Pellissippi State student earns CyberCorps scholarship for service

Joshua Wilson
Joshua Wilson

Joshua Wilson, a Pellissippi State Community College student, has earned a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award to attend Tennessee Technological University.

 “I returned to college as a non-traditional student,” Wilson said. “After eight years as a Marine and traveling to 28 countries, I took advantage of the GI Bill and wanted to pursue something I enjoyed. I’ve always loved computers and technology, so that’s what I chose.”

Wilson has been in school full-time since 2014, and will graduate this May with two degrees: an associate degree in Computer Science and an associate of applied science degree in Computer Information Technology with a concentration in Networking. He then plans to transfer to Tennessee Tech.

“I’ve really enjoyed it here at Pellissippi State. I like all my professors — you can tell that they care about what they’re doing and want to help you. With the small classes, you get to know your professors and can learn at a manageable pace,” Wilson said. “And for me, the Veterans Club has helped me find a place to fit in. We’re really close.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program is administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management. Its intent is to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. CyberCorps provides scholarships and stipends that typically cover the full cost of tuition and fees. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The scholarship not only will pay for Wilson’s final year at Pellissippi State and his bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity, but also will pay him a stipend to allow him to focus solely on school. For three years after graduation, he will work for the federal government in a cybersecurity post.

“Cybersecurity is becoming a more and more important issue, and there simply aren’t enough people in the field,” Wilson said.

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

Christie Cunningham to speak as Pellissippi State Commencement speaker

Christie Cunningham
Christie Cunningham

Award-winning faculty member Christie Cunningham will join hundreds of Pellissippi State Community College graduates as the speaker at the college’s Commencement ceremony Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Cunningham, an assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, is this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner at Pellissippi State, as well as a 2016 winner of a national John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

“I’m planning to speak to students about what to do when life throws something unexpected your way,” Cunningham said. In spring, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

“When life knocks you down, when people tell you no, when doors close in your face, you have to continue. You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep working toward your goal. It’s during these times that your character is built,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a difficult road, but I try to take one day at a time, put aside my problems and provide the best learning experience possible for my students.”

Cunningham has been recognized this year for her innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they’ve had on her students. She has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.

“Learning should be engaging and active, and if you can make it fun, that’s even better,” Cunningham said.

One of the ways she encourages her students to proactively study throughout the semester is to play “Jeopardy” using questions and answers that the students compile over the course of the semester.

“Something like ‘Jeopardy’ is a way to comprehensively study for a final exam, but it’s competitive and fun and doesn’t feel as worrisome as studying for a cumulative test,” Cunningham said. “And I see through test scores that techniques like this help with long-term retention.”

Other techniques she uses are role-playing — for instance, role-playing what it might be like to have a mental or physical disability — and hands-on activities like using household items to discuss the physical functionality of the human eyeball or the brain’s neural pathways.

To request accommodations for a disability at Commencement, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State third in nation for study abroad

This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City near Rome, Italy.
 

Pellissippi State Community College ranks third in the nation among two-year colleges for the number of students it sends to study abroad. In 2015, the college sent 204 students on study abroad programs.

Elicia Ferrer
Elicia Ferrer

“Study abroad was a great experience,” said Pellissippi State student Elicia Ferrer, who spent time over the summer studying in Italy and England. “I had been out of the country before, but for mission experiences. Study abroad is different because you’re there to learn and to experience the place. It’s pretty magical.”

In Tennessee, Pellissippi State ranks eighth among all higher education institutions in the state for the number of students who study abroad. In fact, the college is the only community college in the top 15.

Ferrer, who is studying Chinese language and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the spring, said, “Studying abroad is an eye-opening way to observe different cultures and faiths. It gives you a front row seat to history. In my World Civilizations class, we were studying the Medicis, who did terrible things but who also funded the Renaissance. When you’re in Italy and can physically see their legacy, it gives you an interesting perspective.”

Pellissippi State works with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies to provide study abroad opportunities for students. TnCIS, headquartered at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. In the 10 years since its founding, TnCIS has supported more than 3,000 students statewide in pursuing a global education.

Additionally, Pellissippi State offers unique opportunities for students from around the world to study here in East Tennessee. In the 2015-16 academic year, Pellissippi State had 156 international students enrolled — the ninth highest among all higher education institutions in the state and  the only community college in the top 20.

“Community colleges are diverse, and the ability to offer study abroad opportunities and to have international students on campus only increases that diversity. In a global economy, students need to be able to understand and appreciate diverse points of view,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

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

 

Pellissippi State: Orientation sessions set for new spring enrollees

 

All degree-seeking students who have been accepted to attend Pellissippi State Community College for the spring 2017 semester should make plans now to attend a New Student Orientation session. Classes begin Jan. 17.

The free sessions are required of all new degree-seeking students, both freshmen and transfer, and will be held in November and early January. Reserve a space as soon as possible at www.pstcc.edu/orientation.

Orientation gives new students 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.

Students are encouraged to attend orientation at the campus that they will be attending for class.

Dates, time and locations of New Student Orientations:

  • Blount County Campus — 1-4 p.m., Jan. 11
  • Division Street Campus — 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 12
  • Hardin Valley Campus — 5-8:30 p.m., Nov. 29; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 6; 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Jan. 13
  • Magnolia Avenue Campus — 4:30-8 p.m., Jan. 10
  • Strawberry Plains Campus — 1-4 p.m., Jan. 10

Additionally, a special session just for students transferring from another institution will be held 5:30-8:30 p.m., Jan. 9, on the Hardin Valley Campus. Some sessions are recommended for veterans or for international students; visit www.pstcc.edu/orientation for more details.

Pellissippi State encourages parents, spouses and others supportive of the student to attend New Student Orientation, too. They’ll receive special information in separate sessions.

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.

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