All posts by Michael McLendon

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.

COLLEGE OF ENGINEERING RECOGNIZED AT SWEET TALK FOR 100 PERCENT PARTICIPATION IN FACULTY, STAFF GIVING CAMPAIGN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Engineering received special recognition at the university’s annual Sweet Talk event for having 100 percent participation in the university’s annual faculty and staff giving campaign, which raises money to benefit TSU students.

Held on Nov. 30 in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Sweet Talk provided an opportunity for campus employees to enjoy delicious pastries and discuss the importance of supporting students beyond the classroom.

“I challenged my almost fifty faculty and staff members in the College of Engineering and encouraged them to give individually,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the college. “They have demonstrated that by investing in TSU and showing their support for what they believe and I believe is one of the best places to work in the city of Nashville.”

Sonya Smith, assistant director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving and chair of the campaign, expressed her gratitude to the campaign co-chairs and various contributors for raising $141,451 during the 2016-2017 fiscal year.  She said the goal for the current fiscal year is to raise $155,000.

“We are excited about the upcoming year,” she said. “Our participation rate has increased from 99 faculty and staff to 329. I encourage faculty and staff to continue to support this important fundraising effort.”

According to Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, vice president of Research and Institutional Advancement, this “unified effort will remove financial hurdles” that students are otherwise unable to overcome.

“Before I start to shed tears over the joy that I am experiencing from all the wonderful gifts that we are receiving and our ability to give and help others, I just want to say thank you,” she said. “We always talk about team work makes the dream work. To see the numbers, to see the participation rate, to me it is a clear example of how teamwork is truly making the dream work at TSU.”

Dr. Joseph Perry, Director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, has been with Tennessee State University for 40 years. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Joe Perry, the director of Sustainability in Facilities Management, who has established an endowment at TSU, said he gives back because he is grateful for the opportunities the university has given him.  Perry, who started his journey 40 years ago in the security department, now has four degrees from TSU.

“I will always support this great university,” he said.  “Even when I am gone, my endowment will continue to support the needs of students.  I realize giving back will help the future leaders of tomorrow.”

Rosalyn Word, co-chair of the Faculty Staff Annual Giving Campaign, expressed her enthusiasm for the effort.  A member of the President’s Club, people who contribute $1,000 or more, Word said she came to TSU full-time because someone else made a financial contribution so that “I could be and do what it is I needed to do.”

“I know that for me to accomplish the things I have been able to accomplish there were people like us who made a financial contribution to make sure I could pursue an education, and become the person I was destined to be,” she said.

Word, assistant professor of dental hygiene at TSU, said her department has established a scholarship for students majoring in dental hygiene and hopes to award scholarships to two students next year.

Dr. Achintya Ray, chair of the Faculty Senate, along with Linda Goodman, chair of the Staff Senate, presented the $141,451 check to President Glenda Glover on Nov. 11 at Hale Stadium during the TSU-Southeast Missouri game.  He said the financial gifts of faculty and staff represent a “deep conviction that they can make fundamental change” in the lives of the young men and women TSU employees serve.

“I was deeply honored to go out with Ms. Goodman during the halftime of the game and present Dr. Glover with that wonderful check,” Ray said. “But I think what we presented was not the amount that was written on the check, but a confidence in the faculty and staff in the future of this great institution.”

Eloise Abernathy Alexis, associate vice president of Institutional Advancement, encouraged faculty and staff to give primarily through payroll deduction.  For more information about how to give, call (615) 963-2936.

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 Looks to Change Landscape by Enhancing Its Continuing Education Offerings

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – No time for a traditional class schedule? Real estate, mobile app development, and entertainment legalese are just a few areas working professionals can now explore by taking self-paced noncredit courses at Tennessee State University.

This expansion represents another milestone in the university’s efforts to bridge the digital divide and position itself as a leader in the area of continuing education.

Dr. Evelyn Nettles, TSU associate vice president for academic affairs, said she is excited about the new dimension of programming this partnership is adding to the continuing education program.

Andrew Golden, a Nashville native, is currently pursuing certifications through the TSU Continuing Education Program.

“The university offers a variety of things for a variety of people,” she said. “It offers credit for those people who really want to get their degree. And for those people who want to improve what they already have, we offer a noncredit program.”

Some of the specialized courses life-long learners can take at TSU will include classes on women in leadership, helping minority youth and police work together, second-chance reentry programs to help inmates when they return to society, and social media marketing courses.

This development is part of an agreement with Aperion Global Institute (AGI), a unique digital educational model of network affiliates that have a direct focus on erasing the digital divide in education.

“The collaboration with Aperion Global Institute will allow Tennessee State University to expand its noncredit course offerings by helping the university expand its presence in high-demand markets,” said Dr. Mark Hardy, TSU vice president of academic affairs.

“The web portal through AGI is attractive and designed so that potential students can readily find the specific course or courses of their choosing.  This is also expected to increase the number of students who sign up for various courses through AGI.”

Costs for the courses range from $99 for a typical four-week course to $297 for a 12-week course. Students can take the courses on their mobile phones and tablets or through AGI’s digital TV channel. All the courses have been loaded on an SD (secure digital) card.

Isiah Reese, chief executive officer of AGI, said this venture gives professionals, entrepreneurs and those who have not finished school an opportunity to enhance their skills and stay relevant using a self-paced platform.

