MTSU Students Gain Work Insights As Interns

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Geosciences professor Henrique Momm, left, listens as MTSU graduate student Richard Boland discusses his GIS internship with Rutherford County and future plans of serving in the military. They talked Dec. 7 after the MTSU Master of Science in Professional Science Internship Presentations in the Science Building. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)
Six MTSU graduate students shared their experiences as part of the Master of Science in Professional Science Internship Presentations Dec. 7 in the Science Building. They include first row (from left) Estrella R. Ndrianasy, Hamida Ahmed and Priteshkumar R. Patel; and second row (from left) Shalini Gupta, Joel S. Clements and Richard S. Boland. (MTSU photo by Randy Weiler)

MTSU graduate student Richard Boland of Murfreesboro just completed an internship with the Rutherford County geographic information systems office. He will graduate from MTSU Saturday, Dec. 16. Two days later, the 31-year-old will be commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.

Non-traditional student Joel Clements, 64, of Murfreesboro, spent two years as the graduate teaching assistant with the MTSU Engineering Technology, helping oversee the popular and award-winning Experimental Vehicles Program. For three months this fall, he interned for Arocna 3 Inc., of Nashville, a company for which his son works.

They were two of six grad students sharing about their fall Master of Science in Professional Science Internship Presentation experiences Thursday, Dec. 7, in the Science Building.


MTSU, the College of Basic and Applied Sciences and the Jennings A. Jones College of Business created the MSPS program in 2004 to provide Middle Tennessee with a best-educated and well-trained STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) workforce.

The program received the Tennessee Board of Regents Academic Excellence Award in 2010 and is recognized as a model program by the Council of Graduate Studies and the national Professional Science Master's Association program.


In addition to Boland and Clements, the other presenters included:

  • Estrella R. Ndrianasy, a biostatistics major, who interned with the MTSU Business and Economic Research Center.
  • Hamida Ahmed, a biotechnology major, who interned with the Meharry Medical College/Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center in Nashville.
  • Priteshkumar R. Patel, a biotechnology major, who interned with Meharry/Vanderbilt Ingram Cancer Center.
  • Shalini Gupta, a health care informatics major, who interned with the Tennessee Department of Human Services.

Boland, a student veteran who has served in the Tennessee National Guard for more than six years, said his time with the county GIS office was "designed to give you good experience and exposure in a work environment instead of writing a thesis. It is very career-oriented."

Geosciences professor Henrique Momm attended the presentations, supporting his student, whom he described as "dedicated. ... He was working, juggling school and work and got married (to wife Allison) in the process."

Boland should know by the time of his commissioning where his first duty assignment will be after completing the basic officer course.

Joined by wife Carla and son Chris at the presentations, Clements said his role with Arocna 3, a network security-related company, included "looking at variability ... how to produce cycle time and provide information." Joel Clements spent more than the minimum requirement of 250 hours, working two to three days a week.

Following graduation, Clements said he wants to be a part-time consultant "in continuous improvement, helping organizations get better."

For more on the program, visit the website or call Saeed Foroudastan, program director, at 615-494-7681 or Carey Snowden, graduate coordinator, at 615-904-8581.

MTSU has more than 240 combined undergraduate and graduate programs.

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