Category Archives: College of Engineering

TSU students seek internships, job opportunities as record number of companies attend first-ever virtual career fair

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is making sure its students are not missing out on internships or employment opportunities, since many on-campus recruitment activities were cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.

On Sept. 22, the university held its first-ever virtual career fair with a record 169 companies represented. Nearly 600 students from various disciplines attended. Handshake, an online platform that helps college students get jobs, facilitated the virtual workshop in collaboration with the TSU Career Development Center. Students directly interacted with employers through group and one-on-one sessions.

Reginald Holland, III, a second-year graduate student in agricultural sciences, and KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, were among the early participants in the virtual fair.

Reginald Holland, III, says he is looking for internship in the agriculture field. (Submitted Photo)

“This (virtual fair) was very unique and interesting,” said Holland, of Clarksville, Tennessee, who was looking for internship opportunities in the agriculture field. “I spoke with several employers. They were very receptive and interested in what I had to say.”

Dakwa, a junior from Huntsville, Alabama, who was also looking for an internship, said she felt good talking with representatives of major companies and agencies like the U.S. Department of Energy, Michigan Department of Transportation, Conoco, Duke Energy and DTE Energy.

“It was really awesome,” said Dakwa. “I really enjoyed the one-on-one sessions, and I really think I have a good chance of getting an internship, because of how I connected with them.”

KeAnna Dakwa, a civil engineering major, says she left the fair feeling good about landing an internship. (Submitted Photo)

Frank Stevenson, associated vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students, described the record turn-out of employers as “a community-wide celebration of career opportunities for our student.”

“This year’s career fair was so amazing in that we had the largest turn-out of employers who were really interested in our students,” Stevenson said. “We recognize doing it this way, there is some value in the virtual experience. This was the result of a complete push of the entire university – Academic Affairs, the Honors College – to make sure our students were prepared.”

Unlike the in-person career and employment fairs the Career Development Center hosts each year, students who attended the virtual fair registered and submitted resumes ahead of time to be able to participate. The center also provided students with a virtual career-guide manual with topics that are normally covered during face-to-face interactions with employers.

William Corneh, left, a second-year business marketing major, talks to representatives of Provider Trust about internship opportunity, during the 2020 Spring Internship Fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“The goal was to make sure our students made a great impression and that employers had a good idea about what our students were looking for,” said Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the Career Development Center. “Additionally, many of these companies not only registered for this fair, but came prepared to offer jobs to many of our students.”

Company representatives said they were impressed with the TSU students’ presentations, outlook and approach, and that they had a very good grasp of what they were looking for.

Cornelia Butler, a TSU alum and continuous improvement manager of Detroit-based DTE Energy, said her company was looking for students interested in summer internships in computer and electrical engineering, with the potential for full-time employment.

‘It was so exciting to meet some of the TSU students, they are articulate, passionate about what they want to learn and where they want to go,” said Butler, who along with her husband and a son, earned engineering degrees at TSU.

“Just from their GPAs, from their experiences, and what they want to do, it was exciting to meet them. My goal definitely is to find opportunities for summer internships, and to get back with those students,” Butler said.

Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, manager of talent acquisition at The General, one of the fair’s sponsoring companies, also described the TSU students as focused, engaging, upbeat and positive.

“We talked a lot about our open positions and our internships,” said Mabry-Shirey, who also represented her company at the 2020 Spring Internship Fair, that resulted in internships for TSU students.

“Overall, it was very productive. We were more focused on internships and entry-level positions and full-time positions for people who are ready to go straight to work after school,” she said.

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

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.

IBM Executives say TSU Students developing right Skills for tech workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Two IBM executives were on campus recently to talk to TSU students about job-readiness skills and employment opportunities with the tech giant and its affiliates.

Meredith Stowell, vice president for IBM Z Ecosystem; and Shirley Meierarend, IBM’s Z series skills leader for North America, spoke to a group of students, faculty and deans about “very lucrative” job opportunities available for those with skills and knowledge in Enterprise Computing, which supports IBM’s mainframe technology.

“IBM is here today because we are very interested in building a talent pipeline for enterprise computing for both our clients or IBM,” Stowell said in a presentation on Enterprise Computing and Digital Transformation.

John Thompson, right, TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, talks to a cross-section of students, deans and chair during the IBM executives’ visit. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We do have a number of very large clients here locally, but the other great thing about TSU is that many of their students are interested in relocating to other areas. So, that’s why I am here today, to share more with the students, and to connect students to talent and to the talent pipeline.”

Enterprise-related classes are currently being offered at TSU through an initiative that was launched in 2014 through the Department of Computer Science. The initiative was designed to prepare TSU students to be able to compete for high-paying enterprise internships and permanent job opportunities with enterprise clients. According to TSU’s Enterprise Systems Consultant, John Thompson, a former IBM senior manager, between 2015 and 2018, more than 20 students were placed with enterprise companies earning annual average starting salaries of more than $82,000, with some receiving signing bonuses of up to $10,000.

Citing a Wall Street Journal 2020 projection, Thompson said there will be more than 84,000 enterprise-related jobs available for students across all disciplines. 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.

During the IBM presentation, TSU President Glenda Glover, who was on travel, called in to thank Stowell and Meierarend for their visit, and Thompson, for arranging and coordinating the visit.  She stressed the importance of the TSU partnership with the company.

“This partnership is making a great difference in the lives of our students,” Glover said. “Student placement is a very key part of what we are and a major performance indicator for our state stakeholders and our accrediting body. Training our students to be adequately ready is so important. That is why we are so appreciative of this great collaboration.”

In her presentation, Stowell spoke about specific areas of enterprise computing that students should focus on in “sharpening your job-skill readiness.”  She and Thompson emphasized the importance of taking classes in fundamental COBOL business language programming, as well as a basic introduction to programming, such as C++ and Java. 

“Once again, it is really about this openness between industry and academics, and academic environment opening up to understand what specific skills that the industry needs and then partnering with those industry partners to incorporate and infuse those skills within their curriculum. So that, when the student graduates, there is a job lined up for him already,” Stowell said.

Thompson added:  “What makes TSU students so attractive is that they understand the distributing networking environment, but also, when you put them on an enterprise platform, they are right at home, and that’s where we come in. So, I work with the companies to find what they need from the enterprise platform, then I come back and work with Dr. (Ali) Sekmen and the deans, and say, ‘Look, how can we put this in the curriculum for the students to learn that skill?’ Once we do that, then we go and bring these companies in to recruit the students.”

Tamarcus Summers, a senior computer science major from Memphis, and Donovan Varnell, also a senior political science major from Nashville, were among the diverse group of majors at the presentation.

“As a computer science major, I am glad to see the focus on key areas emphasized here today that my professors talk about in preparing us for the job market,” Summers said.

For Varnell, he said he is impressed with IBM’s integration of technology into all disciplines.

“This really opens my eyes to how it is important to understand that all these technologies and coding are a need-to-know no matter your discipline,” said Varnell.

Dr. Sekmen, who is chair of the Department of Computer Science, and a facilitator of the Enterprise Systems Program, said TSU is seeking funding to establish a comprehensive enterprise computing program in the department with a mainframe computer lab.

“We will be the first institution in Tennessee to have such a computer,” said Sekmen. “We are going to develop an undergraduate concentration in enterprise computing, as well as training opportunities for TSU faculty, students and all HBCU faculty.”

Other university officials who spoke at the gathering were Dr. Jacqueline Mitchell, professor and Enterprise Systems Program manager, as well as Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering. Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students; Dr. Coreen Jackson, dean of the Honors College; and Dr. Ray Richardson, Enterprise Program liaison, were present. Students from a cross section of disciplines and majors were also present representing computer science, engineering, criminal justice, business and social work.

For more information on TSU’s Department of Computer Science, please go to http://www.tnstate.edu/computer_science/

Department of Media Relations

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

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’s 2020 Spring Internship Fair Gives Students Hope for Future Job, Employment Opportunities

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – TSU students looking for internship opportunities recently got a major break when representatives from more than 40 companies came on campus for the 2020 Spring Internship Fair.

William Corneh, left, a second-year business marketing major, talks to representatives of Provider Trust about internship opportunity with the company during the summer. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Nearly 400 students from different disciplines, with resumes in hand and dressed for business, attended the fair in Kean Hall on Feb. 18, where the companies set up tents, tables and displays. The fair was organized by the TSU Career Development Center in the Division of Student Affairs.

William Corneh and KeAnna Dakwa were among the first students at the fair, stopping at tables to hear what company representatives are looking for.

“I am here hopefully trying to get my first internship,” said Corneh, a second-year business major from Atlanta, who was shaking hands with representatives of The General Insurance Company. “This is my first effort trying to land a job. I am looking for an internship in an area of business marketing and the prospects look very good.”

TSU President Glenda Glover, right, talks to Katrina Kerr, a TSU alum and recruiter for Insight. Kerr is a 1994 graduate of TSU with a master’s degree in business administration. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

For Dakwa, who had a long discussion at the Lockheed Martin table, the chance for an internship also looks promising, said the sophomore civil engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama.

“I am here looking for internships in project management, civil engineering and anything that has to do with urban planning and logistics,” said Dakwa, who interned with American Electric Power last year. “I have been talking to Lockheed Martin and other design and engineering companies to see what they have to offer, and things look very promising.”

Unlike the career and employment fairs the university’s Career Development Center hosts during the year for various employment opportunities, this fair, which is held once a year, is dedicated solely to internships.

Moses Harris IV, left, a consultant with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, greets TSU students at the internship fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

TSU President Glenda Glover, the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Frank Stevenson, and a host of university officials, faculty and staff, stopped by the various booths to talk with company representatives in support of the students.

All of the representatives, including the fair’s major sponsors – Nashville Predators, The General Insurance Company, Altria, and LG&E – said they were impressed with the TSU students’ presentations, outlook and approach, and that they had a very good grasp of what they were looking for.

“TSU students are very professional, very friendly. You can tell they come prepared,” said Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, HR generalist with The General Insurance Company.

She said her company is looking to recruit interns for paid positions at $20 an hour in marketing, claims and IT.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, Associate Director of the TSU Career Development Center, (middle in TSU blue), greets representatives of the major sponsors of the 2020 Spring Internship Fair. From left, are: Lindsey Nelson, Nashville Predators; Cheryl Mabry-Shirey, The General Insurance Company; Duke; Brooke Hartlage, LG&E; and Tyler Ridley, Altria. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We have talked to several students who we already know are perfect fits for our company,” said Mabry-Shirey. 

Lindsey Rosen, talent acquisition specialist at Provider Trust, a healthcare compliance-based company, said her firm is also looking for people to fill internship and employment positions in marketing and sales.

“We pride ourselves on bringing in top talents,” Rosen said. “We are looking for creative and motivated people who want the opportunity to learn from our company.”

Antoinette Duke is the associate director of TSU’s Career Development Center. She said she is excited about the “overwhelming” turnout and support of the internship fair. She credits the various departments and volunteers with the success of the fair.

“These companies have shared with us that they actually have open positions to get students in for the summer,” Duke said. “Hopefully, when they leave today they will get those interviews to secure those internship positions. This really gives our students the opportunity to interact with the employers. We also want employers to use this valuable opportunity to connect with some of the brightest students. We thank our volunteers for their dedication and commitment to helping our students succeed.”

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/

Department of Media Relations

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

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.

Displays of University Excellence, Innovation, Speeches Mark 7th Annual TSU Day At the Capitol

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – State lawmakers got a taste of Tennessee State University’s excellence at the annual TSU Day at the Capitol on Tuesday.

Visitors to the TSU Day on the Capitol check out displays at the daylong event. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

More than 150 TSU students, administrators, faculty, staff and others packed a conference room on the 8th flor of the Cordell Hull Building to hear TSU President Glenda Glover kick-off the event. Before the official kick-off, lawmakers saw displays of the university’s diverse research and academic offerings, including robotics and giveaways like White Dogwood trees grown on the university farm, that has become a prized and highly requested staple during the annual visits.

“I am so pleased to see our lawmakers, along with our students, our faculty our staff, our alumni and friends. Thank you for joining us,” Glover said. “This is our seventh annual TSU Day at the Capitol. This event has become one of the institution’s most successful outreach programs. We take this opportunity to share with the lawmakers the great things that are going on at TSU, and to share with them our needs, as we continue the proud legacy of training and nurturing our future – our students.”

Before the kick-off, President Glover made courtesy visits to the offices of Lt. Gov. Randy McNally (R-Crossville) and several key members of the Tennessee General Assembly. Student ambassadors also used the time to deliver packages of TSU mementos to the offices of lawmakers, as tokens of appreciation from the university.

Among many displays at the TSU Day at the Capitol, researchers in the College of Health Sciences demonstrate the use of the Vest Airway Clearance System, a therapy designed to assist patients who have thick secretions, such as in cystic fibrosis. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

In her speech, Glover told the lawmakers that past and future appropriations have allowed TSU to maintain its longstanding legacy of “providing education for our students.”

“Thank you for being a part of this day and for money you have given us,” she said. “However, we have some tremendous needs. So, we are here asking you to help us meet those needs. We want to improve our campus’ age-old infrastructure, we need scholarships for students, we need to make sure that electricity is in order for next year.”

Several of the lawmakers followed Glover with greetings and congratulations to TSU and its leaders for the “great work going on at TSU.”

“I appreciate you all being here today,” House Speaker Cameron Sexton said. “We are going to work well to make sure that we move Tennessee forward and keep doing the things we can agree on, such as education.”

TSU alums Sen. Brenda Gilmore, and Rep. Harold M. Love, Jr., two strong supporters of the university, promised to keep TSU at the top of the agenda.

“I am so happy to see you all up here. It means the world to me,” Gilmore said. “As you (students) walk these halls and meet the legislators, tell them about your studies and what you plan to do when you graduate. That helps us as we work hard to get your rightful funding.”

Love added: “It does our heart well to see our students, faculty, staff and alumni here with us on Capitol Hill. We need your voice to move TSU. So, I encourage you to keep telling us what needs to be changed in policy.”

In an oratorical presentation, Mr. TSU Damyr Moore moved lawmakers with a call for proportionate funding for HBCUs, arguing that the matrix used to determine funding, such as retention, enrollment and on-time degree completion, are not the best indicators by which to measure HBCUs.

“I propose proportionate funding for HBCUs and PWIs, or predominantly white institutions, alike, as well as increase funding for scholarships and funding for pre-college summer bridge programs,” said Moore, a senior mass communication major from Atlanta.

Also making remarks was Katelyn Thompson, president of the TSU Student Government Association. Among other lawmakers who spoke at the ceremony were Reps. Antonio Parkinson (District 98) and Barbara Cooper (District 86), a TSU alum.

Department of Media Relations

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

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 Students Named Fellows of National Transportation Research Board Minority Student Program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five TSU students are now members  of the prestigious Minority Student Fellows Program of the National Transportation Research Board, or TRB.

Kahlil Andrews, a graduate student in civil engineering, presents his research at the TRB annual conference in Washington, D.C. (Submitted Photo)

The students, from the Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, were recently accepted into the program at the TRB’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C. This followed the acceptance of technical papers the students presented from research conducted late last year.

“Representing my university in the Transportation Research Board Minority Fellows Program was one of the most wonderful and involving experiences I’ve ever had,” said KeAnna Dakwa, a sophomore civil engineering major from Huntsville, Alabama. Dakwa’s research was on “Analyzing Traffic Circles as They Pertain to Crash Severity.”

Tyler Thompson, a senior urban studies major from Naperville, Illinois, who presented on  “After the Referendum: Fixing Traffic in Nashville, TN,” said he was honored to be accepted as a fellow of the TRB program because of the opportunities it affords him.

Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett

“I enjoyed my experience at the TRB annual meeting,” Thompson said. “I was able to network with people who are in the same field of study as myself, while sharing my research with people from all over the country.”

Other TSU students who were accepted into the TRB  Minority Fellows Program were: Cam’Ron McKinney, sophomore civil engineering major from Cleveland; Dominique Wallace, senior civil engineering major; and Kahlil Andrews, who is pursuing his master’s degree in civil engineering.


Dr. Kimberly L. Triplett, associate professor of urban studies in the College of Public Service; and Dr. Deo Chimba, associate professor of civil engineering in the College of Engineering, accompanied the students as advisors.


A program unit of the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, the TRB annual conference promotes innovation and progress in transportation through research. The Minority Student Fellows Program, established in 2010, actively explores research, ideas, and solutions from diverse perspectives with the goal of increasing the number of underrepresented minorities in the transportation field.

The new members of the Minority Student Fellows Program and one of their professors attend a reception in Washington, D.C. Pictured from left are: KeAnna Dakwa, Kahlil Andrews, Dr. Deo Chimba, Cam’Ron McKinney, Tyler Thompson and Domnique Wallace. (Submitted Photo)

According to Chimba and Triplett, the TSU students and new TRB fellows applied classroom theory to transportation problems in their research, got critical exposure to the range of transportation issues, and gained the ability to improve research writing skills.

“This program has boosted and exposed TSU underrepresented civil engineering minorities to the transportation field and TRB activities,” Chimba said.

Triplett added that participating in the TRB program has motivated non-civil engineering students to find their place in the transportation industry as urban planners.

“Participation in this program will continue to encourage student growth at TSU in urban planning within the transportation field and in TRB activities,” said Triplett, adding that previous TSU students have received employment in the transportation field through their participation in the TRB program.

This year’s TSU students received sponsorships from the Tennessee Department of Transportation, TRB and the Federal Highway Administration.

For more information on the TSU Colleges of Engineering, and Public Service, go to http://www.tnstate.edu/engineering/index1.aspx and http://www.tnstate.edu/cpsua/

Department of Media Relations

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

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 Kicks off Dual Enrollment Program with Apple Smart Technology Partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – High school students looking to get an early start on college now have a home at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU Associate Vice President for Smart Technology and Innovation, conducts a coding class at Kenwood High School in Clarksville, Tennessee. (Submitted Photo)

Through its National Center for Smart Technology, the university has launched a dual enrollment program with three major school districts in the state that offers high school juniors and seniors the opportunity to earn college credits while enrolled in high school.

Participating school districts are Clarksville Montgomery County School System, Metro Nashville Public Schools, and Shelby County Schools.

Jalen Driskell and Larry Perry, 12th graders from Shelby County’s Trezevant High School in Memphis, are excited about the opportunity to earn early college credits. The two were among 130 students also from Pearl Cohn High, and Clarksville’s Kenwood High School, who participated in the Apple Coding class last fall as part of the dual enrollment program.

Officials from the TSU Office of Smart Technology and Innovation join faculty and staff of Kenwood High School to kick off the TSU-Apple-Kenwood Coding initiative. (Submitted Photo)

“I learned a lot from the initiative, especially working as a team,” said Driskell, who hopes to major in engineering after high school. “Being enrolled allows me to move ahead in receiving my college credits and to do better with time management.”

For Perry, he said the coding class was a lot of fun and increased his interest in doing more college work.

“Coding allowed me to gain the experience with talking to others versus typing,” he said. “Receiving this college credit allows me to be prepared for my future.”

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s associate vice president for Smart Technology and Innovation, said with the Apple partnership, TSU has created an amazing opportunity for high school students to start coding and creating.

“All over the state, as well as all over the country, students are interested in coding and creativity,” said Melton. “With this dual enrollment program, it is unique in the fact that students across the state of Tennessee can now embrace the skills of coding and creativity through dual enrollment. We are positioned to provide coding and creativity on site and online, for high school students to have a pathway to our computer science and “Everyone Can Code and Create” curriculums at TSU.”

Dr. Johnnie C. Smith is the executive director of the TSU Dual Enrollment Partnerships. She said students who participate in the program must meet the TSU admission’s requirement. They must be beginning juniors with a GPA of 2.75 or better, and must have recommendations from their principals or guidance counselors to participate. In addition to the Apple coding curriculum, she said the program offers general education courses, as well as engineering and English composition. The courses are offered onsite and online.

“Like all other schools in the state, we are going after courses we know will count in different schools, like general education courses,” Smith said. “We are targeting students within the state of Tennessee. They will gain college credits to get a jump start on college and also use those credits to meet their high school requirements for graduation. We are really excited about the possibility of what this program can do at the institution.”

Some of the teachers whose students participated in the fall 2019 program said it was very beneficial and definitely makes the whole dual enrollment initiative more interesting.

“This program benefited our students by giving them the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of coding and inspired them to create something unique for a problem in their community,” said Abraham Wolfe, a high school AP Physics and Robotics teacher in the Clarksville Montgomery County School System.

Quanita Adams, a high school math teacher with Metro Nashville Public Schools, said, “The students enrolled in DE Coding this semester have tapped into a world that they may have not experienced elsewhere and produced amazing products in a short time.”

Herbert Vannostrand, a high school computer science teacher with the Shelby County Schools, agreed.

“The Apple Coding curriculum provided my students with a clear, concise, up-to-date and fun program to learn the Swift programming language, as well as bringing relevant up-to-date information about how coding can affect change in their lives,” Vannostrand said. “I recommend this program to any computer science teacher and I am ready to teach the course again next year.”

Dual enrollment is just one of many initiatives undertaken in the last year under the TSU-Apple partnership. In July, TSU launched HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the HBCU C2 Initiative. Also, in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

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 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.

Tennessee State University to Begin Construction of Two New Residence Halls in January

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – In January, Tennessee State University will begin construction on the first new residence halls on the campus in 23 years.

The State Building Commission recently gave the green light for the six-story, 700-bed facility estimated at $75.3 million. It will be located between Eppse Hall and the Performing Arts Center on the main campus. The new project is part of a number of planned and ongoing constructions, including a new Health Sciences Building, that are changing the landscape at TSU.

TSU President Glenda Glover believes the new residence halls and academic building will play a major role in recruitment efforts.

“The university is undergoing a renaissance of sorts; it began with our new, higher admission standards, and continues with the new construction of the residence halls and Health Sciences Building for prospective students to enjoy and reap the benefits,” Glover said.

“We are proud of our legacy and the current buildings on campus are a part of that legacy. The facilities are the first state-funded construction projects on our campus in 23 years. These are exciting times for the university and our partners.”

Joni McReynolds, president of the TSU National Alumni Association, agreed that “building the residence halls with the best of technology will help us recruit” new students.

“I am extremely pleased to hear that the university will be able to move forward with the construction of two new residence halls,” McReynolds said.

At last year’s Homecoming, TSU broke grounds for the new residence halls, a new Health Sciences Building, and an Alumni Welcome Center. The Health Sciences Building, currently under construction on the main campus, is expected to be completed in early 2020.

Dr. Curtis Johnson, chief of staff and associate vice president for administration, said construction of the residence halls will last for 18-20 months beginning in January 2020. Prior to that, he said the university will soon begin making modifications in parking that will include groundbreaking activity.

“The facility will require some parking shift,” Johnson said. “The intent is not to lose any parking spaces, but to just relocate those parking spaces to another lot to allow the construction area laydown for the new facility.”

The building will also have a high-tech security infrastructure that gives exclusive access to occupants, he said. Outsiders coming in to use dining facilities on the first floor will not be able to enter living areas.

“Security design in this facility will include elevator lobbies, meaning that occupants will have access through their IDs to be able to access the floor you live on. There will be cameras and monitoring equipment throughout the facility,” Johnson said.

Katelyn Thompson, president of the Student Government Association, called construction of the new residence halls “a historic endeavor that will make a big and exciting difference” in student living.

“I am so happy about this news,” Thompson said. “To have them starting the construction this early means the world because I love my university, and to watch it grow with new things is amazing, as new Tigers continue to enroll and leave their mark at TSU.”

TSU’s Dean of Student and Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, Frank Stevenson, said the new residence will greatly help relieve the university of the growing demand for student campus housing.

‘This will be a state-of-the-art facility that creates a more dynamic student experience,” Stevenson said. “We are tremendously excited about the progress.”

The new residence facility will include an assortment of room types, four dining concepts, a fitness facility, indoor and outdoor meeting spaces, spa concept in some bathrooms, and laundry rooms. It will have three towers, and 4,5 and 6-story living areas. Construction is expected to be completed in summer 2020.

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 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.

TSU-Apple Coding Initiative Introduces Girls To Coding and STEM

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University recently partnered with Apple, Inc. to teach middle and high school girls how to code, as well as consider careers in STEM.

Youth from ages 6 to 19 from various schools, including McKissack Middle School and HIllsboro High School, had the opportunity to experience coding at a free camp on Nov. 2, 9 and 16 in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex (The Barn) on the main campus.

Apple CEO Tim Cook tweeted about the camp: “We’re proud to team up with @TSUedu and @nc100bwinc to show girls in Nashville how coding can help them realize their dreams. Can’t wait to see where your imaginations take you! “

Dr. Robbie Melton, TSU’s dean of Graduate and Professional Studies, serves as the program director for the coding initiative.

“We were able to introduce these girls to coding in a very fun, active and stimulating way,” she said.  “The students were only supposed to pick one Saturday, but some of the girls came back every Saturday.”

During the camp, participants moved around to different stations where they learned basic coding principles, and “actually coded drones and robots to move and function.”

Melton said because of the success of the camp, her office has received requests from local high schools, as well as schools in Memphis, Clarksville and Shelbyville that hope to explore coding.

“The students went back to their schools and talked to their teachers, and because of that we are now having special sessions for schools,” Melton said.  “We got a call from Hillsboro High School’s parent community where we went on Monday to do ‘Everyone Can Code. Everyone Can Create.’ Antioch is also on board. These are schools that have reached out because of their students to say, ‘Hey, can we have more?  Can we bring students to you, or can you all come to us?”

Students from various schools in Nashville gather for photo following a free coding camp held in TSU’s Farrell Westbrook Complex. (Submitted Photo)

In July, TSU launched  HBCU C2 “Everyone Can Code and Create,” a national initiative supported by Apple, which seeks to bring coding experiences to historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and underserved communities. The initiative is part of TSU’s newly established National Center for Smart Technology Innovations, created through the  HBCU C2 Presidential Academy. The girls coding camp is an extension of the initiative.

Dr. Veronica Johnson is president of the Metro Nashville Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc., which partnered with TSU and Apple. She said black women and girls are “vastly underrepresented” in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, as well as performing arts.

“By exposing STEM projects at an early age, it could help increase their chances of exploring these fields, as they pursue academic degrees and seek future career opportunities,” Johnson said. “Having access to develop needed skill sets to survive in the 21st digital landscape will be critical to the economic impact of the future of black communities.”

Eleven-year-old Genesis Wells, who attends Cresswell Middle Prep School of the Arts, said she found out about the camp from her mother, Ariel Wells, who works at TSU.

Genesis Laniah Wells, a student at Cressell Middle Prep School of the Arts, attended the girls’ coding camp with her mom Ariel Wells, who works at TSU. (Submitted Photo)

“I enjoyed playing in Swift Playgrounds the most and GarageBand,” she said. “I enjoyed Swift Playgrounds because you get to control a character named Bright and make him collect coins, and it makes your brain think a little bit. I enjoyed GarageBand because I got to make beats and I love music, so that’s just a dream for me.”

Wells, who aspires to be a singer, actor and dancer, said she is also considering a career as a pediatrician.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, said the camp was also beneficial to the participants’ parents, or guardians.

“The program also informs parents and adults about the digital world of information technology, and how as individuals you can take control of your learning and knowledge based on your own needs and career goals,” said Hargrove. “The ability to manage information and make data-driven decisions will continue to be a major skill for today and tomorrow’s workforce”

TSU has been charged with strengthening the collaboration by offering the company’s coding curriculum to new audiences. That expansion also includes providing TSU alums the opportunity to learn the fundamentals of app design and app development for free.

To date, TSU has impacted 32 HBCUs with the  HBCU C2 Initiative, including visiting every HBCU in Arkansas and meeting with a representative from each HBCU located in Louisiana. Melton said in April 2020 Apple will establish an HBCU Appstore, where HBCUs can share the various apps they have created. 

“If you can dream it, we can design it and we can code it. Everyone is not going to be a coder, but everyone can think and create.,” she said. “We leave every academy with apps that they have designed to address a community, an education or a workforce need.”

Also in July, TSU launched the first community “Everyone Can Code and Create” initiative for youth on its Avon Williams Campus. The initiative is also part of the National Center for Smart Technology Innovations.

For more information about the girls coding camp, contact ablack1@tnstate.edu, or call 615-963-7269.

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 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.