Pellissippi State partners with NASA to study solar eclipse, will hold viewing party

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Photos of Earth’s stratosphere were taken by Pellissippi State Community College students and faculty members through the camera attached to a high-altitude balloon. This photo, taken during a test launch in March, gives some idea of the types of images the balloon and camera may capture during the total solar eclipse August 21.
 
Pellissippi State Community College is one of only 55 educational institutions across the United States that will participate in a high altitude ballooning experiment — sponsored by NASA — during the August 21 total solar eclipse, and the college will host a viewing party and community event to mark the solar eclipse.
 
The total solar eclipse will move from the west coast to the east coast throughout the day of August 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 is one of only three colleges in Tennessee that are participating in the NASA-sponsored effort.
 
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.
 
Additionally, a viewing party and community event will be held at the Blount County Campus from noon-3 p.m. The free event, called Tailgating in Totality, will include food trucks, games and activities for children — plus a live stream from Pellissippi State’s high altitude balloon.
 
“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 have been 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.
 
The high altitude ballooning effort is being funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. 
 
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit  www.pstcc.edu/cae or call 865-694-6400. 

Pellissippi State hosts summer camp classes

Pellissippi State Community College will host plenty of summer camp class options for children (and adults!) this year.

  • Junior Summer Team Tennis — Ages 9 and up. Enjoy fun, friendly tennis team competitions. Instructor Andy Frost separates players by ability and age. Teams have one practice and one match per week. Cost is $135. May 31-July 26; practices are 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Wednesdays and matches are 2 p.m., Thursdays.
  • STEAM Camp Adventure — Ages 10-17. Spend a week specializing in Minecraft coding, robotics or videography. Cost is $320. Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., June 12-16, 19-13, 26-30 or July 10-14.
  • Self-Defense for Kids — Ages 6-9. Learn fun and easy self-defense moves for common scary scenarios. Cost is $79. Monday-Friday, 9-10 a.m., July 24-28.
  • Self-Defense for Preteens — Ages 10-12. Learn fun and easy self-defense techniques for common scenarios like bullying. Cost is $79. Monday-Friday, 10:15-11:30 a.m., July 24-28.
  • Girls on Guard: Self-Defense for Young Teens — Ages 12-14. Engage in practical self-defense techniques for specific situations. Cost is $89. Monday-Friday, 11:45 a.m.-1 p.m., July 24-28.
  • Reduce the Odds: Self-Defense for Older Teen Girls — Ages 15-17. Learn to recognize and escape dangerous situations through practice with technique and role play. Cost is $89. Monday-Friday, 1:15-2:30 p.m., July 24-28.
  • Multigenerational Class: Did You Get That On Film? — All ages. Learn to use your cell phone camera to capture better videos and use apps for special effects. Cost is $159. Monday-Friday, 1-4 p.m., June 19-23 and Monday-Friday, 8:30-11:30 a.m., July 17-21.

All classes are available through Business and Community Services, which offers lifelong learning opportunities to individuals through personalized, non-credit courses in everything from career training to personal hobbies.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call 865-539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts workshop for high school students with disabilities

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Pellissippi State Community College will host a workshop at its Blount County Campus for high school students with disabilities interested in pursuing a college degree.

Students and their parents can attend the free workshop, 6-7 p.m., May 9, to learn information about making a seamless transition from high school to college. The workshop will be held in the West Chevrolet Auditorium, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway. The workshop will provide additional information about the requirements to receive accommodations in college for a disability and how to obtain required testing and paperwork.

The workshop is sponsored by the Universal Pathways to Employment Project, or UPEP, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment Policy. UPEP’s goal is to expand Pellissippi State’s capacity to deliver integrated education and career training to students with disabilities.

For more information about UPEP at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/upep or call 865-694-6596. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State opens nine-hole disc golf course

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Disc Golf Photo
Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., center, celebrates with students the opening of the college’s nine-hole disc golf course Monday, April 10.

Pellissippi State Community College opened a nine-hole disc golf course at its Hardin Valley Campus yesterday, April 10 — and the course is open to the community.

The course is open from sunrise to sunset and is free to use. The course is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The college’s campus also features a walking trail that connects to the Pellissippi Greenway.

“Our new disc golf course is an expansion of our recreational facilities at Pellissippi State and a wonderful addition to our campus,” said Philip Ems, manager of Pellissippi State’s Student Recreation Center. “We are proud to have such a wonderful course for our students and community, and we are excited to join the disc golf community of East Tennessee.”

“The course is challenging and exciting, presenting a number of formidable shots, from navigating tight tee shots to subtle but difficult elevation changes. And of course, the three-hole tour around our pond is one of the most exciting three-hole stretches in disc golf,” he added.

Community members should bring their own discs. Pellissippi State students may check out discs at the Student Recreation Center.

The course was designed by Daniel Boutte of boutteDESIGN and installed by Outdoor Designs Knoxville. Pellissippi State’s disc golf course is listed with the Professional Disc Golf Association.

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

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