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MTSU’s Keel among 2016 YWCA Women of Achievement honorees

NASHVILLE — MTSU recording industry chair Beverly Keel was recently named among the eight 2016 honorees for the YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Academy for Women of Achievement.

This is the 25th anniversary for the academy, which honors women who, through excellence and leadership in their chosen fields, serve as role models for other women, according to a YWCA news release.

Beverly Keel

Beverly Keel

This year’s honorees will be recognized at a special induction ceremony to be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 6, at the Omni Nashville Hotel, 250 5th Ave S. Proceeds will help fund YWCA programs and services.

YWCA Nashville logo“This year’s honorees have made and are continuing to make significant contributions to their community,” said AWA co-chairwoman Mary Winn Pilkington in a YWCA news release. “Middle Tennessee is a better place because of their inspiring work, and we are excited to honor them in October.”

A national advocate for women in music, Keel runs one of the oldest and most prestigious recording industry programs as the chairwoman of the Department of Recording Industry in MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment. She is also the co-founder of Change the Conversation, a coalition designed to fight inequality for women in country music.

Keel sits on the boards of The Women’s Fund, Music Makes Us and the Recording Academy. She serves as a writer for Parade magazine and a columnist for The Tennessean and has served as the Nashville correspondent for People magazine.

In 2015, the MTSU alumna was inducted into the Metro Nashville Public Schools Hall of Fame and was recently named one of the Nashville Business Journals’ Women in Music City Award winners for the third consecutive year.

“This is one of the biggest honors of my career and I am thrilled to be included in such a prestigious and inspiring group of women,” Keel said of the YWCA award. “It is also special to be honored by the YWCA because this organization does such important work on behalf of women and families.”

Other 2016 AWA honorees are:

  • Megan Barry, mayor of Nashville;
  • Katherine Brown,president and founder, Learn CPR America;
  • Marilyn Dubree,executive chief nursing officer at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for clinical practice at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing;
  • Claire Gulmi, executive vice president and CFO, AmSurg;
  • Cordia Harrington, founder and CEO, The Bakery Cos.;
  • Sharon Hurt, Metro Nashville councilwoman at-large and founder and CEO, Jefferson St. United Merchants Partnership (JUMP);
  • Aleta Trauger,U.S. District Court judge for the Middle District of Tennessee;
The 2016 YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Academy for Women of Achievement honorees are, from left to right, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry; Claire Gulmi, CFO, AmSurg; Katherine Brown, Learn CPR America; U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger; Beverly Keel, MTSU; Marilyn Dubree, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Cordia Harrington, The Bakery Cos.; and Sharon Hurt, Metro Nashville councilwoman at-large. (Photo courtesy of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee)

The 2016 YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee’s Academy for Women of Achievement honorees are, from left to right, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry; Claire Gulmi, AmSurg; Katherine Brown, Learn CPR America; U.S. District Court Judge Aleta Trauger; Beverly Keel, MTSU; Marilyn Dubree, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; Cordia Harrington, The Bakery Cos.; and Sharon Hurt, Metro Nashville councilwoman at-large. (Photo courtesy of YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee)

The academy was launched locally in 1992 by YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee, and it is being presented for the 11th year by First Tennessee, the release states. This year’s recipients join 143 other women who hold this honor.

The judging committee, composed of business and community leaders, chose the honorees from an exceptional list of nominees.

YWCA Nashville & Middle Tennessee is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all. For more information about the YWCA or the event, including ticket details, visit http://bit.ly/1AG2tQc or call 615-983-5146.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Alumnus tells Vietnam story in new book on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The story of a Vietnam War veteran who was thrust into some of the bloodiest battles of the conflict was the subject of a recent “MTSU On the Record.”

Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU alumnus J.L. “Bud” Alley first aired June 20 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

J.L. Alley

J.L. Alley

Alley book cover web Alley, who earned a master’s degree in history from MTSU in 2011, is author of “The Ghosts of the Green Grass,” a chronicle of his experience as communication officer for the 2nd Battalion of the U.S. Army’s 7th Cavalry Division during the Vietnam War.

He graduated from Furman University with a bachelor’s degree in biology and was commissioned into the Army in 1964 as a second lieutenant.

Among his honors are the Combat Infantryman’s Badge, the Silver Star, the Bronze Star, the Purple Heart, the Air Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Presidential Unit Citation.

Alley said the “ghosts of the green grass” are the psychological aftereffects of the fierce fighting he experienced in the jungles of Vietnam.

“For 25 years, I slept with the light on,” Alley said. “I was afraid of the dark.

“I was very fortunate. I had a very perceptive doctor who recognized I might be having some issues other than generally described medical conditions.”

You can learn more about the book at Alley’s website, www.theghostsofthegreengrass.com.

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.

https://youtu.be/MBUMtk5ZBRo

Summer activities heat up across Tennessee for MTSU alumni

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

MTSU alumnus and Memphis native Justin Nelson plays the Mayor of Munchkin City in the musical theatre production of "The Wizard of Oz" June 16 in Memphis. (Photo from www.justingnelson.com)

MTSU alumnus and Memphis native Justin Nelson plays the Mayor of Munchkin City in the musical theater production of “The Wizard of Oz” June 16 in Memphis. (Photo from www.justingnelson.com)

Events will include:

  • Alumni Night in Memphis, Tennessee, starting at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, June 16, for the musical theater performance of “The Wizard of Oz” featuring alumnus Justin Nelson (Class of 2011). Nelson, a Memphis native, plays the role of the Mayor of Munchkin City.
  • An alumni mixer at Silky O’Sullivan’s from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, June 17, at 183 Beale St. in Memphis.
  • Special alumni nights at baseball games being played in Nashville — the Sounds versus the Omaha Storm Chasers — at 6:05 p.m. Saturday, June 25, at First Tennessee Park, 19 Junior Gilliam Way, and in Chattanooga at 6 p.m. Saturday, July 16, at AT&T Field, 201 Power Alley, as the Lookouts play the Mobile Bay Bears.
  • Outings at Nashville Shores at 10 a.m. Friday, July 8, and Dollywood/Splash Country in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, are scheduled. Discounted tickets for Dollywood/Splash Park can be used any day in July, but must be purchased by Saturday, June 25.
  • The annual Pigskin Pre-Game from 6 to 10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 27, at The Grove at Williamson Place, 3250 Williamson Pike, Murfreesboro.

Dollywood-graphic72Reservation details, including ticket prices for the various events, can be found at www.mtalumni.com.

“We love to organize events that are family-friendly and fun for our alumni, friends and families,” said Paul Wydra, MTSU alumni relations assistant director

“We have had great past success with these events, and this year we were able to add Dollywood/Splash Country as well, and the savings from a buying-at-the-door ticket is great,” he added.

“Last year we had 175 people at our Nashville Sounds event and more than 50 at Nashville Shores, so we are happy that people love to take advantage of these great opportunities.”

For more information, call 615-898-2922.

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

MTSU alumni and friends can catch the Chattanooga Lookouts playing the Mobile Bay Bears Saturday, July 16, at AT&T Field. (File photo from www.lookouts.com)

MTSU alumni and friends can catch the Chattanooga Lookouts playing the Mobile Bay Bears Saturday, July 16, at AT&T Field. (File photo from www.lookouts.com)

Alumna lands role as MTSU undergraduate recruiting director

It did not take long for Florida transplant Linda Olsen to make a major impact as a new leader in the MTSU Office of Admissions.

Just weeks after starting her job as director of undergraduate recruitment, Olsen attended a local community function. Murfreesboro resident and MTSU alumnus Don Witherspoon (Class of 1964) also was in attendance.

Friends Fady Abdelnour, left, 18, and Mary Sadek, right, 19, both of Nashville and Glencliff High School graduates, visit with Linda Olsen, the new director of undergraduate recruitment at MTSU during CUSTOMS freshman orientation June 1 in Tucker Theatre. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Friends Fady Abdelnour, left, 18, and Mary Sadek, right, 19, both of Nashville and Glencliff High School graduates, visit with Linda Olsen, the new director of undergraduate recruitment at MTSU during CUSTOMS freshman orientation June 1 in Tucker Theatre. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Witherspoon, the National Alumni Association vice president, introduced a graduating high school student planning to attend another university to Olsen, who then invited the student to visit MTSU the following week.

