Category Archives: Students

Professional bluegrass musician gains focus, friendships as Pellissippi State student

Samuel Damewood, former Pellissippi State Music student, performs with Drake White and the Big Fire. The band opened for Eric Church this spring.

Samuel Damewood is right at home in Nashville’s limelight. Damewood helped open for country music star Eric Church this spring and describes performing for a large audience as “exhilarating.”

But Damewood says he’ll never forget the friends he made when he took a hiatus from the stage and enrolled in the Music program at Pellissippi State Community College.

In 2009, the Knoxville native had already toured the country as a professional musician for four years, playing his fiddle for thousands of people. As a member of the bluegrass band Pine Mountain Railroad, he was living the life—touring 300 days a year, playing in glitzy places, recording and hanging out with bluegrass greats Ricky Skaggs and Alison Krauss.

But it was at Pellissippi State that he says he finally “found himself.”

“I had hit a rough patch in my life,” said Damewood. “I decided to make a change, quit playing professionally for a while and go back to school.

“I had played with Larry Vincent [a Pellissippi State Music assistant professor] before, and he knew about my bluegrass background and wanted me to help with the college’s bluegrass ensemble, Hardin Valley Thunder. It was something I could really give to.”

For the next two years, Pellissippi State’s Music faculty became family for the now 29-year-old. As a college student, Damewood rediscovered his love for bluegrass and also found a couple of new passions: jazz and classical music.

“Two big things that Pellissippi reinvigorated: my love for life and my love for music,” he said. “I also learned who I was and what I wanted in the future.”

Damewood used his time at the college to grow both personally and technically.

“Bill Brewer became a great friend and ally and huge inspiration.” Brewer is an associate professor and program coordinator of Music. “Larry Vincent told me not to lose myself and who I am. It took me a while to figure out what he meant, but now I understand. I have this energy and this drive and almost a childlike view of music.

“Robin James was my violin teacher at Pellissippi State,” Damewood said. “Her drive for me to practice classically and work on my technique has been a super foundation for what I do in Nashville, because Nashville really isn’t the ‘country music capital of the world.’ It’s the ‘music capital of the world.’ There are so many more things going on than country.”

Damewood says the people in the Music program became his family during a hard time in his life.

“All of the teachers were such a great help. They were all very nurturing, and they listened a lot. I talked to them a lot about the classes and how they pertained to what I wanted to do in the future.”

The summer before he transferred to Belmont University in Nashville last year, he put together Heyday Revival, a progressive bluegrass band composed entirely of former and current Pellissippi State students.

“We still play gigs in Knoxville, when I’m not on the road,” he said. “We’ve got a few performances lined up for this summer.”

Damewood is now a commercial violin major with an emphasis in music technology at Belmont.

“This degree teaches you how to be a music supervisor for film and TV,” he said.  “I plan on getting my degree and then have a lot of big plans for the future. I want to eventually start my own entertainment company and use that to help people to achieve their dreams in the music industry.

“Someday down the road from that I’d like to start my own record label to help people with their dreams—just like Pellissippi State helps people.”

Meanwhile, Damewood is playing with a new group, Drake White and the Big Fire. The band signed with Universal last year and opened for country musician Eric Church’s Blood, Sweat and Beers Tour this spring. The musicians also have opened for Willie Nelson and will open for the Allman Brothers in August.

The first gig with Church was in Portland, Maine, before a 9,000-member audience—the largest Damewood had ever played for. He says he felt a surge of nervous energy and, despite his previous experience, took a sneak peek through the curtain before he went on stage.

“I’d never played on such a big stage before,” he said. “I just kind of stayed in one place for the first song and then realized the other four band members were moving around. I thought, ‘Oh, I can move.’

“After it was over the guys in the band said they were proud of me for owning the stage and not being afraid. It’s very intoxicating in a way that just by moving around and doing things, you can have 9,000 people watch you. It’s crazy.”

These days, Damewood is back and riding high. “My life is full steam ahead forward. I couldn’t be any happier. A lot of that stems from my time at Pellissippi State.”

To learn more about Music and other offerings at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State math students mark record finish in national competition

Pellissippi State finished second in the Southeast in the 2011-12 national Student Math League competition sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. Some of the top-scoring participants, left to right, are Trevor Sharpe, who won first place in the individual category in the region; Chris Salvo; Hannah Hale; and Christopher Shutt.

It all adds up to a historic finish for Pellissippi State Community College math students.

The college’s team has placed second in the Southeast Region and student Trevor Sharpe has taken the top individual score in the second and final round of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges’ Student Mathematics League Math Competition.

The results were announced this month. Sharpe, a 16-year-old high school student enrolled in Pellissippi State’s Fast Forward program during the recently ended school year, retained his individual ranking of number one in the Southeast from the first round. Fast Forward, the institution’s dual enrollment program, allows high school juniors and seniors to earn both high school and college credit for the same course.

The math competition consists of two tests each academic year: round one in the fall and round two in the spring. The Pellissippi State team placed second both times.

The one-hour multiple-choice test at the precalculus level is administered at local campuses across the country during a two-week window. Any student who has not already earned a degree is allowed to compete. About 180 students took part at Pellissippi State.

Bobby Jackson, associate math professor and contest coordinator for the college, estimates that well over 10,000 students participate nationally each year. Pellissippi State awards top-scoring students locally, and the AMATYC awards the top national team and individual honors.

“We’ve never scored this high before,” Jackson said. “Our team maintained second place despite having to compete without our number two team member during round two.”

The Pellissippi State team came in just behind Georgia Perimeter College, and ahead of 22 other schools, including Wake (N.C.) Technical Community College, Florida State College at Jacksonville, Miami Dade College and Chattanooga State Community College.

The top five scorers for Pellissippi State in the fall competition were Sharpe, Christopher Shutt, Harry Hughes, Connor Corcoran and Isa Dauti. Top scorers this spring were Robert Drake, Christopher Salvo, Calvin Scott, Jonathan Rowe and Sharpe.

Pellissippi State has participated in the AMATYC competition since 1998, Jackson says.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for students to take part in something outside of the classroom that is challenging, fun and competitive,” he said.

The Student Mathematics League was founded in 1970 by Nassau Community College in New York. The AMATYC assumed sponsorship in 1981, and the league has grown to more than 165 colleges in more than 35 states, as well as Bermuda.

High-schoolers, home-schoolers get ahead in Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program

Left to right, Trevor Sharpe, Josh Beck and Reed Stracener get help from Beth Long, an associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State. The three students earned high school and college credit for taking Long’s Calculus II course in Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program last semester. Nearly 2,000 high school students participated in the program during the past academic year.

To say home-school junior Trevor Sharpe was able to hold his own in a college-level math competition would definitely be an understatement.

The 16-year-old student, who was enrolled in the Dual Enrollment program at Pellissippi State Community College during the recently ended academic year, took part this past fall in a Student Math League competition. The event took place at Pellissippi State and was sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

Sharpe took home top honors—first place in the individual competition category in the Southeast region—and it’s likely that his participation in Dual Enrollment was of benefit.

Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program allows area students to earn high school and college credit for the same course. About 2,000 high school students participated in the program this year. Classes are offered at both the high schools and the college.

For a future engineer who is already looking at graduate schools for his master’s work, earning credit towards college is completely logical.

“Since my dad’s a mechanical engineer and math and science have always been my favorite subjects, engineering seems like a natural fit,” Sharpe said. “If you have to take a class anyway, why not get college credit for it?”

Sharpe started at Pellissippi State with Calculus I last fall, then moved on to Calculus II spring semester.

“College is definitely different than what I’m used to,” said Sharpe. He says he intentionally transitioned into postsecondary courses slowly, but things have gone so well, he’s now ready to take three college-level classes per semester.

Sharpe traveled to Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus twice a week for classes. Last semester he met fellow high school students Josh Beck and Reed Stracener in Calculus II.

Calculus II was the seventh Pellissippi State course for Beck, 18, also a home-school student. Beck’s two years in the Dual Enrollment program have made a significant dent in the credits he’ll need to become a mechanical or nuclear engineer.

Like Sharpe, Beck has thrived in the Dual Enrollment program.

“[Dual Enrollment] has prepared me more for college,” he said. “It’s definitely a challenge, which is nice.”

Stracener, an 18-year-old student at Mount Pisgah Baptist Academy in Oliver Springs, had already completed English Composition I and II in the Dual Enrollment program when he took calculus.

“I don’t know what I was expecting at Pellissippi State,” said Stracener, “but the resources and infrastructure have been very impressive. All of it has been absolutely good.” Stracener says he hopes eventually to become a physicist.

For information about Pellissippi State’s Dual Enrollment program, visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions/dual or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State presents spring dean’s list

Pellissippi State Community College has named 939 top students to the spring 2012 semester dean’s list. To make the list, a student must take a full course load and earn a minimum 3.5 grade point average. Pellissippi State honorees include the following:

