All posts by Michael McLendon

Hargrove Recognized Nationally for Contributions as STEM Educator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Tennessee State University dean of the College of Engineering, will receive the Ivory Dome Award at the 14th Annual Information Technology Senior Management Forum (ITSMF) Technology Achievement Awards ceremony on March 9 in Dallas.

According to ITSMF President and CEO Viola Maxwell-Thompson, Hargrove’s commitment to developing tomorrow’s STEM leaders is in alignment with the organization’s mission of “increasing the representation of black professionals at senior levels in technology, to impact organizational innovation and growth.” She said the Ivory Dome Award is given to an individual focused on increasing the number of students in the STEM discipline.

“Dr. Hargrove won all of the support of the committee,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “We were so impressed with his achievements at TSU and how he has inspired and educated hundreds of students there as well as other areas within Tennessee where he has interacted with not only college students, but K-12 schools as well.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

Hargrove, who earned his BS degree in mechanical engineering from TSU, immediately pursued his MS degree as a National GEM Consortium Fellow at Missouri University of Science and Technology. He later secured his Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

“I am honored to received this award.  It is a result of the hard work of the faculty and staff of the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University, and the partnerships we have with industries like Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and K-12 Education to promote STEM careers,” he said. “This award reflects the support of TSU and our commitment to expanding the workforce in STEM and the dedication of TSU leadership and the quality of the students in our program.

As a recipient of the Ivory Dome Award, Maxwell-Thompson said Hargrove will be an honorary member of ITSMF for one year, which will enable him to attend the organization’s symposium, network with other STEM professionals and mentor within the organization.

“We just want him to feel proud that he is being recognized in yet another way, considering the fact that he has tons of accolades and recognitions,” Maxwell-Thompson said. “This organization wants to also add to that list of recognizing an individual who is so incredibly passionate about the youth and tomorrow’s leaders.”

Hargrove said pursuing a career in STEM, obtaining advanced degrees and becoming a college professor were a result of the advice and mentoring he received from the TSU faculty while he was an undergraduate student.

“Seven out of the top 10 best jobs are STEM-related.  My role as Dean is to insure they are completing an academic program that prepares them to be technically competent and have the leadership skills to have successful careers,” he said. “My engagement with my own students and with our partnerships with high schools, help promote careers in STEM and encourage them to seek occupations in this area.  In most instances in K12 education, it’s about exposure and awareness.  The College of Engineering is committed to both.”

In addition to mentoring and educating students at TSU, Hargrove serves as a founding board member of STEM Preparatory Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. He also serves on the advisory STEM boards of several local K-12 schools.

Dr. Kimberly Gold, a cybersecurity engineer for the U.S. Navy, said Hargrove is the reason she has a Ph.D.

Dr. Kimberly Gold

“He is my mentor. He promotes rigor, excellence and he never turns his back on his students,” she said. “He’s someone they can count on. I was actually the first African-American female to graduate with a Ph.D. in computer and information systems engineering, and I could not have done that without him.”

Gold said Hargrove teaches his students to never come to him with complaints, but with solutions. She said his mentorship and the nurturing environment at TSU played a key role in her success.

“When I got to the Navy, we were less than maybe 8 percent of the population on our base so a lot of times people doubted my abilities because they were not familiar with working with people of color,” she said. “Hargrove would have these closed door sessions where he would teach us how to maneuver through systems that were not created for us to excel. So that is why I say he is more than just a mentor. He is also a friend.”

Maxwell-Thompson said she hopes honoring Hargrove will lead to future collaborations between ITSMF and Tennessee State University.

“We look at the number of students who are majoring in the technology piece of STEM, and we know that there are so many opportunities in technology that will present themselves by the year 2025, and we want to make sure that there are a good representation of black students that are ready to take on those roles.”

Founded in 1996, ITSMF is the only national organization dedicated exclusively to cultivating executive-level talent among black technology professionals. Their members hail from Fortune 500 companies, governmental agencies, technology businesses and academia. This annual event attracts top-notch technology industry leaders and has historically been hosted by companies like Bank of America, Lowes, Hewlett-Packard, PepsiCo and Lockheed Martin.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

Tennessee State University Hosts Unveiling of ‘Forever’ Postal Stamp Honoring Lena Horne

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted the unveiling of the U.S. Postal Service’s “Forever Stamp” featuring legendary performer and civil rights activist Lena Horne on Friday in the Kean Hall welcome center.

