Thursday, May 27, 2010

Vol State Student Utilizes New GI Bill

The cost of attending college can sometimes be very daunting with the cost of tuition, books, and general daily living expenses.

Computer Information Systems major Vicky Weeks decided to use her GI Bill benefits and is attending Vol State after six years active duty in the United States Air Force. Weeks was getting books for her summer classes with her daughter Emily, 2.

Weeks said she likes Vol State. “This is my third term. The staff is always helpful and it’s pretty easy to get here,” she said.

As far as missing the Air Force she says, “Yes and no. I’m glad I got out when I did, but there are a lot of aspects I do miss. I was stationed in Germany for two years and I got out in 2005. I was an E-5 Staff Sgt.”

The new GI Bill has a few differences. “They pay your tuition, give you a book stipend, and a cost of living allowance,” she said.

Weeks said she is going to try to get transferred to Western Kentucky University after graduating from Vol State.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Coaches Honored

Two Vol State coaches were presented the coach of the year award for the 2009 and 2010 year.

“This is my first year at Volunteer State. I loved it. This is coming home for me. I look forward to many more successful seasons,” said Chris Harris, Head Coach for Women’s Basketball.

Harris received the award from The Tennessee Junior and Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) Western Division.

“Anytime you get the coach of the year award that is the ultimate team award because without the team you wouldn’t have it,” said Johnny Lynn, Head Softball Coach. Lynn received the TCCAA coach of the year award for women’s softball.

Lynn is a Marketing and Business Ed major from Auburn University. “I started softball in ’93-’94. When I got out (of college) I came up here to help Bobby Hudson with basketball, but I had to coach softball too,” he said.

Out of the 17 years Lynn has been coaching at Vol State he has received the coach of the year award nine times.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, May 24, 2010

On the Road to Writing

Changing career paths was a life change for Vol State student Steven R. Zellers.

“I was a truck driver from ’86 to 2007. I hurt my back and so I can’t drive a truck anymore,” Zellers said.

Zellers has been writing for years. “I love to write. My first book was ‘The Truth About Trucking.' For years I sent my stuff out and got rejected like most people. I finally self published ‘The Truth About Trucking.’ Then Ingram picked me up,” he said.

Another story Zellers has written is titled “The Perfect Girl.” “It was kind of an accident. I wrote a blog about it on MySpace basically listing what I thought would be the perfect girl. I got about 1,000 emails, and decided to write a book about it,” he said.

Zellers is a secondary education major. “I love to write. I want to teach creative writing. I want to make a difference as a writer. If I can show the young kids that there is more out there than just drugs and gangs, I think I’d be a good teacher. Maybe I can help someone,” he said.

According to Zellers his book “The Power to say No More to Abuse,” is a story about growing up with an abusive father. He says that he is against substance abuse, and wants to convey this.

The Nashville City Paper wrote a positive review of Zellers’ book “Darktales” on July 25, 2008.

Zellers sells his publications on Amazon. “I sell about 200 to 300 copies a month,” he said.

In 2000 he had the opportunity to write and direct a movie titled “Retribution.”

For more information about Zellers visit his website.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, May 21, 2010

FEMA: Hazard Mitigation and SBA

FEMA is set up at Vol State in the carpeted dining room of the Wood Campus Center from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. seven days a week.

Many stations are set up to aid flood victims in various ways, and The Small Business Administration (SBA) is working with FEMA.

“FEMA deals with emergency needs up front. SBA is a long term recovery operation. We loan money,” said Gregory A. Boyt, Disaster Recourse Specialist.

“We can do a number of different types of loans for homeowners and renters. We can loan up to 200,000 dollars for a home repair, and 40,000 dollars for personal property,” said Boyt.

Boyt said that loans are subject to credit approval. “If our people in loan processing deny them a loan, they get thrown back into FEMA’s system. Our filing deadline is July 6,” he added.

FEMA also has hazard mitigation assistance. “We try to reduce the loss of life and property for future disasters. We make sure black mold growth doesn’t transpire,” said Arsenio Escudero.

“We give information on contractors to make sure the victims don’t get swindled. We take information down as to what happened. We show them (the victims) the different tips for cleaning up and sometimes it is more cost efficient that way,” said Escudero.

Escudero also said that they give information about different governmental programs that can possibly help.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Vol State Welcomes FEMA

FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) is available at Vol State seven days a week from 7 a.m. until 7 p.m. in the carpeted dining room to benefit middle Tenn. flood victims.

"We stay while the people of Tenn. need us. We help people with the application process for FEMA,” said Sandy Ramsey, Disaster Recovery Center (DRC) Manger.

As you enter the carpeted dining room there is a registration table and several stations set up.

There are application services to aid in the application process for those seeking assistance.

“Whenever FEMA is at a site due to a disaster DHS (The Department of Human Services) is usually called to be there as well. The person has to apply for FEMA and provide us a registration number. We can supplement their food stamps for the max amount,” said Yvette P. Garrett, Tenn. DHS Field Management Director 1.

“In order to qualify for cash assistance they (flood victims) have to have suffered property damage,” Garrett continues.

Garrett said, “It is really designed for Sumner County residents but we have seen some overflow from Davidson County.”

According to Garrett DHS could stay at Vol State up to the amount of time that FEMA is here or as needed. “During this disaster period our office hours are 7:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m., and our regular office hours are 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.,” she said.

Ramsey talks about how she loves her job. “I love it. There are a lot of good people in FEMA or they wouldn’t be here. We live away from our families. We miss all the holidays because we are out doing disaster work. You get to work for a lot of really caring, loving people,” she said.

Ramsey said she has worked for FEMA for several years.

The Sumner County DHS office is located on 393 Maple Street Suite 200 Gallatin, TN 37066.

The phone number is (615) 451-5814.

Contact FEMA directly at 1-800-621-FEMA.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Service Learning Tutors

Tutoring middle school students can be part of the Vol State educational experience. It's called Service Learning and it ties classwork in with community projects. Last semester a communication class taught by Dr. Judi Truitt worked on a group communication project by tutoring students at Rucker Stewart Middle School. Vol State students Curtis Stewart, Mandy Altheide, Rout Wang and Thomas Richardson took part in the project. Service Learning projects happen each semester in many different classes at Vol State. To learn more visit:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Vol State Advisor Experiences a Solemn Ceremony

Scott Hilgadiack is an advisor at Vol State. He just returned home from a once in a life time experience in Washington, DC. Here is the story:

I'm a member of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows and Rebekahs, a family fraternity, and serves as the Grand Master for the state of Tennessee. The Odd Fellows and Rebekahs are one of the only fraternal groups that when presenting a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers at Arlington National Cemetery are allowed to walk into the Tomb area and present the wreath to the Guard.

The IOOF pilgrimage is a solemn ceremony that has been named “The Pilgrimage to the Tomb”. It is the result of a privilege that was afforded to the Odd Fellows and Rebekahs by our thirty-second President of the United States and an Odd Fellow, Franklin D. Roosevelt who was in the White House from 1933-1945.

June 17, 1934 was the first date for the Odd Fellow Pilgrimage. The purpose of this Pilgrimage was not only to honor the Unknown Soldier and the Nation’s War Dead, but also the members of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows who had made the supreme sacrifice in World War I.

I have visited Washington, DC many times before and seen the changing of the guard. It is an experience that warms your soul knowing that the men in the tomb paid the ultimate sacrifice for us to have the freedoms that we have today. As former military, I know it is a privilege to be able to walk where only the Army Guards are allowed. To actually go and present a wreath to the Guard is truly an honor. We got to walk across the area in front of the Tomb and hand our wreath from the state of Tennessee to the Army Guard. Just being on that hallowed ground and being able to thank the Guard in person as I handed him the wreath gave me a rush of excitement. There have been many things in my life that I am proud of but this one is at the top of the list. It is a once in a life time experience and it is something that I will truly cherish for the rest of my life.

This Ceremony of Remembrance for those who have given their lives to preserve the “American way of life” enshrines the principles of Odd Fellowship – Friendship, Love and Truth. It is indeed an honor to be a part of this pilgrimage.

-Scott Hilgadiack

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Radiology Bound

Cassie Hunley, 27, transferred to Vol State from UK (The University of Kentucky) to go into the radiology program.

“We moved here a couple of years ago. I’m a pre-radiology tech. I have a friend who’s daughter runs a radiology lab and she said that this (Vol State) was a good school,” Hunley said.

Hunley said she is taking classes in the summer, fall, and spring semesters. “I’m hoping to have my associates by next spring and move into the radiology program,” she said.

“I went to UK, which is a huge college, for three years and you are just a pawn in the game. Here you can actually talk to people and your advisors,” she added.

“I’ve worked in a doctor’s office, and I had a couple of ultrasounds done. I really want to do that,” she said.

Hunley said that she has enjoyed her experience so far at Vol State, and hopes that she gets accepted in the highly competitive radiology program.

Volunteer State Community College

Flood Clean-Up in Hendersonville Saturday

There are flood clean-up volunteer operations happening all over Tennessee. The latest for Sumner County is Hands on Hendersonville City Cleanup from 8am-Noon on Saturday. You can visit their facebook page for details:

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

TRIO Graduates Honored

The Vol State TRIO program honored graduates this morning with an awards presentation and breakfast.

The TRIO program has a mission to provide eligible students increased educational opportunities related to academic skills, career development, and personal growth.

“We are federally funded through the department of education. Our primary focus is to help students graduate,” said Andrea Boddie, Director of Student Support Services (TRIO).

Lita Miller, 39, was one of the graduates honored.

“TRIO is one of the most incredible resources available to a group of students who need it the most. Either students who are first generation, those with financial need, or both may qualify for the program,” said Miller.

“I started out as a member of the TRIO program. I was totally clueless in math. I signed up for tutoring and tested out of beginning and intermediate within one semester,” Miller said.

Miller wanted to teach when she first started Vol State education but decided to get a business and commerce degree. She is a tutor with the TRIO program. “I’m going to be tutoring this summer. I always wanted to teach, and tutoring kind of scratches that teaching itch. I’ve gotten as much out of tutoring that I’ve given,” she said.

“All of the counselors in TRIO are like family. No matter what the problem, you can go to them. It has saved a lot of people from giving up and quitting. They go above and beyond the intention of the program to make sure students have everything they need to succeed,” said Miller.

Miller added that, “If you qualify for the program it is an amazing resource.”

For more information about the TRIO program and eligibility requirements call 615-230-3732 or visit

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Write for this blog! Social Media Writer position open

Vol State Do you enjoying writing? Vol State has a part-time Social Media Writer position available for the fall semester. Students are welcome to apply. View the details and apply at this site:

A Family in Uniform

Following in his family’s footsteps is what Vol State student Brandon Kellam, 20, is planning to do.

Kellam is a criminal justice major. “It kind of runs in my family. My great grandfather was one of the first black police officers in Springfield,” he said.

“I have an uncle and he is a retired state trooper. He guards Governor Bredesen. I want to do something with the state. I would really like to work for the U.S. Marshalls. My grandmother is a retired Master Sergeant from the Army. My dad is retired military too,” said Kellam.

“As a kid I was always interested in watching ‘America’s Most Wanted’ and ‘Cops.’ I’m a people person, and you see different things every day,” Kellam said about some of the reasons he is interested in a career in law enforcement.

Kellam is not only going to school, but he helps care for his ten month old nephew as well.

“I have a mother who is really sick. She is a really bad diabetic. My nephew stays with me and I help take care of him during the week,” he said.

Kellam is planning to graduate Spring 2011 from Vol State if he doesn't transfer to a four year university in the fall.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, May 10, 2010

Baseball and Softball Tourney Updates

The TCCAA/NJCAA Region 7 baseball and softball tournaments continue in Dyersburg today. Here is the latest about the Vol State teams.


Volunteer State: 13
Southwest TN: 8

Chattanooga State: 10
Volunteer State: 2

Volunteer State 16
Motlow State 8

Baseball will play Walters State today at 2:00 p.m.


Volunteer State: 8
Dyersburg State: 0

Volunteer State: 5
Jackson State: 4

Columbia State: 4
Volunteer State: 1

Motlow State: 10
Volunteer State: 2

The softball team has been eliminated from the tournament.

Lights, Camera, Action!

Vol State theater student P.C. Neilson, 19, is moving to Los Angeles, Calif. to pursue his dream of becoming a film actor.

Neilson got accepted into the American Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA). “It’s a two year program and four years is optional. I got a 4,000 dollar scholarship,” he said.

“I plan on moving out there in mid-September. The semester begins October 15 and ends in February. They offer classes in screen acting and stage acting,” said Neilson.

“I’ve been acting since I was little. My first career choice was to go into professional wrestling. I had a small accident and I hurt my knee," Neilson said.

"I came from a showbiz family. My father is a director in L.A. His name is Phil Neilson. My mom has done some stunt work,” he said.

Neilson talked about the differences in film versus live theater productions. “In theater you only get one chance (to get it right during a performance). I think that all actors should have to train in stage theater. I’m trying to get into film,” he said.

“To any aspiring actors out there don’t give up. It’s your dream. Follow it,” he said.

Neilson said that when he is settled in Los Angeles he is going to try to get auditions for acting jobs in between his school schedule.

Tuition rates for AMDA are between 33 to 35 thousand dollars per academic year.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, May 7, 2010

Baseball Win!

The Vol State baseball team won today against Southwest Tennessee (13-8). They will play again tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. against Chattanooga State. The softball team will also play tomorrow at 4:00 p.m. If you would like to follow their progress you may do so at

Go Pioneers!

Vol State Students Get Ready for Graduation

Graduation rehearsal was in full force today at 10 a.m. in the Pickel building.

Students were asked to stand if they were the first person in their family to graduate from college, and over half the room stood up.

“It was a good experience all the way through. I’m leaving with a good degree in secondary education,” said Jason Johnson on his experience with Vol State.

Phillip Dixon said, “What I took from Vol State is the knowledge and experience that I got with the hands on work in the TV studio. Part of me is happy it’s over and part of me isn’t. The plan is to try to get a job, but if not I will most likely go on to another school.”

President Dr. Warren Nichols gave a few reminders. “Leave your cell phones on vibrate or silent during the ceremony.” He also wanted to let graduates know that family members are welcome to take pictures from the seats, but not to come up to the front as this can cause a traffic jam.

Graduating students are asked to be at Vol State in the Pickel building at 9:15 a.m. Saturday May 8, 2010.

If there are empty seats due to those unable to attend, students are asked to fill in those seats. Remember to wear comfortable appropriate clothing.

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Finals and Scheduling Frenzy

Final exam period can be stressful, and having to rearrange your schedule completely can prove even more daunting.
Due to the massive flooding in Nashville and the surrounding areas, Vol State has had to change the final exam schedule. For some students this has proven a challenge, and for others they see it as an extra day or two to study.
“It affected me. I have a Tuesday night class at McGavock. All of the off campus teachers are harder to get in contact with. It is aggravating. I’m having a lot of trouble,” said Environmental Science major Emily Henson on the way to try to find someone who could give her some answers.
Joanna Krisle said, “I have two more today. The one we had Tuesday, she (the instructor) just cancelled. The project we had evened it out.”
“Now I’ve got until Monday, but I think they should have done the scheduling a whole lot better,” said student Justin Brown.
Nursing student Stacy Lytle said that the difference in scheduling didn’t affect her. “I just asked each teacher when they were having it. My computer teacher was wonderful.”

For a complete schedule including changes and explanations please visit:

Students who have read the online finals schedule information and are still having difficulties finding out information about final exams they are encouraged to contact the division for the class. Off campus students who have not heard from their instructor should contact the off campus office at 230-3743. 

Volunteer State Community College

Vol State- Cash for Flood Relief

The Vol State Staff Council is sponsoring a flood relief collection. The money will go to Nashville Area Red Cross flood relief efforts. Because things are so busy with finals we are only accepting cash donations. You can drop off a donation at Student Services in Wood Campus Center room 217 or with Public Relations in Ramer 103. The collection will go through next Wednesday. We will also have a table outside of graduation on the library side, both before and after commencement. If you don’t have cash you can still donate to the Red Cross effort:

Visit and click DONATE NOW to make an online gift

Mail a check to the Nashville Area Red Cross

2201 Charlotte Avenue, Nashville, TN 37203

Call (615) 250-4300 to make a donation by phone

Text REDCROSS to 90999 to make a $10 donation on your mobile phone

Photo courtesy of George Walker IV/Tennessean

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Flooding Affects Vol State Students

Massive flooding in Nashville, Tenn. and the surrounding areas on May 1 and 2, 2010 has affected Vol State students.

