Friday, November 22, 2013

December and January Vol State Events


Dec. 13

Yvonne Petkus and Matt Tullis Art Exhibit,

Thigpen Gallery, 7am-9pm Monday through

Saturday, closed Sunday


Festival of Lights, Cafeteria, 12:30pm-1:30pm, Everyone invited for food, music and fellowship


Matt Tullis Art Exhibit Gallery Talk,

Rochelle Center, 1pm

6 and 7

Christmas Memories music concert and CD release, Wemyss Auditorium, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm, Suggested $5 donation for music scholarships, free with Vol State ID


Astronomy Department Star Watching Party,

Science Field Station, Sunset to 11pm


Music Students perform at the Whippoorwill on the Square in Gallatin, 6pm, No cover charge

January 8 thru Feb 21

Rachel Kirk art exhibit, Thigpen Library Gallery

January 9

Professional Development, Campus closed

January 16

January 20

January 29

Spring classes begin

MLK, Jr. holiday, Campus closed

Unity Day speaker Jewel Tankard from the TV show "Thicker than Water" 12:30pm and 7pm, Caudill Hall

Vol State Music Night at The Whippoorwill

Vol State student songwriters and music ensembles performed a great set this week at The Whippoorwill restaurant and music venue in Gallatin. Each songwriter is enrolled in Lynn Peterson's songwriting class. The students learn what it takes to put a song together. Once a student is given the steps to write a song, Lynn says they will write 10 to 12 songs a week!

"The songwriting class allows us to open up about how we feel or what is going on in our lives at that moment. We can express ourselves through music," said Andrew Spooner, who is enrolled in Peterson's songwriting course.

The show also featured students from Vol State's Bluegrass ensemble called "Bluegrass Ablaze". They performed classics by Loretta Lynn and The Carter Family.

The Vol State Jazz Ensemble played a few songs and there were performances by students in the Commercial Music Ensemble.

"We perform a mixture of rock, pop,and country. It allows us to sing different styles of music to a wide variety of people on nights like this," said Kyle Cothron, a member of Vol State's Commercial Music Ensemble.

The Whippoorwill has a lovely atmosphere for enjoying music and hearing young, talented musicians. You too can check out Vol State music off-campus at places like the Whippoorwill. Stay tuned to the Vol State Facebook page for info about upcoming performances.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Vol State Students Help Make Christmas a Little Brighter

Students pose with Santa Claus at a previous Christmas for the Kids Event.
The holiday season reminds us to be giving, selfless, and fortunate for what we have. Many of us look for ways to reach out to those who are less fortunate than us or who are simply going through a hard time financially.

The SGA (Student Government Association) along with other student organizations at Vol State will be hosting Christmas For the Kids. It's an annual event. Christmas for the Kids (CFTK) allows Vol State students, faculty and staff to make Christmas a little brighter for the children of students here on campus.

Jacob Young, SGA vice-president and CFTK chairman.
During the past few weeks, students were able to fill out applications to have their child's name placed on a Christmas tree. Those children will have gifts bought for them.

On Saturday, December 7 from 2-4 p.m. in the Cafeteria, there will be a party held for the children. The party will include crafts, games, gifts, food, and most importantly Santa Claus.

Jacob Young, Christmas For The Kids Committee Chairman, was pleased with the participation this year.

"Monday was the deadline to turn in applications. Our goal was 75 kids. We were thrilled that we exceeded our goal with 78 kids to help this year," said Jacob.

Beginning Monday November 25, you can pick an ornament off of the Christmas tree in the Cafeteria. Once you choose a name, you can sign-up in Wood 215 at the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.

"We wanted it to be ready by Monday, so that if anyone was wanting to shop Black Friday they could. Possibly finding some great deals on items," said Young.

This event is only for Vol State students. There are other charities similar to this in the Sumner County area, such as Toys For Tots. This is an event that gives Vol State an opportunity to give back to our campus community.

If you have questions, contact Lori Miller in the Student Life and Diversity Initiatives office at 615-230-3461.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Celebrate Other Cultures During International Week

When I meet someone that is from a different part of the world or has a different culture than me, I am immediately interested. I love learning about different parts of the world and understanding their way of life: food, marriage, music, and even religion.

This is International Education Week here at Vol State. Throughout the week there will be events tailored around an international theme.

In the cafeteria today, I participated by trying three different international beverages, including a very interesting and strong ginger drink from Africa. I also received recipe cards so that I could make the drinks myself at home.
Jacob Young samples the international beverages.

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, who is the coordinator of International Education at Vol State, went into great detail about the upcoming events this week.

"I think that each day will give everyone a chance to look into different cultures and learn something new," said Ruttenbur.

Anne-Marie Ruttenbur provided different beverages to sample.
"Tomorrow we will have international weddings in the Ramer Great Hall. We will have countries represented such as India,China, Ireland, and the United States.""We'll also be doing Mehendi art, which is a part of Indian culture in weddings."

During the international weddings event anyone can stop by and receive Mehendi art. Also known as henna, it's an intricate design of patterns drawn onto your hands and feet, symbolizing the deepening of bonds with your future husband.

On Wednesday, the topic is "Around the World in a Day". Everyone can stop by and see the many different countries that students and faculty have traveled to. This will be held in the Nichols Dining Room from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm, with lunch available at 12:30pm.

On Thursday, you can hear from international scholars visiting the United States as part of the Humphrey's Fellows Program at Vanderbilt. There will be speakers from countries such as Mauritania, Pakistan, and Russia from 6:00-8:00 p.m. You can also enjoy international food samples.

The grand finale of International Week will be Friday with an International Celebration in the Cafeteria.There will be different genres of music and an array of appetizers from different countries.

International Education Week could open your mind to a world more varied than you could imagine.

Monday, November 11, 2013

My Husband the Veteran and His Story

Eddy and I on our wedding day.

Many of you probably know my husband Eddy Rivera. He is extremely intelligent, funny, kind, and is my personal hero. He is my veteran. I celebrate him 365 days a year, not just one day in November.

"I get bummed out on Veterans Day," Eddy said, when I interviewed him for this story. "I am appreciative of all the recognition. I sometimes feel as if the 'thank you for your service' comments are spoken to be politically correct,being no deeper than a have a nice day. I usually just say thank you and move on with my day."

"There are a lot of other guys that has it a lot harder than me, who have made more of a sacrifice. It seems that the 'thank you' belongs to someone else," he said. "I have accepted that for the guys that have died and cannot accept the gratuity. It is my responsibility to be thankful that I can."

Eddy was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York.  At 17-years-old he encouraged his mother to sign release papers to join the Army. He reported to boot camp in Oklahoma and then was given his duty station of Fort Benning,Georgia. Soon after arriving, he received his orders to deploy to Iraq.

In February of 2005 Eddy was on patrol in the village of Balad. He had just switched seats from the gunner hatch to the driver's position. He was talking with his battle buddies and that's all he remembers.

The force of the explosion physically threw him from his Humvee, knocking him unconscious and killing two men inside.When he came to, his vision was blurred. Blood dripped from his ringing ears. Wounded men nearby screamed for help.

"I don't remember much about that day, it's still hazy. I will never be able to get the sounds and the smells out of my memory," Eddy said. He later found out it was an IED (Improvised Explosive Device) in the road.

After the incident, Eddy was transported to a military hospital in Landstuhl, Germany, where he soon discovered that his war was just beginning. I met Eddy soon after he returned to American soil. I had no idea that there was anything wrong with him. Even today, anyone could look at him and think that he was a healthy 27-year-old man.

Fast forward nine years later. Eddy is still battling. He received severe burns in the blast after fuel from the truck ignited. He suffers from kidney disease, he coughs up blood, and he has severe headaches. He has a traumatic brain injury and even his knees were impacted. His TBI (traumatic brain injury) affects his daily activities.

Eddy looks through a small portion of his medical records.
He has problems with remembering things, induced by the combination of PTSD  (post traumatic stress disorder)  and the brain injury. That leaves him struggling to remember events, names, and words. Small surprises, crowded rooms, traffic jams, loud noises, and a change in events can trigger anxiety and anger,echoes the violence he dealt and endured.

"Never will I smell fire the same way," he said. "I will never be at ease at the sound of fireworks and storms. It is sometimes embarrassing when I get startled or uneasy at the sight of stranded cars on the side of the road."

The challenges of being a wounded soldier and now a wounded veteran never stop. Not for my husband or any other soldier that has had similar experiences.The military never escapes a veteran, the shadows of  war never stop appearing, and the scars will always be the first thing that they see when they look at themselves in a mirror,even if we cannot see them.

"Sometimes it is more painful to go to sleep than it is to go through the motions of my daily routine. It really never gets better, you just learn to cope. I struggle with fact that a lot of people will never be able to really understand me or even relate to what I have been through," Eddy said.

For the past nine years, Eddy and I have taught each other how to be more understanding, patient, loving, and how to make the best of every day. We have seen each other at our worst and best.I forget sometimes that Eddy has medical problems. Every now and then,I'll see the scars on his back and am quickly reminded of the horrible things he has faced. I have seen him completely disconnected from the world and am proud of the progress that he has made.But in those moments of disconnect,when the injuries take over, I am bluntly reminded that our lives will never be like any other couple our age.I have held him in the bathroom floor after he has coughed up blood. I have been to every doctor appointment, every procedure, waiting long hours in waiting rooms so that he knew he would not have to be alone.

