UPDATE: Due to inclement weather, the Feb. 20 CBAS Science Saturday event has been canceled. Remaining dates in March and registration details are outlined below.
Daniel Garrett may have gotten his MTSU undergraduate degree in the Department of Aerospace’s Unmanned Aircraft Systems Operations.
But his versatile knowledge in the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — allows him to share that expertise with others, particularly high school-aged students interested in MTSU’s many programs.
Garrett, director of electronic labs for the Department of Engineering Technology, received high praise recently for his one-on-one sessions with prospective students attending the College of Basic and Applied Sciences “CBAS Science Saturday,” held on campus Jan. 30.
Dean Bud Fischer, citing the university’s weeklong closure because of inclement weather, on Feb. 17 canceled the scheduled Feb. 20 CBAS Science Saturday.
Jennifer Danylo, advising manager for the college and adviser for the School of Concrete and Construction Management, messaged expected visitors, letting them know additional CBAS Science Saturday events will be held at 9 and 11 a.m. March 13 and March 27.
Because COVID-19 is preventing large groups from visiting MTSU’s campus, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences is offering special visit days for a select number of students and a guest — all wearing masks and remaining appropriately distanced — in conjunction with the Office of Admissions.
To register for the events, go here to learn about CBAS Science Saturdays and other admissions events. Space is limited to one student with one guest on one calendar date per registration.
Praise for mechatronics engineering tour guide
Parents sent emails to Fischer and Danylo praising Garrett for his professional handling of their Jan. 30 recruiting visit.
“Daniel Garrett really did an excellent job of answering all of our questions,” said Maureen Ciccone, a parent visiting from Newnan, Georgia. “He spent a great deal of time taking us through all of the labs available to MTSU’s mechatronics students, and his enthusiasm for the field was evident.”
Ciccione concluded her email by thanking the staff “for the much-needed, in-depth look into the (mechatronics) program and your facilities.”
Brandon Ciccone, 18, a senior at McIntosh High School in the metro Atlanta suburb of Peachtree City, where his mother teaches, said “MTSU’s been the best” school he has found so far.
“If everything works out, MTSU is my first choice,” said Ciccone, adding that he plans to visit a school in Florida and possibly two others in Tennessee before making his final decision.
“I was impressed with how much equipment and labs MTSU has.”
Murfreesboro parent Karen Reed said it was “such an exemplary experience that I felt compelled to write. … Mr. Garrett gave us a tour that, quite frankly, far exceeded my expectations.”
Reed, an associate professor and member of MTSU’s James E. Walker Library faculty, said Garrett gave her and her high school son “a very personalized and interactive experience. He took us through multiple buildings and into lab space, carefully explaining the equipment in the room and its academic applications.”
Garrett, in the one-on-one tour, talked about the department’s Experimental Vehicles Program — hands-on learning with a lunar rover, or moonbuggy, solar boat and other team-oriented projects.
Reed, whose MTSU work is as a subject specialist to the College of Education and Department of Psychology, said she was “greatly impressed by Mr. Garrett’s ability to break down the complex topics behind the equipment and spaces we were viewing and translate these concepts into accessible information.”
“As an MTSU employee, it made me very proud to see the vast infrastructure behind this popular academic program as well as get an appreciation for the high-quality instructors who are the engine behind the program.”
The college’s aerospace, agriculture, biology, chemistry, computer science, geosciences and mathematical science departments and its School of Concrete and Construction Management also welcomed prospective students for the Jan. 30 visit.
Charlie Apigian, professor and MTSU Data Science Institute co-director, also met with students and parents.
Department of Biology chair Dennis Mullen said the visits he and professor Frank Bailey had with their guests “went well.”
“I had fun,” he continued. “It was nice to interact with the students and show them what we have to offer in a more personal manner. They all had good questions that that Frank and I were able to answer.”
Bailey is director of MTSU’s Forensic Science Program.
“It’s good to see young people come and check out the college,” said Garrett, 35, who commutes to MTSU from Chapel Hill, Tennessee, adding that he tries “to tailor my information to what they are interested in.”
“I tell students, ‘There will be a lot of studying’ when you come to MTSU,” he said. “Later, their parents will tell me, ‘Thanks for saying that’ because they are hearing it from me and not them.”
Garrett spent 4½ years in the U.S. Army, where he was an E-4 specialist in explosive ordnance disposal and served a stint in Afghanistan. He is working on his master’s degree at MTSU, utilizing the G.I. Bill.
Part of his message to people considering college includes organizational tips like “saving class notes in an organized fashion, because there are engineering tests after you graduate” and staying in touch with academic advisers.
Garrett takes prospective students to all the labs, “turn(s) on the machines and explain how they work. I throw out high-level topics and break them down into simple topics.”
—Randy Weiler (Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu)