All posts by elsimpson

Regional, national Math Bowl wins garnered by Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College’s students have earned the college top spots in the 2015 regional and national Student Mathematics League competition.

In the Southeast region’s final standings, Pellissippi State finished third out of 25 schools. Nationally, the college was 43rd of 188. Of Pellissippi State’s student competitors, Shreyas Muralidharan took third place in the Southeast, with Joseph Allston 12th and Harrison Smith 18th.

“This was our second highest finish ever,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of Mathematics. “This is a very challenging math contest, and we are proud of our students’ accomplishments.”

Pellissippi State had 138 students take part in the contest. In the first round of competition, the Southeast regional in October, the top five Pellissippi State students in the contest were Muralidharan, Allston, Chase Toth, John Simmins and Liana Hu. In the second round, the national in February, the top five from the college were Muralidharan, John Jones, Smith, Son Quang and Kevin Konopka.

Each year the contest consists of two rounds, one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester. Students are tested in many areas of mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, probability and logic. Each round includes an exam of 20 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator but no notebook or textbook.

Pellissippi State — thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities — awards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

Pellissippi State has taken part in the Student Mathematics League Contest for at least 14 years. The contest is sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

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

New Human Resources director named at Pellissippi State

Carole-GaryCarole Gary has joined Pellissippi State Community College as director of Human Resources.

Gary comes to the college from Blackberry Farm, where she had been over the human resources department since 2010.

“Blackberry Farm’s organization is built around customer service,” Gary said, “and I told myself I would only leave there for a very special place. I got that opportunity earlier this year. I feel Pellissippi State has a great brand and a dedicated group of employees who are devoted to the college’s own brand of customer service: to our students.”

Gary’s responsibilities at the college include oversight of staffing and other institutional concerns, such as Affordable Care Act compliance. She says she hopes her role also offers opportunities for training and professional development.

“I love working in organization development,” she said. “I look forward to helping the college reach its goals, while also helping employees reach their personal goals.”

Gary has worked in human resources for nearly 20 years, beginning at National Book Warehouse.

“I was asked by the owners of National Book Warehouse to step into the role of human resources director,” she said. “I agreed, though I didn’t know much about it at the time. They provided me training and resources, and I found that human resources fit me well. I didn’t find it — it found me.”

Gary earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources credential in 2005.

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

Early Childhood Education program at Pellissippi State earns accreditation

Pellissippi State Community College’s Early Childhood Education program is now accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

The college’s successful completion of the exhaustive accreditation process means that its two-year degree program has joined the ranks of the 170 programs in 32 states that are NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree accredited.

“For our students, accreditation means that our program is at a higher standard,” said Terenia Moody, Early Childhood Education program coordinator. “When they graduate, our students can know that they completed a degree program that is strenuous in its adherence to very high standards of excellence.”

The process of accreditation was three or four years in the making and included self-study and peer-review processes as the college expanded its program to adhere to the NAEYC’s 12 accreditation criteria.

Students can register now to begin the Associate of Applied Science degree program this fall. Registration continues until Aug. 12, and classes start Aug. 24.

“We have a very diverse student population, and to meet their needs we offer all types of classes: traditional day classes, night classes, hybrid courses that combine online and in-class, and accelerated cohorts for working adults,” Moody said. Cohorts allow a group of students to progress through a program together.

This fall starts the second year that Early Childhood Education has offered the accelerated cohort courses at the Magnolia Avenue Campus and the first year the college has offered an Early Childhood Education certificate at the Blount County Campus. The certificate includes four of the courses required for the Child Development Associate, serving as an interim step between CDA certification and Pellissippi State’s A.A.S. degree.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Early Childhood Education program, visit www.pstcc.edu/eced or call (865) 694-6400.

New vice president of Information Services named at Pellissippi State

Audrey-WilliamsAudrey Williams can remember going to a former boss in the early ’90s and saying, “There’s this thing called the World Wide Web, and I think it’s going to be big.”

That one statement launched her on a path down the Internet technologies and services rabbit hole, and it might just be what launched her on the path to her new position as Pellissippi State Community College’s vice president of Information Services.

“In this new position,” she said, “my job is to make sure all of our students have the technology they need to learn, that faculty have all the technology they need to teach, and that everyone who works here has the technology they need to do their jobs.”

Williams has worked at Pellissippi State since 1999. She’s served as an instructional technology specialist and, most recently, as director of Educational Technology Services.

But she says she got her start in Internet technology at the American Museum of Science and Energy, where she worked in the 1990s and where she first learned about what was then the revolutionary phenomenon of the Internet.

“The Internet and all of that related technology is ubiquitous now,” Williams said. “We can’t do our jobs without it. But then, I was working at AMSE as the Web was just emerging, and I told my boss we should be on it. I sat at a computer with an ‘HTML for Dummies’ book and tapped out code, and I created an exhibit on the Web for AMSE. I brought the museum into this age.

“I feel like I grew up with the Internet, because I’ve been so involved with it from its beginning.”

Williams says her love of technology has carried her through a series of jobs, and it will continue to evolve in the new one as vice president of Information Services.

