Monday, April 29, 2013

VI Gov. de Jongh Guest on WUVI 1090 AM

WUVI Radio Hosts (left) Deborah Reese and Linda Ritter, UVI communication majors,
interview Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh, Jr. on WUVI 1090 AM.
Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh, Jr. made his first appearance on WUVI 1090AM, the University of the Virgin Islands’ student-run radio station. He was interviewed by UVI communication majors Linda Ritter, Marisha Jno-Lewis and Deborah Reese on April 29,  on the “UVI Insider” radio show.

Gov. de Jongh congratulated the students on the radio station. “This is impressive,” he said. “My compliments to all of you. This just adds to everything that we are trying to do in the Virgin Islands.”

The focus of the conversation centered on Carnival 2013. “Overall I think it was a tremendous time,” Gov. de Jongh said. “I think each year we get a little bit better.”
WUVI Radio Hosts (left) Linda Ritter and Deborah Reese, UVI communication majors,
interview Virgin Islands Gov. John P. de Jongh, Jr. on WUVI 1090 AM. WUVI Station
Manager April Fale-Knight (right) operates on air broadcast mixer.

Gov. de Jongh spoke about the fun associated with carnival and the violence that occurred throughout the carnival season.

He said he was particularly concerned by the increased number of firefights and gunshots that occurred.

“It has never happened with such frequency the way it did particularly during the week of Carnival,” said Gov. de Jongh. “It was just a continuous round of activity that I think causes us to have a discussion and at the same time to begin to look at what we do to prepare for St. John and St. Croix. We have to continue to address this situation.”

Ritter also commented on the violence.  She mentioned the Anti-Violence Initiative started by UVI President Dr. David Hall’s in the name of UVI former graduate student David Payne, Jr., who was killed by gun violence in his Anna’s Retreat home.

The student hosts were joined by UVI Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle and Vice President of Administration and Finance Shirley Lake-King. Chief of Staff Pamela Richards Samuel was also present in the studio.

WUVI can be accessed at 1090 AM on the radio dial or online at The call-in in number is (340) 643-1090.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Don't Miss the Carnival Adults' Parade Saturday

Students, from left, Shari Alfred, Andrew Authorton, Kyrell Thomas and Symra Hendrickson provided a sneak preview of UVI’s 2013 Carnival Troupe costumes during the annual Afternoon on the Green event held in March.

Don’t miss the Carnival 2013 Adults' Parade on Saturday, April 27. More than 50 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends are participating in UVI’s Carnival Troupe. They will be joined by a nine-person Mocko Jumbie group headed by UVI professor Dr. Dave Smith. Also participating will be newly crowned Miss UVI  Murchtricia Charles.

Troupe members will be divided into three sections: Golden Sun, Glistening Sand and Crystal Sea. Each will be wearing a unique set of costumes designed by Ainsley Mitchell of Trinidad. Troupe coaches are Leon Lafond and Paulette Stevens.

UVI’s Mocko Jumbies include students Gabriel St Remy and Shamoi Garcia, alumnus Rick Grant, Mary Joe Williams from the SBDC, and UVI faculty members Drs. Dave Smith, Tyler Smith, Marilynn Brandt, Renata Platenberg and Sandra Romano.

State-of-the-Art Marine Research Facility Rededicated

University of the Virgin Islands EPSCoR participants rededicated the newly renovated state-of-art MacLean Marine Science Center on Friday, April 12, on the University of the Virgin Islands St. Thomas campus. The center features a new oceanography lab, dive lockers, water tables and vessel accommodations. The marine center was rededicated at the start of a two-day Virgin Islands Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (VI-EPSCoR) Conference.  This year’s conference theme was “Celebrating the Past Five Years of Supporting Research in the U.S. Virgin Islands.”

From left, UVI President David Hall, VI-EPSCoR Director Dr. Henry H. Smith, Associate Professor of Biology/CMES Director Dr. Paul Jobsis, Interim Vice Provost Dr. Frank Mills, National Science Foundation EPSCoR Program Officer Dr. Jeanne R. Small, Research Professor of Zoology/Marine Biology Dr. Richard Nemeth, National Science Foundation EPSCoR  Section Head Dr. Denise M. Barnes, Research Assistant Professor/Geocomputational Analysis and Statistics Institute Director Kostas Alexandridis and Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle participate in the ribbon cutting ceremony of the newly renovated MacLean Marine Science Center.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

UVI Alum Speaks at Center for Spirituality Symposium

Emory University Nursing Professor
Dr. Safiya George Dalmida
University of the Virgin Islands alumna Dr. Safiya George Dalmida returned to her alma mater on April 21, to speak at the UVI Center for the Study of Spirituality and Professionalism’s “Spirituality and Higher Education” Symposium. Dr. Dalmida is currently an assistant professor at the School of Nursing and adjunct faculty in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and African American Studies Departments at Emory University.

She received an associate’s degree in nursing from UVI in 1997 and a bachelor’s degree in science from the UVI in 1999. Dr. Dalmida went on to receive her doctorate in nursing and a certificate in Women’s Studies from Emory University. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in research on religion and health from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

At the UVI symposium, Dr. Dalmida spoke on leadership in spirituality as it relates to health, research and higher education. She provided an overview of her research on spirituality and health among vulnerable groups, such as women and people living with HIV/ AIDS.

Dr. Dalmida is the lead nursing faculty member and is on the executive committee for Religion and Public Health Collaborative at Emory University. The RPHC effort is a university-wide effort that is under the Religion and Human Spirit Initiative.

Her area of research is on spirituality and coping with stress and its relationship to mental and physical health among women and people living with HIV/AIDS. Currently, she is examining the role of religion and cognitive functions in sexual decision making and HIV or sexually transmitted infections associated sexual risk behavior of black adolescent and young adult females.

Dr. Dalmida is an advanced nurse practitioner and primarily helps treat uninsured patients in the Latino community in Atlanta. She also volunteers in local community women’s health clinics. 

Friday, April 19, 2013

UVI Scholars Tackle Current Issues on Research Day

UVI student Tricia Greaux explains her research.
University of the Virgin Islands students, faculty and staff researchers displayed the results of their work on Research Day on April 6, in the University of the Virgin Islands Sports and Fitness Center on the St. Thomas campus and the Great Hall on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.
Research Day featured roundtable discussions and poster presentations detailing research in science, mathematics, marine biology, education, sociology and nursing. “I am just as impressed as I was last year and maybe even more so about the amount of research that our faculty members are engaged in and our students,” said UVI President Dr. David Hall. “It is also impressive to see that so much of it really relates to problems or challenges that exist in the Virgin Islands.”
UVI Interim Vice Provost of Research and Public
Service Dr. Frank Mills and UVI President
 Dr. David Hall discuss results of research project.
  President Hall noted research being conducted by Dr. Frank Mills, interim vice provost of Research and Public Service, and Asha DeGannes, UVI research assistant professor of Social Sciences and Statistics. They are trying to uncover the reason for violent behavior in adolescents. The research is looking into the effects of truancy and parental involvement on adolescence. There was also a roundtable discussion on this topic.   

UVI Agriculture & Natural Resources Programs for
Cooperative Extension Station Assistant Director
Stafford Crossman (Left) and UVI Agricultural
Experiment  Station Research  Associate Professor
Dr.  Thomas Zimmerman  display  their research on
 the  Albert  A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix.
“This type of research will give us a basis for recommending changes and interventions that can make a difference in the lives of people in the Virgin Islands,” said Dr. Hall. “Universities are not just doing the research so that faculty members can get tenure, though that is important. What makes UVI standout is that so much of our research is focused on trying to address problems that exists in the Virgin Islands and the Eastern Caribbean.”

Hazel Named St. Thomas UVI Student Worker of the Year

UVI Teaching Assistant Elesha Hazel rises to accept award.

University of the Virgin Islands Teaching Assistant Elesha Hazel was named the 2013 St. Thomas Campus Student Worker of the Year at a ceremony held April 12, at UVI’s Sports and Fitness on the St. Thomas campus.

Hazel, a senior English and communication major, was struck with awe when she was nominated, but was giddy with joy after winning the award.

“My parents instilled the mentality in me to do things and I didn’t realize I was doing so much just by doing what I normally would do,” she said.

Shown from left are UVI Counseling Supervisor Verna Rogers, Dean of Students Dr. Doris Battiste,
 UVI student Elesha Hazel, Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle, and Program Specialist Mary Myers.
UVI Dean of Students Dr. Doris Battiste and UVI Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle presented Hazel with flowers, a certificate and a personalized commemorative gift. UVI Assistant Professor of English Dr. Emily Carter, Hazel’s supervisor, presented her with a special gift.

UVI Interim Provost Dr. Camille McKayle
 presents Elesha Hazel, St. Thomas Student 
Worker of the Year, with a certificate.
Hazel was described as wise beyond her years and said to possess a youthful exuberance that brings a student’s perspective to the equation. Dr. Carter, who nominated Hazel for the award, said she has a very balanced disposition, personality and that her adaptability allows her to flourish.

“I have gotten so much from Elesha,” said Dr. Carter. “I depend on her so much.”

Hazel took it upon herself to do online training, liaison with technical advisors and to use new software to make sure she could help both her supervisor and students operate an online lab.

“The tremendous work ethic that she has is just something that you cannot put into words,” Dr. Carter said. “I love her. I respect her.”

As is custom, the winner of the student employee of the year is kept secret until the ceremony. Hazel said she did not think she would win after she realized she shared the nomination with two of her friends, Wendy Aurelien and Twanna Hodge. Hazel, Aurelien and Hodge also won the student employee “Go Getter Award.” 
UVI Associate Professor Dr. Emily Carter presents UVI student Elesha Hazel with a gift.

Several other student workers received awards including the “Go Getter Award,” “Organized Award,” “Attentive Award,” “Loyalty Award” and the “Skilled Award.” The students were treated to certificates, gifts, a poem read in their honor, a dance and a musical selection.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Carnival Spirit at UVI

UVI is getting into the Carnival spirit as the St. Thomas Carnival Adults Parade draws near. Below, students model the costumes that will be worn UVI troupe members on April 27. More than 50 students, faculty, staff, alumni and friends, will be joined by a Mocko Jumbie group headed by UVI professor Dr. Dave Smith. Troup members will be practicing at mas camp (the UVI Recreation Center) at 5:30 p.m. on April 22, 23, 24 and 26.

Students shown, from left, are Shari Alfred, Cherise Burton, Jamalie Thomas and Symra Hendrickson.
This year's costumes were designed by Ainsley Mitchell, from Trinidad. Troup coaches are Leon Lafond and Paulette Stevens. 
Some members of the UVI mocko jumbie group practice. Shown from left are Drs. Renata Platenberg, Sandra Romano, Tyler Smith and Marilyn Brandt.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Potential UVI Students?

Second graders at McKinley Elementary School in Bakersfield, Cal.
The second grade class of McKinley Elementary School in Bakersfield, California, says “Thank You” to the University of the Virgin Islands for items which were sent to create a college board at their school. Their teacher, Carolyn Stephens-Washington, a native Virgin Islander, made the request through the Public Relations Office for items that would have make their college board appealing. Pennants, pencils, pens, and pamphlets were sent. Photos of the University, which were included in the package, can be seen in the background. The pens were shared with the parents at a back-to-school night.

Senior Biology Major Wins iPad for Survey Participation

UVI senior Akima George, a biology major, displays the iPad she received from Office of Institutional Research and Planning staffers Andrea Ruan, left, and Laurie Blake. The iPad was the featured incentive prize for students who completed the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement at UVI.

UVI senior biology major Akima George plans a temporary move to much cooler climes after she graduates in May. George has been accepted at the University of Michigan, where she will begin a six-year Ph.D. program in bioinformatics and computational biology.
When she begins classes at Michigan she will have the services of a brand new iPad at her command, thanks to her participation in a special student survey. The iPad was the featured incentive prize for participants in the 2013 National Survey of Student Engagement, administered at UVI during the spring semester by the Office of Institutional Research and Planning. The survey focused on freshman and senior students. Those who met the deadline for completing the on-line survey had their names entered in the random drawing, which was held April 2. 
The survey is designed to help Universities improve their offerings for students. Participating institutions can expect reports by August 2013. The results are expected to show if the experiences of students inside and outside the classroom are consistent with good practices in undergraduate education. They will also help UVI to better assess and evaluate its overall educational effectiveness, an essential step in the accreditation effort planned in 2015. UVI offered the iPad prize in hopes of spurring student participation.
George began her studies on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on her native St. Croix and is concluding them on St. Thomas. She hopes to return to the territory after earning her Ph.D. and would like to apply her skills in a medical-related field.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

UVI Nursing Students Create Programs to Improve Healthcare in the VI


UVI Nursing student and Registered Nurse Jane Bruno
explains her research.
 With the glint of graduation burning in their eyes, University of the Virgin Islands Senior Nursing Students displayed poster presentations of their final projects on April 8 and 9, at the University of the Virgin Islands’ Ralph Paiewonsky Library on the St. Thomas campus.

The projects were created to positively affect change in the healthcare system in the Virgin Islands. UVI Nursing student and Registered Nurse Jane Bruno created a prenatal loss support group on St. Croix. The support group began on March 15, and provides emotional support for women who have miscarried or whose children died soon after birth.

“They find comfort in one another because others have gone through it,” said Bruno. She was inspired to create the program after seeing devastated women leave the hospital without their babies. Bruno said the women share the pain of their loss and receive emotional support from the group. “The project was not created for a grade,” Bruno said. “I would like it to continue. I would like it to be an outpatient service.”

Previously trained in Dominica, Bruno wished to continue her education, but could not do so without first getting a bachelor’s degree in nursing at an institution of higher education in the United States. After graduating from UVI, she plans to get a graduate degree in midwifery.
UVI Nursing student Genevieve Vielbig presents her research.

UVI Nursing student Genevieve Vielbig’s project is designed to improve the healthcare of the mentally impaired. She launched the “Healthy Body, Healthy Mind” Program at Clear Blue Sky, a nonprofit that provides services to the mentally ill.

UVI Nursing student Nancy Jannette
Sanchez explains her poster presentation.
 Vielbig created a detailed fitness plan with dietary tips, fitness evaluations, a training video, workout classes, and used funds she raised to buy equipment for a small room now used as a gym at Clear Blue Sky. She was able to raise $2,400 through donations and an online silent auction. The program will exist long after she graduates.  Vielbig plans to return to New York after graduation. 

Some of the other projects included:
• “Teens Executing Excellent Nurturing,” a project that provides teens with neonatal care.
• “Men’s Talk,” a radio program that encourages men to take care of their health.
•  “Aiding Health Professionals in Dealing with Critical Events,” a support group for healthcare professionals.

Chen Named UVI St. Thomas Campus Employee of the Year

UVI President Dr. David Hall congratulates UVI Employee of the Year Robert Chen
As is traditional, the persons named University of the Virgin Islands Employee of the Year are kept secret. On Tuesday, April 9 UVI Business Service Supervisor Robert Chen was indeed surprised when he was named UVI Employee of the Year on the St. Thomas campus.
Last year's UVI St. Thomas Campus Employee of the Year Paula Stevens presented the award by giving hints of the characteristics of the Employee of the Year. “The awardee for this year proves that students are our first priority and demonstrates this fact by providing quality service to all students,” said Stevens. “This awardee makes himself available to students, parents, and staff and drops whatever he is doing if he is needed.” She described Chen as kind, generous and hardworking. He was also described as the kind of person whose door is always open, skips lunch and stays late.
St. Thomas Campus Employee of the Year Robert Chen is applauded.

Chen jumped to his feet when his name was announced. He was congratulated by colleagues and friends.  He said that his greatest motivation to work hard is his need to help people.

 “I know some students come to UVI at a great personal sacrifice and my feeling is if I can help them to achieve their goals I try my hardest to do that,” Chen said. 
He said that it also helps that he is a UVI graduate. Chen has worked at UVI for more than a decade and was pleased with the overall feeling of the Annual Service Awards.

UVI Community Engagement and
Lifelong Learning Director Ilene
Garner is presented with UVI Service
Award by UVI President Dr. David Hall

“It reminds us that we really are a family and we need to work together,” Chen said adding that the theme of the 2013 employee service awards was indeed appropriate. The theme of this year's Service Awards is “Working Together Towards Greatness.” Forty-two employees and nine retirees received awards on April 9. Service awards will be presented to employees on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix on April 11.

Friday, April 5, 2013

St. Croix Students Take Model U.N.

St. Croix team members, from left, JoAnn Thomas-Lewis, Richard Dorsey, Chevon Merchant, Gabriel Ible and Ivory Carter display their Model U.N. first-place trophy and individual awards.
UVI students JoAnn Thomas-Lewis and Richard Dorsey took the "Best Paper" and "Best Presentation" honors, respectively, leading their team from the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix to the win in UVI’s Fifth Annual Model United Nations Competition on April 4, on St. Thomas. The St. Croix students represented Saudi Arabia. St. Thomas team members Jacqueline Adonis, Michael Charles, Kevin Miller, Shania Shervington, and Kamika Thomas represented Syria.

The competition was sponsored by the Rotary Club West, Rotary Club Harborside and Rotary Club of St. Croix. Rotarians David Beck and Erva Denham, and UVI professor Dr. Alexander Randall served as judges.

See more photos on UVI’s Facebook page at – Be sure to like us and share the photos with your friends.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Washington Receives Presidential Appreciation Award

 During the March 2013 University of the Virgin Islands Board of Trustees meeting, UVI President Dr. David Hall paused to recognize an individual whose dedication and leadership abilities positively reflected on the University.
UVI President Dr. David Hall presented, Nereida Washington, UVI director of campus operations on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix with the UVI Presidential Appreciation Award. UVI Chief Information Officer Tina Koopmans (left), Albert A. Sheen Campus Maintenance Supervisor John Waugh, Albert A. Sheen Campus Security Supervisor Ralph Cook and UVI Chief of Staff Dr. Noreen Michael, members of the Emergency Management Committee, were present at the board of trustees meeting.

Dr. Hall presented Nereida Washington, UVI director of campus operations on the Albert A. Sheen Campus on St. Croix and Emergency Management Committee chair with the UVI Presidential Appreciation Award. Dr. Hall said her efforts are “at the core of what UVI needs to make this institution better.”

Washington spearheaded the effort to develop UVI’s first comprehensive emergency response plan. “We now have in place a comprehensive emergency response plan that I think will ensure that this university is safer and better able to deal with the things that we hope will never happen,” said Dr. Hall.

Since arriving at the University in 2009, President Hall was aware that UVI had a hurricane preparedness plan, but knew a comprehensive emergency response plan needed to be developed. Work was being done on the plan, but Dr. Hall was not satisfied with the pace.

“In the last six to seven months, the plan was not only developed but training was done throughout the University on both campuses,” Dr. Hall said. “We all feel we have made a tremendous step forward.”

Monday, April 1, 2013

Virgin Islands News Online Website Tells Story of BVI Native and UVI Standout Kimberlee Smith

Kimberlee Smith with four of her sons, her brother
Aaron Parillion and mother Rosie Smith.
UVI senior Kimberlee Smith, president of the Student Government Association on the St. Thomas campus, was recently featured in a story in the British Virgin Islands online news site Virgin Islands News Online. The BVI native's story is headlined "VI student Kimberlee L. Smith tells inspiring story of trials & triumph!" In it, Smith recounts the long, challenging route she followed to academic success, from early parenthood, to earning a GED and studying at H. Lavity Stoutt Community College. In 2011 she enrolled at UVI and last month was inducted into the Golden Key International Honour Society.
Read the full story in the Virgin Islands News Online – feature story.