Meet Danielle Olson: A ‘Gique’ Advancing the Case for STEAM Education

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Danielle Olson

What is a “Gique”? It’s a cross between “geek” and “chic,” a maker and creative problem-solver whose interdisciplinary interests turn STEM into STEAM. Meet Danielle Olson, researcher and PhD student at MIT and proud founder of Gique, a nonprofit that provides transformational, culturally situated STEAM learning for underserved youth.

Olson says being a Gique is about using your passion to embrace change and create your dream job. Olson offered STEMconnector her insights and experience as an engineer, a dancer, a dreamer, and pioneer in STEAM education, as well as research on how the arts are leveling the educational playing field in STEM.

Interview below courtesy of Stemconnector

STEMconnector: How does using the arts impact the STEM talent gap?

Danielle Olson: Fortunately, a new and exciting field of education is emerging where curricula are designed to expose youth to the applications of science, technology, engineering, art and design, and mathematics (STEAM) in the real world. STEAM, rather than just STEM, education focuses on student cultivation of the critical, creative, and participatory dispositions key to empowered, authentic engagement in both science and art, along with preparing students to think of ways that they can contribute to society as individuals.

The arts have been treated as a “cherry on top” in recent years. But research demonstrates that an arts education offers critical development opportunities for children, which include cognitive and social growth, long-term memory improvement, stress reduction, and promotion of creativity. In fact, research findings show that if arts were included in science classes, STEM would be more appealing to students, and exposure to experts in these fields could affect career decisions. Gique believes that STEAM education affords students opportunities to envision themselves pursuing their “dream careers,” which they may invent for themselves.

There are three categories that aid in representing various perspectives of art integration: (1) learning “through” and “with” the arts, (2) making connections across knowledge domains, and (3) collaborative engagement across disciplines.

Gique piloted a 9-month-long, out-of-school STEAM Program with students at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dorchester, an inner-city in Boston, Massachusetts, in the areas of science, the arts, and entrepreneurship by putting the theoretical framework, which underpins the necessity for STEAM education, into action.

SC: What kinds of lessons do you offer students?

DO: Gique designs and provides free, hands-on educational programs and mentorship to talented youth from diverse circumstances in the Boston area and in California. We create a safe, positive learning community for our students and cultivate their curiosity and self-esteem through two arms of programming:

  • Gique’s Science Can DANCE! Community Programs—provides youth with a way to explore STEAM through creative movement and dance choreography. By taking an integrated approach to breaking down technical concepts, we provide a unique mentorship opportunity for students interested in both arts and science topics.
  • Gique’s Out-of-School Time (OST) STEAM Program—a 9-month-long, weekly after-school program for middle school students to explore their personal interests in STEAM. This program enables students to receive long-term mentorship from innovators from around the world and participate in hands-on workshops and field trips. By the end of the semester, students gain a better understanding of how they can take an idea from concept to reality through innovation with art + design, science, and technology.

In addition to these two programs, Gique has provided a wide variety of educational opportunities to people of all ages in the Boston area for the past four years. We have collaborated with numerous organizations to provide educational programming, including MIT Museum, Harvard Museum of Science & Culture, Artisan’s Asylum, and General Assembly Boston.

SC: How can corporations that support a vibrant STEM workforce get involved in advancing STEAM education?

DO: First, corporations should stand with teachers and parents to fight back against policies that discourage interdisciplinary education. This may include, but is not limited to, policies that result in art, drama, history, and science class time reduction and policies, which discourage teachers from being innovative due to too much focus on standardized testing.

Second, people in power must use their influence to help give underrepresented groups more access to resources that can level the playing field in education. I had access to programs like FIRST Robotics Competition and MIT’s Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science Program, which changed my life, thanks to the generosity of donors investing directly in people of color by sponsoring these programs. However, I wouldn’t have been able to participate in these programs if I had to pay for them. That’s why Gique leverages the support of its sponsors to deliver life-changing experiences to students that help them pursue career dreams that they may have deemed impossible.

SC: How is Gique measuring its impact?

DO: We have a structured process in place to design, administer, and analyze quantitative and qualitative measurements, including pre- and post- assessments, audio/video interviews, and external feedback (from program staff/volunteers and parents/guardians).

Specifically, for Gique’s OST STEAM Program, a schema was developed to identify, both broadly and specifically, what students learned and in what context it applies to their lives. Prior to each term, the program leadership developed several goals for student impact, with measurable indicators to assess each goal. Assessment questions were adapted from the Museum of Science Boston’s Engineering is Elementary program assessment model. At the end of the semester, students completed the same assessment for the program leadership to understand what deltas occurred and what the development areas were for program improvement.

While the quantitative data collected often helped to inform strategic decisions and content choices, the qualitative data showed how the program impacted students, parents, volunteers and teachers. Gique wholeheartedly believes that learning experiences should be fun, so asking these qualitative questions were critical to the development and success of the pilot OST STEAM program.

Gaining parent/guardian feedback served to be an excellent indicator of how excited students were about the program.

Visit Gique’s community of leaders and makers at gique.me

Source: stemconnector.com

 

 

TFS Scholarships Launches Online Toolkit to Provide College Funding Resources

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Higher Education

SALT LAKE CITY— TFS Scholarships (TFS), the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding, has launched a free online toolkit to provide counselors, families and students with resources to help improve the college scholarship search process. The toolkit, available at tuitionfundingsources.com/resource-toolkit, provides downloadable resources and practical tips on how to find and apply for scholarships.

The launch comes in celebration with Financial Aid Awareness Month when many families are beginning the FAFSA process and researching financial aid options.

“We hope these resources help raise awareness around TFS and the 7 million college scholarships available to undergraduate, graduate and professional students,” said Richard Sorensen, president of TFS Scholarships. “Our goal is to help families discover alternative ways to offset the rising costs of higher education.”

The resource toolkit includes flyers, email templates, newsletter content, digital banners and table toppers which are designed to be shareable content that counselors, students and organizations can use to spread the word about how to find free money for college.

The newly revamped TFS website curates over 7 million scholarship opportunities from across the country – with the majority coming directly from colleges and universities—and matches them to students based on their personal profile, where they want to study, and stage of academic study. By tailoring the search criteria, TFS identifies scholarships that students are uniquely qualified for, thus lowering the application pool and increasing the chances of winning. By creating an online profile, students can find scholarships representing more than $41 billion in aid. About 5,000 new scholarships are added to the database every month and appear in real time.

Thanks to exclusive financial support from Wells Fargo, the TFS website is completely ad-free, and no selling of data, making it a safe and trusted place to search.

For more information about Tuition Funding Sources visit tuitionfundingsources.com.

 

About TFS Scholarships

TFS Scholarships (TFS) is an independent service that provides free access to scholarship opportunities for aspiring and current undergraduate, graduate, and professional students. Founded in 1987, TFS began as a passion project to help students and has grown into the most comprehensive online resource for higher education funding. Today, TFS is a trusted place where students and families enjoy free access to more than 7 million scholarships representing more than $41 billion in college funding. In addition to its vast database that’s refreshed with 5,000 new scholarships every month, TFS also offers information about career planning, financial aid, and federal and private student loan programs as part of its commitment to helping students fund their future. Learn more at tuitionfundingsources.com.

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Dr. Karen Schuster Webb Appointed Sixth President of Union Institute & University

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union institute president

Union Institute & University’s Board of Trustees today announced the appointment of Dr. Karen Schuster Webb as the university’s sixth president, effective July 1, 2018. Dr. Webb succeeds Dr. Roger H. Sublett, who is retiring after serving Union as president since April 2003.

Dr. Webb is a visionary leader with a passion for community and mentoring women in leadership, having dedicated her career to the equity of access to educational excellence in the United States, as well as around the world. She brings more than 20 years of executive leadership and an impressive career in higher education, most recently as the Midwest campus president and senior advisor for Academic Innovation to the Chancellor at the Antioch University System. She also served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Antioch University Midwest Campus. Prior to her work at Antioch University, Webb served at Alliant International University System from 2000 to 2013, where she was founding university dean of the California School of Education, overseeing programs in California, Mexico, and the Far East, as well as online programs. She was also associate provost for Community Engagement at Alliant from 2009 to 2013.

Dr. Webb served as dean of the College of Education (Baton Rouge) at Southern University and A&M College System: Baton Rouge, New Orleans, Shreveport (Community College), and online from 1998- 2000. She co-founded and co-directed the Center for the Study of Academic Achievement in Learning Environments, part of a Stanford University Complex Instruction Institute Consortium, University of Kentucky System: Lexington from 1994-1998. Fluent in Spanish, she was also program director, Language Education Programs, at the University of Kentucky from 1992-1998. Earlier in her career, she served at Howard University in Washington, D.C., Indiana University, Bloomington, and Coppin State University in Maryland. From Indiana University-Bloomington, Dr. Webb earned her B.A. degree in Spanish, her M.S. in Education: Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages/Applied Linguistics, and her Ph.D. in English Education: Second Language Studies.

Dr. Webb was appointed chair-elect of the American Council on Education’s Women’s Network Executive Council (WNEC), Washington, D.C. in 2014, and becomes chair of the Executive Council in July. She also served on the ACE Northern California Women’s Network for more than 10 years and held both vice chair and chair positions there. She has earned numerous awards, including Teacher of the Year by the California School of Education doctoral students at Alliant International University, and was selected in 2016 as one of the Top 25 Women in Higher Education and Beyond by Diverse Issues In Higher Education Magazine, honoring her commitment to and advocacy for diversity, inclusion, and mentoring. Dayton Magazine profiled her for their leadership series. She serves on the Advisory Board of William V. S. Tubman University Foundation in Harper, Liberia, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company.

Dr. Webb has a successful record of fundraising and building relationships and partnerships throughout her career. She served on accrediting peer visit committees for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as holding numerous committee leadership positions throughout her career.

Dr. Webb has been a leader in her fields of study and has spoken at conferences nationally and internationally. She has published numerous articles in the areas of urban education, sociolinguistics, and language learning. Dr. Webb’s career has been one of service at complex systems, and primarily at institutions serving adults returning to higher education and emphasizing experiential learning-based instruction. She also served at universities that were founded to provide equity of access to higher education for students of color. At Antioch University, she and her leadership team initiated programs that grew undergraduate and master’s degree programs. She secured corporate funding for academic program development and launches and developed private and public sector partnerships, including programs with PNC Bank and the Greene Foundation of Kettering Health Network. She was instrumental in Antioch University’s collaboration with Sinclair Community College in Mason, Ohio, and established articulation agreements with four additional non-competing regional community colleges. She launched the Workforce Development, Community Education, and outreach initiatives for Antioch University with Dayton’s immigrant communities, and established the Antioch University Midwest campus Veterans Affairs Liaison Office.

Dr. Webb and her husband, Wallace H. Webb, Jr., a retired educator, are the proud parents of two children, Ramona and Wallace, III.

Dr. Webb said, “I am humbled and honored to have been selected as the sixth President of Union Institute & University—a university living its mission to engage, enlighten, and empower students to achieve a lifetime of learning and service. Indeed, it is a privilege to follow Dr. Sublett, whose leadership has provided Union with a firm foundation, as well as a reputation for commitment to excellence, innovation, and community outreach. I look forward to joining the partnership reflected by the exceptional Union community of students, faculty, staff, alumni, and Board of Trustees to continue Union’s distinguished social justice legacy as a world-class university.”

Ms. Christine van Duelmen, chair of Union Institute & University’s Board of Trustees, said, “On behalf of the Board of Trustees of Union Institute and University, I am very pleased to welcome Dr. Karen Schuster Webb as Union’s sixth president. The search committee, consisting of trustees, administrators, faculty and alumni, spent more than a year evaluating and rating potential candidates. A very thorough national search was guided by a distinguished national firm. All Union stakeholders had the opportunity to meet the finalists and provide their feedback. At the January 2018 Board of Trustees meeting, the trustees carefully considered the qualifications of the three finalists and after much deliberation, they voted unanimously to offer the presidency to Dr. Webb,” Trustee van Duelmen continued.

“Dr. Webb is ideally suited to serve as Union’s next president, particularly following the exemplary leadership of Dr. Roger Sublett. I know she will create new opportunities for students, faculty, and staff and build upon our partnerships with area businesses and the local communities we serve,” said van Duelmen. “Dr. Webb has the background and experience to lead our university forward, in her words ‘to a more perfect Union,’ and has shown us her commitment to and passion for Union’s mission and values: to engage, enlighten and empower individuals to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.”

“On behalf of the entire Union community across the nation,” van Duelmen continued, “we are so pleased that Dr. Webb has both the vision and capacity to lead Union Institute & University, one of the most important universities of its kind in the world.”

In April 2017, Dr. Sublett, Union’s fifth president, informed the trustees and community of his plans to retire on June 30, 2018 after 17 years of leadership and a career serving higher education spanning five decades. Dr. Sublett said of Dr. Webb’s appointment, “Dr. Webb is an accomplished professional with a strong commitment to social justice, social responsibility, and community connectedness in higher education. She has served with distinction in institutions most recently in California and Ohio. She is a national leader particularly in support of women in higher education through her work with the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C. Having worked with Dr. Webb over the years, I know she understands Union’s history and commitment to serving adult learners. She is and has been a strong advocate for the mission of Union and other like institutions. She is a scholar, a seasoned administrator, a respected colleague in higher education across the nation. All of us who have been involved in the life of Union welcome Dr. Webb to the presidency of Union with enthusiasm, and wish for her and Union only the very best in the coming years. Union is most fortunate to have attracted such a talented leader.”

Trustee van Duelmen praised Dr. Sublett on his service and tenure. “Dr. Sublett has provided incomparable leadership through a period of both challenges and academic growth. The entire Union community is grateful for his years of dedicated service and his commitment to higher education. Throughout his 17- year tenure, Dr. Sublett has been a beacon of service and leadership. It was in that spirit that the trustees bestowed upon him the Presidential Medal of Exemplary Leadership last October. We look forward to celebrating his stellar career later this spring.”

A Board-appointed transition committee will assist Dr. Sublett and President Elect Webb in the coming months. She will take office on July 1, 2018.

Meet Janice Bryant Howroyd, the first African American woman to run a $1-billion business

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CEO of Act 1 Group

Janice Bryant Howroyd, 65, is founder and chief executive of Act 1 Group, an employment agency that also provides consulting and business services, including background checks and screening. She’s the first African American woman to operate a company that generates more than $1 billion in annual revenue, according to Black Enterprise Magazine. Act 1, which includes other brands such as Agile 1, A-Check Global and AppleOne, has contracts with 17,000 clients in 19 countries.

“If you visit any of our offices,” Howroyd said, “you’ll see that we live by the mantra that ‘the applicant is the center of our universe.’ It’s always been our belief that if you get that applicant in the right job, then they will be the best representation of who we are as a company.”

Early lessons

Growing up in Tarboro, N.C., as one of 11 children, Howroyd had early lessons in team building. Each sibling was assigned an older one to act as a mentor.

“My sister Sandy was my appointed guardian angel,” Howroyd said, “so it was up to her to see that I’d gotten my homework done, my hair was done, and my thoughts and process were in line with what the family wanted. We were very organized.”

Big move

After studying humanities and English at North Carolina A&T, Howroyd faced culture shock when she moved to Los Angeles in 1976 with just $900. Her older sister again provided welcome advice to “settle myself into knowing who I was, learning the power of that and understanding it.”

Brother-in-law Tom provided a temporary job at Billboard and saw entrepreneurial talents in the way Howroyd interacted with clients. Even when she was ill at ease, “I would revert to what I do well, which is strategize. I love to look at a problem, break it apart, find the better potential, knowing when to eliminate what doesn’t need to be there.”

Word of mouth

Howroyd, who didn’t even own a fax machine, opened Act 1 in a small office in Beverly Hills in 1978. She started out by making full-time job placements for companies needing workers, then shifting to temporary placements. Pleased clients were her best advertisements.

“It still matters in business more what someone else says about you than what you say about yourself,” Howroyd said. “You can have the best advertising, but unless someone else certifies what they are saying, you won’t last long. Word of mouth has always been my best referral system.”

Standing out

Early on, Howroyd employed a strategy that allowed her to compete against bigger companies, preparing her prospective hires by training them in what their employers were looking for in new workers.

“It always works best when you can tailor a hire to fit into a company’s philosophy,” Howroyd said. “They walk in better prepared and it’s more likely to be a very good fit for your client.”

Standing up

Whether it was dealing with racist students and teachers in her youth or businesspeople who uttered the most stunningly insensitive remarks, Howroyd said there were times when she was forced to bite her tongue and muddle through and other times when it was clear a stand had to be made, as frightening as that might clearly be.

“In order to be outstanding, sometimes, you’re just going to have to stand out” and not hide, Howroyd said. “My personal business protocol, my life mantra: Never compromise who you are personally to become what you wish to be professionally.”

Continue onto the LA Times to read the complete article.

African-Americans at risk from unusual optometry practice

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By Joseph Hammond, Urban News Service

When Pat Raynor developed cataracts she hoped her optometrist would simply refer her to a qualified eye surgeon. But the 65-year old Virginia woman said the optometrist who handled her routine eye exams seemed more interested in business than medicine. He pressured her to accept a form of care known as co-management in which he – rather than the surgeon – would handle post-operative checkups.

“When I went home, I kept thinking about it, and I knew something was not right,” Raynor said, explaining her decision to seek successful treatment out of state. Raynor is one of the millions of Americans who develop cataracts – a common condition of aging in which a thick film that develops in part of the eye can lead to cloudy vision or in some cases a loss of vision if left untreated. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), cataracts are the leading cause of blindness in the world. More than half of all people in the United States will have a cataract or have had cataract surgery at the age of 80.

Evidence suggests that African-Americans like her may be more prone to certain types of cataracts. A study published in the Ophthalmology edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 54% of African-American nursing home residents suffered from cataracts versus only 37% of whites.

That also makes African-Americans especially vulnerable to the ticking time bomb regarding eye care buried in the Medicare Act of 1992. Guidelines adopted then allowed a practice known as “co-management” for eye-surgery. In most surgical procedures the operating surgeon is responsible for post-operative care. Under a co-management relationship, an ophthalmologist or eye surgeon performs say a cataract operation on a patient with that patient’s optometrist performing post-operative care.

Optometrists are technicians who are specialized in preserving vision and the overall health of the eye. On average optometrists attend four years of college as well as graduate school. Though a few optometry schools allow applications from students, who didn’t complete an undergraduate degree. Some optometrists later earn doctorate degrees

The requirements for ophthalmologists are far more strenuous. After completing an undergraduate degree, they attend four years of medical school. Their medical degree complete a would be ophthalmologist then spends several years getting hands-on training. Usually, an internships which last at least one year is followed by three years of residency. Some also complete an additional fellowship year as well. Conversely, optometrists usually do not work in internships at hospitals or supervised residencies at medical facilities.

Co-management was intended for use only in limited circumstances, particularly by rural patients who might have trouble reaching an ophthalmologist. Instead, it has become a mechanism for sweetheart deals between optometrists and ophthalmologist who reward each other through mutual referrals.

Today roughly nearly one in five cataract surgeries are performed in a co-managed relationship experts say with almost all of them taking place in urban areas.

Since most elderly African-Americans live in urban areas, they stand a higher risk of being steered toward such arrangements.

Most individuals do not experience complications after eye surgery. But for those that do the consequences can be severe, especially if there follow-up care is with an optometrist, who is not a medical doctor, rather than an ophthalmologist. In 2009, a scandal at a veteran’s hospital in California revealed that many individuals treated for cataracts could have potentially had better health outcomes if they were treated by ophthalmologists.  Some individuals were blinded.

Nevertheless, many health care professional argue co-management offers safe and efficient care. “With the continued focus on patient-centered care, the co-management of surgical patients, such as those having cataracts removed or laser surgery, is the standard and optimal approach to pre- and post-operative care,” said Christopher J. Quinn. O.D., president of the American Optometric Association in a written statement to the American Media Institute, “…This is especially true in underserved areas, as it is estimated that 90% of people in the U.S. live within 15 minutes of a doctor of optometry. Co-management allows patients to receive care from a doctor they already know and trust, maintaining their patient-doctor relationship.”

Quinn also noted that optometrists and ophthalmologists have been co-managing patients for decades in many jurisdictions and that the practice is recognized in all 50 states recognize. He also said that co-management can occur in other types of medicine.

But those arrangements can be especially murky when it comes to eye care. A 2006 survey by the National Consumer League found that only 30% of consumers knew the difference between optometrists and ophthalmologists.

For her part, Raynor said that it important that patients be given the information they need – regarding both medical capabilities and financial relationships among providers – in order to make informed choices about their vision.

“A lot of people can’t afford cataract surgery, and I would have probably gone through with co-management but, I didn’t have a credit card,” she said.

She is glad she had her care overseen by ophthalmologist. “After my ordeal, I am just thankful to have my eyes, and now I can see even better than before cataracts, I was having a hard time just seeing and focusing. You know there used to be a house I would drive by this beige house but, after my cataracts were removed, I noticed the house was in fact pink.”

Urban News Service

From Real Estate To Tech Startup As An Over-40, African-American Female Founder

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two people working

Denise Hamilton left a very successful career in commercial real estate, as well as several other wide-ranging past endeavors, to start WatchHerWork. She elicits elegantly raw, specific and action-focused insights from professional women to help other women navigate successful careers. The thousands of interviews she’s done, combined with her own experience, fuel Denise’s powerful straight talk about career success, particularly for women and minority professionals.

Nell Derick Debevoise: What’s your current role?

Denise Hamilton: I’m the CEO and Founder of WatchHerWork, a multimedia digital platform that is closing the achievement gap for professional women by providing the much-needed professional advice they need when they need it, how they need it.

Debevoise: Tell us about your transition. It was a big one, right?

Hamilton: I had a successful career in Commercial Real Estate when I walked away to start a tech company, which is WatchHerWork.com.

Debevoise: What was scary to you about that big shift?

Hamilton: Economic Security is always the scariest part of any leap for me. There aren’t a lot of 47-year-old African American tech founders out there. I worried whether I would be welcomed into the space and if my unique perspective would be welcomed or marginalized. But I knew I had to bet on myself.

Debevoise: What was the hardest thing once you made the transition?

Hamilton: Patience. When you come from a salaried position with a large staff, it is a brutal transition to being alone or in a skeleton crew with limited resources. I used to have 10 direct reports to assign things to. Now, I have as many action items as they do at Goop with about 300 fewer people. I had to learn to be patient with what I was capable of accomplishing each day.

Debevoise: What was the most fun?

Hamilton: Constant reinvention and exploration. I learn something new every day and I am incredibly passionate about changing women’s lives the way we do at WatchHerWork. I feel the constant stretch and growth and I love it!

Debevoise: Who was most useful during your transition?

Hamilton: I had incredible mentors and cheerleaders who encouraged me and invested time to help me in the areas I needed support. No one has all the answers, but together, we all do.

Continue onto Forbes to read the complete article.

Let Me Tell You About Athalie Range…

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Mrs. Athalie Range and Santura Pegram

By Santura Pegram

It was once said that boxing great Muhammad Ali believed parents should be very careful when considering the name of their newborn child(ren), because that name will follow the child throughout their lifetime and often serve as an introduction to an unfairly judgmental world.

The late boxing-civil rights icon felt a name should serve as an ‘honorable title’ to be remembered by, as opposed to being a discriminatory reason to dismiss someone from a particular subject matter. Therefore, this belief should’ve served notice to those who initially questioned the name M. Athalie Range.

Unusually small in stature, yet awe-inspiring and captivating in presence, Mrs. Mary Athalie Range of Miami was a giant in a small body. A profoundly impactful political visionary, effective civil rights trailblazer, and successful black female entrepreneur, she had no choice but to be a person of significance with a unique name like Athalie.

Long considered the Political Matriarch of the State of Florida, a trusted advisor to President Jimmy Carter and several governors in Florida and from other states too, those who were blessed to know her understand why it was so easy for people of all generations and backgrounds to adore this sweet little woman. She had a magical presence about her that even melted the hearts of the most hardened politicians and business leaders, and won her favor among countless notable figures throughout the U.S. When she entered a room—whether it was a corporate board room full of high-powered executives or the political chambers of government buildings throughout the State of Florida—she characteristically had the E.F. Hutton effect upon most people: “when Mrs. Athalie Range talked, everyone listened.”

Mrs. M. Athalie Range
Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Commanding such respect and admiration from people came natural for her, which explained why she had over 125 local, statewide and national awards and honors covering every space on one wall of her office. Additionally, it’s also why she was blessed to see the main branch of the U.S. Post Office in downtown Miami, and a public park and swimming pool named after her long before she died in 2006. Since her passing, a special group of local leaders, which includes her grandson N. Patrick Range II., are preparing to spearhead a multimillion-dollar capital investment campaign to build a state-of-the-art museum educating people about the Historic Virginia Key Beach Park, once the only public beach in Dade County, Florida open to African-Americans (virginiakeybeachpark.net).

In 1999, after years of being closed and virtually abandoned, it was Athalie Range’s final mission when she, Gene Tinnie, and a small group of progressive minds prodded the City of Miami to not only eventually re-open the park, but also agree to designate it to the National Register of Historic Places list. A few years later, the park officially re-opened to the public and is, undoubtedly, one of the most beautiful, serene beach locations in the entire U.S. today. Unfortunately, most tourists visiting South Florida don’t realize that a breathtaking pristine beach is available to them just a 15-minute drive from downtown Miami and is a far more relaxing option than the typical overly-congested beachfront, streets and sidewalks of South Beach.

Residents of South Florida and visitors alike should forever feel indebted to Athalie Range because without her selfless endeavors and tireless advocacy, one of the last remaining examples of paradise on Earth simply would not exist.

To see a woman of her caliber evolve from fighting for the rights of children as the PTA President of her son’s school, to becoming a political and civil rights legend known for advocating for fairness among people, one can not help but wonder what Mrs. Range would’ve voiced about the current dynamics surrounding the senseless killings of black people by black people and black males by police officers.

President Jimmy Carter & Athalie Range
President Jimmy Carter & Mrs. M. Athalie Range

Her grandson, N. Patrick Range II., recently expressed, “my grandmother would have been very disturbed by the violence and senseless killings taking place in our inner cities today. She always fought for blacks to have the same rights as others. During her lifetime, she dealt with issues like racial profiling and police violence in the inner cities. As an example, she was very vocal and extremely active during the killing of Arthur McDuffie. She was a loud and calming voice during the Miami riots, too. She urged blacks to stop the violence because we were only destroying our own community.”

He went on to say, without a doubt, Mrs. Range “would be unhappy with the lack of progress in community relations with police all over this country. She also would be equally concerned with the amount of black-on-black violence in every urban neighborhood and the proliferation of guns as well. She actually helped to start a program to encourage violent youth offenders to change their ways.

The program is called GATE and was designed to help minors avoid being convicted and carrying a record before they are adults. If the minor offender completes the coursework and program satisfactorily, then they have an opportunity to have their case dismissed. She was always proactive in doing things to resolve issues as opposed to sitting back and merely talking about the issue(s). She knew she could effect change with the right approach and that was always her goal.”

While many communities have never had the chance to learn from someone like M. Athalie Range, there’s always hope that the youth of today will grow into a modern day version of her. And, just maybe, help to make the world a far better place today and tomorrow than it has been for most disadvantaged people of color.

After all, we only live once. Why not make your life as meaningful as Athalie did?

• (Santura Pegram is a freelance writer and a business professional in South Florida. A former protégé – aide to M. Athalie Range – Santura often writes on topics ranging from socially relevant issues to international business to politics.)

Laila Ali: Be Unique and Pursue Your Dreams

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Laila Ali

Laila Ali developed the values of hard work, determination and courage growing up as the youngest child of the legendary boxer and humanitarian Muhammad Ali. Her own record of 24 wins—21 of which were knockouts—and zero losses has made her the most successful contender in the history of women’s boxing.

The boxing world champion, TV host, author, and speaker, said, “I like to live my life with an ‘All In’ attitude. I’m always asking myself, ‘What more can I do?'”

Most recently, Ali partnered with T.J.Maxx to launch “The Maxx You Project,” encouraging women to let their individuality shine. In response, T.J.Maxx is launching The Maxx You Project—aimed at helping women break those stereotypes by embracing the personal aspirations or lifelong dreams that make them each one-of-a-kind. Ali has overcome adversity, defied expectations and pushed herself beyond her comfort zone—to help 80 women to do the same.

“As a woman, I know there are ‘boxes’ the world might try to place us in and go-to labels often used to describe us: mother, sister, boss, friend, etc., but they don’t even begin to scratch the surface of who we truly are at our core,” Ali said. “From ‘Mom Boss’ to boxing world champion, entrepreneur to cooking enthusiast, author, speaker and TV host, there is no one role that defines me. That’s why I’m really excited to partner with T.J.Maxx to inspire others to break through those labels and pursue what’s inside them.”

Dollar General Announces Call for New Vendors

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Suppliers, companies and manufacturers with exciting new products who want to reach millions of consumers and partner with one of America’s fastest-growing retailers that is currently listed #128 on the Fortune 500 list and posted $22 billion in FY 2016 sales, listen up!

Dollar General (NYSE: DG) is encouraging new suppliers and those who have not sold products to the Company within the past 18 months to apply to attend its inaugural Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit in April 2018. The event aims to pair potential new vendors with respective Dollar General buyers and category managers. Suppliers must sell items in at least one of the following categories to be eligible to attend:

  • Beauty, Personal Care and Over-the-Counter/Wellness
  • General Merchandise/All Non-Food
  • Grocery.

“As part of Dollar General’s continual commitment to provide quality products at everyday low prices to our diverse consumer base, we are thrilled to announce our first Innovation and Supplier Diversity Summit scheduled for this spring,” said Jason Reiser, Dollar General’s executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. “Having the right products to best meet our customers’ needs is a foundational cornerstone at Dollar General. As such, we look forward to meeting with potential new vendors, learning about relevant products for our customers and expanding the number of unique and specialized offerings available in our stores.”

To apply, interested suppliers, companies and manufacturers may submit their product information at www.rangeme.com/dollargeneralfrom Tuesday, January 30 through end of day on Tuesday, February 20, 2018. Selected companies will be subject to a $500 participation fee and notified via email by Efficient Collaborative Retail Marketing (ECRM) of the time, date and location of their meeting with a member of the Dollar General merchandising team.

Continue onto Business Wire to read the complete article.

Airbnb Adds Outgoing American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault To Board of Directors

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Airbnb is adding its first-ever independent director to the board of the nearly decade-old company. On Thursday, Airbnb announced that Kenneth Chenault, the outgoing CEO of American Express, will be joining its board of directors.

“I’ve been inspired by the way Airbnb has turned a simple, yet powerful idea – opening the doors to strangers – into a global movement that has brought millions of people together and I am looking forward to working with Brian and the entire Airbnb team as they build for the future,” Chenault said in a statement.

Chenault announced in October 2017 that he planned to leave American Express on February 1. Chenault, 66, first joined the company in 1981 after graduating from Bowdoin College and Harvard Law School. He quickly climbed the ranks and was named president and chief operating officer in 1997. He has held the top job since 2001 and is one of the country’s most prominent African American business leaders. He is also one of the best-paid executives in the financial services industry, taking home $22 million in 2016.

Chenault clearly plans to stay busy following his retirement. Airbnb is the second tech company board that Chenault has joined in January. Last week, Facebook announced that it was adding Chenault to its board, the company’s first non-white board member in its history.

Airbnb’s board of directors also faces a similar diversity challenge with an all-male board. Despite pledging for years to hire a female board member, Chenault’s appointment will only increase Airbnb’s board to six male directors. Airbnb says it will be adding a female director later this year, but declined to comment on how many men currently serve as observers on its board beyond the six directors.

“We are in serious discussions with a number of incredible people about joining our board. The next member will be a woman, and she’ll be joining later this year,” said Airbnb spokesman Christopher Nulty.

Read the complete article on Forbes.

Union Alumna to Serve as New Cincinnati Center Executive Director

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Dr. Rea Waldon is coming home to Union Institute & University as the executive director of the Cincinnati Academic Center.

Waldon received her Ph.D. from Union Institute & University where her studies focused on public policy and urban economics.  She is returning to the university that she credits with propelling her career. “My new role at Union allows me to combine my passion for education and business.  I didn’t fit the mold but Union had confidence in me and my degree changed my life,” said Waldon. “I know Union changes lives. I am one of those lives.”

Waldon is a businesswoman with a solid background in strategic planning as well as professional experience in banking, education, workforce development, healthcare, business and community development.

“A degree is the ticket to entry for most professional careers. One of my goals is to connect the dots between the business ownership and a college degree. Approximately 75% of entrepreneurs do not have college degrees. A business degree provides a broad foundation for the entrepreneur that starts to build a more complex organization. Tied to that is the need to recruit and train qualified staff. I understand workforce development and I think I can make a difference the way Union made a difference in my life and career.”

Dr. Nelson Soto, provost and vice president for academic affairs at UI&U looks forward to her leadership skills. “Rea is the epitome of success. She understands the value of higher education and transferrable skills. She has numerous business connections and will be a valuable addition to Union.”

Waldon describes herself as a person pegged “couldn’t, wouldn’t, shouldn’t” succeed. But that has never stopped her. “Union’s nontraditional approach is the right fit for adults with the odds stacked against them. My message is you can work and complete your degree.”

Waldon is the founding executive director of the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council, worked for the Urban League of Greater Cincinnati for eight years, first as Senior Vice President and then as Chief Operating Officer.  Prior to joining the Urban League, she was Assistant Vice President/Community Development Officer for PNC Bank.

Waldon also served Union Institute & University as a faculty advisor and affiliated faculty from 1995-2006. Waldon has been recognized as a Cincinnati Business Courier Mentor of the Year and is the recipient of the Women of Color Foundation’s ISIS Award. She is also one of Fifth Third Bank’s Profiles in Courage recipients.  She is a coach and mentor to business owners and students. She is also the owner of KDDK Legacy Group.

In addition, she holds a M.A. from Antioch College in Management Information Systems, and a B.S. in Accounting from the Union Institute & University.

About Union Institute & University

Union Institute & University is a non-profit, regionally accredited university specializing in providing quality higher education degrees for adults nationwide. Founded in 1964, Union’s academic programs and services are the result of more than five decades of identifying and refining ways to structure and deliver education to meet the needs of adults. Distinguished as the pioneer in adult education, Union perfected the concepts now common in higher education such as the hybrid model, a blend of online and traditional classroom instruction, interdisciplinary studies, and student centered education with socially relevant and applicable learning outcomes in its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral degree programs.

The university is guided by its core mission to educate highly motivated adults who seek academic programs to engage, enlighten, and empower them to pursue professional goals and a lifetime of learning, service, and social responsibility.

Union is a national university with academic centers located in: Ohio, Florida, and California.

For more information about Union Institute & University, visit www.myunion.edu or call 1- 800-861-6400.

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My Future Consulting Named One of 20 Best Chicago Employment Agencies

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My Future Consulting, an employment agency focusing on diversity recruitment, has been named one of the top 20 best Chicago employment agencies. The company that compiled the list, Expertise, evaluated 678 employment agencies in the Chicago area, evaluating them on over 25 variables to compile the list. The Orland Park-based talent acquisition firm ranks within the top 2% of all employment agencies in the Chicago area, playing an important role of bringing together high-quality firms with employees that exceed expectations and help them reach their goals.

“We are proud to have made the list of the best employment agencies in the Chicago area, a tremendous accomplishment for our firm” explains Anthony Fletcher, president and chief executive officer of My Future Consulting. “It’s a wonderful recognition of the hard work, dedication, and passion that we have had for helping top firms find the talent pool they need to fill their key positions.”

Expertise evaluated each employment agency based on a variety of factors, including reputation, credibility, experience, availability, and professionalism. The analysis they conducted took into account the agency’s history of satisfied customers, that they are well-established in the industry, that they are masters of their craft, that they are approachable and responsive, and that they are dedicated providing consistent quality work and excellent customer service. The company uses a variety of resources to conduct the comprehensive analysis, and has evaluated over 10 million businesses in the country to date.

My Future Consulting was started over 10 years ago by Fletcher and has been dedicated to providing exceptional service ever since. They provide services to companies around the globe and have become a leader in the field of matching high quality candidates with the right position, and the right company.  From helping to strategically and carefully hand-select the right candidates for entry-level positions to executive level ones, the company has established a great track record. The firm has worked with many industry leading companies to help meet their needs of retaining high-quality diverse candidates.

“We care about the people we help place in positions, we care about the positions they are in, and we care about the companies they will work for.” added Fletcher. “We have made it our business to make sure every position is filled with the right candidate, from an experience, skill and culture standpoint which is ultimately in everyone’s best interest. That’s how you build a great reputation and maintain a high satisfaction rating amongst all stakeholders. ”

My Future Consulting is known as the go-to talent acquisition firm for many Fortune 500 companies in varying industries. Their placement specialties include but is not limited to: accounting and finance, human resources, engineering, wealth management, information technology, logistics, manufacturing, marketing, sales, management consulting, and much more. My Future Consulting also plays an active role in the Chicago community, assisting charities. They were recently recognized as a top fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association Step Out Walk in Chicago, leading the nation with over $31,000 raised! They have also teamed up with the Soap4All organization to help provide homeless people and those in shelters with toiletries. For more information on the company, visit their site at www.myfutureconsulting.com

About My Future Consulting

Started by Anthony Fletcher over 10 years ago, My Future Consulting is a leading talent acquisition firm based in Orland Park, Illinois. The company specializes in diversity talent acquisition, matching high-quality candidates with entry level management roles to executive positions. Their rigorous vetting process has earned them a successful reputation. For more information, visit their site at www.myfutureconsulting.com

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Which MBA Program is Right for You? You can get your MBA your way.

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Today’s business schools offer more opportunities than ever to help you find a program that meets your specific needs. Programs generally fall into the following categories:

Full-time MBA programs are primarily for students who are able to take time off from working full-time to concentrate on their studies. These programs are ideal for both “career switchers” and “career enhancers.” Global companies sometimes send employees for a total immersion experience in countries that represent an important business market.

  • Programs typically last from 12 to 21 months
  • Longer programs often include a three-to-four month internship option
  • Core course requirements are completed in the early stage of the program
  • Specific concentrations and elective courses finish the latter stage of the program
  • The mix of electives and requirements varies among programs
  • Students often relocate to attend full-time programs

Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals and allow students to work full-time during the day and attend classes in the evening or on weekends. Part-time programs are popular among career enhancers—those who have experience and want to further their career in a chosen field. They are also a smart choice if you already have a network in your field to help you find a new position post-graduation.

  • Courses are scheduled year-round
  • Programs typically lasts 2 to 5 years
  • Commuting is more common than relocation

Executive MBA (EMBA) programs enhance the careers of professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry. EMBA programs focus on honing general management skills in core classes, with little or no opportunity for specialization. Enrollment is often tied to a new or anticipated promotion, and most students are company-sponsored.

  • Students work full time and attend classes on Fridays and Saturdays, usually on alternate weekends, over two academic years
  • Offers a full immersion experience, with learning outside the classroom and extensive faculty and student/team interaction
  • The shared professional experience and expertise of students becomes part of the curriculum

Virtual/Online MBA programs are a good option for those who need or want to work full time and who cannot or do not want to attend classes in person. Most online programs allow students to complete assignments and review lessons when and where it works best for them.

Which type of program is best for you?
Before you make your decision, you’ll want to consider a variety of factors to determine which type of program will best overall experience to meet your professional and personal goals.

Goals and Program Elements

  • How do you learn best?
  • How much flexibility are you looking for in a program?
  • What is your industry or job function goal and how that could affect your choice in program type?
  • Do you already have a functional or industry specialty, or do you need an MBA to develop one?
  • Will an internship help you make a career transition?

Lifestyle

  • Can you handle going to school full time and working part time, or vice versa?
  • Do you want classmates who share your interests and experience level?
  • Are you ready for the responsibilities of an MBA-level position upon graduation?

Family Considerations

  • Will your partner need to relocate and/or enter a new job market?
  • Does the school offer support for partners and families?

Location/Other

  • Do you want to study locally, in your home country, or abroad?
  • Do you prefer to be in a college town or a city?
  • How will the school’s connections with the local business community help?
  • Will your current employer support you in a full- or part-time program?

Carefully consider your answers to these questions, and you’ll have a much better idea of which type of program will be your perfect fit.

Source: FORTÉ Foundation

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