Category Archives: RESEARCH

TSU administrator, professor named to state post-secondary education reform group

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) -The State Collaborative on Reforming Education has selected two Tennessee State University officials to be part of its Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute for 2021-22.

Dr. Verontae Deams

Dr. Verontae Deams, university registrar; and Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston, assistant professor in the College of Health Sciences, will join 30 other higher education, K-12, government, business, and nonprofit organization leaders selected by SCORE as the next cohort of the institute.

In partnership with The Hunt Institute, a leader in the movement to transform public education, SCORE will provide learning opportunities for participants in CTLI, whose goal is to eliminate barriers to post-secondary education and completion in Tennessee.

“I am honored to be selected as a participant in the 2021-2022 Complete Tennessee Leadership Institute,” Deams said. “This opportunity will allow collaboration with other thought leaders to ensure academic success in higher education throughout the state of Tennessee.”

Dr. Alexis Gatson Heaston

Heaston, who teaches public health, health administration and health sciences, said she is “humbled and excited” to be a part of the CTLI cohort.

“I look forward to working alongside a group of outstanding professionals whose aim is to ensure Tennessee attracts, recruits, and retains students on a post-secondary level,” she said.

According to the latest figures from the Lumina Foundation, Tennessee’s college attainment rate is just shy of 47 percent. Since 2019, SCORE has partnered with The Hunt Institute to provide national perspective for CTLI participants and help lead them in translating what they learn into action in their communities.

“Community college enrollment rates in Tennessee dropped significantly in the fall of 2020, most notably for Black and Hispanic students,” SCORE President and CEO David Mansouri said. “Given the compounding effect the pandemic is having on college enrollment, persistence, and completion, it is more urgent than ever that we partner with the leaders in this cohort to ensure that every Tennessee student has the opportunity and support needed to attend and complete postsecondary education.”

Dr. Javaid Saddiqi, president and CEO of The Hunt Institute, added, “Over the past three years, we’ve been impressed with the way in which CTLI has brought together a diverse group of thought leaders from across Tennessee. Among past cohort members, we’ve seen an immense increase in leadership capacity and knowledge regarding higher education issues.”

Since 2016, CTLI has created a space where leaders from across Tennessee collectively focus on eliminating barriers to postsecondary education and completion. Over the coming year, Deams, Heaston and their colleagues in the CTLI will work to identify the barriers and equity gaps that exist in the state’s post-secondary system and advocate within their own communities to drive systemic change.

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 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 public health expert discusses seriousness of COVID-19 Delta variant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With evidence mounting about the dangers of the COVID-19 Delta variant, a TSU public health expert is urging the public to take the warning from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention seriously and get vaccinated. 

Dr. Wendelyn Inman

“This is no time for hesitancy,” said Dr. Wendelyn Inman, an infectious disease expert and professor and director of the public health program in the College of Health Sciences. ”The vaccines work. This Delta variant is nothing to brush off; it is very serious.” 

Reminding the public about the need to take necessary precaution, including wearing masks, and how the CDC arrives at its conclusions, Inman said the agency looks at “all of the data – the bigger picture.” 

“They look at anecdotal information, they look at statistics, they look at the obvious and they look at the things that really are in the background that we really don’t see,” said Inman, who was previously the chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee. 

“So, it will take them days to explain things to us. But what they have digested in offering solutions for us as the prime directive is to save lives. A lot of times we don’t understand that and a lot of times we don’t agree with it. But if they have chosen to make a recommendation to wear mask again, even in-doors, even if you have been immunized that means our situation is taking another level of seriousness.” 

In its recent recommendation urging people in COVID-19 hotspots like Tennessee to resume mask-wearing in indoor public spaces, the agency laid out what is known about the delta variant, which now accounts for most of the COVID-19 cases in the United States. 

Dr. Felicia Tinuoye

“The Delta variant is showing every day its willingness to outsmart us and be an opportunist,” CDC director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said. “In rare occasions, some vaccinated people infected with the Delta variant after vaccination may be contagious and spread the virus to others. This new science is worrisome and unfortunately warrants an update to our recommendations.” 

