Tag Archives: Emmanuel S. Freeman

TSU Freshman Beats Odds By Staying Focused Amid Life’s Challenges

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Naton Smith says he could have easily become a statistic. Instead, he was determined, and beat the odds.

Growing up in a rough neighborhood in St. Louis, he was not expected to make it out and be successful. But he was determined – amid gang violence, drugs, killings, and where high school graduation was rare.

“I was determined not to let anything negative hold me back,” says Smith, a freshman health science major with concentration in physical therapy.

“I wanted to go to college, although I knew it wouldn’t be easy; but I kept pushing by making good grades and staying out of trouble. I needed to get out and find that place that would make me realize my dream.”

Naton Smith

Smith found a way out, and found his way to Tennessee State University.

“I wanted to attend TSU to be surrounded by ‘black excellence,’” says Smith, who graduated near the top of his senior class at North Technical High School. “I wanted to be around people who had something going for them, who could motivate me to achieve, and TSU has provided me that place.”

At TSU, Smith has a 3.81 grade point average. He is a member of the Honors College. In his first semester, Smith made the Dean’s List for outstanding students.

As part of the Class of 2021, Smith is among a millennial generation of high achieving students that the university continues to strategically recruit in its effort to improve retention and graduation rates.

In 2016, TSU President Glenda Glover announced sweeping changes that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest. Minimum requirements for incoming freshmen went up from a 2.25 GPA to 2.5, while the ACT score remained at 19.

In Smith’s first semester – following President Glover’s announcement – school officials said his class of 2021 came in as one of the most academically qualified classes in the school’s history, with an average 3.07 GPA. It was also the largest incoming freshman class in school history (1,500 first-year students), a 17 percent increase over the previous year’s freshman enrollment.

In addition to academics, there is every indication that Smith has found his niche at TSU. He is a member of the Men’s Center, which focuses on character development, social engagement and mentorship for male students.  He also participates in intramural basketball when he is not promoting a new business venture – a clothing line on Instagram called Creative Minds Clothing.

“I like to try my hands in a variety of different business ventures. I’m constantly trying to network and meet new people,” says Smith, who plans to go to physical therapy school.

Smith is also thankful to many at TSU who are having a positive impact on his life, including Amanda Brown, his English professor.

“Professor Brown shows great interest in my well-being. She motivates me. She is a very positive individual who pushes me to stay focus,” says Smith.

Brown, an English instructor in the Department of Languages, Literature and Philosophy, describes Smith as “both engaged and engaging, curious, empathetic, charismatic and exceedingly bright.”

“As I have gotten to know him over the year, I have seen how he exhibits a quiet leadership style and grace under pressure that will, I believe, serve him well in life,” says Brown. “Teaching him has been a real joy.”

Smith says he will stay focus and continue to beat the odds, and be successful at TSU and beyond. The St. Louis native beams with pride and says to just sit back and watch, because he’s from the “Show-Me” state.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Tennessee State University Business Students, Faculty Offer Free Tax Service in Partnership with IRS

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For more than 16 years, Sonya Nicole Martin used private accounting firms to prepare her IRS tax return for a fee.

But the last two years, Martin got a break and is now getting her returns done for free by certified IRS tax preparers, thanks to a program in the College of Business at Tennessee State University.

“This is a big help,” says Martin. “It is saving me a lot and I am able to give back to my family and spend that extra money that I am saving on other items.”

A few years ago, TSU partnered with the United Way of Metro Nashville to administer VITA, or Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program, an IRS initiative to offer free tax preparation services for low to middle-income individuals making $66,000 or less per year. Accounting students and other business majors in the COB, who have been certified by the IRS, along with their professors, administer the program.

The free tax service is available every Saturday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. on the Avon Williams Campus. It will continue to the end of the IRS tax-filing deadline.

“The College of Business is very pleased to offer this free service to the community,” says Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the college. “This is also an ideal service-learning initiative of the college where our accounting majors are able to get practical hands-on experience while helping others.”

According to officials, between 30-40 returns are prepared each Saturday, and this filing season it is projected that 400-500 returns will be prepared. That’s up from 300 last season. Sixteen undergraduate and four graduate students are helping this year as part of their class work.

Professor John R. Powers, who coordinates the VITA program at TSU, right, works with senior accounting major Kathy Grant. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

To participate in the program, volunteer students must take and pass Tax-1, Individual Income Tax, a required course and be certified by the IRS. Students get three hours of college credit as an accounting elective.

John R. Powers, a CPA and adjunct professor of accounting and business law, is the coordinator of the campus VITA program. He is responsible for the final quality of returns and files the completed returns electronically.

“Although this is a free service, we try to maximize the refund of any client, and that’s where I come in with my years of experience,” says Powers, majority owner of a Nashville accounting firm, who has been in the business for more than 30 years.

For the students, Power says, this is life experience whether they want to go into the tax field or not, it prepares them from a professional development standpoint.

Kathy Grant has met all requirements to participate in the VITA program and is helping for the first time this year. The senior accounting major says she is enjoying the “double” benefit the program offers.

“I am doing something to give back to the community, and I am also learning in the process,” says Grant, of Nashville, who wants to become a CPA “This is not just class, it is a business because I can use this education as I step out into the workforce.”

For Mariam Sadat, a senior, human resources major from Cairo, she is encouraged by the satisfaction people get from the services she and her fellow students provide.

“They are just too happy to know that they have avoided all the potential headaches with the free service,” says Sadat. “This is also a good practice for me to get this experience.”

Dr. Stephen Shanklin, CPA and interim chair of the Department of Accounting, who supervises the VITA program, says great emphasis is put on the quality of students selected for the program.

“Students with As and Bs are the ones we are looking for,” he says. “They can be from any discipline whatsoever in the college, but they have to have at least completed that course and have a desire to be tax preparers. And even at that they are not eligible until they interview with Prof. Powers.”

“In essence, we are preparing these students for the workplace,” adds Powers. “It is very important helping the community because we realize that the tax refund, no matter what amount, they are truly needed by the people who come here. So we prepare our students to do everything in accordance with the IRS code.”

For more information on the TSU VITA program and the free tax service, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/business/contact_us.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU’s Air Force ROTC Program Gets Major Boost With New, Top-Notch Flight Simulator

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Cadets in the TSU Air Force ROTC Detachment 790 interested in becoming Air Force pilots will now be able to take advantage of a state-of-the-art new X-Plane 11 flight simulator.

TSU President Glenda Glover cut the ribbon Tuesday officially opening the room in a ceremony surrounded by AFROTC cadets.

President Glenda Glover, assisted by Maj. Michael Gordon, Detachment Operations Officer, cuts the ribbon to officially open the flight simulation room. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Walt Rau, a friend of the university, donated the simulator to the Department of Aerospace Studies through the TSU Foundation.

“This is a great day in the life of Tennessee State University,” Glover said. “I thank you all and especially Mr. Walt Rau for bringing this level of technology with a simulator of a top-notch standard so that the students here can learn to carry out their training for careers they have chosen. This offers them unlimited possibilities.”

Walt Rau, son of Walter Rau, a World War II B-24 bombardier who died on a combat mission in Italy, said the donation is a way of remembering his father.

“I have profound respect for my father,” Walt Rau said in a letter to the TSU Foundation.  “As for my sacrifice, I could ramble on about how losing my father has shaped my life, but doing this may be a better way for your students.”

President Glenda Glover takes the control at the flight simulation deck, with Cadets Katelyn Thompson, left, and Jerry Kibet, and Maj. Gordon watching. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

According to Lt. Col. Sharon Presley, AFROTC 790 Detachment commander, the simulator will help cadets prepare for the Test of Basic Aviation Skills (TBAS), a computerized psychomotor, special ability and multi-tasking test battery, as well as the Air Force Officer Qualifying Test (AFOQT).

The system includes upgrade flight controls, rudder pedals, graphics intensive computer, and top-of-the-line X-Plane 11 flight simulator software.

“The flight simulator is an important part of enhancing Detachment 790’s training program to meet Air Force goals,” said Maj. Michael Gordon, assistant professor of aerospace studies and Detachment Operations Officer. “This will introduce cadets to flight training and inspire them to pursue aviation careers in the Air Force.”

Cadet Jackson Sloan was one of the first to test fly the new simulator.

“I’ve wanted to be a pilot since junior high,” said Sloan, a senior aerospace pro-pilot major from Brentwood, Tennessee, who is slated to attend Air Force pilot training after his graduation in May. “This is really a major boost to our training.”

Presley thanked Walt Rau for his donation to refurbish the TSU Department of Aerospace Studies Flight Simulator room.

“Through his donation we were able to restore modern controls, a set of modern rotter pedals, brand new high intensity graphic computer and the most top-of-the-line flight software available,” Presley said.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Spring Internship Fair helps students take steps to success

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Many Tennessee State University students took a major leap toward their future Feb. 15.

More than 50 companies and organizations set up booths in Kean Hall for TSU’s second annual Spring Internship Fair.

TSU President Glenda Glover greets a vendor at the Spring Internship Fair in Kean Hall. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover and a host of university officials stopped by the various booths to view the displays and greet vendors.

Alonzo Furtick, a graduating senior majoring in business marketing and graphic design, was one of the first students to show up.

The Charlotte, North Carolina native saw the fair as an opportunity to get an early start on a search for potential internship or employment opportunity.

“The fact that TSU gives us this kind of opportunity to grow and expand and be exposed to different areas is phenomenal,” Furtick said. “I am a senior, I expect to graduate this semester. Ideally, I am looking for any business marketing internship or graphic design internship.”

Altria, a Fortune 500 company based in Richmond, Virginia, is one of the sponsors of the fair. The company has partnered with the TSU Colleges of Life and Physical Sciences, and Engineering, to groom science and engineering students. It has already hired a TSU engineering graduate who was recruited as an intern at last year’s fair.

A recruitment team from Altria participates in the Spring Internship Fair. From left are: Latoya Boone, Priscilla Maquire, Lynora Lee and Roosevelt Reynolds. Reynolds, a reliability engineer at Altria’s facility in Nashville, is a TSU graduate. He was recruited as an intern at last year’s fair and worked his way up to full employment. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

“Tennessee State University is one of our target schools,” said Greg Shiflette, a recruiter and functional campus owner with Altria. “With Altria, we don’t go to all the schools in the country. We target our resources to specific universities, and so TSU is one of our target schools where we are dedicating our resources to come in and recruit.”

Roosevelt Reynolds, who graduated from TSU last December, is the reliability engineer at the Altria facility in Nashville. He joined the company as an intern and worked his way up to full-time employment.

“My TSU preparation as a mechanical engineer and capabilities in other areas of manufacturing gave me the tool to do the very work I am doing right now at Altria,” said Reynolds, who is from Birmingham, Alabama. “I am forever grateful to the College of Engineering, and especially Tennessee State University, for the exposure that has helped me to integrate myself in various processes in my work area.”

Reynolds is also part of Altria’s recruitment team.

Charles Jennings, director of TSU’s Career Development Center, said he is excited about the “overwhelming” growth of the fair in just its second year.

“When we had the Spring Internship Fair for the first time last year, we only had 28 employers who signed up,” Jennings said. “This year we have more than 50. We are very proud of the increase; we are very proud of the diversity of businesses and organizations that are here today.”

He credits the various colleges and departments for the success, especially the Office of Academic Affairs, which gave students excuse from class to come to the fair.

“This is really paying off for us,” Jennings said.

Some of the other companies, businesses and organizations at the fair were: Regions Bank, Skanska, Aramark, the Tennessee National Guard, Enterprise, and Nashville Public Television.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

State lawmakers experience wave of Tiger Blue at TSU Day at the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – State lawmakers got a taste of Tennessee State University’s excellence at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol on Wednesday.

More than 150 TSU students, administrators, faculty, staff and others packed a Senate hearing room in the Cordell Hull Building to hear TSU President Glenda Glover kick-off the event. In another area of the building, lawmakers saw displays of the university’s diverse research and academic offerings, including robotics and giveaways like red maple trees grown on the university farm.

“TSU has a unique history in our state as the only public HBCU and land-grant institution with a history of excellence,” Glover said. “Our need for more increase in assistance is in line with other land-grant institutions. We hope to receive the same assistance as other institutions in the state.”

Members of the TSU Royal Court walk the halls of the Tennessee General Assembly distributing gift bags to legislators during TSU Day at the Capitol. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

She said past and future appropriations have allowed TSU to maintain its longstanding legacy of “providing education for our students.”

“But that is not enough,” Glover said. “We have an aging infrastructure that makes it difficult to implement new academic programs, and give students the quality resources and the environment they deserve.”

House Speaker Beth Howell, in welcoming the TSU visitors, said it is good for students and administrators to come and interact with lawmakers to get a better understanding of “what we do.”

“I want to welcome you all to TSU Day at the Hill,” Harwell said. “We always enjoy Tennessee State University here. You have true friends here in the General Assembly, and thank you for the remarkable job you do for the Nashville community, Middle Tennessee and for the young graduates that come out of your fine university.”

President Glover meets with TSU student interns serving at the Capitol. At 17, TSU has the second largest group of interns working with lawmakers at the Capitol. (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

State Rep. Raumesh Akbari, chair of the Tennessee Black Caucus, added that TSU plays a special role in the advancement of Tennessee.

“I am so thankful to be here today,” she said. “It is always a pleasure to see TSU represented on Capitol Hill, not only through your presence here today, but also through many of your graduates who are part of this body and who advocate for you every day, as well as interns on staff here from your fine institution.”

Seventeen TSU interns are currently serving on Capitol Hill, the second largest of any group from institutions around the state.

Dr. Lonnie Sharpe, dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences, said the STEM program is one area that needs improvement by increasing the pool of students but cannot be accomplished without the help of the Legislature.

“The resources that we need to support students on scholarships are very, very important for all the things we’re trying to do,” said Sharpe. “We want to work with middle schools and high schools to ensure that they’re ready for the STEM discipline once they get here.”

Jermilton Woods, a graduating senior, and president of the Student Government Association, said TSU Day at the Capitol is very significant.

“I think it gives us an opportunity to show the excellence that Tennessee State University is,” said Woods, of Memphis, Tennessee. “It’s an opportunity to get in front of legislators and let them see that there are some bright minds at TSU.”

Also speaking at the program were State Representatives Harold Love Jr., and Brenda Gilmore, and Senator Thelma Harper, all graduates and staunched supporters of TSU.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Opioid epidemic highlights Crime Stoppers meeting at Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Nearly 30 representatives from law enforcement agencies across Middle Tennessee met at Tennessee State University on Feb. 8 for intelligence and information sharing on crime prevention and how to address the state’s opioid crisis.

It was the monthly meeting of Crime Stoppers of Middle Tennessee, which included law enforcement chiefs, officers, detectives and security officers from counties, cities, universities and other jurisdictions in the region. The national opioid epidemic and its impact on the region was a major topic at the gathering.

Trevor Henderson, left, and Nichelle Foster, both from the Metro Health Department, make a presentation on the opioid epidemic, at the Crime Stoppers’ meeting. (Photo by Courtney Buggs, TSU Media Relations)

In a presentation, a team from the Metro Public Health Department reported on the level of abuse in the area. In 2016, the group reported, there were 1,631 overdose deaths in Tennessee. Of that number, 281 were in Davidson County. In overdose cases involving the ER, the group reported that the majority of people affected were between ages 18-44.

“This is very serious,” said Trevor Henderson, opioid coordinator in the Metro Health Department.  “We are doing everything possible to keep bringing those numbers down.”

Nichelle Foster, also from the Metro Health Department, made the presentation with Henderson. Foster is from the Division of Behavioral Health and Wellness. She helps individuals recognize the difference between use, abuse and addiction to determine if the individual has substance use or risky lifestyle issues that need to be addressed in a treatment or educational setting.

Recently, TSU joined the fight to address the state’s opioid epidemic. The university implemented a new overdose prevention program to stop deaths associated with misuse and addiction.

Last month, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam announced an aggressive and comprehensive plan to end the opioid epidemic in Tennessee by focusing on prevention, treatment and law enforcement. Called TN Together, the plan includes providing every Tennessee state trooper with naloxone (NARCAN) for the emergency treatment of opioid overdose.

Under the TSU initiative, certified university police officers will be able to administer NARCAN Nasal Spray, a prescription medicine used for the treatment of an opioid emergency, such as an overdose. The initiative is in conjunction with Nashville Prevention, a division of the Tennessee Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services.

“Our goal at the TSU Police Department is to minimize the likelihood that someone on our campus dies from an overdose of opiates,” said Aerin Washington, TSUPD’s crime prevention officer, who coordinated the Feb. 8 meeting. “We want to be on the cutting edge of this movement as we strive to serve the community in every aspect that we can.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Freshman lands multi-year internship with Fortune 500 Company

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Braxton Simpson says she came to Tennessee State University because she saw an opportunity to grow and to “push my limits.”

She has not been disappointed.

“After a full semester, I can proudly say that TSU has exceeded my expectations,” says the freshman agricultural sciences major.

Simpson comes to TSU as part of a millennial generation of high achieving students that the university continues to strategically recruit in its effort to improve retention and graduation rates.

In 2016, President Glenda Glover announced sweeping changes that raised admission standards to attract the best and brightest. Minimum requirement for incoming freshmen went up from a 2.25 GPA to 2.5, while the ACT score remained at 19.

Braxton Simpson

The semester following the announcement, school officials said Braxton’s class of 2021 came in as one of the most academically qualified classes in the school’s history, with an average 3.07 GPA. It was also the largest incoming freshman class in school history – 1,500 first-year students – a 17 percent increase over the previous year’s freshman enrollment.

The Atlanta native, who many say is far ahead of her time and definitely pushing her limits, is a member of the Honors College with a 4.0 GPA, and the current Miss Freshman.

At age 19, Simpson is an entrepreneur with two online companies and a high school mentoring program. She also just landed a three-year internship with a Fortune 500 company.

“When I see an opportunity I run after it,” says Simpson, who credits her parents (Michael and Ronnetta Simpson) with the zeal to be ‘assertive and productive.’ They taught me money-management skills and how to brand and market.”

As the oldest of three children, Simpson says her business savvy is helping her to set a good example for her younger siblings. Additionally, she says she majored in agricultural sciences with a concentration in agribusiness to “combine my passion for business and servant leadership.”

An academic standout at Marietta High School, where she graduated with a 4.1 GPA, Simpson is the owner of Girls Got Game, a female athletic apparel company; and Underground Apparel, a “black pride” apparel company. She also mentors high school children through her Black Girls United program that she started while a senior in high school.

This summer, immediately after school and over the next three years, Simpson will intern with Monsanto, one of the nation’s largest agricultural companies. She will be assigned to the company’s world headquarters in St. Louis, for training, and later go onto to Grinnell, Iowa, where she will be involved in seed production.

“I am excited and grateful for this opportunity,” says Simpson. “The TSU Ag department has invested a lot in me since I have been here, especially Dr. (DeEtra) Young. She took me in as a freshman and molded me by sending opportunities my way. She saw the Monsanto commercial for the internship and advised me to apply for it. I did and I was successful.”

Young, an assistant professor in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, is a professor and mentor to Simpson.

She describes Simpson as ‘one of the many excellent students’ at TSU who are determined to be the very best in their field.

“Braxton presents herself as confident, assertive and dedicated,” says Young. She is intelligent, very inquisitive and genuinely values learning.”

According to Young, Simpson has been selected to participate in the highly competitive Agriculture for Future America Leader Institutes, which provides participants with exposure and professional development training.

This summer, in addition to her training with Monsanto, Simpson will receive AFA training in Chicago and Anaheim, California.

“My advisors have pushed me to be the best I can be. I cannot thank them enough for it!  Being in the Land of Golden Sunshine (TSU) has been a blessing, and I am extremely excited about what the future holds,” says Simpson.

Simpson will start her internship with Monsanto on May 14.

TSU Faculty, Students Present Research at 2nd Honors College Ted Talk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU Faculty and students from various disciplines presented research and topics on pressing issues at the second Ted Talk organized by the Honors College on Wednesday.

The event, which is part of activities marking Honors Week at TSU, gives students and faculty an opportunity to present their work to the campus community.

Nine presenters discussed topics ranging from cancer research, mobility and transit in Nashville, to fake news in the Trump era before fellow faculty and students in the Robert N. Murrell Forum on the main campus.

Katherine Miller

Katherine Miller, a senior biology major from Nashville, presented on “Developing a Methodology for Single Cell Proteomics Using Aluminum-Treated Switch Grass Roots,” a collaboration between TSU, Cornell University and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The goal of the research is to develop a protocol for single-celled proteomics that can have applications in cancer and protein disorders.

“This research has the potential to change medicine as we know it,” Miller said.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

Discussing Nashville’s current transit situation, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove said the Music City has experienced tremendous growth, but without a solution to transit and mobility to align with the business and housing growth of the city.

“This presentation provides an overview of the proposed solution and action plan of the mayor’s office,” said Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering and member of the Nashville Transit Coalition. “It also discusses the technology integration as a solution to improve the mobility of the residence of Metropolitan Nashville.”

Other presenters and their topics were:

Dr. Hugh M. Fentress

Dr. Hugh M. Fentress, assistant professor of biological sciences: “Activation of the JAK/STAT Signaling Pathway by the Human Serotonin 2C Receptor”

Farah Ismail

Farah Ismail, sophomore biology major from Cairo, Egypt: “Exposure of Human Immune Cells to Triclosan Alters the Secretion of IFNy”

Rachelle Brown

Rachelle Brown, sophomore psychology major, from Memphis, Tennessee: “Who is She? An Analysis of the Stereotype Surrounding the Black Woman”

Nijaia Bradley

Nijaia Bradley, sophomore, early childhood education major: “Infamous Deception in Black America: An Examination of Abortions, Medicine and Media Portrayal”

Abhilasha Viswanath

Abhilasha Viswanath, junior psychology major from India: “Peripheral Color Contrast Sensitivity Under Perceptual Load”

Leona Dunn

Leona Dunn, junior communications major from Omaha, Nebraska: “Fake News in the Trump Era”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU Offerings, Culture of Diversity and Inclusion Attracting International Students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Eman Abdulrahman Alharbi spent only three years at Tennessee State University, but she is leaving with a bit of proud history, as the first student from Saudi Arabia to earn a doctorate at TSU.

Eman Abdulrahman Alharbi received an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at last fall’s graduation. (Submitted Photo)

Her history-making feat, though, may be short-lived if the current influx of students from her country is any indication. She is part of a growing number of international students from Saudi Arabia that call TSU home. Records show more than 70 percent of the nearly 570 foreign students at TSU are from Saudi Arabia.

This is a good thing, university officials say.

“Ninety-nine percent of these Saudi students come here fully funded by their government as Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission scholars,” says Mark Brinkley, director of International Education in the Office of International Affairs.

Studies show the surge of Saudi students is not unique to TSU.

Nationally, Saudi Arabia ranks fourth with 4.9 percent of total 1.08 million international students in the U.S., only behind China, South Korea and India.

Students representing various nations, participate in a pageant organized by the Office of International Affairs. (Photo by OIA)

An annual report by the Institute of International Education and the State Department shows that the number of international students in the United States increased by 3.4 percent over the prior year. The rise marks the 11th consecutive year of expansion in the number of foreign students in the U.S. This is also a dramatic jump from the fewer than 600,000 who studied here just a decade ago, according to the report.

Experts attribute this rise to expanded higher education opportunities. At TSU, Brinkley says the university is offering what the students want and providing an environment that makes them want to stay, and that makes others want to come.

The biggest draw, he says, is the university’s highly accredited engineering program.

Saudi students offer a Taste of Saudi Arabia during a cultural festival at TSU (Photo by OIA)

“They select TSU because we have been able to offer the majors that they want to enter, particularly in the field of engineering,” says Brinkley. “Well over half of our engineering majors are SACM students.”

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the TSU College of Engineering, is not surprised by the influx of foreign students in his program. He says in addition to quality, the TSU program is designed around providing students an environment that appreciates differences in culture, race, origin and background.

““Our goal in the College of Engineering is to produce what we call the ‘global engineer,’ says Hargrove.  “This is a graduate who is prepared to demonstrate technical competency to work anywhere in the world. This objective has been supported by our study-abroad program and the invitation to international students to complete their engineering degree at TSU.”

South American students provide entertainment at a cultural festival on campus (Photo by OIA)

For Alharbi, who earned an Ed.D. in Educational Leadership at last fall’s graduation, the TSU culture of diversity and inclusion was the welcoming factor.

“My advisor at MTSU (Middle Tennessee State University) where I received my master’s degree, recommended me to Tennessee State University, and I am glad I came,” says Alharbi. “The people made me feel at home. TSU has great professors, who never gave up on me even though there was a language barrier.”

Alharbi is not alone. Even though these international students come very determined to succeed, the language barrier can be a major stumbling block for many – not just Saudis. This is another area where TSU stands out – helping students navigate the language difficulty and succeed.

Officials of the Office of International Affairs: Mark Brinkley, Director of International Education, left; Dr. Jewell Winn, Executive Director of OIA; and Mark Gunter, Director of International Affairs (Photo by OIA)

Dr. Trinetia Respress is the interim assistant dean in the College of Education, who also mentored and advised Alharbi. She says professors must “actually be ready to go beyond and give extra support” to help these international students overcome the language barrier.

“As a person, I saw Eman to be a very tenacious and determined person who wasn’t going to allow anything to turn her around,” says Respress. “It is that she actually wanted it and she went after it. She is a very good student and very bright.”

Alharbi earned her doctorate in three years at TSU. Her interest is in higher education accreditation with a goal to help more Saudi universities gain international accreditation. And Her dissertation, “Preparing Saudi Universities for International Accreditation in the Area of Government and Leadership,” reflects that desire.

“My plan is to work with Saudi universities in evaluating outcomes and assessing the weaknesses and strengths in helping them get international accreditation,” says Alharbi. “I want to work with accrediting agencies and to bridge the disconnect between universities in the United States and my country in the area of accreditation.”

According to Brinkley, Alharbi represents the kind of “international ambassadors” that TSU cultivates.

“In most instances, our surge is the result of word-of-mouth referrals about the culture here at TSU being supportive,” says Brinkley. “That’s what draws them here. They find our programs to be academically and culturally supportive by offering the majors they are looking for and an environment suited to their needs.”

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Japanese Delegation Holds Cultural, Economic and Political Discussion with Tennessee State University Students and Faculty

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A former Japanese ambassador to the United States says Tennessee State University students and faculty can benefit from cultural and academic experiences in Japan.

Ichiro Fujisaki, Former Ambassador of Japan to the United States (Photo by John Cross, TSU Media Relations)

Ichiro Fujisaki, who served as his country’s chief diplomatic officer to the U.S. from 2008-2012, is now the president of the America-Japan Society, Inc., a private entity for interactive activities between Japan and the U.S.

He spoke on TSU’s Avon Williams Campus Wednesday when he led a four-member panel on Japan’s culture, economy, politics and relationship with the U.S.

Called “Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan,” the panel is held in different cities across the United States each year. Audiences include students, faculty, grassroots organizations and community leaders in face-to-face discussion on understanding the culture and people of the world’s third-largest economic power.

The Consul-General of Japan in Nashville, Masami Kinefuchi, and more than 100 TSU students, faculty, administrators and community leaders attended the program, which concluded with a Q&A session and exchanges with the Japanese delegation.

Last year, 21 TSU students and faculty went to Japan for a 10-day visit funded by the Japanese government. (College of Business Photo)

“Japan today is very different from the Japan we see in prototypes and sketches in the media,” Fujisaki said. “Japan is really modernizing; it is a very open society. Japan is not just beautiful; it is so lively. And the good thing about it is that Japanese people are friendly to Americans, which makes it very appealing to students and visitors.”

According to organizers, “Walk in U.S., Talk on Japan” began in 2014. Since then, the delegation – usually comprising different individuals – has visited more than 63 cities.

The TSU visit was held in collaboration with the College of Business and the Office of International Affairs, and a result of a “special” relationship between TSU and the Japanese consulate since 2016, according to Anis Mnif, director of Graduate Programs in the COB.

That relationship, Mnif said, has resulted in many visits by TSU students and faculty, including one last year when 21 students went to Japan for a 10-day visit funded by the Japanese government.

Ronald McFarland, a graduate student in the MBA program, was one of those students. He said the experience was “unique” and very rewarding.

“A lot of what we know about Japan we only see on TV, but going there and seeing how clean the cities are, the friendliness of the people and their willingness to accept us in their culture was very eye-opening,” said McFarland, of Nashville. “The goal of the trip was to spread the word about the relationship between Nashville and TSU, in general, and Japan. As a TSU student just making the connections, meeting with business professionals, young professionals, opened my eyes to a whole new look on our global society.”

Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business, said the Japanese delegation’s visit is “just another step along our long path that we have been on” in building a relationship with Japan.

“Our students have been studying abroad in Japan for a good number of years,” Lownes-Jackson said. “So this is just another step in building even stronger relationships. We think this will open the doors for more study abroad opportunities for our students, faculty, and for faculty from Japan to come and teach our students here in America.”

Also speaking at the program was Dr. John Robinson, professor of biological sciences and interim associate vice president for Academic Affairs, who brought greetings on behalf of President Glenda Glover.

Howard Gentry Jr., Criminal Court Clerk of Davidson County and TSU alum credited with helping to establish the relationship between TSU and the Japanese consulate, also attended the program.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 25 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.