Thursday, March 29, 2018

Vol State Speaks out Against Sexual Assault

The U.S. Department of Justice reports that one in four college women have survived rape or attempted rape. You may have heard of the #MeToo movement, which spread virally on social media in 2017, highlighting the prevalence of sexual violence and assault. #WeBelieveYou is an outgrowth of that movement, and part of a campaign coming to Vol State in April.

“I do think the ‘MeToo’ movement has started the conversation, but we want to encourage that conversation locally,” said Tiffany Zwart, coordinator of Student Support. “The ‘WeBelieveYou’ movement is about making sure that students know that someone is listening, we do believe them, and we’re here to help in whatever way we can. If you have a traumatic experience, like sexual assault, and then you feel like you can’t talk to anybody, or you don’t know where to go, it just builds and can turn into PTSD, anxiety, etc., and those things have serious long term effects.” “Sexual assault is about power. It’s not about the act of sex itself, it’s about power,” said Abby Carson, a work study student in the Office of Student Engagement. “To any victim out there, don’t let them take that power from you. If you are a victim, come forward and say something. Don’t give them that power to keep doing what they’re doing. I want anyone who comes into this office to feel safe. It makes me feel great that the school cares, and that students know they can come to us no matter what." Zwart explains that there are statistics available, yet it’s hard to peg the exact numbers. “Most rapes and sexual assaults are not reported. So of what we have, it’s is like a drop in the bucket. There’s so much more that we don’t know.” Experts say fear is a huge factor that comes into play. Sometimes getting out of a toxic situation may seem scarier than staying in one to victims, especially when children are in the picture, or if there are financial burdens involved. Other times, victims just may be afraid to speak up for fear of being labeled or judged. It is much more common than is noticed, because it often goes undiscussed. There are many reasons people stay silent or remain in a bad situation. “I think we try to pretend like it’s not happening, but it’s happening right under our noses,” said Zwart. “We have resources for counseling; we have resources for Home Safe, the domestic and sexual assault shelter. They provide trauma informed service for those impacted by domestic and sexual abuse, so they are a really great resource for students who’ve experienced that. We’ve also reached out to the Sumner County Drug and Alcohol Coalition, because most abuse happens while someone is under the influence. Treating it as a systematic problem rather than a single issue is a big deal, we have to change the culture all the way around.” For the Sexual Assault Awareness month of April, the Office of Student Engagement promotes the discussion by coordinating multiple events on campus. For Tuesday, April 2nd, wear the color teal to show your commitment to prevent sexual assault. On Thursday, April 5th at 2 p.m. is the “Let’s Talk” event, which is a conversation about sexual assault held in the Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room. On Monday April 16th at 10:30 a.m., sociology professor Jamie Fuston will be hosting an event in the Rochelle Center titled “In Her Shoes,” which will offer a glimpse into the harsh realities of relationship violence. The office of Student Engagement and Support is located in room 215 of the Wood Campus Center, and is available for any student seeking guidance. Don’t stay silent; let your voice be heard. Abby Carson and Tiffany Zwart

-By Rachel Keyes

Priority Fall and Summer Registration for Current Students Starts April 2 and 3

It's almost time for currently enrolled students to register for summer and fall classes. Next week is the start of Priority Registration.
-Priority registration opens at 8am this Monday, April 2 for currently enrolled students who have already earned 30 credits or more at the start of this semester (sophomores).
-Priority registration opens at 8am on Tuesday, April 3 for currently enrolled students who have already earned less than 30 credits at the start of this semester (freshmen).
-Currently enrolled students can register at any time after those dates, but those who register early will have a better selection of classes and class times.
-Registration opens to readmit students on April 16. New freshmen will register at orientation.

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Engineering Student Loves The Banjo

Jesse Johns, an Electrical Engineering major, loves to play the banjo. That’s right, the banjo. Jesse began his musical journey at 12 years old. “I started out drumming, and when I heard the sound of the banjo, I thought, wow, I would love to play that.” When he came to Vol State, he discovered the school’s Bluegrass Ensemble and decided to get involved. 
“I decided that the more I know, the more I’m worth. I finally saw an open opportunity, and that’s when I took my shot. I said I’m going to go for it, I’m going to start learning banjo.” 
Jesse says that learning banjo was a natural advancement from his experience with percussion. “With banjo, I’m playing rhythm, and it just so happens to have notes - that’s what makes it so great. After learning the ability of drumming and getting a banjo, I thought, this is so much like drumming, it’s crazy. So that’s where it all started.” 
Jesse gives his banjo teacher Mark Barnett much credit for his musical progression. “If it wasn’t for Mark Barnett and the school, I probably wouldn’t be a banjo player. Mark Barnett has really pushed me for the better. The Bluegrass Ensemble was the perfect opportunity for me. Another thing about the school that I really love is having a band like that to progress with. Being in this bluegrass group here is what has developed my style. ” 
Jesse will graduate from Vol State this spring to continue his studies in Electrical Engineering at Lipscomb University. He says that he would love to stay involved with Vol State music after his transfer. “I’ve come too far to put the banjo to rest. I have been given the opportunity to come back to the Vol State ensemble as a feature after I transfer.” 
To keep up with other music events and news on campus, check out Vol State’s music Facebook page.

-By Rachel Keyes

Current Adult Students - Apply for TN Reconnect

TN Reconnect provides community college education tuition-free for adult students who don’t yet have a degree. And currently enrolled adult students are eligible to apply. The program starts with the upcoming fall 2018 semester.

There are two steps for currently enrolled students to take part in TN Reconnect at Vol State: fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA); and apply for TN Reconnect. There are eligibility requirements for TN Reconnect, with the most important being that a student cannot already have an associate or bachelor’s degree. The other requirements are listed on the Vol State website. All of those steps can be accomplished now by visiting People with questions can call 615-230-3447. You can also visit the Office of Financial Aid for help.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Tips for Successfully Transferring to a University: Visit the Campus

Just like a postcard does not give you the full experience of visiting a popular vacation spot, there is only so much you can learn from a university’s website or brochure. You need to go in person.
If you are interested in transferring to a university after you graduate from Vol State, visit the campus. If you can, attend an event for prospective transfers. Why is this so important?
This is your opportunity to get to know the university and find out if it is the right fit for you. It does not matter if it was a good fit for your friend, significant other, parent, grandparent, etc. College should be a great experience for you. You owe it to yourself to find the right place.
Here are some tips for getting the most out of your university campus visit:
·         Take a tour, and get some freebies! Visiting in person gives you the “vibe” of the campus. How you feel when you are there is more important than you might think. We have known students who were all set to go to a particular university but as soon as they got there to visit or even to start school, the vibe was “off” for them and it did not feel right. We have also known students who were not excited about a school until they stepped onto the campus and realized what a great fit it was for them. It gets real when you go in person.
·         Bring a friend or relative with you to your campus visit. Get their feedback as well. You’ll likely be on information overload by the end of the visit and your companion may have caught things you missed.
·         Make an appointment to meet with a professor. If he or she allows, sit in on a class. How many students are in the class? Was the topic interesting and interactive? What were your impressions?
·         What are the housing options? On campus and off campus? Is it required for you to live on campus as a transfer student? Are there residence halls or on-campus apartments designed for transfer students? When is the deadline to apply for housing? If you want to live off campus, how much does it cost to live near campus? Do you have to live far away from campus and fight traffic to find affordable off-campus housing?
·         How much does it cost to park on campus? Is public transportation available? Parking is often much trickier and more expensive at a university than at Vol State, especially for students commuting from off campus. If you live on campus at the university, you can walk to class rather than dealing with traffic and competing for a parking spot. Is public transportation (i.e. bus, subway, etc.) available? Do students get a discount to use these services?
·         What is the town/city like? Do you prefer a suburban college town or a bustling, urban city? What is the climate? Is the campus in a safe area? Is there a security office or police department on campus?
If you cannot afford to visit the campus or cannot take a day off work, etc., many universities have virtual campus tours that you can take online. You can also ask your transfer admissions counselor the above questions. But we highly recommend that you visit in person, especially if you have been admitted to the university and it has made your short list of options.
Preparing to transfer to a university does not have to be overwhelming. The sooner you start researching, the more confident you will be about your next steps after you walk the stage and graduate from Vol State!
Lindsay Guenther , Josie Larson , and Rebecca Adair are full-time advisors at the Gallatin campus.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Vol State Science and Math Expo Coming Up April 5

The Parris Powers Science and Math Expo at Volunteer State Community College is coming up on April 5. It’s a fun day of science learning for kids K-8 and their parents and grandparents. There will be dozens of hands-on demonstrations and activities. Those exhibits are put together by Vol State students, who gain a new perspective on science and math education. Topics will include: water properties (cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension), dry ice demonstrations, and education on biodegradable and recyclable materials. Students can make, and take home, their own bouncy polymer balls, and create ice cream using liquid nitrogen. For students interested in the stars and sky, the Cumberland Astronomical Society and Vanderbilt Mobile Planetarium will be on hand.

The Expo, now in its 17th year, is named in honor of former Vol State Chemistry Professor Parris Powers. He organized the Expo for many years, and passed away in 2016. The Science and Math Expo will be held on Thursday, April 5 from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. in and around the Wallace Health Sciences Building- North, on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. The event is free and open to everyone. For more information call 615-230-3261.

TN Reconnect Help on April 10 and More

Get Ready for TN Reconnect at Vol State. The tuition-free community college program for adults who don't have a college degree starts this fall. We have special info sessions at all of our campuses on April 10 from 8am to 6pm. We have additional dates in Gallatin this spring. The events will walk you through the process...but also provide an opportunity to talk to Vol State staff about our majors and programs. Details here:

This Week at Vol State

Mar. 27            CAB CafĂ©: Women’s History Trivia, Cafeteria, 12:45pm
Mar. 28            Spring Job Career Fair, many employers on site, Pickel Field House, 10am-1pm
Mar. 28            Incarceration discussion, One Book, One Community, Caudill Auditorium, 1pm
Mar. 29            Women’s Tea, celebrating Women’s History Month, Nichols Dining Room, 12:45pm
Mar. 30            Good Friday: all campuses closed

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Food Insecurity: The Skeleton in the College Closet

Maintaining a balance between school, work, and life demands can be a challenge, especially if students have trouble feeding themselves, or oftentimes, their children. Food is a necessity, and it’s difficult to perform well in school and life without it. Vol State staffers noticed a problem on campus; that there were students lacking food. They responded with what is now known as The Feed. It’s a campus food bank open to all students, and it’s completely free, all students need is their ID. The Feed also provides bagged lunches available in the Thigpen Library and Student Services in room 217 of the Wood Campus Center. The Feed recently began offering various hygiene products, diapers, baby food and formula, and even school supplies. 
“I live alone with my daughter, I’m a single Mom, and so it’s nice to have extra food,” said Patricia, a Vol State student. “I work two jobs, and I’m a full-time student. I had heard about The Feed for a while, and I was a little embarrassed to go at first, then I finally decided to go. The staff didn’t ask a lot of questions, and that’s what I liked about it, you don’t have to explain yourself at all. I already have a lot of issues I have to deal with, so it’s just nice to have a place I can go to get some food without being questioned.”

After students visit, they will be asked to complete a short survey to provide feedback. Students are able to use The Feed whenever needed, and there’s no limit on the number of items they may take.
“I love making life easier and helping people in a positive way, we are sometimes the difference between if someone eats or not that day,” said Teresa, a student worker of The Feed.
“I’m all about reducing barriers,” said Jamie Fuston, assistant professor of Sociology, and a volunteer at The Feed. “If students are too concerned about what they’re going to eat that day and can’t focus in class, or if they have to leave class early to go to work to afford food, then there’s a barrier to their education. Being able to help reduce those barriers is what intrigued me about The Feed. We’ve also gotten some really good data from the surveys about other kinds of social services students would want as well.”

The Feed is located in room 151 of the Ramer building, and is always interested in donations and volunteers. There are donation bins located in the lobby areas of the Wood Campus Center, Ramer, SRB, and the Thigpen Library. The Feed hours change from time to time, but the current hours of operation are Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 8 a.m. til 5 p.m.; Wednesday from 8 a.m. til 3 p.m.; and Friday by appointment only. To schedule an appointment, or for other questions, please call (615) 230-3461, or e-mail
-By Rachel Keyes

Monday, March 19, 2018

Events this Week at Vol State

Mar. 19            Hal R. Ramer Speech Contest, student public speaking, Mattox 104, 11:30am
Mar. 19            Student Government Association Forum, Cafeteria, 12:45pm-2pm
Mar. 20            Story Slam competition, student storytelling, Nichols Dining Room, 11:10am
Mar. 21            WWII military artifacts display, Rochelle Center, 8am-2pm
Mar. 22            Women’s History Month Read-In, Ramer Great Hall, 12:45pm
Mar. 23-24      California Suite by Neil Simon, comedy theater, Caudill Auditorium, 7:30pm Free with Vol State ID and $5 suggested donation for public

Friday, March 16, 2018

Spring Job Career Fair March 28

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting dozens of area employers at the Spring Job Career Fair on Wednesday, March 28. 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. Everyone is invited to attend.
There will be tables with hands-on career development information including soft skills and dressing for success. A professional photographer will also be taking headshot pictures for attendees to use for their LinkedIn page. 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. Vol State is located at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. For more information call 615-230-3307.

Tips for Successfully Transferring to a University: Financial Questions

Are you thinking about transferring to a university after you graduate from Vol State but you’re concerned about how to pay for it? Universities cost more than community colleges and Tennessee Promise does not apply to universities. But the good news is there are multiple ways to get money for school. Here are some things to look for:
·         How much does it cost to attend the university? Get the actual amounts without financial aid or scholarships. If you paid completely out of pocket, how much would it be each semester? Can you do a payment plan? Most universities should have a “net price calculator” on their website to give you an estimate of the cost including aid. Remember that public universities in Tennessee will cost less than colleges out of state. Also, private universities in Tennessee will cost more than public ones because they are not funded by the state. No matter where you transfer, you will need to find out about financial aid and scholarships.
·         How much does financial aid usually cover for most students? Most financial aid is awarded based on income. Submit your FAFSA to all universities to which you apply. Financial aid can include grants (free money from the government such as PELL), student loans (money you pay back after you have been out of school for a certain period of time), and scholarships (free money based on GPA, minority status, church affiliation, honors society membership, etc.) Sources of aid can include the federal and state government, the universities themselves, and also private sources. Colleges may have separate scholarship applications and deadlines apart from admissions, so check their websites. Once you have applied for university scholarships, look for private scholarships through search engines such as,,, and
·         Are there scholarship opportunities for transfer students? Some universities reserve most of their scholarship money for entering freshmen. Other universities have guaranteed scholarships for transfer students with associate’s degrees. Scholarships vary widely based on the school, your financial need, academic merit, and other factors. Submit your FAFSA to all schools you are considering and apply for as many private scholarships as possible.
Don’t assume that a bachelor’s degree is out of reach due to cost. There are many affordable, reputable universities out there. When you add in financial aid and scholarships, a bachelor’s degree can be very feasible. And, remember that the better your grades at Vol State, the more opportunities you may have at universities.

Lindsay Guenther , Josie Larson , and Rebecca Adair are full-time advisors at the Gallatin campus.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Vol State Story Slam on March 20

Have you ever heard a Story Slam? Check it out next week...

Fall and Summer Class Registration: Meet with Your Advisor Now

It's time for currently enrolled students to start thinking about their next semester at Vol State. If you're graduating...awesome! If you're continuing, either this summer or in the fall, priority registration will open soon. Here are some tips:
-Use the Degree Works tool in My Vol State to find out what classes you need.
-Meet with your academic advisor soon to talk about what classes you should take.
-Your academic advisor might not be available after finals, so meet with them now.
-Find your academic advisor in DegreeWorks, under your name. Hover over your advisor’s name to see their email. On your phone, tap and hold for an option to email.
-Priority registration opens at 8am on April 2 for currently enrolled students who have already earned 30 credits or more at the start of this semester (sophomores).
-Priority registration opens at 8am on April 3 for currently enrolled students who have already earned less than 30 credits at the start of this semester (freshmen).

-Registration opens to readmit students on April 16. New freshmen will register at orientation.

Monday, March 12, 2018

California Suite Comedy Theater at Vol State

A suite in the Beverly Hills Hotel is the setting for the classic Neil Simon comedy California Suite. The play will be presented by the Volunteer State Community College theater program as part of the Spring 2018 Visual and Performing Arts Series. The production uses the same suite as the location for each of four parts, with different characters in each act. Couples visiting Los Angeles sort through marriage problems, mid-life complications, and in one case, a dilemma involving an unconscious prostitute. The 1976 Broadway play was later made into a movie by the same name.
The play will be performed on Fridays and Saturdays, March 16 and 17, and March 23 and 24 at 7:30 p.m. There will be a matinee show on Sunday, March 18 at 2:30 p.m. The event will be held in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. Admission is a suggested $5 donation, which is used to fund student scholarships. For more information call 615-230-3200. For other Visual and Performing Arts Series events visit

Events this Week at Vol State

Events this week at Vol State:
Mar 12 Welch College Admissions Rep, Wood hallway outside 217, 10 am – 2 pm
Mar. 12 West African and Afro Latin Ensemble, concert and discussion, SRB 150, 11am
Mar 14 Lindsey Wilson College Admissions Rep, Wood hallway outside 217, 10 am – 2 pm
Mar. 14 Suffrage and the Great War, history lecture, Rochelle Center, 1pm
Mar. 14 Opera Out Loud, by Nashville Opera, SRB 151, 2pm
Mar 15 WKU Admissions Rep, Wood hallway outside 217, 10 am – 2 pm
Mar. 16 Movie Night: Wonder Woman, Nichols Dining Room, 7pm
Mar. 16-17 California Suite by Neil Simon, comedy theater, Caudill Auditorium, 7:30pm Free with Vol State ID and $5 suggested donation for public
Mar. 18 California Suite by Neil Simon, comedy theater, Caudill Auditorium, 2:30pm Free with Vol State ID and $5 suggested donation for public

