Category Archives: NEWS

TSU Jazz Collegiates Help Open Exchange Opportunities in Colombia Through Music

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is hoping a trip to Colombia, South America this summer by the University’s Collegiate Jazz Band will open doors for both educational and cultural exchange opportunities for students in the near future.

This past August, the 20-piece jazz band was invited to perform at the Flower Festival, Colombia’s largest jazz festival that attracts thousands from around the country. Acting as ambassadors for the University, the band was the only American university to perform, exposing more than 6,000 attendees to their special brand of music and performance style.

“They were basically treated like rock stars,” said Dr. Jewell Winn, TSU Chief Diversity Officer. “They were able to bridge the cultural gap through their music. The band was very well received wherever they went, and not only helped to open doors for other TSU students to travel here, but also students from Colombia to come to Tennessee State as part of cultural and academic exchange programs.”

The trip came about after Dr. Winn gave a presentation last spring on diversity and exchange programs currently taking place at the University.  The Director of the Colombo Americano Center of Medellin also presented at the meeting and extended an invitation to TSU, Julliard and the University of Vermont to conduct jazz workshops at local universities throughout Colombia.  This initiative was so successful that after the quartet returned to Nashville, Winn received a call not only inviting the Jazz Collegians to perform at the Mardi Gras-style festival, but also inviting her to meet with different universities to discuss exchange opportunities.

(Watch the Tennessee State University’s Big Band Jazz in Medellín, Colombia)

 

“It was exciting because I was able to meet with university officials one-on-one to discuss study abroad and exchange projects,” she added. “I missed the Education USA conference due to other commitments, so to be given this personal opportunity to meet with university and government officials, and students in Medellin, Bucaramanga, and Choco, was quite exciting.”

During the seven-day trip, Winn met with five different universities including the University of Antioquia, ESUMER University, the Technological University of Choco, EAFIT University and Pontifica Bolivariana University.

During each visit, according to Winn, administrators were interested in exchange programs with TSU faculty to conduct research and teach at their institutions as well as providing opportunities for their students to attend graduate school at TSU.

“It was all about establishing relationships with these sister institutions,” added Winn.  “The next step is to sign Memorandums of Understanding. This is the perfect opportunity to recruit high-achieving students from Latin American countries to attend TSU, especially because of the growth of the Latino population in Nashville.”

While Dr. Winn was visiting universities around the capitol city, the Collegiate Jazz Band was busy preforming not only at the festival, but smaller venues such as malls and schools.

“It really was an eye-opening experience for us,” said James Sexton, Director of Collegiate Bands. “It showed that no matter the cultural or language difference, that music really is something that transcends any cultural gap.”

The band played six concerts during their seven-day stay, and according to Sexton, at least 3,000 people attended each.

“It was a thrill to see the audience and their excitement for each of our performances,” added Sexton.  “The audiences had never experienced the high-energy type shows we perform and they showed their appreciation through multiple standing ovations. Their love of music definitely showed through.”

Both Winn and Sexton believe the trip was successful as far as planting the seeds of future exchange programs. In the near future, Colombian students will attend TSU band camps to learn the mechanics and performance styles of a marching band, and in an unprecedented move, the entire Aristocrat of Bands has been invited to perform in the 2014 Flower Festival.

“This is going to allow us to provide cross-cultural experiences to our students so they can appreciate and learn the differences we all have especially now in a shrinking global environment,” said Winn.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Funding to Help TSU Students, Professors Promote Fair Housing Practices in Tennessee

Dr. Joan Gibran
Dr. Joan Gibran

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Housing discrimination is a serious problem in the United States, and students and professors at Tennessee State University will soon be part of a program to promote fair housing practices in the middle Tennessee area.

As part of a $1.7 million federal grant awarded to Tennessee, TSU will receive nearly $100,000 as a result of a grant proposal submitted by three professors in the College of Public Service and Urban Affairs.  The funding will allow TSU to incorporate fair housing education and research into the Urban Studies curriculum, as well as partner with state, local government and nonprofit organizations in promoting fair housing.

According to Dr. Joan Gibran, assistant professor of Urban Studies and principal investigator of the TSU grant, the funding will also help prepare students for future fair housing careers and provide them with internships in organizations involved in battling housing discrimination.

“This will be accomplished through engaged learning, collaborative housing education outreach, research, and knowledge sharing,” said Gibran.

She said “engaged learning” activities will include five paid internships with partner organizations during which interns will develop fair housing professional skills by participating in educational, research and outreach activities, as well as knowledge sharing with the professional community.

TSU faculty and students will also collaborate with partner organizations through workshops and other educational events aimed at reducing the barriers to fair housing choice in Metro Nashville.

“This grant is part of our College mission,” said Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the College of Public Service and Urban Studies. “We at the College are focused on educating learners who lead, serve and make a difference in our communities. This grant will allow us to continue to develop an intentional curriculum in Urban Affairs that will provide our students a meaningful collaborative learning experience.”

He said research from the grant would impact the lives of many in the community through better fair housing policies and implementation.

TSU will collaborate with the Metro-Davison Housing Authority, the Tennessee Human Rights Commission, and the Tennessee Fair Housing Council to identify fair housing learning objectives to be addressed in the curriculum, as well as develop performance measurement for the program, according to Gibran.

“We will be working with the TSU office of Service Learning and Civic Engagement to develop structured service learning activities with our community partners,” she said.

Curriculum changes are expected to begin rolling out in fall 2014, Gibran added.

Assisting Dr. Gibran on the project as co-principal investigators are Dr. Cara Robinson, and Dr. Kimberly Triplett, both assistant professors of Urban Studies.

Funded through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the $1.7 million is part of a $38.3 million grant awarded to 95 fair housing organizations and other non-profit agencies in 38 states and the District of Columbia, to reduce housing discrimination.

Other agencies in Tennessee receiving funding are the Tennessee Fair Housing Council, which will use these funds to combat housing discrimination in Davidson, Cheatham, Dickson, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties.

Also sharing in the Tennessee grant is West Tennessee Legal Services for two separate projects.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

TSU President to Hold Town Hall Meeting to Discuss University Goals, Achievements

Town Hall Meeting 9-30-13NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University president, Dr. Glenda Baskin Glover, will host a Town Hall meeting to present updated information and achievements from the University, as well as future plans and the introduction of new administrators.

The meeting is open to the community and takes place Monday, Sept. 30 beginning at 6 p.m. in Kean Hall.

According to organizers, this special event is designed to allow the University, business and community leaders to interact, and learn more about the wonderful progress and opportunities happening at Tennessee State University.

This will be the second town hall meeting Dr. Glover has hosted since becoming president of the University. The  first was held earlier this year in February.

For more information, call 615.963.5331.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

AOB Preps for Primetime (video)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Courtesy of WKRN Channel 2) – The Tennessee State University band is taking their show on the road to be part of a nationally televised game.

The 221-member group known as the Aristocrat of Bands (AOB) will perform during halftime of the Rams-49ers matchup Thursday night in St. Louis.

“We love what we do,” said Head Drum Major Semaj Wansley. “The crowd, they come for a good show, and we give it to ’em.”

The band was already scheduled to be in St Louis for Saturday’s Gateway Football Classic between TSU and Central State University (CSU), when they were given the go-ahead for the NFL gig by a TSU alumnus who works for the Rams organization.

As an Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) marching band, the high-steppers put on a show like no other.

“Doing a halftime show for us is a 40- or 50-minute aerobic exercise, and so we have to first make sure everybody’s in good shape and things of that nature,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, Director of Bands at TSU.

“Cardio,” added Rocile Cain. “Cardio really helps and once it’s time to perform the adrenaline kicks in. So that helps, too.”

(video courtesy of NewsChannel5)

Cain is captain of the Sophisticated Ladies, the dance team that accompanies the instrumental ensemble.

The AOB spent weeks practicing for not only the halftime show, but also two other routines for Gateway Classic events.

“It’s somewhat difficult, but it’s all keeping everything in your head focused,” Wansley said.

“(It’s all about) going over everything more than once, and just making sure we have it and it’s perfected,” said Cain.

The AOB has a history of high-profile performances since its inception in 1946. The group performed during the Presidential Inauguration of Former President Bill Clinton in 1993. In recent years, they have performed at several home games of the Tennessee Titans.

Dr. McDonald told Nashville’s News 2 the band tailors every performance for the specific audience.

While the group marched for News 2 cameras Tuesday morning, the full performance scheduled for Thursday night is top secret until showtime.

“We want to kind of keep some things as a surprise, but we do promise to entertain a national audience,” McDonald said. “And we promise to entertain the people in the St. Louis area that have never seen a band like our band before.”

The AOB is scheduled to leave campus en route to St. Louis Thursday morning.

Thursday night’s game will be televised on the NFL Network.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Aristocrat of Bands to Perform During Thursday Night NFL Game

The Aristocrat of Bands perform last year during halftime of one of the home football games at Hale Stadium. The Band has been invited to perform a halftime show during the nationally televised game Sept. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)
The Aristocrat of Bands perform last year during halftime of one of the home football games at Hale Stadium. The Band has been invited to perform a halftime show during the nationally televised game Sept. 26 between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams in the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis. (photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

TSU takes the field Sept. 26 during 49ers-Rams game

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – They have marched in presidential inauguration parades and thrilled audiences across the country with their showmanship and musical versatility. They have played halftime shows for the NFL in front of thousands of fans from Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, and in their hometown of Nashville, Tenn.

Now the Aristocrat of Bands from Tennessee State University can add St. Louis to the list of venues played when they march into the Edward Jones Dome Thursday, Sept. 26 and take the field at halftime during the nationally televised game between the San Francisco 49ers and the St. Louis Rams.

“This is a real honor,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, acting director of Bands. “There are a lot of college bands in the country and only a very few ever get the chance to play in this type of venue. We are excited to perform in a different market and let the Midwest know what TSU is all about.”

The opportunity to play during halftime, according to McDonald, came about because the band will be in St. Louis for the Gateway Classic football game later that week, and he was looking for another venue to play and help spread the TSU name.

While reading the newspaper, he noticed that the Rams were playing a Thursday night game on the NFL Network and jumped on the opportunity to make it happen. The staff contacted the senior director of communications for the team, who just happens to be a TSU alumnus.

“We contacted Artis Twyman who has been with the Rams since 2003 and approached him with the idea,” explained McDonald. “He let us know within two days that we would be performing a six-minute show.”

As soon as Twyman was contacted, he knew it was something he had to make happen. Always looking for new talent, he approached team executives and showed them a YouTube video of a recent performance by the band, and the executives were hooked.

“Everybody thought it was a great idea and excited about the University performing in front of 62,000 fans,” said Twyman. “Not that many people in the St. Louis area have seen a show band like the Aristocrat of Bands. I am excited not only about showcasing them here in front of our fans, but also to a national audience.”

While the students and staff are excited about appearing in primetime and performing in front of a national audience, it won’t come easy and will take a lot of hard work. The freshman band members arrive the beginning of August, with upperclassmen arriving Aug. 18. The band will have two weeks to prepare for the first home game, the John Merritt Classic, on Sept. 1, and then devote practice time to the four performances they have scheduled in St. Louis over a tree-day period.

“We will have 12 days to put together the NFL halftime program, the pep rally for the Gateway Classic and parade, then a separate halftime show for the classic,” added McDonald. “All the performances will be different, and will surprise and thrill the crowds. It will be exciting for everybody.”

The Aristocrat of Bands have been performing NFL halftime shows in Nashville for the Tennessee Titans since the team relocated to the state, playing at one or two home games each season. As ambassadors of the University, the performance in St. Louis, according to McDonald, will enable the band to spread their recruiting reach to the Midwest, especially since many may have not been exposed to the high-energy performance styles of an HBCU marching band.

“This is the first time we have been to the area and people will get to see the showmanship that is the Aristocrat of Bands,” said McDonald. “This is an opportunity for us to recruit in a different area, perform in a different part of the country that we usually don’t get to, and show that TSU is the best marching and performing band in the country.”

The Aristocrat of Bands will perform during halftime, Thursday, Sept. 26. The game between the 49ers and Rams will be televised on the NFL Network beginning at 7:25 p.m. CDT. They will also perform during halftime of the Gateway Classic, Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 2 p.m. also at the Edward Jones Dome.

Since its inception in 1946, and subsequently becoming a show band under the administration of second TSU President Dr. Walter S. Davis, the Aristocrat of Bands has been featured at many international and national events, including half-time shows at several NFL games, Bowl games and Classics, and Presidential Inauguration – the latest that of Bill Clinton in 1993.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

“Surviving the Storm” Comes to TSU Sept. 26

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Lisa Spencer and the 4WARN Weather Team bring “Surviving the Storm” to Tennessee State University Thursday, Sept. 26 beginning at 7 p.m. in the Cox-Lewis Theatre in the Performing Arts Center.

 “Surviving the Storm” is a multi-media program where guests learn the “what, why and how” of severe thunderstorms and what they can do to be safe.  Participants find out things like what makes a thunderstorm “severe”, when and where tornadoes happen the most, and the safest place to be no matter where they are…at home or out shopping.  Come meet the 4WARN Weather Team including Lisa Spencer, Dan Thomas, Paul Heggen and Nancy Van Camp along with the legendary Snowbird.

The doors open at 6 p.m. and the first 50 people to enter receive a free Snowbird goodie.  Other door prizes will be given away at the end of the program.  There will also be opportunities to ask questions of the team.

Join Channel 4 Thursday, Sept. 26 at 7 p.m. in the TSU Performing Arts Center. The program is free and open to the public.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Music Legend Chuck Rainey to Lecture, Perform at Tennessee State University

CD CoverNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Release) – At one time tagged as the hardest working bass player in America, music legend Chuck Rainey will lecture and entertain students, faculty, staff and the community in a one-day appearance at Tennessee State University on Friday, Sept. 20.

As the first guest in the upcoming lecture series, “Music Matters: Hosted by Dr. Rod Taylor,” sponsored by the Department of Language, Literature, and Philosophy, the longtime performer and educator will speak to an English class about music and writing.

Rainey, whose playing on successful television shows, motion pictures and recordings have earned him the title as the most recorded bass player in the history of recorded music, will combine his lecture with a demonstration of his techniques/songs, to be followed by a question and answer period with the audience. The lecture and performance will be held in Poag Auditorium between 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Longtime Rainey collaborator and friend, Dr. Rod Taylor, assistant professor of Literature and Writing, whose English 1010 (Freshman Composition) class will be the subject of Rainey’s lecture, says he expects the music icon to bring a “unique perspective” to his class topic and to the process of writing.

“As a pioneer of both a musical instrument and revolutionary style, Chuck Rainey’s visit offers the students in my class a chance to talk with someone who has played his way across five decades of musical landscape, transitioning from 4-track analog days to the modern Pro Tools digital age,” said Taylor.

A noted bassist himself, Taylor, after whom the lecture series is named, was an associate producer on Rainey’s most recent solo album Interpretations of a Groove, which was partially mixed in Nashville.

Born in Cleveland, Ohio as Charles Walter Rainey III, Chuck boasts a native ‘son ship’ of Youngstown, Ohio, where he was actually raised and educated. Originally trained in the classics as a trumpet player by C.F. Brown, James Ramsey and John Busch, Chuck switched to Baritone Horn while attending Lane college in Jackson, Tenn., and was an intricate part of the school’s well known and traveled ‘brass ensemble’ in the early 60s.

During the early 60s thru the early 70s, Rainey toured and/or recorded with some of the most prominent artist of that era, such as King Curtis, Sam Cooke, Etta James, the original Coasters, Jackie Wilson, Harry Belafonte, Al Kooper, The Supremes, Labelle, Aretha Franklin, Roberta Flack and Quincy Jones.

Chuck Rainey Flyer-smallAdditionally, his unique style has brought him opportunities in the television and film industries where he has performed on musical themes and in the source music of numerous motion pictures, television series and sitcoms, along with radio and TV advertisements.

“Chuck Rainey’s bass lines have laid the foundation for many of the popular songs in pop, rock, jazz and fusion that emerged from the 60s and 70s,” Taylor wrote about his friend in an article in the Aug. 9, 2012 edition of No Treble, an online magazine for bass players. “From Aretha Franklin to Marvin Gaye to Steely Dan, he’s played an integral part in the music of at least five Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees. His double stops, slides, and syncopated grooves are legendary, and—alongside James Jamerson, he remains one of the most influential players in our instrument’s history.”

Rainey’s Sept. 20 performance in Poag Auditorium will feature a mixture of music from some of his earlier and most recent recordings. The show begins promptly at 12:30 p.m. It is free and open to all. For more information contact Dr. Rod Taylor at rodctaylor1@gmail.com or 615-963-4896.

For more information about this series, visit the Music Matters Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/musicmattersconversations

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

USDA Awards TSU More Than $1.5 Million for Agricultural Research

USDANASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)  – The U.S. Department of Agriculture recently selected six research projects for funding through the annual 1890 Capacity-Building program. A total of $1,534,150 will be awarded to investigative teams in Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. Funds will support two- and three-year research projects that advance the body of knowledge in agricultural science, education and extension services.

The USDA depends on results produced through these projects to help solve problems that impact farm efficiency and profitability, human nutrition and food safety while sustaining viable agricultural production and jobs in rural communities.

A total of 19 investigators will participate in funded research projects that range from developing strategies to reduce the harmful impact of beetles on Tennessee’s ornamental tree nursery industry to developing a tool to help consumers calculate and manage calories during food purchases. Funded projects include both laboratory- and community-based research.

Principal investigators selected for funding include:  Dr. Karla Addesso, Dr. Ahmad Aziz, Dr. Fur-Chi Chen, Dr. Janice Emerson, Dr. Dafeng Hui, and Dr. George Smith. Projects will include opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students to actively engage in proposed activities and interact with TSU research faculty.

USDA’s Capacity-Building program is a competitive opportunity for 1890 institutions. Funded research helps enhance and strengthen the quality of agricultural teaching, research and extension programs at the nation’s 18 historically black colleges and universities that offer degree programs in agricultural science, education, and family and consumer science.

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

TSU Trained Engineer Helps NASA Troubleshoot Computer on Malfunctioned Spacesuit

Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16. (courtesy photo)
Ron Cobbs, International Space Station Avionics Chief Engineer and TSU graduate, helped NASA engineers identify the cause of a serial interface issue with a spacesuit that malfunctioned during a spacewalk on July 16. (courtesy photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Teamwork does pay even if you are not part of the team. Just be good at what you do.

Ask Ron Cobbs, a NASA avionics chief engineer assigned to the International Space Station operations. His input has helped investigators trying to unravel the cause of a spacesuit malfunction during a recent spacewalk.

“I personally am not part of the official Extravehicular Mobility Unit (space suit) investigation team that is looking into the suit anomaly,” said Cobb, a 1989 TSU graduate with a B.S. in Electrical Engineering. “

However, Cobbs said, since the problem appeared to be electrical, he was asked to “look into” the situation.

“I discovered that the problem was a systems problem relative to operational use of the serial port on the laptop side of the suit,” he added.

As a result, the procedures for the astronauts were rewritten and retested, and subsequently lead to identifying the problem.

“It worked,” Cobbs exclaimed to the excitement of his fellow engineers.

It all started on July 16 when astronaut Luca Parmitano was doing a spacewalk outside the ISS when his suit malfunctioned, cutting short the spacewalk or extravehicular activity. Water used to cool the suit started to leak into his air ventilation system, causing the astronaut’s helmet to start filling with water. Crewmembers sent a short video describing the incident to ground control engineers.

Immediately, a team of investigators, not including Cobbs, was assembled to see what was the cause of the problem with the spacesuit. However, as astronauts and team engineers were having problem downloading the data from the suit for analysis, Cobbs was called in to troubleshoot the problem.

“I am not a mechanical engineer, nor would I have been able to troubleshoot the air recycling/thermal system, but they did call me because of a serial interface issue and I was able to help,” Cobbs said, adding, “The operations group wrote the procedures and the engineers told them how the hardware works, but forgot to tell them that everything works as a system.”

He said, operationally, the laptop Wi-Fi on the spacesuit was active with software loads operating in the background, but “no one asked how they all interact together.”

“It is not enough to know about the design product, but also how it works in the environment, what are the interfaces to the design, and who are the users. All of this is known as the Concept of Operations, which was not appropriately applied in this situation to find the cause of the problem,” Cobbs added.

Cobbs, who also holds a master’s degree in Space Systems Engineering from Stevens Institute of Technology, said to solve the problem, he repeated the steps of the “documented procedure” to see if he could come out with the same “error.”

“I found out that there were some ambiguities that created the problem. The hardest part in the procedures was making sure they were clear so that anyone could understand them. Never assume that they already know,” he added.

“Ronald Cobbs is a true example of an electrical engineering graduate with passion for life-long learning and professional growth,” Dr. Satinderpaul Singh Devgan, professor and head of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, said of his former student.

“I think Ron Cobbs’ achievement at NASA is a great story,” added Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

Cobbs, who graduated TSU with honors, is a member of the Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society. He joined NASA at the Johnson Space Center immediately after graduating TSU. He has moved through the ranks from design engineer, systems engineer to now ISS avionics chief engineer.

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Admissions Office Steps Up Recruitment Drive, Hosts State-wide Forums with Guidance Counselors

admissions-19NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment has stepped up its efforts to ensure that all potential high school graduates in the state see Tennessee State University as their first choice for post-secondary education.

In a series of gatherings sponsored across the state in the last month, administrators and staff of the Admissions office have been holding talks with key high school “gatekeepers” or guidance counselors to expose them to programs at TSU, in the hope of counselors steering their students to seek admission at the University.

In just August alone, luncheons were held with nearly 160 high-school guidance counselors in Nashville, Memphis and Chattanooga.

“The purpose of these luncheons was to foster working relations with guidance counselors across the state,” said Dr. Sedric Griffin, director of Admissions and Recruitment. “They were also intended to enhance the Admissions office’s ability to communicate with counselors to discuss strategies, build relationships, and move prospective students through the admission funnel as quickly as possible.”

At the Nashville luncheon on Aug. 23, during which TSU President, Dr. Glenda Glover, welcomed more than 90 guidance counselors to the campus, Admissions officials reminded the visitors about programs and services that make TSU the go-to university for prospective high school graduates.

“Students coming to Tennessee State University get personal attention, outstanding scholarship and career opportunities, not to mention good return on investment because of the type of programs we offer to ensure on-time or early graduation, using the least amount of money,” Griffin told the guidance counselors.

He also spoke about the University’s service-to-learning program, as a key component for college completion at TSU.

“This exposes students to community engagement activities, while earning credits, such as the annual Day of Service when student volunteers gather at sites across the city to paint, cleanup or help needy, hungry and homeless people in the Greater Nashville area.”

At each gathering across the state, the guidance counselors were introduced to TSU admission counselors assigned to their individual schools or districts, followed by one-on-one meetings.

“The goal here is to ensure adequate line of open communication, and for guidance counselors to get information about our various programs directly from the right source,” said Dr. Gregory Clark, director of Alumni Outreach and High School Relations.

“We also see this gathering as a way to engage with the high school guidance counselors in a collaboration that exposes them to our offerings,” added Dr. John Cade, associate vice president for Enrollment, shortly before the Nashville meeting. “We find this to be very rewarding for Metro (Metro Nashville Public Schools) and Tennessee State University.”

In another recruitment effort, the Office of Undergraduate Admissions and Recruitment on Aug. 28 sponsored an “application party” for seniors at LEAD Academy High School in Nashville, the first in the school’s history. More than 65 percent of the students participated in the party, by completing and handing in application packets to attend Tennessee State University, according to Darrius Brooks, TSU admissions counselor assigned to LEAD.

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations 
Tennessee State University
3500 John A. 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, coeducational, 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 celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu