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McNair Scholars earn 'whopping' $378K in awards
by Randy Weiler
McNair Scholars Program Interim Director Steve Saunders could sense something brewing this spring, but he had no idea what was in store.
McNair Scholars have pulled in a "whopping and eye-popping"; $378,724 in awards, graduate-school scholarships, summer internships and more, Saunders said, noting that it's the largest number of McNair Scholars accepted into graduate programs and the most money awarded in the program's 10-year history at MTSU.
"We had a glimmer something was happening,"; he said, explaining that he and program secretary Cindy Howell then began counting.
The awards ranged from two $50 Scholars Week third-place awards to a two-year, $102,000 graduate-school scholarship.
Jasmine "Jaz"; Gray and Lucy Miller earned the third-place prizes from the Scholars Week judges and committee, which also awarded Joseph Quarles $150.
Gray, a journalism major who graduated in May, also earned the $102,000 Turner Broadcasting Diversity Fellowship and tuition from Syracuse University. She added $2,500 to her account when she was selected for the USA Today All-Academic First Team June 9.
Miller, who also graduated in May, received a two-year, $70,000 Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship and tuition from Indiana University.
Additional graduate-school award recipients include:
• Jonathan Copeland, who received a two-year McNair assistantship and tuition for $18,572 from MTSU;
• Stephanie Mills, recipient of a two-year assistantship and tuition for $60,000 from the University of Kentucky;
• Christina Runkel, who received a two-year McNair fellowship and tuition for $75,000 from the University of Alabama;
• Drew Dunlop, who has been accepted to Vanderbilt University and its Owen Graduate School of Management's MBA program with an entrepreneurship concentration; and
• Joshua Fryer, who has been accepted to Georgia State University with funding pending.
In the area of summer internships:
• Lauren Easley is attending The Ohio State University's Committee on Institutional Cooperation in the Summer Research Opportunities Program. Her award, including tuition and fees, totals $10,000.
• Nick Mackie received U.S. State Department funding of $9,000 and is going to Amman, Jordan, for intensive study of Arabic.
• Shaun Guffey also received U.S. State Department funding for $9,000 and will travel to Tunis, Tunisia, for intensive study of the Arabic language.
• Chris Young has been selected by the World Health Organization for an internship with the Pan American Health Organization in Washington, D.C. His housing and tuition is covered, and he will be taking classes through Georgetown and George Mason universities. His total award package is $6,000.
Six other McNair Scholars earned a variety of scholarships and awards. Monique Richard led the way with six awards, ranging from $500 to a $5,000 ALTHENA Nontraditional Scholarship. Aerospace major Amber Gray landed three scholarships totaling $4,300, and Kamryn Warren earned two scholarships totaling $3,000.
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Programs will honor Nobel-winning ex-prof
by Gina K. Logue
Officials at MTSU and the University of Chittagong in Bangladesh have finalized a five-year agreement of friendship and exchange paving the way for programs honoring the work and philosophy of Nobel Peace Prize-winning economist Dr. Muhammad Yunus.
The agreement was signed by Dr. Abu Yusuf Alam, vice chancellor of CU, on March 3 and by Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, MTSU president, on April 6.
It states in part that "CU and MTSU will engage in collaborative activities in education, research, public service and other areas of mutual interest, including exchange of faculty, staff, students and library materials, as well as sponsorship of conferences and workshops.";
Yunus was an assistant professor of economics at MTSU from 1969 to 1972, associate professor at CU from 1972 to 1975 and professor at CU from 1975 to 1989. Yunus and Grameen Bank, which he founded in Bangladesh's capital city of Dhaka, received the Nobel jointly in 2006 for the institutionalization of microcredit.
The practice of awarding low-interest loans to millions of people with little or no collateral is hailed as a means of helping to lift people in developing nations out of poverty. In recent years, Yunus also has stressed the concept of a "social business,"; a no-loss, no-dividend private enterprise dedicated to public welfare.
"If there were a 'president of the world,' Yunus would be the first choice of most nations, including the U.S., China, France, Germany, Japan, Russia and the U.K., as well as virtually all developing countries, in my opinion,"; said Dr. Kiyoshi Kawahito, adviser to the president and the provost on Asian affairs and professor emeritus of economics and finance at MTSU.
As part of the exchange, Md. Alauddin Majumber, an assistant professor in CU's Department of Economics, will take a leave of absence to come to MTSU this August. Majumber will assist in Yunus Program projects while pursuing a second master's degree under a special graduate assistantship funded with a grant from the MTSU Foundation and a national government subsidy from Bangladesh.
"It is great to become a member of the MTSU family,"; Majumber said in an e-mail from his home in Feni, Bangladesh. "I feel extremely proud to have been given this opportunity to carry out higher studies at MTSU. It is really exciting to think that my dream is going to be accomplished. I also realize that I will need to put in a huge amount of effort to meet the challenges I will inevitably face.";
Majumber teaches courses in microeconomics, macroeconomics and resource and environmental economics at CU. He was assistant director of his country's central bank from 2000 to 2002 and a research economist for the bank from 2005 to 2007.
Dr. Richard Hannah, a professor of economics and finance and co-founder of the Yunus Program, will visit CU and Grameen Bank this fall while he is on sabbatical from MTSU.
The University of Chittagong, a public institution with a student enrollment around 20,000, is one of the largest universities in Bangladesh. It is located 22 kilometers north of the city of Chittagong, which is Yunus' hometown. The village of Jobra, where Yunus and his students first experimented with collateral-free loans, is located nearby.
Earlier this month, MTSU shipped 300 pounds of surplus academic books to CU for its library. Other implementations of the program could include a Yunus Collection of books, monographs, videos and photos about Yunus' life; research, courses and lectures about his economic philosophy; a student internship program with Grameen Bank; and student and faculty exchanges.
Kawahito said the two universities' economics departments will serve as the program's liaison offices until a permanent universitywide body is established. He said he is hopeful that the emerging Yunus Program will inspire past, present and future MTSU students for many years to come.
"The Jennings A. Jones College of Business at MTSU is very pleased to be associated with Dr. Yunus and his great work,"; said Dr. E. James Burton, dean of the college. "We look forward to developing ways to participate with him in the area of economic development.";
"The MTSU Yunus Program exemplifies MTSU's role as a leading international university and its commitment to providing students (with) global perspectives,"; added Dr. Charles L. Baum, chair of the Department of Economics and Finance.
For more information about the Yunus Program, contact Kawahito at 615-898-5751 or email@example.com.
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Camp PRiSM is multi-faceted
by Randy Weiler
What Emily Duncan "liked the most was the laughter"; in the recently completed Camp PRiSM, a science, math and technology collaboration between MTSU and Murfreesboro City Schools.
Destin Johnson said his fondest recollections were "getting to be with old friends and making new ones, being with (teacher) Mrs. (Kelley) Kleppinger"; outside the classroom and "going to see fossils and rocks at the Gem and Mineral Museum.";
In Camp PRiSM, which stands for Practices in Science and Math, attendee Tristan Martin said he most enjoyed "MTSU students and faculty coming to our school"; and learning about fresh water and salt water by balancing an egg between the two.
"This was one of the best and most exciting camps we've ever had,"; said Dr. Rebecca Calahan, a professor of mathematical sciences at MTSU. She added that "working with the two teachers (Kleppinger and Kristy Carman) was an opportunity to work with and learn from two excellent middle-grades teachers. That was the biggest gain for me, personally.";
Calahan said about 60 MTSU students, under the direction of MTSU's Drs. Jake Klerlein, Jeremy Winters, Connie Jones and Judith Iriarte-Gross, were involved this year in teaching lessons, leading experiments and conducting a half-day Math Fair at Mitchell-Neilson Elementary School,
Kleppinger, a Mitchell-Neilson faculty member, said she "absolutely would do it again. I had the best time.";
"Being able to see them have this opportunity and seeing them excited about learning … This is what I thought teaching should be. … It's what every teacher dreams of,"; she said.
City Schools Director Linda Gilbert said alumni from previous Camp PRiSMs have "gone on to be successful in the sciences. We'll see immediate and long-term success that will last for a long, long time.";
Gilbert, an MTSU alumna, added that she "looks forward to expanding our partnerships with MTSU.";
One of the unique aspects of this year's camp, Gilbert said, involved rising Siegel High School senior Ryan Nichols. He had obtained funding to have his own math and science workshop for Murfreesboro youngsters but then learned about Camp PRiSM.
"Instead of having my own camp, I volunteered to help here,"; Nichols said.
The 21 Mitchell-Neilson camp attendees visited MTSU, where they learned about:
• gems and fossils from Alan Brown and Dr. Warner Cribb in geosciences;
• aspects of engineering technology from Rick Taylor (laser printing) and Drs. Heather Brown (concrete industry) and Saleh Sbenaty (electricity and magnetism); and
• MTSU's milk-processing plant in a tour led by Liz Troup.
For fun, the youngsters went to the Nashville Zoo at Grassmere, toured Nissan North America in Smyrna, experienced a screen-art tour and made T-shirts, and visited Vaught Farms, where they had a picnic and went wading in Bradley Creek.
Kaitlen Howell, a May MTSU graduate who will begin work on a Fulbright research fellowship in Germany in September, served as guest speaker on the camp's final day.
ON THE CUTTING EDGE—Dr. Saleh Sbenaty, a professor of engineering technology at MTSU, demonstrates principles of electricity and magnetism for participants in Camp PRiSM, a science, math and technology collaboration with Murfreesboro City Schools.
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In Brief: Farmers Market continues
The MTSU Student Farmers Market is continuing on Fridays through the summer and features fresh produce and healthy plants grown by the MTSU Plant and Soil Science Club. Sale hours are 1 to 4 p.m. at the MTSU Horticulture Center on Blue Raider Drive across from the Tennessee Livestock Center. For more information, call 615-494-8985 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
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MTSU tops in Tennessee in Gilman Scholarships
by Gina K. Logue
MTSU will send four of its students—more than any other institution in Tennessee—abroad with stipends from the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program next academic year as exchange students for intensive language study.
Approximately 2,900 students from across the country applied for more than 1,000 awards from the highly competitive program of the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.
Tekisha Bailey of Nashville and Justin Bingham of Murfreesboro will use their $3,000 allocations to spend the 2010-11 academic year at Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan.
Bailey, a junior English major who minors in secondary education and Japanese, says she is spending the summer poring over her Japanese-language textbook and outside sources to become more familiar with the language before she arrives in Fukuoka.
"Eventually, I hope to get into the JET (Japan Exchange and Teaching) program or go back to Japan on a Fulbright scholarship and teach English over there or teach Japanese or English in the public schools here,"; she says.
Bingham is an electronic media communication major with an emphasis in digital animation and a minor in art. While he has drawn off and on for a long time, Bingham says his next-door neighbors, who introduced him to their native country's unique animation style, inspired his interest in Japan.
"Every day as I was growing up, I would hear them talk,"; Bingham remembers. "I would borrow their Japanese TV videos. They were different and cool.";
Bingham's other motivation is more personal. He was born with retinopathy of prematurity, a vision impairment stemming from his arrival into the world 3 1⁄2 months early. Bingham, who weighed only 1.5 pounds at birth, spent the first six months of his life in an incubator.
"I want to show people that I can do whatever I want,"; Bingham says. "It might take a little longer, but animation is all about the end product.";
Joshua Burgin, an electronic media communication major from Louisville, Tenn., will study at l'Universite de Caen Basse-Normandie in Caen, France, with a $5,000 scholarship.
Burgin, who minors in French, became intrigued with his country of destination after viewing New Wave director Francois Truffaut's film "L'argent de poche"; ("Pocket Money";) when he was 14 years old. From that moment on, he knew he wanted to study abroad as a college student.
However, a life-changing experience is steering him away from film as a career. When he was a high school senior, Burgin weighed 300 pounds. Over the past three years, he has shed 137 of those pounds.
Now Burgin wants to attend culinary school in France and focus on low-calorie baking. He already has a head start with his blog at www.chefjoshuaburgin.com , where he writes, "I now own my own business, and after an inspirational meeting with Michelle Bommarito (Food Network Challenge), I have decided culinary arts is where my future lies. … My ultimate goal is to one day own my own thriving bakery!";
Megan Erickson, a global-studies major from Thompson's Station, Tenn., will go to Saitama University in Saitama, Japan, with a $4,000 stipend. Erickson, who minors in Japanese and business administration, says she admires the kindness and generosity of the Japanese people, qualities she hopes to apply to a career in the hospitality field in Asia.
"I love serving people,"; Erickson says. "I love the atmosphere of hotels and resorts where people leave their hectic lives behind and go to relax.";
Erickson's yearning to know more about other cultures prompted her to choose global studies as a major. "All throughout childhood, I was taught only about America,"; she says. "I was so excited and grateful when I heard I got this scholarship.";
Rhonda Waller, director of the Office of Education Abroad and Student Exchange, says that the Gilman Scholarship Program wants to "diversify the kinds of students who study abroad and the countries and regions where they go. Specifically, the Gilman Program offers scholarships for students who have been traditionally underrepresented in education abroad.";
Undergraduate students who receive federal Pell Grant funding at two- or four-year institutions are eligible to apply. Gilman scholarships may be applied to tuition, room and board, books, local transportation, insurance and international airfare.
The deadline to apply for Gilman scholarships for spring 2011 is Tuesday, Oct. 5. Interested students can find eligibility guidelines and application procedures at www.iie.org/gilman .
For more information about MTSU study-abroad programs, contact Waller at 615-898-5179 or email@example.com.
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CIM takes center stage at June 4 concrete event
by Randy Weiler
MTSU's nationally recognized Concrete Industry Management Program stood firmly in the spotlight June 4 during Concrete Appreciation and Safety Day at Lafarge National Cement Terminal in west Nashville.
Dr. Heather Brown, director of MTSU's CIM program, and several students took part in the activities.
Brown discussed the program's past, present and future and told those attending the outdoor event that the job outlook is improving despite tough economic times in the past few years.
"When I speak about the CIM program, the overarching theme is always 'partnership,'"; Brown said. "This partnership between the industry and academia is a model that has many attributes and can be replicated by other industries.
"We make it our business to train, mentor, advise, coach and market our students. We make it our business to engage our students into the community. We make it our business to invite industry to our campus as well as spend time on their turf. We make it our business to stay cutting-edge and still focus on the people aspect of this industry.";
Brown added that CIM had a job-placement rate of nearly 100 percent until the economic downturn.
"However, it was reported in 2009 that only 24 percent of college graduates were being employed in their career path, and we doubled that in 2009. We've already seen an increase to more than 70 percent for 2010. We have one of the highest retention rates on campus and routinely average higher starting salaries.";
A trio of MTSU CIM students participated in a tree-planting ceremony that was orchestrated by Gretchen Hagle of the Tennessee Environmental Council, Alan Sparkman of the Tennessee Concrete Association and Victor Toneatti of Lafarge North America.
Several other MTSU students took part in a pervious concrete demonstration and pour.
Among those attending were Dr. Tom Cheatham, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, and Dr. Walter Boles, chair of the engineering technology department.
CONCRETE IDEA—Concrete industry management seniors Hunter Wallace, left, and Abbie Tomlinson and junior Brian Anderson plant a tree during Concrete Appreciation and Safety Day June 4 in Nashville.
EVERYTHING IN PLACE—MTSU students majoring in concrete industry management help to demonstrate pervious concrete at the recent Concrete Appreciation and Safety Day in Nashville. In addition to the demonstration, CIM Director Heather Brown briefed attendees on the accomplishments of MTSU students and their effectiveness in the industry when they finish college and move into the work world.
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Workshop helps sell insurance program to counselors
by Randy Weiler
Labeling it "enormously successful,"; Dr. Ken Hollman, chair of the Martin Chair of Insurance, said the fourth edition of The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation workshop proved worthwhile for all 19 high-school guidance counselors from across the state.
"The participants had very favorable remarks about the speakers, the program and topic selection,"; Hollman said of the three-day workshop, which was held primarily in the Business and Aerospace Building. "They were very happy with the way we communicated with them.";
With a smile, Hollman added that the attendees "also were very pleased with the places we ate."; In addition to the Keathley University Center Grill for two of three lunches, the group dined at popular Murfreesboro restaurants Demos' and The Parthenon. A third lunch came during a tour of State Farm's Murfreesboro Operations Center.
"This was very informative and beneficial information that I will pass along to my students and faculty,"; Lisa Davies, a counselor at Harpeth High School in Kingston Springs, said in her evaluation of the workshop.
"I thought I knew about insurance. I definitely learned a lot,"; Nuzhat Nadvi, a counselor at J. Frank White Academy in Harrogate, Tenn., wrote in her evaluation comments. "State Farm had impressive products and impressive people.";
"This workshop provided me with valuable information regarding varied career fields in the insurance industry that I will pass on to students at our school,"; wrote Becky Cheatham, a counselor at Forrest High School in Chapel Hill, Tenn.
Tonda Stevens, who commutes to her job at Church Hill Middle School from her home outside Bristol, Tenn., praised MTSU personnel across the board.
"The staff at MTSU was extremely impressive,"; she wrote. "They gave me the 'Wow!' experience. I found them helpful and (they showed) courtesy—a far cry from my days as a student. … I would recommend MTSU to any of my students and their parents.";
From West Tennessee, P.K. Kelley of Dresden High School called the workshop "informative and fun.";
In addition to a campus tour, the participants heard about MTSU's insurance program from Hollman and received an overview of the industry and local employers from Dr. Emily Zietz.
Before heading to State Farm on the second day, they heard about the Jennings A. Jones College of Business programs and facilities from Dr. Dwight Bullard, assistant dean; Dr. Charles Baum, chair in the Department of Economics and Finance; and Phil Collins of the computer lab. They also learned about "the agency system"; from Chuck Bidek of the Insurors of Tennessee.
June 9's morning session featured information about educational requirements for all students from academic advisers, the admissions process and scholarship opportunities. After lunch, they heard a presentation from Dr. John Vile, dean of the University Honors College.
ENSURING EDUCATION—Attendees at the fourth Griffith Insurance Education Foundation workshop pause in the Business and Aerospace Building for a group photo. From left are Dr. Ken Hollman, chairholder, Martin Chair of Insurance; Cindy Dupree of Gallatin; Nuzhat Nadvi of Harrogate, Tenn.; Tonda Stevens of Bristol, Tenn.; Becky Campbell and Tiffany Bale of Clinton, Tenn.; Amy Calbaugh, Donna Breeding and Dana Meyerson of Murfreesboro; P.K. Kelley of Dresden; Bentley Shofner and Mary Richardson of Murfreesboro; Mary Calhoun of Franklin, Tenn.; Mary Lynn Dickens of Shelbyville; Dr. Emily Zietz, MTSU professor; Kayce Scott of Clinton; Becky Cheatham of Chapel Hill; Lisa Davies of Kingston Springs; Paytra Young of Jamestown, Tenn.; Kaye Bridges of Clarkrange, Tenn.; Marcia Hurley of Jamestown; and Jason Terrell of The Griffith Insurance Education Foundation in Columbus, Ohio.
MTSU Photographic Services photo by J. Intintoli
LET ME TRY THAT—Griffith Insurance Foundation workshop participants Dana Meyerson, left, Donna Breeding, Bentley Shofner, Amy Calbaugh, Mary Lynn Dickens and Mary Richardson share Calbaugh's dessert during the workshop's graduation dinner at The Parthenon restaurant in Murfreesboro.
WELCOME TO MTSU—Kayce Scott, left, of Anderson County High School in Clinton, Tenn., greets Dr. Ken Hollman, right, holder of the Martin Chair of Insurance, at The Griffith Insurance Foundation-sponsored workshop June 7 in the Business and Aerospace Building. Becky Campbell, center, another Anderson County guidance counselor, watches.
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Looking to the East
MARK YOUR CALENDAR—If you haven't made plans to attend the Fall 2010 Honors Lecture Series, do so now! This year's series, co-sponsored by MTSU's new Confucius Institute, will focus on "China: The Middle Kingdom in the Modern World"; and will feature discussions on politics, science, media, foreign and domestic policies, women and language as well as a look at MTSU's ongoing partnerships in the country. Lectures are set Mondays (except for university holidays) at 3 p.m. in Room 106 of the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building, the Honors College Amphitheatre. For more information about the lectures, contact 615-898-2152.
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Clinton conference team ready for global challenge
by Lisa L. Rollins
A team of MTSU students attended the recent Clinton Global Initiative University 2010, a forum created by former President Bill Clinton to encourage the next generation of leaders to take action on global challenges.
May graduates Mary Lane Poe of Murfreesboro and Jesse Rawls of Milan, Tenn., along with junior organizational-communication major Becca Wilson of La Vergne, were chosen from more than 4,000 applicants to join 1,300 college students from 50 states and 83 countries to participate in the April 16-18 event, known as CGIU.
Jason Goodrich, a 2009 MTSU graduate with a bachelor's degree in political science, served as leader for the team, which was the first to be invited from MTSU.
"Attending this conference was one of the most beneficial experiences I've had in college,"; Poe said. "The speakers and panels had spot-on discussions about pressing issues and the chance to network with so many proactive individuals from all over the world.";
The University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla., served as the host site for the conference, which focused on five global challenge areas: education, environment and climate change, peace and human rights, poverty alleviation and public health.
Clinton kicked off the three-day conference by speaking with panelists Sam Adelburg, founder of microlender LendforPeace.org; U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin; Grammy-winning producer Pharrell Williams; and Robyn Allen, who represented a team of university researchers developing cars capable of attaining more than 100 mpg.
During the event, students participated in thematic panels and working-group sessions on such topics as world education, environmental awareness, water security and scarcity, and the ongoing humanitarian efforts in Haiti.
"I hope that other MTSU students have the chance to attend this conference in the future, and I encourage professors to have their students submit a commitment each year,"; Rawls said.
CGIU selected the MTSU students based on their proposal to improve public education in rural Nepal, a project of the student organization Humans in Crisis of MTSU, which is affiliated with the charity known as Humans in Crisis International Corporation. HICIC was begun in 2003 by Dr. Hari Garbharran of MTSU's geosciences faculty.
Poe and Rawls majored in international relations in MTSU's political science department.
