Category: School of Arts and Sciences

Langston University group photo at 2024 K-INBRE Symposium

Two Langston University students earn awards at annual K-INBRE Symposium

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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Two Langston University students took home awards at the annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) Symposium Jan. 12-14.

Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations for her research on “Impairments in Cerebral Autoregulation and Cerebral Reactivity in Cancer Survivorship.” Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations for her research on “Stalk Cell Movement in Drosophila: A model to understanding how migrating cells shape tissues and organs.”

“My experience was fun and also interesting,” Smith said. “It was my first time presenting oral presentations.”

Kayla Smith presenting at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Senior crop and soil sciences major Kayla Smith earned a 2nd place Award of Excellence in Oral Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Kayla Smith.

K-INBRE is a collaborative effort of medical and academic institutions in Kansas and Oklahoma to “promote multidisciplinary research networks with a focus on Cell and Developmental Biology,” according to the K-INBRE website. Langston University is the only Oklahoma-based institution partnered with K-INBRE.

The program offers LU students mentored research opportunities as well as opportunities to present their research at events like the annual Symposium. For example, Smith, a second-year K-INBRE participant, worked with researchers at Kansas State University.

This is Isaac’s first year participating in K-INBRE. She was introduced to the program by one of her biology professors, Dr. Kj Abraham, who helped mentor her in presenting her research. She also received advice on the structure and presentation of her research from Dr. Lindsay Davis.

Isaac has enjoyed her time in K-INBRE so far, and she was excited to present her research at the Symposium. She studied the ovarioles present in female fruit flies’ ovaries and tracked mutations and their effects on the stalk cells.

Daysha Isaac presents at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium
Junior biology major Daysha Isaac earned an Award of Excellence in Poster Presentations at the 2024 K-INBRE Symposium. Photo provided by Daysha Isaac.

“This information allowed us to apply it to birth defects in infants,” Isaac said. “No way are we trying to cure it but gather more information about cell movement to make a connection. Such birth defects we compared it to were spina bifida and microcephaly.”

Smith is likewise passionate about the research she has helped conduct in K-INBRE, and she is confident her experiences in the program will aid her as she prepares to pursue medical school after graduation.

“I realize that my career goal is actually attainable,” Smith said, “and practice does make perfect.”

NBCU Academy Next Level Summit graphic


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by Ellie Melero, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University encourages any high school or college students interested in journalism or media to attend the NBCU Academy Next Level Summit for free on Oct. 19.

“Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience” is a free virtual learning opportunity which is open to the public, and Langston would like to encourage anyone with an interest in a career in media to attend. The summit will discuss ways for journalists, marketing professionals, public relations specialists and other media industry members to identify and connect with an audience while providing attendees with an opportunity to connect with top industry professionals.

The summit will be hosted by the NBCU Academy, a free online education program for developing skills and advancing careers in journalism, media and technology from Comcast NBCUniversal and NBCU News Group. Langston University is an academic partner of the NBCU Academy.

Langston’s academic partnership with the NBCU Academy is part of its broader efforts to improve and enrich its broadcast journalism program. These efforts began in earnest with the donation of the new Langston OKC campus from Griffin Media.
The new campus, once the KWTV News 9 building, will soon be the new home of the broadcast journalism program. The donation included a full-service news station which will give Langston students a better understanding of what it’s like to work in a professional broadcast newsroom.

Not long after announcing the donation from Griffin Media, Langston announced its new partnership with NBCU Academy. Langston is one of 45 schools who are academic partners with NBCU Academy, and it’s the only university in Oklahoma with this partnership. In addition to the academic partnership, Langston received a $250,000 grant from NBCU Academy.

The NBCU Academy academic partnership offers several virtual and in-person educational and mentoring opportunities to Langston journalism students, including events like the Next Level Summit.

You can register for the Next Level Summit: Know Your Audience at

NBCU Academy Langston University graphic


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By Jet Turner, Langston University Office of Public Relations

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University is proud to announce its new partnership with NBCU Academy. Since its inception in 2021, NBCU Academy partners have received funding, resources, training and development – in addition to access to the News Group’s world-class journalists. Langston University is the first institution within the state of Oklahoma to partner with NBCU Academy.

“We are excited to join the NBCU Academy,” said Dr. Ruth Ray Jackson, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The access to resources accompanying this opportunity will be transformative in preparing our students. The curriculum support and professional development will enhance our talented faculty’s ability to develop a diverse pool of media professionals committed to solutions journalism.”

This partnership comes on the heels of Langston University’s announcement of its new home of journalism in Oklahoma City thanks to Griffin Media’s donation of its KWTV News 9 building, including nearly all the building’s contents and equipment, to the University.

“Through this partnership we will be able to provide scholarships to current and future broadcast journalism students,” said Dr. Peterson, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences. “With this partnership, our new building and equipment, Langston University broadcast journalism is poised to eventually lead the nation in producing highly trained and qualified underrepresented professionals in all areas of broadcast television journalism.”

Langston University joins NBCU Academy’s 15 academic partner expansion, bringing the total number of partners to 45. The 15 new partners include:

  • UC Berkeley M.E.T. in Berkeley, CA
  • Columbia College Chicago in Chicago, IL
  • Fond du Lac Tribal and Community College in Cloquet, MN
  • Helena College – University of Montana in Helena, MT
  • Langston University in Langston, OK
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver in Denver, CO
  • Mt. Hood Community College in Gresham OR
  • Nevada State College in Henderson, NV
  • Tennessee State University in Nashville, TN
  • The Ohio State University, College of Engineering and School of Communication in Columbus, OH
  • Texas Southern University, School of Communication in Houston, TX
  • United Tribes Technical College in Bismarck, ND
  • University of Arizona, School of Journalism in Tucson, AZ
  • University of Central Florida, Nicholson School of Communication and Media, in Orlando, FL
  • University of Missouri School of Journalism, in Columbia, MO

“This partnership re-affirms Langston University’s commitment to changing the broadcast journalism profession by providing learning opportunities and resources not only for on-air talent, but also for behind-the-scenes talent,” President Kent J. Smith, Jr said. “This is a pivotal moment for Langston University and for the future of minorities in the broadcasting industry.”

NBCU Academy has elevated the next generation of journalists, providing students from underrepresented communities a pipeline into newsrooms across media and technology. NBCU Academy’s pioneering Embed Program creates roles for recent graduates from partner schools and institutions with diverse student populations. In two years, NBCU Academy has assigned 11 Embeds full-time, two-year job assignments across the News Group’s on-air and Digital platforms, Marketing, Global Talent Development & Inclusion, Data Sciences, and Diversity, Equity & Inclusion.


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By Jet Turner, Langston University Public Relations


LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University announced at its 17th Annual President’s Student Scholarship Gala that Griffin Media has made the largest corporate donation in university history, gifting the university its KWTV News 9 building located at 7401 N. Kelley Ave. Langston University takes possession of the building in January 2023.

President and CEO of Griffin Media David Griffin said the company was working to bring new, advanced technology and sets to the newscast. Installing new equipment in their current building would tie them to the location for the next 15 years. Griffin Media had another goal in mind, that is to plant its flag in downtown Oklahoma City.

This left Griffin with a dilemma: What would the company do with its existing home of more than seventy years?

“If we abandon this building there is going to be a hole in this community, and we just did not want to leave this community alone,” Griffin said. “So, we went on a search to see how we could be a part of something bigger than ourselves. And then it just dawned on me, Langston has a journalism program.”

The gift totals over $10 million, and includes the building, the surrounding land, all the existing equipment used for the News 9 newscast, every table and chair, the computers, the fiberoptic cabling and more. The site will also be home to the Center for Media and Community Advancement at Langston University funded in part with a grant from the Inasmuch Foundation.

Langston University President Kent J. Smith, Jr. said this gift will not only impact our journalism program, but it will also impact the entire university community.

