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  • E-News U. Contributor 1:39 pm on December 21, 2009 Permalink |  

    Hampton Univ. students and Disney bring magic to the world 

    By Kalesha Kennedy

    Black circular mouse ears, big yellow shoes and red shorts are iconic images that all Americans, young and old recognize and love.  As Disney’s chief character, Mickey Mouse is known worldwide for entertaining children and adults for centuries. 

    Surprisingly Disney, including its many legendary characters, is directly related to Hampton University. Imagineers, the team of people whose task it is to develop new, almost magical attractions, includes three Hampton alumni.

    How were these former Hampton students able to land positions with one of the most legendary companies in the world? They all participated and were finalists in Disney’s ImagiNations competition. Now, a group of architecture majors are preparing to enter the competition and hope to have the same success that their former classmates had.

    The competition hosted by Disney calls for creative and talented students across multiple academic focuses including architecture and digital art. The students submit their ideas for new Disney attractions; which can be anything from rides to restaurants. They are able to utilize several methods of presenting their idea including: storyboards, models, computer graphics, video and building designs to name a few. 

    All finalists win a trip to Disney Imagineering in California to present their ideas in front of the judges. Several qualified students will also win internships with the Imagineers. 

    The competition has been in existence since 1981 when Hampton alumnus Dexter Tanksley participated and became a finalist. Tanksley, class of 1993, described his excitement while sitting in Hampton University’s Bemis Laboratories in October 1981, as Imagineers presented the newly created contest. 

    According to Tanksley, he could not resist the chance to join this elite team, and with two other students in the architecture program, developed an indoor ski slope. While he admitted the brainstorming and developing process required a great deal of work, he believed it was well worth the outcome. Just two weeks after graduating from Hampton, Tanksley landed a full-time position as an imagineer.  Now, after 18 years with Disney, he serves as principal facility designer.

    Tanksley got the opportunity to return to Hampton in September to invite students to participate in this year’s competition in a presentation similar to the one he witnessed 18 years ago. This year’s session was even held in Bemis Laboratories, just as it was 18 years ago when Tanksley attended. 

    Jheric Speiginer, a junior from Orange County, Calif., decided to attend this information session after seeing a poster advertising the contest and found it so interesting that he decided to participate in this year’s competition.

    Although Speiginer is one of few, if not only, computer science majors participating, he claims that in a team of architects he does not feel left out because he said, “we all have our own strengths.” 

    In fact, he added, “the competition was more for architecture majors before but now they’re trying to get other majors involved.” 

    Trish Doolin, an architecture major from Kansas City, understands how important it is to have a diverse team since she participated in the 2007 competition.  She described putting the presentation together as “putting together a million comments from everyone, all condensed into one final product.”  However, she added that she greatly valued any critiques she was given by other classmates. 

    In fact, peer critiques are so helpful during the process that Shannon Chance, associate professor of architecture, invites students to come critique the projects presented by different teams each Friday. 

    While Speignier’s group was yet to present to the group, he has attended other groups’ presentations and feels it will be very beneficial to his group. 

    While Doolin said that the competition requires a lot of work, she also said she was happy to have participated.  Although Speignier’s journey through the competition only began a few weeks ago, he has already put in a lot of work and knows that it will be a time-consuming project.  Doolin offered wisdom to Speiginer and other competitors to “stay focused, stay big and execute.” 

    The best is yet to come, said Doolin. Finally showing her work was the best part of the contest. 

    Finalists will be notified by April 16, and students have their fingers crossed that their hard work will pay off.

    The writer is a senior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications


    History of Hampton University students and Disney 

    • For his project in 1981, Tanksley’s group submitted a 5- foot by 5-foot by 3-foot- high model, a drawing package of floor plans, elevations, and sections, a video, a comic book, and a promotional brochure.
    • Nikkolas Smith and Justin Harris, who both graduated from Hampton University in 2008, were finalists in the 2007 competition. They both work as Imagineers. 
  • E-News U. Contributor 6:59 pm on December 15, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU Pharmacy student life: Six years for six figures 

    By Altamese Osborne

    Kenneth Worsham flies into Hampton University’s dining room, Cleveland Hall, like a bat out of hell.

    He makes little time for pleasantries, choosing instead to plop into the nearest seat, and down a “health-conscious” meal of mashed potatoes, broccoli, barbecued chicken, orange soda and three dessert plates like his life depended on it.

    He won’t stay for long.

    “I have to take a nap so I can pull an all-nighter for this test I have tomorrow,” he explains between chomps.

    The said test is an immunology exam, followed by a Pharmacokinetics test later in the week.

    “We pretty much have a test every week,” said Worsham.

