Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Health Sciences Instructor Remembered

Mike Anderson receiving the Governor’s Outstanding First Responder Award from Asst. Commissioner of Safety, David Purkey. The award presentation came at the Sumner County Commission meeting with his daughter by his side. 
Health Sciences Center of Emphasis faculty member and alumnus Mike Anderson died last weekend at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. Mike was a 1989 Vol State EMT graduate. Recently, he returned to Vol State to work towards obtaining a Health Sciences AAS degree.

Mike was a familiar face at Meharry Medical College where he routinely coordinated American Heart Association classes for Vol State, including ACLS, PALS, and PHTLS courses for medical students. 

“Mike was one of our training center faculty, meaning that he advised us and helped to make sure instructors were kept up to date with their training,” said Terri Crutcher. “He’s really going to be missed.”

Mike served in several capacities, including Training Officer, with Sumner County EMS for over 20 years. In 2012, Mike was recognized as an Outstanding First Responder by Governor Bill Haslam's Office in conjunction with the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security. The picture was taken after that ceremony. 

Mike is survived by his wife, Kelly Anderson and his daughter, Casey Anderson. Sanderson Funeral Home of Carthage will be conducting visitation and the ceremony: Visitation: Tuesday (today) at 1:00 PM until 8:00 PM and Wednesday from 10:00 AM until service time at 1:00 PM.

The family has requested that any memorials be made to the Sumner County Heart Association.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Veterans and LGM Grads Get Jobs

George Wilson has these Logistics success stories to share:

Military Veterans Scott Little (Navy), Jeffrey Fullerton (Army) and Cory Wallace (Army & Navy) all graduated in May 2014 with the 16 credit hour, online Logistics & Supply Chain Management Technical Certificate from Vol State. During May and June, Scott, Jeff, and Cory all secured new, full-time jobs in logistics & supply chain management:
-Scott Little, Site Supervisor for Pro Advantage Supply Chain Services

             -Jeff Fullerton, Compliance Specialist for Vantec Worldwide Transport

-Cory Wallace, Import Specialist (recently promoted to Export Specialist)          for American Presidents Lines

Congratulations to Scott, Jeff, and Cory on their new jobs, and we thank them for their military service!

-George Wilson

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Vol State Alumni Band Video Goes Viral

It’s surprising what you can do with a voice, a guitar and a really interesting room. Members of the band Wabash have attended Vol State and now they’re garnering national attention for singing in a grain bin. It’s more than just a gimmick. The acoustics of the metal bin, combined with the soaring vocal of Brandon McDuffee and soulful blues guitar of current student Quinn Bible, make this a must see clip on You Tube. Many other sites have picked it up as well. Bible and McDuffee play by themselves in this particular clip. The rest of the band includes brothers Alex and Luke McDuffee, and James Alan on drums. Alan actually did the video taping of the grain bin performance.

“It was the perfect song for that setting,” Alan said. “It’s amazing what an idea on a whim can do.”

The reaction has been exciting. The clip has more than 44,000 views on You Tube from people all over the world.

“We’ve been getting views from Australia, Malaysia, Japan and Ireland,” said Quinn. “It’s just us doing our thing. Hopefully people will keep enjoying the music.”

“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” said McDuffee. “I didn’t think that was going to happen.”

The band cut material last year in the Vol State recording studio and just finished a new EP in the studio. Vol State student Nikki Lawrence mixed their first release and Vol State Director of Entertainment Media Industry Programs engineered the latest material himself. The band has just decided to officially release the grain bin performance, as well.

Thanks to the Entertainment Media Production and International Education programs, Wabash traded video-taped recordings of songs with British bands for an international TV show called “The Beat.” It’s produced by students at Exeter College in England.

Next up, is a gig at the well-known rock club The End in Nashville on July 31 and hopefully, they say, touring after that. We don’t know if any grain bins are being considered as venues.

Take a moment to listen to the performance (or click on play above) and if you enjoy it, consider visiting the band’s Facebook pageHere's a link to the latest EP.

Saying Goodbye to Jun

Vol State faculty and staff wished Chinese professor Jun Zhao bon voyage recently as the visiting scholar prepared to return home to China. Zhao has been teaching Chinese and participating in International Education events at Vol State over the last year.

“I’m looking forward to seeing my family,” she said. “But I can’t bear to part. I’ll miss it here. The staff and faculty members are very nice and friendly to me.”

Zhao will return to her teaching position at Beijing City University. She’s been doing research in cross-cultural communication, comparing three places: the United Kingdom, China and the United States.

“I came here to teach students Chinese,” said Zhao. “I think people learning a foreign language- you will have a different opinion of the people in the country you are studying.”

Professor Zhao taught at Vol State through a program with the Confucius Institute at MTSU. The Confucius Institute is an international Chinese project to share faculty with colleges and universities across the globe. Director of International Education, John Espey, is working to line-up a visiting Chinese scholar for next year, to continue the work Zhao has started, including Chinese language courses.

“Working at Vol State has helped me to know America and the American people objectively,” Zhao said. “I think American people are very open and generous.”

Vol State in the News

The Sleep Diagnostics program is settling into its new home in the Wallace Health Sciences Complex South. The Tennessean has this story.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Fire-Rescue Alumna and Her Assistant Police Chief Daughter

Kim Lawson is an alumna success story. She graduated with a Paramedic certificate in 1981 and then an associate of applied science degree from Vol State in 1994. Now, after 34 years with the Nashville Fire Department, retiring at the rank of Deputy Chief, Lawson has stepped back into the world of first responders as the new assistant chief of medical services for the Murfreesboro Fire and Rescue Department.

“I just can’t stop. I can’t help myself. I love it,” she said. “I’ve had a great career in Nashville. I frankly love the job and so when this opportunity in Murfreesboro came up I knew that was what I wanted to do. I spent most of my career in EMS, it’s my passion.”

Lawson says that part of the attraction for the new position was in developing a growing EMS division in Murfreesboro. “We’re stepping it up to a higher level for our firefighters to be able to do advanced medical techniques. We work hand-in-hand with Rutherford County EMS. But we need to look forward to the future.”

That future is coming up quickly in the booming Murfreesboro area. More people moving to the area means more medical calls.

Firefighting and Emergency Medical Services are a big part of the Lawson family. Which is why Kim’s daughter, Angie Lawson is a bit of a renegade.

“Her father is a firefighter. Her brother is a firefighter,” said Kim. “She comes from a fire department family. She’s still kind of in the area of public safety.”

Mom says the last bit with a smile. She’s clearly quite proud of her police officer daughter.  And therein lies another Vol State tie. Angie Lawson is the Assistant Chief of Police at the College.

“I did attempt to go into fire at one point,” said Angie. “My parents are the most supportive. Anything I want to do they support me 100 percent. Once I got more involved in policing, a lot of investigators said I had a knack for it.”

Angie did talk to her mom when considering the Vol State position. “I knew she had graduated from here,” Angie said. “It was a good move for me professionally. As always, I looked to my mom for advice.”

The long-time rivalry between police and firefighters notwithstanding, Angie sees plenty of similarities in public service. “I still think that’s the biggest thing for me about law enforcement. There’s so much community service we can do. We’re really pushing our community policing forward here at Vol State.”

While the firefighting tradition may have taken a slightly different turn for the family, the Vol State tradition certainly continues. Kim’s other daughter, Tara, is a current Vol State student. Angie is considering taking classes in the fall. And Mom wants to take EMS refresher courses at Vol State later this year.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Thanks for the Mace

Dr. Faulkner recently presented Franz Nuernberger, the designer of the new Vol State Mace and Tommy Tomkins, long-time College Foundation supporter and the person who put together a plan to replace the Vol State Mace, with plaques thanking them. And if you haven't noticed yet, there is a cool light effect that forms a perfect V over the Mace in shadow as it sits in its case in the Ramer Building Great Hall. It's completely unintentional, but sometimes interesting things in life happen by accident. This isn't a picture of the light effect in question. Go take a look at the Mace to see for yourself.

