Category Archives: Awards

Pellissippi State, Alcoa Foundation partner for student scholarships

A growing need for machinery operators with mechanical and electrical engineering training is being met through a partnership between Pellissippi State Community College and Alcoa Foundation.

Alcoa Foundation is supporting Pellissippi State students pursuing an industrial maintenance certificate or associate’s degree with a two-year, $50,000 scholarship grant.

Pellissippi State offers an Associate of Applied Science degree in Engineering Technology with a concentration in Industrial Maintenance, as well as a certificate in Industrial Maintenance Technology. The Industrial Maintenance concentration prepares students for careers in large manufacturing companies, working as multicraft, industrial machinery maintenance and repair technicians.

“There is an existing shortage of qualified men and women who are able to maintain and repair equipment in local industry,” said Peggy Mahan Wilson, vice president of College Advancement for Pellissippi State and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“A great opportunity exists to provide students with the skills needed to obtain high-paying jobs in our community. The manufacturing industry is on the rebound in our region, and this scholarship grant will help provide students the necessary training to become experienced-and much needed-maintenance personnel.”

The Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance program at Pellissippi State is an Accelerated Higher Education Associate’s Degree program. AHEAD is designed to meet the needs of busy adults by offering shorter-term courses and credit for prior learning. Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance is also a cohort program. Cohorts allow students to move through their courses as a unified group, encouraging collaboration and fostering long-lasting relationships.

The Alcoa Foundation grant is expected to affect 80 Industrial Maintenance students directly through August 2015.

“This grant,” said Wilson, “will empower Industrial Maintenance students to secure the critical skills necessary to obtain self-sufficiency through the completion of their degree. We are pleased to receive this grant from Alcoa Foundation and honored to have a long history of partnership with them.”

The grant is a continuation of support from Alcoa Foundation, which last year completed a separate $37,000 donation for scholarships for students pursuing an associate’s degree in Engineering Technology/Industrial Maintenance.

For more about Industrial Maintenance, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/cohorts/industrial. To learn more about the college’s many giving opportunities, call the Pellissippi State Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email foundation@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State student awarded local, national EWI scholarship

Widow. Parental caretaker. Displaced worker trying to earn a college degree to improve her value in the workplace.

If anyone needed a helping hand to pursue an education, it was Barbara “Lugene” Bearden.

Bearden is a student at Pellissippi State Community College, and her need—and efforts to do well in school—did not go unnoticed by the Pellissippi State Foundation and the Knoxville Chapter of the Executive Women International. The two entities partner each year to distribute $3,000 in scholarships to deserving candidates.

Bearden was recently recognized by the EWI local chapter with an ASIST (Adult Students in Scholastic Transition) Scholarship. The support was awarded by the Pellissippi State Foundation.

The mother of two grown children, Bearden is one of three students at Pellissippi State who each received a $1,000 scholarship from EWI Knoxville Chapter this year. She has since been named one of the 12 winners of a national EWI scholarship for $2,000.

The ASIST scholarship is available to adults facing economic, social or physical challenges who are looking to improve their situation through educational opportunities.

“The Pellissippi State Foundation is proud to partner with Executive Women International to provide scholarship opportunities to women who are working to better their lives by going back to school,” said Peggy Wilson. Wilson is the college’s vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“We like to recognize these women’s hard work as they pursue opportunities to improve their lives.”

Bearden was born and raised in Knoxville. She has been a widow for 10 years. After she lost her job due to downsizing, she cared for her mother, who passed away in 2011. Bearden is now studying Business Administration, concentrating in Management, at Pellissippi State and maintains a 3.65 GPA.

“While searching for a new job, I found that all the companies hiring for the position I knew how to perform required a minimum of an associate’s degree with work experience,” she said. “At age 54 and as a widow, I could not afford to start back to work at minimum wage and work my way back up.

“I need and want to find employment with a company where I will be of service, and where I will be well compensated for my expertise. With more than 25 years of working as an administrative assistant, along with my education from Pellissippi State, I feel confident that I will make a top-notch manager in any office.”

EWI Knoxville Chapter also awarded $1,000 scholarships to Pellissippi State students Leslie Ferrer and Riitta-Maija Lehtinen.

Ferrer is a native of Indiana and has three adult children with her husband, Jeff. She is pursuing Spanish and maintains a 3.8 GPA. Lehtinen immigrated to the United States from Finland and is majoring in Interior Design Technology. She maintains a 4.0 GPA.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation and its many giving opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

Haslam announces grant for Pellissippi State

group of people standing in line holding an oversized check

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam today announced a $1,386,975 grant for Pellissippi State Community College to fund much-needed equipment.

The funds will help Pellissippi State purchase equipment for its Advanced Manufacturing and Nursing programs, particularly equipment needed for new laboratories and a workforce development center at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

“Today is a special day at Pellissippi State,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “We know we have a lot of work to do, across the state, to reach the goals of ‘Drive to 55,’ and here at Pellissippi State believe the way to do that is through partnerships.”

Male behind podium with flags in the background

“These grants represent a substantial investment that will result in highly skilled workers,” Haslam said. “This will help meet the growing demand among employers in the region for well-trained employees.”

Pellissippi State’s grant is part of Haslam’s “Drive to 55” effort, which aims to increase the number of Tennesseans with post-secondary credentials. The governor proposed and the General Assembly approved $16.5 million in this year’s state budget for equipment and technology related to workforce development.

At the Friday, Dec. 13, presentation, Haslam also announced a $450,000 grant for Tennessee College of Applied Technology-Knoxville.

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

Pellissippi State earns statewide accolades for student success in pre-college-level math

Pellissippi State Community College took top honors in the state in a number of recent reports involving learning support mathematics courses. Learning support mathematics prepares students for college-level math courses.

A National Community College Benchmark Project report for 2012 and 2013 recognized Pellissippi State as having the highest completion rate of all community colleges in Tennessee for students taking developmental math classes.

“Learning support mathematics is designed to help students become ready for college-level math classes in one semester,” said Mary Monroe-Ellis, the college’s dean of Transitional Studies.

The learning support mathematics program at Pellissippi State includes two hours per week in a regular classroom, two hours in a computer classroom and two hours in the Learning Commons, where students get support from faculty and tutors.

Another study, by the Tennessee Board of Regents, found that Pellissippi State’s learning support mathematics students were 189 percent more likely to pass their courses in their first term of enrollment than students in similar developmental math classes at other community colleges. TBR is the governing body for all Tennessee community colleges.

“Students are eligible for learning support when they score below 19 on their ACT math results,” said Monroe-Ellis, “and they then take a placement test to determine at what level they enter the program or, in some cases, to test out of it and begin college-level courses.”

Learning support mathematics students must pass five core competencies, with at least an 80 percent mastery level. Once they pass, they can move on to the college-level math classes required by their degree program.

A third study, the 2013 Metric Report for the Complete College Tennessee Act of 2010, showed that Pellissippi State students are among the top in the state to complete learning support mathematics classes. They also were found to be among the top in the state to succeed in finishing subsequent college-level math courses.

“That’s where the real success is,” Monroe-Ellis said. “We want students to pass learning support mathematics, but we also want them to be able to successfully complete the college-level math courses they take later.”

For more information about learning support at Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu/transitional_studies/ or call (865) 694-6400. To find out about all of the college’s program offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State awarded grant promoting women in IT

Pellissippi State Community College has won a $1,000 grant to help encourage women in computing and information technology programs.

“In some of my computer science and information technology classes, I’m the only woman or in the minority among mostly male students,” said Christy Watson, a Computer Science and Information Technology student and author of the application for the Symantec Student Seed Fund grant.

The grant—administered through the National Center for Women and IT Academic Alliance—will be awarded to the college’s student chapter of the Association of Information Technology Professionals. Watson is the Pellissippi State AITP’s vice president and secretary.

“I think women often relegate computers and technology to being the equivalent of ‘gaming,’ or they feel that they’ve outgrown their interest in computers,” Watson said.

“That’s the norm in many information technology and computer classes: that there are few women, or that women feel intimidated in the computing and IT fields,” said Gitti Negahban. Negahban is faculty advisor for the AITP chapter at Pellissippi State.

The chapter plans to use the NCWIT Academic Alliance grant to host an event for local female high school and Pellissippi State students to raise awareness of career opportunities in computer science and information technology. The promotional event is planned for spring.

“We are excited about and grateful for the opportunity to share and be an influence on young women in their career choices,” Watson said.

“The NCWIT has a goal of increasing diversity in the computing and IT fields,” said Sharon Burlingame, “because diversity increases creativity and helps everyone find better solutions.” Burlingame is program coordinator of the CSIT degree program at Pellissippi State.

“We’re excited to help forward that goal. Everything we do to help women will also help everyone else.”

The NCWIT Academic Alliance includes more than 275 colleges and universities. The program is charged with implementing institutional change in higher education, particular in providing access to leading-edge best practices for recruiting and retaining women. Symantec, a NCWIT sponsor member, is a computer security software corporation and Fortune 500 company.

