Pellissippi State hosts events throughout Black History Month

Pellissippi State Community College celebrates Black History Month with a series of events throughout this month.

Black History Month, or National African American History Month, is an annual February celebration of achievements by black Americans and a time for recognizing the central role of black people in U.S. history.

All Pellissippi State events for Black History Month are free and open to the public:

Feb. 4-28: “One Hundred Fifty Years … The Changing America,” a month-long exhibit in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Feb. 6: Healthy Pelli: a Pellissippi State health fair with workshops, screenings and displays at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Feb. 7: The WordPlayers perform “Lift Every Voice,” in the West Chevrolet Auditorium of the Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., at 7 p.m. “Lift Every Voice” is a one-act presentation in drama, song and dance that tells the story of the Harlem Renaissance (1919-1929). The Knoxville-based theatre group follows up with performances on Feb. 11 in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 10:45 a.m. and Feb. 12 in Clayton Performing Arts Center at the Hardin Valley Campus at 12:45 p.m.

Feb. 8: The Magnolia Avenue Campus hosts Dr. Richard Grapski, an oncologist with the University of Tennessee Medical Center, for a Common Book lecture on “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.” Lacks was a poor black tobacco farmer whose cells, taken without her knowledge in 1951, were discovered to be “immortal”: they can grow indefinitely. Her cells became one of the most important tools in medicine, vital for development of the polio vaccine, cloning, gene mapping, in vitro fertilization—yet for many years her family couldn’t afford health insurance.

Feb. 25: Panel discussion, “Why Does Diversity Matter?” in the Community Room of the Magnolia Avenue Campus at 1 p.m.

Feb. 27: Reception for Bobby Cain and the Clinton 12 at the Goins Building College Center of the Hardin Valley Campus at 2 p.m. In 1957, Bobby Cain became the first black male to graduate from an integrated public high school in the South, and a year later, Gail Epps Upton became the first female graduate of an integrated high school in Tennessee.

For more information, call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State hosts Feb. 6 ‘Healthy Pelli’ Workshops

A host of free health-check workshops are available to the community Wednesday, Feb. 6, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The “Healthy Pelli” workshops are 30 minutes each and cover dental health, breast health, drug abuse, dating violence and teen pregnancy, nutrition, environmental health, and fitness and exercise.

Participants are also eligible to win a prize provided by the Rush Fitness Complex: a free one-month membership, plus one free session with a personal trainer.

In addition, several types of free screenings are available throughout the four-hour event. Screenings include gonorrhea/chlamydia testing, HIV testing (requiring no blood and offering results in 20 minutes) and kidney health-risk assessment. Chair massages are also ongoing. Plenty of free health information is available to pickup as well.

The campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

For additional information, call (865) 329-3100. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State hosts competition for young inventors

Attention, science teachers: Tell your students that Saturday, Feb. 23, is the big day.

Pellissippi State Community College is hosting the second annual Inventors’ Fair for middle, high school and, for the first time ever, college students. The event is 9 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

The fair is hosted by the Pellissippi State Science Club. It’s sure to be fun and educational for students. Parents are also invited to attend.

“There are many students around our communities who have great ideas that may otherwise go unrecognized,” said Jerry Burns, who teaches chemistry at the college and is the club sponsor. “We want to reward innovation.”

Students may bring projects they’ve created for school science fairs and enter them in the Pellissippi State competition. Three winners in the middle-school bracket and three in the high-school level will be selected. Winners receive cash prizes of $10, $20 and $30.

Area college students are invited to enter their own inventions in the brand-new college-age category. Prizes will be awarded in that category, too.

Each entrant receives feedback from Pellissippi State science students and faculty members. That feedback is especially valuable for students who decide to enter their projects in the April 1-4 Southern Appalachian Science and Engineering Fair at the University of Tennessee. Three students from each bracket will be awarded the $10 entrance fee to compete in the SASEF.

In addition to competing on the 23rd, students will have the chance to enjoy some science fun, as Pellissippi State Science Club members assist them with entertaining experiments and demonstrations.

“Last year the students had such a great time making their own ice cream and watching all the experiments,” said Lee Beckner, Science Club president. “I think they took a new appreciation of science away with them, and I hope that it stays with them and they become the great minds of our future.”

For more information on the Inventors’ Fair, call (865) 694-6400 or email Burns at or beckner at

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.

Pellissippi State drives workforce development and innovation with AMP!

Pellissippi State Community College has a key role in the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee (AMP!), one of 10 public-private partnerships that will receive federal grant funding to revitalize U.S. manufacturing and create jobs.

The grant application for AMP! resulted in the largest award—a total of $2,391,778—and was the only one from the Southeast chosen to be funded. The regional consortium’s proposal was selected through a federal multi-agency grant opportunity called the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

The grant enables Pellissippi State to create a certificate program in Additive Manufacturing and update existing curricula. It also funds more than $250,000-plus in scholarships for students in Advanced Manufacturing courses. The college currently offers an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology, with concentrations in Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing and Mechanical Engineering.

The certificate will be offered through the college’s Business and Community Services Division and the Engineering Technology degree program.

Pellissippi State’s partners include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the University of Tennessee’s Center for Industrial Services and Tech 20/20, the lead applicant on the grant.

“The way they created this opportunity at the federal level,” said Teri Brahams, “made us all come to the table to begin with and decide: how do we make the best impact? And I’m excited about that. I’m very excited about that.” Brahams is BCS’ Economic and Workforce Development executive director.

The purpose of AMP! is to lead the evolution of East Tennessee’s existing manufacturing cluster through the integration of advanced manufacturing process, equipment, programs and materials. That cluster comprises 20 counties around ORNL and within the East Tennessee Development District.

The partnership aims to connect resources and encourage collaboration, innovate and improve technologies, and develop a workforce that will drive that innovation and expand entrepreneurship.

“One of the things coming out of the effort,” said Brahams, “is a network of local businesses—small, medium and large—who are interested in exploring additive manufacturing and its applications within their own operations.”

Additive manufacturing describes the technologies that build 3D objects by adding layer-upon-layer of material, whether it be plastic, metal or concrete. Using 3D printers, companies can create prototypes quickly, with less waste and cost than traditional methods. In addition, additive manufacturing is being used more and more to make finished products.

“Part of the technology that we’re going to be working with is well advanced of the marketplace right now,” said Pat Riddle, a Pellissippi State faculty member and Mechanical Engineering Technology program coordinator. “It’s had its infancy in what’s called rapid prototyping, and now it’s gone beyond that point, which was a natural progression.”

Pellissippi State was awarded $399,778 over three years through the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge. Displaced and unemployed workers, veterans, and first-generation college students are all eligible for the scholarships.

In addition to classroom learning, students will have the opportunity to do hands-on lab assignments in additive manufacturing at ORNL’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, located less than a mile from Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about the Additive Manufacturing certificate at Pellissippi State, contact Teri Brahams, BCS executive director, at (865) 539-7167. For information about Engineering Technology and other Pellissippi State programs, call (865) 694-6400 or visit

Artist Tom Lee brings ‘truth of absurdity’ to Pellissippi State

Rabbit-(3)Although his home and studio are in Coldwater, Miss., artist Tom Lee is known throughout the South and across the nation for his “lessons of the truth of absurdity.” Pellissippi State Community College hosts a collection of Lee’s work at an exhibit scheduled Feb. 8-March 1.

“It’s What You Get….” kicks off on the 8th with an opening reception honoring the artist. Reception hours are 3-5 p.m. The reception and exhibit, both of which are free and open to the community, take place in the gallery of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus. Gallery hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m.

Since 1989, Lee has served as a professor of fine arts at Memphis College of Art, where he teaches sculpture and foundations. He is the recipient of artist grants from Mississippi and Tennessee, and his art has been exhibited nationally. His community work includes designing sets and props for Ballet Memphis, Opera Memphis and Theatre Memphis. Lee also conducts docent training for the Memphis Brooks Museum of Art.

rabbit-deer-merged“It’s What You Get….” 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, lectures, and the fine arts.

For additional information about the exhibit or “The Arts at Pellissippi State,” call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or Requests should be made at least two weeks in advance.

Pellissippi State hosts visiting Russian professionals


A delegation of 13 visitors from Russia joined Toni McDaniel’s history class last month at Pellissippi State Community College.

The group was in Knoxville courtesy of two organizations, the U.S. Congress’ Open World Program and Friendship Force International’s Knoxville chapter. Open World supports young professionals interested in visiting the U.S. to learn the democratic process and business practices.

The visit to Pellissippi State was sponsored by the institution’s Liberal Arts Department and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, which is housed at the college. The group was brought to campus by Joanne Schuetz of Friendship Force.

In the classroom, desks were arranged in a circle to encourage discussion between the visitors and students, and McDaniel opened the floor for an informal question-and-answer session.

“This was an excellent opportunity for my students, who were excited to dialogue with members of the group,” she said.

The group was composed of nine Open World delegates, two facilitators who were fluent in English and two translators. Delegates ranged in age from 19 to 46. They included deputies of the legislative assembly, political correspondents, a press secretary in public policy, attorneys and university instructors.

Most of the Russian guests were from the Altai Krai region, located northwest of China and just north of Kazakhstan. Two were from the capital city of Moscow, one from the city of Novgorod.

Discussion topics ranged from the size of Russia—“It’s ‘humongous,’” said Mikhail Italyevich Paklin, an associate professor of Russian history—to what the visitors expected to find in the U.S.

Anna Nikolayevna Kachurina, forewarned by fellow Russians, came to America with low expectations of the food. “But I’ve liked everything I’ve eaten.” Likewise, shoe styles. She was told they were all unattractive. “But that’s not true.” The misinformation, turns out, had come from people who’d never been to the U.S.

On the other hand, “some of the things I saw in American movies, such as downtown streets and student cafeterias, were what I expected,” she said.

Russians and Americans sharing the classroom also discovered common ground: both enjoy “going out on the town,” as one delegate put it, and to movies and concerts.

At one point McDaniel steered the discussion to the subject of Russia’s population and government.

“We have a hundred nations and nationalities living in the country,” Paklin said. “The Russian people are very tolerant.”

The group talked about presidential term lengths, the power of the government, ethnic groups and Russia’s infrastructure (a great rail system, but not every family can afford a car).

After class ended, conversation moved to the hallway.

“The thing that strikes us first is the high standard of living,” Paklin said, “and also my personal observation that people are open and friendly, smiling and talking.”

“I am so impressed to see clean cities,” said Yelena Viktorovna Klyushnikova. “You will never find a city as clean as in the U.S. There are no papers on the ground.”

Paklin agreed, and said he wanted to make another point.

“The realization I’ve come to is, we have more in common than the politicians would have us believe.”

Having arrived in Washington, D.C., the previous week, the group spent the remaining week in Knoxville. They were scheduled to go to concerts and to visit Congressman Jimmy Duncan, Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, Federal Judge Tom Varlin, the Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the News-Sentinel. They also planned an excursion with the Tennessee Riverboat Company, an evening at Cotton-Eyed Joe’s and attendance at the Christmas Parade on Gay Street. While in Knoxville, members of the delegation stayed with host families.

Before taking part in the classroom discussion, the delegation joined L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president, and Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs; Tracey Bradley, TnCIS director; Jonathan Fowler, dean of Liberal Arts; and students from the history class for a traditional Southern barbecue.

Motivational speaker/author leads free workshop at Pellissippi State

Terry Schofield
Terry Schofield

Most of us have habitual patterns and distractions that keep us from being the best we can be. Local motivational speaker and author Terry Schofield has researched many facets of self-improvement, and he is a firm believer in the power of changing habits.

Schofield shares his knowledge in a workshop on Tuesday, Jan. 29, at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. Workshop hours are 2-3 p.m.

“Motives, Intent, Habits, Desires and Their Influence on Interpersonal Relationships” is a one-hour event that is free and open to the public. Schofield will base the discussion on his newest book, “Distractions—Why We Do What We Do.” Attendees will learn techniques for recognizing and changing personal habits and distractions.

coverSchofield, co-author of “The Measures of a Complete Life,” has conducted seminars across the U.S. and internationally on human performance and relationship training, organizational interrelationships, and diversity. A native of Knoxville, he earned a Bachelor of Arts from Knoxville College and a Master of Divinity from Emmanuel Christian Seminary. Schofield is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in clinical psychology.

Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. Free parking is available.

For additional information, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State offers free workshop for applying for financial aid

The process of applying for financial aid can seem overwhelming for both students and parents. Take it off your to-do list by attending College Goal Sunday, a free workshop at Pellissippi State Community College.

The event is at noon this coming Sunday, Jan. 27, in the Educational Resources Center, Room 327, on the Hardin Valley Campus. It is sponsored by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation and Tennessee Higher Education Commission.

Pellissippi State hosts College Goal Sunday to help current and potential students and their families navigate the steps necessary to apply for financial aid for higher education. The FAFSA, or Free Application for Federal Student Aid, is the documentation required to be considered for financial aid, including grants, scholarships and loans. Knowing how to complete the FAFSA properly is crucial, and financial aid professionals will be on hand to help students successfully complete and submit the documents.

Those who are unsure whether they’ll need financial aid are encouraged to attend the event as well, since attending will ensure that critical FAFSA deadlines have been met if applicants decide they need assistance later in the year. Completing the FAFSA establishes no obligation to attend college.

To register for College Goal Sunday, fill out and submit the online Events Registration form at Participants should bring specific financial documents to the session. The list of what to bring is available online at The four-hour workshop begins promptly at noon. Attendees are encouraged to arrive early.

For additional information, call (800) 342-1663 or visit To contact Pellissippi State directly, call (865) 694-6400.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State hosts art exhibit featuring Jason Stout


Pellissippi State Community College is currently hosting “Quiet Histories and Futures From the Republic,” a 15-day exhibit by artist Jason Stout, at the Hardin Valley Campus. The event runs through Feb. 6.

Stout’s vivid and political work deals primarily with variations of past, current and future narratives, almost always concerning our identity or history. He is known for his Southern interpretation of American culture. He completed his Bachelor of Fine Arts in studio art at the University of Tennessee at Martin and earned his Master of Fine Arts in painting at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Stout is an assistant professor of art at UT, Martin.

The exhibit and a closing reception, both of which are free and open to the public, take place in the Bagwell Center Gallery. Regular exhibit hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. The closing reception is Feb. 6, 4-6 p.m.

The_Inability_of_at_Ease_to_Please-jpg“Quiet Histories and Futures from the Republic” 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, lectures, and the fine arts.

For additional information about the exhibit or “The Arts at Pellissippi State,” call (865) 694-6400 or visit To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

Pellissippi State’s Veterans Support Committee hosts Wounded Warrior staff

Many East Tennesseans know Pellissippi State Community College’s reputation for supporting and enrolling one of the largest student-veteran populations in the state. It’s a reputation that, in fact, has made its way to troops serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

They also may know the Wounded Warrior Project, respected for its role in helping injured service members recover from the trauma of war.

Now WWP and Pellissippi State are looking for ways to assist one another in helping veterans as they transition from combat zone to classroom to employment.

“Collaborating with WWP would give our students access to and awareness of a network of support resources they may need,” said Ron Bridges, Faculty Senate president. “This can only help their success as students. It will also give all of our students an opportunity to get involved in supporting a great organization and engaging in community actions.”

Pellissippi State’s Veterans Support Committee hosted WWP staff members at the Hardin Valley Campus on Dec. 12. The committee includes representatives from the college’s administration, faculty and staff.

The discussion covered several areas of common interest and mutual concern, including transitioning to the classroom, employment, academic preparedness and community engagement.

Tiffany Daugherty and Kayla Avery, staff members at WWP’s new regional office in Nashville, came to campus for the meeting. The new WWP office opened in October, and its staff has spent a lot of time traveling the state, reaching out to organizations that serve veterans.

“Our main focus is to let the veterans know that we are here,” said Daugherty. WWP offers more than 18 programs and services to veterans and their families. To learn more, visit

To find out more about the resources available to veterans through Pellissippi State, go to or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN