Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Fast growing profession: Dental Assisting

Bite into a new career as a dental assistant through Vol State. The median salary is more than $37,000 a year and there is an expected job growth of 19 percent. That makes it one of the fastest growing professions in the nation. Vol State can provide you the training and education you need with a one-year technical certificate program. Adult students without a degree (TN Reconnect) and graduating high school seniors (TN Promise) may be able to take the program tuition-free. Either way, Vol State tuition is much more competitive than most private programs. We teach students both digital and film x-ray techniques. That gives them the skills to use whatever technology they find in a dental office. That experience helps Vol State students get jobs.
We’re taking applications today. Visit: www.volstate.edu/DentalAssistant
Or call 615-230-3439

Friday, May 18, 2018

Friday, May 4, 2018

The Amazing Story of Vol State’s Flute Playing Graduate



Vol State grad, Gareth Laffely lists among his many accomplishments: president of PTK, Honors student, and Outstanding Graduate nominee. But that is only the tip of the iceberg for this young man. Gareth is the youngest artist to ever reach No. 2 on the Billboard New Age charts, which he achieved at the age of 17. As a Native American flute player and an advocate for change, he recently received the “Rising Star” Award from the Native American Music Awards. Gareth is of Mi'kmaq/Cree descent.

“I actually started out at 4 years old playing drums, I was then classically trained in piano and violin. I didn’t really find myself musically until I started with the flute, singing and songwriting,” he said.

Gareth explains how his very first flute changed his life forever, “when I turned 13 I wanted to go on a coming of age trip with my family, so we went out to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and while we were out there, I had a minute to myself and I went off to a little shop. I saw a little $45 flute, I picked it up, and the very first thing that I said was ‘I am never going to do anything with this.’ I started to play it and something felt right, so I bought it.”

The next week during a tour of Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, Gareth realized that he was destined to become a flute player. “I asked the tour guide if I could play the flute and just see how it sounded on the edge of the canyon, he was mistaken, so he announced to the entire tour group that a young artist from Nashville was going to give a concert on the edge of the cliff. So, I’d had the flute for a week, so I got through as much as I could on the flute, and as soon as I started to play, something just clicked, and I thought, this is what I want to do.”

Gareth has worked with an organization called Thundering Hooves in Texas, where they worked to spread awareness about horse slaughter. The documentary titled Their Last Ride included Gareth’s song is titled “The Last Ride.” 
His music was also used in a memorial for a young boy named Regen who lost his battle with brain cancer. Regen's family had told Gareth how much his music helped their family through the process. “It touched me on a deep level to know that my music can be used to heal someone like that. So I walked over to my piano and just started to play something, the first thing I played stuck, then I grabbed my flute, and the first thing stuck. It became “Regen’s song,” named after the boy.” Gareth collaborated with New Age Grammy winner Laura Sullivan on the song, and all of the proceeds were donated to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

Gareth has started an anti-bullying campaign across North America, which is centered around his song titled “This Time.” Gareth says that he has experienced bullying in his past, and encourages others to talk about their experiences.

“The song says, ‘this time I am going to rise above – this time, I am not going to take it,’ I had the opportunity to take the song into elementary, middle, and high schools around North America. I like taking something that can be hard to talk about, and using music, the universal language, to make it more accessible to everybody.”

After Vol State, Gareth plans to continue his education at MTSU, to pursue a degree in marketing. He aspires to grow his music business, and ultimately start his own music-for-film company. Gareth is currently working on developing his own recording studio, and will tentatively be releasing his next album this summer titled “Voices of the Guardians.”


Brought up by two fellow musician parents, Gareth’s path was clearly laid out for him. His father is a music therapist, and his mother a singer/songwriter, who is also now his manager. “My parents are not the typical parents. They also recognize what I want from my life, and they’re never going to steer me from that.”


“For my vision of my life, I want to see myself being able to step out, and go one step further than I did the previous year to touch more lives to make a larger impact on the world. I like to go out and encourage other people to find their gifts and talents and use that for good.”
For more information on Gareth and to keep up with his continuing story, check out the links to his website and Facebook page below.


www.garethmusic.com
www.facebook.com/GarethMusic/

-By Rachel Keyes



Monday, April 30, 2018

Graduation Streamed Live on Saturday

We want everyone to be able to share in the joy of graduation, even if they are thousands of miles away and cannot attend the ceremony in person. We will be streaming graduation live on Saturday. The stream starts at 9:45am and the ceremony at 10am. You can find it at www.volstate.edu/graduation

Congratulations everyone!

This Week at Vol State


April 30           Stressbuster: pet a therapy dog, Thigpen Library, 10am-Noon
May 1              Stressbuster: pet a therapy dog, Thigpen Library, 10am-Noon
May 4              College to Career Seminar, Zachariah Ballinger, bestselling author and Career Consultant, Nichols Dining Room, 7:30-9:45am
May 4              Commencement Rehearsal, Pickel Field House, 10am
May 5              Spring Commencement, Pickel Field House, 10am to Noon

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vol State Arboretum Honors Professor's Legacy


Today Vol State celebrated the grand opening of the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum. It's an assemblage of trees around campus, which have all been identified and will be used for scientific study. Parris Powers is a former Chemistry professor at Vol State. He passed away in 2016, but his legacy shall live on.

Alumnus Cynthia Hernandez worked hard to make the arboretum become a reality.

“I studied at Vol State part-time between 2011 and 2015, I studied with emphasis in Environmental Science. I had opportunity to be president of Team Change for three years. During that time I met Professor Powers. I remember the first day of my sustainability class, he introduced me as the student who should be teaching the class; he had a way with making his students feel important. I saw Professor Powers about a month before he passed, and I shared with him that I would be finishing the project, I wish he could be here,” said Hernandez.

Cynthia emphasized her gratitude for Professor Powers for his support and encouragement. She also gives credit to faculty member Kelly Ormsby for sparking the idea of the campus arboretum. Cynthia worked closely with many faculty members, including Dr. Ellen Dayhuff, and certified arborists to complete her project.

Both of Professor Power’s children were present at the event. Summer Powers said, “He instilled a sense of wanting to learn about things besides myself. I know my dad would be very proud. I think it’s important to learn about environmental sciences because we live in a world where we are constantly cutting down trees and not replacing them. We are destroying our entire world, we know it, and we aren’t doing anything about it.”

“First of all, this dedication and memorial is just an incredible blessing to our family,” said Christian Powers. He loved his students, they were our competition,” he jokes. “These trees, they were planted, and they have a story just like you and I. We have all been planted in various capacities, we’ve been nurtured, we’ve been watered. It doesn’t stop here, these trees are going to continue to grow, they’re going to bear fruit, plant seeds, and there’s going to be a second coming, another generation. This is a living testament to my dad’s investment in others. There’s not enough time or words to express my excitement and joy.”

As for the organizer, Cynthia Hernandez, she has turned her love for environmental science into a career. She now holds the position of program specialist for the Tennessee Environmental Council.

There is a map of the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum located in the Duffer Plaza for anyone who is interested in studying more about the specific trees on campus. The official website is now ready for browsing as well at www.volstate.edu/arboretum

-By Rachel Keyes

Musicians- this New Vol State Music Degree Program Starts this Fall!


The Associate of Applied Science (A.A.S) degree in Professional Music combines several areas with the same purpose: to help students develop skills to become working musicians in the entertainment industry in Tennessee. Students can focus on areas that include Americana Music, Church and Gospel Music, Commercial Music, Songwriting, and more. The program combines individual music instruction, music theory, entertainment industry practices, and regular performance opportunities. Students have access to the Vol State analog and digital recording studios. They will study with faculty members, many of whom are working musicians and engineers, active in the Middle Tennessee music scene.
Students can use both TN Promise and TN Reconnect for the A.A.S degree in Professional Music. For more information email Benjamin.Graves@volstate.edu or call 615-230-3200.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Make Sure You Register for Summer or Fall Classes - Commit to Completion

You have most likely had a long semester. You are close to being done. We hope your finals go well. If you are not graduating, please take some time after finals to register for summer or fall classes. Studies show that taking a break from college puts you in danger of not finishing at all. And we want to see everyone get their Vol State degree and go on to great things at university or in the workplace!. Commit to Completion.

Vol State’s Pioneer Pen wins National Award


Kaily Farrell in the media lab

Vol State’s Pioneer Pen recently won a first place national award from the American Scholastic Press Association for the 2017 edition. The Pioneer Pen is a student led literary arts magazine published annually each spring. Students have the chance to submit original works of art, photography, poetry, fiction, and more.

“Pioneer Pen
is an opportunity for students to have their work published and viewed by a large audience. It is a bragging right to say that your work is published in the college’s literary magazine. We received many submissions and only the best are published,” said Laura McClister, faculty advisor and professor of English.

The Pioneer Pen may also be taken as an English practicum (ENGL 290P) which is designed to provide students with hands on experience in all aspects of publishing a literary arts magazine. From choosing the submissions to designing the layout, it’s all in the hands of the students.

Student Pioneer Pen editor, Kaily Farrell, shared her experience: “I wanted to join Pioneer Pen partly because I’m a writer, but I want to do some work as an editor in journalism, and I thought it would give me some legit experience … my favorite part is putting it all together and seeing which pieces actually complement each other, even though they may be from two different people. It reminds me there’s a sort of universality among all artists whether they’re painters, writers, or photographers.”

Also, faculty advisors Emily Andrews and Laura McClister were recently invited to speak on Vol State’s behalf at the AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) conference because of their experience with Pioneer Pen.

“It’s the largest literary conference in North America. They asked us to speak on reinventing a literary arts magazine at a two year college … we met a lot of people from across the country who are looking to add a literary arts magazine to their program, or had a magazine, but were looking to add the practicum in,” explained Emily Andrews, faculty advisor. 

For students interested in careers in English, Art, or in between, Pioneer Pen may be worth checking out. For more information about the Pioneer Pen and other Vol State publications, please visit:
www.volstate.edu/humanities/english/publications

-By Rachel Keyes



Graduates - Follow the Vol State Alumni Facebook Page

Congrats soon-to-be graduates! You will be alumni soon. Stay in touch with the college by following the Vol State Alumni and Friends Facebook page: http://bit.ly/2I1nkJv

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Spring Music Department Concerts this Weekend


Original student music will be a highlight of the annual Spring Music Showcase concerts at Vol State this weekend. The April 27 and 28 shows will also highlight the talents of the Jazz Ensemble, Rock Ensemble, and Bluegrass Ablaze group. The concerts bring together many facets of the Vol State curriculum, including students in the Entertainment Media Production program. A CD of student work titled “Sweet Summer” will be available for sale at the show and at the Vol State Bookstore in Gallatin. It was recorded in the Vol State recording studios.
The Spring Music Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus. 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 615-230-3200. For information about the Music Program at Vol State visit www.volstate.edu/music.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Graduate Profile: From a College Closing to a Degree in CIT


Jimmy Edge of White House started his college education twenty-five years ago. He went back to school recently to finish. But there was one big catch.
“We heard they were shutting down,” he said. “We weren't able to finish. The next thing we know we can’t get into the building. The doors were locked.”
That was his experience at ITT Technical Institute. “It just hit us like a ton of bricks. The faculty really cared about us.” ITT shut down its operations across the country, and that left thousands of students in a jam. Vol State heard about the situation and touched base with local ITT faculty members, and through them, the students. The Business and Technology Division at Vol State had programs that appealed to many of the ITT students.
“Dean Anderson and her team really worked with us well, getting the ITT students in and navigating the waters here. I chose CIT (computer information technology) in programming. It was similar to what I was doing at ITT. I was in logistics for years. I looked for a program that I could do as I got older. I’m very analytical so programming made sense to me.”
Going to college as an adult often involves family members making sacrifices. Edge has four children, two of them teenagers. He credits his wife Melissa, and the kids, for helping him find the time for his studies.
“Melissa saw the physical pain I was going through in my previous job. The family has been very supportive. I want to show them that you can do anything if you put your mind to it.”
Edge plans to walk the stage at the Vol State graduation ceremony. He said after all of his trials it’s a moment he wouldn’t miss.
“I’m getting my A.A.S (associate of applied science degree) now and working to get an associate of science degree as well. I’m hoping to do my bachelor’s degree, possibly at WKU (Western Kentucky University). I want something programming specific.”
Completing a goal after nearly three decades may just be a bit sweeter for Edge due to the challenges he has faced.
“It’s a major accomplishment. At forty-six years-old, it’s a tough thing to work and get a college degree. There’s a lot of sacrifice and study you have to do. It will be worth it.”

Graduate Profile: Challenge after Challenge for this Graduating Mom


Keonya Milam of Nashville will most likely appear a poised 31-year-old as she walks across the stage at the Vol State spring graduation ceremony. The graduation program will probably list her as an honors student. That grace, and 3.9 GPA, will make complete sense to everyone who sees her. But most will have no idea of the battles she fought, and the mountains she climbed, to get to that stage. Most Vol State graduates work hard to earn their degrees. Milam had to overcome challenge after challenge in a journey that took her from a .08 GPA to student leader.
“I just hit rock bottom,” Milam said. “I was tired of working dead end jobs. I knew God was pulling me.”
That was just one of several rock bottom moments for the Nashville mom. Her current Vol State experience is just one of several trips through the higher education system. So, we need to back-up a bit. Her first time was attending Tennessee Tech as a teenager.
“I fell in love with this guy and by the end of the first semester we moved in together. After the next semester I just stopped going to class. I let school go.”
She went back to college, this time at Nashville State.
“That’s when we hit rock bottom and the abuse started. That’s why I had to withdraw from Nashville State. I moved out while he was at work.”
Milam got to her feet again and enrolled at Vol State. She soon found she had another big challenge.
“I didn’t know I had dyscalculia. It’s like dyslexia, but with numbers. I knew I struggled in math, but I never let it get me down. I just worked around it. I made an A in Algebra thanks to LaDonna Yarborough at Vol State.”
Life was going well and Milam had a new boyfriend, but the challenges were by no means over.
“Then Jason gets in trouble for the first time in his life, legal problems. I had to withdraw from Vol State. And then I found out I was pregnant. Ten days after my baby was born Jason went to prison for two years. When he got out, neither of us were the same person.”
Jason had found his footing and supported her through LPN school at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology- Nashville.
“I worked as an LPN, but I decided to come back to Vol State in 2016 to work on my nursing degree. They combined my GPA from all of my college classes and it was .08. I didn’t know it was that low. I had the mindset by then that I’m going to shoot for an A. I made an A in Anatomy and Physiology (One of the toughest classes at Vol State-Ed). I made all A’s the second semester. God saw more for me than I saw for myself.”
With new found confidence, she even used her math skills to help other students as a Supplemental Instruction (SI) Leader. SI Leaders are students with a strong grade in a class who then lead extra work sessions in later semesters of the class.
“I’ve helped so many people as an SI. Not to brag, but it feels great to have someone tell me that I helped them get an A. One thing I love about Vol State is all of the self-help options, between the Learning Commons for help with math homework, Tutor.com for help with a paper late at night to Supplemental Instruction. With all of that you have no reason to not succeed. Don’t be ashamed to say you don’t know something.”
Milam now has two daughters, two-year-old Jaleah and seven-year- old Kammora. Jason is doing well and busy with church activities. Keonya said her next step will take her to the Lipscomb University nursing program where she was recently awarded a competitive Transfer Trustee Scholarship.
“She is a force on this campus who drives other students, faculty, and organizations to push for academic excellence and enhance the community here at Vol State,” said instructor of Chemistry, Chrysa Malosh.
Recently Keonya organized a memorial for her friend and classmate Lexus Williams, who was gunned down a few weeks ago in an alleged incident of domestic violence. More than 100 people attended the outdoor event, blowing bubbles into the sky in memory of Lexus.
Milam said her faith has kept her going through those eight years of challenges. “God kept me together when I felt like I was going crazy.”

Vol State Celebrates Arboretum Designation this Friday, April 27


The Volunteer State Community College Gallatin campus is now home to a certified Arboretum: a collection of trees that have been identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified the campus as a Level II Arboretum. It will be named for former Vol State Chemistry Professor Parris Powers. A grand opening for the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum will be held on Friday, April 27 at 2 p.m. on the Duffer Plaza at 1480 Nashville Pike. Everyone is invited.
The designation is largely the work of Vol State alumnus Cynthia Hernandez and Vol State faculty members. Part of the effort involved identifying and marking 62 species of trees on the campus. They worked with Parris Powers on the project and it will stand as a lasting symbol of his commitment to environmental science at Vol State. The college will be producing a map of the tree locations and visitors are welcome to campus to view them.

Events at Vol State this Week

April 24 Feasting Towards Finals, free pizza and snacks, Thigpen Library, 4pm to 6pm
April 26 Returning Students Organization (RSO) Karaoke Night, Cafeteria, 4-8pm
April 26 Student Film and Video Screening, SRB 150, 7pm-8:30pm
April 27 Grand Opening: Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum, Duffer Plaza, 2pm
April 27 Graduate Awards Night, Cafeteria, 5pm – 7:45pm
April 27, 28 Spring Music Concerts, student performers in many styles, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm
April 28 Vol State Home Plate, baseball and softball games and fun, 2pm baseball and 4pm softball
April 29 Sophomore Vocal Recital, SRB 151, 3pm

Friday, April 20, 2018

Environmental Sustainability at Vol State




Cayman Threet and Dr. Ellen Dayhuff

Vol State has found a way to be environmentally conscious while also saving money in the long run. The APPA, Leadership of Educational Facilities, recently recognized Vol State for its campus sustainability practices in their magazine. There is a link to the article below.
In 2013, Vol State began implementing new technologies which would completely revamp its obsolete electrical control systems. Four years and four new buildings later, Vol State is maintaining its electrical operation costs by sixteen cents per square foot less than it was in 2013. Automated controls and active management are the secrets to success. Our very own SRB building is even LEED certified. So, what does that mean?
The big picture in LEED buildings is to construct better buildings that have less of an impact on the environment than most traditionally build buildings. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED Certification refers to buildings that have been designed, built and maintained using best practice strategies for green building and energy efficiency,” explained Dr. Ellen Dayhuff, professor of Mathematics and advisor of Team Change.

Team Change president, Cayman Threet shared: “Team Change is an organization where we focus on educating the population on how to recycle, and do little things to take care of the environment … We focus on education and environment in new and creative ways.”

According to Will Newman, senior director of Plant Operations,
“very few green projects save money. Someone always has to pay. An example is an electric car charging station. Electricity isn’t free, but it is good for the environment to reduce the consumption of energy, right? Recycling? The college must pay to have the recycled goods picked up. If we elected to take items to a recycling center ourselves, we must pay employees to do so, as well as use trucks and trailers to haul the material. We must ask ourselves, is it worth it? I like to think, yes.”

This is your world. It’s up to you to take care of it, and if you don’t then nobody will. It’s not easy sometimes. We all have a part to play. So, play your part well,” said Threet.

Cayman Threet and her Recycled Art
There are recycling bins located all around campus. Not all recycling is created equal, so it’s highly encouraged to pay attention to which bins you are putting your items into. Team Change is currently seeking motivated volunteers and a new club president for the Fall 2018. If you are interested in sustainability and want to get involved, please contact Dr. Dayhuff at le-ellen.dayhuff@volstate.edu

Please remember to reduce, recycle, and reuse.

To view the above mentioned article, please click
here.













-By Rachel Keyes


Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Psychology Students Experience the Reality of Aging


 
Aging happens gradually, over many years. We may not stop to think about the realities of growing older while we’re enjoying our days of youth.
Today in Professor Mazza Carter’s Lifespan Psychology class, students took part in an activity which would highlight some of the visual, auditory, and physical problems associated with aging.

Students were assigned to try on glasses to simulate glaucoma, cataracts, or macular degeneration; to wear earplugs to mimic the effects of hearing loss; and to use masking tape to tape fingers together, feigning arthritis.
They then attempted to complete basic tasks such as calling a local business or having a conversation with earplugs in; walking around or reading a book while wearing the glasses; or attempting to send a text message with the masking tape wrapped around their fingers.

These simulations temporarily offer a realistic experience of some of the realities of aging. At the end of the day, these students are able remove the glasses, pull out the earplugs, peel the tape off of their fingers, and continue on with their young, healthy lives. This is not so much the case for the elderly, this is their reality. It's worth thinking about.

“It is cool to see from older people’s perspective,” marked Taylor Hay, a psychology major.
 
If you’re fascinated with psychology and want to learn more about Vol State’s degree programs, please take a look at the Vol State’s psychology page 
here.


-By Rachel Keyes

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

New Terms Allow Students to Take More Summer Classes


Summer classes at Vol State are starting earlier this year, May 21. The change comes with new summer class terms. The college is offering three-week, six-week, and twelve-week classes. The reason is to have less overlapping of class terms, which allows students to take more classes, and earn more college credits over the summer. The different session lengths, and start dates, are designed to fit around family holidays and other summer events.
The first option is a three-week session class. There will be four of those sessions during the summer, with classes starting on May 21, June 11, July 2 and July 23. The start date for first six-week and twelve week classes is also May 21The second six-week term starts on July 2. The short term classes, three and six-week, are held several hours each day, and are more intensive. The twelve-week classes are held less hours per day, and are more like a traditional semester-long class. The summer semester ends on August 10. Summer classes are offered in-person, online and in a wide variety of subject areas. There are no orientation requirements for summer courses, which makes applying and then registering easy. For a complete list of the summer dates visit www.volstate.edu/academic-calendar
Real estate classes are back in demand, thanks to a booming real estate market. Vol State is offering this summer the two classes needed to sit for the Real Estate Exam: RES 215, Intro to Real Estate, and RES 220, The Course for New Affiliates. Education majors will appreciate the offering of EDUC 2110, Educational Psychology. The class is a requirement for all education majors.
Visit www.volstate.edu/schedule  for the summer class schedules and www.volstate.edu/apply for information on how to apply online.


Monday, April 16, 2018

Earth Day Celebration Friday at CHEC in Cookeville


Students, faculty and staff at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC) are celebrating Earth Day with an educational event on Friday, April 20 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The public is invited to see environmental science displays; meet organizations promoting a Green lifestyle; hear speakers; and watch documentary films. The focus of the event is the impact of plastics on the environment. Sponsors for the event include: HelgasPhotos, Cookeville Honda, and RE/MAX ONE.

There will be live music throughout the day and food trucks will be serving lunch along with other refreshment vendors. CHEC is located at 1000 Neal Street. It is the site of classes for Volunteer State Community College, Tennessee Tech and TCAT Livingston. For more information call 931-520-0551.

Choral Music Sunday, April 22

Choral music will be center stage at Volunteer State Community College on Sunday, April 22 as the Vol State Singers collaborate with the Portland High School Ensemble in presenting Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, K 339. The Vol State Singers are led by faculty member Nancy Slaughter. The Portland Ensemble is directed by Ben Warren. The show will be held at 3 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. It is free and open to everyone. For more information call 615-230-3201.

