Pellissippi State offers path to engineering tech bachelor’s degree

When President Barack Obama visited East Tennessee in January, he introduced America’s College Promise and launched a manufacturing innovation hub—both with ties to Pellissippi State Community College.

“We’re launching these hubs around the country, and the concept is simple: We bring businesses, research universities, community colleges, and state, local, and federal governments together, and we figure out, where are some key opportunities for manufacturing in the future, how do we get out in front of the curve, how do we make sure everybody is working together,” Obama said during his speech at Techmer PM in Clinton.

Pellissippi State has provided workforce development training for Techmer PM in recent years. The College and Techmer PM also are partners in a $15 million U.S. Department of Labor grant awarded to the Multi-State Advanced Manufacturing Consortium. The funding is directed toward helping workers who are displaced, unemployed or underemployed, particularly those in the manufacturing industry.

Pellissippi State has launched a number of programs and courses designed to meet those needs.

One of those initiatives is the College’s articulation agreement with Austin Peay State University in Clarksville. Under the partnership, a student can earn an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology through Pellissippi State, then a bachelor’s degree in either Manufacturing Engineering Technology or Mechanical Engineering Technology through Austin Peay—without ever leaving the Hardin Valley Campus.

“I think our partnership with Austin Peay is one that will help close the gap in manufacturing skills in the region,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “It allows our students to move seamlessly from a community college to a four-year university to earn an applied bachelor’s degree, then enter the workforce with much-needed job skills.”

The program’s first 15 students are set to graduate from Pellissippi State this year. They’ll enroll at Austin Peay in the fall as juniors.

Students in the program first earn an Associate of Applied Science degree from Pellissippi State, then continue on to earn a Bachelor of Science from Austin Peay. All four years of classes are taught at the Hardin Valley Campus, by both Pellissippi State and Austin Peay faculty.

The program is designed for working students, and it meets the demand for engineering graduates with a bachelor’s degree in East Tennessee.

“Other opportunities like this do not exist in this region,” said Pat Riddle, Pellissippi State’s Mechanical Engineering/Engineering Technology program coordinator. “Pellissippi State and Austin Peay provide local employers with trained, educated professionals with a bachelor’s degree credential.”

“It’s important that we deliver the academic portion and the follow-up: that our graduates are able to find meaningful job opportunities in the fields they’ve studied,” said William Cox, executive director of the School of Technology and Public Management at Austin Peay.

Registration for fall courses at Pellissippi State, including those in the Engineering Technology partnership with Austin Peay, begins in April.

For more information about the partnership program, contact Cindy Fowinkle, an assistant professor and program coordinator of Engineering Technology at Austin Peay at Pellissippi State, at (865) 694-7651. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State’s ‘Pi Day’ celebrates 3.1415926, Einstein

3.1415926. Those are the first few digits of the mathematical constant pi.

In celebration of the universally recognized number, Pellissippi State Community College hosts a “Pi Day” party on 3/14/15, beginning at 9:26 a.m.

The party, which is free and open to the community, takes place in the Courtyard on the Hardin Valley Campus, weather permitting. (In the event of inclement weather, the event moves into the McWherter Building.) The Hardin Valley Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pi Day celebrations at Pellissippi State end at 1:30 p.m.

Pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Pi Day is celebrated nationally each year on March 14.

The college’s kid-friendly event features plenty of pi- and pie-related fun. Among the festivities: age-appropriate math competitions, a contest to recite the most digits of pi and even a hula-hoop competition.

The Pi Day party showcases Pellissippi State’s advanced manufacturing and 3D printing equipment, including new 3D printers and 3Doodlers (3D printing pens) that will be available for live demonstrations.

March 14 also is the birthday of theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Anyone who comes to Pellissippi State’s Pi Day dressed as Einstein receives a prize.

The event, sponsored by the Pellissippi State Foundation’s Mechanical Engineering Technology (John C. Mauer) fund, raises money for Mechanical Engineering students in the Engineering Technology program to travel to New York City for 3D Print Week. Donations will be accepted, and pies of all flavors will be for sale.

For more information about Pellissippi State and Pi Day, 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.

Culinary Arts at Pellissippi State: pursue a career creating great food

Group of students in 2 rows in aprons and hats

Confit, crème brûlée, coq au vin. Gnocchi, pierogi, béchamel.

They’re more than just a tableful of fancy foreign foods—they’re what’s for dinner, and breakfast and lunch, when it’s prepared by students enrolled in the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute.

