The Record, May 17, 2010, V18.22

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Aerospace students map out bright futures: 2 land Southwest internships
by Bridgett Buckles

Southwest Airlines flew in from Dallas early this year, interviewing more than 300 college students from all over the United States for internships for summer and fall 2010. Now two hand-picked MTSU aerospace students are ready to move about the country—or at least into the workplace—with the popular air carrier.

After two phone interviews and one flight, Lauren Lipe, an aerospace major who graduated May 8 with a concentration in air traffic control, knew she would be traveling to Dallas this summer to work in the Operations Control Center. She'll be working side-by-side with Southwest dispatchers in conjunction with the meteorologist station.

Lipe has only been on the aerospace track for two years. She obtained a private pilot's license while working with FedEx in Memphis.

"My father, grandfather, uncle and brother have all been pilots and love everything involving aerospace,"; Lipe said.

Lipe is also involved with Women in Aviation, an MTSU organization that plans to tour FedEx this summer. Women comprise about 10 percent of the aerospace program at MTSU.

"If I didn't pack my things and go to Dallas, I would be crazy, because it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,"; Lipe said.

She currently is working with FedEx's Critical Incident Response Program and is certified to work with the FedEx CIRP Team to implement safety procedures in emergencies, such as flying organs to transplant patients and transferring blood.

Antonious "Tony"; Basalyous, a junior flight-dispatch major, also is excited about his internship with Southwest Airlines, which is scheduled for this fall. As a flight dispatch intern, his job involves monitoring the progress of each flight, ensuring flight safety and canceling any unsafe flights.

Basalyous, a native of Cairo, Egypt, left home with his family at age 9 because of religious persecution. His family involvement in aerospace helped to lead him to MTSU for a career.

"My uncle was a chief executive dispatch in Cairo, and he had fun in the air,"; Basalyous said.

He said he's looking forward to his internship and also hopes to land an aviation position with a small airline this summer to gain even more experience.

Basalyous is currently working to get his private pilot's license for recreational purposes. He plans to graduate in May 2011.

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Pilot can go pro with $10K gift
by Claire Rogers

MTSU's Department of Aerospace has announced a new scholarship, the Tiara Foundation Chair Award of Excellence, and named its first recipient, professional-pilot major Kevin Horst, a junior and native of Monterey, Tenn.

The scholarship, established by an alumnus who wishes to remain anonymous, will be presented annually to one student from the aerospace program. The first award of $10,000 will be presented to Horst at the aerospace awards banquet in September.

Horst, 23, who works part-time at the MTSU Flight School, said he will use the scholarship to pay for his flight training. He has already completed the four required flight ratings for pro-pilot majors and plans on working toward complete certification as a flight instructor this summer.

"To get a job in the airline world or commercial aviation, you have to have flight hours and experience,"; Horst said. "I hope to flight-instruct part-time and keep going to school full-time. I'll build up enough hours as I'm going through school that I'll be able to go ahead and find an airline job shortly after I graduate.";

The recipient of the new Tiara Foundation Chair Award of Excellence is selected from applicants with a GPA of 3.5 or higher. Each must submit an essay describing the attributes of an aerospace professional and how to exemplify those attributes. The aerospace department currently offers more than 20 scholarships totaling more than $20,000 in aid for its students.

Horst said he encourages aerospace students to take advantage of the financial aid available to them.

"If you meet the criteria, take the time to apply. I had no idea I would get this award,"; he said. "Filling out the application and writing the essay doesn't take very long, so why not? You're not going to get it if you don't apply.";

Aerospace students interested in applying for financial aid may do so through the department's website at /aerospace/scholarship.php .

Horst attributed his success to Alpha Eta Rho, an international professional aviation fraternity of which he is the current MTSU chapter president.

"I think that really helped; I got a lot of leadership experience from Alpha Eta Rho,"; Horst said."I encourage aerospace majors to check us out. We're always looking for committed, hard-working people.";

Horst is scheduled to graduate in December 2011.

"My goal is to get a job here in the MTSU Flight School as an instructor. I'm working toward that for now, and then I'll possibly get into the airlines after I'm done here.";

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Power tool for reading: Ph.D. in literacy studies
by Tom Tozer

The National Assessment of Education Progress consistently shows that an average of four out of 10 children fail to read at grade level by the fourth grade. Reading-test scores tell us that Johnny can't read, but those test scores don't measure where learning has broken down.

Students pursuing a doctorate in literacy studies at MTSU, which may be the only degree of its kind in the nation, are looking beyond the proverbial reading-test scores to reach a better understanding of where the learning of reading is breaking down. The curriculum melds research and practice and merges such fields as neurobiology and neuropsychology to help instructors understand how learning to read involves the brain. Research also indicates that the ability to read is affected by the reader's culture and environment.

Dr. Diane J. Sawyer, holder of the MTSU Chair of Excellence in Dyslexic Studies and a recognized expert on the subject, said the literacy-studies degree was the only one of its kind when it was finalized in 2007 and submitted to the Tennessee Board of Regents for approval.

"I can't say that something similar hasn't been developed since then, but I am not aware of one that integrates, into the core courses and related experiences, the fields of language, neurobiology, cognitive psychology, pedagogy, sociology and research tools as these specifically relate to literacy,"; Sawyer said. "Neither do I know of one that offers specific areas of specialization in policy, measurement and administration as well as reading disabilities/dyslexia for students to choose among.";

Stacey Miller, who is an assistant principal at Stewartsboro Elementary and Smyrna Primary Schools and a student in the doctoral program, began her studies in a neurobiology class a little more than a year ago.

"It was interesting to learn about different parts of the brain and what functions of literacy come from what parts of the brain and how all the areas are interconnected,"; Miller said. "If there is a breakdown in any one (area), it can cause problems all throughout the brain.

"It's one thing to know that a child is a slow processor of language or can't connect the letter sound to the letter name, but it's another thing to learn where in the brain that happens and how to help it,"; she continued. "Just repeating the letter sound may not fix the problem, because that part of the brain may not be able to receive it.";

Finding and fixing a disconnect in the brain is an immediate intervention that's a departure from the traditional "wait to fail"; practice, which required intervening only when a child has fallen hopelessly behind. The literacy-studies approach provides help to a child when he or she is not learning something—a proactive tactic that is driving changes in curriculum design and instruction.

"When you're looking at a child for intervention, [we] have to be able to find those things early enough to be able to correct them, or for kids who are way past where the error occurred, get the right intervention in place to get them caught up,"; Miller said. "Maybe I have a fourth-grader who missed a skill that was taught back in the first grade. But my fourth-grade teacher doesn't know how to address that skill, so they're still trying to teach the child at a fourth-grade level when they don't understand that you have to go back to that first-grade skill and get that in place.";

Miller said educators also are being asked to do more without more time or money. And despite being open to new ideas, she said, many teachers just don't have the time for a new approach.

The home environment plays a role as well, she said.

"Parents are overwhelmed because they don't know what to do. Parents are working two jobs, and they may not be educated themselves to help. I think parents want to help, but they may not know there's a problem.";

After completing her practicum in fall 2010, Miller will continue to take literacy-studies classes. She plans to submit a research proposal for her doctorate once her comprehensive exams are done.

"I would like to be a principal at some point,"; she said. " I've learned a lot, but not enough.";

Stephanie Lockman started the literacy-studies doctoral program less than a year ago. After graduating from the University of Maine with a degree in special education, she hopes one day to teach on the university level.

"I'm learning how to assess the students,"; she said of her doctoral work as well as her work in MTSU's Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia. "I'm learning how to look at patterns of errors and find out how best to help the children. We know that sometimes dyslexia is hereditary, and it's a lifelong problem, but some skills we can give to students that will help them be successful later in school.

"I'm also learning that it's a bigger problem than I knew was out there,"; she continued. "There are probably teachers in the classroom right now who have kids with dyslexia and they don't know. The parents don't know it, and the child doesn't know it. So the child is a behavioral problem in class.

"Some school districts are not prepared. We can have a meeting with a parent and say, 'Your child has dyslexia.' We can give them a list of programs. But when that child goes back into the classroom, there's a great disconnect between that and the material the teacher is using.";

Lockman, who has worked with the local Read to Succeed program, said the Dyslexia Center and literacy-studies program brought her to MTSU.

"This is a rare program and one of the best in the nation—it's highly respected. I also have a friend in the program who's from Alaska. She knew about the MTSU program. … And Dr. Sawyer is so well-known.";

Lockman said one of the program's greatest attributes is that it's interdisciplinary. "You're not only learning literacy, but you're learning the psychological aspects and the neurobiological aspects. The program is so diverse. No program that I found could provide the diverse outcomes and the research-based teaching methods that this program has,"; she said. "That was the real seller for me.";

For more information on the doctoral program in literacy studies at MTSU or the work of the MTSU Center for the Study and Treatment of Dyslexia, call 615-494-8838.

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Will it float?

A CLOSER LOOK—Jeff Steffen, left, of Union, Ky., University of Kentucky sophomore Michelle Steffen and senior concrete-industry management major Andy Steffen view the inner workings of the MTSU Solar Boat during the Engineering Technology Open House April 29 outside the Tom H. Jackson Building.

photo by News & Media Relations

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NSF names MTSU as top site for physics teachers
by Randy Weiler

MTSU's Department of Physics and Astronomy has become a National Science Foundation-funded Physics Teacher Education Coalition site.

"This is a great achievement for the department and places us among the top programs in the country,"; said Dr. Ron Henderson, department chair. "There are currently only 12 PhysTEC sites in the nation, and this round of (NSF) funding increases the total by just three (among 50 university applications).

"This further demonstrates the high quality of the faculty and programs at MTSU in physics and astronomy.";

Henderson said MTSU's physics and astronomy department will be joining similar departments at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, Cornell, Arizona, Colorado and Arkansas with the distinction.

In an email he sent to Henderson, MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee offered "congratulations to you and your colleagues. I appreciate your good work.";

"Congratulations to everyone involved in writing the proposal and supporting this initiative,"; Dr. Diane Miller, interim executive vice president and provost, wrote in an email to Henderson.

The department has a successful program of study that has, historically, appealed to physics majors intending to attend graduate school in physics or engineering.

In the past year, physics and astronomy has worked to expand the program to be more attractive to students interested in a career in high-school physics teaching.

In addition to active involvement in PhysTEC conferences, faculty members said the department has sought outside funding and recently earned a $900,000 Robert Noyce NSF scholarship grant for students interested in teaching both physics and math in seventh through 12th grades.

Introducing a new physics-teaching concentration has helped increase the number of students interested in secondary-education careers from zero to more than a dozen, faculty members said. They added that they're excited about the department's potential has to make a significant impact on the number of physics teachers graduating from Tennessee each year.

They said that the average yearly output of 3.7 new physics teachers for Tennessee will not be hard to exceed, because the department now has much higher goals and the momentum continues to build.

They added that they owe a special thanks to colleagues at the University of Arkansas' PhysTEC site for their consultation and advice in helping MTSU's department receive its site status.

The department includes 11 full-time faculty, four temporary and adjunct faculty and two staff members. It is one of 10 departments in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

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In Brief: Change route near Cope

The sidewalk on the south side of the Cope Administration Building, which handles foot traffic to and from the Wood-Stegall Center, will be closed for a few weeks for updates and repairs. Pedestrians should use the sidewalk alongside Alumni Drive into campus instead. For more information about the project, contact the Construction and Renovation Office at 615-898-5699.

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Under the same roof: University Writing Center moving into new library home
by Gina K. Logue

Beginning in fall 2010, students who want assistance with their term papers, essays or short stories will be able to get help only steps away from the research materials they may need.

The Margaret H. Ordoubadian University Writing Center at MTSU is moving this summer from its two locations in Peck Hall 325 and Ezell Hall 119 to a single site in Room 362 of the James E. Walker Library.

The new center will be across the mezzanine from the newly relocated Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technologies Center, where faculty members learn how to integrate creative educational methods and instruments into their teaching. The Writing Center also offers assistance to professors with their writing needs, including grants and proposals.

The mission statement of the Writing Center notes, "We want to cultivate the importance of writing as a process. We want to help UWC users become independent writers, capable of recognizing and capitalizing on their strengths as well as identifying and correcting their weaknesses.";

Dr. Wesley Houp, Writing Center director and an assistant professor of English, says that the relocation means the center's "primary goal is to advance our core service—one-to-one tutoring in writing. As director, I believe the UWC and the library are entering into a new, mutually reinforcing relationship—a logical and extremely practical collaboration that will enhance both our services.";

This semester, 17 graduate students and five undergraduates served as tutors at the Writing Center. Dr. Stacia Watkins, assistant coordinator, says she should know by August how many tutors will be available for the fall.

Watkins says the new facility will provide five computers for student use and one large space with eight to 10 tutoring tables, enabling more hands-on, on-site guidance.

In addition, the interactive SMART board that had been at Ezell will be housed in a larger space and will be available by appointment to help students who are slated to "stand and deliver"; in class.

"Students will be able to practice giving a presentation, and we'll have cameras that can record them,"; Watkins says. "They'll actually be able to watch it on the SMART board, and we'll be able to tutor their presentation style.";

The proximity of the Peck Hall center to the third-floor offices of English professors left some students with the mistaken impression that the center is only for people who need help with English courses.

"I think the Writing Center will finally be seen as a 'University Writing Center' rather than an 'English department writing center,'"; says Watkins of the relocation.

She emphasizes that tutors can help students concerned with any discipline with any stage of the writing process, including formatting for styles such as MLA, or Modern Language Association; APA, or American Psychological Association; Associated Press; Turabian; American Sociological Association; and others.

Another issue students bring to the Writing Center is that of proper citation. Watkins says Internet issues are on the wane, but plagiarism, however unintentional, is still a problem.

"Most students are at least aware of the fact that if they take something off the Internet, they need to clarify that it's not theirs,"; Watkins says. "They just don't necessarily know how to do that.";

The Writing Center is currently open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. on Friday and from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday in Peck 325. It's also open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday in Ezell 119.

Watkins says she hopes the new center will remain open until 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 5 p.m. on Friday with Saturday hours and, possibly, occasional Sunday workshops. However, the new hours won't be finalized until the number of graduate tutors is determined.

For more information, call 615-904-8237 or 615-494-9516 or email

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LT&ITC also making switch to 3rd-floor Walker site
by Gina K. Logue

To better serve the faculty, the Learning, Teaching and Innovative Technologies Center at MTSU will move into the James E. Walker Library over the summer in anticipation of a busy fall 2010 semester.

The LT&ITC connects professors with the latest instructional methods, including technologies that can make the classroom experience more enlightening, as well as the expertise to use that technology most effectively.

"We're excited about the transition because it puts the LT&ITC in the academic center of the university,"; says Faye Johnson, assistant to the executive vice president and provost for special initiatives. "It will become the centralized location for learning about teaching.";

Johnson says the newly relocated center will provide plenty of room for the center's many resources, including workshops, learning sessions and other professional development activities designed to improve the quality of instruction. In addition to its convenient access to the other learning centers in the library, the center will lend itself to both small and large groups and will offer a lounge area for informal discussions.

The center had been located in Room 106 of Peck Hall. It recently was moved to Room 214 of the Telecommunications Building to make way for the Confucius Institute.

There is no precise timetable for completion of the project, but a minor doorway modification and furniture moving are the only work expected.

In its new location in Room 348 of the library, the LT&ITC will maintain its regular hours, which are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information, contact Kristen Keene at 615-898-5376 or

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Marketing students get hands-on, and hang-up, experience
by Sydney Hester

MTSU's marketing students are getting down to the basics by participating in a survey of local consumer confidence.

Dr. Tim Graeff's Marketing Research classes are learning to collect data the old-fashioned way. Each term, students are required to complete telephone surveys with citizens in local areas to find out opinions on the current economy. The results of the consumer-research project are compiled and used by the Federal Reserve Bank in Atlanta as part of their regular economic profiles of the Southeast.

The interactive project allows students to see the entire research process and to become involved in ways that traditional classes don't permit, Graeff noted.

"I like being able to see the research questions and find out local opinions,"; said senior business administration major Torri Cozart, who participated in the most recent consumer survey in late April.

"The survey has let me connect research to the 'real world' as opposed to just hearing theories.";

By being able to localize the research, rather than simply seeing numbers on a paper, students can better understand marketing research, Graeff said.

Along with the hands-on experience, the data has been beneficial to both MTSU and the Federal Reserve Bank. The survey is done five times each year, and Graeff also sends the results to the media.

Senior marketing major Leah McIntyre said she was better able to understand the research process by participating in the survey. As a result, she's considering a career involving marketing research instead of the more typical promotions areas of marketing.

The Consumer Confidence Survey is just one of many interactive projects done by MTSU. The Department of Management and Marketing has been able to mix learning and collecting beneficial information by working with the James E. Walker Library and the Department of Student Affairs on campus as well as a current project with Stones River Mall.

"These projects gives [students] practical experience,"; Graeff said. "They see how research is collected. ...They see what it feels like to get hung up on.";

Such interactive projects prepare students with a glimpse of true marketing, the professor noted, adding that getting out of the classroom and away from textbook theories helps their futures as well.

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EXL Scholars Program names 1st award recipients
by Randy Weiler

MTSU alumnus Kim Greenwood, May 8 graduate Trish Perry and faculty member Dr. Janet McCormick are the first recipients of EXL Scholars Program Awards.

Dr. Jill Austin, chair of the Department of Management and Marketing in the Jennings A. Jones College of Business and one of the original organizers who brought experiential learning to the forefront on campus, recently announced the awards.

Perry, a nursing major in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, and Greenwood, who graduated in May 2009 with a degree in organizational communication from the College of Liberal Arts, received Outstanding EXL Student Awards. Both earned $500 and were recognized during their respective colleges' awards days in April.

McCormick was named Outstanding EXL Faculty and received $1,000 for the honor. A faculty member at MTSU since 2002, she is an associate professor in the Department of Speech and Theatre and specializes in organizational communication.

"The award means a lot,"; said Greenwood, who now works for the U.S. Social Security Administration. "The EXL program required a lot of extra out-of-class work and volunteering. The extra assignments ... helped me put the elements that I was learning into practice. I led and helped complete multiple group projects, some of which required the entire semester's worth of work.";

Greenwood said she met SSA representatives through an MTSU career fair.

"I am very thankful to have the experience and education needed for such a lasting career, mostly due to the EXL program,"; she said. "The EXL program gave me experience as well as my education, which was a tremendous help when looking for jobs. I was hired with SSA only three months after graduation, which is proof of how beneficial the program is.";

Perry said she is honored to be one of the first EXL Scholars Award recipients.

"I was actually nominated by the nursing faculty because of my community service while at the university,"; she said. "However, I had to submit a 20-page packet of information with papers, projects, etc., throughout my five semesters of nursing school in order to be considered. I am very honored to represent the EXL Scholars with this award and appreciate my college achievements being recognized.";

Academically and in a volunteer role, Perry has involvement in numerous community organizations and professional activities.

"What an honor to be nominated for this award!"; McCormick wrote. "… To me, the value of the EXL program speaks for itself through the actions and responses of the people involved (students, faculty, administration, recruiters/employers and the community as a whole). … Experiential learning could serve to enhance all traditional classroom work through the integration of theory and practice. The sky is the limit with a program such as this.";

Other faculty finalists included Laura Clippard of the University Honors College, Dr. Beth Emery of human sciences and Hal Newman in recording industry.

This year's deadline to submit nominations is Monday, Nov. 15. For more information, contact Austin at 615-898-2736 or email

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Flying high with Basic and Applied

ZOOM!—MTSU's new MTeach program, the focus of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences' recent biannual Advisory Council meeting at the Smyrna Airport Authority, gives participants a chance to practice what they teach. Program coordinator Leigh Gostowski instructed them to make paper airplanes, and the designers later flew their planes indoors. At left, May 8 graduate Kaitlen Howell, left, daughter of event host and Corporate Flight Management CEO Allen Howell, shows off the plane she made with advisory council member and alumnus David Augustin (B.S. '82), president of Corporate Flight Management. In the photo below left, Dr. Walter Boles, chair of the Department of Engineering Technology, checks the front-end design of his plane. And in the photo below right, Jennifer Allen, left, CBAS development director, observes the added element of a pen to the plane of Dr. Warren Gill, chair of the Department of Agribusiness and Agriscience.

photos submitted

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The race is on

SPEAKING UP—Four challengers for the job of Tennessee's governor speak during the 2010 Gubernatorial Forum April 29 in Murphy Center, which was broadcast live via satellite and on the Web with the expertise of staff and students in MTSU's Department of Electronic Media Communications. In the photo above, U.S. Rep. Zach Wamp, R-Chattanooga, left, answers a question during the forum as his fellow candidates for the governor's office listen. Seated on the Murphy Center stage are, from left, candidate Mike McWherter of Jackson, Tenn., a Democrat; Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey of Blountville, a Republican challenger for the office; and Republican candidate Bill Haslam of Knoxville. In the photo at right, Randy O'Brien, left, news director of WMOT-Jazz 89, waits for Ramsey to answer a question during a media briefing with the candidates after the forum in Auxiliary Gym A. Tennessee's gubernatorial primary will be held on Thursday, Aug. 5; the general election is set for Tuesday, Nov. 2. For more information on registering to vote in Rutherford County, please visit .

MTSU Photographic Services photos by Andy Heidt and Jack Ross

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'Posters on the Hill' draws 2 top students to Washington
by Tom Tozer

MTSU seniors Merranda Holmes and Shannon Murphy were among 75 undergraduates from across the United States—and the only two from Tennessee—selected to display their biology research during the "Posters on the Hill"; event in April in Washington, D.C.

The women, accompanied by their mentor, biology professor Dr. Stephen Wright, presented their work to members of Congress and other officials.

"There were about 300 entries, and I was a little nervous because they accepted only two from each state,"; said Murphy, a biology major.

"We were both doing our honors thesis on the same general topic but were working separately,"; added Holmes, also a biology major. "We brought our work together and had so much information that we had trouble getting everything on the poster.";

The women submitted their work last November and were notified of their acceptance in February. Murphy's research was on "A Label-Free Method for Detection and Differentiation of Bacillus spp Endospores,"; and Holmes researched "The Production, Quantification and Fluorescent Detection of Anthrax-Simulating Endospores.";

"MTSU has been an amazing experience,"; said Murphy, who along with Holmes graduated May 8. "Being part of the biology department and Honors College has given me the opportunity to do so many things that I otherwise would not have been able to do.";

Holmes agreed. "Being in the Honors College with smaller classes, every-one knows the teacher. That's how I got to know Dr. Wright and do the research.";

JUST THE RIGHT MIXTURE—MTSU biology majors Shannon Murphy, left, and Merranda Holmes, right, are joined by their mentor, MTSU biology professor Dr. Stephen Wright, outside the American Chemical Society headquarters in Washington, D.C. The students, who graduated May 8, presented posters at the exclusive "Posters on the Hill"; event in April, serving as the only representatives for Tennessee.

photo submitted

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Russell Chair seminar lets industries 'take an interest'
by Randy Weiler

Alex Kirchhoff stands one year from graduating from MTSU with a Bachelor of Science degree in engineering systems technology along with a pre-med program.

A transfer from Tennessee Technological University and a veteran of the Iraq war—he's a member of the Dickson-based 267th Military Police Company—Kirchhoff has a zest and thirst for knowledge.

Kirchhoff was the first to approach Mike Clemmer, director and plant manager in the division of paints and plastics at Nissan North America in Smyrna, after Clemmer spoke to nearly 60 students and faculty at the second Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence seminar April 14 in the Tom H. Jackson Building's Cantrell Hall.

Clemmer spoke primarily about the new Nissan Leaf and how the vehicle is set to be built at the Smyrna plant in 2012.

"He was a Tennessee Tech guy, and that's where I used to go (from 2005 to 2008),"; said Kirchhoff, who has been part of the wheel-hub motor research team led by Dr. Charles Perry, who holds the Russell Chair. "I appreciate him coming to MTSU to present the recent advances in technology and possible jobs opening locally.

"Appearances like that show us that Nissan is taking an interest in students and recruiting out of schools,"; the student continued. "Businesses like Nissan, who operate both internationally and locally, should begin to take more of an interest in forming bonds with local universities to spawn innovation and technological advances in America.";

Kirchhoff, who sustained a knee injury in Iraq, said he plans to pursue medical school. One consideration might be the medical school at Uniformed Services University in Bethesda, Md., he said.

Junior Stan Whitehouse provided a thorough presentation of the Solar Boat student project. Attendance doubled at this second seminar, said Perry, who said he was more than pleased with the turnout by engineering technology students and those from other disciplines.

WATCH THIS—Alex Kirchhoff, left, a senior engineering-systems technology major, helps Dr. Charles Perry set up Perry's retrofit hybrid wheel-hub kit during the recent Russell Chair of Manufacturing Excellence seminar as State Sen. Bill Ketron observes.

photo by News & Media Relations

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Scholar chosen by State Department to study Arabic abroad
by Tom Tozer

Adrian Mackey, an MTSU senior from Nashville majoring in international relations and anthropology, has been selected for a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship for the summer of 2010.

Mackey's scholarship will take him to Amman, Jordan, where he will continue studying the Arabic language.

"I'll be leaving June 13 and coming back August 13 and will be studying about 20 hours a week,"; Mackey said. "Last spring, I studied in the United Arab Emirates and took Arabic there. The Middle East is prominent in many issues today, and it's also got a lot of diversity and ethnic groups. It's an area that doesn't get a lot of positive attention.";

While Mackey admits that the Middle East does have its negative aspects and perceptions, the area offers a wealth of job opportunities, particularly for individuals who have a background in the languages spoken there.

"I wouldn't mind working over there,"; Mackey said, "but I'm sticking around for one more year of school. I'll graduate in the spring of 2011, and I want to keep my options open. Maybe I'll teach English in the Middle East.";

Mackey is one of 575 undergraduate and graduate students selected by the State Department for the scholarship. The program received more than 5,300 applications.

Students around the nation will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in 15 countries where various languages are spoken, including Arabic, Chinese, Persian, Punjabi, Urdu and Turkic. This summer's program will mark Mackey's fourth year of studying the Arabic language.

The program began in 2006 to increase opportunities for American students to study critical-need languages overseas and is part of a wider U.S. government effort to expand the number of Americans studying and mastering critical-need languages.

"Arabic is hard,"; Mackey said. "The grammar is difficult, but in many ways it's easier than learning English. We have a large Arabic population in Tennessee.";

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Adult learners celebrate year's end
by Gina K. Logue

Older Wiser Learners, an organization for nontraditional students at MTSU, conducted its annual picnic, awards ceremony and Pinnacle initiation April 29 in Barfield Park in Murfreesboro.

Students were inducted into Pinnacle, MTSU's chapter of the national nontraditional honor society for students over age 25. OWLs also presented awards to family members, friends and professors who have helped the nontraditional students throughout the year.

As well as the 3.0 GPA required for undergraduates (3.4 for graduate students), Pinnacle's criteria for admission include previous community service, volunteer work and honors that students have earned in life.

Several nontraditional students received scholarships for the 2010-11 academic year, including Enrichment Scholarships for Christina Dawson of Murfreesboro and Shilo Rich-Johnson of Tullahoma. Joni Maxwell, a nursing major from Murfreesboro, received the Jane Nickell Taylor Scholarship, and Dana LeGeune received the Joan Nickell Bailey Scholarship.

OWLs Academic Service Scholarships were awarded to Lisa Almy and Jesse Coe of Murfreesboro, Leslie Dixon-Mackey of Woodbury, Terri Ellison and Bethany Harris of Murfreesboro, Herbert Wayne Newcomb Jr. of Rockvale, Elizabeth Silva of Antioch, Virginia Soulia of La Vergne, Laurence Tumpag of Murfreesboro and Kelly Williams of Christiana.

Any student, regardless of age, who has adult responsibilities in addition to college may join OWLs. For more information, contact Dr. Carol Ann Baily, director of Off-Campus Student Services, at 615-898-5989 or

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CUSTOMS sessions begin May 26
from Staff Reports

CUSTOMS will get under way soon with the first of 10 sessions spread across May, June and July for new MTSU students and their families.

Starting Wednesday, May 26, and running through late July, CUSTOMS' two-day sessions will acquaint students to what will be their academic and social home for the next four years.

Admissions, Financial Aid, Housing, advising and other departments will be involved with the orientation process that will integrate new students into the intellectual, cultural and social climate of the university.

Gina Poff, director of New Student and Family Programs, which oversees the running of CUSTOMS, said organizers "are adding orientation leaders to work specifically with parents"; this year. The general-assembly portion of CUSTOMS will move to Murphy Center since Tucker Theatre is under renovation.

Poff added that they may take CUSTOMS participants onto the field at Floyd Stadium at the beginning of the morning for a video message from football Head Coach Rick Stockstill.

Session 1, set for May 26-27, will include scholarship and other students from all colleges within the university. Subsequent sessions will be a combination of majors from the various colleges and undeclared majors.

Registration is required and fees apply. Students should register as early as possible, Poff said.

For more information and CUSTOMS dates for summer, visit or call 615-898-2454.

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New pact streamlines STCC transfers
from Staff Reports

Tennessee's largest undergraduate university and its largest two-year college are teaming up to streamline student transfers and improve access to higher education.

MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee and President Nathan L. Essex of Southwest Tennessee Community College signed a formal agreement, or memorandum of understanding, May 5 at the Memphis institution to assist students in a seamless transfer from Southwest to MTSU.

During the signing, McPhee emphasized that in light of legislation passed in January, there is a greater emphasis and focus on transferring, articulation and access to provide opportunities for citizens to earn associate and undergraduate degrees.

Courses currently considered in the agreement are those transferable to the recording industry, business administration, education and aerospace programs at MTSU.

"The obvious advantage is that our students are going to have increased access,"; Essex noted. "Our emphasis throughout the state right now is retention and graduation. So to have this kind of partnership with a wonderful institution such as MTSU simply means that our students will have increased opportunities to get scholarship support and be able to pursue advanced degrees beyond the community-college level based on this partnership."

McPhee also stressed scholarship opportunities as well as the ease of the transfer process for Southwest students.

"We are going to be looking at providing special scholarships for these students, connecting them to our Honors College (and) providing a better transition and taking the hassle out of the transfer process,"; the MTSU president said, "and so we are really excited. We get great students out of Memphis and from Southwest. We only see this as strengthening our relationship and partnership.";

Southwest Tennessee Community College, which opened in 2000, is a Tennessee Board of Regents institution with seven campus locations in the greater Memphis area. With a fall 2009 enrollment of 13,016, it offers associate's degrees in multiple disciplines, including allied health, biotechnology and nursing; automotive, electronic and landscape technologies; business; graphic arts, information technology and engineering technologies; hospitality management and food services; human services, education and public safety; and legal, criminal justice and paralegal emphases.

MTSU, founded in 1911 as one of three state normal schools for teacher training, now confers master's degrees in 10 areas as well as the Specialist in Education degree, the Doctor of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degree.

MAKING PLANS—MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, seated at left, and Southwest Tennessee Community College President Nathan L. Essex, seated right, pose May 5 after signing a memorandum of understanding to aid student transfers between the institutions. Joining the leaders for the event in Memphis are, from left, MTSU President Emeritus Sam Ingram; Dr. Carol Tosh, Southwest vice president for student services and enrollment; Dr. Tonjanita Johnson, MTSU associate vice president for marketing and communications; Dr. Joanne Bassett, Southwest provost and executive vice president; Sherman Greer, executive director of government relations at Southwest; to Dr. Essex; and Karen Nippert, Southwest vice president for institutional advancement.

photo courtesy Southwest Tennessee Community College

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Faculty/Staff Update


Dr. Saeed Foroudastan
(Basic and Applied Sciences) received the Excellence in Engineering Education "Triple E"; Award from the Society of Automotive Engineers International at the 2010 SAE World Congress Awards Ceremony in Detroit on April 13. The solid marble obelisk is presented to one educator annually to recognize outstanding contributions to advance engineering education and excellent support of student activities for SAE Collegiate Design Competitions on both national and international levels.

Ray Wiley (Recreation Center) received the 2010 Harold Love Outstanding Community Service Award April 29 from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission for serving as "the architect of the disaster shelter plan for the Heart of Tennessee Chapter and MTSU"; that allowed the university to host 447 evacuees from New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Gustav in September 2008. Wiley was nominated for "his dedication in training students and staff in first aid and the automated external defibrillator, and his vision for preparing the recreation center to become a Red Cross shelter.";


Dr. Robert B. Blair
(business communication and entrepreneurship) was a key participant in the National Association for Business Teacher Education conference March 30-April 2 in San Diego, Calif. He was part of a panel presentation on hybrid teaching-methods instruction, presented sessions on "The Leader's Role as an Advocate"; and "The Professional Impact of Social Networking,"; coordinated 13 refereed business-teacher education-research sessions and will serve on the executive boards of the NABTE and the International Society for Business Education as a research coordinator and southern region representative, respectively, for 2010-11. Blair also will serve as chairperson of the National Business Education Association Awards Administrative Committee for 2010-11.

Dr. Jacob Klerlein (mathematical sciences) attended the research pre-session of the Annual Meeting of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics April 20-21 in San Diego, Calif. While in town, he also consulted with colleagues about an upcoming grant proposal.


Dr. Robert B. Blair
(BCEN) served as the convention parliamentarian for the Atlanta-based, 22,000 member Professional Photographers of America Inc. Jan. 11 in Nashville. Blair has been hired to serve in the same capacity for the group's January 2011 convention in San Antonio, Texas.


Dr. Jeff Clark
(computer information systems) served as a panelist during The New Economy: Peril and Promise Conference April 13-16 at Missouri State University in Springfield. His topics included "Can Markets Be Moral? Ethics, Religion and the Economy,"; "Global Impacts of Differing Stimulus Packages"; and "Surviving the Economic Tsunami: Strategies for Businesses in the New Economy.";


Dr. John Noble McDaniel
(English) passed away May 3, leaving behind his wife and best friend Jean; sons Scott (Donnetta) and Craig; granddaughters Alex, Mandy and Heidi; twin brother Tom; and sisters Sue and Sal, all of whom he loved beyond measure but didn't say so often enough, by his own admission. Dr. McDaniel was an honors graduate of Hampton-Sydney College, where his academic and athletic accomplishments grew ever greater in his later years (as he recalled); he also earned master's and doctoral degrees from Johns Hopkins and Florida State, respectively. He came to MTSU in September 1970 as an assistant professor of English, went on to become chair of the English Department and then served for a quarter-century as dean of the College of Liberal Arts, a position that he navigated with some grace and survived with considerable luck. Having lived "the examined life"; with animated good humor, Dr. McDaniel leaves behind few regrets and many memorable moments for loved ones to contemplate at their leisure. Teaching Shakespeare's tragedies for four decades left him with the distinct impression that almost everyone dies in the end, though he had hoped that perhaps in his case an exception would be made. Failing that, he expressed on leaving for that undiscovered country from whose bourn no traveler returns that it had been a "good ride, mainly."; In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the MTSU English Department's John N. McDaniel Teaching Award Fund, which supports the good work of graduate teaching assistants. Though a published scholar in several research areas, teaching well is the professorial legacy that he cherished most.


Dr. Don Hong
(mathematics) and graduate student Fengqing Zhang (mathematical sciences) gave a seminar presentation on "New Statistical Methods and Software Development for Imaging Mass Spectrometry Data Processing"; at the Mass Spectrometry Research Center in Vanderbilt University on April 1.

Dr. Debra Rose Wilson (nursing) presented juried talks at recent national conferences, including "Stress Management and Self-Care for Nurses: The PNI Connections"; for the Society for the Advancement of Modeling and Role-Modeling Nursing Theory in San Antonio, Texas; and "Psych Pharm: An interactive learning program for psych drugs"; at the Western Social Science 52nd Annual National Conference in Reno, Nevada. She also led a panel on "Self-Care and Stress"; in Reno.

Dr. Linda Wilson (nursing) presented "Fostering Leadership Through Mentoring"; at the Sigma Theta Tau conference April 23 in Atlanta.

Graduate student Fengqing Zhang (mathematical sciences) presented a paper, co-authored with Dr. Don Hong (mathematics), on "Elastic-Net Based Model for Imaging MS proteomic Data Processing"; at the Eastern North American Region of the International Biometric Society annual meeting March 21-24 in New Orleans.


Dr. Don Hong
(mathematics) has published a paper, "Weighted Elastic Net Model for Mass Spectrometry Imaging Processing,"; with grad student Fengqing Zhang in a special issue on mathematical modeling in the medical sciences in Mathematical Modeling of Natural Phenomena, Vol. 5, No. 3 (2010), p. 115-133.

Dr. Debra Rose Wilson (nursing) has reviewed two books, including Urban Outcasts: A Comparative Sociology of Advanced Marginality by Loïc Wacquant, published in the Social Science Journal, 47(1), and The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor by Maria Dancing Heart for Activities, Adaptation & Aging Journal, 34(1). Wilson also published "Health Consequences of Childhood Sexual Abuse"; in Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 46(1), and "Stress Management for Adult Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse: A Holistic Inquiry"; in the Western Journal of Nursing Research, 32(1).

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Campus Calendar May 17-30, 2010

Please note: Event dates, times and locations may change. Please verify specifics when making plans.

TV Schedule: "Middle Tennessee Record"
Cable Channel 9: Monday-Sunday, 7 a.m., 5 p.m.

NewsChannel 5+: Sundays, 1:30 p.m.
Visit for other cable-outlet airtimes or for a complete show archive.

Radio Schedule: "MTSU On the Record"
8 a.m. Sundays, WMOT 89.5-FM
Podcasts available anytime at .

Through June 24
Photo Exhibit: "MTSU Photography 2010 Student Show"

8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, noon-4:30 p.m. Saturday
Baldwin Photo Gallery, Learning Resources Center
For information, contact: 615-898-2085.

Monday, May 17
May Term, Summer Full Term classes begin

May 24-29
TSSAA Spring Fling

For information, visit or contact: 615-889-6740.

May 26-27
CUSTOMS Orientation

Special scholarship session
For information, visit or contact: 615-898-5533.

May 26-29
MT Baseball: Sun Belt Championships

Reese Smith Jr. Field
For information, visit

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