“After coming to campus and meeting with faculty and administrators, the young lady has decided MTSU is the best place for her,” Olsen said. “She is now committed to her hometown university.”

For Witherspoon, who will replace 2015-16 National Alumni Association President Tony Beard July 1, “it was one of the more gratifying things I’ve seen in my years as an MTSU alumnus,” he said.

“It was tremendous they (MTSU) were willing to do that and provide an opportunity for somebody who is very deserving,” Witherspoon added.

“Don is an alumnus and community member, and it was his guidance along with everyone working together to bring a student to the university,” Olsen said.

Dr. Laurie Witherow

Dr. Laurie Witherow

Dr. Laurie Witherow, associate vice provost for undergraduate recruitment, said MTSU “is delighted to welcome home one of our alumni to lead our efforts in recruiting outstanding students to our university.”

“Linda brings a love and appreciation for MTSU and for the students we serve,” Witherow added. “We are as excited to have her as she is to be with us. Linda is a great example of what it means to be True Blue.”

A 1998 graduate with a master’s degree in school counseling, Olsen said MTSU “has a sense of a small school with a feel of family.”

“Under President (Sidney A.) McPhee’s leadership, there’s an overall culture of caring for each student that includes every member of the community, both on and off campus, supporting students toward success,” she said.

Olsen comes to MTSU from Melbourne, Florida, where she was collegewide director of admissions and advising for Eastern Florida State College.

The first major event under Olsen’s leadership will be the Saturday, June 4, MTSU Preview Day on the MTSU campus. Admissions, housing, academic departments and more will be on hand to provide information, answer questions and host hundreds of prospective students and their families.

“I’m excited about the potential for building an outstanding future class of outstanding students,” Olsen said. “We have an enthusiastic team of energetic admissions professionals who are ready for the upcoming fall, and the opportunity to show students what a great place MTSU can be for them.”

Olsen is completing her doctorate in higher education leadership and policy studies with the University of Central Florida. Her children include a son Randy, who lives in Portland, Oregon; and a son, Robert, and daughter, Rachel, have also moved to Murfreesboro and plan to eventually enroll at MTSU.

Linda Olsen is the daughter of Dr. Jim Calder, a professor emeritus in elementary and special education in the MTSU College of Education, and Beverly Calder, an adjunct supervising MTSU student teachers.

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

Alumna shares gender identity transition story on ‘MTSU On the Record’

The timely topic of transgender rights was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Morgan Hunlen

Morgan Hunlen

Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU alumna Morgan Hunlen first aired May 30 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation below.

Hunlen, who graduated May 7 with a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace and with honors from MTSU’s University Honors College, majored in the professional pilot program and minored in Japanese. She was born male and began her transition to becoming a woman while still an MTSU student.

This sign marks one of MTSU's all-gender/family restrooms on campus, available for students, faculty, staff and guests. In 2001, MTSU became the first public college or university in Tennessee to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. MTSU added gender identity to that policy in 2009.

This sign marks one of MTSU’s all-gender/family restrooms on campus, available for students, faculty, staff and guests. In 2001, MTSU became the first public college or university in Tennessee to include sexual orientation in its nondiscrimination policy. MTSU added gender identity to that policy in 2009.

In the interview, Hunlen offers her reaction to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s May 9 announcement to challenge a North Carolina law that requires people to use public restrooms according to their sex at birth.

“This is a case that is now going to have national implications for all the bathroom laws … across the nation,” said Hunlen.

“I feel like a victory, at this stage, could pave the way for more trans-inclusive policies to come down the pipeline, either from Congress or from our courts.”

On the upcoming radio show, Hunlen also discusses the impact of the gay rights movement on transgender rights and her personal gender identity journey.

Another member of the MTSU community, history professor Dr. Marisa Richmond, was confirmed as a member of the Metro Human Rights Commission by a unanimous voice vote May 19.

Nashville Mayor Megan Barry appointed Richmond, making her the first transgender person in the state named to a local government board or commission, according to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

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.

https://youtu.be/JaK0eMsXTFo

MTSU alumnus Haston honored by Boy Scouts’ regional council

The Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America recently recognized U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, an MTSU alumnus, as its 2015 Class of Eagle Scouts honoree.

Since 2010, Haston has served as Tennessee’s 75th adjutant general, making him responsible for supervising the Tennessee Department of Military that includes the Army National Guard, Air National Guard, Tennessee Emergency Management Agency and Tennessee State Guard.

Maj. Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, Tennessee's adjutant general and an MTSU alumnus, is recognized April 24 in Nashville as the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America's 2015 Class of Eagle Scouts honoree. Shown from left to right, are Haston's wife, Anne Haston; Haston; J.B. Baker, 2015 president of the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, also an MTSU alumnus; and Larry Brown, an executive with Middle TN Council BSA Scout Executive. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Carden)

Maj. Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, center, Tennessee’s adjutant general and an MTSU alumnus, is recognized April 24 in Nashville as the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America’s 2015 Class of Eagle Scouts honoree. Shown from left to right, are Haston’s wife, Anne Haston; Haston; J.B. Baker, 2015 president of the Middle Tennessee Council of the Boy Scouts of America, also an MTSU alumnus; and Larry Brown, an executive with Middle TN Council BSA Scout Executive. (Photo courtesy of Christopher Carden)

The rank of Eagle Scout is the highest achievement in the Boy Scouts and requires completion of 21 merit badges and an in-depth project, which must be planned and carried out by the scout.

During 2015, the Middle Tennessee Council awarded 361 Eagle Scout ranks, an award earned only by 4 percent of all scouts nationwide, according to a news release from the Middle Tennessee Council.

“Haston represents the ideals of being an Eagle Scout, in his work life and personal life as well,” the release states.

After addressing this year’s Eagle Scout class, the scouts stood and saluted Haston, who was in the Boy Scouts as a youth in McMinnville, Tennessee.

He attained the rank of Life Scout with Troops 120 and 37 and was an explorer scout and a member of the Order of the Arrow, the release states. During his time in scouting, he earned the God and Country and Good Turn Awards.

Haston graduated from MTSU (Class of ’79), where he also completed the university’s ROTC program, which led him into his career with the National Guard.

As an adult, he provided assistance to the Great Smoky Mountain Council of the Boy Scouts in Knoxville, Tennessee, as a merit badge counselor and eagle board member.

Haston also served as the chairman of the 2010 100th anniversary of the Council Jamboree, which had over 14,000 in attendance, and as as 2014 Council Jamboree chair. He and his wife, Anne, have a son, Travis, who also is an Eagle Scout.

[WATCH] MTSU holds inaugural College of Graduate Studies commencement ceremony

MTSU held its inaugural College of Graduate Studies commencement ceremony Friday, May 6, at Murphy Center. The afternoon ceremony saw 349 students presented with graduate degrees, including 316 master’s candidates, 16 education-specialist degree recipients and 17 doctoral candidates. Four graduate students also received graduate certificates. Dr. Carroll Van West, director of the MTSU Center for Historic Preservation and Tennessee’s state historian, served as graduate commencement speaker. Noting that MTSU has been conferring master’s degrees since 1952 and doctorates since 1970, university President Sidney A. McPhee said this first-time ceremony for graduate students, independent of MTSU’s undergrad event, reinforces the importance of the university’s mission. Here’s a recap:

http://youtu.be/wYCD0-j1jBc

Read the full story here.

Video by Jimmy Hart

Ninth Alumni Summer College offers attendees ‘Food for Thought’

For former MTSU students and university friends planning to attend the ninth Alumni Summer College in June, the best advice is to come hungry and hurry before the class fills up.

Alumni Summer College graphic

Click on the image for registration information.

The deadline to register is Friday, May 20, but space is very limited, and Rhonda King, alumni relations assistant director, is urging “students” not to wait too late.

