Pellissippi State hosts 10th annual Festival of Cultures

Pellissippi State Community College’s popular Festival of Cultures celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, and the community is invited.

Celebrate 10 years of the Festival of Cultures with Pellissippi State Community College from 4-8:30 p.m. Friday, April 7.

The Festival of Cultures honors East Tennessee’s and Pellissippi State’s diverse community and heritage. This year’s 10th annual celebration will include not only the popular “Taste of International Food” but performers as varied as bagpipers and belly dancers, traditional rangoli kolam (Indian folk art) and even an international fashion show.

The event is free and open to the community and will be held in the Goins Administration Building on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Pellissippi State alumni Rashmi Gomatom, Neelima Mertya and Niloo Ranjan will return to the college to create rangoli kolam, a type of Indian folk art that has been a popular staple at the Festival over the past ten years.

Entertainers include: Bella Wang classical Chinese dancers, bagpiper Kelly Shipe, Debka and the Oasis Dancers, Carlos Gonzales, Ogya World Music Band and Dancers, Tollkretsen Skandinavian Dancers, Natana Manohari School of Performing Arts Indian classical dancers, John Hausmann on the sitar and Pellissippi State’s own bluegrass band, the Hardin Valley Thunder.

Booths will allow attendees to try Asian calligraphy, hair braiding and Spanish conversation. Additional exhibits will showcase the cultures of Brazil, Congo, Eastern Europe, Haiti, Kenya, Spain, Romania, Vietnam and more.

New this year, the Festival of Cultures will culminate in an international fashion show coordinated by Pellissippi State’s international students.

The Festival of Cultures is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, an annual arts series that includes music and theatre performances, cultural celebrations, lectures and fine arts exhibits. The event is co-sponsored by Student Life and Access and Diversity at Pellissippi State, as well as Bellevue University.

For more information about The Arts at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts Armenian Humphrey Fellow in April

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Tatevik Gharibyan
Tatevik Gharibyan

Pellissippi State Community College will host Tatevik Gharibyan, a Hubert H. Humphrey Fellow, April 2-8.

Gharibyan works for the Ministry of Education and Science for the Republic of Armenia, where she is a higher education policy development specialist.

“My goal is to explore how effectively higher education contributes to economic development and the wellbeing of society in America,” Gharibyan said. “I hope to connect with policy-makers and researchers who focus on the ethical internationalization of learning.”

As part of her work in Armenia, Gharibyan works with the European Union’s Erasmus+ program, which focuses on education, training and sport activities for youth — as well as the opportunity to study or volunteer abroad.

“I want to compare the education perspective of the American system with the European system,” Gharibyan said.

During her week at Pellissippi State, Gharibyan will spend time with administrators and may visit local civic organizations and businesses in order to help her research on America’s higher education system. She will lead a presentation to college students, employees and the community at 2 p.m., Thursday, April 6.

Humphrey Fellows are mid-career professionals from other nations who travel to the U.S. and spend one academic year at a university or other higher education institution. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was established in 1978. Professionals from 24 countries participate.

Gharibyan’s fellowship year is sponsored by Penn State University.

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

Pellissippi State campuses to become HABIT facilities

students with dog
Pellissippi State Community College students interact with a HABIT dog during finals week.

Pellissippi State Community College, in partnership with Human-Animal Bond in Tennessee, is on track to make all five of its campuses official HABIT facilities.

HABIT is a program that sponsors visits from medically and behaviorally screened dogs, cats and rabbits to facilities like schools, retirement and assisted-living facilities, rehabilitation facilities and hospitals. For many years, Pellissippi State has hosted HABIT animals on its campuses during final exam weeks as a de-stressor for students.

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus is the first among the college’s campuses to attain its HABIT facility designation. Pellissippi State is the first community college in the state to be named a HABIT facility.

“I have a Maine Coon cat who is a HABIT animal,” said Betsy Boyd, a counselor on the Blount County Campus. “I have been bringing him by campus to visit, and he became an immediate hit with our students, faculty and staff.”

HABIT facilities can host volunteers with HABIT animals at any time. For Pellissippi State students, that means that comfort animals can be available more than simply during finals weeks.

Elizabeth Firestone, director of Counseling Services at Pellissippi State, said, “We like the idea of promoting visits from HABIT animals to all of our campuses because our students have so much stress in their lives — from the simple stresses of the college workload to the fact that many of our students are juggling multiple roles at home and at school.”

HABIT, which is housed at the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine, promotes the benefits of human interaction with animals, including lowered stress and improved senses of wellbeing. More information about HABIT is available at vetmed.tennessee.edu.

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

Pellissippi State Foundation selects new executive director

posted in: Pellissippi State Foundation, TBR | 0
Aneisa McDonald
Aneisa McDonald

The Pellissippi State Foundation has a new executive director to lead its fundraising efforts. Aneisa McDonald, an experienced local fundraising professional, began her tenure as executive director this month.

“This feels like the greatest professional achievement of my career,” McDonald said. “I’m honored to serve. I walk through these doors every morning and see the needs of Pellissippi State’s students, and I look forward to working with our Foundation board and staff members to fulfill those needs through the gifts of our very generous donors.”

McDonald, previously the director of planned and annual giving for the Foundation, succeeds Peggy Wilson, who retired in December after 33 years at Pellissippi State. The Pellissippi State Foundation works to provide funding for student scholarships and emergency loans, facility improvements and new equipment at Pellissippi State Community College.

“When the Foundation can match a donor who wishes to give with a student who needs a scholarship or an academic program that needs new equipment, everybody wins,” McDonald said.

“Last week, the Foundation was able to give a scholarship to a student who had lost everything they owned in a fire and still retained a 4.0 GPA. That scholarship doesn’t replace what that student lost, but it can keep him on the path toward completing his dream.”

Before coming to work for the Pellissippi State Foundation in 2014, McDonald worked for Knox County Schools, the Metropolitan Drug Commission and the Arts Council of Greater Knoxville. She received her Master of Science in Education from the University of Tennessee.

She is a Tennessee Promise mentor and supports numerous organizations, including Introduction Knoxville, the Knoxville Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the Emma Walker Memorial Fund.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call 865-694-6528.

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