Category Archives: Featured

IBM Executives say TSU Students developing right Skills for tech workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two IBM executives were on campus recently to talk to TSU students about job-readiness skills and employment opportunities with the tech giant and its affiliates.

Meredith Stowell, vice president for IBM Z Ecosystem; and Shirley Meierarend, IBM’s Z series skills leader for North America, spoke to a group of students, faculty and deans about “very lucrative” job opportunities available for those with skills and knowledge in Enterprise Computing, which supports IBM’s mainframe technology.

“IBM is here today because we are very interested in building a talent pipeline for enterprise computing for both our clients or IBM,” Stowell said in a presentation on Enterprise Computing and Digital Transformation.

John Thompson, right, TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, talks to a cross-section of students, deans and chair during the IBM executives’ visit. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We do have a number of very large clients here locally, but the other great thing about TSU is that many of their students are interested in relocating to other areas. So, that’s why I am here today, to share more with the students, and to connect students to talent and to the talent pipeline.”

Enterprise-related classes are currently being offered at TSU through an initiative that was launched in 2014 through the Department of Computer Science. The initiative was designed to prepare TSU students to be able to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and permanent job opportunities with enterprise clients. According to TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, between 2015 and 2018, more than 20 students were placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $82,000, with some receiving signing bonuses of up to $10,000.

Citing a Wall Street Journal 2020 projection, Thompson said there will be more than 84,000 enterprise-related jobs available for students across all disciplines. TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation.

During the IBM presentation, TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank Stowell and Meierarend for their visit, and Thompson, for arranging and coordinating the visit.  She stressed the importance of the TSU partnership with the company.

“This partnership is making a great difference in the lives of our students,” Glover said. “Student placement is a very key part of what we are and a major performance indicator for our state stakeholders and our accrediting body. Training our students to be adequately ready is so important. That is why we are so appreciative of this great collaboration.”

In her presentation, Stowell spoke about specific areas of enterprise computing that students should focus on in “sharpening your job-skill readiness.”  She and Thompson emphasized the importance of taking classes in fundamental COBOL business language programming, as well as a basic introduction to programming, such as C++ and Java. 

“Once again, it is really about this openness between industry and academics, and academic environment opening up to understand what specific skills that the industry needs and then partnering with those industry partners to incorporate and infuse those skills within their curriculum. So that, when the student graduates, there is a job lined up for him already,” Stowell said.

Thompson added:  “What makes TSU students so attractive is that they understand the distributing networking environment, but also, when you put them on an enterprise platform, they are right at home, and that’s where we come in. So, I work with the companies to find what they need from the enterprise platform, then I come back and work with Dr. (Ali) Sekmen and the deans, and say, ‘Look, how can we put this in the curriculum for the students to learn that skill?’ Once we do that, then we go and bring these companies in to recruit the students.”

Tamarcus Summers, a senior computer science major from Memphis, and Donovan Varnell, also a senior political science major from Nashville, were among the diverse group of majors at the presentation.

“As a computer science major, I am glad to see the focus on key areas emphasized here today that my professors talk about in preparing us for the job market,” Summers said.

For Varnell, he said he is impressed with IBM’s integration of technology into all disciplines.

“This really opens my eyes to how it is important to understand that all these technologies and coding are a need-to-know no matter your discipline,” said Varnell.

Dr. Sekmen, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science, and a facilitator of the Enterprise Systems Program, said TSU is seeking funding to establish a comprehensive enterprise computing program in the department with a mainframe computer lab.

“We will be the first institution in Tennessee to have such a computer,” said Sekmen. “We are going to develop an undergraduate concentration in enterprise computing, as well as training opportunities for TSU faculty, students and all HBCU faculty.”

Other university officials who spoke at the gathering were Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems Program manager, as well as Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Dr. Coreen Jackson, dean of the Honors College; and Dr. Ray Richardson, Enterprise Program liaison, were present. Students from a cross section of disciplines and majors were also present representing computer science, engineering, criminal justice, business and social work.

For more information on TSU’s Department of Computer Science, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Forum Explores Mental Health In The Black Community

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Public Service will hold a forum about mental health in the black community on Wednesday, February 26, on the Avon Williams Campus.

The event, CAN WE TALK? Black Mental Health Matters, will feature an exclusive screening of two short films directed by actor and filmmaker Koffi Siriboe, best known for his role as Ralph Angel in the TV series Queen Sugar. The two films, WTF is Mental Health? and JUMP, both take an intimate look at mental health in the black community.

A panel discussion will take place following the film to discuss the topic.

Andrea Word

Andrea Word, a graduate student in the master of social work program in the TSU College of Public Service, will open the program by sharing a personal testimony.  She says talking about mental health in the black community is often seen as taboo.

“We are still hesitant to go out and get help for mental illness or even to recognize what it is,” says Word, who works as a middle school teacher at Tennessee School For The Blind. “For many of those that go to church, it’s still taboo to mention it because they struggle with can God and a therapist function in the same space.”

Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and a nationally-syndicated columnist, says students determine which issues the college will address during its annual Black History Month program.

“Our events are important in that we want to serve the community,” says Harris.

“Working with our students on these programs helps us identify what is relevant, current and a match for Black History Month.”

The panel for the event will include: Dr. Keith Ekhator, social work coordinator for Metro Nashville Public Schools; Gwen Hamer, director of Education and Development for the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services; Crystal Owens, mental health counselor for the Nashville Center for Trauma and Psychotherapy; and Reverend James Turner II, pastor of New Hope Baptist Church.

CAN WE TALK? Black Mental Health Matters begins at 6 p.m. in Room 354 on the TSU Avon Williams Campus.


Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

‘$1 Million In One Month’ Campaign Gets Major Boost at Celebrity Telethon; More Than $60,000 raised in Four Hours

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With just a few days to go, TSU’s historic push to raise $1 million in February for student scholarships is all but certain, thanks to a huge showing of Big Blue spirit on Sunday.

Jamie Isabel, left, Chairman of the TSU $1 million campaign, talks to NBC local affiliate Channel 4 about the telethon and the overall goal of the campaign. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

A four-hour celebrity telethon, “Dialing for Dollars,” raised more than $63,000. It was well over the telethon’s $25,000 initial goal, bringing total campaign contributions to nearly $938,609. Within two hours of the telethon, volunteers had already surpassed the $25,000 mark, organizers said.

“Today is a good day. This showing of support is very tremendous,” said Campaign Chairman Jamie Isabel, a TSU alum. “We exceeded our goal, which I knew we were going to do. The excitement and sheer commitment to the cause by all who participated are responsible for the success we achieved.”

Volunteers, including prominent local TSU alums, make calls to personal friends and acquaintances to contribute to the telethon. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

In a historic, long-term partnership with the Nashville Predators, TSU announced the campaign on Feb. 2 to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships. Since then, activities have included a “TSU Night” at the Bridgestone Arena, with appearances by the Aristocrat of Bands and the New Direction Gospel Choir, as well as a Big Blue Old School Concert at the Gentry Complex.

The telethon, live streamed from Jackson Hall on the main campus, included guest hosts and alumni, students, staff, faculty, community leaders and supporters manning telephones and taking contributions from supporters. TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank organizers and volunteers.

TSU alums State Rep. Harold L. Love, Jr., and his wife Leah Dupree Love volunteer at the telethon. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Several prominent local TSU alums and supporters stopped by to help man telephones. They included TSU Board of Trustee member Richard Lewis and his wife, Delores, a former TSU administrator; Criminal Court Clerk Howard Gentry, Jr., State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., and his wife, Leah; Barbara Murrell, longtime TSU supporter and former administrator; TSU National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds; and Vivian Wilhoite, Nashville and Davidson County property assessor, among others.

Dr. Frederick S. Humphries, president of TSU from 1975-1985, who could not be present in Nashville, was among many who joined in from home and made calls to friends and acquaintances to contribute to the telethon.

Miss TSU Jada Crisp, left, and Head Football Coach Rod Reed, middle, were among many students and staff who volunteered at the telethon. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

According to Isabel, some major contributors were:  Dr. William F. Pickard, chairman of Detroit-based Global Automotive Alliance, a supporter of HBCUs, who contributed $10,000; and Nashville businessman Joe Davis, who sent in a check for $5,000.

“We had some large checks, but we also had some small checks and all those small checks added up to get us to where we are,” said Isabel.

Mr. TSU Damyr Moore, a senior mass communications major from Atlanta, and Eukirah Pennyman, a junior film and television major, also from Atlanta, were among many students who volunteered at the telethon. Moore helped with making calls, while Pennyman served as technical director.

Telethon hosts Grant Winrow, left, Seanne Wilson and Michael McLendon make a pitch at the four-hour long fundraiser. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The experience today has been a great one; to be among your peers and alumni toward one good cause that benefits the entire student body is just great,” said Moore. “To give my time and be able to help someone else come to school as I have been fortunate to do is really a great feeling.”

Pennyman agreed.

“I am from Atlanta, and I have been fortunate to have a few scholarships from TSU,” she said. “It was a good experience to have this telethon, which I think should be done every year because it helps to bring in more majors and more students.”

Cassandra Griggs is TSU’s director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving, and co-chair of the $1 million campaign committee. She is very thankful to the many alumni who came out to make phone calls.

“They called individuals who were in their personal cellphone contacts, asking them to support TSU,  and that was very admirable,” said Griggs. “I feel very good that not only have we exceeded our goal for today, but we are going to meet our goal for the $1 million.”

Grant Winrow, a member of the campaign committee and one of the hosts of the telethon, called the day a “Big Blue Victory.”

“We went in with the idea of raising $25,000 and we more than doubled it. And that’s a phenomenal success,” said Grant, who helped organize the telethon. “This is in the last few days of our campaign, and we thought having a celebrity telethon by bringing in some of our most notable TSU influencers here to make some calls, was a great idea. It turned out very well.”

The next push to the finish line in the $1 million campaign is a celebrity courtside dining at the TSU men’s basketball game on Saturday in the Gentry Complex.

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Equips Students For Top Careers In Health Sciences

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Health Sciences has thriving programs that prepare students for six of the top 25 best healthcare jobs listed in a recent article published by U.S. News & World Report.

The jobs included as part of the magazine’s 2020 Best Health Care Jobs list, are: nurse practitioner, speech language pathologist, registered nurse, physical therapist, occupational therapist and respiratory therapist.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, Dean of the College of Health Sciences, says there will always be a great need for these healthcare jobs.   

“The good thing about healthcare is as long as there is sickness in the world, we will always have a job,” says Barredo.

Tierney Curtis (Photo Submitted)

Tierney Curtis, a graduate student in the occupational therapy program, says attending TSU gives her a great advantage as a future healthcare professional.

“Nashville is already a booming healthcare city so most of your clinical work and opportunities include going out into the Nashville community, and meeting people and making connections,” says Curtis, who received an undergraduate degree in health sciences from TSU in 2018. “I think the health sciences program at TSU is one of the best here in Nashville because they offer so many programs. We have professors that are here to help you that have been across different spans of healthcare.”

A West Memphis, Arkansas native, Curtis says she hopes to stay in Nashville after she graduates from TSU and work at a hospital in acute care, or work in pediatrics with outpatients, or in the school system.

Future Physical Therapist Zachary Prudoff says although he enjoys working with amputees, he is unsure what area of physical therapy he wants to explore as a profressional.

Zachary Prudoff, a doctoral candidate in the TSU Department of Physical Therapy,checks a patient’s blood pressure before administering a mobility test. (Photo Submitted)

“I think as I go through more classes, I get to understand the profession as a whole a little bit more, and it starts to help clue me in on what type of patients I might like to work with in the field, says Prudoff, who is a doctoral candidate in the department of Physical Therapy.

He says developing relationships with faculty is extremely important.

“In grad school, especially in physical therapy, our teachers are sometimes our greatest resources and it’s very important to foster a relationship of communication and mutual respect. They have been out in the field and practicing. They know things that you don’t know for sure, and they are there to help you.”

Barredo says all six of the programs that made U.S. News & World Report’s 2020 Best Healthcare Jobs list are accredited at TSU. He says the programs in the TSU College of Health Sciences are in high demand.

“We’ve always had a lot more applicants than there are slots in the program, some more than others,” says Barredo, who is a recipient of the Catherine Worthingham Fellow of the American Physical Therapy Association, the association’s highest award. “For example, in physical therapy last year we had about 200 applicants for only 36 slots, and that’s true for most every program.”

Dr. Ronald Barredo (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

This fall each of the six health sciences programs noted in the study, with the exception of the speech language pathology program which already has a clinic at the TSU Avon Williams Campus, will relocate into a new $38 million facility. 

Barredo says the shared space will provide opportunities for students to get a more comprehensive view of  the collaborative roles of health science professionals.

“Right now we are all separated in different buildings. So now there will be a lot more interpersonal collaboration in terms of patient care, research and service activities,” he says. “Instead of us doing things separately, we will be more consolidated and able to demonstrate that there is a lot more to healthcare than physical therapy, for example.”

Antoinette Duke, associate director of the TSU Career Development Center, says students such as those in the College of Health Sciences can visit the university’s career center to utilize a wide array of resources to prepare for life beyond TSU.

Antoinette Duke, associate director of TSU’s Career Development Center, advises student during 2020 Spring Internship Fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We are doing everything in our power to partner with student organizations, the faculty, the staff and the professors to help them encourage our students to utilize this service that is there for them,” says Duke. “We have several resources to help prepare them.  For instance, if the student is not prepared for interviewing, one of the resources we have is Interview Stream. It allows our students to tap into that service to practice before they meet with a potential company or employer.”

For more information about the TSU College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s 2020 Spring Internship Fair Gives Students Hope for Future Job, Employment Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU students looking for internship opportunities recently got a major break when representatives from more than 40 companies came on campus for the 2020 Spring Internship Fair.

William Corneh, left, a second-year business marketing major, talks to representatives of Provider Trust about internship opportunity with the company during the summer. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Nearly 400 students from different disciplines, with resumes in hand and dressed for business, attended the fair in Kean Hall on Feb. 18, where the companies set up tents, tables and displays. The fair was organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

William Corneh and KeAnna Dakwa were among the first students at the fair, stopping at tables to hear what company representatives are looking for.

“I am here hopefully trying to get my first internship,” said Corneh, a second-year business major from Atlanta, who was shaking hands with representatives of The General Insurance Company. “This is my first effort trying to land a job. I am looking for an internship in an area of business marketing and the prospects look very good.”

TSU President Glenda Glover, right, talks to Katrina Kerr, a TSU alum and recruiter for Insight. Kerr is a 1994 graduate of TSU with a master’s degree in business administration. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

For Dakwa, who had a long discussion at the Lockheed Martin table, the chance for an internship also looks promising, said the sophomore civil engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama.

“I am here looking for internships in project management, civil engineering and anything that has to do with urban planning and logistics,” said Dakwa, who interned with American Electric Power last year. “I have been talking to Lockheed Martin and other design and engineering companies to see what they have to offer, and things look very promising.”

Unlike the career and employment fairs the university’s Career Development Center hosts during the year for various employment opportunities, this fair, which is held once a year, is dedicated solely to internships.

Moses Harris IV, left, a consultant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, greets TSU students at the internship fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Frank Stevenson, and a host of university officials, faculty and staff, stopped by the various booths to talk with company representatives in support of the students.

All of the representatives, including the fair’s major sponsors – Nashville Predators, The General Insurance Company, Altria, and LG&E – said they were impressed with the TSU students’ presentations, outlook and approach, and that they had a very good grasp of what they were looking for.

“TSU students are very professional, very friendly. You can tell they come prepared,” said Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, HR generalist with The General Insurance Company.

She said her company is looking to recruit interns for paid positions at $20 an hour in marketing, claims and IT.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, (middle in TSU blue), greets representatives of the major sponsors of the 2020 Spring Internship Fair. From left, are: Lindsey Nelson, Nashville Predators; Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, The General Insurance Company; Duke; Brooke Hartlage, LG&E; and Tyler Ridley, Altria. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We have talked to several students who we already know are perfect fits for our company,” said Mabry-Shirey. 

Lindsey Rosen, talent acquisition specialist at Provider Trust, a healthcare compliance-based company, said her firm is also looking for people to fill internship and employment positions in marketing and sales.

“We pride ourselves on bringing in top talents,” Rosen said. “We are looking for creative and motivated people who want the opportunity to learn from our company.”

Antoinette Duke is the associate director of TSU’s Career Development Center. She said she is excited about the “overwhelming” turnout and support of the internship fair. She credits the various departments and volunteers with the success of the fair.

“These companies have shared with us that they actually have open positions to get students in for the summer,” Duke said. “Hopefully, when they leave today they will get those interviews to secure those internship positions. This really gives our students the opportunity to interact with the employers. We also want employers to use this valuable opportunity to connect with some of the brightest students. We thank our volunteers for their dedication and commitment to helping our students succeed.”

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Health Sciences Experts Share Advice For Students, People Concerned About Contracting Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The coronavirus has existed for years, causing people to have respiratory infections, essentially colds.  However, Tennessee State University public health experts say the current outbreak is the result of a new strand, and that researchers are quickly trying to develop an antiviral drug.

TSU experts say students and Middle Tennessee residents can take precautionary measures to minimize their chances of contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, held an in-depth discussion with students in her Health Conditions In Functions and Disabilities Class about the coronavirus.

“The best protection is to get immunized to what we know. Many people are probably so worried about the coronavirus that they are getting the flu,” she explains.  “When the flu season starts, I always recommend to everyone the flu shot. When your immune system is alert, and it is alerted by the flu shot, other things don’t hit it as hard.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 15 persons in the United States who have tested positive for the COVID-19, the official name given to this new coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan China. An East Tennessee woman recently tested positive for the coronavirus when she and her husband were about to leave quarantine on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Brenda K. Batts

Brenda K. Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, says they should not be fearful because of the effective quarantining of people who have tested positive for the virus. However, she says there are still preventive measures that can be taken.

“Just really be very cautious about people who have coughs and colds and have high temperatures. If you are experiencing that, get checked by your physician, but don’t expose others or yourself,” Batts says. ”Make sure you use lots of hand washing and sanitizing techniques, such as when you go to gas stations, restaurants or whenever you go anywhere in the public. Keep some hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands very well.”

Coronavris symptoms, which can last from 2-14 days, include runny nose, fever, headache, sore throat, feeling unwell, and cough. To prevent the disease, the CDC recommends: washing hands; avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when sick; covering cough or sneeze with tissue; and cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.

Robyn Hanna, a senior public health major who works as a patient care technician at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, says she’s not concerned about contracting the virus at work because of the thorough precautionary measures they are instructed to take.

“As soon as you walk through the doors, there’s a sign, ‘If you have any of these symptoms, here’s a mask. Put it on.’ It’s at every exit and every entrance,” says Hanna, a Mississippi Gulf Coast native.

“Working on the floors we know people that are diagnosed with diseases.  If they are being tested for it, they still get the precautionary items on the door. All the nurses and doctors and techs are vaccinated.  That’s a must at the hospital.”

Fellow students Joseph Racine and Meleah Haley have varying concerns regarding the disease that recently surfaced in China. Racine works as a car maintenance specialist at the Nashville International Airport when not attending classes. The senior occupational therapy major says he has noticed travelers at the airport wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. Racine says he is not afraid of contracting the virus.

“Most of the time that I am dealing with the rental cars that I touch, I have on gloves.  Most of us wear gloves, but the people who don’t, you just kind of let them know, ‘You might want to put on some gloves,’” says Racine.

Haley, a senior health science major with a minor in public health, says she is concerned about the virus, primarily because of her upcoming travel plans.

“I’ll be taking an airplane. I’ll be going to Miami. Everybody knows that’s a place where a lot of people are,” says Haley, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who is considering wearing a protective mask while flying.  “I am really concerned about that. I’m even concerned about being in the airport and being on the airplane with all these cases of coronavirus.  I don’t feel threatened at the university.  I don’t necessarily feel threatened in the community, but I am definitely going to be alert.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, discussing coronavirus with students. (TSU News Service, Michael McLendon)

Dr. Inman supports wearing a mask while traveling, she says students and professors should understand that wearing masks to class for protection may create suspicion that they have contracted the virus.

“If you wear a mask, it is just as protective for you as the person wearing the mask to keep you from catching something,” she says. “But, if you are on a college campus and you put one on because you are concerned, everybody thinks you have it.”

Batts says students and employees who feel sick should not attend class or visit campus.

“I do think when students or faculty have colds or fevers, and they are coughing, that they should not be coming to campus.  They should be seen to make sure they don’t have any form of that virus,” she says. “Most of the time people transport any type of respiratory virus to the environment by tabletops, instruments, equipment and labs.”

Walretta H. Chandler, TSU’s Student Health Services nurse, says students experiencing flu-like symptoms should visit the university’s health center located in in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Kean Hall, Room 304. Students can also call (615) 963-5291 to schedule an appointment.

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html to learn more about the coronavirus. For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s $1 Million in 1 Month campaign for scholarships close to goal at halfway mark

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit is shining through. The university is a little over halfway through its campaign to raise $1 million this month for student scholarships, and it’s already received more than $750,000 in contributions.

“We’re very excited about where we are. Enthusiasm is high!” says Jamie Isabel, a TSU alum and the campaign’s chairman. “I believe we will be well over $1 million once we complete the campaign on Feb. 29.”

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

TSU alum Charles Galbreath of New York City is among the many alumni who have contributed to the campaign.

“It’s important for the students to see that we don’t forget about what their needs are after we leave,’ says Galbreath. “I think that the energy that everyone is coming together with is everything we learned at TSU; that Big Blue spirit, to continue to take care of our school even after we’re gone.”

Fellow TSU alumnae Katrina Kerr of St. Louis, Missouri, agrees.

TSU President Glover pins Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry into the TSU family. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“Every year we have students that need financial means to stay in school, and it’s important for alumni to give back so that our kids can graduate from our esteemed alma mater,” says Kerr, who has also donated to the campaign.  

Senior Jaquice Gross will be graduating from TSU in May. But he says some of his fellow students will not because they had to drop out for lack of funds to stay in school.

“In order for these students to actually make a change in the world, you’ve got to give them the opportunity to do it,” says Gross, a criminal justice major. “Who knows, they might even be the next President. So give them that chance, donate!”

Olivia Bohanon, who also plans to graduate in May, says she understands the importance of having enough money to stay in school.

Graduating seniors Olivia Bohanon and Jaquice Gross say the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is needed to help students succeed. (Submitted photos)

“My family didn’t have the money for my college education, so I depended on scholarships and grants to attend Tennessee State University,” says Bohanon, an English major. “And even if they do have a scholarship or some type of federal aid, sometimes students need a little more to help make ends meet. That’s why the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is so important.”

The campaign to raise $1 Million in 1 Month during Black History Month laid the foundation for the historic partnership between TSU and the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators. It is the first known partnership between an HBCU and the NHL, and coincides with the league’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative in February. 

The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative, which includes providing TSU students with internships.

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” says Predators President and CEO Sean Henry. 

In addition to the kickoff event with the Nashville Predators, the university has worked to engage the TSU family with various challenges. The Alumni Chapter and Faculty/Staff Challenges were held earlier this month. The Alpha Theta Chapter claimed victory with a contribution of over $16,000. Gifts for the Staff/Faculty Challenge are still being calculated.  

Campaign activities for the rest of the month include TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21, where each Greek organization is asked to donate $50,000; the faith-based community is asked to participate during TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23, along with the Dialing for Dollars telethon that evening; and the TSU College Challenge, the final campaign challenge between the eight academic units Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Displays of University Excellence, Innovation, Speeches Mark 7th Annual TSU Day At the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – State lawmakers got a taste of Tennessee State University’s excellence at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Visitors to the TSU Day on the Capitol check out displays at the daylong event. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

More than 150 TSU students, administrators, faculty, staff and others packed a conference room on the 8th flor of the Cordell Hull Building to hear TSU President Glenda Glover kick-off the event. Before the official kick-off, lawmakers saw displays of the university’s diverse research and academic offerings, including robotics and giveaways like White Dogwood trees grown on the university farm, that has become a prized and highly requested staple during the annual visits.

“I am so pleased to see our lawmakers, along with our students, our faculty our staff, our alumni and friends. Thank you for joining us,” Glover said. “This is our seventh annual TSU Day at the Capitol. This event has become one of the institution’s most successful outreach programs. We take this opportunity to share with the lawmakers the great things that are going on at TSU, and to share with them our needs, as we continue the proud legacy of training and nurturing our future – our students.”

Before the kick-off, President Glover made courtesy visits to the offices of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Crossville) and several key members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Student ambassadors also used the time to deliver packages of TSU mementos to the offices of lawmakers, as tokens of appreciation from the university.

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

In her speech, Glover told the lawmakers that past and future appropriations have allowed TSU to maintain its longstanding legacy of “providing education for our students.”

“Thank you for being a part of this day and for money you have given us,” she said. “However, we have some tremendous needs. So, we are here asking you to help us meet those needs. We want to improve our campus’ age-old infrastructure, we need scholarships for students, we need to make sure that electricity is in order for next year.”

Several of the lawmakers followed Glover with greetings and congratulations to TSU and its leaders for the “great work going on at TSU.”

“I appreciate you all being here today,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said. “We are going to work well to make sure that we move Tennessee forward and keep doing the things we can agree on, such as education.”

TSU alums Sen. Brenda Gilmore, and Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., two strong supporters of the university, promised to keep TSU at the top of the agenda.

“I am so happy to see you all up here. It means the world to me,” Gilmore said. “As you (students) walk these halls and meet the legislators, tell them about your studies and what you plan to do when you graduate. That helps us as we work hard to get your rightful funding.”

Love added: “It does our heart well to see our students, faculty, staff and alumni here with us on Capitol Hill. We need your voice to move TSU. So, I encourage you to keep telling us what needs to be changed in policy.”

In an oratorical presentation, Mr. TSU Damyr Moore moved lawmakers with a call for proportionate funding for HBCUs, arguing that the matrix used to determine funding, such as retention, enrollment and on-time degree completion, are not the best indicators by which to measure HBCUs.

“I propose proportionate funding for HBCUs and PWIs, or predominantly white institutions, alike, as well as increase funding for scholarships and funding for pre-college summer bridge programs,” said Moore, a senior mass communication major from Atlanta.

Also making remarks was Katelyn Thompson, president of the TSU Student Government Association. Among other lawmakers who spoke at the ceremony were Reps. Antonio Parkinson (District 98) and Barbara Cooper (District 86), a TSU alum.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Students Kick off ‘$1 Million in 1 Month’ Fundraising Challenge at First Annual Great Gatsby Ball

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Student Challenge to contribute to TSU’s historic “$1 Million in 1 Month” is officially underway.

Members of the Pre-Alumni Council and officials of the Office of the Alumni Relations and Annual Giving grace the red carpet at the first annual Great Gatsby Ball. (Submitted Photo)

Organized by the Pre-Alumni Council, the students used the very elegant and elaborate first annual Great Gatsby Ball in Elliott Hall on the main campus Friday evening to kick-off various programs planned to raise funds for the campaign.

“This is one of our many opportunities to give back to this institution,” said Jeffrey Thomas, Jr., a senior fashion and merchandising major from Nashville, who is also president of the Pre-Alumni Council.

TSU students are all smiles as the enjoy the evening entertainment at the Great Gatsby Ball. (Submitted Photo)

“This formal event, with live band, dinner and a host, is an opportunity to get students to meet in a formal setting, interact with alumni, and to energize them for this great campaign launched by President (Glenda) Glover.”

In a historic, long-term partnership with the Nashville Predators, TSU announced the campaign on Feb. 2 to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships. Since then, activities have included a “TSU Night” at the Bridgestone Arena, with appearances by the Aristocrat of Bands and the New Direction Gospel Choir, as well as a Big Blue Old School Concert at the Gentry Complex.

Other campaign activities include the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7; Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14; TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21; TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU College and Student Challenge Feb. 22-29.  

Dwight Beard, right, President of the Nashville Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association, talks to two TSU students at the ball. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

According to officials, the Great Gatsby Ball, themed after the “Roaring Twenties Costumes” and fashion era, gives the university the opportunity to showcase students – how to dress up and socialize and network in a professional manner.

“It is an opportunity to teach them about being in their circle but yet dignified and representing themselves well,” said Cassandra Griggs, director of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving. “It’s all about branding yourself. So, having alums and students having fun together is just an exciting evening for us.”

Clara Hyde, left, and Annie Kinzer were among several TSU alums who joined students at the Great Gatsby Ball. (Submitted Photo)

Amid the pomp, glitz and glamour, fitted with a red carpet entrance, interviews and photographing, the students said the ball was something they will not soon forget, because for some, it made up for lost time.

