Baltimore entrepreneur a real history maker

Jayfus Doswell is a history maker. In 2013, the Baltimore-born entrepreneur was featured on the HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history collection that has preserved the life stories of thousands of historic black figures, including President Barack Obama.

Doswell, who holds a Ph.D. from George Mason University, is the founder of Juxtopia, LLC and the Juxtopia Group, Inc., which specialize in human performance monitoring products and services.

Doswell comes from a family of entrepreneurs and says he has always been mystified and a little angry about the educational plight of minorities who are not always provided appropriate lessons in science, technology, engineering and math— fields that are commonly known as STEM.

The lack of qualified American STEM professionals in the workplace inspired him to use his Juxtopia Group to create change.

“We want to increase STEM proficiency in the workplace and in entrepreneurship for the underserved and the disadvantaged around the world,” said Doswell.

“It was expected that I’d be an entrepreneur. My mom was in education and my dad was in social work,” Doswell said. “I was pretty much programmed to make a change early on and I was given education early on, so given the faculties and early exposure and experience, I must give all the credit to my success to my parents.”

“My main motivation when I began mentoring came from an experience I had when I was rising up the corporate ladder,” said Doswell, who also was named among the “stars who make things happen in Greater Baltimore” by the Economic Alliance of Greater Baltimore. “I remember working at a company called CompuServe in Columbus, Ohio; and I remember realizing that there was a complete disparity in my industry.”

“The opportunity was there, but I didn’t see many other African Americans in my department so, not understanding the proper protocol, I sent an email to the president of CompuServe and my supervisor pulled me aside and said that wasn’t the way to go, it wasn’t protocol.”

Doswell says he still managed to secure a meeting with the company’s president but realized that he needed to create his own program for engineering and entrepreneur “superstars.”

Born in Charm City in 1979, Doswell spent his childhood learning various life lessons. He learned and played classical piano and the violin as a member of the Baltimore Youth Orchestra.

He graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 with Bachelor of Arts degrees in psychology and computer science. He presented his thesis at Williams College in Massachusetts and went on to earn a masters degree in systems and computer management from Howard University in 1998.

It was while completing his Ph.D. in information technology that Doswell

developed the idea for his Juxtopia companies, which has helped hundreds of young African-American entrepreneurs through the company’s Juxtopia Entrepreneur in Training (JET).

The company’s ambitious strategic plan is to develop young JET entrepreneurs who can build their own companies that each generate $1 billion in gross revenue.

“We want to have at least 1000 of our young entrepreneurs up and running simultaneously to secure a $1 trillion empire and that’s the strategic plan of our JUICE program,” Doswell said about his Juxtopia Urban Innovation and Cooperative Entrepreneurship— or JUICE— program.

Doswell’s successful strategies have garnered attention from various organizations and he has been a consultant for Lockheed Martin; Virtual Logic; TRW and the National Cancer Institute Center for Bioinformatics; CompuServe; the Maryland Medical Systems; and others.

“We’ve done a lot to get students motivated in high-tech areas, particularly in the STEM field,” Doswell said. “I enjoy training students and employ them to work on our products and be a part of our programs.”

Baltimore County students win Maryland Masters Awards

Comptroller Peter Franchot presented his Maryland Masters Awards Monday, February 24, 2014 to three Baltimore County students: Haley White, a fifth grader at Glenmar Elementary School in Middle River, who did a self-portrait; Maria Karvounis, a seventh grader at Hereford Middle School in Monkton, who drew a still life using water color paints, oil pastels and charcoal; and Jasmine Gilliam, a senior at Randallstown High School, who did a colored pencil portrait drawing using India ink.

(Left to right) Dr. Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools; Maryland Master Award winners, Jasmine Gilliam, a senior at Randallstown High School; Haley White, a fifth grader at Glenmar Elementary School; Maria Karvounis, a seventh grader at Hereford Middle School; and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot at the award presentation ceremony on Monday, February 24, 2014 at Greenwood Mansion.

Courtesy Photo/Office of the Comptroller

(Left to right) Dr. Dallas Dance, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools; Maryland Master Award winners, Jasmine Gilliam, a senior at Randallstown High School; Haley White, a fifth grader at Glenmar Elementary School; Maria Karvounis, a seventh grader at Hereford Middle School; and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot at the award presentation ceremony on Monday, February 24, 2014 at Greenwood Mansion.

The Maryland Master Award recognizes young, talented artists who have displayed extraordinary artistic skills, reflecting the vision of Maryland’s future. Comptroller Franchot initiated the awards program to celebrate the achievements and talents of students from throughout the state enrolled in public schools from kindergarten to the twelfth grade. The students’ art will be on exhibit for two months at the Comptroller’s Office in Annapolis. Selected by local superintendents, the students, their families and school officials were invited to join Comptroller Franchot and state and local officials for the official art exhibit unveiling ceremony and award presentation.

Randallstown High School senior Jasmine Gilliam said she is thrilled to be chosen for the award, “It means a lot. It is a tremendous honor, ” she said. “I was really surprised because there are a lot of really great artists in my school.”

During his nearly 30 years in public service, Comptroller Franchot consistently has advocated for better funding for arts programs and keeping art alive in Maryland schools.

“I emphasize that arts are important to business,” he noted. “The future of Maryland’s Economy will be impacted by individuals and companies that are able to balance creativity and technology; Employers are looking for individuals with the ability to create.”

The students’ art will join a collection of original paintings by one of the Comptroller’s favorite artists, Herman Maril. An American modernist, Maril was born in Baltimore and served as a professor at the University of Maryland for more than 30 years.

Indie Soul: Talkin’ all that jazz

In this week’s Indie Soul we are “talkin’ all that jazz.” Get ready to find out what’s happening in the community and yes we are talking about jazz music!

Marshall C. Bell’s book “Baltimore Blues: Harm City” deals with life on the streets and how to change life for the better.

“I took a different path when writing this book,” he said. “I wanted to reach back and hopefully reach those who are going through some rough spots in their lives to help them see that there is something else out there and it is positive,” said Bell.

Marshall C. Bell will be part of the book club “Books, Wine and Conversation” on Saturday, March 1, 2014 from noon to 2 p.m. at The Baltimore Times, located at 2513 N. Charles Street in North Baltimore. The event is FREE and open to the public. For more information on the book club call 410-501-0193.

Jazz@the Grand: Baltimore has been starving for LIVE Jazz shows and the Bonneau Caprece Jazz Series presented a show for all ages on Sunday, February 23, 2014 with an incredible performance from “The Four Saxophonists:” Craig Alston, Tim Green, Mark Gross, and Ron Pender. These soon-to-be legends in the game, took the audience on a incredible ride with standards, blues and classic jazz pieces. In honor of the old time jazz showcases in Baltimore, the show was held in the afternoon— great for a family outing or a Sunday afternoon. Don’t worry, you can catch another show on Sunday April 27, 2014. For more information call 443-695-9384.


Hip hop artist OurReality

OurReality-TGDOM: Underground Hip-Hop artist OurReality, takes you on a mental journey with a sound that brings back the elements of hip-hop— beatboxing, deejay scratches, and most importantly lyricism.

“I wanted to let people know that there is real rap music out there especially for 35-year-olds and up, that deals with real life issues, struggles, and at the same time, has feel good music,” said M. Childs, artist and executive producer.

If you are a fan of George Clinton and Funkadelic who made music for the mind, this is what OurReality has done with their brand of mental music. They want you to get your mind right!

For more information about OurReality, or to listen to a sample of his music or to purchase a CD/Download, visit:

Maryland Mortgage Program sets new goals, unveils new look, slogan and website

Secretary Raymond Skinner unveiled a new look, a redesigned website and even a new way of talking about the state’s flagship homeownership program during DHCD’s annual Maryland Mortgage Program Top Lenders Award breakfast on Tuesday, February 18, 2014.

The annual breakfast recognizes members of the Maryland Mortgage Program’s lender network for outstanding performance. This year’s recipients included first place winner First Home Mortgage Corp.; second place winner Carrollton Mortgage Services; third place winner Wells Fargo Home Mortgage; and Rising Star award winner PrimeLending. The ceremony at DHCD’s Crownsville headquarters each February coincides with the launch of the home buying season in Maryland.

This year, Secretary Skinner told the lenders and realtors in attendance that DHCD wants to double the number of Maryland Mortgage Program loans from 1,500 in 2013 to 3,000 by 2015. To facilitate this, the agency has redesigned its website to make it more accessible to the public and to utilize the responsive design elements of the state’s website. The Maryland Mortgage Program website launches on March 3, 2014.

The new Maryland Mortgage Program logo features a stylistic swoosh of the state flag and the slogan “Invest in Home. Invest in You.”

The website and a new marketing campaign will emphasize the key benefits of the program: significant down payment assistance, 30-year, fixed mortgages and homebuyer education, said DHCD Marketing Manager Tim Pinel. The program will even adopt a new way of talking about itself, so that marketing materials sound less bureaucratic and more user-friendly.

Milford Mill grad receives top college basketball award

— Anthony Goode is the first this season from Xavier University of Louisiana to be selected Gulf Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Week in men’s basketball.

Goode, a 6-foot junior guard from Baltimore and a graduate of Milford Mill Academy, earned the award for Feb. 17-23 after averaging 22 points during Xavier’s 2-0 week. Goode scored 24 points, including the first five of overtime, in a 103-99 home victory against then-NAIA No. 24 Philander Smith this past Monday, then scored 20 points on 8-of-10 from the floor in an 83-61 home victory against Tougaloo on Saturday.

He is the first Xavier player this season to record back-to-back 20-point games. For the week, Goode shot 52 percent from the floor and 88.2 percent from the line. He made 12-of-13 free throws against Philander Smith.

Goode, in his first season at Xavier, is averaging 9.4 points in 27 games with eight starts. He averaged a team-best 16.3 points in the past 10 games.

Xavier is 20-7 and ranked 14th in NAIA Division I. The Gold Rush will play Belhaven (14-12) at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Convocation Center. Xavier will close the regular season with a 5 p.m. Saturday game at conference and city rival Dillard, then play host to the GCAC Tournament from March 6-9.

Obesity rates drop sharply for 2- to 5-year-olds: Study

— Obesity rates of children ages 2 to 5 years old have decreased significantly over the past decade, according to a new study published Tuesday.

While there were no significant changes in obesity rates for most ages between 2003-2004 and 2011-2012, researchers saw a sharp decrease in the obesity rates of 2- to 5-year-olds — from 13.9% to 8.4%, according to the study published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association.

A big part of a child’s obesity risk is already established by age 5, according to a study published in January.

The study findings were announced the same day as first lady Michelle Obama proposed new rules to limit the types of foods and beverages that can be advertised in schools and marked the fourth anniversary of her Let’s Move! initiative to combat child obesity.

Under the suggested federal regulations, companies would no longer be permitted to use logos of high-calorie products such as regular sodas on cups, vending machines or posters.

The move is part of the first lady’s ongoing efforts to combat childhood obesity in America.

According to the new JAMA study, close to 17% of children aged 2 to 19 were obese in 2011-2012. That number has remained fairly constant since 2003-2004, dropping just 0.2%.

More than a third of adults over 20 were obese that same year, a number that held steady over the study’s time period. The prevalence is often higher in women and in Hispanic and non-Hispanic black populations.

Four years ago this month, Obama announced that she was taking on childhood obesity with a new initiative called Let’s Move! The comprehensive program was part parental education, part government reform — with a bit of celebrity encouragement thrown in.

“About one-third of our children are overweight or obese. None of us want that for our country,” Obama said at the time. “It’s time to get moving.”

Let’s Move! had several objectives under its broader ambition of “solving the challenge of childhood obesity within a generation.” Obama wanted to increase physical activity and improve nutrition in schools, overhaul nutrition labels to make healthy choices easier for families, decrease the number of calories in restaurant meals and eliminate food deserts — areas without access to fresh, healthy foods — in cities across America.

In December 2010, President Barack Obama signed the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act into law, which was designed to encourage better eating habits in schools by giving the federal government more authority to set standard for food sold on school grounds. The $4.5 billion act provided more money to subsidize free meals and help administrators offset the higher costs of including more fruits and vegetables in school lunches.

Then in June 2011, the USDA dismantled the traditional food pyramid and replaced it with a new icon called MyPlate. The plate emphasizes fruits and vegetables, telling Americans to fill half of every plate they eat with produce. Another quarter of the plate should be lean protein; the last quarter should be whole grains. A small portion of dairy — perhaps a glass of low-fat milk — can be added on the side.

The first lady also tackled nutrition and physical education in childcare facilities around the country. Let’s Move! offers guidelines for childcare providers: one to two hours of physical activity a day; limited screen time; more fruits and vegetables at meals served family-style when possible; no fried foods and no sugary drinks.

“Food manufacturers have pledged to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the products they sell. Local grocers and national chains such as Walgreens and SuperValu are building new supermarkets and expanding existing stores to sell fresh food in 1,500 underserved communities,” Obama wrote in an op-ed for CNN in 2012.

“Restaurants are transforming their kids’ menus, packing them with healthier options. Mayors are planting gardens and refurbishing parks. Congregations are sponsoring summer nutrition programs for kids and exercise ministries for families.”

Even Disney and the Department of Defense are jumping on board.

In January 2012, the USDA issued its new rules for school meals, which are being phased in over a three-year period. Cafeterias must offer fruits and vegetables at every meal, reduce sodium and some types of fat and keep to calorie minimums and maximums. The government agency followed up six months later with new rules for snack foods. The regulations set limits for fat, salt and sugar sold in school vending machines and snack bars.

The USDA has faced opposition over the new rules — from student athletes who say they’re not getting enough calories to administrators who say kids just aren’t buying the healthier options.

Which raises the question: With all these new guidelines and regulations, are kids really getting any healthier?

It’s a difficult question to answer, as the most comprehensive data collections about obesity are still a few years behind. But there have been signs of progress.

Steven Hanus, a elementary physical education teacher in the Chicago suburbs, says he’s noticed a change in his students — and their parents — over the past five years.

Overall, the kids are in better shape, he says. Parents are asking Hanus more questions as well, about how to keep their kids moving at home. And he’s received strong support from administrators in his quest to find new ways to interest students in fitness. Recently, his first-graders were given pedometers for the first time.

“From our top level down, the initiative to keep kids moving and active has definitely been a big part of the district,” Hanus says. “It’s made us all a little more aware of how active we are.”

Another study published in August 2013 that analyzed data from preschool children in low-income families showed a small but significant decline in the group’s obesity rates between 2008 and 2011.

“It’s a bright spot for our nation’s young kids, but the fight is very far from over,” CDC Director Dr. Tom Frieden said at the time.

Obama agrees.

“While childhood obesity rates are beginning to fall, we still have a long way to go before we solve this problem once and for all,” the first lady said Tuesday. “We can’t slow down and we can’t turn back now.”

Let’s Move! recommends children engage in physical activity for a total of 60 minutes every day, and adults should move for 30 minutes daily.

Show the White House how you move on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Vine using the hashtag #LetsMove.

CNN’s Kevin Liptak, Madison Park and William Hudson contributed to this story.


™ & © 2014 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

Survivor 1661 Summer Camp at HSMC

Kids can find out whether they have what it took to thrive in the New World during Survivor 1661, a mini-camp to be offered by Historic St. Mary’s City this summer. The camp will take place Tuesday, July 15 through Friday, July 18, 2014 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Rising third through fifth grade campers will build a fence, sew a haversack, cook a meal, explore the kitchen garden, and roll out the barrel for summer fun at the Godiah Spray Tobacco Plantation. The registration fee is $120 per child or $100 for Friends members. Visit the museum website,, to view more information about the camp and print a registration form.

Historic St. Mary’s City is a museum of colorful living history and exciting archaeology on the site of Maryland’s first capital in beautiful, tidewater Southern Maryland. For more information about this program or the museum contact the Visitor Center at 240-895-4990, 800-SMC-1634, or

Peace groups sponsor writing contest for Md. middle school students

— The contest, which is sponsored by Anne Arundel Peace Action, the Maryland Peace Action Education Fund, the Benjamin Peace Foundation and the Peace and Justice Center of Annapolis Friends Meeting, is open to all 7th and 8th grade students enrolled in public or private schools in Maryland and to home-schooled students corresponding to the same grade levels. This is the eighteenth consecutive year the contest has been conducted.

Four cash prizes will be awarded: $350 for first place, $250 for second place, $150 for third place, and $100 for fourth place. The winners will be honored at a special ceremony, although attendance is not required to receive an award.

To enter, students must submit an entry of up to 1,200 words on this topic:

“You learn that a friend at school has received repeated cruel and intimidating text messages from other classmates. Some of these communications have even suggested that your friend deserves to be hurt in some way. Your friend also has been contacted in this manner by text messages and email and through social media such as Facebook, MySpace, Tumblr and Formspring. You realize that these actions are not a joke and need to be stopped. You decide to work with other students to develop a strategy for ending the cyber bullying. Explain what you will do.”

Entries must be accompanied by a separate cover sheet including the student’s name, address and phone number or e-mail address; school’s name, address and phone number; and the name of the teacher sponsor if applicable.

Entries and accompanying materials must be postmarked no later than April 30, 2014 and mailed to Fred B. Benjamin Peace Writing Contest, 310 Riverview Avenue, Annapolis, MD 21403-3328.

For more information, call 410-263-7409 or e-mail

Long overdue, 24 vets get Medal of Honor denied due to discrimination

— They braved bullets and bombs, risking their lives for their country.

Now — having been passed over in some cases for decades due to their ethnicity or skin color — the U.S. government is giving them their just reward.

President Barack Obama announced Friday that 24 Army veterans would receive the Medal of Honor — the nation’s highest military award, bestowed on U.S. troops who show “gallantry above and beyond the call of duty ” — for their combat actions in Vietnam, Korea and during World War II.

Many of their fellow soldiers received this medal long ago, for doing similar things in similar places at similar times. But not these 24 men.

In 2002, Congress — as part of the Defense Authorization Act — set up a review of Jewish and Hispanic veterans who served in combat since the middle of the century “to ensure those deserving the Medal Of Honor were not denied because of prejudice,” explained the White House. The congressional action was later amended to open the door for any serviceman or woman denied the award due to discrimination.

Twenty-one of the new Medal of Honor recipients — with last names including Garcia and Weinstein and Negron — aren’t alive to receive the award.

But three others, including Melvin Morris, will.

Morris was 19 when he volunteered to go to Vietnam. In 1969, the Army Green Beret got hit multiple times by bullets during combat. Bleeding, he “charged into a hail of fire” to rescue his dead and wounded comrades in what the Army characterizes as a show of “determination possessed by few men.”

His heroics were recognized in 1970 with the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross award.

Now 72, Morris — who is black — will wear his country’s highest military honor.

So, too, will Santiago J. Erevia, a native Texan. The radio-telephone operator was caring for wounded colleagues in 1969 in Vietnam when his position came under attack. According to the Military Times, “without hesitation Specialist Erevia crawled from one wounded man to another,” charged while armed toward the hostile fire, before eventually returning to take care of the injured troops he’d left behind.

The last surviving new Medal of Honor recipient is Jose Rodela, who like Morris and Erevia also won a Distinguished Service Cross. While commanding a mobile strike force in Vietnam, Rodela was “wounded in the back and head by rocket shrapnel while recovering a wounded comrade,” according to a military commendation, yet he still single-handedly “assaulted and knocked out (a) rocket position” before returning to lead his men.

One of those who will posthumously receive the award is Leonard Kravitz, an assistant machine gunner in the Korean War. He is the uncle and namesake of actor and rock musician Lenny Kravitz.

Retired Marine Col. Harvey Barnum, who is white, says he is eager to welcome all the new award recipients into the fold.

Barnum, who earned a Medal of Honor himself in 1967 for his service in Vietnam, said he “had heard rumors … that there were certain people that people thought should have received the medal.”

Now that they’re finally being justly recognized, Barnum said, “I’ll look forward to putting my arms around them, and calling them brother, and saying welcome home.”


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Delta Research and Educational Foundation names new CEO

— The board of directors of the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF) named Patricia Watkins Lattimore as its chief executive officer (CEO). During the past year, she served as interim director. As the CEO, she is responsible for the creation and implementation of strategic approaches to execution of the foundation’s programs and resource development initiatives and serving as liaison to the Board of Directors.

“Our new chief executive officer brings a wealth of executive leadership and management to our Foundation. She has the vision and expertise to direct our non-profit in achieving enhanced charitable and educational programming and greater fundraising goals,” said Dr. Alison J. Harmon DREF president. “Ms. Lattimore is extremely knowledgeable about our foundation and our parent organization, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Her unqualified commitment to improving the lives of African American women and their families represents the kind and caliber of leadership that upholds and advances the Foundation’s mission.”

Professionally, Lattimore has most recently served as a consultant with New Ventures, headed by Alexis Herman, 23rd Secretary of Labor. She has previously served as the Assistant Secretary of Labor for Administration and Management, Director of the Office of Personnel Management, and Director of the Office of Federal Investigations.

In her commitment to volunteer service, Lattimore is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. having served on its National Executive Board as chair of the National Personnel Committee and as co-chair of the National Social Action Commission. She is a member of the Sorority’s Washington, D.C. Alumnae Chapter. Other community service includes serving as a member of the executive board of the National Council of Negro Women. She is a native and resident of the District of Columbia, and exudes constant pride for daughter, Courtney and grandson Isaiah.

For more information, visit: