Anyone who has considered taking classes at Pellissippi State Community College has two opportunities this October to check out the school – from the academic programs offered to the financial aid available.
Pellissippi State’s open house, now called Pellissippi Preview, will be held in person 9:15-11:15 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 2, at the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. An online version will be held 6-7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 20, for those who would rather learn about the college via Zoom.
Pellissippi Preview is open to prospective students of all ages and is free to attend.
Pellissippi State will kick off the Oct. 2 in-person event in the Clayton Performing Arts Center at 9:15 a.m. before letting prospective students browse the departments that interest them until 10:30 a.m. Faculty and staff will be available to answer questions about the college’s academic programs as well as the student services available at Pellissippi State.
Pellissippi Preview also will feature a presentation on academic programs, services and financial aid at 10:30 a.m. Participants will get hands-on information about one of the questions Pellissippi State advisers and recruiters hear the most: “Will my Pellissippi State classes transfer?” They’ll also learn more about scholarship opportunities, including Tennessee Promise for high school seniors.
All those who attend Pellissippi Preview in person will be entered in a drawing for one of two $250 scholarships from the Pellissippi State Foundation. The drawing will be held at 11:15 a.m. to close the event.
“You are sure to get all your questions answered,” said Enrollment Services Coordinator Sarah Davis. “We hope to see you there.”
Learn about substance misuse and prevention during Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies week at Pellissippi State Community College, Sept. 27-30.
The programming, which touches on everything from suicide prevention techniques to human trafficking, is sponsored by All4Knox, a joint effort of Knox County and the City of Knoxville with support from Metro Drug Coalition, the Knox County District Attorney General’s Office and Knox County Health Department.
All sessions are free and open to the public. Pellissippi State encourages all individuals to wear masks in indoor spaces.
“Our goal for this week is for our community to understand the purpose of substance misuse and prevention,” said Courtney Niemann, director of prevention for Metro Drug Coalition. “By providing an array of speaking sessions, we want individuals to have resources and education on the substance misuse epidemic in our community.”
Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies will kick offat 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 27, with speaker Cory Henry in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the Hardin Valley Campus. Henry has been free of substances for more than seven years and now works at Faith Promise Church. Jason Goodman, director of Recovery Support Services for Metro Drug Commission, also will share about The Gateway, a recovery community center that will provide additional support and ongoing recovery to those transitioning from addiction treatment back into the community and to those who are seeking recovery but need someone to walk beside them as they navigate a path free from substance misuse.
Sessions planned for Tuesday-Thursday, Sept. 28-30, will touch on a variety of topics, including:
Mindfulness – Offered at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, and Thursday, Sept. 30 at the Magnolia Avenue Campus and 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, at the Hardin Valley Campus, mindfulness is a set of skills and practices that anyone can learn. Mindfulness can be beneficial for helping people deal with difficult emotions and stressful situations by cultivating curiosity, compassion and acceptance of whatever arises in the present moment. Using a combination of groundbreaking neuroscience, mindfulness-based techniques and discussion format, Mindful Recovery Groups are open to all people seeking a better sense of balance in their lives.
Metro Drug Coalition’s community meeting – At noon Tuesday, Sept. 28, at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Amanda Ainsley and Asheton Casey of MDC will offer a comprehensive presentation on substance misuse from the perspectives of crisis intervention, prevention work, advocacy and recovery. Topics include addiction and the brain, substance facts and statistics, and how to connect with resources.
Building Strong Brains Adverse Childhood Experiences training – 1 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 28, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus. This training mobilizes the Tennessee community in having a shared understanding, based in science, of the architecture of a young child’s brain, how interactions shape this brain architecture, how adversity negatively impacts the developing brain, and how children thrive in safe, stable, nurturing environments.
Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) – Offered at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, this internationally renowned suicide prevention training educates participants on identifying signs and risk factors common to individuals experiencing suicidal thoughts, techniques to engaging with this individual, and available resources within the community to help.
PrEP – At noon Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, leaders will discuss how to access PrEP, a daily pill taken to protect you from HIV. The session will include answers to common questions and additional resources available in the greater Knoxville community.
One family’s addiction story – At 1 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 29, on the Hardin Valley Campus, Sharon Hajko will share about her son, Justin Hajko, who she describes as the “daredevil of the family” who “thrived on adventure” until the disease of addiction changed all their lives.
Narcan training – At 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Regional Overdose Prevention Specialists will provide an opioid training that addresses harm reduction, reducing stigma and increasing public awareness. These specialists are located throughout the state and serve as a point of contact for overdose prevention through the distribution of naloxone.
Opening Up About What’s Getting You Down – This first session in the CHASCO Lunch and Learn series will be held noon-1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the college’s Magnolia Avenue Campus. Speakers include Schylar Long, Student Government Association parliamentarian for Pellissippi State, and Amy Rowling, violence prevention educator for the Knox County Health Department and facilitator for the Tennessee Building Strong Brains Initiative, who will present on how trauma affects the brain and nervous system, resiliency and self-care.
Human trafficking – At 1 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus, theCommunity Coalition Against Human Trafficking will address the basics of human trafficking including prevalence and types of trafficking in our community, the common misconceptions surrounding human trafficking and how you can combat them in your neighborhood.
Harm Reduction: Safer Sex and Drug Use – Offered at 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 30, on the Magnolia Avenue Campus. Did you know there are ways to reduce the risks associated with sex and drug use? This workshop will introduce attendees to the concept of Harm Reduction and provide a variety of strategies you can employ to improve your overall health and wellness. Presented by Positively Living & Choice Health Network, Knoxville’s premier public health nonprofit and home of East Tennessee’s largest syringe service exchange and medical clinic specifically focused on HIV prevention and care for people living with HIV.
Sessions on the Hardin Valley Campus will be held in the Goins Auditorium in the Goins Administration Building. The Hardin Valley Campus is located at 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
Sessions on the Magnolia Avenue Campus will be held in the Magnolia Community Room. The Magnolia Avenue Campus is located at 1610 E. Magnolia Ave.
All sessions will have a virtual option as well. You can find those links on each event in thePellissippi State calendar.Click on the date on the calendar to bring up all sessions on that date, then click on the session you want to access the webinar link.
For more information about Healthy Minds, Healthy Bodies week, contact Courtney Niemann at firstname.lastname@example.org.To request accommodations for a disability for any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email email@example.com.
Celebrate the rich and beautiful complexity of Latino and Hispanic culture with a variety of events hosted by Pellissippi State Community College.
“A key component of our college’s mission is to foster the academic, social, economic and cultural enrichment of our community. As our Hispanic community in East Tennessee continues to grow and thrive, I feel that it is important that we highlight and celebrate the contributions of this very important sector of our population,” said Associate Professor Larry Vincent, co-chair of the college’s Hispanic Heritage Month Committee. “Being a Venezuelan citizen and a native Spanish speaker, I have always cherished the opportunity to share my culture with my friends and neighbors in East Tennessee.”
All are free and open to the public, and all but one will take place on Zoom this year:
Tuesday, Sept. 14, 6 p.m. “Is ‘Latin’ a Flavor? Food Diversity in Latin America” Doug Sofer, associate professor of history at Maryville College
Thursday, Sept 16, 6-7:30 p.m. “Why Don’t People Just Wait in Line?” A role-play workshop about how and why people seek life in the U.S., co-presented by Pellissippi State alumnus Luis Mata and Associate Professor Katie Morris
Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2 p.m. “Crime Shows and Latino Representation on TV” Assistant Professor Mauricio Espinoza from the University of Cincinnati
Thursday, Sept. 23, 1-3 p.m. Kukuly Uriarte and her salsa, jazz band Candela in the Hardin Valley Campus Courtyard, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville. Refreshments available.
Tuesday, Sept. 28, 6 p.m. “Don’t Take My Boy: Yellow Journalism and the Zoot-Suit Riots of 1943” Pellissippi State History Instructor Leslie Coffman
Tuesday, Oct. 5, 6-6:45 p.m. “Connecting Campus and Community Using Spanish-Language Conversation Tables” Pellissippi State Adjunct Instructor Raúl Rivero and colleagues
Thursday, Oct. 7, 6 p.m. Latino and Hispanic Pellissippi State students and staff share their stories
Mezzotint prints created by artist Jacob Crook are on display at Pellissippi State Community College through Sept. 24, and the public is invited to enjoy the show.
The free exhibit is open 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Pellissippi State encourages the wearing of masks in indoor spaces.
Crook, assistant professor of art and printmaking coordinator at Mississippi State University, works primarily in the intaglio printmaking technique of mezzotint, invented in 1642. This process achieves tonality – a range of tones in a work of visual art – by roughening a metal plate with a metal tool called a rocker. The rocker has a beveled, serrated, curved edge with many tiny teeth that create innumerable tiny indentations and burrs that hold ink during the printing process. Ink is rubbed into the varieties of textures and the excess wiped away, gradually revealing the image.
“The fully rocked areas that are left alone produce a rich, velvety blank print, and areas that are scraped and burnished to varying degrees of smoothness will hold less ink, producing lighter value,” Crook explained. “Essentially the image is created in a reductive manner by ‘erasing’ the roughened areas to create areas of light.”
Crook’s works have been exhibited nationally and internationally at the Yekaterinburg Museum of Fine Arts in Russia, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts Boston, among others. His works also are displayed in academic institutions and private collections.
“The quality of light cast into a space has the potential to bring poetry to the prosaic, magic to the mundane and beauty to the banal,” Crook said. “The light spilling through these nocturnal landscapes and vacant interiors serves as a sort of spotlight, transforming the scenes into empty stage sets, either soon to be entered or perhaps long abandoned, suggesting the possibility of untold narratives that are just out of reach.
“My intent is not to tell a story directly, but to set the stage in such a way that viewers are compelled to consider the moments before and after the one presented based on their own associations with the imagery,” he added.
To request accommodations for a disability for this event or any Pellissippi State event, call 865-539-7401 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pellissippi State Community College will offer COVID-19 boosters for immunocompromised people at its Vaccinate and Educate Fair next week.
The event, which is free and open to the public, will be held noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, outside the Bagwell Center for Media and Art on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will be administering both the two-dose Pfizer vaccine, which was granted full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 23, and the one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccine.
Pellissippi State also will offer boosters of Pfizer for those who had their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna vaccines at least eight months ago. Please bring your original vaccine card.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that moderately to severely immunocompromised people receive an additional dose of COVID-19 vaccine, as outlined in this Aug. 18 media statement. This includes people who have:
Active treatment for solid tumor and hematologic malignancies
Receipt of solid-organ transplant and taking immunosuppressive therapy
Receipt of CAR-T-cell or hematopoietic stem cell transplant (within 2 years of transplantation or taking immunosuppression therapy)
Moderate or severe primary immunodeficiency (e.g., DiGeorge syndrome, Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome)
Advanced or untreated HIV infection
Active treatment with high-dose corticosteroids (i.e., ≥20mg prednisone or equivalent per day), alkylating agents, antimetabolites, transplant-related immunosuppressive drugs, cancer chemotherapeutic agents classified as severely immunosuppressive, tumor-necrosis (TNF) blockers, and other biologic agents that are immunosuppressive or immunomodulatory
Pellissippi State is working with the nonprofit Faith Leaders Initiative and New Directions Healthcare to offer the Vaccinate and Educate Fair for the community. Education stations will provide information about COVID-19 including handouts explaining what the COVID-19 virus is, how vaccines work to combat it and why common myths about COVID-19 and vaccinations are untrue. Free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones will be available for the entire family.
Pellissippi State Community College students in math, science and teacher education courses will return to classes next week in a state-of-the-art new building.
Denark Construction completed the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus this summer, and a Ribbon Cutting Celebration was held Tuesday, Aug. 17, to celebrate.
“We made a strategic decision that if we’re going to teach science, mathematics and teacher education, as well as have the ability to offer new programs like Water Quality Technology, we had to make this investment,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “We are really grateful for our partnership with BarberMcMurry Architects in thinking about what this space might look like, not only for teaching and learning inside the classroom, but for the kind of collaboration that is necessary outside the classroom for our students to be successful in working with each other and with their faculty and staff.”
The new 82,000-square-foot building has been under construction since May 2019. It includes 18 classrooms, six computer labs, nine science labs and a teacher education center for the college’s Early Childhood Education and Teacher Education programs.
“As I walked around inside the Haslam Center, I was impressed with the meaningful use of space and the attention to detail to better serve our students,” said Pellissippi State alumnus Carlos Gonzalez, who is finishing his bachelor’s degree in mathematics with a certificate in teaching at Maryville College. “For example, the Teacher Education Center and the state-of-the-art equipment in the labs — having these resources will keep students competitive in today’s society.”
Opening the new building allows Pellissippi State to transform its Hardin Valley Campus, Wise added, by thinking about the spaces those programs have vacated and other ways to use them to support other college programs and initiatives.
Former Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam, for whom the building is named, was on hand Tuesday to tour the new building. As governor of Tennessee from 2011 to 2019, Haslam was key to establishing Tennessee Promise and Tennessee Reconnect, last-dollar scholarships that provide two years of tuition-free attendance at a community or technical college in Tennessee, and the Haslam Family Foundation and Pilot Company were “Campaign Leaders” for Pellissippi State’s new math and science center, donating between $500,000 and $1 million toward the $27 million project.
“I was thinking, driving out here, if you were going to pick a perfect location for a community college, you might pick this one,” Haslam said. “You’re strategically located between Oak Ridge and everything that is happening there, Blount County and Knox County. And if you’re going to find a really critical discipline that you want to make certain you have the room to grow and expand, it would be math and science.”
Haslam told the audience that he had talked last night with Oak Ridge National Laboratory Director Thomas Zacharia, TennesseeLt. Gov. Randy McNally and others about how to leverage the area’s assets of ORNL, Great Smoky Mountains National Park, Tennessee Valley Authority and the University of Tennessee, among others.
“Among the key tactics to make that happen is the success of Pellissippi State,” Haslam said. “You all feel like I do: that the key to success is giving more folks a chance for education. We’re struggling with a lot of things in this country – a whole lot of things that are dividing us – and to me, the best answer for all of those problems comes back to more opportunity out of great public education. So thank you to all of you who serve, work out here and have been a part of making this happen. I truly am honored by it and always will be.”
Following the ribbon cutting, Pellissippi State held an open house so that guests could tour the new building. Pellissippi State’s fall 2021 classes start Monday, Aug. 23, as many students return to campus for the first time since March 2020.
Still need a COVID-19 vaccine? Pellissippi State Community College will offer free vaccinations, no appointment necessary, at a walk-in Vaccinate and Educate Fair on its Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.
Mark your calendars now for the health fair, which will be held noon-4:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, outside the Bagwell Center for Media and Art. Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will be administering both the two-dose Pfizer and one-dose Janssen/Johnson & Johnson vaccines, courtesy of Winbigler Medical.
Pellissippi State is offering Pfizer as an option so that children ages 12-17 may be vaccinated, so bring the whole family. Those who choose the Pfizer vaccine will be scheduled for their second dose of the vaccine noon-2:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 20, also on the Hardin Valley Campus.
Pellissippi State is working with the nonprofit Faith Leaders Initiativeand New Directions Healthcare to offer a fair not only for faculty, staff and students, but also for the community after seeing the success of a similar event at the YWCA Phyllis Wheatley Center in East Knoxville this summer.
“Pellissippi State and New Directions Healthcare wanted to offer this fair to help the public understand the COVID-19 virus, encourage vaccination and answer questions for students, faculty, staff and our neighbors,” said Angela Lunsford, dean of Nursing for Pellissippi State. “With the Delta variant now showing up in Tennessee, we want to stress the importance of vaccination. COVID-19 is never going away, and we must protect our community by increasing the number of vaccinated people. Wearing masks for the rest of our lives is not the answer; getting vaccinated is the answer to this now endemic virus.”
Education stations staffed by Pellissippi State Nursing faculty and students will provide information about COVID-19 including handouts explaining what the COVID-19 virus is, how vaccines work to combat it and why common myths about COVID-19 and vaccinations are untrue.
The event will have the feel, however, of a celebration, with free popcorn, cotton candy and snow cones available for the entire family.
For more information about the Vaccinate and Educate fair, contact Cynthia J. Finch of the Faith Leaders Initiative at 865-254-4793 or CONNECT Ministries at 865-851-8005.
Pellissippi State Community College is ushering back art exhibits with the work of students who took Painting: Methods and Materials in June.
The show is on display until Aug. 6 in the Bagwell Center for Media and Art Gallery on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. Everyone is invited to view the exhibit for free 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Friday.
Painting: Methods and Materials focuses on oil and acrylic painting on canvas with an emphasis on personal content through expanded methods and mediums.
“This is a very creative and eclectic group, ranging from realist still-life to broken glass and gold leaf abstractions to strange and wonderful painting/sculptural explorations,” said Associate Professor Herb Rieth, who taught the class.
Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus is fully open, with no COVID-19 screenings or masks required. The college does encourage those who are not vaccinated to continue to wear masks to protect themselves and others.
For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.
Pellissippi State Motorsports headed out to Las Vegas with a car about 110 pounds lighter and 60 horsepower faster than the first one the students designed and raced two years ago.
They were betting the team’s new car would finish better than their first one did at Formula SAE Michigan in 2019, and they were right.
Pellissippi State Motorsports finished sixth at Formula SAE Nevada held June 16-19.
