Turning a classroom that was once in person into an online classroom was hard enough but turning that online classroom into a virtual reality classroom was another milestone imagined and realized by 4 professors at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. In order to elevate the minds and hearts of scholars thwarted from the school they had called home, the “Ultimate Team” which they have been monikered from Morehouse College created a virtual dream imagined in real life for students in their courses.
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VR Enthusiast/Innovator/Speaker/Autism Advocate/Author/Wife/Mom
Muhsinah L. Holmes Morris, Ph.D is the Academic Program Director (APD) and Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA. She received a B.S. in Chemistry from Clark Atlanta University with honors (cum laude). Dr. Morris received a M.S. and Ph.D. in Chemistry from Emory University (BioMolecular Division). Her research encompasses working in the Morehouse Makerspace Exploration Center, 3D Printing Specialized Laboratory Equipment for those with Autism and other Developmental Disorders. She is the PI of the Morris Research & Innovation Lab Group, where they research and develop technologically innovative solutions for those with autism. She is the PI of the Michelson Foundation's HBCU IP Futures program where she integrates Intellectual Property education into courses across disciplines. She works part-time as a science research coordinator for the Trio program, Upward Bound Math & Science State at Morehouse College in which she first delved into VR with her high school students. Dr. Morris is the Morehouse College’s 2021 Winner of the Vulcan Teaching Award of Excellence who launched her Advanced Inorganic Chemistry course in Virtual Reality in Spring of 2021 in the digital twin campus created by VictoryXR on the Engage Platform. She is a pioneer in this space as the chemistry content in VR is limited to non-existent. She most recently became the Project Manager of the VR Project at Morehouse College. Wife to a gamer named Chris and mom to 5 sons, Anthony, Matthew, Christopher, Seth and Cameron, she is an inventive autism mom, a Volunteer Advocacy Ambassador, National Community Advisory Council Member, and Grant Review Committee Member for Autism Speaks. Her purpose in life is to create inclusivity in STEAAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, agriculture, and math). She believes that VR provides a pathway for creating that inclusion through immersive education, vocational rehabilitation services, and therapeutic experiences.
Assistant Professor/Director of the Vereen Research Institute (VRI)
Dr. Ethell Vereen, Jr. (he, him, his) is an Assistant Professor of Biology at Morehouse College with a STEM Education focus on diversity and inclusion in natural resources; and a research focus on environmental health, water quality, and environmental microbiology. Dr. Vereen was recently awarded a $300,000 Research Initiation Award from the National Science Foundation for his current project, “Metagenomic Approach to Assess Water Quality and Microbial Load Variability of an Urban Watershed,” that has increased the research capacity at Morehouse College and provides additional training opportunities for the College’s STEM students. He currently serves on several boards and foundations including the board for the Environmental Leadership Program, NSF NEON Technical Working Group, and his exemplary contributions in the areas of undergraduate education, student learning and campus life have also been noted as he was awarded the 2019 Vulcan Teaching Excellence Award, and recently recognized as one of 1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America. Dr. Vereen also is engaged in transformative experiential scientific discovery in Virtual Reality (VR) for curriculum development and innovation in teaching. He was one of the lead instructors in the first cohort of teachers at Morehouse College to integrate VR into his courses. By utilizing this technology, he has created activities and experiences that are transforming the way students learn, and the way he teaches.
Senior Assistant Professor of English and Africana Studies
Dr. Tanya N. Clark Gaymon received her BA in English from Clark Atlanta University, her MA in English from the University of Rhode Island, and her Ph.D. in English with a Certification in Women’s Studies from Temple University and specializes in African American and American literature, African American literary criticism, Afrofuturism, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She’s a professor at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Ga. She is currently writing a memoir detailing her experiences with infertility, twin pregnancy, pregnancy loss, and motherhood in which she situates herself as Afrofuturist subject battling intersecting oppressions within the technologically advanced space of today’s American healthcare system. She is also writing a scholarly book that uses womanist and speculative frameworks, particularly horror and Afrofuturism, to analyze the early African American female author Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins and her work with the Colored American Magazine.
One a more more personal note, Tanya is a wife to James, a bonus mom to 15-year old Jared, and mommy to 8-year old twins, Quincy and Maurice.
Dr. Ovell Hamilton, B.A., M.A., PhD., History
Dr. Ovell Hamilton currently serves as an Assistant Professor of history at Morehouse College. He has taught history courses in the following fields: American, African American, African, and World. Also, one of his major endeavors has been in the field of documenting the formation and development of the African American Pentecostal Movement. In archival administration, Dr. Hamilton has maintained a personal archive of rare pictures, print media, and letters that shed light on the African American religious movement and experience. He established the Bishop J. Howard Dell Papers at the Archives of the Atlanta University Center. Also, he assisted with the re-organization and presentation of the Atlanta Public School Archives. Furthermore, he completed his first book on the comprehensive history of the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) institution, titled The Sanctified Revolution.
Before this great venture, Dr. Hamilton completed his bachelor’s degree in history from Morehouse College in 1992 and, in 1999, attained a Masters’ degree in history from Georgia State University. Then, in 2017, he completed his doctoral degree in history at Georgia State University, with a major in 19th/20th Century American History along with minors in World History, British Imperial History, and Russian History.
Moreover, Dr. Hamilton is a retired United States Naval officer. His career in the Navy started in 1986 when he joined the Submarine Forces in Groton, Connecticut. After serving on the USS Greenling, Dr. Hamilton completed officer training in the BOOST Program in San Diego, California in 1989 and was awarded a NROTC scholarship to attend Morehouse College.
Upon graduating Morehouse College, Dr. Hamilton completed Navy Supply Corps School and was assigned to the USS Puget Sound in 1993. Other duty stations and assignments include Naval Air Station Atlanta, Naval Reserve Recruiting Command, Orlando, Florida, and European Command, Stuttgart, Germany. He retired from the Navy in 2009. During his tenure at Naval Air Station Atlanta, he served as the Command Manager of Equal Opportunity while organizing and supervising the following programs: ML King Breakfast, African American History Month, Women’s History Month, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month, Hispanic/Latino Heritage Month, and Native American Heritage Month.
Dr. Hamilton has instructed several students and leaders in World History, US History, and African American History. In 2013, he lectured at the historic Mason Temple in Memphis, Tennessee on Founder’s Day about the development and legacy of the COGIC institution and its contributions to American Christendom. Also, in February 2014, Dr. Hamilton gave a lecture at Memphis University on the spiritual and political development of the Pentecostal Movement in the South. He has served on several panels and historical symposiums at Morehouse College, Atlanta Public Schools, Conferences of Black Churches, and local communities in Atlanta, Albany, and Milledgeville. Additionally, he assisted with the editing of The Journal of Negro History and supported the Association of the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH).
Dr. Hamilton is married to Dr. Ericka Davis-Hamilton of Atlanta Public Schools and they have a son, Ashton Ovell Hamilton who is a junior at Chapel Hill High School in Douglasville.