Eddy has broken the stigma of what a disabled veteran looks like. He bears through his mental and physical pain, showing anyone who is watching that nothing should hold you back,no matter what is in the way.He goes beyond expectations and succeeds in everything that he does.From battlefield to honor student, my husband is what strength and courage is about.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Now You Can Change Your Own My Vol State Password

Students and staff can now change their own password if you are having problems logging onto My Vol State. This should help cut down on the reasons to call the IT Help Desk phone number. Here is how it works.

To use the new Utility click the link on the Portal Login page for ‘Change or Activate Your Password’ which is located under the Login button.  The first screen contains instructions on the utility and the password guidelines.

After clicking the ‘Continue’ button the individual will be asked enter their verification information.  Everything is required and must match Banner (which is also what should be listed on the VSCC ID card).  This entire process is on a time-limit.  The count-down clock is in red in the upper right.

After entering the information and clicking the ‘Verify’ button the next screen displays the username at the top and allows entry of a new password.  As before there is a time-limit and the count-down clock is displayed.  Here a new password can be entered (and confirmed).  After changing the password there should be immediate access to use it to log onto a computer on-campus or into the Portal.

If you are still having problems, by all means call the IT Help Desk ,that's what they are there for. But hopefully this will prove useful in the future.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Transferring to University - Look Up Your Tennessee Transfer Pathway

Freshmen and sophomores: If you are planning to transfer to a university you want to make sure that you are on the right path. Why? Taking the correct classes for your major will make transfer easier to university. You want to take the classes that you need and perhaps not take the classes that will not transfer to the university you choose.
How do you stay on track? The most important way is by seeing your advisor before you register each semester. That’s coming up soon, on November 11 and 12 for early registration, so it would be a good idea to see your advisor now. If you don’t know who your advisor is just visit the Division office for your major: Humanities, Math and Science, Business or Social Science and Education. Allied Health works a bit differently. Just stay on the track with your Program Director.
A great way to ensure that all of your credits transfer to university is by picking a Tennessee Transfer Pathway. The Tennessee Transfer Pathway means that community college students who want to complete a bachelor's degree have a guarantee that their credits will transfer to a public university in Tennessee, and certain private schools, if they choose one of 50 different majors offering transfer pathways. It’s never too late to take a look. Even sophomores should take a look. Talk over what you see with your advisor.
It’s easy to find out what programs are included for Vol State students and where those programs transfer, just visit the web site. We have a link to that site on this page and a video that explains how the program works:
Click on the link that lists the majors at the bottom of the page. It will show you which classes you need to take for that pathway. Underneath it will show the universities that participate in that transfer pathway. Not all universities have transfer pathways in every major area. You need to check carefully and talk it over with your advisor.
Here’s partial list of participating colleges and universities. The website is constantly updated.
Austin Peay State University
Baptist College of Health Sciences
Carson-Newman College
Christian Brothers University
Cumberland University
East Tennessee State University
Freed-Hardeman University
King College
Lane College
Lincoln Memorial University
Lipscomb University
Martin Methodist College
Maryville College
Middle Tennessee State University
Milligan College
Tennessee State University
Tennessee Tech University
Tusculum College
Union University
University of Memphis
University of Tennessee- Chattanooga
University of Tennessee- Knoxville
University of Tennessee- Martin
Watkins College of Art, Design & Film

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Vol State Honors Veterans

Veterans Day is a day of remembrance and recognition. A day when Americans honor the devotion, service, and sacrifices of those who have protected our country. We have many student veterans here on campus. A veteran can join the Vol State Student Veterans of America Club. Also known as VSVA, it is an organization on campus that connects student veterans.

"We try to volunteer with organizations outside of Vol State such as the DAV, American Legion, and the VFW, but most importantly we try to reach out to the veterans on our campus," said Amanda Steele, who is the club president as well as a Navy Veteran. "I think it is important to maintain a support system for our peers."

(Left to Right VSVA member Mark Autry, club president Amanda Steele, and club member Colby Shelton)

Also, on Thursday November 7 the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives will be hosting a Veterans Day Celebration. The Rep. Harold Love, Jr. will be the keynote speaker with a luncheon to follow.

"We wanted have a program that would best honor our current service members and our veterans," said Kenny Yarbrough, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives. "We would not only like to honor our students that are currently serving or are veterans but our students, faculty, and staff that have family members that have served, are serving, or that have lost loved ones."

The students are collecting pictures of veterans with Vol State ties for a honor wall. It will be on display in the Nichols Dining Room. You can turn in pictures, but you need to do it soon. See the Office of Student Life in Wood 215.