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

Pellissippi State students named SouthEast Bank Scholars

group of people holding a check
Pellissippi State Community College and SouthEast Bank officials presented Pellissippi State students with scholarships in November. Pictured, from left, are SouthEast Bank president Monty Montgomery, Pellissippi State vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation Peggy Wilson, student Sydney Youngman, Pellissippi State president L. Anthony Wise Jr. and SouthEast Bank scholarship director Tommy Schumpert. Additional student recipients Jerri Reed and Michael Smith are not pictured.

The Pellissippi State Foundation and SouthEast Bank announced last month that three Pellissippi State students have been selected to receive the SouthEast Bank Scholars award for the 2013-2014 academic year.

The recipients are Jerri Reed, Michael Smith and Sydney Youngman. The scholarship will provide each student with $3,000 annually to reduce the cost of education and assist in accomplishing academic and personal goals.

“We are very appreciative of SouthEast Bank’s generous support of these deserving students,” Peggy Wilson. Wilson is the college’s vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

Reed, Smith and Youngman join a prestigious group of students chosen by their respective postsecondary institutions around the state for exceptional character, academic commitment and community involvement.

“SouthEast Bank is proud to support Pellissippi State Community College in awarding scholarships that help keep our future leaders right here in Tennessee,” said Monty Montgomery, SouthEast Bank president.

“We are a true community bank operated by local employees who live and work alongside the people we serve, and we are committed to using our resources to reinvest in our schools, organizations, and neighborhoods.”

If a Pellissippi State student furthers his or her education at a Tennessee four-year university, the funds extend two additional years.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation and its many giving opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State honors couple on National Philanthropy Day

Group of older adults standing in a row, holding a framed award
Pellissippi State Community College honored longtime supporters Joe and Judy Johnson at a National Philanthropy Day celebration by the Great Smoky Mountain Chapter of the Associate of Fundraising Professionals in November. From left are Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation; Joe and Judy Johnson; and L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.

Pellissippi State Community College and the Pellissippi State Foundation honored Joe and Judy Johnson at a National Philanthropy Day celebration Nov. 14.

Joe and Judy Johnson are longtime supporters of Pellissippi State. Joe was chairman of the Foundation’s Board of Trustees from 2011 to 2013, and the couple supports an endowed scholarship for Music students named in honor of Mary Costa.

“The Johnsons truly ‘walk the talk’ through their involvement with their church, higher education and other community organizations,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“We give not only to have the joy of giving but also to help our fellow man,” the Johnsons said.

Joe and Judy were honored during a luncheon of the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Great Smoky Mountain Chapter (www.afpknoxville.afpnet.org), Nov. 14 at Cherokee Country Club. Other East Tennessee organizations and companies also recognized volunteers and fundraisers at the event.

For more information about the Pellissippi State Foundation and Pellissippi State giving opportunities, visit www.pstcc.edu/foundation or call (865) 694-6528.

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Pellissippi State Community College is a member of Tennessee’s Community Colleges. Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. We offer associates degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees. For more information, please visit us online at www.tncommunitycolleges.org.

Pellissippi State tops state in associate’s degrees in 2012-2013

Pellissippi State Community College led Tennessee in the number of associate’s degrees awarded by two-year colleges this past school year, and now the college has established its first winter Commencement ceremony next month to accommodate graduates and their families.

Pellissippi State awarded 1,265 associate’s degrees in the 2012-2013 school year, more than any other two-year college in the state, according to the Tennessee Board of Regents, the school’s governing body. The college also awarded 935 certificates, the second highest number in Tennessee.

“Since L. Anthony Wise Jr. became president [in 2011], he has said he wanted us to become the No. 1 producer of associate’s degrees in the state. We did it!” said Rebecca Ashford, vice president of Student Affairs.

“We’ve been focusing on increasing graduation rates: from making the process for applying to graduate simpler for students, to implementing academic support programs, to increasing the number of cohort programs we offer, and even to changing our focus and message to students in advising.”

“It is generally advantageous to students to earn a degree, rather than to just take some courses and transfer,” said Lois Reynolds, assistant vice president of Academic Affairs, “because universities are more likely to accept all of the students’ credits with a complete degree.”

As the number of degrees awarded to Pellissippi State students has increased, the college’s annual Commencement ceremony in the spring has grown correspondingly larger. In May, 514 students walked across the stage at graduation.

“We’ve never had more than one graduation ceremony in an academic year,” said Ashford, “but at this past spring graduation ceremony, we had so many students and guests that we found we’d grown too big for our venue, and realized the ceremony has become less intimate.”

Pellissippi State’s administration responded by adding a second graduation ceremony: Friday, Dec. 13, the college will host its inaugural winter Commencement.

Any student graduating in summer or fall 2013 is eligible to walk across the stage at the ceremony. The event takes place at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville.

Ashford and Reynolds hope the ceremony will attract Pellissippi State graduates who earn their degrees in the summer or fall but otherwise would have declined to return for spring graduation.

Pellissippi State is among several of the state’s community colleges seeing gains in the number of degrees and certifications they award. This past school year, community colleges awarded 14,299 degrees and certificates—8,543 associate’s degrees and 5,756 certificates, according to TBR.

That number compares to 18,531 degrees and certificates awarded by universities, and the proportion of community college-to-university students who are graduating or earning certificates is increasing: in 2009, community colleges awarded only half as many degrees and certificates as universities.

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

Small Business Development Center names ‘Rising Star’ business excellence winner

Group of 3 males and 1 female.
(From left) Scott Schimmel and Lisa Sorensen, the winners of Tennessee Small Business Development Center’s Rising Star honor, accept the award honoring their businesses, Bliss and Bliss Home, from Pellissippi State Community College President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and Knoxville TSBDC Director Larry Rossini during an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12.

In an award ceremony Tuesday, Nov. 12, the Knoxville office of the Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State Community College, presented Bliss and Bliss Home as its 2013 Rising Star winner.

The Rising Star award is the highest honor TSBDC has to recognize growing small businesses in the Knoxville area.

“From start-up to success, Bliss owners Lisa Sorensen and Scott Schimmel took advantage of the services of the Knoxville Tennessee Small Business Development Center by participating in one-on-one consulting for budgeting, inventory control and financial projections,” said Laura Overstreet, TSBDC spokesperson.

Sorensen and Schimmel also completed the Strategic Management Learning System series of 12 business training modules, provided by TSBDC and sponsored by the Knoxville Chamber.

Bliss recently celebrated its 10-year anniversary. Today, the business operates at three locations with the support of approximately 40 employees.

“Our TSBDC counselor has been a phenomenal asset and a great sounding board for our business,” Schimmel said. “He always figures out a way to ask us the right questions so we can do our homework and make the right decisions for our business.

“There are business principles that go hand in hand with any business, and TSBDC counselors have a great understanding of those business principles. They’re able to shed light on the questions we have, able to apply those principles to our specific business ideas and issues. Their one-on-one counselors help us feel relaxed about our decisions.”

Sorensen and Schimmel first opened Bliss, a gift and accessory shop, on Market Square in 2003. In 2005, they followed that start-up success with the opening of Bliss Home, a furniture and interior design store, also on Market Square. In 2008, the partners opened another Bliss Home location in West Knoxville.

TSBDC offers a network of professional business consultants at 13 centers throughout Tennessee. For more information, visit www.tsbdc.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State earns two state public relations association honors

protrait of female with glassesPellissippi State Community College came away with two awards at the Tennessee College Public Relations Association conference in Cookeville this summer.

Julia Wood, Pellissippi State’s director of Marketing and Communications, was named the Charles Holmes Award recipient, and the college received a silver Communications and Marketing Award for design of a campus sustainability poster.

The Charles Holmes Award is presented annually to a member of TCPRA who demonstrates steadfast service and earnest dedication to the organization. A founding member of TCPRA, Holmes is a former public relations director at the University of Memphis.

“It was a complete surprise,” Wood said of receiving the award. “It was also very special for me, because I used to work for Charles Holmes at the University of Memphis. Receiving an award named for him is a great honor.”

Wood has been a TCPRA member for 28 years and has served as president and vice president of the organization. Her two-year term as president ended in June.

sustainability poster with ladybug on a leafPellissippi State’s Marketing and Communications Office also produced the campus sustainability poster that won an award. Designed by Mark Friebus, the brightly colored poster sports an illustration of a ladybug on a leaf. It was designed to hang in the Goins Building Rotunda on the Hardin Valley Campus to educate students and visitors about the college’s sustainable campus initiative.

Pellissippi State students initiated a small campus fee to support sustainability initiatives in 2011, and those funds have been used for various projects, including recycling and waste reduction programs, educational events, and building plans for conversion to energy efficient operations.

“Pellissippi State has made great strides in promoting a sustainable campus, and we’re very proud of that,” Wood said. “We’re also very proud to have garnered a TCPRA award for the poster.”