Thursday, March 31, 2011

Summer and Fall Schedules are ready to view

Time to get ready to register for summer and fall classes. Currently enrolled Vol State students can do that next week. Check out the updated schedules page for several different versions of the summer and fall schedules, that you can search and print up. We have versions for all off-campus locations, including the new Springfield Highland Crest facility:

Why You Should See Man of La Mancha

"To dream the impossible dream" This famous line is the theme song of the new Vol State production, Man of La Mancha. The title of the musical may sound a little crazy, but don’t let that stop you from coming down for one of the performances tonight through Sunday. The cast has successfully used humor, drama, and most of all music, to inspire the audience.

Andrew Kaufman is currently a theater major and has multiple roles in this performance. Kaufman contributed not only as an actor, but also as a choreographer. Kaufman said, “I’ve really enjoyed working with this cast; I have done some performances with the lead, Deron Martel before. I handled all the fight sequences. I have been involved in choreographing at the Tennessee Renaissance Festival working with all kinds of weapons; swords, shields and other types of hand to hand combat.”

Christian Arguello who plays Pedro, is not a newcomer to acting. He shared how he got introduced to live performance, “I have been around theater most of my life. I did a lot in elementary school, when I got to Hendersonville High School I did various roles from back stage, sets, and stage manager. I have pretty much been involved in singing and acting most of my life.”

Buddy Daniels, who plays Sancho Panza, was instrumental in getting this production rolling. Daniels said, “I took a theater class last spring and Man of La Mancha was my favorite Broadway musical. For my final exam, a classmate and I performed The Impossible Dream and the instructor, Edmon Thomas, told me he was thankful that I put this musical back on his radar. This isn’t my first rodeo, my wife and I met doing theater 26 years ago.”

The lead actor Deron Martel will be graduating in the fall.

“I am thrilled about the cast," he said. "It’s a beautiful story with beautiful music. I think it is cool that it is still popular considering how long ago the original story of Don Quixote was written. My mother took me to see phantom of the Opera and as soon as I saw Brad Little on stage, I told my mom this is what I want to do. It seems like you would never get tired of it. Once I move on from college I hope to move to Abingdon, Virginia to hopefully get on with the nationally acclaimed Barter Theatre. They put on Broadway caliber musicals all the time and I believe musicals are my forte and my calling.”

Anthony Vick, and Craig Allan Jones (A.K.A. Moose) both play tough guys in the production. They said the most difficult part has been learning how to be rough and manhandle the lead actress Amie Lara, which is an integral part of the plot. Acting out violence without hurting a cast member is a real skill. They have been involved in other productions, but have really enjoyed working with this cast.

Amie Lara plays a lead role as Aldonza. “This is the first Vol State musical I have ever performed in," she said. "It seems like with most theater productions I have been in everyone kind of becomes like a family and it will be sad when it finally ends this week. My favorite part about this play is the physical activity and the fight scenes.”

Performances start today (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. and go through Saturday night with an additional performance Sunday afternoon at 2:30 p.m.
Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Interested in a President's Ambassador Scholarship?

Why am I a President's Ambassador?

Yesterday I realized that my year as a President's Ambassador is coming to an end. The reason is that I went to the information meeting for next year's Ambassadors. I was there with some of my peers to answer questions. We answered a few and everybody seemed happy. Everybody but me. We got the question why someone should become an Ambassador. I was a little nervous and wasn't very helpful. I should have answered with the following story.

I was giving my very first campus tour last semester to a young man named Jim. Jim walked into the Admission's office with two artificial legs. I had been a little nervous, but that went away quickly after meeting Jim. He had spent almost ten years in the armed forces, until he lost both his legs in combat. He had barely finished high school before enlisting, so he didn't have many options for what to do next, other than being a husband and stay-at-home dad. Instantly, I had nothing to be nervous about. Jim himself wasn't sure about going to college. He was nervous about trying something new and about other possible effects he had suffered  from the bomb. After the tour, we sat in the Admission's office and my one hour turned into two while answering his questions. One of my suggestions was that he should take a class or two, to see how he could handle being a college student. When he left, I was confident that he would start college this semester. When I saw Jim in the Wood Campus Center early this semester with a backpack on his shoulder, I knew why I am a President's Ambassador for Vol State.

It's not what Vol State can do for you. It's what You can do for Vol State and its current and future students.

Ambassador = A diplomatic official of the highest rank appointed and accredited as representative in residence by one government or sovereign to another, usually for a specific length of time. (

Goran Larsson
President's Ambassador 2010-2011

Students: are you interested in a President's Ambassador Scholarship? Only students with certain grade point averages are eligible. You would have received a letter in the mail if you are eligible. If so, make sure you fill out the application by Monday, April 4. Just visit the Admissions Office in Ramer 173.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Vol State Japanese Student Raises Money for Home

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been heartbreaking for many, but for some Vol State students it truly is hitting close to home. Yuko Tanaka is a Japanese student here at Vol State. She has been involved with the VISA club on campus. They have been instrumental in putting together a fundraiser to allow students, staff, and faculty an opportunity to help tsunami victims. She shared what it was like the day of the earthquake and tsunami.

“My family lives in and around Tokyo, they told me how bad and how scared they felt during the earthquake. I also have a friend that is a teacher and I was unable to contact him for ten days. Finally, he contacted us to let us know he was okay. He said that alarms notified them of both the earthquake and the tsunami. They loaded up all the kids in vehicles and drove them to high ground where all of them stayed safe.”

Yuko requested the assistance of her friend Midori Tanaka (no relation) who is also from Japan, and lives in Tennessee, to help with the fundraiser. They worked with the VISA club to set up a table in the Wood Campus Center and then wrote people's names in Japanese and also made oragami birds for donations.

Midori was actually in Japan shopping with friends during the quake.

“The mall shook for five minutes and I ran outside," she said. "At first there was not a lot of panic, but people got scared from all of the aftershocks. One quake moved all the furniture in my bedroom around and knocked over the TV and dresser. We left six days after the tsunami.”

On Saturday, Yuko and the rest of the VISA club attended the Cherry Blossom Festival Walk in downtown Nashville. Due to the tragedy in Japan, this annual event was turned into a fundraiser for the Tennessee Tomodachi Fund, with 100 percent of the donations going directly to relief agencies in Japan. Yuko was proud to share a check from donations raised on campus totaling $1472.11 which she passed over to Leigh Wieland, who is the Executive Director of Japan-America Society of Tennessee, Inc.

Yuko said, “People here in Tennessee have been very kind and worried about me. Even people I don’t know have expressed concern for my friends and family in Japan. I have been fortunate because most of my contacts have been further inland.”

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, March 21, 2011

How You Can Aid Japan Tsunami Victims

We have all seen pictures of Japan’s devastation from the earthquake and tsunami. A tragedy of this magnitude has a long arm, reaching thousands of miles. Vol State student Yuko Tanaka is from Japan, and she is working with the VISA club to bring Vol State to the aid of victims through financial relief. Tanaka and some of her friends will be requesting donations as they make authentic calligraphy art with words such as, “hope” and “faith” in Japanese.

This fundraiser will be held on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23 from 8:30 a.m. until noon, outside the Vol State Grill in the Wood Campus Center. The Japan-American Society of Tennessee, Inc, has established the Tennessee Tomodachi Fund to aid the victims. 100% of donations will be directed to relief agencies in Japan.

Professor Kay Grossberg tells how this came about:

“VISA club members came to me asking if we could do something to help. We realized that this didn’t just hit Japan but it also hit a lot of other areas like the Philippines. One of our faculty members was a member of the Japan-America Society and helped us make contact with them.”

“Other groups on campus have expressed interest in contributing, including, The Returning Women’s Organization, and Professor Keith Bell and his students have expressed interest in helping as well,” said Grossberg.

Take a minute out of your busy schedule and drop by to pick-up a customized piece of art for a great cause.

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Speech Team Fundraiser = Lunch!

Only $2.75 for a hot dog, chips, a snack, and a drink? That is a great deal for lunch! Come join the Speech Team Thursday March 17, at the great hall of the Ramer Administration building for a fundraiser. All proceeds go toward support for the team to travel so they can compete. If you feel like sponsoring a great cause, donate a little extra. They will be in the hall from 10am-2pm.

Want to help an organization for battered women and children while you are there? Right next to the hot dog table you’ll find baked goods like cupcakes that are FREE! A donation is encouraged because it is a great cause.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Greenlea Entrance Now Open

It’s 7:57 in the morning. You think you can make it to class if you don’t hit any red lights. You get to the intersection in front of Vol State and realize the traffic is backed up in both directions. Often you have to deal with the same bottleneck leaving for lunch or when the day is through. . . . Vol State has a new entrance to help with this challenge.

The gate will be open during business hours. Public Relations Director Tami Wallace shared, “We’ll have a more formal opening with a ribbon-cutting ceremony next Wednesday with the Chamber of Commerce, but in the mean time we wanted to open it up today for the students to take advantage of it.”

One of the first students to try out the new entrance was Josh Moore. “It’s great! It’s going to take care of all that congestion at the front around 9-10 in the morning. It is frustrating when you have that huge line that runs all the way out to Greenlea. I am excited about it. Even though I am coming from Hendersonville, there are plenty of times I would use this entrance rather than fight the crowd.”

Pre-radiology student Joey Brady said, “I love it! I come in everyday from Nashville, and this will be a big help. It’s a pain when you got to go all the way down, hit the light, and then wait in traffic, only to turn back to get into the parking lot. Now we can bypass all that mess and hopefully get a better parking place.”

According to Steven Cox, “I am coming from Hendersonville, so I purposely don’t take Vietnam Veterans because it’s kind of a pain to get through all the lights, but now that this is much more accessible, I will probably use it more often. Even though some people complain about parking, my biggest issue is just trying to drive in and out of the campus.”

SGA President Steffan Dunham who happens to be from Germany was excited about the opening, and he laughed as he said, “It’s great, but it’s not the Autobahn!”
Facilities Director John Mouvery said, “It has taken a little longer than originally planned due to bad weather. We have had a lot of positive feedback from students, faculty, and staff.”

The gate is technically on Enterprise drive but most people are already calling it the Greenlea entrance. Personally, I have been impatiently waiting for this opening, so, if you also are using this entrance in the morning, then I will wave as we pass.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mid-Term Grades Available

Mid-term grades have been posted and can be viewed via PRIDE by going to “Student” then to “Mid-term Grades”. The course/courses you receive a mid-term grade in will have a “U” grade. If you received a “U” grade, please contact your instructor for more information.

Please note: Not all instructors choose to post mid-term grades. If you feel you are not doing well in a course, you should contact your instructor and/or go to one of the Learning Help Centers for assistance. The last day to drop with a grade of “W” is March 24th.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Important Student Information-Course Numbers are Changing

This is important information for students before they register for fall semester:

Vol State is working with other schools to make it easier for you to transfer classes from one school to another. The first step is to adopt common courses numbers. That means many of our courses have changed rubrics (the 3 or letter part like ENGL) and/or course numbers ( the digit part like 1010) for the Fall 2011 semester. Most of the course names are still the same. (English Comp is still English Comp.)

Since so many things did change, we’ve provided a crosswalk to help you register for the right classes. Your degree audit (CAPP) will also change by the time registration starts for Summer andFall 2011. During the summer, your degree audit will show both the old and new courses (PSY 101 or PSYC 1010) in the requirements. After summer registration, only the new courses will appear in the requirements.

Don’t worry. The courses you took under the old numbers will still count just like they always have. If you have questions, please contact your advisor or the Advising Center. Once again, this is all part of a statewide effort to make college and university transfer easier, creating a clear pathway for you.

The Course Crosswalk is available online:

Spring Is In The Air

The sun is shining, the wind is blowing, and some of the trees and flowers are starting to bloom. This is my first spring break and it feels kind of awkward. All the classrooms are closed, no students are socializing in the plaza, the parking lot is empty, and no hustle and bustle around the Vol State Grill; all these things seem almost out of place for the Vol State campus. Yet, maintenance has been busy, I have seen instructors working on lectures and grading papers, administration is determinedly preparing for the floodgates to open back up on Monday, so it is not as if I have been entirely alone.

There is something else that I can’t explain. It seems almost like there is an expectation of good things to come for the rest of the semester. Since I have not been in class this week, I have tried to take time to catch up all the loose ends and get ready for whatever is around the next river bend. Mid-term madness is quickly approaching and this may be the only break some of us have before diving back into the white water rapids of college life.

So, enjoy today and the rest of the weekend. Sit down and relax for just a few minutes. Call a friend or family member you have not spoken with for a while. Bask in the delicious flavors of a robust meal (or healthy if you are into that sort of thing). Next week, we are back in the race, it won’t be easy, but if you plan it right, you will have a fresh outlook and be fully re-fueled to pull back out into the fast lane.

Have a great weekend!

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Vol State Student Wins ATHENA Scholarship

Tasie Guenthner of Nashville has been awarded a 2011 ATHENA scholarship. The international group works to develop and support the leadership of women. The Volunteer State Community College student placed second in the nontraditional category of the local competition. Guenthner is a Vol State President’s Ambassador at the college, a competitive program that includes public speaking and representing the college at public events. After graduation, she will be attending Middle Tennessee State University to pursue a degree in nutritional science. Guenthner is an adult student who transitioned from full-time employment to college student. Her long-term goal is to become a dietician and then pursue a degree in chiropractic medicine.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

How Ninja Students Can Help You With Supplemental Instruction

I may never be a 4.0 student. Is that because I don’t care? No; I definitely care about my grades, but juggling life, work, and school does not come easily for me. In fact, I recently joined a study-group, hoping to avoid dropping a class I am struggling in. The program is called Supplemental Instruction (SI), though the title is a little misleading, since no formal instructors are present.

SI is NOT tutoring! If you are expecting a teacher or someone who has all the answers, you will not find them here. However, if you are looking for ways to become a better student, improve your study skills or beef-up your note taking abilities, then this is the program for you. The study sessions are moderated by students with ninja-like performance, they have already aced the class, and are retaking it to develop leadership skills. We usually start by comparing notes and discussing what the teacher covered in class. This is were the SI leader really shines, they know what areas to focus on, and they can share what they studied last semester to pass the tests.

Stephanie Marrano is an education major, and signed up as an SI Leader to cultivate some real-world experience. “I try to take good notes, and watch my instructors teaching style, to share this information with my group. I have about three people that are regulars, but we had about eleven people show up before the last test. Unfortunately, sometimes people come unprepared; if you were not in class and you didn’t try to take notes to begin with, it’s not really going to help you.”
Nyakony Rut is a nursing major in her third semester, “This is the first time I have been involved in SI and so far it has been helping. My instructor told me about the program and I also found it on the bulletin board in the hall outside my class. I think more students could benefit from participating in SI.”

Rut attends a session with fellow students Amanda Mcowen, and Traci Grant who also leads the SI for their chemistry class. Grant tries to go above and beyond the call of duty, “Some students that cannot come to the SI meeting still want the help, so I have been willing to work with them on an as-needed basis. It seems that the students involved in SI are committed, and that makes a difference.”

SI Assistant Director Dr. Regina Henry said, “Many times when students encounter challenges, instead of making the progression toward their professional goals or achieving a degree or certificate they will drop out altogether. This program is designed to help retain these students and assist them in gaining the skills to finish.”

For now, I will continue participating in the program. It has taught me that there is no magical formula to instantly produce better grades, but spending quality study time with a group dedicated to improving grades, does pay-off.

If you want more information on courses offering SI please visit their homepage. Or, if your class does not offer SI, request your instructor to contact Dr. Regina Henry to research the availability.

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, March 7, 2011

Vol State is Not Afraid of Public Speaking

My communications teacher says that, though fear of death is listed in the top ten phobias around the world, fear of public speaking, actually ranks higher than the fear of death. So, basically, many people are more afraid to speak in front of a crowd than dying. Unbelievable! Well, one Vol State student proved last week that he can handle the pressure.
Zak Kiefer did so well in a sociology class last year that he earned an opportunity to contribute to a 90 minute workshop/training, sharing experiences that he and other students encountered while working on a Service Learning (SL) project. Zak is majoring in criminal justice, and he felt this was an important part of his career development. Last week the Tennessee Conference for Volunteerism and Service-Learning in Nashville hosted a seminar featuring over 60 workshops and exhibits. He had a chance to exercise his public speaking skills before a large audience. “Our room was pretty full. There were people from all over, students from other colleges, professors, and a lot of professionals, and even people from the government.”

Zak was able to glean a lot of insight from his Vol State professor, Bridgett Augustino-Wilke. "I am very proud of the work and level of professionalism that Zak brought to this workshop... and he was a great asset.” She went on to say, “He now has a Google link with a professional reference, a resume citation, a Professor's recommendation, and experience building a workshop presentation from outline to delivery and follow-up questions. It's a competitive job market for students these days. They have to go above and beyond their comfort zones… Zak has done that”

Zak encourages his fellow students to take advantage of these type of opportunities. He also said, “I learned a lot, and it was neat working with other people looking for solutions like we were. About half the people were just listening, but the other half were asking questions and wanted copies of our power point, so they could show it to their higher-ups. I got to answer a few questions about the roll I played in gathering data for our SL project. It was a lot of fun, being able to be there in front of a bunch of adults and have them ask us questions. It was a cool experience!”

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, March 4, 2011

Vol State Mardi Gras Celebration!

Many people think you have to travel to New Orleans to get the full impact of Mardi Gras. That is only because they didn't take a minute to join in the party today outside the Vol State Grill.

Mardi Gras literally translates as "carnival season." That is exactly the environment that was created for one hour. Zydeco and Cajun music set the mood as students and faculty donned handmade masks and performed mock crowning ceremonies. French doubloons were thrown out to all open hands, while party beads and crowns were placed on willing recipients. Smiles were in abundance and laughter blended nicely with the music.

Madame Grossberg (as her class refers to her) encouraged her French 1020 class to share the rich Louisiana culture with all in attendance. “It was such a hit we will definitely do it again next year. It was a great way to kick off the spring break.”

Vol State student Heidi Latorre is going to be a foreign language teacher, and she was excited to share about her interaction with people today. “It was fun after you got over the awkward stage in the beginning. Sometimes when you do things with the public, you have some insecurity at first, but we had so much fun just messing around with all the people that came through. One lady came in from Louisiana said she was so glad we did this, because it reminded her of home.”

Grossberg said they had full participation from the class. “My French class may do another event in the fall with French art, French food, and French music.”

Bon Mardi Gras!

Volunteer State Community College

Basketball Tourney Update-Thursday Game

The Vol State women’s basketball team was eliminated from the TCCAA/Region VII Basketball Tournament by Cleveland State last night with a final score of 75-52.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Basketball Tourney Update

The 2011 TCCAA/NJCAA Region Seven Basketball Tournament is underway in Dyersburg. The Vol State men’s basketball team was eliminated from the tournament last night by Cleveland State 82-75. The women play tonight at 8pm, also against Cleveland State.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Alumni and Ghost Stories

Today, I had a chance to talk to a former tutor of mine and I found out she is an author with one book out and another on the way.

Anna Neff is a 2009 Vol State graduate. Last semester, I took advantage of the resources found in the TRIO program. I needed a little help with Spanish and I was happy when I met Anna. I was suprised to find out that she is also an author. Her first book is called "Jadzya’s Life." It's in the final stages of editing before hitting the printing press.

Anna has long been a fan of Anne Rice, Stephen King, V.C. Andrews and other writers in the suspense / horror / fantasy genre.

She said the book has dark overtones and interaction with the spirit world, “I try to share how to deal with the pain of living in a dysfunctional family, through the eyes of a young girl growing up.”

“As I got further along in college I wanted to let people know that things may seem hopeless but if your mind is in the right place and you have a lot of perseverance eventually you will succeed," she said.

She says Vol State helped to get her where she is now.
“I had close connections with the professors and have stayed in contact with many of them. They seemed to have a different way of teaching me certain things that weren’t on the syllabus, but they were things you could use in life. In particular, Professor Bratcher has really been an inspiration for me and encouraged me to continue writing when I was discouraged.”

Anna says she is already working on her next project in the series of books. As a student and a writer I am always excited to hear the success stories of former students. I look forward to reading the novel when it comes out. Here is a link to Anna’s web site.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Interested in EMS? Read This...

Vol State EMS (Emergency Medical Services) Education will be accepting applications for the 2011/2012 Paramedic class from March 1 thru 31, 2011. Prospective applicants can download the application and information letter from the website. If you have any question please refer to the website or contact the office at 615-230-3346.