- Created on 06 December 2012
Snellville native and Georgia Tech civil engineering graduate student Jacob Tzegaegbe has been chosen to receive the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. The award is bestowed annually to intellectually distinguished students from the United States pursuing post-secondary education in England.
Tzegaegbe is Georgia Tech's 10th Marshall Scholar and the only Tech student to receive the scholarship this year.
Tzegaegbe plans to use the scholarship to pursue his doctorate in civil engineering at University College London beginning next October. The scholarship will pay for all education-related expenses during his two years in London.
"The topic for my doctorate is undecided at this point but will likely focus on evaluating best practices in context-sensitive design for major transportation infrastructure projects in developing countries," he said. "My hope is to work with professors in the Bartlett School of Planning to learn more about how to plan infrastructure in developing countries."
Tzegaegbe earned a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 2011 and is currently a second-year graduate student in Civil and Environmental Engineering's Infrastructure Research Group. Born to a Nigerian father and Israeli mother, Tzegaegbe is the first in his family to attend college.
"My parents might be the only people more excited than I about the news," he said. "Both of my parents immigrated to America just before I was born, so their sacrifices and hard work have always been, and continue to be, a major motivation for me. I know that coming to Georgia Tech, and now pursuing my doctorate with this scholarship, would not have been possible without their support, encouragement and sacrifices."
Tzegaegbe is no stranger at Tech where his athletic abilities, community activism and intellectual prowess have earned him a reputation as a model student. Named Mr. Georgia Tech at the 2011 Homecoming Game, Tzegaegbe has won numerous awards for leadership, including the 2011 National Society for Black Engineers Distinguished Engineer of the Year, the 2011 Omicron Delta Kappa National Leader of the Year and the 2011 Alpha Phi Alpha Regional Leader of the Year. He has been named an Academic All-American Diver and was a two-year letterman on Tech's Division I Swimming and Diving Team.
Named in honor of the late U.S. Secretary of State George C. Marshall, the Marshall Scholarships were established by an Act of Parliament in 1953 to commemorate the humane ideals of the Marshall Plan. Tzegaegbe is one of 34 Marshall Scholars for 2013, and the only one from a Georgia college or university.
- Created on 05 December 2012
(CNN) -- High school is tough for any teenager, but for Albert Anderson, it was the subtle looks and unspoken words that made him realize he was different.
"High school is when people start with the judging," he said.
Anderson grew up in the projects of New York City's lower East Side, and commuted an hour each way to attend a prep school in the affluent upper west side of Manhattan. No one said anything offensive, but he missed out on experiences, and was never felt fully accepted.
"It's possibly the best high school education you can get," he said. "I'm grateful I could attend, but the social part goes with that."
He spoke about his experiences in "Allowed to Attend," a revealing documentary that tells the stories of five of Trinity's students of color who navigated the socioeconomic and racial planes at the elite private school.
It's a conversation being had at several prestigious prep schools, some for the first time. But Trinity took the rare step to address the sometimes loaded topic of inclusion by turning the spotlight on itself.
Nationally, 26.6% of the total students enrolled in independent schools in the 2011-2012 school were students of color, according to the National Association of Independent Schools. About 35% of students of color in private schools received financial aid - 41% of all aid recipients were students of color.
On paper, the efforts to diversify elite preparatory education appears to be making headway. But in practice, the journey has been filled with challenges, and a number of recent films explore the topic. "American Promise" looks at the experience of of two black male students and their parents over 12 years , and will air on PBS in 2013. Andre Robert Lee's film, "The Prep School Negro" explores his and and others students of color personal experiences at elite prep schools.
"My whole thing is to get kids to verbalize that internal dialogue and face that psychological homelessness," Lee said.
Lee often speaks at schools, and his experience was similar to those voiced in "Allowed to Attend." Trinity's communications director Kevin Ramsey shot, produced and directed the film after a screening and discussion of "The Prep School Negro."
"I made a commitment to each that I would listen to their stories without any agenda except one of honesty and respect," said Ramsey. "The documentary grew out of that."
The whole senior class was invited, and five students volunteered to share their story in the 74-minute film. It tells the stories of students of African-American and Asian descent, showing the lengths they go through to get to the doors of their elite school, sharing their thoughts and experiences along the way. The film will not be released publicly.
"It really wasn't made for the community at large," said John Allman, Trinity's Head of School. "We primarily saw it as a teaching tool, as a tool for dialogue within our community about how we can become an increasingly inclusive community."
Inclusive is not how the five featured students would describe the privileged world where they were granted access.
