Dr. Elizabeth Fain

Dr. Elizabeth Fain

Young Americans have gotten weaker – or at least their grip has – according to research conducted at Winston-Salem State University.

The study by Elizabeth Fain, an assistant professor of occupational therapy (OT) at WSSU, evaluated the grip strength of 237 people between the ages of 20-34 and compared the findings to a study conducted in 1985. The results revealed that, on average, the hand strength of young males has decreased by 20 pounds of force, and the hand strength of females has decreased by 10 pounds of force.

“Work and leisure patterns have changed in America dramatically since 1985 when the original norms were established,” said Fain. “Millennials – individuals born after 1980 – report a frequent usage of technology in work, play, and leisure activities. That appears to have had an impact on their grip.”

Doctors and therapists use the grip strength norms established in 1985 when assessing an individual’s injury and throughout the rehabilitation process. Fain hopes to receive a grant to expand her study with the hope that clinical norms may be adjusted to accommodate for the generational grip strength change.

“It is very important to update clinical norms,” said Fain. “When we have patients, we evaluate their progress compared to the norms established 30 years ago. This means we do not have a real picture of the situation. I believe we should update our norms every 10 years.”

Five WSSU OT students had the opportunity to assist Fain, providing valuable research experience. The students not only helped write review board proposals and literature reviews, they also assisted in collecting data from participants at WSSU, Salem College, and various fitness centers.

Research is an important component of the university’s OT program. Students in the program are required to participate in a research project to enhance their ability to apply the principles of evidence-based research in scholarship and practice.

While Fain has concluded the first phase of this study, she has already begun work on a second phase. She is expanding her research to focus on the correlation of grip strength with other health issues, including dementia. She is also working with Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center to help determine how various types of skin grafts impact a patient’s grip strength and functional skills.

WSSU’s Master of Occupational Therapy program is highly competitive and averages a 95 percent graduation rate. For more information about the program, visit WSSU Occupational Therapy.

Two Winston-Salem State University (WSSU) students have been awarded prestigious Gilman Scholarships for study abroad for summer 2016.

Berenice Rodriquez

Berenice Rodriquez

Berenice Rodriquez, a senior nursing major from Charlotte, N.C., will be participating in the Fudan University Summer Program in Shanghai, China. Yasmin Wilson, a junior biotechnology major from Winston-Salem, N.C., will be participating in the Duke University Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) Biology Summer Program in Costa Rica.

“I feel it’s important to broaden my experience by engaging with a very different culture, said Rodriquez. “It is an experience that I had never thought possible before coming to the university. The Fudan program covers a wide range of topics that make it possible for someone to fully understand the culture starting from the roots. This study abroad experience will help me expand my horizons as a person and prepare me for my future career as a nurse at the same time.”

For Yasmin Wilson, her work as a volunteer and veterinary technician sparked her interest in science.

“Through volunteering with animals, working as a vet tech in animal hospitals and shelters, and studying sciences, I realized my fascination with scientific research and bio-veterinary science,” Wilson said. “The OTS Costa Rica Tropical Biology program interested me because I felt that it would give me a diverse background in environmental factors that contribute to the well-being of animals, both domestic and exotic. Independent projects will allow me to learn by doing science in a beautiful and challenging tropical setting.”

To apply for the Gilman scholarship, a student must plan to participate in a study abroad program of at least four weeks in a single country. The application includes an essay and a follow-up project proposal. WSSU International Programs Advisor Rickford Grant is the Gilman Certifying Advisor and works with each student to review and complete applications.

“I always encourage eligible students interested in studying abroad to apply for the Gilman scholarship. It is a competitive scholarship, but it can be a generous one,” said Grant.

Last year, three WSSU students received the scholarship to support their study abroad trips.

About the Gilman International Scholarship Program

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program offers grants for U.S. citizen undergraduate students who are Pell Grant eligible to pursue academic studies or credit-bearing, career-oriented internships abroad. The scholarship program primarily aims to help under-represented study abroad populations visit under-visited study abroad locations primarily in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Award recipients are chosen through a competitive selection process for this congressionally funded program sponsored by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs at the U.S. Department of State and administered by the Institute of International Education (IIE).

The Winston-Salem State University Choir’s hard work is paying dividends with the notification that Walton Music, an internationally acclaimed music publishing company, wants to feature the choir in demos on their web site and a promotional CD in the fall.

D'Walla Simmons-Burke

D'Walla Simmons-Burke

In a communication to Maestra D’Walla Simmons-Burke, Walton editor Susan LaBarr, said she was preparing the Stacey Gibbs’ arrangement of My God is a Rock for publication at Walton when she discovered WSSU choir’s recording of the piece on YouTube. Link at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mTIpGDBWoHQ

Simmons-Burke was ecstatic about the company’s request for use of the WSSU Choir’s recording. “This is quite an honor for not only the choir and me, but the university, because it positions us internationally within the music world,” said Simmons-Burke. “These students have worked extremely hard this year, both academically and musically and have represented the university well!  I’m so proud of them!”

“Being a member of the Winston-Salem State University Choir and Burke Singers has been a dream of mine since I was a young girl,” said soprano, Simone Price, who has served the choir as student conductor and section leader over the past few years. “I have been afforded countless opportunities to travel, network, perfect my craft, and learn so much all while doing what I love!”

Tenor, Malik Wilson-Gaston agrees. In preparation for recording of My God is a Rock CD, Wilson-Gaston said, “Practice makes perfect! We typically rehearsed every day during class, Monday through Friday, from 12 noon until 12:50 p.m. Along with our regular class schedule, we met some Wednesday evenings in preparation for our national stage appearance (Carnegie Hall) and the recording of our recently released CD and title single – My God is a Rock.”

“We have section leaders who ran separate rehearsals at least once a week per section, and if need be, our conductor would schedule a weekly night rehearsal,” said Price. “Learning ‘My God is a Rock’ was not work. The piece was challenging, however, we had a tendency to fall in love with Stacey Gibbs’ work so much so that we forgot we were working.”

WSSU Choir performing

WSSU Choir performing

Price plans to pursue a career as a music educator, after graduation in May 2017, and credits the influence of her path to Simmons-Burke. Wilson-Gaston, who will also graduate in May 2017, plans to pursue a law degree, but stay actively involved in some form of choral music.

“Getting the chance to both travel and sing with this Grammy-nominated choir has been an experience filled with positive memories that will last a lifetime,” said Wilson-Gaston.

The Choir’s tradition of excellence and performance achievement dates as far back as the turn of the 20th century.  It is one of the oldest student organizations on campus. Before there was a Department of Fine Arts at WSSU, there was the choir.

Choral music played a big part in campus life and in the life of the wider community in the early days of WSSU’s development.  The Choir’s performances, in some of the nation’s renowned venues, dates back to the 1940s at Radio City Music Hall and Lincoln Center.  Some of the choir’s selections were also taped or broadcast on the NBC programs called “Great Choirs of America.”

Today, under the direction of Maestra Simmons-Burke, the Choir’s efforts have led to performances of commissioned works, such as On Imagination and I Too by Undine Smith Moore, Recent Reflections on Deep River by Michael Williams, Oh! What a Beautiful City and Holdin’ On by Stacey  V. Gibbs, and Come Sunday arranged by S. Van Dixon.

The WSSU Choir has recorded eight CDs which include Joy To The World; I Wanna Be Ready; Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing; Hold Fast To Dreams; Pieces of a Dream; Somewhere Far Away; The Legacy Continues: 20th Anniversary Celebration of D’Walla Simmons-Burke; My God is a Rock. One recording, Somewhere Far Away, on major record label Albany Records was nominated in five categories for a 2010 Grammy Award.

The choir has also performed with the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra, Gateways Festival Orchestra, D’Vorak Symphonic Orchestra and the New England Symphonic Orchestra when major works are programmed. Simmons-Burke’s choirs have been featured in major performance halls that include: Carnegie Hall (2008, 2009, 2010, 2016); John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center (2009, 2010, 2011); Alice Tully Hall of the Lincoln Center (2014).

WSSU’s choir is world traveled having performed in such locales as Prague, Czech Republic; Accra, Kumasi, and Cape Coast, West Africa; Nassau, Bahamas; and Johannesburg, Namibia and Cape Town, South Africa.

Walton Music, a division of GIA Publications, a publisher located in Chicago, Ill., was established in 1950 by Norman Luboff as a publishing house for Luboff’s choral arrangements and compositions. Today, Walton serves the choral community by publishing works by noted composers such as Eric Whitacre and Ola Gjeilo, and promoting both new composition and the preservation of classics such as Vivaldi’s Gloria. Editions in the Walton catalog number in the thousands.

Music, robotics, athletics, math and science, community service projects, and field trips, are all among the enrichment programs being offered at Winston-Salem State University this summer. More than 1,500 students are expected to participate.

June offerings include a band camp, June 20-25, that promotes the musical growth and development of 7th through 12th grade students who will participate in various ensembles including: Concert Band, Jazz Band, Marching Band, and chamber ensembles. Registration for day campers in this program will be held on the first day of camp from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. This year’s program is open to all wind, percussion, string, and auxiliary students. For information about this program call Dr. James Armstrong at 336-750-2263 or email armstrongan@wssu.edu
Teens Engaged in Aspiring Mentorships: an Uplifting Partnership (TEAM-UP) will run June 19-24. This program provides educational sessions on potential careers, small business start-ups, leadership and personal finance for foster care youth. In the last eight years, the program has served more than 300 high school students, ages 16-18, in foster care from eight North Carolina counties. This summer’s camp will serve 35 students and will meet in Rams Commons 3.

“The goal for this program is to provide life-lessons to teenagers to facilitate a successful transition to adult independence and make it fun as well as educational,” said Dr. Notis Pagiavlas, senior associate dean and professor of marketing.

The program is tailored to meet the local needs of children and blends learning and fun, simulates real life experiences by allowing room for mistakes, and gives participants clear choices and consequences for their actions. For more information about this program contact Dr. Pagiavlas by calling 336-750-2354 or 336-734-6922 or email to pagiavlasno@wssu.edu.
For students desiring to explore their interest in math and science this summer, the NC-MSEN Summer Scholars Pre-College program is just the ticket. The camp, which will run June 20-30, prepares students for entrance to a four-year college or university and careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and teaching. Students complete a two-week program where they are actively engaged in hands-on mathematics, science, and technology activities and activities to enhance their communication, critical thinking, and writing skills. Students will also take an educational field trip, interact with guest speakers, and participate in community-related experiences.  The program will admit a limited number of students on a first-come first-serve basis. To apply go to http://www.wssu.edu/centers/cmste/precollege-program/summer-scholars.aspx

July Camps

Two camps are planned to run July 11-15 for middle and high school students and elementary school students.  The LEGO Robotics camp, for 7th through 10th grade students, offers progressive approaches to instruction and the provided kits serve as the foundation for the very popular FIRST LEGO League extra-curricular and after-school activities and competitions. The benefits to each student include: hands-on education, meets national learning standards, integrates STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics), builds teamwork, and work that is fun and challenging. Registrations are still being accepted. The cost for the camp is $150.

The second camp, for elementary school students in grades 3-5, will offer a math, science and literacy component. Space is limited to 30 students, 10 for each grade level. The cost for this camp is $25. Registration still available at http://www.wssu.edu/centers/cmste/precollege-program/summer-scholars.aspx

Both are day camps only from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For more information about these two camps contact Joseph Baker, pre-college coordinator in the Center for Mathematics, Science and Technology at 336-750-2996 or email bakerjc@wssu.edu

Kudos Report – May 2016

The Winston-Salem State University Office of Integrated Marketing Communications distributes the Kudos Report monthly as a platform for the university to celebrate and promote the many achievements, successes, and contributions of our campus community. To submit information for the report, visit www.wssu.edu/administration/university-engagement/oimc/kudos.aspx

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