“There is an entire business behind news production. From computer technology to marketing and sales, our students will have the benefit of learning here. Now we can think of Oklahoma City and our Oklahoma City campus in an entirely different realm that we could not imagine before,” Smith said.

This gift will revolutionize how Oklahoma’s only HBCU produces new journalists and will impact every aspect of the profession.

Griffin Media has committed to a long-term unprecedented partnership with Langston University. News 9’s on-air and behind-the-scenes talent will teach classes, mentor students and provide opportunities for LU students to learn from them on state-of-the-art equipment.

“If you’re looking for something to believe in that will fundamentally change not only Langston University but journalism as a whole there is no doubt in my mind that this is it,” Smith said. “If you cannot get excited about that I do not know what gets you excited.”

Langston University students present posters at the 16th Annual K-INBRE Conference in Kansas.


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. – Dr. Kjoy Abraham, the Langston University Biomedical Research Coordinator, led a team of nine students to present their work at the 16th Annual Kansas IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence Research Symposium in Overland Park, Kansas, which was held on January 13-14, 2018.

Four of the nine students, Mr. La’Quan Johnson (Senior), Ms. Celeste Cotton (Junior), Ms. Cayla Moore (Junior), and Ms. Corajean Cunningham (Freshman), presented iposters. These posters are interactive, multimedia research presentations that are displayed electronically on large format HD touchscreen monitors. There were 347 participants including invited scientists, faculty, postdoctoral fellows and students (undergraduate and graduate) at the symposium. Over 100 students competed in the iposter competition.

During the conference, Langston University student, Ms. Justis Petit (Junior), was selected for an oral presentation in biomedical research. Her abstract was also chosen as one of the best eight abstracts from over 100 abstracts. The title of her presentation was “Effect of Euglena Gracilis Water Extract on Cell Death and Toll-Like Receptor Gene Expression Profiles in Lung Cancer Cells.” During this time, Ms. Petit was given 15 minutes to speak and was able to answer questions about her presentation. Ms. Petit was awarded “Honorable Mention” with a cash award of $100 for her oral presentation at the symposium.

Mr. La’Quan Johnson was commended by one of the judges for his excellent work and presentation at the iposter competition.

The Langston University students competed with other undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral students from ten institutions that included the University of Kansas, Kansas State University, and the University of Kansas Medical Center. Other Langston University students in attendance were Ashley Michalski (Senior), Celeste Cotton (Junior), Jennifer Ho (Junior), Brianna Anderson (Junior), Kendall Odle (Sophomore), Corajean Cunnigham (Freshman), and Cayla Moore (Junior). All the LU students in attendance are biology majors. Two additional University faculty members also attended the conference, Dr. Diomede Buzingo, Assistant Professor in the Biology Department and Dr. Sharon Lewis, Associate Professor in the Chemistry Department.

Langston University (LU) is a public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 3,000 students. Langston University is recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability by and Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County just 10 miles east of Guthrie and 42 miles from Oklahoma City. Langston offers more than 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – The White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities recently named Langston University senior biology major, Nicholas Simon, a 2016 HBCU All-Star.

Simon was among 73 students across 63 HBCUs in 24 states, the District of Columbia, Ghana, Nigeria, and the Virgin Islands selected out of 300 applicants. The All-Stars, comprised of undergraduate, graduate and professional students, are being recognized for their accomplishments in academics, leadership and civic engagement.

“I believe that all of my hard work has paid off,” Simon said. “Everything I have done for my school and community has provided the opportunity for me to represent Langston University on a national level.”

Over the next year, Simon will help promote and create outreach opportunities for his fellow students about the value of education. He will also participate in the White House HBCU Week Conference, national and regional events, and webinars with Initiative staff and other professionals on a range of disciplines that support a spirit of engagement and personal and professional development.

“We are proud of Nicholas and the work he has accomplished to receive this prestigious honor and know he will represent the University well at the White House HBCU Conference,” said Dr. Kent J. Smith, president of Langston University.

Nicholas Simon, an honors student from currently serves as president of the campus NAACP chapter and co-chair of the Langston University ambassador program. This past summer he conducted biological research for NASA at the Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California as part of an internship program.

“It’s an honor to be recognized among so many talented scholars. I am excited to have a chance to learn more about other HBCUs and collaborate to help build and grow our institutions,” Simon said.

Langston University is a public historically black college enrolling a close-knit community of under 4,000 students. Founded in 1897, LU is located in rural Logan County and has two urban campuses in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. LU was recently recognized as a top institution of higher learning for affordability, ranking number three among all Historically Black Colleges and Universities in the U.S., according to Langston offers over 40 associate, bachelors, masters, and doctoral programs across six academic colleges. Visit us online at


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – The DOD Air Force awarded a $200,000 research grant to Byron Quinn, Ph.D., professor in the university’s Biology department in Arts and Sciences. Quinn received funding for his grant entitled “Biochemical Fatigue Metabolite Instrumentation.”

The grant awarded will allow undergraduate students to gain hands-on training with the requested instrumentation by participating in fatigue research and coursework.

“Students taking this course will take on independent research projects in tissue biomarker detection from the metabolic analysis with the Gas Chromatography in Metabolomics Study,” said Quinn.

“This instrumentation adds significant value to the research and training program at LU.”

Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 master’s degrees and one doctoral program. The School of Arts and Sciences is host to the biology program and currently leads the world in manipulating peanut plant hairs into full new plants without the use of seeds.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. To learn more about Langston University, please visit

Mrs. Alice Strong Simmons, Dr. Ricco Wright, and Mr. Desmond Harvey


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By Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – Langston University announced that three alumni were chosen for new administrative and faculty appointments for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Ricco Wright, Ed. D., was named assistant professor of Mathematics in the School of Arts & Sciences at the Langston campus. Wright started teaching at the university this past August. His efforts in his first semester have already had a positive impact on the campus community.

“On a personal level, I plan to keep my students engaged all semester, make a difference in their lives, and enjoy my first year as an assistant professor of mathematics at my alma mater,” Wright said.

“On a professional level, I plan to increase the number of mathematics majors at Langston by recruiting at least three freshmen to join the Mathematics Club and by serving as their advisor this academic year,” Wright said.

It is also his goal to increase the intellectual campus climate by starting a book club on campus called Bibliophilism, by participating in monthly dialogues in the Harrison Library, and by giving talks on campus about different topics ranging from philosophy to literature to politics to music.

He is dedicated to making things better than when he came to the university and makes it his goal to continuously become more active in the fields of mathematics and mathematics education. Prior to LU, Wright taught mathematics at two universities in New York City. He received a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics from Langston University in 2004 and a Doctorate in Mathematics Education from Teachers College, Columbia University in 2014.

Desmond Harvey was appointed as the new director of Student Life at the Langston campus.

“I am looking forward to returning to my alma mater,” Harvey said.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and graduated with honors from Langston University in 2006.

“During my first year as Director of Student Life, I plan to learn more about the student organizations, programs, and events that are hosted through the Office of Student Life, while establishing a relationship with the student leaders on campus,” he said.

Prior to Langston, he was the coordinator of prospective student services in the College of Engineering, Architecture and Technology for one year at Oklahoma State University. Before that, he served as an academic advisor, Coordinator of the Multicultural Engineering Program, Coordinator of African American Affairs, and Coordinator of Prospective Student Services for two years at Oklahoma State University.

Alice Strong-Simmons was appointed as the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at the Oklahoma City campus. Coming from a long line of teaching professionals, Strong-Simmons describes herself as an “educator at heart.” As a trained educator, she was Director of Child Development and Adjunct Professor at Langston University.
She currently serves as Central Area Director of The Links, Incorporated and holds life memberships in the Langston University National Alumni Association and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated.

Strong-Simmons prides herself on being a “Country Girl” whom God has endowed with an extraordinary passion for Langston University and its students, and working to assure the best education possible for the youth and children of the Great State of Oklahoma. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Elementary Education from Langston University and a Master of Arts degree in Public Administration from the University of Oklahoma.

