Tuesday, April 25, 2017

UVI and the VI Sea Turtle Project Document Their 100th Turtle

Sometimes a number is just a number and sometimes, just sometimes, a number is a milestone. On April 19, 2017 the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) Center for Marine and Environmental Science and the VI Sea Turtle Project (VISTP) documented their 100th sea turtle hitting a major milestone. 

Members of UVI Marine Science and the VI Sea Turtle Projet celebrate the 100th documented turtle.
 All work is conducted pursuant to a NMFS permit
"When we started tagging and documenting sea turtles in the fall of 2014, Dr. Paul Jobsis and I estimated the number of turtles using Brewer's Bay and Hawksbill Cove to be around 40-50 turtles, at most," Scott Eanes said. "The estimation was based off of previous research by Dr. Jobsis and Kemit Amon Lewis, but almost three years later, we were really wrong, and we couldn't be happier." 
Eanes, founder of VI Sea Turtle Project, is best known for naming the bay south of the runway, Hawksbill Cove. He and Dr. Jobsis started tagging turtles in 2014 as part of Scott's master of arts thesis and they haven't looked back. 
Scott and Kate Eanes from the VI Sea Turtle Project
with the first turtle documented back in September
2014. All work is conducted pursuant to a NMFS
"Every turtle we documented is measured , weighed,  receives a series of identification tags and a small genetic sample is taken," Dr. Jobsis said. "This allows us to know how fast our turtles are growing, how many we have, how they are using the bays, and possibly, where our turtles are from in the Caribbean." Jobsis continued, " It also means that when these turtles reach adulthood and leave the USVI they have a greater chance of being identified, wherever they go next."

The US Virgin Islands has two year-round resident sea turtles species that use the numerous bays and inlets: one is the threatened Green Sea turtle and the other is the critically endangered Hawksbill Sea Turtle. St. Croix has the bulk of nesting activity with St. Thomas and St. John recording very few nesting female turtles. This means the juvenile turtles most frequently seen by tourist, snorkelers and divers around St. Thomas and St. John more than likely originate from other Caribbean islands, Central America, Florida and possibly Brazil. One of the joint research project goals is to discover the origin of the turtles using Brewer's Bay and Hawksbill Cove.
"This has been a long difficult road only accomplished through a lot of hard work and teamwork. Scott's passion and commitment to understanding and protecting sea turtles has been crucial to our success."
- Dr. Paul Jobsis, UVI Center for Marine and Environmental Science

"We need to find out where our turtles are coming from because each week we are out there we see untagged turtles, and it would be great to know where our turtles come from so we can make sure they get a home to nest, ensuring the next generation of turtles in the USV," Eanes said. "And as we see more turtles we still haven't documented, it makes you wonder just how many turtles call these two bays home. If you love sea turtles this is really an exciting location to study."
The research team from UVI and the VI Sea Turtle Project would also like to remind the general public that this research is permitted through the National Marine Fisheries Services and it is against the law to harass, touch, or retain sea turtles without the required permits. UVI and the VISTP plan to continue their research through 2019.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The Caribbean Writer Remembers Derek Walcott

“The Caribbean Writer (TCW) mourns the passing of its esteemed founding editorial board member, Nobel Prize Winner, Playwright, Poet and Artist, Derek Walcott, who passed away earlier this morning," said, Alscess Lewis-Brown, editor of The Caribbean Writer, a refereed, international  journal published by the University of the Virgin Islands annually.  She added that “,Walcott’s meticulously woven metaphorical poems and plays captured the essence and spirit of Caribbean expressivity across a spectrum of Caribbean political and social consciousness. His support and insight helped to shape and guide “The Caribbean Writer’s” path over the pass thirty years.  For this, we are grateful. We will miss his abiding frank and witty manner.”

“He was a great advocate for the Caribbean,” said Lewis-Brown. She added that in an interview with Walcott in 2014, from his home in St. Lucia, in response to her question about “his thoughts on what might be considered idealism in the notion of pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together,” 

Walcott had this to say:

“Everywhere has division in all countries. I don’t know what the division comes from, but of course there is a difference in things: difference in pronunciation, accent, and stuff like that. Even in little St. Croix there is a division between Christiansted and Frederiksted. Each island has different qualities assigned to it by other islands. However, I think that regionally we are coming together through the products of our creative imagination. The Caribbean Writer is a good example of that effort. So, no. I don’t think we are being idealistic when we talk about pulling the fragments of the Caribbean together. Poets are doing it”.

UVI Professor and The Caribbean Writer Editorial Board Member Dr. Vincent Cooper, fondly recalls that during the 1970s Derek Walcott either directed or provided advice on the staging of several of his plays in the Virgin Islands. Between 1973 and 1978, he directed scenes from “Dream on Monkey Mountain”, “The Charlatan”, and “Franklyn”, on St. Croix, and later that year on St. Thomas. In 1974, he directed Ti Jean and his Brothers on St. Croix, as well as on St. Thomas, as well as on Tortola. In April 1977, he directed Remembrance on both islands. During the Fall of 1978, he directed Pantomime on both islands. Throughout the Fall of 1979, Walcott taught a seminar on Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville (El Burlador de Sevilla) and Walcott’s adaptation of Molina’s play, “The Joker of Seville”. Walcott also spent part of the summer of 1979 revising his new play, “Marie Laveau”, while residing at the University of the Virgin Islands ( then known as  CVI) campus.  Tirso de Molina’s The Trickster of Seville and Derek Walcott’s adaptation, “The Joker of Seville”, as well as Walcott’s musical, “Marie Laveau” were first produced at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, in November 1979.

Author and Poet Edgar Lake another TCW editorial board member recalls his presence at a Walcott poetry reading in New York Public Library in a poem entitled, “Walcott Reads to Brodsky’s God Mother” published in Calabash, a journal of Caribbean arts and letters in  2007.   The following is an excerpt from Lake’s poem:

“ …He reaches for his poems, curled in a coat-pocket – and begins to read, the lady shifts her weight, and clamps her feet about her bags, Walcott caught his breath and leapfrogs to another page. He’s accustomed to this silence, pigeons caught in eaves some simile, once winged, and now fretting for the rhyme Walcott, litany-voiced, free-verses about sea-grapes…”

“Walcott has had a long history with the University of the Virgin Islands and The Caribbean Writer,” said Emily A. Williams, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.  “Our writers and scholars have been enriched by their drinks at his intellectual and artistic font. May the spirit of his creative genius continue to inspire us all.”

