Monthly Archives: April 2015

GSU Student Leading on a National Level


Kindrell Plains Photo

Kindrell Plains

The National Black Graduate Student Association (NBGSA) elected Grambling State University’s Kindrell Plains as the South Central Regional Representative at the organization’s 27th national conference in Jacksonville, Fla., on April 11, 2015.

The National Black Graduate Student Conference is a non-profit, student-run and operated organization that helps students develop professionally. This year the NBGSC invited students from around the world to provide opportunities for students to network with employers and recruiters from across the nation. Attendees also participated in amazing personal, academic and professional development opportunities in the form of engaging keynote, panel and workshop presenters, such as Dennis Kimbro who gave a keynote that explored the power of mindset on achievement. In addition, Dr. Breyan and Adam Haizlip led workshops that focused on student empowerment, cultural responsibility and strategies students can use to prepare for life after graduate school.

Plains will helpNBGSA continue to be the premier resource for Black Students, advocates and professionals as the organization works diligently to increase effective recruitment, progression, graduation and overall achievement for all students who identify as Black at institutions across the nation.

Vote for Miss Grambling State University in EBONY’s 2015 Campus Queens Competition


Only 10 of the best campus beauty queens from Historically Black Colleges and Universities around the country will reign over the pages of the September 2015 issue of EBONY magazine, and Miss Grambling State University, Ginia Smith, needs your vote to make it to the Top 10!

EBONY magazine’s annual Campus Queens competition features videos on the reigning campus queens from the country’s HBCUs. Visit to read about Smith, watch her two-minute campaign video detailing her campaign and charity work, and cast your vote for Miss Grambling State as your favorite queen.

Voting begins this week and runs through midnight on May 15. The 10 campus queens with the most votes will be featured in the September 2015 issue of EBONY magazine. You can also view Smith’s video at

Vote for Miss GSU Flyer/Link:Vote for Miss GSU in Ebony Magazine contest!
Vote by May 22!

Grambling State University Opens Center for Student Professional Development

The Center for Student Professional Development (CSPD) in the College of Business held its grand opening on April 9 in the Jacob T. Stewart Building. CSPD is a comprehensive resource focused on preparing students for successful entry into the global, professional business environment. The CSPD offers preparation workshops, networking sessions, mentoring and internship opportunities.

Forty-two students who were nominated by College of Business faculty members will participate in CSPD’s professional development program during the 2015-2016 school year, where they will participate in workshops in communication, professionalism, interpersonal skills, decision making and experiential learning to prepare them for their future careers.

“Our students have participated in many beneficial professional development seminars and networking opportunities, such as the appropriate use of social media, managing your own personal brand, how to wow employers during interviews, dinner with GSU President Dr. Warrick, business etiquette, and project management certifications and career options,” said Greta Carter, director of CSPD. “We have 42 students in the CSPD program, and we are proud of them for their participation in the CSPD activities and for their willingness to receive the training we are offering.  Upon graduation, these students will be the total package.”

Remarks were given by Otto Meyers, executive dean of the College of Business; GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick; Quentin Messer, Jr., assistant secretary of Louisiana Economic Development; Christine Bartlett, center leader of IBM in Monroe; Wayne Weir, vice president of Business and Support Solutions at CenturyLink; and Perry Jones, region vice president of Coca Cola Manufacturing and a member of the CSPD Advisory Council.

Click for photo gallery:

April Newsletter – President’s Corner

Note to Prospective Graduates:

The Spring 2015 Commencement Ceremony for Grambling State University will take place on May 8. Congratulations to our graduating seniors! You have worked hard to achieve this honor, and I’ve got news for you; there is more work ahead. Celebrate your accomplishments but plan now for your future. The GSU Career Services department has a new leader, Dr. Sheila Fobbs. Dr. Fobbs brings many years of expertise to this role and her team is willing and able to assist GSU students with employment and internship applications, interview skills, and appropriate attire. We have a Career Closet that is stocked with clothing (suits, dresses, shirts, etc.); new and slightly used that has been donated by Alumni and the Links, Inc. in Dallas and Grambling. Our partners at CenturyLink have also expressed their willingness to contribute toward the professional work attire for GSU students.

Throughout my career, I’ve been an avid reader, but my favorite books are non-fiction related to professional development. I was looking at my home office bookcase last week, and I noticed there were a number of books I no longer need; so I will be donating books to Career Services. Most of the titles focus on time management, cover letters, resume style, and leadership. I strongly recommend that all students read the following books to prepare for the world of work.

  1. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
  2. How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie
  3. How Successful People Think: Change Your Thinking, Change Your Life by John Maxwell
  4. Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
  5. Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Jonson & Kenneth Blanchard
  6. Act Like a Success, Think Like a Success by Steve Harvey
  7. Great by Choice by Jim Collins & Morten Hansen
  8. Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies by Jim Collins & Jerry Porras
  9. The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
  10. Why Should White Guys Have All the Fun? By Reginald Lewis & Blair Walker

Grambling State University Establishes Partnership with Saint Monica University in Africa

Grambling State University is partnering with Saint Monica University in Cameroon, Africa, to provide new educational opportunities for the students and staff at Grambling. GSU Interim President Cynthia Warrick signed a Memorandum of Understanding with SMU President Januarius J. Asongu geared at promoting intellectual exchanges between the two institutions.

The goals of the partnership are to build international study and service learning opportunities, establish joint programs, establish a scholar exchange program for professors, lecturers, researchers and students, and organize joint research programs and joint grant proposals.

“President J.J. Asongu has served on the faculty for a number of universities in the United States in business departments and is looking for partnerships to build capacity for the only American University in Cameroon. We look forward to faculty and student exchanges and innovative collaborations. Through this partnership, we look to grow our institutions’ enrollment and involvement in global health,” Warrick said.

Each university will have a respective contact person in charge of programs between the universities. The contact person for GSU is Dr. Martin Ayim, endowed professor of health education and health promotion, while Dominic Ntube, vice president of international affairs, will handle affairs at Saint Monica University. According to Dr. Ayim, development on these programs will begin immediately and will focus on ways to promote the study and research of global health issues.

Saint Monica University is an American-style, private Christian institution, established in 2012, offering traditional and online programs that are at the intersection of the liberal arts, science and technology.

NABA Banquet Held to Raise Money for Accounting Students Attending Professional Conference

Grambling’s chapter of the National Association of Black Accountants (NABA) is holding its annual banquet on April 20 to help raise money for Grambling State University accounting students who are attending professional conferences in 2015. Much of the proceeds will help students attend NABA’s annual Southwest Western Region Student Conference in October. Around 25 to 35 of Grambling’s accounting students attend this conference every year, and it helps them gain valuable skills designed to enhance communication and interpersonal skills in a professional environment.

“A lot of professionals from accounting firms come, and there are various professional development seminars. Students also talk to career recruiters, and some get interviews for full-time jobs and internships. Some students are awarded scholarships,” said Nonso Okpala, faculty adviser to NABA.

It can cost more than $2,000 to provide transportation for NABA students and their faculty chaperones to attend the conference. In addition, there are still registration fees, lodging, meals and gas costs to consider.

The banquet will be held April 20 in the Betty E. Smith Nursing Building in Room 168 at 6 p.m. The guest speaker will be Dr. Janet Guyden, the interim provost and vice president for academic affairs at Grambling State University. The banquet will celebrate NABA’s accomplishments throughout the 2014-2015 academic year and honor special award recipients.

Tickets are $10 for students and $20 for the general public. If you would like to purchase a ticket for the banquet or donate money to help NABA’s students, please contact Shareika Benjamin at or Nonso Okpala at (318) 274-6288 or

GSU Alumni Elected to Chicago City Council

A graduate of Grambling State University has earned a seat in Chicago politics. Gregory Mitchell defeated incumbent Natashia Holmes on April 7 to become the alderman for Chicago’s 7th Ward.

Mitchell grew up in Chicago and later attended Grambling State University, where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and minors in finance and computer information systems. While at Grambling, Mitchell was an active participant in student government and served as senior class president and vice president of the Student Government Association. He was also named to the Dean’s List four years in a row and is a member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.

After graduating from Grambling in 1992, Mitchell held several financial positions before transitioning into the information technology field. His latest position is information technology manager at Chicago Mercantile Exchange, where he oversees IT operations for domestic and global offices.

According to his campaign biography, Mitchell became interested in politics after he began volunteering as a little league and high school baseball coach and mentor. He wanted to address serious quality of life issues that he felt were not being addressed in Chicago’s 7th Ward.

Students Honored during Spring Honors Convocation

Grambling State University honored hundreds of its most talented and academically successful students during the spring Honors Convocation on March 24 in T.H. Harris Auditorium. Obadiah Simmons, Jr., interim head and director of the Department of Kinesiology, Sport and Leisure Studies, recognized students who received honors during the spring 2014 and fall 2015 semesters.

“Some of you are on the Dean’s List. Well, you made it to the atmosphere. We applaud you. And then there are those of you on the Honor Roll. Way to go. You’re up there. Just keep it up. Remember all the time: the limit is not in the sky. The limit is in the mind,” said Cassandria Peoples, director of the School of Social Work, who spoke during the Honors Convocation.

Students recognized included undergraduates who earned honors on the President’s List with a 3.5 or higher GPA, the Dean’s List with a GPA of 3.2-3.49, the University Honor Roll with a GPA of 3.0-3.19, and those named to the Who’s Who Among Students list. Larnell Fannagan, dean of the College of Education, recognized superior academic achievement among graduate students who earned a GPA of 3.8 and higher.

Awards were also presented to students in the Earl Lester Cole Honors College, the College of Arts and Sciences and the College of Business. Many of these awards honored students with the highest academic success in their departments, such as freshman Jamie Williams and sophomore Jimmitriv Roberson, who received the Highest Ranking Biology Major Award for their 4.0 GPAs, and Dominic Moore, who received the Family and Consumer Sciences Award of Honor for having the highest GPA in the FCA department.

The program also honored staff members of the Gramblinite student newspaper who received awards for journalism competitions and student athletes, students in the BPCC (Bossier Parish Community College) @ GSU Program, library student assistants who work in A.C. Lewis Memorial Library and members of the Favrot Student Union Board and Student Government Association who received a GPA of 3.0 and higher.

Barbershop Art Show Gives Voice to Black Conversations

Joseph Osborne believes conversations between Black men can lead to greatness and unity in the African American community, and he believes the barbershop is the perfect representation of these important conversations to display through his art.

“My message is unity, to come together and strive to be great. That’s the whole reason why Grambling’s here, because we want greatness,” said Osborne, a senior visual and performing arts major at Grambling State University.

Osborne’s senior art exhibition, entitled No Heroes Noir: La Barbershop Conscience, was displayed at Dunbar Gallery from March 23 to April 9.

“My show is basically a conversation between two African American males discussing the issues that plague our community. The barbershop is like a place where Black men can go and talk freely. like the hair salon where women can go talk freely. The barbershop is really where any issue can be addressed and be said, out of the shoes on your feet, who played last night or something that happened on CNN,” said Obsorne.

His exhibition consists of 13 sculptures created using layers of plywood, repurposed wood and other materials. He was inspired by events affecting African Americans and how these events were re-interpreted in popular culture through music, television, news and movies.

In addition to his sculptures, Osborne also created short videos to give a “voice” to his barbershop conversations. His primary short video, entitled A Tale of Ten Nights, was inspired by elements of his father’s West Indian heritage. In particular, Nine-Nights, also known as “Dead Yard,” is a funeral tradition in the Caribbean, where an extended wake is held over several days.

The videos are the most powerful pieces in my show, because they actually give you a voice. A Tale of Ten Nights touches on the Caribbean aspect of my father’s ancestors who are West Indian,” Osborne said. “A Tale of Ten Nights is actually a version of our wake. So instead of one night, it’s ten nights of a wake. That video speaks of a young man who has been shot down. We don’t know who killed him, so it could have been the police or another African American man.”

Osborne will graduate with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Visual and Performing Arts with a concentration in Studio Art in May. After graduation, he plans to attend graduate school at Tulane University.