Carper said that DSU’s partnership with Barclays is reflective of the direction the University is moving in to prepare its students for success. “DSU is breaking into the top 15 HBCUs and is working toward breaking into the top 10,” Sen. Carper said. “DSU is a school on the move.” Sen. Coons noted the importance of public-private partnerships in driving job opportunities in Delaware. “It is very important for area employers to support our educational institutions,” he said.  “This is a model of what a public-private partnership should be about.” The inaugural group of DSU-Barclays interns, their years and majors are: Clarence Banks, sophomore, finance & banking; Tiona Campbell, sophomore, accounting; Dwight Deloatch, sophomore, finance & banking; Carmen Mikhaiel, junior, accounting; Palesa Motshidi, sophomore, accounting; and Clifford Streater, senior, management information systems.  

DSU at the 2012 MEAC Tourney -- Photo Slideshow

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Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, class of 1949, was honored as DSU's Distinguished Alumni at the 2012 MEAC Tournament. Dr. Hollingsworth shows her award with her family and DSU President Harry L. Williams (2nd from left).

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The 2012 MEAC Tourney attracted some Hornet faithful to the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, N.C. for the March 8 quarterfinal matchup between the DSU Hornet men and the Florida A&M Rattlers, where they witnessed an overtime 65-55 loss that kept Del State from moving on in the Tourney. Earlier in the week, the Lady Hornets lost their opening round MEAC Tourney game to South Carolina State 72-66 in overtime. During the tournament, Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, class of 1949, was honored as DSU’s Distinguished Alumni. See the below photo slideshow for images of the MEAC Tourney.

Dr. Devona Williams Sworn In as New Board of Trustees Member

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Dr. Devona E.G. Williams, president/CEO of Goeins-Williams Associates, is sworn in as a member of the DSU Board of Trustees by Dr. Claibourne Smith, board chair.

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The Delaware State University Board of Trustees has added business consultant Dr. Devona E.G. Williams as a member of its body. Dr. Devona E.G. Williams, DSU's newest Board of Trustees member. Dr. Williams was sworn in during the DSU Board of Trustees regular meeting on March 1, and then proceeded to take part in her first meeting as a full member. She replaces former board member Dr. Matthew Mackie, who stepped down after serving his full term. An appointee of Gov. Jack Markell, Dr. Williams has over 25 years of experience in the fields of public policy, planning and public affairs with corporate, government and non-profit sectors. She is the founder, president and CEO of Goeins-Williams Associates (GWA), a successful consulting business designed to help organizations achieve greater productivity in strategic work environments. The list of GWA clients includes AstraZeneca, Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Christina Health Systems, the DuPont Corporation, the State of Delaware, and many others. Dr. Williams’ professional experience spans the administration of public programs, the management of corporate public relations, policy issues, strategic planning, organizational and executive leadership. Her experience also includes executive appointments with the DuPont Corporation, as well as service as a U.S. Presidential Intern with the Office of Management and Budget, NASA and the EPA. She holds a Ph.D. in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from the University of Delaware, with specialization in social policy, program planning and analysis. Dr. Williams is a former assistant professor and instructor for the University of Delaware’s School of Urban Affairs. She is a frequent keynote speaker on business, diversity, leadership, motivation and success. She is also a contributing author of the inspirational book Remarkable Women.

DSU Holds its First-Ever Parent University

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DSU President Harry L. Williams meets two parents just before the opening session of the inaugural DSU Parent University commenced on Feb. 25.

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About 140 parents and other family members attended the institution’s first-ever DSU Parent University on Feb. 25. Held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center on campus, the event gave parents the opportunity to attend sessions about study-abroad opportunities, the University’s health emphasis, the DSU programs that develop leadership skills, and financial aid. The parents were also able to participate in roundtable discussions with DSU officials on the topics of public safety, advising and housing. Dr. Robin Williams, DSU's First Lady, gave the keynote address, in which she affirmed the important role that parents can play in their children's academic journey. Click on the below slideshow for photos from the inaugural DSU Parent University:

Dr. Donald Parks Named Professor Emeritus

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Dr. Donald Parks has been named professor emeritus.

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The Delaware State University Board of Trustees has granted faculty emeritus status to Dr. Donald Parks, retired DSU professor of art. The Board unanimously approved the naming of Dr. Parks as professor emeritus during its Jan. 12 regular board meeting. Dr. Parks was a professor of art who began his tenure at DSU (then-Delaware State College) in 1981 after stints as several other schools and art institutions. He achieved the rank of full professor in 1994. During his tenure, he service on numerous committees and work groups. He retired from the University 2010. Dr. Parks was the founding executive director of the DSU Arts Center/Gallery, beginning with its establishment in 1990 to 2008. He served as the associate dean of the DSU College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, and was the director of the University Cultural Programming from 1997 to 2008. When DSU and Wesley College entered into a consortium agreement with the Schwartz Center for the Arts, Dr. Park became the director of development and programming for the Schwartz. In connection with DSU outreach, Dr. Parks served as the regional director of the regional director of the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards Program, on the Board of Directors for the Alliance for Young Artists & Writers, as director of the Congressional Art Awards Program for Delaware,  In 2004, Dr. Parks was honored with the Governor’s Award for the Arts in Delaware. He was awarded Art Educator of the Year awards for Delaware in 1992 and 1995; the DSU Excellence in Service Award in 1993, 1994 and 2004; DSU Excellence in Community Service Award in 2004; and the Presidential Medal of Honor Award for Excellence in Service. Dr. Parks has an A.S. in Art from Corning Community College, N.Y.; a B.A. in Art History from Oneonta State University, N.Y.; an M.S. in Art Education from Elmira College, N.Y.; and Ed.D in Art and Art Education from Syracuse University, N.Y.

Del. Black Caucus Holds Historic Public Forum on Campus

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Prior to the public forum, the Black Caucus gathered for a reception at the President’s Residence. Seated (l-r): Councilman Earnest “Trippi” Congo, Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, Sen. Margaret Rose Henry, HW, RW, Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, Councilwoman Pat A. Jones, former Dover City Councilman Rueben Salters. Top (l-r): Rep. James “J.J.” Johnson, Councilman Charles Potter, Councilman Eric Robinson, New Castle County Councilman Jea Street; Rep. Dennis P. Williams; Wilmington Mayor James Baker, Rep. Donald Blakey, and Councilman Justen Wright

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In a historic first, a strong representation of the Delaware Black Caucus – made up of African American elected officials on the state and local levels – gathered at DSU on Feb. 22 to hold a public forum in the Longwood Auditorium in the Bank of America Building. The Public Forum – co-sponsored by the DSU Young Democrats and the Delaware Black Caucus – was moderated by state Sen. Margaret Rose Henry. Black Caucus panelists included state Rep. James J.J. Johnson, state Rep. Stephanie T. Bolden, state Rep. Dennis P. Williams, State Treasurer Chip Flowers, New Castle County Councilman Jea Street, Wilmington Councilwoman Hanifa Shabazz, Wilmington Councilman Charles Potter., Jr., Wilmington Councilman Eric Robinson, and Wilmington Mayor James M. Baker. See the below slideshow for photos from the Public Forum and the preceding reception hosted by DSU President Harry L. Williams and his wife Dr. Robin Williams at their home. The slideshow is followed by additional information about the events. Dr. Harry L. Williams extolled the gathering as an historic event for the DSU campus "It is significant to have the Delaware Black Caucus on this campus, because it shows the support the University is receiving not only in the community at-large around the state, but also in the black community," Dr. Williams said. "As an HBCU, that is critical." Following the reception at the President's Residence, the evening public forum began as the panelist discussed a wide range of topics that included education, labor issues, healthcare, incarceration/re-entry, the economy, public safety, crime, and voter registration. Other Delaware Black Caucus members who attended the Feb. 22 DSU events included state Rep. Donald A. Blakey (also DSU alumnus); from the Wilmington City Council, Councilmen Earnest “Trippi” Congo and Justen Wright; Seaford Councilwoman Pat A. Wright; and former Dover City Council member Rueben Salters. 

DSU Arts Center/Gallery Host Lori Crawford Exhibtion

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Lori Crawford exhibition "Paper Bags, Photographs & Paintings" include this work entitled "Bag Lady: Kicking Out Sexism." Her works will be on display until March 23

