TSU Recognized as a Global Academic Leader, Receives Prestigious Fulbright HBCU Title

Tennessee State University faculty and administrators at the 100,000 Strong in Africa Conference.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For the third consecutive year, Tennessee State University has been selected as a Fulbright Historically Black College and University (HBCU) Institutional Leader. TSU receives the honor from the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) and is recognized for demonstrating exemplary work with its foreign exchange program for students, faculty and staff. 

The Fulbright Program is the U.S. government’s flagship international academic exchange program. TSU earned the honor for the 2020-2021 and 2021-2022 academic school years for promoting exchange opportunities on campus. The University is one of 19 HBCUs to receive the designation by the State Department.

Tennessee State University Students were in Ghana for two weeks participating in a conference that focused on Pan-Africanism. They were joined by students from Clark Atlanta, Morgan State, and Howard University.

“Tennessee State University strives to maintain our status as a global institution and receiving the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader award from the U.S. Department of State helps us do just that,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“TSU has operated an exemplary international exchange program for three consecutive years and has been recognized each of those years as a global academic leader for providing opportunities to all students.”  

TSU President, Glenda Glover

Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs Lee Satterfield, commended the selected HBCUs receiving the Fulbright HBCU Institutional Leader designation this year, noting that “HBCUs are an important part of the American and global higher education communities, providing life-changing exchange opportunities for American and international students, faculty, and administrators alike.”

Dr. Jewell Winn, executive director for International Programs and senior international officer for TSU, said it was an honor to be acknowledged for the prestigious awards.

Dr. Winn also serves as the Fulbright Liaison for the University.  

Dr. Jewell Winn
Dr. Jewell Winn

“Our students and faculty participated in Fulbright workshops this Spring and were excited about the many opportunities available,” Winn said. “As a result, we are seeing more interest in Fulbright initiatives and are very grateful to be part of a university community committed to comprehensive internationalization through important partnerships such as this.”

For more information on the Fulbright Program, visit http://eca.state.gov/fulbright

TSU 2022 Fall Career Fair largest turn out in university history with over 1,000 students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Over 1,000 TSU students will be better prepared for internships and the job market following the university’s Fall Career Fair. The students took advantage of meeting over 240 potential employers at the fair that included representatives from government agencies, aerospace, banking, engineering, healthcare, and several other industries. The employers set up tables and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and employment opportunities. 

Companies representing the automotive, engineering, aerospace, banking and healthcare industries attend the 2022 Fall Career fair. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“This is amazing,” Antoinette Duke, Director of the Career Development Center said during the event. “This is the largest career fair that we’ve had.” In preparation of the fair, the university held career readiness sessions at each housing location, on and off campus. The hands-on training sessions were led by executives and representatives of major companies such as Atria, PepsiCo, and Procter and Gamble. 

President Glenda Glover made an announcement mid-event stating how proud she was to see students seeking employment and thanked all the company representatives for coming. “We appreciate the support … thank you to our sponsors for being here,” Glover said.

Whitney Hawkins, a freshman health science major from Chicago, Illinois speaks with represnentives for Overhead Door Company. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

“And to the students, I look forward to you all being employees for the companies present, in the near future.”

Whitney Hawkins, a freshman health science major from Chicago, Illinois, said she was excited to see how many companies poured into her HBCU with internship and employment opportunities.

“I am open to learn about all these amazing companies,” Hawkins said during the event. “I am grateful that the school had this opportunity for us. They (employers) were really open and conversational.” While Hawkins was searching for internship opportunities to one day become a physician assistant, Reginald Cooper Jr., a rising senior from Memphis, was on a job hunt for opportunities related to health sciences.

Reginald Cooper Jr., a rising senior from Memphis, spoke with several employers as he seeks interest in a career related to health sciences. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

“It was very informative speaking with Fifth Third Bank, as it has been at all the booths,” Cooper said.

