Wayne State’s GO-GIRL Program
Dec21

Wayne State’s GO-GIRL Program

Wayne State University’s GO-GIRL (Gaining Options-Girls Investigate Real Life™) program is designed to help girls build confidence, capacity and career awareness in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) disciplines. The 10-week Saturday program, hosted by Wayne State’s College of Education, kicks off Jan. 18, 2014, and culminates with graduation ceremonies on April 12. GO-GIRL is free and open to a limited number of seventh-grade females. The winter program integrates mathematics and social science research into a gender-specific, technology-rich environment supported by university student mentors. Girls interested in participating can submit an application online at www.gogirls.wayne.edu. The application deadline is Dec. 7. Since its inception in 2002, GO-GIRL has grown from a one-time intervention to a community that supports girls and their parents throughout high school and beyond. Girls who complete the winter program are eligible to participate in additional activities, including residential summer academies, hands-on STEM workshops during the academic year and GO-GIRL Gatherings. Sally K. Roberts, assistant professor in Wayne State University’s College of Education and the program’s faculty advisor, says seventh grade is a pivotal time for girls in their experiences with math and science. “Students in seventh grade are often faced with the decision to elect a more rigorous mathematics and science track. We want our girls to select a mathematics track that opens doors to their future.” GO-GIRL has received contributions in the past from the Michigan Department of Education, RGK Foundation, Wayne State University College of Education and private contributors, and is reaching out to the community for support to sustain and expand the program at Wayne State University. GO-GIRL is dedicated to offering the program at no cost to participants in order to widely recruit potentially talented girls. For more information about, contact Sally Roberts at gogirl@wayne.edu. Wayne State University is a premier urban research institution offering more than 370 academic programs through 13 schools and colleges to nearly 28,000 students. Contact: Rasheda K. Williams Voice: (313) 577-8094 Email: rasheda.williams@wayne.edu Press release courtesy of Wayne State...

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Culture Shock: Brittany Lewis – Memories From Mali
Dec15

Culture Shock: Brittany Lewis – Memories From Mali

All photos courtesy of Brittany Lewis “When in Mali do as the Malians.” Brittany Lewis did just that during her two-week trip to Mali in 2005. She was a junior in highschool, and a participant in a school club Building with Books. “The club offered a ‘Trek for Knowledge’ component to travel to a village to help build a school,” Lewis said. After a day long flight, 16 year-old Lewis landed in Mali’s capital, Bamako, and resided in a mud hut in the village of Kodialan with another U.S. volunteer. Mali is located in Western Africa and shares borders with seven other countries. Nearly 65 percent of the country is dominated by the Sahara Desert, making Mali extremely dusty. Due to the scarcity of fertile farmland and other important natural resources, Mali is one of the poorest countries in the world. This destination would be Lewis’ first volunteer abroad experience. Being in a different country meant adjusting to the culture, lifestyle and day-to-day duties. Lewis became acclimated with the grooming routines, vividly remembering what it was like to “bathe” in Mali. “I think I was willing to pretty much go with the flow,” she said. “They say we have to ‘bathe’ in a bucket then that’s what I will do for two weeks-bathe in a bucket.” Her host family brought her bath water every morning, asking if she preferred her water hot or cold. The women carried water and other items on their head which led Lewis to conclude “…they must have had some strong necks. The volunteers tried this one day and that water was heavy!.” The “bathroom” in Mali was foreign to her as well. “The bathrooms were just a hole in the ground,” she said. “I actually didn’t have a problem with that at all.” At night, roaches were all over the “bathroom” hole, but Lewis learned those pesky critters quickly scattered once they saw the light from the lantern. During the day, the flies were relentless around the hole. Still, Lewis said “I tolerated both pretty well.” Unmatched Hospitality During her stay in Mali, Lewis bonded with her host family despite the language barrier. Bambara and French were the common languages, neither of which Lewis spoke. “My host father and I would sit outside every night and drink tea. We would converse as best we could,” she said. “He would point out the stars and other things and tell me the Bambara word for it.” To avoid dehydration, Lewis and the other volunteers were encouraged to drink plenty of water. However, this inevitably led to frequent trips to the bathroom during the night. “I remember...

