Tag Archives: internships

TSU students benefit from Regions Bank and Cheekwood Partnership providing summer jobs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – This summer Tennessee State University is providing paid internships for TSU students thanks to a partnership with Cheekwood Estate and Gardens and Regions Bank.

According to Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of TSU’s College of Agriculture, these internships are part of the college’s initiative to increase its number of student internships with industry partners.

“This is a great investment by Regions Bank in our students,” said Reddy.  “We place a lot of importance on these internships.  Historically, we used to send a lot of students to the different governmental agencies. Now we are branching out to a lot of industry partners. This summer we have almost forty students across the country in different organizations and companies doing internships.”

Reddy said Regions Bank is providing $25,000 this year for student salaries. 

Daiva Wilson, a senior Agriculture major with a concentration in biotechnology who interned with Cheekwood last summer, said her experience at Cheekwood was eye-opening.

Daiva WIlson

“I’d never been to a botanical garden before, so just seeing the garden was a benefit,” said Wilson, who serves as an intern with USDA this summer.  “Also, I was able to see how the gardeners work with one another. They actually create such a beautiful display for members and people who visit the garden.”

Wilson’s internship at Cheekwood focused on horticulture.  She said she worked with the plant team and had the opportunity to experience the entire Cheekwood garden.  She credits Dr. De’Etra Young, assistant professor of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, with helping her secure the internship.

“The TSU College of Agriculture is really big on students presenting their goals. We have the Dean’s Scholars Program, and students with a 3.0 or higher are partnered with a mentor, which is usually a professor who does research in the lab,” she said. “Dr. Young pretty much says if you are a dean’s scholar, you should have an internship every summer.”

Young said the Cheekwood internships focus on three areas: education, horticulture and aboriculture.

“The role that I play is actually recruiting students and then internally vetting them before we send them over to Cheekwood, and then Cheekwood has their own application and interviewing process,” Young said. “For me, I believe that the experience for our students is hands-on experience that compliments what we are teaching in the classroom.”

Daniel Shaw, a senior Agribusiness major from Lamar, Arkansas, said he enjoys being a summer intern at Cheekwood.

“I am doing maintenance at the garden, like weeding, watering and planting.  Earlier on, we were transitioning from the spring annuals to the summer annuals, and we briefly started doing some plant identification for a daylily collection they have,” he said.

Shaw, who is also considering a career in environmental sciences and was introduced to the opportunity by Young, said he thinks the internship will give him leverage with future employers.

“It shows that you can be committed to something. Hopefully other people are going to be able to see your work ethic and put in a good word for you,” he said.

Shaw and fellow TSU student Jenna Jones, an education major at TSU, began their summer internships at Cheekwood in mid-May and will work through late July. 

TSU students Steve Osborne (left), an Agriculture Sciences major with concentration in Environmental Sciences and Davia Wilson(right), an Agriculture major with a concentration in Biotechnology, with Cheekwood Plant Collections Manager Shanna T. Jones (center) during their summer internship at Cheekwood in 2018.

Although the Cheekwood internship has existed since 2017, it has had multiple funders. This year Regions Bank is playing an instrumental role in the partnership. 

“Regions has longstanding relationships with both Tennessee State University and Cheekwood Botanical Gardens, said Senior VP and Regional Community Development and Partnerships Manager Latrisha Jemison with Regions Bank. “This is an ideal partnership that allows us to invest in a successful program with very talented students. TSU students complete the internship with workforce ready skills and go on to acquire employment in the horticultural profession.”

Reddy said TSU President Glenda Glover initiated the partnership.

“We have been sending out students as interns, and they have been paying the students for internships during the summer and during the regular semester for some time,” he said. “We are interested from an environmental perspective, with regards to botany and understanding the plants.  From their perspective, it is for beauty and environment.” 

He said faculty from the College of Agriculture have also played a role in the partnership.

“Our faculty have been trying to provide technical assistance on some basic things, like how to grow plants hydroponically, and how to take care of the ornamental plants,” he said.  “So there are student internships and faculty support for the public who come to Cheekwood Gardens.”

Peter Grimaldi, vice president of gardens and facilities at Cheekwood, said the internships provide students with an experience that includes a combination of direct service, working in the garden along with Cheekwood’s permanent professional staff, and project-based work.

