Make holiday gifts, décor in Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning classes

Carolyn Hahs Fogelman cuts glass for holiday pendants
Carolyn Hahs Fogelman cuts glass for pendants similar to those she will teach students to make in The Art of Glass Fusion class this fall.

The holidays are just around the corner, and whether you’re looking for unique décor for your home or wanting to make one-of-a-kind gifts for your loved ones, Pellissippi State Community College has lifelong learning classes that can help you channel your inner artist. 

Check out these upcoming noncredit classes that are open to the community. For more festive fun, enjoy the experience of taking a lifelong learning class with a friend or family member.  

Deborah Kelly’s Paper Quilling class teaches students how to use thin strips of paper that are rolled into coils to create shapes that are then glued and arranged to create elaborate designs and images. Finished pieces can be used to decorate cards, gift bags and boxes, and picture frames — or even can be turned into jewelry or ornaments. 

  • Paper Quilling: Mondays, Oct. 19-Nov. 16, 6-7:30 p.m. 

Bob Ross-Certified Instructor Bram Bevins will teach students how to use Ross’ wet-on-wet painting method, which allows the painter to complete a painting in a short amount of time. 

  • Bob Ross Style Painting, Harvest Moon: Wednesday, Oct. 21, 6-9 p.m. 
  • Bob Ross Style Painting, Snowman Wonder: Wednesday, Dec. 2, 6-9 p.m.

Students in floral designer Lori Wilson’s classes will create their own floral arrangement using seasonal, fresh flowers and learn how to care for flowers at home to achieve long-lasting freshness: 

  • Introduction to Floral Design, Fall Arrangement: Tuesday, Oct. 27, 6:15-8:15 p.m. 
  • Introduction to Floral Design, Winter Arrangement: Tuesday, Dec. 1, 6:15-8:15 p.m. 
Glass pendants made by Carolyn Hahs Fogelman
These colorful pendants are examples of the accessories students will learn how to make and assemble in The Art of Glass Fusion.

Oak Ridge native Carolyn Hahs Fogelman is teaching two classes that are perfect for making handmade gifts. In The Art of Glass Fusion, students will learn how to cut and assemble decorative glass pendants that can be turned into jewelry or used as keychains, magnets and other accessories. In her new class, Traditional Dorset Button Making, students will create two styles of embroidered buttons that can be used for hair accessories, jewelry, quilt accents and more. 

  • The Art of Glass Fusion: Tuesdays, Oct. 27-Nov. 17, 6-8:30 p.m. 
  • Traditional Dorset Button Making: Tuesdays, Dec. 1-8, 6-9 p.m. 

Amy Broady, local art educator and certified Zentangle instructor, can help you add a personal touch to your home décor. In Zen Bells, students will learn how to draw using the Zentangle method while creating three-sided hanging paper bells that make unique holiday ornaments and garlands 

  • Zen Bells: Saturday, Nov. 21, 1-5 p.m. 

These holiday-inspired lifelong learning classes are taught on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville. In response to the coronavirus pandemic, masks or face coverings must be worn by all instructors and students, and classes are being held in larger classrooms to ensure that participants can maintain 6 feet of distance between each other.  

Prices for lifelong learning classes vary. To register for a lifelong learning class, contact Pellissippi State’s Business and Community Services office at 8655397167 or visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs.  

For a sneak peek of what to expect, join our lifelong learning class instructors for demonstrations on Facebook Live at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, October 14. Tune in at facebook.com/pellissippi/live. 

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Pellissippi State Theatre students perform radio plays, broadcast live, in lieu of in-person performances this fall

Poster for the double feature radio plays
Support Pellissippi State’s Theatre and Audio Production Engineering students by tuning in to live broadcasts of two radio plays later this month.

Theatre companies across the country have had to get creative during the coronavirus pandemic, performing plays over video communication platforms or in open outdoor spaces. 

But when brainstorming how Pellissippi State Community College could give its Theatre students the experience they need while still adhering to social distancing protocolsProfessor Charles R. Miller didn’t look to the future of theatre. 

He looked to the past. 

