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Dr. Art Leible Named New Associate VP of Information Technology

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                                      Dr. Arthur Leible     Dr. Arthur P. Leible, a 31-year professional in information technology and information management, has been named as the new associate vice president for Information Technology at Delaware State University.   Dr. Leible has a proven track record of success with over 11 years of experience in managing all aspects of information technology, including enterprise resource planning systems that primarily involved the Banner System at the following institutions of higher education: Texarkana College in Texas, Pima County Community College in Tucson Ariz., Rochester Community and Technical College in Minnesota, and Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell.   He also has 20 years of experience on a global basis as an information technology officer in the U.S. Army, which included stints as chief information management officer and brigade chief of staff.   "We are pleased to attract someone with this wealth of experience and knowledge in higher education information technology," said Amir Mohammadi, DSU executive vice president of Finance & Administration. "This is an opportune time to acquire such leadership as we further strengthen DSU's IT infrastructure."   Dr. Leible has a BS in liberal arts/history from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh, a MS in business information systems from City University in Bellville, Washington, and a Ph.D. in business information systems from North Center University in Prescott Valley, Ariz.  

Delmarva Power Donates $10,000 Toward DSU Scholarships

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(L-r) Delmarva Power’s Enid Wallace-Simms, public affairs manager, and John J. Allen, its Bay Region vice president, present DSU President Harry L. Williams with a $10,000 donation to go toward the upcoming Dec. 10 Presidential Scholarship Ball.  

 

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  In further demonstration of continued financial support to Delaware State University, Delmarva Power through the Delmarva Scholarship Golf Classic has presented the university with a gift of $10,000 toward the upcoming Dec. 10 Presidential Scholarship Ball that will be held on campus.   Presented on Nov. 19 to DSU President Harry L. Williams by John J. Allen, vice president of the Delmarva Power Bay Region, and Enid Wallace-Simms, its public affairs manager, the check represented its annual donation by the electric provider that will go toward DSU scholarships.   Delmarva Power has been a strong supporter of DSU since 1986; during that period the electric provider has donated just over $400,000 that has gone toward financial support for the School of Management (now the College of Business), the Wellness & Recreation Center, and scholarships.   Inclusive in that total donation figure is the electric provider’s 2002 establishment of the Delmarva Scholarship Classic Foundation which created the Delmarva Power Endowed Scholarship; the current market value of that endowment fund is just over $240,000.      

DSU Receives $200,000 NOAA Grant to Develop Environmental Scientists

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The NOAA Grant will enable DSU to provide more marine and environmental research opportunities to its students, such as these young researchers who are doing eel studies in the nearby St. Jones River. One of the grant goals is to increase the number of well-trained scientists and managers that can fill environmental post at agencies such as NOAA.

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  Delaware State University has been awarded a one-year $208,000 grant to be a part of a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) effort to meet the federal agency’s workforce needs in areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that support NOAA’s mission. DSU has received the grant as part of its partnership with Florida A&M University (FAMU), which is serving as the lead agency in allocation of a $15 million education and research grant among nine universities and environmental entities. The grant will provide funds to support students as they pursue NOAA-relevant education, research, and training in environmental science. This grant supports enhancing environmental literacy from K-12 to the doctorate level.  Dr. Christopher Heckscher, assistant professor of natural resources, is the principal investigator for the DSU portion of the NOAA grant. Dr. Christopher Heckscher, assistant professor of natural resources and the principal investigator of the DSU portion of the grant, said that funding will enable the university to further engage underrepresented students in the field of environmental research. “The funding will assist us in training students in the environmental sciences so that they graduate from DSU competitive with other graduates for jobs in the environmental sciences including policy, climate change, sea level rise, ecosystem processes, and other environmental focal areas,” Dr. Heckscher said. “With this funding, we will be able hire graduate students to study environmental problems in the Delaware estuary. Dr. Heckscher said if the federal funding continues to be available, the allocation could be continued annually over the next five years.   In addition to DSU, funding also went to Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi,, Jackson State University, University of Texas at Brownsville, and Creighton University as well as three National Estuarine Research Reserves; Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary; the Gulf of Mexico Alliance; and, the Gulf of Mexico Coastal Ocean Observing System.   The award will support the NOAA Environmental Cooperative Science Center (ECSC). FAMU (the lead institution) and its partners will focus on the following goals:   § Increasing the number of well-trained and highly qualified scientists and managers, particularly from under-represented minority groups entering the NOAA workforce and other resource management entities; § Improving the scientific bases for coastal resource management and to develop tools and research products to characterize, evaluate, and forecast coastal and marine ecosystem responses to natural and human induced stressors; and, § Facilitating community engagement related to the function and relevance of coastal ecosystems and the services they provide to society.    

DSU's Optics Program Goes to Mars

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    Delaware State University is making its mark on the Universe – literally – through its involvement in a space mission to the planet Mars. Alissa Mezzacappa (left) and Dr. Noureddine Melikechi adjust a Mars Chamber that they used to test the laser in the reduced-pressure environment of the Red Planet. Ms. Mezzacappa built the Chamber.   Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, who is the founder of the DSU Optics Research Program, the University’s vice president of research, and the dean of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, is working as a collaborator with NASA in connection with the upcoming Nov. 26 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) – which includes the Curiosity land rover. He is being assisted by Alissa Mezzacappa, a DSU Ph.D candidate in optics and a graduate research assistant.   Dr. Melikechi and Ms. Mezzacappa's work with NASA was announced and celebrated during a Nov. 18 press briefing and sendoff event in the MLK Student Center, which was designed to inform the media and also allow the University community to honor them before they depart to attend the Nov. 26 launch at Cape Canaveral, Fla.   According to the NASA website, the Curiosity rover has a ChemCam instrument that utilizes a Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy technique, which is an area of Dr. Melikechi’s optics expertise. After the MSL arrives at the planet Mars in August 2012, the Curiosity rover will land on the Mars terrain in an area called the Gale Crater, where it will conduct a laser analysis of the rock forms.   The laser will clear the rock of dust and get past the weathering layer, and then shoots a laser blast of a certain depth into the targeted rock. The laser blast will form plasma that emits light, the wavelength of which will be read by spectrometers inside the rover. That data will then be sent back to earth and yield information on the elemental compositions of the rock. It will be the first time that the Laser-induced Breakdown Spectroscopy technique has been used on Mars.   Dr. Melikechi, accompanied by Ms. Mezzacappa, has assisted NASA at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico in testing the technique in a Mars Chamber built there. Additionally, a Mars Chamber was built in the Mishoe Science Center on campus where additional tests were conducted.   The Mars Chamber allows the laser to be operated in a reduced-pressure Mars environment, and also allows the evaluation of the data that is yielded from that environment.   Ph.D candidate Alissa Mezzacappa (r) shares with the media how the experience has enhanced her life's work. When the Curiosity Rover sends actual data back from Mars in 2012, Dr. Melikechi and Ms. Mezzacappa will also assist NASA with the analysis of it.   “Our role has been to do some measurements and analysis, to try and understand a lot of the physics that takes place under Mars conditions,” Dr. Melikechi said. “When the data actually starts to come (from Mars), we will have an idea how to analyze it from those extreme conditions.”   In her Ph.D. journey, Ms. Mezzacappa is using this experience as the subject of her doctoral dissertation – a study of how the temperature of the plasma is impacted by the planet’s pressure. She said to be a collaborator on a multi-national rover mission to Mars as a graduate student has been an excellent opportunity and will be an impressive part of her curriculum vitae.   “The experience of working with so many great scientists from all around the world is invaluable, and it has matured me as a scientist and as a person,” said Ms. Mezzacappa, 24, of Holmdel, N.J. “I have gained a lot of perspective on how these missions actually work. It has definitely inspired me to continue in this vein in my future career.”   Both Dr. Melikechi and Ms. Mezzacappa will travel to Cape Canaveral, Fla., to witness the Nov. 25 launch of the MSL. While that is exciting, Dr. Melikechi said he looks forward to analyzing the data that comes back from Mars.   “It would be exciting if we uncover something that none of us at this moment can think of, something that no one is expecting,” Dr. Melikechi said. “It is possible, and that would be absolutely amazing. That would be wonderful for mankind.” (L-r) Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and DSU President Harry L. Williams share a laugh as Board of Trustees Chairman Claibourne Smith reads a tribute from Gov. Jack Markell that names the optics scientist Delaware's "Ambassador to Mars."   Although Gov. Jack Markell could not attend the Nov. 18 press briefing and sendoff, he sent an official tribute that named Dr. Melikechi as the state's "Ambassador to Mars." In addition to the humor, Gov. Markell also sent a letter that recognized Dr. Melikechi's accomplishments.   "The hard work you are doing right here in Delaware is having a dramatic impact," Gov. Markell said in the letter. "We appreciate your commitment to scientific excellence, your significant contributions to our state's reputation as a cradle of innovation, and the esteem your work is bringing to the First State."   The involvement of DSU in the Mars mission is the latest accomplishment of the University’s prolific Optics Program, which Dr. Melikechi founded in 1998 with the establishment of the Applied Optics Center of Delaware at DSU. With a focused vision, Dr. Melikechi methodically worked over the next decade to maximize every new opportunity and each research success.   The Optics Program later received two $5 million research grants from the National Science Foundation (2006) and from NASA (2009), creating two separate optics centers under Dr. Melikechi’s direction. Respectively, those grants resulted in the establishment of a Center for Research in Education and Optical Sciences and its Applications, and the Center for Applied Optics in Space Sciences. The expansion of the Optics Program research infrastructure led to the creation of an Applied Optics Master of Science and Optics Ph.D. programs at DSU in 2008.   In January, Dr. Melikechi announced that the program’s research had produced the University’s first-ever intellectual property that a company is currently developing into a laser-based diagnostic device to be used in hospitals and medical laboratories.   Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced in May 2011 the inclusion of $10 million in his fiscal 2012 budget to go toward the construction of an Optics Research Facility at DSU.  Article and photos by Carlos Holmes.

DSU's Amystique Harris Church Named a 2012 Jefferson Award Recipient

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    Amystique Harris Church has been named a 2012 Jefferson Award recipient in recognition of her volunteerism.     Amystique Y. Harris Church, associate director of operations in the DSU Office of Testing and also a University adjunct instructor, has been named as one of the 2012 Jefferson Award recipients for the state of Delaware.   Ms. Harris Church, who has been a DSU employee since 2000, has been presented the local award in recognition of her prolific volunteerism and community service. WBOC-TV administers the award in Delaware. She is one of eight awardees in Delaware and is eligible to be selected to be among the national Jefferson Award recipients.   WBOC-TV will air segments concerning Ms. Harris Church and the Jefferson Award during its regular news broadcasts during the week of Dec 4-10   Ms. Harris Church currently works with the  African American Heritage Project, House of P.R.I.D.E, Harris Devine Connections, Kent County Prevention Coalition, Sisters of Faith, and the Compassionate Friends-Bay Breeze Chapter. At DSU, she currently serves as advisor to three student organizations – Pinnacle Honor Society, Spoken Word Artists United, and SARAH (Spiritual Alliance Religious Association), in the past, she served as the co-advisor of the Association of Women in Communications, the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA) and for Miss DSU/Royal Court. In addition, her past involvement has included the John S. Charlton Kent County Autism Partnership Program, Junior Achievement Program, Women’s Empowerment Workshop-First State Community Action Agency, Make-A-Difference Day, Habitat for Humanity, House of P.R.I.D.E., CBC soup kitchen and DSU Mentoring Program.   In addition, she has served on several charity committees such as the co-chairperson for the State Employee Charitable Contributions of the state Department of Public Safety from 1997 to 1999, United Way Campaign, Tom Joyner Foundation, and Pinnacle Honor Society Fundraiser Committee. She has actively participated in several professional organizations such as the Philadelphia Black P.R. Society, the Public Relations Student Society of America, the American Association of University Women, and the Society for Human Resources Management.    Ms. Harris Church, a 2007 and 2010 DSU graduate, is currently enrolled in a Higher Education Leadership Doctoral Program at Wilmington University. She is also a member of the Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and serves as the Z-Hope state coordinator (a Zeta community service division).   She is a member of Crossroad Christian Church north of Dover, where she serves as a teacher in the CrossKidz ministry. She is also the co-founder and managing partner of Mystique Consultant Services.  

NASA's Dr. Roger Wiens to Speak at DSU Nov. 15 on the Upcoming Mars Mission

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    Delaware State University will present guest speaker Dr. Roger Wiens, a NASA scientist who is intimately involved in the space agency's upcoming Mars launch, at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 15, in Longwood Auditorium in the Bank of America Building (College of Business) on campus.   The event – which is part of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology Dean’s Distinguished Lecturer Series – is free and open to the public.   Dr. Wiens will share information about the much-anticipated Nov. 25 launch of the Mars Science Laboratory, which is expected to land along with the Curiosity Rover on Mars' surface in August 2012. Dr. Wiens will discuss the instrumentation on the rover and what scientists hope will be revealed about the habitability of Mars from data that will be returned to earth.   For more info about Dr. Wiens' presentation, contact Ms. Vanessa Nesbit of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences & Technology at 302.857.6502.    

Thompson Hospitality Donates $10,000 for DSU Scholarships

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    Thompson Hospitality Corp. – the contracted food service provider for DSU – proved itself once again to be committed partner to the institution with its recent donation of a $10,000 check to the University to go toward scholarships.   Craig Johnson, Thompson Hospitality food service director at DSU, presented Dr. Harry L. Williams with the check during the president’s Nov. 5 pre-game reception in the MLK Jr. Student Center, prior to the North Carolina Central University vs. DSU game.   Thompson Hospitality has been the University’s contracted food service provider since 1998. During that 13-year relationship, Thompson Hospitality has donated $119,948 in support of DSU.  

Mathematics Major Recognized for Research Poster at AMP Symposium

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Martha Gwengi, a senior mathematics major, stands next to her research poster that won her a cash prize at a recent Philadelphia AMP Symposium.

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    Martha Gwengi, a senior mathematics major in the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, recently won a cash prize for her research poster at the 14th annual Philadelphia AMP Research Symposium and Mentoring Conference.   Ms. Gwengi received a cash prize for her work entitled “Movements of Polystyrene Beads in Contraceptive Gels. Her research is designed to investigate the protective characteristics of vaginal contraceptive gels against various pathogenic particles such as HIV viruses.   Ms. Gwengi collaborated with Dr. Hacene Boukari, associate professor in the Department of Physics and pre-Engineering, along with co-author Elton Jhamba, an optics graduate student. She is currently a scholar in the Minority Access to Research Careers (MARC) Program.  

DSU Selected to be Part of Nov 3-5 Opportunity Nation in NYC

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    DSU President Harry L. Williams will participate in a panel discussion on how students can succeed in their pursuits to earn a degree.   Delaware State University has been selected among 12 colleges and universities to participate in the 2011 Opportunity Nation Summit that will be held Nov. 3-5 at Columbia University in New York City.   DSU is the only Historically Black College or University among the schools chosen to be a part of the Opportunity Nation Summit, which is focusing on the challenges of economic mobility and opportunity, and providing a forum for new perspectives on the problems and possible solutions. The University was selected because of its Inspire Scholarship Program and its community service component.   DSU President Harry L. Williams will serve as part of the Leadership Coalition for the Summit and will participate in a Nov. 4 panel discussion entitled “From Access to Completion: Starting Early, Staying in School, and Earning a Credential.” He will be joined on the panel by Wendy Kopp of Teach for America, John Pepper of the Walt Disney Company, and Robert Balfanz of the Center for Social Organization of Schools at John Hopkins University.   Each school was asked to select a state of Delaware leader and a student who are active in community service to be a part of the summit as an Opportunity Leader and an Opportunity Scholar.   DSU selected Bebe Ross Coker, an educator, playwright and activist who has served on many boards and commissions throughout the state, to attend the Summit for DSU as its Opportunity Leader. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell recently recognized her longstanding community service by awarding Ms. Coker the Order of the First State, the highest honor a Delaware governor can bestow.   DSU also selected Raequan Jones, a freshman political science major, who was chosen by the University to attend the summit as its Opportunity Scholar. Mr. Jones has been active in community service as a youth, including his involvement in the Wilmington Metropolitan Urban League.   Both Ms. Coker and Mr. Jones will be involved in a variety of workshops, seminars and activities throughout the summit.   The Opportunity Nation Summit – convened by TIME Magazine, United Way Worldwide, the AARP and its Foundation, and the Ford Foundation – is a campaign to promote opportunity, social mobility, and access to the American Dream. In being a part of the 36-member Leadership Coalition and serving as a summit panelist, Dr. Williams will be part of a diverse group of influential leaders such as Dr. Cornel West of Princeton University, broadcaster Travis Smiley, actor/activist Hill Harper, Rush Communication CEO Russell Simmons, tennis star Serena Williams, commentator Dr. Fareed Zakaria and many more.   “At the summit we will hear from leaders in business, education, the non-profit sector, faith communities, and government,” said Mark Edwards, executive director of Opportunity Nation. “These people are opportunity generators who are creating change every day. We want to bring them together to answer a basic question: what can we do to restore opportunity in America?”   Dr. Williams said he is excited to be a part of this unique initiative.   “I look forward to sharing my perspective as a member of the Leadership Council of Opportunity Nation on what students need to do to be successful in college,” said Dr. Williams. “Coalitions like this are critical at this time in our country as we together connect our young people to what matters and what it takes to live meaningful lives.”   The DSU president added that he will also be able to showcase the DSU Inspire Scholarship Program, which has at its core the culture of giving back. He noted that the University is organizing a statewide Inspired Day of Service in March 2012 as part of Opportunity Nation's national outreach.  

Despite Adverse Weather Alumni reunite during Homecoming Weekend

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The Class of 1965, which establishing themselves as the model for alumni giving, met during the Homecoming weekend. (Seated l-r): James Hogsten, Evalynn Y. Brunswick, Delores Harris, Carolyn G. Hebsgaard, Tina Strong and Jimmie Strong; (standing): Maurice Pritchett, Don Wright, Cagney France, Basil Gilfillian and Dr. Martin Drew.

 

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  The weather may have been windy, wet and cold during the Oct. 29th Saturday of the 2011 Homecoming weekend, but the reunions and fellowship were warm with plenty hugs and kisses abounding throughout the pre-game reception and the evening events.   See some of the alumni that did not let the ugly weather deter them from returning to their alma mater Saturday in the below photo slideshow:  

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