October 2013


Filmmaker Lee Daniels to Speak at DSU Oct. 17

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10/4/13                Lee Daniels   Delaware State University will present award-winning filmmaker Lee Daniels – producer and director of the recently released The Butler and other critically acclaimed films – as guest speaker at 7 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 17 in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus.   The event – which is part of the DSU Office of Student Affairs’ Make Your Mark Speakers Series – is free and open to the public.  Mr. Daniels’ filmography includes: screenwriter and director of the 2009 film Precious, which was Academy Award nominated for Best Director and Best Motion Picture; and producer of the 2001 film Monster Ball, of which Halle Berry became the first African American to win the Academy Award for Best Actress.   His latest project The Butler – which has grossed over $110 million at the box office since its mid-August release – is a film inspired by the life of Eugene Gaines, who served as a White House butler through eight different presidential administrations. The powerful cast ensemble includes Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, David Oyelowo, Cuba Gooding Jr., Terrence Howard, as well as the presidents’ portrayals by Robin Williams, Liev Schreiber, John Cusak, Alan Rickman and others. The movie has created significant buzz among Academy Award watchers.   In addition, Mr. Daniels produced the critically acclaimed  The Woodsman, Tennessee, and produced, directed and wrote the screenplay for The Paperboy.   Lee Daniels’ background is filled with bold stories as real and gritty as the narratives from the films he creates.  By the age of 21, Mr. Daniels founded and ran his own health care agency, providing nurses to private homes and hospitals; simultaneously, he was  trying to be a screenwriter. After selling his health care business and giving up screenwriting, he began managing actors such as Loretta Divine, Michael Shannon, Natasha Kinsky, and Aishwarya Rai. Mr. Daniels turned to producing as a natural result of trying to find and create great material for his clients; the organic leap to directing came soon after.

Gov. Markell Meets with Education Majors on Teacher Preparation

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Delaware Gov. Jack Markell share his vision for teacher preparedness with education majors during an Oct. 22 meeting in the MLK Jr. Student Center.

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10/22/13 Gov. Jack Markell challenged the DSU education majors to aim high, work exceptionally hard and become teachers in Delaware. Delaware Gov. Jack Markell met Oct. 22 with about 150 education majors to share the state’s direction with its new teacher preparedness requirements and emphasis their importance for the state and especially for young elementary and high school students. In his address in the MLK Jr. Student Center, Gov. Markell noted that a recent state report done in collaboration with Harvard University showed that only three out of 10 Delaware students make it from ninth grade to their second year of college. He further noted that 65% of the jobs in Delaware will require college graduates by 2025. “We can’t sugarcoat the challenges we face,” he said. Gov. Markell said that the research clearly shows that teacher quality is the most important school-related factor in a student’s academic success.   Toward ensuring that success, Gov. Markell told DSU’s education majors that the state wants to make a deal with them. “We are asking you to work exceptionally hard, to meet higher standards than ever and to become a teacher in Delaware,” he said. “We need you to aim high. You will be evaluated more rigorously than those who sat in these seats before you.” Gov. Jack Markell (far right) poses with student members of the DSEA/NEA Student Association. (L-r) Nefertiti Washington, Devon Conventry, Diogenin Matos, Jessica Brower, Justine Jenkins, Renee Horne, Raykeem Ward, Jasmine Manley, Davon Lewis and Rayshaun Ward.   Earlier this year, Gov. Markell signed Senate Bill 51 that established a more rigorous standard for teacher preparations in the state. "It raises the requirements for what it takes to teach in Delaware," he said. Among the new requirements, all teacher preparation programs will be required to conduct regular reviews of candidates, followed by exit assessments. All new educators must then pass a state performance assessment in addition to a written exam to ensure that they understand and can apply the content they will teach. Gov. Markell told the DSU education majors that if they make the commitment to qualify for and pursue a teaching jobs in Delaware’s schools, they will find that the state is determined to provide the resources and other support they will need to have a successful and fulfilling career.   The governor noted the following state education initiatives that are either already underway or being worked toward:   The state has recently launched www.joindelawareschools.org as a one-stop easy-to-use resource to find and learn more about education jobs throughout the state. The governor said his administration is committed to reworking the teacher pay structure, which  would include raising starting salaries and rewarding educators who provide leadership to their peers, as well as those who teach high-need students or hard-to-staff subject areas such as math and science. The state has established “professional learning communities” to provide interactive opportunities for educators to learn from each other. Gov. Markell gave the DSU education majors an opportunity to ask questions. He fields a question from Aqsa Siddiqi. “This is an exciting time to be involved in education in Delaware,” Gov. Markell said. “I am realistic about the challenges we face, but also extremely optimistic that we will continue to see great progress.” He added that to make that progress a reality, the state needs high-quality students like the education majors at DSU to stay and teach in the First State. The governor ended the meeting by fielding a number of questions from the education majors.

Finance and Administration Staff Unite to "Think Pink"

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The staff of the Division of Finance and Administration donned "Go Pink" t-shirts on Oct. 4 in support of breast cancer awareness.

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10/4/13 (L-r) Regina Deavens, Cheryl Lolley (with back turned) and Philomena Dolbow show off the Breast Cancer Awareness t-shirts.   After becoming aware of the BayHealth Foundation initiative to honor Breast Cancer Awareness on Friday, October 4, 2013, Dr. Teresa Hardee (vice-president of Finance and Administration) immediately offered her full support.    Not stopping with the purchase of t-shirts for her daughter, mother, sister, and herself, Dr. Hardee garnered the participation of her entire staff by generously agreeing to personally pay 50% of the purchase amount for each shirt.   This leadership and benevolence generated a contribution of $1,000 to the BayHealth Foundation and created an atmosphere of awareness and unity for her family and the Finance Team.

DSU Chemistry Dept. Receives $326,138 Federal Research Grant

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Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor of chemistry, is the principal investigator of the solar research grant. The funding will expand the DSU research portfolio to include solar energy research and will support work designed to develop a sustainable ultra-thin iron-based material for high efficiency solar devices.

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10/23/13   Delaware State University has been awarded a grant that is further expanding the University’s research portfolio into the area of solar energy. Dr. Daniela Radu, principal investigator of the Department of Energy research grant, show the nanoparticle ink used to coat the solar cell substrates that is being developed.   DSU’s Department of Chemistry has been awarded a U.S. Department of Energy $326,139 research grant to launch the first-ever solar research and education program at DSU. The principal investigator of the grant is Dr. Daniela Radu, assistant professor of chemistry.   The proposal received tremendous support both internally at DSU and externally by U.S. Sen. Chris Coons and the Delaware Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (DESCA), an organization that has the strongest impact in Delaware's renewable energy from sustainable resources.   The grant will fund the establishment of a new solar classroom course, as well as initiate a solar research program that will begin with the development of a novel ultra-thin-film photovoltaic technology using iron-based solution and nano-precursor absorber layers in solar devices.   The solar-related course will prepare participating students toward considering employment in industrial and research-related solar applications. Two graduate students assigned to this project will be fully prepared to obtain employment in the solar-energy arena.   The research will involve the fabrication of sustainable ultra-thin iron-based material for high-efficiency solar devices. Sustainable, low-cost materials such as iron sulfide derivatives could address environmental and economic concerns raised by other thin film materials. Iron-based materials are believed to be a viable alternative due to their sustainable nature and small amount of material involved in the devices. The solar cell substrate being developed by Dr. Radu.   Dr. Radu said that solar energy represents a major pillar of sustainable energy production and as solar power becomes more cost-effective, it has the potential to fulfill a larger share of growing U.S. energy needs.   “The expansion in solar energy usage will drive a growing need for more workers – manufacturing workers to make solar panels, construction workers to build power plants, solar photovoltaic installers to install solar panels, and more,” Dr. Radu said. “In this context, providing solar-related education to students from underrepresented groups is aligned with this job opportunities growth and with the need of having a diversified workforce in solar-related jobs.”   Dr. Noureddine Melikechi, dean of the College of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Technology and vice president of research, innovation and economic development, said the grant award demonstrates clearly that the Department of Chemistry and DSU’s newly formed Renewable Energy Research and Education Center – an interdisciplinary center that combines faculty from the departments of Physics and Engineering and Chemistry – are on the right track.    “Dr. Radu has done a tremendous job in securing this grant in a very competitive environment,” Dr. Melikechi said. “Our plan to achieve national prominence in research and education in renewable energy is now effectively launched.”   Dr. Eric Kmiec, chair of the DSU Department of Chemistry, said Dr. Radu’s grant writing success is to be commended.   “This grant is at the top  of grant hierarchy and reflects the new momentum and attitude in the department. DOE has made just two awards in this competition and DSU is the only HBCU that has been selected for an award; University of Texas at San Antonio being the other awardee,” Dr. Kmiec said. “These types of awards provide solid support for undergraduate and graduate students  seeking to do research in credible lab settings.”   Dr. Kmiec added that the grant project is consistent with the department’s new scientific emphasis on sustainable chemistry, which is aligned with the University Provost’s  sustainability initiative  and the public/private partnership with the Delaware Sustainable Chemical Alliance. “The academic and research fruits of this grant will contribute to the expected robust expansion of that emphasis and alliance,”  he said.   Rebecca Fox-Lykens, the director of DSU’s Center for Teaching and Learning, has assisted Dr. Radu in the development of the solar course, and notes that the work the grant is funding is consistent with the University’s Strategic Plan.   “The grant will allow DSU to be innovative in its approach to explore alternative energy sources and the course Dr. Radu is developing will help students become aware of the opportunities in green jobs,” Dr. Fox-Lykens said.   Dr. Radu noted that the University of Delaware also played a role in helping the University launch this research.   “As we are moving toward building the necessary infrastructure, Dr. Robert Birkmire, director of UD’s Institute of Energy Conversion, along with his colleague, Dr. Kevin Dobson, has graciously made it possible for DSU to access some equipment and characterization tools at UD that are needed to achieve our prototype,” Dr. Radu said.

Hornet Chapter of Groove Phi Groove Donates $25,000 for Scholarships

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DSU President Harry L. Williams (2nd from left) receives a $25,000 display check from DSU Groove Phi Groove members (l-r) Chris Joyner (national chairman), Preston Hebron Jr., Larry Williams, Wayne Matthews and Harry Wright. Not picture but in attendance was Tyrone Seymour.

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10/6/13 DSU alumni members of the Hornet Chapter of the Groove Phi Groove Social Fellowship, Inc., returned to their alma mater on Oct. 5 to provide financial support for Delaware State University’s Scholarship Fund. Groove Phi Groove presented a check of $25,000 to DSU President Harry L. Williams on the day of the Hornets’ home football game against Bethune Cookman. Dr. Williams recognized the social fellowship organization’s donation during the pre-game Parent’s Day Luncheon as well as on the field the during halftime of the game. After the fellowship was founded in 1962 at Morgan State University, one year later Groove Phi Groove was established at then-Delaware State College as the second chapter founded in the country. The Hornet chapter has gone on to produced more national officers than any other chapter nationwide – including its current board chairman Chris Joyner, Delaware State College class of 1976. Groove Phi Groove’s purpose is to promote academic awareness and good ethical standards, to promote unity and fellowship among college men, to create intelligent and effective leadership, and to study and help alleviate the social and economic problems concerning boys and men in order to improve the stature of mankind.  

DSU Presents Student Production "Steel Magnolias" Nov. 2-3

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The actresses of the DSU production of "Steel Magnolias": (l-r) Dana Matthews, Candace Victory, Jasmin Walker, Brandi Hydleburg, Tiffany Trawick and Shakira Abdul Rashid.

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10/25/13 The actresses of the DSU production of "Steel Magnolias" form a human magnolia.   Delaware State University will present a student production of “Steel Magnolias” in three performances on Nov. 2-3 in the DSU Education and Humanities Theater on campus.   There will be a performance at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, and two performances at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 3. The comedy-drama play is free and open to the public.   The play, written by Robert Harling, stars the following students: Dana Matthews (freshman English education major) as Truvy, Candace Victory (junior nursing major) as Annelle, Shakira Abdul Rashid (sophomore mass communications major) as Ms. Clairee, Jasmin Walker (freshman business major) as Shelby, Brandy Hydleburg (senior integrated studies major) as M’lynn, and Tiffany Tradwick (senior psychology major) as Ms. Ouiser.   Directed by the Rev. Dr. Shirlyn Henry Brown, an adjunct professor in the Department of English and Foreign Languages, she describes the comedy-drama as a “dazzling, entertaining show.”   “The characters are six distinctive women in the South who are known to be as strong as steel, but as gentle as sweet magnolias,” Dr. Brown said. “These women have a bond of friendship and sisterhood that can’t be broken and always meet in the town beauty salon. Together the ladies share their joy and pain in support of one another.”

2013 Coronation of Mr. and Miss DSU -- Photo Slideshow and Article

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The 2013-2014 Royal Empire Court -- (l-r) Miss Freshman Aubrey Flournoy, Miss Sophomore Kellie Smith, Miss Junior Jazzlynn Tolson, Miss Senior Kailani Capote, Miss DSU Chascidy Reeves, Mr. DSU Charles Robinson-Snead, Mr. Senior Johnnie Lonon, Mr. Junior Babatunde Fakuade, Mr. Sophomore Christopher Gunter, and Mr. Freshman Tevin Smith.

