Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

Tennessee State University to Begin Construction of Two New Residence Halls in January

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In January, Tennessee State University will begin construction on the first new residence halls on the campus in 23 years.

The State Building Commission recently gave the green light for the six-story, 700-bed facility estimated at $75.3 million. It will be located between Eppse Hall and the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. The new project is part of a number of planned and ongoing constructions, including a new Health Sciences Building, that are changing the landscape at TSU.

TSU President Glenda Glover believes the new residence halls and academic building will play a major role in recruitment efforts.

“The university is undergoing a renaissance of sorts; it began with our new, higher admission standards, and continues with the new construction of the residence halls and Health Sciences Building for prospective students to enjoy and reap the benefits,” Glover said.

“We are proud of our legacy and the current buildings on campus are a part of that legacy. The facilities are the first state-funded construction projects on our campus in 23 years. These are exciting times for the university and our partners.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, agreed that “building the residence halls with the best of technology will help us recruit” new students.

“I am extremely pleased to hear that the university will be able to move forward with the construction of two new residence halls,” McReynolds said.

At last year’s Homecoming, TSU broke grounds for the new residence halls, a new Health Sciences Building, and an Alumni Welcome Center. The Health Sciences Building, currently under construction on the main campus, is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, said construction of the residence halls will last for 18-20 months beginning in January 2020. Prior to that, he said the university will soon begin making modifications in parking that will include groundbreaking activity.

“The facility will require some parking shift,” Johnson said. “The intent is not to lose any parking spaces, but to just relocate those parking spaces to another lot to allow the construction area laydown for the new facility.”

The building will also have a high-tech security infrastructure that gives exclusive access to occupants, he said. Outsiders coming in to use dining facilities on the first floor will not be able to enter living areas.

“Security design in this facility will include elevator lobbies, meaning that occupants will have access through their IDs to be able to access the floor you live on. There will be cameras and monitoring equipment throughout the facility,” Johnson said.

Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association, called construction of the new residence halls “a historic endeavor that will make a big and exciting difference” in student living.

“I am so happy about this news,” Thompson said. “To have them starting the construction this early means the world because I love my university, and to watch it grow with new things is amazing, as new Tigers continue to enroll and leave their mark at TSU.”

TSU’s Dean of Student and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Frank Stevenson, said the new residence will greatly help relieve the university of the growing demand for student campus housing.

‘This will be a state-of-the-art facility that creates a more dynamic student experience,” Stevenson said. “We are tremendously excited about the progress.”

The new residence facility will include an assortment of room types, four dining concepts, a fitness facility, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, spa concept in some bathrooms, and laundry rooms. It will have three towers, and 4,5 and 6-story living areas. Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

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-Apple Coding Initiative Introduces Girls To Coding and STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently partnered with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 6 to 19 from various schools, including McKissack Middle School and HIllsboro High School, had the opportunity to experience coding at a free camp on Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the camp: “We’re proud to team up with @TSUedu and @nc100bwinc to show girls in Nashville how coding can help them realize their dreams. Can’t wait to see where your imaginations take you! “

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, serves as the program director for the coding initiative.

“We were able to introduce these girls to coding in a very fun, active and stimulating way,” she said.  “The students were only supposed to pick one Saturday, but some of the girls came back every Saturday.”

During the camp, participants moved around to different stations where they learned basic coding principles, and “actually coded drones and robots to move and function.”

Melton said because of the success of the camp, her office has received requests from local high schools, as well as schools in Memphis, Clarksville and Shelbyville that hope to explore coding.

“The students went back to their schools and talked to their teachers, and because of that we are now having special sessions for schools,” Melton said.  “We got a call from Hillsboro High School’s parent community where we went on Monday to do ‘Everyone Can Code. Everyone Can Create.’ Antioch is also on board. These are schools that have reached out because of their students to say, ‘Hey, can we have more?  Can we bring students to you, or can you all come to us?”

Students from various schools in Nashville gather for photo following a free coding camp held in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

In July, TSU launched  HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the  HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which partnered with TSU and Apple. She said black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” Johnson said. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Eleven-year-old Genesis Wells, who attends Cresswell Middle Prep School of the Arts, said she found out about the camp from her mother, Ariel Wells, who works at TSU.

Genesis Laniah Wells, a student at Cressell Middle Prep School of the Arts, attended the girls’ coding camp with her mom Ariel Wells, who works at TSU. (Submitted Photo)

“I enjoyed playing in Swift Playgrounds the most and GarageBand,” she said. “I enjoyed Swift Playgrounds because you get to control a character named Bright and make him collect coins, and it makes your brain think a little bit. I enjoyed GarageBand because I got to make beats and I love music, so that’s just a dream for me.”

Wells, who aspires to be a singer, actor and dancer, said she is also considering a career as a pediatrician.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said the camp was also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” said Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the  HBCU C2 Initiative, including visiting every HBCU in Arkansas and meeting with a representative from each HBCU located in Louisiana. Melton said in April 2020 Apple will establish an HBCU Appstore, where HBCUs can share the various apps they have created. 

“If you can dream it, we can design it and we can code it. Everyone is not going to be a coder, but everyone can think and create.,” she said. “We leave every academy with apps that they have designed to address a community, an education or a workforce need.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 Campus Gets Facelift with Home Depot Retool Your School Funding; Student Success, HBCU Excellence Highlighted

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making the most of a $50,000 Home Depot Retool Your School grant it received last spring.
 

TSU students help install electrical fixtures in the amphitheater, as Home Depot production crew members look on. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

On Nov. 15, a large production crew from Home Depot spent the day on the TSU main campus recording student volunteers as they mulched, power washed and installed electrical fixtures in the university amphitheater, the McWherter Circle, and the exterior of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center. The film crew also interviewed TSU President Glenda Glover, and several current and former students, as well as staff and administrators about the benefit of the Retool Your School campaign.

Student volunteers carry out various cleanup activities around campus. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Retool Your School means so much to us and we are very much appreciative to Home Depot,” Glover said. “The need to just fix the school up is a high priority, but funding is not readily available,  as we are busy trying to get money for academic programs and to ensure that buildings are right for the students. Retool your school has allowed our campus to fix some of the broken and neglected areas. The students are really excited.  They volunteered to work. They want to make their campus look beautiful.”

Tennessee State University received  “Campaign of the Year” honors in Home Depot’s Retool Your School HBCU Campus Improvement competition in the spring. This was the first year for the award, which was created to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Retool Your School program.  TSU beat out 60 other institutions for the award.

Desire Wynn, a freshman dental hygiene major, helps pressure wash the amphitheater as part of the Home Depot Retool Your School campaign. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman)

“We are extremely proud to have won this top honor for Campaign of the Year, and are just as proud of our students, staff and alumni that mobilized efforts for TSU to have such a strong showing to get the entire university family involved,” Glover added.

Dwight Oliver, a senior political science major from Memphis, and Desire Wynn, a freshman majoring in dental hygiene, were two of the many student volunteers who mulched plants in the McWherter Circle and helped to pressure wash the amphitheater. They were thankful to Home Depot for the funding and for helping to give their campus a facelift.

A Heme Depot production crew member talks to TSU alum Kolawole Odumade about his HBCU experience. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“This was an amazing experience for me to be involved in helping to make my campus look beautiful,” said Oliver, who also works for Home Depot at the company’s One Hundred Oaks location. “Just to see that my company cares about the community that I live in and go to school in was very touching, and makes me want to give back as an alumnus.”

For Wynn, the Cincinnati, Ohio, native was glad to see her school as a top winner in the Retool Your School campaign, and her fellow students’ willingness to “help clean up our campus.”

“As soon as I heard what this was all about, I jumped in and was happy to see many students joining in,” Wynn said. “Retool Your School is a wonderful idea.”

Marquisia Taylor, project manager of multicultural marketing for Home Depot, was on hand with a team of company executives and workers to make a special presentation to President Glover.

“I am so happy to be here and to congratulate Tennessee State University for being a 2019-2020 Retool Your School grant recipient,” she said. “We just want to continue to support HBCUs by providing funds to help them reinvigorate their campuses and to create something new and exciting that the student body, alums, staff and everyone who is a supporter can rally around. We also congratulate President Glover for her leadership.”

Since 2009, the Retool Your School Program has provided over $2.1 million in campus improvement grants that allow HBCUs to make sustainable improvements to their campuses.

For more information on enrollment 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.

TSU Secures $11.4 Million To Help Provide Families With Better Childcare In Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Child care providers in Tennessee will have the opportunity to receive additional training thanks to a new $11.4 million federal grant secured by Tennessee State University’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences. The university believes better trained daycare providers will mean better daycare services for Tennessee families.

(Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Kimberly Smith, the center’s director, says the grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will allow TSU to continue to serve as the professional development hub for the state as it relates to child development and early childhood training.

“We are expanding our online courses through the Tennessee Child care Online Training System, and we will now be responsible for the state’s workforce registry for all child development professionals who work in the area of childcare across the state,” says Smith.

Tennessee Early Childhood Training Alliance (TECTA), a statewide professional development system that provides assistance for employees at licensed childcare facilities, is funded by Tennessee State University through a contract with the Tennessee Department of Human Services and is housed under the Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences.

Some of the additional courses that will soon be available include: Early Literacy Matters; Eat, Play and Rest; Inclusion; and Brain Development.

“One thing that makes TECTA so unique is that we work with early childhood professionals to strengthen the workforce within the state for childcare. We get to work with the family home providers and the centers, and then we provide funding for students,” adds Smith.

Dr. Kimberly Smith (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

Carmen Davis says without help from TSU’s TECTA program, she
would not have been able to open her three-star childcare company, Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments.

“I was working full-time and going to school, and I couldn’t afford to do both,” says Davis, who started her business in 2007. “TECTA came in to offset the price, which allowed me the opportunity to go and achieve my CDA (Child Development Associate) through their grant and their funding.”

Davis, whose company is licensed to care for seven clients, says she has taken advantage of many of the courses currently offered by TECTA.

“I went through all of the TECTA orientations which were very beneficial because I work with a multi-age group. I went through the infant–toddler training, the preschool training and the administration training, which benefits me as far as my business part,” she says. “I also went through the TECTA Business Administration credential which helped with putting together a portfolio, the taxes part of it, the business sheets part of it and being professional. It took me to another level of professionalism.”

Tonita Robinson’s children have attended Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments since they were six-weeks old. She says her two-year-old and four-year-old have benefited from Davis’ experiences with TECTA.

Carmen Davis, owner of Ms. Carmen’s Precious Moments. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“She does a good job identifying my kids’ triggers,” says Robinson. “She makes sure if my son is acting out, she doesn’t say he’s just acting out. She’s able to say why he was acting out, what she thinks might have caused him to act out, and what we can do to work together to fix it.”

Robinson, who works as a financial advisor at Napier Elementary School, believes the new funding is necessary for child care professionals to provide the best services.

“Everything changes everyday. Nothing stays the same,” she says. “The curriculum changes, and if the childcare provider’s job is to help prepare kids for when they get into school, then they need to have the training that regular teachers in the school system have so they will be on one accord.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and
Sponsored Programs at TSU, credits Smith, TECTA Statewide Program Director Lin Venable and the center’s team approach for TECTA’s success.

“Under Dr. Smith’s leadership, she and her team have grown the center, as well as the funding. In this case, with TECTA receiving a little over $11 million for the year, this is the largest award for TECTA to date,” says Williams.

