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Alumnus describes work as intern for first lady on ‘MTSU On the Record’

A budding political scientist who spent his last college semester working for first lady Michelle Obama will describe that experience on the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Davis Thompson will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 30, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Davis Thompson

Davis Thompson

Thompson, an Alamo, Tennessee, native who graduated in May with a bachelor’s degree in political science and a minor in journalism, worked as a White House intern during the spring 2015 semester.

He requested and received his internship assignment for the Office of the First Lady.

“I did a lot of news monitoring, monitoring her coverage, monitoring the coverage that she cares about,” said Thompson.

“Anytime there was an event, I would monitor that coverage as well. I did background research on people she would interact with in a public setting.”

The White House intern program aims to give young adults “an opportunity to develop their leadership skills and gain exposure to the public service sector,” according to www.whitehouse.gov.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

4 new sports greats will join Blue Raider Hall of Fame Oct. 17

The 2015 class of the Middle Tennessee State University Blue Raider Athletic Hall of Fame features four stars from the past, each rightfully earning the label “champion” during his playing days on campus.

Four new members of the Blue Raider Hall of Fame will be inducted Oct. 17 during a special ceremony at MTSU's Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building. The 2015 inductees are, clockwise from top left, golfer Brett Alexander, baseball player Josh Renick, track star Mardy Scales and football tailback KIppy Bayless. (Graphic courtesy of GoBlueRaiders.com)

Four new members of the Blue Raider Hall of Fame will be inducted Oct. 17 during a special ceremony at MTSU’s Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building. The 2015 inductees are, clockwise from top left, golfer Brett Alexander, baseball player Josh Renick, track star Mardy Scales and football tailback KIppy Bayless. (Graphic courtesy of GoBlueRaiders.com)

Standout tailback Kippy Bayless, stellar infielder/slugger Josh Renick, nationally ranked track star Mardy Scales and top golfer Brett Alexander comprise the 2015 class of Blue Raider athletes announced July 26.

Their induction ceremony is set for Saturday, Oct. 17, at the Kennon Sports Hall of Fame building on the MTSU campus, before the Blue Raiders’ football game with Florida International University.

This year’s group of honorees brings to 131 the number of former MTSU athletes, coaches, administrators and contributors in the Blue Raider Hall of Fame.

Kippy Bayless

Kippy Bayless

Bayless, one of former football head coach Boots Donnelly’s bevy of highly gifted running backs, proved to be an elite multi-purpose threat as he caught and carried the ball and returned kickoffs, amassing more than 4,000 total yards in his career from 1991 to 1994.

With this total, he ended his career ranked fifth all-time in total yards gained. On 16 occasions in his career, the Knoxville, Tennessee, native darted and dashed his way past the 100-yard mark.

Overall, Bayless helped the Blue Raiders win 32 games, earn an OVC title and three NCAA 1-AA playoff appearances in four seasons.

Josh Renick

Josh Renick

Renick spent two years with the Blue Raiders at the turn of the 21st century (2000-01) and quickly made his mark on the baseball diamond, helping MT to Ohio Valley and Sun Belt conference championships and two NCAA regional appearances.

An outstanding second baseman, batsman and base-stealer, the Sarasota, Florida, native was the Sun Belt Conference’s player of the year in 2001 as well as a third-team All-American that year.

He ended his career with a .381 batting average, ranking him third all-time in the Blue Raider record book. In that 2001 season, Renick batted a stunning .420, third highest in school history.

Scales has the distinction as the only Blue Raider trackman to win an NCAA sprints championship. In 2003, he sprinted to the 100-meter dash title in a blistering time of 10.25, earning one of his seven career All-American honors.

Brett Alexander

Brett Alexander

Mardy Scales

Mardy Scales

In that same 2003 NCAA championship meet, Scales earned a second All-America honor as a member of the third-place 4 x 100 relay team, which also set a school record.

The Franklin, Tennessee, native was honored as the SBC Athlete of the Year in 2003. During his Blue Raider career, Scales helped MT win three Sun Belt Conference indoor titles and one outdoor title.

During a three-year span in golfing (1998-2000), Alexander not only was named all-conference but also was named OVC golfer of the year after winning the individual low-medalist title in each conference championship tournament. He is the only conference golfer to ever be named the golfer of the year three times.

The Blue Raiders rallied around their top golfer each year and captured OVC team titles in 1998 and 2000 and a third-place finish in 1999. The 2000 Blue Raiders also earned an invitation to the NCAA East Regional and finished 18th.

In 2000, Alexander became the first Blue Raider golfer to be nationally ranked in NCAA Division 1 competition. He won six tournament titles for the Blue Raiders, a career total that ranks second in the school’s record book.

You can read a more detailed version of this story here.

— MTSU Athletics (goblueraiders.com)

REMINDER: Reserve tickets before Aug. 5 for MTSU Pigskin Pre-Game

The annual Pigskin Pre-Game will once again kick off the MTSU Blue Raiders football season, set this year for Saturday, Aug. 8.

A fundraiser for the Alumni Legacy Scholarship, the event will start at 6 p.m. Aug. 8 and will help serve as the grand opening for The Grove at Williamson Place. Tickets for the event are $35 each, and attendees should prepay and make ticket reservations by 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5.

MTSU Alumni Relations assistant director Paul Wydra uses a plastic tie to make an adjustment on the sign for this year's Pigskin Pre-Game, a prelude to the 2015 Blue Raiders football season. The event will be held starting at 6 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 8, at The Grove at Williamson Place, 3250 Wilkinson Pike in Murfreesboro, just off Medical Center Parkway across from Embassy Suites Hilton and near Interstate 24. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU Alumni Relations assistant director Paul Wydra uses a plastic tie to make an adjustment on the sign for the Saturday, Aug. 8, Pigskin Pre-Game, a prelude to the 2015 Blue Raiders football season. The event will be held starting at 6 p.m. at The Grove at Williamson Place. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

The Grove at Williamson Place is located at 3250 Wilkinson Pike in Murfreesboro, just off Medical Center Parkway across from Embassy Suites Hilton and near Interstate 24.

“We are happy to showcase The Grove at Williamson Place since it is a beautiful new venue in Murfreesboro in a great location, and Pigskin Pre-Game is their official grand opening for their terrific facility,” said Paul Wydra, assistant director in the Office of Alumni Relations.

The Grove at Williamson Place is operated by Brandon and Katherine Whitt. The couple are MTSU alumni and recipients of the 2014 national Young Farmers and Ranchers Achievement Award.

All proceeds from the Pigskin Pre-Game, which is presented by the MTSU Office of Alumni Relations and the MT Alumni Association, benefit the scholarship, which is awarded to children or grandchildren of MTSU alumni.

“We have awarded almost $30,000 in scholarships the last five years, largely because of the support we receive from the community, our outstanding sponsors and the MTSU faculty and staff for events like Pigskin Pre-Game every year,” Wydra said.

The admission price includes food from the Tennessee Pork Producers Association and The Blue Porch, adult beverages and soft drinks, entertainment, door prizes and more.

Free parking is located on-site. The event will be held rain or shine.

Sponsors include Stones River Total Beverages, Mayday Brewery, MTSU Vending Services and Pepsi Bottling Group.

For additional information about Pigskin Pre-Game, sponsorship opportunities or to reserve tickets, call 800-533-6878 or visit www.mtalumni.com.

Payment for tickets also can be mailed to the Office of Alumni Relations, MTSU Box 104, Murfreesboro TN 37132.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

2015 Pigskin postcard

Click here for more details and to register for the 2015 Pigskin Pre-Game.

Attendees go through the food line during the 2014 Pigskin Pre-Game event in Rockvale, Tenn., in this file photo The Grove at Williamson Place serves as this year's venue Saturday, Aug. 8. (MTSU file photo by Lynn Adams)

Attendees go through the food line during the 2014 Pigskin Pre-Game event in Rockvale, Tenn., in this file photo The Grove at Williamson Place serves as this year’s venue Saturday, Aug. 8. (MTSU file photo by Lynn Adams)

MTSU alumna wins $5,000 fellowship from national honor society

One bright MTSU graduate’s pathway to the stars is being paved with a major monetary boost.

Katelyn Stringer, who graduated from MTSU in May 2015 with a bachelor’s degree in physics, will use her $5,000 fellowship from the Phi Kappa Phi honor society to help finance her graduate degrees in astronomy at Texas A&M University.

Katelyn Stringer

Newly minted MTSU alumna Katelyn Stringer will use a $5,000 award from Phi Kappa Phi honor society to help fund her graduate education at Texas A&M University. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

“I was not expecting it at all,” Stringer said of her stipend. “It was such a nice surprise.”

Stringer’s academic excellence in high school resulted in a Buchanan Scholarship, which paid for her entire baccalaureate education at MTSU.

“We all know that college is expensive and I’ve been very fortunate … to have the Buchanan Fellowship,” said Stringer, “but I also really don’t have anything left over. So it’ll be really nice to have a … start on making a safety net for the future.”

Included in that economic “safety net” is a three-year diversity fellowship from Texas A&M, which Stringer said she will supplement with part-time teaching work and research grants.

Although she won’t become an official student at A&M until September, she began research July 6 to get a head start on the work to come.

The Lake Charles, Louisiana, native, who grew up in Smyrna, Tennessee, will study the properties of very old stars from a galaxy that was sucked into the Milky Way by gravity.

Last summer, on a visit to A&M’s McDonald Observatory, Stringer was allowed to climb inside a telescope while workers were installing a new secondary mirror.

“I put on these little goofy bootie-looking things over my shoes, and I climbed inside a 107-inch diameter telescope,” she said.

Ironically, Stringer admits to being “lost in space” when she first arrived at MTSU.

phi kappa phi logo web“I wouldn’t say that I was aimless, but I really didn’t have a concrete direction,” she said.

Stringer credits professors Eric Klumpe, Daniel Erenso and Charles Higgins and retired professor Vic Montemayor with inspiring her choice of astronomy.

“The more I learned, the more I grew to love it,” Stringer said.

She loved it so much that she served as president of the MTSU Astronomy Club from 2013 to 2015.

Stringer also credits Laura Clippard, a coordinator in the University Honors College, with helping her craft the application that convinced Phi Kappa Phi to award her the fellowship.

Phi Kappa Phi was founded in 1897 at the University of Maine to acknowledge and honor excellence in all academic disciplines. Its motto is “Philosophia Krateito Photon,” which is Greek for “let the love of learning rule humanity.”

“Having a committee of successful people look at my application and say, ‘Yes, we think she has potential,’ that’s an awesome pat on the back,” Stringer said.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Enterprising MTSU alumna shows good taste on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumna who found her career in cultural cuisine was the guest on a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Java Hemmat

Java Hemmat

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Java Hemmat, founder and owner of Hummus Chick, first aired July 13 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

hummus chick logo webHemmat, a native of the United Arab Emirates, founded Hummus Chick in May 2012. She created several different flavors of hummus, a Middle Eastern dip made from chickpeas, olive oil and other ingredients, which now are in 15 stores around the region.

Hummus Chick also makes tabouli, a dish of tomatoes, parsley, mint and bulgur wheat. Hemmat’s new line of blended spices will debut in stores this fall.

A recently naturalized American citizen, Hemmat moved to the United States in 1998 and relocated to Nashville in July 2003 after she graduated from MTSU with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I value that experience,” Hemmat said of her college education, “because I meet entrepreneurs all the time [who] don’t have a business education, and what I learned about 15 years ago, they’re just now learning today.”

For more information about Hummus Chick, go to www.ilovehummuschick.com or visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Hummuschick.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Stacks of containers of delicious hummus, prepared by MTSU alumna Java Hemmat's "Hummus Chick" company, await distribution to local outlets. (Photo courtesy of Java Hemmat)

Stacks of containers of delicious hummus, prepared by MTSU alumna Java Hemmat’s “Hummus Chick” company, await distribution to local outlets. (Photo courtesy of Java Hemmat)

Alumni discover science of MTSU at ‘Summer College’ [+VIDEO]

The largest turnout in the eight years of the MTSU Alumni Summer College performed “research” and “investigated” virtually everything science-related at MTSU.

Two days of exploring the Science Building, which opened in August 2014 and houses the biology and chemistry departments, research labs, offices and much more, prepared the 80 “alumni students” for their June 26 field trip to the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.

http://youtu.be/K0f9iYBrF74

In this year’s Alumni Summer College with the theme of “The Science Around Us,” the alumni and university friends learned more about MTSU’s 5-year-old unmanned aircraft systems operations through Doug Campbell, the aerospace department’s director of the UAS program.

A special highlight was hearing from Murfreesboro native Dr. Rhea Seddon and her husband, Robert “Hoot” Gibson, former astronauts who both are members of the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame. Seddon signed copies of her new book, “Go for Orbit.”

Louise Monefeldt, left, of Holtsville, New York, looks to see what variety of chocolate she will taste June 25 as Ann Nunley of Murfreesboro picks out her next sample in the Science Building's Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium. "The Science of Chocolate" was one of the course offerings during the eighth annual Alumni Summer College. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

Louise Monefeldt, left, of Holtsville, New York, looks to see what variety of chocolate she will taste June 25 as Ann Nunley of Murfreesboro picks out her next sample in the Science Building’s Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium. “The Science of Chocolate” was one of the course offerings during the eighth annual Alumni Summer College. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Drs. Don Morgan and Sandra Stevens shared information about the Aquatic Research and Rehabilitation Center featuring the underwater treadmill.

“Our participants have come from several different states,” said Rhonda King, an Office of Alumni Relations assistant director. “Our alumni and friends have come back to college for lots of fun classes, interactive sessions and a great field trip.”

The June 25 agenda also included:

  • “The Chemistry of Chocolate” presentation by chemistry professor and MTSU Women in STEM Center Director Judith Iriarte-Gross.
  • A tour of the Department of Engineering Technology, which houses a nationally recognized Experimental Vehicles Program.
  • Hearing firsthand from Chair Heather Brown about MTSU’s nationally recognized Concrete Industry Management Program.

For more alumni events, visit www.mtalumni.com. To learn about the 2016 Alumni Summer College, call 615-898-2922.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)

Alumni Summer College attendees laugh while listening to MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program Director Saeed Foroudastan, right, share about the success students are having in the program. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Alumni Summer College attendees listen to MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program Director Saeed Foroudastan, right, discuss the success students are having in the program. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Participants in MTSU's eighth annual Alumni Summer College field trip listen to a speaker at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, June 27. (MTSU photo by Michelle B. Stepp)

Participants in MTSU’s eighth annual Alumni Summer College field trip listen to a speaker at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, June 27. (MTSU photo by Michelle B. Stepp)

Scotts recognized for devotion to chemistry department [+VIDEO]

More than a half-century of devoted service and giving to the university at which they attended, worked and still love as alumni has come full circle for Dan and Margaret Scott.

MTSU honored the longtime contributors and Murfreesboro residents with the naming of the “Dr. Dan and Margaret Scott Chemistry Department Office” May 29 during a ceremony attended by dozens of supporters on the second floor of the Science Building’s Liz and Creighton Rhea Atrium.

MTSU officials said the Scotts were chosen because of their significant contributions of both time and money to MTSU and because of their impact on the university. Following the ceremony, a sign with their name was unveiled in the chemistry department’s office area on the third floor.

Dan and Margaret Scott, Murfreesboro residents, MTSU alumni and retired university faculty members in chemistry and the James E. Walker Library, respectively, unveil the sign placed in their honor on the third floor of the Science Building naming the “Dr. Dan and Margaret Scott Chemistry Department Office.” (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Murfreesboro residents Dan and Margaret Scott, MTSU alumni and retired university faculty members in chemistry and the James E. Walker Library, respectively, unveil the sign May 29 that was placed in their honor on the third floor of the Science Building naming the “Dr. Dan and Margaret Scott Chemistry Department Office.” (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Dan Scott served as department chair for 11 of his 37 years in higher education before retiring as professor emeritus in 1992. Margaret Scott retired as an associate professor in collection management – acquisitions in the James E. Walker Library in ’92.

“We are extremely grateful to Dr. Dan and Margaret for their service and many years of support to the university,” said Joe Bales, vice president for university advancement.

“Naming the department office is a fitting tribute to a couple who have given so much to MTSU, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the chemistry department.”

Joe Bales

Joe Bales

Dan Scott, a 1950 graduate of then Middle Tennessee State College, said he was very thankful for the recognition.

“It makes me think everything I did all 37 years was recognized,” he said. “It’s quite an honor, and I appreciate it and thank everybody involved. I just enjoyed my years at MTSU, and I tried to help in every way I can.”

Margaret Scott, who earned her bachelor and Master of Arts degrees from MTSU, said it is “an honor to be recognized for contributions we’ve made in the past.”

Former MTSU President Sam Ingram recognized the couple for their academic and philanthropic efforts and their friendship through the years.

“Here are two people that have given the better part of their productive careers helping MTSU become what it is today. And they’ve done it gladly, happily,” said Ingram, who led the university from 1979 to 1989. “They are both responsible people. You give them a job to do, then just get out of the way … and the job will be done.

“They’re student-oriented. They understand that higher ed is not about what the institution can do for faculty and administrators,” Ingram continued, “but whether or not it can achieve the mission it has, and that is to take students who are eligible to attend and give them the information, skills and knowledge they need to be more successful adults and human beings in life.”

From left to right, former MTSU President Sam Ingram, chemistry department Chair Greg Van Patten, Margaret and Dan Scott, and Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer pose for a photo following a ceremony honoring the Scotts’ contributions to the MTSU chemistry department through the years. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Former MTSU President Sam Ingram, left, chemistry department chair Greg Van Patten, Margaret and Dan Scott, and Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer pose for a photo following a May 29 ceremony honoring the Scotts’ contributions to the MTSU chemistry department through the years.

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer said the college “is grateful for the Scott family’s longtime generosity to the chemistry department and looks forward to continuing our relationship with them.”

“The unique combination of excellence and selfless service by our partners, like the Scott family, is what sets Middle Tennessee State University apart as a unique institution in America,” Fischer added.

Reflecting back on his university career, Dan Scott recalled that the former Soviet Union’s October 1957 Sputnik 1 launch pushed the U.S. government and the National Science Foundation to strengthen science education.

MTSC accelerated its science education efforts through NSF-funded grants.

Scott and his fellow faculty members moved into Davis Science Building in 1967; “Us old-timers still call it the ‘new science building,’” he said.

An alumnus and a retired department chairman and faculty member, he witnessed the opening of the $147 million Science Building last August. The Scotts assisted with the Department of Chemistry’s move-in expenses.

Both love the Blue Raiders. With season tickets, he attends all football, men’s and women’s basketball and baseball games. The Dan D. Scott Endowed Scholarship for chemistry majors was established in 2008.

Margaret Scott received the King-Hampton Award in 1993 for significant contributions to the advancement of women at MTSU. She is a member of the longstanding Dames Club and bridge and sewing groups.

“Margaret was a very kind mentor to me when I started at MTSU in 1984 and helped me to get involved both on and off-campus,” said Sharon Parente, Walker Library assistant professor. “I remember her being a member of numerous campus and civic organizations. She was highly professional and an excellent role model.”

In addition to MTSU administrators, staff and faculty, a number of Scott family members and friends attended the event. The Scotts have three children and four grandchildren.

Currently chaired by Dr. Greg Van Patten, the Department of Chemistry is one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences. Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/programs/chemistry.

— Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu) and Jimmy Hart (Jimmy.Hart@mtsu.edu)

http://youtu.be/HhVS_81TD04

Alumnus takes agricultural life abroad on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus who is trying to help drought-stricken farmers in India will be the guest on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Aaron Shew

Aaron Shew

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Aaron Shew will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, June 1, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, June 7, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ).

Shew, a Murfreesboro, Tennessee, native who graduated from MTSU in 2011 with bachelor’s degrees in global studies and international relations, has received a National Science Foundation graduate research fellowship as a doctoral student at the University of Arkansas.

The three-year grant will support Shew’s research into changing drought patterns across India and the implications for agriculture production and agrarian communities. Shew said his work will include several trips to India.

Aaron Shew, who graduated from MTSU in 2011, enjoys lunch with colleagues in Mazar, Afghanistan, in this file photo. Shew worked for SALT, a nonprofit organization, teaching the Kurdish people how to grow soybeans, and has received a three-year National Science Foundation research grant to help farmers in India. (photo submitted)

“I just spent a year in India studying Hindi,” Shew said. “For me, graduate school is research. It is a lot of data and computer work. But all of that, to me, seems useless if I can’t talk to the farmer on the ground and have some impact at that level.”

At MTSU, Shew received an MTSU study-abroad grant in 2008 and a critical languages scholarship in 2009 and 2010, as well as the Harry Horne International Relations Scholarship. While at MTSU, his studies took him to Thailand, Morocco, Sri Lanka, Mexico and India.

Upon graduating from MTSU, Shew worked for SALT International, a nonprofit organization that assists farmers in developing countries. He helped farmers in northern Iraq and Afghanistan learn how to grow and process soybeans.

In 2013, Shew received the Distinguished Doctoral Fellowship at the University of Arkansas to pursue a doctoral degree in environmental dynamics. He completed his master’s degree in geography, learning about the applications of geographic information systems in assessing food insecurity issues.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Study-abroad group honors fallen MTSU alumnus in Vietnam [+VIDEO]

Members of an MTSU study-abroad course remembered a fallen alumnus recently on the site where he gave his life during an infamous battle in the Vietnam War.

Dr. Derek Frisby

Dr. Derek Frisby

History professor Derek Frisby and a small group of students in his course, “Warfare and Public Memory in Vietnam,” visited Hill 937 in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley just days before American’s remembered fallen soldiers during Memorial Day observances.

It was nicknamed “Hamburger Hill” in the media for the seemingly futile nature of the assault by the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Fought May 10-20, 1969, the Battle of Hamburger Hill was a direct assault against what turned out to be a strategically insignificant hill heavily defended by the North Vietnamese. The result was more than 400 U.S. casualties and outrage back home.

“It was a major turning point in the war both militarily and politically,” said Frisby, whose course is taught through the MTSU College of Liberal Arts’ Global Studies and Cultural Geography program and the Office of International Affairs.

One of the soldiers who died in the battle was U.S. Army Spc. Jerry Michael Lovell, a 22-year-old from Shelbyville, Tennessee, who was killed May 18, 1969. Frisby and five students climbed the hill recently to pay tribute to Lovell, who attended MTSU in 1964.

http://youtu.be/pK26XgKChA4

“Students in this class do more than just learn about conflicts and culture, they experience it,” Frisby said. “I can tell you that during the arduous ascent of Hill 937 … everyone has a new found respect for those in the 101st Airborne who made that assault.”

According to Frisby, his course “is an interdisciplinary course comprised of students exploring warfare and culture from their major field of study as well as the long-term struggles for Indochina. The students travel alongside veterans to the war’s battlefields and historic sites and get firsthand accounts of the veterans experience during the war.”

The program’s goal is to broaden students’ perspectives on global warfare and conflict, and when possible, students visit the sites where MTSU alumni fell. To date, Frisby’s course has taken students to Iwo Jima, Peleliu, Guam, Western Europe and Vietnam. It will travel to Sicily and Italy in July.

This map shows the location of the Battle of Hamburger Hill during May 1969 on Hill 937 in Vietnam.

This map shows the location of the Battle of Hamburger Hill during May 1969 on Hill 937 in Vietnam.

This map shows the location of the Battle of Hamburger Hill during May 1969 on Hill 937 in Vietnam.

“We have taken over 150 students and members of the campus community to locations around the world to explore the connections between conflict and culture in the initiation, conduct and remembrance of warfare,” Frisby said.

He added that his course also attempts to make local connections by researching surviving and fallen veterans and visiting the places where they served. His class sometimes travels with veterans, particularly on the Vietnam excursions.

On several occasions, his groups have encountered the former enemy veterans and discussed their experiences as well. For example, his group again met a group of former North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong veterans at Khe Sanh this year.

“We do more than just learn about events in these programs, we experience the culture and history of these areas as well,” he said.

Any students, veterans or campus community members interested in participating can contact Frisby via email at Derek.Frisby@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU history professor Dr. Derek Frisby, at right holding sign, is leading a study-abroad group in Vietnam. From left to right, students Tim Chitpanya, Jonathan Essaff, Nathan Abelt, Frisby, and student Austin Duke pose for a photo on Hill 937, known as "Hamburger Hill" in Vietnam's A Shau Valley. MTSU alumnus Jerry Michael Lovell of Shelbyville, Tenn., was killed May 18, 1969, during the Battle of Hamburger Hill in which members of the U.S. Army's 101st Airborne Division assaulted the hill against stiff enemy resistance. Frisby said Lovell was killed about 800 meters behind where the group is standing. (MTSU photo by Sean Martin)

MTSU history professor Dr. Derek Frisby, at right holding sign, is leading a study-abroad group in Vietnam. From left to right, students Tim Chitpanya, Jonathan Essaff, Nathan Abelt, Frisby, and student Austin Duke pose for a photo on Hill 937, known as “Hamburger Hill” in Vietnam’s A Shau Valley. MTSU alumnus Jerry Michael Lovell of Shelbyville, Tennessee, was killed May 18, 1969, during the Battle of Hamburger Hill in which members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division assaulted the hill against stiff enemy resistance. Frisby said Lovell was killed about 800 meters behind where the group is standing. (MTSU photo by Sean Martin)

MTSU recognizes top mass comm alumni, students with honors

Top students past and present were the focus of MTSU’s College of Mass Communication April 24 awards ceremony as leaders added three prominent alumni to the college’s “Wall of Fame” and presented student scholarships and awards for this academic year.

Mass Comm logo croppedElectronic media communication alumnus Lewis Harkness, recording industry graduate Lacy Privette and journalism alumnus Jim Ridley joined 76 fellow mass communication leaders on the college’s Wall of Fame. Almost 100 current students also were recognized for their scholastic accomplishments.

The program for the celebration, which includes a complete list of all student honorees as well as full bios of the Wall of Fame inductees, is available here.

The Wall of Fame honor began in 2000 as a way to honor successful mass-communication graduates and inspire current students to continue working toward their goals. Each of the college’s three departments submits an honoree for consideration each year, and the Wall of Fame ceremony then becomes a part of the college’s annual awards day for students.

Lewis Harkness

Lewis Harkness

Harkness, currently a director for ESPN, began his broadcasting career during his senior year at MTSU, 1993, when he began working as an intern for WKRN-TV in Nashville. Since then, he’s won five Emmy Awards for his news, special events and technical direction.

The Harriman, Tennessee, native’s ESPN credits include “Sport Center,” “Mike and Mike,” “NBA Tonight,” “The Herd” and “SVP & Rusillo,” and in 2014 he directed the launch for ESPN’s new SEO Network in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he continues today.

Lacy Privette

Lacy Privette

Privette, a 1997 recording industry graduate, has spent most of his career with Yamaha Corp. of America, where he’s moved up the ranks from an award-winning district sales manager in the Pro Audio and Combo Division to serve as director of the company’s Steinberg North America department.

At Steinberg, Privette markets music production software, including Cubase 4, VST instruments, Nuendo and WaveLab, used in digital audio workstations and software synthesizers to clients in the United States and Canada from Yamaha’s Yorba Linda, California, offices.

JIm Ridley

JIm Ridley

Ridley, a Murfreesboro native who earned his MTSU journalism degree in 1989, was writing movie and book reviews for local newspapers even before he graduated high school. His talent led to a freelance film-reviewing job for the fledgling alternative weekly Nashville Scene and regular contributions to The Village Voice, L.A. Weekly, Variety and other publications.

The Scene soon brought Ridley on full time, where he rose to the positions of senior editor and managing editor before the publishers named him editor in 2009.

During the afternoon event inside MTSU’s James Union Building, MTSU’s School of Journalism also honored Sharon Fitzgerald with its top teaching award, the Ed Kimbrell Excellence in Teaching Award. Fitzgerald, a former reporter and public relations professional, has taught at MTSU since 1999.

One of the largest communication programs in the nation, the MTSU College of Mass Communication offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from journalism to digital media and media management to recording industry management — and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, visit www.mtsu.edu/masscomm.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)