Regional, national Math Bowl wins garnered by Pellissippi State

posted in: Academics, Community, Students | 0

Pellissippi State Community College’s students have earned the college top spots in the 2015 regional and national Student Mathematics League competition.

In the Southeast region’s final standings, Pellissippi State finished third out of 25 schools. Nationally, the college was 43rd of 188. Of Pellissippi State’s student competitors, Shreyas Muralidharan took third place in the Southeast, with Joseph Allston 12th and Harrison Smith 18th.

“This was our second highest finish ever,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of Mathematics. “This is a very challenging math contest, and we are proud of our students’ accomplishments.”

Pellissippi State had 138 students take part in the contest. In the first round of competition, the Southeast regional in October, the top five Pellissippi State students in the contest were Muralidharan, Allston, Chase Toth, John Simmins and Liana Hu. In the second round, the national in February, the top five from the college were Muralidharan, John Jones, Smith, Son Quang and Kevin Konopka.

Each year the contest consists of two rounds, one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester. Students are tested in many areas of mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, probability and logic. Each round includes an exam of 20 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator but no notebook or textbook.

Pellissippi State — thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities — awards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

Pellissippi State has taken part in the Student Mathematics League Contest for at least 14 years. The contest is sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

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

Trevis Gardner named Pellissippi State’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Trevis Gardner

For Trevis Gardner, Pellissippi State Community College’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, success is all about building relationships.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community, and support of the college and the Pellissippi State Foundation. The 1991 graduate was presented the award at a recent Alumni Association luncheon at the college.

Gardner is vice president of operations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He oversees nearly every tangible aspect of the airport experience — from parking to buying a ticket to getting on a plane and leaving and coming back to Knoxville — not only at McGhee Tyson Airport but also at Downtown Island Airport.

The MKAA is responsible for creating the business environment that allows the hundreds of airport vendors to engage with customers. Every layer of service between the MKAA and the passengers falls under Gardner’s purview.

But the technical responsibilities aren’t what Gardner talks about — it’s the relationships.

“I manage people from entry-level positions to folks who are much smarter than I am,” he said. “I get to have a lot of different relationships with people. I feel like I’m in the Tower of London making sure the crown jewels are safe. The organization trusts me to make sure I take care of these people.”

Gardner earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from what was then Pellissippi State Technical Community College and later earned a surveying certificate. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard from 1987 to 2011, and he has worked for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority since 1991.

According to Gardner, his grades weren’t exactly those of a model student when he initially enrolled at Pellissippi State.

“I should not have gone to community college, should not have gone to university, should not have graduated, by all statistical measures,” Gardner said.

But after he came to Pellissippi State on the GI Bill, his mindset changed.

“I loved learning at Pellissippi State,” he said. “I felt like I was home. My time at Pellissippi State was some of the most fun I ever had.”

Besides working for the airport authority, Gardner is also very active in the community, particularly in his native Blount County. He has served on the Blount County Board of Education and the board of the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County. He has worked as a tutor for the GED Preparation Program at the Blount County Justice Center, as well as with many other organizations and causes.

“This year, there were three candidates for this award,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “A committee of Foundation board members reviewed the nominations and felt Trevis was the best candidate. We congratulate him!”

To learn about the benefits of being part of the Pellissippi State Alumni Association, visit or call (865) 539-7275.

Pellissippi State hosts June 18 ‘MakerPalooza’ for creators of all ages

posted in: Community, Engineering, Events, Students, TBR | 0
male holding a pole with a quadcopter attached
Pellissippi State Community College student Seth Giles poses with the “LawnShark,” a drone that he and other Pellissippi State students “hacked” into a weedeater during the Hack Tennessee event earlier this month. Giles and others at Pellissippi State are planning a similar event, MakerPalooza, open to creators of all types, which will be held June 18.

Calling all makers of doodads and inventors of thingamajigs — everyone is welcome to submit his or her creations at Pellissippi State Community College’s inaugural MakerPalooza in June.

MakerPalooza brings together creative sorts of all ages to show off their work. Perhaps it’s a computer program or a 3D printed item. Or a painting or sculpture. Or a remote-controlled vehicle, a hack, a rocket or a delicious cake. Bottom line: If it’s original and created, fabricated or otherwise made by an individual, Pellissippi State welcomes the creator to register.

“If you made it, bring it,” said Sarah Graham, student success coach for the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Center of East Tennessee (aka, AMP!) grant at Pellissippi State and a planner of the event.

Register as a maker at Space for participants to present their projects is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free event is Thursday, June 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. MakerPalooza is open to the community and is free to attend. The event is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies Department.

Graham and Seth Giles, a student in the department, are planning MakerPalooza. They, along with Thanh Duong and Brenda Hale, also EMT students, recently participated at a similar event, Hack Tennessee in Nashville.

There, the group “hacked” a DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter drone into a weed trimmer.

“Hack Tennessee was set up to help local people who had problems to ask teams of people, like our students from Pellissippi State, to help solve them. The man we helped needed a new way to use drones that had become technologically obsolete,” Hale said.

Pellissippi State’s team worked with a programmer to reprogram the drone to operate upside down, then used a 3D printer and everyday equipment from a hardware store to turn the drone into their super-powered weed trimmer, which they named the “LawnShark.”

For more information about MakerPalooza, visit

For more about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at (865) 539-7401 or

Summer 3D printing course for young women hosted by Pellissippi State

posted in: BCS, Community, Engineering, Events, Grant | 0

Hey, young women, want to make your own 3D printer this summer?

Pellissippi State Community College is offering a hands-on 3D printing class — for young females exclusively — June 8-12.

In MakeHERSpace, one of the college’s summer camp classes, female students who are rising eighth- through 12th-graders will discover about everything related to 3D printing. Students will learn how to use the beginner-friendly modeling program SketchUp, as well as assemble — and keep — their own 3D printer along with a basic toolkit and starter supplies.

MakeHERSpace is 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each day at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The class costs $450. Reserve a space at

Students in MakeHERSpace also have an opportunity to tour the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory and to receive mentoring from women in engineering- and technology-related fields. Even after the course is over, students will have access to thousands of free 3D designs they can print at home.

“This class is specially created for young women,” said Lynn Klett, a Pellissippi State instructor in Engineering and Media Technologies who is teaching the summer camp class.

“So often, engineering or manufacturing have this stigma of being ‘masculine’ or intimidating. But we want women to understand that they can invent, create, make. They can do anything they want to do.”

MakeHERSpace is sponsored through a NASA National Space Grant College and Fellowship Program grant. The grant seeks to boost enrollment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields among women and underrepresented students. The funding also pays for scholarships and other recruitment and retention activities.

For more information about this and other summer camp classes offered by the college’s Business and Community Services Division, visit or call (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email

To learn more about 3D printing and Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology degree program, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

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