Pellissippi State manufactures critical personal protective equipment amid coronavirus pandemic

3D printers at MegaLab
3D printers at Pellissippi State’s MegaLab on its Strawberry Plains Campus are working around the clock to manufacture personal protective equipment for health care professionals.

Pellissippi State Community College is one of several Tennessee colleges using 3D printers to manufacture personal protective equipment that will help health care professionals caring for coronavirus patients. 

The project, announced Monday, March 23, by Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, has been underway since Saturday, March 21. By Monday afternoon, the colleges had cranked out more than 1,500 pieces of equipment including 838 headbands like the ones Pellissippi State is producing to attach to face shields. 

Health care professionals wear plastic face shields over their masks as further protection from infectious diseases while working with patients. 

Headbands made by 3D printers
Pellissippi State shipped 239 headbands, shown here, to Austin Peay State University on Tuesday, where they will be attached to transparent plastic face shields that health care professionals wear over their face masks.

“We are pleased to be a part of supporting efforts to combat this virus in our community and across the state,” said Teri Brahams, executive director for economic and workforce development for Pellissippi State. “Our ability to assist in this project is evidence of our efforts to always be on the cutting edge of technology taught in our classrooms and through Business and Community Services. This also is a perfect utilization of campus resources that would otherwise lie dormant during this period.” 

While Pellissippi State has closed its five campuses in Knox and Blount counties amid Knox County’s Safer at Home Order issued Monday, essential personnel continue to report to the MegaLab at Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus to keep the 3D printers working around the clock. The MegaLab, its entrance and its nearby restrooms are on a daily cleaning schedule to ensure the space remains disinfected while essential personnel are working there. 

Andy Polnicki and Todd Evans wearing headbands
MegaLab Director Andy Polnicki, left, and Workforce Solutions Director Todd Evans, right, test the headbands being manufactured on 3D printers on the Strawberry Plains Campus. These headbands will be attached to plastic face shields to protect health care workers tending to patients with infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

Pellissippi State MegaLab Director Andy Polnicki has been hard at work preparing the first shipment of 239 headbands to send to Austin Peay State University, the college that developed the prototype. Austin Peay employees will attach the headbands to transparent plastic face shields for the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency, which will distribute them to health care facilities and professionals who are facing shortages of equipment. 

This is one of the projects the governor is spearheading to find new and innovative ways to serve Tennesseans during the COVID-19 crisis. To keep up with the latest news about coronavirus response at Pellissippi State, visit our website at www.pstcc.edu/coronavirus. 

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Pellissippi State Foundation raises more than $14 million for new buildings, student support

Student speaker Destin Hickman stands with L. Anthony Wise Jr. and second student speaker Jon Collins
Students Benjamin Bridges (left) and Angela Dixon (right) pose with L. Anthony Wise Jr. after the Campaign for Pellissippi State Celebration at the Hardin Valley Campus on March 6.

The Pellissippi State Foundation has wrapped up its campaign to raise money for Pellissippi State Community College’s two new buildings and other initiatives, exceeding its $10 million goal by more than $4 million.

The Campaign for Pellissippi State, a four-year project spearheaded by 60 volunteers, will support the college’s largest expansion in its 45-year history. Some $8.8 million of the funds raised are earmarked to help build the Bill Haslam Center for Math and Science on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus in Knox County, the Ruth and Steve West Workforce Development Center on the college’s Blount County Campus and other capital projects.

Meanwhile, $1.6 million was raised for student support, including 10 new scholarships and 13 new endowments, and $3.7 million in grants were secured to support the college’s academic efforts and workforce development initiatives.

“We could not have met our lofty $10 million goal, let alone exceeded it, without the help of our volunteers and our donors,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., noting that 571 of the Campaign’s 1,547 donors were new donors to Pellissippi State. “This support is going to help not only our current Pellissippi State students, but generations of students to come.”

The practical impacts of the Campaign are far-reaching, from eliminating waiting lists for required science labs to expanding several academic and career programs including Audio Production Engineering at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, Culinary Arts at the Blount County Campus, Early Childhood and Teacher Education at the Hardin Valley Campus and Welding at the Strawberry Plains Campus.

Student speaker Destin Hickman poses with L. Anthony Wise Jr. and second student speaker Jon Collins
Students Destin Hickman (left) and Jon Collins (right) pose with L. Anthony Wise Jr. after the Campaign for Pellissippi State Celebration at the Blount County Campus on March 6.

Meanwhile, the college’s Student Opportunity Fund was bolstered to provide a financial safety net for students at risk of dropping out due to an emergency situation, and the Hardin Valley Garden and Pellissippi Pantry will grow to address the increasing number of local students experiencing food insecurity.

“Pellissippi State is charged with a most important mission – preparing the next generation workforce for our community,” said Campaign Chair Tom Ballard. “The funds that we raised will provide modern facilities and enhanced programs to ensure that current and future students have a solid foundation for success.”

Pellissippi State Foundation extends a special thanks to Campaign Leaders who donated $500,000 or more: Arconic Foundation; the Economic Development Board of Blount County, City of Alcoa and City of Maryville; Pilot Company; and Ruth and Steve West.

Pellissippi State employees and retirees also gave more than $500,000 combined to the Campaign, the Foundation noted.

A campaign impact video is available HERE. To learn more about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865.694.6400.

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Pellissippi State microbiology students create intricate art using bacteria

Art in Petri dishes
Pellissippi State microbiology students created these and other designs using bacteria in the Strawberry Plains Campus lab.

Microbiology students on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains and Magnolia Avenue campuses have used the techniques they’ve learned in lab this semester to create agar art, also known as microbial art.

You can see this agar art displayed on the Strawberry Plains Campus, in a hall on the main level of the building.

Agar art is an active learning tool that presents the microbial community in an interesting way, explained microbiology instructor Zainab Ahmed, who is a microbiologist and virologist.

Students created artwork using agar – a gel-like substance used to grow bacteria in Petri dishes – as a canvas and bacteria as the paint. The kind of agar and bacteria used determines the color of the artwork students produced.

“The pigments are colorful evidence of bacteria’s morphology in their real habitat,” Ahmed noted. “This illustrates the beauty of these microorganisms in nature.”

The agar art was created solely on the Strawberry Plains Campus this semester, offered as extra credit in lab time outside of class. Microbiology students on any of Pellissippi State’s campuses were welcome to participate.

“Students all like it,” Ahmed said. “Some have asked to come back and participate again the next semester we offer it, and I have met with a high school biology teacher in Blount County who would like for us to promote Agar art for high school students in the future.”

This was the third time Ahmed has offered her microbiology students the opportunity to create agar art, but it’s the first time Strawberry Plains Campus Dean Mike North has invited Ahmed to display the students’ artwork on campus.

“I thought it was the coolest thing that was done with the outcome of the Agar art,” North said. “I love filling up the campus with art, and when it’s contributions from students, that’s even better. I want to support them. It’s educational, and it looks really really cool.”

Photos of the Petri dishes show everything from Christmas trees to a lizard to a map of North and South America – all formed by bacteria grown in the Strawberry Plains Campus microbiology lab.

“Students had the option of what they wanted to draw – they could use a stencil or choose something from the internet and draw it freehand,” Ahmed explained. “We have heard from other instructors and students that they like this agar art.”

Ahmed and microbiology technician Katherine Fullerton prepared the agar and cultured the bacteria, but students took it from there.

The bacteria students could choose to use produced pigments of red, blue, orange and green. While red, blue and orange pigments occur naturally in bacteria, some bacteria that appear white or tan on other agar present as green when grown on a different kind of agar.

Students also could choose how to transfer the bacteria to their Petri dishes – using a wire loop that had to be fired in a Bunsen burner, a toothpick or a fine paintbrush.

“This is a good opportunity for our microbiology students to use all the different tools in the lab and to feel free to experiment,” Ahmed said. “They get to use all the knowledge they’ve learned earlier in the semester, from lab safety to how to incubate the bacteria, and they get to see chemical reactions and how colonies of bacteria can change color.”

Ahmed’s agar art project was supported this semester by a grant from Pellissippi State’s Instructional Development Committee, which allowed Ahmed to purchase more agar and new bacteria. The grant will cover another semester of agar art, but Ahmed said she may wait until fall 2020 to offer the opportunity again, as it would give microbiology students a chance to enter their agar art into an international competition sponsored by the American Society for Microbiology.

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

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Knoxville author Bob Booker to headline Pellissippi State’s lectures on 1919, the ‘Year of Fear’

Bob Booker, author
Knoxville author Bob Booker will discuss the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919 at Pellissippi State next week.

It’s been 100 years since the “Year of Fear,” when race riots, stock market crashes and flu pandemics swept the country.

Pellissippi State Community College’s Liberal Arts Department will help mark the occasion with a series of short lectures and discussions on these and other notable 1919 events next week.

Bob Booker, former executive director of the Beck Cultural Exchange Center and an authoritative author on Knoxville’s black history, will provide the keynote address on the Knoxville Race Riot of 1919. His presentation will be held 11:50 a.m.-12:50 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 22, on Pellissippi State’s Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave. A reception with Booker will follow.

All “Year of Fear” events at Pellissippi State are free and open to the public.

“The First World War was the most catastrophic, bloodiest event in human history up until that time. So often what is forgotten when studying war are the profound effects wars can have on the homefront of any nation,” said History Instructor Leslie Coffman, an organizer of the event. “The aftermath of WWI in America and around the world is a dark story. 1919 is known as the ‘Year of Fear’ for a reason, and we wanted to offer opportunities for the public to understand why.”

The “Year of Fear” schedule includes opportunities at each of Pellissippi State’s five campuses.

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road:

  • 9:40-10:10 a.m. “Russia Still Remembers: America’s Invasion of Russia, 1918-1919” by Instructor Yuliya Kalnaus;
  • 10:20-10:40 a.m. Discussion of the upcoming play “Blood at the Root,” based on the Jena Six, led by Associate Professor Grechen Wingerter;
  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Day Wall Street Exploded: America’s First Great Terrorist Attack, 1919-1920” by Assistant Professor Nathan Pavalko;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Magnolia Avenue Campus Community Room:

  • 10:40-11:20 a.m. “The Year that Fun was Banned: The Flu Pandemic of 1919” by Professor Toni McDaniel;
  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “’It Was a Fear for All of Us’: The Lynching of Will Brown and the Omaha Race Riots” by Coffman;
  • 11:50-12:50 a.m. “The Heat of a Red Summer: Race Mixing, Race Rioting in 1919 Knoxville” by Booker;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Blount County Campus West Chevrolet Auditorium, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville:

  • 10:15-10:40 a.m. “The Spanish Flu: Adding Insult to Injury” by Assistant Professor Amanda Carr-Wilcoxson;

Tuesday, Oct. 22, in the Division Street Campus’ conference room, 3435 Division Street:

  • 11:20-11:50 a.m. “The Marathon Continues: Questions of Race in 2019” by Instructor Gregory Johnson; and

Wednesday, Oct. 23, in the Strawberry Plains Campus’ lobby, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike:

  • 12:55-1:50 p.m. “How 1919 Changed Knoxville Forever: The Events that Weren’t Supposed to Happen Here” by Instructor Laura Arnett Smith with a musical performance by tutor Marcel Holman.

“We wanted to focus on remembering the Knoxville Race Riots as part of this ‘Year of Fear’ because all of this seems particularly troubling when dealing with humanity issues so close to home,” Coffman said. “Understanding the Red Summer, in particular the atmosphere of Knoxville post-WWI, also gives us the context we desperately need for understanding modern racial dynamics. This is a road we have traveled together as Americans.”

For maps and driving directions to Pellissippi State’s five campuses, visit www.pstcc.edu/maps/.

To request accommodations for these or any campus event, call 865-694-6411 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State invites young creative writers to free workshop Oct. 19

Joy Ingram on Pellissippi State campus
Joy Ingram, a Pellissippi State alumna and author of “Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens,” will present the keynote presentation at the sixth annual Young Creative Writer’s Workshop on Oct. 19.

An annual creative writing workshop for young people will have an Appalachian theme this year and feature an Appalachian Arts area.

The sixth annual Young Creative Writer’s Workshop at Pellissippi State Community College will be held 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 19, on the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

The event, designed specifically for high school students and Pellissippi State students of all ages, is free and lunch is provided, but space is limited. Students can register at www.pstcc.edu/events/writersworkshop.

“Cast members from Gatlinburg’s Tunes n’ Tales will provide entertainment and interactive Appalachian heritage-related activities,” said Pellissippi State Assistant Professor Patty Ireland, who organizes the workshop. “In addition, craftspeople, artisans and historical interpreters will interact with students to bring the rich culture and heritage of our Appalachian region alive in our Appalachian Arts area.

“If you ever wanted to learn to make an Appalachian ‘church doll,’ play the dulcimer, learn to quilt or hear stories of the mountains, you will enjoy this portion of our day’s activities,” she added.

This year’s keynote speaker and featured workshop leader will be novelist and Pellissippi State alumna Joy Ingram, author of “Whistling Girls and Crowing Hens.” Ingram will kick off the event with her keynote at 9:30 a.m. in the Strawberry Plains Campus cafeteria, located on the lower level of the building.

Students will get to attend three other workshops of their choice later in the day. Sessions offered this year include fiction, poetry, songwriting, screenplay writing, genre specific and publication.

“Workshop leaders include a combined team of Pellissippi instructors, who are themselves published writers, and award-winning professional writers, including members of the Author’s Guild of Tennessee,” Ireland noted. “Attendees will have the opportunity to meet and converse with Pellissippi State professors, professional writers, entertainers, students and staff.”

Professional writers will be on hand to answer students’ questions one-on-one in the Writer’s Room session, 1:15-2:15 p.m. And at the end of the day, students may choose to perform their original works at a Showcase event. Family members and instructors are invited to the Showcase at 3 p.m. in the cafeteria.

The Young Creative Writer’s Workshop is sponsored by the Pellissippi State Foundation, Pellissippi State’s Common Academic Experience and Papa John’s Pizza. For the complete workshop schedule and registration form, visit www.pstcc.edu/events/writersworkshop.

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

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Pellissippi State honors retired Rep. Harry Brooks with Career Education Center dedication

Harry Brooks in front of Career Education Center sign
Retired state Rep. Harry Brooks, third from left, unveils the new Harry Brooks Career Education Center on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus on Tuesday, Sept. 10. With Brooks, from left, are Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr., Speaker Pro Tempore Bill Dunn of the Tennessee House of Representatives, and Brooks’ wife, Mary.

Pellissippi State Community College lauded retired state. Rep. Harry Brooks of Knoxville on Tuesday by naming a wing of its Strawberry Plains Campus in his honor.

The Harry Brooks Career Education Center contains Pellissippi State’s MegaLab as well as its newly expanded cyber operations and welding centers. The campus is located at 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike.

“Rep. Harry Brooks championed career and technical education during his many years in the legislature,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “His advocacy for workforce training, dual credit and dual enrollment promoted career opportunities for students not just at Pellissippi State, but across Tennessee.”

Brooks, who was on hand Tuesday to witness the dedication with many friends and family members, represented District 19, part of Knox County, in the state legislature for eight terms, from 2003 until his retirement in 2018. During that time he served myriad committees, including chairing the House Education Committee during the 108th General Assembly and the House Education Administration and Planning Committee during the 109th and 110th General Assemblies. He also served on the Knox County School Board from 1992 until 1996.

“I’ll remember this day forever,” Brooks said Tuesday. “It’s an honor to see your name added to an educational institution, whether it’s K-12 or a college, and I don’t deserve it. I’m just happy to have been part of a team that made great strides in education in our state, and the future is bright.”

Pellissippi State also held a grand opening for its new cyber defense and welding centers on Tuesday.

Pellissippi State has 80 students enrolled in its Cyber Defense concentration under the Computer Information Technology program. The concentration has added $69,000 worth of equipment and supplies in response to explosive growth from an initial 19 students in fall 2016.

Cyber Defense Program Coordinator Charles Nelson
Cyber Defense instructor Charles Nelson shows off Pellissippi State’s new Cyber Security Operations Center on the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus on Tuesday, Sept. 10. The Harry Brooks Career Education Center also contains Pellissippi State’s MegaLab and welding areas.

Funding was made possible through a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor via the Knoxville area Information Technology and Engineering (KITE) Program, which focuses on removing barriers facing unemployed or underemployed 17- to 29-year-olds in order to obtain middle- and high-skill jobs in the information technology and advanced manufacturing sectors.

“When we were teaching in a general purpose classroom with no dedicated equipment, we were not able to provide the quality or capacity we wanted,” said Cyber Defense instructor Charles Nelson. “This facility provides a digitally safe and secure environment to simulate cyber security scenarios that allow students to explore a wide variety of tools and techniques without interfering with normal campus operations, leaking threats or exposing vulnerabilities outside of the lab space.”

Pellissippi State has 52 students enrolled in its Welding Technology program and has expanded its welding area at the Strawberry Plains Campus by adding 15 booths to the 14 the college already had there. In addition to offering Welding Technology cohorts for Pellissippi State students during the day and in the evenings, the college also is offering three welding classes this semester to high school students in Knox County Schools’ Career Magnet Academy located on the Strawberry Plains Campus.

“These facilities are now available and utilized from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday and on Saturday mornings for student utilization, open labs and courses,” said Welding Technology Program Coordinator Adam Streich, noting the American Welding Society is predicting a shortage of 450,000 skilled welders by 2022. “Local employers have asked for more student proficiency in alloys, stainless steel and aluminum (so) this expanded space and new equipment allows students to get more time on the skills local employers require.”

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

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Pellissippi State gives high school students hands-on experiences at summer camps

High school students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley work on the SimMan at Nursing Camp
YouthForce students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley listen to the lungs of SimMan during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Something is happening.

The nurses check the patient’s pupils. “They’re asymmetrical,” one reports. Stethoscopes out, they listen to his chest, where they hear an asthmatic wheeze. A few minutes later, they’re administering CPR, taking turns counting and doing chest compressions.

It’s not a real patient, and it’s not an emergency. It’s just a typical day at Nursing camp at Pellissippi State Community College.

YouthForce, the workforce development program of the Boys & Girls Club of the Tennessee Valley, will bring 60 high school students to Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus this summer to experience week-long Technical Training Camps.

Nursing and Welding camps were held June 4-7 while Cybersecurity and Manufacturing camps will take place June 18-21.

“We like to make everything hands-on applications of the theory,” explained Andy Polnicki, director of the MegaLab on the Strawberry Plains Campus. “I went to a traditional (four-year) school, and when I graduated and got out into the real world, I realized I only knew a lot of theory. Here at Pellissippi State we spend a lot of time actually applying that theory.”

The goal of YouthForce, which is open to any high school student in Knox and Blount counties, is to expose high school students to skilled trades and to gain first-job skills, explained YouthForce Director Rebecca McDonough. This is the third year YouthForce has held the camps at Pellissippi State.

Decked out in matching scrubs with fully equipped nurse’s kits, the 16 students in Nursing camp rattled off all the things they learned during the week, from the medical (how to stop a bleed, how to perform the Heimlich maneuver, how to administer CPR to a baby) to the practical (how to change hospital beds, how to wash their hands, how to put a pillowcase on a pillow without getting it contaminated).

“We got to experience real nurses, and they shared their stories with us,” explained Callie Anderson, a rising senior at Fulton High School. “Them giving us that extra background of what it’s like to be in the nursing field and then all the hands-on skills labs was just beyond my expectations. I’m so appreciative of this program.”

As nursing instructor Jennifer Priano started to walk a group of students through how to deliver a baby on the SimMom, an advanced full-body birthing simulator, Auna Campbell could not contain her excitement.

“I watch labor videos all the time! People think I’m weird, but it’s really interesting,” said Campbell, a rising junior at West High School. “I want to be a nurse, and I know what I need to do, but I need guidance to know what classes to take and to keep me on the right path because labor and delivery takes a whole lot of schooling. This camp this week helps a lot.”

A high school student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley works on a project during Welding camp
A YouthForce student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley works on a project during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Downstairs, the 14 students in Welding camp showed off what they’d learned how to make this week.

“This was my first experience with welding, but it’s really cool,” said Tashaun Patrick, a rising junior at South Doyle High School. “I love the plasma cutter. It’s just the most amazing thing. I made my football number and put it on a post. Today I took these random parts and made an eagle. We’re making a lot of cool stuff that you wouldn’t make in a typical high school class.”

Patrick noted he enjoyed Welding camp so much that he plans to make welding his back-up plan if a sports career doesn’t work out.

“This has been all you want in a summer camp,” Patrick added. “We’ve been learning and having a lot of fun doing it.”

For more information about YouthForce, visit www.bgctnv.org/youthforce. For more information on Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

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YouthForce students at Nursing camp, lined up to practice the Heimlich maneuver
YouthForce students line up to practice the Heimlich maneuver during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce student learns to take a manual blood pressure at Nursing camp
A YouthForce student learns to take blood pressure manually at Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students perform CPR on SimMan
YouthForce students perform CPR on SimMan, a patient simulator, during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students check SimMan's pupils
YouthForce students check SimMan’s pupils during Nursing camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
Female YouthForce welding student with work she made at camp
A YouthForce student from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley shows off the artwork she made during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce student welding
YouthForce student Tashaun Patrick practices welding during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce male student with project he made at welding camp
Teshaun Patrick, a rising junior at South Doyle High School, shows off how his football number he made with a plasma cutter during Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.
YouthForce students in full welding gear
YouthForce students from the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley watch as Pellissippi State Welding Technology Program Coordinator Adam Streich (not pictured) shows them what they’ll be learning next at Welding camp on Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus.

Pellissippi State offers free financial aid assistance, advice in four upcoming events

Students who are feeling overwhelmed with paperwork for grants, loans and scholarships have four upcoming opportunities to get hands-on help from financial aid experts at Pellissippi State Community College.

Pellissippi State will host four Financial Aid Days:

  • 12:30-4:30 p.m. Friday, May 24, at the Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road, Knoxville;
  • 2-7 p.m. Monday, June 3, at the Blount County Campus, 2731 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway, Friendsville;
  • 12:30-4:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 5, at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Ave., Knoxville; and
  • 2-7 p.m. Thursday, June 6, at the Strawberry Plains Campus, 7201 Strawberry Plains Pike, Knoxville.

A link to RSVP to the events, which are capped at 100 students each, is available on the Pellissippi State website at www.pstcc.edu.

Financial aid experts will be available to assist students with Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and Financial Student Aid (FSA) IDs, verification of the FAFSA, Tennessee Reconnect applications, and checking the Tennessee Student Assistance Corporation (TSAC) student portal to ensure state funding is routed to the appropriate college.

Students should be sure to bring their 2017 tax returns and W-2s, Social Security numbers and FSA ID, if already created, to ensure they can accomplish as much as possible with financial aid experts during the event.

For more information about Financial Aid Days at Pellissippi State, contact Financial Aid at 865-694-6400 or financialaid@pstcc.edu. To request accommodations for a disability at these events, call 865.539.7401 or email accommodations@pstcc.edu.

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Pellissippi State accepts federal grant for Appalachian Heritage Project

Strawberry Plains Campus exterior
Pellissippi State’s Strawberry Plains Campus, photographed here in spring 2018, will house a new Appalachian Heritage Project.

A $400,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities is laying the groundwork for an Appalachian Heritage Project at Pellissippi State Community College.

The Appalachian Heritage Project will be housed at the college’s Strawberry Plains Campus, which serves more than 1,200 students from Knox County Schools, the Tennessee College of Applied Technology and Pellissippi State.

The grant will help Pellissippi State expand its Strawberry Plains Campus library to house the Appalachian Heritage Project, which will focus on regional literature, history and folklore.

“The Appalachian Heritage Project will create a cultural center that will educate not only our Pellissippi State students, but the entire community about the traditions and narrative of our region,” said Pellissippi State President L. Anthony Wise Jr. “This grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities gives us the significant head start we need to make this dream a reality.”

The $400,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Infrastructure and Capacity-Building Challenge Grant requires a $400,000 match, which will be met through a major gift fundraising campaign. The Pellissippi State Foundation develops financial resources to support Pellissippi State’s educational goals.

“We expect that the Appalachian Heritage Project will be one of the most unique educational settings in Tennessee,” said Foundation Executive Director Aneisa Rolen. “The project will create a repository of information, be a champion for Appalachian history and create a shared space that will bring together students and community members to learn about the people and the land of Strawberry Plains, East Tennessee and the Appalachian region.”

The project is expected to be completed Oct. 1, 2020.

“The Pellissippi State library staff is very excited about our role in the creation and continued development of our treasured Appalachian Heritage Collection,” said Pellissippi State NEH Grant Project Director and Librarian Susan Martel.  “We are committed to providing a robust repository of information that will preserve our collective memory about this unique culture for our community.  We will use the new space at the Strawberry Plans Campus library to host cultural events for students and our community that will help to keep this knowledge alive.”

NEH logoFor more information about the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor, visit www.neh.gov. For more information about Pellissippi State, visit www.pstcc.edu or call 865-694-6400.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this story do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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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 www.pstcc.edu/events/writersworkshop.

“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 www.pstcc.edu/events/writersworkshop.

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

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