Category Archives: TBR

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.

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.
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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.”
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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 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.
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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.
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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.

New Computer Aided Manufacturing certificate offered at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College students have the opportunity beginning this fall to earn a Computer Aided Manufacturing certificate. Pellissippi State is the first Tennessee Board of Regents school to offer a CAM certificate.

CAM uses specialized software to create precise instructions for the machinery used to manufacture parts. It is the manufacturing step after computer-aided design (CAD), which uses computers to create and manipulate a design.

The certificate is available as a stand-alone credential or as a stepping stone toward earning an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Manufacturing.
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CAM career opportunities include machinist, manufacturing technician, engineering assistant and machine operator or programmer positions. The certificate is also an opportunity for continuing education for students who are already employed.

“The certificate is based on developing machining and programming skills in applied mathematics, technical drawing, geometric dimensioning, and solids modeling,” said Pat Riddle, professor and program coordinator of the Mechanical Engineering concentration in Engineering Technology.

“Modern manufacturers require skilled machinists who can oversee operations and program this very sophisticated software to produce highly precise, dimensional components,” Riddle said. “The certificate program will train people who want to enhance their skills or who are interested in learning advanced manufacturing processes.”

The curriculum is determined primarily by the educational and training needs of local businesses. Students who earn the certificate won’t need extensive additional education and training to be productive immediately on the job.
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For more information about Engineering Technology and other programs at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State partners with Family Justice Center to prevent violence

3 people standing in a row, 2 holding a plaque together.
Dr. L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State Community College, marks a new partnership with the Family Justice Center during a signing ceremony Thursday, Aug. 7. He is joined by Amy Dilworth, director of the Family Justice Center, pictured at center, and Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

Student safety is of paramount importance at Pellissippi State Community College, and to help preserve the health and wellness of both students and employees, the college is partnering with the Knoxville Family Justice Center to implement the Campus SaVE Act.

“We are very fortunate and grateful to have a partnership with the Family Justice Center,” said Mary Bledsoe, dean of students and assistant vice president of Student Affairs at Pellissippi State. “They provide valuable, important resources to our students who encounter or know someone who is in a dangerous situation.

“Pellissippi State is committed to supporting the survivors of violence as they seek to work through those situations. There are safe places on our campuses for them to go to find that support.”

Pellissippi State and the Family Justice Center signed a memorandum of understanding Thursday, Aug. 7.

With the Family Justice Center, Pellissippi State will provide training to students and employees on how to deal with violence, stalking, and trauma. One of the training tools is a video for new students. The video includes interviews with campus security staff, other college employees and Justice Center spokespeople. It gives tips on how to prevent dangerous situations and offers solutions for how to deal with such situations if they arise.

In addition, the Family Justice Center will provide training to Pellissippi State employees on how to work with victims of trauma. The center also will serve as a referral agency for any of those victims.

In the coming year, Pellissippi State will provide workshops for victim support groups, covering topics such as applying for college, writing resumes and exploring career options. Pellissippi State will provide mentoring for Family Justice Center clients who enroll.

The Campus SaVE Act, or the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act of 2013, affects both colleges and universities. Higher education institutions are required to educate students, faculty, and staff on the prevention of rape, domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

The SaVE Act was put into effect as part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which was signed into law in March 2013. The SaVE Act applies to all students on campus, not just women.

“The SaVE Act gives us an outline for preventing domestic and sexual violence and for responding appropriately when victims of violence come onto our campus,” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

The Knoxville Family Justice Center offers a variety of services to Knox-area victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, including counseling, support groups, safety planning, housing, and other assistance.

For more information about the Campus SaVE Act, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

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Pellissippi State: Blount County Campus hosts inaugural art exhibit

Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus presents its first art exhibit Aug. 18-Oct. 17, and the community is invited to enjoy the display.

The exhibit, “Quantum Confusion,” features the work of artist Denise Stewart-Sanabria. A public reception takes place 5-7 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25. The art will be on display in the lobby of the campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy., during normal business hours, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. each weekday.

“‘Quantum Confusion’ involves the many theories given to the existence of parallel worlds, both in the disciplines of quantum physics and metaphysics. Whether any parts of these theories eventually prove to be true remains to be seen, but with further developments in the world of quantum physics, we are constantly reminded that the more we discover, the less we know,” Stewart-Sanabria said.

The exhibit will feature installations of large charcoal drawings on plywood that suggest the presence of portals, using existing walls and building spaces. Visitors and students will walk through the installation when they visit the Blount County Campus.

“We’re planning to use some of the architecture of the building and to reconstruct this exhibit so that the environment of parallel universes is actually in the college,” Stewart-Sanabria said.

Figures in the exhibit appear to be disappearing into and reappearing from alternate dimensions, as if they’ve not quite discovered what is happening to them. The sole alert figure in the exhibit is called “The Physicist,” who appears to study the other figures while holding a pencil and clipboard.

“Quantum Confusion” is one of the events that make up The Arts at Pellissippi State. The arts series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

For more information about the exhibit, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or contact the Blount County Campus at (865) 981-5300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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: 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 honors graduate hopes to inspire others

portrait of female outside with trees

Be kind. Be courageous. Follow your dreams.

Those are the messages Chisa Huffman wants to share with others as a new honors graduate of Pellissippi State Community College.

Huffman took home an associate’s degree in Nursing from the college’s Commencement ceremony on May 10. She also was inducted into the 2013-2014 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges and received a Service Leadership Excellence Award, a Distinguished Service Award Medallion, and an Outstanding Graduate Award.

“I didn’t do this [going to nursing school] just for me,” she said. “I did this for everyone who has the odds against them, for the kids that don’t have a good life—to show them that they can do it.”

Huffman was one of those children who didn’t have a “good life,” but she chooses not to dwell on what in her past could easily have held her back. Instead, she focuses on what in her life helps her succeed, and she shares that message, mostly through her own example, with others.

“Chisa is one of the most inspiring students I have encountered in over 16 years of teaching,” said Susan Heyde, who teaches in the Administrative Professional Technology program. “Her vision is to give hope to those in need. Her leadership is demonstrated through her actions, and she has a heart to change lives.”

Huffman was 30 years old when she enrolled at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus in 2013.

“I didn’t know what I wanted to do after high school. I had no guidance. I had no one telling me that college was an option,” Huffman said. That didn’t stop her from earning an LPN (licensed practical nurse) from Blount Memorial Hospital.

At Pellissippi State, Huffman met with an academic advisor, who, she said, “looked at my grades and my experience and helped me find my path.” She applied to and was accepted into the college’s Bridge to Registered Nurse Pathway, which provides LPNs a fast-track opportunity to become RNs.

Once in school, Huffman got involved with the college’s Service-Learning program. In Service-Learning courses, students learn in the classroom and they also team with community partners in service opportunities. Community service, for Huffman, translated into mentoring and tutoring outreach.

“Service-Learning brings people back to people,” she said. “In one of my service projects, I worked to mentor a young girl whose parents were incarcerated. That was very meaningful to me, because I came from that type of background. So being able to help a child past that was amazing.”

Huffman says the most important personal quality she has nurtured in herself, and the most important quality she hopes to inspire in others, is courage.

“Most people wouldn’t see that as a skill,” she said, “but nursing and school aren’t just about being able to perform skills. You can be scared to think that you might not be able to help. Courage is having the strength to fight that fear within.”

Having earned an Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and passed the mandatory NCLEX exam, Huffman is now qualified to embark on a career as a registered nurse. But she still has more to achieve.

Come fall, she plans to be back at Pellissippi State. She’ll once again be taking classes at the Blount County Campus, this time pursuing a bachelor’s degree in nursing through Pellissippi State’s partnership RN to BSN program with King College.

And no doubt, as she pushes on to attain her own dreams, she’ll be helping others to reach theirs.

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