Super Soaker Inventor Lonnie Johnson Takes Aim at Funding High School Robotics Teams

Discbots at FRC 2017 World Championships (photo via Facebook.com)

by Gabe Gutierrez via nbcnews.com

He created one of the most popular toys on the planet — but the inventor of the “Super Soaker” isn’t done making a splash. Lonnie Johnson is now focusing on new battery technology, but his most rewarding pursuit may be sharing his knowledge with a new generation of engineers.

The mild-mannered Johnson grew up in Mobile, Alabama at the height of the civil rights movement. “There was a lot of fear, a lot of anxiety, a lot of stress,” he remembered. “When I was a child the ‘White-only’ bathrooms were still very prevalent.” He turned that fear into motivation — and a career as a NASA rocket scientist.

But his “a-ha” moment came unexpectedly while he was designing a water pump. He had built testing the pump out in a bathroom when he noticed something.”I thought to myself, ‘Geez, this would make a neat water gun!'” he said. “At that point I decided to put my engineering hat on and design a high performance water gun.” That idea would change his life.

He built the first prototype for what became “The Super Soaker.” The toy, which first went on sale in the early 1990’s, eventually topped $1 billion in sales. Johnson also went on to come up with the NERF gun and other toys. “It’s interesting that the Super Soaker gets so much attention,” he said. “I really like to think of myself as a serious engineer!”

Now, he’s getting serious about giving back. His nonprofit helps fund high school robotics teams. One of them — the DISCbots from the DeKalb International Student Center — is made up of refugees from nine countries. Kalombo Mukuca fled the Central African Republic a year ago. “Even babies — they kill them,” he said. “So we don’t want to get killed.” Emanuel Tezera came to the United States from Ethiopia. “I want to fix something in this world,” he said.

Incredibly, in just its second year, the DISCbots qualified for the world-wide robotics competition in Texas. For Johnson, this idea may be his most rewarding. “If I can have a positive impact,” he said, “clearly it’s something I want to do.”

Source: Super Soaker Inventor Takes Aim at Funding High School Robotics Teams – NBC News

Gregory Robinson Named Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry

Professor of Chemistry Gregory H. Robinson (photo via jsu.edu)

article via jbhe.com

Gregory H. Robinson, the University of Georgia Foundation Distinguished Professor of Chemistry at the University of Georgia, has been named a fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Founded more than 175 years ago, the Royal Society of Chemistry is the largest organization in Europe for advancing the chemical sciences.

The Royal Society of Chemistry partners with industry and academia, promotes collaboration and innovation, advises governments on policy and promotes the talent, information and ideas that lead to great advances in science.

Professor Robinson’s research focuses on the synthesis, structure, and stabilization of compounds containing multiple bonds between heavier main group elements. “To be named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry is a tremendous honor, and to now be associated with some of the world’s most notable chemists is equally humbling,” Professor Robinson said. “This international honor is a testament to the gifted students and creative colleagues that have been a part of our research team over the years.”

Professor Robinson is a graduate of Jacksonville State University in Alabama. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

Source: Gregory Robinson Named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

BLACK HISTORY: Sarah Bailey Center in GA Named for Leader Who Organized Black Girl Scout Troops in 1940s

Educator and Missionary Sarah Bailey (photo via blackamericaweb.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson (follow @lakinhutcherson)

Sarah Randolph Bailey, born 1885 in to freed slaves, was a longtime educator and missionary who saw the value in troubled young girls and volunteered her time to provide guidance.

After earning her teaching degree and working at a rehabilitation and detention center for girls in Macon, Georgia, Bailey had the vision to organize young women for the Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Girl Reserves group.

In 1935, Bailey gathered informal groups of Black girls and started giving them the opportunity to learn life skills and lessons, much like their white counterparts in the Girl Scouts. After organizing some 15 Girl Reserve troops in Georgia, Girl Scouts, U.S.A. took notice and invited Bailey to organize the first Black Girl Scouts troop in Macon. (The Girl Scouts started integrating troops in 1913 and the first African-American troop formed in 1917.) Bailey’s group was formally introduced as official Scouts in 1948.

“I shall be rewarded on Earth according to the way I’ve lived. To me, a healthy body, sound mind, and equal opportunities mean more than wealth; and happiness and success are the products of our gifts to the world and of our fairness and sincerity to ourselves and others.” — Sarah Randolph Bailey

Bailey was also named the chairwoman for the Macon Girl Scout’s Central Committee and earned the “Thanks” badge, the Scouts’ highest honor given to an adult. In 1961, a permanent campsite was named in her honor. She also worked as a district and council leader before passing in 1972. In 1994, The Macon Girl Scouts Center was renamed the Sarah Bailey Service Center. She was also the subject of a dedicated exhibit at Macon’s Tubman Museum in 2014.

A video about Bailey’s life and service to helping shape and empower young women can be seen here.

Original source: Little Known Black History Fact: Sarah Bailey | Black America Web

PBS to Air Documentary on Iconic Civil Rights Leader John Lewis this February

john-lewis

Congressman John Lewis (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Ny Magee via eurweb.com

Georgia congressman John Lewis is finally getting what many believe to be the TV treatment he deserves. The civil rights icon is the focus of a forthcoming new documentary set to air on PBS.

Get In The Way: The Journey of John Lewis” aims to tell the story of the civil rights pioneer, who led a 26-hour sit-in for gun control, marched with Dr. King, challenged political houses and continues to fight for human rights, per Jetmag.com.

According to the film’s website, it offers a “highly personalized narrative of an epic chapter in U.S. history.”  The biographical documentary will air on PBS as part of the network’s Black History Month programming.

“He is the moving, roaring protector of the rights afforded to every person in this nation. Get in the Way arrives at the perfect time,” actress and activist Alfre Woodard is quoted as saying in the documentary highlights.

“Get In The Way” airs on Feb. 10.

To read full article, go to: http://www.eurweb.com/2017/01/john-lewis-pbs-air-documentary-iconic-civil-rights-leader/#

High School Soccer Player Reuben Nsemoh Awakes From Severe Coma Speaking Fluent Spanish

georgia-teen-coma-spanish

Teen Reuben Nsemoh (CREDIT: Fox News)

article by  via vibe.com

Reuben Nsemoh was unable to speak Spanish until he woke up from his coma.  Nsemoh, who attends Brookwood High School in Georgia and has 3.6 GPA, is the goalkeeper for his soccer team. During a game last month, the 16-year-old athlete was kicked in the head by a player when diving for the ball, which resulted in a coma for three weeks.

The teen jock, who was never able to speak Spanish before the accident, gives credit to his friends who always spoke the language around him. “My friends would always talk to me in Spanish and would teach me,” he said.

Nsemoh said he hopes to return to soccer as soon as he is fully recovered. His coach refuses to put him back on the field unless he wears a helmet. Recovering at home he expressed how hard life is for him since the accident. “Sometimes I feel like I’m not here, but I am,” Nsemoh told WSB Radio.

The incident has been extremely hard on Nsemoh’s family as well, due to an extensive medical bill of $200,000. Hopefully, their GoFundMe will aid in some of the medical costs.

Housing Authority CEO Zsa Zsa Heard Hires Four Georgia Teens On the Spot When They Ask for Jobs to Avoid Gangs

CREDIT: Zsa Zsa Heard/ Facebook

article by Shenequa Golding via vibe.com

Four Georgia teens are receiving a virtual standing ovation from the Internet after Zsa Zsa Heard praised their tenacity on Facebook. The LaGrange Housing Authority CEO uploaded a photo of the young men after they walked into her office and asked for a job to avoid gangs.

Heard spoke with Fox 32 and recounted the entire story. After they walked into her office asking for a job Heard asked why they wanted to work for her. “We do not want to be in a gang!” they said. She then inquired if they had been approached by a gang and the teens replied with a resounding yes.

Determined not to allow these young men to fall peril to gang life, Heard hired them on the spot. Since Wednesday (July 27) the young men have been keeping busy by passing out mail, working in the community garden and helping out in the kitchen.

Source: Four Georgia Teens Ask For A Job To Avoid Gangs And Get Hired Immediately

Dr. Robert J. Jones Hired as New Chancellor for University of Illinois’ Flagship Campus

University at Albany Chancellor Dr. Robert Jones (photo via www.albany.edu)

University of Illinois Chancellor Dr. Robert Jones (photo via http://www.albany.edu)

article by David Mercer via abcnews.go.com

The University of Illinois has hired a top administrator from a State University of New York campus who has a background in agricultural research to be the new chancellor at the Urbana-Champaign campus.

State University of New York at Albany President Robert J. Jones was named chancellor on Tuesday, pending formal approval by the University of Illinois board of trustees on Thursday. He will take over the university’s flagship campus after a period of turmoil that saw the last permanent chancellor resign under pressure and alleged mistreatment of players by a football coach.

Jones took over at Albany-SUNY after a period of turnover and low morale, which faculty leaders there say he handled well.

Jones is the first black chancellor of the Urbana-Champaign campus and called his new role his “dream job.”

“I have the land-grant mission in my blood. I am a product of it. It is what brought me into higher education, from a sharecropping family in Georgia,” the 65-year-old said in the release.

University of Illinois President Timothy Killeen, who came to the university from SUNY and says he knew Jones well, praised his work since taking over at Albany-SUNY in 2013 in developing the campus and linking it to the community around it.

“It comes down to, Robert checks so many of the boxes,” Killeen said in an interview. “His background in academia, in the Big Ten, agronomy. … His leadership building out a research university in Albany.”

Jones, who spent 34 years at the University of Minnesota, will be paid $649,000 a year but with no package of potential bonuses, according to university spokesman Tom Hardy. The last permanent chancellor, Phyllis Wise, was paid $550,000 plus a $100,000 retention bonus that she eventually agreed not to take after her resignation.

Jones will lead a campus with about 46,000 students, 11,400 employees and an annual operating budget of $2 billion. He also will be the vice president of the University of Illinois system, which also includes campuses in Chicago and Springfield and a total of more than 80,000 students.

Jones earned a bachelor’s degree in agronomy from Fort Valley State College, a master’s degree in crop physiology from the University of Georgia and a doctorate in crop physiology from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

To read full article, go to: http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/chancellor-university-illinois-flagship-campus-40698680