Category Archives: GRANTS

Tennessee State University receives $4.95 million IGNITE federal investment

By Greg Nasif

“Godmother of HBCUs” Welcomes Infrastructure Investments She Fought for in Congress

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Congresswoman Alma S. Adams, Ph.D. (D, NC-12), Founder and Co-Chair of the bipartisan HBCU Caucus, celebrated a federal investment of nearly five million dollars into Tennessee State University as part of the federal Institutional grants for the New Infrastructure, Technology, and Education for HBCU Excellence (IGNITE) Act she led and passed in the 2023 Omnibus Budget bill. 

The investment of $4,946,573 will go into repairing infrastructure backlogs on campus. At TSU, some of the funds are slated to support a new biomedical research center. 

“Tennessee State University is pleased to receive this funding and appreciates the efforts of Congresswoman Alma Adams and her commitment to our university, our students, and all HBCUs,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Congresswoman Adams has been a longstanding champion for HBCUs from starting the HBCU Caucus to her continuous advocacy for our institutions by securing millions of dollars in much needed funding.”

“Hard work to pass infrastructure funding for our HBCUs is finally turning legislation on paper into brick and mortar results,” said Rep. Adams. “This nearly $5M IGNITE grant for Tennessee State University, long overdue, will pay off immediately for their students, and in the long run with a new biomedical research center that saves lives. With a fully supportive White House, I will keep working to secure more funding to close the backlog of needed repairs on HBCU campuses where so many young people of color are building their futures.” 

Dr. Quincy Quick, Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs and Chief Research Officer expressed much appreciation for Congresswoman Adams efforts.

“As an R2 Carnegie designated research institution, this funding will considerably assist Tennessee State University in our pursuit to achieve an R1 research designation, the highest research education classification bestowed by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching and the American Council on Education,” Dr. Quick said. “This funding will support the establishment of the Center of Biomedical Sciences, and significantly enhance our biomedical sciences and behavioral research capacity.”

Rep. Adams has advocated for a fuller version of the IGNITE Act to address the vast backlog of infrastructure repairs and investments HBCUs seek to rebuild their campuses and stay competitive with the many land-grant universities which Black students were forbidden from attending for up to a century or more. 

TSU Aviation Program receives $500,000 grant from FAA

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University aviation program is expected to reach new heights with a recent $500,000 grant from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). The grant will be used to enhance the TSU aviation program by attracting and training students for careers not only as pilots but aviation maintenance technicians with hands-on experience and more.

Dr. Ivan Mosley, Chair of the Department of Applied and Industrial Technology expressed his excitement for the impact this grant will have on students. Mosely is the principal investigator (PI) for the grant.

TSU administrators and engineering faculty joins FAA representatives who presented a $500,000 maintenance grant to TSUs aviation program. (Courtesy of Tennessee State University)

“This will impact our students for the overall profession of aviation networking which includes but not limited to maintenance, airport management, air traffic controller, and more,” Mosley said. “So, this particular grant is exposing them to the maintenance portion of the networking.”

The FAA maintenance grant represents a significant milestone for TSU. Dr. Mosley said that even if students don’t pursue a four-year degree, they can receive a certification through the program, providing an affordable and accessible route to network not only in Nashville and surrounding states, but throughout the United States and abroad.

“This grant will attract people to aviation and give them hands-on experience for those who want to pursue it.”

TSU administrators and engineering faculty joined FAA representatives for the check presentation during their visit to TSU. This included Dr. Mosley, alongside Dr. Lin Li, Interim Dean of the College of Engineering, Dr. Quincy Quick, Associate Vice President for Research and Sponsored Programs, Dr. Carlos D. Beane, Co-PI and Aviation Assistant Professor, Dr. Catherine Armwood-Gordon, Engineering Associate Professor, and Dr. Curtis Johnson, Chief of Staff to the President.

Dr. Lin Li stated that the College of Engineering is very excited about this FAA workforce grant. “Through this grant, we will develop comprehensive education initiatives to bridge the gap between classroom learning and practical application, with a focus on increasing underrepresented and minority students within the aviation maintenance workforce,” Li said.

The initiative includes recruitment, instruction by experienced aviation instructors, development of aviation maintenance courses, academic career counseling and more.

“The grant will support up to 20 students to receive FAA scholarships to pursue their degree study toward aviation maintenance,” Dr. Li said.

“It will attract future students for the aviation management program in the AIT department. State-of-the-art equipment will be provided through the grant, increasing the training capacity of TSU in aviation maintenance technical training.”

In addition to the academic benefits, the program will host the High Flight Academy starting June 1, offering underrepresented students ages 16 -18 a chance to get certified as pilots.

With this grant effort, TSU is set to play a critical l role in shaping a skilled and underrepresented workforce in aviation maintenance, contributing to the industry’s growth while ensuring aircraft safety and reliability.

To learn more about TSUs aviation program, visit www.tnstate.edu/ait/aviationflight.aspx

FedEx, TSU continue HBCU Student Ambassador Program partnership

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – FedEx has announced its continued partnership with Tennessee State University after launching its third cohort of the FedEx-HBCU Student Ambassador Program. Announced in 2021, the program launched in 2022 as part of an expanded five-year, $5 million commitment to selected HBCUs.

The student ambassadors representing TSU for the third cohort are Tamauri Murray, a junior studying computer science, and Chandler Lyons, a sophomore studying Business Administration and Supply Chain Management. “I am ecstatic that I’ve been chosen for the FedEx-HBCU Student Ambassador Program,” Murray said. “I can’t wait to dive into this journey and make the most of the unique learning experiences ahead. I am grateful for this opportunity to grow both personally and professionally.”

The impactful HBCU program through the world’s largest express transportation company chose TSU as one of eight HBCUs. The program helps prepare HBCU students for the workforce after college, providing exposure to FedEx leadership, team members, career-ready skills, and unique learning experiences.

In 2022 FedEx and TSU participated in a bell ringing ceremony at New York Stock Exchange, highlighting the HBCU program.

Lyons, from Atlanta, Georgia, said that every challenge presents a chance for personal growth. “And I am thankful for the chance to evolve,” he said. “I look forward to gaining professional skills and knowledge that will be pivotal for my career progression. This experience is important for HBCU students as it provides minority students access to a wider range of opportunities and connects them with a network of current leaders.”

TSU Board of Trustees student Shaun Wimberly, a former FedEx ambassador from the company’s inaugural cohort, said the continued partnership with TSU is worthy as he received great exposure from the year-long ambassador experience. 

“This gives us that competitive advantage that our HBCU students need,” Wimberly said. “So, we can get that foot in the door. These sorts of opportunities make up for some of the disparities that we have as an institution when compared to other schools who may already have better networking and resources due to historic events.” Wimberly said during his time as an ambassador, selected students were flown to New York to network with FedEx executives on Wall Street about climbing the corporate ladder and opportunities in the near future. Wimberly was one of two students who represented TSU in the FedEx program in 2022. The second student was Breana Jefferson of Madison, Alabama.

TSU President Glenda Glover and former FedEx HBCU student ambassador Shaun Wimberly, Jr., in 2022.

 Jenny Robertson, Senior Vice President, Global Brand and Communications for FedEx, said in a press release that providing HBCU students with exposure and opportunities to imagine what’s next beyond college is invaluable. “The continued support FedEx provides to HBCUs is one way we can help produce a strong talent pool of future leaders, creating additional opportunities to excel in their future career journeys,” Robertson said.

This cohort will convene later this spring and participate in quarterly sessions focused on interview training, mock interviews, and resume development. 

The HBCU ambassadors will also have access to applying for internships and experiencing mentorship opportunities with various FedEx leaders.

Each year, FedEx offers student ambassadors and additional HBCU practical experiences, including the “Career Expose” where FedEx Ground leaders engage with students about transitioning from college to professional life, resume writing, career tips, according to the release. It also consists of a “day in the life” in safety, engineering, finance, human resources, logistics/supply chain, and operations.

TSU moving forward with plans for new alumni welcome center

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University already feels like home for many. But now when it is time to return to the university, alumni will have a 10,773 square-foot facility to welcome them. TSU is slated to have a welcome center on campus in the near future to serve as a home away from home for alumni.

Dr. Carletta Harlan, a Welcome Center Committee member and former Foundation Board member, states that the Center will be a facility that alumni will be very proud of when they return to the TSU campus.   

“We have such pride in our alumni,” Harlan, a TSU alumna, said. “Our alumni have set the stage in various areas, and we want to highlight them. The center will welcome alumni from far and wide to come home to the ‘land of golden sunshine.’ 

Rendering image of the backside of the TSU alumni welcome center

Harlan also said she looks forward to this facility drawing in even more alumni to come back home for major events throughout the year, especially homecoming. 

The proposed $4.5 million facility promises multi-faceted meeting and gathering spaces, offices, and creative workrooms for hosting a wide variety of educational and entrepreneurial programs. It will provide opportunities for social and civic interactions, and areas for displaying alumni achievements and University history. The facility will feature a rooftop terrace and deck, offering views of the campus.

“A facility of this magnitude is much needed on our campus,” Dr. Curtis Johnson, vice president for administration and chief of staff, said.  “It aids in the planning for the institution. It will be able to welcome alumni and serve as a beacon to attract alumni as well.”

The TSU alumni Association, foundation board and university established a committee to develop the proposal. Plans for the new alumni center began in 2019 and the physical site will be located off Dr. Walter S Davis Blvd, according to Johnson.

The facility will be funded with donations, with the lead gift of $1 million dollars donated by alumni Amos “Scoe” and Brenda Otis.  Mr. Otis is the founder, president, and CEO of SoBran, Inc. Mrs. Otis is a retired broadcast television production and management professional and published author. This welcome center will be the first privately funded building gifted to TSU by private donors. The Otis’s are partnering with the TSU Foundation in raising additional private gifts to support the creation of a space.

Johnson said the TSU Alumni Welcome Center project will be a testament to the vibrant community and shared history of our alumni.

TSU alumni, along with business and community partners are encouraged to help bring this vision to life, by making a donation to support the welcome center, at www.tnstate.edu/foundation/

TSU’s College of Engineering looks for success with $2.25 Million NSF Grant for first-year students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Ethopine Choping always wanted to build a home for her East African single mother of two. Choping initially wanted to become an architect, but thought, why design the structure of her mother’s home when she can build dams and bridges for the entire city she’d live in?

“Coming from a disadvantaged community is what inspired me to become an engineer.”

An engineering professor assisting a student during an in class assignment.

Choping’s family moved to the United States from Ethiopia in the late 1990s. She later moved to Tennessee to start her college journey at Tennessee State University in 2021 to pursue a degree in civil engineering. She will be graduating in spring 2024.

“The faculty is the reason why I decided to come to TSU,” she said. “They are so dedicated. That’s what convinced me to go to TSU, and my first semester experience is what convinced me to stay.”

Choping recalls returning to TSU the following year, but many of her classmates did not due to the rigorous academic curriculum and financial obligation. 

Ethiopine Choping presenting a study of photoelastic effect in zinc.

These are two of the reasons Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering is continuing its commitment to fostering a community of budding first-year engineering students. Earlier this year the college received a $2.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation to continue this endeavor. The grant will create a five-year pilot engineering curriculum that includes a pre-engineering program and an immersive engineering studio dedicated to undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), focused on student retention and graduation. College of Engineering Associate Professor Catherine Armwood-Gordon said the college is excited about providing scholarships to first-year students through the grant. 

“We’re looking at ways to support students’ progression through their mathematics and success in the first term,” Dr. Armwood said, noting that she is grateful to be able to provide students with scholarships and resources to excel. 

 Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering Ph.D. Graduate student Brandon Jones, center, and Engineering student Marvellous Eromosele.

The focus on student retention also extends to the female population within the College of Engineering department.

According to Dr. Armwood, who also serves as Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, TSU has graduated over 600 students from the College of Engineering from Spring 2018 -2022. Yet fewer than half of these graduates were women pursing engineering degrees. Currently, there are over 228,900 engineers employed in the United States. Only 13.7% of all engineers are women, according to Zippia. 

Alexia Brown, a TSU freshman studying mechanical engineering, said she looks forward to being a part of the 13% female engineering population post-graduation.

Camron Henderson

“It’s empowering to see women succeeding regardless of the industry,” Brown, of Jackson, MS, said. “It pushes me to finish my degree and to continue on this path.”

As a first-year college student, Brown started college just last month and said she already feels like she’s right at home.

“Everything has been really well,” she said. “I love my classes, and I love my professors.” She also noted that she is excited about the college receiving grants for first-year students as the overall goal is to enhance the retention and success of students in engineering programs at TSU.

Funds from the first-year student grant will be able to support the engineering population growth by awarding more than 80 students a year.

TSU freshman Camron Henderson, a computer science major from Atlanta, said he has hopes that the freshman student grant will be resourceful for out-of-state students like himself. “I’m very happy to know the university has received this grant,” Henderson said. “It will bring more retention to the college.” Henderson is the freshman class treasurer and said his time at TSU, ‘so far has been great,” stating that he loves his teachers as well.

Alexia Brown

TSU grad Tupac Moseley is currently pursuing a master’s in computer and information systems engineering at TSU and said the college is worthy of the $2.25 million investment. “I hope that students, after me, have an even better experience. This will help them transition smoothly into the college of engineering.

This department was extraordinarily helpful throughout my senior year,” he said. “The college cares about me and it only felt right to come back to TSU to pursue my next degree.” This is the third time the National Science Foundation has provided an Implementation Project grant to the university. The first two grants were approximately $1 million each.

Tupac Moseley is currently pursuing a master’s in computer and information systems engineering at TSU

A STEM Enhancement Institute is also being established as part of the grant to provide support to students who struggle with their STEM courses in their pre-engineering program. $150,000 per year will go toward the STEM institute.

To learn more about TSU’s engineering programs, visit www.tnstate.edu/engineering/.

TSU’s College of Agriculture camp gives incoming freshmen valuable STEM exposure  

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – College lab classes should come easy for a group of incoming freshmen who recently attended Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture Summer Enrichment Program. The 23 students, with different majors, conducted real-world scientific and cutting-edge research during the four-week program. Activities included several laboratory and field experiments. The last day culminated with a closing ceremony where the students presented their finished works as scientific papers.   

Jai’Da Le’Nae Seafous was one of four program participants awarded full scholarships to attend TSU. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Jai’Da Le’Nae Seafous, a senior from Summer Creek High School in Houston, expressed her excitement about attending TSU, saying that the program further fueled her passion for the university. Her research project focused on extracting fecal and different blood samples from goats to check for parasites. 

“The program most definitely made my decision much easier to major in animal science,” Seafous said. “The hands-on experience was so helpful.” 

Seafous was one of four program participants awarded full scholarships to attend TSU starting this fall. 

Another high school senior, Christopher Dewanye McKay Jr., from Ridgeway High School in Memphis, conducted research on genetics and DNA, stating that he discovered many things he didn’t previously know about plants. 

Christopher Dewanye McKay Jr., received insights in plant science during his research on genetics and DNA. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

“When I got here, I really didn’t know much about plant science. I was just looking for something to do,” said McKay, who wants to major in computer science. “But I am glad I did. Now I have a whole different appreciation for agriculture.” 

Dr. Chanra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, emphasized that the program, which has been held each summer for more than 10 years, provides students with exposure to different opportunities within the agricultural sector. He also highlighted the program’s success, with approximately 85 percent of participants choosing to continue their education at TSU. 

“We are very happy about the success rate of the program. This teaches them about the STEM opportunities in the college,” Reddy said. 

Dr. De’Etra Young, Program Coordinator, assists a group,p of students with their presentation at the closing ceremony. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Dr. De’Etra Young, program coordinator, explained that students had the chance to work on various subjects, ranging from food and animal science to genetics, forestry, GIS, precision agriculture, nutrition, and child development. 

 “We tried to expose the students to the whole offerings in the College of Agriculture,” said Young, who is associate dean for academics and Land-Grant programs. “This provides exposure but also gives us the opportunity to serve as a bridge to help them prepare for college.” 

