Friday, July 05, 2013

[004] MTSU alumna holds her head high for traumatic brain injury victims

MURFREESBORO — An MTSU alumna continues her quest to turn tragedy into triumph by raising awareness of traumatic brain injuries.

Recording industry major Micah Jones had just begun an internship with a company on Nashville’s Music Row MTSU when a car struck her July 9, 2004. The impact of the collision propelled her into the air, and her head landed on a metal grate.

She spent six weeks in a coma in hospitals in both Nashville and her native Ohio. She was still in the hospital when her parents accepted her diploma for her at commencement.

After a tough rehabilitation, Jones convinced the Ohio state legislature to designate July 9 as “Brain Injury Awareness Day” in 2012. Ohio Gov. John Kasich signed the bill into law.

Jones also founded a nonprofit organization called BrainSong. Its mission is to “provide hope and serve as an advocate for women whose lives have been affected by a traumatic brain injury so they may develop a sense of dignity, a feeling of self-worth and the skills necessary to socially integrate with and contribute to the communities in which they live,” according to the foundation’s website,

BrainSong will hold its second consecutive “Rock the Walk” fundraiser in Zanesville, Ohio, on Saturday, July 13.

According to the site, BrainSong provides hospitals and trauma centers with care packages for victims’ families, connects victims with support systems and holds confidence-building conferences for victims. Two physicians from Ohio State University Medical Center are on BrainSong’s board of directors.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say 1.7 million traumatic brain injuries occur each year in the United States. They are contributing factors to a third of all injury-related deaths in the country.

To learn more about BrainSong, The Micah Jones Foundation, go to You also can watch a video created by Jones and her family about her journey at

[003] MTSU alumnus captures Phi Kappa Phi fellowship

MURFREESBORO — A member of MTSU’s most prestigious honor society has received one of the national organization’s top stipends.

Jacob Basham, who graduated in May with bachelor’s degrees in professional mathematics and general science, has won a $5,000 fellowship from The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi.

Basham will use the funding to continue his education at the University of Tennessee’s College of Medicine.

“I’m quite honored to win this national scholarship,” Basham said. “It’s really going to help with tuition and cost-of-living expenses.”

Basham said he has not yet decided on a medical specialty, but he said he’s most excited about the possibility of performing biomedical research in an academic setting.

The Portland, Tenn., native is one of 57 students across the country to receive a Phi Kappa Phi fellowship.

Winners are chosen on the basis of the following criteria: evidence of graduate potential, undergraduate achievement, service and leadership, letters of recommendation, a personal statement of educational perspective and career goals, and acceptance at an approved graduate or professional program.

Headquartered in Baton Rouge, La., Phi Kappa Phi is the oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines with chapters at more than 300 select colleges and universities in North America and the Philippines.

[002] MTSU welcomes 6 new police officers

MURFREESBORO — MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee, shown at left, welcomes six newly commissioned police officers to service at the university July 1 after a special ceremony for the newest members of the MTSU’s Department of Public Safety. Seated next to McPhee is new officer Sarah L. Hoover; her colleagues are, standing from left, new officers Mario Hussey, Ryan Ingram, Jacob Wagner, Ricardo Morales and Jason Hicks and MTSU Police Chief Buddy Peaster.

The new additions, who will finish their administrative training in a few weeks, bring MTSU's number of certified police officers to 40. Five of the new hires will attend the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy in Donelson for a 10-week Basic Police School; one officer has already graduated from the academy.

All six also must complete the MTSU police 16-week field training program. Each will become a patrol officer and will interact with community members, respond to calls for assistance and investigate criminal incidents.

For more information on MTSU's Department of Public Safety and the services it provides, visit (MTSU photo by Darby Campbell)

[001] MTSU closes July 4 for Independence Day

MURFREESBORO — MTSU will be closed Thursday, July 4, as students, faculty and staff observe Independence Day. No classes will be held and all business offices and departments will be closed.

Classes will resume on Friday, July 5. All business offices and departments will be open during their regular hours of operation, from 8 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.

The Student Union Building will be open from noon to 8 p.m. Thursday. Three food venues will be open limited hours to accommodate students. These include the Student Union POD, open from noon to 7 p.m.; and Popeye’s and Panda Express, both open from noon to 6 p.m.

The James E. Walker Library will reopen Friday morning at 7. For its hours of operation, visit online.

After being closed Thursday, the Campus Recreation Center will be open its regular hours Friday (6 a.m. to 7 p.m.), Saturday (9 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and Sunday (2 to 7 p.m.).

Health Services and Campus Pharmacy in the Student Health, Wellness and Recreation Center will be open Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The pharmacy closes from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. for lunch. The pharmacy’s drive-through will be open until 4:30 p.m.

The Student Farmers Market will be closed this week. It will be open Friday, July 12, in the Horticulture Facility on Lightning Way. It is open to the public.

Monday, July 01, 2013

[563] MTSU honored for Capitol Street Party, other Nashville collaborations

University’s public outreach efforts judged best
among Tennessee colleges and universities

MURFREESBORO — MTSU’s Nashville partnerships, including its work with Capitol Records and Metro Nashville schools, received top honors from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association, the university announced Friday.

MTSU received 19 honors from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association in its 2012-13 competition among marketing and communications operations at the state’s public and private higher-education institutions.

It was the third consecutive year MTSU was at the top of the TCPRA honorees list. The University of Tennessee-Knoxville tied MTSU with 19, followed by Austin Peay State University with nine and Tennessee Tech University with eight.

Two of MTSU’s six Gold Awards were for its contributions to the 2012 Capitol Street Party in downtown Nashville (Best Special Event for less than seven days) and ongoing work with Metro Nashville schools (Best Special Event for more than seven days).

Students from MTSU’s College of Mass Communication held key production roles for the 2012 Capitol Street Party, which drew 14,000 on Nashville’s Lower Broadway on Oct. 17. More than 50 students modulated audio, staffed HD cameras and recorded the outdoor concerts by Capitol Records artists Luke Bryan, Jon Pardi and Kelleigh Bannen.

With Metro Nashville schools, MTSU was the lead sponsor of the Academies of Nashville Video Awards Show, the Nashville Career Fair and a partnership with The Tennessean to provide W.H. Oliver Middle School students with unique learning experiences and hands-on resources.

“Our efforts with the Capitol Street Party and Metro Nashville schools represent only a fraction of the good works done by MTSU throughout the region,” said Andrew Oppmann, associate vice president for marketing and communications. “We’re pleased those partnerships, along with the other work done to tell the university’s message, were recognized by our peers.”

The university received four other TCPRA Gold Awards:
  • President Sidney A. McPhee’s biennial report to the community, which detailed the university’s standing as the No. 1 producer of graduates in the Tennessee Board of Regents system, was honored for Best Report.
  • An episode of “Middle in a Minute,” the series of one-minute radio features that air on WMOT and the Blue Raiders Radio Network, was honored for Best Radio Public Service Announcement.
  • MTSU’s work to promote “Spring into Middle,” the annual April open-house weekend staged by the university’s Alumni Relations Office, was honored for Best Advertisement.
  • MTSU Magazine’s iPad edition and app, now available for free download on iTunes, was honored for Best Electronic College/Alumni Magazine.

The university received seven Silver Awards from TCPRA:
  • Best Special Event (more than seven days) for MTSU’s True Blue Respect campaign;
  • Best Overall Promotion Campaign for the “I am True Blue” branding campaign;
  • Best Banners/Outdoor Media;
  • Best Photography for MTSU Magazine’s feature on the university’s Horse Science program;
  • Best Media Success Story for national outreach on professor Cliff Ricketts’ coast-to-coast trip with vehicles powered by hydrogen;
  • Best Radio Public Service Announcement for an episode of “Middle in a Minute;”
  • And Best Special Publication for the MTSU National Women’s History Month 2013 calendar.

And MTSU received six TCPRA Bronze Awards:
  • Best Feature Story for MTSU Magazine’s article on the university’s Horse Sciences program;
  • Best Social Media Success Story for the short film, “Santa Goes to College;”
  • Best Radio/TV Show or Newscast for WMOT’s “On the Record;”
  • Best Video Advertisement;
  • Best Print Advertisement;
  • And Best Media Success Story for national outreach on the groundbreaking of MTSU’s $147 million Science Building.

[562] Dr. David J. Urban in The Daily News Journal

Incoming business dean, Dr. David J. Urban, was spotlighted recently in The Daily News Journal for a Question-and-Answer story and short video.

Read the coverage here.

Urban will officially take the helm of the Jennings A. Jones College of Business on Monday, July 1.

He comes to MTSU after serving as executive associate dean and a marketing professor at the School of Business at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Va. He was chosen from among three finalists brought to campus for interviews earlier this year.

Jim Burton, dean of the college for 13 years, steps down as dean on June 30 and will remain with the college in an emeritus role.

[561] Deadline nears to sign up for MTSU foreign language classes

MURFREESBORO — What better way to spend a few weeks this summer than learning a new language and expanding the world around you?

Monday, July 1, is the deadline to sign up for the July session of the 2013 Summer Language Institute at MTSU’s Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition.

The university’s 11th annual institute, which began earlier this month, is offering weeklong courses in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Latin classes along with Spanish and French instruction.

Beginning Arabic, French and Spanish will be offered July 15-19 along with an introductory language course in Chinese. Advanced courses in all four are set July 22-26. Classes are open to anyone 13 and older.

Training also will be offered in methodology, which helps teachers of young students learning English as a foreign or second language.

The classes require only a week for beginners to grasp and use a new vocabulary, thanks to unique methods designed to teach students a second language the same way they learned their first — by relating vocabulary to movement and learning grammar through storytelling.

“We take about 150 words that students can touch, see, act out,” said Dr. Shelley Thomas, founder of the institute. Examples include numbers, colors, foods, clothing and places inside a home. “We don’t use any words that they don’t actually experience in class.”

Nashville resident Winston Joffrion, a speech language pathologist, took Spanish classes in college years ago, but didn’t become fluent and decided a refresher was in order.

“Spanish is becoming more and more important in the U.S.,” said Joffrion during a class break this week inside the Paul W. Martin Sr. Honors Building. “I enjoy languages and wanted to increase my fluency. I feel like I have sort of a Swiss cheese effect in Spanish … I can’t use it very well.

“That’s why I like this class so much, because you’re speaking the whole time and it has more of a natural feel to it.”

At the end of four days of classes, students should be able to read the first chapter of a novel written in their new language and are given online resources to continue practicing, Thomas said.

The morning language classes are set from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and afternoon teachers’ workshops will be held from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. All will be held in Room 106 of the Honors Building.

The methodology course can be taken for graduate credit for those who register through MTSU. Those not needing university credit can register through the Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition for a much lower price; the first class is $300, and additional courses are $150 each.

Participants may register at the center’s website at You also can watch video clips and read reviews of past classes at the site, and Thomas offers some background on the classes in a brief video at

[560] Project Help renovations get underway before ‘Saddle Up’ fundraiser

MURFREESBORO — MTSU’s Project Help is taking on a new summer project: remodeling its main facility on North Baird Lane to give teachers and students more much-needed elbow room.

As a result, the Baird Lane preschool programs have temporarily moved across campus to Project Help’s other headquarters, the Fairview Building on Greenland Drive.

“We will be merging our three classes into two and using the Child Development Center classrooms (inside the Fairview facility),” Project Help Director Susan Waldrop explained.

“The changes in the Baird building are divided into three phases, simply because that seemed easier for us to make happen.”

The renovations are occurring while the program also prepares for its annual fundraiser, “Saddle Up for Project Help,” which is set for Thursday, July 25, at 6:30 p.m. at the MTSU Foundation House on West Thompson Lane.

Project Help is an inclusive preschool that has served the MTSU and Middle Tennessee communities for nearly 30 years. At Project Help, children who have developmental delays learn and play with those who are developing typically.

Project Help’s progressive preschool serves children from 15 months to 3 years old. “Project Help Prep,” which helps 3-, 4- and 5-year-olds get ready for public school, currently offers a half-day, tuition-only program four days a week.

The center’s staff, which trains more than 150 student participants each semester, works with parents through family-support programs that include workshops, one-to-one interactions and informal training seminars.

The first phase of summer renovations will remodel Waldrop’s office to accommodate six workstations for teachers and co-teachers. It also will include renovating the current copy room, which also houses the media specialist’s work area, into a teacher workroom and supply storage area.

Phase two will reconfigure space near the library for the media specialist and replace all current classroom doors with half-doors to eliminate the need for baby gates.

Both these phases should be completed this summer, Waldrop said.

A third phase, which has a late December/early January target completion date, would redo the current reception area to improve its efficiency.

“This means that for much of the summer, all Project Help programs will be together!” Waldrop said. “This will be a blessing in that we can share and learn from each other.

“At least for the summer, some different folks will be seeing Project Help on a regular basis, which might lead to more understanding on campus for what we do.”

Project Help’s children are in classrooms according to age. The oldest students — those between 2 1/2 and 3 years old — are in the “Red Room” in the Baird Lane facility. Toddlers from 24 to 30 months learn in the “Blue Room,” and the younger children (15 to 24 months) use the “Green Room.”

On Friday mornings, a new one-hour “Mommy and Me” program is being offered for families with babies 4 to 15 months of age to have fun and learn from each other.

In the Fairview Building, “Project Help Prep” also operates a weekday inclusive preschool for families who have children from age 3 to kindergarten. It’s a tuition-based option for children eligible for a public school Individualized Education Program as well as for those who are developing at or above age-appropriate levels.

Once the remodeling is complete, Waldrop and Project Help’s office/outreach coordinator, Kerry Boylan, will move into the office used by “Blue Room” teachers, while the current “Green Room” office will become a physical therapy area for the children. The “Red Room” office will become a small multipurpose room.

Ultimately, Waldrop said, the renovations will enable Project Help to expand to serve more Project Help Prep children, “who, as early- to mid-3-year-olds, will be a nice fit for the enlarged Red Room.

“Our research indicates that late twos and threes can benefit greatly from the interplay in an inclusive program,” she continued. “We'll have continued opportunities to build more proficiency and interaction into our teaching teams. And accommodating more Prep children will bring in additional money to pay for teaching positions.”

For more information about Project Help, visit For tickets and more details about the July 25 “Saddle Up for Project Help” fundraiser, visit or call 615-898-2458.

[559] MTSU expects new mechatronics program to grow rapidly

MURFREESBORO — When the Tennessee Board of Regents approved a mechatronics program for MTSU’s engineering technology department last Friday in Morristown, the seal of approval followed a whirlwind of activity, starting with a suggestion by the university president and numerous groups partnering to make it happen quickly.

Pending Tennessee Higher Education Commission approval that appears to be a formality July 25, mechatronics will be off and running at MTSU starting this fall.

“It’s really an important thing,” MTSU Provost Brad Bartel said. “It’s a great program. It’s going to give the engineering technology department a new focus.”

Mechatronics is a design process that includes a combination of mechanical, electrical, control and computer engineering. The program is based on a three-level international certification program created by Siemens, a German engineering company.

MTSU’s mechatronics program is expected to quickly attract students and, upon graduation, their skills and their bachelor’s degree will land them jobs in a workforce that is facing a critical shortage.

“It’s for the students and it’s for industry,” engineering technology chair Walter Boles said, adding that “probably by the end of fall we’ll have 100 majors.” “We’re fulfilling a need that’s out there and not been adequately addressed. … I firmly believe the growth of the mechatronics program will be phenomenal.”

Bartel said he, Boles and others attended meetings where representatives from “Nissan and Bridgestone were telling us that, worldwide, there’s a huge shortage of people with these qualifications. We need to pump people into the workforce, and we accomplished this in about a year and a half.”

Boles said MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee told him nearly two years ago that Motlow College “has a mechatronics program and we should get involved.”

Boles inquired with Motlow. He learned about a federal grant the school received for its mechatronics program for the Smyrna campus. Motlow’s McMinnville campus also incorporated the program and raised funds “because the (industry) people of McMinnville were so concerned about the issue.”

He said engineering technology advisory board members “were already involved in promoting mechatronics at the high school level.” Boles said Jimmy Davis, a small business owner and former chair of the advisory board, told them “we’ve got to do something about the shortage of technically qualified people they could hire.”

A year ago, with the collaboration of Drs. Charles Perry, Ahad Nasab and Boles in engineering technology and Drs. Peter Cunningham and Amy Sayward in graduate studies, the proposal and letter of intent processes got underway.

“Our proposal was well received and considered high quality,” said Boles, who added that state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, was another staunch program advocate.

Once THEC approves, Boles said full-scale advertising and promotion of the program will begin. Current students will receive emails about the new program. CUSTOMS summer orientation students will be informed.

Bartel said two new faculty members already have been hired. Boles said they “will be teaching certain elements of the program along with existing faculty, and we still are in the process of hiring a mechatronics person who will be teaching advanced (systems integration) courses.”

Eventually, MTSU will have to purchase equipment for the program, he said, adding that for now, engineering technology can utilize Motlow's equipment at the Bridgestone facility in La Vergne.

Boles said mechatronic engineering classes “will require higher math and physics than existing courses.”

“We’re going to be teaching mechatronics in a general sense, but we want to make sure that our students are qualified to take and pass the Siemens Level 3 certification.”

Graduates with an associate degree from community colleges such as Motlow can potentially earn a Level 2 certification. Graduates from the Tennessee Technology Center at Murfreesboro and high school students who have earned 16 hours of college credit and are about to graduate can possibly earn Level 1 certification.

[558] ‘MTSU On the Record’ focuses on childhood sexual abuse survivors

MURFREESBORO — The next edition of the “MTSU On the Record” radio program will spread the good news about help for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with Dr. Debra Rose Wilson, associate professor of nursing, will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, July 1, and from 8 to 8:30 a.m. Sunday, July 7, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

Wilson is co-author of a study in which 32 female adult survivors underwent four weeks of stress management training classes.

After the training, the participants reported using more problem-solving approaches, more direction on seeking social support and a more positive perception of the stress factors in their lives.

The research shows that stress management techniques can help survivors improve their physical health, as well, since the severe psychological stress to which they were subjected as children is long-lasting and has an adverse impact on the immune system.

To listen to previous programs, go to the “Audio Clips” archives at

For more information about “MTSU On the Record,” contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

[557] James Lee takes reins as MTSU Student Government Association president

MURFREESBORO — With a beaming smile and a winning way with words, it’s easy to see how James Lee was elected president of MTSU’s Student Government Association.

The Clarksville native, whose early years were spent on the road because of his father’s service in the U.S. Army, chose MTSU to take advantage of the freedom a college campus offers while staying close enough to home to keep in touch.

But instead of enjoying the summer with his family in Clarksville, Lee is poring over records and making connections on campus in preparation for the work that lies ahead.

“I’m definitely looking at the past three or four years of budgets,” Lee said. “I’m looking at what our money was spent on, what we can do to improve some of the programs that were implemented from the last three or four years, seeing what works, seeing what didn’t work.”

Lee said he intends to push for a truly transparent SGA that makes sure every student knows exactly what’s going on and where the money’s going.
In addition, the rising senior of Korean descent said he wants to represent all students, but he is concerned about those who feel left out.

“I wanted to be a voice for the students that weren’t really feeling represented or feeling underrepresented,” Lee said.

With three student orientation assistants on his executive board, Lee will have feedback from people who will help him get a handle on what matters to the student population.

He said he also intends to engage in greater promotion of the Student Food Pantry, a clearinghouse for nonperishable edibles for underprivileged students.

“It’s really more of an awareness thing,” said Lee. “People aren’t going to use the food pantry unless they know about it.”

As a finance and marketing major, Lee will have his hands full with the usual classwork and academic activities. However, he is well on his way toward fulfilling his campaign goal of creating “a sense of involvement, to really recognize students who might not feel as though they are welcome here at MTSU.”

[556] MTSU pilots await June 18-21 all-women Air Race Classic

MURFREESBORO — MTSU aerospace products Alison Taylor of Murfreesboro and Alexis Hutchinson of Nashville soon will be on the ride of their relatively young lives.

Taylor, 20, a May graduate of MTSU, and current student Hutchinson will be flying from Pasco, Wash., to Fayetteville, Ark., participating in the 37th annual Air Race Classic. They will fly in Taylor’s Piper Cherokee 140D in the event held during daylight hours.

The aerospace professional pilot grad and student are one of 47 teams racing in the event, which ends Friday, June 21. After the race, they plan to fly to Kitty Hawk, N.C., site of the Wright brothers’ historic first flight, before returning home.

The Air Race Classic is the longest running all-women pilots transcontinental air race. The teams will have stops in Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, South Dakota, Nebraska, Colorado and Oklahoma before finishing the 2,450-mile competition in Fayetteville.

“All the flight training I’ve done now so far is in a controlled environment,” Hutchinson said, making reference to her experience in the cockpit in MTSU classes. “So this air race is about real-world environment. Anything can happen. It’s really going to test our pilot skills as to if we can handle it, whatever situation happens.”

Taylor said there is no shortcut for experience.

“The biggest thing is the experience, 65 hours of logged time,” she said. “If you put a monetary value on it, it’s about $10,000 (each). … We’re getting that 65 hours of experience to help us get the job that we’re looking for.

“Also, we’re getting the experience that we’ve never had to deal with. So we’re going to have to sharpen our skills with cross-country flight planning. We’re going to have to really understand aircraft performance. And it’s really going to push us as pilots as well as the plane in seeing what all we can get out of it.”

Hutchinson enrolled at MTSU planning to study animal biology. In 2011 and “bored” with her choice of study, she was “walking somewhere on campus.”

“I looked up and saw a Diamond (aircraft flying overhead),” she said, not realizing it was part of the university’s fleet of planes. “I said to myself, ‘I’m going to be a pilot.’ This was my mid-college crisis. I didn’t want to do that (study animal biology). I’m too spontaneous. I didn’t even know MTSU had a flight school. It was fate, and it all worked out for me.”

Race crews will face challenging decisions and conditions to complete the perfect cross-county flight as they seek the best winds and weather in their quest to make the top 10 and earn awards.

Taylor and Hutchinson are raising funds to pay for their fuel to fly and other expenses. To date, they have raised more than $2,200 People who want to contribute can go to MTSU aerospace agreed to pay for their lodging.

[555] MTSU alumna has designs on future in Diet Coke T-shirt competition

MURFREESBORO — An MTSU alumna is in the running for a design contest championship that could be one of the biggest breaks of her career.

Julianna Bass, a 2002 graduate with a bachelor’s degree in textiles, merchandising and design, is one of the 20 semifinalists in the Diet Coke Young Designer Challenge.

Bass submitted a design promoting Diet Coke to be emblazoned on a T-shirt. The grand-prize winner will get $10,000 and a trip for two to Nashville to see Taylor Swift in concert.

Most importantly, the winner will get an opportunity for his or her T-shirt design to be produced and sold at Target stores nationwide.

The 20 semifinalists will be narrowed down to 10 finalists based on the largest numbers of votes received from the public between now and June 30. From among the final 10, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff will decide the winner.

Bass’ design and the other designs are visible at, where viewers may vote for their favorite design by placing their cursor over it and clicking “vote now.”

Bass’ design is a model wearing a grey-and-black-striped shirt and a red mermaid skirt flared at the knees. She is resting her hand on the “C” in “Coke.”

In her description, Bass writes, “The inspiration for my design was centered around trust. … We can count on Diet Coke to make us feel and look great! It tastes divine. It's undoubtedly refreshing, oh so chic, and causes absolutely no caloric anxiety! We trust you, Diet Coke. We count on you. We lean on you. And you deliver every single time.”

Bass, a native of Pulaski, Tenn., moved to New York upon graduation from MTSU to enter The Fashion Institute of Technology. She specialized in eveningwear and was named 2004 Designer of the Year in her class.

Following an internship with designer Marc Jacobs, Bass honed her talent as an employee of several designers in the Garment District, including Bill Blass and Elie Tahari before establishing her own fashion line for the first time in 2008.
Bass’ fashions have been worn by celebrities such as Paula Abdul and Eva Longoria, and she has received accolades from numerous publications, including Vogue, Lucky, Women’s Wear Daily, New York Magazine, Daily Candy, OK Magazine and Racked.

[554] CSI:MTSU 2013 uses forensic science to fascinate students

MURFREESBORO — How does a bone break? More importantly, did it really break the way someone told you it did?

At last week’s CSI:MTSU summer camp, youngsters fascinated by forensic science found four days filled with the same science and math they see in their regular junior high and high school classes.

Of course, science and math were even more intriguing than usual here because, like some of their favorite crime shows, items were covered in “blood,” smashed against the ground or tossed haphazardly into a bathtub. And there were no commercials breaking up this crime procedural.

“There are patterns we can see in bone and other substances that can help us understand what happened,” Dr. Hugh Berryman explained to a room full of CSI campers in a classroom at MTSU’s Horse Science Center.

“If someone says that something happened one way, you can look at the way a bone fractured and see what really did happen. You can confirm a story, or you can break a story and find a lie.”

Berryman, a world-renowned forensic anthropologist who teaches in MTSU’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology and founded the university’s Forensic Institute for Research and Education, specializes in bone fracture mechanics.

His colleagues at last week’s event also shared their forensic expertise with the campers, including his former student Dr. Alicja K. Lanfear, who taught campers the intricacies of fingerprints.

“The detail in your print is what's really going to make your print individual,” Lanfear, who is a research assistant at the institute, told the students. “It's all in the minutiae, in the details.”

The 2013 CSI campers, like their predecessors since 2006, were faced with a re-creation of a crime scene on their first day. Let’s just say this year’s involved a body and blunt trauma and crime scenes in the Tennessee Miller Coliseum and the master bath at the MTSU Foundation House  — knock on wood.

Campers get the basic facts of the case and are shown how to collect and process evidence. They learn how to conduct interviews and develop theories as a team, then present their findings and conclusions to a panel of forensic scientists on the last day of camp. (You can watch a brief video at

They also learn that even the experts still have questions they can’t answer.

“One mystery to me, and I love it because I can’t figure it out, is the butterfly, or delta, fracture,” Berryman said, pointing to an illustration showing a bone with a wedge-shaped break, like a triangle popping out of a pipe.

“I don’t know WHY this fracture goes in two directions. Why could it do that? We see a lot of it in motor vehicle accidents and I want to know how it works, but I can’t figure it out. I’ve been trying to since the late ’80s, long before you all were born.”

It boils down to physics, he told the group, but “the problem is that we don’t understand all the elements.”

In addition to the annual CSI:MTSU camps, the Forensic Institute for Research and Education offers free public lectures featuring renowned forensic science experts each semester.

FIRE also provides regular educational and training opportunities for law enforcement, medical examiners, coroners, attorneys, social workers and other groups in forensic science and homeland security.

For more information about CSI:MTSU, including next year’s camp, visit You can learn more about FIRE by visiting or emailing

[553] Alumnus’ book offers practical tips to incoming students

For alumnus Michael Mc Donald (’79), a lot has changed at MTSU since he attended classes in the late 1970’s. A recent trip through the Student Union Building served as a can’t-miss reminder.

“This is amazing,” the Murfreesboro resident said during a recent visit to the 211,000-square-foot anchor on the campus’ east side.

His visit came amid the traditional CUSTOMS new student orientation tours, an introduction to campus for the very type of student Mc Donald had in mind when he wrote his book about making the transition from high school to higher education.

Mc Donald has released an updated edition of his book “College Life 101,” which he wrote to help guide young college-bound high school seniors through the transition into higher education with helpful advice about how to make good choices.

His advice stems from his own college experience but also from his experience as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State and Belmont universities. To gather his nuggets of advice, he sent out a questionnaire to students throughout the region and found common threads from those who responded.

“I asked them what did they know now that they wish they’d known as freshmen,” he said. “A lot of them talked about the same things, from ‘I wish I’d known how to study for exams’ to how to better prepare for lessons.”

An ordained minister, Mc Donald released his first edition in 2004 with a Christian-based theme, a version that remains available. But he decided to broaden his appeal with a secular second edition released in 2011 that addresses more pressing issues such as Internet and technology usage that young students increasingly face.

Mc Donald says his books are being used at Vanderbilt University, where he attended divinity school, as well as at Cumberland University and TSU, among others. He’s hoping to spark greater use of his book at MTSU, which he remembers fondly.

Mc Donald said he was the first African-American student elected Student Government Association president in the history of MTSU (1978-79) and the first recipient of the MTSU Distinguished Young Alumni in Achievement Award (1987).

He currently serves as pastor of Lighthouse Wesleyan Community Church in La Vergne, Tenn.

For more information about the book or how to order it, contact Mc Donald at 615-944-8267 or via email at

[552] Hardin takes MTSU fundraising position

MURFREESBORO — MTSU has hired Amy Hardin as the new development director for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences.

A graduate of Western Kentucky University, Hardin began her new post earlier this month within MTSU’s Development and Foundation Office.

Hardin, 33, will be responsible for securing private donations for the College of Basic and Applied Sciences, which is home to the following departments: the basic sciences (biology, chemistry, and physics), mathematics, computer science, aerospace, agriculture, concrete industry management, engineering technology and military science. 

“We are very excited about Amy joining our team,” said Nick Perlick, MTSU director of development. “Her unique combination of knowledge and experience in higher ed advancement will allow her to partner effectively with Dean Bud Fischer and the college’s other leadership in engaging donors and friends. 

“From the new science building to cutting-edge research and STEM education, CBAS has an amazing story to tell, and Amy will play a major role in sharing that story with MTSU supporters.” 

Hardin comes to MTSU following her work as a development director at Western Kentucky, where she also served as an assistant director of alumni relations and annual giving.

For more information, contact Hardin at 615-898-5003 or

[551] Small-business center partners with bank to boost TN exports

MURFREESBORO — The Export-Import Bank of the United States, or Ex-Im Bank, in Washington, D.C., has signed a partnership with the Tennessee Small Business Development Center to bolster jobs by stimulating Tennessee exports.

“Ex-Im Bank's partnership with the Tennessee SBDC will help keep ‘Rocky Top’ businesses at the top,” said Ex-Im Bank Chairman and President Fred P. Hochberg in a bank release. “The partnership will bring foreign markets within reach of Tennessee businesses and support thousands of local small business jobs.”

The Tennessee Small Business Development Center program is headquartered at Middle Tennessee State University and offers 20 locations throughout the state — 14 service centers, five satellite offices, and one an affiliate office. The program is part of the U.S. Small Business Administration's largest grant-funded service network and provides quality customer service to the small-business community.

The SBDC is designed to provide business and economic development assistance to small businesses in order to promote growth and innovation as well as increase productivity and improve management skills.

Ex-Im Bank is partnering with TSBDC’s International Trade Center, which is located at Tennessee State University in Nashville and manages the SBDC Export Assistance Program.

Patrick Geho, TSBDC executive director and an MTSU associate business professor, noted the importance of the state partnership with Ex-Im Bank.

“From Ex-Im Bank's Export Credit Insurance to their Global Express Loan, both current Tennessee exporters and new-to-export companies now have the financial keys to access the global marketplace successfully … and we (the SBDC) are committed to helping Tennessee business owners access Ex-Im Bank's financial programs,” he said.

The City/State Partners program seeks to expand access to the bank's export finance programs to more small and medium-sized businesses through the help of local, state, and regional economic development and business support organizations.

For more information about the TSBDC, please visit or call 1-877-898-3900.

About Ex-Im Bank:

Ex-Im Bank is an independent federal agency that helps create and maintain U.S. jobs by filling gaps in private export financing at no cost to American taxpayers. In the past five years (from Fiscal Year 2008), Ex-Im Bank has earned for U.S. taxpayers nearly $1.6 billion above the cost of operations. The Bank provides a variety of financing mechanisms, including working capital guarantees, export-credit insurance and financing to help foreign buyers purchase U.S. goods and services.

Ex-Im Bank approved $35.8 billion in total authorizations in FY 2012 — an all-time Ex-Im record. This total includes more than $6.1 billion directly supporting small-business export sales — also an Ex-Im record. Ex-Im Bank's total authorizations are supporting an estimated $50 billion in U.S. export sales and approximately 255,000 American jobs in communities across the country. For more information, visit

[550] In the News: WGNS radio features MTSU foreign language institute, bicycle safety, alum’s book on college life

Guests included:

• Dr. Shelley Thomas, founder of the MTSU Summer Language Institute, and employee Ahmad Jadeeni, a Fulbright scholar at MTSU in 2008 who teaches Arabic at the institute. 

They discussed the 2013 Summer Language Institute at MTSU’s Center for Accelerated Language Acquisition. The 11th annual institute is offering weeklong courses in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese and Latin classes along with Spanish and French instruction.

Training also will be offered in methodology, which helps teachers of young students learning English as a foreign or second language.

Deadline to register for the July classes is Monday, July 1. Read more here:

• Josh Stone, associate director of recreation programs for MTSU Campus Recreation and coordinator of the campus’ bicycle safety initiatives.

Stone discussed bicycle safety on the MTSU campus and beyond as well as the university’s use of grants to enhance its bicycle rental program and provide students with reflective gear to make them more visible at night.

MTSU is trying to spread the word to student bicyclists and others about the importance of following the proper rules of the road as well as being very visible at night when riding on campus and city streets.

For more information about the MTSU bicycling program, visit

• Alumnus (’79) Michael Mc Donald, ordained minister and author of the book “College Life 101.”

Mc Donald discussed an updated edition of his book “College Life 101,” which he wrote to help guide young college-bound high school seniors through the transition into higher education with helpful tips/advice on how to make good choices.

His advice stems from his own college experience but also from his experience as an adjunct professor at Tennessee State and Belmont universities. To gather his nuggets of advice, he sent out a questionnaire to students and found common threads in their responses.

His first edition, released in 2004, was Christian-based and is still available. His second edition was a secular edition released in 2011 and addresses issues such as cyberspace and technology that young students increasingly face.

For more information about the book, email Mc Donald at