Category Archives: GRANTS

Frances Williams, Distinguished Professor and Administrator, Joins TSU As Associate Dean in College of Engineering

FWilliams-3
Dr. Frances Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frances Williams is the new associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tennessee State University.

In her new role, Williams will manage the graduate programs, provide oversight and coordinate research grants and contracts, as well as identify and initiate new research opportunities and collaborative partnerships for the college.

Before coming to TSU Williams was a faculty member and director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University. She also was the director of Norfolk State’s Micro- and Nano-technology Center Cleanroom, a premiere research facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices.

Her research focus is in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling $14 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator. In 2010 she received a U.S. patent for developing a micromachined sensor for monitoring electrochemical deposition.

Williams has received various awards including the 2013 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, the highest faculty award given out by the state. In 2012, she was named an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. She also received Norfolk State’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence in 2010.

Williams is a member of several professional societies. She volunteers in various community programs that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for students from elementary to college age.

Williams holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural & 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

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.

National Science Foundation representatives educate local faculty, researchers about funding opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Representatives from the National Science Foundation were in Nashville to tell faculty and researchers at local higher education institutions about research funding opportunities.

NSF-6
National Science Foundation representative Dr. Laura Namy talks to faculty and researchers about research funding opportunities. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College hosted the event that was held Feb. 19 on Meharry’s campus. Participating colleges and universities included American Baptist College, Belmont University, Fisk University, Lipscomb University, Trevecca Nazarene University, and Vanderbilt University.

Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, who spearheaded the event and is TSU’s chief research officer, said the main purpose of collaborating with Meharry was to “strengthen the knowledge base about research funding opportunities among the various faculty members at the different institutions,” particularly historically black colleges and universities.

“In order for faculty members to be successful in attracting research dollars to support what they’re working on, they have to know what’s available to them,” said Crumpton-Young. “And one of the things that’s not commonly shared among HBCUs, or among small institutions, are the opportunities that are available.”

The conference focused on research related to social behavior and economic sciences, “the set of sciences that are related to the human experience,” said Dr. Laura Namy, program director in NSF’s Division of Behavioral and Cognitive Sciences in the Social Behavioral and Economic Sciences Directorate (SBE). The three research divisions within SBE have a total annual budget of over $200 Million.

“The human experience is fundamental to every aspect of society,” said Namy. “And being able to conduct rigorous science to understand the processes by which people experience their everyday lives is really important for being able to both explain and optimize the quality of life for individuals.”

Dr. Orville Bignall, an associate professor of physics at TSU, attended the conference and said he plans to apply for a grant that will help him achieve collaboration between the psychosocial sciences and physics.

“This kind of collaboration will help me to get a process in place to help my students to navigate the proper channel that will help them to be more successful,” said Bignall.

Last year, TSU set a record with $51 million in new research awards. The university recently got a $350,000 grant from NSF to enhance its computing, network and security capacity. Crumpton-Young said the university is hoping to break another record this year, “and a big part of that is for faculty members to know what’s available so we can write those proposals and get funding.”

Dr. Maria de Fatima Lima, dean of Meharry’s School of Graduate Studies and Research, said Meharry and TSU currently have a partnership grant in cancer research and she hopes to see future collaborative efforts to inform faculty and researchers about funding.

“What I would like to see is for us to find other areas of common interest and expand this partnership,” Lima said. “We hope to see the faculty collaborating in research programs and enhancing the research of both schools.”

The National Science Foundation, headquartered in Arlington, Virginia, is the funding source for about 24 percent of all federally supported basic research conducted by America’s colleges and universities.

 

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 President Glenda Glover urges faculty and staff to focus on helping students succeed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover urged faculty and staff to stay focused on helping students succeed amid university challenges.

Glover, now in her third year at TSU, on Monday addressed the Faculty and Staff Institute for the spring 2016 semester. She noted some of the challenges the university is facing, but said they shouldn’t distract from the university’s main objective, which is to improve retention and graduation rates.

“We’re here for the purpose of educating our students, and enhancing their well-being,” she said. “That’s our one fundamental overriding goal.”

She said steps being taken to help in that endeavor include the formation of a completion committee that will meet twice a month, and requiring teachers to have an assessment measure in place to evaluate students two weeks into the year so that those who are struggling can get assistance.

“By the time it gets to mid-terms, it’s too late,” Glover said. “If we catch students early enough, we can put them in tutoring.”

The president’s speech also highlighted some of the university’s successes, such as the Tennessee Board of Regents’ approval to build a $39 million Health Sciences Building, and the record amount of money it received last year for research grants.

Last year, the university set a goal to get $50 million in grants and received $51 million. This year the goal is $60 million.

“Research grants are very important to the university because they allow faculty members to work on quality solutions that help to meet needs in our country, and give students an opportunity to get engaged in cutting edge ideas,” Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate vice president and chief research officer, said after the president’s speech.

During her speech, Glover also discussed university challenges. She said one task is getting money to adequately fund security upgrades, and another is a proposed governance plan that could adversely affect the university.

Nevertheless, Glover said she’s optimistic about TSU’s future.

“We will fight through our difficulties,” she said. “We will roll up our sleeves and persevere.”

Glover told faculty and staff they can help in the fight by being “ambassadors” for the university, and promoting the positive things TSU is doing. She urged deans and faculty to make the university’s public relations department aware of what’s going on in their departments.

“It takes all of us working together, fighting together, as a unit,” Glover said. “It takes all of us.”

The Faculty and Staff Institute is a bi-annual event that convenes university employees prior to each academic semester. Following her speech, Glover took questions from faculty and staff, and later met with faculty during a planning session.

 

Four TSU Professors Receive USDA Capacity Building Grants for Research and Extension Services

USDANASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The U.S. Department of Agriculture has divided its annual funding awards for capacity building in teaching, research and extension. With nearly $1.4 million, Tennessee State University is among the highest recipients of this year’s $18 million allotted for the 20 Land-Grant Colleges and Universities that submitted successful proposals.

The capacity building fund, attained through a competitive grant writing process, is an initiative intended to increase and strengthen food and agriculture sciences at the schools through integration of teaching, research and extension.

Four professors in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences will share this year’s awards in research and extension services, according to Dr. Carter Catlin, associate dean for Research. They are John Hall, Agnes Kilonzo-Ntheng, William Sutton and Samuel Nahashon.

“These grants help us build our capacity in new frontiers of research and education,” Dr. Chandra Reddy, the dean of CAHNS said.  “We have immensely benefited from this program by adding teaching and research capacity in many new areas such as biofuels, remote sensing, urban forestry, biotechnology, to name a few.  Our faculty have been doing a superb job of competing and securing these funds at the highest rate possible.”

Hall
Dr. John Hall

Hall, assistant professor in Extension Services, received $455,923 to design a state-of-the-art mobile education trailer to increase agricultural literacy in urban communities across the southeastern United States. Additionally, the funding will support the creation and implementation of a comprehensive plan to recruit students for all degree programs in CAHNS as well as develop leadership training program for youth, collegiate, and adult audiences.

“This is an integrated project that seeks to meet teaching and extension needs,” Hall said.

Kilonzo (1)
Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Ntheng

In research, Kilonzo-Ntheng will use her $350,000 award in a collaborative effort with the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to implement Good Agricultural Practices certification programs for small and medium-sized produce farms, and determine risk practices and profiles for generic E. coli, Salmonella and Enterobacteriaceae in produce farms. She will also conduct risk communication workshops for small and medium-sized scale growers, and increase students’ participation in food safety outreach.

“Produce growers have come under increasing pressure to ensure that their products are safe, wholesome, and meet the proposed rules under the Food Safety Modernization Act, said Kilonzo-Ntheng, associate professor of Family and Consumer Sciences. “While the goal for GAPs certification is clear, limited-resource growers often do not pursue the certification due to the costs. However, to succeed in the 21st century economy, these growers must be GAPs certified and empowered to meet food safety requirements.”

Sutton
Dr. William Sutton

For Sutton, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, his $400,000 research award will study how landscape alteration in the form of forest management impacts wildlife conservation.

Nahashon
Dr. Samuel Nahashon

Nahashon, professor and chair of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, received $100,000 to research new and emerging areas of biotechnology such as transcriptome analysis and computational bioinformatics. He will collaborate with an expert in computational bioinformatics at the University of Georgia to determine the mechanisms and modes of action of probiotics in conferring beneficial effects to poultry.

“This project is also an effort to continue strengthening the biotechnology research and teaching program in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU,” Nahashon 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.

School Teaches Farmers to Brew Own Biodiesel

Courtesy: Domestic Fuel

Cheatham-County-High-School2
Dr. de Koff, professor of Bioenergy Crop Production, and Project Director for the MBED demonstrates biodiesel production to students at Cheatham County High School on Sept. 19, 2014.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Farmers are known to be a pretty independent breed, and a school is teaching them to be energy independent by brewing their own biodiesel. This story from RFD-TV says Tennessee State University’s Agricultural Research and Education Center has a unique outreach program that teaches farmers about making their own on-farm biodiesel.

dekoff-1024x558
Dr. Jason de Koff

“This is something where they can grow it, and they can make it themselves and they can use it on the farm,” says Jason de Koff, an assistant professor in agronomy and soil science at Tennessee State University. The school’s mobile demonstration trailer – think of it as a workshop on wheels – is making waves across the volunteer state.

“We were awarded a grant by the USDA back in 2012,” de Koff explains. “The grant was to create a demonstration that we could use to talk to farmers about producing their own biodiesel on the farm.”

TSU created this mobile biodiesel demonstration trailer at the university’s Agricultural Research and Education Center…where they even grow their own canola.

“The reason why we wanted to do this,” says de Koff, “is because we’ve estimated that anywhere between 1 percent and 3 percent of the farm acreage can be devoted to growing some of the oilseed crops for biodiesel production. The farmer can produce enough biodiesel from that to power their diesel equipment for the entire year.

“The canola seeds are stored here inside this bin and then they funnel their way down through this tunnel on the equipment. You can see that the seeds are then pressed for their oil, dripping down into this container. Down here on the end is everything that’s left over, something that can break off and be used in your animal feed. Once we’ve got the oil from the seed press, we can take it and put it in this biodiesel processor. This is where the actual conversion and actual production of biodiesel take place.”

The article points out that the cost to produce biodiesel on the farm is just $2.90 per gallon, a savings from buying at the pump. And farmers can apply for a Rural Energy for America grant program to help pay for 25 percent of the brewing equipment costs.

With Engineering Clinic, TSU Students May Soon Design and Build Computer Games, Small Machines

Engineering-11
A new “engineering clinic” will allow students to design and build products related to their discipline. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Engineering and computer science students at Tennessee State University may soon be able to design and build products such     as hand-held computer   games, mobile robots, computer apps and small machines, thanks to a new funding from the National Science Foundation.

A $1.7 million, four-year grant intended to revamp the curriculum and increase the graduation rate of African-American males in engineering, will also include the creation of an “engineering clinic,” which will allow students to design and build products related to their discipline.

Hargrove
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

“We are developing an innovative way of learning that would enhance students’ persistence and better prepare them for the rigors of the engineering coursework,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering and principal investigator of the NSF funding.

According to Hargrove there is a demand to produce a more diverse workforce by developing curriculums that reflect theoretical and practical knowledge and allow graduates to immediately make a contribution to industry. But incoming freshmen are less prepared for the rigors of the engineering curriculum in such areas as math. Only 5.5 percent of black eighth-graders completed calculus five years later, and a mere 1.1 percent of the nation’s black college freshmen enrolled in engineering programs in 2010, an analysis by the National Association of Black Engineers shows.

With the new funding, Tennessee State University, the largest producer of African American engineers in the state, is responding to this workforce demand, Hargrove said.

Dr. Sachin Shetty
Dr. Sachin Shetty

“We have developed a pre-engineering sequence of courses for freshmen that students must take before embarking on the traditional four-year curriculum,” he said. “These courses are infused with hands-on design projects to motivate and inform students about the discipline, and promote team dynamics and engineering fundamentals.”

Freshman Mechanical Engineering major Isaiah Pirtle, a beneficiary of the pre-engineering program, has seen great progress in his performance.

“I was fortunate to participate in the ‘Engineering Concepts Institute,’ a summer pre-college program,” Pirtle said. “That experience gave me an excellent academic background for the mathematics required in my major.”

According to Hargrove, with that preparation, Pirtle and his fellow classmates’ program for the next five years will focus on more design-related projects with the development of the engineering clinic.

Dr. Sachin Shetty, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Co-PI of the NFS fund, will manage the project and the development of the clinic. The project will also support a retention study on the attrition of African-American students, with particular emphasis on black males. Faculty from the Department of Sociology Department and College of Education will coordinate the study.

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.

Tennessee State University Installs New Student Safety Patrol Officers

M51A8931
SGA President Racia Poston, second from right, was among those sworn-in to protect their campus as part of the Student Safety Patrol. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For JerMilton Woods, it is personal when it comes to campus safety and the well-being of his fellow students, especially when he thinks about outsiders coming on campus to cause problems.

“This is a great university that has been very good to me,” Woods said. “Anything I can do to protect its good image and keep my fellow students safe, I am willing to do it.”

The sophomore Human Performance and Sports Sciences major has joined about 25 other schoolmates as part of the Student Safety Patrol, a volunteer group of male and female students providing safe escort for other students across campus.

M51A8962
JerMilton Woods

The patrol is drawn from fraternities, sororities, service organizations and other related campus groups. It is part of Tennessee State University’s 10-Poing Safety Enhancement Plan announced by President Glenda Glover on Oct. 30 to assure students, parents, alumni, and the public they are safe and secure on campus.

At a ceremony on the main campus Monday, Nov. 16, group members were sworn-in after completing training in observation, reporting and escorting techniques. The volunteers will work in two-hour shifts between 6 p.m. – midnight. Assignments will vary between “Fixed Post” and “Safe Escort Across Campus.” They will wear specially designed uniforms that distinguish them from the general student population, and carry equipment such as whistles, flashlights and radios.

“It is truly personal for me to be a ‘vocal point’ on campus safety,” Woods said after taking the oath to protect his fellow students. “Anytime that I can give back to my university that has given me so much, that is enough for me.”

“I have a vested interest to see this campus safe,” added Tariq Muhammad, a sophomore Agricultural Science major and a member of the SSP. “We want to take back our campus and one way of doing that is by taking the initiative of patrolling our campus ourselves.”

According to Frank Stevenson, coordinator of the Student Safety Patrol, the goal of the programs is to provide safe transport to students across campus and to create opportunities for “peer engagement” in student safety.

“This program will allow students to have true ownership into a safer TSU campus,” Stevenson said. “The intend is to provide safe escorts for our campus community so that no one has to travel alone in isolated areas of campus and/or after dark. The Student Safety Patrol will provide extra eyes and ears for a safer campus.”

Assistant Vice President for Communications and Public Relations Kelli Sharpe congratulated the students on behalf of President Glover, who was away on business.

“We see the Student Safety Patrol as extra eyes and ears on campus safety,” Sharp said. “We commend these students for taking on such an initiative to make sure their fellow students are safe on campus.”

The establishment of the SSP comes on the heels of the recent opening of a police satellite station in the campus center. Also, Metro Nashville Police are teaming up with TSU Police Department to provide more campus coverage. In addition, students, faculty and staff are mandated to visibly wear their university-issued ID badges.

In announcing the Safety Enhancement Plan, Glover said the primary objectives of the Student Safety Patrol are to provide TSU campus safety escorts and transports; observe and report suspicious and unusual activity to police; and provide an active presence. While membership is voluntary with no pay, applicants must be in good academic standing, exhibit good character, maintain good conduct, commit at least two hours per week, and must have genuine concern about safety on campus. In return members receive credit for community service, a certificate of recognition, and internship credits.

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.

Safe Drinking Water: TSU Student and Faculty Research Help to Keep Nation Water Supply Free of Pollutants

JeTara crawling thru cave to sample site
JeTara Brown crawls through Mammoth Cave toward a water sampling sight. (Submitted Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University student and faculty-led research findings are helping to keep the nation’s drinking water safe. According to reports from the recent National Cave and Karst Management Symposium in Cave City, Kentucky, two TSU graduate students and their professors presented findings on ways to improve water quality in the karst landscapes, a unique and fragile set of ecosystems that are dependent on clean stormwater recharge. Two-thirds of Tennessee has karst or karst-like landscape, including all of middle Tennessee. Their findings at Mammoth Cave have application to Nashville and the surrounding area.

Graduate students JeTara Brown and Hung Wai Ho, along with their professors in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, partnered with federal agencies to investigate management practices that improve storm runoff from parking lots and spills in the Mammoth Cave National Park in south central Kentucky. The cave and karst systems serve as a habitat for unique ecosystems and sources of drinking water for much of the population.

According to Hung Wai, their research focused on the assessment and treatment of different pollutants in stormwater runoff in an urbanized area.

Hung wai conducting tracer study
Hung Wai Ho conducts a tracer study with Rhodamine dye in Mammoth Cave. (Submitted Photo)

“Water is a vital part of the environment but anthropogenic activities have been causing impairment to the water quality, especially in the karst regions of Tennessee and Kentucky,” Hung Wai said. “Additionally, the National Park offers a dynamic and interactive environment for us to apply our academic knowledge in a real-world situation.”

 

The research was part of an agreement among TSU, the National Park Service, the U.S. Geological Survey, and the Western Kentucky University Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning, to aid in understanding the transport of contaminants into the karst system.

“Over half of the U.S. population relies on groundwater as a source for water supply,” said Brown, a first-year graduate student. “Unfortunately, when it rains, contaminants can be transported into the groundwater through sinkholes and fractures that are unfiltered.  The more we understand how karst systems work, the better we can find ways to protect them.”

Dr. Tom Byl is a research scientist with the U.S. Geological Survey. For the last 20 years he has partnered with TSU conducting environmental research and teaching occasional classes.  Brown and Hung Wai are among the more than 150 students he has mentored.

“My students have conducted studies on a wide variety of topics, ranging from groundwater remediation to wetlands and cave systems,” Byl said. “Students bring new insight and energy to research projects.  Involving TSU students in field studies and lab research helps them understand that they can have meaningful careers in earth and environmental sciences.”

On the quality of the research, Dr. Rick Toomey, director of the Mammoth Cave International Center for Science and Learning, said it is “incredibly” important to the science of caves.

“We have been incredibly impressed with the students Dr. Byl brings from TSU,” Toomey said. “They have been involved in helping to provide us with critical information on park management and finding interesting patterns in pure science such as water chemistry change. Their work has been very valuable and we hope it is also providing educational opportunities for the students.”

IMG_1790[2] copy
Dr. De’Etra Young crawls through Mammoth Cave toward a water sampling site. (Submitted Photo)
Byl said as a result of the students’ “outstanding” work, Brown and Hung Wai, along with their faculty advisors, have been invited to present their research findings at the Karst Water Institute in Puerto Rico in January 2016. The students were each awarded $200 toward travel expense to the conference by the prestigious Karst Water Institute.

“JeTara and Hung Wai are great examples of our talented students at Tennessee State University,” said Dr. DéEtra Young, a faculty advisor. “As coordinator of the College of Agriculture Dean’s Scholars Program, I’m working diligently to increase research opportunities for our students. It is our goal to actively foster the academic and personal development of our students in preparation for the workforce or the many graduate opportunities available.”

“There are very few minority scientists in this very important field of cave and karst management. TSU’s Ag and Engineering colleges are trying to train and fill this gap,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences.  “Our faculty, Drs. De’Etra Young and Tom Byl, do an outstanding job in training students and the invitation they received to present at this important national meeting is a good indicator of that.”

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.

Tennessee State University joins Consortium to Improve the Nation’s Cyber Security in Energy Delivery Systems

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will participate in a five-year, $28.1 million U.S. Department of Energy initiative to improve computer/communication networks for energy delivery systems like power grids and pipelines, the agency announced recently.

TSU researchers will join a consortium of 11 universities and national laboratories led by the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign to improve the resilience and security of the cyber networks. These networks serve as the backbone of the infrastructure that delivers energy to the nation – known as energy delivery systems – for the electric power, oil and gas industries.

Dr. Sachin Shetty
Dr. Sachin Shetty

The university will receive $930,000 to conduct studies in security risk assessment, software-defined networking, robust control systems, and detection and classification of the impact of attacks on cyber-physical systems. TSU researchers will also design controller procedures to protect against specific attack categories.

Dr. Sachin Shetty, associate professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a cyber security and networking systems expert, will lead the effort as project director. He will be assisted by Dr. L.H. Keel, professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering, as co-PI.

Keel
Dr. L.H. Keel

“The security of critical infrastructure, such as power grids, oil and gas refineries, nuclear power reactors and pipeline operations has attracted tremendous attention,” Shetty said. “There is growing awareness in the industry to safeguard cyber and physical resiliency and move beyond cyber security to ensure the nation’s energy delivery systems can operate in the presence of attacks caused by adversarial actions.”

The DOE has determined that the cyber network that supports many important functions within energy delivery systems is vulnerable to disturbances, Shetty added. He said the Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium (CREDC) is intended to identify and perform cutting-edge research and increase the resiliency of energy delivery systems. This includes helping industry identify reasons for investing in technology that increases cyber resiliency in EDS; developing, validating, and verifying high-impact solutions in partnership with industry advocates; and making developed solutions commercially available through development of open-source communities and licensing arrangements.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, called the partnership with the CREDC part of his college’s “strategic initiative” to train and educate a more diverse workforce in cyber security.

“The Cyber Resilient Energy Delivery Consortium will respond to the Department of Energy ‘s demand for detection, analysis, monitoring, and risk assessment technologies to protect energy delivery systems,” Hargrove said.  “It also will further enhance TSU’s capacity in cyber security.”

As part of an outreach effort, during the study, TSU will also focus on enhancing curriculum to incorporate EDS cyber security and cyber-resiliency issues, Shetty said. “The (TSU) team will focus on workforce development at undergraduate and graduate levels to provide a pipeline of well-trained engineers for these sectors.”

In addition to TSU and the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, the consortium includes research experts from Argonne National Laboratory, Arizona State University, Dartmouth College, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Oregon State University, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, Rutgers University, University of Houston and Washington State University.

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 Receives $447,000 Federal Grant to Mobilize Students Across 10 HBCUs in MLK Day of Service Activities

Students plant
A group of TSU students plant trees as part of their assignment during a community service day in metro Nashville. (Submitted photo)
Linda
Dr. Linda Guthrie

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students will be part of newly established collaborations that will engage more than 50,000 student volunteers and stakeholders, and 17,000 community members in service activities during the observance of the MLK Day holiday. This is the result of a $447,000 grant that the TSU Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement received from The Corporation for National and Community Service to undertake programs geared toward the Day of Service held each year across the nation in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The total amount of the grant is a combination of federal and matching funds.

Established in 1993, the CNCS is a federal agency that engages more than five million Americans in service through different programs each year. The funding is intended to mobilize more Americans to observe the MLK Federal Holiday as a day of service in communities. The goal is to encourage those who serve during the holiday to make a long-term commitment to community service, and to bring people together to focus on service to others.

Davis
Shirley Nix-Davis

According to Shirley Nix- Davis, director of the Youth Empowerment Program- College Access Now at TSU, and one of the project directors for the grant, the funding will be used to implement a one-year Spread the Service Mini Grant Competition through collaboration with the Center for Service Learning and the HBCU Coalition, beginning in October.

“The project seeks to align the missions of HBCUs and The Corporation for National and Community Service’s mission with MLK Jr.’s legacy to invest in community solutions, create collaborations that value diversity, and improve educational outcomes for the economically disadvantaged,” Nix-Davis said.

Tequila M. Johnson
Tequila M. Johnson

Tequila Johnson, project assessment coordinator in the CSLCE, who along with Nix-Davis procured the grant, said the project will bring together about 10 HBCUs in the southeast region through community service and capacity building initiatives that strategically address disaster services, economic opportunity, education, and capacity building. TSU students, who participate in several service activities as part of course requirements, and area community participants, will be integral to the implementation of the project, Johnson said.

Last year, through 156 community partnerships, 4,013 TSU students logged a total of 47,316 hours in the classroom and in various activities around the metro Nashville area. Many students say the experience has given them a better outlook on life.

“The Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement has allowed me to connect with the community in many capacities throughout my collegiate career,” said Jalen Hussey, a senior Computer Science major from Memphis, Tennessee. “As a mentor for the YEP/CAN (Youth Empowerment College Access Now Program), I have had the opportunity to assist young at-risk males with college access and academic success. This experience has instilled a commitment to service within me.”

Dr. Linda Guthrie, director of the Center for Service Learning and Civic Engagement, said the MLK Day of Service connects students with their community by challenging them to think critically about issues going on around them.

“Tennessee State University has a long history of service to others, which is central to the institution’s mission and academic curriculum,” Guthrie said. “Our students come to TSU with the expectation to serve. They often find opportunities to do that through day-ofservice events, community organizations or in the classroom. Through events such as this our students have the opportunity to not only serve, but to create and lead projects that change their lives and the lives of others. I’m so excited to have the opportunity to engage several HCBUs in service.”

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.