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Tech Connect Alumni e-Newsletter:   May 2015





TTU engineering professor, grad student invited to do research for US Air Force


Mechanical engineering assistant professor Steve Anton and one of his doctoral students have been invited to spend this summer in Florida, working to solve a problem for the Air Force.

Anton has been selected for the 2015 Air Force Summer Faculty Fellowship Program, which aims to align academic research interests with Air Force needs. Last year, fewer than 100 researchers from across the country were accepted into the program.

Through the program, Anton and TTU graduate student Ryan Kettle, of Johnson City, will spend 10 weeks at Eglin Air Force Base working to develop a sensing system that can relay information in real time about a structure, like a missile or launching system, that is undergoing shock loading, which causes a lot of physical stress and structural changes very quickly.

Read more.

TTU professor helping to prepare for droughts in Tennessee


A Tennessee Tech University professor is working to prepare Tennessee and its Cumberland River basins from future droughts and floods.

The effort by assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering Alfred Kalyanapu is part of a five-year $4.9-million study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Water for Agriculture initiative.

“Tennessee has been regularly affected by droughts. The most recent was in 2008,” Kalyanapu said. “No one probably knows that but it is still affected. We wanted to look at what amount of water is available and what amount of water we can use for agricultural production.”

Read more.

Brookings Institute: TTU top-ranked value-added public university in Tennessee


Tennessee Tech University graduates are among the best-prepared in the state for successful careers, according to a study by the Brookings Institute’s Metropolitan Policy Program.

TTU is the top-ranked public university in the state; across all of Tennessee’s four-year institution, it is second to Memphis’ Rhodes College.

“Our graduates leave Tennessee Tech well prepared to be leaders in their fields and make a difference in their communities and careers,” said TTU President Phil Oldham. “Their intelligence and talents are consistently recognized by employers and, increasingly, by various college rankings.”

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Four engineering students design solar golf cart for TTU’s Oldham


Four Tennessee Tech University manufacturing and engineering technology seniors spent the semester designing and building a solar-powered golf cart for President Phil Oldham.

The cart has been in the works for about a year, designed by seniors in professor and department chairman Ahmed Elsawy’s projects class. They created at the request of the president.

“It looks sharp; they did a great job,” Oldham said after his first test drive of the cart. “We might see it in the president’s spot. I might drive this through Centennial plaza.”

All told, it took the four students about 1,000 hours of work. By converting the cart to charge using free solar power instead of plugging it in, the team estimates the university could save a dollar or two every day. In the course of a year, that would amount to $400 in savings. The cart would pay for itself in three years, the team members said.

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Kevin H. Braswell named TTU vice president for University Advancement


Tennessee Tech University welcomes Kevin H. Braswell as vice president for University Advancement after his recent selection to the university's senior leadership team.

At TTU, he will serve as the chief development officer and lead all fundraising, alumni and development activities. He also will serve as a member of the president's cabinet to develop and support strategic decisions.

As vice president, he will oversee the offices of Advancement Services, Alumni Relations, Development and Communications & Marketing, as well as serve as liaison with the TTU Foundation. He plans to join the university on June 30.

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TTU student’s research could assist cancer therapy


A Tennessee Tech University student is conducting research into a different form of therapy used to treat cancer.

Leora Maxwell is a senior chemical engineering major from Cookeville, Tennessee. She previously worked in a nursing home facility as a nursing assistant before beginning her degree at TTU.

As opposed to chemotherapy, TTF therapy uses electric fields to kill cancer cells. TTF therapy also has less damaging side effects than chemotherapy because it targets a specific part of the body.

“Cancer is the second leading cause of death, next to heart disease, in the U.S. Many of us are affected by the disease either directly or indirectly,” said Maxwell. “My research can help further the understanding of this TTF therapy and could possibly lead to the use of this therapy in other types of cancer, not just glioblastoma, which is the brain cancer that it is currently being used in.”

Read more.

Art, communication students come together to ‘make dreams happen’


Natalie Novak wants her pottery to be the flatware in a Nashville farm-to-table restaurant.

Jonathan Elakman is planning an installation of colored glass for Cookeville Regional Medical Center.

Andrew Patterson’s wood furniture will help an interior design company create unique spaces.

Jonathan Carpenter can create the characters and environments to make someone else’s stories come to life.

These four art students, with help from other students in a professional communication class, recently pitched their dreams for their work to a panel of judges instead of taking a traditional final at Tennessee Tech University. The project teamed students in Kimberly Winkle’s professional practices for the artist class and others from Amy Jo Carpenter’s professional communications class.

Though the winners received awards, the intention of the competition was not to receive the highest grade or an award.

“The objective is not to pick whose is best. We wanted you to think about branding, about audiences, why you need to have a brand,” said Amy Jo Carpenter. “This is about learning to work with other students who are not the same as you and how to communicate and work as a team and be exposed to the creative process.”

Read more.

Retiring metals professor hosts retrospective show at TTU Craft Center


For 35 years, Robert Coogan has been a fixture in the metals studio at Tennessee Tech University’s Appalachian Center for Craft.

Coogan is retiring this summer from the program he helped to start and has led for all but one year of its existence. Before he goes, he will host one final solo faculty show on the campus he spent so much time on.

“It’s work I’ve made over a long period of time and about seven new pieces that nobody’s ever seen,” he said. “I get fueled by making things. It still amazes me that I can take an old steel pipe and reshape it and add copper to it and it becomes something else.”

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TTU music students to perform at UK music festival


Three Tennessee Tech University music majors have received a grant to study and perform in an international music festival this summer.

Torey Hart, a junior from Hixson; Sarah McMichen, a senior from Greeneville, and Anjali Sivaainkaran, a senior from Columbia, are studying clarinet at TTU.

The women will perform at the Harlaxton International Music Festival June 28 to July 5 in Lincolnshire, U.K. Their trip will be supported by three $2,500 Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity grants.

Read more.


TTU Alumni Night at the NY Yankees Game

DATE & TIME: Saturday, June 6, 2015, beginning at 6 p.m.

Mark your calendars now to join TTU alumni and friends at a New York Yankees Game!

We'll gather in the Executive Suite at Yankee Stadium, for a reception at 6 p.m. followed by the baseball game at 7:15 p.m. The Yankees will take on the L.A. Angels.

The cost of the event is $40 per person, which includes the reception and game ticket.

RESERVATIONS: Register online at or you may call TTU Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205. If you registered before May 17, your tickets will be mailed to you. After that, tickets will be available at Premium Will Call.

Space is limited, so register soon!

Read more.

TTU Alumni Reception in Seattle, Washington

DATE & TIME: Sunday, June 14, 2015, 6:30-8:30 p.m.

LOCATION: Sullivan's Steakhouse, 621 Union St., Seattle, WA 98101

The Tennessee Tech University Alumni Association invites you to an alumni reception for all of our Seattle area alumni and alumni who are attending the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Conference.

  • Mix and mingle with TTU alumni from the Seattle area.
  • Enjoy a selection of heavy hors d'oeuvres. A cash bar will be available.
  • Meet and talk with Tennessee Tech Dean of Engineering Joe Rencis and other engineering faculty.

RESERVATIONS: Please make your reservation by Thursday, June 11, 2015. Register online at or you may call TTU Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205. The cost for the event is $10 per person.

Read more.

Alumni Brunch and a Day at Zoo Atlanta

DATE & TIME: Saturday, June 27, 2015, 9:30 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. 

TTU alumni are invited to an Alumni Brunch and a day at Zoo Atlanta — an event for the whole family. Brunch begins at 9:30 a.m. Afterwards, spend the remainder of the day strolling through the zoo and enjoying all the wildlife and exhibits.

RESERVATIONS: Register online at or by calling TTU Alumni Relations at 1-800-889-8730 or 931-372-3205. Please make your reservations by Thursday, June 25. The cost of the event is $20 per person. Children ages 2 and under are free.

DIRECTIONS: Zoo Atlanta is located at 800 Cherokee Ave SE, Atlanta, GA 30315. Visit for driving and public transportation directions. Parking is free.

Read more.


Save on auto and home insurance


Official TTU ring, pendant and limited edition centennial ring

The official Tennessee Tech ring and pendant represent the special memories and traditions of your years at Tennessee Tech — hearing the Tech Hymn played by the Derryberry tower carillon or the Golden Eagle Marching Band at football games, hanging out on South Patio with your friends between classes and classes, discussions and time spent with your favorite professors. This ring and pendant are a tangible connection to your past, present, and future.

In celebration of the university's centennial, we have also designed a customized signet ring, pendant and lapel pin that features Tennessee Tech's centennial mark. The centennial ring, pendant and lapel pin are a limited edition and will only be sold in 2015 and 2016.

Show your TTU Pride by wearing an official Tennessee Tech ring, pendant or lapel pin.

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Pre-order the new TTU license plate

Tennessee Tech alumni and friends who have the current TTU license plate or any Tennessee residents who would like to show Purple Pride are encouraged to pre-order the new TTU license plate. 

The university created the new tag that will allow TTU to earn $15 per plate, but the plate is NOT yet available at your county court clerk's office. The State of Tennessee requires that 1,000 plates be sold before it will produce and distribute the new specialty plate.

Show your Tech Pride and pre-order your new Tech specialy plate today! Visit to pre-order your plate or click "order now."

Read more.

Two exciting trips for alumni


July 18-26, 2015 | AMERICAN EMPRESS | Clarkston to Portland

Follow the passage of Lewis and Clark’s fabled expedition to the Pacific coast as you journey through a geological masterpiece of astounding landscapes. From verdant forests and magnificent mountains to breathtaking gorges and sparkling waterfalls, experience the natural majesty of the Pacific Northwest while cruising the Columbia and Snake Rivers aboard the American Empress, the largest and most elegant riverboat west of the Mississippi.


October 4-13, 2015 | OCEANIA CRUISES RIVIERA | Athens to Barcelona

Special Price Reduction: 2-for-1 cruise fares with free airfare from select cities and bonus $1,000 early booking savings per stateroom if booked by June 15, 2015

History comes to life on this impressive voyage that reflects the heart and soul of the Mediterranean. Uncover a dazzling mosaic of cultural and historical treasures as you sail to Greece, Italy, Monaco, France and Spain aboard Oceania Cruises’ newest ship, Riviera.

Read more.

Tennessee Tech University Alumni Relations

Box 5157, Cookeville, TN 38505
Phone: 931-372-3205  ·  Toll free: 1-800-889-8730

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