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Lori Crawford stand with her "Sugar on the Floor" painting which was inspired by an Etta James song. Delaware State University’s Arts Center/Gallery is currently exhibiting the show “Paper Bags, Photographs & Paintings of Lori Crawford” from Feb 20 to March 23. The artist and her exhibition will be honored in reception from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 in the Arts Center/Gallery located inside the main 1st floor entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus. The reception and the run of the exhibition are free and open to the public. Lori Crawford is a DSU associate professor of art who has been at the University since 1996. She said her current exhibition represents the synthesis of art appreciation, music appreciation and social exploration. Paintings, photographs or digital portraits are but a few creative processes in which she used to become energized and pacified in producing this signature collection of works. Ms. Crawford’s work with paper bags began in graduate school and attempts to shock or shed light on the absurdity of a decades old practice within the Black community that implemented the “Brown Paper Bag Test,” which involved comparing ones’ skin color to that of a paper bag. “If ones’ complexion was the same or lighter than the bag then one ‘passed the test’,” Ms. Crawford said. “But if the opposite was so, then one failed and did not gain entrance into that organization, church, school or any other designated function.” Lori Crawford's 28-piece exhibition includes "paper-bag" portraits. She said although this test is no longer used, skin color biases and many other intra-racial biases still plague the world today. The Brown Paper Bag work asks each of us what are “bag issues are,” she added. In addition to teaching art at DSU, Ms. Crawford currently serves as an member of the Delaware State Arts Council, to which was appointed by Gov. Jack Markell in 2010. The Arts Center Gallery is open from 9 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.  

DSU Unveils Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Bus

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Participating in the MET Bus ribbon-cutting are (l-r) Bruce Weaver of the USDA; Jayne Armstrong, state director of the Small Business Administration; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, College of Business dean; Dr. Dyremple Marsh, College of Ag & Related Sciences dean; Lillie Crawford, director of the DSU Ctr. for Enterprise Development; Ilona Figat, MET director; DSU President Harry L. Williams, U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper; state Rep. Lincoln Willis, and Dover Mayor Carlton Carey.

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DSU’s Delaware Center for Enterprise Development (DCED) and its College of Agriculture and Related Sciences’ Cooperative Extension have unveiled a new Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Program (MET) that will take business and agriculture-related education to underserved rural areas of Lower Delaware. The Mobile Entrepreneurial Training Bus will take business and agriculture-related workshops to the rural areas of Kent and Sussex counties. DSU President Harry L. Williams was joined by U.S. Senator Thomas R. Carper for a ribbon-cutting held at the Martin Luther King Student Center. A central feature of the new program has been the renovation of a DSU bus into a mobile classroom that will allow the DCED and the College of Ag to take workshops into underserved areas in Kent and Sussex counties. The bus is outfitted with computers, lighting, Wi-Fi capability, desktops and seating areas Dr. Williams and Sen. Carper were joined in a ribbon-cutting dedication of the MET Bus by Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences; Dr. Shelton Rhodes, dean of the College of Business; Lillie Crawford, director of the DCED; Jody Raskind, chief of the Small Business Administration; Bruce Weaver, USDA program specialist; and Ilona Figat, MET director. Sen. Carper said that supporting “budding entrepreneurs” is one of the best things that can be done for economic recovery in Delaware and the nation. “This classroom on wheels will bring the resources and tools to those in rural parts of our state who might not ordinarily have easy access to business training,” Sen. Carper said. “As Governor, I supported this type of education through the Delaware Center for Enterprise Development, and I am so thrilled to see this concept ‘hit the road’ to reach potential entrepreneurs in our state.” Dr. Williams noted that such outreach is a strong characteristic of the University’s core values.  “This new community outreach is consistent with the established vision of DSU,” said DSU President Williams. “In taking our business and agriculture workshops out to the underserved rural areas, we are helping the people who access such education to be more successful and thereby invigorate the economy more in Delaware.” The DCED will offer workshops on topics such as financing, marketing, business plan development, and other areas. The College of Ag’s Cooperative Extension will offer workshops that address the needs of the small farmers and other micro-entrepreneurs. Christopher Garland, College of Business IT manager, checks out the MET Bus computers along with U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper, DSU President Harry L. Williams, and Ilona Figat, MET director. Ilona Figat, a DCED consultant, is serving as the founding director of the MET Program. She has been with the DCED for 12 years and has been instrumental in the development of various other programs such as the Child Care Business Development and Small Business Institute programs. Ms. Figat said that in the course of scheduling the workshops over the years, it was evident that transportation was a barrier for people in the underserved rural areas.  “We kept hearing ‘we can’t come up to Dover,’ which led to thoughts about how to bring our trainings to them,” she said. “Developing our MET classroom was a great fit, and we are very excited about servicing these areas in a mobile classroom with high-tech computers and Wi-Fi capability.” The MET Bus is also refurbished in ways that are consistent with the University’s “Go Green” environmental sustainability efforts. The bus refurbished features are designed to reduce energy consumption, which includes energy efficient computer workstation that draws less than 25 watts each. Florescent and LED lights have also been installed. The bus is being converted to run on locally produced bio-diesel. The DCED has been supported in this program with funding from a three-year $175,500 Small Business Administration PRIME grant as well as a one-year $72,000 USDA Rural Development grant.

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