Thursday, April 30, 2015

TRIO Students Honored

Vol State TRIO students were honored today in an awards luncheon. If you’re not familiar with TRIO, it’s an amazing program. TRIO provides tutoring and one-on-one mentoring for students who meet certain specifications…such as being the first in their family to graduate from college, among several other categories.
The luncheon is also an opportunity for the students to thank the TRIO staff for their support and guidance.
Student Steve Yorlano honored the staff with a reading titled “Don’t Quit.” The final line seemed fitting for college students: “It’s when things seem the worse that you must not quit.”
Robert Jones said: “It’s a wonderful kind of one-on-one interaction. I have been through a lot over the last four years and they have always been there for me.”
Yasmine Miller may have had the best line of the day: “I kind of look at y’all as fairy godmothers.”
Congratulations to all of the TRIO graduates.

For more information about TRIO visit

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Tree Dedication Photo Gallery

Last week Math & Science Division Dean Nancy Morris and longtime Volunteer State Community College instructor Richard Harville were honored with a special tree planting ceremony for their many years of service to the college. Harville recently retired from teaching, and Morris will be leaving her post during the summer. 

Monday, April 27, 2015

Vol State Events this Week and Library Hours

Vol State events for this week and Gallatin Library hours:
April 28 Belmont University Partnership Nursing program information session, Warf 110, 12:45 - 2:10 pm
May 1 Vol State Student Art Exhibit reception, Ramer Great Hall, 12:30pm

May 2 Vol State Cycling Classic, scholarship fundraiser, Pickel Field House, 8 am-1pm
May 2-8 Finals
Gallatin Thigpen Library hours for the next two weeks:
Monday, April 27- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Tuesday, April 28- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Wednesday, April 29- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Thursday, April 30- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Friday, May 1- 7:30 AM – 6:00 PM
Saturday, May 2- 8:00 AM – 4:00 PM
Sunday, May 3- Closed
Monday, May 4- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Tuesday, May 5- 7:30 AM – 10:50 PM
Wednesday, May 6- 7:30 AM – 8:50 PM
Thursday, May 7- 7:30 AM – 8:50 PM
Friday, May 8- 7:30 AM – 4:30 PM
Saturday, May 9- 8:00 AM – Noon

Friday, April 24, 2015

Science Symposium Not Your Typical Science Fair

Lorela Hunt, center, stands with student Bill Pham and Math & Science Division Dean Nancy Morris.
The Vol State campus might be busy during the day with students, faculty, and staff trekking across campus, but that doesn’t mean the campus is free of activity at night. 

Students Lorela Hunt and Grace Borthick partnered up for a science project to see what types of wildlife roamed the campus after the sun goes down.

“We thought about how we could do this in the future to identify specific animals for social biology studies to see the reproductive and seasonal behaviors of the animals we found,” Hunt said of the project. 

Using camera traps donated to the college through the Community College Undergraduate Research Initiative, Hunt and Borthick discovered a number of species that roam the campus throughout the night, including raccoons, deer, opossums, and even a lone coyote.

The study is just one of the many research projects that made up the Third Annual Undergraduate Research Poster Symposium in the Rochelle Center on Friday. About 50 students were represented with projects that completed their studies conducted throughout the semester and the year.

Even though Hunt, who is originally from the Philippines, isn’t a science student, putting the presentation together helped her gain more confidence and communication skills.

“I thought if I do this presentation, this will boost my self-confidence, and it’ll help me talk to people,” she said.

The symposium ends Friday at 1 p.m.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Register Now for Vol State Cycling Classic Coming on Saturday, May 2

It’s not too late to register for the second annual Vol State Cycling Classic, organized by the Vol State College Foundation. The Volunteer State Community College bike ride raises money for student scholarships. It will be held on Saturday, May 2. Registration is open, but riders need to act now.
The Cycling Classic is intended for riders of all abilities.  There will be a 15 mile Fitness Tour; a 33 mile Half Metric Century Tour; and a 61 mile Metric Century Tour. The tours will start and finish on the Vol State campus in Gallatin. There will be rest stops along the way for food, hydration, first aid and restrooms. The Metric Century Tour will leave at 8 a.m. The Half Metric will depart at 8:30 a.m. and the Fitness Tour will get underway at 9 a.m.
The after-ride event at the college is designed for the whole family and features barbecue, beverages and live music. Changing facilities will also be available at the college. The ride cost is $35 before April 30 and $45 after that date. Riders will get a t-shirt and a goody bag. Only riders who sign up by April 15 are guaranteed to receive a shirt in the size they specify. Everyone will receive a shirt. Route maps for each tour and a link to the registration page can be found at

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Disability Access for Graduation

Attendees who use wheelchairs will be directed to a section at the front of the gym, left of the stage. There will be a limited number of seats on the floor for attendees who cannot ascend/descend the bleachers. These seats will be in a reserved section and only stamped ticket holders will be allowed to sit in this section. Each graduate will be allowed up to two tickets that they can get stamped for this purpose. Tickets can be stamped in the Office of Disability Services, Wood Campus Center, 108. Tickets will be provided on a first come, first serve basis.

Please call the Office of Disability Services at  615 230-3472 if you need additional information. 

Free Family Movie Friday - Big Hero Six

Free movie this Friday, April 24, at Vol State. It's Big Hero Six showing at 7:30pm outside on the Quad in nice weather and inside the Wood Campus Center Nichols Dining Room if rain. Everyone in the family is invited. It's brought to you by the Returning Students Association, Service Learning and the Psychology Club.

Spring Concert and CD Release this Weekend

The big Spring Music Showcase concert is coming up on Friday and Saturday...combined with the CD release of the "Seeing Blue" student CD. 7:30 p.m. each night in the auditorium. Free with your student ID, $5 for the public and $10 with a CD.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Registration Open for Maymester and Summer Classes - New Classes

Summer classes at Vol State are coming up soon and there are several alternatives to choose from, to fit busy summer schedules. Registration is open now.  The first option is called Maymester. Those classes start May 8 and end May 29. Each class usually meets for a few hours every weekday. The main summer session starts on May 30 and lasts until August 8. But students can also take summer classes that run for the first five weeks of the summer session, starting on May 30 and for the second five weeks, starting on July 6. Classes are offered in person, online and in a wide variety of subject areas. Students home from university for the summer often take Vol State classes that can apply to their university degree.

A new Maymester course this year is POLS 1030-American Government and Politics. It’s a way for students to get ahead in their college requirements with a quick, intensive session. New classes this summer with different intensive schedules include English 2300, Creative Writing, which will be offered in a three-week course from June 1-June 19, 8 a.m.-11 a.m.  It’s a hands-on workshop in writing original poetry, songs, short fiction, non-fiction, and drama. The course will include local field trips, talks with visiting writers, and some online lessons. The class counts as a Vol State Humanities elective. The course Social Problems will also be offered Monday through Friday for the first 3 weeks of June. The general education goal of this course is to provide information which enables students to identify, analyze, and understand the sociological perspectives on social problems.

Visit  for the summer class schedules and for information on how to apply and register. New students will need to fill out an application, which can be done online. Students can also visit the Admissions Office in person at the Ramer Building on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The phone number for Admissions is 615-230-3688.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Spring Career Fair Features Soft-Skill Tips April 22

Experience and a resume can only get you so far in a job search. The interview process is an important step, and for many people the so called “soft-skills” needed to do well in an interview can seem mystifying. Volunteer State Community College will be offering soft-skill tips at the Spring Job Career Fair on Wednesday, April 22. All job seekers are invited to attend.
 “People really appreciate hands-on advice when it comes to the interview process,” said Rick Parrent, director of Career Placement at Vol State. “We’ll have coaches providing tips for what may seem like simple things: hand shaking, tie tying, dressing for success and cultural competency awareness.”
 Attendees will also be able to get information about using a Linked-In web page in their job search. Representatives from dozens of area employers will be on hand at the fair. The fair provides an opportunity for job seekers to talk directly with the people responsible for hiring. Participants are encouraged to bring several copies of their resumes.  There is still space available at the fair for recruiters and businesses. They should visit for details.
 The Spring Job Career Fair is free and will be held in the gym at the Pickel Field House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Student Art Show Kicks Off Next Week

Michael Clark finishes matting his pieces for the show.
Want to check out what your fellow Vol State art students have been up to this year? 

Rio McKaskle works on her final pieces for the show.
Be sure to stop by the Ramer Administration Building next Friday, May 1, from 12 p.m.-1 p.m. for the opening reception to see the selected work from this year's group of students. There will be refreshments.
Amberly McFarlane and Meagan Lee work on matting a photograph.
If you don't get a chance to stop by for the reception, the work will remain up through the end of the semester.
Issac Wix completes matting of one of his pictures.

Important Gallatin Construction Update - Road Closed Permanently

Due to construction needs, the loop road around campus (Howard George Blvd) will be permanently closed, starting this Saturday, April 18, between the Wood Campus Center and the Thigpen Library.  This effectively cuts the road in two and will not allow for through access for vehicles. This will have several impacts for students, faculty, staff and visitors:
-People driving who wish to access the Pickel Field House (east) side of campus will need to enter at Enterprise Drive or Gap Blvd. You will no longer be able to travel from the west side of campus to the east side of campus, without using Nashville Pike.
-People driving who use the Enterprise Drive entrance to campus will only be able to travel to the east side of campus. Those who normally enter at Enterprise Drive and travel to the west side of campus (Caudill Hall, Ramer) will need to use the Nashville Pike entrance.
-Anyone wishing to drive from one end of campus to the other will need to use Nashville Pike

Construction work on the new loop road is ongoing. It is expected to be completed in early May. Until then, we appreciate your patience. The new Humanities Building will be a great asset to campus.

Celebrate Earth Day April 22

Celebrate Earth Day next week. Jeff Barrie, will be the guest speaker for Vol State Earth Day at 1pm on Wednesday April 22. His presentation is called "People Power". There will also be a showing of two of his movies for Earth Day. The movie "Kilowatt Ours" will be shown on Monday April 20 at 12:30 in the carpeted dining room. This is an award winning film that promotes energy conservation, efficiency and renewable energy. They will also show Barrie’s movie "Arctic Quest" on Wednesday, April 22nd at 11am in the carpeted dining room.
Here's the full Earth Day week line-up:

Monday ~ "Kilowatt Ours" feature film 12:30-1:30pm - Carpeted dining room

Tuesday ~ Coal's Dirty Little Secrets 11am-12pm - Carpeted dining room

Wednesday ~ EARTH DAY CELEBRATION 11am-2pm, outside in Duffer Plaza or Wood Campus Ctr.
11am – 12pm "Arctic Quest" feature film
12pm - 1pm Poetry and acoustic music
1pm - 2pm JEFF BARRIE - guest speaker
Prizes, giveaways, FREE FOOD, plant sale, poster presentations, sidewalk art,
live music, & fun guaranteed

Thursday ~ "Dirt! The Movie" feature film 12:45-1:15pm - Carpeted Dining Room

Friday ~ ARBOR DAY- Tree planting- 1:15-1:45pm – Outside Warf Building
    In dedication to Nancy Morris & Richard Harville

**Bring your aluminum cans for recycling this to register for prize

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Overwhelmed in College? This Could Help

Overwhelmed in college? Worried About Everything? We have a special Vol State student BOOT CAMP that can help. It will be held on May 18, 19, & 20 from 8:30am – 4:00pm
Learn how to:
• Use Vol State Technology
• Manage Your Time
• Power Study
• Improve Memory
• Pass Tests
INTERESTED? Contact Toni Murad at 615-230-4757 or

Monday, April 13, 2015

Dream Come True: Former Student Starts Magazine in Oregon

Holly Feral (photo by Eve White)
Sometimes all you need is a good foundation and discovering where your niche is.

Former Vol State student Holly Feral found that foundation while at Vol State, and she's now putting her skills to use with a special publication of her own creation in Portland, Ore.

Driftwood is a quarterly travel and culture magazine exploring the vegan lifestyle around the world. The magazine recently completed its $25,000 Kickstarter campaign, raising nearly $28,000 to see the the project through. The first issue is expected to be released in July.

Feral, who eventually moved to the Pacific Northwest following her time at Vol State, saw a need for a magazine that celebrates and explores the vegan communities of the world, so Driftwood was born.

"Most vegan publications are really targeted at people who are not vegan. They're really targeted towards people who are thinking about becoming vegan, so they're more focused on convincing you to be vegan. There really aren't a lot of magazines focused on people who are already living the lifestyle," Feral said.

While at Vol State from 2003 to 2006, Feral studied journalism. She had her hand in all three of the college's student publications. She wrote for The Settler, was editor-in-chief of The Pioneer, and headed up the resurrection of Squatters' Rites. Those experiences editing the magazines and writing for the paper helped Feral get a strong handle on the skills needed to see publications through to the end product.

"I really enjoyed being able to find other really talented people and figure out what they were really talented at and help them shine," she said.