Grace Aaron
Rhett Abrahamson
Stephanie Adams
Anastacia Adaska
Katie Adcock
Ronald Agresta
Dawn Ahlgren
Zachary Ahmad
Britni Alatorre
Taylor Albert
Brett Alden
Christopher Alexander
Ariana Alfaro
Nada Alkadi
Burdette Allen
Allison Allen
Anthony Allen
David (Trey) Alley
Chrissy Almeida
James Amann
Timothy Amos
Sarah Andereck
Daniel Anderson
Delonda Anderson
Jourdan Anderson
Lauren Anderson
Mercy Anderson
Anna Angelini
Julia Apple
Alicia Armstrong
Tess Arnold
Donna Arthur
Richard Asher
Anna Astorga
Daniel Atkins
Alexandria Atkins
Victoria Ault
Esra Avgin
Haven Axmacher
Sharyn Bachleda
Lydia Badgett
Ian Baeske
Brian Bailey
James Bailey
Michael Baird
Zachary Baird
Victoria Baker
Jacob Balfe
Micah Ballard
Travis Banks
Kareem Baradei
Myrtle Barnes
Emory Barnett
Amy Barton
Nicholas Bashore
Kevin Bass
Sarah Baxter
Amy Beam
Amanda Bearden
Jaclynn Beasley
Amanda Beebe
Lauren Beeler
Garrett Beeson
Su Bell
Charles Bennett
Ashton Berry
Matt Birdwell
Misty Bishop
Tonya Blasco
Patrick Bledsoe
Amy Blevins
Jacob Boling
Joshua Boling
Caleb Bost
Jeffrey Boswell
Mariah Bowers
Jordan Bowling
Nathan Bowman
Austin Boyd
Elise Brackin
Allison Bradley
David Bradley
Keyonna Bragg
Carol Brakebill
Andrew Brandon
Misty Branton
Emily Breeden
Christopher Brewer
Katherine Brewer
David Bridges
Alexander Briggs
Heather Brinton
Nathan Brisk
Amy Brock
Robin Brockman
Amanda Brogden
Joshua Brooks
Michael Brotherton
James Brown
Phyllis Brown
Savannah Brown
William Brown
Cheryl Brownlee
Amelia Brumbaugh
Kaitlyn Brummett
David Bryant
Ericka Bryant
Tiffany Bryant
Amy Bryson
Jacob Buchanan
Rochelle Buck
James Buckley
Kevin Buckner
Amanda Buffalo
Andrick Buggs
Rachel Bullock
Stephanie Bullock
Billie Bunting
Brittany Burkett
Matthew Burkhart
Ashley Burt
Sarah Busby
Eden Butler
Emily Butters
Simon Byrne
Eric Byrnes
Abigail Cacace
John Cadotte
Cynthia Campbell
Zackary Caldwell
Edward Canada
Melanie Cannon
Evan Cantey
Geoffrey Card
Nicole Carnival
Cecilia Carreras
Madalyn Carrier
Katherine Carrigan
Jacob Carroll
Mandee Carroll
Kyle Carter
John Carter
James Carver
Jonathan Caylor
Deidre Caywood
Rachel Cecil
Amanda Chambers
Sadonna Chandler
Tiffani Chapman
Jonathan Chase
Logan Chesney
Eric Chestnutt
Kymberly Childers
Yuming Childress
Christopher Chilton
Eun Jeong Cho
Jeeyoung Chung
John Clark
Sarah Claxton
Amy Clayton
Christopher Cline
Patrick Clow
Kelly Coches
Claudia Coleman
Dakota Coffman
Rachel Coffman
Andrea Collins
Kenneth Colquitt
Andrew Connell
Aimee Conner
Shelby Conrad
Andrew Cook
Caleb Cooper
Katelyn Cooper
Kevin Coughlin
Krista Covert
Jaclyn Covington
Jessica Cox
Adam Crabtree
Mark Cragle
Rachel Craig
Jessie Crane
Brandon Criswell
Mark Croswell
Emily Crowder
Betty Culver
Gail Cunningham
Nathan Curtis
Joshua Curtis
Erik Dahlke
Victoria Dailey
Katlyn Dalton
Christina Damron
Dianne Daniell
Eythan Davich
Emily Davidson
Rebecca Davidson
Emily Davis
Jackie Davis
Natalie Davis
Nick Davis
Rachel Davis
Jessy Dawson
Charles Deaderick
Phylicia Dean
Darlene DeHart
Edward Deiderich
Steven DeJonge
Vanessa Delamain
Lindsay Delay
Mehri Delsimhashemi
Eric Denny
Kyle Denton
James Derrick
Samantha Derus
Katie Dickenson
Kirk Dickinson
Brittney Dingess
Joshua Dixon
Hoang Do
Brandi Dockins
Victoria Donaldson
Katherine Donovan
Sarah Doty
Tyler Doub
Daron Douglas
Brian Douthat
Jennifer Downey
Robert Drake
William Draney
Geoffrey Duesterbeck
Marian Dunlap
Megan Duncan
Laurel Dunn
Thomas Duran
Jonathan Durham
Zachary Dyar
Ashley Dykeman
Derek Earhart
Leslie Easterday
Elizabeth Edwards
Betty Edwards
Meagan Egli
Hanane El Moutii Thompson
Andrew Eldridge
Kestle Eldridge
Emily Ellenberg
Cody Elswick
Andrew Emanuel
Rachel Emerson
Melissa Emrick
Matthew Engman
Richard Ensor
Charmane Erb
Agnes Evans
ReGina Evans-Truss
Stephen Everette
Sean Fain
Amanda Fancher
Deirdre Farmer
Maria Farnham
Daniel Farnsworth
Ryan Farrell
Amanda Feather
Lauren Fielden
Caroline Fine
Richel Finfrock
Nichole Fiore
Aaron Floch
Brent Floyd
Caylee Ford
Andrew Forgione
Caitlin Fortner
Jonathan Foster
Elliott Foster
Brandon Foster
Lauren Foster
Jordan Fouts
Eric Fowler
Seth Franklin
Barrett Frazier
Carrie Frazier
David Freels
Sara French
Christiane Frith
Thomas Frost
Ryan Froula
Priscilla Furlong
Tina Garland
Alice Garland
Nathan Garner
Jessica Garner
Robert Garrard
Phillip Gaul
Erica Gaylor
Daniel Gibson
Eric Gibson
Darren Gideon
Michael Giles
Sonja Girardi
Kathy Girdlestone
Rebecca Goethe
Amanda Gonzalez
Maria Goodin
Natalie Goodin
Elizabeth Goodman
Spencer Goosie
Sharita Goosie
Hannah Gordon
David Gotthold
Katherine Goyeau
Kelsea Grala
Elizabeth Gray
Julianna Graybeal
Hannah Green
Jeff Greenberg
Daniel Greene
Eliza Greene
Sarah Greenway
Elizabeth Groover
Lisa Grunwald
Chelsea Guy
John Hagen
Hannah Hale
James Halk
Steve Hall
Amanda Hall
Angela Hamby
Joshua Hamilton De Leon
Amber Hampton
Almedin Hamzic
Senada Hamzic
Morgan Hankins
Elizabeth Harding
Andrew Hargis
Brandon Harp
Chelsea Harrington
Christian Harris
Bradford Harrison
Lawrence Harrison
Chad Hatala
Marty Hawkins
Jessica Hawkins
Alexander Hawkins
Tyler Hayes
Lacy Hayes
Christopher Hayes
James Haynes
Ashley Hays
Daniel Headrick
Kelsey Heath
David Hedger
Nicole Hedger
Dustin Heidel
Brandy Heller
Jessica Helton
Joshua Hemphill
Zachary Henderson
Samuel Henley
Morgan Henning
Lindsey Henson
Kaila Herd
Caroline Herron
Mary Herron
Aaron Hess
Evgenia Hester
Emily Hill
William Hill
Chris Hinds
Michael Hines
Trevor Hobbs
Matthew Hobbs
Hannah Hodge
Jessica Hodges
Katelin Hodges
Sherian Holiday
William Holland
Kristina Holloway
Julia Homan
Tyler Hood
Martika Horn
Cherie House
Cherie House
Luakia Houston
Sara Howard
Grant Howard
Shandie Howell
Amanda Huber
Marcus Hudson
Candice Huffaker
Travis Huffstetler
Christopher Hughes
Kelly Hughes
Virginia Hughes
Daniel Hullett
John Human
Kelsie Hunt
Carissa Huskins
Andrea Hutchins
Courtney Hutchinson
Amanda Hyatt
Muhammad Iqbal
Muhammad Iqbal
Jenna Irwin
Julie Isbell
Michael Ishee
Chloe Ivens
Paul Izbicki
Sidney Jackson
Taylor Jackson
Lauren Jackson
Cristy Janik
Patrick Jarman
Laura Jenkins
James Jenkins
Charlie Jennett
Christine Jensen
Steven Jett
Kerry Jett
Tammy Johnson
Michael Johnson
Tate Johnson
Erica Johnson
Tammy Jo Johnson
Jesse Johnson
Timothy Jones
William Jones
Stephanie Jones
Ashley Jones
Jonathan Jones
Jonathan Jones
Antoinette Juhl
Joe Junemann
Tyler Justus
Benjamin Kadron
Christina Kakanis
Kristina Kallstrom
Christina Kampas
Robert Kasik
Saiid Kassaee
Richard Keeble
Jamie Kelly
Christy Kendall
Hannah Kennedy
John Kennedy
Benjamin Kershaw
Jeffrey Key
Sadia Khan
Nicholas Kilano
Kilho Kim
Wonki Kim
Eric Kinder
Mia Kirby
Aaron Kitts
Jennifer Kitts
Brett Kleinhans
Kimberly Klemm
Jiyoung Koh
Katie Kolwyck
Lukresse Kouam Tchuendem
Taylor Kress
Paige Krizan
Brian Lam
Erin Lambert
Anna Land
Sarah Langman
April Larrabee
Jaclyn Lassetter
Jessica Lauth
Christopher Lawrence
E Lawson
Morgan Lay
Trang Le
Kyndall Leach
Katrina Leatherwood
John Lee
Soyoung Lee
Rachel Lee
Cortnee Lee
Paige Leffel
Rachel Leffew
Michelle Lehmann
Tina Lett
Billi Lewellyn
Michael Lindsey
Peter Lomax
Teresa Long
Angela Long
Justin Lowe
Tanya Lowe
Heather Lowery
Jeffery Lowery
David Loy
Kari Loy
Michael Lundy
Michael Lundy
Brandon Lusby
Rhett Lyle
Ashley Lynn
Cassie Lyons
Breanna Maginness
Eric Mailahn
Charles Maitlen
Yared Mamo
Caleb Mangum
Joshua Maniaci
Anthony Manilla
Kristen Manning
Brittany Manning
Diana Mannis
Diana Mannis
Benjamin Manuel II
Ashley Maples
Michaela Maples
Kendall Maples
Jeanette Marengo Jimenez
Luke Marinac
James Martin
Timothy Martin
Joshua Martin
Randy Martin
Jennifer Martin
Katie Mason
James Massengill
Philip Mathews
Mason Matlock
Marie Mattus
Cameron Mauk
Tina May
Kassy Maynard
Brandon McCallum
Brandi McCarter
Daniel McCloud
Hannah McCollum
Andrea McCune
Jamie McDaniel
Ryan McDonald
David McGhee
Joshua Mcgill
Amy McGinnis
Scott McGugin
Ashley McInturff
Sarah McKee
Ciara McKelvey
Matthew McKinney
Caitlin McLean
Lauren McMillan
Matthew McNeilly
M.Tracie Meares
Cortney Melton
Ines Mena-Solano
Kelly Merrill
Erin Merten
Robert Metz
Tamara Meyers
Andrew Meyers
Stephanie Michel
Alexandra Miller
Elizabeth Miller
Mitchell Miller
Denna Miller
Ashton Miller
David Miller
Grady Milligan
Sara Mills
Natalia Mock
Tania Mod
Leanne Moe
Mario Moncada Urbina
Lori Monroe
Rebecca Montgomery
Stephen Montierth
Mindy Moore
Michelle Morgan
Melissa Morgan
Samantha Morgan
Shawn Morgan
Chara Morris
Nicholas Morrissey
Aaron Morton
Pamela Moses
Trevor Motz
Matthew Mulloy
Kelly Mulvey
Darla Murphy
Amanda Murr
Philip Naglitch
Gladys Nance
April Napier
Melinda Narro
Brooke Nathan
Allison Neal
Nathan Neal
Scott Neely
Julia Newman
Carthel Newton
Trang Nguyen
Erin Nicely
Travis Nicely
Lauren Nicholson
Jeremy Nix
Mary Noe
Shelby Norman
Travis Norman
Robert Norris
William Norris
William Nunn
Reilli O’Brien
Carla Odham
Leah Odom
Gretchen Ogle
Lisa Ogle
Ronald Ogle
Jonathan Olkowski
Callie Orr
Whitney Oslonian
Daniel Ostrom
Stefanie Over
Marie Owen
Casey Owens
Kendall Owens
Daniel Pack
Ana Karolina Paiva
Deborah Palmer
Christopher Pappas
Melanie Parker
