Wednesday, July 31, 2013

HU Alumnus Selected as Quarterfinalist by the GRAMMY Foundation

Justin Merrick, Hampton University alumnus and Vocal Director/Operations Manager of the Stax Music Academy, has been selected as quarterfinalists, for the first-ever Music Educator Award presented by the GRAMMY Foundation and The Recording Academy.

“My philosophy on music is easy, be yourself, music is meant for everyone because it is a tool, it is a tool toward their journey on self-actualization,” said Merrick.  “At the end of the day, I want to inspire every student on every level in helping him or her work towards productive citizenry.”

Merrick graduated from Hampton University in 2007 with bachelor’s degree in music education with an emphasis in sociology.  At Hampton University Merrick, served in any and all capacities that were made available to him. He had his hands in everything. Merrick, comes from four generations of Hamptonian men and women and has always been familiar with the vision and mission of the University.

“As student representative to the Board of Trustees, Senior Co-Facilitator of the Student Leadership Program, Honors College Board Member and intern in the Office of Governmental Relations, much of my academics had to be fit around a tight schedule of burning the midnight oil,” said Merrick.

Merrick is now shaping young minds at Stax Music Academy. He lives in the moment and his largest challenge is staying connected with the rest of the world, friends and family.  He said he is so passionate about his work that it becomes easy to become disillusioned with the day-to-day interactions of the rest of the world.

The Music Educator Award was established to recognize current educators teaching K – college, in both public and private schools who have made a noteworthy and lasting contribution to the field of music education. These teachers demonstrate a commitment to the broader cause of maintaining music education in the schools.

The award was open to current United States music teachers, and anyone could nominate a teacher — students, parents, friends, colleagues, community members, school deans and administrators. Teachers were also able to nominate themselves, and nominated teachers were notified and invited to fill out an application. This year there are 217 music teachers selected as quarterfinalist.

One recipient will be chosen from 10 finalists each year, and will be recognized for his/her extraordinary impact on students' lives. The honorariums and grants provided to the finalists and schools are made possible by the generosity and support of the GRAMMY Foundation's Education Champions Converse, Ford Motor Company Fund, General Mills Box Tops For Education, and Journeys. The Grammy’s will be held Sunday, January 26, 2014.

Chad Harris '14 

HU Students Take On Summer F.L.A.M.E with U.S. Olympics Committee

HU Students Take On Summer F.L.A.M.E with U.S. Olympics Committee

Hamptonians Taylor, Burnett and Burrell in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Hampton University students, Antoine Burrell, a senior sports management major, Corine Taylor, a junior five-year MBA major and Crystal Burnett, a junior public relations major with a minor in sports management, participated in the F.L.A.M.E program with the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), July 14-18.

“My experience in the F.L.A.M.E program was amazing,” said Burrell. “I got to experience activities like fencing, team handball, and sitting volleyball activities that I would not have been exposed to without the F.L.A.M.E program.”

F.L.A.M.E is designed to inspire minority college students to cultivate their desire to succeed and rise above the ordinary. The students selected demonstrate a pursuit of excellence within their communities. F.A.M.E provides students with the opportunity to further their personal and professional growth through unique seminars and workshops led by Olympic and Para Olympic athletes and other professionals.

Taylor, Burnett and Burrell at F.L.A.M.E award ceremony
Burrell received information about the program from the HU Department of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation (HPER) department via blackboard. The F.L.A.M.E program allow
students to live like the Olympians for a week. The students stayed and dined in the Olympic Training Center dormitory of the U.S. Olympic Committee in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Olympic athletes are housed.

The students had the opportunity to take part in Olympic activities. The program also consisted of leadership enhancement workshops, exposure to Olympians and Para Olympians, as well as leaders within the USOC.

“Being a part of this program meant a lot to me because it gave me a chance to be around people who not only had similar passions as me, but looked like me as well,” said Burrell. “It gave me a new outlook on sports and what is out there professionally. F.L.A.M.E has taught me valuable lessons that I will keep with me throughout my professional career.”

F.L.A.M.E students also had the chance to speak with Scott Blackmun, CEO of the USOC; Olympic gold and silver medalist Derek Parra; five-time medalist Teresa Edwards and Para Olympian bronze medalist Dartanyon Crockett along with many more Olympians, Para Olympians and USOC staff. 

To learn more about the F.L.A.M.E program with the Olympic Committee visit

Chad Harris '14

Monday, July 15, 2013

HU Student Wins Scholarship from Wale

Hampton University Sophomore, Lauren Pryor
accepting her scholarship reward.
The moment of a lifetime arrived after Hampton University sophomore psychology major and Gloucester resident Lauren Pryor, won a $25,000 scholarship from rapper Wale. In a challenge presented on June 18 from Norfolk hip-hop station 103 JAMZ, Pryor was the 25th caller and the winner. In one brief week, Pryor went from winning a chance in a thousand to a moment in a million.

"I was on my way to a friend’s home in Hampton when I heard the radio challenge that the 25th caller would win the prize,” said Pryor. “The station said to call between 4 and 5 p.m. I called four or five times. The line was always busy. On about the 14th call I told myself to give it a rest then, I heard a man say ‘hello.’ “I didn’t believe it. He told me there were millions of calls and he only picked up the phone 14 times nationwide," Pryor said in an article in the Gloucester-Mathews Gazette-Journal. 

Pryor spent a glitz-filled two days, June 23-24, with all the VIP amenities anyone could ask for in New York City.

Hampton University Sophomore Lauren Pryor and
Rapper Wale 
“Winning this scholarship was truly a blessing,” said Pryor. “Almost not returning to Hampton University in the fall because of expenses, I was exceedingly fortunate to receive this scholarship. It was truly a test of faith.”

After numerous interviews and a presentation on the stage of BET’s, 106 & Park, for a show broadcast the next night, Tuesday, June 25.  She had the chance to meet the other two winners at the CBS Studios before her first live taping.

Pryor received the scholarship award at the album release party and concert for Wale’s new album, "The Gifted" at the Best Buy Theater.

Once she returned home she was able to watch the joyous moment on BET’s 106 & Park of herself accepting the prize with her loving family.

Chad Harris '14 

Monday, July 8, 2013

HU hosts summer “Youth Empowerment Camp”

Camp Participants Monee Blair, Tiyana Carter and Volunteer Jade Banks
Hampton University’s Fine and Performing Arts Department hosted a three day Youth Empowerment Camp on its campus June 26-28. Forty students, ages 12-18, participated in the program, which educated students, primarily, on leadership skills. 

The program also provided students with workshops on teambuilding, as well as dance, visual arts, music and sports.

Tiyana Carter, who attends Bethel High School, said she enjoyed the exposure to various people in leadership positions.

“I liked how we had different people come in and show us the different types of leaders, youth leaders and older leaders who go all around the world,” she said.

For the ending program, students were part of a panel discussion that included Hampton Mayor Molly Ward, Virginia House of Delegates Member Mamye E. BaCote, HU Men’s Associate Head Basketball Coach Darryl Sharp, and Virginia State Senator Mamie Locke. Locke is also Dean of the HU School of Liberal Arts.

Carter, 15, said it was a chance for students to interact using skills they utilized during the program.

“That was our chance to show what we learned. (Panelists) asked us real situational problems about everyday life, like traffic and bullying, and we were able to explain what a leader can do to improve the problems,” she said.

HU Chair of Fine and Performing Arts, Dr. Karen Ward, served as one the program’s co-directors and said, though brief, the camp offered students a wealth of information that will help them throughout their lives.

“We, along with our sponsor, Dominion Foundation, hope that the participants will utilize all that they learned from the camp when they return to their schools and communities, so they can become stronger and more able leaders,” she said. “We packed a great deal in a very short period of time, with the hope that each day would be an opportunity for them to engage in enjoyable and valuable experiences to help them grow to become better leaders.”

By Leha Byrd

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Hole Punch Cloud Image Captured Mimics AIM’s Noctilucent Clouds

HU summer student Kyle Elliot captured this hole punch image by the HU Dining Hall
Hole Punch Cloud Image Captured Mimics AIM’s Noctilucent Clouds

Hampton University summer session student Kyle Elliot recently captured an image of a low altitude cloud feature that mimics those seen in Noctilucent (NLCs) or “nightshining” clouds. This usually occurs some 40 miles higher in the atmosphere.   NLCs are being studied by the Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) satellite mission led by HU Professor Dr. James Russell.

A “hole punch” cloud, which Elliot observed outside the HU dining hall, usually occurs when an aircraft pierces through cloud layers triggering the formation of ice crystals as air is forced around and over the aircraft’s wings.  This patch of air, after passing over the aircraft, expands and cools by as much as 20 degrees Celsius compared to the surrounding environment. When an altocumulus cloud layer is present, the patch of air left by the aircraft causes the super-cooled water droplets contained within the cloud to rapidly transform into larger ice crystals. The large ice crystals, being heavier, fall out of the cloud and evaporate, leaving behind a hole. 

Hole punch clouds, like the one in the picture, are similar to those found in images collected by the AIM satellite; atmospheric scientists call these high altitude features ice voids. Since 2007, AIM has observed NLCs at heights of about 50 miles above the earth.  They occur on the edge of space and are the highest clouds on earth, forming at temperatures of minus 135 degrees Celsius.  When the delicate temperature balance in the upper atmosphere is disturbed by processes, such as meteorites entering the atmosphere, ice voids appear in the NLC layer that resemble the hole punch cloud seen over Hampton.

Over the past 30 years, NLCs have been increasing, getting brighter and they are appearing at lower latitudes, suggesting a possible connection with global change processes near the earth’s surface.