“There were 36 teams, and we finished sixth overall, as well as sixth in the Acceleration event,” said Christian Boone, who was a Pellissippi State student when he founded Pellissippi State Motorsports in 2018 and now serves as an engineering lab technician at the college. He is finishing his Mechanical Engineering degree at the University of Tennessee.
Pellissippi State was, again this year, the only community college in the competition that brings university undergraduate and graduate students together to compete with small, formula-style vehicles that they have conceived, designed, fabricated and developed themselves. The team finished ahead of larger four-year universities including Purdue, West Virginia and Mississippi State, among others.
“Our biggest surprise for everybody (in 2019) was not that we were the only community college in the competition, but that we were a first-year team,” Boone said. “The chief design judge said our car was the best first-year car he had seen.”
An issue with the engine, however, tripped up the team in 2019, and Pellissippi State Motorsports finished 95th of 109 teams that year, with an overall score of 181.4. This year’s car finished with an overall score of 378.7, an improvement of nearly 200 points.
Boone said from the moment the 2019 competition ended that the team’s main objective moving forward was to reduce the weight of the race car from 578 pounds with fuel/without a driver. With the 2020 competition canceled due to COVID-19, the team regrouped and started working on the 2021 car in August, despite the ongoing pandemic.
“We’re down to 465 pounds now by incorporating lighter materials and being more careful with the choice of hardware we make (internally),” Boone said at a send-off celebration for the team June 7. “We also have a launch traction control that will help us get off the line quicker.”
“This team took what they learned from their first car and adjusted, and it looks great,” Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. said June 7, checking out the new car. “It’s going to be exciting to put it on the track.”
The 2021 competition was hot – literally. After temperatures reached 115 degrees in Las Vegas and several competitors passed out from the heat, Formula SAE Nevada revised the schedule. Instead of teams having 7:30 a.m.-7 p.m. each day to get their cars to pass tech and safety checks and then complete the competition’s four events, the window was shorted to 5:30 a.m.-2 p.m. after the first day, said Associate Professor Lynn Klett, the team’s faculty advisor.
“They did great despite the oppressive heat and aggressive schedule,” she said. “Temperatures were 115 and higher every day.”
The shortened schedule knocked 14 teams out of competition, as their cars never made it out of tech, according to the Formula SAE Nevada results. Tech includes about a 15-page inspection, Boone explained.
“For Formula SAE, you design the car around a set of rules, and Formula SAE goes through everything to make sure your car is rules-compliant — everything from the firewall and the seats to the chassis and every critical fastener,” he said. “We came prepared and got through our tech inspection really quick.”
Pellissippi State wasn’t spared all the effects of the Las Vegas heat wave, however. During the Acceleration event, which measures the time it takes each car to travel 75 meters, Pellissippi State’s fan broke, causing the car to overheat after one run on the Acceleration course.
While Pellissippi State’s time of 4.5 seconds still netted the team a sixth-place finish in the Acceleration event, that 4.5 seconds was only 4/10 of a second away from a first-place finish, Boone noted — and the car had been testing at 4.1 seconds on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus.
“I think we could have won if we had another run, but we had to let the car cool down,” he said.
Pellissippi State fixed the fan and went on to compete in the other four events: Skid Pad, which tests each car’s cornering capability on a figure-8-shaped course; Autocross, which tests how fast each car can make it around an open course; and Endurance and Efficiency, which test each car’s overall reliability on a 22-kilometer closed course, as well as how much fuel is used during the run.
“When we got there at 6 a.m., it was already 95 degrees,” Boone said. “We were worried about the temperatures, but we managed to keep the car 5 degrees below where the ECU (engine control unit) would have cut off the engine.”
In the end, Pellissippi State was one of few teams in the competition that got to finish all the events, which made Boone proud.
“With the car we had, we did the best we could have done,” he said after the team returned from competition. “There were some technical things we did with the car that we could do differently next time, but this was a good team with good organization and good communication at the competition. Everyone had a job to do.”
Pellissippi State students attending the competition this year included Daniel Ray (powertrain performance), Daniel Rasmussen (composite materials specialist), Ethan Crisp (electrical capstone student) and Zachary Koller (co-captain).
They were joined by UT students Clayton Hickey and Charles Brush,both of whom previously attended Pellissippi State, as well as UT students Charlie Linde, Jeff Cargile and Cooper Jenkins. Cargile and Jenkins designed the race car’s aerodynamic package as their senior design project with fellow UT Aerospace Engineering student Gavin Jones.
All UT students who serve on the team do so as volunteers and pay their own way to competition.
Other Pellissippi State Motorsports team members who worked on the car but did not travel to the competition this year include George Johnson IV of Pellissippi State and Forrest Hamilton, a dual enrollment student who completed his Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology while completing high school at Knox County’s Career Magnet Academy.
“A lot of it has not been easy, but it was definitely a great experience,” Hamilton said. “There was a lot of going to school and going to work and then coming here and welding for six to eight hours, but it feels good to see so much of it finished. A lot of welding is not small diameter tubes so this has given me so much more confidence.”
Pellissippi State Motorsports is a college-sponsored student club that could not do what it does without additional help from sponsors such as Barton Racing, Daycab Company, Norm and Ann Naylor, Gene Haas Foundation, Dave and Lynne Blair,Morlind Engineering, BHS Corrugated and Endeavor Composites.
Meriam Panganiban has her alarm set so thatshe can be wide awake and glued to the computer at 6 a.m. Sunday, May 16.
She may be more than 9,000 miles away in Sydney, Australia, but she wouldn’t miss watching her daughter and grandson graduate from Pellissippi State Community College together!
“My mom is very, very emotional because I promised her I would finish school,” said MaydetteZiatdinov, 43, who previously worked as a kindergarten teacher in Japan. “I had a lot of fear because this is a new country for me, but I knew something was missing. This is for my husband, my son and my mom – but it’s also for myself, this accomplishment.”
Maydette, a native of the Philippines, will graduate at 4 p.m. Saturday, May 15, with her associate degree in Business,with a concentration in Management. Her only son, Ralph Panganiban, will graduate during the same Commencement ceremony with his associate degree in Computer Information Technology, with a concentration in Programming.
Ralph, 22, started Pellissippi State in 2017 after graduating from Bearden High School. He had to take English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) classes before he could start his core curriculum, having only moved to the United States in 2015, when his stepfather, a scientist, took a job at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
“When I went to high school, most of my friends suggested I go here because they have good courses,” Ralphsaid. “What really impressed me is that all of the services here are free: computer labs, libraries, tutoring center. That was really amazing to me.”
“The tutoring center is like family to me because I would spend all day at school studying,” Maydetteshared. “It’s like my second home.”
Maydettestarted her educational journey at Pellissippi State two yearsafter her son, much to his chagrin.
“My friends would say, ‘Is that your sister?’ and I’d say, ‘No, that’s my mom!” Ralph said, cringing good-naturedly at the memory.
“For me, it was a compliment!” Maydette said, laughing. “I love it!”
Ralph joked that he “just wanted to run away” when he would see his mom on campus, but then admitted that going to college with a parent had its perks.
“If I saw her in the cafeteria, she would pay for me!” he said.
Even though Maydette and Ralphoften would carpool to Pellissippi State together, theynever were in the same class – although they had some of the same professors.
“We both loved Dr. Shaquille Marsh’s class and his way of teaching,” Maydette said of Public Speaking. “English is our second language, and we felt nervous about speaking in front of our classmates, but he gave us pointers. He has been one of our best mentors.”
Both also joined Pellissippi State’s International Club, where Ralph served as president and Maydette handled public relations. The two“had a really good time” planning the International Culture Festival in fall 2019, where they highlighted the fashion, food and music of Pellissippi State’s international students’ home countries.
“That was a really big deal for me because I never had been president of a club before,” Ralph said, thanking his mom for her help.
More recently, Maydette has been interning with Pellissippi State’s Human Resources office and has chosen HR as her next career.
“I have eight years of good memories as a kindergarten teacher, but I wanted to do something more flexible at this age,” she explained. “I like helping people – that’s just me – and even if it’s a small company, someone has to do the administrative work.”
Even though the duo now has earned their associate degrees, they plan to stick around Pellissippi State a little while longer to take more classes – Maydettein preparation to transfer to King University for a bachelor’s degree, and Ralph to add a second Computer Information Technology degree, this time with a concentration in Systems Administration and Management.
“I never complain about the teachers here, but it’s not just them,” Ralphnoted. “Everyone from the security guards to the cafeteria workers toFacilities staff– they’ve all been so nice and helpful.”
His mother agrees, listing Associate Professor Amy Caponetti,Professor Lisa Fall, International Club advisor Patricia Higgins and Access and Diversity Director Gayle Wood among those who have been part of an amazing support system at Pellissippi State.
“Wedon’t have a family here in Tennessee, so Pellissippi State is our go–to family,” Maydette said. “If I had a picture of myself on my first day of school until now, you would see a totally different Maydette.”