Category Archives: NEWS

TSU Alumna, NPR Producer Succumbs to Cancer

Teshima Walker
Teshima Walker

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Award-winning journalist and producer Teshima Walker died August 16 after a two-year struggle with colon cancer. Walker, a graduate of Tennessee State University, is best known as the producer of Michel Martin’s popular news roundup show, Tell Me More.

Walker, a longtime NPR staffer, climbed the ranks of the news organization. In 2000 she joined the outlet as a journalism fellow for the program All Things Considered, and later became a producer for The Tavis Smiley Show and News and Notes. She joined Tell Me More in 2007 as a senior supervising producer and became the show’s executive producer in 2011. A Chicago native, Walker first came to NPR by way of WBEZ, where she was a senior producer for morning newsmagazine Eight Forty-Eight.

Walker’s NPR colleagues knew her as a “Southside Chicago girl to the core,” with an infectious laugh, and as someone who put herself aside for everyone.

“Teshima was a terrific journalist who worked tirelessly to bring new and diverse voices to air,” said Ellen McDonnell, executive editor for NPR News Programming. “She was a phenomenal advocate for the show, the staff and the audience. Tell Me More – and everyone who was lucky enough to work with Teshima – thrived under her leadership.”

“Teshima made us all want to dig a little deeper, think harder, and be better,” shared Tell Me More host Michel Martin. “She was everything you could want in a manager and friend: kind and open-hearted when you needed her to be, and tough, but fair, when you needed her to be. We are all very grateful for the time we had with her, and thank her husband, parents and sister for sharing these precious last days with us.”

Walker graduated from Tennessee State University with a degree in Communications. She was a lifetime member of the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated. Walker received her Master of Public Administration degree from the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Walker was 44. She is survived by her husband, writer Jimi Izrael, her parents, William and Vonceal Walker, and her sister, Eureva Walker.

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

Engineering Professors Attract Funding for Scholarships and Research

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – For the past four years, two professors from Tennessee State University have been relentless in writing grant proposals to initiate and generate funding to begin research projects.  Between the two, they have generated more than $7 million to support research, scholarships, and the engineering curriculum to enhance the academic profile of the College of Engineering.

Dean of the College, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, points out that the amount of funding the College has secured is remarkable given the competition for grant dollars.

“This is rather impressive since the competition typically results in about a 10-15 percent success rate,” said Dr. Hargrove, who along with Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, have secured grants from the National Science Foundation, Boeing and the U.S. Navy among others. “Because of the competition, re-submissions are very common in this highly competitive field of science and engineering solicitations.”

According to Dr. Hargrove, the opportunity to attract external funds through research helps develop students with their involvement, enhance the quality of the academic program, and integrates new knowledge in the classroom and laboratory.

“Our goal is to provide the best academic experience for our students, and research continues to broaden a student's competence and knowledge with a depth of expertise in a discipline of engineering,” stated Hargrove. “This makes our students more marketable and qualified for the many career pathways they may take.”

Among the many grants secured by Dr. Shetty, he has attracted external funding to support his research in cyber security and advanced visualization. He has collaborated with a multi-disciplinary faculty team within and outside of the University to receive more than $3.5 million from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, Boeing, and Amazon. He is currently working on multiple NSF funded research and educational projects along with Dr. Tamara Rogers, associate professor of computer science, worth $500,000 in cloud auditing.

With the popularity and growth of smartphones in the last decade for on-the-go financial, business and social transactions, Shetty has also sought out funding for identifying, understanding and mitigating new security risks to these “open softphones” critical to ensuring their continued viability and success in the mobile communications marketplace.

The Air Force has provided more than $700,000 in grants and contracts to support Shetty’s collaborative research with Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean and professor, along with Pennsylvania State University in the area of cloud and smartphone security. The Department of Homeland Security has also provided two grants worth $800,000 to support his research with Dr. Deo Chimba, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, in cloud security and incidence management.

His partnership with Dr. Hargrove and Rowan University to develop visualization software for engineering education has resulted in multiple National Science Foundation grants of more than $750,000.

Shetty has received several awards for his efforts, including recognition from the Annual TSU Research Symposium, a Department of Homeland Security Leadership Award, and Teacher of the Year from the College of Engineering.  He also serves as the Director of the Cyber-Defense and Security Visualization Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Hargrove, who not only serves as dean of the College but also as a professor of mechanical engineering, focuses his research on advanced manufacturing techniques, virtual and augmented reality, and energy storage devices.

He recently initiated research in advanced battery technologies, combining the multidisciplinary talents of professors in chemistry, physics and engineering.  Drs. L. Ouyang, Landon Onyebueke, Mohan Malkani, Richard Mu of Fisk University, and Hargrove recently traveled to a naval research facility to develop a partnership in batteries, and are currently developing a state-of-the art laboratory for battery testing and evaluation.  These efforts are part of the newly formed TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, a self-sustaining research unit obtained from a  $1.2 million award from the National Science Foundation.

The TIGER Institute will conduct applied research in cyber-defense, bioinformatics, advanced visualization, nano-materials, and energy systems. The U.S. Navy and Air Force, Boeing and the National Science Foundation sponsor current funding of the institute.

Dean Hargrove recently collaborated with Fisk University to receive a $1 million award to support the professional development of teachers.  Fisk University will offer several workshops to enhance the quality of teaching for Metro Nashville Public Schools. For his efforts and engagement with K-12 schools, Hargrove received the 2013 TSU Community Service Staff/Administrator Award.

The most recent award from the collaboration of Drs. Hargrove and Shetty is a $600,000 award for scholarships, and $400,000 for research in energy systems (batteries), both funded by the National Science Foundation.

“We believe our role as a College and academic unit is to contribute to the affordability challenge of our students by attracting external funds through research or scholarships,” said Hargrove. “Our goal is to enrich the student’s experience and provide the opportunity for learning.”

TSU Engineering Students Help “Bridge” Real-World Problem for U.S. Military

NASHVILLE (TSU NEWS SERVICE) – Tennessee State University engineering and computer science students are taking on some major challenges that could be helpful to the nation’s military forces.

Recently, they put their engineering calculations and theories to test to solve a real-world problem facing the U.S. Air Force.

The students, all six from the College of Engineering, joined other students from across the United States to participate in the annual University Design Challenge sponsored by the US Air Force Research Lab at Elgin Air Force Base in Florida.

In this year’s competition, students were challenged to build a portable bridge that could be used by a soldier or airman in a variety of situations.

Specifically, the students were asked to design a device that would allow military Special Operations personnel to cross over up to 20-foot-wide gaps with maximum weight of 350 pounds, typically the weight of a Special Ops member with all his gear. Additionally, the device should be convenient to transport, and should be versatile for use to scale buildings.

In a combined team effort, the TSU students and six others from Prairie View A&M University, joined forces to represent the Minority Leadership Program sponsored by Houston-based Clarkson Aerospace Corporation.

The TSU-PVAM group designed and entered two solutions in the competition. The first was able to complete the competition at the 16-foot range, and the second could be used to cross over an 18-foot-wide gap.

A Shalimar, Fla., local newspaper quoted TSU Electrical and Computer Engineering major Alvin Hughes as saying that while meeting the required parameter was quite a feat, the practical applications were another matter.

“The first semester was basically concepts,” said Hughes as he and other students quickly discovered that as opposed to the classroom, calculations on a computer do not always work in the real world.

Overall, the two solutions presented by the TSU/PVAM team received positive nods from the judges.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, gave the TSU students high commendation for their participation in the Design Challenge, pointing to the “strong partnership” between the AFRL and his college.

“The College of Engineering has maintained a strong partnership with the Air Force Research Lab for more than two decades,” he said.  “This relationship extends beyond research in sensor networking and surveillance, but also applied projects for student learning.”

He called design competitions “an excellent method” for students to put engineering concepts to practice, while enjoying the camaraderie they obtain by working with other students and other institutions.

Other TSU students whop took part in the Design Competition were: Jasmine Knox and Kamisha White, Mechanical Engineering; Grantland Gray, Electrical and Computer Engineering; and January Wisniewski and James Calhoun, Computer Science.

Some of the other 16 institutions that participated in the Design Challenge were Ohio State University, Utah State University and Brigham Young University.

$334,000 Research Grant Seeks Technology on Identifying Hidden Enemy Intent in Military Warfare

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – A major problem U.S. military counter-insurgency operations face is the ability to easily identify hostile enemy group intent and hidden dangers in obstructed environments.

Such group activities are generally embedded in clutters in urban locations, involving well-trained individuals who blend in with the general population to carry out their mission. The results usually are surprise attacks and high civilian casualties.

A Tennessee State University mechanical engineering professor thinks he has the answer.  As a result of a proposal to the U.S. Army Research Office, he has won a $334,000 defense grant to investigate the possibility of developing an advanced technology that improves the capability of automated surveillance systems.

Dr. Amir Shirkhodaie, professor in the College of Engineering and director of the Center of Excellence for Battlefield Sensor Fusion, said his research will develop a new capability for behavioral pattern learning of partially obscure group activities that take place in confined, obstructed spaces.

“The ultimate goal of this project is to develop a robust information-theoretic framework with supportive techniques that can detect obscure group activities in areas such as inside a vehicle, boat, airplanes or corner alleys of urban areas,” said Dr. Shirkhodaie.

He said this could greatly reduce the false alarm rates in surveillance operations that frequently occur as a result of miscalculation of enemy intent, and help shift the “balance of power” in peacekeeping operations.

“If we can deliver this kind of technology to the battlefield, this is a game-changer,” said Maj. Jay Deason, an aviator with the Tennessee Army National Guard, who has served two tours in Iraq, flying Black Hawk Helicopters.

He said while this technology would have limited application for air reconnaissance operations, it would be greatly useful to ground forces and civil affairs specialists, who identify critical requirements needed by local citizens in combat or crisis situations.

Civilians would also greatly benefit from this technology in homeland security, crowd control, and anti-drug and anti-crime operations, Dr. Shirkhodaie said.

Maj. Deason, who has also served one tour along the southwest U.S. border flying UH-72 helicopters, said this technology will greatly help the civilian population and in border patrol operations.

“This is very exciting. This technology has the capability to save lives,” Deason added.

The main objective of Dr. Shirkhodaie’s proposal, “Detection of Partially Observable Group Activities (POGA) in Confined Obstructed Spaces,” is to develop context-based taxonomy and ontology schema for coherent analysis and inferences of POGA.

The investigation will take place in three phases, including the development of a robust Adaptive Image Processing technique for detecting and tracking of behavior pattern of POGA; a Computational Intelligence technique based on a hybrid neuro-fuzzy system architecture; and a Multi-Layer Hidden Markov Model technique for probabilistic spatiotemporal state transition modeling that leads to context-aware discovery on anomalous group activity.

In student learning, Dr. Shirkhodaie said the project would greatly enhance research opportunities for TSU students in this area, as well as offer scholarly training opportunities for underrepresented minority students in the STEM disciplines.

The Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove who also announced three new research projects with Boeing for more than $500,000, congratulated Dr. Shirkhodaie on his award, adding that the grants represent the dedication and commitment of faculty to research and attracting students to the College of Engineering.

“The opportunity for academia and industry to collaborate to solve industry problems makes the company more competitive, and enhances the quality of our engineering programs for students and faculty,” said Dr. Hargrove.

The three Boeing projects include using artificial intelligence for the development of aircraft propulsion controls; the development of resilient control mechanisms to mitigate cyber attack in engineering embedded systems; and the development of mathematical models for energy harvesting and storage.

The faculty members involved in these projects are Drs. Sachin Shetty, Mohammed Saleh Zein-Sabatto, both professors of Eleectrical Engineering; and Dr. Landon Onyebueke, professor of Mechanical Engineering.

TSU Students Make Connection Between Educational Disciplines and Community Service

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.

Doing it for Me! TSU Extension Assistant Sheds 170 Pounds, Starts New Life

For three decades, Heather Gum gradually expanded from being husky, to overweight, to morbidly obese—to over 350 pounds and a size 30 at her largest. 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. (courtesy photos)
For three decades, Heather Gum gradually expanded from being husky, to overweight, to morbidly obese—to over 350 pounds and a size 30 at her largest. 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. (courtesy photos)

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.

 

 

 

 

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 Graduates Receive Top Recognitions at 2013 Black Engineer of the Year Awards

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.”

TSU Engineering Alumnus Receives National Recognition for Giving Back

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.

National Science Olympiad Competition Comes to TSU Feb. 16

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:                        krwoods@tnstate.edu

College of Engineering Awarded Research Projects to Improve Driver Safety

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.