Category Archives: Alumni

Governor Haslam Names TSU’s Keith Hargrove to Tennessee Board of Boiler Rules

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, has been named to the Tennessee Board of Boiler Rules.

The six-member board formulates definitions, rules and regulations for the safe and proper construction, installation, repair, use and operation of boilers in the state. Members serve for four years.

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Gov. Bill Haslam

In a letter of confirmation, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam said Hargrove’s individual characteristics and professional qualifications were “exceptional” among those who expressed interest in the Board.

“It is important that the state boards are filled with the most dedicated and qualified citizens,” Haslam said. “I believe that Dr. Hargrove’s participation is certain to leave a positive impact on this board and the work it does.”

Hargrove, a mechanical engineer and member of the Tennessee Academy of Science, said he welcomes the opportunity to represent the engineering profession, the College of Engineering, and TSU.

“I am honored and excited to serve on the Board of Boiler Rules,” Hargrove said. “This board ensures the safe operation of boilers in many facilities in business, government, hospitals and schools, and provides protection for employees and today’s workforce.”

As a board member, Hargrove will help to formulate rules to protect the general public, owners and users, and employees from potential hazards in operating boilers and pressure vessels.

A professor, author and higher education administrator with long experience in industry, Hargrove is a member of several professional organizations, including the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers. He is a member of a review team appointed recently by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry, to make recommendations for a $12 million renovation of the Nashville Fairgrounds.

Hargrove is a strong believer in K12 STEM education. He is a founding board member of STEM Preparatory Academy, a local charter school in Nashville, and is active with curriculum programs at Union Elementary STEM School, Madison Creek Elementary Science Program, and Stratford STEM Magnet High School in Nashville.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Graduate and Former Track Star Markeith Price Goes for Gold in Rio; Selected to 2016 Paralympic Games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Lack of sight is not holding back Markeith Price.

The 2012 Tennessee State University graduate, who is visually impaired, is one of more than 60 athletes chosen for the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio that start September 7.

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Markeith Price

At the team trials in Charlotte, North Carolina, July 5, Price flashed across the finish line ahead of the field in the 100-meter. He came second in the 400-meter. He will represent the United States in both competitions, in the T-13 classification for the visually impaired.

A Baltimore native, Price will join 39 other men and 26 women who will represent Team USA in track and field.

“I am extremely honored and blessed for this opportunity,” said Price, who will be making his second straight appearance in the Paralympic Games for the United States. “I have dedicated the last four years to training to run the best race to bring home the gold for the U.S.”

Price was a member of the TSU Tigers men’s track team and the 2012 London Paralympic Games where he finished 6th in the long jump and 8th in the 400-meter dash.

His former coach at TSU said she was not surprise that Price was selected, citing his work ethics and determination to always be the best.

“Markeith was an excellent athlete who worked very hard and didn’t give us any trouble,” said Chandra Cheeseborough-Guide, director of Track and Field and a former Olympian, who coached Price in his junior and senior years. “I am excited for him and to know that we have someone from TSU in the Rio games.”

Diagnosed with Optic Nerve Atrophy at age 3, Price has lived with visual impairment his entire life. The condition is caused by damage of the optic nerve.

“When I was younger, I never really knew how to describe it,” Price said. “As I got older and heard other people describe their vision, I was able to get a better understanding.”

Price recently moved back to Hagerstown, Maryland, where he started a non-profit organization called I C You Foundation, Inc., which raises money for scholarships and programs for the visually impaired. In the last three years, the foundation has given more than $20,000 to organizations such as the Maryland School for the Blind, the Tennessee School for the Blind, and the United States Association for Blind Athletes.

“It’s something that my parents taught me and it’s something that I strongly believe in, and that is giving back to the community,” Price said. “I specifically give back to the visually impaired community because I know that group of people and I know their struggle.”

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, Farm Credit of Mid-America Form Partnership to Promote Urban Agriculture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and Farm Credit of Mid-America, an agricultural lending cooperative, are partnering to promote urban agriculture.

The two sides finalized discussions June 30 when officials of Farm Credit presented a check for $50,000 to TSU President Glenda Glover as seed money for the project.

“We are excited about this project,” Glover said. “We understand the importance of agriculture and with food security and population explosion, there is definitely the need for a strong cooperation like this between our agriculture college and a partner like Farm Credit.”

The TSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, under the leadership of Dean Chandra Reddy, who has been leading the negotiation with Farm Credit, will serve as the coordinating arm of the project.

In a meeting in Glover’s office, Mark Wilson, Farm Credit senior vice president for Financial Services, said TSU’s role would be critical as the United States faces a land shortage with a goal to double its food production in the next 30 years.

“That is quite a task,” Wilson said. “It is going to take people like us and the research that’s going on at Tennessee State University to make that possible.”

As a type of comprehensive education and community partnership, urban agriculture connects individuals and communities with resources to navigate the food system for their needs. It entails growing fruits, vegetables and, in some instances, raising animals in metro areas with limited spaces.

Under the partnership, the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources will promote new ways of growing fruits in tight and limited spaces, using hydroponic (soilless), vertical gardening, and organic agriculture techniques.

According to Reddy, only 1 percent of the general population is engaged in traditional agricultural production. He said the goal is to promote these new ideas where individuals can grow food like fruits and vegetables in their homes without using much land.

“Our faculty are working but we are not yet able to take these ideas where every body is aware of them,” Reddy said. “With this funding from Farm Credit, we will sponsor events that draw community and statewide attention, like an ‘Urban Agriculture Day’ on the TSU campus. We will invite individuals to compete for these ideas. We may have some cash awards from this money to give them.”

Reddy said the next phase of the plan is to put together a committee that will develop criteria for the project.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

BET documentary to highlight life of gospel legend, TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A documentary for Black Entertainment Television is being done on the life of gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones.

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Dr. Bobby Jones

Jones, an alumnus of Tennessee State University, and a BET production crew visited TSU’s campus on June 21 to shoot scenes for the documentary.

“This is my school,” Jones said. “This is where I came when I was 15 years old, and left … when I was 19.”

Jones said the documentary will highlight his 35 years in gospel music for BET. In 1980, Jones started “Bobby Jones Gospel.” The show ended last year, making it the longest running series on BET.

“A documentary on the life of gospel legend Dr. Bobby Jones is long overdue,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “It’s a fitting tribute to a man whose contributions to gospel music have benefited countless people.”

Along with programming on the BET network, Jones has also established relationships with The World Television Network, which airs “Bobby Jones Gospel Classics” and “Bobby Jones Presents.” “Let’s Talk Church” appears weekly on the BET Gospel network, and “Bobby Jones Next Generation” on the Gospel Channel.

The documentary will also highlight Jones’ donation to TSU of gospel music, memorabilia and tapings from his popular “Bobby Jones Gospel” show – appraised at $6 million. It’s the largest in-kind gift in the university’s history.

“It means an awful lot to me that it’s somewhere it can live on,” said Jones, who spent 17 of his 32 years as an educator teaching at TSU in the College of Education. “For your preservation to be submitted somewhere and it’s going to be available to people who want to study it, that’s a very, very good thing.”

Glover agreed.

“Tennessee State University is fortunate to be the recipient of music, memorabilia and tapings from such an illustrious alum. Jones’ gift will inspire generations to come.”

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of TSU’s Department of Music, said Jones is a “true icon in music” and he’s glad the university has the relationship that it does with Jones.

“We look forward to working with him for many more years,” Elliott said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Statistics Show Promising Future for Psychology Majors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University psychology students should not have too hard a time finding employment after graduation, statistics show.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020.

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Andre K. Davis II, a senior psychology major, reviews his research project in the Neuroanatomy Lab in the Department of Psychology at TSU. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Psychology majors develop critical thinking skills, data analysis skills, and a very broad range of skills that a number of professions look for,” said Dr. Kiesa Kelly, professor and chair of the TSU Department of Psychology.

A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows psychology is the fourth most pursued bachelor’s degree among college students.

The report said only business, health professions, and social sciences and history out rank psychology as areas with the most influx of students on the undergraduate level.

At Tennessee State University, for instance, about 300 students are majoring in psychology, the fourth single highest area of concentration for majors at the university. Nearly 50 students graduate from the program each year.

Experts say increased interest in the mental health of children and federal education legislation has influenced students’ interest in psychology.

Particularly at TSU, Kelly said “quality” is a major reason for the mass attraction.

“We have redesigned our program so that it makes our students more competitive both for graduate school and the job market,” she said. “We have excellent faculty with strong research credentials who could be faculty at major research institutions, but because of their commitment to mentoring students, they have chosen to come here.”

Andre K. Davis II is a senior psychology major in TSU’s program.

“I love the program here,” said Davis, a Memphis native. “I give the psyche program a 10 out of 10. When I came here I really didn’t know what I was going to do. But the professors here really truly do everything to help their students. Any opportunity they see, they try to get it for you.”

Kelly said the department seeks out opportunities to ensure students have all the necessary help to make them competitive for graduate work or the job market.

“We really have been working on trying to increase our admission of students into doctoral programs by increasing research opportunities for them,” she said.

Last year, for instance, Kelly said the department received a five-year, $850,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to create the TSU Nerve Program, which helps psychology majors and majors from other disciplines get into doctoral programs in neuroscience.

“Neuroscience is an area within our undergraduate program that we have been building,” Kelly said. “This is one of the directions of psychology as a major and we have been moving in that direction to remain on the cutting edge. As I speak, four of our students are at Princeton for the summer getting their paid neuroscience research experience.”

BestColleges.com has curated a scholarship and financial aid resource for students pursuing a degree in psychology. To get more information, visit: http://www.bestcolleges.com/financial-aid/psychology-scholarships/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU, Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center partner to improve dental care

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University and the Matthew Walker Comprehensive Health Center are partnering to improve dental care in Nashville.

On June 11, the two collaborated to provide free dental screenings and cleanings. Organizers said the event, called “Free Dental Health Day,” was a success and will be held annually.

“We were open for service from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and people started lining up before 8 a.m.,” said Dr. Robyn Mays, dental director at Matthew Walker.

TSU and Matthew Walker are also working on a program that will allow TSU’s dental hygiene students to rotate through Matthew Walker’s dental department as part of their curriculum. Matthew Walker’s hygienist is a graduate of TSU’s Dental Hygiene Department, and would likely evaluate the students, according to Gary-Lee A. Lewis, who heads TSU’s department.

“There would be a dual benefit,” Lewis said. “We would serve as additional professionals available to provide the services, while our students would get exposure to different patients.”

The collaboration is another effort by health care experts to try to improve dental care in Nashville. For instance, the city has formed the Middle Tennessee Oral Health Coalition, which is “working to collaborate and facilitate access to those who need dental care in Middle Tennessee,” said Dr. Michelle Pardue, dental program director for the Metro Public Health Department.

According to the Tennessee Department of Health, nearly 7,000 adults went to Davidson County emergency rooms in 2014 for relief of dental conditions. The number has been on the rise since 2012, the department said.

“While many have benefited from improved oral health in Nashville, we still have room to improve,” Pardue said.

Lewis said TSU’s clinic, alone, averages about 600 patients a year and he hopes that number will increase “with the linkages that we make with the community,” such as the collaboration with Matthew Walker.

In addition to dental care, Matthew Walker has served Middle Tennessee families for nearly 50 years with a comprehensive primary care model of services that include pediatrics, family medicine, internal medicine, behavioral health, nutrition, along with ancillary services such as radiology, laboratory and pharmacy.

But particularly in the case of dental care, TSU dental hygiene student Rachel Rowe said she believes the continued collaboration between TSU and Matthew Walker will benefit many people. The senior was among several TSU students who participated in the “Free Dental Health Day “ in June.

“Without a doubt, everything I did … gave me a new passion for helping the community,” Rowe said. “I will remember both the knowledge and the experience I gained.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Two TSU Professors Nominated for Top Nashville Leadership Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University professors are among this year’s nominees for Nashville’s Emerging Leaders Awards.

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Dr. Tameka Winston

The awards are sponsored by the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce and YP Nashville. They recognize professionals younger than 40 who have made significant accomplishments in their chosen field and contributions to the community.

There are five nominees in each of the 15 categories.

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Dr. De’Etra Young

Dr. Tameka Winston, assistant professor of Communications; and Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, were nominated in the Education, and the Environment and Sustainability categories.

A committee of community leaders and industry experts chose the nominees. Finalists will be announced at a reception June 22 at Cheekwood.

“We are excited to announce this talented group of finalists for the 2016 NELAs,” said Ralph Schulz, Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce president and CEO. “These young professionals possess strong leadership skills, and their commitment to the community is important to the future prosperity of the Nashville region.”

Winston, a 2015 Nashville Business Journal Top 40 Under 40 Award winner, called her nomination “a wonderful platform” to represent her university.

“It’s truly an honor to be recognized with such a talented group of professionals,” she said.

Young said she is honored to be recognized as a nominee in the Environment and Sustainability category in a city with a number of environmental and sustainability programs and initiatives.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to contribute to these programs and initiatives as a member of Metro’s Tree Advisory Committee, and Urban Green Lab’s Board of Directors,”  said Young, who is president of the Tennessee Urban Forestry Council.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU track and field icons remember Muhammad Ali

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A few years before Muhammad Ali became a heavyweight champion, legendary track and field coach Ed Temple said the young fighter told him he would one day hold the title.

The former Tennessee State University coach said in an interview shortly after Ali’s death on June 3 that he first met the brazen boxer at the 1960 Olympics in Rome. Temple, who was the U.S. women’s track coach, said he had just finished practicing and was sitting on a bench in the Olympic Village when then-Cassius Clay sat down beside him.

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TSU Olympic legends Ralph Boston and Wilma Rudolph hang out with Muhammad Ali during one of his visits to Tennessee State University. (TSU archives)

Temple said the two talked for more than 30 minutes. During their discussion, he said Clay talked about his aspirations, boasting that he would one day be “the heavyweight champion of the world,” Temple recalled.

Toward the end of their conversation, Temple said someone ran by yelling that Floyd Patterson was in the village. Patterson was the heavyweight champion at the time. Temple said when he asked Clay if he was going to see Patterson, he said “no.”

“People are going to be running to see me one day,” Temple said Clay told him.

Clay, who would later change his name to Muhammad Ali, went on to win a gold medal in the 1960 Olympics as a light heavyweight, and eventually became heavyweight champion in 1964 when he beat Sonny Liston in a sixth-round technical knockout that stunned a Miami Beach crowd. In the ring, Ali proclaimed, “I am the greatest! I am the greatest! I’m the king of the world.”

A year later, Ali fought Floyd Patterson and knocked him out in the 12th round to hold onto his title.

Despite his cockiness, Olympic gold medalist and TSU alumnus Ralph Boston said Ali was a friendly person. Boston, who won a gold medal in the long jump competition at the 1960 Olympics, said he and Ali met in New York while they were waiting to board a plane for Rome.

“He had brashness, but he was always very cordial,” Boston said.

Temple and Boston said Ali was also very fond of TSU alumna Wilma Rudolph, who in 1960 became the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field during a single Olympics.

They said after they met Ali in Rome he stayed in contact, particularly with Rudolph, and made several stops at TSU to see them on his way to training camp in Miami.

Temple also recalled a banquet where both Ali and Rudolph had been asked to speak. During his speech, he said Ali bragged about the gold medal he won. When he sat down next to Rudolph, Temple said she leaned over and whispered in his ear: “You won one, I won three.”

Temple said the two remained close friends up until her death.

Ali was 74 when he died at a hospital near Phoenix, Arizona. A family spokesman said he was being treated for respiratory complications. Ali had battled Parkinson’s disease for 32 years.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Internships help prepare TSU students for success in the workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students are taking advantage of internships they hope will give them real-world experience to be successful in the global workforce.

The internships include positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, health care, education and engineering, to name a few.

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TSU’s Career Development Center is among a number of job readiness initiatives that help to prepare students for the workforce. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I strongly recommend that all students complete at least one internship while matriculating through school,” said Tina Reed, director of TSU’s Career Development Center. “By completing an internship, students gain hands on experience while learning about their chosen industry.”

Reed added that students who participate in an internship, or some type of other experiential learning, are “more likely to receive gainful employment upon graduation.”

She said that based on a small sampling, 50 percent of TSU students who complete internships while in school receive employment offers before graduating, or immediately after graduation.

Isaiah Grigsby, a junior majoring in computer science, hopes that will be the case with him following an internship this summer in cybersecurity at Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA.

