La Salle University Economics and Finance Major Matthew Accardi Interning with the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

 

La Salle University senior Matthew Accardi is interning this semester with the Federal Reserve Bank (FRB) of Philadelphia.

An economics and finance double major, Accardi is working with the FRB’s Business Outlook Survey. “It surveys regional manufacturing firms and asks basic economic questions. This survey is widely read and moves markets when it is released. I get to work in every step of the survey’s development and processing,” said Accardi, who is from Stone Harbor, N.J., and a graduate of Wildwood Catholic High School.

Accardi began La Salle undecided on a major, but, after taking introductory courses on economics he decided to concentrate in the field.

“I enjoy the intuitive approach necessary in studying and succeeding in the field of economics,” Accardi said. “Economics is constantly evolving and new, exciting opportunities seem to be constantly arising.”

Mike E. Trebing, senior economic analyst at FRB, said Accardi is, “very organized.  A good listener.  He takes good notes and utilizes them to remember tasks performed up to six months ago. This is very important in developing effective research skills and in the learning process.”

“He also said he had very little, if any, programming experience, but picked up on that as well,” Trebing added. “Most importantly, I think he took the sage advice of Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser, who, during the welcoming of our interns, said  that they should add value and make good recommendations to improve the way we do things.”

According to the FRB, more than 3,500 students applied for 35 intern spots this semester.

Recently, Accardi was inducted into La Salle’s Alpha Epsilon Honor Society, which recognized high scholarship and community service. He volunteers at Cristo Rey High School in Philadelphia and at the Crest Haven Nursing and Rehabilitation Center inCape May Courthouse, N.J.

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth-best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally, the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 of which are institutions of higher education) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

La Salle University Presents Signum Fidei Medal to Fred’s Footsteps for its Mission of Helping Families Care for Seriously Ill Children

 
Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps (right) with the Signum Fidei Award, presented by Beth Harper Briglia (left). Between them is La Salle student Derek Marshall, whose family was helped by Fred’s Foosteps.

Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps (right) with the Signum Fidei Award, presented by Beth Harper Briglia (left).

 

The La Salle University Alumni Association will present its Signum Fidei Medal to Fred’s Footsteps, an organization providing financial assistance to families of children experiencing serious health issues, on Nov. 14.

The Signum Fidei Medal derives its name from the motto of the Brothers of the Christian Schools—“Sign of Faith.” It is given to recognize personal achievements in harmony with the established aims of La Salle University and the objectives of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, and it is awarded annually to a person who has made “most noteworthy contributions to the advancement of humanitarian principles in keeping with the Christian/Judeo tradition.”

Fred’s Footsteps was created in memory of Fred DiBona Jr., who was President and CEO of Independence Blue Cross, one month after his death in 2005.

“On behalf of Fred’s Footsteps, it is a great honor to receive this award from La Salle University and to be recognized for our work in the region to provide relief to middle-class families who find themselves struggling to stay afloat while caring for a critically or chronically ill child,” said Christine DiBona Lobley, Executive Director of Fred’s Footsteps and Fred DiBona’s daughter. “We share with La Salle many of the same values, primary of which is community. We believe that when a child is sick, their family’s first concern should be how to love and care for them. Fred’s Footsteps provides a financial bridge, not just momentary help, to families in the Philadelphia region.”

According to the organization’s website, “We are the only program in the region that provides this type of bridge – not just momentary help – to families during their time of need.” It serves families in 19 counties in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

AmyLynn Flood, Vice President of the Alumni Association and Chair of the Awards Committee, said, “The Alumni Association is proud to award the 2014 Signum Fidei Award to Fred’s Footsteps. For over 10 years, this nonprofit has been a true sign of faith for local families facing the greatest challenge of their lives—a child’s serious illness/injury. Fred’s Footsteps has demonstrated Lasallian values of faith, service, and community in their work and good deeds; and continues to pay tribute to Fred DiBona’s spirit of giving.”

Also speaking will be La Salle student Derrick Marshall, whose family benefitted from Fred’s Footsteps.

“In high school, I suffered a hemorrhage on my brain stem…my body gradually deteriorated, and I lost the ability to speak, I was also paralyzed on the left side of my body,” said Marshall. “I underwent brain surgery which left me visually and hearing impaired.  The doctors informed my mom that there was only a three percent survival rate.”

“My mom was visiting the hospital every day and … she had a very difficult time paying all of the bills for the house and my care.  That is when Fred’s Footsteps came into our lives, and my family was able to secure the necessary bridge funding to maintain our household,” said Marshall, who hopes to enter medical school and said, “My long term goal and dream is to start a pediatric health care network.”

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth-best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally, the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 of which are institutions of higher education) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

 

La Salle University Presents Its John J. Finley, ’24, Award to Alum William Markmann, M.D., for Outstanding Service to His Alma Mater

 
Dr. William J. Markmann, M.D., ’70, receives the John J. Finley Award from AmyLynn Flood, ’95, Vice President of the Alumni Association and Chair of the Awards Committee.

Dr. William J. Markmann, M.D., ’70, receives the John J. Finley Award from AmyLynn Flood, ’95, Vice President of the Alumni Association and Chair of the Awards Committee.

 

For his considerable and constant support of his alma mater, William Markmann, M.D., will receive the John J. Finley, ’24, Award, given by the La Salle Alumni Association to a graduate who has provided great service to the University.

“La Salle has been part of my family since before I was born. My father was a professor at La Salle for more than 40 years,” said Markmann, a 1970 graduate. “The influence of the Christian Brothers and their mission has played a major role in my development. I have seen how they have affected my life and the lives of so many other students. My strongest impression was the commitment of the Brothers, as well as lay faculty, to treat each student as an individual and be available for each student’s needs.”

Markmann said he was “completely shocked” when he learned about the award. “There are so many alums that do so much for the University who should really receive it,” he said.

The Finley Award is named for John J. Finley, a 1924 graduate. Finley held the position of President, Vice President, and, at the time of his death in 1961, Treasurer of the Alumni Association. To his contemporaries, he was known as “Mr. La Salle” for his dedication to La Salle.

Markmann’s father, Joseph, was a legendary figure in La Salle’s Accounting Department and was instrumental in its growth. “My father was an example to us all about what was important in life, and what was important for education, and being involved in giving back,” William Markmann said.

When he came to La Salle as a freshman, Markmann said he wasn’t sure about a career. “I asked what the best programs were, and I was told accounting and pre-med. My father was Chair of the Accounting Department, so I chose pre-med,” he said. Markmann added that his mother being a nurse was also a factor in his decision.

After graduating from La Salle with a degree in biology, Markmann entered Temple University’s School of Medicine with the idea of becoming a pediatrician, but, he said, “I met a physician named John Lachman, who was Chair of Orthopedics at Temple, and I decided I wanted to be like him. I found my mentor. He was very intelligent, committed to taking care of patients. He used his talents to help people.”

In 2005, Markmann became a member of La Salle’s Board of Trustees. “Being a member of the Board has given me the opportunity to interact with members of the administration and other Board members, all of whom are totally committed to ensuring that a Lasallian education is available for so many students,” he said.

Markmann and his wife, Margaret Mary “Candy” Markmann, Ph.D., who is an adjunct faculty member in La Salle’s History Department, live in Huntingdon Valley, Pa., and have five children; three graduated from La Salle and two followed their father into the health care field: Denise is a pediatrician, and Joseph is pursuing a Ph.D. in health policy with a focus on health economics.

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth-best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally, the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 of which are institutions of higher education) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

 

Fallen, But no Longer Forgotten: The Story of
John J. Brennan, ’40

 

While La Salle University’s students make their way from class to class, a stone structure fenced off by a small black, cast-iron fence on the quad often goes unnoticed. This humble mini-landmark memorializes the 31 La Salle students and alumni who lost their lives serving in World War II.

Ensign John J. Brennan, ’40, a 21-year-old graduate from West Philadelphia, was the first of those men to perish. When the freighter he commanded was struck by a German U-boat on April 3, 1942, Brennan became the cornerstone of La Salle’s wartime history. In addition to having a destroyer named after him, Brennan was also posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Silver Star, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

Brennan’s death arrived like a scream at La Salle, but it quickly faded into a whisper. Seventy years later, Brennan’s name is largely unknown.

Robert Palma, who teaches biology at La Salle and is researching a book about La Salle’s World War II casualties, said his research of Brennan has been difficult at times. Aside from working as photo editor on the first edition of the Explorer yearbook in 1940 and on the dance committee, Brennan was not a huge presence on campus. “A ‘Collegian’ article published shortly after his death says that he was modest, sincere, and reserved,” Palma said.

According to the 1940 Census, Brennan was the son of a streetcar operator and a housewife, the oldest of four children. He graduated from West Catholic High School for Boys in 1936 before matriculating to La Salle College. Brennan graduated from La Salle in 1940 with a bachelor’s degree in accountancy. A Collegian article about him published after his death reported that few knew Brennan well, and that he would not bask in the spotlight for his heroism if given the opportunity.

Brennan’s death was front-page news in the same issue of the school paper. His whereabouts were uncertain in the last few months of his life, but his untimely passing solidified the frightening reality of war for La Salle’s student population at the time.

A manuscript by Thomas J. Ryan, a fellow 1940 graduate and Brennan’s best friend since childhood, portrays a much lighter picture of Brennan than The Collegian. Frequent letters between the two show they shared laughs over La Salle memories and discussed adventures Brennan was having in his travels. In one letter, Ryan’s fiancée, Margie, described some of his tales as “sounding out of an Ingrid Bergman movie.”

Until that fateful day in April 1942, Brennan planned on meeting with Ryan when his freighter arrived in Philadelphia and serve as best man in his wedding. That day never came.

“From what I’ve read, (Brennan) was the first to die,” Palma said. “His job was to protect the freighter and the crew as they were abandoning.”

Naval tradition dictates that ships are named for distinguished naval officers and enlisted men. Brennan’s heroic, albeit brief, career with the Navy was immortalized in January 1943, when the USS Brennan, a destroyer, was named in his honor. This, too, was front page news for The Collegian. “They were building a lot of ships at the time, but he was only an ensign, so obviously to have a ship named after you is a huge honor,” Palma said.

Despite Brennan’s accolades, many students are unaware of the impact World War II had on the University, or that a memorial honoring those La Salle alums is in the heart of their own campus.

“The Second World War had a large effect on the University,” said Brother Ed Sheehy, F.S.C., Ph.D., ’68, an associate professor of history at La Salle. “People going away to war cut our enrollment very significantly, and then at the end of the war, the return of GIs in many ways saved the University and allowed it to grow.”

Br. Ed, a self-proclaimed “Navy brat,” spent much of his childhood relocating to naval bases across the country as his father, a lieutenant commander, received new orders from the Navy. He said that students should be proud of the men who fought and try to learn more about them. “The farther you get away from an event, sometimes its importance doesn’t seem to be as much,” Br. Ed said.

–By Maryellen Brennan, ’13

 

This article first appeared in the Summer 2013 edition of La Salle Magazine

Veterans_Memorial (2)

Live from La Salle! WPHT Radio Broadcasts Panel Discussion with University Faculty on Ebola Crisis

 
La Salle alum Dom Giordano (left) interviews public health professors Daniel Rodriguez and Holly Harner from the lobby of St. Benilde Tower.

La Salle alum Dom Giordano (left) interviews public health professors Daniel Rodriguez and Holly Harner from the lobby of St. Benilde Tower.

 

La Salle University alum Dom Giordano on November 6 broadcast his show on WPHT (1210 AM) from the lobby of St. Benilde Tower which featured La Salle faculty members discussing the Ebola crisis.

The La Salle guests were Holly Harner and Daniel Rodriguez from the University’s graduate program in public health; Walter Schubert, professor of finance; Michael Boyle, associate professor of political science; and Abass Johnson, a graduate student in the public health program who is a native of Liberia. Also appearing on the show was Dr. Nora Jones, a professor of bioethics from Temple University.

The broadcast has been streamed on 1210 WPHT’s Web site, and the rebroadcast can be heard anytime by going to cbsphilly.com/lasalle; links to the broadcast  have been posted on La Salle’s social media sites.

 

La Salle finance professor Walter Schubert (right) makes a point on Giordano's show.

La Salle finance professor Walter Schubert (right) makes a point on Giordano’s show.

 


CBS_Radio
 

 

La Salle Alumnus William J. Burns to Become President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace Following a Distinguished Career in U.S. Diplomacy

 

Burns_Clinton-9092011e

La Salle University alumnus William J. Burns, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State, will become President of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in February. Burns served as Deputy Secretary of State from 2011 to October 2014, only the second serving career diplomat to hold the title. He holds the rank of career ambassador, the highest in the U.S. Foreign Service.

Among other posts during his 33-year diplomatic career, Burns served as U.S. Ambassador to Jordan from 1998 to 2001, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs from 2001 to 2005, Ambassador to Russia from 2005 to 2008, and Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs from 2008 to 2011. He holds a master’s degree and a doctorate from Oxford University. He speaks Arabic, Russian, and French.

Last year, Burns led back-channel talks with Iran, which ended 35 years without sustained diplomatic contact and helped produce an initial nuclear agreement.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said about Burns earlier this year, “Bill is a statesman cut from the same cloth, caliber, and contribution as George Kennan and Chip Bohlen, and he has more than earned his place on a very short list of American diplomatic legends.”

Burns will succeed Jessica Tuchman Mathews, who was President of the foundation for 18 years.

In announcing her retirement, Mathews said, “There is no one, anywhere, better suited than Bill Burns to take on the leadership of Carnegie. He has an unparalleled grasp of international affairs and respect from across the political spectrum in the United States and around the world. His scope is global, and his instincts are nonpartisan. He is a scholar, a hugely successful policymaker, and a proven leader. I am thrilled for Carnegie.”

Commenting on his new appointment, Burns said, “I am delighted to be coming to Carnegie and honored to follow in the footsteps of Jessica Mathews. Since announcing my retirement from the State Department in April, I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to do next. And I believe that Carnegie, with its five centers around the world and superb staff and scholars, offers an extraordinary opportunity to be able to continue to play an important and constructive role in global affairs from outside government service.”

Burns was a student in La Salle’s Honors Program and developed an interest in the Middle East. He graduated in 1978 with a degree in political science, and later earned his M.Phil. and D.Phil. degrees in International Relations from Oxford University, where he studied as a Marshall Scholar, the first in La Salle’s history. Burns also received an honorary doctor of law degree from La Salle in 1997.

Several La Salle professors have said Burns was the best student they have ever had and described him as incredibly intelligent and diligent.

“He was one of the best, if not the best student, I ever taught,” said John Rossi, who has taught history at La Salle for more than 40 years. “There was nothing he couldn’t do. His exams were letter perfect and brilliantly written. His handwriting was almost script, and beautifully done. And he was very unassuming. You wouldn’t notice this (in him) until your first exposure to his work.”

Rossi added that in his first class with him, Burns sat in the back of the room. “I thought, ‘Who is this quiet guy, who’s not saying a word?’ Then for a class discussion, I posed a question to him, and he blew me away with his answer. It was so far beyond what you’d expect.”

George Stow, who taught Burns in several history courses, said, “He was simply outstanding. I’d say one of the most accomplished students I’ve ever had.”

At first, Stow noticed something unusual about Burns: “He didn’t take any notes. I thought, this is going to be a disaster, and when the first blue book exam was given, I read his and he just knocked me out. He had references to things I had said in lectures, but he’d done independent readings in the library. It was a very, very thorough, comprehensive and detailed essay.”

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 higher education institutions) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

La Salle University Student Bria Higgs Interning with Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights

 

La Salle University senior Bria Higgs is interning this semester with the U.S. Department of Education’s Philadelphia Office for Civil Rights (OCR), which ensures that students have equal access to education.

“All of the cases I’ve worked on involve violations of a disabled student’s right to receiving the resources he or she needs to attain an equal education,” Higgs said. “I’ve also worked on a case where one student was discriminated against based on his race.”

Her duties include summarizing information from students to substantiate their complaints and writing drafts of monitoring reports, which indicate which requirements a school or institution has met and which ones it still needs to meet to comply with the OCR.

“I find the work to be satisfying,” she said. “It’s a little tedious to pore through paperwork all day, but it is rewarding to hold institutions accountable for outdated policies.”

A double major in criminal justice and sociology, Higgs met with sociology professor Kathleen Bogle last semester to discuss internship possibilities.

“When I told her I wanted to work for the FBI after graduation, she encouraged me to open my mind to other branches of federal agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency, the bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco Firearms and Explosives, and the Office of Civil Rights,” Higgs said. After graduation, Higgs plans to enroll in a doctoral program in criminology.

“Bria is an outstanding student—the internship with the Office of Civil Rights was a perfect fit for her, given her interest in race and gender inequality,” Bogle said. “Currently, several La Salle faculty members are working with her to help her achieve her dream of getting a doctoral degree in criminal justice. She will make a great professor someday.”

Higgs is a resident of White Plains, N.Y., and attended high school at the School of the Holy Child.

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 higher education institutions) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

 

Susan L. Taylor, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence Magazine to Be honored by La Salle University

 

Susan L. Taylor, Founder, and Chief Executive Officer of the National CARES Mentoring Movement and Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Essence Magazine, will be honored by the La Salle University African-American Alumni Association at an awards ceremony on Nov. 7.

She will receive the University’s Warren E. Smith, M.D., ’54 Award. The award is presented to an outstanding African American leader who has achieved success in his or her profession, demonstrated a commitment to traditional Lasallian values, made significant contributions to the community, and served as an outstanding example to all La Salle students.

A 1954 graduate of La Salle, Warren E. Smith, M.D., was one of the first African Americans to graduate from the pre-med program at La Salle University. He served as a psychiatrist to the La Salle community for 15 years before retiring in 1984. Dr. Smith was revered as a highly principled man who was deeply sensitive to the problems of the students he served.  Always available to those in need of his services, Dr. Smith was an advocate for the rights and care of many. He died on Sept. 13, 1990. The La Salle community established a scholarship and an award named for him.

“I am so looking forward to Nov. 7,” said Taylor.

“Ms. Taylor’s work with the National CARES Mentoring Program truly exemplifies the mission of St. John Baptist de La Salle, who founded the Christian Brothers, the order that operates La Salle, in using education to make a positive difference in the lives of young people,” said Trey Ulrich, Assistant Vice President for Alumni Relations at La Salle University.  “Taylor’s efforts in partnering young African American men and women of modest means with leaders in the community made her an outstanding choice to be honored with the Warren E. Smith Award.”

Founded by Taylor in 2005 as Essence CARES, in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, today the National CARES Mentoring Movement is a community-mobilization movement dedicated to healing and advancing our nation’s most defenseless children, our African American young trapped in a cycle of intergenerational poverty. In 58 U.S. cities, our CARES affiliates recruit, train and connect adults to local youth-serving organizations desperate for Black volunteers. Additionally, National CARES is building for scaling and replication, transformational group-mentoring programs focused on the emotional, social and academic development of struggling children in our country’s most under-resourced schools. In January, 2008, Taylor left Essence magazine after 27 years as chief editor to work full-time with community leaders in mounting what has become the largest mentoring movement in the nation’s history and the only organization providing mentoring, healing and wellness services on a national scale for Black children.

“Mentoring is all about caring,” Taylor said. “It’s caring enough to spend one hour a week to advise and guide a vulnerable young person. None of the forces claiming our children’s lives are more powerful than our commitment and love. We are the solution.”

According to its Web page, the National CARES Mentoring Movement seeks to end the struggles of Black America by connecting concerned adults with mentoring opportunities across the nation. Individuals are asked to volunteer at least an hour a week for a year to guide and encourage challenged youngsters in one-to-one or group mentoring relationships, where several adults spend time with a larger number of children.

National CARES serves as a resource, linking adults to mentoring opportunities in their communities. Southeast Pennsylvania CARES is led by Andrea Lawful-Trainer and Alex Peay. On a national level, it partners with organizations such as the National Urban League, the 100 Black Men of America, Children’s Defense Fund, the YWCA, the United Negro College Fund, the NAACP, major African American faith communities, fraternities, sororities, and other organizations whose labor and reputations have tremendous influence on public policy and programs that affect young people.

Taylor said that after Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans, she looked up, as the world did, at all the vulnerable youngsters whose lives, families and communities were disassembled and who needed the love, guidance and support of more able and caring adults in order to thrive. “We knew that the exciting annual Essence Music Festival had to bring more to the devastated city. It needed to be a party with a deeper purpose. We needed to focus on the children who had been displaced and were living in FEMA trailers. I saw that this challenging time could also lead to greater community engagement in the recovery and forward movement of our under-resourced children, not just in the Gulf Region, but throughout the nation.”

For tickets and information on the event, call 215.951.1535 or visit www.lasalle.edu/alumni.

An educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values, La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order. La Salle University consistently ranks as one of the U.S.’s top universities; in 2014, Money magazine named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education. Globally the Lasallian educational network includes 1,000 schools (60 higher education institutions) serving 940,000 students in 80 countries.

La Salle University’s BUSCA Program a Finalist in Excelencia in Education Award for Improving Higher Educational Achievement for Latino Students

 

BUSCA

La Salle University’s BUSCA program was named one of five finalists for the Examples of Excelencia in Education award in the category of associate’s degree programs. Excelencia in Education is a non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

BUSCA was selected from among competitors from 26 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico.

“By sharing what works we hope to support educators, community leaders, funders, and policymakers to take an asset-based approach to serving Latino students,” wrote Deborah Santiago, COO and Vice President of Excelencia in Education in What Works for Latinos Students in Higher Education, an annual Excelencia in Education publication in which the 2014 finalists were announced. “Ultimately, we strive to inspire and support replicating and bringing to scale evidence-based practices that serve Latino students and thus serve the country.”

BUSCA was also named a finalist by Excelencia in Education in 2011.

Started in 1993, BUSCA is an innovative program that offers the region’s Spanish-speaking community the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree. Students begin the program with an intensive 12-credit course in English and then transition to classes conducted completely in English. Students study full time for five semesters, attending class in the evening, allowing them to work during the day. To offer students with the best possible chance of success, the program provides bilingual tutors, and motivational, academic, and financial aid counselors.

Currently, 160 students are enrolled in BUSCA, ranging from recent high school graduates to grandparents. Nearly 75 percent of the students who graduated last year enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs.

“For more than 20 years, La Salle’s BUSCA program has made it possible for Spanish-dominant people to pursue their dreams of achieving a higher education,” said Joanne Woods, Director of the BUSCA program. “We appreciate our institution’s extraordinary commitment to working with Hispanic students and the dedication of our instructors who provide the best possible educational experience for our students.”

Examples of Excelencia is the only national initiative to systematically identify and promote evidence-based programs and departments effectively boosting Latino enrollment, performance and graduation. It is presented in collaboration with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus and the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO). The 2014 sponsors are ACT, Univision, Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, DeVry University, and the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.

Celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014, Excelencia in Education is a Washington, D.C.-based national non-profit organization whose mission is to accelerate Latino student success in higher education.

La Salle Freshmen to Compete for U.S. Championship at Network for Teaching Entrepreneurships National Challenge in San Francisco

 
La Salle University freshmen Aliyah Stephens and Jameel Kemp display their invention: a jacket with a solar panel that can recharge a smart phone.

La Salle University freshmen Aliyah Stephens and Jameel Kemp display their invention: a jacket with a solar panel that can recharge a smart phone.

La Salle University freshmen Jameel Kemp and Aliyah Stephens will compete in the championship round of the Network for Teaching Entrepreneurship’s National Youth Entrepreneurship Challenge in San Francisco Oct. 7-10. Both are nursing majors. They were selected at the Eastern regional competition in Philadelphia to advance to the national challenge.

Their “invention” is a jacket with a cloth solar panel that collects solar rays, converts them to electricity, and then recharges a smartphone.

“I was speechless,” said Stephens, 18, of their regional win. “We were up against so much competition that it was hard to tell who the judges liked more. I knew we were a good team, and we tried to not to stress ourselves out. We just had fun presenting. So, hearing our names was an amazing feeling. I am so grateful that we were given this opportunity.”

“Not to be arrogant, but I already knew we were going to make it,” said Kemp, 19. “We have a great idea, and we are able to make others believe that.”

He explained that the jacket is charged by the sun through the cloth patch, then the energy is transferred into a battery pack in the inside pocket, which contains a USB socket where users can plug in their smartphones. While the pair is currently focused on the competition, Kemp said they hope to eventually start a business based on their idea.

Kemp and Stephens came up with the jacket concept for a senior project they worked on together at the World Communications Charter School in Philadelphia. Soon the pair worked their way up to competing on the national level, after entering and winning school-wide, citywide, and regional competitions.

Kemp conceived of the recharging jacket because he wanted something that could be worn every day that served a function beyond regular clothing. That’s when he decided to combine purposeful clothing with recharging smartphones. When Stephens joined him in the project, she suggested making the jacket eco-friendly.

“That was a better look for the competition and better for society,” she said. “We were challenged to enter the school-wide competition by our amazing teacher, Mr. Andrew Wakelee. When we won first place (at the city competition),we knew this was something we wanted to continue to do.”

While there are other clothing items that can charge batteries, Kemp said their jacket is more fashionable and geared toward an urban market. He said he and Stephens envision a business that puts solar chargers on blazers, business suits, and trench coats.

Stephens and Kemp met while students at Girard College, a private boarding school in North Philadelphia for students who live in low-income, single-parent households. “We both grew up there together,” Stephens said. Later, the pair transferred to the World Communications Charter School.

They also decided on the same major.

“I became interested in nursing because I wanted a career to pursue my passion, which is working with children and pregnant women,” Stephens said.  “Also, my mother is in school to become a nurse and she kind of influenced me. I would like to become a neonatal nurse and an adjunct nursing professor.”

Kemp attended a summer mentorship program at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010 that presented the basics about nursing. “It really made me want to learn more. While at the program, I was able to visit many hospitals and get real-life experiences that many nurses do in their everyday duties. I would like to become a pediatric or emergency nurse,” he said.

Each received a full scholarship to La Salle.

“I applied to La Salle because I wanted to be close to home and still be around my family,” said Stephens, who is from Philadelphia’s Germantown section. “When I heard about La Salle’s great credentials, I knew this was the place for me.”

Kemp, who also lives near the University, said, “I loved the fact that La Salle had such a small population, so I am able to have opportunities to interact one-on-one with the professors.”

La Salle University was established in 1863 through the legacy of St. John Baptist de La Salle and the Christian Brothers teaching order, which St. La Salle founded in 1680. La Salle is an educational community shaped by traditional Catholic and Lasallian values. Money magazine has named La Salle University a “Value All-Star,” ranking it the eighth best college nationwide for adding the most value for a college education in its recent college rankings.

###