Category Archives: Students

Pellissippi State students only Grainger scholarship recipients in state

Michael Swihart
Michael Swihart

Pellissippi State Community College students Robert Sanders and Michael Swihart are the only two Tennessee recipients of $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarships.

Both Sanders and Swihart are in the Mechanical Engineering concentration of the Engineering Technology degree program. 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.

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

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

Robert Sanders
Robert Sanders

The Grainger awards go through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The $2,000 scholarships are earmarked for students in an Engineering Technology field. Upon graduating, recipients also receive $2,500 worth of Grainger hand tools, each with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

“Robert and Michael are outstanding students, and both are very deserving of this scholarship,” said Pat Riddle, program coordinator of Mechanical Engineering.

“We appreciate that Grainger has a scholarship that recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of our student veterans—the hard work they put into their education and their drive to better themselves.”

Sanders, a stay-at-home father, said, “I felt honored that Mr. Riddle picked me as an applicant for the scholarship. For him to single me out was a privilege in itself, and to win is a wonderful bonus.” Sanders, whose career interest lies in green construction, plans to donate a portion of the scholarship back to the Pellissippi State Foundation for another student to use.

Swihart relocated to Knoxville from Chicago, transferring credits to Pellissippi State and starting classes at the college in spring 2012. He plans to graduate this year and hopes to work for a geotechnical firm.

“When Mr. Riddle approached me and told me I was one of the few chosen,” said Swihart, “I was speechless and honored. I am very grateful to receive the scholarship. I’m very grateful to my instructors at Pellissippi State, because of their commitment and the extra time they’ve sacrificed to help me.”

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

Pellissippi State: High-schoolers invited to Creative Writer’s Workshop

Pellissippi State Community College invites local high school students to a Creative Writer’s Workshop Saturday, April 12, at the Strawberry Plains Campus.

The workshop is a free all-day event designed for current high school students who wish to gain experience in fiction and poetry writing, songwriting, screenplay writing, and performance skills. Lunch is provided.

“Young people who feel that hunger to write—whether it be fiction, poetry, plays or songs—need encouragement and motivation to pursue their abilities,” said Patricia Ireland, an English instructor at Pellissippi State.

“Our goal is to pair Pellissippi State’s professional writers with young, aspiring writers in order to offer personal feedback and inspiration, as well as an opportunity to see our campus and get to know college student writers.”

At the end of the day, students have the option of performing their original work at a showcase event. Check-in begins in the lobby at 9:30 a.m., followed by morning and afternoon workshop sessions. The showcase begins at 2:45 p.m.

Workshop sessions will be taught by professional writers from the Pellissippi State faculty, assisted by members of the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club.

Interested students should register by 5 p.m. Wednesday, April 9, with Ireland, paireland@pstcc.edu or (865) 225-2340.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

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

Pellissippi State hosts Computer Careers Open House for Knox-area women

Pellissippi State Community College is offering a Computer Careers Open House for Knoxville-area women Monday, April 7.

The event is 5:15-7:15 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The open house is funded through a $1,000 grant to help encourage women in computing and information technology fields. The grant is administered by the National Center for Women and IT Academic Alliance.

The Computer Career Open House is open to female rising eighth-grade and high school students, their parents, Pellissippi State and other college students, and other women in the community interested in learning more about careers in computing.

“We are excited about and grateful for the opportunity to share and be an influence on young women in their career choices,” said Christy Watson, a Computer Science and Information Technology student and chair of the student club that received the Symantec Student Seed Fund grant.

“In some of my Computer Science and Information Technology classes,” she said, “I’m the only woman or in the minority among mostly male students. I think women often relegate computers and technology to being the equivalent of ‘gaming,’ or they feel that they’ve outgrown their interest in computers.”

Presenters at the Computer Career Open House will include Pellissippi State faculty and students, as well as local professionals and employers in the computer science and IT industries.

After the open house portion of the event, an optional hour-long “Hour of Code” session will be offered to the first 50 people to register. Sign up by contacting Sharon Burlingame, CSIT program coordinator at Pellissippi State, at (865) 694-6588.

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 275 colleges and universities. The program is charged with implementing institutional change in higher education, particularly in providing access to leading-edge best practices for recruiting and retaining women. Symantec, a NCWIT sponsor member, is a computer security software corporation and Fortune 500 company.

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’s 2014 Student Juried Art Show kicks off March 31

Artwork by Tony Sobota
Artwork by Tony Sobota

Pellissippi State Community College launches its annual Student Juried Art Show March 31, and the exhibit will run until April 18.

The event is free and the community is invited. The Art Show takes place in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Exhibit hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.

“The exhibit will include student works from a variety of media: drawing, painting, two-dimensional and three-dimensional design, ceramics, even blacksmithing,” said Jennifer Brickey, a Fine Arts assistant professor. “We really want to showcase the students that take studio art classes at Pellissippi State. It’s a really great show.”

The opening reception and awards ceremony are 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, April 2. Awards will be announced at 4 p.m.

Artwork by Steven Kempster
Artwork by Steven Kempster

The exhibit is juried by Pellissippi State’s art faculty.

The grand prize for the show is the “purchase award,” in which Pellissippi State buys a student’s artwork for the college’s permanent collection. The award is worth up to $500. Other awards include $25 gift cards to Jerry’s Artarama, given to four runners-up.

The annual Student Juried Art Show is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

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

From professional paintballer to youngest assistant director, Pellissippi State graduate aims for success

Kevin-Fillers-jpgKevin Fillers thought he would spend his career aiming a paintball gun at opponents, but with the help of Pellissippi State Community College, he’s aiming instead for a career in business.

Fillers, who earned an Associate of Science degree from Pellissippi State in 2011, was the top graduate from the University of Tennessee’s college of business administration in December 2013.

“I had an unusual path into college,” Fillers said. “When I graduated high school, I wanted to become a professional paintball player, and I eventually was offered a contract and played professional paintball from 2005 to 2008. But I could see that it wasn’t going to remain a long-term career option, so in 2006, I started taking occasional classes at Pellissippi State.”

Fillers, who graduated from UT with a 4.0 grade point average, attributes his success to those early classes at Pellissippi State.

“If I’d had to deal with traditional class formats,” he said, “I probably never would have started going to school.

“Because of how much I worked and how much I traveled, the only class options open to me were the online, one-night-a-week or two-night-a-week classes. That nontraditional path gave me an entirely new perspective on my future, and allowed me a new start.”

Fillers began taking full-time classes at Pellissippi State in 2010, while also working full time at the Gamma Beta Phi Society’s national headquarters in Oak Ridge.

He worked his way up from a minor position in Gamma Beta Phi, a national honors and service organization for college students, to the finance director and, ultimately, the assistant director position. He is the youngest-ever assistant director of the society. He also owns his own paintball company and school, The Bizniss.

Fillers began his classes at Pellissippi State with the intention of earning a mechanical engineering degree, but he switched to business classes when he realized he wanted to work more closely with other people.

His next academic goal is to attend UT starting fall 2015 in pursuit of an M.B.A. or J.D.

“Kevin was a nontraditional student who was not quite ready to attend college right out of high school,” said Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of Mathematics, “but he entered Pellissippi State when he was ready, and he has thrived ever since.

“I am thrilled for him, and I think he is an excellent example of how well Pellissippi State prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges.”

Fillers says he credits his early academic success specifically to Pellissippi State’s offerings that are geared toward working adults.

“I’m so grateful to Pellissippi State, because I got the start on my new career path here. I have worked really hard for the past seven years, working full time and attending school, and I’m proud of how much I’ve accomplished.”

He also recognizes his work ethic as an inheritance from his father, Fred Fillers. The elder Fillers earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree while serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, working for the U.S. Department of Energy, and raising a family.

“Now, I understand how hard my father worked to make the best life for himself and to give us every opportunity that he could,” the younger Fillers said.

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

Honda grant to help urban high-schoolers at Pellissippi State’s Summer Institute

Pellissippi State Community College’s Summer Institute will get a boost this year to include a new STEM—science, technology, engineering, mathematics—emphasis, thanks to a $46,760 grant from the American Honda Foundation. The grant was awarded through the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“The grant will help fund academic programs for urban high school students that will provide rigorous exposure to relevant STEM career fields,” said L. Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president.

“This exposure will broaden the educational opportunities for these students and allow them to consider new fields of study for college and career.”

The Summer Institute takes place on the Hardin Valley Campus each summer and is open to rising sophomores from Austin-East and Fulton high schools. The institute is affiliated with Project GRAD Knoxville, which seeks to boost excellence in education, particularly in schools in urban Knoxville.

The American Honda Foundation grant funds four new STEM programs at the 2014 Summer Institute: Alternative Energy, Robotics, Aquabiotics and Photographic Science. The grant also supports professional development, a new instructor, field trips and equipment.

“Through grant giving, the American Honda Foundation seeks to develop youth in the areas of math, science, engineering, technology and literacy,” said Alexandra Warnier, manager of American Honda Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Pellissippi State on its important contribution in this area and look forward to the impact and results that will be achieved.”

The Summer Institute has been offered annually since 2001 and serves about 150 students per year. Since 2005, 946 students participating in the institute have gone on to graduate from high school and earn a college scholarship for up to four years.

Summer Institute participants from Austin-East and Fulton who continue on to attend college at Pellissippi State have a higher GPA average and take fewer pre-college-level courses than students from those two high schools who enroll at Pellissippi State but didn’t take part in the summer program.

To learn more about the giving opportunities available through the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit https://giving.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs, go to www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State announces new Automated Industrial Systems concentration

Automation is at the technological cutting edge of manufacturing. Now training in that technology is available at Pellissippi State Community College, and it’s linked to a degree.

In fall 2013, Pellissippi State launched a new Automated Industrial Systems concentration within the Engineering Technology program. Students who graduate in Engineering Technology earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“Manufacturing is now high-tech. I don’t know of any manufacturing job that doesn’t include automation,” said Margaret Ann Jeffries, dean of Engineering and Media Technologies.

The new AIS concentration will train students to operate state-of-the-art automated manufacturing equipment, including programmable controller training systems, robotics and motor training equipment.

“In order for students to be ready to go to work,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, “we must continue to integrate newer technology into our training programs.

“The cutting-edge equipment used in our AIS concentration courses also will be used for our new and existing engineering technology, workforce training, and STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] awareness programs.”

Much of the new training equipment was purchased through a $50,000 grant from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“At DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we specialize in robot design and programming and now have more than 800 robots on our production lines,” said Mike Brackett. Brackett is a DENSO Foundation board member and senior vice president of Corporate Services at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“Automation will continue to be critical in the future of DENSO and our automotive customers, meaning we need talented and knowledgeable people in this area.”

DENSO is not the only local manufacturer that uses automated industrial systems.

“Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. utilizes advanced automation and robotic systems throughout our production process,” said Kennon Rollins, engineer manager for Green Mountain. The Vermont-based company has a manufacturing facility at Forks of the River in East Knox County.

“With the advancement of automated control systems, the need for proficient skills in computers and electrical, pneumatic, and mechanical systems and controls has only increased. It is an absolute necessity to have not only technical knowledge but also critical thinking skills that can be used for troubleshooting or getting to a root cause of a problem.”

For more information about Engineering Technology and other academic offerings at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts high school students in Winter Choral Concert

Pellissippi State Community College’s Winter Choral Concert features performances from two high schools, Hardin Valley Academy and Lenoir City High School.

The Winter Choral Concert is at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 25, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“We invite different high school choirs to this concert each year to give them an opportunity to be on campus, to meet our students and to learn about our Music program offerings,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator and associate professor.

