MTSU art professor, student veteran featured in NP...

MTSU art professor, student veteran featured in NPT series [+VIDEOS]

MTSU art professor Sisavanh Phouthavong-Houghton is one of four people featured in Nashville Public Television’s new documentary series, “Next Door Neighbors: Becoming American.”

Sisavanh Phouthavong-Houghton

Houghton, an artist and MTSU professor who barely escaped war-ravaged Laos as a young girl, is among those featured in the series “who faced resettlement in the U.S. to escape the atrocities of war and the burden of poverty.” The series premiered June 23, but will be replayed in the coming days, according to an NPT news release.NPT logo

According to NPT, mid-sized cities like Nashville throughout the country are experiencing unprecedented growth in their international populations. The series “looks at the challenges faced and the contributions made by people who have come from other countries to make their home in Nashville and Middle Tennessee,” the release states.

In the documentary, Houghton shares that she didn’t take getting an education seriously enough as a young child, but soon realized its importance after being held back in the second grade. She went on to become a high school valedictorian and college graduate.

“I knew that education was the way to get what I wanted in life,” said Houghton, now married and the mother of two daughters.

Watch Houghton’s story below:


Additional broadcast times for the series are below. Check your local listings:

  • Monday, June 27, at 8 a.m. on NPT2
  • Tuesday, June 28, at 1 p.m. on NPT2
  • Monday, July 4, at 11:30 p.m. on NPT
  • Saturday, July 16, at 9 p.m. on NPT2
  • Sunday, July 17, at 5 p.m. on NPT2

The documentary will also be available for online viewing on NPT’s website,

Student veteran featured in ‘Coming Home’ series

Earlier this month, NPT launched another series, “Veterans Coming Home,” that “bridges America’s military-civilian divide by telling stories, challenging stereotypes and exploring how the values of service and citizenship are powerful connectors for all Americans,” according to

Sean Martin

Sean Martin

U.S. Marine Corps veteran and recent ‪MTSU graduate Sean Martin is featured in one of the segments and shares how fellow Blue Raider student veterans and the University’s Writer Corps helped him find community and a renewed sense of purpose.

“Whatever way or path that you find yourself into military service … you come into a place isolated from the rest of the world,” he said. “… Walking away from that total institution, the change is almost instantaneous.”

Watch Martin’s story below.

Nashville Public Television, Nashville’s PBS station, is available free and over the air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, through its main NPT and secondary NPT2 channels, and to anyone in the world through its stable of NPT Digital services, including, YouTube and the PBS video app.

— Jimmy Hart (