African American Students Win Marshall Scholarships

In 1953, the Marshall Scholarships program was established by an act of the British Parliament. Funded by the British government, the program is a national gesture of thanks to the American people for aid received under the Marshall Plan, the U.S.-financed program that led to the reconstruction of Europe after World War II. The scholarships provide funds for up to two years of study at a British university, and include money for travel, living expenses, and books. Applicants must earn a degree at an American college or university with a minimum of a 3.7 grade point average.

[Related: [BE Education Package] Study, Intern, Work Overseas—Yes, You!]

The Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission is authorized to award up to 40 scholarships each year. This year 32 scholarships were awarded. According to the Journal for Blacks in Higher Education research, at least four of the 32 winners are African American.

Quenton Bubb is a senior at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore who is majoring in biophysics. A native of Brooklyn, New York, Bubb hopes to go to medical school and to earn a Ph.D. in molecular biophysics. In England, he will pursue graduate studies in chemistry at the University of Cambridge.

Robert Clinton is a senior at the Gallatin School of Individualized Study at New York University. His independent study degree is focusing on the sociology and politics of urban agriculture. In England, Clinton will pursue a master of science degree in sustainable urbanism and a master of research degree in interdisciplinary urban design.

Ophelia Johnson is a graduate of the University of Alabama Birmingham with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering. She is currently pursuing a master’s degree at the university in engineering. Johnson is a former UNCF Merck Undergraduate Research Fellow and has also won a Goldwater Scholarship. Johnson will spend a year studying medical device design and entrepreneurship at Imperial College London.

Read more at Good Black News.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: A Soldier’s War Within

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The U.S. has been engaged in war for a decade. Thousands have been killed on both sides. The bill totals nearly $3 trillion. The objectives are murky at best, and have often faded from consciousness, as politics and economics took center stage in American media. While troops withdraw from Iraq and combat winds down in Afghanistan, the scars are still fresh. When U.S. soldier, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, was accused of murdering 17 Afghan civilians in March, the nation refocused attention on the psychological effects war has had on soldiers.

For many veterans who’ve returned home from Iraq and Afghanistan, their personal war is far from over. They must learn to readjust to the pressures of civilian life, and learn to cope with traumatic memories of combat. Veterans are at higher risk for mental health problems, including post traumatic stress disorder [PTSD], depression, suicide and substance abuse problems. Military suicide has also been in the news, prompting coverage and discussion over how the war has impacted those who engaged in combat. The number of suicides in the US Army rose by 80 percent after the United States launched the war on Iraq, according to figures asserted by American military doctors.

The circumstances of the recent wars are unique from previous periods of conflict like Vietnam and World War II. The dynamics of the military have changed. Women play a much larger role in military operations and a draft is no longer in place, so a smaller portion of the general population has served in combat. Of those who have enlisted, many soldiers, like Sgt. Bales, sign up for multiple tours with a large percentage remaining as reserves.

Tireak Tulloch was deployed to Kuwait in 2003 with the Marine Corps. He was called up again in June 2004 and left the military in 2008. “In a post 9/11 world, the reserves took on a whole new meaning,” he says. “Our reservists were deployed as much as active duty. As reservists we were civilians most of the time. You’re not on a base where you’re constantly training, you have responsibilities.”

As Tulloch returned to civilian life, things slowly began to unravel. “After I separated from the Marines in 2008, I hadn’t really taken the time to process the years of service, the multiple deployments and the changes that took place inside myself,” he says. “It started out fine. I was working, going to a school and I had a girlfriend. Things were going great. Over time everyday issues came up [that] I wasn’t addressing the way I would [when] I was still in the military.”

Tulloch sought support from veteran groups and attended a retreat for young veterans. “One of the things we do in the military very well is that we compartmentalize, putting thoughts in certain parts of your mind,” he continues. “The best way I can think of it is that out there in the field of combat you may lose a service member, but you can’t let that loss overwhelm you. You adapt to that environment. You address it in a way that allows you to survive. That same skill becomes problematic when you get out, because you’re not on a field of battle.”

Tulloch eventually worked his way through thanks to the help of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America [IAVA] and became a spokesperson for the organization. “After that first year of going through bumps and bruises, I felt that I needed to help myself and find ways to help others,” he says. Members of the IAVA are converging on Washington, D.C. this week on behalf of younger veterans for “Storm the Hill”. In a recent survey of its members, IAVA found that nearly 17 percent were unemployed as of January 2012. The survey also found 67 percent of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans don’t think the mental-health care received by troops and veterans is adequate.

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In the News: Sears Holdings to Close 100-120 Stores; Forgotten Black WWII Veteran Recognized and More


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  • Sears Holdings to Close 100-120 Stores

The retail industry kicked off the holiday shopping season with strong sales, but that wasn’t enough to spare Sears Holdings from their current predicament. The company, which is comprised of over 4,000 stores in the United States and Canada, reported an intense drop in holiday sales compared to a year ago, forcing the retail giant to close 100 to 120 Sears and Kmart stores.

Sears Holdings announced same-store sales—sales at stores open at least a year—tumbled 5.2% in the eight weeks leading to Christmas Day. That came from a 4.4% drop in sales at Kmart stores and a 6% slip in sales at domestic Sears stores.

The stores to be closed have yet to be identified.

Read more at CNN Money…

  • Black WWII Veteran Will Get Long-Awaited Medal

Carl Clark, a black Navy veteran credited with saving the lives of some of his shipmates during a World War II battle, will finally be getting a medal for his heroism, announced U.S. Rep. Anna Eshoo on Thursday.

While serving as an E-6 Steward First Class aboard the USS Aaron Ward, the now 95-year-old dragged several men to safety after Japanese kamikazes attacked the destroyer near Okinawa in May 1945. Clark also put out a fire in an ammunition locker, all while suffering from a broken collarbone.

He will be awarded the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal with the Combat Distinguished Device on Jan. 17. Clark will receive the medal during a ceremony at Moffett Field in Mountain View, Calif.

Read more at The Grio…

  • Mobile App Downloads Set Christmas Day Records

Christmas Day downloads of Apple iOS and Android apps more than doubled compared to years past, according to a recent report. The enormous spike in app downloads on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day is breaking records.

Apple’s App Store is set to reach 10 billion downloads this year alone, while Google’s Android Market has surpassed 10 billion downloads overall, according to estimates from mobile analytics firm Flurry.

Read more at the New York Times…