Pellissippi State Community College is one of 55 educational institutions across the United States that will participate in a high-altitude ballooning experiment — sponsored by NASA — during next year’s total solar eclipse.
The total solar eclipse will move from the West Coast to the East Coast throughout the day of Aug. 21. The moon’s shadow will come between earth and the sun at approximately 2 p.m. in East Tennessee. It’s the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1918.
Pellissippi State will launch a high altitude balloon to gather data and conduct experiments during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. Video from the balloon of the eclipse will be streamed live to NASA’s website.
“This is an amazing learning opportunity,” said Lynn Klett, instructor in Engineering and Media Technologies, and a faculty advisor to Pellissippi State’s high altitude ballooning team. “The last total solar eclipse was years ago, so we have the opportunity to learn a lot about what happens during an eclipse. But high altitude ballooning has its own challenges that require critical thinking and problem-solving, whether you’re flying during a solar eclipse or not.”
As an example of those challenges, Pellissippi State’s balloon must be within the proper altitude range — 60,000 to 100,000 feet — precisely during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. The scientific equipment within the payload must be able to withstand temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius and survive a controlled fall from approximately 100,000 feet in space.
And that’s just the beginning.
Jerry Sherrod, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, and this project’s other faculty advisor, is working with predictive software to determine where the payload is likely to land.
“East Tennessee has geographic challenges when it comes to predicting where a 12-pound payload on a small parachute will land,” Sherrod said. “We don’t want the equipment to land in a lake or in the national park where it may be impossible to retrieve, or where the scientific equipment will be lost or damaged.”
Klett and Sherrod will be working with the students on the high altitude ballooning team — as well as students in their classes — not only to discuss the project, but to design experiments, improve the payload structure and create predictive algorithms for the device’s retrieval.
“This is an accessible project to the STEM field,” student Sarah Graham said. “Everyone can understand a solar eclipse because it’s a real, visible phenomenon. It’s a great way to learn about physics and engineering in a less intimidating way.”
Pellissippi State’s high-altitude ballooning team will spend the next year improving the payload structure and conducting test launches, as well as working with predictive software to improve retrieval. The team also has the chance to create additional experiments, so long as they add less than two pounds to the payload, to include in the launch next year.
The high altitude ballooning effort is being funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. Pellissippi State is one of only three colleges in Tennessee that are participating in the NASA-sponsored effort.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Download this press release: Solar Eclipse Experiment
Now through Sept. 9, Pellissippi State Community College will host the “Eight Artists of the Vacuum Shop Studios” exhibit in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The exhibit features artists from Knoxville’s collaboratively-run Vacuum Shop Studios: Eleanor Aldrich, Heather Hartman, Kelly Hider, Ashton Ludden, Erin Mullenex, Chelsie Nunn, Deb Rule and Jessie Van der Laan. A reception to meet the artists will be held from 4-7 p.m., Sept. 9. The exhibit is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual series that includes music and theatre performances, international celebrations, lectures and the fine arts. For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Download this press release: Briefs Vacuum Shop
Auditions are open for Pellissippi State Community College’s upcoming production of “Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson.”
Auditions will be held from 6:30-10 p.m., Aug. 29 and 30, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Auditions are open to the community and will be held for 13 roles, all within the 20- to 30-year-old age range, all ethnicities and including a mix of male and female roles.
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is a satirical emo rock musical and dramatized retelling of the controversial presidency of Andrew Jackson. The play, by Michael Friedman and Alex Timbers, discusses the role of populism in the actions of America’s seventh president and draws parallels to today’s political climate.
The play’s performance dates are Oct. 28-30 and Nov. 4-6. Rehearsals will be held in the evenings and on weekends. More information about auditions and rehearsals is available at www.facebook.com/pstcctheatre.
“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations and the fine arts. For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc/edu/arts or call 865-694-6400.
Download this press release: Bloody Jackson Auditions
A record number of high school juniors and seniors have taken college-level classes at Pellissippi State Community College over the past academic year.
The college’s Dual Enrollment program — which allows high school students to take college level classes at their high schools or at Pellissippi State campuses in order to receive dual high school and college credit — had 1,849 students in 2015-2016. The students came from Knox and Blount counties. A record 84 academic sections were offered to those students.
“Dual Enrollment is all about helping students reach their goals,” said Spencer Joy, Dual Enrollment specialist. “We’re proud to reach record enrollment, but we’re prouder that these students are achieving so much. Dual Enrollment students can get a jump-start on their college education, entering college as freshmen who already have credits under their belt.”
A Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation grant pays for students to earn up to six hours of college credit during their junior and senior years of high school, but Dual Enrollment students can take additional classes if they choose, at their own cost.
About 55 percent of Dual Enrollment students take courses on one of Pellissippi State’s five campuses. The remainder take college-level courses at their high schools. A record six high schools registered more than 100 Dual Enrollment students this past year — at Farragut High School (259 students), Bearden High School (236), Hardin Valley Academy (174), Halls High School (133), Maryville High School (113) and Karns High School (110).
Farragut, Bearden, Karns, Alcoa, Central and Gibbs high schools, plus the L&N STEM Academy, set individual records for the numbers of Dual Enrollment students each had enrolled.
Download this press release: Dual Enrollment 2016 Record