Category Archives: Students

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

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 www.pstcc.edu/emt. 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 www.pstcc.edu/emt.

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

Pellissippi State pilot retention program to focus on black male students

Pellissippi State Community College has received a $10,000 grant to improve the retention rates for black male students at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The Student Engagement, Retention and Success grant, awarded by the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, begins this fall. The pilot retention program will serve up to 50 students.

“Nationally, African-American male students have the lowest college completion rate—32.8 percent—among both genders and among all racial and ethnic groups in higher education,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The program’s objective is to provide assistance and encouragement for black male students to persist through college and graduate.

“The project is designed to provide empathetic advising sessions, workshops and a mentoring component to help our African-American male students in their pursuit of higher education,” said Tillman.

Specifically, the pilot program combines New Student Orientation sessions, success workshops, monthly developmental seminars and learning sessions, advising and academic tutoring, and mentorship to provide social and emotional support.

“Research often shows that African-American men struggle with barriers to academic success,” said Tillman. “They’re juggling jobs, managing finances, trying to meet family commitments, and they often combat other barriers like the absence of role models, low self-esteem, social exclusion or even the fear of success.

“All students need one-on-one support, but that’s often true for minority students. And sometimes that’s just having someone to talk to.”

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

Pellissippi State implements new process for campus alerts for fall

mdt-webBeginning fall semester, Pellissippi State will incorporate a new process for delivering text alerts to students and employees for campus emergencies and notifications.

Students, faculty, and staff will be enrolled into the text alert system if they have provided a cell phone number and opted to receive emergency notifications in their myPellissippi account. If your cell number is already entered in myPellissippi, you will be enrolled automatically in the new text alerts. However, if you have previously signed up for text alerts on the College’s website, you will not be enrolled automatically in the new system. All email addresses with the “pstcc.edu” domain will automatically receive these alerts.

Members of the community and media will not be able to opt into this system, but are encouraged to view the College’s homepage, Facebook page, and Twitter account for these emergency notifications.

If you are a student or employee, when you log in to myPellissippi, you will be prompted to register your cell number for emergency purposes. Choose to “Add/Change Cell Phone Numbers,” and enter your cell phone number. Text alerts will be sent only to your cell phone for campus emergencies, notifications and weather alerts.  If you choose to opt out of these notifications, please de-select the box for emergency purposes when updating your cell phone information. 

For more information or for help, contact the Helpdesk, helpdesk@pstcc.edu or 694-6537.

Two Pellissippi State students named to All-Tennessee Academic Team

Pellissippi State Community College students Carly Baskette (second from right) and Petr Stephanovich Bulkhak (not pictured) were recognized for outstanding academic achievement as part of the 2015 All-Tennessee Academic Team. Pictured with Baskette, from left, are Pellissippi State Phi Theta Kappa advisors Casey Lambert and Judith Sichler and Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Pellissippi State Community College students Carly Baskette (second from right) and Petr Stephanovich Bulkhak (not pictured) were recognized for outstanding academic achievement as part of the 2015 All-Tennessee Academic Team. Pictured with Baskette, from left, are Pellissippi State Phi Theta Kappa advisors Casey Lambert and Judith Sichler and Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr.

At a ceremony in Nashville in February, Pellissippi State Community College graduates Carly Baskette and Petr Stephanovich Bulkhak were recognized for outstanding academic achievement.

Baskette and Bulkhak were named to the 2015 All-Tennessee Academic Team, along with other community college students throughout the Tennessee Board of Regents system. The team is sponsored by USA Today and the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, which recognizes students with a 3.5 grade point average or above.

“Pellissippi State is immensely proud of Petr and Carly and their academic accomplishments,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We recognize the hard work they’ve put into their studies. They know the value of investing in their future, and we wish them well.”

Baskette earned a two-year general associate’s degree and a Pre-Business Transfer certificate in December 2013. Bulkhak earned an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Mechanical Engineering in December 2014.

“Each year, it’s a privilege to recognize the hard work, dedication and commitment these students have exhibited at their colleges,” said John Morgan, chancellor of the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body.

“They’ve not only achieved a high degree of success in the classroom, but they’ve made significant contributions to their communities through their volunteer efforts and leadership skills.”

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

Pellissippi State recognizes outstanding student achievements

Pellissippi State Community College acknowledged students for their outstanding achievements at the 2015 Academic Awards ceremony, which took place April 28 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Carly Amber Baskette and Petr Stephanovich Bulkhak were named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. They were nominated in recognition of scholarly achievement as members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Inductees into the 2014-2015 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges are Mobin Araghi, Barbara Bearden, Patrick Bledsoe, Kevin Brooks, Landon Burke, Amber Coffey, Brandi Crass, Rebecca Fields, Laura King, Susan Minehan, Nichole Proctor, Yvette Satchel and Bonnie Walker.

Pellissippi State’s Altruist Scholar 2014-2015 is Barbara Bearden. Service Leadership Excellence Award winners are David Arnopole and Anna Thomas. Outstanding Campus Leadership Award winner is Alayna Strickland.

Awards of Merit were presented to students in several academic disciplines: Heather M. Potter Clark, Michelle Eder, Erik Heng-Fischbach, Richard Grant, Corey D. Puckett, Molly E. Roberson, Leighann Romanesk, Alexandra N. Rozanski, Jamie Stanley.

Outstanding Student Awards went to students in recognition of their work in specific subject, program or course areas: Alexandria Atkins (Chemistry), Leyton Adams (Mathematics), Simon Boka (Mathematics), Lauren Byington (College Success), Amanda Freuler (Biology), Zachary Jerome (Mathematics), Robert Jeffrey Keith (Allied Health), Kyle Kennedy (Fine Arts), Andrew Lawson (Botany), Nathan Martindale (Physical Science), Deanna Sanders (Fine Arts), Kalen Sellers (Behavioral Science) and Ryan Zotz (Early Childhood Education). 

Outstanding Graduate Award winners are Sherri Ahlstrom, Barbara Bearden, Darcy Coffey, Lori Deer, Anielle Duncan, Christopher A. Finger, Megan Grubb, David Hodge, Stephanie A. Kaser, Whitney Rebecca Kaul, Carlee Laws, Julianna Meyers, Tyler Miller, Donald Peltz, Sheena Pilkey, Sarah Ramsay, Misti B. Rivers, Ciara Sheets, Lillian Smith, Thao Nguyen Strong, Benjamin Taylor, Courtney M. Vaughn, Edward Warren, Derek White and Courtney Whited.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Student Leadership Award was presented to Colby Dorcely. The Paralegal Studies Award was given to Megan Grubb.

The following students in Liberal Arts were recognized with Excellence Awards in these subjects: Rusul S. Alani in French and Jake Harrison Miller and Cullen M. Jones in Spanish.

For the second year, faculty member Jerry Sherrod was selected by students to receive the Faculty of the Year Award.

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

Project GRAD executive director to speak at Pellissippi State’s Commencement

Vrondelia-ChandlerProject GRAD Knoxville’s executive director, Vrondelia “Ronni” Chandler, is the keynote speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 9.

Commencement begins at 4 p.m. and takes place at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. More than 500 students will walk across the stage.

Chandler is both a former employee and an alumna of Pellissippi State. She began working at the college in 1978, just four years after the institution opened its doors at the Division Street Campus. She earned a General Technology/Interdisciplinary degree from Pellissippi State in 1994, then went on to earn a bachelor’s from Tusculum College.

Chandler has worked at Project GRAD Knoxville since 2001, serving first as a program director and now as executive director. Project GRAD Knoxville provides support for students and families, many of them from low-income areas, in 14 Heart of Knoxville schools and 80 higher education institutions. The group’s mission is to positively impact generational change through education.

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

Single mother returns to school at Pellissippi State to study horticulture

April-Ellis

On days with good weather, April Ellis rides her bicycle to school.

Ellis, a Pellissippi State Community College student, doesn’t consider her transportation options to be a limitation, though. She simply rides her bicycle or takes the bus to the Magnolia Avenue Campus, where she’s pursuing an associate’s degree with the plan of going on for a bachelor’s in public horticulture.

A single mother who didn’t complete high school, Ellis enrolled full time at Pellissippi State last spring. Like many nontraditional students, the 29-year-old has to balance returning to school with a multitude of other responsibilities: working a full-time job, fulfilling a work-study commitment and raising a child.

“It’s been so crazy, but you make it work,” she said.

Ellis is taking courses to earn a general studies degree, and once she graduates, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee.

“Public horticulture has a wide variety of job opportunities, anything that integrates gardens and people,” she said. “Specifically, I’m interested in horticulture therapy.

“People go into gardens and feel better, and horticulture therapy brings that recreational therapy aspect into gardening. You can take a person who needs to work on an injury and say, ‘Let’s work with your weak hand grip by pruning these roses.’”

Ellis was a stay-at-home mother and housewife during her son’s growing-up years. When she began going through a divorce, she realized she needed and wanted a fulfilling job that could provide for her family.

“At that time, I didn’t even have a GED or any kind of formal education,” she said, “and I wanted to be someone that my son could look up to.”

She first attended classes at the Knox County Career Center, where she earned her GED, and two months later, in spring 2014, she began classes at Pellissippi State.

“Here, I’m not the odd person out,” Ellis said. “A lot of students here are nontraditional, so I’m not alone in those struggles about being in college and having a job and a family.

“And professors understand that, too, that you have homework and a family. Having that kind of nurturing, supportive environment has been crucial. People here have gone above and beyond to make sure I get more than just good grades.”

Pellissippi State supports its population of nontraditional students with a host of services, among them, alternative scheduling; cohort programs, in which students start and finish their coursework as a group; tutoring; workforce development; and career placement. The college even offers nontraditional students credit for previous military and work experience through what’s called “prior learning assessment.”

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

Pellissippi State partners with Town of Farragut at outdoor classroom

Rachael ReevesPellissippi State Community College students in a geology course are working at the town of Farragut’s outdoor classroom to study soil porosity and the hydrologic cycle and to build a rain garden.

“The projects at the outdoor classroom are led by the groups that come here,” said Jason Scott, Farragut’s stormwater engineer. “Pellissippi State has been great to work with. They’re coming in to test the soil, come up with concept plans and follow the whole process of building a garden.”

Sarah Drummond, a Geology adjunct faculty member at Pellissippi State, had her students at the garden in early February to take soil samples and study how quickly water drains from East Tennessee’s clay soil. This month, Drummond hopes her class—in addition to others from Pellissippi State—will be able to plant a rain garden at the site.

“I’ve loved the hands-on experience that the outdoor classroom has given us,” said Rachael Reeves, a student in Drummond’s class. “Sometimes it’s hard to relate what you learn in the classroom to real life, and this class has definitely broken that mold.”

Kathleen Affholter, an associate professor in Geology, travels with her class from Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus to Farragut’s outdoor classroom.

“We’re taking soil samples and testing porosity and permeability, and those tests are more meaningful when the students have collected the soil themselves,” Affholter said. “It’s a great learning experience to have hands-on knowledge of what can be an abstract experiment.”

Affholter is using technology, including a storytelling app called Shadow Puppet, to help her students document their experiments. Landon Lowe and Catherine Metler created a short video in February to show their experiment.

Pellissippi State’s partnership with the town of Farragut began in 2014 with Caroline Erickson, also a Geology adjunct faculty member.

“I was looking for a project that would tie in what students were studying in the classroom with hands-on learning in a setting that would benefit both the students and the community,” Erickson said. “Students will carry out various projects in the demonstration space: they will study the soil’s porosity and permeability and finally install the plants at the outdoor classroom.”

Farragut’s outdoor classroom is located near Farragut High School off Campbell Station Road. With the help of grant funds, the outdoor classroom showcases native plantings, rainwater collection systems and water quality.

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

Pellissippi State ‘2+2’ alumnus named ‘Teacher of the Year’

Charlie ArpCharles Arp, a Pellissippi State Community College alumnus, has been named “Teacher of the Year” for Sweetwater City Schools in Monroe County. He teaches fifth grade at Brown Intermediate School.

Arp graduated through a teacher education partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University in 2012. Graduates from what is called the “2+2” program earn an Associate of Science in Teaching degree from Pellissippi State, then a Bachelor of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies and K-6 Teacher Licensure from Tennessee Tech.

Students in 2+2 attend the first two years as Pellissippi State students and the last two years as Tennessee Tech students—but they take all of their classes at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. A.S.T. is a cohort program, meaning the students go through the entire sequence together.

“Charlie was one of those students that you don’t forget,” said Barbara Jenkins, program coordinator of the A.S.T. program. “He knew what he wanted to do—to teach and make a difference with children in the elementary classroom—and he pursued his goal without hesitation.”

Arp says he was surprised and pleased to receive the Teacher of the Year recognition after teaching only three years. The honor is awarded through Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative.

In April, he also earned Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ 2015 Extreme Classroom Makeover. The award comes with a $25,000 grand prize that funds new technology in the classroom.

Arp credits his success to Pellissippi State and Tennessee Tech and the partnership 2+2 program.

“Pellissippi State prepared me for nearly every aspect of teaching,” he said. “My students have had some of the highest possible science TCAP [Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program] scores in the state. I would say 75 percent of my teaching toolkit is from things I learned at Pellissippi State.

“The 2+2 program even helped prepare me for the interview for this job [at Brown Intermediate]. The only mistake I made was that I didn’t start the 2+2 program straight out of high school.”

Arp employs a number of distinctive techniques to teach his students, including using the Minecraft video game as a way of teaching mathematics and keeping children moving during math lessons by making use of a class-sized coordinate plane. When teaching reading and English lessons, Arp uses movie trailers based on novels to get his students interested in literature.

For more information about the A.S.T., 2+2 and other programs offered by or in partnership with Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Community invited to Pellissippi State’s Student Design Showcase

Pellissippi State Community College graphic design students will display their coursework during the annual Communication Graphics Technology Student Design Showcase.

The free event is 4-8 p.m. Thursday, April 23, and the community is invited. The theme of this year’s showcase is “We’re Cooking Up Something Good.”

The student showcase is like a graduation, celebration and potential job interview all rolled into one. It gives this year’s 19 senior-level participants the opportunity to present their portfolios for viewing and evaluation by invited area design professionals. Each student has his or her own table display, and each makes business cards and resumes available to the attending industry professionals.

The CGT Student Design Showcase takes place in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

For more information about the showcase, 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.