History Bowl showdown features trivia from Civil War to Great Depression

by Mackenzie Border// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College will host the first History Bowl Wednesday, March 25, in the Rochelle Center from 11:15a.m. – 12:10p.m.
“The planning began in early February. I was picked, but I was happy to participate,” said Dr. Merritt McKinney, instructor of History and director of the Honors Program.
Professor Peter Johnson, instructor of History, was asked how the event came to be, and said, “My SI [Supplemental Instructor],

Jennifer Wooden, came up with the idea and she presented it to me and asked if this was a good idea. I think it’s great. Give her all the credit for this one.”
“I actually had be wanting to do a History Bowl for some time, but the timing was never right,” said Wooden, SI leader for Johnson’s History classes.
“It was this semester that I decided to pursue the idea further and Mrs. Toni Murad, coordinator of SI, agreed that it would be something we as a department could make happen.
“Once the idea took off, I asked Professor Johnson and Dr. McKinney if they would like to participate, and they agreed it was something that would be fun and a good idea,” continued Wooden.
Johnson also revealed information regarding the topic and format, saying, “The questions will cover a period of American history from the end of the Civil War through the Great Depression.
“There will be the following categories: Reconstruction, Industrial Age, Populism/Progressivism, Imperialism/Spanish-American War, WWI, 1920s and Great Depression.
“Most of the questions will be single answer questions rather than discussion questions.  Professor David Fuqua [assistant professor of Economics] will be the moderator and will ask the questions.
“There will be buzzers for the students to hit which will determine who was the first to respond and if the answer is incorrect, the other team will be given opportunity to answer,” said Johnson.
“The showdown will be fun and entertaining, but will also be steeped in historical facts which will make it educational at the same time.
“The students of both of these professors are being taught by the best in my opinion, and it should be a great match. Everyone who comes out to watch as well as those who are participating should walk away with something new,” said Wooden.

“I’m looking forward to the event. If it’s a success, it could become a tradition every semester,” said McKinney.
Johnson even gave his opinion on how it will turn out, saying, “I am confident the best team will win. Of course I think that will be my team – The History Pickers. All I can say is, watch out, Dr. McKinney, the Pickers are coming!”

Math and Science Expo to encourage attendees to have interest in those fields

by Brittney Mace// Assistant Editor

Volunteer State Community College will be hosting its annual Science and Math Expo on Thursday, March 26, from 2:30 – 6 p.m.
The event is open to Sumner County children in K-8, and their families, who want to learn about Science and Math.
Parris Powers, associate professor of Chemistry, has been a coordinator of the Expo since its conception 14 years ago.
“The Science and Math Expo is a community outreach that is sponsored by the Math and Science Division and is primarily directed by our science students and math students.
“They work in groups of two, three and four and develop and present hands on activities in the science and the math disciplines,” said Powers.
Powers said the attendance is usually between 300 and 500 community children, but it really depends on the weather.
“Most years we’ve had really good weather and there’s been a few years where we’ve had some rain and weather issues, but that usually doesn’t dampen the turn out too much but the better the day is, the better our attendance,” said Powers.
Dr. Glenn McCombs, instructor of Biology, is also a coordinator of the event.
“We love to host the Expo because it offers a fun way to learn and the whole family can enjoy it all for free. It is a great informal way to connect our community to our Vol State students through their service learning efforts,” said McCombs.
“Most of the activities are primarily in [the Wallace] building. We’ll have up to 50 hands-on activities in our two chemistry labs and three lecture rooms.
“We’ll have some activities outside and we also have the Fisk Vanderbilt planetarium in the gym,” said Powers.
McCombs said that for someone who has been in Science education for more than 20 years, the question of why it is important for young people to learn about Science and Math, is a big one.
“It is most important that young people use their time in and out of school to soak up everything they can because you don’t know until you try. No matter what direction you pursue, a strong foundation in science and math is valuable.
“Although certainly not exclusive to science and math, these areas are all about asking new questions, discovering innovative ways to answer them, and just plain solving problems. This world definitely needs more problem solvers,” said McCombs.
“[The main goal of this event is] to excite our community in science and math . . . to foster inquiry and excitement,” said Powers.
Dr. Billy Dye, instructor of Biology, said events like the Expo give benefits to both the college and the community.
“Hands-on opportunities to see science in action ignite a child’s curiosity, which is the heart of science itself.
“The Expo is student-led, allowing our Vol State students the incredible opportunity to design and implement their own ideas and projects. Community colleges are truly about the community, and events like the Expo help strengthen the relationship between the college and the people we are here to serve,” said Dye.

Shellie Michael lectures on Transcendentalist communes, Alcott and Hawthorne

by Cynthia Hernandez// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College hosted a lecture about the Transcendentalist movement by Shellie Michael, associate professor of Communications and English.
The event took place on Tuesday, March 17.
According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary,

Transcendentalism is a philosophy and social movement that began in the 1800s.
It is based on the idea that spiritual things are more real than the ordinary human experience and material things.
Michael said she is currently writing her dissertation on “Transcendentalist Communitarianism in Fiction.”
“Communal living has a fascinating history in America and especially here in Tennessee. My research focuses on communes that Transcendentalists started in the 1840s in Massachusetts.
“Two American writers, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Louisa May Alcott, lived at those communes, and I’m studying the fiction they wrote about their experiences. Much like the 1960s, the 1840s were an era of radical experimentation, and Hawthorne and Alcott were part of those exciting times,” said Michael.
Michael said the mid-1800s was an “age of reform” and communitarianism was very popular.

“People were really swept up in this mood of let’s overturn everything, much like the 1960s in the United States,” said Michael.
She also said there were abolitionist and women’s rights movements. People were questioning alot and were interested in lifestyle changes, such as vegetarianism, also during this time.
An example was given by the reading of a poem by Ralph Waldo Emerson, American poet and transcendentalist.
“Emerson effected the communal movement by really emphasizing spiritual experiences in nature. So much of communitarianism is bound up with this romance of the soil. You need to be outside. You need to get out of the library.
“He, himself was more or less a bookworm, but for other people, he really recommended that they get outside and do things,” said Michael.
“We are all a little wild here with numberless projects of social reform, not a reading man but has a draft of a new community in his waistcoat pocket,” wrote Emerson.
“One of his other big ideas is this idea of non-conformity, that you shouldn’t just do what the mainstream society tells you. Also that you should really practice self-culture, that you should look within yourself, and to become your best self. God lives within every man and you can tap this and you can find this within yourself,” said Michael.
“I really enjoyed Professor Michael’s talk because it demonstrated the importance of drawing connections between literature and historical events.
“Several of the humanities lectures this year have shown what an interesting time the antebellum era was,” said Dr. Merritt McKinney, director of the Honors Program.

Wes Moore event discusses the fear or low expectations of young black males

by Brian Ferrell// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College had a Wes Moore lecture about the “Fear of (or low expectations of) young African-American males and possible solutions.”
The guest speakers included Bill Ligon, a lawyer who practiced law for 30 years, and Dr. Sidney Hardyway, professor of Psychology at Vol State.

The lecture started with Ligon telling about his life growing up in Nashville, graduating from Gallatin High School, and getting a basketball scholarship to Vanderbilt University, where he said his team won the SEC Championship that year.

While waiting to get into law school, Ligon said he was offered a contract to go play for four teams; The Harlem Globetrotters, The Kentucky Colonials, The Detroit Pistons, and The Dallas Cowboys.
Ligon decided to go play for The Detroit Pistons and played only one season with the team.

After being cut from the Detroit Pistons, Ligon said he came back to Nashville and enrolled law school.
He went on to practice law for 30 years and concentrated on young African-American men and criminal defense.
Ligon said he is now working on movie project and a book project.

Hardyway said he grew up in Wichita, Kansas and was the youngest of 11 children.

As a child, Hardyway said his nickname was ‘professor cricket’ because he had to read all the mail, due to his father being illiterate.
Hardyway said he graduated from a catholic school where he was the only African-American and went on to graduate at Wichita State University.
Now, he said he has been teaching at Vol State for 20 years.

After getting to know the guest speakers, the event continued into the discussion about perception.
Ligon asked “what is the perception of the African American Community and how it affects the African American race?” and talked about how today’s society is like a jungle.

“When you’re out in the world if you walk casually, something can get you and if you run, something can get you,” said Ligon.

Ligon said that young black people always have to maneuver around certain people because of the way they are portrayed.

One person in the audience talked about the media and how it portrays black people in a negative way and a lot of people get their perception from the media without actually taking the time to educate themselves.

Honors lecture discusses technology’s effects on fitness

by Austin Kemp// Contributing Writer

A lecture was open to all faculty, staff and students of Volunteer State Community College March 18.
The presentation was held in the Rochelle Center located in the Thigpen Building at 12:30 p.m.
Philip Williams, instructor of Sociology, gave a lecture centered on the integration of technology into sports over the past century and the changes that occurred as a result. “Basketball isn’t basketball and football isn’t football anymore,” said Williams.
Sports are changing with the times.
Williams specified three areas where technology has affected sports: equipment, medicine and communication.
Advancements allowed for safer equipment over the years resulting in the protective gear that audiences are familiar with today such as padded helmets rather than the traditional leather of the early 1900s, which provides a higher level of safety to the player.
Because of steps forward in sports medicine athletes were presented with a better caliber of healthcare to preserve their wellbeing.
The invention of MRIs and X-Rays allowed for better treatment towards sports related injuries.
With the introduction of radio, television and the Internet, sports have become more easily accessible across the world allowing a person in Colorado the opportunity to watch a soccer match in Ireland.
Social media outlets such as Twitter have also closed the gap between athlete and spectator communication as fans may directly address their favorite players.
The Q&A following the lecture brought out many diverse opinions about the pros and cons of technology’s partnership with sports.
“Ticket prices are so high because people all over the world have access. It makes it harder to get there,” said Todd Griffin, the production manager of Media Services.
Increased ticket prices are a result of the global access to ticket sales provided by secondary sellers on the Internet.
“I can actually watch the World Series of Cricket now. I can get away from the capitalism and get back to the purity of sports,” said David Fuqua, assistant professor of Economics.
As Williams stated throughout his presentation, the integration of sports and technology is designed primarily for the maximization of profit.
Along the way it simply manages to entertain.
Williams, said it has “created a more level playing field that comes with good and bad.”