TSU Secures $11.4 Million To Help Provide Families With Better Childcare In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Child care providers in Tennessee will have the opportunity to receive additional training thanks to a new $11.4 million federal grant secured by Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences. The university believes better trained daycare providers will mean better daycare services for Tennessee families.

(Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Kimberly Smith, the center’s director, says the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow TSU to continue to serve as the professional development hub for the state as it relates to child development and early childhood training.

“We are expanding our online courses through the Tennessee Child care Online Training System, and we will now be responsible for the state’s workforce registry for all child development professionals who work in the area of childcare across the state,” says Smith.

Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA), a statewide professional development system that provides assistance for employees at licensed childcare facilities, is funded by Tennessee State University through a contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and is housed under the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences.

Some of the additional courses that will soon be available include: Early Literacy Matters; Eat, Play and Rest; Inclusion; and Brain Development.

“One thing that makes TECTA so unique is that we work with early childhood professionals to strengthen the workforce within the state for childcare. We get to work with the family home providers and the centers, and then we provide funding for students,” adds Smith.

Dr. Kimberly Smith (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Carmen Davis says without help from TSU’s TECTA program, she
would not have been able to open her three-star childcare company, Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments.

“I was working full-time and going to school, and I couldn’t afford to do both,” says Davis, who started her business in 2007. “TECTA came in to offset the price, which allowed me the opportunity to go and achieve my CDA (Child Development Associate) through their grant and their funding.”

Davis, whose company is licensed to care for seven clients, says she has taken advantage of many of the courses currently offered by TECTA.

“I went through all of the TECTA orientations which were very beneficial because I work with a multi-age group. I went through the infant–toddler training, the preschool training and the administration training, which benefits me as far as my business part,” she says. “I also went through the TECTA Business Administration credential which helped with putting together a portfolio, the taxes part of it, the business sheets part of it and being professional. It took me to another level of professionalism.”

Tonita Robinson’s children have attended Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments since they were six-weeks old. She says her two-year-old and four-year-old have benefited from Davis’ experiences with TECTA.

Carmen Davis, owner of Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“She does a good job identifying my kids’ triggers,” says Robinson. “She makes sure if my son is acting out, she doesn’t say he’s just acting out. She’s able to say why he was acting out, what she thinks might have caused him to act out, and what we can do to work together to fix it.”

Robinson, who works as a financial advisor at Napier Elementary School, believes the new funding is necessary for child care professionals to provide the best services.

“Everything changes everyday. Nothing stays the same,” she says. “The curriculum changes, and if the childcare provider’s job is to help prepare kids for when they get into school, then they need to have the training that regular teachers in the school system have so they will be on one accord.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and
Sponsored Programs at TSU, credits Smith, TECTA Statewide Program Director Lin Venable and the center’s team approach for TECTA’s success.

“Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, she and her team have grown the center, as well as the funding. In this case, with TECTA receiving a little over $11 million for the year, this is the largest award for TECTA to date,” says Williams.

Shelia Westbrooks, the Middle Tennessee regional advisor for TOPSTAR, says the advisors have found the “most-needed” areas for the new programs and TECTA services in general are rural areas.

“They are not familiar with the program, and if they are, they don’t have internet access,” says Westbrooks, who worked as a licensed childcare provider for more than 20 years. “We try to make sure that we get materials to them to keep them aware of how family child care is changing in the state of Tennessee.”
Westbrooks contends that many rural family care providers don’t know that there is funding available to assist them.

“TECTA helped fund my education. With the fund I got I was able to get my degree and now as an advisor, I work with over 239 providers in the Middle Tennessee Region,” she says. ‘It’s all about higher education and we want them to get their CDA credential and their accreditation credential, and TECTA helps to pay for all of that. A provider who works for themselves may not always have that extra funding, and so TECTA is that bridge to get them where they want to be.”

The Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences was established in 1984, and began administering the TECTA Program in 1993.

For more information about TECTA, visit tecta.info or call 615-277-1697.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Hundreds of High School Seniors, Juniors and Parents Review TSU Programs and Offerings During Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Atlanta high school senior Trinity Holt has made up her mind for college. She is coming to Tennessee State University to study pre-law, and she plans to play a little golf while she is at it.

Trinity Holt, a graduating senior from Mill Creek High School in Atlanta, will be a freshman at TSU Next fall semester. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media relations)

“I fell in love with TSU after watching the school band play in the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. It was so nice,” said the Mill Creek High School standout. “I talked to the band members, and even though I was not playing, I felt like I was part of them.”

A competitive golf player since her freshman year, Holt wants to bring her game to TSU. She was among hundreds of high school seniors and juniors from across the country who attended Spring Preview Day at TSU on Nov. 9 to get information on the university’s offerings and programs.

The visitors – from about 15 states including, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin – had the opportunity to see the campus, get acquainted with admission processes, and meet with academic departments with displays in Kean Hall. They also interacted with student organization leaders, including Mister TSU and Miss TSU. They toured the campus, as well as took in the Big Blue Tiger Spring Blue & White Football Game in Hale Stadium, with entertainment by the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.

From right, high school senior Le’Kieffer DeBerry, her brother Kanaan, mother Kendra, a TSU alum, niece Mc’Kenzie, and father Dale DeBerry attend Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Today was amazing because students from all across the country got the opportunity to see exactly what makes TSU special,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “Today was filled with activities for parents and students. We were also blessed to have members of our academic departments on hand to give information about programs, scholarships and internships.”

Earlier in a ceremony in Kean Hall, Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, greeted the visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling. He directed his comments mainly at parents.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, middle, talks to a family during Spring Preview Day in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I encourage you parents to be excited and to know that those leaders that you brought here today are going to meet leaders that I want you to talk to,” Johnson said. “Drill them about what they are doing here and how that will help your child. We want you to know that TSU is about business and that we are going to take care of your children.”

Katelyn Thompson, president of the student government association, also spoke and introduced the visitors to the various campus organizations.

TSU admissions officials assist visiting students and parents in Kean Hall during Spring Preview Day. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Trinity Holt, many students came to Spring Preview ready to make TSU their next home for their college careers, while several others said they were impressed with the reception they received, the programs, as well as the campus and the family atmosphere.

Le’Kieffer DeBerry, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, came with her mother Kendra, a TSU alum,  father Dale, brother Kanaan, and her niece Mc’Kenzie. With a plan to major in pre-med, Le’Kieffer said she is trying to make up her mind after looking at other programs, and she thinks TSU would be a good fit, especially since her mother attended TSU and her grandmother, Eloise Thompson Jackson, was a longtime professor in the dental hygiene program.

“I am not a stranger to TSU. My mother and grandmother always talk a lot at about the programs and the nurturing students receive,” Le’Kieffer said. “I have been seriously thinking about coming here.”

“I definitely think TSU will be a good choice for her,” Kendra DeBerry, who graduated TSU in 1989, added. “I want her to have that HBCU experience. I love TSU. I think the school has a lot to offer.”

Kito Johnson, who also traveled from Rosswell, Georgia, with his son Immanuel, said Spring Preview Day was very encouraging.

“We have looked at quite a few colleges,” he said. “This is the first HBCU we have looked at and am very glad that we came.”

“My experience here was pretty cool,” added Immanuel, who first heard about TSU at a college fair. “After the counselor talked about the school, I decided to come and look at it. I like what I see – a nice campus, nice people and great programs.”

Immanuel wants to major in psychology. He is also interested in the Honors College.

For more information on admission to TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

New Student Veterans Center, decorated soldier highlight TSU Veterans Day Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University announced the grand opening of its Student Veterans Center at a Veterans Day program on Monday that featured a generational soldier with four Bronze Star Medals.

Lt. Col. Bernard House speaks at TSU Veterans Day program. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

The program was on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus, which is where the new center will be housed. A ribbon cutting for the new center was held following an observance ceremony for all service men and women.  

TSU President Glenda Glover was among the program’s speakers and lauded all those individuals who sacrifice their lives for this nation.

“Thank you for answering the call to duty,” said Dr. Glover. “TSU is honored to have this program to salute our heroes.”

Mike Krause, executive director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, commended TSU for its new Student Veterans Center, saying “combining military service with higher education is the ultimate combination.”

“The TSU Student Veterans Center … is going to become an incredible hub for student veterans at our state’s land-grant university, which is leading the way in engineering and agriculture,” said Krause, a veteran Bronze Star recipient. “What better way to create leaders in those fields than to bring those who have already served, and say hey, we’re going to make you a TSU Tiger as well.”

The program’s keynote speaker, Lt. Col. Bernard House, agreed.

TSU President Glenda Glover (2nd from left), Lt. Col. Bernard House (far left), THEC executive director Mike Krause (3rd from left), TSU alum and state Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Lt. Col. Nick Callaway, commander of TSU’s AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“With thousands of soldiers transitioning out of the military annually, it is great to see the dedication by the university to ensure a smooth transition for our veterans,” said House of TSU, which is a certified Vets Campus. “As a nation and as a military, we must remain committed to taking care of our veterans.“

The program also honored Vietnam Veterans. House’s father was a noncommissioned officer in the 3rd Battalion, 6th Field Artillery Regiment during the Vietnam War. Coincidentally, House commanded the 3rd Battalion of the 6th Field Artillery Regiment during his deployment to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve.

“I actually got a chance to command the same regiment that my father served in in Vietnam,” said House, who has been in the Army 22 years and received four Bronze Star Medals, six Meritorious Service Medals and the Combat Action Badge, among other awards.

“So this is an extreme honor for me to be able to speak. Not only to recognize the veterans, but to focus on Vietnam Veterans. And because my father served in Vietnam, it’s also a way for me to honor him.”

Dr. Evelyn Nettles, associate vice president for Academic Affairs at TSU, spearheaded formation of the center. She said before the program that the center’s mission is to “provide support for military and veteran students as they transition from their military duty to enrollment and matriculation at the university.”

Student Vet Joseph Hart receives “Quilt of Valor.” (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“This ensures that these students have a voice in their university experience and are inspired to achieve success in their classes and in the broader community,” she added.

Gwen Falin is the veteran prior learning assessment coordinator at TSU. A veteran herself , she said “it’s important for student veterans to have the opportunity to connect with other student veterans.”

“Veterans in general are a small population,” said Falin, who helped start the center. “And then when you attend school, it’s not uncommon for student veterans to be older than their classmates. If they are seeking out other veteran students, they have a place to do so.”

TSU student veteran Joseph Hart retired from the Army after 23 years and is currently a senior majoring in liberal arts. He said fellow vets at the university will benefit from the center.

“I love the fact that we have the Veterans Center,” said Hart, who was honored with a “Quilt of Valor” during the program for his three tours of duty in Middle Eastern conflicts. “It’s really great to know that we’re being recognized as soldiers.”

Members of TSU AFROTC Det. 790. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Last year, TSU implemented a program that allows veterans to count military training for credit hours when they enroll at the university. The program is part of the state of Tennessee’s Veteran Reconnect initiative.

For more information about veteran services at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/vets/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Top Houston Student Chooses TSU to Pursue Career in Engineering and Robotics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Freshman Houston-native Paul Johnson, Jr., initially considered studying mechanical engineering at a university closer to his hometown.

All that changed last fall after a chance meeting with Tennessee State University Honors College Interim Dean, Dr. Coreen Jackson.

Johnson, Jr., a freshman mechanical engineering major, says he had just completed a campus visit to Texas A&M University when his father, Paul Johnson, Sr., ran into Jackson and her husband, who happened to be in town for a wedding.

“I already had a slight knowledge of who she was, but after meeting her she told me about the campus, and it caught my attention,” Johnson, Jr., said.

With Jackson’s assistance, the Johnson family scheduled a campus visit, which gave Paul an opportunity to tour Tennessee State and meet with Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

Paul Johnson, Jr.

“What I found out about this campus is that there are a whole lot more engineering aspects that I did not anticipate when I was looking into the university,” he said. “I got to see more about the interactions between the faculty and the students themselves, in terms of doing research and improving technology.”

Jackson, who hosted Johnson’s family when they initially visited TSU, says the younger Johnson has a bright future.

“To me he will be the next Jesse Russell,” she said, referring to the famous TSU alum who created the first digital cellular base station and is known as the father of digital cellular technology. “It may not be wireless communications, but it will be some breakthrough in something.”

Johnson, Jr., recalls having a love for engineering as early as preschool.

“When I was in preschool at church, I was the student who was messing with the Lincoln Logs and the plexi toys to make giant cars, toys and robots, and I eventually even started a little league just to have fun with the other students who wanted to build stuff,” he said.

Throughout his four years at Cyprus Woods High School, Johnson, Jr., developed his engineering skills as a member of the Texas Technology Student Association. He also participated in NASA HUNCH, a program that he says allowed him to work directly with NASA officials to help make machine parts for the international space station.

As a member of the Honors College, the 19-year-old budding robotics guru has continued to pursue his engineering passion by joining organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NESBE) and the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP).

Paul Johnson

In September, Johnson, Jr., joined TSU President Glenda Glover in Washington, DC, along with three other students chosen to participate in the National HBCU Braintrust during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Top students from the nation’s historically black colleges and universities participated in the brainstrust.

Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Johnson plans to pursue a doctorate and ultimately play a leadership role in the robots industry.

“In ten years I want to be part of or in charge of leading the whole robotics industry in terms of the consumer dynamic,” said Johnson, Jr. “There are still lingering fears that people have about dealing with robotics, but they fail to look into how robotics can help people on a grander scale.”

Jackson says she witnessed Johnson’s love for TSU when he provided live music for his classmates during freshman move-in.

“While the parents and freshman where coming in, he took that upright bass and he just serenaded the people,” she said. “He’s just an amazing young man.  He is one young man who is on his way to fulfilling his purpose, and he has found the institution that can take him there.”

For more information about opportunities in the TSU College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU to show award-winning documentary about threats to honeybees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is providing a free screening of an award-winning documentary about the threats to honeybees and other pollinators.

The film, called “The Pollinators,” will be shown on Wednesday, November 6, at 6:30 p.m. in The Forum auditorium in TSU’s Floyd-Payne Campus Center. TSU is one of four college campuses across the state selected to show the film.

“The Pollinators” follows migratory beekeepers and their truckloads of honeybees around the United States and sheds light on some of the threats to the bees’ survival, such as pesticides and other chemicals, according to a synopsis of the film. 

The filmmakers talk to farmers, scientists, chefs and academics along the way to give a broad perspective about the problem, what it means to food security, and how to improve it.

“More than anything, this film is about awareness,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “The reality is, we’re losing the bees, and we have to find ways to save them.”

“The Pollinators” has been selected by 25 national and international film festivals and has been honored as “Best Documentary” at seven of them.

Following the film on Wednesday, there will be a panel discussion and Q&A. The panel will include several TSU Ag officials, as well as representatives from the Nashville Area Beekeepers Association.

To see the trailer, visit https://us.demand.film/the-pollinators/.

Note: Featured photo courtesy of Peter Nelson

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glover makes Essence magazine’s prestigious ‘Woke 100 List’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover is among Essence magazine’s national list of women who are “inspiring communities around the world” and has been named to its “Woke 100 List.”

Framed as a “salute to women of color challenging the status quo,” the list, published in Essence’s November issue, features “100 women who exemplify the true meaning of being change agents and power players,” according to a release.

Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU and international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. (Photo courtesy of Essence)

President Glover, who is considered a stalwart in higher education and a staunch supporter of our nation’s HBCUs, also serves as international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. As the head of AKA, Dr. Glover is recognized for donating “$1.6 million on behalf of the group to 32 HBCUs and gifted $100,000 to Bennett College, which was in danger of losing its accreditation.” A few months later, the sorority established a $100,000 endowment at TSU, with an initial contribution of $25,000.

In September, Dr. Glover and the sorority raised $1 million in a 24-hour campaign for HBCUs through an initiative called AKA HBCU Impact Day. The funds are used to provide financial assistance and help secure fiscal sustainability and success for TSU and all four-year HBCUs.

AKA HBCU Impact Day is part of a four-year $10 million fundraising goal by the sorority to establish an endowment on each campus. Money raised through the initiative will assist in providing financial support to these schools over the next three years.

Donors can still make contributions by texting AKAHBCU to 44321, giving by mail or online at http://aka1908.com/hbcus/donate-hbcu.

In addition to the field of education and service, those making the list come from diverse professional backgrounds. This includes social justice to politics to entertainment. Others on the list are Former First Lady Michelle Obama, Simone Biles, Gayle King and Ava DuVernay. Visit www.essence.com/news/2019-woke-100/ to view the full list.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU-Apple coding initiative seeks to spark girls’ interest in STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 8 to 18 will get an opportunity to experience coding at a free camp Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus. Parents are asked to have their children at each event by 9 a.m. Lunch will also be provided.

In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy.

The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

“We want to empower young girls to code and create, and understand their capabilities of being an innovator in the field of STEM,” says Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative. 

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which is partnering with TSU and Apple. She says black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEAM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” says Johnson. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says the camp is also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” says Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

During the girls coding camp, Melton says participants will move around to different stations where they will learn basic coding principles, and “actually code drones and robots to move and function.”

Eleven-year-old Evangeline Davis-Ramos of New York has participated in a similar coding camp, and says she’s glad to see Tennessee State providing such an opportunity for girls her age and older.

“I believe the girls coding camp will be very beneficial,” says Davis-Ramos. “I like building things, and coding helps take ideas I imagine and make them real.”

Melton says the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success.

Dr. Robbie Melton works with students at “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth in July. (TSU Media Relations)

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” says Melton. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over a thousand people from high school to senior citizens wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU College of Education Receives More Than $560,000 US Department of Education Grant for Academic Support Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Services) – Students in the TSU College of Education will soon receive increased academic support services, thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant of $569,250.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

The college will use the funding to develop a Global Education Student Support Services Lab intended to increase student learning across the curriculum, as well as hire new career advisors, academic coaches and a program coordinator.

“This is an exciting time for the College of Education,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the college and principal investigator for the grant. “Our goal here is to provide support services for students to be successful in their journey to getting their degree.”

With the aim of transforming the existing curriculum lab, Haynes says the Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be student friendly, with 21st century technology. It will streamline services, integrate career planning, and increase retention. The lab will also have kiosks where students can hold one-on-one meetings with advisors, as well as docking and privacy stations where students can relax and read.

Dr. Graham Matthews, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, teaches Introduction to Early Childhood Education to students who will be among many to benefit from the Global Education Student Support Services Lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Advisors and academic coaches in the lab will provide support and mentoring to students who may be struggling with licensure exams, or others who may need career advising on their chosen pathway in education,” she says. “Our psychology department will also benefit greatly, by catering to students who may be struggling academically or need extra help.”

Students in the college are excited about the news. Kayla Dawson, a freshman psychology major and a work-study student in the old curriculum lab, welcomes the new changes.

“I am in this building a lot, and usually with a lot of work to do after class. To have a place with the right resources and to be able to relax and focus, will be a great help,” says Dawson, who is from East St. Louis, Illinois. “I am a technology person, so I am just excited about the kinds of resources that will be available.”

Jaylon Jones, also from East St. Louis and a freshman criminal justice major, agrees.

“The enhancement will definitely be a wonderful thing,” says Jones, also a work-study student in the curriculum lab. “What was here before was great, but most of it was not up-to-date.”

Previously, the curriculum lab consisted of books and reading materials, which have all been removed and are being replaced with more advanced technology that was not available to students.

Debra A. Jackson, director of the COE Curriculum Lab, says the vision for the new lab is for students to be able to come in and take advantage of different media and computer resources that will enhance their learning.

“The dean (Haynes) has talked about the possibility of having kiosks where students can go in and access different things,” says Jackson. “This is a positive change where students can come and create, while being able to access things with technology, as well. I am very excited about these new enhancements.” 

The Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be completed and ready for student use January 2020, according to TSU officials. For more information about TSU’s College of Education, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU health sciences students and experts address national vaping problem, bring community awareness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University health sciences students and public health experts are doing their part to bring awareness to the vaping problem that’s sweeping the nation.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

Students majoring in cardio respiratory care offered free screenings on campus Oct. 23 and talked about the dangers of vaping and use of tobacco, which health experts say can lead to cardiovascular disease.

The screenings and awareness are expected to continue monthly, on campus and in the community.

“I have friends that vape, and I tell them how horrible it is for them,” says Koheen Babily, a junior from Nashville who plans to be a respiratory therapist. “It’s bad for the lungs. I see 16-year-olds vaping, and they don’t realize the damage they’re doing that will affect them when they’re older.”

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, two Tennesseans have died from a vaping-related lung illness. So far, the state has had more than 50 reports of vaping-associated respiratory illness. Nationally, the Centers for Disease Control reports 33 people have died from vap- ing-related lung illnesses.

TSU experts say one way to address the problem is through regulation.

“Regulation is the key to oftentimes controlling the severity of the problem,” says Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim MPH program director at Tennessee State. “When we’re looking at vaping, we’re looking at safety issues of the mechanisms of the vaping machinery.”

Student Di’Andre Carter, a senior majoring in cardio respiratory care, screens a patient. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Brenda Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, agrees. 

“The concern has always been that it’s not regulated, it’s never been regulated, so a lot of times people don’t know what chemicals are actually in the liquids that they’re inhaling,” says Batts.

The screenings provided by Batts and her students include checking for hypertension, a cardiovascular problem.

“Vaping can cause damage to the lungs, which in turn damages the heart, which leads to hypertension and heart failure,” adds Batts.

E-cigarettes vaporize a flavored liquid rather than burning tobacco. With every inhalation, a sensor triggers a vaporizer to heat a small amount of liquid flavoring. The liquid turns to vapor and is drawn into the user’s mouth.

KaBria Kirkham, a junior majoring in cardio respiratory care, recently wrote an article on vaping. She says it’s important to educate people so that they understand the components of vaping and the harm certain additives can cause.

“It’s important to know what’s in it,” says Kirkham, of Springfield, Illinois. “They shouldn’t be able to sell vaping pins anywhere until they find out exactly what it is that’s harming people.”

Assistant Professor Brenda Batts talks to a student. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

The CDC has not identified a cause of the illnesses, though it says 78 percent of patients reported using THC-containing products in the three months before their symptoms developed.

The agency has advised people to stop vaping products that contain THC oil and other additives like Vitamin E acetate, which has been repeatedly connected to the illness outbreak.

At least seven states have banned vaping. The Tennessee Medical Association says it supports a ban of the vaping products, but would prefer policies that require more extensive examination of what’s causing the vaping illnesses and deaths.

To learn more about electronic cigarettes, visit https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/index.htm.

For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Mitchell Inspires Students at Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned cancer specialist Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell was the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s second annual Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture Series on Oct. 17.

Peterson is a TSU alumna and member of the university’s Board of Trustees. The event was held during Homecoming week in the Robert N. Murrell Forum on the main campus.

Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson recognized special guests and Malcolm Finally, inaugural president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, introduced Mitchell, who discussed a number of issues with the audience.

They included the decline in cancer mortality rates, the impact of Medicare on cancer disparities, and how specific cancers uniquely affect minority communities.

TSU President Glenda Glover (right) with Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell (left), and Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson (center) after the Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mitchell also encouraged students to consider careers in health care.

“Blacks in this country make up 3.9 percent of all physicians in this country, and yet in 2013 the census showed that blacks in this country made up 15 percent of the United States population,” said Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general.

The lecture series, a component of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., Institute, was established to honor Watkins, a 1966 alumnus of TSU and the first African-American to be accepted into and graduate from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. It features prominent speakers who address areas in health care and STEM to prepare students for the medical field. The late Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient.

“I tell my students and residents all the time, ‘Don’t forget to look through the rearview mirror and make sure you know what is behind you,’ and we know that Dr. Levi Watkins was there in that rearview mirror for us to get information and be inspired by his work,” she said.

TSU President Glenda Glover and Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell join administrators and special guests for a photo after the unveiling of a display case located on the second floor of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center designed in honor of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the crowd and explained the purpose of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute.

“He provided a balm that would heal the hearts of men and women.  It’s a balm that will ensure the longevity of lives of men and women,” said Glover. “So he came forth with that balm from Tennessee State University, and now he has passed that on to students for the students to see and understand the value of having a scientific education.” 

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, director of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute, presided over the program which concluded with the induction of new students into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, an organization comprised of students who aspire to attend medical school.

“It was a wonderful experience to have a board of trustee member as our guest lecturer,” Sharpe said. “Based upon my input from the students, they enjoyed her talk, and they are all excited about the additional collaboration that may be occurring with her as part of a research proposal that we are partnering with her on right now.”

Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, shared a brief presentation portraying Watkins, which he delivered prior to the unveiling of a display case designed in Watkin’s honor. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Following the program, the university unveiled a display case on the second floor of the Floyd-Campus Center dedicated to preserving Watkin’s legacy. Prior to the unveiling, Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the society, gave a brief presentation, portraying Watkins.

The display includes a portrait of Watkins drawn by TSU Alumnus Brandon Van Leer, a life-size manikin clothed in Watkins medical attire, an automatic heart defibrillator and a video showcasing Watkins when he became the first surgeon to successfully implant the device in 1980.

Students inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society include Jayvonna Gambrell, president, a sophomore biology major; Mariel Liggin, secretary, a junior biology major; and Gelanni Jones, a sophomore biology major.

Students take pledge while being inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Other students inducted into the society include Janelle Ariosa, a senior biology major; Kalkidan Bekele, a freshman biology major; Autumn Brunson, a junior biology major; Ashli Earl, a junior biology major; Kristen Wardlow, a freshman; Lauren Graves, a freshman biology major, Larry McNary II, a junior biology major, Mohamed Mohamed, a sophomore chemistry major, Habiba Mwechiwa, a junior biology major, Alanis Onwu, a junior agricultural science major; and Tyree Pitts, a junior biology major.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.