Category Archives: TBR

New vice president of Information Services named at Pellissippi State

Audrey-WilliamsAudrey Williams can remember going to a former boss in the early ’90s and saying, “There’s this thing called the World Wide Web, and I think it’s going to be big.”

That one statement launched her on a path down the Internet technologies and services rabbit hole, and it might just be what launched her on the path to her new position as Pellissippi State Community College’s vice president of Information Services.

“In this new position,” she said, “my job is to make sure all of our students have the technology they need to learn, that faculty have all the technology they need to teach, and that everyone who works here has the technology they need to do their jobs.”

Williams has worked at Pellissippi State since 1999. She’s served as an instructional technology specialist and, most recently, as director of Educational Technology Services.

But she says she got her start in Internet technology at the American Museum of Science and Energy, where she worked in the 1990s and where she first learned about what was then the revolutionary phenomenon of the Internet.

“The Internet and all of that related technology is ubiquitous now,” Williams said. “We can’t do our jobs without it. But then, I was working at AMSE as the Web was just emerging, and I told my boss we should be on it. I sat at a computer with an ‘HTML for Dummies’ book and tapped out code, and I created an exhibit on the Web for AMSE. I brought the museum into this age.

“I feel like I grew up with the Internet, because I’ve been so involved with it from its beginning.”

Williams says her love of technology has carried her through a series of jobs, and it will continue to evolve in the new one as vice president of Information Services.

“I want to keep a few of my tech projects even as a vice president,” Williams said. “Those are what I love, and I don’t want to give them away, like serving as the administrator of many of the college’s blog pages.”

In her new position, Williams’ goals are to maintain the already high standard of service among the three areas she will oversee — Educational Technology Services, Networking and Technical Services, and Application Programming Support — and increase communications to students and employees about the many technological services Pellissippi State can boast.

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

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State earns accreditation

Pellissippi State Community College Culinary Arts student Alexis Meneese prepares signature desserts for a recent community event.
Pellissippi State Community College Culinary Arts student Alexis Meneese prepares signature desserts for a recent community event.

Bring out the hors d’oeuvres and fine wine!

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State Community College recently gained accreditation through the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission. Enrollment for fall semester is now open.

Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts Institute prepares students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with a concentration in Culinary Arts. The college’s culinary degree program is the only one accredited in Knoxville.

“When we first started Culinary Arts, we worked with an advisory committee to create a curriculum that was useful to local employers,” said Tom Gaddis, program coordinator. The Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute graduated its first class in 2012.

“Local employers want graduates who not only could cook fabulous foods but do it profitably. That’s why our program is a business program: we want them to learn to cook, but also to have that foundation in accounting, management and even marketing.”

Culinary Arts students are provided a unique education at Pellissippi State. They are trained in business and management practices, and they are taught practices of sufficiency and sustainability. Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts students take classes at the college’s Division Street Campus and use the kitchen facilities of the University of Tennessee’s Culinary Institute.

Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts/Business program had a 100 percent career placement rate, based on the latest figures, in 2013. Graduates have taken jobs in the hospitality industry, in restaurants and grocery stores, in bistros, at resorts, and in casual dining.

Graduates of the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute can certify as cooking professionals through the ACF, progressing from certified culinarian to certified sous chef, all the way to certified master chef.

Enrollment for the fall semester is open until Aug. 12. Classes start Aug. 24.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute and the degree program, visit www.pstcc.edu/culinary or call (865) 971-5246.

Pellissippi State hosts June 18 ‘MakerPalooza’ for creators of all ages

male holding a pole with a quadcopter attached
Pellissippi State Community College student Seth Giles poses with the “LawnShark,” a drone that he and other Pellissippi State students “hacked” into a weedeater during the Hack Tennessee event earlier this month. Giles and others at Pellissippi State are planning a similar event, MakerPalooza, open to creators of all types, which will be held June 18.

Calling all makers of doodads and inventors of thingamajigs — everyone is welcome to submit his or her creations at Pellissippi State Community College’s inaugural MakerPalooza in June.

MakerPalooza brings together creative sorts of all ages to show off their work. Perhaps it’s a computer program or a 3D printed item. Or a painting or sculpture. Or a remote-controlled vehicle, a hack, a rocket or a delicious cake. Bottom line: If it’s original and created, fabricated or otherwise made by an individual, Pellissippi State welcomes the creator to register.

“If you made it, bring it,” said Sarah Graham, student success coach for the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Center of East Tennessee (aka, AMP!) grant at Pellissippi State and a planner of the event.

Register as a maker at www.pstcc.edu/emt. Space for participants to present their projects is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free event is Thursday, June 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. MakerPalooza is open to the community and is free to attend. The event is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies Department.

Graham and Seth Giles, a student in the department, are planning MakerPalooza. They, along with Thanh Duong and Brenda Hale, also EMT students, recently participated at a similar event, Hack Tennessee in Nashville.

There, the group “hacked” a DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter drone into a weed trimmer.

“Hack Tennessee was set up to help local people who had problems to ask teams of people, like our students from Pellissippi State, to help solve them. The man we helped needed a new way to use drones that had become technologically obsolete,” Hale said.

Pellissippi State’s team worked with a programmer to reprogram the drone to operate upside down, then used a 3D printer and everyday equipment from a hardware store to turn the drone into their super-powered weed trimmer, which they named the “LawnShark.”

For more information about MakerPalooza, visit www.pstcc.edu/emt.

For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at (865) 539-7401 or jpshipwash@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State pilot retention program to focus on black male students

Pellissippi State Community College has received a $10,000 grant to improve the retention rates for black male students at the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The Student Engagement, Retention and Success grant, awarded by the Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, begins this fall. The pilot retention program will serve up to 50 students.

“Nationally, African-American male students have the lowest college completion rate—32.8 percent—among both genders and among all racial and ethnic groups in higher education,” said Rosalyn Tillman, dean of the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

The program’s objective is to provide assistance and encouragement for black male students to persist through college and graduate.

“The project is designed to provide empathetic advising sessions, workshops and a mentoring component to help our African-American male students in their pursuit of higher education,” said Tillman.

Specifically, the pilot program combines New Student Orientation sessions, success workshops, monthly developmental seminars and learning sessions, advising and academic tutoring, and mentorship to provide social and emotional support.

“Research often shows that African-American men struggle with barriers to academic success,” said Tillman. “They’re juggling jobs, managing finances, trying to meet family commitments, and they often combat other barriers like the absence of role models, low self-esteem, social exclusion or even the fear of success.

“All students need one-on-one support, but that’s often true for minority students. And sometimes that’s just having someone to talk to.”

For more information about the programs and resources offered by 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.

Project GRAD executive director to speak at Pellissippi State’s Commencement

Vrondelia-ChandlerProject GRAD Knoxville’s executive director, Vrondelia “Ronni” Chandler, is the keynote speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Spring Commencement ceremony Saturday, May 9.

Commencement begins at 4 p.m. and takes place at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena. More than 500 students will walk across the stage.

Chandler is both a former employee and an alumna of Pellissippi State. She began working at the college in 1978, just four years after the institution opened its doors at the Division Street Campus. She earned a General Technology/Interdisciplinary degree from Pellissippi State in 1994, then went on to earn a bachelor’s from Tusculum College.

Chandler has worked at Project GRAD Knoxville since 2001, serving first as a program director and now as executive director. Project GRAD Knoxville provides support for students and families, many of them from low-income areas, in 14 Heart of Knoxville schools and 80 higher education institutions. The group’s mission is to positively impact generational change through education.

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

Single mother returns to school at Pellissippi State to study horticulture

April-Ellis

On days with good weather, April Ellis rides her bicycle to school.

Ellis, a Pellissippi State Community College student, doesn’t consider her transportation options to be a limitation, though. She simply rides her bicycle or takes the bus to the Magnolia Avenue Campus, where she’s pursuing an associate’s degree with the plan of going on for a bachelor’s in public horticulture.

A single mother who didn’t complete high school, Ellis enrolled full time at Pellissippi State last spring. Like many nontraditional students, the 29-year-old has to balance returning to school with a multitude of other responsibilities: working a full-time job, fulfilling a work-study commitment and raising a child.

“It’s been so crazy, but you make it work,” she said.

Ellis is taking courses to earn a general studies degree, and once she graduates, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee.

“Public horticulture has a wide variety of job opportunities, anything that integrates gardens and people,” she said. “Specifically, I’m interested in horticulture therapy.

“People go into gardens and feel better, and horticulture therapy brings that recreational therapy aspect into gardening. You can take a person who needs to work on an injury and say, ‘Let’s work with your weak hand grip by pruning these roses.’”

Ellis was a stay-at-home mother and housewife during her son’s growing-up years. When she began going through a divorce, she realized she needed and wanted a fulfilling job that could provide for her family.

“At that time, I didn’t even have a GED or any kind of formal education,” she said, “and I wanted to be someone that my son could look up to.”

She first attended classes at the Knox County Career Center, where she earned her GED, and two months later, in spring 2014, she began classes at Pellissippi State.

“Here, I’m not the odd person out,” Ellis said. “A lot of students here are nontraditional, so I’m not alone in those struggles about being in college and having a job and a family.

“And professors understand that, too, that you have homework and a family. Having that kind of nurturing, supportive environment has been crucial. People here have gone above and beyond to make sure I get more than just good grades.”

Pellissippi State supports its population of nontraditional students with a host of services, among them, alternative scheduling; cohort programs, in which students start and finish their coursework as a group; tutoring; workforce development; and career placement. The college even offers nontraditional students credit for previous military and work experience through what’s called “prior learning assessment.”

For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs and resources, 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: TSBDC receives $5,000 from First Tennessee Foundation

The Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State Community College, has received a $5,000 grant through the Pellissippi State Foundation from the First Tennessee Foundation. The First Tennessee Foundation has given to the TSBDC’s First Tennessee Resource Center for more than 20 years.

“The funds from the First Tennessee Foundation over the years have funded a small library, upgraded the TSBDC training room, and maintained the First Tennessee Resource Center’s business software and support equipment,” said Larry Rossini, director of the Knoxville TSBDC. Upgrades to the training room include dual-screen technology for instructional programs like QuickBooks Reports and Google My Business.

“Without these generous funds from the First Tennessee Foundation, we could not provide the quality service we offer to the business community,” Rossini said.

TSBDC’s First Tennessee Resource Center opened in 1993 using funds from a $10,000 grant from the First Tennessee Foundation, along with matching federal funds. It is open to anyone, free of charge, and provides computer and Internet access, as well as printing and faxing capabilities and a library of business-related books. The Resource Center serves a broad spectrum of clients, including entrepreneurs, businesspeople and researchers.

Recent users of local TSBDC services include Bobby Nicholson, owner of Outliers Advantage In-Home Tutoring, who received help to apply for a government grant to tutor military veterans, and Umoja Abdul-Ahad, executive director of Project 2000 Inc.

“We appreciate the TSBDC staff and facility for this priceless service provided to the community,” said Abdul-Ahad.

“As a result of the generosity of the First Tennessee Foundation,” said Peggy Wilson, “the TSBDC has been able to continually upgrade the TSBDC Resource Center and classroom with the latest business-related hardware and software.” Wilson is vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“None of this would have been possible without the generous support of the First Tennessee Foundation.”

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

For more about TSBDC, visit www.tsbdc.org/pscc or call (865) 246-2663.