Tuesday, May 24, 2011
FAMU Associate Professor Merlin R. Langley Accepted into the Management Development Program at Harvard
Florida A&M University (FAMU) associate professor and chair of the Department of Social Work Merlin R. Langley has been accepted to the Management Development Program (MDP) at Harvard. The program is scheduled for June 5 through June 17.
Langley, who serves as the coordinator of the Human Behavior and Social Environment sequence in the master’s of social work program in community based social service administration at FAMU, has held faculty appointments at Roxbury Community College, Lesley College and Harvard Medical School.
“I am pleased to have been selected for this prestigious management development program,” said Langley. “The opportunity to be involved in the MDP will permit me to assist the FAMU administration in moving forward important initiatives related to the historic mission of the University. I am confident that my participation in the MDP will enable me to enhance my leadership and academic management skills that will benefit both my department and our University.”
The Management Development Program prepares administrators to become better leaders of their respective units, departments or colleges, as well as a more valuable contributor to broader institutional goals. Through real-world case studies, small group discussions and interactive presentations, MDP teaches individuals to think beyond their own discipline and lead in ways that support larger institutional objectives.
Langley’s education and training in the social and behavioral sciences are interdisciplinary in nature. He has taught over the past two decades undergraduate and graduate students from diverse background in several disciplines. His research interests are in the areas of leadership development, higher education and social work administration, civic engagement, and health and mental health disparities among racial and ethnic minorities. He has been the principal investigator of a number of state and federal grants and has written several refereed journal articles and book chapters in the abovementioned areas.
Langley earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from City University of New York - The City College; master’s degree in counseling and guidance from Boston University; certificate of advanced graduate study in counseling psychology and family systems therapy from Northeastern University; a master’s degree and Ph.D. in clinical psychology with a minor in social work from The Florida State University; and post-doctoral clinical fellowships at Harvard Community Health Plan and Harvard Medical School.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
The Florida Conference of Black State Legislators recently elected three Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumni to top leadership positions within the organization.
Rep. Mia Jones, D-Jacksonville, is the newly elected chairwoman of the Black Caucus. Sen. Arthenia Joyner, D-Tampa, is the new vice-chairwoman of the Caucus and Rep. Alan Williams, D-Tallahassee, was elected treasurer.
As Jones, who earned both her bachelor’s degree in accounting in 1991 and master’s degree in business administration in 1992 from FAMU, takes the helm, she is expected to focus on a number of Caucus priorities, including wide discrepancies in the areas of health care and high school graduation rates facing the African-American community. The Caucus also remains committed to addressing disproportionate incarceration and high pregnancy rates affecting black youth.
“I will be a strong advocate for our Caucus and for the residents throughout Florida that we represent,” Jones said.
Democratic Leader Pro Temp Joyner, an attorney who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, will join a leadership team that has identified a number of issues affecting the African-American community. Joyner earned her bachelor’s degree in 1964 from FAMU and her juris doctor from the FAMU College of Law in 1968.
Williams, who graduated from FAMU with a bachelor’s degree in 1998 and a master’s in business administration in 2003 from the FAMU School of Business and Industry, was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in November 2008.
Williams was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in District 8, encompassing parts of Leon and Gadsden Counties. Williams serves on the Energy and Utilities Policy Committee, Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee, the Joint Committee of Public Council Oversight, State Affairs Committee and the Senate Redistricting Subcommittee.
The Florida Legislative Black Caucus consists of 24 African-American state senators and representatives. As a not-for-profit organization, one of its goals is to champion legislation as well as community issues that affect the less fortunate constituents its serves.
Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumnae Lt. Col. Eurydice S. (Stephens) Stanley returned to Tallahassee to present the Army ROTC Rattler Battalion commissioning address. The speech provided the unique opportunity to consider what she would have said to herself 20 years ago when she was commissioned as an officer in the United States Army.
“There were so many lessons learned that I became overwhelmed,” said Stanley. “I asked some of my friends what they would say and realized that many of their responses had been given to me as a student by professors and mentors. I just didn’t realize the importance at the time. I wanted to give an address that would help the officers recognize what they had already been given by the caring instructors and staff at FAMU, encourage them to pat themselves on the back for doing what it took to make it this far and prepare them for what may lie ahead.”
Stanley shared life lessons that she did not necessarily realize when she left FAMU in a speech titled “All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned at FAMU” based on the poem by Robert Fulghum. She addressed several relevant points, such as the faithfulness of God and the importance of mentors, who Stanley sees as a requirement, not an option.
“I had so many mentors – COL Hendricks, COL Joe, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Wilson, Dr. Clark…there were too many to name, but they all really cared and permanently imprinted their expectations of excellence by example,” said Stanley.
She continues to be driven by the encouragement of her mentors.
“During our freshman convocation, President Humphries told us ‘You don’t have to prove yourselves to me, I already know you’re good, now just go do it.’”
She mentored the new officers, noting, “…the same holds true for you. You have proven yourselves, you are here, you are exceptional – now just go do it.”
Stanley, who followed in the footsteps of her father, LTC (Ret.) Quewanncoii C. Stephens, was trained by the FAMU Army ROTC Rattler Battalion. Her grandmother, Mrs. Emmarhaye P. Mitchell, is a graduate of FAMC.
“As it turns out, the ONLY historically black college is FAMU,” joked Stanley.
Her children were present at the speech, allowing Stanley to plant seeds in the hopes of continuing the Rattler legacy within her daughter Grace, age 8 and son Christian, age 5. Stanley’s great-great-great uncle, Elias G. Evans, was the first alumni president of FAMU. This year, the family will celebrate the 110th year of his service to FAMU and will present a scholarship in his name to the university at their family reunion in July.
Stanley graduated from FAMU in 1991 with a degree in public management and with a minor in military science and political science and received a certificate of labor relations. An active Rattler, she participated in Army ROTC and served as senior class president and a member of the Miss FAMU court, numerous honor societies, organizations and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
“There was nothing at FAMU that I wanted to do that I did not have the opportunity to do,” she said. “I was in a nurturing, supportive environment that allowed me to flourish.”
Upon graduation, Stanley was granted an educational delay to postpone attending the Adjutant General Corps officer basic course. She accepted a scholarship to the University of Minnesota where she graduated with a master of arts in industrial relations in 1994. Stanley later pursued her Ph.D. while on active duty, graduating summa cum laude in 2000 from Louisiana Baptist University.
She has served in the military for 18 years, primarily in the personnel arena. She has published three books, founded a non-profit organization and traveled the globe conducting human relations training for the Department of Defense. She is most proud of her work training senior leaders, to include conducting training for the South African National Defense Force after Transformation. She was recently promoted to Lieutenant Colonel by the Honorable Dr. Clifford L. Stanley, Undersecretary of Defense (Personnel and Readiness) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and was awarded the 2010 Department of Defense Blacks in Government Meritorious Service Award and the Adjutant General’s Corps Achievement Medal in 2011 for exceptional service.
Lt. Col. Stanley currently serves as the Reserve Component Advisor at the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) in Pensacola, Florida, where she assists military personnel in pursuit of their educational goals. Appropriately, she made the cadets pledge to pursue their master’s degrees within six months of reporting to their new assignments, and encouraged them to start building their retirement savings.
Florida A&M University (FAMU) student Stephanie Burton knew that spending a few weeks out of her summer on the bus with the original Freedom Riders would be one of the highlights of her college career.
Burton said, “I was thinking, ‘what a way to complement what I’ve learned in the classroom!’”
Burton, a senior journalism student from Montgomery, Ala., was selected for the 2011 Student Freedom Ride, an experiential learning opportunity for college students in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the original May 1961 Freedom Rides. Over a 10-day journey, the Ride will be a moving classroom in which 40 college students from across the country will retrace the route of the original Freedom Rides. Accompanied by filmmaker Stanley Nelson, original Freedom Riders and others, the Ride will engage students in this important era in America’s history, as they learn about the commitment and courage of the individuals who took part in the Freedom Rides.
“I applied for the 2011 Student Freedom Rides because as a Montgomery native, HBCU attendee and African-American woman, I realize the value and importance of civil rights history,” said Burton. “During my application process, I read that we would be required to blog and shoot video. As a journalism student, those assignments particularly stood out and motivated me to apply as well.”
The Student Freedom Riders were chosen from nearly 1,000 applicants and represent a diverse cross-section of America, much like the original Freedom Riders, who were black and white, men and women, and who, in 1961, used public transportation as a means of challenging segregation in the South.
Burton was selected on the basis of her essay, describing the reasons for wanting to participate, her thoughts on the role of social media and technology in civic engagement today and extracurricular activities.
“I hope to gain a better understanding of the Freedom Riders Movement,” said Burton. “It is such an outstanding story of courage, determination, resilience and fearlessness! Besides understanding, I would also like to find a sense of purpose and organization.”
Burton said she plans to start a non-profit in Montgomery, Ala. for teens and young mothers.
“I also want to be a community organizer, attacking issues in our society such as homelessness, obesity, poverty and illiteracy,” the strong-minded individual said. “But I think I can learn from the original freedom riders the best way to go about doing that.”
The participants will travel through Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Mississippi, and into Louisiana, stopping along the way at historically significant locations. The journey will end in New Orleans, the intended destination of the 1961 Freedom Riders.
“I’m most looking forward to meeting the 39 other students who have been selected,” said Burton, who plans to use social media as a means to chronicle her trip and share her adventure with the public. “We can bounce ideas off of each other. We all want to help make the world a better place.”
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Florida A&M University's Office of Communications continues to serve as the official source of news and information regarding the university. Today, the Office of Media Relations launches its latest production, Rattler Insider. The host of the program, Marvin "Marv News" Newsome Jr., will deliver the inside and in-depth news on special events and programs relating to the university community.
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Chicago, Ill. - Johnson Publishing Company (JPC) CEO Desiree Rogers named award-winning journalist, editorial consultant and bestselling author, Mitzi Miller as editor-in-chief of JET magazine. Miller, a graduate of Florida A&M University (FAMU), will take the reins of the enduring publication effective today, May 9, 2011.
“We continue to implement our corporate strategy of placing industry veterans in key management roles at Johnson Publishing,” said Rogers. “Mitzi brings an impressive journalistic record to her role and will begin the process of assessing the future of JET as she takes on the leadership of the magazine.”
Miller brings to JET her expertise as an editorial consultant for Juicy and SET Magazines and her writing skills as a contributor to Essence, VIBE, Uptown Magazine, among others. She started her career at HONEY Magazine where she was the entertainment editor and wrote the popular girl-around-town column, “Road Tripping,” From there, the Florida Agricultural & Mechanical University graduate joined the Jane Magazine staff as an Associate Editor. Miller was also a TV and culture critic for VH1 and the Food Network.
“I am honored to join the Johnson Publishing family and look forward to re-energizing the JET brand,” said Miller. “For 60 years JET has consistently delivered news about Black America. It is my priority to meet the evolving media needs of our loyal base of readers in exciting and entertaining ways.”
Miller has authored five books. The first book, The Angry Black Woman’s Guide to Life was released in 2004 to rave reviews in The New York Times, Boston Globe and Newsweek Magazine. Lifetime Television Network optioned her second book, The Vow, for production. Her teen series, Hotlanta received multiple awards from the American Library Association and was optioned for production by The CW Television Network.
Miller is a board member of the non-profit, Hip-Hop 4 Life. A skilled public speaker, she has appeared at various forums and se
JET, a publication of Johnson Publishing Co., Inc., is celebrating 60 years of being the go-to-source for a unique take on news and entertainment in Black America. With more than 8 million readers, JET connects the Black community through timely information with a trusted point-of-view. JET is credible, smart, and entertaining. If it’s in JET, it’s what’s happening.
ABOUT JOHNSON PUBLISHING COMPANY, INC.
Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. (JPC), a family-owned business, now in its seventh decade, produces the most widely read publications about African-Americans. EBONY, a monthly magazine, and JET, a weekly magazine, have a combined readership of nearly 20 million people. EBONY celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2010. JET celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2011. The company also produces Fashion Fair Cosmetics, the leading line of makeup and skin care created to meet the unique needs of women of color. Linda Johnson Rice is chairman and daughter of legendary founder, John H. Johnson and savvy businesswoman and style maven, Eunice W. Johnson.
One year after the death of William Patrick Belin, Florida A&M University (FAMU) President James H. Ammons was accompanied by Patrick’s parents, Steve and Lynn, wife, Lauren, brother, Stephen, family members and friends for the unveiling of the William Patrick Belin Endowed Plaque at the Eternal Flame and the William Patrick Belin Donor Recognition Wall in the New Pharmacy Building. The ceremony was part of the William Patrick Belin Memorial Endowed Scholarship, which was established by the Belin family to commemorate and preserve Patrick’s legacy.
During the unveiling, Steve Belin recalled the process of establishing the scholarship. Soon after receiving the life changing news, Patrick’s family set in motion the steps of establishing a scholarship in his honor. Through the continuous communication with the College of Pharmacy, the FAMU Foundation, as well as a visit from Carla Willis, FAMU’s former vice president of University Relations, the scholarship was created.
“I want to thank you,” said Steve Belin. “Each one of you connected to the FAMU community has contributed tremendously to the process. Not once did you say this can not be done. It was through your support and commitment that we have been successful in creating this scholarship in Patrick’s honor.”
With donations totaling more than $100,000, the Endowed Scholarship will provide resources for students who demonstrate a strong desire and passion for the field of pharmacy and will also share many of Patrick’s attributes. It was those attributes that Patrick’s brother, Stephen, spoke about as he shared stories of Patrick’s commitment and drive for perfection. “Patrick faced everything head on and would not let anything get in his way,” said Stephen. “Not once would he let go of a project that was less than perfect.”
William Patrick Belin was born in Jacksonville, Fla. on June 11, 1987, but grew up in Valrico, Fla. After graduating from Joe E. Newsome High School in Lithia, Fla. in 2005, he entered the University of South Florida and graduated in 2009 with a bachelor’s of science in biomedical sciences with a minor in public health. Also in 2009, he married his high school sweetheart, Lauren Rhyce, who is currently enrolled in the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. Patrick was scheduled to attend the FAMU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences in the fall 2010 semester before he became a victim of a fatal car accident.
Patrick’s many interests included basketball, karate, piano, drums, guitar and music recording. He served the local community through his volunteer work at the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center, tutored students in the Urban Scholars Outreach Program and assisted at the Emergency Care Health Organization in Brandon, Fla.
“I didn’t know William Patrick Belin personally, but I did know him on paper and I remember the most impressive thing on his application was the amount of community service he engaged,” said Henry Lewis III, former dean of the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. “Everyone that knows me knows that I pride myself on community service.”
The William Patrick Belin Memorial Endowed Scholarship will allow others to walk in Patrick’s shoes while continuing his legacy.
lorida A&M University (FAMU) alumna Rachel Melson, a 21st Century site coordinator at Bond Elementary School in Tallahassee, Fla., was selected as the 2011 Florida School-Related Employee of the Year. Melson was selected from among four other finalists who were considered based on their unique ability to help their respective schools be successful while also providing outstanding service to the teachers and students they work alongside.
“The announcement that I was named the School Related Employee of the Year for the entire state of Florida really sent me on a whirlwind of emotions.” she said. “I was already elated to have been named the district winner, but to receive such an honor out of 67 counties in the state is simply amazing to me. As a passionate educator, I do what I do, not for any recognition, but for the success and growth of my students. The reward is in seeing each of their daily successes and triumphs.”
Leon County Superintendent Jackie Pons expressed how Melson sets a great example for public education.
“Ms. Melson goes above and beyond as coordinator of after-school program activities at Bond Elementary, so it’s an honor that she’s been named the Florida School Related Employee of the Year,” said Pons. “She has not only enriched program offerings for Bond’s students, but also has developed strong relationships with local businesses and community organizations.”
Melson earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration in the spring of 2008 and masters in educational leadership in the spring of 2010. She recently applied for the doctoral cohort in educational leadership at FAMU, and is excitedly waiting to hear back from the College of Education about her acceptance.
“FAMU is truly a training ground for future leaders of our world,” she said. “I remember vividly the first day I ever stepped foot on the illustrious campus. FAMU has taught me to think globally and to position myself and those around me to be catalysts for positive change in the world. There is nothing like inspiring a child to be better or lighting a spark in them that turns into an eternal flame of thirst for knowledge. FAMU has prepared me for my position today academically, mentally, socially and more. Each day on the “Hill” was a step into a promising future for me. I thank FAMU for all it’s done to inspire me!”
The Florida School-Related Employee of the Year receives an award of $1,000 from the Department of Education, and each finalist receives an award of $475. In addition, each district nominee receives an award of $100. The program recognizes outstanding education support personnel for the significant contributions they make to their schools and district school systems. Award selection is based on an application showing the nominees' efforts to go beyond the basic requirements of their duties and contribute to the academic success of students, schools and the district.
A mortarboard with orange letters spelling out “Dan the Man” and individuals shouting “I love you” and “Halleluiah,” FAMU graduates were inspired by words of encouragement from keynote speaker Mayor M. Kasim Reed of Atlanta, Ga.
“Do not miss your time to do extraordinary things,” said Reed. “Don’t let people distract you right now. This is your opportunity to get it together.”
Reed also encouraged the graduates to remember to give back.
“When you see a little girl’s face or little boy’s face that looks like yours, you have to help them get what you have,” said Reed.
Graduates expressed their thoughts on Reed’s speech as well as receiving their degrees.
“It was a great ceremony,” said Eboni Blakley, from Moultrie, Ga. “I really enjoyed Mayor Reed’s speech today.”
Blakley graduated with her bachelor’s of science in electrical engineering and will be working for Southern Company in Pensacola, Fla.
“I encourage students to continue to move forward in their discipline,” said Blakley.
“I still remember coming to FAMU as a freshman,” said Dennard Smith, a native of Newark, N.J., who graduated with his bachelor’s of science in English with a minor in history education. “I cannot believe how fast these four years have flown by.”
Three law graduates were also ecstatic and thankful to receive their degrees.
Charmaine Neal, Kerene Tayloe and Dorothy Smith were all involved in some form of natural disaster as it related to their road toward receiving their juris doctorate.
Both Neal and Tayloe were in Japan participating in a study abroad program through Temple University attempting to complete their requirements for graduation when the major earthquake and subsequent Tsunami struck placing their timely completion in jeopardy.
Smith was an undergraduate student in New Orleans at the time when Hurricane Katrina devastated the area, losing all of her possessions in the process – placing her livelihood, let alone her completion of an undergraduate degree in jeopardy.
“Riding the bus to Tallahassee, getting dressed, lining up outside the stadium, taking photos with my College of Law Class of 2011 and proceeding down the aisle in the new recreation building for commencement felt so surreal today,” said Smith. “Walking across the stage, receiving my degree, shaking all the appropriate people’s hand and hearing my named called as a juris doctorate recipient actualized my dream of graduating from law school. Feelings of excitement, sadness, honor, praise, thankfulness and joy all rushed to me all at once because of my great accomplishment as a first generation lawyer of the Smith family. Tear!”
After the graduates received their degrees, FAMU alumnae T’Keyah Crystal Keymáh received a Doctor of Humane Letters.
“I am so overwhelmed,” said Keymáh, who graduated in 1984 and was recruited to FAMU as a National Merit Scholar. “I am happy to have started this month [April] and end this month in Tallahassee.”
Earlier this month, FAMU honored Keymáh with the unveiling of the Endowed T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh Theatre Scholarship. The unveiling was part of the College of Arts and Sciences' celebration honoring alumni into its Gallery of Distinction.
Keymáh was an original cast member of the comedy series “In Living Color” but is perhaps best known for her roles as Erica Lucas on the CBS sitcom “Cosby” and as Tanya Baxter on the Disney Channel sitcom “That’s So Raven.”