“It’s great to see how many booths have come back from the previous years to show that they have an interest in TSU students.” Cooper appreciated how all the employees at each booth was approachable, greeting him with a smile. “I found a lot of opportunities and I’m excited that I see a lot of TSU students here.”

Xenea Ford, a TSU graduate who attended the fair to represent her company, said it was a full circle moment to see how impactful the event was for her and current students. Ford is a 2017 graduate who is an Internal Account Manager for Jackson National Life Insurance Company.

TSU alum Xenea Ford, an Internal Account Manager for Jackson National Life Insurance Company, said her company is offering job and internship opportunities. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

“I actually found out about my company at a career fair at TSU in Kean (Hall),” Ford said.

“It feels really nostalgic and amazing to be able to be here. We are looking for diverse talent and I love that we are looking here at TSU. Harold Guy, another TSU alum who is an Account Executive for Enterprise fleet management, couldn’t agree more.

“I have been smiling from ear to ear since I have been here,” Guy laughed during the event. “I am excited to see the students dressing the part and coming in with their resumes.”

Employers said they were impressed about the students’ level of preparation and career readiness. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

Like many students, one of those rising seniors who had their resume on hand was Adrien Calvert who is studying Mass Communications.

“This is something to appreciate,” Calvert said noting that many companies told him there is a seat at the table for a communications major.

“We are about to get into the real world.” 

For more information about the TSU Career Services Department, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/ .

TSU upgrades emergency call boxes for added campus safety 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is moving forward with a three-phased plan to upgrade the Code Blue Emergency towers, also known as call boxes, on campus and in parking lots. The call towers are a part of a safety system that is utilized to call TSU Police Department in case of an incident or emergency on campus. 

Marlah Green, the Assistant Director of Renovation and Construction for the University, said the upgrades are necessary to continue ensuring campus safety for everyone. “One of the enhancements we are making with the towers … we are putting cameras on them,” Green said. “The towers are important for the safety and security of the students, staff, and visitors to the campus.” 

Contractors installing an updated Code Blue Emergency tower with cameras in the visitors parking lot. (Photo by: Alexis Clark)

As a part of phase one, the University replaced the cameras located on campus buildings and say several will be equipped with a public address system. Phase two includes replacing call towers in the parking lots surrounding the campus. Green added that “360” cameras, capable of rotating in a full circle, will be placed on these towers.  

Currently, there are 26 towers on campus. Phase three of the project will consist of adding at least ten more call boxes.  

As of Sept. 2022, there are 26 towers on campus. The university plans on adding at least ten more call boxes.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, said the additional towers will be in locations that provide comprehensive coverage for safety.  

“Our plans are to strategically place them where … you can see the blue lights from almost every campus location,” Johnson said. “You will see the towers and know where they are, verses trying to find one at every building.”  

Johnson said this has been an ongoing project and reiterated the importance of safety for the students and hope to have the installations complete before homecoming beginning October 2.  

TSU agriculture student embodies the Tiger Spirit in fight against rare cancer 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For Zaria Hunter, this semester marks her triumphant return to Tennessee State University as she continues the battle of her life against a rare form of cancer.  

In 2021, Hunter started her spring semester of sophomore year off strong, studying agriculture sciences with a pre-veterinary medicine concentration.

Zaria Hunter. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

But Hunter’s school year took a turn when she began having constant, severe headaches. Something she expected to pass overtime with some medication. What Hunter didn’t expect, was to spend her 20th birthday in St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis fighting the rare cancer that was ravishing her body and had already reached stage 4. 

In April 2021, Hunter’s family discovered that the cancerous cells had already spread throughout her body.

“It was in my liver, brain, lungs, spine and hip bone,” Hunter shared.

During her five month stay at St. Jude, Hunter experienced going into a coma several times, one of which lasted four days.

“That’s when things were getting rough,” she added.  Hunter, an Atlanta native, was frail and couldn’t walk. Standing 5-foot-4 inches tall at 85 pounds, she underwent seven rounds of intravenous chemotherapy and surgery to receive an implanted port in her chest.  

While Hunter was in Memphis for treatment, her long-time friend from high school who also attends TSU, Chayne Alexander, prayed for her recovery and return to the university. 

“Her family had reached out to her friends and once I found out, I instantly started crying,” Alexander said. “Because I’ve experienced this feeling before when I lost my granddad, so I was hurt to the core.”

Alexander said their friends supported and prayed for Hunter every day, keeping their faith. 

In 2021, Zaria was hospitalized for five months after being diagnosed with a rare cancer. (Photo submitted)

And so did Dr. De’Etra Young, the Associate Dean for Academics in the college of agriculture.

“When Zaria was hospitalized, we communicated frequently,” Dr. Young said, noting that Hunter was concerned about her schoolwork, staying hopeful in her return to TSU. “Her desire to return to school while fighting cancer, is determination that I have never seen before,” Young said.

“She inspires me. Her resilience speaks to the caliber of what type of student she is. To know that she is still fighting and staying uplifted, I look forward to the day she graduates,” Young said.

“Once a tiger, always a tiger.”

Zaria at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
learning how to walk again.

Fellow students and professors say despite how ill Hunter became, she always kept a smile on her face throughout her journey. After her five months stay at the hospital, Hunter was released and began her daily dosage of oral chemotherapy.  

“I never lost who I was when I was in the hospital,” Hunter said. “I kept high spirits and stayed positive.”

This semester, Hunter is back in Nashville battling a small percentage of cancer that is only in her lungs now.

Hunter is visiting St. Jude once a month for checkups while she is pursuing her dream at TSU to become a veterinarian.

“It feels great to be back,” she said. “My determination to be better, and to do better kept me going … I was praying for these better days,” she smiled.

Zaria Hunter, who aspires to become a veterinarian, feeding goats at Tennessee State University’s agricultural farm. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

She said that although balancing school and her social life while fighting cancer will get tricky, she knows that she is up for the challenge. “God let me know that it was going to get rough in the beginning but … I never gave up on myself,” she said.

Hunter said she is thankful for her support system at TSU and looks forward to being cancer free, and most importantly, getting her degree with the ultimate goal of becoming a veterinarian. 

TSU engineering program gets major boost from Turner Construction Company

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Turner Construction Company awarded three $15,000 scholarships for engineering students and will fund $65,000 to the department in Tuition Assistance Program grants to qualified students. TSU and Turner have partnered in efforts to support STEM students, and specifically those majoring in engineering.  A check presentation and roundtable discussion were held to highlight the partnership.  

More than 50 students attended along with TSU President Glenda Glover, executives from the company, and alumni in engineering. In addition to the scholarships, roundtable discussion focused on internships, career opportunities in the field of engineering and HBCU impact.   

The three scholarship winners of Turner award are:  Gregory Hobbs, Havilah Akachukwu and Ethiopine Choping.

Gregory Hobbs, left, Havilah Akachukwu, center, and Ethiopine Choping, right, were awarded $15,000 scholarships from Turner Construction Company. (Photo by Alexis Clark)

Akachukwu, a junior from Nigeria majoring in Mechanical Engineering, said she is thankful for the awarded funds and thought the overall event was amazing. 

“To be able to see people in the industry take out time from their busy schedules to be there, just to talk about ways in which we, the students in engineering could help ourselves was wonderful,” Akachukwu said.  She looks forward to one day becoming a design engineer and thanked Turner for believing in the university as majority of the panelists were either HBCU or TSU graduates. 

“For the efforts they have put into our school and the students, I am grateful. They were all lovely and tried their best to communicate and interact with every student present.” Choping, a civil engineering major from Alaska, was shocked when she was notified about the scholarship and mentioned how informative the event was.  

“I learned that there are different paths to take to be successful and each path is unique,” Choping said. “As long as you’re putting in effort, you will get the results you want.” 

Hobbs, an Architectural Engineering major from Alabama, said that he prayed about receiving the scholarship to help cut cost of his tuition. 

“The Turner Company event was wonderful,” Hobbs said. “The speakers provided a lot of insight on making it through school and choosing the correct career path. They spoke on managing school, personal life, and mental health.” Hobbs said the panelist assured him how much TSU alumni take care of one another and appreciated the insight. 

Students, TSU President Glenda Glover, and engineering department staff listens during roundtable discussion from Turner panelists about career goals in the field and HBCU impact. (Photo by Alexis Clark)

“I learned that TSU is a family,” Hobbs said. Everyone wants you to succeed and are willing to help you.” 

Charles Stewart, Vice President, Diverse Recruiting and Outreach, said the program is about, “the development of the student, helping the university enhance their pipeline and develop their students to be prepared to step out in the communities where we work every day, and be able to work with companies like ours.” 

TSU graduate Jimmie Jones, told the students that the foundation of being able to be his true self at the university is one of the reasons he is a superintendent at Turner now. “The biggest things I received from here (TSU) is the support from my peers.” 

Charles Stewart speaks about his company experience and program efforts. (Photo by Bethany Legg)

Dr. Catherine Armwood-Gordon, Interim Chair and Associate Professor for the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, said having TSU and HBCU alumni as part of the panel was a great way to show representation. 

“It allows students to relate and form relationships with people in the industry and company who at one point were exactly where they are now,” Armwood-Gordon said. “Allowing them to see the possibilities of their future with their degrees and understand that the time, commitment, and rigorousness of the degree will pay off in the end. The College of Engineering is grateful for Turner Construction Company investing in our students by providing scholarships and support to student activities and engagement.” 

Along with Jones, panelist Don Hardin Jr., and the event moderator Susan Vanderbilt, are all TSU alumni. Vanderbilt is the executive director and owner of Entrée Savvy, LLC, while Hardin is the owner of Don Hardin Group, the firm that designed and constructed the National Museum of African American Music located downtown.

The panel also included Stewart, Valarie Franklin, a Senior Associate/Client Relationship Manager for Moody Nolan, and the companies Lead Estimator, Cerise Inganji.

TSU brings career readiness training to students at off-campus housing as fall job fair nears 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is taking career readiness training to students where they are. Ahead of the university’s upcoming fall career fair on Friday Sept. 23, TSU’s Career Development Center held training sessions at each housing location, on and off campus.

The hands-on training sessions were led by executives and representatives of major companies such as Atria, PepsiCo, and Procter and Gamble. 

TSU student speaks with University employee regarding upcoming fall career fair on Friday Sept. 23, (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Honing interviewing skills, writing resumes that catch attention, “sharpening your 30-second elevator talk,” and confidence building, were among talking points and tips the students received. 

“The training was extremely beneficial, well organized, and very informative,” said Makayla Bracey, after a workshop with other students in their off-campus housing at the Red Roof Inn. Bracey is a junior respiratory care major from Charlotte, North Carolina.

“What really stood out for me was the elevator interview, when you have only 30 seconds to make an impression, and interviewing technique on what values you can bring to a company.” 

Ivana Green, a sophomore physical therapy major from Chicago, said the workshop was very timely, as she is looking forward to making “a very good impression” at the career fair this week.

“I really enjoyed the workshop, and especially bringing it to us in our hotel,” said Green who resides in La Quinta Inn. “Ms. Sabrina Johnson (CDC coordinator) gave us a lot of information that will be valuable to me when I apply for jobs. In the few minutes that she was with us, she taught us how to be confident and how to present ourselves well.” 

The Fall Career Fair, which kicks off at 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., in the Gentry Center Complex, is expected to feature nearly 500 companies that will set up tents and displays, with some receiving and reviewing resumes on the spot, according to organizers.

Nearly 250 students have signed up for the fair.

