Saturday, May 18, 2019

Graduation 2019 - Congrats Middle College Students!

Sumner County Middle College High School students were awarded high school diplomas during a ceremony at Vol State Saturday. Twenty-three of those students also received associate degrees from Vol State two weeks ago. It may seem a bit odd to get a college degree before your diploma, but due to the scheduling of the annual events, and the uniqueness of the academic program, that is the case. Middle College High School students take classes on the Vol State campus, earning high school and college credit at the same time. It allows students to get a jump start on their college career, entering university with many college credits.
Two senior speakers were elected by the graduates. Isaac Ramirez is set to attend the University of Alabama at Huntsville in the fall, where he has received a full-tuition scholarship and a seat in the Honors College. He plans a dual degree in biology and chemistry towards his goal of a career as a medical researcher. Jaimee Brown received the Mary Cole Nichols Award from the college this year, for exceptional service in improving the quality of student life. She will attend Austin Peay State University for a degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to work in federal law enforcement.

Tuesday, May 7, 2019

Graduate Profile: Tari Pearson

Pre-Nursing graduate and TN Reconnect student, Tari Pearson, took her first swing at college straight out of high school. Life then got in the way of her finishing. At 48 years of age, her five kids are now grown, so it’s time for Tari to finish the degree she began years ago.

“I don’t have a personal life right now, because my focus is getting through school … I just do what I’m focused on doing, and that’s getting to that [registered nurse] status,” she said.

Tari has worked as a professional caregiver for around ten years, which will give her much experience to bring to the table as a nurse. One interesting fact is that she was a caregiver to Johnny and June Carter Cash. She shared that the Cashs are just two of the many clients that have made her career as a caregiver meaningful. “I was with June the day her pacemaker went out … She had a beautiful spirit about her, always smiled, she was forgiving,” she said.

Tari said she feels that she can make more of a positive difference by moving up from a caregiver to a registered nurse and wanted to return to school to take her career to the next level.

“I’ll be a first generation graduate. Vol State gave me an opportunity to move forward.”

After Vol State, Tari is looking to transfer either to Tennessee State University or Cumberland University to continue her studies in Nursing.

-By Rachel Keyes

Friday, May 3, 2019

Graduation Live Streaming

The Vol State Spring Graduation ceremony on Saturday, May 4 will be streamed live starting at 10am. Everyone is welcome to view. Visit:

Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Graduate Profile: Elijah Avery

Elijah Avery knows how to debate politics, and he’s particularly interested in foreign affairs. But this Political Science major comes with more than just statistics and rhetoric in his arguments, he brings some life experience. He said growing up in South Africa didn’t directly influence his interest in politics, but it did give him a different perspective. Elijah moved to the U.S. at the young age of ten, and it was during high school that he discovered his knack for political speech and debate.

“We were required to learn and research various political topics and I always thought, ‘these are absolutely stupid, these aren’t going to affect me,’ but then after reading it and looking at it, I found it very interesting,” he said.
After moving on to college, he joined the newly formed Vol State Speech and Debate Team and rapidly found success. He won a number of awards in regional and state tournaments. His feats culminated recently in a national competition at the Novice National Parliamentary Debate Tournament in Ohio. Elijah, and teammate Danielle Salvato, won first place in Novice Parliamentary Debate. He also won second place Debate, second place in Impromptu Sales, third place in Impromptu Speaking, and third place Pentathlon. He calls his experience with the Speech and Debate Team a highlight of his Vol State experience.

“I feel like Vol State has given me the opportunity to educate myself both academically and mentally, or psychologically, I suppose, and the Speech and Debate Team was a great plus.”

Elijah is keeping his options open in regards to his educational path as he hasn’t decided on a university yet. But he intends to double major in Political Science (with an emphasis in Public Administration), and Public Relations.

“And as far as public relations, I’ve always been told, like, ‘EJ’s a talker...’ So, I might as well get paid for it … The ultimate goal would be to be a chief of staff of an organization or a [chief commercial officer]. Lobbyist is the main goal. Lobbyist is something I’ve wanted to do for a hot minute,” he said.

Regarding moving on from Vol State, he said: “I like change, but I am reluctant to leave because I actually am leaving some good friends and professors behind … But I’m also excited to, like, go out into the world and, you know, continue my education.”

And yes, he plans to keep debating.

-By Rachel Keyes

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Graduate Profile: Isaac Ramirez

Isaac Ramirez is one motivated college student. “I’ve been pushing myself more and more every semester,” he said. He has a love for learning and a passion for science. His family is a big part of the reason he seeks out challenges.
“My parents came from Mexico when I was one-year-old,” he said. “My dad worked at a plant in Portland. He liked it and decided to stay. He started as an engineer and now he’s a supervising engineer.”
Life in a new country was difficult for the Ramirez family. “My parents struggled with learning English. I picked up Spanish from home and English at school. My dad never had the opportunity to do much in higher education. He was educated through his work. When we came here, their goal was to give us a better life through education. Everything they do involves getting me and my sisters into college.”
And so Isaac came to college; not out of high school, but rather as a high school junior. He’s a Sumner County Middle College High School student. His classes for the last two years have been at the Vol State campus in Gallatin. He will graduate in May with a Vol State associate’s degree and his high school diploma.
“I’ve been able to find classes I never would have been able to take at high school. The one that stands out the most is microbiology. I absolutely love it.”
His science classes at Vol State have been a launching pad for his dream to be a medical researcher.
“I want to go into pharmaceutical research. My main goal is to do research into superbugs and bacteriophages. That’s a form of virus that infects bacteria. They’re trying to use that to provide a way to fight bacteria without raising the chance that it becomes resistant to treatment.”
His next step is the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where he has received a full-tuition scholarship and a seat in the Honors College. He plans to pursue a dual degree in biology and chemistry. His Vol State classes have provided a jump start on his bachelor’s degree. “I should be able to finish in two and a half to three years.”
His parents will be watching closely. “They’re checking-up on every single step. They’re super-excited for me to go out into the world and find a way to do what I love doing.”

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

The New Pioneer Pen Student Literary Magazine

The 2019 edition of the Pioneer Pen literary and arts magazine is out, featuring student and faculty work. Writers read poetry and prose during a publication event today. The visual artists displayed art and photography. The publication is an impressive display of the talent at Vol State. The student editors are Sara Eaton, Amber Nicole Kittrell, Rachel Keyes, Kirstie Frank and Brenna Hicks. The faculty advisors are Emily Andrews and Laura McClister. Congratulations to all of the contributors. Pick up your free copy in the Humanities Office - SRB 208.

Gallatin Nursing Information Meeting April 30

Vol State is offering a new RN Nursing A.A.S. Degree program. It starts in June and the special application is available now. An information session will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at 5 p.m on the Gallatin campus in Caudill Hall Room 102. Everyone is invited to attend. There are general education classes required to be taken before application. The students most likely ready to apply for the summer start are current pre-nursing students. However, everyone is welcome to attend the meeting for information about the path towards the Nursing degree. To apply, and for more information about the program, visit