August 2013


DSU Presents First-Ever Innovation Grants to Selected Faculty Members

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(L-r) Dr.  Mohammad A. Khan, Dr. Mukti Rana and Dr. Nandita Das, are one of five faculty teams that have won DSU's first-ever Innovation Grant awards. Each team received $20,000 to develop their creative ideas that advance the priorities and goals of the University's Strategic Plan.

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8/27/13 Five faculty-driven projects have been named to receive funding as part of the University’s first-ever PRIDE 2020 – Innovation Grants awards. The five projects were selected from among 29 submitted proposals by DSU faculty. The selected projects – awarded $20,000 each – were determined to be the top proposals that advance the priorities and goals of the institution’s strategic plan. Dr. Gary Holness, shown with one of his robots. The following faculty members and their projects have been awarded Innovation Grants: Dr. Mohammed Khan, assistant professor of physics (PI); Dr. Mukti Rana, assistant professor of physics (co-PI); and Dr. Nandita Das, associate professor of business (co-PI) – “Next-Generation Sensors for Improving Human Health and Urban Air Quality: A Technology-Driven Business Model for Young Entrepreneurs.” The project entails a prototype greenhouse gas sensor technology for environmental applications, developed indigenously at DSU’s engineering laboratories. It will be transformed into a marketable product through a model business plan developed by DSU’s College of Business team. The goal of the project is to expose students to the critical stages of research conducted in the laboratories and to the aspects of commercialization of such technologies through interdisciplinary collaboration in a unique academic setting.    Dr. Gary Holness, assistant professor of computer science (PI) -- “Managing Indoor/Outdoor Transitions in Autonomous Robot Wheelchairs.” A number of efforts in the robotics and machine perception research communities have pursued the idea of an autonomous wheelchair as a mobility solution for those with both physical and perceptuo-cognitive impairments. The research project will aim to address issues concerning the development of autonomous wheelchairs that transition between outdoor-to-indoor and indoor-to-outdoor navigation. It will involve the assembling of a multidisciplinary team comprised of students from computer science, engineering and business who will design, develop, manage and advertise the project during a one year period of performance.   Dr. Ladji Sacko, associate professor of foreign languages (PI); and Dr. Raymond Tutu, assistant professor of history and political science (co-PI) -- “Using Study-Abroad Exchanges to Enhance Global Learning at DSU.” This project’s primary objective is to implement best (L-r) Dr. Raymond Tutu and Dr. Ladji Sacko. practices for integrating study abroad opportunities for students and faculty, with specific courses and coursework, into a more comprehensive and structured globalization of the DSU campus.   Dr. Daniela R. Radu, assistant professor of chemistry (PI); Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai, associate professor of chemistry (co-PI); Dr. Yuri Markushin, senior research scientist (co-PI);  Dr. Chaoying Ni (co-PI, University of Delaware) -- “Affordable Solar Thin-Film Technologies Based on Sustainable (L-r) Dr. Daniela R. Radu, Dr. Cheng-Yu Lai and Dr. Yuri Markushin. Materials.” The  project will contribute to establishing the foundation for a strong solar program at DSU by demonstrating novel nanoparticles precursors to thin film photovoltaics (PV). The project’s ultimate goal is to create a prototype of roll-to-roll printed solar cells on flexible substrates. The nanoparticle technology  provides the advantages of fast, atmospheric pressure deposition, a lightweight substrate and a thin, inexpensive absorber layer, each of which decreases the cost and the weight of the final solar cell or module. Dr. Hacene Boukari, associate professor of physics (PI); Dr. Essaid Zerrad, professor of physics (co-PI) – “Interdisciplinary Computational Laboratory (ICL).” This lab will be established to engage DSU undergraduate and graduate students in diverse STEM disciplines through computational, physical and mathematical modeling.  ICL will be used (L-r) Dr. Hacene Boukari and Dr. Essaid Zerrad. to assemble appropriate scientific codes and media-oriented software for STEM teaching and to develop computational capabilities for interdisciplinary research.  ICL will emerge as a resource for teaching the basic principles of physical sciences, the foundations of engineering and their applications in other scientific disciplines such as biological sciences.  It will increase participation of STEM students who will be trained in job-oriented computational and analytical skills, allowing them to be well-positioned to enter a competing multidisciplinary job market.  Moreover, the efforts that will ensue will promote research collaborations among DSU researchers.

