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MTSU solar boat team claims second place, 8 national awards

MTSU’s solar boat team sailed confidently against a strong field competing in a recent national competition in Dayton, Ohio.

The team’s confidence with the solar boat they nicknamed “True Blue” lived up to their expectations in the 2015 Solar Splash, an American Society of Mechanical Engineers-sponsored event.

MTSU solar boat team members are shown with their vessel, "True Blue," during a break in the action at the 2015 Solar Splash competition on Lake George Wyth in Dayton, Ohio. The team placed second overall in the national event. (Submitted photo)

MTSU solar boat team members are shown with their vessel, “True Blue,” during a break in the action at the 2015 Solar Splash competition on Lake George Wyth in Dayton, Ohio. The team placed second overall in the national event. (Submitted photos)

With its highest finish ever, MTSU placed second to host Cedarville University in the 16-team event held on Lake George Wyth.

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan

Dr. Saeed Foroudastan

Solar Splash, officially named the International Intercollegiate Solar/Electric Boat Regatta, is the world championship of intercollegiate solar/electric boating. Teams come from across the country to compete.

“I’m extremely proud of the team’s effort and showing,” said Saeed Foroudastan, adviser and director of the university’s Experimental Vehicles Program. “The forethought, dedication and engineering improvements that were necessary to bring this year’s entry to fruition earned eight awards, the greatest number of honors to date at the Solar Splash competition.”

The eight awards include:

  • Outstanding Design Achievement Award, presented by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Power Electronics Society.
  • First place in Solar Slalom.
  • Second place in qualifying, presented by the American Society of Mechanical Engineers Solar Energy division. To receive this award, the boat must have the best overall design to qualify for the race.
  • Second place in the sprint competition.
  • Outstanding Workmanship and Sportsmanship awards.
  • Third-place award for visual display.
  • Second place overall.
MTSU solar boat team members and advisers prepare the boat for takeoff. (Submitted photo)

MTSU solar boat team members and advisers prepare the boat for takeoff.

Rising senior Lindsey Blankenship of Lexington, Tennessee, and junior David Sprouls of Danville, Illinois, piloted the boat as the respective endurance and speed event drivers.

“It went well with new batteries, but not as well as we would’ve liked, but all in all, it was good,” Blankenship said. “I’m very happy and proud of finishing second. I was nervous during the race because there had been a few collisions.”

“We achieved 24 miles per hour. That’s the fastest we’ve gone,” Sprouls added. “We did not have a single problem. … The other boat, from Cedarville, was really fast. We sharpened the edge of the propeller. It made us a little faster, but we were still behind them.”

Even with the best lead-acid batteries that MTSU can buy, the top speed lasts only about one minute, said Sprouls, a mechatronics engineering major.

Blankenship, a double major in physics and math, also will be a member of the 2015-16 team. The team will be captained by Sprouls and plans to design a new boat.

“We’ll start with a blank slate,” Sprouls said. “Hopefully, it will be as nice as this one.”

This year’s MTSU entry was a modified version of the boat that competed in 2014.

Other team members included Matthew Ham, Michael Raymond, Melissa Sanders, Brian Reyes, Rizwan Syed, Robert Johnson and Zach Hunter. Rick Taylor and graduate students Cary Woodson and Jeremy Posey served as advisers.

The MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program is housed in the Department of Engineering Technology, one of 11 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

For more information about the program, call 615-494-8786 or email Foroudastan at Saeed.Foroudastan@mtsu.edu.

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

The MTSU solar boat team collected eight awards at the 2015 Solar Splash in Dayton, Ohio.

The MTSU solar boat team collected eight awards at the 2015 Solar Splash in Dayton, Ohio.

 

ASCAP hosts private showcase for MTSU songwriting program

NASHVILLE — ASCAP recently held a private showcase at their offices for Nashville music publishers showcasing Middle Tennessee State University’s songwriting program.

Performing were student writers Nick Carpenter, Zach Russell, Kyle Crownover, and the group “Maybe April,” which includes MTSU’s Katy Bishop and Kristen Castro along with Alaina Stacy. Publishing companies in attendance were Sony/ATV, Warner Chapel, BMG, Sea-Gayle Music, Creative Nation, and Round Hill Music.

ASCAP recently held a private showcase at their offices for Nashville music publishers showcasing Middle Tennessee State University’s commercial songwriting program. Pictured top row, from left, are students Nick Carpenter, Kyle Crownover, ASCAP Vice President LeAnn Phalen, student Zach Russell, MTSU Songwriting Concentration Coordinator Odie Blackmon; bottom row, from left, "Maybe April" members Alaina Stacey, Kristen Castro and Katy Bishop. (Submitted photo)

ASCAP recently held a private showcase at their offices for Nashville music publishers showcasing Middle Tennessee State University’s commercial songwriting program. Pictured top row, from left, are students Nick Carpenter, Kyle Crownover, ASCAP Vice President LeAnn Phalen, student Zach Russell, MTSU Songwriting Concentration Coordinator Odie Blackmon; bottom row, from left, “Maybe April” members Alaina Stacey, Kristen Castro and Katy Bishop. (Submitted photo)

Located just a half-hour south of Nashville, MTSU offers its students exceptional opportunities through the Department of Recording Industry’s commercial songwriting program. The program is led by veteran songwriter Odie Blackmon, who continues to strengthen partnerships with organizations such as the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP).

