Eight African Americans Earn Truman Scholarships for Graduate Study in 2017

Dontae Bell, Taylor Cofield, Lexis Ivers, Chelsea Jackson, Thomas Mitchell, Kathleen Nganga, Shyheim Snead, and Soreti Teshome (photos via jbhe.com)

article via jbhe.com

The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation has announced the selection of the 2017 Truman Scholars. Each Truman Scholar is awarded up to $30,000 for graduate study. They also receive priority admission to several top-tier graduate schools, have career and graduate school counseling opportunities, and are fast-tracked for internships within the federal government.

Truman Scholars must be U.S. citizens and be in the top 25 percent of their college class. They must express a commitment to government service or the nonprofit sector. Since the establishment of the program in 1975, 3,139 students have been named Truman Scholars.

This year, 62 Truman scholars were selected from 768 candidates nominated by 315 colleges and universities. While the foundation does not release data on the racial and ethnic make up of Truman Scholars, a JBHE analysis of this year’s class of 62 Truman Scholars, concludes that it appears that 8, or 12.9 percent, are African Americans. Here are brief biographies of the African Americans named Truman Scholars this year:

Dontae Bell is a junior at Howard University in Washington, D.C., studying economics and military science. He is a member of the Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and was selected as a pilot candidate this spring. After graduation, Dontae will commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Eventually, he hopes to earn a master of public administration degree before pursuing a career in public service.

Taylor Cofield is a junior political science and international studies major with a minor in Middle East studies at the University of Missouri. She also is studying Arabic. Cofield is a member of the university’s track team and is current legislative intern with the Missouri State Senate. Upon graduation, she hopes to fulfill a two-year assignment in the Peace Corps and then pursue a dual master’s and law degree program in contemporary Arab studies and national security law.

Lexis Ivers is a third-year student at American University in Washington, D.C., where she studies law and policy. She is the founder and director of Junior Youth Action DC, a mentorship program focused on the academic and personal development of foster youth. She plans to pursue a career in child welfare law, which will allow her to advocate for children when foster care systems fail.
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OZY Genius Award Winner Claudine Humure Designs 3-D Printed Prosthetic Socket

OZY Genius Award winner Claudine Humure (photo via blackenterprise.com)

article by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

Claudine Humure, a senior at Wheaton College in Norton, Massachusetts, is one of the 10 young people awarded $10,000 as a winner of one of the OZY Genius Awards distributed by OZY, the news site.

Humure won for her innovative and compassionate 3-D printed adjustable prosthetic socket, which will be used by amputees. “This socket is much cheaper to produce on a 3-D printer,” Humure said. “It cost about $100.” Because of the low production costs, Humure expects her prosthetic socket to be affordable to amputees in developing countries.

Prosthetics now on the market are too expensive for many of them. Humure has a personal interest in prosthetics. After losing both her parents in Rwanda’s genocide, she and her six siblings were raised in an orphanage. At the age of 13, she developed cancer, which led to the amputation of her leg. She first came to the U.S. to get a prosthetic leg in 2004, after which she returned to Rwanda. Later she came back to the U.S. to study after receiving a scholarship to attend high school in Connecticut.

“I was motivated by seeing how much prosthetic limbs are really needed. Being an amputee, I know what is needed,” Humure said. A biology major who interned at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where she was exposed to prosthetic research, Humure graduates this May and intends to spend the rest of the year refining the socket’s design. But she also has goals for the future.

“I want to help amputees in different developing countries, not just Rwanda,” she told me. “I want to visit different countries and see what people are already doing and how I can help.”But eventually, she sees herself going home.“I want to open a prosthetic clinic in Rwanda where amputees are rehabilitated and learn from each other.”

To read more, go to: OZY Genius Award Winner Designs 3-D Printed Prosthetic Socket

Happy 100th, Ella! American Musical Legend Ella Fitzgerald Born on this Day in 1917

Early Hardship Couldn't Muffle Ella Fitzgerald's Joy

Legendary singer Ella Fitzgerald (photo via npr.org)

article by Tom Vitale via npr.org

Ella Fitzgerald, who would have turned 100 today, was one of the most beloved and versatile singers of the 20th century. In a career that spanned six decades, Fitzgerald recorded hundreds of songs, including definitive versions of many standards. Along the way, she influenced generations of singers.

But the first thing that strikes you about Fitzgerald is that voice.

Cécile McLorin Salvant, who won a Grammy last year for Best Jazz Vocal Album, says a combination of qualities made Fitzgerald’s voice unique. “When you hear the tone of her voice — which has kind of a brightness, kind of a breathiness, but it also has this really great depth, and kind of a laser-like, really clear quality to it — it hits you,” she says.

Salvant, 27, says she learned to sing jazz standards by listening to Fitzgerald’s versions.

“I remember being 17 and living in France and feeling really homesick and wanting to go back to Miami, and listening to Ella Fitzgerald singing ‘I Didn’t Know What Time It Was,’ ” Salvant says. “And I would listen to that all day. All day. For, like, weeks. And it felt — it created a home for me.”

Fitzgerald had perfect pitch, impeccable diction and a remarkable sense of rhythm. And it all came naturally to her, as she told the CBC in 1974.  “What I sing is only what I feel,” she said. “I had some lady ask me the other day about music lessons and I never — except for what I had to learn for my half-credit in school — I’ve never given it a thought. I’ve never taken breathing lessons. I had to go for myself, and I guess that’s how I got a style.”

That style was an immediate hit. Fitzgerald was discovered at an amateur contest and began her professional career when she was only 16, singing with the Chick Webb Orchestra at Harlem’s Savoy Ballroom. When she was 21, she became internationally famous with a hit record based on a nursery rhyme, “A-Tisket, A-Tasket.”

Tony Bennett says that when he was starting out as a young singer, Ella Fitzgerald was his idol. “She was a complete swinger,” he says. “She just understood the whole art of jazz phrasing.” Continue reading

Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in College Scholarships

(L to R) Dillard University’s associate admissions director Christopher Stewart and Zariah Nolan, Whitehaven High School senior and future Dillard University Student, taken from Nolan’s Twitter on April 24, 2017. (photo via colorlines.com)

article by Sameer Rao via colorlines.com

Seniors at an almost-exclusively Black high school in Memphis, Tennessee, earned more than $80 million in university scholarship offers.

ABC News reported Friday (April 21) that more than 40 Whitehaven High School students contributed to this number with at least $1 million in offers each. A call to determine the total number of students who earned scholarships was not immediately returned. Per the Tennessee Department of Education’s website, Whitehaven’s student body is more than 99 percent Black.

One student, 18-year-old Zariah Nolan, earned nearly $9.6 million in scholarships, including 17 full-ride packages. Nolan told ABC News that she applied to nearly 100 colleges across the country using application packages like the Common Black College Application, which allows prospective students to submit to 51 historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) with one set of materials.

She will attend one of those HBCUs, Dillard University in New Orleans, this fall. “My principal always told us you never know where life can take you so apply anywhere just to see,” Nolan said. Her principal, Vincent J. Hunter, added that the 1,765 student-strong high school stands out thanks to its all-alumni staff. “It’s important for us to be our brother’s keeper and we work hard to make sure our kids are prepared for life after graduation,” says Hunter, who also attended Whitehaven.

Source: Memphis High School’s Graduating Class Earns $80 Million in Scholarships | Colorlines

Georgetown University Renames Building after Isaac Hawkins, an Enslaved Person Sold in 1838 to Pay Off School Debts

Georgetown’s Freedom Hall Renamed Isaac Hawkins Hall (photo via thehoya.com)

article by Brittney Fennel via jetmag.com

The effects of slavery are still being felt in 2017 and, in an effort to make amends for profiting from the sale of 272 Maryland enslaved people in 1838 to pay off school debts, Georgetown University has renamed two buildings on their campus to honor those who were sold.

The slave sale was conducted by two Jesuit priests and was worth about $3.3 million in today’s dollars. They have renamed one building Isaac Hawkins Hall to honor the first person listed in documents related to the sale. Another building was renamed after Anne Marie Becraft, a free Black woman who taught Catholic Black girls in what was then the town of Georgetown.

This is just one of the many steps the university is taking in order to make amends for the part they played during a painful time in U.S. history. During a speech Thursday afternoon, Georgetown’s president, John J. DeGioia, announced the school would create an institute for the study of slavery and there will be a public memorial to the enslaved people whose labor benefited the school.

Dr. DeGioia also offered the descendants of all slaves whose work helped Georgetown University an advantage in admission which is similar to what they offer children and grandchildren of alumni. Many colleges have tried to hide the fact they benefited from slave labor, but at least Georgetown is not shying away from facts and is owning up to their actions.

Source: Georgetown University Will Name Two Buildings After Maryland Slaves – JetMag.com

14-Year-Old Cello Prodigy Ifetayo Ali-Landing Wins Coveted National Music Competition

14 year-old cellist Ifetayo Ali-Landing (photo via blavity.com)

article via blavity.com

While most teens are consumed with navigating puberty, Ifetayo Ali-Landing is busy being a cello master. A student at the Hyde Park Suzuki Institute in Chicago, IL, Ali-Landing recently took home the coveted 1st place prize in the 2017 Annual Sphinx Competition.

Along with a $10,000 cash prize, the young prodigy will also have an opportunity to feature as a soloist with major orchestras and perform with the all black and Latino Sphinx Symphony Orchestra. This, along with a nationally-broadcast radio appearance on the prestigious NPR and PBS broadcasted talent showcase From the Top, the 14-year-old competitive musician is making her mark as a premier cellist.

Ali-Landing began playing the violin as a toddler before deciding to switch to cello at the age of 3. Since then, she has received numerous awards and performed in several showcases including the 2013 Friends of the IPO (Illinois Philharmonic Orchestra) Rising Stars Showcase where, at age 10, she recorded the 1st movement of the Saint-Saëns Cello Concerto No.1 in A minor.

The performance of which went viral with over 53,000 YouTube views and 8 million Facebook views.

Source: This 14-Year-Old Prodigy Cellist Won A Coveted National Music Competition | BLAVITY

Beyoncé Wins Prestigious Peabody Award for ‘Lemonade’ Visual Album

Beyoncé in “Lemonade” (photo via thegrio.com)

article via thegrio.com

Beyoncé‘s “Lemonade” has just earned her a Peabody Award. This year, Beyoncé was one of seven honorees in the Entertainment category to be named to the  Peabody Awards’ inaugural Peabody 30 for her visual album Lemonade.

“Lemonade” draws from the prolific literary, musical, cinematic, and aesthetic sensibilities of black cultural producers to create a rich tapestry of poetic innovation,” organizers said in a statement. “The audacity of its reach and fierceness of its vision challenges our cultural imagination, while crafting a stunning and sublime masterpiece about the lives of women of color and the bonds of friendship seldom seen or heard in American popular culture.”

The Peabody Awards ceremony will air on June 2 on PBS and Fusion.

Source: Beyoncé wins prestigious Peabody Award for ‘Lemonade’ | theGrio