    With that, he’s out the door, leaving behind only the whoosh of a backpack held down with a few too many books, and the imprinted tread marks of his New Balance sneakers on the sensitive linoleum.

    Worsham, of Carmel, Ind. is currently a second-year graduate student in Hampton University’s School of Pharmacy, a college known more for its military-style method of education than its existence as another campus degree program. Studies go beyond the obligatory four-year curriculum. The School of Pharmacy requires six years from its students (playing further into its boot camp-like nature), resulting in a Doctor of Pharmacy, or Pharm.D., degree.

    “It sounds like a lot. I guess it is,” says Telayna Hampton, a first-year pharmacy student who actually entered the program a year behind her Quintessence 7 class cohorts.

    “I didn’t pass the PCAT the first time I took it,” Hampton explained.

    Indeed, the Pharmacy College Admissions Test is yet another nugget required of pharmacy students, one which ensures that only a select few cross over from pre-professional to professional status, provided that they prove their merits in an entrance exam and perform at a minimum 2.75 grade point level.

    The hurdles only grant prospective students an interview.

    “Pre-professionals were guaranteed a seat when I was a freshman, but now they aren’t,” says Onyinye Onyekwelu, a second-year graduate, or professional, pharmacy student. “I think my class was the last to have guaranteed seats.

    “Also, the transfer students aren’t guaranteed a seat, either.”

    It seems as if becoming a pharmacist, rather than being one, is the hardest part of the job.

    A typical day for a pharmaceutical candidate reads like a prescription that needs to be decoded, then refilled. Take Onyekwelu’s daily schedule, for instance: at 9 a.m., there is a Pharmacokinetics class. At 10 a.m., Medicinal Chemistry takes its place. At 11 a.m., Immunology is in session. There are recitations, which are optional reviews for upcoming tests.

    Health Care Administration comes next.

    Students must be immaculately dressed at all times. Sometimes they wear lab coats. Sometimes they’re decked out in Ogden attire.

    Pharmaceutical Care after that.

    Studying must take the place of lunch, and sometimes, dinner.

    Anatomy and Physiology.

    Students’ nutritional diets must be tracked.

    A Health Disparities elective.

    A two-hour test.

    And still, other students don’t see what all the fuss is about.

    “I don’t understand what’s so hard about being in pharmacy,” says senior Biology major Darryl Stewart. “Isn’t it just handing out pills?”

    Onyekwelu of Baltimore bristles at the question.

    “That really annoys me,” she says. “Everybody thinks pharmacists just work at Rite Aid. There’s retail, hospital, clinical, research. Clinical works in a special field, like diabetes. Hospital is when you work in an actual hospital. It’s like retail, but it’s in a hospital. Research is finding new drugs, and relating them to diseases.”

    Ironically enough, as she says this, Onyekwelu is engrossed in research of her own.

    Sitting on her dorm room floor, she is an island surrounded by oceans of old test papers, Anatomy books, physics equations and the like.

    Atop her desk sits a list of local hospitals.

    “I have to find a preceptor for my rotations,” she explains. “It’s a five-week, non-paid internship we have to do every summer.

    Alas, the pharmaceutical chasm grows even wider, and success-bound students jump in to fill its great gap with their endeavors.

    Perhaps, all this rigor is for a good reason. Hampton’s School of Pharmacy recently emerged victorious from a probationary question mark surrounding its accreditation status. They are now a fully accredited institution, with a certification that will last until June 30, 2011.

    “Maybe that is the reason why we have so much to do; I don’t know,” says Onyekwelu.

    And yet, it is not all work.

    The School of Pharmacy also houses student organizations, such as the Hampton University Student Society of Health-System Pharmacy, which allows students to network, not only with one another, but with pharmacy professionals, as well

    “I’m a member,” Worsham said. “I applied to be president, but I didn’t make it.”

    Make it or not, this organization has many fun things for students to do, such as a Diabetes Walk in October, a carnival in the spring and an annual trip to Busch Gardens in April.

    “It’s like we get a reward for the work we did during the year,” Worsham said.

    With the pharmacy program’s famed motto of “six years, six figures” held up to the light for all to see, Busch Gardens pales in comparison.

    “I’ve heard that we make good money,” Onyekwelu agrees, “but I’m here to focus on medicine.

    “I just want to help people.”

    The writer is a junior in the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

  • E-News U. Contributor 6:56 pm on December 14, 2009 Permalink |  

    From Hampton U. business school to the boardroom 

    By Kevin Kee 

    Since September 1898, the Hampton University School of Business has been producing leadership professionals who are over the business world.  HU’s business school offers six majors: marketing, management, accounting, finance, economics, and entrepreneurship.

    There are about 300 students currently seniors who are currently enrolled in the school of business who plan to take what they learn in the school of business and use it in their future professions. But do the educational practices and views of the professors of business parallel with the future goals and expectations of the students?    

    According to the HU Web site, the mission of the school of business is to “produce professionals, leaders and scholars of strong character for the technology-based global marketplace. The goal is to deliver relevant business education, practical application experiences and behavioral competencies to achievement-oriented undergraduate and graduate students. Although teaching is the primary emphasis, faculty shall continuously engage in research and grantsmanship to provide a curriculum that is appropriate for successful business practice.”

    “As a professor of business my goal is to adequately disseminate information and give knowledge to my students, while teaching ethics and business principles, said Kay Braguglia, Ph.D., a professor of business research at Hampton. I want my students to advance in their chosen career and to be able to take leadership positions.”

    “Although the school of business has its own mission statement,” said Braguglia, “I feel that the business school’s main objective is preparing students for their field and the global economy.  I want the students to gain an appreciation for a diverse work force and to help my undergraduate students prepare for graduate school and for the business world.”

    It is a professor’s job and duty to make sure that their students learn and understand the terms, definitions, and the overall objectives of a course. Pure understanding and comprehension can only take a student so far, but practical work and actual hands on assignments that will prepare them for their chosen field will be more beneficial to them in the long run.

    “My decision to enroll into Hampton University’s School of Business was not an easy choice but a very influential one,” said Cassandra Gunn, a senior management major from Brooklyn, N.Y.   “In my opinion, the professors in the school of business are very effective when it comes to implementing lessons and preparing students for the actual business world.  Don’t get me wrong all the professors in the school of business do not adequately prepare their students, but from my personal experience most of my professors have.

     “Over the past four years I’ve written research papers in organizational behavior, constructed a business proposal in business research, and prepared cases for business law and with all these assignments came hands- on experience.  Although the assignments were based on my knowledge and skills that I acquired from each course, I would not have been able to complete them properly if it had not been for my professors.”

    “Hampton University’s School of Business has helped me to prepare for a future in marketing.” said Feliciea Seabrook, a senior marketing major from Jersey City, N.J. “From my freshman year until now I’ve been exposed to what the business world will be like.  Wearing business attire when I have a presentation, attending the annual career fair held at Hampton University’s Convocation center and the overall exposure to business professionals who teach at and visit Hampton University.”

    The end result of a four-year student at the school of business is to be well prepared for any and all business opportunities that may come their way. The decorum and professionalism of the students and professors in the school of business is what helps them work together and to reach specific yet tangible goals, such as preparing a student for what’s to come or utilizing a professor’s experience and knowledge to better equip yourself for a future career in business.

    The student is a junior at the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

  • E-News U. Contributor 6:42 pm on December 14, 2009 Permalink |  

    Hampton Univ. produces top nursing students in Virginia 

    By Shemar Woods

    These students on Hampton University’s campus stand out. They sport light blue and white nurse gowns, different from many women and men who dress casually.

    HU nursing students are a special group, gaining practical experience as they work toward becoming registered nurses while completing 122-hour curriculums upon graduation. Once they receive their degrees, the nurses will have an opportunity to find jobs with average starting base salaries of $39,000 per year. 

    “You have to have a passion if you want to survive in this program,” said Kemeya Spence, a junior from New Haven, Conn. “We learn something totally different every day and we’ll have more of a work load on our hands once we graduate. It’s challenging and our salary will never reach the amount of work we really do.”

    HU nursing majors begin working in the field from the time they enter the program as freshmen. Once a week, the care givers in training work eight-hour shifts at one of the local hospitals. Hampton is represented within the VA Hospital, Sentara hospitals, and area high school and elementary school clinics.  

    The daily list of responsibilities – which are nearly identical to that of registered nurses – include cleaning the patients, passing medication along, and putting together a care plan.

    The care plan, a nurse’s diagnosis of the patient, is one of the most difficult tasks for freshmen, said Spence. During the in-depth process, everything learned from classes and on-the-job training is applied in real-life situations.

    “I remember back to my freshman year. It took about four hours,” said Spence, before saying how her progression through the program has made task a little bit easier. “Now, I would say it takes two hours.”

    Said  Diedra Johnson, a nursing professor, “These students have to know that they have to study. When students go out on the job, they have to be knowledgeable in order to be successful.”   

    Because of its professionalism, HU’s nursing program, which has a Nursing Center to provide health care services for the community – including homeless and other displaced populations –, continues to attract students from around the country. Hampton has the oldest continuous baccalaureate nursing program in the commonwealth of Virginia and was the first in the local region to earn National League for Nursing accreditation. 

    Teachers and professionals in the field treat the students as real practitioners, though not to the point where they leave them in the dark. Acting nurses deal with everything from reoccurring sicknesses, to emergency injuries, to deaths.

    “We are expected to do everything,” said Spence. “When you walk in and someone dies, it brings you back to reality. All of your patients aren’t going to stay alive. You might even shed some tears.”

    The rapport between Hampton University student nurses and the hospitals where they complete their clinical assignments has been strong throughout the years. Once the four-year students graduate as RNs, area hospitals are quick to hire Hampton students, because of their experience.

    Currently one of the largest schools on campus, it enrolls 440 undergraduate students, 33 graduate students (that includes the Virginia Beach campus) and 33 Ph.D. majors. 

    “We strive to have competent, knowledgeable nurses that are going to go out and help the community,” said Johnson, who teaches nutrition, a required class in the nursing school.

    That’s not all the students attribute to their ability to find a job immediately after graduation. Said Spence, who plans to attend graduate school after she receives her degree in 2011: “They [professors] have been professionals for 30 years. They are like walking encyclopedias.”

    The writer is a junior in the Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

  • E-News U. Contributor 2:52 pm on December 13, 2009 Permalink |  

    A woman of her words 

    By Thaisi H. Da Silva

    Hampton University senior Kat De Shields is on a literary mission.

    Her goal?  To finish her novel by writing 37,986 words in 12 days. To many, this feat might seem unfeasible, but the print journalism major from Maryland is determined to make it.

    “I’m going to do it,” she said. “I want to be one of the few that finish the race.”

    De Shields is one of several Hampton University students who signed up for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo).

    NaNoWriMo is an annual literary marathon that kicks off Nov.1 and ends midnight, Nov. 30. The project, which began in 1991, is open to both national and international writers. Participants are challenged to compose a 175-page or 50,000-word novel in the given period, while managing the responsibilities of daily life. Last year, 18.2 percent of those who signed up completed the challenge.

    For English major Shyniqua Stalling, juggling multiple responsibilities has been the biggest test.

    “Finding time to sit down and actually write has been the toughest part,” Stalling said. “I get distracted by the TV, Facebook and all the papers I have to write, and when I do find the time to write, I can’t find the words.”

    According to the NaNoWriMo Web site, because of the limited writing window, the only thing that matters is output. It’s all about quantity, not quality.

    There are also some basic rules. Writers must start from scratch, so previously written prose cannot be included in the draft. Only one writer must author the book and the novel must be uploaded for word-count validation to the site between Nov. 25 and Nov. 30. All who succeed will get an official “Winner” web badge and a PDF certificate. In 2008, 21,683 out of the 119,301 participants were official winners. This year’s numbers have not been officially released.

    Hampton University public relations pre-major Jonathan White wasn’t able to participate in this year’s challenge, but said he is looking forward to next November.

    “I’ve always thought about writing a book, so I think this would be a cool way to do it,” he said.

    For many, the end is drawing near, but for others there is no giving up.

    “I only have 1, 096 words so far, but I have not given up yet,” Stalling said.

    The aspiring author said she hopes that she will find time to write during Thanksgiving break. She is not the only contestant who wants to see this challenge through.

    “The thought of giving up has crossed my mind, but now it’s not an option,” De Shields said. “My pride won’t allow me to quit.”

    And she didn’t.

    On the morning of Nov. 30, De Shields had approximately 20,000 words left to write, but she pressed on.

    By 9:19 p.m., 7,000 words still remained.

    At 11:49 p.m., De Shields submitted her story and completed her mission.

    “It feels really good to have finished,” she said.

    For Stalling, the writing momentum never really picked up.

    “I’ve added some words, but I am nowhere near done,” she said. “I’m not going to be done.”

    Regardless, the Minnesota native is glad she made the attempt.

    “Ah well, there’s always next year,” she said.

  • E-News U. Contributor 2:22 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU School of Business lives up to bountiful numbers 

    By Briquell Welch                                                                            

    Hampton University’s School of Business has been at the frontier of all the schools at the university in terms of gaining a large number of gifts and donations.  According to the dean, the school receives about $700,000 worth of gifts a school year and averages $400,000 in scholarships to business majors.

    However, these impressive numbers have not made an impact on its image. The school of business is located in Buckman Hall, erected in the early 1960s, and is one of the older buildings (not including the historic ones) on the campus.

    The school houses approximately 950 to 1,100 students a year. Buckman is about 22,000 square feet and 18,000 square feet—or about 80 percent of the space was used by students and faculty. The leftover space is taken up by equipment and computers. 

    “We are a little cramped but we make it work,” said Sid Howard Credle, dean of the school since 1999. “We only have two floors and two bathrooms for 900 (plus) people.  It is difficult.”