Albert Anderson says he was often aware of the great socio-economic divide between him and his classmates. He attended as part of the Prep for Prep program that selects promising African-American and Latino seventh-graders and places them in elite independent schools.
"The five of us did the film, because we cared enough about Trinity so that we wanted the next generation of Trinitarians to have a much more accepting environment," Anderson said.
Ayinde Alleyne was another student who came to Trinity via the Oliver Scholars Program.
"It's definitely a little jarring at first because there are some very blatant differences between you and the majority of your white peers," said Alleyne.
David Addams, Executive Director of the Oliver Scholars Program, says he attended a screening of the Trinity film and was blown away. He counsels students and helps prepare them for the culture shock that often accompanies moving from a poor school to an elite one. Many of those students experience "imposter syndrome," or the belief some students have that they are just in a privileged academic setting because they're filling a minority quota.
"It's very difficult and sad. That's why we do a lot of work to help them understand that they deserve this, that they've earned it and it's where they belong," Addams said. "I hope the school takes full advantage of the film because it will take them to a whole new level of dialogue."
- Created on 29 November 2012
With the holiday season upon us, most Georgians are thinking about celebrations with family and friends, holiday break and, of course, gifts. This holiday season, I am encouraging Georgia parents and grandparents to give the most important gift you can to your children — the gift of education.
In the early years of a child's life, this gift involves reading with your children, playing with them and encouraging a love of learning. As they go through school, Georgia's teachers will work hand-in-hand with you to build upon the foundation you have established to prepare your children for success.
The Georgia Department of Education is working to put all students on a pathway to college and careers, no matter what they choose to do after high school graduation. We are supporting teachers in their pursuit of continuous improvement of their craft and uniting business, community and state leaders behind a common goal of improving public education in Georgia. We want to make education work for all Georgians.
As we strive to prepare Georgia's children for college, the work force and life, I encourage families to also think about establishing a strong financial foundation for children to ensure their education can continue after high school graduation. We want every child in Georgia to have the opportunity to achieve their dreams, and in today's competitive, global job market, education is one of the most important tools we can give them.
It's been a busy year with many changes for Georgia's public schools, from the implementation of the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards to the continued roll out of the state's new teacher and leader evaluation system. We want to challenge our students and elevate our teaching methods to meet the demands of the 21st century economy. We want to not only test knowledge, but teach students how to apply it in real-world situations.
We are also working hard to get our new College and Career Ready Performance Index ready. The index will let teachers put their focus back on the child in the classroom instead of just worrying about the test – because there's so much more to accountability than a test score. We want to put the focus back on the children, which will ultimately lead to improved student achievement and more students pursuing their passions in life.
While the thought of saving for a college education can seem overwhelming, remember that you don't have to save the entire amount. The dream of a college education for your children is within reach — the key is to start early and save regularly. Saving small amounts over time can provide children with the financial foundation they need to supplement scholarships, grants, loans and other financial aid. Even if your child is in high school, any amount you save today will make a difference tomorrow. There are many gifts you can give to a child or loved one, but how many of them can help make that child's dreams come true?
When you open Georgia's Path2College 529 Plan® for someone or contribute to an existing Path2College 529 Plan account, you help build a foundation that can shape the dream of higher education and open the door to a world of opportunities. It only takes $25 to open or contribute to an account, and on www.Path2College529.com, gift givers can simply click on Give a Gift and start making a child's college dreams become reality. It doesn't have to be limited to the holidays: There are certificates for Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, birthdays, new babies and many more.
So this holiday season, as you fight the crowds in the stores to find that perfect gift, please remember that while the gift of an education is not something we can wrap up and put under the tree, it is one of the most valuable gifts we can give to the children in our lives. By working together to build strong intellectual and financial foundations, we can help students of all backgrounds and ability levels achieve their dreams.
- Created on 04 December 2012
The Mississippi River is a great blessing from God. Besides being the largest river in our nation, it is a major vehicle of commerce. It borders the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana. In addition, its tributaries reached out to a total of 31 states. A significant amount of ports handle the robust amount of shipping that occurs 24/7 on this magnificent consortium of water.
A few years ago, the Asian Carp invaded the Mississippi River through fishing farms that flooded into the river. There was movement from some groups to cut off the Illinois River from flowing from the Mississippi River into Lake Michigan to prevent further spread of the fish. We joined in the fight against this radical solution. Eventually they found ways to stop the spreading of this unwanted species without killing commerce throughout the Midwest and Great Lakes regions. There was just no way they were going to shut down any part of the Mississippi River. That's how important it is.
