Atlanta University Center Consortium

AUC Fulbright Students Become Global Citizens

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They have celebrated the turning of the tassel, moving from undergraduate to graduate and ready to begin the next phase of life. For five Atlanta University Center graduates that means beginning their global Fulbright fellowships.

For high-achieving Rami Blair, Tyra Beaman, Sarah Brokenborough, Lindsey Burgess, Jumaanah Harris, and Willie Thompson international awareness and cross-cultural exposure are next-level passages to becoming tomorrow’s future leaders. All will spend their after-graduation year in another part of the world teaching and researching for life and work in a global community.

Blair

Blair, Morehouse’s 2016 salutatorian majored in French and will be in Trinidad and Tobago at the University of the West Indies researching representations of manhood in Caribbean literature. Upon completing his Fulbright opportunity, he will attend Northwestern University.

“Fulbright is an excellent opportunity for students like me who are interested in pursuing research that will feed into doctoral programs and post-graduate studies,” said Blair in a Morehouse news story by Add Seymour. “I’m excited about the opportunity.”

Beaman (right)

Beaman, a Spelman international studies graduate, is also a Charles B. Rangel International Affairs fellow. She will travel to the Dominican Republic in the Fulbright English Teaching Assistant Program to supplement local English language instruction. After her Fulbright assignment, Beaman will begin her Rangel fellowship at a U.S. Embassy.

Upon completion of her international fellowships, she will work on a master’s degree at the Edmund A. Walsh School of Foreign Service at Georgetown. Beaman plans on becoming a U.S. diplomat.

Brokenborough (left)

A comparative women’s studies graduate from Spelman, Brokenborough has traveled the world. She has traveled to Fortaleza, Brazil, Johannesburg, and Berlin between 2014 and 2015. Also a Fulbright ETA, Brokenborough will travel to Laos.

“I’m incredibly proud and honored to be one of the 12 ETAs traveling to Laos, and for me the Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship is further support and encouragement for me to continue my plans of being an educator,” said Brokenbrough who plans on teaching English with the Peace Corps after the Fulbright, followed by entering a doctorate program for cultural anthropology.

Burgess on BET.com

Burgess, a history graduate from Spelman, is traveling to Morocco for her Fulbright ETA. Interested in 20th-century Black transnationalism, African decolonization, globalization and foreign policy, the wordsmith who writes her own blog, Noire Cosmopolite, has been featured in the Washington Post, Fusion.com and BET.com discussing her presidential campaign work and voter apathy with Black millennials.

Burgess is deferring attending Columbia Journalism School for her Fulbright assignment. Her long-term goals are to complete a doctorate in African history and become a historical author.

Harris

“Receiving the Fulbright award for an ETA in Malaysia means I have earned the opportunity to continue a legacy of fulfilling appreciating life’s possibilities by sharing in the experiences of others around the world,” said Spelman English graduate Jumaanah Harris, who grew up admiring a father who traveled the world for philanthropic work and a grandmother who owned a school in the Bronx, New York, and traveled to different countries with her students.

Upon completing her Fulbright duties, she plans on attending veterinary school and becoming a veterinarian who provides care for animals around the world.

Thornton

Thompson graduated from Morehouse with a degree in economics. Making history as one of three 2016 valedictorians, he will travel to Taiwan as an ETA Fulbright. “I definitely feel blessed,” said Thompson in a Morehouse news story. “Taiwan plays an integral part in the history of China and I wanted to see and experience that.” Thompson will work for a social impact consulting group before attending Harvard Business School.

Honoring Our Best and Brightest

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Georgia Tech offered the most acceptances of third-year AUC students.

Call it an evening of stars. More than 200 students, parents, corporate sponsors, and program institutions were on hand at the 39th Annual AUC Consortium Dual Degree Engineering Program Networking Event and Awards Ceremony, Saturday, April 16, at the Georgia Railroad Freight Depot. Held to recognize outstanding dual-degree engineering students from Clark Atlanta UniversityMorehouse College and Spelman College.

The awards banquet offers a great opportunity to showcase all the involved participants – students, partnering and member institutions, as well as the corporations who sponsor and hire Atlanta University Center students. AUC schools are a major feeder for minority students who enter engineering schools. AUC students have the benefit of receiving two degrees – one from the home institution and one from the engineering institution – in approximately five years.

Students received the following awards:

AUCC DDEP Alumni of the Year

Marcus-Tor Strickland

  • Marcus-Tor Strickland, Morehouse College/Missouri S&T University

As a liaison between DDEP alumni and AUCC, Strickland has taken a lead role in revamping participation between the organizations. He is a person about town with roles as director of Development at Prevention Partners Inc., troop leader with Boy Scouts – Atlanta Area Council Troop 100, B.E.S.T. Academy, and business development engineer at Murata Electronics. He has intensely pursued his passions to support healthy lifestyles, develop young African-American men, and development a financially stable community.

Asia Kindley and Natasja Baldwin

Work Study Student Recognition

  • Michala Mercer, Senior, Spelman College
  • Asia Kindley, Sophomore, Spelman College
  • Natasja Baldwin, Freshman, DDEP, Spelman College

These students assist AUCC in moving projects forward with their tireless support. Without these students, much of the work of this office could not be possible.

ExxonMobil Achievement Award Recipients

  • Perry Francois-Edwards, Third-Year, Morehouse College
  • K’yal Bannister, Third-Year, Spelman College

Dinushka Herath

ExxonMobil Most Outstanding Third-Year Chemical Engineering Student

  • Dinushka Herath, Clark Atlanta University

ExxonMobil Most Outstanding Third-Year Mechanical Engineering Student

  • Christian Griffith, Morehouse College

Most Outstanding AUCC Dual Degree Engineering Students of the Year

This highest honor goes to students who have been extraordinary examples while matriculating and remaining an active participant in the program.

  • Patrick Brobbey, Morehouse College

    Patrick Brobbey

After completing his degree in 2013 in applied physics from Morehouse, Brobbey attended Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis where he will be graduating in May with a degree in electrical engineering. While a student, he worked as a General Motors intern and IUPUI ambassador. Upon graduation, he has accepted career-position with the company.

  • Joshua Mann, Morehouse College

Graduating from the University of Michigan in May, Mann completed his degree in mathematics from Morehouse in 2015. After graduation, he will begin working on his master’s degree.

AUCC Outstanding Achievement Awards

Steven Ragland

This award is presented to students who have displayed outstanding achievement.

  • Kofi Bonner, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Caleb Davis, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  • Darrell Fambro, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Nia Fears, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Malik Franklin, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Melvin Hill, Fourth Year, Morehouse College/Auburn University
  • Ronald Hobson, Fifth Year, Morehouse College/University of Michigan
  • Ronald McCullough Jr., Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  • Hamim Nigena, Fourth Year, Morehouse College/Georgia Institute of Technology
  • Cedric Porter, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Joshua Pulliam, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Steven Ragland, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Francis Rozier, Second Year, Morehouse College
  • Amadi White, Fourth Year, Spelman College/North Carolina A&T
  • Michael Worthen, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University

Leading By Example Awards

Gabriel Anayanwu

This award is presented to students who know what it means to lead by example.

  • Gabriel Anyanwu, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  • K’yal Bannister, Third Year, Spelman College
  • Jeffery Butler, Freshman, Morehouse College
  • Lucius Campbell, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  • Travis Clark, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  • Zacorian Collins, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  • Kayla Dean, Third Year, Spelman College
  • Kamlynne Fontan, Freshman, Spelman College
  • Christian Griffith, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Lamar Lee Jr., Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Austin Little, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • JaMon Patterson, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Tyler White, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University

Excellence Awards

This award if for those who exemplify excellence during the academic year.

India Banks

Mykala Jones

  • Jeremy Robinson

    India Banks, Third Year, Spelman College

  • Latonya Beverly, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Saleigh Derico, Sophomore, Spelman College
  • Perry Francois-Edwards, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Bakari Greene, Third Year, Morehouse
  • Nathan Hines, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Sylvester Jackson, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Mykala Jones, Fourth Year, Clark Atlanta University
  • Allen Lee, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  • Alexander Meyer, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  • Nacarri Murphy, Fourth Year, Spelman College
  • Steven Ragland, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Indigo Rockmore, Sophomore, Spelman College
  • Jeremy Robinson, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Lelyn Scurlark, Third Year, Morehouse College
  • Umaru Waizoba, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  • Courtney Wallace, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University

Engineering Success Awards

Christopher Jackson

This award is for students who have gone above and beyond in their engineering discipline.

  • Christopher Jackson, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Nia Jones, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  • Tori Orr, Fourth Year, Spelman College
  • Wayne Stevens, Third Year, Morehouse College

Shining Star Awards

Frank Adams

Ogechi Irondi

Kayla Newsome

 

  1. Frank Adams, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  2. Natasja Baldwin, Freshman, Spelman College
  3. Latonya Beverly, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  4. Jonah Bishop, Fourth Year, Morehouse College/University of Michigan
  5. Deandre Borders, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  6. Vincent Chester, Third Year, Morehouse College
  7. Obey-Justice Chiquta, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  8. Malik Farmer, Freshman, Morehouse College
  9. Nyles Fleming, Freshman, Morehouse College
  10. Precious Gibson, Fourth Year, Spelman College
  11. Trent Gilliam, Freshman, Morehouse College
  12. Keyoncé Glenn, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  13. Ashlee Gordon, Sophomore, Spelman College
  14. Kanis Grady, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  15. Dinushka Herath, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  16. David Holden, Freshman, Morehouse College
  17. Jordan Howie, Third Year, Morehouse College
  18. Ogechi Irondi, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  19. Aisha Jackson, Fourth Year, Spelman College/Georgia Institute of Technology
  20. Jefty Jerome, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  21. Mykala Jones, Fourth Year, Clark Atlanta University
  22. Enlylh King, Freshman, Spelman College
  23. Kennedy Kishumbu, Freshman, Morehouse College
  24. Ashley Lofton, Third Year, Spelman College
  25. Khensu-Ra Love El, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  26. Antonio Mallard, Sophomore, Clark Atlanta University
  27. Josuel Musambaghani, Sophomore, Morehouse College
  28. Kayla Newsome, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  29. Sarai Neloms, Third Year, Spelman College
  30. Nicholas Porter, Freshman, Morehouse College
  31. Damon-Elliott Redding, Freshman, Morehouse College
  32. Rashaad Robinson, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University
  33. Malik Schkoor, Freshman, Morehouse College
  34. Bob Turay, Fourth Year, Morehouse College
  35. Donovan White, Freshman, Morehouse College
  36. Maxwell Williams, Freshman, Clark Atlanta University
  37. Lauren Winston, Sophomore, Spelman College
  38. Rakiya Winton, Third Year, Clark Atlanta University

Christian Griffith Finesses Academics and Athletics

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This family photo includes Christian’s father Dr. M. Christopher Griffith, Christian, mother Jeana Griffith and sister Jewelian Griffith.

Jeana Griffith went to the stage eight times to stand in for her son Christian. A third-year student at Morehouse, Christian was playing in a SIAC baseball game against Paine College. At the 39th Annual AUC Consortium Dual Degree Engineering Program Networking Event & Awards Ceremony, where there were more than 200 students, family, friends and corporate guests, Mrs. Griffith represented one of the afternoon’s most outstanding students.

“I felt very proud and blessed to receive the awards for my son, [and] it highlighted for me all of the hard work he has done,” said Mrs. Griffith, who wished Christian could have been there to receive the awards himself.  “I also admired his commitment to his team. He sacrificed receiving praise and awards to support his team.  His decision to support his team over individual accolades makes me even more proud of my son and the man that he has become.”

More than 88 awards were presented in seven categories. Held to recognize outstanding dual-degree engineering students from Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College, more than $200,000 were awarded to the 225 students enrolled in DDEP from the three institutions.

Not only did the 3.95 GPA mechanical engineering major receive academic awards through DDEP, he also received the James E. Haines Sr. Most Scholarly Athlete Award at the Morehouse athletics banquet for having the highest GPA of all the athletics at Morehouse.

Pictured with head baseball coach Robert Mitchell, Christian received the James E. Haines Sr. Most Scholarly Athlete Award at Morehouse.

“Working to be at my best both academically and physically has become a way of life for me. My parents have taught me to never give up and be humble, and that with hard work anything can be achieved,” said Christian, who received both an academic and baseball scholarship to attend Morehouse. “Playing sports has helped teach me time management. I love to win and getting A’s is winning.”

Through AUCC DDEP, member institutions and the engineering institutional partners afford students the benefit of receiving two degrees in approximately five years. Students at the member institutions will attend their institutions for three years. Upon completing the three years, the student will graduate and move on to an engineering institution for an additional two years. After the five-year program, the student graduates holding a Bachelor of Science degree awarded by an AUC Consortium institution, and a Bachelor of Science degree in a specific engineering discipline from the affiliated engineering institution.

Partnering engineering institutions include Auburn University, Clarkson University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Missouri University of Science & Technology, North Carolina A&T State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame. Of the 11 schools, Christian applied to six – Michigan, Georgia Tech, Rochester, Rensselaer, N.C. A&T and Clarkston.

“I applied to six schools and was accepted to all of them receiving scholarships,” said Christian, who attended Our Lady of Mercy Catholic High School where he played baseball. “I chose Rochester because the engineering school is in the top 100, and I feel I won’t be treated like a number and that I will get to know my teachers and get help from them.”

Located nearly 1,000 miles away from Morehouse, Christian is excited about more than just Rochester being one of the best engineering schools in the country.

“They have an excellent Formula 1 race team. I also am able to play my last year of college baseball there,” he said “and I have a great chance of starting.”

After Rochester, Christian plans on designing sports cars, ultimately becoming the head engineer for a race team.

See all the 39th Annual AUCC DDEP Networking Event & Awards Ceremony recipients.

CAU MOTY participants receive UNCF/Coke scholarships

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Three Cokes, please. -– The United Negro College Fund has awarded three $5,000 UNCF/Coke scholarships to CAU’s Man of the Year participants. MOTY is an annual scholarship showcase and competition that promotes male enrollment, retention, leadership and academics. Pictured are: LeJohn Tate Jr. (center), Man of the Year, a junior criminal justice major from Los Angeles; Dantorie Reeves (left), 1st attendant, a junior mass media arts major from San Jose, Calif.; and Donald Fleming Jr. (right), 2nd attendant, a junior biology major from Macon, Ga.

ARC Program Helps Area Businesses Move to ‘Next-Level’ Status

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Atlanta claims 127,214 of the 1.9 million black-owned businesses according to the U.S. Census Bureau Survey of Business Owners, reporting some $2.5 billion in receipts. However, most of these businesses are sole proprietors and most are self-funded, says Cindy Yang, a small business analyst with NerdWallet. With the exception of H.J. Russell & Co., most West Atlanta black-owned businesses fall into the sole proprietorship or less-than-four employees category. In an effort to increase business growth within the 30310 and 30314 areas, CommUniversity, a program of the Atlanta University Center Consortium, and the University Community Development Corp., are helping area businesses reach “next-level” potential through its inaugural Small Business Assessment, Resources and Consultation workshops.

Divided into three programmatic phases – assessment, resources and consultation – six businesses identified by business and community representatives from the MLK Jr.-Ashby Merchants Association and the West End Merchants Coalition were selected by AUCC to receive seven weeks of training development, technical assistance, and mentorship from industry experts in the three areas.

“So many of the businesses in our community are very small-run operations, and they do relatively well for the most part,” said Anthony Otey, CommUniversity program coordinator. “But, they want to step up their operation to the next level. These businesses want to boost not only their revenue but also their visibility, capital development, and clientele, and we want to help them achieve these goals.”

From Feb. 8 to March 21, 2016, with a grant from REGIONS Bank, the Small Business ARC program aimed to set the small businesses on a new trajectory of success. Sessions included business plan development, best practices and strategies to increase revenue and customer retention, credit correction and capital acquisition, marketing and measured growth. The participating businesses completing the sessions included BAOBab Custom Design/Tree Enterprises, Dora’s Custom Reupholstery, Dynamic Designs, iwi fresh Garden Day Spa, Shrine of the Black Madonna Cultural Center and Bookstore, and Your Edenic Welcome.

The Rev. Milton “Ahdwele” Fann, chair and administrator of the Atlanta Shrine of the Black Madonna, explains his business concept.

“This was a very useful program that helped bring awareness of what it takes to analyze a business,” said the Rev. Milton“Ahdwele” Fann, chair and administrator of the Atlanta Shrine of the Black Madonna. “As small black businesses, we think we know what is important to our businesses; however, this helped me know where we should focus our efforts and direct our energies.”

While several of the sessions were of great use to Fann, it was the financial session led by Roy Johnson, a senior consultant with Bankers-Insight Group, that was most beneficial to his organization. Fann, along with his fellow business owners, wants to continue to expand his business footprint in the West End community. Although the workshop sessions are completed, the six businesses will now begin their assessment and consultation services with area business experts.

For more information on the Small Business Assessment, Resources and Consultation (ARC), contact Anthony Otey at 404-523-5148, ext. 1525.

 

AUC WOODRUFF LIBRARY WINS NATIONAL AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE

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Robert W Woodruff Library, Atlanta University Center, Location: Atlanta GA, Architect: Shepley Bulfinch Richardson & Abbott

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library has been selected as a recipient of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category. Sponsored by the Association of College and Research Libraries and YBP Library Services, the award recognizes the staff of a college, university and community college library for programs that deliver exemplary services and resources to further the educational mission of the institutions they serve. 

Morehouse College Senior is 2016 International Rhodes Scholar

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Morehouse College student Prince Abudu has been selected to the 2016 International Rhodes scholar class representing his home country of Zimbabwe. The Rhodes scholarship supports students who demonstrate a strong propensity to emerge as future leaders.

Abudu is the fourth Morehouse student to be selected for the prestigious scholarship to attend the University of Oxford in England. Morehouse is the only historically Black college represented in the 2016 Rhodes scholar class and one of only two Georgia Colleges in this year’s prestigious class. The Rhodes scholarship provides for two or three years of study at Oxford.  Abudu, whose email signature Destinato Alla Gloria, “Destined for Greatness,” best girds his determination to excel.  The Morehouse leader plans to pursue a master’s degree in computer science and an MBA at Oxford.

“I’m blessed and excited. This would not have been possible without the support of my family in Zimbabwe and the new family I have been favored with at Morehouse College. This is an opportunity that I have dreamed of all my life,” said Abudu, who grew up on a rural farm in his homeland.

“My studies at Morehouse prepared me for this next endeavor and I am thrilled to begin this new era of achieving academic excellence. This is the Morehouse culture, and I am extraordinarily proud to represent my college,” he added.

Abudu is a highly motivated student leader and an honor student in the college’s Department of Computer Science. The senior, computer science major serves as the operations leader for Emergination Africa, an intercontinental youth-driven mentorship program he co-founded in 2012 to provide resources and guidance to African students transitioning to college.

His leadership was recognized when he was selected to participate in an Oprah Fellows Program roundtable discussion with former African presidents from Kenya, Namibia, and Mauritius on issues pertaining to democracy and sustainable peace.

In summer of 2014, Abudu interned with Cummins Inc., where he developed a call support tree for technology-related issues for the plant’s IT department and warehouse users.

Abudu is a Resolution Project Fellow and a member of the Morehouse Model United Nations, the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and the Kutama College Web Design Club. He is also a semifinalist for the Anzisha Prize Opportunity.

“We are so very pleased that Prince Abudu has been named our fourth Rhodes Scholar! It means a great deal to him and to Morehouse College!  Prince’s educational journey has been amazing, as he emerged from a set of exceedingly challenging circumstances in Zimbabwe,”said Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson ’79.

“He arrived at Morehouse with no small degree of raw intelligence, grit, and a clear and compelling determination to succeed. He has developed into the ‘iconic’ man of Morehouse who is academically, socially, and spiritually equipped to lead and do consequential things in the world.  We are very proud of him, and we are confident that he will thrive at Oxford,” Wilson said.

Previous Morehouse Rhodes Scholars include Nima Warfield, named in 1994, Christopher Elders, 2001, and Oluwabusayo “Tope’” Folarin, 2004.

Reprinted from Morehouse College NewsCenter.

Nzinga Tull

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Nzinga Tull was born to be an engineer. After all, engineering is the family business. Tull’s father, Knox W. Tull Jr., a civil and structural engineer, co-founded Seabrook, Maryland-based, Jackson and Tull, a full-service technology company that provides services in aerospace, manufacturing, national security, robotics, civil engineering, and information systems. A 1997 dual degree engineering program graduate of Spelman College and Georgia Institute of Technology, Tull could only see benefits in making a five-year commitment to have degrees from two of the best institutions in the nation.

“I enrolled in DDEP because I wanted to attend Spelman College but also wanted to get an engineering degree, and I had no problem with the five-year commitment. It made sense given the curriculum and the fact that I would be finishing with two degrees at the end of the five years,” said the aerospace systems engineer and education advocate. “DDEP is important because it allows students to have the best of both worlds: a well-rounded and top-notch undergraduate education with the rich cultural grounding and unparalleled network of AUC institutions as well as access to a top engineering school education and resources.”

Created to increase the number of minorities entering engineering and technology, the program was first established in 1969 when Morehouse College entered a dual-degree relationship with Georgia Tech. The following year in 1970, Clark College, Morris Brown College, and Spelman College entered the agreement entered the Atlanta University Center-Georgia Tech Dual Degree Program in Engineering. Currently, the program is comprised of AUC Consortium institutions, Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College.

Today, approximately 1,500 engineering students have graduated through AUC DDEP’s 3+2 curriculum (three years matriculation at an Atlanta University Center institution and two years at a partnering engineering institution). The partnership has expanded from Georgia Tech to now include Auburn University, Clarkson University, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, Missouri University of Science and Technology, North Carolina A&T State University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Alabama in Huntsville, University of Florida, University of Michigan, and University of Notre Dame.

Annually, for years, the top-producing baccalaureate engineering degrees for African-Americans have come from two AUCC feeder institutions – North Carolina A&T State University and Georgia Tech.

“The significance of this program is validated every year by feedback from our corporate sponsors and engineering school partners who state the value of our program,” said Denise Holmes, director of DDEP and Career Planning and Placement Service for AUCC. “The holistic student development that takes place at the Consortium schools uniquely prepares our students for the global marketplace in a way that is unparalleled at majority institutions.”

The ebb and flow of dual degree majors in the AUCC program reflects an overall trend in the industry, with numbers for African-Americans really taking a dive from 2005 to 2011, according to an “Engineering by the Numbers” report done by the American Society for Engineering Education. The exception was Hispanics whose numbers have steadily increased over the years.

Mayor Reed Announces Atlanta’s West Side Received $30 Million Grant for Improvements

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ATLANTA –  The historic west side, including the Atlanta University Center, is a great source of pride for most ATL urban sophisticates, particularly those who lived and/or were the beneficiary of great education there. This is what makes this latest federal grant very apropos and important.

Mayor Kasim Reed and Secretary Julián Castro announced today that the City of Atlanta has been selected to receive $30 million through the 2014-2015 U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Choice Neighborhoods Implementation Grant. Mayor Reed and Secretary Castro made the announcement at a press event at The Oasis at Scholar’s Landing, a senior residence in the Atlanta University Center neighborhood.

With the $30 million award, the City of Atlanta and the Atlanta Housing Authority will work with private and public sector partners to revitalize portions of west Atlanta, including Vine City, Ashview Heights and the Atlanta University Center neighborhood.

“Our historic Westside neighborhoods produced leaders and institutions which helped change the course of America’s history,” said Mayor Reed. “Winning the Choice Neighborhoods grant provides us with the resources needed to bring about unprecedented change. We leaned on each other and worked together to secure this grant, and we will lean on each other as we transform and renew these communities.”

Revitalization efforts will address local challenges identified during the Choice grant planning process. The City of Atlanta received a $250,000 grant to support this planning process in 2010.

“The Choice Neighborhoods Initiative is responsible for transforming what were once vacant lots, crumbling parks and storefronts and distressed housing into vibrant communities,” said Secretary Castro. “It has become one of our nation’s most important tools in the fight to ensure that every family – no matter where they live – has the resources and strong foundation to succeed.”

The City of Atlanta, through the Department of Planning and Community Development, and the Atlanta Housing Authority jointly applied for the Choice Neighborhood grant.

“With receipt of this grant, the Atlanta Housing Authority, the City of Atlanta and our many partners will immediately begin implementation of the neighborhood transformation,” said Joy Fitzgerald, executive director of the Atlanta Housing Authority. “The transformation, which was developed with extensive community engagement, will include the continued redevelopment of the former University Homes site, development of affordable housing in the neighborhood, strategies to remove blight and stabilize the community, and services to enable families and children to reach their full potential.”

Daniel Halpern, board chair of the Atlanta Housing Authority, added, “I’d like to congratulate the staffs at the Atlanta Housing Authority, the City of Atlanta, Invest Atlanta and our private-sector partners who worked so hard to make this a reality. Their teamwork and diligence shows what can happen when we come together to help those most in need.”

Invest Atlanta, the United Way of Greater Atlanta, and MBS-Integral, LLC will play key roles in the implementation of the Choice Neighborhood grant. The groups also participated in the planning process.

During his Administration, Mayor Kasim Reed has worked to bring new public and private resources to support economic and civic development in the Westside communities. The City of Atlanta has pledged $20 million in new infrastructure, parks and green space, and Mayor Reed has announced his intention to make the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive corridor one of the most attractive streets in the country.

As part of the coordinated effort to revitalize the Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive corridor and surrounding neighborhoods of the new Atlanta stadium, Mayor Reed partnered with Atlanta business leaders to establish the Westside Future Fund. The Fund will serve as a catalyst for philanthropic and corporate support to accelerate improvements in the health, education and welfare of current residents, address equity and social justice issues associated with new residential and commercial development, and attract new investment, new jobs and new residents.

The Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation has committed $15 million in private funds to invest in projects that ignite positive change and improve the quality of life in the English Avenue, Vine City, Castleberry Hill and other contiguous neighborhoods. Invest Atlanta, the city’s economic development agency, has committed an additional $15 million in tax allocation district dollars for economic development projects that would leverage private sector and philanthropic investment in the English Avenue, Vine City and Castleberry Hill communities.

Invest Atlanta partnered with the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation to open Westside Works, a long-term initiative focused on creating employment opportunities and fostering job success through skill building for residents of the Westside communities.

Photo: Kristian Weatherspoon via marketplace.org

Story reprinted from the Atlanta Daily World.

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