Monday, February 28, 2011

The Spiker in my Sociology Class

Last semester I asked the guy who sat next to me in Spanish class to be my friend on Facebook. Scott Rhein is polite, soft-spoken and overall, just a great student. I was caught off guard when I started seeing pictures and video links of Scott’s intimidating six-foot, five-inch frame, looming over a net, slamming a ball into the faces of teams competing against the USA Youth National Volleyball Team. He can reach eleven-foot three; you can imagine what that looks like on the other side of an eight-foot net.

Scott Rhein might best be described as 185 pounds of volleyball finesse, artistically painting a picture of victory with every spike he makes. Fortunately, I sit across from him in sociology and not on the other side of the net. Now seventeen years old, Rhein has been competing on the volleyball court since he was twelve. His love of the sport started when he was living near Baltimore, Maryland. His mother and stepfather took him to a local sports complex called the Volleyball House.

“I was too young to participate, so I just stood on the side, and I would practice for hours hitting the ball against the wall. A year later when I turned twelve, I got to a level that I could get on the court and compete with the adults.”

Homeschooled since the fourth grade, he is currently a senior in high school and is taking classes in the Volunteer State Community College dual-enrollment program. After graduating this year, he plans to attend Pepperdine University on an athletic scholarship. He plays on two different teams. One is a local club travel team called Impact, based out of Nashville and the other is a USA national team competing at the world level.

Last year, he was selected to represent the United States on the USA Youth National Volleyball Team. The team consists of the best twelve volleyball players from around the country to compete internationally. “We travelled to Mexico to represent our country. We took second place in this particular competition for countries from North America, Central America, and the Carribeans. It was a qualifier for the world championships and for the first-ever Youth Olympics.”

You might ask, why volleyball? Scott said, “I suppose I could have played any other sport, but volleyball is the one God chose for me and has blessed me with this ability. Every other sport I played just felt like another game. When I am on the volleyball court getting ready to play, I feel like I am at home.”

After college, Scott says he will consider pursuing professional volleyball opportunities in Europe and other international arenas where the sport is widely embraced.

Scott is the youngest of four siblings, and the whole family enjoys playing volleyball. In fact, Amanda Rhein, one of his sisters, has been playing on the Lipscomb volleyball team for two years on an athletic scholarship. He was quick to point out that it is not uncommon to see Olympic volleyball players in their 30s. This gives him plenty of time to develop his skills and up his game. I look forward to watching Scott chase after Olympic gold medals.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Faith Club Author Speaks at Vol State March 2

Ranya Idliby has been working to transcend religious barriers and overcome stereotypes and she has two friends to help in the journey. Their book “The Faith Club” brings together a Christian, Jew and Muslim to explore faith and values. Idliby will bring that story to Volunteer State Community College for Unity Day 2011. It's a rescheduled date due to weather issues on previous dates.
“The Faith Club” has been praised by critics as setting a path for a conversation many Americans may want to have. Idliby is a Palestinian-born American-Muslim. Along with Suzanne Oliver, an Episcopalian and Priscilla Warner, a Reform Jew, she tackles the issues keeping religious believers apart, and explores how a new context can deepen religious faith.

Idliby will speak on Wednesday, March 2 at 12:15pm and 7 p.m. in the auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. It is free and everyone is invited. For more information call 615-230-3461.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Vol State Speech Team Places Again

Congratulations to Laura Myers and Chanel Alford for placing in the 2011 Tennessee State Forensics Competition. The event was held in Kingsport, over the weekend (Feb 19-20) at East Tennessee State University (ETSU). The Vol State Speech Team competed against nine other colleges and universities including, Belmont, Carson Newman, and ETSU. Myers took 4th place in the informative speaking category, and Alford placed 5th for Top Novice Speaker in debate.

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Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Vol State Alumnus Born in Egypt Discusses Egyptian Protests

Former Vol State student Ramy Ibrahim is originally from Egypt. He has agreed to hold a question and answer session Wednesday, Feb. 23 from 1:30-2:30 in the Jim Moore Conference Room upstairs in the library. Ramy’s parents and brothers currently live in Cairo. All that are interested are welcome to attend. Cookies and lemonade will be served.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, February 21, 2011

Team Spirit - 2011 Athletes' Luncheon

Today I was privileged to attend a special luncheon honoring the Vol State student athletes. Opening the meeting, Jamey Campbell pointed out the importance of backing our athletic department.

He was followed by Dr. Warren Nichols who shared with all the participants that he supports the Vol State sports programs and their leaders. " to come watch, cheer and be in total awe of our student[s]... They have the ability to perform well, both in the game as well as in the classroom. We have a much richer college and a much greater environment when we have student athletes among us.”

Coach Bobby Hudson acknowledged the commitment and efforts made by the coaching staff and administration for the following departments: baseball, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, women’s fast pitch softball, cheerleading, and the dance team.

For more information about our athletic program, please visit their home page or contact the athletic department at (615) 230-3233, or email Erica Malone. Game Schedules can be downloaded at the following link.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, February 18, 2011

Jump Start Your Job Search: Tips for Resume Writing

College students are often asked why they are going to college. Though the answer may vary, I am sure there are a high percentage of students that are preparing for a career. One important starting point for developing a career path strategy is to learn the importance of using all the resources available. It's something you'll want to consider before attending the upcoming Vol State Job Career Fair.
Anne-Marie Ruttenbur, coordinator of international education has spent the last fifteen years teaching business communications at Vol State College and recognizes the importance of a good resume. “I always have my students build a resume; they always dread it and they typically tell me they don’t have anything to put on it. Many times they do, they just don’t realize that many of the life skills they have already developed are desirable to corporations. One benefit as an educator is that this exercise allows me to teach important critical thinking skills such as, writing, business principles, organization, how to research, and dealing with deadlines. This is one project I can assign that meets number of academic goals. Another thing is even when they leave my class they have something tangible that will help them in the future“
Dr. Rick Parrent, the director for the Office of Career Placement recently gave a seminar about some of the resources available. He has spent most of his professional career in higher education; guiding students through the confusion often found in trying to decide a career path. “ The average students that leave a high school environment to attend college are undecided about what type of work they want to do, or have not declared a major. They are here to gain experience, to connect, and take undergraduate courses, called general education, to find the right niche”

Wednesday April 20 Vol State will host the Spring Career Fair. Do you have a resume that you feel good about? If not, Dr. Parrent invites you to contact him to explore your career path and learn how to build your resume. The Office of Career Placement is available for all students attending Volunteer State Community College. Parrent also points out that in addition to resumes, they can help with many professional skills such as cover letters, interviewing tips, negotiation, and how to make the most of your job. These are services that many off-campus professionals charge up to $200 per hour for. The good news is if you are an active student they are free.

Another valuable resource is the language center. Arlo Hall is one of the tutors, guiding students in the craft of writing papers. He said that he works with students every semester that need help writing a resume. “The first thing we talk about is formatting and deciding what information the employer is looking for. The best thing they can bring is the information about the job they are applying for. The more information we have, the more we can help them. Even if they don’t feel that they have substance for the resume, they still need to take time to work on it. They will find out what classes, experience, and skills they need to work on.”

Now that you know some of the valuable options available here at Vol State, here is a question that we have been asked since childhood that seems appropriate: What are you going to do when you grow up?

Thursday, February 17, 2011


If you have not made lunch plans you need to come by the carpeted dining room in the Wood Campus Center for lunch. From 11:30-1:30 $5 gets you a bowl of chili or soup. Come see who wins the competition and enjoy the home cooking. Proceeds from this event will go toward a book scholarship fund to benefit employees and their dependents attending VSCC.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Build Your Resume With Community Service

Service Learning (SL) has been a great benefit to Vol State students since its implementation almost four years ago. It opens up doors for community involvement with real-world experience, while earning credit in participating classes. The many contributions and programs range from training elementary students in CPR, developing diversity skills for International business interaction and involvement in local outreach efforts, such as facilitating a Math and Science Expo for surrounding K-12 classes here on campus.

How does the college decide what community projects to get involved in? That is where the Service Learning Club (SLC) comes into play. This is a student club that empowers the members to visit local businesses and organizations, seeking worthwhile projects for Volunteer State Community College to contribute to our SL program. Critical thinking, problem solving, management training, and personal development are just a few of the skills that can be cultivated for those involved in this club.

Julius Virgo, coordinator for the Vol State Service Learning Club, was excited to lay out some of the reasons a student would get involved with this club. “Service learning in the class is just a small part of what we are doing. This is a great opportunity to stretch your mind and get involved with a program that will benefit our community while honing real-life work skills. Fusing education with local services to our partners is a great way to build a resume. Our club is just starting, and we are actively recruiting new members. We have close to 70 community partners as of right now. This also equips participants with tools that will aid them in a career path.”

SLC could be a great bridge building tool and also look good on your resume, adding some real world experience to back up your education. If you would like to learn more about this program please contact Julius at (615) 230-3315 or visit the SLC blog. You can also email Julius for more information.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Blood drive needs your help

The Red Cross is coming to Vol State on Tuesday, February 22 and they could use your help. Supplies are down, in part due to the bad weather lately. You can sign-up for a slot and then donate in the Carpeted Dining room of the Wood Campus Center.

Volunteer State Community College Blood Drive
Tuesday, February 22nd
Located in the Nichols Carpeted Dining Room (next to the cafeteria)

Please visit click “Enter Sponsor Code” enter VolState and to schedule an appointment for this blood drive. Blood Donations are at an all time low right now and we need your help. Patients are depending on you. Please encourage friends as well.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

All locations closed on Thursday Feb 10

For Thursday February 10th, all classes cancelled, all campuses and all offices closed.

I Am So Tired of Snow and Ice!

I woke up earlier this week and once again my car was covered in snow, my driveway was iced up and it was time to leave for school. I live in Greenbrier, and during wintertime it is not uncommon to have a lot of snow and ice on the back roads near my home. After sledding through my neighborhood, I’m always shocked to find that on the drive to Volunteer State Community College, the main streets and highways are clear. I know students and faculty in Joelton, Hartsville, Lebanon and many other outlying areas that can attest to similar experiences.

This can be frustrating, especially, when the local elementary schools are closed and Vol State is open. Daycare issues and scheduling problems become a real challenge in this scenario.

Who makes the call and why? I asked this question to the Executive Assistant to the President Ken Lovett. “Though Dr. Nichols ultimately determines changes, there are a lot of factors that contribute to this decision. Campus police and local authorities assist in determining road conditions through various safety departments around middle Tennessee.”
Eric Melcher, coordinator of communication and public relations advised me how to find out the latest information, “We ONLY post if there is a delay or a cancellation. Always assume that school is open unless you are notified. The most reliable way to stay up to the minute on weather related changes is to sign up for the e-text system. The second best option is to check the website, and look at the updated information on the left side of the screen.” He also noted that Facebook, Twitter, and traditional media are additional options.

This semester has had more closings and delays than any other during Melcher's years with Vol State. “Right now faculty members are concerned because we have had a number of delays and postponements this semester. They have to cover a certain amount of curriculum for us to stay accredited, and to be able to do all the things that we do. Each student will have to use their own best judgment.”

On Tuesday, Janie Bresee of Cottontown said, “The roads were really bad in our neighborhood. They were all iced over. But most of my instructors are willing to work with me. I’m just worried that I might miss something from not being in class, but I may have to get my notes from another student.”

Scott Rhein from Pleasant View also ran into some problems getting to his first class this week, “When they delay opening the school, you still miss the information from the cancelled class. Even though the school was open, I couldn’t make it. I am only a few minutes off the interstate, and there was an inch and a half of ice on the roads. There were six miles of backed up traffic. My teacher understood why I missed and met with me afterwards and gave me some notes and the handout.”

Education student, Julie Harrison advises others to, “Keep a copy of the syllabus with you at all times to know what your instructor expects from you. In bad weather I always leave early to be safe. Some instructors give extra points on tests for making the extra effort during bad weather. Go above and beyond what your teacher wants.”

Those of us that live in rural areas know that it can get bad, so be prepared. If you think that weather is going to problem, discuss it with your instructor in advance.
Mary Nunaley, specialist, distance learning/instructional designer confirmed that, “All classes have a Desire to Learn shell. You can login at myvolstate online. It is up to each instructor whether or not they will use it, but it is available for notes, presentations, and even lectures.”

The VSCC Catalog states on page 10 under the snow policy, “Even when the College is open in full or in part, students and college personnel should not endanger their lives or safety by attempting to reach campus when local road conditions prohibit safe travel.” I can say that I will be very happy when spring finally arrives. Be safe and stay warm.

No classes Wednesday evening, all locations

All Wednesday evening classes are canceled for all locations. This includes:

  • Main campus in Gallatin
  • Livingston Campus
  • McGavock Center
  • Wilson County teaching sites
  • Macon County teaching sites
  • Robertson County teaching sites

The Gallatin and Livingston campuses are closing at 3:45 PM.

In short, if you're reading this on Wednesday February 9th, 2011 then you can forget about your classes for the rest of the day. :)

Monday, February 7, 2011

Speech Team Competes

The Vol State Speech Team competed at the Murray State University 2011 Invitational Speech and Debate Tournament last weekend. Chanel Alford placed 9th in Novice Top Speaker Awards and the Team placed 5th in Novice Debate. On Saturday, the Speech Team competed in the Ruby Krider Tournament. Chanel Alford placed 3rd in Novice Persuasive. Ashley Wendt placed 3rd in Poetry. Additionally, the team placed 5th in Small entry. On Sunday, the team competed in the Alumni Open Tournament. Chanel Alford placed 1st in Novice Persuasive, Ashley Wendt placed 3rd in Novice Poetry, Breanna Tinch placed 4th in Novice Poetry and Joshua Moore placed 4th in Varsity Poetry. Overall the team placed 4th in Small entry.

Pictured left to right: In the front- Laura Myers, Christian Vail, Chanel Alford, Ashley Wendt, coach Donzetta Ketcherside. In the back- Joshua Moore and Breanna Tinch

Donzetta Ketcherside
Phone 268-1336

Friday, February 4, 2011

Abstract Drawings by Vol State's Sue Mulcahy

Vol State art professor Sue Mulcahy is no stranger to gallery shows. Her work has been shown in the Netherlands and at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville. Her latest show will be at Nouveau Classics for the Month of February. Nouveau Classics / Fine Contemporary Furnishings and Interior Design is located at 3201 Belmont Blvd in Nashville. They're open Monday through Saturday 10am - 6pm.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Drowning in School Work

At least once a day I decide, I am going to quit school forever! With papers due, assigned reading, and research that needs to be completed it gets a little tense at times. Did I mention juggling work, family, sports, friends, community, church, and clubs? Sometimes you feel like you are holding your breath under the water waiting for that moment you can burst to the surface to catch your breath.

After calming down and thinking about the benefits of sticking it out just a few more years, I realize that if it was easy, everyone would have a degree. We just finished our first month of the spring semester and this is the time where many students are feeling overwhelmed. What tips and tricks are helping other students to cope with the rapid pace?

Gauguin Simmons, is finishing his second year at Vol State and said the secret of his success has been to “Get to class early and take good notes.”

Kandice Dixon who is studying to be a physical therapist assistant said that something as simple as, “using dividers for her classes has been a factor in her staying ahead of the curve.” Dixon is taking advantage of the New Skills department on campus. “I really like that you can learn at your own pace.”

I spoke with Samantha Baskerville, a pre-nursing major from Portland, TN in the language lab, and she took a moment to share some frustrations, tips, and advice with starting her first semester at college. Though she doesn’t know anyone on campus, she noted how friendly the students have been. “Advising was disappointing, I was in tears when I left, I almost didn’t come back because I was so discouraged. I started out with four classes because I didn’t know you could take five or six or I would have.”

She recommends new students to come in with a positive attitude, “Don’t come in thinking it’s too-much, or it’s going to be overwhelming, cause’ then it will be.”

When reflecting on procrastination she said, “I am not a procrastinator; I attack it as soon as I get it.”
If you have a particular study habit that really helps you stay on top of your game please share it on the Vol State Facebook page. We encourage you to contribute to the discussion going on.
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