By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — A number of graduates in Tennessee State University’s spring commencement will go right into the workforce once they get their degrees. And they have TSU to thank.
“Tennessee State University has definitely prepared me professionally,” says T’Anna Williams, a computer science major headed to Northrop Grumman. “It’s really awesome having a job lined up after I graduate. That’s one less stress.”
More than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students will receive degrees in various disciplines in this year’s dual graduation ceremonies.
The graduate commencement ceremony is Friday, May 3, at 5 p.m. in the Howard C. Gentry Complex, where Civil Rights leader Al Sharpton will give the keynote address. The undergraduate ceremony will take place the following day in Hale Stadium at 8 a.m. Bestselling author Dr. Michael E. Dyson is the speaker.
Williams says part of her success is due to the nurturing attitude of the administration and faculty at TSU. The Nashville native says they’re always looking for ways to help students grow, like bringing in dynamic, motivational speakers like Sharpton and Dyson.
“If you’re willing to learn and put in the effort, they’re willing to help,” says Williams of TSU’s faculty.
Graduating senior Alexis Clark agrees. The mass communications major from writes for the student newspaper, The Meter. She credits her experience at the newspaper with preparing her for an internship at The Tennessean, one of the state’s top newspapers, when she graduates.
“It was probably the best experience I had at TSU,” says the St. Louis native. “The networking and the connections I’ve made through The Meter have brought me to what I’m doing today. “
Most of the students who have jobs lined up say the university’s Career Development Center helped them find employment, and prepped them for it.
“The Career Development Center serves as the bridge between education and employment for the students,” says Charles Jennings, Jr., director of the Center/Division of Student Affairs. “We provide services and programs that allow students to apply the knowledge that they gained in the classroom toward meaningful internship and employment opportunities.”
Jennings says the Center also has onsite conferences that let students interact with the university’s employer partners, like Bank of America, Boeing, Google and IBM.
Electrical engineering major Tarence Rice of Detroit says it’s partly because of opportunities at the Center that he has job offers from Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Texas Instruments.
“They helped me get in contact with employers, and get the exposure to build me up to be able to interview for some of these top companies,” says Rice.
Because of the preparation it provides students, TSU officials say the university is poised to produce strong candidates for Amazon’s new executive operations center, which is expected to bring about 5,000 jobs to the Nashville area.
“As the only public university in Nashville, Tennessee State University stands uniquely poised to support these corporate giants, their employees, family members of the employees, and the businesses that support them with highly-skilled human capital, workforce training opportunities, research partnerships and more,” says TSU economics professor Dr. Achintya Ray.
For more information about TSU’s Career Development Center, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.