Category Archives: RESEARCH

Total solar eclipse could spur interest in astronomy, TSU scientist says

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The total solar eclipse on Aug. 21 could spur new interest in astronomy, said a Tennessee State University scientist.

Dr. Geoffrey Burks is an astronomer and associate professor of physics at TSU. He said the Aug. 21 event is once-in-a-lifetime, but its impact will probably be long lasting, particularly in the minds of youngsters.

“It’s just so rare to be able to see something in your lifetime where the sun is covered up in the middle of the day,” Burks said. “They’ll remember this a long time.”

TSU is having a “Blue and White Solar Eclipse Day Party” to recognize the historic day. Events are planned from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Hale Stadium on TSU’s main campus, and at Avon Williams, the university’s downtown campus. The event at the stadium will include comments from TSU President Glenda Glover, NASA engineer Dr. Virginia Tickles, TSU researchers, as well as performances by TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands. There will also be free food.

Dr. Trinetia Respress, chair of TSU’s Department of Educational Leadership and one of the organizers of the events, said she believes Aug. 21 is a day students in particular will never forget.

“I think it’s something they will enjoy, whether you’re in science, or not in science,” she said.

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.

Typically, there are two solar eclipses each year somewhere on the Earth, but most of the time the very narrow path of the total eclipse is a shadow over the ocean.

The one occurring on Aug. 21 is unique because it crosses the entire United States, and Nashville is the largest city within the entire eclipse’s path.

The last time a total solar eclipse could be seen from Nashville was July 29, 1478, according to NASA. After Aug. 21, the next one visible from Nashville will be on Aug. 16, 2566.

“This is a big thing,” said Willie Moore, a junior civil engineering major at TSU. “I want to make sure I am in the right place to see it.”

Burks said the Aug. 21 eclipse might also draw more attention to astronomy research. At TSU, its research and astronomy professors have received national recognition. The university owns and operates eight robotic telescopes at the Robotic Observatory Center in the mountains of southern Arizona.

In 1999, a team led by TSU astronomer Greg Henry announced the discovery of a shadow of a planet crossing a distant star. The discovery made national and international news, and was lauded by then President Bill Clinton.

“I want America to know about your enormous contributions to research,” Clinton said the following year at a higher education leadership banquet in Washington, D.C. “I want every American to know … Tennessee State astronomers made the world’s first direct detection of a planet orbiting another star.”

Last year, Dr. Henry was part of a team of astronomers who discovered an extrasolar planet scientists say has the most eccentric orbit ever seen.

 

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 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 faculty, staff, students excited about total solar eclipse

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s faculty, staff and students are excited about the opportunity to see the once-in-a-lifetime total solar eclipse on Aug. 21.

“This is a big thing,” said Willie Moore, a junior civil engineering major at TSU. “I want to make sure I am in the right place to see it.”

Astronomers say solar eclipses are not uncommon. There are typically two of them each year somewhere on the Earth, but most of the time the very narrow path of the total eclipse is a shadow over the ocean.

The one occurring on Aug. 21 is unique because it crosses the entire United States, and Nashville is the largest city within the entire eclipse’s path.

The last total solar eclipse visible in Nashville was July 29, 1478, according to NASA. After Aug. 21, the next one that can be seen in Nashville will be on Aug. 16, 2566.

“I am really excited about it,” said Peggy Earnest, chief of staff, Office of Student Affairs at TSU. “We are just privileged. We won’t see this again in the same spot in many more years.”

During a solar eclipse, the moon passes between the sun and Earth and blocks all or part of the sun for up to about three hours, from beginning to end, as viewed from a given location.

On Aug. 21, the partial eclipse (when the moon starts to inch over the sun) begins at 11:58 a.m. The start of the full totality (meaning the sun is completely covered by the moon) in Nashville will begin at 1:27 p.m. and ends approximately 1:29 p.m. The partial eclipse ends at 2:54 p.m.

Viewers are asked to practice safety during the eclipse and not look directly at the sun, except when it is completely blocked during the period of total eclipse, or totality.

 

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 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. 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 scholars engage in critical discussions at inaugural R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference

By K. Dawn Rutledge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students, faculty and administrators represented the university in full force at the first R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference hosted by Vanderbilt University, July 14-16.

The inaugural gathering welcomed more than 160 doctoral students, higher education faculty and P-12 educators from across the country for three days of workshops, panel discussions and networking opportunities. As a partner in the effort, TSU’s School of Graduate Studies and Professional Studies sponsored more than 30 graduate students, faculty members, and administrators to take part in the conference. Title III’s Graduate Student Services program also sponsored five female Ph.D. students in Engineering and Biological Science.

Dr. Lucian Yates, III, Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies, second from left; and Associate Dean, Dr. Alex Sekwat, participate in a discussion at the conference. (Photo by K. Dawn Rutledge, TSU Media Relations)

“I am pleased that the TSU’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies was able to co-sponsor the inaugural R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference at Vanderbilt University,” said Dr. Lucian Yates, III, dean.  This event gathered students, faculty and administrators of color from around the country to discuss issues, problems and how to collaborate on navigating the academy and publishing. The preliminary results were overwhelmingly favorable and participants indicated that it was one of the best conferences they ever attended.”

R.A.C.E., an acronym for Research, Advocacy, Collaboration, and Empowerment, was created by Dr. Donna Y. Ford, a professor at Vanderbilt Peabody, and colleagues, Dr. Michelle Trotman Scott and Dr. Malik S. Henfield in 2013. The R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference provides an outlet for scholars of color to exchange ideas and information, receive advice on publishing, and garner support as they seek to obtain advanced degrees and advance in higher education and P-12 settings.

“Many students are interested in publishing and this conference allowed them to build several relationships and contacts; many tell me they will be publishing really soon,” Yates said. “The currency in our profession are publications and this conference was designed to help students and faculty in the publishing process.”

Along with publishing opportunities, other important topics focused on the challenges that students and faculty face in career advancement as well as navigating and debunking stereotypes, among other critical discussions.

“Attendance at the inaugural R.A.C.E. Mentoring Conference is especially important because it allowed TSU student, administrators, and faculty of color the opportunity to meet other scholars of color from across the county and experience the importance of intellectual flexibility and maturity through academic writing, teaching, and service,” said Dr. Andrea L. Tyler, director of Graduate Student Services and Research Associate for Title III. “In short, the R.A.C.E. Mentoring conference provided a foundation from which to build from and aspire to.”

As a co-sponsor of the conference, TSU joined Vanderbilt in welcoming several institutions, including other HBCUs such as Illinois State University, Howard University, and Texas A&M University, to name a few.

Among other TSU faculty and administrators involved in the conference included Dr. Alex Sekwat, Dr. Stashia Emanuel, Dr. Charles Brown (Public Health), and Dr. Kisha Bryan (Teaching and Learning).

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Small Farm Expo showcases TSU’s nationally recognized research

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 300 agricultural experts, farmers and officials attended Tennessee State University’s Small Farm Expo on Thursday.

Small Farmer of the Year recipient Nicole Riddle. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

In its 13th year, TSU officials say the expo at the Pavilion Agricultural Research and Education Center (The Farm) is a way for the university and its partners on the state and federal levels to recognize the role farmers and agriculture play in the state and the nation.

“We at TSU focus our work to support the small farms and this expo recognizes the outstanding farmers with innovative ideas,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “Also, participants get to see the best field research of TSU scientists and personally meet federal and state Ag leadership.”

Goats in TSU research program. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

The expo featured speakers and agricultural research tours with TSU faculty. Topics ranged from organic agriculture to cattle and goat research, all of which have been recognized nationally.

However, the highlight of the expo was the announcement of the Small Farmer of the Year, which went to Nicole Riddle of Maynardville, Tennessee. Riddle leased 44 acres of her parents’ land and opened her own winery in 2015.

“The Winery at Seven Springs Farm is the most successful new start rural winery in the state of Tennessee,” wrote Area Specialist Charles Morris. “In an unprecedented showing, her wines received five Concordance Gold Medals, including Best of Muscadine, and three Silver Medals at the 2015 Wines of the South Competition.”

Dr. Suresh Sureshwaran, director of the division of community education with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, said TSU’s agricultural research over the years is impressive, particularly its goat research.

Earlier this year, TSU received a $496,328 federal grant to expand its research on goat meat production.

Dexter bull. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Goats are becoming an important new commodity for small farmers,” Sureshwaran said. “But many in the United States don’t know how to produce, or how to sell goat. I think more research is needed, and what Tennessee State is doing is extremely good.”

TSU also has a Dexter cattle-breeding program, the only one of its kind currently in U.S. higher education. The Dexter cattle are being used to assess the potential of small-breed cattle for small-scale beef production.

“We’re hoping people will see that there are alternatives to traditional livestock production,” said Dr. Richard Browning, who heads the Dexter and goat research. “The concept of having a small non-traditional breed like that is something they say might work on their farm. The same with the goats.”

Goat meat served at expo. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

Regardless of the type of research, TSU junior Kayla Sampson, an agriculture science major, said the expo is beneficial because students who attend are able to learn from invited experts and officials.

“It helps broaden our knowledge during the summer,” Sampson said. “So when the school year starts, we’re a step ahead.”

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/index.aspx.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU Graduate and Renowned Harvard Scientist S. Allen Counter Dies at 73

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. S. Allen Counter, a Tennessee State University graduate and renowned Harvard scientist, has died at the age of 73.

Counter, a neurobiologist who joined the Harvard faculty in 1970, died July 12. He is best known for championing the achievements of African American explorer Matthew Henson. He traveled to Greenland, where he found descendants of Henson and fellow polar explorer Robert E. Peary.

Dr. S. Allen Counter receives a gift from TSU President Glenda Glover following his presentation as keynote speaker at the 2013 Annual University Wide Research Symposium. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Born Samuel Allen Counter Jr., in Americus, Georgia on July 8, 1944, Counter grew up near West Palm Beach, Florida.  His father was a business manager and his mother was a nurse.

Counter earned a bachelor’s degree in speech communication and theater from Tennessee State University in 1965. Five years later, he received a doctorate in neurobiology from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. He later obtained another doctorate in medical science from the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.

In 2013, Counter returned to TSU as the keynote speaker at the Annual University Wide Research Symposium.

In his academicwork, Counter, longtime director of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations, branched into ethnographic studies of African descendants around the world and produced award-winning documentaries about isolated populations of former slaves in Ecuador and Suriname (the former Dutch Guiana).

“There is no purer group of Africans in the Western hemisphere than those communities living along the rivers of the Suriname interior,” Counter told New African magazine in 2009. “These people have changed very little in 300 years. In many ways they were more African than many Africans today!”

He was the author of “North Pole Legacy: Black, White and Eskimo,” a book about explorer Henson.

For more information on the life and work of Dr. Counter, go to http://wapo.st/2sUBT9n

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

 

TSU ranked among Top 30 black colleges with highest starting salaries for graduates

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When it comes to earning power, Tennessee State University graduates do very well.

A recent ranking of the average starting salaries for graduates at the nation’s top 30 historically black colleges puts TSU at No. 6.

EDsmart, a nationally recognized publisher of college resources and rankings, published the 2017 ranking.

It shows recent TSU graduates are averaging $48,100 in starting salaries.

Officials at TSU call the ranking “a testament of how valuable an education from TSU is for our students.”

“When students see that they will graduate from this institution with a great projected salary, it makes the decision to attend TSU the obvious choice,” said Charles Jennings, Jr., director of the TSU Career Development Center.

