Friday, January 21, 2022

Carter Vrabel Gets Ready for Pioneers Baseball Spring Play

The Vol State Pioneers Baseball Team is scheduled to start the spring season on February 11 and despite the chilly weather the players have been hard at work in practice. A new player, who started this fall, may have a familiar name. Carter Vrabel is the son of Tennessee Titans Football Head Coach, Mike Vrabel. Carter is a transfer from Wabash Valley College in Illinois.

"It just wasn't my spot, Carter said. "I love it here at Vol State, school especially. I like the chemistry we have with the team. I like the teachers, it's more hands-on and in-person here."

Carter pitches and plays third base, but he's rehabbing right now from an elbow injury. "I'll be ready for the start of the season. I just want to get out there and play."

Vol State Baseball Head Coach Jim McGuire recruited Carter to the Vol State squad. He heard that he was available from Mike Keith, the play-by-play commentator for Titans radio. "He just kept telling me. I've got this player for you."

Having a famous sports dad can certainly have advantages. But one cost is how busy dad is during the NFL season. "During the season it's hard. When I was young, I would go to bed before he got home." But Coach Vrabel does make time to see his kids play. He attended several baseball games at Vol State during the fall scrimmage season. And, of course, Carter will be at the Divisional Playoff game Saturday, cheering on the Titans. "It's extra crazy this year, but I'm used to it."

Coach McGuire began his Vol State career just last fall. "It was a transition. I was getting to know them and them know me. I think we have good depth. We're just going to have to have guys stepping up in certain roles. If everything lines up, I think we have a chance to make some noise and have a good season."

Carter is likely to be pitching as a reliever or closer this spring. The coach says his curve ball gives him depth in that role. Carter said his speed is about 89 or 90 mph when he is doing well. Everyone is ready for warmer weather, but for Carter that comes with the call of the diamond. "I'm looking forward to getting back out there with the guys," he said.

We'll have previews of Vol State Baseball and Softball coming up soon on the Vol State Chat radio show on WVCP-FM. And a reminder that the Basketball season is in full-swing. Games for all Vol State sports are free to everyone. Look for the schedules at

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Celebrate MLK With "The Other America"

Today, January 18 at 12:30pm:

The 2022 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Commemoration
Documentary: The Other America (Lunch refreshments served)
Nichols Dining Room, Wood Campus Center or join the Zoom Meeting:
In 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. gave a speech at Stanford University. This speech was entitled The Other America. This speech served to deconstruct the notion of a suddenly fair and equitable America. It laid bare the still persistent inequity and systemic racism. Moreover, it highlights the carefully selected "other" in America who languish at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder while simultaneously assuring the elite and entitled their place at the top. King interrogates the systems that exist to promote one group over all others. Clearly, King draws a historical line between the issues of 1967 in America with the present-day uprisings of groups previously unchallenged in power as no more than a myth slowly slipping from their once tight grip. Please join us on campus or via Zoom.
Date: Today, January 18, 2022
Time: 12:30 PM – 2:00 PM
Nichols Dining Room
Wood Campus Center

University of Florida now an OSHA OTIEC site at Volunteer State Community College

The University of Florida’s Office of Professional and Workforce Development (OPWD) is proud to be selected as a Host Training Organization (HTO) for OSHA courses offered by the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Center at Volunteer State Community College (VSCC.). The goal of OSHA courses is to reduce workplace fatalities and injuries by teaching the application of OSHA standards in hazard recognition and prevention. 

The OTI Education Centers are a national network of non-profit organizations authorized by OSHA to deliver occupational safety and health training to public and private sector workers, supervisors, and employers on behalf of OSHA.  OSHA encourages all OTI Education Centers to establish host sites to provide additional training opportunities within their respective OSHA Region.  Learn more about the OTI Education center at VSCC as

OPWD previously created the Safety and Health Management for Leadership courses under the department of Training Research and Education for Environmental Occupations (UF TREEO).  This series of courses aims to help employers and workers comply with the Occupational Safety and Health Act.

“The agreement between our two institutions allows us to support OSHA’s mission to ensure safe and healthful working conditions for workers through education and training,” says Andrew Campbell, Director of the University of Florida’s Office of Professional and Workforce Development. 

The schedule of courses will be announced in the coming weeks.  For continuing developments visit

Monday, January 10, 2022

Have you seen the purple puzzle pieces around campus?

Read&Write Gold, identified by a purple puzzle icon, is a literacy support software tool for students that offers help with everyday tasks like reading text out loud, understanding unfamiliar words, researching assignments and proofreading written work.  It’s installed on most of the student computers on all four VSCC campuses and is available to all students!

Read&Write Gold is designed to help students become independent learners by using voice notes, vocab tools, Audio Maker and more.  Reading comprehension skills improve when using Read&Write Gold.  Digital resources provide definition resources, activities, study guides and MP3 versions of current resources.

When you click on the purple puzzle icon on the task bar, the Read&Write Gold tool bar opens at the top of the screen.  This tool bar contains Check It (proofreading), Word Prediction, Dictionary, Picture Dictionary, Text-To-Speech, Screenshot Reader, Scanning, Audio Maker, Screen Masking, Talk&Type, Translator (into multiple languages), PDF Reader, Highlights & Erase, Collect Highlights, Vocabulary List, Voice Note, and Help.

Read&Write Gold helps students understand, engage and express themselves better.  If you missed out on using Read&Write Gold this semester, Spring Semester 2022 is right around the corner. Check it out!

-Marye Minor

Vol State in the News

Vol State Basketball meets gospel music? Check out this great story in the College Basketball Times about Pioneer player Isaiah Perry.

Channel 4 highlighted our Respiratory Care program last week as part of a jobs series for the new year.

Monday, December 13, 2021

Fall Graduation 2021

Students, family, and well-wishers gathered at the Pickel Field House on Saturday to celebrate  fall commencement, which included summer and fall graduates. Vol State president, Orinthia Montague, presided over the ceremony, her first commencement at the college. “This marks my 100th day in office and this is a wonderful way to celebrate,” said Montague.

Our very own, Donnie Goodrum from Plant Operations, celebrated earning his associate of science degree.

Margie Riggs of Portland was named Outstanding Fall Graduate. The mother of six works as a Registered Nurse at Sumner Regional Medical Center after graduating earlier this year from the Vol State RN Nursing program. It’s a demanding academic program and COVID made things even more difficult.

“It was trying,” she said. “We had to learn a lot, but it was very difficult with COVID for things like student study groups.” That’s because many classes were held online and COVID protocols were always a consideration. But Riggs handled the adversity and kept an eye out for her classmates. “I helped other nursing students. If I saw someone struggling, I would ask if they wanted to get on Zoom to study. I think it’s the Mom in me. I want to see everyone have success.”

Meredith Rabe of Mt. Juliet used the TN Reconnect program to earn her college degree tuition-free. “I wanted to go back to school, but I didn’t want to go into debt.” College is a big jump when it happens later in life. “I was terrified. I am the oldest in my classes. I didn’t know if I could handle the workload and parent my kids. But there was also the exhilaration that I am actually doing something for myself.”

Ethiopine Choping of Nashville has had quite the journey to the graduation stage at Vol State. “I came to America in 1996 with my family who were South Sudanese refugees,” she said. “I grew up in Alaska and moved to Tennessee three years ago.” Choping is the first woman in her family to graduate from college. She hasn’t seen her grandmother since 1996. But she knows she will be watching the Vol State ceremony on the Internet. “They’re very proud that I’m the first person in my family with higher education,” she said. “I’ve grown up knowing that access to education is a privilege. Some people don’t have that.”

English faculty member, Deb Moore, gave the commencement address. “Grab every opportunity to be of service to others. I mean, grab it like a winning lottery ticket in your hand.”

There are 866 prospective graduates from summer and fall semesters. They represent 20 different countries of birth. Twenty of the prospective graduates are military veterans. There are 329 TN Promise students expecting to graduate and 269 TN Reconnect adult students. For more pictures from graduation visit

Business and Finance Party

The Business and Finance Division held their annual Christmas Open House on the Gallatin campus last week. Food comes from many people in the Division. It's always a highlight of the Holiday Season at Vol State.

Monday, December 6, 2021

Vol State Christmas Parade Appearances

Admissions, PR, Plant Ops and student groups worked together to build and staff Christmas parade floats. This comes from the parade in Hendersonville. It will also appear in the Gallatin parade. It's a stylish way to promote community engagement. Kudos to everyone who worked so hard on this effort!

Graduate Profile: Margie Riggs

Margie Riggs works on the front lines of healthcare, as a Registered Nurse at Sumner Regional Medical Center. But earlier this year she was a Vol State Nursing student, struggling with the demands of school and family, while COVID made things even more difficult.

“It was trying,” she said. “We had to learn a lot, but it was very difficult with COVID for things like student study groups.” That’s because many classes were held online and COVID protocols were always a consideration. But Margie has a superpower- she’s a Mom. And that Mom energy wasn’t just reserved for her six children.

“I helped other nursing students. If I saw someone struggling, I would ask if they wanted to get on Zoom to study.”

Margie has worked in medical care for years as a Certified Medical Assistant. “I wanted to go back to school for nursing, but with kids it’s difficult. I finally decided to go back to school slowly.”

Having the ability to do that meant having a lot of support at home, from husband Anthony and the kids.

“He would pick up the slack with housework or laundry when he got home, He worked and worked extra while I finished school full-time. I had the support of the older children to take care of the younger kids. It was a day-by-day, week-by-week thing. It was pure determination and a lot of late nights.”

And now she enters nursing at a particularly challenging time for health care workers. “It’s crazy. We always have more patient load than we expected. I’ve always loved taking care of patients. I want to take care of people- it’s instilled in me.”

Margie graduated from the nursing program and took part in the pinning ceremony earlier this year. You might think she would want to take a break from education. But that Mom energy is pushing her forward.

“I’m going back to school in January for a bachelor’s of nursing at Western Governors University. Then I’m going to get my master’s degree. The younger students say ‘you’re crazy, you’re crazy.’ I tell them I have to get on top of this education thing, I’m older.”

And it seems likely she will seek out other struggling students to help when she is working on her bachelor’s degree. “I think it’s the Mom in me. I want to see everyone have success.”

Graduate Profile: Joseph Hodge

It's been thirty years since my last college graduation. After a successful career in television broadcasting, including multiple Emmy Award nominations and one win in 2014 for cowriting the score to the PBS/NPT documentary "Looking Over Jordan," I became disabled and was forced to stop working. After a few years, I decided to go back to school and start a new career where I could help people struggling with health challenges and work within the limitations of my disability at the same time. As a sleep apnea patient myself, I have a passion for helping those who struggle with sleep issues, and the sleep technologist program at Vol State was the perfect opportunity to get me started in my new career!