All posts by Emmanuel Freeman

Tennessee State University Ranked Among the Safest College Campuses in America

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is among the safest college campuses in the nation, a new report shows. The National Council for Home Safety and Security, in its 2019 report of Safest Colleges in America, lists TSU in the Top 8 percent of colleges with the lowest crime rate.

TSU Crime Prevention Officer Aerin Washington says the Police Department’s Rape Aggressive Defense program aims to help individuals defend themselves in any given situation. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

 The report ranked TSU No. 46 of the 490 colleges rated, using law enforcement and FBI data on crime rate and police adequacy.

 “It is extremely important that our students, parents, along with university employees, know they are safe on our campus, and this latest ranking is evident of our commitment to the institution’s public safety,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Campus safety is always a priority and this administration will continue to invest in proactive measures that we believe will also continue to yield even better numbers.” 

Over the past three years, TSU has committed millions to upgrading campus safety. This includes increase in police workforce, technology, physical enhancements and crime prevention programs. Officials say fencing of the campus is about 75 percent complete, the university has added checkpoints with “internal  and hard external security,” as well as access-controlled entrances in many of the buildings.

TSU students participating in the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy train with the Nashville Metro Police Department. The academy is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, the enhancements are all part of President Glover’s focus and emphasis on campus safety.

“These are all things Dr. Glover values in terms of the safety of our students, faculty, staff and TSU constituents,” Johnson said. “You are now seeing the results of those investments. TSU is a safer campus by any standard.”

TSU Police Chief Greg Robinson, who recently received a prestigious international campus safety award, said the TSU high safety ranking is the result of being proactive and building strong relationships that allow individuals to come forward with information that is beneficial to crime prevention.

A staff member engages in a simulated attack with an aggressor during a RAD or Rape Aggressive Defense basic self-defense class in the TSU Police Department. (Submitted Photo)

 “We plan on doing different things with our shift supervisors and building liaison roles with each residence hall, as well as adding more educational classes on prevention with students and the community at large,” Robinson said. “We will continue to depend on the stewards of our community to help us keep up the positive momentum.”

 In Tennessee, TSU is also rated “extremely high” among schools that have students living on campus, Robinson said. The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, comparing figures from 2017 to 2018, reports that across Tennessee overall, crime report is down 15 percent. Robbery offenses are down 50 percent. Sex offenses are down 17 percent. Rape offenses are down 10 percent.

 During that time, Robinson said, TSU saw major improvement.

 “We will enhance and expand our current efforts that will allow us to sustain and even surpass the decline,” said Robinson, who received the 2019 International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA) Award for Administrative Excellence, during a June ceremony in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

“We have had record numbers in decline, and we want to keep this downward trend. We also want to keep the crime indicator numbers low but keep TSUPD visibility high so that our students, faculty, staff, and even our visitors know that we want to serve them in the greatest capacity.”

 In collaboration with campus police, TSU has also initiated a number of other programs in campus safety and crime prevention that have yielded measurable results. The university now has the only co-ed R.A.D., or Rape Aggressive Defense program. RAD, a self-defense program opened to students, faculty and staff, emphasizes awareness, prevention, risk reduction and avoidance. The 12-hour class is taught over the course of three days in four-hour sessions.

 “You can’t always depend on law enforcement to be the first line of defense when it comes to your personal safety,” said Aerin Washington, TSU’s crime prevention officer. “Having a program like this really empowers our community members, as well as our students, faculty and staff to take their personal safety in their own hands. We want to make sure they’re able to defend themselves in any given situation.”

 In 2016, TSU and the Nashville Metro Police Department formed what’s believed to be the nation’s first Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. Students in the five-week training program are exposed to various aspects of police work, including domestic violence investigation, and making split-second decisions.  

Graduates of the program make up what’s called Tiger Patrol and work in shifts to guide fellow students on campus, or alert the police if a situation warrants it. More than 50 students have participated in the program since its inception about three years ago.

“Tiger Patrol is a very innovative way of allowing students to take part in the safety of the campus,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president and dean of students, who is the brainchild of the Collegiate Citizens Police Academy. “Tiger Patrol has been a tremendous success. It allows peer-to-peer interaction, and allows us to hear students’ concerns, and provide information on things around campus that should be brought to the attention of the police department.”

According to Stevenson, many of the graduates of the Tiger Patrol and Citizens Police Academy program have gone on to professional careers in different forms of law enforcement.


For more information on the TSU Police Department or student programs go to http://www.tnstate.edu/police/

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’s Frank Stevenson Selected to Participate in Leadership Nashville’s 2019-2020 Class

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Frank Stevenson, TSU’s associate vice president and dean of students, has been selected to participate in the 2019-2020 class of Leadership Nashville. Stevenson was one of 44 individuals selected from among 280 applicants to participate in the program’s 44th class, which starts in September.

Frank Stevenson

For more than 40 years, Leadership Nashville has organized an intensive program that assists community decision-makers. Over nine months, participants learn about pressing issues affecting their community and gain an in-depth understanding of the nature of those problems. The nonpartisan group refrains from taking positions on issues, and does not endorse political candidates. 

Stevenson said he is excited to be selected for this year’s class.

“I am honored to be chosen out of a very competitive  process,” said Stevenson, who recently reinstituted Leadership TSU, a top training program that has received national recognition. “I believe I will benefit immensely from this cohort of amazing leaders from across the city.”

Jerry Williams, executive director of Leadership TSU, said selection for the 2019-2020 class was “especially difficult” because of the large number of very qualified applicants.

“We do not attempt to pass out solutions,” Williams said. “In fact, our participants are so diverse that they would never agree with each other. Instead, we expose them to various viewpoints on each issue, believing that Nashville will be stronger because decisions these leaders make in the future will come from a broadened, enlightened perspective.”

The nine-month program aspires to cultivate community leaders. Participants are educators, doctors, bankers, artists, business people, rabbis, ministers, lawyers, and representatives of labor, public service, international communities and the volunteer sector.

In January, Stevenson, a longtime Nashvillian and senior pastor of Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, reinstituted Leadership TSU in partnership with FedEx. The program trains and develops students with top leadership skills to help them be more competitive in the workforce. Forty students – from freshmen to seniors – with demonstrated ability to lead, are participating in the program.

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.

Tennessee State University Athletics Partners with Nike and BSN Sports

Courtesy: TSU Athletic Media Relations

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State University Department of Athletics has announced a new multi-year agreement with Nike through BSN SPORTS beginning with the 2019-20 season.  

“I am very pleased to have TSU Athletics in a new partnership with BSN/Nike for the provider of equipment and apparel for our sport programs,” said Director of Athletics Teresa Phillips. “We had enjoyed a good relationship for a decade with another major player in sport apparel and simply sought to discover what brand would be best for our student-athletes moving forward. We feel that the Nike brand will bring a superior branding opportunity for our programs and the university community at large. Our entire staff is working feverishly to get our teams ready to represent the swoosh this fall. We can’t wait for our alumni and supporters to be a part of this awesome new look.” 

The agreement between TSU and BSN SPORTS is for five years and makes Nike the official athletic apparel, footwear, accessory and equipment brand for all 15 Big Blue programs.

“We are looking forward to partnering with Tennessee State University and NIKE in providing the finest apparel and athletic products,” said Todd Northrop, Collegiate Select senior vice president.  “This agreement affirms our highest aspirations for BSN’s Collegiate Select program: delivering elite, customized products and services to our college customers.  We are excited to partner with Tigers to elevate the performance and impact of their tradition-rich and growing athletic program.

“Additionally, we can’t wait to get to know all of the coaches associated with this great program and work tirelessly to put time back into their day so they can spend more time impacting lives on the field of play.”

TSU COACHES’ COMMENTS ABOUT THE NEW PARTNERSHIP

Donika Sutton, Head Volleyball Coach: “I am excited about the move with Nike. Volleyball is one of the first sports to introduce the transition this fall and we are honored to lead the way.  This move allows Tennessee State University, Athletics and our recruiting to expand to another level. My favorite part will be watching our girls’ faces on gear day.”

Brian “Penny” Collins, Head Men’s Basketball Coach: “This is a great time to be a Tiger… joining the BSN/Nike Family will be vital to our student athletes’ experience. The swoosh will give us instant credibility in recruiting potential future Tigers. I’m looking forward to growing our TSU brand as well as bringing value to Nike as well!”

