Category Archives: Awards

Pellissippi State recognizes distinguished alumna

portrait of female in red with blonde hairPerseverance and a passion for helping others are the defining traits of Pellissippi State Community College’s 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award winner. Rhonda Lee, who graduated in Paralegal Studies with the Class of 2004, is a mother, grandmother, cancer survivor and attorney.

Lee was 42 when she began classes at Pellissippi State after a career in real estate and home building.

“I decided to follow my passion in my 40s,” said Lee, now a practicing attorney in Knoxville, “and I faced criticism and hardship as an older, working woman with children. But that was my passion. It’s what I wanted to do.”

After graduating from Pellissippi State, Lee attended the University of Tennessee Knoxville and UT Chattanooga, completing her bachelor’s degree in legal studies in 2006. She capped off nearly a decade of studies when she earned her Juris Doctor from Nashville School of Law in 2012—and she put nearly 130,000 miles on her vehicle in the process.

Lee now owns her own law firm, where she specializes in criminal defense but also practices family and general law. Her particular interest is in serving marginalized and indigent clients.

“I have a passion to make a difference in people’s lives. Our constitutional rights are the greatest rights we have, and being in law is a way of making sure that people’s liberties are protected. I see that every day.

“There can be a lot of injustice in the justice system, because people don’t always have representation. I work to make sure that no one is overlooked, that they always have adequate representation.”

Lee understands falling through the cracks. While she was working full time in Knoxville and commuting to Nashville for law school, she was diagnosed with cancer. She didn’t have health insurance at the time, and she struggled to find treatment.

“So I figured I would just go to school until I died,” Lee said. “But I thought that if I was going to die, I would go out doing what I had always dreamed of.

“My goal was to get through one more set of classes, and that got me up every day. That got me across the stage at graduation and through the bar exam. Now I have my own law firm, and it’s a dream come true.”

Lee’s work as an attorney is not the only way she finds to help people. She also supports the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Cancer Support Community of East Tennessee, East Tennessee Legal Aid and the Tennessee Cancer Coalition.

She has drafted legislation in several states, not just Tennessee, that will change the statute of limitations for child sexual abuse, making it easier for victims to pursue justice. Lee balances all of this with time supporting her children and grandchildren and serving as a caretaker for her aging parents.

And she continues to take on more. She plans to return to Pellissippi State as an adjunct faculty member teaching law classes in the fall.

“I love Pellissippi State, and I’m really excited to go back and teach there, because if it wasn’t for that foundation—for getting a hands-on, personal touch while I was a student there—I wouldn’t be where I am today. I want to be that person for other students.

“Pellissippi State makes it possible for anyone, at any stage of life, to get an education. If you want to succeed, they help you get there.”

Pellissippi State’s Distinguished Alumni Award is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community, and support of the College and the Pellissippi State Foundation.

For more information about Pellissippi State, including its programs and giving opportunities, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State students named to spring semester 2014 dean’s list

Pellissippi State Community College has named 918 top students to the spring semester 2014 dean’s list. Students are eligible for the dean’s list upon completion of 12 college-level hours per semester of college coursework with a 3.5-4.00 GPA. Pellissippi State honorees include the following:

Tesfaye Abdela
Aws Al Hadeethi
Ali Alamri
Taylor Albert
Ashley Albritton
Jenna Albrycht
Abdullah Al-Fadhili
Cody Alford
Yelena Aliy
Daniel Allen
Joseph Allston
Alexandra Amanns
Austin Anderson
Cabot Anderson
Sarah Anderson
Ben Aptaker
Miguel Aranda
Major Armstrong
William Arwood
Karolina Assadova
Alexandria Atkins
Jenna Aungst
Geena Ausburn
ShannaRosa Autry
Jalissa Avila
Ahmad Awad
Mohammad Awad
Mohammad Ayesh
Shwan Baban
Lydia Badgett
Krystallee Bailey
Jordan Baker
Jacob Balfe
Destiny Ballew
Frankie Ballew
Peramuda Bandara
Emily Banks
Jordan Barber
Steven Barker
Carrie Barnawell
Courtney Barnes
Sierra Barnett
Renee Barnum
Kristen Bass
Laura Bautz
Carmen Bean
Nathan Beane
Barbara Bearden
Holly Beason
Morgan Beckett
LeIna Beckner
Hailey Beeler
Eric Belew
Erdenesuvd Bell
Savannah Bell
Charles Bennett
Sarah Bennett
Amie Berney
Caroline Berrong
Titus Berry
Morgan Best
Ryan Best
Felicia Bishop
Zachary Bishop
Ashley Black
Nicole Black
Kourtney Blackburn
Shawn Blair
Emily Blanchard
Kendall Blankenship
James Bledsoe
Patrick Bledsoe
Johnathan Blevins
Dagny Block-Ward
Samuel Blount
Jesse Blum
Taylor Bobich
Simon Jude Boka
Emily Boling
Jordan Boring
Carmen Bowers
Joshua Bowers
Alex Bowman
Daniel Boyer
Elizabeth Bradley
James Bradwell
Alyssa Bragg
Lucas Branch
Heather Breazeale
Tonya Breeden
Krista Breedlove
Kevin Brendle
Lauren Brennan
Kendra Brent
Jason Brewer
Cullen Briere
Nancy Bright
Kennedy Brock
David Brooks
Jennifer Brooks
Anna Brown
Laura Brown
Raymond Brown
Fallon Browning
James Bufton
Petr Bulkhak
Kyle Bumpus
Wyatt Bumpus
Brandon Bunch
Jackson Burdette
Landon Burke
Lisa Burleson
Richard Burlison
Clint Burner
Katherine Burns
Timothy Burns-Carver
Jack Bush
Jacob Butler
Leea Butler
Justin Bybee
Mercedes Byrge
Jennifer Caldwell
Timothy Campbell
Vincent Cannon
Bradley Cantrell
Derrick Cantrell
Sokun Carathers
Clinton Carbonell
Kristen Carlson
Kenneth Carr
Mandee Carroll
Lancia Carter
M. Carter
Phillip Carter
Chris Caserta
Courtney Cash
Elizabeth Cassidy
Trisha Caulfield
Jamison Chamberlain
Joan Chamberlain
Elizabeth Champagne
Tiffany Chaperon
Kendra Chapman
Mikayla Char
Victoria Chavez
Brigid Chemosit
Kessel Cherney
Alicia Chesney
Eric Childers
Taylor Childres
Mariah Childress
Jun-Cheng Chin
Vanessa Civil
Samantha Clanton
Ellen Clark
Rachael Clark
James Clenney
Trevor Cloninger
Brenda Cochran
Maycie Cochran
Matthew Cofer
Zachery Coffey
Heather Coin
Daniel Collins
Devin Collins
Emily Collins
Laura Collins
Lisa Collins
Patsy Collins
Tara Collins
Amanda Colton
Daniel Combs
Caitlin Cook
John Cook
Jordan Cook
Karen Cooke Franqui
Meghan Copeland
Matti Coppinger
Micaela Cornett
Allan Coste
Christopher Covert
Kaitlyn Cox
Laura Cox
Mariah Cozart
Adam Crabtree
Kathryn Crabtree
Rachel Craig
Stacey Craig
Brandi Crass
Taylor Crawford
Autumn Crocker
Catherine Crockett
Courtney Crouse
Anna Crozier
Hannah Cruze
Victoria Culpepper
Betty Culver
James Cummings
Kendall Cupp
Jonathan Curtis
Nathan Curtis
Samantha Curtis
Maria Cutler
Cierra Dailey
Cassandra Daniels
Isaac Daniels
Jason Daniels
Bryn Davies
Allan Davis
Howard Davis
Jennifer Davis
Matthew Davis
Kenneth Deal
Erica Dean
Jacob DeArmond
Macy Deel
Jennifer DeFoe
Daniel DeFord
Edward Deiderich
Amanda Del Moro
Lindsay DeLay
Kriste Dempsey
Sarah Dennis
Brandon Denton
Kurt Denton
Emanuelly Maria de Oliveira Sobreira
William Derington
Brian Diggs
Joni Dipatri
James Dixon
Christopher Donaldson
Abigail Donnald
Matthew Donnell
Colby Dorcely
Kirsten Douglas
Michael Douglas
Adam Draper
Taylor Drinnen
William Duckett
Kyle DuCote
Anielle Duncan
Kimberly Duncan
Thanh Duong
Thomas Duran
Angela Duran Lamberson
Sarah Edens
AnnaMarie Edwards
Christopher Edwards
Christy Elkins
Maggie Elliott
Daulton Ellis
Christina Emitt
Paige Ensor
Robbeline Enyenihi
Macy Etter
Kristin Eubanks
Cody Evans
Isaac Evans
Janelle Evans
Joshua Evans
Wasif Faisal
Daisy Falin
Christopher Fancher
Megan Fandrich
Kaitlin Farmer
Courtney Farrington
Serhang Fatih
Erin Favier
Patrick Feiten
Cody Ferguson
Leslie Ferrer
Angela Fields
Richel Finfrock
Cynthia Finger
Brenna Finn
Almondo Fiori
Kaitlyn Fisher
Tyler Fisher
Tawney Flores
Gregory Flynn
Jesse Ford
Megan Ford
Alicia Forkum
Heidi Fortner
Justin Foster
Savannah Foster
Sharleen Foster
Brooklyn Foust
Jeffery Foust
Aaron Frank
Amanda Freuler
Kelli Friedmann
Bridgette Fritz
Rina Funada
Brittany Gagne
Ronnie Gainey
John-Michael Galbraith
Abigail Gallaher
Christopher Gallaher
Daniel Garey
Alice Garland
Charles Garrett
Chloe Gaston
Jarrad Gately
Alexandria Gay
Daniel Geisel
Anthony Georgiafandis
Natasha Ghezawi
Margaret Gicheru
Kourtni Giles
Joshua Gill
Lauren Gillespie
Shimikia Gillespie
Estille Gilliam
Erin Gilliland
Julia Glass
John Glenn
Lauren Glisson
Charles Godfrey
Scottie Godfrey
Rosendo Gonzalez
Michael Goode
Charles Goodin
Zara Goodlaxson
Elissa Goodson
Isaac Goodson
Andrew Gordy
John Grant
Richard Grant
Christopher Green
Gus Green
Nicky Greene
Gavin Gregg
Elizabeth Griffith
Jeanne Griswold
Brianna Gross
Megan Grubb
Logan Gunter
Zachary Guzman
Rebekah Gyger
Jordon Haberer
Nicholas Hager
Joshua Halcomb
Steven Halcomb
Bradley Hall
Emily Hall
James Hamblen
Angela Hamby
Laura Haney
Brandon Harrell
Ashton Harrison
Cassie Hart
Nathaniel Hartley
Janet Hastings
Sara Haun
Avery Hawk
Kelli Hawthorne
Jackie Hayes
Sherri Hayes
Brittany Hayne
Jessica Haynes
Caitlin Heater
Ashley Heath
Lauren Heath
Adam Hedges
Jessica Helton
Emma Henderson
Alana Henley
Keilitza Henriquez
Rocky Henry
Justin Hensley
Taylor Hepperly
Kyle Hermansky
Katilyn Hibbert
Jeffrey Hickman
David Hicks
Christopher Higgins
Cole Hill
William Hill
Chelsea Hines
Taylor Hodgins
Celia Hollon
Kristen Horner
Jacob Houston
Alec Howard
Cody Howard
Kelly Howard
Kerry Howell
Weixin Huang
Katasha Huber
Hayley Huckaba
Alexis Huddleston
Bryan Huddleston
James Huddleston
Wesley Huffaker
Emily Huffman
Candice Huffstetler
Jerad Hughes
Sabrina Hughes
Anna Humphreys
Samantha Hunt
Brearah Hunter
Makayla Hurd
Erica Hurst
Kristin Hylton
Drew Iles
Shannon Isbill
Lamisha Isom
Jonathan Jackson
William Jaggers
James Jarnigan
Nabeel Jaser
Leah Jenkins
Shannon Jenkins
Taylor Jensen
Jared Jett
Kalyn Jett
Brandon Johns
Stephanie Johnsey
Audrey Johnson
Benjamin Johnson
Casey Johnson
Erik Johnson
Juliana Johnson
Kaitlin Johnson
Kara Johnson
Lacy Johnson
Brandi Jones
Holly Jones
Jared Jones
Sara Jones
Brian Jordan
Elise Jorgensen
Seairra Judd
Richard Justice
Tyler Justus
Vasu Kalaria
Ali Kameh
Seokyu Kang
Idan Kanter
Stephanie Kaser
Andrew Kasper
Whitney Kaul
Kenny Keaton
Noah Keener
Kristian Keil
Jonathan Kelley
Laura Kelly
Lindsey Kelly
Otis Kennedy
Katrina Kepf
Gracita Kesterson
Khalid Khan
Christian Kidd
Hearan Kim
Derek King
Shae Kinser
Tyler Kinser
David Kirkland
Hunter Kitts