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Tips for Successfully Transferring to a University: Academic Questions

Are you considering transferring to a university after you graduate from Vol State? It’s never too early to start checking out options. What do you need to know about the academic side? Here are a few questions to ask:
·         Is the university regionally accredited? There are many different kinds of accreditation (i.e. regional, national, industry-specific, etc.) which demonstrate that a university has met a certain set of official criteria of excellence. Not all accreditations are the same! If a school is not regionally accredited, then it will be very hard for you to transfer credits from there to any other school if you decide to continue your education after graduating with them.
·         Does the university have the major you want? If you aren’t sure what major you want to do, the Advising Center in Ramer 174 can assist you with major and career exploration. If you want to pursue a major that the university has but that Vol State does not, you might consider majoring in University Studies at Vol State. This degree program allows you more flexibility to take Vol State courses recommended by the university that don’t fit perfectly into another degree program. Contact the Advising Center at 615-230-3702 for more information.
·         How competitive is the university and/or the major? Some schools have guaranteed objective admissions standards (i.e. a minimum GPA, ACT score, etc.) Others have a subjective, holistic approach in which they consider GPA and scores as well as writing samples, extracurricular activities, etc. Also remember that being admitted to the university does not guarantee admission to your major of choice. Some majors (i.e. business, education, health sciences) have separate, often more rigorous, admissions standards. If there are a limited number of seats in the program, meeting the minimum criteria might not be enough to get admitted. If the university and/or major are competitive, make sure you have a less competitive backup plan.
·         How will your Volunteer State credits transfer? It’s not enough to know if your credits will transfer. You need to know how they will transfer. Will they count as electives, or will they satisfy specific degree requirements? Tennessee Transfer Pathway (TTP) degrees are designed to transfer smoothly to all participating public universities in Tennessee and some private ones, but some universities do not always follow the TTPs perfectly. Also not every TTP is accepted by every university. It is always best to consult with an advisor at the university to make sure your classes will transfer smoothly. See if the university has an updated equivalency chart showing which Vol State courses are equivalent to which courses at the university.
Knowing that a university is regionally accredited, has the program you want, and will accept your courses toward your degree of choice will help you to save time, money, and stress.
Lindsay Guenther , Josie Larson , and Rebecca Adair are full-time advisors at the Gallatin campus.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Vol State Student is Determined to Drive After an Accident

Getting a driver’s license is a big step in life for most people. Austin Bonebrake, a Freshman at Vol State, was excited to get his, and then his life completely changed. He was two weeks shy of getting the license when he was in a serious sledding accident on a large hill in Robertson County.
“They estimated I was going 45 MPH, I shattered C5 and broke the C6 vertebrae in my neck and it paralyzed me from the chest down. I was life flighted out after the accident. It didn’t sink in that it was permanent until after the surgery. I’m considered a quadriplegic, sometimes that means you can’t move anything. I can move my arms, and my hands don’t work much, but I can still do certain things.” Austin has been going through various rehabilitation programs, and even learned to drive while he was at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta, which brings him closer to his goal of owning a truck that he can operate using hand controls.
The cost of purchasing a vehicle with special hand controls is through the roof. For Austin, this is the only option. “My parents have been a big support, helping me get to Vol State. My mom, she had to lose her job to take me back and forth, so it’s just dad working right now. Just the hand controls are going to cost anywhere from $45,000-$50,000. We’re trying to get a vehicle that I can drive (the wheelchair) into, and the vehicle can run from $50,000-$60,000 itself.”
Austin says he wants to become more independent and to care of himself completely. “The goal is to move out and live on my own, being able to branch out and not have to have any limitations, this is what I want to do, and I’m going to do it, that probably won’t take off until I get a job and am able to drive. We’re always going to be faced with challenges, but you can’t take those challenges and just give up," he said. "No matter what you’re faced with, you have to keep pushing forward to overcome it or learn new ways around it. It's better to laugh than cry about it.” 
Austin has a GoFundMe account to collect donations for his future truck. In Gallatin, a local rehabilitation center has also extended financial help to his family. “We’re going through a thing called vocational rehab, as soon as I graduate, and am looking for a job, if we buy a vehicle, they’ll pay for the hand controls.”
In the meantime, Austin continues his education. He says he is fascinated by the environment and loves to go hunting and fishing. Austin plans to follow his interests and pursue a career in Environmental Science.
To make a donation, please visit

-By Rachel Keyes