Pellissippi State concludes season of free music concerts on April 26

The musical selections have ranged from choral to instrumental, from bluegrass to holiday fare. As the 2011-12 season of Pellissippi State Community College’s annual Music Concert Series concludes on April 26, the focus will again be on choral music.

Featured during the season-ending Spring Choral Concert are performances by the student groups Concert Chorale and Variations Ensemble. The highlight of the concert is a multimedia presentation of the Variations Ensemble’s Spring Break 2012 tour in Germany. As the choir sings, the audience will experience the tour through video and still photography.

The nine-day tour included six full concerts and four abbreviated singing experiences in Berlin, Munich, Regensburg, Weimar and Wittenberg. A highlight of the tour for the Pellissippi State students was the opportunity to sing in Wittenberg’s Castle Church. The historic church is the site made famous in 1517 by Martin Luther. The German monk became a key figure in the Protestant Reformation when he nailed to the church’s doors his “Ninety-Five Theses” protesting clerical abuses.

Like all events in Pellissippi State’s music series, admission to the Spring Choral Concert is free. However, donations will be accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship Fund. For the 2010-11 academic year, the Foundation awarded more than 100 music-related scholarships to more than 80 Pellissippi State students.

The 7 p.m. performance takes place in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus in Knoxville. Parking is convenient and free.

For additional information, 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.

Pellissippi State invites students to Middle School Mathematics Contest

All area sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade students are invited to participate in the 12th annual Pellissippi State Middle School Mathematics Contest, Friday, May 4.

Last year’s competition attracted more than 600 of the top math students from East Tennessee middle schools and also included home-school and independent competitors. The students participated in the contest at Pellissippi State Community College for the honor of being named the top middle school math student in East Tennessee.

This year’s event will again take place at the Hardin Valley Campus. The day begins with registration, 7:50-8:30 a.m. in the Clayton Performing Arts Center, and includes competitions for each grade level, as well as a party with food, music, games and inflatables.

Participation is free and more than $6,000 in prizes will be awarded to the top finishers, thanks to funding provided by Oak Ridge Associated Universities.

Students are asked to bring pencils and a calculator, except those with QWERTY keypads.

To find out more, contact Jonathan Lamb, event coordinator and an associate professor of Mathematics at Pellissippi State: jwlamb@pstcc.edu or (865) 694-6699.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday at Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus

Pellissippi State students Kelly Wright, left, and Phoelycia Washington, both members of the Magnolia Avenue Campus Drama Club, prepare for the “Scattered Shakespeare” performances on April 18, 19 and 23.

The Brits will be celebrating William Shakespeare’s 448th birthday this month, and so can you.

The Magnolia Avenue Campus Drama Club of Pellissippi State Community College invites the public to enjoy “Scattered Shakespeare,” a presentation of favorite scenes from the Bard of Avon’s plays, offered three times, beginning Wednesday, April 18.

The student club will perform segments from “Macbeth,” “Hamlet,” “Henry V,” “The Taming of the Shrew,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “The Comedy of Errors,” “The Winter’s Tale,” “The Merchant of Venice” and “Julius Caesar.”

The event takes place in the Community Room of the campus’ Joe Armstrong Building, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. Presentations are April 18, 4-5 p.m.; April 19, 7-8 p.m.; and the traditionally celebrated day, April 23, 7-8 p.m.

The performances are free and light refreshments will be provided. Donations will be accepted at the door on behalf of the Pellissippi State Foundation.

For more information, contact Rick Patton, co-sponsor of the Magnolia Avenue Campus Drama Club, (865) 329-3134 or rpatton@pstcc.edu.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State student robotics team finishes regional competition in top quarter

Pellissippi State's robotics team traveled to Florida and competed March 15-18 in the IEEE SoutheastCon 2012 Hardware Competition, returning home with 13th place. Pictured are (l-r) Carl Mallette, team advisor; Marcus Monday, Nathan Wolfe, Amber Dyer, Jeremy Kelso, and Erik Speyer, the student robotics team; and Kenneth Swayne, team mentor.

The robotics team from Pellissippi State Community College faced off with 53 other teams in Orlando, Fla., March 15-18 and came home satisfied.

The team competed in the IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) SoutheastCon 2012 Hardware Competition. Contenders included 51 four-year institutions and only two other community colleges.

Pellissippi State took 13th place, defeating the other two-year schools and dozens of top-ranked engineering institutions, among them, the University of Florida, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Clemson University.

The robotics team was led by Carl Mallette and Kenneth Swayne, both of whom teach in the Electrical Engineering concentration. Mallette is the student advisor for the team and is the IEEE East Tennessee section chair for 2012-13. Swayne served as a mentor.

All teams were required to bring a robot that could navigate a course with four stations. The robots had to measure voltage and the difference between two wave signals, temperature, and capacitance. They had four minutes to complete the course as many times as possible. The robots competed in three rounds, with points given for each correct measure and deducted for incorrect measures.

“We were very pleased with the performance of our robot in being able to endure real-world conditions,” said Erik Speyer, team leader and a student in Mallette’s Robotics and Automation course last semester. “Its ability to make correct decisions allowed us to beat out numerous top-ranked engineering universities. This really emphasizes the caliber of education Pellissppi provides its students.”

“The students tell me that they understood so much more of what they’ve learned in other classes by working on this project,” Mallette said.

Pellissippi State chooses veteran site dean as head of Strawberry Plains Campus

Mike North sitting at deskPellissippi State Community College has selected Mike North, an experienced site dean, to lead the new Strawberry Plains Campus.

North currently serves as the assistant dean and top administrator for Pellissippi State’s Division Street Campus, a position he has been in since 2003. He began his career at Pellissippi State as a counselor almost 20 years ago and has worked at all of the college’s campuses.

“Mike brings experience to the position, which I think we need with the start of a new campus,” said Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise. “We’ll be adding new support staff positions, academic programs, and partnership programs in the community, and his experience as site dean at Division Street positions him well to lead Strawberry Plains.”

Pellissippi State acquired the Strawberry Plains Campus recently to expand higher education access to areas of Knox and surrounding counties that are traditionally underserved by colleges and universities. The 33-acre property is the site of the former Philips Consumer Electronics’ East Tennessee headquarters.

“It’s exciting to think about what the college could do at Strawberry Plains, and I feel very fortunate to be part of the process,” said North.

The Strawberry Plains Campus is scheduled to open fall semester for classes.

North’s introduction to Pellissippi State came in 1991, when he toured the main campus on Hardin Valley Road as part of a graduate class at the University of Tennessee. Coincidentally, he was in the midst of a decision about where to do the practicum for his master’s degree. The visit resonated, North says, and he ultimately chose Pellissippi State.

“I just loved the feel—it felt very comfortable here. I really liked the people I met. It seemed so hands-on, so accessible.”

North, 46, has a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Iowa. His master’s degree from UT is in college student personnel. He earned a doctorate in educational leadership and policy studies from UT as well.

The practicum at Pellissippi State in 1992 led to a full-time job at the Student Development Center as a counselor, a position North was in for a decade before being chosen assistant dean at the Division Street Campus.

North also served as the interim vice president for Student Success and Enrollment Management for Pellissippi State from February 2007 to June 2008.

During the summers, when the Division Street Campus closes, he has worked as site dean at the Magnolia Avenue and Blount County campuses whenever the current deans have been called to perform additional duties.

North says he will miss the staff, faculty and students of the Division Street Campus.

“However, it’s a good time for me to experience a change, and I am very appreciative of the opportunity to go to Strawberry Plains. I have served at Division Street as site dean for almost 10 years, so it will be healthy for the campus (and me) to have some fresh ideas.”

Pellissippi State has five campuses: Hardin Valley, Blount County, Division Street, Magnolia Avenue and, now, Strawberry Plains. The new site is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike in Knoxville.

Learn more about Pellissippi State by visiting www.pstcc.edu or calling (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State Foundation receives civil rights-themed art donation

When Herb Rieth traveled the highways of Mississippi in 2005, he was doing so as an art teacher and as a son. Rieth was at that time serving as an art instructor in Starkville, and he frequently made the 150-mile drive to Coldwater in order to visit his mother and stepfather.

Seven years later, Reith, now an art instructor at Pellissippi State Community College, has donated a mixed-media fabric piece to the school through the Pellissippi State Foundation that was inspired by those drives.

“Savage from the Outside: An Ode to Mose Wright” is 110 inches by 119 inches.  It was created by Rieth to pay homage both to Mose Wright, the great-uncle of Emmett Till, and to the struggles for civil rights that took place in communities across Mississippi.

The August 1955 death of the 14-year-old Till and the murder trial that followed one month later served as catalysts for the emerging Civil Rights Movement.

A famous photograph of Wright testifying during the trial in Sumner—taken by photographer Ernest Withers despite a judge’s orders prohibiting photographs—shows Till’s great-uncle pointing as he identifies a defendant in court. Wright’s testimony was believed to be the first instance of a black person’s testifying against a white defendant in a Mississippi courtroom.

Rieth’s art combines history and his own firsthand impressions of the Mississippi landscape. During his visits to Coldwater, he encountered the nearby community of Savage. Rieth knew the history of the Till events, yet he was struck by the geography of the Mississippi Delta region and the area’s role as the setting for strife and, eventually, monumental change.

“Savage is just a bump in the road,” said Rieth. “That area’s flatness is only broken by running tufts of large live oaks and cottonwood trees that serve as windbreaks.

“The roads border decaying towns that lay like broken shells of a great postwar American culture. The sharp contrast in geography that I saw while driving brought home the rupture in culture that riveted the country during that hot summer 50 years before. That was the inspiration for ‘Savage from the Outside.’”

Rieth decided to donate the piece to the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the college, and it is now displayed in the McWherter Building on the Hardin Valley Campus. Students, faculty, staff and visitors can enjoy the art as both a beautiful addition to the facility and as an ode to the personal stories that helped shape the Civil Rights Movement.

This is not the first time the Foundation has received an art donation. Ed Harmon, a Blount County native and art collector, gave the school 20 paintings and prints. The pieces represent the works of local artists who focus on the landscapes of the Appalachian region.

An anonymous donor also gifted five pieces of art for the Library at the Blount County Campus. Donations to the college are coordinated by the Foundation, which works to support programs that directly impact students.

“Part of our mission is to provide opportunities for life, civic and cultural enrichment,” said Peggy Wilson. “We appreciate Herb Rieth’s willingness to share his beautiful and meaningful art with the entire community, and the Foundation would certainly encourage others to contact us regarding such gifts.” Wilson is executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation, as well as vice president of College Advancement.

To discuss the possibility of making a donation, call the Foundation at (865) 694-6528 or email foundation@pstcc.edu.

‘A Beautiful Conversation’ about schizophrenia April 24 at Pellissippi State

Mental health has been an ongoing topic in student Jeanmarie Willson’s writing projects at Pellissippi State Community College.

Willson, the mother of two grown children, is schizophrenic. She has been forthcoming about her illness, making it a topic of essays and poems in her English classes. Now, with the help of her English professor, Ed Francisco, Pellissippi State’s writer-in-residence, she has organized a panel discussion about mental health. The event is free and open to the community.

“A Beautiful Conversation” is April 24, 12:25-1:30 p.m., in the Goins Building Auditorium on the Hardin Valley Campus. A panel of Pellissippi State students and mental health professionals will discuss mental health issues and resources. Francisco moderates.

The panel, co-sponsored by Pellissippi State’s student service-learning club, Gnosis, was inspired by one of Willson’s favorite books and movies. “A Beautiful Mind” is the story of John Forbes Nash, a paranoid schizophrenic mathematician who shared the Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1994.

“We will talk about psychotherapy in the context of a quest,” Francisco said. “Nobody gets out of this life unscathed. Everyone has problems and predicaments, and sometimes those can be overwhelming. People need to know where they can go for assistance. That’s one of the really good things we hope will come out of this discussion.”

For more information, call (865) 694-6400 or contact the English Department at (865) 694-6708.

To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State hosts annual Student Design Showcase April 19

Although employment of graphic designers is expected to grow 13 percent between 2008 and 2018, job seekers also are expected to face “keen competition.” That’s according to the 2010-11 edition of the Occupational Outlook Handbook produced by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Students completing their graphic design coursework at Pellissippi State Community College plan to get an edge on that “keen competition” on April 19, when they take part in the annual Communication Graphics Technology Student Design Showcase. This year’s theme is “Design is Served.”

The event is like a graduation, celebration and potential job interview, all rolled into one evening. This year, 35 students will present their portfolios for viewing and evaluation by invited area design professionals. Each student has his or her own table display, business cards and resumes on hand.

Also open to the public, the free CGT Student Design Showcase is 4-8 p.m. at the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the Hardin Valley Campus.

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

Pellissippi State’s Blount County Campus hosts Health and Wellness Fair

Pellissippi State Community College’s Blount County Campus puts the focus on health in the upcoming Health and Wellness Fair.

Scheduled 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 18 in the William “Keith” McCord Lobby of the campus, the event brings together a broad range of organizations committed to improving the well-being of community residents. The Blount County Campus Health and Wellness Fair is free and open to the public.

The community vendors this year include Alcoa Chiropractic, University of Tennessee Medical Center, Blount Memorial Hospital, Cornerstone Integrative Health Associates (acupuncture), Knoxville Rolfing Structural Integration, National Fitness Center, Keola Fit Yoga, East Tennessee Medical Group Sleep Center, Marino Bone Density, Blount County Eye Center (vision screening), Blue Ridge Family Dentistry, Tennessee Vein Center, Juice Plus, Pregnancy Resource Center, Vitamin World and Allergy, Asthma and Sinus Center.

Pellissippi State’s nursing students will provide glucose and blood pressure screenings.

The Blount County Campus is located at 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Pkwy. (U.S. 321).

For more information about the event, call (865) 981-5300. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Human Resources and Affirmative Action at (865) 694-6607 or humanresources@pstcc.edu.

Graduating next month? You’re invited to breakfast with the president

All Pellissippi State students who will graduate next month are invited to attend a Graduates’ Breakfast With the President.

Celebrate your accomplishment by joining other graduates and Pellissippi State President Anthony Wise. Breakfasts are 8-9:30 a.m., and you can choose from the following dates and campus locations:

  • Wednesday, April 11, Magnolia Avenue Campus
  • Wednesday, April 18, Division Street Campus
  • Thursday, April 19, Hardin Valley Campus, Goins Building
    College Center
  • Wednesday, April 25, Blount County Campus

Graduates’ Breakfast With the President is sponsored by the Pellissippi State Alumni Association.

R.S.V.P. to Brooke Pannell, Alumni Relations coordinator, at (865) 539-7275, or email alumni@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State Community College, Knoxville, TN