Archive for the ‘OP-ED’ Category

Gratification of America

Posted on: June 23rd, 2012 by Kevin Jordan No Comments

As one might consider pursuing their graduate degree in sociology, thinking about how the Internet has impacted society and changed our lives, will always be a topic of discussion. Since the burgeoning of the Internet industry, the way people live their lives has rapidly changed. The U.S. has seen people turn to their computers for everything, from working to shopping to attending school. The speed at which the Internet moves has also changed, shifting from a snail’s pace dial-up connection to wide-spread, high speed WiFi. Every day, people conduct more Google searches, update more statuses, and visit more new sites than the day before. In the world of high speed browsing, no one waits for answers. But it seems that a desire for speedy information has made Americans impatient for just about everything: From fast-food to speed dating, the U.S. has begun its shift toward an instant nation.


Presidential Award Honoring Dr. Juan Gilbert

Posted on: January 7th, 2012 by No Comments

The White House Honors Dr. Juan Gilbert

By: Sorilbran Buckner,

Dr. Juan Gilbert is one of nine individuals and eight organizations who has received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring at the White House in 2011. The award recognizes the efforts of those individuals who are committed to demonstrating leadership through service by providing students in elementary through graduate school mentorship to encourage and prepare the next generation of scientists and engineers, particularly those from underrepresented minority groups.

The Presidential Award is a distinguished honor, reserved for those STEM proponents who understand the importance STEM education plays in both the personal and academic development of the nation’s young people. Mentors lend their experiential expertise to tomorrow’s creative class of innovators, ensuring that the future of this country’s labor force includes a diverse mix of scientists and engineers.

Dr. Gilbert has a long list of achievements which lead up to the Presidential Award.  In addition to serving as the IDEaS Professor and Chair of Human-Centered Computing, School of Computing at Clemson University, Dr. Gilbert is also a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), an ACM Distinguished Scientist, National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies, an ACM Distinguished Speaker and a Senior Member of the IEEE Computer Society. As well, Dr. Gilbert was recently named one of the 50 most important African-Americans in Technology.

Dr. Gilbert and his brilliant team developed Prime III, a universal voting machine which allows citizens to privately cast their ballots using touch and/or voice commands. They also invented Voiceing (, we have also invented the African American Distributed Multiple Learning Styles System (, an interactive game-like environment that uses culturally relevant cues, gestures, sounds and lyrics to teach students algebra.

Candidates for the Presidential Award are nominated by their colleagues, students and the administrators at their institutions. The award comes with a $25,000 gift from the National Science Foundation to advance recipients’ mentoring efforts.

2010 Recipients Being Honored
• Solomon Bililign, North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University, NC
• Peggy Cebe, Tufts University, MA
• Roy Clarke, University of Michigan Ann Arbor, MI
• Amelito Enriquez, Cañada College, CA
• Karen Panetta, Tufts University, MA
• ACE Mentor Program of America, CT
• Ocean Discovery Institute, CA
• Women’s Health Science Program for High School Girls and Beyond, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, IL

2011 Recipients Being Honored
• Winston Anderson, Howard University, DC
• Juan E. Gilbert, Clemson University, SC
• Shaik Jeelani, Tuskegee University, AL
• Andrew Tsin, University of Texas at San Antonio, TX
• Camp Reach, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, MA
• Diversity Programs in Engineering, Cornell University, NY
• The Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute, Arizona State University, AZ
• The Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, Stanford University, CA
• University of California San Francisco Science & Health Education Partnership High School Intern Program, CA

To read Dr. Juan Gilbert’s STEMcp profile click here.

Off-sides On Twitter according to Paid Content?

