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.