The event is free and the community is invited. Donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund.

“The high school choirs will perform along with Pellissippi State’s own Concert Chorale and Variations groups,” said Brewer, “for an evening of fine choral music covering a wide range of styles and tastes.”

The Concert Chorale and Variations groups comprise a cross-section of students from a variety of majors. The Variations Ensemble is preparing for a study abroad and concert opportunity overseas in May 2014, in collaboration with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

The Winter Choral Concert is the latest in a string of performances during Pellissippi State’s yearlong Music Concert Series. The series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts. All piano performances and accompaniments are performed on Steinways, in keeping with Pellissippi State’s status as an All-Steinway School.

For additional information about the Pellissippi State Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Local students invited to compete in ‘Frame x Frame’ audio-video competition

All local middle school, high school and college students are invited to participate in Pellissippi State Community College’s inaugural “Frame x Frame” competition, an audio and visual media contest.

Students will participate in age categories to tell short stories in video productions between two and 10 minutes long. The competition is free to enter. The deadline for entries is end of day, Friday, March 7.

“This is an opportunity for all students to put together a short audio and visual media production that tests their creativity and introduces them to industry professionals,” said Katie Lovette, an instructor in Engineering and Media Technologies and planner of the event.

“These films are ‘shorts,’ presentations of a moment in time. They can be animated, video or even pictures set to music. The theme, ‘Tell Us a Story,’ is open to encourage creativity among entries.

“Everyone will get feedback on their work from our judges, who are video production industry professionals, so it’s a valuable experience and a way to get critiqued.”

The entries for middle and high school students should be 2-4 minutes long, and the maximum length of any video should be 10 minutes. Entries should be brought in person to the lobby of the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Posted signs will direct participants where to leave their entries.

Each competition entry will be screened in the Bagwell Gallery during the “Frame x Frame” exhibit, March 17-26. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday. The entries will be judged on March 19.

Prizes will be awarded to each age category’s winner. Awards include a scholarship to Pellissippi State.

For more information about the competition, visit www.framexframecompetition.wordpress.com or email framexframe@pstcc.edu. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State students named to All-Tennessee Academic Team

Pellissippi State students Victoria Baker and Sydney Youngman were recognized Feb. 4 in Nashville for academic accomplishments, as both were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa All-Tennessee Academic Team. Pictured, from left, are Judith Sichler, Pellissippi State Phi Theta Kappa advisor; Baker; Marilyn Harper, director of Academic Support Programs; Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president; Youngman, and Casey Lambert, PTK advisor. Additional PTK advisor Ann E. Kronk is not pictured.
Pellissippi State students Victoria Baker and Sydney Youngman were recognized Feb. 4 in Nashville for academic accomplishments, as both were inducted into the Phi Theta Kappa All-Tennessee Academic Team. Pictured, from left, are Judith Sichler, Pellissippi State Phi Theta Kappa advisor; Baker; Marilyn Harper, director of Academic Support Programs; Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president; Youngman, and Casey Lambert, PTK advisor. Additional PTK advisor Ann E. Kronk is not pictured.

At a ceremony in Nashville on Feb. 4, Pellissippi State Community College students Victoria Baker and Sydney Youngman were recognized for outstanding academic achievement by being named to the 2014 All-Tennessee Academic Team.

In all, 28 community college students from the Tennessee Board of Regents system earned the honor. The Academic 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 Victoria and Sydney 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.”

Baker completed an associate’s degree at Pellissippi State in December and is enrolled at the University of Tennessee. She plans to major in education for the deaf and hard of hearing.

Youngman will graduate from Pellissippi State in May. She plans to attend Middle Tennessee State University, where she will major in biochemistry. She hopes to pursue a career in the medical field.

“Each year, it’s a privilege to recognize the hard work, dedication and commitment these students have exhibited at their colleges,” said John Morgan, TBR chancellor.

“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, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.