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Intercultural and Diversity Affairs reception honors grads

The MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs hosted an Intercultural Graduation Reception Tuesday, April 14, in the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Students graduating this year raise their hands during the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs' Intercultural Graduation Reception held April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Students graduating this year raise their hands during the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs’ Intercultural Graduation Reception held April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

Each spring and fall, the office invites all students of color who are graduating to this reception “to recognize them for their accomplishments,” said Jonell Hinsey, interim director of the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs.

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic and enrollment services, gave remarks and graduates Jeania Ware and Sydney Eakes gave reflections on their academic careers.

Students accepting invitation to the latest reception will graduate in May or August. They included Margaret Blakemore, Michelle Fields, Mai Abdelmonem, Yerlyn Castro-Vargas, Maryam Afzali, Megan Ballou, Tiara Battle, Kavonda Camady, Jeanette Adereti, Desiree DeStefano, Kenya Gray, Sydney Eakes, Nichole Bell, Atria Davis, Gabriell Gassaway, Kimberly Corado, Amanda Davis, Brittany Harris, Jeania Ware, Julie Carter, and Tiffany Hopkins.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Jonell Hinsey, interim director of the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, gives opening remarks at the April 14 Intercultural Graduation Reception at the Tom H. Jackson Building. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

Jonell Hinsey, interim director of the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs, gives opening remarks at the April 14 Intercultural Graduation Reception at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic and enrollment services, and Sarah Sudak, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, listen to opening remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs' Intercultural Graduation Reception.

Dr. Deb Sells, vice president of student affairs and vice provost of academic and enrollment services, and Sarah Sudak, associate vice president for student affairs and dean of students, listen to opening remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs’ Intercultural Graduation Reception.

Attendees listen to opening remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs' Intercultural Graduation Reception.

Attendees listen to opening remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs’ Intercultural Graduation Reception.

The MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs held an Intercultural Graduation Reception April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

The MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs held an Intercultural Graduation Reception April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Attendees await the beginning of the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs' Intercultural Graduation Reception held April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Attendees await the beginning of the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs’ Intercultural Graduation Reception held April 14 at the Tom H. Jackson Building.

Ginger Freeman, director of the Office of Alumni Relations, gives remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs' Intercultural Graduation Reception April 14.

Ginger Freeman, director of the Office of Alumni Relations, gives remarks at the MTSU Office of Intercultural and Diversity Affairs’ Intercultural Graduation Reception April 14.

MTSU accounting honor society wins regionals; nationals next

Members of Middle Tennessee State University’s accounting honor society captured first place in a regional competition this semester and will test their knowledge further at a national competition in August.

The Beta Alpha Psi student competition team, made up of members Michael Royer and Sarah Basile of Murfreesboro, Tennessee; Abby Bumbalough of Smyrna, Tennessee; and Robert Cope of La Vergne, Tennessee won first place in the Southeast Region from a field of 13 teams in the “Financial Literacy” category of Deloitte’s “Best Practices” competition in late February.

Dr. Paula Thomas

Dr. Paula Thomas

Dr. Sandra Benson

Dr. Sandra Benson

“The Southeast Region has the reputation as one of the most competitive regions, and the competition gets stronger each year,” said MTSU accounting professor Paula Thomas, who serves as faculty adviser for the student chapter.

“I’m so proud of our students — they did a great job of representing the Jones College and MTSU. How exciting that all of their hard work resulted in a first place win, as well as the right to compete at the national level.”

Founded in 1919, Beta Alpha Psi is a national honor society for financial information students and professionals. There are over 300 chapters on college and university campuses with over 300,000 members initiated since Beta Alpha Psi’s formation, according to the organization’s website, www.bap.org.

Deloitte LLP, the world’s largest accounting firm, sponsors regional competitions of this type, with the national competition held during the Beta Alpha Psi annual meeting, set for August in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

“We are very proud of our BAP team. These students were prepared, positive and professional,” said Sandy Benson, interim chair of the Department of Accounting. “It is no surprise to me that our students excel under the capable leadership of our BAP adviser, Dr. Paula Thomas, and our high-caliber faculty who emphasize professional, as well as technical, skills in accounting.”

Beta Alpha Psi introduces students to accounting professionals from CPA firms, industry and government. Activities include:Beta Alpha Psi-MTSU combo graphic

  • weekly meetings with professional speakers
  • community service projects
  • site visits to accounting firms and other businesses

The group hosts networking and other events open to professionals, faculty and members. Beta Alpha Psi is open to accounting majors with an overall GPA and accounting GPA of 3.0 or higher.

For information about the Department of Accounting, visit www.mtsu.edu/accounting. For more information about Beta Alpha Psi, visit www.mtsu.edu/~bap.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Leadership principles strike right chords with MTSU students

A native of Brazil, where the official language is Portuguese, MTSU freshman transfer Barbara Popwell speaks English fluently.

MTSU alumna and guest speaker Paula Mansfield truly was speaking Popwell’s “language” when it comes to women in the business world Friday (April 10) during the Omicron Delta Kappa True Blue Leadership Day in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.

The ODK True Blue Leadership Day highlights the core values of the “True Blue Pledge” by educating participants about multiple aspects of leadership. The University Honors College invites noted representatives from a variety of professions to share their leadership experiences with more than 100 MTSU students.

MTSU alumna and Murfreesboro businesswoman Paula Mansfield shares about successful strategies for women in the workforce April 10 during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa True Blue Leadership Day in the Simmons Amphitheatre of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. Mansfield is a senior vice president with First Tennessee Bank. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

MTSU alumna and Murfreesboro businesswoman Paula Mansfield shares about successful strategies for women in the workforce April 10 during the annual Omicron Delta Kappa True Blue Leadership Day in the Simmons Amphitheatre of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. Mansfield is a senior vice president with First Tennessee Bank. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

In addition to Mansfield, other speakers included Keith M. Huber, MTSU’s new senior adviser for Veterans and Leadership Initiatives; Tara S. Singer, executive director, Lexington, Virginia-based Omicron Delta Kappa Society Inc.; John H. Henderson, an attorney with the firm Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC in Evansville, Indiana; and Metrick M. Houser, manager of supply chain for International Paper.

ODK logo cropped“I have a passion about women speaking,” Popwell, 22, told Mansfield, a Murfreesboro resident and senior vice president in community banking with First Tennessee Bank. Mansfield had just shared successful strategies for women in the workforce and was about to return to her job when she passed by Popwell in a hallway.

“She talked about career goal-setting,” added Popwell, a management major in the Jones College of Business. “It was very inspirational. Women want to get things done, and the number of things she’s involved in on campus is really amazing. That makes me want to help others.”

Mansfield serves as the 2014-15 MTSU National Alumni Association president. Her advice also included developing a network and understanding your strengths.

Lihe Jiang, a visiting scholar from China in the MTSU Department of Biology and one of only a handful of men taking in Mansfield’s talk, said he found it “very interesting, instructive and beneficial for my career.”

Hoping to embark on her own military career, Tiffany Graziano, 26, an MTSU graduate student in management from Nashville, totally was taken in during the “Leadership from a Military Foxhole” talk by Huber, a retired U.S. Army three-star general who spent 38 years in service to his country.

Keith M. Huber, a retired U.S. Army three-star general, visits with a married couple who heard him speak at the ODK True Blue Experience Day April 10 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre.

Keith M. Huber, a retired U.S. Army three-star general, visits with a married couple who heard him speak at the ODK True Blue Experience Day April 10 in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building’s Simmons Amphitheatre.

“It was very moving and inspirational,” Graziano said. “It inspired me to realize communication is the key and to come at people at the human-interpersonal level (face-to-face) rather than a computer or text message.”

Graziano hopes to become an Army dietician.

A food science major that plans to study pre-med, Nausheen Qureshi, 19, of Murfreesboro, said Huber “gave a very unique perspective of how the military changed his life, both as a civilian and being in the military. Leadership is part of your daily activity.”

“What touched me is that in being a leader, everything comes down to face-to-face human contact,” Qureshi added.

Using movie clips and costumes, Singer provided a special perspective for leadership with “Starships, Ball Gowns and Hangovers: Leadership Lessons from Movies.” Famous lines from “Star Trek,” “Apollo 13,” “Gone With the Wind,” “Flight” and “The Hangover” were incorporated into her presentation.

Henderson discussed “Using Passion and Civility to Make a Difference in Your Community.” Houser, a member of the Honors College Board of Visitors, closed the event, discussing “Building True Blue Leadership — A Reflection on Opportunities.”

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

Nearly 50 new scholars to join Phi Kappa Phi honor society April 14 at MTSU

MTSU’s most prestigious honor society will welcome 48 new members at its spring 2015 initiation set Tuesday, April 14.

Dr. John Omachonu, vice provost for academic affairs, will deliver the address at the ceremony, which is scheduled for 5 p.m. April 14 in the Student Union Ballroom.

The event is free and open to the public. A campus parking map is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

phi kappa phi logo webAccording to www.phikappaphi.org, the honor society was created in 1897 at the University of Maine with a mission “to recognize and promote academic excellence in all fields of higher education and to engage the community of scholars in service to others.”

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

Since its founding, Phi Kappa Phi has initiated more than one million members into its ranks. Some of its most prominent members include former President Jimmy Carter, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg; former Secretary of State and former U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton; renowned opera star Renee Fleming; two-time Nobel laureate in chemistry Dr. Linus Pauling; Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Ernest Gaines; jazz legend Ellis Marsalis; and astronauts Wendy Lawrence and Bernard Harris.

To learn more about joining MTSU’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, go to its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pkpmtsu.

Refreshments will be available following the ceremony.

For more information, contact Dr. Philip Phillips, associate dean of the University Honors College and president of MTSU’s Phi Kappa Phi chapter, at 615-898-2699 or philip.phillips@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU engineering team revs up for Baja SAE Auburn competition

Captain Daniel Denham and the rest of the MTSU Baja SAE team believe their vehicle is primed and ready for the judges and the other nearly 100 competitors in the Auburn Society of Automotive Engineers Collegiate Design Series regional in Alabama.

“We’ll be ready to compete by the time we leave campus,” said Denham, a junior aerospace technologies major from Franklin, Tennessee. “I think we stand a good chance of doing pretty well.”

MTSU Baja Society of Automotive Engineers team members include, from left, captain Daniel Denham, Mikhail Ault-Normandie, Beau Hallavant, Brandon Lowery, Daniel Morgan, Jeremy Posey and Sam Litton. They compete April 9-12 in the Baja SAE Auburn competition in Opelika, Alabama. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU Baja Society of Automotive Engineers team members include, from left, captain Daniel Denham, Mikhail Ault-Normandie, Beau Hallavant, Brandon Lowery, Daniel Morgan, Jeremy Posey and Sam Litton. They compete April 9-12 in the Baja SAE Auburn competition in Opelika, Alabama. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

After being up until 2 a.m. performing final tweaks to the vehicle, the MTSU squad left Murfreesboro at 6 a.m. Thursday, April 9, heading for Auburn University and a scheduled 2 p.m. sales presentation to start the event, which continues through Sunday, April 12. For the complete schedule and more, visit http://bajasaeauburn.com/.

In what could be called ultimate engineering, Baja Society of Automotive Engineers, or SAE, competitors drive out of textbook theory by designing, building and testing the performance of an actual open-air, off-road vehicle featuring roll bars.

Except for the April 9 sales presentation on the Auburn campus, the competition will be held at the National Center for Asphalt Technology in Opelika, Alabama.

Denham said the team effort “has been impressive. We’ve had quite a few sleepless nights and a lot of blisters, busted knuckles and smashed fingernails.”

He and Jeremy Posey, engineering technology graduate assistant and Experimental Vehicles Program student leader, designed and began building the Baja in September 2014. The two-man operation gained momentum during winter break as more students joined the mission at the prompting of Beau Hallavant, who assists Posey.

Baja SAE Auburn72“It was a big relief when Beau rearranged the effort with manpower so it would give us more hands on the Baja,” Denham said. “Some of us put in 60 and 70 hours a week into it. Over the break, everyone was here eight to 10 hours a day.”

The entire frame, body, all the electrical and mechanical aspects were fabricated and assembled on campus in Voorhies Engineering Technology facilities.

As for the sales presentation, Denham said it takes place “to show them (judges) why they would want to buy it.”

Brake checks, acceleration, hill climb, maneuverability, suspension and the endurance test take place Friday through Sunday.

Team members include Mikhail Ault-Normandie, Brandon Lowery, Daniel Morgan, Sam Litton, Sean Daily, Korissa Earls, Zachary Hunter and Brad Hobbs.

The Experimental Vehicles Program’s other competitions include the 22nd Human Exploration Rover Challenge at Huntsville, Alabama, April 17-18; the Formula Hybrid, April 27-30 at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway; and the 22nd annual Solar Splash, June 10-14 in Dayton, Ohio.

Professor Saeed Foroudastan, associate dean in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, serves as the program’s faculty mentor.

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

MTSU biz majors, employers to connect speedily at BEST career fair

MTSU business majors will have a special opportunity to look sharp and showcase themselves for prospective employers during an upcoming career fair on campus.

Sponsored by faculty in the Department of Management and Marketing in the Jones College of Business, the Business Exchange for Student Talent, also known as BEST, will host a “speed networking” career event from 1 to 4 p.m. Wednesday, April 15, in the Student Union Ballroom. (Watch a video from the 2014 event below:)

http://youtu.be/nMy8j4mtJqk

Close to 40 employers will be on hand from a wide variety of industries, ranging from AFLAC to The Hershey Co. and from Waffle House to Waste Management. Full-time positions and internships in the fields of marketing, management and sales will be available.

BEST fair logo-cropThe event is structured as “speed networking,” meaning employers will speak with a small group of students every 15 minutes. A bell will ring and students will then move to a different table with another employer.

“It isn’t your typical career fair,” said Jean Wilson, an instructor and coordinator of career planning in the Department of Management and Marketing. “It is geared toward business students — management and marketing and business administration.

“Students will choose the employers they want to go to. The employer will start by selling his or her company and the different opportunities that they have, then the students will take turns selling themselves, sharing their resumes and talking about what they have skill wise.”

Wilson urged students to research the companies beforehand, dress professionally and bring their resumes. No registration is required.

Wilson said students like the event because they know the employers attending have real positions available, while employers like the format because it maximizes their time by providing a pool of candidates with the desired skill sets they seek.

For more information about the event, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/career/best.php.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students carry science to Discovery School (+VIDEO)

For more than 60 fifth-graders studying science at The Discovery School at Bellwood in Murfreesboro, not much could top homemade ice cream made in five minutes and s’mores … both at the same time.

Oh, how about more science experiments like the ones making the midmorning goodies gobbled up by the energetic 10- and 11-year-olds at the school on Middle Tennessee Boulevard?

Eighteen University Honors College students — all non-science majors taking an honors physical science class this spring— put on quite a presentation that is the first experiential learning STEM Extravaganza carried out to the community.

http://youtu.be/OYhW7R8cT0g

STEM, or science, technology, engineering and math, was the impetus behind the MTSU class taking the chemical reactions to the Discovery Center at Bellwood Students April 7.

The experiments included “Lava in a Bottle,” “Self-Inflating Balloons” and “Penny Water Drop” “Solar Pizza Box Oven,” “Dry Ice Cream,” “How Strong is an Eggshell?” and “How Low Can You Go?”

Moyin Onafrwokan, 11, shined in the “Penny Water Drop,” placing 66 drops of water on a penny.

The Discovery School at Bellwood students listen as MTSU freshman Nick Thomas, top right, explains how the experiment with the "Solar Pizza Box Oven" works April 7 in the school's cafeteria. Thomas is a music industry major from Knoxville, Tennessee. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

The Discovery School at Bellwood students listen as MTSU freshman Nick Thomas, top right, explains how the experiment with the “Solar Pizza Box Oven” works April 7 in the school’s cafeteria. Thomas is a music industry major from Knoxville, Tennessee. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

“I was trying to concentrate and block out all other sounds,” she said.

Caroline Meredith, 10, said it “was really awesome (MTSU) students are putting this together. A lot of them you can do at home and you can do them with family whenever.”

All but one of the experiments was held in the school cafeteria. Using salt to lower the temperature, the “How Low Can You Go?” experiment was held in the science lab. One group of children got the chemical reaction to reach minus-15 degrees.

The honors students are in professor Judith Iriarte-Gross’s physical science class.

Not only did the MTSU students work in groups of three with their projects, they brought information showing the science behind the hands-on experiments.

Iriarte-Gross said she will require each student write a 500-word paper “on what they learned from the children.” She added that by “just hearing the noise — the kids talking — is wonderful, and we’ve already been invited back.”

Camisha Tapscott, a sophomore music business major from Chattanooga, Tennessee, said the experiential learning aspect was for their contemporary issues in science class, “which means getting more hands-on experience — going out to schools and doing things like this.”

For more on this story and more MTSU news, visit www.mtsunews.com.

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

Will McKissick, 11, a fifth-grader at The Discovery School at Bellwood, applies drops of water to a penny in one of a number of experiments MTSU Honors College students conducted April 7 during the STEM Extravaganza in the school cafeteria. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Will McKissick, 11, a fifth-grader at The Discovery School at Bellwood, applies drops of water to a penny in one of a number of experiments MTSU Honors College students conducted April 7 during the STEM Extravaganza in the school cafeteria. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU Student Film Festival sets 15th annual awards ceremony April 10

MTSU’s 15th annual MTSU Student Film Festival is underway this week to celebrate student filmmakers, culminating in a special public awards ceremony set Friday, April 10, in the university’s Student Union Video Theater.

Raider Entertainment logo webAt Friday’s ceremony, set to begin at 7 p.m. in the second-floor theater, festival organizers will recognize the top three student participants and then screen their films.

A searchable campus map of MTSU, complete with parking details, is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParking14-15.

“I’m very excited to see what’s in store for this year,” said films coordinator David Inman. “Each year, the diverse selection of films is a testament to the creativity and dedication of our student filmmakers.

“The Film Festival is a unique experience and is typically full of surprises. The blend of comedic and dramatic tones makes for refreshing evening at the theater.”

The MTSU Student Film Festival, which has been running since 2000, is offering nightly screenings this week of student films.

Any MTSU student in good standing with the university may submit a film, regardless of major field of study. He or she must “perform a substantial role” in the production, whether by serving as lead actor, screenwriter, director, director of photography, executive producer, producer or another role approved by the film festival chair.

MTSU’s Films Committee is a part of a council of students called “Raider Entertainment” under the Office of Student Programming and Activities. The group plans weekly events for the MTSU community throughout the academic year and coordinates special events such as the Week of Welcome comedy guest, “MT Idol” and the Student Film Festival.

You can get more information anytime at www.mtsu.edu/events.

— Gina E. Fann (gina.fann@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Debate Team hosts Irish debaters in lively exhibition

Does the United Nations have an obligation to protect?

That was the question debated April 1 as three members of the MTSU Blue Raider Debate Team squared off against a trio of national champions from Ireland in a special exhibition inside the Business and Aerospace Building.

The subject for the noncompetitive exhibition was “Resolved: The United Nations has an obligation to protect,” with the Irish team arguing the affirmative while MTSU’s team asserted that the U.N. doesn’t have the necessary authority to fulfill such a mission.

MTSU Debate Team coach Pat Richey, left, chats with Irish debate team member Ronan O'Connor before the April 1 exhibition debate between a three-member MTSU team and a trio from Ireland. The exhibition was held in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

MTSU Debate Team coach Pat Richey, left, chats with Irish debate team member Ronan O’Connor before the April 1 exhibition debate between a three-member MTSU team and a trio from Ireland. The exhibition was held in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

The debaters focused on the intervention of the U.N.’s blue-helmeted, armed peacekeeping forces in conflicts around the world and included discussion of the U.N.’s overall mission.

The MTSU team was made up of Leigh Stanfield, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Hailey Lawson, a senior psychology major from Smyrna, Tennessee; and Alvin Loyd, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee.

Pat Richey, director of forensics at MTSU and debate team coach, selected the MTSU representatives.

They took on an Irish team featuring Eoin MacLachlan of University College Dublin and Ronan O’Connor and Hugh Guidera, both of Trinity College Dublin. The three students, who won the 55th annual debate competition sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper in February, praised MTSU for its hospitality during their stay.

The visit was supported by the College of Liberal Arts, Office of International Affairs, Blue Raider Debate, Pi Kappa Delta Honor Society: TN Zeta Chapter, National Parliamentary Debate Association, Office of the University Provost and Department of Communications

For more information, contact Richey at 615-898-2273 or patrick.richey@mtsu.edu.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

From left to right, MTSU Debate Team members Leigh Stanfield, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Alvin Loyd, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Hailey Lawson, a senior psychology major from Smyrna, Tennessee, share a light moment before the April 1 exhibition debate against three students from Ireland. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

From left to right, MTSU Debate Team members Leigh Stanfield, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee; Alvin Loyd, a senior political science major from Memphis, Tennessee; and Hailey Lawson, a senior psychology major from Smyrna, Tennessee, share a light moment before the April 1 exhibition debate against three students from Ireland. (MTSU photos by Jimmy Hart)

Buttons of support for the MTSU Debate Team were on display outside the State Farm Lecture Hall for an April 1 exhibition debate against a three-member team from Ireland. The debate was held at the Building and Aerospace Building.

Buttons of support for the MTSU Debate Team were on display outside the State Farm Lecture Hall for an April 1 exhibition debate against a three-member team from Ireland. The debate was held at the Building and Aerospace Building.

A nice crowd attended the April 1 exhibition debate between members of the MTSU Debate Team and three students from Ireland who won national debate competitions in their home country. The exhibition was held in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

A nice crowd attended the April 1 exhibition debate between members of the MTSU Debate Team and three students from Ireland who won national debate competitions in their home country. The exhibition was held in the State Farm Lecture Hall of the Business and Aerospace Building.

Eoin MacLachlan of University College Dublin in Ireland, at left, makes a point of rebuttal during an April 1 exhibition debate against three members of the MTSU Debate Team. Taking notes are MacLachlan's teammates, Ronan OÕConnor, center, and Hugh Guidera, both of Trinity College Dublin. The three students who won the 55th annual debate competition sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper.

Eoin MacLachlan of University College Dublin in Ireland, at left, makes a point of rebuttal during an April 1 exhibition debate against three members of the MTSU Debate Team. Taking notes are MacLachlan’s teammates, Ronan OÕConnor, center, and Hugh Guidera, both of Trinity College Dublin. The three students who won the 55th annual debate competition sponsored by the Irish Times newspaper.

Resolved: First-year MTSU student debater wins national title

Although it’s just her first year on the Middle Tennessee State University Debate Team, Leigh Stanfield has already made a lasting mark by arguing her way to a national title recently during a tournament in Boise, Idaho.

Leigh Stanfield, a junior communications studies major from Soddy Daisy, Tennessee, holds the trophy for the novice division title she won during the MTSU Debate Team's participation in the International Public Debate Association's National Championship Tournament and Convention held March 27-29 at Boise State University. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Leigh Stanfield, a junior communications studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, holds the trophy for the novice division title she won during the MTSU Debate Team’s participation in the International Public Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament and Convention held March 27-29 at Boise State University. Stanfield also participated in an April 1 exhibition debate at MTSU featuring national champions from Ireland. (MTSU photo by Jimmy Hart)

Stanfield, a junior communication studies major from Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, won the novice division title during the MTSU team’s participation in the International Public Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament and Convention held March 27-29 at Boise State University.

“This is really cool. It’s been an interesting experience,” Stanfield said. “I’ve really enjoyed being a part of the MTSU Debate Team. You learn a lot of different skills that will be really useful moving forward, so it’s been a really good opportunity.”

Teammate Abigail Barnes, a sophomore English major from Morristown, Tennessee, took third place in the same category at the tournament. The two MTSU team members worked their way through hundreds of debaters from around the country. In IPDA formats, debaters primarily go one-on-one, with various time limits in effect.

Stanfield said the idea to join the team this year came from an instructor in one of her communications studies classes who thought she would enjoy the experience. “I really like public speaking and I really like argumentation,” she said.

Richey, Patrick 08-2011

Dr. Patrick Richey

Stanfield’s title comes during a strong year for the Blue Raider debate team, which won a regional championship earlier this semester.

“I don’t think we’ve ever taken a national championship,” said Pat Richey, director of forensics at MTSU and debate team coach. “We’ve placed high a couple of times back in the 1970s when Jim Brooks was in charge, but I haven’t found where we’ve ever won an individual national title.”

Stanfield followed up her title win by participating in a special exhibition debate hosted by MTSU featuring three MTSU debaters and three Irish students who won the 2015 Irish Times Debate Championship. Held Wednesday, April 1, inside the State Farm Lecture Hall of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building, the exhibition drew a strong crowd to hear debaters discuss the United Nations’ overall mission.

For more information about the MTSU Debate Team, visit www.mtsu.edu/debate.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)