Pellissippi State students win regional debate competition

Pellissippi State Community College Debate Team with faculty adviser Shaquille Marsh, center.

Pellissippi State Community College’s student Debate Team won Berea College’s John G. Fee Memorial Forensics Tournament, a novice National Parliamentary Debate Association (NPDA) Competition, earlier this month.

The competition is hosted by Berea College and included teams not only from Berea, but from Berry College, Butler University, Carson-Newman University, Cedarville University, Cleveland State Community College, Morehouse College, Spelman College, Walters State Community College and the University of Kentucky.

Dustin Paul
Dustin Paul

Debater Dustin Paul won the debate even though he competed alone in a team competition. His debate record throughout the competition was 7-0, with a 4-0 in the preliminary rounds. He beat a team from Berea College in the quarterfinals, semi-finals and finals. In the final round, the judges voted for him 3-0.

Pellissippi State also took home the Top Community College Award for NPDA Debate. The team of Robert Taylor and Preston Waggoner took turns debating in favor of, or against, a given topic related to current events. The students were given only 15 minutes to prepare for the debate, which lasted 40 minutes. Each student delivered a series of speeches based upon persuasive fact, persuasive value or persuasive policy topics.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State students receive ‘Leaders of Promise’ scholarship

Pellissippi State Community College students Kathryn Kali and Virginia M. Clark have been named two of 207 recipients of the 2017 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars across the United States.

The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected from among Phi Theta Kappa members. PTK is the international honor society of two-year colleges. Each student receives a $1,000 scholarship to help defray educational expenses while enrolled in associate degree programs. Scholars are selected based on scholastic achievement, community service and leadership potential from a pool of nearly 1,000 students.

“We are extremely pleased that our honor society students are successful in competing for scholarships at the national level through Phi Theta Kappa,” said Judith Sichler, Phi Theta Kappa faculty co-advisor at Pellissippi State.

“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,” said Monica Marlowe, executive director of the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation provides $200,000 in funding for the scholarships, with $25,000 set aside for members who are veterans or active members of the U.S. military. The remaining amount is supported by donations to the Phi Theta Kappa Foundation and provides Leaders of Promise Global Scholarships, earmarked for international students.

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

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State student earns CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Award

Alexander Marti Photo

Alexander Marti, a Pellissippi State Community College student, has earned a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service award to attend Tennessee Technological University when he graduates.

“When Associate Professor Sharon Burlingame called me about this scholarship over the summer, I thought it sounded too good to be true,” said Marti, who is in his second year at Pellissippi State.

He first came to the college as a Dual Enrollment student during his homeschooled high school years, then took online courses, and finally came to campus in 2016 as a Tennessee Promise student. He will graduate in May with a general associate degree and then transfer to Tennessee Tech.

“I took a programming class in high school and thought I wouldn’t like computer science,” Marti said. “But here at Pellissippi State, I took the classes and they clicked. I have enjoyed getting past the basics to the understanding of what happens behind the scenes of information technology.”

The CyberCorps Scholarship for Service program is administered through the federal Office of Personnel Management with the intent to increase and strengthen the cadre of federal information assurance professionals that protect the government’s critical information infrastructure. CyberCorps provides scholarships and stipends that typically cover the cost of tuition and fees. Those scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation.

The scholarship not only will pay for Marti’s final year at Pellissippi State and his bachelor’s degree in cyber security at Tennessee Tech, but also will pay him a stipend to allow him to focus solely on school. For three years after graduation, he will work for the federal government in a cyber security post.

“Cyber security has always interested me. It’s like being a computer police officer — someone who works to protect information and people from hackers and other cyber criminals,” Marti said.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State students earn top spots in regional Math Contest

Math contest winners
Pellissippi State students took top spots in the annual regional Student Mathematics League competitions: from left, Son Quang, Bohdan Makarchuk, Lily Turaski and Robert Weber.

 

Pellissippi State Community College finished first in the state — and second in the region — in this year’s regional Student Mathematics League competition.

Pellissippi State had 105 students take part in the 2016-2017 contest. In the first round of competition in October, the top five Pellissippi State students were Lily Turaski, Nicholas West, Son Quang, Ben Koester and Michaela Shoffner. In February’s round two competition, the top five places were earned by Lily Turaski, Son Quang, Robert Weber, Ian Cannon and Bohdan Makarchuk.

Those top five individual scores constitute the college’s overall score. In the final standings, Pellissippi State placed first among Tennessee colleges and second among 19 schools in the southeast region.