To close out the commencement exercise, President James H. Ammons charged the graduates to make their respective marks on the world.
“Make the most of it,” he said. “Go out and change the world. There is no higher calling than to show compassion to your fellow man.”
Florida A&M University (FAMU) graduate Erin Blake said it felt like a breath of fresh air to walk across the stage during the 2 p.m. commencement ceremony on April 30 in the FAMU Alfred Lawson Jr. Multipurpose Center and Teaching Gymnasium. Blake was one of nearly 1,400 students to graduate.
“I feel that the weight has been lifted off of my shoulders and I can now conquer the challenges of the real world,” said Blake, an occupational therapy graduate from Atlanta, Ga. “The speaker emphasized that there will be challenges on the road of life. The true challenge is to overcome and succeed that challenge.”
The commencement speaker was Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Lisa Jackson. She encouraged the students to know the pursuit of “me and I” is not as important as the pursuit of “we and us.”
“I know the real world seems hard,” she told the graduates. “The people sitting here today helped you to get here. I stand here because people did not say ‘I and me.’ When we talk about struggle, we say ‘We shall overcome.’”
Jackson added that a new world of opportunity was available for the graduates.
“I am honored to be with you—marking a milestone in your lives,” she said. “A day like today, you are No. 1. You made it and you should be happy.”
FAMU President James H. Ammons presented Jackson with the President’s Award. She was also honored with a Doctor of Humane Letters.
“You remain committed to air and water quality,” said Ammons. “Florida A&M University is proud to add to your long list of accomplishments.”
University Trustee Solomon Badger asked the graduates to think back to their first day on the “Hill.” He compared the nurturing faculty, parents and environment similar to that of a cocoon.
“Spread your wings and take flight,” he said. “Your preparation and time has turned you into orange and green butterflies. Take flight and soar.”
When Florida A&M University (FAMU) alumna and former Miss FAMU Stephanie Evans first began teaching, she said she found several students who lacked enthusiasm about reading. In an effort to give students a new outlet, she authored her first book, “Steven James: I Just Can’t Pay Attention.”
“I have always loved to read,” said Evans, a fourth grade teacher at Fairview Elementary School in Miramar, Fla. “I especially like reading fiction books. Fictional books allow readers to let their imaginations run wild. I want to be able to give students the same interest that I have by writing books that are relatable.”
In the book, the title character, Steven James, is having the worst day of his life. He gets all of the answers wrong on his homework, misplaces things and struggles in class. James, like many of today’s youth, suffers from Attention Deficit with Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The book targets children ages 6 to 8 years old.
“My older brother, Stephon, suffered from this disorder,” said Evans, who was raised in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. “I witnessed the many struggles he faced at school and at home. There was no outlet for him. Also, when I began my career as a teacher, I had several students who were facing the same problems as my brother. As a teacher, I come across a plethora of children’s books. I have never seen a book targeted for children such as my brother. I want to serve as an advocate for children like Stephon and the students I teach.”
Evans said the best part of her job is inspiring students.
“They look at teachers in a different light. Every day I remind myself that I am a role model to the students at my school. Now that I am a published author, my students hold me to an even higher standard. I read the book to my students immediately after I received the first copy of my book. They were so proud of my accomplishment. They think that I am a celebrity now, so they asked if I was going to continue to be their teacher. Several of them have bought copies and some are saving their allowance to purchase a copy. It is a wonderful feeling to hear positive comments from my little critics.”
Evans earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from FAMU in the spring of 2007 and her master’s degree from Nova Southeastern University in the spring 2009. She served as the 2006-2007 Miss Florida A&M University.
“Attending Florida A&M University was one of the best decisions that I have ever made,” she said. “There is nothing like my esteemed university. While attending FAMU, I learned a lot of valuable knowledge from my peers. There were so many movers and shakers at the university while I was there. I was motivated by the goals that were being achieved by my fellow Rattlers. That motivation is ongoing because the alumni of FAMU are incomparable.”