Logo

TV sports journalism is in the picture on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU alumnus who will help usher in the SEC Network after producing at ESPN will be the guest on the next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.”

Lewis Harkness

Lewis Harkness

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Lewis Harkness will air from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, July 27, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org).

Harkness, a native of Harriman, Tennessee, graduated from MTSU in 1993 after working at the student television station. He began interning at WKRN-TV in Nashville, Tennessee, that same year and worked there for 18 years before becoming a producer of ESPN’s “Sportscenter.”

Beginning in August, Harkness will work for the Southeastern Conference’s new TV network, which will be located in the headquarters of the ESPNU network in Charlotte, North Carolina.

“I never really wanted to be in front of the camera,” said Harkness. “Probably the creative side of me is what drove me to be behind the scenes.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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

Physics/philosophy grad receives $5,000 honor society fellowship

At first glance, there might not seem to be any common ground between physics and philosophy.

However, those very different disciplines are comfortable educational territory to Robert Daniel Murphy.

“Not necessarily all philosophers are scientists, but I would argue that any scientist, and particularly physicist, that is worth his or her salt would have to be a philosopher,” Murphy said.

Robert Murphy

Robert Daniel Murphy

The Murfreesboro resident, who graduated May 10 with bachelor’s degrees in both majors, is one of the winners of a $5,000 national fellowship from Phi Kappa Phi honor society.

Only 51 superior students from across the country were chosen for the stipend, which is presented annually by the nation’s oldest, largest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines.

Murphy will put that $5,000 to use in the fall, when he begins his pursuit of a doctorate degree in physics at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

Rewards for academic excellence are nothing new to Murphy. He received MTSU’s highest award for an entering freshman, the Buchanan Fellowship, in 2010, and the national Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship in 2013.

“Daniel has outstanding academic skills and he has proven especially capable at applying classroom skills to real-world problems,” wrote Dr. William Robertson, a professor of physics at MTSU, in his recommendation letter.

Under Robertson’s tutelage, Murphy performed research at MTSU on a topic associated with an optical biosensor project.

Murphy said solving the issue after much more research hopefully could lead to a more sensitive fluorescence device for the medical profession.

“When I took my first physics class as a junior in high school, everything just clicked,” Murphy said.

Dr. Vic Montemayor, another MTSU physics professor, commended Murphy for his two years as president of the university’s Society of Physics Students chapter.

phi kappa phi logo web“He has the demeanor and confidence of a natural leader,” Montemayor wrote. “He also has what I think is a crucial characteristic of a successful leader: he puts the needs of others ahead of his own needs or desires.”

Murphy said it was not unusual for him to stay up until 2 or 3 a.m. with fellow physics students trying to decode how the universe behaves.

That keen intellect, however, is not limited to the lab. Dr. Ron Bombardi, chair of the MTSU Department of Philosophy, hails Murphy’s detailed dissections of the ideas that have boggled great thinkers for centuries.

“His analytical skills are formidable, comprehensive and well-developed; his intuitive faculties are equally impressive,” wrote Bombardi. “Rarely in the span of some 30 years of teaching at the undergraduate level have I encountered a student so profoundly committed to intellectual rigor.”

Murphy, whose father works at Bridgestone Firestone’s La Vergne, Tennessee, plant and whose mother works at the Tennessee Rehabilitation Center in Smyrna, Tennessee, expressed gratitude to his family and to Laura Clippard, undergraduate fellowships coordinator for the University Honors College, for supporting him in his education.

When considering Phi Kappa Phi’s motto, “Let the love of learning rule humanity,” Murphy said, “It’s not about power or money. It’s about helping others.”

To learn more about Phi Kappa Phi honor society, go to www.phikappaphi.org.

– Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU alumna shares tales of dog rescues on ‘MTSU On the Record’

An MTSU graduate who spends a lot of her spare time chasing dogs was the guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Miranda Caffey-Vogeler first aired July 7 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Miranda Caffey-Vogeler

Miranda Caffey-Vogeler

Caffey-Vogeler and her husband, Neil Vogeler, founded Short Mountain Dog Rescue in 2008 at their home, which they have moved from Short Mountain to a location near Dowelltown, Tennessee. To date, they have placed more than 120 dumped and abandoned dogs in homes with caring owners.

“A lot of times they get shot,” Caffey-Vogeler said of the discarded animals. “A lot of times they starve to death. What really spoke to me, and what really started this for me, is when we would see the dogs not want to leave the spot where they were dumped because they thought their owners were coming back.”

Caffey-Vogeler holds a bachelor’s degree in outdoor recreation from MTSU and works for Goodness Gracious Café and Catering in Readyville, Tennessee. Neil Vogeler holds an engineering degree from the University of Illinois and works at Cosma Die Technology in Smithville, Tennessee.

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the searchable “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

For more information, contact Gina Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

Alumni Summer College ‘students’ cram for history exam (+VIDEO)

Seventy-five former MTSU students returned to campus and special field trips as part of the seventh annual Alumni Summer College.

History and the Civil War provided the theme for this year’s summer college, held June 25-27.

From welcomes provided by university staff and administrators to a surprise visit by Abraham Lincoln impersonator Dennis Boggs of Nashville, the event was much anticipated by attendees, who turn it into a family and friends reunion.

“Everyone is excited to reunite with old friends,” said Alumni Relations assistant director Rhonda King. “It’s like a family reunion.”

First-time attendee Ann Waggoner of Tullahoma, Tennessee, who earned her master’s degree and specialist in education degrees in 1971 and ’94, respectively, said it had been a great experience.

“I’ve enjoyed meeting people — and a lot of people from Tullahoma are here,” she said.

King, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and Vice President for Advancement Joe Bales provided first-day welcomes. McPhee and Bales met the group at the Rutherford County Courthouse on the historic public square in downtown Murfreesboro.

They later visited the Stones River Battlefield before returning downtown for dinner.

Two of the highlights from Day 2 of Alumni Summer College were hearing presentations by author and historian Robert Hicks of Franklin, Tennessee, who wrote “The Widow of the South,” and Murfreesboro physician George Smith, who discussed the “13th United States Colored Troops Living History Association.”

The Friday, June 27, agenda included trips to Nashville to visit the Belle Meade Plantation and to Franklin to tour The Carter House and Carnton Plantation.

For more alumni events, visit http://mtalumni.com.

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

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses part of the group of 75 people attending the seventh annual Alumni Summer College June 25 in the second-floor courtroom at the Rutherford County Courthouse. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee addresses some of the 75 people attending the seventh annual Alumni Summer College June 25 in the second-floor courtroom at the Rutherford County Courthouse. (MTSU photos by Andy Heidt)

Following a surprise entrance, Dennis Boggs of Nashville, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, performs for the “students” attending the 2014 Alumni Summer College June 25 at the Rutherford County Courthouse’s second-floor courtroom.

Following a surprise entrance, Dennis Boggs of Nashville, an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, performs for the “students” attending the 2014 Alumni Summer College June 25 at the Rutherford County Courthouse’s second-floor courtroom.

MTSU grad’s new video adventure is aboard the E/V Nautilus (+VIDEO)

He’s focused his lens on the boulevards of Nashville and the streets of Florence, Italy, so the logical next step for newly minted MTSU grad Phillip Dixon of Goodlettsville, Tennessee, was underwater.

Phillip Dixon

Phillip Dixon

Dixon, who just received his bachelor’s degree in electronic media communication from MTSU in May, is currently aboard the Exploration Vehicle Nautilus, a 64-meter research vessel operated by the Ocean Exploration Trust, as a video intern on the 2014 expedition season in the Gulf of Mexico.

The ship is equipped with remotely operated vehicles, or ROVs, that can explore the sea floor and send back live video via satellite feeds for remote science education. There’s also a live studio on board the E/V Nautilus to allow interactive interviews, and Dixon was the subject of one Tuesday afternoon as the ship approached Gulfport, Mississippi.

“As soon as I found out about it, I didn’t waste any time applying for it,” Dixon said of the internship opportunity, where he joins longtime EMC professor Mary Nichols, a veteran member of the Nautilus’ video engineering crew.

“I’ve never been on a ship before, and I’m prone to motion sickness,” he explained. “The first day was pretty bad, but since then I’ve been fine. I enjoy being out here.”

While he’s aboard through July 5, Dixon’s tasks include installing, wiring and routing cameras and monitors all throughout the ship and operating the remote cameras on the ROVs.

Interns aboard Nautilus clearly “do much more than make tea and coffee and scrub the floor. They’re right up top in all the action,” said Nia Hâf Jones, the science communication fellow on the Nautilus and the marine awareness officer at North Wales Wildlife Trust, headquartered in Bangor, Gwynedd.

“I could leave this ship right now and have a bigger knowledge base than I ever had,” added Dixon, whose knowledge base already is quite extensive. He recently completed an internship at NewsChannel5 Network and worked with MTSU’s EMC Productions, where he most recently served as director for music event coverage.

Larry Meyer, right, director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center in Durham, New Hampshire, goes over the game plan for the cruise leg on board the E/V Nautilus with the Corps of Exploration. MTSU alumnus Phillip Dixon is listening second from left by the window. (Photo by the Ocean Exploration Trust)

Larry Meyer, right, director of the Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping/Joint Hydrographic Center in Durham, New Hampshire, goes over the game plan for the cruise leg on board the E/V Nautilus with the Corps of Exploration. MTSU alumnus Phillip Dixon is listening second from left by the window. (Photo by the Ocean Exploration Trust)

Dixon also directed “Streets of Florence,” a short documentary shot for an EMC study-abroad class that took the “Best Artistic Direction” prize at the 2013 ArtLightenment Film Festival and was screened at the 2014 Nashville Film Festival. He’s prepping it now for more festival entries as well as for possible public television broadcast.

“One of my classes at MTSU was video engineering — most schools don’t even offer that — and the teacher had a list of stuff that he said he needed to learn on his first job, and he used that to teach us,” Dixon said.

“Being on the Nautilus is great because you learn everything from top to bottom, from putting the camera in to operating it, so it’s a great importunity for anyone who wants to do video engineering.”

Dr. Mary Nichols

Dr. Mary Nichols

Professor Nichols echoed Dixon’s comments during an unexpected live appearance Tuesday evening, when Jones and another crew member, research assistant Mackellar Violich, convinced her to step from behind the camera and chat for a moment.

“I have a skill that’s useful out here, and there’s so much technology on this boat. I’m not the engineer who put it in, but I’m the grunt who … knows where all the bones are buried,” she joked of her duties on Nautilus. “It’s helpful that they don’t have to break somebody new in every time.

“Imagine all of this technology on a bouncing, bouncing, bouncing rowboat! There are thousands of cables back there, and they jiggle loose, and we have to go back there and figure out which one it is. We get it all figured out eventually.”

Nichols, a respected documentarian and video engineer, is retiring at the end of this academic year after 23 years with MTSU. She’s taught video production, media law and multi-cam truck production at the university and is in her 16th year of working with Nautilus expedition leader Dr. Robert Ballard, renowned for discovering the wreck of the Titanic as well as the German ship Bismarck.

One of the ship’s stops was of special interest to Dixon. This Nautilus Gulf of Mexico trip included dives on the wreck of the German U-boat U-2513 in the deep waters off southwest Florida known as the Dry Tortugas.

“My favorite experience so far was the U-boat yesterday (June 16), which also was the hardest day,” he said. “During the dive, the iris control on the video controls how bright it looks, and we wanted a certain level to get a good consistent picture. We had clouds going in and out, and I was having to constantly bring the light up or bring it down to show want we wanted!

“Shipwrecks and submarines underwater are really cool to me, though, so I was happy it was on my watch, even though it was a tough job. The thing for me is capturing great images, things that haven’t been seen before or might not be seen again.”

You can watch the Ocean Exploration Trust video from the Nautilus’ discovery of the U-2513 below.

 

 

You can learn more about the E/V Nautilus and its adventures, including live and archived videos, anytime at www.nautiluslive.org. You can learn more about MTSU’s Department of Electronic Media Communication at www.mtsu.edu/emc.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU alumna soars over nation’s capital in a Black Hawk helicopter

In her first semester at MTSU in 1998, she was the only African-American and the only woman in her aviation class.

Now First Lt. Demetria N. “Dina” Elosiebo is a rotary wing pilot for $10 million Army Black Hawk helicopters in the District of Columbia National Guard.

Army 1st Lt. Demetria N. Elosiebo, currently a platoon leader with D Company (Air Ambulance), 1-224th Aviation Regiment at Davison Army Airfield, Virginia, poses for a photo with a Black Hawk helicopter in March 2014. Elosiebo is a rotary wing pilot in the District of Columbia Army National Guard. (Photos by Army National Guard Staff Sgt. Mitch Miller)

Elosiebo, a platoon leader with an air ambulance unit in the D.C. area, flies two or three times each week and remains in a constant state of readiness. Her unit can hoist people from difficult-to-reach places with as little as one hour’s notice and cares for critically injured people en route to hospitals.

She’s the first African-American woman in her current post, but she prefers to focus on her work and all the men and women who’ve served before her.

“We’re always prepared to support civil authorities,” Elosiebo said. “We really value being able to support communities in the National Capital Region. It’s more of an honor to get to represent the District of Columbia.”

Being entrusted with Army Black Hawk helicopters is no small feat. Elosiebo’s recurring dream as a child was considerably less expensive than her current responsibility, but it was unattainable — flying with her siblings on her back, without an airplane or helicopter.

The Memphis Black Hawks, a group of former military pilots in Elosiebo’s hometown, gave her a glimpse of her real future by sending her skyward with a woman pilot when she was 11 or 12 years old. She also logged some flight time with the Civil Air Patrol and the Boy Scout Explorers.

Winning the Tennessee Board of Regents’ Otis Floyd Scholarship for outstanding high school scholars sealed her decision to attend MTSU. It paid for her books and tuition, and she worked at the Opryland Hotel to pay for everyday expenses.

Elosiebo said MTSU’s InFlight summer program was one of the important events of her life. She cited Dr. Paul Craig, an MTSU aerospace professor, as having an enormous positive influence on her.

“He was a good mentor for me and he had a personal impact on me,” said Elosiebo. “I greatly respect him.”

Craig said Elosiebo “was a terrific student and pilot during her time at MTSU, but I will remember her most for her leadership in the MTSU InFlight program. She inspired so many to go on to college and begin careers in aviation and many other fields. Dina is one of those students that we go into teaching for.”

After graduating in 2002, Elosiebo struggled to find just the right fit for her flying skills. She figured that for her, the military would provide a more stable career than the private sector.

“Civilian pilots often struggle at the very beginning in terms of livable income until they climb the food chain,” said Elosiebo. “Besides, as the oldest in the family, I always had a strong sense of duty.”

After a few stops and starts, she found her place in the D.C. National Guard in 2010 and became a UH-60 Black Hawk pilot in February 2014 at age 33.

Now that she’s flying high, Elosiebo is also paying tribute to the people who helped her realize her dreams by reaching out as they did.

“One of my primary missions in life is to mentor young people. If flying is your mission, almost anyone can do it.”

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Army 1st Lt. Demetria N. Elosiebo conducts preflight checks on a Black Hawk helicopter at Davison Army Airfield, Virginia, in March 2014.

 

Innovation ‘charges’ alumnus’ career on ‘MTSU On the Record’

A new MTSU graduate whose invention won third place at this year’s Hackeroo competition in Nashville was a guest on a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Kyle Dobson

Kyle Dobson

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Kyle Dobson originally aired June 9 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Dobson entered his senior electrical technology class project in Hackeroo, a May 10-11 contest aimed at creating new technology for the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. This year’s concert is slated for June 12-15 near Manchester, Tennessee.

For winning third place, Dobson received 30 business augmentation days with FLO {thinkery}, a Nashville-based think tank and business creator founded by entrepreneur Mark Montgomery. Dobson will work with a team there to develop his idea.

The Murfreesboro resident created a bicycle-powered direct current generator that will recharge a cell phone while the cyclist pedals. He created the device at a fraction of the cost of similar items that are commercially mass-produced.

Dobson, who graduated last month with a bachelor’s degree in engineering technology, said he tested his device successfully with a Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone, a Garvin Nuvi GPS unit and a Parallax Basic Stamp II microprocessor.

“I’ve always been pretty technically inclined,” Dobson said. “When I was really young, I would take stuff apart and try to put it back together.

“In grade school, I’d sit there and take apart my mechanical pencil just to see what was in it and put it back together.”

To listen to previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives here and here.

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

New MTSU alumnus Kyle Dobson, the guest on the June 9 edition of "MTSU On the Record," has created a bicycle-powered direct current generator that will recharge a cell phone while the cyclist pedals. The configuration is shown above.

New MTSU alumnus Kyle Dobson, the guest on the June 9 edition of “MTSU On the Record,” has created a bicycle-powered direct current generator that will recharge a cell phone while the cyclist pedals. The configuration is shown above.

 

Web giant Google taps MTSU computer science for new hires

Google Inc. hired MTSU computer science alumnus Nathan Reale, who will begin working at the Mountain View, California, headquarters in June. Reale is from Franklin, Tennessee. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Google Inc. hired MTSU computer science alumnus Nathan Reale, who will begin working at the Mountain View, California, headquarters in June. Reale is from Franklin, Tennessee. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

Nathan Reale and Matt Houglum are the latest alumni from MTSU and its computer science program to tap the career pipeline to Web service giant Google.

In April and May, respectively, the students-turned-alumni learned they had landed full-time positions with Google Inc., the American multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products. They began their careers at Google locations in California and Washington state in June.

Google logo72“It is very difficult to get hired at Google, and the fact that a major company like Google is hiring our students is indicative of the quality of the education being offered in the Department of Computer Science at MTSU,” said Chrisila Pettey, professor and department chair.

With 12 faculty members, 375 students and housed on the third floor of 113-year-old Kirksey Old Main, computer science flies under the radar compared to signature programs such as recording industry and aerospace, which is part of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences along with computer science.

Google hires register on everyone’s radar.

Reale, 24, of Franklin, Tennessee, and Houglum, 24, of Christiana, Tennessee, will be joining computer science alumni Collin Winter and Micah Chasteen as Google employees. Eldridge Alexander, a 2012 graduate from the College of Mass Communication, also works for Google in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Chasteen, who has worked for Google for two years, spoke to the computer science student organization in February.

“His topic was getting a job with IT companies, but mostly Google. I applied the next day,” said Reale, adding that “Google was my dream job from high school through college.”

Google Inc has hired Matt Houglum, who earned his master’s degree from MTSU in May. He will begin his new job at the Seattle, Washington, operations center in June.

Google Inc has hired Matt Houglum, who earned his master’s degree from MTSU in May. He will begin his new job at the Seattle, Washington, operations center in June.

Reale will work on Google projects at its Mountain View, California, headquarters outside San Francisco. He and Alexander also are former Buchanan Fellows and graduates of the University Honors College. Reale had a 4.0 GPA in grad school and 3.9 as an undergraduate, majoring in computer science and math.

Houglum will be an enterprise technical solutions engineer at Google’s Seattle operations, “solving technical problems people and companies have when they begin using Google products,” he said, admitting, too, it “has kind of been a dream job for me.”

At MTSU, Houglum participated on a student team that developed an Android mobile app for students to provide easy access to a wide variety of university information and, along with Reale, helped with student systems administration responsibilities as grad students.

Houglum said the MTSU student systems administration experience is what sold Google recruiters on him, and his advice to current students: Go to grad school.

Reale and Houglum earned their bachelor’s degrees at MTSU, too. Both participated in the MTSU ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) student chapter.

“They are all very talented computer scientists who are willing to spend the extra time it takes to stay ahead of the curve in a constantly changing field,” Pettey said.

The Google hires and the hiring of current graduate student Alex Williams by an Oxford research team in England are propelling computer science to a loftier status.

For more information about MTSU’s computer science program, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/csc/ or call 615-898-2397.

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

Chemistry professor earns 1st ATHENA Award; more alumni nominated

MTSU chemistry professor and WISTEM Center Director Judith Iriarte-Gross, right, receives the ATHENA International Leadership Award from Martha Mayhood Mertz, the organization's founder and speaker at the May 15 Rutherford ATHENA event at Stones River Country Club. (Photo by Cynthia Jones Photography)

MTSU chemistry professor and WISTEM Center Director Judith Iriarte-Gross, right, receives the ATHENA International Leadership Award from Martha Mayhood Mertz, the organization’s founder and speaker at the May 15 Rutherford ATHENA event at Stones River Country Club. (Photo by Cynthia Jones Photography)

MTSU chemistry professor Judith Iriarte-Gross found herself “totally surprised” when her name was announced as the inaugural recipient of the ATHENA International Leadership Award.

“There were 13 other wonderful, amazing nominees, and all of them deserved it,” said Iriarte-Gross, who was handed the “prestigious award” by Martha Mayhood Mertz, the ATHENA International Awards founder and event guest speaker.

The award, presented by RutherfordCABLE, a women-in-business networking organization, was the highlight of the May 15 event at Stones River Country Club.

Dr. Jean Anne Rogers, 2014 Rutherford ATHENA chair, called Iriarte-Gross “such a deserving recipient of our inaugural Rutherford ATHENA Award, and we salute her.”

MTSU’s June Anderson Center and National Women’s History Month Committee nominated Iriarte-Gross. She and the other nominees were recognized for their exceptional professional and personal leadership, accomplishments and contributions.

“I feel truly honored to receive this award,” said Iriarte-Gross, who has led the charge to make young women aware of careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM.

“My passion is to inspire girls to explore STEM, provide girls with role models and see these young women graduate as STEM professionals.”

Iriarte-Gross said women comprise less than 25 percent of the STEM workforce, and mentors can make a huge impact and difference.

“Without my mentors, I would not be a Ph.D. chemist,” she said.

Rogers said the honoree “has used her life story to give back” and “has been a strong advocate for girls, not only encouraging them to go to college, but also to major in nontraditional STEM fields.”

Mertz read the inscription on the back of the statuette, a signed and numbered piece of art: “What is honored in a country will be cultivated here.”

Iriarte-Gross helped plant another Expanding Your Horizons seed in Tennessee May 17. She and her husband, Charles Gross, traveled to Morristown for the first East Tennessee EYH Conference at Walters State Community College.

MTSU professor Judith Iriarte-Gross is shown in a chemistry lab in Wiser-Patten Science Hall. The 2013 MTSU President’s Silver Column Award recipient received the ATHENA International Leadership Award May 15. She and 13 other women were nominated for the honor. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

MTSU professor Judith Iriarte-Gross is shown in a chemistry lab in Wiser-Patten Science Hall. The 2013 MTSU President’s Silver Column Award recipient received the ATHENA International Leadership Award May 15. (MTSU file photo by Andy Heidt)

Iriarte-Gross was a February 2013 recipient of the President’s Silver Column Award, presented by MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. She has earned numerous other honors in her career.

Other nominees with MTSU connections included:

  • Faye Johnson, assistant for special initiatives to the MTSU provost and an MTSU alumna, nominated by the League of Women Voters of Murfreesboro and Rutherford County.
  • Ayne Cantrell, an alumna and professor emerita in English and teacher in women’s studies, who was nominated by the American Association of University Women of Murfreesboro, with whom she now works to bring attention to women’s rights.
  • Jacqueline Wade, retired associate professor of social work and lecturer in the African-American studies program and founder and president of Wade Educational Programming and Consultation Services, nominated by Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority, Pi Nu Omega Chapter.
  • Melanie Clifford Cavender, alumna and older adult coordinator for the Rutherford Community Family YMCA, which nominated her.
  • Tara MacDougall, CEO of Discovery Center at Murfree Spring, former marketing and development director for the Division of Continuing Studies and an alumna married to chemistry professor Preston MacDougall, nominated by RutherfordCABLE.
  • Meagan Flippin, an MTSU alumna and president and CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, nominated by the Junior League of Murfreesboro.
  • Lori Williams, 28-year employee and controller for Murfreesboro Electric Department and an MTSU alumna, nominated by Chi Omega fraternity.
  • Felicia Shirley, an MTSU alumna and Nissan North America Smyrna plant finance team member, nominated by Nissan Smyrna Women’s Business Synergy Team.

“We at the June Anderson Center and NWHM Committee are so proud of your well-deserved accomplishment,” Barbara Scales, director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, wrote in an email circulated across campus.

Scales also sent “best wishes” to Iriarte-Gross, an MTSU faculty member since 1996 and director of the MTSU WISTEM, or Women in STEM, Center, for Iriarte-Gross’ nomination by Provost Brad Bartel for the 2014 White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and National Science Foundation Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring.

The award will be announced later this year.

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

Alumni Relations plans summer of fun activities across state

AT&T Park is the home of the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a member of the Southern League. Alumni Relations will hold MTSU Night at the Chattanooga Lookouts starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday, May 1, in Chattanooga. (Submitted photo)

AT&T Park is the home of the Chattanooga Lookouts, the Double-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and a member of the Southern League. Alumni Relations will hold MTSU Night at the Chattanooga Lookouts starting at 6 p.m. ET Thursday, May 1, in Chattanooga. (Submitted photo)

The MTSU Alumni Association is planning a summer of fun for alumni and friends of the university.

Special alumni nights at baseball games being played across Tennessee in Chattanooga, Murfreesboro, Memphis, Nashville and Jackson and outings at Nashville Shores and Dollywood theme park in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, are scheduled.

Reservation details, including ticket prices for the various events, can be found at http://www.mtalumni.com/.

“We’ve lined up some great activities for our alumni and friends and their families,” said Paul Wydra, MTSU Alumni Relations assistant director.

“We’re pretty excited about the MTSU month at Dollywood,” Wydra added. “This is our first time to do that, and it’s a generous discount. We thought it would be really convenient that they could have any one day in the month of July to go.”

The complete schedule:

• 6 p.m. ET Thursday, May 1 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Night at the Chattanooga Lookouts, AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley, in Chattanooga. Gates open at 6; first pitch for Lookouts vs. Tennessee Smokies Class AA Southern League game will be at 7:15;

• 5 p.m. Friday, May 2 — Young Alumni tailgate at MTSU vs. Kent State, Reese Smith Jr. Stadium at the intersection of Faulkinberry Drive and Champion Way. First pitch: 6 p.m. Online code for young alumni 35 and under to receive $4 tickets: “TRUEBLUE;”

• 5 p.m. Saturday, June 7 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Night at the Memphis Redbirds, AutoZone Park, 200 Union Ave., in downtown Memphis. Gates open at 5 p.m.; first pitch for Redbirds vs. Nashville Sounds Class AAA Pacific Coast League game will be at 6:05. Deadline to register: Friday, May 23;

MTSU Alumni and Friends Month at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, will take place July 1-31, but you need to make online reservations for tickets by Friday, June 20. For more information, visit http://www.mtalumni.com/ or call 615-898-2919. (Photo from www.dollywood.com)

MTSU Alumni and Friends Month at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, will take place July 1-31, but you need to make online reservations for tickets by Friday, June 20. For more information, visit http://www.mtalumni.com/ or call 615-898-2919. (Photo from www.dollywood.com)

• 6:05 p.m. Friday, June 13 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Night with the Nashville Sounds, Herschel Greer Stadium, 534 Chestnut St., in Nashville. Gates open at 6:05 p.m. First pitch for Sounds vs. Tacoma Rainers Class AAA PCL game will be at 7:05;

• 6:05 p.m. Friday, July 11 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Night with the Jackson Generals, The Ballpark at Jackson, 4 Fun Place, just off Interstate 40 in Jackson. Gates open at 6:05; first pitch for the Generals vs. Birmingham Barons Class AA Southern League game will be at 7:05. Note: Admission to this game is free for alumni and friends and MTSU students wearing any MTSU apparel;

• 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday, July 25 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Day at Nashville Shores, 4001 Bell Road, Hermitage, Tennessee. Admission fees include entrance to the park and lunch. Make online reservations by Tuesday, July 15; and

• July 1-31 — MTSU Alumni and Friends Month at Dollywood, 2700 Dollywood Parks Blvd., Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. Discounted adult and children’s tickets must be purchased online, with a reservation deadline of Friday, June 20;

MT alumni logo webThe food at all four ballparks and Nashville Shores (a one-hour buffet from noon to 1 p.m.) will be all you can eat.

For more information, call 615-898-2922.

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