NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Tennessee State University students held a vigil on campus to remember the massive loss of their loved ones in Turkey and Syria following the devastating earthquakes on Feb. 6.
As of Feb 18, more than 44,000 people have been killed and tens of thousands injured after magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes struck Turkey and Syria.
TSU students prayed with their fellow Turkish students and staff who are 6,000 miles away from home.
There are 15 Turkish students and approximately eight faculty members at Tennessee State University.
One of those students came to America from Turkey just six months ago. TSU freshman Berk Arapgirlioglu came to TSU with a music scholarship, and said he is distraught bythe great loss of victims from his country.
“People should be grateful for every second of their life … you can easily lose your loved ones in any situation,” Arapgirlioglu said. “Hopefully, all my family and relatives are okay,” he said as of Feb. 15. “But I know some friends who lost their houses.”
Another Turkish immigrant at TSU, Tuna Kurucu, said he is devastated and prayed hope that his family and friends are safe.
“I feel devastated and sad,” Kurucu said. “It is the biggest disaster of this century and Turkey has declared a fourth level of emergency accepting any international help.”
Although Kurucu, who is a freshman at the university, said he is in shock about the earthquake’s impact, he is grateful for the support he has at TSU.
“I am actually happy at this moment because I feel supported by all of the TSU students, my friends and professors here,” Kurucu said during the campus vigil.
Engin Ayvaz, a Turkish native who is the Director of the Intensive English Center at TSU said the outpour of solidarity and affection across the world has touched the Turkish community.
“For the past ten days its been a whirlwind of emotions for all of us,” Ayvaz said. “Thank you all for being here today, it means a lot. TSU is our home away home.”
The Executive Director for International Affairs, Dr. Jewell Winn said the local community is heartbroken.
“We will continue to keep our students, faculty and staff who have family in the region in our thoughts and prayers,” Winn said. “The international community has poured aid into the area, and we will support the endeavor through providing links to make donations.”
Weeks after the earthquake, crews are still pulling survivors from the rubble and the death toll continues to raise.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Graduating high school students from the Caribbean will soon experience the excellence of Tennessee State University. Over 200 applicants from the Bahamas, Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago, and other Caribbean nations have applied to become Big Blue Tigers with the help of an International Tuition Assistance Grant (ITAG).
Currently, TSU’s student body is made up of individuals from roughly 34 countries. However, a minimal amount come from the Caribbean. To qualify for this ITAG, high school graduates must have a minimum 3.25 grade point average.
“As liaison on Global Initiatives at TSU, part of my responsibility is to build global partnerships and to recruit global scholars,” says Dr. Arlene Nicholas-Phillips, who represents the Office of the President for the ITAG initiative. “This is an opportunity to open our doors to Caribbean students who bring the tenacity to learn and the academic acumen to boost everything that TSU represents.”
Jaden Daniel, of Trinidad and Tobago, is one of the Caribbean scholars coming to TSU in the fall.
“I’m extremely excited and grateful to join the TSU family,” said Daniel, who is hoping to also make the men’s basketball team. “This opportunity offers a chance to get a higher education, while also allowing me to learn a new culture. These experiences will help me grow in important aspects of my life, such as being a professional and a holistic individual.”
Gregory Daniel, Jaden’s father, says he’s also looking forward to his son attending TSU, and the opportunities he will have.
“Jaden has made his first steps in becoming a true global citizen with opportunities to develop his God-given talents; opportunities to learn in an environment that develops all aspects of his being,” his father says. “And most of all, the opportunity to showcase the quality of the Caribbean student, with a view of opening the doors of TSU to other students of the Caribbean who may be considering this same route to educational excellence.”
Parent Donna Frederick agrees. Her son, Renard Frederick, also from Trinidad and Tobago, will be joining Jaden in the fall.
“The tuition grant offered by Tennessee State University provides an opportunity for students from Trinidad and Tobago, and other Caribbean countries, to explore learning, achieve growth and development, and realize their academic pursuits in another country,” she says. “For this, I am truly thankful.”
Nicholas-Phillips says students also have the option of online learning if they wish to stay in their country. Also, the program is open to nontraditional Caribbean students, and there are talks of a dual enrollment program for high school students.
“We plan to extend this strategic search and continue to expand the internationalization of our campus,” says Nicholas-Phillips. “With the support of Dr. Johnnie Smith (Dual Enrollment), Dr. Robbie Melton (Graduate School), Dr. Jewell Winn (Office of International Affairs) and Mr. Terrence Izzard (Enrollment Management), I am confident that we will meet and surpass the directives given by (TSU) President (Glenda) Glover on international recruiting.”
Dr. Winn points out that International student enrollment has decreased over the last two years due to myriad factors, such as the pandemic and challenging immigration practices.
“Thus, to launch an initiative focused on recruiting a diverse population of international students is timely and certainly aligns with our goal of helping all students become better global citizens,” says Winn, executive director for International Programs and chief diversity officer at TSU.
Besides the ITAG initiative, the University currently has dual enrollment partnerships for underserved students in several African countrieswhere students are taking online courses in coding and creating concepts taught by TSU professors. The program is part of a STEM literacy partnership with the African Methodist Episcopal Church that gives students digital resources to develop their technology skills. All participating students receive an iPad, supplied by Apple, Inc.
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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 eight 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.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Dr. Jewell Winn, special assistant to the Vice President for International Affairs and Chief Diversity Officer at Tennessee State University, has been elected president of Women in Higher Education in Tennessee.
Winn, also assistant professor of Educational Administration with more than 30 years experience in higher education, was elected recently to head the statewide, three-decade-old professional women’s organization.
WHET, founded in 1980, provides professional development, mentoring, networking and career enrichment for women, and serves as a resource of highly qualified and competent individuals who may be tapped for career opportunities at institutions. Its core membership is drawn from public and private institutions of higher learning from across the state.
Winn, who thanked her colleagues for the “distinct honor and privilege” to serve as their president for 2013-14, encouraged them to remain vigilant in their commitment to prosperity and empowerment.
“As the face of higher education continues to change, it is important that we as women executives remain diligent in preparing for the next opportunity, engage in stimulating and challenging conversations, seek out mentors, as well as serve as mentors,” she said. “But most importantly,” Winn added, “We must believe that we are capable of accomplishing anything we put our minds to.”
A graduate of Leadership Nashville, an independent executive leadership initiative, and a member of the American Council on Education’s Spectrum Executive Leadership Program, Winn’s goals include initiatives that highlight the successes of WHET members, establishing a past president’s council, as well as planning a WHET Day on the Hill.
“We are redesigning our website, surveying our members on topics of interest, planning an inaugural regional retreat, and developing webinars. Let us make this year one of prosperity and empowerment as we embrace the issue of higher education and the challenges we face as professional women,” she told her colleagues.
In a personal reflection on her many years as an administrator in higher education, the new WHET president said she is humbled by the challenges she faced because they made her stronger.
”Equally, I am thankful for the many accomplishments because I always had a mentor who was pushing me toward the next level and cheering me on. I can personally attest to the values I have found among this group of phenomenal women as we have praised, laughed, cried and soared together,” Winn said.
With nearly 9,000 students, Tennessee State University is Nashville’s only public university, and is a comprehensive, urban, co-educational, land-grant university offering 38 undergraduate, 22 graduate and seven doctoral programs. TSU has earned a top 20 ranking for Historically Black Colleges and Universities according to U.S. News and World Report, and rated as one of the top universities in the country by Washington Monthly for social mobility, research and community service. Founded in 1912, Tennessee State University celebrated 100 years in Nashville during 2012. Visit the University online at tnstate.edu.