When Osama Musa was in the first grade, he fell in love with science and math. Because of his interest and the encouragement he received from teachers, he kept seeking knowledge. By the age of 16, he knew that he wanted to be a chemist. He majored in organic chemistry during his undergraduate career and completed a masters in chemistry before coming to Wayne State University for his Ph.D. Musa is a passionate chemist who now encourages young scientists across the world to engage in innovative practices. He is a member of the Board of Advisors in Manhattan College’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as well as vice president and chief technology officer at Ashland Inc.
“Wayne State’s organic chemistry program is one of a kind, and really allowed me to advance my knowledge and open new opportunities,” Musa said.
After earning his Ph.D., Musa spent a year as a postdoctoral research assistant at WSU. During this time he was also a teaching assistant and received multiple awards for his work. Musa was then given the opportunity to be a project supervisor. He took the position after his research at WSU was over, and his innovative practices and passion in organic chemistry ultimately allowed him to hold multiple leadership roles in the world of science.
“Wayne State gave me excellent leadership skills and a great work ethic,” he said. “People asked me where I learned everything; I obtained all this knowledge during my time at Wayne State”
Musa now gives leadership talks to universities and research facilities throughout the world. He is passionate about sharing skills with others to help them become inspiring leaders. He advises current Wayne State students to strive to learn more about their disciplines and areas of interest, reach out to peers and professors, and seek knowledge and new experiences. Beyond the lab, Musa enjoys traveling the world and has had the opportunity to collaborate with scientists abroad.
“The leadership skills and collaboration among professors at Wayne State made me confident. The encouragement I received from my peers and professors made it possible for me to strive to always be the best I can be,” he said.
On top of Wayne State’s Science Hall is a greenhouse that had not been used for about 10 years. That greenhouse is now home to the Biodiversity Network. The new student organization has reclaimed the space as a spot for urban ecologists, gardening enthusiasts, and those curious about food systems and starting a garden. Here, students are able to help grow vegetables, herbs, native plants — and new relationships.
The Biodiversity Network was created by undergraduate biochemistry student Stathis Pauls and urban planning graduate students Adam Pruitt and Natalie Lyons. Michelle Serryn, the lab coordinator for the biology department, is the faculty member involved in the Biodiversity Network. With the collaboration of Pruitt and Serryn, the greenhouse was transformed into the new space for the Biodiversity Network,
“Really, we want the space to be a place for people to collaborate and share their knowledge and passions,” said Pruitt while cleaning out a tank that will soon be the home for mantids.
The greenhouse is bustling with life. Members of the organization mix soil, plant transplants, help raise mantids and honey bees, and grow food. “Our hope in creating the Biodiversity Network was that people throughout campus and the Detroit community would be able to come together to learn about organic urban gardening and food systems,” said Pauls.
The group has already successfully started growing herbs and vegetables in the greenhouse.
“Once all our transplants are ready, we will move them to Warrior Garden, then the food we grow will be shared with the student organizations such as Students Feeding Students and the Wayne State food pantry.” said Lyons.
Written by CLAS communications associate Christiana Castillo
Students from Wayne State University’s English Writing and Community class (ENG 3020) had the unique opportunity to meet with seniors at the Hannan Center who lived through the events in Detroit during the summer of 1967.
The Hannan Center supports the senior community in Detroit through shared learning classes and workshops. The students met with the seniors at the Hannan Center for the majority of the course, and the Hannan seniors met the students on Wayne State’s campus as well.
“This is the first course where the class and community partnership is extremely focused on a historical event, that event being the 1967 rebellion,” said Professor Thomas Trimble, who led the course.
This semester’s ENG 3020 course allowed students to learn about the 1967 rebellions in the form of oral history while enhancing their own writing and interviewing skills. In this multigenerational class, students went to the Hannan Center to meet with senior residents to interview them about their experiences during the 1967 Detroit riots. Students recorded and documented the retellings to refine their writing skills, but more importantly to preserve these unique perspectives of a key moment in Detroit’s history.
Student Kasey Rechter felt the community learning aspect of the course made learning about the riots more engaging: “Being able to interview my partner gave me a real connection with the subject of the riots and also a connection with the interviewee.”
The course provided many perspectives on the 1967 Detroit riots from the people who actually lived through it.
Psychology student Sophie Hanna felt an appreciation for the course: “Seeing these stories told by so many different personalities made me realize how many perspectives there are about the rebellion that I hadn’t considered before.”
Written by Christiana Castillo, CLAS Public Relations Associate
|Carley Vincke, a second-year speech language pathology graduate student at Wayne State University, recently had the unique opportunity to visit Kumasi, Ghana, for an 11-day mission trip.
There, Vincke was able to apply the techniques she learned in her studies with several families affected by disability.
“In Ghana I was with a team of five Americans, three of whom were volunteers familiar with working with people with disabilities, two physical therapists, and me, a soon-to-be speech pathologist.”
It’s clear that Vincke has a passion for both speech pathology and working with children. While abroad, she was able to assess a young girl with aspiration pneumonia and show her mother how to feed her without harming her.
“I was able to implement the strategies I learned from a dysphagia class I took at WSU. Showing her mother proper feeding techniques and how to position her child made such a difference!”
If not for Vincke’s intervention, the young girl’s aspiration pneumonia would have most likely progressed, which could have led to death.
“I wanted the people who were affected by these disabilities to know they are loved and that they do have a purpose, that they are not mistakes and that their disability does not define them. Speech pathology is one way for me to do this.”
Vincke is currently getting clinical experience at Detroit Receiving Hospital, where she is learning more about swallowing techniques and speech pathology. Next semester, she will complete her last internship at Children’s Hospital of Michigan, where she will continue to learn more about disabilities and how speech language pathology can help others. After graduation, Vincke hopes to work with children in a clinical setting and possibly start her own mission to help more people the way she did in Ghana.
“All the professors in the speech pathology department are incredibly understanding and knowledgeable. I think Wayne State provides the best clinical experience there is for graduate school.”
|Wayne State University alumnus Dr. Dennis Barrie’s love for museums started at a young age when his parents dragged him kicking and screaming to every museum they could find. Visiting museums became part of his everyday life and his appreciation for creative and artistic minds deepened with each new cultural institution he visited. Barrie has since channeled his passion into developing innovative museums of his own, including the International Spy Museum, The Mob Museum and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum.
“I really had a love for museums and creating art itself, but I wasn’t very good at it. So I drew that into a great interest in those who do create, which turned into a great love for the visual arts,” said Barrie, whose passion in art and history has spilled from his home to his career.
Barrie started his career doing archival work for the Smithsonian Institution, which allowed him to travel while finishing his doctorate.
“I went back and forth to Washington but the Smithsonian also had a branch office in the Detroit Institute of Arts. I actually had an office there at the DIA; it made my academic and personal life possible.”
While Barrie worked for the Smithsonian, he traveled the world, leading special travel programs for the Archives related to art. He went to Europe, China and across the United States. Whenever he travels, visiting museums is a top priority. Many of his favorite museums, however, are his own.
The International Spy Museum in Washington, D.C., is an innovative museum for which Barrie led the entire development. It is the only public museum in the United States dedicated to educating the public about espionage and preserving the history of the “invisible” career.
“No one thought a spy museum, a real spy museum, could be done,” Barrie said. “Our team managed to put together real spies and real agents to create a museum that was a huge popular and critical success.”
The Mob Museum in Las Vegas tackles the complex history of organized crime throughout the United States. Barrie was the creative director for the Mob Museum, which is filled with interactive exhibits and is another museum no one thought could be successful.
“The organized crime in Vegas came in from other cities, so it was a way to explore Detroit, Tampa, Kansas City, Chicago and all the organized-crime cities,” Barrie said. We got to know many of the mob families and FBI personnel — it’s a very complex story.”
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum commemorates the great performers of rock and the lifestyle those artists lived. Barrie was the founding executive director of the museum. Located in Cleveland, Ohio, it is a one-of-a-kind museum and exists to preserve and celebrate the history of rock and roll.
“The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was an incredible experience,” Barrie said. “A major museum devoted to rock culture had never been done before. It’s one of the best museums in the country.”
Barrie’s history of organizing innovative museums will continue to grow. Currently, he is working to create a U.S. Olympic museum in Colorado Springs, which is expected to debut in two to three years. He is also working on a project to develop a psychology museum.
While Barrie undoubtedly loves the museums he has helped design, he feels a special connection to the Detroit Institute of Arts after working there, and is especially fond of its American art collection.
“Museums broaden your world. One of the advantages of going to Wayne State is that you don’t have to drive miles away to experience great museums and culture.”