Thirteen Pellissippi State Community College students recently passed a skills proficiency test for stage fighting through the Society of American Fight Directors.
Pellissippi State is the only school in Tennessee that offers the SAFD tests.
The students are Josh Bigwood, Carolyn Corley, Thomas Crout, Caroline Kat Darwin, Breland Lallie Donahoo, Julianna Meyers, Barrie Paulson, Donnie Peltz, Alex Riggs, Joshua Shelton, Steven Trigg, Debi Wetherington and Chad Collins Wood.
The students tested with Dale Girard, an SAFD fight master and director of stage combat studies at North Carolina School of the Arts. By passing the exam, the students earned a much sought-after theatrical skills status in the world of professional theatre.
According to Girard, it’s rare for an entire class — like the one at Pellissippi State — to pass the exam. In addition, four of the college’s students earned a “recommended pass,” connoting an exceptional level of proficiency. Those students are Bigwood, Darwin, Paulson and Wood.
The SAFD examination was the result of more than a semester of instruction by Bob Borwick, Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and certified SAFD instructor, and assistance from Charles R. Miller, professor and program coordinator of Theatre. Borwick is the only SAFD certified instructor in Tennessee, and he teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State.
The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat). Business and Community Services also offers a non-credit Stage Combat course.
The test was sponsored by the Theatre and the Pellissippi State Foundation.
Brenda Hale has probably experienced a heavier dose of work-world reality than most of Pellissippi State Community College’s 10,000-plus students.
The 54-year-old single mother is attending the college for the third time in nearly four decades, with a firsthand understanding of the fickleness of the economy and of employers’ needs for well-rounded, well-educated employees.
“I’ve been downsized and I’ve been laid off, but I know I can come back to Pellissippi State and update my education if I need to,” Hale said. “Pellissippi State reflects real life.”
Hale first graduated from Pellissippi State in 1980, only four years after the institution opened as State Technical Institute at Knoxville. She graduated with a degree in Construction Engineering Technology and was immediately hired by TVA. She went to work on construction at the Watts Bar Nuclear Plant near Spring City, but when that phase of work was completed, TVA laid off the construction team.
So Hale returned to Pellissippi State. She earned a second degree, this time in Computer Integrated Drafting and Design, in 1990. She worked for businesses around East Tennessee using that degree for nearly 20 years — until her position was downsized during the recession in 2008.
“I took some time off then to spend with my son, who was young,” Hale said, “and I went back to work part time. But now my son is older, and I’m looking for full-time work again. Since the recession, the CAD [computer-aided drafting] workers that businesses needed before now need to know new programs, like SolidWorks.”
So Hale once again enrolled at Pellissippi State.
“Pellissippi State is familiar and it’s convenient, and I know that the education I receive here is going to be what employers are looking for. They need people who know how to use SolidWorks, so that’s what Pellissippi State is offering now.”
Hale is now in the Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering degree program. She’s also studying additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, while she’s here.
“I love what I do — I love drafting,” Hale said. “I’ve always been interested in houses and building things, and I’ve never been tired of this job. It’s wonderful to see what was manufactured from my drawings. Things like 3D printing are the new iterations of what I do.”
“Technology is pulling everything forward,” said Pat Riddle, program coordinator of Engineering Technology/Mechanical Engineering at Pellissippi State. “Continuing education or training on the job is going to be necessary in many fields in the future, as employees find they have to keep up with changing programs and knowledge.”
For more information about Pellissippi State and its many program offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.
Pellissippi State Community College’s students have earned the college top spots in the 2015 regional and national Student Mathematics League competition.
In the Southeast region’s final standings, Pellissippi State finished third out of 25 schools. Nationally, the college was 43rd of 188. Of Pellissippi State’s student competitors, Shreyas Muralidharan took third place in the Southeast, with Joseph Allston 12th and Harrison Smith 18th.
“This was our second highest finish ever,” said Bobby Jackson, an associate professor of Mathematics. “This is a very challenging math contest, and we are proud of our students’ accomplishments.”
Pellissippi State had 138 students take part in the contest. In the first round of competition, the Southeast regional in October, the top five Pellissippi State students in the contest were Muralidharan, Allston, Chase Toth, John Simmins and Liana Hu. In the second round, the national in February, the top five from the college were Muralidharan, John Jones, Smith, Son Quang and Kevin Konopka.
Each year the contest consists of two rounds, one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester. Students are tested in many areas of mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, probability and logic. Each round includes an exam of 20 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator but no notebook or textbook.
Pellissippi State — thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities — awards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.
Pellissippi State has taken part in the Student Mathematics League Contest for at least 14 years. The contest is sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.
For more information about Pellissippi State and its academic offerings, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.
Gary comes to the college from Blackberry Farm, where she had been over the human resources department since 2010.
“Blackberry Farm’s organization is built around customer service,” Gary said, “and I told myself I would only leave there for a very special place. I got that opportunity earlier this year. I feel Pellissippi State has a great brand and a dedicated group of employees who are devoted to the college’s own brand of customer service: to our students.”
Gary’s responsibilities at the college include oversight of staffing and other institutional concerns, such as Affordable Care Act compliance. She says she hopes her role also offers opportunities for training and professional development.
“I love working in organization development,” she said. “I look forward to helping the college reach its goals, while also helping employees reach their personal goals.”
Gary has worked in human resources for nearly 20 years, beginning at National Book Warehouse.
“I was asked by the owners of National Book Warehouse to step into the role of human resources director,” she said. “I agreed, though I didn’t know much about it at the time. They provided me training and resources, and I found that human resources fit me well. I didn’t find it — it found me.”
Gary earned her Senior Professional in Human Resources credential in 2005.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call (865) 694-6400.