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MTSU Honors College student rides on international stage [+VIDEO]

Meghan Miller plans to trust her riding ability and her horse named Remington as she competes in the Adequan/FEI North American Junior and Young Rider Championships starting Tuesday, July 26.

The MTSU junior integrated studies major, Honors College Buchanan Fellow and Murfreesboro resident will compete against U.S., Canadian and Mexican riders in the event at Colorado Horse Park in Parker, Colorado, about 25 miles southeast of Denver.

https://youtu.be/Y_SaizCkrmg

The event is the premier equestrian competition in North America for junior and young riders age 14 to 21. It is presented by the Westchester, New York-based Gotham North farm and home owned by professional equestrian, philanthropist and young adult novelist Georgina Bloomberg.

Young equestrians compete for team and individual FEI medals in the three Olympic equestrian disciplines of show jumping, dressage, eventing, the Para-Olympic discipline of para-dressage and the FEI World Equestrian Games disciplines of reining and endurance. The competition is run under the rules of the FEI (Federation Equestre Internationale), the international governing body for equestrian sport and the only FEI championship held annually on this continent.

In a quest to become a professional rider someday, it will be Miller’s first and last time to compete in the North American Junior and Young Rider Championships.

“For both ‘Remy’ and myself, it’s our first international competition,” said Miller, 20, who competes in dressage, a system that develops strength, balance and grace in the horse and clarifies communication between horse and rider. “I’m just really hoping to not be too nervous and to get through it and just ride like I do at home. We’ve been training really well. I hope I can carry that on there.”

Meghan Miller and her horse Remington preparing to train for a national dressage competition.

MTSU student Meghan Miller of Murfreesboro rides Remington before a recent training session at Roberson Equestrian Facility. (MTSU photos by J. Intintoli)

As for “Remy,” as she calls the 16-year-old Hanoverian bred in Germany but born in the U.S., Miller said “he’s very reliable at shows, so I’m expecting him to be pretty chilled as usual and hoping he will come out looking good.”

Miller said Remy, who weighs about 1,500 pounds, has overcome a sinus infection in the past month.

“He had some soreness. He needed time to recover,” Miller said. “I’m excited about him peaking at the competition.”

Jen Thompson of Nashville owns Remington. With instruction from Jessica Roberson Wright, Miller trains with Remy at Roberson Equestrian Facility on Manchester Pike in Murfreesboro.

Miller’s ambitions include riding in the Olympics and becoming a trainer, teacher and professional rider.

Laura Clippard, the Honors College Undergraduate Fellowship Office coordinator, said Miller “is a remarkable student who is very hard-working, determined and academically gifted.”

“Meghan always reaches for new opportunities, and I am not surprised that she has accomplished so much in her two years at MTSU,” Clippard added. “She has great diplomatic skills and does well working with faculty, staff and other students. Meghan is very focused and her interest in working with horses is one of her many talents. As a Buchanan Scholar, Meghan represents the best of MTSU and the Honors College.”

Miller’s minors at MTSU include psychology and agriculture (horse science). Her Buchanan scholarship is the highest award given to an entering MTSU freshman. It is named in honor of the university’s Nobel Prize-winning alumnus, the late Dr. James M. Buchanan.

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

MTSU junior integrated studies major and Honors College Buchanan Fellow Meghan Miller mounts “Remy,” the horse she will ride in this week’s North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Parker, Colorado.

MTSU junior integrated studies major and Honors College Buchanan Fellow Meghan Miller mounts “Remy,” the horse she will ride in this week’s North American Junior and Young Rider Championships in Parker, Colorado.

Meghan Miller and her horse Remington preparing to train for a national dressage competition.

MTSU Honors College Buchanan scholar Meghan Miller of Murfreesboro applies braces to the legs of her competition horse, Remington, before a recent workout with him.

Innovation J-Camp equips future journalists with enhanced skills

For the past week, 14 youngsters have delved into the world of professional journalism in a supportive, fun-filled multimedia environment.

They departed MTSU’s second annual Innovation J-Camp, which was held July 11-15 on campus, with a greater knowledge of what it takes to be skilled in videography, still photography, audio gathering and editing, internet posting and writing stories.

“We just pushed them a little harder because we found out that it didn’t take them as long as we thought it would to write a story or to edit pictures or to create a website,” said Val Hoeppner, director of MTSU’s Center for Innovation in Media and camp director.

Abby Latture, a junior at Madison Academic Magnet High School in Jackson, Tenn., edits her video on a computer at MTSU’s Center for Innovation in Media during the 2016 Innovation J-Camp. (MTSU photo by Gina Logue)

Abby Latture, a junior at Madison Academic Magnet High School in Jackson, Tenn., edits her video on a computer at MTSU’s Center for Innovation in Media during the 2016 Innovation J-Camp. (MTSU photo by Gina Logue)

One of Hoeppner’s games, “Photo Bingo,” challenged the campers to take pictures of specific scenes around campus in order to fill all the squares on their bingo cards. Some of the scenes included “skateboard or bicycle” and “something blue.”

The camp’s partnership with Canon made it possible for the students to learn their craft with some $60,000 worth of donated photography equipment.

Rebecca King, a 17-year-old Central Magnet School student, said she gravitated toward still photography more than any other medium, a tendency she had not discovered before attending the camp.

Central Magnet student Rebecca King focuses her camera as CMS freshman Ross Eady looks on as they cover the Stamps-Baxter Music Camp at MTSU for a video story. The budding journalists attended MTSU’s Innovation J-Camp July 11-15.

Central Magnet student Rebecca King focuses her camera as CMS freshman Ross Eady looks on as they cover the Stamps-Baxter Music Camp at MTSU for a video story. The budding journalists attended MTSU’s Innovation J-Camp July 11-15.

Val Hoeppner

Val Hoeppner

“I wasn’t sure exactly what kind of field I wanted to go into in the media,” said King. “So this is a good way to experience journalism and filmmaking and photography and see where I really fit in.”

King also noted that the camp has given her a head start on creating work with which she can impress college recruiters and prospective employers.

“It helps you build a portfolio so you can already have things to show people,” she said.

Hoeppner confirmed that the camp is an amazing recruitment tool, noting that three incoming freshmen in the fall 2016 semester will be former campers.

Each camper paid $150 for the intense, weeklong experience, which covered meals, snacks and water. The instructors included Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment; journalist-in-residence Whitney Matheson; incoming assistant professor Rhyne Piggott; filmmaker Allie Sultan; songwriter and assistant professor Odie Blackmon; and three student mentors.

For more information about Innovation J-Camp, contact Hoeppner at 615-898-2337 or val.hoeppner@mtsu.edu.

— Gina Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

High school students learn about research at MTSU via Project SEED

Instead of summer vacation at the beach, the Great Smoky Mountains National Park or another popular destination, local high school students Helene Hamo and Edgar Lozano are conducting chemical research in an MTSU Science Building lab for two months.

Teachers nominated Helene Hamo, left, of Stewarts Creek High School and Edgar Lozano of Central Magnet School for Project SEED research roles at MTSU this summer. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Teachers nominated Helene Hamo, left, of Stewarts Creek High School and Edgar Lozano of Central Magnet School for Project SEED research roles at MTSU this summer. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

It was their choice to work with MTSU graduate students and Department of Chemistry chair Greg Van Patten after they were selected as Project SEED recipients.

Project SEED, or Summer Education Experience for the Economically Disadvantaged, is sponsored by the American Chemical Society. The summer research program gives high school juniors and seniors an opportunity to work with scientist-mentors on research projects in industrial, academic and federal laboratories.

As they discover potential career paths while approaching critical turning points in their lives, recipients receive a $2,500 fellowship and learn fundamental laboratory skills and analytical methods during the program.

An important feature of Project SEED is its emphasis on career development and its motivation of students to pursue higher education in the natural sciences.

Hamo, 17, of Murfreesboro, will be a senior at Stewarts Creek High School in Smyrna, Tennessee. Chemistry teacher Kevin Vaughn nominated her.

Lozano, 16, of Murfreesboro, will be a senior at Central Magnet School. Advanced Placement chemistry teacher Julie Mullane nominated him.

Dr. Greg Van Patten

Dr. Greg Van Patten

They are working under Van Patten, who is investigating nanomaterials called “quantum dots.” Together, the team will be working on making and studying new types of quantum dots, which have been identified as candidates in next-generation solar cells, lasers, energy storage devices and quantum computers.

Project SEED logo72Van Patten has served as a mentor for Project SEED students since 2013. Although the American Chemical Society provides no monetary compensation for the researchers who work with SEED students, Van Patten said he believes the program is worth the extra effort.

“The practice of science is not a classroom endeavor, so I believe it’s critical to get interested students involved in the research laboratory as early as possible,” he said.

“This program allows students to get involved after a high-quality, one-year high school experience, and both of these students have that.”

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

MTSU student wins tasty prize for ‘twist’ on Asperger’s awareness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — MTSU junior Theresa Daniels continues to put her unique “twist” on her business idea to raise awareness about and address the challenges and opportunities for those with Asperger’s syndrome.

The Nashville, Tennessee, entrepreneur, who was diagnosed with the form of autism as a child, recently took the top prize in the social enterprise category of the Launch Tennessee University Venture Challenge.

She now has $12,500 to invest into her startup idea, Theresa’s Twists — Pretzels with a Purpose, where she will put into practice the skills she’s learned through the Jones College of Business.

Daniels won the LaunchTN cash after pitching her business plan to representatives from the public-private partnership, which focuses on supporting local entrepreneurs through mentoring, networking and capital. The organization’s inaugural university venture challenge brought student entrepreneurs from across the state into the mix.

In this 2015 file photo during the MTSU Business Plan Competition, MTSU junior Theresa Daniels of Nashville holds up samples of the gourmet pretzels that will be sold by her business, Theresa’s Twists—Pretzels with a Purpose. Daniels, who has Asperger’s syndrome, plans to hire other Asperger sufferers at her business to help them with social and employment skills. (Submitted photo)

In this 2015 MTSU Business Plan Competition photo, MTSU junior Theresa Daniels of Nashville holds up samples of the gourmet pretzels that will be sold by her business, Theresa’s Twists — Pretzels with a Purpose. Daniels, who has Asperger’s syndrome, plans to hire other people with Asperger’s at her business to expand their social and employment skills. (Submitted photo)

Daniels’ vision for Theresa’s Twists initially involves the launch of a food-truck business that “sells delicious gourmet soft pretzels and a line of candied pretzels.”

Her three- to five-year goal is to also sell pretzels at a brick-and-mortar operation and then eventually connect with educational institutions, organizations, businesses and individuals to develop a model to empower young adults like her who have Asperger’s.

A primary goal is to give job opportunities to young adults struggling with Asperger’s, which affects the ability to socialize and communicate. Employment at Theresa’s Twists will help them with job training, family support and social skills for future employment.

Daniels said she hopes to build on her momentum by launching a Theresa’s Twists’ online Kickstarter campaign Thursday, June 23, with a goal to raise $20,000.

“We have been planning and preparing for five years and building investments so we can start our food truck business,” said Daniels, who also is the spokesperson for the business.

“We feel it is important to be debt-free in order to sustain the business so we can eventually help more and more people like me. I want to give them hope!”

Theresa’s Twists arose from what Daniels calls her own “deep, dark, and sometimes overwhelming challenge of Asperger’s syndrome.”

Her parents were told when she was a small child that she would likely never speak or have a normal life.

She’s made great strides since.

“But I have become what my parents call a hurdle jumper,” she said. “I look at obstacles as stepping stones, not stumbling blocks.”

While attending the University of Cincinnati several years ago, Daniels became severely depressed. One day, while she was eating a soft pretzel, the idea for “Theresa’s Twists — Pretzels With a Purpose” came to her. Her parents, Jody and John Daniels, embraced it too.

Theresa's Twists-web logo

Dr. Bill McDowell

Dr. Bill McDowell

Dr. Bill McDowell, chair holder of the Wright Travel Chair in Entrepreneurship at MTSU, encouraged Daniels to enter LaunchTN. He was familiar with Daniels’ startup idea after she won the Community Choice Award and a third-place overall prize in last year’s Business Plan Competition by the Jones College of Business.

Daniels is an integrated studies major with an emphasis in business.

“Dr. McDowell has been a blessing toward Theresa and our family. He strongly encouraged her to apply,” said Jody Daniels, Theresa’s mother.

The LaunchTN funds will help the family purchase and equip the food truck while they continue pursuing funds from grants and sources such as Kickstarter.

“Theresa has a great idea with Theresa’s Twists, and over time has been able to craft her idea into a very realistic opportunity,” McDowell said.

“I felt that she would have an excellent chance with the LaunchTN competition because her story, her enthusiasm and her dedication to this idea and cause are so apparent. I am excited about the next chapter of her business start-up journey!”

Theresa's Twists-4 web

This undated file photo shows samples of the gourmet pretzels that will be sold by Theresa’s Twists—Pretzels with a Purpose.” (Submitted photo)

The Danielses also praised Lance Alexis, director of the Disability and Access Center at MTSU, and Kevin States, associate director of the center, who was assigned to work directly with Theresa to support her academic efforts while on campus.

“I’ve been more supported at MTSU than at any other university I’ve attended,” said Theresa Daniels, who previously attended Clark State Community College, Wright State University and the University of Cincinnati in Ohio, and Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin, Tennessee.

Here ultimate dream is to also establish Life Point University, a program to educate, equip and empower young adults struggling with Asperger’s and offer them life-skills experience in a comfortable setting. Each week, the students’ schedules would include one-on-one and group tutoring and supervised study as well as coaching in planning, organizing, managing time, strategizing and executing plans.

Jody Daniels said the family finds excitement in their effort “to just help the world have a better understanding of people who have Asperger’s syndrome and (know) that people with autism are great people and certainly employable people. They just have to be given a chance and some training.”

Learn more at www.theresastwists.com or contact company president John Daniels at 615-873-0507. You also can follow them on Facebook at TheresasTwistsPretzels.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

In this undated photo, MTSU junior Theresa Daniels, left, shares a laugh with her mother, Jody, at their home in Nashville as they prepare pretzel samples as part of a Kickstarter video in support of Theresa’s business, Theresa’s Twists—Pretzels with a Purpose. (Submitted photo)

MTSU junior Theresa Daniels, left, jokes with her mother, Jody, at their Nashville home in this undated photo as they prepare pretzel samples for a Kickstarter video in support of Theresa’s business, “Theresa’s Twists — Pretzels with a Purpose.” (Submitted photo)

Family, colleagues welcome MTSU pilot after 29-day journey

He has flown a family-owned, four-seat airplane 6,600 miles. He has touched and been touched by the past, present and future of aviation.

David, left, and Lorrie McDonald hug their son Collin after he emerged from the 21-year-old family plane, nicknamed “Molly,” June 16 at Murfreesboro Airport. Collin McDonald returned from a nearly 30-day trip that included flying coast to coast, retracing the route Cal Rodgers took in 1911 in his Vin Fiz plane. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

David, left, and Lorrie McDonald hug their son Collin after he emerged from the 21-year-old family plane, nicknamed “Molly,” June 16 at Murfreesboro Airport. Collin McDonald returned from a nearly 30-day trip that included flying coast to coast, retracing the route Cal Rodgers took in 1911 in his Vin Fiz plane. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald flew to Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where Orville and Wilbur Wright’s plane took flight in 1903.

He toured aviation museums around the country. He spent time at the Grand Canyon and other U.S. landmarks. He wrote a blog, conducted research for an Honors College thesis and promoted aviation to young people and adults.

And someday, when he has children and grandchildren, the young man who admits to becoming a storyteller on his nearly monthlong voyage will have volumes of stories about retracing the flight path of aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in flying from Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California,

On June 16, the Carthage, Tennessee, native arrived back home at Murfreesboro Airport to the welcome form his family and from MTSU students, faculty and staff from the university’s Department of Aerospace and the Honors College.

“I’m excited to be home. I’m looking forward to sleeping in my own bed,” McDonald said. “One of the lessons I learned is that you can always fly tomorrow if there’s an issue. … I’m looking forward to the next step (in the thesis project), but I’m glad to complete this part.”

McDonald completed his transcontinental, “Vin Fiz 2” quest June 11 in Long Beach. He called the trip “Vin Fiz 2” because Rodgers’ plane was called “The Vin Fiz.”

For more on his trip, visit https://vinfizflight.wordpress.com, www.facebook.com/vinfizflight and www.imgrum.net/user/capt_mac/1424764353.

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

MTSU professor Joe Hawkins, right, congratulates Collin McDonald after the senior aerospace maintenance management major arrived at Murfreesboro Airport June 16. University Honors College Dean John Vile, shown standing behind McDonald, welcomed the student home and brought a cake celebrating the successful journey.

MTSU professor Joe Hawkins, right, congratulates Collin McDonald after the senior aerospace maintenance management major arrived at Murfreesboro Airport June 16. University Honors College Dean John Vile, shown standing behind McDonald, welcomed the student home and brought a cake celebrating the successful journey.

MTSU senior aerospace major Collin McDonald displays a “Welcome Back Vin Fiz 2” cake given to him by Dr. John Vile and the University Honors College June 16 at Murfreesboro Airport. McDonald successfully completed the coast-to-coast trip for an Honors thesis and to promote aviation among young people.

MTSU senior aerospace major Collin McDonald displays a “Welcome Back Vin Fiz 2” cake given to him by Dr. John Vile and the University Honors College June 16 at Murfreesboro Airport. McDonald successfully completed the coast-to-coast trip for an honors thesis and to promote aviation among young people.


MTSU student reaches Long Beach, achieves cross-country quest

June 12, 2016

LONG BEACH, Calif. — From Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California, Middle Tennessee State University senior Collin McDonald has traveled 4,300 miles to promote aviation among young people and adults and work toward an Honors College thesis project.

In traveling the flight path aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers took in 1911, McDonald, 22, of Carthage, Tennessee, reached Long Beach Airport June 11. His mother, Lorrie McDonald, who had flown from Nashville, Tennessee, greeted him after his 25-day journey in the 21-year-old, family-owned Maule MX-7-160 airplane nicknamed “Molly.”

Holding an MTSU "I am True Blue" sign after arriving at the Long Beach, Calif., Airport June 11, senior Collin McDonald of Carthage, Tenn., stands in front of "Molly," the four-seat Maule MX-7-160 airplane he flew 4,300 miles across the country in the 1991 flight path of aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in 1911. McDonald accomplished this for an Honors College thesis project and to promote aviation to young people and adults at the 75 stops along the way. (Photo by Lorrie McDonald/vinfizflight.wordpress.com)

Holding an MTSU “I am True Blue” sign after arriving at the Long Beach, Calif., Airport June 11, senior Collin McDonald of Carthage, Tenn., stands in front of “Molly,” the four-seat Maule MX-7-160 airplane he flew 4,300 miles across the country in the 1991 flight path of aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in 1911. McDonald accomplished this for an Honors College thesis project and to promote aviation to young people and adults at the 75 stops along the way. (Photo by Lorrie McDonald/vinfizflight.wordpress.com)

“The desire accomplished is sweet to the soul,” Collin McDonald wrote in his blog in summing up the experience. “It truly has been a remarkable adventure and it isn’t over yet.

“All things considered, I have been blessed with safe flights the entire way and the chance to represent the Honors College and Aerospace Department in such a national way,” he added. “I have plenty of stories … and look forward to being home again.”

Collin McDonald has a 4.0 GPA in aerospace maintenance management and is an Honors College Buchanan scholarship recipient.

After graduating from MTSU, he plans to become a missionary pilot. For more on his journey, visit https://vinfizflight.wordpress.com.

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

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, and his mother, Lorrie McDonald, both from Carthage, Tennessee, hold a sign she and her husband, David McDonald, had made to congratulate their son for accomplishing his goal to fly coast-to-coast for an Honors College thesis project. Flying a plane nicknamed "Molly," Collin McDonald landed at the Long Beach, California, Airport June 11. (Photo submitted)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, and his mother, Lorrie McDonald, both from Carthage, Tenn., hold a sign she and her husband, David McDonald, had made to congratulate their son for accomplishing his goal to fly coast to coast for an Honors College thesis project. Flying a plane nicknamed “Molly,” Collin McDonald landed at the Long Beach, Calif., Airport June 11. (Photo submitted)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, receives a hug from his mother, Lorrie McDonald upon meeting him at Long Beach (California) Airport June 11. Collin McDonald, an MTSU senior aerospace maintenance management major from Carthage, Tennessee, completed a 25-day, 4,300-mile transcontinental flight quest from Long Island, New York, to Long Beach. (Submitted photo)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, receives a hug from his mother, Lorrie McDonald, as she greeted him at the Long Beach, Calif., Airport June 11. The aerospace maintenance management major from Carthage, Tenn., completed a 25-day, 4,300-mile transcontinental flight quest from Long Island, N.Y., to Long Beach. Photo submitted)

 


Retracing aviation history, MTSU senior has flight to remember

June 2, 2016

As MTSU senior Collin McDonald approaches the halfway point in his transcontinental Vin Fiz 2 quest, his attempt to retrace the flight path that aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers achieved in 1911 in his plane called The Vin Fiz has already allowed him to:

  • Fly in a replica of a plane built by the Wright brothers in Dayton, Ohio.
  • Receive a personal tour of Hawthorn Hill, Orville Wright’s home in Oakwood, Ohio, from descendent Stephen Wright, who also gave McDonald an autographed copy of the Wright Flyer schematics.
  • Stand beneath Rodgers’ slightly restored Vin Fiz at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C.
  • Visit Kitty Hawk and Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, where the Wrights experienced the first flight in 1903.
With the horizon in view, Collin McDonald soars above the Oklahoma landscape on a great day for flying. Stormy weather in the Great Plains and other parts of the country has slowed his progress. He sports an MTSU NASA FOCUS Lab T-shirt. The lab recreates pilot-control tower situations and communication with air traffic control personnel. (Photo from www.facebook/vinfizflight)

With the horizon in view, Collin McDonald soars above the Oklahoma landscape on a great day for flying. Stormy weather in the Great Plains and other parts of the country has slowed his progress. He sports an MTSU NASA FOCUS Lab T-shirt. The lab recreates pilot-control tower situations and communication with air traffic control personnel. (Photo from www.facebook/vinfizflight)

McDonald, 22, of Carthage, Tennessee, an aerospace maintenance management major with a 4.0 GPA in the University Honors College, expects to head toward Oklahoma and Dallas, Texas, Thursday, June 2, weather permitting, after spending time in southeast Kansas.

McDonald is making the trip as part of an Honors College thesis project and to promote aviation to young people and adults at all of the approximately 75 stops he will make as he travels from the East Coast to the West Coast in his family’s 1995 Maule MX-7-160, a four-seat plane nicknamed “Molly.”

Rodgers needed 50 days to travel from Sheepshead Bay on Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California, becoming the first to fly cross-country.

The 1911 pilot had a number of crashes and incidents along the way. Thus far on the 2016 trip, McDonald’s major issue has been weather.

“This has probably been the most unplanned yet rewarding and exciting day of the entire trip thus far,” McDonald wrote on Facebook as the Memorial Day holiday weekend approached.

Mom Lorrie McDonald had driven from Carthage to Dayton to join him for several days. “We had some plans,” Collin wrote, “but the unusual sound that I hear around 8:30 a.m. altered all that.

“As I look out the window for something that I audibly couldn’t identify, I was met with the strangest sight I have ever seen,” he added. “An aircraft slowly crept into view, passing just to the right and a few hundred feet above climbing. It was no ordinary aircraft. It looked like the Wright Brothers’ Flyer!

“We were planning on going to the Dayton-Wright Brothers Airport at some point in the day, but I told Mom we had to leave NOW so I could figure out what I had just seen.”

At the museum, McDonald discovered the facility not only had a replica of the Wright Flyer, but a flying one.

“For a hundred bucks, they would take you up on a flight,” he wrote. “Well, you only live once! So I set it up to come back around 11:30 and have a flight in what would be the most amazing aircraft I have ever flown.”

Retired U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Jay Jabour flew McDonald in the Wright “B” Flyer.

“The ride wasn’t long, but it was incredible,” McDonald wrote, admitting he had an “extremely dry mouth from where I had been smiling so much that the wind dried out all my salivary glands.”

From Dallas, McDonald will continue west through New Mexico, Arizona and Southern California. In all, McDonald expects to fly 4,300 miles on the Rogers path and 7,200 miles altogether.

Follow McDonald’s journey, which includes photos, video and blogs, on the following social media outlets:

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

 


MTSU senior’s flight of a lifetime retraces pioneer’s path [+VIDEO]

May 20, 2016

MTSU senior Collin McDonald of Carthage, Tennessee, left Murfreesboro May 19 to begin a monthlong adventure that eventually will take him on a cross-country journey following a route taken by aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers more than 100 years ago.

McDonald, 22, who is a 4.0 GPA student majoring in aerospace maintenance management, plans to take 30 days to complete the flight he is calling “Vin Fiz2” in tribute to Rodgers’ plane — “The Vin Fiz,” named for a grape soda.

McDonald, a Buchanan Fellow in MTSU’s University Honors College, said he anticipates making at least 100 stops along the way.

 

https://youtu.be/cem7_7_n65o

Rodgers made the first transcontinental airplane flight across the United States beginning Sept. 11, 1911 — coincidentally, the same day MTSU first opened for classes as Middle Tennessee State Normal School — and ending Nov. 5.

The pilot reportedly had dozens of stops during his two-month flight, both scheduled and accidental, and became an instant national celebrity.Rodgers died in a plane crash, however, during an April 1912 exhibition in California.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald adds airplane fuel to the wing of his 21-year-old Maule aircraft, nicknamed "Molly," May 19 at Murfreesboro Airport. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald adds airplane fuel to the wing of his 21-year-old Maule aircraft, nicknamed “Molly,” May 19 at Murfreesboro Airport. (MTSU photos by Randy Weiler)

“I am retracing his route from New York to Long Beach (California) via Chicago and Dallas,” McDonald said. “The whole purpose of the trip is to get more young people and adults alike — but especially the next generation — involved with general aviation.”

McDonald, who also is making the trip for his honors thesis project, said general aviation in young adults “has significantly declined in the last 20 years, and what that’s going to cause in the future is a massive pilot shortage as well as additional funding required to sponsor FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and general aviation programs.”

Before heading to New York to start the transcontinental flight from Long Island, New York, two of his first stops will include Beaufort, North Carolina, May 20-21 for an Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association fly-in at Michael J. Smith Field. He then plans to travel on to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, site of aviation pioneers Orville and Wilbur Wright’s first flight in 1903.

The family-owned airplane McDonald is flying on the trip is a 1995 four-passenger Maule MX-7-160, nicknamed “Molly” and only a year younger than he is.

McDonald plans daily updates on Facebook at “Vin Fiz Flight” as well as regular blog posts at VinFizflight.wordpress.com. He will fly an average of six hours a day.

McDonald is funding his trip through aerospace and Honors College scholarships, a GoFundMe account and a recent sale of commemorative T-shirts.

This fall, there will be three McDonalds attending MTSU on full-tuition Buchanan Fellowships. Collin and his brother, fellow senior Connor McDonald, the 2016-17 Student Government Association vice president, entered the university together in 2013, and sister Delanie McDonald will be a freshman this fall.

This marks the first time that three members of the same family are enrolled at MTSU with Buchanan awards, the highest academic scholarship at the university. They were home-schooled by their mother, Lorrie McDonald. (You can read more about them here.)

Honors College Dean John Vile and members of his staff joined Collin McDonald’s parents, aerospace maintenance management faculty member Bill Allen and Madison Tracy, 2016-17 Student Government Association president, to see him off May 19.

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

MTSU senior Collin McDonald's visit to the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton included stopping by the Blackbird exhibit. It was the only aircraft to never be shot down while deployed on missions. McDonald, of Carthage, Tennessee, is retracing the Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California, route that aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers took in 1911. Rodgers was trained by Ohio natives the Wright Brothers. His plane, nicknamed Molly, is parked at Wright Brothers Field. (Submitted photo)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald visits the National Museum of the Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, and includes a stop by the Blackbird exhibit, the only aircraft never shot down while deployed on missions. The Carthage, Tenn., native is retracing the Long Island, N.Y., to Long Beach, Calif., route that aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers took in 1911. McDonald’s plane, nicknamed “Molly,” is parked at Wright Brothers Field. (Submitted photo)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald visits the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., May 23. He stands under the Vin Fiz plane flown by aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in 1911. Later this week, for part of an Honors College thesis project, McDonald will begin the same transcontinental route — Long Island, New York, to Long Beach, California — that Rodgers took. McDonald is calling the trip "Vin Fiz 2." (Submitted photo)

Collin McDonald visits the National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C., May 23 and stands under the Vin Fiz plane flown by aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers in 1911. Later this week, for part of an Honors College thesis project, McDonald will begin the same transcontinental route — Long Island, N.Y., to Long Beach, Calif. — that Rodgers took. McDonald is calling the trip “Vin Fiz 2.” (Submitted photo)

Taking a day off from flying his cross-country quest, Collin McDonald took in Niagara Falls with friends from Rochester, New York. (Photo from https://www.facebook.com/vinfizflight/)

Taking a day off from flying his cross-country quest, Collin McDonald enjoys Niagara Falls with friends from Rochester, N.Y. (Photo submitted)

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, and his mother, Lorrie McDonald, both of Carthage, Tennessee, take a photo May 19 just before Collin left Murfreesboro on his 30-day quest to follow aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers' flight path from New York to Long Beach, California.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald, left, and his mother, Lorrie McDonald, both of Carthage, Tenn., take a photo May 19 just before Collin left Murfreesboro on his 30-day quest to follow aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers’ flight path from New York to Long Beach, Calif.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald holds a commemorative set showing a 1911 photo of Cal Rodgers flying his plane, The Vin Fiz, and a piece of cloth from the plane. McDonald, who flew out of Murfreesboro Airport May 19, took the item with him on his plane.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald holds a commemorative set showing a 1911 photo of Cal Rodgers flying his plane, The Vin Fiz, and a piece of cloth from the plane. McDonald, who flew out of Murfreesboro Airport May 19, took the item with him on his plane.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald makes final checks on his 21-year-old Maule airplane, nicknamed "Molly," May 19 at Murfreesboro Airport as he begins a 30-day journey to fly from New York to Long Beach, California.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald makes final checks on his 21-year-old Maule airplane, nicknamed “Molly,” May 19 at Murfreesboro Airport as he begins a 30-day journey to fly from New York to Long Beach, Calif.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald maneuvers his Maule airplane skyward from Murfreesboro Airport May 19 to begin a 30-day quest to follow aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers' route from New York to Long Beach, California.

MTSU senior Collin McDonald maneuvers his Maule airplane skyward from Murfreesboro Airport May 19 to begin a 30-day quest to follow aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers’ route from New York to Long Beach, Calif.

This graphic from the Wright Brothers Museum website) shows aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers' Vin Fiz transcontinental route in 1911.

This graphic from the Wright Brothers Museum website shows aviation pioneer Cal Rodgers’ Vin Fiz transcontinental route in 1911.

MTSU at Bonnaroo: Gordon keeps EMC students truckin’ [+VIDEO]

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — For MTSU electronic media communications professor Robert Gordon, his role in coaching students working here is all about capturing the essence of “the Roo.”

MTSU-Bonnaroo 2016 combo“The major difference with producing Bonnaroo performances for TV from that of an individual artist TV concert is that the festival is the star,” said Gordon, an assistant professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication with almost 40 years of experience in broadcast, cable and network programming.

“Bonnaroo is an experience. Stage to stage, hour to hour, day to day, year to year, the performers change. Bonnaroo is the focus.”

Gordon is a key member among a group of MTSU faculty and staff supporting about 40 College of Media and Entertainment students working at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The team is in its third year of a unique partnership between the university and festival organizers Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment.

At the heart of MTSU’s Bonnaroo presence is its 40-foot, $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, known as “The Truck,” which is covering the event’s Who Stage for the second straight year.

This year, Gordon said, MTSU will handle TV production for 20 different acts over four days. He’s overseeing electronic media communication students capturing footage of the 15th anniversary edition of one of the world’s biggest music festivals, where 80,000 music lovers are expected to descend on the 700-acre site.

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, talks with MTSU student production manager Kaelin Michelle Bastin June 10 after the afternoon’s first performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Bastin is a senior video production major from Springville, Utah. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, talks with MTSU student production manager Kaelin Michelle Bastin June 10 after the afternoon’s first performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Bastin is a senior video production major from Springville, Utah. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

Stocked with world-class video and audio production equipment, The Truck serves as Gordon’s behind-the-scenes headquarters, where he orchestrates the show as a “player-coach.” His role, he said, is “to provide a fun, safe atmosphere and a creative structure in which people can do their best work and benefit from the experience.”

A student production manager coordinates transportation in and out of the festival. For each act, students rotate between all the camera and truck positions.

Billy Pittard

Billy Pittard

“The students will have to present totally different artists, live, with no rehearsal, in one take and show the essence of each act, as well as the atmosphere which is Bonnaroo,” Gordon said. “I will be directing the first part of each performance with a student assisting me. Midway through each act, I will give the reins to the student and be their assistant.”

MTSU student Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, uses a handheld camera June 10 to capture the Henry Wagons band's performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tennessee. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

MTSU student Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, uses a handheld camera June 10 to capture the Henry Wagons band’s performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

Students with expertise in audio, video, photography and journalism are again working at the four-day event to produce a variety of multimedia content.

“Our students are learning about working in live events and entertainment — and this week, Bonnaroo is their classroom,” said Billy Pittard, chair of the Department of Electronic Media Communication. “Live events present great career opportunities for our students.”

Sean Byrne, a sophomore video production major from Memphis, Tennessee, was one of the students handling camera duties June 10.

“We just ran handheld for a band called Henry Wagons, an up-and-coming band from Australia, and it was really cool to get in really close and shoot over the shoulder and get all kinds of shots and be creative with it,” Byrne said.

“I volunteered to do this because it’s a great experience. Bonnaroo is so unique, and the fact that MTSU is partnering with such a great music festival is a really great experience for all the kids involved.”

Gordon noted that while last year’s crop of students included “several dozen audio and video student volunteers,” this year’s group also includes an audio production class and video and photography students that he recruited.

“This year we are bringing three photography majors, guided by assistant professor Johnathan Trundle. They will be producing photo essays on various aspects of the festival experience as well as behind-the-scenes essays on the television production,” Gordon said.

http://youtu.be/zmVJbBIvvHw

The audio class has several recording industry graduate students who attended last summer’s Bonnaroo production and will serve as mentors for the undergraduate recording industry students, supervised by audio professor Michael Fleming.

Fleming is using MTSU’s previous Bonnaroo experience to teach a graduate and undergraduate audio production course this summer, focusing on live location music recording and subsequent post-production of performances on the Who Stage captured by The Truck.

Pittard noted that MTSU provides its students with opportunities to cover a variety of live events ranging including entertainment, sports, government and politics, and commercial events.

Highly skilled students are assigned to work at EMC Productions, which is MTSU’s student-staffed varsity team for live TV production of events such as MTSU football and basketball games plus a variety of other events. College of Media and Entertainment alumni and, occasionally, a few current students play key roles in major concert tours; Super Bowl halftime shows; the Oscars, Emmys, Grammys and CMA broadcasts; the Olympics; major sports broadcasts and more.

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, which is the fifth largest communication program in the nation, offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from the recording industry to journalism to filmmaking and animation— and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about the college, its departments and majors, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu) and Rob Janson (rob.janson@mtsu.edu)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, video production faculty in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, works with MTSU student Kyle Miller Friday, June 10, inside the university’s mobile production lab parked near the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Gordon is assisting EMC students working at this year’s festival to get hands-on experience in live video production. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

MTSU’s Bob Gordon, right, a video production professor in the Department of Electronic Media Communication, works with MTSU student Kyle Miller, left, June 10 inside the university’s mobile production lab near the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. Gordon is assisting EMC students working at this year’s festival to get hands-on experience in live video production.

MTSU student Taylor Sullivan, an incoming freshman video production from Cleveland, Tenn., works one of the cameras filming the Henry Wagons performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

MTSU student Taylor Sullivan, an incoming freshman video production from Cleveland, Tenn., films the Henry Wagons band’s performance on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. MTSU students are producing multimedia content for the festival.

 


MTSU at Bonnaroo ’16: ‘Remarkable learning opportunity’ [+VIDEO]

June 9, 2016

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Year three of Middle Tennessee State University’s partnership with Bonnaroo is again providing students with a uniquely immersive experience that can’t be found in any on-campus classroom.

About 40 College of Media and Entertainment students will be producing multimedia content from the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, which started June 9, runs through June 12 and features top musicians such as Pearl Jam, Miguel and Chris Stapleton performing on stages throughout the 700-acre site.

“Our partnership with Bonnaroo has given our students a truly singular experience, transferring the skills they’ve learned in the classroom to the grounds of one of the world’s pre-eminent music festivals,” said Ken Paulson, dean of the College of Media and Entertainment.

“From photography and videography to journalism and the recording industry, the MTSU experience at Bonnaroo reflects the wide range of media we embrace in our college.”

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment are working at the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Rob Janson)

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment are working at the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photos by Rob Janson)

For the second straight year, MTSU’s $1.7 million Mobile Production Lab, known as “The Truck,” will work the Who Stage at the event, with world-class video and audio production equipment on hand and CME students operating a variety of cameras to help chronicle slices of the 15th anniversary edition of one of the world’s biggest music festivals.

http://youtu.be/inijtVMp1f4

Kaelin Michelle Bastin, a senior electronic media communication from Springville, Utah, is working as production manager for the student team, for many of whom “this is their first time that they’ll be using the truck outside of on-campus events.”

“So for them this is a new experience going to the venue, being at a venue that they haven’t seen before, so it provides them experiences that we don’t get necessarily sitting down in the classroom,” Bastin said.

“And on top of that we’re switching out positions, so we get to try out different positions, and it helps us really develop who we want to be in their career instead of just being set of one thing throughout.”

Michael Fleming, an associate professor in the Department of Recording Industry, noted that the university’s ongoing relationship with Bonnaroo also has led to an opportunity to bring the on-site experiences back to the classroom.

“Our media and educational partnership with Bonnaroo has evolved to the point that this summer I’m teaching a graduate (Master of Fine Arts) and undergraduate audio production course focused on live location music recording and subsequent post-production of performances on the Who Stage that we’ll capture over four days in conjunction with a student, faculty and staff video-production crew on board our television truck,” Fleming said.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Stephanie Donithan films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. About 40 MTSU students are working at the festival to get hands-on multimedia experience.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Stephanie Donithan films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. About 40 MTSU students are working at the festival to get hands-on multimedia experience.

“This is a remarkable learning opportunity for students in the College of Media and Entertainment. We’re really grateful that the festival is so supportive of both our live production work and the opportunities for embedded journalism and photography students to document the festival again this year.”

This is the third year of a partnership Paulson brokered between MTSU and the organizers of the annual festival after 2014 campus visits by Bonnaroo founders Ashley Capps and Rick Farman, as well as Bonnaroo directors and organizers, to talk about the mechanics of the festival.

MTSU-Bonnaroo 2016 combo

Ken Paulson

Ken Paulson

The mutually beneficial relationship provides the festival with quality production and content while students gain the types of hands-on experiences that boost confidence and resumes.

When MTSU students arrived at Bonnaroo last year, the then-named College of Mass Communication was about to get a new name to reflect the broad range of academic specialties housed within the college.

“We renamed ourselves the College of Media and Entertainment to reflect a real shift in our approach and curriculum from mass communication to targeted, multiple media delivered through diverse platforms,” Paulson said.

“Bonnaroo has mastered that kind of multifaceted content creation and marketing and offers a great learning opportunity for our students.”

MTSU’s College of Media and Entertainment, which is the fifth largest communication program in the nation, offers degree concentrations in 14 major areas — ranging from the recording industry to journalism to filmmaking and animation— and is accredited by the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication.

For more information about the college, its departments and majors, visit www.mtsu.edu/media.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu) and Rob Janson (rob.janson@mtsu.edu)

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Sean Byrne, left, films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

MTSU College of Media and Entertainment student Sean Byrne, left, films the band Doe Paoro June 9 on the Who Stage at the 2016 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

MTSU recognizes 4,000+ high achievers on spring 2016 Dean’s List

More than 4,000 MTSU students are included on the latest Dean’s List for their academic achievements for the spring 2016 semester.

spring2016 deans list graphicThis list, alphabetized by home county and surname, is the final compilation by the MTSU Records Office of the names and hometowns of students receiving the Dean’s List distinction for the spring.

The searchable PDF is available by clicking here.

To qualify for the Dean’s List, a student must maintain a current semester grade-point average of 3.5 or above and earn at least 12 semester hours.

The “Dean’s List” notation applies only to undergraduate students. MTSU’s lists are updated after each semester ends and student grades are posted.

An archive of recent Dean’s Lists by semester is available here.

Please note: These final graduation lists are provided by the MTSU Registrar’s Office and are compiled from information from each student’s official records. The Office of News and Media Relations does not compile nor create the final graduation list.

For questions about an individual student’s inclusion on the list, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 615-898-5170 or records@mtsu.edu.

Tracy takes reins as new president of MTSU student government

As MTSU students prepare to deal with sweeping changes universitywide, its new Student Government Association president is preparing to keep them in the loop.

Madison Tracy,

Madison Tracy

Madison Tracy, a rising senior majoring in public relations, is primed to put her chosen field of study to use in bringing the student community and its representatives closer together.

“I eventually saw a disconnect between the students and SGA, and I realized while I was campaigning last year that a lot of students didn’t really know what SGA did,” said Tracy.

The Murfreesboro native and Buchanan Scholar in the University Honors College brings considerable experience to her new position. She was student body president at Central Magnet School for three years, and at MTSU, Tracy has served on the freshman council and as vice president of marketing for the executive board.

“With each different position, I kind of got to see every different area of the SGA, and I really liked how they reached out to students and how every area was important,” said Tracy.

MTSU SGA Logo webTo emphasize that message, Tracy created Facebook and Instagram pages titled “Humans of MTSU.” The social media pages, which emulate on blogger Brandon Stanton’s “Humans of New York” website, show various members of the MTSU community and enables them to tell their stories at www.facebook.com/humansofmtsu and www.instagram.com/humansofmtsu.

Tracy also is intent on helping students understand the ramifications of the Focus on College and University Success, or FOCUS Act, the next step in Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s plan to see 55 percent of adult Tennesseans holding a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2025.

That plan involves a reorganization of higher education that will create independent governing boards for MTSU and other four-year institutions currently overseen by the Tennessee Board of Regents.

“With public relations and messaging, I want to bring that down to a very applicable, understandable thing for the students,” said Tracy, who is a member of MTSU’s FOCUS Act Transition Team.

Tracy said she also wants the students to understand MT Engage, the university’s blueprint for keeping students connected with the relevance of their classroom learning to their lives and careers.

The eldest of seven children, Tracy was homeschooled by her mother until the sixth grade, when she enrolled at Middle Tennessee Christian School.

Her mother is a substitute teacher at Northside Elementary School, and her father is a claims specialist in arbitration for State Farm Insurance.

“Because they believed in me and because they gave so much for us to go to college, I’m so thankful and just feel really blessed to have parents like that,” Tracy said.

For more information about MTSU’s Student Government Association, go to www.mtsu.edu/sga. To contact Tracy, email sgapres@mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2464.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU senior Madison Tracy of Murfreesboro, the new 2016-17 Student Government Association president, walks in the courtyard of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building in this May photo. Tracy also is a Buchanan Scholar at the university. (MTSU photo by J Intintoli)

MTSU senior Madison Tracy of Murfreesboro, the 2016-17 Student Government Association president, walks in the courtyard of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building in this May photo. Tracy also is a Buchanan Scholar at the university. (Photo by Sam Stockard)

MTSU Records Office provides final list of spring 2016 graduates

MTSU is proud to release a printable list of the graduates who received their degrees in the recent spring 2016 commencement ceremonies.

A joyful MTSU graduate student gives a thumbs-up to the camera as she and her classmates wait for the university’s first graduate student commencement to begin Friday, May 6. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

A joyful MTSU graduate student gives a thumbs-up to the camera as she and her classmates wait for the university’s first graduate student commencement to begin Friday, May 6. (MTSU photo by Andy Heidt)

This list, alphabetized by home county and surname, is the final compilation by the MTSU Registrar’s Office of the names and hometowns of MTSU’s spring 2016 graduates. The PDF is available by clicking here.

Full news coverage of the spring 2016 commencement ceremonies on May 6 and 7, including videos and links to plenty of photos, is available here (undergrad) and here (graduate)

MTSU graduation lists are finalized after each commencement day. An archive of recent graduation lists by semester is available here.

Please note: These final graduation lists are provided by the MTSU Registrar’s Office and are compiled from information from each student’s official records. The Office of News and Media Relations does not compile nor create the final graduation list.

For questions about an individual student’s inclusion on the list, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 615-898-5170 or records@mtsu.edu.

26 MTSU students headed abroad, thanks to $70K in scholarships

Twenty-six students are preparing now for the experience of a lifetime, thanks to the MTSU Office of Education Abroad.

With a total of more than $70,000 in Education Abroad scholarships, these students will be able to spend either the fall 2016 semester or the entire academic year studying in 14 different countries.

study-abroad illus for scholarshipsEligibility criteria for the scholarships include:

  • a minimum 2.8 GPA for degree-seeking undergraduate students or a minimum 3.3 GPA for graduate students.
  • completion of at least one semester at MTSU before studying abroad.
  • participation in a credit-bearing study-abroad course.

Each applicant also must complete an essay explaining his or her goals.

“We really want the essay to focus on why you chose a specific program, how well it benefits you academically when you return to MTSU — and maybe even for your future career,” said Tiffany Bickers, director of the Office of Education Abroad.

The university’s International Education and Exchange Committee decides on the scholarship winners and also consider financial need, program location and program length when determining scholarship awards.

The money comes from the International Education Fund, which is fueled in part by the program services fee paid by MTSU students each semester.

MTSU sends more than 350 students abroad annually throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

The newest MTSU Education Abroad Scholarship recipients and their destinations are:

  • Colin Bentley of Lenoir City, Tennessee; academic year, Providence University, Taiwan.
  • Kayo Beshir of Antioch, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain.
  • Brianna Browning of Seymour, Tennessee; academic year, University of Seoul, South Korea.
  • Taylor Burney of Olathe, Kansas; fall semester, Popakademie University, Germany.
  • Morgan Carter of Springfield, Virginia; fall semester, Macquarie University, Australia.
  • Sydney Casteel of Shelbyville, Tennessee; academic year, University of Brighton, England.
  • Dalin Chan of McMinnville, Tennessee; fall semester, East China Normal University, China.
  • Rebecca Clippard of Murfreesboro; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan.
  • Ashley Duchac of Murfreesboro; fall semester, Ulster Coleraine University, Northern Ireland.
  • Raven Evans of Country Club Hills, Illinois; fall semester, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland.
  • Christina Franklin of Murfreesboro; fall semester, Griffith University, Australia.
  • Kansas Glasgow of Lebanon, Tennessee; fall semester, King’s College, England.
  • Leia Green of Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad del Norte, Colombia.
  • Andrew Heim of Murfreesboro; academic year, University of Glasgow, Scotland.
  • Elvis Hoang of Antioch, Tennessee; fall semester, Ehwa Womans University, South Korea.
  • Daniel Knickerbocker of Lakeland, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan.
  • Christian Lawrence of Culleoka, Tennessee, fall semester, Seinan Gakuin University, Japan.
  • Melinda Lewis of Murfreesboro; fall semester, Christ University, India.
  • Jessica Magana of Jonesborough, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad del Pacifico, Peru.
  • Emilya Mailyan of Brentwood, Tennessee; fall semester, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain.
  • Ashley Martinez of Murfreesboro; fall semester, Shanghai University, China.
  • Hailey Randolph of Murfreesboro; academic year, Saitama University, Japan.
  • Aaron Schwartz of Bell Buckle, Tennessee; academic year, Reitaku University, Japan.
  • Samuel Smallman of Murfreesboro; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan.
  • Rachel Vincent of Nashville, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan.
  • Jakub Wolfe of Smyrna, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad de Salamanca Cursos Internacionales en Cusco, Peru.

For more information on MTSU study-abroad programs, contact Bickers at 615-898-5179 or tiffany.bickers@mtsu.edu or visit the Office of Education Abroad website at http://mtsu.studioabroad.com.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)