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DSU Breaks Ground for Dr. Jerome Holland Statue

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Participating in the Jerome Holland Statue Groundbreaking Ceremony are (l-r with shovels) Vita Pickrum, vice president of DSU Institutional Advancement; J.C. Boggs, grandson on the late Gov. J. Caleb Boggs; DSU President Harry L. Williams; Dr. Donald A. Blakey, DSU alumnus and co-chair of the Jerome Holland Statue Committee, DSU Provost Alton Thompson and Reba Hollingsworth, DSU alumna and statue committee member.

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DSU President Harry Williams presents J.C. Boggs, grandson of the late Gov. J. Caleb Boggs, with a photo of his grandfather and Dr. Jerome Holland. Delaware State University held an Oct. 23 groundbreaking ceremony in recognition of the campus site that has been selected for the planned Dr. Jerome Holland statue. The statue will stand yet site is just inside the entrance of the campus pedestrian mall on the grassy triangle that is adjacent to the brick wall. Dr. Holland was the sixth president of then-Delaware State College (1953-1960) and is credited with navigating the institution through the most challenging period of its history. At the time some were calling for the institution’s closure, but Dr. Holland was able to earn the support of then-Gov. J. Caleb Boggs and the Delaware General Assembly, resulting state financial support for the college that was unprecedented at the time. “We are because he was,” said Dr. Donald A. Blakey, co-chair of the Holland Statue Committee. “Without his timely leadership, the College would not have survived and we would have never become Delaware State University.” The groundbreaking ceremony was attended by J.C. Boggs, the grandson of former Gov. J. Caleb Boggs. The former governor is credited with bringing Dr. Holland to Delaware to become the DSC president and for giving the College strong support through his tenure. The University is currently seeking a sculpture artist to create the statue. A fundraising drive has also been launched to raise money for the project. For more info about Dr. Holland, the statue project and how to contribute, go to http://www.desu.edu/hollandstatue. The Dr. Jerome Holland statue will be erected on the triangle plot of grass (where the sign sits) located at the front end of the University's Pedestrian Mall.  

DSU OSCAR Awarded New $5M NASA Grant

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(L-r) Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, OSCAR director, talks about the research that will be done as a result of the NASA grant while Gov. Jack Markell and DSU President Harry L. Williams listen.

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Delaware State University has recently been awarded a $5 million grant for a NASA research and education program that will continue its partnership with the space agency. OSCAR scientists listen to the announcement of the $5 million NASA grant. Built on the success of a previously NASA-funded program at DSU, this new program will strengthen the partnerships and collaborations with the Los Alamos National Laboratory, the Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of Delaware; enhance the research capabilities at DSU; and provide a rich intellectual environment for training our students.  Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, Distinguished University Professor of Physics, founder of the University’s Optics Research Program and director of the Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) at DSU, is the principal investigator of the grant. “It is with great pride that DSU will continue to be connected to NASA’s Mars mission through the work of Dr. Noureddine Melikechi and OSCAR,” said DSU President Harry L. Williams. “The research funded by this grant will not only make its mark on the world, but far beyond it on the Red Planet.”  The program includes four major research projects on developing optics-based space science technologies.: Dr. Melikechi along with Dr. Yuri Markushin and Dr. Jun Ren, professors at DSU, and Dr. Roger Wiens of Los Alamos will lead the efforts to develop new optical technologies for space exploration – of major relevance to the ongoing (2012 and 2020) NASA MARS exploration missions.  Dr. Renu Tripathi, associate professor of physics, and her team will develop a ground-based sodium-Lidar instrument in collaboration with Goddard scientists. This instrument will be used to perform high-resolution time and space measurements of the atmospheric sodium density, temperature, and vertical wind velocity from the mesosphere region of the atmosphere. The study will provide critical understanding of radiative cooling in the mesosphere, which is highly relevant to NASA’s Heliophysics Science Goals.  In collaboration with Goddard researchers, Dr. Amir Khan and Dr. Hacene Boukari aim to develop the next generation of  infrared-based technologies for ultrasensitive detection of chemicals present in the atmospheres of planets.  Some of these chemicals could be associated with the presence of life.   The fourth project – led by Dr. Mukti Rana, chair of the Department of Physics – seeks to design and fabricate an infrared detector that does not need an active cooling system, which would be a major step in the development of  low-cost, high-performing, and low-weight detectors suitable for future space flights.   "The Optics Program at Delaware State University continues to make strides in research and development, and this grant from NASA will help it go even further in its goal of enhancing space exploration," said U.S. Sen. Tom Carper. "They are putting the school - and Delaware - on the map when it comes to optical research, and helping the school become a hub for Kent County economic development."            U.S. Sen. Chris Coons said this NASA grant an imperative for the scientists to continue their leading edge research in the newly completed OSCAR building. “I know many hours of hard work by he and his team went into researching and preparing for this award, but now the real work begins, as his team embarks on several research projects over the next five years,” Sen. Coons said. Dr. Matt Bobrowsky, OSCAR’s director of Special Programs, will lead the education and outreach component of the project, which includes programs for both university students and pre-college students, including nationwide outreach to ensure geographic diversity in DSU’s educational marketing and outreach efforts.  The education plan is consistent with NASA’s Strategic Plan, which includes the cultivation of scientific literacy and a strong future workforce through STEM education, with particular efforts to include those in historically underrepresented groups. Gov. Jack Markell said that DSU understands the tremendous value in providing its students and faculty with access to leading edge tools and technology. “OSCAR is a testament to DSU’s commitment and this NASA grant will support the University’s efforts,” Gov. Markell said. “We congratulate DSU on this award and are excited to see the results of their research in the coming years.” Through OSCAR, the optics program at DSU has had long-standing relations with NASA’s Mars Mission through Dr. Melikechi’s work as a member of the mission’s ChemCam team. The ChemCam technology installed on the Mars Rover – which landed on Mars in 2012 and subsequently did laser-based analysis of the Red Planet rocks and soil – sent data back to Earth, which Dr. Melikechi and Dr. Alissa Mezzacappa (recently awarded her Ph.D. for work on this topic) worked on with their colleagues from ChemCam. U.S. Rep. John Carney this latest NASA grant reinforces DSU’s well-earned position as a leader in the field of optics and photonics technologies.   “Because of this funding, OSCAR scientists will continue to be on the front lines of space exploration, including NASA’s next Mars mission,” Rep. Carney said.  The grant also enhances DSU’s standing as a world-class educational institution that prepares some of our brightest young people for careers in this field.”  

DSU Announces $1.2M Grant Award from Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

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(L-r) DSU President Harry L. Williams announces the $1.2 million grant awarded to the University by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as Gov. Jack Markell, Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and U.S. Rep. John Carney listen during a Oct. 26 media event.

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On October 26, Delaware State University was joined by Gov. Jack Markell, U.S. Sen. Chris Coons, U.S. Rep. John Carney and other dignitaries to announce a $1.2M grant award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The announcement of this grant is significant news for the University. “The partnership between our University and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one where the Foundation is partnering with institutions that are transforming their higher education models so that more students -- especially low-income and first generation students -- graduate at higher rates, with high-quality degrees or credentials at an affordable price,” said Dr. Teresa Hardee, senior vice president and chief operating officer at Delaware State University. “Partnering with Gates will support our work by using data to support student success,” said Hardee. The University has developed “personal” Individualized Development Plans (IDPs) for each and every entering freshman. This allows for a tailored academic experience to ensure student success. This process also includes counseling, tutoring and virtual services for any student who may need assistance. This individual attention will allow for aggressive, intrusive and predicting advising of each student. “This partnership is not solely focused on Delaware State University,” said President Harry L. Williams, but is national in scope. They will be looking closely at the results of our initiative here at DSU, with an eye for sharing with other institutions of higher education across the country once its effectiveness is proven.

A Statement from DSU President Harry L. Williams

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A STATEMENT FROM DSU PRESIDENT WILLIAMS CONCERNING THE OCT. 24 VEHICULAR ACCIDENT DURING HOMECOMING Dr. Harry L. Williams, president of Delaware State University, has released the following statement concerning the vehicular accident that took place on Oct. 24 that injured seven persons – including one seriously – during Homecoming activities on campus. “It was an unfortunate accident that took place on Saturday evening, and our thoughts and prayers are with all persons who suffered injuries in the incident,” said Dr. Williams. “Our primary priority continues to be the safety of our students, employees and visitors.”  “Staff from Student Health Services stand ready to provide support to our students during this difficult time.”  The accident took place on DSU's Dover campus at 7:28 p.m. where Homecoming activities were going on all day.  The Dover Police Department is the lead agency investigating the incident with assistance and full cooperation with the DSU University Police Department. 

Aiah Senesie and Tria Stallings Crowned Mr. & Miss DSU

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The 2015-2016 reigns of Mr. and Miss DSU Aiah Senesie and Tria Stallings will be focus on the empowerment and uplift of students, according to University's top royal representatives.

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Delaware State University launched the reign of the 2015-16 Mr. and Miss DSU with the crowning of Aiah Senesie and Donametria Stallings during an Oct. 18 Coronation Ceremony. For images from the Coronation, click on: https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157659649462908/show The ceremony was entitled “A Royal Encounter,” which included a plotline borrowed from the Eddie Murphy movie “Coming to America” which helped to highlight the historic selection of Mr. Senesie as the first-ever native-born African to be named as Mr. DSU. Mr. Senesie, nicknamed The Trendsetter, is a native of Sierra Leone. He is a senior English major with a minor in political science. He is planning to continue his education in law school and then become an international attorney. His platform is “Reclaiming Your Royal Roots.” “I want to awaken the kingship and queenship in all of us by motivating, inspiring and empowering everyone I can on campus,” said Mr. Senesie, who is also in his second year as the president of the Honors Students Association and is a member of the Men of Color Alliance. Ms. Stallings, who goes by the nickname “Tria,” is a native of Newark, Del., and describes herself as a “God-fearing woman.” She is a senior political science major and plans to pursue a master’s degree in either political science or women’s studies. Her platform is “Building Your Empire – Empowering You to be You.” “I want to empower the women on this campus to be themselves, know their worth and understand that they are all queens,” said Ms. Stallings, who conducts a bible study group on campus. She is also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success.

DSU Exhibits "Alienated and Armed" in Art Center/Gallery

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Kyle Ripp's installation work addresses the challenging subject of bullying and violence. Her art will be on exhibition until Nov. 6 in the DSU Art Center/Gallery.

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Kyle Ripp's installation exhibition is inspired by her childhood experiences of being bullied. DSU’s Arts Center/Gallery is currently featuring the installation work “Alienated and Armed” by Wilmington mixed media artist Kyle Ripp. The installation work – which will be exhibited until Nov. 6 in the Arts Center/Gallery in the William C. Jason Library on campus – is free and open to the public. The public can meet the artist during a reception from 4:30-6 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22 at the Arts Center/Gallery The exhibition is reflective of Ms. Ripp’s personal childhood experiences of being bullied. The installation provocatively confronts the loss of innocence that occurs when children realize that the world isn't always "rainbows and sunshine." Her works also use familiar childhood images to confront our views on violence, fear, aggression, innocence, and the difficult realization that we live in a flawed society. “I know the installation will provoke many levels of discussion including violence in society and gun control,” said Jennifer Gunther, director of the Arts Center/Gallery. “We will have a reflective response component, our own evolving installation, which will allow the DSU community and the public to respond to the issues raised by Kyle's installation.” Ms. Ripp has a studio at the Delaware Center for Contemporary Art in Wilmington. Her work is known for being expressive, quite personal and often tackles challenging subject matter.

Dr. Teresa Hardee Completes Harvard's Ed Mgmt. Institute

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DSU Chief Operating Officer Dr. Teresa Hardee not only completed Harvard  University's prestigious Institute for Educational Management over the summer, but her photo is also featured in an advertisement about the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education published in a recent issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education.

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Dr. Teresa Hardee, DSU senior vice president and chief operating officer, recently completed Harvard University’s prestigious Institute for Educational Management (IEM) program. Held during the summer, the two-week IEM program consisted of intense study on management and leadership in higher education taught by Harvard’s world-renowned faculty at that institution’s Graduate School of Education. Amid a highly selective admission process, Dr. Hardee was one of about 100 higher education leaders selected from around the world. The IEM program is designed for senior-level administrators who have both the responsibility and authority to shape institution-wide policy, and/or for presidents, vice presidents, and other members of the executive cabinet who participate in strategic decision-making that shapes the future of the institution. The program’s objectives include developing skills in: 1) Leading successfully in a changing context, 2) balancing internal and external leadership roles, 3) working effectively as a member of the senior leadership team, 4) fostering and supporting organizational change, and 5) articulating a powerful institutional vision and enlisting others in pursuit of that vision. Dr. Hardee, who earned her doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania, said that the educational experience was on for the top highlights of her career. “Being around educational leaders from around the world has given me a tremendous framework for applying the concepts that I learned at DSU,” she said. “In fact, I use the knowledge that I’ve gained every day.” Dr. Hardee also noted that based on the topics discussed at the IEM program, she received powerful confirmation that DSU is working on things that are at the forefront of the most current thinking in higher education leadership.

DSU and OSCAR Host 1st-ever Regional Optics Symposium

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DSU President Harry L. Williams and OSCAR Director Dr. Noureddine Melikechi (l-r to the right of the sign) pose with representatives of nine companies that took part in the Optics Symposium.

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Delaware State University's Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) recently hosted the first-ever Delaware Optics Symposium, bringing together businessmen and scientists from nine companies, several institutions of higher education and three federal agencies. DSU optics Ph.D. candidate Harry Burton (r) explains his research poster to an attendee of the symposium. Held Oct. 8-9 in the MLK Student Center parlors, it was the first time such a symposium took place in the six-state Mid-Atlantic region (Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia). The participants heard cutting-edge presentations on emerging topics in optics as well as the wide-ranging applications of optics in military defense and security, medical diagnostics, biological sciences, energy and environmental science. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, OSCAR director, said it was a timely year to hold the symposium, as 2015 has been proclaimed by the United Nations as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies. “The aim of this symposium was to provide a forum for interaction among scientists engaged in optics-related research in the Mid-Atlantic region,” Dr. Melikechi said. “With this being the first-ever regional symposium, we are looking forward to creating a regional force in optics and photonics that will spur economic development.” The symposium was attended by representatives of the following companies: SPIE, Zurich Instruments, Leica Microsystems, Coherent Inc., FEI, Ophir Photonics, Praxair, B&W Tek, Axiom Optics and Nikon Instruments. Also participating in the two-day event were researchers, scientists and officials from the Army Research Lab, the National Science Foundation, Old Dominion University, Princeton University, Hampton University, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Delaware.

"Colorful China" at DSU -- Photo Slideshow

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The "Colorful China" performance took place on Sept. 30 in DSU's Education and Humanities Theatre.

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DSU was enriched with “Colorful China,” a wonderful presentation of Chinese ethnic culture in a performance on Sept. 30 in the Education and Humanities Theatre. For images of the performance, click on https://www.flickr.com/photos/48216028@N03/sets/72157659176331728/show. “Colorful China” is a cultural exchange program organized by the Chinese National Museum of Ethnology under the guidance of the State Ethnic Affairs Commission.  Focusing on displaying Chinese ethnic custom culture of 56 ethnic groups in that Far East nation, the critically acclaimed presentation has been performed in numerous countries around the world.  

DSU, Gov. Markell Formally Dedicate OSCAR Building

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With the OSCAR Building behind him, Gov. Jack Markell speaks during the dedication ceremony, noting that Delawareans "have a collective obligation to let people know about the research going in this building."

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Gov. Jack Markell joined DSU administrators, board members and scientists on Sept. 25 to formally dedicate the Delaware Institute for Science and Technology’s Optical Science Center for Applied Research (OSCAR) Building on campus. (L-r ) State Rep. Charles Potter Jr., DSU President Harry L. Williams, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, OSCAR scientist Dr. Matthew Bobrowski, Gov. Jack Markell and OSCAR Founding Director Dr. Noureddine Melikechi watch as the Delaware governor controls the laser that cuts the ribbon on Sept. 25, symbolizing the completion of the Optical Science Center for Applied Research at DSU. The $18 million OSCAR Building houses the University’s robust optics research program, which investigates a diverse range of novel applications of laser technologies. The research facility was made possible through the support of Gov. Markell, who persuaded the General Assembly to agree to contribute $10 million in state funding toward the building’s construction. “The state’s investment in this OSCAR Building will help to build on the years of progress made by the students and faculty of DSU’s Optics Program,” Gov. Markell said. “With this unique infrastructure in place, we are hopeful that OSCAR researchers will be better able to find solutions to some of the scientific challenges facing us today.” Much of the OSCAR work involves research that seeks to improve upon the use of current laser technologies and create new ones that can speed up the early diagnosis of many diseases, upgrade the ability of military soldiers in the field to detect dangerous threats, provide analysis of the Mars environment to understand its potential to sustain life, and be applied in many other areas.   The construction of the OSCAR Building began in November 2013 and was completed on June 1 of this year. The 28,000-square-foot, three-story building provides DSU Optics scientists and faculty with a facility specifically designed for optics research. As such, the laboratory side of the building sits atop a deep concrete foundation that eliminates the ground vibrations that can disrupt the accurate use of laser technology. The building’s completion highlights the 20-year work of Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, director of OSCAR, who founded DSU’s involvement in optics research in 1998 with the Center for Applied Optics Research. Through the diligent research of Dr. Melikechi and other optics scientists at DSU over the years, the program has attracted tens of millions of dollars in research grants from sources such as the National Science Foundation and NASA. In reflecting on the tremendous progress that DSU has made in the sciences and technologies of light, Dr. Melikechi said he is “hopeful and humbled” by the possibilities that the Optical Science Center for Applied Research Building will present.    DSU Optics Ph.D. candidate Alissa Mezzacappa (l) fields a question from Delaware Gov. Jack Markell as he takes a tour of the OSCAR Building. “This spectacular building is a convergence point where interdisciplinary science, technology, education and innovation will flourish together for the benefit of all.  OSCAR is about light,” Dr. Melikechi said. “Light is life. Light is in our past and present and I have no doubt that its impact on our lives will be even more profound in the future.”   DSU President Harry L. Williams said that visionary thinking and pursuits are what transformed optics into the prolific research program it has become at DSU. “Just as we have witnessed the development of optics research here over the last 20 years, DSU has other science disciplines such as neuroscience, chemistry and others that appear to be on a similar trajectory,” Dr. Williams said. “The mentality of limitless possibilities is a mindset that is being adopted by more and more of our faculty and portends an exciting future for this institution.” Among some of the research projects currently underway in the OSCAR Building: Dr. Noureddine Melikechi’s research focuses on developing sensitive optical techniques for the early detection of cancer, including prostate cancer and epithelial cancer. Dr. Yuri Markushin is working on the use of nanoparticles that can be used to tag specific proteins and help detect tumors that are smaller than one centimeter. The laboratory of Dr. Amir Khan is working with lasers and optics designs to develop a greenhouse gas sensor for methane and nitrous oxide. Dr. Tripathi and her team are developing next generation optical imaging systems such as LADAR – a remote sensing technology that measures distance and properties of an object by illuminating it with a laser and analyzing the reflected light. Dr. Deborah Santamore is working to resolve experimental problems that nanodiamond-based sensors currently face, and therefore help advance the development of ultra-high resolution imaging magnetometry. A team of researchers under Dr. Gour S. Pati is studying the interaction of light with matter in atomic vapor to explore a wide variety of atomic phenomena including slow and superluminal high propagation for sensing, detection and precision measurement applications. Dr. Sokratis Makrogiannis and his team are working on the development of mathematical techniques and computer algorithms for tissue identification and computer-aided diagnosis using MRI and CT imaging data. Dr. Qi Lu and her team are using an atomic force microscope to research how gold nanoparticles  affect the adhesive and elastic properties of cell membranes. Dr. Hacene Boukari and his team are utilizing a variety of high-resolution microscopes to assess changes in the shapes of sickle cells with the goal of developing an optical diagnostic tool. Dr. Thomas Planchon’s research group is working to develop novel instrumentation using the numerous properties of light. One of the projects focuses on developing novel optical microscopes for imaging of live specimens. Dr. Wafa Amir is working to develop novel optical imaging tools for biomedical applications.

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