DSU Holds HBCU Philanthropy Symposium

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These are some of the participants from various regional HBCUs that attended DSU Philanthropy Symposium on Aug. 1-2. DSU’s Division of Institutional Advancement has taken the lead in establishing a consortium of regional HBCU institutions as it held its Historically Black College and University Philanthropy Symposium on Aug. 1-2 in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center. The objective of the symposium was to begin a process among the participating institutions in which philanthropic outreach solutions could be shared and empower schools to effectively address the challenges they face in raising philanthropy dollars. Joining DSU in the inaugural consortium were Bowie State University, Cheyney University, Lincoln University, Morgan State University, Norfolk State University, and the University of the District of Columbia. More than 40 representatives from the participating schools attended the two-day symposium. The participants discussed trends in philanthropy, preparedness for corporate funding, the need for collaborating with each other, and how to begin becoming a community of best practices institutions.   Several strategies were discussed on how to increase annual giving, engage alumni, and strategically make asks for transformational gifts to the respective universities. Representatives from the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE), Toyota Corporation, Delmarva Power, Astra Zeneca, and Benz Whaley and Flessner also participated in the symposium, sharing their knowledge as guest speakers and panelists. Next year’s annual Philanthropy Symposium will be held at DSU on July 24-25, 2014.

DSU Celebrates March on Washington 50th Anniversary -- Photos

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A group of singers from the DSU Gospel Choir performed the song "Grateful" during the celebration held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center.

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8/28/13 Delaware State University and the United Way of Delaware took time out on Aug. 28 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic 1963 March on Washington. For images from the event – held in the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center – as well as from the Aug. 24 gathering of students who went to the weekend March on Washington events, click on the below photo slideshow. It is followed by more information about the Aug. 28 program. The Rev. John Moore, vice president of resource development for the United Way of Delaware and a DSU alumnus, returned to his alma mater to give his powerful recitation of “I Have a Dream” with an uncanny similarity to Dr. King’s speech nuances. There were also performances by Amillion the Poet, the mime ministry of Perfect Praise and the DSU Gospel Choir as well as thoughtful perspectives from DSU President Harry L. Williams; Michelle Taylor, president and CEO of the United Way of Delaware; Lance Edwards, president of the DSU Student United Way: and SGA President Marcus Delancey. Pamela Adams, DSU director of spiritual life and University chaplain, coordinated the event in conjunction with the United Way of Delaware.

Five DSU Students Part of Winning Cyber Challenge Competition Team

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Members of the winning Delaware Cyber Challenge team (from second to left) Trevor Newell, Ainiah Floyd, Emlyne Forren, Priscilla Wilson, Andrew Hobbs. Also pictured: Dr. Hongxin Hu, assistant professor of cyber security (far left) and Dr. Marwan Rasamny, chair of the Dept. of Computer Science and Information Technology (far right).

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Five DSU computer science information technology students were recently part of a team that won the Delaware Cyber Camp’s U.S. Cyber Challenge held at the Wilmington The five DSU students who were part of the winning team are shown here hacking away toward their 1st Place finish. University site in New Castle County, Del. U.S. Cyber Challenge utilizes Cyber Quests as a platform to provide challenging on-line competitions that allow participants to display their cyber security skills. The five DSU students participated in  a “cyber boot camp” on July 8 where they attended with students from other Delaware colleges, universities and high school workshops among other things, penetration testing, reverse engineering, and forensics taught by faculty, SANS instructors, and cyber security experts. The week culminated in an on-line "Capture the Flag" competition where individuals in a team attack specially provisioned servers on the Internet. The flags consisted of cracked passwords (both wired and wireless), hijacked websites, server penetrations, and data acquisition. Five DSU students -- Ainiah Floyd, Emlyne Forren, Andrew Hobbs, Trevor Newell and Priscilla Wilson were on Team Five called “My Little Pwnies,” which won the competition. Since 2010, Delaware has been a proud supporter of the U.S Cyber Challenge (USCC) summer camps. The USCC's mission is to "significantly reduce the shortage in the cyber workforce by serving as the premier program to identify, attract, recruit and place the next generation of cyber security professionals." In keeping with its mission, the USCC has been a partner and sponsor of the Delaware Cyber Security Boot Camp and played an integral role in this year's successful event. USCC is a partner and supporter of four camps in the country. These include the Western Regional Cyber Camp , Eastern Regional Cyber Camp, State of Delaware Cyber Camp, and State of Illinois Cyber Camp hosted this year by San Jose State University, Virginia Tech, Wilmington University, and Moraine Valley Community College, respectively. The Western and Illinois camps have scheduled their boot camps in August.

U.S. Sen. Tom Carper Visits New DSU Commons

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(L-r) Kailani Capote, senior residential assistant; DSU President Harry L. Williams; U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper; Amir Mohammadi, executive vice president and University treasurer; and Rose Spady, Commons residential director, take a photo opportunity at the front desk of the Commons.

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8/30/13 DSU President Harry L. Williams ushers U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper into the Commons. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper took a grand tour on Aug. 29 of the University’s newly acquired residential facility – the DSU Living and Learning Commons. DSU President Harry L. Williams, along with Executive Vice President and University Treasurer Amir Mohammadi and Residential Director Rose Spady, gave Sen. Carper a first-hand look at how the University has converted the former hotel into a residential hall. The DSU officials showed Sen. Carper various not-yet-occupied rooms, a master suite that will be used for visiting faculty or University guests, and the exercise room amenity. U.S. Sen. Thomas R. Carper greets residential assistant Shakida Hercules at the Commons front desk Sen. Carper said the quality of the rooms at the Commons exceeded the dormitory rooms that existed when he was an undergraduate at Ohio State University. “You’ve heard of people who want to relive their youth,” Sen. Carper said. “Well I want to relive my youth here.”

Dr. Noureddine Melikechi Speaks on Optics Research at National Conf.

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Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the DSU College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology, was recently among a highly esteemed group of guest speakers who gave presentations at the 8th annual Night Vision Systems conference sponsored by the Institute for Defense and Government Advancement (IDGA) and held in Arlington, Va. on July 29-31. Dr. Noureddine Melikechi Dr. Melikechi, who is also the DSU vice president of research, innovation and economic development, gave a presentation on the optic research taking place at DSU especially as it relates to the ongoing development night vision technology that can be used in 21st century battlefield environments. The IDGA’s 8th Annual Night Vision Systems brought together all relevant stakeholders to discuss the most pressing issues facing the night vision community. The event focused on the latest technological advancements in military night vision technologies and sensors and the possible investments in new solutions that could enhance warfighter ability to “own the night” in battlefield and war-related situations. During the event, future trends were analyzed, immediate and long-term needs identified, and discussions were held on up-and-coming technologies for use in changing environments.

DSU Mathematics Program Ranked Among Most Affordable in NE

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A new college affordability poll has placed Delaware State University among the most affordable among mathematics schools in the mid-east U.S. Affordable Colleges Online has ranked Delaware State University as the fourth most affordable mathematics program among 27 ranked colleges and universities in the mid-east region. The University of Delaware, the only other school from the First State listed in this poll, is ranked as the sixth more affordable. For a school to be eligible for this Affordable Colleges Online mathematics program rankings, the institution had to offer a doctorate-level program in mathematics and be fully accredited as an institution. The eligible schools also had to have a net price tuition under $30,000 (net price tuition = total attendance cost per student minus average grant or scholarship aid awarded per students). According to that criteria, the top 10 most affordable mathematics program in the mid-east are: City University of New York (CUNY) Graduate School and University Center Stony Brook University State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany Delaware State University University at Buffalo (SUNY) University of Delaware University of Maryland – College Park University of Maryland – Baltimore County New Jersey Institute of Technology State University of New York (SUNY) at Binghamton DSU offers a Master of Science Degree Program in Applied Mathematics and Mathematical Education, as well as a Doctoral Program in Allied Mathematics & Mathematical Physics. The University also has undergraduate degrees programs in Mathematics, Mathematics Education, and Mathematics with Computer Sciences. To see the full list of mathematics programs in the Affordable College Online rankings, visit http://www.affordablecollegesonline.org/campus-colleges/mathematics-colleges/mid-east-region/.    

