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Plummer Presents at the European Seating Symposium in Dublin

attendees get hands-on with ride on toys

Associate Professor Dr. Teresa Plummer, PhD, OTR/L, ATP, CEAS, CAPS recently presented several sessions at the European Seating Symposium in Dublin. She was one of the invited pre-conference presenters where she taught European therapists to modify ride-on toys for infants with mobility impairments.

Plummer was one of three plenary address speakers for the conference. These sessions set the tone and provided the most current evidence of a specific topic of interest. In this case, Plummer presented the current and emerging importance of on-time mobility for infants 12-36 months.

Additionally, Plummer presented three other workshops to the audience of more than 500 from more than 26 countries.

Pharmacy Student Lands Prestigious Internship with AMCP/Pfizer at Independent Health

Article written by Jack Poe.

Nadia Al Dahiri

For some people, the start of summer was set aside to plan for vacations and spend time with friends, but not for Belmont student Nadia Al Dahiri. Instead, she was preparing for her prestigious AMCP/Pfizer Managed Care Summer Internship at Independent Health.

Many were considered for this internship but only a few were selected.

Al Dahiri knew this summer was a golden opportunity to invest a substantial amount of time in a field in which she had significant interest. Wanting to pursue a non-traditional path, she searched far and wide and eventually found this incredible opportunity through the Industry Pharmacists Organization (IPhO). Her interest in this internship began when she saw an opportunity to build connections and grow as a person.

The 10-week program exposes future leaders to managed care pharmacy principles, medication therapy management and much more. With an enthusiastic passion for managed care pharmacy and the pharmaceutical industry, Al Dahiri said the AMCP/Pfizer and IH summer internship has taught her more than she could have imagined about nuanced concepts in managed care that she would have not been able to learn elsewhere.

Her journey at Belmont started because of the beautiful campus, the faculty and the excellent program. As time went on, her love for Belmont grew even larger, and if she had to do the college experience over again, she said, “I would choose Belmont time and time again.” 

Belmont was not only a place that was close to her heart but also a pivotal factor that set her up for success in her internship. Many helped her throughout the journey, but she gave special thanks to Assistant Professor Dr. Genevieve Ness Engle, who taught her P1 Drug Information Class, which equipped her with the most beneficial skillset throughout this internship.

Al Dahiri said Belmont exposed her to a wide variety of pharmacy topics and assignments that mirrored her projects in the internship. Due to her Belmont education, she noticed she was able to engage more when attending Pfizer educational sessions in comparison to some of her peers. She credited Belmont for preparing for this internship, saying, “I would not have been this prepared if I was not a student at Belmont.”

Al Dahiri hopes to broaden her professional network at a national level with this internship. She would like to be exposed to all different pharmacy-related departments within IH, Pfizer and AMCP. She would love to represent Belmont University at a national level in the world of managed care and hopes this internship allows her to do so.

With what is already a successful start to her pharmacy career, Al Dahiri hopes to pursue post-graduate training. This internship is not the pinnacle of her career, it is only the beginning.

Recent Neuroscience Graduates Published in Frontiers Journal

Natalie Johnson
Natalie Johnson

Recent Belmont neuroscience graduates Rachelle Larivee and Natalie Johnson published their independent research in Frontiers in Behavioral Neuroscience, with the article entitled, “Inhibition of Hippocampal Neurogenesis Starting in Adolescence Increases Anxiodepressive Behaviors Amid Stress.” 

Larivee majored in neuroscience with a minor in biology. She is currently working in a neuroscience lab at Vanderbilt. Johnson majored in neuroscience and double minored in painting and chemistry. She plans to attend medical school.

Rachelle Larivee
Rachelle Larivee

The May graduates did this research in Belmont’s Summer Scholars program during the summer of 2021 as a collaboration with the National Institute of Mental Health. They halted the production of newly born brain cells during the adolescence period in rats and found this developmental delay increased the rats’ anxiety and depression in adulthood.

This research provides understanding on how adverse childhood experiences, like stress, can make individuals at risk for anxiety and mood disorders later in life. The article is available here.

Belmont Pharmacy Student Accepted to Harvard Pharmacy Clinical Informatics Internship

Sara saif

Sara Saif, a third-year student at Belmont University’s College of Pharmacy, was one of two students nationwide to be accepted into an internship designed by Harvard Medical School faculty members at the Division of Clinical Informatics (DCI) at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC) and Pfizer Clinical Informatics, Medical Outcomes & Analytics Group.

Through this program, Saif will work directly with pharmacists and clinical leaders to gain exposure on clinical informatics principles through concepts such as data model design, clinical workflows and interoperability. Furthermore, she will be able to learn and apply how these principles can be used to maximize health care resources and patient care outcomes.

As a current student in the Belmont University College of Pharmacy, Saif not only receives a strong clinical foundation, but also valuable training on healthcare information technology and its use in the practice of pharmacy. This training in informatics has proven to be useful in the application process and will continue to be a valuable resource throughout her internship.

Belmont Law Student Wins ABA Journal’s Ross Writing Contest for Second Year in a Row

Frank Toub

For the second year in a row, a Belmont law student won the ABA Journal/Ross Writing Contest for Legal Short Fiction. Frank Toub, entering his third year at Belmont, won the contest for 2022 with his short story “Dope Fiend.”

The story is Toub’s first stab at fiction writing. A former project engineer and Army veteran, Toub is entering his third career with his transition to law school on the GI Bill. In the ABA’s release on the contest, Toub said, “I always viewed attorneys as people who help others with really important problems in their life.” And he wants to do the same.

The ABA Journal Board of Editors selected the winner from finalists picked by ABA Journal editors and writers. The contest sought original fictional stories of no more than 5,000 words that illuminate the role of the law or lawyers in modern society. Entries were judged on creativity, plot exposition, legal insight and character development.

A mentor of Toub’s wife Alexandria told her, “If you can do something for another that means a lot to that person, but it costs you little, you should do it every time.”

One of the characters in Toub’s story acted on that same advice when she helped an alcoholic lawyer who was quick to label his client a dope fiend. Toub said he wanted to explore addiction “through the lens of an attorney who could clearly see his client’s issues but not see the issues in himself.”

Toub says many important people in his life have struggled with addiction, which left him with the notion that it’s easier to help others with their problems than it is to identify your own.

Although Toub hasn’t previously tried any other fiction writing, he hopes to find time for it in the future. “It’s a creative outlet that you don’t necessarily have—at least in law school. It felt very cathartic and good to get those ideas out of me for once,” he said.

Toub is working in a six-week internship for U.S. District Judge Eli Richardson, and he will serve as submissions and transcripts editor at the Belmont Law Review during his 3L year. After graduation, Toub plans to work at the Baker Donelson law firm where he worked as a summer associate this year.

“Dope Fiend” will be available to read on the ABA Journal website beginning the week of Thanksgiving.

Belmont Students, Alumni Dive into Music Business Opportunities through Solotech Jobs

One thing led to another when Solotech representatives visited Belmont for an event this spring to talk to students about careers in the audio production industry.

Emily Pikul, a recent graduate of Belmont’s Audio Engineering Masters program, hosted the event’s panel of experts and began talking with Jim Yakabuski, director of audio projects at Solotech, after the event. She told him her dream job was to work in live audio for tours and local shows.

The networking that ensued resulted in Pikul, along with nearly a dozen other students and recent graduates, landing freelance work this summer with the company in its audio, lighting and video departments.

Solotech provides audiovisual solutions for all types of events in the live production and entertainment industry, and the company is seeing a surge this year in local and touring events. Opportunities with the organization for Belmont students have been extensive, one of which included this year’s CMA Fest.

Pikul running sound at CMA Fest

The students hit the ground running, jumping into vital roles in the audio tech crew at CMA Fest, paired with experienced mentors from Solotech who walked them through the event and supported their success. As one of the company’s freelance engineers, Pikul got hands-on experience at the festival–preparing the console show file, packing necessary equipment, loading gear in and out, running soundchecks and even mixing the shows herself if there wasn’t another engineer available. 

“It was a fast-paced environment where I really needed to know the ins and outs of the console so that I could efficiently explain the setup to the engineers coming in. It was the experience of a lifetime working with an amazing sounding console, PA, talented artists and experienced engineers,” Pikul said.

While their Belmont education has served as the groundwork for the students to be successful in live production, getting to be a part of building systems with experienced show techs has provided significant additional learning opportunities. 

​​“Belmont’s graduate AET courses challenged me to understand signal flow and signal processes much more fully than I had ever known, which is critical to being a successful audio engineer,” Pikul explained. “There were a lot of things I did not know and was unsure of going into CMA Fest, from load in/out procedures to the literal console itself. There’s just so much planning, preparation and teamwork that goes into making shows happen successfully four days in a row, and I got to be part of the entire process.”

With many moving parts to a touring audio system, joining a team responsible for constructing all the parts and pieces alongside experienced leadership from staff engineers has allowed the students to  jump in as mixers and stage techs at events like CMA Fest after only a couple of months.

Yakabuski said the students performed with flying colors. “I truly believe they were super proud and excited to see that their extensive education at Belmont had prepared them so well to be assigned as festival audio techs. And to do that in their hometown…on the biggest entertainment event of the year…that’s pretty cool!” he said. “To take all the knowledge gained and apply it in the field so quickly, and to succeed on so many levels, had to be a thrill and a huge confidence booster for the students.”

CMA Fest was simply a jumping off point for many of the students who will be working and traveling on tour this summer. Pikul, for example, is continuing to follow her dreams and work as a PA Tech on a seven-week tour across the country this summer. 

The students have been able to express interest in developing certain skill sets and are assigned to shifts where they will be able to gain more hands-on experience in that area, such as audio or tour prep. With many tours gearing up for the summer season, the students and alumni help check, clean and test gear prior to it being added to a pull list for the show. They also build racks and cable looms which helps them understand how the equipment on a big production show works together.

Yakabuski said he hopes these hands-on experiences and mentorships at Solotech will help students confirm their passion for working in the industry like it did for him many years ago.

“I hope they also discover that education will never stop in this business. There is always new gear and software, more advanced networking systems and ways to get to the end result, so the students will always be learning, even as they develop their skill sets and careers,” Yakabuski continued. “It’s not without its challenges, but I would recommend this career to anyone who wants to grow into the greatest job there is. The education never stops, and the friends and memories I’ve made along the way have been the biggest payoff of all.”

Pikul said Belmont career services, staff and faculty have provided valuable opportunities to meet industry professionals throughout her education, which is absolutely key to navigating the industry, and advised others to get to know the helpful career services team and make the most of all networking opportunities. 

“Go to as many open events and learning opportunities with industry professionals as you can because people will remember your face and you showing interest in learning and growing,” she said. “Ask people about their journey to getting where they are now and where they may want to go. It will provide some amazing insight for you to reflect on and explore yourself. Be yourself and be honest and it will take you far.”

Belmont Community of Diverse Faculty & Staff Present on Reweaving Social Fabric during 2022 Juneteenth Celebration

Article submitted by Dr. Tiffinie Zellars

On June 17, members of the new Belmont Community for Diverse Faculty & Staff (BCDFS) participated in Belmont’s Juneteenth celebration by narrating a poster presentation entitled The Freedom Plaza Story: One Campus Community’s Desire to Embrace Hope and Inclusive Excellence to Help Reweave the Social Fabric.

This poster was authored by Dr. Tavajay Campbell, College of Pharmacy; Dr. Anthony Blash, College of Pharmacy; Dr. Darcie Finch, College of Education; Dr. Michelle Guinn, College of Sciences and Mathematics; and Dr. Tiffinie Zellars, College of Health Science.

This piece told the story of the enormous contributions enslaved persons played in the development of the Belmont property in 1850, the tragic murder of George Floyd in 2020, then correlated how these seemingly unrelated events lead to a community-wide discussion on diversity, equity and inclusion.

The poster illustrated how these discussions led to the recognition of these enslaved individuals by etching their names into the fountain in front of McWhorter Hall, now called the Belmont Freedom Plaza.

After the poster presentation, the group surveyed Juneteenth participants on how their knowledge of Freedom Plaza has impacted them personally. Survey results will be published to encourage other universities to explore similar opportunities for their institutions to acknowledge their histories to embrace hope and inclusivity that will aid in reweaving the social fabric of our embattled country.

The BCDFS is an organization that was created in 2021 to serve Belmont’s diverse faculty and staff by providing a network of professionals that support each other through mentoring, research collaborations, teaching and social networking.

For more information or to join BCDFS, please contact Dr. Tiffinie Zellars at tiffinie.zellars@belmont.edu.

Fredrick Hart Statues Placed around Belmont’s Campus

Article by Leah Carney

Step inside the mind of one of the world’s greatest artists! Back in 2019, the Fredrick Hart Studio and Museum opened at Belmont University. These beautiful works of art were a treasure to Belmont and the surrounding community. That museum opened the doors to many more opportunities for art to be showcased at the University.

On the north side near the Curb Event Center at Belmont, you will discover two beautiful bronze sculptures. These sculptures are not only gorgeous but also incredibly inspiring!

While on your venture for inspiration you should head over to the Fisher Center for Performing Arts by the stage door and ticket booth on Compton Avenue. There you will find four unique statues that are like nothing you have ever seen!

Hart Statues at Fisher Center

Don’t forget to pass by and take a glance at these incredible works of art. We hope you enjoy it!

Heard, Faculty across Country Awarded Grant from National Science Foundation

The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded Associate Professor of Biology and Rob Fisher Endowed Chair of Environmental Science Matt Heard (Co-Principal Investigator) and a team of faculty members from across the U.S. with a grant from the Division of Environmental Biology.

The grant, titled “The macrosystems for all (MEFA) research coordination network,” is for five years and provides $499,750 in funding to support faculty members across the country who want to learn more about macrosystems ecology concepts, to update their data science skills, to design equitable and inclusive science research projects and to foster hands-on research with undergraduate students. 

The grant will bring together experts from national networks including the Biological and Environmental Data Education Network (BEDE)the Ecological Research Education Network (EREN), the National Ecological Observation Network (NEON) and Project EDDIE (Environmental Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration)

The principal investigator of this grant is Dr. Laurel Anderson (Ohio Wesleyan University). Other co-principal investigators include Dr. Kristy Hopfensperger (Northern Kentucky University), Dr. Sara Scanga (Utica College) and Dr. Mary Beth Kolozsvary (Siena College).

Senior personnel on the grant include Dr. Jose-Luis Machado (Swarthmore College), Dr. Tim McCay (Colgate University), Dr. Tracy Gartner (Carthage College) and Dr. Andrew McCall (Denison University). Additional grant affiliates include Dr. Matthew Aiello-Lammens (Pace University), Dr. Robbie Burger (University of Kentucky), Dr. Barry Logan (Bowdoin College), Dr. Claire Lunch (National Ecological Observation Network), Dr. Sparkle Malone (Florida International University) and Dr. Charles Jason Tinant (Oglala Lakota College). 

For more information on this grant, please see the grant award abstract from NSF

Alumna Named Chief of Staff for Tennessee Department of Revenue

The Tennessee Department of Revenue recently announced Belmont alumna Courtney Swim as the agency’s chief of staff, starting August 1. Swim graduated from Belmont in 2010 with a bachelors in business administration.

In this role, Swim will oversee the Department’s offices of Legislation, Communications, Research and Tax Policy. Swim joins Revenue after working for the last year as an associate counsel for the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, where she researched and advised on federal, state and local laws impacting the beverage alcohol industry.

“We’re excited to have Courtney back on our team, and we look forward to seeing the contributions she will bring to the Department,” Revenue Commissioner David Gerregano said.

Swim previously served as Revenue’s director of legislation, from 2019 through 2021. She first joined the agency in 2017, as an associate general counsel in the Legal Office. Swim began her career in state government in 2016 as a legislative research analyst at the Comptroller’s Office. 

A native of Kentucky, Swim received her J.D. from Northern Kentucky University after graduating from Belmont. 

The Department of Revenue is responsible for the administration of state tax laws and motor vehicle title and registration laws and the collection of taxes and fees associated with those laws. The department collects about 87 percent of total state revenue. During the 2021 fiscal year, it collected $18.4 billion in state taxes and fees and more than $3.7 billion in taxes and fees for local governments. 

To learn more about the department, visit www.tn.gov/revenue.