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DSU Youngest-ever Doctoral Candidate Receives Ph.D.

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Dr. Jalaal Hayes (center) made DSU history by becoming the youngest-ever doctoral graduate at age 22. Dr. Hayes of Philadelphia was conferred a Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry during the Dec. 20 Commencement. Standing with Dr. Hayes are his advisor Dr. Andrew Goudy, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Cherese Winstead, chair of the DSU Department of Chemistry.

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Delaware State University made history during its Dec. 20 Commencement Ceremony when it conferred a Ph.D. degree to its youngest-ever doctoral candidate. Jalaal A. Hayes, a 22-year-old resident of Philadelphia, Pa., proudly received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Chemistry. In June 2015 he successfully defended his dissertation, entitled "Thermodynami and Kinetic Studies of Alkali Metal Doped-Lithium Amide-Magnesium Hydride Hydrogen Storage System.” Dr. Hayes graduated from high school seven years ago in 2008 at the age of 15. He then earned bachelor’s degrees in History and General Science, graduating cum laude at age 18 in 2011 (within three years) at his parents’ undergraduate alma mater, Lincoln University in Pennsylvania. While completing his doctorate at DSU, he lectured in Tuscany, Italy and Easton, Massachusetts as a Carl Storm Fellow while authoring several peer-reviewed journal articles and served on a team that obtained a United States patent for hydrogen research. He completed a 2008 summer research internship at Howard University/NASA undergraduate Research Center before being enrolled in DSU’s graduate program in Applied Chemistry, where he worked with his advisor Dr. Andrew Goudy, professor of chemistry, in the Center for Hydrogen Storage Research. While at DSU, he tutored students and was a member of the National Chemistry Honor Society, Gamma Sigma Epsilon, and served as the chapters’ parliamentarian. His parents are librarians who model academic achievement; his mother is the recent School Librarian of the Year in Philadelphia and serves as a high school librarian, and his father serves as the Interim Dean of Library Services at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in Princess Anne, Maryland. Dr. Hayes recently reflected on his unique educational accomplishments when he met the Rev. Bernice King (Rev. Dr. Martin Luther and Coretta Scott King's youngest daughter) at Zion Baptist Church in Philadelphia. She asked him about his achievement and opportunities to which he shared with her, “my family and community set high expectations for me and I simply strived to meet those expectations; for I strive to model “to whom much is given, much is expected.”

2015 December Commencement -- Photo Slideshow

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Four doctoral graduates get together prior to the Dec. 20 Commencement: (l-r) Dr. Alissa Mezzacappa (Optics),Dr. Esosa Iriowen (Applied Chemistry), Dr. Jalaal A. Hayes (Applied Chemistry) and Dr. Eric Pugh (Educational Leadership). Dr. Hayes at age 22 is the youngest-ever doctoral graduate in DSU history.

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DSU held its 2015 December Commencement on Dec. 20 in the Memorial Hall Gymnasium, where more than 300 graduates received their diplomas. For images of the 2015 December Commencement, click on the below link followed by more information about the graduation event: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157660281916783/show Among the undergraduates receiving their diplomas, seven completed their academic journey as Summa Cum Laude (3.75 GPA and above), 15 as Magna Cum Laude (3.5 to 3.74), 20 as Cum Laude (3.25 to 3.49), and six as Honorable Mention (transfer students with 60 or more credit hours at DSU). DSU President Harry L. Williams presented the Presidential Academic Award to Desirae Hagaman of Dover, Del. A movement science major, Ms. Hagaman maintained a 3.96 GPA throughout her entire undergraduate Summa Cum Laude journey. The keynote speaker was Ann Rosenberg, the vice president and head of Global SAP University Alliances. SAP SE and DSU entered into a formal partnership this year, which exposes the University’s students to the software giant’s advance technologies and establishes DSU as a Center of Excellence in sharing that knowledge with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Ms. Rosenberg told the December 2015 graduating class that industry needs them to find better ways to do things. “You have the mind through which you will be the disrupter in those industries,” she said. “Get the job you want. Go big and be a change agent.” Later in the ceremony, Dr. Williams presented Ms. Rosenberg with an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters. The December 2015 Commencement included the conferring of an Ph.D. in Applied Chemistry to the youngest candidate to complete doctoral studies at DSU – 22-year-old Jalaal A. Hayes of Philadelphia. To read more about Dr. Hayes, click on the below link to the DSU website Features section: http://www.desu.edu/news/dsu-youngest-ever-doctoral-candidate-receives-phd  

DSU Natural Resources Major Does Elephant Research in Africa

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Katie Ommanney, a DSU junior natural resources major, is shown at the Knysna Elephant Park in South Africa where she did research on elephant stress levels last summer.

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Katie Ommanney gets some love from an elephant in South Africa, where she conducted research on the correlation between elephant stress and tourist engagement. And unknown wildlife reserves worker watches. Katie Ommanney may become a wildlife professional who will regularly work with the largest animal ever by a DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences (CARS) student. Ms. Ommanney, a junior Natural Resources major, grew up in Tanzania, where she spent her childhood at a wildlife reserve. She was particularly drawn to the elephants that roamed that country and beyond. After later moving to the First State and subsequently graduating from Dover High School in 2006, she enrolled at DSU where she directs her work as a Natural Resources student toward returning her to the African wildlife and her love of elephants. Last summer through some funding support by CARS and others, Ms. Ommanney did research on elephant stress levels at Knysna Elephant Park in Plettenberg, South Africa. Specifically, her research explored whether stress levels went up or down when tourists interacted with the captive elephants. “The research looked at whether the frequency of tourist levels affected their stress,” she said. That research opportunity has begotten her an internship in Africa next summer. While she was on the continent last summer, she visited her father who still lives in Tanzania. There, she learned that an elephant orphanage would be opening in Arusha, Tanzania. She met with the people running the operation and landed the upcoming internship. Elephant orphanages exist to provide a place for young elephants whose parents are killed by poachers for their ivory tusks. “There is a huge psychological component when dealing with orphan elephants, which in some cases they witnessed the killing of their parents,” Ms. Ommanney said. She credits the DSU Aquatics Laboratory with giving her the needed scientific foundation and the guidance and support of Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, professor of natural resources, and Dr. Karuna Chintapenta, DSU postdoctoral research associate in aquatics. Ms. Ommanney said the care and preservation of elephants is her professional aspiration. “Since I was a child, I didn’t have a choice,” she said. “It was always going to be wildlife.”

DSU President Meets With KC State Legislators

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(L-r) Provost Alton Thompson; Dr. Stacy Downing, VP of Student Affairs; Rep. Dave Wilson, Rep. Bobby Outten, Rep. Harvey Kenton, Rep. Jeff Spiegelman, Sen. Colin Bonini, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Sen. Gary Simpson, Rep. Trey Paradee, Rep. Lyndon Yearick; Victor Santos, DSU gov. relations director; Sen. Brian Bushweller; Vita Pickrum, VP of Institutional Advancement; David Sheppard, DSU General Counsel. (Sen. Dave Lawson is not pictured). 

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DSU President Harry L. Williams hosted Kent County state legislators on campus Dec. 15 for a luncheon and information session. Dr. Williams and other DSU officials updated the legislators on the University’s legislative priorities that the institution will focus on during the upcoming General Assembly session that begins in January 2016. The DSU president also shared information about the University's strategic plan and about the its good stewardship of state funds. The DSU president, who holds this meeting annually with the General Assembly’s Kent County delegation, said this was the best-attended gathering of the legislator group since his presidential tenure began in 2010.

President's Faculty-Staff Holiday Open House -- Photo Slideshow

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Eric Hart (l) and his wife Erin Hill (r) join DSU President Harry L. Williams for a photo opp during the annual President's Holiday Open House for faculty and staff on Dec. 15-16.

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Dr. Harry L. Williams welcomed faculty and staff to his campus residence for his annual Holiday Open House reception on Dec. 15-16. For images from the event, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157662523929975/show Dr. Robin Williams, the DSU president’s wife who annually co-host the annual Holiday Open House, was not able to be present this year due to the passing this week of her mother in North Carolina.

DSU Postdoctorate Receives WOC Rising Star Award

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Dr. L. Karuna Chintapenta, a DSU postdoctoral research associate, received the award at the recent Women of Color STEM Conference in Detroit, where she was recognized for research activities.

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Dr. Lathadevi Karuna Chintapenta, a DSU postdoctorate research associate in aquatic sciences, has been awarded the Women of Color STEM Conference 2015 Technology Rising Star Award. Presented at the recently held WOC Conference in Detroit, Mich., the award was given to young women who are helping to shape technology for the future. A native of India, Dr. Chintapenta earned her Ph.D. in natural science at North Orissa University in India in 2011. There in her marine microbiology dissertation research, she isolated and identified natural pigments from mangrove fungi that have been found to be potentially useful  in the food industry as food colorants. Later as a research associate in India, she isolated Serratia marscens, a bacterium from silkworm gut, and extracted and purified a Serratiopeptidase protein from the bacterium. This protein is medically and commercially important due to its analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties. Dr. Chintapenta became a research associate at DSU in 2012. Since then, she has successfully trained about 20 undergraduate students in connection with their research projects. She assists her research mentor, Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, in all aquatic sciences research and extension activities, including grant writing. Dr. Ozbay, professor of natural resources, recommended Dr. Chintapenta for the award.  

DSU President Gives Commencement Address at CASE

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Dr. Mark Gooden, dean of the CASE College of  Agriculture and DSU President Harry L. Williams pose for a photo on the Nov. 25 Commencement Ceremony at that Jamaica institution.

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Dr. Harry Williams recently returned to Jamaica to give the commencement address at that country’s College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE). It was the second trip to Jamaica this year for Dr. Williams. The DSU president and other University officials traveled to Jamaica last summer to finalize an agreement with CASE that facilitates study abroad/student exchanges, research collaborations and other academic activities. Dr. Williams was accompanied on the trip by Dr. Dyremple Marsh, dean of the DSU College of Agriculture and Related Sciences. While in Jamaica, Dr. Williams and Dr. Marsh held meetings with CASE officials to update the progress on the agreement activities.

Dec. 12 President's Scholarship Ball -- Photo Slideshows

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During the fundraiser, DSU Community Partner Awards were presented to (l-r): DSU alumni Marion Gibbs, Dr. Reba Hollingsworth, Norman Oliver, and Bayhealth Medical Center CEO Terry Murphy, who are joined in the photo by DSU President Harry L. Williams.

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The annual President’s Scholarship Ball was held Dec.12 in the ballroom of the Dover Downs Hotel and Casino. The well-attended fundraiser was emceed by alumni and actor Aaron Spears and featured the singing of Broadway legend and recording artist Jennifer Holliday. Ms. Holliday performed a number of songs from her career, including selections from Dreamgirls (the long-running Broadway production in which she was an original Tony Award-winning star) as well as from her latest album “This Song is You,” prompting several standing ovations from the crowd during the evening. Both Mr. Spears and Ms. Holliday graciously posed for photos with a number of DSU officials and supporters. For images of Ms. Holliday with others, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157662229270251/show For images for Mr. Spears with others, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157661787555660/show For other images from the President’s Scholarship Ball, click on the below link: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157661666251319/show

DSU Eminent Students Donate Toys to B&G Club

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Keith Wilson, Jahi Ross and Kevin Smith, officers in the Eminent student organization, stand with toys that the group donated Dec. 11 to go to the youths of the Boys and Girls Club of Simon Circle in Dover.

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Christmas for the youths at the Boys and Girls Club of Simon Circle was made merry by Eminent – a DSU student organization – which showed up to their Dover location bearing gifts. The officers of Eminent – Jahi Ross, Keith Wilson Jr. and Kevin Smith – delivered the gifts to the Boys and Girls Club on Dec. 11 to be shared with the children that are a regular part of that facility. The Eminent officers said community service is an important part of their organization. “We hold ourselves to a higher standard as kings and queens of Delaware State University, said Mr. Wilson, the Eminent vice president. “As members of this group, we work to be prominent and well-respected in our professions, in order to leave an Eminent legacy for others to follow.”

DSU Excels in Neuroscience Symposium Poster Competition

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(L-r) Joseph Lombardo, a DSU post doctorate, celebrates his first place poster competition award with Dr. Melissa Harrington, DSU professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Jeff Rosen, president of the Delaware Chapter of Society for Neuroscience and University of Delaware professor of psychology & brain science. Mr. Lombardo took the prize at the Dec. 4 Neuroscience Symposium and Poster Session in Newark.

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A DSU post doctorate research fellow, a Ph.D. candidate and an undergraduate recently made their mark  at the 8th annual Neuroscience Symposium and Poster Session, from which they brought back research poster competition awards to Delaware State University.                Karla Sanche Joseph Lombardo, a DSU neuroscience post doctorate from Torino, Italy, won first place in the post doctoral/research assistant category for his poster entitled “Prolonged Spinal Network Activation Induces Adaptive Alterations in Spinal Motoneuron Intrinsic Excitability.” Karla Sanchez, a neuroscience PhD candidate from Bowie, Md., took second place in the graduate division for her poster “Astrocyte Neuron Interactions in Synchronous Bursting Behavior.”                Xenia Davis Xenia Davis, a sophomore biological science major from Wilmington, Del., won the third place award in the undergraduate division with her poster “Synergistic Damage of Commercially Available Environmental Toxins in Parkinson’s Disease Models.”  The Dec. 4 Symposium was held at the Delaware Biotechnology Institute in Newark. The competition featured 38 poster presenters – six in the post doctoral/research assistant category, 18 in the graduate division and 14 in the undergrad division.  

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