Category Archives: Academics

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 offers path to engineering tech bachelor’s degree

When President Barack Obama visited East Tennessee in January, he introduced America’s College Promise and launched a manufacturing innovation hub—both with ties to Pellissippi State Community College.

“We’re launching these hubs around the country, and the concept is simple: We bring businesses, research universities, community colleges, and state, local, and federal governments together, and we figure out, where are some key opportunities for manufacturing in the future, how do we get out in front of the curve, how do we make sure everybody is working together,” Obama said during his speech at Techmer PM in Clinton.

Pellissippi State has provided workforce development training for Techmer PM in recent years. The College and Techmer PM also are partners in a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium. The funding is directed toward helping workers who are displaced, unemployed or underemployed, particularly those in the manufacturing industry.

Pellissippi State has launched a number of programs and courses designed to meet those needs.

One of those initiatives is the College’s articulation agreement with Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Under the partnership, a student can earn an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology through Pellissippi State, then a bachelor’s degree in either Manufacturing Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology through Austin Peay—without ever leaving the Hardin Valley Campus.

“I think our partnership with Austin Peay is one that will help close the gap in manufacturing skills in the region,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “It allows our students to move seamlessly from a community college to a four-year university to earn an applied bachelor’s degree, then enter the workforce with much-needed job skills.”

The program’s first 15 students are set to graduate from Pellissippi State this year. They’ll enroll at Austin Peay in the fall as juniors.

Students in the program first earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from Pellissippi State, then continue on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay. All four years of classes are taught at the Hardin Valley Campus, by both Pellissippi State and Austin Peay faculty.

The program is designed for working students, and it meets the demand for engineering graduates with a bachelor’s degree in East Tennessee.

“Other opportunities like this do not exist in this region,” said Pat Riddle, Pellissippi State’s Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Technology program coordinator. “Pellissippi State and Austin Peay provide local employers with trained, educated professionals with a bachelor’s degree credential.”

“It’s important that we deliver the academic portion and the follow-up: that our graduates are able to find meaningful job opportunities in the fields they’ve studied,” said William Cox, executive director of the School of Technology and Public Management at Austin Peay.

Registration for fall courses at Pellissippi State, including those in the Engineering Technology partnership with Austin Peay, begins in April.

For more information about the partnership program, contact Cindy Fowinkle, an assistant professor and program coordinator of Engineering Technology at Austin Peay at Pellissippi State, at (865) 694-7651. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State’s ‘Pi Day’ celebrates 3.1415926, Einstein

3.1415926. Those are the first few digits of the mathematical constant pi.

In celebration of the universally recognized number, Pellissippi State Community College hosts a “Pi Day” party on 3/14/15, beginning at 9:26 a.m.

The party, which is free and open to the community, takes place in the Courtyard on the Hardin Valley Campus, weather permitting. (In the event of inclement weather, the event moves into the McWherter Building.) The Hardin Valley Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pi Day celebrations at Pellissippi State end at 1:30 p.m.

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated nationally each year on March 14.

The college’s kid-friendly event features plenty of pi- and pie-related fun. Among the festivities: age-appropriate math competitions, a contest to recite the most digits of pi and even a hula-hoop competition.

The Pi Day party showcases Pellissippi State’s advanced manufacturing and 3D printing equipment, including new 3D printers and 3Doodlers (3D printing pens) that will be available for live demonstrations.

March 14 also is the birthday of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Anyone who comes to Pellissippi State’s Pi Day dressed as Einstein receives a prize.

The event, sponsored by the Pellissippi State Foundation’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (John C. Mauer) fund, raises money for Mechanical Engineering students in the Engineering Technology program to travel to New York City for 3D Print Week. Donations will be accepted, and pies of all flavors will be for sale.

For more information about Pellissippi State and Pi Day, 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.

Science Olympiad at Pellissippi State rescheduled to March 7

The East Tennessee regional Science Olympiad competition, hosted by Pellissippi State Community College, has been rescheduled for Saturday, March 7, due to inclement weather.

Science Olympiad brings together middle and high school teams to compete against one another in science, technology, engineering, and math, or STEM, events. Events might include a building competition in which students use the basics of engineering and physics to build a bridge that can support the largest amount of weight. Or students might take part in a laboratory competition in which they apply chemistry and biology to identify mystery powders.

“Science Olympiad is great because it exposes these students to so many different real-life applications of STEM academics,” said Morvarid Bejnood, a Pellissippi State instructor who is planning the event.

“It gives these middle and high school students the opportunity to visit Pellissippi State’s campus, to see our science labs and meet our faculty, as well as to meet local scientists and professionals in STEM fields. Science Olympiad is wonderful for education.”

More than 250 students are expected to take part in the competition. Winning teams go on to compete at the state level.

In addition, dozens of Pellissippi State students will serve as volunteers for the event through the college’s Service-Learning program.

The presenting sponsor of this Science Olympiad competition at Pellissippi State is STEMspark, the East Tennessee STEM education hub of the Tennessee STEM Innovation Network and the national STEMx coalition.

To learn more about Pellissippi State and its STEM and other academic offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State students named to Who’s Who list

Thirteen Pellissippi State Community College students have been recognized by the prestigious Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges program.

“Who’s Who recognizes the fact that college is about more than just academic excellence—it’s also about giving back to the community and making a difference,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs. “Students are honored for their leadership, scholastic achievement and community service.”

“We are very proud of these students, all of whom are devoted to their school and to the community.”

Pellissippi State’s Who’s Who inductees and their place of residence:

  • Mobin J. Araghi, Knoxville
  • Barbara Bearden, Knoxville
  • Patrick Bledsoe, Alcoa
  • Kevin Brooks, Greenback
  • Landon Burke, Knoxville
  • Amber N. Coffey, Oakdale
  • Brandi M. Crass, Knoxville
  • Rebecca Fields, Knoxville
  • Laura King, Oak Ridge
  • Susan M. Minehan, Oak Ridge
  • Nichole Proctor, Knoxville
  • Yvette M. Satchel, Oak Ridge
  • Bonnie Walker, Oak Ridge

Since 1934, Who’s Who has recognized students for academic excellence, college and community service, and potential for future achievement. Selection of students for inclusion is made each fall by a campus nominating committee composed of faculty, administration and other students. Honorees receive an award certificate.

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

Pellissippi State student meets President Obama, spreads message of hope

4 people standing in an office, smiling.
Ashley Albritton and her son, Mason, accept tickets to the Jan. 9 Presidential address on Friday, Jan. 9, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr., right, and Vice President of Student Affairs Rebecca Ashford, left.

Ashley Albritton sits down at her kitchen table each night to study with her 13-year-old son, Mason.

As an added incentive to succeed, they also compete with one another to get the highest grades—Ashley at Pellissippi State Community College and Mason at Farragut Middle School.

At the end of the semester, their report cards hang side by side on the refrigerator.

Ashley Albritton is busy knocking out the prerequisites to apply for nursing school. She enrolled at Pellissippi State in 2013, with strong encouragement from her sister.

“It was just Mason and I, and I had been working in hospice and home health, just getting by,” she said. “My younger sister told me that I needed to get back into the world.”

Her sister also helped her apply to Pellissippi State.

“When I first got here, I felt like it was a joke for me to be in college,” said Albritton, “like I wasn’t worthy to be here. But now I feel like this is all a dream. My son tells me that college has given me back the light in my smile, the light in my eyes.”

Female holding up a box.
Ashley Albritton, on stage for President Barack Obama’s address at Pellissippi State Community College on Friday, Jan. 9, holds up a small hope chest mentioned in Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.’s opening remarks.

Albritton was seated on the stage when President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visited Pellissippi State on Friday, Jan. 9. She shook President Obama’s hand from her place in the front row.

She had hoped to give the nation’s president a memento: a hope chest her father had given her when she was a child. Into this box, throughout her life, she has placed scraps of paper that represent all of her hopes and dreams.

“I want to give that box to someone else. The truth is, I can never say thank you enough to all the people who have helped me. I just hope to pass on my story so that it can help some other young woman follow her dreams.

“I don’t need my dream box anymore, because all of my dreams are coming true.”

Friday afternoon, Albritton gave the hope chest, instead, to Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who had featured her in his introductory speech earlier that day.

“Ashley is truly an inspiration, both to other students and to me,” Wise said. “She has a sincere heart, and through her strength and compassion, she proves, each day, that everyone can follow their dreams.”

Albritton hopes to become a medical missionary. She believes that her purpose is to give back and to serve. When she graduates from Pellissippi State, she hopes to go on to earn her bachelor’s degree and then a master’s to be an advanced nurse practitioner.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s academic offerings or its 40th anniversary celebration, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Two Pellissippi State students state’s only Grainger Scholarship winners

portrait of male in jacket
Isaiah Maylott

Pellissippi State Community College students Jeffrey Roller and Isaiah Maylott have each earned a $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship—the only recipients in Tennessee to receive the award this academic year.

Both Roller and Maylott are in the Engineering Technology degree program’s Electrical Engineering concentration.

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. Upon graduating, recipients also receive $2,500 worth of Grainger hand tools, each with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

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

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

Portrait of male in hat and hoodie
Jeffrey Roller

Roller, who served in the Marine Corps and as a civilian contractor in Afghanistan, plans to finish his associate’s degree at Pellissippi State in 2015.

“This scholarship has allowed me to continue going to college full time,” he said. “I can concentrate on keeping a high GPA so I can be more competitive for jobs when I graduate. It’s definitely helped.”

Maylott joined the Air National Guard in 2011 and is a radio frequency transmissions systems technician. He plans to graduate from Pellissippi State in 2015.

“I was excited to find out that I got the scholarship,” said Maylott. “I’ve never earned a scholarship based on military service and my grades. It was really an honor to be recognized for that. I’m also definitely looking forward to getting the tool set—that will be really helpful as I look toward my future career.”

“Grainger is investing in the future of American industry and local communities through the Grainger Tools for Tomorrow Scholarship Program,” said Russell Rumpp, Grainger’s market manager in Knoxville. “We are proud to partner with Pellissippi State and believe business and community college partnerships are one solution to building a stronger workforce.”

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

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

Pellissippi State students compete in Math Bowl

Pellissippi State Community College students once again compete against other Tennessee college students when the institution hosts its yearly Math Bowl, Saturday, Nov. 22.

Pellissippi State’s Math Bowl is part of the annual State Mathematics Competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. In 2013, four Pellissippi State students finished in the top three in the state for their respective subjects: Zachary Jerome placed first in calculus A, Charles Garrett first and Ben Aptaker third in basic algebra, and Thao Nguyen Strong first in precalculus.

“We’re very proud of our winners from last year and look forward to seeing more top-level competition from Pellissippi State students in 2014,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of Mathematics.

The State Mathematics Competition takes place each year at locations across the state. On Nov. 22, Pellissippi State hosts two site competitions, one at the Hardin Valley Campus and one at the Blount County Campus.

In the Math Bowl, students are tested in basic algebra, statistics, precalculus, and two levels of calculus, A and B. Each contest exam consists of 25 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator but no notebook or textbook.

TMATYC awards cash prizes to the top three students in each subject. In addition, Pellissippi State—thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities—rewards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

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

Info meetings set for new Pellissippi State accelerated Business Administration pathways

Prospective Business Administration students are encouraged to attend an informational meeting in November to learn more about two new accelerated cohort degree pathways—Business Administration/Management and Business Administration/Computer Accounting—to be offered spring semester at Pellissippi State Community College.

Students who successfully complete the coursework will earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in either Management or Computer Accounting.

Two info meetings are scheduled: at 6 p.m. Monday, Nov. 3, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus and at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 11, at the Hardin Valley Campus.

The accelerated pathway allows students to earn a degree more quickly than normal thanks to shorter-length courses. It’s an ideal choice for those who work during regular school hours, who have family or other responsibilities and/or who may have been out of school for a while.

In a cohort, students begin and progress through a program together, as one supportive group.

Both accelerated cohorts meet Tuesday and Thursday evenings, in mostly five-week courses, for 16 months. The Management concentration provides the skills necessary to effectively manage and lead.  The Computer Accounting concentration prepares students for entry-level accounting positions in business and industry.

For more information about accelerated pathways and cohorts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State tops in Tennessee for associate’s degree graduates

For students like Daniel Mace and Chisa Huffman, May 2014 was a milestone month in their lives. Both graduated from Pellissippi State Community College, with Huffman planning to enter a post-grad nursing program and Mace to continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering.

The success of Mace and Huffman is definitely worthy of celebration, but the two students are also part of another cause for celebrating: they helped contribute to a new college record.

For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State leads the state in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by a two-year college.

In the 2013-2014 school year, Pellissippi State awarded 1,286 associate’s degrees—more than last year’s record-setting 1,265 degrees. According to the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, the college also awarded 693 certificates.

“We’re incredibly proud to again be first in the state in the number of associate’s degrees we award,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “But the importance of these numbers isn’t in the statistics—it’s in the lives that are changed when our students earn their degrees and reach their goals.”

Huffman entered the doors of Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in 2013, when she decided to return to school at age 30 to pursue an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing degree. She’s now enrolled in Pellissippi State’s partnership RN to BSN program with King College, taking her coursework at the Blount County Campus.

Mace, who as an employee of Thompson-Boling Arena actually helped build the Commencement stage he walked across, plans to enroll at Austin Peay State University and pursue a degree in mechanical engineering. Those classes are offered at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus.

For more information about Pellissippi State and the many ways it offers to help students succeed, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.