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Researchers Poised to Uncover Secrets of the Universe

UVI Astronomers Gain Access to Gemini Telescopes in Chile and Hawaii

The Gemini Telescope (Photo Credit: gemini.edu)

Astronomers at the University of the Virgin Islands received an early Christmas present in 2016: acceptance of their proposal to the National Optical Astronomy Observatory (NOAO) granting access to two of the world’s largest telescopes in Chile and Hawaii. UVI scientists, collaborators and students will now be better able to study gamma-ray bursts (GRB), explosive phenomena generated by exploding stars 30 to 100 times larger than our sun. These may be the first generation of stars ever to have formed in the universe, which makes their analysis critical to our deepening understanding of the formation of the universe.

Alexander Fortenberry, Physics Student, working
at the Etelman Observatory
“We are entering a great era in the history of UVI astronomy,” said Dr. Antonino Cucchiara, assistant professor of Physics in the College of Science and Mathematics. “Because our students will be able to participate in cutting-edge research that is a top priority of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the University of the Virgin Islands will take on a significant role within the worldwide spectrum of top astronomy research institutions.”

The Gemini Observatory consists of two 8 meter telescopes that collectively provide access to the entire sky from strategic mountaintop locations, and are capable of providing nuanced information about astronomical events that is not visible through smaller telescopes. The UVI team was granted four hours of use on the southern Chilean telescope, and ranked in the top quartile for the Northern telescope in Hawaii. Meanwhile, a smaller but faster robotic telescope is coming online at the Etelman Observatory (the Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope, VIRT), which will be able to identify gamma-ray bursts (GRB’s) a few minutes after they have been discovered by satellites. With access to both technologies in different parts of the world, UVI researchers will be among the first to obtain and analyze GRB data as it becomes available.

Virgin Islands Robotic Telescope (VIRT)
GRB’s are usually identified by a rapid “flash” of very energetic gamma rays that only lasts a few seconds. NASA’s Swift satellite, launched in 2004 to study these phenomena, detects 100 GRB’s a year. Once the gamma-ray emission is detected, the satellite communicates the coordinates of the GRB explosions to scientists and computers around the world via email and text messages. Within a few minutes after the explosion, the UVI team is able to point the VIRT and other facilities at its disposal, such as the Gemini telescope, to collect data immediately. To rapidly receive these data from distant facilities, astronomers like Dr. Cucchiara and the Etelman Observatory staff can communicate with the astronomers in Chile to obtain critical data in real time. This data is analyzed at UVI and the results are shared with the astronomical community via the GRB Circular Network, which is a specialized mailing-listed based at NASA, within a few hours after the GRB explosion

According to Dr. Cucchiara, who spearheaded the initiative, one factor that contributed to the proposal’s success was the physical location of the Etelman Observatory. Because UVI has the easternmost astronomical observatory in the United States, VIRT will be the first in line after Europe to pick up satellite detections of gamma-ray explosions. From these images, Cucchiara and his team will be able to determine whether or not an explosion is worth a more detailed look. If it is, UVI researchers are now authorized to tell Gemini South technicians in Chile to drop whatever it is they are doing and point at the explosion. They can also tell the technicians how to point, in an effort to collect maximum useable data from the massive telescope about the distance and chemical composition of the bursts.

“We are essentially filling a gap between observatories in Europe and Arizona,” said Cucchiara. “By adjusting the strategy for exploration of the bursts based on what we see, we will be able to share resources with a worldwide network of astronomers. Analyzing these astronomical events will help to explain how the universe evolved. It will also function as part of a knowledge base for a wide variety of climate change studies involving water, wind speed and weather analysis in general.

Dr. David Morris
Dr. Cucchiara and his colleague, Dr. David Morris – assistant professor of Physics and director of the Etelman Observatory – are excited about the incredible opportunities that are opening up to do top level science at UVI through remote access to sophisticated technology at other facilities and institutions. But they are also eager to raise awareness about local astronomy developments with an eye toward fortifying their own facility. According to Dr. Cucchiara, UVI’s astronomy program and observatory are strong, but additional support is still needed for supplemental equipment, a past-due overhaul of the observatory’s computer system, and more volunteers.

“We will certainly be applying for grants,” said Dr. Cucchiara. “And we’re hopeful about that because our goal is to become more of a resource for scientists from all over the world.” Cucchiara continued, “The more we can engage with the worldwide network of astronomers, the more able we will become to give our students incredible opportunities to continue their education in astronomy and physics. The experience they gain at UVI will also catapult them to the forefront of research experiences at other institutions such as NASA, the Space Telescope Science Institute or Harvard.”

To learn more about supporting the Etelman Observatory as a donor, partner or volunteer, visit http://observatory.uvi.edu/ or contact antonino.cucchiara@uvi.edu.

Monday, January 9, 2017

Golden Key Honor Society Wins ‘SPARK a Change’ Award

St. Croix Chapter Impacts UVI & VI...

The St. Croix Chapter of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Golden Key International Honor Society received the 2016 “Spark a Change” award. From month-long initiatives to campaigns with a specific purpose, Golden Key members have been committed to making a difference. Last fall the group volunteered at UVI’s Open House, Red Ribbon Week at Ricardo Richards Elementary School, and hosted the Virgin Islands Senatorial Forum held at the University. The award is for the Golden Key International Honor Society’s service project “Spark a Change for Children.” The St. Croix Chapter won third place in 2016 and was awarded second place in 2015 at the international competition.

“This is quite an accomplishment for our small island university chapter, but very indicative of the dedication of our members and officers to service,” says Patricia Towal, Golden Key chapter advisor. “Golden Key rests on three pillars: Service, Academics, and Leadership. This chapter embodies all of the Golden Key Pillars.”

“I believe the Golden Key impact is being felt beyond UVI's Campus, from our ‘Back to School Supply Drive,’ to our ‘Nurturing Young Minds to Become Golden Students Mentoring Initiatives,’ and our Virgin Islands Senatorial Forum,” says St. Croix Chapter president, Kevin Dixon. “I see Golden Key as an organization that can serve as a change agent, thus, with a focus on our service pillar, we plan to continue to fill voids in our community.” Dixon, a UVI alumnus, is currently earning his master’s in business administration and is working towards careers in higher education and public policy. 

