All posts by Emmanuel Freeman

31 High Achieving Students from Hillsboro High School Interact with TSU’s Best and Brightest During Honors Week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honors College recently hosted 31 high achieving students from Nashville’s Hillsboro High School as part of TSU Honors Week celebration.

Dr. Frances Williams, Associate Dean of the College of Engineering, holds a discussion with visiting Hillsboro High School students. (Submitted Photo)

The Honors College and Hillsboro High are partners in a two-year exceptional student acceleration program called IBDP, or Academy of the International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme, that nurtures students to excel in higher education.

Participants in IBDP are top juniors and seniors who take advanced placement and honors courses in the 9th and 10 grades to prepare them for IB-level classes in the 11th and 12th grades.

Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College, said the visit of the high school students allowed them to interact and exchange notes with TSU Honors students, as well as expose the visitors to the university’s programs and offerings.

“We are delighted to have these top students from Hillsboro High visit our campus and to interact with the best among our students,” said Jackson, who also serves on the advisory board of the Hillsboro High School IB program. “I think having many more partnerships like this with more high schools in the city would help to create a pipeline for increased enrollment into the myriad of majors at TSU.”

Visiting Hillsboro High School students take part in an exercise. (Submitted Photo)

Among activities for the day was “Real Talk,” a panel discussion about college life and advanced learning.

“Do you all have tutoring and personal help here?” a Hillsboro High student, who wants to major in biology, asked. Another was concerned about how honors students fit in and how they are viewed on campus. They were informed about the many tutoring and mentoring programs available to students, and the friendly learning environment on campus.

“I am from India, and even though it was a huge cultural shock, Tennessee State University has made me feel more than welcome,” said Abhilasha Vishwanath, a senior psychology major and Honors student with a 4.0 grade point average. “I play tennis for the university, work in the bookstore, I am part of several organizations, serve on the Honors Council, and I’ve never felt out of place.”

Following the panel discussion, the students were divided into groups according to their academic career interest and dialogued with faculty and staff from engineering, business, liberal arts, education, and life and physical sciences disciplines. Everett Jolly, TSU director of recruitment; Kristin Gray, director of the First-Year Experience; and Barbara Kannard, coordinator for Student Success Initiative, also met and spoke with the visitors.

Barbara Kannard, TSU Coordinator of Student Success Initiative, talks to Hillsboro High School students about opportunities at the university. (Submitted Photo)

Dr. Kenyae L. Reese, Academy principal at Hillsboro High, who accompanied the students, said the visit was very rewarding.

“The faculty and staff of the Hillsboro High School Academy of International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is delighted to partner with the TSU Honors College in creating exceptional experiences for advanced academic students,” Reese said. “The experiential learning trip to celebrate Honors College Week at TSU was both informative and inspiring in scope. The students reported being most excited to learn from the Honors College students and professors and other professionals who provided valuable advice.”

Earlier, TSU Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. John Robinson, joined Jackson to welcome the Hillsboro High School students.

“This is our time to change the narrative, assist our recruiters, and utilize our high achieving students to tell our story that TSU is truly the place to be,” Jackson said.

On March 26, TSU will celebrate its best and brightest students when the university holds its annual Honors Day Convocation in Kean Hall.

For more information on the TSU Honors College, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/about/welcome_page.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

TSU Graduating Senior and SGA President Publishes Children’s Book about Inspiration, Courage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Kayla McCrary is an author!

Her children’s book, “Dream Girl, Dream!,” with illustrations by Brandon Van Leer, just came out and it is receiving wide acclaim.

“Writing has always been my first love and it’s always something I wanted to do,” she says. “So when I found the inspiration, I said I really want to write a children’s book.”

“Dream Girl, Dream,” based on personal experiences, courage and an effort to inspire young kids to be their best, comes amid personal tragedy and the need for strength to move on.

Now a graduating senior and president of the Student Government Association at Tennessee State University, McCrary lost her mother in the first semester of her freshman year at TSU. Her mother’s death also meant becoming the sole mother figure for her then 5-year-old sister, Regan Christian. Devastated, lost and confused, McCrary says she was torn between dropping out and trying to help her sister cope with the aftermath of their mother’s passing.

“It was hard,” says McCrary, an Atlanta native. “Losing our mother at such an early age for my little sister, and me just starting in college, was very difficult for me. She was our biggest support and friend. I thought, how is my sister going to make it and how can I concentrate on school when she needs me?”

