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WGNS features Confucius Institute, ‘Happiness’ exhibit, equine therapy

MTSU faculty and staff again shared their expertise with listeners of WGNS radio during the July 21 “Action Line” program with veteran host Bart Walker.

The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. Don’t worry if you missed it: you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

Guests for the July WGNS "Action Line" program featuring MTSU included (bottom left): Mike Novak, assistant director of the Confucius Institute at MTSU; (top, l to r) MTSU students Kaitlyn Roberts and Brittany Gardner and Dr. Debrah Sickler Voigt, associate professor of art education and director of the MTSU Scandinavia Abroad Program; and (bottom right, l to r) Dr. Holly S. Spooner, associate professor of horse science at MTSU and graduate student Sarah Newton-Cromwell. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Guests for the July WGNS “Action Line” program featuring MTSU included (bottom left): Mike Novak, assistant director of the Confucius Institute at MTSU; (top, l to r) MTSU students Kaitlyn Roberts and Brittany Gardner and Dr. Debrah Sickler Voigt, associate professor of art education and director of the MTSU Scandinavia Abroad Program; and (bottom right, l to r) Dr. Holly S. Spooner, associate professor of horse science at MTSU and graduate student Sarah Newton-Cromwell. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

Guests included:

  • Mike Novak, the new assistant director of the Confucius Institute at MTSU, discussed his new position, background and the various activities and programs through CIMTSU. Novak, most recently principal of Liberty Elementary School in Shelbyville, Tennessee, became the institute’s new assistant director July 1. Read more here.
  • Dr. Debrah Sickler Voigt, associate professor of art education and director of the MTSU Scandinavia Abroad Program, and MTSU students Brittany Gardner and Kaitlyn Roberts discussed the “Passport to Happiness” art exhibit. The exhibit runs July 21-Aug. 15 inside Todd Art Gallery. It features multimedia artworks and artifacts created in Denmark, Norway, and America that focus on the theme of happiness and showcase why Scandinavians are the happiest people in the world. The exhibit was created under the guidance of Sickler-Voigt and her Scandinavia Abroad students. Read more here.
  • Dr. Holly S. Spooner, associate professor of horse science at MTSU, and graduate student Sarah Newton-Cromwell discussed the upcoming equine therapy event, “Uniting Higher Education with Equine Assisted Activities and Therapies.” The event, set for Aug. 6-8 at Tennessee Miller Coliseum, will include participants from all over our region. MTSU’s Horse Science program has been a pioneer in equine therapy, working in particular with the V.A. to help in the rehabilitation of wounded soldiers. Click here to learn more about the program.

MTSU is featured on “Action Line” from 8:10 to 9 a.m. on the third Monday of each month, except in January.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU hears how pilot overcame obstacles to join Blue Angels

U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team pilot and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill, left, talks with Kaylee Meddron, Carly Alsup and Michaela George before Cordill’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall June 13. The Blue Angels are flying in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. The girls participated in MTSU camps June 9-13. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team pilot and U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill, left, talks with Kaylee Meddron, Carly Alsup and Michaela George before Cordill’s presentation to a standing-room-only crowd in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall June 13. The Blue Angels are flying in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. The girls participated in MTSU camps June 9-13. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

A standing-room-only crowd of about 300 people, many of them under 18, heard U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Brandon Cordill express why he never let obstacles curtail his career dream.

Cordill, a Hemet, California, native, stood before them June 13 in the MTSU Business and Aerospace Building’s State Farm Lecture Hall as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team. The Blue Angels will fly in the annual Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee, with MTSU serving as one of the sponsors.

Cordill said he had to overcome making only “decent” grades in high school and an 850 on his SAT — when 1600 was the top score in 1998).

A hockey player, he realized he was too small and lacked the talent to reach the NHL. He was “crushed” by not passing a U.S. Air Force test and learned through a Navy eye exam that he lacked depth perception.

Blue Angels badgeCordill discovered Saint Louis University, whose aerospace engineering program did not require an SAT. While sitting in the commercial pilot ground school class on Sept. 11, 2001, he and the other students were mesmerized by the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center’s twin towers in New York City.

“Watching that, I became committed. I wanted to serve my country,” Cordell said, drawing a large round of applause from the audience.

Cordill’s 9/11 classroom faculty member that day was Wendy Beckman, now a professor in MTSU’s nationally recognized aerospace program and director of the Aviation Summer Camps and a partnership with The Academies of Nashville at McGavock High School.

“He remembered me, and that was pretty amazing,” Beckman said of their unexpected reunion Friday morning. “He’s done great. I’m very proud of him.”

At least two audience members, and probably more, want to follow in Cordill’s footsteps.

MTSU junior aerospace professional pilot Nick Morrison of Gainesville, Georgia, wants to be a Marine pilot. Capt. Nathan Skopak of the Marine recruiting command in Nashville said Morrison will be a future Marine when he enters as a second lieutenant at the completion of the Marine officer program in Murfreesboro.

Morrison said the Blue Angels visit was “pretty cool. I’m glad they came out. I’m looking forward to seeing the show Saturday.”

Brandon Cordill shares with the audience how a series of events eventually landed him with a role as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team, which will fly in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. MTSU is serving as an event sponsor.

Brandon Cordill shares with the audience how a series of events eventually landed him with a role as a pilot with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels flight demonstration team, which will fly in the Great Tennessee Air Show June 14-15 in Smyrna, Tennessee. MTSU is serving as an event sponsor.

Murfreesboro’s Daniel Fallon, 14, who will be a Blackman High School freshman this fall, wore a Blue Angels T-shirt he bought when he and his family vacationed in Florida and saw them practice.

Fallon, who wants to be a pilot, is attending this week’s Introduction to Aviation Camp.

“I thought it was amazing,” Fallon said of the appearance. “I’m happy for him serving.”

First-year MT Sampler Camp participants also attended, including Jannah Ragab, 10, a sixth-grade student at Nashville International Academy, who had her photo taken with Cordill.

“I’m sure it will encourage people to one day be in the Air Force,” Ragab said, adding that she learned from the presentation “how planes fly close together.”

Cordill told the audience that the precision flight demonstration team flies their aircraft a mere 12 to 18 inches apart at times.

“It’s a matter of trust,” he said. “There’s no instruments or autopilot. Nobody’s going to move the (command) stick. They will hold their position until the end.”

Curtis Matthews, an aviation survival equipment man first class with the  U.S. Navy, also spoke to the gathering in the State Farm Room.

University President Sidney A. McPhee attended, joined by Col. Bill Lane of Gray, Tennessee, who is Tennessee Wing Commander with the Civil Air Patrol.

In addition to aerospace students and faculty, the audience included other MTSU faculty and staff, guests and about 20 members of the Civil Air Patrol Smyrna Composite Squadron, led by squadron commander Jeff Wreyford. Cordill presented the Smyrna group with a CAP Squadron of Distinction 2014 certificate and banner.

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

Pilots with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perfom a maneuver at an air show, leaving a synchronized trail of smoke.

Pilots with the U.S. Navy Blue Angels perfom a close-knit synchronized maneuver at an air show, leaving a trail of smoke. The precision flight demonstration team is now in its 68th year of performing to inspire young men and women to pursue military careers as well as excellence in their lives. They perform June 14-15 at the MTSU-sponsored Great Tennessee Air Show in Smyrna, Tennessee. (U.S. Navy Blue Angels photo)

Alexander joins MTSU in welcoming Governor’s School in 30th year

For almost three decades, the Governor’s School for the Arts has nurtured the “creative spark” of young Tennesseans with a love for music, theatre, visual arts, dance and filmmaking.

As the program kicked off its 30th anniversary this week at MTSU, the man who founded the statewide summer programs for gifted high schoolers said his goal remains the same for each participant: “aim for the top.”

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, pauses for a photo with Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts leaders before speaking at the opening ceremony for the 2014 event at MTSU. Alexander, center, is joined by Dr. Jim Brooks, left, director of the Governor’s School at MTSU from 1995 to 2000 and a former chair of the MTSU Department of Speech and Theatre, and Dr. Raphael Bundage, right, the current Governor’s School director and a professor in MTSU’s School of Music. (MTSU photo courtesy of Justin Durham)

“The whole idea was simply to find within our schools students who were really good, and who wanted to be better, and to give them the opportunity to meet with other students who felt the same way,” U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Maryville, said at a Tucker Theatre welcome ceremony for 305 new participants and their families, event staff and counselors, and other guests June 1.

