Female students earn engineering technology degrees through ‘Women in STEM’ grant

Makayla Edwards
Makayla Edwards
Tara Walker
Tara Walker

When Tara Walker and Makayla Edwards cross the stage at Pellissippi State Community College’s commencement ceremony on May 5, they will have a special grant, funded by NASA, to thank.

Walker and Edwards are two of 14 female Engineering Technology students at Pellissippi State to have earned scholarships funded through the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, which is part of the NSPIRES (NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System) program. The grant funds are earmarked for women and other underserved populations in STEM programs.

“I have absolutely loved the time I have spent at Pellissippi,” Walker said. “The teachers I’ve had make me want to come to class every day because they are so enthusiastic about their jobs. I do not believe, as a whole, any school has better teachers than Pellissippi. They are truly here because they want to see us learn and help us in any way they can.”

“I wouldn’t be where I’m at today without Pellissippi State and my professors,” Edwards said. “Pellissippi introduced me to 3D printing, and that helped me start my own business.”

Edwards started AMTec Fishing (an abbreviation of Additive Manufacturing Technologies Fishing) at the end of 2016. She designs and 3D prints fishing lures, then has them mass manufactured. Edwards intends to transfer to Austin Peay State University this fall, where she will study mechanical engineering.

Walker will transfer to Tennessee Technological University, where she will study chemical engineering.

“I like the engineering field because I feel like it gives me the opportunity to apply the knowledge I have gained in math and science while in college in a practical way. Chemical engineering is a fairly broad field, and there are a lot of different directions I could go with it. I would really like to work on the environmental side of chemical engineering in waste water treatment,” she said.

Walker, who graduated from Hardin Valley Academy in 2013, was not always interested in STEM fields.

“When I was in high school, I wasn’t always a very good student. But in my senior year, something clicked and I realized I needed to do well to be successful. That success mindset has continued here at Pellissippi State,” she said. “I first enrolled in an education program, but I realized it takes a very special person to be an educator and that wasn’t me.”

Walker first came to Pellissippi State as part of the tnAchieves scholarship, the precursor to Tennessee Promise — as did Edwards.

“The tnAchieves scholarship was one of my biggest reasons for originally attending Pellissippi,” Walker said. “I wasn’t sure if I would do well in college because of my not-so-stellar academic performance in high school, so I didn’t want to go to a huge university.”

 “The NASA grant brought a lot of the female engineering technology students together,” Edwards said. “It’s nice to know you’re not alone when you’re studying in a traditionally male-dominated field. It also introduced me to the community; I was able to go to local middle schools and speak to students about STEM.”

The NASA grant funds more than just scholarships for the students who earn it. Pellissippi State students have traveled to the Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama and to the Society of Women Engineers conference.

“At the SWE conference, I was able to speak to companies who wanted to hire female engineers,” Walker said. “Those contacts and the SWE organization may help me find companies hiring engineers when I graduate. Plus, it was amazing to see all of the accomplishments women in engineering are making.”

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

 

Pellissippi State, Carson-Newman partner on transfer pathways for students

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Carson Newman University Provost Paul Percy.
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Carson-Newman University Provost Paul Percy.

Pellissippi State Community College and Carson-Newman University are partnering to ensure transfer pathways are seamless for community college students who go on to earn their four-year degrees.

The partnership specifically targets certain transfer programs, which allow students to earn an associate degree and then transfer those credits to a four-year university. The Carson-Newman partnership will allow seamless transfer for Pellissippi State students earning an Associate of Fine Arts in Music and an Associate of Science in Teaching with a concentration for preschool through grade three, as well as the Tennessee Transfer Pathway degree in Business Administration. Students who earn those degrees from Pellissippi State can then transfer to Carson-Newman to complete bachelor’s degrees in Education, Music and Business.

Additionally, students who earn certain associate degrees from Pellissippi State can transfer to Carson-Newman and enter bachelor’s degree programs in general studies or in Pre-Nursing.

“Partnerships like this one allow community college students to more easily find their way along the path to a higher education,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State.

“We are proud to partner with Carson-Newman University to enable our students to successfully complete a bachelor’s degree in these programs,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs at Pellissippi State.

“This is a significant partnership between two great academic institutions that will benefit East Tennessee students by providing the opportunity to earn a bachelor’s degree. It’s a win-win all-around,” said Paul Percy, provost of Carson-Newman.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about Carson-Newman, visit www.cn.edu or call 865-471-2000.

National Science Foundation supports scholarships at Pellissippi State

The National Science Foundation has awarded Pellissippi State Community College grant funding to support a scholarship program for students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

The $649,737 NSF grant will fund scholarships and support programs for students studying STEM fields at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus. The program, Supporting College and Career Education for Student Scholarships in STEM, will provide scholarships of up to $8,500 per year to at least 24 non-traditional students with financial need. Eligible students can study transfer or career programs at Pellissippi State — the Geosciences, Chemistry, Biology and Mathematics transfer programs or the Automated Industrial Systems concentration within the Engineering Technology career program.

“There will be support for students in the form of mentoring and tutoring,” said Chris Milne, professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences and grant lead. “The students these scholarships will help will be those who aren’t already eligible for other financial aid like Tennessee Promise or HOPE.”

The SuCCESS in STEM program involves a unique “reciprocating scholarship” system in which a student who applies for the program must pay for the first semester of school with their own funds. However, students who meet the GPA requirements for the program in that first semester will not only earn the scholarship for their remaining semesters, they will be reimbursed for their initial semester of school.

“Reciprocating scholarships offer students an incentive to succeed and to start on the right track,” Milne said.

The scholarship will pay more than the average cost of tuition at Pellissippi State, which will allow students who earn it to cover the costs of books, fees and transportation costs.

The scholarship program could be in place by fall 2017; students could begin applying to participate as early as spring 2017.

The grant also will fund support services for students enrolled in the program to encourage them to graduate and, if applicable, transfer to a four-year university. The SuCCESS in STEM program will offer students the ability to learn real-world skills through internships, mentoring and job shadowing with community partners.

Funding for this grant goes through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528.

Pellissippi State offers Business concentrations for adult learners

Pellissippi State Community College is offering two new accelerated cohorts in concentrations that are part of the Business program.

Cohorts allow students to progress through a degree program together, as a cohesive unit. In accelerated cohorts, students will take classes two evenings per week for four semesters over the course of 16 months. That schedule especially caters to students with full-time jobs.

Students can study two concentrations: Accounting and Management. Both concentrations kick off in January 2017. Registration for spring 2017 classes opens Oct. 24.

Management students learn skills like supervisory management, project design, quality improvement and organizational behavior. Accounting students learn accounting techniques for payroll and taxes, as well as skills like business finance and accounting systems.

Pellissippi State offers additional support services and academic pathways that appeal to adult students — from online classes and degree programs to programs like Prior Learning Assessment, which can offer academic credit for life experiences, job training and prior education.

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

 

Download this press release: Business Cohorts

1 2 3 4 8