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New MTSU student government president off to busy start

Andrew George brings an infectious energy to a very weighty job.

The 2014-15 Student Government Association president at MTSU spent all summer learning the ropes while taking classes, and he says the most important thing he learned was how to prioritize. His most important priority is communication.

“I’m the liaison between 20,000-plus students, faculty and administration,” says the marketing major from Nashville.

MTSU 2014-15 Student Government President Andrew George, center, poses with immediate past SGA President James Lee, left, and Lee’s Alpha Tau Omega fraternity president, Stephen Lessard, right. (Photo courtesy of Andrew George)

MTSU 2014-15 Student Government President Andrew George, center, poses with immediate past SGA President James Lee, left, and Alpha Tau Omega fraternity president Stephen Lessard, right. (Photo courtesy of Andrew George)

To help extend his reach, George intends to call on his fellow elected officials in SGA.

“I want to empower the (SGA) senate to be out there even more, just have more of an established presence,” George says.

He wants the student senators to take the initiative and to explain who they are both in and out of the classroom, even when they’re not wearing their specially designed polo shirts.

George credits his executive team with helping to understand the SGA budget, which he puts at about $126,000 for the academic year, subject to oversight from the Office of Student Affairs.

“It took a lot of time,” George says. “You want to be fair with everyone in a budget, but at the same time, you’ve got to work with what you’ve got.”

The top issues on George’s agenda include addressing the ever-present concerns about parking and reassuring students that the MTSU advisers newly hired to help them guide their degree tracks will be effective.

SGA also has a role to play in increasing student retention and graduation rates at MTSU, George says.

“Most students are mentors for students by providing private tutor sessions, working open tutor sessions on campus and just being there for someone going through a rough patch in their life,” George explains.

“These students have the ability to change another student’s perspective about becoming involved in organizations and completing college.”

George admits that he was not heavily involved in university life when he was a freshman Joining organizations, however, helped turned around his entire student career.

“I saw myself transform into something I never thought I’d be as a freshman,” George says.

George got a jump-start on his marketing career by starting his own T-shirt business two years ago. He’s heavily influenced by “street wear” culture, a blend of West Coast skateboarding styles that includes fitted pants, screen-printed large T-shirts and flat-billed hats.

A member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity, George has a younger sister and a younger brother. His father works at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville, and his mother is a secretary for Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey.

For more information on Student Government Association activities, contact George at sgapres@mtsu.edu or call the SGA office at 615-898-2464.

‘The Young and Educated’ help MTSU freshman males adapt, progress

Not all the retention and graduation initiatives at MTSU are the work of the faculty and administration. A student group is taking its own proactive steps.

Upperclassman officers of “The Young and Educated” pose at the Aug. 28 MTSU Department Fair. From L to R., co-founder Clinton Knox III, executive publicist Richard Echols, co-founder Leonard Brown and co-founder Dominic Cooper. (Photo submitted by Clinton Knox III)

Upperclassman officers of “The Young and Educated” pose at the Aug. 28 MTSU Department Fair. From L to R., co-founder Clinton Knox III, executive publicist Richard Echols, co-founder Leonard Brown and co-founder Dominic Cooper. (Photo submitted by Clinton Knox III)

“The Young and Educated,” co-created by Memphis native and accounting major Clinton Knox III, is an official MTSU student organization that is planning to help freshman males become adjusted to both college and the adult working world.

“We’ve already started boosting it through social media,” Knox said. “Other organizations are helping us out by sending traffic our way.”

Knox said the group will show young men what it means to be “the epitome of a gentleman” by having speakers talk to them about business opportunities, helping them create business cards, even teaching them how to tie a tie.

“I was fortunate enough in high school to have different mentors to help me out,” said Knox. “But I know a lot of guys are missing that.”

Membership dues will cover an association shirt, a professional photo, business cards and organizational expenses.

In fact, The Young and Educated already has awarded a book scholarship for fall 2014 to accounting major Breanna Bass of Murfreesboro.

Periodically, the group will hold fundraisers to raise money for future scholarships that will enable students to purchase their textbooks.

While The Young and Educated has its own upperclassmen officers, Knox said it will enable freshman males who join to select their own set of officers to give them experience in running their own affairs under the older students’ mentorship.

“We want them to feel as comfortable and involved as possible,” Knox said. “We’re going to teach them how to run an organization.”

The co-founders, along with Knox, are healthcare administration major Dominic D. Cooper and political science major Leonard Brown Jr.

They are aided in this groundbreaking endeavor by Executive Treasurer Matthew R. Laster, a junior majoring in information technology, and Executive Secretary Sean T. Bachus, a senior majoring in healthcare administration. The faculty adviser is Barbara Scales, director of the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students.

For more information or to fill out a membership application, go to www.theyoungandeducated.org, send an email to humanresources@theyoungandeducated.org or call 641-715-3900 and leave a message.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

Veterans, families invited to join MTSU Writers Corps Sept. 9

The MTSU Writers Corps is being called to attention for the fall 2014 semester.

Click on the flier to see a printable version.

The creative writing program for military veterans and their families who are attending MTSU, or are otherwise connected to the university, will hold its first meeting of the year at 4 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 9, in Room 303A of Peck Hall.

The event is free, and pizza will be provided.

“Over the past two years, we have seen an increase in the number of group members who may not have served in the military, but who are (or were) married to military members, as well as children who grew up in military families,” said Matthew Brown, a lecturer in the Department of English.

Brown and Kevin Brown, an English instructor, co-founded “DMZ: A Journal of Contemporary Literature by Veterans.” The inaugural issue was published in April 2013.

“Many of the vets who have become involved have grown to be quite enthusiastic and often claim the organization helped them feel more comfortable with being on campus,” Matthew Brown said.

“And some attest to how working with Writers Corps has helped them to cope with some of the issues they carry from their times of service.”

Members of Writers Corps presented a free public reading of their works at the 2013 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville.

For more information, contact Matthew Brown at 618-713-5477 or matthew.brown@mtsu.edu.

— Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU students find opportunities to volunteer at fair (+VIDEO)

Andrea Hampton had a list of potential nonprofit organizations she was considering helping as a volunteer — and it kept growing.

Hampton, a freshman from Memphis, Tennessee, was among numerous MTSU students attending the annual Volunteer Fair Tuesday, Sept. 2.

http://youtu.be/ButwTdk0qS0

The fair lets registered nonprofits — Greenhouse Ministries, Linebaugh Public Library, G.I.R.L.S. Ranch and more than 30 others — recruit students to allow them to become plugged in to community service and volunteer opportunities in order to make a difference.

“It’s quick and easy,” said Hampton, who is a pre-professional health major who already had registered with the Hope Clinic, the Boys and Girls Club, G.I.R.L.S. Ranch and Candle Wishes before venturing off to meet the folks manning the MTSU Environmental Health and Safety/Stormwater Program.

As Candle Wishes Founder and Executive Director Jenny Williams watches, MTSU freshman Andrea Hampton of Memphis, Tennessee, registers as a potential volunteer with the nonprofit organization. Hampton signed up during the annual Volunteer Fair Tuesday, Sept. 2, in the Student Union Commons. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

As Candle Wishes Founder and Executive Director Jenny Williams watches, MTSU freshman Andrea Hampton of Memphis, Tennessee, registers as a potential volunteer with the nonprofit organization. Hampton signed up during the annual Volunteer Fair Tuesday, Sept. 2, in the Student Union Commons. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

In the process, Hampton understands the commitments on her part will allow her “to meet different types of people who have different values, and you will get to do different things outside of MTSU that you can connect with.”

Hampton seems quite interested in G.I.R.L.S. Ranch, a faith-based Middle Tennessee organization dedicated to investing in the emotional and spiritual lives of troubled girls and to encourage them to live to their fullest potential.

“In particular, they do a lot with (the areas of) teen pregnancy and sex trafficking,” Hampton said. “That attracted my attention. I want to show them there’s a different route from the path they are on now.”

Twelve years ago at age 16 and a Blackman High School underclassman, Jenny King Williams founded Candle Wishes, a Murfreesboro-headquartered organization that fulfills birthday wishes and provides essential needs for underprivileged children in Tennessee.

Seven years after graduating from MTSU, Candle Wishes executive director Williams returned with her faith-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit to participate in the Volunteer Fair along with her mother, Reta King, who serves as assistant director.

“It’s wonderful,” Williams said of the four-hour event. “We’ve already talked to tons of students. We’re hoping to get more students and campus organizations involved.”

Linda Hayes, right, an MTSU junior transfer from Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, prepares to hand her signed registration form to Cynthia Allen of the MTSU Environmental Health and Safety Services Stormwater project area Tuesday, Sept. 2, during the annual Volunteer Fair held in the Student Union Commons. Nearly 35 nonprofit organizations recruited students.

Linda Hayes, right, an MTSU junior transfer from Mount Pleasant, Tennessee, prepares to hand her signed registration form to Cynthia Allen of the MTSU Environmental Health and Safety Services Stormwater project area Tuesday, Sept. 2, during the annual Volunteer Fair held in the Student Union Commons. Nearly 35 nonprofit organizations recruited students.

Williams shared how Becky Lanham, founder and CEO of both Volunteer Rutherford and Volunteer Wilson, has pulled nonprofits into a unified group.

“Nonprofits in Rutherford County all are coming together,” Williams said. “There’s so much of a sense of working together and making it a better community. Nonprofits are having an impact and it’s a very group effort.”

Jackie Victory, director of Student Leadership and Service, said 34 organizations attended this year’s fair.

“This is just a great opportunity for students to be able to meet some of the agencies around Murfreesboro,” Victory said. “Some students need this for course work. Some students need it for other reasons. Some students just decide they want to serve the community.”

For more information about volunteering at MTSU, call Victory at 615-898-5812.

Week of Welcome activities continue from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, with the Student Organization Fair in the Student Union Commons.

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

MTSU students meet participants representing nonprofit organizations at the 2014 Volunteer Fair Tuesday, Sept. 2, in the Student Union Commons. The fair is an annual Week of Welcome event produced by New Student and Family Programs and Leadership and Service.

MTSU students meet participants representing nonprofit organizations at the 2014 Volunteer Fair Tuesday, Sept. 2, in the Student Union Commons. The fair is an annual Week of Welcome event produced by New Student and Family Programs and Leadership and Service.

MTSU finalizes summer 2014 graduation list

MTSU is proud to release a printable list of the graduates who received their degrees in the recent summer 2014 commencement ceremony.

A graduate's-eye view of the crowd of students and well-wishers inside Hale Arena at MTSU's Murphy Center marks the Aug. 9 summer 2014 commencement ceremony. (MTSU photo by GradImages.com)

A graduate’s-eye view of the crowd of students and well-wishers inside Hale Arena at MTSU’s Murphy Center marks the Aug. 9 summer 2014 commencement ceremony. (MTSU photo by GradImages.com)

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 summer 2014 graduates. The PDF is available by clicking here.

Full news coverage of the summer 2014 commencement ceremony on Aug. 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.

GRE test prep workshop set Sept. 3 in Honors Building

MTSU students considering graduate school are welcome to take the free GRE Test Prep Workshop, which will be held from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 3, in the Simmons Amphitheatre, Room 106, in the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building.new fall 2014 GRE flier

The workshop will provide an introduction to the Graduate Record Examination, or GRE, including the latest information on the analytical writing, verbal and quantitative measures. Advance reservations are not required.

Dr. Jackie Eller, interim associate dean for the College of Graduate Studies, will lead the session.

Test prep participants will learn how the exam questions are constructed and how the test is scored. Attendees will be able to take test questions and gain valuable hints that will hopefully assist when the grad school admission test is taken.

For more information, call 615-898-2840.

MTSU recognizes high achievers on summer Dean’s List

More than 250 MTSU students are included on the latest Dean’s List for their academic achievements for the summer 2014 semester.

This 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.

Moon buggy makes MTSU Department Fair appearance

John Hodge, left, an MTSU senior English and psychology double major, and freshman recording audio production major Christopher Hargis listen as Beau Hallavant explains how the Experimental Vehicles Program moon buggy folds up to aid in transporting it. The conversation occurred Thursday, Aug. 28, during the annual MTSU Department Fair in the MTSU Student Union Commons. Engineering technology students work nearly all year to prepare a minimum of two vehicles for the two-day NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge held every April in Huntsville, Alabama. (MTSU photo by News and Media Relations)

MTSU students had an opportunity Thursday, Aug. 28, to discover more about MTSU.

Departments from across campus came together in a centralized location to share information with new and returning students at the annual MTSU Department Fair, which was held under a large tent in the Student Union Commons.

Sociology, Campus Recreation Center, the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience, Engineering Technology, Concrete Industry Management, Economics, Health Services, Campus Pharmacy and Health Promotion with the Raider Health Corps were among the many departments having information and resources available to students.

New Student and Family Programs Week of Welcome events will continue through Thursday, Sept. 4.

For more information, visit www.mtsu.edu/nsfp/welcome_nsfp.php.

Spending Sept. 6 at summit could spell success for MTSU students

Academic success today requires not only studying. It requires knowing how to study.

That’s why the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center and the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students are sponsoring MTSU’s third Student Success Summit from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 6, in the Student Union ballroom.

“One of our goals is to continue to empower and connect students through involvement opportunities,” said Jonell Hinsey, assistant director of the Intercultural and Diversity Affairs Center.

Jonell Hinsey

Hinsey said learning how to adapt to the college environment could involve anything from finding out how to communicate with professors to cellphone and texting etiquette in the classroom.

For this year’s gathering, MTSU is partnering with Guaranteed 4.0, a Dallas-based consulting firm. The company says at its website, www.guaranteed4.com, that its “comprehensive learning enhancement system employs the latest research in cognitive science and ensures academic excellence — both in and out of the formal educational system.”

If a student follows the Guaranteed 4.0 program precisely and does not achieve a 4.0 grade-point average, the company promises to pay the student $100.

“We want them to have strategies and skills that they sometimes are not able to obtain in the classroom,” Hinsey said.

The first workshop, which is open to all students, is slated for 10 a.m. to noon. It will include lessons on brain-based learning techniques, stress management, hidden secrets of the classroom, benefits of teacher interaction and systematic organization for critical thinking.

The second workshop, which is limited to 100 students recruited at CUSTOMS and the Scholars Academy during the summer, is scheduled for 12 to 2 p.m. It will be a simulated interactive experience that will enable students to practice the Guaranteed 4.0 plan in real time.

“Every year the success summit will probably look different based on the needs that we’re seeing,” Hinsey said. 

Students interested in attending the first workshop are requested to register by logging into MyMT. However, registration is not required.

For more information, contact Hinsey at 615-898-5812 or jonell.hinsey@mtsu.edu.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

 

Celebrate with some of MTSU’s top students!

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

Summer 2014

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.

 

Spring 2014

 

More of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their spring 2014 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 10 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

 

Blount County Honor Graduate

 

Blount County Spring 2014 honor grad web
Blount County native Steven Faulkenberry, seated at right, an engineering technology major who graduated with highest honors during the university’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Faulkenberry, a Maryville, Tennessee, resident and 2010 alumna of Heritage High School, received his Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering technology. He was selected as the Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering Technology for 2013-14 as well as an Honors Associate in the University Honors College. Faulkenberry, a summa cum laude graduate, is the son of Don and Nyana Hill of Maryville and Ron Faulkenberry of Kansas City, Missouri, and the grandson of Carolyn and J.T. Crawford, also of Maryville. He plans to continue his education at MTSU with a master’s degree in engineering technology and a doctorate in computational sciences and become a hardware design engineer in CPU development.

 

Bradley County Honor Graduate

 

Bradley County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Bradley County native Melani Owens, seated at right, a film production major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Owens, a Cleveland, Tennessee, native and 2010 alumna of Walker Valley High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Electronic Media Communication and minored in political science. Owens, a magna cum laude graduate, was included on the Dean’s List through much of her enrollment at MTSU. She is the daughter of Gary and Kendra Owens and granddaughter of Carol Martin, all of Cleveland, and the sister of Brittany Owens of Ooltewah, Tennessee and Valerie Braddy of Georgetown, Tennessee. Owens plans to continue her production work and screenwriting in Nashville.

 

Coffee County Honor Graduate

 

Coffee County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Coffee County native Justin Kanjanabout, right, an early-childhood education major who graduated with honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss his future plans. Kanjanabout, a Manchester, Tennessee, native who now lives in Murfreesboro, is a 2009 alumna of Coffee County High School. He received his Bachelor of Science degree in education and was included on the Dean’s List through much of his enrollment at MTSU and plans to teach prekindergarten through third grades. Kanjanabout, a cum laude graduate, is engaged to Kayla Gipson of Manchester, Tennessee, and also is the grandson Candice Barnes and the nephew of James Barnes, both of Murfreesboro.

 

Marion County Honor Graduate

 

Marion County Spring 2014 honor grad web

Marion County native Allison Lloyd, seated at right, a communication disorders major who graduated with highest honors during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Lloyd, a Jasper, Tennessee, native and 2011 alumna of Marion County High School, received her Bachelor of Science in Speech and Theater and minored in psychology. She received the Outstanding Communication Disorders Major Award for 2014 and was included on the Dean’s List throughout her career at MTSU. Lloyd, a summa cum laude graduate, is the daughter of Ruth Ann Lloyd and George Lloyd, both of Jasper, and plans to earn a master’s degree in speech-language pathology at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville.

 

Roane County Honor Graduates

 

Roane County native Emilie Aslinger, right, a global studies and French language major who graduated during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Aslinger, a Kingston, Tennessee, native, is a 2010 alumna of Roane County High School and received her Bachelor of Arts degree from MTSU with highest honors. A Buchanan Fellow and graduate of MTSU’s University Honors College, Aslinger also is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. Aslinger is a summa cum laude graduate and plans to attend graduate school with a focus on international education. She is the daughter of Jane Ann Aslinger and Dennis Aslinger, both of Kingston.

 

Roane County native Kelly Leanne Weeks, right, a psychology major who graduated during MTSU’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies, joins McPhee to discuss her future plans. Weeks, an Oak Ridge, Tennessee, native, is a 2009 alumna of Oak Ridge High School and received her Bachelor of Science in psychology with minors in music and science. A member of the Psi Chi honor society, Weeks plans to earn a master’s degree in social work from MTSU to become a licensed clinical social worker. She is the daughter of Pat Weeks and J.W. Weeks, both of Lenoir City, Tennessee, and the granddaughter of Reba McGinnis of Oak Ridge.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates

 

McPhee, seated at left, joins five Murfreesboro residents who graduated with honors during the university’s spring 2014 commencement ceremonies to discuss their future plans. Seated with McPhee is Samantha Rosas, a magna cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in industrial and organizational psychology. Standing are, from left, Patrick Travis Woodruff, a cum laude graduate who received dual Bachelor of Arts degrees in philosophy and English; Robert Daniel Murphy, who received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics and astronomy and a Bachelor of Arts degree in philosophy and graduated summa cum laude; Ryan Stahlbusch, a magna cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Science degree in aerospace maintenance management; and Anna Laura Williams, a summa cum laude graduate who received a Bachelor of Music degree.

Rosas, a Murfreesboro resident, minored in sociology and was included on the Dean’s List throughout her career at MTSU and is considering graduate school. Her Murfreesboro relatives include Larry and Sharon Reeves and Ariel, Alex and Elijah Rosas.

Woodruff, a native of Roanoke Rapids, North Carolina, and a 1988 alumnus of Roanoke Rapids High, received the 2013 Homer Pittard Creative Writing Scholarship at MTSU and is a member of the Golden Key International Honor Society. He plans to attend graduate school to earn a doctorate in philosophy and a Master of Fine Arts degree in creative writing. His family includes his wife, Kristal Woodruff, and children Christian, Pheobe and Sophie, all of Murfreesboro; daughters Sarah and Samantha Woodruff, both of Wilson, North Carolina; and his mother, Nancy Woodruff, of Marion, North Carolina. His eldest daughter, Melissa Woodruff of Roanoke Rapids, passed away in 2011.

Murphy, a Rutherford County native, and a 2010 alumnus of Siegel High School, minored in mathematics and plans to earn a doctorate in physics at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, then conduct scientific research and teach at the university level. A Buchanan Fellow and graduate of MTSU’s University Honors College, Murphy also is the recipient of a 2013 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and the 2014 MTSU Faculty Achievement Award in Physics and is a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma, Omicron Delta Kappa and Phi Kappa Phi honor societies. He is the son of Brian and Annette Murphy and the sibling of BJ and Mackenzie Murphy, all of Murfreesboro. Murphy’s grandparents are Arlene and the late Daniel Harris and Robert and Sandra Murphy, and he’s also the nephew of Judy and the late John Davis, all of Murfreesboro.

Stahlbusch, a native of Schoolcraft, Michigan, and a 1997 alumnus of Schoolcraft High School, is a member of the Golden Key, Phi Kappa Phi and Tau Sigma honor societies as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success. He was the recipient of the Aircraft Maintenance Technicians Society 2013 Charles E. Taylor Scholarship, the MTSU Enrichment and Diversity Scholarships and the National Business Aviation Association’s Maintenance TRACS Scholarship via Global Jet Services and was the vice president of education for MTSU’s Aerospace Maintenance Club as well as vice president of the university’s chapter of Alpha Eta Rho. Stahlbusch also was a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force, serving as an APG mechanic on C-130, C-17 and C-5 aircraft from 2003 to 2009 and is a veteran of the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom campaigns. Stahlbusch plans to earn his Airframe and Powerplant Technician certification from the Federal Aviation Administration and work in corporate aviation, and he is considering attending graduate school to earn a master’s degree in aviation safety and security. Stahlbusch’s parents are Lon and Lynne Stahlbusch of Hudsonville, Michigan, and Steve and Linda Schiele of Schoolcraft.

Williams, a 2010 alumna of Riverdale High School, minored in secondary education and received several honors at MTSU, including the College of Education’s Teacher Education Scholarship, the College of Liberal Arts’ Outstanding Achievement in Flute and Senior Honors Awards and the School of Music’s T. Earl Hinton Music Education Scholarship. A member of Pi Kappa Lambda music honor society, she also earned recognition in multiple music competitions for her performances on flute and piccolo, including the 2014 Convention Performer honor at the National Association for Music Education and third place in the Florida Flute Association’s 2014 College Young Artist Competition. Williams plans to become a band director in Tennessee, and her career goals also include earning master’s and doctoral degrees in music and teaching at the university level. Williams’ mother, Cathy Williams, and brother, Dr. Zachariah Williams, live in Murfreesboro.

 

Fall 2013

Some of MTSU’s finest students celebrated their fall 2013 graduation and discussed their futures with President Sidney A. McPhee during a December photo session in the Cope Administration Building. The students graduated with honors Dec. 14 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

 

Blount County Honor Graduate

 

Blount County native Alex McCloud, right, an aerospace-professional pilot major who graduated cum laude during MTSU’s fall 2013 commencement ceremony Dec. 14, discusses his future plans with President McPhee. McCloud, a native of Maryville, Tenn., and a 2009 alumnus of Maryville High School, minored in remote sensing during his university career. He plans to attend graduate school at MTSU to earn a master’s degree in professional science. McCloud is the son of Butch and Barbara McCloud of Maryville.

 

Roane County Honor Graduate

 

Roane County Fall 2013 honor graduate web

Roane County native Alex Roberts, right, a recording industry major who graduated cum laude during MTSU’s fall 2013 commencement ceremony , discusses his future plans with McPhee. Roberts, a native of Kingston, Tenn., and a 2009 alumnus of Roane County High School, minored in entrepreneurship and political science during his university career. He plans to attend law school and pursue a career as an entertainment attorney specializing in intellectual property law. Roberts is the son of Gigi and David Roberts of Kingston, the brother of Noel Roberts of Knoxville and the nephew of Jim Goolsby of Powell, Tenn.

 

Rutherford County Honor Graduates

 

Rutherford County Fall 2013 honor graduates group web

President Sidney A. McPhee, seated at left, joins six Rutherford County residents who graduated with honors during MTSU’s fall 2013 commencement ceremony. Seated with McPhee is Emily Perakes, and standing are, from left, Deisy Barajas, Kaytlin Morris, Pamela Lopez, Joey Keasler and Melinda Nouth Thavongphone.

Perakes, an education major specializing in K-6 grade elementary and special education, graduated cum laude from MTSU. The Murfreesboro resident and 2010 Riverdale High School alumna plans to teach in Rutherford County or in the surrounding area. She is the daughter of Carla Perakes and Greg Perakes and the sister of Evan Perakes, all of Murfreesboro, and her grandparents are Geri and Bob Horsley of Murfreesboro and the late John and Vesta Perakes. Her significant other is Justin Leahew, also of Murfreesboro.

Barajas, a La Vergne, Tenn., resident who graduated cum laude from MTSU with a degree in business education, is a 2009 alumna of La Vergne High School. She minored in secondary education and plans to obtain a teaching job in Rutherford County. She is the daughter of Maria J. Gomez of La Vergne.

Morris, a psychology major who graduated magna cum laude and minored in sociology and social welfare, lives in Smyrna, Tenn., and is a native of Sullivan County. The Sullivan East High School 2008 alumna plans to attend graduate school. Her husband is Justin Morris of Smyrna, and her parents are Debbie and Randy Nash of Piney Flats, Tenn., and Matthew and Priscilla Hollingsworth of Centerville, Ohio. Her grandmother, Patty Spurgeon; uncle and aunt, Howard Spurgeon and Wendy Hicks; and cousins Blake and Maddie Spurgeon all live in Piney Flats, too.

Lopez, an organizational communications and animal science double major who graduated magna cum laude from MTSU, is a Murfreesboro resident and a 2009 alumna of Blackman High School. She was recognized as an Experiential Learning Scholar and plans to become a veterinarian for an animal reserve.

Keasler, an anthropology major who graduated magna cum laude, is a Murfreesboro resident who minored in archaeology and history. The 1987 graduate of Mt. Juliet High School will seek an archaeology position with the State of Tennessee or with a cultural resource management firm. His wife, MTSU geocKaren Petersen, and son, Alex Keasler, live in Murfreesboro, and his daughter, Bridgette Keasler, lives in Estill Springs, Tenn.

Thavongphone, an electronic media major who graduated cum laude from MTSU and minored in psychology, is a resident of Murfreesboro and a 2009 graduate of Riverdale High School. She plans a career in television production as a producer or production manager. Her parents are Van Sopha of Murfreesboro and Songkham and Pat Thavongphone, also of Murfreesboro.

 

Rutherford County/Norwalk, Conn. Honor Graduate

 

Norwalk native Fall 2013 honor graduate web

Bradley E. Thomsen Jr., right, a recording industry major who graduated magna cum laude during  MTSU’s fall 2013 commencement ceremony, discusses his future plans with President McPhee. The 1987 graduate of Norwalk (Conn.) High School, a Norwalk native who is a retired U.S. Marine with 22 years of service, plans to co-own an independent record label and recording studio. He minored in entrepreneurship at MTSU and now lives in Murfreesboro. His sisters are Gabrielle Wessels-Friend of North Tonawanda, N.Y.; Melissa Wessels of Weston, Conn.; Lorraine Dominick of Norwalk, Conn.; and Janice Daskam of Stamford, Conn.