Northeast State publishes Career Focus magazine
Northeast State publishes Career Focus magazine twice a year and the publication is packed with information about the College's programs, people, career trends, and job-hunting strategies. Whether you’re researching your first career or retraining for a new job you’ll find the advice and information you need to make the right career decision. Each edition contains articles about emerging careers, interviews with job experts, and features about Northeast State students, alumni, and faculty.
The publication is mailed to the College's service area, which includes Carter, Johnson, Sullivan, Washington, and Unicoi counties. In addition, the magazine includes information about financial aid and how to enroll. In the back of every issue there's a listing of Northeast State programs and information about possible careers. Read the most current issue here or access prior issues of Career Focus.
Beth Ross earns pretigious Jack Kent Cooke Scholarship
Northeast State Community College graduate Elizabeth “Beth” Ross, has won the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship for 2013.
“It is a huge honor to receive this scholarship,” says Ross, of Blountville. “I am truly grateful to be recognized by the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation.”
Ross was chosen as one of only 73 scholarship recipients from more than 750 applications submitted to the Foundation from two-year colleges around the country. She is only the second Northeast State student to win this coveted scholarship.
The scholarship’s value is for up to $30,000 annually. The award covers a significant share of a student’s educational expenses including tuition, living expenses, books, and required fees for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree.
Ross distinguished herself by earning a 4.0 grade point average while pursuing her associate’s degree in Speech Communication. She is the Vice President of Scholarship for the Alpha Iota Chi chapter of Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, a member of the President’s All-Academic Team, and Chief of Staff to the Governor for the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature. Even more impressive is how Ross balanced college life while being a full-time mother to her son and daughter.
While at Northeast State, Ross seized the opportunities to grow personally and professionally. She enrolled in the Honors Program, joined Toastmasters, and served as student advisor to the 2012-2013 Northeast State Debate Team.
More impressive is how much Ross accomplished while battling a severe health problem – now in remission – that sapped not only her health but her self-confidence, too. She said returning to school seemed overwhelming when she first enrolled.
Ross credited professors Dr. Rick Merritt, Dr. Ruth Livingston, and Jane Honeycutt with helping develop her academic potential. Honeycutt, who also serves as Alpha Iota Chi chapter advisor, first met Ross two years ago after she enrolled in her Women’s Studies class.
“I had been out of college a long time when I came to Northeast State,” said Ross. “Jane really believed in my long enough for me to believe in myself.”
Honeycutt said Ross possessed all the academic and leadership tools to succeed. The only thing she needed was a boost of confidence.
“I just wanted to give her some confidence back,” said Honeycutt. “She has the determination to do well at so many things; it has been a pleasure to see her find herself.”
Honeycutt said Ross raised the chapter’s profile with her leadership at the regional and national level. The chapter won several awards and Ross won 1st place as top officer in the state at Phi Theta Kappa’s Regional Convention held in April. Regional Phi Theta Kappa officials were so impressed with Ross that they named her a regional vice president at-large purely on her leadership abilities for her chapter.
“Honestly, she’s taught me a lot,” said Honeycutt of Ross. “A great deal of the regional and national success the chapter had this year resulted from her leadership.”
Ross also served as president of the student organizations A Toast to Education and the Argumentation and Debate Society. She graduated summa cum laude this spring.
Ross has applied to several four-year institutions including Columbia University. She plans on pursuing her bachelor’s degree in Human Rights. Ross also works part-time with the Northeast State Foundation where she serves as the Coordinator of Alumni Affairs and helps with fundraising.
“I love Foundation work so much,” Ross said. “I especially like working with our Executive Director, Dr. Heather Cook, who has been a mentor to me. She has a heart for service and has been a great example for me to follow.”
Northeast State Foundation celebrates successful year
The Northeast State Community College Foundation recognized a year of patron generosity and student excellence Thursday afternoon at the Foundation Board of Directors’ annual luncheon held at the 620 State building on State Street in Bristol, home of the new Northeast State at Bristol teaching site.
The College welcomed Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor John Morgan to the event where he praised Northeast State and the Foundation for their commitment to students.
"Northeast State has taken the initiative to deliver educational opportunities to its service area,” said Morgan. “To educate students and provide highly skilled workers for the future, we want to provide the access so we can provide the education.”
Morgan also presented the Chancellor’s Award to Foundation member K. Newton Raff for his long dedication to Northeast State. The award is based on criteria of generous giving of time and resources to TBR institutions and ethical leadership, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and integrity.
“It is truly humbling to receive this award,” said Raff. “Now when someone comes to see me and they see this award, I can say, ‘Let me tell you about Northeast State.’”
Executive Director of the Foundation, Heather Cook, welcomed attendees to recognize the newest member of the Foundation’s President Trust and recognized one of the Foundation’s biggest supporters. She also praised Northeast State alumnus and owner of Vision, LLC, Allen Hurley with his help establishing Northeast State at Bristol.
“Whenever you meet with Allen you are going to come out energized and ready because you know things are going to get done,” said Cook. “We thank Allen and Chancellor Morgan for their support in establishing Northeast State at Bristol.”
Cook also recognized President’s Trust members Mountain States Health Alliance, the Northeast State Scholars Foundation, the Northeast State Honors Program, and the Johnson City Development Authority. A President’s Trust member is recognized for making a significant monetary contribution to the College.
Northeast State at Bristol is offering classes during the summer semester beginning June 4. The Bristol teaching site operates on the third floor of 620 State. The facility features an ITV classroom that links to classrooms at the College’s main campus and other teaching sites.
College earns NAEYC Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation
The National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Commission on Early Childhood Associate Degree Accreditation announced it has granted accreditation to Northeast State.
"This achievement demonstrates that Northeast State’s program meets, and exceeds in many aspects, the standards of excellence in developing and offering a high quality early childhood education program to its citizens in the College’s service area," said Xiaoping Wang, dean of Behavioral and Social Sciences. "Compliments go to the College’s administration for its support and the Early Childhood Education program coordinator, Mitzi Neeley, and her faculty for their hard work, dedication, and tireless efforts to achieve quality and excellence for the program."
This brings the total number of accredited programs to 186 in 30 states since the accreditation system was launched in 2006. An additional 112 associate degree programs are currently engaged in the self-study process.
“We congratulate Northeast State Community College on its achievement,” said Marica Cox Mitchell, Director of Higher Education Accreditation and Program Support at NAEYC. “The NAEYC accreditation system sets a standard of excellence for early childhood associate degree programs to meet, and the College has demonstrated that it meets this standard. We applaud Northeast State's efforts and appreciate its commitment to program improvement and educator quality, which is a crucial component to providing high-quality early childhood education to millions of children across the country.”
The accreditation system establishes professional preparation standards to raise the quality of early childhood teacher education, and in turn raise the quality of early education programs serving young children. Accredited associate degree programs provide access to the profession and a strong foundation for the diverse pool of early childhood teachers that are needed in the field.
Scholars honor Tait White, reach $10,000 goal
The Northeast State Scholars Foundation student club formally established a scholarship in the name of a late Northeast State alumnus and met their goal to raise $10,000 for student scholarships.
The Scholars Foundation announced the creation of the Tait Obadiah White Memorial Book Scholarship available for the upcoming fall semester during the Student Leadership Luncheon held earlier this month. White graduated magna cum laude from Northeast State in summer 2011. He passed away during the fall of 2012 while enrolled at East Tennessee State University.
“Tait embodied the leadership we expect in our student leaders,” said Greg Walters, dean of Student Development who worked closely with White. “We could not do what we do without our student leaders.”
The Scholars Foundation sought to create a scholarship in White’s name in November of 2012. Fundraising projects earned more than $2,400 with faculty and staff donations adding more than $300. The Scholars were able to fund the scholarship for at least nine semesters thus far.
