Tag: Middle Tennessee State University

Black Girls RUN! Encourages African-American Women to Try Distance Running

Toni Carey and Ashley Hicks founded Black girls RUN! in 2009 to get African-American women interested and excited about distance running.
Ashley Hicks and Toni Carey founded Black girls RUN! in 2009 to get African-American women interested and excited about distance running. Since the launch of their original running group four years ago, Black Girls RUN! has grown, now with about 70 groups across the U.S. (Courtesy of Black Girls RUN!)

Throwing on a pair of running shoes and heading out the door is one of the cheapest, simplest forms of exercise. But when two college friends took up running to burn off some of the freshman 15-pound weight gain, their families and friends couldn’t relate.

“[They] would ask us what we were doing, and when we said ‘running,’ they would look baffled,” said Toni Carey. She started running shortly after graduating Middle Tennessee State University, inspired by watching her friend Ashley Hicks take up the sport. Both Carey and Hicks are African-American, and they say they also felt excluded at the races they attended.

“We would be the only black people there,” Carey says, “and we never got a warm welcome. It was like, ‘are you guys in the right place?'”

That’s likely because Carey and Hicks are, in fact, a rarity. The 2013 National Runner survey, an annual report by Running USA of nearly 25,000 American runners, showed that only 3.3 percent of African-Americans were classified as “core runners” — defined as those who compete in races and train year-round. That’s compared to 88.1 percent of runners who were white, 5.2 who were Hispanic and 4.1 who were Asian or Pacific Islander. (Respondents could select more than one ethnicity, so that’s why those numbers add up to more than 100 percent.)

So Carey and Hicks decided to do something to encourage their community to join the activity they loved. They began by blogging about their races and training, and then, Carey says, “It took a life of its own.”

That was 2009, and “it” became an online group called Black Girls RUN! Today, nearly 70 running groups exist across the United States, with about 61,000 members. The Black Girls RUN! Facebook page has over 70,000 “likes,” and the Twitter feed has almost 17,000 followers.

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Homeless Teen Drew Gooch Earns Full Scholarship To College in Tennessee

Drew Gooch, 17, is homeless student that is graduating at the top of his class and a full ride to Middle Tennessee State University.
Drew Gooch, 17, is a homeless student who is graduating at the top of his class and earning a full ride to Middle Tennessee State University.
There are plenty of students that have problems to contend with at home that no one knows about. These brave soldiers still get up every morning and go to school to get some relief from their situation and try hard to focus.

Drew Gooch is a high school senior that was living in his 1997 Toyota Camry because his mother’s live-in boyfriend is a registered sex offender which prevented him from legally living with her. He has had an uphill struggle to survive, but managed to earn a full scholarship to Middle Tennessee State University, along with the Bootstrap Scholarship, a scholarship for “hardworking students who overcame odds to excel in their classes,” as well as a Martin Luther King Jr. scholarship.

He doesn’t mention much about his mom in his story, but talks about how he has taken care of himself buying his own groceries and washing his clothes and simply fending for himself, according to the Daily News Journal.  He told Nashville’s News 2 how he had been taking care of himself for as long as he can remember.  It wasn’t the first time Gooch was alone, though…he remembers being ages six and seven, and not having anyone around to do things like make meals.  ”I’ve always taken care of myself,” he said.”

To survive, he would stay with an older sister or friends, he’d stay in the library until it closed, slept in his car behind Embassy Suites, and provided a donut to teachers that would agree to work with him on his studies a half an hour before school started at Holloway High School.  The 17-year-old is obviously mature beyond his years and his principal believes he’s a godsend:

“Drew is every teacher and every principal’s dream,” said Holloway High School principal Sumatra Drayton. “I know Drew will be back here, speaking at graduation. Drew will be back here mentoring students and being a model.”  Gooch has a job at McDonald’s and he is the valedictorian of his graduating class with a 3.9 GPA.  This is a story of perseverance and dedication to education that every child should read.  Gooch wants other students to know:  “Take what life gives you. Don’t give up. Don’t sell yourself short. The only person who can decide who you can be is you,” Gooch said. “That’s what I tell myself when I look in the mirror every morning.”  To see video of Drew and his story, click here.

article via eurthisnthat.com

Rodney Bennett Becomes 1st African-American President of the University of Southern Mississippi

rodneybennettRodney Bennett has been selected as the next president of the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. He will be the first African-American president of any of the five predominantly White state universities in Mississippi.

Dr. Bennett has been serving as vice president for student affairs at the University of Georgia in Athens. He previously was dean of students and interim provost for institutional diversity at the University of Georgia. Earlier in his career, Dr. Bennett was dean of students at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina.

Ed Blakeslee, president of the Board of Trustees of State Institutions of Higher Learning in Mississippi, stated, “With a student-centered approach grounded in experience in all facets of the university, Dr. Bennett brings a tremendous depth of knowledge of higher education, its challenges and how to meet the challenges to help more students succeed in the classroom and beyond. I believe the Board of Trustees has made an excellent choice for the next leader of the University of Southern Mississippi.”

Dr. Bennett holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. He earned a doctorate in educational administration at Tennessee State University in Nashville.

article via jbhe.com