Antoinette Duke, director of the Career Development Center, said the training in the students’ living areas was an opportunity to ensure that students living off-campus get the opportunity to have the same programming as those on campus. 

“I think we have a responsibility to meet students where they are,” Duke said. “So, one of the things we wanted to do as far as career readiness and career prep, was to connect with university partners and bring them to the hotels, which is where our students are. The employers understand what we are looking for this week is to help our students become career ready. We connected with our partners, we shared with them that we want our students to be prepared.” 

Representatives from PepsiCo speaks with TSU students about career readiness during a gathering at the La Quinta Inn. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Lynoral Lee, manager of the Atria Paper Can Plant in Clarksville, Tennessee, spoke to students at the Ramada Inn. Her company, which has hired many TSU graduates in the past, is a major sponsor of the career fair. She said her goal is to help students understand the opportunities out there and what companies are looking for, and to prepare them for those opportunities.  

“How to present themselves, how to be prepared, what to say, how to dress, that’s what I want to get across to them,” Lee said. “At the end of the day, the message I want to leave with the students is, ‘You are building your career and your future. Always be prepared because there are lots of opportunities out there. You may not think so, but there are many opportunities out there for all of us.’” 

Darius Boyd, a business information systems major, who resides in the Ramada, said the Atria manager’s presentation was very helpful. 

“It is very comforting that that these companies are coming here and teaching us how to network and getting us to the people who will actually help us get into those companies,” said Boyd, a senior from Memphis, Tennessee, whose ultimate goal is to become a chief information officer. “Actually, just helping us and giving us different tips and tricks to preparing for what employers are looking for really helps us to know what to put on our resumes.” 

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

TSU holds largest freshman convocation in university history with class of 2026 

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2022) – Tennessee State University officially welcomed its largest class ever of first-year students during the Fall 2022 Freshman Convocation held on Sept. 16. More than 3,500 new students poured into the Gentry Center complex in all-white attire and were formally introduced by TSU faculty and staff as official TSU tigers.

The annual assembly for freshmen marks the beginning of their academic journey at the University and their transformation as college students.  

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomes class of 2026 at the university’s largest class ever of first-year students during the Fall 2022 Freshman Convocation. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

TSU President Glenda Glover welcomed the students to the university with words of encouragement. 

“As young college students, you are heading in the right direction,” Glover said. “Keep on being excellent. Keep shinning and be strong … strong enough to know your purpose of why you are here.” 

A very talented freshman, Autumn Parker, blew everyone away with her rendition of Hero by Mariah Carey. The political science major from Michigan says the experience was one to remember because she had never performed in front of such a large crowd. Parker adds she has been singing her entire life but sharing her vocals to thousands was a first. 

“I was very excited to be able to share my God-given gift with my class,” Parker said. “It also brought me a sense of comfort to be surrounded by people who look like me. I was able to see Black excellence personified, which was incredible.”

More than 3,500 new students poured into the Gentry Center complex in all-white attire and were formally introduced by TSU faculty and staff as official TSU tigers. (Phot by: Aaron Grayson)

During the convocation the students pledged to commit themselves “to serious intellectual and cultural efforts,” and to conduct themselves “with honor and dignity to become better prepared to live a full and useful life in society.” 

TSU freshman Tyler Cole, a mass communications major whose parents are TSU alumni, said during the event he reflected on his parents undergraduate journey at TSU, which made his experience at the convocation even more special.

“It made me think about what my parents went through here and how successful they turned out,” Cole said. “And seeing all my classmates together gave me hope … it felt natural to be there.”

TSU freshman Autumn Parker blew everyone away with her rendition of Hero by Mariah Carey during the Fall 2022 Freshman Convocation. (Photo by: Aaron Grayson)

Terrence Izzard, Associate Vice President of Enrollment Management and Student Success said the convocation is an annual opening assembly that marks the beginning of the academic journey of the record-breaking, first-time freshmen. It is the official start of the transformation and growth that will transpire within the lives of our newest TSU Tigers.

“The University is pleased to welcome over 3,500 new first-year students,” Izzard said. “It remains committed to providing holistic care and support to ensure that each student has access to resources and services that will help them succeed both academically and personally.”

TSU’s history making class of first-year college students outnumbers the total African-American population at some institutions. The freshmen class average GPA is 3.38. While the largest population of incoming students are from Tennessee, and neighboring states like Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky and Ohio, there is huge a surge of students from as far as California, Texas, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

STEAM majors in agricultural sciences, engineering and health sciences, along with business, and education continue to be the most popular among the new freshman class. 

TSU says Southern Heritage Classic more than just a football game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Linda Parrish has been coming to the Southern Heritage Classic since it started 33 years ago. Each year, she looks forward to the second weekend in September for the replay of tradition, camaraderie, homecoming, and most of all, the rivalry on the football field. 

President Glenda Glover gives an update on the university at the annual President’s Reception and Alumni Mixer at the Renasant Center in Memphis. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“I remember when the classic first started with TSU playing Grambling State University, and how it has evolved into one of the premier Black college football showcases in the nation,” says Parrish, a 1976 TSU graduate, and a retired registered nurse from Miami. 

The classic is more than the action on the field for TSU. West Tennessee, north Mississippi, and specifically Memphis are fertile grounds to recruit top high school students.

Brenda Gale Joiner, a graduating senior at Hamilton High School with a 3.9 GPA, is coming to TSU next fall to major in civil engineering. She was among several students recruited at the annual college fair as part of the classic week events.  

The TSU Aristocrat of Bands participates in the 33rd Southern Heritage Classic Parade. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“TSU is the home of the Tigers, and I love it,” she said. “I know it is a great institution. I have heard great things about the programs, and my father went to TSU.” 

Another fair goer, Kiereney Cole, a graduating senior from Booker T. Washington High School, has TSU in her sight. She wants to major in business, marketing and entrepreneurship. She has heard a lot about TSU’s business program.

“I choose TSU because it looks a very good school and I like the HBCU atmosphere,” says Cole. “I know few graduates from my school who go there and and I like what they say about the university.” 

Kiereney Cole, right, a graduating senior from Booker T. Washington High School, talks to a TSU admissions official at the annual college fair in Memphis. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

At the President’s Reception and Alumni Mixer – part of the classic weekend event – to update alumni and supporters on the state of affairs at the university, TSU President Glenda Glover touted the high quality of students attending the university. She announced the university’s historic freshman enrollment, the highest among all HBCUs in the nation, record research funding, also the highest among HBCUs, as well as a $250 million from the state for infrastructural improvement.  

“I greet you in the name of excellence. We began this semester with excitement and enthusiasm about the great things that are happening at TSU,” President Glover said. “We have the largest enrollment in our first-year class in the history of our university. I am told it is the largest enrollment of all HBCUs. Our research funding was also the highest last year, and we came close to tying that record this year, with $67 million in research funding. TSU received $250 million from the state for infrastructural development. We are in the process of identifying the structures we want to improve and upgrade and present our plan to the state.”

Debbi Howard, Director of Alumni Relations, welcomes guests at the President’s Reception and Alumni Mixer. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

On TSU’s recent housing situation, Glover said demand had exceeded supply due primarily due to high enrollment, and the high cost of living in Nashville, which had more upperclassmen seeking on-campus because they can no longer afford housing in the city. She said TSU’s situation was not unique. 

“Many universities across the country and even here in Tennessee are experiencing the same demand for campus housing. Some sent students homes without any options. We provided our students with options because we know many of them will not come without a place to stay. TSU students could attend online for free if they paid a deposit or live in off-campus housing.”  

