From professional paintballer to youngest assistant director, Pellissippi State graduate aims for success

Kevin-Fillers-jpgKevin Fillers thought he would spend his career aiming a paintball gun at opponents, but with the help of Pellissippi State Community College, he’s aiming instead for a career in business.

Fillers, who earned an Associate of Science degree from Pellissippi State in 2011, was the top graduate from the University of Tennessee’s college of business administration in December 2013.

“I had an unusual path into college,” Fillers said. “When I graduated high school, I wanted to become a professional paintball player, and I eventually was offered a contract and played professional paintball from 2005 to 2008. But I could see that it wasn’t going to remain a long-term career option, so in 2006, I started taking occasional classes at Pellissippi State.”

Fillers, who graduated from UT with a 4.0 grade point average, attributes his success to those early classes at Pellissippi State.

“If I’d had to deal with traditional class formats,” he said, “I probably never would have started going to school.

“Because of how much I worked and how much I traveled, the only class options open to me were the online, one-night-a-week or two-night-a-week classes. That nontraditional path gave me an entirely new perspective on my future, and allowed me a new start.”

Fillers began taking full-time classes at Pellissippi State in 2010, while also working full time at the Gamma Beta Phi Society’s national headquarters in Oak Ridge.

He worked his way up from a minor position in Gamma Beta Phi, a national honors and service organization for college students, to the finance director and, ultimately, the assistant director position. He is the youngest-ever assistant director of the society. He also owns his own paintball company and school, The Bizniss.

Fillers began his classes at Pellissippi State with the intention of earning a mechanical engineering degree, but he switched to business classes when he realized he wanted to work more closely with other people.

His next academic goal is to attend UT starting fall 2015 in pursuit of an M.B.A. or J.D.

“Kevin was a nontraditional student who was not quite ready to attend college right out of high school,” said Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of Mathematics, “but he entered Pellissippi State when he was ready, and he has thrived ever since.

“I am thrilled for him, and I think he is an excellent example of how well Pellissippi State prepares students for transfer to four-year colleges.”

Fillers says he credits his early academic success specifically to Pellissippi State’s offerings that are geared toward working adults.

“I’m so grateful to Pellissippi State, because I got the start on my new career path here. I have worked really hard for the past seven years, working full time and attending school, and I’m proud of how much I’ve accomplished.”

He also recognizes his work ethic as an inheritance from his father, Fred Fillers. The elder Fillers earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree while serving as a lieutenant colonel in the Army National Guard, working for the U.S. Department of Energy, and raising a family.

“Now, I understand how hard my father worked to make the best life for himself and to give us every opportunity that he could,” the younger Fillers said.

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

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Honda grant to help urban high-schoolers at Pellissippi State’s Summer Institute

Pellissippi State Community College’s Summer Institute will get a boost this year to include a new STEM—science, technology, engineering, mathematics—emphasis, thanks to a $46,760 grant from the American Honda Foundation. The grant was awarded through the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“The grant will help fund academic programs for urban high school students that will provide rigorous exposure to relevant STEM career fields,” said L. Anthony Wise, Pellissippi State president.

“This exposure will broaden the educational opportunities for these students and allow them to consider new fields of study for college and career.”

The Summer Institute takes place on the Hardin Valley Campus each summer and is open to rising sophomores from Austin-East and Fulton high schools. The institute is affiliated with Project GRAD Knoxville, which seeks to boost excellence in education, particularly in schools in urban Knoxville.

The American Honda Foundation grant funds four new STEM programs at the 2014 Summer Institute: Alternative Energy, Robotics, Aquabiotics and Photographic Science. The grant also supports professional development, a new instructor, field trips and equipment.

“Through grant giving, the American Honda Foundation seeks to develop youth in the areas of math, science, engineering, technology and literacy,” said Alexandra Warnier, manager of American Honda Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Pellissippi State on its important contribution in this area and look forward to the impact and results that will be achieved.”

The Summer Institute has been offered annually since 2001 and serves about 150 students per year. Since 2005, 946 students participating in the institute have gone on to graduate from high school and earn a college scholarship for up to four years.

Summer Institute participants from Austin-East and Fulton who continue on to attend college at Pellissippi State have a higher GPA average and take fewer pre-college-level courses than students from those two high schools who enroll at Pellissippi State but didn’t take part in the summer program.

To learn more about the giving opportunities available through the Pellissippi State Foundation, visit https://giving.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6528. For more information about Pellissippi State and its programs, go to www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.

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Pellissippi State hosts digital workflow expert for March 6 lecture

R. Mac Holbert, the co-founder of Nash Editions and The Image Collective

R. Mac Holbert, the co-founder of Nash Editions and The Image Collective

Pellissippi State Community College will host R. Mac Holbert, the co-founder of Nash Editions and The Image Collective and an expert on digital workflow, at a lecture presentation on Thursday, March 6.

Holbert discusses digital workflow 6:30-7:30 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free and is open to the community.

Digital workflow is the process of taking a raw digital photo on a camera and converting it into a high-quality fine art print.

“Mac is one of the leading people in digital print and in Adobe Photoshop—which, these days, essentially constitutes digital workflow—as well,” said Kurt Eslick, an associate professor in Photography.

“I have attended one of his workshops and was so impressed with his presentation. I thought he would be of great interest to our students and to the community. Holbert is really an interesting guy, especially to those interested in digital photography.”

Nash Editions, founded with musician and photographer Graham Nash in 1989, has been regarded as the world’s first digital printmaking studio focusing solely on photography. The Image Collective, founded in 2011, seeks to help cultural heritage institutions create revenue through the sale of print-on-demand fine art prints.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State: Honors students featured in student music recital

Pellissippi State Community College’s Student Honors Recital will feature the musical stylings of 18 students.

The recital is at 7 p.m. Thursday, March 6, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The community is invited.

The event is free, but donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund.

“Eighteen of our best student performers will offer up a wide variety of musical offerings, ranging from classical to Broadway to jazz and blues,” said Bill Brewer, Music program coordinator and associate professor.

“Students are chosen through an audition process upon recommendation of their instructors at Pellissippi State. Each student will perform a single selection at this showcase recital event.”

The Student Honors Recital is the latest in a string of performances during Pellissippi State’s yearlong Music Concert Series. The series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

All piano performances and accompaniments will be performed on Steinways, in keeping with Pellissippi State’s status as an All Steinway School.

For additional information about the Pellissippi State Music Concert Series or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State announces new Automated Industrial Systems concentration

Automation is at the technological cutting edge of manufacturing. Now training in that technology is available at Pellissippi State Community College, and it’s linked to a degree.

In fall 2013, Pellissippi State launched a new Automated Industrial Systems concentration within the Engineering Technology program. Students who graduate in Engineering Technology earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“Manufacturing is now high-tech. I don’t know of any manufacturing job that doesn’t include automation,” said Margaret Ann Jeffries, dean of Engineering and Media Technologies.

The new AIS concentration will train students to operate state-of-the-art automated manufacturing equipment, including programmable controller training systems, robotics and motor training equipment.

“In order for students to be ready to go to work,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president, “we must continue to integrate newer technology into our training programs.

“The cutting-edge equipment used in our AIS concentration courses also will be used for our new and existing engineering technology, workforce training, and STEM [science, technology, engineering and mathematics] awareness programs.”

Much of the new training equipment was purchased through a $50,000 grant from DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“At DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee, we specialize in robot design and programming and now have more than 800 robots on our production lines,” said Mike Brackett. Brackett is a DENSO Foundation board member and senior vice president of Corporate Services at DENSO Manufacturing Tennessee.

“Automation will continue to be critical in the future of DENSO and our automotive customers, meaning we need talented and knowledgeable people in this area.”

DENSO is not the only local manufacturer that uses automated industrial systems.

“Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, Inc. utilizes advanced automation and robotic systems throughout our production process,” said Kennon Rollins, engineer manager for Green Mountain. The Vermont-based company has a manufacturing facility at Forks of the River in East Knox County.

“With the advancement of automated control systems, the need for proficient skills in computers and electrical, pneumatic, and mechanical systems and controls has only increased. It is an absolute necessity to have not only technical knowledge but also critical thinking skills that can be used for troubleshooting or getting to a root cause of a problem.”

For more information about Engineering Technology and other academic offerings at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State: Abolitionist John Brown topic of Feb. 27 talk

Joy-IngramJoy Ingram, an associate history professor at Pellissippi State Community College, delivers a presentation about white Civil War abolitionist John Brown Thursday, Feb. 27.

Part of the college’s Faculty Lecture Series, Ingram’s presentation, “John Brown: Maniacal Egoist or Moral Crusader?” begins at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The event is free. The community is invited.

“The South was used to slave rebellions,” said Ingram, “but Brown’s uprising was the first time a person from the North had come to the South and committed acts of violence to try to free the slaves. Some historians say he sparked the Civil War.

“He’s been labeled crazy, a martyr, a religious zealot, a hero. I’m not going to try to put a label on him—I’ll leave that to the audience. But I will try to see what sets him apart from other abolitionists, what made him unique and what the end result of his actions was.”

Brown believed armed insurrection was the only way to end slavery in America. He and his followers instigated a number of conflicts in the South, culminating in an unsuccessful raid that he led on a federal armory in Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Brown was captured there and charged with treason, then hanged.

“Brown did not accomplish his plan to end slavery before his death,” said Ingram, “but his ideals lived on. The Harpers Ferry raid in 1859 escalated tension that eventually led to Southern secession and the Civil War.” The war began in 1861 and ended in 1865.

The Faculty Lecture Series is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State, which brings to the community cultural activities ranging from music and theatre to international celebrations, lectures, and the fine arts.

To learn more about “John Brown” or The Arts at Pellissippi State, call (865) 694-6400 or visit www.pstcc.edu/arts. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State to host Humphrey Fellows in February, March

FELLOWS

Engin Ayvaz

Pellissippi State Community College will host two Humphrey Fellows during February and March in an effort to foster understanding about the role of community colleges in the United States.

Humphrey Fellows are mid-career professionals from other nations who travel to the U.S. and spend one academic year at a university or other higher education institution. The program, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, was established in 1978. Professionals from 24 countries participate.

Pellissippi State first welcomes Engin Ayvaz, director of the school of foreign languages at Yasar University in Izmir, Turkey, from Feb. 23 to March 1. He is being hosted by Boston University and is a professional affiliate of the English language studies department at Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

March 23-29, Pellissippi State will host Dr. Nohier El Medany, who is a physician, clinical pathologist, medical manager and certified trainer for the Egyptian Ministry of Health. She is a fellow at Tulane University.

Both fellows will give a presentation during their time on campus, and each free lecture will be open to the community.

Dr. Nohier El Medany

Dr. Nohier El Medany

Ayvaz will speak at 12:25 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 27. Dr. Medany will speak at 11:50 a.m., Monday, March 24. Both presentations will be held in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“Topics could include Arab Spring and the revolutions and uprisings in the Middle East,” said college president emeritus Allen Edwards. “Dr. Medany might discuss the role of women in Egypt.”

While in the United States, Humphrey Fellows spend the year completing non-degree graduate level study, leadership development and professional collaboration with U.S. counterparts. During their time at Pellissippi State, Ayvaz and Dr. Medany will meet with groups on campus and in the community.

“We hope that these influential fellows will return home and perhaps introduce the concept of community colleges to countries that need to bring higher education and technical and health education programs to the masses,” Edwards said.

“Many countries are spending money to build selective universities, even though those institutions might not provide an efficient and effective way of educating and developing a large middle class.”

The Humphrey Fellows’ visits to the college are sponsored by Pellissippi State and the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

TnCIS, with headquarters at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. More than 425 students and 65 faculty from across Tennessee participated in the summer 2013 study abroad programs organized by TnCIS. There are 18 study abroad programs planned for summer 2014. For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call (865) 539-7280.

For more information about Pellissippi State, 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.

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Pellissippi State hosts Knoxville Opera for ‘Magical Music of Shakespeare’

“The Magical Music of Shakespeare” is the theme of a special Knoxville Opera Company performance at Pellissippi State Community College on Monday, Feb. 24.

The KOC program features musical selections from operas and Broadway musicals that were inspired by Shakespeare plays, among them, “Romeo and Juliet,” “Hamlet,” and “Othello.” Performers include University of Tennessee Opera Theatre alumni. Brian Salesky is executive director and conductor of the Knoxville Opera.

“The Magical Music of Shakespeare” is at 2 p.m. in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is free and the community is invited.

“We’re delighted to have the Knoxville Opera come to present a program of Shakespeare-inspired opera,” said Carol Luther, professor of English at Pellissippi State.

“Shakespeare’s influence has spread to many other arts. The musical adaptations reveal new facets in Shakespeare’s plays and once again confirm his genius.”

For more information about Pellissippi State, 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.

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Pellissippi State presents student theatre production ‘Freedom Circus’

Pellissippi State Community College students will be the stars—and writers and directors—of the upcoming theatre production “Freedom Circus,” Feb. 21-23.

“Freedom Circus” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in Pellissippi State’s Clayton Performing Arts Center, on the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Additional performances are 7:30 p.m., Feb. 22, and 2 p.m., Feb. 23.

“Expect the funny, weird, shocking and poignant all in one sitting, in this collection of short plays written and directed by, and starring, students from Pellissippi State’s Theatre program,” said Charles R. Miller, Theatre program coordinator and professor.

Admission is free, but donations are accepted at the door. All proceeds go to the Pellissippi State Foundation to support the Theatre program and scholarships. Ample free parking is available.

“Freedom Circus” 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. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State earns prestigious Engineering Technology accreditation

Pellissippi State Community College joined the ranks of a select few when it recently received accreditation of its Engineering Technology degree program in six concentrations from the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering.

A Certificate of Accreditation in Engineering Technology was presented for Civil Engineering, Electrical Construction Management, Electrical Engineering, Industrial Maintenance, Manufacturing, and Mechanical Engineering. Students who complete the two-year Engineering Technology program earn an Associate of Applied Science degree.

“The accreditation of Engineering Technology in these six concentrations distinguishes Pellissippi State as one of only 43 community colleges nationally to achieve ATMAE recognition,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs. There are approximately 1,700 public two-year schools in the U.S.

Accreditation became official late in 2013 and extends through November 2017.

“We are very pleased to receive accreditation from the Association of Technology, Management and Applied Engineering,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president. “This accreditation will mean local industry and business leaders can be confident that our graduates have received relevant training and a quality education.”

“I am very proud of the faculty and leadership of our Engineering and Media Technologies Department in earning this accreditation,” said Lewis, who oversees all of the college’s academic departments.

“ATMAE accreditation,” said Margaret Ann Jeffries, dean of Engineering and Media Technologies, “provides confirmation to students, industry, employers and the community that Pellissippi State is dedicated to providing engineering technologies education that has met public scrutiny and evaluation.

“It certifies quality and denotes academic rigor. It ensures that our students graduate with a degree that meets nationally endorsed and recognized standards in their profession.”

ATMAE was founded in 1967 and is recognized as the premier professional association responsible for promotion of technology in industry and education, the accreditation of technology programs at higher education institutions, and the certification of technologists.

For more information about Pellissippi State’s Engineering and Media Technologies programs and concentrations, visit www.pstcc.edu/emt or call (865) 694-6400.

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