“I want to keep a few of my tech projects even as a vice president,” Williams said. “Those are what I love, and I don’t want to give them away, like serving as the administrator of many of the college’s blog pages.”

In her new position, Williams’ goals are to maintain the already high standard of service among the three areas she will oversee — Educational Technology Services, Networking and Technical Services, and Application Programming Support — and increase communications to students and employees about the many technological services Pellissippi State can boast.

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

Learn Appalachian dulcimer at Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus

Looking to get away from high-tech in your downtime this summer? Trade your computer laptop for a laptop dulcimer.

Pellissippi State Community College is offering a class for those interested in learning to play Appalachian dulcimer, beginning Tuesday, June 16. The class is nine weeks and runs 5:30-7 p.m. each Tuesday at the Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway.

The course fee is $95, payable to Pellissippi State. An additional material fee of $37 is payable to the instructor.

No prior musical knowledge is required.

Students will need to have an Appalachian dulcimer by the first day of class, and the instructor can provide sources for dulcimers if needed.

To register or find out more about this and other classes offered by Business and Community Services, the college’s non-credit wing, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs or call (865) 539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability, email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

‘Registration Rocks’ set for Tennessee Promise students enrolling at Pellissippi State

Promise-logo1Tennessee Promise students planning to enroll at Pellissippi State Community College are invited to a free event planned to help them navigate through the final requirements needed to keep their funding.

“Registration Rocks” takes place 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday, June 2, on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

At the event, students can sign up for advising sessions, verify their financial aid, tour the campus, sign up to attend summer New Student Orientation and meet with Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning representatives about opportunities available to complete the required eight hours of community service. Additionally, those who are eligible can register for classes.

Students planning to attend should RSVP at www.pstcc.edu/promise.

For more information about Pellissippi State and its offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at (865) 539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State earns accreditation

Pellissippi State Community College Culinary Arts student Alexis Meneese prepares signature desserts for a recent community event.
Pellissippi State Community College Culinary Arts student Alexis Meneese prepares signature desserts for a recent community event.

Bring out the hors d’oeuvres and fine wine!

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State Community College recently gained accreditation through the American Culinary Federation Accrediting Commission. Enrollment for fall semester is now open.

Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts Institute prepares students to earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with a concentration in Culinary Arts. The college’s culinary degree program is the only one accredited in Knoxville.

“When we first started Culinary Arts, we worked with an advisory committee to create a curriculum that was useful to local employers,” said Tom Gaddis, program coordinator. The Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute graduated its first class in 2012.

“Local employers want graduates who not only could cook fabulous foods but do it profitably. That’s why our program is a business program: we want them to learn to cook, but also to have that foundation in accounting, management and even marketing.”

Culinary Arts students are provided a unique education at Pellissippi State. They are trained in business and management practices, and they are taught practices of sufficiency and sustainability. Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts students take classes at the college’s Division Street Campus and use the kitchen facilities of the University of Tennessee’s Culinary Institute.

Pellissippi State’s Culinary Arts/Business program had a 100 percent career placement rate, based on the latest figures, in 2013. Graduates have taken jobs in the hospitality industry, in restaurants and grocery stores, in bistros, at resorts, and in casual dining.

Graduates of the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute can certify as cooking professionals through the ACF, progressing from certified culinarian to certified sous chef, all the way to certified master chef.

Enrollment for the fall semester is open until Aug. 12. Classes start Aug. 24.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute and the degree program, visit www.pstcc.edu/culinary or call (865) 971-5246.

Trevis Gardner named Pellissippi State’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni

Trevis Gardner

For Trevis Gardner, Pellissippi State Community College’s 2015 Distinguished Alumni Award winner, success is all about building relationships.

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community, and support of the college and the Pellissippi State Foundation. The 1991 graduate was presented the award at a recent Alumni Association luncheon at the college.

Gardner is vice president of operations for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority. He oversees nearly every tangible aspect of the airport experience — from parking to buying a ticket to getting on a plane and leaving and coming back to Knoxville — not only at McGhee Tyson Airport but also at Downtown Island Airport.

The MKAA is responsible for creating the business environment that allows the hundreds of airport vendors to engage with customers. Every layer of service between the MKAA and the passengers falls under Gardner’s purview.

But the technical responsibilities aren’t what Gardner talks about — it’s the relationships.

“I manage people from entry-level positions to folks who are much smarter than I am,” he said. “I get to have a lot of different relationships with people. I feel like I’m in the Tower of London making sure the crown jewels are safe. The organization trusts me to make sure I take care of these people.”

Gardner earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in Civil Engineering Technology from what was then Pellissippi State Technical Community College and later earned a surveying certificate. He served in the U.S. Air Force and Tennessee Air National Guard from 1987 to 2011, and he has worked for the Metropolitan Knoxville Airport Authority since 1991.

According to Gardner, his grades weren’t exactly those of a model student when he initially enrolled at Pellissippi State.

“I should not have gone to community college, should not have gone to university, should not have graduated, by all statistical measures,” Gardner said.

But after he came to Pellissippi State on the GI Bill, his mindset changed.

“I loved learning at Pellissippi State,” he said. “I felt like I was home. My time at Pellissippi State was some of the most fun I ever had.”

Besides working for the airport authority, Gardner is also very active in the community, particularly in his native Blount County. He has served on the Blount County Board of Education and the board of the Adult Education Foundation of Blount County. He has worked as a tutor for the GED Preparation Program at the Blount County Justice Center, as well as with many other organizations and causes.

“This year, there were three candidates for this award,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “A committee of Foundation board members reviewed the nominations and felt Trevis was the best candidate. We congratulate him!”

To learn about the benefits of being part of the Pellissippi State Alumni Association, visit www.pstcc.edu/alumni or call (865) 539-7275.

Pellissippi State hosts June 18 ‘MakerPalooza’ for creators of all ages

male holding a pole with a quadcopter attached
Pellissippi State Community College student Seth Giles poses with the “LawnShark,” a drone that he and other Pellissippi State students “hacked” into a weedeater during the Hack Tennessee event earlier this month. Giles and others at Pellissippi State are planning a similar event, MakerPalooza, open to creators of all types, which will be held June 18.

Calling all makers of doodads and inventors of thingamajigs — everyone is welcome to submit his or her creations at Pellissippi State Community College’s inaugural MakerPalooza in June.

MakerPalooza brings together creative sorts of all ages to show off their work. Perhaps it’s a computer program or a 3D printed item. Or a painting or sculpture. Or a remote-controlled vehicle, a hack, a rocket or a delicious cake. Bottom line: If it’s original and created, fabricated or otherwise made by an individual, Pellissippi State welcomes the creator to register.

“If you made it, bring it,” said Sarah Graham, student success coach for the Advanced Manufacturing and Prototyping Center of East Tennessee (aka, AMP!) grant at Pellissippi State and a planner of the event.

Register as a maker at www.pstcc.edu/emt. Space for participants to present their projects is limited and will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

The free event is Thursday, June 18, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. MakerPalooza is open to the community and is free to attend. The event is sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies Department.

Graham and Seth Giles, a student in the department, are planning MakerPalooza. They, along with Thanh Duong and Brenda Hale, also EMT students, recently participated at a similar event, Hack Tennessee in Nashville.

There, the group “hacked” a DJI Phantom 2 Quadcopter drone into a weed trimmer.

“Hack Tennessee was set up to help local people who had problems to ask teams of people, like our students from Pellissippi State, to help solve them. The man we helped needed a new way to use drones that had become technologically obsolete,” Hale said.

Pellissippi State’s team worked with a programmer to reprogram the drone to operate upside down, then used a 3D printer and everyday equipment from a hardware store to turn the drone into their super-powered weed trimmer, which they named the “LawnShark.”

For more information about MakerPalooza, visit www.pstcc.edu/emt.

For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at (865) 539-7401 or jpshipwash@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State honors employees, retirees

Pellissippi State Community College hosted its annual Employee Awards ceremony recently, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing 2014-2015 retirees.

Jerry-Sherrod

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Jerry Sherrod, an associate professor in Business and Computer Technology. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students. Sherrod uses industry-based case study models in his Computer Science and Information Technology courses. The case studies apply collaborative learning, improve students’ oral and written communication skills, and help prepare students for issues in a global economy.

David-Brown-and-Edward-Francisco

The Innovations Award—given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities—was presented to Edward Francisco and David Brown. This faculty team uses mathematical and computer science concepts including game theory, game trees and behavior trees, in discussing Shakespeare’s “Hamlet” in the classroom. Game theory is the study of mathematical models of conflict and cooperation, the classic application of which is exploring the various win-lose combinations in the game of chicken.

In the classroom, Francisco and Brown help students map the ever-expanding repercussions of each character’s actions within the world of “Hamlet.” Using game theory, game trees and behavior trees, students are meant to better understand characters and the play’s narrative, as well as to understand the alternate realities that might have occurred had any character’s actions been different. In addition, the team is developing software that will allow students to interactively and collaboratively examine any literary universe, including stories, plot lines and characters, and then use the collected structured information to create new characters and alternative narrative universes.

Morvarid-Bejnood

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was given to Morvarid Bejnood, in recognition of her work on an external outreach project that had a positive impact on the community. Bejnood oversaw a Science Olympiad regional competition at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in March. More than 270 middle and high school students competed in the competition.

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 award recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, John Jackson; Outstanding Administrator, Carolyn Carson; Outstanding Contract Worker, Mark Palmer; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Kellie Toon; Outstanding Support Professional, Barbara Bailes; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Alvin Brummett.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees at five-year increments of service, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. The 2014-2015 faculty and staff retirees include Dennis Adams, Debi Bolton, Rick Bower, Jerry Bryan, Carolyn Carson, Karen Cornell, Joan Easterly, Pat Ferguson, Brenda Harmon, Lynn Hyman, Joy Ingram, Jean Jackson, Maggie Jenkins, Ellen Keene, Darell McBee, Linda Peterson, Ann Preston, Karen Queener and Mike Rose.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation works to provide student scholarships and emergency loans, as well as to improve facilities and secure new equipment.

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