All posts by elsimpson

The facts about Tennessee Promise

Gov. Bill Haslam’s Tennessee Promise will bring significant changes to the state’s higher education landscape, so we’re taking this opportunity to address several common questions and misconceptions about the new initiative, specifically as it impacts Pellissippi State.

Tennessee Promise is part of the state’s Drive to 55 campaign, which aims to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certifications to 55 percent by the year 2025. Through Tennessee Promise, graduating high school seniors will be eligible to earn an associate’s degree or certificate free of tuition and fees.

For complete details on Tennessee Promise, visit www.driveto55.org/initiatives.

  • Who is eligible for Tennessee Promise? Any high school senior who graduates from an eligible Tennessee high school or home school program and anyone who completes a GED or HiSET diploma before 19 years of age can apply for funds. The program will launch with the high school graduating class of 2015. Tennessee Promise students who graduate from high school in spring 2015 must begin college in fall 2015 to receive funding.
  • What will students be required to do? To get Tennessee Promise funding, students must take the following steps in their senior year of high school:
      1. Apply for the Tennessee Promise program by November 1.
      2. Attend mandatory meetings related to completing the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and applying to college.
      3. Complete the FAFSA by February 15.
      4. Attend New Student Orientation.
      5. Maintain continuous enrollment as a full-time student (12 credit hours), maintain a 2.0 GPA and complete at least eight hours of community service each term.
  • What does Tennessee Promise fund? Tennessee Promise is a last-dollar scholarship—that is, it will cover tuition and fees after other assistance (except for loans and work-study) has been applied. It won’t cover books or the cost of attendance fees, such as travel and gas expenses.
  • How will funds be administered? Tennessee Promise funds will be administered by the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation through higher education institutions. Students will never receive funding directly.

About 25,000 high school seniors are expected to apply to higher education institutions in fall 2015 through Tennessee Promise. The initiative is estimated to cost about $34 million per year, and the funds will come from existing sources, including modifications to the HOPE Scholarship.

Pellissippi State students pass stage-fighting exam

Ten Pellissippi State Community College students recently passed a skills proficiency test with the Society of American Fight Directors. The test, the first administered in Tennessee in almost 20 years, was the result of more than a semester of instruction by Bob Borwick, Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and certified SAFD instructor.

The students are Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corley, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Hunter Overby, Barrie Paulson, Steve Trigg, Kristina Walker and Deb Weatherington.

They tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after theatrical skills status in the world of professional theatre.

Borwick is the only SAFD certified instructor in the state, and he teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat). Plans are under way to offer the course again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also has a non-credit Stage Combat course available.

For more information, email Charles R. Miller at cmiller@pstcc.edu. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

New ‘cohort’ programs available at Pellissippi State campuses this fall

Pellissippi State Community College is adding several new “cohort” options to its degree and certificate offerings this fall, with courses scheduled to be convenient for working adults, in particular.

Cohorts allow students to enter and finish college together, as one dynamic group. Pellissippi State offers two pathways—accelerated and traditional—for earning a cohort degree.

Students can earn a degree more quickly through the accelerated than the traditional pathway, thanks to shorter-length courses. Accelerated pathway cohorts are ideal for those who work during regular school hours, who have family or other responsibilities and/or who may have been out of school for a while. Both pathways offer opportunities to gain college credit for prior life and learning experience.

Cohort certificate programs are designed for working students who want to learn new skills or upgrade their abilities/expertise in a shorter amount of time than a degree would require. 

Here are the degree and certificate cohorts that are new in fall 2014 and the campuses where they are offered. All of these cohorts follow the accelerated pathway:

Magnolia Avenue Campus:

  • Associate of Applied Science in Early Childhood Education degree. This degree program is offered two evenings per week for four semesters. The Early Childhood program leads to career opportunities in teaching, assistant teaching, and administration in Head Start and the field of child care.

Blount County Campus:

  • Industrial Automation certificate. This certificate program is offered two days per week for two semesters. It prepares students with the skills needed to troubleshoot and maintain programmable logic controller, instrumentation, and data acquisition systems.

Hardin Valley Campus: 

  • Associate of Science in Teaching degree. This two-year, five-semester, two-evening-a-week program includes a common core of courses for prospective elementary school teachers. Students who graduate with an A.S.T. degree can transfer to any Tennessee Board of Regents university, as well as Carson-Newman University, King University and Tusculum College. Students also have the option of completing their final two years of K-6 licensure at the Hardin Valley Campus through a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance. This two-year, six-semester degree curriculum prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

  • A.A.S. degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Civil Engineering Technology and a Construction Engineering Technology option. This two-year degree program is offered two evenings per week over six semesters. It prepares students for careers in the commercial, industrial or residential construction industry.

  • Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters, preparing students for employment in medical insurance and health-care claim processing.

  • Electronic Health Records Specialist certificate. This certificate program meets two evenings per week for two semesters. It prepares students for entry-level employment in a medical office. The certificate is offered jointly with the Medical Insurance Coding and Reimbursement certificate.

  • A.S. General Education Core certificate. This three-semester certificate program gives Associate of Science degree students the opportunity to complete the foundation courses (math, English, science, etc.) for a bachelor’s degree before transferring to a four-year school. This certificate program is available not only as a cohort but also in a traditional format.

For more information about cohort-structured degree and certificate programs at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Orientation sessions set for new fall enrollees, special sessions for veterans

Students who have been accepted to attend Pellissippi State Community College for the fall 2014 semester should make plans now to attend a New Student Orientation session. Two special sessions have been scheduled for veterans.

The sessions are required of all first-time degree-seeking freshmen and are recommended for transfer students. Reserve a space as soon as possible.

Orientation gives new enrollees the opportunity to meet with Pellissippi State students, faculty, and staff; learn about what they can expect in college and what the college expects of them; learn strategies for college success; explore degree, major, and transfer options; and discover campus services and resources such as financial aid, tutoring, and computer resources.

New Student Orientation campuses, dates and times:

  • Hardin Valley Campus—June 24, 5-8:30 p.m.; Aug. 5, 5-8:30 p.m.; Aug. 8, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.; Aug. 22, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Strawberry Plains Campus—Aug. 11, 9-11:30 a.m., 1-3:30 p.m. and 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Blount County Campus—Aug. 12, 9-11:30 a.m. and 1-3:30 p.m.; Aug. 18, 5:30-8 p.m.
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus—Aug. 12, 5-8:30 p.m.; Aug. 13, 8:30-noon
  • Division Street Campus—Aug. 13, noon-3:30 and 5-8:30 p.m.

The June 24 and Aug. 8 orientations on the Hardin Valley Campus include a special session for veterans.

TnAchieves students have assigned orientation dates in July. For more information about those dates, visit www.pstcc.edu/orientation.

Pellissippi State encourages parents, spouses and others supportive of the student to attend New Student Orientation. The application deadline for fall semester is Aug. 13. Classes begin Aug. 23.

To sign up for an orientation session, visit www.pstcc.edu/orientation or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact Disability Services at accommodations@pstcc.edu or (865) 539-7153.

Acting, art, dance among July creative summer camps at Pellissippi State

Creative learning opportunities continue through July at Pellissippi State Community College’s summer creative learning camps. Early registration is encouraged.

The youth summer course selection for July, offered through the college’s Business and Community Services Division, includes the following:

“BizSmart: Shark Tank Meets Talented Kid”—July 7-11, 9 a.m.-3 p.m., rising 4-8 grades; $209. Turn your art, craft, jewelry or photography into a business. Come up with a product or service, name your company, design a logo and marketing materials, and create a commercial. Participants need to bring a lunch, drink and snack every day.

“CreACTivity”—July 7-11, 1-4 p.m., ages 8-10; $115. Students will enjoy creative drama, theatre games and exercises as they expand their acting abilities. Instruction is provided by The WordPlayers.

“ImaginACTion”—July 14-18, 1-4:30 p.m., ages 11-13; $125. Through theatre games and acting, students will build their acting repertoire. Focus is on using imagination and technique to create characters for the stage. The week culminates in a performance showcase. Instruction is provided by The WordPlayers.

“Young Artist”—July 14-18, 9-noon and 1-4 p.m., ages 8-15; $119. Improve fine arts skills and learn new skills, including basic drawing, figure drawing, proportion, portraits, sculpture, polymer clay, oil pastels, book and journal making, color theory, and perspective.

“Kid News: Lights, Camera, Action”—July 14-18, 9-noon and 1-4 p.m., grades 4-8; $119. Create a news program from start to finish. Participants will work in teams to write scripts, rehearse, develop music and background, work green screens, record video, and edit footage. Students will screen videos at the end of the week.

“Basket Making”—July 21-24, 9-noon, ages 10 and up; $129. Projects may include a wooden base basket, basketry bowls from round reed, paper baskets from watercolor paper and a woven birdhouse.

“More Than Just Knitting”—July 21-24, 1-4 p.m., ages 11 and up; $109. Make your own knitting needles, dye yarn with KoolAid and learn the basics of knitting, including how to read a pattern.

“Claymation”—July 21-25, 9-noon and 1-4 p.m., ages 8-15; $119. Learn the process of creating claymation movies and cartoons. Participants will work in small groups, and each group will write a script, create clay figures and backgrounds, take photographs, and compile the images into short animated movies. Students will screen videos at the end of the week.

“Zumba Kids ‘Dance Around the World’”—July 21-25, 9-noon, rising 4-6 grades; $105. Learn basic dance steps for salsa, samba, mambo, reggaeton and merengue. At the end of the week, students will perform the top three dances in a showcase for parents.

Unless otherwise noted, all courses are at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Participants may bring snacks or money for vending machines.

To find out more or to register, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State partners with Boy Scouts to offer kids’ summer camps

Pellissippi State Community College is joining forces with the Boy Scouts of America to offer two children’s summer camps that focus on science, technology, engineering and math education.

“STEM camps such as these help kids become creative thinkers and problem solvers, and can help prepare them for the technological innovations they will face,” said Nancy Corum, a coordinator for Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services Division.

“In these camps, kids can discover how much fun and interesting these subjects can be and will take this interest with them. Hopefully, their experiences will inspire them toward a career in science and engineering fields to help fill the gap in America’s workforce.”

The following STEM summer camps take place on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

  • Race Engineering Ten80, ages 13-18, 8:30-noon, June 23-27. Students will build and race remote-controlled cars. The hands-on course encourages learning about mechanics and technology. Cost: $150.
  • USA BMX Bikes, ages 13-18, 1-5 p.m., June 23-27. Students will learn and have fun as they build and ride BMX bikes. Cost: $150.

To enroll in one or more of the STEM-related camps, contact the BSA’s Sarah Barnett at (865) 243-8057 or sarah.barnett@scouting.org.

In addition to the STEM classes, Pellissippi State is offering a variety of other summer camps for children of all ages. To learn more, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State aids small business with 3D printing prototype

Bill-Freshour

When Bill Freshour, an engineering lab tech at Pellissippi State Community College, spent much of his spring semester helping a small, young Etowah-based manufacturer develop a prototype laser scanner, he was just doing his job.

At least that’s what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics would say. According to the BLS, engineering lab technicians “work to resolve issues and solve problems in manufacturing…. To accomplish their goals they use science, engineering and math, and the theories that accompany them.”

So, yes, Freshour did what his job description said he would do. But to the staff of Advanced Measurement Systems Inc., he did a whole lot more.

“This prototype is a very innovative design using new technology,” said Robert Watts, the company’s CEO, “and Bill and Pellissippi State were key to us being a part of that type of trial.”

Freshour got involved in working with Advanced Measurement Systems as part of Pellissippi State’s involvement in the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee. Known simply as AMP!, the center is a public-private partnership intended to revitalize manufacturing and create jobs.

For small and start-up companies, AMP! partners provide resources for improvement and growth that the companies often wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. In the case of Advanced Measurement Systems, the competitive boost came from the technical expertise of Pellissippi State and the use of a 3D printer at Tech 20/20 in Oak Ridge.

Pellissippi State and Advanced Measurement Systems began working together after Tech 20/20 put out a call for businesses to take advantage of AMP! resources.

“This began as a student project for the AMP! Innovation Challenge, which pairs start-up small manufacturers in counties with high unemployment rates with STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] students,” said Mary Kocak. Kocak is a professor at Pellissippi State in the Engineering Technology degree program’s Mechanical Engineering concentration.

“The needs of AMS proved to be quite challenging,” she said, “so the project was taken on by Bill.”

Advanced Measurement Systems, a four-year-old McMinn County business that manufactures and sells cutting-edge laser electronic measuring systems to the collision repair industry, initially brought to the table the design for a prototype scanner that would allow greater accuracy in vehicle repair.

When a car’s frame is damaged, collision repair companies may use machines to reshape the frame and fix the vehicle. This type of repair was once measured by hand and then by individual laser measurements, but the new prototype allows continuous, dynamic measurements of a vehicle’s frame.

“This prototype is quite different than the scanner we are currently using,” said Watts. “For one, it’s significantly smaller, which prevents targets getting blocked and increases the accuracy of the measurements from the scanner to each target. It’s completely wireless, and it also uses only one laser beam, rather than two.”

The new prototype employs a green laser. Unlike a flashlight beam, which grows wider the farther it travels, a green laser retains its small diameter over a greater distance.

“That integrity over distance will allow us to measure larger vehicles, like motor homes and tractor trailers—which we currently can’t do—because the measurements are more accurate,” Watts said.

Every improvement to the laser scanner gives the business a competitive advantage in the collision repair industry.

Freshour took the company’s conceptual ideas and initial design for the prototype and created 16 separate 3D renderings of each piece needed to construct the revolving, turret-shaped laser. Those drawings were then sent to Tech 20/20 and manufactured using the company’s 3D printer.

AMS and Pellissippi State are now working together to modify design of the prototype further to allow it to be 3D printed in fewer pieces.

“If it can be made in one piece, as we think it can be,” said Watts, “that will save a lot of money in production and assembly. But it requires very precise design and manufacturing accuracy to be printed in one piece—no angle could be incorrect.”

If the one-piece design works as intended, no calibration of the laser will be needed, making the scanner even more accurate and reliable.

“Everything the college, Tech 20/20 and AMP! have done in collaboration with us has been invaluable in completing this project in a timely manner,” Watts said.

Advanced Measurement Systems hopes to show off the finished scanner at an October trade show. Using 3D printers, companies can create prototypes quickly, with less waste and cost than using traditional methods. The AMS prototype is still undergoing revisions, but in its current design, it could only be manufactured by a 3D printer.

“This is what the Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Technology team at Pellissippi State does,” said Freshour. “We work with industry on design problems, and help them to work things out. Local industry hires our students, so working with them also creates opportunities for our graduates.”

As Kocak points out, no single partner in the equation—neither Pellissippi State nor Advancement Measurement Systems nor Tech 20/20—could have brought the laser scanner project to fruition. And therein lies the benefit of the AMP! and other community partnerships in which the college participates.

AMP! was funded initially in 2012 by a federal grant. Under the helm of lead grant applicant Tech 20/20, Pellissippi State works together with collaborative partners Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

Thanks to the AMP! grant, the college also has created a certificate program in Additive Manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, and provides more than $250,000 in scholarships for 125-plus students in Advanced Manufacturing courses.

For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State launches non-credit commercial food service repair course

Pellissippi State Community College has joined forces with Ignitor Labs to offer a unique, fast-track technician training program for commercial food service equipment repair. The online course is presented through the college’s Business and Community Services Division.

“This is a specialized industry for which there is no official training,” said Heather Price of the Commercial Food Equipment Service Association, which developed the Basic Technician Training program in conjunction with Ignitor Labs. “There is a need for qualified technicians nationwide.”

No prerequisites are required to enroll in Basic Technician Training. The non-credit course teaches the fundamentals of electricity, gas and steam as they relate to commercial food equipment repair. The 24-hour, interactive online class costs $1,495. Most students complete the program in a month.

Ignitor Labs promises course graduates a job interview with a regional employer. There are approximately 800 companies nationwide that specialize in commercial food service equipment repair.

Students who complete the Basic Technician Training course are ready for entry-level positions in the commercial food equipment repair industry. Graduates also have the opportunity for hands-on training once in the industry.

“Through this online program, Pellissippi State can begin to bridge the gap between job training and job placement in this field,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development at Pellissippi State. “This is a first step toward meeting the needs of the commercial food repair industry in our area.”

Ignitor Labs offers scholarships to qualified veterans through Vet2Tech. Veterans can apply for the scholarship at www.vet2tech.org/application.

To learn more about Pellissippi State or to register for this or other BCS courses, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167.  To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Two grads take part in STEM-related Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Michelle-Lehman

Two graduates of Pellissippi State Community College have earned a place in TN-SCORE’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which provides a pathway for undergraduates to transition to a graduate program.

The vision of TN-SCORE, or Tennessee Solar Convention and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education, is to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) research in Tennessee schools.

Michelle Lehmann will be an intern with Siris Laursen at the University of Tennessee, and Lucas Thal will pursue research at Vanderbilt University under the guidance of David Cliffel.

“I was ecstatic when I found out I’d been accepted for the internship,” said Lehmann. “I felt like all my hard work over the past couple of years had paid off and I was on the road to achieving my career goals.

“I am going to be a chemical engineering major at the University of Tennessee,” said Lehmann, who graduated from Pellissippi State in May. “I plan on working in research in alternate energy or developing cleaner, more efficient processes for industry. I’m a proponent of the principles of green chemistry and want to do what I can to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Lehmann’s research over the summer will involve developing catalysts to make energy conversion and storage of solar power more efficient. She also will work with a newer form of solar power that uses the principles of photosynthesis.

Lucas-ThalThal graduated from Pellissippi State in 2012 and is currently at UT pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology and in chemistry. He’s on track to graduate in 2015. He plans to attend graduate school, then hopes to embark on a career in sustainable energy.

“I was overjoyed to find out I was chosen to be part of this competitive REU program,” said Thal.

“Over the course of 10 weeks this summer, I will be studying under Dr. Cliffel, whose research focuses on the electrochemistry of PS1, a redox protein involved in the light reactions of photosynthesis in plants, algae and cyanobacteria.”

Research Experiences for Undergraduates is a competitive, eight- to 10-week program in which students receive a $4,000 stipend, housing and supplies. Participating students must be enrolled full time at a Tennessee community college or four-year institution. Students present their research at the TN-SCORE annual conference.

For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Learn to play the dulcimer at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College is offering an opportunity to learn the Appalachian dulcimer this summer at the Blount County Campus.

The nine-week course is 5:30-7 p.m. beginning Monday, June 9. The fee is $95, payable to Pellissippi State. An additional materials fee of $37 is payable to the instructor.

No prior musical knowledge is required.

Students will need to have an Appalachian dulcimer by the first day of class. The instructor can provide sources for dulcimers if needed.

To register or find out more about this and other classes offered by the Business and Community Services Division, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.