MURFREESBORO — Kanashia Jenkins of Nashville almost missed the MTSU True Blue Tour event at Rocketown in Nashville Sept. 30.
While she is a regular attendee of Rocketown, an entertainment venue and teenagers’ hangout, and while she has had her sights set on attending MTSU starting in 2015, Jenkins was within a whisker of not visiting the MTSU recruiting event, only to make a last-minute decision to go.
It may have been a life-changing decision to attend the True Blue Tour student reception, one of six held across the state to pitch the university to outstanding student for the 2015-16 academic year and beyond.
MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee drew her name out of an MTSU bag full of other attendees’ names. He was presenting the recipient with “an almost full scholarship,” compliments of several alumni.
“I almost didn’t come,” said Jenkins, a 2013 McGavock High School graduate. “I was already trying to get into this school. I felt maybe I should go, that this (information-gathering session) would help because I have a hard time (finding transportation) trying to visit Murfreesboro.”
Knowing Jenkins’ situation — being a young, single mother to 1-year-old daughter Kaylee Marshall and her desire to pursue higher education — Rocketown director of operations Mary Virginia Settle became emotional when discussing Jenkins’ new opportunity.
“Kanashia’s very determined,” said Settle, who has known her for nearly four years. “This will encourage her that she’s making the right decisions without much help (from family). There was a whole lot of emotion (knowing she was receiving the scholarship). She’s really excited about it.”
Jenkins plans to study biology.
Alexis Marks, 23, a Nashville State Community College sophomore also studying biology, said she had “heard about and can’t wait to see” the recently opened Science Building, which will have a 10 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, grand opening.
“I’m pretty sure I’m going to come (to MTSU),” Marks said. “My mom (Shirley Marks) got her master’s degree in criminal justice there. She’s really pushing MTSU.”
MTSU Student Government Association President Andrew George of Nashville told the prospective students and their parents that university faculty “develop you as both campus and future leaders. MTSU is here to help you out, not only in the classroom, but in the future, too.”
Young alumnus Michael Burrows of Murfreesboro, one of about 10 alumni attending the function, said his current impression of MTSU is that it is “the best public university in Tennessee.”
“I’m proud to be here as an alumnus, and answering students’ questions,” said Burrows, who opened H3O Aquatics, an exercise therapy underwater treadmill with many features, this summer in Murfreesboro. “I’m impressed with the high caliber of men and women who make up the faculty.”
Other alumni who met briefly with McPhee included Murfreesboro businesswoman Paula Mansfield, 2014-15 Alumni Board president; Ashley Elizabeth Graham, 2014-15 Young Alumni Achievement Award winner; alumni board members Jill Napier and Latreace Sankey-Wells; and Richard Stone. Later, alumni Paul Ladd, Woody Bomar and alumni board member Neil Lambert attended the reception.
Prospective students have multiple opportunities for a firsthand look at campus.
The final Fall Preview Day will be held Saturday, Nov. 1. True Blue Experience Days will be held Oct. 17 for prospective students in the College of Basic and Applied Sciences; Jan. 23, 2015, for prospective students in the Colleges of Behavioral and Health Sciences and Liberal Arts; and Jan. 30 for prospective students in the Colleges of Mass Communication, Business and Education. Also, the Office of Admissions has special Saturday tours planned for Oct. 11, Nov. 15 and Dec. 6, with all starting at 10 a.m. in the Student Services and Admissions Center. To register, visit www.mtsu.edu/rsvp.
The priority deadline to apply and receive scholarship consideration is Dec. 1.