NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Alexius Dingle graduated from Tennessee State University at the top of her class, but the agricultural sciences major has even loftier goals.
“I’m going to grad school to pursue a Ph.D. in genetics,” said Dingle, who graduated on May 4 with a 4.0 GPA.
She was one of more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students who received degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies at T’SU.
Dingle was the first in her immediate family to attend college. She said she looked forward to seeing the expression on the face of her mother, who pretty much raised her by herself in the small town of Manning, South Carolina, about an hour from Columbia.
“She sacrificed so much,” said Dingle.
When she arrives at Texas A&M for her Ph.D. program, Dingle said she will be ready, mainly because of the preparation she has received at Tennessee State University, particularly the College of Agriculture.
“One thing that the College of Ag has been very good with doing is making sure that their students are exposed to research, and it’s paid research,” said Dingle, whose concentration is in biotechnology. “It’s a way for you to get exposure, put something on your resume, so you don’t leave without experience. And it also helps you financially.”
Ag professor De’Etra Young, a mentor to Dingle, said she was impressed with her maturity and assertiveness.
“She set her goals, was extremely focused, and sought out any opportunity that was given to her,” said Young. “Her success has paid off. She will be attending Texas A&M, and she will be going from a bachelor’s to a Ph.D. program.”
Dingle said she encourages her peers, as well as incoming freshmen, to take advantage of opportunities that are available.
“Network, talk to your advisors,” she said. “They have opportunities to help you that you may not know about.”
TSU has received a million dollars from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service to bolster undergraduate students’ interest in agriculture, as well as science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM.
In addition to scholarships, TSU officials said the funds will aid students’ professional development by allowing them to “travel to different professional conferences and meetings to gain exposure” to the latest research.
Earlier this year, TSU President Glenda Glover surprised 20 students who visited the university with scholarship offers if they planned to major in a STEM course and have a good GPA.
To learn more about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.
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Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 38 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.