“Public Horticulture includes the full spectrum of horticulture, and the opportunities at our operation pretty much include bits and pieces of almost any professional opportunity you can seek out in the green industry,” he said. “The interns have been very impressive, the students themselves, and if they are in anyway a representation of the young professionals that TSU is sending out into the workplace and the community, and they are, then that’s something the university should be proud of.”

Grimaldi said the botanical garden plans to have two additional internships this fall.

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

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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.

Internships help prepare TSU students for success in the workforce

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students are taking advantage of internships they hope will give them real-world experience to be successful in the global workforce.

The internships include positions with the U.S. Department of Defense, health care, education and engineering, to name a few.

2016-05-04 10.46.47 (1)
TSU’s Career Development Center is among a number of job readiness initiatives that help to prepare students for the workforce. (photo by Emmanuel Freeman, TSU Media Relations)

“I strongly recommend that all students complete at least one internship while matriculating through school,” said Tina Reed, director of TSU’s Career Development Center. “By completing an internship, students gain hands on experience while learning about their chosen industry.”

Reed added that students who participate in an internship, or some type of other experiential learning, are “more likely to receive gainful employment upon graduation.”

She said that based on a small sampling, 50 percent of TSU students who complete internships while in school receive employment offers before graduating, or immediately after graduation.

Isaiah Grigsby, a junior majoring in computer science, hopes that will be the case with him following an internship this summer in cybersecurity at Hospital Corporation of America, or HCA.

“It’s going to benefit me going forward because it gives me experience in the field I’m trying to go into,” Grigsby said of the internship. “The things that we do in school are just the theories, but actually going to a company and applying those theories, that’s what I look forward to.”

Business administration major Delveedra Davis, who is entering her senior year, said she hopes to stay with the U.S. Department of Defense when she finishes her internship with the department.

However, if she doesn’t, she acknowledges that the experience gained will be “invaluable.”

“You’re able to build professional skills, and make connections, that you’re not able to do in the classroom,” said Davis, who will mainly be working in the DOD’s human resources department.

Computer science major Alan Bond said it’s unlikely that he’ll be hired permanently after working at Fox Network Engineering and Operations in Los Angeles. But the 21-year-old senior said he plans to make the most of his internship in broadcast engineering.

“It would be nice to work here full-time, but for the most part, I’m just hoping to learn as much as possible,” Bond said. “As far as broadcast engineering goes, working in a major top five market … looks good on the resume.”

TSU takes pride in its programs that help students not only find internships, but seek to give them the best shot at success once they graduate.

The university recently received a $150,000 job placement grant from the United Negro College Fund Career to Pathway Initiative. TSU was one of 30 colleges awarded the funds intended to help students gain the knowledge, preparation, insight and skills needed to secure meaningful employment following graduation.

Tyler Kinloch, who graduated from TSU on May 7 with a degree in Aeronautical and Industrial Technology, said the Career Development Center and the university’s other job readiness initiatives are an asset.

“Being able to connect with the Career Development Center and taking advantage of all the services they provide – resume building, printing business cards, mock interviews, critiques – has helped to prepare me for the real world,” Kinloch said.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

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

Tyson Foods CEO Donnie Smith Wows TSU Students on Success, Corporate Culture and Leadership; Discusses Partnership Opportunities with University Officials

Donnie Smith, Tyson Foods President and CEO, speaks to students at TSU on Wednesday. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

(TSU News Service) – Developing corporate partnerships and relationships with industry leaders have been at the core of Dr. Glenda Glover’s vision since becoming president of Tennessee State University nearly two years ago.

This has included visits and talks with major corporations and businesses and invitations to their leaders to visit the TSU campus to see the kinds of preparations students are receiving to be ready for the job market.

“This is necessary not just because we want these corporations to give to the University, but it also helps to expose our students to industry’s best as well as offer them opportunities to develop job-ready skills through internships, cooperative assistantships, scholarships and employment opportunities,” Dr. Glover said.

President Glenda Glover and Tyson Foods President and CEO Donnie Smith meet with Tom Joyner Foundation scholarship recipients following the check presentation. From left are, Bria Monk, Tyson CEO Smith, Kourtney Daniels, President Glover and David Conner. (Photo by Rick DelaHaya, TSU Media Relations)

And today, TSU students received a good dose of exposure and lecture on corporate culture and leadership when the President and Chief Executive Officer of Tyson Foods, Inc., a $42 billion, Fortune 500 Arkansas-based company, visited and spent an entire day interacting with students, administrators, faculty and staff on the main campus.

Donnie Smith, whose visit also included the presentation of scholarships to three TSU students, in a partnership with the Tom Joyner Foundation, said his visit was intended to broaden existing relationship with TSU and explore areas in which student preparation in agriculture and science are more aligned with Tyson’s needs.

“We want to continue to build the relationship deeper by developing a streamline of talents that is suited to our company’s needs,” said Smith, who added that about 12 TSU students have interned at Tyson in the last two years, while another was fully employed with the company.

In a meeting earlier in Dr. Glover’s office with senior administration members, President Glover welcomed Smith and his team, which included Holly Bourland, Corporate Recruitment Manager for Professional Employment.

The TSU team emphasized that student preparation remains the main focus of the University, “because TSU wants to have a broad footprint” on industry by putting out students with job-ready skills, and Tyson could be a major partner in that area.

“Our students are involved in cutting-edge research in many areas of agricultural production and food security that could be useful to your company,” Dr. Glover told the Tyson executives.

“We are doing breakthrough research on our campus,” added Dr. Lesia Crompton-Young, chief research officer and associate vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs. “If you see the kinds of research we are involved in you will find that we are doing things that surely correlate with what Tyson’s needs are.”

A visit and tour of the University’s new Agricultural Biotechnology Research Building provided the Tyson visitors a closer look at some of the cutting-edge research the University officials spoke about.

“This visit is a great opportunity for us,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, Human and Natural Sciences, following a meeting with the Tyson president. “We are trying to connect student and research to corporate needs because we want our research to be relevant to the market needs.”

In a gathering with Business students, the Tyson CEO spoke about corporate leadership, understanding the needs of “team members” (employees), and how to stay ahead of the competition.

“At Tyson we like to win, but for us winning is to make great food and helping those in need,” said Smith, adding that hunger relief is a major part of what Tyson does.

On corporate culture, Smith reminded the student about what he called his five “Is” and three “Rs.”

“To be successful you must have ‘integrity,’ be ‘intelligent,’ ‘innovative,’ have ‘interpersonal skills’ and you must be ‘inspirational.’ To achieve these, you must learn to develop ‘relationships,’ be ‘resilient’ and ‘result’ oriented,” smith said.

At a luncheon with Dr. Glover, along with her Cabinet and deans, the Tyson group saw PowerPoint presentations of offerings and programs in the College of Business, and the College of Engineering.

Prior to the presentations, the Tyson chief executive presented a check for $7,500 to Briar Monk, a senior Agricultural Science major with a 3.65 GPA from Little Rock, Arkansas; Kourtney Daniels, a sophomore Food Biosciences and Technology major with a 4.0 GPA from Chicago; and David Connor, a junior Agricultural Science major with a 3.42 GPA from Birmingham, Alabama.

The money, with each student receiving $2,500, is the result of a partnership between Tyson Foods and the Tom Joyner Foundation called the TScholars Project, to offer scholarships and internship opportunities to selected students majoring in Agriculture and Business at four historically black colleges and universities. The schools, TSU, Florida A&M University, North Carolina A&T State University and the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, were selected because of their proximity to Tyson company facilities.

According to the Interim Director of the Career Development Center at TSU, Tina Reed, each scholarship recipient will receive a summer 2015 internship at Tyson Foods.

Before leaving the TSU campus, the CEO also met with an array of students in different disciplines in Poag Auditorium, where he reiterated his views on corporate culture and leadership.

Other University officials who participated in meetings with the Tyson CEO and his team include: Dr. Mark Hardy, vice president for Academic Affairs; Jean Jackson, vice president for Administration; Cynthia Brooks, vice president for Business and Finance; Dr. John Cade, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Support Services; Dr. Alisa Mosley, associate vice president for Academic Affairs; Robin Tonya Watson, assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement; Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president for Public Relations and Communications; Laurence Pendleton, University Counsel; and Dr. Cheryl Green, assistant vice president for Student Affairs.

Also attending today’s meetings were: Dr. Millicent Lownes-Jackson, dean of the College of Business; and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College Engineering.


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

About Tennessee State University

With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 42 undergraduate, 24 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.