Pellissippi State recognizes outstanding student achievements

Pellissippi State Community College acknowledged students for their outstanding achievements at the 2015 Academic Awards ceremony, which took place April 28 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Carly Amber Baskette and Petr Stephanovich Bulkhak were named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. They were nominated in recognition of scholarly achievement as members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Inductees into the 2014-2015 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges are Mobin Araghi, Barbara Bearden, Patrick Bledsoe, Kevin Brooks, Landon Burke, Amber Coffey, Brandi Crass, Rebecca Fields, Laura King, Susan Minehan, Nichole Proctor, Yvette Satchel and Bonnie Walker.

Pellissippi State’s Altruist Scholar 2014-2015 is Barbara Bearden. Service Leadership Excellence Award winners are David Arnopole and Anna Thomas. Outstanding Campus Leadership Award winner is Alayna Strickland.

Awards of Merit were presented to students in several academic disciplines: Heather M. Potter Clark, Michelle Eder, Erik Heng-Fischbach, Richard Grant, Corey D. Puckett, Molly E. Roberson, Leighann Romanesk, Alexandra N. Rozanski, Jamie Stanley.

Outstanding Student Awards went to students in recognition of their work in specific subject, program or course areas: Alexandria Atkins (Chemistry), Leyton Adams (Mathematics), Simon Boka (Mathematics), Lauren Byington (College Success), Amanda Freuler (Biology), Zachary Jerome (Mathematics), Robert Jeffrey Keith (Allied Health), Kyle Kennedy (Fine Arts), Andrew Lawson (Botany), Nathan Martindale (Physical Science), Deanna Sanders (Fine Arts), Kalen Sellers (Behavioral Science) and Ryan Zotz (Early Childhood Education). 

Outstanding Graduate Award winners are Sherri Ahlstrom, Barbara Bearden, Darcy Coffey, Lori Deer, Anielle Duncan, Christopher A. Finger, Megan Grubb, David Hodge, Stephanie A. Kaser, Whitney Rebecca Kaul, Carlee Laws, Julianna Meyers, Tyler Miller, Donald Peltz, Sheena Pilkey, Sarah Ramsay, Misti B. Rivers, Ciara Sheets, Lillian Smith, Thao Nguyen Strong, Benjamin Taylor, Courtney M. Vaughn, Edward Warren, Derek White and Courtney Whited.

The Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs Student Leadership Award was presented to Colby Dorcely. The Paralegal Studies Award was given to Megan Grubb.

The following students in Liberal Arts were recognized with Excellence Awards in these subjects: Rusul S. Alani in French and Jake Harrison Miller and Cullen M. Jones in Spanish.

For the second year, faculty member Jerry Sherrod was selected by students to receive the Faculty of the Year Award.

For additional information about Pellissippi State and its programs, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State ‘2+2’ alumnus named ‘Teacher of the Year’

Charlie ArpCharles Arp, a Pellissippi State Community College alumnus, has been named “Teacher of the Year” for Sweetwater City Schools in Monroe County. He teaches fifth grade at Brown Intermediate School.

Arp graduated through a teacher education partnership between Pellissippi State and Tennessee Technological University in 2012. Graduates from what is called the “2+2” program earn an Associate of Science in Teaching degree from Pellissippi State, then a Bachelor of Science degree in Multidisciplinary Studies and K-6 Teacher Licensure from Tennessee Tech.

Students in 2+2 attend the first two years as Pellissippi State students and the last two years as Tennessee Tech students—but they take all of their classes at Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus. A.S.T. is a cohort program, meaning the students go through the entire sequence together.

“Charlie was one of those students that you don’t forget,” said Barbara Jenkins, program coordinator of the A.S.T. program. “He knew what he wanted to do—to teach and make a difference with children in the elementary classroom—and he pursued his goal without hesitation.”

Arp says he was surprised and pleased to receive the Teacher of the Year recognition after teaching only three years. The honor is awarded through Little Tennessee Valley Educational Cooperative.

In April, he also earned Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ 2015 Extreme Classroom Makeover. The award comes with a $25,000 grand prize that funds new technology in the classroom.

Arp credits his success to Pellissippi State and Tennessee Tech and the partnership 2+2 program.

