JSU, West Jackson Development Coalition work to develop housing for homeless veterans

By Jean Gordon Cook
601-979-1571
jean.g.cook@jsums.edu

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The West Jackson Development Coalition has enlisted the support of the Massachusetts-based organization Soldier On to work toward building Mississippi’s first housing development for homeless veterans. The coalition includes the Center for University-Based Development (CUBD) at Jackson State University, Voice of Calvary Ministries, the Center for Social Entrepreneurship, the Contact Crisis Line, members of the Department of Veterans Affairs and veteran advocates.

“This is something that everyone can agree on, that our veterans are entitled to live with dignity and stability,” said Dorothy Triplett, the convener of the local group that is working on the housing project.  “I’m so inspired by the whole philosophy of the Soldier On development. They can actually have something to call their own and they can be a community.”

To move the vision to reality, Soldier On president Jack Downing and Taylor Caswell, president of Soldier On’s nonprofit real estate development subsidiary, will meet with Jackson civic and community leaders at 8 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 29, at the University Club, 210 E. Capitol St. in Jackson. Leaders from Soldier On and the coalition will be available to media following the meeting.

“We’re trying to model our development after Soldier On,” said CUBD director Kimberly Hilliard. “We’ve been working with them for several months. This will be our first in-person meeting with Soldier On and government leaders and veterans’ advocates in Mississippi.”

Soldier On has developed limited-equity veterans’ housing developments in Massachusetts, including the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community in Pittsfield, which features solar-paneled attached units. The organization employs formerly homeless veterans and also provides education, training and supportive services. Soldier On president Jack Downing says veterans deserve “housing as a place that will allow them a sense of belonging, and to reestablish their dignity and purpose.”

For more information, call Dorothy Triplett 601-750-1855 or Kimberly Hilliard at 601- 979-2255.

STEM students to showcase work at National Research Symposium at JSU – Oct. 3

Posted by Jean Gordon Cook
601-979-1571
jean.g.cook@jsums.edu

(JACKSON, Miss). – Students studying in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) disciplines will showcase their work Oct. 3 during the Louis Stokes Mississippi Alliance for Minority Participation National Research Symposium at the Mississippi e-Center @JSU. Based at Jackson State University, the alliance includes Jackson State, the University of Mississippi, the University of Southern Mississippi, Mississippi State University, Alcorn State University, Mississippi Valley State University, Tougaloo College and Hinds Community College.

Baraka Williams is a environmental science Ph.D. student at JSU

During the event, undergraduate and graduate students will give oral and poster presentations, and speakers from around the country will discuss the importance of higher education and the skills required to lead to the increase in the number of under-represented minority STEM Ph.D.s. Attendees will have the opportunity to interact with discussion panels composed of minority STEM Ph.D. students. The panelists will discuss their experiences, challenges and high achievement in graduate school.

Dr. Novella N. Bridges

Dr. Novella N. Bridges, who earned a B.S. in chemistry from Jackson State University and is currently a project manager in the Operational Planning and Logistical Group at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, will be one of the symposium’s guest speakers. Bridges is the training manager for the Radiation Portal Monitoring Project. In this capacity she has developed, prepared and reviewed training documents. Students will benefit from her experiences and perspective because she is one of the few minority females with her expertise. Specifically, Bridges has worked on projects involving the reduction of diesel emissions in vehicles, locomotives and light-weight trucks, the production of hydrogen for fuel cells and other advanced energy systems, and the development of radio-labeled composites as therapeutic agents for cancer treatments.

Dr. Joe Whitehead, dean of the College of Science and Technology from the University of Southern Mississippi, will serve as the LSMAMP Symposium kenote speaker. Other speakers include Dr. Robert McGehee from the University of Arkansas Medical Sciences and 1992 JSU chemistry alumnus, and Dr. Kemal Catalan from Procter & Gamble.

For more information, call Martha Tchounwou at 601-979-1604.

Jackson State welcomes Sundance Institute’s ‘Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue’

Tommiea J. King
tommiea.king@jsums.edu
601-979-2950
________________________

Jackson State University will welcome Film Forward: Advancing Cultural Dialogue, a Sundance Institute initiative in partnership with U.S. federal cultural agencies. The broad spectrum of film screenings and workshops, which will be held in Jackson and Piney Woods Sept. 26 – Oct. 8, are sponsored by the historic Piney Woods School, the Mississippi Film Office and Crossroads Film Society. All events are free and open to the public.

“The depth of Film Forward activities planned in Jackson and Piney Woods are poised to engage diverse audiences and create meaningful dialogue about the power of film, as we’ve seen happen in the other locations the initiative has visited,” said Keri Putnam, executive director of Sundance Institute

Among the featured events at Jackson State are the Oct. 6 screening of Winter’s Bone and Udaan, which will both be followed by question and answer period with their respective filmmakers Debra Granik and Vikramaditya Motwane.

In Winter’s Bone, 17-year-old girl sets out to track down her father, who put their house up for his bail bond and then disappeared. If she fails, she and her family will be turned out into the Ozark woods. Udaan is about a 16-year-old boy who returns home to an abusive and oppressive father.

 Sunday, October 2

 2 p.m.         Freedom Riders        (Mississippi e-Center – Conference Hall)

 2 p.m.         Lunch (free)

 2:30 p.m.    Freedom Riders 

The powerful, harrowing and ultimately inspiring story of six months in 1961 that changed America forever. Deliberately violating Jim Crow laws, the Freedom Riders’ belief in non-violent activism was sorely tested as mob violence and bitter racism greeted them along the way. Director: Stanley Nelson (USA)

Monday, October 3

10 a.m.     A Small Act                    (JSU Movie Theater)

A young Kenyan’s life changes dramatically when his education is sponsored by a Swedish stranger. Years later, he founded his own scholarship program to replicate the kindness he once received. Director: Jennifer Arnold (USA)

 1 p.m.       Afghan Star                     (JSU Movie Theater)

After 30 years of war and Taliban rule, Pop Idol has come to television in Afghanistan: millions are watching and voting for their favorite singer. This film follows the dramatic stories of four contestants as they risk their lives to sing. Director: Havana Marking (Afghanistan/UK)

Tuesday, October 4

10 a.m.     Amreeka                          (JSU Movie Theater)

When a divorced Palestinian woman and her teenage son move to rural Illinois, they find their new lives replete with challenges. Cast: Nisreen Faour, Melkar Muallem, Hiam Abbass, Yussuf Abu-Warda, Alia Shawkat, Joseph Ziegler. Director and Screenwriter: Cherien Dabis (USA)

 1 p.m.       Boy                                  (JSU Movie Theater)

When his father returns home after many years away, 11-year-old Boy and his little brother Rocky must reconcile reality with the fantasy dad they created in their imagination. Cast: Taika Waititi, James Rolleston, Te Aho Eketone. Director and screenwriter: Taika Waititi (New Zealand)

 Wednesday, October 5

10 a.m.     La Mission                       (JSU Movie Theater)

A traditional, Latino father in San Francisco’s Mission District struggles to come to terms with his teenage son’s homosexuality. Credited by Latino media as being both authentic and genuine to various aspects of American Hispanic cultures. Cast: Benjamin Bratt, Erika Alexander, Jeremy Ray Valdez, Talisa Soto Bratt, Jesse Borrego. Director and Screenwriter: Peter Bratt (USA)

 1 p.m.       Last Train Home              (JSU Movie Theater)

Getting a train ticket in China proves a towering ordeal as a migrant worker family embarks on a journey, along with 200 million other peasants to reunite with their distant family. Director: Lixin Fan (Canada)

 Thursday, October 6   

10 a.m.     Winter’s Bone                (JSU Movie Theater)

An unflinching Ozark Mountain girl hacks through dangerous social terrain as she hunts down her missing father while trying to keep her family intact. Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Dale Dickey, Garret Dillahunt, Kevin Breznahan. Cast: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia, Ram Kapoor. Director: Debra Granik; Screenwriters: Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini (USA). Pizza Lunch with live music – JSU JAZZ and Sundance Bluegrass music

1p.m.        Udaan                            (JSU Movie Theater)

Following his expulsion from boarding school, Rohan returns to the small industrial town of Jamshedpur. After 8 years away, he finds himself closeted with an authoritarian father and a younger half brother that he didn’t even know existed. Udaan explores deep-rooted family dynamics and a triumph of the human spirit. Cast: Rajat Barmecha, Ronit Roy, Aayan Boradia, Ram Kapoor.  Director Vikramaditya Motwane; Screenwriter: Motwane (India)

           A full schedule of screenings and events is available at http://www.sundance.org/filmforward and http://www.crossroadsfilmsociety.com.

A joint venture of Sundance Institute and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) in cooperation with USA federal cultural partners, the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), Film Forward connects contemporary U.S. and international films and filmmakers with diverse global audiences and features documentary and narrative films. Film Forward underscores the importance of mutual understanding and respect for other cultures and traditions that is at the heart of cultural exchange.

U.S.A. Arts Organizations

The President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) bridges the interests of American federal agencies and the private sector, supports special projects that increase participation and excellence in the arts and humanities, and helps incorporate these disciplines into White House objectives. First Lady Michelle Obama is the Honorary Chairman of the PCAH.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) is a public agency dedicated to supporting excellence in the arts, both new and established; bringing the arts to all Americans; and providing leadership in arts education.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) serves and strengthens our Republic by promoting excellence in the humanities and conveying the lessons of history to all Americans. The NEH is the nation’s leading supporter of research education, preservation and public programs in the humanities.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) is an independent federal grant making agency dedicated to creating strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The IMLS works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development.

Sundance Institute

Sundance Institute is a global nonprofit organization founded by Robert Redford in 1981. Through its programs for directors, screenwriters, producers, composers and playwrights, the Institute seeks to discover and support independent film and theatre artists from the United States and around the world, and to introduce audiences to their new work. The Institute promotes independent storytelling to inform, inspire, and unite diverse populations around the globe. Internationally recognized for its annual Sundance Film Festival, Sundance Institute has nurtured such projects as Born into Brothels, Trouble the Water, Son of Babylon, Amreeka, An Inconvenient Truth, Spring Awakening, Light in the Piazza and Angels in America. http://www.sundance.org

The Piney Woods School

The Piney Woods School, one of only four remaining historically African-American boarding schools in the nation, celebrated 100 years of delivering quality leadership education in 2009. Located on 2,000 acres of pristine woodland, the school offers a dynamic living/learning environment where every staff person becomes a mentor and every moment becomes an opportunity to educate. Each year, the school educates 200 students (grades 9 through 12) from 27 states and five foreign countries. And each year, 98 percent of the graduating seniors go on to some of the most prestigious colleges and universities in the nation (last year with over $2.8 million in scholarships). The Piney Woods School is the first high school in the world with an AmeriCorps program with 35 seniors performing 450 hours of community service. This is part of a leadership initiative that changes the lives of students and allows young people to return to their home communities as agents for positive change. The collaboration with Film Forward will launch a new media arts focus for the school.

Crossroads Film Society

The Crossroads Film Society celebrates the art of filmmaking in all of its diversity and depth. The Crossroads Film Society will facilitate and promote a broader spectrum of film and video for the community, will present and honor films and videos related to Mississippi and the South, and will provide educational opportunities and facilitate general discussions for film lovers and aspiring film makers.

Mississippi Film Office

From initial contact to wrap, you can expect the assistance of our Mississippi Film Office: location scouting and research; pre-production help with casting, extras, crew, equipment; trouble-shooting during production and wrap; we will work with you every step of the way. We can offer a diversity of locations for your Mississippi film: the white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, the panoramic agricultural expanse of the Delta along the Mississippi River, the rolling hills of the historic Natchez Trace, the grandeur of the many antebellum homes throughout the State. River communities, town squares and railroad cities reach from the early 1800’s to the 1920’s and ’30’s, while modern cities, industrial complexes and universities reach toward the future.

South Arts

South Arts (formerly the Southern Arts Federation), a nonprofit regional arts organization, was founded in 1975 to build on the South’s unique heritage and enhance the public value of the arts. South Arts’ work responds to the arts environment and cultural trends with a regional perspective. South Arts offers an annual portfolio of activities designed to address the role of the arts in impacting the issues important to our region, and to link the South with the nation and the world through the arts. The organization works in partnership with the state arts agencies of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. It is funded by the National Endowment for the Arts, member states, foundations, businesses and individuals. http://www.southarts.org

 
Media Contacts:
Sundance Institute:Casey De La Rosa

310.360.1981

casey_delarosa@sundance.org

Murphy PR:John Murphy

212.414.0408

jmurphy@murphypr.com

Crossroads Film Society:Nina Parikh

601.750.5017 NPARIKH@mississippi.org

JSU chemistry and biochemistry chair recognized for advancing diversity

By Jean Gordon Cook
601-979-1571
jean.g.cook@jsums.edu

JSU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chair Hongtao Yu

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The Committee on Minority Affairs at the American Chemical Society (ACS) has selected Jackson State University Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry chair Hongtao Yu as the recipient of the Stanley C. Israel Regional Award for advancing diversity in the chemical sciences. The award will be presented at the Southeast Regional Meeting of ACS on Oct. 27 in Richmond, Va.

Yu’s award recognizes his vision and dedication in initiating major recruiting efforts, developing relationships with high schools and colleges, developing mentorship programs for junior faculty and students, and working with students to encourage them to pursue advanced degrees.

“This ACS award is truly for the department and for JSU,” Yu said. “There are many great programs at JSU’s College of Science, Engineering and Technology initiated by the deans for student recruitment, development and graduation.”

Yu credited his department’s faculty, staff and students for tripling both undergraduate and graduate enrollment and doubling the number of faculty and student publications.

“My job is easy since I have world-class researchers and student mentors such as professors Jerzy Leszczynski and Paresh Ray,” Yu said. “It is also easy to do my job to have faculty members such as professor Glake Hill, who has the same vision for recruiting and nurturing students.”

Yu joined the Jackson State University faculty in 1996 and in 2003 was appointed chair of the chemistry department, which is now called the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Under Yu’s leadership, the department has become one of the most published chemistry departments in the southern United States with more than six peer-reviewed articles per faculty per year.

As one of the three Ph.D. degree-granting chemistry departments among the nation’s 115 Historically Black Colleges and Universities, JSU fosters a culture and environment conducive for underrepresented monitories, especially African Americans, to become leading scientists in chemical sciences and related fields. According to the 2011 rankings by Diverse Issues in Higher Education, JSU ranks second in the nation for awarding African Americans with master’s degrees in physical sciences, third for bachelor’s degrees and fourth for doctoral degrees in physical sciences. The rankings are largely due to the number of students earning chemistry degrees.

Yu earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from the University of Science and Technology of China, a master’s in chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and a Ph.D. in organic and biochemistry from Technical University of Munich, Germany. He is the recipient of numerous awards including the Mississippi State Legislature HEADWAE Outstanding Faculty Honoree Award, the National ChemLuminary Award for “Best Activity with Underrepresented Minority Students and/or Organizations” from the American Chemical Society and the Leadership in Doctoral Education Award from Jackson State University.

For more information, call the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at 601-979-2171


NSF awards JSU chemistry professor $1 million for teaching, research project

By Jean Gordon Cook
601-979-1571
jean.g.cook@jsums.edu

JSU chemistry professor Ashton Hamme

(JACKSON, Miss.) – The National Science Foundation has awarded Jackson State University chemistry professor Ashton Hamme nearly $1 million for a three-year project that uses nanoscience to address water contamination problems while preparing the next generation of scientists.

“This award further strengthens our strategic mission to train the next cadre of scientists for the 21st century,” said JSU provost and vice president for academic affairs Mark G. Hardy.

Working with co-principal investigator Jerzy Leszczynski, who leads the Interdisciplinary Center for Nanotoxicity at JSU, Hamme will assemble a team of faculty members from different scientific disciplines to work with undergraduate and graduate chemistry students to develop multifunctional carbon nanotube hybrid materials to detect waterborne pathogens such as E. coli, Salmonella and Shigella. Nanotubes are cylindrical structures that are measured in nanometers, which are so small that 80,000 make up the width of a strand of hair. The process developed at JSU would be able to identify potentially deadly pathogens in real time and purify the water supply.

Called JSU-RISE: Research Infrastructure and Student Development through the Chemical Design of Multifunctional Carbon Nanotubes, the National Science Foundation-funded program also aims to increase the number and quality of underrepresented minority STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) students through research and mentoring.

The JSU-RISE program will expose students to the collaborative nature of the scientific enterprise by bringing together a core group of interdisciplinary faculty with complementary scientific pursuits. Students will develop research and leadership skills through summer internships, scientific presentations, teaching experiences and research projects.

The program also will increase the candidate pool for future JSU-RISE students by involving highly qualified undergraduate and K-12 students in the program. The ultimate aim for the JSU-RISE program is to increase the number of underrepresented minority K-12, undergraduate and graduate students who will go on to earn terminal STEM degrees.

“This project combines what Jackson State University does best – teaching, mentoring and research,” said Felix A. Okojie, JSU’s vice president for research and federal relations. “The research and educational goals of this award align well with Jackson State’s goal to become one of the region’s foremost centers for nanoscience and nanotechnology.”

Photo of Ashton Hamme: http://www.jsums.edu/announcements/AshtonHamme.jpg

Miss JSU to compete in national college queens competition

by Spencer McClenty
601-979-1457
spencer.l.mcclenty@jsums.edu
____________________________

Mea Ashley, 2011-2012 Miss JSU

Miss Jackson State University 2011-2012, Mea Ashley, will travel to Atlanta to compete in the National Black College Alumni (NBCA) Hall of Fame Foundations’ College Queens Competition during its 26thAnnual Hall of Fame Weekend being held Sept. 22-25 at the Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel.  The NBCA Hall of Fame Foundation, Inc. was established by the Council of National Alumni Associations in 1985.

The theme for this year’s conference is “HBCUs:  Meeting the Challenges, Fulfilling the Promise.”  The event will bring together educational, community and civic leaders and policy makers and others who share a common commitment to supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The College Queens Competition will be judged on: private interview, oratory, poise/projection, talent and presentation/image.

Scholarships will be awarded to the winner, and the first and second place runners-up.  Also, the winner will represent the Hall of Fame as a national spokesperson through the Spring 2012 semester.  The last JSU queen  to win the competition was Megan L. Richmond, Miss JSU 2001-2002 who won the title in 2001. Supporters can send congratulatory wishes to Ashley at the following address:
Hyatt Regency Atlanta Hotel
Attn: Mea E. Ashley, Miss Jackson State University 2011-2012
Room#: 1819
265 Peachtree Street N.E.
Atlanta, GA 30303
(404) 577-1234

JSU professor named chair of national committee on teaching and learning

Spencer McClenty
601-979-1457
spencer.l.mcclenty@jsums.edu
___________________________

Jackson State University professor of Political Science Michelle D. Deardorff, has been appointed by the American Political Science Association (APSA) to chair the Committee on Teaching and Learning for a term of four years.

Michelle Deardorff

The American Political Science Association, founded in 1903, is the leading professional organization for the study of political science and serves more than 15,000 members in over 80 countries.

“I was very surprised when I was contacted by APSA about this opportunity,” said Deardorff, who received a B. A. in political science and history from Taylor University in Indiana and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Miami University in Ohio. “In my discipline, appointments to the APSA council and to the standing committees almost always goes to faculty at the largest institutions, who are in high-profile Ph.D.-granting departments, and hardly ever to those at HBCUs. I never expected to have this opportunity during my career.”

The APSA Committee on Teaching and Learning addresses issues of course and curriculum preparation and assessment in higher education, the professional development of college and graduate teaching and strategies of teaching and learning for the diversity of students and program missions. The committee also advises the APSA council on the practices and policy for the annual Teaching and Learning Conference.

“During my term in office, I hope to continue to institutionalize the significance of teaching of all kinds and at all levels and develop long-lasting relationships between the organized research sections of the discipline and the teaching communities,” said Deardorff, a member of the JSU Political Science Department since 2003. “I also want to promote the importance of the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning for professional development and pressure APSA to take a leadership role on programmatic assessment, and I plan to ensure that our first APSA endowed award for Distinguished Contributions to Teaching is fully funded.”

Deardorff is a former chair of the ASPA’s organized section on Political Science Education, a member of the editorial board of the peer-reviewed Journal of Political Science Education and a member of the Distinguished Teaching Award Leadership committee.