This year, the theme is “Food for Thought” — a tasty sampler of production, preparation and consumption of what we eat. Field trips for the 2016 event, which will be held June 22-24, include:

  • The Grove at Williamson Place, owned and operated by alumni John L. (Class of 1974) and Melissa (’75) Batey and Brandon (’02) and Katherine (’01) Batey Whitt at Batey Farms in the Blackman community, located west of Murfreesboro.
  • Cracker Barrel headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee, where class members will see behind-the-scenes at one of America’s favorite restaurants.
  • Goodness Gracious at the Mill in Readyville, Tennessee, where owner Karen Ford and alumna daughter Danielle Worrell (’04) will discuss their catering and restaurant business.
  • Short Mountain Distillery in Cannon County, where owner Billy Kaufman will introduce attendees to moonshiners from yesteryear.

Hosted by the Office of Alumni Relations, Alumni Summer College has become an annual tradition for bringing alumni and university friends back to campus for fun and “edutainment,” as King calls it.

Short Mountain Distillery near Woodbury, Tennessee, has become internationally recognized in only five years’ time. MTSU Alumni Summer College attendees will meet local legends of moonshine from another era. (Photo from shortmountaindistillery.com)

Short Mountain Distillery near Woodbury, Tennessee, has become internationally recognized in only five years’ time. MTSU Alumni Summer College attendees will meet local legends of moonshine from another era. (Photo courtesy ShortMountainDistillery.com)

Tuition is $250 per person, which includes the classes, field trips, tour admissions, meals and coach bus travel. To learn more, visit www.mtalumni.com or call Alumni Relations at 615-898-2922.

“Alumni Summer College is a highlight of the attendees’ summer,” King said. “It feels like a summer camp atmosphere. My favorite thing is getting to be a part of the relationships built among class members.

“Alumni Summer College is so much more than going to class. You get to share a camaraderie with fellow Blue Raiders. It provides an insider’s view of things not only going on at the university, but with fields and industry surrounding the theme.”

Dr. Doug Winborn, chair of the MTSU Health and Human Performance department, will help kick off the class schedule with “The 12 Primary Ingredients of Health.”

MTSU Alumni Summer College participants will visit the décor warehouse during their field trip to Cracker Barrel corporate headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo from crackerbarrel.com)

MTSU Alumni Summer College participants will visit the décor warehouse during their field trip to Cracker Barrel corporate headquarters in Lebanon, Tennessee. (Photo courtesy CrackerBarrel.com)

King said Winborn will share how “feeding your mind, body and spirit are essential to produce a happy and healthy outlook.”

MTSU alumna Tammy Algood of Smyrna, Tennessee, one of the top nutritionists in Tennessee and cookbook and magazine author, will deliver “Grandmother’s Sunday Dinner … Millennial Style (and Minus the Lard for Cooking Fried Chicken)” in another class.

The Tennessee Department of Agriculture’s spokeswoman for its Pick Tennessee Products campaign earned her master’s degree in education from MTSU in 1994.

A third class features Dr. Tony Johnston from the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience bringing “Sizzling Issues in Food Production.”

His segment will feature how to stay safe and healthy when eating prepared foods such as ice cream and in restaurants.

One other field trip will feature the Lane Agri-Park for the Rutherford County Farmers Market, where participants can see, shop and meet vendors from more than 20 Middle Tennessee counties.

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

Weather software donation will boost students’ job edge

This fall, Middle Tennessee State University’s aerospace students will have the unique opportunity to use an aviation operations management solution, WSI Fusion, in their simulation lab.

MTSU is the first Ab initio (beginning) training program to have access to this product and students will graduate with a competitive advantage not offered at other aviation schools, officials said.

MTSU offers an April 21 thank-you to Southwest Airlines and The Weather Company for a sizable gift in the form of WSI Fusion weather software that will be utilized in the aerospace department's NASA FOCUS Lab in the Business and Aerospace Building. From left are MTSU associate professor Andrea Georgiou; Southwest employees and MTSU alumni Larry Schadle, Capt. Ken Hamilton and Whitney Dix; and MTSU Provost Brad Bartel, College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, interim aerospace chair Wendy Beckman and MTSU senior Evan Lester. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

MTSU offers an April 21 thank-you to Southwest Airlines and The Weather Company for a sizable gift in the form of WSI Fusion weather software that will be utilized in the aerospace department’s NASA FOCUS Lab in the Business and Aerospace Building. From left are MTSU associate professor Andrea Georgiou; Southwest employees and MTSU alumni Larry Schadle, Capt. Ken Hamilton and Whitney Dix; and MTSU Provost Brad Bartel, College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, interim aerospace chair Wendy Beckman and MTSU senior Evan Lester. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

The College of Basic and Applied Sciences’ Department of Aerospace secured the donation of WSI Fusion from The Weather Company, an IBM Business, through an ongoing partnership with Southwest Airlines.

Southwest Airlines is a sponsor of MTSU’s NASA Flight Operations Center-Unified Simulation Lab, or FOCUS, which trains students in real-life scenarios, and provides a unique opportunity for seniors to learn how to work as a team to safely and efficiently run a virtual airline.

Weather plays a critical role in aviation, and this state-of-the-art software, which also is used by Southwest Airlines will prepare and equip MTSU students for their future careers in aviation.

WSI Fusion is an advanced, proactive flight monitoring application that fuses public and proprietary weather information with real-time flight and airspace data into one common view and facilitates timely communication directly with aircraft. This allows users to leverage big data and feel more confident about operational decision-making.

In the midst of an April 21 aerospace career fair in the Business and Aerospace Building’s first-floor south lobby, MTSU officials took time to say “thank you” to their industry partners.

MTSU aerospace logo

“This is an amazing opportunity for our students to gain familiarity with airline weather and dispatching software,” said associate professor Andrea Georgiou, who helped the department arrange the donation.

“MTSU aerospace students will have a major advantage over other college applicants when applying to the airlines. Students can put this on their cover letters and resumes that they’ve had this training”

Provost Brad Bartel called it a coup for Georgiou, the department and the students who will benefit from the advanced technology.

TWCo-IBM-Logo-Lockups“We already feature one of the top aerospace programs in the country,” Bartel said. “This weather software donation will take our students to another level in terms of career advances and opportunities. They already will be trained in the industry’s most sophisticated software.”

Interim aerospace department chair Wendy Beckman said that “exposure to this product during their capstone experience will be a significant advantage to all aerospace students as they begin their professional careers.

“Our flight dispatch students in particular will benefit from familiarity with the software package as they apply for jobs,” she added. “We are very appreciative of Southwest Airlines and The Weather Company for allowing our students this opportunity.”

Southwest72MTSU alumni with ties to Southwest attending included Capt. Ken Hamilton (Class of 1992, ’93), Larry Schadle (Class of ’92, ’93) and Whitney Dix (Class of 1999), all of whom helped secure the gift and have roles in the MTSU-Southwest relationship.

Georgiou attended a five-week dispatch training session offered by Southwest in 2015. After establishing a rapport with Southwest officials, Georgiou invited them to visit MTSU’s facilities.

“They came and saw the FOCUS lab and were really impressed with it,” she said. “They saw a platform with weather and wanted to improve the lab.”

The NASA FOCUS Lab emerged from a 2010 grant obtained by professor Paul Craig.

In the lab, students from all six aerospace concentrations must work together to solve issues that arise during their study shifts. To ensure the highest level of realism, aerospace and psychology faculty and graduate and undergraduate students monitor the simulations, implement real-world problems and disruptions, and conduct debriefings.

Georgiou will visit Southwest Airlines in early June for software training with senior Evan Lester, who oversees the NASA FOCUS Lab, is graduating May 7 and will return as a graduate student. The Weather Company and Southwest officials will return to campus later to view the product in use.

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

MTSU senior aerospace major Evan Lester calls up The Weather Company's WSI Fusion weather software that students will begin utilizing in the fall. Lester, who graduates in May, will return as a graduate student and continue overseeing the NASA FOCUS Lab.

MTSU senior aerospace major Evan Lester calls up The Weather Company’s WSI Fusion weather software that students will begin utilizing in the fall. Lester, who graduates in May, will return as a graduate student and continue overseeing the NASA FOCUS Lab.

Alumni from Southwest Airlines are shown with MTSU aerospace department staff and NASA FOCUS Lab representatives during a visit to campus April 21. From left are aerospace professor Paul Craig; psychology professor Glenn Littlepage; alumni and Southwest representatives Larry Schadle, Capt. Ken Hamilton and Whitney Dix; aerospace associate professor Gerry Hill; interim aerospace chair Wendy Beckman; aerospace assistant professor Andrea Georgiou; and senior Evan Lester, who oversees the NASA FOCUS Lab.