The new stamp, which is the 41st in the Black Heritage series, is a colorized black-and-white photograph taken of Horne in the 1980’s by photographer Christian Steiner. The dress Horne wears in the photograph appears royal blue, a color she frequently wore. The background of the photograph includes a few clouds, reminiscent of her Stormy Weather album. Horne’s name appears at the bottom of the stamp, with the words “USA” and “Forever” appearing just above her name in the bottom right corner. The words “Black Heritage” appear at the top of the stamp.

Toni Franklin, the postmaster of Nashville, joined TSU Associate Vice President and Chief of Staff, Dr. Curtis Johnson, faculty, staff, students, postal officials and guests during the unveiling ceremony in Nashville in the Kean Hall foyer on the main campus. The stamp was dedicated by Deputy Postmaster General Ronald Stroman during a January 30th ceremony at the Peter Norton Symphony Space in New York.

Franklin described Horne as “a woman who used her platform as an entertainer to become one of America’s most public advocates for civil rights and gender equality.”

“The Lena Horne Commemorative Stamp is being issued as a ‘Forever Stamp’,”  Franklin said.  “It goes without saying, Lena Horne will forever be in our hearts.”

Steven Lewis, Curator of the National Museum of African American

Steven Lewis, curator of the National Museum of African American Music, speaks before the unveiling. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Music slated to open in Nashville in 2019, served as the ceremony speaker. He provided a brief history of Horne’s contributions to the entertainment industry and African American History.

“Lena Horne lived a long life, and she had an amazingly varied body of work spanning activities of literally all forms of popular media including film, television, recordings, musical theatre, and night club appearances,” he said. “The constant throughout her career, however, was her commitment to activism on behalf of African Americans.”

Attendees participated in a brief reception following the event. The TSU Jazz Band provided entertainment, performing renditions of Horne’s classics, including her popular song, Stormy Weather.

Best known for her movie roles in “Cabin in the Sky” and “Stormy Weather,” Horne began her career as a dancer at Harlem’s famous Cotton Club. She endured decades of discrimination in her storied career, and eventually emerged as a civil rights activist performing at various rallies across the South, pressing for anti-lynching legislation with Eleanor Roosevelt, lending her support to the National Council for Negro Women and taking part in the March on Washington in 1963.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

 

Grant Writing Specialists Visit TSU for Nashville’s First NSF Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – National Science Foundation (NSF) representatives visited the campus of Tennessee State University on Thursday to provide insight for researchers who hope to secure funding from the agency.

The daylong workshop, called NSF Day, included discipline-specific breakout sessions featuring NSF representatives, a panel with NSF-funded researchers from Tennessee and discussions about things to consider before writing a proposal as well as opportunities for fellowships.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement, welcomed the group to TSU’s Avon Williams Campus with the shout, “Big Blue”, as she applauded them for attending the first NSF Day held in Nashville, Tennessee.

“We are here today to spend time on a topic that is near and dear to my heart,” Crumpton-Young said. “One of the things I love most about each day is the opportunity to think about research, discovery and the things that we have an opportunity as faculty, staff and students to work on that will address global challenges and make a difference in how we live our lives.”

The NSF is the federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” according to the foundation’s website. NSF supports fundamental research in science, engineering and education across all disciplines.

Fahmida Chowdhury (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Fahmida Chowdhury, program director in the NSF Office of International Science and Engineering (OISE), said researchers should make sure NSF is the right funding agency for them before they begin writing a proposal. She also stressed the importance of pinpointing what is unique and important about the proposed study.

“A lot of times scientists who have a great idea take it for granted that everyone knows it is a great project. It’s a great project for you, but why is it so great for everybody else in your field and not only for the advancement of your field, but also for society at large,” Chowdhury said. “You have to think about those things, and make those part of your motivation for writing the proposal.”

Chowdhury also highlighted the importance of having an effective assessment plan.

“How will you know that what you will do in the next five years has been successful,” she said. “Always make that part of your proposal.”

Muhammad Khan, who currently works as a molecular research analyst with Dr. Ahmad Naseer Aziz, TSU associate professor of Molecular Genetics, said attending NSF Day may help him secure funding to further his research, as well as provide opportunities for students.

“One of our key priorities in writing grants is to benefit the students,” Khan said.  “Grants help us provide them with stipends, the chemicals important to their research, and we also expose them to approaches which will help maximize their learning.”

Holly Brown, NSF Lead for the TSU NSF Day said the event gives the foundation an opportunity to reach out to the research community and individuals who are potential researchers.

“Today we have a crowd that is typically early career researchers. Some of them are assistant professors, a lot of them are from the TSU community themselves, and we also have people from other universities in the area,” Brown said.

“At the end of the event we want everyone here to know how to apply for a grant, and to feel comfortable talking to us as program officers and us as the experts,” she added.  “It really comes down to, ‘Contact your program officer if you have questions.’ And people really don’t do that if they don’t know who they are.”

US Senator Lamar Alexander said in a video message to attendees that the National Science Foundation has an annual budget of about $7 billion and makes about 12,000 new funding awards each year in fields such as mathematics, computer science and the social sciences.

“Tennessee State should be proud to be selected as one of the four sites that will host an NSF Workshop Day this year,” he said.

Nicholas Kovach, research specialist in the TSU Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said the university secured more than $2 million from NSF in the last fiscal year.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

 

 

Gentrification In The Black Community, TSU Students Hold Forum To Address Issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students invite community leaders and neighborhood groups to take a closer look at gentrification and it’s impact on the black community.

Students will host the forum, Gentrification Across the Spectrum,  on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at the university’s Avon Williams Campus at 6 p.m. in Room 354. It will include the screening of NorthEast Passage, a 2002 documentary about gentrification in the black neighborhoods of Portland, Oregon. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion that will explore the effects of gentrification in Nashville and how residents in areas being negatively affected can take meaningful action.

Marie Baugh, a graduate student in the College of Public Service, said the students want to show how the process of gentrification impacts people.

Marie Baugh

“Being a millennial graduating post-recession, it’s hard to even qualify to get a home because depending on the neighborhood, the pricing, and the condition of the home, I just may not be eligible for it,” Baugh said. “Gentrification affects a lot of people directly and indirectly because you have neighborhoods being revitalized, and it may change the whole culture of the neighborhood.”

Baugh, a native of Decatur, Alabama who secured her bachelor’s degree in political science from TSU in 2008, said the forum will help people who have heard the term gentrification but are unsure about what it can do to a neighborhood.

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally syndicated columnist, said the event is important because gentrification is a national and international issue. Harris, who has done extensive research on gentrification, spoke about the issue in 2014 in Medellin, Columbia at the United Nations’ premiere conference on urban issues, World Urban Forum 7.

“We see so much economic development and so much growth here in Nashville, and the outcome is gentrification,” Harris said. “It means that people who do not have the means are pushed way out of town to the outskirts, and housing and housing affordability become a major question and issue.”

Dr. Michael Harris

Harris said the process significantly impacts minorities and lower income people. He said the solutions to issues surrounding gentrification must come from academics and practitioners.

“Gentrification is an outcome of the economic growth, and it really has to be addressed so minorities with low incomes can find affordable housing within Nashville,” he said.

Cornelius Swart, who co-produced and co-directed NorthEast Passage with his business partner Spencer Wolf, said since the release of the documentary in 2002, the effects gentrification has had on the once predominately-black community in Portland have been astronomical.

“Fifteen years later we see that the traditionally black neighborhoods have lost 50-60 percent of their black population,” he said. “It’s hard to say exactly how many, but even the folks who remain in the neighborhood often say they don’t feel comfortable going out in public, or they have very little reason to go out in public because old stores and public spaces are catered to the new white residents. So you now have a neighborhood that no longer feels like home for many of the people who grew up in the area.”

Swart advises residents in areas currently being gentrified to build partnerships and create stakeholders of people who are willing to invest long-term in the existing residents, as well as set up long-term protections for vulnerable residents, such as land trusts and other affordable home models.   He said residents should make sure the new investments coming in are not just for newcomers.

“For many years, I have been watching this issue unfold, and as the downsides become very apparent and as my understanding of the issue becomes more intricate, I feel an obligation to warn people about what is coming down the track.” he said.

Sponsored by the TSU College of Public Service, Gentrification Across the Spectrum grew out of the college’s desire to give students an opportunity to shape its premiere Black History Month event.

“They came up with the ideas and have been able to recruit people and make suggestions that I don’t think any of us faculty members would have ever had,” said Dr. Anthony Campbell, assistant professor of Public Administration in the College of Public Service.

Baugh, one of the event’s organizers, credits TSU with giving her a chance to grow, and become the person she is today.

“If it wasn’t for Tennessee State University accepting me as an undergraduate back in 2003, I’m not sure I would be able to even have the opportunities I have now,” she said. “Where I came from in Alabama there weren’t a lot of opportunities for little black girls like me. When I got the acceptance letter in the mail, I knew that it was my way out.”

Following the screening, a panel consisting of leaders from the public, private, nonprofit and grassroots sectors will discuss the impact gentrification is having on Nashville. Panelists include: Morgan Mansa, executive director of Metro Nashville’s Barnes Housing Trust; Tifinie Capehart, realtor with SilverPointe Properties; Hiram Brown, manager of strategic growth with Urban Housing Solutions; and Ruby Baker, president of the Bordeaux Hills Residential Association.

Campbell said he hopes the event will provide insight to help Nashville residents grapple with the many factors surrounding gentrification.

“We here at the colleges care about these issues and aren’t just exploring it from a purely academic standpoint,” he said. “We are trying to create a bigger dialogue so we can bring about positive change.”

For more information about Gentrification Across the Spectrum, contact Dr. Anthony Campbell at mcampb13@tnstate.edu or (615) 963-7098.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 First to Host NSF Day in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Science, engineering and education researchers will have a unique opportunity to gain insight about how to secure research funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) at a workshop on February 22 at Tennessee State University.

The daylong workshop, dubbed NSF Day, will include discussions about how to submit fundable proposals, as well as discipline-specific breakout sessions featuring NSF representatives. This is the first time NSF Day is being hosted in Nashville.

“We are excited to bring an NSF Day to Tennessee State University,” said Holly Brown, NSF Lead for the TSU NSF Day. “Not only do these events provide a phenomenal opportunity for us to share vital information on our proposal and merit review processes, we are able to engage with some of the brightest minds in science and engineering.”

Robert Turner, senior mechanical engineering major

One student who has benefited from TSU’s partnership with NSF is Robert Turner, a senior mechanical engineering major from Nashville, Tennessee. Turner said working on an NSF funded research project has enhanced his experience at TSU in many ways.

“It has given me a perspective on what I would like to do for graduate school,” he said. “It is also exposing me to different technologies that I wouldn’t necessarily get exposed to throughout my undergraduate curriculum.”

After graduation, Turner plans to pursue a graduate degree in material science. He said working with Dr. Frances Williams, associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering, has helped him expand his breadth of knowledge and given him the opportunity to network within the field of engineering.

“Dean (Williams) has always been helpful to me by setting me up with the right opportunities and helping me whenever I needed it,” he said. “The other researcher assigned to the project, Dr. Yury Barnakov, has also been helpful, as well as the graduate student that I am working with.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said students are the primary beneficiaries when universities receive research funding.

“Research projects train students to use innovative and new techniques,” he said. “They aid them in becoming accepted to internships, and graduate and medical schools. Research becomes paid jobs and scholarships for students, both of which increase student retention and matriculation rates.”

The NSF is the federal agency created by Congress in 1950 “to promote the progress of science; to advance national health, prosperity, and welfare; and to secure the national defense,” according to the foundation’s website. NSF supports fundamental research in science, engineering and education across all disciplines.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU professor of psychology and principal investigator for two NSF grants currently funded at the university, said her research is geared toward constructing a framework for a theory of African American STEM career development.

Dr. Marie Hammond, TSU associate professor of psychology in the College of Education

Hammond said that she, along with a team of other researches at TSU, are attempting to increase the ability of African Americans to commit to and manage their STEM careers to ensure that they have the greatest likelihood of persisting to graduation and into the next phase of their STEM careers.

“The reason this research is so important is because the STEM workforce is primarily made up of Caucasian males.,” Hammond said.  “Think about what we are missing with only 5% of African Americans spread out across all the STEM fields.  What are we missing that African American men and women would pick up on to help improve healthcare, safety and our living environments.”

Hammond has secured close to $2.5 million in funding from NSF during her career at TSU, which has allowed her to hire a total of almost 50 graduate assistants. Currently, she has nine graduate assistants who aid with research, as well as four undergraduate students who collect data.

Nicholas Kovach, research specialist in the TSU Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said the university secured more than $2 million from NSF in the last fiscal year. He said NSF representatives will be on hand all day to answer questions and personally engage in discussions with attendees.

“This is a rare opportunity,” he said. “The National Science Foundation holds only a few of these workshops each year, at different institutions across the country, and they are coming here to our campus.”

NSF Day provides background on the foundation, its mission, and priorities. Program managers and staff give overviews on proposal writing, programs that fall within and across NSF’s seven scientific and engineering directorates, and NSF’s merit review process.

Presale admission tickets are available on the TSU Research and Sponsored Programs website:  http://www.tnstate.edu/research/. Admission includes parking on the main campus with a shuttle service downtown, breakfast, lunch, and light snacks throughout the day.

For additional information about the NSF Day program, visit www.nsf.gov/nsfdays

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Honda Campus All-Star Team Hopes To Compete for National Title

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team participated in the National Qualifying Tournament at Spelman College in Atlanta on Saturday, Feb. 3.

TSU defeated Bethune-Cookman and Savannah State Universities, but lost two close games to Morehouse College and Florida A&M University.

After an impressive performance, the team’s goal now is to become one of 48 squads from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) around the nation to advance to the National Championship Tournament in Torrance, California, scheduled for April 7-11.

Dr. John Miglietta, professor of political science, who has served as the team’s coach since 2004, said participating in this event on the national level is important because it showcases the academic talent at the nation’s HBCUs.

“The Honda Campus All-Star Challenge is a great program because it measures students’ knowledge on a variety of subjects such as history, literature, sports, pop culture, science, as well as black history, culture, and literature, etc.,” he said. “It is also important for individual students because of personal and professional networking opportunities with Honda as well students, faculty and staff from other HBCUs.”

Miglietta said the team will find out the week of Feb. 12 if they advance to the national competition. Until then, he said, they will continue to practice three times a week.

Devon Jefferson, a member of the TSU Honors College who serves

Members of the TSU Honda Campus All-Star Challenge Team

as the team’s captain, said understanding the strengths of each team member plays a big role in their collective success.

“I think we have a pretty good team this year,” he said. “It’s not like the strength that each individual on the team has is the only thing they know about. Each individual on this team has widespread interests which relate to the basic knowledge we need when it comes to the competition.”

Jefferson, a junior marketing major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, said being part of the TSU Honda Campus All-Star Team adds to the members’ academic experiences because of the knowledge they gain while studying and preparing for competition.

“I definitely believe that HCASC has made me better at certain things like taking certain classes and understanding them,” he said. “I might have heard something in passing at practice and then I hear the actual application in class, so it makes more sense to me when I do the work.”

Other Members of the HCASC team who participated in the National Qualifying Tournament are Alexandria Ross, freshmen, economics and Finance major from Memphis, Tennessee; Breanna Williams, senior, music major from Marietta,Georgia; and Terrence George Young, junior computer science major from Knoxville, Tennessee.

Also on the TSU team are Aliyah Muhammad, of Nashville, a sophomore biology major; Donovan Varnell, sophomore political science major, from Nashville; and Micah Williams, sophomore, combined mass communications and military science major from Seoul, South Korea.

“We’ve got a great coach, and we’ve got a great team,” Jefferson added. “Hopefully, we did well enough at the National Qualifying Tournament to make nationals. And if we make nationals, hopefully we can bring the trophy back to TSU.”

TSU has participated in 21 national championship tournaments earning a total of $170,500 in grant money since the inception of the program in 1989. For more info about HCASC, visit www.hcasc.com.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Alum Emerges as Smooth Jazz Phenom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Deborah Ghent says when she and her husband Carl went on their first date, they hit it off so well that they discussed naming their first child Jazmin to honor their mutual love for jazz music.

The couple had no idea they would have twins, but their decision to name their daughter Jazmin seems almost prophetic considering the recent success and recognition she has garnered as a smooth jazz artist.

Jazmin Ghent, who was recently voted Best New Artist of 2017 by the Smooth Jazz Network, outshined Gerald Albright’s daughter Selina Albright, Billboard-charting jazz guitarist Adam Hawley and a host of other smooth jazz notables for the coveted title.

Ghent earned a master’s degree in music from Tennessee State University in 2014. She said music has always been a part of her life.

“If I didn’t have music, I know I wouldn’t be where I am today,” she said. “Music distracted me from getting off track and being something I’m not.  It really allowed me to express myself and find my way in life.”

TSU Alum Jazmin Ghent was recently voted Best New Artist of 2017 by the Smooth Jazz Network.

Nicknamed “Jazzy Jaz” by her grandfather Fletcher Gaines, who also played saxophone, Ghent grew up listening to jazz standards from his music collection, as well as the music of Gerald Albright, Kirk Whalum and Brian Culbertson.

Currently an elementary school music teacher on weekdays and a traveling smooth jazz phenom on weekends, Jazmin credits TSU for playing a major role in her success.

She said Dr. Robert Elliot, head of the Department of Music at TSU, her residence life coworkers Gregory Williams and Brent Dukhie, and various members of the TSU family, provided direction and support during her time at the university.

“I found out about the program at TSU through the Bobby Jones Show,” she said.  “I performed on his ‘Show Your Talent Show,’ and went to do an interview with Dr. Elliot. He didn’t have to give me a chance and an opportunity, but I am beyond thankful that he did.”

Elliot, who served as chair of Ghent’s thesis committee, said that as a musician, Jazmin brings the “total package.”

“She is very much a modern saxophonist, but she is well-grounded in the music of those greats who came before her, and she has built upon that legacy,” he said.  “Jazmin is a very knowledgeable musician and a very creative person.  She has good character, a pleasing personality, and the great ability as an educator to teach people about what it is she does.”

Elliot said for her master’s degree project, Ghent developed a summer camp in music for children to teach them jazz. She held the camp and then documented the curriculum and the delivery of the curriculum.

A great deal of Jazmin’s love for education comes from her mother Deborah, who worked as a special education teacher for 38 years.  Deborah Ghent, who currently serves as her daughter’s manager, said Jazmin and her twin sister, Jenai, started taking piano lessons at the age of six and playing saxophone in middle school.

According to her mother, Jazmin honed a lot of her leadership skills and musicianship in church.

“She was always a little different because she would read the music, but she would always like to add things to the music,” her mother said.  “At the age of 8 she started playing in church, and she and her twin sister alternated weeks and they became the church Sunday school pianists.  When she was older and the church pianist was out, she would take over.  When the pianist was there, Jazmin would find a little spot over in the corner and she would play the saxophone along with whatever hymns or whatever songs were being played in church.”

Jazmin’s dedication and commitment to music paid off in high school when she was named drum major of her 200-member high school band in Huntsville, Alabama. She held the position for three years until she graduated and attended Florida State University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music education with a minor in jazz studies.

As she continues to find success as a professional musician, Jazmin also relishes in the opportunity to continue working as a music educator.

“Education is such a big part of my life and what I do,” she said.  “I think it’s always going to be there in some capacity. If the opportunity does present itself, I will definitely be a full-time professional musician, but I will always like to keep some aspect of education.  My goal is to get my doctorate and teach on the collegiate level, so I’m going to try to juggle them both for as long as I can.”

Currently, Jazmin is working on her third project, “The Story of Jaz,” which she said highlights her various musical influences and life experiences.

“I’m one of those people who likes to go outside the box and try different things,” she said.

Jazz lovers from around the world can experience Jazmin’s unique musical gift at her scheduled performances which include bookings at the Perfect Note in Hoover, Alabama, and the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival in Mallorca, Spain.

For more information about booking Jazmin or to purchase her previous projects, “Boss” and “Chocolate Sunshine,” visit www.jazminghent.net.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.

