Guests from MTSU talk about the Concrete Management Industry, New Student Growth and the MTSU Clothing Closet

Aug 15, 2022 at 09:06 am by Producer

SEGMENT ONE – 8:10 a.m.
GUESTS: Kayla and Ashley Gates, rising seniors in the Concrete Industry Management program
TOPIC: Their experiences in the program and at the recent Big Machine Music City Grand Prix

Identical twins and MTSU rising seniors Kayla and Ashley Gates, both concrete industry management majors, have had a busy summer getting a jump start on their professional careers, most recently during their involvement with the Big Machine Music City Grand Prix in Nashville.

MTSU's School of Concrete and Construction Management and the Grand Prix wrapped up the second year of their continuing partnership that started last year when the university worked with the Grand Prix to develop a special lighter weight and more durable mix for the concrete barriers around the track, as well as concrete pads along pit row, which were used again this year.

The twins, along with School Director Kelly Strong, met with track designer Tony Cotman for a final look at MTSU’s work before the Aug. 7 race.

The Gates sisters were at MTSU’s Concrete Industry Management booth at the Grand Prix to share their experiences in the program. They also prepared a special commemorative panel that was displayed at the MTSU booth to celebrate the partnership between the Grand Prix and the University.

“We will tell people coming to the grand prix about the (CIM) program and the outcome of coming out of college with a degree and what you can do with that,” Kayla Gates said prior to the event.

Ashley Gates said they will be there to show “the finished panel and how it turned out and be there all day to share our personal experiences, the fun things we get to do in the program and promote (concrete) — try to get more people interested in concrete and construction.”

Kayla and Ashley Gates, who come from a family totally immersed in this industry, were also in Huntsville, Alabama, Wednesday, Aug. 3, presenting their research findings to U.S. Space and Rocket Center and Marshall Space Flight Center officials.

During Day One of IndyCar race events Friday, Aug. 5, the Gates sisters were at the Somero Enterprises booth at the track (lot R2 of the Fan Zone), talking about their experiences in the program and also in the NASA Minority University Research and Education Project, or MUREP, as part of a partnership with Drake State, a historically black college in Huntsville.

Their research is aimed at getting minorities and underrepresented students more involved in university programs tied to science, technology and manufacturing.

Somero, a partner with MTSU’s concrete program, designs, manufactures and sells equipment that automates the process of spreading and leveling large volumes of concrete for commercial flooring and other horizontal surfaces, such as paved parking lots.

The Gateses’ older sister, Autumn, is a recent MTSU CIM alumna working as a sales rep for Irving Materials Inc., or IMI. Their father, Clark Gates, works in sales of fly ash in the industry. Even grandmother Betty Gates has a concrete background.

MTSU supplied a special mix of concrete that Autumn Gates and other students helped evaluate last year and used to create nearly 2,000 barriers throughout the 2.17-mile track in the downtown area near Nissan Stadium, home of the Tennessee Titans.

Learn more

SEGMENT TWO – 8:25 a.m. 
Tony Strode, Associate Director of Undergraduate Admissions 
TOPIC: The upcoming True Blue Tour to recruit prospective students; available campus tours

Middle Tennessee State University’s admissions team and campus partners are gearing up for another True Blue Tour, crisscrossing Tennessee and bordering states Alabama, Kentucky and Georgia to meet prospective students.

Kicking off at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 17, with the Rutherford County student reception on campus in the Student Union Ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd., the tour features the nighttime receptions to meet students and their parents and noontime luncheons to court counselors and community college staff.

MTSU hits the road in mid-September for the remainder of the tour, with stops throughout October and November as well.

Recruiting new and transfer students for 2023 and beyond, MTSU travels from Memphis to Johnson City and Clarksville to Chattanooga — plus Birmingham and Huntsville, Alabama, Lexington and Louisville, Kentucky, and Atlanta, Georgia — to share about academic programs, financial aid, guaranteed scholarships, housing and more.

All True Blue Tour and other special recruiting events are free, but admissions officials request prospective students and their families preregister.

President Sidney A. McPhee and Deb Sells, vice president of Students Affairs and vice provost for Enrollment and Academic Services, lead the team that includes staff, deans and other administrators, plus representatives from more than 20 departments prepared to answer questions and provide information for guests.


Rutherford County College Night 

MTSU annually hosts Rutherford County College Night, where about 50 colleges and universities gather to recruit prospective students. It will be held starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, in the Student Union Ballroom.

True Blue Preview

This fall, MTSU will hold True Blue Preview events Saturday, Oct. 1, and Saturday, Nov. 5. Hundreds of prospective students attend to receive a hands-on view of all the campus has to offer. Go here to register.

The 2022 True Blue Tour Schedule

Aug. 17 — MTSU Student Union Ballroom, 1768 MTSU Blvd.

Sept. 14 — Counselors/community college staff luncheon at MTSU

Sept. 28 — Wilma Rudolph Event Center, 8 Champions Way, Clarksville TN

Oct. 5 — Millennium Maxwell House, 2025 Rosa L. Parks Blvd., Nashville TN

Oct. 11 — Marriott Birmingham, 3590 Grandview Pkwy., Birmingham AL

Oct. 12 — The Westin Huntsville, 6800 Governors West NW, Huntsville AL

Oct. 19 — Carnegie Hotel, 1216 W. State of Franklin Road, Johnson City TN*

Oct. 20 — The Foundry at the Fair Site, 747 World’s Fair Park Drive, Knoxville TN

Nov. 1 — Origin Hotel Lexington, 4174 Rowan, Lexington KY

Nov. 2 — Louisville Marriott East, 1903 Embassy Square Blvd., Louisville KY

Nov. 8 — Esplande Memphis, 901 Cordova Station Ave., Cordova TN

Nov. 9 — Jackson Country Club, 31 Jackson Country Club Lane, Jackson TN

Nov. 14 — Franklin Marriott Cool Springs, 700 Cool Springs Blvd., Franklin TN

Nov. 16 — The Westin Atlanta Perimeter North, 7 Concourse Pkwy. NE, Atlanta GA

Nov. 17 — Chattanooga Convention Center, 1 Carter Plaza, Chattanooga TN

Learn more and about other campus tour opportunities at

SEGMENT THREE – 8:40 a.m.
Kristen Janson, alumna and Assistant Director for the MTSU Alumni Relations Office
TOPIC: Her new role, the recently completed Career Closet Extravaganza and other alumni relations happenings

MTSU’s Alumni Office and the Career Development Center recently teamed up for a a clothing drive to restock the MTSU Career Closet.

The inaugural Career Closet Extravaganza was held from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday, Aug. 11-12, with clothing drop-off at the MTSU Alumni House located at 2263 Middle Tennessee Blvd.

The Career Closet is part of MTSU’s Career Development Center located in Keathley University Center. Thanks to MTSU alumni, faculty, staff and local community, the Career Closet has professional attire available at no cost for students seeking their first internship or job interview. Students may acquire one full outfit each school year from the closet.

“The Career Closet provides professional attire for students getting ready to engage in an interview, job or other professional experience,” said Beka Crocket, director of the center. “We are so grateful for the support of our community, alumni, faculty and staff to assist the Career Development Center in providing this opportunity for our students.”

Needed items included women's blouses, plus-size clothing, blazers without shoulder pads and belts. Men’s items needed include tall slacks and size 28-32 waisted slacks.

“We are very excited to partner with the Career Development Center on this inaugural event,” said Kristen Janson, assistant director of Alumni Relations. “The Career Closet is an incredible resource for students. I have seen many students throughout the years benefit from the generosity of our alumni. It is so fulfilling to see Blue Raiders give back to our community!”

Those who can’t make it to campus for the event but still want to help can visit the MTSU Foundation website at Choose a monetary donation amount, select “Other”, then write “Raiders Closet” on the memo line.

You can also write a check to the MTSU Foundation and put “Raiders Closet” on the memo line. Mail to Office of Development, MTSU P.O. Box 109, Murfreesboro, TN 37132.

The Career Closet is located in KUC Room 327 and is open from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. For questions about the closet, email or call 615-898-5467.

Located in KUC Room 328, the Career Development Center offers a myriad of online and in-person services to help students find the job for them. Learn more at