Those important skills learned at Vol State helped her get where she is now as editor-in-chief of Driftwood, which she called a dream come true.

"My dream in life has always been to write a publication, to travel, and to use my storytelling to bring people together. It was a really exciting time at Vol State, and it really made me value all of the fundamentals of journalism and the excitement of journalism. Vol State was integral to my development," she said.

For more on Feral's new magazine, visit Driftwood's site. Visit Driftwood's Kickstarter page to find out more about the campaign.

Events this Week at Vol State

April 13                                Lecture: Troy Tomlinson, CEO of Sony/ATV Publishing, Thigpen Library, 1:30pm

April 14                                Spring Fling, Library Lawn, 10am-2pm

April 14                                TMTA High School Math Contest, Pickel Field House

April 15                                Lecture: “History and the Environment” by Merritt McKinney, Thigpen Library, 12:20pm

April 15                                Ramer Oratorical Contest, Mattox Room 104, 12:30pm

April 16                                Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 10am-11am

April 17                                Game Day, ping pong, board games, sponsored by Thigpen Library, Rochelle Center, 10am-1pm

April 19                                Vol State Singers and Portland High School Choir Concert, Caudill Hall, 3 pm

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Sony CEO to Discuss Music Publishing April 13

Troy Tomlinson, the president and CEO of Sony/ATV Music Publishing-Nashville, has more than 30 years of experience in music publishing, working with artists including Kenny Chesney, Taylor Swift, Miranda Lambert and George Strait. Tomlinson grew up in Portland, Tennessee. During a special lecture at Volunteer State Community College, he’ll talk about his pathway into the music industry and what he found along the way. The visit is part of the Vol State Music Business Lecture Series, held in conjunction with the Entertainment Media Production program at the college. Vol State students will have an opportunity to ask questions. The public is also invited to attend the free event. The lecture will be held on Monday, April 13 at 1:30 p.m. in the Thigpen Library on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. For more information call 615-230-3201.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Vol State Events this Week

Vol State events this week:
April 6 Priority Registration for sophomores starts at 8am
April 7 Priority Registration for freshmen starts at 8am
April 8 Discussion with professional songwriter Liz Hengber with Starstruck Entertainment, Room 130 in the Pickel Building, 6pm.
April 6-11 Pioneer Pride Week
April 9 Sumner Elementary Art Exhibition reception, Ramer, 3:30-5:30pm
April 11 Vol State Home Plate Celebration, baseball and softball fields, 11am-2pm
April 11 Sumner Bluegrass Jamboree, competitions and performances, Caudill Hall, 10am-6pm

It's Time to Apply for the Ophthalmic Program

It's time to apply for the Ophthalmic Technology program at Vol State. Applications are due April 30, 2015.  Students can earn an Associate of Applied Science Degree in Ophthalmic Technology. An Ophthalmic Technician works under the direction of an Ophthalmologist with duties including general testing of patients,  photography and imaging of the eye, and assisting in laser surgery and other forms of minor in office ophthalmic surgery. 
Program director Alisha Cornish says that as the only program for the training of ophthalmic technicians in the State of TN and surrounding area, there is a great demand for the graduates of the program.
The Ophthalmic Technology program has a Teaching Center in the Wallace South Building that is outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment.  If you would like to set an appointment for advising or to learn more about the profession of ophthalmic technology, contact Alisha Cornish at
Check out the program webpage:
Information regarding prerequisites and application to the program can be found in the information packet at

Summer and Fall Class Registration Open This Week for Current Students

Summer and Fall Priority Registration is underway for sophomores (more than 30 hours of class credits). It started at 8am on Monday, April 6. Priority Registration opens Tuesday, April 7 at 8am for freshmen. Summer registration for new and readmits will open on April 20. New and readmits for Fall can register starting in June. New freshmen will have to take part in the Campus Connect orientation program first. You'll be getting information about that in your Vol State email.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Sumner Bluegrass Jamboree April 11

Fiddlers can rosin their bows and guitar players should get their fingers warmed up. The fourth annual Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree is coming to Volunteer State Community College on Saturday, April 11 and everyone is invited to compete or enjoy the free performances. The event is hosted by Vol State as part of the Bluegrass Music degree emphasis at the college.
 “Although Bluegrass was born in the Northeast corner of Tennessee, I think you can argue that Middle Tennessee, specifically Music City, has the highest concentration of great pickers and fiddlers of all ages anywhere in the world,” said Vol State assistant professor Ben Graves, who organizes the event and runs the Bluegrass Program.  “And for every gig that comes available there’s a line around the corner of qualified people waiting for the opportunity. This competition is always great fun.”
 The competition starts at noon. Categories include: Bluegrass Band, Beginner Fiddle (ages15 and under), Junior Fiddle (16-39), Senior Fiddle (40 and up), Beginner Guitar (15 and under), Guitar (16 and up), Beginner Mandolin (15 and under), Mandolin (16 and up), Beginner Banjo (15 and under), Banjo (16 and up), Beginner Dobro (15 and under) and Dobro (16 and up).

The prizes will be comprised of the registration fees from the registrants in each category.  Sign-up will be held the day of the event starting at 10 a.m., but competitors are encouraged to visit to download the registration forms, scan them and return them to Competitors may also pre-register by calling (615) 452-8600, ext. 2936. Registration fees will be due the day of the event. 
 Judges will include legendary Bluegrass mandolinist/guitarist Roland White and “Fiddlestar” Megan Chowning, both of whom will be offering free instructional master classes, as well as banjo virtuoso Mark Barnett and ace mandolinist Mel Matthews. Vol State’s own Bluegrass Ablaze is set to perform and feature the guest artists, along with the Vintage Mandolin Ensemble, and many other special guests. The public is invited to watch the competitions and the performances, and take part in the free instructional master classes.
 The Sumner County Bluegrass Jamboree will be held from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. There is plenty of free parking. For more information visit To register in advance call 615-452-8600, extension 2936.

One Simple Way to Guarantee Your Feedback About the Library is Heard

Library Director, Sarah Smith, joins the blog today to share information about how the library staff responds to student feedback.
As the director of the Thigpen Library, I am always seeking ways to improve services and resources provided to Vol State students. So, I get really excited when students contribute their suggestions for the library, whether it’s through one of the library’s Tip Jars (located downstairs at the Reference Desk and upstairs at the Circulation Desk), verbally to a staff member, or in response to our informal surveys.

One of the two tip jars in the library. Photo credit: Librarian Mike Hitzelberger
I’m very excited to report that the library actively responds to student suggestions. For instance, one student commented about the need for computer station sanitation to prevent the spread of disease. VoilĂ ! Students now have easy access to disinfecting wipes placed throughout the computer lab area so that they can sanitize their computer station before use.
We also respond to students’ need via observation. For example, we noticed that many students wanted to use the large reading tables for study, but also needed access to an outlet to charge their laptops at those tables. The library came up with what students have called a “genius” solution – attaching outlets (including USB charging ports) to the tables.

A group of students using the charging station while they study.
A request that has been received from a few of our students is for the library to stay open 24/7. Good news: we already are! The library’s online collections can be accessed by any Vol State student, staff, or faculty member 24/7, and these include millions of full text articles and more than 200,000 online books and videos. Additionally, our LibGuides provide instruction on the use of the library’s resources so that students can get the help they need to use library resources at any time.
As far as the physical building remaining open 24/7, there are many reasons why the idea is not feasible. I’ll name a few of the main reasons for not staying open for any 24 hour period on a regular basis: non-residential campus, security concerns, huge costs (at a minimum guess, $150,000 extra) to hire staff, and the Gallatin Campus itself officially closes at 11 pm. Perhaps the best evidence for not staying open 24/7 is the lack of demonstrated need for those hours: during our extended hours near exam times there are never more than a handful of people using the library between 10-11 pm; unfortunately, there are only a handful of students here at closing each night during our regular hours, too. I know that there will be a few students who will remain unsatisfied with this response and so I encourage these students to speak with me directly.
Sarah can be reached at 615-230-3412 or at 

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A Tip for Summer and Fall Class Registration

Here's a tip for students picking summer and fall classes to register for next week. Summer & Fall 2015 courses are now available in the new Schedule Planner. Just select the Summer or Fall term from the drop down menu. You can go ahead and select courses and place them in your cart. Once registration opens, you can go back to your cart and click the register button to sign up for your selected classes.

The presence of a course in your cart does not reserve a seat in that section. The seat is not held until registration is completed.  Priority registration rules are still enforced. Priority Registration begins at 8 a.m. April 6 for sophomores and 8 a.m. April 7 for current freshmen. Freshmen for fall semester will register during Campus Connect orientation sessions starting in June.