Friday, September 28, 2012

EMTs Everywhere

There's never a good time to have a heart attack on campus, but if you picked today you would certainly have plenty of folks that could respond. Nearly two hundred emergency medical technicians, paramedics, nurses and other health professionals are at Vol State for the Northern Middle Tennessee STEMI Summit. What's STEMI? It's short for ST Elevation Myocardial Infarctions. That's basically a serious coronary artery blockage. How do you check for that sort of thing? The health responders are learning best practices for reading the 12 lead electrocardiogram.

EMT's go through this sort of training on a regular basis to keep up with the latest techniques. In fact, the Vol State Health Sciences Center of Emphasis does courses for health care professionals throughout the year. It's just another way that Vol State is a hub for health sciences training in the area.

If you know someone who has been helped by an paramedic or EMT in an emergency situation you can thank professional continuing education for keeping those responders on the cutting edge of care.

For more information on the Vol State Health Sciences Center of Emphasis, including a class list visit:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

College Students Search for jobs

There may be less of a strain on our economy this year. Compared to last year, the unemployment rate for college students is down about 1.7%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When Vol State hosted a career fair yesterday, many students and people from the community leapt at the opportunity to find work. The Job Fair had more than 80 employers represented and that may be an indication the economy is improving.
Student, Jose Robles, came to the career fair after he heard about it from his speech instructor.

“I figured it would be a good time to search for a job. I’ve been looking for a few months and going to interviews, but I haven’t been called back. I’m bilingual, so maybe one of these companies will need me.”

“I’ve been looking for a job a couple of months now,” said student, Alli Gerts. “I am mostly looking for a retail job. Right now I work at Home Goods and I don’t get enough hours.”

Kealani Hughes, a student who is employed by McDonald's, says that she “hates” working fast food. She continues her search for a better job.
Vol State Fall 2012 Career Fair

“This year, I found that it’s not so hard to find a job if you look in the right place,” said student Kyle Weakland. Most of the jobs that he found, he says came from radio and Google ads.

Some students feel like most jobs that college students are hired to perform are menial. They would prefer a job in a field that they are studying. They feel like they have proper education and qualifications.

“It’s really hard to get a job these days unless you have a degree in hand, but it’s good to have prospects,” said student Joseph Rowland. “I work for a big corporation and its hard working for them and going to school.” 

Kathryn Medrano said, “It’s still hard to find a job. They (employers) don’t want students, they want graduates.” Medrano says that she is already employed by McDonald's, but she, like Hughes, is looking for a new job.

“Even if you have an awesome job, you should keep your options open," said Rowland.

Monday, September 24, 2012

October Calendar

OCT. 5 - Nov. 10

Trey Gossett Art Exhibit Ramer Great Hall 7am-9pm Monday through Saturday, closed Sunday


"Sustainability: A Social Imperative" by
Parris Powers, Honors Lecture Series,
Mattox 104, 12:30pm


"Tweedledee and Tweedledum - The Two Party System" by Dr. Michael Lenz, Honors Lecture Series, Mattox 104, 12:30pm

15 , 16

Fall Break-No Classes


Professional Development Day- No Classes


Vol State music students perform at the
Whippoorwill in Gallatin, 6:30pm


Hispanic Fiesta, Center Campus, 10am-4pm


HIV Testing Wood Campus Center, 12pm-4pm


Presidential Debate Watch and Discussion
Nichols Dining Room 8 p.m.


