Monday, July 2, 2018

Vol State and Opioid Awareness

The Vol State AmeriCorps VISTA workers, Crystal Sloss, Anedra Moore, and Jason Ditzler, recently attended a Narcan Training Workshop. They learned to:

● Understand the administration of naloxone products, including “Good Samaritan” protection law
● Recognize the signs of an opioid overdose and identify its causes and risks
● Describe what NOT to do during an opioid overdose
● Follow the correct steps when encountering an opioid overdose

The VISTA’S will be teaming up with Tiffany Zwart, from the Office of Student Engagement and Support, in creating an ongoing Vol State campaign to address student opioid awareness and prevention. 

In order to maintain a drug-free campus, Volunteer State Community College networks with the Sumner County Anti-Drug Coalition (SCADC) in conjunction with the Coalition for Healthy and Safe Campus Communities (CHASCo), and the Tennessee Highway Safety Office Booze It or Lose It Program.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Vol State in the News

Vol State Cookeville EMT instructor, Greta Parsley Stone, has received the State of Tennessee American Legion Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) award of the year 2017-2018. The Canon Courier has the details. Congrats to Greta!

The Tennessee Board of Regents approved a 2.7 percent hike in tuition for the coming year and money for a new Vol State campus in Mt. Juliet. A Clarksville website has the TBR news release.

The Tennessean ran our news release about a new transfer agreement with Welch College.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Phillip Hearn Doctorate

Dr. Phillip Hearn graduated last December from Union University with a Doctor of Education in Higher Education/ Education Leadership. The title of his dissertation was "Examining the Difference in Student Achievement Between Face-to-Face and Online Computer Classes."

‘My research included a population of over 5000 students who took INFS 1010 Computer Applications class at Vol State between 2012 and 2016,” Hearn said. “The results of this research showed that there was no statistically significant difference in the Gail Score (Pretest vs Posttest) for Face-to-Face and Online for the sample population as a whole, nor for Male vs. Female, or Traditional vs. Non-traditional students. As there is much ongoing debate today about the superiority of these competitive formats, this research speaks favorably for equivalency of student achievement and effectiveness of faculty delivery in this course for both presentation methods.”

Congrats to Dr. Hearn!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Running on the Great Wall of China

Many people at Vol State enjoy taking part in runs and races around Middle Tennessee. Sumner County Middle College High School co-principal, Brad Schreiner, recently took that to a whole new level. She traveled to China to participate in a marathon on the Great Wall.

“This was definitely a ‘bucket list’ race as far as marathons are concerned. What made it challenging (it is listed as the fifth hardest marathon in the world) is the number of steps. This  26.2 mile course has 5,164 steps. You run two miles uphill to get to wall, then run about half of those steps. The middle portion of the race took us through three rural Chinese villages. Children brought us flowers as we ran along their farms and gardens. Near the end of the race, we got back on the wall for another 2500 steps and finished in Yin & Yang stadium in Huanguaguan, which is about an hour outside of Beijing.  After the marathon, my husband and I spent two weeks touring other cities in China, including  Xi’an, where the terracotta warriors are on exhibit. We ended our trip in Hong Kong.”

Monday, June 18, 2018

Tennis Court Make-Over

The Vol State tennis courts have undergone a make-over. They’re resurfaced and ready for action. There are even new nets. Trees overhanging the courts had made upkeep tough. Those were removed last year, allowing for the renovation work to remain fresh. Athletic director Bobby Hudson says there is plenty of interest in tennis at Vol State and in the community.

“Now we’ll be able to offer more tennis classes in the PE department,” Hudson said. “I always have high schools that want to use it, but it’s been in such bad shape. We’ll be working with the community on events now.”

Student Engagement is considering offering tennis intramurals for students. Hudson adds that if faculty and staff are up for it he could organize league play. Interested people should email

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

James Brown Promoted to Dean of Social Science and Education

James Brown has been promoted to the position of dean of the Social Science and Education Division at Vol State. For the last ten years he had been an assistant professor of Criminal Justice here. Brown retired from the Los Angeles Police Department in 2006 after thirty-three years as an officer and detective. He spent much of that time as an investigator in the Juvenile Division, retiring as Officer-In-Charge of the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit and the Sexually Exploited Child Unit. Brown said he plans to start his new position by listening.