Michael Lotfi was evacuated from his home. “I live in Hermitage on the Cumberland. They made everybody where I live evacuate,” he said.

“I went to stay at my friend’s condo on 2nd Ave. and we ended up getting stuck in the

building. We had to jump from the balcony from the second floor into the boats in the water. They took us to 5th Ave. rafting down the street,” Lotfi said.

“It was insane. It is completely surreal. I have never seen anything like this. Downtown looks very similar to ‘Katrina’. All the roads are literally covered in water,” Lotfi said on Monday May 3, 2010.

Student Lauren Dickens said that she had to wade through the water in her driveway to get to the cars.

Other students were not as affected by the raging waters. “My house is okay but the bottom of the street is flooded. The horses had to be moved. My brother works at Gaylord and couldn’t go into work,” said Chelsea Taylor.

This is Robyn Wolfe’s second semester at Vol State. She said, “I’ve grown up in Tenn. but I’ve never seen anything like this.”

For those wanting to volunteer visit Hands on Nashville.

Photos are courtesy of Michael Lotfi and Lauren Dickens.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Gallatin Campus Open Wednesday for Normal Hours and Finals

Vol State in Gallatin will be open for finals and regular business tomorrow, Wednesday May 5. Vol State in Livingston will be open as usual. Off-campus sites will be open as listed by area school systems. Check local news listings for information.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Gallatin Campus Closed Tuesday-Finals Information

In order to ensure the safety of all campus members, the main campus in Gallatin and teaching sites in Davidson, Macon, Robertson, and Wilson counties will be closed on Tuesday, May 4, 2010. Also, dual enrollment classes will not be meeting on Tuesday. The Livingston Campus is and will remain open as per normal operations.

Our state and local authorities have advised us to expect the current water levels to remain constant for the next twenty-four hours. According to Sumner County Emergency Management, the river is still cresting and many roadways are still closed. For some remote areas, the rescue effort has just begun.

• Exams originally scheduled for Monday, May 3, 2010 will be rescheduled for Friday, May 7th and will follow the previously published exam schedule regarding times.

• Exams originally scheduled for Tuesday, May 4th, will be rescheduled for Monday, May 10th and will follow the previously published exam schedule regarding times.

The revised schedule will no doubt create some scheduling conflicts for faculty members and students; we ask for your patience as we attempt to deal with the situation. Any unusual circumstances or conflicts in the revised schedule should be resolved on an individual basis and faculty members should contact their department chair or academic dean for assistance if/where necessary. Students should contact their instructors to discuss potential time conflicts; contact the Division Dean if unable to reach your faculty member.

Graduation ceremonies will be conducted as planned Saturday at 10am. Graduation rehearsal will be held on Friday as planned, but may be delayed by 15 minutes or so. Students scheduled to participate in the graduation rehearsal should contact their instructor to schedule a different time for their final exam.

It has been well over a century since this state has experienced a combination of heavy rainfall and massive flooding. We ask for your cooperation and support as we make new arrangements for such a critical point in our academic year. We hope that everyone remains safe during this unusual weather pattern. Please continue to check our website ( for more details about campus closings and make-up exams.

Vol State Main Campus Closed Monday-Finals Rescheduled

The Vol State campus in Gallatin will be closed Monday. All finals scheduled for Monday will be postponed until Friday when they will be held at the same time and location. Off-campus sites at McGavock, Macon and Springfield will also be closed today and finals rescheduled for Friday at the same time and place. The Livingston campus will remain open for all finals Monday.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Vol State Open Monday - Use Discretion for Travel

Update: Campus is now closing Monday...see the message above for details

Volunteer State Community College at Gallatin and Livingston will be open Monday. However, we are asking that students, faculty and staff use their own discretion to decide whether or not it is safe to travel to campus. We know that many people are dealing with flooding at home or may have roadway flooding blocking their way to campus. Contact your instructor ASAP if you will be unable to make it to campus for a final exam. They will help you reschedule that exam. The best way to contact them is via e-mail. For a listing of all instructors visit and look up at the top of the screen. You'll see a tab that says "People Finder". Off-campus sites will be open depending if the site itself is open. Check local TV news listings to see if your school location will be open. Many counties and cities have closed schools Monday. If that is the case for your off-campus site, please contact the instructor to reschedule a final exam.