WHISKEY MAKING 101: Motlow joins MTSU, Columbia State in $300K USDA fermentation science grant

Motlow State Chemistry Instructor Nathan Fisher will lead the fermentation science partnership with MTSU and Columbia State. A $300,000 USDA grant will fund the project. {Photo Provided}

EDUCATION | Motlow State is located in Lynchburg – the unofficial whiskey capitol of the world – and right in the heart of the Tennessee Whiskey Trail. So, it only makes sense that they’d be the perfect educational partner for a fermentation science programs.

The USDA just awarded a $300,000 grant to Motlow, MTSU, and Columbia State with an eye toward attracting future agricultural students to the Fermentation Science Program, according to a recent press release.

It’s a three-year, $300,000 grant proposed by MTSU’s Tony Johnston, who is partnering with Motlow Chemistry Instructor Nathan Fisher and Columbia State’s Karen Kendall-Fite, with faculty from all three schools participating.

“Our collaboration in this grant award is part of a larger, long-term vision. We are very intentional about our plan to introduce a variety of Fermentation and Distillery Science learning opportunities,” said Motlow President Dr. Michael Torrence. “Our vision includes broadening short-term certificate training opportunities, as well as the development of new degree programs. Those programs will specifically seek to cultivate the success of minority and underserved populations in these fields.”

The grant increases awareness of agriculture and introduces fermentation concepts into lower-division undergraduate math and science classes at Columbia State and Motlow, and drives fermentation science as a career option.

“Students, in general, aren’t aware of what fermentation science is, much less that it’s agricultural,” said Johnston, professor, and director of the MTSU Fermentation Science program. “The grant seeks to get more students interested in agriculture as a career.

 “Agriculture is an applied STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) field, but it is not traditionally viewed this way,” Johnston said. “The grant provides an opportunity to connect the dots between STEM courses and agriculture and raise awareness of and increase the potential for a student to become interested in the applied STEM career that is fermentation science.”

Johnston said part of the grant would go toward classroom equipment — smartphones and scientific equipment — for Motlow and Columbia State students to learn about chemistry, biology, and math through applications of Fermentation in their freshmen- and sophomore-level courses. The funds will also pay for faculty training.

For more information about this exciting new opportunity, contact Nathan Fisher, Motlow Chemistry Professor, at 615-220-7879 or nfisher@mscc.edu. •

{The Lynchburg Times is the only independently owned and operated newspaper in Lynchburg, Tennessee. We cover Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Nearest Green Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}

Temple Grandin to speak at MTSU

REGIONAL NEWS | Events — MTSU recently announced a planned lecture by American professor of animal science and autism spokesperson, Temple Grandin. The event will take place on Monday, November 11 at 7 p.m. in Tucker Theater. The event is free and open to the general public but you must have a ticket to attend.

Grandin is a prominent proponent for the human treatment of livestock for slaughter. A professor at Colorado State University, she studied the behavior of cattle … how they reacted to ranchers, movements, objects, and light … and designed adaptive curved corrals to reduce panic, stress, and injury in the animals being led to slaughter. She’s also authored over 60 peer-reviewed scientific papers on animal behavior.

She’s also a spokesperson for those living with autism. Doctors diagnosed her in her 40s ans she has been credit with breaking down years of shame and stigma associated with the condition by publicly disclosing she was on the spectrum.

HBO also produced a biographical drama about Temple Grandin. {Art Provided)

She is the subject of a 2010 Emmy and Golden Globe winning biographical drama starring Claire Danes. HBO produced the film and those interested in watching it before the lecture can find it on iTunes, YouTube, Amazon Prime, and HBO Now.

Tickets to the event will be available to MTSU students and staff on September 16 and to the general public on September 23. For ticket information, click here. •

{The Lynchburg Times is an independently owned and operated newspaper that publishes new stories every morning. Covering Metro Moore County government, Jack Daniel’s Distillery, Tims Ford State Park, Motlow State Community College, Moore County High School, Moore County Middle School, Lynchburg Elementary, Raider Sports, plus regional and state news.}