The book scholarship will benefit a second-year Foreign Language, Political Science, or Psychology major with a grade point average of 2.75. The first award will be made during the 2013 fall semester. The monetary value of the scholarship to the recipient will be $300 per semester for two semesters. A plaque commemorating White and recognizing each scholarship recipient will be displayed in the office of Scholarship Programs on the main campus.
White was an Honors Program student and served as the first president of the Scholars Foundation and president of Psi Beta, the psychology honors society. He also helped develop the Scholars’ constitution and create a logo. A teenage missionary who traveled to Panama and Peru, he served as a counselor as well as a laborer at Doe River Gorge Christian camp.
Tait’s father, Mark White, attended the luncheon and praised his son’s friends and classmates for their efforts to establish a scholarship to honor his legacy. He also presented the college with a plaque that includes a photo of Tait and one of his original poems for display.
“He wasn’t the kind of person who bragged about what he did,” White said. “He gave whatever he did his all, and I believe that made him so successful.”
The Scholars Foundation supports the efforts of the Northeast State Community College Foundation through student-driven initiatives to promote private giving and service learning. Membership is composed of students receiving Northeast State scholarships, Honors Program students, or members of other campus honor societies.
The Scholars club also celebrated surpassing the $10,000 mark this year in funds raised for Foundation Scholarships. The Scholars Foundation becomes eligible for membership the College’s President’s Trust which recognizes donors exceeding $10,000 of giving.
“It was very exhilarating considering all the work we put in,” said Rachel Lawson, student president of the Scholars Foundation. “Seeing it grow from zero to $10,000 made it very satisfying.”
Northeast State graduates largest class ever
Northeast State Community College celebrated the Class of 2013 on May 14, awarding 1,247 degrees and certificates at commencement exercises. This is the largest class ever graduated by the College.
The event was held at the Mountain States Health Alliance Athletics Center on the East Tennessee State University campus.
Northeast State awarded 6 academic certificates, 389 technical certificates, 334 associate of applied science degrees, 24 associate of arts degrees, 25 associate of science in teaching degrees, and 469 associate of science degrees. A total of 129 students graduated cum laude (3.6 - 3.74 GPA), 66 received magna cum laude distinction (3.75 - 3.89 GPA), and 74 students were summa cum laude (3.9 - 4.0 GPA) graduates.
Newt Raff, chair of the Board, First Tennessee Bank, Northeast Tennessee Region, delivered the commencement address. Raff was the founding chair of Northeast State’s Foundation, which was created in 1986.
“It’s a great day and great to celebrate your success. I have certainly enjoyed celebrating others’ success my whole career … so it’s great to be here” Raff said. “Northeast State has changed my life just like I know it’s changing your life and will continue to change your life for the better.”
Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam noted that Raff was named recipient of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy for 2013. The award is based on criteria of generous giving of time and resources to TBR institutions and ethical leadership, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and integrity.
Raff started his career with First Tennessee Bank in 1976 as an operations officer. He quickly moved up the ranking, serving in various roles and capacities. In 1985, he accepted the role of regional president for First Tennessee Bank in Kingsport and Bristol, where he doubled the bank’s size from $85 million in 1986 to $177 million in 1989.
In 1992, Raff was promoted to chair and CEO of First Tennessee Bank Northeast Tennessee and initiated and closed the purchase of Home Federal, an $840 million savings in loan. In 1997, he was selected as one of the top 25 CEO’s in the region and he was awarded Executive of the Year at the Greater Tri-Cities Business Awards in 1998.
East Tennessee State University honored him as an Honorary Alumnus in 2005 and in 2009 Raff was inducted into the ETSU College and Business and Technology Hall of Fame and awarded the Excellence in Business Award.
During commencement ceremonies, Gilliam recognized the College’s Outstanding Student Award recipient and Distinguished Staff Award recipients.
Elizabeth Ross earned the Outstanding Student Award. She holds membership in the College’s Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Northeast State Scholars Foundation, and the President’s All-Academic Team. She graduated summa cum laude with an associate of science degree in Speech Communication.
Ross recently earned the prestigious Jack Kent Cooke Transfer Scholarship – an award that honors the best community college students in the nation. The program - the largest private scholarship for community college transfer students in the country - provides up to $30,000 per year for up to three years to students who are nominated by their schools based on a number of factors including academic excellence, and financial need.
In 2013, the Foundation received 769 nominations from 377 community colleges in 45 states and the District of Columbia. A highly selective scholarship, Ross was one of only 73 recipients receiving the award.
David Lewis earned the College’s Distinguished Support Staff Member Award. Lewis provides support services around campus and takes on the challenging job of lab assistant with the Sciences Department.
Sandra Gardner received the Distinguished Administrative/Professional Staff Member Award. She is an academic advisor with the Student Success Center providing guidance and learning resources for students.
Jim Kelly was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Member Award. He is an associate professor of history and humanities at Northeast State. Kelly also chairs the College’s Cultural Activities Committee that brings educational and entertaining speakers to campus each year.
Guitarist Martin Taylor kicks off summer concert series May 15
Northeast State welcomes award-winning guitarist Martin Taylor to campus to kick off the Summer Concert Series with a free live performance on Wednesday, May 15 at 7 p.m.
Taylor will perform in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater on the main campus, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.
Completely self-taught, Taylor has enjoyed a remarkable musical career. He has invented and developed a way of playing the guitar that is admired, and often imitated, by guitarists all over the world. As well as being a true guitar innovator, he is also a master concert performer, dazzling audiences with his solo shows, which combine virtuosity, emotion, humor, with a strong stage presence.
Taylor established a unique musical career as an internationally acclaimed musician, and his inimitable style has seen him recognized as the world’s foremost exponent of solo jazz guitar playing. No less than Jeff Beck said of Taylor, “He out-shred’s all of us put together….I’ve never seen anything like it.”
As well as his solo concerts and recordings, he has also collaborated with musicians from many different musical genre including, Stephane Grappelli, Jeff Beck, Gary Burton, Chet Atkins, Bill Wyman, George Harrison, Dionne Warwick, Diane Schuur and Jamie Cullum. He spends much of the year travelling the world, playing in concert halls in Europe, North America, Japan, Asia, and Australia as well as presiding over the uniquely innovative Martin Taylor Guitar Academy online.
The concert is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact 423.279.7668 or email@example.com.
College welcomes 50 students into Alpha Sigma Lambda honor society
Northeast State welcomed more than 50 new members to the Nu Sigma Chi chapter of the Alpha Sigma Lambda Honor Society during the past academic year. Alpha Sigma Lambda recognizes the achievements of adults who reach academic excellence while facing competing interests of home and work.
The new members were inducted into the honors society for non-traditional college students at fall and spring induction ceremonies held at the College’s main campus in Blountville. The chapter’s faculty advisors Mahmood Sabri and Maggie Flint, and staff advisor Virginia Salmon, direct the chapter’s membership and activities. The newest Nu Sigma Chi members for 2012-13 and their academic majors are as follows:
Fall 2012: Kathy Adams, Business Management & Small Business Management; Daniel Anders, Medical Lab Technician; Sandra Baker, Office Administration Technology: Medical; Sheri Blankenbeckler, Sociology & Speech Communication; Joshua Blevins, Computer Programming/Web Development; Timothy Crigger, Business Management; Charles Forstall, Electromechanical Technology; Jessi Garino, Psychology; Lionel Grady, Jr., Nursing & Biology Transfer; Mallory Grey, K-6 Education: Special Education; Charles Harrell, Heating & Air; Talli Hunigan, Nursing; Marty Kilby, Chemical Process Operations; Sherri Lester, Public Relations/Advertising; Amber McGuire, Dental Hygiene; Wade McMackin, Electromechanical Technology; Autumn Morgan, Psychology; Kevin Ray, Electrical Technology: Electrical Concentration; Crystal Simpson, University Parallel; James Wandell; Terry Weber, Computer and Information Sciences: Networking Systems; and Randall Whitson, Biology and Police Science.
Spring 2013: Julia Allen, Business; Nancy Bailey; Kimberly Campbell, Business Accounting; Mary Jo Cardwell, Office Administration Technology: Medical; Sheryl Chapman, Cardiovascular Technology/Non-invasive; Daniel Chess, Welding/Metal Fabrication; Derick Cook, Mechanical Tool Technology; Patricia Coonley, Computer Science: Networking; Lisa Cross, University Parallel; Altheria Davis, General Studies; Kristen Dempsey, Accounting; Angela Durham, Pre-Pharmacy; Charlene Flynn, Office Administration Technology; Mary Johnson, Computer Science; Paige Kelly, Surgical Technology; Kimberly Lane, Early Childhood Education; Frankie Nunley, Nursing; Leslie Peery, Psychology; Jeanann Sanders, Medical Laboratory Technology; Padra Turner, Early Childhood Education; Heather Wendt, Psychology and Pre-Secondary Education; and Dana Williams, Social Work.
Student members must have completed a minimum of 24 graded semester hour credits. Student members selected also must have a minimum grade point average of 3.2 on a 4.0 scale.
Alpha Sigma Lambda is dedicated to the advancement of scholarship and recognizes high scholastic achievement in an adult student’s career. By so doing, this Society encourages many students to continue toward and to earn associate and baccalaureate degrees.
Northeast State to graduate largest class ever
Northeast State Community College will celebrate the Class of 2013 on May 14 at 7 p.m., awarding more than 1,200 degrees and certificates at commencement exercises. This class is the largest ever graduated by the College.
The event will be held at the Mountain State Health Alliance Athletics Center on the East Tennessee State University campus.
Newt Raff, chair of the Board, First Tennessee Bank, Northeast Tennessee Region, will deliver the keynote address. Raff was named recipient of the Tennessee Board of Regents Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Philanthropy for 2013. The award is based on criteria of generous giving of time and resources to TBR institutions and ethical leadership, philanthropy, civic responsibility, and integrity.
Northeast State celebrates nursing grads with pinning ceremony
Northeast State Community College recognized its fifth class of Nursing graduates at the 2013 Pinning Ceremony held Tuesday night at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the main campus in Blountville.
Northeast Nursing grads got their pins Tuesday night.
The graduating class of students received their nursing pins from the dean of Nursing, Dr. Melessia M. Webb. In the Dean’s charge to the graduates, Webb expressed her admiration for the graduates’ attitude of “paying it forward” to their classmates and friends.
“The attribute that sticks out about this graduating class is your generosity,” she said. “These students shared books, study materials, and even got together to provide financial support to their fellow students.”
Northeast State Nursing graduates for 2013 are: Crystal Adams, Crystal Arnold, Tammy Beavers, Brian Campbell, Kristina Carter, Cassandra Deloach, Amanda Downing, Debra Evans, Sonia Fields, Heather Ford, Melissa Ford, Brandon Garber, Richard Green, Britny Hall, Jennifer Harrah, Michelle Harris, Haley Hartley, Heather Hayes, Cynthia Haynes, Cristy Heck, Cynthia Hill, Debra Holden, Donald Horvath, Kapui Ip, Melissa Jennings, Jessica Kilgore, Chelsea Kiser, Jessica Lasiter, Lisa Laster, Lyndsey Mason, Melody McKeehan, Rosemary McMahan, Brooks Monroe, Sara Morelock, Edgar Myers, Kina Nash, Lauren Orsburn, Meredith Pardee, Chetna Patel, Kimberly Pierce, Kimberly Plemmons, Tina Quillen, Heather Ramey, Amanda Reece, Julie Richardson, Chessi Riner, Jennifer Roberts, Jeremy Robinette, Casey Seay, Whitney Snyder, Lindsey Stafford, Alisha Taylor, Kayla Thomas, Laura Thomas, Amanda Turner, Christy VanDine, Becky Wahrer, and Kelly West.
The pinning ceremony provided a symbolic welcoming of new nurses into the profession. Each graduating student received the Northeast State Nursing pin on his or her white lab coat signifying completion of the associate of applied science degree program.
Nursing students take the "Nightingale Pledge."
Selected to answer the Dean’s charge on behalf of the graduates was Melissa Jennings. She thanked the nursing faculty, her classmates, and all their families for their support during the trying times of nursing school.
“We started out together just wanting to pass and ultimately succeed,” said Jennings. “But we didn’t just want that for ourselves, we wanted it for each and every one of us.”
Debra Evans received the program’s Outstanding Student Award. Tammy Beavers and Lindsey Stafford were dual winners of the Adult Learner of the Year Award.
The nursing students receive their diplomas on May 14 at the College’s spring commencement ceremony scheduled for 7 p.m. at East Tennessee State University/Mountains State Health Alliance Athletic Center on the campus of ETSU in Johnson City.
“We come to the end of this chapter of our life,” Jennings told her fellow graduates. “But we have a lot more chapters left to write.”
Northeast State at Bristol holds grand opening
Bridging the past and present, the Northeast State at Bristol teaching site – located in the historic City Central Building at 620 State Street in downtown Bristol - was unveiled May 6 during a grand opening hosted by Northeast State and the Bristol TN/VA Chamber of Commerce.
Northeast State is leasing 16,000 square-feet of third-floor space to house classrooms and offices. As currently configured, the facility will have nine classrooms – all of which are outfitted with state-of-the-art computer-based teaching technology.
Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey was on hand for the event and noted the facility “rivals anything in the state of Tennessee,” saying the teaching site would aid Gov. Bill Haslam’s Drive to 55 initiative - an effort to raise the number of Tennesseans who hold college degrees to 55 percent by 2025.
Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam said the College plans to offer two-year associate degrees, certificates, workforce development training, and GED/Adult Education at the site. Initial enrollment is estimated at 75 students for the summer term and 150-200 for the fall semester.
“It’s a truly historic day in an historic building and we are delighted to be in Bristol, Gilliam said. “Our goals are about access, completion, and community and this facility plays an important role in our goal of having a teaching site within 20-30 miles of every citizen in the College’s service area.”
In addition, Northeast State officials are planning to offer an entertainment technology program that will mesh with Bristol’s “Birthplace of Country Music” brand. The program would focus on equipping students with sound, lighting, and rigging skills, which could be used in performances, hotels, churches, theaters, and other related venues.
The College is also seeking partnerships with other area higher education institutions including Virginia Highlands Community College, King College, and East Tennessee State University.
The facility is the former H.P. King Building, which J. Allen Hurley, president of Vision, LLC and former CEO of Touchstone Wireless, purchased from the City of Bristol. Hurley, a Northeast State alumnus, has proceeded with plans to make the facility a downtown attraction. The building has multiple-sized venues for events and the 620 State Restaurant & Venue is located on the first floor.
“It’s a great day for Bristol, a great day for Northeast State, and a great day for the community, Hurley said. “If you’re working a full-time job 8-10 hours a day and you have to drive 40 minutes one way to get to class – and then get someone to watch the kids – it makes is hard to go back to school. Now, Northeast State at Bristol changes that and makes access to education easy and convenient for students in the area.”
Registration is now under way for summer sessions which begin June 4.
Classes for the full term (June 4 – Aug. 8) include Developmental Writing, Computer Applications, Learning Support Math 1, Learning Support Math 2, Learning Support Math 3, and Basic and Developmental Reading.
Classes for the first term (June 4 – July 3) include Composition I, U.S. History I, Introduction to Humanities I, and Fundamentals of Speech.
Classes for the second session (July 5 – Aug. 1) include Composition II, American Literature, U.S. History II, Intro to Humanities II, and General Psychology.
In addition, Northeast State at Bristol will host a Summer Institute for Entertainment Technology featuring bluegrass legend Doyle Lawson. Topics will include sound, lighting, production, and performance techniques. The institute is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on July 23, 24, and 25. For more information, call 423.354.5214.
For more information about the Northeast State at Bristol, visit www.Northeaststate.edu/Bristol or contact Dr. Keith Young, dean of Off Campus Programs and Services at 423.354.5237 or ckyoung@NortheastState.edu.
Calvert's legacy large at Northeast State
As a math major and former math professor, Linda Calvert knows numbers. And while the educational systems develop new delivery methods she also knows the critical piece of any student’s academic success is the relationship forged between teacher and student.
“The most important thing to being an effective teacher is to focus on teaching the student, rather than the subject” says Calvert, executive director of Grant Development Office at Northeast State. “Regardless of the new teaching methodologies, if you can connect with your students they will learn and love learning no matter what subject you teach.”
Calvert was one of 12 award winners honored in the YWCA's Tribute to Women 2013 for their work and dedication to making their region a better place. She was nominated for the award by Northeast State President Dr. Janice H. Gilliam. An out-of state-panel selected the recipients from a large group of nominees representing the fields of art, business, education and community service from communities and organizations based in Northeast Tennessee and Southwest Virginia. Calvert and her fellow winners were honored honored at the YWCA banquet on April 25.
Calvert changed her major from business to mathematics on the advice of a professor who saw her talents. She later added several course in secondary education. Her love for the education system was immediate.
“I really liked it,” she says. “I loved the educational component of learning and how that transfers to the students.”
Calvert spent time teaching middle school before moving into higher education. Her years in the classroom as a K-12 teacher, college instructor, administrator, and dean give her a broad insight on education.
“Middle school students just want to know the answer,” Calvert says with a laugh. “College students want to know how you arrived at the answer and how it is applicable to their field of study.”
Calvert earned her bachelor’s degree at the Mississippi University for Women and her master’s degree from the University of Tennessee at Knoxville. She taught middle school in Mississippi and Knoxville before moving on to teach college math at Pellissippi State Community College in Knoxville. She later became department chair of the Mathematics and Sciences Division at the College.
Her leadership qualities moved her into the role of department chair of Mathematics and Sciences at Pellissippi State. Her responsibilities included instructor, advisors, administrator and committee chairwoman. She also chaired the academic curriculum committee the year the College overhauled its entire academic system in preparation for the move to community college status. Calvert adds that the administrative role can be more challenging than the classroom.
“You have to listen to people and learn how to work with them, individually and as a group people,” she says. “When you can help them understand what is best for the college is also best for them, everything makes sense and everyone accepts their role in helping the student succeed.”
After nine years at Pellissippi, Calvert accepted a position as dean of the Liberal Arts academic division at Northeast State in 1989. Three major programs that are still a part of the College were instituted during her tenure: Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, The Honors Program, and Echoes and Images, the award winning literary magazine.
She was later named dean of Economic and Community Development/Community Education at Northeast State. She held that position until 2007 when she became director of College Access Programs (CAP).
During her time with CAP Calvert secured almost $2 million in grants from the Department of Labor and Workforce Investment Act program and Tennessee Higher Education College Access Challenge Grant programs. These programs paved the way for the development of the popular Camp College program designed to introduce students to the intricacies of college life.
In her new role, Calvert seeks to secure available federal and state grant money to fund programs at Northeast State. Her newest project involves securing grant funding for the Advanced Technologies and Business Technologies divisions. Both academic units will relocate into the Advanced Technologies Building to be constructed on the main campus at Blountville.
“We are in the process of pursing grant dollars for both programs now in preparation for the new building,” she says. “Hopefully, we intend to pursue grant funds to support our existing and new academic programs as the college continues to grow.”