Friday, March 23, 2018

UVI Launches New Online Undergraduate & Graduate Degree Programs

(Left to Right) Sharlene Harris, Dr. Marc Boumedine, Dr. Camille McKayle, Erik Pattison, Dannica Thomas, and President David Hall pose for a photo at the March 3, Board of Trustees meeting in the Administration and Conference Center Building on the St. Thomas Campus.

Registration and enrollment ongoing….

Through the newly established UVI Online Division, UVI now offers courses and programs in a 100 percent online format. Courses start the second Wednesday of each month and will run for eight weeks.

In special session on Dec. 19, the University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees approved UVI to offer online degrees. Through the newly established UVI Online Division, the University now offers courses and programs in a 100 percent online format. Courses start the second Wednesday of each month and will run for eight weeks.

Degrees available online include:

• Associate of Science – Applied Computing

• Associate of Arts – Criminal Justice

• Associate of Science in Electronics and Computer Engineering Technology

• Associate of Arts – Engineering Management Technology

• Bachelor of Arts – Accounting

• Bachelor of Arts – Management

• Bachelor of Arts – Criminal Justice

• Bachelor of Arts – Financial Planning

• Bachelor of Arts - Interdisciplinary Studies – Strategic Communications

• Bachelor of Science – Applied Computing

• Bachelor of Science – Cybersecurity

• Bachelor of Science – Computer Engineering Technology

• Bachelor of Science – Engineering Management Technology

• Bachelor of Science – Electronics Engineering Technology

• Master of Arts – Leadership

• Master of Business Administration

“Where we are going in terms of the University’s online initiative is absolutely the norm,” said Board Trustee Jennifer Nugent Hill. “It is changing the entire state of education. I think this opens up a world of opportunity for us in the Virgin Islands and certainly as alumna of the University, I’m absolutely proud of us using technology to advance the teaching and education.”

UVI lies in the heart of the beautiful Caribbean. The UVI experience is uniquely multi-cultural, international, entrepreneurial and intellectually stimulating. UVI provides a vital and exciting environment for educating future leaders of the global 21st century community. In addition to new programs, in 2018, UVI online students will also have the option to complete mini-residency programs on the island of St. Thomas while earning academic credit.

In order to further meet the needs of global online learners, the UVI leadership team is developing a program to provide free laptops to students as part of their online programs. Additional information on the laptops for education initiative are expected to be available later in 2018.

“As we prepare for the future growth and innovation of our traditional on ground university, I am proud that through UVI online, we can now offer courses and programs in a 100 percent online asynchronous format,” said David Hall, president of the University of the Virgin Islands. “This will truly extend the reach of our Historically American, Uniquely Caribbean University to serve a global student population.”

(Left to Right) Dr. Kimarie Engerman, Board of Trustees Vice Chair Alexander Moorhead and Dr. Lucy Reuben pose for a photo at the March 3, Board of Trustees meeting in the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix. 

During the March 3, UVI Board of Trustees meeting, President Hall recognized University employees for their efforts to bring the University’s online degree program online. Awarded at each board meeting, the President’s Appreciation Award is presented to UVI employees and units that have performed exceptionally. “One of the major accomplishments during this reporting period has been the development, approval and implementation of 15 online degrees,” said President Hall. “This is the most strategic development in the University that has the potential to address ongoing educational and revenue concerns or challenges in the Territory and nationally.”

“This has been a team effort led by Provost Camille McKayle but has included the tireless and creative work of various individuals,” said President Hall.

This quarter’s award was presented to:

  • Charmaine Smith, coordinator for Enrollment Services
  • Cheryl Roberts, director of Financial Aid
  • Dannica Thomas, director of Institutional Effectiveness
  • Desha Brathwaite, database administrator
  • Dr. Ameeta Jadav, director of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning
  • Dr. Kimarie Engerman, interim dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences
  • Dr. Lucy Reuben, interim dean of the School of Business
  • Dr. Sandra Romano, dean of the College of Science and Mathematics
  • Dr. Stuart Ketcham, chair of the faculty
  • Erik Pattison, director of network operations
  • Monifa Potter, registrar
  • Sharlene Harris, vice president of Information Technology, Library Services and Institutional Assessment

“These individuals represent the larger group of people who played a role and I am very honored to be able to designate them as the recipients of the President’s Appreciation Award for this Board meeting,” said President Hall.

