Thursday, May 5, 2016

Tn Promise Students - Do You Need a Community Service Event?

Pioneer Partner Day, scheduled for Saturday, June 11th from 8:30am until 12:00pm at Gallatin High School is a great opportunity for current or prospective Promise students to earn a portion of their eight (8) required community service hours.  Sponsored by the Volunteer State Community College Alumni Association, and co-sponsored by Gallatin Noon Rotary, this day of community service will engage Vol State Alumni with the community and current Vol State students, faculty and staff as well as those Promise students entering Fall 2016.  The event is in collaboration with tnAchieves and is listed on their website at under the Sumner County section.

Volunteers will be painting and cleaning indoors and possibly planting and mulching outdoors (if weather permits) at Gallatin High School.  Water and snacks will be provided by the Gallatin Noon Rotary.  Volunteers are asked to bring their own work gloves, rubber gloves, shovels and rakes.  Children under 12 are not allowed on the worksite.  Children age 12 -15 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

If you are interested in volunteering, please register at:  If you have any questions you may contact Debra Daugherty at 615-230-3526 or at  All volunteers must submit a release of liability waiver form (found on the registration website) upon arrival on June 11th, and volunteers under age 18 must have the form signed by a parent or guardian.  Waiver forms will also be available at the event.  Volunteers who RSVP by May 13th will be guaranteed an event t-shirt.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Would It Mean If Tom Hanks Spoke Here?

Students at Vol State were asked what it would mean to them if Tom Hanks came to speak here. They shared some of their thoughts and hopes of inspiration, both for themselves and the whole community.

Courtney Vanderburg says she has a heart for people who feel under-educated and stuck. "There are people right now not getting that education, but some of those people could change the world. If Tom Hanks would come he could influence them. It would inspire more people to consider coming back to school."

Wray Fuller: "If he came to speak at Vol State he would be influencing students. Him going the extra mile is saying that he wants them to be successful as well."

  Tanner Wood: “It would be great, this little campus getting a superstar like Tom Hanks. I'm graduating next spring, so that would be a story to tell for years and years.”

 Molly Benson: "It would be great for this school and help to promote community college in general."

Kayla Jackson: "If Tom Hanks came here it would make people feel confident, like they could do something with their lives, because he did."

Join the conversation! Tell us your thoughts in the comments below, post a video, or tweet using the hashtag #Hanks2VolState.

2016 Graduate Award Winners

Congratulations to the 2016 Graduate Award winners, recently honored by Vol State in a number of categories. The picture gallery from the event can be found at

Seth Walker received the Patty T. Powell Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student who has shown respect and compassion for others.
Blake Bouza has received the James L. Tuttle Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a graduate who has served the college in a special way and with humility in service. 
Anna Eppstein has been awarded a Service Learning Award from Volunteer State Community College for leading an academic project impacting the community.
Taiwo Fabiyi and Charlotte Masiongale have received the R. Wade Powers Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student who has shown the highest principles and ideals while serving the college in a special way with exemplary probity.
Allison Meyers and Megan Ratliff have received the Mary Cole Nichols Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student who has shown exceptional service in improving the quality of student life.
Jesse Garner and Danny Jones have received the Hal R. Ramer Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor goes to a graduate who has faced extreme adversity and succeeded because of fortitude in the face of adversity.
Monica Vizcarra and Seth Walker have received the Patricia B. Lebkuecher Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student who has demonstrated academic excellence while in pursuit of an associate degree.
Kehinde Fabiyi and Cary Kolek have received the James C. Moore Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student who has shown service to community and family.
Sarah Cody and Austin Connor Peach have received the J. Richard Moore Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes a student athlete who has shown traits of respect, honor and integrity.

Kacie Schook has received the Positive Difference Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor goes to a student who has made a difference in student activities.

Colton Adcock has received the Pathfinder Award from Volunteer State Community College, given to a student who has demonstrated significant personal and academic growth and is expected to continue on a path toward greater success.

Taylor Rodriguez has been awarded the Humanities Division Award from Volunteer State Community College. The award honors the outstanding graduate in the division.

Monica Vizcarra has been awarded the Business and Technology Division Excellence Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes an outstanding graduate from the division.

Adam Park has been awarded the Social Science and Education Division Excellence Award from Volunteer State Community College. The award goes to a student who shows exceptional academic merit.
Kristian Moore has been awarded the G. Wayne Sullivan Award from Volunteer State Community College. The honor recognizes the outstanding Math and Science Division graduate.

Torrey Zimmerman was recently honored with the Robert M. Ruff Distinguished Leadership Award during the annual Student Leadership Luncheon at Volunteer State Community College. The Robert M. Ruff Award is named for retired Professor of History and Political Science, Dr. Robert Ruff. The criteria for the award include dedication, dependability, sensitivity, objectivity and the ability to motivate others.
Margarita Perez-Torres has received the International Education Excellence Award from Volunteer State Community College. It recognizes a student who has promoted and supported International Education at the college.

Sandra Hunt was recently honored with the Vol State KEY Award during the annual Student Leadership Luncheon at Volunteer State Community College. The KEY Award recognizes exemplary service to the Office of Student Life.

The following students were honored for their names being added to Who’s Who Among Students, a national list. They are: Barbara Harmon, Brandon Herbert, Jenny Hernandez, Kaleb Kitchens, Brianna Owen, Megan Ratliff, Derek Powell, Hannah Shepherd, Caleb Shupp and Stephanie White. 

Monday, May 2, 2016

Vol State Graduate Stories

There are hundreds of Vol State 2016 graduates and each one has a great story. We highlight just a few more here. Congratulations to everyone!
William Curran, Sr. and William Curran, Jr. are father and son firefighters who will be graduating with a Fire Science degree from Vol State.
“I will have to say that I really didn't anticipate ever finishing my degree. I had started my degree over 10 years ago and when the Nashville fire department quit paying for it, I quit going. So advance 10 years later and my son has joined the department and figured that he could finish his degree pretty quick, therefore asking me to finish mine with him. At first I said no, but after realizing that I only needed six classes that I would give it a shot. I wanted him and my other three kids to see that dad could do what I have asked them to do, finish college. The other reason I chose to finish school was because I was number eight of ten children and had the desire to be the first to earn a college degree in my family. I will say that it was no easy task learning many techniques on the computer and writing essay papers after years of being out of school. Being in school with my son is what drove me to get this degree. Knowing that he would do well in classes challenged me to do well also. I felt a real need to set an example for my son William Jr., but also for my other three children. You will never know how glad that I am to be done. It was definitely a challenge, but one that I am glad I followed through with.” 
-William J. Curran Sr.
"Going to college with my father has been different, to say the least. I never would have thought that we would be in school together. We had one class together while we were in school, which has been a competition, at least in my eyes. I have tried to get a higher grade on all of my assignments. That matchup was the veteran Captain verse the young firefighter and I guess we will see who comes out on to as soon as our grades are posted. Now, graduating with my father is very special to me. When I decided to come back to school, I had no idea that we would graduate together. Having my father walk across the stage with me, at graduation, will be a moment we will never forget."
-William Curran, Jr.

Donna Fair is a single mom graduating with an AAS in Vet Tech. She traveled to Ireland and Mongolia as part of the International Education program.
Why did you decide to return to school after so long?  
While in high school, I had every intention of going on to college. My family moved several times while I was in high school, so I attended 4 different high schools, in 3 different states. When I got to my senior year, here in Tennessee, I didn't have all of the needed classes to graduate, without taking some freshman classes and even a night class in economics. Needless to say, I was pretty burned out by the end of my senior year, so I decided to take a one year break after I graduated. Life being what it is, I didn't make it to college, instead, I fell in love and married at 20. Our first daughter was born 3 years later and the second daughter followed 3 years after that. Unfortunately, when the baby was just 2, we divorced and I became a single mother, raising two daughters and working full time. Fast forward to 2012. By this time, I have been managing apartments for 15 years and my girls are grown and off to college themselves. I knew that I didn't want to manage apartments for the rest of my career life, so I decided to quit and go to school. It was my turn.
Why the Vet Tech program?
When trying to decide what to get a degree in, I thought about what I would enjoy doing and what brought me pleasure. I'm a cat person. I have been since I was a small child. I don't remember a time that cats and I didn't go together. But, I love all animals. Being 49 years old when I started, I knew that becoming a veterinarian was going to be too long and too expensive for the career years that I had left, so Vet Tech it became.

You have had some unique experiences while at Vol State. How did Ireland and Mongolia trips impact you?
My mother is half Irish and I have always thought that I would love to go to Ireland, so it became my chosen destination for study abroad. I found out about the scholarship that helped pay for the trip and I set out to get one! Those 3 weeks were so fantastic! I enjoyed the countryside, the people, the food, the sights, the places, the experiences, the castles... I would not have been able to travel to Ireland for 3 weeks without having pursued the study abroad program!
If not for having traveled to Ireland with Dr. Espey, I would not have gone to Mongolia. The trip to Mongolia was VERY different from the trip to Ireland, on every level, really. The reason we went, how we were chosen, how we were hosted, no studying, only representing (the college), our schedule, the food, the customs, all of it. Everything was planned for us by our Mongolian hosts. They made sure to fit lots of fun into our trip, as well as plenty of delegation opportunities, with several schools. Where I was able to experience Ireland and enjoy their country, we learned much more history of Mongolia and the people and were immersed in their daily lives much more.They are a delightfully fun people, but very serious about education. I was blown away by how simply they live, but how seriously they take education, from a very early age!
What would you say to other adult students considering going to college? 
It is never too late to follow your dreams or to change your path. It might take a little longer and be a little harder than when you were 20-something, but it is very do-able. You are never too old to learn. Honestly, I feel that my mind is younger and stronger for having exercised it so well these last couple of years!
-Donna Fair

Maram Almansour will graduate with her University Studies degree.  She came here to study from Saudi Arabia.
Why did you travel from Saudi Arabia to study in Tennessee?
In Oct 2010, I came to the states with my husband. I think we chose the United States rather than any other countries to better our education. In another word “It is better to get my degree from the US than any other place”. In 2010, I was not able to do much English. I just had very Basic English, so I had to get in an English program for a year. 
How has your experience been at Vol State?
Vol state is a very amazing school. Great and high level of education. Good locations, smaller classes where you get to know better about the course and participate to instructors easily. So helpful staff, all the material that we need to success in our studying are available. 
What do you hope to do with your degree now that you are graduating?
I am going back home since it has been almost two years away. Then I will try to find a job over there and get my bachelor degree in the same time. There is a big possibilities that I come back to the United States and get my master and PHD degrees in the future.  
-Maram Almansour 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Graduation 2016

Spring graduation for Vol State is coming up on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. It will be held in the Pickel Field House on the Gallatin campus. You must have a ticket to attend. The entire ceremony will be streamed online at Each year we have viewers from across the country and around the world.
A community college graduation is really a celebration of lives. It’s a singular moment when we pause to recognize hard work and achievement. However, those efforts come in the context of your life, your experiences and your challenges. That fact isn’t lost on faculty and staff as we help you celebrate commencement.
Seth Walker is a 2016 graduate. He would be notable just for his 4.0 GPA, his leadership on campus and his sense of humor. But Seth accomplished his Vol State education with the challenge of a neurological condition called Cerebral Palsy. It impacts the ability of the brain to coordinate muscle movement. Seth can’t control his limbs and it is difficult for him to speak. He is in a wheelchair and has specialized high-tech equipment to use a computer. His constant campus companion is his assistant Ken Brassell.
We asked Seth a couple of questions leading up to graduation:
How does it feel to be graduating?
It seems surreal. I feel like I entered Vol State yesterday. However, at the same time, it is rewarding because I have worked so hard. It is another milestone in my life. 
You have had to overcome many physical challenges along the way. Can you describe a few of those challenges and how you dealt with them?
Since I cannot use a regular mouse, I have to use an electronic HeadMouse to type my papers. This takes about twice as long as the normal student. I have to allow myself extra time to write papers. In addition, since I am unable to hold a book, I have to have special software to display my textbooks on the computer screen. It can also read the books to me. 
 Do you think overcoming those challenges helped to make you a stronger student?
 Definitely because I know what it takes to go the extra mile to get the grade. 
What are your plans for university and beyond to your career?
I will go to Lipscomb University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication. From there, I hope to pursue a seminary degree for a career in social media or writing ministry, but I will go wherever God leads.

We know you are still struggling with finals. But we congratulate all of you on your achievement and we look forward to spending a special Saturday morning with you.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Student Music Showcase Concerts April 29 and 30

Rock, pop, country and bluegrass are just a few of the styles of music that will be performed by Vol State students at the annual Spring Music Showcase concerts coming up this weekend, April 29 and 30. The concerts coincide with the release of the spring music CD, called "Just Before Dawn."
The concerts will include songs by the Commercial Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Songwriting Class and the Bluegrass Ensemble- “Bluegrass Ablaze.” The CD will be available for sale at the show and at the Vol State Bookstore in Gallatin. It was recorded in the Vol State Recording Studio by students in the Entertainment Media Production program and Recording Industry Management program.
The Spring Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is a suggested donation of $5 for admission and $10 for admission and a copy of the CD. The funds will be used for music scholarships. For further information please call 615-230-3201. For information about the Music Program at Vol State visit

Events this Week at Vol State

Vol State events this week:
Now- Vol State student art exhibition, Ramer Great Hall
April 26 Luau, Highland Campus, 10am to 2pm
April 27 Your Life Matters to Me, campus police lunch with students, library lawn, 11:30am
April 28 Vol State Student Art Reception, Ramer Great Hall, 12:45pm
April 29 & 30 Music Department Spring Showcase and CD release, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm