Tag: Cornell University

Shariah Harris, 19, Becomes 1st  Black Woman to Play in U.S. Polo’s Highest League

Shariah Harris just became the first black woman to play high-goal polo, the top tier of U.S. polo. (Photo credit: KERRY MCCANN)

by Taryn Finley via huffingtonpost.com

A 19-year-old is making history and disrupting the wealthy white male-dominated sport of polo at the same time. On June 30, Shariah Harris of Philadelphia became the first black woman to play high-goal polo, the top tier of polo in the U.S. This summer, the Cornell University sophomore hit the field at the Tony Greenwich Polo Club in Connecticut to play for the Postage Stamp Farm team in the Silver Cup tournament. Harris told HuffPost that she’s excited about this barrier-breaking opportunity. “It’s great. Everything’s going by really fast, actually so it’s been great. This is something I’ve always wished I could do but never thought would happen. It’s pretty amazing.”

Harris became interested in the sport at age 8 or 9 after her mom took a wrong turn while driving. The wrong turn led them to grounds where other black children were riding horses. Harris and her mom were intrigued and found that the stables were run by a non-profit called Work to Ride. The program allows underprivileged inner-city kids to work in the stables and care for the horses. In return, the kids learn about horsemanship and equine sports. “As a mother of three children on a single income, I saw it as an opportunity to make their lives better,” her mom, Sharmell Harris, told the Hartford Courant. “Instead of a soccer mom, I became a barn mom.”

Shariah Harris (far right) and her team. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SHARIAH HARRIS)

Harris would report to the stables early in the morning to feed the horses, clean the barns, do maintenance work and other tasks. Though she admits that she wasn’t that good at riding in the beginning, she found a sense of comfort being on the horses. At 12, she joined the organization’s team and found a passion in polo. She would watch videos of the best players in the world and aspire to play at that level. So she incorporated some of their moves into her sport and challenged herself by playing with the boys of the program.

She carried her practice into college and became a force on Cornell’s polo team. In 2016 Harris was named the Polo Training Foundation’s 2016 National Interscholastic Player of the Year. The animal science major helped lead Cornell’s arena polo team into the finals this year. She credits much of her success to Work to Ride. Through Work to Ride, Harris was able to travel to play in different cities in the country as well as Nigeria and Argentina. While in Argentina in December, the teen met the owner of the Postage Stamp Farm team, Annabelle Garrett.

Continue reading “Shariah Harris, 19, Becomes 1st  Black Woman to Play in U.S. Polo’s Highest League”

BLACK HISTORY MONTH: Cornell University Makes 19th Century Black America Photo Archive Available to Public


article via theguardian.com

Cornell University in New York has made a priceless photographic archive available to the public.  It shows the lives of black Americans as they rose through society after the antebellum era. To see all photographs, go to: Loewentheil Collection of African American Photographs

To see original article, go to: A taste of freedom: black America in the 19th century – in pictures | Art and design | The Guardian

African-American College Students Garner a Record Seven Rhodes Scholarships for 2017

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(L to R) Cameron D. Clarke, Aryn A. Frazier, Christian E. Nattiel, Olivia A. Klevorn, Aaron C. Robertson, Ahmed M. Ahmed, and Caylin L. Moore (photos via jbhe.com)

article via jbhe.com (additional reporting by Peggy Terry)

Recently, the Rhodes Trust announced the 32 American winners of Rhodes Scholarships for graduate study at Oxford University in England. Being named a Rhodes Scholar is considered among the highest honors that can be won by a U.S. college student.

The scholarships were created in 1902 by the will of Cecil Rhodes, an industrialist who made a vast fortune in colonial Africa. According to the will of Rhodes, applicants must have “high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership, and physical vigor.”

This year, about 2,500 students applied to be Rhodes Scholars. More than 880 students were endorsed by 311 college or university for consideration for a Rhodes Scholarship. Some 230 applicants were named finalists. Then, two Rhodes Scholars were selected from each of 16 districts across the United States. The Rhodes Trust pays all tuition and fees for scholarship winners to study at Oxford. A stipend for living and travel expenses is also provided.

In 1907 Alain LeRoy Locke, later a major philosopher and literary figure of the Harlem Renaissance, was selected as a Rhodes Scholar to study at Oxford University. It would be more than 50 years later, in 1962, until another African American would be named a Rhodes Scholar. Other African Americans who have won Rhodes Scholarships include Randall Kennedy of Harvard Law School, Kurt Schmoke, former mayor of Baltimore, and Franklin D. Raines, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and former CEO of Fannie Mae. In 1978 Karen Stevenson of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill was the first African-American woman selected as a Rhodes Scholar.

The Rhodes Trust does not publicize the race or ethnicity of scholarship winners. But it appears that this year seven of the 32 Rhodes winners are African Americans. This is the most African American Rhodes Scholars in history.

Following are brief biographies of the African American winners:

Cameron D. Clarke is a senior at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He is the fourth Howard student to win a Rhodes Scholarship. Clarke is majoring in community health education and biology. He is the news editor of the student newspaper at Howard and serves as an intern for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology at the U.S. House of Representatives. Clarke plans to study for a master’s degree in primary health care at Oxford.

Aryn A. Frazier is a senior at the University of Virginia, where she is double majoring in politics and African American and African studies. Frazier is president of the Black Student Alliance at the university. Frazier, a resident of Laurel, Maryland, plans to study for a master’s degree in comparative politics at Oxford.

Christian E. Nattiel from Madeira Beach, Florida, is a senior at the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York. At West Point, Nattiel is double-majoring in mathematical sciences and philosophy and is a member of the academy’s handball team. At Oxford, Nattiel will study for master’s degrees in comparative social policy and public policy.

Olivia A. Klevorn is a senior at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. A native of Chicago, Klevorn is majoring in anthropology. At Yale, Klevorn is the director of the Heritage Theatre Ensemble and president of a student-run poetry association. She will study for a Ph.D. in socio-legal studies at Oxford.

Aaron C. Robertson of Redford, Michigan, is a senior at Princeton University in New Jersey. He is majoring in Italian and focuses his research on Afro-Italian literature. At Princeton, he is the co-editor-in-chief of the Nassau Literary Review. Robertson plans to pursue a master’s degree in modern languages at Oxford.

Ahmed M. Ahmed is a biology major at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. He is a resident of Rochester, Minnesota. His research is focused on the development of new synthetic strategies for producing polymers. He is the son of immigrants from Somalia. Ahmed will study for a master’s degree in organic and medical chemistry at Oxford.

Caylin L. Moore is a member of the football team at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. A resident of Carson, California, Moore is majoring in economics at TCU. He was raised in poverty and was homeless. His father was convicted to a life sentence for murder. Moore is the founder of an organization of student athletes who encourage children from disadvantaged groups to attend college. He will study public policy as a Rhodes Scholar.

To read full article, go to: https://www.jbhe.com/2016/12/a-record-year-for-african-american-rhodes-scholars/

Business Titan Robert F. Smith Named Carnegie Hall’s 1st African-American Chairman

Robert F. Smith, 53, elected chairman of the Carnegie Hall Board of Directors on Thursday. (Credit: Chester Higgins Jr./The New York Times)

article by Michael Cooper and David Gelles via nytimes.com

Robert F. Smith, the private equity titan who was named the richest African-American man by Forbes last year after making a fortune in software, also has a quirky musical side.

He owns one of Elton John’s old pianos. He hired John Legend and Seal — and a youth orchestra — to perform at his wedding last summer on the Amalfi Coast. His youngest sons, Hendrix and Legend, are named after Jimi Hendrix and Mr. Legend. And he bought and refurbished a retreat in the Rocky Mountains that was beloved by jazz musicians, including Duke Ellington.

On Thursday, Mr. Smith’s intersecting worlds of money, philanthropy and music came together when he was named the chairman of Carnegie Hall, the nation’s most prestigious concert stage. He became the first African-American to hold the post at a time when diversity at leading cultural organizations lags — a recent survey of New York’s cultural institutions found that nearly 78 percent of their board members were white.

“Carnegie Hall is perfectly placed to champion not only artistic excellence, but also access and exposure to the best music in the world,” Mr. Smith said in a statement.

The election of Mr. Smith, 53, who played an old upright piano while growing up in Denver and was told that with enough practice he might make it to Carnegie one day, brings to an end a low moment at the hall. The billionaire Ronald O. Perelman served as its chairman for less than a year before stepping down last fall after he alienated the board by clashing with the hall’s executive and artistic director, Clive Gillinson.

After shunning the spotlight for years, Mr. Smith, who is based in Austin, Tex., where the private equity firm he founded, Vista Equity Partners, has its headquarters, has recently taken a more public role — starting a foundation, the Fund II Foundation; giving commencement addresses; and donating money. His alma mater, Cornell University, renamed its School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering for him earlier this year after he announced a $50 million gift.

Unlike Carnegie’s most recent chairmen, Mr. Perelman and Sanford I. Weill, the former Citigroup chairman, Mr. Smith does not come from the world of New York finance, and he has not been a major fixture on the city’s social scene — he is more known for flying in to attend events in the city and then flying out. But his work outside the city with investors and tech firms could provide entree to new potential donors in the coming years.

Continue reading “Business Titan Robert F. Smith Named Carnegie Hall’s 1st African-American Chairman”

Columbia University Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw Honored by the American Bar Foundation

Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw (photo via twitter.com)
Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw (photo via twitter.com)

article via jbhe.com

Kimberlé W. Crenshaw, a professor of law at Columbia University and a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles, will receive the Outstanding Scholar Award from the Fellows of the American Bar Foundation.

Professor Crenshaw is the author of many books including Say Her Name: Resisting Police Brutality Against Black Women (African American Policy Forum, 2015).

Professor Crenshaw is a graduate of Cornell University and Harvard Law School. She earned a master’s degree in law at the University of Wisconsin.

Billionaire Robert F. Smith Gives $50 Million to Cornell Engineering School

Vista Equity Partners CEO Robert F. Smith (Image: File)
Vista Equity Partners CEO Robert F. Smith (Image via black enterprise.com)

article by Samara Lynn via blackenterprise.com

Robert F. Smith, the founder, chairman and CEO of Vista Equity Partners, made a $50 million commitment to Cornell University’s School Of Engineering, his alma mater.

His gift is being reciprocated. The school will be renamed the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at Cornell. The donation will also fund the Robert Frederick Smith Tech Scholars Program. The program will focus on providing financial aid, particularly for minority and female students.

“Robert’s generosity will not only elevate our School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but it will ensure it becomes more accessible than ever,” said Lance Collins, the Joseph Silbert Dean of Cornell Engineering. “I believe an affordable educational path from engineering in Ithaca to Cornell Tech in New York City, for those who wouldn’t otherwise be offered such an opportunity, will produce some of the sharpest minds in engineering and technology. I’m thankful Robert shares this vision and is making it a reality.”

Smith, who is No. 1 on the BE100s Private Equity list, was also recently listed on the Forbes 400—the magazine’s yearly list of the 400 richest Americans. He is the only African American male on the list. Under his leadership, Vista Equity Partners has become one of the world’s most successful investment houses. He received a degree in chemical engineering from Cornell in 1985.

To read more, go to: http://www.blackenterprise.com/news/billionaire-robert-f-smith-gives-50-million-to-cornell-engineering-school/

Jacqueline Davidson Promoted to Director of Football Administration for New York Jets

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The New York Jets have promoted Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration. (Photo Credit: NY Jets)

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The Jets announced Saturday that they have promoted longtime executive Jacqueline Davidson to director of football administration.

Davidson, who is African-American, now is one of the highest-ranking women in an NFL front office.

Davidson — the team’s lead negotiator of player contracts — will be responsible for managing the team’s salary cap and player budget, along with forecasting salary-cap trends in the NFL and ensuring that the Jets are compliant with the NFL collective-bargaining agreement.

“Jackie has served as an integral part of our football administration efforts under Rod Graves this offseason,” general manager Mike Maccagnan said of Davidson, now in her ninth season with the organization. “She’s bright and talented and she has earned this opportunity.”

Davidson first worked with the NFL in 2004 as a legal intern with the NFL management council. Before joining the Jets, she worked as staff attorney for the U.S. District Court in Alabama.

Davidson earned her juris doctorate from Cornell in 2005 and her bachelor of arts in economics from Davidson in 2002. She also is a member of the New York State Bar.

article by Kimberely A. Martin via newsday.com

Festus Ohan, 22, Overcomes Troubled Teen Foster Care Years to Finish College and Earn Acceptance to 7 Top Medical Schools

festusohanHe led a tough life. The odds were stacked against him and, at one time, it did seem that he wouldn’t be able to make it through high school. He, and almost everyone around him, just couldn’t imagine seeing him succeed.

But that is exactly what Festus Ohan, 22, did: he succeeded.  Festus spent his teen years in foster care. He remembers the day his father left him.

“I went to bed in tears, crying, praying, [and] asking God ‘Why did this happen to me?’” Festus says. Over the years, he was passed on from one family to another, so many of them in fact, that even he isn’t sure about the exact number – seven or eight is his best estimate.

All he knows is that the time he spent in the foster care system “was the worst time” in his life. It didn’t help with his education either.

“Early on in high school, I got in trouble for fighting a lot,” Festus says, “and I was in a pre-expulsion contract.”

His ultimate dream was to become a doctor. But the life he was living almost made it impossible for him to keep that dream alive.

Those that were actually supposed to encourage him were the ones that were discouraging him. “Constantly hearing my foster parents throw statistics at me, about there’s only a 1 percent chance that a foster kid will even graduate college, let alone attend professional school, kind of impacted me in a way,” Festus says.

That’s all changed now. Festus is about to graduate from University of California, Riverside with a degree in neuroscience. He’s so good at his studies that, so far, he has been accepted to 7 medical schools all over the country: Northwestern University, Columbia University, Cornell University, University of California, San Francisco, University of Houston, University of California, Los Angeles, and University of Southern California.

But Festus has made up his mind; he’s headed to UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine where he has been offered a fellowship that covers all expenses.

“I actually start Aug. 4, so I’ll have like a 6-week break,” Festus says, “but I’m excited for the next step in my journey.”

article by Liku Zelleke via themedicalblog.net

Here Comes Another One! New York Teen Kwasi Enin Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Colleges

Kwasi Enin

Three days ago, Good Black News shared an article about Washington D.C. wunderkind Avery Coffey, who was accepted to five Ivy League colleges.  Today, 17-year-old New Yorker, violist and aspiring physician Kwasi Enin went one better – make that three better – and earned acceptance to all EIGHT Ivys!

According to usatoday.com, the acceptances began rolling in over the past few months, and by late last week when he opened an e-mail from Harvard, Enin found he’d been accepted to every one. School district officials provided scanned copies of acceptance letters from all eight on Monday. Yale confirmed that it was holding a spot for Enin.

The feat is extremely rare, say college counselors — few students even apply to all eight, because each seeks different qualities in their freshman class. Almost none are invited to attend them all. The Ivy League colleges are among the nation’s most elite.

“My heart skipped a beat when he told me he was applying to all eight,” says Nancy Winkler, a guidance counselor at William Floyd High School, where Enin attends class. In 29 years as a counselor, she says, she’s never seen anything like this. “It’s a big deal when we have students apply to one or two Ivies. To get into one or two is huge. It was extraordinary.”

For most of the eight schools, acceptance comes rarely, even among the USA’s top students. At the top end, Cornell University admitted only 14% of applicants. Harvard accepted just 5.9%.

Continue reading “Here Comes Another One! New York Teen Kwasi Enin Accepted to All 8 Ivy League Colleges”

Black College Students Launch Artistic Social Media Campaigns About Race

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Instead of growing Afros, staging riots or organizing sit-ins, this generation of protesters are crafting witty digital projects to rally themselves.  Back in November, several black students at the University of Michigan launched a social media campaign on Twitter, using the hashtag #BBUM, an acronym for “being black at the University of Michigan,” to describe their unique and often irritating experiences as black students at a predominantly white school. Among their frustrations were the usual: hearing how they gained admission because of affirmative action policies; not being “black enough” because they achieved excellent grades and “sounded white”; having to be the spokesmen and -women for black America in history class; or, on the other side of that spectrum, being ostracized because they weren’t acclimating to their new settings fast enough and instead were choosing to be rowdy, urban or culturally demonstrative on campus.

News of the campaign spread, and black students from peer schools like Cornell University and Duke University adopted the idea to articulate their own sentiments. But as is the norm for high-achieving students, these digital protests could no longer be contained in 140 characters and are now evolving beyond tweets. The black students at Harvard and Georgetown universities are kicking up the effort a few notches and incorporating a visual element into their respective demonstrations.

At Harvard, several black students took pictures of one another holding up signs with statements and questions that have been posed to them by their white peers (and, at times, by other black students). Their campaign is hosted on Tumblr and is promoted and shared using the #itooamharvard hashtag. There’s also an accompanying video production about the campaign that will premiere on March 7. The visuals are compelling narratives and all relate to race:

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