NASHVILLE, Tenn. (TSU News Service) – Turner Construction Company awarded three $15,000 scholarships for engineering students and will fund $65,000 to the department in Tuition Assistance Program grants to qualified students. TSU and Turner have partnered in efforts to support STEM students, and specifically those majoring in engineering. A check presentation and roundtable discussion were held to highlight the partnership.
More than 50 students attended along with TSU President Glenda Glover, executives from the company, and alumni in engineering. In addition to the scholarships, roundtable discussion focused on internships, career opportunities in the field of engineering and HBCU impact.
The three scholarship winners of Turner award are: Gregory Hobbs, Havilah Akachukwu and Ethiopine Choping.
Akachukwu, a junior from Nigeria majoring in Mechanical Engineering, said she is thankful for the awarded funds and thought the overall event was amazing.
“To be able to see people in the industry take out time from their busy schedules to be there, just to talk about ways in which we, the students in engineering could help ourselves was wonderful,” Akachukwu said. She looks forward to one day becoming a design engineer and thanked Turner for believing in the university as majority of the panelists were either HBCU or TSU graduates.
“For the efforts they have put into our school and the students, I am grateful. They were all lovely and tried their best to communicate and interact with every student present.” Choping, a civil engineering major from Alaska, was shocked when she was notified about the scholarship and mentioned how informative the event was.
“I learned that there are different paths to take to be successful and each path is unique,” Choping said. “As long as you’re putting in effort, you will get the results you want.”
Hobbs, an Architectural Engineering major from Alabama, said that he prayed about receiving the scholarship to help cut cost of his tuition.
“The Turner Company event was wonderful,” Hobbs said. “The speakers provided a lot of insight on making it through school and choosing the correct career path. They spoke on managing school, personal life, and mental health.” Hobbs said the panelist assured him how much TSU alumni take care of one another and appreciated the insight.
“I learned that TSU is a family,” Hobbs said. Everyone wants you to succeed and are willing to help you.”
Charles Stewart, Vice President, Diverse Recruiting and Outreach, said the program is about, “the development of the student, helping the university enhance their pipeline and develop their students to be prepared to step out in the communities where we work every day, and be able to work with companies like ours.”
TSU graduate Jimmie Jones, told the students that the foundation of being able to be his true self at the university is one of the reasons he is a superintendent at Turner now. “The biggest things I received from here (TSU) is the support from my peers.”
Dr. Catherine Armwood-Gordon, Interim Chair and Associate Professor for the Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, said having TSU and HBCU alumni as part of the panel was a great way to show representation.
“It allows students to relate and form relationships with people in the industry and company who at one point were exactly where they are now,” Armwood-Gordon said. “Allowing them to see the possibilities of their future with their degrees and understand that the time, commitment, and rigorousness of the degree will pay off in the end. The College of Engineering is grateful for Turner Construction Company investing in our students by providing scholarships and support to student activities and engagement.”
Along with Jones, panelist Don Hardin Jr., and the event moderator Susan Vanderbilt, are all TSU alumni. Vanderbilt is the executive director and owner of Entrée Savvy, LLC, while Hardin is the owner of Don Hardin Group, the firm that designed and constructed the National Museum of African American Music located downtown.
The panel also included Stewart, Valarie Franklin, a Senior Associate/Client Relationship Manager for Moody Nolan, and the companies Lead Estimator, Cerise Inganji.