Langston University President, Kent J. Smith, Jr., is confident that the experience and expertise these new appointments will bring to the roles will serve our students in and out of the classroom.

“As Langston University continues to blossom, it is vital we have the right leadership in place,” Dr. Smith said.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including five masters’ degrees and one doctoral program. For more information about Langston University giving please contact the LU Foundation Office at (405) 466-3482.


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by Christina Gray, Media Relations Specialist

LANGSTON, Okla. – A senior English Education major at Langston University, Emmanuel Robinson, was one of 30 aspiring male teachers chosen from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) across the nation to attend the HBCU Male Summer Institute hosted by Winston-Salem State University. The Thurgood Marshall College Fund’s Teacher Quality and Retention Program fund the Institute.

The Guthrie native aspires to become a high school English teacher.

“I really want to teach in an urban setting and give those students the ability to compete with anyone,” Robinson said. “This experience was certainly a guiding point in my teaching career.”

He highly encourages other education majors to take advantage of the scholarship opportunities and summer programs that are available.

The program is specifically geared toward aspiring male teachers from schools across the nation and focuses on teaching innovations and relevant subjects like professional development and school violence by providing support and the tools for the classroom through a series of workshops and lectures.

The men were taught through three different learning styles: visual, auditory and kinesthetic.

“I was able to learn the different strategies but also able to practice those skills learned,” said Robinson. “I plan to make my classroom a mixture of all three something new or developing every day for my students to keep them engaged but also energized about learning. I want to make learning a priority again in students.”

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, Oklahoma. Langston offers more than 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program. For more information on the School of Education & Behavior Sciences at Langston University, visit

Biology senior Kellyn Pollard presents at the 12th Annual K-INBRE Symposium in 2014.


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By Koshia Silver, Director of Public Relations

Kellyn Pollard, of Lawton, was one of eight students honored for their scientific research oral presentations at the 12th annual Kansas IDeA (Institutional Development Awards) Network of Biomedical Research Excellence (K-INBRE) symposium Jan. 18-19.

All oral presenters are awarded for their participation, with first place receiving $500, second place $250, third place $150 and honorable mentions $100. Pollard, a senior in biology at Langston University and the daughter of Van and Talisa Pollard, earned a first place award for her presentation “Beta 2 glycoprotein I-derived peptides alter angiogenesis in melanoma tumors.”

The annual symposium is part of the K-INBRE initiative to identify and recruit promising college science students into biomedical research careers in Kansas. Led by the University of Kansas Medical Center, 10 campuses in Kansas and northern Oklahoma are a part of this collaborative network.

“This program is vital for the continued development and recruitment of biomedical researchers in Kansas,” said Doug Wright, principal investigator for K-INBRE and professor of anatomy and cell biology at KU Medical Center. “With this program, we hope to keep the biosciences in Kansas growing and thriving.”

Students work in laboratories alongside scientist mentors to develop research projects. These projects give students early hands-on experience in putting the scientific method into practice. The students presented their research findings at the symposium.

“Langston was very influential and helped me prepare for this symposium,” Pollard said. “My professors encouraged me to present at the K-INBRE Symposium, and I would not have pursued this if it were not for them. “

The annual K-INBRE Symposium brings together the network of students, faculty and staff from KU Medical Center, Emporia State University, Fort Hays State University, Haskell Indian Nations University, Kansas State University, Pittsburg State University, University of Kansas, Washburn University, Wichita State University and Langston University in Langston, Oklahoma.

Langston University is located 12 miles east of Guthrie, OK. Langston offers over 38 degree programs, including 5 masters degrees and one doctoral program.

K-INBRE is a multi-disciplinary network designed to inspire undergraduates to pursue careers in biomedical research, enhance research capacity through faculty development and retention and expand the biomedical research infrastructure connecting several academic institutions. More information about the program can be found at

This program was made possible by an Institutional Development Award (IDeA) from the National Institute of General Medical Sciences of the National Institutes of Health under grant number P20 GM103418.