Category Archives: GRANTS

Career Fair Opens Doors to Internships, Employment for TSU Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment and co-op opportunities got a major break on Oct. 2. More than 100 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2019 Fall Career Fair.

TSU student Shaun Anderson, a business administration major, right, talks to Dell representatives at the Career Fair. In the photo are, from left, Bonnie McKissack, Senior Sales Leader; Tiffany C. Perry, Inside Global Sales Manager (TSU alum); Shaheed Whitfield, Recruiter (TSU alum); Elizabeth Casey, Recruiter; and Shelton Cammon, Recruiter. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, engineering, healthcare and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and potential employment opportunities.

Many have scheduled follow-up interviews with students on the TSU campus.

Officials said nearly 500 students attended the all-day fair, organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

Micaih Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, and Oluwatosin Fagbuyi, a graduate student, also in electrical engineering, were among those looking for career opportunities. Mayfield was looking to land an internship, while Fagbuyi, who graduates in May, was looking for a co-op or full-time employment.

Micaiah Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, talks to representative of BWX Technologies. She said she received many positive responses from companies. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“Everything looks very promising,” said Mayfield, of Nashville, who made several stops, leaving her resume at each point. “A lot of people asked for my resume, they looked over it and asked a lot of questions about my career goals.”

For Fagbuyi, who was very optimistic about landing an opportunity, he said going after companies this early before his May graduation was a good effort.

“I count myself lucky to be able to get this opportunity to attend a career fair,” said Fagbuyi, who received an internship in his undergraduate years as a result of the career fair. “From what I have seen today, I will absolutely get something from it, thanks to the TSU Career Development Center for preparing us.”

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the goal of the fair was to “share some of our amazing students” with these companies and the world.

“We are really excited about these corporations and companies that are here to meet students that TSU produces,” said Stevenson. “It is nice to see them so excited about interacting with our students.”

Major sponsors included General Electric, Altria, LG&E and KU Energy, Humana, Innophos, Inc., and Dell, which was to meet the next day with seven students who received on-the-spot preliminary interviews at the fair. Regions Bank is a standard sponsor. Like many of the other sponsors, hiring TSU students is not new for Dell. At the tech giant’s table during the fair, two of the company representatives and recruiters were TSU graduates, who got their start from the career fair.

Alexander Sellers, Systems Engineering Manager at Boeing, right, who earned two degrees at TSU, received his start from the career fair. He returned as a recruiter and to mentor his young protégés. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Tiffany C. Perry, inside global sales manager for North America at Dell, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TSU. She said coming back to her alma mater to recruit is just one way of trying to give back.

“It’s been an awesome day for me,” said Perry. “I am thankful for this opportunity. I am even happier to know that the candidates that came to our table were just incredible, they were prepared and represented TSU well.”

Alexander Sellers, systems engineering manager at Boeing, was one of those representing his company at the fair. He talked about the preparation he received, the importance of the career fair and the excitement to be back on the TSU campus, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College of Engineering.

Antoinette Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, left, presents a plaque to representatives of GE in appreciation of their support as major sponsor of the career fair. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“The career fair is integral for any student’s progression,” said Sellers, who was first hired by Lockheed Martin as a result of the career fair. “TSU is going to provide you the foundation of think, work, serve, and your classwork. But you have to get connected, and this is what that is all about.”

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center, said the fair is an opportunity to properly “position our students.”

“We have spent most of the year preparing our students, getting them job ready,” Duke said. “So, at this career fair, it is our opportunity to partner the two (students and companies) together in hopes that we can increase our chances of making sure when our students graduate that they land employment that’s going to match the education that they have received.”

Duke was also glad to see former students and alumni of the career center who return as mentors and recruiters to help their younger protégés prepare for the real world.

“It is just nice to see them giving back to their institution,” she said.

Duke presented each of the major sponsors with a plaque in appreciation of their support to TSU and the Career Development Center.

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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 Linda Spears to Serve on State’s Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has selected TSU’s Linda C. Spears to serve as part of its inaugural Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program.

