Pellissippi State Community College honored dozens of outstanding students at its annual Academic Awards ceremony April 25. The awards recognized not only excellent academic achievement, but excellence in altruism, community service and leadership.
The college named Leah Hazel Davis and Haley Victoria Ferguson to the All-USA Community College Academic Team.
Gulsah Onar and Dustie Phillips were recipients of the Service Leadership Excellence Award, in recognition of their devotion to civic and community engagement. Susan Spoon was named winner of the Shelley Grace Clayton Award, which honors an altruistic and caring attitude; and several students won Campus Leadership Awards: Heather Butler, Sandra Davis, Sarah Kear, Robert McGinley and Amanda Wollard.
Nathan Armistead was recognized as an outstanding student in the fine arts, and his painting “Presley” was purchased for Pellissippi State’s permanent student art collection.
Additionally, several students were named as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges: Demi Camia, Sandra de Jesus, Caleb Edmonds, Haley Ferguson, Elicia Ferrer, Kathleen Ford, Jonathan Harter, Apryl Herrell, Yulia Kanevskaya, Jeremy Law, Nikolas Likourentzos, Gulsah Onar, Laura Overton, Walter Rutherford, Valentyna Samonik, Jennifer Sandberg, Mary Templeman, Joy Walker and Darryl Woodridge.
Pellissippi State also named its Faculty Member of the Year — as voted on by students — as Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of mathematics.
For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State Community College was one of four finalists — out of 1,100 community colleges across the nation — for an American Association of Community Colleges Award of Excellence.
Pellissippi State was nominated for its corequisite remediation model, which places academically underprepared students in college-level courses while at the same time providing extra academic help during the course.
“Over the last two years, Pellissippi State has redesigned the delivery of remedial courses. We’ve implemented a new model that allows students to enroll in college-level courses but still receive the additional support they need to succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.
Nationally, about 70 percent of college freshmen need remediation in at least one subject, and more than half need remediation in two subjects. In addition, almost 40 percent of the students who enroll in that remedial course never complete it, and only 25 percent go on to complete a college-level course in English or math.
Pellissippi State’s corequisite model, which was piloted in 2015 and has since been fully implemented, places students directly in college-level courses. Students needing remediation attend class one extra day a week for focused attention and support. Pellissippi State students who have completed the corequisite model have demonstrated extraordinary success.
“Corequisite remediation has dramatically improved students’ success. The success rates for remedial students enrolled in college-level courses of English was 47 percent. Mathematics was 53 percent, and college success was 61 percent,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs.
Additionally, the corequisite remediation model allows students to receive financial aid for their course work (many remedial courses weren’t covered by financial aid) and helps students stay on track to graduate quickly.
The Student Success Award of Excellence recognizes a community college that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and proactive advancement of the cause of student success. Nominees are evaluated on increases in degree completion and transfer rates, as well as innovative programs that encourage retention, graduation and student success.
The winner of the Student Success Award, Wallace Community College-Dothan in Alabama, was announced at the AACC annual convention in New Orleans April 24.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Maggie Pierce grew up in a household that valued education and encouraged her to earn good grades. But when she and her sisters earned college degrees, they were progressing down a path their parents had not trod.
That changes on May 5, when Maggie’s mother, Ruth Crippen, will cross the stage and earn her Business degree from Pellissippi State Community College.
“Neither of my parents had completed college,” Pierce said. “But they always expected our best when it came to education. We were encouraged to make straight A’s and study hard.”
That childhood emphasis seemed to have worked: Pierce and her two sisters have seven degrees among them. Pierce earned a Nursing degree from Pellissippi State in 2014, after earning a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tennessee in a career field she decided wasn’t for her after all. Today, she works at Parkwest Medical Center.
Two years ago, her mother, Crippen, went through a divorce and then a lay-off. After a time of unsuccessful job searching, she decided it was time to earn a degree herself.
“This started out as a way for me to get a decent job to provide for my family,” Crippen said. “But now it’s a way for me to say, ‘I did this.’ I tell people it’s my 39-year-path to a degree. I get emotional talking about it.”
Crippen enrolled in an accelerated cohort program at Pellissippi State — which condenses classes into five-week terms, allowing a part-time student to still complete an associate degree in two years.
“I have had to work so hard and take this one semester at a time. I never would have been able to get this done without my daughters’ help,” Crippen said.
“We all respect my mother and her decision to go back to school, so much,” Pierce said. “But she’ll tell you that she’s just doing what she expected us to do. Seeing her succeed is priceless to us.”
Pierce and her siblings will be in the audience, cheering, as Crippen crosses the stage at Pellissippi State’s Commencement ceremony, 7 p.m., May 5, in Thompson-Boling Arena.
“I had the opportunity to go to college as a young person,” Crippen said. “But I announced I was getting married at the ripe old age of 19. At that time, I didn’t realize it was a mistake. But my whole life, I’ve tried to instill in my kids that they did not want to be like their dad and me. The priority was for them to make good grades.
“I never applied myself when I was young. This has a been a long, hard road, but I’m so proud. I’m so proud that I’ve kept a full-time job and done this cohort, and that I will graduate with a 3.4 GPA.”
For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at Commencement, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or firstname.lastname@example.org.