Friday, February 27, 2009

Career Placement? What's that?

Are you struggling to find a job in this economy? Don't know what to do or say while being interviewed? Can’t figure out how to write your resume?

Located in the 100 building on our East Campus (sometimes referred to as the Annex) in room 102, the Office of Career Placement, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning was created to help Vol State students and graduates in their search for a career in their chosen fields.

Dr. Rick Parrent, Director of Office of Career Placement, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning, said about the purpose of his office, "We provide resource and info to equip our students to be competitive in the market place. If students have taken the opportunity to do I can tell them that they're being bridge take the knowledge from college and build the bridge so when they start to connect with the real world, they can have the skills to be successful.”

So, what exactly does that big fancy title mean? Splitting the subjects apart:

Career Placement is, quoting the pamphlet, “[Career Placement] is a valuable resource center providing services to help you develop and enhance effective job seeking skills. Our services are designed to teach you how to successfully market your skills, experiences, qualifications, and abilities to potential employers as you pursue your career goals.”

Cooperative Education is another part of the laundry list of titles the office has. In laymen’s terms, the program offers students the chance to earn college credit while working off campus in a job related to their field of study. For all the information on how to participate, visit:

Service Learning gives students the chance to make a difference in their community and, in the process, learn valuable skills in critical thinking and problem solving, civic and community responsibility, and personal development. Professor of Sociology Bonita Harold is known for doing a service learning project in each of her classes every semester. When I had her for Introduction of Sociology, we did tornado clean-up and fed the homeless.

The Department does more than just those three topics listed above. They also run the Career Alumni Network, Credits for Life, and the Job Listings website.

The Office of Career Placement, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning recently started another program called the Career Alumni Network, or CAN. According it its pamphlet, "CAN has been created in collaboration with area business and industry partners of Vol State to assist students of the College in exploring several career development opportunities. The 30 members of CAN have volunteered to help students by serving as a contact, shadow, mentor, or referral to enhance students' awareness of existing career opportunities and options." Check out this website to read a couple of bios of CAN members:

Credits for Life is a program offers those students a chance to skip the classroom if they already have and can prove they already have the knowledge and experience that they would have been taught. The whole process is explained here:

On the Office of Career Placement, Cooperative Education, and Service Learning's website, they have a place where local employers can post help wanted ads for completely free. To visit the current job listings, visit:

Want to know more? The office is located in the 100 building on our East Campus (sometimes referred to as the Annex) in room 102. The office hours are from 8am to 4:30pm, Monday through Friday, and the phone number is 615.230.3321. Walk-ins are welcomed, but making an appointment and calling in ahead of time is preferred.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

It's time for March Madness, Vol State style!

Next week, the Men's and Women's Basketball teams will be competing in the National Junior College Athletic Association/Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (NJCAA/TCCAA) state-wide championship tournament. The winning Men's and Women's team will have the opportunity to play in the national tournament. All of the games will be held at Cleveland State Community College in Cleveland, Tenn.

The action begins for the Lady Pioneers on Thursday, March 5 at 6:00pm. Our Ladies will go against the winner of the Motlow State vs. Jackson State game on Tuesday, March 3rd. Then Vol State will play against whoever wins the Chattanooga State vs. Dyersburg State game on Thursday, March 5 at 8pm.

Those winners will compete against each other for a chance at the finals on Saturday, March 7 at 4pm versus the other bracket winner.

The two remaining teams will meet at 2pm on Sunday, March 8 for the championship. The winner of that game will be named the TCCAA Champion!

The men's bracket has not been released as of Thursday, February 26 at 1pm but we do know they will start tournament play against Roane State.

I spoke with both coaches about their opinions on their team's chances of making it through the tournament:

Jason Montgomery, Lady Pioneers Head Coach, said "It's going to be tough. I mean, it's a great opportunity for us. We've did everything we wanted to do to be in the position to have the number one seat. But you're looking at a semifinal match up with Chattanooga State Community College who is one of our three losses, and we get past them, we go against Walter State who is undefeated and who is number three in the country. It's a a tough tournament but we're right where we want to be."

Rusty Melvin, Pioneers Head Coach, said, "We open up with Roane State who we beat earlier in the year. But they are a very good team, they just beat a couple of teams so Roane will be a tough challenge. Then we play Moltow and we place close. The way I look at the tournament is that if you can get hot and play your best ball, we have a chance. Everyone we play on our side of the tournament, we can play with. I'm just worried about playing out next game on Wednesday."

Be sure to check this blog next week for all the latest scores and news from the tournament.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Meet Travis Pommer

Travis has a bit of a different story that most students on campus. He is from the Rivergate/Madison area and attends college here at Vol State, and so do a lot of other students. What makes him so unique?

Could you imagine riding to school everyone on a bicycle 20 miles up and down Nashville Pike just to attend college? Travis does just that. Here is an interview I did of him:

So I guess the first question is, why? Why do you ride your bike from Rivergate all the way to Gallatin to go to school here?
"Because I had finally got fed up with getting gas to go anywhere. I realized that make most of my commute alone, so the bicycle is the perfect one person vehicle. Not to mention it also keeps you in pretty good shape."

