Friday, June 21, 2019

Human Trafficking: Modern Day Slavery

The Department of Homeland Security defines human trafficking as "the use of force, fraud, or coercion to obtain some type of labor or commercial sex act."

Nicholas D. Kristof of the New York Times once said the term is a convoluted euphemism for what it really is: slavery.

According to the DHS, each year, millions of men, women, and children are trafficked worldwide. A common misunderstanding is that trafficking is happening elsewhere in the world, yet its prevalence is right under our noses in America, even in Tennessee.

"It’s a misconception that people we don’t know are getting trafficked. The truth is that a vast majority of our victims are our kids and it’s our job as a community to protect them. You know, kids can’t protect themselves, it takes a village. I feel it’s important to talk about this because we’re saving our own people, there’s a need to do that," said Cheryl Brehm, an advocate and volunteer at End Slavery Tennessee.

Vol State Communication professor, Ben Jobe, is also a volunteer at End Slavery TN and features guest speakers in his classes each semester to educate his students on the matter. Cheryl Brehm was the recent speaker in his class.

"My main activity, as a volunteer, is I try to use my speech classes to educate students about End Slavery TN, the problem, and what they can do to help," said Professor Jobe.

End Slavery TN’s mission is to "promote healing of human trafficking survivors and to strategically confront slavery in our state." Their vision is to "create a slave-free Tennessee."

"The reason why I do what I do is because I truly believe that I’m going to save someone’s life one day. Maybe I already have, maybe not yet. I will do as many talks as it takes. That’s what gets me here, that’s what gets me up, that’s what gets me out of bed, that’s why I do what I do," Cheryl added.

Realizing the pervasiveness of human trafficking in our communities may open the door for some real conversations. Educating yourself and your peers is important to protect ourselves, our campus, and our communities. Learn more by visiting:

-By Rachel Keyes

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

TN Reconnect Students Must Reapply Now

If you have been taking classes using TN Reconnect you need to reapply to TN Reconnect and fill out a new FAFSA form each school year.  The time to do it is now, so that you can use TN Reconnect in the fall and spring. Here are the steps:
-Reapply to TN Reconnect by visiting the TSAC student portal:
-If you have forgotten your password there is a link to reset.
-Fill out a new FAFSA form by going here and logging in:
-If you have forgotten your FAFSA PIN number there will be info on that page to recover it.
These instructions are only for students who have already been taking classes using TN Reconnect. New students who have applied for TN Reconnect and have yet to take classes won’t need to do this until next year.
You will need to complete these steps every year that you intend to use TN Reconnect.
If you have already done this recently then you should be set.
If you have problems you can contact Vol State Financial Aid at 615-230-3456.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Alumni Spotlight: Ashley Hart

You never know where your path after Vol State could lead you. 36 year old Criminal Justice alumna Ashley Hart has gone a long way since graduating from Vol State in 2012. Now a licensed attorney and social worker in Indiana, Ashley continues to pave the way for her career, fueled by a passion for people and law.

“I have always been very interested in law. I grew up as a kid spending summers with my grandma and we would watch Matlock every morning, and so I just developed a strong love for criminal law and certainly defense work,” Ashley said. Years later, she began turning her interest into a career right here at Vol State.

“I went back to school a little bit later. My brother passed away when I was twenty, he committed suicide when he was eighteen years old, and I’m a suicide survivor, so school for me was postponed. I really needed to come back to school when I was ready ... During my time at Vol State, I just fell in love with it from my very first class ... If you would have asked me before I entered the program if I thought I would go to law school after surviving my brother’s death, I would’ve said no, because I really did feel too old."

Ashley said that there was a time when she believed her education would end with at an associate’s degree, but her Vol State professors were a constant source of support for her to continue her education.
“They really made me believe in myself and made me believe that I could really go on and go further than what I even thought that I was capable of. I just really feel like I got a good sense of encouragement and motivation and it just kept me going … It’s really important for me to convey how Vol State was incredibly supportive. I loved my time [at Vol State] and I think it set me up with such an incredible foundation to go forward. Everything that I've done since, I’ve used or drawn off of something that was taught to me at Vol State.”

Ashley went on to Tennessee State University’s 2+2 Criminal Justice program before making her way to Indiana University. Attracted by IU’s dual degree graduate programs, Ashley attained a Master of Social Work with a concentration in Mental Health and Addiction at IU and a Juris Doctor at the Robert H. McKinney School of Law, where she graduated in the top 6.9% of her class.

“I just thought that social work is such a great way to understand human behavior and the idea that everybody has story. I just wanted to be a better advocate. I really liked the idea of advocating for people who maybe feel like they don’t have a voice.”

Since July 2018, Ashley has been working as a federal judicial law clerk at the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. “It’s quite an honor and privilege to have any clerkship, whether it’s state or federal, but certainly federal court is very exciting,” she said. Her clerkship will end in June 2019 as she steps into a position at a litigation law firm in Indianapolis (Hoover Hull Turner LLP), where she’ll begin as an associate attorney this July. -By Rachel Keyes