“The beautiful part is that we have open enrollment 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days a year,” Reese said.  “A lifelong learner can start a course with us any day of the week from anywhere in the world.  It’s an open platform to keep the learning flowing.”

This flexibility attracted Andrew Golden, a Nashville native who attended Howard University last year, but found himself unable to return for the current academic year.

“I spoke with Isiah, and when I shared my career goals, he began to explain to me what this program offers,” Golden said. “It just made sense to me to go ahead and pursue some of the things I was already planning to pursue after graduation.  Getting that done now and getting some experience in those various fields give me a head start for when I graduate.”

Golden who is currently pursuing certifications in security plus, networking plus, and Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), has been accepted as a full-time student at TSU in the computer science program.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the TSU College of Engineering, expressed excitement about Golden’s acceptance into the program.

“With a strong demand for IT professionals in Middle Tennessee and the nation, I believe our program is well suited for Mr. Golden, that is affordable and will provide the right credentials for employment or entrepreneurship,” Hargrove said.

According to Hargrove, less than 20 percent of programs in computer science are nationally accredited. However, he said the TSU Department of Computer Science is accredited by the Accrediting Board of Engineering & Technology (ABET), and provides an academic experience of IT knowledge to pursue a career in software development, networking, cybersecurity, or information systems.

“Ultimately, I want to be in mobile app development and cybersecurity,” Golden said. “Growing up there was so much I was unable to see in terms of being exposed.  I want to be in a position not just to say I have this and that, but to say this is what you have the potential to be.”

Dr. Cheryl Seay, director of distance education and multimedia services at TSU, said expanding the university’s continuing education offerings with AGI is part of TSU’s efforts to revitalize its continuing education program.

“Aperion Global Institute’s uniqueness in this space is their developing relationships with well-known figures in certain areas and then offering a bundle of courses associated with those individuals,” Seay said.

AGI’s high profile experts, also known as Global Education Ambassadors, are committed to erasing the digital divide. They include prominent individuals like entertainment attorney Ricky Anderson, whose clients include Steve Harvey, Mo’Nique, Rickey Smiley, Yolanda Adams and Mary Mary; civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who worked on the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown cases; Digital marketing expert, speaker, start-up consultant and author Yoli Chisholm; and Keith Clinkscales, founder and former chairman and CEO of Vanguarde Media.

“Our first mission is to have a high completion rate. We want them to have a unique and engaging experience,” Reese said.

TSU awarded more than 800 continuing education units (CEU) in the 2016-2017 academic year. According to  a majority of those awards were from courses taught by various campus departments or external agencies.

Nettles said the continuing education department is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

“What we offer is quality programming for our whole community, and now the global community,” she said.

To explore the new courses offered by Tennessee State University’s Continuing Education Department, visit www.tnstate.edu/continuinged .

 

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 Research May Prevent Unnecessary Hurricane Evacuations

A team of engineers, including Dr. Muhammad K. Akbar, Tennessee State University Assistant Professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, is diligently working to more accurately predict which areas should be evacuated during threats of hurricanes.

Dr. Muhammad K. Akbar

Akbar said when people are asked to evacuate unnecessarily, they lose trust and become less likely to evacuate when future warnings are given. Accurate surge storm predictions save lives and properties through timely evacuations, he said.

The team is developing a new implicit solver-based storm surge model called CaMEL(Computation and Modeling Engineering Laboratory).  It is being evaluated against ADCIRC (ADvanced CIRCulation Model), an established storm surge model.  Akbar said that while the ADCIRC model is faster, CaMEL is more stable.

Storm surge, according to the National Weather Service, is the change in the water level that is due to the presence of the storm. Storm surges are caused primarily by the strong winds in a hurricane or tropical storm.

Akbar said they input meteorological data approximately every six hours to forecast the hurricane’s wind track and strength for the entire duration through its landfall and beyond. Their results help emergency management to communicate with first responders which areas should be evacuated.

“Our goal is to merge the good features of both models in one to improve our prediction capabilities,” he said.  Scientists are working on different fronts to understand the complex physics of hurricanes and evolution of storm surges.

“Understanding the underlying physics will help us to improve the prediction capabilities of hurricane storm surges,” Akbar said.  “An accurate storm surge model could save millions of dollars by preventing unnecessary evacuations.”

A native of Bangladesh, Akbar cites the devastation caused by the Bhola Cyclone that killed nearly 500,000 people in his homeland in 1970, as one of the major motivations for his research.

Aided by a $209,403 grant from the National Science Foundation, Akbar also receives funding from the Department of Homeland Security and the US Army Engineer Research and Development Center.

Part of his work includes advising graduate students like Kyra Bryant, who is currently pursing a doctorate in Computer Information Systems Engineering at TSU. Bryant received the Graduate Master’s Thesis Award in February at the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools for her research on storm surges.

“Receiving the award is a great honor for Ms. Bryant, and all of us at Tennessee State University,” Akbar said. “It is an encouragement and motivation for us to advance the research to the next level.”

According to NOAA, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, each year, the United States averages some 10,000 thunderstorms, 5,000 floods, 1,300 tornadoes and two Atlantic hurricanes, as well as widespread droughts and wildfires. Weather, water and climate events, cause an average of approximately 650 deaths and $15 billion in damage per year and are responsible for some 90 percent of all presidentially-declared disasters.

 

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.