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

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.

Why Are Parts Of The Tennessee Constitution Unconstitutional?

Why Are Parts Of The Tennessee Constitution Unconstitutional?

October 22, 2014 at 3:58 am

The Tennessee constitution is at the heart of this fall’s election, as voters consider four potential amendments that would change it. But what’s currently in written in the document has an interesting quirk: some passages don’t pass constitutional muster.

Rev. Dr. Judy Cummings spoke Tuesday about why her faith led her to oppose Amendment 1. Clergy supporting the amendment gathered across town later in the day to say their faiths led them to support the amendment. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Why Are Tennessee Churches Donating Only To The ‘Yes On 1′ Campaign?

October 14, 2014 at 5:56 pm

Clergy on both sides of the abortion amendment debate have been vocal about their views, but when it comes to money, only pro-amendment faith groups have been giving to a campaign. It’s a “cultural phenomenon,” one faith leader says.

Gov. Bill Haslam gives out pens to Overton High School students after the final ceremonially signing of the bill. Credit: Micah Bradley / WPLN

What The State’s Largest Public College System Expects From Tennessee Promise

October 13, 2014 at 5:21 am

The Tennessee Board of Regents may see 5,000 to 6,000 new students next year — meaning students who otherwise wouldn’t attend a TBR school — as a result of Tennessee Promise. Four-year schools will be competing within the system for freshmen who could go to a community college for free.

Planned Parenthood v. Sundquist was the 2000 Tennessee Supreme Court case that catalyzed the proposed abortion amendment today. One justice even wrote a dissent laying out the conservative reasoning for a constitutional amendment. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Behind Amendment 1: How The Fight Over Abortion Laws In Tennessee Began

October 13, 2014 at 5:10 am

The story of Amendment 1 begins in 1883, when the legislature passes the state’s very first abortion law. It’s untouched until Roe v. Wade 90 years later, followed by a series of court cases that left Tennessee in a fierce debate over abortion regulations.

At a rally in Nashville on Oct. 10, 35-year-old Halmat Qazi, left, says he believes it's time for the international community to start backing Kurdish fighters. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Watching Violence Abroad, Nashville Kurds Call On U.S. Support Against ISIS

October 10, 2014 at 5:39 pm

Salih Doski was among the couple hundred people rallying for support in downtown Nashville on Friday. He doesn’t have family in the besieged Syrian town of Kobane, but he says: “Kobane today, tomorrow will be Dahook city, where my family lives.”

A woman in Lwala, Kenya, sews for the New Visions Sewing Cooperative. Thistle Farms will be selling the cooperative's handmade aprons this winter. Credit: Thistle Farms

Nashville’s Thistle Farms Launches Global Trade Partnership To Help Women In Poverty

October 10, 2014 at 5:00 am

The Shared Trade online marketplace sells jewelry from India, fabric from Mozambique and silk scarves from Cambodia. Thistle Farms is also selling its vision: that customers can make a difference by buying from businesses that want to improve women’s lives.

The Supreme Court will not yet hear gay marriage cases from the states. Credit: Jeff Kubina / WPLN

Supreme Court Announcement On Gay Marriage Cases Won’t Change Much In Tennessee Yet

October 6, 2014 at 5:47 pm

The U.S. Supreme Court announcement means that gay marriage is effectively legal in five more states. But not in Tennessee, which is still awaiting a decision of the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals — a decision that could change the landscape of gay marriage throughout the country.

Vanderbilt was one of the first schools in Tennessee to offer MOOCs — an acronym that refers to free, open online courses. They've put out 10 MOOCs in the past year and a half. Credit: Elspeth Briscoe via Flickr

Vanderbilt’s Online Courses Enroll 600,000 Students — And Most Haven’t Paid A Dime

October 6, 2014 at 5:12 am

Although MOOCs are completely free for students, the average course costs Vanderbilt $45,000 to $50,000 to produce. But Vanderbilt doesn’t expect financial return here: It’s hoping to get the university’s work — and name — out to thousands of people.

Jeremy Kane speaks about his campaign at his house in Sylvan Park, with his father looking on. Credit: Kane for Mayor

Nashville Mayoral Hopeful Jeremy Kane Points To Charter School Experience To Woo Voters

October 1, 2014 at 7:08 pm

The election for Nashville mayor isn’t until next August, but Kane held an event Wednesday to officially launch his campaign. He touted his record as a successful charter school operator to try to stand out in what may be a crowded field.

New Poll On Abortion Amendment Comes With Conflicting Interpretations

New Poll On Abortion Amendment Comes With Conflicting Interpretations

September 30, 2014 at 4:28 am

Exactly half of Tennessee voters support the constitutional amendment concerning abortion regulations, according to a new poll commissioned by a conservative Christian policy group Family Research Council. It’s a shift from a Vanderbilt University poll earlier this year.

A Russian-made Soyuz rocket launched in Kazakhstan last November. Barry Wilmore will be going up to the International Space Station in a similar vessel. Credit: NASA.org

Countdown Over: Mount Juliet’s Barry Wilmore Launches Space Mission

September 25, 2014 at 5:26 am

After more than two years of preparation, the U.S. astronaut will be taking off from Kazakhstan on Thursday afternoon. He says he’s looking forward to the weightlessness and potential spacewalks.

Rayna James, played by Connie Britton, is a country music star trying to start her own music label. Credit: ABC Photo

How ‘Nashville’ Star Connie Britton Puts On Her Character’s Accent

September 24, 2014 at 6:15 am

The TV show Nashville has gotten praise for tackling the Southern accent — or at least, not always completely butchering it. And as many movies and TV shows have shown over the years, this isn’t an easy task.

A veteran stands up and speaks to Juan Morales, director of the Tennessee Valley Health System, which oversees Veterans Affairs hospitals in the region. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Nashville VA Hospital Promises Change During Contentious Town Hall Meeting

September 22, 2014 at 6:35 pm

For more than two hours, veterans talked about unexpected appointment cancellations, lost paperwork and long wait times at the Nashville VA hospital. The regional healthcare director said they’re hiring more staff, but it will take time to recruit.

Nashvillle's population has grown by about 7 percent since 2007, but its Millennial population has boomed beyond that. Credit: Jim Nix via Flickr

Millennials Are Flocking To Nashville, And Here’s Why It Matters

September 19, 2014 at 5:07 pm

A new report by housing research group RealtyTrac ranked Nashville in the top 10 cities for growth among those in their twenties and early thirties — an age group that will be spending more and more money as they get older.

Joey Ryan, left, and Kenneth Pattengale of The Milk Carton Kids perform at the 13th Annual Americana Music Association Honors and Awards Show on Sept. 17. Credit: Erika Goldring/Getty Images for Americana Music

Listen: 60 Seconds With The Folk-Singing, Joke-Telling Milk Carton Kids

September 19, 2014 at 1:31 pm

Kenneth Pattengale and Joey Ryan of the Milk Carton Kids have been compared to Simon and Garfunkle with their lush harmonies and fingerstyle guitar creations, but it was their witty banter that won over the audience at the Ryman Auditorium this week.

Loretta Lynn talks to the media and other artists before the 2014 Americana Music Association awards show at the Ryman Auditorium. Credit: Emily Siner / WPLN

Loretta Lynn Accepts Americana Lifetime Achievement Award (And Then Drives 800 Miles To A Show)

September 18, 2014 at 4:55 am

Loretta Lynn is an icon in country music, but another group of musicians have called her their own. The Americana Music Association honored her Wednesday night for being a pioneer among female songwriters.