Tag: Northwestern University

Northwestern Professor and Poet Natasha Trethewey Wins the $250,000 Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities

Natasha Trethewey (photo via creativeloafing.com)

via jbhe.com

Natasha Trethewey, the Board of Trustees Professor of English at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, has been selected to receive the Heinz Award in the Arts and Humanities. The award comes with an unrestricted $250,000 prize. Teresa Heinz, chair of the Heinz Family Foundation, stated that Professor Trethewey’s “writing captivates us with its power and its ability to personalize and fearlessly illuminate stories of our past as a people and a nation. We honor her not only for her body of work, but for her contributions as a teacher and mentor dedicated to inspiring the next generation of writers.”

Professor Trethewey is the author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning poetry collection, Native Guard (Houghton Mifflin, 2006) and three other poetry collections. She is also the author of Beyond Katrina: A Meditation on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (University of Georgia Press, 2010). Professor Trethewey served two terms as poet laureate of the United States. A native of Gulfport, Mississippi, Professor Trethewey is a graduate of the University of Georgia. She holds a master’s degree from Hollins University in Roanoke, Virginia, and a master of fine arts degree from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Professor Trethewey will be honored with three other Heinz Award winners at a ceremony in Pittsburgh on October 18.

Source: Natasha Trethewey Wins the $250,000 Heinz Award in Arts and Humanities : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

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.
Continue reading “Eight African Americans Earn Truman Scholarships for Graduate Study in 2017”

Two Black Scholars, Dr. Scott V. Edwards and Dr. Jennifer A. Richeson, Elected Members of the National Academy of Sciences

nas-feature-thumbThis year the National Academy of Sciences elected 84 new members from the United States. While the academy does not release data on the race or ethnicity of its members, after an analysis of the list of new members by JBHE, it appears two of the new members are African Americans.

Dr. Scott V. Edwards
Dr. Scott V. Edwards

Scott V. Edwards is the Alexander Agassiz Professor of Organismic and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard University. He is also the curator of birds for the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard. A native of Hawaii, Professor Edwards is a magna cum laude graduate of Harvard University. He earned a Ph.D. in zoology at the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Edwards has been on the faculty at Harvard University since 2003.

Jennifer A. Richeson
Dr. Jennifer A. Richeson (photo via wikipedia.com)

Jennifer A. Richeson holds the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Endowed Chair in psychology at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. She also serves as professor of African American studies at the university. Professor Richeson has been on the faculty at Northwestern since 2005. Previously, she taught at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Dr. Richeson is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a Ph.D. in social psychology from Harvard University.

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is a non-profit organization in the United States. “Established by an Act of Congress, signed by President Abraham Lincoln in 1863, the NAS is charged with providing independent, objective advice to the nation on matters related to science and technology.” “The National Academy of Sciences charter commits the Academy to provide scientific advice to the government “whenever called upon” by any government department. 

As a national academy, new members of the organization are elected annually by current members, based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Election to the National Academy is one of the highest honors in U.S. science.

article via jbhe.com (additions by Lori Lakin Hutcherson)

Conviction Review Unit Spearheaded by D.A. Kenneth Thompson Makes Brooklyn Lead N.Y. State in Inmate Exonerations for 2014

New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, left, and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson speak to reporters during a news conference at police headquarters in New York, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. Authorities in New York City say they've arrested six people and charged them with selling 155 guns transported from Georgia to an undercover officer in Brooklyn. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)
New York City Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, left, and Brooklyn District Attorney Kenneth Thompson speak to reporters during a news conference at police headquarters in New York, Wednesday, April 30, 2014. (AP Photo/Seth Wenig)

Brooklyn County is leading New York State in inmate exonerations for 2014 thus far, the New York Daily News reports.  Of the 11 inmates cleared of criminal wrongdoing this year, Kings County has eight of them, all spearheaded by new boro D.A. Kenneth Thompson’s 13-person team. Thompson has made exonerations one of his offce’s key focuses.

“I am determined to get to the bottom of these cases,” Thompson, who defeated longtime D.A. Charles Hynes in last year’s city elections, told the Daily News. Each of the men cleared had spent two decades behind bars.

To that end, he has made great use of his Conviction Review Unit, which is currently looking at 57 questionable homicide prosecutions. The unit has cleared four defendants so far, Thompson added.  D.A.’s in the other boroughs say they don’t plan on launching widescale exoneration units. Though his predecessor started the unit, Thompson has expanded it. He allocated $1.1 million for the unit and plans to broaden its focus once its caseload decreases. Legal authorities say they are impressed by his work.

“It’s absolutely unprecedented,” said Rob Warren, director at the Center on Wrongful Convictions at Northwestern University. “I hope it lives up to the expectations and becomes a model to the nation.”

“We hope that by the end of this review, we can learn some lessons and shed some light on how these cases come about,” Thompson added.

According to experts, the state’s high number of wrongful convictions stems from the mass homicides from the crack epidemic of the 1980s.

article by Hannington Dia via newsone.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

Born On This Day in 1906: Willa Brown, First Black Female Aviator to Acquire Pilot’s License

Willa Brown
 (Photo: Courtesy of Smithsonian Institution)

Willa Brown, born on Jan. 21, 1906, was one of the pioneer figures in the world of African-American aviators. She was the first Black female officer in the Civil Air Patrol and the first Black woman to hold a commercial pilot’s license in the United States.

Brown was the coordinator of war-training service for the Civil Aeronautics Authority and later was a member of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Women’s Advisory Board.

A native of Glasgow, Kentucky, Brown earned a degree from Indiana State Teachers College and a master’s degree from the Aeronautical University in Chicago. She later earned a master’s in business administration from Northwestern University. She and her husband, Cornelius Coffey, formed the Coffey School of Aeronautics to train African-American pilots. Brown retired in 1971 as a schoolteacher. She died of a stroke in 1992.

article by Jonathan P. Hicks via bet.com