Pellissippi State to participate in total solar eclipse experiment in 2017

posted in: Academics, Grants, Students, TBR | 0

Pellissippi State Community College is one of 55 educational institutions across the United States that will participate in a high-altitude ballooning experiment — sponsored by NASA — during next year’s total solar eclipse.

The total solar eclipse will move from the West Coast to the East Coast throughout the day of Aug. 21. The moon’s shadow will come between earth and the sun at approximately 2 p.m. in East Tennessee. It’s the first coast-to-coast solar eclipse in the U.S. since 1918.

Pellissippi State will launch a high altitude balloon to gather data and conduct experiments during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. Video from the balloon of the eclipse will be streamed live to NASA’s website.

“This is an amazing learning opportunity,” said Lynn Klett, instructor in Engineering and Media Technologies, and a faculty advisor to Pellissippi State’s high altitude ballooning team. “The last total solar eclipse was years ago, so we have the opportunity to learn a lot about what happens during an eclipse. But high altitude ballooning has its own challenges that require critical thinking and problem-solving, whether you’re flying during a solar eclipse or not.”

As an example of those challenges, Pellissippi State’s balloon must be within the proper altitude range — 60,000 to 100,000 feet — precisely during the two-minute window of the total eclipse. The scientific equipment within the payload must be able to withstand temperatures of -60 degrees Celsius and survive a controlled fall from approximately 100,000 feet in space.

And that’s just the beginning.

Jerry Sherrod, associate professor in Business and Computer Technology, and this project’s other faculty advisor, is working with predictive software to determine where the payload is likely to land.

“East Tennessee has geographic challenges when it comes to predicting where a 12-pound payload on a small parachute will land,” Sherrod said. “We don’t want the equipment to land in a lake or in the national park where it may be impossible to retrieve, or where the scientific equipment will be lost or damaged.”

Klett and Sherrod will be working with the students on the high altitude ballooning team — as well as students in their classes — not only to discuss the project, but to design experiments, improve the payload structure and create predictive algorithms for the device’s retrieval.

“This is an accessible project to the STEM field,” student Sarah Graham said. “Everyone can understand a solar eclipse because it’s a real, visible phenomenon. It’s a great way to learn about physics and engineering in a less intimidating way.”

Pellissippi State’s high-altitude ballooning team will spend the next year improving the payload structure and conducting test launches, as well as working with predictive software to improve retrieval. The team also has the chance to create additional experiments, so long as they add less than two pounds to the payload, to include in the launch next year.

The high altitude ballooning effort is being funded through the NASA Science Mission Directorate and the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium. Pellissippi State is one of only three colleges in Tennessee that are participating in the NASA-sponsored effort.

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

 

Download this press release: Solar Eclipse Experiment

Record number of high school students takes classes at Pellissippi State

posted in: Academics, Dual Enrollment, Students, TBR | 0

A record number of high school juniors and seniors have taken college-level classes at Pellissippi State Community College over the past academic year.

The college’s Dual Enrollment program — which allows high school students to take college level classes at their high schools or at Pellissippi State campuses in order to receive dual high school and college credit — had 1,849 students in 2015-2016. The students came from Knox and Blount counties. A record 84 academic sections were offered to those students.

“Dual Enrollment is all about helping students reach their goals,” said Spencer Joy, Dual Enrollment specialist. “We’re proud to reach record enrollment, but we’re prouder that these students are achieving so much. Dual Enrollment students can get a jump-start on their college education, entering college as freshmen who already have credits under their belt.”

A Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation grant pays for students to earn up to six hours of college credit during their junior and senior years of high school, but Dual Enrollment students can take additional classes if they choose, at their own cost.

About 55 percent of Dual Enrollment students take courses on one of Pellissippi State’s five campuses. The remainder take college-level courses at their high schools. A record six high schools registered more than 100 Dual Enrollment students this past year — at Farragut High School (259 students), Bearden High School (236), Hardin Valley Academy (174), Halls High School (133), Maryville High School (113) and Karns High School (110).

Farragut, Bearden, Karns, Alcoa, Central and Gibbs high schools, plus the L&N STEM Academy, set individual records for the numbers of Dual Enrollment students each had enrolled.

For more information about Dual Enrollment, visit www.pstcc.edu/dual or call 865-539-7349. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: Dual Enrollment 2016 Record

Pellissippi State named one of ‘Great Colleges to Work For’

posted in: Awards, Faculty and Staff, TBR | 0

The Chronicle of Higher Education has named Pellissippi State Community College one of America’s “Great Colleges to Work For.”

Only 93 institutions across the country are recognized as a 2016 Great Colleges to Work For, and only 25 of those — including Pellissippi State — are two-year institutions.

“Pellissippi State is proud to be recognized by both Great Colleges to Work For and by our own employees as a great place to work,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State’s president. “We strive to provide not only the best education for our students, but the best working environment for all of our employees.”

Now in its ninth year, The Chronicle’s Great Colleges to Work For survey is one of the largest and most respected workplace recognition programs in the country. The Chronicle awards colleges based upon institutional audits and the result of anonymous surveys distributed to college employees as part of a random sample.

Pellissippi State was recognized in two categories — Job Satisfaction and Teaching Environment. To earn an award for teaching environment, faculty members must report that the institution recognizes innovative and high-quality teaching. To earn recognition for Job Satisfaction, employees must report satisfaction with job fit, autonomy and resources. Results also are reported for small, medium and large institutions, with Pellissippi State included among large institutions, or those that have 10,000 or more students.

“The colleges and universities that make the list are highly rated by their employees for creating great working environments, an important achievement that helps them recruit top academic and administrative talent,” said Liz McMillen, editor of The Chronicle.

The Chronicle of Higher Education is the top professional source for news, jobs and information for college and university administrators and faculty. For more information about Great Colleges to Work For, visit www.chronicle.com. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: PSCC Great Work

Department of Labor awards Pellissippi State $3.8 million grant

The U.S. Department of Labor has awarded Pellissippi State Community College a $3.8 million workforce development grant that will allow the college to enhance its recruitment and training of women, young adults and other underrepresented minorities in the information technology and advanced manufacturing fields.

Pellissippi State is expected to begin recruiting students from around the region through the Knoxville Area Information Technology and Engineering, or KITE, grant in January 2017. In particular, KITE will focus on young adults (ages 17-29) with barriers to gainful employment, particularly women and minorities. KITE also will be open to nontraditional college students, particularly those between the ages of 45 and 60, who are under- or unemployed and who also lack skills to obtain jobs or promotions.

“Pellissippi State leads the way in workforce development in East Tennessee,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Through KITE, we’ll partner with local employers to combine classroom instruction with on-the-job training to help boost the local economy and fill high-demand jobs with skilled employees.”

KITE will pair Pellissippi State students with a number of key regional employers, including DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, Jewelry Television, Staffing Solutions, Scripps Networks Interactive and others for on-the-job training — in the form of internships, apprenticeships or co-ops. Knoxville-Knox County CAC – Workforce Connections and KnoxWorks will provide students with interviewing, resume writing and job placement assistance.

 “KITE is going to address identified gaps in training within the fields of information technology and advanced manufacturing, including the fact that women, minorities and other underrepresented populations are often rare in these fields,” Wise said.

Additionally, a portion of the DOL grant will go toward the purchase of specialized computer equipment at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains campuses, where high-tech computer labs will support the college’s new Cyber Defense concentration. Other funds will augment Engineering Technology programs offered at the Blount County, Hardin Valley and Strawberry Plains campuses.

Pellissippi State was one of 39 institutions across the country to win a Department of Labor TechHire award, and the only Tennessee institution to do so. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

 

Download this press release: KITE Grant

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