Category Archives: College of Engineering

TSU Kicks off Dual Enrollment Program with Apple Smart Technology Partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High school students looking to get an early start on college now have a home at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU Associate Vice President for Smart Technology and Innovation, conducts a coding class at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Submitted Photo)

Through its National Center for Smart Technology, the university has launched a dual enrollment program with three major school districts in the state that offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled in high school.

Participating school districts are Clarksville Montgomery County School System, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Shelby County Schools.

Jalen Driskell and Larry Perry, 12th graders from Shelby County’s Trezevant High School in Memphis, are excited about the opportunity to earn early college credits. The two were among 130 students also from Pearl Cohn High, and Clarksville’s Kenwood High School, who participated in the Apple Coding class last fall as part of the dual enrollment program.

Officials from the TSU Office of Smart Technology and Innovation join faculty and staff of Kenwood High School to kick off the TSU-Apple-Kenwood Coding initiative. (Submitted Photo)

“I learned a lot from the initiative, especially working as a team,” said Driskell, who hopes to major in engineering after high school. “Being enrolled allows me to move ahead in receiving my college credits and to do better with time management.”

For Perry, he said the coding class was a lot of fun and increased his interest in doing more college work.

“Coding allowed me to gain the experience with talking to others versus typing,” he said. “Receiving this college credit allows me to be prepared for my future.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s associate vice president for Smart Technology and Innovation, said with the Apple partnership, TSU has created an amazing opportunity for high school students to start coding and creating.

“All over the state, as well as all over the country, students are interested in coding and creativity,” said Melton. “With this dual enrollment program, it is unique in the fact that students across the state of Tennessee can now embrace the skills of coding and creativity through dual enrollment. We are positioned to provide coding and creativity on site and online, for high school students to have a pathway to our computer science and “Everyone Can Code and Create” curriculums at TSU.”

Dr. Johnnie C. Smith is the executive director of the TSU Dual Enrollment Partnerships. She said students who participate in the program must meet the TSU admission’s requirement. They must be beginning juniors with a GPA of 2.75 or better, and must have recommendations from their principals or guidance counselors to participate. In addition to the Apple coding curriculum, she said the program offers general education courses, as well as engineering and English composition. The courses are offered onsite and online.

“Like all other schools in the state, we are going after courses we know will count in different schools, like general education courses,” Smith said. “We are targeting students within the state of Tennessee. They will gain college credits to get a jump start on college and also use those credits to meet their high school requirements for graduation. We are really excited about the possibility of what this program can do at the institution.”

Some of the teachers whose students participated in the fall 2019 program said it was very beneficial and definitely makes the whole dual enrollment initiative more interesting.

“This program benefited our students by giving them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding and inspired them to create something unique for a problem in their community,” said Abraham Wolfe, a high school AP Physics and Robotics teacher in the Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

Quanita Adams, a high school math teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, said, “The students enrolled in DE Coding this semester have tapped into a world that they may have not experienced elsewhere and produced amazing products in a short time.”

Herbert Vannostrand, a high school computer science teacher with the Shelby County Schools, agreed.

“The Apple Coding curriculum provided my students with a clear, concise, up-to-date and fun program to learn the Swift programming language, as well as bringing relevant up-to-date information about how coding can affect change in their lives,” Vannostrand said. “I recommend this program to any computer science teacher and I am ready to teach the course again next year.”

Dual enrollment is just one of many initiatives undertaken in the last year under the TSU-Apple partnership. 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. To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the HBCU C2 Initiative. 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.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded 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 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.

Hundreds of High School Seniors, Juniors and Parents Review TSU Programs and Offerings During Spring Preview Day

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Atlanta high school senior Trinity Holt has made up her mind for college. She is coming to Tennessee State University to study pre-law, and she plans to play a little golf while she is at it.

Trinity Holt, a graduating senior from Mill Creek High School in Atlanta, will be a freshman at TSU Next fall semester. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I fell in love with TSU after watching the school band play in the Honda Battle of the Bands in Atlanta. It was so nice,” said the Mill Creek High School standout. “I talked to the band members, and even though I was not playing, I felt like I was part of them.”

A competitive golf player since her freshman year, Holt wants to bring her game to TSU. She was among hundreds of high school seniors and juniors from across the country who attended Spring Preview Day at TSU on Nov. 9 to get information on the university’s offerings and programs.

The visitors – from about 15 states including, California, Texas, Michigan, Illinois and Wisconsin – had the opportunity to see the campus, get acquainted with admission processes, and meet with academic departments with displays in Kean Hall. They also interacted with student organization leaders, including Mister TSU and Miss TSU. They toured the campus, as well as took in the Big Blue Tiger Spring Blue & White Football Game in Hale Stadium, with entertainment by the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.

From right, high school senior Le’Kieffer DeBerry, her brother Kanaan, mother Kendra, a TSU alum, niece Mc’Kenzie, and father Dale DeBerry attend Spring Preview Day 2019. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Today was amazing because students from all across the country got the opportunity to see exactly what makes TSU special,” said Terrence Izzard, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Success. “Today was filled with activities for parents and students. We were also blessed to have members of our academic departments on hand to give information about programs, scholarships and internships.”

Earlier in a ceremony in Kean Hall, Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, greeted the visitors on behalf of President Glenda Glover, who was traveling. He directed his comments mainly at parents.

Terrence Izzard, TSU’s Associate Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Success, middle, talks to a family during Spring Preview Day in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I encourage you parents to be excited and to know that those leaders that you brought here today are going to meet leaders that I want you to talk to,” Johnson said. “Drill them about what they are doing here and how that will help your child. We want you to know that TSU is about business and that we are going to take care of your children.”

Katelyn Thompson, president of the student government association, also spoke and introduced the visitors to the various campus organizations.

TSU admissions officials assist visiting students and parents in Kean Hall during Spring Preview Day. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Like Trinity Holt, many students came to Spring Preview ready to make TSU their next home for their college careers, while several others said they were impressed with the reception they received, the programs, as well as the campus and the family atmosphere.

Le’Kieffer DeBerry, from Holly Springs, Mississippi, came with her mother Kendra, a TSU alum,  father Dale, brother Kanaan, and her niece Mc’Kenzie. With a plan to major in pre-med, Le’Kieffer said she is trying to make up her mind after looking at other programs, and she thinks TSU would be a good fit, especially since her mother attended TSU and her grandmother, Eloise Thompson Jackson, was a longtime professor in the dental hygiene program.

“I am not a stranger to TSU. My mother and grandmother always talk a lot at about the programs and the nurturing students receive,” Le’Kieffer said. “I have been seriously thinking about coming here.”

“I definitely think TSU will be a good choice for her,” Kendra DeBerry, who graduated TSU in 1989, added. “I want her to have that HBCU experience. I love TSU. I think the school has a lot to offer.”

Kito Johnson, who also traveled from Rosswell, Georgia, with his son Immanuel, said Spring Preview Day was very encouraging.

“We have looked at quite a few colleges,” he said. “This is the first HBCU we have looked at and am very glad that we came.”

“My experience here was pretty cool,” added Immanuel, who first heard about TSU at a college fair. “After the counselor talked about the school, I decided to come and look at it. I like what I see – a nice campus, nice people and great programs.”

Immanuel wants to major in psychology. He is also interested in the Honors College.

For more information on admission to 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.

Top Houston Student Chooses TSU to Pursue Career in Engineering and Robotics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Freshman Houston-native Paul Johnson, Jr., initially considered studying mechanical engineering at a university closer to his hometown.

All that changed last fall after a chance meeting with Tennessee State University Honors College Interim Dean, Dr. Coreen Jackson.

Johnson, Jr., a freshman mechanical engineering major, says he had just completed a campus visit to Texas A&M University when his father, Paul Johnson, Sr., ran into Jackson and her husband, who happened to be in town for a wedding.

