2018 Alumnus of the Year to speak at Pellissippi State Commencement

Photo of Travis Howerton
J. Travis Howerton, winner of Pellissippi State’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award, will speak at Commencement on Dec. 14.

Pellissippi State Community College’s 2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Winner J. Travis Howerton will speak at the college’s fall Commencement ceremony Friday, Dec. 14, at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Commencement begins at 7 p.m. Approximately 513 students will graduate this fall.

Howerton, who earned his Associate of Applied Science in Computer Systems Technology in 2002, now serves as Global Director for Strategic Programs for the Bechtel Corporation in Reston, Va. He previously served as Senior Director for Transformation for Bechtel in Oak Ridge.

During his career in information technology and cyber security, Howerton garnered more than a dozen significant local and national awards, including the East Tennessee Economic Council’s prestigious Postma Young Professional Medal, which honors those who have led top priority transformation projects and have demonstrated innovation. Howerton created the Pegasus Information Management System used by Y-12 National Security Administration, and he served as the first chief technology officer for the National Nuclear Security Administration.

In nominating Howerton for the Distinguished Alumni Award, one professor called Howerton “the most outstanding student we have ever had graduate from Pellissippi State’s Computer Science department” and noted he has supported the college by recommending and employing at least 10 Pellissippi State graduates in computer science and networking/communications.

“I’m very proud to be an alumnus at Pellissippi State,” Howerton said at the college’s annual Alumni Luncheon. “I worked my way through school, and classes at Pellissippi State were amenable to my schedule. The facilities and the curriculum were great. I took advantage of the library – up and beyond what was required of the course. I had good professors all around.

“I feel fortunate that Pellissippi State helped me find a career where I have a life-long passion for my work,” he added.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400. To request accommodations for a disability at this event, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State welcomes displaced Virginia College students

Pellissippi State Community College wants to help Virginia College students displaced by that institution’s closing.

Education Corporation of America campuses including Brightwood College, Brightwood Career Institute, Ecotech Institute, Golf Academy of America and Virginia College will discontinue operations in December 2018, according to the ECA website.

“We understand this can feel like an insurmountable setback to Virginia College students, and we invite them to contact us to see if one of our career programs or transfer programs are right for them,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services.

Pellissippi State’s 14 career programs result in associate degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce in high-demand, competitive fields including computer information technology, electrical engineering technology, engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and media technologies.

Pellissippi State also offers transfer programs that allow students to get started in their field of choice, earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution.

A full list of Pellissippi State programs is available at www.pstcc.edu/catalog.

Virginia College students may be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, Touzeau added. This last-dollar scholarship for adults covers college tuition and mandatory fees that aren’t paid for through other state and federal financial aid.

Adult learners qualify for Tennessee Reconnect if they:

  • Do not have an associate or bachelor degree;
  • Have been a Tennessee resident since Aug. 1, 2017;
  • Complete the 2018-19 FAFSA;
  • Are designated as an “independent” on the FAFSA;
  • Attend and complete courses at least as a part-time student, taking a minimum of six credit hours per semester; and
  • Complete the TN Reconnect application at www.tnreconnect.gov.

“Our goal here at Pellissippi State is to help students start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Touzeau said. “We know this is a scary time for Virginia College students, and we would love to help them continue their educational journey.”

The Admissions office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit one of our campuses; check out www.pstcc.edu/admissions, where Live Chat is available for those with questions; email admissions@pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

K-12 educators invited to teaching conference keynote at Pellissippi State

Alan November
Alan November will give a keynote presentation on “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning” on Jan. 11, and K-12 educators are invited.

An international leader in educational technology is coming to Pellissippi State Community College in January, and K-12 teachers are invited to attend his keynote presentation.

Alan November, named one of the nation’s 15 most influential thinkers of the decade by Tech & Learning magazine, will be at Pellissippi State for a Teaching and Learning Conference sponsored by the Pellissippi Academic Center for Excellence (PACE) and Mobile Fellows Program.

November’s keynote, “Transforming the Culture of Teaching and Learning,” will be held 8:30-10:15 a.m. Jan. 11 in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.

“Alan November will be discussing current and past ideas circulating on using technology in the classroom,” said Pellissippi State Chemistry Assistant Professor Rachel Glazener, PACE Faculty Fellow for Mobile and Emerging Technology. “Do not let the technology aspect scare you; rather, the conference is focused on a way of thinking about how to harness technology to help our students own their learning.”

November’s keynote will explore how the design of an assignment can move students from simply regurgitating learning material to being critical thinkers and applying the learned material. He also will delve into how forming a global network can increase collaboration not only inside the classroom, but outside of the classroom as well.

“Forming a learning network can move students to become empowered in their own learning, can help the learning become visible and can expand student’s communication in their field outside of the classroom,” November said.

The keynote is free, but teachers are asked to register at http://bit.ly/pscctechconkeynote by Dec. 14 because space is limited.

For more information, contact Glazener at rlglazener@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

Pellissippi State ranked No. 2 in the nation for study abroad

Pellissippi State students visit the Houses of Parliament in London during a study abroad program.
Tennessee community college students visit the Houses of Parliament in London during a study abroad program offered by the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies.

Only one other community college in the nation sends more students to study abroad than Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State ranked No. 2 in the United States with 185 study abroad students in 2016-17, according to the 2018 Open Doors Report released this month.

Last year Pellissippi State ranked No. 4 with 166 students. This is the seventh year in a row that the college has appeared in the top 5 for the number of community college students who studied abroad.

“Study abroad is, without a doubt, the most impactful experience students have at community colleges,” said Tracey C. Bradley, executive director of the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, which serves all community colleges in the Tennessee Board of Regents system. “While students who study abroad have higher GPAs, are more likely to get a job after graduation and, in some fields, earn a higher starting salary, we also know that the value of study abroad is profound in ways we can’t even measure.”

Pellissippi State has removed one of the barriers to study abroad by providing scholarships for its students who want to participate.

“Our mission here at Pellissippi State is to provide a transformative environment that fosters the academic, societal, economic and cultural enrichment of our students and the community,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “Providing scholarships for our students to study abroad is one way we can help them have a world-class education and gain the global perspective that studies show more and more employers are looking for in graduates.”

TnCIS, which is housed on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, offers more than 25 study abroad programs each year all over the world, many of them short-term programs designed specifically to suit the schedules of community college students. All programs are faculty led.

“The feedback we receive from students each year is that study abroad is life changing, that it opened their eyes to the world, that they want to do more,” Bradley said. “Oftentimes students will come back and change their majors, having had an epiphany of ‘Now I know what I want to do with my life.’”

student on a study abroad programThe Open Doors Report also details the number of international students enrolling in Tennessee higher education institutions. While Pellissippi State ranks 14th with 104 international students enrolled for the 2017-18 academic year, Pellissippi State is the only community college in the top 20.

“Pellissippi State does a lot of recruiting of international students, as the college’s goal is to be welcoming to all students,” Bradley said. “With the Y-12 National Security Complex in our backyard, we have a lot of students who are spouses and dependents of the international employees of Y-12.”

Pellissippi State also capitalizes on its close relationship with the University of Tennessee, she added.

“International students can start their degree here and finish at UT, which is being seen as more and more acceptable in the international community,” Bradley explained. “Our English as a Second Language classes also are similar to UT’s, which is attractive to students who need those language skills before they begin college-level courses.”

The 8,870 international students in Tennessee have an economic impact of $323.8 million on the state.

For more information about TnCIS, visit www.tncis.org or call 865-539-7279. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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Feel at ‘Home for the Holidays’ at Pellissippi State’s annual holiday concert

Performance from Pellissippi State's Faculty & Staff Choir at the 2017 Holiday Spectacular.
Performance from Pellissippi State’s Faculty & Staff Choir at the 2017 Holiday Spectacular.

Three choirs and six instrumental ensembles will transport audiences “Home for the Holidays” at Pellissippi State Community College’s annual Holiday Spectacular.

There will be two performances of the hugely popular Holiday Spectacular: 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 6. Both performances will be held in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

Tickets are free and available at the door on a first come, first served basis.

“This concert appeals to all ages,” said Peggy Hinkle, music program coordinator for Pellissippi State. “Even kids enjoy this fast-paced event because there are so many different instruments and styles of music.”

The Holiday Spectacular, themed “Home for the Holidays” this year, will feature religious and secular selections performed by

  • Variations, Pellissippi State’s audition choir;
  • Concert Chorale, the college’s non-audition choir;
  • Faculty/Staff Choir;
  • Jazz Band and Bluegrass Ensemble, both audition groups;
  • Brass, Guitar and Percussion Ensembles; and
  • Studio Orchestra.

“There is a lot of variety,” Hinkle said. “And, thanks to our snow machine, it always snows at the end of the show, which is a good way to get into the holiday spirit.”

Plan to arrive early to the performance of your choice to get a complimentary ticket, as seating is limited to the first 495 guests per show. While the performance is free, donations are accepted at the door for the Pellissippi State Foundation on behalf of the Music Scholarship fund.

The Holiday Spectacular is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events, visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

To request accommodations for a disability for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

CBBC Bank gifts Pellissippi State Foundation with donation for workforce development

Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. and CBBC Bank President and CEO Mike Baker with a $25,000 check from the bank to the Pellissippi State Foundation
Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., left, accepts a $25,000 donation from Mike Baker, president and CEO of CBBC Bank, on Friday, Nov. 9, in Maryville.

CBBC Bank has given $25,000 to the Pellissippi State Foundation for workforce development programs at Pellissippi State Community College.

Bank officials presented the donation to Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. on Friday, Nov. 9, at the bank’s downtown Maryville location.

“CBBC Bank supports Pellissippi State Community College because their programs and courses provide higher levels of education for the workforce, which in turn provides jobs for our community,” said CBBC Bank President and CEO Mike Baker. “Choosing to make an investment in workforce development programs gives local people a greater opportunity to stay in our community, creating a better livelihood for everyone.”

“We are very appreciative of this gift from CBBC,” Wise said. “Our Pellissippi State students certainly will benefit from their generosity, but so will the community as our students become better prepared to enter the workforce.”

Blount Partnership has announced 5,300 new jobs in Blount County alone since Gov. Bill Haslam took office in January 2011, and the average salary of those new jobs is $81,500, according to the Blount Partnership.

“Donations like this one from CBBC Bank help us expand our offerings that are targeted toward the job market in Blount County,” said Marilyn Roddy, director of Major Gift Development for the Pellissippi State Foundation. “Pellissippi State is working hard to address this economic explosion of new jobs across the region.”

That’s good news for local businesses like CBBC Bank.

“Pellissippi State is great for us because the college is training people who will stay here in our community – our family, our friends and our customers,” Baker said.

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

Pellissippi State hosts inaugural intercollegiate art exhibit

A work of art that will be on display at the Inaugural Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition at Pellissippi State
“Untitled,” a painting by Grace Wright of Chattanooga State Community College.

Community college students from across the state will have their art work displayed at Pellissippi State Community College in the first show of its kind.

The Inaugural Tennessee Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition will be on display Nov. 19-Dec. 7 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, and the exhibition is free and open to the public.

“We at Pellissippi State and Tennessee’s community colleges believe strongly in our students, and that’s why we are teaching at a community college,” said Herbert Rieth, associate professor of art. “We bend over backwards to help their needs and pave their way to a four-year college.”

Rieth and Nathanial Smyth, art faculty and department chair at Volunteer State Community College, had the idea for an intercollegiate juried student exhibition at a conference a couple of years ago, Rieth explained.

“Being community colleges, there is not as much rivalry because we’re more regionally based,” Rieth said. “Not only did we think it would be fun for us to see what other programs are doing, but many students want to become professional artists, and we thought this would be a way for students to go through the process of applying for a juried exhibition to see what that’s like.”

Current and former students at Tennessee’s 13 community colleges were invited to enter works generated the past two years in studio art classes. There was no cost to enter.

Seven community colleges had students participate, with 103 works submitted. Peter Hoffecker Mejia, a visiting assistant professor of art at the University of Memphis and a former Pellissippi State student, served as juror, choosing 22 works for the exhibition.

“Twenty-one students made it in, including seven from Pellissippi State, so it’s an honor to get in there,” Rieth said. “There’s a little bit of everything we were allowing: photography, painting, drawing, design, sculpture, blacksmith, print making, collage. It’s quite a survey.”

A piece of art that will be displayed in the Intercollegiate Juried Student Exhibition at Pellissippi State Nov. 19-Dec. 7
“Reality,” a photograph by Oscar Morales of Volunteer State Community College.

A closing reception and awards ceremony will be held 3-5 p.m. Dec. 7. Three places and two honorable mentions will be awarded, with gifts donated by David Lusk Gallery, located in Memphis and Nashville, and Jerry’s Artarama in Knoxville.

Pellissippi State also will purchase the winning art work for $500, which the student will receive. The art work then will go on display at the college.

The exhibition is part of The Arts at Pellissippi State series. For more information on upcoming visual arts, theatre and music events,  visit www.pstcc.edu/arts.

Pellissippi State shares resources with students during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week

Forty-one Pellissippi State Community College students receive food every two weeks from the Pellissippi Pantry, a free service that is helping feed not only these students, but 127 family members.

The College is using Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, Nov. 12-18, to make sure all students across Pellissippi State’s five campuses are aware of the resources available to them.

“Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is purposely the week before Thanksgiving so that we can think about the bountiful meal most of us will be enjoying and realize that not everybody has that,” said Drema Bowers, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement at Pellissippi State. “Among our goals is to share the definitions of food insecurity and housing insecurity, as we are working hard to address these issues at Pellissippi State.”

The Hope Center for College, Community and Justice’s 2017 #RealCollege survey of basic needs in higher education, released in April 2018, shows 42 percent of respondents at community colleges across the country had faced food insecurity in the past month while 46 percent had faced housing insecurity in the past year.

“My colleague Sandra Davis and I went to #RealCollege, a national conference on food and housing insecurity, in September, and we came back with a greater desire to make sure we are doing all that we can do,” Bowers said. “We’ve got our Pellissippi Pantry and our Hardin Valley Campus Garden, which grows produce for the Pantry, but what else would help our students?”

The Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week events will help Pellissippi State identify how the College could be more proactive in meeting students’ food needs, in particular.

A Student Voice Survey is set for 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 13, on the Strawberry Plains Campus and 10:45 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, on the Blount County Campus.

“We want to find out if students know about the Pellissippi Pantry, whether they are willing to utilize our services, and why or why not,” Bowers explained. “We also want to ask them what they would like to see in a pantry.”

To help identify the kinds of foods students would eat, Bowers and Davis will ask students to choose between two bags of food. Bowers, who has three children who are young adults, has a theory about why Pellissippi State students at the Strawberry Plains and Blount County campuses do not use the Pellissippi Pantry as often as students at the college’s other three campuses: the students at those two campuses tend to be fresh out of high school.

“Right now we have a lot of food like corn, green beans, peas – things you’d find in your mom’s pantry,” she said. “I think if we provided foods that are easier to fix – microwavable meals, single-serving-sized cereals – that we would have more traditional-age students utilize the Pellissippi Pantry.”

Other Pellissippi State events planned for Hunger and Homelessness Week include:

  • Monday, Nov. 12: “Soup, Salad and Solutions,” a panel discussion featuring Bowers, Andy Buckner of Helen Ross McNabb Center’s runaway and homeless youth programming, Shawn Griffith of the Homeless Youth Council, and Ross Jones of Knoxville Dream Center. The discussion will be held 11:50 a.m.-12:45 p.m. in the Cafeteria Annex on the Hardin Valley Campus and, while this event is free and lunch is provided, those interested should RSVP to service-learning@pstcc.edu by Nov. 8.
  • Wednesday, Nov. 14: #WisdomWednesday, an opportunity to drop by the Division Street Campus 10-11:30 a.m. to learn more about food and housing insecurity among college students and identify ways you can make a positive impact.
  • Friday, Nov. 16: Bowers will speak at the monthly Homeless Youth Council meeting 9-10 a.m. at the L.T. Ross Building, 2247 Western Ave., to share ways Pellissippi State is addressing food and housing insecurity among college students and to give an overview of the #RealCollege conference.
  • Saturday, Nov. 17: Bowers and Davis will create a Pop-Up Pantry at the Magnolia Avenue Campus to introduce Weekend College students to the Pellissippi Pantry and Hardin Valley Campus Garden – and to ask Weekend College students how Pellissippi State could better serve them.

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

To request accommodations for the events on Nov. 12 and 14, contact the executive director of Equity and Compliance at 865-539-7401 or accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State welcomes displaced Fountainhead College students

Pellissippi State Community College wants to help Fountainhead College of Technology students displaced by that institution’s closing Wednesday.

“We understand this can feel like an insurmountable setback to Fountainhead College students, and we invite them to contact us to see if one of our career programs or transfer programs are right for them,” said Leigh Anne Touzeau, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services.

Pellissippi State’s 14 career programs result in associate degrees that prepare students to enter the workforce in high-demand, competitive fields including computer information technology, electrical engineering technology, engineering technology, mechanical engineering technology and media technologies.

Pellissippi State also offers transfer programs that allow students to get started in their field of choice, earn an associate degree and then transfer seamlessly to a four-year institution.

A full list of Pellissippi State programs is available at www.pstcc.edu/catalog.

Fountainhead College students may be eligible for Tennessee Reconnect, Touzeau added. This last-dollar scholarship for adults covers college tuition and mandatory fees that aren’t paid for through other state and federal financial aid.

Adult learners qualify for Tennessee Reconnect if they:

  • Do not have an associate or bachelor degree;
  • Have been a Tennessee resident since Aug. 1, 2017;
  • Complete the 2018-19 FAFSA;
  • Are designated as an “independent” on the FAFSA;
  • Attend and complete courses at least as a part-time student, taking a minimum of six credit hours per semester; and
  • Complete the TN Reconnect application at www.tnreconnect.gov.

“Our goal here at Pellissippi State is to help students start strong, stay strong and finish strong,” Touzeau said. “We know this is a scary time for Fountainhead College students, and we would love to help them continue their educational journey.”

The Admissions office is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

For more information, visit one of our campuses; check out www.pstcc.edu/admissions, where Live Chat is available for those with questions; email admissions@pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State faculty explore World War I’s legacy on Armistice centennial

Pellissippi State Community College will mark the 100-year anniversary of the end of World War I with a symposium covering seven topics, from poetry to propaganda.

“The Great War: One Hundred Years Later” will be held 10 a.m.-1:30 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12, in the Goins Building Auditorium on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

The symposium, which includes seven 30-minute lectures by Pellissippi State faculty of different disciplines, is free and open to the public.

“This gives us an opportunity to present some research outside of our classrooms,” said symposium organizer Nathan Pavalko, an assistant professor of history who specializes in modern U.S. history and the Cold War. “I like to try to bring history topics outside the classroom, and I wanted to make this as interdisciplinary as possible. We have art, English and history represented.”

The symposium schedule includes:

  • 10-10:30 a.m.: The Great War and the end of the Long Nineteenth Century, presented by Harry Whiteside
  • 10:30-11 a.m.: Russian Propaganda, presented by YuLiya Kalnaus
  • 11-11:30 a.m.: Poets of the Great War, presented by Brigette McCray
  • 11:30 a.m.-noon: Versailles Treaty and 100 Years Later, presented by Pavalko
  • Noon-12:30 p.m. World War I and the Women Who Waged It, presented by Josh Durbin
  • 12:30-1 p.m.: The Great War and German Expressionism, presented by Herb Rieth
  • 1-1:30 p.m.: War Crimes of World War I, presented by Alison Vick

World War I left quite a legacy, Pavalko said.

“The world we live in today probably would not exist, politically and culturally, had World War I not happened,” he noted. “World War I creates the modern concept of what war is. It’s not heroic. It’s not some grand adventure. It’s sheer brutality, and that is what shocks people into rethinking what war is.”

World War I can serve as a cautionary tale even today, Pavalko added.

“One of the overarching thoughts before the war, especially in Europe, was, ‘We’ll never have another war because we are so civilized, technologically advanced and diplomatic,’” he explained. “We should learn not to underestimate the horribleness of humanity.”

For more information on Pellissippi State, visit the website at www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400. To request accommodations for this event, call 865-539-7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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