MTSU students honored for ‘learning by doing...

MTSU students honored for ‘learning by doing’ in recording, communication fields

Two MTSU graduates are being recognized for their exceptional achievements in the Experiential Learning Scholars Program.

The EXL Scholars Committee has chosen Johnsonville, South Carolina, native Ashton Prosser and Nashville, Tennessee, native Katherine McCann as winners of the Outstanding EXL Student Award for the 2017-18 academic year.

Both Prosser and McCann graduated with bachelor’s degrees in May 2018.

Designed to enhance student learning through practical experiences beyond the traditional classroom setting, the EXL Scholars Program at MTSU engages students directly in service learning projects.

Katherine McCann, 2017-18 Outstanding EXL Student Award

Katherine McCann

Ashton Prosser, 2017-18 Outstanding EXL Student Award

Ashton Prosser

Prosser, whose major was recording industry, was the first MTSU student to earn the distinction of EXL Scholar based solely upon her commercial songwriting courses.

“Ashton is an extremely talented singer and songwriter,” said Odie Blackmon, an assistant professor of recording industry and director of the department’s Commercial Songwriting Program. “I witnessed firsthand in my classes how she excelled at ‘hands-on’ learning projects and applied new skills in her work.”

Prosser said that attending studio sessions, working with professional session players and receiving their feedback has helped her develop the character traits necessary for her career.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to take on many different classes that have allowed me to express myself while learning,” Prosser said. “These classes require dedication, intellectual skill, work ethic and a desire to grow.”

MTSU Experiential Learning (EXL) Program logoMcCann, who majored in organizational communication, completed an intensive research study on black female playwrights and their underrepresentation in the theater world.

“With EXL, I have been forced to push myself outside of my comfort zone, and that has been the best thing possible for me,” McCann said.

McCann also audited an organization’s operations and created her own proposal to expand communication consultation needs within that group.

“I have been able to assist the housing staff in reaching out to residents that wouldn’t necessarily voice concerns of their own,” McCann said. “With experiential learning, I would not have ever felt comfortable making changes in my own organization.”

To learn more about MTSU’s Experiential Learning Scholars Program, go to or call the EXL office at 615-898-5542.

— Gina Logue (