Category Archives: EVENTS

TSU hosts nursing summer camp for middle school students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University School of Nursing and Nurses Middle College (MC) Nashville hope to inspire 32 middle school students to become the next generation of healthcare professionals. The group of rising 7th and 8th graders recently visited TSU as a part of a nursing summer camp, where they learned CPR and patient care simulations. They received instruction from the School of Nursing faculty and learned about the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, cardiac arrest, identifying life-threatening situations, and more.

Middle school students attend the nursing camp gather in TSUs Health Science Building’s patient care simulation area. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)
 

Khloe Garrison, a Rose Park Middle Magnet 8th grader said the camp experience was one to remember as she learned techniques and terminology she hadn’t been exposed to before.

“Camp has been really cool,” Garrison said. “We did CPR on the (mannequin) babies. Seeing people here at TSU who look like me inspires me because I know they’ve achieved it, and it makes me believe I can too.”

TSUs Executive Director of Nursing Dr. Courtney Nyange said the University was proud to partner with NursesMC Nashville for the nursing camp. Dr. Nyange added that hosting the summer program helps the nursing school fulfill its mission to foster students of all backgrounds to become the leading healthcare professionals of tomorrow.

Middle school students, camp counselor demonstrations CPR skills during NursesMC camp. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)
 

“The opportunity to contribute to the continued diversification of the nursing profession in Tennessee and the nation is a privilege that our School of Nursing is honored to have and has embarked upon as an institution for decades,” Nyange said. “Our partnership will help create a pipeline of students who will be equipped with the knowledge, skills, and compassion needed to become successful nurses, capable of delivering high-quality client care.”

Dr. Cathy Lovelace, Associate Professor in the School of Nursing, provided the one-day CPR training workshop for the participants.

Dr. Courtney Nyange being interviewed by a local news reporter to discuss the nursing profession and creating a pipeline for underrepresented healthcare professionals. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)

Amir Rahman, who is a Nolensville High School student, participated in the event as a camp counselor. “It’s important that everyone came together and empowered each other,” Rahman said during the camp. “HBCUs are important, and I know the camp students appreciate this.”

Rahman, who aims to become a Certified Pediatric Nurse, has TSU on his list of potential colleges after high school.

 NursesMC Nashville Executive Director Dr. Andrea Poynter, who formerly served as a nursing professor at TSU for four years, said seeing the students’ excitement was one of the many highlights of the camp.

Amir Rahman

“The biggest takeaway is just them being able to learn how impactful they can be to people in their families and their communities,” Poynter said. “This exposure will be memorable to our aspiring next-gen nurses. Due to the hands-on clinical opportunities, the diverse school and local community, the level of preparedness from nursing graduates from TSU is so impactful.”

In addition to TSU, NursesMC Nashville partnered with HCA Healthcare TriStar Division and Belmont University to offer students diverse hands-on experiences. The TSU and NursesMC Nashville summer camp exemplifies the university’s commitment to nurturing future healthcare professionals through early exposure and practical campus experiences.

Students receive gifts from the School of Nursing during the NursesMC camp, hosted at TSU. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)

NursesMC Nashville, launching next year, will be a tuition-free public high school in Davidson County, integrating nursing education, workforce experiences, and industry credentials to prepare graduates for college and careers in healthcare.

To learn more about the summer camp and the new NursesMC public nursing high school coming to Nashville, visit www.nursesmcnashville.org/contact/. To learn more about TSUs School of Nursing, visit www.tnstate.edu/nursing/.

TSU Interim president marks first day with Gov. Lee, Rotary Club meeting

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University Interim President Ronald Johnson marked the beginning of his tenure with a significant community event on his first day in Nashville. President Johnson attended the July 8th Rotary Club of Nashville meeting, which featured Gov. Bill Lee. Rotary President and TSU alumnus Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II recognized Johnson, who attended as guest of TSU Board Dr. Marquita Qualls.

Dr. Marquita Qualls, left, Interim President Ronald Johnson, center, and Rotary President Dr. Alfred Degrafinreid II attends the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting July 8. Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University.

President Johnson described the Rotary meeting as eventful, as he had the opportunity to meet with the governor and dozens of business leaders and stakeholders to continue fostering access and information for the university’s portfolio.

“What we’re working on is sustaining a future-ready Tennessee State University,” Johnson said. “We want to elevate our impact and elevate our competitive edge.”

Johnson emphasized the importance of building relationships with community leaders and counterparts with an effort to maintain “leverage.”

“That’s what we need as an HBCU, as a land-grant institution, even as an institution that’s looking to go from R2 to R1,” Johnson added. “If you make that connection, then we will be writing a new history for Tennessee State, a history that is a renaissance, not a recovery.”

Gov. Bill Lee, a longtime Rotary member, was the featured guest speaker for the July 8 meeting.

Gov. Lee, a longtime Rotary member, noted that the state of Tennessee must continue to create pathways for student success across the state.

“At the end of the day, we need to elevate our entire educational system, so we can continue to create workers that are going to be needed by the companies that are coming,” Gov. Lee said.

This week’s meeting was a TSU affair as it marked both President Johnson’s first day in Nashville and Dr. Degrafinreid’s first day as Rotary president.

TSU President Dr. Ronald Johnson, left, poses with TSU alumna Dr. Phyllis Qualls at a Rotary Club meeting attended by several TSU alumni.

“Dr. Johnson was exposed to 215 leaders from across the region and he got a chance to really make sure that Tennessee State University was recognized in a positive light in terms of him coming here on his first day to learn about our region,” Degrafinreid said.

Another major milestone was the record attendance. Hundreds of participants, many of which were TSU alumni, came together to discuss service-related issues and how the organization can create better opportunities for citizens in the region and for HBCUs. “Dr. Johnson’s visit allowed him to meet many Tennessee State University alumni who are members of this club, and they could reaffirm that we’re here to support him and we’re here to support Tennessee State University.”

Over 200 leaders from across the region were in attendance for the Rotary Club of Nashville meeting.

Rotary is a global enterprise that partners with institutions to gain access beyond local boundaries. In the near future, the organization looks forward to establishing a Rotaract Club at Tennessee State University to help train students for leadership roles, service, and community engagement, Degrafinreid said.

President Johnson said, with the support of TSU alumni and community leaders, he looks forward to leading TSU toward a future of growth and innovation.

Over 800 First-time Freshmen Expected for Orientation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – More than 800 first-time freshmen will embark on the “Land of Golden Sunshine” on July 16-24 to participate in New Student Orientation (NSO). Called the ROAR Experience, NSO is an immersive event over several days designed to introduce new first-time students to TSU’s thriving campus culture and community. This will also give parents and students an opportunity to ask any lingering questions regarding financial aid, course advisement and selection, and student activities. Current TSU students will share their experiences while faculty representatives will discuss their respective academic units.

LaMar-Octavious Scott, director of Admissions at TSU, says NSO helps equip students with the necessary tools to fulfill enrollment requirements before the fall semester begins. He says NSO also offers the new students and their families a glimpse into the vibrant Nashville area and showcases the abundant opportunities available on campus.

“The ROAR Experience is a wonderful opportunity for the incoming students and their families to see the campus and experience the culture of the Nashville area,” says Scott. “We want to provide an array of sessions that promote access, opportunities, and the student life experience at TSU.” 

Students will participate in groups based on their major. All sessions run from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m., each day with check-in at 9 a.m. Students should contact [email protected] or Office of Admissions to register, pay fees, and confirm their assigned orientation date. 

Among attendees at NSO will be over 275 high-achieving high school seniors who have already committed to TSU following the Admitted Students Day event in May. Julian Kendrick, a prospective psychology major from Champaign, Illinois, emphasizes the positive impact of Admitted Students Day and looks forward to further enriching his experience at NSO.

“Admitted Students Day left me more inspired to come to TSU,” says Kendrick. “The culture here feels like family, and I believe I will fit right in. The remarkable academic programs and the enriching HBCU experience were my deciding factors in choosing TSU.”

The event, to be held on the main campus, in Kean Hall, will feature tours, program previews, and information sessions on various student services. The NSO strives to provide essential insights and interactions to ensure a seamless transition for the incoming Tigers.

Chelsea Morgan, assistant director of Undergraduate Admissions, emphasizes the pivotal role of orientation in setting students up for success.

“Orientation is the students’ key to success,” says Morgan. “It will equip them with the information and resources needed to navigate their first semester and beyond. We’re here to help you explore campus, meet new friends, and have a roaring good time.”

For more information on admissions at Tennessee State University, visit www.tnstate.edu/admissions.

TSU enhances enrollment experience with ZeeMee 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is embarking on a new era of personalized college recruitment with its latest collaboration with ZeeMee, a cutting-edge app that is revolutionizing the interaction between universities and prospective students. This partnership aims to elevate TSU’s recruitment process by building authentic connections and meeting students on their own terms.

Elmore J. Jones, Jr.

Deputy Chief Operating Officer Elmore J. Jones, Jr., says the partnership with ZeeMee will greatly enhance student engagement with potential new Tigers.

“Our admissions team is dedicated to maintaining a strong connection with our incoming applicants, and this partnership will provide us with an additional tool to achieve that goal.”

The ZeeMee app offers a unique platform for TSU to connect with prospective students in a more personalized and meaningful way. By joining the online community, accepted students will gain access to valuable information about campus life, housing options, course offerings, and more.

Director of Admissions LaMar-Octavious Scott says the collaboration with ZeeMee is focused on increasing student engagement, improving communication, and reducing the number of undecided applicants considering TSU.

LaMar-Octavious Scott

“We are excited to work alongside ZeeMee as we wrap up the Fall 2024 cycle and gear up for the Fall 2025 admissions season,” says Scott. “ZeeMee’s innovative approach and dynamic features allow prospective students to build meaningful connections with others who share an interest in TSU. This partnership will advance our recruitment-to-enrollment process and amplify our institutional marketability, putting the power in the hands of prospective students.”

TSU launched ZeeMee on June 19, coinciding with Juneteenth and the celebration of the university’s 112th anniversary. Scott shares, “As we observed this special day, we invited all prospective students to join us on ZeeMee and become part of the TSU community.”

Following the launch, students received emails and text messages inviting them to join the TSU community based on their admissions status. Admitted students will have access to additional opportunities for engagement, with ZeeMee conveniently accessible on mobile devices.

By leveraging ZeeMee’s data collection and analysis capabilities, TSU aims to measure the impact of the platform on enrollment and engagement. Throughout the year, ZeeMee will provide valuable insights into community performance, enrollment trends, and more.

In addition to facilitating interactions between prospective students, ZeeMee’s unique features create a social network tailored for the college experience. This virtual community allows students to connect, share experiences, and establish relationships before arriving on campus. According to Scott, this pre-arrival engagement not only fosters a sense of belonging but also empowers students to take ownership of their college journey.

For further information on admissions at Tennessee State University, please visit www.tnstate.edu/admissions.

                                                                                                            

TSU offers new summer camps for all age groups

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is offering over 20 summer camps for all ages to keep children engaged for the next three months. This is great news for Metro parents as more than 86,000 students, from pre-school to high, will be out of school for summer. Children will have plenty of opportunities to enjoy academic and athletic camps at Tennessee State University.

The camps include athletics, the arts, and educational enrichment activities that will also help them retain what was learned during the school year.

From NABA Inc.’s Accounting Career Awareness Program, which aims to empower high school students to explore career pathways in accounting, finance, and entrepreneurship, to the Eddie George HBCU Football Camp for high school football players interested in skill development and college recruitment, a wide range of camps is available this summer. These camps offer diverse opportunities for students to gain valuable skills and experiences in their areas of interest.

Cierra Fleming, Associate Director of Events Management, stated that this year’s activities will continue to give parents great camp options to select from and keep local students engaged. Flemings noted that she is personally excited about a new camp listed this year, which is the Propel + Apple Music, Music Summer Program starting June 10.

“I’m very excited about this camp because it will give the music department students the opportunity to establish partnerships and network with Apple and Propel,” Fleming said.

“This will also be beneficial for the music program here at TSU, especially the Music Business Accelerator Program,” she said.

Interim Dean of the College of Engineering Dr. Lin Li said the college will host several STEM camps, including the Aim High Flight Academy for AHFA/US Air Forces for the first time.

“TSU is the first HBCU to be selected to host such a summer camp,” Li said. “The camp attendees were selected by the US Air Forces and come from across the country, Japan, and several other countries.” The camp will be hosted by the Department of Industrial and Applied Technologies from June 1-14.

The Energy Exploration Camp is also new to TSU. The engineering camp is designed for high school students and prepares them for a career in the energy sector. The US Department of Energy Clean Energy Education Prize Inspire Track selected TSU to host the camp that highlights energy and engineering topics to students. This camp will run from June 9-23.

Among the many exciting camps returning this year is the Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers Program for students in grades 6-8. The camp allows them to interact with technology through on-campus summer intensive courses and year-round mentoring. It also provides students with firsthand experiences and creates a more diverse pipeline for future careers in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.

TSU’s Grammy-award-winning Aristocrat of Bands will host the Annual Edward L. Graves High School Summer Band Camp from June 9-15. Nearly 100 students will participate.

The TSU Summer Technology Immersion Program for Middle School Students is also returning this year. The two-week, non-residential summer camp teaches middle school students about 3D printing, coding/programming, engineering design, artificial intelligence, and more.

Visit https://www.tnstate.edu/events/camps.aspx

Camp/ Program NameCamper Age RangeDatesDetails
AHFA Air Force ProgramHighschoolSaturday -Friday , June 1- 21, 2024 AHFA
HBCYouth ProgramGrades 6-12Monday – Friday June 3 – August 2, 2024  
Engineering Exploration Program Middle – Highschool Sunday,  June 9-23, 2024 Camp
Energy Exploration HighschoolMonday  – Sunday, June 10-23, 2024 Camp
National Summer Transportation Institute HighschoolSunday – Friday, June 9-28, 2024 Camp
Propel + Apple Music Music Summer ProgramCollegeMonday- Saturday, June 10 – 15, 2024  
Edward L. Graves Band CampMiddle  – Highschool Monday – Saturday, June 10-15, 2024  Camp
Summer Apprenticeship Program HighschoolSaturday – Thrusday, June 29- July 25, 2024 More Information
TSU Technology Immersion Program Middleschool Monday – Friday, July 1-12, 2024 Camp
Verizon Innovative Learning STEM Achievers ProgramGrades 6-8Monday – Friday, July 8 -12, 15-19, 22 – 26, 2024  Register Now
NABA Accounting Career Awareness ProgramGrades 9-12 Sunday – Friday,  July 21 – 26, 2024NABA
National Juniors Frontiers Program (NJFP)Highschool Monday – Saturday, July 22-27, 2024  
All Star Math Institute (ASMI)High School
Sunday – Saturday,  July 14 – 20, 2024
 ASMI

Athletic Camps

Camp/Program NameCamper Age RangeDatesDetails
Joe W. Gilliam Football CampAge 12-18Tuesday – Friday May 28 – 31, 2024 Camps
Mens Basketball Rob Covington Basketball CampHigh SchoolThursday – Friday, June 20 – 21, 2024 Camps and Clinics
Men’s Basketball Camp High SchoolMonday – Friday July 1-12, Monday – Thursday 15-18, Monday – Friday 22-26, 2024Camps and Clinics
Eddie George Football CampHigh SchoolWednesday June 5, 2024Camps and Clinics
Eddie George Football CampHigh SchoolSaturday June 15, 2024Camps and Clinics
TSU Volleyball: Basic Skills Camp Age 13-18Friday – Saturday July 12 -13, 2024 Camps
TSU Volleyball: Tiger Cubs Camps Age 6-12Tuesday – Wednesday July 16 – 17, 2024 Camps
TSU Volleyball: Elite Camp Ages 15-18Friday – Saturday July 19 – 20, 2024 Camps

TSU’s Commercial Music Program thrives with BMAC partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s Commercial Music Program just wrapped up its third annual course in partnership with the Black Music Action Coalition (BMAC) Music Accelerator Program, and it’s only getting better.

TSU music students spent the last three weeks with representatives from Apple Music (an inaugural partnership), Live Nation, Def Jam, Atlantic Records, BMI, Spotify, and more. The accelerator program’s third cohort left students like Adren Gilmore and Morgan Alford inspired after receiving much exposure from prominent executives, talent agencies, and music artists.

Gilmore, of Texas, is a rising sophomore majoring in commercial music. He said the class was very influential for him as an aspiring artist.

“The most impactful part of this class was being able to be in the rooms, talking one-on-one with these power players of the industry,” Gilmore said. “Because for people like myself who are chasing this dream of being in the industry, being in these rooms with these power players lets us see how attainable it really is.”

TSU students had the opportunity to discuss marketing, record label deals, artists and repertoire, and financial literacy with industry insiders in a class designed to lead to internships and employment. Through its partnership with BMAC, the university addresses underserved markets and provides firsthand resources and representation for students interested in the music industry.

Gilmore noted that his biggest takeaway from the class was the day the students met with Apple Music representatives for the company’s Pathway Spatial education lab, which highlighted the future of immersive audio. This innovation creates a three-dimensional audio experience, simulating an expanded soundscape.

When Def Jam executives came and brought one of their artists, Connie Diiamond, the students had a “takeover” day where they showcased their talent to the representatives, received feedback, and made connections.

“Our art is at the core of who we are. So being able to not only meet these power players, but show them what our output is, that’s something we only dream of,” Gilmore said.

While Gilmore enjoyed playing his music in front of powerhouse executives, Alford, of Mt. Juliet, who is studying mass communications, shared highlights from the program as well.

“TSU and BMAC gave us an amazing, rare opportunity,” Alford, a rising sophomore, said. “We met so many higher-ups within the music industry to make those connections … and I just think it was really valuable to learn how to capitalize on that, as well as using the knowledge they gave us.”

Alford also appreciated meeting Def Jam’s Grammy Award-winning artist, Kaliii, and emphasized the importance of seeing representation in the industry, as her entire team were Black women.

Jaiden Burroughs, of Nashville, cherished meeting Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee Flavor Flav, who shared valuable industry insights as a guest speaker. “The program was not only informational, but it was also very fun,” Burroughs noted. “My biggest takeaway was keeping your relationships close. And what’s great about BMAC is that they highlight Black creativity with a mission to protect that.”

And that’s their exact goal.

Willie “Prophet” Stiggers, the co-founder and chair of BMAC, said the TSU program has led students to employment and paid internships, and will continue to do so every year. “We are really creating a pipeline for success in a tangible way,” Stiggers previously stated.

He proudly mentioned that alumni Asiya Buchanan and Link Fisher III, who helped produce this year’s program, are now thriving in their careers, with Fisher III securing a full-time position at Live Nation.

Ranked by Billboard Magazine as one of the top 25 music business programs globally, TSU’s Commercial Music Program offers students exclusive access to leadership, mentorship, and career resources. Students even participated in a music festival planning competition where the winners received an all-expense-paid trip to Rolling Loud Miami.

This year, the class was led by TSUs Grammy Award-winning music professor Larry Jenkins Jr., who covered an array of critical topics in the music industry. The prominent guest list included musician and songwriter Daisha McBride, Motown Records’ Courtney Lowery, Bertelsmann Music Group’s Tim Reid, SiriusXM’s Swaggy Sie, Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group’s Lou Taylor, and more.

“Serving as the professor and as a member of an incredible team alongside BMAC, Prophet, and the Recording Industry Association of America for the 2024 Music Accelerator Program was one of the most amazing experiences I’ve had in my 10 years serving at TSU,” Jenkins said. “To watch these students expand their music industry knowledge, learn about new career paths, and even create their own album together was the overwhelming highlight for me.”

By offering classes like this within TSU’s Commercial Music Program, the impact can be multifaceted and everlasting for young, underrepresented music artists and creatives.

About the Black Music Action Coalition

BMAC is an advocacy organization formed to address systemic racism within the music business. The coalition advocates on behalf of Black artists, songwriters, producers, managers, agents, executives, lawyers, and other passionate industry professionals.

Top-performing high school seniors commit to Tennessee State University

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Over 275 of the nation’s top high school seniors have chosen to enroll at Tennessee State University for the 2024 fall semester. These exceptional students, along with their families, made their commitments during Admitted Students Day on May 18 at TSU. Deja Milan Nickerson of Marietta, Georgia, and Alanah Ellis from Chicago were two of the students who committed to attend TSU for the upcoming fall semester as first-time freshmen. 

Deja Milan Nickerson (sporting her TSU Tiger T-shirt), a former drum major of her high school,  plans to play the clarinet with the AOB. She came to Admitted Student Day with her father, Emmanuel Nickerson, mom Latoya Freeman Nickerson, and younger brother Emmanuel Nickerson, Jr. (TSU Photo)

Nickerson, who will major in journalism and business communications, has a 4.0 GPA. The former high school band drum major received a band scholarship and is eager to join TSU’s acclaimed Grammy-winning Aristocrat of Bands, where she plans to play the clarinet.

“I am committed, very excited, and it’s an honor to be here,” said Nickerson, who, along with her mother, father, and younger brother, was among the first to check in on Saturday.

“I am excited to see what TSU has in store for me. We visited several schools, but when we came here, TSU just seemed to be the best place for me. In fact, the director of the AOB visited my school, and many of us tried out with the band and ended up getting scholarships.”

For Ellis, also with a 4.0 GPA, she will major in accounting. She cited the university’s reputable academic programs, the enriching HBCU experience, and the ideal distance from home as key factors in her decision. Additionally, Ellis has several relatives who are TSU graduates.

Alana Ellis, left, who will major in accounting, receives a welcome package from Veonka Sarr, Senior Admissions Associate, as her mother, Andrea Thomas, looks on. (TSU Photo)

“I am coming to TSU,” she declared. “I am anxious to get started. I heard a lot of great things about TSU, and I wanted to experience it for myself.” 

As the program kicked off, Deputy Chief Operating Officer Elmore Jones extended a warm welcome emphasizing the importance of starting the TSU experience on a positive note to foster success.

“We want to welcome you here today to make sure you start your TSU experience on the right foot,” Jones said. “We want you to enjoy college. For me, it was the best decision I ever made. So, I want you all to ask all the questions you might have. Get all the information you need. We want you to be successful. We have a lot of exciting things planned for you.”

Dr. Tasha Carson, Assistant Vice President of First-Year Students, admonishes the new Tigers, as Deputy Chief Operating, Elmore Jones, left, and Dr. Portia Johnson, Director of Recruitment, look on. (TSU Photo)

Dr. Tasha Carson, assistant vice president of First-Year Students, commended the students for their perseverance and welcomed them to a supportive community dedicated to their academic growth.

“I applaud you for persevering through middle school, high school, and now the decision to come to college,” Carson said. “I applaud your parents, and you too should applaud them for their support. At TSU, there are many programs and committed individuals who are here to help you succeed.”

 Dr. Coreen Jackson, left, Dean of the Honors College, and Holly Blakemore, Senior Scholarship Coordinator, speak to students and parents during a mixer for merit scholars, as part Admitted Students Day. (TSU Photo)

The day’s events included campus tours, program previews, information sessions on various student services, and a lively mixer for merit scholars hosted by the Office of Institutional Merit Scholarships. The events left a positive impression on students like Julian Kendrick from Champaign, Illinois, who expressed his conviction in choosing TSU, praising the culture and the welcoming HBCU environment that resonated with him.

“I like all I have seen today,” he said. “They heard our concerns and answered our questions. I love the culture. It is like family. I feel like I will fit right in.”

 Following the assembly in Kean Hall, the new Tigers and their families took in the beautiful weather and toured campus as part of the daylong activities. (TSU Photo)

Admitted Students Day, coordinated by the Offices of Recruitment, Admissions, and Enrollment, provided essential insights and interactions to ensure a smooth transition for the incoming Tigers.

Dr. Portia Johnson, director of Recruitment, emphasized the importance of addressing all inquiries before departing to equip students with the requisite information for a successful academic journey.

For further details on admission processes at TSU, prospective students can visit Tennessee State University Admissions at https://www.tnstate.edu/admissions/

Melton named to  AI board, continues TSU’s role as tech leader

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  Tennessee State University is pleased to announce that Dr. Robbie Melton is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board Commission (SREB) on Artificial Intelligence in Education. Dr. Melton, who serves Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, is also the Vice President for Technology Innovations and heads the TSU SMART Global Technology Innovation Center. Melton’s appointment further solidifies her status as a top expert and TSU as a leading institution on artificial intelligence.

“In this transformative era of artificial intelligence, it’s personal for me,” shared Dr. Melton. “As a member of the Southern Regional Education Board Artificial Intelligence Commission, I’m committed to ensuring that no one is left behind, and to eliminating the digital divide.”  

The two-year SREB commission brings together leaders in education and business “to chart a course for how AI is used in classrooms and how to prepare a workforce that is being transformed by technology,” outlined in an April 19 press release from the commission. The commission’s first order of business is to review research and industry data regarding AI and to hear from education experts like Melton. South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who chairs the commission, presided over the group’s first meeting on May 1.

“When used correctly, AI is a powerful tool capable of reshaping our education system,” according to McMaster in the April press release. “By working together, we can overcome the challenges that AI presents and harness its power to ensure our students are prepared for the workforce of the future.”  

Members, from each of SREB’s 16 states, include leadership from governors’ offices, state education and workforce agencies, K-12 educators and leaders, postsecondary faculty and leaders, and business executives, managers and engineers. TSU’s Melton represents Tennessee along with Lizzette Reynolds, Commissioner of Education with the Tennessee Department of Education and Steven Gentile, Executive Director of the Tennessee Higher Education Commission. Brad D. Smith, president of Marshall University in West Virginia and former Silicon Valley CEO, co-chairs the commission. 

“Learning to lean into the discoveries AI technology will develop in the future excites me,” said Smith, in the same press release. “We’re given the challenging, yet promising opportunity of preparing students for a digital world with evolving opportunities in life, employment and contribution.” 

SREB will develop recommendations for Southern states to lead in three areas, using AI in teaching and learning, K-12 and postsecondary, developing related policies in K-12 schools, colleges and universities, and preparing students for careers in AI.  The states include Alabama, Arkansas, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.

“We need to be proactive now, because AI is fundamentally shifting the classroom and the workplace,” said SREB President Stephen L. Pruitt. “The Commission will bring us together for a roadmap on preparing students for this world in which AI is a reality.”  

Melton’s appointment comes ahead of her leading a major TSU AI event. On June 5-7, TSU will host the A.I. FOR ALL: Open Education Summit. The event will address Ethics and Policies for AI, AI Tools for Every Stage of Education, AI for Educational Equity, and Innovating Pedagogy with AI, along with other topics. The summit will include industry heavyweights Google, Apple, Oracle, T-Mobile, Comcast, Amazon, and Microsoft. National speakers, panels, interactive workshops, AI exhibits, plus art galleries and tools will also be on display. Some of the prominent sponsors and partners include the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, T-Mobile Education, Merlot- Affordable Learning Solutions, and MIT-Open CourseWare. The summit is free and open to the public.

“My passion lies in making AI accessible to everyone, amplifying voices that are often unheard, and breaking down the barriers that divide us,” added TSU’s Melton.  “Together, we can shape a future where AI isn’t just a tool for the few, but a force for good that enriches all of our lives.”

To attend the TSU AI Summit please email [email protected] or call 615.963.7113.

Media interested in covering this event should contact TSU Media Relations at [email protected] or call 615.963.5331. 

TSU ranks top 10 in best value for international students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is home away from home for hundreds of students from around the world. As a global institution, TSU offers international students a place to learn and thrive, helping them to navigate in their new surroundings, while providing a safe space for cultural acceptance. The university’s commitment to its international student population is paying off.

TSU recently placed sixth as Best Value HBCU Rankings for international students, according to Study Abroad Aide.

“TSU is pleased to receive this top ten ranking as it speaks to our commitment to expanding our global footprint and educating without borders,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.  “The ranking also speaks to the dedication of our administrators and faculty to create a diverse culture for our campus community.”

Dr. Nicholas-Phillips with TSU students visiting a Messai Village in Arusha, Tanzania, June 2024.

In a communication to the university, Study Abroad said the recognition stems from providing outstanding educational value to international students, combining affordability with high academic quality. TSU currently has over 220 international students representing nearly 40 different countries around the world.

Dr. Arlene Nicholas- Phillips, Assistant Vice President of Global Initiatives and Partnership, recently returned from a study abroad experience in Tanzania, Africa, where she met with Government officials and corporate partners, while also seeking potential recruits. Phillips enjoys expanding the TSU brand globally.

She noted that this recognition from Study Abroad Aide will be very beneficial in increasing the enrollment of international students because TSU offers a nurturing environment.

“Not only will it help us in our quest to recruit more students globally, but it will also solidify the fact that we’re doing the right thing for international students,” Phillips said. “The doors at TSU are wide open, and we welcome the world to the Tiger Town!” Over time, Phillips has received positive feedback from university professors regarding international students performing well in class, staying motivated to learn, and maintaining their scholarships.

“The international students are very mission-oriented. They know why they are here and work very hard to achieve their academic goals.”

Dr. Jewell Winn, the Executive Director for the Office of International Affairs (OIA), stated that the recognition speaks to the value of the components within their office that benefit international students in all aspects.

Dr. Jewell Winn
Dr. Jewell Winn

“We’re very intentional about programming to make sure that all students have a sense of belonging and that domestic students understand the culture because the international students are here to learn the culture of American students,” Winn said.

TSU offers an Intensive English Program (IEP) that helps international students learn and master the English language. It is the only Commission on English Language Program Accreditation-accredited intensive English program in Tennessee and the first at an HBCU. IEP serves international students seeking admission to graduate and undergraduate programs.

Brazil native Isabela Lelis came to the United States and completed the program in 2022. Lelis enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program the following year, where she is pursuing a career in supply chain management.

“I feel very welcome here,” said Lelis, who is a graduate assistant within the Office of International Affairs. “They are involved in many activities. I have opportunities here.” She is also involved in international student events, like the Miss Collegiate International pageant held last year.

Miss Collegiate International, Aniyah Patterson-Thomas (Trinidad and Tobago) with Layale Ajamy(Lebanon), far left, Taylor Hart(Bahamas), right, and Isabela Lelis (Brazil)

TSU is continuing to create an environment that bridges language barriers and fosters community integration. Each year, the university hosts an annual International Education Week, observed during the second week in November. In 2022, a group of first-year freshmen from the Caribbean attended some of the week’s events and left feeling more at home at TSU. Among them was Tonique Poitier of the Bahamas, who, along with many other Caribbean students, was recruited by Dr. Phillips and members of the Office of International Affairs.

“We are all from different places, but it’s still a family because we are relating to being abroad in school,” Tonique Poitier of the Bahamas, said.

Poitier, who is studying chemistry, said the week gave her and fellow Caribbean students a chance to interact and gain awareness about other cultures as well.

Mauricio Fabian recently became the first in his family to graduate with a master’s degree from TSU. Fabian, from Veracruz, Mexico, also came to TSU to learn English through the Intensive Center. “There is great opportunity at TSU for international students,” he said. “And there are many different cultures here to learn about.”

Mauricio Fabian received a certificate of achievement after completing the Intensive English Program.

People from all over the world invest in TSU’s office and programs to learn the language and then return to their home countries to teach it or to seek better employment opportunities in the United States.

Mark Gunter, Director for international students and scholar services, said OIA is a home for all their students.

“We look at our office as being the first resource, or the home away from home, for all international students,” Gunter said. “And the one thing that we constantly hear from our international students is that we’re the office where they can always come to.”

Gunter said the office strives for the number one spot but is appreciative for the recognition and top ten ranking. “We strive to be the best HBCU for international education as a whole.”

To learn more about the OIA, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/international/.

TSU celebrates first graduates of Dr. Levi Watkins Institute

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The journey to become a doctor or dentist is one step closer to becoming a reality for several recent Tennessee State University graduates. After making history as the first graduating class of the TSU Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Accelerated Medical and Dental program, 14 students will now start their new journey to medical and dental school. All completed a rigorous 3-year academic program, debt-free. Parents and close friends gathered for a dinner and reception to mark this major milestone for the students and TSU.

 
Barbara C. Murrell, center, chair of the accelerated program, joins the inaugural cohort of TSU’s Dr. Levi Watkins Institute at the 2024 spring commencement ceremony. (Photo courtesy of Tennessee State University)

“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” Barbara C. Murrell, the chair of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute told those in attendance.

“Yet a dream doesn’t become reality through magic. It takes sweat, determination, and hard work. And lastly, yesterday is but today’s memory,” she continued. “And tomorrow is today’s dream. So, dream big, I know you’ll make us proud.”

All of the students graduated with a B.S. degree in Biology with a 3.5 GPA or higher in three years, a requirement of the program. However, Jaden Knight and Samantha Altidort maintained a 4.0 GPA. Knight, a Dayton, Ohio native will be attending Meharry Medical College to become an orthodontist. He is a first generation college student.

“We are ecstatic, blessed, and very proud of Jaden,” stated his parents Carl and Shamica Kennebrew, during the event.

Samantha Altidort, one of two Dr. Levi Watkin Jr. Scholars who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, with her family during the program’s graduation celebration.

“We were able to watch what God is doing with him just to see Jaden get the fruits of his work, his hard work, and his dedication,” Carl said. “This program is creating generational wealth and starting a new path for Black men and women.”

Knight stated that he looks forward to addressing the underrepresentation of African American men in the field and improving underrepresented patient satisfaction. Altidort, a Nashville native, will also be attending Meharry Medical College to become a family medicine physician. She followed in her parents Michel and Guerda Aldidort’s footsteps, who are both TSU alumni and work in the medical field.

“We are here to celebrate Sam,” her parents said. “We are so happy and grateful for Sam. To God be the glory.” Michel added that they advised their daughter to attend TSU. “And that was a great decision,” he said. “Now she’s ready to go to Meharry Medical College.”

Jaden Knight, one of two Dr. Levi Watkin Jr. Scholars who graduated with a 4.0 GPA, with his family during the program’s graduation celebration.

Among active physicians, only 5.7% identified as Black or African American in the United States as of 2023. While 3.8% of dentists in the country identify as Black, according to the American Dental Association.

In 2020, Tennessee State University and Meharry Medical College joined forces with a shared vision to eliminate health disparities among marginalized populations. The result was the establishment of the Meharry Medical College/Tennessee State University Medical/Dental Accelerated Pathway Program. The transformative initiative was in honor of TSU alumnus and renowned heart surgeon Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. The program serves as a pipeline for underrepresented students to become medical doctors and dentists.

Lalita Hodge, program coordinator of the Dr. Levi Watkins Institute, explained the significance of the program and its significance to the healthcare field.

“To our future brown and Black doctors, we just wanted to let them know how special they are to us and give them a great send-off,” Hodge said of the celebration.

“TSU is going to impact the medical field. I think someone in this program will have the cure for cancer. Someone is going to have the cure for dementia.”

Congratulations to the first cohort of the Dr. Levi Watkins, Jr. Institute Accelerated Pathway Program!

•           Samantha Altidort

•           Alan Bethea, Jr.

•           Taylor Brown

•           Chaun Cheaney

•           Kayla Davis

•           Xavier Erves

•           Camille Haskins

•           John Kim

•           Jaden Knight

•           Brooke Majors

•           McKhia McCrary

•           George Picken IV

•           Ashton Terrell

•           Ryla Traylor

To learn more about the Meharry Medical College/Tennessee State University Medical/Dental Accelerated Pathway Program, please visit https://www.tnstate.edu/watkins/.