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DSU Physics Scientist Co-Publishes Book on Novel Optics Technique

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    Dr. Mukti Rana with his new optics book     Dr. Mukti Rana, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Pre-Engineering and an Optical Science Center for Applied Research scientist, has published an online book titled, Applications of RF Sputtered GexSi1-x and GexSi1-xOy Thin Films for Uncooled Infrared Detectors.    This book, co-authored by Donald P. Butler of University of Texas at Arlington and published by Nova Science Publishers, will help the researchers working in the infrared detection area. Infrared detection technique is used in night vision cameras, law enforcement, search and rescue in toxic or smoke-filled environments, surveillance, medical imaging, and in other ways.   This book discusses the deposition process, characterization techniques, properties and advantages of Radio Frequency (RF) sputtered GexSi1-x and GexSi1-xOy thin films for using them in uncooled infrared detectors (microbolometers), as compared to the more widely used VOx.   Dr. Rana, a native of Bangladesh, has been a faculty member of DSU since the fall of 2010.        

DSU Combine Choir's Joy, A Holiday Concert PHOTOS

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Joy -- A Holiday Concert, performed on Dec. 2 in the MLK Student Center, featured numerous student and faculty soloists as well as student and guest musicians, which included the DSU Brass Ensemble and a string section.

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  DSU’s Combined Concert and Gospels Choir presented the University and the community a musical Christmas gift with its Dec. 2 performance of “Joy – A Holiday Concert” in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.   Performing in front of an audience that almost filled all three parlors of the MLK Student Center, the combined choir was led by Dr. Lloyd Mallory, Jr., who is completing his first semester as the director of Choral Activities at DSU.   See the below slideshow of photo for the images of the performance:    

DSU Becomes 1st State Entity in Obama's Better Building Challenge

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    DSU President Harry L. Williams said the University has a role in modeling best practices in Delaware. He said DSU is doing just that through its building energy upgrades project. Delaware State University’s commitment to be an institutional leader in environmental stewardship has moved to a new level as it has become the first state entity in President Barack Obama’s Better Building Challenge announced today.   The Challenge is part of the Obama Administration’s Better Buildings Initiative launched earlier this year spearheaded by former President Bill Clinton and the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness.   The Better Buildings Initiative supports job creation by catalyzing private sector investment in commercial and industrial building energy upgrades to make America’s buildings 20% more efficient over the next decade, reducing energy costs across the country by nearly $40 billion.   The University was invited to be a part of the initiative as the result of its honor in receiving the 2011 Climate Leadership Award from the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). The award recognized DSU for the work it has done as a member institution of the ACUPCC through its Go Green initiative on campus since 2009.   DSU is one of 60 university, corporate, community and industrial partners in the Better Buildings Initiative. Of the 10 universities, DSU is the only HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) selected.   “Higher education should play a meaningful role in modeling best practices for their states. Delaware State University is honored to join President Obama in the Challenge and also to contribute to Delaware’s becoming an environmental leader in reducing its carbon footprint,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams, in attendance at today’s announcement and gathering of participants in Washington, D.C.   Among DSU’s initiatives enabling it to be part of the President Obama’s Challenge is a Guaranteed Energy Savings Agreement in coordination with the Delaware Sustained Utility (SEU). The University entered into the agreement, allowing it to invest in energy conservation and facility improvements, after completing an exhaustive investment grade energy audit.   “We were looking for ways to address some needed facility improvements in a way that would save on energy costs and allow us to spend dollars on other needs to serve our students,” Dr. Williams said.   The endeavor will help the University realize more than $5 million in savings over 20 years.  The SEU has issued Energy Efficiency Revenue Bonds to finance upgrades and help DSU achieve a goal of 25% in greenhouse gas reductions by 2015.     DSU is the first Delaware entity to commit its participation in President Barack Obama's Better Buildings Challenge. State Sen. Harris B. McDowell III, D-Wilmington North, who sponsored the legislation setting up the state’s Sustainable Energy Utility and serves as its co-chair, congratulated the University on becoming part of an important national program.   “A hallmark of any great leader is his or her ability to both seize and take full advantage of the opportunities before them,” McDowell said. “President Harry Williams and DSU Executive Vice President for Finance and University Treasurer Amir Mohammadi have demonstrated vision and leadership by joining the SEU Bond Program and saving the University millions of dollars in energy costs.”   McDowell, long recognized as a leader in energy policy, said the program is important because it helps institutions take advantage of the “non-use of energy” which he observed is the nation’s cleanest and greatest new energy resource. “President Williams has helped to cement DSU’s position as one of our country’s most forward-thinking schools.”   Dr. John Byrne, co-chair of the SEU and the architect of the bond structure, praised DSU for embracing the distinctive role of higher education. “DSU has turned its campus into a living laboratory for how to build a sustainable future – it shines as a model of advanced thinking for the country,” he said.    The SEU’s 2011 Energy Efficiency Bond is the first in the country to finance clean energy investments from the money savings created. The SEU has put Delaware in the forefront of clean energy efforts nationally, with several cities, counties and states duplicating the model, according to Dr. Byrne.   “Being asked to be a member of the President’s Better Building Challenge validates that DSU is focused on what matters to our state and our nation, “ said Dr. Williams.  

DSU's Ilona Figat Receives Entrepreneurship Ed Award

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    Ilona M. Figat has been named a 2011 Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator.     Ilona M. Figat, an enterprise consultant for the Delaware Center for Enterprise Development (DCED) at Delaware State University, has been named the 2011 Outstanding Entrepreneurship Educator at the 29th annual Entrepreneurship Education Forum held recently in Cincinnati, Ohio.   Ms. Figat received the award in recognition of her outstanding service in the field of entrepreneurship education.   Since joining the DCED in 2000, Ms. Figat has been engaged in numerous entrepreneurship education endeavors. She created the Child Care Business Training Program at the DCED, and its success made her a key player in April 2011 among other child care stakeholders in the convening of the first-ever Child Care Business Conference at DSU that attracted more than 150 caregivers.   She is currently the director of a new initiative, the Mobile Entrepreneurship Training that is designed to transport a Mobile Training Classroom into rural and underserved areas to provide entrepreneurship training. This new initiative will be unveiled in January 2012.   In addition over the years, Ms. Figat has provided entrepreneurship training at the House of Pride of Dover, the Morris Correctional Facility, Coverdale Crossroads, and has conducted workshops and one-on-one consultant for the benefit of many in the state of Delaware. She has also given presentations to various agencies of throughout the First State, including the Financial Literacy Institute and the Money School.   Ms. Figat also established and directs the Small Business Institute – a program matching students with small business owners to develop case studies. She is also intimately involved with the DCED’s Junior Entrepreneurship in Training youth program.  

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.    

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