This is the latest news from Middle Tennessee State University.
MTSU student wins ATHENA scholarship
Khadijah Alnassari of Nashville, Tennessee, received a $3,000 Rutherford ATHENA scholarship from Rutherford Cable this year.
The organization also presented the ATHENA Award to the Rev. Martha Toucton of Murfreesboro and the ATHENA Award for Young Professional Leadership to Robin Seay of Murfreesboro. With 250 members, Rutherford Cable is a 10-year leadership organization for the career advancement of women.
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A double major in biology and sociology, Alnassari plans to use the scholarship to pay for tuition.
“As an avid advocate for women’s rights and inclusion, I was amazed to see how many women came together to support and encourage each other,” said Alnassari, 39, who enrolled at MTSU as a freshman 21 years ago.
A few weeks after first enrolling, the events, known collectively as “September 11,” caused her to suspend her education following widespread Islamophobia – aversion or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.
In the fall of 2020, with the nation in the midst of the pandemic, he re-enrolled at MTSU, and the 14-year-old triplets (son Ahmed and daughters Fatimah and Zaynab) began a dual-enrollment pre-med path and they joined her on the journey. The triplets, now 15 and about to graduate from Metro Nashville Public School’s Virtual School, will have enough credits to be juniors this fall.
Alnassari has also been dedicated to the outreach, education, and inclusion of Muslims at MTSU and their children. She received the Student Organization President of the Year award at MTSU. All four won the National Women’s History Month Trailblazer Award for their work in diversity and inclusion on campus.
Alnassari has been a leader of two MTSU investigative teams and president of Al-Wahda, a United Muslim Association, dedicated to the understanding and inclusion of Muslims on campus.
All of them also organized the first Veil Festival in March.
In addition to the ATHENA scholarship, she has received these scholarships for the fall semester of 2022: Scholarship for business and professional women; Mairia Clark Specialization Scholarship in Sociology; James Tillman Sociology Major Scholarship; George Davis Biology Fellowship; and the Tate Family Pre-Professional Scholarship.
Fishing Program Scholarship
MTSU’s Blake Osborn, outdoor coordinator for Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits, the students were interested in a college fishing program. The slowdown during the pandemic allowed him to keep going.
Osborn contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency, or TWRA, about fishing licenses and equipment, and their conversations led to the discovery of grant funding. Osborn applied for and obtained $70,000 of those funds for a new fishing program, the first college outdoor recreation program in the state to do so.
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He used the funds that came in late 2021 to stock MTOP with poles, tackle, kayaks, paddleboards, cargo trailers, camping gear, fly fishing setups and more.
“With our new gear, we now offer free rod and tackle rentals, discounted additional gear rentals, free fishing charters and free fishing clinics,” Osborn said. “All of these benefits are available to students and faculty alike, and all equipment is available for rent to the broader Murfreesboro community.”
The only requirement to take advantage of MTSU’s new fishing program is to show proof of a state fishing license, available to purchase online at tn.gov/twra/license-sales/fishing-licenses.html The cost is $9 for a day license and $38 for an annual license. MTOP will also offer a $30 rental credit for annual license holders.