Spears, the associate vice president for Human Resources, will serve with 14 others on the cohort-based professional development program to cultivate the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education. She was nominated by TSU President Glenda Glover.

“I am so honored to be nominated by President Glover and to be ultimately selected as a fellow in the inaugural Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program,” Spears said.  “It is such an honor to represent TSU in this leadership development experience.” 

According to a THEC release, Spears and her fellow cohorts  will convene on campuses across the state to learn from experts and build extended networks. The program will facilitate individual development goals through professional assessments, one-on-one executive coaching, and mentoring networks and job shadowing experiences.

Among other responsibilities, the THEC fellows will  facilitate leadership development through self-exploration and skill training; provide  foundational principles of higher education policy and practice for exposure to all aspects of the higher education enterprise; as well as inspire  ideas and cultivate new ways of thinking to shape the emerging paradigm of post-secondary education institutions.

“Addressing the challenges currently facing higher education will require leaders that are steeped in innovation and keenly focused on student success,” said Mike Krause, executive director of THEC.  “This program will help Tennessee develop a cohort of higher education professionals ready to excel in executive positions.”

Spears said although the program is demanding, she hopes to gain more insight into the strategic operations of higher educational institutions to “prepare me for greater service and advancement opportunities.”

An operational improvement advocate throughout her career, Spears has developed a management leadership training program, introduced an electronic personnel action system, and developed many highly effective workflow processes. She hopes to bring that experience of professional development to her new role as a THEC fellow.

“This inaugural class will help to shape the future of this program,” she added. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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 President Glover welcomes employees back with message of continued teamwork, student success and accreditation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Our decisions must be about the welfare of the students. We are here for the students. We are here on behalf of the students,” President Glenda Glover said as she officially kicked off the fall semester for the university on Aug. 12.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, welcomes Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACSCOC during the Fall Faculty Staff Institute. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Glover’s opening message continued with service to students during the faculty and staff gathering, held to commence the start of each academic school year.  

“We have an awesome responsibility to challenge minds, to change lives, and to ensure the future. Everything we do must be done with that in mind,” she said.

Her remarks followed the welcome by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Geoffrey Burke, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Tequila Johnson, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a role in the success of TSU.

The customary State of the University Address also touched upon the past year of successes and challenges. Hundreds of employees attended the annual event to get an update on those year-long initiatives.  A main topic included the university’s recent sanction by its accrediting body.

“Tennessee State University remains a fully accredited institution,” Glover told faculty and staff. 

TSU was placed on a one-year probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

A special highlight of the Faculty Staff Institute was the appearance of the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan, who explained the role of the commission and further assured the gathering that TSU is not in danger of losing its accreditation.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here today,” Wheelan said. “My challenge is to help you understand the accreditation process and to believe within your heart, as I do in my heart, that TSU is going to be alright. I assure you, she (President Glover) has pulled every resource together, both human and fiscal, and you all are going to fix this. I assure you, this time next year, you will be fine.”

Glover discussed a “plan of action” to address the issue. Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the following:  university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters; hired a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally; as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Glover introduced Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, as the new director in charge of accreditation matters.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” Glover said. “We are fixing this and fixing it now.”

Glover also announced progress and challenges in other areas including, recruitment, retention, graduation, campus safety, customer service, but said ensuring student success remains “the key reason we are all here.”

On a major achievement, Glover informed the university of TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Glover said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, was recognized for spearheading the effort that made the partnership possible. Dr. Melton then presented the TSU-trained code and creative team members.

The University is offering the coding course for free to employees. The institute culminated with lunch on the lawn.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

Williams Named Associate Vice President For Research And Sponsored Programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frances Williams has been appointed associate vice president for research and sponsored programs.  Williams is currently the associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Engineering.

Frances Williams

In her new role, Williams will provide oversight of TSU’s research enterprise, including management of research grants and contracts, strategic research initiatives and partnerships, proposal development, and TSU’s Centers of Excellence.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the university in this capacity,” said Williams, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Center for Micro-, Nano-, and Bio-technology Research at Tennessee State University. “I look forward to working with the TSU family to expand our research and sponsored activities and to foster strategic partnerships for growth.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said he is encouraged by Williams’ appoint because of her vast research experience.