Also in the southeast region, Pellissippi State student Lily Turaski took first place among all participating students. Nicholas West and Son Quang tied for ninth place in the southeast region, while Ethan Vals took 19th.

 “All of our students performed very well this year,” said Bobby Jackson, a mathematics professor at Pellissippi State. “The team’s second place regional finish tied the highest ranking we’ve ever had.”

Pellissippi State has taken part in the Student Mathematics League contest for the past 16 years. The contest is sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. Nationally, 165 schools in 35 states participated this year.

Each year the contest consists of two rounds, one during the fall semester and one during the spring semester. In the Student Mathematics League contest, students are tested in many areas of mathematics, including geometry, trigonometry, algebra, probability and logic. Each round includes an exam of 20 multiple-choice questions. Students can use a calculator, but no notebook or textbook. Pellissippi State — thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities — awards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State honors outstanding students

Pellissippi State Community College honored dozens of outstanding students at its annual Academic Awards ceremony April 25. The awards recognized not only excellent academic achievement, but excellence in altruism, community service and leadership.

The college named Leah Hazel Davis and Haley Victoria Ferguson to the All-USA Community College Academic Team.

Gulsah Onar and Dustie Phillips were recipients of the Service Leadership Excellence Award, in recognition of their devotion to civic and community engagement. Susan Spoon was named winner of the Shelley Grace Clayton Award, which honors an altruistic and caring attitude; and several students won Campus Leadership Awards: Heather Butler, Sandra Davis, Sarah Kear, Robert McGinley and Amanda Wollard.

Nathan Armistead was recognized as an outstanding student in the fine arts, and his painting “Presley” was purchased for Pellissippi State’s permanent student art collection.

Additionally, several students were named as Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges: Demi Camia, Sandra de Jesus, Caleb Edmonds, Haley Ferguson, Elicia Ferrer, Kathleen Ford, Jonathan Harter, Apryl Herrell, Yulia Kanevskaya, Jeremy Law, Nikolas Likourentzos, Gulsah Onar, Laura Overton, Walter Rutherford, Valentyna Samonik, Jennifer Sandberg, Mary Templeman, Joy Walker and Darryl Woodridge.

Pellissippi State also named its Faculty Member of the Year — as voted on by students — as Jonathan Lamb, associate professor of mathematics.

For more information, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State honors innovation, dedication among employees

Employee Award Winners
The Innovations Award winning team. Alphabetically, Brenda Ammons, Kristy Conger, Stephanie Gillespie, Angela Lunsford, Martha Merrill, Deanne Michaelson, Paul Ramp, Trish Roller, Allison Stein and Kellie Toon.

Pellissippi State Community College honored innovation and dedication among its faculty and staff at a ceremony in April.

Judy Sichler
Judith Sichler

Judith Sichler, an assistant professor teaching anthropology, won the Excellence in Teaching Award.

Pellissippi State alumna and Sichler’s former student, Heather Woods, praised her in a nomination letter. Woods is currently a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Tennessee.

“I chose to take a human origins class at Pellissippi to fill an elective requirement … I enjoyed her [Sichler’s] teaching so much that first day that I immediately added myself to her prehistoric archaeology class,” said Woods.

Woods, a first-generation college student who returned to college as an adult, working mother, had a goal of becoming an English teacher. But she was so inspired by Sichler’s teaching that she eventually changed her major to anthropology.

“More than 20 years of dreaming and planning for an English degree ended up in second place to anthropology,” Woods said. “Dr. Sichler literally made such an impact in my education and life that I am following in her academic footsteps. Any college would be hard-pressed to find even one professor with her skills, heart and dedication.”

Annie Gray
Annie Gray

Annie Gray, English professor and Service-Learning coordinator, is the Gene Joyce Visionary Award winner for her creation and management of Pellissippi State’s Service-Learning program, which combines community service and civic responsibility with traditional classroom learning. Last year, 2,677 student volunteers served more than 37,000 service hours in the community, for an estimated impact of around $887,759.

“People thrive when connected to causes bigger than themselves,” Gray said.

Gray has been recognized across the state and the nation for her work. The Tennessee Board of Regents, Pellissippi State’s governing body, has encouraged all its institutions to adopt Service-Learning programs because of her program’s success. Tennessee Campus Compact recognized Gray with the Tennessee Treasure Award in 2014, and the Service-Learning program was named a President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll winner in 2015.

