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TSU Student Dreams Taking Flight

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Ivana Page, the only female at Tennessee State University majoring in aeronautical and industrial technology, has decided to go where few women have had the opportunity to go… in search of a career in the cockpit of a major airliner.

In September 2010 Page, who grew up in Belleville, Ill., a small suburban town outside of St. Louis, Mo., visited the University for the first time as part of an HBCU tour group sponsored by Senator James Clayborne from her hometown. “When I got here I knew that TSU was the school for me because it just felt right in my spirit, I knew that I had a purpose to fulfill here,” said Page. “Although I was offered many scholarships from other universities I choose TSU because as soon as I stepped on the campus and got a ray of that ‘golden sunshine’ I knew that this was the place for me.”

Now in her sophomore year, Page selected the program in preparation to live out goals she sets with the encouragement of her mother. “My mother told me that I could do anything I put my mind to and I thought, why not shoot for the stars,” said Page. “I wanted to go as high as I could go, and I decided that the only way to do that was to touch the sky with the tip of an airplanes nose”, she added.

Page has charted a career course that women have had difficulty navigating, primarily because so few opportunities are afforded them.  According to a 2011 news report from CNN, of the 53,000 members of the Air Line Pilots Association, which represents pilots at major and regional carriers in the United States and Canada, only about 5 percent are women. According to the International Society of Women Airline Pilots, only about 450 women worldwide are airline captains — pilots in command who supervise all the other crewmembers on a flight.

However, Page is optimistic about her future and the future enrollment of female students in the aeronautical programs at TSU. “If we continue to encourage and recruit females to try careers in this area I believe the numbers will increase”, said Page. “But it will not be done without a lot of hard work, inspiration, and reassurance from the college.”

Page’s long-term plans include graduate school, private and commercial pilot license with the ultimate goal of being a commercial pilot. But she also has plans to increase the number of women prepared for careers as pilots.  “I want to open a flight school to encourage young girls, especially young minority girls to fly,” she said. “I would like to teach them that becoming a pilot is as good of a career choice as becoming a nurse and that they should be encouraged to look into the aeronautical and industrial technology sector when choosing a career.”

She has applied for scholarships, internships and fellowships with NASA and believes her career choice is the best.  “You learn so much about the world around you when pursuing this career, it’s engineering in every form and you get bits of every discipline mechanical, computer, electrical, and even metrology”, she said. “It’s the best of all the STEM disciplines and you get the knowledge that you can say you will be doing something upon graduating that will be larger-than-life”.

Currently, Page is working towards her pilot’s license at the Scott Air Force Base Aero club.

TSU Aeronautical Program Receives Donation from MNAA

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Department of Aeronautical and Industrial Technology was one of four education partners to receive a donation from the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority today to foster and promote aviation education within the community.

Along with Tennessee State University, Board Vice Chairwoman Juli Mosley also presented checks totaling $30,400 to McGovock High School, Middle Tennessee State University, and Volunteer State Community College.

“The Authority strives to provide the Nashville Airports Experience to our passengers and partners, which includes a long-time commitment to fostering local students’ interest in the aviation industry,” said Raul Regalado, MNAA president and CEO. “Over the past 16 years, the MNAA, along with generous community support, has contributed nearly $1 million in support of education initiatives. We are honored to play a role in encouraging our community’s students to expand their horizons through aerospace administration, EMT and the aviation and transportation industries.”

At TSU, the donations will be used for student scholarships, according to Dr. William Anneseley, professor and department head, and will make it possible for several aviation students to take another step closer to fulfilling their aviation dream.

“The aviation career field is viewed as expensive and difficult for minorities to gain entrance,” said Dr. Anneseley.  “Of the 71,000 commercial pilots in the United States, 674 are African American (less than 1 percent) and only 14 are African American women.  It is painfully obvious that more resources (scholarships, infrastructure, and outreach) are needed to attract and retain minority students into this exciting and expanding career field.”

“With that thought in mind, I would like to acknowledge and thank the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority for their generous gift to Tennessee State University’s MNAA Endowment fund.”

The donated funds presented to McGavock High School will be used for the Academy of Aviation and Transportation. MTSU will use the funds for the MNAA Endowment that provides scholarships to Aerospace Administration students, while Volunteer State Community College will use the funds for the MNAA Endowment that provides scholarships and training for Emergency Medical Technician students.

The donations represent one component of the MNAA’s ongoing efforts to foster and promote aviation education within the community. The proceeds benefiting this year’s schools were raised from participants at MNAA’s 16th Annual Aviation Classic Golf Tournament held in 2011.

TSU Partners with Metro Schools to create STEM hub

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Metro Nashville Public Schools has been named a leader in the state- wide effort to prepare young people for STEM-related careers, one of the fastest growing business sectors in the world.

Demonstrating the new leadership role, Stratford STEM Magnet High School recently hosted Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam and Education Commissioner Kevin Huffman as they announced three new Tennessee schools focused on Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) in Hamilton, Putnam and Sullivan counties.

The district was previously awarded $850,000 by the Tennessee Department of Education to develop and implement a Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub. The Hub will support student learning through engaging and rigorous STEM instruction, engage adults in a professional learning community; and create a network of community partners who will help develop or accelerate innovative strategies for regional STEM initiatives.

One of the community partners includes Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering. The college is now focused on helping Stratford STEM Magnet High School develop a computer simulation and gaming laboratory.  With academic tracks in science and engineering, Stratford students can now pursue career pathways in national security, computer simulation and gaming, automotive operations and green technology.

“We believe it is important for higher education to be engaged in the promotion of STEM careers, and support K-12 as feeders to our academic programs,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering at TSU. “It is crucial to U.S. competitiveness and preparing a workforce for tomorrow.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Sharon Matthews, Academy Coach at TSU, a task force was developed to provide expertise on designing the laboratory of hardware and software, and assisting with the curriculum.

Dr. Hargrove, along with Dr. Sachin Shetty, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering, serves on the Task Force for the integration of the simulation game and the design of the new laboratory. The Task Force also includes Lipscomb University and industry representatives.

A TSU-Rowan University project will also provide training for Stratford teachers in gaming and simulation from a grant from the National Science Foundation.

In the fall of 2011, Metro Schools became the first district in Tennessee to offer a K-12 STEM continuum. Hattie Cotton STEM Magnet Elementary, Bailey STEM Magnet Middle, Isaac Litton Middle, and Stratford STEM Magnet High opened as result of a $12 million Magnet School Assistance Program Grant. These magnet programs, along with the Academies of Nashville, were key to the selection of Metro Schools to lead the development of The Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub.

The Hub will foster collaboration and conversation between public schools, STEM businesses, and higher education to identify the needs of each partner and find innovative ways to fulfill those needs. The ideas and opportunities will be shared throughout middle Tennessee and strategically connected to the Tennessee STEM Innovation network, a statewide collaboration aimed at increasing STEM education and opportunities for our youth.

The Hub has an extensive list of partners who will be key to helping the Hub reach its goals. The existing partners are well respected throughout middle Tennessee and the global STEM community.

Along with Tennessee State University, they include:

  • Vanderbilt University, Center for Science Outreach
  • Lipscomb University
  • Fisk University
  • Nashville State Community College
  • Volunteer State Community College
  • Tennessee Tech University
  • Austin Peay State University
  • Middle Tennessee State University
  • Robertson County Schools
  • Cheatham County Schools
  • Alignment Nashville
  • PENCIL Foundation
  • Hospital Corporation of America
  • Deloitte Services LP
  • Ford Motor Company Fund
  • Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce
  • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publisher
  • Adventure Science Center
  • ACE Mentor Program of America, Inc.
  • Vanderbilt Dyer Observatory
  • Tennessee Engineering Foundation
  • Nashville Branch, American Society of Civil Engineers
  • (NB-ASCE)
  • Tennessee Business Roundtable
  • Geospatial Learning Model

“The aim of the STEM Innovation Hub is to create a forum for public schools, higher education, and the business community to share needs, ideas and best practices,” said Dr. Vicki Metzgar. “STEM-related jobs are among the fastest growing in the country, and we are not training nearly enough students to fill these positions. We need to take advantage of the wonderful STEM resources throughout our region and help our young people graduate with the skills and certifications that the ever-expanding STEM industry needs.”

College of Engineering Collaborates with Stratford STEM Magnet High School to Develop Laboratory

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –The College of Engineering and Technology at Tennessee State University continues to build awareness around STEM programs in Metro Public Schools. The college is now focused on helping Stratford STEM Magnet High School develop a computer simulation and gaming laboratory.  With academic tracks in science and engineering, Stratford students can now pursue career pathways in national security, computer simulation and gaming, automotive operations and green technology.

“Virtual Reality Systems is one of 14 engineering challenges promoted by the National Academy of Engineering to improve our quality of life,” said Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering and Technology at TSU.  “Simulation and gaming systems can be used for training, education and cognitive development that excites students about STEM occupations and provide a learning experience that prepares them for future employment opportunities.”

Under the leadership of Dr. Sharon Matthews, Academy Coach at TSU, a task force was developed to provide expertise on designing the laboratory of hardware and software, and assisting with the curriculum. Dr. Sachin Shetty, Assistant Professor of Electrical & Computer Engineering, is the principal investigator of a National Science Foundation (NSF) project to develop a virtual reality game to encourage more high school students into careers in engineering.  In this NSF funded project, the team designed and implemented a virtual reality game system that infuses cyberinfrastructure (CI) learning experiences into the technology based high schools to promote metacognition for science and engineering design in context.

The CI features metacognitive strategies, context-oriented approaches as well as their seamless integration in the game system are elaborated in detail through two game modules, Power Ville and Stability. Both games involve students in the process of decision-making that contributes to different aspects of city infrastructures (energy and transportation). The project is in collaboration with College of Engineering at Rowan University and Educational Information and Resource Center (EIRC).

Dr. Hargrove serves on the Task Force for the integration of the simulation game at Stratford, and the design of the new laboratory.  The Task Force also includes Lipscomb University and industry representatives.  The TSU-Rowan University project will also provide training for Stratford teachers in gaming and simulation.

Tennessee State University Conducting Research with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Look! In the air, is it a bird or a plane? If you are near the campus of Tennessee State University chances are what you see is a TSU Unmanned Aerial Vehicle from the college of engineering.

Since 2006 Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering and Computer Science has been involved in research to detect moving targets from aerial vehicles.

Specifically, students are conducting research in the area of Automatic Target Recognition (ATR) project funded by the U. S. Air Force Research Laboratory under the Minority Leadership Program (MLP).

The primary objective of the research is to develop real-time algorithms for detecting moving targets, identifying targets and tracking in cluttered environments. TSU’s research is led by Dr. Fenghui Yao, professor in the department of computer science, and Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean in the college of engineering.

“Both undergraduate and graduate students in engineering have an opportunity to take part in the research project,” said Dr. Yao. “Our intent is to expose as many students as possible to the research. The students can learn how to develop these technologies and apply them to corresponding fields.”

On clear days professor Yao, along with electrical engineering professor Saleh Zein-Sabatto, can be seen with students conducting test flights around campus by flying a small research helicopter. The XR-20 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV), the helicopter equipped with a moving sensor platform containing a camera with tilt, zoom and pan capabilities is used to generate the aerial video data for the development and evaluation of the real-time target detection and tracking algorithms.

The technology, when fully developed, will have several objectives including moving-object detection.  In addition, the UAV must avoid detecting non-stationary background objectives such as moving leaves, rain, snow, and shadows caused by moving objects.

According to Dr. Yao, perfection of these objectives will give the UAV technology a wide range of applications and not just the stereotypical wartime spy use usually associated with surveillance technology.

“This technology has wide application areas besides battlefield application,” Yao said. “The UAV can be used as border control,

College of Engineering receives AF grant for Cyber-Security

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) –The need to protect and secure cyberspace for U.S. military and consumer use will continue to be a major challenge in the future.  In response to this need, the College of Engineering at Tennessee State University is aggressively pursuing research opportunities to support and provide solutions to industry and government.

Cloud Computing Security research at Tennessee State University will get a significant boost thanks to a $616, 278 grant from Air Force Office of Scientific Research. The goal of the project is to enable development of novel security methods to ensure protection of vast amounts of information in cloud computing platforms.  The research activities will include development of new approaches for intrusion detection, active response and recovery from attacks on the cloud.

The project will be a joint effort between TSU and Pennsylvania State University. The team, led by Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean of the College of Engineering, includes Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and Dr. Peng Liu, professor of Information Sciences and Technology at PSU.

“The Air Force is extensively adopting the cloud computing infrastructure to improve information technology efficiency, reduce costs and provide a standard platform for delivering government services,” said Malkani. “The development of a secure cloud computing infrastructure is capable of supporting defense and intelligence networks.”

According to Shetty, cloud-computing services are gaining universal acceptance. “Computer users probably already utilize a ‘cloud’ in some form or another while browsing the web, checking e-mail, or backing up files,” he said. “Security of these cloud-based services is unproven and we are currently unaware of the level of protection of our data in the cloud.”

