All posts by elsimpson

CSI, BMX bikes, self-defense among creative summer camps at Pellissippi State

Children and youth may have the summer away from school, but those months are still an opportunity to explore topics as wide-ranging as East Tennessee vertebrates, GarageBand, self-defense, manners and remote control racing—all at Pellissippi State Community College’s summer creative learning camps.

Creative learning camps are available throughout June and July. Early registration is encouraged.

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

“Self-Defense for Kids”—June 2-6, 10-11 a.m., ages 7-12; $75. Using role-playing and games, children learn self-defense that includes bully and stranger defense and escape techniques.

“Self-Defense for Teen Girls”—June 2-6, noon-1:30, ages 13 and up; $95. Teenagers learn basic self-defense through thoughtful discussion and role-play. Covered are bully defense, stranger defense, predator awareness and escape techniques. Safe dating strategies and assault prevention are discussed in age-appropriate ways.

“Junior Summer Team Tennis”—June 2-July 28; practices Mondays 8-10 a.m. and matches Wednesday or Thursday, 12:30 or 2 p.m., ages 9 and up; $135. Former ATP world-ranked professional Andy Frost leads Junior Team Tennis. Players are separated by ability and age, and participants have one practice and one match per week.

“Vertebrates of East Tennessee”—June 9-13, noon-2, grades 2-5; $105. Children learn about all of the scaly, slimy, furry and feathery animals that call East Tennessee home.

“The CSI Experience”—June 9-13, 9-11 a.m., grades 5-8; $105. Participants use simple forensic techniques and solve a mock crime. Lab activities may include blood typing with simulated blood, finger printing and DNA extraction.

“Manners Matter and Mean Success”—June 16-19, 9-noon, ages 5-8, and 1-4 p.m., ages 9-12; $129. Attendees are taught the well-known manners program “The Etiquette Factory,” including more than 50 different social and manners skills. Only 12 youth accepted in each age group.

“Race Engineering Ten80”—June 23-27, 8:30-noon, ages 13-18; $150. Ten80 is a fast-growing program that delivers remote-control car racing in an exciting new way, through the lens of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Camp takes place in partnership with The Boy Scouts of America. To register, contact Sarah Barnett at (865) 243-8057 or sarah.barnett@scouting.org.

“USA BMX Bikes”—June 23-27, 1-5 p.m., ages 13-18; $150. Discover BMX bike racing through STEM, in partnership with The Boy Scouts of America. To register, contact Sarah Barnett at (865) 243-8057 or sarah.barnett@scouting.org.

“Basic Computer and Typing Skills”—June 23-27, 9-noon, ages 6-12; $119. Students learn the basic tools and keys to navigate through different computer applications. They create comic strips, greeting cards, posters, slideshows and more.

“GarageBand Music Creation”—June 23-27, 1-4 p.m., grades 6-12; $119. Participants learn the Mac program GarageBand, which allows them to create their own music or record themselves singing or playing. Attendees add backgrounds, record voices or instruments and edit music.

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 honors graduate hopes to inspire others

portrait of female outside with trees

Be kind. Be courageous. Follow your dreams.

Those are the messages Chisa Huffman wants to share with others as a new honors graduate of Pellissippi State Community College.

Huffman took home an associate’s degree in Nursing from the college’s Commencement ceremony on May 10. She also was inducted into the 2013-2014 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and received a Service Leadership Excellence Award, a Distinguished Service Award Medallion, and an Outstanding Graduate Award.

“I didn’t do this [going to nursing school] just for me,” she said. “I did this for everyone who has the odds against them, for the kids that don’t have a good life—to show them that they can do it.”

Huffman was one of those children who didn’t have a “good life,” but she chooses not to dwell on what in her past could easily have held her back. Instead, she focuses on what in her life helps her succeed, and she shares that message, mostly through her own example, with others.

“Chisa is one of the most inspiring students I have encountered in over 16 years of teaching,” said Susan Heyde, who teaches in the Administrative Professional Technology program. “Her vision is to give hope to those in need. Her leadership is demonstrated through her actions, and she has a heart to change lives.”

Huffman was 30 years old when she enrolled at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in 2013.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. I had no guidance. I had no one telling me that college was an option,” Huffman said. That didn’t stop her from earning an LPN (licensed practical nurse) from Blount Memorial Hospital.

At Pellissippi State, Huffman met with an academic advisor, who, she said, “looked at my grades and my experience and helped me find my path.” She applied to and was accepted into the college’s Bridge to Registered Nurse Pathway, which provides LPNs a fast-track opportunity to become RNs.

Once in school, Huffman got involved with the college’s Service-Learning program. In Service-Learning courses, students learn in the classroom and they also team with community partners in service opportunities. Community service, for Huffman, translated into mentoring and tutoring outreach.

“Service-Learning brings people back to people,” she said. “In one of my service projects, I worked to mentor a young girl whose parents were incarcerated. That was very meaningful to me, because I came from that type of background. So being able to help a child past that was amazing.”

Huffman says the most important personal quality she has nurtured in herself, and the most important quality she hopes to inspire in others, is courage.

“Most people wouldn’t see that as a skill,” she said, “but nursing and school aren’t just about being able to perform skills. You can be scared to think that you might not be able to help. Courage is having the strength to fight that fear within.”

Having earned an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and passed the mandatory NCLEX exam, Huffman is now qualified to embark on a career as a registered nurse. But she still has more to achieve.

Come fall, she plans to be back at Pellissippi State. She’ll once again be taking classes at the Blount County Campus, this time pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing through Pellissippi State’s partnership RN to BSN program with King College.

And no doubt, as she pushes on to attain her own dreams, she’ll be helping others to reach theirs.

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

Pellissippi State honors outstanding employees, recognizes retiring faculty/staff

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual employee recognition ceremony, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing retirees.

Gray-Annie
Annie Gray

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Annie Gray, an English professor and the college’s Service-Learning coordinator. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Gray launched and has since expanded Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program. Service-Learning connects classroom learning to real-world problem-solving situations by pairing students with area organizations to work jointly on community service efforts.

Gray, an active member of the college’s Sustainable Campus Initiative, also serves as Pellissippi State’s AmeriCorps VISTA project supervisor for the 2014-2015 Good Food for All! Initiative. Additionally, she is on advisory boards for the Pond Gap Elementary UACS After-School program and the University of Tennessee’s TENN TLC Institute for Reflective Practice.

Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat
Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon faculty members Jerry Burns in Chemistry and Laxman Nathawat in Computer Science and Information Technology for their work on one of four Chemistry Simulations Projects. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities.

The projects paired chemistry students with computer science students to create visual, interactive, computer-based models of chemical interactions. The goal is to provide a new way for chemistry students to learn chemical processes and give student programmers experience with peer clients. The simulations have since become part of the general chemistry curriculum.

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was presented to Teri Brahams, head of the Business and Community Services Division, and Mary Kocak, who teaches in Engineering Technology. The award was in recognition of their work on an outreach project that had a positive impact on the community.

Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak
Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak

Brahams and Kocak worked on the launch of an additive manufacturing (3D printing) training initiative at Pellissippi State with community partners that included Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tech 20/20 and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

The initiative—the AMP! Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee—creates partnerships and new jobs and increases workforce development and training. It also provides scholarship money and an opportunity to work on projects with small businesses to 160 Pellissippi State students.

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.

Additional awards and their recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque, and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Saralee Peccolo-Taylor; Outstanding Administrator, Holly Burkett; Outstanding Contract Worker, Michael Hurst; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Mary Monroe-Ellis; Outstanding Support Professional, Karen Ghezawi; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Tracy Smith.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees who were at five-year increments of service to the college, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees include Rick Barber, Alberta Boring, Bill Davis, Judy Eddy, Pat Grant, Cathy Hurrell, Jim Kelley, John Reaves, Bookie Reynolds and Elizabeth Wade.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation generates support for student scholarships and emergency loans, facilities improvements, and new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State students rank tops in Math League competition

group of males standing in a row
Pellissippi State Community College students, left to right, Matt Rumbolt, Khoa Nguyen, Scott Maxwell and Boone Cornell placed tops in the first and second rounds of the Student Mathematics League competition for the 2013-2014 school year.

Pellissippi State Community College students ranked among the top participants in the annual Student Mathematics League Math Competition. The contest is a two-round nationwide event sponsored by the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges.

“Pellissippi State has competed in this contest for at least 13 years in a row,” said Bobby Jackson, associate professor of Mathematics. “This year, we had a total of 154 students who took part in at least one of the two rounds. In the final rankings, Pellissippi State finished in eighth place in the Southeast Region and first in the state of Tennessee.”

In the first round of competition, which took place in November, Boone Cornell placed first and Ravenne Hall placed second among 94 Pellissippi State students. Simon Boka, Timothy Frantz and Phillip McKnight tied for third place. Cornell tied for 20th place among all Southeast Region students for the first round of competition.

In the second round of competition in March, Scott Maxwell placed first, Khoa Nguyen second and Matt Rumbolt third among 77 Pellissippi State students. Tied for fourth place were Dylan Junion, Jonathan McGuire and Dylan Sauls.

The AMATYC competition includes a fall and spring component involving more than 8,000 community college and junior college students from 165 institutions. Results from both components are tabulated and released in May.

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

Pellissippi State: ‘American Idol’ contestant to perform at Blount County Campus

profile of male smiling

“American Idol” contestant Johnny Newcomb and his band, The 8Bits, perform at an outdoor concert at Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus Friday, May 30, and the community is invited.

The concert is 6:30-8:30 p.m. and is free.

“The Blount County Campus has an amphitheater surrounded by a large green space that’s perfect for outdoor entertainment,” said Holly Burkett, campus dean. “I encourage everyone to bring a blanket or lawn chair. We want you to relax and enjoy the concert!”

Newcomb, a Maryville native, was a contestant on “American Idol” Season 13. He attends Heritage High School and is now the frontrunner of local band The 8Bits, which is in the process of recording an album.

“We’ll be playing rock music,” Newcomb said. “I know I speak for all of us in The 8Bits when I say we’re very excited to play this show. Getting to perform for a group of college-age guys and gals is exciting. We hope to have everyone there as excited as we are.”

Concert attendees should bring something to sit on, and they are welcome to bring snacks and beverages. Alcohol is prohibited. Pets on leashes are welcome.

“Johnny loves folk, pop, alternative rock, blues and bluegrass music. It’s very interesting to see how he blends all of these musical styles together,” said Timothy Whitehead, a Pellissippi State student who is helping to plan the event.

The Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy.

For more about the performance, call (865) 981-5300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu. To learn more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State dedicates Jenny and Randy Boyd Building

four people standing in front of building

In recognition of outstanding support by Randy and Jenny Boyd of higher education opportunities in this area, Pellissippi State Community College has dedicated its Strawberry Plains Campus building in the couple’s honor.

The Jenny and Randy Boyd Building was dedicated today, May 9.

“We are naming this building in recognition of Jenny and Randy Boyd for their support of Pellissippi State Community College and their dedication to increased access and opportunities for higher education in East Tennessee,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president.

In 2012, the Boyds donated $1 million to the Pellissippi State Foundation toward the purchase of the Strawberry Plains Campus. The campus, which is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, began offering classes in fall 2012.

“If we fail to give our children the opportunity to get the additional education and training they will need, we have failed them,” Randy Boyd said. “Our community colleges will see the majority of the growth in degrees in the next decade, and we are proud that one of the best in the country serves our community: Pellissippi State.

“Making college convenient and accessible is critical, and this new campus at Strawberry Plains will do that for East and South Knox county and neighboring counties. We’re happy to be able to help Pellissippi State fulfill its mission and that of our state with this new campus.”

Randy Boyd was Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam’s special advisor for higher education in 2013. In 2009, he helped start tnAchieves, which is a last-dollar scholarship and mentoring program for college students.

He also is a proponent of the governor’s “Drive to 55” campaign. The campaign’s goal is to increase the percentage of Tennesseans with college degrees or certificates to 55 percent by 2025.

Randy Boyd is founder, chairman and CEO of Radio Systems Corporation, maker of the PetSafe and SportDOG brands. He started the Knoxville-based company in 1991.

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

Pellissippi State student awarded prestigious scholarship to study abroad

Young female in portraitPellissippi State Community College student Ciara Sheets is the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer.

Sheets is one of only two community college students in the state to receive the award. She plans to study biology during a summer study abroad program to Ecuador with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

“I am thrilled to have won the award. It’s such an honor,” Sheets said.

“I’ll be going to the Galapagos Islands and am taking my Biology II course there, getting to take hikes and visit caves and natural observation points. We’ll take a trip to the observatory where scientists like Charles Darwin and others have studied.”

The Gilman Scholarship offers grants for undergraduates—particularly those who are typically underrepresented in international studies, such as students of limited financial means, community college students and minority students—to pursue academic studies or career-oriented internships abroad. The program is intended to better prepare students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

“Ciara is participating in our Ecuador program, a four-week course in the Galapagos Islands that focuses on the study of biology and genetics. It’s a unique program that offers field work with an outdoor laboratory,” said Tracey Bradley, executive director of TnCIS.

“Study abroad opportunities are traditionally thought of as arts or humanities related, but we’re very proud to offer one that is strongly science based.”

Sheets plans to graduate from Pellissippi State in May 2015 and then attend the University of Tennessee to pursue pre-veterinary coursework.

TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education throughout the state. More than 425 students and 65 faculty from across Tennessee participated in the summer 2013 study abroad programs organized by TnCIS. There are 18 study abroad programs planned for summer 2014.

For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Building Operator Certification starts at Pellissippi State end of May

The Building Operator Certification course, a national workforce training and certification program, begins in May at Pellissippi State Community College. The course is offered by the Business and Community Services Division.

“Programs of this kind are often geared to the traditional student—the recent high school graduate who is able to attend class two to three days during the week from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., for a semester or more,” said Debi Bolton, BCS project manager. “But we have scheduled our programs with the busy adult in mind. Each class is only a day or two long.”

The BOC offers facilities personnel the job skills and knowledge to improve the energy performance of their buildings. To become Level I certified, participants must attend seven classes and complete class exams and assigned projects, for a total of 74 hours. The cost of the course is $1,595.

The classes, all of which run 8 a.m.-5 p.m., and their dates:

  • Energy Efficient Operation of Building HVAC Systems, May 27-28
  • Measuring and Benchmarking Energy Performance, June 17
  • Efficient Lighting Fundamentals, July 15
  • HVAC Controls Fundamentals, Aug. 19
  • Indoor Environmental Quality, Sept. 16
  • Common Opportunities for Low-Cost Operational Improvement, Oct. 21

A final, supplemental course on Facility Electrical Systems will be offered 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Nov. 18.

The Level I curriculum for the BOC core courses has been approved by the Green Building Certification Institute as acceptable for continuing education hours toward the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) credential maintenance program.

For more information about the BOC program and other job training courses offered at Pellissippi State, contact Business and Community Services at www.pstcc.edu/bcs or (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Two-for-one special on handgun carry permit class at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College will offer its popular Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit class in May at a special two-for-one price.

The Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit Class is sure to fill up quickly, thanks to special two-for-one pricing on the Saturday, May 17, session at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The non-credit course is being offered through Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services Division at the rate of $75 for any two students who register at the same time. Space is limited, and one person must register both students simultaneously in order for the two-for-one rate to apply.

Those who satisfactorily complete the eight-hour course earn a certificate to apply for a state carry permit. Completion of this or another training course is required before applying for a Tennessee handgun carry permit.

The Pellissippi State course covers handgun parts, function, and operation; safety, cleaning, and storage; legal responsibilities of carrying a handgun; course review and testing; and firing range exercises.

Included is classroom instruction in the morning and range training after lunch. The person leading the class is certified both as a firearms instructor with the National Rifle Association and as a handgun instructor with the state of Tennessee.

The course meets at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, for classroom instruction. Range training in the afternoon takes place at a designated location off campus. Students must supply their own gun and ammunition. A $5 range fee for each student is payable to the instructor during class.

For information or registration, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. The BCS website lists updated class schedules and information on new course offerings. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State recognizes outstanding student achievements

Pellissippi State Community College acknowledged students for their outstanding achievements at the 2014 Academic Awards ceremony. The event took place April 29 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Students Victoria Baker and Sydney Youngman were named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. They received the honor in recognition of scholarly achievement as members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Inductees into the 2013-2014 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges were Leina Beckner, Katherine Chambers, Betty Edwards, Andrew Frantz, Lisa Grunwald, Christian Harris, Tresse Hicks, Joyanna Hirst, Chisa Huffman, Christina Kampas, Morgan Lay, Belinda Lewis, Cassie Lopez, Lori Monroe, Michelle Morgan, Whitney Oslonian, Neel Patel, Sandra Pringle, Ethan Richardson, Chelsea Temple, Jordan Toney and Janice Vowell.

The Pellissippi State Altruist/Scholar is Daisy Falin. Service Leadership Excellence Award winners are Chisa Huffman and Andrea Pappas. Campus Leadership Award winners are Andrew Frantz (Hardin Valley), Sheila Hayden (Division Street), Angela McGee (Blount County), Kari Sanders (Magnolia Avenue) and Rachel Skyles (Strawberry Plains).

Colby Dorcely and Barbara Alfonzo-Tinoco were named winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award–International, presented to students with international backgrounds in recognition of diligence in the pursuit of excellence.

Awards of Merit were presented to students in several areas: Jerri Reed (Citizenship), Kalyn Smith (Communication Graphics Technology), Derrick Barrow (Engineering Technology/Civil Engineering), Whitney Wolff (Interior Design Technology), Rachel Collier (Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering), Heath Long (Nursing freshman) and Jason Childers (Nursing sophomore).

Outstanding Graduate Awards went to Krystalee Bailey, Alexander Bishop, Sophie Bogdanski, Laura Bourque-Kliethermes, Chris Caserta III, David Copcutt, April Coward, Eric Cutshaw, Emily Davidson, Emily Davis, Christopher Elliott, Daulton Ellis, Madeline Enderle, Robbeline Enyenihi, Matthew Gibbs, Lisa Grunwald, Brighton Hatfield, Jessica Haynes, Chisa Huffman, Wallace Hynds, Brandi Jones, Michelle Lehmann, Andrew Leming, Belinda Lewis, Victoria Long, Daniel Mace, Nicholas McCloskey, McKalie Merriman, Lori Monroe, Nikita Mounger, William Overby, Andrea Pappas, Joshua Patterson, Nadine Raines, Michael Smith, Laurie Spoon, Robert Tallent, Jefferson Thompson, Andrew Valesky, Tavish White and Sarah Zarczynski.

Jerry Sherrod was selected by students to receive the Faculty of the Year Award.

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