Category: Technology

Serena Williams Works With Bumble Founder Whitney Wolfe Herd to Help Women Entrepreneurs of Color Raise Capital

Tennis legend and global icon Serena Williams recently announced via Instagram she is working with Bumble app founder Whitney Wolfe Herd on creating opportunities for women entrepreneurs of color to pitch to them and receive investment capital for their business ideas via Bumble Fund. Check out her post below – you can apply through the app until this Wednesday, March 27 – or you can click here!

Dr. Warren Washington Wins 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

Dr. Warren Washington (Photo credit: Joshua Yospyn; Source: tylerprize.org)

by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (@lakinhutcherson)

According to jbhe.com, Warren Washington, Ph.D., a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, has received the 2019 Tyler Prize for environmental achievement.

The award, administered by the University of Southern California, recognizes passionate environmental science dedication across a spectrum of environmental research fields. It is the premiere international award for environmental science and is often referred to as the “Nobel for the Environment.” Dr. Washington will share the award’s $200,000 honorarium with this year’s other winner, Michael Mann.

Dr. Washington’s research focuses on creating atmospheric computer models that use fundamental laws of physics to predict future states of the atmosphere and help scientists understand climate change. His past research involved using general circulation models and the Parallel Climate Model.

Before computers, our understanding of Earth’s climate was based purely on observations and theory; scientists were simply unable to calculate the complex interactions within and between Earth’s land, ocean, and atmosphere.

Recognizing the potential of early 1960’s computers, Washington overcame extraordinary technical limitations to collaborate on the construction of one of the first-ever computer models of Earth’s climate. As computing power increased, Dr. Washington lead a cooperative effort to make additions to his atmospheric climate model, including oceans, sea ice, and rising CO2 levels.

These early models allowed scientists to predict the impact of increasing CO2, and were instrumental to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment – for which Dr. Washington shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize. His current research involves using the Community Earth System Model to study the impacts of climate change in the 21st century.

Considered a global leader in climate modeling, Dr. Washington advised six U.S. Presidents on Climate Change: Carter, Reagan, Bush Sr., Clinton, Bush Jr., and Obama. Dr. Washington’s public service was recognized by President Obama, who awarded him the 2010 National Medal of Science.

“Dr. Washington literally wrote the earliest book on climate modeling,” said Shirley Malcom, Director of Education and Human Resources at the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), of his seminal work, An Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling – co-written with Dr. Claire Parkinson.

“Dr. Washington has been a pioneering climate scientist for over 40 years and has been at the leading edge of climate model development,” said Prof. John Shepherd, former Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research. “Much of what is known about the Earth’s climate system and climate modeling is directly traceable to the lifelong work of Dr. Washington.”

Dr. Washington has served on the National Science Board as a member from 1994 to 2006 and as its chair from 2002 to 2006. In 2010, he was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Obama.

Washington holds a bachelor’s degree in physics and a master’s degree in meteorology both from Oregon State University, as well as a Ph.D. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University.

Dr. Saint Elmo Brady, 1st African American to Earn Ph.D. in Chemistry, Honored With a National Historic Chemical Landmark

Dr. Saint Elmo Brady (Credit: University of Illinois Archives)

According to jbhe.com, Dr. Saint Elmo Brady, the first African-American to receive a Ph.D. in chemistry, has been honored by the American Chemical Society with a National Historic Chemical Landmark dedicated to him on the University of Illinois campus, where Brady earned his Ph.D. in 1916.

Additionally, plaques in his memory will be mounted on the campuses of four HBCUs where he served on the faculty: Fisk University, Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Tougaloo College.

Dr. Brady was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1884. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Fisk in 1908. After graduating from Fisk, he taught for four years at Tuskegee before leaving to earn his Ph.D. at U. of Illinois. He returned to teach at Tuskegee once again, followed by positions at Tougaloo, Howard, and Fisk. He served as chair of the chemistry departments at both Howard and Fisk. Dr. Brady passed away on December 25, 1966.

“This landmark designation recognizes the outstanding accomplishments and leadership impact that Dr. Brady has had on the chemical profession,” says ACS Immediate Past President Peter K. Dorhout, who presented the plaque at the designation ceremony on February 5.

“I am proud to be an alumnus of the university that was part of his legacy — dreaming, designing and executing the creation of four outstanding and impactful chemistry programs that have each worked to ensure access to higher education and the chemical professions for so many young African-American men and women over the last century.”

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2019/02/saint-elmo-brady-honored-with-a-national-historical-chemical-landmark/

Illinois Schools and Kapor Center Launch All-Expenses Paid Illinois SMASH Academy – STEM Tech Camp for Teens From Underrepresented Groups

(photo via smash.org)

According to jbhe.comSouthern Illinois University Carbondale and the Illinois Institute of Technology have partnered with the Kapor Center to launch the Illinois SMASH Academy – a 5-week, all-expenses paid STEM summer camp for high school students from underrepresented groups in Chicago and Southern Illinois.

The Kapor Center, based in Oakland, is dedicated to leveling the playing field in tech, making the field more diverse, inclusive and better equipped to address society’s challenges and opportunities.

The Kapor Center has already established SMASH academies in California, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Michigan. According to the center’s data, every SMASH student graduates high school and 91 percent earn a college degree within five years, 31 percentage points higher than the national rate.

The new program will accept 35 ninth graders from Chicago and 35 from Southern Illinois for the first year of the academy, which will be held at the Illinois Institute of Technology. The deadline to apply is March 1.

Participating students will attend the summer camp for three years, until they graduate from high school. They will study a variety of disciplines including math, biology, chemistry, and engineering. They will also receive SAT and ACT test prep in order to prepare them for college.

“These are future leaders,” said Meera Komarraju, interim provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs at Southern Illinois University Carbondale. “Even one kid, if they are able to pursue their dreams, for their family and the part of society they live in, this can have a big ripple effect.”

Anyone interested in the program can find more information here.

Brown University Physics Professor S. James Gates Jr. to Lead the American Physical Society

Theoretical Physicist S. James Gates, Jr. (via cspan.org)

via jbhe.com

S. James Gates Jr., Ford Foundation Professor of Physics at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, has been named to the presidential line of the American Physical Society, a nonprofit organization that represents more than 55,000 physicists in higher education and the physics industry worldwide. Dr. Gates will serve as vice president in 2019, president-elect in 2020, and president in 2021.

Before joining the Brown faculty in May 2017, Dr. Gates served as a professor at the University of Maryland for 33 years. His research interests include theoretical physics, specifically the areas of supersymmetry and supergravity. He has won the National Medal of Science, which is the highest honor bestowed upon American scientists by the U.S. President.

Professor Gates is a member of the National Academy of Sciences, serves on the board of trustees of Society for Science and the Public, and was a member on the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology under President Obama. He is a co-author of the supersymmetry textbook, Superspace or One Thousand and One Lessons in Supersymmetry (Addison-Wesley, 1983).

Dr. Gates holds two bachelor’s degrees, one in mathematics and one in physics, and a Ph.D. in physics all from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/09/sylvester-james-gates-to-lead-the-american-physical-society/

Young Guru Encourages Coding Interest With $1 Million In Scholarships

Young Guru is looking to provide resources for the best of the best in the world of coding. On Wednesday (Aug. 22), the famed audio engineer for Jay Z and renowned beatsmith, announced the give away of one million dollars in scholarship funds for people of color interested in coding.

In partnership with Opportunity Hubs and Rodney Sampson, Guru will also team with the Flatiron Schoolwhich is dedicated to this field and serves as an incubator of knowledge for 10,000 people. The announcement was accompanied by a national Tech To Wealth tour, ending on Oct. 3 in Seattle.

In an interview with Highsnobiety, Guru discussed how music and technology go hand-in-hand and why creatives should take advantage of the tools that are at their disposal.

“The technologies we have, some of them are better than what we’ve imagined on Star Trek,” he said. “Those type of things, as an engineering feat, are amazing. Also, what these technologies do in terms of power, what they give to the user and to the artist in terms of creative power is just incredible.”

Source: https://www.vibe.com/2018/08/young-guru-coding-scholarships/

Lyft Teams Up With Urban League, Voto Latino, TurboVote and Others to Offer Free and Half-Price Rides on Election Day

Noam Galai/Getty Images for TechCrunch

by Doug Criss via cnn.com

Lyft is getting some help to get people in underserved communities to the polls this fall. The ride-sharing company says it’s working with community groups to offer free and reduced-price rides on November 6, the date of the midterm elections.

To increase encourage voter turnout, Lyft will offer free rides to people in underserved communities that day by working with Voto Latino, the Urban League and the National Federation of the Blind.

Lyft is also teaming up with Vote.org, Nonprofit Vote, TurboVote and others to give away 50% off promo codes to riders. Riders can get help finding their polling location through the Lyft app.

The company plans to remind riders about voter registration deadlines, give drivers voter registration handouts and offer in-office voter registration to its employees. Lyft will provide online voter information through partner organizations When We All Vote and National Voter Registration Day and encourage people to participate in early voting.

Lyft says it’s doing this because over “15 million people were registered but didn’t vote in 2016 because of transportation issues.”

Why turnout in some communities is so low

Elections are held on a work day, when time often equals money — especially if you get paid by the hour. And having a car or paying extra for public transportation to get to the polls can just add to that expense.

Being ‘”too busy” or encountering “transportation problems” were the reasons 28% of people making less than $20,000 did not vote in the 2012 presidential election, according to the U.S. Census.

Perhaps the biggest change to the electoral process in the last few years is the proliferation of Voter ID laws, which many states put in place to prevent fraud. Since 2008, 17 states have enacted laws requiring citizens to prove who they are at the polls, according to the National Conference of State Legislators. The cost of getting an ID is a hurdle for some people.

Not only do low-income people potentially lose pay when they vote, but some have to wait longer, too. The Presidential Commission on Election Administration found that 10 million people waited in line for more than 30 minutes to vote during previous presidential election cycles.

Source: https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/24/politics/lyft-election-ride-trnd/index.html

How Four Millennial Entrepreneurs Established Tupuca, Angola’s 1st Food, Grocery and Pharmaceutical Delivery Startup

Erickson Mvezi and Wilson Ganga (Photograph — Ventureburn)

by Hadassah Egbedi via venturesafrica.com

Erickson Mvezi, Wilson Ganga, Patrice Francisco and Sydney Teixeira set up Tupuca in 2015, Angola’s first food delivery platform that allows users order food from multiple restaurants straight from their smartphone. Fast forward to the present; Tupuca has added groceries and pharmaceutical delivery to their services.

Originally, the idea was to create a clothes delivery platform but legal and market issues forced them to place the project on hold. After a while, influenced by a personal need to always order food, Mvezi, who is also CEO of the startup, began a research on how food delivery platforms operated outside Angola.

“It was then that I took the model on hold, adjusted it by replacing the fashion stores with restaurants, and then started doing some feasibility studies and noticed that it would be a profitable thing, and then Tupuca was born,” Mvezi said in an interview.

“We realised that people living in Luanda had a difficult time going around to pick up food and other essentials. Tupuca has validated many assumptions in the delivery industry in Angola. Many people were sceptical about the readiness of the market,” Mvezi told Disrupt Africa.

Since its establishment four years ago, the startup only managed to get a total of $200,000 from two investors, U.S. businessman Rohit Daswani who lives in Nigeria and a local restaurant owner Pramod Asija. Prior to those investments, funding for the startup was bootstrapped.

As at Q3 2017, Tupuca had a total of 30 employees. In a bid to minimise costs, the delivery drivers(Tupuquinhas) have to bring their own motorbikes, while the startup supplies backpacks and smartphones, along with insurance. “That way it minimises our costs… and they get a cut from the commission we make from the delivery fees,” Mvezi said.

According to the founders, the initial set up phase wasn’t easy. It took six months to get their first client signed on. But once they were able to convince the first, second and third restaurant, which happens to be well known, everything got easier from there. Currently, the platform has over 100 restaurants signed up and over 20,000 users with orders increasing from 400 monthly in January 2017, to 8000 monthly in January 2018.

In 2016, Tupuca was selected as one of the top 10 startups in Angola by Seedstars World, Luanda. And last year, the startup won the Angolan leg of the global Seedstars World competition, the world’s biggest startup competition in emerging markets. Now, the startup is getting solicited by investors and entrepreneurs from neighbouring countries like Congo and Mozambique to replicate the model by franchising, something the founders have said they would consider.

For founders, Mvezi, Ganga, Francisco and Teixeira, Tupuca is unfazed by increasing competition in Angola’s food delivery space instead the startup is focused on guaranteeing quality service, setting the market trend by introducing new services and inspiring young entrepreneurs across Africa.

Source: http://venturesafrica.com/how-4-millennials-established-tupuca-angolas-first-food-grocery-and-pharmaceutical-delivery-startup/

How Senegal and its Astronomers are Helping NASA’s New Horizons Program Make Discoveries in Space

Outside Dakar, people got a look at the heavens last week through one of the New Horizons space program’s telescopes. (Credit: Tomas Munita for The New York Times)

by Jaime Yaya Barry and Dionne Searcey via nytimes.com

DAKAR, Senegal — When Salma Sylla was a little girl, she tried to find relief from Senegal’s steamy hot season by retreating to the roof of her home to sleep. Restless and overheated, she would lie awake staring at the stars.

The area where she lived outside Dakar, the capital, had no electricity, and the heavens sparkled. She tried to count the stars, realizing more shone on some nights than on others.

Ms. Sylla, now 37, was intrigued. But studying the stars in Senegal was not easy: High school courses were limited; libraries rarely had books on space; telescopes were few and expensive.

Not much has improved since Ms. Sylla was a girl; astronomy offerings are extremely limited in Senegal’s universities. But officials here hope to change that, as part of a mission to improve science, technology, engineering and math skills by bolstering the country’s university programs and building a science and research center.

The undertaking is part of “Emerging Senegal,” a broad development strategy by President Macky Sall that also includes plans for a planetarium.

The effort got a lift last week, when Senegal welcomed a team of more than three dozen scientists from the United States and France, part of NASA’s New Horizons program. The scientists fanned out across the countryside in hopes of observing the silhouette cast by an ancient chunk of rock orbiting beyond Pluto as it passed in front of a bright star.

The viewing was intended to help the team prepare for when the plutonium-powered New Horizons spacecraft passes by the object — nicknamed Ultima Thule (Beyond the Known World) — on New Year’s Eve. “This is the farthest exploration of anything in space that has ever taken place, by quite a lot,” said Alan Stern, project leader for NASA’s New Horizons mission. “We are way, way out there.”

For the scientists, coming to Senegal was a process of elimination. Most of the areas that offered the best viewing were in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. The other options — in neighboring Mali, for example — were in areas patrolled by violent extremists.

The countryside of Senegal is peaceful, parts of it do not have electricity, and many rural areas are sparsely populated. That was a bonus for the scientists, who wanted a clear sky, free of light. Still, Senegal was a risky proposition. The area is on the cusp of the rainy season, and cloudy skies threatened to block the event, which occurred early Saturday and lasted less than a second.

Scientists are still evaluating data from the viewing, but the skies turned out to be clear and they are hopeful. Senegal was an enthusiastic host. About two dozen Senegalese astronomers and scientists, including Ms. Sylla, accompanied the New Horizons team in the field and contributed to the viewing.

African countries have racked up their own space achievements. Moroccan astronomers have discovered comets, asteroids and planets outside our solar system. Ghana’s first satellite is now orbiting the earth. Students in Tunisia have organized public events to observe the sky, even though they do not have an observatory.

“Astronomy is virtually as popular in Africa as it is everywhere in the world,” said David Baratoux, the president of the African Initiative for Planetary Sciences and Space, who is based in France.

The biggest hindrance is money. The United States spends more on its space program than the value of Senegal’s entire economy. The 21 high-powered telescopes brought by the New Horizons team were nearly double the number of telescopes available in all of Senegal.

Continue reading “How Senegal and its Astronomers are Helping NASA’s New Horizons Program Make Discoveries in Space”

Lynden A. Archer, Gary S. May and Gabriel C. Ejebe to be Inducted Into the National Academy of Engineering for 2018

Engineers Lynden A. Archer, Gary S. May and Gabriel C. Ejebe

via jbhe.com

The National Academy of Engineering has 83 new members this year. The new members bring the total number of U.S. members to 2,293. The new members will be inducted in a ceremony in Washington, D.C., on September 30.

Election to the National Academy of Engineering is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to an engineer. Academy membership honors those who have made outstanding contributions to “engineering research, practice, or education, including, where appropriate, significant contributions to the engineering literature” and to “the pioneering of new and developing fields of technology, making major advancements in traditional fields of engineering, or developing/ implementing innovative approaches to engineering education.”

The academy does not disclose the racial makeup of its membership, but past JBHE research has shown that Blacks make up about one percent of the members. According to an analysis of the new membership list by JBHE, it appears that there are three Black engineers among the 83 new members. Two of the three have current academic affiliations.

Lynden A. Archer is the James Friend Family Distinguished Professor of Engineering in the Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He joined the faculty at Cornell in 2000. Professor Archer was recognized by the academy for “advances in nanoparticle-polymer hybrid materials and in electrochemical energy storage technologies.” Dr. Archer is a graduate of the University of Southern California, where he majored in chemical engineering. He holds a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Stanford University.

Gary S. May is the chancellor of the University of California, Davis. He became the seventh chancellor of the university in August 2017. Previously, he was dean of the College of Engineering at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta. Dr. May was selected to the academy for his “contributions to semiconductor manufacturing research and for innovations in educational programs for underrepresented groups in engineering. A native of St. Louis, Professor May is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he majored in electrical engineering. He holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering and computer science from the University of California, Berkeley.

The third African American in this year’s cohort of new members is Gabriel C. Ejebe, the senior project manager for energy trading and markets for Open Access Technology International in Minneapolis.

Source: https://www.jbhe.com/2018/07/three-african-american-men-to-be-inducted-into-the-national-academy-of-engineering/