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Tuesday, January 27 - Monday, February 2, 2015

SC State's Nuclear Engineering Program Gains ABET-EAC Re-accreditation

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) has reaffirmed the state of South Carolina's only bachelor's degree program in nuclear engineering.  Offered at SC State University,   the nuclear engineering degree is also the only one awarded at any of the nation's Historically Black Universities. 

ABET "The successes that we have enjoyed with the nuclear engineering program at SC State are the direct result of an outstanding, award-winning faculty and staff who believe in SC State and who believe in SC State students," said Dr. Kenneth Lewis, dean of the College of Science, Mathematics, Engineering and Technology.

"Our accomplishments came only with sacrifice and hard work. The world now watches this program with amazement and awe, but we will soon see the same kind of things happening in computer science, industrial engineering and civil engineering," he continued.

First accredited in 2008 with under 20 students, the program currently has more than 50 students, attracting top scholars throughout the Palmetto state and from across the nation.

The nuclear engineering program at SC State University is on the forefront of meeting the demands for a coming nuclear workforce shortage, primarily due to aging workers in the field. Since its first graduate in 2008, SC State has produced nearly 50 graduates whose knowledge, skills and abilities will significantly contribute to the nuclear industry.

Many graduates, said Lewis, go directly into industry. Others pursue post-baccalaureate engineering degrees at top schools such as Michigan State University, University of Illinois, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Columbia University.

"South Carolina State University's ABET reaffirmation is extremely significant because this provides credence that our nuclear engineering degree program is one of quality, recognized internationally by the accrediting agency.  Secondly, it tells the world that our graduates can enter the nuclear engineering profession as skilled and competently qualified professionals.  ABET accreditation says to employers and to the public that SC State prepares its students and graduates with "best practices" in the engineering discipline with a comprehensive education that is second to none," said Dr. W. Franklin Evans, interim provost.

A celebration was held on Oct. 15 to celebrate the program's milestone achievement. SCANA Chief Nuclear Officer Jeff Archie and SC State University First Lady Dr. Moneida Elzey joined the celebration with current nuclear engineering students and alumni.

Professor Douglass Henderson, a Nuclear Engineering faculty member at the University of Wisconsin - Madison and recipient of a Presidential Award of Excellence from President Obama, was the guest speaker at the event.

"STATE of Reality" performs at TEDx

SC State University's Theatre  of the Oppressed (TO) troupe, "STATE of Reality," performed at the 2015 TEDxColumbiaSC Conference on Jan. 19 at the Harbison Theatre in Columbia, S.C.

TEDx Conference 2015 TO engages audiences in discovery, critical reflection and dialogue and the process of liberation. It is named after the revolutionary groundbreaking theatre method founded by Augusto Boal.

TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) is a global set of conferences run by the private non-profit Sapling Foundation, under the slogan "Ideas Worth Spreading."  TEDx are independent TED-like events.

Shannon Ivey, assistant professor of drama, has visited TEDx conferences on numerous occasions.  She was invited to take part in this year's conference.  She accepted the invitation; however, instead of performing solo, she decided to include her students.

At the conference, Ivey presented, Creative Problem Solving Using Forum Theatre. Her students shared an original piece of Forum Theatre, a form of TO that invites spectators to change the course of action. The audience was invited to improvise possible solutions to the problem that was presented.

"During our rehearsals, we identify real stories with real moments of oppression from the members of the group," stated Ivey.  "We then decide which story to work on, and identify the scene called an anti-model, the moment when the protagonist doesn't get what they want.  We put the piece together and rehearse different possibilities of casting until the story is told so as to activate the audience to intervene," Ivey continued.

Ivey and her students have been engaging in this theatrical process since October of last year.   In preparation for TEDx, they rehearsed twice a week, playing Boal's games and looking for the best scenarios to perform to the TEDx audience.  For the 2015 Conference piece, workplace bullying and micro-aggressions were performed. 

"I am extremely proud of my students," said Ivey. "They did an extraordinary job.  Their performance will be available on YouTube soon," notes Ivey.

Members of the “State of Reality” troupe are: James Jenkins, senior communications major; Amos Woodard, senior drama major; Sydney Shaw, sophomore drama major; Jennifer Pittman, senior fashion merchandising major; and Travis Walters, senior early childhood major.

For more information on SC State's drama department, contact Ivey at sivey1@scsu.edu. For more information on TEDx, visit www.tedxcolumbiasc.com.

MaryLouise James Isbell's, '62, life inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.

(reprinted from The Gazette)

When MaryLouise James Isbell, 75, ['62] of Forestville, [Md.] saw Martin Luther King Jr. speak at Claflin University in South Carolina, she wasn't just captivated by the civil rights leader — she said she was motivated to fight injustice wherever she found it, whether it be at a segregated lunch counter or an underserved school library.

"To this day I praise Martin Luther King Jr. and my father for making me always stand up for what I believe in," Isbell said.

MaryLouise James Isbell Isbell said she was a junior studying education at South Carolina State College, now South Carolina State University, in Orangeburg, S.C., when King visited nearby Claflin in February 1960. As he explained his philosophy of nonviolence, students from both schools crowded around King, who seemed to tower over them, she said.

"His voice was thunderous," Isbell said. "He just mesmerized you with how he spoke."

Students then planned to march from the college to downtown Orangeburg, where an S. H. Kress & Company five and dime store refused to let African Americans sit and eat the food they bought there, Isbell said.

Isbell said she wanted to be on the front line of the march because of the discrimination she witnessed in her hometown of Kingstree, S.C.

Ku Klux Klansmen came to her house and harassed her father for sending his children to college to the point that he considered it dangerous for she and her siblings to come home during breaks, she said.

With heels on, hair done, and arms locked, Isbell marched with 1,000 students on March 15, 1960, to the five and dime where students were stopped by police and blasted by fire hoses three times before they were arrested, Isbell said.

"It took a lot of courage to do what she did," said Sonja Montague, 66, Brandywine, a friend and former colleague. "Your parents are sending you to school and you're off fighting for what you believe in. She's not a violent person. She's very nonviolent. It took a lot."

The county jail did not have enough room for the students, so they were corralled in an outdoor stockade before they were released on bail, Isbell said. She said she and her classmates were treated "like celebrities" when they returned to school.

After graduation, Isbell moved back home and taught world history at a segregated school in Cades, S.C. Her school's library was not well-balanced, stocking random numbers of books, she said.

Isbell asked her principal for more copies, but he refused to help, suggesting that she be satisfied with what they had. Instead, Isbell went straight to the supervisor of county libraries and asked for the books available at the nearby white school.

"My dad's philosophy was always to speak up for what you believe in and when I met Martin Luther King it further instilled that belief and I got the books I needed for my library," Isbell said.

Isbell went on to work as a librarian at Gwynn Park Middle School in Brandywine and retired in 2003 after 26 years of service. She's actively involved in her community and church and serves as the president of the Friends of Oxon Hill Library.

Elizabeth Redd, 76, of Washington, D.C., worked with Isbell at Gwynn Park and said Isbell is still making sure students have access to books — she collects and donates old books every year, Redd said.

"You don't find a lot of good people but Mary's a good person," Redd said. "I would stand by her and go help her if she needed me to."

Isbell said sharing her story with young people who never got to meet Martin Luther King Jr. made her realize the importance of her encounter.

"When I was coming along it was more what he taught us to fight for than Martin Luther King Jr. but as I grow older, [it's] 'Mary, you actually saw the man. You actually saw this great man,'" Isbell said.

Orangeburg Massacre 2015

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