The President thanked alumni, officials, and friends for their continued support of TSU and most importantly students.  Before the night ended, the gathering had raised more than $40,000 for student support, including $25,000 from TSU alum Lt. Col. James W. Williams, a Vietnam veteran and former prisoner of war. The check was a contribution to an endowment in his name at the university. Also, during halftime of the football game, alumnus Sedric Turner presented a check for $110,000 as the first installment on a $1 million pledge to support student scholarships and the Aristocrat of Bands.

Diehard TSU Tigers fans cheer on their beloved team at the Southern Heritage Classic football game. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Besides the college fair and big game on Saturday, another highlight of the SHC was the annual parade in the Orange Mound community of Memphis. Hundreds of people lined the route to see the floats and participants, including TSU’s world-renowned Aristocrat of Bands.   While the score wasn’t in TSU’s favor, the University still came away as winner with peaked interest from high school students and alumni support. 

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 eight 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 Gain Access to Hockey through Partnership with Nashville Predators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Sept. 13, 2022) – Nearly three years after forming a historic partnership between an HBCU and NHL team, Tennessee State University and the Nashville Predators have worked to ensure the alliance continues to thrive. The short-term goal was to help TSU raise $1 million in one month in February 2020. The long-term goal was to create opportunities for students in the league, starting with the hometown team. Two TSU professors are helping students with the latter.

College of Business Associate Professors of Marketing Dr. Vaidas Lukosius and Dr. Ramaprasad Unni say they are committed to providing TSU students with firsthand knowledge about internship opportunities with the Predators. The two recently hosted an event for their classes featuring Tyree White, Director of Business Strategy & Analytics and Michael LaPlaca, Director of Digital & Social Strategy with the Predators. The executives shared information about sports marketing and internship opportunities. According to the professors, about 30 students attended the event.

“Internships are an ongoing process, and we always get requests from companies,” says Dr. Lukosius. “It’s one thing to have a flyer [about internship opportunities], but it’s something else to have the company come out, meet, explain, and engage with students.”

One of those students is Sarah Johnson, Senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Marketing who is currently seeking internship opportunities.

“I thoroughly enjoyed the event. Mr. LaPlaca and Mr. White shared meaningful knowledge and experience with us,” says Johnson. 

“It was nice to hear about their usual days at the office as well as their experience during more demanding periods. Their presentation certainly provided real-world insight to key concepts we learn in our marketing and business courses.”

Johnson hopes to become a marketing manager or director with a luxury fashion company and says she’s interested in an internship with the social media marketing team. 

“An internship with the Nashville Predators would be extremely valuable, and I would hope to learn the ins and outs of marketing, especially on such a large scale.”

President Glenda Glover, TSU officials and student leaders join Nashville Predators CEO Sean Henry, second from left, at a press conference in 2020 to announce a partnership to raise $1 million in one month. (TSU Photo)

While students in the College of Business attended the event, any TSU student can apply for an internship with the Predators for academic credit. It’s recommended that they speak with their respective department chair and the Career Development Center ahead of time regarding the requirements to receive credit for an internship.

“It would be a tremendous honor to help students get their career started in sports, but also help bring a more diverse approach to our day-to-day challenges,” says White. 

“While my department focuses on technical skills, we can train anyone that is interested.”

He adds that internships with his department for the spring should be posted at the beginning of November with the deadline to apply being early December. Their goal is to have spring interns selected before Christmas break with a potential start date around the second week of January.

Victoria Clark, Senior Business Administration major with a concentration in Hospitality Management, says she plans to apply.

“An internship with the Predators will be pivotal and provide me with essential knowledge and experience,” says Clark. 

“My career goal after college is to become a powerful and successful hotelier. I expect to receive hands-on experience in the sports and entertainment industry to learn trends and fundamental business skills that I can apply to my cumulative knowledge of the hospitality and tourism industry.”

Dr. Lukosius and Dr. Unni hope to have future events where White and LaPlaca can speak to students on more topics. Their goal is to have a consistent group of students earn an internship with the Predators each year.

“Internships make education more relevant and increase ties to the community,” says Dr. Unni. “My students who attended enjoyed the event, and if any participate, they can come back and share the experience with their peers.”

TSU Students interested in an internship with the Predators should visit https://www.teamworkonline.com/hockey-jobs/hockeyjobs/nashville-predators and apply. Those interested in opportunities with White or LaPlaca’s department can email them directly at [email protected] and [email protected][respectively] with an updated resume after completing the online application.

TSU, US Dept. of Labor Deputy Secretary host summit to increase career and partnership opportunities for students    

In support of the 2021 White House initiative to advance equity through Historically Black Colleges and Universities, TSU hosted the HBCU Summer Summit hiring event presented by the US Department of Labor (DOL.)

More than 150 students and faculty members interacted with DOL representatives and career services professionals to gather input for new training, mentorship, internship programs and opportunities to promote career development and long-term employment opportunities for the federal government.

TSU President Glenda Glover and the Deputy Secretary of Labor Julie Su spoke about the importance of DOL initiatives and efforts in promoting opportunity for HBCU students. (Photo: Aaron Grayson)

DOL representatives were on-hand to answer questions about specific career opportunities in the southeastern United States, as students learned about federal careers, how to navigate the federal government job site – USAjobs, and how to write a federal resume.

President Glenda Glover said it was an honor for the university to be a part of the three-part tour including Jackson State University and Tuskegee University. Glover also noted how grateful the university is to have the Deputy Secretary of Labor, Julie Su, discuss federal government partnership and employment opportunities hands on with the students.

“We want our students to know that we have corporations to come and take such an interest in us. It shows the inclusiveness of what the administration is trying to do,” Glover said. “To focus on minorities. To focus on HBCUs … we are pleased to be a part of that conversation.”

The Tennessee Department of Labor and Workforce Development mobile American Job Centers vehicle on campus to provide a mobile computer lab with internet access to create a venue for resume workshops. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The event was open to students and faculty from TSU and all surrounding HBCUs, along with invites for Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University students.

Jalen Hall, a TSU freshmen majoring in civil engineering noted how informative the event was for his future opportunities.

“As a freshman, I didn’t know much about the Deparmtent of Labor, but after this session I’ve learned valuable information,” Hall said. “Things I can take with me as I expand and matriculate through college … it will be helpful when I start looking into job opportunities.”

Su, the Deputy Secretary of Labor, said the summit event was the beginning of building a longer-term relationship to create a pathway into the federal government for HBCU students.

Jalen Hall

“We know in order to serve the most vulnerable community and individuals and gain trust; we want to look like the people we seek to serve,” Su said. “The outreach to HBCUs was a very natural part of making sure we’re reaching the full talent.”

During the event, Su gave the students some words of advice when applying for federal government jobs, “tell us who you really are,” she said. “Speak up about the things you care about. To really bring all the pieces of yourself in the application and make sure we can see that.”

She mentioned how the country has not only gone through a public health crisis, but a racial reckoning in recent years, with hopes of finding driven students who are looking for ways to turn their vision of the world into something they can do within their lives and their job.

Lauren Caver

Lauren Caver, a sophomore majoring in elementary education, couldn’t agree more. Caver told the university that she has hopes of becoming the US Secretary of Education one day, and it was great to see majority of the DOL representatives at the event look just like majority of TSUs population.

“Seeing another woman, another woman of color on stage talking about her position was really inspiring to me,” Carver said.

“It was good to hear about their (DOL) interviewing and application process, and what actually goes into working for the federal government.”

Although several students in attendance were underclassmen, Su assured the students about internship opportunities as well.

“We want them to bring all the things that make them so excellence and passionate,” she said. “We are here because we care about the students as we are also trying to build the best department that we can.”

During the HBCU Summit event, a mobile American Job Centers van was on campus to provide students with a mobile computer lab and internet access for a resume assistance work shop.

For more information about how to apply for federal government jobs, visit www.usajobs.gov.

 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 eight 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.