Photo by Jennifer Pitts

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

KEY Lifelong Learning Lecture Series at Vol State

Genealogy, art and books, are some of the subjects for the inaugural KEY Lifelong Learning Program at Volunteer State Community College starting in August. There are several lectures scheduled and each has multiple meeting days. The fee to enroll in one or all of the lectures in the series is $49. All of the lectures in the series start the week of August 4. Everyone is welcome to attend. The topics include:

“Beginning Genealogy- can you Trust the Internet?” 
“Why Does It Look the way It Does- Art in Context”
“Four Migrations to America”
“Author Talk- Judge Hamilton Gayden - Miscarriage of Justice”
“Author Talk-Allen Parks – Final Bid!”
“Author Talk- Judith Morgan – The Lost World of Langley Hall”
“Author Talk- Kenneth Thomson- Reverend Peter Vertrees”

KEY stands for “Keep Educating Yourself.” A kick-off session will be held on July 9 at 3 p.m. in the Wood Campus Center, Mary Cole Nichols Dining Room B on the Vol State Campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. Registration will be open at that time. People can also register by calling Vol State Continuing Education at 615-230-3358 or visiting in person at the 300 Building on the east side of the Vol State campus. For a complete list of lecture series dates and descriptions visit www.volstate.edu/lifelong

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Talents of Student Veterans

I had the pleasure of sitting down with a group of Vol State student veterans last week. The experience reminded me of the incredible talents that student veterans bring to the college...talents that may go unnoticed, unless you take the time to engage in a conversation about their service. I chatted with a nuclear power specialist from an attack sub, a helicopter mechanic and a recruiter. They have served in Iraq, Afghanistan and many points across the globe. It gives them a global perspective that most of us don't have, and that's a real asset to the college. Their reasons for coming to Vol State, and what they hope to do with their degrees, are also interesting.  We'll be telling their stories over the coming months. Today, we share with you the story of Laura Freeman.

After tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan with the 101st Airborne, you would figure that Laura Freeman of Nashville would be ready for anything. But arriving at college provided some anxiety for the Army mechanic.

“I was worried. I thought that everyone would be so much younger than me,” she said. “It was not as bad as I thought. Ken was a huge help. He made things a lot easier. Having been in the military himself, he had a good understanding.”

Ken Hanson is the Veteran Affairs coordinator at Vol State. He works with student veterans to help them through the VA benefits process and their college career.

Laura fractured her hip in Iraq. No matter how she tried, the ailment only got worse. She eventually had a medical retirement. Vol State offers a range of academic options for students, but many veterans know exactly what they want to do.

“I’m going to try to transfer to Cornell or Tufts,” Freeman said. “I’m going to eventually become a veterinarian.”

Those are two of the top veterinary programs in the nation. Laura knows from her Army career that learning is something she can do well.

“I was in the first graduating class of the Eagle Language Training Center. I speak Pashtun. It’s one of the dominant languages used in Eastern Afghanistan.”

Laura is taking biology, chemistry and many of the other pre-medical foundation courses that also apply to pre-veterinary students. She stresses that while college is different, there are some things similar to the military.

“It was comforting, actually, being back in the swing of things with a set schedule. It reminds me of being in the Army.”

Dr. Faulkner: Independence Day

As we approach the Independence Day celebration on the 4th, there is always a rise in patriotism, and rightly so.  At the church where Wanda and I are members, we celebrated and gave thanks for the providence of God to America.  As is our custom, we also honored those that have served in the military.  During a musical performance in which the theme song of each branch of service was sung, the flags of the five branches were presented.  Those in attendance that had served were invited to stand during the presentation of their respective flags.  I was particularly moved as an elderly gentleman, leaning on his cane, saluted the flag of the Air Force. I was reminded of the saying, “All gave some, some gave all,” and I thought of those that were not present because they had given their lives in service to their country.

The news is all abuzz over the actions of actress Amy Adams.  On a flight from Detroit to Los Angeles she gave her first class seat to a serviceman in uniform.  Good for her!  We can all be mindful of showing our gratitude to those who serve.  At graduation this year, it was moving to recognize those graduates that are active military or veterans and they received a well deserved applause.  I am proud that Vol State is a Military Friendly Institution.

I’m also reminded of the role the college plays in maintaining freedom.  Thomas Jefferson in a letter to James Madison said, “"And say, finally, whether peace is best preserved by giving energy to the government or information to the people. This last is the most certain and the most legitimate engine of government. Educate and inform the whole mass of the people. Enable them to see that it is their interest to preserve peace and order, and they will preserve them. . . .  They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty."  An educated electorate is the only guarantee for liberty.  And so we have the responsibility to educate and inform so that as citizens of America, our students can make wise decisions.

Happy Fourth of July!