A cross section of family members, faculty and staff attend the student presentation in the AITC on the main campus. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

The Summer Enrichment Program was funded through a grant from the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The program accepts high school sophomores through seniors and incoming college freshmen from across the country. This summer’s participants were from Tennessee, Mississippi, New York, Texas and Georgia. 

For information on programs in the College of Agriculture, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

TSU’s College of Engineering receives $2.25 million grant for incoming first year students

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Engineering is committed to fostering a community of budding first year engineer students and has received a monetary boost to continue this endeavor. This year the college has been awarded a $2.25 million grant from the National Science Foundation that will go into effect fall 2023.

Elijah Rachell, left, mechanical and manufacturing engineering undergraduate student, Christopher Buford, center, Master Graduate student in Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and Akiya Harris, a Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering senior during a summer camp.

The grant will create a five-year pilot engineering curriculum that includes a pre-engineering program and an immersive engineering studio based on course-based undergraduate research experiences (CUREs), aiming to focus on student retention and graduation at Tennessee State University.

TSU alumnus Malik City, who earned his engineering degree from the university in 2020, says that the rigorous TSU program played a pivotal role in his current success within his company.

City, is a software development engineer for Amazon.

“When I look back, I don’t have any regrets. I have been fortunate to be in this field that has changed the lives of myself and my family,” City said.

“The same courses that may discourage first year students are the same courses that many successful engineers had challenges with. The first year student grant is huge because the extra support is needed.”

A STEM Enhancement Institute will also be established this fall as part of the grant to provide support to students who struggle with their STEM courses in their pre-engineering program. $150,000 per year will go towards the STEM institute.

TSU alumnus Malik City

College of Engineering Interim Dean, Professor Lin Li, who is the principal investigator of the grant, said the grant will support more than 80 students a year. “For year one students, we want to prepare them with stronger math and physics,” Li said. “So we proposed a pre-engineering program. This way, we help the students so they can move on to their second year for their engineering career.”

The overall goal is to enhance the retention and success of students in engineering programs at TSU through innovative practices and interdisciplinary research.

College of Engineering Associate Professor and Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies Catherine Armwood-Gordon, Associate Professor in Electrical and Computer Engineering Charles McCurry, and Dean of the College of Life and Physical Sciences Nolan McMurray are co-principal investigators for the grant.

A group of graduate and undergraduate engineering students working together during a 2023 summer camp.

Armwood-Gordon echoed the efforts of the grant in helping the university better understand the needs of freshmen engineering students. “It allows us to better understand what our retention rates are for the incoming freshmen that are not taking calculus one, to getting them through calculus one and retaining them to graduation.”

Dean McMurray emphasized that the program’s significant grant will propel the university to the forefront of HBCU engineering programs.

“This award will go a long way in preparing our students at TSU to become stronger engineering students,” he said.

This is the third time the National Science foundation has provided the Implementation Project grant: Enhancement of CUREs-based Curriculum and Immersive Engineering Studio to Enhance Engineering Education and Retention of Underrepresented Engineers, to the university.

According to Li, the first two previous awarded grants were approximately $1 million each. He also noted that the college of engineering is grateful for the additional funds this year as the project aims to create a pipeline of trained undergraduate students with various engineering analysis and design skills.

To learn more about TSU’s engineering programs, visit www.tnstate.edu/engineering/ .

TSU awarded record-setting $95 million plus in research funding on road to R1 designation

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University has reached a new milestone in research awards with over $95 million from various funding agencies and sponsors, for the 2022-2023 academic year. From groundbreaking discoveries to innovations in renewable energy and sustainable technologies, university officials believe these research efforts will continue to transform lives and shape the future of TSU students.

“I applaud our Research and Sponsored Programs division for the implementation and continuation of a robust program that speaks to TSU’s commitment to changing the world through our research,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

In 2021, TSU’s external research funding was just over $70.7 million. The University has experienced a 34% increase since then. This includes an $18 million USDA/NIFA NEXTGeneration grant awarded to the college of agriculture that helped to propel TSU to the new record setting total.  

“We have hit the highest total in grant awards in the institutions history this fiscal year,” said Associate Vice President of Research and Sponsored Programs Dr. Quincy Quick.

 “This puts TSU in the upper echelon of research funding among HBCUs.”

“The USDA/NIFA grant isn’t just a financial fortune, but it is a transformative opportunity that will propel the TSU to new heights and academic excellence,” Dr. Quick added.

Quick, who is leading the R1 designation effort, says the goal is to ultimately reach a $150 million in total grant awards within the next five years. The R1 status the highest research designation, under the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Learning.

“Research expenditures is the key metric for going from R2 to R1,” Quick said.

To date, TSU’s Center of Excellence for Learning Sciences and the College of Agriculture have received a total of  $65.9 million awards of this year’s total.

Here are some of the other top awards received in 2022-23: 

·       Dr. Andrea Tyler – Title III, $10,254,498 (Department of Education) 

·       Dr. Quincy Quick – RSP, $5,000,000 (Department of Energy) 

·       Dr. Karla Addesso – College of Agriculture, $2,479,982 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Melanie Cantu – College of Agriculture, $2,016,694 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Rebecca Selove – RSP, $1,772,784 (National Institutes of Health) 

·       Dr. Deo Chimba – College of Engineering, $1,611,168 (Dept. of Transportation) 

·       Dr. Margaret Whalen – RSP, $1,255,618 (National Institutes of Health) 

·       Dr. Roy Sonali – College of Agriculture, $1,158,373 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Jianwei Li, College of Agriculture, $1,118,709 (USDA) 

·       Dr. D’Etra Young – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA) 

·       Dr. Robbie Melton – Academic Affairs, $1,000,000 (Apple/Hewlett Packard) 

·       Dr. Catherine Armwood – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

·       Dr. Dafeng Hui – College of Life & Physical Sciences, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

·       Dr. Lin Li – College of Engineering, $1,000,000 – (NSF) 

·       Dr. Hongwei Si – College of Agriculture, $1,000,000 (USDA/NSF) 

·       Dr. Richard Mu – RSP, $1,000,000 (NSF) 

TSU College of Agriculture Awarded $18 million Grant Award from USDA

By Dr. Alyssa Rockers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s College of Agriculture has been awarded an $18 million grant from the United States Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture (USDA NIFA). TSU’s award is a part of USDA NIFA’s NextGen grant program, a $262.5 million investment in higher education to create and sustain a more diverse workforce for the next generation of food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences professionals. Of the 33 awarded projects across 24 states, TSU is only one of five institutions awarded Tier 3 funding. This includes projects up to $20 million and at least three partnering institutions across two states.  

“This is game changer for Tennessee State and further enhances our stellar reputation as a premier land-grant institution, with one of the top Agriculture programs in the country,” said TSU President Glenda Glover.

“Our goal as an institution is to provide our students with a quality education that will position them to compete and have successful careers in the global marketplace. This amazing opportunity with USDA will allow us to continue to fulfill that goal due largely to the commitment and vision of Dean Chandra Reddy and Dr. John Ricketts, principal investigator for the grant, and their staff.”

 The program is funded by President Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act. Dr. Chandra Reddy, TSU’s Dean of Agriculture, and Dr. John Ricketts were on hand for the official announcement in Washington.

“We are quite excited with this announcement today by USDA Secretary Vilsack that the TSU College of Agriculture will be receiving $18 million to cultivate the next generation of agricultural graduates,” said Dean Reddy. “We are one of the select few institutions that received this level of funding recognizing our longtime efforts in this area through many successful initiatives particularly the Dean’s Scholars Program.” 

“I congratulate Dr. Ricketts and the team for putting together a comprehensive proposal and we will deliver on our commitments.”

 TSU’s project entitled, “NEXTGENeration Inclusion Consortium for Building the Food, Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Human Sciences Pipeline (FANHP)” is led by Ricketts, who is a professor in the Department of Agricultural Sciences at TSU.

“This project will establish an inclusive consortium of institutions to build and sustain the future of the workforce in food, agriculture, natural resources, and human sciences,” said Ricketts.

“Through this project, TSU and our partners will be able to advance equity in this workforce for future generations.”

Scholarships and learning opportunities are crucial components of the grant. The project will allow TSU students to apply for full scholarships covering tuition, board and other related expenses,  internships, and other learning opportunities to expose them to careers in Agriculture. Dr. De’Etra Young, who oversees all the College of Agriculture’s scholarships, will serve as a co-project director along with Dean Reddy.  

“I am excited to be a part of this historical funding opportunity from USDA,” added Dr. Young, associate dean for the college’s academics and land-grant programs.

 “The Next-Gen grant will allow us to transform our student success portfolio, provide greater access to higher education through scholarships, and strengthen our current experiential learning and study abroad opportunities.” 

Additionally, programs related to FAHNP will be provided to community members to help them gain more information about the career options available to their young people. In addition to TSU, this project is a partnership with faculty from Fort Valley State University, Alcorn State University, the University of Houston, Chief Dull Knife College, Middle Tennessee State University, University of Tennessee – Martin, University of Tennessee – Knoxville, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt University, and the Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources, and Related Sciences organization.

TSU faculty involved in this project along with Dr. John C. Ricketts (Principal Investigator), are College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Chandra Reddy (Co-Project Director), Dr. De’Etra Young, ( Co-Project Director , Dr. Alyssa Rockers, Dr. Brione Lockett, Dr. LaPorchia Davis, Dr. Thomas Broyles, Dr. Yujuan Chen, Dr. M.S. Mahmud, Dr. Pramir Maharjan, Dr. Dilip Nandwani, Dr. Kilonzo-Nthenge, and Dr. Samuel Nahashon.

 For more information about programs sponsored by this grant award, please contact TSU Media Relations at 615.963.5331 or [email protected].

TSU earns spot in top eight teams at the Honda Campus All Star Challenge national championship

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University Honda Campus All Star Challenge (HCASC) team earned a spot in the top eight teams at the National Tournament held in Torrance, California. HCASC is a knowledge bowl competition for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) sponsored by the American Honda Motor Company, which supports HBCUs.

Members of the HCASC TSU team competes against Tuskegee University during the national competition in California. From left to right: Kelley Zumwalt, Tyler Vazquez and Morgan Gill.

This tournament brought together 32 HBCUs from around the country. The TSU team earned a total of $12,000 in grant money from American Honda for earning a spot in the top eight teams.

The team’s coach, Dr. John Miglietta, who is a professor of political science, said the HCASC is a unique competition that brings together scholars and showcases their knowledge from many HBCUs throughout the country.

“We are very grateful for the support that American Honda provides to HBCUs,” Miglietta said. “The grant money we receive will benefit both our students and our HCASC program.”

TSU’s HCASC team earns a spot in the quarter finals after competing on a national level in California. From left to right: Tyler Vazquez , coach, Dr. John Miglietta, Morgan Gill, team captain Cameron Malone and Kelley Zumwalt.

The tournament was divided into two parts, followed by a single-elimination playoff with the top two teams playing a best two out of three.

TSU played in the Purple Division with teams from Alabama A&M, Cheyney University of Pennsylvania, and Hampton University.

TSU compiled a 4-2 record, winning the division and advancing to the playoffs. TSU then lost a challenging match against Tuskegee University.

The team earned $10,000 in grant money from American Honda with an additional $2,000 grant due to one of the team players outstanding performance. Morgan Gill, a sophomore majoring in urban studies, was named the All-Star player in the Purple Division based on the number of toss up questions answered correctly.

TSU’s HCASC member Tyler Vazquez competing against a Tuskegee University student during a knowledge bowl competition in California.

“The team was very excited to finish in the top eight and play on the big stage,” Miglietta said. “It takes a great deal of preparation to get to that level.” The team is proud of its accomplishment and is preparing to win the overall competition next year.

The Team members are:

  • Cameron Malone (Captain), junior Electrical Engineering major from Oak Ridge, TN
  • Morgan Gill, sophomore Urban Studies major from Conyers, GA
  • Tyler Vazquez, sophomore Biology major from Winston-Salem, NC
  • Kelley Zumwalt, junior majoring in History, Political Science, and English from Loveland, CO

Check out the TSU HCASC team national quarter finals against Tuskegee University.