In fall 2016, Golden Key hosted the Career Pathway and Graduate School Panel, where honorary Golden Key members presented to the Virgin Islands Department of Labor Investing for Tomorrow (LIFT) Program interns and UVI students. Panelists included former Commissioner and Entrepreneur Albert Bryan Jr., Cardiologist Dr. Dante P Galiber, UVI Professor Dr. Barbara Flemming and Attorney Genevieve Whitaker. The panel discussed their own career pathways and the importance of graduate school.

With the restoration of classes for the 2016-2017 school year, Golden Key held a back-to-school drive, which enabled the organization to donate more than $1,000 worth of school supplies to the Queen Louise Home for the Children. The chapter received generous donations from UVI’s Research and Technology Park, Optimal Printing, Plaza Extra East, Cost-U-Less, Honorary Member Michelle Albany and University Bound.

“After helping the community, it makes me feel really good about myself, knowing that I am involved in making someone feel special and giving them hope," says Lennoxea Thompson, UVI graduate student and the organization’s webmaster. Thompson is currently pursuing her masters of business administration degree. She aspires to open a small management firm in hopes of aiding those who would like to start their own small business.

As part of the “SPARK a Change,” initiative, which lasted for the whole month of October, the organization launched “Nurturing Young Minds to Become Golden Students” at the Alexander Henderson Elementary School. Golden Key members worked alongside, Anhya Lord-Jerris, UVI St. Croix Career Services coordinator and Golden Key member, to deliver presentations on careers, the importance of working hard in school and the importance of volunteering in their community. UVI’s Roots Poetry, a new organization dedicated to making positive changes in the community through creative writing and performance arts, discussed creative writing and provided the students the opportunity to express themselves through words. 

“Knowing that I am trying to help someone who is less fortunate than I am gives me the drive to be active with Golden Key,” adds Lennoxea, who also loves providing awareness of the organization. People may know of the Golden Key, but they don’t know exactly what we do, she says.

“I like being a part of an organization when the main purpose is to give back to the community," says Rosan Walters – Mulley, the chapter’s public relations officer. “Being a part of Golden Key gives me the opportunity to offer individuals a sense of hope, and a reminder that there is still good people around. I get a sense of purpose, and become happy to see the appreciation in the eyes of those whom we were able to assist.”

Rosan is currently obtaining her master’s in business administration. Ultimately, she aspires to be an entrepreneur and financial consultant, with a possibility of working in the retail industry.

Earlier in the semester, the chapter was recognized for maintaining the Gold Standard. A gold level standing usually means that a chapter has achieved the highest possible reporting standard in the organization through active implementation and participation in events, service projects and more.

The St. Croix Chapter has also attained their third “Key Chapter” award, which carries a monetary prize and is the top award given to only a select group of chapters which go beyond the Gold Standard.

Planning for spring 2017 began in the fall. “One major initiative we will be focusing on during the spring semester, is to host a scholarship gala in order to raise funds for scholarships for the betterment of Golden Key members,” Dixon says. “We believe it’s important for our students to not only get to college, but through college, thus we want to provide resources to our members to ensure college completion.”

Golden Key accepts members who maintain a 3.33 grade point average, or higher, and have earned at least 60 credits. The organization is currently accepting new member applications for the Spring 2017 semester. For more information see this link: Golden Key International Honour Society

Thursday, December 8, 2016

UVI Accounting Students Take Lead to Create New Career Opportunities

The Executive Board.  From left to right: 
Jessica Taylor, Brencia Skeete, Shanisa Emanuel, Rohsaan Francis, Rae-Dawn Richardson, and Alphea Browne
Nascent National Accounting Association Reestablished at UVI ...

Alphea Browne, currently a senior accounting major at the University of the Virgin Islands, realized that there was a great opportunity for students involved with professional associations while she was at The Washington Center for Internships and Seminars last fall.  Surrounded by the bustle of professional networking, she remembered that just before she left St. Kitts for UVI, the president of UVI’s St. Kitts Alumni Association suggested that she join the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA).  She tried, but found the organization to be inactive.  So she reached out to one of her professors, Dr. Dion Gouws, who encouraged her to revamp NABA at UVI.
“When students become members of professional organizations, they gain access to all sorts of information about scholarships, internships and job opportunities,” said Browne.  “But you can’t join unless your college or university is an active member, and that puts you at a big disadvantage in terms of being nationally and internationally competitive.”
Browne reached out to people at NABA who explained that UVI would have to regain its title.  Determined, she recruited fellow accounting students Hakim Potter, Candice Samuel, Joya Gustine and Damien James to form the UVI Accounting and Business Professionals Association, which would complete the leg work.  It was a long and sometimes tedious process, but Browne and her team persisted and now the National Association of Black Accountants is an active organization at UVI once again.
The 2016-2017 NABA student leaders are President Jessica Taylor, Vice President Brencia Skeete, Treasurer Rae-dawn Richardson, Secretary Rohsaan Francis, and Public Relations Officer Shanisa Emanuel.
Back row, left to right: Dr. Dion Gouws, Medina Simon, K’Shana Bapttiste, Alphea Browne, Rae-Dawn Richardson, Le-Anne Angol
From Row, left to right: Brencia Skeete, Felicea Fontenelle, Rohsaan Francia, Shanisa Emanuel, Jessica Taylor, Hakim Potter
“I feel happy and proud of the achievement,” said Browne.  “But I’d feel even happier if I was sure that the organization will remain up and running after I leave.  I’m working with a freshman now in the hope that she will pick up an executive position.”  Browne continued, “It’s a lot of responsibility, you have to submit a report every six months, but it’s definitely worth it.”
NABA, which invites accounting students to be involved with the professional community, to create a group of their own and to build leadership skills, is not the only accounting organization on campus that offers development and networking opportunities.  The recently established National Association of States Board of Accountancy (NASBA) Student Center for the Public Trust (CPT) provides an interactive environment where ethical business behaviors and ideas can flourish. In order to maintain membership, student CPT members must accept responsibility for improving their community by completing one community service project every year.
The expansion of UVI’s accounting program this year includes a new Bachelor of Business in Accounting degree and a Master of Accounting degree.  Although both programs are offered through the School of Business, they focus primarily on accounting and prepare students to sit for certifications such as the Certified Public Accountant (CPA), Certified Management Accountant (CMA), Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) and others. 
With the growth of the accounting department has come not only a proliferation of professional associations, but also scholarships. The Virgin Islands Society of Certified public Accounts (VISCPA) recently presented two minority accounting scholarships from the American Institute of Certified Public Accounts (AICPA) for $3,000 each. 
Left to Right: Dr. Sakthiharan Mahenthiran, Rob Upson, Dr. Dion Gouws, Hakim Potter, Dr. Stephen Reames,and Sharon Levin
“We have so many dedicated and hard-working students in our new accounting programs,” said Dr. Dion Gouws, associate professor of accounting.  “UVI is certainly producing top notch graduates in accounting, and we look forward to more of our students receiving AICPA scholarships and other such achievement scholarships. We are all very proud of them.”
According to Dr. Gouws, the awards recognize hard work, which is an essential part of preparing for career readiness as accounting students learn mostly by doing.  “These scholarships are a great way to motivate competition and diligence,” said Dr. Gouws.  “The recipients earned their scholarships through many hours of dedication.”
Hakim Potter, this year’s recipient of the AICPA minority scholarship on St. Thomas, said that to him the scholarship felt like a great opportunity for change.  “Where I come from is not where I’m going to be,” said Potter.  “The scholarship is confirmation that change is possible.  Any accounting major should definitely apply for the AICPA scholarship.”
Dr. Sherri Levin, CPA and vice president of VISCPA on St. Thomas, is an educator committed to increasing diversity in the accounting industry.  “In addition to rewarding the students for their hard work and achievement, the scholarships are a great way to bring attention to the accounting major, and to encourage other UVI students to enter the field,” Dr. Levin said.
  Accounting degree programs are on the rise nationally, but large numbers of baby boomer CPAs are retiring, thus intensifying demand for accounting professionals, she said. “As older CPAs retire or leave the territory, it is important to have a younger generation of trained and certified professionals to fill the void,” said Levin.  “Our hope is that the scholarship recipients and other UVI accounting graduates decide to work in the Virgin Islands to serve the public need for professional accountants in the territory.”

