Category Archives: RESEARCH

TSU Honors College Produces Students Who Impact the World; Annual Convocation Set for March 28

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Jaquantey Bowen and Ayana Wild want to change the world.

They are among more than 3,000 students with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher who will be recognized when Tennessee State University honors its best and brightest students during the annual Honors Day Convocation on March 28.

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Jaquantey Bowen

Bowen, a Presidential Scholar who graduates in December, wants to put an end to heart disease, which has killed many of his relatives and is responsible for nearly 610,000 deaths in America each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Bowen plans to become a cardiovascular surgeon, and he’s well on his way.

With a perfect 4.0 GPA, Bowen has set his sights on Harvard University. He has been accepted into the highly competitive Harvard BWH Stars Program for Summer Research, an intensive, eight-week program in research methods and practice for underrepresented minority college and first-year medical students.

During Bowen’s freshman year at TSU, just around his 18th birthday, his maternal grandfather died from heart disease, the same disease that claimed his paternal grandfather’s life and several others in his family.

“From that day forward, I vowed to put an end to heart disease,” said Bowen, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in biology with concentration in cell and molecular biology and a minor in chemistry. “I solidified my career choice to become a cardiovascular surgeon. I have strived for excellence and maintained nothing less than an ‘A’ in every course I have taken.”

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Ayana Wild

Wild, who has been on the Dean’s List since entering TSU, wants to be a university professor, like her parents.

“I am inspired by my father and mother and many great professors I met at TSU,” said Wild, who graduates in May with a double major in computer science and math. “Through teaching, I want to be able to change the future of the computer science industry, as well as inspire students to make career choices that impact the world.”

Wild has a 3.9 GPA. She has been accepted into the graduate program at Vanderbilt University, with a research assistantship. Her older brother is pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt, where her father also teaches. Her mother is a professor of chemistry at TSU.

As high achievers, Bowen and Wild are following in the footsteps of a select group of TSU honors graduates who have gone on to impact the world in remarkable ways in education, medicine, technology, and many other areas.

Among them, Dr. Glenda Glover, TSU’s current president, who earned a degree in math, and one of only two female educators in the United States with a Ph.D., JD and CPA combination. Some others are the late Dr. Levi Watkins, a 1966 graduate of the program, who revolutionized the medical world with the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator; and Jesse Russell, a 1972 graduate recognized as the father of digital cellular technology.

Another is Obie McKenzie, a 1967 graduate who will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Honors Convocation.

McKenzie is managing director at BlackRock, Inc., the largest publicly traded investment management firm in the United States, and a member of Tennessee State’s board of trustees.

“We are excited about Mr. McKenzie coming to bless us as our guest speaker,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of TSU Honors College. “He has walked this road. He has blazed the trail for us. This allows other students to see him as a mentor, and as a role model.”

TSU officials say the 3,331 students to be honored at this year’s convocation is a 42 percent increase in the number of students who made the Dean’s List the previous year. Of that number, 287 made the President’s List. These are students with perfect 4.0 GPAs.

“We are ecstatic about the great number of students who have achieved the Dean’s List during this period,” Jackson said. “It shows that Tennessee State University students are getting serious about their school work, and are working diligently to achieve excellence in the classroom. We just want to honor them and let them know that TSU is behind them, supporting them.”

Fore more information on the 2017 Honors Day Convocation, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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 Students Win Top Honors at research conference

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students recently won top honors in research presentations at the Research Association of Minority Professors 36th annual Conference in Atlanta.

RAMP is an educational and scientific research organization that provides opportunities for minority professors to engage in culturally relevant research projects.

Undergraduate and graduate students from member institutions are also invited to the association’s annual conference to present research projects.

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TSU student and faculty representatives at the RAMP 36th Annual Conference were, from left, T’Shana Carter, Germysha Little, Allen Ezigbo, Dr. Clara Young-White, Dr. Lucian Yates, III, Shabnam Brady, Sarah Iriogbe-Efionayi, Dr. Keisha Bryan, and Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young. (Submitted Photo)

This year, six TSU students were among 18 students selected from across the nation to make presentations at the RAMP conference last month at Clark Atlanta University. Three students placed, with one winning second place in the undergraduate category. TSU took the prizes for second and third places among graduate presenters.

Several TSU professors and administrators, including the university’s chief research officer, Dr. Lesia Crumpton-Young, accompanied the TSU students. The professors also presented at the conference.

For student research, Germysha Little, a senior biology major, earned second place for “An Investigation of the Experiences of Underrepresented STEM Graduate Students.”

In the graduate category, Shabnam Brady, a doctoral student in the Department of Psychology, won second place for her presentation on “The Assessment of Underrepresented Minority Student Experiences in STEM Graduate Program.”

A presentation on “Examining Early Childhood Education Teachers’ Understanding of Self-Regulation Skills” won third place for Sarah Iriogbe-Efionayi, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction.

“Our students were outstanding,” said Dr. Clara Young-White, chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, and immediate past-president of RAMP. “It was very important for our students to participate in these presentations because it gives them the opportunity to connect with other students and professors.”

Young-White said TSU will host the conference next year.

“We are bringing the conference here because we want more TSU students to participate in the competition,” she said.

Students interested in presenting at the RAMP conference must submit a 2,000-word abstract of their work that addresses issues and concern for minority populations. A committee that selects the presenters reviews the abstracts.

Iriogbe-Efionayi said her interactions at the conference were beneficial.

“It (the conference) was a treat for me,” she said. “I was able to meet and interact with students and professors with the same background and interest in preschool education.”

Other TSU student presenters were Lydia Davis, a political science major; T’Shana Carter, chemistry; and Allen Ezigbo, elementary education.

Other faculty members and administrators who attended the conference included Dr. Lucian Yates, dean of Graduate School and Research; and Dr. Kisha Bryan, assistant professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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, Professor Attend Harvard Conference on Politics and Civic Engagement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two TSU students and a professor from the College of Public Service participated in a recent national conference at Harvard University.

The National Campaign for Political and Civic Engagement took place earlier this month at the Kennedy School’s Institute of Politics.

It focused on identifying the causes of the divisiveness following the 2016 presidential election, as well as strategies to bridge the gaps between all Americans.

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Mikala Hodges, a TSU Political Science major, participates in an open discussion at the conference. (Photo by Harvard University Institute of Politics)

Jalen Jennings, a junior urban studies major, and Mikala Hodges, also a junior majoring in political science, were among 70 students from 28 colleges and universities from across the United States who attended the conference.

The mission was to create a nationally coordinated program, Reconnect America.

Dr. Cara Robinson, interim chair of TSU’s Department of Social Work and Urban Affairs, accompanied the students. She said the students’ experience at the conference gave them the skills necessary to move civic activity on campus through academics and community service programs.

“Jennings and Hodges bring a personal passion, steady leadership, and commitment to assisting students and other stakeholders in moving public discourse and action forward and into a prominent place at TSU,” Robinson said. “The opportunity to work with students on civic and political engagement initiatives is a core purpose of the urban studies program and the College of Public Service.”

At the conference, students heard from prominent speakers such as Doris Kearns Godwin, veteran presidential historian, and David Gergen, veteran political analyst and advisor to three former U.S. presidents.

They noted the importance of having unifying leaders as a key to bridging the political divide, adding that young people have a vital role to play in closing the gap.

Jennings said he enjoyed meeting students from across the country and hearing their thoughts.

“We all have different views, [but] you come together and you find that in some ways we have the same ideas in some areas,” he said.

Jennings, who took part in a breakout group that focused on social media, added, “We are trying to come up with different ideas to make sure news gets published to social media sites that is more credible.”

Since 2003, the alliance has held annual conferences to identify collaborative projects, foster engagement in electoral politics, assist students in pursuing careers in public service and provide a foundation in civic education.

“The College of Public Service is very proud of this partnership, especially as we are the only HBCU,” said Dr. Michael Harris, dean of the college.  “It allows our students the opportunity to work with students from across the United States on enhancing citizenship, leadership and civic engagement, a core value that we instill in our students.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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 graduate student Kyra Bryant wins thesis award

By K. Dawn Rutledge

The Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools has awarded the Graduate Student Master’s Thesis Award to Tennessee State University student, Kyra Bryant.

Bryant recently completed a Master of Civil and Environmental Engineering and is currently pursuing a doctorate in Computer Information Systems Engineering at TSU.

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TSU graduate student Kyra Bryant explains research at a recent Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools meeting. (submitted photo)

Among member institution graduate students from across the state of Tennessee, Bryant received the award on Feb. 8 for her research on hurricanes and storm surge search models with the purpose of making prediction more accurate. The title of her thesis was “The Rise and Fall of the Drag Coefficient in Wind Stress Calculations for Hurricane Wind Speeds with a Case Study.” It was published last fall (2016) in the Journal of Marine Science Engineering.

Dr. Muhammad K. Akbar, assistant professor in the Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, served as Bryant’s faculty advisor.

Akbar said that when a hurricane is brewing in the deep ocean, the tasks of emergency management become encumbered. They must forecast the hurricane’s wind track and strength for the entire duration through its landfall and beyond. They use the forecasted wind field to predict the incoming storm surge to coastal areas, and use it to set-up evacuation plans. Since the hurricane’s path and strength dynamically changes, the process must be modeled every few hours until the hurricane is two to three days away from landfall. One of the primary variables that influence storm surge simulation is the stress generated on the ocean by hurricane winds, which is approximated using air density, wind speed, and drag. The drag coefficient is typically calculated from an empirical correlation, which has been debated and researched by many scientists for more than half a century. Bryant’s thesis examined and summarized scientific research on the drag coefficient correlations.

“Ms. Bryant presented a case study using some of the commonly used drag coefficients, along with one of her own, to hind cast the Hurricane Rita (2005) storm surge and compare the results with observed data,” Akbar said, adding that she is performing more studies to develop drag coefficient correlations that can be used to predict hurricane storm surge accurately as part of her Ph.D. program.

“Receiving the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools (TCGS) Thesis Award is a great honor for Ms. Bryant, and all of us at Tennessee State University,” Akbar continued. “It is an encouragement and motivation for us to advance the research to the next level. The outcome of the research will serve a huge coastal population of the world threatened by tropical storms annually. Even a single life saved through this research outcome would give us a sense of accomplishment.”

The Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools is committed to excellence and recognizing the exceptional work of Tennessee graduate students. TCGS’s graduate student thesis award is presented annually to recognize scholarly achievement in graduate students at a member institution of the Tennessee Conference of Graduate Schools.

“We are extremely proud of Kyra, her faculty advisors, and the entire engineering faculty,” said Dr. Lucian Yates, III, dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research.

“This award is a reflection of the expectations and demands of the curriculum in engineering and the dedication of our students,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. “We are proud of her recognition for this award, and strongly support her continuing study in the graduate program in engineering.”

This is not the first time Bryant has had the opportunity to share her research. Last year, she presented at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM in Washington, D.C. where she interacted with other scholars from around the nation. She has also presented at TSU’s annual research symposium, receiving 3rd place for her work. Additionally, she has the 14th Estuarine Coastal Modeling Conference (ECM14) under her belt, a national conference attracting people from all over the world doing coastal modeling research.

Bryant said she chose TSU because it was the only institution engaged in such research.

“I don’t know of any other university in Tennessee doing hurricane research,” she said. “There are only one in eight professors in the U.S. teaching this program, and I’m very fortunate to be here.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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.

 

 

Mooo over beef and chicken! There’s a demand for goat meat in the U.S., and TSU is leading research to produce more of it

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – So much for where’s the beef? These days, its where’s the goat meat?

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Emily Hayes, a TSU graduate student and research assistant, among some of the breeding does. (photo by Joan Kite, TSU Public Relations)

Nationwide, agriculture researchers say there’s a demand for goat meat because of a growing population of ethnic groups within the United States that consume it, not to mention an increasing number of Americans who are choosing goat over other meats, like chicken and beef, because it’s healthier.

To meet the demand, much of the goat meat now in the U.S. is imported from other countries. But Tennessee State University is leading research that seeks to boost goat production in the U.S.

“I probably give 10, 12 talks a year across the country on the research,” said Dr. Richard Browning, the lead goat researcher in TSU’s Agriculture Department. “We have a lot of ethnic groups that have goat as a main part of their diet, and that’s why there’s a demand for goat meat. But we don’t produce enough here.”

According to the most recent statistics from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, all goat inventory in the U.S. on Jan. 1, 2016, totaled 2.6 million, down 1 percent from 2015.

“Right now, we are importing way more meat than what is being sold within the United States,” said Emily Hayes, a TSU graduate student and research assistant.

TSU’s research herd is comprised of approximately 250 breeding does representing diverse sets of Boer, Kiko, Spanish, Myotonic and Savanna genetics. The university began its goat research in 2002, and TSU officials expect to be awarded federal money from the USDA this year to expand their research.

Browning said much of the research focuses on breed characterization and genetic evaluations.

“Our primary target is female fitness in the doe population, in the breeding herd,” he said. “We’re looking for animals that are able to stay healthy and reproduce with limited inputs.”

The research is shared with producers, farmers, to help them be more effective in their goat production.

TSU junior Moet McFall is focusing on goat reproduction and recently presented her research at the 2017 American Society of Animal Science Southern Conference. While she enjoys the opportunity to help producers, she also appreciates the hands-on experience she believes will benefit her in the workforce.

“Hands-on research looks really good,” McFall said. “You can learn in a classroom, but hands-on experience is what most jobs look for. They want to see that you’ve actually put what you’ve learned to the test.”

Whether goat meat is produced in the U.S. or imported, researchers and restaurant owners who sell it say part of the draw to goat meat is its healthy appeal.

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Delicious dish of goat meat at Jamaicaway restaurant in Nashville. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations).

Goat meat is naturally lean, meaning it is much lower in saturated fat and cholesterol, having a naturally higher HDL count (the good cholesterol) and a naturally low LDL count (the bad kind of cholesterol), according to the National Kiko Registry. It is also lower in calories than other meats, like beef, and is easier to digest.

Dr. Sandria Godwin is a family and consumer science professor at TSU, as well as a registered dietician. She has worked with Dr. Browning to produce goat meat recipes.

“It is definitely a healthier choice,” Godwin said.

Ouida Bradshaw owns two Jamaicaway restaurants in Nashville and has had goat meat on her menu since she opened 14 years ago.

“Over the years, it has become a very popular entree,” said Bradshaw, who has been featured on the Food Network. “A lot of people come from far away just to get goat meat.”

Heritage Foods USA is an online butcher based in Brooklyn, New York, that supports farmers who raise livestock, including goats. Its cuts are sold to customers in all 50 states, as well as carried in 130 restaurants from New York City to Los Angeles.

The company is an advocate for more U.S. production of goat meat.

“Goats are environmentally low-maintenance and easy to raise,” said Patrick Martins, co-founder of Heritage Foods. “Goat is actually the most widely consumed meat in the world – and America is slowly learning what the rest of the world already knows – that goat meat is delicious, lean, versatile, healthy, and sustainable.”

To learn more about Tennessee State’s goat research, visit:http://www.tnstate.edu/faculty/rbrowning/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

 

 

 

TSU President Glenda Glover says university focused on student success, no longer a ‘school of last resort’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU President Glenda Glover says the university is focused on student success, and is no longer a “school of last resort.”

logoThe president was part of a panel of educators, community and business leaders that spoke at a Black History Month luncheon on Feb. 8 organized by Cable Nashville, a leadership organization for women’s professional advancement.

The theme of the event was “Leadership Vision in Challenging Times.” Besides Glover, the panel featured the presidents of Nashville’s other historically black higher education institutions: Fisk University, Meharry Medical College, and American Baptist College.

Glover said, as an HBCU, Tennessee State has always opened its doors to all students, even those rejected by other institutions. But she said the university has shifted its focus “exclusively” to student success.

“Excellence remains our top priority, but we can’t be the school of last resort,” Glover said.

In October, Glover announced that TSU is raising its admission standards and enhancing student success initiatives to increase retention and graduation rates. Beginning this fall, all students must have a 2.5 GPA and a 19 on the ACT for admission to TSU. The previous admission scores were 2.25 or a 19 on the ACT for in-state students, and a 2.5 or 19 ACT for out-of-state students.

“The day is over when you can call and say, ‘I have a good student with a 1.9 GPA and has promise,’” Glover said. “Well, this may not be the time you want to apply to TSU. We are raising standards because I believe that quality attracts quality.”

Janet Rachel, a member of Cable and a 1977 graduate of TSU, attended the luncheon. She said she fully supports Dr. Glover’s “bold” decision on student success and the spike in admission standards.

“I believe that at the core of helping blacks succeed is not just education but quality education,” said Rachel, who is the talent acquisition manager for diversity relocation and career navigation at Vanderbilt University. “I am really glad about what I am hearing from Dr. Glover. I hope the alumni will step up and become more engaged and more involved.”

The other HBCU presidents on the panel were Dr. James E.K. Hildreth, Meharry Medical College; Dr. Forrest E. Harris, Sr., American Baptist College; and Frank Sims, Fisk University.

Susan Allen Huggins, president and CEO of Cable, said it was important to bring the HBCU presidents together because of the partnership and the important role their institutions play in the community in terms of diversity and molding minds.

“We (Cable) were founded because of our strong understanding of and belief in the importance of diversity and inclusion,” Huggins said. “The Nashville community wouldn’t be what it is without these historically black institutions and the tremendous contributions they are making.”

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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.

State lawmakers experience wave of Tiger Blue at 2017 TSU Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee legislative leaders got a chance to see Tennessee State’s excellence up close during TSU Day at the Capitol.

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TSU President Glenda Glover cuts ribbon at TSU Day at the Capitol kick-off ceremony. Photo by John Cross (TSU Media Relations)
University administrators, faculty, students and alumni converged on Legislative Plaza and the Hill on Wednesday, Feb. 1, to showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual event.

TSU President Glenda Glover started the day with a ceremony in the Senate chamber. She was joined by legislative leaders that included Lt. Gov. Randy McNally, House Speaker Beth Harwell, Sen. Thelma Harper, and Reps. Brenda Gilmore and Harold Love, Jr.

“This is our day, this is TSU day,” Glover said. “It gives us a great opportunity to share with our lawmakers, our leaders, the success of TSU, and the needs of TSU, as we continue to nurture some of the best and the brightest minds of this generation, our TSU students.”

Lt. Gov. McNally welcomed the TSU visitors to the state Capitol and shared a personal experience at the university. When he was a state representative, he said he and several other lawmakers took a public administration course at Tennessee State.

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Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, talks about life-size robotic tiger designed and built by TSU students. Photo by Lucas Johnson (TSU Media Relations)

“I really enjoyed my experience at TSU,” McNally said. “On behalf of the Senate, we really honor our relationship with TSU, and look forward to what you do, and the great students that you produce for the state of Tennessee. It really makes a difference in our state.”

House Speaker Harwell said she enjoyed seeing all the Tiger Blue throughout the Plaza and Capitol.

“All this blue looks beautiful; I love it,” she said. “I was presiding this morning and I had a TSU pen in my hand as I was making notes, I want you to know that.”

TSU Student Government Association President Aarian Forman also spoke at the kick-off ceremony, and said TSU’s students were excited to be at the Capitol.

“We’re so glad to be here today to show you why TSU is the true blue, and we’re the best blue in the state of Tennessee,” Forman said.

Displays from the school’s various colleges and departments lined both sides of the hallway in the Legislative Plaza. Robotics, red maple trees, research presentations and goats were among the booths showcasing the university’s diverse academic offerings.

One of the main attractions was a life-size robotic tiger designed and built by TSU’s College of Engineering.

“TSU Day at the Capitol is a day to demonstrate the work that’s being done here in the state of Tennessee, and the legislation and the support the state gives to universities, in particular TSU, and the rate of return by producing outstanding graduates that actually work in the great state of Tennessee,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering.

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Emily Hayes, a TSU graduate student and research assistant in the College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Sciences, attends to some of the goats being used for research. Photo by Lucas Johnson (TSU Media Relations)

Also on display at the Capitol was nationally recognized goat research in TSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Sciences. Its 15-year study of goats and how to address the demand for goat meat in the U.S. is one of the most extensive on that particular topic in the country.

“I probably give 10, 12 talks a year across the country on the research,” said Dr. Richard Browning, who leads TSU’s goat research. “We have a lot of ethnic groups that have goat as a main part of their diet, and that’s why there’s a demand for goat meat. But we don’t produce enough here. A lot of it is imported from other countries.”

Rep. Harold Love, Jr., whose district includes TSU, said he was glad his colleagues got a chance to see the excellent work going on at the university firsthand.

“Oftentimes you can’t see it in a booklet, or a pamphlet, you need to see it face to face,” Love said.

In wrapping up the ceremony, Glover told the legislative leaders that the university appreciates the funding its received over the years, and that it’s been used in an efficient and strategic manner. But she said TSU still has “tremendous needs.”

“Excellence is our habit, but excellence is not cheap; excellence is costly,” Glover said. “So we’re here today to ask you to support our excellence.”

Sen. Harper, whose district also includes TSU, said she and other lawmakers who have been staunch supporters of the university will continue to advocate on its behalf, and will encourage others to do the same.

“We come here to do business, and we do business for TSU,” Harper said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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 lawmakers to experience wave of Tiger Blue at TSU Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee lawmakers will experience a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Capitol on Wednesday, Feb. 1.

Tennessee State University administrators, faculty, students and alumni will converge on Legislative Plaza and the Hill to showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol.

TSU President Glenda Glover will kick-off the event with a ceremony at 10 a.m. in the Senate Chambers. TSU visitors will have a chance to meet with lawmakers, who will see displays from the school’s various colleges and departments that will line both sides of the hallway in the Legislative Plaza.

Robotics, red maple trees, research presentations and goats will be among the booths showcasing the university’s diverse academic offerings.

Tennessee State is coming off a stellar year that saw numerous national headlines about its research and other initiatives, and TSU officials expect the same – or better – this year.

“TSU Day at the Capitol is always an exciting day for TSU,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering. “It allows us to display Tennessee’s investment in higher education, and the great things that are happening here at TSU.”

In addition to its leading research in cybersecurity, TSU’s College of Engineering recently drew national attention when its Computer Science Department partnered with Google.

TSU is one of 10 historically black colleges and universities participating in the Google in Residence Program, which uses the technology giant’s engineers to teach introductory computer science classes, as well as help students further develop soft and technical skills.

“The GIR program will further make our program and students stronger with understanding of state-of-the-art technical skills and intense interview processes of top software engineering companies,” said Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of TSU’s Computer Science Department.

Google said in a statement that it’s pleased to be at TSU “as part of our commitment to encouraging greater diversity in the tech sector.”

Also on display at the Capitol on Wednesday will be nationally recognized goat research in TSU’s College of Agricultural, Human and Natural Sciences. It’s 15-year study of goats and how to address the demand for goat meat in the U.S. is one of the most extensive on that particular topic in the country.

“I probably give 10, 12 talks a year across the country on the research,” said Dr. Richard Browning, who leads TSU’s goat research. “We have a lot of ethnic groups that have goat as a main part of their diet, and that’s why there’s a demand for goat meat. But we don’t produce enough here. A lot of it is imported from other countries.”

Rep. Harold Love, Jr., whose district includes TSU, said he hopes young people in attendance will become more interested in the legislative process, and even try to have a voice in policymaking.

“When we talk about active citizen engagement and forming policy, this is a prime example of what we would like to see from all of our students at colleges and universities across the state,” Love said. “This is what citizens are supposed to do, come down and be actively involved in policy formulation when laws are being passed or proposals considered.”

To learn more about the event and what’s happening at Tennessee State, visit http://www.tnstate.edu.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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 engineering students are making sure Nashville bridges are safe

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – How safe are the bridges in Metro Nashville that you drive across everyday?

The answer may be in the work Tennessee State University engineering students are doing around the city.

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Kevin Nguyen, a graduate civil engineering major, left, and Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, are two of six TSU students and their professors that assessed bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to ensure their structural integrity. (Courtesy photo)

A team of six graduate and undergraduate students, along with their professors from the Departments of Civil and Architectural Engineering, recently conducted a study on five bridges around the Nashville Fairgrounds to assess their structural integrity.

As part of the fairgrounds improvement project, the students’ findings were submitted to the city’s structural engineers and will be used to determine future use of the bridges.

The dean of the College of Engineering said the involvement of the students in the project is part of Mayor Megan Barry’s “innovative” vision and strategy to get more high school and college students working on real-world projects that enhance their skills and employability.

“TSU and the College of Engineering are playing an integral part of this strategy by providing our students with practical experience that complements their classroom learning,” Hargrove said.

Abram Musinguzi, a Ph.D. student in systems engineering, is the student coordinator on the project.  He said part of the inspections involve measuring the bridges’ dimensions to identify any structural damage, or distress, and compile a report.

“The purpose of the project is to assess if there is any need for renovation or repair of the bridges,” Musinguzi said.

Dr. Farouk Mishu, professor and interim chair of the civil and architectural engineering department, is one of two faculty members who worked with the students.

“These bridges have been here for a very long time,” Mishu said. “We are assessing them to see what kind of remediation we need to do to make them safe. This gives the students real-world experience before they graduate.”

Overseeing the students and their professors’ work was a field engineer from the fairgrounds project management team, who said he is impressed with the student’s skill level and attention to detail.

“What they are doing is pivotal to deciding what kind of money will be spent on either the repairing, the removing or replacing of these bridges,” said Jonathon Schneider of the project management team. “Their performance is remarkable.”

The students’ work is not TSU’s first involvement with the fairgrounds improvement project.

Last year, Hargrove served as a member of the review team appointed by Mayor Barry to make recommendations for the $12 million renovation of the fairgrounds.

Other students on the bridge project were: Kevin Nguyen, a graduate student majoring in civil engineering; and undergraduates SiVon Jiles, civil engineering; Matthew Miller, architectural engineering; Dwight Pullen, architectural engineering; and Darren Evans, civil engineering.

Dr. Catherine Armwood, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, was the other faculty member on the project.

For more information about TSU’s College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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 part of cutting-edge research aimed at reducing cancer disparities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This holiday season, cancer survivor Navita Gunter has a lot to be thankful for, mainly her life.

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Navita Gunter

But she’s not content with her own personal survival. Understanding her own struggle when she was stricken with cervical cancer several years ago, and finding little compassion and help, Gunter has vowed not to let that happen to another woman.

“My struggle gave me purpose and compassion for others,” she said.

Gunter, founder of the Cervical Cancer Coalition of Tennessee, has joined TSU as head of the community advisory board for a four-component cancer research project at the university.

The U54 Partnership to Eliminate Cancer Health Disparities, refunded recently by the National Cancer Institute for another five years, is a coalition involving TSU, Meharry Medical College and Vanderbilt University. Its goal is to create a model for eliminating disparities in cancer through education, prevention and treatment.

The components of the project are community outreach and engagement, smoking cessation, breast cancer awareness, and cancer research education.

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Mariam Boules, a senior biology major, works in Dr. Margaret Whalen’s research lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“The intent of this award is to reduce health disparities,” said Dr. Margaret Whalen, professor of chemistry, who heads the cancer research education component. “The specific disparities we are looking at is the disparity between the vast majority of people and certain groups, like African American, in terms of cancer incidence.”

Whalen’s role, she said, is educating students to get them interested in doing cancer research to try to broaden the number of individuals who engage in cancer research.

“If we have more people from different backgrounds engaging in cancer research who are able to understand and deal better with the disparities, they will be more interested in trying to address the situation.”

Although there has been substantial progress in cancer treatment, screening, diagnosis, and prevention over the past several decades, addressing cancer health disparities—such as higher cancer death rates, less frequent use of proven screening tests, and higher rates of advanced cancer diagnoses—in certain populations is an area in which progress has not kept pace, according to the National Cancer Institute.

Documented cancer health disparities include substantially higher rates of prostate cancer incidence and death among African American men than men of other racial/ethnic groups; and higher rates of kidney cancer among American Indian and Alaska Natives than other racial/ethnic groups.

Mariam Boules is Dr. Whalen’s student and a senior biology major with minors in psychology and chemistry. She said exposure to the cancer research has been enlightening.

“The research is teaching me a lot of new things,” Boules said. “Having to do hands-on in the lab for about eight hours a day and enjoying the stuff you are doing and learning about; all those compounds and how they affect our system and our cells is just amazing.”

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Dr. Rebecca Selove

In the case of smoking cessation, TSU scientists are looking at tobacco use and the health disparities it presents, especially the incidence of lung cancer death rate among African-American men.

“Our role at TSU is the design of behavioral intervention,” said Dr. Rebecca Selove, a clinical psychologist and research associate professor, who heads the smoking cessation component of the project. “This entails telling people about the program, and giving them information in general about how important it is to get that support if they are tobacco users.”

Selove said the intervention would be designed along with the Cancer Outreach Corp, and would involve counseling people about cessation and motivating them to sign up and stick with the program.

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Dr. Oscar Miller

Dr. Oscar Miller, chair and professor of sociology, heads the outreach component. He coordinates and maintains the activities of the community advisory board, which is comprised of experts in government and community organizations, whose mission is to help reduce cancer disparities and also to disseminate cancer research findings and information.

“One of the things we do is look at the researchers, or the research that is ongoing, and try to find community partners who have some expertise in that,” Miller said. “We meet about four times a year to discuss upcoming research projects, new areas of research, and help the researchers at the three institutions on how to include the community findings in their research.”

Gunter is excited about the cancer research, and what the future holds.

“The TSU project has expanded the research effort in this area and helped me touch more people than what I was touching before,” she said.

TSU’s involvement in cancer research, in particular, is far-reaching. Recently, renowned cancer specialist and TSU alum, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, was part of a panel that made recommendations to help speed the development of cancer cures.

The Blue Ribbon Panel of scientific leaders and cancer patient advocates was formed to provide direction for Vice President Joe Biden’s National Moonshot Initiative, which aims to make more therapies available to more patients, while also improving efforts to prevent cancer and detect it at an early stage.

“As members of the panel, we were able to take what we know from experience and working with cancer research to come up with these recommendations, which we are certain will help the vice president in his work,” Mitchell said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

About Tennessee State University

With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 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.