Friday, October 28, 2011

You are Never Too Old for College

No one ever considered me a model student in high school.  In fact, during my sophomore year (almost thirty years ago), one counselor told my parents to forget about me graduating with my class.  By the skin of my teeth, I barely acquired a diploma.  Since then, I have been intimidated by the very thought of returning to school.  As life would have it, the economy crashed, and I found myself jobless and in desperate need of that missing education.  After discussing it with my wife and kids, I decided to  give college a try. 
At the start, I only committed to one semester.  I won’t lie, it was difficult, and there were challenges around every corner.  However, once I jumped in, Vol State was willing to help me along the way.  As a community college, they were not uncomfortable with a post-forty adult student.  Realizing there was no room for pride, I shamelessly took advantage of every free aid available.  The patience of the tutors and counselors was awesome. 
My next significant milestone is in May, when I graduate with an associate degree.  To many this may not seem lofty, but for me it is monumental, since neither my parents nor grandparents received a college degree.  Soon, I will need to make more life changing decisions.  I am confident that the skills I have learned at Vol State will empower me to make the wisest choices. 
 If you are considering college as an adult, here are a few tips:
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Get to know the students in your class, this will pay off when studying.
  • COMMUNICATE - Be honest about your fears and concerns.
  • Try the TRIO program (If you qualify, it’s a great resource for non-traditional students).
  • Become familiar with labs on campus.  (FREE 1x1 help) Language, Math, and Computer.
  • Research and shop around for your textbooks BEFORE the semester starts.
Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Halloween Events at Vol State

Get your mask and make-up ready!  Here are the Vol State Halloween events:

Event # 1 is Friday, October 28
Starting at 5:30 pm Friday night, bring your family to the Rochelle Center in the Thigpen Library.  There will be CiCi’s Pizza, drinks, and plenty of candy.  African American Student Union (AASU) Vice President Daniel Russell helped coordinate last year and pointed out the benefits of holding the event indoors, where it is safe and warm. 
“We will have masks and face painting, and coloring,” said AASU Vice President, Daniel Russell.  “We had a great turn out last year and the cake give-away was especially popular.  The great thing about this event is it’s open to the whole community for kids of any age.  We will probably have a costume contest as well.”
The event closes around 7:30 pm.

Event #2 is Monday, October 31
Faculty, Staff, and students are invited to participate in the Vol State Foundation’s Halloween Costume Contest.  If an entire class participates and wins, they will receive a FREE pizza party!  The participation fee is $5.00 per person and must be turned in to Stacey Wolmeduff by Friday at 4:00 pm.  All proceeds will benefit the Foundation General Scholarship.  Judging will be Monday from 9:30 am - 2:00 pm. Winners for 1st, 2nd and 3rd will receive gift cards and group winners will receive a pizza party!

Here are few photos from last year.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

My Vol State Portal Down Friday Night...Read This for Direct Links

The My Vol State Portal will be down for service this weekend starting Friday night. You can still access your online classes directly at and your student e-mail at

Early Registration Starts November 14 and 15

Early Registration for the Spring Semester is coming up for current Vol State students. It will start on Monday, November 14 for students with 30 or more hours of course credit (sophomores) and on Tuesday, November 15 for students with less than 30 hours (freshmen). Register early to make sure you get the classes you need! Registration for new and readmit students starts on November 28.

Monday, October 24, 2011

What do Yale, Harvard and Vol State Have in Common?

Students from universities all around the world apply for a small number of White House Internships.  Vol State has joined the ranks of the prestigious colleges sending students to the program, now that alumnus Ian Smith has been accepted into the Joining Forces program at the White House.  Ian was motivated to apply for the internship after learning about an opportunity set forth by the First Lady and Dr. Jill Biden to support military families.

Smith is a graduate of the Vol State  Emergency Medical Technician program and a military veteran.
“(It) was a natural fit for me to continue my role of service to my country," said Smith. "It offered me a new learning challenge, working first hand in public service at the national policy level."
"My primary duties include assisting with correspondence with the many great individuals and organizations that want to help support our veterans and their families. ..I also help manage the Executive Directors’ schedule and ensure that various meetings in the White House are facilitated.”
Smith said the program  began in September and ends in December.  
“I know that in my future, well after the White House Internship ends, I will continue to support individuals, programs, and agencies that have our veterans’ best interests at heart and who honor the fallen.  It is important work that we, as a country, must all join forces to do.”

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, October 21, 2011

Vol State Students Get Trashy

How do you spend your time on a Saturday?  Three Vol State student organizations recently got together to clean up trash and collect recyclables from Lock 4 Park in Gallatin.
Vice President of the Vol State chapter of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), CT Hodgson, explained how this came about.  “I was brainstorming during Welcome Week and wanted to build closer relationships with the other campus organizations,” said Hodgson.  “I knew our club had this project coming up and thought it might be a great opportunity to bring us together.  I approached some reps from the other groups and they thought it was a great idea.”

Nursing major, Hope Chrisawn was excited to participate.  “With only thirteen members from NSLS, three from PTK, and two from Team Change, we collected over seventy-five bags of trash and three truckloads of things to be recycled,” said Chrisawn.

“I was very excited to see the participation of these clubs working together,” said Student Life coordinator, Jamey Campbell.  “The students spent the better part of a Saturday pulling trash out of Lock 4 Park in Gallatin.  It was carefully sorted to pull out all the recyclables.  The result was stunning to see that much trash collected from the park.”

Brandon Shaw with Team Change felt that campus groups would be stronger and more productive if they played off each others strengths.  “A lot of times people think that their clubs are all inclusive but there is no reason we cannot work together,” said Shaw.  “Right now we are in the planning stages to see if we can involve more student government organizations.”

If you would like to participate in the next clean up day.  Please contact the office of Student Life.

Volunteer State Community College

Friday, October 14, 2011

If You Hate Math - Vol State Offers New Solutions

Professor Caldwell teaching
I have been dreading math next semester.  Of course, part of my problem is that I have not exercised my math skills since high school (and even then, I wasn’t that confident).  However, I was pleased to find out that Vol State is working on ways to help students who do not feel prepared to tackle algebra on the first day of class.  Department Chair for Mathematics Kim Caldwell recognizes that many students suffer from things like “math anxiety,” or maybe they are just rusty.  With her colleagues she has been working on this age-old problem, and one promising solution involves what are called Learning Support classes, which students take in the Learning Commons.

“We have redesigned the math program so all the entry level students are using the same book, the same code, and the same online learning system,” said Caldwell.  “This encourages them to move as quickly as possible.  The math components are broken into five competencies, and students who have more time on their hands can move ahead.  The pace of a formal classroom won’t restrain them.  If they don’t finish all the competencies in one semester, that's okay because they can pick up where they left off.  This helps students to go as fast as they want to.”

The Newly remodeled Learning Commons
Carolyn Harlan is a mathematics specialist and has focused on helping both new and returning students who felt that they needed a little help getting acclimated to attending college. 

“The theory was just to get students to college level math quicker,” said Harlan.  “This may shave off a whole year if a student is able to move through the program.  If somebody could not get into a specific class, they may be able to  come to the Learning Commons.  We have already had students move up to the next level this semester, and that was just in the first five weeks.”

The new Learning Support classes are required for students who score below a certain level in testing. They're also held in Reading and English.

For more information about Learning Support classes visit the web page:

The Learning Commons can also help with test preparation and other skill improvement. You can visit them in Warf 126 for details.

Volunteer State Community College

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

New EMS Manikin is High-Tech and Realistic

The 32-year-old man is pulled from the swimming pool. He’s conscious and yet unable to move. The only sign of injury is an abrasion on the head. Now the Vol State Emergency Medical Services (EMS) faculty members get their turn and the newly purchased patient simulation manikin playing this role will give them workout. The intensive two-day training will get the EMS instructors familiar with this latest piece of technology. The Laredal simulator is more than just a standard manikin, he seems unnervingly human. He coughs, sweats and breathes. His pupils dilate, and the eyes open and close. He can simulate a cardiac arrest, collapsed lung and many other critical possibilities. He even reacts to drug cards flashed next to his IV line. If you don’t get the dosage right- watch out!

Vol State students will have the opportunity to test their skills on the new manikin later this semester. First, the Vol State EMS faculty members need to get their practice. While they’re on the front lines for this training, in the future they will be behind a laptop hooked up to the manikin. It will allow them to monitor how students react and change the nature of the simulation to provide a life-like set of circumstances. The goal is to run through a scenario in real-time, giving the students valuable training in a number of different situations. The Vol State folks trained with Flight Nurses from Vanderbilt University Medical Center LifeFlight. They plan to use the manikin for the training of rural nurses, paramedics, and physicians across Middle Tennessee.

Each generation of simulator manikins comes with new technology and features, designed for realism. The new Laredal manikins purchased by Vol State include two adult versions and one pediatric. Just remember: don’t call the manikin a dummy. It’s packed with enough technology to earn it a bit of respect.

Volunteer State Community College, paramedic, EMT

Monday, October 10, 2011

New Vol State Allied Health Building: Room for More Students

Allied Health programs are among the most popular on campus and yet they are unable to grow much for one primary reason: space. Plans were unveiled recently for a solution to that problem. It’s a new Allied Health building for Volunteer State Community College, to be constructed in the parking lot between the Mattox and Wallace buildings, with a walkway connection to Wallace. It will be a $10 million project with specialized labs and classrooms. These artist renderings are the first step in the design process and there could be many changes down the road.

“Right now the plans are for the first floor to have Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Health Information Technology (HIT),” said Allied Health Dean Elvis Brandon. “On the second floor, we’ll have Ultrasound, Ophthalmic, Medical Lab Technology and Sleep Diagnostics.”

It isn’t just a matter of more space. The building is designed with unique features for the programs.

“In the EMS suite we’re going to have at least three simulation labs and one big control room. We’ll be able to videotape the simulations for discussion with students later. HIT will have a computer lab and classroom, all in one. It will be a nice workstation for the HIT students. The Ophthalmic program will have actual exam rooms, which will help for training and for lab testing.”

Other major additions include a dedicated Sleep Diagnostics lab. Sleep studies require a carefully controlled environment and specialized equipment. Medical Lab Technology has been housed at St. Thomas Hospital in Nashville. The new building will have a dedicated lab for the program. The Sonography program will have room for more ultrasound equipment, providing students with greater hands-on time. The building also includes new anatomy and physiology classrooms. They are a required set of courses for Allied Health students.

The extra space will create room for more students and an expansion of the popular programs. Where an allied Health program might currently be capped at 16 students, they could expand to 25 students.

“All of the programs moving in there are at or above capacity. It will allow additional opportunities for more students.”

Dean Brandon says Allied Health programs often require particular equipment and layout considerations and the new building should make a big difference.

“We’ve tried to make programs fit into spaces,” he said. “Now, we will design spaces for the programs. This will be key for moving our programs forward and helping them have even more success.”

The project will begin next spring with the construction of new parking lots across the creek in the open green space near the rear entrance to the college. Ground breaking for the building itself should take place next summer, with completion expected about a year later.

The design work has been completed by SDI/MNI and given to Vol State administrators for review. The College will make recommendations to the Tennessee Board of Regents and then TBR will make the final decision. Once the building project is officially approved, it will be time to break ground and start a new era for Allied Health at Vol State.

First floor and then second floor preliminary layout:

Friday, October 7, 2011

A Gathering Place for Writers, at Vol State

"There is no agony like bearing an untold story inside you." ---Z.N. Hurston
Vol State student, Brittany Bertoli sharpens her pen
Have you ever wanted a place to share something you have written?  Vol State now has a student writers group.  The first meeting is set for 5:00 pm, Monday, October 10 at the Wood Campus Center, in room 308.  All styles and genres are welcome.  Refreshments will be served.  If you are interested in participating please email club President, Michelle Chowning or Vice President, Paul Farmer.

Volunteer State Community College

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Open House in the New Art Building

Professor Mulcahy teaches in one of the new classrooms
Wednesday, October 12 from 11:00 am to 1:30 pm the Vol State Art Department invites you to a special event in their newly renovated building.  

 Professor Sue Mulcahy is excited.  “There are two separate things going on.  First, a lot of people have asked to come down to see all the changes.  We’ll have an Open House with a reception, so the campus can see what a nice job maintenance did over the summer.  The second  thing involves a showcase for two students who traveled to Italy with the international TnCIS program, for art classes.  Cory Amons studied drawing, and Lauren Bader studied photography.”

Preparing to display some of the art from Cory Amons

Kick off your fall break with light refreshments, and feel free to ask for a tour.  For more information about the Art Department click here.

Volunteer State Community College

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Cash found at Vol State- what would you do?

English major Keith Harper was walking to class when he spied an envelope full of cash and a couple of receipts.  Harper wanted to do the right thing, but he did not know how to locate the person who lost the money.  He contacted campus police to see if anyone had reported it, but they showed no records of lost cash.  He chose to turn it in anyway, sharing a detailed description of when and where he found the envelope.  

“I could have stuck the money in my pocket, but all I could think about was that some student was depending on this.  I am learning to be a writer and I know how hard it is to make ends meet,” said Harper.  “I thought, maybe they had plans with their family or something.  This all happened about the time that students were receiving grant money, and I know how much it would affect me to lose this much cash.”

Vol State Police Officer Steve Etheridge took up the quest for the owner of the dough.  He began an extensive search through archived surveillance videos without much success.   

"The camera angles did not reveal anyone dropping the envelope," said Etheridge.  "So, I followed the trail of the receipt across the street to Textbook Brokers.  With the help of security videos from Operations Manager, Michael Moghadam, I was able to find a clue to the owner’s identity.  I contacted the student who lost the envelope and he said, he thought it was a lost cause, nobody would turn in an unmarked envelope with almost five-hundred dollars cash.”
“We try to help campus police anytime we can," said Moghadam.  "The student that lost the money got lucky that someone was honest enough to turn it in  and an officer was diligent enough to spend the time researching it.”

Volunteer State Community College

Monday, October 3, 2011

Interested in Travel-Study? Info Sessions Are Coming Up Soon

Do you want to travel overseas and earn college credit? Vol State has travel-study scholarships available for students. Trips include countries from Asia, Africa, South America and Europe. Interested students must attend one of the following information sessions:

TnCIS Information Sessions

Oct. 10th Main Campus 2:30 p.m. Mattox 104

Oct. 10th Main Campus 5:30 p.m. Mattox 104

Oct. 12 Livingston noon to 2 p.m. Room TBA (look for the signs)

Oct. 22 Main Campus 9 a.m. Mattox 104

Oct. 25 Springfield/Highland Crest 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Room TBA (look for the signs)

Nov. 9th Livingston noon to 2 p.m. Room TBA (look for the signs)

Nov. 10th McGavock High School 5:15 p.m. Room TBA (look for the signs)

For more information contact or 615-230-3764.

Volunteer State Community College