Articles by: Emily Siner

A Volunteer State staff member helps Madison Cone, middle, complete the Tennessee Promise application, along with the community college's application for admission. Her mom came with her. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Vol State Isn’t Sweating Over The Extra Interest From Tennessee Promise Applicants

November 24, 2014 at 4:48 am

If every student who applied for Tennessee’s free community college program actually went to community college, some schools, including Volunteer State Community College, would nearly double their full-time enrollment. But it’s holding judgment about enrollment increases until the next step of the application process.

About 100 attended the Nashville town hall meeting at the Veterans Affairs hospital there. Many shared their personal experiences. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

In Six Months, Slow Progress For Tennessee Veterans Waiting To See Doctors

November 19, 2014 at 5:27 pm

The VA and the regional healthcare system has spent more than $17 million since May to send patients to private care, but the number of appointments with wait times of 30 days or longer still hasn’t decreased. In fact, it’s gone up a little.

Vanderbilt professor and software developer Jules White holds up the Music City Center app he created as part of the mayor's office initiative to bring city information to the public. Credit: Nashville Mayor's Office

Nashville Mayor’s Office Ponders What (Data) People Really Want To Know About Their City

November 17, 2014 at 5:42 am

Six months ago, the Nashville mayor’s office launched a project to get more government data online — things like public wi-fi locations or where the city fire stations are. But it’s still figuring out how to scale up that initiative.

Dr. James Crowe, right, watches as graduate student Andrew Flyak adjusts equipment in the Vanderbilt Vaccine Center used in the production of anti-Ebola antibodies. Credit: VUMC

Vanderbilt Chancellor Says Financial Independence Will Let Medical Center Move Faster

November 14, 2014 at 5:43 pm

The change isn’t expected to affect employees, patients or students, but it will have a smaller board overseeing the hospitals to make business decisions “in a really dynamic healthcare environment.”

NASA astronaut Reid Wiseman. Credit: NASA via Instagram

Our 8 Favorite Photos Taken By A Tennessee Astronaut In Space

November 14, 2014 at 12:00 pm

Tennessee native Barry “Butch” Wilmore has been aboard the International Space Station for about two months. But fortunately for us all, that doesn’t mean he’s taken time off from the mundane tasks of the world, like posting pictures to the ISS Instagram account.

After the launch event, developer Jules White and Nashville Mayor Karl Dean used the app to get around the Music City Center. White clarified that cookies do not usually await the app users. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Listen: We Try The High-Tech New Way To Navigate Music City Center

November 13, 2014 at 5:34 am

Nashville’s Music City Center has had 750,000 visitors since it opened about a year and a half ago — and a lot of them have probably gotten lost. WPLN’s Emily Siner tried out the convention center’s new smartphone app intended to help people find their way.

What AT&T’s Announcement Means For Fiber-Optic Internet In Nashville

What AT&T’s Announcement Means For Fiber-Optic Internet In Nashville

November 12, 2014 at 6:34 pm

AT&T is likely putting the brakes on bringing gigabit-speed Internet to Nashville. It comes as a disappointment to Nashville residents hoping for competition to Google Fiber.

Rev. Micheal Ellis has led the Impact Baptist Church, which is a church plant of the massive Bellevue Baptist congregation in Memphis. Credit: IBC

Tennessee Baptist Convention Has First Black President After ‘Long Overdue’ Election

November 11, 2014 at 6:27 pm

Rev. Michael Ellis’ election comes two years after the national denomination, the Nashville-based Southern Baptist Convention, elected its first black president.

MTSU professor Cliff Ricketts stands next to the 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit pickup truck he will drive from Key West, Fla., to Seattle, Wash., from Nov.  6 to 13. Credit: MTSU News and Media Relations

MTSU Professor Drives Cross-Country On Chicken Fat Fuel (If It Doesn’t Freeze)

November 11, 2014 at 5:04 am

An enterprising MTSU professor is driving from Key West, Fla., to Seattle, Wash. — without stopping for gas. The good news is that 66-year-old Cliff Ricketts is getting 40 miles per gallon on biodiesel so far. The bad news? It doesn’t fare well in cold weather.

Gov. Bill Haslam talks about the Tennessee Promise program to students at Antioch High School in August. Credit: TN Photo Services

Who’s Not Included In Tennessee’s Free Tuition Program? Undocumented Students

November 10, 2014 at 5:06 am

Nearly every high school senior applied for Tennessee Promise, but a small percentage of them may not be eligible for free community college tuition. Before getting the state funding, students must apply for federal financial aid — which leaves undocumented students behind.

Gay rights advocates rally for marriage equality in 2012 in Nashville. Credit: Tennessee Equality Project.

Tennessee Doesn’t Have To Recognize Same-Sex Marriages, Appeals Court Decides

November 6, 2014 at 7:28 pm

The decision, issued by a three-judge panel, wrote that it is constitutional for state to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman. So, it said, Tennessee doesn’t have to recognize gay marriages performed in another state.

At the Vote No On 1 election night party, volunteers look dejected as the president of Planned Parenthood announces that the amendment has passed. The Yes On 1 campaign sent out a victory email soon after that. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

What’s Next For Tennessee Abortion Laws: New Regulations, New Resistance

November 5, 2014 at 1:48 am

The Yes on 1 campaign is hailing the passage of the abortion amendment as an “underdog victory.” Amendment opponents say it was an “uphill battle” that left them disappointed. Both sides expect to see new regulations on abortion proposed by the General Assembly next year.

Students at Antioch High School meet with Gov. Bill Haslam to talk about his Tennessee Promise initiative. Credit: TN Photo Services

Nearly Every High School Senior In The State Applied For Tennessee Promise

November 4, 2014 at 4:15 am

The state has a final count of students who have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that guarantees free community college tuition: 56,571.

After months of campaigning and millions of dollars spent, voters will decide Tuesday whether or not the Tennessee Legislature should have more ability to regulate abortion. Credit: Blake Farmer / WPLN

Here’s Everything We Know About Tennessee’s Amendment 1

November 3, 2014 at 3:00 pm

The number of statistics, court cases and changes in law regarding abortion in Tennessee can be overwhelming for voters going to the polls tomorrow. To help you navigate the slew of information, we did a little work for you.

Auctioneer and businessman Justin Ochs won the 2012 International Championship based on his marketing skills, bid calling and interactions with the audience. Credit: Justin Ochs

Listen: Auctioneer Champ Slows It Down For Us (And Then Speeds It Up)

November 3, 2014 at 5:27 am

Justin Ochs is a pretty smooth talking guy to begin with, but when you get him in front of a crowd of people, he becomes a guy you can’t help but listen to.

Mohamed Tawfik, Egypt's ambassador to the U.S., mingles with Nashville business leaders during a breakfast at Belmont University. Credit: Mark Drury / Nashville Chamber of Commerce

Foreign Diplomats Gather In Nashville To Scope Out Country Music, Healthcare Connections

November 1, 2014 at 5:24 am

Diplomats from 23 countries — including Singapore, Gabon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo — visited Nashville this week to tour the city and meet with business leaders in a trip organized by the U.S. State Department.

A Volunteer State staff member helps Madison Cone, middle, complete the Tennessee Promise application, along with the community college's application for admission. Her mom came with her. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Promise’s Biggest Accomplishment: Adding ‘Free’ To College Conversation

October 31, 2014 at 4:53 am

The governor’s Tennessee Promise program guarantees that students can go to community college for free. And calling it free is more than a monetary statement: It’s also wildly effective marketing.

Garnering federal financial aid, using a form known as the FAFSA, can be a confusing process for students, state officials say. Tennessee Promise requires that students fill out the FAFSA before getting the state's last-dollar scholarship. Credit: Bent Tree via Flickr

Half Of Tennessee Promise Students Were Already Eligible For Federal College Funding

October 30, 2014 at 6:19 am

Many students attending community college under Tennessee Promise next fall will get their tuition paid by the federal government — meaning they could go to school tuition-free even without the state program.

Rebecca Hargrove, CEO of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation, signs up to be a Tennessee Promise mentor. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Tennessee Thinks Most Students Signing Up For Free Community College Won’t Actually Attend

October 27, 2014 at 7:35 pm

Almost three quarters of high school seniors in the state have applied for Tennessee Promise, the last-dollar scholarship that covers community college tuition, which has doubled the state’s expectations.

Ritchie Francisco, a freshman at Volunteer State, signs a poster that says he's committed to finishing college. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

State-Trained Mentors Try To Make The Road To Free Community College Less Confusing

October 24, 2014 at 5:18 am

More than 40,000 high school seniors have signed up for Tennessee Promise, the new state scholarship that sends students to community college for free. But they still have a lot to do before their first day of class, and sometimes even the smallest hiccup can derail would-be college students.