Spilled Ink submission deadline is March 19

Volume 5 of Spilled Ink, Jackson State’s very own art and literature journal, is currently accepting submissions from all students, faculty, staff, and alumni. Submissions can include poems, short stories, self-contained novel chapters, memoirs, and any work of art that can be reproduced and submitted as a PDF.

To have your work included in this year’s publication, submissions should be emailed to Dr. Ryan Guth (rguth@jscc.edu) or Prof. Amanda Pugh (apugh@jscc.edu), by Friday, March 19, 2021.

Son Follows Mother in a Nursing Career

Cindy Roberson couldn’t be prouder as she watched her son, Jake, graduate with an Associate Degree in Nursing from Jackson State Community College in December 2019. She felt similar pride when Jake was named the 2020 Rookie of the Year by the West Tennessee Healthcare Emergency Department, where he works as a registered nurse.

She knows firsthand the hard work required to graduate from Jackson State’s nursing program and her son’s commitment to his job. Roberson was a member of Jackson State’s first nursing class in Fall 1990 and, after many years of working as a registered nurse and nurse practitioner, she is now an instructor in the college’s nursing program.

“To say I’m proud of what Jake has accomplished is an understatement,” Roberson said. “What really makes me happy is that he loves his job, and he’s really good at what he is doing.”

Both credit Jackson State’s nursing program for providing the foundation for their nursing careers.

Jake was considered a non-traditional student when he entered the program. He had worked in another career, was married, and had two children. His mother, who was already teaching at Jackson State, suggested he try the college’s nursing program. It was a good fit.

“I chose nursing because of my son,” Jake said. “When my son was born, he had complications at birth and for a few years after. During that time, we saw many nurses who took care of him and loved him. I thought to myself, ‘I want to be that nurse who cares for others in those scary times.’ ”

Cindy Roberson started taking courses at Jackson State in 1988. She had been studying at a four-year college when she decided to come back home because she missed her family.

She got involved in college activities. She was a basketball cheerleader, a member of Jackson State Singers, and the student representative to the Tennessee Board of Regents. As Miss Jackson State 1989, she represented the college in the Miss Tennessee Pageant.

“The school was smaller then,” she said. “I loved being there. I just got to do so many things that shaped my young adulthood in a positive way.”

She liked her science classes. When Jackson State started its nursing program, she applied and was accepted into the first class. It took her three instead of two years to complete the rigorous program because she married her husband, Brad, and then had a baby, Jake. The Robersons later had a daughter, Hope, who now works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service.

After graduation, Roberson worked ten years as an RN. She earned her bachelor’s degree in nursing by attending night classes at the University of Tennessee at Martin. Roberson then earned her master’s degree at the University of South Alabama and became a psychiatric nurse practitioner. She was working at Pathways when she was offered a faculty position at Jackson State seven years ago. “I came full circle,” she said.

She is part of a team of instructors; part of her role is to teach the mental health component. Though Jake was in her classroom, she was not involved in his clinical evaluations.

She recommends Jackson State for students interested in health care careers. “The focus here is student success,” Roberson said. “I can’t think of any faculty member here not invested in student success.”

The nursing program, which was challenging when she was a student, “is still challenging,” she said. “It’s not a walk in the park.”

Her son agrees: “For anyone considering Jackson State, I would say you are going to get a great education. You are going to get clinical experiences that you wouldn’t get at other schools, which ultimately prepare you better for your nursing career. You are going to be prepared for your NCLEX. There will be many long nights studying, but it will be worth it.”

Barron Hired as JSCC Vice President of Student Services

Dr. Kyle Barron has been named vice president for Student Services at Jackson State Community College. He comes to JSCC from Volunteer State Community College where he served as the Assistant Vice President in Student Services.

Barron is a first-generation college student and community college graduate. He said that perspective helps when considering what community college students need to succeed.

“Retention of students, in many different areas, will be a big focus for me,” Barron said. “That can come in the area of career. It helps when students know about job possibilities and how they can get there. I want to look at tailoring events to better engage students, so they stay with college and walk across that stage someday to get their diploma.”

Barron has an associate of arts degree from Richland College, a Bachelor of Applied Arts and Sciences degree from the University of North Texas, a Master of Education: Higher Education degree, also from the University of North Texas, and an EdD degree from the University of Kentucky.

Barron and his family will begin transitioning to Jackson with his first day on campus being March 1.

Jackson State Athletics provides update on start of basketball season and suspension of men’s basketball season

The Green Jays women’s basketball season began on Wednesday, January 27, with a 76-72 win at home against the Columbia State Chargers. While the women had a strong showing at the season opener, the men’s basketball team was absent from the usual two-game lineup.

The Jackson State athletics department notified teams within the Tennessee Community College Athletic Association (TCCAA) that the men’s basketball season has been suspended due to the available number of students available to participate. According to Steve Cornelison, JSCC Director of Athletics, the suspension is due to several factors related to the pandemic. “Some student-athletes have opted not to play due to health concerns,” stated Cornelison. “While we take every precaution, we also understand the concerns.”

The JSCC athletic program follows health screening protocols defined by the NCAA tier model. This model requires basketball student-athletes to be tested for the coronavirus two times per week in addition to pre-game screening protocols.

Cornelison states that he is proud of the basketball teams’ accomplishments and looks forward to a time when participation in and attendance at games can return to normal. While spectators are currently not allowed at sporting events, games are being live-streamed on the women’s basketball Facebook page at @JSCCWomensBasketball. He encourages fans to support the women’s team by tuning in to the live-streamed games and sharing their efforts through social media.

For the 2019-2020 season, the men’s basketball program finished the season 21-5 overall, with a 14-4 regular-season record and a second-place finish in the TCCAA. The Green Jays also finished as TCCAA and NJCAA Region VII Tournament Runners-up. Kavion Hancock and Radarious Washington were voted First-Team All-TCCAA. Hancock was also honored as NJCAA First-Team All-American, TCCAA Player of the Year, and TCCAA Offensive Player of the Year. Coach Deron Hines was voted TCCAA Co-Coach of the Year.

Fall 2020 Semester Honor Roll Announced

The Office of Admissions and Records at Jackson State Community College released the honor roll for the Fall 2020 semester. On the honor roll, there were 250 full-time students who achieved a quality point average over 3.00. There were 376 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 fall 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.

Mother of two excels at JSCC, finds life’s calling

When Anna Gonzales Smith graduated as a respiratory therapist from Jackson State Community College last summer, she had no problems finding a job.

For one thing, the married mother of two had the highest score on the first part of her respiratory care state board exam in the program’s 30-year history at Jackson State. She also graduated in the middle of a global pandemic when the need for respiratory therapists is high.

“Anna set lofty but attainable goals for herself and exceeded all of them,” said Christie Ward, assistant professor and clinical director of the respiratory care program. “She worked fulltime, balanced being a wife and also mom of a teenager and elementary-age child, and still maintained excellent grades. She was sought after by hospital employers because of her excellent clinical skills, positive attitude, and her strong work ethic.”

Like the other students in the program, Smith earned her associate of applied science degree in respiratory care over five semesters that included both classroom and clinical education. Besides her family responsibilities, she worked full-time at Fed Ex. She was also voted class president and helped the class raise money to make sure everyone in the class could pay for seminar costs.

“I love being a respiratory therapist,” said Smith, who is 33 years old. “Respiratory therapists treat all ages all over the hospital. We take care of patients in the scariest time of their lives.”

Smith attended Jackson State with financial assistance from the Tennessee Reconnect program for adults seeking a college or technical degree. She has a large extended family but can count on one hand the number of people in her family who have a college degree. She did, however, get her strong work ethic from her family.

A graduate of Milan High School, Smith started her college studies at Jackson State as she sought a degree in nursing. She dropped out of college when life’s “other obligations” got in the way, she said.

After working a few years as a nursing assistant and in admissions for West Tennessee Healthcare, she got a job at Fed Ex when her hospital closed. She was happy in her new career at Fed Ex, but she felt herself being called back into health care, and specifically to respiratory therapy because of family history and her own diagnosis of having asthma when she was a child.

One of her grandmothers has COPD. Another grandmother has tracheal stenosis. Her grandfather had problems getting off of a ventilator after open-heart surgery. Respiratory therapists were instrumental in helping her grandparents get better.

As she watched respiratory therapists wean her grandfather from the ventilator, Smith remembers thinking, “I want to know how I can be that person to help my grandad get off the ventilator. It’s hard to see people you love and care about not being able to breathe.”

She credits the help of her husband, Kyle, her family, and Jackson State for her new career. Today she has two jobs, working at both West Tennessee Healthcare and Henry County Medical Center. She’s called on to relieve overworked respiratory therapists at both hospitals.

“I feel like there is a reason why I am an RT,” Smith said. “I am doing what I should do for the rest of my life.”

She offers encouragement for older students considering college. “It doesn’t matter that I’m 33 years old. I’m a full-time wife and mother, and I am beginning a new career in the middle of a global pandemic. You can do it.”

Star Tree provides hope and opportunity for students

The Jackson State Community College Foundation offers its thanks to everyone who has provided support to our students over the years. The Foundation provides hope and opportunities for students to achieve a college education, build a bright future, and serve in their communities.

This year has been a challenging year for many of our students who have experienced an unforeseen financial hardship. Still, our students have remained committed to their educational goals and have worked hard to adjust to their new normal. In our commitment to our students’ academic and personal success, Jackson State Community College has created the “Star Tree” for 2020.

Your support is needed to create a brighter holiday for our students by donating to the Student Relief fund through the Jackson State Community College Foundation. All proceeds will go towards our students who are experiencing financial difficulties this holiday season. Gifts may be made online at http://www.jscc.edu/relief or mailed to Jackson State Community College at 2046 North Parkway, Jackson, TN 38301- checks should be payable to JSCC Foundation/ Student Relief. Email foundation@jscc.edu with any questions.

Student realizing dreams while overcoming adversity

When Raven Ferrell logged onto her first virtual college course at Jackson State Community College last August, she achieved a major goal in her life.

“I’ve always had dreams and goals in my life,” said the 28-year-old mother. “I always wanted to go to college.”

There were days in her life, however, when Ferrell didn’t think she would live past high school, let alone go to college and start a career. She’s a recovering drug addict and alcoholic who started on alcohol and pot when she was 13 and who was hooked on heroin by the time she graduated from Haywood County High School. She’s been in jail more times than she can count.

Ferrell started turning her life around three years ago because she was pregnant. Since early 2018, she’s been sober and drug-free. Her last time in jail was February 1, 2018. She went to rehab for a year and got her own apartment. She then got a job in admissions at Aspell Recovery Center’s Jackson campus.

Now she owns a house and she’s engaged to be married. Her son, Blayden, is two years old. And, with the support of new friends in her life, she started college at Jackson State this fall.

Ferrell, who is considered a non-traditional student, chose to attend Jackson State because of the Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship. With aid from other sources, her final financial aid package covers not only tuition but fees and books as well. The additional aid allowed her to purchase a laptop at the beginning of the semester, which would not have been possible with Reconnect alone.

When she logged in to her first class – English Comp 1 – in late August, she was apprehensive and fearful, worried about the unknown of college, that she wouldn’t succeed, that she would encounter another roadblock in her life.

She did well her first semester, however. “I just did everything I could to show gratitude for everyone who is rooting for me. So many have touched my life to help me. I am extremely grateful.”

Her plans are to get an associate degree and then a bachelor’s degree in social work. “I want to be a drug and alcohol counselor,” Ferrell said. “I love seeing families reunited. I want to be a part of that.”

Born in Brownsville, Ferrell moved often with her mother. They returned to Haywood County when she was a teenager. Alcoholism and drug addiction run in her family, she said, and it was family members who first introduced her to liquor and drugs.

Having a college degree and career would be more than a milestone in her life, she said. “It would be so great to say I have a career. Other than being a mother, reaching that goal would finally give me a purpose in life. I would have something constant and stable in my life. I’ve never had that. It’s a game-changer.”

Jackson State is currently recruiting for the spring semester, which begins January 19, 2021. The Tennessee Reconnect Scholarship is available to any Tennessee adult who has never completed a post-secondary credential. To learn more about the scholarship, to apply for college admission or to sign up for classes, call 425-2601 or visit jscc.edu/gotime. Jackson State has several resources to help non-traditional students earn a technical certification or a two-year associate degree.

Medical Laboratory Program receives successful review from accrediting body

Jackson State Community College’s Medical Laboratory Program is on track to retain its national accreditation status after a successful review from the National Accreditation Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences.

The national accrediting body’s review committee recently finished a virtual site visit, and the program received no recommendations for improvement or concerns.

Jackson State’s Medical Laboratory Program began in 1969 and is the oldest in the country. For the past 30 years, almost all of its graduates have passed their licensure and certification exams on the first attempt – their averages on exit exams are well above state and national averages.

“We’ve always felt like we’ve had the best program in Tennessee,” said Medical Laboratory Program Director Pete O’Brien. “Nationally, I think we’re as good as anybody.”

The program teaches students to hunt for clues about the absence, presence, extent, and causes of diseases. A medical laboratory scientist performs general tests in all laboratory areas and works under the supervision of a medical technologist.

Their testing plays a crucial role in the detection, diagnosis, and treatment of diseases, as well as monitoring and maintaining patient health. In fact, about 75 percent of all medical diagnostic and treatment decisions are based on the testing performed by laboratory science professionals.

Medical laboratory technicians perform tests on blood and other body fluids using analytical procedures and state-of-the-art-instrumentation. They identify microorganisms that cause disease and detect blood cell abnormalities, such as anemia and leukemia, as well as blood-clotting disorders and blood compatibilities for transfusions. They also quantify compounds such as glucose, protein, cholesterol, and specific medications.

Open enrollment for winter & spring terms to begin November 30

Open enrollment for the winter and spring terms begins Monday, November 30. The monthlong winter term begins December 14; the spring term begins January 19. Currently enrolled students should contact the registration center at 731-425-9560 or jsccadvising@jscc.edu for any assistance with the process.

New students must apply for admission. This process can be accomplished quickly, but students requiring financial aid should allow for sufficient time to file the FAFSA. JSCC recruiters are here to help you through the admissions process! Call 731-425-2601 or email recruiting@jscc.edu. Information about the spring semester, admissions, and registration can be found at www.jscc.edu/gotime.