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MTSU student’s effort to help neighbor escape fire makes local newscast

An MTSU student explained on a local newscast Monday night how she was able to help a neighbor and a pet escape a pre-dawn kitchen fire.

Katie Kelly

MTSU senior Katie Kelly told a NewsChannel5 reporter in a story airing on the 6 p.m. broadcast that she was awakened shortly after 5 a.m. April 11 by the noise of a fire alarm outside her Murfreesboro apartment.

Kelly, a newly appointed member of the MTSU Student Ambassadors, ran downstairs to a neighbor’s apartment, where she said she saw smoke “billowing out of every window” and heard a dog barking.

She was able to cut a window screen and get inside the apartment, where she awakened her neighbor and then helped the neighbor and the dog get outside to safety.

“It was overwhelming, but not so much so that it would stop me from doing it,” Kelly said.

You can watch the report here.

The Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department said in a news release that the fire, which appeared to be the result of unattended cooking, was safely extinguished by the apartment’s sprinkler system before crews arrived.

Kelly, who plans to graduate in 2015, is a native of the Memphis area and a member of numerous groups in MTSU’s School of Music, including the MTSU Wind Ensemble and Jazz Ensemble. She also has contributed to several recording projects, including Jordan Fenton’s 2013 album “Coal Mines.”

Kelly has dual majors — instrumental music performance and music industry — and a recording industry minor. She also is a private trumpet instructor and freelance performer.

On their special day, MTSU seniors inspired by state military leader

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, left, visits with MTSU senior organizational communication major Courtney Rodman, right, of Jackson, Mo., near the Career Development Center booth during Senior Day activities held in the Student Union Ballroom Monday, April 14. Rodman, a career center peer adviser, shared about the career center's Document Drop, a resume review program for students and alumni. Also pictured is Brittany Nichols, a senior organizational communication major from Hillsboro, Tenn. (MTSU photos by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Maj. Gen. Max Haston, left, visits with MTSU senior organizational communication major Courtney Rodman, right, of Jackson, Mo., near the Career Development Center booth during Senior Day activities held in the Student Union Ballroom Monday, April 14. Rodman, a career center peer adviser, shared about the career center’s Document Drop, a resume review program for students and alumni. Also pictured is Brittany Nichols, a senior organizational communication major from Hillsboro, Tenn. (MTSU photos by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Glancing around the Student Union Ballroom on the MTSU campus, alumnus and U.S. Army Major Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston quickly studied an audience of primarily seniors who will be graduating Saturday, May 10.

“I graduated from a great program,” he said of MTSU ROTC, which led him to a lifetime of service and leadership to his country. “There are a lot of other great programs here at the university, and what a beautiful place (the nearly 2-year-old Student Union). Just like Dr. (Sidney A.) McPhee, I’ve been all over the world. You can be proud to call yourself a Blue Raider.”

Haston, who makes frequent campus appearances, spoke briefly during Senior Day, an MTSU Office of Alumni Relations-sponsored event that was expected to draw 100 to 200 students to recognize them, but also provide graduate school opportunities, job-hunting preparation and show them how to remain connected as alumni.

Haston, the adjutant general of the Tennessee National Guard in Nashville, had a special reason for attending, not just the invitation by McPhee. Travis Haston, the son of Max and Anne Haston of Knoxville, Tenn., will be graduating with a degree in electronic media management.

“It makes me proud,” the elder Haston said of his son’s pending achievement. “I work in Nashville; we live in Knoxville. He could’ve easily gone to the University of Tennessee, which my wife is a graduate of. We gave him the option. This (MTSU) is where he selected. It really speaks to the quality and character of this university.”

MTSU College of Graduate Studies Dean Mike Allen, left, visits with senior electronic media management major Travis Haston, center, and his father, alumnus Terry M. "Max" Haston, a U.S. Army major general who serves as the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard.

MTSU College of Graduate Studies Dean Mike Allen, left, visits with senior electronic media management major Travis Haston, center, and his father, alumnus Terry M. “Max” Haston, a U.S. Army major general who serves as the adjutant general for the Tennessee National Guard.

Max Haston said his son, who was born three months prematurely, overcame physical and health issues and learning challenges.

Travis Haston, who started at MTSU in the fall of 2008 majoring in recording industry, switched to broadcasting and finally to electronic media management. He said he has landed a summer internship with Charlotte, N.C.-based Hendrick Motorsports, but the former Eagle Scout also was offered an internship with the Boy Scouts of America.

The younger Haston also will take his graduate record exam, or GRE, Friday, May 2, and will consider grad school — something McPhee emphasized several times when he spoke to the seniors.

“I’m proud of you,” McPhee said to the seniors. “… We have a great graduate program. I’d love for you to consider our graduate program.”

The College of Graduate Studies and Career Development Center were among the offices with personnel staffing tables for the MTSU seniors to visit.

Approximately 2,300 degree candidates — more than 1,900 undergraduates and nearly 400 graduate students — will be awarded diplomas in May.

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

Alumnus and U.S. Army Major Gen. Terry M. "Max" Haston, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee share a laugh during the annual Senior Day on campus Monday, April 14, in the Student Union Ballroom.

Alumnus and U.S. Army Major Gen. Terry M. “Max” Haston, left, and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee share a laugh during the annual Senior Day on campus Monday, April 14, in the Student Union Ballroom.

MTSU graduate students speak on research at April 17 panel event

MTSU graduate students will share their views on the dual role of feminist and researcher at the final Women’s and Gender Studies Program research event of the spring semester.

“Feminist Standpoint and Reflexive Thinking: Graduate Student Research in Progress” is scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday, April 17, in the SunTrust Room, Room N127, of MTSU’s Business and Aerospace Building.

The panel discussion, which is free and open to the public, is made up of recent students in the Women’s and Gender Studies graduate certificate program.

The program enables scholars to acquire advanced training and expertise in feminist theory, feminist methodology and fundamental issues in the field. Those enrolled must complete nine credit hours of core requirements and nine credit hours of electives.

Dr. Vicky MacLean, a professor of sociology and faculty adviser to the program, will moderate the panel. The participants and their topics are:

  • Shelley Maddox, a December 2013 MTSU graduate, will speak on “Feminist Parenting: A Mother’s Auto-Ethnographic.”
  • JaDee Carathers, who plans to graduate in May 2014, will speak on “Situating the Self in Reflective Practice: A Methodological Meditation on Feminist Standpoint Epistemology in Qualitative Interviewing on Maternal Sexuality and the Breastfeeding Problematic.”
  • Shaonta Allen, an August 2013 MTSU graduate, will speak on “My Sister’s Keeper: Reflections on Black Sisterhood, Feminist Consciousness and Sorority Life.”
  • Felicia Brown, who plans to graduate in May 2014, will speak on “Multicultural Identities among Minority Women Living in the U.S.: Toward a Transformative Knowledge.”

A discussion period will follow the panelists’ presentations.

A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

For more information, contact Marie Harrell with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at 615-898-5910 or womenstu@mtsu.edu.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

MTSU partners with Nashville public schools for video awards show

NASHVILLE — The best video projects that students from Metro Nashville Public Schools have to offer were celebrated Thursday, April 10, at the third annual Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show.

Academies of Nash Video Awards logo copyStudents from Metro Schools and Middle Tennessee State University directed, produced and performed in this awards show, a district-wide video competition created to tell the stories of the Academies of Nashville offerings in Metro Nashville’s 12 zoned high schools.

The unique partnership between Metro Schools and MTSU began three years ago when the university agreed to be the title sponsor for the show.

“We are pleased to partner with Metro Schools because we see the great things happening in their schools and the caliber of students they are sending to college,” said Dr. Sidney A. McPhee, president of MTSU.

Students from the Department of Electronic Media Communication at MTSU produced the show. The entire student-run production used MTSU’s $1.2 million state-of–the-art production truck. The awards show was held at Trevecca-Nazarene University.

— Doug Williams (doug.williams@mtsu.edu)

MTSU Electronic Media Communication Chair Billy Pittard, right, presents the Best of Show Award to students and faculty from Hillsboro High School Academy of International Business and Communication at the Metro Nashville Public School's Video Awards Show held Thursday, April 10, at Trevecca-Nazarene University in Nashville. (MTSU photo)

MTSU Electronic Media Communication Chair Billy Pittard, right, presents the Best of Show Award to students and faculty from Hillsboro High School Academy of International Business and Communication at the Metro Nashville Public School’s Video Awards Show held Thursday, April 10, at Trevecca-Nazarene University in Nashville. (MTSU photo)

MTSU moon buggy team aims for stars at NASA competition

MTSU junior Josh Calvin and graduate student Dianna Prince take the Moonbuggy nicknamed "The Beast" on a ride through campus Thursday, April 10, on the eve of the start of the two-day NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala. MTSU is coming off a third-place finish in 2013. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

MTSU junior Josh Calvin and graduate student Dianna Prince take the moon buggy nicknamed “The Beast” on a ride through campus Thursday, April 10, on the eve of the start of the two-day NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge in Huntsville, Ala. MTSU is coming off a third-place finish in 2013. (MTSU photos by News and Media Relations)

High hopes and great expectations are how 14 MTSU students left Murfreesboro Thursday (April 10), heading for Huntsville, Ala., and the two-day NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge, previously known as the Great Moonbuggy Race.

NASA roverlogo72 1“We hope to go down and place first overall this year,” said team captain Ryan Miller of Chattanooga, Tenn., making a reference to the team’s third-place finish in 2013 against international competition while finishing first in the U.S. “We expect the new moon buggy to perform well.”

MTSU Experimental Vehicles Program adviser Saeed Foroudastan agrees.

“This is the most dedicated team we’ve ever had,” Foroudastan said. “They are innovative. They put in a perfect design. They finished the new moon buggy one month in advance, which allowed time for practice.”

Nearly 90 student teams from 19 states, Puerto Rico and four other countries will compete Friday and Saturday, April 11-12. The event is tied to NASA’s plans to explore destinations across the solar system in years to come. NASA will stream the event live via UStream (http://www.ustream.tv/channel/nasa-msfc) and NASA television (http://www.nasa.gov/nasatv).

MTSU senior Zack Hill, left, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and sophomore Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn., perform a timed practice to quickly unfold the Moonbuggy, reach their seat with both feet in the pedals and lock their seatbelts. Viewing the attempt are freshman Alec Urban, far right, and College of Basic and Applied Sciences Associate Dean Saeed Foroudastan, who serves as director of the Experimental Vehicles Program.

MTSU senior Zack Hill, left, of Hendersonville, Tenn., and sophomore Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn., perform a timed practice to quickly unfold the moon buggy, reach their seat with both feet in the pedals and lock their seatbelts. Viewing the attempt are freshman Alec Urban, far right, and College of Basic and Applied Sciences Associate Dean Saeed Foroudastan, who serves as director of the Experimental Vehicles Program.

The event challenges high school, college and university students to design, construct, test and race lightweight, human-powered rovers capable of performing in the demanding environments to be explored by future voyagers.

The competition is designed to teach students to solve practical design and engineering problems and demonstrates NASA’s continuing commitment to inspire new generations of scientists, engineers, technicians and astronauts.

MTSU will have two entries: Team 2 with a new, two-person moon buggy nicknamed “The Beast” and Team 1 with a modified version of the 2013 entry nicknamed “The Model T.”

Junior Josh Calvin of Nashville and senior Devin Raines of Murfreesboro will be two of the four primary drivers.

“My goal is to have fun and do the best I can,” said first-time driver Calvin, a leisure and tourism studies major, who admits to “feeling a little bit of pressure” after 2013’s strong showing. “The new one (Team 2 moon buggy) is a lot smoother.”

Raines said the experience of driving last year “helps me prepare and knowing what to expect. It’s a different buggy. The tires are different. They have increased the gear shifting. I feel stronger about it.”

Assisted by co-captain Dustin Taylor, Miller said the meshing of old and new team members and the design process sailed smoothly throughout the fall. In December, Miller learned NASA was changing the rules on tires: They no longer could have air.

Current MTSU Moonbuggy team co-captain Dustin Taylor, left, provides Moonbuggy pedal pointers to front-seat driver Josh Calvin and rear driver Dianna Prince before the group left for Huntsville, Ala., and the Friday-Saturday (April 11-12) NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

Current MTSU moon buggy team co-captain Dustin Taylor, left, provides pedal pointers to front-seat driver Josh Calvin and rear driver Dianna Prince before the group left for Huntsville, Ala., and the Friday-Saturday (April 11-12) NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge.

To make the switch, the team chose an all-rubber tire for the modified 2013 entry and purchased custom-made, mountain bike tires from a Colorado dealer for the new buggy.

The team features students majoring in engineering (mechanical, mechatronics, electro-mechanical and computer), computer science, exercise science and biotechnology.

In addition to Miller, Taylor, Calvin and Raines, team members include seniors Thomas Cox of Nashville and Zack Hill of Hendersonville, Tenn.; juniors Beau Hallavant of Bell Buckle, Tenn., Steven Chaput of Manchester, Tenn., Les McGuffey of Nashville and Thomas McKinney of Franklin, Tenn.; sophomore Jasmine Johnson of Humboldt, Tenn.; freshman Alec Urban of Murfreesboro and formerly from Richmond, Va.; and graduate students Jeremy Posey of Adairville, Ky., and Dianna Prince of Estill Springs, Tenn.

The team, which has a number of sponsors, said they are appreciative of the painting work by Richard Shehane of PowderPro and parts provided by MOAB Outdoor Bike, both in Murfreesboro.

College of Basic and Applied Sciences Dean Bud Fischer, Engineering Technology Chair Walter Boles, professor Kathy Mathis and Charles Perry, who holds the Robert E. and Georgianna West Russell Chair of Excellence, visited with the team before driving to Huntsville.

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

Members of the 2013-14 MTSU moon buggy team are shown with Department of Engineering Technology faculty members and College of Basic and Applied Sciences administrators.

Members of the 2013-14 MTSU moon buggy team are shown with Department of Engineering Technology faculty members and College of Basic and Applied Sciences administrators.

 

Enactus student group gives back to women’s resource center

Suitcases, garbage bags and assorted carrying cases for clothing and personal items form a line just inside the entrance to the Way of Hope Women’s Resource Center off South Rutherford Boulevard and Dill Lane.

It’s a mandatory daily ritual for the homeless single mothers and children served by the center as they prepare to relocate to one of 16 local churches that will serve as their host for the night. This daily undertaking involving an average of 30 to 40 women and children takes a lot of time, energy and resources, and the Christian-based nonprofit could use some help.

Kimberly Bean, director of the Way of Hope Women's Resource Center in Murfreesboro, uses the new phone system provided by the MTSU student group Enactus, which purchased the phone with a grant secured from Coca-Cola. The student group started working with the resource center last semester to develop a marketing plan. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Kimberly Bean, director of the Way of Hope Women’s Resource Center in Murfreesboro, uses the new phone system provided by the MTSU student group Enactus, which purchased the phone with a grant secured from Coca-Cola. (Photos by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Since last semester, a group of MTSU business students has been working with the Way of Hope to develop a marketing plan to spread its message more effectively and generate needed financial support for a program that relies on the community’s generosity.

With funds from a $1,500 Coca-Cola grant, the student group Enactus has supplied the center with a computer, software, printer, phone system and retooling of its website. The student group, which was previously known as Students in Free Enterprise, or SIFE, focuses on putting entrepreneurship into action through community service.

MTSU students Eric Wedgworth and Brittany Page have been deeply involved in the project, which began in the fall. Page, a junior business management major from Parsons, Tenn., and Wedgworth, a senior marketing major also from Parsons, Tenn., have been volunteering at the Way of Hope since the nonprofit’s inception two years ago. The Enactus project deepened their involvement.

“Right now, we’re just giving them the tools that they need,” Page said of Enactus’s assistance to Way of Hope. “We’re hoping to get more computers, since this is a resource center, to help the ladies and the children with technology.”

MTSU marketing instructor Laura Buckner serves as an adviser to the student group, which has a motto of “A head for business, a heart for the world.” The Way of Hope project is an excellent opportunity for students to exemplify that motto, she said.

From L to R, Brad Blomgren, founder and executive director of the Way of Hope; MTSU student Eric Wedgworth; Kimberly Bean, director of the Women's Resource Center and program director; and MTSU student Brittany Page. The MTSU business majors are members of the student group Enactus, which used grant funds to supply the resource center with a phone system, computer, printer, software and other supplies. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

From L to R, Brad Blomgren, founder and executive director of the Way of Hope; MTSU student Eric Wedgworth; Kimberly Bean, director of the Women’s Resource Center and program director; and MTSU student Brittany Page. The MTSU business majors are members of the student group Enactus, which used grant funds to supply the resource center with a phone system, computer, printer, software and other supplies.

“Students who are engage in Enactus have an opportunity to utilize the skills that they learn in the Jones College of Business to make the world a better place,” Buckner said. “In this case, the students actually wrote the grant themselves, decided the budget of how to spend the money and will be tracking the success of the nonprofit in the future.”

Way of Hope founder and Executive Director Brad Blomgren is very grateful for the assistance, which he says is helping his organization fulfill its mission of providing a safe place and meals during the day for struggling women with children who oftentimes have nowhere else to turn.mtsu enactus combo logo

Through its partnership with area churches, Way of Hope has provided over 17,000 individual nights of shelter and 50,000-plus meals since November 2011. Among other services, the resource center provides a full-time caseworker to help the women with things such as job preparation, housing searches and applications for social services.

“It’s a safe house for women who are homeless,” Blomgren said. “When they search for resources, sometimes they get hit on, solicited and propositioned. A lot of times people think that because they’re homeless, they’ll sell themselves. … The resource center gives them a place to go so that they don’t have to subject themselves to that.

“It’s so hard for single moms to make it,” he said.

The Way of Hope will hold a special Women’s Day event April 11-12 to educate the public about the challenges facing homeless women and children locally.

The free two-day Women’s Day event includes a full slate of activities, with Friday, April 11, featuring a health fair with CPR, first-aid training and self-defense training at New Vision Church; on Saturday, April 12, the community is invited to the court square to participate in a 5K run, a kid’s fun run, craft fair fundraiser, parade and concert.

For more information about the event, visit http://www.wayofhope.net/womens-day-of-hope.html.

Donna Neeley sorts through clothing at the Way of Hope's Women's Resource Center on Dill Lane in Murfreesboro. Neeley is among the many single mother clients who have been served by the center. (Photo by MTSU News and Media Relations)

Donna Neeley sorts through clothing at the Way of Hope’s Women’s Resource Center on Dill Lane in Murfreesboro. Neeley is among the many single mother clients who have been served by the center.

Click the image to learn more about the Way of Hope organization.

Click the image to learn more about the Way of Hope organization.

Wedgworth said the MTSU Enactus group was among 25 similar groups that received the Coke grants to develop projects that empowered women to succeed. Wedgworth said the group will continue working with the women’s center to provide as many opportunities and avenues as possible to help the many women served there.

“We’re working with another organization that could possibly get us (refurbished) laptops,” he said.

The center offers laundry facilities, computers, a playground and a children’s room. It also provides temporary stays for the homeless women who may be suffering from an illness or recovering from a medical procedure and need somewhere to go. Since the center opened in late 2012, it has provided temporary shelter to five women with newborns who had nowhere else to go after being discharged from the hospital, Blomgren said.

“This gives those women a place to recover,” he said.

For more information about the Way of Hope, contact Blomgren at 615-653-8027 or via email at brad@rutherfordwayofhope.com, or visit www.wayofhope.net. Blomgren said the resource center would be glad to partner with more local churches.

For more information or questions about how to get involved with MTSU Enactus, contact instructor Laura Buckner at laura.buckner@mtsu.edu or instructor Jean Wilson at jean.wilson@mtsu.edu, or learn more on Facebook at Enactus MTSU.

— Jimmy Hart (jimmy.hart@mtsu.edu)

Panhellenic Council ‘hops to it’ in planning April 13 Easter egg hunt

Greek organizations at MTSU are helping kids get a jump on the Easter Bunny.

The Panhellenic Council Easter Egg Hunt will take place from 2 to 4 p.m. Sunday, April 13, on the lawn of the MTSU President’s House at 2212 Middle Tennessee Blvd. in Murfreesboro.

Plastic eggs filled with both chocolate and hard candies will be nestled in hiding places on the property. Various other prizes such as stickers and small toys will be up for grabs.

Phi Kappa Tau, Kappa Delta, Zeta Tau Alpha, Alpha Delta Pi, Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Omicron Pi, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Chi Omega and the Panhellenic Executive Council each provided from four to six members per organization to work on the event.

The egg roll, which is free and open to the public, is a family-friendly event appropriate for children ages 12 and under.

For more information, contact the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life in the Center for Student Involvement and Leadership at 615-898-5812.

–Gina K. Logue (gina.logue@mtsu.edu)

 

 

 

Nursing students raising funds for 2nd medical mission to Guatemala

The nurses of the future are raising money to fund a mission of mercy to Central America.

Students from MTSU’s School of Nursing will conduct a volleyball tournament from 6 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, at the Health, Wellness and Recreation Center on campus and an April 14-16 silent auction for prizes, donated by local businesses, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. April 14-16 daily on the first floor of the Student Union.

Student Beth Schaller takes the temperature of a young girl during the MTSU School of Nursing’s 2013 medical mission to Guatemala. (photos submitted)

Proceeds from these events will help pay for 14 nursing students to provide health care and education to about 700 residents of Los Robles, a poverty-stricken village outside Guatemala City, Guatemala.

Groups of students will be in the country May 17-24 and May 24-31.

“We are looking to not only provide kids with needed health and treatment but also education in hygiene and body parts,” said Dr. Richard Meeks, an assistant professor of nursing at MTSU, who will lead the mission.

Meeks said the primary concern in Los Robles is the consumption of parasites through unsanitary food and drinking water.

“We are undergoing a battery of tests, including some preventative antibiotics, to help us ward off those parasites,” Meeks said.

Leading the student delegation is 22-year-old Destin Goins, a nursing major who was born in Nashville and lives in Chattanooga and whose world travels include Mexico, Italy and Kenya.

Goins already has a bachelor’s degree in theory composition with an emphasis in piano from MTSU, but he changed career directions after taking a course in anatomy and physiology.

Kelsey Davis holds a young boy while fellow student Bethany Baker holds a stethoscope to his stomach during the MTSU School of Nursing’s 2013 medical mission to Guatemala.

“I’ve always loved working with people,” Goins said. “People tell me I’m a very good communicator. So I started shadowing nurses to see what they actually do. From that, my desire for nursing grew and grew.”

This is the second year the School of Nursing has sent students to Guatemala, but Meeks says this excursion will be tailored to this year’s group.

“We are building their experience according to their desires, the needs of the population down there and the expertise and knowledge base that we have here,” Meeks said.

The students are busy assembling the medical supplies they’ll take with them. The list ranges from antibiotics to health education books in Spanish.

Accompanying the group for at least the first leg of the trip will be Dr. Ric Morris, a professor of Spanish at MTSU, who will shoot documentary video footage of the students’ work.

The cost of the mission is about $1,614.50 per student. They will be partially reimbursed from fundraising money when they return to the United States.

The fee for entering the volleyball tournament is $10. Prizes will be awarded to first-place teams in brackets of four-on-four and six-on-six.

Electronic donations may be made by going to www.youcaring.com and searching for “MTSU.”

For more information, contact Meeks at 615-494-8657 or richard.meeks@mtsu.edu or Goins at dsg2v@mtmail.mtsu.edu.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Criminal justice pros to meet students at April 11 networking event

Area students who are interested in pursuing careers in police work, corrections, security or the courts can learn plenty from working professionals in a relaxed networking environment.

Dr. Carter Smith

That’s why MTSU and Nashville State Community College will host the 2014 Middle Tennessee Criminal Justice Networking and Information Exchange Friday, April 11, on Nashville State’s southeast campus, located at 5248 Hickory Hollow Parkway in south Nashville.

The event is set from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday.

Dr. Carter F. Smith, a professor in MTSU’s Department of Criminal Justice Administration, called it “a non-job fair.” Resumes aren’t necessary, and no interviews will be scheduled.

Click on the graphic above to learn more about MTSU’s Department of Criminal Justice Administration.

“We want the students to bring handshakes instead of resumes and spend some time getting to know the professionals attending,” said Smith, who is helping organize the event.

“I hope to get the attending students to be as comfortable talking with each of the guest professionals as they are with their professors.”

Agencies scheduled to send representatives to the event include:

  • the police departments of Brentwood, Clarksville, Mt. Juliet, Smyrna and Springfield, Tenn.
  • the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation.
  • the Tennessee Highway Patrol.
  • the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
  • the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
  • the law firm of Bone McAllester Norton.

“A bonus for the professionals is that this event should be quite the networking opportunity for them as well,” Smith said.

Business casual attire is advised. There will be a check-in procedure for students in classes that reward attendance.

This event is free and open to the public.

For more information, contact Smith at carterfsmith@gmail.com or carter.smith@mtsu.edu, Mitzie Forrest-Thompson at coming_home2004@yahoo.com or Christene Lambert at christenelambert@gmail.com.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)

Inaugural LGBT conference at MTSU puts spotlight on diversity

The first statewide collegiate conference of its kind in Tennessee will be the standout feature of this year’s SpringOut! Pride Week at MTSU.

Inaug LGBT+ conf logo graphic webStudent organizations from more than 30 colleges and universities along with corporate and community leaders are invited to attend the inaugural LGBT+ College Conference on campus April 10-12. The theme is “The Advocate in You!”

“Launching this conference allows an opportunity to share our knowledge and showcase the impact of our 25-year history of working with our university,” said Joshua Rigsby, president of MT Lambda, the student organization behind the event.

MT Lambda has supported the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community at MTSU since its founding in 1988. It is the oldest collegiate student organization of its kind in Tennessee.

“We’re striving to unify all the LGBT+ groups in higher education across the state from Memphis all the way to Johnson City,” said Rigsby, a senior organizational communication major from Murfreesboro.

Elzabeth Burch

“Our secondary goal is to equip these students with the tools they need to create positive change for diversity and inclusion in their individual campus communities,” he added.

Attendance at the conference is free for faculty, staff and students of higher education institutions. There is a $100 tax-deductible patron sponsorship for the general public.

Elizabeth Birch, executive director of the Human Rights Campaign from 1995 to 2004, will be a special guest at the conference awards dinner at 7 p.m. Saturday, April 12, in the James Union Building’s Tennessee Room.

The dinner will recognize outstanding leaders of the LGBT+ community and its allies. Tickets are $50 each. Reservations may be made at www.mtalumni.com.

As head of the country’s largest LGBT advocacy organization, Birch worked with hundreds of companies in helping them revamp their nondiscrimination policies to cover LGBT employees.

Click on the poster for a printable version.

Today, Birch is president and CEO of the Elizabeth Birch Company, a media and public relations firm with recent clients that include Shell, General Foods and IBM.

Other conference presenters scheduled to speak include Deloitte Services Director Jan Maddox, actress Jennifer Lanier and MTSU alumnus Alan Gendreau.

The Community Foundation of Middle Tennessee has awarded a discretionary grant to help fund the conference. MTSU’s College of Behavioral and Health Sciences is the gathering’s academic partner.

Other supporters include presenting sponsors Deloitte Services LLP and Nissan North America, as well as the June Anderson Center for Women and Nontraditional Students, the MTSU National Women’s History Month Committee and the Tennessee Equality Project.

SpringOut! Pride Week events not connected with the conference include:

  • “Outapalooza,” a minifair on the Student Union commons, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, April 7.
  • “SpringOut DragOut,” a drag show, 7 to 9 p.m. April 7 in the James Union Building. Advance tickets are $5 for general admission, $10 for VIP seats and $10 general admission; VIP seats are $15 at the door.
  • “No H8 Photo Booth,” 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 8, Student Union Building Commons.
  • Asexuality Awareness Day information table, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, Keathley University Center Knoll.
  • “Flags of Our Fathers: Homophobia Disguised as Patriotism,” a presentation by Dr. Pat Richey, assistant professor of speech and theatre, 7 p.m. April 9, State Farm Lecture Hall, Business and Aerospace Building.

For more information about SpringOut! Pride Week or the LGBT+ College Conference, contact Rigsby at 615-545-6477 or mtlambda@mtsu.edu or visit the MT Lambda website at http://capone.mtsu.edu/mtlambda.

You also can listen to a recent edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program here that features a conversation with Rigsby and fellow MT Lambda member and student Elizabeth Villasana on the conference and SpringOut! Pride Week.

A searchable campus map with parking details is available at http://tinyurl.com/MTSUParkingMap13-14.

Gina K. Logue (Gina.Logue@mtsu.edu)