National Society Of Black Engineers Honor African Americans In STEM Arena

It has been several years since then-President Barack Obama made improving Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), an education priority. In the ensuing period since Obama’s stated agenda, experts have said America would need to add one million more STEM professionals by 2022 to meet the nation’s evolving workforce needs.

There has also been an extensive call of action for African Americans to enter STEM fields and, arguably, no organization has done more than the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), a nonprofit organization based whose mission is to increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.

“The NSBE has helped introduce many youth to STEM through its NSBE Jr. program, Summer Engineering Experience for Kids (SEEK) camp and it has helped many college student through their collegiate experiences by providing avenues for study groups, mentoring, personal and professional development, and leadership opportunities,” said NSBE Baltimore Metropolitan Area Chapter President William Redmond. “For professionals, it has provided an avenue to give back to help positively impact the community through volunteering, mentoring, and serving as role models for both pre-college and collegiate students.”

The Baltimore Chapter of NSBE was started in March 1989 as one of the first 10 NSBE Alumni chapters in the country. In June, the Metropolitan Area Chapter (NSBE-BMAC) announced its Legacy Achievement Award Honorees at a ceremony in the Reginald F. Lewis Museum in Baltimore. The honorees are: Dr. James West, who has authored numerous journal and conference proceedings papers and holds over 250 patents; Earnestine Baker, executive director-Emerita of the Meyerhoff Scholarship Program at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; and Dr. Eugene M. DeLoatch, who served as the inaugural dean of the Clarence M. Mitchell, Jr., School of Engineering at Morgan State University.

Baltimore (Md.) LINKS-NSBE Jr. Chapter at Bluford-Drew-Jemison STEM Academy pictured with Robert Haynes and Deidra Walls.

Baltimore (Md.) LINKS-NSBE Jr. Chapter at Bluford-Drew-Jemison STEM Academy pictured with Robert Haynes and Deidra Walls.

“The purpose of the event was to celebrate the chapter’s 30th Anniversary by providing special recognition through Pre-Collegiate and Collegiate Chapter Excellence Awards, the William Thomas Batten Jr. Leadership Award, and Legacy Achievement Awards,” Redmond said.

The president noted that the one bit of information that could easily be missed about the NSBE is that it provides a bevy of great resources.

“One of the best ways to get the most of the NSBE experience is being actively involved either as a leader in the organization whether its local, regional or national,” Redmond said. “The earlier that people get involved the better. I have been actively involved because it is my responsibility to give back and pay it forward to help bring along the next generation of engineers.

“In the process of doing so, some of my best personal experiences and career advancements can be directly attributed to my various leadership roles in NSBE.”

To learn more about the NSBE or for details on becoming a leader at NSBE, visit: www.nsbe.org.

Memories Don’t Die

Last night, I sat at my mother’s house with my siblings and my longest friend and reminisced. We laughed and talked through everything we experienced through our childhood from our favorite teachers in high school to the memories we created growing up in our household. I found that through the good and the bad having the ability to recall and reflect brought the most joy. Memories are so important because of the emotions and nostalgia they bring.

Today, on the train I closed my eyes while listening to “Just Fine” by Mary J. Blige and was overwhelmed with happiness. I closed my eyes and automatically thought about my dad because this was his jam. When I think about him I remember his love for music, his scent, his eccentric style. I love that although all memories of him weren’t the greatest the good outweighs the bad.

When you lose someone the only thing you have left are the memories and not having the ability to create new ones leaves you to hold on tight to the ones that you do have. After someone passes, most families come together sift through old photos and laugh and reflect on all of the good times spent with that individual and the mark they made on your life. Go through life thinking about how your actions will impact others. What will they say about you when you’re no longer here? It’s important not to create wasteful memories and leave a positive imprint on the lives of others.

Dwell on all of the good none of the bad but remember it all. Sometimes when you end a long-term relationship or friendship all you can think about is the hurt or the pain you experienced, but joy comes when you’re able to look back on a situation and reflect on the good times, lessons learned, and enjoy all the great memories you had. While it’s important to never forget the negative to avoid undergoing the same kind of hurt in the future, I’m always cognizant about the decision I make to dwell in the positive. Remember the memories that allowed you to experience love and happiness as those memories are the most important.

Going through life I often think about how necessary it is to create great memories with the ones you love. I often think about the photo album I’ll be able to pop out and show my kids and grandkids of the memories built with the love of my life. When I grow old and reflect on milestones I want to be able to say I shared those moments with the people that mean the most to me. Experience life and spend your time with those who are important and bring you the most joy.

Our past, present, and future are all linked through memories. This is how traditions are passed down and future decisions are made. We often hold on to the past because it means something to us. Always make the decision to create amazing memories for they never die.

Positively Caviar, Inc. is a nonprofit organization focused on a message of positivity and optimism. Once a month, our Nucleus Team writes a column focused on mental and physical health tips, scientific studies, nutrition facts and stories that are positive in nature to support a purposeful and positive lifestyle. To learn more about our organization, the nucleus team or how you join our positive movement, visit: staybasedandpositive.com

How To Combine Learning And Fun

Summer break provides a chance for kids to cut loose and enjoy the freedom of a less structured schedule. However, as parents and teachers know well, months away from academic pursuits can make for a rocky start to a new school year come fall.

During the time when students lose some of the achievement gains they made during the school year, known as the “summer slide,” parents can help kids avoid this learning recession and stay engaged with these tips and ideas from the experts at KinderCare.

Read and learn as a family. Research from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education shows that spending time reading and writing as a family and encouraging kids to read on their own has a bigger impact on preventing summer slide than any other activity. Find books, poems or even museum display cards that correlate to places you see or visit during the summer. Take turns reading a chapter book with an older child or start a new series to read together.

Don’t forget math. Over the summer, math skills often fall by the wayside, according to Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education. Experts recommend getting creative to prevent math learning loss. For instance, ask children to help add prices in the grocery store or assist in measuring and counting while cooking together in the kitchen. Math can also be part of outdoor play. Children of all ages can count objects they find outside, like the number of trees in the neighborhood or the number of rocks collected on a nature walk. If it’s too hot to go outside, count and sort items like blocks or toys by shape, size and color indoors.

Get up, get out and get moving. One of the healthiest uses of summer time is free and available to all: nature. According to research by North Carolina State University’s Natural Learning Initiative, kids who spend more time playing outside are better creative problem solvers and have improved focus and cognitive skills. Outdoor play can be adventurous, like hiking, or it can be simple, like a backyard scavenger hunt for certain leaves, flowers or bugs.

Resist the urge to let screens do the work. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that parents balance the need for media literacy with reasonable limits on screen time. For children over the age of 2, one hour of screen time is enough. For children under 18 months, screen time should be discouraged. Between 18-24 months, high-quality educational media is appropriate when supervised by parents.

Encourage social and emotional development. Researchers from the University of Chicago and Northwestern University have found that students lose around 7% of their progress in social interpersonal skills for each month they are out of school, likely caused by children spending less time around their peers. Scheduling play dates or enrolling children in summer programs can help offset the backslide by helping children build friendships, increase self-confidence and model independence.

Learn more about how you can prevent summer slide through fun, educational summer activities and programs in your area at KinderCare.com.

Giant’s National Barbecue Festival Kicks Off Summer

Giant’s annual National Capital Barbecue Battle came to a close last weekend. Tens of thousands of people came out to the nation’s capital for the competition and to enjoy two days of warm weather, delicious barbecue, live shows and a variety of vendors. There was plenty of grilled food, drinks and free samples to go around, as well as free activities and exhibitions for the community to enjoy.

Festival-goers flocked to meet Washington Redskins cheerleaders, compete in the Nathan’s hotdog eating contest, and to take pictures in front of the Planters Nutmobile, among an array of other unique attractions.

The Planter's Nutmobile

Jourdan Taylor

The Planter’s Nutmobile

Rows of vendor tents with cold drinks, small bites and other products to sample outlined the perimeter of the festival grounds. Healthcare screenings, charging stations and “chill zones” were available for the public to enjoy. Famous Daves, RXBar, Popsicle and Sabra among others presented us with tasty samples to refuel in the midst of summer heat under the marquee of The Giant Sampling tent. Although there was fun available for the whole family, adults were able to expand their palates at the Corks to Caps Wine and Microbrew Tasting Tent.

The smell of brisket, ribs and smoked turkey legs wafted through the air as dozens of diverse live bands and cooking exhibitions highlighted the lively and convivial energy of the festival throughout the weekend. Stars, including Tuffy Stone and Myron Mixon from Destination America’s TV show “BBQ Pit Masters” also made an appearance. Barbecue Master Mixon met with fans wanting to know the secret to a perfect brisket, and presented signed versions of his new cookbook.

The celebrity chefs competed side by side with pitmasters from all over the country, for several titles such as America’s Best Barbecue, Perdue Sizzlin’ Chicken Contest and the Jim Campbell Spirit of BBQ award. Dozens of pitmasters spent the weekend grilling as crowds of hungry people eagerly lined up to judge. Uncle Pig’s Barbecue Pit and Champion Wolf’s Revenge BBQ took home the grand prize as Grand Champion and Reserve Champion respectively. Members of the armed forces also competed head to head in the Military Chef Cookoff for attendees to sample and decide which branch of military grills the tastiest barbecue.

In addition to featuring superb food and live entertainment, The Giant Barbecue Battle annually raises funds for local charity causes, this year benefiting the Capital Area Food Bank and USO-Metro. If you were unable to take part in this year’s event, no need to worry. Next year’s festival is set to take place on June 27th 2020.

Ernest Gaines Book Award Raises Cash Prize To $15,000

— The underwriter of the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence has raised the cash prize to $15,000 from $10,000 and the deadline for submitting books remains August 15, 2019. The Baton Rouge Area Foundation increased its support for its award that recognizes emerging African-American fiction writers, helping to sustain and encourage these writers.

“We want the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence to be known as the pre-eminent award in the field of African American literary fiction. We hope that the added funding will help each year’s winner to gain further freedom to pursue his or her art,” explained John Davies, President and CEO of the Baton Rouge Area Foundation.

The forthcoming Gaines Award, to be presented in January 2020, accepts submissions of outstanding fiction— novels or short-story collections— published in 2019. Galleys for publications are also accepted. Details about the award and submission criteria can be found at ernestjgainesaward.org.

The Gaines Award was created to honor outstanding literary work from African-American authors as well as recognize Louisiana native Ernest Gaines’ extraordinary contribution to the literary world.

The Gaines Award winner is chosen annually by a national panel of literary leaders. The award celebration will be held Thursday January 30, 2020 at the Manship Theatre in downtown Baton Rouge.

The book prize has uncovered promising writers early in their careers, including two previous winners who have won the Whiting Award and another who was subsequently chosen as a MacArthur Fellow.

Ernest Gaines is a native of Pointe Coupee Parish near Baton Rouge. His critically acclaimed novel, “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman,” was adapted into a 1974 made-for-TV movie that received nine Emmy awards.

ArtsCentric Kicks Off Capital Campaign For New Home

For nearly two decades, ArtsCentric has provided dynamic productions of some of Broadways most celebrated and memorable musicals and plays.

Dreamgirls, Chicago, Smokey Joe’s Café and Aida, count among the award-winning productions that have taken place in Baltimore because of the commitment of ArtsCentric, which was founded in 2013 by a group of Morgan State University students and alumni.

Since 2012, ArtsCentric has called the small Motor House Theater at 120 W. North Avenue in Baltimore it’s home. Now, as the productions continue to dazzle, ArtsCentric is looking for a new home.

The organization has announced the kickoff of its Capital Campaign, titled, “When I think of Home,” seeking to raise $250,000 to support their move into their own theater.

Plans include transitioning the 16-year-old color-conscious performance arts organization into a new location at 2600 N. Howard Street in the heart of the Remington community.

The move also will provide production, office, and other equipment and technology, and assist in increasing community visibility and outreach that will increase the sustainability of the organization, according to an ArtsCentric news release on Tuesday, July 2, 2019.

The move comes with the support of the Greater Remington Improvement Association, according to the news release, which also notes that in October, ArtsCentric will take residence in the space adjacent to Young Audiences of Maryland/Arts for Learning.

“We believe that with key improvements, this will be the perfect space for us to realize our vision, grow our community impact, and expand our performances and programming over the next many years,” said Cedric D. Lyles, director of Operations for ArtsCentric.

In 2011, Seawall Development transformed the popular Tire Shop property at 2600 N. Howard Street (a designated local landmark on the National Register of Historic Places), into a performance venue and restaurant.

As part of a 2019 strategic reorganization plan, ArtsCentric sought out more permanent space to call home. In addition to mainstage productions, with the opening of an adjacent restaurant, Lyles and others envisions a Cultural Arts Center that will become a gathering spot for events and conversations that support the arts, tackle persistent issues in local communities, and create opportunities to engage with live music and showcase local artists.

“A permanent home will give us the stability necessary to best serve the community, strive toward our mission, and expand opportunities for new programming”, said Kevin McAllister, Artistic Director for ArtsCentric.

The Capital Campaign is structured so that the community can contribute with recognition opportunities.

“The generosity of our community continues to amaze us,” said McAllister, who noted that ArtsCentric relies on the kindness of individual donors, grants, corporate partners, and foundations.

The campaign will culminate at an annual fundraising Gala on October 20, 2019 and with a later staging of The Wiz – which influenced the Capital Campaign’s title, to celebrate the popular musical’s 40th anniversary.

For more information about the Capital Campaign, ArtsCentric performances or to make a donation, visit: www.artscentric.org.

What’s Open And What’s Closed On The Fourth Of July

— So it’s the Fourth of July but, we still have things to do, errands to run, and so on. And if everything is closed, where does that leave us?

We’re here to answer the most important Fourth of July questions: What’s open, and what’s closed?

OPEN

Stores and restaurant chains are likely to be open on July 4, but it’s always good to call ahead

  • Target — Open regular hours
  • Walmart — Open regular hours
  • Kroger– Open regular hours
  • Trader Joe’s — All stores will be closing at 5, so don’t procrastinate
  • Movie theaters — We can’t think of a better way to ring in America’s birthday
  • Liquor stores — So, this depends. If you live in a state where liquor stores are government-owned, they might be closed (like in North Carolina). In other states, it might vary by owner, so maybe call ahead.
  • Zoos — So you might not think of the zoo as a holiday destination, but they do tend to be open.

CLOSED

Anything government-owned, like the post office, DMV, public libraries, etc, is most likely going to be closed.

Your bank is probably closed, but if you need cash the ATM is always an option.

Your favorite local spot — Varies by location! Call ahead! In general, local restaurants will probably be closed, but some morning-only spots (things like your favorite bagel or doughnut spot) might still be open during the day.

Museums — OK, some might be open, but some aren’t. It’s a real 50-50. If you’re dedicated, call ahead. If not, it’s safest to assume no.

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