Pellissippi State student earns CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Award

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Alexander Marti Photo

Alexander Marti, a Pellissippi State Community College student, has earned a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award to attend Tennessee Technological University when he graduates.

“When Associate Professor Sharon Burlingame called me about this scholarship over the summer, I thought it sounded too good to be true,” said Marti, who is in his second year at Pellissippi State.

He first came to the college as a Dual Enrollment student during his homeschooled high school years, then took online courses, and finally came to campus in 2016 as a Tennessee Promise student. He will graduate in May with a general associate degree and then transfer to Tennessee Tech.

“I took a programming class in high school and thought I wouldn’t like computer science,” Marti said. “But here at Pellissippi State, I took the classes and they clicked. I have enjoyed getting past the basics to the understanding of what happens behind the scenes of information technology.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program is administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management with the intent 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 cost of tuition and fees. Those scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The scholarship not only will pay for Marti’s final year at Pellissippi State and his bachelor’s degree in cyber security at Tennessee Tech, 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 cyber security post.

“Cyber security has always interested me. It’s like being a computer police officer — someone who works to protect information and people from hackers and other cyber criminals,” Marti said.

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

Pellissippi State has record enrollment in fall 2017

Students in Courtyard

Pellissippi State Community College will see record enrollment this fall.

When classes begin August 28, approximately 11,571 students will walk onto Pellissippi State’s five campuses — which reflects an increase in enrollment of about 10.4 percent over the same day last year.

This fall, the college launched Reconnect Now, a last-dollar scholarship for qualified adult students that covers tuition and mandatory fees. About 2,706 students are eligible for Reconnect Now funding.

The college’s previous record high enrollment was 11,260 in 2011. Pellissippi State has been the largest community college in Tennessee since 2015.

“Our pilot of Reconnect Now has proven that adults in Tennessee have waited for an opportunity like this,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Pellissippi State is proud to open the doors of education to everyone.”

Headcount enrollment is up at all five of Pellissippi State’s campuses in Knox and Blount counties, and is up almost 50 percent online.

“Covering the cost of tuition and fees does not meet all of the needs of adults with jobs, families and lives outside of school,” Wise said. “We have expanded the classes and programs we offer online, in the evenings and on weekends to fit adults’ schedules, and we’re pairing adult learners with support services like free child care for qualified single parents, credit for prior learning and even an academic fresh start if they’ve tried college before unsuccessfully.”

Pellissippi State’s Reconnect Now program will last through summer 2018. Next fall, qualified Reconnect Now students at Pellissippi State will transfer into the state’s Tennessee Reconnect scholarship program.

The official enrollment numbers for the semester will be determined and released on September 11.

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

Pellissippi State, MTSU promote smoother transfer paths for students

Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, with Middle Tennessee State University President Sidney A. McPhee.

Pellissippi State Community College and Middle Tennessee State University are promoting new dual admission transfer pathways for students.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and MTSU President Sidney A. McPhee signed an agreement Thursday, July 20, that would make transferring credits from Pellissippi State to MTSU seamless for students. This agreement allows students to earn an associate degree from Pellissippi State and then seamlessly complete a bachelor’s degree from MTSU in a related field, without losing credits in the transition.

The dual admission pathway applies to students who earn Associate of Arts, Associate of Science or Associate of Science in Teaching degrees at Pellissippi State. Students can enter these degree programs with the intent to transfer to MTSU, and then are admitted to both institutions simultaneously. When they complete their degree from Pellissippi State, eligible students are guaranteed acceptance to MTSU in Murfreesboro.

“Strong relationships with great universities like MTSU are critically important to our students,” Wise said. “Partnerships like this create clear pathways for students to earn degrees at Pellissippi State and then at MTSU so those students can enter the workforce in meaningful ways.”

“We are excited to initiate a partnership between Pellissippi State and MTSU that builds on what we have in common, particularly in how we prepare students for the workforce in Tennessee,” McPhee said. “MTSU and Pellissippi State have unique technical programs that will produce the skilled workforce the state needs as part of the Drive to 55.”

Drive to 55 is a state initiative that calls for 55 percent of adult Tennesseans to receive a post-secondary credential by 2025.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. For more information about MTSU, visit www.mtsu.edu or call 615-898-2300.

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

posted in: Community, Events, Partnerships, Students, TBR | 0
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. 
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