TSU Career Development Center holds ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Iris Booth, an innovative, self-serve professional photo booth that allows students, faculty, and staff to take headshots.

By Emmanuel Freeman

NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Do you need a professional-quality headshot for graduate school or a job application but don’t know where to go? Look no more, the Tennessee State University Career Development Center has you covered!

On Oct. 6, the center held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Iris Booth, an innovative, self-serve professional photo booth that allows students, faculty, and staff to take headshots. TSU is the first historically black higher education institution to use the Iris Booth, and one of only six universities in the nation with this high-tech equipment. It is used by corporations and hospitals in North America, Europe, and Asia. 

“This is amazing, and it is groundbreaking as our students now have the opportunity to experience professional photography brought by the Career Development Center,” said Frank Stevenson, associate vice president for Student Affairs and dean of students. “We are excited about what this will mean for our students moving forward. It gives them a head start going into the marketplace. It prepares them and allows them to have their best foot forward as they prepare for potential employment opportunities.” 

Brionika Johnson, a senior business administration major, was one of the first students to sit for her headshot in the booth, following the ribbon cutting. She was impressed by the clarity of her photo and how easy it was to use the system. 

“One thing that students complain a lot about is that they can’t get professional headshots when going to interviews, or going to companies,” said Johnson, who is from Atlanta. “This is another good example of the Career Development Center helping students prepare for the workforce.” 

Officials say the Iris Booth demonstrates the university’s commitment to engage and support students as they begin or continue their career journeys. The easy-to-use unit – located in the CDC – uses high quality lighting and allows users to approve or retake photos. It also allows users to crop photos, touch up blemishes, whiten teeth, or apply filters, and instantly delivers digital photos via email. 

“With the Iris Booth, we no longer have to find somebody for you to get a professional picture. We no longer have to hire anyone,” Antoinette Hargrove Duke, director of the Career Development Center, told students, as she thanked the leadership of the Student Affairs office for supporting the idea for the booth. 

“Our students deserve this cutting-edge technology,” Duke added. “They no longer have an excuse for looking their very best when going to look for internships or going for job interviews.” 

Duke also thanked her staff and the student leadership for their support, as well as the staff of the TSU Facilities Department for transforming the previous office space to install the photo booth. 

Derrick Sanders, president of the Student Government Association, expressed appreciation to the CDC for its support, and urged his fellow students to take advantage of not only the new booth, but the center. 

“I just want to say to all the students to make sure you come here, not only to get your headshot, but take advantage of the resources in this office,” said Sanders. “The headshot is definitely a key piece to the industrial field and life after TSU. But I also encourage all of you to be engaged in this office.” 

Also participating in the ribbon-cutting ceremony were Prof. Rita Fleming, who represented Dr. Kimberly Triplett, chair of the Faculty Senate; Mister TSU Mark T. Davis, Jr.; Miss TSU Mallory Moore; and Tanya McNeal, student ambassador. 

For more information on the TSU Career Development Center, visit https://www.tnstate.edu/careers/.