Category Archives: RESEARCH

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.

More Than 500 Graduates Receive Degrees at Tennessee State University Fall Commencement

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 500 received undergraduate and graduate degrees Dec. 10 when Tennessee State University held its fall commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on the university’s main campus.

Prominent civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump gave the keynote address.

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A participant in the TSU fall 2016 graduation ceremony peruses the commencement program as she waits to receive her degree. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

He told the graduates that with their degrees they have the foundation to chart any course in their lives.

“Many of you graduating today already have solid foundation from your upbringing,” Crump said. “With your graduation today, Tennessee State University has added value to that foundation that will determine your path and success in life.”

Crump is the noted Florida lawyer who represented the families of Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Terence Crutcher in police shooting cases that made headlines around the world. Crump was also an advocate in the Robbie Tolan police brutality U.S. Supreme Court case, as well as the Martin Lee Anderson boot camp death case.

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More than 500 graduates participated in TSU’s fall 2016 commencement in the Howard C. Gentry Complex on Dec. 10. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“You graduates are the very best that we have to offer. You are the hope of your grandfathers and grandmothers,” Crump said. “Like many before you, your are going to face situations you cannot control. But the only thing you can control is your attitude and your perspective at how you are going to address whatever situation you find yourselves in.”

On social justice, he referred to the graduates as “the fortunate ones” with the moral obligation to stem out injustices and abuse in their communities.

“You’re the ones who are going to have the good jobs, you have the education, you have the talent, and if you don’t speak up for our community, if you don’t stand up for our community, if you don’t fight for our community, then who will,” Crump said.

Jeremy Johnson, who received a bachelor’s degree in history and political science, was touched by Crump’s assertion about abuse and injustice.

“His speech is a wake-up call to action,” Johnson said. “There is so much injustice around us everyday but many of us do nothing and behave as if everything is fine.”

TSU President Glenda Glover described Crump’s speech as “thought-provoking and very inspiring.” She congratulated the graduates for their accomplishment.

“You have endured and prepared yourselves to reach this goal which may have seemed unattainable, but you stuck with it,” Dr. Glover said. “You must always remember that you did not accomplish this goal all by yourselves. There were parents, relatives, friends and mentors who helped you along the way. Remember to thank them.”

Ravyn L. Morgan, a criminal justice major, was recognized for graduating summa cum laude, with the highest grade point average. She was presented with the Student Academic Excellence Award for her accomplishment.

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 Master of Science in Nursing Program Ranked No. 2 in the Nation; Highly Qualified Faculty, Flexible Schedule, Low Tuition Cited

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The graduate nursing program at Tennessee State University is among the best in the nation.

top-masters-in-healthcare-administration-best-schools-2016-264x300In a recent survey, the TSU Master of Science in Nursing degree was ranked No. 2 among the 50 Best Graduate Nursing Schools in America.

Top Master’s in Healthcare Administration, which conducted the ranking of 2016 Best Schools, said flexible scheduling, highly qualified faculty, and extremely reasonable tuition were factors that helped TSU to achieve the high ranking.

All of the TSU MSN programs – Family Nursing Practice, Holistic Nursing, and Nursing Education – are offered day and evening on campus, as well as online. Students may also choose to attend part-time or full-time, with an option to attend summer sessions to accelerate their pace.

“We are extremely excited about this high ranking,” said Dr. Maria Revell, director of the TSU MSN program. “It has taken a lot of hard work on the part of faculty, staff and students to get this program to where it is. We are extremely delighted about this national recognition.”

Currently, 314 students are registered in the TSU MSN program, making it one of the largest concentrations and student success programs on campus, Revell said.

The program has a 98 percent job placement rate for those who complete the program, she said.

“We have done course revision, we work closely with students, we have an open door policy, we have faculty who are available, accessible and who work online, and on the phone with students,” Revell said.

Kai-L Cobb will graduate from the program during TSU’s fall commencement on Dec. 10. A registered nurse for five years, she earned her bachelor’s and associate’s degrees in nursing at TSU, following in her mother’s footsteps. She said strong academic offerings and faculty/student relationships are major factors.

“One thing that really makes us successful in this program is our access to faculty,” Cobb said.  “The office visits, after-hour communication and access to my teachers through emails and phone calls, really help me, especially with my work schedule.”

Meaghan White, who will also receive her MSN degree during the fall commencement, said it is a good feeling to say, “ I graduated” from the second best graduate nursing program in the nation.

“That is a wonderful feeling to be able to say that; it’s an awesome feeling,” White added.

The high ranking of the MSN program comes on the heels of another recent major achievement for TSU.

The Wall Street Journal listed the university among its top 10 historically black colleges and universities.

The WSJ/THE College Rankings, which put TSU at No. 10, was released Nov. 21 and used categories such as academic resources and graduate outcomes to determine rankings.

For more information on the TSU MSN program and all other programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

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 Build Wheelchairs for Disabled Canines

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Pugsly the Pug has a new wheelchair.

Born with a spinal deformity that makes it difficult to stay on its feet, the 15-year-old Dutch mastiff has a new lease on life, thanks to a team of occupational and physical therapy students at Tennessee State University.

img_0950-1
The Dog Wheelchair Competition winning team members and their professors are, from left standing, Jake Armstrong, Blaine Martin, Dr. Rita Troxtel and Dr. Karen Coker. Squatting with Pugsly are, left, Reagan Worth and Erica LaFollette. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The students, along with some of their peers from the Art Department, designed a special wheelchair that allows Pugsly to take long strides without wobbling or falling.

Dr. Rita Troxtel, assistant professor of occupational therapy and Pugsly’s owner, organized a wheelchair competition that challenged the students to develop wheelchairs for disabled dogs that are low cost, lightweight and easy to maneuver.

The competition was held Nov. 29 in the university’s Floyd-Payne Student Center. About 80 students and their advisers participated.

They came up with 17 different concepts and designs that were tested on Pugsly before a panel of judges. The winning wheelchair went to Pugsly. Troxtel said the other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities.

A team of two occupational therapy and two physical therapy students came up with the winning design made of PVC pipes, with two big back wheels and two smaller front wheels for turning; a push handle, and stretch fabric with four round openings for the feet.

“Pugsly is grateful for his new wheels,” Troxtel said.

wheelchair-2
Another team of competitors fit Bugsly in their invention, a two-wheeler. (photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Karen Coker, assistant professor of physical therapy and one of the judges, said the winning design “offered ease of getting in with just one person.”

“The fabric is flexible and soft; it won’t poke anywhere, and the wheelchair has a push handle so that the owner won’t have to bend over,” Coker said. “It is the perfect mix.”

Blain Martin, a graduate physical therapy major, was on the winning team. He said the goal was to develop a wheelchair that was easy to use.

“We all collaborated and we had a group message going in,” Martin said. “We met up several times to make sure we were on the same page with our project. It was great teamwork.”

Other winning team members were Reagan Worth, occupational therapy; Jake Armstrong, physical therapy; and Erica LaFollette, occupational therapy.

img_0932-1
The other wheelchairs in the competition will be donated to organizations that specialize in adopting or providing sanctuary for animals with disabilities. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Second-year graduate occupational major Amber Alexander’s team did not win, but she was impressed with the exercise.

“Participating in this competition gave use some real-world exposure to our various disciplines,” she said.

Mike Carter, a Ph.D. physical therapy student, said he enjoyed the teamwork.

“Collaboration was great in our group,” Carter said. “In fact, one of the guys in the group was skilled in making things. He actually has a shop where he builds all kinds of stuff. So this was right up his alley.”

Dr. Hamid Hamidzadeh, head of TSU’s Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Department, lauded organizers for having the competition.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to get hands on experience,” said Hamidzadeh, who was also a judge. “The students will really get the opportunity to go beyond the limit of the classroom.“

Troxtel said the skills the students learned from creating the dog wheelchairs will transfer to developing technology for humans.

“The TSU OT department is considering purchasing a 3D printer to build prosthetic limbs,” she said. “I also plan to hold a competition again next year, but it will focus on building assistive technology for human use.”

For more information on TSU’s various therapy programs in the College of Health Sciences, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/.

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.