Wednesday, December 18, 2019

College Holiday Hours

All Vol State campuses will be closed from December 23 to January 1. Offices will be back open January 2. Spring semester classes start on January 21 and there is still time to apply. That can be done at any time online: www.volstate.edu/apply

If you are considering college here are some links:

TN Reconnect- tuition-free college for adults who do not have a college degree. www.volstate.edu/reconnect

We have more than 100 academic areas of study. Explore them here.

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Graduate Profile: Melody Montgomery

Melody (center) with Vol State President,
Jerry Faulkner, and his wife Wanda.

Some college students explore academic majors to find out what they want to do for a career. For others, it is a calling that comes from experience, and sometimes that experience is not a positive thing.
“My life has been spent in addiction,” said Melody Montgomery of Livingston. “I’ve been in and out of jail since I was young. I quit high school in the 10th grade. I actually took one of my GED (high school diploma) tests in jail.”
That initiative took her to Vol State at 43 years of age. She had a singular purpose: “I want to work with women who have been involved in drugs and alcohol,” she said. “I like showing people that there is hope; that there is a life beyond addiction.”
She’s already making a difference as a house manager at a Christian reentry home in Cookeville. The facility helps people in recovery come back into the community. And her work doesn’t stop there. She and her husband, Danny, share their tough experiences on the road.
“My husband found the Lord in prison and today we do prison ministry all across the Southeast.”
You would imagine, with that kind of enthusiasm for helping others, that Melody would be fond of public speaking. That wasn’t the case.
“Cindy Tallent taught my Speech class at Vol State. She pushed me way outside my comfort zone. She believed in me when I didn’t. I am not a speaker. And yet, I went to a state competition for public speech and won bronze.”
She also served as a President’s Ambassador at Vol State, a prestigious scholarship program that involves many public events.  Montgomery is considering attending Tennessee Tech for social work. She said she will miss the faculty and staff at Vol State.
“Vol State has been my home. The people at the Livingston campus have been my family. I was so nervous going in and everyone made me feel comfortable.”
Husband Danny and her son, 23-year-old Coty Ray, will watch Melody walk across the graduation stage on Saturday.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Graduate Profile: Rachel Burke


Homeschooled students may have different challenges during their college journey because of their different learning environment.  This is true for graduate Rachel Burke, with this being her first and last semester at Vol State. 

She started this semester as an English Education major after transferring from Jefferson State Community College in Alabama. 

“When I got into college and started taking classes, I got into writing.  I like taking apart works of literature,” said Burke, “I want to teach because I want to help someone like how my mom helped me.”

Burke was homeschooled before coming to college, and said her mom was her teacher and role model.  When her mother taught her, she prepared them for the workload of college with difficult classes to teach them how to stay responsible and accountable during school. 

Throughout her academic journey, Burke said she has moved a couple times and has attended different schools, but her Vol State experience sticks out from the rest. 

“I was pleased….  People did their jobs more [at Vol State], and they found the Pell Grant for me, even when I didn’t know I was eligible for it.  Realizing I had this option was probably one of my most memorable moments here,” said Burke, “I was also surprised by how many events Vol State has.  The other community college I went to did one or two things a year, but this has a ton.” 

On the path to graduation, Burke’s biggest struggle has been getting through her art class

“I was told I was ok going into it, but I would not have said I was ok.  I thought I was very bad, but it’s honestly just a lot of work,” said Burke, “I’ve put in a lot of time on it, and I’m pleased with where I stand now.”

After graduation, Burke said she plans on continuing her education at Belmont University in the spring semester. 

For students who have some time to go before graduation, Burke said, “Work with your teachers.  If you’re willing to work, they’re willing to work with you.  If you put in the effort, they’ll meet you.  You may even get more than you expected if you try it.”



-Gloria Cortes

Graduate Profile: Austin Bonebrake


As a high school student, Austin Bonebrake envisioned himself in a hands-on profession someday, such as welding or working in a machine shop. The sophomore thought there was plenty of time to decide his exact path. That all changed with one brutal moment in the winter of 2015.
“I was in a sledding accident. I hit a tree head first. It left me paralyzed,” he said.
Specifically, he broke his C-6 vertebrae and suffered severe damage to his C-5 vertebrae. He was suddenly quadriplegic, with some limited use of his hands. He worked through rehab and intense pain in that recovery. He learned how to operate a wheelchair. However, it was not just the many serious physical adjustments he needed to make to get his life back on track. He needed a new career plan.
“I figured that being hurt it would be hard to find a job without an education. I knew that I liked being outdoors, so that’s why I chose environmental science. I like to problem solve and find solutions.”
That brought him to Vol State with TN Promise. College requires a lot of course work for students and for Austin there were also many physical hurdles to overcome, such as how to take notes in class and write assignments.
“I don’t have much hand function, so I do the work on my iPad. I have a PDF viewer app and I use my pinky to write. I takes a bit longer to do assignments.”
Transportation from Portland to the Gallatin campus was also an issue. “My mom has had to get up every day to drive me and I need extra time to get to class.”
That may be changing soon. “I’ve been working with Voc Rehab, so I should begin driving in January.” Austin’s family purchased a truck and the Vocational Rehab program in Gallatin paid for the equipment necessary for Austin to drive. That will fit in well with his plans after graduation in December. He is transferring to Western Kentucky University to study biology, perhaps with a minor in environmental science.
“This major has challenged me to think out of the box and find new ways to problem solve. I’ve enjoyed all of my environmental science classes. Assistant Professor Erin Bloom has been my go to person. She’s helped me keep my head up.”
Austin has been nominated for Outstanding Graduate. His instructors mention his willingness to get extra help and to ask questions after class. He still deals with quite a bit of pain from his injuries and side effects from medications. Yet, his college career is defined by his resilience.
“When it first happened it was difficult to cope with,” he said. “But as time goes on you get into your own groove. You just have to go for it.”

Friday, December 6, 2019

Graduate Profile: Gloria Cortes


The chiming notes you hear in a marching band are marimbas. They look like a xylophone and are played with mallets. Marimbas are part of the percussion section. Vol State fall graduate Gloria Cortes plays the marimbas and other percussion instruments. She says the marching band experience is transformative.
“I first started taking drum lessons in sixth grade and then I joined middle school band,” she said. “While I was in high school I also joined an independent band, as well as playing in the school band. I can’t even describe it. It’s the best feeling ever. You’re playing music with your best friends.”
So, why would a musician go to school at a college that doesn’t have a marching band? TN Promise is one reason and other is focus. Cortes wants to focus on her academics. But she may look for opportunities to combine the two in the future. Her other passion is communication.
“I’m interested in writing and talking to people- creating a relationship or a connection in just ten minutes. I really enjoy interviewing people.”
You have probably read some of Gloria’s stories. She worked as the Student Social Media Writer for the college this semester. She was also the assistant editor for the Settler student newspaper last year. “I liked being able to form connections with people around campus. It’s informative and I felt better connected to the college.”
Not surprisingly, Gloria is a communication major at Vol State. “I like how my Communication classes give you a sense of what your career is going to be like.”
That’s something she is starting to consider. Her next step is the Communication Program at MTSU. After achieving her four-year degree, she hopes to find a way to tie music and communication together.
“Doing media or PR for a marching band would be great.”
And her advice to new students?
“Just go to anything with free food. You’re bound to meet other cool people there. When you start talking to people and making connections it makes college much more enjoyable.”

Fall Graduation December 14 Streamed Live

Fall Graduation on December 14 will be streamed live starting with the ceremony at 10am at www.volstate.edu/graduation.

Thursday, December 5, 2019

Graduate Profile: Clay Sims


College is not a straight path for many students; each student has a unique academic journey, and it can be easy to feel lost in life sometimes.  Graduate Clay Sims is proof that there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

Sims transferred to Vol State in the fall of 2018 after losing his ROTC scholarship at a Florida university.  He was admitted to a psych ward. 

“I really wanted to be an officer in the army, but with my medications and my mental history, I couldn’t really do that anymore.  I had to move on with my life,” said Sims.

After accepting a new life challenge, Sims transferred to Vol State and tried different health science majors before finding one that he held his interest: Radiologic Technology.

“I was first here for Veterinary Technology, but it wasn’t really what I wanted to do.  Then over the summer, I was part of a program to be a nurse assistant.  I liked helping the people there, but I didn’t really have a passion for it,” said Sims, “Now, I plan to major in Radiologic Technology, and to me it seems like a job where you use your brain more than your body, which I really like.”

Now that finals are right around the corner, Sims shared how he successfully studies by himself, which is to put all of his energy into it with no distractions.

“I would just power through it, and not play video games or watch movies until I get to the end,” said Sims, “To be honest, afterwards I just sit there with no clue of what to do because school just programs you to do all of this work.  It feels like you have to learn how to live again.”

For advice to students struggling in classes, he said, “Having a study group can be really helpful.  I joined one for my anatomy and physiology class, because it’s a difficult course, and I’ve found a group to be a part of.  I’ve found friends and people to talk to,” said Sims, “It makes going to school more enjoyable.  I’ll reminisce on the times we got our work done and then talked and laughed together.”

Now as a graduate with more wisdom and reflection, Sims has learned what it takes to get through school, and describes it as a personal commitment to graduating.

“Your grade is not just determined by your intelligence, but your attitude and your responsibility to keep up with your work…. You need the will and the courage to continue.  Everything is a choice, and you need to know how to choose responsibly,” said Sims.



-Gloria Cortes

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Christmas Concerts this Weekend

Vol State students will be performing Christmas music in Gallatin and Nashville this weekend.

In Gallatin, “Christmas Past and Present” will feature several groups from the Performing Arts Department: the Commercial Music Ensemble, the Jazz Music Ensemble, and the Vol State Showstoppers. The concerts also mark the release of a CD of Vol State student work. This year’s CD will be for sale at the shows. The concerts will be held on Friday, December 6 and Saturday, December 7 in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall. The show time is 7:30 p.m. each evening. A suggested donation of $5 benefits the Vol State Steinway Piano Fund. Admission and a copy of the “Christmas Dreams” CD will be $10.

On Sunday, Dec. 8, the Vol State Singers perform with the West End United Methodist Church Choir for a Christmas Concert at the church in Nashville, 2200 West End Blvd. There is a new time for this concert. It is now to be held at 4pm.

For more information contact the Office of Humanities at 615-230-3202.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Graduate Profile: Rachel Keyes


Everyone’s college experience is different, and like most things in life, it heavily depends on the effort and investment people put in.  Graduate Rachel Keyes truly puts the “community” in Volunteer State Community College with her involvement in her college experience. 

Keyes began her journey at Vol State as a general studies major in the fall of 2013, but took a break before she finished her degree.  She came back to school in 2017 and will graduate this December with an associate degree in foreign language- French. 

“I was a General Studies major initially and needed a foreign language for my degree.  The reason I chose French was because I had recently gotten married, and I wanted to communicate with my [then] husband's family, who spoke French and Arabic,” said Keyes, “I developed a love for it, continued taking classes, and it just became my major.  I have a deep interest in language and linguistics.  Studying French only deepens that love and fuels my curiosity.  The marriage didn't work out, but the language thing did.”

Balancing a personal life with academic challenges- along with work duties for many students- is one of the hardest parts about getting through school.  Without personal perseverance and support from others, graduation can seem impossible.

“My greatest challenge through my Vol State career was holding down all of my responsibilities and keeping my mind intact while surviving a toxic marriage.  I had to hit rock bottom before I had the strength to leave for the last time,” said Keyes, “My mother is my biggest advocate, hero and angel.  I've also had an incredible network of support at Vol State.  So many people have had a massive, profound impact on my life.  I've collected more than a few folks here that I'll hold onto for a lifetime.”

To help get through school, Keyes created her personal support group at Vol State by getting involved more on campus. 

“During my first experience at Vol State, I was a DJ for WVCP. During my second, more-serious stint, I worked in Public Relations for almost two years, and within that time I spent a year as one of Dr. Faulkner's ambassadors. I was an editor of Pioneer Pen and part of the Honors Program, TRIO, and SKD,” said Keyes.

Keyes said she will walk in the graduation commencement ceremony, and afterwards, she said she plans on taking some time to finally invest in herself.

“I'm taking the time and space that I've needed to get crystal clear on the direction I want my life to keep moving in. I'm considering a few options for where I'll continue education and such. I'm a bit spontaneous, so only time will tell what I end up doing next.”

For those struggling on the path to graduation, Keyes suggested, “Trust the process of your life and allow it to unfold.  Lean into yourself and allow the weight of your burdens to strengthen you to overcome them.  Trust what you know to be true at the core of who you are because the truth will always prevail.”


