Category Archives: Research and Sponsored Programs

International conference at TSU to focus on ancient crop once grown by Aztecs

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Amaranth is a pseudocereal that researchers say is a food of the future because of its easy cultivation. (Submitted Photo)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU New Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences and the Amaranth Institute are hosting a conference August 3-5 to study amaranth, an ancient crop once grown by the Aztecs.

The three-day event titled “State of the Art in Amaranth Research, Food Utilization and Development,” allows farmers, researchers, educators, health food professionals and industry experts to share the latest research findings and new information about the pseudocereal, which is actually seed from a flowering plant known for its nutrition.

Researchers say the seeds are an excellent source of protein, dietary fiber and minerals. In addition, they are gluten-free but can be milled into flour that will increase the amino acid and vitamin content of baked goods. The grain species of cultivated amaranths are native to Latin America, but vegetable amaranth species can be found in India, China and Africa, especially in places where comparable spinach, collards or lettuce will not grow. The United States started growing grain amaranths in the 1970s and popped amaranth has become a popular cereal in health food stores.

Because of amaranth’s rapid growth, ease of cultivation, and high nutritional value, it has been deemed a “crop of the future,” said TSU Professor Matthew Blair, who organized the event on campus along with Amaranth Institute President Mary Beth Wilson and board members from America to Zimbabwe.

“TSU will be reporting on germplasm screening and the first incidence of root pathogens,” Blair said. “A one-acre field of germplasm will be on display on the TSU farm at its peak-of-growth cycle showing the high yield potential per plant of this amazing C4 crop species.”

Attendees will tour TSU’s germplasm field at 11:30 a.m. Friday, August 5, at the Agricultural Research and Education Center.

“We are pleased to host this timely conference at a time when climate change is real and the world’s temperature rise is felt everywhere,” said TSU-CAHNS Dean Chandra Reddy.

Blair’s graduate, undergraduate, and interning students will speak at the event, including Ranjita Thapa, a fellowship awarded graduate of the University of Bangalore and of TSU. Attendees are also coming from as far away as China, Haiti and Pakistan.

The conference is open to the public. To register, please visit the Amaranth Institute: http://www.amaranthinstitute.org.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Conservation Expert at TSU Small Farm Expo Says US Running Low on Farmable Land; Highlights Critical Role of Small Farmers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A federal conservationist has warned that the United States is running out of farmable agriculture land to grow enough food for its growing population.

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Leonard Jordan

Leonard Jordan, associate chief for Conservation at the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, said the acreage of agriculture land in the U.S. has decreased by 30-35 million acres in the last 30 years while the nation’s population continues to grow.

“This is alarming.” Jordan said. “Anytime there is a growth in the number of people who rely on food and fiber for their survival, and there is less acreage to produce it on, that should be a concern.”

Jordan, a 1977 graduate of Tennessee State University with a B.S. degree in plant and soil science, was the keynote speaker July 21 at the 12th annual Small Farm Expo at TSU’s Agricultural Research and Education Center or “The Farm.”

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From left, Dr. Latin Lighari, associate dean for Cooperative Extension; Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of CAHNS; and Tennessee Commissioner of Agriculture, Jai Templeton, far right, present Mike and Karen Minnis with the Farmer of the Year Award. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

The Expo also recognized the state’s top farmer with the Small Farmer of the Year Award. That honor went to the husband and wife team of Mike and Karen Minnis, crop farmers from Memphis, Tennessee. They were recognized for “Best Management Practices and Innovative Marketing.”

Jordan said with these “alarming statistics,” the nation is depending more on small farmers to fill the gap of growing enough crops for its people.

“Their role is very critical,” he said about small farmers. “The figures tell us that the things that they do in their operations are more important today than they have ever been. You (small farmers) should feel good about what you do each and every day. We owe you more than you ever know,” he said.

TSU President Glenda Glover agreed with Jordan, calling small farmers the “back bone” of America.

“It is very exciting to see this many people here today to celebrate our small farmers,” she said. “Our small farmers are the backbone of America, and it is very important that we take this time to recognize them. I applaud you (the small farmers) for the work that you do and continue to do to not only feed us but to encourage and prepare future farmers. I thank Dean (Chandra) Reddy and the College of Agriculture, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture and all sponsors for your support in making this expo successful.”

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Ashton Kirkpatrick, a seventh-grader from Northeast Middle School in Jackson, left; and Drayton Hawkins, an eleventh-grader from Haywood High School in Memphis, participate in a sustainable living exercise in the Urban Green mobile lab at the expo. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media relations)

More than 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture attended the one-day expo. Busloads of middle and high school students from as far as Jackson and Memphis, Tennessee participated in the event.

The expo featured livestock shows, tractor pulls and tours, traditional agricultural displays and demonstrations, and mobile educational units, including a planting and harvesting simulator, and the Urban Green Lab on sustainable living.

Also on hand was Jai Templeton, who made his first appearance as the new commissioner of agriculture for Tennessee.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, thanked the award winners, small farmers, federal and state agency representatives, sponsors, guests and visitors for their participation.

“This annual Expo, now in its 12th year, is a way for Tennessee State University and our partners on the federal and state levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation,” Reddy said. “We are grateful to Dr. Latif Lighari for his leadership of the Cooperative Extension Program, and his team for ensuring another successful Expo.”

Other farmers receiving awards were: Charles Jordan for “Most Improved Beginning Small Farmer”; and husband and wife team of Jim and Deanna Malooley, for “Best Management Practices.”

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

2016 TSU Small Farm Expo and Farmer of the Year Recognition Expected to Draw More than 400 on July 21

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – About 400 agricultural experts, farmers and officials from across Tennessee and the U.S. Department of Agriculture are expected to attend this year’s Small Farm Expo and Small Farmer of the Year Recognition program at Tennessee State University.

The Expo, hosted by the TSU College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences Cooperative Extension Program, opens on Thursday, July 21 at 8:45 a.m., at the Agricultural Research and Education Center on the main campus.

Sponsors include the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, University of Tennessee Extension, the Tennessee Farm Bureau, Farm Credit of Mid America, the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency and the Farm Services Bureau, among others.

Featured research and activities will focus on organic urban and AA9_1140[1]vertical agriculture, portable livestock fencing, greenhouse gas emission, soybean genomic research, and enhancing plant protection against fungal diseases and environmental stresses. The U.S. Food Modernization Act and its implications for small farmers and restaurant owners will also be discussed, along with updates from the Tennessee Agricultural Enhancement Program, and the USDA Farm Service Agency.

Activities will also include field plot tours, educational workshops, and exhibits of agricultural products, and farming tools and implements.

The Expo will culminate at 12:30 p.m., with the Small Farmer Recognition and Award ceremony that will include the President of TSU, Dr. Glenda Glover; Commissioner of the Tennessee Department of Agriculture, Jai Templeton; the President of the Tennessee Farm Bureau Federation, Dr. Tim Cross; and Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Resources, among others.

More details on the Expo can be found at http://goo.gl/4t31wt.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Statistics Show Promising Future for Psychology Majors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University psychology students should not have too hard a time finding employment after graduation, statistics show.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment of psychologists is expected to grow by 22 percent between 2010 and 2020.

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Andre K. Davis II, a senior psychology major, reviews his research project in the Neuroanatomy Lab in the Department of Psychology at TSU. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Psychology majors develop critical thinking skills, data analysis skills, and a very broad range of skills that a number of professions look for,” said Dr. Kiesa Kelly, professor and chair of the TSU Department of Psychology.

A recent report by the National Center for Education Statistics shows psychology is the fourth most pursued bachelor’s degree among college students.

The report said only business, health professions, and social sciences and history out rank psychology as areas with the most influx of students on the undergraduate level.

At Tennessee State University, for instance, about 300 students are majoring in psychology, the fourth single highest area of concentration for majors at the university. Nearly 50 students graduate from the program each year.

Experts say increased interest in the mental health of children and federal education legislation has influenced students’ interest in psychology.

Particularly at TSU, Kelly said “quality” is a major reason for the mass attraction.

“We have redesigned our program so that it makes our students more competitive both for graduate school and the job market,” she said. “We have excellent faculty with strong research credentials who could be faculty at major research institutions, but because of their commitment to mentoring students, they have chosen to come here.”

Andre K. Davis II is a senior psychology major in TSU’s program.

“I love the program here,” said Davis, a Memphis native. “I give the psyche program a 10 out of 10. When I came here I really didn’t know what I was going to do. But the professors here really truly do everything to help their students. Any opportunity they see, they try to get it for you.”

Kelly said the department seeks out opportunities to ensure students have all the necessary help to make them competitive for graduate work or the job market.

“We really have been working on trying to increase our admission of students into doctoral programs by increasing research opportunities for them,” she said.

Last year, for instance, Kelly said the department received a five-year, $850,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to create the TSU Nerve Program, which helps psychology majors and majors from other disciplines get into doctoral programs in neuroscience.

“Neuroscience is an area within our undergraduate program that we have been building,” Kelly said. “This is one of the directions of psychology as a major and we have been moving in that direction to remain on the cutting edge. As I speak, four of our students are at Princeton for the summer getting their paid neuroscience research experience.”

BestColleges.com has curated a scholarship and financial aid resource for students pursuing a degree in psychology. To get more information, visit: http://www.bestcolleges.com/financial-aid/psychology-scholarships/.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Summer Camps Provide Real-World Educational Experience

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Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU director of Band, instructs students during the Edward S. Graves Summer Band Camp in 2015. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is the place to be for cool summer camps that provide youngsters and incoming college freshmen with real-world educational experience.

The university is offering a variety of camps and programs intended to help participants learn something new, while also spending quality time with top-tier faculty, staff and students.

Summer camp themes and subjects range from science, applied mathematics and engineering, to music, athletics, real-world scientific work, and cutting-edge research.

Youngsters from 5 years on up will participate in early learning, musical and sports camps such as the TSU Women’s Basketball Kids Camp, the Offense Defense Sports Football Camp, and the Community Academy of Music and Arts Piano Camp, among others.

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Dance instructor Princecilla Ridley demonstrates a dance routine to students in the Musical Theater Camp at TSU in 2015. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Overall, more than 2,000 students are expected on the university’s main campus, and its Avon Williams Campus. They range from elementary to college freshmen, some of whom will come from as far away as California and Puerto Rico.

One of the more popular camps is the Academic Boot Camp, a key recruitment tool for the university. Now in its sixth year, the four-week residential program gives incoming freshmen an early introduction to college life. Participants earn college credit toward their major.

The camp offers an academic and college preparedness program, including introduction to college life, public speaking, workshops and technology. Physical and mental development exercises, such as self-discipline, respect for others, good study habits and how to succeed in life, are key components of the program.

“The object of this program is to ensure that students who have already been admitted for the fall semester actually get a jump start on enrollment,” said Dr. John Cade, TSU’s interim  vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services.

He said the retention rate for students who enter the university through the Academic Boot Camp is very high.

“It is about 85 percent, which shows that the program has proven to do what it was designed to do. We have also found out that when those students actually return in the fall, they are better able to navigate the system, many of them become mentors for other students, and many get actively involved in extracurricular activities,” Cade said. The camp runs from June 4 – July 1, 2016.

Another camp favorite is the Summer Apprenticeship Program, or SAP, a science-based initiative for college freshmen and rising high school seniors that exposes them to cutting-edge research. The camp is hosted by the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. It runs from June 13 – July 15, 2016.

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Students weigh a goat as part of their hands-on activity during the Summer Apprenticeship Program last year. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Last year, 21 students from Tennessee, Mississippi, Florida, Indiana and Georgia spent five weeks engaged in studies from understanding the hypersensitive response of tobacco plants, to comparing DNAs in chickens and Guinea fowls. Their finished works were presented as scientific papers and research results to a standing-room only audience of parents, faculty and guests on TSU’s main campus.

William F. Hayslett Sr., coordinator of the SAP, said the objective of the program is to dispel the “myth” that agriculture is farming.

“Our goal here is to make students aware of the academic programs in the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences and the many career opportunities available to its graduates,” he said.

See the following link for a list of all summer camps and programs and contacts.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

A robust job market awaits TSU Class of 2016, as high tech and healthcare positions are in high demand

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As Tennessee State University prepares for one of higher education’s most sacred academic ceremonies, students who will participate in the 2016 Spring Commencement on May 7 may find themselves in a better position at putting their acquired knowledge to work when it’s time to start their careers.

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics provides a positive job outlook for 2016 graduates. The agency points to fast-growing fields such as engineering, nursing, business and information technology, occupational therapy, and accounting as areas for high employment opportunities. Many ofthese thriving industries are seeking ready workers for the knowledge-basedjobs available, and TSU is doing its part to meet work force demands through the successful matriculation of hundreds of students.

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Students in Occupational Therapy work with their professor. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee State University’s Occupational Therapy program started in 1991. The program’s educational goal is to train and prepare students to enter the clinical practice of occupational therapy. As one of the high-growth fields cited by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, students obtaining this degree may see many available opportunities in a variety of work settings, according to TSU’s Debra Smart, an assistant professor in the Department of Occupational Therapy.  

“I believe students will get great fulfillment in the field of occupational therapy because it is so versatile,” Smart said. “They will have the opportunity to work with diverse client populations in medical, educational, and community settings.”

Smart said changes in healthcare have dictated much of how the program has advanced over its 25-years with growing interest from students, which has led to an emergence of new applicants andincreased class sizes.

“Students who pursue this degree are typically employed no more than two months after they complete the program,” she said. “We have recruiters e-mailing us from all over the country looking for qualified graduates.”

According to a survey conducted by the National Association of Colleges and Employers, businesses plan to hire 11 percent more college graduates for U.S. jobs this year than last. NACE further reports that employers have a positive view of the college-hiring market overall with 42 percent of respondents characterizing the job market for the class of 2016 as “very good” or “excellent.” That number is up from two years ago when only 18 percent felt the outlook was positive, said the NACE report.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said engineering still remains one of the most in-demand career occupations for 2016. It has a current workforce of about 2.5 million,with the U.S. producing about 100,000 new engineers annually. The college maintains a reputation of preparing top graduates for careers in a myriad of engineering disciplines.

“As the state’s leading producer of African-American engineers, TSU’s College of Engineering is responding by preparing graduates with leadership skills, technical competency, and the opportunity to complete study abroad experiences to make them more marketable,” Hargrove said. “Our academic and research programs in cyber-security, IT and data sciences, transportation analytics, and network communications continue to prepare graduates for outstanding job opportunities with Fortune 100 companies such as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, and Bank of America.”

U.S. News also supports positive job growth for 2016 through its “100 Best Jobs” list. The news organization places physicians, software developers, nurse practitioners, computer systems analysts and orthodontists among their list of top-ranked occupations.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

National Medical Association President, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, Former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., to give spring commencement addresses at TSU

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The President of the National Medical Association, Dr. Edith P. Mitchell, and Former U.S. Congressman Harold Ford, Jr., will be the keynote speakers at Tennessee State University’s spring commencement ceremonies.

Mitchell, a retired Air Force brigadier general, will speak at 5 p.m. on Friday, May 6, at the graduate commencement in the Gentry Complex. Ford will address the undergraduate class at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 7, in Hale Stadium.

More than 1,300 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines.

“I congratulate all of our graduates and wish them the very best as they enter a new and exciting chapter of their lives,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Commencement is an exciting time for the university because it highlights the academic achievement of our students and the commitment of faculty and staff in their educational and social development. TSU students are prepared to work and serve in the global marketplace.”

Mitchell, a 1969 TSU graduate with a B.S. degree in Biochemistry, is Clinical Professor of Medicine and Medical Oncology, and Program Leader in Gastrointestinal Oncology at Thomas Jefferson University. She is a fellow of the American College of Physicians and a member of the American Medical Association, the National Medical Association, Aerospace Medical Association, Association of Military Surgeons, and the Medical Society of Eastern Pennsylvania.

Last year, she was elected president of the NMA, the nation’s oldest professional society for African-American physicians.

In addition to her medical achievements, the retired brigadier general served as the Air National Guard Assistant to the Command Surgeon for U.S. Transportation Command and Headquarters Air Mobility Command at the Scott Air Force Base in Illinois. In this capacity, she served as the senior medical Air National Guard advisor to the command surgeon and was the medical liaison between the active Air Force and the Air National Guard.

Ford, a five-term former member of Congress from Tennessee, was chair of the Democratic Leadership Council. He served on the Financial Services and Budget Committees and worked to balance the budget and promote free enterprise for the House Blue Dog coalition, the organization that gave then Governor Bill Clinton his start in national politics.

As president, Clinton once referred to Ford as “the walking, living embodiment of where America ought to go in the 21st century.” Ford is a longtime supporter of small and mid-size businesses, as well as a staunch advocate for fiscal and economic reform. Since leaving office in 2007, he continues to work diligently to promote healthy non-partisan debate on today’s most pressing issues.

Currently, Ford serves as a political analyst and contributor for CNBC and MSNBC, and a professor of public policy at the New York University Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

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Matthew Edwards is graduating from TSU with a degree in Agriculture. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Matthew Edwards is among the undergraduates who will receive their degrees on May 7. He said he’s glad TSU invited Mitchell and Ford to speak, and he believes they will inspire students to continue to strive for success beyond college.

As for his experience at TSU, Edwards said the university has faculty and administrators who really care about students’ success. He said TSU officials provided him with resources to overcome some hardships when he transferred from another university, and he encourages high school graduates to consider TSU as an option for getting a higher education.

“They transferred all the credits, made sure everything was set, and provided me with a work-study scholarship,” said Edwards, who is getting a degree in Agriculture. “I went from not having a place to go, to having a place to call home and a nice steady job in an area that I liked.“

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Astronomer Part of Team that Discovers Planet with Eccentric Orbit

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Dr. Gregory Henry

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Dr. Gregory Henry is part of a team of astronomers who have discovered an extrasolar planet scientists say has the most eccentric orbit ever seen.

The new planet is referred to as HD 20782 b and is about 117 light-years from Earth. It appears “elliptical or oblong” as it orbits around its star, astronomers say, which is unlike other planets in the solar system that have nearly circular orbits.

“The planet moves in a nearly flattened ellipse, traveling slowly far from its star and then making a fast and furious slingshot around the star at its closest approach,” Henry said. “At the furthest point in its orbit, the planet is separated from its star by 2.5 times the distance between the sun and Earth.”

At its closest approach, scientists say the new plant ventures as close as 6 percent of the Earth-sun distance, which is much closer than Mercury orbits the sun.

In congratulating Henry and his colleagues, TSU’s director of the Center of Excellence in Information Systems Engineering Management referred to Henry as “the first piece of TSU’s astronomy team.”

“Dr. Henry led an effort to establish the world’s first fully robotic observatory in collaboration with Fairborn Observatory in Southern Arizona,” said Dr. Matthew Muterspaugh, who is also professor of Physics and Astronomy at TSU. “Several of these telescopes were used to monitor the new planet’s host star to characterize the star’s properties and eliminate potential sources of false discovery.”

The team of astronomers, led by Steven Kane of San Francisco State University, say extrasolar planets like HD 20782 b pose “a wealth of questions” for astronomers.

“When we see a planet like this in an eccentric orbit, it can be really hard to explain how it got that way,” Kane said. “It’s kind of like looking at a murder scene, examining blood spatter patterns on the walls. You know something bad has happened, but you need to figure out what caused it.”

This new planetary discovery is just one of many involving TSU in the past.

For more than 25 years, Tennessee State University astronomers have been developing and operating a fleet of robotic telescopes in the mountains of southern Arizona.

In 1999, one of TSU’s robotic telescopes discovered the first transiting (eclipsing) exoplanet, providing the final evidence needed to prove the existence of other planetary systems.

“Our robotic telescopes have played a part in the discovery of over 150 extrasolar planets and planetary systems,” said Henry.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Frances Williams, Distinguished Professor and Administrator, Joins TSU As Associate Dean in College of Engineering

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Dr. Frances Williams

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Frances Williams is the new associate dean for Graduate Studies and Research in the College of Engineering and Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Tennessee State University.

In her new role, Williams will manage the graduate programs, provide oversight and coordinate research grants and contracts, as well as identify and initiate new research opportunities and collaborative partnerships for the college.

Before coming to TSU Williams was a faculty member and director of the Center for Materials Research at Norfolk State University. She also was the director of Norfolk State’s Micro- and Nano-technology Center Cleanroom, a premiere research facility for fabricating micro- and nano-scale devices.

Her research focus is in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling $14 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator. In 2010 she received a U.S. patent for developing a micromachined sensor for monitoring electrochemical deposition.

Williams has received various awards including the 2013 State Council of Higher Education for Virginia Outstanding Faculty Award, the highest faculty award given out by the state. In 2012, she was named an “Emerging Scholar” by Diverse Issues in Higher Education magazine. She also received Norfolk State’s top distinguished faculty award, the University Award of Excellence in 2010.

Williams is a member of several professional societies. She volunteers in various community programs that promote STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education for students from elementary to college age.

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

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Longtime AP Reporter Joins TSU as Director of Media Relations

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Lucas Johnson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Lucas Johnson, a longtime reporter with the Associated Press, has joined the communications team at Tennessee State University as director of Media Relations. He replaces Rick DelaHaya.

“I am very delighted to announce the addition of Lucas Johnson to our staff as the new director of Media Relations,” Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president of University Public Relations and Communications, said. “For more than two decades as a reporter with the Associated Press Lucas has established himself as a capable and respected journalist. I am thrilled to have him join our media department.”

Prior to joining TSU, Johnson worked for 24 years with the AP covering local, state and national news. For the last 10 years he covered the Tennessee General Assembly as a beat reporter. A native of Memphis, Tennessee, Johnson holds a B.A. in journalism from Middle Tennessee State University.

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, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.