Pellissippi State partners with Jewelry Television to offer gemology certificate

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Local paintings, ceramics combine in upcoming exhibit at Pellissippi State

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pellissippi State uses Constitution Day to teach students their rights

As U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation process continues in Washington, D.C., Pellissippi State Community College is using its annual Constitution Day event to help teach students about their rights.

Constitution Day, scheduled for 1-1:50 p.m. Sept. 17, will feature Prof. Akram Faizer of Lincoln Memorial University’s Duncan School of Law. Faizer writes prolifically about constitutional law with an emphasis on the difficulties related to integrating historically marginalized groups, such as racial and ethnic minorities, migrants, gender minorities and the poor.

Faizer will speak on “The U.S. Constitution: Key Provisions” in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is free and open to the public.

“We know students have questions about their rights, the Supreme Court and if their rights are in jeopardy,” said Drema Bowers, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. “Students are asking, ‘Could we be stripped of some of our rights as the makeup of the Supreme Court changes?’”

The goal of Constitution Day, which commemorates the signing of the U.S. Constitution on Sept. 17, 1787, is to help students learn how to become civically engaged.

“Pellissippi State does a good job getting students registered to vote; now we need to get them out to vote,” said Sandra Davis of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement. “Students also can work elections, and they need to know that, too.”

Constitution Day will be a success, Bowers added, if it makes students question what it means to be involved civically on the local, state and federal levels.

“If they come away with more questions than answers, that’s a good thing,” she said.

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


Pellissippi State promotes community service through 9/11 event, volunteer fair

“Anyone can make a difference.”

This is the message Pellissippi State Community College is promoting in September with two events designed to inspire faculty, staff and students to get involved in their communities.

Pellissippi State’s annual 9/11 Day of Remembrance, scheduled from 9:10-9:45 a.m. Tuesday, will include not only a moment of silence for those who lost their lives in the terrorist attacks in 2001, but also an uplifting message about the importance of service from Jeff Eastman, chief executive officer of Remote Area Medical, a Knoxville-based nonprofit that provides free medical, dental and vision care through mobile medical clinics in the United States and abroad.

“This is a national event started by family members of the victims of 9/11, who wanted this day to be more than a day of sadness,” explained Drema Bowers, director of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement.

The 9/11 Day of Remembrance, which is free and open to the public, will take place in the Goins Building Auditorium on Pellissippi State’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road.

“Jeff is going to share about Stan Brock’s life and how Stan’s work encouraged him to volunteer and be involved and how that experience has impacted him,” Bowers said, referencing the RAM founder who passed away Aug. 29. “And that should challenge us, as the 9/11 Day of Remembrance also is about celebrating those who stood up that day in 2001, both in New York and locally, to help. Everyone can do something.”

Faculty, staff and students can find that “something” to do at Pellissippi State’s annual Volunteer Fair scheduled for 10:30 a.m.-1 p.m. Sept. 25.

More than 20 nonprofits in Knox, Blount and Anderson counties have been invited to the event in the Hardin Valley Campus’ College Center.

“Students are asking, ‘How do I get involved?’ especially because Tennessee Promise requires eight hours of service to the community each semester to continue receiving scholarship funding,” Bowers explained. “We want students to see the resources early and find a good place to plug into off campus.”

During the 2017-18 academic year, more than 1,000 Pellissippi State students logged community service hours, either as a volunteer or through courses that offer a service-learning component for class credit.

Combined with the hours logged by faculty and staff and the hours provided by AmeriCorps VISTAs assigned to Pellissippi State, the college’s community service had a $601,139 economic impact on the state during the 2017-18 academic year, based on the federal rate of $24.69 per volunteer hour served.

For more information about Service-Learning and Civic Engagement, visit

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


Upcoming play postponed due to injury

“Black Comedy,” a play scheduled to be performed Sept. 14-16 at Pellissippi State Community College, has been postponed due to an injured actor.

The performance may be rescheduled for spring semester.

To view other upcoming music and theatre performances, as well as visual arts exhibits and faculty lectures, visit

NASA speaker explores outer, inner space at Pellissippi State

A special guest from NASA will help kick off the school year at Pellissippi State Community College on Sept. 6 – and the community is invited.

Johnny F. Stephenson Jr., director of the Office of Strategic Analysis & Communications at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., will speak on “The Journey of Exploration: From Outer Space to Inner Space” as part of Pellissippi State’s annual Convocation ceremony.

The presentation will be held 12:30-1:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 6, in the Clayton Performing Arts Center on the college’s Hardin Valley Campus, 10915 Hardin Valley Road. The event is free to attend.

Stephenson’s NASA career began in 1986, when he joined the student co-op program, working as a systems engineer in Marshall’s Engineering Directorate. After earning a bachelor’s degree in engineering from the University of Alabama in Huntsville in 1987, Stephenson went to work for NASA full time.

Over his career at NASA, Stephenson has served in several capacities at both Marshall and at NASA headquarters in Washington, D.C. NASA has bestowed numerous awards on Stephenson, including the NASA Distinguished Service Medal, the highest award bestowed by the agency, for excellence in his leadership of the One NASA effort.

Stephenson now leads an organization of 160 civil service and contractor personnel in providing the strategic planning, objective analysis and comprehensive communications to support the policy, program and budget decisions for Marshall Space Flight Center, a field center with an annual budget of approximately $2.4 billion.

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

Stephenson also is a first-generation college student, which Common Academic Experience co-chairs Will Buck and Allison Scripa felt would resonate with many Pellissippi State students.

“We hope students will be inspired by Johnny’s story and get fired up for the new academic year, while faculty and staff will be reminded of our common purpose to help our students get to where they’re going,” Scripa said. “We may have a future NASA director among our students, and we are an integral part of helping them get situated on that path.”

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


Stephanie Welch to speak at Pellissippi State Commencement

Stephanie Welch headshot
Stephanie Welch

Stephanie Welch, president of Great Schools Partnership, will be the speaker at Pellissippi State Community College’s Commencement ceremony Friday, May 4.

Commencement will begin at 7 p.m. at Thompson-Boling Arena on the University of Tennessee campus. About 800 students will earn an associate degree this semester, including the first student to graduate from the Career Magnet Academy and Pellissippi State at the same time.

Welch joined Great Schools Partnership in 2013. GSP is an organization whose mission is to serve as a catalyst, think tank, incubator, start-up funder and operational partner for making Knox County Schools globally competitive. She was named president last week following the retirement of Buzz Thomas. In addition, she represents District 1 on Knoxville’s City Council.

Welch began her career in public health. She has worked at the East Tennessee Regional Health Office and at the Knox County Health Department and has chaired boards ranging from Knoxville’s Food Policy Council to the National Association of County and City Health Officials MAPP Workgroup.

Welch is a major in the U.S. Army Reserve and is the executive officer for a Medical Support Unit in Chattanooga.

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

Vendors needed for Pellissippi State’s Black Business Expo

Pellissippi State Community College is looking for vendors to participate in its April 7 Black Business Expo. All black-owned businesses, non-profits and creatives in the Knoxville area are invited to register. The event will be held 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., at the Magnolia Avenue Campus, 1610 E. Magnolia Avenue Ave.

The participation fee is $50 for a for-profit business, $25 for non-profits and $10 for a student-owned business. All proceeds benefit the college’s student Business Success Club.

Businesses can reserve a spot at The deadline to register is March 16. For more information, contact Jessica Dean at or 865-329-3135.

Regions Foundation gives to Pellissippi State Foundation

regions foundation presenting check to pellissippi state
(L-R) Aneisa Rolan, Pellissippi State Foundation; L. Anthony Wise Jr., president, Pellissippi State; Marilyn Roddy, Pellissippi State Foundation; Chris Parrott, Regions, Rob Stivers, Regions; Bryan Harper, Regions; and Kevin Crateau, Regions, gather for the check presentation from Regions Foundation.


Regions Foundation has given $15,000 to the Pellissippi State Foundation to use in support of science and math education at Pellissippi State Community College. The college is making plans to expand its facilities and offerings in these disciplines.

“Regions is committed to giving back to the communities where we operate, not only monetarily, but with our time and educational resources,” said Kevin Crateau, Regions East Tennessee marketing director. “Hardin Valley is a large growth area in this market where we want to be involved. This is a great opportunity for us to support Pellissippi State, the surrounding Hardin Valley market and education in the East Tennessee region.”

“We are very appreciative of this gift from Regions Foundation,” said L. Anthony Wise Jr., president of Pellissippi State. “Our science and math students will certainly benefit from their generosity, but so will the community as our students become better prepared to enter the workforce.”