Gov. Haslam proclaims today ‘Pellissippi State 40th Anniversary Day’

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Gov. Bill Haslam honored Pellissippi State Community College’s 40-year anniversary by proclaiming Sept. 4, “Pellissippi State Community College 40th Anniversary Day.”

“We’re honored that the governor recognizes Pellissippi State’s legacy in education and are proud that he is celebrating our anniversary with us,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., Pellissippi State president.
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Pellissippi State was founded as State Technical Institute at Knoxville on Sept. 4, 1974. The inaugural class included 45 students in three associate’s degree programs, all in engineering technology. Today, Pellissippi State enrolls more than 10,000 credit students across five campuses in Knox and Blount counties.

Throughout the next year, Pellissippi State will be celebrating 40 years of “Achieving Success, One Story at a Time.” The college will host community events as well as special activities for students, faculty and staff. Students, alumni, and community members are encouraged to share their own positive stories and memories of Pellissippi State at On social media, use #PSCC40.

NASA to grant scholarships to Pellissippi State students

Enrollment in STEM—science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—at community colleges across the U.S. comes up short for women and underrepresented students, but at Pellissippi State Community College, a new grant will seek to change that.

NASA has awarded $499,689 to the Tennessee Community College Space Grant Consortium, through the Tennessee Space Grant Consortium located at Vanderbilt University, as part of the NSPIRES (NASA Solicitation and Proposal Integrated Review and Evaluation System) program. The consortium is made up of Pellissippi State and four other Tennessee Board of Regents colleges.

“Pellissippi State is a major provider of qualified engineering technicians to local manufacturers,” said Peggy Wilson, vice president of College Advancement and executive director of the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Similarly, NASA is committed to increasing the number of students graduating with STEM degrees.
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“While women represent about 61 percent of the total enrollment in the state’s community colleges, they only account for about 11 percent of the enrollment in engineering technology programs.” Underrepresented groups make up about 13 percent of engineering technology program enrollment.

As part of the Community College Space Grant Consortium, the college plans to recruit more women and underrepresented groups into STEM-related associate’s degree and certificate programs, particularly in the areas of engineering technology and robotics.

The grant will provide $45,000 in scholarships to Pellissippi State. This is the first time that a Space Grant scholarship has been awarded to Tennessee community college students.

The grant also will help the school hire a part-time “completion coach” to provide Pellissippi State’s Engineering Technology students the support they need to graduate. The Engineering Technology program culminates in an Associate of Applied Science degree.

Additionally, it will pay for membership in the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, as well as for travel to the IEEE SoutheastCon’s robotics competition and the NASA Summer Robotics Institute at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala.
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Other members of the consortium include Cleveland State Community College, Columbia State Community College, Northeast State Community College and Roane State Community College.

For more information on the grant or the college’s engineering technology offerings, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

Pellissippi State employee recognized as a top graduate student worldwide

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John Brent Morrison, manager of technical operations in Educational Technology Services at Pellissippi State Community College, was recognized recently as one of the best business graduate students in the world.

Morrison, who is pursuing an M.B.A. at Tennessee Technological University, competed in the international Capstone Business Simulation program, or Capsim, during spring semester. He placed 23rd out of 1,760 participants from 36 countries, and his scores put him in the top 1.5 percent of competitors.
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The Capsim is a sophisticated program used in more than 600 universities worldwide. Students create and operate fictitious companies, making decisions regarding marketing, finance, product development, factory production, and workforce management. Students who do well in the classroom can choose to compete in the biannual competition.

The company Morrison fabricated designed, manufactured, and distributed motion sensors for various products, such as pedometers and video game remote controls. Morrison’s success, he believes, came from his strategy of regularly introducing new products into the market.
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“The steady pace of product innovation,” he said, “allowed me to examine the simulated market as a whole and target the consumer needs that my competitors were failing to meet, making products that were smaller, faster, and cheaper.”

According to Christine Miller, the decision sciences and management instructor who oversaw the classroom Capsim project, the program is designed to mimic the uncertainty of real-world business.
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“The decisions are all interrelated,” she said. “A production decision can affect the corporation’s cash flow, which could have a ripple effect in the financial arena. If the simulation adds something like an economic recession, the companies have to be able to withstand it.”

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

Pellissippi State students pass stage-fighting exam

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Ten Pellissippi State Community College students recently passed a skills proficiency test with the Society of American Fight Directors. The test, the first administered in Tennessee in almost 20 years, was the result of more than a semester of instruction by Bob Borwick, Pellissippi State adjunct faculty member and certified SAFD instructor.

The students are Greg Congleton, Jordan Cook, Carolyn Corley, Thomas Crout, Julianna Meyers, Hunter Overby, Barrie Paulson, Steve Trigg, Kristina Walker and Deb Weatherington.

They 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.

Borwick is the only SAFD certified instructor in the state, and he teaches exclusively at Pellissippi State. The course to prepare for the SAFD skills proficiency test is THEA 2222 Special Topics (Stage Combat). Plans are under way to offer the course again in spring 2015. Business and Community Services also has a non-credit Stage Combat course available.

For more information, email Charles R. Miller at For more about Pellissippi State, visit or call (865) 694-6400.

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