“Dr. Williams is an experienced researcher who has gone through every gamut of what it means to be funded and is known nationally for her research.  She also has a good sense of what research administration takes because she has worked on these projects over the years.  So to have somebody who has that experience and has also been the associate dean in the College of Engineering and understands the faculty side of it, I expect her to take off and take us in new directions.”

A veteran researcher and university administrator, Williams previously served as the director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University as well as the director of Norfolk State’s Micro- and Nano-technology Cleanroom, a premiere research facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices.

Williams has extensive publications, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

For her contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service, she has received various awards including the 2018 STEM Innovation Award at the 32nd Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.  In 2013, she received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award (the highest faculty award given out by the state).  She was named an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine in 2012.  She was also awarded Norfolk State’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence in 2010.

Williams holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority establishes endowment at Tennessee State University and honors school’s President Glenda Glover

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is the latest HBCU recipient of financial support from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. On Wednesday, the service organization continued its commitment of creating a $100,000 endowment at each of the nation’s four-year historically black colleges and universities with a donation to TSU President Glenda Glover.

President Glenda Glover admires a commemorative bench dedicated in her honor by the AKA Sorority, Inc. (Submitted Photo)

An initial gift of $25,000 was presented to Glover during a bench dedication in her honor by the sorority. She was joined by Horace Chace, vice president of Business and Finance; Terry Clayton, member of the TSU Foundation Board; and Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnership and Strategic Initiatives.

“One meaningful part of the AKA Leadership Seminar in Nashville is the $100,000 commitment for an endowment from Alpha Kappa Alpha to Tennessee State University,” Glover said. “It begins with this initial donation of $25,000 to assist with student scholarships. I’m extremely appreciative to the sorority for this gift.”

 The gift coincides with AKA’s HBCU Endowment initiative, which looks to award $10 million to these institutions by 2022. 

“We are trying to assist students and help retain them to continue with their education,” Chase said. “This funding from Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority is definitely going to be a big plus in helping to accomplish that goal.”

The Commemorative Bench was unveiled and dedicated on the TSU main campus on June 29. The honor recognizes President Glover’s exemplary leadership and service. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The Executive Director of the TSU Foundation, Betsy Jackson-Mosley, added, “The TSU Foundation is very grateful for the support received from the AKA Foundation for student scholarships. Scholarships are very important to attract the best and brightest and to help students stay in school.”

The financial support and bench dedication were two of several service projects taking place during the AKA’s 2019 Leadership Seminar – June 27-30 – being held at Opryland Hotel.

In a litany at the dedication, led by Dr. Norma S. White, 25th international president of AKA, the group acknowledged the significant contributions of Dr. Glover in leadership, education, community service and philanthropy.

“As we dedicate this commemorative bench in honor of the 30th International President of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, Dr. Glenda Glover, we take pride in her leadership and the many contributions that she has made to the sorority, Tennessee State University and other noteworthy organizations,” the group said. “May this bench be a permanent reminder of the significant accomplishments of Dr. Glover.”

Glover, a native of Memphis and the eighth and first female president of TSU, became the 30th international president of AKA in July 2018.  Immediately upon taking the helm, she sent a clear message that education would remain a priority for the organization, especially supporting the nation’s HBCUs. She launched HBCU for Life: A Call to Action and signature program College Admissions Process, also known as #CAP, to promote and market HBCUs.

Saying that she leads by example, Glover donated $50,000 to the sorority’s Educational Advancement Foundation to further emphasize her commitment. She made that same commitment to TSU when she became president of her alma mater in 2013. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

Tennessee State University Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

23 Second-Year Male Students Complete Rite-of-Passage Mentoring Program; Initiative Inspires Young Males to Become Better Men

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Men’s Initiative, a character and integrity building program at Tennessee State University, is implementing a series of programs aimed to inspire young male students to become better men. 

Students who participated in the inaugural Rite of Passage mentoring program covered topics such as personal responsibility, values, communications, relationship building, and health and wellness. (Submitted Photo)

Recently, 23 second-year male students completed a semester-long Rite of Passage mentoring and leadership-training program conducted by the initiative. The students were pinned and honored in a ceremony before TSU administrators, faculty, staff, students, and community members in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. 

“The goal of this program is to help these students to matriculate and graduate here at the university,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “We want to make sure that they are successful by engaging them in things that help them in their matriculation, as it relates to character and integrity, and understanding the principles of being responsible young men.” 

The inaugural Rite of Passage process started in January, with interest meetings for the students and a training for the 13 TSU faculty and staff mentors who helped facilitate student development. It continued with a six-week curriculum that concluded with a final challenge in the seventh week. 

According to Robert Taylor, director of the TSU Men’s Initiative, participants were trained on personal responsibility, values, communication, relationship building, health and wellness, and African diaspora history. He said the program culminated with a mentor/mentee matching ritual that will continue for 15 weeks over the summer. All 23 students are expected to return to TSU in the fall, as certified mentors. 

“The Rite of Passage portion of the Men’s Initiative engages second-year male students in a series of workshops and mentorship programs to help them to transition from boyhood to manhood,” Taylor said. “Our ultimate purpose is to increase student persistence and to help these young men understand who they are as individuals, and what their role is in the community, and how they can further that through their education.” 

Travion Crutcher, a sophomore mechanical engineering major from Hunstville, Alabama, was a member of the first class that participated in the Rite of Passage training. As a graduate, he returns next semester as a mentor. 

“I have always wanted to be able to help people find their way, because when I first came here, I didn’t know where to start and someone helped me,” said Crutcher, who plays cymbals in the TSU Aristocrat of Bands.  “I just like to be that person you can ask questions.” 

Taylor said in addition to the Rite of Passage, the Men’s Initiative, which is funded by Title III, also includes success coaching, where teams of coaches work with the students to make sure that they are taking advantage of all of the resources that are available to them. There is also the Men’s Empowerment Zone, Taylor said. 

“Empowerment Zone, which we are creating on the second floor of Boyd Hall, focuses on improving the actual physical environment for the students,” Taylor said.

When it is completed, Taylor said the empowerment zone will include a gym with equipment to help the men stay in shape, as well as upgrade the barbershop. He said a computer lab is also being developed in partnership with the Career Development Center, and there will be a conference center where students can do online interviews with potential employers.

For more information on the Tennessee State University Male Initiative, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/mancenter/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

Homelessness to higher Ed: Memphis teen who graduated valedictorian and received more than $3M in scholarship offers, finds a home at TSU

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover traveled to her hometown of Memphis last week, she had one goal in mind:  Bring back Tupac Moseley.

Moseley had recently graduated valedictorian of his class at Raleigh-Egypt High School, and received $3 million in scholarships, all while homeless his senior year. This hands-on treatment didn’t go unnoticed by the shy teen. 

President Glenda Glover presents Tupac Moseley with his full-ride scholarship letter. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“For the president herself to drive down to one of the schools to actually assist a student personally, one-on-one, to take him or her up there for a visit, it’s just mind blowing to me,” said Moseley, who will major in engineering.

Dr. Glover personally led a team of senior university officials to Memphis and presented Moseley with a full-ride scholarship, including housing and a meal plan. 

 “Tupac is not homeless anymore,” Glover said to the throng of media representatives and a cheering crowd assembled in the school cafeteria during a celebration for the teen. “He now has his own room with a meal plan with all the necessary amenities to help him continue his success as an academically talented student. That’s what we do. We are an HBCU, we care about our students. It is in our DNA that we can see a student with this much potential and talent and see what we can do to assist him even before he starts his academic journey.”

President Glover and Tupac Moseley answer reporters’ question at a press conference in Memphis. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Moseley’s remarkable story of perseverance and success amidst homelessness and poverty has made national headlines. The 18-year-old became homeless in his senior year after his father died and the family could not afford the mounting bills. They moved to a campsite for the disadvantaged. In the midst of the hardship, the Memphis native found a way to stay focused in school, and “staying on top of everything that came his way in class work,” his high school principal said. He graduated with a 4.3 grade point average.

“Tupac is an amazing individual with excellent math knowledge,” said principal Shari Meeks.   “He has taken the highest-level math here that we offer. He has attained college credits. He took a statewide dual credit challenge test in pre-calculus and passed it. He could have gone to any school in the nation. I think TSU will have an asset in Tupac. He is awesome and revered by his classmates – he helps them, he tutors them.”

Tupac Moseley blows the candles on his pre-birthday cake at a send-off reception Raleigh-Egypt High School hosted for the incoming TSU freshman. His birthday was May 23. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

 At a sendoff reception for Moseley in the principal’s conference room, the standing room only audience included state and county Who’s Who, such as State Rep. Antonio Parkinson (District 98), who was instrumental in the TSU/Moseley talks; and Dr. Joris M. Ray, superintendent of Shelby County Schools.

Parkinson described Moseley as the “best and brightest talent that has ever been produced in Shelby County.”

“This is just the culmination of a lot of things that’s been going on,” Parkinson said about the reception. “Losing his father, homelessness, that was just too much for anyone. What we have done is just pull resources together to make sure that we provide the stability for him and Tennessee State University was part of the strategy to create that stability for one of our best and brightest talents.”

Superintendent Ray was thankful for the support system at the school – principal, teachers, counselors.

“This young man is a testament of being very resilient and strong,” Ray said. “I am so proud of his hard work, dedication, and he defied the odds with a great support system here at school that helped him to overcome and achieve in the midst of turmoil. I am so proud of Tupac, what he has done here, what he has done for our city and school district.”

As a way of telling his story and helping others facing hardship, Moseley created his own T-shirt based on his quote, “Your location is not your limitation.” He earned 50 scholarships worth a total of $3 million. He said he is majoring in engineering “because I love the smiles I get after helping people with tech issues.”

Moseley is not coming to TSU alone. Two other fellow graduates, including his best friend, Brandon Fontaine, also received scholarships and will attend TSU with him. President Glover included them in the trip back to campus on Wednesday as well. Fontaine is considering majoring in business management or mechanical engineering. The other student, Natoriya Owens, who wants to pursue a career in entrepreneurship, will major in theater arts with a minor in business.

President Glover added that this is what makes HBCUs so special for African Americans, and particularly first-generation college students and communities of color.

“This is the type of hands-on, special attention TSU provides our students, and especially those with unusual circumstances. It also speaks to the holistic approach and nurturing that HBCUs provide to students. Tupac is a prime example of the role TSU and other HBCUs play in addressing the total needs of our students.” 

Tennessee State University is currently accepting students for the fall and have scholarships available for qualified students who want to major in STEM. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.

NASA ‘Dare to Dream’ STEM Education Workshop Engages 200 Students in Robotics, Flight Simulation, Math Games

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas recently took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

A parent participates with her children in an activity at Dare to Dream STEM Saturday. (Submitted Photo)

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop in April engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

 The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

Led by TSU undergraduate STEM students and MNPS teachers, the workshop included a Family Engagement component that allowed parents to engage their children in the various projects.

A student controls a robot using a tablet. (Submitted Photo)

“Dare to Dream STEM Saturday was designed to celebrate minority innovators in science, technology, engineering and math,” said Dr. Trinetia Respress, director of the TSU MUREP project and interim assistant dean of Assessment and Accreditation in the COE. “It was very rewarding to see students and parents engaged in brainstorming in various activities.”

Among some of the activities, students used an engineering process to build a structure that could handle a load, by testing factors affecting the strength and stability of the structure. Using a template, the students also created a rocket that they launched from a soda straw.

Shaliyah Brooks, a junior English major, from Atlanta, was one of the TSU students who led the workshop. As a technology specialist for the workshop, she exposed the students to  robots through demonstrations on how they work, using devices such as parents’ personal phones or tablets.

A mother and daughter celebrate as they complete an activity at the workshop. (Submitted Photo)

“I definitely think that the students were excited to be there,” Brooks said. “They got a chance to play all day and in a way that was educational. They were very hands-on working with their parents.”

For more information on the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.