Hannah Parkman
Joshua Parrott
Logan Parrott
Kassandra Parsley
Danny Pate
Neel Patel
Nikunj Patel
Dinaben Patel
Morgan Patrick
Hannah Payne
Lynette Payne
Sarah Perry
Jessica Perry
Erica Peters
Courtney Pfab
Emilee Phelps
Douglas Phelps-Shirreffs
Douglas Phelps-Shirreffs
Ethan Phillips
John Phillips
Taylor Phillips
Sharde Pianowski
James Pickens
Maria Pinzon
Jacob Pio
Erin Pittman
Amber Poole
Amber Poole
Richard Poppert
Courtney Posey
Mico Posey
John Potter
Sara Pounds
Stephanie Powers
Savannah Prator
Chelsea Price
Brittany Price
Britany Probst
Tyson Proffitt
Munira Punjvani
David Quraishi
Joy Raby
Spencer Raby
Walter Radny
Ryan Ramirez
Ashley Rasar
Daryl Ray
Joshua Ray
Grayson Reedy
Hanna Reeves
Micah Reppuhn
Nestor Reyes
Amy Reynolds
Sheldon Reynolds
Carrissa Richardson
Joseph Ridgell
Kye Riehl
Alan Riggs
Haley Roach
Courtney Roach
Jason Roberts
Jeff Roberts
Abbey Roberts
Daniel Robertson
Lauren Robinson
James Robinson
Alisha Robson
Tessie Rockwell
Kayla Roddy
Aaron Rodrigues
Kenyatta Rogers
Shelly Rogers
Matthew Rogers
Tommie Lou Rogers
Jeffrey Roller
Rachel Rollick
Josh Roop
Benjamin Rouse
Jonathan Rowe
Ethan Rucker
Delaina Ruddell
Cory Russell
Sarah Russell
Abbigail Rutherford
Amber Ryan
Patricia Safadi
Christopher Salvo
Randolph Salzwedel
Kaitlin Sandberg
Michelle Sanders
Brooke Sands
Ashley Satterfield
Dylan Sauls
Travis Schappel
Emily Scheideler
Scott Schermerhorn
Philip Schnepp
Christopher Schwartz
Brittany Scrivner
Noah Seiple
Jane Sellers
Carlie Serpa
Jordan Sexton
Michael Shafer
William Shaffer
Edward Shalett
Roger Shaner
Haley Sharp
Burton Sharp
Weslee Sharp
Dylan Sharp
Samantha Shelley
Melissa Sherman
Kayleigh Sherwood
Jee Yeon Shin
Lindsay Shope
Courtney Shultz
Gregory Shurina
John Shurina
Christopher Shutt
Travis Silcox
John Silva
JenaLee Silva
Bradley Sims
Janell Sinclair
Gregory Singleton
Wendy Skiles
Jonathan Skinner
Emily Skurtu
Ruth Smart
Michael Smith
Teresa Smith
Taylor Smith
Jeffery Smith
James Smith
Brian Smith
Kelsea Smith
Katherine Smith
Kalyn Smith
John Smith
Caleb Smith
Madeline Smith
Hannah Snelling
Bobby Snodderly
Kayla Snyder
Jacquelyn Sobel
Tina Sosa
Cassandra Sotomayor
Chelsa Souza
Edward Soyk
Joshua Spalding
Nikolas Spangler
Ryan Sparks
Robert Sparks
Elizabeth Spenser
Laurie Spoon
Adam Spradlin
Audrey Spring
Paul Staats
Wendy Stafford
Sierra Stair
Kyle Stanfield
Erin Stansberry
Burton Steely
Jeff Steinheimer
Julia Steinmann
Chelsey Stevens
Margaret Stiles
Richard Stogsdill
Susan Stone
Chelsea Stowell
Loretta Strange
Angela Strickland
Kristine Sullivan
Robert Summers
Arnold Sundermeyer
Katherine Swisher
Truc Ta
Jennifer Tackett
Tawny Tallent
Matthew Taylor
Tiffany Taylor
Nora Taylor
Jenny Taylor
Ashley Teague
Amber Teasley
Adam Tester
Lucas Thal
Wm Thomas
Zachary Thomas
Nolan Thomas
Kaylie Thomas
Sarah Thompson
Rachel Thompson
Christopher Thompson
Jefferson Thompson
Victoria Thorpe
Sadie Tibbs
Jillian Tidwell
Kelly Tindell
Michelle Tipton
Juan Toranzo-Fox
Jessica Toth
Wesley Touchstone
Abbey Towe
Trey Townsend
Melanie Travins
Adam Treadway
Ashleigh Treadway
Katelin Treece
Elizabeth Trest
Tara Trusley
Rachele Tucker
Joyce Tucker
Rachael Turner
Matthew Turner
Logan Turner
Harrison Tyler
Lauren Underwood
Lauren Underwood
Sydney Ussery
Donna Vanderbilt
Erik Vass
Lauren Vassallo
Brenda Vasser
Blake Venable
Anna Vesely
Terry Vest
Caleb Vibbert
Phong Vo
Olga Vorobyeva
Justin Voto
Tung Vu
Cory Waddell
Logan Wade
Drexel Waggoner II
Mark Wagner
Gene Walker
Robert Walker
William Walker
Crystal Wallace
Karissa Walter
Caleb Walton
Matthew Warren
Leah Watkins
Chelsey Watson
Wesley Weaver
BriAnna Webb
Justin Webber
Alisha Webber
Coby Webster
Shawn Weiso
Stephanie Welch
Chelsea Welch
Destiny Welch
Zachary Wells
Nathaniel West
Emily West
Bobby Westerfield
Amy Whaley
Tyson White
Katelyn White
Rachel White
Kelley Whitehead
Elizabeth Whitehead
Justin Wiley
Sophie Willborn
Meredith Williams
Sarah Williams
Lauran Williams-Rowden
Tara Willoughby
Shane Wilson
Hayden Wilson
Mary Wilson
Hillary Wilson
Stephen Wilson
Jared Wilson
Zanetta Wilson
Johnathon Winston
Amanda Witt
JheanShetan Wolfsbrother
Tim Wollack
Zane Womac
Breanna Womac
Hannah Wong
Dylan Wood
Scottie Wood
Tracie Woodall
Barbara Woodruff
Kalonji Khafre Woods
Pamela Woolson
Lauren Wooten
Jennifer Worthington
Ericka Wright
Cindy Wright
Hanna Wright
Eric Wright
Guyus Wyatt
Jonathan Wyatt
Shahnoza Yarkulova
Trina Yates
Karen Yearwood
Alicia Young
Casey Young
Brayan Zavala
Brandi Zelenka
Ning Zhong
Angelique Zimcosky
Sara Zingg
Stacey Zupka