“I already had a slight knowledge of who she was, but after meeting her she told me about the campus, and it caught my attention,” Johnson, Jr., said.

With Jackson’s assistance, the Johnson family scheduled a campus visit, which gave Paul an opportunity to tour Tennessee State and meet with Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering.

Paul Johnson, Jr.

“What I found out about this campus is that there are a whole lot more engineering aspects that I did not anticipate when I was looking into the university,” he said. “I got to see more about the interactions between the faculty and the students themselves, in terms of doing research and improving technology.”

Jackson, who hosted Johnson’s family when they initially visited TSU, says the younger Johnson has a bright future.

“To me he will be the next Jesse Russell,” she said, referring to the famous TSU alum who created the first digital cellular base station and is known as the father of digital cellular technology. “It may not be wireless communications, but it will be some breakthrough in something.”

Johnson, Jr., recalls having a love for engineering as early as preschool.

“When I was in preschool at church, I was the student who was messing with the Lincoln Logs and the plexi toys to make giant cars, toys and robots, and I eventually even started a little league just to have fun with the other students who wanted to build stuff,” he said.

Throughout his four years at Cyprus Woods High School, Johnson, Jr., developed his engineering skills as a member of the Texas Technology Student Association. He also participated in NASA HUNCH, a program that he says allowed him to work directly with NASA officials to help make machine parts for the international space station.

As a member of the Honors College, the 19-year-old budding robotics guru has continued to pursue his engineering passion by joining organizations such as the National Society of Black Engineers (NESBE) and the Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (TLSAMP).

Paul Johnson

In September, Johnson, Jr., joined TSU President Glenda Glover in Washington, DC, along with three other students chosen to participate in the National HBCU Braintrust during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference. Top students from the nation’s historically black colleges and universities participated in the brainstrust.

Upon completion of his undergraduate studies, Johnson plans to pursue a doctorate and ultimately play a leadership role in the robots industry.

“In ten years I want to be part of or in charge of leading the whole robotics industry in terms of the consumer dynamic,” said Johnson, Jr. “There are still lingering fears that people have about dealing with robotics, but they fail to look into how robotics can help people on a grander scale.”

Jackson says she witnessed Johnson’s love for TSU when he provided live music for his classmates during freshman move-in.

“While the parents and freshman where coming in, he took that upright bass and he just serenaded the people,” she said. “He’s just an amazing young man.  He is one young man who is on his way to fulfilling his purpose, and he has found the institution that can take him there.”

For more information about opportunities in the TSU College of Engineering, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

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.

Tennessee State University’s World-Renowned Marching Band to Perform at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ Home Opener

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands will be front and center Sept. 15 when the Atlanta Falcons take to the field in their season home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles.

The marching band has been invited to perform at half-time of the Falcons-Eagles game in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, the second AOB NFL invitation this season. The band will also perform during the half-time show of the Tennessee Titans-San Francisco 49ers game at Nissan Stadium on Oct. 6.

Just a day after performing at the Southern Heritage Classic, the Aristocrat of Bands will be in Atlanta to perform in the half-time show of the Falcons’ home opener against the Philadelphia Eagles in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. (Photo by Lalita Hodge, TSU Media Relations)

For Atlanta native Julien Dooley, a drum major with the AOB, performing in his hometown, especially in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, is special. He knows his family will be thrilled, but he plans on surprising them.

“I have not told anyone yet, but this is just so exciting,” said Dooley, a senior commercial music major and a graduate of Atlanta’s Southwest DeKalb High School, who also plays trombone for the AOB.

“I am a huge fan of the Atlanta Falcons. It is very exciting that the AOB gets the opportunity to perform for the Falcons, which means I get to go back home, something I rarely get to do because of our busy band schedule.”

Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands, said he received the Falcons’ invitation last week, with a choice to perform at any one of their next three home games. The band performs at the Southern Heritage Classic in Memphis between TSU and Jackson State University on Saturday, the day before the Falcons game in Atlanta.

“Our preference was the Sunday after the Southern Heritage Classic. Needless to say, that’s going to be an extremely busy weekend for us again,” he said, noting the band’s back-to-back performances at the John Merritt Classic on Aug. 31 in Nashville, and the Battle of the Bands competition in Houston the following day.

“One thing we learned last week that even after the John Merritt Classic our kids did a great job. We got on the bus and drove 14 hours to Houston. The show in Houston was even better than the one we did Saturday night. So, we know that our kids are performers and they will rise to the occasion.”

McDonald, who previously performed for the Falcons as a high school band leader at Southwest DeKalb  (1999 playoffs – Falcons vs. 49ers) said going to Atlanta is also personal and special.

“That was a huge moment in my career as a young man, and to have that opportunity 20 years later as a college band director, is even more significant,” said McDonald. “This is a market where we get a lot of our band kids from. Majority are from Memphis and West Tennessee, the next largest group – 30 percent – of our kids come from the Atlanta area , and those connections that I have with band directors from Atlanta and the school system are tremendous.”

Sophomore Tiara Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi, plays the French Horn in the AOB. She said the invitation to Atlanta gives band members the chance to play in another NFL arena away from home.

“I am really excited because normally (since she came to TSU) we only perform for our home NFL team – the Titans,” said Thomas, a member of the TSU Honors College, with a 3.9 grade point average. “So, to be invited to a whole other state to showcase our talent, that’s really big.”

The Aristocrat of Bands made global headlines last week when Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to the band. During the halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State at the John Merritt Classic, the AOB included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance the following day at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

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 Aristocrat of Bands Gets Shout Out from Pop Star Lizzo for ‘Truth Hurts’ Medley

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University world famous marching band has done it again.

Lizzo, a rising star topping the charts with her hit “Truth Hurts,” gave a shout out to Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands.

The Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands have performed at major events and places, including the White House for former President Barack Obama and and First Lay Michelle Obama. (Photo by John Cross)

During halftime of TSU’s game against Mississippi Valley State on Aug. 31, the Aristocrat of Bands included Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts” in its medley. They also delivered a repeat performance Sunday at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston, Lizzo’s hometown.

TSU sophomore Paula Rodriquez, also a Houston native, was elated to hear Lizzo call out her school.

“It feels great because I have a sister who went to Grambling and always bragging about Grambling having the best band, but I tell you AOB is doing great getting recognition from all over and now by Lizzo, it is just great,” said Rodriquez, a computer science major. “I am from Houston and Lizzo is also from Houston. It is great to be recognized so far away from home.”

Zack Glover, a junior mechanical engineering major from Atlanta, expressed the same sentiment about his school.

“Lizzo cosigning the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands is a positive direction for the band,” Glover said. “It shows their hard work will be recognized by other hardworking artists, and through her, other stars who did not know about this great band will certainly know now.”

In a note to university administrators, Dr. Reginald McDonald, director of bands, could not hide his excitement.

“Since our performance in Houston this past weekend, we have received a lot of positive social media buzz from the artist Lizzo for our rendition of her song ‘Truth Hurts,’” McDonald said. “I estimate that over 4.7 million people have seen her tribute to the Tennessee State University Aristocrat of Bands.”

A former marching band member and flutist herself, Lizzo tweeted overnight, giving props to TSU, specifically how they incorporated “Truth Hurts” in their medley performance at the National Battle of the Bands in Houston.

“Truth Hurts” has reached to the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 chart.

Lizzo is coming to Nashville on Sept. 30 for a stop on her “I Love You Too” tour at Ryman Auditorium.

The AOB is not new to national or international recognition. They have performed at the White House, at NFL games, and appeared at events and performed with many other big stars.

During the recent NFL Draft in Nashville, the AOB thrilled fans with a performance on ESPN’s “First Take.” Percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Bowl Parade. The AOB performed with country music legend Keith Urban, and performed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Catch the award-winning AOB performing this Saturday at the TSU vs MTSU game in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and on Sept. 14 at the Southern Heritage Classic  in Memphis, Tennessee. 

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.