By Lucas Johnson
NASHVILLE, TN (TSU News Service) — Tennessee State University is now a Google School.
The institution recently received the designation through a partnership with the technology giant. TSU one of 10 historically black colleges and universities participating in the Google in Residence Program, which uses Google engineers to teach introductory computer science classes, as well as help students further develop soft and technical skills.
“The Department of Computer Science students are in high demand with strong technical and soft skills,” said Dr. Ali Sekmen, who chair’s the department. “The GIR program will further make our program and students stronger with an understanding of state-of-the-art technical skills and intense interview processes of top software engineering companies.”
Google said in a statement that it’s pleased to be at TSU “as part of our commitment to encouraging greater diversity in the tech sector.”
“We’ve been impressed with Dr. Sekmen’s commitment to his students and look forward to our continued partnership with the TSU CS faculty through the Google in Residence Program,” the company said.
The Google team at TSU consists of a tech programs specialist and an instructor who teaches an introduction to computer science course, which Google helped develop. The Google instructor and a computer science faculty teach three sections of the course together.
While the introductory class is mainly for freshmen, both Google team members provide assistance to all students to help prepare them for opportunities in the tech field. TSU officials say they hope the prep will increase internship and employment opportunities for TSU computer science students not only with Google but companies like IBM and Microsoft.
Dr. S. Keith Hargrove is dean of TSU’s College of Engineering, which includes the Computer Science Department. He lauded the Google-TSU partnership, saying it could help fill the nearly 1,300 IT-related job openings in the Nashville metropolitan area.
“The growth of the IT field here has been phenomenal,” Hargrove said. “We have an opportunity with our computer science program that offers to help fill that workforce need here in Middle Tennessee and contribute to the growth in the city.”
TSU computer science major Ryan Stubbs of Newark, New Jersey, said mock interviews he’s had with the Google instructor have been particularly helpful.
“I know what to prepare for,” said Stubbs, a senior. “The instructor is a great resource.”
Timothy Darrah of Hutchinson, Kansas, agreed. The senior computer science major believes the insight and real-world experience provided by the Google team at TSU is especially beneficial to freshmen.
“When I came in as a freshman, I didn’t know what the end of the road looked like,” he said. “Seeing what they (freshmen) can do, what they can become, it provides a lot of motivation for them to exceed and do better than what they normally would.”
Google is a multinational, publicly traded organization built around the company’s hugely popular search engine. Google’s other enterprises include Internet analytics, cloud computing, advertising technologies, and Web app, browser and operating system development.
To learn more about TSU’s Department of Computer Science, visit http://www.tnstate.edu/