‘Sanctuary’ author’s talk speaks to Pellissippi State’s Common Book

Pellissippi State Community College hosts Greg Johnson, an author and News Sentinel columnist, for a reading from his meditation on the Smoky Mountains, “Sanctuary,” at 11:45 a.m. Wednesday, April 16.

The free event takes place at the Strawberry Plains Campus, and the community is invited. The reading is sponsored by the Strawberry Plains Creative Writing Club. Students will read some of their own original, nature-themed works beginning at 11:30 a.m., before Johnson’s presentation.

Johnson, a native of East Tennessee, completed “Sanctuary” in anticipation of the 75th anniversary of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which occurred in 2009. The book is a collection of written and photographic meditations on the mountains.

“Greg Johnson’s moving, intimate essays celebrate the mountains and their Maker,” said Patricia Ireland, an instructor of English at Pellissippi State, “inviting readers to walk into the wild, in keeping with the spirit of this year’s Common Book.”

The presentation is part of the yearlong schedule of events tied to Pellissippi State’s 2013-2014 Common Book, “A Walk in the Woods,” by Bill Bryson. The book has inspired discussions on topics as wide-ranging as ecology, biological diversity, the effects of tourism, the importance of outdoor activity and the tradition of nature writing.

In his first-person narrative, Bryson recounts his tale of hiking the Appalachian Trail. He reflects on the many emotions, logistical problems and incidents to be expected for a hiker on the AT. The account also touches on the history of the Appalachian Trail and National Park Service, the depredations of disease and insects on trees and plants, the need for environmental awareness and stewardship, and the ever-present threat of bears.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

‘Pell-Aware’ Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day scheduled at Pellissippi State

Pellissippi State Community College hopes to help students succeed when it hosts a campuswide Alcohol and Drug Awareness Day Wednesday, April 16.

The free event, Pell-Aware, is 11 a.m.-2 p.m. in the Courtyard of the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited.

Representatives of area mental health facilities, rehabilitation centers and health-care organizations will be on hand to distribute information and answer questions. Participating are representatives of Blount Memorial Hospital’s Emotional Health and Recovery Center, Cherokee Health, Cornerstone of Recovery, English Mountain Recovery, Knox County Health Department, and private medical practices, among others.

“We want to provide information but also link people with services that they may need or find useful,” said Kathleen Douthat, a counselor at Pellissippi State.

“Drug and alcohol abuse is a fairly big issue for college-age students, so an awareness of what drugs and alcohol can do is important, as is knowing who to go to for help if they’re having trouble, or if they know someone who is having trouble, with substance abuse.

As much as 30 percent of failure in school by college students may be tied to alcohol abuse, according to Douthat.

“If we can work with substance use and get that under control, maybe we can retain more students and help them be more successful.”

Pellissippi State’s Counseling staff, the planners of Pell-Aware, are available to help students manage obstacles that threaten their academic, career and life goals. The office provides career, personal and academic counseling.

For more information about Pell-Aware, visit www.pstcc.edu/counseling or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State: Community invited to Blount County Campus Health and Wellness Fair

Pellissippi State Community College hosts a Health and Wellness Fair at the Blount County Campus Wednesday, April 16.

The fair features health-care exhibitors providing demonstrations, materials and health checks. The free event is 10 a.m.-1 p.m. in the main lobby of the campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. The community is invited.

The health fair is organized with the help of Alcoa Chiropractic, which will offer complimentary chair massages and spinal screenings. Marino Therapy Centers will conduct bone density assessments, and Pellissippi State’s nursing students will take blood pressure and glucose screenings. Other free health checks and demonstrations include allergy testing and acupuncture.

Exhibitors include Healthy Mind and Counseling, Acuquest Hearing, the University of Tennessee Medical Center, The Eye Group, the Pregnancy Resource Center, Complete Nutrition, Rx Relationships, the American Red Cross, Blue Ridge Family Dentistry and the Tennessee Vein Center, among others.

“Choosing to be healthy mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually is a choice we all make,” said Holly Burkett, dean of the Blount County Campus. “I want the students, faculty, and staff at Pellissippi State and the community to have the opportunity to begin or maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

To learn more about the fair, call (865) 981-5300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State students, employees to participate in Ijams River Rescue

Pellissippi State Community College students and employees will spend the day on Saturday, April 5, cleaning East Tennessee’s waterways. The occasion is Ijams Nature Center’s River Rescue, and the Pellissippi State effort is being coordinated by the college’s Service-Learning program.

The team of students, faculty and staff will be on site 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at Loves Creek, where Loves Creek Road meets Millertown Pike. The cleanup location is behind the ORNL Federal Credit Union and Food City, in Northeast Knoxville.

This year is Ijams’ 25th annual River Rescue. River Rescue places volunteers at more than 40 sites around the Knoxville metropolitan area to clean trash out of East Tennessee’s rivers, creeks and waterways. In 2013, more than 1,000 volunteers participated in the event.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. For more information about the River Rescue, visit www.ijams.org or call Ijams at (865) 577-4717 ext. 124.

Pellissippi State students only Grainger scholarship recipients in state

Michael Swihart
Michael Swihart

Pellissippi State Community College students Robert Sanders and Michael Swihart are the only two Tennessee recipients of $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarships.

Both Sanders and Swihart are in the Mechanical Engineering concentration of the Engineering Technology degree program. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship supports technical education and promotes careers in technical areas of work. Grainger is an Illinois-based distributor of facilities maintenance supplies.

“Pellissippi State is the only college in Tennessee that has students who receive this scholarship,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“Grainger classifies Pellissippi State as a veteran-friendly college, and each student who receives a scholarship from Grainger must be a veteran.”

Robert Sanders
Robert Sanders

The Grainger awards go through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The $2,000 scholarships are earmarked for students in an Engineering Technology field. Upon graduating, recipients also receive $2,500 worth of Grainger hand tools, each with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

“Robert and Michael are outstanding students, and both are very deserving of this scholarship,” said Pat Riddle, program coordinator of Mechanical Engineering.

“We appreciate that Grainger has a scholarship that recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of our student veterans—the hard work they put into their education and their drive to better themselves.”

Sanders, a stay-at-home father, said, “I felt honored that Mr. Riddle picked me as an applicant for the scholarship. For him to single me out was a privilege in itself, and to win is a wonderful bonus.” Sanders, whose career interest lies in green construction, plans to donate a portion of the scholarship back to the Pellissippi State Foundation for another student to use.

Swihart relocated to Knoxville from Chicago, transferring credits to Pellissippi State and starting classes at the college in spring 2012. He plans to graduate this year and hopes to work for a geotechnical firm.

“When Mr. Riddle approached me and told me I was one of the few chosen,” said Swihart, “I was speechless and honored. I am very grateful to receive the scholarship. I’m very grateful to my instructors at Pellissippi State, because of their commitment and the extra time they’ve sacrificed to help me.”

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

Pellissippi State launches online ‘Career Coach’ for students, community

Pellissippi State Community College has announced a partnership with Career Coach, a free online tool that allows students and community members to explore potential careers.

Career Coach can be accessed at Pellissippi State’s website, www.pstcc.edu.

Career Coach provides real-time information customized to East Tennessee, including career prospects for certain degrees, detailed wage estimates and up-to-date job postings for nearly any career. Users also are directed to Pellissippi State’s program offerings when searching for specific jobs.

“We are excited to offer our students and our community this opportunity to identify careers they would like to pursue and the pathways that will take them there,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs.

On Career Coach, users can search for openings in their current field, or for similar jobs if their original search—or present job—doesn’t seem like a good fit. The site also shows the education required to move from one career to another. In addition, users can search for careers based on Pellissippi State’s top programs or the programs the users are most interested in.

Career Coach includes a resume builder to help students and job seekers quickly and efficiently highlight their key skills and job experience.

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