Jessica Kern, Head Women’s Basketball Coach “The Nike brand has been an ambassador for social change, promoting all facets of every athlete and is propitiatory to staying within the guidelines of being trendsetters while staying loyal to classic looks and comfort for all shapes and sizes. I am elated and honored to be donning the swoosh daily.”

Rod Reed, Head Football Coach: “I’m excited about our new partnership with Nike. I think that this is a brand that will be big in our recruiting efforts, and it has also created a buzz among our student athletes.”

Jeremy Taylor, Director of Equipment: “I believe that this partnership with BSN/NIKE opens up some new roads for us. We now have a one-stop shop for over 95 percent of our apparel, equipment, footwear, and product embellishment needs. It allows us to outfit our incoming student-athletes, in all sports, with the same brand of apparel and footwear that they have been wearing during their prospective high school careers, which should help us in recruiting as well.”

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.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority establishes endowment at Tennessee State University and honors school’s President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is the latest HBCU recipient of financial support from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. On Wednesday, the service organization continued its commitment of creating a $100,000 endowment at each of the nation’s four-year historically black colleges and universities with a donation to TSU President Glenda Glover.

President Glenda Glover admires a commemorative bench dedicated in her honor by the AKA Sorority, Inc. (Submitted Photo)

An initial gift of $25,000 was presented to Glover during a bench dedication in her honor by the sorority. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives.

“One meaningful part of the AKA Leadership Seminar in Nashville is the $100,000 commitment for an endowment from Alpha Kappa Alpha to Tennessee State University,” Glover said. “It begins with this initial donation of $25,000 to assist with student scholarships. I’m extremely appreciative to the sorority for this gift.”

 The gift coincides with AKA’s HBCU Endowment initiative, which looks to award $10 million to these institutions by 2022. 

“We are trying to assist students and help retain them to continue with their education,” Chase said. “This funding from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is definitely going to be a big plus in helping to accomplish that goal.”

The Commemorative Bench was unveiled and dedicated on the TSU main campus on June 29. The honor recognizes President Glover’s exemplary leadership and service. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Executive Director of the TSU Foundation, Betsy Jackson-Mosley, added, “The TSU Foundation is very grateful for the support received from the AKA Foundation for student scholarships. Scholarships are very important to attract the best and brightest and to help students stay in school.”

The financial support and bench dedication were two of several service projects taking place during the AKA’s 2019 Leadership Seminar – June 27-30 – being held at Opryland Hotel.

In a litany at the dedication, led by Dr. Norma S. White, 25th international president of AKA, the group acknowledged the significant contributions of Dr. Glover in leadership, education, community service and philanthropy.

“As we dedicate this commemorative bench in honor of the 30th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Dr. Glenda Glover, we take pride in her leadership and the many contributions that she has made to the sorority, Tennessee State University and other noteworthy organizations,” the group said. “May this bench be a permanent reminder of the significant accomplishments of Dr. Glover.”

Glover, a native of Memphis and the eighth and first female president of TSU, became the 30th international president of AKA in July 2018.  Immediately upon taking the helm, she sent a clear message that education would remain a priority for the organization, especially supporting the nation’s HBCUs. She launched HBCU for Life: A Call to Action and signature program College Admissions Process, also known as #CAP, to promote and market HBCUs.

Saying that she leads by example, Glover donated $50,000 to the sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation to further emphasize her commitment. She made that same commitment to TSU when she became president of her alma mater in 2013. 

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.

Severe Thunderstorms Cause Damages on TSU’s Main Campus; Fencing and Mural Around Hale Stadium Partly Torn Off

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Severe thunderstorms caused damages on the Tennessee State University campus over the weekend. No one was injured, but high winds Friday night tore down a 114-foot section of the fence around Hale Stadium. A mural depicting some TSU historical events that hung on the fence was also badly damaged.

In front of Kean Hall on the main campus, several branches of a large tree were seen scattered about. There was no damage to the building.

Workers were Monday expected to repair a 114-foot section of the fence around Hale Stadium that sustained wing damage during a thunderstorm Friday. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

TSU Facilities Management engineers gave no immediate cost estimate, but said repairs to the fence would begin and be completed Monday.

“Contractors should be here today to attempt to put this back in place,” George Herring, engineer and senior project manager said. “They may have to get some pieces and parts, but it should be back up today.”

Herring said he received a phone call Saturday morning and came out immediately to survey the damage. He said the torn portion of the fence was found several feet from the wall.

“It was all out on the road so we pushed it against the sidewalk so nobody would get hurt,” he said.

Most of Middle Tennessee was affected by the storms. More than 10,000 Nashville residents were without power for several hours.

 
The National Weather Service said the storm may have been a derecho, a rare weather event classified by strong, straight line winds sustained over a wide path. 

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.

Tennessee State University Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

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.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

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.

23 Second-Year Male Students Complete Rite-of-Passage Mentoring Program; Initiative Inspires Young Males to Become Better Men

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Men’s Initiative, a character and integrity building program at Tennessee State University, is implementing a series of programs aimed to inspire young male students to become better men. 

Students who participated in the inaugural Rite of Passage mentoring program covered topics such as personal responsibility, values, communications, relationship building, and health and wellness. (Submitted Photo)

Recently, 23 second-year male students completed a semester-long Rite of Passage mentoring and leadership-training program conducted by the initiative. The students were pinned and honored in a ceremony before TSU administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. 

“The goal of this program is to help these students to matriculate and graduate here at the university,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “We want to make sure that they are successful by engaging them in things that help them in their matriculation, as it relates to character and integrity, and understanding the principles of being responsible young men.” 

The inaugural Rite of Passage process started in January, with interest meetings for the students and a training for the 13 TSU faculty and staff mentors who helped facilitate student development. It continued with a six-week curriculum that concluded with a final challenge in the seventh week. 

According to Robert Taylor, director of the TSU Men’s Initiative, participants were trained on personal responsibility, values, communication, relationship building, health and wellness, and African diaspora history. He said the program culminated with a mentor/mentee matching ritual that will continue for 15 weeks over the summer. All 23 students are expected to return to TSU in the fall, as certified mentors. 

“The Rite of Passage portion of the Men’s Initiative engages second-year male students in a series of workshops and mentorship programs to help them to transition from boyhood to manhood,” Taylor said. “Our ultimate purpose is to increase student persistence and to help these young men understand who they are as individuals, and what their role is in the community, and how they can further that through their education.” 

Travion Crutcher, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Hunstville, Alabama, was a member of the first class that participated in the Rite of Passage training. As a graduate, he returns next semester as a mentor. 

“I have always wanted to be able to help people find their way, because when I first came here, I didn’t know where to start and someone helped me,” said Crutcher, who plays cymbals in the TSU Aristocrat of Bands.  “I just like to be that person you can ask questions.” 

Taylor said in addition to the Rite of Passage, the Men’s Initiative, which is funded by Title III, also includes success coaching, where teams of coaches work with the students to make sure that they are taking advantage of all of the resources that are available to them. There is also the Men’s Empowerment Zone, Taylor said. 

“Empowerment Zone, which we are creating on the second floor of Boyd Hall, focuses on improving the actual physical environment for the students,” Taylor said.

When it is completed, Taylor said the empowerment zone will include a gym with equipment to help the men stay in shape, as well as upgrade the barbershop. He said a computer lab is also being developed in partnership with the Career Development Center, and there will be a conference center where students can do online interviews with potential employers.

For more information on the Tennessee State University Male Initiative, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/mancenter/

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.

Homelessness to higher Ed: Memphis teen who graduated valedictorian and received more than $3M in scholarship offers, finds a home at TSU

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover traveled to her hometown of Memphis last week, she had one goal in mind:  Bring back Tupac Moseley.

Moseley had recently graduated valedictorian of his class at Raleigh-Egypt High School, and received $3 million in scholarships, all while homeless his senior year. This hands-on treatment didn’t go unnoticed by the shy teen. 

President Glenda Glover presents Tupac Moseley with his full-ride scholarship letter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools to actually assist a student personally, one-on-one, to take him or her up there for a visit, it’s just mind blowing to me,” said Moseley, who will major in engineering.

Dr. Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan. 

 “Tupac is not homeless anymore,” Glover said to the throng of media representatives and a cheering crowd assembled in the school cafeteria during a celebration for the teen. “He now has his own room with a meal plan with all the necessary amenities to help him continue his success as an academically talented student. That’s what we do. We are an HBCU, we care about our students. It is in our DNA that we can see a student with this much potential and talent and see what we can do to assist him even before he starts his academic journey.”

