TSU students, faculty present research at virtual Honors College TED Talk

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students and faculty from various disciplines presented research this week at a virtual TED Talk organized by the Honors College.

Dr. Coreen Jackson

The event on Tuesday was held via Zoom this year because of the coronavirus pandemic. However, there was still strong attendance from the campus community to hear topics that included cancer research, mental health, prison reform, the coronavirus pandemic, and the foreign market exchange. There were also two oratorical presentations.

“Although we greatly miss the in-person contact and collaboration, we appreciate the opportunity to still host this intellectual gathering and sharing of ideas,” said Dr. Coreen Jackson, interim dean of the Honors College. “People still get to witness how TSU is preparing students in science, technology, business, humanities, and the arts.”

Senior Anesha Walker of Nashville was one of the presenters. A biology major, her discussion was on the “Evaluation of Neutrophil Infiltration in Irradiated Tissues.” She enjoyed the opportunity to share her work.

Senior Anesha Walker

“The TED talk is a spotlight on TSU students that really highlights the achievements and hard work that is put in while trying to excel academically,” said Walker. “It is also a way for students to obtain new information and possibly gain an interest in a new subject.”

Russell Waters, who presented in a previous TED Talk at TSU, was a virtual attendant this year. The junior political science major said the presentations can also serve as a confidence booster for students.

“I used to be afraid of public speaking, but I’m not anymore,” said Waters, of Huntsville, Alabama. “The TED Talk experience boosted my self-esteem. Now I’m comfortable presenting. It’s really helped me in meetings.”

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president for Research and Sponsored Programs at TSU, reminded faculty and students of the resources available at the university to help them with their proposals and research.

Junior Russell Waters

“I would like to thank Dr. Jackson and the Honors College for facilitating the virtual honors TED Talk,” said Williams. “This is a wonderful event and is aligned with the university’s focus on faculty, staff and student scholarship, which is evidenced by TSU’s R2 Carnegie designation.”

To learn more about the Honors College, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/honors/

For more information about Research and Sponsored Programs, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/research/rsp.aspx

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.

TSU students get ‘Dream Space’; virtual ribbon-cutting highlights university, industry commitment to excellence

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dream of an initiative that puts smart devices in students’ hands and gives them a space to learn, explore and play all at the same time. Through a partnership with Vulcan Materials Company and its visionary The Yard initiative, students at Tennessee State University now have that opportunity with an all-new Dream Space. 

President Glenda Glover

Uniquely located in the Floyd Payne Campus Center, and equipped with Apple TVs, iPads, multiple monitors with camera systems, ideation resource tools and eco-furniture, the set-up in the Dream Space allows students to achieve collaborative learning.

 “I am just super excited about this Dream Space; it is awesome,” said Destiny Pennington, a junior public relations major from Detroit, at the virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new innovation center.

Mister TSU Naton Smith and Miss TSU Mariah Rhodes cut the ribbon to the Dream Space. (TSU Media Relations)

Fellow student Jeffrey Reed, a freshman business administration major from St. Louis, Missouri, was equally elated.

“Just imagine a place where you can sit right on campus and interact with CEOs from anywhere and gain knowledge about the professional world. This a great opportunity for students at this university,” Reed said.

President Glenda Glover recently led a host of university administrators, Vulcan officials, and student leaders in a virtual ribbon-cutting ceremony, highlighting TSU’s commitment to support student ideas, scholarships and internships. The president described the Dream Space as “a major, positive investment in our students.”

“When you invest in TSU, you are investing in our best and brightest,” she told Vulcan Materials Company and its partner, The Yard.

“I would like to personally thank you for helping TSU to continue to empower tomorrow’s generation today. The Dream Space Reveal today would not have been possible without your generous contribution.  We recognize your commitment to equity, inclusion and diversity. We welcome your commitment to our students.

Darren Hicks, Vice President of Human Relations, Vulcan Materials Company, speaks at the virtual ribbon-cutting.

Last year, Vulcan Materials Company announced plans to support academic excellence programs at historically black colleges and universities. The company partnered with The Yard and built “a unique relationship” with HBCUs in the Southeast, including TSU. The company said Dream Space connects tech, talent and culture to advance innovation, infrastructure and inclusion, as well as a way for students to achieve academic success through technology and virtual learning to become entrepreneurs and successful employees. 