In Tennessee, the state’s Department of Health rates 85 of the state’s 95 counties with “high” or “substantial” transmission ratings. The remaining 10 have “moderate” ratings. Davidson County, which includes Nashville, is rated “substantial.” 

Inman described the COVID-19 microbe as “an enemy that takes advantage of us touching, breathing, and seeing each other.” 

“So, why we may not understand how microbes are transmitted, you need to know that the variant is more transmissible than its last existence. It has mutated. This happens in the microbial world every day. That’s why we have the Delta variant,” Inman said.

Dr. Tatiana Zabaleta

In June, TSU, in collaboration with the Nashville Metro Public Health Department, started offering vaccines to residents 12 years old and up at the university’s Avon Williams Campus. The next vaccine event will be on Aug. 30 in Kean Hall on the main campus, from 9 a.m. – noon. To register, visit www.signupgenius.com/go/tsu

Dr. Felicia Tinuoye and Dr. Tatiana Zabaleta, international public health professionals, are part of the MPH, or Master’s in Public Health program at TSU. They said in addition to their medical disciplines, they have learned so much in the TSU program to help them better understand the seriousness of the need to get protection against COVID-19 and the Delta variant. 

“The program gives students exposure on how to be proactive,” said Tinuoye, of Nigeria, who completed her MPH degree in April. “TSU is doing what it is supposed to be doing. We need to ensure that the public gets the right message to help people make up their minds about available preventive measures.” 

Zabaleta, from Colombia, who graduates in December, agrees. 

“This program has given me the opportunity to learn more about global health and how to help solve the problem of health disparity in my own country,” she said. “TSU’s MPH program empowers students to really get involved in helping people, especially during this pandemic.” 

To learn more about the university’s COVID-19 protocols, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/covid19/ 

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 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 dedicates new innovative, interdisciplinary Health Sciences Building

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University reached a major milestone recently when it dedicated its new four-story 102,000 square-foot ultramodern Health Sciences Building, the first state-funded building on the campus in more than 25 years.

President Glenda Glover greets officials and guests minutes before cutting the ribbon to the new building. (Photo by Andre Bean)

With the latest technology, the $38.8 million facility features simulation labs with mannequins that react like people, as well as motion science labs that can serve as rehab clinics. Disciplines in physical/occupational therapy, health information management, nursing, and cardiorespiratory care are all housed in the new building.

“We are so excited. This is a new day in the history of TSU, and a major milestone for our university,” said President Glenda Glover, at the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new building on June 17. Several state and local officials, as well as senior TSU administrators, faculty, staff and students attended the ceremony. Officials included some members of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, the Tennessee Board of Regents, The TSU Board of Trustees, and the Tennessee General Assembly.

Several state and local officials, as well as senior TSU administrators, faculty, staff and students attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony. (Photo by Andre Bean)

“This state-of-the-art facility will enhance student learning in health sciences as TSU continues to fill the gap for healthcare professionals,” Glover said. “It will help fill the demand by training students in innovation and engagement. We thank each of you for coming out today. We thank representative of THEC, the TBR, TSU Board of Trustees, and Rep. (Harold) Love, who fought hard to get us the funding for this building.”

Sara Henderson, a senior cardiorespiratory care major, said “everything in this building is hospital-grade.”

The new Health Sciences Building is the first state-funded building on campus in more than 25 years. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“This new building is very innovative, I am really enjoying it,” said Henderson, of Memphis, Tennessee, who is among the first students already taking classes in the new facility. “In here we have the right resources to sharpen our skills and be prepared to go into the hospitals upon graduation. We have areas here where we can actually carry out functions like those in hospitals.”

The Bed Laboratory in the School of Nursing is one of the many cutting-edge learning tools for students in the new building. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Curtis Johnson, TSU’s chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, oversaw the new building project from design to construction. He said to ensure that the project had the best possible outcome to meet students’ learning needs, there was a lot of collaboration and discussion with stakeholders.

Roslyn Pope, a nursing faculty, simulates a basic assessment of a patient in critical care. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We allowed faculty input and went to other facilities around the state and saw what they had,” Johnson said. “We consulted with experts and this is what we came up with that best prepares our students to lead.  This is one of the most high-tech facilities that we have on campus, and this dedication is an opportunity for the university to showcase just one of the many things they are doing in the production of graduates who are going to contribute to health and wellness.”

 With the first historically black institution to have a student-run PT/OT therapy clinic, TSU’s health sciences program also includes disciplines in speech pathology and audiology, as well as a dental hygiene clinic that offers low-cost to no-cost services to the community and staff. The Speech Pathology and Audiology, and Dental Hygiene programs are housed in different buildings on campus.

The Tiger Clinic is tied to the orthopedic class for rotating students in physical therapy. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Tennessee State Rep. Harold Love, Jr., a staunch TSU supporter, who earned bachelor’s and doctorate degrees from the institution, was among those who fought tirelessly in the General Assembly for money to fund the new building before it was approved in state budget under former Gov. Bill Haslam. Love said alumni and former students returning to the campus will be proud to see the new edifice.

“Having walked on this campus many times as a student and former student to see this new building on TSU’s campus is very exciting,” he said. “We are talking about preparing students to be able to go out and transform our society and make it a better place, but also to be able to prepare students with the skills and technical know-how to be able to compete in the global market place.”

The Health Information Management Lab is one of many facilities with cutting-edge technology available to students in the new building. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences, described the new building as a “vehicle” to do collaborative practices, community service, and interdisciplinary teaching.

“These are all parts of our vision that I think will be best realized when we have a facility such as this that helps provide the environment for the university’s ‘think, work, serve’ mission to be accomplished,” Barredo said. “As healthcare providers, service is integral and we owe it to the community to provide them the very best.”

Dr. Malia R. Jackson, an assistant professor, teaches occupational therapy. She said the innovation and real-world setup in the new building are very helpful for students.

“I think this is an amazing environment, especially for our students with regards to the different technologies that are in the classrooms,” Jackson said. “The way the classrooms are set up, it is very similar to what they will experience in the real world as they transition from the classroom to field work.”

Also speaking at the ribbon-cutting ceremony was Dr. Deborah A. Cole, TSU alum and the newly elected chair of the TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, interim provost and vice president for Academic Affairs.

TSU officials say the new Health Sciences Building is just one of many ongoing and upcoming construction projects that are aimed to enhance students’ living and learning. A 700-bed residence hall estimated at $75.2 million, now under construction, is expected to be completed in early 2022.

FEATURED PHOTO
From left: Dr. Ronald Barredo, Dean of the College of Health Sciences; Douglas Allen, Vice President of Business and Finance; Van Pinnock, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; President Glover; Dr. Deborah A. Cole, Member, TSU Board of Trustees; and Dr. Michael Harris, Interim Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs (Photo by Andre Bean)

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 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.

One year after tornado, TSU family remembers community support, help from ‘total strangers’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may have been caught in the devastation of a tornado that hit northwest and east Nashville early last March, but the campus family also experienced an outpouring of community support and resilience in the aftermath that has fostered healing and a spirit to rebuild.

President Glenda Glover pets 1-year-old Gracie the goat, which was born the night of the tornado. Gracie’s mother survived the storm and gave birth to two kids that night. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It was so much outpouring of love and support. People came from different places on different days,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU. “Nashvillians stuck together, some students were on spring break and when they came back, they jumped in. We were overwhelmed with the level of love and support and care.” 

March 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the EF2 tornado that struck shortly after midnight. TSU’s Agriculture Farm took the biggest hit. Five of six structures, including research facilities, greenhouses, and a pavilion, were reduced to rubble. Two calves were killed, and several goats injured.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to a reporter from the spot where the nearly 300-seat pavilion once stood. The pavilion and several other structures were damaged. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other parts of the main campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees, and other debris. About 85 students who did not go away for the spring break were on campus, but no injuries were reported.

Officials estimate total damage to the campus to be about $20 million.

