Tuesday, September 28, 2010

HU Receives Grant to Establish Biochemistry Program

Dr. Shanthi R. Paranawithana

Dr. Isai T. Urasa

The Hampton University Department of Chemistry recently received a $293,853 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the new Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry degree program.

The grant will assist the department in procuring essential equipment and other resources needed to help the program grow. The curriculum for the program has been carefully designed to combine topics in biological, chemical, mathematical, and other key science concepts.

HU is one of four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) that offer an undergraduate biochemistry degree. The program gives HU students interested in medical careers a chance to become more competitive in the industry.

“The program will place Hampton University in a rather unique position,” stated Dr. Isai T. Urasa, chair of the Department of Chemistry and principal investigator of the NSF grant. “We will be one of very few institutions that offer an undergraduate degree in biochemistry, it will promote our visibility for student recruitment and also enhance our competitiveness for research and other programmatic grants.”

Biochemistry is the study of the chemical processes in living organisms. It deals with the structure and functions of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids and other biomolecules. Biochemistry combines biology with organic and physical chemistry to reveal the mechanisms by which living things obtain energy from food; the chemical basis of heredity; and biological changes related to disease.

“It is widely understood that as in all science and engineering fields, minorities are acutely underre
presented in biochemistry and the biomedical workforce,” stated Urasa. “The newly established biochemistry program will provide chemistry and other science students with an expanded field of career options.”
Dr. Shanthi R. Paranawithana, assistant professor and coordinator of the newly established Biochemistry program, is also Co-PI of the grant. In addition to serving as coordinator of the biochemistry program, she is also teaching and mentoring students in this area. She has established a journal club, which she uses as a mentoring tool to reinforce critical thinking and responsible conduct in science and scientific research. Her mentoring activity extends to students in the Department of Biological Sciences as well.
Naima A. Gethers

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ruffin Commends HU for Addressing Health Disparities

Ruffin Commends HU for Addressing Health Disparities

Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities,           addresses the audience at the Hampton University Convocation Ceremony.

Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, addresses the audience at the Hampton University Convocation Ceremony.

Dr. Ruffin poses with HU President Dr. William R. Harvey after the ceremony.

Dr. Ruffin poses with HU President Dr. William R. Harvey after the ceremony.

Dr. Harvey poses with HU seniors.

Dr. Harvey poses with HU seniors.

HU Senior Class President Misha Lawrence charges her classmates.

HU Senior Class President Misha Lawrence charges her classmates.

At the 68th Annual Hampton University Opening Convocation Ceremony today, Dr. John Ruffin, director of the National Institute for Minority Health and Health Disparities, commended Hampton University for its many programs and initiatives that address health disparities.

Ruffin said the Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute has the ability to change the results of prostate cancer in America. Prostate cancer remains the most common cancer in American men. African-American men continue to have higher prostate cancer prevalence and mortality rates compared to men in other populations. African-American men are 40 percent more likely to have prostate cancer and twice as likely as white men to die of the disease.

“I know of no other university without a medical school with the capability to change the affect of prostate cancer,” Ruffin said. “I will do all that I can to make sure that the proton center you have is not Hampton University’s best kept secret.”

Ruffin also mentioned other HU programs, the Hampton-Penn Center to Reduce Health Disparities and the Minority Health International Research Training, which has taken students to Tanzania, Kenya and Nigeria to study natural products and environmental health.

Ruffin said that while life expectancy in the United States inches up every year “progress in medicine and public health are increasingly uneven.

“The more wealthy you are the healthier you are, and that is true all over the world,” Ruffin said. He went on to explain that access to health care is only part of what causes health disparities. Other factors including the environment, disparities in the workplace, and access to services like stores that sell fresh fruits and vegetables and safe places to play and exercise outdoors also contribute to health disparities.

Ruffin urged the students of all disciplines to become involved in the fight against health disparities by taking advantage of the National Institutes for Health Loan Repayment Program (LRP). LRPs encourage promising researchers and scientists to pursue research careers by repaying up to $35,000 of their qualified student loan debt each year.

“We need to be as interested in health disparities globally as we are in this country,” Ruffin said.

The Hampton University Opening Convocation marks the official beginning of the school year and the first time the graduating seniors don their caps and gowns. HU President Dr. William R. Harvey urged the seniors to make the most of their last undergraduate year and take advantage of all Hampton University has to offer them.

Senior Class President Misha Lawrence also charged her classmates to choose wisely and make good decisions. Lawrence said that once they leave Hampton University and enter the boardrooms, they will stand tall and say, “Hampton made me this way.”

- Yuri Rodgers Milligan

Friday, September 24, 2010

HU Professor Featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

HU Professor Featured on NPR's "Tell Me More"

Hampton University's Dr. Linda Malone-Colon, chair of the Department of Psychology and director of the National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting (NCAAMP), was featured on NPR's "Tell Me More" on Sept. 22. Click here to listen to the interview or view the transcript:

Activists Unite For 'No Wedding, No Womb'
NPR "Tell Me More" | September 22, 2010

The out-of-wedlock birth rate for African-Americans at 72 percent is the highest of any race and ethnic group in the U.S. In response "100 bloggers" will join forces for "No Wedding, No Womb" to force a dialogue in the black community about why this is happening and how we turn the corner on solutions. Host Michel Martin speaks with Christelyn Karazin, founder of the No Wedding, No Womb movement, and Hampton University's chair of psychology Dr. Linda Malone-Colon.

Friday, September 17, 2010

HU Army ROTC Chair, Alumnus Promoted

HU Army ROTC Chair, Alumnus Promoted

On. Sept. 17, the Hampton University Department of Military Science held a ceremony to honor Maj. Kenneth B. Smedley, department chair and HU alumnus, who has been promoted to lieutenant colonel. Ft. Monroe Garrison Commander Col. Anthony D. Reyes ‘84 led the ceremony.

"This is a special day in his life and to ask me to be a part of this, well, I couldn't be more honored," said Reyes.

The ceremony was held outside the HU Marine Science Building.

Col. Reyes and Smedley's wife partake in the pinning ceremony.

Smedley graduated as a distinguished military graduate from HU in December 1993 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in aviation. In 1998, he served as executive officer of the Aviation Intermediate Maintenance Company in support of Operation Joint Endeavor (Bosnia-Herzegovina). In 2000, he commanded Q Troop, 4th Squadron, 3rd ACR, one of only two AH-64A Apache Troops in the Regiment. In 2003, Smedley was assigned to 1-337th Aviation, 4th Brigade (TS), in Ft. Knox, Ky., where he served as the attack team chief and battalion executive officer. In 2006, he once again served as battalion executive officer when he joined the 3rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 12th Combat Aviation Brigade in Illesheim, Germany. In July 2008, MAJ Smedley deployed with 3-159th ARB in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom 08-10, where he served 13 months as the battalion operations officer, split between Joint Base Balad and Contingency Operating Base Basra, Iraq.

Several cadets in the HU Army ROTC Pirate Batallion were present to witness their department's professor of military science advance in his career. Reyes spoke to them, pointing out all of Smedley's military accomplishments and charging them to follow suit. "Cadets, please hear what I am saying because you have in front of you a blueprint," he said.

HU military alumni stationed at Ft. Eustis, Ft. Monroe and the Pentagon also returned to their alma mater for the ceremony.

“I couldn’t be happier to be here at Hampton University to continue my career,” said Smedley following his pinning.

-Alison L. Phillips

(L to R): Retired Maj. Gen. Wallace Arnold, Norfolk State University Professor of Military Science Lt. Col. Nicholas M. Anthony Jr., Ft. Monroe Garrison Commander Col. Anthony Reyes, Lt. Col. Kenneth B. Smedley and retired Lt. Col. Claude Vann.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

HU professor works to preserve historic area churches

St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Norfolk, Va.

St. Peter's features 19th century Gothic style architecture.

This summer Dr. Natalie Robertson, HU associate professor of political science and history, advocated to have St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk, Va., placed on the National Register of Historic Places as well as the Virginia Landmarks Register. Located at 1625 Brown Ave., the church was nominated to the registers based upon her research and completion of the formal nomination process.

According to Robertson, typically churches are nominated to the registers for their age and their distinctive architectural qualities. “It is important to get churches listed on the registers because they preserve distinctive architectural styles and they embody important historical and cultural information about the larger American or African-American contexts out of which they emerged,” said Robertson.

While Saint James Holiness Church of Christ Disciples currently occupies the edifice, the church was placed on the registers under its historic name. St. Peter’s was a mission of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Norfolk and served as the borough church for the Elizabeth River Parish. Placed on the registers for its architecture, the church is an outstanding example of the Gothic style of architecture that was prominent in the 19th century. The church has maintained its architectural integrity for more than 120 years and is associated historically with the Bramble and Dyson families of Norfolk.

This is the second church that Robertson has placed on the National Register and the Virginia Landmarks Register. The first was Zion Poplars Baptist Church in Gloucester, Va.

- Alison L. Phillips

Friday, September 10, 2010

First-generation college students paired with mentors at Hampton University

Read the Daily Press story on how HU's PRESS program is helping incoming freshman Breonna Williams (and 99 other first generation college students) learn the ropes of college life.

September 04, 2010 | by Samieh Shalash, Daily Press

HAMPTON — — Breonna Williams and 99 other incoming Hampton University freshmen are getting help adjusting to life as first-generation college students.

Each is being mentored by a current student who also is the first person in their family to attend college. The hook-up is through PRESS, or The Program for Retention and Enrichment of Successful Students, which was started this year by a $100,000 grant from the Wal-Mart Foundation.

Students gets a mentor, peer tutors, a $150 textbook stipend and workshops for two years. The program is run by Erica Woods-Warrior, a political science professor who applied for the grant.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

HU Mathematician Honored in Who’s Who

Dr. Widad Elmahboub

HU Mathematician Honored in Who’s Who

This September, the 28th edition of Who’s Who of American Women will feature Hampton University’s Dr. Widad Elmahboub. As an assistant professor in the HU Department of Mathematics, Elmahboub also serves as the team chair of the HU Research Center of Earth, Space and GIS Analysis (RCESG) Mathematics.

Her current research focuses on the simulation and modeling for surface materials on Mars. She developed a new methodology to accurately target classifications of Earth’s resources.

She is the author of many journals and is active in publishing and editing referred journals. She works hard with her undergraduate and graduate students on different research endeavors.

“I am very pleased,” stated Elmahboub regarding the recognition from Who’s Who of American Women. “Working hard always pays off.”

Elmaboub has also been featured in Who’s Who in America Medicine and Healthcare and Who’s Who in America Science and Engineering.