Christian Klenk
Mckayla Klippel
Jared Knaffl
Rebekah Knause
Douglas Knight
Rick Kravat
Thomas Krobatsch
Maddie Kulpa
Matthew Labelle
Megan Ladd
Hannah LaForlette
Lauren Lamson
Andrew Landguth
Michael Lane
Pierce Lane
Rosita Lane
Lauren Lange
Catherine LaRue
Rachel Laughters
Kendall Lawrence
Carlee Laws
Ashley Lawson
Janie Lay
John Lay
Madison Lay
Nhu Le
Cade Leach
Kandyn Leach
John Lee
Michelle Lehmann
Riitta-Maija Lehtinen
Andrew Leming
Rebecca Lengfellner
Christine Lentz
Chelsea Lessard
Alan Lewis
Belinda Lewis
Kandyce Lewis
Robert Lilligren
Patricia Linaburg
Karda Linderman
Mary Lindstrom
Preston Linebaugh
Heather Lively
Ryan Livesey
Noya Livne
Dominic LoBianco
Amber Long
Angela Long
Caitlin Long
Jennifer Loveday
Kaitlynn Lusk
Clint Lynch
Taylor Lyon
Justin MacDonald
Daniel Mace
Marcus Maitlen
Daniel Maley
Amy Mann
Jacob Mann
Trevor Mannis
Megan Mansfield
Kylie Marcotte
Victoria Marler
Brett Marshman
Tamara Martin
Terence Martin
Zachariah Martin
Brittany Martinez
Julian Martinez
Amber Marzec
Taylor Mason
Patrick Maycann
Isaiah Maylott
Stephanie Mays
Heather Mazey
Michelle McAlister
Rebekah McBride
Ariel McCasland
Shaun McComas
Melody McComb
Eric McConaty
Emily McConnell
Brittany McCoy
Angela McGee
William McGovern
Brett McGregor
Jonathan McGuire
Tiffanie McKee
Philip McKnight
Emily McNeil
Michael Medina
Victoria Mellen
Jacob Melton
Jason Melton
Abbey Merriman
Gregory Mersing
Sara-Betsy Meyer
Julianna Meyers
Jeffrey Miessau
Michaela Mikos
Cheyenne Miller
Jairus Miller
Jake Miller
Tyler Miller
Susan Minehan
Carolyn Mitchell
Joshua Mohammed
Stephanie Mojica
Brittany Monday
Christopher Monhollan
Lori Monroe
Richard Monroe
Krysten Moody
Laura Moody
Eric Moore
Julia Moore
Karter Moore
Adam Moreno
Brandon Morgan
Kate Morrissey
Alexis Morrow
Nikita Mounger
Tricia Mounger
Agiimaa Munkhsukh
Conley Munsey
Alexia Murriel
Jacob Myers
Jakob Myers
Madison Nabors
Loraine Napoles
Novita Neal
David Nelson
Lauren Neubert
Nathaniel Newman
Quynh Ngo
Brian Nguyen
Cung Nguyen
Thao Nguyen Strong
Branceford Nichols
Lauren Nicholson
Thomas Noll
Cindel Oakley
Melanie Ogle
Darren Oldham
Morgan Onusic
Angel Ortiz
Mollie-Kathleen O’Shaughnessy
Aboubakr Ouddi
Hannah Overton
Caitlin Owen
Benson Oyier
Ana Karolina Paiva
Miranda Paiva
Lucian Palcu
Andrea Pappas
Nithya Paranthaman
Jacob Parks
Jimmy Parks
Sawyer Parlier
Amie Parrott
Veronica Patterson
Sandra Patty
Allison Pavelchik
Denise Payne
Hannah Payne
Nathan Payne
Anthony Pennington
Lisa Pennington
Dallas Pepper
Megan Perkins
Amber Perrin
Jessica Perry
David Peters
Austin Phipps
Alex Pickett
Sheena Pilkey
Janelle Piper
Tony Plastino
Robert Plumley
Joe Polakiewicz
Amber Poole
Richard Poppert
Terry Porter
Brittany Powell
Phyllis Powell
Audrey Prate
Chris Pratt
Amber Price
Natalie Price
Selena Price
Jonathen Pritchett
Kalie Pritchett
Nichole Proctor
Ryan Prout
Kenton Pryor
Alyssa Puckett
Corey Puckett
Amanda Putnam
Mahmoud Qasim Agha
Jackson Quiggins
Timothy Quinn
Spencer Raby
Dakota Ragon
Stephanie Rainey
Nicole Ramirez
Ryan Ramirez
Caleb Ramsey
Josie Ramsey DeLozier
Jennifer Randolph
Denise Rayder
Samantha Rayder
Hannah Reagan
Randall Reagan
Edy Recendez
Madeline Reddick
Jacklyn Redmon
Susan Renaud-Mitchell
Rachel Resciniti
Kacie Reynolds
Chandler Rhea
Kelsey Rhode
Blair Rhodes
Ethan Richardson
Justin Rifenburg
Amanda Riggs
Kelsey Ritter
Rebecca Ritter
Misti Rivers
Molly Roberson
Elena Roberts
Mackenzie Roberts
Amanda Robinson
Meaghan Robinson
Jeremy Rochat
Leighan Romanesk
Don Roth
Samantha Rouse
Ashley Royal
Hailey Rudd
Nicholas Ruggerio
Cassidy Ruiz
Matthew Rumbolt
Brooke Runion
Alizabeth Russell
Bobby Russell
Gabrielle Russell
Angelia Ryker
John Saah
Ana Salas
Valeria Sanabria
Deanna Sanders
Jordan Sangid
Dylan Sauls
Kyle Savery
Allie Scherf
Matthew Schilling
Christine Schlachter
Chula Schlesinger-Fleming
Margarita Schmid
Brenna Schneider
Hayley Schneider
Cortnay Scott
David Scott
John Scott
Halie Sellers
Katie Sellers
Tyler Sexton
Donna Seymour
Ankit Shah
Jessica Sharp
Katelin Sharp
Donna Shedd
Ciara Sheets
Kelsey Shepherd
Lilianna Sheridan
Alischa Shiverdecker
Steven Shumate
John Shurina
Cameron Siems
Mason Sigmon
Debbie Silcox
Lincoln Sills
David Silverberg
Christopher Silvey
Samantha Simpson
Adam Sims
Amy Sims
Carlie Sims
Ryan Sims
Darian Singleton
James Sircy
Michael Sisi
Oumar Sissoko
Corbyn Skeen
Jennifer Skeen
Amanda Slaton
Lisa Smalling
Matthew Smallwood
Amy Smith
Barry Smith
Isaac Smith
Kalyn Smith
Kimberly Smith
Kurtis Smith
Laura Smith
Marguerite Smith
Matthew Smith
Michael Smith
Sheri Smith
Summer Smith
Kody Smitherman
Lauren Smothers
Elexis Snyder
Katharina Snyder
Adam Soliman
Madeline Sommer
Channing Sosville
Anna Sparks
Shaunda Spell
Phoebe Spooner
Thomas Stafford
Logan Stair
Mark Stanifer
Shaun Starnes
Paul Steciw
Colten Stephens
Megan Stigall
Daniel Stinnett
Daniel Stinnett
William Stooksbury
Matthew Studwell
Joseph Sullivan
Melodie Summers
Savannah Summers
David Summey
Chelsea Sutphin
Samantha Sweet
Matthew Swindle
Avalon Tacey
David Tallent
Michael Tate
Benjamin Taylor
Cody Taylor
Mathew Taylor
Andrea Tedder
Noelle Tewell
Zack Thayer
Tyler Thibert
Anna Thomas
Kayla Thomas
Noelle Thomas
Andre Thompson
Jefferson Thompson
Kayla Thompson
Patrick Tidwell
Kendall Timko
Cory Tindell
Makayla Tipton
Tiffany Tipton
Brenda Tirado
James Titlow
Diego Tomas-Felipe
Milton Tookes
David Torres
Hayley Torres
Chloe Tragesser
Canh Tran
Cuong Tran
Madison Trentham
Gregory Trinkle
Rita Trythall
Kenneth Tucker
Tatiana Tumminello
Bethany Tunstall
Karenna Turley
Stewart Turnbull
Kristina Turner
Ashley Utley
Andrew Valesky
Jesse Vanzant
Catherine Varga
Courtney Vaughn
Candace Viox
Alyssa Vito
Tobias Vowell
Stephen Waldrep
Tara Walker
Danielle Wallace
Dillon Wallace
Presley Wallace
Haley Ward
Miranda Ward
Daniel Warren
Edward Warren
Blue Waters
Christy Watson
Kaitlyn Watson
Sarah Watson
Lauren Weakley
Suzanne Weaver
David Webb
Emily Webb
Shannon Webb
Lydia Weeks
Ashley Weisneck
Heather Weixler
Brianna West
Shauna West
William West
Cassidy White
Judah White
Macy White
Marylee White
Tavish White
Ashley Whitehead
Hannah Whitehead
Timothy Whitehead
John-Robert Whittington
David Wiedenbeck
David Wilkey
Angeliccaa Williams
Destiny Williams
Khloe Williams
Nicholas Williams
Robert Williams
Candace Williford
Amy Wilson
Bethany Wilson
Kayla Wilson
Priscilla Wilson
Sana Marie Wilson
Xena Wilson
Vicki Wine
Levon Winther
Jonathan Witherspoon
Brian Withrow
Natasha Witt
Chloe Wolfe
Jordan Wolfenbarger
Whitney Wolff
Amanda Womble
Emily Wood
LuAnn Wood
Rachell Woods
Tina Woods
Kaylee Worsham
Gina Wrubel
Kasey Wybrant
Saori Yamanaka
Yasir Yasir
Myranda Yearout
Nicole Yelder
Susanna Yoder
Charysse Young
Sydney Youngman
Ruoxia Zhao
Jason Zuker

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

Pellissippi State: Webb, Oak Ridge High teams earn top spots in local, state STEM competition


Two local high school teams came out on top both locally and statewide in the Technology Student Association’s 2014 Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics and Science. Pellissippi State Community College hosted the local STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) competition. Webb School of Knoxville’s 11th-and-12th-grade team placed first in the Part I exam at the college and first overall among 17 teams at the state level. The Webb team: left to right in front row, Kasper Gammeltoft, Samir Martin, Gabriel Dagotto, Henry Swaffield, and Sarah Lucas; left to right in back row, Ryan Jacobs, Samuel Copeland, and Sanchit Wadhawan. Oak Ridge High School’s ninth-and-10th-grade team took first in the Part I exam at Pellissippi State and second in the state.

Pellissippi State honors outstanding employees, recognizes retiring faculty/staff

Pellissippi State Community College recently hosted its annual employee recognition ceremony, honoring faculty and staff for outstanding service and longevity and recognizing retirees.

Annie Gray

At this year’s ceremony, the Excellence in Teaching Award went to Annie Gray, an English professor and the college’s Service-Learning coordinator. The award recognizes innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they have had on students.

Gray launched and has since expanded Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program. Service-Learning connects classroom learning to real-world problem-solving situations by pairing students with area organizations to work jointly on community service efforts.

Gray, an active member of the college’s Sustainable Campus Initiative, also serves as Pellissippi State’s AmeriCorps VISTA project supervisor for the 2014-2015 Good Food for All! Initiative. Additionally, she is on advisory boards for the Pond Gap Elementary UACS After-School program and the University of Tennessee’s TENN TLC Institute for Reflective Practice.

Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat
Jerry Burns and Laxman Nathawat

The Innovations Award was bestowed upon faculty members Jerry Burns in Chemistry and Laxman Nathawat in Computer Science and Information Technology for their work on one of four Chemistry Simulations Projects. The award is given in recognition of a project that demonstrates success of creative and original instructional and learning support activities.

The projects paired chemistry students with computer science students to create visual, interactive, computer-based models of chemical interactions. The goal is to provide a new way for chemistry students to learn chemical processes and give student programmers experience with peer clients. The simulations have since become part of the general chemistry curriculum.

The Gene Joyce Visionary Award was presented to Teri Brahams, head of the Business and Community Services Division, and Mary Kocak, who teaches in Engineering Technology. The award was in recognition of their work on an outreach project that had a positive impact on the community.

Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak
Teri Brahams and Mary Kocak

Brahams and Kocak worked on the launch of an additive manufacturing (3D printing) training initiative at Pellissippi State with community partners that included Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Tech 20/20 and the University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services.

The initiative—the AMP! Advanced Manufacturing and Prototype Center of East Tennessee—creates partnerships and new jobs and increases workforce development and training. It also provides scholarship money and an opportunity to work on projects with small businesses to 160 Pellissippi State students.

The Excellence in Teaching, Innovations and Gene Joyce Visionary awards carry monetary recognition ranging from $1,000 to $1,500. Recipients of the awards also received a plaque and medallion.

Additional awards and their recipients, each of whom received $100, a plaque, and a medallion: Outstanding Adjunct Faculty, Saralee Peccolo-Taylor; Outstanding Administrator, Holly Burkett; Outstanding Contract Worker, Michael Hurst; Outstanding Full-Time Faculty, Mary Monroe-Ellis; Outstanding Support Professional, Karen Ghezawi; and Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance Worker, Tracy Smith.

Pellissippi State also recognized employees who were at five-year increments of service to the college, as well as acknowledging council presidents and retiring employees. This year’s faculty and staff retirees include Rick Barber, Alberta Boring, Bill Davis, Judy Eddy, Pat Grant, Cathy Hurrell, Jim Kelley, John Reaves, Bookie Reynolds and Elizabeth Wade.

Funding for all awards is provided by the Pellissippi State Foundation. The Foundation generates support for student scholarships and emergency loans, facilities improvements, and new equipment.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400. To learn more about giving opportunities, call (865) 694-6528.

Pellissippi State students rank tops in Math League competition

group of males standing in a row
Pellissippi State Community College students, left to right, Matt Rumbolt, Khoa Nguyen, Scott Maxwell and Boone Cornell placed tops in the first and second rounds of the Student Mathematics League competition for the 2013-2014 school year.

Pellissippi State Community College students ranked among the top participants in the annual Student Mathematics League Math Competition. The contest is a two-round nationwide event sponsored by the American Mathematics Association of Two-Year Colleges.

“Pellissippi State has competed in this contest for at least 13 years in a row,” said Bobby Jackson, associate professor of Mathematics. “This year, we had a total of 154 students who took part in at least one of the two rounds. In the final rankings, Pellissippi State finished in eighth place in the Southeast Region and first in the state of Tennessee.”

In the first round of competition, which took place in November, Boone Cornell placed first and Ravenne Hall placed second among 94 Pellissippi State students. Simon Boka, Timothy Frantz and Phillip McKnight tied for third place. Cornell tied for 20th place among all Southeast Region students for the first round of competition.

In the second round of competition in March, Scott Maxwell placed first, Khoa Nguyen second and Matt Rumbolt third among 77 Pellissippi State students. Tied for fourth place were Dylan Junion, Jonathan McGuire and Dylan Sauls.

The AMATYC competition includes a fall and spring component involving more than 8,000 community college and junior college students from 165 institutions. Results from both components are tabulated and released in May.

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

Pellissippi State student awarded prestigious scholarship to study abroad

Young female in portraitPellissippi State Community College student Ciara Sheets is the recipient of the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to study abroad this summer.

Sheets is one of only two community college students in the state to receive the award. She plans to study biology during a summer study abroad program to Ecuador with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

“I am thrilled to have won the award. It’s such an honor,” Sheets said.

“I’ll be going to the Galapagos Islands and am taking my Biology II course there, getting to take hikes and visit caves and natural observation points. We’ll take a trip to the observatory where scientists like Charles Darwin and others have studied.”

The Gilman Scholarship offers grants for undergraduates—particularly those who are typically underrepresented in international studies, such as students of limited financial means, community college students and minority students—to pursue academic studies or career-oriented internships abroad. The program is intended to better prepare students to assume significant roles in an increasingly global economy and interdependent world.

“Ciara is participating in our Ecuador program, a four-week course in the Galapagos Islands that focuses on the study of biology and genetics. It’s a unique program that offers field work with an outdoor laboratory,” said Tracey Bradley, executive director of TnCIS.

“Study abroad opportunities are traditionally thought of as arts or humanities related, but we’re very proud to offer one that is strongly science based.”

Sheets plans to graduate from Pellissippi State in May 2015 and then attend the University of Tennessee to pursue pre-veterinary coursework.

TnCIS, whose headquarters are at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education throughout 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 or call (865) 539-7280. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State recognizes outstanding student achievements

Pellissippi State Community College acknowledged students for their outstanding achievements at the 2014 Academic Awards ceremony. The event took place April 29 in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus.

Students Victoria Baker and Sydney Youngman were named to the All-USA Community College Academic Team. They received the honor in recognition of scholarly achievement as members of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.

Inductees into the 2013-2014 Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges were Leina Beckner, Katherine Chambers, Betty Edwards, Andrew Frantz, Lisa Grunwald, Christian Harris, Tresse Hicks, Joyanna Hirst, Chisa Huffman, Christina Kampas, Morgan Lay, Belinda Lewis, Cassie Lopez, Lori Monroe, Michelle Morgan, Whitney Oslonian, Neel Patel, Sandra Pringle, Ethan Richardson, Chelsea Temple, Jordan Toney and Janice Vowell.

The Pellissippi State Altruist/Scholar is Daisy Falin. Service Leadership Excellence Award winners are Chisa Huffman and Andrea Pappas. Campus Leadership Award winners are Andrew Frantz (Hardin Valley), Sheila Hayden (Division Street), Angela McGee (Blount County), Kari Sanders (Magnolia Avenue) and Rachel Skyles (Strawberry Plains).

Colby Dorcely and Barbara Alfonzo-Tinoco were named winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award–International, presented to students with international backgrounds in recognition of diligence in the pursuit of excellence.

Awards of Merit were presented to students in several areas: Jerri Reed (Citizenship), Kalyn Smith (Communication Graphics Technology), Derrick Barrow (Engineering Technology/Civil Engineering), Whitney Wolff (Interior Design Technology), Rachel Collier (Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering), Heath Long (Nursing freshman) and Jason Childers (Nursing sophomore).

Outstanding Graduate Awards went to Krystalee Bailey, Alexander Bishop, Sophie Bogdanski, Laura Bourque-Kliethermes, Chris Caserta III, David Copcutt, April Coward, Eric Cutshaw, Emily Davidson, Emily Davis, Christopher Elliott, Daulton Ellis, Madeline Enderle, Robbeline Enyenihi, Matthew Gibbs, Lisa Grunwald, Brighton Hatfield, Jessica Haynes, Chisa Huffman, Wallace Hynds, Brandi Jones, Michelle Lehmann, Andrew Leming, Belinda Lewis, Victoria Long, Daniel Mace, Nicholas McCloskey, McKalie Merriman, Lori Monroe, Nikita Mounger, William Overby, Andrea Pappas, Joshua Patterson, Nadine Raines, Michael Smith, Laurie Spoon, Robert Tallent, Jefferson Thompson, Andrew Valesky, Tavish White and Sarah Zarczynski.

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 students only Grainger scholarship recipients in state

Michael Swihart
Michael Swihart

Pellissippi State Community College students Robert Sanders and Michael Swihart are the only two Tennessee recipients of $2,000 Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarships.

Both Sanders and Swihart are in the Mechanical Engineering concentration of the Engineering Technology degree program. The Grainger Tools for Tomorrow scholarship supports technical education and promotes careers in technical areas of work. Grainger is an Illinois-based distributor of facilities maintenance supplies.

“Pellissippi State is the only college in Tennessee that has students who receive this scholarship,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

“Grainger classifies Pellissippi State as a veteran-friendly college, and each student who receives a scholarship from Grainger must be a veteran.”

Robert Sanders
Robert Sanders

The Grainger awards go through the Pellissippi State Foundation. The $2,000 scholarships are earmarked for students in an Engineering Technology field. Upon graduating, recipients also receive $2,500 worth of Grainger hand tools, each with a lifetime replacement guarantee.

“Robert and Michael are outstanding students, and both are very deserving of this scholarship,” said Pat Riddle, program coordinator of Mechanical Engineering.

“We appreciate that Grainger has a scholarship that recognizes the dedication and sacrifice of our student veterans—the hard work they put into their education and their drive to better themselves.”

Sanders, a stay-at-home father, said, “I felt honored that Mr. Riddle picked me as an applicant for the scholarship. For him to single me out was a privilege in itself, and to win is a wonderful bonus.” Sanders, whose career interest lies in green construction, plans to donate a portion of the scholarship back to the Pellissippi State Foundation for another student to use.

Swihart relocated to Knoxville from Chicago, transferring credits to Pellissippi State and starting classes at the college in spring 2012. He plans to graduate this year and hopes to work for a geotechnical firm.

“When Mr. Riddle approached me and told me I was one of the few chosen,” said Swihart, “I was speechless and honored. I am very grateful to receive the scholarship. I’m very grateful to my instructors at Pellissippi State, because of their commitment and the extra time they’ve sacrificed to help me.”

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

Knoxville Area Tennessee Small Business Development Center receives Eagle Award

The Tennessee Small Business District Knoxville Office received an Eagle Award from the U.S. Small Business Administration’s Tennessee District Thursday, March 20. Pictured, from left to right, are Jane Shelton, Bruce Hayes and Laura Overstreet of the TSBDC, Walter Perry, district director of the SBA Tennessee District Office; Larry Rossini, executive director of the TSBDC; L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State Community College; Maria Lloyd of the SBA; and Teri Brahams, executive director of Economic and Workforce Development at Pellissippi State.

The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Tennessee District has presented the Knoxville Area Tennessee Small Business Development Center, which is administered by Pellissippi State Community College, with the first Eagle Award.

The honor, given during an awards ceremony March 20, recognized the TSBDC office with the highest dollar volume of SBA loans for clients during 2013. TSBDC is a statewide network of centers that provide resources to assist small-business and potential small-business owners. The Small Business Administration is a federal agency.

Last year, Pellissippi State’s TSBDC directly assisted eight clients who obtained a cumulative total of more than $9.3 million in SBA loans.

“Pellissippi State’s Small Business Development Center has always been committed to helping businesses in our community to find the resources they need in order to be successful,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State. “This recognition by the Small Business Administration is an affirmation of that good work.”

“Pellissippi State’s diligence in working with small-business owners and East Tennessee lenders demonstrates that dollars are available to start or expand a small business,” said Walter Perry, district director of SBA’s Tennessee District Office.

“The Eagle Award represents superior dedication of the Pellissippi State staff collaborating with area banks and credit unions to identify working capital for their clients.”

The SBA guarantees small-business loans and, through a cooperative agreement with Pellissippi State, provides counseling and training to small-business owners. A key component of that assistance is helping small-business owners acquire capital through SBA-guaranteed loans made by area lenders.

A wide variety of small businesses in the area were provided funding in 2013—among them, a veterinary practice, winery, restaurant, retail store, transportation services firm, research and development firm, and temporary services agency. East Tennessee lenders that assisted Pellissippi State clients included United Community Bank, Jefferson Federal Bank, UT Federal Credit Union, Fifth Third Bank and Areawide Development Corporation.

A total of 21 jobs were created and 42 jobs retained as a result of the SBA loans, according to the small businesses that were funded.

The area Small Business Development Center serves the counties of Blount, Claiborne, Cocke, Jefferson, Knox, Sevier and Union. In 2013, the center provided more than 1,695 hours of small-business counseling and trained 1,263 people in small-business-related subjects.

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 or call (865) 694-6400.