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DSU Receives $500,000 Research Instrumentation Grant

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(L-r) Dr. Mukti M. Rana, principal investigator, along with co-PIs Dr. Wafa Amir, director of the DSU Imaging Facility, Dr. Theresa Szabo-Maas, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Dr. Hacene Boukari, associate professor of physics and engineering – all DSU faculty members – have been awarded a $500,000 National Science Foundation grant that will result in the University’s acquisition of a Scanning Electron Microscope. Not pictured is co-PI Dr. Dula Man.

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A group of DSU faculty members from the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology have been awarded a $501,100 Major Research Instrumentation Grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant will enable the University to acquire a Scanning Electron Microscope for use in multidisciplinary research. The principal investigator grant is Dr. Mukti M. Rana, assistant professor of physics. The co-PIs for the grant were Dr. Hacene Boukari, associate professor of physics and engineering; Dr. Theresa Szabo-Maas, assistant professor of biological sciences; Dr. Wafa Amir, director of the DSU Imaging Facility; and Dr. Dula Man, assistant professor of chemistry The NSF grant funding the purchase of the scanning electron microscope (SEM) will provide DSU with an ultra-modern tool to image a sample with more than a million magnification. The technology will also have the capability to determine the atomic composition/structure of samples. In addition to high magnification, the instrument will provide other capabilities such as energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy microanalysis system and electron back scattered diffractometer, which can be used to determine the elemental composition and crystallographic orientation of a specimen.  The SEM will be used to complete various ongoing research projects at DSU, which includes: The development of ultra-low power Indium Arsenic Nitride semiconductor transistors The fabrication of a nanofiber in situ electroporation chip to deliver DNA into cells The study of membrane-associated estrogen receptors in the Mauthner cell circuit of goldfish. The characterization of tubulin nanorings. This high-resolution imaging microscope will enhance the research and educational capabilities at DSU, as well as provide DSU STEM students with “hands on” experience and training in this broadly-used technology. Further, it is expected that SEM will stimulate new research opportunities, while it will develop new collaborative projects among DSU and non-DSU researchers including potential high technology companies. It will also strengthen the research and education capabilities of DSU in nano-scale science and technology, which involves many departments at DSU. The SEM will be located at new Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building that is currently under construction on the DSU campus.  “This is another piece that we will contribute to our efforts to build a world class optics program at DSU,” said Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology. “The SEM will add tremendous value to the University and the high technology community in the state while at the same will provide excellent opportunities for students to acquire hands on imaging skills” said the Dean and director of the optics program, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi.”

Civil Rights Movement Art Show at DSU until Nov. 7

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Demitrius Bullock Jr. (r), under the direction, Jennifer Gunther, director of the DSU Arts Center/Gallery, hangs a work entitled Endangered, which was actually created by his father Demitruis Bullock Sr. of Townsend, Del. Mr. Bullock Sr. was one of 18 artists from all over the country to submit works for this Civil Right Movement-themed exhibition.

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In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, the Arts Center/Gallery at Delaware State University is presenting an commemorative exhibition featuring the works of 18 artists from Sept.   Kamal Al Mansour’s Red, White (Black) and Blue is one of the 20 works on display that the Arts Center/Gallery’s Civil Rights-themed exhibition. 29 to Nov. 7. The exhibition, which is free and open to the public – is located in the Arts Center/Gallery, the entrance of which is located inside the entrance of the William C. Jason Library on campus. The gallery requested submission of works that directly or metaphorically examined and responded to any issues related to the Civil Rights Movement. Submissions were received from around the country, resulting in a group of 20 selected works that provided a unique visual response to Civil Rights events. The Arts Center/Gallery is a learning environment for the Department of Art, Arts Management program, and as such, DSU art majors assisted with the exhibit staging and installation.  In addition to the works selected from artists, the exhibit contains an interactive installation component.  The installation, a visual timeline reflecting responses to the exhibit and theme, is an evolving work of art. All visitors are encouraged to add their visual comments to the installation and become a part of this process. There isn’t a “wrong” way to participate. The opening reception for this exhibit will take place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 2. The exhibition and reception is being held in conjunction with the Oct. 2-3 Civil Rights Symposium hosted by DSU and the Delaware Historical Society. 

Miss DSU Jamila Mustafa 1st Runner-up in NBCAHF competition

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Jamila Mustafa, Miss DSU 2014-2015 (center), poses with other DSU supporters at the National Black Colleges Alumni Hall of Fame Queens Competition in Atlanta, Ga., where she finished as first runner-up.

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Jamila Lee Mustafa, whose coronation as the 2014-2015 Miss DSU is a little more than a week away, has already begun making her mark as the University’s top queen. Ms. Mustafa recently competed in the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame (NBCAHF) Queens’ Competition in Atlanta, Ga., where she not only became the first DSU queen to finish in the top five of the 29-year competition, but she also became the first Hornet to finish as high as the first runner-up. Her success in the competition’s categories of the interview, talent and evening gown catapulted her to her high finish and won her a $3,500 scholarship. She was also awarded a special $2,000 scholarship from Royall Mack, the founder and CEO of Ciara Enterprises and the vice chairman of the NBCAHF Board of Directors. Along with Jamila’s wonderful accomplishments on that Sept. 27 evening, Mr. James Lee Jones, the 2014-2015 Mr. DSU, won the Mister Congeniality Award during the event. As part of that honor, he was awarded a $500 scholarship. The event was sponsored by the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc., which is dedicated to the growth and development of HBCUs through scholarships, internships, training and technical assistance, alumni recognition, and programs to encourage humanitarian involvement. Ms. Mustafa and Mr. Jones will be formally crowned as the 2014-2015 Mr. and Miss DSU during their Royal Coronation entitled "The Year of the Hornet – An Evening of Asian Enchantment" at 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12 in the Education and Humanities Theatre. The event is free and open to the public.

DSU President Travels to Turkey to Discuss Future Exchanges

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DSU President Harry L. Williams shakes the hand of Celal Bayar University President Mehmet Pakdemirli during a recent trip to Turkey.

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DSU President Harry L. Williams recently paid a visit to Celal Bayar University to meet with its president, Dr. Mehmet Pakdemirli, in a visit that followed up the signing of a Memorandum of Cooperation that took place in the spring at DSU.   Dr. Mehmet Pakdemirli, president of Celal Bayar University in Turkey, signs an agreement with DSU President Harry L. Williams in March 2014. Dr. Williams recently returned from Turkey where he had further discussions with Celal administrators. The five-year agreement signed by the two university presidents on March 24 at DSU paved the way for future undergraduate and graduate students study abroad opportunities, joint research and teaching activities, the exchange of pedagogical materials, as well as collaboration in the areas of business, administration, sciences, education and professional training. During Dr. Williams’ Sept. 24-28 trip to Turkey, he met with Dr. Pakdemirli and other Celal University officials to hold further discussions on ways in which the two institutions could move ahead with the activities previously agreed to in the spring memorandum, especially in the areas of student exchanges and the DSU U.S. Cultural Enrichment Program. Those plans are expected to be finalized between the two institutions on a future date.

The First-Ever DSU Campus Lions Club is Chartered

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The  entire membership of the DSU Campus Lions Club was inducted during a ceremony on Sept. 21 in the MLK Jr. Student Center.

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There is a new community service group at DSU – the Delaware State University Campus Lions Club. (L-r) District Lion Club Governor Cheryl Jones, stands with the charter DSU Lions Club officers: Briana Tobin, president; Courtney McClure, vice president; Tiera McCoy, secretary; Hope Brown, treasurer; Desiree Jackson, “Lion Tamer”; and Jeffrey Baggett and Lesleigh Gibbs, directors. The charter DSU Lions Club became official during a Sept. 20 program in the MLK Jr. Student Center, as the leadership and members of other local Lions Clubs attended to witness the induction of its charter members and the installation of its officers. The Lions Clubs across the country focus much of their work on the prevention of blindness, aid to the blind, and help for those with vision problem. Many Lions Clubs, however, also engage themselves in many other community service endeavors. The charter DSU Lions Club begins its inaugural year with 14 members. Its officers are: Briana Tobin, president; Courtney McClure, vice president; Tiera McCoy, secretary; Hope Brown, treasurer; Desiree Jackson, “lion tamer”; Shanay Watts, membership chair; Jeffrey Baggett and Lesleigh Gibbs, directors. The advisors are Samantha Ash and Dr. Delores Finger Wright.

DSU Names Dr. Stacy Downing as New VP of Student Affairs

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Dr. Stacy Downing brings 15 years of higher education experience – mostly in the Student Affairs area – to the vice president post.

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Delaware State University has named Dr. Stacy Downing as its new vice president of Student Affairs and Enrollment Management. Prior to this appointment Dr. Downing served as DSU’s associate vice president of Student Affairs since August 2013. With this promotion to vice president, Dr. Downing will be part of the DSU president’s senior administrative council and will oversee the following departments and offices: Residential Education and Student Life, Career Services, Student Leadership and Activities, Public Safety, Judicial Affairs, the MLK Jr. Student Center, Campus Events Planning, the Wellness and Recreation Center, Health Services, Counseling, and Enrollment Management. “We have observed the effective work of Dr. Downing in her capacity as associate vice president and her contributions to the Division of Student Affairs. Her demonstration of enthusiasm for the students she serves has been impressive,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams. “She has 15 years of higher education experience – largely in the area of student affairs – and we look forward to the leadership she will provide as the vice president of that division.” Prior to her arrival to DSU in 2013, Dr. Downing served as the vice president of Student Affairs for Philander Smith College from 2011-2013, as director of Student Activities and Leadership Development at the University of Cincinnati from 2006-2011 as well as other student affairs-related director and program director posts from 1999-2006 at that institution. She also served as an adjunct instructor for freshmen seminar-type courses and graduate Educational Leadership courses during her tenures at both Philander and UC. Dr. Downing has a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati (in Ohio), a Master of Science in Criminal Justice from Xavier University in Cincinnati, and an Ed.D. in Urban Educational Leadership from the University of Cincinnati. “I am excited about this opportunity to continue to move the division forward and leverage the relationship that I have with the DSU community,” Dr. Downing said. “It’s an exhilarating time to be at DSU and I am happy to be a part of this movement.” The VP for Student Affairs Search Committee was chaired by Carolyn Curry, vice president for Institutional Advancement and chief-of-staff. Joining her on the committee were: Marsha Horton, dean of the College of Education, Health and Public Policy; Jan Blade, Faculty Senate chair; Edward Doxen, president of the Student Government Association; Wes Perkins, DSU Board of Trustees member and chair of its Student Affairs Committee; Erin Hill, assistant vice president of Enrollment Management; Phillip Holmes, director of Housing and Residential Education; Jordin Williams, director of the Wellness and Recreation Center; Michelle Martin, associate vice president for Finance; and Beverly Brown, Human Resources generalist. Finalists were interviewed on campus by groups of students, faculty, staff, administrators and alumni.

DSU Nursing Holds First-Ever White Coat Ceremony

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Flanked Dr. Marsha Horton (l), dean of the College of Education, Health & Public Policy, and Dr. Sharon Mills-Wisneski, Nursing Dept. chair, the class of 2016 – the newest group to be admitted in the DSU Nursing Program – poses after receiving their white coats during the Sept. 20 ceremony.

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The DSU Department of Nursing held its first-ever White Coat Ceremony in honor of the latest class of students to be accepted in the Nursing Program. Dr. Sharon Mills-Wisneski, Nursing Dept. chair, helps a new nursing major with her white coat during the ceremony. Twenty-nine juniors celebrated the successful completion of their first two pre-nursing years at DSU, resulting in their acceptance in the program and the subsequent the rite of passage ceremony held Saturday, Sept. 20 in the MLK Jr. Student Center. The White Coat Ceremony is a new advent for nursing schools across the country. Previously only medical schools held such ceremonies Funding from the Arnold P. Gold Foundation and its collaboration with the American Association of College of Nursing (AACN) resulted in this year pilot program for such ceremonies to be held by nursing programs. The Gold Foundation and the AACN selected 100 nursing schools – of which DSU was the only one of two HBCUs and the only nursing school in Delaware – to each receive a $3,000 grant to fund the White Coat Ceremony. There are 750 nursing schools recognized by the AACN. The White Coat Ceremony is designed to instill a commitment among future nursing health professionals to provide compassion care. The keynote speaker of the White Coat Ceremony was Dr. Pamela Zuckafoose, executive director of the Delaware Board of Nursing, as well as former faculty member of the DSU Department of Nursing. The 29 nursing majors – recognized as the “Class of 2016 – took the White Coat Oath, in which they made a commitment to accept the fundamental duties and responsibilities of being a nurse, especially in the areas of compassionate care, the exercising of sound professional judgment, and having of a lifelong obligation for professional improvement. The chair of the DSU Nursing Program is Dr. Sharon Mills-Wisneski. The department is under the DSU College of Education, Health and Public Policy, which is under the leadership of its dean, Dr. Marsha Horton.

2014 Employee Recognition Dinner -- Photo Slideshow

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The 2014 Employee Recognition awardees (l-r): Tracy Channel, Rosetta Brickhouse, Jessica Wilson, Kamillah Lewis, Michelle Martin, Bina Daniels, Jennifer Ridgely, Jacqueline Jones, DSU President Harry L. Williams, Irene Chapman-Hawkins, Lorene Robinson, Duane Henry, Phillip Holmes, Dr. Raymond Tutu, Dr. Jung Lim-Lee (ck sp) and Dr. Clytrice Watson.

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DSU held its annual Employee Recognition Dinner at the MLK Jr. Student Center where it recognized employee excellence and longevity. For images of the awardees, click on the below photo slideshow:  

Alumnus Mike Feeney Returns as 2014 Convocation Keynote

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David Turner, vice chair of the DSU Board of Trustees, DSU alumnus (’86) and last year’s Convocation keynote speaker, sits next to Michael Feeney, DSU alumnus (’05) and the 2014 Convocation keynote speaker.
 

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The 2014 Convocation formally launched the 204-2015 academic year and brought home one of its alumni sons – Michael Feeney, class of 2005 – as its keynote speaker. DSU President Harry L. Williams presents keynote speaker and DSU alumnus Michael Feeney an award following his Convocation address. Mr. Feeney, an award-winning journalist who graduated from DSU in 2005 with a degree in Mass Communications/Print Journalism, told the packed Education and Humanities Theatre audience that his DSU undergraduate experience prepared him well for his career – which has included jobs with the Associated Press, and the New York Daily News, as well as recognition from the National Association of Black Journalists as the 2010 Emerging Journalist of the Year. “All of that wouldn’t have been possible without DSU,” Mr. Feeney told the freshmen in attendance. “I urge each one of you to take advantage of the opportunities you have here, because what you do here will ultimately determine what you will do after you graduate.” Mr. Feeney told the students to surround themselves with people who want to achieve and be successful. “Figure out your goals and do whatever you have to do to achieve them,” he said. “If you face adversity, find a way to get through it. If you fail, get up. If you find success, keep it going and be the best Hornet you can be. DSU President Harry L. Williams noted that the theme for 2014-2015 is “Celebrating 125 years of Access and Opportunity.” He also used the occasion to focus the University audience on the emphasis of the current school year – Goal 2 of the University Strategic Plan, Student Success. He noted that in 2015 the Department of Education will start rating institutions by the metrics of cost, graduation rate, loan default rate, median borrowing and employment. “By 2018, federal funds will be tied to those ratings,” Dr. Williams said. The Convocation also featured music from the DSU Concert Choir and the Approaching Storm Band.  

College of Ag Awarded $1.8M in Capacity Building Grants

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Dr. Bertrand Hankoua, a College of Ag food and nutritional sciences researcher, has been awarded an almost $500,000 grant that he will use to study the use of high biomass yielding energy grasses for conversion to biofuels.
 

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DSU’s College of Agriculture and Related Sciences has been awarded more than $1.8 million from the USDA’s 1890 Institution Teaching, Research and Extension Capacity Building Grants Program. Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, Dr. Daniela Radu and Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay have been awarded a nearly $300,000 grant for nanoparticle research. Eleven DSU faculty members – nine from the College of Agriculture and Related Sciences and two from the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology – will use the funding for nine different projects ranging from scientific research to curriculum enhancement. The projects, the grant amount, and the DSU faculty involved: Biofuels production research – Dr. Bertrand Hankoua, a food and nutritional sciences researcher from the College of Ag, is the principal investigator of a $499,964 grant for a project that will employ metabolic engineering techniques that are expected to result in the use of high biomass-yielding energy grasses for the efficient and cost-effective production of biofuels. On this project, Dr. Hankoua will collaborate with several co-PIs who are bio-energy experts biofuel and biotechnology research centers across the country. Enzyme immobilization in support of food security – Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, associate professor and associate chair of the Dept. of Chemistry, is the principal investigator of a three-year $299,996 grant for a project that will use the porous silica nanoparticle to anchor enzymes that are able to break biomass in sugar. The technique is projected to lower the cost of enzymes in the food industry. Dr. Lai is assisted by DSU co-PIs Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, College of Ag. research professor. Expanding economic opportunities of under-served farmers – Dr. Lekha Paudel, a DSU Cooperative Extension farm management specialist, is the principal investigator of a three-year $245,281 grant to introduce under-served farmers to alternative specialty crops, ways to reduce post-harvest spoilage and help them develop marketing skills. Dr. Venu Kalavacharla will use $128,850 for research involving sweet potatoes and viruses that attack it. Build Capacity and Strengthen DSU’s Food and Nutritional Science Program – Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the DSU Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, is the project director of a $299,875 grant to establish collaborative approach to recruit and train a diverse workforce for career opportunities in food and nutritional sciences. DSU co-project directors include Dr. Stephen Lumor, associate professor of human ecology; Dr. Carol Giesecke, director of the Didactic Program in Dietetics; and Donna Brown, Cooperative Extension family life agent. There is also collaboration with two co-project directors from Camden County College of N.J. and Delaware Technical and Community College. Oyster-associated Vibrio infection detection – Dr. Gulnihal Ozbay, College of Ag. research professor, is the co-PI  of $175,895 grant in which she will work researchers from the University of Maryland Eastern Shore seeks to develop a less expensive and time-consuming colony overlay procedure for identification of the marine malady. Genetic research relating to sweet potatoes – Dr Venu Kalavacharla, professor of molecular genetics in the DSU Department of Ag, is a co-PI in a project in which DSU will receive $129,850 to gain a better understanding of the differences between virus-free and virus infected sweet potatoes. Agriculture Study/Research Abroad in Latin America – Dr. Marikis Alvarez, associate dean of research for the College of Ag, is the principal investigator of a $149,500 grant that is DSU’s portion in collaboration with Tuskegee University and Alabama A&M University to bring about a study-abroad program in Costa Rica that will focus on agriculture education and research. Dr. Sathya Elavarthi, assistant professor of agriculture, is also a co-PI on the project. Tension Irrigation Technology Research – Dr. Mingxin Guo, professor of agriculture, is the principal investigator of a $65,988 professional development grant will fund a five-month sabbatical for research at the National Engineering Research Center for Information Technology in Agriculture in Beijing, China. Food Safety of Fresh Produce Program – Dr. Samuel Besong, chair of the DSU Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, is a co-PI of a project designed to build an integrated program on Food Safety of Produce. DSU is one of several 1890 Land Grant institutions that have been awarded toward this project; the current grant amount to go to each institution is undetermined. The total amount of grants for the above DSU projects is $1,866,349. The 1890 Capacity Building Grant (CBG) Program is intended to strengthen teaching, research and extension programs in the food and agricultural sciences by building the institutional capacities of the 1890 Land-Grant Institutions such as DSU.

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