Magician Jay Mattioli, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


"Plato and Aristotle Go to the Polls" Dr. Clark Hutton, Honors Lecture Series, Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm

26, 27

Play: The Land of Ma, Vol State Performing Arts Students, Wemyss Auditorium Caudill Hall 7:30pm

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Students Empowering Students in Supplemental Instruction (SI)

Can you believe that we have completed one fourth of the fall semester? By now you have taken a couple of quizzes or tests, written your first paper, or even done both. You may not have performed as well as you expected on the test, or maybe you are just not comprehending the material as easily as you expected. Supplemental Instruction (SI) can help students better understand the subject, as well as gain better study habits. It's weekly study sessions, held outside of class, and lead by a student who has already taken the class and done well. SI classes are only available in certain classes, usually the harder ones on campus.
Chelsea Boike conducts a S.I. study group
on the lawn of the Warf building.
Many students have said that the group sessions help them understand the material better than studying alone.
Student, Chelsea Dunning said supplemental instruction is, “like a common ground between the professor and the book.”
“I wish that I had known about it when I was going through Anatomy and Physiology One; I wish I had been able to talk to someone who has been through it before,” said Melia Peters, a Biology SI Leader.  

Peters says that as an SI Leader she tries to relate what she went through while taking the course and what students should focus on.

“I really take the program personally and I think it has an opportunity to help students feel not so over whelmed,"said Megan Merrick, an SI Leader in history.  

“The idea of Supplemental Instruction is students empowering students,” said Merrick. “I don’t teach, I ask a lot of open ended questions to help them understand the material… Asking opinions of why do you think this happened. We go more in depth as oppose to memorizing facts.”

“Every teacher has their own teaching style," said Peters. “Students might find their professor intimidating, whether they mean to be or not, they just may come across that way.”

“Students find that it’s easier to talk to another student,” Peters said. “It’s about studying technique; I hand out a lot of handouts and we have discussion…
You can get more information about Supplmental Instruction and contact the organizers by visiting the web page:

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Student Health Fair

Megan Sexton
Come experience two days of wellness with free massages as students inform peers of health topics ranging from breast cancer to zumba.
“I picked a topic that is close to my major… Putting the board together helped me understand what I am going into,” said Megan Sexton, President of NSLS.
Wednesday Sept. 19- Thursday Sept. 20, student clubs will come together with a purpose of getting students more involved in their own well-being, as well as to get students using the weight training room here on campus.
“I am hoping that they learn something about health… Like, how often should you get a physical,” said Tabitha Lambertson, Coordinator, Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.
If the weather is nice, the campus event is planned to take place in the Plaza; in case of rain, it will be held in the Ramer Great Hall.
Along with information from the students, the health department will be passing out flyers, Gold’s gym will have a table informing individuals about health issues, and free chair massages will be available.

The P.E Weight Training room is located in room 105 of Pickel Field House behind the gymnasium. Hours are Monday - Friday 6:30 a.m. - 9 p.m.

Mattox and Wallace Parking Lot Closures Coming Soon

As you may have heard, we're building a new Allied Health building at Vol State, which is great news for our students, as it will allow us to add spots in some very popular programs. However, it will cause some disruptions. The building will be going up in the parking lots between Mattox and Wallace. Those two lots (T and J) will close for good starting the week of September 24. If you park there currently, you are advised to start looking for your next best alternative. We suggest the new parking lot by the back entrance to the college, off  of Greenlea Blvd. It has a walkway up to the buildings and should provide a close spot if you have classes in Mattox or Wallace.

As you can see the new building will look pretty cool. Please bear with us during construction.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fundraiser Brings a New Perspective

The Harvest Moon Soirée is a big fundraiser for Vol State. This year the event brought in $32,000 for student scholarships. It's always interesting to view the Soirée from a student perspective. This year President's Ambassador Amanda Coons attended to help with the event. This is her report:

I just recently worked an event for the Vol State Foundation called the Harvest Moon Soirée. I was not sure what to expect out of this event but I was thrilled when I found out the amount of people that attended. I was expecting to see the teachers and staff from Vol State but to my surprise it was much more then that... There were all sorts of individuals from the surrounding area that were there to support Vol State and it's students.
It made me realize that my assumptions that I had in high school about Vol State were totally wrong. When I was in high school, nobody wanted to admit that they were going to attend Vol State because it was right down the road from where we lived and went to school and who was going to get a true college experience there. I had the assumption that you couldn't get a real degree from Vol State but boy was I wrong. I have come to realize that Vol State is an amazing school! It is full of wonderful faculty and staff that truly care about the well being of the student and there are SO many programs and degrees that are offered. Vol State offers programs that I didn't even know existed and there are several advantages to being a part of a smaller college campus. I thoroughly enjoy the smaller class sizes and personal time that you get with the professors that you probably wouldn't get at a larger campus. I only wish I would have know all this when I was in high school and then I would have come to Vol State much sooner!
President's Ambassador Jennifer Erickson spoke at the event and the Vol State Bluegrass Ensemble provided the music. Thanks to the College Foundation for organizing a great night.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Hot Topics for a Special Lecture Series

Student Jennifer Erickson recently attended one of a series of Honors program lectures. This one was a  red-hot topic. Here's her report:

On September 10, 2012, I was present for the lecture by Dr. Michael Lenz on “The American Police State”. Dr. Lenz is a new, full-time, political science professor, and he is very interested and spirited about the state of our nation. I found his lecture to be extremely engaging, informative and I eagerly anticipate his next event.

Dr. Lenz asked an important question: is America a “police state,” which he described as the gradual or rapid expansion of government controls over the social, economic, and political life of the population, and then asked if we are not already - are we headed that way?

Dr. Lenz described many different laws that have been passed sometimes with and sometimes without the consent of all branches of government and, in some cases, like the U.S. Patriot Act of 2001, only one out of 100 congressmen actually read the proposal and that one person didn’t sign it. I say sometimes without consent because the President has the ability to enforce Executive Orders, laws that he deems important and skips the process of checks and balances through Congress. While this is not constitutionally legal, many presidents in the past have enforced it.
The most shocking bills, to me, were the NDAA - National Defense Authorization Act of 2010 - which states that citizens who are suspected of terrorism can be detained indefinitely
and The Enemy Expatriation Act of 2012 which says that engaging in or supporting hostilities against the U.S. gives the government the right to strip Americans of their citizenship.
The problem that Dr. Lenz pointed out with most of these bills is not the law they create but it is the language they use; the wording is vague and leaves room for individual interpretation.

Some of the other laws that were discussed were the Homeland Security Act of 2002, the Military Commissions Act of 2006, a wiretapping program called “Stellar Wind,” the John Warner Defense Authorization Act, Communities Against Terrorism Program, FAA Re-authorization Act of 2012, and SOPA: Stop Online Piracy Act.

If you are like me and feel a little out of touch with the decisions that our government has made recently, researching these different laws would be a great place to start in your re-immersion into American politics. The names of them don't really tell you what they enable the government to do.

I look forward to the next installment of Dr. Lenz’s lecture “Tweedledee and Tweedledum - The Two Party System” on October 10. There will also be a panel discussion on November 7 on “Debating the Draft” with Dr. Lenz and Dr. Carol Bucy and on November 14 Dr. Lenz will discuss the “War on Drugs”. Mark your calendars, folks, these lectures are not to be missed!

-Jennifer Erickson

September 17
Dr. Pimentel –History Department
“Lincoln and Emancipation” – Mattox 104
September 26
Prof. Parris Powers  -Science Dept
"Sustainability: A Social Imperative” -
Carpeted Dining Room
October 10
Dr. Michael Lenz
Political Science Department
“Tweedledee and Tweedledum –
The Two Party System” – Mattox 104
October 24
Dr. Clark Hutton Philosophy Department
“Plato and Aristotle Go to the Polls.” -
Carpeted Dining Room
November 7
Panel Discussion
“Debating the Draft” -   
Caudill Hall Auditorium
November 19
Dr. Michael Lenz Political Science Department
“War on Drugs” –
Carpeted Dining Room
December 5
Honors Students
Honors Contract Presentations -
Pickel 118
All Presentations are free and open to the public.  Lectures are held between 12:30-1:30 PM.  Lecture topics are subject to change.
Volunteer State Community College

Friday, September 14, 2012

Vol State Staff Member Battles Leukemia

“When I was diagnosed, I was 43, had small children, life was good. I had been working here (Vol State) for about 7 months, loved my job here, then BAM, just like a lightning bolt!”
In late January of 2007 ,Kenny Westmoreland, Writing Specialist at the Learning Commons, experienced what he thought were flu-like symptoms.

“I went to take a shower and I was so weak, I was unable to stand,” said Westmoreland.
He had recently had a flu shot, which he believed at that time may have triggered the actual flu. He decided to visit the doctor when the symptoms became worse and included frequent light headedness.
“Every time that I would stand, I would get light headed… Nothing like this had ever happened.”
Westmoreland went to the doctor on a Thursday February 1, 2007. That day, he was sent to the Cookeville hospital by ambulance, because the doctor first thought that he had a viral infection. On the following Monday, he was diagnosed with a, “Hairy Cell Leukemia", a rare form of cancer.

“The first thing to my mind was, this is not what I expected to hear,” Westmoreland said.

He received seven and a half days of intense chemotherapy treatments and 10 days of antibiotics. According to the, there is no cure for hairy cell leukemia. But treatments are effective at putting Hairy Cell Leukemia in remission for years.

“I was clinging to hope,” he said. “I was thinking of the day I would be back to normal… I would lie in bed at night and imagine the things that I would see on campus as I park and come into my office."
Westmoreland was in the hospital until late March. During his time there he remembers how he felt,
“I had quite a bit of sadness because I wasn’t allowed contact with my children for a month. They had colds, and contact with a head cold could have killed me.”
According to Westmoreland’s doctor, because the cancer is chronic, he will probably have a reoccurrence within 15 years.
I asked him how he feels knowing that the disease could come back at any time.
“To be honest, it scares me,” he replied.  “I haven’t had any flu-like symptoms since then, but the doctor said, if you start feeling funny or get a cut that won’t heal, come see us, we know what to do.”
Westmoreland continues to follow his doctor’s instructions and makes sure that he pays close attention to slow healing wounds.
“I did what the doctor recommended… I guess I was one of the fortunate ones.”
He has a friend whose 19 year old daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in the same year as him. Even after being in remission for foru to five months she was not so fortunate.
“I recommend regular check-ups… If you notice anything outside of the ordinary, anything not right, go to the doctor. If it had not been found, or if I didn’t go to the doctor, I would have gone into cardiac arrest.” 
Westmoreland goes for his next check-up in January. With September being Leukemia, Lymphoma and Myeloma awareness month- signs of potential problems are something that we all should be aware of.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Honors Program Meeting Thursday

Are you interested in the Honors program at Vol State? President's Ambassador Paul Raccio has this blog and info about a meeting:

Did you know that Volunteer State Community College has an Honors program? If you did, I bet that like most people you thought it would be far more difficult than your regular classes. That it would force you to spend hours studying or writing papers. While it is true that the Honors program here at Vol State will provide a challenge, it will also provide the chance for students to take classes that will be interactive and exciting. The typical honors class holds about ten less students than your average class on campus. It allows for more interaction between the student and the professor, a major advantage that you usually do not have in a regular class. You will also become far more acquainted with your classmates because you will have to develop a rapport with them in order to be successful.

The honors program is having its first meeting Thursday September 13th at 1:00 p.m. in the Warf building, room 104. We will be welcoming new and potential students into the program and discussing the important dates throughout the semester. It would be our pleasure for any and all students interested to come to this meeting. I promise you will see that honors students are no different from any other student!

If you cannot attend the meeting this Thursday, feel free to Contact Dr. Pimentel at and he will make sure to supply you with all the information you need to become an Honors student here at Vol State.

-Paul Raccio

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Knocking down walls of the Thigpen Library

You may have already heard about the renovations coming to the Thigpen Library. Renovations were supposed to begin last spring, but because of various stages of planning, the project has been pushed back to this fall.
“Right now I think it’s going to cause more chaos, they should start after the semester," said student Delphine Batamuriza. “I just hope that it is nice and worth it.”
The project is not one that the library staff is looking forward to either, but students should appreciate the results. 
The majority of the library staff offices are being moved to make room for the new “Learning Commons” that will be on the first floor. During renovations, the walls of the classrooms on the first floor will be knocked down in order to be a part of the “Learning Commons.”  Students may already be familiar with the Learning Commons, it's where Learning Support classes are taught. It will provide a lot more space and added facilities for Learning Support students.
Don’t worry about being in the way of walls being knocked down. The first phase of the renovations will begin on the second floor.
“The second floor will be shut down while they are working on it, but library staff will be able to go up and retrieve any books that a student may need,” said Louise Kelly, Director of Library Services.

"I like this area, (the second floor) because it is so much quiet than the downstairs with all the computers, printers and people,” said student Daniel Davidson. “I don’t like irritation and distraction from others.”

One of my favorite spots in the library is the paralegal study room. It houses law books for the paralegal students who have first priority to the room. I discovered the room a few semesters ago and I hide out there to write and study in quiet. The room is becoming office space for Louise Kelly and Mrs. Victoria Comer and the law books are being moved to empty selves upstairs.
“Oh no, I just discovered it. This was going to be my hang-out spot,” said student Chrissa Hollandsworth.
During the second phase everyone will be upstairs, including the library staff, even the computers and printers from downstairs.

“It’s going to be tight and crowded,” said Kelly.
On the second floor, after the renovations, a “silent study room” with table, chairs and comfortable lounge chairs will be available for students to go and study.  Also a new “library instruction room” with 30 computers will go upstairs replacing the room behind the reference desk with only 18 computers.
“I just want students to know what is going on, and how it will affect them and how they might need to make other arrangements,” said Kelly.
“I may try it once or twice, but if they have a lot of stuff going on, I’ll go find someplace else,” Davidson said.

Friday, September 7, 2012

What is Travel-Study Like? Check Out Ireland

Many students seem unaware of the travel opportunities that are present right here at Vol State. Through TnCIS, the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies, students at Vol State, as well as MTSU, ETSU, TTU, and all other educational institutions under the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), have opportunities to travel to nearly every corner of the globe.

With nearly eighteen study abroad programs for 2013, students accepted into the program could find themselves studying in China, Scotland, India, South Africa, Turkey, Brazil, and numerous other amazing locations.

During the summer of 2012, I traveled with TnCIS and a group of students and faculty from Vol State to Ireland for three spectacular weeks. I was even selected to be in a small performance group with the Vol State Music Department under the direction of Mr. James Story. This group performed in small pubs, grandiose cathedrals, and an auditorium filled with local community patrons.

Our trip began in Dublin, Ireland's capital, where we visited museums, the historic Kilmainham jail, the Guinness Brewery, and explored Dublin's shopping and dining districts. From Dublin, we traveled to the town of Thurles (pronounced "turl-lis"), which is where we stayed for the bulk of our visit. Here, we completed our coursework. Music Appreciation, British Literature, and Speech were the three courses offered to the students on this trip.

Galway was our last destination. We visited the world famous Cliffs of Moher, where scenes from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince and Leap Year were filmed. We took a ferry to the Aran Islands, home of the Aran sweater. With beautiful coastal sunsets, an exciting nightlife, as well as great shopping and local cuisine, Galway provided an excellent conclusion to our Irish experience.

I strongly suggest all students to look into traveling abroad at Vol State with TnCIS. Scholarships are available to eligible students. Learning in another country provides an entirely new perspective on education and opens you up to so many new and diverse viewpoints. Check out to view the available programs.

The program will be taking applications soon. Visit this web page to get details on how to apply here at Vol State:
-Jesse Walker


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Register to Vote- Before the Deadline!

If you plan to vote in this year’s presidential election you will need to register 30 days before the election, and this year that date is Oct 9.
With the right to vote, comes great responsibility, and that responsibility includes getting registered. There are forms you can pick up at several locations throughout your city, or you can register here on Vol State campus. Today, September 6, the League of Women Voters of Hendersonville will be in the Wood Campus Center with registration forms from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
“We think that it is important that everybody vote… every vote counts," said Linda Flood, former Vice President of Voters’ Services of Hendersonville’s League of Women Voters.
With volunteers on campus to help register individuals to vote, why not take advantage of the opportunity?
The League of Women Voters will be back on campus Sept. 17, from 11:00 a.m. -1:00 p.m. outside the tiled dining room of the Wood Campus Center.

Lonnie Scott presents “Make Your Mark and VOTE!” Sept. 26, at 12:20p.m. in the carpeted dining room of the Wood Campus Center. There will be voter registration materials available at that presentation.
“I’m excited about voting this year, because I just turned 18,” said Nikki Clark. "I’m excited that I get to express what I think, by my voting choices."
Linda Flood, Karen See and Bonnie Fertig
Not all first timers are excited about voting. Some are undecided and others have decided to just stay away from the polls all together.
“My parents talk to me all the time, saying I need to vote because it’s important,” said Olivia Caldwell. "But I haven’t decided (if I will vote) because I don’t care for either candidate."
“Someone came on campus last year, so I registered to vote,” Daniel Richardson said. “I’m probably not going to vote simply because there is no one I would like to vote for."
If you have questions about voting, and even about the issues in the races, you can speak to the volunteers with the League of Women Voters. They never support candidates, but they are informed about the issues.
“I think it’s important to vote if you have political background, meaning knowledge of what’s going on in the race,” said Drew Crutcher. “I don’t know enough about either (candidate) to even vote."
So, why not get informed, why not use the right that is given to you. A right that many fought and died in order for their descendants to gain.
“We have a right, so why not?” said Chris Henson.
"Voting is kind of a rite of passage… It’s being able to have a say my vote counts," said Jake Poore. "A lot of people view it as, I’m only one person, my vote doesn’t count, but if a lot of people do that, then nothing gets done."
For more information about the League of Women Voters of Hendersonville, click here.
For more information about the about the where to vote in your area or information about the candidates, click here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Vol State Student is at the Democratic Convention

Politics are one of those topics that people don’t like to discuss when they first meet a person, but when Zach Young and I met, that is all we talked about. Mostly, because he is a 20 year old Volunteer State Community College student, who is attending the 2012 Democratic Convention in Charlotte, North Carolina as a delegate.  
“I’ve been a strong supporter of President Obama before supporting President Obama was cool. To go and re-nominate him is beyond my wildest dream,” said Young. “This is my first democratic convention as a delegate… It’s going to be lots of fun!” Young said.
Young grew up as a democrat, in a world of politics. He said that his family is a big “Union” family and his great uncle started the fire and police department of Goodlettsville.
He is also open-minded to others and their ideas and beliefs.
“I have Republican friends… You deal with that growing up in Tennessee and Sumner County being a die-hard liberal in a very red area,” said Young.
Despite his thoughts on the industry, Young is staying open-minded by planning to attend a clean coal group conference being held at the convention. The fact that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is scheduled to make an appearance at the event could also play a key role in Young's decision to attend.
Even though Zach Young is attending a convention that is being held to cheer on the possible leaders of the nation, his main concerns are focused at home. He is running for Goodlettsville city Commissioner. After he returns from the convention, Young said that he will go door knocking to let everyone in his community know who he is.
“A lot of people don’t realize that the local government has a big impact on your life,” said Young. "The decisions we are making today are going to be what we are going to have to live with for a really long time. Decisions we make on Medicare, Social Security, environmental issues, on war; these are decisions that are going to have be paid for or benefited, or detracted from our generation years from now. If anyone should have a voice or a seat at the bargaining table, it should be the people it’s going to effect,” Young said.

As the Communications Officer for the Sumner County Democrats, Zach Young is blogging about the convention, and you can keep up with him and what's going on by clicking here.