"I am so glad the department and the university could facilitate Mary Lane Poe and Jesse Rawls' participation in the Clinton Global Initiative,"; said Dr. Stephen Morris, political science chairman. "No doubt this type of experience broadens our students' horizons, lights a fire, helps them network and pushes them forward.";
"HICIC and the MTSU political science department made certain our team participated at CGIU,"; Rawls noted.
The MTSU team members have applied for a $12,500 CGI Outstanding Commitment Award to implement their education-based project with HICIC.
TAKING THE INITIATIVE—MTSU's student team and their adviser pause for a photo after the Clinton Global Initiative University 2010 in Coral Gables, Fla. From left are geosciences professor Dr. Hari Garbharran, founder of Humans in Crisis International Corp.; May graduates Jesse Rawls and Mary Lane Poe; and 2009 grad Jason Goodrich. Not pictured is team member Becca Wilson. In the photo at right, Poe, center, grins as former President Bill Clinton is swamped with autograph requests on the stage.
photos courtesy of Mary Lane Poe
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Veteran high-school coach joins Lady Raiders staff
from MT Athletic Communications
Veteran Tennessee high-school coach Lynn Burkey has been tabbed as an assistant coach for the upcoming 2010-11 campaign by Rick Insell, Middle Tennessee head women's basketball coach.
Burkey becomes the second assistant on the Blue Raider staff during the off-season, joining former Lady Vol Alex Fuller.
"Every year you try to recruit better players, and you do the same thing with coaches,"; Insell said. "To be able to bring on board someone with over 30 years of experience, who has worked with travel-team and AAU coaches and also being in touch with the high-school coaches around the country, to fill the void we had, I do not know if we could have hired anyone better than Coach Burkey.";
Burkey comes to Murfreesboro after a five-year stint as head coach at Shelbyville Central High School in Shelbyville, Tenn., where he took the reins after Insell's departure to Middle Tennessee. During his time with the Golden Eaglettes, Burkey led the squad to a 125-42 record, two state tournament appearances and one state runner-up finish.
He also spent two seasons, 2003-04 and 2004-05, as the head coach at his alma mater, Greeneville High School in Greeneville, Tenn., leading the school to a 56-13 mark.
Burkey founded and served as head coach of the Tennessee Stars AAU/Travel team program for 33 years. His squad won AAU national championships in 1986, 1989, 1990 and 2000 and included 77 AAU All-Americans and more than 400 players who went on to play college basketball.
"This is a golden opportunity for me in my career,"; Burkey said. "I have had other opportunities to go as a college assistant through the years, but it had never felt like the right situation. I have analyzed this thing as many different ways as I possibly could, and I believe this is the perfect situation.''
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Beef Camp mixes learning, fun
by Randy Weiler
Brothers Holden and Scott Ayers enjoyed a specialized camp at MTSU that's not about sports, music or academics.
Raised in a family that owns Stone Duck Farms in Christiana and Normandy, Tenn., they attended the MTSU Beef Camp with 46 other boys and girls from across the region.
"I like it,"; said Holden Ayers, 12, who will be a seventh-grader at Central Magnet School in Murfreesboro, "especially the fact there are other cattle people around you.";
"They give us a lot of free time,"; added Scott Ayers, 11, a rising sixth-grader at Campus School. "They (camp leaders) want us to give the best we can to our calves and cattle.";
In reference to his brother's "cattle people"; comment, Scott noted that "it's very easy to make friends. We have a lot of things in common. Everybody raises cattle, but we may have different breeds.";
Many of the beef cattle campers, most of whom are either members of 4-H or Future Farmers of America, came from Rutherford and Williamson, Bedford, Coffee, Marshall and Wilson counties. A number of campers came from Houston and Lincoln counties.
"I felt we had a very successful event,"; said Dr. Jessica Carter, an associate professor in the School of Agribusiness and Agriscience who now directs the camp started in 1990 by Dr. Robert Garrigus, professor emeritus. "We had several first-time participants who plan to attend again next year.
"This camp is really designed to help youth who are just getting started showing cattle. Many of the kids have so much fun that they attend for several years in a row.";
Campers have a mix of learning and lots of fun. They heard about nutrition from department chair Dr. Warren Gill, veterinary practices from Dr. Jennifer Hatcher and judging expertise from John Teague, the Bedford County Extension director, and more.
The fun comes every day for the campers, who stayed in MTSU dormitories during the event. A Barnyard Olympics and Scavenger Hunt concluded the first day's activities. Campers swam at the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center, and some learned to make ice cream through Ag in the Classroom. They also had a Friday-night dance.
Campers also learned about showmanship, which builds toward the fourth-day contests for seniors in grades 10 to 12, junior-high students and junior campers in fourth through sixth grades.
Carter said 16 ag students, all MTSU Block and Bridle Club members, are integral to the Beef Camp operation. They serve as camp counselors, supervise the youngsters during the day and in the dorms and help Carter plan the programs of guest speakers, educational events and the like as well as arrange for food and awards.
"I couldn't host this event without the help of the students,"; Carter said. "We also have help from sponsors.";
Carter said the Tennessee Cattlemen's Association serves as a co-sponsor of the event. Sponsorship also comes from the Tennessee Farmers Co-op and the Tennessee Beef Agribition.
LEARNING FROM THE SOURCE—Scott Ayers, 11, of Rutherford County, above, lines up with other students attending the recent MTSU Beef Camp for ingredients to make ice cream during an "Ag in the Classroom"; session. At right, camper Carter Carey, 11, of Houston County Middle School enjoys the fruits of his—and the cow's—labors. The camp drew 48 young people from grades four to 12 in schools across Tennessee.
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Equestrian Team earns 3rd place at Nationals
from Staff Reports
Junior Megan Hephner helped lead MTSU's Equestrian Team to one of its best finishes ever.
Hephner, a horse-science major from Georgetown, Ky., earned national championships in both open divisions of Western Individuals and Western Team, where MTSU finished in third place overall in the Intercollegiate Horse Show Association Nationals held at Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington.
"The undisputed star of the week was Megan Hephner,"; Coach Anne Brzezicki said. "She held up against two sets of riders in the most advanced individual class, Open Horsemanship, and then repeated her stellar performance against a different set of riders in the Team Open.
"After all riders had executed the tests, judges required the top three performers to repeat the test on different horses and, if anything, Megan bested her own performance the second time out, demonstrating her mastery over both the rail and pattern portions of the competition and that she can ride about any horse she is put on.";
Adding impact to the third-place showing was MTSU qualifying 12 riders and placing 11 of them, including three national champions and one reserve. MTSU finished as the third highest western team in the nation.
Alumna Kim White of Lebanon earned the other national championship, capturing the Western Individuals Alumni category. Graduate student Marianne England of Murfreesboro placed eighth.
"IHSA has an additional unique feature, enabling teams to maintain direct contact with their riding alumni,"; Brzezicki said. "One alumni class in each of the four disciplines is offered with the same qualifying requirements throughout the year.";
Junior Brook Davis of Murfreesboro earned the Reserve National Champion trophy in the Hunter Seat Individuals Walk-Trot.
Brzezicki said IHSA competition is unique in equestrian sport because riders must draw for the horse they will compete on, rather than prepare, practice and perfect the horse they bring with them to the competition.
WIN, PLACE AND SHOW—MTSU's Equestrian Team celebrates its third-place finish at the International Horse Show Association Nationals in Lexington, Ky., in the top photo. Megan Hephner, above, winner of two national championships at the event, rides across the ring.
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USA Today adds 2 to academic team
from Staff Reports
May MTSU graduate Jasmine "Jaz"; Gray of Memphis is one of 20 students nationwide named to the USA Today All-USA College Academic first team for 2010. MTSU is the only school in Tennessee represented in this top-tier group.
Gray, who received the MTSU President's Award in April, graduated from the College of Mass Communications and also was a University Honors College student and McNair Scholars Program participant.
Gray was chosen based on her academic achievements, capped by a 3.93 GPA in mass communication and journalism; interests, which included a post as editor-in-chief of Collage, a Journal of Creative Expression, where she managed a staff of 17; and her entrepreneurship as founder of Jaz's Jammies, which has collected more than 3,000 colorful pairs of pajamas for sick and homeless children.
Gray received $2,500 for the USA Today recognition.
"A lot of times you don't realize what you do has an impact on other people,"; Gray said of the honor. "You work hard. Then other people recognize what you've done.";
Gray, 21, who said her career goal is to be a social entrepreneur focusing on empowering youth of color and women, has had to cope with 29 surgeries for a facial circulatory defect.
The "uncomfortable and uninteresting hospital gowns serve as a depressing reminder of illness,"; she told USA Today, explaining that her experiences led to the founding of Jaz's Jammies.
Her honors thesis addressed effects of the media on black identity. For this project, she interviewed black college students in Ghana, England and the United States and presented her findings to two universities in China as part of MTSU's McNair Scholars Program. Gray has received a two-year, $102,000 journalism fellowship from Syracuse University to work toward a master's degree.
"Jasmine Gray is a classic example of the kind of outstanding and hard-working students who call MTSU home,"; said President Sidney A. McPhee. "In spite of many challenges, she has committed herself to being the very best that she can be, and her efforts have yielded positive results for her and for thousands of others who have been touched by her dedication and generosity. Jasmine is very deserving of this honor, and we are extremely proud of her.";
May graduate Shannon Murphy of Murfreesboro, who earned a Bachelor of Science in biology, received an honorable mention on the publication's 2010 team. The April Provost Award recipient also was an honorable-mention recipient from the Goldwater Scholarship Foundation in 2009, attended Posters on the Capitol in both Nashville and Washington, D.C., this year and has been accepted into East Tennessee State University's medical-school graduate program.
Both Gray and Murphy are members of multiple honor societies, including Phi Kappa Phi and the recently formed Omicron Delta Kappa, which recognizes students for both scholarship and leadership.
"These are just another example of the exceptional students we have at Middle Tennessee State University,"; said McPhee, "and the commitment we have to overall excellence in all that we do.";
Alumnus Taylor Barnes, now at California Institute of Technology, has been both an honorable-mention (2008) and a third-team selection ('09) by USA Today.
"These awards will reinforce the national recognition that MTSU received last year from Forbes magazine,"; Honors College Dean John Vile said, recalling the university's 2009 ranking as the No. 1 public institution in Tennessee, one of the Top 50 higher-education "Best Buys"; in the nation and one of the top 100 U.S. public universities in the annual "America's Best Colleges"; listing.
Vile credited Laura Clippard, who directs the Honors College's Undergraduate Fellowship Office, the McNair Scholars Program and individuals throughout campus for nominating students and helping to guide them through the application process.
ACADEMIC ALL-STARS—May grads Jasmine Gray and Shannon Murphy are part of the USA Today All-USA College Academic Teams for their outstanding collegiate work. Gray is on the first team, while Murphy is an honorable mention.
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The Office of News and Public Affairs received two communications awards at the recent Tennessee College Public Relations Association conference. The staff received a Bronze Award in the "Media Success Story"; category for a publicity campaign for "The Holocaust and World War II: Perspectives from 70 Years"; biennial conference held at MTSU in October 2009. The material was submitted by Lisa Rollins. The office also received a Silver Award for the online version of The Alumni Record, a quarterly publication produced by News and Public Affairs and Alumni Relations. NPA's Randy Weiler, editor of The Alumni Record, submitted the material.
Dr. Lisa J. Pruitt (history) received a three-year grant totaling $145,927 from the National Institutes of Health to research and write Crippled: A History of Childhood Disability in America, 1860-1980, the first book-length historical study of physically disabled children in the United States to expand beyond the story of polio.
Dr. Rebecca S. Watts (educational leadership) and Jennifer Austin, a sixth-grade teacher at Murfreesboro's John Pittard Elementary School, collaborated to receive a $2,257 literacy grant from Phi Kappa Phi. The funds will be used to purchase books for the Pittard library related to math and science concepts to promote literacy and interest in the disciplines.
Heather Arrington and Dr. Carla G. Hatfield (Academic Support Center) presented "Training Students to Focus on the Finish Line"; during the National Academic Advising Association 2010 Mid South Regional Conference May 16-18 in Lexington, Ky. The presentation offered tips to implement a career-assessment tool through a University 1010 freshman-orientation course.
Dr. Zachariah Sinkala (mathematical sciences) presented a peer-reviewed and refereed full paper, "Evolutionary of prostate cancer stem cells,"; at the International Conference on Mathematical Biology and Ecology held May 26-28 in Tokyo, Japan. He also chaired a session at the event.
Dr. Derek Frisby (history) published two different chapters in two edited books in spring 2010. "A Victory Spoiled: West Tennessee Unionists during Reconstruction"; was published as part of the Fordham University Press collection The Great Task Remaining Before Us: Reconstruction as America's Continuing Civil War, edited by Paul Cimbala and Randall Miller, and Frisby's essay on Tennessee's secession crisis appeared in the University Press of Kentucky's Sister States, Enemy States.
History department faculty and students teamed up to publish articles in the Summer 2010 edition of the McNair Research Review. Dr. Bob Hunt and student Johnathan Gilliam published "How World War I Affected Poor Tennesseans and Their Experience Overseas,"; Dr. Doug Heffington and student Chris Young published "Do New Democracies Have Staying Power?"; and Dr. Derek Frisby and Christina Runkel published "Generating a Buzz: The Myth of TVA's Rural Electrification in Norris, Tennessee.";
Drs. Bob Jones (history) and Mark Byrnes (political science) published an article, "The 'Bitterest Fight': The Tennessee General Assembly and the 19th Amendment,"; in the Fall 2009 edition of Tennessee Historical Quarterly.
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