Young Blackman Collegiate Academy members sample M...

Young Blackman Collegiate Academy members sample MTSU offerings

About 160 Blackman Collegiate Academy freshmen and sophomores gained a quick glimpse of the Middle Tennessee State University campus Tuesday (March 13).

They spent a full day watching and listening, learning the ropes and sampling a taste of college life. Some toured the Center for Innovation in Media and the Honors College. Others learned about real estate, insurance, photography and much more.

Physics chair Ron Henderson performs physics experiments.

Ron Henderson, chair in the MTSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, shows a group of Blackman Collegiate Academy students how to use an electric blower to keep a plastic ball in midair March 13 during a visit to Wiser-Patten Science Hall. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

All of them viewed Darius Wallace’s one-man show, “Self-Made Man,” about Frederick Douglass — American abolitionist, editor, orator, author, statesman and reformer — and how education transformed his life.

The MTSU-Blackman partnership is one of several arranged each semester during the academic year. It allows freshmen, sophomores, juniors and seniors opportunities to spend time on the college campus. They meet MTSU students, faculty and administrators and learn about many of the university’s 240-plus undergraduate and graduate programs.

Allison DeHart, 14, a freshman, said Wallace’s show in Tucker Theatre “was really cool. It was really interesting the way he was one man and he did a play. I had never seen a one-man show before.”

Green room selfie

Blackman Collegiate Academy sophomores Brianna Heath takes the selfie with her cell phone, while Jake Buchanan, partially hidden left, Alysa Jones and Cassidy Elliott pose in the MTSU Center for Innovation in Media’s MT10 green room during their March 13 visit. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

After lunch, one group of students watched hands-on scientific discovery as Ron Henderson, chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, removed air from a vacuum and showed them an air imbalance activity in a Wiser-Patten Science Hall classroom.

“There were some interesting experiments,” said sophomore Ajayla Vinson, 16. “I was looking more toward education (as a career), but this opened my eyes to the science pathway.”

Freshman Jack Satterfield, 15, “actually enjoyed the theater (performance),” he said. Regarding science, he said he is “biased toward physics. I like how they teach (here). It’s not a boring classroom setting.”

“I have no idea,” Satterfield said when asked what he is considering as a career field. “I’ve thought about science. BCA (the academy) challenges you to pick something.”

Recording industry, biology, early childhood education, political science and international relations, media relations, concrete industry management and aerospace’s unmanned aerial systems (drone) program were some of the options.

Launched in 2015, the Blackman Collegiate Academy is a special partnership between MTSU and the Murfreesboro high school. Juniors and seniors, who meet eligibility standards, can take up to six hours of university courses taught by MTSU instructors at Blackman at no cost. The credits will count on high school and college transcripts.

— Randy Weiler (

BCA students learn about equipment in the Center for Innovation and Media green room.

Blackman Collegiate Academy students listen as MTSU freshman Nate Parris, a video production major from Clarksville, Tenn., discusses cameras and other studio green room equipment March 13 during the students’ visit to campus and the Center for Innovation in Media. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Blackman Collegiate Academy students hear about MTSU journalism opportunities.

Rusty Ellis, left, a senior journalism major from Memphis, Tenn., tells Blackman Collegiate Academy students about all the potential opportunities young journalists might have if they consider being a part of Sidelines, the independent student newspaper at MTSU. Ellis is the sports editor. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)