Daily Archive: April 25, 2013



Wood to head National Society of Black Engineers

SOSSENA WOOD The University of Pittsburgh Swanson School of Engineering chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers was well-represented at the national organization’s 39th annual convention in Indianapolis, March 27-31. Leading off the recognition was the election of doctoral candidate Sossena Wood to National Chairperson of the organization. Wood, a native of Laurel, Md., who earned her bachelor of science in electrical engineering from Pitt in 2010, is currently a graduate student researcher and PhD candidate in bioengineering. She previously served as Region 2 Chair from May 2011 to April 2012, and National Vice Chair from June 2012 to present. She will serve a one-year term as National Chairperson and will work with the national Executive Director Carl B. Mack, PhD, to coordinate NSBE operations. Wood is the sixth woman to serve as National Chairperson since NSBE’s founding in 1975.“I am extremely honored to have been selected by my peers to help to lead this incredible organization,” Wood said. “Pitt has held a strong relationship with NSBE and I am excited that both the University and our City will be representing one of the most dedicated engineering societies in the U.S. As Chairperson, I plan to help the organization give back to our communities and assist in making the new role models of our communities’ individuals with careers in STEM. Athletes are great role models, but STEM majors are the ones that save our lives every day.”In addition to Wood’s election, Ashley McCray, a Pitt sophomore with a major in chemical engineering, was elected as Region II Programs Chair, which includes Pittsburgh. McCray, who is from Matteson, Ill., also received a NSBE General Mills Scholarship at the conference. Other recognition included the “Retention Chapter of the Year” Award for Pitt’s NSBE Chapter, as well as a NSBE Board of Corporate Affiliates Scholarship for engineering first-year student Casey Tompkins-Rhoades. Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD and Associate Dean of Diversity and Alaine Allen, M.Ed., Director of Pitt EXCEL and INVESTING NOW, attended the first all-African American Deans forum held at the conference. Both contributed to the discussion with other deans and minority engineering program directors to solve the issues of retention of Blacks in engineering nationally. The Engineering Office of Diversity could potentially be a strategic partner on the national level for NSBE’s $11 million proposal for a 5 year Retention Program submitted to Exxon Mobil. Through this proposal NSBE will attempt to be the premier organization to graduate Blacks in engineering and technology on at all levels of education.“For several years, Pitt’s NSBE chapter has excelled to be very visible at the regional and national levels. They are exemplary representatives of Pitt and the Swanson School, as well as of NSBE itself,” noted Sylvanus N. Wosu, PhD, associate dean for diversity at the Swanson School. “I especially want to thank the administration, faculty and staff at the Swanson School for helping our students to achieve this national recognition.”



Coleman makes dreams come true

READY FOR BUSINESS—Rae Coleman owner of Enhanced Creativity (center) and staff Eric Toal and Draone Council await the attendees of the My Fair Lady Edition Brunch. “You dream it, we deliver,” is the motto of Enhanced Creativity, an event planning company owned and operated by Rae Coleman. Since 2010 she has focused on ethnic event planning and wedding services specializing in African-American, Yoruba, Jewish, Indian, Trinidad, traditional and same-sex matrimony ceremonies. A full service event planning business, Enhanced Creativity offers guidance and support in every stage of any event they are hired to organize. “Our intent is to create each event to be a perfect memory that will make clients smiles last forever,” said Coleman.Cautious that every religion has its own wedding customs, Coleman says she and her staff are abreast of traditions. As an example she pointed out that for African-American weddings they are able to incorporate libation, jumping the broom, tying the knot, tasting the four elements and Kola Nuts. More than just a wedding planner, Coleman classifies her business as, specializing in community, cultural, educational and unique events. She creates floral designs and produces customized gifts of all kinds. Still reflecting on her last affair, Coleman says her desires are to help people, to expose her audience to uniqueness and to educate. Earlier in April she sponsored the My Fair Lady Health and Awareness Edition Brunch at the Pittsburgh Athletic Association. Benefiting the Lupus Foundation of Pennsylvania, the afternoon consisted of speakers talking about the importance of taking time out for self, the benefits of massage therapy, the environmental responsibilities of using natural skincare products, wellness and general information on Lupus. There also were a variety of exhibitors and brunch.



Should I borrow from my 401k?

Comedian Earthquake said, “Being in debt is worse than being broke. When you’re broke, you simply need money. When you’re in debt, you need money so that you can have an opportunity to be broke.” Comedian Jimmy “JJ” Walker said, “Interest rates better go down soon or the murder rate is going to go up.” Americans are drowning in debt! In the past when people found themselves in a financial jam, they’d tap into the equity of their home to do a debt consolidation. If the situation was extremely dire, they’d file bankruptcy. Now that mortgage lenders and the bankruptcy code have tightened up their guidelines, millions of people are running out of viable options that would allow them to reduce their monthly payments and get a better handle on their money.



B-PEP Jazz, 2013

WELCOME—Ellen Estomin, Reggie Roberts and Lois Cain   Easter Monday has become Jazz Monday. On April 1, at the Oakland Wyndham, the Black Political Empowerment…