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Projected US Real Estate Slump May Help Young Home Buyers

The COVID-19 pandemic has spurred the highest unemployment numbers in the U.S. since the Great Depression of the 1930s. While more people are out of work, financial experts expect home prices to fall and interest rates to remain low - factors that could enable some young people to buy their first home.  Esha Sarai has more.

Young Influencers Soothe COVID-19 Fears

Social media has given young entrepreneurs a platform to promote themselves and retail brands. These influencers are uniquely positioned to reach followers with other messages. Bronwyn Benito explains how COVID-19 has influenced some influencers.

More Schools Drop SAT Requirement During COVID

Most universities and colleges have required standardized tests for admission applications since the 1960s. Because the COVID pandemic has closed schools and campuses, a growing number of universities are waving the test requirement for prospective students. Bronwyn Benito has more.  

Canceled Commencement Ceremonies Frustrate Class of 2020

No classes and no graduations. The class of 2020 will miss their commencement ceremonies due to coronavirus pandemic bans of all mass gatherings. Colleges and universities across the US are offering alternative solutions – some have rescheduled the ceremony, while others are holding virtual graduations. For many students, however, the thrill of the moment is forever lost. Daria Dieguts has the story.

Haiti Teen Inventor Keeps Neighbors’ Hands Clean

In the underprivileged Delmas 75 neighborhood of Haiti’s capital, Port-au-Prince, residents are keeping their hands clean and preventing the spread of the novel coronavirus thanks to a brand-new contraption, courtesy of teen inventor and recycler Wens Dimanche.The 18-year old, who received acclaim in Haiti in 2019 for his ingenious remote-control loaders and trucks made of scrap metal, saw a need to help his neighbors wash their hands without contaminating the faucet with the coronavirus.   Haitian teen inventor Wens Dimanche invented a way for his neighbors to wash their hands without risking COVID-19 contamination. (Photo: Matiado Vilme / VOA)“I made this electric bucket because I feared that if a person has the virus on their hands and they touch the faucet to turn it on, they could contaminate not only the faucet but also their neighbors. So, I wanted to find a way to solve that problem,” Dimanche told VOA Creole.  
The teenager, who has no formal training in electronics, took a white plastic bucket, filled it with water, attached a mechanical faucet to dispense the water, and linked it to a blue plastic pedal, which powers it on and off. When people need to wash their hands, they simply step on the pedal to release water.  “This is an electric pedal,” Dimanche explained as he held up his invention for us to see. “It turns on by attaching this chord. When you lift your foot off the pedal, the water stops flowing.”
 When a person steps on the pedal, the bucket releases water. (Photo: Matiado Vilme / VOA)To power his invention, the teen used a cell phone battery, which is rechargeable. And to keep things safe and easy, the pedal can be detached from the bucket when it needs to be recharged. His invention is currently located on a metal table in his back yard, where neighbors are free to stop by to wash their hands at any time.
VOA found children and adults alike washing their hands with the invention.  
 Adults and children alike come to wash their hands at the hands-free bucket in teen Wens Dimanche's backyard. (Photo: Matiado Vilme / VOA)Dimanche says he’s not satisfied yet - this is just a start. He is still refining his invention and plans to introduce a new and improved prototype soon.   
Haiti had 72 confirmed cases of the coronavirus as of April 23. Five people have died and two have recovered.

Frustration Continues With Online Classes

While many American universities and colleges already offered online degree programs, the coronavirus pandemic has forced most schools to do away with formal classes and shift all course work online. But both students and educators are reporting frustration with the new normal, as VOA's Bronwyn Benito explains.

US Medical Students Turn to Unlikely Sources to Collect Gear for Health Care Workers

Medical students from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., have launched a volunteer organization called MedSupplyDrive to help supply doctors and nurses with much-needed medical supplies during the coronavirus pandemic. Now hundreds of med students nationwide are collecting as many face masks, gloves, disinfectants and hand sanitizers as they can from tattoo parlors, nail salons and labs to pass along to medical professionals who are working round the clock to save people. Lesia Bakalets reports in this story narrated by Anna Rice. 

Scientists Worldwide Asked for Input on COVID-19 Behavior

A professor at New York University has called on social scientists around the world to participate in an effort that could help medical experts and world leaders to better predict the spread of the coronavirus and also to control the outbreak. Bronwyn Benito has more.

US Women's Colleges Seen as Incubators for Independence

BRYN MAWR, PENNSYLVANIA — When Sandy Doran became president of Salem College, a women’s college in North Carolina, she inherited a daunting task.
“When I arrived, we were in a bit of a financial pickle,” Doran told VOA.
Doran faced a decline in enrollment seen across higher education. According to figures by the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, enrollment in higher education began declining in 2011. One possible reason for the decline is that after the economy recovered from the stock market crash in 2008, young people felt more secure jumping into jobs or putting off college for a few years after high school.
But like many colleges and universities, Salem hadn't seen the decline coming, and took on debt to build new facilities. Doran and the school turned to alumni for support.  
“Through relentless communication, transparency about what was needed, we were really able to unify the campus, unify the students, faculty, staff, and the wider alumni community and the wider community of Winston-Salem,” Doran said, referring to the city that is home to the campus.
Salem College was founded in 1722, Doran said. “It predates the U.S. Constitution!”  
And like many other women’s colleges in the United States, Salem has seen significant positive change in the past four years.
“Our applications have increased by 100%,” Doran said.
Notable women’s colleges, including Barnard College in New York, Mount Holyoke College and Smith College in Massachusetts, Agnes Scott College in Georgia, and Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania, have all noted increased applications and enrollment since 2016 and the #MeToo movement, which was created in reaction to sexual harassment and assaults.
“After the 2016 election, we definitely saw an uptick in young women looking for these spaces where women are empowered, and they're empowered to use their voice,” Marissa Turchi, director of undergraduate admissions at Bryn Mawr College, told VOA.
“Years ago, students were selecting Bryn Mawr despite the fact that it was a women's college. I think more and more now are choosing Bryn Mawr because it’s a women's college,” Turchi said.
For some students, the choice to study at a women’s college has always been an easy one.
“Women's colleges actually run in my family,” Katarina Karris-Flores, a student at Bryn Mawr told VOA.
“Both my aunts went to Wellesley and my cousin went to Wellesley and my mom went to a woman's college in California,” she explained.
But her classmate, Liz Marchini, said she had never planned to attend a ...

Fulbright Recipients Say Evacuation Overseas Was Confused

The prestigious Fulbright program, which sponsors recent graduates and some professors to teach English or conduct research overseas for anywhere from one to nine months, was brought to an abrupt halt because of the coronavirus pandemic. Many of the Fulbright scholars were left with the choice of either returning to the United States or stay in-country without the program’s support. Esha Sarai has more

Lifted Lockdown Does Not Free Foreign Students in China

Some international students in China are feeling relieved as the lockdown in Wuhan, China, is being lifted after the COVID-19 outbreak. But they remain concerned about family back home as the virus has spread to more than 170 countries. Sahar Majid has more in this report narrated by Kathleen Struck.

Many Graduating ESL Teachers Were Once ESL Learners

International students in the U.S. usually learn English in their home countries before coming to study at American universities and colleges. But for one group of international students at American University in Washington, developing materials for teaching English as a second language to help immigrants is part   
of their master’s program in education. In Washington, Esha Sarai has more.

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