Category Archives: GRANTS

Tennessee State University Students Build Wheelchairs for Disabled Canines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Pugsly the Pug has a new wheelchair.

Born with a spinal deformity that makes it difficult to stay on its feet, the 15-year-old Dutch mastiff has a new lease on life, thanks to a team of occupational and physical therapy students at Tennessee State University.

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The Dog Wheelchair Competition winning team members and their professors are, from left standing, Jake Armstrong, Blaine Martin, Dr. Rita Troxtel and Dr. Karen Coker. Squatting with Pugsly are, left, Reagan Worth and Erica LaFollette. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, along with some of their peers from the Art Department, designed a special wheelchair that allows Pugsly to take long strides without wobbling or falling.

Dr. Rita Troxtel, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Pugsly’s owner, organized a wheelchair competition that challenged the students to develop wheelchairs for disabled dogs that are low cost, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The competition was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Floyd-Payne Student Center. About 80 students and their advisers participated.

They came up with 17 different concepts and designs that were tested on Pugsly before a panel of judges. The winning wheelchair went to Pugsly. Troxtel said the other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities.

A team of two occupational therapy and two physical therapy students came up with the winning design made of PVC pipes, with two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels for turning; a push handle, and stretch fabric with four round openings for the feet.

“Pugsly is grateful for his new wheels,” Troxtel said.

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Another team of competitors fit Bugsly in their invention, a two-wheeler. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Karen Coker, assistant professor of physical therapy and one of the judges, said the winning design “offered ease of getting in with just one person.”

“The fabric is flexible and soft; it won’t poke anywhere, and the wheelchair has a push handle so that the owner won’t have to bend over,” Coker said. “It is the perfect mix.”

Blain Martin, a graduate physical therapy major, was on the winning team. He said the goal was to develop a wheelchair that was easy to use.

“We all collaborated and we had a group message going in,” Martin said. “We met up several times to make sure we were on the same page with our project. It was great teamwork.”

Other winning team members were Reagan Worth, occupational therapy; Jake Armstrong, physical therapy; and Erica LaFollette, occupational therapy.

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The other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Second-year graduate occupational major Amber Alexander’s team did not win, but she was impressed with the exercise.

“Participating in this competition gave use some real-world exposure to our various disciplines,” she said.

Mike Carter, a Ph.D. physical therapy student, said he enjoyed the teamwork.

“Collaboration was great in our group,” Carter said. “In fact, one of the guys in the group was skilled in making things. He actually has a shop where he builds all kinds of stuff. So this was right up his alley.”

Dr. Hamid Hamidzadeh, head of TSU’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, lauded organizers for having the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get hands on experience,” said Hamidzadeh, who was also a judge. “The students will really get the opportunity to go beyond the limit of the classroom.“

Troxtel said the skills the students learned from creating the dog wheelchairs will transfer to developing technology for humans.

“The TSU OT department is considering purchasing a 3D printer to build prosthetic limbs,” she said. “I also plan to hold a competition again next year, but it will focus on building assistive technology for human use.”

For more information on TSU’s various therapy programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Are Nashville Bridges Safe? Tennessee State University Engineering Students Are Checking

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, are conducting a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

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Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors assessing bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings will be submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said. “This is a two-month project. We expect our final report to be ready and submitted to Metro by Dec. 15.”

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members working with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work is a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“The students are providing us with a preliminary structural assessment of these bridges to be approved by our structural engineer,” said Jonathon Schneider, of the project management team. “So what they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges. Their performance is remarkable. We are looking forward to receiving their report.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Earlier this year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project are: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, is the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Council on International Educational Exchange selects TSU to receive Generation Study Abroad Access Grant

unknown1NASHVILLE, Tenn(TSU News Service) – The Council on International Educational Exchange has awarded Tennessee State University a $20,000 grant to help first-generation and minority students study abroad.

The grant will support an innovative faculty-led study abroad program in Paris in 2017 led by TSU professors, Dr.  Rebecca Dixon and Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes. 

Students in this program will examine the historical contexts that have led African-American men and women to travel abroad to resist various levels of oppression in the United States. The program is designed to enhance students’ appreciation for global exchange and hopefully change their perspectives in ways that allow them to see themselves as a part of a global community.

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Dr. Jennifer L. Hayes

“Many of our students are first-generation students and are from underserved minority groups who have not traveled outside of the United States,” said Hayes, an assistant professor of English and Women’s Studies. “They are highly motivated and seek to improve their life chances through education. We believe this experience will provide our students with a unique opportunity to see the connections between their experiences at TSU and the global community.”

Dixon, a professor of English and Women’s Studies, agreed the program should be enlightening.

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Dr. Rebecca Dixon

“My hope is that the students’ sense of the literature, history, and culture that informed African-American expatriate artists will be enriched by this experience,” she said.

CIEE created the Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to recognize innovative programs that increase access to international educational opportunities for students in groups that are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. The grant program is part of CIEE’s pledge to break through the barriers of cost, curriculum, and culture to double the number of students from all backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, and majors who study abroad by 2020.

“CIEE is excited to award the second annual Generation Study Abroad Access Grant to Tennessee State University,” said Maritheresa Frain, executive vice president of study abroad at CIEE. “TSU has an illustrious history of enriching the lives of underserved minority groups who are traditionally underrepresented in study abroad. We’re proud to work with Drs. Hayes and Dixon and the university to continue in this tradition by making it possible for more TSU students to gain the knowledge, intercultural skills, and global perspectives needed for success in today’s world.”

Founded in 1947, CIEE is the country’s oldest and largest nonprofit study abroad and intercultural exchange organization, serving more than 340 U.S. colleges and universities, 1,000 U.S. high schools, and 35,000 international exchange students each year.

For more information about CIEE’s Faculty-Led & Custom Programs, visit: https://www.ciee.org/faculty-led-study-abroad/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Project on Best Practices in Nursery Production System Selected for Federal Funding

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University project to promote best management practices in the nursery production system for the Mid-South region is one of 45 across the nation selected by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to share $26.6 million for innovative conservation initiatives.

TSU will receive nearly $793,000 through its College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences to enhance the current Southern Nursery Industry “Guide for Best Management Practices.”

As part of the project, TSU will also recommend modifications to the USDA NRCS Conservation Practice Standards that specifically address natural resource and water-quality concerns relating to the nursery industry in Tennessee, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.

The three-year funding, received through a highly competitive grant process, is the first awarded by the USDA through its Conservation Innovation Grant program to an 1890 Land-Grant university. As a matching-funds grant, the total amount for the project is about $1.5 million.

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Dr. Dharma Pitchay

Dr. Dharma Pitchay, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is the principal investigator of the project. The co-principal investors are Drs. Bharat Pokharel, Sudipta Rakshit, Prabode Illukpitiya, Anthony Witcher and Chandra Reddy.

“This is a very prestigious grant to win as historically NRCS has not awarded CIG grants to 1890 universities,” said Reddy, who is dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.

He said TSU will partner with a number of institutions in the region to implement the project, as well as set up a training laboratory on campus to train NRCS or Natural Resources Conservation Services educators in the new technologies.

“Awarding this prestigious grant is an acknowledgment that Tennessee State University has immediately useful agricultural technologies to promote with stakeholder communities in the state and across the region. I congratulate Dr. Pitchay, the co-PIs and institutional partners in winning this grant for us,” Reddy added.

Pitchay said the anticipated outcome of the project would include a trained cadre of growers, extension workers, and field technicians, as well as modification to existing and development of new BMPs and conservation practices.

“We also expect to send messages to nursery growers on the benefits of protecting natural resources and demonstration sites for future conservation field days and training programs,” Pitchay said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Professor Receives State, National Recognitions for Works in Extension and Outreach

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University professor, known for his work with farmers and Extension agents throughout Tennessee, has received multiple awards from the Tennessee Association of Agricultural Agents and Specialists, and the National Association of County Agricultural Agents.

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Dr. Jason de Koff

Jason de Koff, associate professor in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received the Early Career Award, Achievement Award, and Communication Award from TAAA&S. The awards were presented in May at the organization’s annual meeting in Sevierville, Tennessee.

In July, de Koff, now in his sixth year at TSU, was given the NACAA Achievement Award and the Search for Excellence in Crop Production Award at the group’s annual meeting in Little Rock, Arkansas.

“I am quite honored by these awards,” de Koff said. “I plan to continue to represent TSU and Tennessee by providing my research and experiences to those who need them.”

The Early Career Award is the second for de Koff. In 2015, he won the prestigious American Society of Agronomy Early Career Professional Award for his contribution to the field of agronomy in education and research.

A professor of agronomy and soil science, de Koff’s primary area of research is on bioenergy crop production, with specific emphasis on crops like switchgrass and winter canola.

His extension program provides educational training opportunities to Extension agents as well as demonstration workshops on biodiesel production to youth and farmers.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Conservation Expert at TSU Small Farm Expo Says US Running Low on Farmable Land; Highlights Critical Role of Small Farmers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A federal conservationist has warned that the United States is running out of farmable agriculture land to grow enough food for its growing population.

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Leonard Jordan

Leonard Jordan, associate chief for Conservation at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the acreage of agriculture land in the U.S. has decreased by 30-35 million acres in the last 30 years while the nation’s population continues to grow.

“This is alarming.” Jordan said. “Anytime there is a growth in the number of people who rely on food and fiber for their survival, and there is less acreage to produce it on, that should be a concern.”

Jordan, a 1977 graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in plant and soil science, was the keynote speaker July 21 at the 12th annual Small Farm Expo at TSU’s Agricultural Research and Education Center or “The Farm.”

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From left, Dr. Latin Lighari, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, far right, present Mike and Karen Minnis with the Farmer of the Year Award. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

The Expo also recognized the state’s top farmer with the Small Farmer of the Year Award. That honor went to the husband and wife team of Mike and Karen Minnis, crop farmers from Memphis, Tennessee. They were recognized for “Best Management Practices and Innovative Marketing.”

Jordan said with these “alarming statistics,” the nation is depending more on small farmers to fill the gap of growing enough crops for its people.

“Their role is very critical,” he said about small farmers. “The figures tell us that the things that they do in their operations are more important today than they have ever been. You (small farmers) should feel good about what you do each and every day. We owe you more than you ever know,” he said.

TSU President Glenda Glover agreed with Jordan, calling small farmers the “back bone” of America.

“It is very exciting to see this many people here today to celebrate our small farmers,” she said. “Our small farmers are the backbone of America, and it is very important that we take this time to recognize them. I applaud you (the small farmers) for the work that you do and continue to do to not only feed us but to encourage and prepare future farmers. I thank Dean (Chandra) Reddy and the College of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and all sponsors for your support in making this expo successful.”

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Ashton Kirkpatrick, a seventh-grader from Northeast Middle School in Jackson, left; and Drayton Hawkins, an eleventh-grader from Haywood High School in Memphis, participate in a sustainable living exercise in the Urban Green mobile lab at the expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media relations)

More than 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture attended the one-day expo. Busloads of middle and high school students from as far as Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee participated in the event.

The expo featured livestock shows, tractor pulls and tours, traditional agricultural displays and demonstrations, and mobile educational units, including a planting and harvesting simulator, and the Urban Green Lab on sustainable living.

Also on hand was Jai Templeton, who made his first appearance as the new commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, thanked the award winners, small farmers, federal and state agency representatives, sponsors, guests and visitors for their participation.

“This annual Expo, now in its 12th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy said. “We are grateful to Dr. Latif Lighari for his leadership of the Cooperative Extension Program, and his team for ensuring another successful Expo.”

Other farmers receiving awards were: Charles Jordan for “Most Improved Beginning Small Farmer”; and husband and wife team of Jim and Deanna Malooley, for “Best Management Practices.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

2016 TSU Small Farm Expo and Farmer of the Year Recognition Expected to Draw More than 400 on July 21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – About 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are expected to attend this year’s Small Farm Expo and Small Farmer of the Year Recognition program at Tennessee State University.

The Expo, hosted by the TSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Cooperative Extension Program, opens on Thursday, July 21 at 8:45 a.m., at the Agricultural Research and Education Center on the main campus.

Sponsors include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, University of Tennessee Extension, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Mid America, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Farm Services Bureau, among others.

Featured research and activities will focus on organic urban and AA9_1140[1]vertical agriculture, portable livestock fencing, greenhouse gas emission, soybean genomic research, and enhancing plant protection against fungal diseases and environmental stresses. The U.S. Food Modernization Act and its implications for small farmers and restaurant owners will also be discussed, along with updates from the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, and the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Activities will also include field plot tours, educational workshops, and exhibits of agricultural products, and farming tools and implements.

The Expo will culminate at 12:30 p.m., with the Small Farmer Recognition and Award ceremony that will include the President of TSU, Dr. Glenda Glover; Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Jai Templeton; the President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Dr. Tim Cross; and Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources, among others.

More details on the Expo can be found at http://goo.gl/4t31wt.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Statistics Show Promising Future for Psychology Majors

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Internships help prepare TSU students for success in the workforce

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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