Thursday, September 29, 2011

Students from Egypt, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, and Korea- welcome to Vol State!

Students conducting interviews with each other
One definition of diversity is variety and another is multicultural differences.  That is exactly what I found at the VISA mixer today in the Ramer building.  Vol State has students from many countries.  Today I met students from Egypt, Vietnam, Burma, Mexico, and Korea, just to name a few countries.

“The purpose of the VISA club is for people of all backgrounds who are interested in international culture, ideas, issues, and travel to come together and meet others with a common interest,” said the faculty co-advisor for the group, Kay Grossberg.  “We have had students come to the club and realize that the world is here at their doorstep. Students from other countries are given a chance to get involved in student government and really develop an understanding of our culture. ”
Ashley and Mital get know each other
Mohamad and Michael discuss diversity

Criminal Justice major, Ashley Simmons spoke with Mital Patel, who is still undecided about her major.  Both were enjoying the conversation.  “I am not in the VISA club but I like what I see,” said Simmons.  “And I think after this event, I want to get involved with this program.”

Michael Wahpa is a first-year engineering major from Egypt.  “This helps me to break the ice.  I have been here two months,” said Wahpa.  “My cousin invited me to come, he is also attends here at Vol State. The culture is very different.  I already knew a little English. I had studied it but never spoke it.”

From left to right, Ha, Anthony, and Michael
Anthony Zaul is from Burma.  “When I graduated from Hendersonville High School, I wanted to come to this college,” Zaul added with a hint of pride.  “All my brothers went here. When I finish, I am going to attend college in Michigan.  I am not a member of the VISA club but I like it.  The diverse culture is good.”

Free food is hard to turn down for students
The VISA club is open to everyone and their next scheduled meeting is October 11 at 2:15 pm.  For more information please contact Associate Professor, Kay Grossberg.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Job Career Fair Success

                More than 900 people visited the Fall Job Career Fair today. 55 companies were represented and 30 Vol State volunteers helped pull it all together. Vol State President Dr. Nichols and VP of Resource Development Karen Mitchell thanked the participants and marked the Alumni Association sponsorship of the event with a special Vol State 40th anniversary cake cutting ceremony. They took a moment just before the ceremony to pose for a picture with some Vol State alumni and faculty.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

American Baseball Dreams Still Come True

Photo courtesy of the Seattle Mariners
Every college athlete dreams of the day they get a call from a professional recruiter.  When Vol State student Steve Delabar blew out his elbow in the 2001-2002 baseball season, there were concerns about his career goals to be a pitcher.  In 2004, he made it to the San Diego Padre’s minor league team and spent the next five years working through his injury.  After breaking his elbow, he ended up settling back home with his wife in Elizabethtown, Kentucky.  He worked as a substitute teacher and coached for the local high school.  He helped kids train at local facility named Players Dugout.  BUT the story does not end there.  Delabar just got signed with the Seattle Mariners.

Joel Lynn who is now the assistant coach at Vol State started as a player while Delabar was going through rehab.  “Stevie took me under his wing and let me stay with him when I moved to town,” said Lynn.  “I’m telling you, when it comes to baseball he is obsessed; whether playing, working, or watching it on TV, it is all he thinks about.  He had already blown his elbow out before I got here.  He was good, but he was not what he is now.  During rehab he struggled throwing strikes, and by the fifth inning he was out of the game.  If you watch him now. . . he pounds the strike zone and I would attribute that to maturity.”

Vol State Baseball Coach Mike Crossland remembers Delabar.  “He had an elbow injury and had to have a Tommy John surgery,” said Crossland.  “When he left here he signed for the Padres and pitched five plus years but never made it out of class-A-ball.  When he was here his velocity was probably 91-93 mph but now he is pitching in the big league at 97-100 mph.  He was a good kid from a good family.  This is good for him and his wife Jamie.”

Here is a video clip of Delabar’s first game for the Mariners. 
I will look forward to hearing more good things as his career continues to rise.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, September 23, 2011

Dragons Sighted on the Vol State Campus

Imagine yourself... Screaming a battle cry, you stab down with your wand of Flame Blade, and jump onto the neck of Raygoss the dragon.  With a mighty lunge he leaps into the air causing your sword to slip from your grasp.  You grip the frozen scales with your frost-bitten fingers and wonder what will happen as you look down at the last rays of the sun glittering off the frozen river below.
Club members recruit at Fall Fling
Does this sound like fun?  You, too, can enjoy the adventures if you join the Dungeons and Dragons (D and D) Club, which happens to be the most active club on the Vol State campus.  They can be found almost daily in the carpeted dining room playing any number of games.  D and D is one of several role playing games, but there are also a number of strategy-oriented games also such as Magic the Gathering.
Nick Huth has been playing since high school.  “D and D actually requires you to be social, so it helps people make new friends,” said Huth.  “Games times vary.  They run from one sitting and other games can last well over a year.”
Players build characters during lunch
After he graduated from Gallatin High School, Josh Rittenberry could not find anyone to play, but soon found a group that was happy to have him join in.  “I don’t have a favorite character,” said Rittenberry.  “But I have a lot of them that I like.  You get attached to all of them.” 
Gaming is a multi-billion dollar industry.  Many themes that started out on a board, have now graduated to books, then to movies, and now video games.  If you are bored or just want to meet new friends, stop by and introduce yourself.
Amadeus Nunaley shows just a few options
President of the club, Amadeus Nunaley, invites people of all ages. “A lot of people use D and D as a way to get to know other people, and you can also do things that you could never do in real life. We are trying to set up a game with some faculty members who have expressed interest in participating.  We have several students who were uncomfortable, thinking it was going be really weird.  After they get to know us, they enjoy hanging out.”

Visit their Facebook page for more information.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Valuable Lessons on Constitution Day

Saturday at the Constitution Day presentation questions rang out from the audience.  “Can you promote Christianity at a public school?”  This was one of the first questions shouted out to Loretta Calvert, who is the coordinator of paralegal studies at Vol State.  “What about people distributing the Koran on a college campus?” was another.  Calvert carefully navigated a number of cases in U.S. history showing how public institutions can prevent some types of activity while not having any say about others.  This can be based on whether or not the organization that is attempting to promote something is functioning in a public or private capacity.  I am glad that our country has considered some of these complexities.

In 1971, Cohen vs. the State of California was a publicized case where a teenager wore a jacket expressing profanity on the back, outside of a courthouse and was arrested as a result.  The Supreme Court overturned this particular case.

Ultimately we need to be considerate of others actions and considerate with our own.  There are a number of cases in which the situation was almost identical yet the ruling was different.  Each case is dealt with individually, because there is a fine line between freedom of speech and disorderly conduct.

As difficult and uncomfortable as many of these scenarios are, it is important for us to discuss them.  I am glad I took the time to listen in on Saturday.  To top of the end of a great day, paralegal student Chuck Brandt served his stuffed jalapenos with cream cheese and grilled shrimp, wrapped in bacon.  

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, September 19, 2011

Only Beer – Not a Big Deal, Or is it?

Tuesday, September 20 at 12:45 PM, Blake McMeans will be speaking in the Carpeted Dining Room located behind the Vol State Grill inside the Woods Campus Center.  McMeans has a unique perspective on alcohol and drunk driving, because his life was changed in a flash when chose to drive under the influence one night. 
His story not only changed his life, but it could change yours.  “In my case, we're talking about someone who had it all,” said McMeans.  “Someone who, overnight, went from being voted best looking in high school and being ranked fourth in the nation in tennis, to being confined to a wheelchair.”
This presentation will cut to the core of the problems surrounding alcohol abuse, and the destruction that can follow one bad decision.  This event is open to students, staff, faculty, and the community.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Celebrate Freedom of Speech Saturday

Constitution Day is celebrated every year on September 17, remembering the day in 1787, when the original document was signed.  All too often students are unaware of the important part this document plays in the culture of our country.  Come out this Saturday to learn a little more about the Constitution.  Just a few of the topics will be:

Freedom of Speech
Freedom of the Press
Freedom of Religion
The Right to Peacefully Assembly
Censorship in Art

Coordinator of Paralegal Studies and Assistant Professor, Loretta Calvert will be one of the speakers.  “Anybody that wants to learn more about their constitutional rights is invited,” shared Calvert.  She says they will have live music and serve the American favorite- hot dogs.

The presentation is from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. in the Caudill Hall auditorium and then people can eat and discuss what they have heard.  “Communication is key to all human relationships, and it is important for all of us to listen.  This will give you something to think about, and get you talking.  I want people to come out and share their opinions. You don’t have to agree with someone, but I think it is healthy when people have opinions.”

A looped visual presentation created by Art Professor, Sue Mulcahy, will be looped in the background.  “It’s hard for me to say if censorship has progressed or not,” said Mulcahy.  “It seems like there was less censorship in the 1960s, but maybe that is because I was coming up in a day when there was a lot of controversy going on.  People have the right to be offended by something and to say they don’t want to see it, but on the other hand, when fear of censorship is present it squashes creativity.  Sometimes you want people to think about difficult issues." 

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Highland Crest 9/11 Ceremony

Vol State at Highland Crest in Springfield held a 9-11 memorial service at noon on Friday.  Officer Reeves of the Vol State Campus Police contacted the Robertson County Sheriff’s Department, as well as the Springfield Fire Department, to see if they would like to participate.  They were all happy to attend.  The Sheriff, some of his officers, the jail administrator, and several people from the Fire Department attended.  Officer Reeves did an introduction at the flag pole and then taps was played.  At the conclusion of the music, Officer Reeves lowered the flag to half-staff.

PTA Program Holds Fisher House 5K Fun Run

The Physical Therapist Assistant Program at Volunteer State Community College will hold a 5K Fun Run/Walk with all proceeds benefiting the Fisher House at Fort Campbell.

The Fisher House program is a unique private-public partnership that supports America's military in their time of need. Fisher House facilities, located in 16 states and in Europe, have saved military families nearly $120 million in lodging fees, subsistence costs, and transportation expenses. Fisher House serves more than 12,000 families annually. The average length of stay of the families is 12 days. Currently, 43 houses are in operation with more under construction. Read more about Fisher House at or at

“Fisher House 5K” will take place at Volunteer State Community College in Gallatin on Saturday, October 15, 2011. The race will begin at 8:00 AM. Entry fees for pre-registered runners are $20 for adults. Children ages 5 and under can participate free when accompanied by an adult. Group rates are available. All pre-registered runners will receive a T-shirt. The deadline to pre-register for the race is September 28th. After this deadline, entry fees will be $25. Please note that those registered after September 28th will not be guaranteed a T-shirt.

To register for the race go to

For more information email
For directions to the college, visit

Monday, September 12, 2011

Student Finds Biological Family

The first question many Vol State students hear when they start back to classes in the fall is, “What did you do this summer?”  So far music major Ray Donaldson has the coolest answer yet.  He told me about one day this June, when he was contacted by a half-sister he never knew about.  After a few questions and calls, he found out that he had biological brothers, sisters and parents that he had never met.
He spent a lot of time with them during his summer break.  “My biological mom has had a lot of health problems,” said Donaldson.  “She was always worried she would die, without meeting me.  So we are really happy this happened.”  He is planning on getting to know all of them better this coming year.
I asked him how his current family felt about this new information.  “I told my mom and dad that though meeting my biological parents was cool, no one could ever take the place of them,” said Donaldson.  “I reserve the terms of mom and dad for them only.  It has really been cool sharing music with my siblings.  Now, my little sister is starting to like my favorite band, Nirvana, since meeting me.”
Donaldson encourages anyone adopted to not feel bad about their circumstances.  He feels blessed by both families and said, "It’s actually kind of cool."
Volunteer State Community College

Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11 Ceremony at Vol State

Vol State students, staff, and faculty gathered outside the Ramer building today for a ceremony commemorating the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington.  The John T. Alexander Post Seventeen of the American Legion gave a twenty-one gun salute to those who lost their lives. A moment of silence will be observed world-wide on Sunday at 8:46 a.m. 

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Hands-On Journalism at Vol State

Elliott Pratt is a Vol State President's Ambassador and also a sports writer. This semester he's writing for the Settler student newspaper:

Student publication is the biggest voice that the student has at Volunteer State, whether it be through the student newspaper in The Settler, the magazine in The Pioneer, or even through this blog you are reading now. I am excited to be finally involved with the Volunteer State student newspaper, The Settler.

I have had previous experience with working for a newspaper but not to the extent that I will go through this school year. I was the sports writer for my high school newspaper that was running on fumes to be frank. I also have experience as a freelance sports writer for my hometown newspaper. But The Settler will provide a whole new involvement with student publication. The Settler is published once a week, which requires more time and involvement than I have had to put forward in the past.

With that said, I would like to encourage any student that even has a slight interest in writing and also being a voice for the student body, to join any student publication. You do not have to have any previous experience in working for a newspaper or even a magazine. It can be a new endeavor to set forth on and can also help with any other writing involvement you have in the future. I am extremely excited to be a part of this year’s Volunteer State Community College student publications.

-Elliott Pratt

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Vol State Grille Has What You Need

Stop by the Vol State Grille next time you need your morning cup of coffee, or if you need to satisfy that gnawing hunger at lunch time, they can help with that also.  Here is a short vlog sharing some information about what to expect on your next visit.
Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Need help with course work? Check out these open house events


College Success Zone
Open House Events for Fall 2011

Everyone could use some extra help with their class assignments. Vol State has a number of labs and programs to assist you with homework, papers and research.

We want to show you what we have to offer. We’ll have free food and prize giveaways at each of these open house events. Grab a sandwich and talk to our staff about how these College Success Zone services can help you have a great semester!

There’s no sign-up necessary. Come at anytime between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on these dates and at these locations. We hope to see you there!

September 6 and 7

Thigpen Library - Research Room

Information about how the library and library staff can help you with research for papers and homework assignments.

September 13 and 14

Learning Commons - Warf room 126

Help with College Success Zone services, Learning Support classes, test preparation and programs to build your academic skills.

September 20 and 21

Language Center - Ramer room 157

Find out how you can get writing help for papers and essays.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, September 2, 2011

National College Colors Day at Vol State

Some people may have been embarrassed to wear team colors today, but not these folks.  They proudly displayed teams from all over.  Thanks to all those that participated and helped finish out a great first week this semester.  Have a great weekend!

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Don't Forget to Wear Your Colors Friday

Friday September 2 is National College Colors Day.  Feel free to share your favorite college athletic departments colors.

Volunteer State Community College

The Movies by Starlight results are in!

Students have been voting for the movies they would like to have shown at Vol State Movies by Starlight on Friday, September 23rd. The winners are: Cars 2 and Pirates of the Caribbean 4. The show will start at dusk, which is usually 7:30pm. They will be shown outside on the library lawn or inside the gym in case of rain. Bring a lawn chair or blanket. Everyone is welcome and it's free. Hope to see you there

Four Tips for Success in Class

The start of a new semester can be exciting as you get into new classes. However, as we all know it can get tough as the weeks go on and the work piles up. Here are four tips to help you have a successful semester.

1. Go to class. Yeah, we know, this seems pretty obvious. But you'd be surprised how many students get behind after missing just a class or two.

2. Talk to your instructor if you're having problems. This also seems obvious, but some students are worried about discussing problems they are having understanding the class material. Talk to your instructor before you get frustrated and lost.

3. Form your own study group. Working with other students outside of class can really help.

4. Get extra help. We have several free labs and services to help you with study, homework, assignments, papers and research. Visit the College Success Zone website for details: