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PVAMU Sports Hall Of Famer Gross Elected To SWAC Hall Of Fame

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Criminal Justice Students Take First Prize in Quizbowl Competition

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Four Prairie View A&M students who make up the University Criminal Justice Undergraduate Quiz Bowl Team took first prize as a team at the 2018 Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice (SWACJ) Annual Competition. Although PVAMU has been participating in the competition since its inception, this was only the second time its team has won in the last decade.
The Quizbowl competition is a series of two rounds ending with a Championship round. After each round, teams are eliminated until two remain for the championship round, during which they answer questions and get rewarded for correct answers. PVAMU’s team included students David Butler, Amber Thomas, Keandra Mays and Brittany Lacy won first place in the Southwestern Association of Criminal Justice (SWACJ) Annual Competition. Their practice mates from Prairie View were Joshua Estrada, Jasmine Williams and D’odrick Jefferson.
“This win shows how capable and well-rounded the students are, thanks to the teachings of the criminal justice staff,” Estrada, a junior, said. “ I look forward to next year’s compeition; it would be a great start to building a PVAMU legacy.”
The team’s accomplishment came with a trophy and a monetary award for Alpha Phi Sigma Criminal Justice Honor Society — Beta Epsilon Nu Chapter. SWACJ includes Texas, Colorado, Oklahoma, Arkansas, New Mexico and Arizona. While at the SWACJ conference, students D’odrick Jefferson and Jasmine Williams also participated in a roundtable on the response to mass shootings in schools, and students Amber Thomas, Keandra Mays and Brittany Lacy presented a comparative criminal justice paper.
“Our goal (for the Quizbowl competition) was to co-operate as a team and use our sharp and keen knowledge to be able to win,” said Camille Gibson, Ph.D., professor and interim dean of the College of Juvenile Justice and Psychology. “We were delighted to bring the trophy home to PVAMU this year, as the students have worked so hard. It’s good that they were able to see the fruits of their labor and make the department, their families, themselves and the university proud.”
By Emilia Benton
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Cryptocurrencies and Bitcoins Workshops are a Huge Success

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The College of Business at PVAMU successfully organized two continuing education workshops last month titled “Bitcoins, Cryptocurrencies and Block Chain Technology,” and “Fraud and Forensic Accounting Workshop.”
Dr. Hesam Shahriari, assistant professor of finance, led the currency and technology workshop on Saturday, Sept. 8. The event hosts were pleased to see a diverse group of participants in attendance, which included at least two faculty members, one EMBA student, as well as professional accountants and lawyers.
“The rise of the Bitcoin phenomenon has captured widespread public attention, globally.  Given the concept and the underlying technology are fairly complicated, we believe there is a market for educating professionals on these topics,” said Dr. Munir Quddus, dean of the College of Business at PVAMU, said. “This gave us the idea that offering two non-credit seminars, one for the beginners, and a second one for those more advanced would be well-received. It was good to see a diverse group of accountants, lawyers and entrepreneurs register and participate in these seminars.”

The forensic accounting workshop took place on Thursday, Sept. 13 and was led by Dr. Larry Crumbley, a visiting professor in the department of accounting, finance and MIS. The event aimed to provide a comprehensive coverage of forensic accounting, which is a growing area of practice in which the knowledge, skills and abilities of advanced accounting are combined with investigative expertise and applied to legal problems. The workshop was updated with new fraud schemes, numerous examples and stories, and many forensic techniques and tools. Certified public accountants, certified internal auditors, certified fraud examiners, forensic accountants, governmental accountants, attorneys, other accounting/auditing professionals and educators were all encouraged to attend.
Quddus noted that from PVAMU’s mission and accreditation perspective, these workshops are an excellent example of the programs the university can engage in to improve its impact, relevance and visibility in the business community.
“Implementing these workshops and other COB non-credit programs at the NWHC is key as we build-up our portfolio and reputation as a credible source of innovating offerings in Houston for businesses and those interested in lifelong learning,” he said.  
By Emilia Benton
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Rising Senior Honored as Gilman Scholarship Recipient

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Abdul-Aziz Muhammad, a rising senior computer engineering major from Houston, was recently named a recipient of the Gilman Scholarship, which serves as an opportunity for undergraduate students to intern and/or study abroad around the globe. Students applying for this scholarship must receive credit for their internship, and also receive a Federal Pell Grant.
Muhammad first learned about this opportunity after his brother told him that PVAMU offered scholarships for students to study abroad. He sought out the university’s study abroad office and met with Director of Study Abroad Lisa Fields, who helped him review the numerous study abroad programs that the university offers, as well as financial assistance options. Since many study abroad programs can end up being quite costly for students, Fields encouraged Muhammad to apply for the Gilman Scholarship. He had actually applied and been awarded the internship a year ago but was unable to use the funds because the deadline to pay for the program had already passed.
“I was extremely elated when I found out I’d been awarded the scholarship,” Muhammad said. “At that point, I knew that my dream of interning abroad was going to come into fruition and I couldn’t control my excitement at all. To have won a second time really made me feel so blessed.”
Muhammad spent eight weeks studying and interning in Chile, which was one of four international options for his major, along with Spain, England and South Korea.
“I initially wanted to choose Chile because I have a friend who lives there. She told me how beautiful her country is and about the wonderful places to visit there,” he said. “Additionally, since I am completing a Spanish minor at PVAMU, Chile was the best option for me. Many people say that if you can understand Chilean Spanish, then you will be able to understand Spanish from any country. I really want to improve my Spanish speaking skills, so I decided to take on that challenge and go to Chile.”
During his internship, Muhammad worked at the Institute of Data Science at Universidad del Desarrollo in Santiago.
“With the data from Telefónica, I helped locate different cell antennas in various hospitals and clinics throughout the city of Santiago using a software called QGIS. From Chile’s 2012 census, I was able to build a  database of the different types of families throughout Chile. After creating this database, I had to organize each household under their specific city, region, zone, and county using Jupyter Notebook.” he said.
Muhammad also noted that Chilean culture is very different from American culture, and he wishes to learn more of how Chileans operate in professional and home settings. He has never taken public transportation in his life and enjoyed that aspect of gaining more independence. He lived with a family, which gave him a chance to learn more about traditional Chilean dishes, words, and the Cueca, a traditional Chilean dance.
Through the university’s study abroad initiative, he was accepted to International Studies Abroad’s program, Muhammad was there a with a group of 17 students, with whom he partnered in tours around the city of Santiago. He also traveled to the cities of Valparaíso, Concón and Viña del Mar to see historic sights.
“My experiences abroad have helped me improve my interpersonal skills and professionalism. I was able to see the cultural differences between the United States and Chile and understand how each one contributes to their respective societies and to each other,” said Muhammad.   “This was possible because I was able to fully immerse myself in the culture and language. Therefore, I no longer recognize myself as just a citizen of the United States but also as a citizen of the globe.”
The Gilman Scholarship Program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is an undergraduate program for U.S. citizens of limited financial means to enable them to study abroad, thereby internationalizing their outlook and better preparing them to thrive in the global economy.
By Emilia Benton
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Biology Student’s Blood Stem Cells Donation Helped Save a Life

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A Prairie View A&M University senior is currently making it her mission to increase awareness of the need for bone marrow and blood stem cell donations at historically black colleges and universities such as PVAMU.
Lauren Ashley Ward, senior biology major, donated blood stem cells last April, which helped to save the life of a one-year-old boy. This inspired her to apply for an internship at Be the Match (which is recognized as the largest and most diverse marrow registry in the world) as well as become the founding president of PVAMU’s Be the Match On Campus chapter.
In her marketing internship position, Ward works as an ambassador for PVAMU to increase the number of people on the registry from the university. One driving factor for her work is the fact that there’s a significant disparity that exists on the bone marrow/blood stem cell registry. Currently, only 4 percent of the 19 million prospective donors on the Be The Match registry are African American. These low rates have resulted in African American patients with blood cancers and diseases in need of a donor having only a 23 percent chance of finding a match on the registry, compared to a 77 percent chance for white patients.
“As a historically black university, the school is a target area to increase the amount of African American people on the registry, as the number of them is significantly lower than any other ethnicity,” Ward said. “Starting a campaign at historically black colleges is where I come in and where I can advertise and reach this target population on a broad level. Although I only helped one person with my donation, I know that my work in increasing awareness of this need can ultimately help thousands of people.”
One main focus of Ward’s campaign is to clarify misconceptions about the blood stem cell and bone marrow donation process.
“Donating stem cells really isn’t much different from donating blood or plasma,” she said. “It takes a little longer, but these cells come out of your blood, so the procedure donors directly experience is very similar. Donating bone marrow, meanwhile, is a small procedure in which you are put to sleep and wake up within approximately an hour. Instead of having a needle placed in a vein like it is for a blood draw or donation, it’s put in your pelvic bone. This might sound painful, but it really doesn’t result in much more than a bit of soreness for a few days, since you’re not awake while it’s being done. You’ll be able to go back to work or school; you just might not be able to do any intense workouts during those few days of recovery.”
Finally, Ward ultimately wants to increase the number of people who follow through with their commitment to donating and possibly saving a life.
“I don’t want people to just register; I want the people who register to actually follow through and donate when they get a call asking them to do so, which is a pretty common hurdle for the organization,” she said. “I truly believe that increasing awareness will get people to understand why this cause is so important, and once they do, it will be no question for them to follow through on actually donating.”
For more information or to join the registry, visit Be The Match.
By Emilia Benton
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4-H Engages Youth in an Outreach STEM Program

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The two worlds of Agriculture and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, or STEM, had a group of 4-H students shooting for the stars in a recent Youth Lab.
The out-of-this-world lesson was part of the National 4-H Science mission mandate, which is designed to address the following: unsolved worldwide social problems, a shortage of scientists and people understanding science in the United States, underrepresentation of women and minorities in science careers, a need for a more diverse pool of trained scientists to frame and solve problems and educate others. The general population in the U.S. (and worldwide) lacks a basic understanding of scientific methods and content (“science literacy”) (4-H Science Logic Model, 2010).
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