Kevin 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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.