However, amid the scars of what was lost or destroyed, one thing that has stood out is the volunteerism displayed by people from all walks of life. When asked what they remembered most about the tornado and the aftermath, faculty, staff, and students noted the general outpouring of support from total strangers.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, right, led a team of faculty, staff, student and community volunteers to remove debris. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Jeia Moore arrived in Nashville from her spring break a few days after the storm hit.  

“It was sad to see my campus like that because so much student work had been lost,” says Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. A year later, however, Moore is impressed with how the university has been able to pull through, even with the onset of the coronavirus at the same time. 

“TSU, we are not going to be down too long. We are going to come back,” says Moore. “I am just happy that we are still able to function like we never missed a beat.” 

Volunteers from all walks of life signed up to help with the cleanup effort after the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Bryce Daniel, a junior health sciences major from Fort Worth, Texas, was in his dorm room in Hale Hall when the storm hit. Hale Hall was not affected, but the sight of the destruction on the other side of campus was too overwhelming for Daniel to ignore. 

“I immediately felt I needed to give back and help my campus recover,” says Daniel, who’s part of “Generation of Educated Men,” or GEM, a social and educational student group. The group mobilized and was among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort on the Ag farm. 

Members of Generation of Educated Men, a campus group of TSU students, were among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I was glad to be safe and blessed to still have all of my things. So, it was just natural to go and give back to help clean up my campus,” says Daniel. 

Some renovations on the main campus are either completed or ongoing. As for the Ag farm, TSU officials say discussions with state and federal agencies and insurance underwriters are ongoing, and construction should start soon and be completed by year’s end.  

“Effort to reconstruct is slower, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are moving along, it might take some time, but we will get there,” says Glover. 

Debris was thrown about in every corner of the Ag farm in the aftermath of the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On the learning aspect, she says it’s been a grueling year, because things are at a slower pace. How students are taught changed drastically, with teaching and learning now about 85 percent virtual.  

“We have some aspects that are not virtual, and we do require in-person learning, so we want to make sure that is taken care of,” says Glover. “Once COVID has run its course, we believe that we will be moving at a faster pace.” 

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, heads the reconstruction effort at TSU. He says recovery will take time, but the main concern is making sure teaching and research are not affected.

As the days went by, more volunteers showed up to lend a hand in the cleanup. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We look forward to rebuilding a better campus,” says Johnson. “We expect our rebuilding to have better structure, better technology. ”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, agrees, saying the goal is to “make sure all of our buildings and research facilities are much better and much stronger.” 

On the show of support, Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says in the aftermath of the storm he saw a campus community determined to bounce back, “not only to represent Tiger pride, but the city of Nashville strong.” 

“Our students, faculty, staff, everyone put the gloves on, rolled up their sleeves and were committed to making our campus continue in the space of beauty,” says Stevenson. 

GEM member Derrick Sanders, a junior secondary English education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, who drove into Nashville the next morning amid the destruction, says “it felt so good to see people come together for the enhancement of TSU.”

“I saw people from the community, people from different churches, even students giving out anything they had to help. It just felt good to know that we are a family, and we can help each other,” says Sanders. 

COVID-19 podcast features TSU infectious disease control expert in hour-long national Q&A session

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – With new COVID-19 variants spreading across the country, a Tennessee State University infectious disease control expert is urging all Americans to take advantage of available vaccines and get immunized, as the surest way to protect against the coronavirus.  

Dr. Wendolyn Inman

Data so far suggests current vaccines should protect against the emergence of three main variants from the United Kingdom, Brazil and South Africa, and the pathogen circulating in the United States. 

Dr. Wendolyn Inman, professor and director of public health programs in the College of Health Sciences, was the featured speaker on a podcast organized Monday by the TSU Department of Graduate and Professional Development to address COVID-19 concerns. More than 100 people from across the country tuned in to the podcast themed, “Pacing for the Pandemic, A Question and Answer Session on Preparing for the Next Phase of the COVID-19 Pandemic.” Listeners raised questions from “Who should take the vaccine?” “Is the vaccine safe?” to “When will there be normalcy?” 

Inman, who was previously chief of epidemiology for the State of Tennessee, said she thinks everyone should be required to take the vaccines because they are “effective and potent.” 

“If it shows that it is not killing folks, and if it shows that it is helping people, I think everyone should be required to take it, unless they have a religious or a health exemption,” said Inman. She debunked the idea that the vaccine is a killer. 

Jeia More

“I can guarantee you that some of the most elite people on the planet have had that shot, and they won’t take it if it were a killer,” she said, adding that if Americans continue to observe COVID-19 safety protocols, and get immunized, “life could have some normalcy by August.” 

Currently in circulation are the Pfizer and Moderna two-step vaccines. On Friday, Johnson & Johnson announced that its single-dose coronavirus vaccine is 72 percent effective against the pathogen in the U.S. and will ask federal regulators for approval this month. 

“I suspect that with these new things – like the Johnson & Johnson announcement – we have the potential of having more normalcy by August than we’ve had in the past year,” Inman said. 

Jalaya Harris

Among those watching the podcast were Jeia Moore and Jalaya Harris, two returning TSU students who attend classes online from their dorm rooms because of COVID-19. They wanted to know the efficacy of the vaccines, and when things would return to normal. 

“This podcast helped me understand the vaccine and what it actually helps me with, as well as the pros and cons of wearing a mask,” said Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. “To see 100 people on this podcast was heartwarming; the TSU family wants the best for each other.”

Harris agreed. 

“I got a lot of questions answered about how to be safe during this pandemic,” said Harris, a junior computer science major also from Memphis. “This podcast provided an informative and open space to gain and spread awareness and knowledge about this COVID.” 

Dr. Robbie Melton, dean of the School of Graduate Studies, said the podcast, presented monthly by the Department of Graduate and Professional Development, is intended to highlight experts at TSU who are usually heard only on the outside. 

“We are taking advantage of our own faculty members and staff who are usually called by people around the country, but we don’t take advantage of them,” Melton said. “Dr. Inman is an expert in addressing COVID-19 issues. But we have yet to have her present to our own faculty. So, this was a podcast to really address some of the fears, concerns and questions in an open forum.” 

Dr. Timothy Jones, TSU associate professor of Human Performance and Sport Sciences, who also listened in on the podcast, said Dr. Inman’s presentation was informative and highly educational. 

“She (Dr. Inman) was precise in presenting and debunking rumors about COVID-19 and the vaccine,” Jones said.

Dr. Inman is scheduled to do a Part 2 presentation on COVID-19 at the end of February.

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 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 professor wins prestigious NSF CAREER award, receives nearly $500k grant for cybersecurity study

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – A Tennessee State University computer science professor has received the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development Award, the federal agency’s most prestigious honor for junior faculty members.

Dr. Swastik Brahma’s CAREER award comes with a nearly $500,000 grant, which he plans to use to enhance his research in networked systems, signal processing and cybersecurity.

“I feel very excited and thankful to the NSF for getting the award,” says Brahma, an assistant professor of computer science. “The grant will help us in addressing many fundamental issues and questions that remain unanswered for building crowdsensing systems,” he says.

The awards, presented once a year, are in support of junior faculty who exemplify the role of teacher-scholars through research and education, and the integration of these endeavors in the context of their organizations’ missions.

Dr. Swastik Brahma

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, says the college is pleased Dr. Brahma is being recognized.

“As we continue to recruit and hire outstanding faculty in the College of Engineering, this recognition promotes the quality of education in our computer science program, and the innovative research that engages students, dedicated faculty, and our external partners,” says Hargrove.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of the Department of Computer Science, adds that the award is proof of the quality of research that Dr. Brahma has developed at TSU as an early career faculty.

“This prestigious award, along with his other recent grants from NSF and ARO, will help him strengthen TSU’s leading research efforts in cybersecurity and networking,” says Sekmen. “We are very proud of him.”

Brahma, who is entering his fourth year as a faculty member at TSU, was also the principal investigator for a nearly $400,000 NSF grant to study the “Infusion of Cyber Physical System Education and Research Training in the Undergraduate Curriculum in the College of Engineering at TSU.”

He says the new funding will enable him to address “fundamental questions that remain unresolved” for building crowdsensing systems.

“This research will adopt a novel approach for the design of crowdsensing systems, one that not only focuses on signal processing and communication engineering aspects, which are vital for designing such systems, but also on the characteristics of the human agents who power crowdsensing frameworks,” says Brahma. “The research will enable us to acquire information at a societal-scale and utilize it to sustain smarter, safer, and more resilient communities.”

Satyaki Nan, a Ph.D. student in engineering and computational sciences, says he is glad to see Dr. Brahma recognized for his work.

“I am very excited about my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Brahma, winning the prestigious NSF CAREER award,” says Nam, who is from Kolkata, India. “It will help us pursue cutting-edge research and advance the frontiers of our understanding of human decision-making behavior and capabilities to design human-in-the-loop crowdsensing systems. I feel privileged to work with Dr. Brahma.”

For more information on the TSU Department of Computer Science, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/degrees.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 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 researchers named among ‘1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two Tennessee State University researchers have been named among the “1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America” by Cell Mentor.

Dr. Frances Williams

Dr. Frances Williams, associate vice president of Research and Sponsored Programs and professor of electrical engineering; and Dr. Quincy Quick, associate professor of biology, were cited by Community of Scholars in its latest posting in Cell Mentors, a web resource that provides support and resources for emerging scientists.

Williams and Quick, acknowledged as top scientists in the nation, have extensive research, teaching and scientific backgrounds.

“It is an honor to be recognized as one of the ‘1000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America’ on Cell Mentor,” Williams said upon receiving news of her selection. 

“I am humbled to be included with some of my STEM heroes and sheroes.  I hope that students see the list and are able to envision themselves as the next generation of scientists and innovators that make a positive impact on our world.”

Williams is widely published, and holds a patent in the areas of advanced materials and devices, biosensors, and nano- and micro-electromechanical systems processing and devices. She has received grants totaling over $15 million as a principal investigator or co-principal investigator.

Dr. Quincy Quick

Quick, who investigates brain tumors and serves as scientific grant reviewer for several cancer journals in the nation, said it is a “humbling and grateful experience to be acknowledged for your work, along with your peers like Dr. Williams, as well as the other African American scientists” around the United States.

“The visibility from a minority standpoint is critical,” Quick said. “Often times our work at HBCUs is overlooked in comparison to other majority institutions. Acknowledging the breadth of all of the African Americans across all types of institutions is a critical exposure for everybody.”

In addition to research projects supported by federal state funding, Quick has mentored more than 80 students at the Ph.D., master’s and undergraduate levels, as well as a research mentor for several NSF and NIH training and developmental programs.

At TSU, students are also celebrating the selection of Williams and Quick as inspiring black scientists by Cell Mentor.

“It is no surprise that Dr. (Quincy) Quick would be recognized for an accomplishment such as this,” Mariel Liggin, a senior biology major from Louisville, Kentucky, said about her professor. “His dedication to science can be been in the classroom as well as in the lab. He is one of the reasons why I continue to pursue my major in biology.”

Of Dr. Williams, civil engineering graduate student Morgan Chatmon, congratulated her professor for the recognition.

“Dr.  Williams is a dynamic leader, powerful motivator, and beneficial contributor to the STEM staff and student at TSU,” said Chatmon, of Omaha, Nebraska.

According to the Cell mentor, The Community of Scholars is “a group of Persons Excluded because of their Ethnicity or Race (PEER) composed of postdoctoral fellows, early-stage investigators, instructors, and consultants with a common passion to advance scientific discovery while innovating diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives.”

To see the complete list, visit: https://crosstalk.cell.com/blog/1000-inspiring-black-scientists-in-america(link is external).

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 computer science major lands top-paying job with Fortune 500 company after graduation, urges others to follow in his footsteps

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Landing a job at a Fortune 500 company usually means earning a sizable salary and enjoying perks like a big signing bonus and paid moving expenses. Tennessee State University 2020 graduate Malik City recently had that experience. 

Malik City

The Nashville native and computer science major was hired by Bank of America as a software engineer. City will earn $94,000 his first year, which includes a $10,000 signing bonus. He credits his time at TSU and being a part of the Enterprise Systems Computing initiative for his new employment opportunity. 

“I feel very fortunate and very thankful to TSU for the preparation I received, which made all of this possible,” said City, who midway through his college career, switched from electrical engineering to computer science with the infusion of enterprise computing.

“TSU is a big part of who I became as a man and a professional. I had great professors in the computer science department who gave me a great foundation and knowledge in many aspects of computer science and the enterprise system.”

The enterprise computing initiative was launched at TSU in 2014 to help prepare students to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and jobs. Since then, up to 22 students have been placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $84,000. TSU is the only Tennessee institution that offers courses in enterprise computing.

Malik City attends the 2017 SHARE conference sponsored by IBM in Providence, Rhode Island. (Submitted Photo)

John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, is TSU’s enterprise systems consultant.  He works with major Fortune 500 companies to identify their areas of need and pass that information over to the deans and chairs to identify the best way to infuse the requirements in the curriculum.

“The world’s largest banks, travel agencies, credit card transactions, global retailers, and communications service providers run on enterprise system,” said Thompson.  “This requires graduates in all majors such as criminal justice, mass communication, computer science, business, engineering, health science, agriculture, education, etc., to have some degree of base knowledge in enterprise computing concepts.”

There are 17 enterprise companies in Tennessee, including eight in Nashville, Thompson said. They include HCA, Mellon Bank, Comdata, BMI, State of Tennessee, Bridgestone, Amazon, and Vanderbilt.

While at TSU, Malik also served as a mentor in the VIL Kids Computer Science Program. (Submitted Photo)

“TSU, being the only school in Tennessee offering courses in this area, can be a major source to fill the huge demand for enterprise computing skills that is being created by the retiring baby boomer generation,” he said.

Dr. Ali Sekmen, chair of TSU’s Department of Computer Science, said enterprise computing and related courses are offered to ensure that students possess the fundamental knowledge that “major companies are looking for in this area.”

“Students like Malik, who have a fundamental understanding of enterprise systems, are more competitive as they enter the pipeline of a qualified workforce to replace the current retiring workforce,” Sekmen said.

Antoinette Duke, associate director of the TSU Career Development Center, added that TSU’s overall goal is to ensure that students leaving the university have the skill sets and experience needed to successfully compete for top jobs in business and industry.

“We are committed to providing services to our students that prepare them for meaningful career goals,” Duke said.

According to Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems manager, the program is opened to students in all disciplines.

“Malik’s success is one of the major achievements of the enterprise program at TSU, but we don’t want students to think this is just for computer science majors,” Mitchell said. “We want to attract other students to this program. It was designed under the Office of Academic Affairs for students in any discipline.” 

City, who will be relocating to his new company’s headquarters in Charlotte, North Carolina, encouraged other students to take advantage of the program, which he called a “high industry need area.”

“I was very fortunate to come into the industry right after college,” said City. “My mainframe experience did it for me. That extra edge separated me from the competition, because my manager said by having that experience proved that I had the willingness and appetite for knowledge.”

In addition to software engineer, graduates of the Enterprise Systems Computing would be qualified for jobs such as network support specialist, network analyst, network engineer, PC support specialist, and PC help desk.

For more information on TSU’s Enterprise Systems Program, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/.

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 College of Engineering receives $1 million NSF grant to benefit community college students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Community college students looking for a future in engineering will have a home at Tennessee State University, thanks to a $1 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The TSU College of Engineering received the funding recently to recruit minority transfer students from regional community colleges in Middle Tennessee who are interested in pursuing degrees in engineering, mathematical sciences or computer science.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove

The grant award, “Promoting Recruitment and Retention of Minority Transfer Students in Science and Engineering,” or PROMISE, will provide 45 scholarships over five years to successful candidates who want to pursue their bachelor’s degrees.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, said the grant will also support the transfer students through cohort building activities, undergraduate research experiences, summer internships, graduate school preparation, and participation in regional and national STEM conferences.

“This represents our ongoing efforts of increasing the workforce pool of STEM graduates from TSU, and the needed collaboration of faculty from different colleges to reach this objective,” said Hargrove, who is co-principal investigator of the project.

Dr. Lin Li

Hargrove said funds will be available by January 1, 2021, and that scholarship awards will begin in fall 2020. Applications will be reviewed by the College of Engineering, evaluated on a grade point average of at least 3.0, as well as on discipline and career goals.

Ronald Glenn is an incoming freshman who was part of the TSU pre-college engineering program at Stratford STEM Magnet High School during his freshman, junior and senior years. He said although he is not a transfer student, he hopes many students will take advantage of the scholarship program.

“I enjoyed working with TSU professors during those years,” said Glenn, of Nashville, who is majoring in architectural engineering. “They care very much about bringing out the best in you. They helped me get a head-start on my college work.”

Dr. Lin Li, the project’s principal investigator and chair of the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, said the overall goal of PROMISE is to increase STEM degree completion of low-income, high-achieving undergraduates with demonstrated financial need.

Dr. Nolan McMurray

“We are excited to expand our partnerships with local community colleges, and provide opportunities for these students to pursue and obtain a BS degree in engineering or computer science from TSU,” Li said.

Dr. Nolan McMurray, interim dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences, collaborated on the project as co-PI with Hargrove and Li.

“The opportunity to collaborate with the College of Engineering to attract more students in mathematics from regional community colleges, also supports our desire to increase our enrollment and graduation in this field,” McMurray said. 

Project investigators said PROMISE’s intended aims are to improve student engagement, boost retention and academic performance, as well as enhance student self-efficacy. 

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

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 joins other 1890 land-grant universities to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Morrill Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)TSU President Glenda Glover joined the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 1890 Universities in a weeklong celebration of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated Tennessee State University and 18 other historically black colleges and universities as land-grant institutions.

President Glenda Glover

The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of HBCUs in states where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The first Morrill Act 1862 establishing the land-grant universities did not provide higher education opportunities for African Americans.

“On behalf of the TSU family, our students, faculty and staff, it gives me great pleasure to join in the celebration of the 130th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, legislation that authorized 1890 land grant universities,” Glover said.

“For 130 years, although underfunded, the 1890 land-grant universities have been true to their mission of providing essential academic, research and extension services to the public that sustains our nation’s food, fiber and renewable production.”

As part of the activities August 24-31 and due to COVID-19, Glover and other higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will participate in an online celebration, culminating with a two-hour virtual forum on Monday, August 31. The forum will explore the history and accomplishments of the 1890 institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. 

“The 1890s, including Tennessee State, have a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, enhancing the resilience of limited resource individuals,  farmers, families and underserved communities and conducting innovative research to generate new knowledge and solutions to address regional and global challenges,” Glover added.

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Although TSU, founded in 1912 “came late in the game” among 1890 institutions, officials said the university has remained a leading institution in teaching, research and extension. For instance, the TSU College of Agriculture has more than 100 graduate students, 34 state-of-the-art laboratories, three field research stations, and about 70 staff providing outreach services in 50 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Overall, TSU received more than $54 million from various funding agencies for 2019-2020, exceeding its annual awards goal, according to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“We at TSU are doing extremely well relative to all of the other 1890 universities, thanks to federal, state and local government support,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the TSU College of Agriculture. “We have the largest outreach program. Our research program is very competitive, and for the last 10 years, TSU has continuously been the number one university among 1890 institutions in terms of securing competitive grants from the USDA, thanks to our faculty. So, we at TSU are very excited for the 130th anniversary celebration of the second Morrill Act that established 19 1890 universities.”

During the week of August 24, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, business and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges.

The celebration ended with a virtual webinar on August 31. The webinar had two panel discussions. One panel featured several 1980 university presidents, and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The second panel included private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs, among others.


The other 1890 land-grant universities are: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

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.