Category Archives: Grant

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: Blount County adds Automated Industrial Systems courses to fall offerings

3 people standing in front of wall with 2 shaking hands
L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State Community College president, left, accepts a check from Mike Brackett, DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee’s senior vice president of corporate services and DENSO International America Inc.’s vice president of North American corporate planning and human resources, on behalf of the College and the Pellissippi State Foundation on Friday, Aug. 1. At right is Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

Pellissippi State Community College will offer courses in the college’s newest Engineering Technology concentration, Automated Industrial Systems, at its Blount County Campus this fall. Registration is going on now.

Automated Industrial Systems is one of seven concentrations in the Engineering Technology associate’s degree program. AIS prepares students to operate state-of-the-art automated manufacturing equipment, including programmable controller training systems, robotics and motor training equipment. The concentration launched at the Hardin Valley Campus in 2013 through a partnership with DENSO North America Foundation.

Pellissippi State is able to purchase equipment to expand the AIS concentration to Blount County thanks to a $48,500 grant from the DENSO Foundation.

“Because of support from the DENSO North America Foundation and our partnership with DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we’ve often been able to keep our engineering technologies and workforce training programs on the cutting edge,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

The grant was awarded through the Pellissippi State Foundation. Funds will go toward the purchase of 20 soldering stations; five Allen-Bradley programmable logic controllers; and 10 National Instruments Elvis II Plus modular platforms. The platforms combine several tools, including oscilloscopes, digital multimeters and dynamic signal analyzers, into one device.

“This grant will provide a state-of-the-art environment for workforce development,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“It will support the education and training needed for manufacturing in the East Tennessee region—for new technologists, company employees, and students transitioning in their careers.”

The Pellissippi State Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment. For information about scholarships and grants offered through the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

To learn more about AIS and other Engineering Technology concentrations, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

 

About the DENSO North America Foundation
A registered 501(c)3 corporate foundation, The DENSO North America Foundation is dedicated to helping students advance their education in engineering, technology and other related programs. Founded in 2001, the Foundation provides grants to colleges and universities throughout North America, helping our communities prosper through the development of a skilled and knowledgeable workforce. The Foundation also provides disaster relief grants through the American Red Cross to aid persons and communities in which DENSO operates. For more information, visit http://densofoundation.org

Pellissippi State aids small business with 3D printing prototype

Bill-Freshour

When Bill Freshour, an engineering lab tech at Pellissippi State Community College, spent much of his spring semester helping a small, young Etowah-based manufacturer develop a prototype laser scanner, he was just doing his job.

At least that’s what the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics would say. According to the BLS, engineering lab technicians “work to resolve issues and solve problems in manufacturing…. To accomplish their goals they use science, engineering and math, and the theories that accompany them.”

So, yes, Freshour did what his job description said he would do. But to the staff of Advanced Measurement Systems Inc., he did a whole lot more.

“This prototype is a very innovative design using new technology,” said Robert Watts, the company’s CEO, “and Bill and Pellissippi State were key to us being a part of that type of trial.”

Freshour got involved in working with Advanced Measurement Systems as part of Pellissippi State’s involvement in the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee. Known simply as AMP!, the center is a public-private partnership intended to revitalize manufacturing and create jobs.

For small and start-up companies, AMP! partners provide resources for improvement and growth that the companies often wouldn’t be able to afford otherwise. In the case of Advanced Measurement Systems, the competitive boost came from the technical expertise of Pellissippi State and the use of a 3D printer at Tech 20/20 in Oak Ridge.

Pellissippi State and Advanced Measurement Systems began working together after Tech 20/20 put out a call for businesses to take advantage of AMP! resources.

“This began as a student project for the AMP! Innovation Challenge, which pairs start-up small manufacturers in counties with high unemployment rates with STEM [science, technology, engineering, math] students,” said Mary Kocak. Kocak is a professor at Pellissippi State in the Engineering Technology degree program’s Mechanical Engineering concentration.

“The needs of AMS proved to be quite challenging,” she said, “so the project was taken on by Bill.”

Advanced Measurement Systems, a four-year-old McMinn County business that manufactures and sells cutting-edge laser electronic measuring systems to the collision repair industry, initially brought to the table the design for a prototype scanner that would allow greater accuracy in vehicle repair.

When a car’s frame is damaged, collision repair companies may use machines to reshape the frame and fix the vehicle. This type of repair was once measured by hand and then by individual laser measurements, but the new prototype allows continuous, dynamic measurements of a vehicle’s frame.

“This prototype is quite different than the scanner we are currently using,” said Watts. “For one, it’s significantly smaller, which prevents targets getting blocked and increases the accuracy of the measurements from the scanner to each target. It’s completely wireless, and it also uses only one laser beam, rather than two.”

The new prototype employs a green laser. Unlike a flashlight beam, which grows wider the farther it travels, a green laser retains its small diameter over a greater distance.

“That integrity over distance will allow us to measure larger vehicles, like motor homes and tractor trailers—which we currently can’t do—because the measurements are more accurate,” Watts said.

Every improvement to the laser scanner gives the business a competitive advantage in the collision repair industry.

Freshour took the company’s conceptual ideas and initial design for the prototype and created 16 separate 3D renderings of each piece needed to construct the revolving, turret-shaped laser. Those drawings were then sent to Tech 20/20 and manufactured using the company’s 3D printer.

AMS and Pellissippi State are now working together to modify design of the prototype further to allow it to be 3D printed in fewer pieces.

“If it can be made in one piece, as we think it can be,” said Watts, “that will save a lot of money in production and assembly. But it requires very precise design and manufacturing accuracy to be printed in one piece—no angle could be incorrect.”

If the one-piece design works as intended, no calibration of the laser will be needed, making the scanner even more accurate and reliable.

“Everything the college, Tech 20/20 and AMP! have done in collaboration with us has been invaluable in completing this project in a timely manner,” Watts said.

Advanced Measurement Systems hopes to show off the finished scanner at an October trade show. Using 3D printers, companies can create prototypes quickly, with less waste and cost than using traditional methods. The AMS prototype is still undergoing revisions, but in its current design, it could only be manufactured by a 3D printer.

“This is what the Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Technology team at Pellissippi State does,” said Freshour. “We work with industry on design problems, and help them to work things out. Local industry hires our students, so working with them also creates opportunities for our graduates.”

As Kocak points out, no single partner in the equation—neither Pellissippi State nor Advancement Measurement Systems nor Tech 20/20—could have brought the laser scanner project to fruition. And therein lies the benefit of the AMP! and other community partnerships in which the college participates.

AMP! was funded initially in 2012 by a federal grant. Under the helm of lead grant applicant Tech 20/20, Pellissippi State works together with collaborative partners Oak Ridge National Laboratory and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

Thanks to the AMP! grant, the college also has created a certificate program in Additive Manufacturing, commonly known as 3D printing, and provides more than $250,000 in scholarships for 125-plus students in Advanced Manufacturing courses.

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

Pellissippi State supporting partner of Michigan-based manufacturing initiative

Pellissippi State Community College is a supporting partner in a $140 million U.S. Department of Defense-backed manufacturing institute in Michigan.

Pellissippi State is one of 60 members of a consortium for the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) Institute in Wayne County, Michigan. The consortium brings together aluminum, titanium and high-strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories that are pioneering new technology development and research.

As a supporting partner of the LM3I Institute, Pellissippi State committed to an in-kind/cost-share donation for staff and faculty time and lab equipment to assist in the project.

“To be part of this national effort is an honor for Pellissippi State,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., the college’s president. “Through this project, Pellissippi State’s emphasis on advanced manufacturing training has found a national platform.

“We well know the importance of advanced manufacturing in the fields of research and development, and we’ll see that as this project seeks to build safer, more fuel-efficient vehicles and aircraft.”

Other local members include Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Alcoa and the University of Tennessee.

On Feb. 25, President Barack Obama announced that the LM3I Institute would receive $70 million in federal funding, matched by another $70 million in non-federal funding.

In addition to the research and development aspect of the project, the institute also will provide education, technical skills training, and workforce development. That aspect will address a growing disconnect between manufacturing technology and the training of workers.

“We look forward to working with LM3I on projects that will create a pipeline of talent capable of adopting the technologies developed by UT, ORNL and others,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of economic and workforce development at Pellissippi State.

LM3I is one of three institutes that will receive a combined $200 million in federal funding. The other two are the Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute in North Carolina and the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, also based in Michigan.

For more information about Pellissippi State, 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.

Haslam announces grant for Pellissippi State

group of people standing in line holding an oversized check

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $1,386,975 grant for Pellissippi State Community College to fund much-needed equipment.

The funds will help Pellissippi State purchase equipment for its Advanced Manufacturing and Nursing programs, particularly equipment needed for new laboratories and a workforce development center at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

“Today is a special day at Pellissippi State,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We know we have a lot of work to do, across the state, to reach the goals of ‘Drive to 55,’ and here at Pellissippi State believe the way to do that is through partnerships.”

Male behind podium with flags in the background

“These grants represent a substantial investment that will result in highly skilled workers,” Haslam said. “This will help meet the growing demand among employers in the region for well-trained employees.”

Pellissippi State’s grant is part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort, which aims to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials. The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s state budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development.

At the Friday, Dec. 13, presentation, Haslam also announced a $450,000 grant for Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville.

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

Pellissippi State awarded grant promoting women in IT

Pellissippi State Community College has won a $1,000 grant to help encourage women in computing and information technology programs.

“In some of my computer science and information technology classes, I’m the only woman or in the minority among mostly male students,” said Christy Watson, a Computer Science and Information Technology student and author of the application for the Symantec Student Seed Fund grant.

The grant—administered through the National Center for Women and IT Academic Alliance—will be awarded to the college’s student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Watson is the Pellissippi State AITP’s vice president and secretary.

“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,” Watson said.

“That’s the norm in many information technology and computer classes: that there are few women, or that women feel intimidated in the computing and IT fields,” said Gitti Negahban. Negahban is faculty advisor for the AITP chapter at Pellissippi State.

The chapter plans to use the NCWIT Academic Alliance grant to host an event for local female high school and Pellissippi State students to raise awareness of career opportunities in computer science and information technology. The promotional event is planned for spring.

“We are excited about and grateful for the opportunity to share and be an influence on young women in their career choices,” Watson said.

“The NCWIT has a goal of increasing diversity in the computing and IT fields,” said Sharon Burlingame, “because diversity increases creativity and helps everyone find better solutions.” Burlingame is program coordinator of the CSIT degree program at Pellissippi State.

“We’re excited to help forward that goal. Everything we do to help women will also help everyone else.”

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 275 colleges and universities. The program is charged with implementing institutional change in higher education, particular 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 and its many offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State uses grants to open Veterans Success Center

A Veterans Success Center is well on its way to opening at Pellissippi State Community College, thanks in part to grants from the Tennessee Board of Regents and the Tennessee College Access and Success Network.

The new center is expected to serve about 500 military veterans, reservists, and family members and will bring many of Pellissippi State’s veteran-related services into a centralized location on the Hardin Valley Campus.

“We’re trying to provide an additional layer of support to an important group of students—and a growing group of students—who are returning to college after service in Iraq or Afghanistan,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

“We want to provide the best possible environment for them to learn and grow while they’re here at Pellissippi State.” The college serves more than 500 veterans who use the GI Bill each year, accounting for about 5 percent of the student population.

Pellissippi State is providing staff and equipment to the Veterans Success Center with the help of a $37,982 Tennessee College Access and Success Network grant. A three-year, $98,000 TBR Access and Diversity grant brings in additional funding for veterans support, including supplemental educational opportunities through tutoring and workshops.

With the assistance of the grants, Pellissippi State hopes to increase student veteran participation and enhance veteran persistence in completing higher education degrees.

Through the new facility, an estimated 125 veterans each year will receive graduation-focused support. The students also will have access to tutoring, mentoring, advising, financial aid assistance, job placement services and a fully equipped study lounge. Internship opportunities with local, veteran-owned businesses will be available through a partnership with the Tennessee Veterans Business Association.

But the center plans to play another, at least as important role in supporting student veterans.

Statistics indicate that more than 88 percent of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill abandon higher education pursuits after the end of their second semester of college, and only 3 percent graduate.

Feelings of isolation are said to be a major contributing factor to veterans dropping out.

“The Veterans Success Center will offer not only the ‘formal’ network of support these students need,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs. “It will also provide them with an informal network through which they can work together, socialize, share common concerns.”

Among veterans attending college now, most take advantage of either the Post-9/11 GI Bill (Chapter 33) or the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program. A majority of those using the Post-9/11 GI Bill are younger combat veterans who have served within the last 10 years.

To be eligible for VRAP, veterans must be between the ages of 35 and 60, unemployed and ineligible for assistance from any other VA education program. Typically, a large number from both programs are low-income, first-generation college students.

For more information about the Veterans Success Center or other programs and services offered by Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State awarded record-breaking $4.6 million grant by federal Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a grant for $4,569,689—the largest single amount the school has ever received.

The funding is part of a $474.5 million DOL effort to help community colleges around the country train the workforce and facilitate students in earning credentials. The award was announced Wednesday, Sept. 18.

The grants are to be used for the development and expansion of innovative training programs in partnership with local employers. Pellissippi State was one of only three Tennessee colleges awarded funds in the competitive process.

“We are excited and proud to have won this very competitive grant for the expansion of our workforce training programs,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “The funding will significantly enhance our efforts with business and industry partners to create more and better jobs for graduates throughout East Tennessee.”

The college wrote and submitted the grant as the leader of the Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium. The consortium includes five other community colleges in the Southeast: Northeast State Community College, Palm Beach State College and Polk State College in Florida, and Randolph Community College and Vance-Granville Community College in North Carolina.

The SEELC proposal resulted in a total of $12.7 million for use in advanced manufacturing projects.

“At Pellissippi State, we will use the grant to expand welding, machining, and manufacturing programs, with the long-term goal of ensuring that our graduates are well prepared to enter the workforce,” said Wise. Funds will be used to purchase equipment and new technology and to hire program faculty and staff.

“As a SEELC member, we will also work with national credentialing bodies to make sure our training continues to meet industry-recognized standards of excellence.”

Through the consortium, Pellissippi State will partner with organizations such as the American Welding Society and the National Institute for Metalworking Skills to offer national credentials as part of the college’s degree and certificate programs. Pellissippi State has available a wide variety of short-term training certificates that enhance job opportunities for students.

Consortium members also will work with public partners in their respective states to open the door for more students and workers to receive advanced manufacturing certificates and degrees.

The six colleges that make up the SEELC are leaders in partnering in regional workforce development and education, and the six were specifically chosen to represent economic and demographic diversity. Each SEELC member is located in a state in which governors and other community leaders are working to improve economic development and workforce system change.

To learn more about Pellissippi State’s programs and services, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. For more about the federal grant, visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s website.