Shelia Westbrooks, the Middle Tennessee regional advisor for TOPSTAR, says the advisors have found the “most-needed” areas for the new programs and TECTA services in general are rural areas.

“They are not familiar with the program, and if they are, they don’t have internet access,” says Westbrooks, who worked as a licensed childcare provider for more than 20 years. “We try to make sure that we get materials to them to keep them aware of how family child care is changing in the state of Tennessee.”
Westbrooks contends that many rural family care providers don’t know that there is funding available to assist them.

“TECTA helped fund my education. With the fund I got I was able to get my degree and now as an advisor, I work with over 239 providers in the Middle Tennessee Region,” she says. ‘It’s all about higher education and we want them to get their CDA credential and their accreditation credential, and TECTA helps to pay for all of that. A provider who works for themselves may not always have that extra funding, and so TECTA is that bridge to get them where they want to be.”

The Tennessee State University Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences was established in 1984, and began administering the TECTA Program in 1993.

For more information about TECTA, visit tecta.info or call 615-277-1697.

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 College of Education Receives More Than $560,000 US Department of Education Grant for Academic Support Services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Services) – Students in the TSU College of Education will soon receive increased academic support services, thanks to a U.S. Department of Education Title III grant of $569,250.

Dr. Jerri Haynes

The college will use the funding to develop a Global Education Student Support Services Lab intended to increase student learning across the curriculum, as well as hire new career advisors, academic coaches and a program coordinator.

“This is an exciting time for the College of Education,” says Dr. Jerri Haynes, dean of the college and principal investigator for the grant. “Our goal here is to provide support services for students to be successful in their journey to getting their degree.”

With the aim of transforming the existing curriculum lab, Haynes says the Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be student friendly, with 21st century technology. It will streamline services, integrate career planning, and increase retention. The lab will also have kiosks where students can hold one-on-one meetings with advisors, as well as docking and privacy stations where students can relax and read.

Dr. Graham Matthews, Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, teaches Introduction to Early Childhood Education to students who will be among many to benefit from the Global Education Student Support Services Lab. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Advisors and academic coaches in the lab will provide support and mentoring to students who may be struggling with licensure exams, or others who may need career advising on their chosen pathway in education,” she says. “Our psychology department will also benefit greatly, by catering to students who may be struggling academically or need extra help.”

Students in the college are excited about the news. Kayla Dawson, a freshman psychology major and a work-study student in the old curriculum lab, welcomes the new changes.

“I am in this building a lot, and usually with a lot of work to do after class. To have a place with the right resources and to be able to relax and focus, will be a great help,” says Dawson, who is from East St. Louis, Illinois. “I am a technology person, so I am just excited about the kinds of resources that will be available.”

Jaylon Jones, also from East St. Louis and a freshman criminal justice major, agrees.

“The enhancement will definitely be a wonderful thing,” says Jones, also a work-study student in the curriculum lab. “What was here before was great, but most of it was not up-to-date.”

Previously, the curriculum lab consisted of books and reading materials, which have all been removed and are being replaced with more advanced technology that was not available to students.

Debra A. Jackson, director of the COE Curriculum Lab, says the vision for the new lab is for students to be able to come in and take advantage of different media and computer resources that will enhance their learning.

“The dean (Haynes) has talked about the possibility of having kiosks where students can go in and access different things,” says Jackson. “This is a positive change where students can come and create, while being able to access things with technology, as well. I am very excited about these new enhancements.” 

The Global Education Student Support Services Lab will be completed and ready for student use January 2020, according to TSU officials. For more information about TSU’s College of Education, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/coe/

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.

Mitchell Inspires Students at Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Renowned cancer specialist Dr. Edith Peterson Mitchell was the keynote speaker at Tennessee State University’s second annual Dr. Levi Watkins Jr. Lecture Series on Oct. 17.

Peterson is a TSU alumna and member of the university’s Board of Trustees. The event was held during Homecoming week in the Robert N. Murrell Forum on the main campus.

Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson recognized special guests and Malcolm Finally, inaugural president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, introduced Mitchell, who discussed a number of issues with the audience.

They included the decline in cancer mortality rates, the impact of Medicare on cancer disparities, and how specific cancers uniquely affect minority communities.

TSU President Glenda Glover (right) with Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell (left), and Student Government Association President Katelyn Thompson (center) after the Second Annual Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Lecture. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Mitchell also encouraged students to consider careers in health care.

“Blacks in this country make up 3.9 percent of all physicians in this country, and yet in 2013 the census showed that blacks in this country made up 15 percent of the United States population,” said Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general.

The lecture series, a component of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr., Institute, was established to honor Watkins, a 1966 alumnus of TSU and the first African-American to be accepted into and graduate from the Vanderbilt School of Medicine. It features prominent speakers who address areas in health care and STEM to prepare students for the medical field. The late Watkins is known worldwide for being the first surgeon to successfully implant an automatic heart defibrillator in a human patient.

“I tell my students and residents all the time, ‘Don’t forget to look through the rearview mirror and make sure you know what is behind you,’ and we know that Dr. Levi Watkins was there in that rearview mirror for us to get information and be inspired by his work,” she said.

TSU President Glenda Glover and Guest Lecturer and TSU Board of Trustee Member Edith Peterson Mitchell join administrators and special guests for a photo after the unveiling of a display case located on the second floor of the Floyd-Payne Campus Center designed in honor of Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the crowd and explained the purpose of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute.

“He provided a balm that would heal the hearts of men and women.  It’s a balm that will ensure the longevity of lives of men and women,” said Glover. “So he came forth with that balm from Tennessee State University, and now he has passed that on to students for the students to see and understand the value of having a scientific education.” 

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, director of the Dr. Levi Watkins Jr., Institute, presided over the program which concluded with the induction of new students into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, an organization comprised of students who aspire to attend medical school.

“It was a wonderful experience to have a board of trustee member as our guest lecturer,” Sharpe said. “Based upon my input from the students, they enjoyed her talk, and they are all excited about the additional collaboration that may be occurring with her as part of a research proposal that we are partnering with her on right now.”

Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society, shared a brief presentation portraying Watkins, which he delivered prior to the unveiling of a display case designed in Watkin’s honor. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Following the program, the university unveiled a display case on the second floor of the Floyd-Campus Center dedicated to preserving Watkin’s legacy. Prior to the unveiling, Denias Smith, a junior biology major and vice-president of the society, gave a brief presentation, portraying Watkins.

The display includes a portrait of Watkins drawn by TSU Alumnus Brandon Van Leer, a life-size manikin clothed in Watkins medical attire, an automatic heart defibrillator and a video showcasing Watkins when he became the first surgeon to successfully implant the device in 1980.

Students inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society include Jayvonna Gambrell, president, a sophomore biology major; Mariel Liggin, secretary, a junior biology major; and Gelanni Jones, a sophomore biology major.

Students take pledge while being inducted into the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Society. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Other students inducted into the society include Janelle Ariosa, a senior biology major; Kalkidan Bekele, a freshman biology major; Autumn Brunson, a junior biology major; Ashli Earl, a junior biology major; Kristen Wardlow, a freshman; Lauren Graves, a freshman biology major, Larry McNary II, a junior biology major, Mohamed Mohamed, a sophomore chemistry major, Habiba Mwechiwa, a junior biology major, Alanis Onwu, a junior agricultural science major; and Tyree Pitts, a junior biology major.

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 Students Hold Candlelight Vigil for Fallen Classmate

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Rickey Scott had a ready smile and willing hand to help anyone in need. That’s how  Tennessee State University students, faculty, and staff remembered the freshman Monday night at a candlelight vigil.

Students hold hands as they console one another at the vigil for their late schoolmate. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Scott, 19, died Sunday afternoon at a local Nashville hospital from a critical gunshot wound, according to authorities. The case remains under investigation.

Many held hands, while others wiped away tears, as students said prayers and sang songs during the vigil organized by the SGA and Freshmen Class.  TSU’s Amphitheater on the main campus served as the backdrop for the very emotional event. The university was stunned by the sudden death of the engineering major from Ohio, who was just entering his third month as a freshman. Many of the students did not know Scott personally, but attended the vigil to show their support for his family and friends. Others who encountered the spirited young man remembered his smiles, lightheartedness and caring personality.

TSU President Glenda Glover was among university officials at the candlelight vigil. She lamented Scott’s death, expressed sympathy to Scott’s family who attended the ceremony, and thanked the students for coming together to remember their fellow student.

Students join the parents and other family members for a walk across campus following the vigil as a show of solidarity. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“We ask the Almighty God to put his arms around us as a university, a student body to protect us and strengthen this family during this time,” Glover said. “We are heartbroken by this loss and we grieve with Rickey’s family and those who knew him. In times like these, we must come together and support each other as one university community.”

Tiona Williamson, a sophomore majoring in cardiorespiratory care, did not know Scott too well, but fondly remembers talking to him just days before his passing.

“I met him and we had a couple of conversations,” said Williamson, of Jackson, Tennessee. “I didn’t know him personally, but thought he was a really sweet person. He was really nice, cool and laid back. It is so sad what happened to him.”

“He was loved,” one of Scott’s family members added.

 Also speaking at the candlelight vigil were Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association; Mr. TSU Damyr Moore; and Caleb Jarmon, President of the freshman class.

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the vigil was a show of unity among students, especially the freshmen, who wanted to make sure that they came together, to hold hands and to encourage one another.

“This is somewhat of a cloudy day in the Land of Golden Sunshine,” Stevenson said. “We have a Tiger that has fallen and the students have paused to celebrate his life with this vigil.”

Miss Freshman, Ashanti Mitchell, said it was sad to lose a classmate just shortly after starting their college journey.

“We have been here no more than three months and just now starting our first Homecoming and to lose one of our classmates is just unfortunate,” said Mitchell, a biology major from Louisville, Kentucky. “I wish coming together was under a better circumstance. The fact that my class came out and supported even though some of them didn’t even know him, I really appreciate it and I hope that we keep this close bond and be supportive of each other going forward.”

Sunday was the start of Homecoming week at TSU, but Glover assured the gathering of increased TSUPD and Metro police presence to ensure safety due to the expected high traffic on campus. 

Law enforcement is continuing to look into all information, including video surveillance. TSUPD say there was no report of a shooting or suspicious activity on campus prior to receiving the call from Metro police dispatch. They’re still trying to determine exactly where he sustained the fatal injury and a motive. School administrators are asking for the public to come forward with any information that may help in the investigation.

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.

Career Fair Opens Doors to Internships, Employment for TSU Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment and co-op opportunities got a major break on Oct. 2. More than 100 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2019 Fall Career Fair.

TSU student Shaun Anderson, a business administration major, right, talks to Dell representatives at the Career Fair. In the photo are, from left, Bonnie McKissack, Senior Sales Leader; Tiffany C. Perry, Inside Global Sales Manager (TSU alum); Shaheed Whitfield, Recruiter (TSU alum); Elizabeth Casey, Recruiter; and Shelton Cammon, Recruiter. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, engineering, healthcare and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and potential employment opportunities.

Many have scheduled follow-up interviews with students on the TSU campus.

Officials said nearly 500 students attended the all-day fair, organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

Micaih Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, and Oluwatosin Fagbuyi, a graduate student, also in electrical engineering, were among those looking for career opportunities. Mayfield was looking to land an internship, while Fagbuyi, who graduates in May, was looking for a co-op or full-time employment.

Micaiah Mayfield, a junior mechanical engineering major, talks to representative of BWX Technologies. She said she received many positive responses from companies. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

“Everything looks very promising,” said Mayfield, of Nashville, who made several stops, leaving her resume at each point. “A lot of people asked for my resume, they looked over it and asked a lot of questions about my career goals.”

For Fagbuyi, who was very optimistic about landing an opportunity, he said going after companies this early before his May graduation was a good effort.

“I count myself lucky to be able to get this opportunity to attend a career fair,” said Fagbuyi, who received an internship in his undergraduate years as a result of the career fair. “From what I have seen today, I will absolutely get something from it, thanks to the TSU Career Development Center for preparing us.”

Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, said the goal of the fair was to “share some of our amazing students” with these companies and the world.

“We are really excited about these corporations and companies that are here to meet students that TSU produces,” said Stevenson. “It is nice to see them so excited about interacting with our students.”

Major sponsors included General Electric, Altria, LG&E and KU Energy, Humana, Innophos, Inc., and Dell, which was to meet the next day with seven students who received on-the-spot preliminary interviews at the fair. Regions Bank is a standard sponsor. Like many of the other sponsors, hiring TSU students is not new for Dell. At the tech giant’s table during the fair, two of the company representatives and recruiters were TSU graduates, who got their start from the career fair.

Alexander Sellers, Systems Engineering Manager at Boeing, right, who earned two degrees at TSU, received his start from the career fair. He returned as a recruiter and to mentor his young protégés. (Photo by Erynne Davis, TSU Media Relations)

Tiffany C. Perry, inside global sales manager for North America at Dell, earned a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from TSU. She said coming back to her alma mater to recruit is just one way of trying to give back.

“It’s been an awesome day for me,” said Perry. “I am thankful for this opportunity. I am even happier to know that the candidates that came to our table were just incredible, they were prepared and represented TSU well.”

Alexander Sellers, systems engineering manager at Boeing, was one of those representing his company at the fair. He talked about the preparation he received, the importance of the career fair and the excitement to be back on the TSU campus, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the College of Engineering.

Antoinette Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, left, presents a plaque to representatives of GE in appreciation of their support as major sponsor of the career fair. (Photo by Michael McLendon, TSU Media Relations)

“The career fair is integral for any student’s progression,” said Sellers, who was first hired by Lockheed Martin as a result of the career fair. “TSU is going to provide you the foundation of think, work, serve, and your classwork. But you have to get connected, and this is what that is all about.”

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center, said the fair is an opportunity to properly “position our students.”

“We have spent most of the year preparing our students, getting them job ready,” Duke said. “So, at this career fair, it is our opportunity to partner the two (students and companies) together in hopes that we can increase our chances of making sure when our students graduate that they land employment that’s going to match the education that they have received.”

Duke was also glad to see former students and alumni of the career center who return as mentors and recruiters to help their younger protégés prepare for the real world.

“It is just nice to see them giving back to their institution,” she said.

Duke presented each of the major sponsors with a plaque in appreciation of their support to TSU and the Career Development Center.

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

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’s Linda Spears to Serve on State’s Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Team

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has selected TSU’s Linda C. Spears to serve as part of its inaugural Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program.

Spears, the associate vice president for Human Resources, will serve with 14 others on the cohort-based professional development program to cultivate the next generation of enterprise leaders in higher education. She was nominated by TSU President Glenda Glover.

“I am so honored to be nominated by President Glover and to be ultimately selected as a fellow in the inaugural Tennessee Higher Education Leadership and Innovation Fellows program,” Spears said.  “It is such an honor to represent TSU in this leadership development experience.” 

According to a THEC release, Spears and her fellow cohorts  will convene on campuses across the state to learn from experts and build extended networks. The program will facilitate individual development goals through professional assessments, one-on-one executive coaching, and mentoring networks and job shadowing experiences.

Among other responsibilities, the THEC fellows will  facilitate leadership development through self-exploration and skill training; provide  foundational principles of higher education policy and practice for exposure to all aspects of the higher education enterprise; as well as inspire  ideas and cultivate new ways of thinking to shape the emerging paradigm of post-secondary education institutions.

“Addressing the challenges currently facing higher education will require leaders that are steeped in innovation and keenly focused on student success,” said Mike Krause, executive director of THEC.  “This program will help Tennessee develop a cohort of higher education professionals ready to excel in executive positions.”

Spears said although the program is demanding, she hopes to gain more insight into the strategic operations of higher educational institutions to “prepare me for greater service and advancement opportunities.”

An operational improvement advocate throughout her career, Spears has developed a management leadership training program, introduced an electronic personnel action system, and developed many highly effective workflow processes. She hopes to bring that experience of professional development to her new role as a THEC fellow.

“This inaugural class will help to shape the future of this program,” she added. 

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 Plans Spectacular 2019 Homecoming with Stellar Group of Honorees, Grand Marshals, Star Power

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Called a “walking miracle,” HBCU Digest Male Athlete of the Year Christion Abercrombie will be among a stellar group of honorees, grand marshals and star power at this year’s Tennessee State University Homecoming Oct. 13-19.

Under the theme, “Unleash the Pride of the Tiger,” TSU is planning a spectacular weeklong schedule of events that will culminate with the big football matchup between the Tigers and OVC rival Austin Peay State University at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 19.

In keeping with the theme, the university has selected honorees and grand marshals who embody the excellence TSU strives for, especially Abercrombie. The TSU linebacker suffered a severe brain injury Sept. 29, 2018, during a game against Vanderbilt. His remarkable recovery was described as a miracle.

TSU President Glenda Glover called Abercrombie’s “perseverance and incredible spirit” an inspiration to anyone going through adversity. “He is proof that you can make it if you just have faith and believe,” Glover said.

Abercrombie will receive a Special Presidential Recognition from Dr. Glover.

Other honorees are Samuel Abernathy, retired assistant professor and assistant track and field coach with renowned Tigerbelle coach Ed. Temple; Howard Gentry, Criminal Court Clerk for Davidson County and former TSU director of athletics; and Edna Overall, former TSU women’s basketball coach.

Grand marshals for the popular Homecoming parade are: Ola Hudson, retired teacher and administrator with the Metro Nashville Public Schools; Obie McKenzie, senior relationship manager for top investment firm BlackRock; and Donald Whitehead, retired journalist and broadcaster.

“We think our theme this year is befitting of our esteemed grand marshals and honorees who are being lauded,” said Grant Winrow, Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover. “We even have a walking miracle, and that is our very own Christion Abercrombie, who will serve as our Special Presidential Grand Marshal.” 

Besides the game and parade, another major highlight of TSU’s homecoming is the Annual Scholarship Gala, TSU’s signature fundraising event, which will take place on Friday, Oct. 18, at the Music City Center. This year, the gala welcomes back comedian Jonathan Slocumb as the master of ceremony.

“As part of the highly anticipated, annual Homecoming Celebration, the Scholarship Gala is a wonderful opportunity for Tennessee State University to enhance meaningful relationships with alumni, loyal friends and community partners on behalf of our student scholars,” Gala chairs Iris Ramey, Cassandra Griggs and Seanne Wilson said in a statement. “The Gala provides the critical funds necessary to meet the significant need for student scholarships as well as ensure students have access to relevant academic programs that prepares them for an innovative and global marketplace.”

Other Homecoming activities this year include the Coronation of Mr. TSU and Miss TSU on Oct. 16; the Breakfast of Champions, the Charles Campbell Fish Fry, and the National Pan-Hellenic Step Show on Oct. 18; and the legendary Homecoming Parade on Oct. 19.

The parade will be from 14th and Jefferson Street to 33rd and John Merritt Boulevard.

For more information on Homecoming, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/alumni/homecoming/

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.