“Pellissippi State prepared me for nearly every aspect of teaching,” he said. “My students have had some of the highest possible science TCAP [Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program] scores in the state. I would say 75 percent of my teaching toolkit is from things I learned at Pellissippi State.

“The 2+2 program even helped prepare me for the interview for this job [at Brown Intermediate]. The only mistake I made was that I didn’t start the 2+2 program straight out of high school.”

Arp employs a number of distinctive techniques to teach his students, including using the Minecraft video game as a way of teaching mathematics and keeping children moving during math lessons by making use of a class-sized coordinate plane. When teaching reading and English lessons, Arp uses movie trailers based on novels to get his students interested in literature.

For more information about the A.S.T., 2+2 and other programs offered by or in partnership with Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class also honor society’s largest

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portrait of femaleDoneisha Wilburn was one of 176 students at Pellissippi State Community College inducted into the national Gamma Beta Phi Society earlier this school year.

The induction was Pellissippi State’s inaugural Gamma Beta Phi class—it was also the biggest community college class in the 40,000-plus-member honor society.

“Pellissippi State had the largest community college induction in the entire organization,” said Kevin Fillers. Fillers, himself a Pellissippi State alumnus, is assistant national executive director of Gamma Beta Phi.

“Gamma Beta Phi sets out to recognize and enrich the lives of academically excellent students who are willing to make a commitment to improving their community through service projects.”

Wilburn, who is pursuing a career in social work, is set to earn her associate’s degree in May.

“I was honored to be named to Gamma Beta Phi,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve ever been involved in an honors society.”

The Gamma Beta Phi Society is dedicated to promoting education and providing community service to colleges and communities. Pellissippi State’s first Gamma Beta Phi induction took place in October 2014.

The college’s Gamma Beta Phi chapter is one of several student clubs that offer the opportunity for students to give back to the community and be honored for their academic achievements.

“When students get involved in a club, they feel connected to Pellissippi State for years to come,” said Kim Thomas-LaRue, director of Student Life. “Our goal is to lead students to connect and engage on campus so that their academic experience is enhanced.”

Wilburn is active in Student Life and is a member of the college’s Student Activities Board, which plans campus events for students. She says both organizations keep her busy on campus, but she loves opportunities to get to know people and to help.

“It’s an honor to do that: to help out around campus as much as we can,” said Wilburn. “It’s busy, but it’s fun and good to be involved and to help students.

“I started at another community college in Nashville before moving back home and coming to Pellissippi State, but that ended up being the best thing for me. Pellissippi State has helped me start out well on my academic path.”

After Wilburn graduates in May, she plans to transfer to Tennessee State University, where she will continue working toward a bachelor’s degree in social work.

“I love to help people. Knowing that you made an impact and that you changed someone’s life for the better is always a rewarding feeling.”

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

Pellissippi State honors Knox County, City of Knoxville

group of people standing in rows, holding award
Knox County Mayor Tim Burchett and City of Knoxville Mayor Madeline Rogero, recipients of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy, celebrated the grand opening of the Center for Student and Community Engagement at Pellissippi State Community College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus Friday, Feb. 6. Also pictured are Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr., Magnolia Avenue Campus dean Rosalyn Tillman, TBR chancellor John Morgan, TBR vice chancellor of community colleges Warren R. Nichols, TBR board member Danni Varlan, and other elected officials.

On Friday, February 6, Pellissippi State Community College and the Tennessee Board of Regents honored the support of Knox County and the City of Knoxville during an awards ceremony at the College’s Magnolia Avenue Campus.

Knox County and City of Knoxville representatives, including mayors Tim Burchett and Madeline Rogero, were presented the Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy in honor of their combined investment of more than $1 million to the College, particularly the Magnolia Avenue Campus.

“The support and partnership of our local governments has been critical to our success in reaching students and helping them succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. in his nomination letter.

“Courses and programs offered at the Magnolia Avenue Campus help build our regional workforce. Local government investment in the College has helped to support the expansion of our regional tax base and keep unemployment low in East Tennessee.

“At Pellissippi State, our collaboration with local government is impacting workforce development and student success. Without question, our mission to serve our community has been enhanced through our partnerships with the governments of Knox County and the City of Knoxville,” he added.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, visit or call (865) 329-3100.

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