Registration is now under way to launch an exciting culinary career through Pellissippi State Community College, with a new round of courses starting spring semester. The application deadline is Jan. 9, and classes begin Jan. 20.

 “Our students learn to cook to the sensory perceptions,” said Tom Gaddis, Culinary Arts program coordinator. “Before you even see fajitas, you hear them sizzling. Before you bite into them, you see the multicolored peppers. Culinary is truly an art.”

Students who pursue a two-year degree in Business/Culinary Arts learn about every aspect of the institutional kitchen: stocks and sauces (“There are five mother, or foundation, sauces,” one of them the creamy béchamel, said Gaddis); moist and dry cooking methods: blanching, braising, poaching, stewing, baking, barbecuing/smoking; equipment, safety; meats, from beef and fowl (coq au vin, confit) to rabbit and venison; seasonal vegetables; desserts (crème brûlée).

“Each instructor has his or her own specialty,” said Gaddis. “One chef is from Pittsburgh, and his specialty is Polish food like pierogi and gnocchi. Another specializes in Mediterranean, and another in Japanese.

“Students are able to pursue careers they genuinely love,” he said, “and Culinary Arts has maintained a very high level of job placement since its inception.”

Culinary Arts launched in 2010, part of a collaborative venture between Pellissippi State and the University of Tennessee. It’s a cohort, meaning students enter and complete the courses together, start to finish. Classes are at the Division Street Campus and in the laboratory kitchens at UT’s Culinary Institute off Neyland Drive.

Graduates earn an Associate of Applied Science degree in Business with a concentration in Culinary Arts. They’re also certified through the National Restaurant Association in food production and sanitation, and they can apply to the American Culinary Federation to become certified culinarians, the first step toward professional chef certification.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Culinary Arts Institute, contact Gaddis at (865) 971-5246 or tfgaddis@pstcc.edu or visit www.pstcc.edu/culinary or call (865) 694-6400.

Band of stage fighters at Pellissippi State takes on Renaissance Festival

2 people fight with swords in Renaissance attire
In the photo, Steve Trigg, left, engages in a mock sword fight with Thomas Crout. Crout plays character Captain Pickle and Trigg plays Beryl Plectrum Codpiece Knackberry Folderol.

Stage-fighting students at Pellissippi State Community College took their unique combat skills to the next level when they performed recently for the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival.

“Our stage-fighting course is unique in Tennessee,” said Charles R. Miller, the college’s Theatre program coordinator and a professor of Liberal Arts. “We have one of the top two-year Theatre programs in the country.”

Students in the stage-fighting course learn the skills to perform mock combat for theatrical purposes. Participants are a mix of full-time students and people from the community enrolled only in the class.

The fighters from Pellissippi State—Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corey, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Steve Trigg and Debi Wetherington—worked as “street characters” at October’s Renaissance Festival in Harriman. Several also performed on stage twice a day in “In a Pickle,” a comedy stunt show, and all honed their skills in “Human Combat Chess,” featuring theatrical sword fighting.

“We were aiming for the highest level of quality and safety available,” said Barrie Paulson, vice president/manager and entertainment director of the East Tennessee Renaissance Festival. “These students from Pellissippi State were cast in lead roles. The word after the performances was that even though the student actors were new, they more than held their own beside other professional stage acts.”

Earlier this year, 10 students at Pellissippi State passed the skills proficiency test of the Society of American Fight Directors. It was the first time the test had been administered in the state in almost 20 years.

In the video, Debi Wetherington and Jordan Cook take part in the Human Combat Chess Match. Jordan plays William Black and Debi plays Mary Tailor, two characters who are engaged to be married, but pitted against each other in the chess match. The video shows their unwillingness to hurt each other even as they are forced to appear to battle.

The college’s stage-fighting course is taught by Bob Borwick, the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee. Borwick teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. Paulson served as a volunteer fight assistant in the course. She, too, passed the SAFD exam earlier this year.

Miller, who taught the stage combat class for years, says he gladly stepped aside for Borwick’s expertise: “Bob has so much great experience, and the quality of our Theatre program comes first.”

“It turned out to be a great opportunity for me to keep current with my stage-fight skills and to scout quality actor-combatants for the Renaissance Festival,” Paulson said.

Paulson and the Pellissippi State 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 skill status in the world of professional theatre.

The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat), and it will be available again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also is offering a non-credit Stage Combat course.

“I would love to see Pellissippi State’s Theatre program become the place for stage combat training in East Tennessee, and the place talent scouts target for expertise,” Paulson said.

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

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