Friday, October 31, 2014

Remembering Debbie: Students, Instructors Pay Tribute to Student

Debbie Miller
Upbeat. Bubbly. Unwaveringly supportive.

Those are just a few of the descriptors Debbie Miller's classmates and instructors used to describe her personality.

Miller, a paramedic student at Vol State, was killed early Tuesday morning following a motorcycle crash in Lebanon. She is survived by her three children, Tasha Nichole Miller, Morgan Lea Miller, and John Thomas Miller; significant other Lisa Gibson; sister Brenda Evans; niece Savanna Evans; and nephew Joseph Evans.

A registered nurse since the mid-90s, Miller became a part of the Vol State family in 2013 after becoming interested in the school's Emergency Medical Technician program. She graduated from the EMT certificate program in the fall of 2013, and was working her way through the 2014-2015 paramedic cohort.

"The way Debbie lived her life, there was no halfway. When she came in here, she wasn't going to stop at EMT, so that's why she brought a wealth of knowledge and a wealth of experience to the program," director of EMS education Robert Davis said.

Miller spent a large part of her nursing career at the Alvin C. York Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Murfreesboro. Her experience in the emergency room brought a different level of learning to the classes she was taking at Vol State, and her thirst for knowledge helped keep her peers on their feet.

"I remember on the first day of class when we all introduced ourselves, that was her big thing. She kept saying she was back to learn. She was rather adventurous and a grab-life-by-the-horns type of person," paramedic student Rachel Cotter said.

Fellow students, such as Emily Weeks, said Miller's impossibly upbeat personality kept everyone laughing even when things became stressful, plus Weeks always appreciated the things she could learn from someone with Miller's experience in the emergency room.

"It was awesome, because she had a lot of different insight because the EMS world is a little different than the emergency room, and a lot of us don't get to see that side of it. She was able to share a lot of experiences, so it was really neat to learn that aspect of the emergency medical services," Weeks said.

In memory of Miller, Weeks and her fellow students are getting a patch made for their uniforms, which they will wear throughout the remainder of their time in the program. The patch features Miller's name wrapped in a black ribbon around the Star of Life.
The Debbie Miller memorial patch.
The patch will be a reminder of Miller's legacy as she and the rest of her class work towards their goal of graduating from the program.

"We know that as much as she wanted to finish, she would want all of us to finish and get through, so we're going to try and carry her through that way," Cotter said.

As with any tragic loss, Miller's death hasn't truly sunk in with the school yet, and EMS instructor Art Bratcher said she is going to be missed dearly.

"Everybody is still in such a state of disbelief that we really haven't processed that she's not here anymore. It's a hit to all of us. She was already a professional, so people looked up to her. There was a lot to learn from her experience," he said.

Funeral services for Miller will be provided by Woodfin Chapel in Murfreesboro. Services will be conducted Sunday, with visitation beginning at 1 p.m., followed by a memorial service at 3 p.m. Online condolences can be sent to the family at

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Honors Program Gearing Up for Next Semester

Want to take your learning to the next level? Look no further than than the Volunteer State Community College Honors Program.

The program is designed to go above and beyond what is offered in the normal classroom, according to instructor of history and program director Dr. Merritt McKinney. In the program, students are given two ways to enhance their academics by taking on additional assignments.

"We have two different ways in which we can challenge honors students. We have some classes that are just for honors students, and the other is taking an honors course by contract," McKinney said.

The specific honors courses are designed to be similar to a normal course, but the level of discussion, critical thinking, and assignments are higher. By taking a course under an honors contract, a student enrolls in a normal class, but they sign an agreement with their professor to do extra assignments, which can range from doing research papers to class presentations.

One of the main areas in which the program helps students is offering a significant level of challenge they might not be finding in their normal class. McKinney said this extra push often gives students more motivation to strive for better performance.

"I actually had a student who joined this semester who didn't feel challenged in his classes, so he wasn't doing well. The fact that he's actually doing extra work now has motivated him to do well. It's really for students who have a real love of learning," he said.

In order to apply for the Honors Program, students must have a composite score of 26 on the ACT, a 3.5 or higher GPA, or two letters of recommendation from instructors. The program has about 50 active honors students who are either under an honors contract or taking an honors class.

McKinney said there are two main benefits a student will see after going through the program. The first is the fact that having honors courses listed on a transcript will look more attractive than just the bare minimum of required classes if a student is looking to transfer to a four-year college or university. The other benefit is the level of challenge and academic discipline a student can receive if they undertake an honors course.

Classes that will be offered in the spring include a combined U.S. History 2010/Literature 2110 course, Honors Psychology, Honors Science Society and Sustainability, Honors Macroeconomics, and Honors Speech Communication. With priority registration for the spring semester scheduled to begin Nov. 10, McKinney said students who are interested in enrolling for honors classes should contact him as soon as possible.

Additionally, the Honors Program also sponsors a lecture series that meets four times a semester. The last lecture of the fall semester will take place Wednesday, Oct. 29, with assistant professor of economics David Fuqua leading a talk on the impact of technology on the workforce. The lecture will begin at 12:20 p.m. in the Rochelle Center of the Thigpen Library.

Click here to find out more about the Honors Program, or contact McKinney at 615-230-3236 or

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Vol State Events for November and December

All events are free, unless specified

Ongoing to Nov. 26 Nick Satinover art exhibit, Thigpen Gallery, 8am to 4:30pm, Mon.-Sat. 

Nov. 1 Brock McGuire Band, Irish music, master class at 1:30pm and public concert at 7pm, Caudill Hall, open to everyone

Nov. 2 Pet Picture Palooza, fundraiser for Vet Tech Program, $10 per picture, discount for Vol State, Tractor Supply, 670 Nashville Pike, 1pm-4pm

Nov. 3 Free cell phone wrap for students, Nichols Dining Room, 1:30-7:30pm

Nov. 3 Gathering dinner for students, Wood Campus Center, 5:30pm

Nov. 4 Homecoming Bingo, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Nov. 5 Jay Mattioli, magician, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Nov. 6 Nick Satinover Gallery Talk, Fine Arts Building room 109, 1pm

Nov. 8 Homecoming Basketball Games, Pickel Field House, 2pm and 4pm, all basketball games are free with Vol State ID

Nov. 10 Lecture: “Created Equal”, by Carole Bucy, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

Nov. 11 Veterans Recognition, Nichols Dining Room, 12:30pm

Nov. 12 Music Club Open Mic, sign up at the event, Cafeteria, Noon

Nov. 12 Lecture: “Manuel M. Ponce: Classical Music from Mexico”, by Jaime Sanchez, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

Nov. 13 Lecture: “Hear the Color and See the Rhythm”, by Sue Mulcahy and Nancy Slaughter, Mattox 104, 12:20pm

Nov. 14 Movie Night: “Frozen”, Pickel Field House, 7pm

Nov. 15 Community Garden work day, in fair weather only, 9am-noon

Nov. 17 International Week- Beverage Day, Cafeteria, 12:30-1:30pm

Nov. 18 International Week- Union (wedding) Ceremonies display, and Henna tattoos, Nichols Dining Room, 11am to 2pm

Nov. 19 Honors Lecture: “Cornucopians and Cassandras”, by Phillip Clifford, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

Nov. 19 Music Department Recitals, Pickel 130, 12:30pm

Nov. 20 Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

Nov. 26,27,28,29  Thanksgiving Break, No Classes, Offices Closed 27-29

Dec. 3 Festival of Lights, Cafeteria, 12:30pm

Dec. 5, 6 Christmas Concert, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm each night, $5 donation and free with Vol State ID, also holiday CD release

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

SGA Vice President Hopes for More Student Involvement

It's important to get involved in college, and SGA vice president Adam Parks wants to make sure students at Vol State are getting the most out of their college experience.

"I went to a couple of events last year and saw that hardly any students showed up. It just seems like a lot of times students don't care about the campus here, so I wanted to join SGA to help get other students involved and make events better," he said.

Parks was elected last spring, and he said it's his goal to help other students see the benefits of doing more than just commuting to and from the campus. Together with the other members of the cabinet, Parks said they hope to provide more opportunities to tie the college and the greater community together, giving students a better way of connecting to local businesses and organizations.

Parks said he hopes a greater connection to the community will make Vol State more attractive to future students.

"I just think it works better for everyone if the campus is more appealing, because a lot of times people look down on community college students. I saw Vol State as a great place to come and get an education. That's one of the reasons why I wanted to get involved with SGA. I wanted to help make this campus more appealing to people coming in so they see it as a good college choice," he said.

While being a part of SGA might be hard work, Parks said he enjoys getting a chance to meet other students and help plan the types of events that will draw more students into the Vol State family.

"I definitely love getting to see all of the students we have here and seeing how diverse of a campus we have. This is a melting pot of a Tennessee college. We have people from everywhere, and I like seeing the smiling faces on faculty every day, showing that they're excited about their job," he said.

The SGA is hosting the fall festival today from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. There will be free food, games, and prizes. A presidential forum with Dr. Jerry Faulkner also will be hosted on Monday, Oct. 27, in the cafeteria.

For more information on SGA and how to get involved with one of Vol State's clubs, email or visit their office in room 213A in the Wood Campus Center.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

A Family Affair: Mother and Son Learning to be EMTs

Going through college can be stressful, but when you have family by your side, navigating the ups and downs of college life is a bit more manageable.

Tishia and Asa Tucker are a mother and son who are working their way through Vol State's Emergency Medical Technician program. They attend classes at the Springfield campus.

The Tuckers decided to go into the EMT program at Vol State after a family emergency involving Tishia's husband. Knowing what people in that field go through on a daily basis will help the family in the future.

"A couple of years ago, I had decided to go into the EMT program and something happened and I couldn't do it. My husband is disabled, and I decided to go ahead and take that opportunity and start the program, so here we are," she said.

Asa joined his mom after graduating from high school last December after seeing how EMTs worked with his family. Initially, Asa and his mom never thought they'd be going to college together.

"It never crossed my mind before. It wasn't something that was on my bucket list," Tishia said.

Asa agreed.

"It's one thing for your mom to drop you off at school, but it's another when she goes into class with you," he said.

Despite the inherit awkwardness of going to class with his mom, Asa said it does have its benefits. For one, they are able to help one another with studying since they are both going through the same program. Not every student is able to have that kind of support system, but Tishia said it's a good thing to have as they continue to work through the program.

"We actually have each other to depend on and kind of lean on a little bit," she said.

Of course, going through the same program together also fuels their competitiveness, which makes the Tuckers work harder.

"In a way, it makes it more fun, but it also makes it more stressful sometimes," Asa said.

When the Tuckers graduate together in May, they'll be able to share a story not many in college can — the fact that they completed the program as mother and son.

"It's going to be good memories to have. Not many moms can say they graduated with their son from college," Tishia said.

For more on the Tuckers, and life as an EMT student, check out the video below.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Oct. 21            Lecture: Emerson and Transcendentalism, Shannon Lynch and Deb Moore, Mattox 104, 11:10am
Oct. 21            Highland  Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 22            Student Life Fall Festival, Duffer Plaza, 10am to 2pm
Oct. 22            Tennessee State University representative, Wood Campus Center, 9:00am—11:00am.

Oct. 25            Household Hazardous Waste Collection, outside of Wood Campus Center, 9am to 2pm

Overcoming Serious Challenges: Gabrielle's Road to Vol State

No matter what kind of obstacles are placed in front of you, it's never too late to get started on receiving an education. That's a lesson first-year student Gabrielle Staton knows all too well. She's overcome life threatening situations on her path to Vol State.

Staton, who is originally from Charlotte, N.C., dropped out of high school during the last semester of her junior year. She was initially supposed to graduate from high school in 2008, but family circumstances forced her to make a tough decision.

"It was a matter of survival for me. You either work and live, or you go to school and know you're going to have it pretty rough. I didn't have a whole lot of support from my family other than my grandmother, but she was supporting me and 10 of my other cousins," she said.

Instead of finishing school right away, Staton focused on work and becoming a mother — she had her first son in 2009. Juggling both a full-time job and her family made going back to school even more difficult. But she never let anything get in the way of wanting to complete high school.

"I really felt like I had to finish school, because I knew eventually my options would be limited, and I didn't want to end up years from now not being able to take advantage of the opportunities put in front of me because of the limitations of my education," she said.

Staton took advantage of an adult education program in North Carolina and on her third attempt through the program, she finally graduated in 2011. Working in retail management, Staton was able to have a steady job, which helped her along the way.

All that changed in 2012 when she was robbed at gunpoint. While the experience was traumatic, it was an event that fueled her desire to go to college.

"Sometimes it takes trauma to push us into the path to prosper," Staton said.

Staton, who was about to have her second son, started a catering business and after it became fairly prosperous, she decided it was time to sign up for classes with the intent to study international business in order to create a non-profit business that would teach ethics to nurses before they go out into the field.

Before classes were to begin in August, Staton was the victim of domestic violence and came close to death. Not one to let things stop her, Staton once again overcame the adversity that stood in her way. In a very short timespan, she left North Carolina for Nashville with her children and enrolled at Vol State.

"No matter what is placed in front of you, there's no reason why you can't do anything you want to. There's nothing that should ever stop you," she said.

Arriving at Vol State was a blessing, because Staton felt like she was welcomed into the community and she became heavily involved with some of the school's clubs and organizations. If anyone takes away anything from her story, Staton said she wants make sure people realize that setting a goal and sticking to it is important to success.

"I never thought I would have the opportunity to go to school this late. Now, I feel like I actually have a chance. I can make it here, and I can make it anywhere," she said. "It doesn't matter how long it takes you to get to that goal as long as you're constantly working at it. That's the important part."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Former Globetrotter Ready for Season with Lady Pioneers

Otis Key sees plenty of opportunity for the Lady Pioneers basketball team, and he's planning on using his experience as a former Globetrotter to take the players to the next level.
"The lessons that you learn as a player is something that you carry through your whole life. In my time with the Globetrotters, I was able to be around a number of great coaches and great basketball minds, and now I'm able to give that input to players," he said.
Key took the helm of the women's basketball team this semester, and he's settling nicely into his new role as a member of the Vol State family. He spent 10 years with the Globetrotters, in addition to coaching for the American Basketball Association Kentucky Bison and the Continental Basketball Association Bowling Green Hornets.
Key said his experience as a Globetrotter gave him many life lessons he plans on sharing with his players, as well as sound advice on training, diet, and prioritization of life as a student athlete.
"Player development is one the huge keys to me personally and being able to go through some of the things I went through on the court, it just makes them better players," he said.
With the start of the season just a few weeks away, Key said the team is doing a lot to improve their skills as they prepare to hit the court next month.
"I'm pleasantly surprised at how far along we are, and I realize that we still have a lot of work to do, but the team seems like they're willing to do that," he said.
The Lady Pioneers roster sees four returning players — Jenise Davis, Shenequa Foster, Ta'Keyha Flowers, and Victoria Dye. Key said he's excited for what they will bring to the team.
"I'm extremely excited about who is coming and the leadership they offer for the freshman," he said.
As a Globetrotter, Key participated in numerous community outreach programs. He is already looking for ways to connect the team to the greater community through volunteer work with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and United Way. Through team-building opportunities with those organizations, Key said they will become stronger players and people.
"I want the ladies to realize they have a great opportunity here, because there are less fortunate people out there. Yes, it's great they have an opportunity to play collegiate basketball, but they also have a great opportunity to become pillars of the community," he said.
The new season will kick off Nov. 7 with a home game against Columbia State Community College. For more on the Lady Pioneers, including a full season schedule, click here.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Oct. 13, 14      Fall Break: A reminder that Fall Break is only two days this year
Oct. 15            Tennessee Tech University rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm
Oct. 15            Livingston Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, 11am-1pm
Oct. 16            Bethel University rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm
Oct. 16            Union University Nursing info session, Warf 110, 12:45-2:15pm
Oct. 16            Travel-Study Meeting for interested students, Mattox 104, 12:30pm
Oct. 17            Marian University at St. Thomas Health rep on Gallatin campus in the Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm

Oct. 18            Fall Fiesta at Vol State, a celebration of Hispanic culture, free and everyone invited, bring the kids, Duffer Plaza, 10am-4pm

Friday, October 10, 2014

Fall Fiesta at Vol State on Saturday, October 18

Volunteer State Community College will celebrate Hispanic culture on Saturday, October 18 with the Fall Fiesta at Vol State. The annual event is in its eighth year. Everyone is invited. A talent contest is new this year, bringing together musicians, singers, and artists to perform and compete for prizes. Food is always a big part of the Fiesta. The food contest provides a venue for people to showcase their favorite dishes from the many different countries that make up what we call Hispanic culture.
“After the judging in the food contest, the public can sample the food. That’s always a favorite of mine. We’ve had dishes from Cuba, Mexico, Guatemala, and Argentina, just to name a few countries represented over the years,” said Eric Melcher, Vol State coordinator of communications. “This is a family event, held outside on the campus grounds. It includes a soccer tournament, live music, a dance group, art activities for the kids and plenty of fun games for the little ones.”
In addition to the food cook-off contest at 11 a.m., there will be a free Mexican lunch and drinks starting at noon. The Fall Fiesta at Vol State will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The event will happen, rain or shine, on the Volunteer State Community College campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The rain location is the Pickel Field House.  The Fall Fiesta is free and open to everyone. Families are encouraged to bring a blanket and chairs and spend the day. Anyone can enter the food contest or the talent contest. For more information in English call 615-230-3570 or Spanish at 615-230-4846.

Información en Español

Información en Español

Información en Español

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Meditation Gathering Offers Stress-Free Atmosphere

Betty Mandeville leads the meditation group.
Close your eyes, take a deep breath, and let the stress roll away.

Those are simple instructions for reducing the hectic nature of being in college. Thanks to a weekly meditation group led by associate professor of English Dr. Betty Mandeville, students, faculty, and staff at Vol State have a way to make their semester a little easier.

A similar group was led last year by Mandeville and Dr. Michael Lenz. With Lenz's departure from Vol State, Mandeville wanted to sure a similar time of meditation was offered this year. Mandeville wanted to open the practice up to more participants, including faculty and staff.

While attendance has only drawn a few faculty members in its first two weeks, Mandeville is hoping students start attending as well. After all, the stress from studying and being in the classroom go both ways.

"This can be helpful and it puts students and faculty on equal footing. We're all in this together. We're all stressed out. We all want time to be quiet. I like the idea of sharing the space together in an equal way," she said.

Each session starts off with a short reading before heading into about 30 minutes of silent meditation. It's just enough time to help refocus one's energy before heading back out to face the day.

"You have to go right back out and face it, because the chemistry test is still coming. The bills are still due. It can help you get through the bad things so you can enjoy the good things if you learn how to be a little more present to them," Mandeville said.

Even if you're unfamiliar with meditation or a little nervous about what to do, Mandeville said she would invite anyone who is interested to stop by and check it out.

The group meets every Friday at 12:30 p.m. in the Jim Moore Conference Room upstairs in the Thigpen Library.

For more information about the group, email Mandeville at or visit office 131 in the Ramer Administration Building.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Fall Carnival at Highland Crest October 11

Celebrate Fall with carnival games, rides, and magic at the Highland Crest college campus Fall Carnival in Springfield. The event is organized by the Volunteer State Community College Student Government Association and it’s open to the public. Magician Eric Tyree will entertain the crowd with tricks. The magic shows happen at 10 a.m. and noon. There will be popcorn, snow cones and even Halloween bags for the first 100 kids. It’s all free. On the benefit side of things, there will be a barbecue cook-off and a silent auction held to raise money for the Robertson County Meals on Wheels program. Local vendors will be on hand so that people can get a jump on holiday shopping.  It’s also a good way for the public to come out and see the Vol State Highland Crest campus. The Fall Carnival will be held on Saturday, October 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The campus is located just off of Highway 431 on Billy Batson Parkway. For a map visit the web page at or call 615-483-7040 for more information.

Fall Break is October 13 and 14

Fall Break at Vol State will be held on Monday and Tuesday, October 13 and 14 for all campus and learning locations. It is only two days this year. You will get an extra day off on the day before Thanksgiving. Vol State offices will be open during Fall Break.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Workshops to Help Students Ease Stressful Studying

A little extra help never hurt anybody, especially with midterms on the horizon.

Vol State's Supplemental Instruction program is here to help with its upcoming workshops designed for students that might be having a difficult time transitioning into their college studies.

Beginning Thursday, Oct. 21, SI leaders will be hosting four different workshops over the course of four weeks covering technology, time management, power studying, and stress reduction.

"The real plus to these workshops is being taught by people who have actually been there and understand what they need as students," SI coordinator Toni Murad said.

For example, the technology workshop will cover how to use a dropbox, how to navigate the eLearn website, how to check homework for plagiarism, formatting, and a variety of other useful classroom skills.

"We find that a lot of people who are just starting out in college don't know basic computer skills they need, and it's really a barrier to succeeding in their classes," Murad said.

Each workshop will be held twice a week — Tuesdays and Thursdays — from noon to 2 p.m. The first hour will cover instructions and tips from leaders, and the second hour will cover questions from those in attendance. Students are encouraged to bring a lunch if they plan on staying for the entire workshop.

The workshops are completely free and there is no sign-up necessary. They're designed to be informal, so you can attend one or all four of the workshops.

The schedule is as follows:
Oct. 21, 23: Technology
Oct. 28, 30: Time Management
Nov. 4, 6: Power Studying Techniques
Nov. 11, 13: Stress Reduction

Contact Murad at 615-230-4757 or for more information. Visit this link for more information on Supplemental Instruction.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Vol State Events this Week

Vol State events this week:

Oct. 6              Austin Peay State University representative,Wood Campus Center, 10am-1pm.
Oct. 7              Western Kentucky University representative, Wood Campus Center, 10am-3pm
Oct. 7              Gallatin Commit to Completion, signing event, Phi Theta Kappa, Cafeteria,
Oct. 8              Vanderbilt Humphrey Fellows speak about their home countries: Pakistan, Mauritania, The Gambia, Niger, Benin, China, Philippines, South Africa, El Salvador, everyone is invited to attend ,Thigpen Library, 8am-11am
Oct. 8              Middle Tennessee State University representative,Wood Campus Center, 10am—3pm
Oct. 8              Lecture: “Peru!” by Keith Bell, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm
Oct. 8              Hispanic Heritage Quiz Bowl, Cafeteria, 12:30pm
Oct. 9              Western Governor’s University representative,Wood Campus Center, 9am—1:30pm
Oct. 9              Movie: “Toxic Hot Seat” presented by Fire Science, Caudill Hall, 7pm

Oct. 11            Highland Crest Fall Carnival, Springfield, 10am to 2pm

Comeback Story: PTK President Turns Life Around at Vol State

It's not everyday you get a second chance, but when you do, that next chance can make all the difference.
Ryan Carver knows that lesson all too well. Before being elected president of Phi Theta Kappa — an international honor society for two-year colleges — this year, he flunked out of first attempt at college back in 2010 when he attended Middle Tennessee State University. Without a drive to complete or even attend classes, Carver grew complacent toward his dropping GPA.

All that changed last year after Carver completed his first semester at Vol State. With a strong work ethic and a 4.0 GPA under his belt, Carver turned his academic life around.

Talk about your comeback story.

"During those couple of years, I found a good value in hard work and what it takes to actually get the things you want in life. There's a reason you just don't get things the easy way," Carver said.

Looking back, Carver said taking time to find a strong work ethic instead of jumping straight into college following high school would've been a better decision. It took him a while to realize that sometimes it's just better to wait until you're certain you're ready for the responsibility of a college education.

"The moral of the story should've been to properly withdraw from classes. That's what they tell you to do instead of just not attending class. That's a pretty big lesson to learn so you don't wind up with 30 hours of Fs," he said.

After taking some time to focus on work, saving money, and paying off bills, Carver was ready to get back to school. By the time he arrived at Vol State, his attitude towards education had pulled a complete 180. He found the school's environment more conducive to his studies as he got to spend more time talking to instructors and getting to know his fellow students.

"I started finding these people wanted the same things I do. They may have even been down some of the same roads I've been on. They all have that desire to have a better standing in life, and they want to grow as individuals," he said.

Phi Theta Kappa has played a large role in shaping Carver's outlook on college, and he invites his fellow students to look into it if they are serious about wanting to get the most of their education. The group meets every Wednesday at 7 a.m.

For more information about the Vol State chapter, contact PTK vice president of communications Lindi Boyd at Visit Phi Theta Kappa's website to learn about the honor society.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

EMT Mannequin Offers Realistic Training

They say practice makes perfect, and in a stressful medical situation, that adage couldn't be more true.

Paramedic students work on SimMan.

Through Vol State's Emergency Medical Technician program, students are able to practice and hone their medical skills with the help of the simulation labs and a hand from SimMan, a hyper-realistic simulation mannequin.

The closer paramedic students like Russel Houske are able to get to the real thing can make all the difference when stepping out into the field in order to save someone's life.

The SimMan — affectionately known as Bernie in the department — has the capability to sweat, cry, drool and bleed if taken through any number of emergency scenarios. The mannequin's chest rises and falls, and students are able to push medications through to see how the the patient would react. There's even a speaker, which relays responses to questions asked by students.

"It's actually going to be more like the setting that we'll be in — an ambulance or in the hospital setting. We can actually take the blood pressure. We can actually hear the beats. We can feel the pulse," Houske said.

Since a lot of of what he and his fellow students learn is through muscle memory, Houske said the mannequin gives him a chance to see how his performance as a paramedic is affecting all of the vital signs of the patient. That kind of training is extremely important for the field.

"You train like you fight, they say. So, it also offers a level of stress, and that's good because it helps you adapt to that as well," he said. "I'm very thankful for this. This is a wonderful piece of equipment.   It's a great tool. I think it will definitely benefit my career past here."

The EMT program has had SimMan since 2009. Since then, they have added a junior mannequin and an infant mannequin to the labs. All of these mannequins give students a wide variety of scenarios to work through based on the age of the patient.

Robert Davis, director of EMS education, said having the mannequins gives the program the upper hand when it comes to training students for their future careers.

"It really gives them an idea, because it's easy to do a procedure on a flaccid mannequin, but when you've got a mannequin that is breathing, it adds a whole different element to that scenario," he said.

The SimMan also has helped the department get noticed for its simulation training. For the second year in a row, Vol State's EMS Education program won the Best Educational Display at the Sumner Regional Medical Center Nursing Fair.

"We took him over there and set him up and let nurses go through different skills, and we were able to help them tweak some of the performance measures and help them out," Davis said.
EMT faculty stand with SimMan and their SRMC awards.

Want to see SimMan in action? Check out the video below.

Library Offers More Than Books

When you're on campus, it can be difficult to find a place to stay focused if you want to get some studying done. Distractions are everywhere. Luckily, that's where the Thigpen Library comes in.
Kristina McClanahan and Norberto Domingo work in the library.
History student Kristina McClanahan knows those distractions all too well, which is why she often spends time studying and doing homework in the library.
"Sometimes I even stay late, because if I go home and study, I know I'll end up on Tumblr or something," she said. "It's a great place to study. They have all the study rooms. If you have a study group, it's always nice to get together with people and study here. It's peaceful."

Study rooms are a big component to the library's resources. There are several rooms located throughout the second floor with dry-erase boards students can use for up to two hours at a time. That makes study sessions with groups flow much better, according to nursing student Lauren Allers.

"I'll use it for study groups. It's usually very quiet, which is nice, because not all libraries are quiet. They have enough space, so there's always a table available to study," she said.
That kind of peace and quiet is extremely important when you're pulling in long hours over a paper or preparing for a test, according to English student Norberto Domingo.
"I don't really have a quiet space at home to write papers and stuff, so I usually come in here to get things done," he said.
In addition to the books and ample study space, the library also has several other resources students can utilize while on and off campus, including online catalogs, E-Resources, research aids and tutorials.
One of the most popular research aids is NoodleBib, an online citation creation and management tool, which will come in handy for those research papers assigned by instructors. Another popular tool is the E-Resources, which encompass articles, streaming video, and E-books that are available 24/7.

Hours for the fall semester are as follows:
Monday-Thursday: 7:30 a.m.-8:50 p.m.
Friday: 7:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 8 a.m.-4 p.m.
You can contact the library by phone at 615-230-3400 or email librarian@volstate.eduClick here for more information about library services.