Alumni from Southwest Airlines are shown with MTSU aerospace department staff and NASA FOCUS Lab representatives during a visit to campus April 21. From left are aerospace professor Paul Craig; psychology professor Glenn Littlepage; alumni and Southwest representatives Larry Schadle, Capt. Ken Hamilton and Whitney Dix; aerospace associate professor Gerry Hill; interim aerospace chair Wendy Beckman; aerospace assistant professor Andrea Georgiou; and senior Evan Lester, who oversees the NASA FOCUS Lab.

Traveling alumnus aims high as MTSU’s 14th Fulbright scholar

Studying abroad, learning new languages and volunteering with refugees helped convince 2015 MTSU graduate Dalton Lauderback, the university’s latest recipient of a Fulbright Award, of the importance of being a “globally engaged citizen.”

MTSU’s 14th Fulbright recipient, 2015 alumnus Dalton Lauderback will be an English teaching assistant in Germany during the 2016-17 school year. (Submitted photo)

MTSU’s 14th Fulbright recipient, 2015 alumnus Dalton Lauderback, will be an English teaching assistant in Germany during the 2016-17 school year. (Submitted photo)

The Fulbright U.S. Student Program sends students, young professionals and artists to teach and/or conduct research for up to a year in other countries.

Lauderback, the 14th MTSU Fulbright recipient in the last seven years, will serve as an English teaching assistant in Sachsen, Germany, during the 2016-17 school year. You can see a list of past and present Fulbright recipients at www.mtsu.edu/honors/FULBRIGHT.php.

After graduating in 2015 with a double major in global studies and political science, along with minors in psychology and German, Lauderback chose to apply for the Fulbright teaching position in Germany for several reasons.

His grandparents emigrated from the area in the 19th century, and he also has a genuine interest in teaching and learning about other cultures, especially foreign languages.

“For me, learning a second language has, in a way, opened up the world,” Lauderback says.

“While serving as an English teaching assistant, I not only hope to connect personally with the students, teachers and the local community, but I also want to help others form international connections and have the kinds of global experiences that knowing multiple languages allows.”

Lauderback has spent the past few years as a volunteer for Catholic Charities of Tennessee, where he taught English to refugees from Myanmar, Congo and Somalia. Once a week, he visited refugees at their apartments in order to teach them the basics of the English language and to help them transition into American culture.

Dalton Lauderback

Dalton Lauderback

During the spring 2014 semester, he completed a study at the University of Zurich in Switzerland, describing his experience there as “one that really opened my eyes to what the world has to offer.”

When he returned to MTSU, he decided to work as an International Student Exchange Program Ambassador because he wanted to encourage his fellow students to pursue similar study-abroad opportunities.

After his time in Germany, Lauderback says, he hopes to serve in Southeast Asia with the Peace Corps and to apply to Yale University’s global affairs master’s program.

He hopes to work for the nonprofit company Mercy Corps, and his ultimate goal is working in developing regions on issues of conflict resolution and sustainability.

Regardless of his future career, however, Lauderback says, he “will always be a globally engaged citizen.” He added that the Fulbright is a great opportunity to continue to pursue his passions in international relations, civic service and intercultural communication.

The U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs funds the Fulbright fellowship, one of the world’s most prestigious educational exchange programs. Recipients are chosen on the basis of academic or professional achievement and demonstrated leadership potential.

University Honors College Dean John Vile credits Laura Clippard, coordinator for the Office of Undergraduate Fellowships, for her role in MTSU students obtaining Fulbright, Goldwater and numerous other awards and fellowships in recent years.

Dan Kramer, director of the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, was on campus April 28 to meet with students and faculty for an information session on how to be competitive in the Fulbright process.

To learn more about the Undergraduate Fellowships Office and the steps to obtain national scholarships, visit www.mtsu.edu/honors/ufo, call Clippard at 615-898-5464 or email Laura.Clippard@mtsu.edu.

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