Category Archives: FACULTY

TSU Receives $1.2 Million NSF Grant to Inspire Students to Teach Math, Science in Schools

NSF_logoNASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Math and Science teachers are desperately needed in schools in Nashville and across the state to help prepare the country’s youth for a labor market dominated by jobs in science and technology.

Tennessee State University will now be doing its part to inspire students to teach in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, when it was recently announced that the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences was awarded $1.2 million to support and prepare STEM majors to become K-12 teachers.

Dr. Elaine Martin, associate professor of Biology, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. Martin and her team of professors and instructors won a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to encourage students to teach science and math to elementary, middle and high school students in high-need districts. (courtesy photo)
Dr. Elaine Martin, associate professor of Biology, College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. Martin and her team of professors and instructors won a $1.2 million National Science Foundation grant to encourage students to teach science and math to elementary, middle and high school students in high-need districts. (courtesy photo)

Funded through the National Science Foundation’s Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, the grant will support “Project Tiger Teach,” a new program designed to help train students majoring in biology, chemistry or mathematics receive their teacher certification, who will in turn, land jobs teaching in high-need school districts.

The program, according to Dr. Elaine Martin, associate professor of Biology and director of the project, will be a collaborative partnership between the University and the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools System. The goals of the partnership are to increase the number of highly-qualified certified, high school STEM teachers in high-need schools in the Nashville area, increase teacher diversity with emphasis on recruiting African-American male STEM teachers, and provide four years of mentoring and professional development opportunities to graduates.

“This is a great opportunity for TSU to recruit and support students with strong science and math backgrounds into higher education,” added Martin. “Over the next four years, the Noyce grant will allow us to recruit individuals into the program with strong STEM backgrounds who might otherwise not have considered a career in K-12 teaching.”

Another outcome of the project will be to place teachers from underrepresented groups such as African Americans, Hispanics and Native Americans into the same type classroom category and increase the student-to-teacher ratio of both groups.

“A recent survey of students enrolled in biology and mathematics courses at TSU revealed that 30 percent are interested in considering teaching math or science in K-12 schools,” said Martin, “while 40 percent would consider obtaining teacher licensure in math or science if they could obtain it within their four-year college program.

“Additionally, an overwhelming 66 percent of participants surveyed would consider obtaining a teaching license and teach at least five years in K-12 schools if full tuition and a summer internship were provided. Through this program, we anticipate an increase in high school and post-secondary graduation rates that will address Tennessee’s and the nation’s shortage of STEM professionals.”

When the program kicks off, scholarship money will support a total of 40 undergraduate students over the next four years to go through Project Tiger Teach. Each year, three students majoring in biology, two in chemistry and five in mathematics will be assisted by the program.

Students wishing to apply for the program must have completed 60 credit hours with a minimum GPA of 3.0.  The Noyce grant provides scholarships in the amount of $12,000 per year for a period of two years for the future classroom leaders to complete their degrees with teacher certification.  They must agree to teach two years for each year of scholarship support in a “high needs” school district in Tennessee and the Metropolitan Nashville Public Schools.

Participants will also take part in summer institutes that include tutoring high school students in the Regents Math Academy and Tennessee State University’s Math and Science Center. By the end of their sophomore year, Noyce Scholars are admitted to the teacher certification program in biology, chemistry or mathematics.

Before their senior year, students must then complete four educational courses and all required content courses in preparation for the MNPS high school-based Residency I and Residency II.

“The extended residency will produce highly-qualified teachers who have mastered content knowledge, and understand the learning process and application of assessment results to improve instruction,” added Martin.

Along with Martin, the grant was awarded to co-directors Dr. Jeanetta Jackson, Department of Mathematics; Dr. Heraldo Richards, College of Education; and Dr. Artenzia Young-Seigler, Department of Biological Sciences.

“This project will be a boost to the College’s STEM education and teacher preparation efforts, particularly for minority populations,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences. “This is a prestigious grant our faculty received that will give us the opportunity to work together with Metro School system in preparing and in serving their STEM teacher needs. It is a win-win project for TSU and the community.”

The Noyce scholarship is named for Robert Noyce, co-founder of Intel Corp and the scientist awarded the 1961 patent for the integrated semiconductor. The scholarship was funded through the NSF Authorization Act of 2002 in response to a critical need for teachers in science and math.

 

 

Department of Media Relations  

 

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


About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university and is a comprehensive, urban, coeducational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top Universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912 Tennessee State University celebrates 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu

Engineering Professors Attract Funding for Scholarships and Research

NASHVILLE (TSU News Service) – For the past four years, two professors from Tennessee State University have been relentless in writing grant proposals to initiate and generate funding to begin research projects.  Between the two, they have generated more than $7 million to support research, scholarships, and the engineering curriculum to enhance the academic profile of the College of Engineering.

