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Prairie View Alumni Produces Invention

Written by Prairie View A&M University, special to BlackAmericaWeb

It is always said that “Prairie View Produces Productive People.” That can be said for Kendall Thompson, a 2006 PVAMU alumnus that has produced an invention that’s gaining notoriety.

Thompson invented the Kenmark Sports Armband Water Bottle, an invention that allows users to hydrate with ease during a workout. The light weight armband is the very first of its kind. In addition to the water bottle, the armband also holds keys, IPod and credit cards.
Thompson, who currently works in management information systems, didn’t originally seek to become an inventor. Years ago, on the verge of being unemployed, Thompson begins to think outside the box and the idea for the Sports Armband Water Bottle was born. Thompson conducted research on what aids a person while running and what holds them back. That research led to the idea for the product. Since its launch, Thompson has been featured on Great Day Houston, in Popular Science Magazine, Outdoor Retailer Daily Magazine August 2012, Austin Lifestyle, Men's Book and Nvate Magazine.             

With a successful product on the market, Thompson offered advice to future PVAMU alumni about success. “I advise them to have a strategic plan. I mean as strategic as every 7 days,” he said, adding that he invested everything he had into the invention and created a goal. Thompson also advised new alumni to find a mentor in their field who can teach them the ins and outs.
Looking to the future, Thompson has a new line of products from Kenmark Sports being launched in January 2013. The Kenmark Sports Armband Bottle is sold in Sears and on Amazon.com and KenmarkSports.com.


Huston-Tillotson University Students Win Ford HBCU Community Challenge Competition

Written by Cherie.White

DEARBORN, Mich., Dec. 10, 2013 –Armed with four unique proposals and an infectious passion for building a sustainable community, student team finalists from Fayetteville State University, Howard University, Huston-Tillotson University and Tuskegee University descended on Ford World Headquarters last week to present their projects to a panel of judges, which included radio personality Tom Joyner, in the first Ford HBCU Community Challenge Competition.

After an intense afternoon of presentations, Huston-Tillotson University, located in Austin, Texas, was named winner of the Ford HBCU Community Challenge Competition. The student project, in partnership with Blackshear Elementary School, is focused on transforming a 33-square-foot dumpster into a fully functioning home complete with running water, toilet, shower, bed and solar-generated electricity. The project aims to promote living practices that encourage sustainability.

The Ford HBCU Community Challenge Competition is an extension of one of Ford Fund’s signature educational programs, The Ford College Community Challenge. The new program, with the theme “Building Sustainable Communities,” was conducted in partnership with the Tom Joyner and Rickey Smiley morning shows, and encouraged HBCU students to design projects that address pressing local community needs.

Students were encouraged to creatively address a tangible, unmet community need that touchedon at least one of these four areas– mobility, alternative energy, sustainability/water and a systematic approach to meeting community needs. Scholarships will be awarded to the Huston-Tillotson University team, and community grants will be awarded to nonprofits to support implementation of the winning project.

“Having the opportunity to both meet these students and listen to thempresent projects to help us strengthen our communities has been both refreshing and encouraging,” said Shawn Thompson, manager, Ford multicultural marketing. “In the end, this program has allowed us to make an impact in the students’ education, their schools and their communities.”

Each finalist team also received funds to support the implementation of its ideas within itscommunity, in addition to iPads for each student member.

“All of these students and their proposals were phenomenal,” said Pamela Alexander, director, community development, Ford Motor Company Fund. “The process of narrowing the submissions down to just four was tough, so you can imagine how difficult it was to pick the winner.”

“We look forward to seeing these projects blossom and impact communities,” Alexander added.

Click here to hear audio.


UA Professor Honored for Dedication to Anti-Racist Scholarship

Written by University of Alabama, special to BlackAmericaWeb.com

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Bobby Wilson, a professor in the department of geography at The University of Alabama, has been named the recipient of the 2012 Presidential Achievement Award, given by the Association of American Geographers, for his career-long dedication to anti-racist scholarship in geography.

AAG is the predominant national scholarly organization in geography.

In announcing the award, the AAG stated, “For four decades, Bobby Wilson has been devoted to empirically rich, politically engaged, and theoretically sophisticated scholarship ranging from issues of housing, urban revitalization, economic development, and social justice for black communities, to sophisticated theoretical appraisals of capitalist processes, social engineering, and neoliberalism.”

The AAG cited Wilson’s extensive work focused on the Civil Rights Movement: “Two major volumes, ‘America’s Johannesburg: Industrialization and Racial Transformation in Birmingham’ and ‘Race and Place in Birmingham: The Civil Rights and Neighborhood Movements’ illustrate his profound contribution to understanding the geography of Birmingham. As the titles convey, his work addresses both the large-scale processes of economic, political, social transformation, and the on-the-ground social movements that respond,” the AAG stated.

Wilson will receive the award at the AAG’s annual meeting in Los Angeles April 9-13.

Wilson is noted for his work in exploring issues of housing, urban revitalization, economic development, and social justice for black communities. During his doctoral studies at Clark University, Wilson coauthored his first article “Symposium: Black perspectives on Geography,” which chronicled the efforts of Donald Deskins Jr., an influential geographer at the University of Michigan, in bringing together African-American geographers whose understanding of the discipline and its priorities represented the first public statements of anti-racist geography.

In 2001 Wilson was honored by the Southeastern Division of the Association of American Geographers for research on the social geography of race in Birmingham. He has also been honored by the Jefferson County Historical Commission of Alabama for outstanding achievement in historic preservation.

The AAG also recognized Wilson’s contributions to anti-racist practices in geography in his development of anti-racist practices in his classroom as well as his efforts to help minority students in historically black institutions thrive in the field.

Over the years he has served on numerous committees and boards to address questions of racism and access within the institutional framework of the discipline of geography. He has served with the Birmingham Regional Health System Agency, Rosedale Community Development Corp. in Birmingham, Birmingham Board of Zoning Adjustment, Sloss Furnace Association and, was a founding president of the Fair Housing Center of Northern Alabama.

Wilson has been a faculty member in The University of Alabama System for more than 35 years, working in the department of geography at the University of Alabama at Birmingham before he joined the department of geography in UA’s College of Arts and Sciences in 2002. He served as interim chair of that department from 2009 to 2011.

The department of geography is part of UA’s College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships, Goldwater Scholarships and memberships on the USA Today Academic All American Team.

More information about the AAG can be found on the web at www.aag.org.


2nd Annual Diversity and Inclusiveness Colloquium

Written by Cal Poly State University, special to BlackAmericaWeb.com

This year’s colloquium focuses on diversity and inclusiveness. In planning, the university has consulted with the San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce’s Diversity Committee to involve the local business community in a discussion on how the university and the city can develop inviting climates for people of all backgrounds, including race, ethnicity, religion, gender, sexual orientation, class and ability.

Attendance is free and open to all.

See event details below:
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Harman Hall in the Performing Arts Center at Cal Poly
5:30 PM to 7:15 PM
7:15 PM to 8:15 PM

Click here for more information about the event.


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