JSCC faculty release the Honors Program Reading Recommendations

Now an annual tradition, the honors program of Jackson State Community College publishes a list of faculty-recommended books for students, staff, and peers to read over the summer break. This year’s list is made up of 25 selections.

A special reception was hosted by the honors program Wednesday morning, April 24 in the library. A number of students, faculty, and staff come together to review the books and talk about their favorite reads.

“The ‘Honors Program Summer Reading Recommendations’ was created as a not so subtle way to encourage students to read more books,” said Dr. Bob Raines, honors program coordinator. “We believe reading can be a profoundly enriching experience, a worthwhile leisure activity, and a valid way to pursue knowledge and understanding about our physical, social, and psychological worlds.”

The list is compiled at the beginning of the spring semester with faculty members submitting their recommendations. Copies of all books on the list are purchased by the JSCC library and are available to be checked out. See the 2019 Reading List.

“This is an interesting way to get to know more about our colleagues by having a window into their reading preferences,” said Raines. “It has become my go-to list when I am looking for the next book to read.”

2019 Recommended Summer Reading List

Dr. Raines
The Overstory, by Richard Powers

Professor Hickey
Educated: A Memoir, by Tara Westover

Professor Cornelison
The Threat, by Andrew McCabe

Professor Lawrence
The Perfectionist, by Simon Winchester

Professor Woods
The Sixth Extinction: An Unnatural History Paperback, by Elizabeth Kolbert

Professor Fore
The Worst Hard Times, by Timothy Egan

Dean Camp
Washington Black, by Esi Edugyan

Professor Lackey
When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron

Professor Sellars
Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter, by Tom Franklin

Professor Rafalowski
On Reading Well, by Karen Swallow Prior

Professor Prater
Melmoth, by Sarah Perry

Dr. Mayo
Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, by Yuval Noah Harari

Dr. Esquivel
To the Lighthouse, by Virginia Woolf

Professor Mayo
Poachers, by Tom Franklin

Adjunct Professor Shull
The Calculating Stars, by Mary Robinette Kowal

Dr. Hamilton
Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff…and It’s All Small Stuff, by Richard Carlson

Dr. Ashbaugh
The Coddling of the American Mind, by Greg Lukianoff

Dean Youngerman
Joe Pickett, by CJ Box

Professor Kappel
Soccer in Sun and Shadow, by Eduardo Galeano

Professor Franklin
The Unvanquished, by William Faulkner

Professor Baker
The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks

Professor Rawso
Limbo, by Alfred Lubrano

Dr. Smith
Pompeii, by Robert Harris

Dr. Kelley
Separate: The story of Plessy v. Ferguson, by Steve Luxenberg

Professor Sweet
Giraffes on Horseback Salad, by Josh Frank

May 30 application deadline for TN Reconnect scholarship

The application deadline to apply for the Tennessee Reconnect scholarship for the summer 2019 semester is May 30. The popular college scholarship for adults to return to college tuition-free is entering its third year.

Tennessee Reconnect is a last-dollar scholarship that pays for any remaining tuition dollars once all other federal aid has been applied. The Reconnect scholarship is for any Tennessee adult age 24 and older who have never completed a post-secondary credential. The scholarship can be used at any community college or technical college that grants associate degrees or certificates.

To learn more about opportunities at Jackson State Community College and to apply for the Tennessee Reconnect scholarship, visit www.jscc.edu/reconnect or call 731-425-2601.

JSCC leads area in computer information technology and cyber defense

The Cyber Defense Program at Jackson State Community College is the only community college program in Tennessee to be certified as a National Center of Academic Excellence by the U.S. National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security.

The designation puts Jackson State among an elite group of institutions across the country offering computer information technology courses that meet rigorous federal standards and sets graduating students apart from others, said Dr. Tom Pigg, Jackson State’s Dean of Health Sciences and Computer Information Technology.

“It is very unique that we’ve been able to develop and offer a program of this magnitude that fills a current demand to defend our cyber infrastructure,” said Dr. Pigg. “Not many colleges can say that.”

Graduates often find work protecting national security information systems, commercial networks and critical information infrastructure in both the private and public sectors.

Students in the program get a good, solid understanding of computer technology and cyber defense systems, Dr. Pigg explained. “They must first understand the inner workings of the infrastructure and then they learn how to defend it. We are doing it at such a level of detail that we are getting national recognition.”

For example, Jackson State was one of only a handful of community colleges in the country that participated in the initial pilot of a prestigious scholarship program, CyberCorps Scholarship for Service. Students received scholarships that paid for most, if not all, of their education in return for service to a government agency like the FBI or CIA.

Jackson State also has partnered with Cisco Systems, a national manufacturer of network infrastructure hardware, to be one of Cisco’s academic support centers. With a curriculum created by Cisco, Jackson State trains teachers at other high schools and colleges.

“We are the only program in Tennessee accredited to teach the instructors,” Dr. Pigg said.

Jackson State continues to expand what it offers in the cyber defense program. A new Cyber Security Technical Certificate allows students to be certified as they work towards an associate degree.

Jackson State’s leadership and growth in its cybersecurity program come at a time when the United States is facing a critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals and educators in all sectors. Some estimates place the national shortfall at more than 250,000 in 2020.

In a whitepaper written about the importance of the Cyber Center of Excellence Program and the need for more colleges like Jackson State to participate in the program, the National Security Agency said, “Developing and maintaining this workforce for national and homeland security is particularly difficult. The shortage of these professionals has impacted every critical infrastructure sector and specifically national security. Our adversaries are investing in not only cyber defense, but also developing the cyber warriors and offense capabilities.”

For more information, visit Jackson State’s Cyber Security Center website at www.jscc.edu/cybercenter.

Student Leaders Represent Jackson State at TBR’s Day on the Hill in Nashville

Jackson State SGA vice president Amanda Jones and representative Shiloh Coleman, as well as vice president for student services Brian Gann, traveled to Nashville for the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) Day on the Hill in March.

The annual spring event invites student leaders representing community and technical colleges from across the state to Capitol Hill in Nashville. There they have the opportunity to meet with members of the state legislature to discuss their higher education experiences, attend important committee meetings, and network with students from other parts of Tennessee.

“Opportunities such as Day on the Hill can provide students with an up-close look at public service and the important role of their college in the state,” said Gann. “It provides a greater level of exposure to the legislative process and can show students a pathway for leadership opportunities in their communities and their state.”

Jones and Coleman were able to meet 24th district state senator John Stevens to discuss higher education in Jackson State’s service area. “I don’t think there could have been a better person to interact with,” said Coleman, a psychology major with a minor in social work. Of the representatives she met, Coleman added, “They really take into consideration the needs of their people and the communities they serve.”

Both students remarked on the warm, engaging, and extremely respectful environment. “Everybody was smiling,” said Jones, a general studies major with an interest in fashion merchandising. “We had the chance to meet these people and realize that they are just people like you and me.”

“This experience made us realize we have a lot of great things happening at Jackson State,” said Jones, who stated she and Coleman brought back some ideas to improve the student club and organization experience at Jackson State. Looking ahead, she said, “I hope that all SGA members can attend in the future, and maybe some of our Criminal Justice majors as well.”

Aside from being a great item to put on a resume, Gann said, “Ultimately, we want students to walk away more knowledgeable and more interested in public service.” Coleman echoed this, adding the importance of the people we elect locally. She stated, “We are all here building one big community. We are our community.”

Employees from bookstore encourage each other to enroll at Jackson State

A group of employees from Jackson’s Books-A-Million retail store worked together to enroll in the fall 2018 semester at Jackson State. Coworkers Emily Allen and Eric Morris cited Tennessee Reconnect as the tipping point for the group to begin the enrollment process, and at least four coworkers plan to use it to further their education.

Tennessee Reconnect is a state-wide initiative that provides tuition-free education for an Associate’s degree or technical certificate to adult learners who are at least 24 years of age and have not previously earned a degree or certificate, among other eligibility requirements. Fall 2018 marked the official launch of Reconnect and saw soaring enrollment from eligible students; Jackson State saw a Reconnect-eligible student enrollment increase of almost 28%, more than 10% above the state-wide average.

Morris, an English major, said when he first heard about Reconnect, he thought it might be too good to be true. After a chance conversation with a customer–one who happened to be a professor at Jackson State–he realized he was potentially eligible to use Reconnect dollars to go to school, and he began encouraging his fellow employees to do the same. Besides the benefits of Reconnect and other types of aid, Allen, also an English major, says her decision to come back was part of a larger plan. “It’s a good stepping stone to move forward while staying close to home.”

The sudden adult population surge, fueled by Reconnect, brought a new layer of diversity to the Jackson State campus. Allen says she initially felt nervous about coming back to school with a population of students around high school age, but states that she has felt welcome in her classes. Associate English Professor Tony Rafalowski says he has noticed positive engagement in classes with more adult students. “It tends to elevate the room in terms of discussion and instruction.” Morris agreed, stating, “We are here for a purpose, and it changes the tone of the class.”

Allen says she is close to graduation and wants to go on to a four-year institution to become a writer. Morris, an aspiring English professor, says this opportunity has allowed him to receive a ripple effect of benefits that will carry over to his next institution. As a member of Phi Theta Kappa (PTK), he may be eligible for PTK specific scholarships as well as institutional transfer scholarships. “You get this opportunity, and if you put work into it you can get scholarships to move on,” he says, adding that anyone can benefit from going back to finish a degree. “They’ve taken all the excuses away. If you’ve been thinking about going to school, just go for it.”

Go to www.jscc.edu/reconnect to learn more about TN Reconnect, including eligibility requirements and how to get started tuition-free today!

Innovation spring concert set for April 25

Innovation, Jackson State Community College’s choral ensemble, will perform at its spring concert on Thursday, April 25. The free community concert will be held at 6:30 p.m. in the McWherter Center’s Ayers Auditorium on the college’s main campus.

The ensemble will be performing a Les Miserables medley, African folk music, and vocal jazz.

Innovation performs winter and spring concerts on the JSCC campus every year, but their performances around the community are quite extensive throughout the year. There are typically 6 to 12 performances a semester through Jackson and West Tennessee. Innovation has performed at the National Music Educator’s Conference, the Keynote Arts Collegiate Show Choir Invitational and in Carnegie Hall with the National Honor Choir.

Jackson State’s Innovation Ensemble is a diverse group of singers from across West Tennessee. They perform frequently for community events and have a repertoire ranging from traditional choral music and anthems to Motown, vocal jazz, and doo-wop.

Membership to the ensemble is granted through a competitive audition selection process. Once accepted, Innovation members receive a full scholarship to JSCC minus fees and up to $300 for books based on the number of credit hours taken.

Anyone interested in auditioning for Innovation should contact Esther Gray Lemus, director. Call 731-695-6280 or email egray5@jscc.edu to set up an appointment to audition.

JSCC RCT team competes in state Sputum Bowl

Jackson State Community College’s Respiratory Care Technology program recently competed in the Sputum Bowl on Monday, April 1. This is a competition that is held as a part of the Tennessee Society for Respiratory Care annual conference. This year’s conference was held in Gatlinburg.

The first class of the newly reestablished program will graduate this August. The JSCC team competed against other teams that will graduate this May. Team members representing JSCC were Chad Durham, Taylor Harris, and Teara Bearden with Samantha Penzol as the alternate.

In the two rounds, JSCC defeated Columbia State and Walters State, respectively. Walters State has won the sputum bowl for 8 consecutive years. The team fell to Volunteer State in the third round by only one question. Cathy Garner and Christie Ward are “beyond proud” for the accomplishment of their students.

Jim Swope Softball Field dedicated

Jackson State Community College faculty and staff along with current and former softball players came together Friday, April 5, to honor the long-time coach, Jim Swope, who established and fostered the growth of the program in its early years.

Coach Jim Swope began his coaching career at JSCC on July 1, 1968, as the head coach of the women’s basketball team. He began coaching the softball program in 1995.

Kim Cunningham was on the first softball team for JSCC and pitched the first game. She and other teammates were present for the event. Cunningham recalled Swope’s patience with the team of girls. The coach used to transport the team to games all over the state in a passenger van.

Many fond memories were shared by others such as Dr. Walter Nelms, JSCC’s second president, and Coach Steve Cornelison, JSCC’s current athletic director.

Coach Swope’s career at Jackson State included women’s head basketball coach, physical education instructor, chairman of the Department of Education and Physical Education, and athletic director. Swope retired in 2007 after 42 years of teaching and coaching. He continued teaching at JSCC as an adjunct professor through the spring of 2011.

Photos from the event can be seen at: https://flic.kr/s/aHsmbq28Nn