Category Archives: Uncategorized

$1 Million in 1 month student spotlight

“Giving to the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is important because students perform better when they don’t have to constantly worry about paying their balance. It’s really hard to keep your grades up if you’re stressed about how you are going to pay for school, or if you are going to be able to stay.” – Aspen Gorman, Business Information Systems major
To give to the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign, text “TSU1MIL” to 41444 or visit http://www.tnstate.edu/president/1mil6.aspx

TSU Health Sciences Experts Share Advice For Students, People Concerned About Contracting Coronavirus

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The coronavirus has existed for years, causing people to have respiratory infections, essentially colds.  However, Tennessee State University public health experts say the current outbreak is the result of a new strand, and that researchers are quickly trying to develop an antiviral drug.

TSU experts say students and Middle Tennessee residents can take precautionary measures to minimize their chances of contracting the coronavirus.

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, held an in-depth discussion with students in her Health Conditions In Functions and Disabilities Class about the coronavirus.

“The best protection is to get immunized to what we know. Many people are probably so worried about the coronavirus that they are getting the flu,” she explains.  “When the flu season starts, I always recommend to everyone the flu shot. When your immune system is alert, and it is alerted by the flu shot, other things don’t hit it as hard.”

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that there are 15 persons in the United States who have tested positive for the COVID-19, the official name given to this new coronavirus, which was first detected in Wuhan China. An East Tennessee woman recently tested positive for the coronavirus when she and her husband were about to leave quarantine on a cruise ship off the coast of Japan.

Brenda K. Batts

Brenda K. Batts, assistant professor and director of clinical education at TSU, says they should not be fearful because of the effective quarantining of people who have tested positive for the virus. However, she says there are still preventive measures that can be taken.

“Just really be very cautious about people who have coughs and colds and have high temperatures. If you are experiencing that, get checked by your physician, but don’t expose others or yourself,” Batts says. ”Make sure you use lots of hand washing and sanitizing techniques, such as when you go to gas stations, restaurants or whenever you go anywhere in the public. Keep some hand sanitizer with you and clean your hands very well.”

Coronavris symptoms, which can last from 2-14 days, include runny nose, fever, headache, sore throat, feeling unwell, and cough. To prevent the disease, the CDC recommends: washing hands; avoiding touching eyes, nose, mouth with unwashed hands; avoiding close contact with people who are sick; staying home when sick; covering cough or sneeze with tissue; and cleaning and disinfecting objects and surfaces.

Robyn Hanna, a senior public health major who works as a patient care technician at St. Thomas West Hospital in Nashville, says she’s not concerned about contracting the virus at work because of the thorough precautionary measures they are instructed to take.

“As soon as you walk through the doors, there’s a sign, ‘If you have any of these symptoms, here’s a mask. Put it on.’ It’s at every exit and every entrance,” says Hanna, a Mississippi Gulf Coast native.

“Working on the floors we know people that are diagnosed with diseases.  If they are being tested for it, they still get the precautionary items on the door. All the nurses and doctors and techs are vaccinated.  That’s a must at the hospital.”

Fellow students Joseph Racine and Meleah Haley have varying concerns regarding the disease that recently surfaced in China. Racine works as a car maintenance specialist at the Nashville International Airport when not attending classes. The senior occupational therapy major says he has noticed travelers at the airport wearing personal protective equipment, such as gloves and masks. Racine says he is not afraid of contracting the virus.

“Most of the time that I am dealing with the rental cars that I touch, I have on gloves.  Most of us wear gloves, but the people who don’t, you just kind of let them know, ‘You might want to put on some gloves,’” says Racine.

Haley, a senior health science major with a minor in public health, says she is concerned about the virus, primarily because of her upcoming travel plans.

“I’ll be taking an airplane. I’ll be going to Miami. Everybody knows that’s a place where a lot of people are,” says Haley, a Cincinnati, Ohio, native who is considering wearing a protective mask while flying.  “I am really concerned about that. I’m even concerned about being in the airport and being on the airplane with all these cases of coronavirus.  I don’t feel threatened at the university.  I don’t necessarily feel threatened in the community, but I am definitely going to be alert.”

Dr. Wendelyn Inman, associate professor and interim Masters of Public Health program director at TSU, discussing coronavirus with students. (TSU News Service, Michael McLendon)

Dr. Inman supports wearing a mask while traveling, she says students and professors should understand that wearing masks to class for protection may create suspicion that they have contracted the virus.

“If you wear a mask, it is just as protective for you as the person wearing the mask to keep you from catching something,” she says. “But, if you are on a college campus and you put one on because you are concerned, everybody thinks you have it.”

Batts says students and employees who feel sick should not attend class or visit campus.

“I do think when students or faculty have colds or fevers, and they are coughing, that they should not be coming to campus.  They should be seen to make sure they don’t have any form of that virus,” she says. “Most of the time people transport any type of respiratory virus to the environment by tabletops, instruments, equipment and labs.”

Walretta H. Chandler, TSU’s Student Health Services nurse, says students experiencing flu-like symptoms should visit the university’s health center located in in the Floyd-Payne Campus Center, Kean Hall, Room 304. Students can also call (615) 963-5291 to schedule an appointment.

Visit https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-in-us.html to learn more about the coronavirus. For more information on TSU’s College of Health Sciences, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/health_sciences/

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 $1 Million in 1 Month campaign for scholarships close to goal at halfway mark

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Big Blue spirit is shining through. The university is a little over halfway through its campaign to raise $1 million this month for student scholarships, and it’s already received more than $750,000 in contributions.

“We’re very excited about where we are. Enthusiasm is high!” says Jamie Isabel, a TSU alum and the campaign’s chairman. “I believe we will be well over $1 million once we complete the campaign on Feb. 29.”

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

TSU alum Charles Galbreath of New York City is among the many alumni who have contributed to the campaign.

“It’s important for the students to see that we don’t forget about what their needs are after we leave,’ says Galbreath. “I think that the energy that everyone is coming together with is everything we learned at TSU; that Big Blue spirit, to continue to take care of our school even after we’re gone.”

Fellow TSU alumnae Katrina Kerr of St. Louis, Missouri, agrees.

TSU President Glover pins Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry into the TSU family. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“Every year we have students that need financial means to stay in school, and it’s important for alumni to give back so that our kids can graduate from our esteemed alma mater,” says Kerr, who has also donated to the campaign.  

Senior Jaquice Gross will be graduating from TSU in May. But he says some of his fellow students will not because they had to drop out for lack of funds to stay in school.

“In order for these students to actually make a change in the world, you’ve got to give them the opportunity to do it,” says Gross, a criminal justice major. “Who knows, they might even be the next President. So give them that chance, donate!”

Olivia Bohanon, who also plans to graduate in May, says she understands the importance of having enough money to stay in school.

Graduating seniors Olivia Bohanon and Jaquice Gross say the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is needed to help students succeed. (Submitted photos)

“My family didn’t have the money for my college education, so I depended on scholarships and grants to attend Tennessee State University,” says Bohanon, an English major. “And even if they do have a scholarship or some type of federal aid, sometimes students need a little more to help make ends meet. That’s why the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is so important.”

The campaign to raise $1 Million in 1 Month during Black History Month laid the foundation for the historic partnership between TSU and the National Hockey League’s Nashville Predators. It is the first known partnership between an HBCU and the NHL, and coincides with the league’s Hockey is for Everyone initiative in February. 

The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative, which includes providing TSU students with internships.

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” says Predators President and CEO Sean Henry. 

In addition to the kickoff event with the Nashville Predators, the university has worked to engage the TSU family with various challenges. The Alumni Chapter and Faculty/Staff Challenges were held earlier this month. The Alpha Theta Chapter claimed victory with a contribution of over $16,000. Gifts for the Staff/Faculty Challenge are still being calculated.  

Campaign activities for the rest of the month include TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21, where each Greek organization is asked to donate $50,000; the faith-based community is asked to participate during TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23, along with the Dialing for Dollars telethon that evening; and the TSU College Challenge, the final campaign challenge between the eight academic units Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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.

$1 Million in 1 Month Student Spotlight

“The $1 Million in 1 Month campaign is awesome! It gives students a chance. There are some who will not be walking across the stage graduation day because they had to drop out for a lack of funds. In order for these students to actually make a change in the world, you’ve got to give them the opportunity to do it. Who knows, they might even be the next President. So give them that chance, donate!” – Jaquice Gross, Criminal Justice

To give to the $1 Million in 1 Month campaign, text “TSU1MIL” to 41444 or visit www.tnstate.edu/1million1month

TSU Day at the Capitol a chance for lawmakers to experience university’s excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee lawmakers will once again experience a wave of Tiger Blue at the state Legislature on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

Tennessee State University administrators, faculty, students and alumni will showcase the university’s research and other innovative initiatives at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol.

TSU President Glenda Glover will kick-off the event with a ceremony at 11 a.m. on the eighth floor of the Cordell Hull Building. TSU visitors will have a chance to meet with lawmakers, who will see displays from some of the school’s various colleges and departments, also on the eighth floor.

Robotics, White Dogwood trees, and research presentations will be among the university’s diverse academic offerings.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, says TSU Day at the Capitol is “always an exciting day for TSU.”

“It allows us to display Tennessee’s investment in higher education, and the great things that are happening here at TSU,” says Hargrove.

Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a TSU alum whose district includes the university, agrees.

“With the amount of students that TSU educates every year, it’s important to let legislators know the impact of that TSU education,” says Love. “It’s always good to have universities come and advocate on behalf of themselves, but also have alums come down and validate that their degrees from Tennessee State has caused them to be where they are in their particular field.”

This year, TSU Day at the Capitol takes place during a historic, long-term partnership between the university and the Nashville Predators hockey team to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships, and more.

The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative.

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

A month of campaign activities includes the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU Colleges Challenge Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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, Nashville Predators kickoff ‘$1 Million in 1 Month’ campaign with ‘TSU Night’ at Bridgestone Arena

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands drumline and New Direction Gospel Choir headlined “TSU Night” at Bridgestone Arena on Saturday. The event kicked off a historic, long-term partnership between the university and the Nashville Predators to raise $1 million during Black History Month for student scholarships, and more.

TSU President Glenda Glover talks about campaign in interview before Predators’ game. (Submitted photo)

“This is an exciting night for TSU,” said TSU President Glenda Glover in a live broadcast before the Predators’ game against the Vegas Golden Knights. “This is a time to raise $1 million in one month for our students, our need-based students, our merit-based students. These are amazing students with promising careers, and we need to do our best to help them graduate and go on to make the best contributions to society.”

The choir performed the national anthem, and the drumline entertained Predators’ fans before the game and throughout it.

TSU New Direction Gospel Choir performs national anthem at Predators’s game Saturday night. (Submitted photo)

Fan Kenny Scribner said he saw the Aristocrat of Bands perform at football games and was looking forward to seeing the drumline. He also thinks the partnership between TSU and the Predators is a good idea.

“Anytime you help the students it’s a good deal,” Scribner said.

TSU and the Predators announced their partnership on Thursday. The Predators organization made the first donation to the campaign, as well as an additional $100,000 of in-kind assets to help spread awareness to the initiative.

TSU’s Aristocrat of Bands drumlins performs outside Bridgestone Arena. (Submitted photo)

Money raised from the campaign will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.

The university and the Predators will also work together on providing internships.

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” Predators President and CEO Sean Henry said Thursday. “When you combine two great things – the education of the next generation with our passionate fan base, we know that strong goals seem to be more achievable, and that’s what we are hoping to do with this campaign.”

Nashville Predators promote ways to contribute to campaign. (Submitted photo)

Also Saturday night was the Big Blue Old School Concert hosted by TSU Student Affairs. Portions of the proceeds will go toward the fundraising campaign. 

A month of campaign activities includes the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU Colleges Challenge Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

#TSU1million1month, @TSU1million1month

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 President Glover partners with Nashville Predators to continue advocacy for student funding with “$1 Million in One Month” campaign

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University, under the leadership of President Glenda Glover, has launched an aggressive campaign to raise $1 million in one month for student scholarships beginning February 1, to kick off Black History Month. TSU, Nashville’s only four-year public institution, is teaming up with the Nashville Predators hockey team to help them reach the winning goal.

TSU President Glover pins Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry into the TSU family. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

The funds will provide both merit-based and need-based scholarships for TSU students. Approximately 500 scholarships will be awarded to students in an average amount of $2,000. About 90 percent of TSU students receive some form of financial aid.


Today, the university held a press conference featuring President Glover, the Predators’ leadership and members of the TSU family to share information about the campaign and partnership. 


“Tennessee State University is proud to launch this campaign to give students access to the funds they need to stay in school, graduate, and achieve their dreams,” said President Glover.

TSU PresidentGlover and Predators CEO Sean Henry with campaign committee members. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“Many students are not able to complete their degrees because of financial hardship, so these funds are very important. We’re excited to have the support of the Predators, and we look forward to contributions from our alumni, friends, and the community to support these TSU students, our leaders of tomorrow.”

February also marks the NHL’s  “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative. Predators CEO and President Sean Henry said the team’s partnership with TSU is ideal as the university looks to provide scholarships for deserving students. And he said the organization has long-term plans for the TSU- Predators partnership beyond the $1 Million In 1 Month campaign. 

“With the help of the most passionate fan base in all of sports and the Nashville Predators organization, we are proud to partner with Tennessee State University on this life-changing education initiative,” Henry said. “When you combine two great things – the education of the next generation with our passionate fan base, we know that strong goals seem to be more achievable.”

TSU Board of Trustees student trustee Braxton Simpson talks about importance of campaign for TSU students. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

Jamie Isabel, a TSU alum and chairman of the campaign, said the entire university family can be a part of this historic fundraiser. 

“I said yes immediately to President Glover when she asked me to chair the one million dollar, one month campaign that will provide financial assistance to help students to continue their education,” Isabel said. “It’s one of the most important responsibilities of an alumnus, and that is you give back to students following in our footsteps, and for them to pay it forward when their time comes.” 

TSU National Alumni Association President Joni McReynolds agreed with Isabel. She said she knows firsthand how beneficial the campaign will be because of the requests she receives from students about funding.

TSU and Predators mascots. (Photo by Charles Cook, TSU Media Relations)

“I get calls, I get emails at the beginning of every semester with students asking me as the president of the National Alumni Association, do I have any resources,” McReynolds said. “So I know the campaign will totally benefit the students of Tennessee State University that are needing additional scholarship money.”

TSU junior Joycelyn Barney of Atlanta said she has personally experienced some financial hardships and understands just how important it is to have funds available to help students in need.

“Students come to college to better themselves, to make a difference in their families,” said Barney, a health sciences major. “So it’s really hard when you can’t go, or have to come back home, because you don’t have the money.”

 Dr. Glover is not only a strong advocate for TSU’s students, but also those attending the nation’s other historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs).

 She has a track record of raising millions, in a short amount of time for the institutions.

 As international president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, President Glover has successfully led the sorority in raising one million dollars in one day for two consecutive years as a part of their HBCU for Life: A Call To Action Initiative. The initial funds were disbursed to 32 of the 106 HBCUs to establish an endowment. The second round of the disbursement of funds will take place during the summer to 32 more HBCUs.

TSU cheerleaders provide some spirit. (Photo by CharlesCook, TSU Media Relations)

The $1 Million in 1 Month campaign will officially start February 1, with a slate of activities including a TSU Night with the Predators and the Big Blue Old School Concert that night hosted by TSU Student Affairs. Portions of the proceeds will go toward the fundraising campaign.

A month of activities will include the TSU Alumni Chapter Challenge Feb. 1-7; Faculty/Staff Challenge Feb. 8-14TSU Divine Nine Fraternity and Sorority Challenge Feb. 15-21; TSU Sunday Day of Giving on Feb. 23; and TSU Colleges Challenge Feb. 22-29.  

To donate, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/1million1month or text TSU1MIL to 41444. 

#TSU1million1month, @TSU1million1month

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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 recruits students at Battle of the Bands College Fair, Aristocrat of Bands makes record 9th appearance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recruiters got a chance to talk to some of the nation’s brightest high school students at the Honda Battle of the Bands College Fair in Atlanta on Saturday.

Numerous students stopped to talk to TSU officials who had a booth at the event that was attended by high school students from across the country. For TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, it was a record ninth time that the marching band has been invited to the Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase.  

Aristocrat of Bands performs for 9th time at Honda Battle of the Bands Invitational Showcase. (Submitted photo)

“We are really glad for this recognition our band continues to receive with this record appearance,” said Dr. Reginald McDonald, TSU’s director of bands. “This is a huge recruitment tool for the university because typically at this event, not only do we have people who are extremely fond of HBCU bands, you also have high school kids from all across the nation that attend.”

This time, the band arrived at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium with a newly donated, wrapped 53-foot trailer carrying the members’ equipment.

Named by The Undefeated recently as the Best HBCU Marching Band in America, the AOB joins only the Marching Storm of Prairie View A&M, and the Grambling State University Tiger Marching Band for the most appearances at the Honda Invitational, the nation’s premier showcase for HBCU marching bands.

In addition to the new trailer, the Best Band ranking, and the Honda Invitational, the AOB enjoyed a stellar year of achievements and accolades last year, and is looking forward to even more in 2020.

In April, during the NFL Draft in the Music City, the AOB were featured on the nationally syndicated ESPN sports talk show, First Take, and the band received a shout out from pop star Lizzo for the band’s rendition of her “Truth Hurts” medley. In January, percussionists from the band performed in the Rose Parade. They were also featured performers at the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons’ 2019 home opener.

For more information on the TSU Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 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.

NASA engineers share opportunities with TSU students during campus visit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students learned about opportunities with NASA when Kennedy Space Center engineers visited the campus on Jan. 28.

The engineers provided an informal student Q&A in the Forum of the university’s Floyd Payne Campus Center, and discussed the agency’s Artemis mission and internship opportunities.

TSU senior Tahmadiyya Dawson talks to NASA engineers about opportunities with the agency. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

“With the Artemis program, NASA will land the first woman and next man on the moon by 2024, using innovative technologies to explore more of the lunar surface than ever before,” according to the agency’s website.

Stacie Turner is a NASA engineer, as well as a strategy and collaboration manager with the agency. She said it’s important for young people, especially minorities, to know about the opportunities that are available.

“We think that they are going to be the folks that are going to take over and do the exploring, and the development of all of NASA’s new technology,” said Turner.

TSU senior Tahmadiyya Dawson of Little Rock, Arkansas, said talking to the engineers and learning about the Artemis mission was inspiring.

“This has been very beneficial,” said Dawson, who plans to graduate in May with a degree in chemistry. “They have tons of opportunities. So it makes me happy to know that I can have a job once I graduate.”

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of TSU’s Career Development Center, said the NASA engineers are aware of the talent TSU has to offer.

“They say in 2024 they want to have a female on the moon, and we hope it will be someone from here,” said Duke.  

Last year, more than 200 students in grades K-8 from Davidson County and surrounding areas took part in a NASA-funded, one-day STEM education workshop at Tennessee State University.

Called “Dare to Dream STEM Saturday,” the workshop engaged students in scientific experiments, and engineering design processes, such as robotics, coding, drones, virtual reality, flight simulation and math games.

The TSU College of Education, in partnership with Metro Nashville Public Schools, hosted the workshop under the Minority University Research Education Project, or MUREP, a NASA program at the university.  

For more information about the Tennessee Minority University Research and Education Project at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/murep/about.aspx.

To learn more about NASA’s Artemis program, visit https://www.nasa.gov/specials/artemis/.

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 39 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.

New Nashville Civil Rights Documentary Features TSU Alums

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When Tennessee State University Alum Tanya Coplen Gray approached her high school classmates about producing a short documentary to commemorate their 50th year high school anniversary, Gray had no idea how important the project would become.

“This short film was done as a labor of love.  We did this out of love for one another, and that’s really critical to me, to make sure people understand that is how it got started,” says Gray, who graduated from TSU in 1980 with a bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in sociology. 

Gray, along with her Cameron High School classmates Deborah Majors Bell and Ida Venson Currie, serve as executive producers of  “The Past Is Prologue: The Cameron Class of 1969,” an award-winning documentary that recounts a significant, but largely-forgotten, chapter of Nashville’s civil rights struggle that happened during the late-1960s.

Featured are (l to r)Tanya Coplen Gray, Ola Hudson, Deborah Majors Bell, Ida Venson Currie, Mark Schlicher (Photo Submitted)

The film, which was produced and directed by Nashville filmmaker Mark Schlicher, and co-produced by Lisa Venegas, will air on Nashville Public Television, WNPT Channel 8 Sunday, February 16, at 10:30 p.m., and Wednesday, February 26, at 9:00 p.m..

In spring 1968, during a volatile period for race relations in Nashville and throughout the United States, all-black Cameron high school lost a high-profile basketball tournament game to Stratford, a mostly-white school. A spontaneous protest and scuffles broke out afterward, as many upset Cameron fans believed that the game had been unfairly officiated in favor of Stratford.

In response, school authorities barred Cameron High School from all athletics for an entire year, while Stratford received no sanctions. In response to the punishment, parents, students, and supporters in the community protested, marched in the streets, and enlisted famed civil rights attorney Avon Williams, Jr., to champion their cause in federal court, making it part of his long-running school desegregation lawsuit.

Currie, who secured a bachelor’s degree in English Education from TSU in 1974, says former Cameron Principal O.R. Jackson, marshaled the school’s faculty and staff to find ways for Cameron High School seniors to enjoy their final year in spite of the punishment.

L TO R: Mark Schlicher, student extras, and Shelena Walden at Cameron High School (Photo Submitted)

“He knew we were not going to be coming to the stadium on Friday night for football games. We were not going to be going to the gym in the afternoon for pep rallies prior to the games. So he brought the vision to the teachers, ‘Let’s do something for this senior class because they are hurting in certain areas,’” says Currie, a retired commercial insurance product developer and healthcare manager. “Mr. Jackson made sure we had our pep rally’s on Friday afternoons, even if we didn’t have a game to attend. He also orchestrated our senior class trip to Washington, D.C. during spring break, which served as yet another memorable diversion to the suspension.”

Bell, a graduate of the Metropolitan School of Practical Nursing at Vanderbilt Hospital and a retired licensed practical nurse, says in spite of the security and assurance they received from parents and community members, the unfair punishment left a lasting impression on their class.

“At the time, we were all young. We had no idea what a big deal this was. We lived in a neighborhood where we had a lot of black support, like our parents and our teachers,” says Bell. “Once this happened, that’s when I really found out that I was considered a second class citizen.”

Schlicher says the documentary, which was funded in part by the Metro Nashville Arts Commission THRIVE program, needs to be viewed by a broad audience because of its historical significance.

Featured are (front row, l to r) Aaron Finley, Fletcher Moon, Tamiko Robinson Steele, Shawn Whitsell (back row, l to r) Co-Producer Lisa Venegas, Mark Schlicher, Shanika Gillespie, camera operator Keevan Guy at Seay-Hubbard UMC upstairs meeting room. (Photo Submitted)

“It was an honor to be able to do the 25 or so interviews that were done with class members and with teachers, to learn the story and share it in a way that honored the struggle and the triumph that the Class of ’69 went through and the place they have in the civil rights struggle in Nashville,” says Schlicher, whose work as director or cinematographer has been shown nationally on PBS, the Smithsonian Channel, Lifetime, and TBN.

After receiving rave reviews from classmates following the film’s initial viewing, and subsequently winning “Best of Tennessee” at the 2019 International Black Film Festival, the group realized the film could serve a larger purpose.

“We want to put this documentary in every public library and to be able to hand it to school systems,” says Gray, a retired licensed clinical social worker.

They believe the documentary will spark important conversations about education, policy, neighborhoods and equity, as well as bring awareness.

Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Enoch Fuzz agrees. He plans to air the film at Kingdom Café, located at 2610 Jefferson Street, on February 1, at 8:00 a.m. during One Nashville, a breakfast gathering he initiated two years ago to bring people with resources, information and awareness together to help progressive projects like “The Past Is Prologue” succeed.

Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church Pastor Enoch Fuzz (Photo Submitted)

“I was very touched by the story that these people told, and I know that it could benefit some of the people in Nashville. There are some good people in Nashville who want to understand race relations,” says Fuzz.

He says One Nashville gatherings, which are held every month on first and third Saturdays, have attracted leaders from throughout the city including the mayor, vice mayor, secretary of state, public defender and city council members.  He says some attendees are looking for meaningful projects to support, while others come seeking assistance.

“I was having people call me everyday with different needs, and I said these people need to meet one another. So rather than me meeting with everybody differently everyday, I came up with the concept of getting everyone in the same room,” says Fuzz.  “One Nashville gets people from all over the community in the same room.”

Mary Jackson Owens, the Cameron alum who told Fuzz about the project, hopes the film can garner financial support, so young people can learn about this almost forgotten moment in Nashville’s civil rights struggle.

“It hasn’t been talked about in 50 years. It’s time to have a conversation about it, and tell people about the history,” she says. “A lot of our children don’t know anything about being in an all-black school and the loyalty that we have for Cameron.”

“The Past Is Prologue: The Cameron Class of 1969,” also features TSU alum Ola Hudson and TSU Associate Professor and Head Reference Librarian Fletcher F. Moon.  Hudson, who graduated from TSU with a bachelor’s  degree in Vocational Home Economics in 1951 and a master’s degree in 1953, taught at Cameron High School from 1955 until 1971.  Moon, who portrayed his father, Rev. J.L. Moon, in the documentary, has worked at TSU for 36 years. 

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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 39 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.