-Gloria Cortes

Student Gmail Access Ending

Student Gmail Access Ending January 2nd, 2020. On 9/20/19 your ability to receive email to your Vol State Gmail switched over to Microsoft 365. We have kept access open to Gmail to allow for students to migrate email but that access will be ending on 01/02/2020. If you still have emails you need to access please visit this Knowledge Base Article to find out how to migrate your most important emails over. Please contact theVol State IT Help Desk with any additional questions (615) 230-3302.

#Giving Tuesday Support the Vol State Feed


College student food insecurity has been identified as a major problem in the United States. A 2019 Temple University report said that 48 percent of community college students nationwide are food insecure. That means they lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable food. For #GivingTuesday, December 3, the Volunteer State College Foundation is raising funds to support the Vol State Feed student food bank.
“The Feed at Vol State has been providing students with food and health supplies for the last three years,” said Foundation development officer, Alison Muncy. “The money raised during the #GivingTuesday campaign will be used to buy food and other products so that students in need can focus on studying, rather than worrying about food.”
#GivingTuesday is an international day of giving based on social media and the Internet. The Volunteer State College Foundation has participated in #GivingTuesday for several years to fund book scholarships. To donate and for more information visit www.volstate.edu/foundation

Vol State Holiday Events this Week

Dec. 6 SGA Christmas Party, Nichols Dining Rooms, 5:30-7:30pm
Dec. 6 and 7 Vol State Christmas Shows and CD Release, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm
Dec. 8 Vol State Singers perform with the West End United Methodist Church Choir for a Christmas Concert at the church in Nashville, 2200 West End Blvd., 4pm

Monday, November 18, 2019

Vol State Events this Week

Nov. 20 ThinkFast Game Show, compete for prizes, Nichols Dining B, 11:10am-12:10pm
Nov. 21 Nursing Info Session, Springfield, Highland Crest room 146, 3pm
Nov. 23 Art Gallery Reception: Regional Craft Artists, SRB first floor, 1pm-4pm

Friday, November 15, 2019

Spring Courses Include Cultures of Color Highlighted in a Special Topic Section

FYEX 1030 and 1040 Sec 003. Cultures of color highlighted in a special topic section.   FYEX 1030 Sec 003 (CRN: 17690 - first 7 week course) focuses on the backdrop of cultural experiences in higher education, with special attention to students of color. This course is structured to help students discover the diversity and richness of the college experience. FYEX 1040 Sec 003 (CRN: 17715 – second 7 week course) examines career exploration and readiness while juxtaposing cultural and diverse experiences and influences, with special attention to students of color. The courses will allow students to identify barriers and opportunities and build on some of the fundamental skills that lead to academic success. The classes are scheduled for TR 11:10 – 12:35. Students must register for both classes. Each class is 1.5 credit hours, so students will earn a total of 3 credit hours of elective credit total. Students will need a permit to register for the special topic sections. Students will need to contact the advising center OR the social science and education division office for a permit to register.

Free Help in the Learning Commons for Papers and Speeches

Make that speech, final paper or other written assignment even better by getting feedback before you turn it in. Visit the Learning Commons on your campus or use the Essay Drop-Off feature on eLearn. They're free and available to all students. Details: https://www.volstate.edu/learningcommons

Monday, November 11, 2019

Vol State Events this Week


Nov. 11           Veteran’s Day Meet and Eat Social, celebrate veterans, Nichols Dining B, 11:30am-1pm
Nov. 12          Education Career Fair, meet education employers, Caudill Hall, 10am-Noon
Nov. 12           Nursing Program Info Session, CHEC Cookeville, Room 227, 3:30pm
Nov. 12           Nursing Program Info Session, Livingston Campus, Room 155, 5:30pm
Nov. 13           Art Gallery Show: Regional Craft Artists, SRB first floor, through Dec. 10
Nov. 13           Stopping Gender Violence, Lamont Holley speaker, Nichols Dining B, 11:30am-1pm
Nov. 14           Nursing Program Info Session, Livingston Campus, Room 155, 3pm
Nov. 14           Nursing Program Info Session, CHEC Cookeville, Room 227, 5:30pm

Need Help Figuring Out a Career? Register for FYEX Courses this Spring


Has the transition to college been difficult or frustrating? Are you struggling to choose a major/career? If so, FYEX 1030 and 1040 can help. FYEX stands for First-Year Experience. The classes will be held during the spring Semester in seven-week segments. The first course covers interpersonal skills including self-awareness, self-management, and teamwork. The second course helps students to identify careers they may be interested in and set goals to help them develop the skills they will need to enter their desired profession. The class will include career assessments and exploration, resume writing, and interview skills.
Are FYEX 1030 and 1040 required classes?
No, neither FYEX 1030 or 1040 are required for any student in Spring 2020.
If I want to take one of the FYEX classes, do I have to take both of the classes?
Yes, in Spring 2020 FYEX 1030 and FYEX 1040 are only offered as co-requisites.  This means students will not be able to take just one of the classes; students will need to take both classes.
How many credit hours are the classes worth?
Each of the classes are worth 1.5 credit hours, so students completing both classes will earn a total of three (3) credit hours of general elective credit.
What campuses will have FYEX 1030 and 1040 classes?
In Spring 2020 FYEX courses will only be available at the VSCC campus in Gallatin and at CHEC. However, in Fall 2020 FYEX classes are expected to be offered at all VSCC locations.
Will financial aid pay for the course?
If you have three (3) credit hours of general education electives available to be completed in your program of study, yes, financial aid will cover the courses.
If you do not have three (3) credit hours of general education electives open to be completed, then you will have to pay out of pocket for the classes. Financial aid will not cover classes that will not be used in your program of study.
Will the classes transfer?
The FYEX classes are university parallel courses and are likely to transfer. Students will need to check with their transfer institution to see if the courses will transfer. Transfer institutions typically request course descriptions to determine the eligibility to transfer. Course descriptions are provided below:
First Year Experience I - FYEX 1030: This course includes strategies for college success. Campus resources, college culture and traditions, mindset, personal responsibility, self-motivation, self-management, interdependence, self-awareness, and emotional intelligence are emphasized.
First Year Experience II - FYEX 1040: This course includes strategies for career readiness and success. Career exploration, resume and cover letter writing, interview skills, and soft skills are emphasized.
Do any of the FYEX courses have a special topic or focus?
Yes, one set of classes have a special focus. The special focus section of FYEX 1030 will examine cultural experiences in higher education, with special attention on experiences of students of color. FYEX 1040 in the special focus section will examine career exploration and readiness while juxtaposing cultural and diverse experiences and influences, with special attention to students of color.  The course will help students identify barriers and opportunities and build on some of the fundamental skills that lead to academic success. Students will need a permit to register for the special topic sections. Students will need to contact the Advising Center OR the Social Science and Education Division office for a permit to register.
How do I register for FYEX 1030 and 1040?
Students who are interested in taking the special topic section will need to obtain a permit to register for the special topic classes. Students can obtain a permit by contacting the Advising Center (615-230-3702 daytime or 615-230-3701 evening) or the Social Science and Education Division (615-230-3231). Once a student has a permit, they can register for the class as normal. ONLY students wanting to take the special topic section will need to obtain a permit. Students who do not want to take the special topic section WILL NOT need a permit and can register for the classes, as normal, using schedule planner or by entering the specific course CRN into the add classes function of the portal. 
When are the classes offered?
Four sections will be offered at the Gallatin campus and one class will be offered at CHEC in Spring 2020.
GALLATIN SECTIONS
1.      MW 8 am – 9:25 pm
a.       FYEX 1030 CRN: 17687
b.      FYEX 1040 CRN: 17713
2.      MW 11:10 am – 12:35 pm
a.       FYEX 1030 CRN: 17688
b.      FYEX 1040 CRN: 17714
3.      TR 11:10 am – 12:35 pm *Special Topic sections. Students will need a permit to register. Students will need to contact the Advising Center or the Social Science and Education Division office for a permit to register.
a.       FYEX 1030 CRN: 17690
b.      FYEX 1040 CRN: 17715
4.      TR 2:20 pm – 3:45 pm
a.       FYEX 1030 CRN: 17689
b.      FYEX 1040 CRN: 17716

CHEC SECTION
1.      MW 9:35-11:00 am
a.       FYEX 1030 CRN: 17740
b.      FYEX 1040 CRN: 17741

For more information contact Advising at 615-230-3702.

Sunday, November 10, 2019

First-Generation Student: Ethiopine Choping

With the end of the semester rolling around, graduation is so close- yet, so far away.  Being a first-generation student can make graduation seem so out of reach.  As an honors student, Sudanese refugee and civil engineer, Ethiopine Choping demonstrates the determination needed to overcome the challenges of being a first-generation student.  
Ethiopine Choping

Choping said, “[Being first-generation] makes everything really hard.  Only because you don’t have that person to ask who can give you immediate answers.  Being a first-generation student, you don’t have that much college guidance.  I come from a family of immigrants so I’m the first person the finish high school, go to college, so there isn’t anybody in my family that can give me guidance on how to approach college or how to get scholarships, things like that,” said Choping.
She said that she will be the first female in her family to finish high school, go into civil engineering and graduate college. 
“[Finishing college] is a lot of pressure to get it done, but it’s a journey where you have to pace yourself.  I’m really excited…. It all pays off, even though it’s crazy,” said Choping.

Being the first to do something can be really stressful without guidance, but Choping has used Vol State’s TRIO program to stay successful in school.

“I’m in the TRIO program, and the ladies there are just wonderful,” said Choping, “They’re like a home away from home.  They have all that college experience, so they can kind of guide me along the way.”

Outside of TRIO, Choping is one of the only civil engineering students she knows, and said she doesn’t have the same kind of support groups that other students have.

“It would still be nice to get that support, even though there’s not a super huge civil engineering group,” said Choping.

While the life of a first-generation student may seem a little lonely and challenging, it doesn’t have to be.  There are people and programs at Vol State that can help.

“Communicating with everyone just helps a lot,” said Choping, “If you think you have a ‘bad professor,’ communicating with them can normally change your mind.”

Any first-generation students interested in college support should check out Vol State’s TRIO program for more information about the success services they offer.


-Gloria Cortes

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Vol State Weather Delay and Closing Guidelines

This a reminder of the Vol State weather delay and closing guidelines. We put this out at the start of each winter weather season.
Weather notices from Vol State can call for a delay of classes or a closing of a campus. It is always specific to the campus, so what happens in Gallatin may be different from Livingston, Cookeville-CHEC, or Springfield.
-A delay means that classes start at that hour. For example- If we say delayed opening at 9:30am that means only classes that would be meeting at 9:30am or later will be meeting. Classes before that are canceled. Some classes last for several hours. Those classes will start at the opening time.
-Labs are handled differently for a delay. Students should check the eLearn page for each lab to see what the instructor had decided. If campus is closed, there are no classes or labs.
- Vol State closings are not based on public school closings. You'll find that the College doesn't close or have class delays nearly as often as the high schools, primarily due to the fact that we don’t have buses to consider.
-If the roads are dangerous in your area you have the right to decide if you want to attend class or not. If you can't attend let your instructor know so that you can make up work.
-If there is a delay or cancelation students should check their eLearn web page for each canceled class to receive updated assignment info from instructors.
-Students will automatically receive text alerts with closing or delay info if they have a current cell phone listed in My Vol State.
-The website will always be updated on the front page if there is a delay or cancelation: www.volstate.edu
-You can also monitor our primary Facebook page: www.facebook.com/volstate
If you don’t receive a text use the website to double check. Any weather statement from the college will appear at the top of the home page.
We do send notices about delays and cancellations to the Nashville TV stations. However, TV stations should be a last resort to view closings. It sometimes takes an hour for the Vol State listings to come up on the screen due to the number of closings. The times the TV stations give us to choose from often don’t match our class times, so we have to approximate.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

First-Generation Student: LaBryian Scharklett


Older siblings are normally the first to do things in a family with children, and they can set the standard for their younger siblings.  As a first-generation student and the oldest of 10 children, civil engineering major LaBryian Scharklett is setting a collegiate example for his family.

While his dad has no college experience, his mom actually has some.  She briefly went to college after he was born, but was later convinced her to drop out and focus on taking care of her child.

LaBryian Scharklett
“From seeing [my parents] lives, and how not going to school turned out for them, it gives me the drive to want to go to school and see what it’s like on the other side,” said Scharklett.

He says since neither of his parents went to college, they don’t always understand or appreciate the work it takes to succeed in school.

“When I tell my parents- either one- things I accomplish in college, they’re not very appreciative or don’t reward me like how I would expect they should.  No, ‘I’m proud of you,’ or things like that because they don’t know what it is that I say.  A student hearing that they’re doing well can really help, change or influence them to do better in school,” said Scharklett.

As pessimistic as it may seem, that’s just the reality for some first-generation students.  Having parents that went to college is an advantage.

“Kids whose parents went to college have role models, and they already have a road paved to where they need to go, but we have to pave our own road….  Some students just have that perk of having parents who already know what college is like,” said Scharklett.

Although his parents may not be able to guide him, the TRIO program at Vol State has supported him through school.

“Not having all that stuff for some reason just makes me want to try harder.  It’s almost as if I can’t fail.  I can’t afford to fail college.  Some students have wealthy parents and inherit things, but I have nothing.  If I fail this, there’s nothing else I can go to,” said Scharklett.

Scharklett is now mentoring at TRIO, and says he is looking forward to graduation and planning to attend Tennessee Tech University. 

“[TRIO] has treated me very, very well.  I don’t think I would be where I am without them  They’ve helped with registration, planning classes, support, work study, all of that stuff,” said Scharklett.

Any first-generation students interested in college support should check out Vol State’s TRIO program for more information about the success services they offer. 

To show appreciation for first-generation college students, come to the First-Generation Vol State Celebration events planned throughout the week.


-Gloria Cortes

Basketball is Back - Home Opener Sat., Nov. 9


Get ready for Pioneer hoops! The home opener for the Vol State basketball season is this Saturday, November 9 at Pickel Field House. The Pioneer Women play at 2pm and the Pioneer Men tip-off at 4pm. All Vol State athletic events are free to everyone, so invite your friends and family. Come out and show your Pioneer Spirit.

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Check Out Student Stories in the Story Slam Thursday, November 7

This Thursday, Nov. 7: The Vol State Story Slam, students tell stories for prizes, Rochelle Center-Thigpen, 11:10am.


Monday, November 4, 2019

Vol State Events this Week

Nov. 4             Priority Spring Class Registration Opens, sophomores, 8am
Nov. 4             First Generation College Student Week: Well Tables. Get your First-Gen t-shirts and for faculty and staff. “I Pledge to Support First-Gen College Students” pledge cards and buttons available. Gallatin: 9:15-9:45AM and 11:00-11:30AM, SRB 2nd floor hallway. (Refreshments) Highland Crest: 9:15-11:00AM
Nov. 5             Priority Spring Class Registration Opens, freshmen, 8am
Nov. 5             Grow Your Veteran-Owned Business with Google Livestream, workshop, 300 Building, 11am-Noon
Nov. 5             First Generation College Student Week: First-Gen and Information Tables
Get info on services from TRIO, The Access Center, Diversity and Inclusion, and Adult Learners and Veteran Affairs. First-Gen t-shirts and “I Pledge to Support First-Gen College Students” pledge cards and buttons will be available. Gallatin: 9:00-11:00AM, Wood, Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room A. (Refreshments).

Nov. 5             Adult Learners and Veterans Affairs, Information and First-Gen Table for evening students. Gallatin: 4:30-6PM, Mattox Hallway. (Refreshments)

Nov. 6             First Generation College Student Week: Lunch/Learn: What’s Next after Vol State? A discussion of university transfer and workforce decisions. Hosted by Diversity and Inclusion and TRIO. Gallatin: 11:15AM Wood, Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B. (Lunch)
Highland Crest: 11:15AM Zoom Only, Room 146. (Lunch). Livingston: 11:15-1:00PM Zoom, Room 109, plus First-Gen Table (student lounge area). (Lunch).

Nov. 6             Adult Learners and Veterans Affairs, Information and First-Gen Table for evening students Gallatin: 4:30-6PM, Wallace North Hallway (Refreshments)

Nov. 6             Veterans Day Ceremony, CHEC Cookeville, Terrace, 9:30am
Nov. 7             Story Slam, students tell stories for prizes, Rochelle Center-Thigpen, 11:10am
Nov. 7             First Generation College Student Week: First-Generation Student Celebration. A discussion with first-generation college students, faculty and staff hosted by President Faulkner. Everyone is encouraged to wear their First-Gen t-shirt and/or button. Prize drawings for gear and book scholarships for students.
Gallatin: 12:45PM Mary Cole Nichols Dining Rooms A and B. (Lunch)
Highland Crest: 12:45 Zoom, Room 146, 12:00-3:00PM First-Gen Table (Lunch)
Cookeville: 8:00-3:30PM, First-Gen Table only (Atrium) (Lunch)
Nov. 7             Southeastern Grasslands Initiative, discussion, Rochelle Center-Thigpen, 3pm
Nov. 9             Basketball Home Opener: join the student section, Pickel Field House, 2pm-6pm