TSU Honors Top Researchers at 39th Annual University Wide Research Symposium

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recognized its top student and faculty researchers during a ceremony in the Ferrell Westbrook Complex on the main campus on Friday.

Acknowledging PHDstudent (1)
Awards Luncheon speaker Mark N. Russ engages students during his presentation at the Ferrell-Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

It was the Awards Luncheon culminating the weeklong 39th Annual University-Wide Research Symposium organized by the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

Awards were given for the top three winners in undergraduate and graduate oral and postal presentations.  Organizers received 155 student submissions in eight categories and 35 faculty submissions.

Mark N. Russ, executive assistant director of the National Security Directorate Naval Criminal Investigative Service, was the keynote speaker. He admonished the award winners to set high goals and stick with them if they want to be successful.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, left, congratulates Kyra M. Bryant, a Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering for winning first place award in Graduate Engineering II oral presentation. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“By involving yourselves in award events like this you are stepping in the right direction, but it is not enough,” Russ said. “You have to continue to stick with it, continue to have your failures, successes and ultimately you will move in a direction where you are the only person with the background and experience to take it to the next level.”

Using Olympic champion Wilma Rudolph as an example of perseverance, Russ said no one thought she had a chance “because of things she had going against her.”

“She had medical issues and other health issues, but they did not stop her. She didn’t have to have someone tell her to keep working hard, she just didn’t quit and became one of the greatest athletes the world has ever seen,” Russ said.

Kyra M. Bryant, a Ph.D. student in Computer Information Systems Engineering, won first place in Graduate Engineering II oral presentation for her research on “Improved Bottom Friction, Surface Rachness, and Wind Stress in a Coupled Wave and Storm Surge Model.”

She said her study is aimed at developing a more accurate module for forecasting hurricanes.

Dr. Margaret Mmbaga, took top award for faculty research. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“Winning this award has been really very encouraging, pushing me to research even more on this topic,” Bryant said “We are trying to make the modeling more accurate and winning this award tells me that I am on the right path.”

In faculty research, Dr. Margaret Mmbaga won first place in the category of Faculty II for “Screening of Common Bean for Multiple Disease Resistance Under Natural Infection by Common Bacterial Blight and Charcoal Rot.”

Each year, an individual researcher is admitted into the “Million Dollar Club” during the awards ceremony. Individuals in this select group are recognized for receiving grant money of a million dollars or more in a single year.

Dr. Marie Hammond, second from right, holds her award for becoming the newest Million Dollar Club member. She is congratulated by Phyllis Danner, Director of Research and Sponsored Programs, left, and research symposium co-chairs Dr. John Robinson, and Nannette Carter Martin. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

That recognition went to Dr. Marie Hammond, associate professor of psychology in the College of Education. In 2016, she received a $1.5 million National Science Foundation grant for basic research.

“I am honored, I am overwhelmed,” she said  “I am really grateful because I never would have gotten here without the support of people from across the university, who worked with me along the way.”

Department of Media Relations

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About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.