Limb regeneration doctor inspires students at Hampton U. confab

By Montana S. Crider

Hampton University is hosting its 39th annual Conference on the Black Family from Wednesday, March 15 to Friday, March 17. This year's conference seeks to explore the developments of technology and increase public recognition of how technology affects us all and the generations to come. The theme, "Design 101: Black Families Rising Up!" will acknowledge attributes, the work and research done by African-Americans in the STEM fields -- science, technology, engineering and mathematics -- along with Hampton students.

The opening ceremony took place at 7 p.m. Wednesday in Ogden Hall, with Cato Laurencin as the keynote speaker. Laurencin is an expert in limb regeneration research, and serves as a professor at the University of Connecticut.

Once serving as dean of U. Conn's School of Medicine and the vice president for Health Affairs at the university from 2008 to 2011, he has currently taken on more roles as the chief executive officer of the Connecticut Institute for Clinical and Translational Science, the director of the Institute for Regenerative Engineering, and the director of the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Center for Biomedical, Biological, Physical, and Engineering Sciences at the University of Connecticut.

Laurencin is one of only three practicing orthopedic surgeons in the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, and was the first Orthopedic Surgeon to achieve University Professor level rank in the country, according to his biography on the U. Conn website.

"Science, engineering, and technology are fields where most African-Americans feel they do not belong or will not strive well, so to see a black man who has held his head high through times where he may have been shot down is inspiring," said Gibril Ghee, a sophomore kinesiology major from Atlanta.

"I am a biology major, hoping to go into dental, but it is harder to stay afloat when there are not many people on your side once you get into the real world," said Lauren Brown, a sophomore biology major from Burlington, North Carolina.

Laurencin, and many people like him, are changing and opening a path for students of color. His achievements give students of color hope, and encourages them to set forth on a path that many do not think is for them.

Hampton University's Conference on the Black Family shed lights on families and individuals who make a change and inspire those who wish to follow their path. "I hope to meet more and more people like Laurencin because they are such an inspiration, even for me, an accounting major," said Morgan Harris, a junior from Hartford, Connecticut.

The student is a writer in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hidden Figures’ author to visit Hampton Roads Convention Center

By Roger Wynn

On Tuesday, March 7 at 7:30 p.m., writer, researcher and author Margot Lee Shetterly will hold a book signing for her No. 1 selling book "Hidden Figures" in Hampton, Virginia. Shetterly, 48, will speak at the Hampton Roads Convention Center, which is open to the public. Initially, the event was to be held at the Virginia Air and Space Center, but it was moved to a larger venue due to the expected 1,000 people to attend, according to a NASA Langley Research Center announcement.

Shetterly will also hold a book signing for pre-purchased copies of her book immediately after her talk. Since September, the Hampton History Museum has sold more than 500 copies of the "Hidden Figures," according to the museum staff.

Shetterly's talk in Hampton is the most recent stop she has done since her national tour started in early September. The film based on her book was nominated for three Academy Awards. The "Hidden Figures" author was in attendance at the Academy Awards last Sunday, while the cast members, Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monae, presented the award for best documentary.

The "Hidden Figures" story takes readers through a historical period about the untold story of the African-American women who helped win the space race. The book is a USA Today best seller, a top book for both Time and Publisher's Weekly, and a No. 1 New York Times best seller.

The book that was released in September gained a boost in sales due to the release of the movie on Jan. 13.

In early January, Shetterly was at the Hampton History Museum for a previous "Hidden Figures" book signing where over 200 people were in attendance. A couple of weeks after Shetterly was present for that event, the museum opened an exhibit inspired by Shetterly's book and called it "When the Computer Wore a Skirt: NASA's Human Computers," which was open to the public. The exhibit shines light on the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson and Mary Jackson, the women who contributed to NASA's success in the space race during the period in time of Jim Crow segregation in Virginia. These women were mathematicians whose calculations helped American make some of its biggest achievements in space.

After Shetterly's national tour ends, she said she will continue writing her next book. The 7:30 p.m. event is at 1610 Coliseum Dr.

The student is a writer in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. prepares for NSU Battle of the Bay rematch

By Carly Moon

Hampton University prepares to host the second round of The Battle of the Bay rivalry game against Norfolk State University on Monday, Feb. 27.

The Pirates fell to the Spartans at the first round of the Battle of the Bay, losing 62-79 on Jan. 21.

The Lady Pirates won 58-57 that night.

"We didn't bring enough energy and toughness that a rivalry game requires," said Trevond Barnes (photo right), a sophomore forward for the Hampton men's basketball team.

Students from both schools promise to bring their A-games, including their best cheerleaders, the most lit band and lively crowds.

"We have been working vigorously for the last couple of weeks, to show that we are the best cheerleaders between the two schools." said Ronyae Northam, a sophomore elementary education major and Hampton U Hoo'rah cheerleader.

Hampton University leadership sent out mass emails about the match-up to students, faculty and staff during the days leading up until the games.

"They're always blowing up my phone with alerts." said Kenya Waugh, a sophomore strategic communications major, English minor from Washington, D.C. "But it helps me stay aware of the games and activities going on."

The game theme is "True blue with a dab of pink" to bring awareness and honor to breast cancer survivors. Hampton U. is also recognizing student-athletes who are on the Dean's List with a 3.0 GPA or higher.

"I'm excited to be honored at the game because, us student-athletes work so hard on and off the field, and still manage to get our work done," said Courtney James (photo right), a sophomore criminal justice major from Suffolk, Virginia.

Students from both schools are looking forward to game day -- an opportunity for students to represent with school spirit.

"I love it! It always brings a lot of good competition between the two schools," said Kayla Culbreath, a Norfolk State University sophomore biology pre-professional major from Atlanta. "Even though, it is a competitive game, the music, good crowd and dances bring us all together to represent one HBCU community."

Hampton students said they are determined to exhibit intangible feelings of school pride and to show out in the stands. The Greer Dawson Wilson Student Leadership Training program has been the face of the crowd at basketball games, and for rivalry games nothing less is expected.

"I can't wait to sit with my SLP family and trash talk the other team," said Daliyah Ross, a sophomore business management major from Southern California.

The rivalry between both MEAC conference teams dates back to 1963. Both schools are geographically separated by the Hampton Roads harbor.

Hampton men, whose record is, 12-15, will face 15-14 Norfolk State at Hampton University's last home game on Monday at 9 p.m. The Lady Pirates play NSU at 6 p.m.

The men's game will be televised on ESPNU or you can listen on WHOV-FM 88.1.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Clash of titans, journalism vs. strategic communications

By Victoria Blow

On Feb. 24, Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications hosted a discussion by Simone Weichselbaum and Bill Keller, the staff writer and editor in chief of the Marshall Project, a non-profit news outlet that focuses on criminal justice.

It touches on topics ranging from Investigative reporting on the criminal justice system, short pieces with context analyzing the news. The Marshall Project avoids doing what everyone else is doing, said the speakers. They published a daily newsletter and partner with larger news organizations such as NPR.

The idea is to get the most eyes on their stories, said Weichselbaum and Bill Keller.

Keller told a story about Neil Barsky, who was inspired create this project because of his parents courageous acts during the civil rights movement to facilitate open housing.

Keller also said Barsky was inspired by "Devil in the Grove," a Pulitzer Prize-winning book about a rape case in the 1940s that highlighted the civil rights work of Thurgood Marshall. Barsky was so struck by this book that he began to dig deep and research this event. He came to the realization that people needed a voice for these stories and created the Marshall Project.

The speakers talked about the ethical dilemmas that journalists face in publishing stories and the need for people of color in newsrooms to shed light on stories that get thrown under the rug.

Weichselbaum was able to offer the journalism students tips and strategies on how to cultivate sources and who to seek relationships with if you're a journalist in a new city.

"You talk to three different people and they'll each have a different version of the truth," she said.

Not only did she have truth for journalism students, but also for the Strategic Communications students as well, whether they liked the delivery or not.

Assistant Professor Drew Berry asked the 50-student audience if strategic communications students are of service to reporters for information? Many students said "no" due to their connection and ties to the brand or company they serve.

Weichselbaum in turn ruffled some student's feathers. "What do they teach you in flack school?" she asked.

Rashad Williams, a senior strategic communications major, answered, "Aside from what we're taught, service was brought into question and I think that PR students and PR work is more of servitude depending on what field that you're in. The same PR position you would hold for a corporation can be for black businesses. The core competencies that we learn are similar to journalism and can be applied in a different way."

Scripps Howard School students were surprised to learn that outside of these walls the world of journalism and public affairs is actually divided among the truth seekers versus the brand preservers.

"This is the first time I've heard of a bad relationship between public relations professionals and journalists," Jennifer Lowe, a strategic communications major from California.

Assistant Professor Lynn Waltz said, "I hope that students recognize that there's a lot of really important work to be done. Too many students think they want to be in the limelight. Sometimes you can do far more in the role of a journalist telling the truth for your country."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Students, panelist clash over ‘Birth of a Nation’ film

By Kenya Waugh

Hampton University students clashed with a Williamsburg writer Thursday during a panel discussion about the 2016 film remake "The Birth of a Nation." The film followed the psychological and emotional development of enslaved Christian preacher Nat Turner prior to the insurrection he led in 1831.

However, as students gathered to listen to three panelists' critiques about the film's accuracy, one speaker's opinion ignited a flaming verbal joust.

"I disagree with the portrayal of white slave masters in the film. There was too much demonization," said Bill Bryant, speaking to his general view on the film's many historical errors. Bryant's family is based in Southampton County, which sparked his fascination with the Nat Turner rebellion over 50 years ago.

Bryant said the movie was "solidly constructed," but the picture was far from Nat Turner's true story within the context of American history.

Bryant also cited the presence of good plantation owners in the 19th century and how the movie's lack of representation added to its inability to be historically correct.

Scoffs and whispers erupted from the audience of mostly African-American students during his analysis, with some questioning to their peers why Bryant still had the microphone.

Deanna Lucas was among the first to openly disagree.

"I was offended by that comment, because the truth is, slavery was horrible period," said the sophomore journalism major from Philadelphia. "No 'howevers' or 'buts.'"

Lucas also said that no spectrum existed in classifying slave masters and that anyone owning another human being was malevolent by default.

Bruce Turner, Nat Turner's descendant, oral historian and panelist, agreed with Lucas.

Alexandra Ethridge, a freshman psychology major, disapproved of Bryant's comment and asked him to explain his definition of demonization. He criticized other parts of the film for its inauthenticity.

Booker Mattison, an associate professor of English and a filmmaker, chimed in to guide the discussion back on track. He said that Bryant's attention-grabbing comment and the movie's historical depictions are subjective.

"You have to think about who's doing the storytelling in this particular case," said Mattison. "The film's director chose to portray the characters the way he did because that is how he understood them to be.

"One man's rebel is another man's freedom fighter. It's all a matter of perspective."

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. students await Sunday Oscars selections

By Norey P. Smith

The Academy Awards Board of Governors have come under fire regarding inconsistent votes affecting black actors and films in the recent years. This uproar has kept up an ongoing conversation among black moviegoers nationwide.

At Hampton University, a number of students eagerly await the Oscars this Sunday – televised from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood -- to witness the lineup of black-themed films expecting to be named as Best Picture, director, or actors in leading and supporting roles.

"The films that usually target a specific audience, the ones that we know should win like "Fences" might be upset. An example of this would be the year "Slumdog Millionaire" won for Best Picture." said Dr. Collin Richardson, assistant professor and pianist with the School of Liberal Arts.

The Board of Governors have a big role in deciding which nominees will win. Neil Portnow, president of the Recording Academy, had some comments on the scrutiny of the board in an interview with Marc Hogan from saying, "I don't think there's a race problem. Remember this is a peer-voted award, not a corporate entity. It's the 14,000 members of the Academy that makes it hard to be objective out of something that's inherently subjective."

Some students proposed the need for a more diverse Board of Governors after the past disappointments, such as 2015 nominee Michael B. Jordan falling short of a best actor nomination in a leading role in "Creed," yet Sylvester Stallone was nominated for best actor in a supporting role in the same movie.

In the past, Denzel Washington was awarded best actor as an antagonist in "Training Day" where he was fitting a stereotype but not in movies such as "Malcolm X" or "The Hurricane."

In 2002, Halle Berry was the first African-American woman to win Best Actress for her role in "Monster's Ball" after showing some skin, according to Richardson.

"This is why this year's Oscars are so important because we have so many movies lined up in each category," said Kourtney Hayslett, a senior computer information major from Marlborough, Maryland.

"'Moonlight' should be awarded because it speaks toward the deeper taboo the audience loves. It touches the LGBTQ community and substance abuse. 'Fences' is a well written playwright starring Denzel and Viola Davis, 'Hidden Figures'. has the women's vote, and the only other movies in the running are 'La La Land,' 'Hacksaw Ridge' with Andrew Garfield, 'Lion,' and 'Hell or High Water.'

"If we don't get awarded this year then it's just plain discrimination."

The Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, airs on ABC this Sunday at 8:30 p.m. EST.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. forum on “Birth of a Nation” movie

By Roger Wynn

A panel discussion on the 2016 film "The Birth of a Nation" is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday at the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library of Hampton University. The panelists will discuss if the film successfully portrayed the insurrection of Nat Turner.

Last October, the movie "The Birth of a Nation," co-written, co-produced and directed by Nate Parker, was a period drama film based on the insurrection of Nat Turner that took place in Southampton County, Virginia. The movie attracted a massive amount of attention due to not only accolades at the Sundance Film Festival and NAACP Image Awards, but because of accusations of rape that were made against Parker and co-writer Jean McGianni Celestin.

In 1999, Parker, who was a wrestler and student at Penn State University, and Celestin, who was Parker's roommate at the time, were charged with raping an 18-year-old female in their apartment after a night of drinking. Parker was found not guilty because he and the victim had consensual sex prior to the incident. However, Celestin was convicted and sentenced to six months in prison.

The incident brought a negative outlook on both Parker and the film.

In 2012, the woman who accused Parker and Celestin of sexual-assault committed suicide. The victim's death certificate noted that she had suffered from major depressive disorder with psychotic features, including PTSD, due to physical and sexual abuse and poly-substance abuse. These incidents relating to Parker complicated the marketing plan for the film.

"A movie that was supposed to be about our history gets shot down because of the scandal of the director/actor," said Simone Williams, 20, a strategic communications major from North Carolina. Simone believed without the rape controversy, the movie could have been successful at properly illustrating that 19th-century event.

Some people believe that Parker's film was purely overshadowed by his past allegations and took away from its significance. "I think people wanted a reason to not take it seriously and bringing up that guy's old rape charges kind of took away from the real message of the movie," said Kennerly Benraty, 21, a pre-law major from Portsmouth, Virginia. Kennerly believes "The Birth of a Nation" could have had an impact on culture in general considering the historical significance the film brought the world: "I think it made a lot of people go back and watch the original 'Birth of a Nation,' which turned a lot of heads."

Some people who watched the Nat Turner biopic may not even be aware of who Nate Parker was or his past conflicts, but do feel as if the movie could have done a better job at portraying this specific time in history.

"I feel like '12 Years of Slave' did a better job at reflecting slavery in a vivid way," said Alexis Clark, 22, a senior kinesiology major from Portsmouth, Virginia.

Clark also said that the insurrection of Nat Turner was such an important period in time for African-American culture because it was the start of a new beginning. However, she also believes that people were not fond of the movie because it was based on history: "America lives in fantasy. History is fact-based. If the core of that movie was about a slave revolt started by a mutant or vampire, it would have made 10 times the money and attention."

More questions and discussions about the success of the film will be open to the Hampton University campus at 6 p.m. Thursday during the panel "Black History in the Commonwealth: The History of Nat Turner, Did Hollywood Get It Right?" The panelists will include Bruce Turner, Bill Bryant, Booker T. Mattison and Robert Watson.

The writer is a student in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U. students battle allergies and flu-like illness

By Montana S. Crider, Kelsey Crimiel and Atira Kennedy

HAMPTON, Virginia – With drastic, day-by-day changes in the weather, it has been hard for Hampton University students to stay healthy. The high-to-low temperatures are leaving no one safe from flu-like symptoms.

"The weather is so bipolar here that I do get sick or close to being sick more than when I'm at home," said Deja Young, a nursing major from Chicago.

However, with higher-than-normal pollen counts in our area, students may just be suffering from allergies.

It is important to know the symptoms of either case, so it can easily be taken care of. Seasonal allergies usually consist of a runny nose, and red, watery, itchy eyes, making a person feel as if they have a cold. The flu, however, has more harsh symptoms such as fever, chills, muscle aches, headaches and fatigue.

"It's the major weather change; one day it's hot the next day its cold," said Megan Hill, a MPH certified health education specialist. "The plants are confused."

The seasons are mixing up and flowers are starting to bloom early. Also, individuals react to the weather differently so that can affect when people start to get their allergy symptoms.

A few students said they know they suffer from allergies, but do not necessarily take care of them. Yes, it is not as harmful as passing on the common cold, but can still affect those around you.

"I know it's just allergies, so I am letting it run its course," said Emani Smith, a freshman nursing major from Fredericksburg, Virginia.

"My prescription is a strong medicine that helps because without it, I basically feel sick," said Ebony Grieves, a five-year MBA major from Chicago.

Victoria Daniels, a journalism major from Raleigh, North Carolina said, "I have asthma so allergies really send me over the cliff. "I had the flu three weeks ago and everything was elevated. It was all bad."

Although allergies are not contagious, germs are still being spread from sneezing and coughing. Furthermore, infections can occur if not treated properly.

On the other hand, the flu hits the body hard. A few Hampton students have been sent to the hospital because of the virus. Some try to stick it out, but it is too much for the body.

"I felt like I was hit by a bus. I have never felt that weak," said Gibril Ghee, a sophomore from Atlanta. "If I did not go to the hospital, I don't know what would have happened."

Waiting without the proper care, the flu can do a lot of damage, so be sure to find out how to stop it before it gets worse. Use the resources around campus, such as the health center, or even local establishments.

"I didn't have time to go to the campus health center, so I had to go to Sentara," said Morgan Harris, a junior accounting major from Hartford, Connecticut. "Luckily, I didn't have the flu, but I did have a fever that could have gotten worse."

For those that have not gotten sick or experienced any of the symptoms above, stay ahead and take precaution. Dress according to weather, takes vitamins and/or medicines that will build your immune system, a personal favorite being Emergen-C.

"I think Allegra D works the best because it unstops my nose and I can breathe and my eyes don't water as much," said Chardae Ashanti, a psychology major from Columbus, Ohio.

Health education specialist Hill advised "hand washing. Don't rub your eyes. Keep your hands away from your face, and stay hydrated." She also stated that you should be aware of your allergy symptoms so you know the difference between seasonal allergies and an actual cold virus.

Talk to your doctor, or take a visit to the health center if you feel yourself coming down with any symptoms that present themselves as a cold or flu or allergies. Schedule an appointment to learn more about how to protect ourselves during the rest of this flu season.

Students can utilize the campus health center which can be reached at 757-727-5315, or any of the Urgent Care clinics in the Hampton Roads area.

The writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

U.S. President Tyler’s special connection to Hampton U.

By Kiana Salley

HAMPTON, Virginia -- President's Day is much more than a national holiday to Hampton University. Specifically, John Tyler represents significant prestige to the Home by the Sea.

Any Hampton Pirate is familiar with East Tyler and West Tyler streets as being the main road onto the campus, however it isn't typical that all faculty and students understand the relevance of the roads. Tyler previously owned a piece of land called the Rip Raps not too far from the campus and where he resided after his presidency, according to a 1991 Daily Press account. This piece of land is where Tyler sought solace after the death of his first wife Letitia Semple. The Army Corps of Engineers helped build it while Robert E. Lee was stationed in Fort Monroe.

Otherwise known as "His Accidency" by detractors, according to, Tyler was the first vice-president to rise as president because of the unfortunate circumstance of the early death to former president-elect William Henry Harrison in 1841. Harrison served 31 days.

Virginia native Tyler was a College of William and Mary graduate, and was elected into the Virginia House of Delegates at the age of 21. His family is of no strangers to the Williamsburg and Hampton Roads area. In fact, they are highly recognized for their service to both communities as well as the state of Virginia.

Former President Tyler served as the 18th governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia and as U.S Senator from Virginia. While president Tyler was most recognized for his annexation of Texas in 1845 to revolt against slavery.

His son, Lyon G. Tyler, presided over the first Virginia public university that allowed women to matriculate in the educational system. Lyon Tyler also counseled Hampton and Richmond Mechanic institutes.

A family man first and a one-term president, the 10th president continued his legacy: Two of his grandsons live to this day, reported U.S. News & World Report this month. John Tyler fathered 15 children, two of which are Lyon and Harrison Tyler, born in 1924 and 1928.

Destin McMurray contributed to this report. Both students are in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

Hampton U., foreign affairs and 2 events

By Taylor Lee and Raven Able

The 2017 HBCU Foreign Policy Conference will take place Friday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Public Affairs in Washington, D.C.

Hampton University students Zhavier Harris, Kiana-Alexis Salley and Dasia Willis, and Professors Wayne Dawkins and Kangming Ma are to attend this year.

Students are to hear from senior State Department officials, observe presentations on career opportunities and will have many opportunities to network. Hampton University was last represented at the conference in 2012 when now alumnae Meagan Downing, Domanique Jordan and Janiece Peterson attended. "I'm incredibly enthusiastic for tomorrow's trip," said Kiana-Alexis Salley, a sophomore, journalism major, Spanish minor from Willingboro, New Jersey. "I don't know what to expect, but I'm eager to be around other uncut students that share the same passion for politics and journalism as I do."

On Thursday night there was an on-campus opportunity for students who had an interest in International Affairs. The World Council Affairs of Greater Hampton Roads and Hampton University was to host a 6 p.m. panel discussion in Armstrong Hall Little Theatre.

"The Powerful Influence of African Americans in International Affairs" included speakers Ambassador Reuben E. Brigety and Dr. Esther Brimmer, who are both with the Elliott School of International Affairs. Admission for Hampton University students and faculty was free. For members of the World Affairs Council, admission was $10 and $15 for non-members.

Both writers are students in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications.

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