Posted on: January 5th, 2012 by Kevin Jordan

Twitter is tough for control freaks. Sure, you get to send your own message and skip the middle men usually the media but once it’s out there, you have no say about who picks it up, how they re-frame it to share (if they share it at all) or what it gets lumped in with along the way. Sports leagues are near the top of the control freak pyramid and, for decades, the National Football League has led the pack. But the leagues also thrive on marketing, branding and publicity and today that means more than selling licenses to plop logos on everything. It means social media. That’s why last week we had a spate of stories about how the NFL is trying to controlthe way players, officials and fans use social media like Twitter and why today I’m writing about the league’s new fan hub at, where Twitter is just part of the We are embracing social media, says GM Laura Goldberg, and trying to get more and more aggressive with understanding there’s a huge conversation. The new Fans hub being launched this week aggregates all things fan from across the site: discussions, live chats, Facebook, fan player ratings, highlights picked by fans, top-viewed video, and more. Fans already have a voice on, especially as a key component of its Game Center. When I checked in during a pre-season game Thursday night, more than 500 comments had piled up in the Rams-Chiefs thread alone. Scanning the top discussions list today, Thursday’s season-opening Tennessee Titans-Pittsburgh Steelers match already has nearly 2,800 comments. At first, I expected to be a stream of twitters from fans. Actually, it’s everything but fans or players. It’s Twitter for fans league, teams and media available as separate aggregated streams or as one river.viagra Most of these people are sort of professional tweeters, explains Goldberg. Translation, they are league, club or media folks who understand they have an audience and that some things won’t be accepted. Players will be added; the league is still trying to sort out which player accounts are legit. When that happens, Goldberg admits, we’ll probably have to add some moderation. Aggregating fan tweets, well, that may come down the road.

Goldberg says they’re looking at the various Open ID options MySpace, Facebook, Google (NSDQ: GOOG) versus using only’s own registration. It’s a tough choice. One of the things we’ve focused on is having a single sign on comment, get subscriptions, etc. Fans can take part in a lot across the site, including voting games up or down, without registering, but the only way to unlock it all is to sign up. Adding in Open ID would change some that control. To register, requires e-mail address, full name, birth date. It also requires, as is the case with registering for most sites, accepting a terms of service. This one includes how to link, another sign of that fine line between opening the doors wide and controlling as much as possible. (You may link to the home page of the Service without obtaining our permission provided that you do so only through a plain-text link. For any other type of link to the Service, you must obtain our permission. …) Goldberg and the league want to be and want to engage fans where they are, as well as on But, she adds, we’re not going to devalue our assets. Tweeting fans: Speaking of fans who tweet, blog or use anything with status updates, how does the NFL’s embrace of Twitter jibe with trying to control use during games? Just fine, says the NFL’s Brian McCarthy, in response to reports that the league wants to keep fans from tweeting at all during games or from doing anything descriptive. What we’re talking about is play by play. We’ve already had a couple of dozen games and this hasn’t been an issue. It won’t be. He sees Twitter as the digital equivalent of a sports bar, where patrons comment about plays but would look askance at someone doing yard-by-yard play-by-play. He estimates the equivalent on Twitter would be about 55 tweets an hour, not something most users want. (McCarthy is one of the league’s official tweeters. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is a different kind of case study: he tweeted during the NFL draft, now his Twitter account has cobwebs on it. But beat reporters were urged to tweet his pre-season session with them and today he’ll have a live chat on

Third DIY season: This is the third season since the National Football League ditched CBS Sportsline as its third-party web operator and went the DIY route. The biggest difference to Goldberg: Controlling your own platform. When she wanted a feature or a change before, she had to ask, wait and hope. Now I have 50 developers upstairs. It creates a better user experience. Also, we’re better to address the needs of our sponsors, to build products with their needs in mind. NFL Media is in the middle of migrating all the teams to a new platform built by; Goldberg expects to have 11 on by kickoff Thursday and about half this season. The biggest visible change for users: The CBS (NYSE: CBS) version didn’t have any online video; the NFL-run is loaded with video, more than 40,000 pieces so far averaging about two minutes in length and exclusive online to (Sprint (NYSE: S) has the mobile exclusive.) The videos are running in a new player, where Goldberg and company promise to make every moment of the season available. This season, also has a revamped Game Center with a 3-D Drive Chart (If you like the moving yellow line on TV, this is for you). The chart offers side and top views of all the plays. Video plays a major role here, too, with analysts, footage from previous games and relevant interviews.

Keep it moving and stop taking yourself so seriously!

Gary R. Lewis

Natural Sciences: Easy, Social Sciences: Hard!

Posted on: November 6th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Oscar Holmes IV,  PhD candidate, Student Management, Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration, The University of Alabama

“God gave physicists, the easy science, and gave social scientists, the hard science!” is a dictum often repeated in various social science circles. As a social scientist, I admit, I do agree with that dictum. Now, you might ask, “Why is a social scientist contributing to a website that is targeted for students interested in careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, or Math (S.T.E.M.)?” The first clue of why I might contribute should be readily apparent in the title, “social scientist.” Just as medical doctors are scientists who practice on people, the “social” part just means that I am a scientist who does most of my research on people. The field of social science covers a variety of disciplines including Psychology, Sociology, Economics, Business Administration, and Anthropology to name a few. Although there are many commonalities across these fields, I will speak to being a social scientist of Business Administration because this is the field in which I work. Specifically, my major area of study is Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management.

Just like natural scientists (e.g. physicists, chemists, etc.), social scientists follow the scientific method to solve problems. That is, we 1) asks questions, 2) do background research in search of a theory related to the question, 3) construct hypotheses based on the theory, 4) test the theory, 5) analyze the results, and 6) report the results. In fact, although many people associate the job of business professors much more with teaching and consulting, the most significant part of the job, in most cases, is conducting and publishing research in peer-reviewed scholarly journals. Which is why, the above dictum is often repeated. In the natural sciences, there are laws and properties that are exact and much more precise. In social sciences, however, we do not have any laws and our theories are much less precise. For instance, a chemist putting together two hydrogen and one oxygen atom will always get water, this degree of certainty and repetition is never available in social science. Why not? Because when you deal with people, there are too many factors that constantly change that can influence the way a person will act. Hence the dictum, social scientists have the hard science.

About Oscar Holmes

Oscar Holmes IV is a Ph.D. student of Management/Organizational Behavior at the Culverhouse College of Commerce and Business Administration at The University of Alabama. His research interests include understanding how managers can mitigate interpersonal and organizational conflict by examining the antecedents and outcomes of organizational climates. He earned a B.S. degree with honors in Psychology with minors in Human Resource Management and Spanish from Virginia Commonwealth University and a Masters of Liberal Arts degree in International and American Cultural Studies from The University of Richmond. He can be reached at

Dreams, a commitment to personal goals, striving for excellence, embracing challenges

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Dr. Joseph Towles, Research Scientist, Edward Hines Jr. VA Hospital, Rehabilitation Inst Chicago Research Asst Prof, Dept. PM&R, Northwestern University

As an adolescent, my earliest aspiration was to be a French artist, owing to my interests in both drawing and speaking French. I used to draw pictures of favorite TV show actors and musical artists. When I was first introduced to the French language, I was immediately drawn in perhaps because it was a way to express myself in “code” similar to when I taught myself Morse code and shorthand. At this point, I was set on being a French artist. In my young mind, however, I had not realized that the “French” part could only be realized through citizenship with another country. Anyway, I never went to art school and my interests went to other areas.

Strong influences and circumstances in high school and early college led me to pursue a PhD in mechanical engineering. At the time, I had only a vague idea of what an engineer does and virtually no idea of how having a PhD would change that. The early attraction, I think, was the end product: being able to work in a field that blended advanced levels of math and science; that would expose me to exotic topics; and that would provide me an opportunity to understand behavior at a fundamental level. This vision would be my prize for the duration of college and graduate school.

In college, my educational experience created a culture of high expectations in part through accountability groups and numerous opportunities for self-motivation. My peers and I organized ourselves and took ownership of the learning process. We were encouraged to study together, attend tutoring sessions, connect with upper classmen for helpful notes and old exams and get to know professors and TAs. Attending tutoring sessions was a proactive measure to solidify or tweak one’s understanding of course material, and to increase that B+ to an A. Study groups were the norm and facilitated friendly competition. Advisors were available to help troubleshoot issues affecting classroom performance. They also provided guidance, understanding, and were sources of encouragement to continuously strive for excellence. Excellence was always the end goal! Several keys to academic success relate to collaborating or partnering with others in the learning process, taking ownership of it and soliciting the guidance of others who are senior to you.

Given the rigorous path of graduate school, a commitment to personal goals was critical. An attitude that nothing else mattered and a willingness to “submit” to the graduate school process were vital to staying the course. In hindsight, I think a combination of factors—including qualities my parents instilled in me, support from others, a belief that what I was doing was worthwhile, and perhaps a desire to maximize on the opportunity that was given me—played a key role in helping me to remain focused.

My graduate school experience reminded me that challenging circumstances create an incubator for growth, maturation, or metamorphosis. The lengthy, intense process by which diamond is derived from coal is a common example in nature. I suspect that people (myself included) frequently miss the opportunity to embrace challenging circumstances and to learn to enjoy the difficult process. Often, the gem is in the “going through” rather than the destination. One writer put it this way: “Not only so, but we also rejoice in our [challenging circumstances], because we know that [such circumstances] produce perseverance; [and] perseverance, character…”



Making the Investment

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Dr. Oliver J. Myers, Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Mississippi State University

In his address to the National Academy of Sciences in April 2009, President Obama made this declaration:

Science is more essential for our prosperity, our security, our health, our environment, and our quality of life than it has ever been.

In today’s global economy, America’s sustained and future competitive edge depends on the preparation of our young people are today. Many states, counties and local school districts have created and are implementing initiatives to increase Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) educational and research programs.

In this time of great economic unrest, the last thing most people can a ford to do is make financial investments. I submit to you that is exactly what we must do regarding our country’s and children’s future in the STEM disciplines. The greatest investment (academically, emotionally, financially, and/or sacrificially) one can make is to positively invest into the life of another, particularly children. I have been blessed to have many people invest in my success. Many investments were academic, several were financial, a far greater number were emotional and spiritual, but all beneficial. Even those that did not have my best interests at heart worked to fuel my drive and passion to pursue excellence in science and engineering so voraciously.

The United States is now poised to make a heavy investment in its physical and financial infrastructures to stimulate a badly needed economic recovery. However, equal attention and investment must be devoted to cultivating the nations human infrastructure. After all, a highly skilled and educated work force including engineers, mathematicians, and scientists will be needed to implement the investments going into building the nations physical and financial infrastructures.

It is clear that parental involvement will be the premium investment that includes directing and channeling children’s energies toward stimulating STEM activities; engaging and holding academic administrators and educators accountable; exploring external enrichment programs; and participating in school conferences/events. Parental and community involvement ensures:

1. There are qualified math and science teachers in our classrooms;

2. A greater number of parents, families, and communities are informed and further involved in their children’s education;

3. A greater number of students graduating from high school are academically and socially prepared for the rigors of a college education, and;

4. A greater number of graduates pursue STEM careers.

Though a few of the above topics may be outside of our direct circle of influence and control, we can extract some key fundamental parental factors that are most certainly in our control and will lead to our young people’s success in STEM fields:

1. Parents strong view and belief in the vital importance of education

2. Parents reading to the child and the child later reading to the parents

3. Active and consistent encouragement and engagement in the students academic career

4. Productive and continuous interaction with the students educators and counselors

Consider one type of investment we can make in and toward our children. A commercial gaming station console costs approximately $300 and the games range in price from $20 to $100. While the gaming station provides great entertainment, I would like to encourage ourselves to invest the time and money more productively by purchasing a far more useful personal computer (approximately $350), learning and programming our own software systems and properly utilizing the Internet as a resource.

My own personal and familial investments were of the utmost importance in achieving the Masters and PhD in Mechanical Engineering. The financing for half of my Masters and most of my Doctorate came from personal accounts, not external funding, grants or fellowships, which makes me truly value and appreciate the worth of my education (academic and professional). Although the Internet nor premium access cable were not available to me as a child, my parents and a community of elders ensured that I received my fair share of National Geographic periodicals and educational “toys” and kits; watched scientific specials such as National Geographic and Jacques Cousteau; visited museums, zoos and scientific exhibits, and fueled my imagination with comic books, Star Wars, Star Trek, and similar science fiction outlets. Coupled with all of the book knowledge, my parent and elders invested their wisdom’s of personal testimonies of past mistakes, regrets and successes.

As a high school student, advanced classes stimulated the scientific mind and summer programs such as the Minority Introductions to Engineering, (some are free, some cost approximately $300 and some even over a stipend up to $1500) offered one or two weeks of rigorous and in-depth scientific study, thought, investigation, company visits, conversations with college presidents, deans, professors and students, and oh yeah, some fun social activities. College internships, work-study programs and research experiences fueled my passion for developmental research. My careers in industry and government made engineering relevant for day-to-day commercial, industrial and military needs.

I have had a very rich experience as my personal path has afforded me the opportunity to experience a broad spectrum engineering careers in government, private industry and academia. The breadth and depth of my experiences has allowed me to perform a variety of functions in design, production/manufacturing, fundamental research, applied research, teaching/instruction/mentor-ship and management/leadership. As an academic, I have the opportunity to satisfy my entrepreneurial curiosity by conducting and marketing applied research and capitalize on small business funding opportunities from the such agencies as the Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and even the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). All of these opportunities and countless others can and will be available to you as you develop your own professional goals. In short, making the investment in the creative scientific imagination and realized STEM disciplines opens the door to a wealth of opportunities, including industrial/corporate research, academic/laboratory research, and leadership be it corporate, academic or entrepreneurship.



Is Science The New Taboo Subject at Home?: Why Some Parents Do Not Help With Science Homework

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Stephen Hinton, Managing Director of Hinton Human Capital
Education Starts At Home, Right?

They say “education starts at home” but what if parents are not sure what to teach? On the subject of drugs it is easy “Just say no.” The slogan was straight to the point and was accompanied by a set of public service announcements designed to equip parents to have conversations about drugs with their children. However when comes science, there are a number of programs to help students to get into college, but nothing to equip the parents help their K-12 aged children with science homework. Recent studies have found that some parents may not be ready to help their kids with science because they may not have a good science education themselves. Our question in this article: Is science the new taboo at home?

Taboo? Is Drugs an Easier Subject At Home Than Science?

The word “taboo” makes us think of something immoral, forbidden or evil from a religious standpoint. However the word has an additional meaning “A ban or inhibition resulting from social custom or emotional aversion.” A 2009 survey sponsored by Intel Corporation found that parents are more comfortable talking to their children about drugs than science. 91% of the parents in the survey believed that science is important to their children’s future. However nearly 25 % of parents admitted they were unsure how to approach the subject or did not have a good enough understanding of science to assist their children with homework and projects. A another study conducted in 2007 by Michigan State University concluded,“Approximately 28% of American adults currently qualify as scientifically illiterate.”

Helping With Science Homework is More Than Knowing Answers.

At this point, I want to speak to both of us as parents. Yes, I said both of us because I am talking to myself as I am writing this article to you. Is it ok with you that I get to the point? I hope so.

As a parent, I know that it is hard to allow our children to see our vulnerabilities. Some of us choose not to help our children with science homework to “avoid” telling them the wrong things. The real truth is that we are self-conscious about what we know (or remember) about science. I will confess that I loved science in school and love it now. But, I too have had a problem remembering some of the things I learned in third grade and sixth grade science class (my sons’ grade levels). The lesson I have learned in writing this article is this: The essence of science is not just learning the right answer, it is the discoveries we make along the way toward the right answer. I have also learned that my primary job as a parent in helping with science homework is helping my children learn to discover. This concept is hard to apply because it means that I, as parent, have to put away my own aversions, inhibitions and pride to discover with them.

The Importance of Teacher Quality and Retention: Impacting Student Achievement

Posted on: November 4th, 2011 by No Comments

By: Kisha Howard, Assistant Principal in Fulton County School System

Serving as an educator, on the first day of school I stated, “If I cannot master the child, I cannot master anything.” Understanding this notion and moving forward into my career as a professional educator, I truly believe the life of a child can be developed within the hearts and minds of passionate educators. Taking my passion to deliver instructional strategies to reach every student uniquely, I became successful in providing a classroom forum that was inviting to students of all backgrounds to learn and develop their talents as future leaders. The concern is there is inconsistency in our nation’s school system from classroom to classroom; district to district. There are sprinkles of passionate professional educators in our nation, but mountains of jobseekers that become a disservice to our children. How do we eliminate the root cause of student failure?

Teacher Retention and Recruitment

In Corporate America, employee qualifications are highly based on our national competitive market structure. Based on these principles, many Fortune 500 companies have revolutionized our national economy. Understanding business principles, there should be a direct correlation in transferring knowledge into the minds of future educators who develop future leaders of our nation. The end result is the increase in our direct economy and the maintenance of world power. If this is relevant, why do we continue to see our nation’s school system as a third world country with the lack of consistent governance? Primarily speaking, the core of this apple is our Teachers. Based on this concept, Teacher retention and recruitment should be in alignment with corporate retention and recruitment; hiring the best and brightest to cultivate the minds and hearts of our student population.Rice (2003) state there is a great investment in Teacher pay and benefits. In 2002, our federal government invested $192 billion dollars of tax revenue to ensure our students receive a quality education. As a result, the achievement gap still exists between minorities and their white counterparts. Ensuring we recruit quality educators to increase teaching and learning should be consistent in all school districts within our nation. No Child Left Behind has challenged our US Department of Education, State Department of Education, and Local Education Agencies to close the achievement gap by 2014. Improving Teacher Retention and Recruitment will assist our Local Education Agencies in meeting our federal mandate.