Pellissippi State named Military Friendly School by G.I. Jobs magazine

Pellissippi State Community College serves one of the largest veteran populations of any Tennessee community college, and the institution does it with distinction, according to G.I. Jobs magazine.

The publishers of G.I. Jobs selected Pellissippi State for inclusion on the 2012 list of Military Friendly Schools in the fall. The list honors the 20 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that are doing the most to embrace the country’s service members and veterans as students.

“I was very pleased with the recognition from G.I. Jobs magazine, in part because of the work and the support systems that we had put into place for these students,” said Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise.

“I think part of it is just being intentional, understanding that this particular population of students does have specific needs and concerns, and making sure, as an institution, we’ve found a means of addressing those.”

The 1,518 colleges, universities and trade schools on the list prioritize the recruitment of students with military experience. The schools offer scholarships and discounts, veterans’ clubs, full-time staff, military credit, and other support for those who served.

Pellissippi State’s recent initiatives to improve veterans’ services took shape out of a working group that began three years ago. Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs, leads the group.

Ashford says the group’s first step was to create a brochure for veterans attending or considering attending Pellissippi State. The brochure lists services such as admissions, financial aid, advising, and veterans’ assistance, as well as disability and personal and career counseling. There are phone numbers and email addresses for staff in each department. Having points of contact was important for veterans, the group learned from a survey of Pellissippi State students.

The college offers an assortment of educational assistance through the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. Last year, 512 students received VA benefits, says Sharon Shastid, a financial aid coordinator and the college’s VA certifying official. That number represents 5 percent of the institution’s student population and includes veterans, service members, and their dependents.

Applying for benefits can be a lengthy process, so the college initiated early advising to ensure that veterans’ tuition funds arrived in time for the start of classes. At Pellissippi State’s Student Assistance Center, staff members Rachael Cragle and Ben Sugg give priority access to service members, veterans, and their dependents.

That approach eased National Guard member Mohammed Amran’s transition into school. Amran, a member of the 278th Armored Cavalry Regiment in Knoxville, began taking classes at Pellissippi State when he transferred from another National Guard unit.

“When I registered, they worked with me because I’d just moved to Tennessee due to the change of station,” said Amran, an accounting student. “They were able to work with me on in-state tuition because of that, so I thought that was nice. Of course, you have a veteran representative there, Sharon Shastid—she’s wonderful—and Ben Sugg.

“They have been very helpful throughout. I see them every semester and they’ve been very on top of everything.”

Amran says his teachers, too, have been supportive.

“The teachers, there are times when I had [National Guard] training that went over on Monday or started on Friday; they were very accommodating,” he said.

Those kinds of support are why Pellissippi State made the “military-friendly” list.

“I think it’s also the attitude,” said Kathy Douthat, a Pellissippi State counselor. “It’s being willing to go the extra mile for people who have put themselves on the line for us.”

Beyond supportive faculty and staff, Pellissippi State also provides its service members and veterans with recognition through special events—the “Conflict Zone” photography exhibit in conjunction with Memorial Day, the Remembrance Day Roll Call on Nov. 11—as well as with organizations like the Student Veterans Association. In addition, staff, faculty and the administration are offered training through webinars and conferences about veterans’ issues.

Learn more about the veterans’ assistance at Pellissippi State by visiting www.pstcc.edu/financial_aid/veterans or calling (865) 694-6405.

Pellissippi State hosts French sports exchange students for 14th year

Pellissippi State exchange students experience water based sports on the beaches of France.

One of the things 23-year-old Marie Laure Lesigne loved most this spring was getting the opportunity to experience wakeboarding on Fort Loudon Lake. Lesigne is one of 10 French students who traveled to Pellissippi State Community College in April to get a taste of American life.

This year marked the 14th time Pellissippi State has hosted the Sports Exchange program with the Institut Universitaire de Technologie, a two-year technical school in Cherbourg, on the northwest coast of France.

The French students spent 10 days getting to know the area and the people. They stayed in the homes of Pellissippi State students and participated alongside them in a variety of sports: golf, rowing, racquetball, karate, fencing, archery, tennis, volleyball, weight lifting. Besides wakeboarding on the lake, the guests took in the Dixie Stampede, rappelled at Look Rock, whitewater rafted on the Ocoee River and danced at Cotton Eyed Joe.

“One of the main goals was for them to interact with our students and see American life firsthand, not just what they see in the movies,” said Cathy Clay. Clay is an associate professor of Physical Education at Pellissippi State and coordinator of the student exchange.

“The French students have done a lot of things they’ve never gotten to do before. We’re the same way when we go to France—getting to do things at the beach that we don’t normally do, like sailing three different sizes of boats, surfing and scuba diving, and other water and land activities.”

The exchange program between the two colleges was started by Allen Edwards, former Pellissippi State president, and the tradition continues with the support of the current president, L. Anthony Wise Jr.

Over time, the mission has remained the same, as has much of the program, but many of the French students who visited this year were older than in years past, according to Clay.

“They came with more life experience behind them, and we had 100 percent participation in every activity,” she said.

On May 4, just a couple of weeks after the visitors returned to France, the “exchange” part of the program took place. Pellissippi State students flew to Paris and took a train to Cherbourg, where they were greeted at the station by their French counterparts.

Like their French guests, the American students stayed in the homes of their Cherbourg “amis,” except during a visit to Paris. In addition to trying new outdoor activities, they visited Mont Saint-Michel and the beaches where the Allied invasion occurred in World War II in Normandy, as well as most of the major tourist attractions in Paris.

The Pellissippi State students earn 3 credit hours in Physical Education on successful completion of the exchange, and the credit transfers to most colleges as a special topics course, Clay says.

To find out more about the Sports Exchange program or Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State schedules orientation sessions for new students

If you’ll be a new student at Pellissippi State Community College when fall semester begins August 25, mark your calendar to attend one of the college’s free New Student Orientation sessions.

Attendance is required of all first-time degree-seeking freshmen, and it is recommended for transfer students and those who have been out of school for a while.

New students may choose from one of 27 sessions, the first of which is June 8. Orientation is offered at different times and dates at each of the college’s five campuses: Blount County, Division Street, Hardin Valley, Magnolia Avenue and Strawberry Plains. Special sessions are scheduled for tnAchieves students (first-generation college-goers participating in the tnAchieves program), for nontraditional students (25 years and older), and for parents and family members of students.

This year’s theme for New Student Orientation is “Determination, Participation and Graduation.”

“We’re focusing on graduation as an outcome,” said Becky Milam, NSO director. “We know that students are more focused when they get involved. And people need to be determined to set goals and maintain balance while in school. NSO can help with all of those areas.”

Orientation gives new students the opportunity to meet Pellissippi State students, faculty, and staff; learn strategies for college success; explore degree, major, and transfer options; and discover campus services and resources such as financial aid.

The college urges accepted students to reserve their place in an orientation session as soon as possible.

Visit www.pstcc.edu/admissions/orientation or call (865) 694-6400 to make your reservation. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Engineering Tech students install Pellissippi State’s first solar panel array

Pellissippi State Engineering Technology students Jeff Station (left) and Anthony Hudson install solar panels on the Hardin Valley Campus’ McWherter Building as a class project earlier this semester.

As Ken Swayne’s students tightened the screws on the new solar panels, they also strengthened Pellissippi State Community College’s investment in alternative energy education.

Swayne, a professor of Electrical Engineering in the Engineering Technology degree program, pooled the talents of two of his classes this semester in order to install the first-ever solar panel array at Pellissippi State.

His Applied Electricity class wired the six panels to an inverter located in a classroom in the McWherter Building on the Hardin Valley Campus. Then the Photovoltaics Alternative Energy class installed brackets and the solar panels on the roof of the building. The panels are expected to produce 324 watts of electrical energy under peak sun conditions.

Both classes then worked in a frigid wind on the rooftop to put the finishing touches on installing the solar panel array.

“The system will be a great learning tool for our technology students,” said Swayne. “I am very grateful to the college for supporting this project. I believe any contribution toward green energy production and training is a plus for Pellissippi State and the Knoxville community.”

Last year the college installed electric vehicle charging stations on its Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses. Pellissippi State earned the 2010 Governor’s Environmental Stewardship Award for its collegewide sustainability and environmental efforts.

William Draney, a 28-year-old Electrical Engineering student at Pellissippi State, says he was first drawn to the idea of solar energy during Swayne’s campuswide lecture on photovoltaics last year.

“I wanted to know how to put solar panels on my own house,” he said. “Plus, I had been an electrician for five years and wanted to see if solar panel installation would be a good thing to get into on the side.”

Pellissippi State offers many green courses, both in the classroom and online. Among them are Photovoltaic System Design and Installation, Green Building for Contractors, and classes for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification.

For more information, contact the college’s Business and Community Services Division at (865) 539-7167. To learn more about Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology programs, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

First Pellissippi State Culinary Arts class graduates May 4

Kyndall Leach

Lee Garrand, a Pellissippi State Community College Culinary Arts student who is scheduled to graduate this Friday, May 4, has just landed a culinary job at the prestigious Blackberry Farm. The position wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter—he earned it, through hard work and an intense but successful hands-on “interview.”

The 30-year-old student is one of 28 in the first graduating class of Culinary Arts, a collaborative venture between Pellissippi State and the University of Tennessee’s Culinary Arts Institute.

Garrand says he had some stiff competition when he vied for the position at Blackberry Farm. Some applicants came from other states and two had gone to the most prestigious culinary schools in the country, he says. Yet, it was the student from Pellissippi State who apparently impressed those conducting the interview most.

“I had a ‘working interview’ with Josh Feathers, the corporate chef at Blackberry Farm,” Garrand said. The 4,200-acre luxury resort in the Smokies attracts visitors from around the world.

Garrand was tasked with designing an entrée that would appeal to the eye and wow the discriminating palate of Feathers and sous chef Steve Ledbetter.

“There was a time limit, just like the show ‘Chopped,’” Garrand said. “It was 8:40 in the morning, and [Feathers] said he wanted to see a platter by 9:30.”

So the former Marine and law enforcement officer foraged through the restaurant’s walk-in cooler for available ingredients.

“I made a pepper-spiced wild rice and a bone-in poussin [baby chicken] breast with blanched asparagus and a raspberry cream beurre rouge [red butter sauce],” Garrand said. “He loved it.”

Garrand has been at Blackerry Farm since March.

“It’s very busy,” he said. “It’s of the highest quality and highest standards one could expect from a professional five-star restaurant.”

The soon-to-be graduate speaks highly of what he learned at Pellissippi State: “The Culinary Arts program is a great technical experience. It’s extremely informative and absolutely hands-on in preparing you for the professional culinary field.”