“Why reinvent the wheel?” asked Miller, who serves as Theatre program coordinator for the College. “Radio drama has been around for 100 years.” 

Pellissippi State will present a double feature of two short radio plays — “The Lone Ranger Redux” and the science fiction piece “Think Like a Dinosaur” — at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. 

The plays will be performed back-to-back by Pellissippi State students, broadcast live on the College’s YouTube channel and recorded for later listening by Pellissippi State’s Audio Production Engineering faculty and students. 

There is no fee to listen. 

“In the past six months, we have seen a lot of Zoom theatre, and sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t,” Miller said. “But radio dramas use the power of imagination. 

“The Lone Ranger Redux” is one of the original radio broadcasts of “The Lone Ranger” from 1933, with some updating by Miller and his Theatre students. 

“There will be some socially aware commentary in it, in that the characters will step out of the play to remark on current events, but in a humorous way,” Miller explained. 

For example, the character of Tonto, the Native American companion of the Lone Ranger, will react to outdated stereotypes and racial slurs in the script. Miller described the updated Tonto as “quietly, morally outraged in a way that’s also funny.” 

The second radio play, “Think Like a Dinosaur,” is based on the award-winning science fiction novelette by James Patrick Kelly. Set in the far future and centering on alien technology and alien races, the play resembles “an episode of a scifi series, but self-contained,” Miller said. 

“This play is a little more dramatic and thought provoking,” he added. 

It’s the first time Pellissippi State has produced radio plays, Miller noted, and they are challenging the College’s Theatre students in new and different ways. 

“You don’t have the distractions of the set, the costumes and the facial expressions, so everything you’re doing with your voice, your breath – that’s what the audience is getting,” he said. “It’s all you.” 

Because of restrictions on having guests on campus during the coronavirus pandemic, Miller limited participation in the radio plays to Pellissippi State students instead of opening them up to the community. Twelve students will be acting in the plays, two will be providing sound effects and two will be working on the audio recording. 

During technical rehearsals and performances, actors will be spaced 15 to 20 feet from each other around the perimeter of the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the College’s Hardin Valley Campus, Miller stressed. The additional distance between students addresses that actors and musicians can spread respiratory droplets farther than those who talk without projecting their voices, he said. 

“Doing it live creates the kind of energy that is important to actors, but we will record it so that it can be enjoyed later by those who are not available to listen to it live,” Miller added. 

To tune in to “The Lone Ranger Redux” and “Think Like a Dinosaur” live, visit youtube.com/PellissippiState at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17, or 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18. 

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Pellissippi State gives canceled Big Ears Festival new life with livestreamed concerts

A jazz band plays on stage while Pellissippi State faculty and students record them
Pellissippi State student Channing Huskey, not pictured, took this photo of Pellissippi State faculty and students recording a recent concert at the Bijou Theatre.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Media Technologies faculty and students are directing, filming, recording, photographing and engineering Sites & Sounds from Big Ears, a series of intimate concerts at the historic Bijou Theatre. 

The new livestreaming initiative fills a gap left when Knoxville’s Big Ears Festival was canceled due to coronavirus. The next concert, with the top-tier contemporary jazz trio The Bad Plus, will premiere at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9. 

Tickets are $15 in advance and $17 on the day of the livestream. Those who purchase their tickets in advance or during the livestream also have access to a recording of the concert that will be available until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 11.  

Big Ears Festival Executive and Artistic Director Ashley Capps reached out to Assistant Professor Mischa Goldmanwho has served as production manager for Big Ears at the Bijou for many years, to brainstorm how they could support artists and venues that had suffered severely due to COVID-19 closures. 

What they landed on isn’t your typical livestream, where the viewer experiences the concert from a fixed perspective, far from the stage. 

“Ashley wanted to make this very personal and engaging for the audience,” explains Goldman, who serves as program coordinator for Audio Production Engineering at Pellissippi State. “There wasn’t a concrete vision of how he wanted to do this, but I believe we were able to translate and capture Ashley’s desire to present a unique streaming experience.” 

Sites & Sounds from Big Ears livestreams concerts in a single take with a Steadicam — taking viewers down Gay Street, viewing the marquee out front, into the empty Bijou Theatre, backstage and, ultimately, up on stage with the artists. 

“It’s like a first-person experience,” Goldman explained. “You are up close with the artists, not sitting far back, and they break down the fourth wall, talking to each other and to the camera between tunes.” 

Big Ears and Pellissippi State piloted this approach during Sites & Sounds from Big Ears’ first concert – musician R.B. Morris on Aug. 21 – and received rave reviews from viewers. 

“A lot of streaming is flat,” Goldman said. “We got comments like, ‘I didn’t expect this. Wow.’ You are seeing the concert through the eyes of someone invited on stage with the musicians, and that provides intimacy.” 

Filming a jazz trio on stage at the Bijou Theatre
Pellissippi State faculty and students bring livestream viewers on stage with artists during Sites & Sounds from Big Ears at the historic Bijou Theatre. (Photo by student Channing Huskey)

Because of COVID-19 restrictions and concerns for safety, Sites & Sounds from Big Ears utilizes a very small crew. Big Ears Festival Managing Director Aaron Greenwald joins Capps as a producerGoldman is serving as producer and audio mastering engineer and is joined by Pellissippi State Instructor Jonathan Maness, recording and mixing engineering, and Adjunct Matthew Caldwell, director of photography/Steadicam operator and video editor. 

The Pellissippi State Video Production Technology and Photography faculty also selected four students to join them: Channing Huskey, still photography, and Logan MaddoxMichael Moore and Grant Robinson, assistant cameras. 

The students are receiving class credit for their participation. 

“This gives students real-world experience of how to put together a production like this: how to gather assets, how to work within the restraints of technology, how to work on tight deadlines,” Goldman explained. “The students have been very professional. They understand our safety protocols and have worked well with the artists.” 

Capps, the founder of AC Entertainment, which produces the annual Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival in Manchester in addition to the Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, is pleased with the result. 

We’re thrilled, in this most uncertain moment for the arts, to be able to work with artists about whom we care deeply, in venues that are part of the fabric of our city, and with the indispensable faculty and students from Pellissippi State Community College, an East Tennessee treasure, he said. 

For more information on the jazz trio The Bad Plus or to purchase tickets for the livestream, visit www.bigearsfestival.org/thebadplus. 

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Pellissippi State hosts webinar series on digital storytelling

Steve Crescenzo
Steve Crescenzo is the first keynote speaker for Pellissippi State’s upcoming webinar series on digital storytelling.

The Pellissippi State Community College Media Technologies program will host a free, three-part continuing education webinar series titled “The Art, Science & Impact of Digital Storytelling” beginning Wednesday, Oct. 21,  with other sessions scheduled for Dec. 1 and Jan. 22, 2021. 

Each session will take place 12:30-2 p.m. Eastern over Zoom. Registration is open now for professionals, faculty, students and alumni in digital, creative and strategic communications communities from East Tennessee, as well as from thought leaders in these areas across the country. 

This webinar series takes the place of the half-day digital storytelling forum that was planned for April 24 and postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

Our team of supporters for Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program and the Bagwell Center for Media and Art are excited to welcome the creative and strategic communications community to join us for learning, sharing and networking opportunities, as we interact with leaders who represent such important voices of our industry’s workforce pipeline,” said Mary Beth West, volunteer chair of Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies development campaign. 

This webinar series sponsored by The HiveBagwell Entertainment and Jupiter Entertainment will bring together thought leaders in digital production, creative services and brand storytelling, to discuss industry trends and workforce opportunities, as Greater Knoxville continues to evolve as a nationally and internationally recognized center of digital content development for major broadcasting and consumer platforms. 

Session 1 on Oct. 21Crafting Digital Messages that Motivate Audiences to Action, will feature a keynote address by Steve Crescenzo of Crescenzo Communications, who has been voted the No. 1 speaker from the International Association of Business Communicators World Conference seven times. 

Shel Holtz of Webcor will moderate a panel including Deirdre Breakenridge, CEO at Pure Performance; Damon Rawls, founder of Damon Rawls Consulting Group; and Scott Monty, former chief of global digital communications at Ford Motor Co.  

Speaker biographies are available on the webinar series website. 

Session 1 will focus on the essence and purpose of strategic communications and digital engagement and will explore questions such as: 

  • How much is the medium still (or even more so) the message in the digital age?  
  • How should strategies and tactics change as digital innovation accelerates and saturates?  
  • Is understanding your audience more important as you aim to earn trust for your business, sell products/services to customers or persuade people to your cause – and how can authentic connections be achieved during the disruption of the COVID-19 Age? 

There is no cost for the webinar series. The webinars highlight Pellissippi State’s Media Technologies program, which offers concentrations in Audio Production Engineering, Design for Web and Print, Photography, Video Production Technology and Web Technology. 

For more information on this webinar series, including future topics, speaker bios or to register, visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs/mediatech. 

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Pellissippi State student named 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar

Moriah Hall
Moriah Hall, a New Student Orientation leader at Pellissippi State, has been named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar.

Moriah Hall, an Accounting major at Pellissippi State Community Collegeis one of 207 Phi Theta Kappa members named a 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. She has received a $1,000 scholarship from the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation 

“The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation has a long history of providing financial assistance to outstanding students at community colleges,” said Jane Hale Hopkins, president of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. “We are proud to partner with Phi Theta Kappa to make it possible for more deserving students to achieve their educational goals and support tomorrow’s leaders of the global community.” 

Phi Theta Kappa is an honor society that recognizes the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helps them to grow as scholars and leaders. Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential. Nearly 700 applications were received, and a total of $207,000 was awarded. 

“I made the decision to join Phi Theta Kappa to take advantage of the extracurricular learning, leadership and scholarship opportunities, and I am beyond grateful to have been chosen for the 2020 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise scholarship!” Hall said. “This scholarship will aid in paying for my textbooks and other school supplies, giving me a chance to focus on maintaining a high GPA.” 

The funds provided by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation not only aid college completion, but also give students the opportunity to engage in PTK programs and develop leadership skills to become future leaders in their communities.  

“Research shows that Phi Theta Kappa members are four times more likely to complete a college degree than their peers,” said Monica Marlowe, executive director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation. “The Leaders of Promise Scholarships recognize students for what they have achieved already and assure that financial need isn’t an obstacle to achieving their academic goals.” 

Hall, a homeschool graduate, is on track to graduate in spring 2021 and plans to transfer to East Tennessee State University to pursue her bachelor’s degree in Accounting. 

I chose to attend Pellissippi State because I appreciate the small campus environment,” she said. “The small class sizes make it very easy to form a personal connection with my professors and classmates, which I greatly enjoy.” 

For more information about Phi Theta Kappa, visiptk.org. For more information about Pellissippi State, call 8655946400 or visit www.pstcc.edu 

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Take a virtual music class with Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning program

Anna Uptain with musical instruments
Anna Uptain is teaching virtual classes in guitar, mandolin, ukulele and banjo this fall.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Business and Community Services is offering virtual music classes this fall. These noncredit classes are open to the public. 

In late March, when the college moved to remote instruction due to the coronavirus pandemic, several lifelong learning classes were impacted, shifting from in person to virtual meetingsNearly half of Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning classes this fall will continue to be offered virtually.  

“It was important for us to continue offering opportunities for the community to learn and connect,” said Nancy Corumprogram coordinator with Business and Community Services. “By going virtual with as many classes as possible, we’ve been able to help provide a small sense of normalcy and allow people to still experience that human connection during the last few months. We’ve had many instructors and students really welcome the new virtual environment. 

Anna Uptain is one of Pellissippi State’s lifelong learning instructors who has embraced the opportunity to teach virtually. While Uptain had taught virtual private lessons prior to this year, teaching group classes over the computer has been a new experience.  

Uptain is teaching six virtual classes this fall: 

  • Beginner Ukulele: Tuesdays, Sept. 8-Oct. 13 
  • Advanced Ukulele: Tuesdays, Oct. 20-Dec. 1 
  • Beginner Guitar: Thursdays, Oct. 22-Dec. 3 
  • Not Your Traditional Guitar: Thursdays, Sept. 10-Oct. 15 
  • Dueling Banjos: Wednesdays, Oct. 21-Dec. 2 
  • Quick Pickin’ Mandolin: Wednesdays, Sept. 9-Oct. 14 

“I like teaching virtually,” said Uptain, who has been teaching classes at Pellissippi State for almost 20 years. There’s no travel and you can be in the comfort of your own home. If you want to wear your lounge pants and t-shirt, you can.”  

Uptain‘s classes are designed to help people learn quickly. Knowing time is a luxury when juggling work and other responsibilities, her classes meet one night a week for six weeks. 

On the first night of every class, I introduce myself and I tell students, You will go home playing tonight. And they look at me like I’m joking,” Uptain said“My goal when I created the classes was to get people up and playing as quickly as possible and have success with it. 

The key to taking a virtual class, Uptain said, is to come into the class with an excitement and willingness to learn.  

“Don’t be afraid of the computer. One of the nicest things about virtual classes is there’s nobody else there to hear you if you mess up,” she said. “Everyone is starting in the same place.  

Uptain’s classes are open to ages 13 and older. You do not need to know how to read music or have any musical background or experience. 

Other lifelong learning classes being offered virtually this fall include: 

  • Dulcimer 
  • Digital Photography 
  • Book Writing 
  • Health & Wellness 
  • For the Love of Gems & Jewelry with JTV 
  • Professional development classes, like Solidworks, FANUC, leadership 

Lifelong learning classes that are being taught in person are following new safety precautions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Masks or face coverings must be worn by all instructors and students, and classes also are being held in larger classrooms to ensure that participants can maintain 6 feet of distance between each other. 

Registration for fall classes is open now. To register for a virtual music class or any other Pellissippi State lifelong learning class this fall, contact the Business and Community Services office at 865.539.7167 or visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs. 

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Pellissippi State sponsors Tool and Die Maker apprenticeship program with Newell Brands

Newell Brands apprentices
Newell Brands employees Kyle Sanchez, left, and Seth Hartley will receive their Journeyman Tool and Die Maker certifications upon successful completion of their apprenticeships, which are sponsored by Pellissippi State.

Pellissippi State Community College is making it easier for area businesses to start apprenticeship programs for new and current employees. 

Newell Brandslocated in Maryville, kicked off a new apprenticeship program this summer, with Pellissippi State as the sponsor. While Pellissippi State has been supporting apprenticeships with area businesses for years, this is the first time the college is sponsoring a program.   

“Newell Brands has been a longstanding partner for whom we provide training,” said Todd Evans, director of workforce solutions at Pellissippi State. “This apprenticeship program allows us to continue supporting their long-term goals of having employees with the skills necessary to do their job well.” 

Newell Brands’ expansion of its tool room and molding department this year created a need for additional tool and die makers at the company. It became clear to Newell Brands’ leaders that training and promoting current employees within the department was the right move to make to fill those positions. 

This position is one that is becoming more and more difficult to find qualified journeyman workers to fill,” said Aaron Myers, tool room supervisor at Newell Brands. We decided to partner with Pellissippi State and their new Tool and Die Maker apprenticeship program. We all believe that one of the best ways to cultivate a positive culture is to promote from within.” 

An apprenticeship program is a multi-year investment, with the amount of time invested dependent upon occupation, model and whether apprentices receive credit for the education and experience they already have. Apprentices must complete 144 hours of instructional training and 2,000 hours of on-the-job training each year of their apprenticeship, which is the same as apprentices working full time for their employer, year-round. 

Newell Brands had two employees start the apprenticeship program this summer, Seth Hartley and Kyle Sanchez. They will receive their Journeyman Tool and Die Maker certifications upon successful completion of their apprenticeships. 

Pellissippi State’s role and involvement as the apprenticeship sponsor can vary program to program, but includes working with the employer to provide administrative support and documentation with the U.S. Department of Labor, organizing the educational component and curriculum of the apprenticeship, and providing training for mentors. 

I think there is a growing recognition that training a modern workforce requires flexibility, and apprenticeship models allow for that,” Evans noted. “It’s the part we are most excited about.” 

Training can include a combination of online and in-person classes, allowing the apprentices the flexibility to learn on their own time. Most of the educational training for Newell Brands’ apprentices will be delivered online. Portions of the training also can apply toward an associate degree if the apprentice is interested in pursuing one. 

Pellissippi State has developed a streamlined class structure ensuring classes are to the point and have value in the information they provide,” Myers said. “Under the new program, we have the ability to tailor the curriculum by removing or adding any classes that we feel would benefit students during their apprenticeship program. 

For more information about starting an apprenticeship program, contact Todd Evansdirector of workforce solutions, at jtevans@pstcc.edu or call 865.539.7167. 

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Pellissippi State cancels August Commencement ceremony

Pellissippi State Community College has decided it will not hold an in-person Commencement ceremony this August for its spring and summer graduates as was hoped. With the increase in the number of positive COVID-19 cases, the college decided it was not safe to move forward with the specially scheduled ceremony. 

“When we postponed our May Commencement, was hopeful that we would be able to hold the ceremony in August,” said President L. Anthony Wise Jr. 

The Knox County Health Department reported 91 new positive COVID-19 cases Thursday. Federal officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other agencies visited Knoxville last week after declaring the area a hotspot for the coronavirus. 

Pellissippi State’s summer graduates will be notified by postcard when their diplomas are available for pick up, and the college also will offer all 2020 graduates photo opportunities on campus when it is safe to do so, Wise said. 

Spring and summer graduates will be allowed to walk in the college’s next Commencement ceremony as well. 

“We are so proud of the diligence and resilience our 2020 graduates have shown, completing their associate degrees under what have been the most unusual and stressful circumstances in the 46-year history of our college,” Wise said. “Pellissippi State is a family, and we want to celebrate with our graduates who have worked so hard to reach this milestone. But, like with our individual familiesthe health and safety of our Pellissippi State community is our top priority.” 

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Pellissippi State graduate teaches new Welding for Artists class this summer

Liz Headrick welds an artwork
Liz Headrick, owner of Fabuliz Fabrication and Welding, will teach a one-day Welding for Artists noncredit course twice this month at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State Business and Community Services is offering a new Welding for Artists class this summer, taught by a graduate who used her Welding Technology degree to start a creative business. 

Liz Headrick, Class of 2017, is teaching the noncredit Welding for Artists twice this summer: 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday, July 18, and Saturday, July 25, at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, Knoxville. 

As a lifelong learning class, Welding for Artists iopen to the public, though some welding knowledge and beginner experience is recommended. The cost is $89. 

“I hope people taking the class will get a cool experience and the opportunity to create something they never would have thought about previously or never had the equipment to make,” Headrick said. “Everyone will get to create a one-of-a-kind piece they can take home and show off.” 

Headrick discovered her interest in welding at just the right time. Shortly after taking a welding class at a community college in California, Headrick moved to Knoxville and enrolled in the newly formed Welding Technology program at Pellissippi State. 

“My husband bought me a welder as a graduation present,” Headrick noted. “At first, I didn’t have anything that needed welding, so I just took random nuts and bolts lying around the garage as an excuse to do something with it, and it stuck.” 

When Headrick began posting photos of her work on Facebook and Instagram three years ago, people started to reach out to her, wanting her to make custom pieces for them. That’s when Headrick’s businessFabuliz Fabrication and Welding, took off. 

“It’s almost to the point now where my full-time job gets in the way of being at home making creative pieces,” she joked. 

Artwork by Liz Headrick
Pellissippi State Welding Technology graduate Liz Headrick makes art from repurposed materials.

Using recycled scrap metal has always been a part of Headrick’s work. She repurposes materials — nuts and bolts, old saw blades, chains, spark plugs and more — to create one-of-a-kind metal art and décor. 

“I like finding materials that people were throwing away or are considered as junk and using those materials to make something interesting or something you wouldn’t have thought to use it for,” Headrick said. “People throw away so much! I’m able to find a lot of materials from yard sales and eBay.” 

To register for Welding for Artists or any other Pellissippi State lifelong learning classes this summer, contact the Business and Community Services office at 865.539.7167 or visit www.pstcc.edu/bcs 

Lifelong learning classes are following new safety precautions in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Masks or face coverings must be worn by all instructors and students for the duration of the class. Classes also are being held in larger classrooms to ensure that participants can maintain 6 feet of distance between each other. 

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Pellissippi State names Curt Maxey its distinguished alumnus of the year

Portrait of Curt Maxey
Curt Maxey, Class of 1979, is Pellissippi State’s distinguished alumnus of the year.

Pellissippi State Community College has recognized Curt Maxey of Curt Maxey Technologies as its Distinguished Alumni Award winner for 2020. 

The award, sponsored this year by FirstBank, is given to an individual in recognition of significant professional achievement, service to the community and support of the college and the Pellissippi State Foundation. 

FirstBank also is the presenting sponsor for the college’s 2020 Alumni Program. 

“We’re happy to be partnering with Pellissippi State to support the great work this school is doing in our community,” said FirstBank Knoxville Market President Brent Ball, who announced the award in a video. “As a longtime resident of East Tennessee, I know how important Pellissippi State is to residents of this area, and we’re proud to contribute to their alumni and students’ success.” 

Maxey, who retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 2015, was the first in his family to go to college. Maxey worked his way through school, first as a janitor for restaurants and later as an electronics technician, graduating with his Associate of Engineering Technology in 1979. 

“When I stepped onto Pellissippi State’s ‘State Tech’ campus on Liberty Street in 1976, I was a fun-loving young man fresh out of high school with a life-long passion for science, but little sense of academic direction,” Maxey said. “I could not have foreseen what that education would enable me to achieve as I worked with industry, joined a National Laboratory, completed my engineering degree and worked on programs of international significance. 

“At this stage of my life and career, I am pleased to be a very ordinary man who has been privileged to make some extraordinary contributions,” he added. “There is no question that I am where I am in 2020 because Pellissippi State was where it was in 1976.” 

Maxey started his career at Philips Consumer Electronics, where he met his wife, Helene, before moving on to ORNL while finishing his bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering. As a longtime research and development staff engineer, Maxey was awarded 15 patents and earned multiple awards of national and international significance, including three R&D100 awards, DOE’s Outstanding Mentor Award, ORNL’s Inventor of The Year and multiple technology transfer awards. Maxey also served as the lead technical consultant for the West Tennessee Solar Farm near Memphis. 

Since his retirement, Maxey has started a consulting business, where he works with clients in the chemical processing, nuclear power, automotive, advanced materials and textiles industries.  

Curt and Helene Maxey with scholarship recipient Tabitha Wyrick
2020 Distinguished Alumni Award winner Curt Maxey, right, and his wife, Helene, left, visit with Curt and Helene Maxey Scholarship recipient Tabitha Wyrick at the 2019 Donor and Scholars reception at Pellissippi State.

Despite his lengthy list of professional accolades, Maxey insists that his greatest achievement of his career was the opportunity to mentor students. 

I have 15 patents, but would be hard pressed to name three; by contrast, I can tell you the name of every student I trained and, for most, I can to this day tell you where they are geographically and within their careers,” Maxey said. 

Recognizing the important role Pellissippi State has played in their lives, Mr. and Mrs. Maxey set up a scholarship at Pellissippi State in 2018 to help others realize their dreams as well. The Curt and Helene Maxey Scholarship recognizes that, regardless of grade point average, there are many students who will go on to accomplish great things if they are given encouragement and assistance. 

“The Foundation is pleased to support the Distinguished Alumni Award, the highest honor presented to an alumnus of the college,” said Britney Sink, director of Alumni and Donor Engagement. “Curt Maxey is a perfect example of a Pellissippi State graduate making significant contributions to his profession, community and the lives of others. 

For more information about Pellissippi State Alumni, visit www.pstcc.edu/alumni or call 865.539.7275. 

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