Friday, May 27, 2016

[515] Registration remains open for June 4 MTSU Preview Day

MURFREESBORO — Registration remains open for the MTSU Preview Day Saturday, June 4, with hundreds of prospective students and their family members expected to attend.

Admissions, enrollment and academic officials are preparing for the preview day, which runs from 7:30 a.m. until 2 p.m. and will begin in the Student Union, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

To register, visit Then go to “Schedule a Campus Visit” and “RSVP for Special Events.” To find parking and building locations, a searchable campus map is available at

Preview Day is the university’s signature open house for prospective students and their families. This campus visit program includes department presentations, opportunities to meet faculty and staff from academic areas and student affairs, and take campus tours.

Linda Olsen, new director of MTSU undergraduate recruitment, invites prospective students and their families to “come out and join us for Preview Day, where members from all areas of the True Blue community will be on hand to share what makes MTSU the place you want to call home.”

“Students will have an opportunity to meet with faculty, staff, administration and current students while touring the campus and learning what we have for you here at MTSU, ” she added.

To contact admissions, call 615-898-2233 or email For questions about tours, call 615-898-5670 or email

[514] MTSU closes May 30 for Memorial Day holiday; classes resume May 31

MURFREESBORO — MTSU will be closed Monday, May 30, for the Memorial Day holiday. All offices will be closed and no summer term classes will be held.

Offices will reopen at 8 a.m. Tuesday, May 31. All summer term classes will resume at their regular times May 31.

The Student Union, Campus Recreation Center, Student Health Services, Campus Pharmacy, Keathley University Center and James Union Building will be closed Saturday through Monday, May 28-30, for an extended holiday weekend.

The James E. Walker Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. May 28, but closed May 29-30. It reopens at 7 a.m. May 31.

For ARAMARK/MT Dining hours of operation, visit and click on “Locations.”

[513] MTSU alumna shares gender identity transition story on ‘MTSU On the Record’

MURFREESBORO — The timely topic of transgender rights is the focus of the next “MTSU On the Record” radio program.

Host Gina Logue’s interview with MTSU alumna Morgan Hunlen will air from 5:30 to 6 p.m. Monday, May 30, and from 8 to 8 a.m. Sunday, June 5, on WMOT-FM (89.5 and

Hunlen, who graduated May 7, 2016, with a bachelor’s degree in aerospace, was born male and began her transition to becoming a woman while still an MTSU student.

In the interview, Hunlen offers her reaction to U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch’s May 9 announcement to challenge a North Carolina law that requires people to use public restrooms on the basis of their sex at birth.

“This is a case that is now going to have national implications for all the bathroom laws … across the nation,” said Hunlen. “I feel like a victory, at this stage, could pave the way for more trans-inclusive policies to come down the pipeline, either from Congress or from our courts.”

Hunlen also discusses the impact of the gay rights movement on transgender rights and her own personal gender identity journey.

Another member of the MTSU community, history professor Marisa Richmond, was confirmed as a member of the Metro Human Rights Commission by a unanimous voice vote May 19. Richmond, who is transgender, was appointed by Nashville Mayor Megan Barry and became the first transgender person in the state named to a local government board or commission, according to the Tennessee Transgender Political Coalition.

To hear previous “MTSU On the Record” programs, go to

For more information, contact Logue at 615-898-5081 or WMOT-FM at 615-898-2800.

[512] Youngest MTSU student speaks at National Spelling Bee

MURFREESBORO — MTSU’s youngest student has been invited to help make a welcoming speech at this year’s Scripps National Spelling Bee in National Harbor, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

Benjamin Kulas, 15, a sophomore physics major from Murfreesboro who advanced to the 2014 national semifinals and was eliminated in the 2011 preliminary round, received an invitation from director Paige Kimble to speak after she and a colleague heard him speak at the Tennessee Titans Regional Spelling Bee in March.

Kulas and another past participant will take turns reading a script, written by officials with the National Spelling Bee, during the 6 p.m. May 23 welcome event in the Maryland Ballroom of the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center.

This year, 285 spellers  — 144 boys and 141 girls — from across the U.S. and other countries will compete for the title of National Spelling Bee champion. The purpose of the bee is to help students improve their spelling, increase their vocabularies, learn concepts and develop correct English usage to help them all their lives. ESPN networks will air spelling bee preliminary and final rounds live.

“Oh, not very long,” Kulas said when asked how long it took to accept Kimble’s offer. “… About as long as it took to write an email reply.”

“I’m honored,” Kulas added. “I didn’t really expect it, but I’m very happy about it. … It’s mainly intended for the spellers and it gives me a chance to go back to the bee if only for a day. It will be a reunion as well as a speaking opportunity.”

Kulas calls the National Spelling Bee “a test of might and a test of knowledge and endurance, and you happen to be doing it with other people.”

“It is very tough,” Kulas said of the national competition. “There’s a lot of studying for serious spellers. The ones who truly want to win are very dedicated. Some study as much as eight hours a day.”

Kulas, whose parents Diana and Jeff Kulas moved to Murfreesboro near MTSU so their son could be close to campus, entered MTSU at age 14 as a Buchanan Fellow — selected by the Honors College to receive one of 20 full scholarships provided by money given to the university by the late James M. Buchanan, the Nobel Prize-winning alumnus.

Having also earned hours in dual-enrollment classes at Nashville State Community College and passing CLEP tests, the home-educated Kulas carries a 4.0 GPA entering summer session classes.

He said his freshman year had been “stressful at times, but, overall, a great experience.”

“The Buchanan Fellowship helped me make a great group of friends,” he added. “The social aspect doesn’t come easily to me, but it was not as hard as I expected. I have a 4.0 right now, but that can change. … Spring semester was touch and go (academically). Probably the hardest part has been the writing. I have not had the chance to do thorough, serious writing until college.”

Not lost in his memory bank were the 19 papers he wrote this spring in his 15-hour course load. Most were in an introduction to philosophy class, one he took with other Buchanan scholars, and a foreign literature and translation class.

While four or more years younger than his peers, he felt he fit in with classmates.

“My friends all tend to be a little older than I am,” said Kulas, who is minoring in computer science and mathematics. “They don’t tease me, but they will make a joke sometimes. Plenty of faculty and other students think I’m a younger-looking 17- or 18-year-old.”

In physics, Kulas earned year-end recognition for being the first-year student showing the most promise, a physics alumni scholarship and elected Society of Physics Students treasurer for 2016-17. He is among the Honors College students assisting senior citizens with technology problems at Adams Place.

Kulas’ hobbies include reading, programming and playing video games. His older brother, Sean McKitrick, attended MTSU.

[511] $70,000 in scholarships fund MTSU students’ study-abroad adventures

MURFREESBORO — Twenty-six students are preparing now for the experience of a lifetime thanks to the MTSU Office of Education Abroad.

With a total of more than $70,000 in Education Abroad scholarships, these students will be able to spend either the fall 2016 semester or the entire academic year studying in 14 different countries.

Eligibility criteria for the scholarships include a minimum 2.8 grade-point average for degree-seeking undergraduate students or a minimum 3.3 GPA for graduate students, the completion of at least one semester at MTSU prior to studying abroad and participation in a credit-bearing study-abroad course. In addition, each applicant must complete an essay explaining his or her goals.

“We really want the essay to focus on why you chose a specific program, how well it benefits you academically when you return to MTSU and maybe even for your future career,” said Tiffany Bickers, director of the Office of Education Abroad.

Decisions are made by the university’s International Education and Exchange Committee. Financial need, program location and program length also are taken into consideration in determining scholarship awards. The money comes from the International Education Fund, which gets its funding from the program services fee paid by MTSU students each semester.

MTSU sends more than 350 students abroad annually throughout Africa, Asia, Europe, the Middle East and South America.

The MTSU Education Abroad Scholarship recipients and destinations are:

  • Colin Bentley, Lenoir City, Tennessee; academic year, Providence University, Taiwan;
  • Kayo Beshir, Antioch, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad de Sevilla, Spain;
  • Brianna Browning, Seymour, Tennessee; academic year, University of Seoul, South Korea;
  • Taylor Burney, Olathe, Kansas; fall semester, Popakademie University, Germany;
  • Morgan Carter, Springfield, Virginia; fall semester, Macquarie University, Australia;
  • Sydney Casteel, Shelbyville, Tennessee; academic year, University of Brighton, England;
  • Dalin Chan, McMinnville, Tennessee; fall semester, East China Normal University, China;
  • Rebecca Clippard, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan;
  • Ashley Duchac, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; fall semester, Ulster Coleraine University, Northern Ireland;
  • Raven Evans, Country Club Hills, Illinois; fall semester, Glasgow Caledonian University, Scotland;
  • Christina Franklin, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; fall semester, Griffith University, Australia;
  • Kansas Glasgow, Lebanon, Tennessee; fall semester, King’s College, England;
  • Leia Green, Thompson’s Station, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad del Norte, Colombia;
  • Andrew Heim, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; academic year, University of Glasgow, Scotland;
  • Elvis Hoang, Antioch, Tennessee; fall semester, Ehwa Womans University, South Korea;
  • Daniel Knickerbocker, Lakeland, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan;
  • Christian Lawrence, Culleoka, Tennessee, fall semester, Seinan Gakuin University, Japan;
  • Melinda Lewis, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; fall semester, Christ University, India;
  • Jessica Magana, Jonesborough, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad del Pacifico, Peru;
  • Emilya Mailyan, Brentwood, Tennessee; fall semester, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Spain;
  • Ashley Martinez, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; fall semester, Shanghai University, China;
  • Hailey Randolph, Manchester, Tennessee; academic year, Saitama University, Japan;
  • Aaron Schwartz, Bell Buckle, Tennessee; academic year, Reitaku University, Japan;
  • Samuel Smallman, Murfreesboro, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan;
  • Rachel Vincent, Nashville, Tennessee; academic year, Kansai Gaidai University, Japan;
  • Jakub Wolfe, Smyrna, Tennessee; fall semester, Universidad de Salamanca Cursos Internacionales en Cusco, Peru.

For more information on MTSU study-abroad programs, contact Bickers at 615-898-5179 or