Category Archives: Students

Band of stage fighters at Pellissippi State takes on Renaissance Festival

2 people fight with swords in Renaissance attire
In the photo, Steve Trigg, left, engages in a mock sword fight with Thomas Crout. Crout plays character Captain Pickle and Trigg plays Beryl Plectrum Codpiece Knackberry Folderol.

Stage-fighting students at Pellissippi State Community College took their unique combat skills to the next level when they performed recently for the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival.

“Our stage-fighting course is unique in Tennessee,” said Charles R. Miller, the college’s Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “We have one of the top two-year Theatre programs in the country.”

Students in the stage-fighting course learn the skills to perform mock combat for theatrical purposes. Participants are a mix of full-time students and people from the community enrolled only in the class.

The fighters from Pellissippi State—Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corey, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Steve Trigg and Debi Wetherington—worked as “street characters” at October’s Renaissance Festival in Harriman. Several also performed on stage twice a day in “In a Pickle,” a comedy stunt show, and all honed their skills in “Human Combat Chess,” featuring theatrical sword fighting.

“We were aiming for the highest level of quality and safety available,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president/manager and entertainment director of the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival. “These students from Pellissippi State were cast in lead roles. The word after the performances was that even though the student actors were new, they more than held their own beside other professional stage acts.”

Earlier this year, 10 students at Pellissippi State passed the skills proficiency test of the Society of American Fight Directors. It was the first time the test had been administered in the state in almost 20 years.

In the video, Debi Wetherington and Jordan Cook take part in the Human Combat Chess Match. Jordan plays William Black and Debi plays Mary Tailor, two characters who are engaged to be married, but pitted against each other in the chess match. The video shows their unwillingness to hurt each other even as they are forced to appear to battle.

The college’s stage-fighting course is taught by Bob Borwick, the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee. Borwick teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. Paulson served as a volunteer fight assistant in the course. She, too, passed the SAFD exam earlier this year.

Miller, who taught the stage combat class for years, says he gladly stepped aside for Borwick’s expertise: “Bob has so much great experience, and the quality of our Theatre program comes first.”

“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to keep current with my stage-fight skills and to scout quality actor-combatants for the Renaissance Festival,” Paulson said.

Paulson and the Pellissippi State students 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 skill status in the world of professional theatre.

The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat), and it will be available again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also is offering a non-credit Stage Combat course.

“I would love to see Pellissippi State’s Theatre program become the place for stage combat training in East Tennessee, and the place talent scouts target for expertise,” Paulson said.

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

Pellissippi State: Orientation sessions set for new spring enrollees

Students who have been accepted to attend Pellissippi State Community College for the spring 2015 semester should make plans now to attend a New Student Orientation session. Two orientation dates include special sessions for international students.

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—Dec. 2, 5-8:30 p.m.; Jan. 8, 1-4:30 p.m.; Jan. 16, 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m.
  • Blount County Campus—Jan. 15, 1-3:30 p.m.
  • Division Street Campus—Jan. 16, 2-5:30 p.m.
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus—Jan. 14, 1-4 p.m.
  • Strawberry Plains Campus—Jan. 12, noon-3

The Jan. 16 orientations at the Hardin Valley and Division Street campuses include a special session for international students.

Students can attend any of the New Student Orientation sessions; however, it’s best to attend an event at the campus you will attend. Pellissippi State encourages parents, spouses and others supportive of the student to attend New Student Orientation. The application deadline for spring semester is Jan. 9. Classes begin Jan. 20.

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.

Two Pellissippi State students state’s only Grainger Scholarship winners

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Isaiah Maylott

Pellissippi State Community College students Jeffrey Roller and Isaiah Maylott have each earned a $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship—the only recipients in Tennessee to receive the award this academic year.

Both Roller and Maylott are in the Engineering Technology degree program’s Electrical Engineering concentration.

The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship supports technical education and promotes careers in technical areas of work. Grainger is an Illinois-based distributor of facilities maintenance supplies. Upon graduating, recipients also receive $2,500 worth of Grainger hand tools, each with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

“Pellissippi State is the only college in Tennessee that has students who receive this scholarship,” said Peggy Wilson. Wilson is vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation, which oversees the awards.

“Grainger classifies Pellissippi State as a ‘veteran-friendly college,’ and each student who receives a scholarship from Grainger must be a veteran.”

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Jeffrey Roller

Roller, who served in the Marine Corps and as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, plans to finish his associate’s degree at Pellissippi State in 2015.

“This scholarship has allowed me to continue going to college full time,” he said. “I can concentrate on keeping a high GPA so I can be more competitive for jobs when I graduate. It’s definitely helped.”

Maylott joined the Air National Guard in 2011 and is a radio frequency transmissions systems technician. He plans to graduate from Pellissippi State in 2015.

“I was excited to find out that I got the scholarship,” said Maylott. “I’ve never earned a scholarship based on military service and my grades. It was really an honor to be recognized for that. I’m also definitely looking forward to getting the tool set—that will be really helpful as I look toward my future career.”

“Grainger is investing in the future of American industry and local communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program,” said Russell Rumpp, Grainger’s market manager in Knoxville. “We are proud to partner with Pellissippi State and believe business and community college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.”

The Pellissippi State Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For more information about the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

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

Pellissippi State students compete in Math Bowl

Pellissippi State Community College students once again compete against other Tennessee college students when the institution hosts its yearly Math Bowl, Saturday, Nov. 22.

Pellissippi State’s Math Bowl is part of the annual State Mathematics Competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. In 2013, four Pellissippi State students finished in the top three in the state for their respective subjects: Zachary Jerome placed first in calculus A, Charles Garrett first and Ben Aptaker third in basic algebra, and Thao Nguyen Strong first in precalculus.

“We’re very proud of our winners from last year and look forward to seeing more top-level competition from Pellissippi State students in 2014,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of Mathematics.

The State Mathematics Competition takes place each year at locations across the state. On Nov. 22, Pellissippi State hosts two site competitions, one at the Hardin Valley Campus and one at the Blount County Campus.

In the Math Bowl, students are tested in basic algebra, statistics, precalculus, and two levels of calculus, A and B. Each contest exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator but no notebook or textbook.

TMATYC awards cash prizes to the top three students in each subject. In addition, Pellissippi State—thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities—rewards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

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

Pellissippi State hosts Pulitzer-nominated writer David Madden Nov. 5

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Pulitzer Prize nominee David Madden reads from his newest book on Wednesday, Nov. 5, beginning at noon on Pellissippi State Community College’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Madden chooses excerpts from his newest collection of short stories, “The Last Bizarre Tale.” The reading is free and the community is invited.

“We are honored to have acclaimed author David Madden with us,” said Patricia Ireland, an English faculty member and advisor for the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club, which is sponsoring the event. “We feel certain he will serve as an inspiration to all of our aspiring writers.

“The fact that his reading is presented as a dramatic performance will certainly provide listeners with an entertaining and informative experience. He’ll be taking questions from the audience after his reading, so we hope everyone will stay for that part of the event as well.”

Stories in “The Last Bizarre Tale” include “A Walk with Jefferson at Poplar Forest,” “The Invisible Girl” and “Who Killed Harpo Marx?” among others. Copies of his books will be available to buy at the event.

Madden was born in Knoxville in 1933 and is the author of several novels, including “The Suicide’s Wife,” “London Bridge in Plague and Fire,” and “Sharpshooter: A Novel of the Civil War.” Both “The Suicide’s Wife” and “Sharpshooter” were nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Madden also is a prolific poet, short story writer and essayist, as well as an editor.

For more information about this event, visit www.pstcc.edu or call the Strawberry Plains Campus at (865) 225-2300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State honors veterans with week’s worth of events

Pellissippi State Community College serves one of the largest veteran populations of any Tennessee community college. In the week leading up to Veterans Day, Nov. 11, the college will host a series of events in honor of veterans—particularly student veterans.

“Student veterans often have unique challenges when entering or returning to school,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “Some of our Veterans Week events are geared toward helping student veterans overcome those challenges, and some of our events are meant to celebrate their service and the service of all veterans.”

A focal point in the week is a presentation by Capt. William Robinson, Vietnam veteran, former prisoner of war and author of “The Longest Rescue.” Robinson speaks 11-noon Wednesday, Nov. 5, at the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The schedule of events, all at the Hardin Valley Campus:

  • Tuesday, Nov. 4:
    • Flag-raising ceremony at 9 a.m. outside the Goins Building, featuring Rolling Thunder Chapter 3, an organization dedicated to publicizing the search for prisoners of war and those missing in action
    • Suicide prevention presentation, 3:30-4:30 p.m. in the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center, to include information about prisoners of war and soldiers missing in action
  • Wednesday, Nov. 5:
    • “Missing Man” ceremony at 10:45 a.m. in the Ben Atchley Veterans Success Center, featuring Rolling Thunder Chapter 3
  • Monday, Nov. 10:
    • Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6598, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Goins Building Rotunda, to share what the VFW does to help veterans
    • “MASH” screening, noon-2 in the Goins Building Auditorium
  • Tuesday, Nov. 11:
    • Heroes’ Breakfast, 7:30-9 a.m. in the Goins Building Cafeteria Annex to honor all of Pellissippi State’s student veterans
    • Cake and punch, noon-2 in the Goins Building Rotunda

For more information about these events or Pellissippi State programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State tops in Tennessee for associate’s degree graduates

For students like Daniel Mace and Chisa Huffman, May 2014 was a milestone month in their lives. Both graduated from Pellissippi State Community College, with Huffman planning to enter a post-grad nursing program and Mace to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

The success of Mace and Huffman is definitely worthy of celebration, but the two students are also part of another cause for celebrating: they helped contribute to a new college record.

For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State leads the state in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by a two-year college.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Pellissippi State awarded 1,286 associate’s degrees—more than last year’s record-setting 1,265 degrees. According to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, the college also awarded 693 certificates.

“We’re incredibly proud to again be first in the state in the number of associate’s degrees we award,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “But the importance of these numbers isn’t in the statistics—it’s in the lives that are changed when our students earn their degrees and reach their goals.”

Huffman entered the doors of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in 2013, when she decided to return to school at age 30 to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree. She’s now enrolled in Pellissippi State’s partnership RN to BSN program with King College, taking her coursework at the Blount County Campus.

Mace, who as an employee of Thompson-Boling Arena actually helped build the Commencement stage he walked across, plans to enroll at Austin Peay State University and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Those classes are offered at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State and the many ways it offers to help students succeed, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts workshop for high school creative writers

Pellissippi State Community College hosts a daylong Young Creative Writer Workshop Saturday, Nov. 1, at its Strawberry Plains Campus.

The event begins with check-in at 9:30 a.m., followed by morning and afternoon workshop sessions, then an end-of-day showcase. The workshop is free and lunch is provided. The workshop is open to all interested high school students.

“Students can pursue their interests in workshops about fiction and poetry writing, songwriting, screenplay writing, and performance skills,” said Patricia Ireland. Ireland is an English faculty member and advisor for the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club, which is sponsoring the event.

Workshops will be led by professional writers from Pellissippi State’s faculty, assisted by members of the Creative Writing Club.

“In addition to ‘workshopping’ their original writings,” said Ireland, “area high school students will have the opportunity to visit the Strawberry Plains Campus and interact with professors, students, and staff at Pellissippi State.”

The workshop is free, but registration forms are required and are due by 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29. To register, contact Ireland at paireland@pstcc.edu or (865) 225-2340. Forms may be returned via email to Ireland or by fax to (865) 225-2301.

Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

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

Pellissippi State to host open house for high school seniors

Photo of the exterior of the Hardin Valley Campus Education Resource Center with the words Fall Open House Thursday, October 23rd. High school seniors who attend will be placed in a drawing for two 250 dollar scholarships awarded by the Pellissippi State Foundation!

All prospective students and their guests are invited to attend an open house at the Hardin Valley Campus of Pellissippi State Community College on Thursday, Oct. 23.

The open house is free and open to anyone who wants to learn more about the educational opportunities at Pellissippi State. The event is 5:30-8 p.m. in the Goins Building College Center. The campus is at 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
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“The open house will allow guests to hear presentations regarding admissions and financial aid,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president of Enrollment Services. “Guests will be able to speak with current students and all our support services representatives, as well as with faculty.”

Tours of the campus will be provided, as will Pellissippi State’s academic options and information on how to apply to the college. Students and their guests should register at www.pstcc.edu/prsvp.

High school seniors who attend will be placed in a drawing for two $250 scholarships awarded by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

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

Pellissippi State receives $1 million for students with disabilities

One million dollars in funds to integrate new educational and career training strategies for students with disabilities was awarded to Pellissippi State Community College Monday, Sept. 29.

“All of our students deserve an equal opportunity to learn,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “This grant, the Universal Pathways to Employment Project, will help us deliver integrated education and career training to students with disabilities.”
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The Universal Pathways to Employment Project grant was awarded through the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. The award is renewable for the next five years, for up to $5,199,269. Vice President Joe Biden announced the grant as part of a $450 million job-training initiative, jointly administered by the federal departments of Labor and Education, to fund programs at roughly 270 community colleges across the country.

At Pellissippi State, the funds will be used to coordinate and expand academic and career support services, expand partnerships with local school systems and employers, and assist student with disabilities in obtaining assistance—both at the college and in outside systems like public transportation or housing.

The grant also will be used to employ new staff to handle the funds and support services, as well as to train faculty and staff in support for students with disabilities.
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“This grant puts the needed supports in place for students with disabilities,” said Ann Satkowiak, director of Disability Services. “We’ll work to identify any potential barriers to graduation that exist for students with disabilities, which could include improving accommodations or making programs and courses more accessible.”
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Funding, grants and scholarships at Pellissippi State are managed by 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 the Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

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