Friday, October 29, 2010

Vol State Faculty and Student Research Published

The study of the rare American chestnut tree has long been a passion for Vol State Professor of Biology, Joe Schibig. It’s lead to all sorts of research and publications. The latest publication will be an entire 61 page chapter in a book called “Geotechnologies and Environmental Management.”

“It’s based on the field work Vol State students and I did, where we inventoried the American chestnut and collected data in Mammoth Cave National Park,” said Schibig.

Three years of field work collected plenty of data. SongLin Fei, an assistant professor with the University of Kentucky, took that data and mapped the locations where the rare trees were found. Those maps use geotechnology to then show the affinities of the trees to specific geological factors and soil types. That could help researchers find more of the rare trees in similar locations in the future. Dr. Fei is the lead author of the chapter.

While Schibig has received quite a bit of recognition for his work in recent years, he says adding another element to the scientific body of knowledge is rewarding.

“It feels pretty good. My students will be proud. There will be a statement at the end of the chapter crediting them and myself.”

The students who participated in the research are: Mark Vance, Jeramie Tinsley, Lloyd Fly, and Anne Osborne.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make a Difference: Non-Profit Started By Two Vol State Students

Embracing the opportunity to make a difference is something Vol State students Tina Newman and Dana Vick decided to do when they went to India with The Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) program.

Newman and Vick decided to start a non-profit organization to benefit the children of Taabar. They were in India from May10 until June 1, 2010. “I saw the need and didn’t think twice,” said Newman.

“We were roommates in the program,” said Newman. “We started making our plan to start this non-profit while we were still there. While we were there we started making contacts. We wanted to figure out what the needs are."

“I was more prone to poverty stricken countries,” said Newman. Newman added that she felt she could make more of a difference in a third world country, and said she could go to Europe any time, when she was deciding which country to visit.

Newman and Vick have hit the ground running and now have a non-profit organization titled Taabar2.

“It is only 300 dollars a year to support one kid,” said Newman. “It’s going to cover shelter, medical and dental expenses, clothing and food.”

Newman and Vick are planning to go to India twice a year to personally deliver the contributions and foresee that the money goes to benefit the children. Newman said that in December she and Vick plan on going back to India.

On November 13, there will be a silent auction and dinner to help raise money to send to the children of Taabar. Newman said that there will be a four course meal with dessert. Tickets are 30 dollars per person, or 50 dollars for two. This event will be in The Wood Campus Center at Vol State in the carpeted dining room.

“I feel like I’m a true humanitarian at heart,” said Newman. “I feel like this is my calling to do.”

Newman stressed again that it takes so little to sponsor a child, adding that the number one cause of death is unsafe drinking water in India. Future long term goals include having the Taabar2 organization in several different countries in the world. Newman said that this is her vision.

For more information on how how to get involved, or to purchase tickets for the silent auction and dinner, email Dana Vick at

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Hate Crimes Still Exist

Left, James Cauffiel
Tolerance is the ability or willingness to tolerate something, in particular the existence of opinions or behavior that one does not necessarily agree with, according to

In light of the recent suicides of gay teens, which received nationwide news coverage, the Lambda organization wants to get the word out that hate crimes are still prevalent.
James Cauffiel, 29, is president of Lambda at Vol State, and is a victim of a hate crime while he attended Clarksville High School.
Cauffiel said that he was on the football team, and very active in sports before he came out and told everyone he was gay.
The equality sticker placed on the gazebo in the Vol State courtyard

“My junior year I came out,” said Cauffiel. “I was in high school and I got beaten up. I was in the hospital about a week. I was bruised up with a punctured lung. I tried to press charges but the school came back and said that no one had witnessed it.”

Cauffiel said his attackers were former friends and members of the football team.
Since that time, he has been active in several different gay and lesbian organizations that include Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG), and Lambda.

The Lambda organization at Vol State provides an open environment to foster dialogue between gay and straight students in a supportive atmosphere according to the clubs and organizations pamphlet in the office of student life and diversity initiatives.

In the past, Lambda has not been very well known around Vol State. “People don’t know it exists,” said Jamie Blurton, Vice President of Lambda, and student ambassador.
“I like to advocate for people’s rights,” said Blurton. “I’m involved in a lot.”

Several students around campus voiced their opinions about gay rights and Lambda.
“The fear of it is ridiculous,” said Denzel Greer about people’s fear of the gay community.
On student wanted to remain anonymous and said, “I’m not going to disrespect anybody, but I don’t associate with those kinds of people.”

Ryan Mclean said that he and his friends support equality.

“I have a huge number of gay and lesbian friends,” said student Shellie Leach. “I want to support equality and equal rights. Coming out day was October 11, and it was my anniversary to my husband. I spent the day reflecting how fortunate I am to be able to marry the person I love.”

Leach said she thinks that everyone should have that right.

For those interested in becoming involved in Lambda at Vol State, contact Nancy Blomgren at 230-3208, or Loretta Calvert at 230-3786. The next meeting will be Monday October 25 at 2 p.m. in the Wood Campus Center room 101. Everyone is welcome to attend.

Volunteer State Community College

Be Informed About Social Networking

Social networking has become a necessity in some circles.

Several companies now have twitter and facebook accounts to advertise what they have to offer, and the personal accounts go into the millions.

Students who would like to learn more about this phenomenon are invited to attend an informative class on Thursday October 28 from 2:20 p.m. until 3:45 p.m.

The class will be in the carpeted dining room of the Wood Campus Center.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, October 25, 2010

Caught Off Campus: 2 Millionth Customer at the Frist

College students may benefit from the cultural aspect of art while attending The Frist Center for Visual Arts, and for Vol State student Gena Lee Jones, a regular trip to the museum turned into a celebration.

Jones was the 2 millionth customer, and received a gift upon entrance to the Frist.

Volunteer State Community College

Congrats to Vol State TRIO students!

The TRIO Student Support Services Program at Vol State is pleased to congratulate Corrine Aguilar, Carol Bazenet, John Fields, Shellie Leach and Helen Nash for their outstanding achievements in the 2010 national TRIO Quest activities sponsored by the University of Washington. All five Vol State TRIO students advanced to the Quarterfinalist round of the PhotoEssay competition, and Carol Bazenet, John Fields and Helen Nash advanced to the Semifinals. In the Finals for post-secondary programs, John Fields won the Silver Award for his PhotoEssay entitled “The Last 300 Miles”, and Helen Nash won the top prize, the Best of Contest Award, for her PhotoEssay entitled “A Different Kind of Hunt”.

TRIO Quest is a national competition that invites TRIO students from around the country to participate in one or more of three web activities: Media Quest, PhotoEssay, and TRIO Sites. All three activities are open to all college and pre-college TRIO programs. The PhotoEssay competition is an individual competition and requires students to create written material that is enhanced by images that are manipulated for the web and that support the overall theme of the written material.

According to the University of Washington TRIO Training office, the TRIO Quest competition was very tough this year, with record entries. With guidance from over 500 TRIO staff, over 2,000 TRIO students participated in the 2010 TRIO Quest activities. TRIO programs submitted 600 individual PhotoEssays for judging and, from those 600 PhotoEssays, 30 essays (5%) made it to the final judges.

TRIO Quest was first funded by the Department of Education to encourage TRIO students and programs to begin to master 21st century learning skills. TRIO Quest activities promote and support the use of today's technology by TRIO staff and students by providing opportunities to learn research, writing, image capture and editing, audio and video production, and web design skills. These competitions and all program support are directed by the TRIO Training Program at the University of Washington.

To learn more about these extraordinary projects, and to view the winning entries, visit or

These award-winning works are examples of what happens when students embrace 21st century skills and an exciting educational challenge.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Freedom of Speech Week

Students are invited to celebrate freedom of speech week at Vol State on October 21.

Freedom of speech week is October 18-24, and focuses on first amendment rights.

“I think freedom of speech is one of our most important constitutional rights,” said Len Assante, associate professor and communications chair. “Freedom of speech is the ability to express yourself publicly about whatever topic you want.”

Several activities will be available on Thursday October 21 from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m., and includes a “Free Speech Zone.” The free speech zone is an area in which students are encouraged to voice their opinion about any subject. Students will have one minute to speak. Content must not be treasonous, slanderous or profane.