Now we have a different crisis. The area along the northern end of the river is facing a drought. It rivals the drought of 1989. It is threatening reduced commerce along the river. The reduced depth of the river is making shipping somewhat prohibitive. Companies in the navigation industry along these rivers are now shipping less material by "light loading" fleets which make each load less profitable. In addition to the low levels of water, rocks known as pinnacles are emerging through the shallow levels and risking serious damage to the vessels.
If the Mississippi River becomes closed to commerce, that will also affect shipping on the Ohio and Missouri rivers and make the Great Lakes a one way shipping vehicle. It would halt hundreds of millions of tons of essential goods and commodities such as corn, grain, coal, petroleum, chemicals and many other products important to the national economy. Cargo valued at more than $7 billion, including 300 million bushels of agricultural products and 3.8 million tons of coal could experience serious delays that will have a ripple effect and damage all of our local communities. Let's not overlook the likelihood of five barrels of domestically produced crude oil not being shipped and purchases of imported crude oil will increase by about $550 million as a result.
This situation is a job killer. Lost of jobs and skyrocketing of consumer prices will further hurt our weak economy. However, there is a simple solution to this state of misfortune. All the president has to do is to instruct the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to continue, in fact increase, the flow of waters coming from the Missouri River dams and reservoirs. Right now the Corps is scheduled to actually stop these flows of water by mid-December through the spring. They aren't scheduled to dredge and remove the rock pinnacles located between St. Louis and Cairo, Ill. until late spring. Shutting the water flows now and waiting to dredge and remove the pinnacles is a blueprint for disaster. The president can do this by simply declaring an emergency and implement the Stafford Act. If there ever was an emergency, this is it.
The protocol for having the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers manage the water system of the Mississippi River was created as a result of the Great Flood of 1927. Secretary of Commerce Herbert Hoover became immensely popular for successfully managing this task. It was the biggest reason he was elected president in 1928. However, he segregated the victims by race and broke many promises made to the Colored Advisory Commission. This caused much disappointment among African Americans who were predominantly members of the Republican Party. The emergence of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and his first lady, Eleanor, who reached out to African Americans changed the whole demographic. Blacks started moving over to the Democratic Party.
We need more of a public outcry on the river situation. Pleas for the president to react accordingly have come in writing by the governors of Illinois, Missouri and Iowa. Fifteen U.S. Senators have also written pleading for the president's action. Also, 62 members of the House of Representatives have written, including members of the Congressional Black Caucus (Elijah Cummings, Lacy Clay, Cedric Richmond, Bennie Thompson, Emanuel Cleaver, Terri Sewell, Danny Davis and Bobby Rush).
It is time for all of us to show big time concern. Call your senator, congressperson, governor and talk it up on your favorite radio talk show. Write to people as I am doing now. We don't need additional hits to our economic situation. The nation is fragile and good stewardship with rapid action is needed.
- Created on 29 November 2012
The holiday season may be one of the few times local families get together and realize their elderly loved ones are in deep trouble and need immediate help. Adult children who don't live nearby often come home to holiday heartbreak with deteriorating relatives they aren't prepared to handle.
That's why Senior Helpers, one of the largest in-home senior care companies with caregivers Atlanta, advises families with the "10 Holiday Warning Signs Seniors Need Help."
• Poor eating habits resulting in weight loss, no appetite, or missed meals.
• Neglected hygiene - wearing dirty clothes, body odor, neglected nails and teeth.
• Neglected home - it's not as clean or sanitary as you remember growing up.
• Inappropriate behavior - acting loud, quiet, paranoid, or making phone calls at all hours.
• Changed relationship patterns that friends or neighbors have noticed.
• Burns or injuries resulting from weakness, forgetfulness, or misuse of alcohol or medications.
• Decreased participation in activities such as attending the senior center, book club, or church.
• Scorched pots and pans showing forgetfulness for dinner cooking on the stove.
• Unopened mail, newspaper piles, missed appointments.
• Mishandled finances such as losing money, paying bills twice, or hiding money.
"When family members get together, it's great to finally recognize and see firsthand that their elderly loved ones may have a problem," says Peter Ross, CEO of Senior Helpers. "But conflict often surfaces when family members have to agree on a solution, especially when the senior has dementia or Alzheimer's and family members don't know how to handle it. That's why Senior Helpers offers a Holiday Family Meeting Guide to discuss the major sticking points. As part of that plan, we strongly encourage the family to hire a trained caregiver to get elderly loved ones the proper care."
To learn more about how to care for your senior loved one with dementia or Alzheimer's through the Senior Gems program, visit www.seniorhelpers.com.