    The building has been used for the school since 1967. During rain, the building leaks on the inside and heat and air conditioning are not adequate for the building.

    Some students believe a new building would just be a greater image of who the students are that are a part of the school.  “When you look good, you feel good,” said senior business management major Lauren Gilliard. “If we had a new building while I was here, it would have been appreciated because we do so much in these buildings and it just does not go with the image that we portray when we go out for interviews and conferences.”

    The school prides itself on having an extremely high rate of graduates that goes immediately into the work force and does very well.  “About 67 percent of the students enter in to Fortune 500 companies upon completion of graduation and about 15 percent return home to run family businesses (entrepreneurship majors),” said Credle.

    These numbers however may not be working in the school’s favor.  It appears that even though building conditions are not up to par it is not stopping the students or faculty from making sure that every student becomes successful, winning case competitions, receiving scholarship money, winning excellence awards etc.  This works against them because now it raises the question amongst the university’s officials, “Well why does the school need a new building with impressive numbers like those,” said Credle.

    The question can not be answered any one way because individuals want or believe the building is deserved for several reasons.  5 year MBA major Amber Sillmon said, “I would love to see a new building.  People do not understand we come inside on rainy days to get out of the rain and still have to deal with it–inside the building. That’s a problem.”

    The new project is $10 million that has been in the development stage since 2004.  Developers have come out to discuss the building, but with the fall of the U.S. economy came the fall of the plans for the school. The idea was placed on hold.

    But there is one thought in question sophomore MBA major Calvin Stephens asked, “How can the university build so many other buildings since 2004 and not work on a building that is much more needed than say the new cafeteria? It seems as though the priorities of the university are somewhere else and not where they should be for the betterment of the student body”. 

     “A new school could only help us,” said senior business management major Angelina Jordan. “If we were in a new building we would not have to worry about a lot of the issues that we do now. For example, the leaky roof or the smelly halls in the building just isn’t a good look.  This building is stuffy and we are just over due for something new”.

    But whose support and backing does the school really need?

    The dean needs the help of alumni, the undergraduate and graduate-level students, university officials, and the companies’ financial support for this dream to come true. 

    There is no specific ground breaking date; however, there are a number of plans for a look and new location for the building. Right now the building is just an idea, but the students and faculty in Buckman Hall deserve some reality.

    The writer is a senior at Hampton Univerity Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

  • E-News U. Contributor 1:14 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink |  

    Love and death equaled bittersweet loss of science dean 

    By Chelsea Boone

    The Hampton University department of science was shaken up this year when they lost their dean. 

    Douglas DePriest died on Tuesday, Oct. 13 at the age of 65. DePriest is a Hampton alumnus who earned a Bachelor of Science in mathematics from the university in 1966. He began working at Hampton in 1999 as an associate professor of mathematics.  DePriest later became assistant dean in the school of science and then acting dean in the school of science.

    DePriest was a large part of Hampton University.

    “The Hampton University community is truly saddened by the passing of DePriest,” President William R. Harvey told the Daily Press. “His diligent and heartfelt work as an administrator, scientist and mentor at his alma mater will be missed.”

    Students were also affected by the loss of DePriest.

    “I was shocked and then I was sad,” said Jerome Adams, a senior engineering major at, about DePriest’s death.  “There is an absence of his personality in the engineering department.”

    Timothy McCall Jr., a sophomore biology major from Baton Rouge, La., said he was upset when he heard about DePriest’s death.

    “He seemed to be a man that truly cared about his students and wanted the best for everyone majoring in science,” McCall said.

    DePriest’s death has caused a change in the school’s dynamic.

    “When I heard about the death of Dean DePriest I was in disbelief, just because he was such a nice man and important part of our department, said Natasha Thomas,” a junior chemistry major from Queens, N.Y.

    “I can see a kind of emptiness in the teachers in the engineering and physics department,” said Adams. “They all spoke very highly of him,”

    DePriest also offered encouragement to his students, even though he may have never taught them in a classroom.

    McCall said he was nervous about being accepted into a science program. He stumbled into DePriest, who offered him encouraging words.

    “After telling him my GPA, he said, ‘With a GPA like that you have no worries,’ the student explained. ‘Learn to be confident in yourself and your abilities because you’re going far son.’

    “When he told me that I really needed to hear it and so it saddens me that Hampton has lost someone that truly cared about students.”

    “He was very dedicated to HU,” said DePriest’s fiancée, Linda Malone-Colon. “He did whatever he could to help Hampton students,”

    DePriest proposed to Malone-Colon on her birthday, a week before his death. She is chair of the HU psychology department

    DePriest surprised her with an arrangement of roses, a basket of toiletries, a card and he took her to a restaurant for her birthday. Later that night he proposed while they were watching a movie together, Malone-Colon explained:

    “I couldn’t have asked for more.”