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Reclaiming Vaidehi: Coming To Terms With My Name
Dec15

Reclaiming Vaidehi: Coming To Terms With My Name

V-A-I-D-E-H-I. Vuh-day-hee. As long as I can remember, my name has been pronounced in a hundred different ways. Vidalia (yes, the onion), Veronica, even just Va…. um. It’s surprising how people twist those seven letters. This July, I was looking for apartments in Manhattan. A friend of mine read the draft of an email I had written to a potential roommate, which started off with, “Hi my name is Vaidehi (I’m a female. I know the name can be confusing).” She asked me why I needed to justify or apologize for my name. After years of explanations, emails starting with Mr. Mujumdar (actually, Mr. Mujumdar’s my father…) and prescriptions listing me as male, I work on autopilot when it comes to my name. My standard line growing up was, “It’s fine the way you said it” in an effort to fit in, not draw attention, or be labeled with the differences that were already evident in my skin, multilingual/multicultural Indian-American upbringing, and “strange holidays.” Over the years I have become immune to the bastardization of my name. For me, immunity conjures images of cytokines and antibodies because I’ve always been fascinated with the immune system. It learns, acquires, persists, and is constantly under attack. Somehow it learns to survive and adapt Growing up as an Indian-American female in a predominately white suburban neighborhood in Virginia, the added syllables, the hesitancy in people’s voices, “that’s a hard name to say” was expected.  Somewhere along the line, I became immune to loss – of personhood and culture. When a “friend” in middle school said that when she had told a family friend my name the response had been, “Well, don’t step in it…” – I laughed with her. Because what does a 12 year-old-girl with the latest Adidas, the Britney Spears soundtrack, the stereotype of “model minority” say? There’s nothing to say. Only do. Be the best. Then you’ll be immune. Maybe then you’ll transcend the name and the shackles that it holds you to. Vaidehi’s the second name of the female heroine, Sita, in the Hindu epic, The Ramayan. Sita’s father earned the title Videha because of his ability to attain “liberation without the body.” Sita was then called the feminine form – Vaidehi, meaning from the earth. It’s a name my mother fell in love with when two oceans separated my parents. A name that gives me the same initials as the best man I know, my daddy. A name that I once uttered in an ATL club and was asked, “Girl, is that your real name?” – cue Lil’ Wayne. But names are words. Names are language. They...

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Addressing The Illiteracy Rate
Dec15

Addressing The Illiteracy Rate

“775 million illiterate adults in the world, nearly two-thirds (66 percent) are women” We all have been guilty of taking many of our attributes and skills for granted. Imagine if your ability to read and write was taken from you. Simple tasks in life would become much harder – a trip to the grocery store, taking directions, texting a friend, or even reading this article. In most situations we easily assume the people we are interacting with have the ability to read and/or write, but the truth is millions of people in the world suffer from illiteracy. According to the Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook, there are 775 million illiterate adults in the world. Almost three-quarters of those people are found in only ten countries (India, China, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Ethiopia, Egypt, Brazil, Indonesia, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo). Of all the illiterate adults in the world, two-thirds (roughly 66 percent) are women. Now, let’s bring the sphere in a little closer to home and look at the statistics of illiteracy for the United States. According to research done in April 2013 by the U.S. Department of Education and National Institute of Literacy, the United States has a staggering 32 million adults that cannot read. That means that 1 in 7 adults in the U.S. cannot communicate to their full potential. The most frightening part of this all is that the numbers have always been changing, but not for the better. According to USA Today, from 1992 to 2003, the U.S. added about 23 million adults to its population; in that period, an estimated 3.6 million more joined the ranks of adults with low literacy skills.  Illiteracy is a stem to other major problems. Without proper reading and writing skills, illiterate people will not be able to make a decent living or find a decent job. The ‘Right to Literacy” campaign reports that over 93 million American adults have limited literacy skills, which costs the U.S. economy $60 billion a year in lost productivity, generating $73 billion in unnecessary health care expenses, and contributing to a host of other problems ranging from crime and drug abuse to unemployment and homelessness. Fixing the literacy problem is crucial for taking Americans out of poverty and rebuilding the economy. There are many organizations and campaigns that are focused on helping both children and adults gain their literacy and ‘Reading Works’ in Detroit, Michigan is one of them. On their website it states that up to 47 percent of adults in Detroit are functionally illiterate (meaning a person who has had some schooling but does not meet a minimum standard of...

