Tuesday, February 26, 2013

[293] MTSU math researcher targets African-American students

For release:  Feb. 12, 2013

News and Media Relations contact: Randy Weiler, 615-898-5616, 615-785-1196 (cell) or Randy.Weiler@mtsu.edu

Tennessee STEM Education Center and Posters at the Capitol contact:
Dr. Tom Cheatham, 615-904-8573 (office), 615-631-6331 (cell) or Tom.Cheatham@mtsu.edu 

   Goldwater Scholar Dodson leads Murfreesboro contingent

MURFREESBORO — MTSU senior Paige Stubbs plans to be an educator after graduating, and already has a heart for the young people she eventually will be teaching.

Advice Stubbs received Wednesday from State Rep. Lois DeBerry (D-Memphis) during the seventh annual Posters at the Capitol event in Nashville fueled her plans and desires even further.

Stubbs was one of 64 scheduled undergraduate student researchers from nine Tennessee universities attending Posters at the Capitol

“She (DeBerry) said we have to motivate our students,” said Stubbs, who is from Memphis, the city the veteran legislator represents. “My goal is to motivate students to like math and science.”

Stubbs, a math major mentored by Dr. Michaele Chappell in mathematical sciences, exhibited a poster titled “African-American Students’ Participation in STEM Majors: Factoring Out Failure, Striving for Success.”

Part of Stubbs’ research interest came from being a member of the McNair Scholars and Tennessee Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participants.

State Sen. Bill Ketron (R-Murfreesboro) spent about 30 minutes with four local students who included MTSU senior Joshua Horvath of Rockvale, Tenn.

“It give me encouragement to see students thinking outside the classroom and outside the box,” Ketron said of the next generation of researchers.”

One of eight MTSU students participating, senior Jordon Dodson of Murfreesboro said it was a “privilege to represent your university. It’s a chance to meet other students who are at the top of their classes. One day, I’ll see them in the workplace. They’ll go on to be researchers. We all have the same interests and all want to go on and be scientists.”

In addition to Stubbs, Horvath and Dodson, other MTSU students included Joseph Keasler of Murfreesboro, Adam Banach of Mt. Juliet, Tenn., Matthew S. “Matt” Harris of Quincy, Ill., Jacob Basham of Portland, Tenn., and senior Kevin McDaniel of Murfreesboro.

Dr. Andrienne Friedli, chemistry professor and director of the Undergraduate Research Center, called it “an honor to be selected” to participate in Posters at the Capitol, but also a challenge.

“They usually present at trade conferences,” Friedli said. “Here, they were talking to lay people. They were bringing their research to a level others understand. They have an audience of politicians who care about the impact on the taxpayer. All of the students get to see how the legislature works, what the politicians do on a daily basis and see democracy in action.”

Tennessee STEM Education Center Director Tom Cheatham said an unexpected turn of events occurred when State Rep. Brenda Gilmore (D-Nashville) “invited the whole group into the House chambers and practice being a representative. She (Gilmore) proposed a bill and they all got to vote. It was not something planned, but it was a great idea on her part.”

John Hood, former state representative and now MTSU director of community engagement, commended the students in their research efforts.

       MTSU is committed to developing a community devoted to learning, growth and service. We hold these values dear, and there’s a simple phrase that conveys them:  “I am True Blue.” Learn more at www.mtsu.edu/trueblue.

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