How long have you done this for? How long do you plan on keeping it up?
"I've been doing this from Spring 2009. I plan on keeping it up for as long as I go here."

Have you thought about online classes?
"I have, it's actually funny... between my commute and work, I had no time to do the online class. I ended up having to drop it."

How much money do you think you've saved by riding your bike?
"One tank a week, 50 dollars for a tank of gas."

Do you have a specialty road bike?
"Nope! My uncle gave me my mountain bike from Wal-Mart."

What would you say to someone who might be interested in doing something like riding their bikes from their house to school?
"Safety first, no joke. I know that sounds corny but it's the truth. Make sure you have at least helmet and some lights. Know where you're going and be prepared for it. Definitely do it if you're interested."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Confused by FAFSA? Visit College Goal Sunday for free help!

Have you ever tried filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid, or FAFSA, on your own? It can be a little confusing, and detour some students form consider college... That's why College Goal Sunday was made.

College Goal Sunday is a free event that offers assistance to anyone interested in attending college in filling out the FAFSA. According to their website, volunteers will provide a presentation outlining the FAFSA line by line, one-on-one information, and question/answer sessions to benefit students and parents in different stages of the financial aid process

College Goal Sunday happens at 35 different locations all around the state. One of those locations is here on campus at the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Library. It will start at 2pm and run until 4pm.

What to bring to fill out FAFSA
- 2008 Federal Tax Return or other income documentation
- Social Security number
- Driver's license (if any)
- 2008 W-2 Forms or year-end pay stubs and other year-end records of money received
- 2008 untaxed income records - Social Security, Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, welfare, or veterans benefits records
- Your 2008 bank statements
- 2008 business and investment mortgage information, business and farm records, stock, bond, and other investment records
- Your alien registration card (if you are not a U.S. citizen)
- AND if you plan on filling out the FAFSA online at the event also bring:PIN# for the FAFSA. (Apply for your PIN# at

If you would like more information about College Goal Sunday, visit their website:

Soul Food Luncheon Pictures

This past Wednesday was the annual Soul Food Luncheon hosted by the African American Student Union. The turn out was great, as to be expected with any event offering free food to college students.

The luncheon was packed to the brim with students, faculty, and staff members diving into traditional "soul food" and listening to different presentations and poetry from various African Americans. Here are a few pictures of the speakers and all the food:

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Congrats to Katie Richardson!

I am proud to announce that Vol State basketball freshman guard Katie Richardson has been named the national player of the week for last week by the NJCAA. Below is the link to her article.

Jason Montgomery
Head Coach
Volunteer State Community College
Women's Basketball

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Four students qualified for National Forensics Association Tournament

Written by Judi Truitt.

On February 14-15, the Volunteer State Community College Speech Team participated in the annual state tournament. Vol State came in first place in overall sweepstakes in the small college division.

Two of our students also qualified for Nationals: Jodi Axley and Will Axley in Duo Acting. Barbara Jackson participated in the Pentathlon, a first for a Vol State team since I have been here. That means she competed in Prose, Poetry, Programmed Oral Interpretation, Informative Speaking, and Duo Acting with Sabrina Jeske. Sarina Jeske also participated in Prose. Chris Pierce and Jake Townsend debated for the first time. Chris competed in Impromptu Speaking, and Jake in Persuasive Speaking.

February 6-7 the team competed at Murray State University. Vol State came in 4th place in the small college division at that tournament. Three of our students qualified for Nationals. Jodi Axley qualified in After Dinner Speaking, Sarina Jeske in Prose, and Barbara Jackson in Prose. Will Axley qualified last fall in After Dinner Speaking. These four Vol State students will be at the National Forensics Association Tournament in St. Louis, Missouri, April 16-20. This is a great honor for our students.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Pioneers win again!

Saturday night we hosted our 2nd annual WBCA Pink Zone game to raise funds and awareness for the fight against breast cancer and I am happy to say it was a tremendous success!!! We had a great crowd decked out in pink and raised $960 for the American Cancer Society. On behalf of my team and staff I want to extend our great appreciation to all those who came out!!!

On the basketball side it was a wild night that saw us go into halftime trailing by 14 only to come out in the second half and explode for 72 points in the half on the way to a 106-82 win – our 11th in a row! The win took our record to 23-3 on the season. Freshman Katie Richardson led the way with 28 points and 8 rebounds. We return to action Saturday here at home as we host Jackson State at 2:00 with the men’s game at 4:00.

I also wanted to congratulate the rest of the Pioneer sports on a good weekend!!! Coach Melvin and the men’s team notched another conference win, Coach Crossland and baseball took 2 of 3 from Chattanooga in their conference opener and softball under Coach Lynn opened the season with a win over Olney Central!!! Go PIONEERS!!!

Hope to see you all at a game soon!!!

Jason Montgomery
Head Coach
Volunteer State Community College
Women's Basketball

Friday, February 13, 2009

WeightWatchers At Work Progam to begin soon

Are you interested in participating in an on-site Weight Watchers® Meeting?

If so, then you are encouraged to e-mail Karen Waller your name, the day of the work week you'd like to meet, which time slot you would rather have (11am or 12:30pm), and extension or phone number she could reach you.

The At Work Program meetings are held in ten-week series. Each Meeting is approximately 45 minutes, including a private weigh-in. The following is the cost of the entire ten-week series:

- New or renewing Member fee is $120.00
- Continuing (current) Member fee is $110.00
- Weight Watchers Lifetime Member fee is $100.00

Refunds are available only within 72 hours of registration. To obtain a refund, the member must call the At Work Department, return all materials and membership book in original condition. No refunds can be granted after the initial 72-hour period.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Meet Mary Smitt

Mary is a 57 year old student originally from New York City. She recently moved down here to Gallatin with family and is an Allied Health major.

Why did you leave New York City?

"My partner was ill, and I was in a car wreck and needed help being taken care of and my son lives down here so they were going to help us."

What do you miss about the Big Apple?
"The public transportation. I miss the bus system."

How do you feel back going back to school and being a 57 year old college student?
"Stupid. The logical part of my brain tells me I'm too old to be a college student."

What would you tell other older adults out there that might be intimidated by the thought of going to college?
"Do it."

What's your favorite class, and least favorite classes right now?
"I'd say English 1010 [is my favorite.] And computers, anything to do with computers."

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Arun Gandhi, grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, to speak on campus Friday

Arun Gandhi will speak on Friday at 3:00pm in the Wemyss Auditorium in the Caudill Building.

He is the grandson of the late Mahatma Gandhi, and is also a nonviolence peace activist.

According to his website, Arun Gandhi has spoken at such places as
the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Women’s Justice Center in Ann Arbor, Michigan, the Young President’s Organization in Mexico, the Trade Union Leaders’ Meeting in Milan, Italy, the Peace and Justice Center in St. Louis, Missouri.

He has spoken in countries like Croatia, France, Ireland, Holland, Lithuania, Nicaragua, China, Scotland and Japan.

He often speaks on university and college campuses. Some of his most recent stops were North Dakota State University, Concordia College, Baker University, Morehouse College, Marquette University, and the University of San Diego.

Out of all of those places he has been to and spoken at, he will be coming to Gallatin, Tennessee to speak on our campus. The title of his speech is "Lessons from my Grandfather."

This event is free and open to the public.

Volunteer State Community College. Vol State.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Visit Transfer Day on February 11th

Every spring semester, Vol State hosts 25-30 colleges around the Tennessee region to give currently enrolled students a chance to meet with their Admissions Advisers to help them through the process of transferring after graduating in May.

Transfer Day will be on February 11th, and last from 10am-1pm.

"It gives students the opportunity to meet with the admissions adviser. It's also a great way to find out about scholarships for transfer students," said Heather Harper, Coordinator of Admissions.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Economy and You

Back in October, I talked with a few local businesses around campus about how they were weathering the economic downturn.

When I talked with local businesses last October, the Marble Slab Creamery across the street from school had just shut down. So far, no more businesses have shut their doors.

Not too far away from campus, The Streets of Indian Lake in Hendersonville opened in the middle of last year just before the economy began to decline. One of the restaurants, Barfield's Bar and Grill, closed its doors on January 18th due the weakened economy according to this Hendersonville Star News article.

Back on campus, I asked a group of students how the economy is affecting them. I was surprised to hear just how many people were having problems.

"I have no spare time! I have a child to raise, I have a full time job, go to school full time, trying to raise money to go to school and my child and my house payment. It's overwhelming, you know?" said Sabra Coslow.

"I'm losing hours at work and I'm not making more than 70 dollars week. Gas is going up again... every thing's getting expensive," said Kenia Roblero.

"It's only really affecting me with hours at work. Instead of laying people off, my managers just decided to cut hours," said Ashley Johnson.

Their stories were repeated by the 20 or so other students I talked with about the economy. Only one student I spoke with was positive about how things are going.

"It hasn't really affected me. I just recent got a job at a convenience store down the road. I have a lot of faith that I serve a God that is big enough to to take of all of us through this economic downturn," said Velvet Hale.

Now I turn it over to you the reader... how has the economic downturn affected you? Vote in the poll to the right and then comment on this entry.

Vol State. Volunteer State Community College.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Experience different cultures and meet people from all over the globe without leaving campus! Here's how...

The Vol State International Student Association (or VISA) is a place were American can meet international students, and for international students to get involved.

Check out the flier to the left. The VISA club will be meeting in Ramer 170 on Wednesday at 1:30pm.

If you can’t make it to the meeting, the VISA club will host a foreign film night in the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Library at 6pm on February 27th.

If you'd like any more information on joining VISA, contact Keith Bell, Kay McLean, Karen Hutson, or Tonya Daniels.
Volunteer State Community College. Vol State.