Belmont Women’s Soccer Team Awarded Academic Award for Highest GPA

WomensSoccerVSMoreheadState-019The Belmont women’s soccer team posted the highest team grade point average (GPA) in NCAA Division I for the 2013-14 academic year as the National Soccer College Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) announced their Team Academic Awards on Monday.

The Bruins earned the NSCAA Team Academic Award for the 10th consecutive season after posting a team GPA of 3.73, which is the highest in Division I and the second highest among all NCAA Divisions.  Fellow OVC member Southeast Missouri ranked second in Division I at 3.72, while Clemson was third at 3.67.

Belmont was one of six OVC members to receive the honor.  Joining Belmont and Southeast Missouri were Morehead State, Murray State, SIUE, and Tennessee Tech.

For information on this win, please click here to view the story on the Belmont Bruins website.

Home School Science Discoveries Featured in Tennessean article

steven_murphreeDr. Steve Murphree, professor of biology, and the Belmont Home School Science Discoveries program was featured in a recent article in The Tennessean.  The Home School Science Discoveries program, a community outreach program in the College of Sciences and Mathematics, was started in response to Dr. Murphree’s long running summer day camp, Beetles, Bugs and Butterflies.

This semester, there were three home-school sessions: Dr. Rachel Rigsby hosted “Fun with Chemistry,” Drs. Krista McBride and Davon Ferrara hosted “Projectile Motion” and Dr. Murphree hosted “Experiments in Animal Behavior.” The program is open to home schooled students of various ages and due to limited space, participation is on a first-come basis.

To view the full article, click here.


Biology Student Presents Research at Warner Park Nature Center

davisBrielle Davis, a senior biology major, presented her senior research project, titled “Effect of Previous Experience and Habituation on the Anti-Predator Response in Elimia Snails,” to visitors at the Warner Park Nature Center on Saturday, Nov. 22.

The research is based on Davis’s work with organisms found in Beaman Park.  An extension of previous work in Davis’s faculty advisor Dr. John Niedzwiecki’s lab studying the chemical detection of predators by aquatic organisms, Davis and several other student’s studied the limits and subtleties of this type of detection. Other projects done on aquatic organisms from Beaman Park and the effects on native and invasive plants on detritivores found in Warner Park were also on display.

Students Participate in Nashville’s ReLeafing Day

Anna Margaret McDonnell, Sonia Kadakia and Katie Keast from Tri-Beta.

Anna Margaret McDonnell, Sonia Kadakia and Katie Keast from Tri-Beta.

Students from the Beta Beta Beta Biological Honorary Society (Tri-Beta) and Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) student organizations participated in the Nashville Tree Foundation’s ReLeafing Day on Saturday, Nov. 22. Students Ryan Agh, Sarah Cannavino and Ambrose Rice from SMACS planted three trees, met with University President Dr. Bob Fisher and planted their final tree at a Belmont Alumni’s house.

ReLeafing Day is the Nashville Tree Foundation’s fall planting, held every year on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.  This year, the volunteers worked in Cleveland and McFerrin Park neighborhoods, Monroe Harding and St. George’s Episcopal Church.

Student and Faculty Present at Association for Computing Machinery Conference

Belmont computer science student Christopher Hooper presented a talk, “Learning Programming Online: Where You Could Start and Where You Will Go,” at the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) Mid-Southeast Chapter Fall Conference in Gatlinburg on Nov. 14.

Hooper discussed available online resources for computer programming education, their uses and where a beginner with no experience could start. Hooper, an adult student taking computer science courses part-time, works full-time as a research assistant in neonatology for the Department of Pediatrics at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Computer Science Professors Drs. Joyce Crowell and William Hooper’s ”Hidden Curricula in Computer Science” paper was accepted in the professional division of the conference.  An outgrowth of several years of collaboration, including a joint presentation at the 2012 Lilly Conference on College Teaching, their talk highlighted teaching outcomes that aren’t explicitly stated in course materials or captured in assessment data.

SunTrust Music Bankers Complete Scholarship Endowment

FullSizeRenderSunTrust Music Bankers swore off shaving in November and presented a check for $10,000 to Belmont’s Harry Chapman on Friday, Nov. 21 to complete the endowment for The Brian Williams Scholarship. Named in honor of SunTrust’s Brian Williams who passed away in 2006, the award will support a Belmont music business student.

On Nov. 14,  the team opened a Crowdrise campaign for the Williams Scholarship, and the gifts from the Music Row community came in daily. After receiving a number of generous gifts, the Scholarship reached its full endowment.

SunTrust Music Managing Director, Andrew Kintz, said, “We have been overwhelmed by the generosity on Music Row and beyond for this cause. Even teammates in North Carolina and Georgia who Brian hired stopped shaving! So many artists and people in our industry love Brian and want to honor his legacy. This is truly a gift from the entire music industry to Belmont, just as Brian is still such a gift to us – for the Division and culture he created, and the countless people he has helped.”

For more information, click here.

Bridges to Belmont Director Co-Authors Book Review

Mary Clark, director of Belmont’s Bridges to Belmont program, recently co-authored a book review for Pathways to Higher Education Administration for African American Women in the November 2014 edition of the “Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice.”

College of Law Dean Featured in National News Interviews


Belmont University College of Law Dean and former U.S. Attorney General Judge Alberto Gonzales has participated in many national interviews on immigration in recent weeks. With interviews on CNN’s “State of the Union with Candy Crowley,” CNN’s “Anderson Cooper 360,” FOX News and more, Gonzales has commented on his “conservative and compassionate” approach to immigration reform. This theory is further addressed in the recent book he co-authored with David Strange, A Conservative and Compassionate Approach to Immigration Reform.

Following the President’s prime-time address on immigration reform, Gonzales also participated in a national news interview with Neil Cavuto at FOX Business. Friday morning, Gonzales was on CNN’s “New Day with Chris Cuomo & Allison Camerota.

For more information regarding Gonzales’s book, click here.

Students Attend Neuroscience Conference to Present Research

studentsBelmont Neuroscience Program Coordinator, Dr. Lori McGrew, took six students to the annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, held in Washington, D.C., Nov. 15-18.  The students included Hensley Barnes, Lauren Sheppard, Karah Parker, Iqra Wahid, Jaime Wesley and Cassie Wyatt, a group that has conducted research with Dr. McGrew utilizing zebrafish. They presented a poster showcasing their findings during the conference’s Faculty for Undergraduate chapter meeting.

The conference is an international gathering of over 31,000 neuroscientists who share their latest findings including labs surrounding a streptococcus bacteria, oxytocin’s influence on social memory and interaction, cellular and molecular mechanisms for memory and an inspiration presentation on Dr. Nicoll’s journey to becoming a renowned electrophysiologist, despite his severe dyslexia.

For more information on conference highlights, click here.

Honors Program Ranks Second as NCHC Best Honors College/Program Newsletter

Capture2The National Collegiate Honor’s Council (NCHC), an organization committed to supporting the work of Honors Programs across the country, announced its 2014 award winners at The 2014 NCHC Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado last weekend. The Belmont Honors Program Newsletter took home Second Place for the Best Student-Produced, Electronic Honors College/Program Newsletter.

Led by student editor and senior honors commercial music major Sammi Potts, the team of students responsible for the newsletter included Honors Student Council members Zachary Lord, Ryan Brommer and Anthony Manker, senior music business majors, and John Thomas Faircloth, senior corporate communication major.


Alumna Signs With Universal Music Group Nashville

dunnBelmont alumna and singer-songwriter-guitarist Clare Dunn has recently signed with Universal Music Group Nashville (UMGN). Joining Belmont alumnus Josh Turner, UMGN is home to many of Nashville’s top country artists.

A 2011 songwriting graduate of Belmont, Dunn has opened for artists including Florida Georgia Line, Kieth Urban and Luke Bryan. She will open for Bob Seger this week.

Prior to coming to Belmont for college, Dunn grew up in southeast Colorado where she worked cattle and drove tractors for her family’s farm. To pay her way through school, Dunn worked harvest and drove a silage truck through Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska on school breaks. Dunn signed her first publishing deal after graduation, and since then, she has written with Will Hoge, Marshall Altman and Hillary Lindsey, among others.

For more information on Dunn and her career, visit her website here.

Student Named ASCAP Foundation’s Bart Howard Songwriting Scholarship Recipient


Photo by Marisa Boras

The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers (ASCAP) recently honored Belmont freshman songwriting major, Kel Taylor, as the 2014 winner of the ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Songwriting Scholarship during November’s installment of the ASCAP Belmont Songwriters Showcase, held Tues., Nov. 11. Taylor‘s song,  “Nashville,” was selected by music faculty and Belmont University as the best song submitted for the competition, based on overall craft, artistry and compositional elements.

This tuition scholarship recognizes the talent, professionalism, career potential and musical ability of a songwriting major. Bart Howard (1915-2004) penned over 200 songs, including “Fly Me to the Moon,” which has been performed by Frank Sinatra, Ella Fitzgerald and many others. The program is made possible by the ASCAP Foundation Bart Howard Fund.

For more information, visit Taylor’s website here.

Belmont Alumna and Nashville Attorney Selected for Tennessee Bar Association’s Leadership Law Class

McKelvey-HighResRebecca McKelvey Castañeda, a 2003 Belmont graduate and attorney at Stites & Harbison, was recently selected by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA) to participate in its 2015 Leadership Law Class. A six-month training program designed to further prepare lawyers for leadership in their careers and communities, the Class has 37 participants selected by TBA.

McKelvey Castañeda is based at Stites & Harbison’s Nashville office and primarily handles cases related to domestic relations, child custody, adoption, relocation, child support and Hague Convention international child abduction. She serves on the board of directors for the Tennessee Justice Center and is a member of Belmont University Alumni Board of Directors (immediate past president).

Jessie Pitts Makes Top 12 On NBC’s ‘The Voice’

Processed with VSCOcam with g3 presetJessie Pitts, a Belmont sophomore and student in the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business, competed on NBC’s “The Voice,” where she made it to this season’s top 12 performers. During the show’s first live Play-Off episode, Pitts sang Bonnie Tyler’s “Holding Out for a Hero,” a performance that secured her place as one of Team Blake’s top three.

“Your pitch is perfect and your voice is hypnotic, as usual,” said Coach Blake Shelton. “If Jessie gets comfortable with the actual groove of this song, there is no stopping that kid… She just creates a new mold.” he said.

During Monday night’s episode, Pitts performed Swedish House Mafia’s “Don’t You Worry Child” and wowed viewers with her piano skills. Up until Tuesday morning, viewers could utilize a variety of avenues, including texting, social media, “The Voice” app, phone calls and to vote. As her final performance on Tuesday night’s results show prior to her elimination, Pitts sang Sara Bareilles’s “Gravity,” 

For behind the scenes access to Jessie’s “Voice” journey and to read more on her musical career, follow her Twitter here.

School of Nursing Hosts NLN Technology Pre-Conference

Nursing Pre-ConferenceBelmont University’s School of Nursing hosted a pre-conference as part of the ninth annual National League for Nursing Technology conference in Nashville on Oct. 24. Participants from around the nation filled one of Belmont’s simulation labs for a presentation on the School’s integration of an academic electronic health record across the curriculum.

Professors Sarah Tarr, Jean Blank and Dr. Jamie Adam engaged the sold-out audience in hands on learning including selection, use and integration of the technology.

“Electronic health records (EHRs) have the potential to mitigate error, streamline processes and improve communication across the spectrum of health care. Meaningful use of EHRs in chronic and acute care is a major priority in the U. S. health system today. Our faculty have been early adopters of this technology in the classroom, lab and clinical areas and our students and their future patients are the beneficiaries of this work,” said Associate Dean of Nursing Dr. Martha Buckner.

Thorndike, Schneller Present at National Honors Council Conference

Thorndike and Schneller NCHC2 2014Dr. Jonathan Thorndike, honors program director, and Dr. Beverly Schneller, associate provost for academic affairs, recently presented at the 2014 National Collegiate Honors Council Annual Conference in Denver. Their presentation was titled “Using Evidence-Based Assessment to Target Admissions and Improve Retention” in a round table session with Dr. Andrew Martino of Southern New Hampshire University. NCHC is organized with a keynote speaker, panel presentations, individual presentations, poster sessions and student sessions. NCHC is the only national-level professional group devoted to the development, management, promotion and assessment of interdisciplinary college and university honors programs. Belmont’s Honors Program is a member of NCHC and utilizes their “best practices” for assessment and planning purposeses.

Chair of Belmont’s Board of Trustees Honored with Music City Center Terrace Dedication

commencement_13-199Marty Dickens, chair of Belmont’s Board of Trustees, was recently honored by the Convention Center Authority and Mayor Karl Dean with the dedication of the Music City Center’s Marty Dickens Terrace. A longtime and influential volunteer of the Center, Dickens was one of the first community leaders to support the project and was instrumental in leading the coalition that fought for the downtown convention space.

“Marty’s vision from the very beginning was to build something that would be great for the city and the people of Nashville, and he worked tirelessly to make that dream a reality,” said Charles Starks, president and CEO of the Music City Center.

Since the Center’s inception in 2009, Dickens has served as chairman of the Convention Center Authority.

“I’m deeply appreciative of this wonderful honor, and Betty joins me in thanking Mayor Dean and the members of the Convention Center Authority for making this possible,” Dickens said. “I’m honored to be part of something that has had such a positive impact on the city of Nashville.”

The terrace is located on the east side of the Music City Center, directly across from the Omni Hotel.

College of Law Professor Chosen for TBA Leadership Program

jeffreyusmanBelmont College of Law Professor and Faculty Adviser for Belmont’s Criminal Law Society and Legal Aid Society, Jeffrey Usman has been selected as one of 37 lawyers from across the state, by the Tennessee Bar Association (TBA), to participate in the 2015 Leadership Law program. This is a six month leadership training program for distinguished young lawyers.

Now in its 12th year, the program is designed to equip Tennessee lawyers with the vision, knowledge and skills necessary to serve as leaders in their profession and local communities. The class will meet for its first session in January, and then spend the next six months learning about leadership in the legal profession, issues in the courts, policymaking in state government and the importance of community service.


Adjunct Professor Challenges Women to Spark a Revolution

ellengoebel2006Belmont University Adjunct Professor, Alumna and Co-Owner at Worldwide Groove Corporation, Ellen Tift wrote Supermodel Astronaut, a song encouraging women to believe in the power of themselves and take a challenge proclaiming their own worth. Inspired by an increasing amount of negative self-talk among women, Tift wanted to remind women of their internal strength and to recognize the supermodel astronaut within.

According to Tift, supermodel astronauts are all over – women of all ages who are accomplishing big things in their lives can claim the title. “Moms are Supermodel Astronauts, single women who keep bills paid, 12-year-old girls who are true to themselves and do the right thing are Supermodel Astronauts,” Tift said.

As the Ice Bucket Challenge trend was slowing down, Tift said she was inspired to create a video for her song. She envisioned one that would feature everyday women claiming the promise of the campaign, “I am enough.” With Belmont alumni, students, faculty and staff on board, the Supermodel Astronaut video was born.


Journalism Student Receives CMA Close Up Award of Merit

photo 2Kelly Brickey, Belmont junior and journalism major, was recently named CMA’s Close Up Award of Merit in journalism recipient, in recognition of her work for CMA Close Up magazine during this summer’s CMA Fest.

Throughout CMA’s week of festivities, Brickey was assigned events to cover including Big & Rich’s opening show, performances at LP Field and a story on the Budweiser Clydesdales. Brickey says the experience was very valuable for her future career, as she was able to learn how to get the right information in a short period of time and turn the story around on an even shorter deadline.

Brickey said receiving the award was unexpected, as the team of journalists she was working alongside was very talented. “I was honored to be a part of an amazing team this year; every one of the other journalists alongside me were brilliant and so innovative,” she said.

Being at Belmont has been a large contributor to her success, Brickey noted. “Being a journalism student at Belmont has completely changed me… I have learned more than I ever thought I could from our media department. They have not only taught me the skills and academics I need to be a successful journalist, but also how to form my own voice and develop the real-life tactics it takes to be a journalist.”

Chemistry Students Participate in STEM Poetry Slam Competition

poetry_slamFive students from Dr. Kimberlee Daus’s Organic Chemistry I class competed in the Nov. 5 inaugural Middle Tennessee STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) Poetry Slam Competition.  The contest, open to area high school and college students, was presented by the Middle Tennessee STEM Innovation Hub, which recently moved to Belmont’s campus.

Students presented poems that explained a challenging STEM concept or inspired young people to pursue STEM-related fields. All poetry was written and performed by the entrant. Daus’s students were invited to enter the contest to address difficult content in organic chemistry.

Students Sydney Gangluff, Angel Brothers, Sarah Cannavino, Miranda West and Kathryn Hook were selected as 5 of the 16 finalists.  Hook and West were selected as top winners in the science category.  Their entry, entitled “Mechalicious,” explained the difference between SN1 and SN2 reaction mechanisms.

To view their video, click here.

Belmont Included on The Hollywood Reporter’s Top 25 Music Schools

In an article recently published in The Hollywood Reporter, Belmont is noted on a list of the top 25 music schools across the world. Crossing the continent and going as far as Paris, Seoul and London, the articles highlights schools where the “Emmy and Oscar winners of tomorrow are practicing.”

Coming in at No. 24, Belmont’s Mike Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business is honored for its Nashville connections, as well as its programs in New York and California. Students studying within this program can choose to spend a semester in either city, studying at what the University calls Belmont East or West.

Between the Curb College of Entertainment and Music Business and the University’s School of Music, Belmont offers 15 programs of study, including songwriting, audio engineering, commercial and classical music as well as the school’s most recent edition, music therapy.

To see The Hollywood Reporter’s complete list, click here.

College of Law Professor Presents at Health Law Symposium

deborahfarringerDeborah Farringer, assistant professor in Belmont’s College of Law, spoke at Hamline University Law School’s Health Law Symposium, Health Care Reform Implementation in Minnesota: Mission Advanced But Not Accomplished.  The symposium gathered regional and nationals experts to explore the “real, outstanding and upcoming law and policy issues relating to the implementation of health care reform.”

Farringer presented her paper, Keeping Our Eyes on the Prize:  Examining Minnesota as a Means for Assuring Achievement of the “Triple Aim” under the ACA, which analyzes the regulations governing accountable care organizations under the Accountable Care Act (ACA) and the impact of regulations on academic medical centers.  Her paper will be published in the Spring 2015 symposium issue of the Hamline Law Review.

Nursing Professors Present at Tennessee Nurses Association Meeting

Donna Copenhaver-Thsandy murabitoAt the recent annual meeting of the Tennessee Nurses Association held in October in Murfreesboro, Drs. Donna Copenhaver and Sandy Murabito, both assistant professors in the School of Nursing, presented their work on nursing leadership and management simulation for undergraduate students.

They shared their experiences teaching critical thinking practices for delegation, prioritization and patient safety decisions, utilizing the newly released Standards of Best Practice in Simulation published by the International Nursing Association for Clinical Simulation (INACSL).

Professor Presents at International Conferences

Dr. Mike Voight presenting to Japanese physicians and physical therapists.

Dr. Mike Voight presenting to Japanese physicians and physical therapists.

Dr. Mike Voight, professor of physical therapy, was recently a keynote presenter at the World Golf Fitness Summit in Carlsbad, California and at a meeting of the Japanese Athletic Trainer and Physiotherapy Association in Tokyo, Japan.

The World Golf Fitness Summit brings together over 30 of the world’s thought leaders in athletic performance to discuss the latest research and practical applications.  Dr. Voight is noted as one of the leading authorities in the rehabilitation of orthopedic and sports injuries.  At the Summit, he joined Dr. Tom Byrd, an orthopedic surgeon specializing in sports medicine and arthroscopic surgery, to present a session about hip injuries in the golfer.

Earlier in the month, Dr. Voight co-presented a session to the Japanese medical community on the evaluation of movement disorders and the impact that poor movement has on the hip.  Seventy-five Japanese physicians and physical therapist were in attendance.

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