MTSU professional-science grad students share work...

MTSU professional-science grad students share working insights gained as interns

Six MTSU graduate students in the university’s Master of Science in Professional Science Program finished another important item on their educational checklists Thursday, Dec. 7: complete a special Internship Presentation on their fall 2017 work experiences.

MTSU graduate student Richard Boland of Murfreesboro, who interned with the Rutherford County Geographic Information Systems Department, will graduate from MTSU Saturday, Dec. 16. Two days later, the 31-year-old will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Nontraditional student Joel Clements, 64, of Murfreesboro spent two years as a graduate teaching assistant with the MTSU Department of Engineering Technology, helping oversee the popular and award-winning Experimental Vehicles Program. For three months this fall, he interned for Arocna 3 Inc. of Nashville, where his son also works.

Geosciences professor Henrique Momm listens to his student, Richard Boland

Geosciences professor Henrique Momm, left, listens as MTSU graduate student Richard Boland discusses his GIS internship with Rutherford County and his plans for military service. They talked Dec. 7 after the MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science Internship Presentations in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Jennings A. Jones College of Business created the MSPS program in 2004 to provide Middle Tennessee with a best-educated and well-trained science, technology, engineering and mathematics — or STEM — workforce.

The program received the Tennessee Board of Regents Academic Excellence Award in 2010 and is recognized as a model program by the Council of Graduate Studies and the national Professional Science Master’s Association program.

Boland and Clements’ fellow presenters included:

• Estrella R. Ndrianasy, a biostatistics major who interned with the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center.

• Hamida Ahmed, a biotechnology major who interned with the Meharry Medical College/Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.

• Priteshkumar R. Patel, a biotechnology major who also interned with the Meharry/Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.

• Shalini Gupta, a health care informatics major, who interned with the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Boland, a student veteran who has served in the Tennessee National Guard for more than six years, said his time with the county GIS office was “designed to give you good experience and exposure in a work environment instead of writing a thesis. It is very career-oriented.”

“He was dedicated,” geosciences professor Henrique Momm said of his student while attending the presentation. “He was working, juggling school and work, and he got married in the process.”

Boland and his new wife, Allison, should learn his first duty assignment location, where he’ll go after completing the basic officer course, when he’s commissioned.

Fall 2017 MSPS group photo

Six MTSU graduate students pause in the Science Building for a photo during their Master of Science in Professional Science Internship Presentations Dec. 7. They include, front row from left, Estrella R. Ndrianasy, Hamida Ahmed and Priteshkumar R. Patel, and second row, Shalini Gupta, Joel S. Clements and Richard S. Boland. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

Clements, who was joined by his wife, Carla, and son Chris at the presentations, spent more than the minimum internship requirement of 250 hours, working two to three days a week.

His role with Arocna 3, a network security-related company, included “looking at variability … how to produce cycle time and provide information.” After graduation, Clements said, he wants to be a part-time consultant “in continuous improvement, helping organizations get better.”

For more on the program, visit the website or call Dr. Saeed Foroudastan, program director, at 615-494-7681 or Carey Snowden, graduate coordinator, at 615-904-8581.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

— Randy Weiler (