NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Loréal Spear did not choose Environmental Engineering as a major at Tennessee State University by accident.
“I just love preserving the natural esthetics of the environment,” said the graduate student from Nashville.
Building on the “Think, Work, Serve” mantra, Spear said her interest also allows her to serve as a way of giving back to the community and helping to improve the environment in and around her hometown.
“I have actively participated in TSU’s Service Day and Hands On Nashville service events throughout my undergraduate and graduate career,” she said.
So, it came as no surprise on Saturday, March 23, when Spear joined nearly 200 TSU students, faculty and staff in a day of service as they worked to restore the natural habitats of the community.
The event was part of the Go Green North Nashville program and Hands On Nashville, where volunteers spread out into the surrounding community areas and took part in “Diggin’ It,” a day devoted to planting and rejuvenation.
Dr. Linda Guthrie, acting director of the Center for Service Learning, said the annual spring volunteer day is important not only for TSU, but also to the community that surrounds the University.
“Our community is close-kit and caring,” said Guthrie in an earlier statement. “We try to teach our students to look unselfishly beyond themselves, and to reach out to others and the world. The North Nashville area has supported the University from the beginning. We want to build lasting connections with our neighbors, and aid in the restoration of the natural habitats that surround our community.”
Projects included the TSU Riparian Reforestation, where volunteers replanted native trees along the flood-damaged banks of the Stones River; and Building TSU Rain Gardens, where volunteers dug and planted rain gardens to slow rainwater runoff into the soil.
Spear and fellow graduate student Jamal Henderson, a Civil Engineering major from Bridgeport, W.Va., joined others in TSU Energy Savings Tree Plantings, where volunteers strategically planted tress around the North Nashville community to provide shade and help cut energy costs.
“Giving my background in Architectural and Civil Engineering, these tree planting projects are very relatable as far as helping to improve the beauty and esthetics of the land,” said Henderson. “They improve energy usage and the environment.”
Another project was TSU Tree Potting, where volunteers planted tree seedlings into pots to be stored until the next fall planting season.
Service learning and community service is nothing new to the students, faculty and staff at the University. According to the Center for Service Learning, TSU offered 93 service-learning courses last year, while more than 2,000 students performed 20,000 community service hours at an estimated value of $400,000.
Just recently, TSU was named for the fifth year in a row to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning, and civic engagement.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As a 4-H teaching assistant with the UT/TSU extension service in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Heather Gum has recited the club’s pledge more times than she can remember.
The line that would always get to her was, “I pledge…my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.”
It was ironic that she was teaching children to live a healthy lifestyle when she herself was morbidly obese. After 30 years of overeating and bad choices, she tipped the scales at 367 pounds and had a 55½-inch waist.
“It really hit me that I needed to make a change, that I had lived this lifestyle for far too long,” said Gum. “But to start my journey I had to learn to love myself first.”
Gum recently returned from a trip to Hollywood where she taped an episode of “The Doctors,” a medical television talk show set to air March 20. She sent a letter to producers telling them of her life story and how she shed more than 170 pounds in 15 months.
“I told them everything, the problems I had growing up and how I got to be where I was,” Gum said. “I wanted to share my story so that others know they can lose an extreme amount of weight by just eating right and changing their lifestyle.”
According to Gum, she grew up in the era of “cleaning your plate” or eating everything, and never learned to feel full on her own. She ate because it was time to eat, not because she was hungry, but because it was there.
“This whole process started when I was 12 and I just packed on a layer of protection that I hid behind,” added Gum. “I was making bad choices such as sneaking food and eating a lot of junk food. It finally just caught up to me.”
On Feb. 14, 2011 at the age of 40, she made the decision of a lifetime. After eating a couple of Taco Bell 5-layer burritos for a quick lunch, she decided to make the life-changing decision to improve the health of her body. She wrote on her blog:
“I paused for a moment and told myself ‘This is It!’ My weight and size is an embarrassment. My family loves me…but I know there has been times that they wish I didn’t look the way I do…I couldn’t help but have tears trickling down my plump rosy cheeks. Where do I start? There’s thousands of little reasons but one big one – I AM DOING IT FOR ME!” [sic]
Gum was referred to the Metabolic Research Center in Murfreesboro by another client, and according to Brittany Tucker, manager of the weight-loss center, she was ready to start her journey.
“You could just tell,” said Tucker. “She was excited about the process and the road that lay before her.”
The program consisted of twice-weekly weigh-ins, sessions of encouragement, blood pressure checks and documentation of health history.
“This is the easiest diet to follow because you are eating real food,” said Tucker. “Heather was loosing an averaging of 4-5 pounds every week.”
Gum had to learn to eat all over again. Now she was weighing her food as instructed by the center, eating lots of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.
“It was so easy,” she said. “I didn’t have to count calories. I just had to weigh my portions. I didn’t go anywhere without my scales.”
She also joined TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly) another support group which she had been part of on-and-off since 2005. After she shed 170 pounds, TOPS recognized her as the 2011 International Division Winner based on her age and the amount of weight lost during the calendar year. She was also the “biggest loser” at the Murfreesboro weight-loss center.
With the weight loss came a lot of firsts for Gum, including being able to sit in a chair without touching the sides, going kayaking, and just recently, snow skiing with her children in January. But one of the biggest moments was when her youngest daughter, now 11, was able to put her arms around her mom for the first time after losing 80 pounds.
“It was a special moment for the two of us,” she said. “I wondered how I ever got to that point, a point I am never going back to.”
Today, Gum is down to about 185 pounds and went from a size 30 to a 12/14. She still is not where she wants to be, because she estimates her excess skin from her weight loss at about 25-30 pounds.
“My goal is to get to a size 8/10,” Gum added. “But since insurance won’t cover that type of surgery, it might take a while. I am really pushing for insurance companies to cover the cost of the corrective surgery. I worked hard to loose all that weight and that is my reward? I think things really need to change.”
Her quest for insurance policy change is the reason for her appearance on “The Doctors.” She sent a letter to both the president of TOPS asking them to lead the charge in helping to change policy, and producers of the television program. While the TOPS organization discussed it at an international meeting, they thought it was too large an issue to take on. “The Doctors,” however, invited her to appear on the show about the issue of skin.
“It was a wonderful experience and amazing that they picked me to talk about weight loss and the effects it has on your skin,” said Gum. “Excess skin is as much mentally debilitating as the weight was physically debilitating. I just hope some good come out of this for others going through the same thing.”
The episode of “The Doctors” featuring Gum will air Wednesday, March 20 at 11 a.m. on WKRN Channel 2 in Nashville.
With nearly 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.
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University graduates continue to make great inroads in industry and career achievements.
At the recently ended 27th annual Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) and Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Global Competitiveness conference (Feb. 7-9) in Washington, D.C., four TSU graduates were recognized in several key categories of the prestigious awards.
The awards recognize the achievements of African Americans in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). It also encourages young black Americans to pursue careers in STEM fields.
This year’s award ceremony was hosted by the Council of Engineering Deans at Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Lockheed Martin Corporation, US Black Engineer & Information Technology magazine, and Aerotek.
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineer, who was at the conference, is a member of the Council of HBCU Engineering Deans.
The conference, which is attended by hundreds of “elite” professionals and students representing the top tier of people in STEM, allows participants the opportunity to acquire and retain talent, and to learn and network among the best and brightest technology minds in the country.
The TSU graduates and recipients of 2013 Black Engineer of the Year Awards include:
Modern Day Technology Leader award: Lamar Blackwell – a 1996 TSU graduate with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering – As systems engineer staff, Blackwell is the Flight Controls Airworthiness Certification Lead at Lockheed Martin Aeronautics. He also holds an MBA from the University of Phoenix.
Sheldon Rashad Greene – 2006 M.S. Electrical Engineering. Recognized for his “proven” ability to stand out as a technical contributor in the defense system and industry, Green is Senior Systems Engineer at Raytheon. He develops software architecture and requirement specifications at the giant defense contractor. He is also part of the engineering program at Northeastern University in Boston, where he is pursuing a master’s degree in Engineering Management and Leadership. Green recieved his B.S. degree in Electrical Engineering from Florida A&M University.
Tretessa Johnson – 1995 B.S. in Electrical Engineering. Johnson is Senior Staff Reliability Engineer at General Dynamics C4 Systems in Scottsdale, Ariz. She also holds an MBA degree from Arizona State University.
Community Service award: Rhonda Thomas – 1980 B.S. Electrical Engineering. Thomas is a General Engineer with the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington, D.C.
“On behalf of the College of Engineering, we want to congratulate these alumni for representing a high level of technical competence complemented by leadership skills in the workplace, said Dr. Hargrove. “Our educational challenge is to continue to produce quality graduates through innovative instruction and experiential learning that acknowledges an employment investment of our major industry and government recruiters.”
This is not the first time TSU graduates have been recognized at the BEYA awards. Previous two-time BEYA award recipient Terrence Southern – 2003 B.S. Computer Science – was recognized in the Modern Day Leader category in 2007, and at the 2012 conference he took the award for Most Promising Engineer.
In talking with the award winners, one thing is common. They all credit their TSU preparation for their academic and career successes.
“TSU provided me with the foundation that has allowed me to thrive academically and professionally,” said Thomas, adding that her involvement with the alumni association has taught her the importance of giving back especially to the youth.
For Southern, the two-time BEYA award winner is particularly thankful for the mentoring and leadership skills he developed at TSU as a resident assistant and founder of a professional organization.
“I find that to be successful in academia or in the work place, one must learn to prioritize, complete tasks, and learn to efficiently use time,” he said. “My TSU family prepared me for great challenges after college, which have helped me along the way.”
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – John Brew is giving back to his alma mater …in a big way.
Since graduating from Tennessee Sate University in 2005 with a degree in Civil Engineering, Brew has remained a frequent presence in the College of Engineering.
He mentors students, attends career fairs, and helps with capstone design project presentations and recruitment ….all while maintaining a busy, full-time work schedule.
In fact, as the TSU “Champion” with Gresham, Smith and Partners, a Nashville-based architectural firm with more than 15 offices around the country, where Brew has worked since his days as a student at TSU, he interacts with students and faculty to identify “the best and brightest” students to recruit for his company.
“Giving back to the University and those students who seek my advice is very rewarding, and I am always glad to do so,” said Brew. “I also feel that it is part of my responsibility as an alumnus to help better prepare the graduates of the program that helped me in my profession.”
Well, giving back to his community and helping younger students achieve their goals have earned the Nashville native recognition not just from his former professors and dean in the College of Engineering, but also the American Society of Civil Engineers.
At the Society’s just ended (Feb. 8-9) ASCE 2013 Eastern Region Younger Member Council Meeting in Warwick, R.I., Brew was presented with the Outstanding ASCE Practitioner Advisor Award. The award is given to members who are involved in the development of local younger members in their communities, and who participate in student chapter activities such as educational conferences and seminars.
“I am very excited and humbled by this award and will continue to work even harder to help our young students,” said Brew.
The Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, described Brew as an example of “our students who continue to demonstrate a high level of technical competency and leadership” in the work place and in the community.
“In the tradition of ‘Think-Work-Serve,’ Mr. Brew represents the attributes of a TSU alum in job performance, work ethic, continuous education, and service to the community,” Dr. Hargrove said. “We commend his contribution to the development of current students, and his relentless pursuit of excellence in a rewarding career as an engineer.”
Brew, who also holds a master’s degree in Structural Engineering from TSU, has remained active with the ASCE Student Chapter since his college days at TSU. A member of the Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society, Brew serves on the advisory boards of the Tennessee State University Engineering Alumni Association, and the Civil Engineering Department. He is a member of the Tennessee Society of Professional Engineers.
After holding several different responsibilities at Gresham, Smith and Partners, where he has worked since obtaining an internship while an undergraduate at TSU, Brew is now assigned in the Structural Design Department of the firm.
He is married to his former high school classmate, Julie.
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – More than 325 middle and high school students from across Metro Nashville are expected to converge on the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University on Saturday, Feb. 16 for the Regional Science Olympiad, a premier national science competition.
According to event organizers, the Science Olympiad includes rigorous, standards-based challenges aimed to enhance science education. Teams of up to 15 students compete in nearly 23 different age-related events over the course of the day.
Competition covers all areas of science including anatomy, experimental design, helicopter construction, astronomy, materials science and circuit lab, among others.
The competition at TSU is being held in partnership with the Volunteer State Community College and Nashville State Community College. Sponsors include Boeing and General Motors.
Time and Location of Events
Registration: 7 a.m.-7:45 a.m.
Events: 8 a.m. – 11:50 a.m.
Lunch: Noon – 12:45 p.m.
Awards ceremony: 1 p.m.
All events will be held in the Physics, Math and Chemistry Building
For more information contact:
Kevin R. Woods
Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering Phone: (615) 512-7023 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
NASHVILLE (TSU NEWS SERVICE) – The College of Engineering at Tennessee State University has been awarded two research projects sponsored by the Tennessee Department of Transportation to improve driver safety on the roads throughout the state.
TDOT has sponsored several projects at the College since 2011, mostly related to traffic safety and traffic management. The latest projects are expected to begin later this year and will continue the trend.
Dr. Deo Chimba, assistant professor in the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, will conduct both studies, which will last between 30-48 months, and look at the effectiveness of cable rail systems, and pavement marking retroreflectivity durability and safety.
The first study will look at the effectiveness of cable rail systems with respect to reducing the number of crashes, and the severity of injuries and fatalities. According to the Department of Transportation, median crossover crashes often result in fatalities or serve injuries to occupants and to the drivers in opposing traffic lanes. The concrete and metal beam barriers traditionally used to prevent these crashes, however, don’t perform well on sloped terrain. In addition, concrete and metal beam barriers are expensive, and state and local agencies often lack the resources to rapidly deploy these technologies to areas where vehicles frequently cross over the adjacent medians.
The cable rail system research will last 30 months with a funding level of $105,000 and will look at how some of the road geometries and traffic characteristics affect cable barrier performances. Other outcomes are expected to include an updated safety effectiveness performance of the median cable barriers in the state, and an evaluated performance of different types of cable barrier systems used on Tennessee’s roadways.
The second research project will be a collaboration partnership between Dr. Chimba and Dr. Mbakisya Onyango of the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, and evaluate pavement-marking performance in Tennessee. The study, according to Dr. Chimba, will provide vital information to road users. “If adhered to, the results will improve road users’ safety with the many benefits to TDOT,” he said.
According to the proposal, the benefits of the research project would include: the proposed pavement marking replacement (maintenance) timing for different types of pavements; increased road users safety measures by ensuring that the retroreflectivity levels are maintained at the minimum levels recommended by the Federal Highway Administration; establish correlations, if any, between pavement markings and crash frequency and types, which will help in the pavement marking replacement scheduling; and increase efficiency in pavement marking maintenance, taking into account traffic, environment and pavement surface characteristics.
The second project has a recommended funding level of $500,000 with approximately 40 percent of the fee for the University, and will last 48 months, conducted in two phases.
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – More than 15 students and faculty members from the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University participated in the Centennial meeting of the Tennessee Academy of Science November 16 at Vanderbilt University and presented their on-going research in engineering and environmental science.
The College of Engineering had 10 students compete in the Engineering & Technology Section, and received three awards for first and second place finishes by competing with public and private universities in the state.
Students receiving awards included:
1st Place: Heather Housel, civil and architectural engineering major; Review of Incident Transportation Emergency Evacuation Systems for Populated Areas
2nd Place: Cornel Zlibut, electrical engineering major; Real Time Wireless Video Transmission Using Software Defined Radio
2nd Place: Hung Wai Ho, civil and architectural engineering major; Sorption isotherm of copper and quaternary ammonia compounds to zeolite-perlite-granular activated carbon in a storm water filter
“Our engineering students continue to demonstrate a high level of technical competence, knowledge and leadership ability with their interaction with faculty, and academic performance to prepare them for the careers of the 21st century,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering. “They develop outstanding research skills that transfer to the ability to think critically…which is an asset for any college graduate in any occupation.”
The Tennessee Academy of Science serves as collegial organization to promote scientific research within the state among colleges and universities. It involves faculty across the state, and also encourages the active engagement of student research and other professional development opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.
The College of Engineering became active with this organization two years ago, and has since received numerous accolades based on student research presentations and posters.
Faculty researchers including Drs. Sachin Shetty, Thomas Byl, Liang Hong, Roger Painter, Dafeng Hui, and S. Keith Hargrove led the students through the conference and presentations.
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –The College of Engineering at Tennessee State University was one of 22 Historically Black Colleges and Universities and six Department of Energy sites to recently receive part of a $4 million grant from the National Nuclear Security Administration.
The funding launches NNSA’s new Minority Serving Institution Partnership Program, a consortium program organized to build a sustainable Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics pipeline between DOE plants and laboratories, and HBCUs.
The partnership program is designed to enrich the STEM capabilities of HBCUs in a sustainable manner that aligns with the broad interests of DOE sites and emphasizes the entire career pipeline. The partnership also provides STEM students with the cutting edge resources and technology housed at DOE facilities, ultimately increasing STEM student retention.
“Hands-on participation in research is imperative for students in the STEM field,” said Dimitri Kusnezov, NNSA’s chief scientist. “The MSIPP will provide an opportunity for students to be exposed to state-of-the-art facilities and research, creating an opportunity to expand their knowledge and further prepare them for a career in STEM fields.”
The College of Engineering will benefit from this funding with research in nano-materials. In partnership with the Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico, the College will begin to examine ways to better engineer materials for capturing energy, more specifically; using platinum-based nanostructures. Research has demonstrated catalytic activity to harness energy for multiple applications, including fuel cells.
Led by Dr. Lizhi Ouyang, Assistant Professor of Physics, a team of undergraduate and graduate students will conduct experiments to advance the knowledge of catalytic novel materials, particularly in platinum-based battery research. These efforts support the research agenda of the new TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, to advance research in cyber-security, computation, nano-materials and renewable energy systems.
“An interdisciplinary approach to address and solve problems in science and engineering is critical to shortening the product development cycle from laboratory to commercial use,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering and Director of the TIGER Institute. “We are promoting STEM faculty to do more collaboration and aggressively pursue opportunities that exist with federal laboratories and industry to enhance the quality of our academic curriculums for our students at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.”
The College of Engineering also recently continued a partnership with Boeing to further research of aircraft systems, providing nearly $600,000 worth of funding, and received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to promote research in applied mathematics and curriculum development.
The National Nuclear Security Administration was established by Congress in 2000 as a separately organized agency within the U.S. Department of Energy, and is responsible for the management and security of the nation’s nuclear weapons, nuclear nonproliferation and naval reactor programs.
NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Since arriving to Tennessee State University in 2009, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, has remained focused on growing the College of Engineering in research activities, student achievement and resource development to contribute to the needs of the state of Tennessee to produce more engineers.
As an alumnus of TSU in mechanical engineering, he has worked in industry and as a researcher at three major federal research laboratories. He decided to pursue a career in academia to continue to impact and grow the number of underrepresented groups in STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) occupations, such as engineering. As the state of Tennessee struggles to attract and produce more STEM professionals to grow a more educated workforce, he believes academic institutions must continue to play a major and strategic role to meet this urgent and important economic challenge.
Recently, Dean Hargrove discussed the mission of the College, its future and how it serves the community and the state.
Dean Hargrove: The Division of Engineering was established in 1948, and has emerged for more than half a century to include several engineering and technology programs. It was changed to a School of Engineering in 1951, and graduated its first student in Civil Engineering a few years later. The School of Engineering was one of six original engineering programs established at an HBCU (Historically Black College & University). The school later added electrical, mechanical and architectural engineering. In some respects, our engineering program represents the historical significance of the founding of TSU as “Tennessee Agricultural & Industrial State Normal College”.
TSU News Service: What are the current programs in the College of Engineering?
Dean Hargrove: The College of Engineering now has four accredited engineering programs that offer Bachelor of Science degrees: Architectural, Civil, Electrical and Mechanical Engineering. We have the only accredited engineering programs at a public university in Middle Tennessee. We also have an accredited program in Computer Science, Aeronautical & Industrial Technology, and recently added Mathematical Sciences. The college provides a graduate degree for working professionals (Master of Engineering), and the Master of Science, and unique PhD degree in Computer & Information Systems Engineering (CISE). This program helps prepare graduates for careers in systems engineering with the defense industry and the IT field.
TSU News Service: What kind of research initiatives is the College pursuing?
Dean Hargrove: The College of Engineering has been engaged in several emerging research areas. More specifically, with recent research grants and contracts in cyber-security with the Air Force and the Department of Homeland Security, we are developing solutions relative to detecting cyber attacks within the cloud environment, and with mobile phones. Other research is being conducted in sensor networking, robotics, intelligent health monitoring, transportation systems, environmental remediation, and aircraft seat design with organizations such as Boeing, Army Research Laboratory, EPA, Rolls Royce, and the Tennessee Department of Transportation. Our research activities enhance our undergraduate programs via laboratories and faculty expertise. We recently opened a new laboratory to focus on research themes promoted by the National Academy of Engineering and supported by the National Science Foundation.
TSU News Service: How is the College involved in the community?
Dean Hargrove: TSU has a long history of community service and civic engagement. In fact, it is part of our motto “Think – Work – Serve”. The College of Engineering is collaborating with the Pencil Foundation to support schools such as Stratford Magnet STEM High School. We are assisting them with the development of a simulation and gaming laboratory, and working with the middle school STEM Preparatory Academy (charter school) to help with tutoring and mentoring students. We are also part of the Go-Green Nashville Initiative to promote energy efficient homes, and Hands-On Nashville.
TSU News Service: What are the future goals for the College?
Dean Hargrove: Our goals are consistent with the strategic initiatives of Tennessee State University. We want to continue to provide access to students from diverse communities, promote academic quality, enhance our research funding that complements our curriculum, and be engaged with improving our quality of life. The College also promotes gaining a global education with its study abroad program. We had several students go to China, Korea and Germany during this past summer. We also want to expand our facilities in the future to increase enrollment and partnerships with local businesses and other academic institutions. As employment opportunities grow in healthcare, Information Technology, and manufacturing in the automotive industry, we plan to continue to prepare graduates with the necessary skills in programming, critical thinking, and innovative technologies to help industry grow within the state and make them more business competitive. It is also critical that we continue to support the state’s STEM Initiatives in K12 and higher education.