Category Archives: Summer Camps

TSU student leaders hurt, disappointed over of $2.1 billion underfunding, call on Atty. Ben Crump

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University student leaders said their emotions ran the gambut from disbelief, hurt, to disappointment following the announcement that the State of Tennessee underfunded their university by a reported $2.1 billion. The top five leaders believed the next best step was to seek advice from a legal heavyweight to discuss the underfunding crisis. Those top five, Derrell Taylor, student government association president, Chrishonda O’Quinn, executive vice president, Shaun Wimberly, Jr., student trustee, along with Mister and Miss TSU Davin Latiker and Victoria McCrae, called on Attorney Ben Crump.

TSU student leaders spoke with U.S congressman Steny Hoyer in Washington, D.C. after the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and Education revealed that the university is owed over $2.1 billion by the State of Tennessee.

“Attorney Ben Crump is a notable activist and is nationally recognized for his advocacy within African American communities,” said SGA President Taylor.

“It was imperative for Ben Crump to visit our campus, as this issue has escalated to a national level, and should be addressed on a larger platform.”

On October 3, Attorney Crump came to TSU, at the invitation of the student leaders, and spent the day with them to discuss the underinvestment of TSU. He and the students shared details of their meeting during a press conference.

“If the state refuses to provide the owed funds, students and alumni will have to do what is best for TSU, and these students are adamant about their next steps to address this unjustifiable inequity,” Crump, a renowned Civil Rights, said.

“Correcting this egregious funding discrepancy can ensure that our HBCUs thrive and that the students they educate reach their full potential is an urgent priority.”

O’Quinn, the SGA vice president, and a business major said Crump’s presence conveyed a message of support from the prominent attorney.

“The current students take this matter seriously and will not back down, and that we will do what it takes to make sure the underfunding issue remains national and will not die down. Attorney Ben Crump was also needed because the student leadership wanted additional support and guidance on this issue.”


Taylor, a business major as well, and Memphis native added that the Crump visit inspired him even more to work to” right this wrong.”

“Overall, Attorney Crump inspired me to stand up and speak up for what I know is right. He encouraged us all to be intentional about receiving a quality education, and he has provided me with the confidence to inspire other students as well. I feel this is incredibly unfortunate, as I have seen history repeated in a variety of forms. It is my hope that these wrongs are corrected with our state legislature, and moving forward, we don’t have to experience the feeling that our education is not as valuable as our counterparts.”

O’Quinn reflected on hearing about the initial announcement regarding the billions in underfunding and her optimism also following Crump’s visit.  

“It is quite unbelievable and simply isn’t right. This has continued to happen for no other reason than the color of our skin. Any other reasoning for this occurring, in my opinion, is false. And the idea of whether we receive the 2.1 billion should not be a discussion. The numbers say enough.”

“I hope the other students feel as empowered as I did when Attorney Ben Crump spoke with student leadership.”

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 launches academic eSports Center; 30 area school students kick off inaugural program

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – For the love of gaming, kids at a young age can flesh out their skills and get into the multibillion-dollar industry of video gaming, or eSports right here at Tennessee State University.

More than 30 students from the Metro Nashville area and surrounding counties were eager to learn about coding and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math)  programs as they were introduced to virtual reality applications, game design and coding at TSU’s first academic eSports event.

A young student tests skills at the virtual reality gaming event. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Students from Backfield In Motion, an academic after school program for students grades 1-12, cheered as they geared up for gaming and coding at the University’s Avon Williams Campus.

Dr. Robbie Melton, Assistance Vice President of the SMART Innovation Technology Center at TSU said the purpose of academic eSports and coding robotics is to take video gaming and pathway it into the University’s esteemed curriculum.

“We want them (students) to know that they can be gamers and also game makers, so we’re going to introduce game design, basic coding skills … as well as virtual and augmented reality,” Melton said. “Our goal is to take them from playing, into the world of coding.” 

Junior Ambassadors assist young gamers at the launching of the Academic eSports Center. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Upon arrival, the students had a virtual Q & A session with Jyden Mcbath-Spencer, a professional eSports NBA2K League player for the Brooklyn Nets, who talked about his career path and gaming experience.

The students then broke off into groups to begin their academic eSports day.

The first group of students enjoyed playing their favorite games in the eSports gaming area, while others were tasked to code a robotic ball that went through a maze.

The third group of students were in a virtual reality center that, “takes student into a virtual world so they can now … immerse themselves into the teaching and learning,” Melton said.

More than 30 area students participated in the one-day Academic eSports Center Summer Community Camp. (Photo: Aaron Grayson)

Dr. Effua Ampadu-Moss, director of TSU’s eSports program said the goal is to recruit students, graduate and have careers within the eSports industry.

TSU alum Micah Kimble Sr., Chief Operating Officer for Backfield In Motion, said he looks forward to what the center has in store for the students.

“I love bringing the students to my alma mater,” Kimble Sr., said. “They (students) get to see some of these great STEM careers that eSports has to offer … and it gives an opportunity for the kids to see something different.”

“I’m really excited for these kids. They will never forget this day.”

For more information on the TSU Academic eSports Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/hbcuc2/index.html

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.

2022 TSU summer camps give students fun and real-world educational experience

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – As Summer officially starts this week, here’s a look at a few camps that TSU has to offer for students to have fun while engaging in educational enrichment activities.

While some camps were modified due to the pandemic last year, from activities around medical college knowledge to musical advancements, this year marks the return of more than 15 various summer camps.

Anthony Fallacaro, assistant director of Events Management, Camps and Programs, said this year’s activities include day camps and overnight housing for children from elementary school age up to post graduate students.  

“The camps and programs range from athletics, research programs, music, engineering and agriculture,” Fallacaro said. “This summer is especially exciting because we have so many of our camps and programs safely returning to campus after not happening due to the pandemic.”

Among the many programs at this year’s summer camps at
TSU is the eSports Center Summer Community Camp.
Students were introduced to virtual reality applications, game
design and coding. (Photo by Aaron Grayson)

Among the many exciting camps returning this year is the Verizon Innovative Learning (VIL) Program that is intended to engage students, interacting with technology through on-campus summer intensive courses, as well as year-round mentoring. A partnership between TSU and Verizon, VIL gives the students a firsthand experience in “the vital role technology plays in today’s world, empowering them to become creators and makers,” a Verizon release said.


For the love of gaming, one of the newest camps is the Academic eSports Camp, where students learned about coding and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) programs. During the June 17 camp participants were introduced to virtual reality applications, game design and coding at TSU’s newly launched Academic eSports Center.

Although some of the early summer camps have come to an end, here is a list of camps that will begin in July:

  • Meharry Cancer Research: May 22 – July 30
  • Engineering Exploration Camp 2: July 18 -29
  • College of Agriculture: July 5- 29
  • National Summer Institute: July 5 – 29
  • Summer Piano Intensive: July 11- 22
  • Verizon Innovative Learning Program: July 11- 29
  • NPA Free Basketball Camp: July 26

For more information regarding upcoming summer camps at TSU, reach the Office of Events Management at emanagement@tnstate.edu.

Department of Media Relations

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

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 39 bachelor’s degree programs, 24 master’s degree programs, and seven doctoral degrees.  TSU is a comprehensive research intensive institution with a R-2 Carnegie designation, and has a graduate school on its downtown Avon Williams Campus, along with the Otis Floyd Nursery Research Center in McMinnville, Tennessee.  With a commitment to excellence, Tennessee State University provides students  with a quality education in a nurturing and innovative environment that prepares them as alumni to be global leaders in every facet of society. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.