As part of the initiative, Vulcan and The Yard also launched the “Pitch Competition, as a pipeline for HBCU “students to go from classroom to boardroom.” The competition allows students to submit and defend innovative ideas. The winning idea is pitched to companies and industry leaders.

Erskine ” Chuck” Faush, Cofounder and Chair of The Yard, interacts with a Pitch Competition participant in the Dream Space. (TSU Media Relations)

Darren Hicks, vice president of human relations for Vulcan materials Company, who led a team to TSU last year, said through the partnership with The Yard, Vulcan made a commitment to create opportunities for students through scholarships and internships.

“When we visited Tennessee State University last year, we all confirmed that the talent that exists at TSU must also become part of our Vulcan family,” Hicks said. “So, we are all excited to be a part of launching our second season with students here in our Pitch Competition. We are excited to be here as part of the unveiling of the Dream Space, and we look forward to strengthening the relationship with TSU.”

Four TSU student participants in the Pitch Competition display gift items from Vulcan Materials Company and The Yard. They are, from left, Jeffrey Reed, Destiny Pennington, Tredarius Lassiter and Davin Latiker. (TSU Media Relations)

Erskine “Chuck” Faush, cofounder and chair of The Yard, said the goal of the Dream Space is to create and invest in students with physical spaces to encourage and empower global learning. He said the $1 million commitment from Vulcan Materials to fund student ideas and collaboration, scholarships, internships, career placements and Dream Spaces are supporting local communities and global economies.

“Thanks so much for allowing us to be a part of the TSU family. This is the place where excellence lives,” Faush said. “We are really happy and moved to be a part of the next generation of leadership. Our goal is classroom to boardroom.”

The Yard Cofounder and Chair Erskine “Chuck” Faush, left, presents a check for $10,000 to TSU officials to support Pitch Competition student winners. The officials are: Frank Stevenson, Associate VP for Student Affairs; Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff and Associate VP; and Terrance Izzard, Associate VP for admissions and recruitment. (TSU Media Relations)

He said the Pith Competition, which started last year, has awarded more than $100,000 in scholarships and grants. Six TSU students participated in the Pitch Competition Oct. 8, with ideas ranging from app development for critical needs, to innovative ways to improve campus life, like a cybercafé. The top three winners were: Widmark Cadet, first place, $4,000; Tredarius Lassiter, second place, $2,500; and Destiny Pennington, third place, $1,500.

“We created the Pitch Competition, Leadership Talks and Dream Spaces so employers can experience first hand how talent, connectivity and collaboration drive growth,” Faush said, as he presented the Vulcan check to the university for $10,000 to support the student winners at TSU.

Terrance Izzard, associate vice president for Admissions and Recruitment; Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration; and Ashley Daniel, chief engagement officer The Yard/FSE, worked with Vulcan Materials and The Yard to coordinate the setup of the Dream Space.

Izzard described the Dream Space as a place for students to share ideas, collaborate around entrepreneurship opportunities, and educational and professional development.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 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 planning historic virtual Homecoming celebration amid pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may not be having a traditional Homecoming this year because of the pandemic, but its Big Blue spirit will still shine through another way – virtually.

TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands performs during halftime of the 2019 Homecoming game. (TSU Media Relations)

For 2020, TSU has planned several virtual events Oct. 23-25 under the theme, “Essentially TSU – We’re In This Together!”

“Every aspect of our lives has changed considerably since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic from earlier this year,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “TSU’s ongoing commitment in prioritizing the health and safety of the campus has led us to host an abbreviated schedule of events to celebrate and reflect.”

Here are some of the planned events:

Friday, Oct. 23

  • Tiger Statue Unveiling Ceremony at 10 a.m. CDT
  • Founders Day Program at 10:30 a.m.
  • In the spirit of tradition, a Virtual Pep Rally, “Big Blue Spirit Day”, at noon. Senior football players will be saluted, and there will be a special social-distance performance by TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.
  • First-ever virtually elected Royal Court for the Mister and Miss TSU Coronation at 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 24

  • Virtual scholarship gala titled, “An Evening of Jokes and Jazz!” Veteran comedian, Jonathan Slocumb, will host the event featuring TSU alumni trumpeter Melvin Miller and award-winning saxophonist Jazmin Ghent.
  • TSU will recognize some of its alumni who are essential, front line workers and first responders. There will be special acknowledgement of dedicated TSU employees, who keep the University safe and operating effectively during the pandemic

Sunday, Oct. 25

  • The virtual celebration will conclude with a Gospel Brunch at 1 p.m., hosted by TSU alum Dr. Bobby Jones, known in many circles as the Ambassador of Gospel Entertainment.
  • Noted alumni clergy, Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings and Rev. Dr. Tony Evans, will round out the program.

