Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vol State Alumnus is the New Face of Universal Kia

I always said that I was going to go to college and I was going to do something big, and at 21, I don’t think that I’m doing too shabby,” said Victoria (Tori) Capps.

Coming from a family that she called “not very scholarly,” Capps was the first person in her family to graduate from college. Now, almost a year after completing her Associate degree in Applied Science from Vol State, she is definitely not doing too shabby as the new spokesperson for Universal Kia.

Initially, Capps came to Vol State to pursue a degree as a dental hygienist, but decided to just get her general education requirements out of the way and pursue a career as a veterinarian after taking a some time off. Her break from school has turned into what could be her new career, when she unexpectedly received a job offer.

“I just walked into a (Kia) dealership one day and Chris Bostick was filming a commercial and he kind of joked; asking, 'Hey do you want to be in a commercial?' and I was like sure, no big deal.”

A few months later she is the face and voice for  radio and television commercials for the new Universal Kia.

Although Capps really wanted to become a veterinarian, she is not opposed to her new spokesperson career leading her down another career path.

She said it has always been her dream to be in front of a camera as a model one day, but she never expected to work in the car industry. Now that she has taken on this opportunity, many doors are opening for her. She she wants to be more than just a spokesperson...she wants to be a good role model.

“I’ve tried to maintain a look and an attitude that people would want to look up to."

New commercials are scheduled to air every month on radio and television. Check out Tori's first commercial below. 

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

New Sound System for the Auditorium

We take our sound seriously here at Vol State. The demands of student productions and the recording and live sound program require that we have top-notch equipment. Director of Entertainment Media Industry Programs, Steve Bishir, has this update on the newest upgrade:

"The new sound system that has been installed in the Auditorium is a Bose Room Match system. It is a cutting edge system with less than 50 systems installed so far. We are proud to be one of those and we feel our Auditorium will now be a more professional sounding space and that will be to the benefit of all the programs that use it. Some immediate benefits will be the fact that the system was specifically designed for the room, so the audio will be cleaner and intelligibility increased. Also, the music programs and stage productions will have a new level of clarity that will make for a much more pleasant experience. The spill onto the stage from the house speakers is greatly reduced, resulting in better sound onstage and fewer problems with feedback from the stage into the house. Bose is even going to do blurb on their website about our installation and the speakers will serve as a demo for prospective customers in this area."

-Steve Bishir

Black History Recognition

Vol State recently celebrated Black History Month with a lunch. During the event several students, faculty and staff were honored for their contributions to Vol State. We congratulate all! A special thanks to speaker Dr. Cynthia Calhoun from Southwest Tennessee Community College. From left to right in the photo:

Jefferson Furtado

Jeron M. Harris

Andrea Boddie

Chief William Rogan

Dr. Cynthia Calhoun

Vice President Patty Powell

Tierra Rigsby

Nathanial "Tre" McCrary

Mr. Douglas Williams

Dr. Jerry Faulkner

Margaret "Maggie" Blackmore

Janos Briscoe

Monday, February 25, 2013

March Calendar of Events

Feb 18
-March 15

John Knox art exhibit, Ramer Great Hall,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm


Science Olympiad competition,
campus-wide, 8am to 2pm


Miss Representation event and discussion,
Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Lindsay Benner, performer, Cafeteria,


Living Legends of Vol State Women’s Tea,
Carpeted Dining Room, 12:30pm


Spring Break: no classes, offices open


Reflections on Women’s History, brown bag lunch, Ramer Great hall, 12:30pm


"Into the Woods" a Vol State Theater
Production, Auditorium in Caudill Hall,
7:30pm, $5 suggested donation


"Into the Woods" a Vol State Theater
Production, Auditorium in Caudill Hall,
2:30pm, $5 suggested donation


Sumner County Elementary Art Exhibition, through April 14, Ramer Great Hall,
Monday through Saturday 7 am to 9 pm


Discussion - "Challenging the Politics of
Progress: A Philosophical Vision of
Sustainability", Caudill 102, 12:30pm


SGA candidate debate, Cafeteria, 11:30am


SGA student forum with President’s
Cabinet, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Carlos and Bluz, Slam Poetry, Cafeteria, 12:30pm


Good Friday, campus closed

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Evening Student Events on Campus

Walking into the Student Services Office during the evening hours you will be greeted by the warm smile of Brenda Buffington, Director of Evening Services. Buffington, who was born and raised in Louisiana, has worked in education as a principal, counselor, and transition teacher before coming to Vol State about a year ago. She has brought her good old fashion Southern hospitality to the evening events her on campus.  
“When I was hired, I was told that we do pizza nights,” said Buffington. “In my administrative training I learned this; you don’t go into places just making changes. I was always taught to get to know the lay of the land, just sit back and observe. “
During the spring and summer semesters of 2012 Buffington observed and talked to students to get to know their interest and what they would like from evening services.
“If you are going to fish, then you need to know the bait that the fish like,” said Buffington.
What she found is that students do want food, but she wants to give them more than just food in a box.It has now become her mission to serve up good food and entertainment for evening students at least twice a month.
The next event is the “Soul Food Dinner” which will take place in the Hub (The area in front of the Student Services Office of the Wood Campus Center) Thursday Feb. 21. Before dinner, The Artisan’s Alliance is presenting “Coffee House of Soul” in the cafeteria where there will be live music, poetry and artist presentation.
“I just want to make everything that we do for our evening students to be as special as it can be, because I know that they work all day and have families," said Buffington. 
The evening events are open to all students and employees of Vol State and Buffington said that she would specifically like more participation from the daytime faculty and staff.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Lose Your Flash Drive?

Imagine being a flash drive that was shipped from your native country (probably China) and brought to the exotic land of the United States.

Once you have been purchased and ripped away from the plastic that was slowly sucking away your life force, a new life begins with a new owner who will trust you to protect their personal information. 

It is the owner's job to protect you and keep you safe. As a flash drive you feel good when you are plugged into a computer and a warm soft glow illuminates from your body letting your owner know that you performing your duties.

But what happens if you are left into a computer in the Vol State’s library? You may begin to panic and imagine that your life with your owner is over. You feel unfamiliar hands tossing you into a box with other lost flash drives. 

Don’t panic, Vol State has a new found flash drive policy that can get you back to your owner safely, if they act in a timely manner. The policy states, “all flash drives found on campus will be taken to campus police at the earliest convenience by whoever found it or by IT personnel.”

Your owner can email with a complete description of you and maybe some details of what information you are holding. Geoffrey McPherson, Coordinator of Lab and Classroom Technology, will receive the email and contact your owner. He said he only looks at the you if he has several drives that are similar.

“If I have to look at it, I have a laptop that is not on the network that I can erase and won’t get a virus,” said McPherson.

Waiting for your owner can be like a prison sentence as you count down the days toward your execution.

“After seven days if you don’t send me an email, it’s destroyed. I will actually crush it, because it has your personal information on it.”

McPherson says that he receives about three to four flash drives a week and crushes about three to four a week.

As a flash drive, you have come a long way from your native land to provide a great service to a college student. Surely you don’t want your life to end by being crushed because your owner made a mistake? A mistake that will cost you your life, and possibly the owner a grade. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

You Think Your Major is Interesting: This Vol State Student Works with Reindeer

President's Ambassador Mandie Coons is enjoying the clinical work in her major...and meeting some unusual new clients. She has this story:

I am in the veterinary technician program and I am completing my clinical rotations. I complete my clinicals by working closely with a vet clinic in the area. You will never guess what I got to do yesterday?! I got to work with some reindeer. I thought the veterinarian and some of the techs that I was working with were trying to trick me, seeing as I am the new girl in the clinic, when they said that I would be going to work with reindeer but boy was I wrong and in for a huge surprise. We took a short trip down the road and there we were on a reindeer farm... Right here in Tennessee! I was so excited to have my first experience working with reindeer. I wish people really knew more about the opportunities that are available through Vol State. I would have never in a million years imagined that I would be hands on, working with real reindeer but it was all possible with the help of Vol State!

