Category Archives: RESEARCH

TSU Partners With Apple, Inc. to Offer Alums Free App Design and Development Course

Technology giant Apple, Inc. has partnered with Tennessee State University to give minorities and underserved communities greater access to the field. TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences.

That expansion includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free. Computer Applications for Educational Leaders is being offered through the TSU School of Graduate and Professional Studies, and is accepting applications now.

The course supports the university’s mission to provide life-long learning opportunities to the TSU alumni.

“This course is the first of its kind to address an individual’s working and learning style where they can take the course on-ground, online, hybrid or at the Apple Store,” said Dr. Robbie K. Melton, Tennessee State University’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies and program director for the coding initiative.

Dr. Melton also says the curriculum is structured to provide onsite instruction for groups of 10 or more wherever they are located.

That scheduling flexibility is what attracted Dr. Jeffery Norfleet, associate dean of Academic Services at Trevecca Nazarene University.

Dr. Jeffery Norfleet (Photo Submitted)

“I like to learn virtually because it just works with my time and my schedule,” said Norfleet, who received his undergraduate degree from TSU in Humanities in 2008 and his master’s in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus in educational technology in 2010.

“There are apps out their for everyone. Apps out there that will help you with your personal life, your professional life, and your spiritual journey,” he said. “We may not be coding experts as far as the ‘IT’ side is concerned, but from your basic line of work and employment, you can utilize this skill set to benefit the community in which you live.”

Norfleet, a Clarksville-native who served as saxophone section leader with the Aristocrat of Bands while at TSU, said he believes efforts like this one will strengthen the university’s relationship with its alumni.

Jeffery Norfleet marching with the Aristocrat of Band as an undergraduate student at Tennessee State University. (Photo Submitted)

“I think this will begin to open up doors where students can see that they may have walked away with one major or one type of master’s, but the resources that the school wants to pour back into them will give them the opportunity to continue to develop their professional skill set as well as their personal skill set,” he said.

“It also encourages them to give back to the university, because these opportunities don’t come free at most places. “

Sheron B. Doss, who secured a bachelors degree in Social Welfare from TSU in 1976, is proving you’re never too old to learn, and said courses like this one are important for seniors.

“At our age, we assume we are too old to learn, but why shouldn’t we learn now,” said Doss, who was recently accepted into the doctoral program for Administration Management in Pre-K and Higher Education at TSU.

Sheron B. Doss (Photo Submitted)

“We are living longer, and we have got to be there rather than depend on our children and grandchildren. It makes communicating and living so much easier.”

Melton said the HBCU C2 initiative puts TSU on the forefront of embracing STEM, and she credits the university’s partnership with Apple with being key to its success. She said TSU employees as well as Tennessee high school students are also eligible to take the free course.

“Apple provides an approach to introduce coding and creativity in a nonthreatening manner,” she said. “You have children coding. You have seniors coding, and the fact that we have over 200 people from high school to senior citizen centers wanting to code and create is phenomenal.”

The push comes on the heels of the university’s July launch of HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Everyone Can Create”, a national initiative supported by Apple, Inc., which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities.

“Apple is encouraging us to offer more academies because of the result from the academy this summer in which five of the apps that were designed are now being tested on campuses,” said Melton.

“We got a call from the Department of Labor because they received word from other constituents about the excitement, not just in Tennessee, but throughout all HBCUs regarding our transformation attitude regarding STEM careers,” she added.

Doss, who found out about the class during registration, said she took Melton’s Microcomputer Technology in Primary and Elementary Schools course in 2017. She encourages all alums to take advantage of the free learning opportunity.

“I don’t care who you are. I don’t care what level or what age, just start,” she said. “Just look at it, and I guarantee you that something in the course during the duration of the class will make you happy, will make you glad, and if you are like me, it will excite you.”

TSU hosted the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy July 14-19 through its newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations. Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country came away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum, which utilizes its popular Swift programming language.

For more information about enrolling in EDAD 6100: Computer Applications for Educational Leaders course, contact Deborah Chisom at dchisom@tnstate.edu or call (615) 963-7390.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Top TSU Student Pursues Dream in Medical Field, Credits ‘Family’ Atmosphere for Choosing University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alanis Onwu says all it took for her to decide to come to Tennessee State University was a visit to President Glenda Glover’s home.

Alanis Onwu

“I immediately fell in love with the family atmosphere I experienced and decided right then that this is where I want to be,” says Onwu, an agricultural sciences biotechnology major, who is in her junior year.

An academic standout and graduate of Nashville’s Lead Academy, Onwu came to TSU on a High Achiever Academic Scholarship with a full ride, but still had other options. On arriving on campus, and as a high achiever scholarship recipient, Onwu was invited to the Presidential Scholars’ Reception for highly recruited students, at the president’s residence.

“That reception changed everything,” says Onwu. “President Glover, the faculty, staff and other students there made us feel so much at home; it felt like a close-knit family, and where I wanted to be.”

In more than two years at TSU, Onwu, a Nashville native, who wants to be a medical doctor, says she made the right decision.

“I have been exposed to so many opportunities. There are so many programs, so many clubs to get involved in. There is something for everyone,” she says.

Maintaining a near 4.0 GPA, Onwu has made the Dean’s List every semester since coming to TSU. She is a member of the Honors College, the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation program, and an active participant in the Students Opportunities for Advancement in Research Skills, or SOARS, where she is engaged in research on ways to reduce risk factors and mortality rate of breast cancer in African American women. Onwu is also the president of the African Student Association on campus.

As part of her interest in medicine, and to help accelerate her career journey, Onwu over the summer shadowed doctors in the Meharry Pediatrics Clinic. That experience, she says, has increased interest in becoming a doctor for children.

“First, I wanted to do internal medicine, but now that I have been shadowing doctors and pediatricians, I am really interested in pediatrics. I didn’t think I’d like it at first, but being around them (pediatric doctors) I have really grown to love the practice.”

Onwu’s enthusiasm for learning and her eagerness to be the best have been noticed by her professors – one in particular, who classified Onwu as one of the best students he has had in more than 20 years of teaching.

“She is right at the top of the class,” says Dr. Michael Ivy, professor of biological sciences, who taught Onwu anatomy and physiology. “Compared to other students, she was always prepared, never late. She was dependable. Her assignments were excellent. In addition to her class time, I never had to worry if she was going to miss something. Compared to all of the students I have taught in more than two decades, she ranks in the top 5 percent.”

Outside classwork and other extracurricular activities, Onwu also engages in community affairs and humanitarian work. In December, she launched “The Enugu Education Empowerment Movement,” that collected supplies for more than 50 school children in the Udi Village of Enugu State, Nigeria.

“I wanted to start this movement because in this specific location in Nigeria, many families cannot afford to buy their children school supplies,” says Onwu. “I wanted to make sure more children had the essential tools to be successful while getting an education.”

She is thankful for all TSU has made possible for her to pursue her dream, and encourages others thinking about TSU that “the decision should be easy.”

“I feel anyone thinking about TSU should come, see what it is, try to get involved, take what they like, and they definitely will find something interesting here,” says Onwu.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU President Glover welcomes employees back with message of continued teamwork, student success and accreditation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – “Our decisions must be about the welfare of the students. We are here for the students. We are here on behalf of the students,” President Glenda Glover said as she officially kicked off the fall semester for the university on Aug. 12.

TSU President Glenda Glover, left, welcomes Dr. Belle Wheelan, President of SACSCOC during the Fall Faculty Staff Institute. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Glover’s opening message continued with service to students during the faculty and staff gathering, held to commence the start of each academic school year.  

“We have an awesome responsibility to challenge minds, to change lives, and to ensure the future. Everything we do must be done with that in mind,” she said.

Her remarks followed the welcome by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Alisa Mosley; Dr. Geoffrey Burke, chair of the Faculty Senate; and Staff Senate Chair Tequila Johnson, all of whom told faculty and staff they play a role in the success of TSU.

The customary State of the University Address also touched upon the past year of successes and challenges. Hundreds of employees attended the annual event to get an update on those year-long initiatives.  A main topic included the university’s recent sanction by its accrediting body.

“Tennessee State University remains a fully accredited institution,” Glover told faculty and staff. 

TSU was placed on a one-year probation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACS COC), for failing to comply with one of 25 accrediting standards, which involves student outcome for educational programs.

A special highlight of the Faculty Staff Institute was the appearance of the President of SACSCOC, Dr. Belle Wheelan, who explained the role of the commission and further assured the gathering that TSU is not in danger of losing its accreditation.

“It is a pleasure for me to be here today,” Wheelan said. “My challenge is to help you understand the accreditation process and to believe within your heart, as I do in my heart, that TSU is going to be alright. I assure you, she (President Glover) has pulled every resource together, both human and fiscal, and you all are going to fix this. I assure you, this time next year, you will be fine.”

Glover discussed a “plan of action” to address the issue. Corrective steps taken so far under the plan include the following:  university has retained a nationally known firm with expertise on accreditation matters; hired a full-time director of assessment and accreditation to guide the process internally; as well as a communication/reputation management firm.

Glover introduced Charlise Anderson, a longtime assessment and institutional effectiveness expert, as the new director in charge of accreditation matters.

“We are 100 percent confident that TSU will do all that is required to prepare and submit the documentation that is necessary to remove us from probation,” Glover said. “We are fixing this and fixing it now.”

Glover also announced progress and challenges in other areas including, recruitment, retention, graduation, campus safety, customer service, but said ensuring student success remains “the key reason we are all here.”

On a major achievement, Glover informed the university of TSU’s recent partnership with tech giant Apple, and the hosting of the inaugural HBCU C2 Presidential Academy last month.

“TSU is now a National Center for Smart Technology Innovations that will bring coding and creativity opportunities across HBCU campuses,” Glover said. “TSU will be the hub for all 104 HBCUs to come here and code and create.

Dr. Robbie Melton, interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, was recognized for spearheading the effort that made the partnership possible. Dr. Melton then presented the TSU-trained code and creative team members.

The University is offering the coding course for free to employees. The institute culminated with lunch on the lawn.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

New Tennessee State University Smart Technology Center Introduces Area Youth to Coding, Creativity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon William Campus.

Thirty students from Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt. Zion Baptist Church, participate in “Everyone Can Code and Create” at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

The initiative, which debuted July 23, is part of the newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy to bring coding and creativity opportunities to students across HBCU campuses, as well as Nashville students.

The exercise was for youth between ages 6 and 14. More than 30 students participating in Camp Zion, a summer program at Mt Zion Baptist Church, attended the workshop.

They experienced hands-on coding and creativity using iPads, robotic Sphero balls, and more.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor of teaching and instruction at TSU, instructs middle school students in coding and creativity. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Eighth-graders Harmony Kennedy and Devin King were among those who attended. They said the exercises opened their eyes to technology they never knew existed.

“Coding is really cool,” said Kennedy, from Grassland Middle School in Franklin, Tennessee, who wants to either be a psychologist, a singer or an actress. “I like how you program and interact with technology to be able to one day change the future for good.”

For King, who wants to be a football player, he thinks coding will be very helpful in how he manages his career as an athlete.

“It (coding) is something I have been dreaming about,” the Joelton Middle School student said. “This is technology that certainly will help me on my journey in the sports world.”

Summer camp students from Mt. Zion Baptist Church team together to code and create at TSU. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On July 19, TSU launched the HBCU C2 Presidential Academy, which is supported by tech giant Apple. Leaders of 14 historically black colleges and universities – including Tennessee State – from across the country went away from the Academy with knowledge and skills in coding and app development from Apple’s comprehensive coding curriculum. As part of the initiative, TSU is also working with Metro Nashville Public Schools, Motlow State Community College and the Metropolitan Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc. to expand coding opportunities to other students in the community.

According to Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s interim dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, and the initiative’s main facilitator, the youth camp is part of “an academy that starts from pre-school to the work world.”

“So, today we have Mt. Zion, next week we are going over to Hadley Park with their summer camp, and then start with Metro Public Schools, where we will have coding classes in the afternoons and on the weekends,” Melton said. “So, TSU is positioned to create and code everywhere you are with whatever group or population.”

She said the Camp Zion participants went through a series of creative activities using garage band and iPads to learn how to code robots, spheros, drones and other items.

“This will help them with their reading, writing and all of their school subjects across the board,” Melton said.

Dr. Nicole Arrighi, professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning, was among those who facilitated the youth initiative. Using the Garage Band, an application for the iPad, she helped the students in one session develop drum beats and “rap names” for themselves.

“The exercise gave them (the students) the opportunity to see how they can use their creativity to use an informal coding,” Arrighi said. “In this particular setting, the coding is in the layout of actual beats to actually make their own ring tone.”

For more information on TSU HBCU C2 go to http://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Williams Named Associate Vice President For Research And Sponsored Programs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frances Williams has been appointed associate vice president for research and sponsored programs.  Williams is currently the associate dean for graduate studies and research in the College of Engineering.

Frances Williams

In her new role, Williams will provide oversight of TSU’s research enterprise, including management of research grants and contracts, strategic research initiatives and partnerships, proposal development, and TSU’s Centers of Excellence.

“I am excited for the opportunity to serve the university in this capacity,” said Williams, who is also a professor of electrical and computer engineering, and director of the Center for Micro-, Nano-, and Bio-technology Research at Tennessee State University. “I look forward to working with the TSU family to expand our research and sponsored activities and to foster strategic partnerships for growth.”

John Barfield, TSU director of engagement and visibility in the Division of Research and Institutional Advancement, said he is encouraged by Williams’ appoint because of her vast research experience.

“Dr. Williams is an experienced researcher who has gone through every gamut of what it means to be funded and is known nationally for her research.  She also has a good sense of what research administration takes because she has worked on these projects over the years.  So to have somebody who has that experience and has also been the associate dean in the College of Engineering and understands the faculty side of it, I expect her to take off and take us in new directions.”

A veteran researcher and university administrator, Williams previously served as the director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University as well as the director of Norfolk State’s Micro- and Nano-technology Cleanroom, a premiere research facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices.

Williams has extensive publications, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

For her contributions in teaching, scholarship, and service, she has received various awards including the 2018 STEM Innovation Award at the 32nd Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference.  In 2013, she received the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) Outstanding Faculty Award (the highest faculty award given out by the state).  She was named an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine in 2012.  She was also awarded Norfolk State’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence in 2010.

Williams holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in electrical engineering from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, and a Ph.D. in electrical and computer engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU students benefit from Regions Bank and Cheekwood Partnership providing summer jobs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This summer Tennessee State University is providing paid internships for TSU students thanks to a partnership with Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and Regions Bank.

According to Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, these internships are part of the college’s initiative to increase its number of student internships with industry partners.

“This is a great investment by Regions Bank in our students,” said Reddy.  “We place a lot of importance on these internships.  Historically, we used to send a lot of students to the different governmental agencies. Now we are branching out to a lot of industry partners. This summer we have almost forty students across the country in different organizations and companies doing internships.”

Reddy said Regions Bank is providing $25,000 this year for student salaries. 

Daiva Wilson, a senior Agriculture major with a concentration in biotechnology who interned with Cheekwood last summer, said her experience at Cheekwood was eye-opening.

Daiva WIlson

“I’d never been to a botanical garden before, so just seeing the garden was a benefit,” said Wilson, who serves as an intern with USDA this summer.  “Also, I was able to see how the gardeners work with one another. They actually create such a beautiful display for members and people who visit the garden.”

Wilson’s internship at Cheekwood focused on horticulture.  She said she worked with the plant team and had the opportunity to experience the entire Cheekwood garden.  She credits Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, with helping her secure the internship.

“The TSU College of Agriculture is really big on students presenting their goals. We have the Dean’s Scholars Program, and students with a 3.0 or higher are partnered with a mentor, which is usually a professor who does research in the lab,” she said. “Dr. Young pretty much says if you are a dean’s scholar, you should have an internship every summer.”

Young said the Cheekwood internships focus on three areas: education, horticulture and aboriculture.

“The role that I play is actually recruiting students and then internally vetting them before we send them over to Cheekwood, and then Cheekwood has their own application and interviewing process,” Young said. “For me, I believe that the experience for our students is hands-on experience that compliments what we are teaching in the classroom.”

Daniel Shaw, a senior Agribusiness major from Lamar, Arkansas, said he enjoys being a summer intern at Cheekwood.

“I am doing maintenance at the garden, like weeding, watering and planting.  Earlier on, we were transitioning from the spring annuals to the summer annuals, and we briefly started doing some plant identification for a daylily collection they have,” he said.

Shaw, who is also considering a career in environmental sciences and was introduced to the opportunity by Young, said he thinks the internship will give him leverage with future employers.

“It shows that you can be committed to something. Hopefully other people are going to be able to see your work ethic and put in a good word for you,” he said.

Shaw and fellow TSU student Jenna Jones, an education major at TSU, began their summer internships at Cheekwood in mid-May and will work through late July. 

TSU students Steve Osborne (left), an Agriculture Sciences major with concentration in Environmental Sciences and Davia Wilson(right), an Agriculture major with a concentration in Biotechnology, with Cheekwood Plant Collections Manager Shanna T. Jones (center) during their summer internship at Cheekwood in 2018.

Although the Cheekwood internship has existed since 2017, it has had multiple funders. This year Regions Bank is playing an instrumental role in the partnership. 

“Regions has longstanding relationships with both Tennessee State University and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, said Senior VP and Regional Community Development and Partnerships Manager Latrisha Jemison with Regions Bank. “This is an ideal partnership that allows us to invest in a successful program with very talented students. TSU students complete the internship with workforce ready skills and go on to acquire employment in the horticultural profession.”

Reddy said TSU President Glenda Glover initiated the partnership.

“We have been sending out students as interns, and they have been paying the students for internships during the summer and during the regular semester for some time,” he said. “We are interested from an environmental perspective, with regards to botany and understanding the plants.  From their perspective, it is for beauty and environment.” 

He said faculty from the College of Agriculture have also played a role in the partnership.

“Our faculty have been trying to provide technical assistance on some basic things, like how to grow plants hydroponically, and how to take care of the ornamental plants,” he said.  “So there are student internships and faculty support for the public who come to Cheekwood Gardens.”

Peter Grimaldi, vice president of gardens and facilities at Cheekwood, said the internships provide students with an experience that includes a combination of direct service, working in the garden along with Cheekwood’s permanent professional staff, and project-based work.

“Public Horticulture includes the full spectrum of horticulture, and the opportunities at our operation pretty much include bits and pieces of almost any professional opportunity you can seek out in the green industry,” he said. “The interns have been very impressive, the students themselves, and if they are in anyway a representation of the young professionals that TSU is sending out into the workplace and the community, and they are, then that’s something the university should be proud of.”

Grimaldi said the botanical garden plans to have two additional internships this fall.

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Ag Professor Receives $650,000 in Grants for Food Safety and Disease Prevention Research

By JOAN KITE

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University professor Dr. Ankit Patras has received two grants totaling $650,000 from the USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture, Trojan Technologies of Canada, and California-based Aquafine Corporation. The grants will fund research to make food safer by eliminating harmful viruses and bacterial endospores in juices and other beverages.

Dr. Ankit Patras

In the NIFA grant, Patras, as principal investigator, and his research team at TSU, including Dr. Agnes Kilonzo-Nthenge and Dr. John Rickettes, are collaborating with researchers at the University of Tennessee, and the Institute of Food Safety and Health at the Illinois Institute of Technology. Together, Patras and his fellow researchers will study the effect of highly energetic photons at 253.7 nm wavelength for the inactivation of viral particles, bacterial spores, and mycotoxins.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, said TSU is glad to partner with USDA and private industry in a research project that is aimed to make food safe for consumers without worrying about bacterial or viral contamination and illnesses.

“Dr. Patras is one of the national leaders in this area of research and he and his team are exploring some novel ways to contain or eliminate bacteria and viruses in foods through these grants,” Reddy said. “As our new Food Science building comes online in a year or so, we will intensify the food science research at TSU.”

Dr. Ankit Patras demonstrates the thin film pilot UV system, a novel pasteurization technology for inactivating viruses and bacterial endospores in liquid foods. Research Fellow Dr. Brahmiah Pendyala looks on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

According to Patras, who is research assistant professor of agricultural science, the ultimate goal of this project is to develop new and improved non-thermal technologies to inactivate viruses and bacterial endospores. He said one of the unique aspects of the project is the use of novel approaches for ensuring uniform UV exposure to bacterial and viral particles in fluids, without any arbitrary fluence rate distribution and uncertainty in the delivered UV fluence within the UV systems.

“Another important aspect of the study is to create science-based knowledge and bridge existing knowledge gaps by assessing the sensitivity of target foodborne viruses and spores to this treatment,” Patras said. “We want to identify markers of oxidative stress, which can be correlated to microbial inactivation.”

Madison Purifoy, a graduating senior participating in a science summer program for exceptional high school seniors, explains her findings in an experiment where she tested e coli in synthetic fluid using UV radiation to see if it will grow or create mutations. Purifoy is from Plano West Senior High School in Plano, Texas. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The team will develop chemical and biological sensors (biodosimeters) to quantify the UV dose delivered to pathogenic targets ensuring accurate dose delivery. The overall integrated approach will generate fundamental knowledge on the inactivation of viruses and bacterial spores on bench and commercial UV systems. Members of federal agencies including USDA-ARS, US-FDA, and Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada are on the advisory board. Patras’s grant is one of the few awarded by the AFRI Foundation and Applied Science Program in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Among Patras’ team at TSU is Taylor Ribeiro, a third-year Ph.D. student in biological sciences, who is working on the inactivation of bacterial in blue berry-flavored functional beverage. She said it feels good to be working with something that’s in the forefront of technology because “current pasteurization methods are starting to fail us.”

Some members of Dr. Patras’s research team in the Meats Processing Lab at TSU (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“We are starting to see outbreaks left and right. So, to be at the forefront of something that is going to be global pretty soon is a big deal for me,” said Ribeiro, who is from Chesapeake, Virginia. “I am enjoying it. I enjoy working with Dr. Petras and the rest of the team.”

In the second grant, Patras and Co-PI Dr. Hongwei Si will evaluate the cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods. Cytotoxicity of irradiated liquid foods must be evaluated to ensure the novel food processing techniques do not produce cytotoxic chemical compounds.

UV photons can break chemical bonds and could result in modifying compounds in foods. UV disinfection itself is the result of forming dimers (bonds) between adjacent pyrimidines in the nucleic acids of bacteria and viruses. The team aims to evaluate the cytotoxicity against normal colon, blood cells and study the protein expression of these cells. Experiments will be conducted mimicking the human gastric system.

For more information on TSU’s College Agriculture, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Nashville Mayor Extols Verizon Innovative Learning Program with Middle School Students During Visit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirteen-year-old Carlile Burgess wants to one day be a technician at Verizon, and he thinks a summer program at Tennessee State University has opened the door for him.

Nashville Mayor David Briley; and Thomas Francis, Verizon Innovative Learning program coordinator, right, observe students as they work on a program during class. (Photo BY Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“I love technology in general especially with Verizon because I like working with their equipment,” said the 8th grader from Nashville’s East Middle School. “I want to work with them; if they have a crash or something, I can fix it.”

Burgess has big dreams and he is not alone. On Tuesday, he and about 80 other students in grades 6-8 from the Nashville Metro Public Schools got a chance to show Nashville Mayor David Briley new technology they are learning on the TSU campus as part of the Verizon Innovative Learning Program.

The VIL, a partnership between TSU and Verizon, gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.

Eighth-grader Carlile Burgess, middle, and fellow students work on a circuit board. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mayor Briley’s visit allowed him to see students participating in hands-on coursework in virtual reality, augmented reality, 3-D printing, robotics and electronics. He said it was very encouraging to get the students interested early in technology.

“This is clearly a part of the economy that is growing and we need to make sure our young folks are ready to compete,” Briley said. “So, having a partnership between Tennessee State and Verizon and Metro Schools is a great thing to be doing this summer for these young men.”

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, who welcomed the mayor on behalf of TSU President Glenda Glover, said the university was excited to be a part of the training program for the students, he described as future leaders who could one day become TSU Tigers.

About 80 middle school students are participating in the Verizon Innovative Learning program on the Tennessee State University campus during the summer. (Pohto by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We are excited that the mayor can come out to see some of the many great things that are taking place here on our campus with youth from the community who are being developed for future leaders here at Tennessee State,” Johnson said.

Also, on hand to greet the mayor was Dulaney L. O’Roark III, from Verizon Government Affairs. He said Verizon is very proud to sponsor the program.

“It means a lot to bring these young men to really experience cutting-edge technology to be able to envision themselves on a college campus learning about virtual reality, computing and all of the newest innovations,” O’Roark said. “We are really honored that the mayor would come and be a part of the program and express to the young men how supportive he is of them being part of this learning experience.”

According to Verizon, the three-week program for minority male students is intended to prepare them for future tech careers through intensive coursework in design and product development while being mentored by relatable professional STEM role models. The program helps participants acquire technical and soft skills to reach a higher level of academic achievement.  After summer courses are completed,  students will make monthly visits to TSU for STEM education courses and individual mentoring with undergraduate and graduate students.

Thomas Francis, a STEM instructor, is a coordinator of the VIL program at TSU. He said the students are also developing friendships and learning to work together.

“The students are leaning with other students who are like-minded like them and that’s important in learning technology and in putting math and science together,” Thomas said.

For more information on Verizon Innovative Learning program, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/documents/VerizonTSUCampFlyer.pdf

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Receives 11 Nominations For 2019 HBCU Digest Awards

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is a finalist in 11 categories of the 2019 Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ Digest Awards.

The winners will be announced at the ninth annual HBCU Awards ceremony to be held on August 2 at the Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History and Culture in downtown Baltimore. 

TSU is a finalist for University of the Year, and TSU President Glenda Glover is in the running for Female President of the Year.

Other TSU nominations are:

Best Marching Band: Aristocrat of Bands

Best HBCU Choir: New Direction Choir

Best Fine Arts Program: Department of Music

Best Science, Technology, Engineer and Mathematics (STEM) Program: College of Engineering

Best Business Program: Executive MBA Program

Alumna of the Year: Traci Otey Blunt

Female Coach of the Year: Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice

Male Athlete of the Year: Christion Abercrombie

Male Student of the Year: Jailen Leavell

The HBCU Awards is the first and only national awards ceremony honoring individual and institutional achievement at historically black colleges and universities throughout the country. Winners are selected by a panel of previous winners, journalist, HBCU executives, students and alumni for the merit of accomplishment and for generating positive coverage for HBCU campus communities.

Last year, Tennessee State University received awards for “Best Student Organization” and “Alumnus of the Year.”

The year before that, TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands and the university’s College of Engineering received top honors in the HBCU Digest Awards.

In 2015, TSU’s women’s basketball team got Female Team of the Year, and student activities received Best Student Organization.

To see all the 2019 HBCU Awards finalists, visit: https://bit.ly/31JbrRF

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Future Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine Beats the Odds, Grateful to TSU for Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – From the 5th grade, Christian Bond always had an interest in biology and how the human body works

“I remember being in a human anatomy class in the 10th grade and just being fascinated with how the various mechanisms are put in naturally,” says Bond, a top rising senior majoring in biology. “That has always been interesting to me. So, I wanted to further my education in science to understand the biology of the body.”

Christian Bond

And Bond is well on her way.  Her goal is to become a doctor of osteopathic medicine, which focuses on health promotion and disease prevention.

“First, I wanted to be a neurosurgeon or a pediatric doctor, but I know for sure now I want to do osteopathic medicine,” says Bond, a transfer student from Alabama State University. “That is just a more holistic approach on medicine versus prescribing pills and things like that. I want to be able to figure out what other factors play into an illness and other ways to heal.”

At TSU, Bond is a member of the Honors College, with a 4.0 grade point average. She is also a member of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Pre-Med Society, the Golden Key International Honor Society, and Alpha Kappa Mu Honor Society.

The second of three children from Chris and Traci Bond, of Nashville, Christian Bond has had a few bumps in the road that would have derailed some students’ career. But not this Nashville native, a high achieving student all her college years.

The mother of a 6-month-old boy, Bond got pregnant while in her sophomore year at ASU. She came back home for family support and never allowed her pregnancy to hold her back. She enrolled at TSU a few weeks later, and never missed a day of class work.

“It was during my sophomore year while home on spring break when I found out that I was pregnant. I stayed home for three weeks past spring break,” says Bond. “I went back to Alabama State, but right away decided it would be best if I came home for support that would help me further my education because I was halfway there as a sophomore.”

Professors and fellow students are amazed at Christian’s work ethic, sense of ambition and perseverance.

Dr. Tyrone Miller, associate director of the Honors Colleges, teaches an honors leadership class during Maymester, an accelerated summer program that Christian attends. He describes her as a highly responsible and dependable person who stays on top of her work and an example to her fellow students.

“Christian is definitely a thinker, she is thoughtful, and definitely a person who wants and strives to be better,” says Miller. “I think she is setting a great example to the rest of our students and her baby.”

Christian says her family has a long tradition with TSU.

“All of my family from both sides graduated from TSU,” she says. “I have come in contact with professors who really care about my success and really devoted to helping me move to that next level.  Most of my professors let you know about opportunities or societies or organizations on campus to help you stay active. I want to leave a mark here.”

Christian says she looks forward to graduating next May, then on to medical school.

“I have taken full advantage of opportunities here at Tennessee State University and I cannot wait to see where they will take me and my baby,” says the future doctor of osteopathic medicine.

For enrollment and other student success programs at TSU, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/emss/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.