Category Archives: Awards

Pellissippi State: Early Childhood Education intro course hits record enrollment for fall

Female handing object to young child.
Hannah Wilson, an Early Childhood Education student at Pellissippi State Community College, interacts with a child through the program’s student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

Enrollment in the introductory course of the Early Childhood Education degree program at Pellissippi State Community College is at an all-time high this semester.

Twenty-eight students signed up for Introduction to Early Childhood Education.

“These are great numbers for us. We’re so excited to have students interested in Early Childhood Education,” said Terenia Moody, Early Childhood’s program coordinator. “This semester, we’ve also introduced a new cohort program at the Magnolia Avenue Campus that is really taking off.”

An additional 21 students are taking the cohort courses offered at Magnolia Avenue. In a cohort, students begin, progress through and complete their coursework as a group. Cohorts encourage greater community and teamwork among students, as well as providing greater individualized attention from faculty.

Pellissippi State gives students the opportunity to earn a short-term certificate, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education and an Associate of Science in Teaching Pre-K-3.

“These different certificates and degrees offer our students a wide range of options for their futures,” said Moody. “They can pursue a career in child care right away, or they can transfer to a four-year institution and finish their education. Our students might be entrepreneurs, wanting to start their own center, or they might wish to be a teacher or a teacher’s assistant.”

The program also has an active student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students often volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

For more information about Early Childhood Education, visit www.pstcc.edu/eced or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State vice president named Woman of the Year

portrait of female in red suitPeggy Wilson, Pellissippi State Community College’s vice president of College Advancement, has been named Woman of the Year in Education by the National Association of Professional Women.

“I’m honored and humbled to receive this award by an organization that seeks to empower and encourage professional women,” said Wilson, also the executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

The award recognizes “excellence, leadership and commitment to her profession, while encouraging the achievement of professional women.” The NAPW is the largest networking organization of professional women in the country, with more than 600,000 members.

Wilson has worked at Pellissippi State for 28 years. She was the first person in her family to graduate from college, the first employee at Pellissippi State to receive the Outstanding Administrator award and the school’s first female vice president. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Eastern Kentucky University and a master’s in education from Morehead State University.

“My greatest achievement is going from a girl wanting more than the mountains could offer to becoming the first female vice president at Pellissippi State,” Wilson said.

In addition to her other accomplishments, Wilson was named the 2001 Executive of the Year for the International Association of Administrative Professionals, Oak Ridge Chapter, and won the 2010 Excellence in Administration Otis L. Floyd Jr. Award from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association.

Wilson serves in and supports a number of community and international organizations, including Rotary Club of Farragut and Rotary International, Knoxville Symphony League, the Cerebral Palsy Center, East Tennessee Historical Society, and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital. She and her husband, Joe, are members of Cokesbury United Methodist Church. Wilson has three children and three grandchildren.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. For more information about the National Association of Professional Women, visit www.napw.com.

Pellissippi State students named to summer 2014 dean’s list

Pellissippi State Community College has named 39 top students to the summer dean’s list. Students are eligible for inclusion upon completing 12 college-level hours in a semester with a 3.5-4.0 GPA. Pellissippi State honorees:

Julia Allison
Leea Butler
Joan Chamberlain
Dylan Chun
Ryan Clapp
Montana Coward
Jennifer DeFoe
Kelsey Dotson
Kelsey Elam
Morgan Everett
Angela Fields
Gregory Flynn
Sophie Fourniquet
Caroline Gowin
Hannah Hicks
Jessica Hughes
Jean Jamison
Jillian Jeffcoat
Marjorie Kennedy
Viola Kriston
Maddie Kulpa
Abigail Lane
Ahmad Mahmaud
Tim Marcum
Katilyn Mitchell
Robert Neel
Lynsey O’Barr
Dylan Powell
Cody Ricker
Mary Robinson
Joshua Roy
Yvette Satchel
Stephanie Shipp
Katharina Snyder
Edward Warren
Joshua Wilson
Brian Withrow
Kaylee Worsham
Courtney Young

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

Pellissippi State ranks high nationwide in number of communication graduates

Pellissippi State Community College ranks second in the U.S. among two-year colleges in the number of students who graduated from the institution in 2013 in the communications field.

The rankings are published in the Aug. 18 issue of Community College Week, and the college places high in the category of Top 50 Associate Degrees: Communication Technologies/Technicians and Support Services.

Pellissippi State was the only community college in Tennessee recognized in the category. The college’s ranking rose 9 percent from 2012.

The institution awarded 93 associate’s degrees in communication/media technologies in the 2012-2013 academic year, only 10 fewer than the top two-year school, the Institute of Production and Recording in Minnesota.

“We are honored to receive this national recognition for the number of graduates we have in this program,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs. “Our faculty are deeply committed to helping students achieve their academic goals, and I am very proud of the excellent work they do in preparing students for successful careers in media technologies.”

The college offers a two-year Associate of Applied Science degree in Media Technologies. Students can choose from four concentrations: Communication Graphics Technology, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology.

Pellissippi State was one of only three Tennessee two- and four-year schools recognized in the Community College Week issue, which records the top 100 associate’s degree producers in 2013 across a variety of disciplines and categories.

Community College Week is published biweekly. It covers community college news and features, analyses of academic trends and issues, statistics, and technology updates.

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

Gov. Haslam proclaims today ‘Pellissippi State 40th Anniversary Day’

Gov. Bill Haslam honored Pellissippi State Community College’s 40-year anniversary by proclaiming Sept. 4, “Pellissippi State Community College 40th Anniversary Day.”

“We’re honored that the governor recognizes Pellissippi State’s legacy in education and are proud that he is celebrating our anniversary with us,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

Pellissippi State was founded as State Technical Institute at Knoxville on Sept. 4, 1974. The inaugural class included 45 students in three associate’s degree programs, all in engineering technology. Today, Pellissippi State enrolls more than 10,000 credit students across five campuses in Knox and Blount counties.

Throughout the next year, Pellissippi State will be celebrating 40 years of “Achieving Success, One Story at a Time.” The college will host community events as well as special activities for students, faculty and staff. Students, alumni, and community members are encouraged to share their own positive stories and memories of Pellissippi State at www.pstcc.edu/anniversary. On social media, use #PSCC40.

NASA to grant scholarships to Pellissippi State students

Enrollment in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—at community colleges across the U.S. comes up short for women and underrepresented students, but at Pellissippi State Community College, a new grant will seek to change that.

NASA has awarded $499,689 to the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, through the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium located at Vanderbilt University, as part of the NSPIRES (NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System) program. The consortium is made up of Pellissippi State and four other Tennessee Board of Regents colleges.

“Pellissippi State is a major provider of qualified engineering technicians to local manufacturers,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Similarly, NASA is committed to increasing the number of students graduating with STEM degrees.

“While women represent about 61 percent of the total enrollment in the state’s community colleges, they only account for about 11 percent of the enrollment in engineering technology programs.” Underrepresented groups make up about 13 percent of engineering technology program enrollment.

As part of the Community College Space Grant Consortium, the college plans to recruit more women and underrepresented groups into STEM-related associate’s degree and certificate programs, particularly in the areas of engineering technology and robotics.

The grant will provide $45,000 in scholarships to Pellissippi State. This is the first time that a Space Grant scholarship has been awarded to Tennessee community college students.

The grant also will help the school hire a part-time “completion coach” to provide Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology students the support they need to graduate. The Engineering Technology program culminates in an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Additionally, it will pay for membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as for travel to the IEEE SoutheastCon’s robotics competition and the NASA Summer Robotics Institute at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.

Other members of the consortium include Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Northeast State Community College and Roane State Community College.

For more information on the grant or the college’s engineering technology offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State employee recognized as a top graduate student worldwide

John-Brent-Morrison

John Brent Morrison, manager of technical operations in Educational Technology Services at Pellissippi State Community College, was recognized recently as one of the best business graduate students in the world.

Morrison, who is pursuing an M.B.A. at Tennessee Technological University, competed in the international Capstone Business Simulation program, or Capsim, during spring semester. He placed 23rd out of 1,760 participants from 36 countries, and his scores put him in the top 1.5 percent of competitors.

The Capsim is a sophisticated program used in more than 600 universities worldwide. Students create and operate fictitious companies, making decisions regarding marketing, finance, product development, factory production, and workforce management. Students who do well in the classroom can choose to compete in the biannual competition.

The company Morrison fabricated designed, manufactured, and distributed motion sensors for various products, such as pedometers and video game remote controls. Morrison’s success, he believes, came from his strategy of regularly introducing new products into the market.

“The steady pace of product innovation,” he said, “allowed me to examine the simulated market as a whole and target the consumer needs that my competitors were failing to meet, making products that were smaller, faster, and cheaper.”

According to Christine Miller, the decision sciences and management instructor who oversaw the classroom Capsim project, the program is designed to mimic the uncertainty of real-world business.

“The decisions are all interrelated,” she said. “A production decision can affect the corporation’s cash flow, which could have a ripple effect in the financial arena. If the simulation adds something like an economic recession, the companies have to be able to withstand it.”

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

Pellissippi State students pass stage-fighting exam

Ten Pellissippi State Community College students recently passed a skills proficiency test with the Society of American Fight Directors. The test, the first administered in Tennessee in almost 20 years, was the result of more than a semester of instruction by Bob Borwick, Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and certified SAFD instructor.

The students are Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corley, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Hunter Overby, Barrie Paulson, Steve Trigg, Kristina Walker and Deb Weatherington.

They tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after theatrical skills status in the world of professional theatre.

Borwick is the only SAFD certified instructor in the state, and he teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat). Plans are under way to offer the course again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also has a non-credit Stage Combat course available.

For more information, email Charles R. Miller at cmiller@pstcc.edu. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Two grads take part in STEM-related Research Experiences for Undergraduates

Michelle-Lehman

Two graduates of Pellissippi State Community College have earned a place in TN-SCORE’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, which provides a pathway for undergraduates to transition to a graduate program.

The vision of TN-SCORE, or Tennessee Solar Convention and Storage using Outreach, Research and Education, is to advance STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) research in Tennessee schools.

Michelle Lehmann will be an intern with Siris Laursen at the University of Tennessee, and Lucas Thal will pursue research at Vanderbilt University under the guidance of David Cliffel.

“I was ecstatic when I found out I’d been accepted for the internship,” said Lehmann. “I felt like all my hard work over the past couple of years had paid off and I was on the road to achieving my career goals.

“I am going to be a chemical engineering major at the University of Tennessee,” said Lehmann, who graduated from Pellissippi State in May. “I plan on working in research in alternate energy or developing cleaner, more efficient processes for industry. I’m a proponent of the principles of green chemistry and want to do what I can to reduce our impact on the environment.”

Lehmann’s research over the summer will involve developing catalysts to make energy conversion and storage of solar power more efficient. She also will work with a newer form of solar power that uses the principles of photosynthesis.

Lucas-ThalThal graduated from Pellissippi State in 2012 and is currently at UT pursuing a dual bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology and in chemistry. He’s on track to graduate in 2015. He plans to attend graduate school, then hopes to embark on a career in sustainable energy.

“I was overjoyed to find out I was chosen to be part of this competitive REU program,” said Thal.

“Over the course of 10 weeks this summer, I will be studying under Dr. Cliffel, whose research focuses on the electrochemistry of PS1, a redox protein involved in the light reactions of photosynthesis in plants, algae and cyanobacteria.”

Research Experiences for Undergraduates is a competitive, eight- to 10-week program in which students receive a $4,000 stipend, housing and supplies. Participating students must be enrolled full time at a Tennessee community college or four-year institution. Students present their research at the TN-SCORE annual conference.

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

Pellissippi State recognizes distinguished alumna

portrait of female in red with blonde hairPerseverance and a passion for helping others are the defining traits of Pellissippi State Community College’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Rhonda Lee, who graduated in Paralegal Studies with the Class of 2004, is a mother, grandmother, cancer survivor and attorney.

Lee was 42 when she began classes at Pellissippi State after a career in real estate and home building.

“I decided to follow my passion in my 40s,” said Lee, now a practicing attorney in Knoxville, “and I faced criticism and hardship as an older, working woman with children. But that was my passion. It’s what I wanted to do.”

After graduating from Pellissippi State, Lee attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville and UT Chattanooga, completing her bachelor’s degree in legal studies in 2006. She capped off nearly a decade of studies when she earned her Juris Doctor from Nashville School of Law in 2012—and she put nearly 130,000 miles on her vehicle in the process.

Lee now owns her own law firm, where she specializes in criminal defense but also practices family and general law. Her particular interest is in serving marginalized and indigent clients.

“I have a passion to make a difference in people’s lives. Our constitutional rights are the greatest rights we have, and being in law is a way of making sure that people’s liberties are protected. I see that every day.

“There can be a lot of injustice in the justice system, because people don’t always have representation. I work to make sure that no one is overlooked, that they always have adequate representation.”

Lee understands falling through the cracks. While she was working full time in Knoxville and commuting to Nashville for law school, she was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t have health insurance at the time, and she struggled to find treatment.

“So I figured I would just go to school until I died,” Lee said. “But I thought that if I was going to die, I would go out doing what I had always dreamed of.

“My goal was to get through one more set of classes, and that got me up every day. That got me across the stage at graduation and through the bar exam. Now I have my own law firm, and it’s a dream come true.”

Lee’s work as an attorney is not the only way she finds to help people. She also supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee, East Tennessee Legal Aid and the Tennessee Cancer Coalition.

She has drafted legislation in several states, not just Tennessee, that will change the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, making it easier for victims to pursue justice. Lee balances all of this with time supporting her children and grandchildren and serving as a caretaker for her aging parents.

And she continues to take on more. She plans to return to Pellissippi State as an adjunct faculty member teaching law classes in the fall.

“I love Pellissippi State, and I’m really excited to go back and teach there, because if it wasn’t for that foundation—for getting a hands-on, personal touch while I was a student there—I wouldn’t be where I am today. I want to be that person for other students.

“Pellissippi State makes it possible for anyone, at any stage of life, to get an education. If you want to succeed, they help you get there.”

Pellissippi State’s 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.

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