Tag Archives: Dr. Chandra Reddy

TSU Hosts Record-Breaking 1890 ARD Research Symposium

By Charlie Morrison

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – The Tennessee State University College of Agriculture served as the host for the 21st Association of 1890 Research Directors Biennial Research Symposium (ARD), held in April at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center in Nashville. As the immediate past Chair and steering committee member of the symposium, the College of Agriculture Dean, Dr. Chandra Reddy, was instrumental in getting the event to be held here in Nashville, and participants did not disappoint. The event was by all accounts the biggest, best-attended symposium in the organization’s nearly 50-year history.

TSU College of Agriculture faculty and staff during the 21st Association of 1890 Research Directors Biennial Research Symposium at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center.

More than 1,500 faculty researchers, college administrators, students, and staff from each of the 19 1890 land-grant HBCUs attended this year’s symposium. The premier event brought together agriculture-focused researchers from across the 1890 land-grant university system. In addition to showcasing the talents and achievements of the 1890 community, the symposium offered attendees interactive opportunities to share knowledge and build networks for expanded research collaborations.

Dean Chandra Reddy was buoyant about the College’s performance at the ARD. For Dr. Reddy, a successful showing at the symposium took everyone from the College’s participation, involvement, and engagement. “I am extremely happy that the event went so well. Our students and faculty succeeded in all the sessions and competitions, with outstanding preparation and engagement,” said Dr. Reddy. “So many of the attendees visited the College and were thoroughly impressed with our research labs and the cutting-edge research being conducted by our faculty, graduate students, and even undergraduate students.” TSU Agriculture students, faculty, and post-doctoral students contributed nearly 130 research posters and 300 oral research presentations that were put forth at the symposium, many of which received awards and cash prizes due to their research.

Kerrington Howard was one of three TSU College of Agriculture students who had the opportunity to address hundreds during the four-day symposium.

A large contingent of the TSU family, including President Glenda Glover, took part in the conference, presenting research, judging competitions, and fostering networking connections. “TSU recognizes the importance of agriculture, I recognize the importance of agriculture having grown up on a farm in Memphis, so I know and love the industry,” said Dr. Glover as she addressed the conference during its opening session. “Here we’re doing more to move agriculture forward on our campus in Nashville. Thank you for being here today and for such a meaningful engagement. Continue to perpetuate the legacy of research excellence.”

The theme of this year’s symposium was “Climate, Health, and Cultivating the Next Generation of Agricultural Leaders: Creating Solutions in Food, Agriculture, and Natural Resources.” TSU students had the opportunity to present their research both orally and through poster competitions. The students networked with like-minded scientists from across the 1890 community and engaged in important topics such as climate science research, navigating grantsmanship, and outside funding activities, and presenting their research effectively.

During the four-day symposium, three TSU College of Agriculture students had the opportunity to address a venue in Opry that seated more than 1,500 participants. The students were TSU junior Kennedy Bentley, along with seniors Dominque Smith and Kerrington Howard. “It felt great to address the symposium because …. I wanted to show everyone that we’re doing something here (at TSUAg), I wanted to show the symposium what they were investing in,” said Howard, a dean’s list scholar. “And they need to see that we’re here doing the work so they keep supporting us.”

Dr. De’Etra Young won an inaugural McKinley Mayes Mentoring Award for demonstrating an outstanding commitment to mentoring both students and early faculty members.

During the event, Agriculture Professor and Associate Dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs Dr. De’Etra Young won an inaugural McKinley Mayes Mentoring Award. The award was created to recognize an administrator who has demonstrated an outstanding commitment to mentoring both students and early faculty members.

At the symposium, graduate students showcased their research prowess, particularly excelling in oral presentations. The College of Agriculture dominated the food safety, nutrition, and health category, with Amritpal Singh securing first place, followed by Aakash Sharma in second, and Pallavi Rathore in third. In other categories, such as plant health and production, Divya Jain claimed the top spot, while Sudip Poudel secured second. Additionally, Jazmine Norwood stood out in the family, youth, community, and economic development category, winning the competitive poster presentation.

Aaliyah Cotton with an award for her oral presentation on renewable energy and natural resources.

Aaliyah Cotton represented the undergraduate student body with distinction, earning second place for her oral presentation on renewable energy, natural resources, and the environment. Overall, the College of Agriculture students showcased exceptional talent and dedication across various fields of study at the symposium.

“It was a prideful moment for my team and I to have our peer institutions treating us as a model for their own institutions and leaders,” Dr. Reddy said. “And we heard that a lot at this year’s symposium.”

To learn more about the College of Agriculture, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

TSU hosts successful ‘Ag Week’ celebration

By Charlie Morrison 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – During the week of March 11- 16, Tennessee State University put its own spin on national ‘Ag Week’ with a six-day long celebration highlighting student life in the College of Agriculture. Activities included battery recycling, trivia, therapy animals, and an electric car show, along with guest speakers, tours, discussions, and catered lunches. As evidenced by the smiling faces, laughter, and rounds of applause that permeated the event, it was well-received by hundreds of TSU students.

A TSU student, left, speaks with Dr. Kaushalya Amarasekare during day 2 of the week long celebration highlighting student life in the College of Agriculture.

The event coincided with national Ag Week, which kicked off on March 18 across the country. Students, faculty members, and College administrators came out in droves each day, marking the first Ag Week post Covid-19.

“We like to take a moment each year to celebrate who we are as an academic community,” College of Agriculture Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy said.

“We think happy students are productive students, I believe it’s important to create an environment of joy around our community, and that’s what we tried to do with Ag Week 2024.”

The Departments of Agriculture Science and Engineering and Food and Animal Sciences shared the first day of Ag Week 2024. This included a showcase in which faculty presented their vision for the department’s future, before shifting gears to a Food and Animal Sciences Department trivia competition. The first day closed out with a build-your-own ice cream sundae event featuring therapy animals, several hayride tours of the TSU Agricultural Research and Education Center farms.

Dean Reddy, left, with Jules Smith, a Kroger representative, following Smith’s video presentation on crafting formal business pitches during the College of Agriculture’s Ag Week.

Day two of Ag Week 2024 was dedicated to the newly established Agribusiness Department and “Agribusiness Day” at the Farrell-Westbrook Building Auditorium featuring a video presentation on the art of making formal business pitches, a presentation from a Kroger representative, followed by presentations and discussions on the topic led by TSU Ag undergraduates Kerrington Howard and Omari Mason.

The Department of Environmental Science took over day three of the celebration with a battery recycling event preceding the annual TSU Ag Student Appreciation Day cookout held Wednesday offering free barbecue and an electric vehicle car show.

TSU Ag’s Human Sciences Department celebration was kicked off with a student recognition breakfast in Humphries Hall, followed by a lunch with Human Sciences program students and faculty where they created homemade pizzas, and a custom tote bag and hat creation event sponsored by the TSU Fashion Society.

The Department of Environmental Science hosted a day during Ag week that featured an electric car show on campus.

TSU Ag then held annual awards luncheon the next day, recognizing standout students, faculty members, and staff at the College of Agriculture over the past calendar year in categories such as Outstanding Young Researcher, Outstanding Extension Agent, and Outstanding Teaching Faculty.

 “The College of Agriculture is one big family where we share in hard work, camaraderie, and school spirit,” said Dr. De’Etra Young, associate dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs.

“Ag Week is really just about celebrating that family, having some fun, and sharing some laughs with that family. It is a moment each year when the academic side of things takes a back seat to the community aspect of the College, when we chat, we eat, we do activities all in the name of growing that sense of family, that sense of community here at TSU Ag.”

The week-long event rounded out with the College’s annual Awards Luncheon on Friday and the “Ag Alumni and Friends Day” event on Saturday. Students got the opportunity to network with agriculture alumni.

Dr. Young added that TSU’s Ag Week was a significant contribution to community building for the College of Agriculture and the university.

To learn more about the college of Agriculture, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/

TSU continues to revolutionize farming with 19th annual expo

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) –  For nearly two decades, Tennessee State University has provided vital resources to the State’s small farmers. One of the major resources is the TSU Small Farm Expo. The event is dedicated to supporting small-scale farming, along with providing sustainable practices and agricultural education.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, the dean of the college of agriculture expressed the university’s commitment to the event.

TSU Director of New Farmer Academy and Small Farms, Finis Stribling III

“This is the very purpose of why we exist,” Reddy said. “As a land-grant institution, we want to support the producers.” 

The event drew over 250 attendees, including more than 60 university students, and featured workshops, engagement speakers, and farmers.

Finis Stribling, III chaired this year’s Small Farm Expo and noted that one of those small farmers is Danielle Buyton. Buyton was recognized as the 2023 TSU New Small Farmer of the year and received $3,000 to support her farming efforts. 

“We started this expo about 19 years ago to showcase what TSU is doing in relation to small farms,” Stribling said.

Aria McElroy, a senior agricultural science major with a concentration in environmental science, was among the dozens of students who attended the expo.

Dr. Reddy trying a bitter melon beverage at one of the food crop tables during the Small Farm Expo at TSU.

“After I graduate in May, I would love to work with the Natural Resources Conservation Service and get a strong foundation of what conservation is like and how I can bring that to private and public land.”

Aria, an 1890 Farm Bill scholar, also highlighted the significance of seeing Black farmers and landowners.

“It’s really good for TSU to have this event. Just seeing black farm and landowners in this space is great.”

In addition to chairing the expo, Stribling is the director of the academy. He is also a third-generation farmer and established the academy to support beginner small farmers across the country.Stribling noted how the New Farmer Academy graduates play a pivotal role in expanding the small farming community to sustain production in our ecosystem.

During the Small Farmer recognition program, Danielle Buyton, was announced as the 2023 TSU New Small Farmer of the year and received $3,000 in total to support her farming efforts. 

“We are here to showcase research relevant to small farms across Tennessee,” he said.

Stribling added that Buyton is also a graduate of the TSU New Farmer Academy, the only academy of its kind in the State that has graduated over 530 farmers from across the country.  

Tennessee Agriculture Commissioner Charlie Hatcher was one of several state officials who attended the expo and praised the New Farmer Academy, reaffirming the importance of supporting small-scale farming and sustainable agriculture practices. 

“It’s one of the best training programs for new farmers and beginning farmers in the United States. It’s been so impactful,” Hatcher said.

Aria McElroy

“It’s one of the most worthwhile programs we need to get behind. It’s going to make a difference in the interests of people.”

Reggie Marshall is a small farmer working to have an impact and credits TSU for his success. Marshall is also one of the first graduates of the TSU New Farmer Academy established in 2014. As he walked and greeted others at the expo he reflected on the important work the TSU College of Agriculture is doing for small farmers across the state.  

“In order to make these small farms viable, we need programs like the New Farm Academy because it walks you through every phase of getting started,” he explained.

Sydney Wyche

The Expo featured speakers from local, state and federal levels, and provided workshops on topics such as urban agriculture, hemp research, organic agriculture, vertical gardening, bee keeping, food demonstrations, food crop production, and more.

TSU student, Sydney Wyche, a sophomore from Huntsville, echoed Aria’s sentiments regarding how beneficial the event was. Sydney attended the Expo to learn more about the agricultural companies and opportunities available.

“I am looking for internships and trying to find new connections,” Wyche said.

Dr. Emmanuel Omondi, Assistant Professor of Agronomy and Industrial Hemp Extension Specialist during the Small farm expo.

“I wanted to learn more about the agricultural companies. From the medicine you take to what you eat, agriculture is connected to everything.”

In addition to being a resource, the expo serves as a platform to bring small farmers together and as well as extension agencies from across the state.  

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 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 College of Agriculture’s Center of Excellence trains students to take on climate change and other global issues 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University’s wetland is crucial to the health of both water resources and wildlife in North Nashville. TSU graduate student Devin Moore said that’s why he is grateful to be able to participate in research of the TSU wetland project, ultimately benefiting local Nashville communities.

Moore’s study of TSU’s wetland is made possible through a $6 million grant from the 1890 Center of Excellence Land. The award is for three years and will provide critical research on creating a quality environment that mitigates the impact of climate change in Tennessee, across the nation and globally.  

“Through the funding from the Center of Excellence (COE) we have been able to measure and analyze some of the toxins in the water through new progressive technology,” Moore said. 

Devin Moore placing teabags in the TSU Wetland to absorb and test toxins found. (Photo submitted)

Moore is receiving a master’s degree in agriculture with a focus on environmental sciences and is currently researching harmful algal blooms in the TSU Wetland and at the Ted Rhodes Golf Course in North Nashville. 