“It’s going to benefit me going forward because it gives me experience in the field I’m trying to go into,” Grigsby said of the internship. “The things that we do in school are just the theories, but actually going to a company and applying those theories, that’s what I look forward to.”

Business administration major Delveedra Davis, who is entering her senior year, said she hopes to stay with the U.S. Department of Defense when she finishes her internship with the department.

However, if she doesn’t, she acknowledges that the experience gained will be “invaluable.”

“You’re able to build professional skills, and make connections, that you’re not able to do in the classroom,” said Davis, who will mainly be working in the DOD’s human resources department.

Computer science major Alan Bond said it’s unlikely that he’ll be hired permanently after working at Fox Network Engineering and Operations in Los Angeles. But the 21-year-old senior said he plans to make the most of his internship in broadcast engineering.

“It would be nice to work here full-time, but for the most part, I’m just hoping to learn as much as possible,” Bond said. “As far as broadcast engineering goes, working in a major top five market … looks good on the resume.”

TSU takes pride in its programs that help students not only find internships, but seek to give them the best shot at success once they graduate.

The university recently received a $150,000 job placement grant from the United Negro College Fund Career to Pathway Initiative. TSU was one of 30 colleges awarded the funds intended to help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed to secure meaningful employment following graduation.

Tyler Kinloch, who graduated from TSU on May 7 with a degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology, said the Career Development Center and the university’s other job readiness initiatives are an asset.

“Being able to connect with the Career Development Center and taking advantage of all the services they provide – resume building, printing business cards, mock interviews, critiques – has helped to prepare me for the real world,” Kinloch said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Retiring TSU-Trained Speech Pathologist Loves Giving Children a Voice

Courtesy: Herald-Citizen

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As Putnam County students and teachers settle into summer break, Tennessee State University alumna Patti Marquis is beginning a new chapter in her life after 31 years of working for the school system.

Marquis, a speech pathologist, began her career in the county schools in 1984 after moving to Cookeville from Oklahoma, where she had obtained a bachelor’s degree in English secondary education from the University of Oklahoma.

Marquis received her master’s degree in speech pathology from TSU in the mid-1990s. She has seen changes in the field of speech pathology throughout her career, including more paperwork, but also better identification of students who need services as well as more awareness to help students.

“It’s hands on,” she said. “No matter what you learn in school, you’re always getting ideas from others. Your tool box grows and grows.”

Marquis learned about speech pathology from a friend who was working for the school system at the time and obtained her certification in speech and hearing from Tennessee Tech.

“I found I really loved it,” Marquis said of speech pathology from her classroom at Cane Creek Elementary School last week. “It’s an opportunity to work with children, to give them a voice, to work with families and to share strategies to help children.”

Marquis has served as one of the 13 speech pathologists and speech therapists who work in Putnam County schools.

“I really consider it a ministry,” she said. “It’s been an amazing blessing to me.”

Each of them works with anywhere from 65 to 100 students per year.

Of working with 30 to 40 kids per day, Marquis said, “It is really working on all levels of communication, articulation, fluency, voice problem. Language is a big component in working with children who have minor speech problems to autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy. It’s a wide variety.”

Just three days before her last day as a full-time speech pathologist, Marquis was working with pre-kindergarten students on naming animals through a sorting activity that helps students with word retrieval and building general vocabulary skills. Even in retirement, she plans to maintain her work in speech pathology on a contract basis with the school system.

Marquis has worked with pre-kindergarten students through high school and has seen the effects of her work through many of the kids she’s followed from preschool to graduation.

Just last week, Marquis attended a graduation party for a young man on the autism spectrum whom she worked with as a preschooler.

“That was really sweet,” she said.

One tool she’s used successfully over the years is PECS, or Picture Exchange Communication System, which can help students who don’t communicate verbally at all be able to transition to a regular classroom.

“We set up the environment where they have to communicate in some way,” she said. “Bubbles are a preschool speech teacher’s best friend.”

Marquis recalled one activity where she was blowing up a balloon and letting it go, prompting one boy to say his first words to her, “Let go.”

And she’s received feedback from parents on how what she’s doing has helped their kids.

“They’ll say, ‘They (students) talked to their grandparents on the phone, and they could actually understand them.

“Communication is such a part of who we are as human beings, to help with a piece of that, is beyond rewarding.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.