Hi, I am Eldridge Alexander and I'm one of Tennessee's Best!

I have always felt connected to Middle Tennessee State University because my mother, Becky, is a professor in the Department of Elementary and Special Education. I've also lived in Murfreesboro all my life, so when it came time to choose a college, MTSU was definitely on my list. I am majoring in Electronic Media Communication in the College of Mass Communication, one of the highest regarded programs of its type in the entire country.

I talked with some of the Mass Communication faculty when I came for the tour and when I was at CUSTOMS. They seemed very knowledgeable and involved with their students. They spoke about hands-on projects to complement the textbook learning. I learned quickly that the Mass Communications department was extremely practical. As a junior I have already been involved in several truck productions of MTSU sports that were broadcast on ESPN3.com and CSS.

As a teacher myself, this hands-on approach appealed to me. During my senior year of high school, I worked at Cedar Hall School, a small private school, teaching technology to middle and high school students. It is a small school where every teacher is involved with every student, and it is a great place of learning. It was an enlightening experience, which I really enjoyed. I loved the feeling of helping students learn fun, useful things. The whole experience really redefined the way I thought about teaching and learning.

I have always enjoyed acting and performing. In the fourth grade, I began performing magic. Since then, I have been involved in the local International Brotherhood of Magicians chapter. Toward the end of my high school career at Riverdale, I became very interested in the technical production of plays and shows. This allowed me to have a perspective from both in front of the curtain and behind the scenes, something I very much enjoyed. Since attending MTSU and becoming involved in the Theater department, I have performed in the play Zest and declared Theater as my minor.

I had already made my decision to become a Blue Raider when I learned about the Buchanan Fellowship, the highest scholarship given to MTSU students. I applied for it and was very excited when I received the call telling me I had been accepted into the Fellowship. The Buchanan Fellowship is a part of the University Honors College. My cousin had already been a part of the Honors College and loved it. He recommended it highly.

When the call came at work that I was one of the 20 Buchanan Fellows for 2008-09, I was excited. The whole program is interesting to me. We, as Fellows, take classes in a variety of areas. The subjects are in diverse fields—astronomy, chemistry, English, and more—which I love. As I learned at CUSTOMS, the classes are discussion-based and I felt that I contributed to the classes as well as learned from them.

The financial aspects of the Fellowship have really been great. It allows me to focus almost entirely on my class work. This award has afforded me the freedom to experience college. I have the freedom to choose classes of interest to me, which have become more focused in my junior and senior years. I will also have the freedom to choose from a large range of fine arts, and maybe even play some music. I have the freedom to make college my own experience.

I hope you will join me as one of Tennessee's Best and make MTSU part of your college experience. You'll be glad you did.