    Malone-Colon hosted the Hampton University marriage conference only days following DePriest’s death.

    “Marriage and families is my passion and my calling,” said Malone-Colon.  “We had all the components of a healthy relationship for a marriage.”

    Hosting the conference was a struggle for Malone-Colon with the loss of her fiancé, but she turned to God for guidance.

    “There is no way I would have gotten through the conference without God carrying me through it,” Malone-Colon said.  “I am still looking for spiritual meaning out of all of this.”

    Malone-Colon still keeps in touch with DePriest’s children and they kept her in the planning process for his funeral.  DePriest had a large family – he was one of 13 children – and was very close to his family.

    The couple hadn’t made many plans, but knew they were going to have a large wedding Malone-Colon said.

    “One of the things that came to mind at the funeral,” she said, “was these are the people that should have been at my wedding.”

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

  • E-News U. Contributor 1:06 pm on December 9, 2009 Permalink |  

    Scriptwriting 101 at Hampton University 

    By Tiffany Sheppard


    All it takes is a writer using his or her imagination to jot down ideas on a piece of paper, right?


    To the naked eye, writing a script only involves creating characters and telling about their lives.

    To the others, scriptwriting is an art, a craft. It is a process that can takes days, weeks, months, or sometimes years to complete.

    At Hampton University, a scriptwriting class is offered every semester inside the School of Liberal Arts. It is taught by Professor Eleanor Earl, a scriptwriter, actress, singer and producer. Earlier this semester, Earl was one of three teachers who were awarded the Edward L. Hamm Sr. Distinguished Teaching Award. Earl loves the artistry of writing scripts and shares her passion with students.

    First, Earl instructs them to purchase what she called “the bible of scriptwriting.” the book “Screenplay: The Foundations of Screenwriting” by Syd Field, a screenwriter, producer, teacher, lecturer and author. “Screenplay” breaks down all the aspects and details of the process of writing a screenplay to the length of the written work and how to develop characters.

    Field defines a screenplay as “a story told with pictures, in dialogue and description, and placed within the context of dramatic structure.”

    There are three parts in a screenplay: the set-up, the confrontation and the resolution. These three parts are also known as the beginning, middle and end, or act I, act II and act III, respectively.

    The set-up and resolution are a maximum of 30 pages each, while the confrontation can be 60 pages long.

    Each page of a screenplay is worth one minute in the movie.

    There are also plot points, which are “any incidents, episodes, or events that hook into the action and spin it around in another direction,” said Field.

    Today, the average movie is two hours long and costs millions of dollars to produce.

    There are so many genres of screenplays and many different story ideas. “The Dark Knight” is the 2008 action movie about Batman and “Gotham’s finest” battling the Joker and later Harvey “Two-face” Dent.

    “Harlem Nights” is a 1989 comedy-drama about a man helping to run a nightclub in the 1930s while being threatened by gangsters.

    “The Jungle Book” is a 1967 Disney animated movie based on Rudyard Kipling’s 1894 novel.

    None of these movies are exactly alike. However, they took time to write and produce.

    In class, students are able to use their imagination and develop their own ideas. The majors of the 15 students range from English to journalism to sports management. Because the class is diverse, the story ideas are endless and are arguably some of the best premises created for the class.  

    Malik Smith, a junior broadcast journalism major, created a comedy/drama about a comedian named Sean Ramsay. Ramsay is struggling to make ends meet as he gets fired from his job and is behind in paying for his recently deceased grandmother’s house. He enters into a competition, attempting to win the money and establish a career in comedy.

    “I enjoy the class mostly because it forces me to be creative,” Smith said.  He also said that the class has changed the way he views movies.  “Now I focus on small things more,” Smith said.

    Nmamah Sinlah, also a junior broadcast journalism major, developed a thriller. The main

    character Nia is in a love triangle with two boys. She also has a friend who is her secret female lover and wants Nia all to herself.

    Though Sinlah enjoys the class, there have been a few obstacles she’s had to overcome. “The only difficulty [I’ve had] is when I get writer’s block,” she said. “But it helps me be creative. That’s what I like about the class.”

    Devan Dunson is a history major who enjoys the scriptwriting class. His story is about a homeless man who gives people insight into how they need to make their lives better.

    “It hasn’t been easy, but it hasn’t been hard either,” said Dunson. “Being a history major requires you to write papers based on facts and dates. The scriptwriting class gives me a chance to tap into the right side of my brain and be creative.”

    The class has spent the first semester creating premises, developing character descriptions and writing and critiquing each other’s scripts. To end the activities and events in the class, Earl schedules a night in which each student has five to six minutes of their script acted out.

    This semester, the scripts will be acted out on Wednesday, Dec. 9 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

  • E-News U. Contributor 5:57 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU Little Theater’s big role upstaged by Nor’easter 

    By Stephanie M. Smith

    Hampton University’s Little Theater sits quietly in the middle of the Armstrong Hall academic building.  Its small, intimate setting is dimly lit, empty and still on most days during class hours when not in use.  Its stage sits blank, only containing a small bucket, giving testimony that the already water-damaged Little Theater experienced further damage by a Nor’easter that caused the university to close Nov.12.

    Seven classes have been affected by the storm damage, said Curtis Otto, an assistant professor in speech and theater, and technical director in the School of Liberal Arts.

    Otto said the storm damage has caused him a tremendous headache. 

    “The Little Theater is well used,” he explained “It’s a storage space, a teaching space, a rehearsal space, everything.”

    Otto is among the few who are able to realize the significant role that the Little Theater plays in the School of Liberal Arts.  The role of the Little Theater is strongly felt at the moment though as multiple tasks have been disrupted because of the storm damage. 

    Above the front portion of the stage a piece of the ceiling is cracked and peeling, exposing an area where significant damage was experienced.

    “You’re underneath something that could kill you,” Otto told me as he directed attention toward the area of the stage ceiling that appeared as though some of its pieces had fallen before.

    “There’s nowhere else,” said Otto “This is where everything is done.  This is where rehearsal is held. This is where the scenery is built for shows, and this is a classroom.”

    To those who are unaware of the theater’s role, the damage makes the venue appear simply old and run-down. But a look into the theater’s history sheds light on its importance.

    The Armstrong-Slater building, located near the entrance gate and Whipple Barn on a site, part of which was the old St. Crispins Dormitory, once housed not only the music department but the communication center.  The $1.6 million General Samuel Chapman Armstrong Communication Center Music Building was completed in 1964 after 18 months of construction activity. 

    A Daily Press article published that February, shortly after the building was opened, entitled “Hampton Institute Center is ultra-modern facility,” by Seymour Kopf, reveals the original excitement associated with the opening of the facility that included a description of the Little Theater.

    The Little Theater was described as having “a push-button, revolving stage; the stage coming-out virtually into the audience’s lap.” 

    The article quoted a depiction of the theater from Professor Dowling Bolton, who was director of the first college play presented in the Little Theater. “The audience feels very close to the actors and actresses,” he said “We can divide the 32-foot-diameter turntable into three or four different scenic setups, which means no curtain changes and more fluid play.”

    Alfred Willis, assistant director for collection management for such departments as architecture and fine & performing arts in the Hampton University Harvey Library, confirms the modern design that was kept in mind when the theater was constructed.

    “The most up-to-date ideas of theater production were in mind when constructing this theater,” said Willis as he took the time to explain the theater and its architecture.

    The theater has a downstairs sitting capacity of 300 and a balcony capacity of about 100.  According to Willis, the theater was made wider and shallower so more people could be seated closer to the stage.  The balcony was even set up in such a way to bring the audience closer to the stage.  All of this was a part of conforming to the modern idea of integrating performers and the audience during a production. 

    Its modified thrust stage, which places a good portion of the stage in front of the apron, also contributed to the theater’s modern style. Keeping in line with more modern ideas, the theater’s technical control box is located in balcony whereas older theaters have technical boxes located behind the stage. 

    The Little Theater’s church-design curved seating also aids in bringing the audience closer to the stage creating intimacy between the audience and the performers. 

    The name Little Theater itself speaks of the venue’s significance and purpose. 

    The phrase Little Theater first emerged in the 20th century as a name that referred to amateur and community theater.  Armstrong’s Little Theater is home to the performances of the Hampton Players, which allows students to showcase their talents.  This along with the theater’s intimate design made the name Little Theater a perfect reference to the Armstrong Hall venue, especially when compared to Ogden Hall.

    Though the Little Theater is presently showing its age through water and storm damage and a broken turntable stage that has not been used in 10 years, it still serves a great purpose for the Hampton Players, students, and professors. The left wing of the theater’s stage serves as a storage area for scenery and props while the right wing serves as the shop for the construction of scenery and props. 

    Though the theater’s turntable stage no longer works, Otto managed to build a 32-foot diameter turntable to place on top of the old one for “A Love to Call My Own,” which was performed last spring and was one of the many successful productions that have been put on in the Little Theater by the Hampton Players.

    The Hampton Players musical productions continue to bring a full audience into the Little Theater, and its stage continues to present successful actresses and actors.  Shannon Bowman, a junior theater major from Pasadena, Calif., and Brandon Coleman, a graduating senior theater major from Atlanta. are both aspiring performers who share a common love for the theater.

    “Since theater is my passion it [the Little Theater] has given me the opportunity to cultivate my craft through student runs and main-stage performances,” said Bowman, who played Maureen Peal in the Hampton Player’s production “The Bluest Eye,” which was performed last month.

    Coleman, who had a lead role as Guy last fall in the Hampton Player’s production “Blues for an Alabama Sky”, plans on moving to New York to pursue a professional acting career.  He has applied to Julliard, Parsons The New School for Drama, and New York University in hopes to receive his Master of Fine Arts in acting.  As he prepares for graduation and his big move to New York in January, Coleman appreciates his time in the School of Liberal Arts and the work that he was allowed to do in the Little Theater.

    “The Little Theater has been my home away from home if you will,” said Coleman “I believe the Little Theater has given me the tools and the confidence to start my career as a professional actor.” 

    Dec. 4, 5, and 6, the Little Theater will continue on despite storm damage and present the Hampton Player’s production of “Dearly Departed.”

    “We lost some days of rehearsal [for “Dearly Departed”] because it [the Little Theater] was unsafe. Repairs are going on as we speak,” said Otto three days before opening night. “Repairs will be done in intervals.  Things will be set up to be clean and safe during the show but full repair won’t be done until after show.” 

    Though the Little Theater sits temporarily in need of quite a bit of attention, it goes on to serve a big role for Hampton University’s School of Liberal Arts, the Hampton Players, and the community in hopes to continue bringing audiences and performers together like no big theater can.

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications  

  • E-News U. Contributor 5:37 pm on December 7, 2009 Permalink |  

    HU music majors: Harmonies and hard work 

    By Kelli Esquilin

    There are 13 departments and roughly 60 different majors at Hampton University. Shelia J. Maye Ph.D., dean of the department of music, claims that though most majors require certain skills and a bit of passion, no major requires the intense focus, passion, and desire to succeed other than the music department.

    Maye said, “Being successful in music not only requires a desire to succeed, but the drive to become an excellent musician and performer. It necessitates a measurable amount of time, effort, and self-motivation for the students to excel in their craft.”

    Corey Langston, a sophomore music education major from Virginia Beach, majored in music because of his passion for it. He wants to one day direct a high school band ensemble and have his students reach a profound collegiate level of musical education for them to be more prepared for their future.

    The music department has three major sequences: music recording technology, music education, and music performance.

    Sheerah Parson, a senior music vocal performance major from Charlotte, N.C. said, “Music is my passion, it’s something that I feel like I have to give back to the next generation; to teach them and flourish their talent.”

    Hampton University expects their students to complete to two hours of homework per subject a day, but with music majors, finding that free time is a sweet rarity.

    “I’m taking 10 classes this semester,” said freshman music education major Jeanette Worth of College Park, Md. “I end up doing about three hours of academic homework a night and a minimum of one hour practice a night. I don’t go to sleep until 2 a.m. most nights.”

    Not only do music majors have to take the academic core courses required by the administration; they have to take their music classes in consecutive order and pass them in order to move on to the next required course.

    “All of our classes, other than history are two or one credit courses up until our junior year, where we take upper-level music education courses” said sophomore Curtis Stembridge, a music education major from Queens, N.Y. “So as freshmen and sophomores, we have to take at least nine classes”

    Most students take up to 17 credits per semester, but music majors have to take 19 and there more than seven courses. Most courses are only 1 or 2 credit(s), which is unlike other majors where their major classes are usually 3-credit courses.

    Calandra Harris, administrative secretary for the department of music, said that normally any extra credits over 17 are $350 per credit, but music majors get a waiver for that fee.

    In addition to academics the music majors have to take private lessons with professors in their instrument of choice. Students pay out-of-pocket for those lessons as well. A half-hour lesson is $17, while an hour lesson is $35.

    This equals to $750 worth of lessons for the entire academic year.

    Majors also have to gain 12 recital credits to pass their recital classes. That means that in addition to their classes, and practicing their instruments, they have to go to 12 recitals a semester for the first six semesters that they attend Hampton.

    Furthermore music majors have to join an ensemble for all four years. The ensembles include jazz band, marching band, orchestra, and gospel choir.

    Lastly, in order to graduate, all music majors except music recording technology majors must perform a junior and senior recital.

    Tiffany Jackson, a senior music performance major, business management minor from Palm Beach, Fla. said, “I love music, it’s all I know and what I grew up on. However music as a major is very time consuming, between practicing, schoolwork, and going to recitals. A student has to have tremendous time management.”

    The writer is a junior at Hampton University Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications

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