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Culture Shock: Maurice Dowell – Dancing In China
Dec15

Culture Shock: Maurice Dowell – Dancing In China

Maurice Dowell in China The Duke University dance students who went to China. From L to R: Ray Liu, Rebecca Pham, Maurice, Marisa Epstein, and Bobby Lam Maurice at the Great Wall of China showcasing his awesome dance moves. Traveling is a popular pastime. People plan honeymoons, family vacations, girlfriend getaways and create other reasons to pack and leave town for awhile. For Brittany Lewis and Maurice Dowell, traveling abroad afforded them the opportunity to experience different cultires and give of their time to help others. Travel with them to China and Mali, respectively, and experience their joy of giving and connecting to the locals while away from home. Dance has been a part of Maurice Dowell’s life since he took he took his first tap lesson at the age of seven. He fell in love with the physical art form and continued progressing in dance through his involvement with various organizations such as The Zone Dance Center in Southfield, the Virginia School of the Arts, Summer Stages at Concord Academy, and the prestigious Ailey School Summer Intensive program in New York. Now, at age 19, the Duke University sophomore and Farmington Hills, MI native is continuing his passion for the arts, and recently had the opportunity to showcase his talent in China. Dowell traveled to Qinhuangdao, China this past summer to teach dance to students as part of the DukeEngage program, a program through Duke University which empowers students to address critical human needs through immersive service experience. The program provides funding for Duke undergraduates who participate in a variety of engagement activities that take place in more than 75 nations around the world. Dowell was one of five dance students from Duke who traveled to China to take part in a summer arts camp where middle school students were taught English and arts classes. The dance camp was put on through IDEAS, which is a foundation in China that promotes youth development and helps students find alternative ways to learn, grow and prosper through creativity. Dowell spent five weeks teaching dance to the students and his workshop was called Movement Discovery. He says the workshop was an exercise in dance composition. “I just wanted them to draw on life experiences and connect their movements to gestures, activities, landscapes, architecture, etc that they engage with on a daily basis,” said Dowell. “After seeing the movement the kids created in my Movement Discovery class, I would organize all the groups into sequence that made choreographic sense in my eyes, so we had maybe four or five groups performed what they had created in succession, then they would perform altogether...

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Top 5 Holiday Vacations
Dec15

Top 5 Holiday Vacations

Holidays can mean a lot of things – buying gifts, visiting family, decorations, and food. But most importantly vacation means TIME OFF WORK. Why wait to take that vacation you always dreamed of? There is no better time to plan an escape but after the ‘end of the year’ chaos. Here are just some of the top holiday vacation spots in the United States. Now go on…pick one! New York City, New York Or as they call it, “The City That Never Sleeps.” No matter what time of year, this is truly a magical city that everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. The amount of activities and places to explore is endless. But of course if you’re going to visit at the end of the year, you must go to Rockefeller Center and see the infamous, gigantic Christmas tree. Chicago, Illinois Just like the Big Apple, Chicago offers countless tourist attractions ranging from museums, plays, shopping, and a great nightlife Jazz and Blues clubs bring you up close to great music, and there’s also fine dining at a plethora of restaurants. So book your trip to the Windy City and you’ll leave with great memories. New Orleans, Louisiana This is the prime location if your heart belongs to music. Although New Orleans is most famous for its festival Mardi Gras, you can be sure to find entertainment year round. Rock n Roll, Jazz, and the Blues can be heard at every corner of this lively, culture filled city which makes it a must have on your vacation bucket list. Orlando, Florida This is the perfect spot for people to go and get a little warmth back in their life during the cold winter season. Florida is full of beautiful beaches that will relax your mind, body, and soul. This is also a great spot for you to bring the little ones since this is the location of the world renowned Walt Disney World! You’ll be sure to leave Florida feeling relaxed with your Mickey Mouse ears in hand. Las Vegas, Nevada If you’re looking for a more adult themed trip, what better place to go than Sin City!? Also known as “The Biggest Little City In The World,” Las Vegas will be sure to be a destination you’ll never forget. If you love going to live shows, this is just the place for you. Numerous celebrities have shows that run all year round in this magical city ranging from Celine Dion to the well-known “Peepshow” with artists such as Coco Austin and Holly Madison.  By Jade Gonzalez. Jade is the Web Editor for ColorBlind...

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How To Enjoy The Holiday Season In Style
Dec15

How To Enjoy The Holiday Season In Style

Brace yourself fashionistas! The holiday season is upon us and that can only mean 3 things: Fashion, Food and Fun. From date night to ladies night, these two style inspirations will help you along in your stylish quest this winter. Unfortunately, food isn’t one of my specialties so we’ll have to stay within our means of fashion and fun. Because let’s face it ladies, being stylish enough to turn heads is fun. Date Night. You will own the room when you slip on this lace jacquard Alexander Mcqueen dress, and Giuseppe Zanotti booties. Spritz yourself with the seductive scent of Flower Bomb and a second date won’t be too far away! Winter Wonderland Accessories. Boots, coats,and hats!  Oh my! Rock a neutral color palette instead of the normal darker hues. This winter’s coats are all about the lights with a few classic darks thrown in for fun. Try a beret, a great pair of gloves and some strut worthy boots and you’ll be sure to sizzle in the winter weather! #HOT #Sizzle     Erica Monet is a fashion blogger, and up and coming stylist. Check out her fashion blog www.missmonet.net, which was named as CBS Detroit’s  Best Fashion Blogs in Detroit  ...

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Looking Forward: 2014 Winter Olympics
Dec15

Looking Forward: 2014 Winter Olympics

Mikaela Shirrin Lindsey Vonn Lori Jones The 2012 Olympics introduced the world to several break-out athletes. Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney and Jordyn Wieber, who were each a part of the “Fierce Five” U.S. women’s gymnastics team. Other female contenders are waiting to take the world by storm at the 2014 Olympic Games in Souchi, Russia. Here’s a preview of three of the contenders who are going for the gold. 2014 Winter Olympic Female Contenders: Lindsey Vonn, pictured above, is an Olympic skier and has many gold and bronze medals under her belt. At 28, she deserves the recognition she gets in her sport because she holds the women’s record for having 17 World Cup titles, 4 overall World Cup titles and 59 total World Cup victories. In early 2013, she endured a terrible knee injury causing her to pull out of the games in Austria, but she was adamant that she would return in 2014. Lori “Lolo” Jones has certainly made a name for herself. Jones is a known track and field star as well as a bobsled athlete. She is known for her speed, agility and teamwork. She currently holds the record in the 60 meter hurdles by finishing with an outstanding time of 7.72. She also competed as a member on the track team at Louisiana State University. Jones has had many setbacks like spinal problems and other injuries that may have hindered her performance, but she persevered through it all. At 31, she is training for the winter Olympics and is optimistic that she will be on top of her game when the time arrives. Mikaela Shiffrin is also an epic skier. Much of the talk has been centered on her being a prodigy in skiing at just 18. She competed in her first world cup tournament at the age of 15. Earlier in the year, in Austria, she won a gold medal as well as the bronze medal in the Junior World Ski Championships division. Shiffrin is slated to be a force to be reckoned with. Everyone will be waiting to watch her dominate in 2014. These women are role models in their own right. They show the true meaning of working hard and striving for their dreams. No matter what obstacles or setbacks they have encountered they remained determined to reach the peak of success they each have dreamed of. (Information gathered from Wikipedia.org and teamusa.org)  By Khulela Byrd. Khulela interned with...

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Best Of 2013
Dec15

Best Of 2013

2013 has been quite the year. Looking back, there have been plenty of memorable moments, and some that are a bit more cringe worthy. As it is with every year, new trends emerged. Some faded away after a couple weeks or months, but some were determined to stay. Here’s a look at the top pop culture trends of 2013. Books: ●      Inferno by Dan Brown The 4th book in the Robert Langdon series is the number one best seller on most sites these days. ●      And The Mountains Echoed by Khaled Houssini Author of “The Kite Runner” and “A Thousand Splendid Suns” ●      The Fault In Our Stars by John Green Although the book was released in 2012, the book seems to prevail as one of the best young adult novels. The books hype in 2013 is possibly due to the TFIOS movie, which is currently in production and set to release next year. Trends: ●      Twerking. Thanks, Miley. ●      Gluten free. Amongst other big health trends in 2013. ●      Snap Chatting Beware: the closer the friendship, the weirder the faces you will receive. Phrases: ●      “YOLO” The “Carpe Diem” of 2013. ●      “Ratchet” Supposedly originating from an LL Cool J single, the word has become so common you’re as likely to hear it as you are to hear someone asking you to pass the salt. ●      “I ain’t about that life.” Whoever knows the origin of this phrase, please share. Music: It may be too soon to tell or too difficult to gage, but some of the most popular ones in 2013 were: ●      Blurred Lines by Robin Thicke Accompanied by Miley’s twerking, this VMA performance was one of the more memorable moments in 2013 ●      Get Lucky by Daft Punk Quickly followed by much anger from ‘true’ hard-core Daft Punk fans. ●      Thrift Shop by Macklemore “No for real, ask your grandpa. Can I have his hand-me-downs?” Fashion: ●      Stripes The “I just busted out of jail’ look was big this year. ●      High Waisted everything matched with crop tops, this look dominated 2013. ●      Grunge/90s look Even girly girls were switching out their louboutins for combat boots and floral headbands for beanies. TV Shows ●      Breaking Bad But whoever didn’t know that leads a strange existence. One without TV or the Internet. ●      The Walking Dead It was all anyone could talk about, before Breaking Bad. ●      Game of Thrones Still not Breaking Bad. Movies: ●      Iron Man 3 ●      Despicable Me 2 ●      Man Of Steel ●      Monsters University Basically cartoons and superheroes were huge this year. By Nadine Zebib. Nadine was an intern with...

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What Happens To A Dream Deferred?
Dec15

What Happens To A Dream Deferred?

It’s actually quite funny that I am earning a Ph.D. Why? I actually did not want to go to graduate school. It was a forgotten dream from my childhood.  See, having an engineering degree can open the doors to higher earning potential. We are offered promises of access to paid internships throughout undergrad and told that there are almost limitless career options after college, because of the diversity of skills learned in engineering programs. That was my experience and I loved it. So why would I consider staying in school longer than I needed to? During one of my summer internships, I realized the regular 9-5 was not for me. Although I excelled in the workplace, I had aspirations to improve the engineering education experience for other minorities. It was always on my mind. Believe me, it is not an easy thing to earn a degree in engineering. Especially, as a woman who has to straddle the intersection between being in a male dominated field, being one of a few women and being a person of color. That’s the other skill minorities learn while studying engineering, tight rope walking! There were a few great conversations that I had with mentors and friends of mentors that changed my life. You would be amazed at the people God places in your life, who have the power to re-chart and redirect your path.  Now I am working on my Ph.D doing research on the experiences of underrepresented students in engineering. While some of my dreams were always in the forefront of my mind, it was the reminder forgotten childhood dreams that reignited my passion and put me on path to seeing them come to pass. By Delean Tolbert. Delean is a contributor to the...

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