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Graduation 2019 - Congrats Middle College Students!

4 days 4 hours ago
Sumner County Middle College High School students were awarded high school diplomas during a ceremony at Vol State Saturday. Twenty-three of those students also received associate degrees from Vol State two weeks ago. It may seem a bit odd to get a college degree before your diploma, but due to the scheduling of the annual events, and the uniqueness of the academic program, that is the case. Middle College High School students take classes on the Vol State campus, earning high school and college credit at the same time. It allows students to get a jump start on their college career, entering university with many college credits.Two senior speakers were elected by the graduates. Isaac Ramirez is set to attend the University of Alabama at Huntsville in the fall, where he has received a full-tuition scholarship and a seat in the Honors College. He plans a dual degree in biology and chemistry towards his goal of a career as a medical researcher. Jaimee Brown received the Mary Cole Nichols Award from the college this year, for exceptional service in improving the quality of student life. She will attend Austin Peay State University for a degree in Criminal Justice. She plans to work in federal law enforcement.
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Tari Pearson

2 weeks 1 day ago
Pre-Nursing graduate and TN Reconnect student, Tari Pearson, took her first swing at college straight out of high school. Life then got in the way of her finishing. At 48 years of age, her five kids are now grown, so it’s time for Tari to finish the degree she began years ago.

“I don’t have a personal life right now, because my focus is getting through school … I just do what I’m focused on doing, and that’s getting to that [registered nurse] status,” she said.

Tari has worked as a professional caregiver for around ten years, which will give her much experience to bring to the table as a nurse. One interesting fact is that she was a caregiver to Johnny and June Carter Cash. She shared that the Cashs are just two of the many clients that have made her career as a caregiver meaningful. “I was with June the day her pacemaker went out … She had a beautiful spirit about her, always smiled, she was forgiving,” she said.

Tari said she feels that she can make more of a positive difference by moving up from a caregiver to a registered nurse and wanted to return to school to take her career to the next level.

“I’ll be a first generation graduate. Vol State gave me an opportunity to move forward.”

After Vol State, Tari is looking to transfer either to Tennessee State University or Cumberland University to continue her studies in Nursing.

-By Rachel Keyes
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Elijah Avery

2 weeks 1 day ago


Elijah Avery knows how to debate politics, and he’s particularly interested in foreign affairs. But this Political Science major comes with more than just statistics and rhetoric in his arguments, he brings some life experience. He said growing up in South Africa didn’t directly influence his interest in politics, but it did give him a different perspective. Elijah moved to the U.S. at the young age of ten, and it was during high school that he discovered his knack for political speech and debate.

“We were required to learn and research various political topics and I always thought, ‘these are absolutely stupid, these aren’t going to affect me,’ but then after reading it and looking at it, I found it very interesting,” he said.
After moving on to college, he joined the newly formed Vol State Speech and Debate Team and rapidly found success. He won a number of awards in regional and state tournaments. His feats culminated recently in a national competition at the Novice National Parliamentary Debate Tournament in Ohio. Elijah, and teammate Danielle Salvato, won first place in Novice Parliamentary Debate. He also won second place Debate, second place in Impromptu Sales, third place in Impromptu Speaking, and third place Pentathlon. He calls his experience with the Speech and Debate Team a highlight of his Vol State experience.
“I feel like Vol State has given me the opportunity to educate myself both academically and mentally, or psychologically, I suppose, and the Speech and Debate Team was a great plus.”
Elijah is keeping his options open in regards to his educational path as he hasn’t decided on a university yet. But he intends to double major in Political Science (with an emphasis in Public Administration), and Public Relations.

“And as far as public relations, I’ve always been told, like, ‘EJ’s a talker...’ So, I might as well get paid for it … The ultimate goal would be to be a chief of staff of an organization or a [chief commercial officer]. Lobbyist is the main goal. Lobbyist is something I’ve wanted to do for a hot minute,” he said.

Regarding moving on from Vol State, he said: “I like change, but I am reluctant to leave because I actually am leaving some good friends and professors behind … But I’m also excited to, like, go out into the world and, you know, continue my education.”

And yes, he plans to keep debating.

-By Rachel Keyes

Vol State

Behind the Scenes: Spring Music Album

3 weeks 1 day ago

The annual Vol State Spring Music Showcase is quickly approaching. It will present original sounds across a variety of genres including: jazz, rock, bluegrass, and country. Additionally, students have been busy recording for the spring album, which will be sold at the show.

