TSU hosts groundbreaking A.I. Summit

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is bringing artificial intelligence to the masses. Starting June 5, 2024, the university will host the A.I. FOR ALL: Open Education Summit , at the Avon Williams Educational Site. The two-day technology event will explore the heart of innovation, with the goal of show casing how artificial intelligence is within reach for everyone.

Tennessee State University’s AI robotic dog Blue and his pup.

During the opening session, TSUs AI robotic dog Blue and his pup greeted the crowd. The AI dogs will be making appearances throughout the summit.

Some of the topics will include Ethics and Policies for A.I., A.I. Tools for Every Stage of Education, A.I. for Educational Equity, and Innovating Pedagogy with A.I.  The summit will include industry giants Google, Apple, Oracle, T-Mobile, Comcast, Amazon, and Microsoft. National speakers, panels, interactive workshops, A.I. exhibits, plus art galleries and tools will also be on display.  Prominent sponsors and partners include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, T-Mobile Education, Merlot- Affordable Learning Solutions, and MIT-Open CourseWare. The summit is free and open to the public.

Dr. Robbie Melton, who is the Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, also serves as the Vice President for Technology Innovations and heads the TSU SMART Global Technology Innovation Center. Recently, she was appointed to the Southern Regional Education Board Commission (SREB) on Artificial Intelligence in Education. Melton’s appointment further solidifies her status as a top expert and TSU as a leading institution on artificial intelligence.

Dr. Robbie Melton welcomes the crowd to Day 1 of the A.I. For All: Open Education Summit.

“My passion lies in making A.I. accessible to everyone, amplifying voices that are often unheard, and breaking down the barriers that divide us,” added TSU’s Melton.  “Together, we can shape a future where A.I. isn’t just a tool for the few, but a force for good that enriches all of our lives.”

Over 500 people are expected to attend the summit. Dr. Melton discusses the groundbreaking summit in detail below in our Q&A interview.

Q & A with Dr. Robbie Melton

Subject: A.I. For All: Open Education Summit

What does hosting the A.I. For All Summit mean for TSU?

“Hosting the A.I. For All Summit brings visibility, reputation, and networking opportunities to TSU. It enhances the institution’s standing as a leading A.I. authority, fosters collaborations, and attracts top talent. The event facilitates knowledge exchange, showcasing TSU’s research while learning from others. The summit’s economic impact benefits local businesses and generates revenue through sponsorships. TSU assumes a leadership role, influencing A.I. policy, ethics, and research. Overall, hosting the summit brings recognition, collaboration, talent, economic benefits, and the chance to shape the A.I. landscape.”

With that question answered, what do you hope to accomplish from hosting this technology event?

“The proposed outcomes and accomplishments for the A.I. For All Summit are threefold. Firstly, to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange among experts, researchers, and policymakers, leading to innovative solutions and advancements in the field of artificial intelligence. Secondly, to inspire and empower students and young professionals by providing them with access to cutting-edge research, industry insights, and networking opportunities. Lastly, to shape the discourse on A.I. policies, ethics, and research priorities, influencing the global A.I. landscape and promoting responsible and inclusive development.”

What demographic or group has registered for the summit?

“The registered attendees for the A.I. For All Summit include educators from K-12 and higher education, policymakers, and community leaders, especially from minority serving institutions since the summit is to address A.I. for All.”

How will the summit benefit the State of TN, underserved communities, education?

“The A.I. For All Summit benefits the state of Tennessee by driving economic growth, providing educational opportunities, identifying guardrails and best practices for teaching and learning, preparing for the A.I. workforce, fostering collaborations, empowering underserved communities, shaping policies, and inspiring future innovators in the field of artificial intelligence.”

The title is A.I. for all, how does a regular, non-tech savvy individual benefit from the summit? 

“The A.I. For All Summit benefits regular, non-tech savvy individuals by promoting awareness and understanding of artificial intelligence’s impact on society. It provides insights into ethical considerations, potential opportunities, challenges, and offers the opportunity to learn how to use A.I. tools, empowering individuals to engage with and leverage A.I. technologies, even without technical expertise.”

There are some big tech names associated with the summit; who are they and what are their roles? 

“The A.I. For All Summit is supported by notable tech names such as Hewlett, Oracle, Microsoft, T-Mobile, Comcast, Code.org, BrainPOP, Adobe, SendSteps, and MIT. They play various roles, including providing resources, expertise, sponsorship, and collaboration to drive the success of the summit and advance the field of artificial intelligence.”

How significant is this for TSU? 

“The A.I. For All Summit is a significant event for TSU, with its high attendance of over 500 participants and a waiting list. The global live streaming amplifies its reach and impact, positioning TSU as a leader in fostering A.I. education, collaboration, and innovation on a global scale.”

Will Blue be a part of the summit and other interactive displays and demonstrations can attendees expect? 

“The A.I. For All Summit will feature Blue, the robotic A.I.-coded dog, highlighting the transformative capabilities of A.I. in education and business. Additionally, attendees can experience groundbreaking technologies like life-sized holograms, the first A.I. wearable Pin and glasses, and A.I. tools spanning various educational and business disciplines.”

Special Announcement for the A.I. for All Summit:

“We are thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of the TSU A.I. Applied Educational Research Center under our SMART Technology Innovation Center, in August 2024. This pioneering initiative aims to curate cutting-edge A.I. tools and best practices for teaching, learning, research, and workforce preparedness. With a specific focus on addressing underrepresented groups, the center will drive inclusivity and equity in A.I. education. By harnessing the power of A.I., we strive to empower learners, educators, and researchers with transformative resources, fostering innovation and bridging the digital divide. Join us in shaping a future where A.I. transforms education for all.”

TSU offers new summer camps for all age groups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is offering over 20 summer camps for all ages to keep children engaged for the next three months. This is great news for Metro parents as more than 86,000 students, from pre-school to high, will be out of school for summer. Children will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy academic and athletic camps at Tennessee State University.

The camps include athletics, the arts, and educational enrichment activities that will also help them retain what was learned during the school year.

From NABA Inc.’s Accounting Career Awareness Program, which aims to empower high school students to explore career pathways in accounting, finance, and entrepreneurship, to the Eddie George HBCU Football Camp for high school football players interested in skill development and college recruitment, a wide range of camps is available this summer. These camps offer diverse opportunities for students to gain valuable skills and experiences in their areas of interest.

Cierra Fleming, Associate Director of Events Management, stated that this year’s activities will continue to give parents great camp options to select from and keep local students engaged. Flemings noted that she is personally excited about a new camp listed this year, which is the Propel + Apple Music, Music Summer Program starting June 10.

“I’m very excited about this camp because it will give the music department students the opportunity to establish partnerships and network with Apple and Propel,” Fleming said.

“This will also be beneficial for the music program here at TSU, especially the Music Business Accelerator Program,” she said.

Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Lin Li said the college will host several STEM camps, including the Aim High Flight Academy for AHFA/US Air Forces for the first time.

“TSU is the first HBCU to be selected to host such a summer camp,” Li said. “The camp attendees were selected by the US Air Forces and come from across the country, Japan, and several other countries.” The camp will be hosted by the Department of Industrial and Applied Technologies from June 1-14.

The Energy Exploration Camp is also new to TSU. The engineering camp is designed for high school students and prepares them for a career in the energy sector. The US Department of Energy Clean Energy Education Prize Inspire Track selected TSU to host the camp that highlights energy and engineering topics to students. This camp will run from June 9-23.

Among the many exciting camps returning this year is the Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers Program for students in grades 6-8. The camp allows them to interact with technology through on-campus summer intensive courses and year-round mentoring. It also provides students with firsthand experiences and creates a more diverse pipeline for future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

TSU’s Grammy-award-winning Aristocrat of Bands will host the Annual Edward L. Graves High School Summer Band Camp from June 9-15. Nearly 100 students will participate.

The TSU Summer Technology Immersion Program for Middle School Students is also returning this year. The two-week, non-residential summer camp teaches middle school students about 3D printing, coding/programming, engineering design, artificial intelligence, and more.

Visit https://www.tnstate.edu/events/camps.aspx

Camp/ Program NameCamper Age RangeDatesDetails
AHFA Air Force ProgramHighschoolSaturday -Friday , June 1- 21, 2024 AHFA
HBCYouth ProgramGrades 6-12Monday – Friday June 3 – August 2, 2024  
Engineering Exploration Program Middle – Highschool Sunday,  June 9-23, 2024 Camp
Energy Exploration HighschoolMonday  – Sunday, June 10-23, 2024 Camp
National Summer Transportation Institute HighschoolSunday – Friday, June 9-28, 2024 Camp
Propel + Apple Music Music Summer ProgramCollegeMonday- Saturday, June 10 – 15, 2024  
Edward L. Graves Band CampMiddle  – Highschool Monday – Saturday, June 10-15, 2024  Camp
Summer Apprenticeship Program HighschoolSaturday – Thrusday, June 29- July 25, 2024 More Information
TSU Technology Immersion Program Middleschool Monday – Friday, July 1-12, 2024 Camp
Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers ProgramGrades 6-8Monday – Friday, July 8 -12, 15-19, 22 – 26, 2024  Register Now
NABA Accounting Career Awareness ProgramGrades 9-12 Sunday – Friday,  July 21 – 26, 2024NABA
National Juniors Frontiers Program (NJFP)Highschool Monday – Saturday, July 22-27, 2024  
All Star Math Institute (ASMI)High School
Sunday – Saturday,  July 14 – 20, 2024
 ASMI

Athletic Camps

Camp/Program NameCamper Age RangeDatesDetails
Joe W. Gilliam Football CampAge 12-18Tuesday – Friday May 28 – 31, 2024 Camps
Mens Basketball Rob Covington Basketball CampHigh SchoolThursday – Friday, June 20 – 21, 2024 Camps and Clinics
Men’s Basketball Camp High SchoolMonday – Friday July 1-12, Monday – Thursday 15-18, Monday – Friday 22-26, 2024Camps and Clinics
Eddie George Football CampHigh SchoolWednesday June 5, 2024Camps and Clinics
Eddie George Football CampHigh SchoolSaturday June 15, 2024Camps and Clinics
TSU Volleyball: Basic Skills Camp Age 13-18Friday – Saturday July 12 -13, 2024 Camps
TSU Volleyball: Tiger Cubs Camps Age 6-12Tuesday – Wednesday July 16 – 17, 2024 Camps
TSU Volleyball: Elite Camp Ages 15-18Friday – Saturday July 19 – 20, 2024 Camps

TSU Alumna named first Black woman judge

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – When TSU alumna Tionn Fambro Carter interned at the Tennessee State Capitol in 2004, she noticed a glaring lack of diversity in the House of Representatives. There was no reflection of her identity or her community’s demographics. The experience ignited her passion for public service, particularly drafting public policies that would positively impact her community. It also impacted Carter’s plans following her graduation from TSU.  

“I loved seeing all of the decisions being made and the new laws being created,” Carter recalled. “But I didn’t see a lot of representation of women of color. That’s when I thought, our voices need to be heard and represented. So, I decided to go to law school.”

In 2008, Carter earned her law degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, and recently began her trailblazing role as a public servant. Carter was sworn in as the first Black woman associate judge of the 14th Judicial Circuit at the Rock Island County Justice Center in Illinois. “I remember being speechless and feeling overwhelmingly grateful,” she said.

Her journey to the bench was not easy. Carter persistently pursued the judgeship, applying seven times throughout her career before achieving success. Her faith and dedication paid off in 2024 with substantial support from her peers and community ultimately securing her appointment. As an associate judge, she now presides over both civil and criminal cases within her district.

Throughout her career, Carter aimed to inspire the youth to pursue their dreams. She noted that her journey of witnessing positive Black representation began at her alma mater. “Your goals are real TSU showed me that,” Carter said.

“TSU played a crucial role in my journey because as an HBCU, it really demonstrated the power of being proud of your heritage. I got to see African Americans in leadership positions, well-spoken, educated, and capable of achieving their goals, educating others, and leading their communities.”

Dr. Samantha Morgan Curtis, dean of the College of Liberal Arts, expressed pride in Carter’s remarkable journey and significant milestone. “The College of Liberal Arts is incredibly proud of Tionne Fambro Carter, who epitomizes the capable, focused student we strive to cultivate and educate,” Morgan Curtis said. “She majored in English to hone her critical thinking, analytic skills, and writing abilities. She now stands as a model for all young women who follow her, continually making a positive impact on the world. I cannot say enough good things about her other than she embodies ‘Think, Work, Serve.’’”

Carter’s portrait now hangs in the Illinois courthouse alongside the judges who have presided over the district throughout the county’s history. Her presence among them reminds her of her TSU internship and her determination to make a difference.

“We come from a heritage and ancestry that has done great things,” Carter said. “And we can continue to be a part of that legacy too. Work hard for your seat at the table because you belong there just like everyone else,” she continued. “If you believe it’s your purpose, never give up on your dreams.

Carter resides in Rock Island County with her husband and children.