The ranking puts TSU graduates in the top tier of earning potential for people receiving undergraduate degrees in 2017. According to the Society for Human Resource Management, the average starting salaries for all recent graduates in entry-level positions is $49,785, an all-time high.

This upward movement is more good news for TSU officials, who are doing everything possible to ensure students are adequately prepared and given the necessary tools for success in the job market.

Recently, the university received a $2 million career development grant from the United Negro College Fund. The funding will give the university the tools to prepare and ultimately help TSU graduates immediately secure employment.

“We want to make sure that when they graduate, they’ll have jobs,” said Tina Reed, associate director of the career center.

A number of students who graduated from TSU in May had jobs waiting for them. Most of them credited TSU faculty and programs like the university’s career center with motivating them to be successful.

“Having a job after graduation is a blessing,” said 24-year-old Cametria Weatherspoon, who received her degree in electrical engineering. She has a job working in programming at Lockheed Martin’s Space Systems Company in Littleton, Colorado.

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, visit 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

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

 

TSU hosts town hall meeting on mass transit in Nashville area

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University hosted a town hall meeting Thursday evening to discuss mass transit in the Nashville area.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, talks about traffic concerns in Nashville. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Television station WKRN held the meeting in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center to look at the ways Nashvillians are evolving in how they approach their daily commute.

“We’re glad that we were able to partner with Channel 2 to make the community more aware about what needs to be done, and how they can be a part of it,” said Kelli Sharpe, TSU’s assistant vice president of public relations and communications.

Nashville is in the midst of historic growth with dozens of new residents arriving daily, which impacts everyone as they traverse their way around the city to work, home and school, transit experts say.

Topics at the town hall included traffic congestion, expansion of mass transit and a proposal for a light-rail system.

A panel moderated by WKRN’s Bob Mueller provided most of the discussion. On the panel was Nashville Vice Mayor David Briley, State Sen. Bill Ketron, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering.

Hargrove said most Nashville residents believe something needs to be done to address the heavy traffic the city is experiencing, but they also realize that cost is a big factor.

“Generally speaking, the residents of Metropolitan Nashville are in favor of paying more for transportation,” Hargrove said after the meeting. “The question is, what would be the source for paying for that.”

Hargrove said TSU’s College of Engineering is “very engaged in the need to improve transportation.” Over the last several years, he said the College has had in excess of a million dollars in research, primarily funded from the Tennessee Department of Transportation.

He said one project the College is working on looks at traffic safety, and another is exploring ways to optimize the logistics of trucks, or freight, coming in and out of the city.

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

The students’ findings were submitted to the city’s structural engineers and used to determine future use of the bridges.

To see the town hall meeting and stories about mass transit, visit http://wkrn.com/2017/06/29/town-hall-meeting-planes-trains-and-automobiles-at-630-p-m/.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

 

 

TSU has record turnout at Nashville Sounds game, President Glenda Glover throws first pitch

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover threw the first pitch at Wednesday night’s Nashville Sounds game, which had a record college attendance of Big Blue.

TSU President Glenda Glover throws first pitch at Nashville Sounds game. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations))

It was TSU night at First Tennessee Park. Chris Freeman, the Sounds’ director of corporate sales, said TSU sold over 300 tickets, which is the most so far this year for a college or university. Freeman said the closest ticket total was Middle Tennessee State University with 240.

“This is really fantastic for TSU,” Glover said before the game. “To have our own special night, and have record sales.”

TSU alum DaMichael Mclean was among the many Big Blue supporters. McLean said he felt proud to be part of TSU when he saw the university’s section, and all the TSU shirts and hats.

President Glover talks with TSU fans. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“This is a great opportunity to get people out and about to fellowship,” he said.

In addition to Dr. Glover tossing the first pitch, the Commercial Music Ensemble from TSU’s Music Department played pop music from the 1980s, and senior Darien Phillips played a moving rendition of the national anthem on his saxophone.

“It was great playing in front of all the fans; it was a great opportunity,” he said.

The Sounds, who played the Round Rock Express, also gave away a TSU themed Nashville Sounds hat to the first 1,000 fans.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

Faculty, staff giving shines light on TSU, attracts donors

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University officials say faculty and staff giving is attractive to donors outside the institution.

When there’s strong financial support internally, donors are inclined even more to give because they see how much employees value where they work, said Greg Ketteman, prospect researcher with the TSU Foundation.

He said TSU’s College of Engineering recently reached 100 percent giving.

“Donors ask what the giving rate is for insiders and take that into consideration when making their own gift,” Ketteman said. “Being able to say that 100 percent of faculty and staff have given is a powerful statement when raising money from alumni, corporations, and foundations.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, agreed.

“The faculty and staff of the College of Engineering strongly support the leadership of the institution, its college, and more importantly, the students by their contribution to the TSU Foundation,” he said.

TSU student Brandi BeCoats said she appreciates the generosity from TSU’s faculty and staff.

“When people choose to give to the university, what that says to me is that the university is something that’s worth investing in,” said BeCoats, a junior from Nashville.

As of June 19, 2017, Ketteman said 159 TSU faculty and staff have made a donation to TSU, a 31 percent increase over last year. He said this year’s gifts from faculty and staff total $53,043, which is close to last year’s record of $53,565.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU Engineering Students Receive praise for design of Transport Vehicle for Military Special Operations Forces

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Students from TSU’s College of Engineering were praised recently for their design of a special transport vehicle for the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Forces.

They were among students from nine other institutions who competed in the annual University Design Challenge last month at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Nine students and their advisers from the TSU College of Engineering participate in the 2017 Annual University Design Challenge at Arnold Air Force Base in Tullahoma, Tennessee. (Submitted photo)

The three-day competition, organized by the Air Force Research Laboratory, brings together different student teams from around the country to compete for top honors in a task assigned by the AFRL.

Teams were given two semesters to develop, design and build a prototype of their project for the competition that ended April 13.

The physical and mental stress of carrying heavy loads causes significant performance degradation and injury during training and while conducting military operations, according to AFRL officials.

During these missions, operators typically carry more than 100 pounds of gear, and require resupply of mission gear and equipment.

This year, the teams were to design a resupply device that operates manually, or autonomously programmed or controlled, to haul items on rough and unimproved surfaces. The device must be able to carry a minimum 350 pounds of gear, traveling two miles at a speed of 3-25 miles per hour without refueling. It must also be able to traverse narrow paths, climb steps, and navigate over rocks and log gaps.

The TSU student team designed, built and demonstrated an autonomous vehicle that met the required specifications.

“We were really happy with our performance,” said TSU team-member Charles McFadden, a mechanical engineering major, who graduated May 6. “Our team put in a lot of work. It turned out probably better than we thought we could do in that short period of time and the resources given to us.”

He said judges were very happy with the TSU design, calling their team “the best they have had from TSU.”

Dr. Landon Onyebueke, professor of mechanical engineering at Tennessee State, was one of the faculty advisers on the TSU team. He said the students’ performance was above average.

“The project actually was very good for the students,” Onyebueke said. “The design performed very well. They put a lot into it. It was a very good practice for the students.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said the college has maintained a strong partnership with AFRL for more than 20 years that offers internships and helps TSU students conduct major research.

“We remain committed to this partnership and appreciate the support from AFRL, Clarkson Aerospace, and other partners in preparing our engineers for the workforce,” Hargrove said.

Other members of the TSU team were: Antony Currie, electrical engineering; Kevin Scott, electrical engineering; Larry Perdue, electrical engineering; Donald Toohey, mechanical engineering; Michael Winters, mechanical engineering; William Sanders, computer science; Ryan Brisentine, computer science; and Danielle Haik, computer science.

Dr. Fenghui Yao, professor of computer science, was the other TSU student adviser.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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