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Professor examines inmates’ grief, mortality on next ‘MTSU On the Record’

The next “MTSU On the Record” radio program will look at how older inmates deal with the deaths of friends and relatives as well as their own mortality.

Dr. Ron Aday

Dr. Ron Aday

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Ron Aday, a professor of sociology, will air at the program’s new weekday and time from 9:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, and replay from 6 to 6:30 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 26, on WMOT-FM Roots Radio 89.5 and www.wmot.org.

Aday is co-author of “Older Prisoners’ Experiences of Death, Dying and Grief Behind Bars,” which was published in the September 2016 edition of the Howard Journal of Crime and Justice. (You can read the report at this link.)

The report paints a grim portrait of a rapidly aging inmate population who often dare not give expression to their feelings when they learn that a loved one is dead.

WMOT-new web logoWhile some fear becoming targets if they show any emotional vulnerability, the report notes, others try to come to grips with the realization they might not get the health care they need as they approach the end of their own lives.

“When I started studying this decades ago, we didn’t have 30,000 or 40,000 people that were over age 50,” said Aday. “Now it’s almost 300,000, and in another five years or so we’re going to have a half a million people over age 50, inmates that have three or four chronic illnesses.”

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.

VSA Tennessee’s Young Soloist Competition set for Feb. 22 at MTSU

VSA Tennessee is excited to introduce six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU.

The annual event will last from 7 to 9 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22, in the Hinton Music Hall of the Wright Music Building on MTSU’s campus. Tickets are $5 at the door, and those age 13 and younger will be admitted free.

Competitors are vying to represent the state of Tennessee in the International Young Soloist Competition at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts later this year.VSA national logo web

The musicians performing at MTSU are part of VSA Tennessee, the state organization on arts and disability that was established in 2001 on the MTSU campus. Students in MTSU professor Lori Kissinger’s Organizational Communication in Communities EXL Class are once again handling logistics for this year’s event.

The statewide event is open to any vocalist or instrumentalist under the age of 25 with any form of disability. In addition, bands and musical groups can apply as long as one of the members of the group has a disability, according to the vsatn.org website. The state contest is part of an international competition, which will be held May 25 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., and will feature winners from across the nation.

Lori Kissinger

Lori Kissinger

Laura Dodd

Laura Dodd

JP Williams, country music artist

JP Williams

Sen. Jim Tracy

Sen. Jim Tracy

Hosts for the state contest include state Sen. Jim Tracy as well as VSA’s International Young Soloist 2003 and 2004 winner, Laura Dodd, who will perform a song. Dodd has shared stages with some of country music’s best, including George Jones, Travis Tritt, Rascal Flatts, Patty Loveless, Bruce Hornsby, Josh Turner and Ben Vereen.

The Young Soloist event will also feature Nashville singer/songwriter JP Williams as a special guest for the night. Williams has built his solo artist resume, including openers for Charlie Daniels, Ricky Skaggs, Randy Travis and Jo Dee Messina, as well as a headliner spot for a college tour singing his original tunes for students throughout the northeastern U.S.

The 2016-17 Tennessee VSA Young Soloist program is sponsored by U.S. Rep. Diane and Dr. David Black and the First Tennessee Foundation as well as fundraising efforts of the Kissinger’s fall 2016 and spring 2017 ORCO 3250 classes.

For more information about VSA Tennessee, visit www.vsatn.org or contact Kissinger at userk7706@comcast.net or 615-210-8819.

— Jessica Allen, jlh2gd@mtmail.mtsu.edu

VSA Tennessee will choose the top performers from among the six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU. (Submitted photo)

VSA Tennessee will choose the top performers from among the six young individuals competing in vocal and instrumental music at its Feb. 22 Young Soloist Competition at MTSU. (Submitted photo)

MTSU student shows True Blue leadership at statewide level

MTSU student Nick Lembo joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville to share ideas and opinions, all while getting the opportunity to learn how the government works.

Originally from Fort Lauderdale, Florida, the junior political science/pre-law major served as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. TISL “is a forum for the top echelon of the state’s campus leaders to exchange ideas, express their opinions and learn how government works,” according to its website.

Lembo represented MTSU and MTSU’s Student Government Association by being elected the TISL’s Speaker of the House.

MTSU student Nick Lembo, shown here, joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

MTSU student Nick Lembo, shown here, joined over 500 other students representing Tennessee colleges and universities this past fall at the legislative chambers of the State Capitol in Nashville as a delegate to the Tennessee Intercollegiate Student Legislature. (MTSU photo by J. Intintoli)

Lembo said he was humbled to be elected by his peers. He was required to give a speech outlining his qualifications, experience and who he is as a person. His campaign platform centered on consistency and core values.

“My first experience was groundbreaking,” he said. “I became familiarized with the process of debating, sponsoring legislation and the duties of being an elected official.”

Lembo got involved in TISL during his sophomore year, when he was encouraged by another student to see what it was all about. The organization strives to give students a better understanding of how government procedures are handled. At a student level, responsibilities of leadership, parliamentary procedure and logical arguments of bipartisan debate are discussed and practiced.

Dr. Danny Kelley

Dr. Danny Kelley

Lembo serves as a committee chairman for internal affairs in the SGA, and he knows that the experiences he had with TISL in November 2016 will help him with any obstacle he may face while holding a leadership position in the SGA.

“SGA is a driving force for learning about politics and law. It teaches students how to utilize those skills to make the most of their TISL experience,” said Dr. Danny Kelley, SGA faculty adviser and assistant vice president for student affairs.MTSU SGA Logo web

“Anyone can make an impact. Attending TSIL has opened my eyes to the realities current politicians and citizens face,” he said. “I encourage you to research a current problem, reach out to others for their opinion, find a solution and present it.”

Lembo is exemplifying his True Blue spirit while attending MTSU, also pursuing a philosophy minor. His future endeavors include law school so he can make a change in people’s lives through pen and paper.

“As it’s often said, it’s not about the letters on the paper as much as it is about the people behind the letters,” he said.

For more information about MTSU’S SGA and how to get involved, visit www.mtsu.edu/sga. For more information on the TISL, visit www.tislonline.org.

— Faith Few, student writer (news@mtsu.edu)

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