Music instructor Mark Barnett explained that the idea of the album is to feature all original songs (most of which are by students). “We rehearse and rehearse, and they really come through,” he said.


Cole Harper, Music Performance major, played guitar on a bluegrass track titled “Smokey Mountain Road,” written by Mark Barnett. Cole shared a bit of his experience recording on the album. “It’s been a good experience … I had no idea how to play bluegrass or function in a bluegrass group until I got here, and I’ve learned a lot since I’ve started playing in Barnett’s group,” Cole said.

Professional Music major, Michael Mullins, sang and played guitar on his own track “Sippin’ Moonshine” for the album. “All I had to do was show up, bend some strings, sing my song, and they did the rest. It was awesome, I can’t complain,” Michael said.
The album will come out the last week of April. It will be sold in the Wood Campus Bookstore and at the Spring Music Showcase itself. The details are April 26 and 27 at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium (Caudill Hall). There is a suggested donation of $5 for admission, and $10 for admission plus the CD. The funds go towards music scholarships. Come show your support!

-By Rachel Keyes
Vol State

The New Pioneer Pen Student Literary Magazine

3 weeks 1 day ago
The 2019 edition of the Pioneer Pen literary and arts magazine is out, featuring student and faculty work. Writers read poetry and prose during a publication event today. The visual artists displayed art and photography. The publication is an impressive display of the talent at Vol State. The student editors are Sara Eaton, Amber Nicole Kittrell, Rachel Keyes, Kirstie Frank and Brenna Hicks. The faculty advisors are Emily Andrews and Laura McClister. Congratulations to all of the contributors. Pick up your free copy in the Humanities Office - SRB 208.
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Honors Students Plant Tree to Recognize Professors

3 weeks 5 days ago

Just in time for Earth Day 2019, Honors students planted a Cherokee Brave Dogwood tree last week to commemorate the Spring Honors Leadership Development class. The course is taught by professors Julie Morgan and Nancy Blomgren, to whom our Dogwood is dedicated.
“We are doing this because we were asked to try and find a way to leave a mark on campus,” said Honors student Giulia Giordani. “We just wanted to find a way to honor [our instructors Morgan and Blomgren]. We thought, ‘What better way than planting a tree that will just grow with time?’”


Planting a tree on campus isn’t as easy as digging a hole and putting a plant in the ground: There are many puzzle pieces behind the scenes that must come together, including permission forms and consistent communication with Plant Operations management. One stipulation of the class project was that we couldn’t spend a dime of our own; all materials needed to be donated.

An anonymous family friend of mine donated the tree to our group, which came from Scottsville, Kentucky. First Place Trophy in Hendersonville donated the plaque commemorating our professors. 
“I’ve enjoyed every bit of it, every step of the way,” said Honors student, Tony Chioccio. “From meeting Will and planning this out, to actually getting it in the ground, and showing our professors and removing the ribbon and clapping and crying and having a great time. It’s been great, it’s been wonderful.”

“Planting a tree is an act of hope and an investment in the future,” said Dr. Jerry Faulkner. “Most of us will not have the opportunity to harvest the fruit or sit in the shade of a tree we plant today.” Citing Alexander Smith, Dr. Faulkner reflected: “A man does not plant a tree for himself; he plants it for posterity.”The tree is located in a high traffic area, across from the overflow parking lot, which faces Loop Road. The location will hopefully keep animals away, adding to the tree’s lifespan. Dogwoods are known to be hardy, tough trees by nature, so we’re keeping our fingers crossed for a long life for our “Blomgan Tree,” as our group has coined it. -By Rachel Keyes
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Isaac Ramirez

3 weeks 6 days ago

Isaac Ramirez is one motivated college student. “I’ve been pushing myself more and more every semester,” he said. He has a love for learning and a passion for science. His family is a big part of the reason he seeks out challenges.“My parents came from Mexico when I was one-year-old,” he said. “My dad worked at a plant in Portland. He liked it and decided to stay. He started as an engineer and now he’s a supervising engineer.”Life in a new country was difficult for the Ramirez family. “My parents struggled with learning English. I picked up Spanish from home and English at school. My dad never had the opportunity to do much in higher education. He was educated through his work. When we came here, their goal was to give us a better life through education. Everything they do involves getting me and my sisters into college.”And so Isaac came to college; not out of high school, but rather as a high school junior. He’s a Sumner County Middle College High School student. His classes for the last two years have been at the Vol State campus in Gallatin. He will graduate in May with a Vol State associate’s degree and his high school diploma.“I’ve been able to find classes I never would have been able to take at high school. The one that stands out the most is microbiology. I absolutely love it.”His science classes at Vol State have been a launching pad for his dream to be a medical researcher.“I want to go into pharmaceutical research. My main goal is to do research into superbugs and bacteriophages. That’s a form of virus that infects bacteria. They’re trying to use that to provide a way to fight bacteria without raising the chance that it becomes resistant to treatment.”His next step is the University of Alabama at Huntsville, where he has received a full-tuition scholarship and a seat in the Honors College. He plans to pursue a dual degree in biology and chemistry. His Vol State classes have provided a jump start on his bachelor’s degree. “I should be able to finish in two and a half to three years.”His parents will be watching closely. “They’re checking-up on every single step. They’re super-excited for me to go out into the world and find a way to do what I love doing.”
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Brianna Hogan

3 weeks 6 days ago

Riding in a cop car can be a life changing experience. So it was for Criminal Justice major, Brianna Hogan. During her final year of high school, Brianna accompanied a police officer on a ride-along to see what the job was all about. Initially the ride-along was simply intended to check the proverbial box to fulfill her job-shadowing requirement for TN Promise. Little did she know it would become her future career path.

“He went on his daily rounds, he showed me everything he has to do, I think there was like two or three calls we went on. We did a couple of traffic stops, it was just, like, exciting. I was like, oh this is definitely what I think I wanna go into,” she said. “I want something that challenges me on a daily basis, so I thought that it would be a good field to go into because you don’t know what’s gonna happen in a day, it could quickly change.”

Her eventual goal is to join the FBI. After Vol State, she plans on pursuing a bachelor’s degree at Austin Peay State University. There she intends to double major in Criminal Justice and Foreign Language with an emphasis in either Spanish or Chinese, both of which she currently studies at Vol State.

“TBI [Tennessee Bureau of Investigation] has a position for foreign language translators, so I could pair the two that I want to do, that’s my goal right now … I guess I’d like to work my way up either to an ATF agent or a U.S. Marshal or something like that.”

Brianna has been a Vol State President’s Ambassador this year. She said she’s going to miss the familiarity of the college, but she’s excited to move on and continue her education.
-Rachel Keyes
Vol State

Gallatin Nursing Information Meeting April 30

4 weeks ago

Vol State is offering a new RN Nursing A.A.S. Degree program. It starts in June and the special application is available now. An information session will be held on Tuesday, April 30 at 5 p.m on the Gallatin campus in Caudill Hall Room 102. Everyone is invited to attend. There are general education classes required to be taken before application. The students most likely ready to apply for the summer start are current pre-nursing students. However, everyone is welcome to attend the meeting for information about the path towards the Nursing degree. To apply, and for more information about the program, visit www.volstate.edu/nursing.
Vol State

CHEC Earth Day Event on Saturday, April 27

1 month ago

The Second Annual CHEC Earth Day Celebration will feature educational exhibits, a Green Market, artists, live music, local food vendors, and learning activities for all ages. Students, faculty, and staff at the Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC) are organizing the free public event, which will be held on Saturday, April 27 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the campus in Cookeville. Earth Day has become an international event celebrated across the globe during the last week of April.“This year’s national theme is Protect Our Species,” said Vol State Biology instructor and event organizer Mark Green. “We have focused our event on endangered Upper Cumberland species, such as the Gray Bat (Myotis grisescens), Rock Gnome Lichen (Gymnoderma lineare), and the Cumberland Darter (Etheostoma susanae). As a community, we must become aware of our impact on the ecosystems that surround us.”CHEC is located at 1000 Neal Street. It is the site of classes for Volunteer State Community College, Tennessee Tech and TCAT Livingston, all of which are participating in the Earth Day event. For more information call 931-520-0551 or visit the CHEC Facebook page for information and updates: www.facebook.com/cookevillehighereducationcampus/
Vol State

Spring Showcase Concerts April 26 and 27

1 month ago
The annual Vol State Spring Music Showcase concerts are coming up this weekend: April 26 and 27. They will highlight the talents of the Jazz Ensemble, Rock Ensemble, and Bluegrass Ablaze group. A CD of student work will be available for sale at the show and at the Vol State Bookstore in Gallatin. It was recorded in the Vol State recording studios. The Spring Music Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium at Caudill Hall. It's free with Vol State ID. There is a suggested donation of $5 for admission and $10 for admission and a copy of the CD. The funds will be used for music scholarships.

Vol State

Events this Week at Vol State

1 month ago

April 23           Publication Celebration, Pioneer Pen, Number One and Best Student Essays, SRB 150, Noon-2pmApril 24           Spring Job Fair, many employers on site, Pickel Field House, 10am-2pmApril 24           Math and Science Student Poster Session, student projects on display, Ramer Great Hall, 1:30-3:30pmApril 24           AFA Spring Recital, SRB 152, 3pmApril 24           Understanding our Blindspots: Uncovering Unconscious Bias training, Cody Hall, CHEC Campus, 5pm-6:30pmApril 26           Vol State Spring Showcase, musical performance, Caudill Hall, 7:30pmApril 27           CHEC Earth Day Celebration: educational exhibits, a Green Market, artists, live music, local food vendors, and learning activities, CHEC Campus in Cookeville, 10am-5pmApril 27           Vol State Spring Showcase, musical performance, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Zachary Houtman

1 month ago

There was recently a milestone announcement in the science community: the first picture of a black hole. The achievement is more than just another news story for Zachary Houtman- it is inspiration. He is feeding his love of science by pursuing a career in engineering or physics.
“If I could see humanity expand from Earth in my lifetime that would be great to see,” he said.
And Zachary doesn’t want to be on the sidelines of space exploration- he intends to be part of the scientific process that takes humans to the far reaches of our solar system. To do that, the Middle College High School student will need a top-notch education. His acceptance and full-ride scholarship to Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) is just the latest step for him. RPI is one of the top science research universities in the nation.
“I spend a lot of my free time looking at topics like relativity,” he said. “I’d like to be a researcher at NASA. There’s one topic I’m really interested in right now called the Alcubierre Drive.” He’s speaking about an idea in theoretical physics that is based on the equations of Albert Einstein in general relativity. It speculates that humans could achieve faster-than-light travel by creating a spacecraft that could contract space in front of it and expand space behind it.
“You create a gravitational anomaly,” he said. The sparkle in his eyes when discussing the idea gives you just a hint of how much he enjoys science. He was able to explore more of math and science through the Sumner County Middle College High School program. He transferred from Portland High School after his junior year.
“The biggest thing with Middle College was the opportunities. I’ve taken nine math classes in my high school career. Being in an environment where everyone is motivated to do better is refreshing.”
Zachary will graduate with his high school diploma and an associate degree in May, a unique opportunity for students in Middle College. He plans an advanced education after completing his bachelor’s degree at RPI, perhaps even a PhD. He is already considering thesis topics.
“If I had to choose my thesis right now it would be relativity. The large scale of the universe is amazing.”
Vol State

Spring Career Fair April 24

1 month ago
The Spring Career Fair is coming up next Wednesday, April 24. Dozens of employers will be on site, so bring copies of your resume. There will be tables with hands-on career development information including soft skills and tips on dressing for success. It will be held in the Pickel Field House from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Everyone is invited.
Vol State

Get Ahead in College with Vol State Summer Classes

1 month ago
Summer classes are a way for students to get ahead in their college career. University students, home for the summer, can take general education courses at Vol State to meet university requirements. Current Vol State students can take classes to speed-up their path to graduation. New students can even start a college career with summer classes. They come in three different versions, designed to fit around family holidays and other summer events. The first option is an intensive three-week session class. There will be four of those sessions during the summer, with courses starting on May 20, June 10, July 1, and July 22. The start date for first six-week and twelve-week classes is also May 20. The second six-week term starts on July 1. Full summer term and first nine-week classes start on May 20. Second nine-week classes start on July 1. The shorter sessions are more intensive with classes held for a few hours each day. Summer classes are offered in-person, online, and in a wide variety of subject areas. They are held on the Vol State campuses in Gallatin, Springfield, Cookeville, and Livingston.One of the three-week courses being offered in Gallatin this summer, starting on May 20, is Essentials of Biology (1030). It’s a quick way for non-science majors to fill this requirement. However, like all of the three-week courses, it is intensive and requires complete commitment. New this summer will be Introduction to Early Childhood Education (ECED 1310) for education majors. It will be held in a six-week session.New and readmit students will need to apply to the college. That can be done online at www.volstate.edu/apply.
Vol State

Graduate Profile: Bobbijo Andrews

1 month ago

Bobbijo Andrews of Cookeville is a Gold Medalist in Extemporaneous Speaking and you may think that means she has the gift of gab, but that isn’t the case at all.“I was recruited for the SkillsUSA competition,” she said. “Public speaking is not my thing, but I’m getting better at it. It was very much out of my comfort zone to speak in public and compete, but I think I needed it to boost my confidence.”That’s a common theme for Andrews, who was home schooled and worked for 12 years before deciding to take the plunge into college.“I never gave myself enough credit. I was living paycheck to paycheck and I was tired of it. I’ve been eager to learn and participate. If you go into school with that outlook, you will do well.” She attended classes at the Vol State Livingston campus and the Cookeville Higher Education Campus (CHEC). “Both campuses are so welcoming. You’re like family.” She plans to major in Audiology and Speech Therapy at university in the fall.“I have worked with mentally disabled adults and they sometimes need speech therapy. They are such grateful individuals and the work is really important to their lives. That’s why my heart is in it.”While at Vol State, Andrews participated in the Sign Language Club, a new offering at CHEC, and also in the Green Team, responsible for environmental activities, such as CHEC Earth Day. She will also be speaking publicly again- participating in the national competition for SkillsUSA in June.Her next step after that will be Middle Tennessee State University and while she admits the size of the school is a bit scary, it’s clear that she is ready to overcome that as well. “I am a nervous wreck. I’m a small town girl. But I’m excited.”
Vol State

Events this Week at Vol State

1 month 1 week ago

April 15           Priority fall and summer class registration opens for new and readmit students, 8amApril 16           Be Interview Ready, job search tips, Rochelle Center-Thigpen Library, 1-2pmApril 16           English Major Reception, Rochelle Center of Thigpen Library, 10am-NoonApril 16           Awards and Reception, Student Art Show, Gallery, SRB First floor, 1pmApril 16           Let’s Talk About Consent, sexual assault awareness, Nichols Dining B, 2:20-4pmApril 16           I’ll Fly Away: The Music of Albert E. Brumley, Caudill Hall, 7pmApril 17           Spring Fling, fun and food, SRB Plaza, 11:30am-1:30pmApril 17           Stop Sexual Assault, info and pledge signing, SRB Plaza, 11:30am-1:30pmApril 19           College closed, all locations, Good Friday Holiday
Vol State

I'll Fly Away Gospel Concert April 16

1 month 1 week ago

Albert E. Brumley is considered one of the most prolific songwriters of all time, with more than 800 compositions and more than 3000 recordings of his songs. He is world-renown for the gospel classics “I’ll Fly Away” and “Turn Your Radio On.” Vol State will be holding a tribute concert to honor his work titled “I’ll Fly Away: The Music of Albert E. Brumley.” The show will highlight his songs as performed by Vol State’s Bluegrass Ablaze and other performers, with special guest Jackson Brumley, son of Albert Brumley. Jackson is known in Nashville for his representation of artists including Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Ricky Nelson, and Loretta Lynn.Albert E. Brumley songs have been recorded by artists including Aretha Franklin, Elvis Presley, Bob Dylan, Andy Griffith, The Boston Pops Orchestra, Dolly Parton, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, and Bill Gaither.  His work has been featured in several motion pictures and TV series, including “The Apostle” with Robert Duvall and “O Brother Where Art Thou.” Brumley is a member of the Nashville Songwriters International Hall of Fame and the Gospel Music Association (GMA) Hall of Fame.The concert will take place on Tuesday, April 16 at 7 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium in Caudill Hall. It is free and open to everyone. No tickets are required. For more information call 615-230-3201.
Vol State

Give Your Final Paper a Boost with Essay Review

1 month 1 week ago
Vol State has an online drop-off essay service on eLearn. All Vol State students have the Essay Review and Writing Support section on eLearn. Students can submit essays to the Dropbox for feedback from a tutor. There are several ways you can access it:
1.    There’s a link under the “Help” drop-down menu.2.    There’s an announcement and link on each course homepage within the academic resources widget.3.    There’s a “course” shell within the Spring 2019 term in each student’s “My Courses” widget.Tutors will respond to your essays within forty-eight hours with feedback on your writing.You can also get one-on-one assistance with papers and written assignments at the Learning Commons. There is a Learning Commons location on each Vol State campus. Details on locations here. 
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