Home Blog

Student Spotlight: Brooke Grubb

Check out our next Student Spotlight! One of our very own Environmental Sciences-Biology
PhD students, Brooke Grubb, has received a Smithsonian Fellowship award! Brooke will be at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, for 10weeks from July 1-September 6, 2024. Brooke worked really hard for this award, and we are very proud of

We have included a plate figure showing the species group she is working with.

Alumni Spotlight: Emmanuel Aboah Boateng


Emmanuel Aboah Boateng, graduated with top honors from the
University of Mines and Technology in Ghana, made a
pivotal choice to further his studies by pursuing a Ph.D.
in computer engineering at Tennessee Tech University.
This decision served as a launching pad for his career
in artificial intelligence (AI) at Microsoft.

Presently, Aboah serves as an applied scientist at
Microsoft, a position he secured through his
involvement in the highly selective Microsoft AI
Development Acceleration Program. Working alongside
diverse teams, he collaborates to integrate AI into
Microsoft’s products.

Aboah attributes much of his success to his time at
Tech, where he built a solid academic foundation,
engaged in invaluable research opportunities, and
experienced personal growth.

Throughout his doctoral studies, Aboah focused on AI
and cyber-physical systems security, refining his skills
through internships with tech giants like Apple Inc. and
Meta Platforms Inc. He also led multifaceted research
projects and assumed leadership roles within his
research domain.

In addition to academic pursuits, Aboah found a
supportive community through student-led
organizations like the African Student’s Union (ASU)
and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE).
These groups not only offered cultural connections but
also provided tailored resources and opportunities
aligned with his academic and career goals.

Way to go, Emmanuel!


Shining a light on the incredible Olivia Campbell!

From Olivia’s time with us as a master’s student and as a Diversity Fellow to now pursuing her doctorate in Environmental Sciences, we are so proud to highlight her achievements. Olivia is passionate about researching how to bridge the gaps of environmental needs in underrepresented communities. She will continue her studies to do just that! Join us in celebrating one of our recent graduates!

Tennessee Tech Named One of the 250 Best Graduate Schools

As an adult looking to get an advanced degree, it’s important to choose a graduate school that offers the flexibility you need to work around your current responsibilities. ABOUND aims to make the college search process easier for graduate students by connecting them to the best graduate schools that cater to their unique needs.

ABOUND carefully selects each school based on factors that cover the essential needs of a modern graduate student—accessibility, affordability, acceleration, and advancement. Rather than focusing on rankings or prestige, ABOUND focus’ on what matters most: flexible classes and services, affordable courses, a range of quality programs, and degrees that help students advance in their field. 

Tennessee Technological University has been named one of the 250 Best Graduate Schools in 2024.  Tuition for in-state full-time graduate students at Tennessee Tech is $10,480. Tuition for out-of-state full-time graduate students is $19,420. The university offers Master’s degrees in 21 different degree areas, with 7 Master’s degrees offered online. Tennessee Tech enrolls 1,446 graduate students, with 78% part-time students, 54% online students, and 22% hybrid students.

The full report is available the ABOUND website Tennessee Technological University – Abound: Grad School.

7 Things to Research About When Applying to Grad School

A common trap students often fall into when applying to graduate school is insufficient background research! Given the pricey and time-consuming nature of most graduate degrees, you really owe it to yourself to make an informed and carefully thought-out decision when choosing a course and putting together your application. Get started with our list of seven key areas to research when applying to grad school.

1. Career prospects

For many, a graduate degree is also an opportunity to develop the expertise and connections required to kick-start a career, move up a level, or enter a new field. Save yourself time in the long run by pausing to consider all your options. What matters to you the most? Income? Flexibility?  Job security? What are your interests? What would your dream job be? What would your ideal employment prospects and earning potential look like? You might actually find that while you completed a bachelor of arts in film studies, you actually – deep down – really aspire to become an environmental journalist or a lobbyist. Which graduate degree would help you get there?

2. The faculty

This can’t be stressed enough. Researching the faculty and looking up some of the research published by key figures in the department could help you figure out whether a university is right for you, and also help you win over the admissions officers in your personal statement and interview.  While universities are expected to remain wholly neutral and academic, different departments do favor different methodologies, theoretical frameworks and perspectives on their fields. They also have different areas of focus, reflected in the expertise of faculty members. When researching grad schools, make sure you choose a department well-matched to your academic and professional interests.

3. Facilities

Depending on your research project and discipline, you might need to have access to various pieces of technology or special library collections. Researching the facilities will help you decide whether to pick school X over school Y, as well as making a convincing case in your application. When applying to grad school, it’s absolutely crucial that you sound as specific and focused as possible, and referring to specialized facilities will help you achieve this.

4. Location

You need to be in the right frame of mind to tackle all of the challenges academia throws at you. Ensuring that you pick the best city for your graduate degree – a place propitious to work, play, affordable living and job hunting – will go a long way toward helping you secure happiness and perform your very best! You might want to take a look at the QS Best Student Cities 2016, which ranks the world’s best student cities based on a mix of factors:  employer activity, affordability, desirability, student mix, and university rankings.

5. Fees & funding

Tuition fees and funding opportunities vary greatly by country. Some countries, such as Germany or Sweden, offer free tuition; while other study destinations, such as the UK or the US, charge hefty fees for their world-renowned programs – in some cases offset by full tuition waivers, scholarships and assistantships for a select number of students. So before applying to graduate school, make sure that you can afford it and that you’ve got a fool-proof funding action plan. You don’t want to find yourself unable to complete your degree because you’ve run out of money!

6. Course structure

Each university will implement its own course structure and reading list, and one course structure may be better aligned with your interests. Take a look at the syllabus outlined online in the course description. It might be worth shooting off an email to the course leader or other faculty members, to get a better sense of the course’s theoretical framework and overall structure.

7. Teaching and assessment methods

Some graduate degrees are mostly taught, leading up to an end-of-course research project, while others have a strong focus on independent research from the outset. You need to figure out which teaching and assessment methods work better for you. Do you need regular contact hours with a supervisor and peers, or are you a lone wolf/independent researcher? Would you prefer more hours in class amongst your peers? What about assessment methods? Are you a confident test-taker or do you thrive on coursework?

Get personal answers to your questions about grad school

If you’re keen to get more personal advice before applying to grad school, look out for the QS World Grad School Tour – coming soon to a city near you. This is a chance to meeting representatives of grad schools from around the world, attend free seminars, and get all your questions answered in one place. You’ll also be eligible to apply for exclusive graduate scholarships.

Source: https://www.topuniversities.com/student-info/admissions-advice/7-things-research-when-applying-grad-school

May Grad School Application Fees Waived for Domestic Students and More About the Hope Scholarship

girl with laptop

Recent changes from the Tennessee Higher Education Commission are putting postgraduate studies closer in reach for Tennessee Tech University students, and the university is celebrating with a free graduate school application month from May 1 – 31, 2024.

Effective last fall, qualifying Tennessee students may now use the fifth year of their HOPE lottery scholarship for graduate school, equipping Golden Eagles with a valuable financial tool to use toward their pursuit of a master’s degree. 

Julie Baker, interim associate provost and dean of the College of Graduate Studies at Tech, says the extended scholarship opportunity is a game changer for students.

“For students who qualify, it provides them with an opportunity to essentially get up to half of their tuition and fees paid for in their first year of graduate school,” said Baker. “It could mean that, for students who didn’t see graduate school as an option, now it’s an option for them.”

Baker adds that Tech’s College of Graduate Studies offers specific tools to help students maximize the impact of the five-year scholarship. For example, the university’s Master’s of Professional Studies (MPS) track allows students to take seven-week courses, potentially doubling the coursework they can complete in a single semester. Likewise, Tech’s Fast Track program, available in more than a dozen academic departments, allows students to begin earning graduate-level credit hours during their undergraduate studies.

“Our Fast Track is something that is a great option for students to have. It’s a way to get ahead and get extra hours during their undergraduate program,” said Baker. “If students have Fast Tracked in and have a handful of graduate courses already under their belt then, after that fifth year, they could be finished or almost finished with their master’s program.”

For students to retain HOPE scholarship eligibility, they must begin their graduate coursework immediately following the completion of their undergraduate degree. Additionally, to maintain the full scholarship amount, students must be enrolled in at least nine credit hours. Partial HOPE scholarships are available to students enrolled in fewer hours.

As students consider what the extended HOPE scholarship means for them, Tech is making the decision to enroll in the College of Graduate Studies easier by waiving application fees throughout May.

“That’s something we’re really excited about,” added Baker. “Domestic students will not pay a graduate application fee when they complete their application for graduate school.”

Baker encourages prospective graduate students to connect with their advisor, the Office of Financial Aid and/or the College of Graduate Studies to discuss their options, including using the HOPE scholarship for a fifth year.

The College of Graduate Studies’ application deadline for fall 2024 is July 1. Learn more about our programs so you can take advantage of this exciting free offer.  College of Graduate Studies – Degree Programs (tntech.edu)

Graduate Student Appreciation Week

Graduation Education week was recently declared official by Govenor Bill Lee. This week is a time to both celebrate and learn about furthering your education!! From post-graduate certifications to master’s degrees, all the way to doctoral degrees, graduate education is a vital part of our world. Fostering those talented and dedicated minds allows advancements in technology, information, and landmark changes throughout the world.

Tennessee Tech is proud to offer over 65 areas of concentration within 25 majors through our College of Graduate Studies. Some of our most popular are advanced degrees in engineering, nursing, and business administration! Our college strives to promote continued education through the Graduate Education week by offering fun treats on campus April 2nd, 3rd, and 4th.

We are so grateful for our students and love being a part of their educational journey!!

8 Time Management Tips for Students

College can be a stressful time for many students and time management can be one of the most crucial — but tricky — skills to master.

Attending classes, studying for exams, making friends, and taking time to relax and decompress can quickly fill up your schedule. If you often find yourself wishing there were more hours in the day, this guide will offer time management tips for students so you can accomplish what you need to get done, have fun with your friends, and gain back some valuable time for yourself. 

1. Create a Calendar

Don’t be caught by surprise by an important paper due two days from now or a dinner with your family the same night you planned for a group study session. Create a calendar for yourself with all your upcoming deadlines, exams, social events, and other time commitments well in advance so you can see what’s coming up. 

Keep your calendar in a place where you can see it every day, such as in your planner or on your wall above your desk. If you prefer a digital calendar, check it first thing every day to keep those important events fresh and top-of-mind. For greater efficiency, make sure you can integrate it with your other tools, such as your email.

Digital calendar options include: 

2. Set Reminders

After you’ve created your calendar, give yourself periodic reminders to stay on track such as to complete a study guide in advance or schedule a meeting for a group project. Knowing deadlines is important; however, staying on top of the micro tasks involved in meeting those deadlines is just as important. You can set an alarm on your phone, write it down in a physical planner, or add an alert to your digital calendar. The reminders will help to prevent things from slipping through the cracks during particularly hectic days.

Make sure you’ve allotted enough time to study for that big test or write that final paper. Time management is all about setting yourself up for success in advance and giving yourself the tools to accomplish tasks with confidence. 

Read our blogs, Your Guide to Conquering College Coursework and Top 10 Study Tips to Study Like a Harvard Student, for more suggestions.

3. Build a Personalized Schedule

Each person’s day-to-day is different and unique to them, so make sure your schedule works for you. Once you’ve accounted for consistent commitments such as classes or your shifts at work, add in study sessions, extracurriculars, chores and errands, and social engagements.

Consider your personal rhythm. If you typically start your day energized, plan to study or accomplish chores then. If you fall into an afternoon slump, give yourself that time to take a guilt-free TV break or see friends.

Having a schedule that works for you will help maximize your time. Plus, knowing exactly when your laundry day is or when your intramural volleyball practice is every week will help you avoid trying to cram everything in one day (or running out of clean socks!)

4. Use Tools That Work For You

Just like your calendar and schedule, the tools you use to keep you organized should be the right fit for you. Some students prefer physical planners and paper, while some prefer going totally digital. Your calendar can help you with long-term planning, but most of these tools are best for prioritizing from day to day.

Explore what best suits your needs with some of the following suggestions:


Planners can help you keep track of long-term deadlines, such as important essay deadlines, upcoming exams, and appointments and meetings. They often provide a monthly overview each month, as well as day-to-day planning sections, so you can stay ahead. 


If your schedule is jam-packed and you have trouble figuring out what to do and when, scheduling day by day—and sometimes even hour by hour—can help you slot in everything you need to do with less stress.

Note Taking

From class to study sessions to errands, keeping track of everything can feel overwhelming. Keeping everything in one place, whether on the go or at your desk, can help keep you organized.

5. Prioritize

Sometimes there really is too much to do with too little time. In these instances, take just a few minutes to evaluate your priorities. Consider which deadlines are most urgent, as well as how much energy you have. 

If you are able to complete simple tasks first, try getting them out of the way before moving on to tasks that require a lot of focus. This can help to alleviate some of the pressure by checking a couple things off your to-do list without getting bogged down too early.

If you are struggling to fit everything in your schedule, consider what you can postpone or what you can simply say no to. Your friends will likely understand if you have to meet them for coffee another time in order to get in a final library session before a challenging exam. 

6. Make Time to Have Fun — And For Yourself

Time management isn’t just about getting work done. It’s also about ensuring that you can put yourself and your mental wellbeing first. Consistently including time for yourself in your schedule helps to keep your mental health and your life in balance. It can also be helpful to have things to look forward to when going through stressful periods.  

Whether it’s going for a bike ride along the river, spending time with your friends and family, or simply sleeping in on a Sunday, knowing you have space to relax and do things you enjoy can provide better peace of mind. 

7. Find Support 

Preparation and organization can sometimes only get you so far. Luckily, you have plenty of people rooting for your success. Keep yourself and your classmates on task by finding an accountability partner or study buddies. Remind your roommates when you need extra space to work on a paper. 

Your school’s academic resource center is also there to support you and point you in the right direction if you need additional help. Getting—and staying—organized is a collaborative effort and no one can do it on their own. 

8. Be Realistic and Flexible 

Sometimes unforeseen circumstances will come up or you simply may not be able to get to everything you set out to do in a given day. Be patient with yourself when things don’t go exactly to plan. When building your calendar, schedule, and priorities list, be realistic about what you can accomplish and include buffer time if you’re unsure. This can help to reduce obstacles and potential friction.

Time management isn’t just about sticking to a rigid schedule—it’s also about giving yourself space for change.

How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break

How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break

The month long hibernation is over, and it’s time to come back.

How To Successfully Return To College After Winter Break
Illinois State University

After completing my first semester of college, it completely and utterly drained me. By the time December hit, I was exhausted and in need of a long break. Thankfully, I had a month long winter break to enjoy. Coming back to school after my first winter break in college, I have many mixed emotions. I am nervous, sad, and mostly excited for the future.


Spending a whole month of break back in my hometown can be pretty overwhelming. But, it is also very comforting to see familiar faces from high school that I haven’t seen in awhile. Seeing those faces bring back so many fun memories that were experienced. Spending time with family, friends, and enjoying my hometown can at first be fun; but, after a couple weeks I was 100% ready to go back to school. I began to miss all my friends from college and living my life independently. I missed where I lived, and all the people I saw. I shockingly missed going to class and having a set routine every day. Being home from break gave me an excuse to lay in bed until 5 p.m. and although that seems fun, I enjoy waking up and having a productive day in college more.


As I enter my second semester in college as a freshman, I have many mixed emotions. I’m nervous for the new classes I’m taking, but also prepared for what’s to come. I am sad leaving behind friends and family, but I know I will see them again. I am mostly excited for this second semester because I am going into it with knowledge of how college works. I’m excited to make more memories with my friends and live my life to the fullest. I’m excited to become independent again and make the most of my college experience


Being home from break as a freshman has been a lot different than high school. Although being home is fun at times, I miss living my life in college. My friends back home are amazing, but I know they are just as eager to get back to their school just as much as I am. Catching up with friends from high school fills you with nostalgia, but that feeling will never go away. We will always make time for the ones we care about in life. We have to realize we are devoted college students and we all need to go back to school. We all had a memorable break, but it’s time to pack our things, go back to school, and make the most of your second semester.

Twelve Recommendations for Winter Break Binging


hands hold time for a break card in front of festive lights

Written by Susan Helmick, Graduate Assistant for the Graduate College   

Grad students, you’ve conquered mountains of assignments, presentations, and exams – now it’s time to hit pause, decompress, and indulge in some much-deserved downtime. To make the most of your well-deserved break, Graduate College staff compiled a curated list 12 of their favorite podcasts, shows, movies, music, games, and books (and why they love them) to help you kick back, relax, and maybe discover something new (and unlike a famous 12 of something else, no birds are necessary). So, let’s kick off the study boots and get the winter break recommendations rolling.

  • The Ballad of Songbirds and SnakesOK, the title mentions birds, but this prequel to Suzanne Collins’ highly popular “The Hunger Games” series follows the story of an 18-year-old Coriolanus Snow, who later becomes the infamous President Snow, and explores issues of power, privilege, and survival in a society on the brink of chaos.       
    • “The movie is great, but I highly recommend the book as it dives so much further into the inner monologue of the main antagonist.”
  • Con Todo El Mundo: Released in 2018 by the band Khruangbin (“airplane” in Thai), this mostly instrumental album features a fusion of musical styles, incorporating Thai funk, Middle Eastern influences, surf rock, and soul.
    • “I appreciate the blend of multiple cultures and musical styles into one cohesive, funky unit.”
  • A Little to the Left: In this puzzle game, players must organize and pack items efficiently within a limited space. It employs physics-based mechanics and challenges players to use their spatial reasoning skills to solve the packing puzzles.
    • “It is a cozy puzzle game where you organize different household objects. I’ve enjoyed playing it for stress relief and thinking creatively.”
  • Bad Dates: A podcast hosted by actor Jameela Jamil and featuring a variety of guests who recount their memorable, often awkward or amusing dating experiences.
    • “If you listen to only one episode of this podcast, “Namaste Away From Me” had me laugh crying so hard at times I drew stares in public. Fair warning.”
  • Business ProposalA South Korean romantic comedy television series about a woman who pretends to be her friend on a blind date with a man who turns out to be her CEO. Available via streaming.
    • “The soundtrack is incredible, the moments are outrageously hilarious, and it is overall so heartwarming. I’ve watched it all the way through at least double-digit times. It is absolutely my comfort show!”
  • Cinema Therapy: Together, licensed therapist Jonathan Decker and filmmaking pro Alan Seawright unravel characters, themes, and plots to enrich listeners’ life and mental health. Available on YouTube.
    • “It’s always a great conversation about navigating mental health and relationships through the lens of our favorite movies.”
  • The Storyteller: Foo Fighters’ lead singer, and former drummer for Nirvana, Dave Grohl’s memoir of his life in the music industry, his perspectives on creativity, the evolution of his musical ventures, and his passion for storytelling through music.
    •  “I’ve read more than forty books this year, and Dave Grohl’s memoir The Storyteller has remained my favorite read of the year. Grohl has a beautiful narrative voice, and every chapter just pulls you in with his incredible life on tour stories with funny cameos to boot.”
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service: This Japanese film is known for its beautiful animation, engaging storyline, and themes of self-discovery, friendship, and perseverance. Available via streaming.
    • “Watch Kiki’s Delivery Service if you haven’t already! It’s a great movie and will resonate deeply with anyone struggling with burnout or major life transitions.”
  • Criminalia: Hosted by Holly Frey and Maria Trimarchi, this podcast explores the lives of various individuals from history, shedding light on their backgrounds, motivations, and the circumstances that led them into a life of crime.
    • “It’s a true crime podcast for those who dig historical crimes. Holly and Maria share compelling stories, while also examining how crimes and criminals hold up when viewed through a modern lens.”
  • Before the Coffee Gets Cold: Japanese author Toshikazu Kawaguchi’s novel explores the theme of time travel, revolving around a mystical chair that allows café patrons to travel back in time but with strict limitations.
    • “This book made me reflect on what I would have done differently in my past regarding friendships and relationships.”
  • Nomadland: Adapted from Jessica Bruder’s non-fiction book of the same name, this movie follows the story of a woman who becomes a modern-day nomad after the economic collapse of her small town in rural Nevada.
    • “This movie is cinematically gorgeous, has phenomenal acting, and the story is amazing.”
  • Soft Sounds From Another Planet: The second studio album by indie rock band Japanese Breakfast showcases a blend of pop, indie rock, and experimental music.
    • “I enjoy the wide variety of sounds and emotions that this album evokes.”

Whatever you dive into this winter break, make the most of these more laid-back days while they last. Enjoy, relax, and recharge – you’ve earned it!