Surprisingly, McCrary says her sister showed remarkable resolve and strength that “shocked me.”

 “At the time my sister was five and she was literally so strong,” says McCrary, who majors in English with a minor in political science. “She is what kept me together, and helped me get through a lot of things. Seeing her, I realized I had to be the role model, and I had to raise her. She looks to me now. Everything I do is to show her that if I can do it, she can do it too.”

Kayla McCrary says her dream is to become a renowned author, philosopher, attorney and humanitarian. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Unlike McCrary, who struggles in math and does well in reading, her sister is the opposite. That parallel, she says, is one of the main inspirations behind “Dream Girl, Dream!”

“For me, growing up, I struggled in math. Reading and language arts were my strongest subjects. For her, she excels in math, but she doesn’t do too well in reading. I think it is mainly because she just doesn’t like reading. So, I figure if I wrote a book, she would be inspired to want to read it. And she has read it and does have copies of it. Her reading has improved. Reading the book I think has inspired her. She told our dad – Reginald Christian – the other day, ‘It’s not fair, sister gets to have a book and a YouTube channel.’ So, I am definitely teaching her how to go after everything she wants. I think she is getting it.,” says McCrary.

With a goal of pursuing graduate studies or entering law school after college, McCrary says in addition to her sister, the book is about inspiring children, “especially children of color, …and about the HBCU experience.” Her aspiration is to be a world-renowned author, philosopher, attorney and humanitarian.

“Dream Girl, Dream!” is mainly a story of inspiration,” she says. “Sometimes in life you go through things that are just not expected, and a lot of things are out of your control. So I want them to know, ‘No matter what your current circumstances are, dream as big as you want to. If your dreams don’t scare you then they are not big enough.’ To some people, writing a children’s book may not seem like a big thing, but for me, it’s everything because I can’t believe I actually did it.”

Angelique Wells, a junior psychology major at TSU, who has faced some difficulties of her own, has read McCrary’s book.

“It is definitely a great read and inspiring,” says Wells, of Nashville, who has known McCrary since entering TSU. “Throughout Kayla’s hardship she still persevered and continued to go on and become president of the SGA and stay active in her college career. That is an inspiration to me because without knowing, she has inspired me to go after a few things. It is a great book. I recommend it to all ages.”

For Van Leer, a TSU graduate and local artist who did the illustration for “Dream Girl, Dream,” working with McCrary was a “professional fulfillment.”

“Kayla approached me after school got out. I had never done a project like this before, but knowing me, I was not good at saying no,” says. Van Leer, known for painting likenesses of individuals like the late world-renowned heart surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., and civil rights leader Jesse Jackson.

“I just wanted to take on the project because I love Kayla’s story,” he says. “I love what she was doing. We are both African-Americans, we are both at the same institution (at the time) and we are just doing something positive for the community. Her story was great, and it was a children’s book. You don’t really see that many African-Americans working together. The story was touching and I was just honored by it.”

“Dream Girl Dream!” is available in paperback on Amazon and Google Books.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.




TSU Professor, Alum Win Emmy Awards for Works in News and Entertainment

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Department of Communications at Tennessee State University was well represented at the 33rd Annual Midsouth Regional Emmy Awards on Feb. 16.

A professor and a former student walked away with Emmys for their work in news and entertainment.

Prof. Arrielle Vincent
Prof. Airielle Vincent

Airielle Vincent, an assistant professor of mass communications, won her second Emmy as weekend newscast producer with FOX 17. She was recognized for a story on church shooting.

Spencer Glover, who graduated from TSU in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in mass communications, took home the Emmy for editing/program. He was awarded for his work on “The Passion for Music,” a production for Yamaha Entertainment Group.

“We are so excited when our students and faculty are awarded for their hard work and excelling in their profession,” said Dr. Tameka Winston, department chair and associate professor. “It is our desire to see them graduate, follow their dreams and be recognized on such a prestigious level.”

The Emmy Awards, organized by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, recognizes excellence in television for news and documentary, sports, daytime entertainment, daytime creative arts and entertainment, public and community service, and technology and engineering.

Spencer Glover

Cara Anthony, a 2010 TSU graduate, who works for “The Belleville News Democrat,” was also nominated in 2018 for a Mid-America Emmy. Her Emmy nomination was the first in the News-Democrat’s 160-year history.

Winning at the Emmys is not new to the TSU Department of Communications. In 2012, Assistant Professor Erik Werner won for promotional producing.

“The department is dedicated to producing award-winning industry professionals and employing top-notch leaders in the field,” said Professor Karen D. Russell, mass communications coordinator and professor of multimedia journalism. “We are very proud of our outstanding alumni and professors.”

For more information on the TSU Department of Communications, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/Communications/mass_communication.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.




TSU President Glenda Glover Surprises Visiting High School Seniors with Full Scholarships at ‘Tigerdaze’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Twenty high school students on a site visit Friday to experience the Tennessee State University campus culture, did not leave empty handed. To their surprise, they all received full scholarship offers to come to TSU.

TSU President Glenda Glover personally offered the scholarships to the future STEM majors during a ceremony in the Forum on the main campus.

TSU President Glenda Glover, second from right, interacts with visiting high school students at Tigerdaze. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I was completely stunned; this was a complete surprise,” said Amesa Tidwell, from Whites Creek High School, who wants to major in biology. “I had no idea I was going to be offered a scholarship when I came here this morning. Thank you TSU!”

The visitors were on campus for Tigerdaze, an annual event organized by the campus Greek Letter organizations and the office of Student Activities to welcome metro Nashville high school seniors and give them an opportunity to experience the TSU culture and spark their interest in considering TSU. The Office of Enrollment Management and Student Success also helped to facilitate Tigerdaze, by acquainting the students with university offerings and admissions requirements.

More than 200 visitors and their high school counselors packed the Forum to hear President Glover and university officials.

“Welcome to your future! Welcome to TSU,” Glover said to cheers from the audience. “I greet you with an important announcement. If you are thinking engineering, think TSU; if you are thinking biology to become a doctor, think TSU. If you are thinking cybersecurity and intelligence, think TSU; if you are thinking biotechnology, think TSU.

Tigerdaze participants attend a writing class on campus as part of their day’s activities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I am here this morning to offer a scholarship to any student that plans to major in a STEM (science, technology, engineering math) course and that has a good GPA. It is time to become a TSU Tiger. It starts here today.”

Norbrea Cosby, also of Whites Creek High School, who wants to major in pre-nursing, was another surprised scholarship winner. She said she already had TSU on her mind, “but I did not know it would be this easy.”

“I am going to do everything to make sure I don’t miss this opportunity,” she said. “This scholarship will help to ease the burden on my parents and the headache of a student loan.”

Mon-Cheri Robinson, TSU Assistant Director of Student Activities, far right – front, takes Tigerdaze visitors on a tour in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Tigerdaze activities included a step show, a writing class, on-site admission, game-room entertainment and lunch. Parting gifts included an application fee waiver for four lucky students. Kiaonna Lawless, from Antioch High School, won a book scholarship for four years if she decides to attend TSU.

“Tigerdaze was the brainchild of our Greek students to welcome high school seniors from the area to the campus to really show them the flavor of TSU,” said Frank Stevenson, dean of Students. “This gives them an opportunity to see our culture and climate and to also spark their interest in being future Tigers.”

Dr. Patrick Phoebus, a TSU alum and content recovery coordinator at The Cohn Learning Center, who accompanied 35 students, credited President Glover for her “connection and outreach to students.”

“TSU does a lot for the community,” said Phoebus, who earned his master’s degree in curriculum and instruction at TSU. “There is a lot of history here; there is lot of important things happening on campus and I thinks it is a great opportunity for the students coming here to learn about these opportunities and be a part of the college experience.”

Terrence Izzard, TSU associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success, explained that like all other incoming students, those receiving the scholarship offers at Tigerdaze will be screened to be sure they meet TSU’s regular admission requirement before being admitted. He said Glover’s scholarship offer was in the right direction.

“I am excited that the president continues to push the university forward by recognizing talented students from the metro Nashville area, and providing support for those students to have access to quality education here at TSU,” Izzard said.

For information on student activities at TSU go to http://www.tnstate.edu/activities/

For more information on enrollment and admissions at 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

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

TSU Receives Top Recognition at 15th Annual ‘Kings’ Leadership Conference and Competition

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University had a big showing at this year’s HBCU Kings Leadership Conference and Competition in St. Louis, Missouri.

Mister TSU, Darian McGhee, middle, participates on a panel with kings from other HBCUs. (Submitted Photo)

Mister TSU, Darian McGhee, placed in the Top 10 in the rigorous competition that included representatives from 22 historically black colleges and universities.

The five-day 15th Annual Kings’ Leadership Conference and Competition also gave participants an opportunity to learn more about personal growth, leadership, and manhood.

The conference and competition started in 2000 as an annual event to support, honor, and strengthen the role of HBCU campus kings.  Throughout the event, the kings attend workshops moderated and taught by notable speakers on various expert topics. In the evening, contestants participate in preliminary competitions to earn their placement in the pageant.

For Mister TSU, he was judged on his oratory delivery, talent, ease of manner, and an on-stage question and answer. In the talent portion, Mister TSU received high recognition for his performance of an original monologue he wrote entitled, “First 48,” based on the life of a black police officer regulating crime in Memphis, Tennessee.

“I was very grateful to attend the Mister HBCU competition, especially since we haven’t been represented in recent years,” said McGhee, a senior electrical engineering major from Memphis. “I was honored to represent my institution on a national level. This experience allowed me to develop lasting relationships and personal development skills that have made me a better leader.”

Tasha Andrews, TSU director of student activities, who accompanied McGhee to the conference and competition, said, “Mister TSU came ready.”

“Darian worked very hard to prepare for this competition,” Andrews said. “We started practicing in November.  He pushed himself and definitely represented the greatness that we produce here at TSU.”

For more information on student activities at TSU go to http://tnstatenewsroom.com/wp-admin/post-new.php.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Wave of Tiger Blue Greets State Lawmakers During 6th TSU Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From hemp research to using robotics to improve physical mobility of humans, Tennessee State University showcased some major scientific advances to state lawmakers on Tuesday.

Tennessee Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, right, congratulates President Glover following her presentation in the Senate Chamber. Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and Sen. Brenda Gilmore join the President and the Lieutenant Governor. (Photo by Ramona Whitworth-Wiggings)

It was the sixth “TSU Day at the Capitol,” where the lawmakers experienced a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Capitol. TSU administrators, faculty, students, staff and alumni showcased the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual event.

Visitors also had a chance to meet with lawmakers who stopped by to see displays from some of the school’s various colleges.

TSU President Glenda Glover kicked off the day with a standing-room only ceremony in Senate Hearing Room II in the Cordell Hull Building.

“This is our day, this is TSU day,” Glover said. “It gives us a great opportunity to share with our lawmakers, our leaders, the success of TSU, and the needs of TSU, as we continue to nurture some of the best and the brightest minds of this generation, our TSU students.”

Among many displays at the TSU Day at the Capitol, researchers in the College of Health Sciences demonstrate the use of the Vest Airway Clearance System, a therapy designed to assist patients who have thick secretions, such as in cystic fibrosis. (Photo by Ramona Whitworth-Wiggings)

Before and after Glover’s presentation, several lawmakers took the podium to welcome TSU and to talk about the university’s impact and contribution to the state, the nation and the world.

Among them Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, Sens. Brenda Gilmore, Raumesh Akbari, Dolores Gresham, Reps. Harold Lover, Jr., and Bill Dunn.

“I welcome TSU, President Glover and all of you to the Senate,” McNally said. “We really honor our relationship with TSU, and look forward to what you do, and the great students that you produce for the State of Tennessee. It really makes a difference in our state.”

Also bringing greetings was Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association.

Among new innovations on display at the TSU Day at the Capitol was a “humanoid robot” called ISAC, which is helping researchers in the College of Engineering to develop and test devices that help solve prosthetic problems.

“We are investigating anthropomorphic hand-like end-effectors, force-torque sensors for touching, vision, and infrared motion detection to address deficiencies in how human disabilities impact their quality of life,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

Glover and university officials also touted TSU’s recent Carnegie designation as an R2 research institute, one of only 139 in the nation, and one of only 11 among all historically black colleges and universities.

“This new R2 designation for TSU helps to distinguish the fact that we are producing great scholarly research that benefits the citizens of Tennessee and addresses many of the great challenges that are facing our nation,” said Lesia Crumpton-Young, TSU vice president for research and institutional advancement. “I am so proud of the faculty, staff and students that have worked hard to achieve this new designation.”

Daiva Wilson is a junior agricultural science major from Indianapolis, who attended her first TSU Day at the Capitol. She said the experience was very enlightening and informative.

“It was really informative to hear about TSU as a land-grant institution, and how funding for the institution is handled by the legislators,” she said. “I also enjoyed the enthusiasm on everyone’s face about the reception at the state Capitol.”

