‘Letters from Vietnam’ Pellissippi State’s first-ever summer art exhibit

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Pellissippi State Community College displays the correspondence and artwork of young people with autism during its summer exhibit, “Letters from Vietnam: International Art Exchange Exhibition,” June 22-July 31.

The community is invited to the free exhibit — the first the college has ever hosted during the summer. The art exhibit takes place in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday.

“Letters from Vietnam” is an exchange between youth with autism spectrum disorders in East Tennessee and Vietnam. It includes letters and photographs of their local mountains in two seasons.

The exhibit, which previously was shown at the Knoxville Museum of Art, is facilitated by VSA Tennessee and the Artistic Spectrum. VSA Tennessee provides opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in the arts and education, and the Artistic Spectrum promotes fine arts opportunities for people with autism.

“We’re very excited to have this very special exhibition in the Bagwell Gallery this summer,” said Jennifer Brickey, assistant professor of studio art. “Not only does it give local young photographers a chance to exhibit their work, but it also showcases work of young photographers in Vietnam.”

“Letters from Vietnam” is one of the events that make up Pellissippi State’s arts series, The Arts at Pellissippi State. The series brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

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

Pellissippi State students pass stage-fighting exam

Thirteen Pellissippi State Community College students recently passed a skills proficiency test for stage fighting through the Society of American Fight Directors.

Pellissippi State is the only school in Tennessee that offers the SAFD tests.

The students are Josh Bigwood, Carolyn Corley, Thomas Crout, Caroline Kat Darwin, Breland Lallie Donahoo, Julianna Meyers, Barrie Paulson, Donnie Peltz, Alex Riggs, Joshua Shelton, Steven Trigg, Debi Wetherington and Chad Collins Wood.

The students tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after theatrical skills status in the world of professional theatre.

According to Girard, it’s rare for an entire class — like the one at Pellissippi State — to pass the exam. In addition, four of the college’s students earned a “recommended pass,” connoting an exceptional level of proficiency. Those students are Bigwood, Darwin, Paulson and Wood.

The SAFD examination was the result of more than a semester of instruction by Bob Borwick, Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and certified SAFD instructor, and assistance from Charles R. Miller, professor and program coordinator of Theatre. Borwick is the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee, and he teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State.

The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat). Business and Community Services also offers a non-credit Stage Combat course.

The test was sponsored by the Theatre and the Pellissippi State Foundation.

For more information about this class, email Miller at cmiller@pstcc.edu. For more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Three-time Pellissippi State student finds promise in new degrees

Brenda Hale

Brenda Hale has probably experienced a heavier dose of work-world reality than most of Pellissippi State Community College’s 10,000-plus students.

The 54-year-old single mother is attending the college for the third time in nearly four decades, with a firsthand understanding of the fickleness of the economy and of employers’ needs for well-rounded, well-educated employees.

“I’ve been downsized and I’ve been laid off, but I know I can come back to Pellissippi State and update my education if I need to,” Hale said. “Pellissippi State reflects real life.”

Hale first graduated from Pellissippi State in 1980, only four years after the institution opened as State Technical Institute at Knoxville. She graduated with a degree in Construction Engineering Technology and was immediately hired by TVA. She went to work on construction at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, but when that phase of work was completed, TVA laid off the construction team.

So Hale returned to Pellissippi State. She earned a second degree, this time in Computer Integrated Drafting and Design, in 1990. She worked for businesses around East Tennessee using that degree for nearly 20 years — until her position was downsized during the recession in 2008.

“I took some time off then to spend with my son, who was young,” Hale said, “and I went back to work part time. But now my son is older, and I’m looking for full-time work again. Since the recession, the CAD [computer-aided drafting] workers that businesses needed before now need to know new programs, like SolidWorks.”

So Hale once again enrolled at Pellissippi State.

“Pellissippi State is familiar and it’s convenient, and I know that the education I receive here is going to be what employers are looking for. They need people who know how to use SolidWorks, so that’s what Pellissippi State is offering now.”

Hale is now in the Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering degree program. She’s also studying additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, while she’s here.

“I love what I do — I love drafting,” Hale said. “I’ve always been interested in houses and building things, and I’ve never been tired of this job. It’s wonderful to see what was manufactured from my drawings. Things like 3D printing are the new iterations of what I do.”

“Technology is pulling everything forward,” said Pat Riddle, program coordinator of Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering at Pellissippi State. “Continuing education or training on the job is going to be necessary in many fields in the future, as employees find they have to keep up with changing programs and knowledge.”

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

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.

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN