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  • E-News U. Contributor 12:01 pm on December 15, 2010 Permalink |  

    Familiar living in Hampton U. Virginia Cleveland Hall 

    By Dardinia Joseph

    In 1974, Virginia Cleveland Hall, a women’s residency at Hampton University , was listed on the National Register of Historic Places and later declared a National Historic Landmark. The mud-colored walls and house-on-the-hill features adds years to the High Victorian structure.

    Virginia Cleveland, commonly known as VC among students, was the first dormitory to be built in 1874. Since then many would agree that few residences has changed. Tony Dunlap said that not much has changed since his great aunt attended the former Hampton Institute in 1940.

    “It looks like the castle from Harry Potter right down to the ghost,” said Dunlap, a junior from Ohio who resides in Harkness Hall.

    Like many ancient buildings used for inhabitance, folklore and ghost stories are common. Resident Angela Williams, a sophomore from New York City, said she was a believer of the dorm’s ghost tales.

    “We heard that she was a nursing major, who hung herself after she found out that she was pregnant,” she said.

    “There’s this door that is blocked off, so we went upstairs, and ran back down. We were really immature then.”

    Apart from the fiction one resident believes VC to be a living nightmare.

    Residence Assistant Shay Harris said, “They shouldn’t house students in here anymore. It’s over 100 years old; it needs a break.”

    Williams added, “Although I had the opportunity to reside in a historical landmark, it could have been updated.”

    In 2009, VC was listed No. 1 in the Princeton Review’s list of “dungeon dorms.”

    Raccoon infestation and a leakage problem increased dissatisfaction on student-reviewed college prowler.com where the dorm received a D grade.

    The cafeterias that are directly attached to the dormitory have been under scrutiny from health inspectors. For the past 10 years the two cafeterias known colloquially as the “big café” and “little café” have failed 28 inspections since September 2009 at city-data.com.

    A new dining facility is being built across campus to replace the below-sea-level, vermin infested structures.

    Williams says, “My roommate and I were directly above the kitchen area, so when they would have food fights, we could feel the floor shake as everyone would run out.”

    Besides raccoon infestations, residents also face the challenge of faulty trash disposal systems, sensitive fire alarms, malfunctioning temperature controls, and even fleas.

    Former resident and sophomore Glenda Latimore said, “They scattered residents throughout the dorm trying to keep the flea problem quiet. They never solved it.”

    Students claim they can hear the raccoons at night running through the walls. Others complained about the trash shoot being backed up and having to hold their noses to deflect the smells of rotting food and hair-care products.

    The backed-up trash can was what Williams described as being, “a closet with two garbage cans in it.”

    “The alarms are set off often, usually due to someone doing their hair,” said Harris.

    From heat to cold is the case as Williams said, “At one point during the winter the heat completely shut off. I have a picture of my friend in a sweatshirt and scarf when that happened.”

    Princeton University houses the 1754 Nassau Hall dorm, which is older than Virginia Cleveland Hall. The dorm is now used as the president’s office. Stanhope Hall, another old historical landmark, has been converted into the center of African-American studies on the New Jersey campus.

    Princeton doesn’t feel the need to remodel or house students in their historical landmarks. Instead wet ceilings, chipped paint, raccoons, water bugs and an alleged ghost plague the freshman of Virginia Cleveland Hall and so many other dorms on the campus.

    According to architectural historian Marc Holma of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, historic buildings should be used as their intended design.

    “If it was built as an office building in 1860,” said Holma, “then it should remain one unless a compatible alternative use can be found.”

    Most people think the best way to preserve something is to not touch it. On the contrary Holma said: “The best way to preserve a historical building is to have people living in it, so they can paint it and do other forms of maintenance.”

    When asked if it was safe it was to modernize historical buildings such as dormitories, Holma agreed.

    “Uprgading a historic building is very common and not that difficult to do,” said Holma adding, “In fact, a lot of those buildings now have modern air condition and heating systems.”

    So, why then has Hampton University decided to take its own route?

    After calling the office of the Dean of Women numerous times, several employees said the administrator was not available for comment. Instead, the writer was told to look for answers in the University 101 Handbook, a freshman year handbook to the history of the university and a guide to campus living.

    Apart from the negative side effects of it all, three residents can attest to a brighter side of the Virginia Cleveland living experience.

    Williams said, “The best parts about being in VC are the memories and friendships you build, while living in these unsatisfactory living conditions. I’m still close with two girls who lived on my hall, and we still laugh about it today.”

    Dorm director Hargrove, “is really involved and is always interested in making sure VC has something for the girls to participate in,” said Harris, who cited the open mic event on Dec. 1.

    Latimore said, “I had a good experience living in VC. It was really familiar living that mad the drawbacks seem not as bad.”

    Seems like Virginia Cleveland residents old and new can find calm in the storm of the dorm that extends beyond chipped paint and vermin, but embodies memories and friends.

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 5:52 pm on December 14, 2010 Permalink |  

    Student views of Hampton becoming a research U. 

    By Darrell Robinson

    Universities such as Columbia, Harvard, Maryland, and Howard are all classified as research universities. Hampton University officials in September announced that it is applying to become a part of that list, and be the fifth HBCU [joining Howard, Clark-Atlanta, North Carolina A&T State and Jackson State] that is a research university.

    What does this mean for Hampton students? Research universities tend to receive more money in grants from the federal government. This funding could be applied to case research, scholarships, and campus equipment.

    A research university must offer a doctorate programs, and devote time to research. Hampton already offers a doctorate in a Philosophy in Nursing online, and plans to add a doctorate in Philosophy in Business Leadership and Administration and Philosophy in Educational Leadership and Management soon.

    The Washington Monthly College Guide ranks HU No. 32 out of 551 universities that offer master degrees in 2010. The Daily Press reported that HU spent $26.9 million on research in 2009, and $31.9 million in 2010.

    Depending on the research, schools may provide more internships to help with production.

    Kimberly Rivers, a sophomore psychology major from Anchorage, Alaska, said, “Hampton becoming a research university is great because it makes our school look better. To say you graduated from a research university is a big deal.”

    Though becoming a research center has garnered mostly positive feedback from some members of the student body there were other students who have concerns. “My only question is how this will affect our curriculums,” said Gabriel Eldridge, a sophomore English major from Laurel, Md.

    Depending on one’s major students may be forced to conduct more research projects as a result of the school’s new status.

    As a result of being a research university HU classes may be larger, and include more graduate assistants, because professors will be forced to spend more time doing research that they are required to do.

    Andre Walker is currently a student at Prince George’s Community College in Largo, Md. Spring 2011 is to be his last semester at PGCC, and he is looking at Hampton to further his education as a biology major.

    “I wouldn’t really care if classes had 60-plus students in them,” said Walker. “Sure it’s great to have an intimate setting to talk about things, but with my major, most of it will probably be lectures anyway.”

    Walker also said that becoming a research university makes Hampton an even better choice for him: “Freshmen would hate it, but you would want that as an upperclassmen. To put on a resume that you did all this research, that’s great!”

    HU has opened the largest proton therapy institute in the world and has been open and treating cancer patients, since August.

    Senior public relations major Alexandria Harris worked as an intern at the institute last year, and saw first-hand all the things that are happening in that building.

    “Save lives! That is what they are going to do,” said Harris. It is the seventh institute in the United States, the first at a HBCU. The institute is expected to do great things, and reach new heights in cancer treatment.

    “It offers a lot of hope,” said Harris.

    Hampton University has accomplished many feats in research. Most of the research being done should make a great impact amongst the world once completed. In the School of Science it has opened the first Skin of Color Research institute in the commonwealth of Virginia, advanced research on brachytherapy (radiation-based therapy for different types of cancers), and atmospheric parameters via satellite detection.

    For a full list of what HU schools are researching, visit http://www.hamptonu.edu/research/schools.cfm

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 4:06 pm on December 13, 2010 Permalink |  

    Biology is No. 1 major for freshmen at Hampton U. 

    By Ranelle Grayton

    Hampton University School of Science is one of the campuses’ most prestigious programs. The school received a grant from the National Science Foundation in September. The $300,000 grant was awarded to establish the new Bachelor of Science Biochemistry degree program. Hampton is among four HBCUs to offer such a program.

    The School of Science has 10 departments: Atmospheric & Planetary Sciences, Biological Science, Chemistry, Communicative Science and Disorders, Computer Science, Marine & Environmental Sciences, Mathematics, Naval Science, Physical Therapy, Physics, and Pre-health.

    According to an Aug. 27 Daily Press article, Hampton U.’s School of Science has become the No. 1 choice for incoming freshman this year. Of the 1,032 new and 140 transfer students that Hampton enrolled for fall, biology was the most popular major.

    Biology is the foundation for many students who aspire to be doctors. It is the gateway for lucrative environmental business opportunities after college. According to the School of Science website, it has approximately about 700 undergraduate students and 170 graduate students.

    Biology majors must take four years of biology classes that include lectures and labs varying in length from 1½ to four hours, two to three times a week. Students must also take two years of chemistry classes, and one year of physics.

    The curriculum is heavily math-oriented and requires rigorous courses such as pre-calculus, applied calculus and statistics. Biology majors must even balance intense major classes along with general education courses for the first two years.

    After freshman year, biology divides into two sequences: Cellular and Molecular Biology, or Organisms, Ecology and Biodiversity.

    “The School of Science biology program is very rigorous.” said Professor Abiodun Adibi, who teaches Microbiology, Parasitology, and Medical Histology. “There are many prerequisites. It is important for students to have a good foundation, they must have good understanding of the subject and they must study.”

    Adibi taught in Nigeria and at University of Maryland Eastern Shore before coming to Hampton.

    He explained that, “The biology department is very advanced in working with genomics, which is the study of looking at genes on a molecular level. Students are very interested with that. As you get higher in the biology sequence if you have a good foundation, I like to think it only becomes more interesting, not more difficult.”

    Portia Nicholson, a junior biology major from Washington, D.C., gave this advice to freshman, “If you are not willing to put in the time to study, if you cannot prioritize, and if you don’t have the drive to do what’s necessary for great grades then you won’t last long as biology major.

    “It does require a lot. It is probably as intense the five-year MBA sequence.”

    “It’s important to create good study habits early,” said Alexis Alexander, a junior biology major from Dumfries, Va. “Don’t memorize material, learn it because everything you are taught builds.

    “I’ve sacrificed plenty of weekends out with friends or going to parties because of studying. But most of my close friends are bio majors so we all end up studying together.” Alexander said.

    Nicholson plans to become a family physician and own a private clinic after obtaining her Bachelors of Science from Hampton and attending medical school. She wants to practice both gynecology and pediatrics.

    Alexander, who has interned with both the Department of Energy and D.C. Water and Sewer Authority, plans to work with and study environmental health.

    For Hampton University freshmen starting the biology sequence, there are a variety of issues that they face. Freshmen are dealing with becoming acclimated to campus life, being away from home, and learning the responsibility of being independent.

    “It’s a good program, and you have to be an extremely dedicated student.” said Morgan Naylor, a 19-year-old freshman biology major from Indiana who aspires to own a sports medicine practice.  “At first it wasn’t what I expected but I’ve come to learn that it’s about the relationships I develop with my professors and the friendships I experience.

    “The School of Science is very hands-on; labs are interesting and for an extra credit assignment we participated in a campus clean up.”

    “I came to Hampton on partial scholarship, and with my degree I want to be a medical illustrator,” said Kelly Mitchell, freshman biology major from Chicago. “I don’t think it’s challenging, I already have good study habits and so far, it’s not that hard for me.”

    Said Abidi, “Biology can be very challenging, but it does depend on the student. You have to apply yourself, remain dedicated and spend a lot of time studying.”

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 2:44 pm on December 12, 2010 Permalink |  

    Computer Science is an emerging major at Hampton U. 

    By Chaunte’l Powell

    If you talk to Briana Johnson, a Hampton University computer science major, one of the first things she will tell you is “We’re not the Geek Squad.”

    While that is a job some computer science majors may hold during the school year, it is not a career that most majors plan on pursuing after obtaining their degrees.

    According to computingcareers.acm.org, computer science focuses on three things: First, designing and building software, second, developing effective ways to solve problems in computing such as storing information in databases, and the third and final focus of the major is devising new and better ways of using computers.

    The major is broken into two categories at HU, computer science and computer information systems.

    CS: It’s not what you think

    They difference in the two computer science categories lies in the relationship to business elements in a company. Computer information systems acts as a liaison between the business and technology, whereas computer science is mainly the programming of and working with computers.

    Johnson, a junior, has chosen the more business-oriented route of the two. The Charlotte native is focusing on software programming at the moment, but hopes to one day be the chief information officer of a company and assist in figuring out where to store its information.

    Johnson says HU courses can be quite rigorous and is not for the faint of heart.

    “My freshman year we had close to 30 people in the department,” she said. “Now we have somewhere between three to five people in a class. People couldn’t tough it out.”

    In addition to the rigorous computer science classes, students must take several required math classes as well as courses for their minor.

    Who’s who in computer science?

    Johnson didn’t come to HU to major in computer science. It took the convincing of her very charismatic professor, Jean Muhammad, Ph.D. Muhammad is a in her fifth year as chair of the computer science department. Before being appointed as head of the department, she served stints at both Florida State University and Florida A&M University.

    Her desire to teach at another HBCU is what drew her to Hampton. During her tenure Muhammad says she seen the program grow in many different ways. From the strength of the curriculum, to the upgraded labs, she says the program has grown and is heading in a positive direction.

    Another element she believes is important to the success of the students within that major is the alumni returning to HU to mentor.

    Muhammad tries to instill in all her students a strong work ethic. “This isn’t high school. You have to study. If you need help, come and get it because it’s available,” she said referring to the tutors and math labs students have access to within the department.


    Each year the department enters several computer science competitions that test its knowledge in a variety of categories. The ARTSI competition allows students to show off their engineering skills in addition to their programming knowledge. Teams are able to build robots and program them to perform various tasks.

    Last March, teams were told to create a robot that could navigate its way through a maze as well as identify objects throughout the maze and report its findings. This is one of the more intense competitions and students take an entire semester to prepare for it.

    Other competitions, such as the Olympiad, are more about what students already know. Spelman College often hosts this contest and students are given problems to solve within a given time limit. Students usually spend a few days doing logic puzzles to prepare for this competition.

    In 2009, the Hampton University MMXI team took first place in two of the three competitions and second in the last.

    Computer Science alumni

    Computer Science is a relatively new major at Hampton University. Lee David Harris was the first individual to receive a degree in Computer Science from then Hampton Institute in 1984.  He recalled 15 to 20 people started the journey and only two completed it.

    “Because Harris comes before Sanders,” he joked, “I was the first to get a computer science degree from Hampton.”

    Harris’ initially intended to major in music. He slowly realized he wouldn’t be able to make a career out of music and began the search for a new major. Harris switched majors three or four times before a friend of his convinced him to try the new computer science major. He agreed and knew right away that was the field for him.

    “I fell in love with it,” said Harris. “I knew a degree in computer science would allow me to have a career.”

    Getting that degree required overcoming challenges that came with the new major. One of them was the brand new curriculum. He said the teachers did their best putting together the curriculum and teaching the information for the first time. Despite these obstacles, Harris graduated with no worries about his future.

    Harris believes his success is in large part due to the training he received at HU. When reminiscing on all lessons learned he said “I was fully prepared. When I left Hampton I knew I would be able to contribute to any company I interviewed with and any job I received.”

    His Hampton training has in fact paid off. He began his career at TRW, a space and defense group in McLean, Va. and has since held various positions at different companies. Today Harris is the senior director of Global Operations for the Managed Hosting group at Blackboard Inc., a company whose clients include Hampton University.

    Beyond the Campus

    Harris stressed the importance of internships. He stresses that degrees are good to have, but the experience gained from an internship can open numerous doors. He advises current students not only to seek internships, but “get the grades” as well.

    Briana Johnson has done both. A dean’s list student, she’s been allotted the opportunity to intern at Goldman Sachs for two consecutive years. Much like Harris, Johnson believes Hampton adequately prepared her for the position and plans on applying to intern at Google.

    While it may be the baby in the family of majors at HU, the computer science department has helped many graduates get into many different fields and continues to provide a solid foundation for its current students.

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 7:34 pm on December 11, 2010 Permalink |  

    Queen Street beast rattles Hampton U. campus 

    By Jade Banks





    That is the sound of a black 40-foot-tall, 205-ton crane as it punches the ground with the type of fury seen between enemies.

    The sound bounces off the surrounding buildings and echoes throughout campus. The sound’s range stretches south to the waterfront and disappears beneath the Chesapeake Bay and ends east behind Armstrong Stadium.

    As people venture near Queen Street on the campus of Hampton University they come face to face with the beast behind the metal fence.

    The crane not only belches noise, but it causes the ground to tremble.

    Students and faculty inside Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications next door feel the floor beneath their feet shake. Whether they’re sitting at computers or sleeping in their dorm rooms in White Hall, students endure the constant banging from the construction of the new student cafeteria.

    Every morning I wake up to that annoying banging sound,” said Jolanda Gilbert, a senior Education major and White Hall resident. “I don’t even need my alarm clock anymore.”

    Construction of the new student cafeteria won’t officially begin until next year according to the university, yet cranes and construction workers have been working on the site. Although the workers for the most part are keeping mum on their reason for being at the site when questioned by student journalists, their activity isn’t.

    The constant noise has proven to be an inconvenience to the neighbor buildings.

     Over the past two months Scripps Howard School has experienced a handful of electrical outages due to the construction that has resulted in canceled classes and apparent damage to audio-visual equipment.

    “More than likely the construction workers are hitting a series of wires and it’s causing the constant outages,” said Perry Otto, Ph.D., the scenic and technical director of the Theater Department. “It’s perfectly normal in situations like this, just a little annoying.”

    Construction work has also caused major power outages in dorms on campus, including White and Holmes halls. The outages caused electrical sparks in sockets and resulted in several televisions, radios, computers, DVD players and other electrical devices being destroyed.

    “I remember that morning, waking up to this burning smell,” said Gilbert. “There were some sparks, but my surge protectors protected my stuff.”

    Aside from the damage to personal belongings and loss of sleep time, the incessant daytime banging may be detrimental to the students.

    “The constant banging can affect hearing,” said junior nursing major Ericka Keeling. “Depending on what decibel, it could have a damaging effect, especially if you hear it every day.”

    The construction noise at the Queen Street site ranges from 90 to 96 decibels, said a construction worker who declined to give his name.

    According to the Center to Protect Workers’ Rights, workers should only be exposed to construction noise with levels ranging from 90 to 95 decibels for only four hours without hearing protection.

    Workers at the cafeteria construction site often can be seen working with bright orange headgear covering their ears.

    But what about the hearing of students who are exposed without headgear to the banging heard from classrooms and dormitories?

    Aside from the students’ well being, what about the surround dorms that experience trauma due to the constant shaking?

    Torenzo Blair, a freshman Theater major who once was employed as a construction worker, said that the surrounding buildings may be experiencing some kind of damage.

    “Depending on how it was built, the constant banging can cause damage to buildings like Scripps Howard,” said Blair. “It may not show any damage now, over time they might have a problem.”

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 7:22 pm on December 9, 2010 Permalink |  

    Hampton U. campus crime, by the numbers 

    By Jov’An Benjamin

    Crimes aren’t selective; they strike in the streets, hit hard in homes and carelessly creep onto college campuses.

    Hampton University is a relatively safe campus, but over the past few years there have been some incidents that may paint the school in a different light.

    Numbers don’t lie. Crime statistics are posted on the HU Police Department website.  From 2007 to 2009 the numbers of crimes have been somewhat high within three categories: aggravated assault, larceny and burglary.

    The other categories included in this report are homicides, sexual assaults, robbery, motor vehicle theft and arson.

    Dorm shooting

    In 2009, nine incidents of aggravated assaults occurred on campus. Of those nine, seven were reported in the residence halls.

    On April 26 of that year at 1 a.m, a former student shot a night manager and a pizza deliveryman inside of one of the university’s dorms, before turning the gun on himself.  Odane Greg Maye, the 18-year-old shooter from Richmond, walked into the freshman male dormitory Harkness Hall and opened fire.

    Tameka Martin, a senior English education major from Manassas, Va., was living off-campus at the time of the shooting and said she was slightly irritated by the way the situation was handled concerning the students.

    “I signed up for the emergency notification e-mail/text program,” Martin said. “Did I get a text about the shooting? Yes. Did it come 12 hours after the shooting? Yes.”

    Some students also complained about delayed text messages or e-mails, but officials said they made sure they contacted faculty and students as quickly as possible.

    According to the Daily Press, all three men survived the shooting and were hospitalized.  Maye was charged with two counts of aggravated malicious wounding, two counts of use of a firearm in the commission of a felony one count of breaking and entering while armed, one count of possession of a firearm on school grounds, and one count of discharging a firearm in an occupied dwelling.

    Caribbean scam

    The larceny numbers fluctuated downward between 2007 and 2009. There were 114 on-campus incidents in 2007. The number dropped to 100 in 2008 and decreased again to 88 in 2009.

    One explanation for the highest figures could be attributed to the Caribbean scam of 2007.

    According to the Daily Press, on Feb. 4 of this year, an HU student was sentenced to 33 months for a scheme to steal funds for a 2007 trip to Jamaica.

    Christopher Ryan Thomas, 24, of Sugarland, Texas — who pleaded guilty to a charge of wire fraud on Oct. 8 — was ordered to pay $230,135 in restitution. After finishing his sentence, Thomas will have three years of supervised release.

    Darrian Mack, an HU class of 2008 graduate, worked closely with Thomas in the student government association. Mack was president of SGA during the time of the Caribbean scam.

    “I was really disappointed in Ryan,” Mack said. “The amount of money that he was spending was eye popping.

    “All I could think was ‘where is Ryan getting all of this money from?”

    At one point, Mack said he was considering Thomas as a business partner for his own company, E-Mackqulent (EMQ).

    “It was getting too big too quickly,” said Mack.

    “I just feel bad for those students [involved] some only went to Jamaica with just a couple hundred of dollars.  A lot of people were stuck.”

    Burglary numbers have zigzagged during the three-year period through 2007 and 2009.  In 2007 there were 42 counts of burglary then the numbers plunged dramatically in 2008 to only 15 cases.  However in 2009 the number increased again to 36 burglaries noted on-campus.

    Students in the Advanced News Reporting and Writing class this fall read that federal law required colleges and universities to release data on crimes on the campuses by Oct. 1 each year. HU journalism students checked out the statement in their textbooks and found that the data was made available to the public via the university website.

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 1:41 pm on December 8, 2010 Permalink |  

    Proton therapy brightens outlook for Hampton Roads cancer patients 

    By Nichelle Parker

    Twenty years and 98,000 square feet after the first proton therapy center opened in the United States, Hampton, Va. joins the list of cities now available to offer hope to cancer patients looking for another option.

    The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute [HUPTI] is now the largest facility offering proton therapy and the eighth of nine centers built in the United States.

    The HUPTI website reports it has five treatment rooms and will be able to treat over 2,000 patients when operating at full capacity.

    The center is to eventually employ more than 100 medical professionals and staff members.

    Hampton University President William R. Harvey had to raise $225 million in order to make his vision of bringing proton therapy to the region a reality. Now, with $65 million in equipment operational, HUPTI has commenced treatment.

    According to the National Association for Proton Therapy, protons are a superior form of radiation treatment. During the process, patients feel nothing and are left with fewer side effects.

    Chemotherapy has been the traditional method for treating cancers. Unlike proton therapy, patients who are treated through chemotherapy often suffer from side effects. The National Cancer Institute lists several side effects on its website such as fatigue, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and an increased risk of getting infections.

    HUPTI uses a 200-ton machine called a cyclotron to spin particles at 66 percent of the speed of light. The machine transmits the particle beam into the affected area with millimeter precision, while saving healthy tissue that surrounds the cancer.

    Each treatment lasts approximately 60 seconds. Depending on the type and severity of the cancer, treatments may only last for 1½ months.

    The center committed to begin its treatments with prostate cancer patients. The center’s website said that Harvey’s motivation to create the center came from figures showing that African- Americans suffer with prostate and other cancers at an increased rate especially in the Hampton Roads region.

    As of now the center has yet to expand treatment to other forms of cancer.

    Sarita Scott, the center’s director of public relations, said in a phone interview that prostate cancer was a good place to start:

    “Proton therapy is effective for localized tumors and not cancer that has become systemic.” For the patients currently working with the center, “Treatments last about 60 seconds.”

    The Oct. 23 Daily Press reported the center will conduct treatments on other forms of cancer in an editorial. HUPTI plans to treat various other types of cancer to include breast, head, spine, neck and lung in the future.

    With figures and facts set aside, the focus turns to the many lives that HUPTI will affect.

    In August, Ronald Cosman was the first person treated. He and two other prostate cancer patients are the first group to complete a full program of treatment.

    Twelve other prostate cancer patients are undergoing treatment at the center.

    The Hampton University Proton Therapy Institute is located at 40 Enterprise Pkwy., Hampton, VA 23666, just off of Magruder Blvd. For additional information call (757) 251–6800 or visit their website at hamptonproton.org.

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 12:20 pm on December 8, 2010 Permalink |  

    Hampton U. student is moved to join Teach for America 

    By Danyelle Gary

    As a parole officer intern last spring at the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice in Newport News, Va., Djeneba “DJ” Cherif had her future mapped out.

    Graduate from college.

    Become a lawyer.

    Become a judge.

    That was the plan, until this 21-year-old was introduced to teenagers who only saw education as a means to stay out of jail.

    Those youth changed Cherif’s plans. She thought to herself, “How can I help kids before I am forced to defend them [in court].”

    Her answer: Join Teach for America.

    This non-profit program recruits and trains college graduates to teach in low-performing school districts for a minimum of two years.

    Competition to get in is fierce. According to an April 2009 article in the Wall Street Journal, Teach for America rejected more than 30,000 of America’s top college seniors last year, which was more than Harvard Law School and Wall Street investment firm Golden Sachs.

    Teach for America was founded in 1990 with the intentions of admitting students from a variety of academic fields, not just education.

    The organization says it looks for individuals who display leadership qualities and interpersonal skills and who also represent diverse backgrounds and experiences. Out of the 2010 recruits, almost one-third are people of color and 20 percent are the first in their family to attend college.

    In 2010, TFA recruited and placed nearly 4,500 students in its 39 regions including Chicago and Atlanta. Cherif, a Hampton University senior majoring in sociology with a minor in criminal justice, will teach math to secondary education students in Detroit.

    Desire to teach

    A few weeks ago, Cherif went to a theater in Newport News to see a highly discussed documentary that highlights the failures of the American public education system.

    The film, “Waiting for Superman” by Davis Guggenheim, details the Washington, D.C., education lottery system in which public school children, who are often from financially burdened families, submit their names for acceptance to local charter schools.

    She cried.

    “The public school system is failing,” Cherif said. “I need to go into education before [children] are distracted.”

    Next year, she will relocate to Detroit, a city in which one-third of its population lives below the poverty line, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. It is one of the organization’s newest regions, Cherif said, which is one reason why she chose the city over areas in North Carolina, New York, the District of Columbia and Georgia.

    “Test scores suggest that only one in three of Detroit fourth-graders can correctly subtract 75 from 301, even when given a choice of three multiple-choice answers,” according to the TFA website.

    “There is a huge problem that exists with education and we can do something about it,” said Monique Moore, a Teach for America recruitment director.

    But it goes beyond education. Participants often work with students who lack self-confidence, Moore said, and do not realize their full potential. This has a lot to do with Cherif’s passion for teaching and her desire “to build relationships with kids and possibly change their lives.”

    “You give a worksheet to a child with two plus two on it and they’ll put four,” Cherif said, “but if you give them a word problem, they’re confused; they’re lost. You have to relate it to their lives for them to understand it.”

    Aleese Gooden, one of Cherif’s closest friends and a fellow senior at Hampton, does not doubt her friend’s ability to connect with and communicate to Detroit students.

    “She will have a positive influence on them,” said Gooden, a broadcast journalism major. “She puts her all into something she’s passionate about.”

    Related experience

    Like many of her soon-to-be students living in the poverty-stricken and violent-induced neighborhoods of Detroit, Cherif comes from humble beginnings. She attended the Manhattan, N.Y.-based James McCune Smith School, an elementary school, she said with a predominantly black and Hispanic population.

    Cherif’s Harlem neighborhood was as diverse as her school.

    Although some of her friends had parents who were “crack addicts, drug addicts and alcoholics,” she said, people in her community still remained close and were a big part of her life.

    “I always feel like I’m obligated to visit people there because they made sure I stayed out of trouble,” she said. “I owe it to them to serve my community because that’s where I grew up.”

    After her fifth grade year, her family moved to the majority white, suburban, college town of Ann Arbor, Mich., which Cherif said is largely conservative from appearance.

    While attending Ypsilanti High School, her passion for education flourished. Cherif became a student representative on the board of education and gained first-hand exposure on how a school system is run.

    She currently serves as this year’s student representative to the board of trustees at Hampton University and plans to eventually become a superintendent in an urban area.

    Now a college senior, after graduation, Cherif will travel back to Michigan to a familiar setting, one that includes a different set of young minds to mold.

    Gooden said, “It will be a challenge, but I don’t think it’s anything that DJ can’t handle.”

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 11:26 am on December 8, 2010 Permalink |  

    Illinois students emerge as a top Hampton U. constituency 

    By Winnie Marie Dortch

    According to Black Excel College Profile, Hampton University is one of the most prestigious colleges; ranking in reputation and rank beside schools such as Howard, Spelman and Morehouse. Hampton is very popular on the East Coast, and for the past several years many students from the Atlantic states dominated the campus population.

    However, this year’s enrollment of Illinois students at Hampton University has increased. Illinois muscled New York out of the perennial top five. The other states are the so-called “DMV” (Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.), New Jersey, and California, a new power.

    “God placed me here for a reason,” says Asa Cain, a freshman from Illinois who is biology major. Cain attended Oak Park River Forest High School in Oak Park, Ill.

    Cain said he visited Hampton University and he felt like it really fit him: “Hampton is a great school because it allows us to experience the real college life, but we also have to stay on top of our work. There is always something happening on campus so we have to be disciplined. That is one way Hampton prepares us for the world.”

    Cain said he did not apply to any other colleges because he knew he would get accepted to Hampton.

    “I applied to Mississippi State, New England College and Clark College in Iowa and Hampton University,” said Shaniqua Blackman, a freshman psychology major from Illinois. She attended Maria High School on the Southside of Chicago. Blackman, 18, said she heard about Hampton through students who already attended Hampton. “It is a nice city, not too big or too small,” she said, “And it was the best school out of the others I got accepted too.”

    “Of the students enrolled of the 2010-2011 school year, Illinois ranked No. 3 with the highest test scores,” said Angela Nixon-Boyd, director of admissions at Hampton.

    Approximately 52 freshmen from Illinois were enrolled this year. Target Hope in Chicago and Sieman Engineering Corporation and Chicago Public Schools worked with Hampton as a partner to recruiting Illinois brightest students. Even with the smaller freshmen class this year Illinois students were highly ranked, ranking No.8 from all popular states.

    “I chose Hampton University because the values presented here match values of the high school I attended,” said Saferia Manuel, a freshman broadcast journalism major from the Westside of Chicago. Manuel attended Providence St. Mel College Prep. Manuel said she found out about Hampton when she attended the 100 Black Men of Chicago College Scholarship Fair that took place at the University of Chicago.

    Besides Hampton, Manuel said she applied to Howard University, University of Chicago, Roosevelt University, Marquette, Alabama A&M, Tuskegee and Bradley.

    “I felt at home when I visited during High School Day,” said Manuel, “And God told me Hampton was the school for me after a year of prayer and consideration.

    Manuel also said there are more Illinois students because of the advertisements for Hampton and recruiting teams are doing a good job when they come to inform students in high school.

    “The Hampton name itself,” she said, “Is very popular.”

    Cyntavia Thornton, 20, a junior who attended Lane Tech High School on the Westside of Chicago, says Hampton is competitive.” Thorton said she fell in love with the brochures, pictures, and stories of Hampton. She believes that a lot of Illinois students are increasing their numbers at Hampton because word of mouth about Hampton in Illinois really gets around.

    “With Hampton’s reputation and prestige demeanor as a university,” she said, “I feel it could compete with Big Ten universities whereas other HBCUs couldn’t academically.”

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

  • E-News U. Contributor 6:46 pm on December 7, 2010 Permalink |  

    Hampton U. Liberal Arts majors aspire to educate 

    By Jasmine Berry

    Popular wisdom has it that, “Those who can, do and those who can’t teach.”

    But in speaking with Liberal Arts students regarding their post-graduation plans, it seems that those who can do, and those who can teach as well.

    With the U.S. economy still recovering from the 2008-2009 recession and a job market that has college grads more anxious than ever, students are finding themselves at a crossroads when it comes to their futures.

    Despite the bleak employment conditions, and conventional wisdom that says employable students must major in specialized fields, many students at Hampton University’s School of Liberal Arts continue to study what they are passionate about in hopes that one day they can educate kids much like themselves on the very subjects that interest them so much.

    The School of Liberal Arts offers Bachelor of Arts [B.A.] degrees in English Arts, sociology, international studies, psychology, political science, history and fine and performing arts.

    According to the university’s website, the school is the largest on campus. One in four HU students are Liberal Arts majors, the largest departments being psychology, political science and English.

    Leighton Roye, a senior history major from Danbury, Conn. and Hampton University’s reigning “Mr. Pirate,” plans to teach high school history after he graduates in May through the Teach For America program.

    “I just felt like as a black man I should give back to my community,” he says. “I thought teaching would be the best way for me to do that because that’s something that I enjoy doing.”

    Roye says he looks forward to teaching American History, his favorite subject, so he can enlighten his students on the contributions of African-Americans to the growth of this nation.

    Junior music major Madeline Keller of Dallas also aspires to teach, as a vocal coach. The mezzo-soprano sang in her church and school choir through middle and high school and sings in the university’s choir.

    “I love music and I have a passion for teaching others about music,” she says. “A lot of people forget it is a foundational element in one’s upbringing. I want to help preserve music.”

    Keller says she prefers teaching to performing because of the stability of the profession: “You’re on a regular stint, it’s more consistent,” in regards to teaching. After graduating in 2012, Keller plans to get her Masters degree in vocal performance.

    Another aspiring HU educator is Jeremiah Carter, a sophomore English major from Houston.  He says English is his favorite subject due to its rich history: “Studying English gives us a big background on culture. A lot of what we study in English is just a translation of other cultures. It really gives me a lot of insight on other people.”

    Carter has already mapped out his career within the education field. “I want to teach for the first five to seven years of my career,” he says. “I plan on getting my Masters here and working on my doctorate while I’m teaching. Then I want to go into administration and the legal side of education. I also plan on starting a program to introduce the idea of college to elementary students in inner-city and lower-income areas.”

    Marvin Western, Ph.D., assistant professor of music, hopes to dispel the negative stigma often attached to teachers of the arts. “Sometimes people have a feeling that teaching is a fall-back occupation, but it’s not,” he says.

    He cites the passion for his craft as his motivation for entering the field of education.

    “Being a musician was the only thing I was interested in.”

    Jennifer Randall, Ph.D., an English professor new to HU’s School of Liberal Arts, agrees that love of your subject is a good motivation for becoming an educator. However, she understands that many students may be motivated to teach the arts in lieu of performing them based on the stability teaching can offer.

    “The cards are definitely stacked against us English majors,” she says. Randall says luckily she has aspired to teach since she was a child, however for those that have no desire to teach, it can be a “scramble around” and many English majors end up doing something they really don’t want to do.

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

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