This year is Gray’s last as Service-Learning coordinator. She is returning to the classroom, and a full-time director will manage the Service-Learning program. Gray donated the monetary portion of the Gene Joyce Visionary Award to the Pellissippi Pantry, a food pantry for students in need at Pellissippi State.

A team of faculty and staff representing each department in the college won the Innovations Award for their creation of a training program for faculty on best practices for using online teaching platforms. Online courses are becoming a more popular option for students. The training helps faculty learn to better use online platforms to create more meaningful experiences for students. All faculty members at Pellissippi State have completed at least level one of the training, which introduces faculty to Pellissippi State’s online learning platform, D2L — which is used in many classes, not just those that are online. The level two training is required for faculty members who teach any hybrid or online courses.

The Innovations Award team includes Brenda Ammons, Kristy Conger, Stephanie Gillespie, Angela Lunsford, Martha Merrill, Deanne Michaelson, Paul Ramp, Trish Roller, Allison Stein and Kellie Toon.

Pellissippi State Foundation board members select the recipients of the Excellence in Teaching, Innovation and Gene Joyce Visionary awards based on nominations. Recipients also receive a monetary award provided by the Foundation.

Additional college awards for employees recognize excellence among faculty and staff:

  • Outstanding Contract Worker: Amy Satkowiak
  • Outstanding Adjunct Faculty: Gabe Crowell
  • Outstanding Full-time Faculty: Alex Fitzner
  • Outstanding Administrator: Kathy Byrd
  • Outstanding Support Professional: Aneshia Brown
  • Outstanding Technical/Service/Maintenance: Scott Bell

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State a finalist for national Award of Excellence

For the second year in a row, Pellissippi State Community College was one of four finalists — out of 1,100 community colleges across the nation — for an American Association of Community Colleges Award of Excellence.

Pellissippi State was nominated for its corequisite remediation model, which places academically underprepared students in college-level courses while at the same time providing extra academic help during the course.

Anthony Wise
L. Anthony Wise Jr.

“Over the last two years, Pellissippi State has redesigned the delivery of remedial courses. We’ve implemented a new model that allows students to enroll in college-level courses but still receive the additional support they need to succeed,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

Nationally, about 70 percent of college freshmen need remediation in at least one subject, and more than half need remediation in two subjects. In addition, almost 40 percent of the students who enroll in that remedial course never complete it, and only 25 percent go on to complete a college-level course in English or math.

Pellissippi State’s corequisite model, which was piloted in 2015 and has since been fully implemented, places students directly in college-level courses. Students needing remediation attend class one extra day a week for focused attention and support. Pellissippi State students who have completed the corequisite model have demonstrated extraordinary success.

Ted Lewis
Ted Lewis

“Corequisite remediation has dramatically improved students’ success. The success rates for remedial students enrolled in college-level courses of English was 47 percent. Mathematics was 53 percent, and college success was 61 percent,” said Ted Lewis, vice president of Academic Affairs.

Additionally, the corequisite remediation model allows students to receive financial aid for their course work (many remedial courses weren’t covered by financial aid) and helps students stay on track to graduate quickly.

The Student Success Award of Excellence recognizes a community college that has demonstrated a sustained commitment to and proactive advancement of the cause of student success. Nominees are evaluated on increases in degree completion and transfer rates, as well as innovative programs that encourage retention, graduation and student success.

The winner of the Student Success Award, Wallace Community College-Dothan in Alabama, was announced at the AACC annual convention in New Orleans April 24.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Pellissippi State students score highest in state at Math Bowl

Pictured, left to right, are some of Pellissippi State’s top finishers in the recent Math Bowl: Ethan Vals, Andrew Hendershott, Son Quang, Lily Turaski, Liam Schenk and Rebekah Meece.
Pictured, left to right, are some of Pellissippi State’s top finishers in the recent Math Bowl: Ethan Vals, Andrew Hendershott, Son Quang, Lily Turaski, Liam Schenk and Rebekah Meece.

 

Students from Pellissippi State Community College took eight of the top 15 places in a recent statewide mathematics competition among community colleges.

A total of 114 Pellissippi State students competed in the annual Pellissippi State Math Bowl in five divisions — survey of mathematics, calculus A and B, precalculus and statistics. Community college students from across the state also participated in the competition at their home college. Their scores were then compared to those of other students entered in the Math Bowl.

Pellissippi State students Lily Turaski and Alex Shipe finished first and second, respectively, in the statewide calculus A division. Abe Joo finished third statewide in calculus B, while Symon Elliott, Alana Farris and Morgan Bailey were first, second and third statewide in survey of mathematics. Liam Schenk and Ana Brantley scored first and second place in the statewide statistics division.

The Pellissippi State Math Bowl is part of the annual State Mathematics Competition, sponsored by the Tennessee Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. In addition to state prizes, Pellissippi State — thanks to a grant from Oak Ridge Associated Universities — awards its top finishers in each subject with additional cash prizes.

In addition to the winners named above, Pellissippi State also recognized Ethan Vals in calculus A; Andrew Hendershott, Katie Moore and Victoria Villella in precalculus; Son Quang and Rebekah Meece in calculus B and Natalie Keener in statistics.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865- 694-6400.

Christie Cunningham to speak as Pellissippi State Commencement speaker

Christie Cunningham
Christie Cunningham

Award-winning faculty member Christie Cunningham will join hundreds of Pellissippi State Community College graduates as the speaker at the college’s Commencement ceremony Dec. 9 at 8 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Cunningham, an assistant professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences, is this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award winner at Pellissippi State, as well as a 2016 winner of a national John and Suanne Roueche Excellence award.

“I’m planning to speak to students about what to do when life throws something unexpected your way,” Cunningham said. In spring, her husband was diagnosed with cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

“When life knocks you down, when people tell you no, when doors close in your face, you have to continue. You have to put one foot in front of the other and keep working toward your goal. It’s during these times that your character is built,” Cunningham said. “It’s been a difficult road, but I try to take one day at a time, put aside my problems and provide the best learning experience possible for my students.”

Cunningham has been recognized this year for her innovative teaching techniques and the positive impact they’ve had on her students. She has integrated technology, hands-on activities, group projects and other learning methods to increase student engagement in her psychology courses.

“Learning should be engaging and active, and if you can make it fun, that’s even better,” Cunningham said.

One of the ways she encourages her students to proactively study throughout the semester is to play “Jeopardy” using questions and answers that the students compile over the course of the semester.

“Something like ‘Jeopardy’ is a way to comprehensively study for a final exam, but it’s competitive and fun and doesn’t feel as worrisome as studying for a cumulative test,” Cunningham said. “And I see through test scores that techniques like this help with long-term retention.”

Other techniques she uses are role-playing — for instance, role-playing what it might be like to have a mental or physical disability — and hands-on activities like using household items to discuss the physical functionality of the human eyeball or the brain’s neural pathways.

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

Pellissippi State third in nation for study abroad

This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.
This photograph, taken by Pellissippi State Community College student Elicia Ferrer, depicts the interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City near Rome, Italy.
 

Pellissippi State Community College ranks third in the nation among two-year colleges for the number of students it sends to study abroad. In 2015, the college sent 204 students on study abroad programs.

Elicia Ferrer
Elicia Ferrer

“Study abroad was a great experience,” said Pellissippi State student Elicia Ferrer, who spent time over the summer studying in Italy and England. “I had been out of the country before, but for mission experiences. Study abroad is different because you’re there to learn and to experience the place. It’s pretty magical.”

In Tennessee, Pellissippi State ranks eighth among all higher education institutions in the state for the number of students who study abroad. In fact, the college is the only community college in the top 15.

Ferrer, who is studying Chinese language and plans to transfer to a four-year university in the spring, said, “Studying abroad is an eye-opening way to observe different cultures and faiths. It gives you a front row seat to history. In my World Civilizations class, we were studying the Medicis, who did terrible things but who also funded the Renaissance. When you’re in Italy and can physically see their legacy, it gives you an interesting perspective.”

Pellissippi State works with the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies to provide study abroad opportunities for students. TnCIS, headquartered at Pellissippi State, organizes study abroad opportunities as part of its mission of boosting international experience and culture in higher education across the state. In the 10 years since its founding, TnCIS has supported more than 3,000 students statewide in pursuing a global education.

Additionally, Pellissippi State offers unique opportunities for students from around the world to study here in East Tennessee. In the 2015-16 academic year, Pellissippi State had 156 international students enrolled — the ninth highest among all higher education institutions in the state and  the only community college in the top 20.

“Community colleges are diverse, and the ability to offer study abroad opportunities and to have international students on campus only increases that diversity. In a global economy, students need to be able to understand and appreciate diverse points of view,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr.

For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.