Category Archives: NEWS

Tennessee State University Academic Boot Camp Eases Worried Parents’ Concern about Children Going Away for College

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Camp counselor TSU Senior Allen McReynolds (Standing) speaks with Boot Camp students (L-R)Tyler Banks, Morgan Ervin, Cayla Jackson and Tyrone Suggs. Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate, are combined four-week residential initiatives for incoming freshmen already admitted to TSU, to earn academic credit. (photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Stacey Compton is worried.

Like many parents sending their children away for school for the first time, the Aurora, Illinois mother is concerned about how her 18-year-old daughter Sariah Compton will cope when she leaves for college in just a few months.

“She is fresh out of high school and leaving home for the first time ….that’s very unsettling,” said Stacey.

Her worries are slowly subsiding, thanks to two summer enrichment programs at Tennessee State University designed to ensure new students’ successful transition and matriculation through college.

“I am glad she is doing something this summer that is not only keeping her busy but giving her a head start, and helping her to adjust to college life even before school starts,” Stacey added.

And that’s exactly what the TSU programs are intended to achieve, said Dr. Sedric Griffin, director of Admissions and Recruitment.

The programs, Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate, are combined four-week residential initiatives for incoming freshmen already admitted to TSU, to earn academic credit. They include a rigorous academic and college preparedness program, introduction to college life, public speaking, workshops and technology. Physical and mental development exercises, such as self-discipline, respect for others, good study habits and how to succeed in life, are also key components of the program.

For Tia Geter, from Omaha, Nebraska, who is transitioning to the area, and plans to major in Criminal Justice, the rigorous programs are just what she needs. They help her acclimate, while giving her a more diverse academic and multicultural environment after graduating from “an almost” less diverse high school.

“This is a good way to spend my time instead of staying in bed till about midday and wake up with nothing constructive to do,” said Getter, an honor student, who learned about the program during a college visit. She has a friend at TSU and her father’s job is relocating to the area.

“When I am not in school, I am never up before 11:30 in the morning, but in Boot Camp we are up at 5:30 and ready to start our day,” added Geter, who called her summer camp experience a personal initiative.” I want to succeed in life and I think this is a good start.”

According to program officials, 161 students, recruited from all over the nation, are participating in this year’s Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate Programs, a 13 percent jump from the previous year.

“By the end of the program, the students will have completed all of TSU’s enrollment processes including financial aid, housing and registration,” said Dr. John Cade, interim vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services. “Many of them are either on full academic scholarships or academic out of state tuition waivers, and as part of the program, they will be monitored through their matriculation to ensure they are receiving the necessary help to make them successful.”

Cade said that the Academic Boot Camp and Excel-O-Rate Programs are part of a three-prong retention and graduation effort, which includes the Take 15 credit per semester initiative and minisemesters which are intended to accelerate student matriculation.

“This combined effort is part of TSU’s retention initiatives in meeting our Complete College Tennessee Act (CCTA) objectives,” Cade added.

With all of these in mind, Stacey Compton can be sure her daughter Sariah made the right choice in selecting TSU.

“I like this program; I am getting help in areas that I need to be strong in to be successful in my college work,” added Sariah, who plans to major in Nursing. She is entering TSU with a 3.5 GPA.

Everett D. Jolly, associate director of Recruitment, and Derek Wilson, admission counselor, are overseeing the summer programs.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

TSU Professor Creates Simulation Model to Predict Storm Surge in the Event of Hurricanes

Dr. Muhammad Akbar, assistant professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering, reviews satellite imagery from Hurricane Katrina from 2005. Akbar recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on a simulation model that would help predict storm surge from approaching hurricanes. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Dr. Muhammad Akbar, assistant professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering, reviews satellite imagery from Hurricane Katrina from 2005. Akbar recently received a grant from the National Science Foundation to conduct research on a simulation model that would help predict storm surge from approaching hurricanes. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As coastal states watch the Gulf of Mexico with wary eyes for the beginning of hurricane season each year, scientists and researchers are working from different fronts to ease their anxieties.

A Tennessee State University researcher is working on a simulation model that would help predict storm surge in timely manner to better prepare coastal dwellers for the storm.

Dr. Muhammad Akbar
Dr. Muhammad Akbar

Dr. Muhammad Akbar, assistant professor of Mechanical and Manufacturing engineering, is using computational fluid dynamics and mathematical models to predict flooding caused by storm surges that bring ocean water onto land, causing major devastation, and erosion to cities and coastal wetlands.

Aided by a $209,403 grant by the National Science Foundation, Akbar is developing a simulation model that uses an “implicit solver.” While there are other models out there, this implicit model can use a larger timestep, potentially minimizing the overall prediction time.

“We input meteorological data that we receive every few hours, typically six hours, during a hurricane, and predict the surge a few days before its landfall,” Akbar said. “The model input data include the storm’s location, wind speed, pressure, and size of the hurricane eye, surface vegetation and structures,among others.

“The human element of this research can’t be overstated,” Akbar added. “We want to be able to predict the storm surge in a quicker time frame. The objective of this research is to assist the emergency management and people affected by an approaching hurricane with more time to make critical decisions, and evacuate the coastal region, if needed.”

Dr. Akbar points to the devastating effects of the Bhola cyclone that struck his native Bangladesh in 1970 killing nearly 500,000 people, and the more recent Hurricane Katrina that hit the Gulf coast in 2005, as a primary motivation behind his research for the past four years.

“When Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast as a Category 3 storm, it brought sustained winds of 100-140 miles per hour,” he said, “and a predicted storm surge of 28 feet, causing about 2,000 deaths and more than $100 billion in damage.”

Funded by Department of Homeland Security, US Army Engineer Research and Development Center, and National Science Foundation, Akbar has a profound passion for storm surge research.

“I’m fortunate to get an opportunity to work with top experts in the field and grateful for the research projects,” he added. “These events and others like them have spurred a serious and sustained global effort to improve the ability to predict the coastal surge conditions.”

While it is a complex problem to solve because of the uncertainty of the hurricane track and strength, and other sources of error, Akbar is hopeful that the rapid and reliable storm surge prediction capability is not too far off.

“It is our hope that this research leads to advances in improving warning and evacuation systems, not only here but in the developing world,” Akbar said.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

Board of Regents to Meet at Tennessee State University for 2014 Summer Quarterly Meeting June 19-20

tbrNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University will on Thursday, June 19 welcome members of the Tennessee Board of Regents, who will be converging on the campus for their 2014 Summer Quarterly Meeting.

The University is serving as this year’s host of the two-day meeting that brings together the Regents from all parts of the state.

In a welcome letter, TSU President Glenda Glover outlined an elaborate agenda that includes a brief tour of facilities before the Regents begin their meeting in the Performing Arts Center on the main campus.

The agenda also includes dinner and reception at the Avon Williams Campus Plaza.

“The administration, faculty, staff and students of Tennessee State University welcome you as we host the Tennessee Board of Regents Quarterly meeting,” Dr. Glover said. “We look forward to having you on our campus and hope you will find your visit to be both productive and enjoyable.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

TSU Students Travel the World for Cultural Experiences, Academic Enhancements

Students from Tennessee State University had the opportunity to visit the ancient city of Ephesus during their study abroad trip to Turkey. The students spent three weeks in country and participated in a program that balanced academics, as well as social and cultural activities. (courtesy photo)
Students from Tennessee State University had the opportunity to visit the ancient city of Ephesus during their study abroad trip to Turkey. The students spent three weeks in country and participated in a program that balanced academics, as well as social and cultural activities. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Eight students from Tennessee State University had the opportunity of a lifetime recently when they traveled nearly 6,000 miles and immersed themselves in a foreign culture to gain a unique perspective of the world around them.

For three weeks in May, students from the Colleges of Engineering and Health Sciences participated in a program that balanced academics, as well as social and cultural activities during a study abroad program in Turkey.

“We want this to be a part of a student’s TSU educational experience,” said Dr. Ali Sekmen, professor of Computer Science, who traveled with the students. “This was a very different type of academic program for our students with a lot of flexibility.”

While the classes took place on university campuses throughout the country, Sekmen said student assignments and programming practices were done in the hotels and coffee shops while they interacted with their Turkish counterparts.

“It truly was a global experience,” he added.

The students visited Istanbul, Ankara, Antalya and Izmir, and were hosted by Bilkent University (the top university in Turkey, ranking 98 in the world), Antalya International University, and Izmir University of Economics. Sekmen pointed out that the students were required to satisfy the requirements of a MayMester course, specifically Java Programming.

“Its important to remember that even though this was a cultural immersion, there is also the academic requirement,” added Sekmen. “We conducted 37.5 hours of teaching while the students took a midterm and final just as if they were back in the states.”

While students earned credits in programming, they also received the cultural experience that study abroad offers, said Sekmen. The group visited Ephesus, the House of the Virgin Mary, Topkapi Palace, Thermoses and other cultural sites.

“In each city, our students had Turkish student ‘buddies’ with whom they developed a close friendship,” he said. “The group visited university administrators, the vice governor of Antalya, and some Turkish families.

That was an important aspect of the trip for Maggie Fitts, a junior Health Science major. Studying abroad, she said, was an adventure and learning experience all in one that allowed her to gain new perspectives on academic subjects and real-world issues.

“This opportunity allowed me to study issues more in-depth from a cultural perspective,” Fitts said. “Outside the classroom, my personal education was enhanced through the daily interaction in Turkey’s culture with our host families. I can honestly say this was an experience that helped me grow personally and mentally.”

The TSU study abroad program, in conjunction with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, or TnCIS, offers a range of initiatives to broaden the University’s global impact and enhance educational opportunities for its students. Combined, more than 30 programs are offered to destinations across the globe.

In the past year, more than 100 students from TSU have traveled across the world, studying in, among other countries, Costa Rica, China, Colombia, India, Germany, Italy and France.

According to Mark Brinkley, director of Study Abroad & Exchange Programs, students gain real-life experience on the global stage through the study abroad program.

“This is very consistent with the University’s position on enhancing global educational opportunities for our students,” said Brinkley. “This is a transformational experience for most students. It gives them an opportunity to expand their critical-thinking skills, and to look at the world a little differently through the lens of someone else from another country.”

For more information on education abroad, contact the Office of Diversity and International Affairs at 615.963.7660.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

Embracing Healthy Change: TSU Extension Agent’s Weight-Loss Story Goes National

Heather Gum
Heather Gum

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  After years of yo-yo dieting, Heather Gum learned to control portions and fill up on fruits, vegetables and lean protein. The UT/TSU Extension agent lost more than 170 pounds after becoming morbidly obese and tipping the scales at 367 pounds. 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.

That was in February 2011 and through dieting and healthy choices, went from a size 30 to 12/14. She has appeared on the television program, The Doctors, to share her story to help encourage others in their weight -loss efforts.

Gum was recently featured in TOPS News, the official magazine for Take Off Pounds Sensibly.

READ the article.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

Tennessee State University Hosts Statewide Conference of Career Development Professionals

cropped-TCDA-logo-color.fw-Tiffany-Edit-250NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 80 professional career practitioners from across the state met at Tennessee State University recently for the first conference of the Tennessee Career Development Association.

Participants included career counselors, workforce developers, school guidance counselors, and mental health professionals.

Primary on the conference’s agenda was the promotion of TCDA’s goals of encouraging career development assistance, promoting a sense of community, and providing a network of support to members through professional development and training opportunities.

“Participants at this conference are professionals who help people get job or seek improvement in their career areas,” said Windie Wilson, president of TCDA. “The goal here is to offer a conference where these professionals can get together to identify new tools that make them more effective in helping individuals in their areas. We are thankful to Tennessee State University for hosting our first conference.”

Under the theme, “Career is personal: A holistic view of career development,” conference participants discussed how to identify techniques in working with diverse populations, what clients expect from new employees, strategies for helping families navigate career-related concerns, and determining readiness for career decision-making, among others.

Networking, connection and diversity are key tools in trying to equip job seekers to navigate the tough job market, participants were told.

David M. Reile
David M. Reile

“Employers hire people they know and people they like,” said Dr. David M. Reile, managing director of Career Development Alliance, an Olney, Md.-based company that provides individually-tailored, needs-based career services to a variety of industries.

Reile, the keynote speaker, said a crucial factor in job search is networking and knowing more about the people and companies with potential employment opportunities.

“If employers know who you are; if you have done your homework, you have a better chance of getting a job,” he said. “Your expressed knowledge about a company during an interview can go a long way in improving your chances of landing a job with that company.”

Dr. Michael Bundy, president of the Tennessee Counseling Association, a presenter at the conference on “Using quantitative data to expand career counseling for K-12 students …,” said career counselors need constant retooling to work with longtime job seekers who may be disillusioned about the way forward.

“A job seeker may be so discouraged that they need to find services that talk about how to navigate their way through the new landscape of job searching,” said Bundy. “These people are not only discouraged about moving forward, but also about the way they view themselves.”

Other presenters at the one-day forum on the Avon Williams Campus discussed topics including: Multicultural perspectives in career counseling; Prescription for hiring talent and best practice in the first 90 days; Career counseling for couples and families; Using value assessment with clients; Freud, Jung, and career counseling; Navigating complex personal factors in career decision-making readiness; and Who gets hired and why.

Also discussed were: Counseling college students in the humanities; Using narrative approaches in a career exploration course for undergraduate students; and Effective practices for clients with intellectual disabilities.

Presenters came from the University of Tennessee, Carson-Newman University, Tennessee Tech University, Workforce Connection, Noranda Aluminum and HCA Physician Services.

Dr. Marie S. Hammond, TSU associate professor of Psychology and chair of TCDA’s Professional Development Committee, served as coordinator of the conference.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

TSU Welcomes Colombian Students for Weeklong Musical Activities, Jefferson Street Jazz Festival

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The Colombian music students hold one of many daily rehearsals in preparation for their United States visit. Since Colombia is known for its Latin music influences and jazz festivals, one of the major highlights of the group’s visit will be attending the Jefferson Street Jazz Festival on June 21.  (Courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)- Eighteen music students from Colombia will visit Tennessee State University June 20 as part of an exchange program with the South American nation.

In partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Bogota, the Colombian capital, and the Office of the Governor in Cartagena, Bolivar Province, the exchange agreement is part of an effort to promote the University and its academic programs.

Joining the students will be the Governor, Juan Carlos Gossain Rognini; Special Assistant to the Governor Amin Diaz; and El Guamo Mayor Javier Eduardo Angula Romero.

The students and delegation will get a taste of the Music City experience during a weeklong itinerary that also includes museum tours and meetings with government officials, among other activities. Since Colombia is known for its Latin music influences and jazz festivals, one of the major highlights of the group’s visit will be attending the Jefferson Street Jazz Festival on June 21.

“Our partnership with Colombia is important because it provides an excellent opportunity for their students as well as TSU students to better understand each group’s culture, share academic interests and engage in dialogue to expand the scope of higher education,” said Dr. Jewell Winn, TSU’s chief diversity officer and executive director for international programs.

In addition, the students will participate in the Edward L. Graves Band Camp June 21-29 to learn the various techniques of marching band performance. In exchange, a select group of TSU marching band students will visit Cartagena to kick off Bolivar’s annual band competition in August and be the first United States marching band to perform in the Flower Festival.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

TSU Moves to Archive 500 Linear Feet of Civil Rights Icon Avon Williams’ Papers

Administrators from Tennessee State University accept a check from Tre Hargett (second from left) Tennessee Secretary of State to help with archiving materials in the special collections at the Brown-Daniel Library. The SNAP grant is seed money to help preserve the papers of civil rights leader Avon Williams. Accepting the grant are (L-R) Fletcher Moon, associate professor and head Reference Librarian; Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Alisha Mosley, associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Murle Kenerson, interim Dean of Libraries. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
Administrators from Tennessee State University accept a check from Tre Hargett (second from left) Tennessee Secretary of State to help with archiving materials in the special collections at the Brown-Daniel Library. The SNAP grant is seed money to help preserve the papers of civil rights leader Avon Williams. Accepting the grant are (L-R) Fletcher Moon, associate professor and head Reference Librarian; Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs; Dr. Alisha Mosley, associate Vice President for Academic Affairs; and Dr. Murle Kenerson, interim Dean of Libraries. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s effort to archive the work of renowned lawyer and civil rights icon, Avon N. Williams Jr., received direct support from the state today.

Accompanied by his staff, Tennessee’s Secretary of State Tre Hargett, stopped by the Brown-Daniel Library on the TSU main campus and presented what he called “seed money” for the preservation effort.

The money, a $2,500 check, was presented to Dr. Murle E. Kenerson, associate professor and interim dean of Libraries and Media Centers, during a ceremony in the Special Collections section. Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young; and Dr. Alisa Mosley, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, were present for the presentation.

“What we are doing today recognizes what Sen. Avon Williams meant to this state and Tennessee State University,” said Hargett. “We want to preserve his work for not only students but people from all over who can read about his work and contribution to our nation and this world.”

Kenerson thanked the Secretary of State for the check, calling it a big help in “our effort” to identifying funding sources to carry out the work involved.

“We particularly appreciate you taking time off your busy schedule to honor us with not only this money but your presence,” Kenerson said.

He disclosed that the library was in possession of more than 500 linear feet of the late civil rights leader’s papers and collections.

“This library is archiving his papers to make sure his work remains in living form for not only our students but for generations to come,” he added.

Known for his role in the nonviolent movement, fighting against discrimination in the military, in public housing, and for school desegregation, Williams has a special tie to TSU. He represented the plaintiffs in the Grier v. Blanton case, which resulted in the merger of historically black TSU with the University of Tennessee in Nashville.

The downtown TSU campus bears his name as a mark of respect and appreciation.

In a long vocational trajectory spanning several decades, the late Tennessee state senator built up a resume that included a foreign diploma, banker, writer, and chief legal officer of the U.S. Army, a presidential appointment with oversight responsibility of all legal policy and direction of nearly 2,400 military and civilian lawyers.

Dr. Kenerson disclosed that in addition to the state funding delivered by the Secretary of State, which was the result of a grant application, the library was waiting for the outcome of another grant application to the Council on Library Information Resources.

“We have received notice that our application for $250,000 has moved up to the final stage for review,” he added.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

TSU Music Student’s Career Sets Sail on Smooth Jazz Cruise

Graduate student Jazmin Ghent wins “Opening Act Competition” and opens for Sirius/XM Hall of Fame concert    

 

Jazmin Ghent
Jazmin Ghent (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The musical ship for one Tennessee State University student has set sail and is on course to take her to destinations unknown where she will have the opportunity to be a positive role model for young musicians and help define jazz music for years to come.

Jazmin Ghent, a graduate student studying music education at the University, was recently the winner of the Smooth Jazz Cruise 2014 “Opening Act Competition,” beating out 22 other contestants for the right to perform on the final night of the cruise in front of a packed house, and to interact with some of her musical idols, including jazz icons Brian Culbertson, Boney James and David Sanborn.

“The experience was life changing,” said the Huntsville, Ala., native. “I was able to interact and speak with many artists who I grew up listening to and admire.  I had a lesson with Kirk Whalum, and personally interacted with Peter White, Keiko Matsui, Marcus Miller, Candy Dulfer and Mindi Abair to name a few. It is something I will never forget.”

Born in Heidleberg, Germany and raised in Huntsville, Ghent grew up around music and began taking piano lessons at the age of 5. She became the Sunday school pianist at only 8 years old and often practiced with the adult musicians and church choir members. After being introduced to the saxophone in middle school, she progressed to becoming the church pianist and saxophonist. “Once I was in high school, I discovered my passion for performing and teaching,” she said. “I also began playing professionally in the Huntsville area.”

After high school and a long list of awards including the NAACP’s ACT-SO award, she received a full scholarship to Florida State University where she majored in instrumental music education and jazz studies. After graduation, Ghent’s parents gave her the cruise on the high seas as a gift that would send her competing against other musicians vying for the top spot in an “American Idol” type competition.

“My parents had been on this cruise before and told me about the competition,” Ghent said. “I’ve always loved jazz from a very young age and thought this was a great opportunity.”

Once onboard the “Greatest Party at Sea,” Ghent had to initially compete against 22 other contestants who played everything from saxophone, piano, drums, and trumpet, as well as vocalists. She concedes that it was a bit nerve-racking the first round since the audience was voting on the 12 that would move forward, but even worse during the second round.

“Not only was the audience voting in the second round, but also jazz greats Brian Culbertson, Boney James and Marcus Miller,” she added. “My stress level was extremely high during that round because now I was playing for the very icons I had grown up listening to. The nice thing was that everyone was very supportive and encouraging.”

Ghent won the competition and the right to play the final night for the Sirius/XM Jazz Hall of Fame concert in front of more than 1,900 fans. Nervous, she spoke with Culbertson who told her to have fun and enjoy herself.

“After his encouraging words, I felt more comfortable playing and the nervousness turned into pure excitement,” she said.

After being introduced by both Culbertson and James, she belted our her rendition of “Summertime” composed by George Gershwin for the 1935 opera Porgy and Bess. Receiving a standing ovation, James commented that he predicts Ghent has a big future in the music business. He should know since he has four gold albums, four GRAMMY nominations, two NAACP Image Award nominations, and a Soul Train Music Award to his name, and sales totaling more than three million records.

“Wasn’t that awesome,” James told the audience. “That was very soulful. It is heartwarming to see a young person like that to get up here and play with such passion.”

Culbertson agreed with James, uttering a resounding, “Wow!”

“Jazz is not going away,” he commented. “Seeing people play like that…she is keeping it alive and that is a beautiful thing.”

Dr. Robert Elliott, head of the Music Department, agrees with both, and said that TSU has a history of producing jazz greats.

“Jazz, America’s art form, has been an important part of TSU since President Walter Davis recruited students to form the TSU Collegians,” said Elliott. “That group produced great jazz musicians such as Jimmy Blanton, who became Duke Ellington’s bass player, Hank Crawford, the music director for Ray Charles, and many others who went on to influence America’s music. Jazmin continues the record of excellence in performance that has come to be expected of TSU music students and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”

Now that the competition is over, Ghent plans to focus on completing her master’s degree at TSU, as well as continue to compose, record and perform new material.

“I would like to perform and teach on a collegiate level,” added Ghent. “I am very passionate about the future of music and the future of Jazz. I want to make sure I am a positive role model for young musicians.”

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

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.

National Ranking Lists TSU as Affordable College for Outdoor Enthusiasts

PrintNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For the second time in less than a week, Tennessee State University is garnering national attention and accolades as one of the top college values in the country.

According to the website, GreatValueColleges.net, TSU has been named as one of the 50 top “Great Affordable Colleges for Outdoor Enthusiasts.” The ranking features schools across the country and chosen by the website’s editors for the most affordable colleges that are ideal for students who have a passion for outdoor living.

The sources used in compiling the list include a number of articles about both the top schools for outdoor enthusiasts and the best cities for people who love nature and have active lifestyles, including Forbes Magazine’s Best Cities for the Outdoors.

Initially, a long list of hundreds of schools was compiled based on colleges located in or around top-rated cities, and schools that have stellar academic and recreation programs for outdoor sports and adventures, which could include anything from a major in Outdoor Recreation to a tournament-winning rock climbing team.

The list, according to editors, was then pared down by selecting only those that had below-average tuition rates, based on the average tuition for public schools (both in-state and out-of-state) and private schools. At the end, only 50 schools remained including TSU.

According to the website, the editors consider Nashville a great place for outdoor enthusiasts to relocate, with moderate temperatures and clean air. “The city is located on the banks of the Cumberland River and is amidst a background of rolling hills,” wrote the editors in the online report. “Tennessee State has a large Wellness and Recreation Center where students can take classes from kickboxing to dance, and a large number of athletic teams and intramural clubs for outdoor lovers to consider.”

The article goes on to mention that for the academic-minded students, the extensive agriculture and environmental sciences program offers a chance to get out in the sun and study their concentrations at either the Ashland City Agricultural Research and Extension Center or Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center.

Tennessee State was one of 14 colleges selected from the south region, joining two other institutions in the state, including Belmont University and the University of Memphis for the honor.

This accolade comes on the heels of Educate to Career’s national ranking of TSU as one of the top four-year schools in the nation that offers the best return on investment, ranking the University number 76 in its ETC College Rankings index.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
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About Tennessee State University

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.