-Amanda Coons

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

A Vol State Love Story

True love is hard to find, but it is possible, even here on the Vol State campus where Grady Eades, Associate Professor of History and Renee Eades, Associate Professor of English fell in love.
Grady said that he and Renee would run across each other during meeting and campus events, but they had not spoken outside of those meetings.
“I wanted to ask her out, but I didn’t know how well she knew me,” said Grady. “She had classes in the Caudill building and I would say hi when we passed but there wasn’t enough there.”
“I thought something because he kept stopping me in the hallway and we didn’t know each other,” said Renee.  “My grandfather had passed not to long before that, so I appreciated his kindness and talking to me about that.”
Eades said he asked their mutual friends Dr. Carol Topping and Laura Black “Does she know me?” “Do you think this could work?”  When the mutual friends came to Renee and asked her if she was interested. When they mentioned the possibility, she was interested.   
“I asked her out for drinks with the idea in mind that if it went very terrible we weren’t committed to the entire evening,” said Grady.
Drinks went so well that the two went out again the next night and dated for two years before tying the knot.  
For the proposal Grady sent Renee on a scavenger hunt beginning with a note on the window of her car.
“I was nervous because I thought that I had a ticket or something,” said Renee.
Once she discovered it was a note from Grady she was excited, because the two of them had discussed the possibility of marriage.
The scavenger hunt note sent her to her apartment to find a few things and finally she had a note telling her to go to the place where they had their first date.
“I wanted to make sure that she had a story to tell,” said Grady
The couple has been married for about two and half years, and they are expecting their first baby in July.
Laura Black said the baby should be named after herself and Carol Topping, since they brought the couple together. Grady jokingly said that he was going to name the baby Vol State.
“If it was not for Vol State we would not have crossed paths,” said Grady.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Exciting Projects for the Vol State Bluegrass Ensemble

Recording sessions and a trip to Ireland are just a couple of the items on the agenda for the Vol State bluegrass group, "Bluegrass Ablaze." The students have been recording a CD in the Vol State recording studio.

"We're about half-way through the sessions," said instructor Mark Barnett. "We're recording 12 different tunes. The students come out the other side of a recording session much improved. There's something that happens when you record."

The students will then jet-off to Ireland in March.

"We're playing in a place called Thurles," Barnett said. "We're going to combine tours and trips with performances at schools and pubs."

Barnett points out that bluegrass has its roots in Irish folk music.

"The Celtic element is certainly one big part of it. Our trip is sort of a thank-you for your influence in our country as part of the amalgam that makes up bluegrass music."

Bluegrass Ablaze will also be performing at a big conference at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville. It's for the 
Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) annual meeting, a show that Vol State Math and Science faculty helped to set up.

If all of that sounds exciting to you, check out the Bluegrass program at Vol State: Contact Ben Graves for more info:

Going to College with Mom

To some going to college with mom would seem like a nightmare come true, but the McReynolds family couldn’t imagine it any other way.

Vol State student Jacki McReynolds is attending Vol State with her three daughters: Christina, Kayla, and Courtney.

“I’ve never been to college without my mother,” said Kayla, who started the same semester as her mom.

The girls said mom had a small complex when she first started coming to school because she didn’t know what to expect, plus she did not want to be a burden on her daughters. 

“I told Kayla that if she didn’t want me to start school at the same time as her I would wait,” said Jacki.

“We don’t have a problem with you being here,” Courtney reassured her mom during the interview.

As a mother, Jacki is concerned that her daughters are performing well in class without being pushy. There have even been a few classes that she has taken with her daughters.

“Mom is always pushing us to read, telling us that we have work to do,” said Kayla. "She’s always on top of things and she always has the best notes. If she has questions in Spanish, I help her and she helps me in history.”

“I would have failed history if she was not in there with me,” said Christina.

“Christina fell asleep in history class and the instructor asked me to wake her up,” said Jacki.

“I would have failed ethics and philosophy without her (mom),” said Kayla.

“I had to throw a pen at her (Kayla) in philosophy class one time to wake her up,” Jacki said.

In Kayla's defense she said she was putting in long hours at work and was exhausted. Each of the women have jobs off campus. Jacki is even working two.

Along with full-time jobs the family is active in several clubs and groups on campus. Jacki is co-president of the Returning Women Organization (RWO) Kayla is president of the Gay Straight Alliance (GSA). Christina, who is hard of hearing, has an American Sign Language signing group. Mom and the daughters help each other out with the clubs.

You can catch them on campus and they always seem to be having a wonderful time. They have even been nicknamed the McReynolds Clan by an instructor. The name seems to have stuck, because you can hear people calling it out when they are together.

The McReynolds have always been very close. They believe that the family dinners and going to school together is what brought them closer.  When they all lived together, they would drive to school in the same car.

“We would do a lot of discussion in the car on our way home,” said Jacki.

Now that Kayla has moved out and Courtney is driving herself to school, they have their discussion during Sunday dinners, which have become a huge deal.  During the discussions, the women feel like the boys (Jacki’s husband and son) are being left out of the conversation sometimes.  Jacki’s son, who is 16, will be going to college soon. She is also trying to influence her husband to go back to college, so who knows, maybe in two years when the McReynolds women have all graduated, the McReynolds men will be on campus.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Do you have the best smile on campus?

National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS) at Volunteer State is a society where students can succeed with the help of others. Our website states, "The Society is founded upon the core beliefs that: one can achieve one's dreams with the proper support and dedicated action, and that we accomplish more together than we would achieve alone." We hold that mission very dear when we meet with our SNT groups once a week to discuss our goals with everyone in the group. With the increase in members here at the Volunteer State Campus, we want to share with others what we will be doing this semester. First of all we reached a goal by completing 6 pillars (goals). With the 6 pillars completed, the chapter at Volunteer State received a $1400 credit. With extra fundraising revenues to spend, the next step that our president Megan Sexton wants to pursue is to create a scholarship for high school students to attend Vol State. Also we have ideas for a candy gram event for Valentine's Day on the Vol State campus. So stop by the table near Valentine's Day to buy a gift for your valentine.


NSLS is participating in the S.M.I.L.E. foundation which stands for Simply Making Isaac's Laugh Eternal. Here is Isaac's story," Isaac was a typical teenager. He loved his truck, his dogs, his family, and all things outdoors. He was from a small town where he had many friends. Isaac was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in March of 2010, after a few episodes of non specified sicknesses. he was known to his doctors and nurses as quite the charmer and comedian. He possessed an unimaginable sense of humor and could turn nearly any situation into one to laugh about... including cancer.

Shortly after Isaacs's 17th birthday, his health began to decline. He was weakened by the increasingly aggressive treatments and confined to a wheel chair. It was soon discovered that Isaacs's cancer was becoming resistant to all of his doctors efforts. Isaac's leukemia was complicated by an extremely rare combination of translocated genes that had never been treated successfully in the other twenty documented cases around the world. His hopes for reaching remission and bone marrow transplant were dimming.

Isaac's battle ended on August 3, 2010, only four short months after it began. He never had the chance to be in remission. He had completed his job on earth and was called home.

Throughout those short four months, Isaac managed to change the perspectives of many around him. People he had never met were soon inspired by his story of strength and courage. His laugh and smile were infectious. He found pleasure in the simplest of things. he was amazed at the fact that he would, from time to time, received small gifts from total strangers. He hated attention, but loved it also."

 We here at NSLS want to make sure Isaac's story is never forgotten. With the motto, " allowing Isaac to just go away is not an option" the SMILE Foundation was formed to help children with cancers and various other childhood illnesses. During the month of April we will be hosting the Smile contest. We will be taking pictures of the best smiles on campus and letting the students vote who has the prettiest smile. The winner will receive recognition for the prettiest smile.

-Stewart Parks, President's Ambassador and NSLS

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Next American Idol at Vol State???

Do you ever watch the Fox television show “American Idol” and think to yourself, I could do that? That’s what 16 year old Jada Vance from Portland, Tenn thought and so she decided to audition for this season’s show.  
“My mom said that I came out singing,” said Jada Vance. The American Idol contestant came to sing today for Vol State’s Open Mic, which was organized by the Association of Campus Events (ACE).
Jada said that she is used to singing to big crowds because she grew up singing with her church.
She originally auditioned for the show during their small town bus tour in Bowling Green, then she was asked to audition in Baton Rouge, LA twice.
“I was more anxious than nervous to see the judges,” said Jada.

And then came the big moment. 
“I was like, you’re kidding,” said Jada when she was told by Mariah Carey that she was going to Hollywood. “There are no words to explain it.”
“Life before the audition was not as chaotic,” said Jada. “I had my space and I could go to the store without people staring. Now I can’t go out in my pajamas.”  
“I made her get in the car at the store because I couldn’t get anything done,” said Alesia Vance, Jada’s mom.
Alesia, who is a disabled veteran and single parent, said the entire experience has been a roller coaster. The family has been financially and emotionally up and down.
When it comes to dealing with the entertainment world, Alesia said that it’s important to keep your child grounded.
“If they don’t succeed that’s just one person’s opinion. Just keep loving your child and encouraging them,” said Alesia Vance.
Since the season is just beginning, Jada is not allowed to discuss what happened in Hollywood, so she encourages everyone to watch the show.
“I hope you guys get to see me in the upcoming show,” said Jada.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Celebrating Black History

What was once a single week celebrating the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglas, two men who changed the course of history for African-American people, has grown into an entire month to celebrate the achievements of all African-Americans.  
“There is so much that black Americans have done to contribute to the American way of life; it’s hard to imagine not having a Black History Month,” said Chanel Alford, president of Vol State’s Association of Campus Events (ACE).
Alford said that she grew-up with a mother who felt there was no reason for Black History Month because it was a way of keeping those of color separate. Alford’s mom felt that black history is American history.
“As an ethnic group, black people started at ground zero and they have recovered from a cultural stigma,” said student Evan Ray. “It’s interesting to see how things have changed. People should be aware of black history.”
Student Avery Hovey who grew up in Portland, TN said there was not a large community of African- Americans and there were no black history events, so she does not know much about it.
“It (black history) should be incorporated more in the schools,” said Hovey.
“I never knew it was Black History Month unless it was advertised on television,” said dual enrollment student Ann Roberts, who is being home-schooled. “It’s good to know where people come from, because sometimes you prejudge things without knowing all the facts.”
To learn more about black history join the Office of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives as they celebrate Black History Month.

Brown Bag Lunches
Feb. 4 at 12:30 in Ramer Great Hall “Reflections of Black History” with Dr. Kenny Yarbrough, Volunteer State Community College Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives.
Feb. 19 at 12:30 in Ramer Great Hall “Reflections of Black History” with Henderson Hill III, Austin Peay State University Director of Wilbur N. Daniel African American Cultural Center.


Feb. 13 at 12:30 in the Wood Campus Center Carpeted Dining Room "Soul Food Luncheon"
Feb. 21 at 12:30 in the Wood Campus Center Carpeted Dining Room “Black History Recognition Luncheon” with Dr. Cynthia Calhoun, Southwest Tennessee Community College Executive Director of Student Retention and Graduation.