Tag Archives: HBCU

New Initiative Sponsors 100 HBCU Students to Attend SXSW Tech Conference

In a push to get more Black Americans involved in the world of tech, a slew of organizations have teamed up with South by Southwest Conventions and Festivals to help more than 100 African-American students attend the bustling interactive, film and music festival in Austin, Texas, this year.

Thanks to the new HBCU@SXSW initiative, 100 students from historically Black colleges and universities, or HBCUs, were granted the opportunity to take part in one of the largest tech industry events in the country. Last year, the interactive festival attracted over 72,000 of the nation’s brightest thought leaders, investors, future partners and influencers.

While there are millions of African-Americans across the nation who are both interested in and qualified to work in the world of STEM, Blacks and other nonwhite groups remain largely underrepresented in the tech industry. Industry giants like Google, Microsoft and Facebook have taken heat in recent years over their failure to hire a workforce that’s as diverse as its consumer base. Just last year, Google’s very first diversity report showed that 30 percent of its staff was female and a mere 2 percent of its employees were Black.

HBCU@SXSW organizer Rodney Sampson saw the need for increased diversity in the tech world and decided to do something about it by sponsoring the next generation of engineers to mix and mingle with top-tier tech leaders at SXSW 2017. The inventive program was able to fund just 50 students in its first year, but more than 440 went through the onerous application process to be considered for the program this year, USA Today reported.

“We picked the students who wanted to solve the biggest problems using technology and had some pretty good ideas about it,” said Sampson, an Atlanta-based tech entrepreneur. “We’ve really kind of emancipated SXSW to a degree.”

Many of the program’s students were hand-picked from top-notch HBCUs like Morehouse College in Atlanta and D.C.’s Howard University, according to USA Today. Budding engineers also were selected from well-known institutions including New York’s Medgar Evers College, Tuskegee University and Kennesaw State University.

Leading tech companies like Google, Mail Chimp, Snapchat and Apple, among others, soon took notice of HBCU@SXSW and began funding the initiative. Currently, over 30 companies support the pro-diversity program, each putting up the estimated $3,000 it takes to send just one student to the annual festival. HBCU@SXSW hopes to expand its program in the coming years to send as many as 500 budding Black engineers to the popular event.

“Diversity grows out of the soil of inclusion,” said Cheryl Wade, Head of Diversity & Inclusion at Booz Allen Hamilton, which also supports the program. “It starts with making the hires and finding the talent, but there is work to be done on the side of the companies and organizations to be sure they’re building a culture where it creates an environment that people can stick, stay and thrive.”

Rodney Sampson has not responded to requests for comment.

By Tanasia Kenney/AtlantaBlackStar

Posted by The NON-Conformist

HBCUs, advocates looking for help from Trump on funding

The nation’s historically black colleges and universities are pushing for President Donald Trump to set aside more federal contracts and grants for their schools, and take a greater hand in their welfare by moving responsibility for a key program for those colleges to the White House.

President Donald Trump shakes hands as he meets with leaders of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, Monday, Feb. 27, 2017. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Image: AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

The presidents of the nation’s 100-plus HBCUs, pressing their case for greater attention from the new Republican-controlled government, met with Trump briefly in the Oval Office and later with Vice President Mike Pence. On Tuesday, they planned to meet with GOP lawmakers.

 “Know that beginning today, this administration is committed to ensuring that historically black colleges and universities get the credit and the attention they deserve,” Pence said after the meeting. “Our administration at the president’s direction is working to find new ways to expand your impact so that more students, especially in the underserved communities of this country, have a chance at a quality education.”
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What Can Hillary Clinton Or Bernie Sanders Do To Save The Nation’s HBCU’s?

Image: Black America Web.com

Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential frontrunner, has promised to revitalize historically black colleges if she is elected to the White House.

“We’re going to work closely with (HBCUs) … because they serve some of America’s brightest students, who need the most support and too often have gotten the least of it,” Clinton wrote in a position paper.

Clinton’s plan for financing education includes a $25 billion fund to support private nonprofit schools that serve low and middle-income students, which includes HBCUs.

According to a September 2014 policy paper from the University of Pennsylvania, about 28,000 HBCU students were unable to cover their tuition costs.

Meanwhile, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) held a packed rally at Morehouse College in Atlanta last month that 5,000 people attended. Sanders is trying hard to court Black voters. He knows Clinton has broad support in the African-American community but he believes he can galvanize young African-Americans and challenge Clinton for the Democratic nomination.

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Meet Dr. Henry Sampson, Pioneer of Technology now used in Cell Phones

downloadIt was brought to our attention that an article we cited was incorrect. Dr. Sampson is mistakenly credited with creating the cellphone but according to Dr. Sampson …

“Contrary to what you read on the Internet, I had nothing to do with the cell phone,” but was a pioneer in the technology now used in cell phones.

His achievements are still great though…..

Sampson was a pioneer in academia as one of the first African-American chemical engineering graduates. He went on to become the first African-American to earn a PhD in nuclear engineering in the U.S.

From 1956-61, Sampson worked as a research chemical engineer at the U.S. Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, Calif., in high-energy solid propellants and case-bonding materials for solid-rocket motors. “The U.S. Naval Ordinance Test Station was a godsend. When I graduated from Purdue, I found many companies wouldn’t hire an African-American engineer,” he says.

Sampson holds his master’s degree in engineering from UCLA. Following graduate studies, Sampson joined the Aerospace Corp. in El Segundo, Calif., as project engineer (1967-81), then director of planning and operations, Directorate of Space Test Program (1981-87). He led senior engineering staff in every phase from planning to launching and space operation of several satellites. He was a vanguard engineer examining how to power satellites.

On July 6, 1971, Sampson was awarded a patent with George H. Miley for the invention of the gamma-electric cell, a direct-conversion energy device that converts the energy generated from the radiation of high-energy gamma rays into electricity.

Other patents include a binder system for rocket propellants and explosives and a case-bonding system for cast-composite rocket propellants, both related to the manufacturing and production of solid-propellant rocket motors.

More at engineering.purdue.edu

On April 3rd, 1973, Motorola engineer Marty Cooper placed the first public call from a cellphone according to the Verge. In midtown Manhattan, Cooper called Joel Engel — head of rival research department Bell Labs — saying “Joel, this is Marty. I’m calling you from a cell phone, a real handheld portable cell phone.” The call was placed on a Motorola DynaTAC 8000x, which weighed 2.5 pounds, a far cry from today’s 4-ounce handsets. If it wasn’t for Dr. Henry T. Sampson we wouldn’t have cell phone technology today. Isn’t it funny how the mainstream media hasn’t made him a icon based off of his invention? Cellular telephony has spawned a Multi-billion dollar industry and has freed tens of millions of people, both at home and at work, to communicate anywhere, any time. I would of thought he would on the Times and Forbes magazines next to Bill Gate and Steve Jobs for discovering one of the greatest creations of our time.

Henry T. Sampson, the Black man who invented the cell phone On July 6th, 1971, Henry T. Sampson invented the “gamma-electric cell”, which pertains to Nuclear Reactor use. According to Dr. Sampson, the Gamma Electric Cell, patented July 6, 1971, Patent No. 3,591,860 produces stable high-voltage output and current to detect radiation in the ground. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, he received a Bachelor of Science degree from Purdue University in 1956. He went on to the University of California, Los Angeles where he graduated with an MS degree in engineering in 1961; University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, MS in Nuclear Engineering in 1965, and a PHD in 1967. Mobile Communications took a big step forward in 1983 with the invention of the Cellular System regulating the portable telephones, which use radio waves to transmit and receive audio signals. Before this time, mobile telephone service in the United States, consisting mainly of car phones, was extremely limited because metropolitan areas had only one antenna for these purposes. In addition, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) assigned only 12 to 24 frequencies to each area, which meant that only that many calls could occur at a time. These limitations often meant a wait of up to 30 minutes for a dial tone and a five to 10 year waiting list just to acquire the service. With the invention of cellular phone service in 1983, personal communications no longer depended on wires. In the 1990s it would become possible to connect to the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world using a portable computer and a cellular modem with satellite service. Technologies that developed from different fields, such as personal communications, computation, and space exploration often worked together to serve the constantly evolving human needs of the information age. Henry T. Sampson worked as a research Chemical Engineer at the US Naval Weapons Center, China Lake, California. 1956-61. Henry T. Sampson then moved on to the Aerospace Corp, El Segundo, California. His titles include: Project Engineer, 1967-81, director of Planning and Operations Directorate of Space Test Program, 1981-, and Co-inventor of gamma-electric cell. He holds patents related to solid rocket motors and conversion of nuclear energy into electricity. He also pioneered a study of internal ballistics of solid rocket motors using high-speed photography. He was also a producer of documentary films on early black filmmakers and films, a member of the board of directors of Los Angeles Southwest College Foundation, and a technical consultant to Historical Black Colleges and Universities Program. Sampson’s Awards and Honors: Fellow of US Navy, 1962-1964 Atomic Energy Commission, 1964-1967 Black Image Award from Aerospace Corp, 1982 Blacks in Engineering, Applied Science, and Education Award, Los Angeles Council of Black Professional Engineers, 1983

From atlnightspots

Posted by The NON-Conformist

Charles Koch donates $25 million to United Negro College Fund

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NC’s HBCU Elizabeth City State may cut history program

Image: Elizabeth City State University

As UNC-system schools continue to make tough decisions in a difficult financial climate, Elizabeth City State University is considering discontinuing its history program — a move that could be virtually unprecedented for a public university.

Earlier this fall, system General Administration staff directed the 16 system universities to recommend low-productivity degree programs for discontinuation by November. ECSU, a historically black school with an enrollment of about 2,400 students, received a nearly 10 percent cut to its state funding this year.

Ten programs at the school fit the system’s criteria for low productivity. ECSUadministrators determined that three of them — middle grades education, special education and a master of science in biology — are central to the university’s mission and will not be considered for elimination.

Seven programs — history, political science, physics, geology, studio art, marine environmental science and industrial technology — are still in limbo. If the seven are discontinued, some coursework in each area will still be offered at ECSU, said Ali Khan, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs, in a statement.

Jurgen Buchenau, history department chairman at UNC-Charlotte, said he knows of a couple of small private universities who have considered eliminating their history programs, though he said the move is rare. Buchenau said he’s surprised that system universities are held to the same standards as far as discontinuing programs, given large differences in student population.

Buchenau said cutting any university history program could have far-reaching effects in the long term, perpetuating worry among humanities departments throughout the system.

“It’s not going to stop at history,” he said.

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Forsyth County(NC) Board of Elections tables vote on security officers at polling sites, delays vote on closing early voting at Winston-Salem State

Image: winston-salem journal

The Forsyth County Board of Elections voted Tuesday to table proposals introduced by Chairman Ken Raymond that would have placed security officers at the county’s One Stop early voting site and required a stricter policy on returning voter registration forms collected during registration drives.

The topic of security officers at One Stop sites was not listed on the agenda. Raymond brought it up during the “Other Business” portion of the meeting.

Raymond, a Republican, proposed that the board acquire at least two building security officers “specifically to help election workers maintain order at the government center during One-Stop voting.”

He said that at a Board of Elections meeting on Feb. 7, 2011, several residents alleged that election law violations occurred during the 2009 municipal elections.

Fleming El-Amin, the lone Democrat on the board, raised concerns about the “Gestapo” appearance of having officers at the site and how it could discourage voting.

“For most people, perception is the only reality,” El-Amin said.

El-Amin asked Raymond to clarify “maintain order.” Raymond gave as an example if an overzealous campaign worker was electioneering within the voting enclosure.

Stuart Russell, a Republican and the board secretary, said he would like to know how much such a plan would cost. He said there may be other ways to address election issues without posting security officers there. He made a motion to table the item, which was unanimously approved by the board.

The votes were taken before a packed house, as more than 40 students from Winston-Salem State University attended the meeting in response to earlier comments from Raymond that he was considering shutting down the early voting site at the Anderson Center at WSSU.

Olivia Sedwick, chief of staff for the WSSU Student Government Association, said, “I saw glimpses of partisan politics tonight.”

She said though students had heard that the board would not vote on the Anderson issue, they still wanted to attend the meeting to engage in government and show the board that they are paying attention.

Raymond read a statement at the start of the meeting that the Anderson Center item would not be discussed until next year. He stated after the meeting that it had never been his intention to bring up the matter for a vote on Tuesday. The board did not allow public comments about the Anderson Center.

Bryant Bell, president of the student body at WSSU, said he understood why the board postponed the item.

He said students are also interested in seeing if other policies could be implemented that would affect them.

“We will be watching,” Bell said.

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