Category Archives: Awards

Trevis Gardner named Pellissippi State’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Trevis Gardner

For Trevis Gardner, Pellissippi State Community College’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, success is all about building relationships.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community, and support of the college and the Pellissippi State Foundation. The 1991 graduate was presented the award at a recent Alumni Association luncheon at the college.

Gardner is vice president of operations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He oversees nearly every tangible aspect of the airport experience — from parking to buying a ticket to getting on a plane and leaving and coming back to Knoxville — not only at McGhee Tyson Airport but also at Downtown Island Airport.

The MKAA is responsible for creating the business environment that allows the hundreds of airport vendors to engage with customers. Every layer of service between the MKAA and the passengers falls under Gardner’s purview.

But the technical responsibilities aren’t what Gardner talks about — it’s the relationships.

“I manage people from entry-level positions to folks who are much smarter than I am,” he said. “I get to have a lot of different relationships with people. I feel like I’m in the Tower of London making sure the crown jewels are safe. The organization trusts me to make sure I take care of these people.”

Gardner earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from what was then Pellissippi State Technical Community College and later earned a surveying certificate. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard from 1987 to 2011, and he has worked for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority since 1991.

According to Gardner, his grades weren’t exactly those of a model student when he initially enrolled at Pellissippi State.

“I should not have gone to community college, should not have gone to university, should not have graduated, by all statistical measures,” Gardner said.

But after he came to Pellissippi State on the GI Bill, his mindset changed.

“I loved learning at Pellissippi State,” he said. “I felt like I was home. My time at Pellissippi State was some of the most fun I ever had.”

Besides working for the airport authority, Gardner is also very active in the community, particularly in his native Blount County. He has served on the Blount County Board of Education and the board of the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County. He has worked as a tutor for the GED Preparation Program at the Blount County Justice Center, as well as with many other organizations and causes.

“This year, there were three candidates for this award,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “A committee of Foundation board members reviewed the nominations and felt Trevis was the best candidate. We congratulate him!”

To learn about the benefits of being part of the Pellissippi State Alumni Association, visit www.pstcc.edu/alumni or call (865) 539-7275.

Pellissippi State honors employees, retirees

Pellissippi State Community College hosted its annual Employee Awards ceremony recently, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing 2014-2015 retirees.

Jerry-Sherrod

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Jerry Sherrod, an associate professor in Business and Computer Technology. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students. Sherrod uses industry-based case study models in his Computer Science and Information Technology courses. The case studies apply collaborative learning, improve students’ oral and written communication skills, and help prepare students for issues in a global economy.

David-Brown-and-Edward-Francisco

The Innovations Award—given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities—was presented to Edward Francisco and David Brown. This faculty team uses mathematical and computer science concepts including game theory, game trees and behavior trees, in discussing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the classroom. Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation, the classic application of which is exploring the various win-lose combinations in the game of chicken.

In the classroom, Francisco and Brown help students map the ever-expanding repercussions of each character’s actions within the world of “Hamlet.” Using game theory, game trees and behavior trees, students are meant to better understand characters and the play’s narrative, as well as to understand the alternate realities that might have occurred had any character’s actions been different. In addition, the team is developing software that will allow students to interactively and collaboratively examine any literary universe, including stories, plot lines and characters, and then use the collected structured information to create new characters and alternative narrative universes.

Morvarid-Bejnood

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to Morvarid Bejnood, in recognition of her work on an external outreach project that had a positive impact on the community. Bejnood oversaw a Science Olympiad regional competition at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in March. More than 270 middle and high school students competed in the competition.

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.

Additional award recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, John Jackson; Outstanding Administrator, Carolyn Carson; Outstanding Contract Worker, Mark Palmer; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Kellie Toon; Outstanding Support Professional, Barbara Bailes; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Alvin Brummett.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees at five-year increments of service, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. The 2014-2015 faculty and staff retirees include Dennis Adams, Debi Bolton, Rick Bower, Jerry Bryan, Carolyn Carson, Karen Cornell, Joan Easterly, Pat Ferguson, Brenda Harmon, Lynn Hyman, Joy Ingram, Jean Jackson, Maggie Jenkins, Ellen Keene, Darell McBee, Linda Peterson, Ann Preston, Karen Queener and Mike Rose.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

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

And the College and Career Readiness award goes to … Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College has been selected as the Tennessee community college recipient of the national ACT’s College and Career Readiness Campaign award.

The Career Preparedness Award recognizes the honoree for significant strides in helping students prepare for success in the workforce or in continuing their education. Pellissippi State next enters the selection process for national semifinalists in the ACT campaign. The selected finalist will be recognized as the national exemplar and will be honored at an ACT gala in Washington, D.C., in June.

“We’re honored that the work we do at Pellissippi State was recognized through this award,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., the college’s president. “Our faculty and staff do a great job helping students find their success, whether they’re transferring to a four-year university or entering their career fields.”

This is the ACT’s third College and Career Readiness Campaign. This year’s campaign is the largest so far, involving 34 partner states. One exemplary student in each participating state receives an academic scholarship from ACT.

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

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.

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.

Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class also honor society’s largest

portrait of femaleDoneisha Wilburn was one of 176 students at Pellissippi State Community College inducted into the national Gamma Beta Phi Society earlier this school year.

The induction was Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class—it was also the biggest community college class in the 40,000-plus-member honor society.

“Pellissippi State had the largest community college induction in the entire organization,” said Kevin Fillers. Fillers, himself a Pellissippi State alumnus, is assistant national executive director of Gamma Beta Phi.

“Gamma Beta Phi sets out to recognize and enrich the lives of academically excellent students who are willing to make a commitment to improving their community through service projects.”

Wilburn, who is pursuing a career in social work, is set to earn her associate’s degree in May.

“I was honored to be named to Gamma Beta Phi,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in an honors society.”

The Gamma Beta Phi Society is dedicated to promoting education and providing community service to colleges and communities. Pellissippi State’s first Gamma Beta Phi induction took place in October 2014.

The college’s Gamma Beta Phi chapter is one of several student clubs that offer the opportunity for students to give back to the community and be honored for their academic achievements.

“When students get involved in a club, they feel connected to Pellissippi State for years to come,” said Kim Thomas-LaRue, director of Student Life. “Our goal is to lead students to connect and engage on campus so that their academic experience is enhanced.”

Wilburn is active in Student Life and is a member of the college’s Student Activities Board, which plans campus events for students. She says both organizations keep her busy on campus, but she loves opportunities to get to know people and to help.

“It’s an honor to do that: to help out around campus as much as we can,” said Wilburn. “It’s busy, but it’s fun and good to be involved and to help students.

“I started at another community college in Nashville before moving back home and coming to Pellissippi State, but that ended up being the best thing for me. Pellissippi State has helped me start out well on my academic path.”

After Wilburn graduates in May, she plans to transfer to Tennessee State University, where she will continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work.

“I love to help people. Knowing that you made an impact and that you changed someone’s life for the better is always a rewarding feeling.”

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

Pellissippi State honors Knox County, City of Knoxville

group of people standing in rows, holding award
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, recipients of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus Friday, Feb. 6. Also pictured are Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr., Magnolia Avenue Campus dean Rosalyn Tillman, TBR chancellor John Morgan, TBR vice chancellor of community colleges Warren R. Nichols, TBR board member Danni Varlan, and other elected officials.

On Friday, February 6, Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents honored the support of Knox County and the City of Knoxville during an awards ceremony at the College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Knox County and City of Knoxville representatives, including mayors Tim Burchett and Madeline Rogero, were presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in honor of their combined investment of more than $1 million to the College, particularly the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

“The support and partnership of our local governments has been critical to our success in reaching students and helping them succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. in his nomination letter.

“Courses and programs offered at the Magnolia Avenue Campus help build our regional workforce. Local government investment in the College has helped to support the expansion of our regional tax base and keep unemployment low in East Tennessee.

“At Pellissippi State, our collaboration with local government is impacting workforce development and student success. Without question, our mission to serve our community has been enhanced through our partnerships with the governments of Knox County and the City of Knoxville,” he added.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 329-3100.

Pellissippi State, Board of Regents recognize Clayton family for support

Row of 5 people, 2 holding awards
Pellissippi State Community College and Tennessee Board of Regents presented the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes with the Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy at a legislative breakfast Friday, Feb. 9. Pictured, from left, are TBR Chancellor John Morgan, Clayton Homes vice president of corporate services David Jordan, Jim Clayton of Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Bank and Trust, TBR board member Danni Varlan and Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr.

Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents recognized the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes for their support of higher education at a state legislative breakfast in Knoxville Friday, Feb. 6.

Danni Varlan, a TBR board member, presented the Regents Award for Excellence in Philanthropy to James L. Clayton of the Clayton Family Foundation and Kevin Clayton of Clayton Homes. TBR is the governing body for Pellissippi State and all of the state’s other community colleges.

“Clayton Homes and the Clayton Family Foundation truly epitomize the spirit of the Regents Award,” Varlan said. “Their contributions to numerous institutions in East Tennessee have enriched the fabric of our community. The Clayton foundations together have awarded over $40 million to hundreds of charitable organizations, giving back to the generations to come.”

A $1 million donation to the Pellissippi State Foundation from the Clayton Family Foundation and Clayton Homes supported two major projects: the Performing Arts Center and the Blount County Campus. The gift to the Performing Arts Center in 2008 resulted in the 500-seat facility’s renaming to the Clayton Performing Arts Center. The donation to the Blount County Campus, which opened in 2010, went for the purchase of equipment and furniture.

“Support from the Clayton family has been so much more than bricks and mortar,” Varlan said. The Claytons’ philanthropy and generosity have benefited various programs, campaigns, and funds, including Music scholarships, The Arts at Pellissippi State, art and cultural program funds, the Student Emergency Loan fund, and the Greatest Need fund for students, among others.

To find out more about the Pellissippi State Foundation, including opportunities to give, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State announces opening of support center at Magnolia Avenue Campus

group of people in a lab on computers

Today, Pellissippi State Community College celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The center provides a one-stop resource for student support services, including financial aid, advising, counseling, tutoring, service-learning, and safety and security.

“Life sometimes gets in the way of academic success,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus. “The goal of the center is to provide every service we can to help our students overcome those distractions and roadblocks to success. Everything we do, we do so they can focus on school.”

Tillman was joined for the grand opening by L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, as well as representatives from the Tennessee Board of Regents, Knox County and the city of Knoxville.

The center is designed to encourage student engagement within the school and in the community. Support programs and other resources will promote overall student health and wellness, prepare students for careers, and connect them with essential social support.

For more information about the Magnolia Avenue Campus and the Center for Student and Community Engagement, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 329-3100.