President Glover and Tupac Moseley answer reporters’ question at a press conference in Memphis. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Moseley’s remarkable story of perseverance and success amidst homelessness and poverty has made national headlines. The 18-year-old became homeless in his senior year after his father died and the family could not afford the mounting bills. They moved to a campsite for the disadvantaged. In the midst of the hardship, the Memphis native found a way to stay focused in school, and “staying on top of everything that came his way in class work,” his high school principal said. He graduated with a 4.3 grade point average.

“Tupac is an amazing individual with excellent math knowledge,” said principal Shari Meeks.   “He has taken the highest-level math here that we offer. He has attained college credits. He took a statewide dual credit challenge test in pre-calculus and passed it. He could have gone to any school in the nation. I think TSU will have an asset in Tupac. He is awesome and revered by his classmates – he helps them, he tutors them.”

Tupac Moseley blows the candles on his pre-birthday cake at a send-off reception Raleigh-Egypt High School hosted for the incoming TSU freshman. His birthday was May 23. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

 At a sendoff reception for Moseley in the principal’s conference room, the standing room only audience included state and county Who’s Who, such as State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (District 98), who was instrumental in the TSU/Moseley talks; and Dr. Joris M. Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools.

Parkinson described Moseley as the “best and brightest talent that has ever been produced in Shelby County.”

“This is just the culmination of a lot of things that’s been going on,” Parkinson said about the reception. “Losing his father, homelessness, that was just too much for anyone. What we have done is just pull resources together to make sure that we provide the stability for him and Tennessee State University was part of the strategy to create that stability for one of our best and brightest talents.”

Superintendent Ray was thankful for the support system at the school – principal, teachers, counselors.

“This young man is a testament of being very resilient and strong,” Ray said. “I am so proud of his hard work, dedication, and he defied the odds with a great support system here at school that helped him to overcome and achieve in the midst of turmoil. I am so proud of Tupac, what he has done here, what he has done for our city and school district.”

As a way of telling his story and helping others facing hardship, Moseley created his own T-shirt based on his quote, “Your location is not your limitation.” He earned 50 scholarships worth a total of $3 million. He said he is majoring in engineering “because I love the smiles I get after helping people with tech issues.”

Moseley is not coming to TSU alone. Two other fellow graduates, including his best friend, Brandon Fontaine, also received scholarships and will attend TSU with him. President Glover included them in the trip back to campus on Wednesday as well. Fontaine is considering majoring in business management or mechanical engineering. The other student, Natoriya Owens, who wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, will major in theater arts with a minor in business.

President Glover added that this is what makes HBCUs so special for African Americans, and particularly first-generation college students and communities of color.

“This is the type of hands-on, special attention TSU provides our students, and especially those with unusual circumstances. It also speaks to the holistic approach and nurturing that HBCUs provide to students. Tupac is a prime example of the role TSU and other HBCUs play in addressing the total needs of our students.” 

Tennessee State University is currently accepting students for the fall and have scholarships available for qualified students who want to major in STEM. 

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.

NASA ‘Dare to Dream’ STEM Education Workshop Engages 200 Students in Robotics, Flight Simulation, Math Games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas recently took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

A parent participates with her children in an activity at Dare to Dream STEM Saturday. (Submitted Photo)

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop in April engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

 The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

Led by TSU undergraduate STEM students and MNPS teachers, the workshop included a Family Engagement component that allowed parents to engage their children in the various projects.

A student controls a robot using a tablet. (Submitted Photo)

“Dare to Dream STEM Saturday was designed to celebrate minority innovators in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Trinetia Respress, director of the TSU MUREP project and interim assistant dean of Assessment and Accreditation in the COE. “It was very rewarding to see students and parents engaged in brainstorming in various activities.”

Among some of the activities, students used an engineering process to build a structure that could handle a load, by testing factors affecting the strength and stability of the structure. Using a template, the students also created a rocket that they launched from a soda straw.

Shaliyah Brooks, a junior English major, from Atlanta, was one of the TSU students who led the workshop. As a technology specialist for the workshop, she exposed the students to  robots through demonstrations on how they work, using devices such as parents’ personal phones or tablets.

A mother and daughter celebrate as they complete an activity at the workshop. (Submitted Photo)

“I definitely think that the students were excited to be there,” Brooks said. “They got a chance to play all day and in a way that was educational. They were very hands-on working with their parents.”

For more information on the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx

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.