“I’m going to get input from the faculty about where they would like the Division to go,” Brown said. “There are many different programs in the Division and that means many challenges and many ideas.”

Brown earned an A.A. degree in Police Science from Pasadena City College in 1971, and a B.S. Degree in Police Science from California State University, Los Angeles in 1972. In 1988 he graduated from the Delinquency Control Institute at the University of Southern California. He earned a M.A. in Negotiation and Conflict Management from California State University, Dominguez Hills, and a J.D. from the Ventura College of Law in 2001.

Alicia Gillespie Returns to Vol State as Director of Accounting

Alicia Gillespie of Gallatin is returning to Vol State to take on the role of director of Accounting. Gillespie was most recently assistant director of Financial Accounting and Budgets for the Tennessee Board of Regents in Nashville. She worked at Vol State previously as an account clerk and College Bursar. She is also a Vol State alumnus, graduating in 2000 with an Associate of Science Degree in Business and Accounting. Gillespie earned a Bachelor of Business Administration Degree in Accounting from Middle Tennessee State University in 2002, and a Master of Business Administration Degree from Tennessee Tech University in 2005.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Vol State Athletic Association Golf Classic August 6

Golfers can tee-up to support athletics at Vol State on Monday, August 6. Individuals and teams can compete for prizes and bragging rights at the twelfth annual Business Credit Reports Athletic Association Golf Classic, benefiting the Volunteer State Athletic Association. Registration is open now. Highlights of the event are the Volunteer State Bank Paul Warren Memorial Corporate Cup Challenge and the Business Credit Reports Four Man Scramble. The tournament will be held at Fairvue Plantation in Gallatin. Registration and warm-up begin at 10:30 a.m., followed by a light lunch and a noon shotgun start.

The Golf Classic raises money for athletic equipment and support. Businesses and individuals are encouraged to enter teams for the event. The cost for individuals is $150 and $600 per team. There will be prizes for men and women’s par 3, long drive and closest to the pin. All tickets this year will include a putting contest, mulligan, chipping contest and other fun events. The event will culminate that evening with an awards dinner.

A full range of sponsorship opportunities for the tournament are available. To register a team or for more information, call the Volunteer State College Foundation at 615-230-3526 or email

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean has our news release about new programs coming this fall.

The appointment of a new dean of Social Science and Education spurred this news release in the Tennessean.

A Brentwood website picked up the story of our new fall offerings, including Professional Music.

Our graduation news release focus was adult students, as printed in the Robertson edition of the Tennessean.

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Samuel Said Doctorate

Samuel Said from Business and Technology received his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Union University this spring. His dissertation title was: "Pedagogical Best Practices in Higher Education National Centers of Academic Excellence / Cyber Defense Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense." Congrats Samuel!

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Carol Bazenet Master's Degree

Carol Bazenet in Student Services received a Master’s Degree in Organizational Leadership from Trevecca Nazarene University this spring. Her program focus was “Integrating career competency skills through the utilization of High Impact Practices (HIP) early on in a student’s career at Volunteer State Community College.” Her goal is to develop a campus-wide appreciation among students as to the benefit of career readiness at the community college level through direct and indirect engagement by faculty and staff. Congrats Carol!

Elvis Brandon Doctorate

Elvis Brandon received his Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership from Union University in December. His dissertation title is “The Effectiveness of a Cohort Model as a Predictor of Grade Point Average and Graduation Status of Pre-Health Sciences Students in a Public Community College.” Congrats to Elvis!

Bryant Owens Doctorate

Adjunct Philosophy instructor Bryant Owens received his Humanities/Philosophy doctorate from Faulkner University this spring. The title of the dissertation is "The Role of Caritas in the Hermeneutic of Saint Augustine and its Impact on Philosophical and Theological Hermeneutics." Congratulations Bryant!

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Vol State in the News

The focus is adult students for the Vol State graduation news release, appearing here in the Tennessean.

An endangered salamander lives close to Vol State, but you can only see them at a certain time of year. The Tennessean has the story.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Introducing Dr. McKee

Anne Marie McKee with International Education has successfully defended her doctoral dissertation earning her a Doctor of Education degree from Union University. Dr. McKee conducted  her dissertation research in the area of Study Abroad by completing a longitudinal case study examining a cohort of Career and Technical Education students and faculty. Congratulations Dr. McKee!

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Congrats to Dr. Rhonda Gregory

Rhonda Gregory is now officially Dr. Rhonda Gregory, having successfully defended her dissertation titled “Influence of Quality Matters™ Professional Development on Faculty Members’ Perceptions of Design Standards and their Course Development Abilities.” Vol State currently uses the Quality Matters Higher Education Rubric for the quality assurance of online and hybrid courses. Rhonda is the director of Distributed Education at Vol State.

The Ed.D. in Instruction & Curriculum Leadership is from the University of Memphis.  

Friday, April 27, 2018

Vol State in the News

The Tennessean had a lovely story about the new Parris Powers arboretum...and the impact a professor can have on students. It's something that happens every day at Vol State. It's nice when it gets highlighted.

The Tennessean ran our news release about the Pioneer Pen winning a national honor.

The Tennessean and Channel 5 came out to cover the memorial for Vol State student Lexus Williams, who was killed in a reported domestic incident earlier this month.

The CHEC Earth Day event attracted some attention with articles in the Overton County News and the Cookeville Herald Citizen.

Channel 4 came out to the Gallatin campus for a weather warning story. They reported on our upgraded emergency warning systems, including the police speaker system inside and outside on campus and our texting system.

Campus Police were lauded for their safety efforts and the Tennessean had the story.

Tennessee Reconnect has been a big promotional inititiative for the college. Here is a story in the Tennessean.

The Overton County News  interviewed Greg Burgess, a Vol State Cyber Security instructor, for a feature story on the Cyber Security program in Livingston. 

Monday, April 23, 2018

A Police Officer with his Hands in Clay

Student artists can be known for their stylish outfits, but seldom do they dress in an all-navy uniform and carry a gun. Thus there was a bit of a surprise on this reporter’s part when Campus Police Sergeant Philip Woodard stepped forward at a recent student art awards ceremony to receive his certificate for Best Ceramic Set. His beautiful cobalt blue and brown coffee mugs and bowl would be at home in any craft art show in Nashville. It’s the product of his independent study class in ceramics with instructor Patrick Green.

“I’ve always liked to build and make stuff,” Woodard said. “My grandmother painted, so I come from people with some artistic ability. When I started working here I saw the pottery studio and I thought it would be really neat to take a class.”

Woodard has been working on a degree in history at Vol State. Now he is considering switching to fine arts. “I think it’s a great way to relieve stress.”

He thanks the Art Department faculty members for helping him to develop his skills. But don’t think for a moment that the recognition has gone to his head. He told me that his big goal is to take that ceramic bowl home and eat ice cream out of it.

Sergeant Woodard’s pottery, and many other fine student art works, are on display in the Vol State Gallery on the first floor of SRB. It’s well worth a visit.

Graduate Profiles on the Virtual Community Blog

Each year we highlight a couple of upcoming graduates. You can find the stories for this semester on the Vol State Virtual Community Blog.

Reminder: Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum Event Friday

The Vol State Gallatin campus is now home to a certified Arboretum: a collection of trees that have been identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified the campus as a Level II Arboretum. It will be named for former Vol State Chemistry Professor Parris Powers. A grand opening for the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum will be held on Friday, April 27 at 2 p.m. on the Duffer Plaza.  Everyone is invited.

The designation is largely the work of Vol State alumnus Cynthia Hernandez and Vol State faculty members. Part of the effort involved identifying and marking 62 species of trees on the campus. They worked with Parris Powers on the project and it will stand as a lasting symbol of his commitment to environmental science at Vol State. The college will be producing a map of the tree locations and visitors are welcome to campus to view them.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Fond Farewell for Dr. Torrence

Dr. Michael Torrence is headed soon to Motlow State Community College to take on the position of President. Today, faculty and staff here at Vol State gathered to wish him well.

Vol State Student Among Tops in Mircosoft Word

Vol State graduate Jordyn Houghton recently discovered she ranked fourth in the state of TN on the Microsoft Office Specialist (M.O.S.) exam in Word. You could be next by taking advantage of the many free testing opportunities available to students, faculty, and staff at Vol State. The International Data Corporation says that Microsoft Office skills rank third as the top skills employers are looking for. Obtaining a Microsoft Office Specialist certification is way to give you a professional edge, potentially boosting annual salary by as much as $16,000, according to

“I knew I passed, but I had no idea that I had done that well. I didn’t even know this test was an option until it was given to me as the final exam for a computer class I was taking,” said Jordyn. “I had a lot of experience with Word, so the classes were kind of like a review for me. If I learned something new, it was easy to retain that information because of my experience with the program. Students need to know that this is an option. It’s free and it’s something great to add onto your resume. Excel is another one that students should look into because it’s a big part of any business."

“We only had a handful of students that tested with us at Vol State, so for one of those students to be number four in the entire state for her age bracket is pretty awesome,” said Lisa Borre, assistant director of Advising and Testing. “A lot of people in job interviews will say that they’re proficient in Microsoft Office, and that’s pretty subjective. But to say that you are Microsoft certified, that’s taking it to another level - its confirmation from Microsoft. If you don’t get the score you need, nothing gets recorded, so there’s really nothing to lose…We’re trying to get the word out because it’s an awesome benefit that a lot of people aren’t aware of. When you’re a student and you’ve graduated, you’ll not only have your degree in your subject matter, you can also have an added benefit of receiving Microsoft certification. I would also highly recommend Imagine Academy,” said Borre.

Microsoft’s Imagine Academy provides free curricula and resources on Microsoft products for students and educators; it can be used to prepare for the exams. The exam can then be scheduled through Vol State’s website. The Testing Center offers many other free tests for students, faculty, and staff, such as career and personality assessments, CLEP, and much more. For more information on testing at Vol State, swing by the testing center in room 126 of the Warf building, or check out their website at

Photos - Top Left: Jordyn Houghton
             Bottom Right: Lisa Borre

-By Rachel Keyes

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Retirement Celebration

It's that time of the year again...when we send off the latest group of college retirees. There were fond wishes and some funny stories at this year's event. We wish everyone the best.

Monday, April 9, 2018

Gallatin Campus Celebrates Arboretum Designation April 27

This Japanese Maple is one of the Arboretum trees
The Vol State Gallatin campus is now home to a certified Arboretum: a collection of trees that have been identified and listed for nature exploration and scientific study. The Tennessee Urban Forestry Council has certified the campus as a Level II Arboretum. It will be named for former Vol State Chemistry Professor Parris Powers. A grand opening for the Parris Powers Memorial Arboretum will be held on Friday, April 27 at 2 p.m. on the Duffer Plaza. Everyone is invited.

The designation is largely the work of Vol State alumnus Cynthia Hernandez and Vol State faculty members. Part of the effort involved identifying and marking 62 species of trees on the campus. They worked with Parris Powers on the project and it will stand as a lasting symbol of his commitment to environmental science at Vol State. The college will be producing a map of the tree locations and visitors are welcome to campus to view them.

Dr. Faulkner: Mistakes

“The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”  John Powell
“All men make mistakes, but only wise men learn from their mistakes.”  Winston Churchill

“I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work.” Thomas Edison

Often we view those that are successful as always being perfect and never having made a mistake.  Even wildly successful persons and enterprises have mistakes in their history.  Look at the uber-successful company Pixar.  We are all familiar with their top grossing films like the now 20 year old Toy Story or Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, and Cars.  What we have not been aware of are the stops and starts that led to those blockbusters.

Pixar has just taken the unprecedented step of releasing a video of their failures.  You can find their Scrapped Ideas video on YouTube

Why would any company, let alone the premier animation studio in America, release a video about their failures?  Perhaps they are reminding us that the creative process is often a messy one.  Perhaps they are reminding us of the truth from the quotes above.  Mistakes will be made but we must learn from and build upon our mistakes.

That can only happen in a culture that gives people permission to explore and make mistakes.  A culture that punishes creative mistakes causes people to hide their failures, not to learn from them.

From the Harvard Business Review  we learn that Pixar operates on three principles: 

1. Everyone must have the freedom to communicate with anyone.
2. It must be safe for everyone to offer ideas.
3. We must stay close to innovations happening in the academic community.

Where could we as a Vol State community go if we embraced these principals and applied them across our campuses?  What if we felt safe being creative and taking risks?  What if we learned from our mistakes?

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Education Students and Read Across America

Education students, led by Penny Duncan, had a big project this spring. They collected more than 250 children’s books and distributed them to a local Head Start location for “Read Across America” day. The students also toured the Head Start and read to a small group of students in each classroom to celebrate this national event that promotes early childhood literacy.

Respiratory Care Service Learning

Great Service Learning projects are happening this semester. Here is one for Health Sciences:

The Respiratory Care Program participated in the Fight for Air Climb through the American Lung Association. This event took place on Saturday, February 17, 2018 at the Fifth Third Bank Center in downtown Nashville. This building has 29 flights of stairs the climbers have to climb. This is a timed event. The students all volunteered in a variety of capacities from working the registration table, providing hydration and nutrients to the climbers, and being the climbers biggest cheerleaders all the way to the finish line. One of the top climbers suffers from a severe lung disease and he participates every year to bring awareness to lung health. The fastest climb time was 4:00 minutes by a firefighter with all of his gear.

-Mallory Higginbotham, Respiratory Care

Strengthening Ties with the Netherlands

ROC Midden students are shown here with their president, Paul van Maanen, as he signs a memorandum of understanding between ROC Midden and Vol State. ROC Midden is located in Utrecht, Netherlands.

This exchange is an on-going project that began in  2008 when Vol State hosted its first delegation of education representatives from the Netherlands. Thus far, Vol State has sent 23 faculty and administrators to visit and observe the higher education system in the Netherlands. This June, six Vol State students will be participating in this college exchange.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Presidential Announcements: Congrats to a Current and Former Vol State Employee

Two educators with Vol State ties will take on presidential roles in the Tennessee community college system soon.

The first is our very own Dr. Michael Torrence, assistant vice president for Academic Affairs. He has been named president of Motlow State Community College.

“I am overwhelmed and appreciative of the opportunity to stand up Motlow and connect in ways that perhaps we haven’t done yet but we will. I want support for student success and completion and workforce development. That ties directly into the governor’s initiatives – the Drive to 55, Tennessee Reconnect and Tennessee Promise. We understand the importance of making sure that we collaborate and have programs that are designed in ways that meets the needs of the community. I look forward to making that happen and to success for our students and our communities.”

"My roles here at Vol State prepared me for the the Presidency at Motlow through the trust developed between Dr. Jerry Faulkner, Dr. George Pimentel, and myself. They invested in my skill set and provided a broad landscape for me to assist in the success of Vol State. Their openness to our areas of focus in Dual Enrollment, Student Success, Learning Commons, Distributed Education and the further development of the Upper Cumberland centers at Livingston and Cookeville greatly prepares me. I would be remiss if I did not mention the importance of every single person at Vol State that I have worked with directly and indirectly, they too have prepared me in ways that are immeasurable. I am thankful and humbled by it all." 

Dr. Torrence will start at Motlow on May 1.

A former Vol State employee has been appointed president of Nashville State Community College. Dr. Shanna Jackson was executive assistant to the president here at Vol State and spent a number of years coordinating Off-Campus activities. She is currently associate vice president and chief operating officer of the Columbia State Community College Williamson County Campus. 

“[While] teaching and meeting students, who had barriers outside of the classroom that were preventing them from being successful – and wanting to really make a difference in their lives and to contribute in a significant way, [higher education became a path],” Jackson said. “And when I started my community college journey at Volunteer State Community College, it really was one of those life-changing moments where you realize the power that community colleges have to transform lives.”

The new Nashville State president may change relationships with neighboring community colleges.

“Our industries and our students don’t care about service-area lines, so we will be partners together to serve this great state and our students and really make a difference. I am grateful and excited about the future, not just for Nashville State but for Middle Tennessee and our state.”

Dr. Jackson will begin her new position on June 1.

Join the New Civitan Club at Vol State

There is a new club forming on the Vol State campus and this time it's aimed at Vol State faculty and staff members, as well as anyone from the community. Kevin Cook is one of the organizers:

"Many faculty members have been looking for convenient opportunities to meet promotion and tenure community services requirements. Please come to our next meeting held in Betty Gibson Hall, every Thursday at Noon until the end of April."

For information contact Kevin Cook, or Alison Muncy, Development Officer, Office of the Vice President for Resource Development and Executive Director of the College Foundation, 615-230-3526

More information about Civitan

Monday, March 12, 2018

Vol State Student 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.

-By Rachel Keyes

I Ain’t Doin It- Social Media Sensation at Educate a Woman

Heather Land, known as the “I Ain’t Doin It” sensation from social media, will be the featured presentation at the Educate a Woman luncheon on April 13. The event raises money for scholarships for women at Volunteer State Community College. Tickets are not required, but there is a suggested minimum donation of $50 requested at the event. This year Educate a Woman will be held at the First Baptist Church of Hendersonville at 106 Bluegrass Commons Blvd. Registration starts at 11 a.m. and the lunch and program at 11:30 a.m. The Summa Cum Laude sponsor for Educate a Woman 2018 is Sumner Regional Medical Center – Highpoint Health Systems. The Magna Cum Laude sponsor is First Tennessee Bank. To register email or call 615-230-3506.

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

Monday, February 26, 2018

Family Tragedy Leads to a Career Change for Vol State Grad

It’s typical for college students to change their major once or twice, but for one student, her reason was tragic and deeply emotional. Ashley Pearson received her Vol State degree in Criminal Justice. Ashley previously attended Motlow State Community College for Nursing. “I was going through a divorce. I was looking at Vol State, because I didn’t like Motlow. I ended up having some health problems that kept me out of school for about a year. Right as those things were going on, my brother was murdered.”
Christopher Reese was shot to death while working at a convenience store in Notus, Idaho. “I fell to the floor when I got the call, my mother was screaming on the other end, and when I saw her, it really hit me, it was like flashback, because I had experienced the loss of a child, except I didn’t have mine for twenty-five years like she did. My mother couldn’t function. When you go through something like that, you just can’t think straight. I remember her sitting in her chair, she had cried so much there were no tears left.”

Ashley poured herself into her brother’s unsolved case, researching any type of information she could find and maintaining a close relationship with the detectives. The case was tough because the killers were disguised. They came into the store completely covered, wearing masks. “I knew I had to step up to make sure everything was in place. I just started making phone calls and going over the photos of the men who killed him. It’s like you’re in shock, but you’re still going, you just have to push through it. I did the best I could to try to take care of everything so my mom wouldn’t have to.”

The detectives began noticing how diligently Ashley conducted her research. In fact, one investigator mentioned to her that she would make an excellent detective. “I kind of laughed it off. But then I found myself on Vol State’s website looking at the Criminal Justice program. I thought, this might be something I’d really want to do, and I signed up for the program. I fell in love with the school and my classes. I worked as hard as I possibly could to graduate, not just for myself and my kids, but for him. The doors opened up, I had prayed a lot about it, and everything fell into place. I feel like this is where I needed to be.”

Christopher’s case is still unresolved. “We do these interviews for him, to keep him out there, to let people know that he was somebody’s son, brother, and father. We plead with the public to tell us information, and we pray for closure every day.” Her family continues to search for answers. Ashley intends to pursue a career in criminal psychoanalysis, counseling, or a similar field. Meanwhile, she plans to continue her Criminal Justice studies at Western Kentucky University.

-Rachel Keyes, PR Student Social Media Writer

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Relay for Life Meeting March 5

Relay For Life will be hosting a kick-of organizational meeting on March at 6pm in the Vol State Caudill auditorium. Relay for Life will be held again on the Vol State campus in September and they could use your help. Here's the info:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Remind Students to Apply for Foundation Scholarships

We need your help getting the word out: it’s time for students to apply for Vol State College Foundation scholarships for the 2018-2019 academic year.  These are private donor scholarships that can provide students with extra money for books and materials, even if they will be using TNPromise or TNReconnect. There are also tuition scholarships for students who don’t qualify for those programs.

For scholarship consideration students need to
1) Complete the online application:  
2) Complete the FAFSA  for the 2018-2019 Academic Year.

The Foundation will begin awarding private scholarships in April.  Please contact our office if you have any questions. 615-230-3506.