Tag Archives: Amazon

TSU alumna and Amazon Teacher of the Year Shasta Charlton inspires students to be successful

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University alumna Shasta Charlton didn’t know much about robots. But that didn’t stop the first-year teacher and her students from building and coding one, and winning $50,000 from Amazon.

TSU alumna Shasta Charlton

Charlton, a computer science teacher and Robotics Club staffer at Whites Creek Comprehensive High School in Nashville, is a 2020 Amazon Future Engineer Teacher of the Year Award recipient. She is one of 10 individuals selected from among thousands of eligible teachers to receive the prestigious award, which includes $25,000 for the school and $25,000 in school supplies.

Charlton’s ability to relate to students helped get the attention of Amazon. When her school presented she and her students with the challenge of building and coding a robot, they did not back away.

“I don’t have a computer science degree, but I went home and I buried myself in YouTube videos and read every book that I could get my hands on to make this happen for them,” recalls Charlton, who also convinced the students to start a Robotics Club. “In about six months we had a fully working coded robot, and we actually ended up winning third in the state competition. I could have easily just said no, but instead, me and my students said we were going to buckle down and figure it out.”

Amazon award recipients were chosen based on a variety of criteria, which included their commitment to promoting diversity and inclusion within computer science education, a recommendation from a school administrator, and compelling, personal anecdotes about their school and students.

While she’s thrilled to be nationally recognized by Amazon, Charlton says she’s even more excited about the number of students she’s convinced to attend TSU in just her first year of being a teacher.

“I’ve really been trying to connect my students with TSU as much as possible,” says Charlton, who graduated from TSU last year with a degree in agricultural sciences. “I have four students this year who are going to TSU to major in some form of agriculture.”

Dr. John Ricketts is an Ag professor and extension specialist at TSU who encouraged Charlton to transfer to the university and major in agriculture when she was at Nashville State Community College. He says he’s not surprised at the success she’s having after just one year of teaching.

“She was extremely motivated as a student; she’s incredibly brilliant too,” says Ricketts of Charlton, whose concentration was in agricultural education. “When she went to Whites Creek, we knew that they had a home run. And frankly, it’s a home run for TSU because she’ll be sharing the good word about Big Blue.“

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, agrees.

Students work on robot for competition. (Submitted photo)

“As a student, she was very active and passionate about her program,” says Reddy. “She is also typical of our agricultural education graduates who have been getting very high scores on the state education exams and are doing extremely well as teachers and leaders in the communities they serve.”

In 2009, Nashville State Community College and TSU formed a Dual Admission Agreement. It provided certain guarantees to students who committed to TSU early in their community college matriculation, such as priority advising and registration, as well as access to TSU’s campus.

Since then, the Tennessee Board of Regents instituted the Tennessee Transfer Pathways program, which superseded DAAs and provided guarantees to community college graduates statewide.

Dr. Sharon Peters, executive director of community college initiatives at TSU, says students at Nashville State continue to be on TSU’s radar.

“Nashville State should be our pipeline,” says Peters. “The majority of the students that leave Nashville State should be coming here, or considering us, particularly if they live in Davidson County.”

For more information about TSU’s College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

For more about community college initiatives at TSU, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/commcolleges/

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.

Top Amazon Executives Hold ‘Conversation’ with TSU Students On Success in the Corporate World

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Five senior executives from Amazon recently visited Tennessee State University campus and had a “conversation” with students about coping in the corporate world.

About 50 students from different disciplines gathered in the President’s Dining Room Feb. 7 to interact with the executives on topics ranging from diversity, career preparedness and communications skills to opportunities at Amazon.

The meeting, termed ‘Why Diversity Matters, a Conversation with Amazon Execs,” was arranged by the TSU Career Development Center, and the Office of Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives. It followed the “Amazon Live” event the night before at the Ryman, where about 400 TSU students, along with students from other local colleges and universities, gathered to hear about Amazon and job opportunities.

Visiting Amazon executives, from left, Cole Brown, Dave Bozeman, Ken Knight, Ed Feitinger, and Thadd Jones, Sr., a TSU graduate, met with TSU students Feb. 7. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Among the Amazon executives visiting TSU was Thadd Jones, Sr., Senior Talent Acquisition Manager for North America Specialty Fulfillment, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business with concentration in marketing from TSU in 2005.

“Amazon is here at TSU for diversity. We believe in creating access for diversity,” he said. “We believe that there is an opportunity to build corporate partnership for HBCUs as well. As a TSU alum, it makes perfect sense for me as we start to think about our footprint in Nashville, to make sure that TSU is at the forefront in building and growing our organization.”

Other executives on the visit to TSU were: Dave Bozeman, vice president of Transportation Services; Ed Feitzinger, vice president Amazon Global Logistics; Cole Brown, vice president HR North America Customer Fulfillment; and Ken Knight, vice president Global Fulfillment HR Amazon.

Russell Wafers, a TSU student, asks the Amazon executives a question during the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

Russell Wafers, a freshman computer science major, was one of the students at the meeting. He wants to work for Amazon after college. He said the gathering gave him an opportunity to ask and get answers to questions about success in the corporate world.

“I really wanted to know what I can do to prepare myself as far as getting a job with Amazon, or just working on my professional skills,” said Wafers, who is from Huntsville, Alabama. “They were really very forthcoming and real.”

The visitors pressed the students on honing their communication skills, to think globally, and prepare themselves for a “changing and evolving” world.

Cole Brown, Vice President HR North America Customer Fulfillment Amazon, talks to two TSU students after the meeting. (Photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“Spend a lot time polishing yourself. Employers are probably not going to tell you how horrible your presentation was,” one said. “You must diversify and think global.”

“The best thing you want to have in your career is option, and the only way you get option is to evolve and prepare yourself for what the world has in store,” another executive said.

Charles Jennings, director of the TSU Career Development Center, said the executives’ visit was an opportunity for “our wonderful students to meet with top executives at Amazon.”

“What you have here are five of the top executives, including four African Americans at Amazon, having an opportunity to meet with and talk about what it is like working and maneuvering in that environment,” said Jennings.

Iris Ramey, associate vice president for Corporate Partnerships and Strategic Initiatives, shared Jennings’ sentiment and thanked Jones for asking for the meeting with the students.

“Following the Amazon program at the Ryman, Thadd Jones asked if we would prepare a lunch for 50 students,” said Remey. “He wanted some of his corporate leaders to come and meet some of our students.”

Arnella Williams-Foster, a senior business administration major, said the meeting with the executives was enlightening.

“As a graduating senior, it was really important for me to hear how Amazon operates, specifically because I am looking to work for that company,” said the St. Louis, Missouri, native, with a concentration in marketing.

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

Aristocrat of Bands rocks ‘Amazon Live’ event at the Ryman

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Members of Tennessee State University’s Aristocrat of Bands rocked the Ryman for the “Amazon Live” event on Feb. 7.

About 400 TSU students, along with individuals from other local colleges and universities, attended the event at the Ryman Auditorium Thursday night to learn more about Amazon and job opportunities it has to offer.

Some attendees used their iPhones to take photos or record the band, while others got out of their seats and moved to the beat of the band.

Larry Jenkins, assistant director of bands at TSU, said it’s always a joy to perform and see the audience’s response.

“It means a lot for the university, for the students,” said Jenkins. “To be called to do an event like this means a lot.”

Amazon announced in November that Nashville will be home to its Operations Center of Excellence, as well as the company’s headquarters for its logistics group. It’s expected to bring an estimated 5,000 jobs to the area.

Aristocrat of Bands performing at “Amazon Live” at the Ryman Auditorium. (Photo by Lucas Johnson, TSU Media Relations)

Frank Stevenson, TSU’s dean of students, lauded Amazon for creating a space to introduce their company and brand to college students, in particular.

“We’re really excited for them to have the opportunity to meet with some of the executives at Amazon, and to learn about the Amazon culture and brand,” Stevenson said before the event.

Braxton Simpson is the student representative on TSU’s Board of Trustees and the Amazon Prime student ambassador. She said she’s looking forward to the opportunities Amazon is offering.

“With Amazon coming to Nashville, bringing 5,000 jobs, that opens up a lot of opportunity for students, especially in this area,” said Simpson. “We want to prepare TSU students for that opportunity that’s coming our way.”

To learn more about the Aristocrat of Bands, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/aristocratofbands/

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 7,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

TSU prepared to provide strong candidates for new Amazon operations center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University President Glenda Glover says the university is poised to provide strong candidates for Amazon’s new executive operations center.

Dr. Glenda Glover

Amazon announced Tuesday that Nashville will be home to its Operations Center of Excellence, as well as the company’s headquarters for its logistics group. It’s expected to bring an estimated 5,000 jobs to the area.

“Excellence is Our Habit is TSU’s motto for a reason,” says Glover. “The university is prepared to provide a diverse group of very talented and workforce-ready students. In addition to TSU establishing a student employment pipeline of business and tech-savvy employees for Amazon, we have an array of accredited and professional development programs to help their current workers enhance their skills and career path within the company.”

Dr. Achintya Ray, an economics professor at TSU, agrees.

“As the only public university in Nashville, Tennessee State University stands uniquely poised to support these corporate giants, their employees, family members of the employees, and the businesses that support them with highly-skilled human capital, workforce training opportunities, research partnerships and more,” says Ray.

TSU’s executive MBA and continuing education offerings are just a few of the tools the university can readily offer Amazon through the corporate employee education program, adds Glover.

According to Amazon, Nashville will serve as the company’s Retail Operations division. The one million square foot office space will house the tech and management functions of the division, including customer fulfillment, customer service, transportation, and supply chain, amongst others.

Currently, Amazon employs about 2,500 people in the Nashville region across five fulfillment and sortation centers.

 

Department of Media Relations

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

About Tennessee State University

With more than 8,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs and seven doctoral degrees. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.