Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Spring Graduation 2016

Spring graduation for Vol State is coming up on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. It will be held in the Pickel Field House on the Gallatin campus. You must have a ticket to attend. The entire ceremony will be streamed online at Each year we have viewers from across the country and around the world.
A community college graduation is really a celebration of lives. It’s a singular moment when we pause to recognize hard work and achievement. However, those efforts come in the context of your life, your experiences and your challenges. That fact isn’t lost on faculty and staff as we help you celebrate commencement.
Seth Walker is a 2016 graduate. He would be notable just for his 4.0 GPA, his leadership on campus and his sense of humor. But Seth accomplished his Vol State education with the challenge of a neurological condition called Cerebral Palsy. It impacts the ability of the brain to coordinate muscle movement. Seth can’t control his limbs and it is difficult for him to speak. He is in a wheelchair and has specialized high-tech equipment to use a computer. His constant campus companion is his assistant Ken Brassell.
We asked Seth a couple of questions leading up to graduation:
How does it feel to be graduating?
It seems surreal. I feel like I entered Vol State yesterday. However, at the same time, it is rewarding because I have worked so hard. It is another milestone in my life. 
You have had to overcome many physical challenges along the way. Can you describe a few of those challenges and how you dealt with them?
Since I cannot use a regular mouse, I have to use an electronic HeadMouse to type my papers. This takes about twice as long as the normal student. I have to allow myself extra time to write papers. In addition, since I am unable to hold a book, I have to have special software to display my textbooks on the computer screen. It can also read the books to me. 
 Do you think overcoming those challenges helped to make you a stronger student?
 Definitely because I know what it takes to go the extra mile to get the grade. 
What are your plans for university and beyond to your career?
I will go to Lipscomb University in the fall to pursue a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Communication. From there, I hope to pursue a seminary degree for a career in social media or writing ministry, but I will go wherever God leads.

We know you are still struggling with finals. But we congratulate all of you on your achievement and we look forward to spending a special Saturday morning with you.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Student Music Showcase Concerts April 29 and 30

Rock, pop, country and bluegrass are just a few of the styles of music that will be performed by Vol State students at the annual Spring Music Showcase concerts coming up this weekend, April 29 and 30. The concerts coincide with the release of the spring music CD, called "Just Before Dawn."
The concerts will include songs by the Commercial Music Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Songwriting Class and the Bluegrass Ensemble- “Bluegrass Ablaze.” The CD will be available for sale at the show and at the Vol State Bookstore in Gallatin. It was recorded in the Vol State Recording Studio by students in the Entertainment Media Production program and Recording Industry Management program.
The Spring Showcase performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. in the Wemyss Auditorium at Caudill Hall on the Vol State campus at 1480 Nashville Pike in Gallatin. 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. For further information please call 615-230-3201. For information about the Music Program at Vol State visit

Events this Week at Vol State

Vol State events this week:
Now- Vol State student art exhibition, Ramer Great Hall
April 26 Luau, Highland Campus, 10am to 2pm
April 27 Your Life Matters to Me, campus police lunch with students, library lawn, 11:30am
April 28 Vol State Student Art Reception, Ramer Great Hall, 12:45pm
April 29 & 30 Music Department Spring Showcase and CD release, Caudill Hall, 7:30pm

Ophthalmic Students in Guatemala

Student, Celestin Collins, works to determine a young boy’s prescription.
Every year for the last 9 years, Ophthalmic Program students have traveled to Guatemala on a faculty-led international service learning trip, in conjunction with the Hendersonville Rotary Club.  The most recent trip took place February 28-March 6th.  The VSCC delegation consisted of 4 ophthalmic students and 2 faculty members.  Members included Celestin Collins, Abigail Flora, Christine Hyde, and Liana Brisbon, as well as Alisha Cornish, Ophthalmic Program Director, and Jana Allen, Associate Professor of Health Sciences.

The trip to Guatemala is unique in that it combines service learning with true travel abroad experiences.  Preparation for this trip starts months in advance with collection and organization of hundreds of donated prescription glasses.   Students participate in monthly planning and preparation meetings with the mission team from the Hendersonville Rotary Club.   During the 9-day trip, 2 days are spent traveling, 4 days are spent in clinic, and 3 days are spent sightseeing and experiencing the culture.  Clinic days are long but rewarding.  Students are able to use the knowledge and skills they learned in class and observe conditions not commonly seen in the United States.  Students spend their time in clinic determining patients’ prescriptions for glasses and examining a range of patients from babies to the elderly. 

The lack of equipment is one of the biggest challenges encountered while working in clinic.  Tests performed on expensive pieces of equipment in the U.S. are performed by hand using very basic equipment in Guatemala.  Students come back from Guatemala as better clinicians with a different perspective of what constitutes a difficult clinical case.  Patients that one might have thought were difficult before Guatemala, are much easier upon your return, knowing you have all of the state-of-the-art equipment at your disposal.  Four hundred and ninety-seven people were helped in the vision clinic this year. In addition to the Ophthalmic Program’s vision clinic, the Hendersonville Rotary Club provides a dental, medical, and psychological clinic.  Ophthalmic students are able to witness the services provided in these clinics as well.

A unique part of this trip is the ability to spend a great deal of time with Guatemalan Rotary members and translators.  Many of our translators are high school students taking English classes or working on community service hours.  The Guatemala students are able to practice their English and obtain the community service hours required by their schools, while the VSCC ophthalmic students are able to learn some Spanish and a great deal about the culture from the translators.  A couple of our translators have helped with our vision clinic every year for the last 7 years. Many long-term friendships are made by students and faculty as a result of the time spent working together.

This year on the days not spent in clinic, students hiked Volcano Pacaya and roasted marshmallows in the cooling lava. In addition, student had an opportunity to tour several churches, as well as the ruins of churches built in the 1600 and 1700s that were destroyed by earthquakes.   We were also fortunate enough to be in Guatemala during the time leading up to Easter.  Because of the timing of our trip, we were able to witness one of the world famous Catholic processions in Antigua, Guatemala.  People from all over the world travel to Antigua just to witness these processions.  Lastly, we were able to see the eruption of the Fuego Volcano.  A truly amazing experience.

Ophthalmic student Celestin Collins said it best, “I always knew that helping people was something I loved doing, but I never realized that it would bring an opportunity that would change my life forever.  Guatemala will forever hold a piece of my heart.”

-Ophthalmic Technician Program Director, Alisha Cornish

For more information on the Ophthalmic Technician Program at Vol State visit

Friday, April 22, 2016

And This Shall Be For Music

 "Making music makes life better"

“And This Shall Be For Music”, a concert given by Vol State and Portland High School talent will be held in Wemyss Auditorium (in Caudill Hall) on Sunday at 3:00 pm. Ben Warren, the Portland High School Director, and Nancy Slaughter, Associate Professor of Music at Vol State, will both be conducting and have been working hard with the students to put on an amazing show. “Making music makes life better,” says Slaughter. 

Monday, April 18, 2016

This Week at Vol State

April 19 Campus Spa Day, Gallatin, Nichols Dining Room, 10am-2pm
April 20 Earth Day events, Duffer Plaza near the fountain, 11am-2pm
April 20 Coffee with the Prez, Cafeteria, 9am-10am
April 20 Spring Job Career Fair, Pickel Field House, 10am-1pm
April 20 Spa Day, Highland Campus, 10am to 2pm 
April 22 Educate A Woman, fundraiser, 11:30am, Long Hollow Baptist Church Worship Center suggested $40 donation.
April 22 Movie Night, free for the family, library lawn or Pickel Field House, dusk
April 23 Vol State Home Plate Day, baseball and softball games, Athletic Fields, Noon
April 24 Vol State Singers and Portland H.S. Ensemble concert, Caudill Hall, 3pm

Vol State Students in Mongolia

You may have heard of Vol State students traveling to China or India as part of travel-study. But how about Mongolia? Recently a group of education students had the opportunity to visit schools in Mongolia. Here is one of the student's reflections on the trip.

It is difficult to wrap up my impressions of Mongolia into one paragraph. There were so many things that will stick with me: the people, the traffic, the food, the beauty of the countryside, the friends made, the adventures had, the amazing opportunities to see so much in such a short time, the long flights to get there and home, the fatigue, the cold, and let’s not forget the day we visited the nomad family and thought that we were traveling to the ends of the earth and may not make it out to an actual road before nightfall. I would have to say that the one thing that I was the most impressed with and what I will remember the most about Mongolia is their education system and the importance that they place on well-rounded education, beginning from a very early age. They include arts, sciences, maths, music, history, geology and so much more. 

One of my favorite experiences, at one of the many schools that we visited, was the geology museum. It was fascinating! I found it incredible that there is such a rich diversity in resources, many yet untapped! The wealth of gemstones and dinosaur fossils and oil and marble is simply astounding! Another experience that I will never forget is watching that little girl in 3rd grade using an abacus! I was astonished to hear that they teach Algebra as early as the 3rd grade. Algebra! In the third grade!? Amazing! I was very impressed with how organized, clean, happy and active the schools were! No sloppy dressing, pants hanging below the bum, tattered shoes or clothing on a single student and yet it was quite easy to see the individuality of each face from the elementary to the university level! They ENJOYED learning! American students could benefit greatly from an exchange program with Mongolia! I hope that our visit helped to pave the way and open many doors for that to happen in the future! I was honored to have been chosen to be a part of the delegation. I will cherish the memories for a lifetime. 

-Donna Fair