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Graduate spotlight: Pellissippi State sets Benji Conner on a creative path

Benjamin Conner at an audio console with computers, mics, wires, etc.
Benji Conner graduates from Pellissippi State on Friday with his degree in Media Technologies/Audio Production Engineering.

In less than 18 months, Pellissippi State has helped Benji Conner change the trajectory of his life. 

Conner enrolled in August 2022 thanks to Tennessee Reconnect, a last-dollar scholarship that covers tuition for adult learners after all state and federal financial aid has been applied.   

He will graduate Friday with his Associate of Applied Science in Media Technologies/Audio Production Engineering. 

“Being 25 and coming back to school was incredibly difficult, but I am so thankful that I did,” he said. “Quite literally every single teacher I came in contact with had an incredible impact on me, and I could not be more grateful for them. They have truly altered the course of my life and have given me more than enough tools to be successful.” 

During his time at Pellissippi State, Conner took on a leadership role in both the Audio Production Engineering (APE) Club and in group projects, “helping inspire and lead by example,” said Associate Professor Mischa Goldman, program coordinator for Audio Production Engineering.  

“Benji is the first to arrive on a production call and the last to leave,” he said. “He works tirelessly as a work-study student and exudes passion for all things audio and creative.” 

Assistant Professor Jonathan Maness agreed. 

“Benji has a great work ethic in and out of the classroom,” he said. “He’s intent on being an expert in his field and brings 110% of himself to the table.” 

Conner plans to transfer to a four-year university to pursue a bachelor’s degree in music technology. His long-term goal is to “be as creative as possible,” he said. 

“I have learned more at Pellissippi State than I ever anticipated and was given a space for my creative passions to blossom,” he said. “I don’t think I could ask for anything more.”