Dean of the College, Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, points out that the amount of funding the College has secured is remarkable given the competition for grant dollars.

“This is rather impressive since the competition typically results in about a 10-15 percent success rate,” said Dr. Hargrove, who along with Dr. Sachin Shetty, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, have secured grants from the National Science Foundation, Boeing and the U.S. Navy among others. “Because of the competition, re-submissions are very common in this highly competitive field of science and engineering solicitations.”

According to Dr. Hargrove, the opportunity to attract external funds through research helps develop students with their involvement, enhance the quality of the academic program, and integrates new knowledge in the classroom and laboratory.

“Our goal is to provide the best academic experience for our students, and research continues to broaden a student's competence and knowledge with a depth of expertise in a discipline of engineering,” stated Hargrove. “This makes our students more marketable and qualified for the many career pathways they may take.”

Among the many grants secured by Dr. Shetty, he has attracted external funding to support his research in cyber security and advanced visualization. He has collaborated with a multi-disciplinary faculty team within and outside of the University to receive more than $3.5 million from the National Science Foundation, U.S. Air Force, Department of Homeland Security, Boeing, and Amazon. He is currently working on multiple NSF funded research and educational projects along with Dr. Tamara Rogers, associate professor of computer science, worth $500,000 in cloud auditing.

With the popularity and growth of smartphones in the last decade for on-the-go financial, business and social transactions, Shetty has also sought out funding for identifying, understanding and mitigating new security risks to these “open softphones” critical to ensuring their continued viability and success in the mobile communications marketplace.

The Air Force has provided more than $700,000 in grants and contracts to support Shetty’s collaborative research with Dr. Mohan Malkani, associate dean and professor, along with Pennsylvania State University in the area of cloud and smartphone security. The Department of Homeland Security has also provided two grants worth $800,000 to support his research with Dr. Deo Chimba, assistant professor of civil and architectural engineering, in cloud security and incidence management.

His partnership with Dr. Hargrove and Rowan University to develop visualization software for engineering education has resulted in multiple National Science Foundation grants of more than $750,000.

Shetty has received several awards for his efforts, including recognition from the Annual TSU Research Symposium, a Department of Homeland Security Leadership Award, and Teacher of the Year from the College of Engineering.  He also serves as the Director of the Cyber-Defense and Security Visualization Laboratory in the Department of Electrical Engineering.

Dr. Hargrove, who not only serves as dean of the College but also as a professor of mechanical engineering, focuses his research on advanced manufacturing techniques, virtual and augmented reality, and energy storage devices.

He recently initiated research in advanced battery technologies, combining the multidisciplinary talents of professors in chemistry, physics and engineering.  Drs. L. Ouyang, Landon Onyebueke, Mohan Malkani, Richard Mu of Fisk University, and Hargrove recently traveled to a naval research facility to develop a partnership in batteries, and are currently developing a state-of-the art laboratory for battery testing and evaluation.  These efforts are part of the newly formed TIGER (TSU Interdisciplinary Graduate Engineering Research) Institute, a self-sustaining research unit obtained from a  $1.2 million award from the National Science Foundation.

The TIGER Institute will conduct applied research in cyber-defense, bioinformatics, advanced visualization, nano-materials, and energy systems. The U.S. Navy and Air Force, Boeing and the National Science Foundation sponsor current funding of the institute.

Dean Hargrove recently collaborated with Fisk University to receive a $1 million award to support the professional development of teachers.  Fisk University will offer several workshops to enhance the quality of teaching for Metro Nashville Public Schools. For his efforts and engagement with K-12 schools, Hargrove received the 2013 TSU Community Service Staff/Administrator Award.

The most recent award from the collaboration of Drs. Hargrove and Shetty is a $600,000 award for scholarships, and $400,000 for research in energy systems (batteries), both funded by the National Science Foundation.

“We believe our role as a College and academic unit is to contribute to the affordability challenge of our students by attracting external funds through research or scholarships,” said Hargrove. “Our goal is to enrich the student’s experience and provide the opportunity for learning.”

Doing it for Me! TSU Extension Assistant Sheds 170 Pounds, Starts New Life

For three decades, Heather Gum gradually expanded from being husky, to overweight, to morbidly obese—to over 350 pounds and a size 30 at her largest. Gum recently returned from a trip to Hollywood where she taped an episode of “The Doctors,” a medical television talk show set to air March 20. She sent a letter to producers telling them of her life story and how she shed more than 170 pounds in 15 months. (courtesy photos)
For three decades, Heather Gum gradually expanded from being husky, to overweight, to morbidly obese—to over 350 pounds and a size 30 at her largest. Gum recently returned from a trip to Hollywood where she taped an episode of “The Doctors,” a medical television talk show set to air March 20. She sent a letter to producers telling them of her life story and how she shed more than 170 pounds in 15 months. (courtesy photos)

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  (TSU News Service) – As a 4-H teaching assistant with the UT/TSU extension service in Murfreesboro, Tenn., Heather Gum has recited the club’s pledge more times than she can remember.

The line that would always get to her was, “I pledge…my health to better living for my club, my community, my country and my world.”

It was ironic that she was teaching children to live a healthy lifestyle when she herself was morbidly obese. After 30 years of overeating and bad choices, she tipped the scales at 367 pounds and had a 55½-inch waist.

“It really hit me that I needed to make a change, that I had lived this lifestyle for far too long,” said Gum. “But to start my journey I had to learn to love myself first.”

Gum recently returned from a trip to Hollywood where she taped an episode of “The Doctors,” a medical television talk show set to air March 20. She sent a letter to producers telling them of her life story and how she shed more than 170 pounds in 15 months.

“I told them everything, the problems I had growing up and how I got to be where I was,” Gum said. “I wanted to share my story so that others know they can lose an extreme amount of weight by just eating right and changing their lifestyle.”

According to Gum, she grew up in the era of “cleaning your plate” or eating everything, and never learned to feel full on her own. She ate because it was time to eat, not because she was hungry, but because it was there.

“This whole process started when I was 12 and I just packed on a layer of protection that I hid behind,” added Gum. “I was making bad choices such as sneaking food and eating a lot of junk food. It finally just caught up to me.”

On Feb. 14, 2011 at the age of 40, she made the decision of a lifetime. After eating a couple of Taco Bell 5-layer burritos for a quick lunch, she decided to make the life-changing decision to improve the health of her body. She wrote on her blog:

“I paused for a moment and told myself ‘This is It!’ My weight and size is an embarrassment.  My family loves me…but I know there has been times that they wish I didn’t look the way I do…I couldn’t help but have tears trickling down my plump rosy cheeks.  Where do I start?  There’s thousands of little reasons but one big one – I AM DOING IT FOR ME!” [sic]

Gum was referred to the Metabolic Research Center in Murfreesboro by another client, and according to Brittany Tucker, manager of the weight-loss center, she was ready to start her journey.

“You could just tell,” said Tucker. “She was excited about the process and the road that lay before her.”

The program consisted of twice-weekly weigh-ins, sessions of encouragement, blood pressure checks and documentation of health history.

“This is the easiest diet to follow because you are eating real food,” said Tucker. “Heather was loosing an averaging of 4-5 pounds every week.”

Gum had to learn to eat all over again. Now she was weighing her food as instructed by the center, eating lots of fruits, vegetables and lean meats.

“It was so easy,” she said. “I didn’t have to count calories. I just had to weigh my portions. I didn’t go anywhere without my scales.”

She also joined TOPS (taking off pounds sensibly) another support group which she had been part of on-and-off since 2005. After she shed 170 pounds, TOPS recognized her as the 2011 International Division Winner based on her age and the amount of weight lost during the calendar year. She was also the “biggest loser” at the Murfreesboro weight-loss center.

With the weight loss came a lot of firsts for Gum, including being able to sit in a chair without touching the sides, going kayaking, and just recently, snow skiing with her children in January. But one of the biggest moments was when her youngest daughter, now 11, was able to put her arms around her mom for the first time after losing 80 pounds.

“It was a special moment for the two of us,” she said. “I wondered how I ever got to that point, a point I am never going back to.”

Today, Gum is down to about 185 pounds and went from a size 30 to a 12/14. She still is not where she wants to be, because she estimates her excess skin from her weight loss at about 25-30 pounds.

“My goal is to get to a size 8/10,” Gum added. “But since insurance won’t cover that type of surgery, it might take a while. I am really pushing for insurance companies to cover the cost of the corrective surgery. I worked hard to loose all that weight and that is my reward? I think things really need to change.”

Her quest for insurance policy change is the reason for her appearance on “The Doctors.” She sent a letter to both the president of TOPS asking them to lead the charge in helping to change policy, and producers of the television program. While the TOPS organization discussed it at an international meeting, they thought it was too large an issue to take on. “The Doctors,” however, invited her to appear on the show about the issue of skin.

“It was a wonderful experience and amazing that they picked me to talk about weight loss and the effects it has on your skin,” said Gum. “Excess skin is as much mentally debilitating as the weight was physically debilitating. I just hope some good come out of this for others going through the same thing.”

The episode of “The Doctors” featuring Gum will air Wednesday, March 20 at 11 a.m. on WKRN Channel 2 in Nashville.

 

 

 

 

Department of Media Relations
Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209
615.963.5331

 

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.