JSU Veterans Center to open Aug. 2, Timothy Abram named director

by Sylvia Watley

Tim Abram

The Division of Student Life at Jackson State University is pleased to announce the opening of the Veterans Center and the naming of Timothy Abram as its director.

The ribbon cutting and open house for the Veterans Center will be held on August 2, 2012, at 11:30 a.m. on the first floor of the Jacob L. Reddix Building.

The JSU Veterans Center will provide student support services focused on the special needs and requirements of today’s military veterans, service members, dependents and survivors.  The center was established to improve and enhance the academic success of student veterans, to help them receive the benefits they deserve, and to serve as a liaison between the veteran student community and the University.

“The JSU Veterans Center will assist veterans in successfully navigating the academic environment through guidance, support services, and resources. The primary goal is to provide a seamless transition for veterans and to assist them in becoming engaged and well prepared citizens in the community,” said Dr. Marcus A. Chanay, JSU Vice President for Student Life. “Tim Abram has a wealth of higher education and military experience, and will do a fine job leading the Center.”

Abram received his bachelor’s degree in Social Work and a master’s degree in Guidance Counseling from Jackson State University.  He is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership.

Abram has extensive administrative and management experiences in both the military and civilian sectors.  Prior to assuming the current director position, Abram served as Associate Director for the JSU Center for Service and Community Engaged Learning in the Division of Student Life where he received the 2008-2009 “Staff Excellence Award.”

He was commissioned as a United States Army Officer and achieved the rank of Captain in the United States Army Reserves.  He served as a platoon leader, a company executive officer, a detachment commander and as a squadron S-3/liaison officer while stationed at Fort Knox, Kentucky, and Fort Hood, Texas.

Among his numerous Army achievement and leadership awards, is the Bronze Star Medal for Heroic and Meritorious Service during “Operation Desert Storm.”

He is a member of the Mississippi Counseling Association, 1st Cavalry Division Association, Military Officers Association of America and Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, Inc.

Dr. Loretta A. Moore appointed Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarly Engagement

July 27, 2012

Dr. Loretta A. Moore

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Dr. Loretta A. Moore, who since 2011 has served as interim associate dean for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology at Jackson State University, has been appointed Associate Vice President for Research and Scholarly Engagement.

In this new role, Moore will lead JSU’s new Academy for Research and Scholarly Engagement, which will work to enhance the scholarly careers of JSU faculty members. As a part of the academy, she will also lead the Jackson State’s Center for University Scholars.

“The academy will be targeted toward junior faculty members who have yet to establish a strong grantmanship record and people at the associate or full professor level who are trying to reemerge with a new or different research focus,” Moore said. “Having the opportunity to work campus wide with all five colleges is very exciting. It will allow me to use some of my strengths to help our faculty identify funding for research and scholarly endeavors.”

Moore’s new role parallels nicely with the ongoing efforts of the National Science Foundation funded JSUAdvance project, for which she serves as principal investigator. That project focuses on advancing the careers of female faculty members in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and Social and Behavioral Science (SBS) disciplines.

The new academy and the Center for University Scholars will be housed in the Division of Research and Federal Relations.

“We expect this new academy to help foster even more research and innovation among our faculty,” said Dr. Felix Okojie, vice president for Research and Federal Relations. “We look forward to having Dr. Moore on our team.”

Moore joined JSU’s faculty 14 years ago as professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science.  She has held positions at Auburn University, AT&T Bell Laboratories, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, NASA Kennedy Space Center and NASA Marshall Space Flight Center. Moore’s current research is in the area of computational thinking and in the application of intelligent techniques to cyber security, visual analytics and visualization.  She has received funding from agencies including the National Science Foundation, Department of Homeland Security, Department of Justice, Department of Energy – Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Army Research Laboratory, NASA Kennedy Space Center, NASA Marshall Space Flight Center, NASA Headquarters, and Jacobs Technology.  Moore serves as a commissioner for the Computing Accreditation Commission of ABET.  Dr. Moore is a member of the Board of the Association of Departments of Computing at Minority Institutions (ADMI); she also holds membership in ACM, IEEE, and AAUW organizations.  She previously served as a member of the U.S. Army Science Board.  She is active in the recruitment, retention, and promotion of African-American computer scientists. Moore received her B.S. degree in Computer Science from Jackson State University and her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Computer Science from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

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JSU president honors high grant producers

President Carolyn Meyers (left) and Dr. Felix Okojie (right) congratulate Dr. Herman Taylor (center).

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University President Carolyn W. Meyers honored 17 JSU researchers at a July 26 appreciation dinner at her home for achieving the top-funded projects during FY2011-2012.

Together the researchers generated more than $24 million of the university’s $49 million in sponsored research for the fiscal year.

“Research and innovation drive higher education and serve as an economic engine for our state and nation,” Meyers said. “These scholars and leaders have all distinguished themselves this year by advancing work in their respective fields. They are all a valuable asset to Jackson State University and to the communities we serve.”

Dr. Johnnie Mills-Jones (center) poses with President Meyers and Dr. Felix Okojie during the celebration.

Honorees and areas of expertise:

  • Dr. Herman Taylor, Jackson Heart Study
  • Dr. Ally Mack, international education and culture
  • Dr. Patricia Jernigan, cultural exchange
  • Dr. Paul Tchounwou, environmental health
  • Dr. Ashton Hamme, organic chemistry
  • Dr. Marinelle Payton, health disparities
  • Dr. Raphael Isokpehi, bioinformatics
  • Dr. Johnnie Mills-Jones, continuing education
  • Dr. William McHenry, chemistry teacher training
  • Dr. Jerzy Leszczynski, computational chemistry
  • Velesha Williams, community outreach
  • Dr. Felix Okojie, research and federal relations
  • Dr. Loretta Moore, advancing women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics
  • Dr. CoSandra McNeal, sociology
  • Dr. Paresh Ray, materials science
  • Dr. Hari Cohly, microbiology/inventor

President Meyers welcomes Dr. Jerzy Leszczynski to the celebration dinner for JSU’s top grant producers.

This past fiscal year Jackson State University received $49 million from federal and state agencies and private foundations to fund 180 projects that continue to expand the work of the university. The National Science Foundation Research and Development expenditures report of U.S. institutions of higher learning ranked JSU No. 2 in research and development expenditures among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

– JSU –

About Jackson State University: Challenging Minds, Changing Lives

Jackson State University, founded in 1877, is a historically black, high research activity university located in Jackson, the capital city of Mississippi. Jackson State’s nurturing academic environment challenges individuals to change lives through teaching, research and service. Officially designated as Mississippi’s Urban University, Jackson State continues to enhance the state, nation and world through comprehensive economic development, health-care, technological and educational initiatives. The only public university in the Jackson metropolitan area, Jackson State is located near downtown, with three satellite campuses throughout the city. For more information, visit www.jsums.edu.

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Dr. Felix Okojie to serve on the National Academy of Inventors fellows selection committee

Dr. Felix Okojie, Vice President for Research and Federal Relations at Jackson State University, accepted the invitation to serve on the selection committee of the charter class of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI) fellows.

As a member of the selection committee,  Okojie will join a peer group comprised of members from the national academies, recipients of national medals, National Inventors Hall of Fame inductees, NAI fellows and senior officials from the U.S. Patent and Trademarks Office (USPTO) and the Association of University Technology Managers (AUTM), among others.

According to NAI, “the selection committee will be tasked with electing candidates to the NAI fellow status, which is the highest professional distinction accorded to academic inventors who have demonstrated a prolific spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.”

Jackson State University is the first Historically Black College or University to become a charter member of NAI. The JSU chapter of NAI currently consists of 11 members. NAI was founded in 2010 to recognize and encourage academic inventors who have a patent issued from the USPTO and translating the inventions of its members to benefit society.

JSU Blue Bengal Athletic Association arranges transportation to out-of-town football games


JSU Tiger fans can reserve seats on buses to all out-of-town football games. The pick-up and drop-off location will be the parking lot of the Lee E. Williams Athletics and Assembly Center at JSU. The cost and reservation deadline for each game is listed below. Please add $35 to the cost of the bus if you would like the association to purchase your ticket for you.

Starkville $32                            Deadline July 31
Memphis $46                            Deadline Aug. 21
Houston $100                           Deadline Aug. 30
(Houston is the only overnight trip. Cost does not include hotel.)
Pine Bluff, Ark. $48                Deadline Sept. 18
Montgomery, Ala.  $65          Deadline Sept. 28
Grambling, La. $34                 Deadline Oct. 16
Lorman, Miss. $24                  Deadline Nov. 1
Birmingham, Ala. $53            Deadline Nov. 20

To make a reservation, call business manager Nita Welch at 601-946-0705 or president Joann Jones 601-214-9574.

DoD announces win for Radiance-JSU team for the Agile Cyber Technology contract

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Radiance Technologies Inc., announced that it has been awarded a $300 million ID/IQ contract for Agile Cyber Technology through the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL). Jackson State University will be the academic partner in this important effort, which will develop cutting-edge cyber hardware and software tools, supporting the Air Force in the cyber domain.

JSU Vice President for Research and Federal Relations Felix Okojie

“Jackson State University’s intellectual capital and research capabilities played an important role in the award of this ID/IQ contract,” said Felix Okojie, JSU Vice President for Research and Federal Relations. “This is a demonstration of our value-added proposition to the economic development of our state.”

Radiance and JSU have worked together for more than five years supporting NASA, the Department of Marine Resources, the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Army Space and Missile Defense Command and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The expert blending of university research expertise and real world industry engineering has provided the necessary capability to transition application research into operational use.

Jackson State University has outstanding faculty and staff who are on the cutting edge of robotics, cyber security, cyber forensics, high performance computing and data mining. Research divisions managed under the College of Science, Engineering and Technology will support this cyber contract.

“This is a major win for our Mississippi team and highlights our ability to provide innovative cyber solutions for our customers,” said Tom Strange, Radiance Vice President. “Cyberspace is the unknown battleground of the 21st century, and the ability of our war fighters to dominate this environment is dependent on cutting edge technologies being developed by industry leaders and academia.”

Headquartered in Huntsville, Ala., Radiance Technologies is a systems engineering, technology development and prototyping company that for eight years has maintained a growing office in Jackson, Miss. Core competencies of the Jackson office include software development, geospatial applications development, software engineering, numerical analysis and intelligence analysis.

Radiance and Jackson State are very excited about their continued partnership on this cyber contract and the opportunities it will bring.

VP Michael Thomas to speak at national leadership institute

Jackson State University Vice President for Business and Finance Michael Thomas will be a speaker at the ninth annual Leadership and Mentoring Institute (LMI), which is being held through July 22 on the campus of Miles College in Birmingham, Ala.

The purpose of the LMI is to support African Americans who want to acquire information and skills to prepare them for senior administrative and faculty ranks. The LMI is co-sponsored by the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education and Miles College.

For more information, visit: http://lmiexperience.org/LMI/3fold.LMI.Brochure%202012.V2.pdf

Record number of campers attend JSU summer camp

If you make it fun, they will come. And come they did, in record numbers to this year’s summer day camp program at the Walter Payton Recreation and Wellness Center at Jackson State University.

Rachel Cowan, director of the center, said a record 125 children between ages 5 and 16 enrolled in this year’s camp, which was held May 29-June 29. Last year, about 80 children attended the camp, which was started in 2006 with an enrollment of about 50.

The reason for the camp’s growing popularity is simple, Cowan says. She, the Payton staff and JSU students who conduct the camp work hard to offer a wide range of activities that focus on both academics and fitness that are not only different from the previous year’s camp, but fun for the kids.

“We try really hard for it to not be boring. We try to make it interesting and make sure the kids learn, but to make it fun. We’re always looking for new and exciting adventures for the next camp,” Cowan says. “We’re already thinking of ways to make it better. We don’t want it to be predictable. We want each year to be a new experience.”

Especially exciting for Cowan this year was the reaction from both kids and parents over the camp’s program that focused on health and fitness.

While kids were offered popular sports activities, from basketball to swimming, they also were taught the importance of healthy eating.

“They were taught about nutrition, portion sizes, what foods can do for you in a positive way and how fast-food and snacks can affect their lives in a negative way,” Cowan said.

On the academic side, the Payton Center partnered with the Mississippi Learning Institute, which provided about 300 books, along with tutors and counselors, for a reading program.

Cowan said the “book club” followed the Jackson Public Schools’ summer reading program curriculum.

However, the biggest hit for this year’s campers was a field trip to the Jackson Department Training Academy, Cowan said. Police officers not only treated kids to a motorcyle show but a demonstration game of hide and seek with a K-9 officer.

“That was a huge hit!’ Cowan exclaimed.

At camp’s end, campers and parents were asked for an evaluation.

“The only negative, if you could call it that, was that some parents thought the camp should be held all summer long,” Cowan said.  “While that would be nice, it would be financially impractical.”

She promised, however, that next year’s five-week camp will offer some new and exciting adventures – adventures she’s already planning.

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JSU garners $49 million in external funding

JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers

(JACKSON, Miss) – Over the past five years, the external funding portfolio for Jackson State University has averaged $60 million. For fiscal year 2011-2012, the university garnered $49 million in awards, which was a major accomplishment given the federal budget limitations and the daunting range of competition.

“External funding helps not only in enhancing the university’s Carnegie Foundation classification as a ‘high research activity university,’ it also advances the research and teaching excellence of our faculty and staff and the learning experiences of our students,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers.

JSU Vice President of Research and Federal Relations Felix Okojie

The university has made great strides in a number of areas involving faculty and students, and the $49 million figure represents external funding for 180 projects from federal and state agencies and private foundations that continue to expand the work of the university.

“This fiscal year has been extremely challenging, but a good year for JSU in spite of tough budgetary challenges,” said Felix Okojie, JSU Vice President of Research and Federal Relations.

In the recently released National Science Foundation Research and Development expenditures report of U.S. institutions of higher learning, JSU ranked No. 2 in R&D expenditures among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

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JSU opens new Welcome Center – July 16

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University opened its new JSU Welcome Center during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 10 a.m. Monday, July 16. Tours of the new facility followed the ceremony.

Located on Dalton Street just north of John R. Lynch Street, the JSU Welcome Center serves as the university’s hospitality site for campus visitors, including prospective students and their families, alumni and people interested in JSU. The multimedia center includes meeting space and information about the university and the community.

JSU Welcome Center director Gwen Caples

“The Welcome Center will serve as the front door to Jackson State University,” says Gwen Caples, director of the center. “We will provide valuable information to our visitors to ensure that when they leave this beautiful and historic campus, they will have a positive and lasting impression of Jackson State.”

The creation of the JSU Welcome Center is part of Jackson State University’s effort to better connect the campus to the wider community.

“The JSU Welcome Center is a gateway not only to Jackson State University, but to west Jackson as a whole,” said JSU President Carolyn W. Meyers. “We expect the center to attract even more new visitors to our wonderful community.”

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