Wetlands have their own distinct ecosystem that can help advance the knowledge and resolutions to complex problems, including those related to climate change. According to scientists, extensive training and research is needed to solve these environmental issues.  

“I am excited for the research that I am doing,” added Moore, who obtained his bachelor’s degree from Yale University. “As someone who came from a social sciences background, it is nice to be around people who are experts in their field and are willing to sit down with me and bridge the gap,” he said.  

“It feels like what we’re doing could have some big global implications. I am grateful and thankful for the COE and everything they have enabled us to do.” 

Dr. Chandra Reddy

College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy, who also serves as director of research, said the university was granted this opportunity in 2022 by the U.S. Department of Agriculture due to its faculty expertise and capacity to manage the funds.  

“Using our expertise within TSU and with our partners, we want to come up with some ideas and concepts, ways that we can mitigate the impact of climate on our famers and citizens. That’s the bigger goal, but to achieve that you need long term research, continuous support and build at capacity,” Dr. Reddy said. 

The COE consists of more than 20 faculty members, scientists, PhD, master’s, and undergraduate students. It is an investment that helps increase rural prosperity and economic sustainability of food systems in underserved farming communities, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) Acting Director Dr. Dionne Toombs. 

“Our goal is to really get the data generated, analyzed, and shared with the public and the funding agencies, and impress them in such a way that we get additional funding to create a physical space for students and experts to conduct extensive research in some of the most pressing environmental issues facing society,” Reddy said.

Agriculture master’s students Champagne Cunningham, right, and Faith Perry collecting water quality measurements from the TSU wetland. (Photo by Joan Kite)

Experts at the Center of Excellence are working on a variety of research projects ranging from renewable energy to animal sciences. TSU scientists are currently researching national issues such as how climate change impact seagrass production and greenhouse gas emissions. University scientists are also researching winter canola oil varieties that will work well for Tennessee farmers, and new export crops for the region such as grain amaranth used as chicken food. 

Champagne Cunningham, a master’s student who plans to become a freshwater ecologist after graduating this May, is also doing research in Nashville on harmful algal blooms. 

“Being able to say I am a part of a research group or a center that is doing such outstanding real-world groundbreaking research is interesting,” Cunningham said. “We get lots of hands-on experience. Because of TSU, I am learning techniques that will help me long term and secure a job as an ecologist.” 

TSU’s College of Agriculture is collaborating with four other HBCUs that make up the 1890 Center of Excellence. They are Alabama A&M University, Southern University, Florida A&M University and Langston University, to host the 1890 Center of Excellence.

About the Center of Excellence

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) announced this investment in 2022.

This will provide collaborative opportunities among 1890 Institutions to develop management practices that will promote natural resources, explore renewable energy sources, and develop climate smart agricultural production practices to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and improve environmental quality and sustainability, according to NIFA.

One year after tornado, TSU family remembers community support, help from ‘total strangers’

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University may have been caught in the devastation of a tornado that hit northwest and east Nashville early last March, but the campus family also experienced an outpouring of community support and resilience in the aftermath that has fostered healing and a spirit to rebuild.

President Glenda Glover pets 1-year-old Gracie the goat, which was born the night of the tornado. Gracie’s mother survived the storm and gave birth to two kids that night. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“It was so much outpouring of love and support. People came from different places on different days,” says Dr. Glenda Glover, president of TSU. “Nashvillians stuck together, some students were on spring break and when they came back, they jumped in. We were overwhelmed with the level of love and support and care.” 

March 3 marked the one-year anniversary of the EF2 tornado that struck shortly after midnight. TSU’s Agriculture Farm took the biggest hit. Five of six structures, including research facilities, greenhouses, and a pavilion, were reduced to rubble. Two calves were killed, and several goats injured.

Dr. Chandra Reddy, Dean of the College of Agriculture, talks to a reporter from the spot where the nearly 300-seat pavilion once stood. The pavilion and several other structures were damaged. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Other parts of the main campus received damage to signs and building rooftops, as well as downed power lines, uprooted trees, and other debris. About 85 students who did not go away for the spring break were on campus, but no injuries were reported.

Officials estimate total damage to the campus to be about $20 million.

However, amid the scars of what was lost or destroyed, one thing that has stood out is the volunteerism displayed by people from all walks of life. When asked what they remembered most about the tornado and the aftermath, faculty, staff, and students noted the general outpouring of support from total strangers.

Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, Dean of the College of Engineering, right, led a team of faculty, staff, student and community volunteers to remove debris. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Jeia Moore arrived in Nashville from her spring break a few days after the storm hit.  

“It was sad to see my campus like that because so much student work had been lost,” says Moore, a junior information systems major from Memphis, Tennessee. A year later, however, Moore is impressed with how the university has been able to pull through, even with the onset of the coronavirus at the same time. 

“TSU, we are not going to be down too long. We are going to come back,” says Moore. “I am just happy that we are still able to function like we never missed a beat.” 

Volunteers from all walks of life signed up to help with the cleanup effort after the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

Bryce Daniel, a junior health sciences major from Fort Worth, Texas, was in his dorm room in Hale Hall when the storm hit. Hale Hall was not affected, but the sight of the destruction on the other side of campus was too overwhelming for Daniel to ignore. 

“I immediately felt I needed to give back and help my campus recover,” says Daniel, who’s part of “Generation of Educated Men,” or GEM, a social and educational student group. The group mobilized and was among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort on the Ag farm. 

Members of Generation of Educated Men, a campus group of TSU students, were among the first volunteers to join the cleanup effort. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“I was glad to be safe and blessed to still have all of my things. So, it was just natural to go and give back to help clean up my campus,” says Daniel. 

Some renovations on the main campus are either completed or ongoing. As for the Ag farm, TSU officials say discussions with state and federal agencies and insurance underwriters are ongoing, and construction should start soon and be completed by year’s end.  

“Effort to reconstruct is slower, complicated by the COVID-19 pandemic. But we are moving along, it might take some time, but we will get there,” says Glover. 

Debris was thrown about in every corner of the Ag farm in the aftermath of the tornado. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

On the learning aspect, she says it’s been a grueling year, because things are at a slower pace. How students are taught changed drastically, with teaching and learning now about 85 percent virtual.  

“We have some aspects that are not virtual, and we do require in-person learning, so we want to make sure that is taken care of,” says Glover. “Once COVID has run its course, we believe that we will be moving at a faster pace.” 

Dr. Curtis Johnson, associate vice president and chief of staff, heads the reconstruction effort at TSU. He says recovery will take time, but the main concern is making sure teaching and research are not affected.

As the days went by, more volunteers showed up to lend a hand in the cleanup. (Photo by TSU Media Relations)

“We look forward to rebuilding a better campus,” says Johnson. “We expect our rebuilding to have better structure, better technology. ”

Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the College of Agriculture, agrees, saying the goal is to “make sure all of our buildings and research facilities are much better and much stronger.” 

On the show of support, Frank Stevenson, associate vice president of student affairs and dean of students, says in the aftermath of the storm he saw a campus community determined to bounce back, “not only to represent Tiger pride, but the city of Nashville strong.” 

“Our students, faculty, staff, everyone put the gloves on, rolled up their sleeves and were committed to making our campus continue in the space of beauty,” says Stevenson. 

GEM member Derrick Sanders, a junior secondary English education major from Cincinnati, Ohio, who drove into Nashville the next morning amid the destruction, says “it felt so good to see people come together for the enhancement of TSU.”

“I saw people from the community, people from different churches, even students giving out anything they had to help. It just felt good to know that we are a family, and we can help each other,” says Sanders. 

TSU using $20K from Tractor Supply company to address students’ needs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University is using a $20,000 donation from Tractor Supply Company to help fulfill the needs of students, particularly during the pandemic.

The funds will be used by TSU’s College of Agriculture to help “students in need of financial support,” says Dr. Chandra Reddy, the college’s dean.

Braxton Simpson

“We are very excited and are very thankful to Tractor Supply Company for this support,” says Reddy. “We have so many needs in the college, but our biggest need is providing support to outstanding students that are in dire need of funding. This investment in our students by Tractor Supply company will go a long way in preparing future agricultural leaders in the country.”

TSU senior Braxton Simpson of Atlanta is majoring in agricultural business. She says she’s glad the funding will be used to help students with financial hardships, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

“It allows students to stay focused and not worry about paying for school,” says Braxton. “We’re very grateful for the donation.”

Jamie Isabel with advancement and university relations at TSU says the contribution is the “impetus of a major relationship that we are currently working on” with Tractor Supply.

“Our students, graduates will be very pleased to have Tractor Supply as a corporate partner,” says Isabel. “The contribution is indicative of the support that TSU is receiving from corporate America.”

Over the last several months, TSU has worked diligently to ensure students have the tools they need to complete their coursework as a result of COVID-19.

Emmanuel Wallace

In March, TSU students had to transition to remote learning because of the coronavirus. The University purchased laptops and tablets for those students who needed them. TSU recently resumed classes for the fall, but has an alternate plan that includes students continuing to learn remotely if there’s a surge in COVID-19 cases.

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace of Memphis, Tennessee, is an agriculture major concentrating on food and animal sciences with a pre-vet focus. He says he’s pleased with the University’s effort to help students, and is grateful for the contribution from Tractor Supply.

“As a whole, TSU is doing everything it can,” says Wallace. “This (donation) is very helpful, especially during the pandemic.”

To learn more about the College of Agriculture, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/agriculture/.

For more on TSU operations affected by the coronavirus, and student information, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/covid19.

Department of Media Relations

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Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

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

TSU joins other 1890 land-grant universities to celebrate the 130th anniversary of the Morrill Act

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service)TSU President Glenda Glover joined the presidents and chancellors of the nation’s 1890 Universities in a weeklong celebration of the 130th anniversary of the federal legislation that designated Tennessee State University and 18 other historically black colleges and universities as land-grant institutions.

President Glenda Glover

The Morrill Act of 1890 established a land-grant university system of HBCUs in states where African Americans were banned from accessing a public higher education. The first Morrill Act 1862 establishing the land-grant universities did not provide higher education opportunities for African Americans.

“On behalf of the TSU family, our students, faculty and staff, it gives me great pleasure to join in the celebration of the 130th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, legislation that authorized 1890 land grant universities,” Glover said.

“For 130 years, although underfunded, the 1890 land-grant universities have been true to their mission of providing essential academic, research and extension services to the public that sustains our nation’s food, fiber and renewable production.”

As part of the activities August 24-31 and due to COVID-19, Glover and other higher education leaders, elected officials and policymakers, business and community leaders will participate in an online celebration, culminating with a two-hour virtual forum on Monday, August 31. The forum will explore the history and accomplishments of the 1890 institutions and the important role they play in the nation’s future. 

“The 1890s, including Tennessee State, have a legacy of educating first-generation and economically disadvantaged college students, enhancing the resilience of limited resource individuals,  farmers, families and underserved communities and conducting innovative research to generate new knowledge and solutions to address regional and global challenges,” Glover added.

Dr. Chandra Reddy

Although TSU, founded in 1912 “came late in the game” among 1890 institutions, officials said the university has remained a leading institution in teaching, research and extension. For instance, the TSU College of Agriculture has more than 100 graduate students, 34 state-of-the-art laboratories, three field research stations, and about 70 staff providing outreach services in 50 of the 95 counties in Tennessee. Overall, TSU received more than $54 million from various funding agencies for 2019-2020, exceeding its annual awards goal, according to the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs.

“We at TSU are doing extremely well relative to all of the other 1890 universities, thanks to federal, state and local government support,” said Dr. Chandra Reddy, dean of the TSU College of Agriculture. “We have the largest outreach program. Our research program is very competitive, and for the last 10 years, TSU has continuously been the number one university among 1890 institutions in terms of securing competitive grants from the USDA, thanks to our faculty. So, we at TSU are very excited for the 130th anniversary celebration of the second Morrill Act that established 19 1890 universities.”

During the week of August 24, leaders and members of the 1890 university community, policymakers, business and community leaders will use an array of platforms to reflect on and celebrate the legacy of these land-grant institutions, including social media using #Celebrate1890s. They will highlight innovative programs at the 1890 land-grant universities and their role in developing solutions for local, regional, and global challenges.

The celebration ended with a virtual webinar on August 31. The webinar had two panel discussions. One panel featured several 1980 university presidents, and Peter McPherson, president of the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities. The second panel included private sector leaders such as Fred Humphries, corporate vice president of U.S. Government Affairs, among others.

The other 1890 land-grant universities are: Alabama A&M University, Alcorn State University, Central State University, Delaware State University, Florida A&M University, Fort Valley State University, Kentucky State University, Langston University, Lincoln University in Missouri, North Carolina A&T State University, Prairie View A&M University, South Carolina State University, Southern University and A&M College, Tuskegee University, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Virginia State University and West Virginia State University.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

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

TSU, UT partnership prepares Ag students for success in vet school

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University has partnered with the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine (UT-CVM) to help TSU agriculture students transition to vet school once they complete their degrees.

College of Ag Dean Dr. Chandra Reddy

The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) identifies qualified TSU freshmen and immediately sets them on an academic trajectory to successfully meet the requirements for admission into UT-CVM, or other institutions of veterinary medicine.

“The MOU between TSU’s College of Agriculture and UT’s College of Veterinary Medicine provides a pathway for students majoring in animal science at TSU to get into the veterinary school at UT. We are very pleased with this new arrangement between the schools,” said TSU College of Agriculture Dean Chandra Reddy, who was instrumental in finalizing the agreement.

“It will help increase minorities in the veterinary profession and help us prepare our students appropriately for veterinary college. Health care for pets is a huge demand in society today. Many of our students are interested in the veterinary profession and we welcome this opportunity to prepare and place students in this competitive and demanding field.”

Dr. Mike Jones, director of Student Services, Diversity, and Recruitment at UT-CVM, shared Dr. Reddy’s sentiment about the TSU and UT-CVM Pre-Veterinary Emphasis (PVE) Scholars Program. 

Dr. De’Etra Young

“I’m very excited about it,” said Jones. “Veterinary medicine is considered one of the least diverse of all health care professions. We want to serve the needs of the underserved.”

The agreement between the universities began in 2016 when Jones, a UT-CVM professor of Avian and Zoological Medicine, came to TSU to speak to agriculture students in the student organization Minorities in Agriculture, Natural Resources and Related Sciences (MANRRS). Dr. James P. Thompson, the dean of UT-CVM, sent Jones with the mission to form an agreement with TSU to recruit its students into UT’s vet college.

There, Jones met Dr. De’Etra Young, the MANRRS advisor, who works closely with TSU’s top students. For the next four years, Jones and Young worked on the MOU, which was signed in June.

“We are excited to enter this new partnership with UT-CVM,” said Young, who is now interim associate dean of Academics and Land-grant Programs at the College. “We are increasing our efforts to provide experiential learning and hands-on experiences to prepare our students for graduate studies or the workforce. This new arrangement will assist us in preparing our students appropriately for veterinary school.”

TSU sophomore Cierra Woods, pre-vet focus

Students will be notified in September if they are accepted into the program. The students will be assigned mentors — one each from TSU and UT-CVM. The mentors will work together to advise each student, monitor their progress, ensure ongoing commitment, and support other training opportunities, such as summer jobs or internships.

Assistant Professor Carollyn Boykins-Winrow teaches animal science classes at TSU and will be serving as mentor to the students selected for the program.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the students,” said Boykins-Winrow. “The students will know what to expect from UT and UT will know the preparation the student went through to get there.”

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace is an agriculture major concentrating on food and animal sciences with a pre-vet focus.He agreed the programwill be beneficial to freshman students.

“I think it is awesome,” said Wallace, of Memphis, Tennessee. “It will tell them what classes they need to take, as well as give them the overall hands-on experience they need to be successful.”

TSU junior Emmanuel Wallace, pre-vet focus

Cierra Woods, a sophomore Ag major at TSU who also has a pre-vet focus, said she is glad students will have the opportunity to work with a variety of animals.

“People always think domestic animals, but there are so many animals you can work with,” said Woods. “I think everyone should have the opportunity to try something different.”

Both Woods and Wallace are interns in a partnership the College of Agriculture has with the Nashville Zoo to also prepare students for vet school.

For more information about the partnership and the TSU and UT-CVM program, contact Dr. De’Etra Young at (615) 963-5123 or email [email protected].

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

NOTE: College of Ag communications specialist Joan Kite contributed to this story.

Department of Media Relations

Tennessee State University
3500 John Merritt Boulevard
Nashville, Tennessee 37209

About Tennessee State University

Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a  premier, historically black university and land-grant institution offering 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.