The grant will also fund a large cloud computing datacenter to conduct the research activities. The datacenter will contain 50 compute nodes, each with quad-core Intel Xeon X5550 processors running at 2.66 GHz, providing a total of a 200 cores. The datacenter will also serve as an experimental test bed for undergraduate and graduate students to enhance the quality of their senior design projects, theses and dissertations.

“This research thrust area is one of four areas that support the future TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, to open this semester in the Research & Sponsored Programs building,” said S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering.

The mission of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research is to manage the discovery and initial development of the leading edge of research while identifying potential new concepts and opportunities that will serve the Air Force in the future. To accomplish this role, AFOSR focuses the basic research community (government, academia and industry), including numerous Nobel Laureates, on the vital task of supporting Air Force warfighter requirements. Basic research provides the essential foundation for technology development and systems acquisition.

TSU’s Avian Hughes Named BEYA STEM Award Winner

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Avian Hughes has been selected as a Black Engineer of the Year Award’s STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) student-athlete award winner last week.

Hughes, a member of the TSU track & field program, holds a 3.10 GPA with a major in Electrical Engineering. He has been a three-year letter winner for the Flying Tigers track & field team and a member of the Air Force ROTC program.

“Avian is a great example of what being a college student is all about,” noted TSU Assistant Athletic Director for Academic Services, Dr. Johnnie Smith.  “For a young man to balance academics, athletics and Air Force ROTC, and excel in all three, he is truly the epitome of excellence.  I am so proud of Avian and I salute him on this national achievement.”

A native of San Antonio, Texas, Hughes claimed All-Conference accolades during his freshman campaign in the long jump. Hughes primarily focuses in the long jump and triple jump.

His best triple jump mark this season came with a distance of 13.57-meters at the UNC Dick Taylor Invitational. Hughes also leapt 7.04m in the long jump at the Dick Taylor Invitational.

“First of all congratulations to Avian for being an outstanding student-athlete,” said TSU Track & Field Director Chandra Cheeseborough-Guice. “He is really dedicated on what he does on the track and it shows in the classroom as well.”

Hughes will join fellow TSU student Samba Fall, who has also been selected to receive a BEYA Award and both will be recognized at the Student Leadership Awards Dinner during the 26th annual BEYA STEM Global Competitiveness Conference in Philadelphia, on Friday, Feb. 17.

Tennessee State University Student Wins Engineering Research Award

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University junior Samba Fall has been selected as a Research Award Winner at the 2012 Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) leadership conference.

The Black Engineer of the Year Awards (BEYA) leadership conference is held annually to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of minority STEM professionals worldwide.  Last year, BEYA started The Student Leadership and Scholarship Awards Dinner, which recognizes young men and women who have gone above and beyond their commitment to their education in science, technology, engineering or math.

STEM students are nominated in the categories of Leadership, Research, Community Service and Student Athlete. The awards recognize the contributions of STEM students in academics as well community.

Kevin Williams, coordinator of undergraduate programs for the College of Engineering at TSU, nominated Fall for the global award competition. “We are extremely proud of his accomplishments and the recognition it will bring to the great work being done here at the University,” Williams said.

Fall, a mechanical engineering major, will be honored during the 2012 Student Leadership and Scholarship Awards Dinner at the Black Engineer of the Year (BEYA) STEM Global Competitiveness Conference February 17th at the Pennsylvania Convention Center in Philadelphia.

TSU Engineering Professor Receives NSF Award for Summer Research

Dr. Sachin Shetty knows that Tennessee State University’s Cyber Security research initiative is now on the “FaST” track to success.

Shetty, an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, and two of his students will spend this summer at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) as participants in the Faculty and Student Teams (FaST) program. The 10-week research opportunity was made possible through funding secured by a $22,000 grant administered by the ANL’s Division of Educational Programs for DOE and the National Science Foundation.

“This experience will be the catalyst needed to accelerate the development of TSU’s cyber security program,” Shetty said. During the appointment, Shetty and undergraduate students Grantland Gray and Corie Wilson will be creating on the mathematical formulation and solution of their statistical and stochastic models for the optimal design of intrusion detection systems.

The team will also work with ANL staff members to identify problems of interest in cyber security and intrusion detection, as well as construct models for these problems. Their plan is to solve the models and analyze the results. The students will participate for 10 weeks of research, networking and camaraderie with fellow students and faculty researchers from across the nation.

“While the DOE invests in technologies to fight cyber security attacks, our students will have the opportunity to be a part of the research that plays a critical role in protecting the critical energy infrastructure of the nation,” Shetty added.

The project will be supervised by Dr. Todd Munson from the Mathematics and Computer Science division of ANL.