NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Jaquantey Bowen and Ayana Wild want to change the world.
They are among more than 3,000 students with grade point averages of 3.0 or higher who will be recognized when Tennessee State University honors its best and brightest students during the annual Honors Day Convocation on March 28.
Bowen, a Presidential Scholar who graduates in December, wants to put an end to heart disease, which has killed many of his relatives and is responsible for nearly 610,000 deaths in America each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Bowen plans to become a cardiovascular surgeon, and he’s well on his way.
With a perfect 4.0 GPA, Bowen has set his sights on Harvard University. He has been accepted into the highly competitive Harvard BWH Stars Program for Summer Research, an intensive, eight-week program in research methods and practice for underrepresented minority college and first-year medical students.
During Bowen’s freshman year at TSU, just around his 18th birthday, his maternal grandfather died from heart disease, the same disease that claimed his paternal grandfather’s life and several others in his family.
“From that day forward, I vowed to put an end to heart disease,” said Bowen, who will receive a bachelor’s degree in biology with concentration in cell and molecular biology and a minor in chemistry. “I solidified my career choice to become a cardiovascular surgeon. I have strived for excellence and maintained nothing less than an ‘A’ in every course I have taken.”
Wild, who has been on the Dean’s List since entering TSU, wants to be a university professor, like her parents.
“I am inspired by my father and mother and many great professors I met at TSU,” said Wild, who graduates in May with a double major in computer science and math. “Through teaching, I want to be able to change the future of the computer science industry, as well as inspire students to make career choices that impact the world.”
Wild has a 3.9 GPA. She has been accepted into the graduate program at Vanderbilt University, with a research assistantship. Her older brother is pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Vanderbilt, where her father also teaches. Her mother is a professor of chemistry at TSU.
As high achievers, Bowen and Wild are following in the footsteps of a select group of TSU honors graduates who have gone on to impact the world in remarkable ways in education, medicine, technology, and many other areas.
Among them, Dr. Glenda Glover, TSU’s current president, who earned a degree in math, and one of only two female educators in the United States with a Ph.D., JD and CPA combination. Some others are the late Dr. Levi Watkins, a 1966 graduate of the program, who revolutionized the medical world with the creation and implantation of the Automatic Implantable Defibrillator; and Jesse Russell, a 1972 graduate recognized as the father of digital cellular technology.
Another is Obie McKenzie, a 1967 graduate who will be the keynote speaker at this year’s Honors Convocation.
McKenzie is managing director at BlackRock, Inc., the largest publicly traded investment management firm in the United States, and a member of Tennessee State’s board of trustees.
“We are excited about Mr. McKenzie coming to bless us as our guest speaker,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of TSU Honors College. “He has walked this road. He has blazed the trail for us. This allows other students to see him as a mentor, and as a role model.”
TSU officials say the 3,331 students to be honored at this year’s convocation is a 42 percent increase in the number of students who made the Dean’s List the previous year. Of that number, 287 made the President’s List. These are students with perfect 4.0 GPAs.
“We are ecstatic about the great number of students who have achieved the Dean’s List during this period,” Jackson said. “It shows that Tennessee State University students are getting serious about their school work, and are working diligently to achieve excellence in the classroom. We just want to honor them and let them know that TSU is behind them, supporting them.”
Fore more information on the 2017 Honors Day Convocation, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/.
Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
About Tennessee State University
With more than 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 25 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.