One Voice, One Mission—NBMBAA 2018 Conference Wrap-Up

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NBMBAA President and other members cutting the ribbon at annual ceremonyRibbon Cutting

By Jovane Marie

DiversityComm, Inc., more than 8,500 attendees, representatives from more than 250 leading Fortune 500 companies, and 45 colleges and universities attended the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA) 40th Anniversary Conference and Exposition in Detroit, Michigan, September 25–29.

Formed in 1970 as an initiative to share insight and experiences with Black professionals within the corporate sector, the NBMBAA serves as an influential nationwide organization with a multi-faceted approach to nurturing its members through innovative programs, trainings, partnerships, and career opportunities.

The conference was themed “One Voice, One Mission,” and key strategic partners, including Nationwide, FedEx Corporation, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US LLC, and Marriott International provided support and sponsorship to the week-long affair, which was praised for its organization and commitment to excellence.

Mona Lisa Faris, president and founder of DiversityComm, Inc., sat down with NBMBAA President and CEO Jesse Tyson and FedEx Staff Vice President of Operations Analysis Donald Comer to learn more about the organizations’ present and future goals, as well as how their personal and professional life experiences have impacted their approach to and influence in leading what has become the premier business organization serving Black professionals.

“We have more than 14,000 members who expect a lot from our organization, so we try to run it using the same business principles as our corporate partners,” Jesse Tyson said. “It’s important that we remain authentic and take great measures to ensure we align with sponsors that share our values. It takes an army of good, dedicated people to pull this event off, and that’s exactly what we have.”

Building and maintaining that dedicated army capable of holding the nonprofit to a high standard has been a priority for both Tyson—who stepped in to lead NBMBAA after a successful 35-year career at ExxonMobil—and Comer, also the NBMBAA Chairman of the Board.

NBMBAA President and CEO Jesse Tyson
NBMBAA President and CEO Jesse Tyson

Tyson can distinctly recall growing up in the rural, segregated South with his grandparents, working as a sharecropper to make a living. It was an upbringing that fueled a burning desire to overcome his circumstances and forge a different path for his life.

“I knew it was never a question of if I would get out…it was just a matter of timing,” he said. “I went through what I did knowing the day would come when things would change and I would be able to reposition my family and change the trajectory of where we had been.”

Tyson went on to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), where he caught the attention of a professor that would change the course of the self-professed country boy’s life. Sensing his talent, the professor pushed for him to apply for an internship with the State Department—something Tyson assumed wasn’t his cup of tea.

“He hounded me for three weeks to apply, finally going so far as to fill out the entire application on my behalf without my knowledge,” he said. “When he approached me and said all he needed was a signature, I obliged—mostly so he’d leave me alone!”

Three weeks later, however, Tyson got the surprise of his life when he got a visit from the FBI to conduct a background check. He was quickly accepted into the program, where he spent three months in Washington, D.C., and five months in Dakar, Senegal. The experience, he said, was a turning point, solidifying his love for business and planting leadership seeds that would mature and blossom over the next several decades.

“What I’ve learned, internalized, and applied throughout the years is that it can’t just be about me—to be truly successful, you have to champion a greater cause—that of community,” Tyson said. “If your elevator takes you to the top floor, it’s not just to sightsee—you’ve got to not only send it back down but also utilize that further view to react and avoid potential catastrophe for those in your charge. You’ve got to use your advantage to see the broader causes that will help position you to help others. Helping others is what it’s all about, and it’s why I do what I do.”

FedEx Staff Vice President of Operations Analysis Donald Comer standing at podium
FedEx Staff Vice President of Operations Analysis Donald Comer

For Comer, it has been the professional growth offered through FedEx, a company that thrives on diversity and inclusion, that has contributed to his overall view on what is important for both the business and the employee.

On a day-to-day basis, he leads a team focused on researching and implementing artificial intelligence strategies, machine learning, and big data.

“At FedEx, we believe in the business value of diversity and in the growth of our employees,” he said. “You’ll find that we’re not just on the career floor when we attend this conference; we participate in all of the areas that are focused on those goals that align with our business objectives, from sponsoring the pitch contests to investing in small businesses and hosting e-commerce committees. We also sponsor the IMPACT awards and the Leaders of Tomorrow program. We’re trying to show that diversity isn’t just philanthropic—it’s what drives business.”

Comer attended his first NBMBAA conference in 1997 on behalf of FedEx and hasn’t missed one since. As his participation has grown, so has the company’s involvement, with FedEx presenting its largest booth yet at the Career Expo in addition to their other sponsored events. Since 2016, the company has contributed close to $4.4 million to facilitate helping those needing business assistance in reaching their goals.

“When we attend NBMBAA, we know we’ll have access to the best talent to fulfill our available opportunities, from full-time professional positions to entry-level and even internships,” he said. “The main goal is connecting people to opportunities.”

The annual traditional Business Case Competition, which gives students an opportunity to pitch a business case for a chance to win scholarships, was a highlight of the conference, with both undergraduate and graduate levels represented.

The Scale-Up Pitch Challenge finals—a Shark Tank-style competition for professionals to pitch their innovative and scalable start-up business ideas to a group of judges—sponsored by FedEx Corporation—was also a huge draw.

NBMBAA-Attendees and Exhibitors meet one-on-one

While the conference exceeded its mission as a business opportunity for its attendees, there was also a human element at play during the week—the desire to help position the next generation to be successful, Tyson said.

“My grandmother often said that life should be lived in three phases: learning, earning, and returning,” Tyson said. “I rose above those circumstances and learned that it can’t just be about me rising above—it has to be about a greater cause, and that cause is my community.”

“We do what we do here because not only because we enjoy it but also because we know our young folks need it. We’re living in a global economy today, and if they’re not ready to think internationally, then they’re going to be behind. That’s why what we do here is important,” he added.

NBMBAA Wells Fargo NBMBAA NCUA NBMBAA-United Technologies

NBMBAA exhibitors, left to right; Wells Fargo, NCUA and United Technologies were on hand to meet with attendees one-on-one at the annual career fair.

The National Black MBA Association® will hold its 41st Annual Conference and Exposition in Houston, Texas, September 24-28, 2019, with the theme “Transcend the Power of You: Empowered to Lead, Equipped to Succeed.” For more information, visit nbmbaa.org.

About the Author

Jovane Marie is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and freelance journalist. She is also the founder of MUSE Enterprises, which provides brand ambassadorship and event planning services for small businesses. Connect with her via LinkedIn @JovaneMarie.

Meet the 16-year-old Texan who will be attending SMU’s law school this fall

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Haley Taylor Schlitz,stands outside in a summery dress and her arms folded with a big smile on her face

A 16-year-old Texan recently shared her journey from home school to law school. Haley Taylor Schlitz, who graduated from high school at 13, is preparing to attend Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law this fall, one of nine schools that accepted her, according to the American Bar Association.

“I think the entire educational experience has really helped me grow and learn who I am better,” Haley said. “A lot of people find that out about themselves a little bit later in life. My education has really helped me get to know who Haley is.”

Teen phenom Haley Taylor Schlitz,16, who graduated from high school at 13, is preparing to attend Southern Methodist University’s Dedman School of Law this fall, one of nine schools that accepted her, according to the American Bar Association. The Keller, Texas teenager had an accelerated education following her graduation from home schooling in 2013. She since attended Tarrant County College and then Texas Woman’s University.

Haley was home-schooled after her parents withdrew her from public school in the fifth grade because they didn’t like the way she was being taught.

After high school, she began taking classes at Tarrant County College and started at Texas Woman’s University in 2017, according to her website.

“Home-schooling helped me go at my own pace and thrive on my own terms,” Haley said. “I was able to skip what I knew and do what’s at my intellectual level.”

Haley was accepted to law schools at Howard University, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and Texas Southern University, among others, but ultimately chose SMU, according to Texas Lawyer.
An author at 16

After their own experience, Haley and her mother, Dr. Myiesha Taylor, decided to write a guide to home schooling for black parents in America.

The Homeschool Alternative, which published in January, teaches families about the home schooling mindset, its benefits, what it requires and how to begin, according to the book’s website.

“I feel like there are a lot of students who can do what I did,” Haley said. “Obviously it’s not impossible because I did it, and I’m not a super genius. I work very hard, but I’m not out of reach.”
Mom on TV

In 2013, Haley’s mother, an emergency physician, was so inspired by the children’s show Doc McStuffins that she sent Disney Channel a collage of herself and other female doctors of color to thank them.

The show portrays a young black girl nicknamed Doc who treats her toys as patients.

Disney responded by casting her in a live-action segment. Months later, they also named a character on the show after her — Myiesha McStuffins.

Taylor told the Dallas Morning News in 2013 that it was “an unbelievable honor.”

“My kids identify with the Doc character so it’s surreal that Doc’s mother has my name. I feel like it’s full circle,” she said. “I started off as a little girl like Doc McStuffins and I grew up and became her mother, a doctor with children who are aspiring to be doctors, too.”
Far-reaching goals

Haley initially wanted to go into medicine like her mother but now wants to become an attorney and advocate for gifted students from traditionally neglected communities. She has spoken out against systemic racism in American public schools.

“It is my hope that I can bring my passion for addressing education equity issues, and help facilitate a program that focuses on the legal advocacy needs of underserved students and their families in accessing gifted education programs,” she wrote in a 2018 Medium article. “The lack of access to these programs helps promote stereotypes and keeps students of color in our K-12 schools locked in an education system that views them as the problem instead of the solution.”

After she graduates from SMU, Haley hopes to practice law and become a judge. She said she also wants to open her own business, an organization similar to a school that would allow students to “thrive as themselves.”

One of her goals is to increase the opportunities for gifted and talented girls and students of color.

“I really want to help students realize their potential even if they can’t home-school,” Haley said. “I want to help families open their eyes to the opportunities that they don’t even realize are there.”

Haley knows her path isn’t typical.

“I understand that although my ’16’ is not the 16 most envision in their life, my version allows me to engage in the areas I deeply care about and advocate for a fully just and equal society,” she wrote in the Medium article. “I love my version of ’16,’ and look forward to immersing myself in the study of law.”

Continue on to Dallas News to read the complete article.

Here’s One of the Nation’s Most Diverse HBCUs

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Diverse college tudents standing in a row

Kentucky State University (KSU) President M. Christopher Brown II announced that Kentucky State is one of the most diverse institutions among Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the nation. In 2018, KSU was also a multi-award winner at HBCU Digest’s HBCU Awards.

President Brown said KSU has nearly 50 percent African-American students and 50 percent non-black students. Additionally, the university has nearly 50 percent African-American employees and 50 percent non-black employees.

“It is rare for an institution to be at the midpoint—50 percent mark on all matrices. There are schools that spend millions of dollars trying to get to that middle point,” President Brown said. “They spend a lot of money on enrollment management, diversity planning, and strategic recruitment trying to achieve this level of diversity that indicates maximal engagement.”

President Brown added that KSU is a prime laboratory for every intellectual possibility in the country.

The research was conducted by Kentucky State’s Office of Institutional Research and Effectiveness using data from the Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). The percentage of students was based on the total fall 2015 enrollment, which included undergraduate, graduate, full-, and part-time students. The percentage of employees was based on the total fall 2015 employees, which included faculty, staff, full- and part-time employees.

President Brown said KSU will continue to strive for inclusive excellence and noted that people from different backgrounds working together produces results that make everyone better and can have direct impacts on student achievement and workforce development.

Working together, learning about differences and similarities, results in better, more comprehensive solutions, he said.

Source: kysu.edu

How Concierge Parenting Services Can Help Prepare Kids for College

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student with exam paper and pencil taking a test

College admissions issues has been stealing the headlines. From the college admission scandal, where wealthy people allegedly paid to help their kids get accepted to high ranking colleges, to the talk of adding diversity scores to help boost some SAT/ACT tests, the news is filled with the challenges that those wanting to go to a good college may face.

Some parents are opting to take an approach that is more tailored to helping the child become prepared to excel and get into the college of their choice. This new approach, called concierge parenting services, aims to provide a customized plan to take the child to the next level, by identifying their fullest potential and capitalizing on it.

“Too often, the approaches taken in schools are failing students. Every child learns differently, so a cookie cutter approach just doesn’t work,” explains Reena B. Patel, a parenting expert, licensed educational psychologist, and author, who offers virtual workshops. “Through concierge parenting services, parents can learn exactly what their child needs to focus on in order to excel. The plan has been tailored to their unique child.”

Recently, Gallup suggested that education in the country takes the opposite approach of standardized tests, which students are being inundated with around the nation. What they suggest is that students need a test that is for them and about them, so that they become better at understanding and developing their own unique talents, which will help them succeed in school and life. This is the goal of concierge parenting, too.

Concierge parenting is service offered by Patel and other professionals in the field, in which they conduct extensive assessment on the child. Here are some of the ways that concierge parenting services can help prepare kids for college:

  • The assessments that are conducted show a child’s strengths, so that they can capitalize on them in order to reach their goals.
  • Parents receive a customized learning profile of their child, which will give insight as to how they best learn and optimize their strengths while developing areas of need. Parents can use that information to ensure that their educational needs are being addressed and how to take their child to the next level of growth.
  • Their learning profile includes such things as the child’s emotional resilience. This is important information, because it sheds light on how well the child will adapt to stressful situations or challenges. They can use the information to help the child learn more coping skills.
  • Parents receive the tools that they need in order to help their child navigate studying, taking tests, and applying for colleges. Rather than guessing how to best go about these things, the information has been tailored to the needs and styles of the individual.
  • Similar to a concierge in a hotel, parents get a tailored approach that is focused on meeting their needs and ensuring their child’s success. By taking advantage of a service like this, parents can learn their child’s strengths then nurture them and focus on excelling those strengths to be the best version of themselves.

“If you want to feel confident about your child’s education and future college acceptance, you can’t go wrong with taking a concierge parenting approach,” added Patel. “The purpose of concierge parenting is to help remove the stress, hurdles, and disappointment that may come later on. It helps your child to set out on their path with a detailed map to help them successfully get there.”

Patel offers several concierge parenting services packages, including being able to tailor a program to meet individual needs and goals. Two of her popular packages are titled Optimal Learning and New Parent. The Optimal Learning package offers a comprehensive assessment, customized report with specific tools to apply, follow up emails to ask questions, comprehensive evaluations to include, but not limited to, intelligence testing, academic testing, social and emotional readiness, and executive functioning testing. The New Parent package focuses on the idea that every baby and child is unique and has a different temperament. It’s ideal for new parents or a parent of a teen. Finding time to address challenges, such as behaviors, or how best to get your baby to sleep is hard. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a service customized just for your family and child? One that is effective and developed by a professional expert.

Each concierge parenting package includes initial consultation to identify concerns and goals, three session observation, modeling, and implementation of expert techniques, and one follow up virtual call after strategies are implemented.

In addition to offering concierge parenting services, Patel is the founder of AutiZm& More. As a licensed educational psychologist and guidance counselor, she helps children and their families with the use of positive behavior support strategies across home, school, and community settings. She does workshops around California, and virtual workshops globally where she provides this information to health professionals, families, and educators. She is also the author of a book that helps children with anxiety coping strategies called “Winnie & Her Worries,” and author of a book about autism awareness and acceptance, called “My Friend Max: A Story about a Friend with Autism.” Both of her books are available on Amazon. To learn more about her services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com.

About Reena B. Patel
Based in the San Diego area, Reena B. Patel (LEP, BCBA) is a renowned parenting expert, guidance counselor, licensed educational psychologist, and board-certified behavior analyst. For more than 20 years, Patel has had the privilege of working with families and children, supporting all aspects of education and positive wellness. She works extensively with developing children as well as children with exceptional needs, supporting their academic, behavioral and social development. She was recently nominated for San Diego Magazine’s “Woman of the Year.” To learn more about her books and services, visit the website at reenabpatel.com, and to get more parenting tips, follow her on Instagram @reenabpatel.

Gallup. It’s time to try the opposite of standardized testing. gallup.com/education/237284

$2 Million Awarded to Historically Black Colleges and Universities

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MBASudents graduating university waving

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA), is announcing grant awards of nearly $2 million to four Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

In June 2018, MBDA invited HBCUs to propose projects that will achieve one or more of the following objectives: increase their ability to compete for and receive Federal research and development funds; establish partnerships with Federal laboratories and other technology resources; increase Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) entrepreneurship; and compete for Federal contracts.

“Historically Black Colleges and Universities served as the catalyst to creating the black middle class in America and will continue to be the incubator for minority business talent, innovation, and leadership. These important schools generate billions in economic impact annually and are engines for job creation in their local economies across the United States,” said MBDA National Director Henry Childs II. “These grant awards will provide seed money for these institutions to pursue innovative projects and to build more revenue-generating infrastructures to better serve our nation’s future entrepreneurs and workforce.”

The HBCUs that received grant awards include:

  • Clark Atlanta University ($499,497) to develop a STEM entrepreneurship curriculum that increases student interest in the innovation economy at three Atlanta University Center Consortium campuses.
  • Howard University ($359,891) to design a technical support model for 11 HBCUs in the mid-Atlantic region to compete for Federal research and development funds and leverage partnerships with Federal laboratories.
  • South Carolina State University ($404,992) to launch regional training sessions for HBCUs to compete for Federal research and development funds.
  • Tougaloo College ($695,412) to establish a partnership among multiple HBCUs, private companies, federal labs, and research institutions to increase capacity for HBCUs to participate in federal research and contracting opportunities.

These programs are part of the 2018 MBDA Broad Agency Announcement, a new initiative. More than $13 million was awarded for 35 projects focused on Department of Commerce and MBDA priorities from resources that increase disaster preparedness and relief to programs that increase access to capital.

 

Source: Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA)

How MBA Programs are diversifying

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diverse college students

During orientation at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Scheller College of Business, first-year MBA student Jasmine Howard received a lesson on the neurochemistry of unconscious bias, which explored “how the brain takes shortcuts and makes stereotyping decisions,” she explains.

In another exercise, students were asked to stand up if they identified with certain groups or preferences. “There was a mix of visually obvious traits like race and ethnicity, but also some less obvious ones like ‘I am or love someone who is LGBTQ or struggling with addiction,'” she says. The point: “To learn on a deeper level all the different aspects that make up a person and what they bring to the table.”

Bias training and similar exercises are becoming routine at business schools around the country seeking to boost the ranks of female and traditionally underrepresented groups in graduate programs – and make them feel welcome on campus. The push can’t come soon enough. Only 16 percent of GMAT test-takers in the U.S. are from underrepresented populations, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council, which administers the test, and many schools have dismal numbers of minority students.

That’s in spite of a growing consensus that diversity in every form – from race and gender to country of origin – improves both the educational experience and the field of business itself, experts say.

“You will learn a lot more when you are interacting with people who think differently than you do than if you’re dealing with people who already think and believe the same things you do,” says Bruce DelMonico, assistant dean for admissions at the Yale School of Management.

And research consistently shows that diverse business teams perform better and achieve superior outcomes, such as greater creativity and innovation. Of the more than 700 business leaders surveyed by the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill in 2016, 95 percent said an inclusive culture is critical to their organization’s future success.

No wonder schools are stepping up their efforts to recruit minority candidates for MBAs and other graduate degrees. According to Juliane Iannarelli, senior vice president and chief knowledge officer for AACSB International, a nonprofit that accredits business schools globally, the institutions making the biggest strides are those “tackling multiple dimensions.”

This can mean engaging minority high school students to think about careers in business, assessing the climate for inclusion and diversity on campus, and staging recruiting events or diversity weekends for prospective business students.

Continue on to U.S. News to read the complete article.

Meet the Women Fighting to Save Black Mothers: ‘There’s a Lot of Work to Do’

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In recent years, birth stories from stars like Serena Williams and Beyoncé have served to highlight the state of Black maternal health in the United States — Williams, 37, underwent an emergency c-section and endured a a pulmonary embolism and Beyoncé, 37, suffered from preeclampsia and also had an emergency c-section.

The stars’ experiences brought attention to the dire state of medical care for pregnant Black women in the U.S., particularly in poorer communities. Black babies in the country are twice as likely to die in their first year of life than white babies, according to the Brookings Institution, a Washington D.C.-based research group. Additionally, Black women are three to four times more likely than white women to suffer pregnancy-related deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Black women are also more likely to have a stillbirth, give birth prematurely, have low birth-weight infants, have a miscarriage even. There are a lot of challenges that folks are dealing with,” Black Mamas Matter Alliance co-director Elizabeth Dawes Gay tells PEOPLE. “It boils down to toxic stress, racism in society, in the healthcare setting, disparities in access to care. There’s a lot of work to do. I think we will see a change but it is going to take a long time.”

That’s why Black maternal health advocates are trying to raise more consistent awareness about birth outcomes and establish policy changes to close what is known as the Black-white gap. One example is Black Mamas Matter Alliance’s Black Maternal Health Week, an effort to shed light on the challenges and opportunities in the fight for Black women’s maternal and reproductive justice.

For the complete article, continue on to People.

Jade Colin is the Youngest Black Woman to own a McDonald’s Franchise

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Colin and her employees pose in the lobby of McDonald's

Meet Jade Colin, the youngest black woman to own a McDonald’s franchise.

The New Orleans native, has always been independent  and a hard worker. The 28-year-old started her career in college while working the night shift at a local McDonald’s.

There, she earned promotions and awards, inspiring her to purchase her own franchise.

After graduating from the University of Louisiana with a business degree in 2012, Colin applied for the Next Generation program for children of McDonald’s owners. During the program, Colin earned several awards for her business management skills.

She received a Ray Kroc Award and was recognized as one of the top McDonald’s restaurant managers in the country.

After she finished the two-year program, Colin became a manager at her parents’ franchise. From there, she planned to open her own – and she succeeded.

Colin opened her first franchise in 2016, and she is still the youngest black franchise owner.”

As an African-American community, we need more men and women to know that it’s not just about right now, but it’s about the generations to come,” she told The Black Professional.

LeBron James “I Promise School” Showing Early Signs Of Success

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The scene might be expected on a special occasion at any other public school. At LeBron James’s I Promise School, it was just Monday.

Every day, they are celebrated for walking through the door. This time last year, the students at the school — Mr. James’s biggest foray into educational philanthropy — were identified as the worst performers in the Akron public schools and branded with behavioral problems. Some as young as 8 were considered at risk of not graduating.

The academic results are early, and at 240, the sample size of students is small, but the inaugural classes of third and fourth graders at I Promise posted extraordinary results in their first set of district assessments. Ninety percent met or exceeded individual growth goals in reading and math, outpacing their peers across the district.

“These kids are doing an unbelievable job, better than we all expected,” Mr. James said in a telephone interview hours before a game in Los Angeles for the Lakers. “When we first started, people knew I was opening a school for kids. Now people are going to really understand the lack of education they had before they came to our school. People are going to finally understand what goes on behind our doors.”

For the complete article, continue on to New York Times.

One Of The Largest Class Of Black J.D. Candidates At Harvard University Are Making Sure They Make A Statement

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With over 60 Black students, Harvard Law School’s class of 2021 is one of the largest class of Black J.D. candidates in the educational institution’s history. To showcase this excellence, the students created a photo-based social media campaign using the hashtag #BlackatHarvardLaw.
With this initiative, Black students in Harvard Law’s freshman class aim to mark their place on campus, while also encouraging the next generation of Black lawyers to fearlessly follow in their footsteps.

Co-organizers of the campaign Sarah Rutherford, Shane Fowler, Daniel Oyolu and Armani Madison sat down with Blavity to talk about the purpose of the campaign and their collective experiences as Black students while attending Harvard Law.

“This campaign is important because so many folks have invested in our success, and inspired and encouraged us to set our sights high. It’s important [that] we do the same for those who come after,” Oyolu told Blavity.

“There are 60-plus people that represent the African diaspora in the photo,” Rutherford said.

According to Rutherford, the campaign’s timing was strategically designed to align with the school’s annual event series for prospective and newly admitted students.
“This campaign was really important for us to launch ahead of Harvard Law’s two Admitted Students Weekends,” Rutherford explained. “We want this year’s admitted students and those who are considering applying to know that there is a supportive Black community at Harvard Law School.”

For the complete article, continue on to Blavity.

Kenyan Teacher Who Gives Away 80 Percent Of Salary To Poor Communities Wins $1 Million Global Prize

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Peter Tabichi poses for camera wearing a blue sweater and white collared shirt

A rural Kenyan teacher who gives 80 percent of his monthly income to poor communities, just won a $1 million global prize, proving that the blessings you bestow usually come right back to you.

Peter Tabichi, a Franciscan brother who teaches math and physics, was honored with the Varkey Foundation Global Teacher Prize on Sunday in Dubai, United Arab Erimates.

The Varkey Foundation definitely chose well. Tabichi teaches at a Keriko Mixed Day Secondary School in Pwani Village, making use of only one computer, poor internet connection and a staggering student-teacher ratio of 58:1. Still, he visits internet cafes when he can to make sure he gets the proper content for his students, and then uses them offline. Students walk just over four miles along roads that are often impassable in the raining season to learn, the Varkey Foundation noted in Tabichi’s profile.

He and four of his colleagues also go the extra mile to ensure that low-achieving students get one-on-one tutoring outside of class and over the weekends, visiting students’ home and meeting with their families to help identify the challenges they have and face them together.

According to the profile, most of Tabichi’s students, 95 percent of them, come from poor families. Almost a third of these students are orphans or only have one parent. And many go without food when at home. Drug abuse, teenage pregnancies, dropping out of school, young marriages, and suicide are also issues that his students face.

Still, Tabichi soldiered on, working with his amazing students, who he mentored through the Kenya Science and Engineering Fair in 2018, in which they came in first. Currently, the Mathematical Science team is qualified to participate in the INTEL International Science and Engineering Fair in 2019 in Arizona, which they are prepping for.

Under the guidance of Tabichi and his colleagues, Keriko’s enrollment has doubled to 400 in over three years, and more of his students are moving on to college after they finish their education with him.

Continue on to Essence to read the complete article.

Community college names first African-American as president

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Tyrone Jackson poses outside in suit and tie with a brick wall background

MOORHEAD, Miss. — Mississippi Delta Community College is naming a native of the Delta region as president. Tyrone Jackson will become the college’s first African-American president and its ninth overall.

Larry Nabors is retiring after six years as president.

College trustees chose Jackson, now a Hinds Community College vice president, to lead the 2,400-student institution beginning July 1.

“It’s very special,” Jackson told The Greenwood Commonwealth . “As an African-American, to come back to the Mississippi Delta and to be the first African-American to lead this institution, it’s definitely an honor to have this opportunity.”

A Rosedale native, Jackson currently leads the Utica campus for Hinds and oversees administrative services. He earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Delta State University. Jackson worked there in a series of jobs, including associate director of housing and residence life, director of multicultural affairs and director of graduate studies.

He left Delta to work for two years as associate vice president at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, where he served for two years as associate vice president for student services. He worked for Hinds for five years.

Jackson says he intends to listen to students, faculty and staff to learn about the college and to also maintain the college’s profile in the community, as well as working to recruit students. He said he’d like to work to raise pay for faculty.

Continue on to Westport News to read the complete article

11-Year Old Prodigy Receives Full-Ride Scholarship

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This Black child prodigy is wasting no time making his mark on the world. At just 11-years old, Elijah Precciely is a full-time student at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. He is also the youngest full-ride scholarship recipient the university has ever signed.

While he just began his career as a full-time student in the 2019 spring semester, he has been taking classes at the university since he was 8 years old.

The opportunity to start his college career early began when his mother reached out to a member of Southern University’s Physics department, Dr. Diola Bagayoko. While initially looking for lab space for his inventions, the professor invited Elijah to sit in on his classes.

While being homeschooled, he went on to take classes in biology, physics, and business. Now enrolled at the university as a full-time student, he will be studying physics and mechanical engineering through the honors college. Due to his previously earned credits, he already has a Sophomore class ranking.

“When I reflect on this Joseph S. Clark Presidential Scholars Award it means absolute legacy, nothing but legacy to me,” Elijah said while signing his letter of acceptance. “Those that have paved the way, I want to thank you for paving the way in my education, and I will absolutely pave the way for others to do the impossible. I am elated.”

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