Friday, September 30, 2016

UVI Announces 2016 HackFest Winners

Fifteen student teams create prototype phone apps in 24-hour problem solving sessions.

Fifteen teams and over 40 University of the Virgin Islands students participated in HackFest 2016.  Participants generated prototype phone apps in 24-hour marathon problem-solving sessions on Sept. 9 and 10, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix, and on Sept. 16 and 17, on the St. Thomas Campus.
Student teams, supported by other UVI students, faculty and NEARiX Corporation staff members, generated creative apps related to this year’s theme, “Health and Wellness.”  HackFest team prizes were $500 cash for Best Hack, $100 cash for Most Innovative Hack and $100 cash for Most Impactful Hack.
Participants in St. Croix Hackfest

Now in its third year, HackFest would not be possible without the support of NEARiX, a St. Croix software development firm founded by Leon Hughes, CEO.  HackFest participants are “all winners” said Hughes. UVI President David Hall was on hand to personally congratulate all of the 2016 HackFest teams.
“I am so proud of what our students accomplish in 24 hours,” said Dr. Timothy Faley, UVI’s Sokoloff Professor of Entrepreneurship. “But to me this is not about the product they produce; it’s about their own personal development. I see their confidence and leadership skills grow exponentially over the 24-hours of HackFest – that’s a fantastic thing to watch happen before your eyes.”

St. Croix Winners
St. Croix Hackers Brainstorming
This year’s “Best Hack” on St. Croix was awarded to the team comprised of computer science major Amali Krigger and business major Mackenzie Gross for their phone app “WhatUEatin?” The concept phone app allows you to upload your recipes and any chronic health issues you may have. The app offers suggestions for healthy substitutes for ingredients in your recipes. The social component of the app lets you connect with others and share recipes and healthy eating advice.
In a surprise announcement, Hughes awarded Krigger and Gross a gift certificate each good for 40 hours of free consulting with top developers of his firm. These certificates, which have a total value of over $5,000, will provide the resources necessary for this team to further develop their concept app. “Participating in the HackFest was a life-changing and learning experience,” said Krigger. “It gave me a chance to imagine an idea and bring it to life. It has given me hope, resources and new ideas about my entrepreneurial and career goals.”
The “Most Impactful Hack” on St. Croix was awarded to the concept phone app “Mom.” This app was created by the team of Kalunda Cuffy, Tijani Shabazz, Alicia Taylor and Kaheem Thomas. “Mom” acts as a life coach for college students. Like your real Mom, the app gathers information from you on your NASA – Nutrition, Activity, Sleep, and Academics. Based on this input, the app responds with concern and behavior modification suggestions.

Hackfest Participants on the Albert A. Sheen Campus

 The “Most Innovative Hack” on St. Croix went to the team of Terrance Emmanuel, Leanne Morancie, and Geron Richards – the first English major to participate in UVI’s hackathons. This team created the “Holistic Practitioner Healers” app that assists in helping you to maintain your health by alerting you when your emotions are out of balance. The concept app interprets an IR scan of your body, available by using UVI’s 3D imaging cameras, to determine the state of your chakra centers. The app then makes personalized recommendations based on its analysis.
“I did not plan to participate in this event,” said Geron Richards.  “I attended the first day and became quite interested in the different analytical concepts that the students were brainstorming upon.  The name ‘Hackfest’ gave many students the idea that this event might be confined solely to computer science majors.”  Richards continued, “But it was a well-organized event that I think more students from different majors should consider participating in next year.”
The concept phone app “Mood Makers” earned a UVI Bookstore gift certificate courtesy of VI EPSCoR.  “Mood Makers” was developed by Yolanda Felix-Medina and Khadijah O’Neill, the first all-female team to participate in UVI hackathons. “Mood Maker” addresses the challenges college students face regarding their lack of physical activity, imbalance of social and productive life, time-management, depression and stress. The app functions as a portal offering suggested links to information on specific topics of students’ concerns.
Female hackers participating in the St. Croix event

“I entered the Hackathon to help my friend Khadijah O’Neill who desperately needed a partner,” said Yolanda Felix-Medina. “I met great people whose ideas blew my mind.  Khadijah participated in the hackathon last year and found it sad that only one girl had participated in the event.
This year O’Neill decided to partner with another woman.  The experience with a guy in the group would have been different, but we really wanted to be the first all-female team and it worked out great,” she said.  “I definitely plan to participate in next year’s Hackathon.”

St. Thomas Winners:
The “Best Hack” on St. Thomas was awarded to the team of Eliakin del Rosario and Jodie Dasent for their concept phone app “GourNet,” which will help you eat a more balanced diet by providing nutritional information about the food you are consuming. By either taking a photo of the food you are about to consume or verbally describing it, the app will search databases and return the meal’s nutritional information.
Gouret team accepting $500 Best Hack Prize

“I will continue, alongside my partner, to develop our app,” said del Rosario, who will pursue a career in software development. “I believe we can really make a change by informing the world about the nutritional values in the meals they consume throughout their day.  A healthy diet can truly extend our lives.”   
“Participating in the HackFest is always a fun experience,” said del Rosario, who has participated in all three Hackathons with Dasent. “I enjoy exploring new ideas and sharing with others the perks of technological advancements.”
 The most “Innovative Hack” on St. Thomas, which awards creativity, was presented to two UVI freshmen and first-time hackers for their phone app “Binaural Healing Waves.” The user of this concept app would self-diagnose their feeling… anxious, sad, stressed, etc. The app would then determine which of the five essential binaural waves might be responsible for the user’s negative symptoms. The app puts these waves back in balance by delivering the out-of-balance waves to the user as they watch a video or listen to music.
Binaural Waves Team on St. Thomas

“Our experience in the Hackathon was very inspirational,” said Hariol Brenton, who teamed up with fellow freshman and first-time hacker, Chris Murphy. “We were able to explore deeply in our minds to find an idea that would naturally, without any negative side effects, benefit humanity in less than 24 hours.”
“They say you never know what you are capable of until you try, and we were flabbergasted by how much we were able to accomplish in such a short time.  Just amazing,” Murphy said.
 The most “Impactful Hack” on St. Thomas, which awards utility and impact, was awarded to the three-person team of Jesus Arista, Samuel Jones, and ShaneĆ© Richards for their concept app” NutriSmart.”  This app delivers a recommended, user-specific diet plan based on the user-supplied food preferences, and their medical and physical conditions. 
Hackfest 2016 T-Shirt

 VI EPSCoR provided a UVI bookstore gift certificate to “$martFit,” which was developed by Michael Garcia, Natisha Hodge, and Tommy Wise. The app is a gamification of exercise app that motivates people to exercise by providing financial rewards. Sponsoring companies that also advertise on the app will provide gift certificates for achieving specific levels of exercise-related points.

The remaining seven concept apps and development teams were:
·         “Balance;” developed by Sean Benjamin and Jonathan Woods
·         “Diagnizer;” developed by Jason Baron and Riviere King
·         “Hive;” developed by DeWein Pelle and Elangeni Yabba
·         “L.G.M.;” Developed by Nakeshma Cassel, Lorne  Joseph, Morvel Fahie, and Davindra Ramsundar Jr.
·         “My Aid;” developed by Lawrence White and Kiarra Vanterpool
·         “NetMed;” developed by Zandria Acosta; Jahnelle Rivera, and Alayna Belshe
·         “UnderTake;” developed by Asel Mustafa, Fatimah Hussein, and Haya Mustafa
Hackfest Participants on St. Thomas
The hackathons will be followed this year by a new software development competition called “Design Slam.”  That program will kick off on both UVI campuses on Friday Oct. 14. During this months-long Design-Slam competition, the student teams will develop detailed click-able prototype apps or websites. Cash prizes and a trip to the national competition await the winners of this new competition, which is sponsored by the firm Social Wellth.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Miss UVI Brings Home National HBCU Crown

Miss UVI, Che-Raina Warner, secures Miss NBCA Hall of Fame Title...
Miss UVI / Miss NBCA Hall of Fame Che- Raina Warner addresses a UVI delegation at the airport.

Che-Raina Warner’s grace, poise and talent with the spoken word propelled her to victory when she competed against 27 other college queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) around the United States. The competition for the coveted title of Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame was held from Sept. 21 to Sept. 25, in Atlanta, Ga. at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. In addition to winning the crown, Che-Raina won the “Hats and Heels” segment of the competition.

Miss NBCA Hall of Fame Che-Raina Warner

“Once again, UVI has demonstrated that it is not just producing academically capable students,” Warner said. “We are well-rounded individuals as well.” The competition in Atlanta was a great experience and a wild success, she said, but it was not all smooth sailing. “When we arrived, we discovered some challenges that we felt were impossible to overcome,” she said. “But as the UVI Buc champions that we are, we overcame those challenges, and the competition as well.”

The NBCA queen contestants are judged in four categories: talent, poise, image and personal and private interviews where the contestant has up to two minutes to introduce herself and discuss her platform. Miss UVI’s platform, “The Beauty Myth,” has the acronym, D.R.E.A.M.S. (Developing a Realm of Educated Ambitious Motivated Sisters) which she plans to promote vigorously. As Miss NBCA Hall of Fame, Warner will serve as a national representative and advocate of HBCU’s. She will receive a $5,000 academic scholarship along with other prizes.

Warner is greeted by UVI supporters at the airport.

UVI has been represented at the Miss NBCA Hall of Fame pageant for many years and several UVI queens have placed in the top five. Elisa Thomas was the first Miss UVI to win the crown in 2014. 

The NBCA competition is sponsored by the NBCA Hall of Fame organization, which is dedicated to the growth and development of HBCUs through scholarships, internships, training and technical assistance, alumni recognition, and programs to encourage humanitarian involvement.
Here is a selection of comments from the UVI social media sites. A selection of photos is also available on Facebook.


Darlene Hill: Awesome! Congratulations!

Carmelo Rivera: As a graduate of CVI/UVI and a former faculty member, it gives me great pleasure to hear this sweet news! Little unknown UVI has lots of talent to offer the world and is a giant in many ways! Congrats, Che-Raina.

Sheryl J. Matthias: Congrats to miss uvi from an alumna.

