Teaching

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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A Potentially Novel Way to Deliver Medicine to Defective Cells

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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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Finance Professor to Host “Money Matters” Financial Planning Event

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While many college students are likely somewhat aware of the importance of financial planning in their adult lives, they likely don’t realize it should start even before their college graduation.
Danny Harvey, a finance professor and financial planning program director at the university, is aiming to change those attitudes. Harvey will be hosting “Money Matters,” a seminar highlighting the various key aspects of financial planning on Thursday, Nov. 8 in the MSC Ballroom. The event will include a panel discussion for students at 4:30 p.m., followed by a dinner for professionals, faculty and some students at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend.
At the Money Matters event, attendees can hear about the opportunities that exist in financial planning and financial services, as well as how the financial planning program in PVAMU’s College of Business can train and prepare students for a successful career no matter their major. According to Harvey, the goal of the event is for stakeholders (students, faculty, administration, the community, financial institutions, entrepreneurs) to learn about the university’s financial planning program and the financial education outreach that PVAMU offers, as well as to put individuals in a room together to network to match the value they bring to need that another has.
“Even if you don’t think the career path is for you, you need to understand who can help you grow your money,” Harvey said. “It’s great when you work because you want to, not because you have to. That can only happen if you grow and protect your money. If you plan to make money after leaving PVAMU. you should attend.”
PVAMU is one of several historically black colleges and universities that are beginning to highlight the importance of financial planning, both as an important aspect of anyone’s lifestyle, and as a field of study at the university, as it currently offers it as a minor. Harvey and PVAMU are working to make this a sought-after and accessible career choice for students of color in an effort to increase diversity in the field as it continues to grow nationally, as, according to a recent article published by financial-planning.com, a majority of financial advisors are male, white and over the age of 50, with less than 3.5 percent of certified financial planners being black or Latino. Meanwhile, their prospective clients seeking advice are more likely to be younger in age and non-white.  Additionally, only 31 percent of financial planning students are minorities, according to a 2018 TD Ameritrade study that surveyed program directors at schools that offer this field of study.
Harvey chose to market PVAMU’s program as a minor in an effort to reach students from various academic backgrounds rather than zeroing in on business students.
“A major doesn’t say what your career is. If you had a minor with that, whether you’re studying education, social work, you can set yourself to be a great planner,” he told financialplanning.com.
Harvey advises any students interested in having a lasting impact, having a flexible schedule, being their own boss, helping people, and making a great income to attend the event, regardless of his or her major.
“You are in school to improve your life, finances will play a big part in that improvement,” Harvey said. “This event/program will help you both put money in your pocket and help you manage the money in your pocket.”
For more information about the “Money Matters” event and to inquire about attending, please contact Harvey directly at [email protected]
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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Pottorf Inspires Students to be World Changers, One Design at a Time!

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When Assistant Professor of Architecture Shelly Pottorf left ‘Corporate America’ five years ago to begin her teaching career at Prairie View A&M University, she sought out to make a difference.
“Before I came to PVAMU, I was an architect who was solely in professional practice for 15 years,” said Pottorf. “I was working in a public-interest-design format through my private practice when I realized that I could be much more effective in that work by teaching the next generation the knowledge and skills they will need to carry it forward.”
Pottorf’s specialty is net-zero designs, or buildings or structures that have a zero balance of energy consumption.
“PVAMU began participating in the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Race to Zero Student Design Competition four years ago,” said Pottorf. “Our students call themselves The Mod Squad. With guidance from myself and my colleagues April Ward and Shannon Bryant, they design affordable, net-zero housing for low-income communities. Just within the past few months, they won the Grand Award in the DOE’s Race to Zero Competition, the City of Houston’s Complete the Community Housing Design Competition, which benefits Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner’s Complete Communities, and the Texas Society of Architects’ Studio Design Award.”
Pottorf says service-learning, or learning that ultimately benefits others and the community, is the focus.
“My ultimate goal is to be a change agent and to make sure our students know they are change agents as well,” said Pottorf. “We are leaving an extraordinarily difficult situation to the next generation, both sociologically and ecologically speaking. It is only right that we equip our students with the knowledge and skills needed to meet those challenges. Once they realize the impact they can have on their world and start to embrace that impact, it is an inspiring and powerful moment.”
By Marchita Shilo
 
 
 
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