Garrand and his classmates spent the last two years sharpening both their kitchen and their business administration skills. Culinary Arts has a “cohort”-style format, so the students went through all the courses together, start to finish. They learned everything from ice carving to pastry, and they each interned at local restaurants and bakeries.

The class graduates with an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Culinary Arts. The ceremony is at 7 p.m. at UT’s Thompson-Boling Arena.

Garrand, Kyndall Leach and Tammy Jo Johnson were named the top students.

Leach was a 16-year-old home-schooled high school graduate when she started in Culinary Arts. Now 18, she graduates Friday with a concentration in not only Culinary Arts but also Hospitality. Similar to the joint effort by classmates and sisters Tiffany Haynes and Stephanie Criswell, who just opened Emma Lou Bakery in Oak Ridge, Leach wants to open her own catering business, she hopes with a couple of her fellow students.

“I loved working in the kitchen,” Leach said of her experience. “It was always loud—that’s for sure. We had a good time. It’s like doing something with your friends that everybody loves, creating something together.”

Johnson, 46, already has a position as a hot appetizer chef at The Orangery, an upscale restaurant in Knoxville.

Students who enter Culinary Arts pursue their classroom instruction at the Pellissippi State’s Division Street Campus. Tom Gaddis coordinates Culinary Arts (as well as Hospitality). A two-time graduate of UT’s Hotel, Restaurant and Tourism program, he has a doctorate in human ecology with a concentration in hotel and restaurant administration.

Gaddis received the Tennessee Hospitality Association Award in 2003 and 2008 and the Greater Knoxville Tourism Alliance’s Pauly Award in 2008. He recently was awarded the national Exemplary Leadership in Higher Education Award from the Chair Academy.

Students also spend four hours a day, three days a week, honing their skills in the state-of-the-art laboratory kitchen at UT’s Culinary Institute on Neyland Drive, just two miles away. They are taught by local chefs with American Culinary Federation certifications.

Graduates are certified through the National Restaurant Association in food production and sanitation and can apply to the ACF for certification as Certified Culinarians, the first step toward professional chef certification.

For additional information on Culinary Arts, contact Gaddis at (865) 971-5246 or tfgaddis@pstcc.edu.

Registration is now under way for fall semester. To learn more, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Mother of houseful to graduate with honors from Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State student Brandy Robinson will graduate with honors when she receives an associate’s degree in Teacher Education in May. She takes a moment to pose with her husband, Daniel, and the children. Front row (l-r): Samantha, William, Jacob, D.J. and Emma. Back row: Eli, Brandy, Daniel and Nick.

Two years ago, when Brandy Robinson made up her mind to enroll at Pellissippi State Community College, she knew she would have her work cut out for her.

Certainly, pursuing an education would require late-night studying, test-taking and plenty of focus and perseverance. But those weren’t the half of her concern: at the time, she had two children in elementary school, plus five younger ones who were at home with her every day.

Yet enroll Robinson did. And on May 4, when she walks across the stage at Pellissippi State’s Commencement ceremony, she’ll take away an associate’s degree in Teacher Education and cum laude honors for earning a 3.6 cumulative grade point average.

“I want my kids to know they can do anything they set their minds to,” said Robinson. “If I can do this—go back to school and even be on the dean’s list—then anybody can do it.”

Attending the graduation ceremony will be Robinson’s husband, Daniel, and children Nick, 12; Eli, 8; Samantha, 6; Emma, 3; and quadruplets D.J., Will, and Jake, 5. (The fourth of the quadruplets, Gabriel Noah, died in utero at 20 weeks.)

Robinson, who previously had had an unsatisfactory experience with college, says that as her children grew, so too did her desire to return to school.

Initially, she took online courses at Pellissippi State. Later, she attended classes at the Hardin Valley and Blount County campuses.

“I began classes as my younger children started into preschool and were getting close to school age,” she said. “I tried to time it so that when I finished all the online classes I could, most of my kids would be in school.

“I did most of my studying at night. I learned that sleep was way overrated and coffee was my best friend!”

Robinson recalls how she made the decision of what career she wanted to pursue.

“I didn’t want to just ‘find a job,’” she said. “I wanted a career I could start into and hopefully retire from. I love kids, and being a schoolteacher seems to be the perfect fit for me and my family, especially considering the kids’ schedules.”

Robinson took an education class her very first semester at Pellissippi State, then got real-life experience in a third-grade classroom the beginning of her second year. Of course, that wasn’t her entree into an elementary school classroom—she already had put in scores of hours as a volunteer in her own children’s classes.

“I’ve always been a firm believer that parents should be involved in their kids’ educations,” she said. “By becoming a teacher, I hope to remain active in my own children’s educations and encourage other parents to be involved in their children’s, to enrich the lives of their kids as well as their own lives. After all, learning is a lifelong process.”

This fall Robinson plans to begin working toward a bachelor’s degree in education. The children are older now, but, she says, the juggling hasn’t gotten a whole lot easier: “We are on the go year-round, since the oldest six kids rotate through football, cheerleading, basketball, baseball and softball.”

Making her journey toward a four-year degree a lot easier is a partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University in Cookeville. The agreement allows education students to earn a bachelor’s from TTU, yet remain at Pellissippi State’s campus to attend classes.

“I have loved being back in school,” Robinson said. “I feel like I’ve really connected with my professors and peers at Pellissippi State. It seems as though my professors really want all of their students to succeed, and one of my best friends is someone I met last semester in chemistry.”

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Teacher Education program, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu. This year’s Commencement ceremony is at the University of Tennessee’s Thompson-Boling Arena, beginning at 7 p.m.