Pellissippi State honors outstanding employees, recognizes retiring faculty/staff

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual employee recognition ceremony, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing retirees.

Gray-Annie
Annie Gray

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Annie Gray, an English professor and the college’s Service-Learning coordinator. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Gray launched and has since expanded Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program. Service-Learning connects classroom learning to real-world problem-solving situations by pairing students with area organizations to work jointly on community service efforts.

Gray, an active member of the college’s Sustainable Campus Initiative, also serves as Pellissippi State’s AmeriCorps VISTA project supervisor for the 2014-2015 Good Food for All! Initiative. Additionally, she is on advisory boards for the Pond Gap Elementary UACS After-School program and the University of Tennessee’s TENN TLC Institute for Reflective Practice.

Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat
Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon faculty members Jerry Burns in Chemistry and Laxman Nathawat in Computer Science and Information Technology for their work on one of four Chemistry Simulations Projects. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities.

The projects paired chemistry students with computer science students to create visual, interactive, computer-based models of chemical interactions. The goal is to provide a new way for chemistry students to learn chemical processes and give student programmers experience with peer clients. The simulations have since become part of the general chemistry curriculum.

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was presented to Teri Brahams, head of the Business and Community Services Division, and Mary Kocak, who teaches in Engineering Technology. The award was in recognition of their work on an outreach project that had a positive impact on the community.

Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak
Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak

Brahams and Kocak worked on the launch of an additive manufacturing (3D printing) training initiative at Pellissippi State with community partners that included Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tech 20/20 and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

The initiative—the AMP! Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee—creates partnerships and new jobs and increases workforce development and training. It also provides scholarship money and an opportunity to work on projects with small businesses to 160 Pellissippi State students.

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.

Additional awards and their recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque, and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Saralee Peccolo-Taylor; Outstanding Administrator, Holly Burkett; Outstanding Contract Worker, Michael Hurst; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Mary Monroe-Ellis; Outstanding Support Professional, Karen Ghezawi; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Tracy Smith.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees who were at five-year increments of service to the college, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees include Rick Barber, Alberta Boring, Bill Davis, Judy Eddy, Pat Grant, Cathy Hurrell, Jim Kelley, John Reaves, Bookie Reynolds and Elizabeth Wade.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation generates support for student scholarships and emergency loans, facilities improvements, and new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528.