“Not only would that help them be better, but whenever they went back home to their schools, others would think ‘Where’d they go and what did they do? And if it’s that important, maybe I should be thinking in the same way.’”

Alexander, himself a musician since age 4, was governor in 1984 when he encouraged Tennessee lawmakers to create summer residency programs for young people in the arts, engineering and math, and international studies — one for each of the state’s three grand divisions.

Thirty years later, there now are a dozen different Governor’s Schools across Tennessee to immerse dedicated 10th and 11th graders in their chosen fields for four weeks and give them college course credit to boot. The arts school at MTSU is the state’s oldest and largest with more than 9,000 alumni.

“All of this, over the last 30 years, has helped lift up our state and caused us to think more of ourselves. The Governor’s Schools have grown, and they’ve become terrifically important,” Alexander, also a former U.S. education secretary, said. “I have two former Governor’s School students who work with me in my Senate office.”

Alexander joked that excellence in the arts never precludes excellence in seemingly unrelated fields, adding that even former Federal Reserve Chairman Allen Greenspan was able to find a good job when Greenspan’s clarinet career at the Juilliard School didn’t pan out quite as he’d hoped.

“Whether you become a professional or remain an amateur, your music will stay with you the rest of your life,” Alexander told the standing-room-only audience.

“You are helping us show that we can aim for the top in the arts and all the other activities we have at the Governor’s Schools. You are part of our effort to find the excellence and to praise it.”

Click on the 30th anniversary banner to learn more about the Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU.

2011 Governor’s School theatre alumnus Zach Ginn, who helped emcee the welcome event, is now majoring in human and organizational development at Vanderbilt. His captivating demeanor while handling a happy crowd of nearly 1,000 could certainly be learned in a boardroom, eventually, but his stage experience has obviously given him an advantage.

“Creativity’s in many forms,” Ginn said. “We talk about how in business you need creativity to come up with your product or service and then must be able to reach the customer with it. It’s the whole left-brain connection that really makes sense in solving problems as well as coming up with new ideas.”

Dr. Raphael Bundage, a vocal professor in MTSU’s School of Music and the director of the Governor’s School for the Arts, agreed.

“We have students who were in Governor’s School everywhere now,” Bundage said, checking off the names of respected business leaders as well as “people in U.S. government, singers at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, countless numbers of teachers …

“Not everyone who attends our Governor’s School ends up in the arts. That mindset is there, though, and that creative capacity is there. Whatever field they end up in, that creative spark will be there and can be useful to them.”

The Governor’s School for the Arts runs through June 26 at MTSU. Public finale events will be held on campus June 25 and 26. For more information, including applying for next year’s session of the Governor’s School for the Arts at MTSU, visit http://gsfta.com.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

Windham Lecture sheds light on ‘Coup’ to oust governor (+VIDEO)

Public affairs consultant and former journalist Keel Hunt brought the story of Tennessee’s unprecedented bipartisan ouster of a corrupt governor to MTSU’s renowned Windham Lecture Series April 17.

Keel Hunt

MTSU alumnus Hunt, author of “Coup: The Day the Democrats Ousted Their Governor, Put Republican Lamar Alexander in Office Early, and Stopped a Pardon Scandal,” was joined in MTSU’s Tucker Theatre by Alexander, now Tennessee’s senior U.S. senator; John Seigenthaler, Tennessean editor emeritus; and former U.S. Attorney Hal Hardin for an in-depth discussion of the 1979 political scandal.

Hunt was appreciative of MTSU’s invitation to share a deeper understanding of his book.

“This is where I came of age … this is where I spent my undergraduate time and made friends and associates that have been dear to me for the past 50 years,” he said. “I’m so grateful to MTSU for what this university means to our state and so many like me.”

A captive audience listened as the panel recalled the story of Tennessee’s constitutional crisis erupting 35 years ago, when then-Gov. Ray Blanton signed 52 executive clemencies, including pardons for a political pal’s son and 20 other convicted murderers, amid a growing federal investigation into a clemency-for-cash scandal.

You can watch an excerpt of their conversation below.

“One reason I wrote the book was that it was an extraordinary tale,” Hunt said. “What you’re about to hear about has never happened anywhere in our country … before 1979 and certainly not since.

“In hindsight, it’s a pretty good case study in an episode of very serious bipartisanship at a very high level in our state government.”

Leaders learned Blanton planned to issue more pardons before the newly elected governor Alexander was to be sworn in Jan. 20, 1979. Hardin, who also is an MTSU alumnus, contacted Alexander with the news.

“And I said, ‘I’m not calling you as the United States Attorney, I’m calling you as a Tennessean, and here’s what I know,’” Hardin told the audience, adding that he remembers that day’s events “like it was yesterday.”

Working with the state attorney general to determine whether an early inauguration was constitutional, Alexander, a Republican, had only a few hours to collaborate with Speaker of the House Ned Ray McWherter and Lt. Gov. John Wilder, both Democrats, to find a solution.

John Seigenthaler

Hal Hardin

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander

They did. Alexander took the oath of office three days early in the Tennessee Supreme Court chambers, and the bipartisan scramble effectively prevented any more early releases for dangerous criminals.

Alexander recalled the angst he felt.

“I had to think about, ‘How do you do this, since it has never been done?’ Going through my mind were things like, ‘If I appear to be the usurper of power, Tennessee will be even more of a laughingstock because of the pardons.’”

Thursday night’s audience also watched archival news footage from Nashville’s WTVF-TV on the night of Jan. 17, 1979, when Alexander took the oath of office for governor.

“The days and weeks prior to this, all of the media in Tennessee was telling the story, either in print or in broadcast, the story of the scandal,” said Seigenthaler, who wrote the forward to Hunt’s book and was editor in chief of The Tennessean at the time of Blanton’s ouster.

“There were very few people in the state at the time who didn’t understand that this scandal, this crisis, was on us.”

Hunt, a former Tennessean reporter and city editor who campaigned for Alexander in the 1978 election and later became his special assistant and speechwriter, was able to interview many of the surviving participants for “Coup,” learning details that surprised even his former boss Alexander.

“I admire so much the book Keel has written because he’s collected a lot of stories I didn’t know anything about, because I was in the center of it,” Alexander said.

Hunt characterized his book as “a story of a crisis, and mainly the story of how that crisis was resolved. And the solution was a one of a kind.

“I appreciate that a lot of the appeal of the story is due to the scandal and the corruption,” he continued, “but genuinely what was more interesting to me was how these other folks worked through the solution on that afternoon. There was a crisis, but there was also the solution.

“I would say this is not so much a story about bad guys doing wrong: it’s about good guys doing right.”

MTSU’s Windham Lecture Series in Liberal Arts was established by William and Westy Windham through the MTSU Foundation.

Dr. William Windham was a member of the MTSU faculty from 1955 to 1989 and served as chairman of the Department of History the last 11 years. His first wife, the late Westy Windham, earned a master’s degree in sociology at MTSU and was the founder of the Great American Singalong. Since Westy Windham’s death, Windham and his current wife, Doris, have continued their sponsorship of the lecture series and were in attendance for Thursday night’s lecture.

The inaugural Windham Lecture in 1990 featured Drs. Dan T. Carter of Emory University and Dewey W. Grantham of Vanderbilt University, who spoke on “The South and the Second Reconstruction.” Since then, the Windham Lectures have addressed topics spanning from American music to U.S. foreign policy and have included such speakers as musician Bela Fleck, filmmaker Rory Kennedy and retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.

For more information about the lecture series, please contact the College of Liberal Arts at 615-494-7628.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu) and Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Inclement weather cancels Holocaust Remembrance Day talk

Potential inclement weather has forced the cancellation of today’s planned lecture from Frances Cutler Hahn, a survivor of the horrors of the Third Reich, in observance of Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Frances Cutler Hahn

Hahn, a 78-year-old Nashville resident, had been scheduled to speak at 12:45 p.m. today, April 28, in MTSU’s Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

Dr. Nancy Rupprecht, chair of MTSU’s Holocaust Studies Program, said Hahn’s lecture will be rescheduled.

“We regret the inconvenience, but the potential safety of our speaker and audience are of primary importance,” Rupprecht said, referring to weather forecasts that included a flash-flood watch for Rutherford and adjoining counties and the potential for severe thunderstorms.

Hahn was born to Polish parents in 1936 in France just before the Nazi occupation of Paris. They put her in a children’s home at the age of 3 to save her life.

Hahn’s mother was initially taken to Camp Drancy, a detention camp, and later to Auschwitz, where she was murdered at the age of 28.

Fearing losing his daughter the same way, Hahn’s father placed her with a Catholic farming family for the duration of the war. He succumbed to his war injuries in 1946 at age 35.

Following the war, Hahn lived in orphanages until the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society arranged for her to travel to Philadelphia in 1948 at age 10.

Hahn donated her personal collection of documents to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in 2013.

The collection includes copies of photographs of her parents, letters to their family in Poland, photographs of Hahn in wartime children’s homes and postwar orphanages and documents relating to her emigration to the United States.

For more information, contact Dr. Elyce Helford at elyce.helford@mtsu.edu. You also can listen to part of a Nashville Public Radio interview with Hahn and read excerpts from it here.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

U.S. diplomatic official to discuss Iraq, Afghanistan (+VIDEO)

A top U.S. diplomatic official offered his perspective on one of the world’s most volatile regions in an address at MTSU. Jason Lewis-Berry discussed “Conflict Prevention and Response after Iraq and Afghanistan” April 22 in the Tom Jackson Building.

You can watch an excerpt from his talk below.

Lewis-Berry’s address marked the Senior Practitioner Inaugural Lecture in International Affairs.

A component of MTSU’s master’s degree program in international affairs, this initial offering in what will become a yearly lecture series was  intended to provide greater insight into the complex issues facing the world and how key players deal with them.

The master’s degree program, which is offered by the MTSU Department of Political Science, will recruit future lecturers from international organizations, business corporations and governmental agencies.

Lewis-Berry has been director of overseas operations in the Department of State’s Bureau of Conflict and Stabilization Operations since March 2008. He was an adviser to nonviolent civilian Syrian opposition groups in Turkey in 2013 and partnered with U.S. special operations forces to coordinate strategy against militant movements in central Africa from 2011 to 2012.

He served as chief of staff for the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team in 2010, managing the daily operations of a binational group working in support of the Afghan government.

Lewis-Berry also has led multinational civil-military planning and assessments in the field in Mexico, Bangladesh and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The U.S. State Department can deploy him to unstable environments worldwide on 48 hours’ notice.

A team member of the Council on Foreign Relations and a Truman National Security Fellow, Lewis-Berry holds a master’s degree in foreign service from Georgetown University and a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oregon.

For more information, contact Dr. Moses Tesi at 615-898-5731 or moses.tesi@mtsu.edu or the MTSU Department of Political Science at 615-898-2708.

To learn more about MTSU’s international relations master’s degree, listen to a recent interview with Tesi on “MTSU On the Record” here.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Folk singer offers lunchtime concert Friday at Center for Popular Music

Anne MacFie, a folk singer, songwriter and storyteller from eastern Kentucky, will present a lunchtime concert at MTSU’s Center for Popular Music at noon Friday, April 25.

MacFie CPM concert poster webThe free public event inside the university’s Bragg Mass Communication Building will feature MacFie’s versions of the traditional ballads and stories she learned from her Appalachian foothills neighbors.

She has also worked with and learned from artists such as Lily May Ledford, Jean Ritchie and Almeda Riddle.

A professional musician since 1969, MacFie has performed internationally and has recorded three solo albums as well as works as a member of the Twa Sisters duo and with the Civil War ensemble, Privates By Choice.

MacFie has given summer concerts and directed music festivals for many years in the Kentucky State Parks, including Pine Mountain’s Great American Dulcimer Convention, and for the National Parks and Forests.

She has taught classes and workshops for festivals and folk camps, including Kentucky Music Week, Swannanoa Gathering and Yellowbanks Dulcimer Festival, and is the folksong instructor for annual Road Scholar programs on Appalachian culture.

She is also an accomplished and acclaimed songwriter; artists such as Kentucky Standard and the Gallier Brothers Band regularly perform her songs.

The Center for Popular Music at MTSU is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, MTSU’s CPM maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its projects and special events, visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

NASA aerospace engineer Bowe lands at MTSU, Hobgood

NASA aerospace engineer Aisha Bowe, left, listens as MTSU senior electro-mechanical engineering major Ryan Miller explains the telemetry unit for audio, video and other functions on the 2014 moon buggy, which placed fifth overall and earned the coveted Neil Armstrong Design Award in the university category April 12 at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge. Bowe spoke at a women in science lecture April 16 as part of National Women's History Month activities, and visited with students, faculty and administrators during her two-day visit. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

NASA aerospace engineer Aisha Bowe, left, listens as MTSU senior electro-mechanical engineering major Ryan Miller explains the telemetry unit for audio, video and other functions on the 2014 moon buggy, which placed fifth overall and earned the coveted Neil Armstrong Design Award in the university category April 12 at the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.  (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU students and faculty and the students at nearby Hobgood Elementary School (a NASA Explorer School) received a special treat April 16-17 with a visit by Aisha Bowe, an award-winning NASA aerospace engineer.

Bowe’s appearance was to help spark an interest in science and STEM-related careers, which also include technology, engineering and mathematics.

Bowe works in the flight trajectory dynamics and controls branch of the Aviation Systems Division at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, in California’s Silicon Valley. She spent time Wednesday with MTSU students individually and in groups, met with Provost Brad Bartel and provided a National Women’s History Month lecture.

After having breakfast with students and faculty Thursday, Bowe visited an Honors physical science class and met with MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee. She and MTSU sophomore Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn., pedaled to McPhee’s office building on the university’s award-winning 2014 moon buggy, which placed fifth overall and earned the Neil Armstrong Design Award during the NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge April 11-12.

Bowe had lunch with Hobgood students, teachers and administrators. Bowe also had a scheduled afternoon meeting with MTSU graduate studies and research administrators Mike Allen and Todd Gary before leaving campus.

Her work in Next Generation, or NextGen, air transportation and air traffic management focuses on developing methods to maintain safe separation of air traffic and optimize fuel consumption within an automated system. NASA’s Ames Research Center is renowned for its world-class research in air traffic management conducted in collaboration with the Federal Aviation Administration to make air travel safer, cheaper and more efficient.

Bowe has received numerous awards for her dedication to technical excellence and the principles of diversity and opportunity, including: NASA’s Engineering Honor Award, NASA’s Honor Award for Equal Employment Opportunity, a NASA Ames Spotlight Award for Equal Opportunity and Diversity Excellence, the National Society of Black Engineers 21st Century Trailblazers in Aviation and Aerodynamics Award and the National Society of Black Engineers Outstanding Technical Contribution Award.

Her activities also have been featured on NASA NOW, Bahamas Weekly and Telemundo.

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

Gruhn launches new guitar series at MTSU Center for Popular Music

George Gruhn, renowned expert on vintage guitars, will make a stop at MTSU Tuesday, April 8, to kick off a special series of discussions on “The American Guitar” in a free public event at the university’s Center for Popular Music.

Click on the poster to see a high-resolution version.

Gruhn, who owns Nashville’s Gruhn Guitars, a mecca for musicians and collectors worldwide, will speak on “American Fretted Instruments: History and Development” beginning at 4 p.m. in the center’s reading room, located in Room 140 of the Bragg Mass Communication Building on campus.

Gruhn has been a featured columnist for Vintage Guitar, Guitar Player, Pickin’, Frets and Bluegrass Unlimited, and is the co-author of “Gruhn’s Guide to Vintage Guitars,” a comprehensive field guide to vintage fretted instruments and the companion volumes “Acoustic Guitars and Other Fretted Instruments” and “Electric Guitars and Basses.”

His presentation will cover the history and development of fretted instruments in America. Gruhn also plans to point out the distinctions that make a truly great instrument different from those that are merely good utilitarian tools.

This inaugural event by the Center for Popular Music at MTSU will be followed by a multi-year series of lectures, presentations, concerts, workshops and demonstrations, all concerned with the guitar.

The Center for Popular Music is a research center devoted to the study and scholarship of popular music in America. Established in 1985 by the Tennessee Board of Regents as one of 16 Centers of Excellence across the TBR system, MTSU’s CPM maintains an archive of research materials stretching from the early 18th century to the present and develops and sponsors programs in American vernacular music.

For more information on the Center for Popular Music and its projects, visit http://popmusic.mtsu.edu.

MTSU students gain valuable tips, insights at nonprofit summit

Now president and CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, Meagan Flippin told MTSU students Friday that career opportunities abound in the nonprofit sector for those students willing to build relationships, develop mentors and exceed expectations.

“Anything worthwhile is not easy,” said Flippin, an MTSU alumna and one of several nonprofit professionals featured at the inaugural Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit at MTSU. “But the rewards far outweigh the challenges.”

Meagan Flippin, CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, spoke to MTSU students Friday, April 4, about nonprofit leadership during an opening session at the inaugural Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit at MTSU. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

Meagan Flippin, CEO of the United Way of Rutherford and Cannon Counties, spoke to MTSU students Friday, April 4, about nonprofit leadership during an opening session at the inaugural Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit at MTSU. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

MTSU students looking to turn their passions into careers were invited to the summit, which featured sessions throughout the day inside the Business and Aerospace Building on the MTSU campus.

Professor Leigh Anne Clark, who teaches a nonprofit management class and was a key organizer for the event, said about 175 students registered, exceeding expectations for what organizers say will be an annual event.

“The purpose of the summit is to inspire people to take something that they’re interested in and run with it,” Clark said, adding that students learned “the skillsets that they’re needing to work in these areas.”Print

Flippin, who earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations and master’s degree in strategic communication from MTSU, told students that nonprofits are looking to recruit “new blood” into their organizations, but are more selective in hiring as more competitive salaries are offered to attract top talent.

Having a well-rounded skillset is critical in landing a good job, added Flippin, who noted the personal benefit of acquiring budget and financial knowledge in running a United Way organization that saw a record $3.4 million in pledges this past year.

“You’ll probably be in a position where you’ll wear multiple hats,” she said.

The summit was hosted by the Jones College of Business and the College of Liberal Arts in partnership with the departments of Management and Marketing, Business Communication and Entrepreneurship, and Speech and Theatre (Organizational Communication).

MTSU student Cheyenne Plott, a junior organizational communications major from Lewisburg, Tenn., volunteers with the nonprofit Christians United for Israel and attended Flippin’s session, entitled “Becoming a Nonprofit Leader.” Plott said she attended to pick up leadership tips as she continues to consider whether a career in the nonprofit sector is in her future.Liberal Arts workmark-web

“I thought this session was particularly helpful,” said Plott, explaining that Flippin’s presentation helped her identify some target areas for personal development. “Definitely on building relationships. I know that’s key, but that tends to fly out of my head a lot of times, so I need to really focus on that.”

Jennifer Seratt, principal with Provident Consulting Inc. in Smyrna, Tenn., spoke to MTSU students Friday, April 4, about effective networking during an opening session at the inaugural Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit at MTSU.

Jennifer Seratt, principal with Provident Consulting Inc. in Smyrna, Tenn., spoke to MTSU students Friday, April 4, about effective networking during an opening session at the inaugural Nonprofit & Social Innovation Student Summit at MTSU.

Fellow student Taylor Roberson, a junior social work major from Murfreesboro, wants to start her own nonprofit focused on helping youth who are aging out of foster care. Her take-away was similar to Plott’s.

“My goal is to start networking, building relationships,” Roberson said. “That’s not something that I’ve actively been doing, but know that I really need to.”

Flippin’s session was followed by a presentation from Ronni Shaw, director of the Jennings and Rebecca Jones Foundation, which provided funding support for the summit. Shaw, who has worked in a variety of nonprofit roles locally, advised students to always be open to learning — whether from the wisdom of experienced nonprofit professionals or from the technological savvy and fresh ideas of younger co-workers and colleagues.

“Always have your ears open, be talking to people and reflecting on who you are and what your talents and skills are,” she said.

Students attending the summit were asked to create a personal action plan for taking steps to reach their career goals in a specific area. Students had access Friday to community leaders to assist them with creating plans as well as the opportunity to join small peer groups to provide ongoing feedback and accountability.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)