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10/7/13 The 2013 Homecoming Week was kicked off on Sunday, Oct. 6 with “An Evening in Paris,” the official Coronation of this year’s Mr. and Miss DSU, Charles R. Robinson-Snead and Chascidy A. Reeves. For images from the Coronation, click on the below photo slideshow; continue reading below it for more information on the 2013-2014 Mr. and Miss DSU and the Oct. 6 event: Mr. DSU Charles Robinson-Snead is a 21-year-old senior psychology major (minor in forensic science) from Laurel, Del. He is the son of Esther D. Robinson and currently maintains a 3.05 GPA. During his academic journey, Mr. Robinson-Snead has been a member of the DSU Gospel Choir, Psychology Club, NAACP, 1 Entity Modeling Troupe, Ronald McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, as well as the Gamma Chapter of Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc., for which he currently serves as president. He also is a peer mentor to other students on campus. Mr. Robinson-Snead plans to pursue a graduate degree in clinical psychology, with the goal of becoming a forensic psychologist and working for the FBI. Miss DSU Chascidy A. Reeves is a 21-year-old senior English major from Brooklyn, N.Y. She is the daughter of Sonia Reeves and Everton Cooper and currently maintains a 3.24 GPA. She previously served as Miss Sophomore 2011-2012 and was the 2012-2013 Women’s Senate president. She has been a member of the Kappa Delta Pi Educational Honor Society, Big Sister Little Sister, and has also been a Connecting Generations Americorps mentor. After she graduates, Ms. Reeves plans to pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. She plans to become an elementary school teacher and eventually a high school principal. The other members of the Royal Court include: Mr. and Miss Senior Johnnie Lonon, sport management major, 3.0 GPA Kailani Capote, psychology major, 3.85 GPA   Mr. and Miss Junior Babatunde Fakuade, hospitality and tourism major, 3.17 GPA Jazzlynn Tolson, mass communication major, 2.89 GPA   Mr. and Miss Sophomore Christopher S. Gunter, political science and criminal justice major, 3.8 GPA Kellie Smith, psychology major, 3.44 GPA   Mr. and Miss Freshman Tevin Smith, psychology major Aubrey Ann Flournoy, pre-nursing major   Lil’ Mr. and Miss DSU Josiah Sejour, age 4, son of Michael and Julie Sejour Morgan Brown, age 4, son of Demont Brown and Antynea Summers. Held in the Education & Humanities Theatre on campus, the Coronation was emceed by Edward Doxen and Shashanna Simeon. Also participating were musical soloists Tyrone Ashley and Tameca Boney; Bryan Mowatt, Kelsey Cheatham and Ryanne Cheatham in a poem/drama presentation; and the DSU Jazz Ensemble.

DSU's Michelle Fisher Named as a Delaware Black Achiever

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DSU and family supporters celebrate Michelle Fisher's Black Achiever honor -- (l-r) Stacey Downing, associate vice president of Student Affair; Kemal Atkins, vice president of Student Affairs; Estelle Harding (Ms. Fisher's mother); Ms. Fisher, director of Student Health Services (with her award); Sharon Addison and Mariah Williams (Ms. Fisher's sister and granddaughter, respectively); Gloria Minus, retired Health Services office manager; and Paula Duffy, director of Student Judicial Affairs.

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10/25/13 Actor Hill Harper and Michelle Fisher meet during the VIP reception that preceded the Black Achievers Ceremony in Wilmington.   Michelle Fisher, director of the DSU Student Health Services, has been named among Delaware’s 2013 Black Achievers in Business and Industry, an annual awards ceremony held by the Walnut Street YMCA in Wilmington, Del.   Ms. Fisher was presented her Black Achiever award by Hill Harper, actor/author/role model activist, who was the keynote speaker for the Oct. 24 event. She was among 17 honorees selected this year.   The fall of 2013 has been a season of honors for Ms. Fisher. In September, she received two DSU honors – the Student Affairs Vice President’s Choice Award and the Inspire Excellence Award.   Kemal Atkins, DSU vice president for Student Affairs, called Ms. Fisher a consummate professional who through her excellence and work ethics, leads by example.   "Under Ms. Fisher's leadership, DSU has a Student Heath Service Center that would rival health services provided at institutions twice our size," said Mr. Atkins. "She works hard to keep our students informed on health issues, promote wellness on campus, and to address any medical issues that arise at the University. She also has diligently worked to ensure that students are knowledgeable about the current health insurance laws -- known commonly as part of Obamacare -- and how it impacts them.   Ms. Fisher began at DSU in 1999 as a nurse practitioner and was elevated to her current director of Student Health Services post in 2005. She has a BS in nursing from Adelphi University and a MS in nursing from Wilmington University.  She is currently working on her doctorate at Wilmington University.   Among her community involvement pursuits, Ms. Fisher has served on board of the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition, has conducted HIV awareness activities with different local organizations, has participated in the American Heart Association Heart Walk, is an active member and former board member of the American College Health Association, and serves as an active member of her church, the New Life Family Worship Center of Camden, Del.  

DSU Dr. Christopher Heckscher Discovers New Species of Firefly

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Dr. Christopher Heckscher, DSU associate professor of environmental sciences, shows his collection of fireflies which he was able to compare with a new firefly species he has discovered in Delaware. While DSU has one scientist (Dr. Noureddine Melikechi) helping NASA determine whether there has been life on Mars, Dr. Heckscher has discovered a new life species on earth.

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10/9/13 The Photuris Mysticalampas is the new firefly genus species previously unknown to science that Dr. Christopher Heckscher has discovered in Delaware.   As far as anyone at DSU can remember, there has never been a scientist at the University (or for that matter, when it was a College) that could lay claim to the discovery of a new animal species.   That is, until recently.   Dr. Christopher Heckscher, associate professor of environmental science in the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, has become a DSU first with his discovery of a new species of firefly that had never been identified before in the world.   The firefly is a new species among the Photuris genus of fireflies, and Dr. Heckscher has named the newly identified illuminating insect Photuris mysticalampas. His discovery is substantiated in a published peer reviewed paper entitled “Photuris Mysticalampas (Coleoptera Lampyridae): A New Firefly from Peatland Floodplain Forests of the Delmarva Peninsula.”   Dr. Heckscher originally discovered the new firefly in 2004 when he was working as the state zoologist for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control. As he was doing a survey of Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge along the Delaware Bay in Sussex County Delaware, he had what he believed was his first encounter with the insect.   “I collected a firefly at Prime Hook I couldn’t identify and thought it was just a rare species I wasn’t familiar with,” he said. “Then a couple of years later I was doing a field survey in the Nanticoke wildlife area (also in Sussex County) and I came across it again.  At that point, I realized it might be a new species.”   To satisfy his scientific curiosity, Dr. Heckscher took the firefly to Florida to consult with the then-foremost authority in the country on firefly species – Dr. James Lloyd.   “(Dr. Lloyd) wasn’t familiar with it either,” Dr. Heckscher said. “I knew that if he didn’t know it, then it had to be an unknown species.”   Dr. Heckscher began teaching full-time at DSU in 2008, and it has been during his tenure at the University that he did the bulk of the research work to prove that the firefly  was a new  species.   He studied the unidentified firefly using a “dichotomous key” that compared specific characteristics of the firefly with known firefly species . The more the DSU associate professor studied the firefly, the more he became convinced that he had discovered a species unknown to science.   Dr Christopher Heckscher   “This discovery was unique because this firefly was found in this region, which has been well studied,” Dr. Heckscher said, “I think it’s a great example of how much we still have to learn about our natural world.  If a firefly can go undiscovered how much else are we missing?”. He added, however, the firefly he discovered was found in remote sections of Delaware wildlife areas largely untouched by man.   In comparing his find to other fireflies, the newly discovered firefly was distinguished from other  species by its distinct oval body, small size, flash pattern, and dense pubescent elytra (forewing).   This year, Dr. Heckscher submitted his paper to Entomological News, which had his work peer reviewed by a number of anonymous scientists. After none of the reviewers took any exceptions with any of Dr. Heckscher’s research , his paper was published in the scientific journal in its July-August 2013 issue, which was released in the last week of September.   Dr. Heckscher’s work in discovering the Photuris mysticalampas is far from the end of the story where his research is concerned. “Nothing is known about this species,” he said. “So everything I find out will be new.”   Dr. Heckscher is both an entomologist (one who studies insects) and an ornithologist (one who studies birds). In addition to his firefly research, he has also broken new ground in the study of the previously unknown migration patterns of the Veery songbird.   Sometimes when he takes his wife and two daughters camping, Dr. Heckscher often makes his research work a part of the outing. Fortunately his wife Jennie, is an entomologist who teaches at Waters Middle School in Middletown, Del., shares his never-ending scientific curiosity.   “When we go camping, I may plan to be somewhere in the area of fireflies,” Dr. Heckscher said. “If I can collect data while on vacation… why not?”

Oct. 22 Guest Lecture by Dr. Michael Mackay CANCELLED

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The guest lecture by nationally recognized nanotechnology expert Dr. Michael E. Mackay scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22 the Mishoe Science Center South has been CANCELLED.   There is currently no information concerning any possible rescheduling of this guest lecturer.  

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