 

Getahn Ward Remembered For Excellence, Community Service and Dedication To Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nashville’s most prominent journalists, as well as residents from Middle Tennessee, around the nation and the world, gathered in north Nashville Friday night to celebrate the life of journalist, professor and community leader Getahn Moses Ward.

Ward, who taught journalism as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State University, died Dec. 16 after a brief illness. He was 45 years old.

Varying emotions filled the high-spirited event as family members, coworkers and friends shared heartfelt testimonies in the crowded sanctuary of Born Again Church where Ward served as a deacon.

“He was a man of peace,” said Born Again Church Elder Jerome Brown.  “He was always busy, but he always did it from a place of peace.”

Described by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry as “the hardest-working reporter in Nashville,” Ward migrated from his native Liberia to Nashville in the early 90s, enrolling at TSU where he quickly rose to become editor-in-chief of the university’s student newspaper, The Meter.  He worked as a reporter with the Nashville Banner before it closed in 1997, and then served as a business reporter with The Tennessean beginning in 1998 until his death.

NewsChannel 5 weatherman and “Talk of the Town” co-host Lelan Statom said Ward’s passing is a reminder that “we need to celebrate life.”  Statom, who serves as the treasurer of the Nashville Chapter of the National Association of Black Journalists, worked for years alongside Ward, who served as the organization’s longtime parliamentarian.

“Just last month we asked him if he had an interest in being interim president,” said Statom.  “He politely declined on that because he knew where his passion was.  His passion wasn’t necessarily to be at the top of the chart for the organization.  It was to help students, which is something he did by serving as the chair of the scholarship committee for us.”

Since Ward’s death, TSU, The Tennessean, the Gannett Foundation and NABJ have partnered to create a scholarship in Ward’s name that will benefit aspiring journalists. The new scholarship is the first endowed scholarship in the history of the TSU Department of Communications. Organizers have already raised more than $30,000 with the goal of raising $50,000.

“It is a great way to honor the life of someone who gave back so much to the Nashville Community,” Statom said.

Individuals who would like to give to the scholarship fund should write a check to Tennessee State University, 3500 John A. Merritt Blvd., Nashville, TN, 37209-1561. Online donations can be made at bit.ly/getahnward.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Medical Researcher Leads Fight Against Brain Tumors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – People suffering from brain tumors could receive better medical care as a result of research currently being done by one of Tennessee State University’s leading medical scientists.

Dr. Quincy Quick, TSU associate professor of Biology, said by investigating the protein Microtubule Actin Crosslinking Factor 1 (MACF1), he hopes to help doctors target brain tumors using a precision method approach and thereby provide more effective therapy.

Dr. Quincy Quick, TSU associate professor of Biology (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“All cancers are different,” he said.  “Even though you and I may have a brain tumor, we would have different types of brain tumors because our genetics are different.  Therefore, the genetics of our tumors would be different.”

According to Quick, if two patients had brain tumors and one patient’s tumor expressed the MCAF1 protein and the other didn’t, doctors would be able to use his research to better determine which type of therapy would best treat each tumor.

“Cancers have a lot of different components.  You treat a tumor with radiation or chemotherapy.  The reality is that some of those cells in the tumor would be killed, and some of them wouldn’t be,” he said.  “The idea is how do you then identify one target that would kill all of the cells within the tumor population.  MCAF1 would be thrust into that category as a potential target that could be inhibited and kill all the cells in the tumor and not just the subpopulation of those cells.”

According to brain tumor experts at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), there are more than 130 different types of brain tumors, and about 80,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with a primary brain tumor each year.

Currently, four students assist Quick with different aspects of the research project which began in August and is funded for four years by the National Institute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS) in NIH.

Orica Kutten is a sophomore biology major. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Orica Kutten, a sophomore biology major from Ghana, said working in the lab with Quick has given her direction for her career path.

“Initially, I just wanted to go to medical school,” she said. “But now I am thinking of possibly going to research school and furthering my studies in cancer research.”

Kutten, a member of the TSU Honors College, said the lab work has introduced her to techniques she will need to know whether she attends medical school or graduate school.

“I love working in the lab with Dr. Quick,” she said. “He has been a great mentor, and I am very grateful for all the things I have been able to learn in his lab.”

Quick explained that the process for introducing new methods of treatment for brain tumors is slow in the United States, but patients diagnosed with these tumors can receive better medical care by asking their doctors more informed questions.

He advises those suffering from brain tumors to ask their doctor if they are using a precision method approach.  Specifically, he said, patients should ask, “Are you evaluating the genetics of my specific tumor for me as an individual so that I can receive the best individualized therapy for me as opposed to taking the generic approach you would take with anybody that is characterized with this kind of tumor?”

Quick said the technology is available to make certain distinctions between the types of brain tumors, but often doctors don’t use it, and patients don’t know to ask the doctors to evaluate the genetics of their tumors so they can receive the best therapy.

“That’s a huge part of the problem,” he said.  “You need to be informed about the technology you are asking about so when the doctor gives you a response, you can make an appropriate decision like, ‘Do I need to go get a second opinion?’”

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) has 69 designated cancer centers located in 35 states and the District of Columbia. To find a NCI-Designated Cancer Center near you, visit http://bit.ly/2jWBrVu.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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 Health Experts Urge Tennesseans To Get Flu Shot

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – If you’re still unsure about whether or not to get a flu shot, Tennessee State University researchers have a message for you: Stop thinking about it, and get one. This comes as the National Centers for Disease Control (CDC) observes the first week in December as National Influenza Week.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU Associate Professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences

“Most people think you get the flu, you just get sick, and you recover,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, TSU associate professor of Public Health, Healthcare Administration and Health Sciences. “That is true if you are relatively healthy. But it is important for us to be sure that, like in any group of people, most people are immunized so that the frail and fragile are not exposed to the flu and die from it.”

According to the CDC, people at high risk of developing flu-related complications include children younger than 5 (but especially children younger than 2 years old), adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities, and American Indians and Alaskan Natives.

One popular misconception, said Inman, who teaches Epidemiology on the undergraduate and graduate levels, is that individuals actually contract the flu as a result of taking the vaccination. She said suspicions about taking the flu shot persist because many people remain unaware that infectious diseases have an incubation period.

“Let’s say you went to a cocktail party, and you got exposed. Then you go to the pharmacist to get the prescription on Monday, and you have flu symptoms on Friday. You’re going to think you got the flu from the flu shot,” she said. “Well, actually you didn’t get the flu from getting the flu shot. You got it from someone else. It’s the timing.”

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services

Dr. Ivan Davis, TSU director of Student Health Services, said one of the most dangerous consequences of not getting a flu shot is that it can lead to pneumonia. He said even if the vaccination does not have the same strain of the virus, taking it usually makes the illness much milder. Instead of being five to seven days and protracted, he said the illness is “shortened by several days.”

Davis said it takes about four weeks for the immunity from the shot to “kick-in.” He said people are unable to get the illness from the vaccine because it contains a dead virus.

“The vaccination uses the genome, the nucleus of the virus, so there is no way you can get the flu from the shot. It’s not a live virus,” he said. “Even if you come down with a different strain, it has been proven that because you have had the shot, your chance of having a real bad infection is lessened.”

The exact timing and duration of flu season can vary extending from October through May, but most peak between December and February, according to the CDC. In 2005, the agency designated the first full week in December to highlight the importance of continuing flu vaccination through the holiday season and beyond. This year the center recommends that only injectable flu vaccines be given.

Inman said the changing nature of the virus is another reason she stresses taking the flu shot.

“To me it’s too big of a gamble to take for your health because each year the virus changes and the severity is different. No one can verify that this is a mild version and not the killer version that swept through in 1918,” she added.

According to health experts, in 1918 the flu pandemic killed an estimated 500 million people worldwide including about 675,000 Americans.

“Any immunization keeps anything you catch from being as bad because it jumpstarts your immune system,” Inman said. “You’ll be safer and less sorry if you get the flu shot.”

The Tennessee Department of Health reports that the highest number of flu cases in Tennessee are typically recorded in January and February each year.

For more information about where you can get the flu shot in Tennessee, visit http://tn.gov/health/topic/localdepartments.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 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, 25 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.