Tiara Thomas, student trustee on TSU’s Board of Trustees, said even though this year’s homecoming will not be traditional, she and her peers are still looking forward to the events.

“I believe all students and alumni alike can agree that our love for TSU is unconditional,” said the junior from Biloxi, Mississippi. “We will not allow COVID-19 to silence our celebration of our beloved TSU and all of its excellence. The Homecoming committee has worked hard to virtually capture the traditions of Homecoming Week.”

“We may not be celebrating in person, but we wanted to host some events to still keep our students and our alumni community engaged,” said Grant Winrow, 

Homecoming chairman and special assistant to President Glover.

Winrow said he hopes alumni and other supporters of the University who traditionally make the trip to Nashville will use those travel funds for a “scholarship of your choice” at TSU.

“Please give a portion of those monies that you would spend coming here to the TSU Foundation,” said Winrow, who offered a glimmer of hope for next year.

“I think that 2021 will be our year to come back stronger than ever before, in the Big Blue spirit of tradition,” he said.

For more information about the TSU Foundation, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/foundation/.

To see the Homecoming activities, visit https://www.youtube.com/user/TSUMedia.

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.

TSU Aristocrat of Bands committed to 100 percent voting, band director and members urge everyone to do the same

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands has a message for fellow HBCU bands and anyone else who will listen, vote! 

AOB band members (l to r) Don Jones, Tameria Cole and Kayla Jenkins.

Dr. Reginald McDonald recently hosted a workshop with fellow band member Tiara Thompson on absentee voting to educate the band on how to ensure their ballots are counted for the Nov. 3 presidential election, and to register those who weren’t. 

“We’re committed to getting 100 percent of our membership registered to vote,” said McDonald. “In 2020, you need to vote like your life depends on it.” 

Thomas, a junior Political Science major and serves as the student trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees, was the main organizer and presenter of the voting workshop. Prior to the band’s event, she facilitated “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was hosted by TSU Football Coach Rod Reed for his players. Since the seminar, the entire football team, including players and coaches are now registered. 

“I was really inspired by the football team’s leadership in getting 100 percent of their players registered to vote,” said Thomas. “I didn’t want to stop with the football team. I wanted to hit the next biggest group on campus, which is the AOB. I just think that anytime you wear a Tennessee State uniform that you are automatically viewed as a leader. And I feel like right now it’s important for our Tennessee State University community student leaders to actively vote,” and encourage others to do the same. 

In 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted, said Thomas, who has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration.   

Tiara Thomas

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” said the Olive Branch, Mississippi, native.    

AOB drum major Julien Dooley said many students realize the importance of this year’s presidential election, in particular. 

“A lot of my friends are very knowledgeable of who they’re voting for, and the importance of it,” said Dooley, a senior from Atlanta. “The things we want to happen depend on who gets in office.” 

Visit this link (https://bit.ly/3nAkKP4) to hear a special message from Dr. McDonald and the AOB.   

For information on deadlines for early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state.  

Department of Media Relations

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

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

Future university president wants to even the education playing field for African American children

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tiara Thomas’ career goal is to be an authority on educational policy in the U.S. Department of Education to ensure that African American children are getting their fair share of learning opportunities. And, Tennessee State University is giving her the foundation to achieve her goal.

Tiara Thomas

“Our education system is very unfairly stacked up against African American children and that needs to change,” says Thomas, a top political science student at TSU. “Real change comes from the laws and policies that our government leaders are writing. So, If I really want to change something, I need to be at the table.”

Coming to TSU, says Thomas, is the first step toward her career goal, and fulfills a lifelong dream of becoming a Tiger. TSU was the only school she applied to after high school. Her father, Frederick Parson, came to TSU, and just like Tiara, he played in the band as a member of the world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands. He played saxophone and she plays the French horn.

“I have been around TSU my whole life. My dad graduated from TSU and he was also an Aristocrat,” says Thomas. “So, growing up with me being close to the band, I just knew that’s what I wanted to be a part of. TSU was the only school I applied to. I just knew that this is where I was supposed to be.”

A native of Olive Branch, Mississippi, Thomas says she craved the HBCU experience after attending and graduating from predominantly white schools all her early life. An academic standout and member of her school band at Desoto Central High, she says coming to TSU has made a big difference in her life.

“I feel like being here I am with family. I don’t feel like I am away from home,” says Thomas. “I am in the band, and I am doing something I love to do. I travel, I meet people and have experiences I have never had before. That’s something I feel only TSU could give me.”

In addition to feeling at home, Thomas maintains a strong academic competence, exhibits outstanding leadership, and has an engaging personality among her fellow students, faculty and staff. With a near 4.0 grade point average, she is an honors student, the chair and creator of the TSU Votes Student Coalition, and the 2019-2020 Director’s and Students’ Choice MVP award recipient, an honor given by the band director in recognition of outstanding leadership.

In June, Thomas’ outstanding college career reached a major milestone when she was selected the student trustee on the TSU Board of Trustees. She became only the third student to get the coveted post since the board was reconstituted nearly four years ago.

Fellow students, staff and faculty members talk about Thomas’ outstanding academic and leadership abilities.

Dr. Kyle Murray, assistant professor of political science, says since entering TSU as a freshman, Thomas has exemplified excellence in study skills, professionalism, and the quality of her academic work.

“Tiara is passionate about the field of education in general with an eye toward making educational institutions and practices better,” says Murray. “I have no doubt she will make a lasting impact wherever she chooses to apply her tenacity and resolve. She is a student of impeccable character, and wise beyond her years, who will undoubtedly go on to do great things in this world.”

About her goal to help change the education landscape for African American children, Thomas says as a “straight A student” all her school years, she has been able to see “a little bit more than the regular student”

“I know that our educational system needs to be changed. I know there needs to be an equal playing field for all students, whether black or white,” says Thomas.

When all is accomplished, Thomas’ last wish is to be a university president.

“I want to be a president at an HBCU, preferably TSU,” she says.

If all current successes and accolades are any indication, Thomas may well be on her way.

For more information on the TSU Political Science program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/history/polisci.aspx

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 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 receives $6M federal grant to lead global research on beetle that attacks trees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has received a $6 million federal grant to lead a nationwide team of researchers in the development of new tools to manage a woodboring beetle that attacks trees. The grant’s directors in TSU’s College of Agriculture say the research could have a global impact.

Dr. Karla Addesso

The funds were awarded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture-National Institute of Food and Agriculture and will focus on the flatheaded borer, or Flatheaded Borer Management in Specialty Crops.

“These borers cause serious damage to the nursery industry, and sometimes a single borer can kill or severely weaken a small tree,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture. “Researchers will develop new tools for managing woodborers that attack trees in nursery, landscape, nut and fruit orchard systems. I am delighted and proud of our team that is leading this national effort.”

Dr. Jason Oliver

Karla Addesso, associate professor of entomology, is the project’s director. Entomology Professor Jason Oliver is co-director. Both are in the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences at TSU’s Otis L. Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.   

Altogether, Drs. Addesso and Oliver will lead 24 researchers, including three more from TSU: Drs. Fulya Baysal-Gurel, Anthony Witcher and Prithviraj Lakkakula. The others are from the University of Tennessee, Rutgers University, North Carolina State University, Clemson University, University of Georgia, USDA-ARS-Byron, University of Florida, Texas A&M, University of California and Oregon State University.

Besides Tennessee, researchers say the flatheaded borer is becoming a problem in places like Florida, California, Oregon and Texas. And with the use of the grant, they’re hoping to confirm their pest status in other states, like North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture

“This beetle attacks trees everywhere,” says Addesso. “Current climate issues are causing them to be more problematic.”

Oliver says the flatheaded borer genus Chrysobothris also occurs on other continents in the world, “so project outcomes that improve management of Chrysobothis species in North America could have implications for management in other parts of the world.”

Researchers say some of their objectives with the four-year grant include: cost benefit assessments of flatheaded borer management strategies and risk analysis to guide producers in decision-making; identifying factors that make trees susceptible to attack; and evaluation of new insecticides that have recently entered the market to fight flatheaded borers.

