The cure for the common classroom? More myelinization!

A Friday morning in the TRiO Student Support Services lab find four groups of Anatomy and Physiology students studying and working together with a tutor.  Northeast State faculty members Dr. Brent Lockhart and Dale Ledford circle the classroom giving their time assisting tutors and furthering discussions.

But the session belongs to the students.

“To learn it is better to say something than to read it,” explains Theron Booher, a Northeast State student and tutor who volunteers his time every Friday morning this fall to help fellow A&P students. “This method teaches students how to study and learn outside of class.”

Tutors lead groups of three to four students on a variety of anatomy and physiology topics.   The tutors explain anatomy while connecting the subject to a visual cue such as moving their arms or legs to demonstrate the aspects of anatomy.  Each student gets a turn in the role of professor guiding his or her group.

Given the sheer amount of information students must learn, Anatomy and Physiology ranks as the most challenging subject health-related professions majors face during the first year of college.  The subject is divided into two semester long sections and is required for all health-related professions majors.

The TRiO hosts the Anatomy and Physiology tutoring session at the TRiO Lab in the General Studies Building. TRiO Director Teressa Dobbs suggested moving the A & P tutoring sessions to the TRiO Lab earlier this year.  The thought helps TRiO students enrolled in health-related majors and give A & P students a set time and place to get tutoring assistance.

“We volunteer our time, TRiO allows us to use their lab, and the students get a place to increase their knowledge through each other,” explained Lockhart.

Booher referred to the tutoring process as “more myelinization”.  Defined in Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, myelinization is the act of adding myelin sheath around nerve fiber.  The result is a faster, cleaner movement of information across the nerves synapses – a good analogy of how group tutoring shares information with peers and develops a student’s understanding of a subject.

April Hodges, a TRiO student taking part in the tutoring sessions, said the group learning environment not only gave her a more intense understanding of anatomy definitions but how they worked as a system.  As the first member of her family poised to earn a college degree, Hodges also praised TRiO for helping her adjust to college life.

“The group setting gives you the back and forth communication that helps look at the subject and understand how everyone else learns it,” said Hodges, a Nursing major.

Lockhart added the rotating roles meant every student became a pseudo-professor for the group.

“What we are doing here is stimulating the student’s brain,” explained Lockhart, professor of biology at Northeast State.  “One student acts as the professor with the other students learning from them.  The role of professor then moves on to another student who must take on the role of teacher.”

Rita Muller heard about the tutoring opportunities in Dr. Lockhart’s A&P I class.  She jumped at the chance to improve her knowledge of the subject.

“The tutoring has been really helpful,” said Muller, a Surgical Technology major. “One thing I really like is learning the information in a different way and understanding how everyone’s style of learning differs and how we all learn from each other.”

The TRiO Student Support Services program is a federally funded grant program designed to provide an array of free services to limited number of eligible students each academic year.  Lockhart said the program’s willingness to lend their space and time was instrumental to his department’s work with students.

“If you want to know something, teach it,” he said. “This is what we are doing, and TRiO is making that possible.”


Sullivan County Financial Aid Night happens Nov. 29 at Northeast State

Northeast State wants to help future college students discover financial aid opportunities by hosting Sullivan County Financial Aid Night on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Wellmont Regional Center for Performing Arts at the main campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

High school students and their parents attending the Financial Aid Night will learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal and state aid. Northeast State staff members will present information about the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships and other state programs available to students. 

Staff members will also have information about the Educate and Grow Scholarship Program, Northeast State institutional scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities.

Representatives from the following institutions have been invited to attend: Carson-Newman College; East Tennessee State University; Emory and Henry College; Tennessee Technology Center; King College; Tusculum College; Milligan College; University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Northeast State; Virginia Tech; Virginia Intermont College; and Walters State Community College.

The event is sponsored by the Northeast State office of Financial Aid.  For more information contact 423.323.0252 or e-mail FinancialAid@NortheastState.edu.


Northeast State TISL team earns Best New Delegation honor

Recently, six Northeast State students proposed legislation, argued bills, lobbied for and against bills, worked in committees, and ran for office over a four-day period. The activities were part of the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) 43rd General Assembly held Nov. 15-18. 

Britny Fox, Rocky Graybeal, Jose Martin, Nicole Neilson, Beth Ross, and Anne Rowell formed the first ever delegation to TISL from Northeast State. The Northeast State delegation joined students from 38 other Tennessee colleges. These students spent their days in House or Senate sessions as well as in committees deciding which bills were brought to the floor of the House or Senate. 
At the closing Joint Session, Northeast State was recognized as the Best New Delegation.This award is given to the best delegation from a school that did not participate in the last General Assembly.

Along with the team award, students had individual success as well.  Britny Fox was named a Carlisle Award Winner by the Executive Council of the 43rd General Assembly. The Carlisle Award - TISL’s oldest and most prestigious award - is presented to 10 outstanding legislators of the more than 300 lawmakers. 

Rocky Graybeal ran for the Secretary of State position. He was nominated by the senator from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, forcing a runoff election for the position. Jose Martin was an effective lobbyist, helping his lobbying firm support and oppose various bills. Nicole Neilson was nominated for the Speaker of the Senate and was able to serve in that role as part of the election process. Beth Ross served as Head Delegate for Northeast State. Anne Rowell served as Vice Chairman for the Higher Education committee. 

As part of the legislative process, each member of house and senate was required to develop at least one bill. This bill was then presented in committee. Following the committee session, the bill was presented on the floor of one of the chambers. Delegation members had to be prepared to present and debate any bill from their delegation.


Theatre students earn Kennedy Center nods for Night of the Living Dead

Northeast State Theater’s Night of the Living Dead proved to be a big hit with audiences.  The production also won over the critics earning several students and the play’s director nominations for their work from the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) judging body.

Student earning nominations were: Anne Rowell and Richard Jackson (Acting); Aaron Bradley (Scenic Design and Sound Design); T.J. Laws (Costume Design); Richard Curtis (Makeup); and Amanda Neas (Stage Management).  Region IV judges also nominated Northeast State’s Brad McKenzie for the Faculty Directing award.

“I was very pleased with it,” said McKenzie, adjunct instructor of Theater at Northeast State. “The tremendous effort the students brought throughout the production made it so successful.”

Based on the classic 1968 zombie film, McKenzie merged stage action with brief television news clips shared by the audience and cast creating an element of drive-in movie nostalgia. The play’s tension swept audiences into an apocalyptic vision being played out in a living room. The play ranks as the Northeast State Theater’s second most popular production ever staged only trailing last spring’s production of The Wizard of Oz in the number of ticket sales.

“I’m really proud of our department and what we are accomplishing. The KCACTF nominations reflect the hard work and long hours that our students put into the production,” said Elizabeth M. Sloan, professor and director of Northeast State Theater. “Brad’s dedication to Northeast State and the Theatre Department and especially the students is more than we can ask for.”

With the action set mostly in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse during the late 1960s, Laws researched the look of that era’s clothing.  He coordinated the characters’ style with Curtis’s make-up effects.

“Richard and me worked to match costuming and masks trying to match up every detail,” said Laws.

Curtis identified each actor playing a zombie – milkman, paperboy, and bride – then custom designed each mask to fit each the character’s identity and the actor’s face.  He created the mask structure with a combination of latex and silicone. The masks were later painted and garnished with the grotesque zombie features.

“It always makes you feel good when you see it happen on stage,” said Curtis. “It is all worth the work you put in when the lights go up.”

Bradley’s design contrasted the house’s off-stage upstairs area to on-stage cellar for dramatic effect.  He framed the on-stage cellar area like a grave, dark and inescapable.  The home’s upstairs area stayed off-stage and unseen, suggesting an unknown fate and a possibility of hope.

“I looked at a lot of farm houses from the 1940s because the house was dated back to that time,” said Bradley, who also played the character “Tom” in the play.

After using her talents as an artist and designer in past productions, Neas took on the formidable task of stage manager for Living Dead.  This new role meant long hours coordinating actors, designers, props, zombies, sounds, and stage cues to keep the production flowing.

“It involved a lot of work and very little sleep, but I think this is most satisfying work I’ve done so far in my theater career,” said Neas, a Theater major. “I tried to take care of everyone and keep the play moving as one unified event.”

The work of Neas and Curtis caught the KCACTF judges’ attention for the second consecutive year. Neas won a first-place award last year in the festival’s Weiss Design Competition for Lighting Design for her designs of Equus.  Curtis earned the Barbizon Scenic Design award for creating the Oedipus character masks.  He was also nominated by the KCACTF judges for his scene design work on the Godspell production done by Northeast State Theater in spring.

The Kennedy Center Theater Festival recognizes the best theater work in Region IV representing colleges throughout the Southeast.  McKenzie has won multiple Region IV awards and competed in the national Kennedy Center Theater festival.

“One thing I’ve tried to do is push my students as artists and theater majors,” said McKenzie. “Theater is a creative art form where you learn to use your imagination.  I want to see my students grow beyond what they believe they are capable of doing.”

A proctor from Region IV attended a performance to assess the play. The production’s quality was graded and then considered for nominations to the regional competition. The KCACTF Regional Festival gives each nominee display space to exhibit his or her work. Judges review the work as it fits into the overall production.  All the nominees will travel to the Region IV festival competition in Albany, Ga., next spring to compete against theater programs from across the Southeast.

“I’m really excited for Brad’s Directing Award and the opportunities these students are going to get at the Region IV festival,” said Sloan.  “It is because of his artistic vision, hard work and dedication to the students that we have these nominations and that once again, a national spotlight will be focused on Northeast State Community College.”


Gerhard & Mize return for holiday concert

They are back and better than ever. Guitar legends Ed Gerhard and Bill Mize return to Northeast State Community College for a free Christmas concert on Thursday, Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for Performing Arts on the College’s main campus at Blountville.

The duo will perform instrumental Christmas and holiday favorites as well as selected original works. 

Gerhard is a multiple Grammy Award winner and released his eighth CD Sunnyland in homage to his early blues heroes. His guitar work can be heard on recordings by Arlo Guthrie and Jorma Kaukonen and in the Ken Burns film, Mark Twain. He has released two critically praised holiday albums, Christmas and On a Cold Winter’s Night. After several restarts, remixes, multiple mastering sessions, his newest album There and Gone, was recently released. The album features 14 tracks of Gerhard’s masterful style.

Mize is also a Grammy-winning guitarist and renowned instrumentalist. His music was recently selected for two documentary films: The Appalachian Trail: Past, Present and Future by Farrar & Ketelle Productions, Common Cents: Philanthropy Roundtables by YourStoryFilms.  He has released albums Sugarlands, Tender Explorations, Coastin’, and Joyful Noise. His latest release, The Angel’s Share, was called one of the “essential acoustic albums” to own by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. 

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public.  For more information, visit billmize.com and www.virturerecords.com. For additional information, contact 423.279.7669. 


Northeast State honors veterans on Nov. 12 

Northeast State will commemorate Veterans Day with a special ceremony on Monday, Nov. 12 at 1:30 p.m. honoring the sacrifices and return of the nation’s servicemen and women at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in Blountville. 

The Northeast State Singers will perform the national anthem and present a musical salute to the armed forces.  The ceremony’s guest speaker is USN (Ret.) Lt. CMDR M.S. “Rusty” Wishon who will talk about his experiences as a commander in the United States Navy.

Northeast State students who are also military veterans will present the service colors.  Those students are: Herman Emmert, United States Army; Brian Hinkle, United States Navy; James Johnson, United States Marine Corps; Danny Jinks, United States Air Force; and Jeff Miller, United States Coast Guard.  All are military flag bearers represent the branches of services for which they served. Veteran David Martinez will present the American flag and fellow veteran Robert Yates will present the flag of the State of Tennessee.

Northeast State enrolls scores of students classified as veterans, many of whom have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan.  The Post 9/11 GI Bill provides financial support for education and housing to individuals with at least 90 days of aggregate service on or after Sept. 11, 2001.  The college administers the Veterans Retraining Assistance Program which offers up to 12 months of training assistance to unemployed veterans age 35 and over.

The event is open to the public and the community is encouraged to attend.  For more information, contact Allan Anderson at 423.354.2598 or aranderson@NortheastState.edu.


Noted author likes to takes ideas to unexpected places

Jon Acuff had eight jobs in eight years, constantly hoping the next one would be different. From writing advertising for The Home Depot to branding for companies like Bose and Staples, he spent considerable time in the cubicle.

Then he asked, what if?  Those two small words fueled the start of a great new career for this best-selling author who visits Northeast State Community College on Nov. 13 at 10:45 a.m. in the WRCPA Theater on the main campus at Blountville for a free lecture for students and business professionals alike.

In 2010, he closed the gap between his day job and his dream job when he joined the Dave Ramsey team to become a full-time author. Acuff authored the Wall Street Journal best-selling book Quitter: Closing the Gap Between Your Day Job and Your Dream Job.  He also authored Stuff Christians Like and Gazelles, Baby Steps and 37 Other Things Dave Ramsey Taught Me About Debt. 

He’s also an experienced speaker and the creator of www.StuffChristiansLike.net., a blog read by more than 2 million people in 97 percent of the countries in the world. He is also a regular contributor to many media outlets including cnn.com.

And it all started with two words: What if? What if you took a dozen years of branding expertise and combined it with a visionary approach to social media? What if you could raise $30,000 in 18 hours to build a kindergarten in Vietnam? What if you took everything you learned from the brand giants and applied it to leadership?

Acuff has spent the last three years exploring what it means to take ideas to unexpected places.Touring the country as a sought-after speaker, he’s worked with everyone from dairy farmers to CEOs of billion-dollar companies to turn ideas into action. 

Called “hilarious and insightful” by Group, Acuff brings a wealth of ideas to share with individuals and companies of all sizes.With conference keynotes throughout the year and one of the most popular blogs in the world, he’s just getting started.

Born in Durham, N.C. and raised in Boston he now resides in Franklin, Tenn., with his wife, Jenny and two beautiful young daughters. For more information contact, 423.354.2474 or keglover@NortheastState.edu.


Pierce Freelon brings Beatmaking Lab to Northeast State

Pierce Freelon is an electric young professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a musician who has charmed audiences domestically and internationally from Brazil to India. His multi-media performance/presentations offer a bold glimpse into his world: merging jazz, black history and culture, scholarship, activism and hip hop.

Freelon visits Northeast State on Nov. 8 for two shows at 1:30 p.m. and 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater at the main campus in Blountville.  Both shows are free and open to the public.

Freelon is a musician, professor, and artivist with a passion for creativity and community. He is front man of the genre-bending The Beast, hailed as a “natural, engaging blend of jazz and hip hop,” by Jazz Times Magazine. He has taught music, African-American studies and political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. Freelon is the co-founder of ARTVSM – a company merging art and activism by any medium necessary.

He will present the Beatmaking Lab, Beatmaking Lab started as an innovative course taught in the Music Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Founded by producer/DJ Apple Juice Kid (Stephen Levitin) and Dr. Mark Katz in 2011, the curriculum offers instruction in practical beat making, a history of popular music production, and entrepreneurship.

The first international Beat Making Lab was established in the Democratic Republic of Congo during the summer of 2012. Freelon and Levitin traveled to Goma to build a studio at a local non-profit called Yole!Africa. International Beat Making Labs are being developed for implementation in Senegal, Kenya, Cameroon and Brazil.

Contact 423.279.7668 or jpkelly@NortheastState.edu for information.


Northeast State lands Clean Tennessee Energy Grant

Northeast State Community College has received a $180,000 grant from the state’s new Clean Tennessee Energy Grant Program to replace the HVAC system at the Downtown Centre in Johnson City.

In December 2011, Northeast State signed a five-year lease with the Johnson City Development Authority for use of the Downtown Centre as a teaching site. The College has set a tentative date of fall 2013 for classes.
The College proposes to install two boilers as part of the replacement for the HVAC system for classroom and administrative space in the facility. Having two units will permit the use of one or both as demand dictates.

The Downtown Centre renovation project calls for the replacement of the current HVAC system. This system has been in the building since its construction in 1986. In a comparison of the current boiler with its proposed replacement, the thermal efficiency increases from 75 percent to 95 percent with the new system.

There is also an overall decrease in projected annual operating costs from $ 60,000 for the current system to approximately $46,000 for the replacement system. Another feature of the system is a 10:1 turndown, meaning a boiler can “turn down” to 10 percent of capacity without cycling, preventing needless energy losses.

The proposed system features sophisticated heating and cooling controls with internet access or control by smart phone. Referred to as SMART TOUCH TECHNOLOGY, the touch screen technology puts total operational control at the fingertips. SMART TOUCH makes it easier than ever to set up a perfectly synchronized green system and allows access to a complete onboard database of real-time operations data and performance history.

The grant program funded a number of projects designed to reduce air emissions, improve energy efficiency and create cost savings across the state.  Eligible recipients included state and local government agencies, utility districts, and private businesses/organizations in Tennessee.

Funding for the projects comes from an April 2011 Clean Air Act settlement with the Tennessee Valley Authority.  Under the Consent Decree, Tennessee will receive $26.4 million over five years to fund clean air programs in the state – at approximately $5.25 million per year.
In the first year, $2.25 million funded air quality grants for local governments, municipalities, utilities, other organizations and private entities.  The remaining $3 million was designated for energy efficiency projects in state government.

For more information, contact Linda Calvert, executive director of grant development at Northeast State, at 423.323.0222 or lwcalvert@northeaststate.edu


Carter County Bank coordinates $15,000 matched donation

A $5,000 donation by Carter County Bank combined with a $10,000 anonymous match totaling $15,000 to the Northeast State Community College Foundation will provide Educate and Grow scholarships for 2012 Carter County graduates.
The Educate and Grow Scholarship Program is an economic development effort designed to develop and maintain a qualified workforce for the region. Every 2012 high school graduate in Carter County is eligible to apply for a four-semester scholarship at Northeast State.

“Carter County Bank understands the value of a quality education to people as individuals and the positive impact it has on our community as a whole. We are extremely proud to be a part of this effort and have had a long history of supporting programs like the Educate and Grow at Northeast State.” Dale Fair, President of Carter County Bank.

Awards are made to eligible students as reimbursements based on unmet tuition needs. Scholarship amounts depend on the number of students in the program and the availability of program funds. Educate and Grow scholarships are also offered in Johnson, Sullivan, Unicoi, and Washington counties.
"We are pleased that Carter County Bank has stepped forward to fund this important scholarship,” said Heather Cook, executive director of the Northeast State Foundation. “Local support is very meaningful for students because it helps them realize their goals and dreams are valued by the community."

For more information, about the Educate and Grow Scholarship, visit, www.educateandgrow.com or call the Office of Scholarship Programs at 423.354.2507.

Carter County Bank was established in 1939 and has five Tennessee locations in Elizabethton, Johnson City, and Roan Mountain, and one branch in Sugar Mountain, N.C.