Mom, the triplets are excelling at MTSU; fishing program nets $70,000


Here’s the latest news from Middle Tennessee State University.

MTSU Student Wins ATHENA Scholarship

Khadijah Alnassari of Nashville, Tennessee, received a $3,000 Rutherford ATHENA Fellowship from Rutherford Cable this year.

Holder of the certificate presented to her after being recognized for having obtained the Rutherford ATHENA scholarship, Khadijah Alnassari is pictured with members of her family, including, clockwise, her son Ahmed, 15, his sister-in-law Salwi Alrubaye, his daughters Fatima and Zaynab, both aged 15, his daughter Zahara, 8, and his son Muhammad Ali Alnassari, 5.  The Rutherford County organization presented the $3,000 scholarship to Khadijah Alnassari on Friday, April 29, at its annual awards luncheon at the Embassy Suites by Hilton Murfreesboro.

The organization also presented the ATHENA Award to Reverend Martha Toucton of Murfreesboro and the ATHENA Young Professional Leadership Award to Robin Seay of Murfreesboro. With 250 members, Rutherford Cable is a 10-year-old leadership organization for the professional advancement of women.

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A double major in biology and sociology, Alnassari plans to use the scholarship to pay for tuition.

“As a strong advocate for women’s rights and inclusion, I was amazed at how many women came together to support and encourage each other,” said Alnassari, 39, who enrolled at MTSU as a freshman 21 years ago.

A few weeks after her first registration, the events, known collectively as “9/11”, caused her to suspend her studies following widespread Islamophobia – the aversion or prejudice against Islam or Muslims.

Kim Collins, left, executive assistant at the MTSU Career Development Center, left, collects Muslim clothes requested by the Alnassari family - daughters, Zaynab and Fatima, mother Khadijah and son Ahmed.  The triplets, 14, are dual-enrollment freshmen and biology majors pursuing a pre-medical path.

In the fall of 2020, as the nation grappled with the pandemic, she re-enrolled at MTSU and 14-year-old triplets — her son Ahmed and daughters Fatimah and Zaynab — began a pre-med journey at double registration and joined her on the journey. The triplets, now 15 and about to graduate from virtual school at Metro Nashville Public School, will have enough credits to be juniors this fall.

Alnassari has also been dedicated to raising awareness, education and inclusion of Muslims at MTSU, as well as her children. She received the Student Organization President of the Year award at MTSU. All four won the National Women’s History Month Trailblazer Award for their work on diversity and inclusion on campus.

Alnassari led two research teams at MTSU and president of Al-Wahda, a United Muslim Association dedicated to understanding and including Muslims on campus.

They also all organized the first Festival des Voiles in March.

In addition to the ATHENA scholarship, she received these scholarships for the fall 2022 semester: Business and Professional Women’s Scholarship; Mairia Clark Major Fellowship in Sociology; James Tillman Sociology Major Fellowship; George Davis Biology Major Fellowship; and the Tate Family Pre-Professional Scholarship.

Fisheries Program Grant

Blake Osborn of MTSU, outdoor activities coordinator for Middle Tennessee Outdoor Pursuits, the students were interested in a college fishing program. The downturn during the pandemic allowed him to continue it.

Middle Tennessee State University outdoor activities coordinator Blake Osborn shows backpacks, some of the new gear the department purchased after receiving a $70,000 grant from the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to start a program University Fishing, at the Campus Recreation Center on April 14, 2022.

Osborn contacted the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency, or TWRA, about fishing licenses and gear, and his conversations led to the discovery of grant funds. Osborn applied for and received $70,000 of those funds for a new fishing program — the first university outdoor recreation program in the state to do so.

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He used funds that arrived in late 2021 to supply MTOP with poles, gear, kayaks, paddle boards, cargo trailers, camping gear, fly fishing facilities and more.

“With our new gear, we now offer free rod and tackle rentals, discounted additional gear rentals, free fishing trips and free fishing clinics,” Osborn said. “All of these benefits are available to students and faculty, and all equipment is available for rental to the wider Murfreesboro community.”

The only requirement to take advantage of MTSU’s new fishing program is proof of a state fishing license, available for purchase online at The cost is $9 for a one-day license and $38 for an annual license. MTOP will also offer a $30 rental credit to annual license holders.

Contact reporter Nancy DeGennaro at [email protected] Follow the news of the restaurant by subscribing Good Eats in the ‘Boro (and beyond) on Facebook and follow Murfreesboro eats on TikTok.


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