This Week at Vol State

April 16  Summer and Fall Registration starts for transfer and readmit students
April 16 In Her Shoes: Relationship Violence discussion, Rochelle Center, 10:30am to 12:30pm
April 18 SGA Time Capsule, burying at 2pm, events throughout, Wallace buildings lawn
April 19 Student Art Exhibition reception, Art Gallery, SRB Building first floor, 1pm-3pm
April 20 Earth Day Celebration at Cookeville Higher Education Campus, activities, lectures, more, 10am-5pm
April 20 Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum Grand Opening, Duffer Plaza, 2pm
April 20 Free Movie: Paddington 2, Nichols Dining Room, 6pm
April 22 Vol State Singers Choral Concert, joined by Portland High School Ensemble, presenting Mozart’s Solemn Vespers, K 339, Caudill Hall, 3pm

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Honoring Lexus Williams

Bubbles were blown into the sky today to honor the life of student Lexus Williams.

Last week, the Vol State pre-nursing major was allegedly shot and killed by her husband in Gallatin. Her two young children were in the back seat of the car when the shooting occurred.

Students and friends organized a memorial event today, which took place outside of the Duffer Plaza on campus; the event was coordinated by Lexus’ close friend, Keonya Milam.

“She was so encouraging. Every time she walks in a room, everyone lit up. We had two classes together, I knew her for about two years. She was there for people. She always had a smile on her face, even though she was struggling. She was a fighter,” said Lodosha Holt.

“She had a fun personality, she was bubbly and smiled a lot - she will be missed. She would have been a great nurse, and she loved her kids,” said Tashena Martinez.

“Helping her family. Helping her children. That is how we can honor her. We can honor her by banding together as a community in love, in love and in love,” said Minister Bobby Samuels of the Emmanuel Temple, who gave a speech during the event.

Lexus is survived by Wisdom Journey Williams and Israel Lamontez Williams.

-By Rachel Keyes

Vol State Student Tops in Microsoft Word


Vol State graduate Jordyn Houghton recently discovered she ranked fourth in the state of TN on the Microsoft Office Specialist (M.O.S.) exam in Word. You could be next by taking advantage of the many free testing opportunities available to students, faculty, and staff at Vol State. The International Data Corporation says that Microsoft Office skills rank third as the top skills employers are looking for. Obtaining a Microsoft Office Specialist certification is way to give you a professional edge, potentially boosting annual salary by as much as $16,000, according to Microsoft.com.

“I knew I passed, but I had no idea that I had done that well. I didn’t even know this test was an option until it was given to me as the final exam for a computer class I was taking,” said Jordyn. “I had a lot of experience with Word, so the classes were kind of like a review for me. If I learned something new, it was easy to retain that information because of my experience with the program. Students need to know that this is an option. It’s free and it’s something great to add onto your resume. Excel is another one that students should look into because it’s a big part of any business."

“We only had a handful of students that tested with us at Vol State, so for one of those students to be number four in the entire state for her age bracket is pretty awesome,” said Lisa Borre, assistant director of Advising and Testing. “A lot of people in job interviews will say that they’re proficient in Microsoft Office, and that’s pretty subjective. But to say that you are Microsoft certified, that’s taking it to another level - its confirmation from Microsoft. If you don’t get the score you need, nothing gets recorded, so there’s really nothing to lose…We’re trying to get the word out because it’s an awesome benefit that a lot of people aren’t aware of. When you’re a student and you’ve graduated, you’ll not only have your degree in your subject matter, you can also have an added benefit of receiving Microsoft certification. I would also highly recommend Imagine Academy,” said Borre.

Microsoft’s Imagine Academy provides free curricula and resources on Microsoft products for students and educators; it can be used to prepare for the exams. The exam can then be scheduled through Vol State’s website. The Testing Center offers many other free tests for students, faculty, and staff, such as career and personality assessments, CLEP, and much more. For more information on testing at Vol State, swing by the testing center in room 126 of the Warf building, or check out their website at www.volstate.edu/testing.

Photos - Top Left: Jordyn Houghton
             Bottom Right: Lisa Borre

                                                                       
-By Rachel Keyes

Monday, April 9, 2018

This Week at Vol State

Events this week at Vol State:
April 10 TMTA Math Contest, Pickel Field House, all day
April 10 Tennessee Reconnect help, all campuses, 8am-6pm
April 11 Spring Fling, Thigpen Plaza, 11am-1pm 

April 11  Lexus Williams remembrance event, Duffer Plaza, 1:30pm
April 11 Student Art Exhibition opens, Art Gallery, SRB Building first floor
April 12 League of Nations and the Great War, Peter Johnson, Rochelle Center, 2:15pm
April 13 PTK Tryke Bike Build, with Music City Trykes, Wood Campus Center, 4pm-7pm




Friday, April 6, 2018

Remembering Lexus Shantelle Williams - April 11 Event


Family, friends and members of the Vol State community are remembering Lexus Shantelle Williams. The Vol State student was shot and killed recently in Gallatin. Police have taken her husband into custody. They said Williams was gunned down in her car, in front of her children, aged two and three. They escaped without serious injury. The death of any student is heartbreaking, but it is especially so given these circumstances.

Lexus was a Pre-Nursing major. She started at Vol State in 2015 and has been a TRIO Student Support Services student.

“She was bright, warm and friendly,” said TRIO director, Andrea Boddie. “She was excited about nursing and getting her degree. In the three years I knew her she always had a positive outlook on life and never complained. She was a very sweet person.”

“She had the most beautiful smile,” said fellow student Keonya Milam. “She was my classmate last year in Anatomy and Physiology and we became friends. She was the sweetest person you could ever know. If she was going through something you would never know, because she always had a smile on her face. She loved her kids.”

Lexus is survived by Wisdom Journey Williams and Israel Lamontez Williams.

“She talked about her children all the time,” said student Kimanese White. “She loved them so much, would do anything for them. Becoming a nurse was a way for her to be able to give them more. Every decision she made was for the betterment of her kids.”

An event will be held to remember Lexus Shantelle Williams at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 11 in the Duffer Plaza on the Gallatin campus. Participants are encouraged to wear blue, as it was reportedly her favorite color.

Suspicious Incident on Gallatin Campus

On April 5, Volunteer State Community College held the annual Science and Math Expo event for kids and families on the Gallatin campus. There were also kids and families on campus for the annual Sumner County Elementary Art Show. At some point during the Science and Math Expo a group of individuals, not associated with the event, taped paper flyers and business card sized flyers to walls and bulletin boards in the Wallace Building where the Expo was being held. The flyers and card were not approved nor authorized by Vol State.  The flyers said “Internet Forum” at the top, encouraging readers to visit a website for “Conversations with Real People.” There is also a QR code for scanning and an internet address. Both connect to a web page called “Imagine Forum.” We are not sure of the purpose of the site, but it does appear to be trying to reach children because the flyers and cards had drawings of unicorns.
This suspicious activity was noticed quickly by our faculty, staff and students, who then worked to take the flyers down and promptly notified Vol State Campus Police. They were posted in several rooms. It is not known if the flyers were handed directly to kids or parents.
Just to be cautious, Vol State is asking all parents who have children who attended the events to check the materials the kids may have brought home. It is recommended that parents discuss the flyer with their children to make sure they have not visited one of the sites given. We don’t know the purpose of the sites, but believe parents should be aware.

If anyone has any information about these flyers we ask them to please contact the Vol State Campus Police at 615-230-3595.


Monday, April 2, 2018

Course Name and Number Changes for Fall 2018

Some Vol State courses have new titles and numbers for the fall semester. The new names will appear now in Degree Works. But if you are looking for a class and can't find it in the schedule, check out this list of courses and their new names. It's located on https://www.volstate.edu/students
Go under Tools and you will see Course Crosswalk 2018. Courses are listed in alphabetical order.

Events this Week at Vol State


Ongoing          Sumner County Elementary Art Show, Ramer Great Hall, through April 28
April 2             Priority registration opens at 8am for currently enrolled students who have already earned 30 credits or more at the start of this semester (sophomores)
April 3             Priority registration opens at 8am for currently enrolled students who have already earned less than 30 credits at the start of this semester (freshmen)         
April 3             Teal Out Tuesday, sexual assault awareness, wear teal to show commitment to prevention, all day, call campuses
April 5             Let’s Talk: Discussion of Sexual Assault with Sharon Travis, Nichols Dining Room, 2pm-3pm
April 5             Parris Powers Memorial Science and Math Expo, hands-on activities for kids K-8, Wallace North, 2:30pm-6pm

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vol State Speaks out Against Sexual Assault


The U.S. Department of Justice reports that one in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape. You may have heard of the #MeToo movement, which spread virally on social media in 2017, highlighting the prevalence of sexual violence and assault. #WeBelieveYou is an outgrowth of that movement, and part of a campaign coming to Vol State in April.


“I do think the ‘MeToo’ movement has started the conversation, but we want to encourage that conversation locally,” said Tiffany Zwart, coordinator of Student Support. “The ‘WeBelieveYou’ movement is about making sure that students know that someone is listening, we do believe them, and we’re here to help in whatever way we can. If you have a traumatic experience, like sexual assault, and then you feel like you can’t talk to anybody, or you don’t know where to go, it just builds and can turn into PTSD, anxiety, etc., and those things have serious long term effects.” “Sexual assault is about power. It’s not about the act of sex itself, it’s about power,” said Abby Carson, a work study student in the Office of Student Engagement. “To any victim out there, don’t let them take that power from you. If you are a victim, come forward and say something. Don’t give them that power to keep doing what they’re doing. I want anyone who comes into this office to feel safe. It makes me feel great that the school cares, and that students know they can come to us no matter what." Zwart explains that there are statistics available, yet it’s hard to peg the exact numbers. “Most rapes and sexual assaults are not reported. So of what we have, it’s is like a drop in the bucket. There’s so much more that we don’t know.” Experts say fear is a huge factor that comes into play. Sometimes getting out of a toxic situation may seem scarier than staying in one to victims, especially when children are in the picture, or if there are financial burdens involved. Other times, victims just may be afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled or judged. It is much more common than is noticed, because it often goes undiscussed. There are many reasons people stay silent or remain in a bad situation. “I think we try to pretend like it’s not happening, but it’s happening right under our noses,” said Zwart. “We have resources for counseling; we have resources for Home Safe, the domestic and sexual assault shelter. They provide trauma informed service for those impacted by domestic and sexual abuse, so they are a really great resource for students who’ve experienced that. We’ve also reached out to the Sumner County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, because most abuse happens while someone is under the influence. Treating it as a systematic problem rather than a single issue is a big deal, we have to change the culture all the way around.” For the Sexual Assault Awareness month of April, the Office of Student Engagement promotes the discussion by coordinating multiple events on campus. For Tuesday, April 2nd, wear the color teal to show your commitment to prevent sexual assault. On Thursday, April 5th at 2 p.m. is the “Let’s Talk” event, which is a conversation about sexual assault held in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room. On Monday April 16th at 10:30 a.m., sociology professor Jamie Fuston will be hosting an event in the Rochelle Center titled “In Her Shoes,” which will offer a glimpse into the harsh realities of relationship violence. The office of Student Engagement and Support is located in room 215 of the Wood Campus Center, and is available for any student seeking guidance. Don’t stay silent; let your voice be heard. Abby Carson and Tiffany Zwart
                                                       


-By Rachel Keyes

Priority Fall and Summer Registration for Current Students Starts April 2 and 3

It's almost time for currently enrolled students to register for summer and fall classes. Next week is the start of Priority Registration.
-Priority registration opens at 8am this Monday, April 2 for currently enrolled students who have already earned 30 credits or more at the start of this semester (sophomores).
-Priority registration opens at 8am on Tuesday, April 3 for currently enrolled students who have already earned less than 30 credits at the start of this semester (freshmen).
-Currently enrolled students can register at any time after those dates, but those who register early will have a better selection of classes and class times.
-Registration opens to readmit students on April 16. New freshmen will register at orientation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Engineering Student Loves The Banjo

Jesse Johns, an Electrical Engineering major, loves to play the banjo. That’s right, the banjo. Jesse began his musical journey at 12 years old. “I started out drumming, and when I heard the sound of the banjo, I thought, wow, I would love to play that.” When he came to Vol State, he discovered the school’s Bluegrass Ensemble and decided to get involved. 
 
“I decided that the more I know, the more I’m worth. I finally saw an open opportunity, and that’s when I took my shot. I said I’m going to go for it, I’m going to start learning banjo.” 
 
Jesse says that learning banjo was a natural advancement from his experience with percussion. “With banjo, I’m playing rhythm, and it just so happens to have notes - that’s what makes it so great. After learning the ability of drumming and getting a banjo, I thought, this is so much like drumming, it’s crazy. So that’s where it all started.” 
 
Jesse gives his banjo teacher Mark Barnett much credit for his musical progression. “If it wasn’t for Mark Barnett and the school, I probably wouldn’t be a banjo player. Mark Barnett has really pushed me for the better. The Bluegrass Ensemble was the perfect opportunity for me. Another thing about the school that I really love is having a band like that to progress with. Being in this bluegrass group here is what has developed my style. ” 
 
Jesse will graduate from Vol State this spring to continue his studies in Electrical Engineering at Lipscomb University. He says that he would love to stay involved with Vol State music after his transfer. “I’ve come too far to put the banjo to rest. I have been given the opportunity to come back to the Vol State ensemble as a feature after I transfer.” 
 
To keep up with other music events and news on campus, check out Vol State’s music Facebook page. 
https://www.facebook.com/volstatemusic/

-By Rachel Keyes