Members of the TSU Student Government Association also spoke at the ceremony, and said they were excited to be at the Capitol.

“This is just an exciting time for TSU, seeing all of these lawmakers and visitors here to celebrate our institution,” said Kayla McCrary, president of the SGA.

Displays from the school’s various colleges and departments lined the walls in reception areas on the eighth and second floors of the Cordell Hull Building.

A number of TSU interns at the Capitol also joined their fellow students, staff and administrators in the celebration.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Top Amazon Executives Hold ‘Conversation’ with TSU Students On Success in the Corporate World

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five senior executives from Amazon recently visited Tennessee State University campus and had a “conversation” with students about coping in the corporate world.

About 50 students from different disciplines gathered in the President’s Dining Room Feb. 7 to interact with the executives on topics ranging from diversity, career preparedness and communications skills to opportunities at Amazon.

The meeting, termed ‘Why Diversity Matters, a Conversation with Amazon Execs,” was arranged by the TSU Career Development Center, and the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. It followed the “Amazon Live” event the night before at the Ryman, where about 400 TSU students, along with students from other local colleges and universities, gathered to hear about Amazon and job opportunities.

Visiting Amazon executives, from left, Cole Brown, Dave Bozeman, Ken Knight, Ed Feitinger, and Thadd Jones, Sr., a TSU graduate, met with TSU students Feb. 7. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Among the Amazon executives visiting TSU was Thadd Jones, Sr., Senior Talent Acquisition Manager for North America Specialty Fulfillment, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business with concentration in marketing from TSU in 2005.

“Amazon is here at TSU for diversity. We believe in creating access for diversity,” he said. “We believe that there is an opportunity to build corporate partnership for HBCUs as well. As a TSU alum, it makes perfect sense for me as we start to think about our footprint in Nashville, to make sure that TSU is at the forefront in building and growing our organization.”

Other executives on the visit to TSU were: Dave Bozeman, vice president of Transportation Services; Ed Feitzinger, vice president Amazon Global Logistics; Cole Brown, vice president HR North America Customer Fulfillment; and Ken Knight, vice president Global Fulfillment HR Amazon.

Russell Wafers, a TSU student, asks the Amazon executives a question during the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Russell Wafers, a freshman computer science major, was one of the students at the meeting. He wants to work for Amazon after college. He said the gathering gave him an opportunity to ask and get answers to questions about success in the corporate world.

“I really wanted to know what I can do to prepare myself as far as getting a job with Amazon, or just working on my professional skills,” said Wafers, who is from Huntsville, Alabama. “They were really very forthcoming and real.”

The visitors pressed the students on honing their communication skills, to think globally, and prepare themselves for a “changing and evolving” world.

Cole Brown, Vice President HR North America Customer Fulfillment Amazon, talks to two TSU students after the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Spend a lot time polishing yourself. Employers are probably not going to tell you how horrible your presentation was,” one said. “You must diversify and think global.”

“The best thing you want to have in your career is option, and the only way you get option is to evolve and prepare yourself for what the world has in store,” another executive said.

Charles Jennings, director of the TSU Career Development Center, said the executives’ visit was an opportunity for “our wonderful students to meet with top executives at Amazon.”

“What you have here are five of the top executives, including four African Americans at Amazon, having an opportunity to meet with and talk about what it is like working and maneuvering in that environment,” said Jennings.

Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, shared Jennings’ sentiment and thanked Jones for asking for the meeting with the students.

“Following the Amazon program at the Ryman, Thadd Jones asked if we would prepare a lunch for 50 students,” said Remey. “He wanted some of his corporate leaders to come and meet some of our students.”

Arnella Williams-Foster, a senior business administration major, said the meeting with the executives was enlightening.

“As a graduating senior, it was really important for me to hear how Amazon operates, specifically because I am looking to work for that company,” said the St. Louis, Missouri, native, with a concentration in marketing.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

Top Alabama Student Says Coming to TSU Opens Her to Opportunities Like No Other Institution

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Jahnari Edwards was considering a higher learning institution, Tennessee State University was not on her list, then five weeks in a summer program at TSU during her senior year of high school changed everything.

“That program got me hooked,” says Edwards, an agriculture science major from Phenix City, Alabama. “The atmosphere was so family like. My advisor and all the people in the program were so nice and encouraging. I knew right then TSU was the place for me.”

Jahnari Edwards

Last summer, Edwards was one of 21 graduating high school seniors from across the nation who participated in the very competitive five-week residential Summer Apprenticeship Program. From studies in understanding hypersensitive response of tobacco plants to comparing DNAs in chickens and Guinea fowls, participants in the program were exposed to real-world scientific work and cutting-edge research.

“The Summer Apprenticeship was so enriching; it exposed me to a whole new area of learning,” says Edwards, who gave up a tuition waiver to study broadcast journalism at Savannah State University. “I had the opportunity to go anywhere in Alabama for free, but I decided on TSU because of their agricultural program.”

Edwards, the youngest of three children, is the first in her family to attend a historically black institution. She came to TSU with a near 4.0 grade point average. An outstanding student at Smith Station High School, she graduated with high honors. She was the president of the senior class, and headed many other student organizations and initiatives.

At TSU, Edwards has not wavered in her pursuit of excellence. In her first semester, she earned a 3.8 GPA. She made the Dean’s List and is a member of the Honors College. She is also a member of Minorities in Agriculture Natural Resources and Related Sciences, Tiger Women in Agriculture, community service chair for Freshman Innovation Council, and is currently seeking a position in the Student Government Association.

Recently, Edwards was one of 10 TSU students selected to participate in a three-day Agriculture Future of America four-track program in Kansas City, Missouri, designed to offer college men and women different personal and professional development opportunities matched to their year in college.

Keisha Macklin Jeter is an outreach counselor in the College of Agriculture and an advisor to Edwards. She says that since participating in SAP, Edwards has “gone above and beyond” to demonstrate she values education and serving the community.

“Jahnari has excelled in the classroom while making community service an integral part of her higher education experience,” says Jeter. “Jahnari is an amazing student with a bright future ahead.”

Edwards, who wants to attend graduate school, says her future goal is to own a business part time and work for a major agriculture company. And she believes TSU will help her achieve that.

“I love TSU …the best HBCU in the land,” says Edwards. “I have gained a lot from being here and I have had a lot of opportunities that I feel I would not have gotten anywhere else.”

For more information on opportunities in the TSU College of Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/seminar_schedule.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

TSU Students Engage in Lawmaking at State Capitol, Discuss and Debate Bills on House Floor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For nearly two hours, the Tennessee General Assembly looked like a classroom with 28 individuals discussing major bills on the House floor, except this time, the people debating the bills were not lawmakers. They were students – Tennessee State University students.

They were part of “Leadership TSU,” a top training program. The students spent nearly four hours at the State Capitol on Friday, Feb. 1, touring and receiving lectures from lawmakers and government officials, including a representative for newly elected Gov. Bill Lee.

Just like lawmakers, the students engaged in an exercise of discussing, debating and voting on bills actually pending before the General Assembly.

State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., facilitates a discussion on a bill with Leadership TSU students on the House floor of the State Capitol. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“From today’s exercise, I learned a lot about how much thinking goes into considering a policy or a bill,” said Maria Rhodes, a sophomore political science major from Memphis, Tennessee. “Specifically, one has to think about who it will affect, who it will benefit – the positives, the negatives, the outcomes – and who the bill is geared toward.”

Leadership TSU, considered the highest level of leadership training at TSU, comprises 40 students – from freshmen to seniors – with demonstrated ability to lead. The program is sponsored by FedEx, which is exposing the cohorts to “some of the company’s best practices in leadership,” according to Frank Stevenson, dean of students and a coordinator of LTSU. The goal is to train and develop students with top leadership skills to help them be even more competitive in the workforce.

Stevenson said Friday’s exercise on the House floor was intended to “stretch the students’ thinking outside the box” in preparing them to be able to analyze policies.

Four students make their case for a bill during discussion on the House floor, as Dean Frank Stevenson, and a House aid, back row, look on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We gave them four current legislative bills around higher education and funding models, to debate and discuss,” he said. “They were charged with digging into those and creating a policy position on each one of those bills and coming out with what they think would be the best funding model for higher education.”

State Sen. Brenda Gilmore, Rep. Harold Love, Jr., two TSU alums, and Joseph Williams, director of external affairs in the Governor’s office, were among officials who welcomed the students to the Capitol.

“One of the benefits of having Leadership TSU down here today is that it continues TSU’s tradition of training leaders for the current and next generation,” said Love, who facilitated one of the group’s discussions. “To have these students here engaging in the process of making policy like we do everyday at the General Assembly does nothing more than brighten my heart because I see the next generation of leaders being trained right here.”

Charlie Green, Jr., an architectural engineering and urban studies major from Jackson, Tennessee, said the discussion helped him sharpen his skills in public speaking and debating.

“It also helped me to be able to think about things from different perspectives, and that is something all students should be exposed to,” Green said. “Things affect people on different levels, such as from being a student to going into professional life.”

TSU Assistant Dean of Students, Erica Gilmore, who is also at-large council member; and Ashton Cleveland, assistant dean of student life and engagement, accompanied the students and helped to facilitate the discussions.

Students interested in being selected for the 2020 class of Leadership TSU should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at (615) 963-2154 or fsteven1@tnstate.edu.mailloc.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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.

TSU, FedEx Partner to Conduct Top Leadership Training Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is partnering with FedEx to reinstitute a program that trains and develops students with top leadership skills to help them be even more competitive in the workforce.

Called “Leadership TSU,” 40 students – from freshmen to seniors – with demonstrated ability to lead, have been selected as the first cohorts of the program, which kicked off Jan. 20.

LTSU, considered the highest level of leadership training at the university, with 27 learning outcomes that have been modeled around the nation, closed out about seven years ago, according to Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students.

“We are bringing it back under the same idea of developing top leaders at the university.  We secured the funding and created the opportunity,” he said. “We pitched the idea to FedEx about creating an opportunity for students to learn some of their best practices, they immediately were on board.”

He said in addition to material and other support, FedEx will expose the cohorts to “some of the company’s leadership practices that fit in with what they do.” TSU faculty and national leadership training experts are also participating in the training.

Dr. Joseph Walker III, Chairmain of the TSU Board of Trustees, right, meets with Dean of Students Frank Stevenson during the LTSU cohorts’ visit to Dr. Walker’s residence. (Submitted Photo)

A component of the training program, Stevenson said, is to connect cohorts to successful individuals and groups “to share with our students and cohorts the habits of successful people.”

For instance, on Jan. 19, TSU Board of Trustees Chairman, Dr. Joseph Walker III, and his wife, Dr. Stephanie Walker, hosted the inaugural class of LTSU at their home. Dr. Joseph Walker, pastor of Nashville’s Mt. Zion Baptist Church, is presiding bishop of the Full Gospel Baptist Church Fellowship International, as well as chairman of the TSU Board of Trustees. His wife, Dr. Stephanie Walker, is a top pediatrician. They are authors of several books and publications.

“Leadership TSU is a game changer,” Bishop Walker said. “Dr. Stephanie and I were honored to host this group of extraordinary students. Their stories are powerful and their drive for success is contagious. The future looks bright and this program will be a major contributor.”

LTSU is a one-year program. To be nominated, students must maintain a minimum 2.5 grade point average. Stevenson said the current cohorts have a combined average GPA of 3.2, and were nominated by their deans, vice presidents, and the president.

“We wanted them (nominators) to identify those students who had already exhibited incredible leadership skills, and who really celebrate the best of TSU culture in terms of how they carry themselves. We asked them to also nominate those students, who in their mind, would best benefit from this training or this opportunity,” Stevenson said.

Donovan Stewart, the current Mr. Sophomore, is a member of the reinstituted LTSU. He said he is serious-minded and happy to be a part of such a diverse group of fellow students.

“It is a great feeling to be selected,” said Donovan, a nursing major from Birmingham, Alabama. “It is a great feeling to be acknowledged, not only for academics, but also leadership. And it is a good thing to get people from different backgrounds.”

As part of their initial activities, the group will visit the Tennessee State Capitol on Feb. 1 to hear about law and policy making from top elected officials, Stevenson said. In March, they will “make a social justice learning trip” to Washington, D.C.

TSU Assistant Dean of Students, Erica Gilmore, who is also at-large council member; and Tasha Andrews, director of student activities, coordinate LTSU along with Stevenson. Andrews spoke about the caliber of students in the program and why they were selected.

“As student affairs practitioners, we really understand that being a student leader goes beyond academic excellence. It is more about being well rounded and well cultivated,” she said. “We have students with 2.7 or 2.8. Some of them may have a low GPA, but they excel in other ways. It was important that we had a very diverse group. All of those students bring leadership traits that we admire and that are unique to each of them.”

Students interested in being selected for the 2020 class of Leadership TSU should contact the Office of the Dean of Students at (615) 963-2154 or fsteven1@tnstate.edu.mailloc.