JSCC Innovation choral ensemble to perform holiday concert

Innovation, Jackson State Community College’s choral group, will perform its holiday concert on Tuesday, December 4. The performance will begin at 6 p.m. in Ayers Auditorium of the McWherter Center on the college’s main campus. The event is free and open to the public.

Now an annual tradition, the event has made strides to help others by raising funds and awareness for the JSCC Nest (formerly the food pantry). In addition to providing food to students in need, Jackson State’s Nest also provides an emergency relief fund that supports students in need. The Nest also makes other essentials available such as clothing, personal hygiene products, and gas cards.

While admission is free, donations to the JSCC Nest are suggested. Most people attending this event either bring items for the pantry or make a monetary donation.

The Nest serves many students over the course of a year. Anyone can contribute to the food pantry year-round. Contact Student Services at 731-425-8820 to make a donation.

First female AMT student at JSCC determined to break stereotypes

A married mother of two young children, Asia Ricketts is not your typical student in Jackson State Community College’s Advanced Maintenance Technician (AMT) Co-op.

The 26-year-old Huntingdon resident, however, has embraced the program. She attends classes two days a week at Jackson State and learns hands-on experience while working three days a week as a co-op employee at Toyota Bodine in Jackson.

“I like to fix things,” Ricketts said. “I like manufacturing work. It offers stability, a good salary, and great benefits – especially for our area.”

As a co-op employee, Ricketts is making about $12 an hour. Within two to three years after she graduates and continues to increase her skills, she has the potential to be earning more than $28 an hour, said Jason Bates, Toyota Bodine plant administrator.

The AMT Co-op – a partnership between Jackson State and 28 area manufacturers – helps local industry fill an important need for advanced maintenance personnel, said Cathi Roberts, the program’s completion coordinator.

“To be in the AMT co-op, one must apply, interview, and be hired by one of the manufacturers in the consortium,” she explained. “The co-op, which is part of JSCC’s accredited Engineering System’s Program, is providing a cutting-edge curriculum. It offers employers peace of mind when filling maintenance positions because the employers know they are getting a quality employee who has real-life experience.”

Students in the AMT co-op also learn soft skills, such as team building and interpersonal skills, Roberts said.

Ricketts, who began courses in August, went through the interview and selection process last May.

Bates and Darrel Johansen, Toyota Bodine equipment maintenance group leader, were impressed. “She hit the ground running,” Johansen said. “She has a positive attitude and strong work ethic.”

Roberts agreed. “Asia is an outstanding student and leader. She has earned the respect of not only her professors and employer but also the students.”

A maintenance technician at Toyota Bodine is multi-skilled, Bates said. On any given day, Ricketts will troubleshoot equipment in hydraulics, robotics, electrical or other areas.

Ricketts is attending Jackson State on a PELL grant. (For students who don’t qualify for a PELL grant, Tennessee offers adults who return to school for a degree or certificate two years of free tuition at a community college or technical school through Tennessee Reconnect.)

The road for Ricketts to become a full-time team employee at Toyota Bodine starts with completing her co-op requirements and graduating in two years with an associate of applied science degree in Engineering Systems.

Then, after passing a test given by Toyota Bodine, she’ll be hired for a six-month internship at the engine block manufacturer where she will continue to increase her skills.

Getting the offer of a full-time job depends on openings at the plant, Bates said, “but we’ve always had an opening.” In fact, Toyota Bodine currently has four positions open for maintenance technicians. By 2020, Bates estimates there will be three million tech positions across the country that can’t be filled.

The AMT co-op students, who are encouraged to tell their friends and former classmates about the AMT co-op, do a great job of recruiting, Roberts said. “We have found that the most difficult group of people to convince that manufacturing is a viable and lucrative career is parents.” They change their minds, however, after they learn more about the opportunities, she said.

As the first and only woman so far in the AMT co-op, Ricketts is fighting the perception that manufacturing maintenance is for men only – it’s too hard for women to do.

“It’s always been said that it’s a man’s world in the factory,” Ricketts said. “But that’s not true anymore. It’s not as physically strenuous as some people think. Women bring different ideas to the table; we think about things differently. My hope is that other women see they can do this, too.”

Study Abroad Scholarship Opportunity at JSCC

The application deadline for the study abroad program at JSCC is quickly approaching. This is a tremendous opportunity to apply for a scholarship that will pay for much of the expense involved for JSCC students to complete coursework in locations around the world including Europe, Asia, South America Eastern Europe, and many more locations.

There are many reasons to consider studying abroad!

  • Experiencing personal growth
  • Developing leadership skills
  • Creating global awareness
  • Enhancing academic learning
  • Learning about another culture
  • Advancing your career

JSCC participates in a study abroad program through TnCIS along with other Tennessee community colleges. All of the programs take place in the summer between May 5 through the end of July. Most of these programs last three weeks.

Interested students should talk with their advisors about how a course abroad might fit into their degree plan.

TnCIS (www.tncis.org) Application Deadlines:

  • Dec. 3 Application EARLY deadline
  • Feb. 11 Application regular deadline

For more information, please email: studyabroad@jscc.edu

View the study abroad video: https://youtu.be/o8102WM4e5c



JSCC student presents paper at TCA conference in Nashville

Jackson State Community College student Natalie Coffman presented a paper at the Tennessee Communication Association’s (TCA) annual conference at Nashville State Community College in September. This is a conference attended by both 4-year and 2-year colleges from across the state. Natalie was the only community college student whose paper was accepted for presentation at the conference.

The paper that Coffman presented at the conference, “The Voice of Impression Management,” was a project she had originally undertaken for her honors speech class during the spring semester at Jackson State. Speech professor Abby Lackey recommended that she submit the project for an undergraduate presentation at the TCA conference.

For the TCA submission, Coffman created a case study for “The Voice of Impression Management.” This project studied the ability to hear and its impact on a person’s speech. She conducted additional research and wrote countless drafts before finally submitting the paper to TCA at the end of the spring semester.

According to Coffman, the subject for her project came about during a long car ride with her mother. “I brought some earbuds with me to listen to music in the car, and halfway through the drive, my mom turned and asked me a question,” said Coffman. “Without turning my music down or taking my earbuds out, I replied. Realizing I had no idea what I sounded like in my response, I was struck with a question: When humans can hear themselves, do they construct the sound of their voices based on the desire to sound a certain way?”

“This was a very rewarding experience,” explained Coffman. “Everyone was so supportive and asked engaging questions that enhanced interest in the room made the whole experience even more meaningful.”

Natalie came to JSCC as a graduate of Madison Academic Magnet High School in Jackson. She is majoring in Psychology, but her plans are to transfer to either Lipscomb University or MTSU to receive a bachelor’s degree in elementary education or early childhood education.

“I have had a strong desire to be a teacher for much of my life,” said Coffman, “and as I have grown, I have developed a love for kindergarten students. Their eagerness for learning and ability to absorb information fills my heart with joy and is exactly what I desire to be surrounded by as a teacher.”

Natalie is no stranger on the Jackson State campus. Since coming to JSCC, Natalie has been very active by assuming the role as SGA president. She is also the SGA Representative and Social Media Officer for the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, a member of the Creative Writing Club, Drama Society, and JSCC’s vocal ensemble, Innovation.

Respiratory Care Program to host information sessions

The Respiratory Care Program at Jackson State Community College will host two information sessions on Thursday, November 15 from 1 to 2 p.m. and 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. The sessions will be held in room 136 of the Jim and Janet Ayers Center for Health Sciences on the college’s main campus at 2046 North Parkway.

There are many opportunities for licensed respiratory therapists. Nationally, employment for respiratory therapists is expected to grow by 12 percent from 2014 to 2024, which is faster than the average for all occupations, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“Here in West Tennessee, we are seeing a great demand for respiratory care therapists, and there is no other program in West Tennessee outside of Shelby County,” said Cathy Garner, program director. “After graduation, our students will take a national exam, and then they will get a job.”

Respiratory therapists focus on patients with breathing difficulties, from newborns with underdeveloped lungs to elderly patients with a chronic disease like emphysema. There are many specialties respiratory therapists can pursue, such as critical care, home care, case management, pulmonary rehabilitation, pulmonary diagnostics, sleep medicine, and surface and air transport. The work environment is often fast and fluid, Garner said.

“We work under the direction of a physician, and we provide an assessment of a patient to determine the kind of therapy a patient needs,” Garner said. “We focus on the cardiopulmonary system – any patient having any difficulties related to the lungs.”

Respiratory therapists work with mechanical ventilators and artificial airways, respond to code-blue resuscitative efforts and can be found treating patients from the front door of the hospital to the back, Garner said. Students who want to pursue a medical career but want an alternative to nursing should consider the program.

“If they are someone who is interested in bedside patient care but doesn’t want to be a nurse, this is the field they should really investigate.”

Anyone wanting to learn more about respiratory care as a career is encouraged to visit www.jscc.edu/rc. The deadline to apply for spring 2019 is December 1.

For questions about the respiratory care program or for questions about the information sessions, contact Cathy Garner at cgarner@jscc.edu or 731-424-3520 ext. 50372.

Jackson State Community College provides accessible learning opportunities that enhance the lives of individuals, strengthen the workforce and empower the diverse communities of West Tennessee. The institution offers traditional and contemporary associate degrees, certificates, continuing education and enrichment, and college-readiness programs. For more information, visit jscc.edu.