Through faculty effort, MTSU’s Department of Chemistry recently procured almost $900,000 in grants to secure multiple pieces of state-of-the-art
instrumentation for students and faculty.
“Training on modern instrumentation gives MTSU chemistry undergraduate and graduate
students an employment advantage,” said Andrienne Friedli, project participant and former department chair. “The new instruments are important
for the department because these state-of-the-art tools allow us to obtain research
results that are respected by the chemical community and can be published in high
quality journals. In an academic research setting, publications demonstrate productivity.”
Friedli said obtaining this level of equipment at MTSU also makes it more accessible
for other students in the region.
“Not only do departmental students use research-grade instrumentation in laboratory
coursework and research projects, but students at primarily undergraduate institutions
in the region that do not have research-rich environments are also welcomed,” Friedli
said. “Our willingness to share equipment and expertise allows more students in the
region to get exposed to and experienced on this equipment that employers will recognize
Faculty Sing Chong, Mike Zhang and Justin Miller spearheaded the instrumentation grants and were awarded both external funding from
the National Science Foundation and internal match funding from the Office of Research and Sponsored Programsand the university’s Technology Access Fee fund. The department was funded to purchase
four major pieces of equipment — a Raman microscope, two mass spectrometers and a
The new equipment
Chong, a chemistry professor who chairs the department’s instrumentation committee,
said the new instruments can potentially help MTSU emerge as a leader in several areas
of chemistry research.
“Advanced instrumentation … will provide capabilities for MTSU faculty and students
to engage in important areas of research including bioanalytical, medicinal, materials,
forensic, and environmental chemistry,” said Chong, who has worked at MTSU for 25
years after moving from Texas to Murfreesboro, Tennessee.
“This may lead to new scientific discoveries in these fields and will help make future
MTSU proposals to funding agencies more competitive … bringing recognition to MTSU
as the preferred institution of higher learning for students in Middle Tennessee.”
Chong led the first grant to procure the specialized Raman confocal microscope and
explained it allows researchers to probe the chemical composition of materials or
biological samples with very tiny dimensions invisible to the human eye.
“The university is currently using the microscope to characterize carbon nanotubes
and the protein associated with Parkinson’s disease, as well as to identify the fabric
fibers and their dyes in forensic investigation and to investigate the hydrogen-bonding
of compounds that may lead to the formation of kidney or bladder stones,” Chong said.
Zhang, assistant chemistry professor, was the lead on procuring an ultra-high performance
liquid chromatograph coupled to a high resolution mass spectrometer. Joining him in
the effort was Chong; Friedli; Tony Johnston, agricultureprofessor; and Iris Gao, associate agriculture professor and director of MTSU’s International Ginseng Institute.
Chong explained the instrument allows chemists to carry out a wide range of analytical
applications involving the separation of hundreds of compounds in each complex sample
mixture prior to probing their chemical identities or molecular structure.
“The analytical sensitivity allows detection limits in the picogram range — one-trillionth
of a gram — to be achieved for biological, environmental, forensic and materials samples,”
Chong also helped acquire a second mass spectrometer, which is coupled to a gas chromatograph
and a pyrolyzer. This can be used to analyze polymers, identify unknown compounds
and quantify known compounds and is often referenced in televised crime investigation
shows. This is another resource for students and faculty involved in thesis or dissertation
research in chemistry.
Justin Miller, associate chemistry professor, applied for an NSF grant to purchase a high-quality
fluorescence spectrophotometer, more commonly known as a fluorometer. It provides
information about the electronic states of a molecule and other chemical information,
and Miller said it would replace the university’s current fluorometer that is near
the end of its life cycle.
“The major users of the instrument will pursue exciting fundamental research problems
in cutting-edge mechanistic biochemistry and photophysical characterization of new
organic, inorganic and hybrid materials,” Miller said in the application, adding that it
could support the early careers of both faculty and student researchers, including
first generation and low socioeconomic status undergraduate students.
Yi Gu, an associate professor in the Computer Science Departmentat Middle Tennessee State University, is helping underrepresented populations succeed
and go the distance in her field and beyond with a $33,000 grant from the Tennessee
Board of Regents.
“Our goals are to improve GPA scores and increase the retention rate of female students,
especially female students of color, in the computer science major and the larger science, technology, engineering and math fields” Gu said. “We also
want to develop interest and confidence in math and programming for the targeted students.”
To accomplish this, Gu and her team are using the funds from the 18-month grant in
four key ways — putting on a six-week summer educational enrichment program; forming
learning communities during the fall and spring semesters; improving the methodology
of existing computer science and math tutoring labs; and organizing female-led seminars
of faculty, senior students or recent graduates to serve as role models for younger
Gu’s team includes faculty Jaishree Ranganathan, computer science professor, and Lu Xiong, mathematical sciencesassistant professor, and graduate students Emily Musselman, Andrew Dale Becker and Timothy Morren.
Gu said the enrichment program, especially, focuses on fun to interest students.
“We offered several workshops that were organized to engage more students in playful
computer and mathematics activities such as simple coding for Lego robotics, data
encryption and decryption, as well as math games,” she said.
Musselman, one of the project’s graduate assistants, said she was interested in joining
the research team because the supports were something she would have loved to have
during her time as an undergraduate computer science student.
“I was 18 and fresh out of high school with no programing experience,” said Musselman,
who earned her undergraduate degree from MTSU in 2021. “I walked into a class of about
50 men who seemed to know all of the material already or seemed confident enough to
think that it was going to be easy. I felt the opposite and spent a lot of my undergraduate
time working incredibly hard sharpening my math and programming skills all on my own,
so that I could go into class prepared to be in the conversation.”
Xingyu Chen, an actuarial science graduate student, said she participated in the enrichment program experience to improve
her programming skills and learn something new.
“It help(ed) me to understand my major and deepen my career knowledge,” Chen said,
adding that her favorite part was the introduction to programming.
“Our department is always very supportive, providing funds for travel or publication
for the faculty who do not currently have the grant money to do so,” said the Suzhou,
China, native. “The ORSP provides various workshops and support on grant information
and helps with budget design and other expenses.”
Musselman echoed Gu’s sentiments about the ORSP and highlighted the benefits of participating
“This research specifically has allowed me to use the skills and knowledge that I
have acquired at my time at MTSU and put them to use,” said Musselman, who is from
Murfreesboro, Tennessee. “It has strengthened my academic profile and allowed me to
meet some of the younger students who are coming up behind me.
“The ORSP’s assistance in students finding and applying for research funding … allows
us to have a collaborative research environment, so that graduate students and faculty
members who are engaged in ongoing research projects can work together.”
To learn more about faculty and student research opportunities on campus, visit the
Office of Research and Sponsored Programs website at https://www.mtsu.edu/research/.
— Stephanie Wagner (Stephanie.Wagner@mtsu.edu)
As noted in the post of Tuesday, June 20, Dr. Zada Law was recently awarded a grant
from the Tennessee Wars Commission, a partner of the TN Department of Environment
& Conservation. This grant has received a mention in the Summer 2023 edition of The
Courier, a publication of the Tennessee Historical Commission in Nashville, TN. The
Middle Tennessee State University has been awarded $18,502.00 in funds to hire an
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) consultant to conduct a LiDAR (Light Detection ad Ranging) and orthoimagery
remote sensing survey of Fort Negley Park. The objective of the survey is to collect
geospatial data and to create three-dimensional data products whose uses are threefold,
one, to identify cultural
landscape features at the site; two, to develop a geographic platform for an administrative
record of the archaeological excavations and the stone wall fortifications; and three,
to develop reference material for researchers, the Metro Historical Commission, Metro
Parks Department, and contractors working to implement the 2022 Master Plan. The entire
publication is linked below, with the MTSU grant mentioned on Page 11.
A Middle Tennessee State University professor passionate about science, technology,
engineering and math education recently earned her fourth National Science Foundation grant to research student thinking in STEM and train STEM instructors to improve
Jennifer Kaplan, director of MTSU’s Mathematics and Science Education Ph.D. Program, landed $154,929 in funding from the NSF to develop innovative assessments that analyze
how undergraduate students use “interdisciplinary thinking” — using both a scientific and mathematical thinking — to understand scientific topics.
“In other words, how students engage in making sense of quantitative problems in biology,
chemistry and physics,” said Kaplan, who is also a professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences. “Mathematical sensemaking in science focuses on students’ ability to blend core
disciplinary science ideas with cross-cutting mathematical concepts, such as patterns
and proportions, while engaging in scientific practices such as computational thinking,
making predictions and reasoning from evidence.”
Kaplan said since STEM fields are so interrelated, it is critical that students can
integrate these different modes of thinking to solve problems and achieve what is
known as “three-dimensional” learning.
“These assessments will reveal much more about student thinking than any assessments
currently in use and will be essential in designing high-quality instruction that
fosters mathematical sensemaking in science,” said Kaplan, who added the project will
also provide professional development to instructors. “Findings from this project
should help inform teaching practice in undergraduate STEM courses and help students
foster computational thinking skills.”
Kaplan, who grew up in Massachusetts, spent 10 years as an accomplished high school
mathematics teacher herself before deciding to pursue a Ph.D. and dive into STEM-education
research, with a primary focus on statistics education. In addition to this recent
grant, she has earned more than $943,000 from the NSF for her work as both a principal
and co-principal investigator on three other projects.
“I worked with Keith Palmer and Janie Becker in that office, both of whom were great,” she said. “At the time of submission, Dawn McCormack was the acting head of the ORSP, and she was also instrumental in helping complete
Kaplan also worked with Ying Jin, associate professor of quantitative psychology and director of C-MEASURE, who served as an external evaluator to the project. C-MEASURE acts as an in-house
consulting service to promote and facilitate research activities for MTSU faculty,
staff and graduate students.
“I have worked on projects where we have had to find external evaluators and have
served as an external evaluator,” Kaplan said. ‘Having this unit on campus provides
strong service to the research mission of the university.”
Jin said having this collaboration with colleagues on research can be extremely valuable.
“This type of collaboration offered through C-MEASURE allows for the pooling of knowledge
and resources, opportunities for learning and professional growth as well as networking
and building relationships within one’s field,” Jin said. “Jennifer has been extremely
helpful in providing insights and resources to help me with developing an evaluation
plan for this project.”
Kaplan said she feels extremely satisfied her work as Mathematics and Science Education
program director — mentoring young researchers and helping them grow into independent
scholars — and hopes to continue her research into best practices for STEM education
For Mengliang “Mike” Zhang, MTSU assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and rising research star on campus, successful research is all about collaboration.
“Michael Jordan said, ‘Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships,’”
Zhang said. “Similarly, research and education in science benefit immensely from collaborations
Since joining the MTSU faculty in 2017 and taking on projects as a lead researcher,
Zhang said he has received that support and camaraderie from the university’s Office of Research and Sponsored Programs and his colleagues.
It’s helped Zhang secure multiple federal grants — nearly $800,000 worth, in fact
— and delve into his research specialties, too. He’s the lead researcher on three
concurrent projects from the U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Agriculture, and he’s also part of a fourth project with Greg Van Patten, dean of the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, that’s received $600,000 in funding from the U.S. Department of Energy.
“I would not have come this far without the ORSP’s support,” Zhang said. “Collaboration
with faculty members in my department and beyond has been critical to the development
of my research projects.”
Using his background as an analytical chemist and over 15 years of experience in mass
spectrometry — an analytical technique used to measure the mass-to-charge ratio of
ions — Zhang’s projects include:
• Analyzing toxins in wildfire smoke to help develop better safety protocols for firefighters.
• Investigating the chemical profiles of different food compounds to provide better
• Acquiring more specialized equipment for MTSU.
Zhang grew up in the Jilin province of China and completed years of study and research
at Jilin University. He moved halfway across the world to Murfreesboro and an MTSU
faculty position because he saw his background as a good fit for the chemistry department.
“I thought my experience could synergize with the existing strengths at MTSU and saw
a range of collaborative opportunities with the faculty members in the department
and beyond,” Zhang said. “Thankfully, both have been true.”
‘Focus on the science’
Zhang said the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs works hard to grow the research
and experience of junior faculty members like him.
“They provided startup funds to set up my lab,” he said. “They organized workshops
to help faculty write grant proposals, find collaborators, set career goals and navigate
grant opportunities from different agencies. These are all critical factors for the
success of the research proposals.
“The staff are patient, knowledgeable and trustworthy, making my job much easier,
so I only need to focus on the science.”
“Dr. Zhang has supported me in every way possible with the project,” said Perna, who
said she hopes to lead her own research lab one day. “He constantly guided me in the
design of experiments and in the scientific writing process. My efficiency in conducting
experiments and problem-solving skills have significantly improved under his guidance.”
Originally from Warangul, India, Perna said she knew she wanted to pursue research
in graduate school and that MTSU could provide her with the knowledge, skills and
experience needed to achieve her career goals.
“The research skills which I am learning at MTSU will act as a foundation for my future
endeavors,” she said. “TheMTSU faculty is diverse and involved in cutting-edge research.”
To learn more about the opportunities at the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs
at MTSU, visit the website at https://www.mtsu.edu/research.
“Research is important to the world,” McGinnis said. “It’s what moves things forward
and makes things better.”
In her new role since the end of January, McGinnis spent a lot of her first couple
weeks meeting with the campus community.
“I’ve been all across campus,” she said. “Right now, I’m meeting with the vice presidents
and deans. Then, I’ll meet with the chairs followed by faculty. It’s been fantastic;
everyone has been very welcoming, and I believe together we can do great things.”
David Butler, vice provost for research and dean of the College of Graduate Studies, said McGinnis is the perfect fit for the role. Just last year, MTSU hit the prestigious
milestone of earning a Carnegie R2 Research institution designation, an important
step toward the university’s overall goal to become known as an elite research institution.
“Rachel has years of experience running the research office at another university,
which allows her to hit the ground running and bring our research office to the level
needed to support the MTSU community in their externally funded scholarship,” Butler
Though she grew up all over the world as a self-described “army brat,” McGinnis settled
in Springfield, Missouri, for several years to study and work at Missouri State University.
“I started my career at the research administration office at Missouri State while
I was still a student,” McGinnis said. “There was never a dull moment. I fell in love
with facilitating the process of these faculty and students’ research endeavors. It
felt like I was helping make things better, that it was for the greater good.”
McGinnis said she is most looking forward to learning about all the faculty and student
research projects happening on campus and assisting them in growing their research
on an individual level.
“When a faculty or a student thinks about research, I want to them to think about
our office,” McGinnis said. “I want them to feel comfortable reaching out with whatever
questions they have — whether it be at the beginning, middle or end of their research
— and that we are the go-to resource to help them get from their idea to funding and
Dr.Keying Ding, an associate professor of chemistry atMTSU, has been involved in research since her time in graduate school at the University
of Rochester in Rochester, New York, in 2004.
“I have always loved doing research in chemistry,” Ding said. “I was a graduate research
assistant in graduate school in Rochester and a post-doc research associate at the
University of Minnesota.”
Dr. Keying Ding, Middle Tennessee State University associate chemistry professor,
experiments in MTSU’s Science Building on Aug. 10, 2021, to develop new metal catalysts
for her two research projects that recently won federal grants from the National Science
Foundation and the American Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund. (MTSU photo
by Stephanie Barrette)
Upon starting her MTSU faculty position in 2013, Ding immediately began applying for
grants to fund her research. She has previously earned twoNational Science Foundationgrants and participated in another.
This fall, Ding successfully secured two more highly competitive federal grants for
her research: one from the NSF and the other from theAmerican Chemical Society Petroleum Research Fund.
For both projects, Ding’s chemical research centers around sustainability through
developing new earth-abundant metal catalysts — substances that increase the rate
of a chemical reaction without undergoing permanent change — to better facilitate
“green,” or eco-friendly, chemistry applications.
Emily Nolan, a recent Tennessee State University graduate, researches and samples
snake microbiomes as part of a project with Middle Tennessee State University assistant
biology professor Donny Walker in the summer of 2018 in West Tennessee. (MTSU photo
illustration; student photo courtesy of Donny Walker)
MTSU’sDonny Walker, assistant professor of biology, has landed a boost to his research through aNational Science Foundationgrant awarded in collaboration with researchers at Oregon State University and the
University of California Riverside.
Walker and MTSU will receive $870,000 of the $2.61 million highly competitive grant
for the NSF project titled Understanding the Rules of Life: Microbiome Interactions
and Mechanisms. The grant aims to fund research of members of the microbiome, the
host and the environment. Funding begins this January and extends through 2025.
Walker will serve as research team leader along with Jason Stajich, professor of microbiology
and plant pathology at UC Riverside, and Joey Spatafora, professor and department
head of botany and plant pathology, and Kerry McPhail, professor at the college of
pharmacy, both from Oregon State University.
Walker is currently hiring for the project’s MTSU research team, which will include
students doing laboratory and field work, including a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains
National Park in East Tennessee and other off-campus endeavors.
AMiddle Tennessee State Universitycenter andWilson Countynonprofit coalition have partnered to address opioid abuse and misuse in the rural
communities of the Midstate county thanks to a $1 million federal grant.
TheRural Communities Opioid Response Programis supported by HRSA to address barriers to access in rural communities related to
substance use disorder, including opioid use disorder.
DrugFree Wilco is a coalition of volunteers seeking to prevent and reduce drug addiction
among youth and adults in Wilson County. In addition to that organization, the Center
for Health and Human Services is working with MTSU’sDepartment Health and Human Performancepublic health faculty, itsData Science Instituteand other on- and off-campus partners.
MTSU undergrads discover 'URECA' research grants, faculty mentors
MTSU assistant professor of history Molly Taylor-Poleskey explains the university's
URECA grant and shares tips on finding a faculty research mentor.
The story of a dogged research team, a cantankerous plant, and wine that could change the world by Allison Gorman
Wine has been integral in human culture for thousands of years, from the Last Supper
to the works of Shakespeare to Hannibal Lecter’s “nice Chianti.” But, despite its
global reach, the flow of commercial wines begins in a few distinct regions within
two narrow latitudinal bands—one in the Northern Hemisphere, most famously including
Tuscany and parts of California, and one in the Southern Hemisphere, encompassing
parts of Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Argentina, and Chile.
The wines most of us recognize, whether or not we drink them, come from one species
of grape, which flourishes in the cool nights and warm days specific to those fertile
“The chardonnays, the cabernet sauvignons, the merlots, the pinot noirs, the sauvignon
blancs, those are allVitis vinifera,” MTSU Agriculture Professor Tony Johnston said. “The global industry is built on
that genus and species—from 95% to 99% of commercial vines. There are just a handful
of other species that are commercially grown for wine production around the world.”
Zion Market Research projects that the wine industry will reach $423.6 billion in
global revenues by the end of 2023. Finding a grape that could flourish outsideVitis vinifera’s 20-degree latitudinal range could give whole swaths of the world, many of them
quite poor, access to that lucrative market—or at least provide one other means of
“If another variety of grape can be shown to be viable and produce good-quality product,
we can open up the whole equatorial range of the earth to grape production,” Johnston
In other words, Johnston is not crazy for spending the last 25 years mildly obsessing
overVitis aestivalis, a North American grape commonly known as
Norton/Cynthiana.Norton/Cynthiana is not on anybody’s wine tour. It’s the official
grape of Missouri. But like Mark Twain and Harry Truman, it’s notoriously scrappy.
Unlike its delicate cousin in Napa Valley, it shrugs off little things like drought,
humidity, diseases, and pests.
Grown primarily in the Mid-Atlantic and Midwest U.S., Norton/Cynthiana is traditionally
used for table grapes, juices, jams, and jellies. It makes for delicious wine too,
Johnston said. He first worked with it in the mid-1990s as a research assistant at
the University of Arkansas, and he believes it has “enormous economic potential”—if
it can be propagated.
In the words of a certain Shakespearean prince (and almost certainly a wine drinker),
“Ay, there’s the rub."
Center for Health and Human Services, in partnership with the School of Agriculture’s Fermentation Science Degree Programs secures SARS-COV-2 Rapid Response funding opportunity
Cynthia Chaffin, Director of Center for Health and Human Services, received a 2 years,
$816,000, grant from USDA-NIFA called STEMsational Ag: The Virtual Farm.
Middle Tennessee State University’s Center for Health and Human Services, in partnership
with the School of Agriculture’s Fermentation Science Degree Programs, proposes “STEMsational
Ag: The Virtual Farm” in response to the SARS-COV-2 Rapid Response funding opportunity.
This project will provide both formal and non-formal educational content for K-14
students that is appropriate for traditional school settings (both distance and in-person
instruction) as well as children being homeschooled in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
This Regional Scale application will target students in Tennessee and all 10 other
states in the USDA designated Southeast Region, and will be culturally and geographically
appropriate for use in other states with similar agricultural and social environments.
“STEMsational Ag: The Virtual Farm” is a means to rapidly deploy Agriculture and STEM
related curriculum for K-14 students who are participating in traditional, distance,
or homeschool education settings. The curriculum will consist of modules and audio-visual
resources that are appropriate grade level-recommended, age-group tailored projects
and assignments. This approach allows for greater reach in terms of student age, with
creative and innovative applications for each grade level and flexibility to allow
the adoption of “higher” or “lower” level content, as desired.
The project also supports positive mental health. Both parents and children are being
affected by the pandemic and the mental health and well-being of both are of concern.
The national news is full of images of parents seeking resources to use to teach their
children, address their children’s stress levels, and more subtly, to alleviate their
own stress. The health of young people is directly tied to academic achievement and
their potential for school success and overall quality of life. The schools alone
cannot solve or prevent health-related problems. Through resources such as the proposed
“STEMsational Ag: The Virtual Farm,” the schools’ ability to have a positive impact
on students’ health behavior and academic gains is enhanced. These lessons will also
prime the pre-workforce population (K-14 students) for career opportunities in the
food and fiber industries.
“STEMsational Ag” will target multiple stakeholders in traditional and non-traditional
educational settings across the USDA’s Southern Region. Input from teachers and parents
will be included in the development process to assure ease of implementation, regardless
of educational background. The materials presented in “STEMsational Ag” will be culturally
and regionally appropriate and designed to serve stakeholders with and without internet
access for broad usage. To encourage student engagement with “STEMsational Ag,” a
video submission contest will be hosted each year through the digital classroom, providing
an opportunity for students to highlight projects inspired through the curriculum.
Winning submissions will be selected by grant staff and winners will receive a prize,
with one winner per state.
MTSU firsts: Jones, Terletska receive prestigious National Science Foundation grants
MTSU faculty membersSeth JonesandHanna Terletskahold a distinction no otherMiddle Tennessee State Universityprofessors have ever obtained —National Science Foundation Early Career Development (CAREER) grantrecipients.
MTSU's Terletska shares NSF-funded research at prestigious international conference
MTSU’s Hanna Terletskaexperienced a special opportunity to share her research experiences along with nearly
60 of the world’s leading physics scholars. The group gathered, albeit virtually
because of COVID-19, for the late summer international conference Localisation 2020
in honor of Philip W. “Phil” Anderson, a Nobel Prize in physics recipient. The aim of the conference, last held in 2011, was to bring together renowned researchers in related fields
from across the globe and provide a forum to discuss open problems. Thetopicscovered included Anderson localization, disordered quantum materials and more.
Terletska, who is considered a rising star in her field by peers, said the late August
conference “was an opportunity to present our research results to the international
community and be selected to speak from so many participants (300).” Terletska spoke
for 25 minutes, then fielded questions for five minutes. She has been researching
Anderson localization for nearly 10 years. “It was a great opportunity to contribute
to MTSU’s research mission,” she added. “Several students have been working at MTSU
on Anderson localization on National Science Foundation-sponsored projects and it
is my contribution to bringing quantum material research to Tennessee, too.” Read the full soryhere.
Tennessee Board of Regents Awards Funding for Inclusive Pedagogy Project
Congratulations are in order to the center's Director, Dr. Greg Rushton (PI) and his
colleagues, Dr. Grant Gardner (Biology) and Dr. Sarah K. Bleiler-Baxter (Mathematical
Sciences) who are also PI's for this project. Their research project has been awarded
funding from the Tennessee Board of Regents. The project is entitled Inclusive Pedagogy among STEM Faculty: A Professional Development Program for Becoming
Aware and Culturally Responsive and has three focal points. The first major point being to support faculty in becoming more
aware of and responsive to varied backgrounds, learning styles, and culture of learners
in STEM courses. Additionally, this project will serve to promote reflective practice
among faculty with respect to inclusive pedagogy. Finally, this project is seeking
to spark cultural change within the STEM departments with respect to a focus on inclusion.
We are excited to see how their research pans out and wish them the best of luck!
MTSU Faculty and Undergraduate Student's Research Showcased on Out of the Blue
Dr. Hanna Terletska
Dr. Hanna Terletska, Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy,
was one of the first two MTSU professors to be recognized by the National Science
Foundation as one of the nation's top young faculty members. This accomplishment is
not only rewarding to the recipients but promotes a research infrastructure at MTSU. Dr. Terletska's professional
path led her to MTSU because she was looking for a place where she could engage in
research as well as teach. MTSU aligned with her professional aspiration to be a teaching research scholar.
Join Andrew Oppmann as Dr. Terletska, talks about her research, her love of teaching,
and the importance of inspiring young women to pursue careers in science.
Dr. Mary Farone
Dr. Mary Farone, with MTSU's Department of Biology, has successfully secured federal
funding for two microbiology projects. One grant is sponsored by the National Institute
of Health and the second with the Department of Agriculture. Admirably, Dr. Farone
has gone to great lengths to include undergraduate students in the research process.
By doing so, undergraduate students gain independence, confidence, and learn many
new techniques. Listen in as Dr. Farone speaks of these skills, the impact of their
research, and MTSU’s new state-of-the-art Science Building.
Dr. Molly Taylor-Poleskey
Assistant Professor Dr. Molly Taylor-Poleskey teaches Digital History within the College
of Liberal Arts. Dr. Taylor-Poleskey's digital project, Bygone Nashville, with its
rich content, catches and holds the viewer's interest. It uses multimedia storytelling
skills to explore the history of East Nashville neighborhoods. Dr. Taylor-Poleskey’s
prompts and inspiration guided the creation of the project through the efforts and
observations of undergraduate students. The students, including URECA grant recipient Audrey
Creel, took themes such as religious history, architectural history, and travel history,
applied them in different ways to create a public walking tour as well.