TSU grad student Axel Gonzalez

“More environmentally friendly biological options like entomopathogenic nematodes have not been investigated at all with this borer group, and that is one aspect of this project,” says Oliver.

Additionally, researchers say the project will provide training to several graduate students, which will prepare them to either pursue further advanced degrees or to work in the field of entomology. The Entomological Society of America presently has about 5,000 members. 

One of those graduate students is Alex Gonzalez, who is currently pursuing a master’s at TSU in agricultural sciences, with a focus on entomology. However, the recent grant award has enticed him to pursue a Ph.D. and continue his studies in entomology, particularly on woodborers like the flathead.  

Flatheaded borer

“I can work long-term studying these insects,” says Gonzalez, who is originally from Honduras. “It’s an honor to have this research at TSU. We will have data that will be beneficial to the whole agricultural section.”

To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

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.

‘Grey’s Anatomy’ star Kelly McCreary speaks to TSU student leaders about the importance of voting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Actress Kelly McCreary, best known for her role on the ABC award winning drama series “Grey’s Anatomy,” spoke to Tennessee State University student leaders on Oct. 1 as part of “VoteHBCU IG Live,” a national campaign to mobilize HBCU students to vote. The initiative encourages student organizations at historically black colleges and universities to plan events focused on voter education and engagement. Currently, TSU is leading all HBCUs with registering the most students to vote.   

McCreary, the VoteHBCU team leader for TSU and several other participating institutions, spent time with members of the TSU Student Government Association via Instagram Live to discuss activities and other strategies. Newely-elected SGA President Dominique Davis, and Tiara Thomas, student trustee on the university’s Board of Trustees, were part of the social media event. 

“As our team leader, Ms. McCreary speaking to us was very important,” said Davis, a senior business administration major from Danville, Illinois. “We gave her a brief overview of what TSU has already done, the initiatives that we started, and some of the events that we have done to get students more involved.”  

Davis and Thomas spearheaded efforts to start Power to the Polls, as part of  the TSU campus-wide mobilization campaign for the VoteHBCU initiative. Along with the SGA, they partnered with the Men’s Initiative to organize a daylong voter education and registration rally that featured Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Davidson County Election Commission Board member AJ Starling.   

On Sept. 27, Thomas facilitated a 45-minute Zoom workshop on absentee voting to educate members of the university’s 97-man football roster on how to ensure their ballots are counted.  All members of the team are registered to vote.  

“It was very exciting to have her speak to us,” Thomas said. “I know a lot of our students watch ‘Grey’s Anatomy.’ So, it is a familiar face that we can connect with on a national scale to encourage us to vote.”  

 McCreary, who began her career acting in theatre, and eventually making it to Broadway, has performed in a number of productions. She made her screen debut doing voice work for several animated children’s educational programs, and later made guest appearances on the television series “I want my pants back,” “Castle,” and “Scandal,” to name a few. On “Grey’s Anatomy,” the Milwaukee, Wisconsin, native played Dr. Maggie Pierce, the half-sister of Ellen Pompeo, the series lead actress as Meredith Grey.  

For more information of McCreary’s career and her body of work, visit https://instagram.com/seekellymccreary?igshid=128759uji8w9d

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 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 football players, coaches learn more about absentee voting to make sure their voices are heard

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently held a 45-minute workshop on absentee voting to educate members of its 97-man football roster on how to ensure their ballots are counted in one of the most anticipated presidential elections in decades.

Coach Rod Reed

Coach Rod Reed hosted the “The TSU Tiger’s Guide to Absentee Voting Virtual Seminar,” which was facilitated by Tiara Thomas, student Trustee on the University’s Board of Trustees.  Thomas’ Zoom presentation included steps to requesting an absentee ballot, filling it out and returning the document on time. It also included a demonstration of the application process, as well as a chatroom for participants to ask questions.  Election Day is Nov. 3.

Dieuseul Stcyr, a defensive back from Macon, Georgia; and Cam Durley, an offensive tackle from Houston, Texas, said the seminar was an eye-opener for them as first-time voters. The two players for the Tigers have completed their registration and will be voting, thanks to the urging of their coach.  

Tiara Thomas

“First and foremost, the seminar was very important. We need to hear this kind of message more often,” said Stcyr, a senior communications major. “For many of us, like me, growing up at home we did not get this knowledge of what it means to vote, where to vote and what you need to vote.”  

Durley, a senior human performance and sport studies major, added that the workshop was very informative and “that all students need to attend.”  

“I really liked it,” said Durley. “In addition to information coach gave us, this seminar put me in the right direction and what I need to do to get my vote in.”  

Thomas provided players with information on how to access and navigate their respective secretaries of state’s websites, as well as the proper forms of identification needed to complete an absentee application.   

Tiara Thomas, Student Trustee and member of of the Aristocrat of Bands, works along with Coach Reed to present the virtual absentee vote seminar for football players. She plans to get all band members 100-percent registered to vote. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am glad to see the football team 100-percent registered to vote,” said Thomas, a junior political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi.  “Whether they know it or not, as leaders on this campus, people look to them and follow their example. So, I hope many more will join to make an even bigger impact this year. We have students here at TSU that are not from Tennessee, and this means they will be voting absentee or mail-in ballot.”   

Coach Reed said with the looming social and civil unrests, and ever-present effort to suppress votes, it was important for players to know how critical their participation is as citizens.  

“I think that it is very important for our kids to understand what their role is in what’s going on in our country,” said Reed, who announced a 100-percent voter registration for the entire football team.  

“Our kids are looking at what’s going on in this society – from George Floyd to Breonna Taylor and all those things that happened over the summer. Those things left a lot of them angry. Besides, we have to educate our kids on the process and how voter suppression occurs. So, we are trying to get them the mechanisms to be able to vote and be effective with their ballots.”

Reed issued a challenge to all HBCU sports programs, especially the Ohio Valley Conference, to get their students registered to vote.

Thomas, who volunteered to follow up with the players, has been a crusader on campus for voter education and registration. She is the creator and chair of the TSU Votes Student Coalition. Recently, she partnered with two other student organizations to host a daylong voter registration rally on campus that featured Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett, and Davidson County Election Commission Board member AJ Starling.  

Thomas said in 2018, only 34 percent of the campus actively voted.  

“As trustee this year, my goal is to double that turnout, if not 100 percent,” she said.   

Thomas is a member of TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands, where she plays the French horn. She said she is working to accomplish what the football team has done, and get a 100-percent voter registration for band members.  

For information on deadlines to register, early voting, mail-in voting, and absentee ballots, visit the website of the Secretary of State in your state. 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State UniversityFounded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 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 students seek internships, job opportunities as record number of companies attend first-ever virtual career fair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure its students are not missing out on internships or employment opportunities, since many on-campus recruitment activities were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

On Sept. 22, the university held its first-ever virtual career fair with a record 169 companies represented. Nearly 600 students from various disciplines attended. Handshake, an online platform that helps college students get jobs, facilitated the virtual workshop in collaboration with the TSU Career Development Center. Students directly interacted with employers through group and one-on-one sessions.

Reginald Holland, III, a second-year graduate student in agricultural sciences, and KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, were among the early participants in the virtual fair.

Reginald Holland, III, says he is looking for internship in the agriculture field. (Submitted Photo)

“This (virtual fair) was very unique and interesting,” said Holland, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was looking for internship opportunities in the agriculture field. “I spoke with several employers. They were very receptive and interested in what I had to say.”

Dakwa, a junior from Huntsville, Alabama, who was also looking for an internship, said she felt good talking with representatives of major companies and agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan Department of Transportation, Conoco, Duke Energy and DTE Energy.

“It was really awesome,” said Dakwa. “I really enjoyed the one-on-one sessions, and I really think I have a good chance of getting an internship, because of how I connected with them.”

KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, says she left the fair feeling good about landing an internship. (Submitted Photo)

Frank Stevenson, associated vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, described the record turn-out of employers as “a community-wide celebration of career opportunities for our student.”

“This year’s career fair was so amazing in that we had the largest turn-out of employers who were really interested in our students,” Stevenson said. “We recognize doing it this way, there is some value in the virtual experience. This was the result of a complete push of the entire university – Academic Affairs, the Honors College – to make sure our students were prepared.”

