Tag Archives: Antoinette Hargrove Duke

TSU makes taking student portrait easy with first self-serve, innovative professional photo booth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Do you need a professional-quality headshot for graduate school or a job application but don’t know where to go? Look no more, the Tennessee State University Career Development Center has you covered!

Brionika Johnson, a graduating senior, edits a headshot in the Iris Booth for her senior portfolio. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On Oct. 6, the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Iris Booth, an innovative, self-serve professional photo booth that allows students, faculty, and staff to take headshots. TSU is the first historically black higher education institution to use the Iris Booth, and one of only six universities in the nation with this high-tech equipment. It is used by corporations and hospitals in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

“This is amazing, and it is groundbreaking as our students now have the opportunity to experience professional photography brought by the Career Development Center,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “We are excited about what this will mean for our students moving forward. It gives them a head start going into the marketplace. It prepares them and allows them to have their best foot forward as they prepare for potential employment opportunities.” 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, Director of the Career Development Center, welcomes officials, students and staff to the opening of the Iris Booth. From right, are: Frank Stevenson, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs; Prof. Rita Fleming, Faculty Senate representative; and Miss TSU Mallory Moore. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Brionika Johnson, a senior business administration major, was one of the first students to sit for her headshot in the booth, following the ribbon cutting. She was impressed by the clarity of her photo and how easy it was to use the system. 

“One thing that students complain a lot about is that they can’t get professional headshots when going to interviews, or going to companies,” said Johnson, who is from Atlanta. “This is another good example of the Career Development Center helping students prepare for the workforce.” 

Officials say the Iris Booth demonstrates the university’s commitment to engage and support students as they begin or continue their career journeys. The easy-to-use unit – located in the CDC – uses high quality lighting and allows users to approve or retake photos. It also allows users to crop photos, touch up blemishes, whiten teeth, or apply filters, and instantly delivers digital photos via email. 

Frank Stevenson, who is also Dean of Students, enters his profile information for a professional headshot. He calls the Iris Booth innovation ‘groundbreaking.’ (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“With the Iris Booth, we no longer have to find somebody for you to get a professional picture. We no longer have to hire anyone,” Antoinette Hargrove Duke, director of the Career Development Center, told students, as she thanked the leadership of the Student Affairs office for supporting the idea for the booth. 

“Our students deserve this cutting-edge technology,” Duke added. “They no longer have an excuse for looking their very best when going to look for internships or going for job interviews.” 

Duke also thanked her staff and the student leadership for their support, as well as the staff of the TSU Facilities Department for transforming the previous office space to install the photo booth. 

The Iris Booth is open to faculty, staff and students. Many attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony in the Career Development Center. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association, expressed appreciation to the CDC for its support, and urged his fellow students to take advantage of not only the new booth, but the center. 

“I just want to say to all the students to make sure you come here, not only to get your headshot, but take advantage of the resources in this office,” said Sanders. “The headshot is definitely a key piece to the industrial field and life after TSU. But I also encourage all of you to be engaged in this office.” 

Also participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Prof. Rita Fleming, who represented Dr. Kimberly Triplett, chair of the Faculty Senate; Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; Miss TSU Mallory Moore; and Tanya McNeal, student ambassador. 

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

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 2021 career fair offers job, internship opportunities as more than 140 companies attend

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Services) – Hundreds of Tennessee State University students looking for internships, full-time employment or co-op opportunities recently had plenty of selections at the university’s first in-person career fair since the pandemic.  

TSU senior business majors Katana Darby, right, and Khasia Perry talk to Isabella Lowrey, Human Resource Representative with Cintas, a business services company. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

More than 140 companies and potential employers converged on the main campus for the 2021 Fall Career Fair on Sept. 17. Representatives from government agencies, aerospace, banking, engineering, healthcare, and the entertainment industries set up tents, tables, and displays in the Gentry Center Complex to network with students about career and employment opportunities. 

Organizers said nearly 700 students attended the all-day fair. 

Katana Darby, a senior business administration major; and Shaun Wimberly, a second-year agribusiness major, were among the first students at the fair. They were both looking for internships. But Darby, who graduates in May, was also looking for a full-time employment opportunity. She thought her chances were good. 

Companies representing the automotive, engineering, aerospace, banking and healthcare industries attend the career fair. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Employers have been really good, informative and responsive to my questions,” said the Chicago native, who talked with representatives from Cintas, a Cincinnati-based business services company. She is looking for a position in human resources or any related field.  

“I came to the career fair looking for open opportunities – internships, full-time and part-time positions – and things look very good,” Darby said. 

For Wimberly, of Louisville, Kentucky, who was also looking for opportunities in human relations, or any area that can utilize his agribusiness background, meeting employers in person was particularly appealing. 

Shaun Wimberly, an agribusiness major, right, talks to a company representative for an internship opportunity. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am excited to be able to meet people face-to-face at my very first career fair at TSU,” he said. “I was able to make connections with employers to discuss how I can best contribute to their organizations.” 

Wimberly and Darby may just be in luck.  

Danita J. Jones, a 1991 TSU graduate and recruiter and business management specialist with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, said she came to the career fair with a job announcement for “someone who is hardworking with good communication skills.” 

TSU alum Danita J. Jones, left, Business Management Specialist with the Army Corps of Engineers, says she came to the fair with a job announcement. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I am looking for students in business administration, business management, human resources – someone to manage our district training program,” said Jones, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from TSU and started with the Army Corps of Engineers as a student aid. 

Overall, employers said TSU students – in dark business suits and black shoes – came prepared, and were very impressive in appearance, approach, and presentation. 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, left, Director of the TSU Career Development Center, says employers are impressed about the students’ level of preparation. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, director of TSU’s Career Development Center, said a lot goes into preparing students for the career fair, including resume writing, and prepping for interviews. 

“We are glad that it shows because employers are talking about the turnout and how ready our students are,” said Duke. “Additionally, we are very excited about the opportunity to return to campus after being virtual for over 15 months. The excitement among our campus and university partners is amazing.” 

Kisa Caruthers, senior electrical engineer for Global Facilities at Burns & McDonnell, was at the fair as a recruiter for the giant engineering and construction firm. The TSU graduate said her company was interested in recruiting, especially minority students. 

Kisa Caruthers, Senior Electrical Engineer for Global Facilities at Burns & McDonnell, returns to her alma mater as a recruiter for her company. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“Our goal is to bring in students who can take all of those fundamentals from the classroom and actually have some application to it and expose our minority students to the real life of engineering,” Caruthers said. “We are talking about internships, co-op opportunities, as well as full employment. The students today are phenomenal. They came very prepared. I am very proud of them.” 

Among major sponsors of the career fair were Cigna, Berry Global, Inc., LG&E and KU Energy, Pathways Camelot Care Centers of Tennessee, and Smith & Nephew Supply Chain. 

For more information on the TSU Career Services Department, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/ 

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.

30 TSU Students receive business, leadership training in PetSmart paid summer experience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Thirty TSU students are participating in a seven-week virtual paid summer experience with PetSmart, the nation’s largest retailer of pet products and services. The TSU Career Development Center is coordinating the training, which started June 21 and ends Aug. 6. 

Tanya McNeal

Participants, who are mostly freshmen and sophomores, are receiving training in personal development, business, and leadership as part of PetSmart’s diversity and inclusion initiative. The initiative offers college students the opportunity to increase their knowledge in such areas as relationship building, effective presentation, emotional intelligence and being a team player. 

“This training is allowing me to take another look at myself as I prepare for the business world,” says Tanya McNeal, of Milwaukee, a junior agricultural science major with a business concentration. “They really try hard to make sure that you understand yourself and how you develop as an individual when it comes to emotional control.” 

Zoe Brown

Zoe Brown, a sophomore psychology major with a minor in entrepreneurship, says it is very encouraging for PetSmart to reach out to students to learn about its business practices.

“In entrepreneurship, you learn to run a business primarily by yourself and it can be difficult and challenging,” says Brown, of Austell, Georgia, “For PetSmart, which has been around for years in terms of professional development to reach out and provide us this opportunity is really helpful when I have my own business.” 

Denzel Wilcox, a sophomore business major from Nashville, adds: “This summer experience is giving me an advantage to learn the ropes on how to become a good intern. It exposes me to the corporate world as a business major.” 

Denzel Wilcox

Participants in the PetSmart Summer Experience Learning Series earn $15 an hour at three hours a week. The retail giant is underwriting the training with a $20,000 donation to the university. 

Lauren Givens, PetSmart’s Manager of Emerging Talent, says the training program is aimed to fill the gap for soft skills such as emotional intelligence, which are not taught in school, as well as to develop a pipeline of students ready to fill potential internship or full-time employment with her company. 

“At PetSmart, we look at developing and retaining the best talent from all backgrounds to really drive innovation and deliver superior result,” says Givens, adding that TSU’s offerings of concentrations in supply chain, business, marketing programs, and fashion merchandising were key in reaching out to the university. 

“So, one of the things that we develop this program for is to really create a career path. If individuals come to this summer experience, the hope is that when we start opening up our internship or full-time opportunities at PetSmart, we will have a pipeline of students ready to go that we can reach out to.” 

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, TSU’s director of the Career Development Center, says the goal of the center is to provide career readiness opportunities to “prepare our students to go in the workforce,” and PetSmart’s summer experience is helping to meet that goal. 

“The center is proud to partner with PetSmart to provide this first PetSmart Summer Experience for our students,” says Duke.  “We are excited about this seven-week business and leadership series that gives these 30 students the opportunity to increase their knowledge of the retail industry, as well as gain career readiness skills that employers seek.” 

Based in Phoenix, PetSmart has about 56,000 employees and operates approximately 1,650 stores in the United States, Canada, and Puerto Rico. 

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

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 employee’s community outreach helping families cope during pandemic, holidays

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As thousands of families struggle to put food on the table during the holidays amid the pandemic, a Tennessee State University employee and her private ministry are helping to make sure no one in the community goes hungry.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke is founder of “But God Nette Working For You,” a ministry of volunteers and community partners started in 2014 to provide food for those in need across Davidson and Rutherford counties in Tennessee. So far this year, the ministry has distributed more than 140,000 pounds of food, or about 55,000 meals to needy families.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke and her “But God” ministry volunteers and partners distribute food the fourth Friday of every month at locations across Davidson and Rutherford counties. (Photo by TSU Media relations)

“We are able to serve so many families by networking with other agencies,” says Duke, who is interim director of TSU’s Career Development Center.  “We partner with organizations within our community to serve families in need of food, clothing and other resources.” 

Duke and But God – for short – volunteers do not get paid for their work. They get support from local churches and individuals who donate equipment and make financial contributions to the organization. Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee is the group’s biggest partner and provider. Along with Second Harvest, the group distributes food the fourth Friday of every month at locations across Davidson and Rutherford counties.

Volunteers prepare packages to give out at the drive-thru, contact-free food distribution at Meharry Boulevard Church of God. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

A recent report in The Washington Post shows that more Americans are going hungry now than at any point during the deadly coronavirus pandemic — a problem created by an economic downturn that has tightened its grip on millions of Americans. In Middle Tennessee, the problem is even steeper, especially among children. Reports show that the number of children at risk of hunger has jumped from one in seven to more than one in five as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Second Harvest. 

“And this is why we keep doing what we are doing, to give people hope,” says Duke.  

On Friday, with food delivered by Second Harvest, Duke and her group, including nearly 100 volunteers from local organizations, served more than 300 families in a drive-thru, contact-free food distribution at Meharry Boulevard Church of God. According to Duke, the church and its pastor, the Rev. Vernon Ray McGuire, Jr., have adopted But God as a community partner that provides volunteers and financial donation to the group. 

Pastor Vernon Ray McGuire, Jr., of Meharry Boulevard Church of God; and Antoinette Duke welcome volunteers at the Dec. 18 food distribution. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Donna Hobbs, of Nashville, was one of those in line Friday to receive help at the food distribution. After working in the hospitality industry for many years, Hobbs was furloughed from her job in March. Although she landed a new job recently, Hobbs says she is glad she heard about Duke and But God ministry and their food distribution, “because it is still difficult to make ends meet.” 

“I have never done anything like this before. I have never had to reach out,” says Hobbs. “I am the one that’s always volunteering and giving. I am really humbled to be able to see this going on and to be able to get help.” 

Pastor McGuire, who was formerly part of a food giveaway program in Franklin, Tennessee, where he pastored another church before relocating to Meharry Boulevard Church of God, says he was drawn to Duke and But God ministry because of the group’s mission to meet the needs of others. 

“Sister Antoinette (Duke) has been a blessing to the community,” says McGuire. “There is a lot of people in need during this pandemic. We became a partner because we love and agree with what they do and their concern for others.” 

 Duke says she’s thankful to the many “wonderful” people and organizations that are willing to work day or night to help “touch the many lives we try to reach.” 

For more information about But God ministry, visit http://www.findglocal.com/US/Nashville/428539363922684/But-God-Ministry-Nette-Working-For-You 

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 2020 graduates optimistic about job market, despite difficulties posed by coronavirus pandemic

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Amid the coronavirus pandemic, the job outlook for college graduates might seem a bit disheartening because of the financial hardship businesses are enduring, but many Tennessee State University students say they are optimistic about their future because of how TSU has prepared them.

Damyr Moore, the outgoing Mister TSU, received his degree in mass communications and integrated marketing. (Submitted Photo)

Lawrence Tommy Evans graduated in May with a degree in criminal justice. He has completed required background checks and physicals with the FBI and another with the Davidson County Police Academy, where he is seeking employment.

“My chances look good and I am keeping my hopes up,” says Evans, of Belleville, Illinois. “In criminal justice, there is always a process which I am going through, such as the background check. But beyond that, I know I am prepared after going through a very rigorous program during my four years at TSU.”

Like Evans, fellow May graduate Damyr Moore, who earned a degree in mass communications and integrated marketing, says while he has not landed a job, he is making the necessary connections and believes “something will come up soon.”

Lawrence Tommy Evans received his degree in criminal justice in May. (Submitted Photo)

“With everything going on right now, I am just trying to stay focused and prepared,” says Moore, of Atlanta, who is the outgoing Mister TSU. He is looking for employment in marketing, public relations, web design, or graphic design.

“That’s one thing TSU taught me – how to be prepared for anything in the future,” adds Moore. “I am looking for anything that allows me to be creative in ways that help to further the vision of the company through bringing in fresh ideas.”

Reports show that the Class of 2020 has a particularly difficult time ahead in navigating the tough job market, made more uncertain with the outbreak. The overall unemployment rate was 11 percent in June — that number jumps to 19.8 percent for those age 20-24, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. However, employment and career experts say adequate preparation is always the best tool to help get a job.

Antoinette Hargrove Duke, the associate director of the Career Development Center at TSU, says in addition to helping students prepare for the job market, such as through interview coaching, internship search, and career assessments, the center uses different platforms to keep students and companies connected.

“We work with many companies and franchisees throughout the year to prepare our students through internships, co-ops, and employment opportunities,” says Duke. “We are committed to our students and will continue to prepare them for working in any corporation.”

In the last year, Duke says the Career Development Center has worked with major local and national entities, such as Lockheed Martin, the Predators, Tennessee Titans, Atlanta Braves, Innophos, Inc., The General, Nashville Soccer Club, Bank of America, and Deloitte, among many others.

Abdul Alsafri, also a May graduate, says the extra nudging from the Career Development Center has been very encouraging and helpful in his job search.

“My classroom work prepared me for the job, but the Career Development Center gave me the tools I need in looking for a job and how to make myself attractive to employers,” says Alsafri, of Saudi Arabia, who earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a concentration in management and information systems.

“The center gave me so many resources and links on career building. They gave me hope and I am very grateful.”

On Saturday, August 1, Evans, Moore and Alsafri were among more than 700 spring graduates honored with a 2020 Virtual Commencement.

The University is set to reopen on August 17 under a comprehensive plan that officials say will provide additional COVID-19 safety protocols to protect the health and safety of the campus community.

To learn more about TSU’s campus operation plans for fall reopening, visit www.tnstate.edu/return.

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 Launches Nation’s first COVID-19 Academy to continue support and recovery for Nashville families

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University has long-term plans to continue outreach to Nashville families, especially underserved communities hit hardest from the novel coronavirus with the newly established COVID-19 Academy.  

President Glenda Glover

“TSU has established the COVID-19 Academy to continue efforts to help the Nashville community as it recovers from the pandemic,” says TSU President Glenda Glover. “The academy will work to bridge the health care disparity for people of color that experts say will have a lasting impact for generations to come. This is being done through a holistic approach combining access to care, human services and education.” 

Glover says the academy will connect residents with health services, such as telehealth and telemedicine providers, food banks and pantries, as well as employment and educational resources. For its online and certificate learning component, the COVID-19 Academy will conduct webinars on outreach, community gardening and preparedness, workforce development, entrepreneurship and small business development, and continuing education for healthcare individuals. 

The Academy will also maintain a strong link with Nashville Nurtures, a food resources partnership between TSU and Mount Zion Baptist Church, under the auspices of the Oprah Winfrey Foundation, to serve the needs of the community.

Dr. Ronald Barredo

TSU alumna Oprah Winfrey recently awarded a $2 million grant to NashvilleNurtures through her charitable foundation to provide immediate relief to families needing food.

Ms. Winfrey said she was compelled to help because of how African-American communities are being disproportionally affected by the virus. She voiced her concern about the lack of access to healthcare, leading to a larger number of deaths and the economic toll on communities of color.

“The reason I’m talking about it is because there is going to be a need for people of means to step up, and you got those people right here in Nashville,” said Ms. Winfrey. “I mean, this thing is not going away. Even when the virus is gone.”

Agreeing with Winfrey, Glover said it was important that TSU continue to help families as they face uncertain futures due to the devastating impact of the virus and that’s being done with the newly created COVID-19 Academy at the university.

Dr. Ronald Barredo, dean of the College of Health Sciences and a member of the university’s task force on COVID-19, says the academy, which was launched recently, serves as an institutional response to the current pandemic.

“Among its various components, the Academy provides up-to-date information about the coronavirus and links not only to the metropolitan and Tennessee state governments, but also to pandemic-related information from recognized authorities and national agencies,” says Barredo.

Dr. Veronica Oates

Through the Department of Human Sciences in the College of Agriculture, the Academy provides links to resources in nutrition education and food safety, child development and parenting, emergency preparedness, youth development, community gardening and faith-based initiatives.

According to Dr. Veronica Oates, interim chair of the Department of Human Sciences and a member of the task force, in addition to child development and family care, food handling and management is another key area of emphasis for the Academy. 

“The idea is for restaurants and people who are in food service to actually be able to implement some of the new post-COVID-19 requirements and suggestions,” says Oates. “We could provide the type of expertise or consultation to help them with how they can actually run their businesses and make sure that they are safeguarding their employees and the public.”

Rita Fleming, assistant professor and extension specialist, adds that at a time when many Americans are worried about their ability to afford food or groceries due to the pandemic, the academy, through the TSU extension services, can help people stretch their food budget.

“Tennessee State Cooperative Extension has always been dedicated to serving current and future needs of Tennesseans by providing educational information and programs that safeguard health, increase livelihood, and enhance the well-being of community needs, “ says Fleming, a task force member.

Workforce development, another key part of the COVID-19 Academy’s certificate learning component, will use available resources at the university, such as the Career Development Center, and in the community to help meet the skills and employment needs of the people.

“The Career Development Center recognizes the unique employment needs of all individuals,” says Antoinette Hargrove Duke, associate director of the center.  “We will serve as a gateway to offer career service resources to help assist in exploring different career options during these challenging and uncertain times.”

For more information on the COVID-19 Academy at Tennessee State University, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19academy/educationalresources.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 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.