MTSU on WGNS: Analyzing Mexican War dead, combatin...

MTSU on WGNS: Analyzing Mexican War dead, combating human trafficking, homelessness

MTSU students and faculty took to WGNS Radio recently to share information about an ongoing effort to analyze and identify the discovered remains of Tennessee soldiers killed in the Mexican-American War; a graduate students efforts to combat and raise awareness about human trafficking in Tennessee; and results of an MTSU study looking at how to address the issue of homelessness locally.

The details were shared during the July 17 “Action Line” program with host Bart Walker. The live program was broadcast on FM 100.5, 101.9 and AM 1450 from the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. If you missed it, you can listen to a podcast of the show here.

MTSU guests on WGNS Radio in July 2017

MTSU guests for the July 17 WGNS “Action Line” program pause for photos before their interviews inside the WGNS studio in downtown Murfreesboro. Pictured are, top from left to right, Dr. James Chaney and graduate student Lisa Graves; center, Dr. Hugh Berryman, director of MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education; and bottom, Dr. Michael Sherr, director of MTSU’s Department of Social Work. (MTSU photo illustration by Jimmy Hart)

Guests and their topics were as follows:

• Dr. Hugh Berryman, director of MTSU’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education, or FIRE, discussed his participation in the return and analysis of Tennessee war dead from a Mexican-American War battlefield.

In September 2016, the remains of as many as 13 members of the Tennessee militia who died in the Battle of Monterrey in 1846, returned to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, the culmination of more than five years of diplomatic negotiation, sparked by the urging of Berryman, an anthropology professor.

Berryman leads a team of MTSU professors, along with colleagues from other academic institutions, who have volunteered to assist the Armed Forces Medical Examiner System in the historical, bio-archaeological and forensic analysis of the remains.


• Dr. James Chaney, assistant professor in the Department of Global Studies and Human Geography, and master’s degree student Lisa Graves discussed human trafficking in Tennessee.

Graves is a graduate student in MTSU’s Masters of Arts in Liberal Arts Program. Her graduate work centers on grassroots efforts to educate the general public on human trafficking — particularly sex trafficking. Nashville/Middle Tennessee has emerged as a hub for trafficking due to various factors.

Graves organized an event at MTSU in April that brought together several nonprofits that focus on eradicating trafficking in Tennessee and in South Asia. Chaney teaches graduate and undergraduate courses on human trafficking and applies “an experiential approach” that requires students to engage with different nonprofits and agencies such as the TBI.

• Dr. Michael Sherr, chair of the Department of Social Work, discussed results of an MTSU study on homelessness in Murfreesboro/Rutherford County that was recently presented to the Murfreesboro City Council.

Sherr and Jackie Jones, a social work master’s degree candidate, presented results of the study aimed at devising a better way for Murfreesboro to help the homeless. Sherr, Jones and two social work undergraduates have been working since January with the city and the Homeless Alliance of Rutherford County on a concept where social service agencies could establish satellite offices, creating a “one-stop” environment for many types of assistance.

The study specifically recommends that local agencies coordinate their resources and services into a centralized campus designed to more effectively and conveniently help individuals with getting into affordable, permanent housing.


Students, faculty and staff who are interested in guesting on WGNS to promote their MTSU-related activities should contact Jimmy Hart, director of news and media relations, at 615-898-5131 or via email at