The program is taught by talented faculty members who have ties to all parts of the industry and is home to the only college chapter of the Nashville Songwriters Association International (NSAI). For more information about the program, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/programs/commercial-songwriting/.

‘MTSU On the Record’ spotlights student’s opposition to state logo

The uproar over the state of Tennessee’s new marketing logo was the focus of a recent “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Kyle Elliott first aired June 15 on WMOT-FM (89.5 and www.wmot.org ). You can listen to their conversation here.

Kyle Elliott

Kyle Elliott

TN logo webElliott, an electronic media communication major from Hermitage, Tennessee, solicited comments on Twitter using the hashtag #SavetheTristar to draw attention to the logo controversy via his Twitter account, @TheKyleElliott.

Gov. Bill Haslam’s administration paid $46,000 for a Nashville-based public relations firm to create the logo, which is a red square emblazoned with the letters “TN” in white and a blue bar underneath.

While the logo does not replace the figure of three stars on a blue field on the predominantly red state flag, statewide and national reaction to the new logo has been overwhelmingly negative and full of ridicule.

“I’ve talked to some friends about it, and they’ve said, ‘You know, that money could have been put toward my college tuition,’” Elliott said. “It’s just government spending that’s not necessary.”

Elliott has discussed the reaction to the logo on WMTS-FM, MTSU’s student radio station. He also promoted a petition on www.change.org calling for the logo to be dumped. Elliott said more than 2,500 people have signed the petition to date.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, visit the searchable “Audio Clips” archives at www.mtsunews.com.

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

A video clip of the interview is available below.

https://youtu.be/NFwVWPABxbA

MTSU students get ‘real-world training’ at Bonnaroo [+VIDEO]

MANCHESTER, Tenn. — Amanda Pierce is one of thousands of students taking a class this summer at Middle Tennessee State University.

But unlike most, her classroom is behind one of the stages at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival, where she is serving as student production manager for the MTSU Mobile Production Lab.

Robert Gordon, an assistant professor of electronic media communication in MTSUÕs College of Mass Communication, briefs his student crew before beginning preparations for a shoot Thursday afternoon, June 11, at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalÕs Who Stage. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Robert Gordon, an assistant professor of electronic media communication in MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, briefs his student crew before beginning preparations for a shoot June 11 at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s Who Stage. (MTSU photos by Andrew Oppmann)

“I think it will help me kick-start my career and my leadership abilities,” said Pierce, a senior from Murfreesboro majoring in electronic media communication in the College of Mass Communication.

“It’s totally awesome for a classroom.”

Pierce is among about 40 MTSU students, faculty and staff working at the four-day festival under the second year of a unique partnership between the university and festival organizers Superfly Presents and AC Entertainment.

Twenty-eight are working with cameras and control boards in MTSU’s mobile studio, capturing performances on the festival’s Who Stage. The rest are working as multimedia journalists, filing stories and videos for area news media outlets.

“Our friends at Bonnaroo have been extraordinarily generous and supportive, giving our students a singular educational opportunity and invaluable hands-on experience,” mass communication Dean Ken Paulson said.

“It’s important that we extend our teaching beyond the walls of our college to the places where contemporary media and entertainment are at their best.”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25bOzmx0uDI

Pierce manages the student crew of camera operators, sound technicians, producers and technicians under the direction of assistant professor Robert Gordon, who has almost 40 years of experience in broadcast, cable and network programming.

Students and instructors from MTSUÕs College of Mass Communication mount a center-stage camera at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts FestivalÕs Who Stage on Thursday afternoon. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Students and instructors from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication mount a center-stage camera at the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival’s Who Stage June 11.

“MTSU at Bonnaroo is giving students realistic, real-world training, producing several video concert performances per day — live, no rehearsal, all in one take,” Gordon said.

“Our time at Bonnaroo is as hands-on and as realistic an experience as can be offered.”

Meanwhile, on the other side of the 700-acre site, veteran journalists Pat Embry, director of MTSU’s John Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence for First Amendment Studies, and journalism associate professor Leon Alligood are mentoring the student on-site content team.

The team’s work can be found on the website of MTSU’s student newspaper, Sidelines (www.mtsusidelines.com) and other area media outlets, including The Tennessean and the Murfreesboro Pulse.

Students set up and conducted their own advance phone interviews with Nashville-based rock bands playing at Bonnaroo, Embry said. They will work each day from midmorning until late at night, filing stories, taking photos and shooting video.

“From a student standpoint, the experience in building a portfolio is unparalleled,” he said. “Having so many editors and veteran writers and reporters on site to help the students with their work is invaluable.”

Gordon, over at the Who Stage, echoed that thought: “Students get jobs from experiences like these.”

— Andrew Oppmann (andrew.oppmann@mtsu.edu)

A group shot of students, faculty and staff from MTSU's College of Mass Communication, all of whom will be working at the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

This group of students, faculty and staff from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication, all will be working at the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

MTSUÕs Mobile Production Lab will serve as the video hub for the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

MTSU’s Mobile Production Lab will serve as the video hub for the Who Stage at the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.

Pat Embry, left, director of MTSUÕs Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, briefs a crew of student journalists preparing to cover ThursdayÕs opening day of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Pat Embry, left, director of MTSU’s Seigenthaler Chair of Excellence in First Amendment Studies, briefs a crew of student journalists preparing to cover the June 11 opening day of the Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn.

A group shot of students and faculty from MTSU's College of Mass Communication, all of whom will be filing content for area media from the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn. (MTSU photo by Andrew Oppmann)

Students and faculty from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication who’ll be filing content for area media from the 2015 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester, Tenn., pose for a group photo Aug. 11.

Celebrate with some of MTSU's top new graduates!

More of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their spring 2015 graduation and discussed their futures with President Sidney A. McPhee during a May photo session in the Cope Administration Building. The students graduated with honors May 9 after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by Andy Heidt, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

 

Cumberland County Honor Graduate – Spring 2015

 

Cumberland County native Joseph Ryan Mosqueda, seated at right, a genetics and biotechnology major who graduated with honors during the university's spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee to discuss his future plans. Mosqueda, a Crossville, Tennessee, resident and 2010 alumnus of Cumberland County High School, received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He was selected as the Peter I. Carl Outstanding Senior in Biology for 2014-15 and is an Honors College Graduate with Distinction in the University Honors College as well as a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Mosqueda, a magna cum laude graduate and alumnus of the Institute of Leadership Excellence, is the son of Sabine Smid and the brother of Sarah and Mary Mosqueda and Emelia, Natalya and Hannah Smid, all of Cumberland County. He plans to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology as a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, the nation’s fifth ranked genetics program.

Cumberland County native Joseph Ryan Mosqueda, seated at right, a genetics and biotechnology major who graduated with honors during the university’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Mosqueda, a Crossville, Tennessee, resident and 2010 alumnus of Cumberland County High School, received his Bachelor of Science degree in biology. He was selected as the Peter I. Carl Outstanding Senior in Biology for 2014-15 and is an Honors College Graduate with Distinction in the University Honors College as well as a member of the Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Mosqueda, a magna cum laude graduate and alumnus of the Institute of Leadership Excellence, is the son of Sabine Smid and the brother of Sarah and Mary Mosqueda and Emelia, Natalya and Hannah Smid, all of Cumberland County. He plans to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology as a Chancellor’s Graduate Fellow at Washington University in St. Louis, the nation’s fifth ranked genetics program.

 

Hamilton County Honor Graduate – Spring 2015

 

Hamilton County native Haley Cothran, seated at right, an organizational communications major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee to discuss her future plans. Cothran, a Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, native and 2011 alumna of Soddy-Daisy High School, received her Bachelor of Science in organizational communications. Cothran, a magna cum laude graduate, attended MTSU on a golf scholarship and was recognized at the university’s athletics awards programs for earning a 4.0 GPA her freshman, junior and senior years at MTSU. She also was the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Award in Organizational Communication. Cothran is the daughter of Todd and Diane Cothran of Soddy-Daisy and plans to work in public relations.

Hamilton County native Haley Cothran, seated at right, an organizational communications major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Cothran, a Soddy-Daisy, Tennessee, native and 2011 alumna of Soddy-Daisy High School, received her Bachelor of Science in organizational communications. Cothran, a magna cum laude graduate, attended MTSU on a golf scholarship and was recognized at the university’s athletics awards programs for earning a 4.0 GPA her freshman, junior and senior years at MTSU. She also was the recipient of the Outstanding Academic Award in Organizational Communication. Cothran is the daughter of Todd and Diane Cothran of Soddy-Daisy and plans to work in public relations.

 

Marshall County Honor Graduate – Spring 2015

 

Marshall County native Cheyenne Plott, right, a dual Spanish and organizational communications major who graduated with highest honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee to discuss her future plans. Plott, a Lewisburg, Tennessee, native, is a 2011 alumna of Marshall County High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor Science degree in organizational communications and also is a graduate of the University Honors College and a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society. The recipient of the College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Student in Spanish Award, Plott, a summa cum laude graduate of MTSU, is the daughter of Julie Plott and the late Marty Plott and the sister of Laramie Plott, all of Lewisburg. She plans to continue her education and pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.

Marshall County native Cheyenne Plott, right, a dual Spanish and organizational communications major who graduated with highest honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Plott, a Lewisburg, Tennessee, native, is a 2011 alumna of Marshall County High School. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and a Bachelor Science degree in organizational communications and also is a graduate of the University Honors College and a member of Phi Kappa Phi honor society. The recipient of the College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Student in Spanish Award, Plott, a summa cum laude graduate of MTSU, is the daughter of Julie Plott and the late Marty Plott and the sister of Laramie Plott, all of Lewisburg. She plans to continue her education and pursue a career in the nonprofit sector.

 

Roane County Honor Graduate – Spring 2015

 

Roane County native Cody C. Thomas, seated at right, a nursing major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Thomas, a Harriman, Tennessee, native and 2010 alumna of Harriman High School, received her Bachelor of Science in nursing and is a magna cum laude graduate. She is the daughter of Danny and Susan Thomas, the sister of Jessica Thomas and the aunt of Jayden and Grayson Howard, all of Harriman, and has been offered a position in the obstetrics department at Harton Regional Medical Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

Roane County native Cody C. Thomas, seated at right, a nursing major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Thomas, a Harriman, Tennessee, native and 2010 alumna of Harriman High School, received her Bachelor of Science in nursing and is a magna cum laude graduate. She is the daughter of Danny and Susan Thomas, the sister of Jessica Thomas and the aunt of Jayden and Grayson Howard, all of Harriman, and has been offered a position in the obstetrics department at Harton Regional Medical Center in Tullahoma, Tennessee.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates – Spring 2015

 

In the photo above,  McPhee, seated at left, joins five Rutherford County residents who graduated with highest honors during the university's spring 2015 commencement ceremonies to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Yerlyn Castro-Vargas of Murfreesboro, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Standing are, from left, Samuel Benjamin Black of Lascassas, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration; Chase Zingale of Murfreesboro, who received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and graduated summa cum laude; Crystal LeAnn Scott of Murfreesboro, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting; and Anna Chelsea Neal of Rockvale, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

In the photo above,  McPhee, seated at left, joins five Rutherford County residents who graduated with highest honors during the university’s spring 2015 commencement ceremonies to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Yerlyn Castro-Vargas of Murfreesboro, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in political science. Standing are, from left, Samuel Benjamin Black of Lascassas, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science in criminal justice administration; Chase Zingale of Murfreesboro, who received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in marketing and graduated summa cum laude; Crystal LeAnn Scott of Murfreesboro, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting; and Anna Chelsea Neal of Rockvale, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in biology.

Castro-Vargas, a native of Costa Rica, minored in international relations and criminal justice and received the College of Liberal Arts’ 2015 Senior Honor Award for political science as well as the Department of Political Science’s 2015 C.C. Sims Award. She is a member of the Pi Sigma Alpha political science, Alpha Phi Sigma criminal justice and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies and wants to work for the federal Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. She is working toward that goal by preparing for law school to become an immigration attorney and seeking employment at a local nongovernmental organization serving immigrants and refugees. Castro-Vargas lives in Murfreesboro with her husband and daughter, Marvin and Valerie M. Barrantes.

Black, a 2012 alumnus of the Middle Tennessee Christian School, minored in agriculture and received the 2014 R.B.J. Campbelle Jr. Criminal Justice Scholarship at MTSU. He plans to attend law school at Belmont University to become an attorney. His family includes his parents, Tim and Melinda Black of Lascassas, and his grandparents, Sam and Frances Black of Murfreesboro and Linda and Buddy Brown of Lascassas.

Zingale, a 2010 alumnus of Siegel High School, minored in business administration and was named the Outstanding Marketing Senior for his top grade-point average. He also is a member of the Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. He is the son of Michelle and Chuck Zingale and the brother of Reid and Alex Zingale, all of Murfreesboro.

Scott, a Baroda, Michigan, native who lives in Murfreesboro, received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree in accounting and minored in business administration and is a member of the Gamma Beta Phi and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. She is the daughter of Samuel and the late Rita Scott of Bridgman, Michigan, and the granddaughter of Shirley and the late Samuel Scott of Baroda and Robert and Nancy Curtis of New Johnsonville, Tennessee. Her sisters are Shannon, Kathryn and Kaleigh Scott, all of Stevensville, Michigan, and her fiancé, William Taylor, and her daughter, Carmen, live in Murfreesboro. Scott is interning this summer in the Internal Audit Department of the Nashville-based health care company HCA and plans to return to MTSU this fall to earn her master’s degree and her designation as a certified public accountant.

Neal, a 2011 alumna of the Daniel 1 Academy, minored in agriculture and is a graduate of the MTSU University Honors College who successfully defended her honors thesis on honeybees last fall. She plans to obtain employment as a staff zoologist at a zoo or a museum curator. Her parents, Willie H. Neal Jr. and A. Cornelia D. Neal, and her brother, J. Ethan Neal, all live in Rockvale.

You can see full news coverage of MTSU’s spring 2015 commencement, including photos and videos, here.

 

Fall 2014

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee sat down with several students in the Cope Administration Building recently to discuss their plans after their Dec. 13 graduation with honors from the university. The students graduated with honors after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by J. Intintoli, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

 

Hamilton County Honor Graduates – Fall 2014

 

Hamilton honors fall2014

In the photo above, McPhee, seated at left, joins a trio of fall 2014 Hamilton County honor graduates to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Jalisa Jones of Chattanooga, a criminal justice major; standing are Carly Duffy, left, of Chattanooga, a genetics and biotechnology major, and Kaitlin Pitre of Soddy-Daisy, an interdisciplinary studies/elementary education major.

Jones, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice, is a 2011 alumna of Notre Dame High School and also was a member of Gamma Beta Phi honor society, the Scholars Academy, the National Society of Leadership and Success, and Collegiate 100 Black Women of MTSU during her college career. She is the daughter of Lisa and Michael Jones Sr. of Chattanooga and plans to become a defense attorney.

Duffy, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in genetics and biotechnology, is also a 2011 graduate of Notre Dame and was a member of the Phi Kappa Phi and Omicron Delta Kappa honor societies, as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success and the recipient of the Eliot Dawson Bioventures/Biotechnology Scholarship, during her college career. She is the daughter of Claudia and Terence Duffy and the sister of Julianne Duffy and the late Luke Duffy, all of Chattanooga. She plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate for a career in laboratory research.

Pitre, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in interdisciplinary studies/elementary education, is a 2011 alumna of Soddy-Daisy High School. She is the daughter of Ann and Mark Pitre and the sister of Mark Pitre, all of Soddy-Daisy, and will begin her studies for a master’s degree in literacy this spring. She also will serve as a graduate assistant in MTSU’s Department of Elementary and Special Education.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates – Fall 2014

 

Rutherford honors fall2014

In the photo above, McPhee, seated at left, joins nine fall 2014 Rutherford County honor graduates to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Zac Woodward of Murfreesboro, a music business major; standing are, from left, Amethyst McClellan of Murfreesboro, a nursing major; Amanda Gambill of Smyrna, a public relations major; Robert B. Allen II of Smyrna, a financial institutional management major; Shannon Hallavant of Murfreesboro, a mathematics education major; Jonathan Driver of Murfreesboro, a psychology major; Austin Hitt of Murfreesboro, a professional computer science major; Molly Devine of La Vergne, an English major; and Jessica Schwendimann of Murfreesboro, a sociology major. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Woodward, a cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in music business, is a 2010 alumna of Mt. Juliet High School and minored in media management. He is the son of Kris Wienk and Bob Lynch of Murfreesboro and plans a career as producer of a Nashville radio show.

McClellan, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in nursing, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and an Experiential Learning Scholar at MTSU. She is the daughter of Consuelo Motto of Murfreesboro and plans to obtain her nursing license and begin her career in health care, then earn a master’s degree in nursing.

Gambill, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in public relations, is a 2011 alumna of Smyrna High School. She minored in office management and women’s studies at MTSU. Her parents are Rita and Dave Gambill of Smyrna, and she plans to work in a public relations agency in Nashville.

Allen, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in financial institutional management, is a 2011 alumnus of Smyrna High School. He is the son of Nichole and Robert Allen and the brother of Austin Allen, all of Smyrna, and plans a career in investment banking in Nashville.

Hallavant, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics education, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and the recipient of the Frances Stubblefield Calculus II Award and the Robert Noyce Teaching Scholarship during her MTSU career. Her husband, Buddy Hallavant; sister and brother-in-law, Rachel and Leo Davenport; and cousin, Brandy Herman, all live in Murfreesboro. She plans a career teaching mathematics at Stewarts Creek High School.

Driver, a magna cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in psychology, is a 1999 alumnus of Oakland High School and a Dean’s List honoree throughout his MTSU career. He also is a 2014 and 2014 recipient of the College of Behavioral and Health Sciences’ Certificate of Superior Academic Performance – Psychology and a graduate of the University Honors College. He is the son of Kathryn A. Driver of Murfreesboro and Jimmy C. Driver of Lebanon and plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate in clinical psychology.

Hitt, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree in professional computer science, is an alumnus of Oakland High School and recipient of the Richard Detmer Award for Computer Science and the Excellence in Computer Science Award during his career at MTSU.

Devine, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Arts degree in English, is a 2010 alumna of Aaron Academy. She minored in history and information systems and served as treasurer of Phi Alpha Theta history honor society during her MTSU career. Her fiancé, Andrew Stophel, is a Smyrna resident, and her parents, Windi and Mike Devine, live in La Vergne. She plans a career as a librarian.

Schwendimann, a cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree in sociology, is a 2010 alumna of Siegel High School and minored in psychology and child development/family studies during her MTSU career. Her parents, Renee and Alan Schwendimann, and brother, Will Schwendimann, all live in Murfreesboro. She plans a career as a licensed school counselor.

You can see full news coverage of MTSU’s fall 2014 commencement, including photos and videos, here.

 

Summer 2014

More of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their summer 2014 graduation and discussed their futures with President Sidney A. McPhee during an August photo session in the Cope Administration Building. The students graduated with honors Aug. 9 after years of dedicated study to earn the highest grade-point averages in their class: cum laude, which denotes a 3.5-3.74 GPA; magna cum laude, 3.75-3.89 GPA; and summa cum laude, 3.9-4.0 GPA.

photos by Andy Heidt, MTSU Creative and Visual Services

 

Hamilton County Honor Graduates

 

Hamilton County native Jacob Lisemby, seated at right, an organizational communication major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Lisemby, a Chattanooga resident and 2010 alumnus of the Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences, received his Bachelor of Science degree Aug. 9 and was a member of the Order of Omega honor society for the Greek community. He was included on the Dean’s List throughout his enrollment at MTSU and is a cum laude graduate of the university. Lisemby’s parents are Reginald and Crystal Lisemby and his siblings are Faith and Judah Lisemby, all of Chattanooga.

 

Hamilton County resident Cathy Camille Patty, seated at right, a nursing major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Patty, a Chattanooga resident and 1987 alumna of Northwest Georgia High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree Aug. 9 and was a member of The Honor Society of Nursing, Sigma Theta Tau International. Patty, a cum laude graduate of MTSU, is married to Paul Patty of Chattanooga and the couple has three children: Lauren Peace, Justin Patty and Hampton Patty, all of Chattanooga. She is the daughter of Mrs. Mary Ellis of Trenton, Georgia, and the late Donald Ellis.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates

 

Rutherford County resident Olivia Voravong, seated at right, a business management major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Voravong, a Murfreesboro resident and 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School, received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree and minored in economics and finance. The cum laude graduate is the daughter of Gen and Tov Voravong and granddaughter of Kim and Khamdy Mathavong, all of Murfreesboro. She plans to continue working with her current employer and move up the company’s corporate levels.

 

President McPhee, seated at left, joins four Murfreesboro residents who graduated with honors during the university’s recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Regan Best of Murfreesboro, an animal science major; standing are, from left, Miranda Troup of Murfreesboro, an advertising and public relations major; Matthew Dravis of Murfreesboro, an electromechanical engineering major; and Melissa Beasley of Rockvale, a business administration major.

Best, a summa cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree, is a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School and was a member of the Golden Key honor society at MTSU. She plans to attend graduate school. Her parents are Sammi and Michael Best, both of Murfreesboro.

Troup, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Science degree, is a 2011 alumna of Riverdale High School and was a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha honor society at MTSU. She is moving to Atlanta to work with a marketing firm/advertising agency. Her parents are Janet York and Bill Troup, both of Murfreesboro.

Dravis, a summa cum laude graduate who received his Bachelor of Science degree, is an alumnus of Washington (Illinois) Community High School and was chosen as MTSU’s Electromechanical Engineering Technology Outstanding Student of the Year for 2013-14. He is married to Michaelle Mitchell-Dravis of Murfreesboro and is the son of Kathy and Richard Dravis, both of Washington, Illinois.

Beasley, a magna cum laude graduate who received her Bachelor of Business Administration degree, is a 1992 alumna of Ravenna (Michigan) High School and was a member of MTSU’S Beta Gamma Sigma honor society. She is married to Eric Beasley of Rockvale, and the couple has four children: Brittani Beasley of Austin, Texas; Samantha Miller of Honshu Yokosuka, Japan; and Grace and Sophia Beasley, both of Rockvale.

You can see full news coverage of MTSU’s summer 2014 commencement, including photos and videos, here.

MTSU students find ‘FirstSTEP’ research answers (+VIDEO)

MTSU undergraduate students are taking their second and third steps in the early summer session FirstSTEP program.

The 30-plus rising sophomores and juniors are in the midst of a three-week research phase in the STEM process to acclimate them better in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The FirstSTEP program at MTSU is a five-year, $2 million grant funded by the National Science Foundation. It is an enrichment program that provides financial and academic support for students majoring in biology, chemistry, computer science, engineering technology, geosciences, mathematics and physics and astronomy.

https://youtu.be/8AKwTXk4kIc

FirstSTEP offers three components:

  • A two-week “summer bridge” to help them in math just before the fall academic semester begins.
  • Fall and spring seminar precalculus and calculus classes, helping them grow in these areas of math and in college life skills.
  • Introducing the students to team-based research
Egypt native Merna Zaref, a rising MTSU sophomore biology and premed major, makes an adjustment on the front wheel of the lunar rover in her FirstSTEP group. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Egypt native Merna Zaref, a rising MTSU sophomore biology and premed major, makes an adjustment on the front wheel of the lunar rover in her FirstSTEP group. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

FirstSTEP logo72The research phase, which is what MTSU officials call “summer immersion,” is where they are now.

Their research is helping them learn about pervious concrete, robots and 3-D printing, green algae and other organisms collected in the field and DNA next-generation sequencing.

“Many times undergraduate research is just juniors and seniors,” said mathematical sciences professor Ginger Holmes Rowell, the day-to-day FirstSTEP director. “This is for students at the end of their freshman year.”

“All of the FirstSTEP experiences work together to help improve retention and graduation of science and engineering majors while preparing these students for successful careers in their chosen fields,” Rowell added.

Through the grant, students receive a stipend of about $1,000 from the National Science Foundation to help offset the cost of not working 40 hours a week for three weeks.

“The FirstSTEP program has been a really good experience,” said Donte Kirk of Chattanooga, Tennessee, a rising junior mechatronics engineering major completing his second year with FirstSTEP. “It’s good for when you’re not too great in math, but you want to excel in those areas.”

Sophomore Jasmine McCroskey, also from Chattanooga, “enjoyed the hands-on experience of the genetics,” she said. “It definitely gave me a background since I had not taken a class.” A biochemistry major with a concentration in pre-pharmacy, she is in her first year with the program.

For a FirstSTEP project, rising MTSU junior mechatronics engineering majors Boston Weisgerber, left and Donte Kirk cut a piece of plexiglass for one of the base plates on a 3-D printer. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

For a FirstSTEP project, rising MTSU junior mechatronics engineering majors Boston Weisgerber, left and Donte Kirk cut a piece of Plexiglas for one of the base plates on a 3-D printer. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Sophomore chemistry major Megan Schulz of Milton, Tennessee, is among the group researching pervious concrete.

“What we’re trying to do is grow microbial and algae community in the pervious concrete to make for cleaner and less polluted runoff water,” Schulz said.

Faculty mentors include Jeff Leblond and Mohamed “Moh” Salem in biology; John DiVincenzo in chemistry; and Ahad Nasab and Saeed Foroudastan in engineering technology. Foroudastan serves as associate dean in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

With most of the teams containing five students, FirstSTEP leaders are experimenting in the overall format with one 12- to 15-member team led by Leblond, who has three assistants. They are running the research team as a class, combining fieldwork and laboratory research to produce new scientific results.

“The midterm presentations of this group make this educational experiment look very promising,” Rowell said.

Their research includes field trips, one of which was to Burgess Falls State Park between Cookeville and Sparta, Tennessee.

Dr. Tom Cheatham, director of MTSU’s Tennessee STEM Education Center, not only led the grant-writing effort that resulted in the National Science Foundation award, but he also leads the project and serves as a liaison with the internal and external advisory boards and the NSF program officers.

To learn more about the FirstSTEP program, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/firststep/, email firststep@mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2175.

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

MTSU research mentor Mia Krout, left, watches as freshman biochemistry major Vanessa Ndongala of Clarksville, Tennessee, performs a chemical analysis in their FirstSTEP laboratory. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU research mentor Mia Krout, left, watches as freshman biochemistry major Vanessa Ndongala of Clarksville, Tennessee, performs a chemical analysis in their FirstSTEP laboratory. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU student wins research grant to study optics in Paris

Homegrown Michele Kelley quickly has developed a flair for the international experience and studying abroad.

Kelley, 21, a Murfreesboro native and MTSU senior physics major, embarks soon on the newest international chapter in her life: an opportunity to perform physics research in Paris, France.

Michele Kelley

Michele Kelley

NSF logo webThrough the National Science Foundation’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates, or REU, the University Honors College scholar leaves Monday, May 25, for three days of training at the University of Michigan, which holds the grant. Later that week, she will fly to Paris and conduct research through July 31.

The National Science Foundation funds a large number of research opportunities for undergraduate students through its REU sites program. REU sites consist of a group of 10 or more undergraduates who work in the research programs of the host institution.

A Siegel High School graduate, Kelley came to MTSU with the Buchanan Fellowship, the highest scholarship award given to an entering MTSU freshman. It is named in honor of the late Dr. James M. Buchanan, MTSU’s Nobel Prize-winning alumnus.

In 2014, Kelley received a Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarship to study in the Czech Republic.

Kelley did not know “it was such a big deal” to receive the Michigan National Science Foundation REU and waited awhile before sharing the news with the Honors College. “I thought it was a long shot,” she said. “I thought it would be interesting and a great experience.”

Dr. John Vile

Dr. John Vile

“She’s so modest,” Honors College Dean John Vile said. “Michele’s fairly typical of the type of students we’ve brought in through the Buchanan program. She’s a great student.”

Kelley also applied for research experience opportunities at the Universities of Oklahoma, Utah, Indiana and Colorado-Denver. After accepting the Michigan offer, Kelley withdrew her applications from the other schools.

Her research is expected to involve lasers and optics — “the exact project I’m not sure of yet,” she said.

“It will be a good opportunity to be more hands-on than just being in the classroom,” Kelley added.

MTSU runs deep in the Kelley family. Grandfather Marlin Dill graduated in 1951; uncle Donald Dill was a member of the class of 1976; sister Nancy Kelley is a recent alumnus; and younger sister Marilin Kelley, a Siegel senior and one of the school’s valedictorians, will be utilizing Chancellor’s and School of Music scholarships when she enters the university this fall.

“The going to college and excelling in school come from my grandfather,” Michele Kelley said, adding he was a chemistry graduate who went on to work with the Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

“Each of my sisters set high standards for ourselves,” she said. “We knew we could do well.”

Honors College logoWith the Gilman award, Kelley took two classes, one in Czech language.

“That was one of my favorite things,” she said. “I enjoyed learning the basics of the language so I could be independent.”

The second class enabled her to view post-Soviet issues from a sociological perspective.

The Gilman opportunity allowed her to travel to Český Krumlov in the Czech Republic; Bratislava, Slovakia; Budapest, Hungary; Vienna, Austria; Dresden, Germany; and Krakow, Poland, where she toured Auschwitz and Birkenau.

Originally, Kelley was an aerospace technology major, requiring physics.

“I felt compelled to switch,” she said. “It was the first thing to challenge me, so I felt good about it.”

The switch — plus the effort by Laura Clippard, coordinator of national scholarships in the Honors College — has broadened Kelley’s academic and world perspective.

For more on the Buchanan scholarship, visit http://www.mtsu.edu/honors/buchanan.php or call 615-898-2152.

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

MTSU recognizes high achievers on spring 2015 Dean’s List

Almost 4,200 MTSU students are included on the latest Dean’s List for their academic achievements for the spring 2015 semester.

spring 2015 deans list graphic croppedThis 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 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 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 Dean’s List.

For questions about an individual student’s inclusion on the list, please contact the Registrar’s Office at 615-898-2111 or records@mtsu.edu.

MTSU finalizes list of spring 2015 graduates

MTSU is proud to release a printable list of the graduates who received their degrees in the recent spring 2015 commencement ceremony.

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 2015 graduates. The PDF is available by clicking here.

One of MTSU's student veterans proudly holds his degree aloft to show family and friends during the university's spring 2015 morning commencement ceremony inside Murphy Center May 9. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

One of MTSU’s student veterans proudly holds his degree aloft to show family and friends during the university’s spring 2015 morning commencement ceremony inside Murphy Center May 9. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Full news coverage of the spring 2015 commencement ceremony on May 9, including videos and links to plenty of photos, is available here

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 615-898-2111 or records@mtsu.edu.

Anderson Foundation announces 3 MTSU scholarship winners

Three young women with unconventional career paths now have a little more money with which to pursue their educational goals.

The June S. Anderson Foundation granted full-tuition scholarships to MTSU students Lori Grimes, Latesha Fitzgerald and Amanda Adams, all rising seniors, at a May 13 luncheon at B. McNeel’s Restaurant, 215 N. Church St. in Murfreesboro.

The 2015 June Anderson Foundation Scholarship recipients are, left to right, Lori Grimes, a rising senior from Shelbyville, Tennessee, majoring in organizational communication; Latesha Fitzgerald, a rising senior from Brentwood, Tennessee, majoring in computer science; and Amanda Adams, a rising senior from Lewisburg, Tennessee, majoring in geosciences. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

The 2015 June Anderson Foundation Scholarship recipients are, left to right, Lori Grimes, a rising senior from Shelbyville, Tennessee, majoring in organizational communication; Latesha Fitzgerald, a rising senior from Brentwood, Tennessee, majoring in computer science; and Amanda Adams, a rising senior from Lewisburg, Tennessee, majoring in geosciences. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Grimes, a Shelbyville, Tennessee, resident, who is majoring in organizational communication, was living in California when pregnancy interrupted her attendance at the University of California at Los Angeles.

Her husband is retired from the Los Angeles Police Department, where he served for 25 years before an on-duty injury forced his retirement 13 years ago.

Now that her daughter has graduated from MTSU and her son is a student at the university, Grimes is resuming her own college career.

Fitzgerald, a Brentwood, Tennessee, resident who is majoring in computer science, has three grown children.

Her stepson is a pilot for Alaska Airlines, and her daughter is an actress. Her son, Jordan, is a junior majoring in graphic design at MTSU.

Fitzgerald said her dream to research solar and wind power was pre-empted by a 12-hour work shift and family obligations. Now, she said, she has time “to research cleaner concepts of electricity generation.”

Adams, a Lewisburg, Tennessee, native who is majoring in geosciences, is married with two children, ages 9 and 2.

Dr. June S. Anderson

Dr. June S. Anderson

She said she has been interested in geology ever since she was a child and created her own rock collection.

“This makes it possible for me to continue and not take out the maximum amount of student loans just to survive,” Adams said of her award.

Dr. June S. Anderson, a professor of chemistry at MTSU for more than 25 years, established the June S. Anderson Foundation in 1982 to award scholarships to MTSU students majoring in programs of study underrepresented by women.

The Ripley, Tennessee, native founded Concerned Faculty and Administrative Women in 1975 at MTSU as an academic support service for women and established the Women’s Information Service for Education in 1977.

She also founded Women in Higher Education in Tennessee, participated in the Rape Alert program, conducted women’s studies classes and championed pay equity, child care centers and proper campus lighting.

For more information about the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students and scholarship opportunities, contact Dr. Mary Magada-Ward, foundation president, at 615-898-5174 or mary.magada-ward@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)