DSU Appoints Dr. Judi Coffield First Director of Early College HS

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Delaware State University has established the top leadership of its planned Early College High School with the hiring of Dr. Judi L. Coffield.                    Dr. Judi L. Coffield   Dr. Coffield will serve as the director of the public charter school that is slated to open in September 2014.   A resident of Magnolia, Del., Dr. Coffield comes to the new post after serving for two years as the director of K-12 services in the Christina School District in New Castle County, Del. Prior to that she was a policy analyst/executive director and education associate for middle/high school support for the Delaware State Board of Education from 2004-2011. She also served as an instructional technology supervisor for K-12 for the Red Clay School District in New Castle County from 2000-2004.   Her education career – which began in 1988 – also has included teaching stints in the Red Clay School District, Capital School District, Lake Forest School District, overseas in the Department of Defense Dependents School, and as an adjunct professor at the University of Delaware and the University of Pennsylvania.   She has a 1986 Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from West Liberty State College in West Virginia, a 1996 Master of Instruction from the University of Delaware, and a 2006 Ed.D. in Educational Leadership, Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Delaware. She also has certificates in Introductory and Advanced Educational Technology from Delaware Technical & Community College.   Dr. Coffield will lead the organization of the new charter school in preparation for its opening next fall.   The planned charter high school will be the state’s first Early College High School, which will be designed specifically to serve first generation college-bound students. The Early College High School is a nationally recognized school design brought to Delaware through a partnership between Innovative Schools, a Delaware-based nonprofit public school support organization, and EdWorks, a nationally known consultant that specializes in high school innovations.   The University will blend the Early College Charter High School with its existing STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) initiative.

DSU Neuroscience Program Receives New $433,645 Research Grant

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DSU’s Neuroscience Research Program has been awarded a three-year, $433,645 grant from the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Dr. Melissa Harrington will give some of her students hands-on experience in the spinal motor neurons research the grant is funding. The grant is an Academic Research Enhancement Award that will fund DSU’s research into the development of spinal motor neurons – the nerve cells that drive contractions of skeletal muscle.   Dr. Melissa Harrington, DSU professor of biological sciences and director of the joint DSU/UD Delaware Center for Neuroscience Research, is the principal investigator of the research grant. She said that two graduate students and one undergraduate student will work with her on the research.   Dr. Harrington’s lab will use electrophysiology to measure the activity of motor neurons and confocal imaging to visualize motor neuron synapses.  These experiments will help determine what neurotransmitter is released at synapses formed by motor neurons on other neurons, and investigate how contact with muscle cells and the formation of neuromuscular junctions influence which neurotransmitter is released.   It is hoped, in turn, that the findings will lead to new insights into the pathophysiology of neuromuscular disorders, including developmental motor neuron diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy and muscular dystrophy.   This research will build on previous published work by Dr. Harrington’s lab concerning motor neurons.  

DSU's Renovated Conrad Cafeteria Unveiled

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Tara Kazirim, Conrad head chef, shows the new "Action Island" to Dr. Stacey Downing, associate vice president for Student Affairs.

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The Conrad Hall Cafeteria has been renovated and is ready for the incoming students for the fall semester 2013. Aramark, the University’s contracted food service provider, gave University officials a tour of the remade facility, which will complement the Village Café facility located on the (L-r) Tara Kazirim, Conrad head chef, tells Phillip Holmes, interim director of Housing and Residential Education, about the new features of the cafeteria. In the center is Jeff Mulveny, assistant director of Conrad. southeast end of the campus. A new “Action Island” has been installed that will include a soup station, a deli station and salad bar. Tara Kazimir, Conrad head chef, noted that Aramark operates a four-menu cycle that will ensure that Conrad and the Village Café will always have different menus from each other each day. She added that there will be a “Soul Food Night” once a week at both locations, featuring food staples such as fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, beans (red and black-eyed) greens, and other items. The Conrad Cafeteria will be open from 12-8 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

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