Local DJ reconnects with education at JSCC

Gary Bills – known to many as G Billa on Hot 96.1 and 96 KIX – wanted to be flexible and keep his career options open with a college degree.

He entered Jackson State Community College through the Tennessee Reconnect program – an initiative to help adults return to higher education to gain new skills, earn a technical certificate or associate degree, and advance in the workplace. It pays the remaining balance of tuition and mandatory fees after other state and federal financial aid have been applied.

Despite being a popular DJ and radio personality, Bills decided to earn an associate degree in mass communication, which he completed this past spring.

He said he loved the experience and would recommend Jackson State to anybody.

“It’s more family-oriented than any other school I’ve gone to,” Bills said. “They make you feel like family. They make you feel wanted.”

After working for several years in the restaurant industry, Bills joined Thomas Media in 2011. He wasn’t on air until 2016 because he wasn’t looking to work in radio. He is a hip-hop artist who visited the station often in an effort to get his music played.

His persistence paid off when longtime DJ Radio Rasheed invited him to be an intern with some other students. He stuck around, became a part-time board operator, and worked his way up while he worked other jobs to make ends meet. One day another DJ quit, and G Billa got his shot.

Today, Bills is on Hot 96.1 weekdays from noon to 6 p.m. and 96 KIX from 7 to 10 p.m. He’s also available for events and promotions. He is a significant influencer for hip hop fans in Jackson, and his time is dominated by his job.

He said he got discouraged trying to determine how to return to school while working. However, the Tennessee Reconnect program and Recruitment Coordinator Paula Fuller took the burden off and helped the process run smoothly. And, he spoke highly of teachers like Elaine Walker, Kim Warren-Cox, and Abby Lackey, who taught him important career skills he knew he would use.

“You couldn’t have put a better core of teachers together,” he said. “If anybody took those teachers, they would love them.”

Spring 2021 Semester Honor Roll Announced

The Office of Admissions and Records at Jackson State Community College released the honor roll for the Spring 2021 semester. On the honor roll, there were 236 full-time students who achieved a quality point average over 3.00. There were 282 students who made the dean’s list by achieving a quality point average of 3.50 or better.

The administration of Jackson State Community College congratulates its students from the spring semester who achieved honor roll or dean’s list status for the term. The semester and past year have been particularly challenging requiring students to make the necessary adjustments to be successful. Again, congratulations and thank you for your hard work and perseverance.

Honor Roll is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work (Learning Support excluded) and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.00 and 3.49.

Dean’s List is reserved for students who are enrolled for twelve (12) or more hours of college-level work and who complete a semester’s work with a quality point average between 3.50 and 4.00.

JSCC provides fiber optics training to local utilities, tech companies

Technicians from Jackson Energy Authority and Gibson Connect attended a 5-day fiber optics certification class at Jackson State Community College June 14-18. Attendees were taught the skills needed to build, test, troubleshoot, install, and repair fiber optic networks. Jackson State contracted with BDI DataLynk to lead this specialized training event.

The training from the class prepares attendees to sit for the CFOT (Certified Fiber Optics Technician), the CFOS/T (Certified Fiber Optics Testing & Maintenance Specialist), and the CFOS/S (Certified Fiber Optics Splicing Specialist) exams. At the end of the week of training, each participant earned all three of the nationally recognized certifications.

Due to the need and demand for extending broadband internet access to rural communities across West Tennessee, JSCC will offer additional training opportunities. The next certification class is scheduled for November 1-5. To learn more email workforce@jscc.edu.

Green Jays Softball Camp at JSCC

The Jackson State Community College athletics program will host three softball camps this summer on the Jim Swope Field. There will be camps for ages six through current college students.

Head softball coach Taylor Schubert says attendees will “experience what we do in college to evaluate our student-athletes as well as participate in game-like scenarios.” The camps will focus on the fundamental development of the game as well as coaching campers on how to improve in the areas of fielding, agilities, and hitting.

Schubert notes that the 9th grade to college age group will focus more on games and scrimmages with coaching to improve techniques.

Dates and times for the camps:

Ages 6-12
Wednesday, July 14
9 a.m. to noon
$30 per camper
Registration form: www.jscc.edu/softball714

Ages 8th Grade – 12th Grade
Tuesday, July 13
9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
$65 per camper
Registration form: www.jscc.edu/softball713

Ages 9th Grade – Current College Students
Thursday, July 15
9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.
$65 per camper
Registration form: www.jscc.edu/softball715

For questions or additional information, contact Coach Taylor Schubert at 731-424-3520 ext. 50215 or tschubert@jscc.edu.

Adrian Montague selected for Maxine Smith Fellows Program

Adrian Montague, Jackson State Community College admissions officer and recruiter, is among thirteen faculty and staff members from the College System of Tennessee’s 21 colleges and universities statewide selected to participate in the 2021-22 Class of the Maxine Smith Fellows Program. This is the program’s 15th cohort.

Adrian has been with JSCC for one and a half years as an admissions officer. During that time, he has demonstrated a passion and dedication for helping students. As a former captain of the U.S. Army who successfully completed three combat tours to Iraq and Afghanistan, Adrian sees himself eventually serving the college in higher leadership roles.

The Maxine Smith Fellows Program provides professional development, training, and advancement opportunities for participants from traditionally underrepresented groups at the College System of Tennessee, governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR), and the state’s locally governed public universities. Members meet monthly for a year, starting this month.

In addition to the professional development of the class members, the program stimulates increased collaboration among institutions, the development of a statewide network for program participants, and an overall increase in the diversity of ideas, thoughts, and experiences within senior leadership ranks at Tennessee public higher education institutions.

“Maxine Smith Fellows alumni have advanced to senior leadership positions, including seven Fellows who have gone on to serve as presidents at colleges and universities in Tennessee and in other states. Many of them have said that the Maxine Smith Fellows experience contributed to their success,” said Dr. Wendy J. Thompson, TBR vice chancellor for organizational effectiveness and Maxine Smith Fellows program administrator.

JSCC hosts baseball camp

For the first time in a number of years, JSCC hosted a baseball camp for kids ages 6 to 12. The response was great with 55 campers attending on the first day.

Green Jays baseball players and Head Coach Michael Winders instructed attendees on skills such as batting, fly balls, fielding, and much more during the three-day camp. Attendees were separated into age groups and paired with players of similar skill levels.

Due to the success of the camp, Coach Winders is planning for another camp later this summer for ages 13 and up. Information will be posted when details are finalized. Winders can be reached at cwinders@jscc.edu or 731-424-3520 ext. 50239.

Rutherford student receives solid foundation at JSCC

Deonte Watson is off to Nashville to job-shadow for an Allstate insurance agent after earning a bachelor’s degree in business management at UT Martin. After he receives his license and learns the ropes, he wants to start his own independent agency one day.

It’s a years-long pursuit that required hard work and was nourished by the academic environment at Jackson State Community College, where he enrolled in 2016. His ACT score of 15 made him ineligible for four-year colleges, and he needed a solid start at a community college after graduating from Gibson County High School.

Watson, a resident of Rutherford, said the culture at Jackson State helped him succeed, and he ultimately transferred to UT Martin to finish his degree. He credits faculty members, such as Dr. Liz Mayo, Dr. Billy Wesson and Dr. Andrew Kelley, among others, who made him feel at home.

“As a student, I felt great,” Watson said. “I was really comfortable there. Jackson State really prepared me well.”

He joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Chi Omicron Chapter at Jackson State – which, as a 5-Star chapter, enjoys the highest rating the organization bestows. He helped the group win first place at the organization’s regional competition in Nashville in 2018.

Watson was a history major at Jackson State but switched to business management at UT Martin because he wanted a degree that he thought was more versatile. Transitioning to a four-year school and a different major was difficult, he said, but the education he received at Jackson State gave him the tools to do it.

He said it was a great option for him to continue his education after high school. And now, he’s ready for a new career.

“If you’re considering Jackson State, go ahead,” he said. “It’s one of the community colleges I’d recommend to anybody. Know that there is family there outside of your immediate family.”

RADT extends application deadline to June 15

Jackson State Community College’s Radiologic Technology program has extended its application deadline to Tuesday, June 15. Students accepted will begin the program in the fall semester on August 23.

Jackson State’s Radiologic Technology program offers the opportunity for students to gain the knowledge and skills necessary to perform entry-level, medical radiography or diagnostic x-ray technology. When students have completed the basic requirements to become registered radiographers, they have a marketable skill in the ability to produce diagnostic images utilizing conventional x-ray technology, and many avenues for further education and advancement are opened.

To learn more and to apply, visit jscc.edu/rt or call 731-424-3520 ext. 50300.