Elijah Poston’s date missed out on her high school prom, the sophomore biology major from Cincinnati said.

“She did not have a prom experience in high school and this gave her an opportunity to dress up and be escorted like it would have been on a prom night,” said Poston, a scholarship recipient from the Cincinnati Alumni Chapter of the TSU National Alumni Association. “I am glad to be by her side at this very elegant program. This is a great cause and I am going to do all I can to help. That scholarship has helped me immensely.”

The sumptuous dinner at the ball was prepared by Nashville’s own Catering Concepts by Timothy. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

During this month, Poston is volunteering with the Honors College to call out to alumni to contribute to the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign.

Deseree Hill, a freshman social work major from Birmingham, Alabama, did not need a scholarship to come to TSU, but she is excited about helping to raise funds to keep other students in school.

“I am glad to be here tonight, have fun and at the same time help in this very worthy cause,” Hill said. 

The Julius Genius Fisher Band provides entertainment at the first annual Great Gatsby Ball. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Among alumni at the ball was Dwight Beard, a Nashville/Davidson County businessman, who is also president of the Nashville Chapter of the TSUNAA. He described the ball as “very beautiful and elegant.”

“This is how we want to teach our students to be professional when they go to the corporate world or in their various career fields,” said Beard.  “They will be going into a lot of places like this. By them participating in this campaign teaches them to give back. This is a start, because once they leave and become successful, they will come back and give to the school that gave them their foundations.” 

 
To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

#TSU1million1month, @TSU1million1month

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Students Named Fellows of National Transportation Research Board Minority Student Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five TSU students are now members  of the prestigious Minority Student Fellows Program of the National Transportation Research Board, or TRB.

Kahlil Andrews, a graduate student in civil engineering, presents his research at the TRB annual conference in Washington, D.C. (Submitted Photo)

The students, from the Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, were recently accepted into the program at the TRB’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This followed the acceptance of technical papers the students presented from research conducted late last year.

“Representing my university in the Transportation Research Board Minority Fellows Program was one of the most wonderful and involving experiences I’ve ever had,” said KeAnna Dakwa, a sophomore civil engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama. Dakwa’s research was on “Analyzing Traffic Circles as They Pertain to Crash Severity.”

Tyler Thompson, a senior urban studies major from Naperville, Illinois, who presented on  “After the Referendum: Fixing Traffic in Nashville, TN,” said he was honored to be accepted as a fellow of the TRB program because of the opportunities it affords him.

Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett

“I enjoyed my experience at the TRB annual meeting,” Thompson said. “I was able to network with people who are in the same field of study as myself, while sharing my research with people from all over the country.”

Other TSU students who were accepted into the TRB  Minority Fellows Program were: Cam’Ron McKinney, sophomore civil engineering major from Cleveland; Dominique Wallace, senior civil engineering major; and Kahlil Andrews, who is pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering.


Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett, associate professor of urban studies in the College of Public Service; and Dr. Deo Chimba, associate professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, accompanied the students as advisors.


A program unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the TRB annual conference promotes innovation and progress in transportation through research. The Minority Student Fellows Program, established in 2010, actively explores research, ideas, and solutions from diverse perspectives with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in the transportation field.

The new members of the Minority Student Fellows Program and one of their professors attend a reception in Washington, D.C. Pictured from left are: KeAnna Dakwa, Kahlil Andrews, Dr. Deo Chimba, Cam’Ron McKinney, Tyler Thompson and Domnique Wallace. (Submitted Photo)

According to Chimba and Triplett, the TSU students and new TRB fellows applied classroom theory to transportation problems in their research, got critical exposure to the range of transportation issues, and gained the ability to improve research writing skills.

“This program has boosted and exposed TSU underrepresented civil engineering minorities to the transportation field and TRB activities,” Chimba said.

Triplett added that participating in the TRB program has motivated non-civil engineering students to find their place in the transportation industry as urban planners.

“Participation in this program will continue to encourage student growth at TSU in urban planning within the transportation field and in TRB activities,” said Triplett, adding that previous TSU students have received employment in the transportation field through their participation in the TRB program.

This year’s TSU students received sponsorships from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, TRB and the Federal Highway Administration.

For more information on the TSU Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/index1.aspx and http://www.tnstate.edu/cpsua/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.