Unlike the in-person career and employment fairs the Career Development Center hosts each year, students who attended the virtual fair registered and submitted resumes ahead of time to be able to participate. The center also provided students with a virtual career-guide manual with topics that are normally covered during face-to-face interactions with employers.

William Corneh, left, a second-year business marketing major, talks to representatives of Provider Trust about internship opportunity, during the 2020 Spring Internship Fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The goal was to make sure our students made a great impression and that employers had a good idea about what our students were looking for,” said Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center. “Additionally, many of these companies not only registered for this fair, but came prepared to offer jobs to many of our students.”

Company representatives said they were impressed with the TSU students’ presentations, outlook and approach, and that they had a very good grasp of what they were looking for.

Cornelia Butler, a TSU alum and continuous improvement manager of Detroit-based DTE Energy, said her company was looking for students interested in summer internships in computer and electrical engineering, with the potential for full-time employment.

‘It was so exciting to meet some of the TSU students, they are articulate, passionate about what they want to learn and where they want to go,” said Butler, who along with her husband and a son, earned engineering degrees at TSU.

“Just from their GPAs, from their experiences, and what they want to do, it was exciting to meet them. My goal definitely is to find opportunities for summer internships, and to get back with those students,” Butler said.

Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, manager of talent acquisition at The General, one of the fair’s sponsoring companies, also described the TSU students as focused, engaging, upbeat and positive.

“We talked a lot about our open positions and our internships,” said Mabry-Shirey, who also represented her company at the 2020 Spring Internship Fair, that resulted in internships for TSU students.

“Overall, it was very productive. We were more focused on internships and entry-level positions and full-time positions for people who are ready to go straight to work after school,” she said.

For more information on the TSU’s Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State 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.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg remembered as a ‘giant’ on the nation’s highest court

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may have stood a little over five feet, but those remembering her say she was a giant on the nation’s highest court, and her influence will be felt for generations.

TSU President Glenda Glover

Tennessee State University joined the country in mourning her death.

“If ever there was a crusader for justice, she was that, and more,” said TSU President Glenda Glover. “Early on in her legal profession, Justice Ginsburg helped to reshape history as a staunch advocate for equal protection and opportunity for women under the constitution. She consistently delivered votes on the most divisive social issues, including voting rights, health care, and affirmative action. And it is in that same spirit of perseverance, equality and justice, that we will continue her legacy.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis, a Women’s Studies faculty member and dean of the College of Liberal Arts at TSU, said Ginsburg “achieved icon status usually reserved for film and music stars.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan-Curtis

“Besides Thurgood Marshall, I cannot think of another member of SCOTUS to be this recognizable as an individual,” said Morgan-Curtis. “At 5-foot-1, she towered over everyone else on the bench. She was a giant, in her own right.” 

Morgan-Curtis added that Ginsburg’s work with the American Civil Liberties Union, where she founded the Women’s Rights Project, pushed the protections of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment for both men and women, as well as minorities.

“The fact that states cannot set different drinking ages for men and women results from Ginsburg’s work as an attorney. The protection for men as care givers comes from her work.” 

Dr. Shameka Cathey

Morgan-Curtis said Ginsburg’s majority opinions also “pushed fair and equal protection under the law, and many argue that her dissent in the Ledbetter case was the blueprint for the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.”

That legislation, which dealt with equal pay and amended part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, was the first bill signed into law by former President Barack Obama in 2009.

Following Ginsburg’s passing, an effort is underway to replace her prior to the Nov. 3 presidential election. TSU Political Science Professor Shameka Cathey said the replacement of Ginsburg before the election “could put our country in limbo.”

“We would have a nation of people who are swinging to the left, with a Supreme Court on the right,” said Cathey, whose focus includes civil rights and African American politics. “The impact could lead to a Supreme Court turning back the clock on civil rights, voting rights, and many other vital rights central to the heart of our democracy.”

Junior Tiara Thomas

However, regardless of who replaces Ginsburg, TSU junior Tiara Thomas said her impact will not be diminished.

“Justice Ginsburg made a space for women in society, when there seemed to be none available,” said Thomas, a political science major from Olive Branch, Mississippi. “And this is what my peers and I can do to keep her legacy alive. We will continue to fight for safe spaces for ourselves, to advance and change the world.” 

To learn more about Women’s Studies at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/cla/programs/womensstudies.aspx.

Department of Media Relations

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

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