Freedom School praised by U.S. Secretary of Education (from Clarion-Ledger)

By Marquita Brown • • August 28, 2010

Applause erupted Friday during a roundtable discussion at Jackson State University, and some of it was for the visiting national education secretary.

But much was for JSU students interning at the university’s Children’s Defense Fund Freedom School, who spoke about the importance of teachers and teaching.

The perception about teaching should change, former intern Rodney Phillips said to applause. After suggesting a national media campaign to “express the dire need to educate our youth,” he received more applause.

“I couldn’t agree more,” U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan said.

Duncan was at JSU as part of an eight-state, two-week bus tour to honor teachers. The tour began Thursday in Little Rock, Ark.

Friday’s event was a way for Duncan to learn more about the Freedom School, an after-school program that is part of Kids Kollege and an initiative of the Children’s Defense Fund.

Marian Wright Edelman, fund president and founder, also sat on the panel.

“The future belongs to those who give the next generation hope,” Edelman said.

Duncan heard testimonies from students about their passion for teaching and their views on the Freedom School.

Tramell Tillman said he started college at Xavier University in New Orleans, but transferred to JSU at his parents’ request after Hurricane Katrina. He was trained at the Freedom School, and told Duncan and the audience that words couldn’t describe “the impact that that training had on me.”

Five years ago, Tillman read to students at Barr Elementary School in Jackson, said Carolyn Coleman, director of the Kids Kollege. Coleman said the school principal told her, “It was one of the first times some of those children had a black male read to them.”

Duncan and the students talked about the need to have more men, including those who are black or Hispanic, teach.

Recruiting of male teachers, particularly black males, should begin before college, said Allison Warnesley, a JSU sophomore and Freedom School intern.

“If you have a bad experience before college, you’re not going to want to be a teacher,” she said.

Duncan noted the Freedom School children were loud – they clapped and chanted for him at the beginning of the visit – but were some of the best-behaved children he had seen.

The interns attributed the good behavior to the structure of the Freedom School, where the ratio of students to teachers is 10 to 1.

The children are called “scholars.” Instead of being told what not to do, they sign a cooperation agreement and are told about the expectations of the program, said Nolan Carr, who is now a teacher and trains Freedom School interns.

In Freedom School, “scholars” have fun while they learn, he said. Carr said when he was in school, he didn’t have fun, “so I got in trouble.”


Jackson State, Spelman to Study Origins of Life on Earth

From HBCU……..

Jackson State University and Spelman College are part of a national research team that will study the chemical and biological processes that will better explain the origins of life on Earth. Headed by the Georgia Institute of Technology, the Center for Chemical  Evolution will be funded by a $20 million grant awarded by the National Science Foundation and N.A.S.A. From

“Our research team seeks to understand how certain molecules in a complex mixture can work together to form highly ordered assemblies that exhibit chemical properties similar to those associated with biological molecules,” said Nicholas V. Hud, a professor in the Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry. “Such a process was likely an essential and early stage of life, so we are also working to understand what chemicals were present on the prebiotic Earth and what processes helped these chemicals form the complex substances ultimately needed for life…”

All of the researchers will work together to accomplish the Center for Chemical Evolution’s three main research goals:
• To identify potential biological building blocks among the products of model prebiotic reactions,
• To investigate the chemical components and conditions that promote the spontaneous assembly of increasingly complex multi-component structures, and
• To prepare and characterize highly-ordered chemical assemblies, and to study their potential to function like biological substances.

Read this article at

JSU Entrepreneurship majors receive $5,000 CSE Scholarships


Alicia Crudup

The Jackson State University College of Business’s Department of Entrepreneurship and Professional Development proudly acknowledges its 2010 recipients of The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship (CES).  The Coleman Entrepreneurial Scholarship was established by Donald A. Coleman, chairman of GlobalHue, the nation’s largest multicultural marketing communications agency, to assist students who have an entrepreneurial spirit and aspire to establish a thriving business.

       Of the ten awards granted for the 2010-2011 academic year, eight were received by the following JSU Entrepreneurship majors: Brittany Brown,  Zulina Brown, Alicia Crudup, Arlinda Fair, Monique Jackson, Clemon Redmond, III, Ebony Robinson and Nicholas Ross. Each recipient will recieve $5,000, which will be used for educational expenses in the 2010-11 academic year.
       “Our students have made a commitment to unleash the entrepreneur within,” said Dr. Mary M. White, chairperson of the Department of Entrepreneurship and Professional Development.  “Because there is a growing interest in entrepreneurship in Mississippi and particularly at Jackson State University, our aim is to get students focused on thinking bigger than just creating jobs for themselves—we want them to think about creating equity and jobs for others.”
        Scholarship recipients were selected on the basis of a personal statement that clearly demonstrated entrepreneurial spirit and promise, community service, entrepreneurial experience, demonstrated leadership and participation in school and community activities, academic performance and financial need.

Master’s student Shuwana Hurt earns CAPE scholarship

Jackson State University master’s candidate Shuwana Hurt recently earned the Clinical and Arts Preparation for Educators (CAPE) Scholarship from the university’s Department of Special Education. Hurt, a fourth-year special education teacher from Greenville, Miss., teaches kindergarten through third-grade students at Clausell Elementary in Jackson.

Hurt’s scholarship provides for tuition, books and professional development and will allow her to continue study in an area of education to which she is very dedicated. While her previous efforts have already led to her being selected the Ask for More Arts Coordinator at Clausell in August 2009, Hurt hopes the funding will allow her to learn new and exciting ways to integrate the arts into her classroom. She expects to complete her graduate degree in the fall of 2010.

The U.S. Department of Education awarded the $800,000 CAPE grant 2005 to the Department of Special Education in the College of Education and Human Development.
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Jackson State University graduate chemistry student wins statewide competition

Jackson State University graduate chemistry student Musabbir A. Saeed won first place in the poster competition at the annual meeting of the Mississippi Academy of Sciences held in February in Hattiesburg, Miss.

Saeed’s winning poster, titled “Trapping of Methanol by Polyaza Cryptand,” presented two unusual complexes of methanol with cryptand-based molecules. Such binding was a surprise because of the poor ability of neutral methanol to interact with a synthetic molecule. This represented the first examples of trapped methanol in solid states.

“Having the Mississippi Academy of Sciences recognize me and to be able to get something like this is really an honor,” said Saeed, who is working toward his Ph.D. at JSU. “I found Jackson State definitely has one of the best chemistry departments in the South.”

The structures presented in the poster were solved by Douglas Powell at Oklahoma University, while the theoretical aspects were calculated by graduate student, Ganna Gryn’ova, working under the supervision of Jackson State chemistry professor Jerzy Leszczynski. Jackson State chemistry professor Alamgir Hossain is Saeed’s supervisor.

Saeed’s work is now under review for publication in Chemical Communications. The Mississippi Academy of Sciences awarded Saeed with a certificate and $375 for winning the competition.

Jackson State University, Hinds Community College partnership eases transition

Jackson State University (JSU) and Hinds Community College (HCC) signed an academic partnership agreement on Monday, March 29, at the School of Engineering on JSU’s main campus, 1400 John R. Lynch St., Jackson. The agreement allows a seamless transition for students and professional development for faculty and staff at both Hinds County institutions of higher learning. Participating in the official signing will be Jackson State University President Ronald Mason Jr., Hinds Community College President Clyde Muse, JSU Provost Felix Okojie and Theresa Hamilton, vice president, HCC Raymond campus and director of college parallel programs.

“JSU looks forward to helping Hinds Community College students take the next step in their pursuit of a baccalaureate degree and encouraging the professional development of faculty and staff,” Mason said. “Both institutions are committed to our missions of preparing students to become leaders in the global community.”

Said Muse: “We are pleased for this opportunity to partner with the public university in our neighborhood. Strategic partnerships between higher education institutions are an important effort that encourages degree attainment among our state’s citizens.”

Upon completion of an associate’s degree at HCC, students will be able to pursue a bachelor’s degree at JSU. Without articulation agreements between institutions, Mason added, students sometimes face many obstacles when trying to transfer credits from one institution to another to complete an undergraduate degree.

“Unfortunately,” he said, “this prevents students from completing their degree in a timely manner.”

Also, the agreement provides tuition and fee waivers for faculty and staff at the respective institutions who want to engage in professional development activities and/or desire to attain additional degrees.

“With JSU, we’ve taken an additional step that will provide tremendous benefits for employees at both institutions,” Muse said. “The reciprocal tuition waiver program for our employees is a substantial financial benefit for faculty and staff seeking to increase their knowledge and skills. It’s win-win for everyone.”

The agreement builds upon an already strong relationship between the two colleges. According to the Office of Policy Research and Planning at the Mississippi Institutions of Higher Learning, for the 2008-09 academic year, 41 percent of Hinds students who transferred to one of Mississippi’s public universities enrolled at Jackson State.

Photos from JSU’s Habitat Home Build 2010