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 or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or

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 or visit 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 or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State: Early Childhood Education intro course hits record enrollment for fall

posted in: Awards, Cohorts, Degree Programs, TBR | 0
Female handing object to young child.
Hannah Wilson, an Early Childhood Education student at Pellissippi State Community College, interacts with a child through the program’s student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

Enrollment in the introductory course of the Early Childhood Education degree program at Pellissippi State Community College is at an all-time high this semester.

Twenty-eight students signed up for Introduction to Early Childhood Education.

“These are great numbers for us. We’re so excited to have students interested in Early Childhood Education,” said Terenia Moody, Early Childhood’s program coordinator. “This semester, we’ve also introduced a new cohort program at the Magnolia Avenue Campus that is really taking off.”

An additional 21 students are taking the cohort courses offered at Magnolia Avenue. In a cohort, students begin, progress through and complete their coursework as a group. Cohorts encourage greater community and teamwork among students, as well as providing greater individualized attention from faculty.
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Pellissippi State gives students the opportunity to earn a short-term certificate, an Associate of Applied Science degree in Early Childhood Education and an Associate of Science in Teaching Pre-K-3.

“These different certificates and degrees offer our students a wide range of options for their futures,” said Moody. “They can pursue a career in child care right away, or they can transfer to a four-year institution and finish their education. Our students might be entrepreneurs, wanting to start their own center, or they might wish to be a teacher or a teacher’s assistant.”
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The program also has an active student club, “Club Ed,” which is devoted to community service and volunteerism. Students often volunteer to provide children’s activities at community events such as Fantasy of Trees, Boo at the Zoo, and EarthFest and at Pellissippi State functions like the Festival of Cultures.

For more information about Early Childhood Education, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

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