Professional Learning Communities

In addition to improving Teacher Retention and Recruitment, Professional Learning Communities is the new buzz word in our nation’s schools. Professional Learning Communities is an extension of Professional Development Workshops for teachers to receive additional best practice strategies to impact student achievement. Unlike the traditional Professional Development Courses, Professional Learning Communities are studentcentered, data driven, and provide ongoing training in targeted areas of improvement. Teachers are like brain surgeons, they develop the mental and intellectual capacities of our youth to become value-added citizens in our society. When a doctor prepares for surgery, they will examine current and past medical records related to the illness, examine x-rays to precisely perform their medical procedure, and have his or her surgical team with the necessary technology, equipment, and tools to successfully assist their patients. The same holds true with Teachers. In order for Teachers to effectively enhance teaching and learning, Lezotte and Snyder (2011) suggest frequent monitoring of student progress and giving adequate feedback precisely and in a timely manner will contribute to improved learning. Professional Learning Communities will allow professional educators to conduct data talks reviewing current information from Formative Assessments to discuss students who have not mastered particular skills prior to moving forward with the curriculum. A direct correlation with being proactive in monitoring student progress is student success. Students who receive timely interventions will drastically improve within the classroom environment. Garland Independent School District (2009) revealed Brandenburg Middle School increased from 71% in 2004-2005 to a 90% passing rate in 2008-2009 in the area of Mathematics, according to the Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills test (TAKS). Teachers actively monitoring the progress of students and determining the necessary interventions in Professional Learning Communities attributed to the success of this program. In addition to recruiting quality teachers, we must provide adequate resources and training to truly impact student learning.

In the life of a child, it is vital that we provide quality educators to produce intelligent and productive citizens within the workforce. No Child Left Behind mandates all school districts within the State Education Agencies to devise a plan to increase student achievement and close the achievement gap. All students must master their state mandated tests at a 100% pass rate by 2014. Ensuring that we recruit quality professional educators and provide them with the necessary resources to assist our youth, we will move forward in meeting this federal mandate, which will enhance our overall economy.

More About Kisha Howard

Building the Hearts and Minds of Educational Leaders in our Society

In 1997, Howard began her teaching career in Broward County Florida. She served as a Social Studies Teacher for Parkway Middle School under the leadership of Retired Area Director, Mr. Willie Dudley and a Reading Coach at Cypress Run Alternative School under the leadership of retired Principal Mr. William Lyons. During her tenure in the Broward County School system, Howard successfully formed Top of the Class Tutorial Services, serving thousands of students through companies such as The Urban League of Broward County, Henderson Mental Health, SOS Children’s Village, Several municipalities, and private clients for over 10 years. Arriving to Georgia in October of 2005 after Hurricane Wilma, she served as an Introduction to the English Language (IEL) teacher in the Cobb County School System. In August of 2006, she then became apart of the Fulton County School system.

As a valuable member of the Fulton County School system, she served as the ESOL Lead Teacher at Bear Creek Middle School (2006-2007), 8th Grade Administrator at Renaissance Middle School (2007-2008), and 10th and 12th Grade Administrator at Westlake High School (2008-2010). She also served in several administrative capacities, such as the Extended Learning programs and PLATO Credit Recovery, which assisted Westlake High School in meeting Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) in 2008-2009. Currently, Howard is the Secretary of the Fulton County Assistant Principal’s Association supporting all Assistant Principals with Professional Development opportunities, Networking Experience, and additional leadership opportunities to enhance the educational leaders of Fulton County.

As an Assistant Principal in Fulton County School System, Howard has worked closely with Teachers and Support Staff, Assistant Principals, Principals, Area Superintendents and other district personnel to enhance academic achievement, professional accountability, strategic planning, and stakeholder relations.

Howard graduated with honors and holds degrees from Florida A & M University (B.S. in Political Science education) and the University of Phoenix (Masters in Education Administration). She is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from the University of Phoenix. Kisha Howard currently is not married with no children, but dedicate her life to her lovely six nieces and nephews.

Kisha Howard, Editorial Writer can be reached at


Garland Independent School District (2009). Timely Intervention in Middle School Mathematics: Brandenburg Middle School Magnet. Texas Education Agency Best Practice Clearing House.

Lezotte, L. W. and Snyder, K. M. (2011). What Effective Schools Do: Re-Envisioning the Correlates. Solution Tree Press: Bloomington, IN, 93-94.

Rice, J. K. (August 2003). Teacher Quality: Understanding the Effectiveness of Teacher Attributes. Economic Policy Institute.

Corporate Research Offers Opportunities to Make Changes in S.T.E.M. Education

Posted on: December 18th, 2010 by No Comments

By Dr. Lance Hester, Research Engineer and Scientist for Honeywell Automation and Control Solutions Wireless Research Labs

I did it! I got my PhD in electrical engineering. I had made it through the proverbial mine field of graduate school. I had survived the minor battles of written and oral qualifying exams, scrambled my way through the required coursework, dodged some minor explosions like advisors leaving the university and changing research focuses, and even picked up a few medals along the way like a Masters degree and certificates of completion for auxiliary study programs. Now, the big step forward, would I be joining the ranks of the University Professorate or entering the world of corporate research?

Ever since I entered graduate school, I had always known that I wanted to go into corporate research. It was not that I thought that there was anything wrong with working in the academy (i.e., university or college setting); it was just that during my years of school, I had interned at a number of corporate research labs and enjoyed those experiences tremendously. Corporate labs offered access to some of the best technical resources and equipment for an engineering student to tinker around with for experimentation purposes. Research work is paramount in the labs and there did not seem to be a required teaching component that most university professors face. For a fear of public speaking engineering student at that time, that suited me just fine.

However, the final years of my graduate school program through a “monkey wrench” into my best laid plans. At the time, I was a teaching assistant for undergraduate classes for freshmen, sophomores, juniors, and seniors. I had to teach lecture hall classes, run electronics labs, have recitation hours, grade homework, and even create and grade exams. In short, I got a view of the other side of what professors are responsible for doing at the university level—teaching. I liked it. Teaching helped me to overcome a lot of the public speaking fears that I had. I enjoyed interacting with students and seeing “the light turn on” when they finally got a concept. I could draw from my own experiences and pass this knowledge on to the upcoming generation of S.T.E.M. students. It was really quite rewarding.

Suffice it say, I was divided: university or corporate research?

In the end, I chose corporate research, but that is not the end of the story. Here is a little secret that you may not be aware of that I have uncovered during my time in corporate research. Like Blade, the Vampire Hunter, corporate research can be the best of both worlds: research and the academy. As a company researcher, I write and present journal and conference articles just like any university professor. I have to identify and solve research problems again like any research faculty member. Moreover, I often collaborate with university professors and students through industry advisory panels where my company sponsors and funds research work conducted at a university. At the same time, I have voluntarily moonlighted as an adjunct professor where I have taught engineering courses.

In full disclosure, there are some caveats to working in a corporate environment. The biggest thing you have to remember is corporate research is intimately tied to business, and these days, the name of the game is applied research with very realizable deliverables. In academic research, you are given a certain amount of latitude. Professors can work on “far out” research, highly theoretical projects, that may not be realized into products or applications for 10 years or more. In corporate labs, your margin for “out there research” is a bit more reined-in for the majority of your projects, not all, but probably for more than 85% of your projects. Most corporate labs are looking for research that can be realized into products or services in a 2-5 year time frame (what is often referred to as “near term” projects). This time focus means as a researcher you may be looking at work that is more incremental in nature than seminal. Similarly, in corporate research, your work is often tied to the core businesses, products, or applications of your company so that you often focus your research pursuits to subject matter relevant to your particular company’s business. This fact is not in itself a bad thing. It is more or less an “is”. Though time deliverables and business needs do constrain the areas and depth of my research pursuits, what I love about corporate research is seeing my inventions or work in use and out in the market place.

An aside benefit of corporate research work is that you get a hands-on bit of entrepreneurial training. If you have an entrepreneurial bent, than corporate research is a good place to understand funding. Most corporate labs function a lot like start-up companies. You often are applying for funding from your companies business product groups or external agencies like the Department of Energy (DOE), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), or the National Institutes of Health (NIH). You will learn a lot more than you care to about the importance of intellectual property, non-disclosure agreements, memorandum of understandings, and statements of work. Like a start-up, the hours can be long and often times the work environment can be chaotic as you are working on both external funding projects and business unit projects. At the same time, you may even find yourself working with standards organizations which define technology standards (e.g., The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)). Again, this work may require long hours and teach you about corporate strategy and positioning as you will be supporting your corporation’s business agenda and attempting to massage your company’s wants and needs into a standard being developed by several cooperating companies and organizations also pushing their own agendas.

