Pellissippi State, Alcoa Foundation partner for student scholarships

A growing need for machinery operators with mechanical and electrical engineering training is being met through a partnership between Pellissippi State Community College and Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation is supporting Pellissippi State students pursuing an industrial maintenance certificate or associate’s degree with a two-year, $50,000 scholarship grant.

Pellissippi State offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance, as well as a certificate in Industrial Maintenance Technology. The Industrial Maintenance concentration prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies, working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

“There is an existing shortage of qualified men and women who are able to maintain and repair equipment in local industry,” said Peggy Mahan Wilson, vice president of College Advancement for Pellissippi State and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“A great opportunity exists to provide students with the skills needed to obtain high-paying jobs in our community. The manufacturing industry is on the rebound in our region, and this scholarship grant will help provide students the necessary training to become experienced-and much needed-maintenance personnel.”

The Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance program at Pellissippi State is an Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program. AHEAD is designed to meet the needs of busy adults by offering shorter-term courses and credit for prior learning. Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance is also a cohort program. Cohorts allow students to move through their courses as a unified group, encouraging collaboration and fostering long-lasting relationships.

The Alcoa Foundation grant is expected to affect 80 Industrial Maintenance students directly through August 2015.

“This grant,” said Wilson, “will empower Industrial Maintenance students to secure the critical skills necessary to obtain self-sufficiency through the completion of their degree. We are pleased to receive this grant from Alcoa Foundation and honored to have a long history of partnership with them.”

The grant is a continuation of support from Alcoa Foundation, which last year completed a separate $37,000 donation for scholarships for students pursuing an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance.

For more about Industrial Maintenance, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts/industrial. To learn more about the college’s many giving opportunities, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email foundation@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State student awarded local, national EWI scholarship

Widow. Parental caretaker. Displaced worker trying to earn a college degree to improve her value in the workplace.

If anyone needed a helping hand to pursue an education, it was Barbara “Lugene” Bearden.

Bearden is a student at Pellissippi State Community College, and her need—and efforts to do well in school—did not go unnoticed by the Pellissippi State Foundation and the Knoxville Chapter of the Executive Women International. The two entities partner each year to distribute $3,000 in scholarships to deserving candidates.

Bearden was recently recognized by the EWI local chapter with an ASIST (Adult Students in Scholastic Transition) Scholarship. The support was awarded by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

The mother of two grown children, Bearden is one of three students at Pellissippi State who each received a $1,000 scholarship from EWI Knoxville Chapter this year. She has since been named one of the 12 winners of a national EWI scholarship for $2,000.

The ASIST scholarship is available to adults facing economic, social or physical challenges who are looking to improve their situation through educational opportunities.

“The Pellissippi State Foundation is proud to partner with Executive Women International to provide scholarship opportunities to women who are working to better their lives by going back to school,” said Peggy Wilson. Wilson is the college’s vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“We like to recognize these women’s hard work as they pursue opportunities to improve their lives.”

Bearden was born and raised in Knoxville. She has been a widow for 10 years. After she lost her job due to downsizing, she cared for her mother, who passed away in 2011. Bearden is now studying Business Administration, concentrating in Management, at Pellissippi State and maintains a 3.65 GPA.

“While searching for a new job, I found that all the companies hiring for the position I knew how to perform required a minimum of an associate’s degree with work experience,” she said. “At age 54 and as a widow, I could not afford to start back to work at minimum wage and work my way back up.

“I need and want to find employment with a company where I will be of service, and where I will be well compensated for my expertise. With more than 25 years of working as an administrative assistant, along with my education from Pellissippi State, I feel confident that I will make a top-notch manager in any office.”

EWI Knoxville Chapter also awarded $1,000 scholarships to Pellissippi State students Leslie Ferrer and Riitta-Maija Lehtinen.

Ferrer is a native of Indiana and has three adult children with her husband, Jeff. She is pursuing Spanish and maintains a 3.8 GPA. Lehtinen immigrated to the United States from Finland and is majoring in Interior Design Technology. She maintains a 4.0 GPA.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation and its many giving opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

Haslam announces grant for Pellissippi State

group of people standing in line holding an oversized check

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $1,386,975 grant for Pellissippi State Community College to fund much-needed equipment.

The funds will help Pellissippi State purchase equipment for its Advanced Manufacturing and Nursing programs, particularly equipment needed for new laboratories and a workforce development center at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

“Today is a special day at Pellissippi State,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We know we have a lot of work to do, across the state, to reach the goals of ‘Drive to 55,’ and here at Pellissippi State believe the way to do that is through partnerships.”

Male behind podium with flags in the background

“These grants represent a substantial investment that will result in highly skilled workers,” Haslam said. “This will help meet the growing demand among employers in the region for well-trained employees.”

Pellissippi State’s grant is part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort, which aims to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials. The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s state budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development.

At the Friday, Dec. 13, presentation, Haslam also announced a $450,000 grant for Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville.

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

Pellissippi State earns statewide accolades for student success in pre-college-level math

Pellissippi State Community College took top honors in the state in a number of recent reports involving learning support mathematics courses. Learning support mathematics prepares students for college-level math courses.

A National Community College Benchmark Project report for 2012 and 2013 recognized Pellissippi State as having the highest completion rate of all community colleges in Tennessee for students taking developmental math classes.

“Learning support mathematics is designed to help students become ready for college-level math classes in one semester,” said Mary Monroe-Ellis, the college’s dean of Transitional Studies.

The learning support mathematics program at Pellissippi State includes two hours per week in a regular classroom, two hours in a computer classroom and two hours in the Learning Commons, where students get support from faculty and tutors.

Another study, by the Tennessee Board of Regents, found that Pellissippi State’s learning support mathematics students were 189 percent more likely to pass their courses in their first term of enrollment than students in similar developmental math classes at other community colleges. TBR is the governing body for all Tennessee community colleges.

“Students are eligible for learning support when they score below 19 on their ACT math results,” said Monroe-Ellis, “and they then take a placement test to determine at what level they enter the program or, in some cases, to test out of it and begin college-level courses.”

Learning support mathematics students must pass five core competencies, with at least an 80 percent mastery level. Once they pass, they can move on to the college-level math classes required by their degree program.

A third study, the 2013 Metric Report for the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, showed that Pellissippi State students are among the top in the state to complete learning support mathematics classes. They also were found to be among the top in the state to succeed in finishing subsequent college-level math courses.

“That’s where the real success is,” Monroe-Ellis said. “We want students to pass learning support mathematics, but we also want them to be able to successfully complete the college-level math courses they take later.”

For more information about learning support at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/transitional_studies/ or call (865) 694-6400. To find out about all of the college’s program offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State hosts inaugural fall Commencement Dec. 13

Pellissippi State Community College will host its first fall graduation ceremony at 7 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 13, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

The ceremony will include graduates for the summer and fall of 2013. There are 238 graduates for the summer and 444 for the fall, and the college anticipates between 200 and 300 will participate in the event.

As the number of degrees awarded to Pellissippi State students has increased, the college’s Commencement ceremonies have grown larger. A total of 514 graduates walked the stage at Pellissippi State’s spring graduation. That’s when the administration determined that two ceremonies were needed.

“We’ve never had more than one graduation ceremony in an academic year,” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs, “but at this past spring’s graduation ceremony, we had so many students and guests that we found we’d grown too big for our venue and realized the ceremony has become less intimate.

“The addition of this graduation ceremony will enable us to recognize our fall graduates when they finish their degrees, rather than several months after they complete them.”

Pellissippi State awarded 1,262 associate’s degrees in the 2012-2013 school year, more than any other two-year college in the state, according to the school’s governing body, the Tennessee Board of Regents. The college also awarded 935 certificates, the second highest in Tennessee.

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

Two-for-one special on December handgun carry-permit class at Pellissippi State

Once again, Pellissippi State Community College is offering its popular Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit class at a two-for-one price. The special deal applies to the course scheduled 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 21.

A similar two-for-one price was made available in November, and that class quickly reached maximum capacity. This month’s Tennessee Handgun Carry Permit course is also expected to fill up quickly.

The non-credit class is being offered through Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services Division at the rate of $75 for any two students who register at the same time. Space is limited, and one person must register both students simultaneously in order for the two-for-one rate to apply.

Those who satisfactorily complete the eight-hour class earn a certificate to apply for a state carry permit. Completion of this or another relevant training course is required before applying for a Tennessee handgun carry permit.

The Pellissippi State course covers handgun parts, function, and operation; safety, cleaning, and storage; legal responsibilities of carrying a handgun; course review and testing; and firing range exercises.

Included is classroom instruction in the morning and range training after lunch. The person leading the class is certified both as a firearms instructor with the National Rifle Association and as a handgun instructor with the state of Tennessee.

The course meets at the Hardin Valley Campus for classroom instruction. Range training in the afternoon will take place at a designated location off campus. Students must supply their own gun and ammunition. A $5 range fee for each student is payable to the instructor during class.

For information or registration, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. The BCS website lists the latest class schedules and information on new course offerings.

To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State awarded grant promoting women in IT

Pellissippi State Community College has won a $1,000 grant to help encourage women in computing and information technology programs.

“In some of my computer science and information technology classes, I’m the only woman or in the minority among mostly male students,” said Christy Watson, a Computer Science and Information Technology student and author of the application for the Symantec Student Seed Fund grant.

The grant—administered through the National Center for Women and IT Academic Alliance—will be awarded to the college’s student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Watson is the Pellissippi State AITP’s vice president and secretary.

“I think women often relegate computers and technology to being the equivalent of ‘gaming,’ or they feel that they’ve outgrown their interest in computers,” Watson said.

“That’s the norm in many information technology and computer classes: that there are few women, or that women feel intimidated in the computing and IT fields,” said Gitti Negahban. Negahban is faculty advisor for the AITP chapter at Pellissippi State.

The chapter plans to use the NCWIT Academic Alliance grant to host an event for local female high school and Pellissippi State students to raise awareness of career opportunities in computer science and information technology. The promotional event is planned for spring.

“We are excited about and grateful for the opportunity to share and be an influence on young women in their career choices,” Watson said.

“The NCWIT has a goal of increasing diversity in the computing and IT fields,” said Sharon Burlingame, “because diversity increases creativity and helps everyone find better solutions.” Burlingame is program coordinator of the CSIT degree program at Pellissippi State.

“We’re excited to help forward that goal. Everything we do to help women will also help everyone else.”

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 275 colleges and universities. The program is charged with implementing institutional change in higher education, particular in providing access to leading-edge best practices for recruiting and retaining women. Symantec, a NCWIT sponsor member, is a computer security software corporation and Fortune 500 company.

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

Pellissippi State students named SouthEast Bank Scholars

group of people holding a check
Pellissippi State Community College and SouthEast Bank officials presented Pellissippi State students with scholarships in November. Pictured, from left, are SouthEast Bank president Monty Montgomery, Pellissippi State vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation Peggy Wilson, student Sydney Youngman, Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr. and SouthEast Bank scholarship director Tommy Schumpert. Additional student recipients Jerri Reed and Michael Smith are not pictured.

The Pellissippi State Foundation and SouthEast Bank announced last month that three Pellissippi State students have been selected to receive the SouthEast Bank Scholars award for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The recipients are Jerri Reed, Michael Smith and Sydney Youngman. The scholarship will provide each student with $3,000 annually to reduce the cost of education and assist in accomplishing academic and personal goals.

“We are very appreciative of SouthEast Bank’s generous support of these deserving students,” Peggy Wilson. Wilson is the college’s vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

Reed, Smith and Youngman join a prestigious group of students chosen by their respective postsecondary institutions around the state for exceptional character, academic commitment and community involvement.

“SouthEast Bank is proud to support Pellissippi State Community College in awarding scholarships that help keep our future leaders right here in Tennessee,” said Monty Montgomery, SouthEast Bank president.

“We are a true community bank operated by local employees who live and work alongside the people we serve, and we are committed to using our resources to reinvest in our schools, organizations, and neighborhoods.”

If a Pellissippi State student furthers his or her education at a Tennessee four-year university, the funds extend two additional years.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation and its many giving opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.