The Middle States Commission for Higher Education approved UVI’s request to offer online degrees in 2017. The University is authorized to offer online degrees in all 50 States and the District of Columbia, through its membership in the National Council for State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements.

Monday, February 26, 2018

UVI Alumna Pays it Forward and Wins Trip

UVI Alumni Pays it Forward and Wins Trip 
Two decades ago Julie Arter attended the University of the Virgin Islands and she still gives back to her alma mater. 

Julie Arter at 1992 Commencement Ceremony

“I believe that UVI gave me the foundation that I needed to achieve the things that I now have," Arter touted. “To be able to utilize, up to this day, some of what I have learned while attending UVI, proves that the academic structure was and still is well designed and delivered to enable students to succeed.” 

Arter was one of two alumni of the University to win the “55 for 55”: The Great Alumni Challenge hosted by UVI’s Alumni Affairs Office in commemoration of the University’s 55th Anniversary. 
 Julie Arter, who now resides in Flint, Michigan is a graduate of the Class of 1988 and Vernice Rogers, a resident of St. Kitts, is a graduate of the Class of 2011. 

Vernice Rogers in elementary school classroom in St. Kitts - 2018

 “Over the years, I have contributed to UVI so it was not hard for me to donate to the challenge,” Arter said.  My giving, is to know that I am helping the university to meet its goal in providing a great educational experience to students,” she said.

“It gives me great pleasure and satisfaction to have the opportunity to give back to my alma mater and in so doing, assist current and future students achieve their academic goals,” Arter added.  “I strongly believe that giving back or helping others to achieve is very important for the growth of our society.  UVI has shaped my higher education and I enjoy having the chance to play a part in shaping current and future students' higher education.”

Julie Arter in Accounting class at UVI

UVI is unique in that its students and professors have a more interactive relationship.  Students are not seen as numbers but as individuals to be molded to face the working world and to be successful in whatever direction their career path takes,” she added. 

 I graduated in 1988 with an Associates of Arts degree in Office Assistance and Administration,” Arter said. I immediately continued my studies and graduated in 1992 with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and an Associates of Arts in Data Processing,” she said as she recounted her years spent at the then College of the Virgin Islands (CVI), which later transitioned into the University of the Virgin Islands in 1986. 

Julie Arter in Commencemt regalia - 1988

With the contribution of Arter, Rogers and others, UVI alumni have set a ground-breaking record having donated to their alma mater $55,000 collectively. The commitment of anonymous donors to gift an additional $55,000, if the alumni was able to meet the $55,000 target of the challenge, saw the fundraiser totaling $110,000. 



Thursday, December 21, 2017

Carpe Diem: Student’s Life Long Dream Granted at NASA

UVI Student’s Research Published...
Lauren Arnold has always had a keen interest in astronomy from a tender age and despite being otherwise converted, she has always returned to her main interest. Last summer, Arnold a senior undergraduate student of the University of the Virgin Islands, spent 10 weeks from July to August at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Washington, D.C.

“When I was in third or fourth grade, I applied to Space Camp and I was accepted on a partial scholarship,” she recalled. “However, my single-parent mother could not afford the additional money and so I could not attend. So that caused me to give up on wanting to be an astronaut”, she said. “I started getting into marine science and that was when my love of the ocean and sharks began”, she continued. “Since then I have wanted to become a marine biologist, which is why I attend UVI as a marine biology major, so that I can do shark research”, she said.
Still interested in pursuing her lifelong dream, Arnold said, “two summers ago my mom and I went to Kennedy Space Center in Florida and I met two astronauts.” “They said that although I am a marine biologist, I can still be an astronaut. I got bit by the space "bug" again, and wanted to get my foot in the door at NASA, any way that I could”, she stated. Arnold said that she applied to the NASA OSSI internship and was accepted to work on exoplanets at Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in Maryland.

“At NASA I was able to help out on a bunch of different projects, not just my own. As a result, this internship has helped me to become more versed in disciplines other than marine biology, like astrophysics and planetary science”, Arnold said.
Arnold credited much of her success at NASA to her mentor, Dr. Knicole Colón, under whose tutelage she was able to carry out her project, titled, "Characterizing Thermal Emission from Hot Jupiters."

“I was identifying how the thermal emission signals vary between exoplanets with different masses and temperatures to explore the diversity of exoplanet atmospheres”, she said. “This is done to help identify which planets could be labeled as "candidate planets" if it has a similar atmosphere as ours”, she added. “Dr. Knicole Colon, was incredible and I am still in contact with her to continue working on other projects”, Arnold said.
Arnold has had her work in the observing campaign using the Maunakea telescope published. “Being published as an undergrad is incredible, not a lot of students get the opportunity to”, she said. “I am currently working on two papers in marine biology, one on the invasive seagrass Halophila stipulacea and one on tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) movements”, she said. “These publications will help me to be more competitive when applying to graduate school”, she further added.

“She has gained in-depth knowledge of the hardware and software used to identify life outside of our solar system”, said Dr. Cucchiara. He added that, “she had the opportunity see first-hand the techniques that the astrobiologists are using to find life in planets.”

During her internship, Arnold worked with NASA scientists to find planets around nearby stars that may host life. She has participated in an observing campaign and collected data from a NASA infrared telescope located in Maunakea, Hawaii, on a particular planet orbiting a star in the Hyades cluster. “Her data has contributed to identifying the planet not as a "new Earth", but as a Neptune-like object”, said Dr. Cucchiara. This is the first identified binary system with Neptune sized planet in the Hyades cluster.

            “This shows us how, with just a few months of research UVI students can shine and demonstrate their incredible potential. It also shows how UVI Physics faculty are fostering more and more research based interest in astronomy”, said Dr. Cucchiara.
Lauren is a marine biology major, “so this is a great demonstration that the Physics department provides research opportunities across the board”, said Dr. Antonio Cuccchiara. He said, “our faculty has been working with other faculties and departments to form research in connection with other partners at different institutions and national and international laboratories.”

The University’s new bachelor of science degree in physics and astronomy began in Fall of 2016. This exposure is important to promote the work being undertaken in the Bachelor of Science in Physics with concentration in astronomy. “The Etelman Observatory in St. Thomas will be a prime facility to observe and identify more "exoplanets" in the future, involving students form UVI and local high-schools”, said Dr. Cucchiara.
In 2015, the University of the Virgin Islands was awarded a five-year, $2.7 million grant from the NASA. The grant is designed to expand aerospace research and development, increase participation by faculty and students at minority serving institutions, and ensure that underrepresented and underserved students participate in NASA education and research projects to assist their pursuit of science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) careers.  Since then, UVI has used the grant to hire two new faculty to support the existing physics program, among other activities.
Over the last three years students of the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI) have been participating in several National Aeronautic and Space Administration (NASA) and astronomy related internships, thanks to the National Aeronautic and Space Administration - MUREP Institutional Research Opportunity (NASA MIRO) grant.

Monday, November 27, 2017

VI Caribbean Cultural Center at UVI Celebrates 5th Anniversary

Despite hurricanes Irma and Maria’s damage to the Albert A. Sheen Campus and in proactive recovery mode throughout the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI), the Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center (VICCC) celebrated its 5th Anniversary on November Nov. 9, 2017.  The anniversary celebration was held in the VICCC Administrative Conference Suite in the Delta Jackson Dorsch Residential Complex with an interactive multi-cultural and multi-generational audience of the University Virgin Islands (UVI) and wider St. Croix community.
Group members of VICCC pose for photo after 5th anniversary event
Giving opening remarks at the anniversary celebration, UVI President, Dr. David Hall said, “I want to congratulate VICCC for its consistent cultivation and promotion of Virgin Islands and Caribbean culture through numerous programs, publications, courses, internships and collaborations with various local and national partners.”
“The original vision for the Center is still unfolding and still needs the support of the UVI and broader community”, said Dr. Hall. “If we do not celebrate our culture, it will be lost; if we do not house the artifacts of our culture, they will be scattered; and if we do not support the institutions that are the caretakers of our culture, we will continue to repeat the mistakes of the past.”
Bidding the organization congratulations, Dr. Hall said, “May this five-year anniversary of VICCC remind us all that we have made tremendous progress down the pathway to greatness, but we still have a long way to go. With your support and participation, we will make the next five years even more successful than the first five years.” 
An ice-breaking discussion on “What is Culture to You?” engaging all the attendees added to the creative digital educational video which displayed VICCC’s progress from 2012 to present. This served as the background for many inspirational and congratulatory remarks, cultural heritage reflections and presentations shared during this 5th anniversary celebration from UVI students, administration, faculty and staff; partners, community supporters and advocates for VICCC. 
VICCC Director, ChenziRa Davis Kahina extended acknowledgments and thanks to the communities throughout the Virgin Islands, Caribbean and Americas that have contributed, supported, financed, prayed for and holistically donated time and resources to help the VICCC celebrate five years.

VICCC Director, ChenziRa Davis Kahina addresses audience at 5th anniversary event

VICCC is nestled within the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences (CLASS) at the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).   VICCC is designated to produce, develop and institute state-of-the-art research, publications, multi-platform media, regional, national and international conferences, academic exchanges, collaborative initiatives, student, faculty and community partnerships; interdisciplinary resources for cultural exchanges, educational institutions and eco-heritage tourism developments. It also serves as an academic, technological, cultural heritage education and artistic cultural research center for CLASS courses, seminars, and academia embracing UVI’s innovative mission, vision and strategic goals as the only HBCU in the Caribbean and a Land Grant Institution.

Friday, November 3, 2017

UVI Students Get First Look at S.W.A.T Season Premier

UVI students pose after S.W.A.T. screening.

Lights, camera and there was plenty of on screen action as University of the Virgin Islands students on the St. Thomas Campus enjoyed a screening of the pilot of S.W.A.T., starring Shemar Moore.

Armed with popcorn, snacks and a comfortable movie theater atmosphere, students cheered to Moore’s personal message to the University of the Virgin Islands prior to the screening.

S.W.A.T. , a crime drama on CBS premiered on Nov. 2, just hours after students got their first look. The screening had been planned for much earlier but two category 5 hurricanes, Irma and Maria, pushed back the date. 

Leon LaFonde, Student Activities Director,
serves up popcorn and snacks. 

Students jumped, squealed and laughed as the story line jumped from action to suspense laced with well placed humor. With more than 23 years of experience, some of Moore’s most memorable roles include starring as Malcom Winters on “The Young and the Restless” and as Derek Morgan on CBS’s “Criminal Minds”. Moore’s role as Hondo kept more than 75 student’s glued to their seats.

At the end, Moore asked students in a pre-recorded video to use the hashtag is #SWAT on their Twitter account @SWATCBS, Facebook @SWATCBS, Instagram @SWATCBS and the Writers Twitter account @SWATWritersRoom.

S.W.A.T. airs on Thursdays at 10 p.m. Eastern Time. Students can keep up with S.W.A.T. on the day after it airs.

About S.W.A.T.

Inspired by the television series and the feature film, S.W.A.T. stars Shemar Moore as a locally born and raised S.W.A.T. sergeant newly tasked to run a specialized tactical unit that is the last stop in law enforcement in Los Angeles. Torn between loyalty to where he was raised and allegiance to his brothers in blue, former Marine Daniel "Hondo" Harrelson has everything it takes to be an excellent leader and bridge the divide between his two worlds. Hondo's elite unit includes David "Deacon" Kay, an experienced S.W.A.T. officer who always puts the team first, despite feeling overlooked for the lead job; Jim Street, a cocky but promising new member of the group; Christina "Chris" Alonso, a skilled officer and the team's canine trainer; and Dominique Luca, an expert driver who gets them in and out of high risk situations. Overseeing the unit is Jessica Cortez, the captain of L.A. Metro who values her job above all else, including her off-the-books relations with Hondo. Hondo's team enjoys an intense rivalry with another L.A.-based unit led by Mumford, an aggressive leader who likes to do things his way. With Hondo leading the charge, these dedicated men and women bravely put themselves at risk to protect their community and save lives.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Former 4-H Participant Shares Experience at National CYFAR Meeting

Andre Joseph 
Approximately 14 years ago, Andre Joseph joined the afterschool program at the Croixville Apartments where he changed from a wayward young man to a budding poet. Now an aspiring businessman, he is presently a student at the University of the Virgin Islands – Albert A. Sheen Campus majoring in Business.

That after school program was a part of the University of the Virgin Islands’ Cooperative Extension Service’s Children, Youth and Families At-Risk Program. Program coordinators were excited about the selection of one of its former participants in the local CYFAR program to participate in the recently held National CYFAR Meeting in the Washington D.C. area in May 2017. Joseph, one of three former CYFAR participants from throughout the United States (U.S.) was chosen to make presentations to an audience of over 250 attendees representing the U.S. and its territories. Attendees wanted to hear how the CYFAR Program impacted the former participants’ lives. The two-day meeting also emphasized the importance of evaluation of programs, building community partnerships and strategies for increasing sustainability of programs.

During the presentation at the National CYFAR meeting, Joseph indicated that he was a wayward youth and joined the program only at his mother’s insistence. Being slightly built at approximately 10 years of age, he was attempting to appear ‘bad’ so the bigger fellows would not bully him and therefore he tried to “out-bully the bullies.”  Such behavior created disruption in the program amongst the other youth, so a decision had to be made regarding keeping him involved. The site coordinator at the time made a decision to try to keep working with him, and over the years the behavior changed. He emerged as an excellent example of what the CYFAR afterschool program could do for the youth, and the over 250 plus attendees at the national meeting gave him a rousing round of applause following his presentation which he ended with an original poem he had written. Going from a menace as a child to a second-year college student at UVI was seen as quite an accomplishment.

In a poem, Andre wrote entitled “The Open Road of Success,” he makes mention of the fortitude and perseverance needed to achieve success.
“The open road of success doesn’t mean that you’ve reached your maximum potential in achievements.
Success is the overall experience that one has journeyed through to get to a particular position of might and will….
The road of success opens after hard work, dedication, and most often after tribulation.
In thus, success is the entity of our lives in which, with a little patience can be achieved by anyone. (Andre Joseph, 2012)”

“He [Andre] is a good example of the 4-H motto ‘to make the best better,'” said Lois Sanders, CYFAR project director at Cooperate Extension Service. “When youth are given the opportunity to succeed they are quite capable of “stepping-up to the plate” to display their best.”

Under the auspices of the National 4-H Program, CYFAR is federally funded and seeks to improve the quality of life of youth and families across the nation. Approximately 47 CYFAR programs exist throughout the U.S. and are managed through land-grant institutions, like UVI, receiving funds from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture under the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).

At Tutu Highrise on St. Thomas and the New Testament Church of God on St. Croix, five to 14-year-olds get a steady stream of information and experiences in nutrition, gardening, and physical activity during the afterschool program held Monday – Friday. The participants also received tutoring, homework assistance,  and 4-H programming with involvement from parents and volunteers.

In the earliest iteration of the program, computer technology was the primary focus of programming to minimize the digital divide in the country. Although computer technology continues to be important in the program’s mission, special emphasis is now placed on the aforementioned focus areas in light of the increased national concern regarding obesity. The current program in the territory is entitled, “Healthy Youth Leading the Way in the Virgin Islands.” With an overall goal of reducing childhood obesity and modifying the eating habits of youth, the program seeks to have a long-term impact on the health and welfare of the community.

For additional information regarding the CYFAR Program, contact the UVI/CES - 4-H/Family and Consumer Sciences Program at (340) 692-4094.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nontraditional Student Earns Master of Arts Degree; Accomplishes Lifelong Goal

Left to Right: Sherma Albert-Ferdinand, Dr. David Hall, Robert A. Beck and Juliette Heddad-Mille

Robert Beck, originally from Southern California, was among the first three students to graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands after earning the new Master of Arts Degree in School Counseling and Guidance. This program grew out of the Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in guidance and school counseling.

“It feels like a really big accomplishment,” said Beck. “To finally have both degrees offers a great sense of closure and opportunity.”

Beck chose to retire to the U.S. Virgin Islands after serving more than 43 years as a railroad worker and union officer who represented and counseled co-workers, because UVI invites senior citizens to take classes for free. He barely graduated from high school and did not think of himself as college material. Nevertheless, his interests in literature and history inspired him to find a junior college without entrance requirements.

Beck started taking college courses and immediately excelled, which led him to believe that he was either a late bloomer, the presentation of high school material had been ineffective for his learning style, that he had received defective counseling – or all of the above. He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies at California State University, Los Angeles (CSULA) after completing one last English class at UVI. In 2007 he started to take classes at UVI in multiple subjects while mentoring fellow students. He discovered while doing independent studies with professors in marketing and history that he had the ability to do academic research.

Later, when a beloved professor encouraged him to pursue a master’s degree, he chose the Master of Arts in Education with a concentration in Guidance and School Counseling. Even though he had no background in education, he had a strong interest in psychology and counseling. He also thought that he might be helpful to youngsters who could benefit from the attention of a caring and insightful adult.

“I enjoy being retired and am not looking to work full-time,” said Beck. “But I do plan to volunteer, and am pleased with the preparation I received through both degree programs.” Beck continued, “I look forward to working with and hopefully inspiring young people who don’t see futures for themselves in which higher education plays a role. I didn’t think I could go to college, but I did. I could do it, I know they can, too.”

The other two students who earned the new 48 hour degree are already gainfully employed by the public school system on St. Croix. Juliette Heddad Miller is the assistant principal at Ricardo Elementary School. Sherma Albert-Ferdinand is a high school counselor at the St. Croix Educational Complex.

The Master of Arts in School Counseling and Guidance is a rigorous program designed to prepare aspiring school counselors to become strong and effective leaders, capable of facing challenges in a changing world. The program provides students with professional and pedagogical knowledge and skills in core requirements, and a solid content knowledge in the area of school counseling and guidance. Individual courses are aligned with the Council for Accreditation of Counseling and Related Educational Programs (CACREP) standards, thus ensuring that the program represents a synthesis of content and experiences required for successful practice.

The new program also allows students to take the same CACREP approved courses that are offered through colleges and universities on the U.S. mainland, guaranteeing that the degree is at the same level of those offered in the United States. As the program meets the requirements for CACREP accreditation, UVI can now choose to submit an application for CACREP approval.

The new degree creates competitiveness with similar programs offered elsewhere, mandates a higher entry level salary and opens up more job opportunities. It also qualifies graduates to take the National Board for Certified Counselors (NBCC) National Counseling Examination as a first step to becoming a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC), which Beck just did.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

UVI Entrepreneur Poised to Hit the Ground Running

Aron A. Gumbs
(Aron A. Gumbs, St. Thomas Campus; Hospitality and Tourism Management)

Aron A. Gumbs is not just about to graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands. He is about to graduate with $10,000 in start-up capital to launch King Events, the mobile event and wedding planning service that he created and subsequently developed within the 13D Entrepreneurship program and competition that started last fall. He placed third in the competition, which earned him the $10,000 that will soon be used to jump-start King Events.

Originally from Anguilla, Gumbs confessed that when he was looking at colleges, his dream location was Las Vegas. But the costs were too high so he settled for the University of the Virgin Islands, figuring that he would stay two years and then transfer. Because the Hospitality and Tourism program allowed him to follow his passion, and because a significant portion of his education unfolded through hands-on internships that allowed him to hone his skills and make great contacts at the same time, he eventually saw no reason to leave.

“It has been wonderful to learn in and out of the classroom,” said Gumbs. “Because of my summer internship experiences at Black Orchid Florist and Events and Ani Villas on Anguilla, and at International Capital Management Company (ICMC)’s concierge and property management division on St. Thomas, I got to experience what it felt like to truly be in my zone.” Gumbs continued, “I also made so many contacts through my program and these jobs that I have new clients even before King Events has officially launched.”

King Events will be a mobile business, existing without a storefront but with a large vehicle in which Gumbs will be able to transport numerous samples to event and wedding planning house calls. This will allow him to be very flexible, which is important as highly customized events are to be the cornerstone of the business. Gumbs is not yet sure whether St. Thomas or Anguilla will function as a home base for his company, but he expects to work internationally as his company grows. He feels indebted to UVI, he said, for preparing him for a bright future in which he has the luxury of earning a living by doing what he most loves.

A Graduate Who Leaves a Legacy

Alphea Browne
(Alphea Browne, St. Thomas Campus; Accounting)

Alphea Browne, an accounting major from St. Kitts, is not only about to graduate summa cum laude from UVI on the St. Thomas Campus, she is also preparing to leave a legacy. Having realized that there was a great opportunity for students involved with professional associations while at The Washington Center for Internships and Seminars last fall, she spearheaded an initiative to reactivate the National Association of Black Accounts (NABA), and the National Association of States Board of Accountancy Students Centre for Public Trust (NASBA Student CPT) at the University of the Virgin Islands.

“When students become members of professional organizations, they gain access to all sorts of information about scholarships, internships and job opportunities,” said Browne. “I feel happy and proud of the achievement. But I’d feel even happier if I was sure the organization would remain up and running after I leave.” Browne continued, “It will be a lot of responsibility for the student who steps in to fill my executive position, but it’s definitely worth it. If your college is not an active member of NABA or some other comparable organization, it puts you at a big disadvantage in terms of being nationally and internationally competitive.”

While a student, she interned at Central Union Mission in Washington D.C. and at Domino’s Pizza Inc. Corporate Headquarters in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She also served as a Thurgood Marshall College Fund Student Ambassador for 2016-2017, and as a Resident Assistant from 2015 – 2017.

Browne has several good job prospects on the horizon thanks to the excellent professional network she cultivated during her time as an undergraduate. She said she is excited to leave behind the student life as she embarks on the next phase of her journey in which she will join a community of business professionals among whom she has already established numerous connections. Browne also feels profoundly grateful to UVI not just for the fine education she received, but also for the empowerment and mentoring that have prepared her for a promising career.

“UVI has helped me to clarify exactly what I want to do,” she said. “It also helped me build a great professional network filled with connections and references through a variety of internships, revamping NABA, and launching the NASBA Student CPT on campus.” Browne continued, “I also want to credit my advisor, Dr. Dion Gows, who has become a true mentor to me. I know that our relationship will continue long after I leave this University.”

Browne will begin preparing for the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) licensing exam shortly after graduation. She is currently in the process of deciding where she wants to live and work, but is open to a variety of national and international possibilities that include St. Thomas and her home island of St. Kitts.

First Tubist to Graduate from UVI Pursues Educational Leadership Role

Erick Willie
(Erick Willie, Albert A. Sheen Campus; Master of Arts in Educational Leadership)

Erick Willie, the first tubist to graduate from the University of the Virgin Islands with a Bachelor of Arts in Music Education, immediately put his degree to use upon graduating in 2014. He started to teach music at Arthur Richards Junior High School on St. Croix, and has been introducing youngsters to the joys of band, choral and Quellbe music for the last three and a half years.

Willie derives great satisfaction from working in the classroom, but knew that he wanted to be involved with shaping the direction of public education, particularly with regard to incorporating the arts into the core academic curriculum So he returned to UVI for a Master of Arts in Educational Leadership. He will graduate on May 11, on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.

“The biggest challenge for me was finding a balance between being a student again, and being a teacher,” said Willie. “But the program was exceptional, and I was able to do an internship with the administrators at my school, which enabled me to see what a principal really does. Based on that experience, I definitely want to pursue educational administration and leadership. There’s such a huge need for initiatives like band that will raise school pride, and get students to feel enthusiastic about learning.”

Willie himself was first exposed to music as a junior high school student who went on to become a valued member of the band at the St. Croix Educational Complex. He started out as a trumpet player, but when the band director said that tuba players were needed, Willie volunteered. He fell in love with the instrument. He had always dreamed of becoming a teacher, and was excited to learn that UVI would allow him to merge his two passions by training to become a music teacher.

“A lot of people have asked me why I didn’t go to study in the states,” said Willie. “I reply by asking them why I would want to study in the states when I can attend a school right here in the Virgin Islands that produces the best of the best.” Willie continued, “A lot of people overlook UVI, and that is a mistake. This university has helped me to develop as a musician and as an educator. Through both programs I’ve learned so many strategies that I’ve been able to implement in the classroom. And I had a great time doing it.”
Erik Willie and Kevin Dixon