Activities will take place in Duffer Plaza in the courtyard by the water fountain. The water fountain is located in between the Wood Campus Center and Warf building.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

6th District Congressional Debate Thursday

The race for the 6th District Congressional seat will bring the candidates to Volunteer State Community College for a debate this Thursday, October 14. Republican Diane Black and Democrat Brett Carter will participate in the Sumner County Publications event. Carter, of Hendersonville, and Black, of Gallatin, won their respective parties’ primaries during voting that ended Aug. 5. The seat is being vacated by longtime U.S. Congressman Bart Gordon.
The debate will be moderated by Sumner County Publications General Manager Mike Towle.
The debate will held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, October 14 in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall, on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The public is invited to attend, but seating will be limited. The doors open at 5:30pm. Seating is first come, first served.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Caught on Campus: Fiesta de Otono!

Scarlett, 5

Vol State helped celebrate Hispanic heritage month with the fourth annual Fiesta de Otono, a festival celebrating Hispanic culture.

Elementary education student Vivian Duvall said that she found out about the event via her student email.  “I’m Hispanic, and wanted the free food,” she said.

Free food, live music, arts and crafts and face painting were available for the enjoyment of all ages.
Raymundo Solorio painting faces

There were student volunteers helping throughout the day, and art students were helping with the face painting.

“I did it last semester,” said Raymundo Solorio. “Ms. Hampton wanted me to do it because I speak Spanish.” 

Volunteer State Community College

Kevin, 6

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Interested in Travel Study? Info Sessions Are Coming Up Soon

Travel study can give you a whole new perspective on your education and the world. Vol State has an active travel study program reaching to countries across the globe. W do this primarily through a partnership with an organization called Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS)

Informational Sessions for the 2011 TnCIS program are now set. Interested student must attend one of the following sessions to learn about VolState Scholarships, country programs, the application process and more!

Here is the schedule, by location:

Wednesday, October 6th 10 am or 1:30 pm (Attend one session)
It will be held in room 155

Gallatin Campus
Tuesday, October 12th 3:00 pm or 5:00 pm (Attend one session)
Wednesday, October 13th 3:00 pm or 5:00 pm (Attend one session)
Thursday, October 21st 3:00 pm or 5:00 pm (Attend one session)
all of these will be held in Mattox 104

Saturday, October 23rd 9:00 am or 10:00 am (Attend one session)
This one will be held in Mattox 102

McGavock High School
Tuesday, October 26th 5:00 pm

Countries this year include: Austria, Brazil, China, Czech Republic, England, Ghana, Greece, India, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Peru, Scotland, South Africa and Spain.

For more information contact

Anne Marie Ruttenbur - International Education Ext. 3764
John Espey – International Education Ext. 3303

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Vol State Presents "Steel Magnolias"

This weekend, Vol State will present the stage production of “Steel Magnolias,” under the direction of Dr. Judi Truitt, associate professor of communications and theater.

Steel Magnolias is the story of six southern women, the struggles they face, and the friendships they have with both humor and sadness written into the script.

“I love the people,” said Shannon Young, who portrays Ouiser. “We get along really well, and the play portrays real life women and their struggles. It really depicts how a mother feels losing her child.”
The cast members seem to be having a good time during the production.

“It’s really fun,” said Natalie Beatty, who plays the role of Shelby. Beatty is currently a sophomore at Vol State.

“I’m loving it,” said Angela Norris, on her role as Truvy. “I always love the creative process.  Norris is a Vol State alumna, and will be in an upcoming production titled “Master Class” at Cumberland University, after the run of “Steel Magnolias.”

Additional cast members include Bridget Werner as Clairee, Elizabeth Booker as Annelle and Caleigh Graves as M’Lynn.

“It is really a talented group of students. They make an incredible ensemble cast, and they are great to work with,” said Truitt.

The production is Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and Sunday at 2:30 p.m., in the auditorium of Caudill Hall. Tickets are free for students, and five dollars for all non-students. 

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Students Ride to Fight Human Trafficking

Human trafficking is the illegal trade of  people for forced labor or sexual exploitation. Vol State students took a stand against human trafficking by participating in a fundraising bike ride last weekend. Jamie Blurton organized the trip and found plenty of support from her friends. This is her blog from the trip:

Sitting here tonight, it doesn't feel real. Two months ago, in my bed around midnight I read the newsletter. A banner on the side displayed this RIDE for refuge. I went to the website and read about it. I didn't think about how I would get there, if I had plans, the costs, if I could even survive to ride that far...nothing. I just signed up to RIDE 30 miles to ride on behalf of the abolitionists in Tennessee! Once school started training wasn't so easy. Two of my friends and VSCC students Brittany Bertoli and Kayla Barbee said they would come help volunteer at the RIDE. Andrew Campbell, another VSCC student and ambassador decided he wanted to RIDE 30 miles for slavery with me! Andrew was waking up early before classes to train and I fit it in between classes when I could. We were only able to RIDE together once before the actual RIDE.

We left after Andrew's anatomy class on Friday and got into Chicago around midnight. 4 a.m.came fast but we all got up with smiles ready for the big day. I expected to be nervous because I had yet to make it 30 miles; but with Andrew's constant motivating words I wasn't worried at all that morning. We dropped Brittany and Kayla off at a church in Geneva/Chicago and they were taken about 20 miles out to stay at an area where they had water, bananas, and port a potties!

Andrew and I were released at 8 start the RIDE. We were not expecting it to be so windy for sure, our toes and faces were frozen about halfway in! We met amazing people along the way, as the riders caught up with each other. The scenery was beautiful: fields of corn, wheat and hundreds of geese! That last half mile we had to go up a pretty steep hill but Andrew said we wouldn't stop now! We reached the finish line, dropped our bikes and ran to each other for a big hug and scream that "We did it!" I was on the break of tears for the next 15 minutes, I don't know if it was the throbbing in my legs or the excitement of what we had just accomplished! As intense as it was, we had each other's company and we reminded each other of why we were doing this. For the victims of modern day slavery and what this meant for them. Most of all, this was nothing next to what they endure. We are all proud to have had this experience. Brittany is going to start training to RIDE 30 miles next year! Andrew and I have our goals set for 60 miles and we hope to bring the RIDE for Refuge here to Nashville. We have a lot of riders here and a lot of good people who would want to support End Slavery TN and International Teams.

Thank you again to all of my support and sponsors! I was the 11th top fundraiser in Chicago!

-Jamie Blurton

For more information about human trafficking visit:
For more information about the ride visit:

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hotel and Restaurant Management Program a Proven Success

The success of Vol State's hotel and restaurant management program has a proven track record. 

Norberto Roman is a non-traditional student in the program, and will graduate in May 2011.

“When I first came to Vol State, my dream was to become a GM,” said Roman. “I’ve been working for Choice Hotels for three years. In 2007 I was only a front desk clerk. I’m the general manager of Comfort Inn now. I manage a 16 year old property with 56 rooms and 18 employees under my supervision.”

Roman recently won the 2010 Award for Property Excellence (APEX), award for service excellence in the general manager category with Choice Hotels. Incidentally, this is the second award that Roman has won. He manages the Comfort Inn-North in Clarksville.

“My ultimate dream would be to manage a resort,” said Roman.  

Roman gives advice to those wanting to go into the hotel and restaurant business. “It’s all about passion and not quitting.”

“I’ve been blessed,” Roman added. “I had a dream to go further than the front desk. The only way to reach those goals is to have passion, and love your job.” He said that without the support of his wife, he wouldn’t be where he is right now.

Meanwhile, another Vol State grad,  Brad Hood  manages the Lebanon Econolodge, and his hotel received the 2010/2011 Gold award from Choice Hotels International.

Volunteer State Community College

Livingston Students: Get Ready for Travel Study

Vol State at Livingston students: Interested in travel study this year? On Wednesday, October 6th we'll have information sessions for students interested in the 2011 TnCIS programs of travel study. The 10 A.M. and 1:30 P. M. sessions will be held in Livingston room 155. Everyone is invited. We'll have details about Gallatin meetings later this week.