Dorn Wheatley Walker: Wow! My alma mater! Congrats to Miss UVI.

Student Activities STX Page:

Claude Steele: Congratulations Miss UVI!!


Olivere Wade: Congratulations

Mae Louise Williams: Congratulations

Jeanette Ferdinand: Yasssss!!! I knew she had it in her! Congratulations.

Che-Raina Warner’s Facebook Page

Avonelle Carey: Gongrats Che Raina!!!!!!!

Tessa Phipps: Congrats Dear

Iclima Paul: Congrats. Continue climbing to the top of the ladder, but always remember to put god first. Proud of you.

Verna Rubaine: Amen so true congrats to you, your family and all the fellow citizens of Sandy Point. A well done job keep pushing for the stars. Big-up a proud Sandy Pointer

UVI Student Activities – St. Thomas Campus

Sophia Tyl Johnson: Yessssssssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Twitter @UVI_edu

Nanyamka Farrelly: UVI does it again! Miss National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame Che-Raina! #NBCAHOF

Friday, September 2, 2016

Ph.D. Candidates to Fulfill Advance Degree Dreams at UVI

UVI Celebrates History Making Program
UVI's first Ph.D. cohort poses with administrators and faculty. 
Ron Meek stood among 50 doctoral candidates ready to embark on UVI’s first Ph.D. program in Creative Leadership for Innovation and Change. It was a goal he had set for himself while working at another university where he was also a doctor of education candidate for educational administration.

“I was four classes and a dissertation away from my degree when I got sidetracked by dirt bike racing,” Meek said at a welcome reception for Ph.D. candidates on Sunday, Aug. 21, at the President’s Guest House. “It was a passion I shared with my sons, which at the time seemed like a lot more fun than academic scholarship,” said Meek. “But it always bothered me to have left that goal unfinished.”

Meek, now director of Human Resources and Organizational Development for the University of the Virgin Islands, is looking forward to being among the students to join the first cohort of UVI’s first Ph.D. program to fulfill his longstanding dream of earning a doctoral degree.

Ron Meek
“When UVI’s first Ph.D. program emerged, offering the perfect opportunity for me to resume my study of leadership in service learning, I got excited,” said Meek. “I’ve always been drawn to the idea of education that can stimulate individual growth and the common good at the same time.”

The candidates, a diverse group of life-long Virgin Islanders, U.S. mainlanders, international students from around the Caribbean and beyond, shared personal stories of the journey that brought them to UVI’s Ph.D. Program.

“Earning a Ph.D. was always something that I wanted to do,” said Charmaine Mayers, a St. Thomas native, who earned her Masters of Arts Degree in Business Administration from UVI and is currently the federal grants coordinator for the Virgin Islands Department of Health. “But I had a daughter and I wanted to put a lot of energy into getting her through school. Finally she has her degree in engineering, and the time has come around again for me to do me.” Mayers is eager to start the program’s Organizational Development and Leadership track.

UVI Alumnus David Cannonier, a police sergeant for the Virgin Islands Police Department who also teaches psychology at UVI, as well as at the police academy, shared his enthusiasm about joining the program’s Educational Leadership (ELC) for Change Track. “I am here because Dr. Frank Mills, who was my master’s thesis advisor, advised me that this was something I should do,” said Cannonier. “This is the only University I have ever attended, and I just feel so proud and happy to be part of this inaugural class.”

UVI Provost Dr. Camille McKayle stands with Ph.D. candidate at opening and welcome ceremony.

UVI alumnus Timothy Hodge, who is from the island of Anguilla, has sent two of his daughters to UVI and was mildly startled to find himself back on campus. “When Dr. Maddirala came to Anguilla and put the application form in front of me, I signed it,” he said. “My mother always told me that I should get my Ph.D., and now I am.”

Kenisha Thompson is a consultant for Humana and an adjunct professor at Ottawa University who currently lives in Louisville, Ky. According to Thompson, she had been looking into graduate programs in innovation for the past four years. She chose UVI for her doctoral work despite being recruited by Purdue and Indiana University when she saw that a fellow Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) was launching a program. “My family is full of HBCU graduates,” she said. “I graduated from Spelman in 2003. My brother went to Tuskegee and Howard. HBCU’s run all through the family. So when I did a little bit of research and saw what this program had to offer, I tweeted Provost McKayle. She tweeted me right back and that’s how I became one of your classmates.”

The development and launch of UVI’s Ph.D. program in Creative Leadership for Innovation and Change was, as UVI President David Hall pointed out in his welcoming remarks, itself an act of creative leadership for innovation and change. President Hall and the Board of Trustees had already determined that the creation of a Ph.D. program was inevitable for the University; but in what area? After attending a powerful conference on creative leadership, Dr. Hall became convinced that – given the territory’s need for a new generation of strong and insightful leaders who possessed the skills to drive positive social and economic change – creative leadership would be the perfect interdisciplinary field for UVI’s first Ph.D. program in which not just one, but all departments could participate.

UVI Provost Dr. Camille McKayle speaks at welcome reception.
Dr. Hall met with UVI Provost Dr. Camille McKayle, who received the idea with great enthusiasm. She then recruited Dr. James Maddirala, associate provost for global, graduate and academic affairs, who gladly stepped up to become the primary architect of the program. Together, Dr. McKayle and Dr. Maddirala reached out to other institutions, eventually finding partners in Buffalo State University and Fielding Graduate University for the first Ph.D. of its kind. But, Dr. Maddirala declared, it would not be the last. “Nowhere else in the world have three institutions come together to create a program like this,” he said. “Now that it has been done, it can be done again in India, Brazil and China. If we all stay here and work really hard, UVI can be a global university.”

“Just think for a moment about how much we read in the newspaper and on social media about the need for stronger creative leaders,” said Dr. Orlando L. Taylor, vice president for Strategic Initiatives and Research at Fielding Graduate University. “But many people have not taken the time to look at the fact that strong leaders have strong preparation.” Dr. Taylor continued, “They have not focused on the fact that there is an art, a science, and a set of best practices associated with leadership. And so the pursuit of this Ph.D. – and at Fielding we talk about the scholar/practitioner – is a journey where you all will attempt to link scholarship and theory with practice so that you can do things like change the world, change society, change organizations, and change local communities.”

“We are going to focus on leadership for a diverse world, a global world, a multi-cultural world, and that is what makes this program so very special,” he said.

Ph.D. candidates Rhea Beckett and Monica Rae speak at welcome reception.
“Be the change you want to see in the world,” said Gerard Puccio, department chair and professor at the International Center for Studies in Creativity at Buffalo State University, quoting Mahatma Gandhi. “I honestly believe that the world would be a better place if we had more creative leaders. Imagination conquers fear, and because of that I see all of you as pioneers. This is a historic evening.”

A substantial portion of the degree requirements for UVI’s doctoral program is completed at a distance, but residencies are required each semester. The program is unique in that traditional classrooms and lectures have been replaced with flexible workstations and master practitioners who will work with adult learners as peers. During the weeklong residency sessions, students will connect with the game-changers of a global world to jointly explore possible futures and exciting ideas. For more information visit: http://www.uvi.edu/administration/provost/degree-programs/global_graduate_education/phd/default.aspx.

Friday, August 19, 2016

UVI Voices of Inspiration Community Choir Rocks St. Kitts Audiences

Choir Invited to Tour the Caribbean and Beyond

Members of the Voices of Inspiration Choir Performing on St. Kitts

The University of the Virgin Islands' Voices of Inspiration Community Choir took audiences on the island of St. Kitts on “A Musical Journey Through Time” and shared their powerful, spirit filled voices.
Between Aug. 3 – 8, the Voices of Inspiration Choir, presented two spectacular and culturally enriching performances.  The 28 member choir, comprised of alumni, current students and community members performed  first at the Calvary Baptist Church in Sandy Point on Friday, Aug. 5, and then in the elegant Saba "St. Kitts" Ballroom at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort Hotel on Saturday, Aug. 6.  
The choir opened its concerts, which doubled as educational journeys through cultural heritage, with songs of Africa.  Next came the spiritual roots of gospel music, which segued into the sounds of classical, jazz, bebop, hip-hop, Caribbean-flavored gospel, and more.  The effect was a crescendo of music, drama, theater and liturgical dance that captivated the numerous people who attended these magnificent events.
“The overarching purpose of this trip was to represent UVI and to showcase opportunities that are available for advancement at the University,” said Kevin Dixon, a UVI graduate student and member of the choir.  “While in St. Kitts we appeared on four local radio programs to promote the concerts, but also to promote UVI,” he said.  “Since many of our students come from the Federation, we want to foster a great relationship with the community and government leaders.”   
 An exquisite choreography of movements, sounds and spirit integrated the concerts, which were expertly and artistically led by Josephine Thomas Lewis, UVI music program instructor and director of the UVI Voices of Inspiration Choir.  The “unity of the community” was also on vibrant display throughout both evenings, reflecting UVI’s ambassadorial spirit, along with a special dash of St. Croix flavor since the choir is based on the Albert A. Sheen Campus. 
Musical Ambassadors for UVI Performing
          at St. Kitts Marriott Resort Hotel
“The five days we spent in St. Kitts were wonderful because we showcased the best vocal talent the University has to offer,” said Felicia Emmanuel, a recent UVI graduate and member of the choir.  “But it was also deeply satisfying to be ambassadors for the University.  The show itself was moving and the audience truly didn’t want it to end.  I met one UVI alumna who recounted that there were no music classes being offered when she attended.  She felt so proud to see the tremendous talent that had come from her alma mater, and how young people are doing positive things in the community.”
Distinguished leaders – His Excellency Sir Tapley Seaton, Governor General of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Honourable Vance Amory, Premier of Nevis and UVI Alumnus – were joyful members of a spirited audience on Saturday night at the St. Kitts Marriot, which included many distinguished UVI alumni.  Special thanks in the customary UVI style was extended along with gifts to St. Kitts community supporters and production sponsors at the closing.  
"These successful and well-attended concert events once again reflected UVI’s commitment to community engagement as the only Historically Black College and University, and Land Grant Institution in the Caribbean,” said Dr. ChenziRa Davis-Kahina, director of the UVI Virgin Islands and Caribbean Cultural Center. 
After the performances, the UVI Voices of Inspiration Community Choir received invitations to perform on Nevis, St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Queries about sharing this exceptional concert in other locations throughout the Caribbean and beyond are also pending. 

Choir Director Josephine Thomas Lewis Thanking Dr. Simon
B. Jones Hendrickson (far left, red shirt) and
Other Concert Tour Supporters
Major contributions for the concert tour performances were provided by platinum sponsor, Dr. Simon B. Jones Hendrickson, former dean of the UVI College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, and by former chief economic policy advisor for the Office of the Governor of the Virgin Islands.  Crucial logistical and spiritual support was provided by the Calvary Baptist Church of Sandy Point, St. Kitts, and by the UVI St. Kitts Nevis Alumni Association.  Additional financial support for the tour was also provided by the Office of the President, the Office of the Provost, UVI Research and Technology Park, Institutional Advancement, and the Office of Administration and Finance.
For more information, or to become a part of the music program, please contact Josephine Thomas-Lewis at (340) 692-4110, or via email at  josephine.thomaslewis@uvi.edu.  The choir is open to students, alumni, faculty, staff and community members.  See this link to our Facebook page: UVI Voices of Inspiration Choir Facebook Page . 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Summer Research Symposium Showcases Student Works

Internet of Things (IoT) Fellows Present Homegrown Projects

UVI undergraduates Natisha Hode, Joseph Chalres, and Jordan Atemazem, and Dr. Michael Smith from Intel
            Anyone who has ever doubted UVI’s claim that it “specializes in futures” would have been well advised to attend one of the largest summer undergraduate research symposia in the University’s history, which took place on July 29, in the Sports and Fitness Center on the St. Thomas Campus. 
“Normally we have about twenty to twenty-five undergraduate research fellows,” said Grants Manager Aimee Sanchez.  “But this year as a result of extra funding from multiple sources including NASA, the cybersecurity initiative, VI-EPSCoR, Title III and others, more than forty research opportunities have been made available to UVI students.”
The second floor west mezzanine of the Sports and Fitness Center was abuzz with excitement as students presented work they had done through a variety of summer programs under the Emerging Caribbean Scientist (ECS) umbrella. These rigorous programs provide UVI students with challenging summer employment opportunities that encourage intellectual expansion while they invite comprehensive explorations of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  “The students learn research techniques and methods they will be able to apply to upper level courses," said Sanchez.  “They also get a taste of what it might be like to attend graduate school.”

UVI Internet of Things program participants with Dr. Michael Smith (far right)
This year, five summer programs were funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) Historically Black Colleges and Universities Undergraduate Program (HBCU-UP) grant; the Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR); the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) program; and the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration.
The Internet of Things (IoT)
Nick Drayton, Joseph Charles, and Jordan Atemazem
present their bird counting research
The newest VI-EPSCoR offering was a pilot program called The Internet of Things (IoT), which like traditional research programs allowed students to work closely with a faculty mentor.  But unlike traditional professors, IoT expert Dr. Michael A. Smith works for Intel Corporation where he runs the company’s IoT academic programs.  During his three and a half week program, Dr. Smith provided training and guidance on how to apply Internet and Maker Space technologies to marine and environmental science challenges.  Focusing on micro-computing and connectivity, he divided the course into progressive segments that started with conventional instruction, segued into project development, and concluded with final implementation. 
“It was intense,” said Dr. Smith, who acknowledged the rigor of a program that introduced students to a whole new approach to learning and productivity within a limited time frame. “It was modelled like a condensed Master’s program.  The students started with nothing, not even an idea, and ended up with a good start on a project of their own creation.  The IoT program is also very hands-on and collaborative.”
Bird counting meeting with Daniel Nellis DPNR
The IoT fellows were divided into three groups mentored by UVI STEM faculty in addition to Dr. Smith.  One group used a wearable medical device to determine how music affects the quality of your sleep; one developed the architecture for a cell phone app that would record frog calls in order to track frog populations in a particular area; and one used image segmentation and edge features to enhance the accuracy of bird counting.  All three projects were designed to boost the efficiency of scientific research in the Virgin Islands while challenging their creators to solve problems and develop fresh skills in the service of a common and practical goal.

Khadijah O’Neill was the only member of her VI Frog Count group that had not yet declared a major, but she said that her summer experience as an IoT fellow had definitely encouraged her to pursue a STEM field.  “This program was tough,” said O’Neill.  “We spent the first two weeks learning the process.  But it was rewarding to start a project from the ground up that could potentially be used to solve real world problems. It’s very important to keep the frog population of the Virgin Islands up for a variety of reasons, one of which is to control the mosquito population, since mosquitos carry diseases.”
STEM Undergraduate Research Programs
Three of the more conventional ECS summer programs – the Summer Sophomore Research Institute (SSRI), the Summer Undergraduate Research Experience (SURE), and the VI-EPSCoR Summer Undergraduate Research Program – allow current UVI students to work closely with a faculty mentor on research initiated by that mentor. 
Kiana Rawlins presents fluorescence spectroscopy
research mentored by Dr. Stan Latesky
One such student was Josh Howsmon from the VI-EPSCoR  group who presented his research on the effect of seasonal occurrence on larval fish in Brewers Bay with great enthusiasm.  Thanks to his faculty mentor, Dr. Sennai Habtes, Howsmon and his research partner, Travis Hamlin, learned how to use Conductivity, Temperature and Depth (CTD) to collect samples from thirty-three sites across the bay. 
“It was amazing to see how you can track the whole bay and collect samples of hundreds of thousands of marine organisms,” said Howsmon. “If global warming heats the water, the digital catalogue we’re in the process of creating will help us to understand what is happening.”
Narome Belus, a rising sophomore who is majoring in chemistry, spent her summer studying the effects of drying on antioxidants.  After computing antioxidant levels in a variety of fresh leaves and their dried counterparts, Belus was happy to have achieved tangible results: three of the five plants she worked on (papaya, lemongrass and French thyme) contained higher levels of antioxidants after they had been dried than when they were still fresh.  But what excited Belus even more was learning how to use a monitoring device called the UV-VIS spectrophotometer. 
Star Matthew presenting her coral disease
modeling research mentored by Dr. Robert Stolz
“It was difficult at first, but after I got the hang of it I realized what a great skill it was to have,” said Belus. “This device allows you to transfer data to excel and make all sorts of amazing graphs and charts.  I just love this skill and can’t wait to use it on other research.”
Many other math and science majors presented work at the symposium, much of which focused on marine biology.  But there was also one nursing project, two or three education projects, and a cybersecurity project that was undertaken by two computer science students, Kelvin Dover and Leroy Matthais.  This project focused jamming attacks and was unique in that it started off-island but finished at UVI.  The wireless security project also received additional support through a grant from the Department of Energy National Nuclear Security Administration.
Math Behind the Science
The only ECS program that presented their work on the evening before the summer research symposium was Math Behind the Science (MBS), a residential readiness program for incoming and current students. This summer bridge program enhanced the mathematics readiness of college-bound STEM students, preparing them to enter the introductory calculus course while providing an enriching transition to college life.
Math Behind the Science students
Hairol Breton and Jendahye Antoine
“MBS was kind of like a math boot camp,” said Jendahye Antoine, a recent graduate of Charlotte Amalie High School who entered the program in search of a smooth transition from high school to college, where she plans to study marine biology.  “We had classes seven hours a day, for six weeks, and we lived on campus.  It was a great preparation.  In the end, I tested into calculus, which was the main goal.”
In addition to studying math, MBS students are required to take classes in computer science and writing skills, along with a freshman development seminar.  But the greatest benefit for MBS students has to do with an approach to mathematics that encourages students to make connections between what they are learning and practical applications in the real world.  “When you focus on teaching concepts, and encouraging students to ask why, the learning goes a lot faster,” said Brandon Rhymer, a UVI alumnus who taught the MBS math classes and was also a resident advisor.   “I just love seeing the light come on behind their eyes.”
Just as the flamboyant trees shower the Virgin Islands with bursts of color every summer, UVI’s STEM fellows anoint the territory with a spray of promise.  When asked why he was interested in bringing his IoT program to the Caribbean, Michael Smith replied without hesitation: “I see a lot of untapped potential here.  There’s no Intel Corporation or Silicon Valley in this part of the world, but that doesn’t mean there couldn’t be.  The students here are capable of reinventing themselves and the world in which they live.”