Overall, the point that I want to make is that often times STEM students may view the conclusion of an advanced STEM degree as a life in academia. It can be, but there are viable and valuable opportunities in corporate research. These opportunities may allow you, as they have allowed me, to perform a lot of the same functions as a university professor and a number of different other functions to satisfy the budding entrepreneur. Life in the academy or corporate arenas is what you make it. Opportunities to teach as adjunct faculty or internally at your company will exist. As a corporate citizen, you can participate in outreach programs through your company’s philanthropic organizations to mentor college, high school, middle school, and elementary school S.T.E.M. students. If you desire to promote STEM education, a corporate research position can be a good vehicle to do so.

I got to MIT, by Accident.

Posted on: November 4th, 2010 by No Comments

By: Dylon Rockwell, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

I am consistently asked how I got to MIT; my typical answer is by accident.

I was at an air show, the ones held in small airports where small planes do crazy acrobatic tricks for an admiring crowd. The show took place right before school started my senior year, I always loved airplanes and stuff dealing with space so I just had to go. I was so amazed by the show I had to meet these amazing pilots. After talking to a few of them, I found most of the pilots were retired from the Air Force, who went to the Air Force Academy; however, their was one Black pilot. He was from Purdue University and began that day advocating highly for me to go to Purdue to pursue a degree in engineering. He talked to me pretty consistently about the college application process. I knew every since I heard stories about my uncle flying planes in the Air Force that I wanted to be an aerospace engineer, but I had never met a black man who flew and helped design the planes. He encouraged me to apply to several schools to pursue engineering.

I knew college was going to be really expensive, because my sister was getting ready to graduate from college and she complained about her student loans.I knew there was no way for me to afford any decent schools growing up in a single parent household where the single parent wasn’t employed. I also knew it would be doubly hard since my twin brother was graduating too and had begun looking at colleges.Then, one day I received a letter from Harvard University saying that if your parents made less than $60,000 that no loans or other financial contributions were required. I was like “Thank God!” Later that August, I went to a college fair and found a college recruiter from Harvard I thought he would be the answer to my prayers and instantly grant me admission to Harvard. I told them that I wanted to study aerospace engineering and he explained to me that I should apply to MIT. I was initially disappointed and confused, then I looked MIT up and found that it was the nations premiere engineering school, and it had a similar financial aid program as Harvard.

So long story short I applied to MIT and got in, and though the college recruiter helped point me in the right direction, the key to my success was the pilot who was an influential role model that it show me that my dream was possible. This experience showed me that I could spark someone’s ambition by simply aspiring to be a professional of color, and more specifically an engineer. By talking to students in my hometown of Dallas, Texas about college, I found that students really identified with me and where I came from. Now, several months later students are contacting me and asking for advice on how to apply to colleges and universities.

I do not indefinitely know what part of my story resonated with each student I spoke to but I think in some way or another I conveyed that college was their ticket out . Out of the hood, out of worrying about how they’re going to support their younger siblings, out of being another bad statistic, and out of the little leagues into the big leagues. I told them what my brother often would say to me “you can’t be the best gladiator if you’re not in the coliseum”, meaning you must be in a place where you can be exposed to the very best people your field has to offer in order to be the best. High school students of color have high aspirations in a various fields, but most don’t know how to get there, because they have never been there before, their parents have never been there, and there are too few role models and no road maps. They need other people of color to show them how to get there, just like I needed this pilot. I believe all students are innately talented, and some have dreams of how they might use these talents to change the world. Those students do not require an inspiration to achieve their aspirations; but they would benefit from the reassurance and guidance of a mentor. All it takes is one person to recognize a student’s talent, believe in their potential, cultivate their abilities, and develop skills that could help them change the world.

Dylon R. Rockwell is a senior at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, pursuing a degree in aeronautics and astronautics. He has served in many other capacities at MIT as an associate advisor for freshmen and chairman of the National Society of Black Engineers at MIT. He also participated in MIT’s student government and the Gordon Engineering Leadership and Community Catalyst Programs. He is the recipient of the Institute Distinguished Dedication Award. He is also the co-founder of a mentoring program called Project LEAD, where first-year college student mentors are paired with first-year high school mentees. Over the span of four years, mentors are tasked with guiding their mentees through high school and into college. Dylon is currently interning in the Legislative Affairs group at The Boeing Company, the largest aerospace company in the world, working on issues regarding NASA’s Human Space Flight Program and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles.