Pellissippi Preview shows prospective students what Pellissippi State has to offer

Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has an opportunity next week to check out the school: from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available.

Pellissippi State’s fall open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held 9 a.m.-noon Saturday, Oct. 27, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages.

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. will kick off the event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center before those who attend are let loose to explore the campus at their leisure for one hour, explained Sarah Davis with Enrollment Services.

Each building on the Hardin Valley Campus will be open for the program showcase, 9:45-10:45 a.m., with maps showing participants where to find out more about the academic programs that interest them and the student services that are available at Pellissippi State.

“We hope they will go to every building and check out as many programs as they want,” Davis said, noting academic programs will be showcased in the buildings where those classes are taught.

Pellissippi Preview will feature two presentations after the program showcase ends: one on transferring from Pellissippi State to four-year colleges and universities and one on financial aid. Each of the presentations will be given twice – once at 10:45 and once at 11:25 – so that prospective students have the opportunity to attend both presentations, if they choose.

“They will get hands-on information about one of the questions we hear the most: ‘Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?’” Davis said. “They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors and Tennessee Reconnect for adult learners.”

Throughout the day, participants can snag some refreshments in the college’s cafeteria or mug for the camera with fun props in a photo booth. All those who attend Pellissippi Preview will be entered in a drawing for two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation to attend Pellissippi State; winners will be contacted at a later date.

“This is a fun way to get on campus and see everything we have to offer – not just our academic programs, but our services as well, from Advising to Financial Aid to Student Life,” Davis said.

To RSVP for Pellissippi Preview or see the full agenda, visit

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email


Pellissippi State hosts free workshop for young writers

Young writers who want to hone their craft and learn how to get their works published have the opportunity this November at the fifth annual Young Creative Writer’s Workshop at Pellissippi State Community College.

The day-long event for area high school students and Pellissippi State students is scheduled for 9 a.m.-2:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 3, on the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

Students may attend all or part of the event. All workshops and lunch are free, but space is limited. Students can register at

“We feel it is vital to encourage young authors since they are the dreamers, the poets and the true visionaries who will lead us into the future,” said Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Patty Ireland, who organizes the workshop. “There is no power greater than that of words, and we want to provide an opportunity to encourage and inspire young writers in our area so that they may use their words to reach others.”

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop has grown each year, from fewer than 20 participants its inaugural year to 120 students in 2017.

This year’s Young Creative Writer’s Workshop will feature sessions on fiction, poetry, songwriting, screenplay writing and publishing led by both Pellissippi State instructors who are published writers and by award-winning professional writers.

Students who attend the entire event will have the opportunity to choose three 45-minute workshops over the course of the day in addition to a featured workshop with nationally recognized poet Lisa Coffman, who also will be providing a keynote address during lunch.

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop will include a “Writer’s Room” session as well, during which professional writers will answer students’ questions one-on-one.

“Students will have the opportunity throughout the day to meet and interact with Pellissippi State professors, professional writers, students and staff,” Ireland said. “At the end of the day, attendees may perform their original works at a ‘showcase’ event, to which family members and high school instructors are invited.”

New to the Young Creative Writer’s Workshop this year is the “Lenox Avenue Jazz Café,” a creative space that will allow attendees to share their original work with one another and with workshop leaders who gather between sessions to chat with them. The café will feature specialty coffees and pastries, along with decor and live music focused on a Harlem Renaissance theme, and those who do not wish to share their work in real time will have the option of uploading their work to a social media site created for the workshop.

“Also new this year are our publication workshops, sessions specially designed to orient young writers to the basics of how to get their works published,” Ireland added.

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop is sponsored by the Pellissippi State Foundation, Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience and In/Out Pizza. For the complete workshop schedule and registration form, visit

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email


Pellissippi State alumna celebrates cosplay in photography exhibit

A cosplayer dressed as Sakura Kinomoto from the anime series "Cardcaptor Sakura"
Sakura Kinomoto from the anime series “Cardcaptor Sakura” is among the characters brought to life by cosplayers in the upcoming “Amanda Swanson Photography” exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

The colorful world of cosplay is coming to Pellissippi State Community College this fall with a photography exhibit celebrating the custom costumes, props and make-up that bring fictional characters to life.

“Amanda Swanson Photography” will be on display in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus Oct. 29-Nov. 16, with an opening reception with the artist scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29.

The exhibit, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

Cosplay — short for costume play — is a social activity in which fans dress up like characters from works of fiction such as comic books, video games or television shows. Cosplaying is the practice of constructing or wearing these types of costumes.

Swanson, a professional photographer who graduated from Pellissippi State in 2015, enjoys cosplaying and has been photographing cosplayers for five years, both at conventions and on location. She sees cosplay as both art form and self-expression.

“What we’re doing is portraying the characters we love,” said Swanson, who started photographing cosplayers to show off their hard work and talent with costumes and makeup. “I love the cosplay community because it’s fun to find others also dressed from the same series you are cosplaying from or even as the same character that you are cosplaying as. You get to have that instant connection with all these people you just met.”

While Swanson describes herself as having “a huge passion” for taking portraits of children, dogs and families, as well as for photographing weddings, she decided it would be fun to focus on cosplay portraiture for her first exhibit at Pellissippi State.

“Cosplay is colorful, vibrant and interesting,” she said. “There wasn’t a cosplay club when I went to college here, but I have a lot of friends who are in it now, and I get to hear about it from them.”

“Amanda’s work embodies the kind of professionalism we like to see from our graduates, while also bringing a level of fun that is rare and sure to be appreciated by the Pellissippi State community,” said Associate Professor Kurt Eslick, who recommended Swanson for The Arts at Pellissippi State series.

Swanson’s favorite cosplay photo shoots include a Batman group at a convention in Atlanta and a recent portrait of a cosplayer dressed as Violet Evergarden, the title character from a Japanese light novel series that was adapted into an anime television series now on Netflix.

“I was able to recreate a scene (in “Violet Evergarden”) I was super excited about, a scene that brought me to tears. So being able to recreate that was very special for me,” said Swanson, who highly recommends watching the heartfelt series.

Swanson’s goal for her exhibit at Pellissippi State is to represent as many different characters as possible through the 17×22-inch prints hanging in the gallery and 4×6-inch prints displayed on a kiosk.

“Some characters will be familiar ones that you know and love from comic books and video games, while others will come from movies with princesses and princes, or lands like Rivendell from ‘Lord of the Rings,’” she said. “I love how no matter what size, race, age or gender you are, you’re able to cosplay whatever character you feel inspires you.”

Regardless of which character she’s shooting, Swanson’s aim is the same: to capture special memories and laughter, as well as to give clients a sense of happiness with themselves.

“My style has been described as bubbly, bright, vibrant and magical, but I personally like to describe my work as happy,” she said.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit

Pellissippi State student appointed to Tennessee Board of Regents

Carlos Gonzalez
Carlos Gonzalez, a student at Pellissippi State Community College, has been appointed Student Regent for the Tennessee Board of Regents.

A Pellissippi State Community College student has been appointed by Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam to serve as Student Regent for the Tennessee Board of Regents.

Carlos Gonzalez will represent the students of the 40 community and technical colleges governed by TBR, the largest system of higher education in Tennessee, for a one-year term that ends June 2019.

“I will be talking to student leaders throughout the state, both trying to convey messages from TBR to students and also hearing from students and letting TBR know what they think,” said Gonzalez, who previously served as a New Student Orientation Leader and as a mathematics and Spanish tutor at Pellissippi State.

Gonzalez, 29, was nominated for the position by Gayle Wood, director of Access and Diversity at Pellissippi State. Gonzalez works for Access and Diversity, where he helps his fellow adult learners transition into college.

Gonzalez started Pellissippi State in fall 2016, almost 10 years after an unforeseen setback thwarted his plans to attend college after his high school graduation.

“I always liked school, but when I was applying for college, I found out I was undocumented, and my dream of being a math teacher went poof,” explained Gonzalez, a native of Guerrero, Mexico, who has lived in Knoxville since he was 4 years old.

Unable to attend college as an undocumented immigrant, Gonzalez joined the family business, handling the accounting and managing the finances. He married in 2012 and applied for his Permanent Resident Card, also known as a Green Card.

The Green Card Gonzalez received in March 2016 opened the door for him to start his college education but, like other adults considering enrolling in college for the first time, he was nervous.

“When I came here to Pellissippi State, I was scared because life had been putting me down,” Gonzalez said. “But being here was a breath of fresh air. It brought life back to me. It revived my dream of being a teacher.”

Wood remembers her first meeting with Gonzalez, who she described as “anxious, fearful, unsure and insecure — characteristics of many adult learners as they begin the process of enrolling in college.” Gonzalez participated in Pellissippi Achieves for Adult Learners, a mentoring program for adult learners who are first-generation college students and first-time freshmen, and has never looked back.

“Carlos’ accomplishments are enormous: he has soared academically; he is a sought-out tutor for math and Spanish; he volunteers at the Admissions office as a translator; he has been guest speaker for a UT instructor’s class; and he introduced the guest speaker at the 2017 Convocation,” Wood said. “Although Carlos is a student, he is also a student advocate. His personality, character, contagious spirit and willingness to help fellow students, faculty and staff make him the ideal TBR Student Regent.”

Gonzalez is double majoring in accounting and mathematics at Pellissippi State. He plans to graduate in spring 2019 and continue his education at the University of Tennessee. Gonzalez’s goal is to return to Pellissippi State as a math professor.

“That’s another reason I applied for this position as Student Regent for TBR,” he noted. “I want to know what goes on behind the scenes, to understand the policy decisions that affect community college students.”

Being Student Regent involves traveling throughout the state, not only to TBR meetings, but also to meet with student leaders from other schools. Still, Gonzalez is taking 12 hours of classes this semester and cannot say enough about his experience at Pellissippi State.

“The professors here are accessible to you and really try to make that connection with students,” Gonzalez said. “That’s why I want to come back and teach here.”


Pellissippi State partners with Jewelry Television to offer gemology certificate

Do you ever wonder why one diamond is priced more than another? And how do you know which one to select?

Pellissippi State Community College is offering a noncredit class this October that will teach you the ins and outs of diamonds, pearls and colored gemstones.

Gemology with Jewelry Television is a 12-hour class – three hours over four days – that Pellissippi State is offering in partnership with Jewelry Television in Knoxville. The noncredit class will teach you how these raw materials are formed, mined, identified, graded and priced.

Hobbyists, artists, jewelry lovers and anyone looking to explore gemology will enjoy this series, scheduled for 9 a.m.-noon Oct. 15-18 at Jewelry Television’s Jewel School Institute, 140 Hayfield Road, Knoxville.

“This class is an opportunity to learn extremely technical gem information in an easy-to-understand and enjoyable environment,” said instructor Hillary Spector. “Participants get to touch and feel product and use high-tech lab equipment to identify gems.”

Spector, a graduate gemologist and former Gemological Institute of America instructor, has more than 25 years of experience in the gemological industry and now serves as the instructional specialist for Jewelry Television.

Cost for the four-day session is $229 and includes all labs. To register, visit, click on “Find a class” and search for Gemology.

For more information about other noncredit courses at Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-539-7167. To request accommodations for a disability for one of these classes, call 865-539-7401 or email

Pellissippi State offers lifelong learning classes on Second Saturdays

Excel, YouTube and managing change in the workforce are among the skills you can learn in just one Saturday at Pellissippi State Community College’s Weekend College in downtown Knoxville.

Every second Saturday throughout the fall, Pellissippi State Business and Community Services offers a selection of popular lifelong learning classes at the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.

Several of the classes are free, but you must register in advance.

“These noncredit classes provide a mix of small business seminars, hobby classes and professional development courses,” said Teri Brahams, executive director of Business and Community Services. “We’re excited to offer these classes on weekends for those who can’t attend during the week.”

Second Saturday classes scheduled for Oct. 13:

  • Excel Workshop: Build on what you already know about Excel to set up a custom Excel environment. 9 a.m.-noon. $29.
  • Managing Change in the Workforce: Learn ways to deal with change productively, whether you are managing a team or learning personal skills for your own employment. 9 a.m.-noon. Free.
  • YouTube – Your Visual Voice: Marketing is constantly changing, from the shift from print media to web-based solutions, including more video content and less print. Learn to understand video content, creation, production and how to determine your video’s effectiveness. 9 a.m.-noon. Free.

Lifelong learning classes are noncredit continuing education courses. Course registration is required either online at or by calling 865-539-7167.

To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email

Faculty lecture at Pellissippi State explores 1970s funk as music of revolution

What Beyonce brought to Coachella in April, Claude Hardy is bringing to Pellissippi State Community College next week.

Hardy, an associate professor of theatre, will present “Black Power: Funk and Heavy Music from the 1970s” at 11:50 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The faculty lecture, which is free and open to the public, is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State.

“I really like this genre of music, and not a lot of people know about it,” Hardy said Monday, as he played vinyl records in the Goins Building Rotunda to drum up interest in the upcoming lecture. “Selfishly, this is a way to get more people to listen to it because this is music people aren’t necessarily going to seek out on their own.”

Hardy discovered the Afrobeat genre on the now-defunct website, which was created by a German deejay who traveled throughout Western Africa collecting Afrobeat records.

Since then there has been a resurgence in the music, helped by artists such as Shawn “Jay Z” Carter, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who produced FELA! on Broadway in 2009, and Beyonce, who performed one of Fela’s songs during her Coachella set this year.

“Fela was a big influence in his country, having stood up to the government and been arrested a bunch of times,” Hardy explained of the Nigerian musician. “He released 25 or 30 albums in the ’70s. He’d get worked up and write a politically charged album.”

For example, Fela’s song “Zombie,” which Beyonce covered at Coachella, was about the Nigerian Army coming and taking over his compound, Hardy said.

Hardy’s lecture will include history on the bands and songs that he is sharing – “Black Power” by The Peace and “Acid Rock” by The Funkees are two of the tunes on his list – and then the opportunity for the audience to listen to the songs in their entirety.

“We will be playing actual records,” Hardy noted. “One of the great things is to just listen; don’t worry about the outside world right now.”

Hardy’s hope is that those who attend the lecture will learn something new.

“I hope they keep their ears open and not settle for what they know, not just the Led Zeppelins and the Pink Floyds, which I love,” he said.

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well as other upcoming faculty lectures, visit To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email

Local paintings, ceramics combine in upcoming exhibit at Pellissippi State

Green ceramic vase by clay artist Armanda Bonar
This ceramics work by Amanda Bonar of Terra Madre is among the art that will be on display at Pellissippi State Community College’s exhibit “Ashley Addair and Terra Madre: Women in Clay” Oct. 8-26.

Visual artist Ashley Addair of Knoxville joins 15 local clay artists in a new exhibit at Pellissippi State Community College.

“Ashley Addair and Terra Madre: Women in Clay” will be on display at the College’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the Hardin Valley Campus Oct. 8-26, with an opening reception with the artists scheduled for 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 10.

The exhibit, the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State, is free and open to the public. Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.

“It’s going to be a busy show, and it’s going to be full,” said Pellissippi State Professor Jeffrey Lockett, program coordinator for Art. “The artists will take up different spaces within the Gallery, with the Terra Madre works displayed on pedestals and Ashley’s works on the walls.”

Addair is a visual artist and an active member of the arts community in Knoxville. Her paintings are collected internationally.

Terra Madre is a juried group of women clay artists living and working in the Knoxville area. Their work ranges from functional to sculptural and from traditional to whimsical.

“Many Terra Madre members are or have been influential educators in the clay field locally, regionally and nationally,” said Lisa Kurtz, an adjunct fine arts instructor at Pellissippi State whose work will be included in the upcoming exhibit. “They teach or have taught clay at a variety of locations including elementary and secondary schools, colleges, craft centers, workshops and churches.”

Other Terra Madre teachers whose clay work will be featured at Pellissippi State include Amanda Bonar, Judy Brater, Jane Cartwright, Pat Clapsaddle, Valerie Eiler, Lynn Fisher, Anna Maria Gundlach, Pat Herzog, Ellie Kotsianas, Wendie Love, Sandra McEntire, Jackie Mirzadeh, Jessica Stewart and Rikki Taylor.

“Both Ashley’s and the Terra Madre artists’ works showcase immediate reactions to the media they use,” Lockett said. “With clay, you squeeze it and shape it while Ashley’s paintings are often stream of consciousness. Sometimes these works are well thought out. Sometimes they are more spontaneous.”

For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, as well the Faculty Lecture Series, at Pellissippi State, visit

Speakers share management expertise at Pellissippi State

Business leaders will share their secrets of success at Pellissippi State Community College this fall, and the public is invited to learn from them as well.

Pellissippi State’s new Leadership Management Speaker Series will be held 11:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. select Fridays in the Goins Building Auditorium on the College’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

All presentations are free.

Sponsored by Pellissippi State’s Business and Computer Technology department and the College’s Common Academic Experience program, the series kicks off this Friday with Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., who will be addressing why an organization should be a good corporate citizen.

Future speakers and their topics include:

  • Sept. 28: Kim Bumpas, president of Visit Knoxville, on what tourism means to Knoxville;
  • Oct. 12: Bill Schmidt, former CEO of Oakley Eyewear and retired vice president for Gatorade Sports Marketing, on the keys to success;
  • Oct. 26: Marc Sallinger, WBIR reporter and multimedia journalist, on reporting news that matters to the community, cultivating sources and enhancing relationships;
  • Nov. 2: Tanya Brown, executive director of marketing and public relations for the University of Tennessee’s Haslam College of Business, on branding;
  • Nov. 9: Jimmy Buckner, executive director of the Scarecrow Foundation, on managing volunteers vs. paid employees; and
  • Nov. 16: Chris Wilson, chief operating officer for Smarter Searches, on managing a small team that produces big team results.

“I tried to get speakers in different stages of their careers,” said Pellissippi State Professor Lisa Fall, noting the speakers have worked not only locally, but in other markets. “We will save some time for Q&A at the end, and I always ask them, ‘If you only knew then what you know now, what advice would you share?’”

While the speakers initially were invited to share with Fall’s Project Management class, Amy Caponetti’s Organizational Behavior class and Brandi Funk’s Principles of Management class, all of which meet at the same time, the three instructors decided to open the presentations to the College and the public after colleagues noted the impressive list of speakers they had lined up.

“These professionals all specialize in different industries, and their experience is extensive,” Fall said. “Their lessons will add to the audience’s management repertoire; what they have to share with us is invaluable.”

The speaker series also complements Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience theme of “Inner Space | Outer Space,” which was inspired by the total solar eclipse in August 2017. The Common Academic Experience is a two-year discussion of issues, both in and out of class, around this theme.

“’Inner Space |Outer Space’ is about a journey that shows the relationship between the self and the environment around us,” said librarian Will Buck, who co-chairs Common Academic Experience with librarian Allison Scripa. “The experiences of these speakers showcases their journeys and allows our community to relate to their personal path of challenge and achievement.”

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or


Road trip through 47 states with upcoming art exhibit at Pellissippi State

See the United States in a different light at “American Miniature,” an art exhibit that combines souvenirs collected on cross-country trips with brightly colored backdrops used to provoke a sense of place.

The collaborative project between artists Nancy Daly and Kim Llerena will be on display Sept. 17-Oct. 5 at Pellissippi State Community College’s Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Souvenir replica of Mount Rushmore on a blue backdrop.
Mount Rushmore

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, with an opening reception with the artists planned for 3-5 p.m. Sept. 17.

The exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

“Travel often involves lofty, idealized preconceptions about a place; once visited, the site becomes real, solid, grounded,” said Daly. “Upon leaving, a mass-produced knick-knack becomes personal, a means of transferring part of that place into your home and making it your own.”

These knick-knacks, collected on numerous road trips through 47 states, have been photographed for “American Miniature” against a solid-color background that recalls, sometimes abstractly, their original context — a commemorative plate from the site of the movie “Field of Dreams” sits against a corn-yellow backdrop, for example.

Employing the visual language of product photography, these large format images re-contextualize the cheap souvenirs as aspirational objects, monuments of travel and tourism.

“Ultimately, these souvenirs, like photographs, are more about a personal memory than about a place itself,” said Llerena. “The place becomes merely a backdrop.”

“American Miniature” is the latest installment in The Arts at Pellissippi State this fall. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit