Aspiring teachers are receiving hands-on experience with at-risk youth through a unique partnership between the Belmont School of Education and local public, inner city schools. A four-hour professional core class, a requirement for education major and minors, puts Belmont students onsite at Murrell School, Magnet Middle School, Pearl Cohn Entertainment Magnet High School and Glendale Spanish Immersion Elementary School for reading clinics, tutoring session and classroom observation.
“Belmont students often do not have inner city experience when they come to the University. This is enhancing the learning of our teacher candidates,” said Education Professor Joy Kimmons. Metro Nashville Public Schools has hired several Belmont alumni who participated in her class as full-time teachers or student teachers.
On a recent winter morning, Belmont students met in at Pearl Cohn for their 45-minute lecture with Kimmons.
“Physical activity can alter the mood of a student who has trouble in the classroom,” Kimmons said to her class of 28 students meeting in the teachers’ planning room before their individual three 30-minute tutoring sessions with Pearl Cohn students. Next, they spend an hour with their paired high school teachers to facilitate small groups as well as observe and assist in classrooms. Belmont students end the on-site session by regrouping with Kimmons and their peers to debrief through conversations that connect their textbook theories with their hands-on experiences.
Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Alison Moore and the Student Members of the American Chemical Society (SMACS) led an interactive crime-solving event for students last Thursday during a convocation event. With a theme reminiscent of the popular CBS TV series “CSI,” students were challenged to play the role of Crime Scene Investigators and draw conclusions about a hypothetical crime based on their research.
Students looked at evidence including fingerprints, DNA analysis and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis, which identifies different substances within a test sample. The students also investigated footprints and the ink chromatography of a note to evaluate suspects in a supposed murder. Evidence was used to include or exclude suspects during the investigation.
“It was cool to have a convocation event that allowed me to learn the material interactively instead of simply listening and taking notes,” senior Josh Hoelker said. “I was fascinated to see how the evidence came together to pin the guilty suspect.”
Earlier in the week, the “CSI: Belmont” experience also offered a visit from a training specialist from the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation (TBI), who talked about the educational background required to work in crime investigation as well as the training investigators go through after they get the job.
While working at local app development company Aloompa, Belmont senior Bryn Bodayle partnered with photographer Jeremy Cowart as the primary IOS developer for OKDOTHIS, an iOS app that provides an idea community for photography. The app has been steadily climbing the Apple App Store charts since its launch in late November. Aloompa, which was co-founded by two Belmont alumni, specializes in mobile apps for music, food, conference and community events.
OKDOTHIS allows users to share both their favorite photos and the creative ideas (“DOs”) that led to it. Users can connect with other photographers, become inspired by their DOs, and watch as their DOs spark the creativity of others. Recent examples of inspiring “DOs”include “Use car headlights to light a subject” and “Show off a piece of art that a friend made.”
“It has been great to work on an app of such scale and potential. It’s been incredibly rewarding to see how users have used the app as a creative tool,” Bodayle said. “It’s really a new kind of social network, and I’m excited to see it continue to grow.”
Five Belmont sophomores are working hard this month to build a movement to address the national debt, a figure that currently stands at over $17 trillion. Belmont “Up to Us” formed last fall when the five students–Paul Shaw (international business), Jawon Taylor (political science), Sordum Ndam (political science), Olivia Nishi (corporate communications) and Lindsay Bond-Harris (music business)–applied to participate in the national Up to Us competition, which is sponsored by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation, Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) and Net Impact. The Belmont team was selected as one of 25 teams nationwide and is competing against teams from Duke, Cal State-Fullerton, Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Rice, George Washington and New York University, among others, with the contest set to end this Friday, Feb. 21.
The group was first interested in the competition as a means to have hands-on experience in a campaign that would benefit their diverse studies in political science, business and communications. However, this campaign has hit a nerve for all of them. Noting that $17 trillion is a difficult figure to grasp and contextualize, Ndam said, “You start telling people how serious this is, and the more you repeat these facts, the more you begin to realize how truly serious an issue it is… I’m afraid of the uncertainty of it all.”
“We want people to be thinking about the national debt and get discussion going,” said Bond-Harris. “We’re not asking for answers, but we do want people to get involved in finding answers.”
During his recent visit to Thomazeau, Haiti, College of Pharmacy Dean Phil Johnston visited villages with LiveBeyond workers and a Belmont delegation to aid and dispense medications to a woman in postpartum, a father with high blood pressure, a small boy with worms and a man with a hip injury. The most powerful experience of them all was when a man who received medical attention sang a Christian hymn in Creole as his Voodoo-practicing neighbors gathered around and listened.
“It was like watching a Bible story about caring for the least of these,” Johnston said.
He, along with College of Health Sciences & Nursing Dean Cathy Taylor and Nursing Assistant Professor Robin Cobb, visited LiveBeyond’s base in Haiti last week to identify areas of student mission participation and to flush out unique partnerships between the University and the nonprofit organization that would allow Belmont students to provide medical and educational resources as well as business development to the ailing Caribbean country. Founded by retired trauma surgeon David Vanderpool, LiveBeyond moved its headquarters in May into Belmont’s Facilities Management Services building at the corner of 15th and Delmar avenues. The organization’s 64-acre Haitian base encompasses medical care, nutrition, maternal health, orphan care, education development, community development and infrastructure, agriculture and demonstration farms, clean water projects and community outreach visits to those with special needs and disabilities in a region 25 miles northeast of Port Au Prince, Haiti.
“We certainly were able to get a great flavor for the compound and the vision for what is there now and the vision for what is planned,” said Taylor, who co-hosted a convocation-credit forum to share more about the team’s experiences at noon Feb. 19 in McWhorter Hall room 114. (more…)