Vol State English professor uses service-learning


By Riley Holcraft

Kelly Ormbsy, an English professor at Volunteer State Community College, has interests ranging from service to gardening to music. She is an active member of the community and always finds ways to use her talents.

Ormbsy has been a full-time staff member at Vol State for four years. Along with her primary role as a professor of English composition and literature, she is also the faculty coordinator for service-learning and learning support writing.

Her focus remains on student success and access, and she is an executive board member of The Tennessee Association for Student Success and Retention.

“I served through last year as the editor for its professional journal, the Journal of Student Success and Retention. Just this semester, I have presented at the Two-Year College English Association Southeast Conference, as well as the Tennessee Conference on Volunteerism and Service-Learning,” Ormsby said.

Community service has always been a huge part of Ormsby’s life.

“I am the oldest of six children, four of whom were adopted from the foster care system. My mother worked as a child rights advocate,” said Ormsby.

After witnessing the effects of poverty, she was exposed to the positive influence of education which heavily guided her decision to become a professor.  

Ormsby successfully incorporates her value of community service into her profession through service-learning, a teaching and learning strategy that integrates course learning goals with community service to help deepen students understanding of course content and help develop civic responsibility and workplace skills. She also works with the UT Extension Office Master Gardener Program, the Vol State Feed food pantry and the Vol State Garden.

Gardening and food are other passions that Ormsby connects with her professional and personal life. She volunteers her time with community gardens, but she also has a personal garden that she likes to use to grow food to cook for her husband and nine-year-old son.

Her family enjoys volunteer work, listening to music and attending live concerts, and participating outdoor activities such as hiking, camping and kayaking. Her husband is a Gallatin native, but Ormsby moved to Nashville from Mississippi.

Born in Jackson, Mississippi, Ormsby originally moved to Music City with an interest in songwriting. She is a published songwriter, and she plays “a little bit of several instruments,” she said.

Ormsby is grateful for the opportunity to play music with other talented faculty at Vol State. Last spring, the faculty hosted a “Humanities Matters” lecture on protest music where they played music from various causes and eras.

Ormsby is consistently involved in events around campus. She remains very active in her field, and is deeply committed to her family and community.

“I love working at Vol State. It is a great place to be because the faculty is committed to helping students and doing that in creative ways. There are a lot of opportunities to try new things, and I always feel supported in the ideas I want to explore,” said Ormsby.

Women in Media Reviewed

This week, we asked the five women staff writers at The Settler to write about their favorite women-centric entertainment.


via IMDB

Katie Doll – Film

“Wonder Woman,” directed by Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman, is a superhero film based on the DC Comics character. When an American pilot, Steve Trevor, crashes into Diana’s home island which is only inhabited by women, Diana leaves to help stop the ongoing World War I, believing it is caused by an old enemy. This film is not only wonderfully directed by a woman, but is the second-highest rated superhero movie, according to Rotten Tomatoes. Breathtaking and thrilling, this film will bring out the superhero in every woman.



via The Daily Beast

Presley Green – Comedy

Chelsea Handler, American comedian, is most known for being a late night talk show host on “Chelsea Lately”. Along with being a comedian, actress, writer, tv host, and producer, she is also an activist for many things such as women’s rights, gun control and LGBT rights.

She wants more women in political office and announced she will campaign for candidates who are fighting for women’s rights. When President Trump was elected, Handler decided to step out of the spotlight as an entertainer and leave her Netflix talk show, “Handler Said,” to be seen as an activist and speak at colleges around the country. She wants to hear from students and learn more about political division.

“I’ve become a better person, and I’m more informed. I’m learning. I have the Trump family to thank for that,” said Handler to Jake Tapper from CNN.


via GQ

Tayla Courage – Music

Solána Rowe or SZA, as she is professionally known, received five Grammy nominations for her 2017 debut album “Ctrl.” The album is difficult to label as one specific genre, but the Billboard Top 100 often categorizes it as R&B. Many of its tracks feature brief commentary from the singer’s mother and grandmother, providing generational advice and wisdom that complements the lyrical subject matter. From sexual intimacy to body image to leaving adolescence behind, SZA doesn’t hide behind a mask of pseudo-positivity. She dismisses the sugar-coated reality and shows that there is strength in vulnerability.


via Refinery 29

Lauren Whitaker – Television

 Queen Daenerys Targaryen from “Game of Thrones” represents a true empowering woman on the HBO network. Daenerys is a ruling queen with grace and integrity in a world where men and deceit reign. She fights for justice and has the best interest of all people around her. She not only empowers women with her grit but also with her beauty. She exemplifies a strong woman who can be multi-faceted and seen as powerful. The most intriguing characteristic Daenerys portrays is her gentleness. She is the mother of dragons, and even though the beasts are large and frightening, the dragons are tame to her love and affection. Daenerys is a woman who has it all, power, strength, integrity, lovingkindness, and beauty.

J.K. Rowling

via Time Magazine

Riley Holcraft – Literature 

J.K. Rowling is one of the most successful and widely read authors in the world. However, Rowling had a less than glamorous background. She was fortunately able to graduate college, but after giving birth to her daughter in 1993, she lived off welfare programs. She began writing the Harry Potter series in 1990 and was rejected 12 times until the first book was published in 1995. Her books flew off the shelves and eventually evolved into an empire of movies and theme parks. She now spends her time and money in political affairs and non-profit organizations.

Vol State’s SGA to bury time capsule


By Presley Green

The Student Government Association at Volunteer State Community College will be burying a time capsule April 18, in the grassy area between the Wallace Building and Thigpen Library. Everyone is invited.

The event will take place from noon until 3 p.m. There will be food, music and games. A table will be set up for current students to write letters to future students to place in the time capsule.

“SGA is asked to do a Legacy Project each year, and this year’s group decided a time capsule would be a good idea to show comradely amount the student body as well as faculty and staff. Everyone can be involved in Time Capsule event,” wrote Tabitha Sherrell, coordinator of student activities, .

“It’s important because it brings a sense of community through the decades at Vol State. We wanted to do a big event so that everyone can celebrate the end of the school year as well as bury the time capsule,” wrote Caitlyn Ellis, SGA president. “We want everyone to have a good time and enjoy the day. We have worked really hard to get this event put together and we hope everyone can take a bit of time and come enjoy it with us!”

Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to submit items for the time capsule that will be unearthed in 2036 on Vol State’s 65th anniversary.

“Everyone has until April 18, the day of the event, to submit something to the capsule. If they cannot be at the event, then they would need to submit items to the SGA office located in Wood 213,” wrote Sherrell.

SGA has asked each club and academic division to submit something for the capsule. The Veteran’s Club is submitting a patch of their logo. The National Society of Leadership and Success and the Returning Students Organization will be hosting a photo booth at the event and saving the images on a flash drive to preserve in the time capsule. Students are welcomed and encouraged to submit items to enclose the capsule.

Most of the items being put in will reflect how Vol State has evolved in the passed few years. One of my favorite things being put in is a flash drive that contains videos of students and faculty being asked the question ‘What has been the most memorable thing about the past academic year?’ We got some really great answers,” wrote Ellis.

“The goal is to have a campus wide array for items to be placed in the capsule,” said Tabitha Sherrell.

Squad on the Quad 3/27/18: Favorite Professor

We here at The Settler have one goal: to let the student’s voice be heard. Our Squad on the Quad segment gets students’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas. You can send your question ideas for this segment to aperham1@volstate.edu.

Who is your favorite professor and why?

Granlund. He’s awesome. He cares. – V

Yarbrough. Professor Yarbrough is really, really good because it doesn’t matter, even if you ask the most stupid of questions, she still looks at you, and she’ll answer you in an intelligent way and act like it’s a good, reasonable question to ask. – J

Professor Thomas because he does an actual really good job of being an adviser for theater and anyone who is interested in being in the theater department of any kind. Whether it be art, acting, whatever it be, he is very supportive when it comes to that. – D

Lynn Peterson. The man is probably the best teacher I’ve ever had. He treats me like an actual person. And the fact that he basically runs the school rock band kind of helps with that. – K

Deja Brandeis. She’s awesome. – M

Dr. Carole Bucy seems to love her job – she is always so cheerful and she knows her history! If you don’t have time to read your homework, all you have to do is listen to her lecture. – D.

Professor Williams because he is funny, smart, and if I’m having a bad day, I can always count on his class to cheer me up. – B


Vol State to host job fair

By Lauren Whitaker

Volunteer State Community College hosts their spring 2018 job career fair Wednesday, March 28, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., in the Pickel Field House gymnasium.

Around one hundred employers from all over Middle Tennessee, including Gallatin and Hendersonville, will gather in the Pickel Field House eager to connect with students interested in full-time or part-time work.

“Students can walk through this fair, and they can use it for an opportunity to network with employers,” said Talia Koronkiewicz, assistant vice president of student services. “It’s a really great opportunity if students just wanted to network and have a better understanding of what are some jobs that are out there in the career they are working for.”

The career fair is designed to be a learning process for students as well as a doorway of opportunity.

“It’s a great opportunity to practice talking to somebody in more of a formal, professional format and really be able to market themselves. Students will also have the opportunity to apply for different jobs,” Koronkiewicz said.

Full-time jobs will not be the only jobs employers are vetting for. Students who are searching for part-time work will also find opportunities available.

“A lot of the positions don’t even require a degree,” Koronkiewicz said.

The Career Fair will be adding a new flair to its event this year. A professional photographer will be present to take free professional headshots for students interested.

“Students can come into career fair, and there will be a table, right next a LinkedIn table, to get a headshot. We are marketing ‘Get a headshot and create a LinkedIn account’,” said Koronkiewicz. “We are really excited about that, to be able to let students get a free digital picture of themselves. Students should dress as if they are going into an interview and bring their resumes. Walking through the career fair, can be an interview.”

Women’s History Month


unnamedBy Katie Doll

March is Women’s History Month, which celebrates women’s contributions to society and events in history. The annually declared month in fact has its own history that is both fascinating and vital in highlighting the roles of women in American history.

Women’s History Month actually began as Women’s History Week in 1978 when the Education Task Force of the Sonoma County (California) Commission realized women’s history was not on the curriculum taught in schools. Because there was already a day called International Women’s Day, the week of that day was chosen as the focal point of the observance.

For the next five years, Congress passed joint resolutions to declare Women’s History Week in March, while thousands of individuals and organizations celebrated by holding essay contests headed by the National Women’s History Project.

In 1987, Congress passed Pub. L. 100-9, which declared Women’s History Week as Women’s History Month. President Reagan was the first President to issue a proclamation for the month.

“I call upon all Americans to mark this month with appropriate observances to honor the achievements of American women,” said Reagan in his proclamation March 16, 1987.

Many women are honored during Women’s History Month ranging from Katherine Johnson, an African-American mathematician who calculated the trajectories for many NASA missions, to Malala Yousafzai, a Pakistani activist for female education.

Today, the #MeToo movement has sparked protests and rallies for social equality for women. Laura Paddison, editor for This New World, a project looking for the new movements to create a fairer world, has given women numbers to tell people who are unsure about the concept of social inequality.

These numbers include the number of years women must wait for economic equality (217), the year in which women in the U.S. will receive equal pay (2059), and the number of girls not in school (130 million).

Exhibits and collections dedicated to women can be found on womenshistorymonth.gov.


Women’s History Quiz


By Tayla Courage


  1. In what U.S. city did the final vote to ratify women’s suffrage take place?
  2. In 1932, who was the first American woman to fly the Atlantic solo?
  3. Who was the first woman to run for president of the United States?
  4. What’s the name of the World War II poster-girl commonly associated with the phrase “We Can Do It!”?
  5. Who was the first woman to win the Nobel Prize and the only person to win it twice?
  6. What female artist has won the most Grammys?
  7. Young women of the 1920s who cut their hair and shortened their skirts were referred to as what?
  8. What was the only sport women were allowed to participate in in the 1928 Winter Olympics?
  9. What U.S. Amendment was ratified to give women the right to vote?
  10. Who was the first American woman to become a self-made millionaire?


  1. Nashville, Tennessee, became “The Perfect 36” when it was the final state to ratify the 19th Amendment.
  2. In 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first female pilot to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
  3. Despite the fact that women were not yet allowed to vote, there was no law in place to prohibit Victoria Woodhull from campaigning under the Woman’s Suffrage Association in 1872.
  4. Rosie the Riveter, inspired by real-life woman worker Naomi Parker Fraley, was created in 1943 by Westinghouse Electric Corporation in an attempt to convince more women to participate in wartime labor efforts.
  5. Alongside her husband Pierre, French physicist Marie Curie was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1903. In 1911, she won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry for her contributions to radioactivity research.
  6. Country music singer and musician, Allison Krauss, has won a total of 27 Grammy Awards putting her above Beyoncé, Aretha Franklin and Adele.
  7. Flappers. After gaining the right to vote, these women rebelled against the societal norms for women of the time.
  8. In the 1928 Winter Olympics, figure skating was the only sport that women were allowed to compete in. This didn’t change until 1948, when women were allowed to compete in skiing.
  9. The 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920, gave all American women the right to vote.
  10. Sarah Breedlove, who went by the name Madam C.J. Walker, was the first woman to become a self-made millionaire for her successful line of African American hair-care products.

Professor runs for office



via lenassante.org

By Lauren Whitaker

Leonard Assante, Volunteer State Community College professor, is running for sixth district county commissioner in Sumner County as a democratic candidate.

Assante has been an educator in Sumner County for 20 years. As an educator, he has become familiar with the inner needs of education.

This fact was one of the main reasons Assante felt compelled to run for county commissioner.

“I have thought about it before, but I thought the time was right, right now, because I really thought I had something to offer. I finally thought I had enough experience and knowledge that I think I can make some good decisions and a positive contribution,” Assante said.

County commissioners are elected officials who help govern the county by making decisions on subjects like zoning, solid waste collection, budgets, education, and mass transit. Commissioners meet twice a month to address issues and amend them to the best of their knowledge to encourage the county to prosper.

Assante is running unopposed in the democratic primary for one of the two positions up for reelection for the sixth district county commissioner. He will have two opponents that are running in the republican primary.

Assante’s mantra is to help Sumner County thrive while maintaining a small-town feel.

“When most people talk about the local politics, everything always seems to come back to, ‘What is their vision for Sumner County?’” Assante said. “Most people who live here kind of want it to stay the way it is. A unique nature of our county is that it’s close to Nashville, but it’s still got that small-town aspect to it. I want to help keep Sumner County from turning into another suburban sprawl.”

Assante is competent in the mandatory procedures that need to be taken for proper school safety. If elected to the county commission, he hopes to contribute this knowledge to increase the safety of students across Sumner County.

“I’m opposed to these thoughts about arming teachers and whatnot. I think that makes things more dangerous, not safer. We need a school resource officer in every single school. We do not have that right now,” said Assante.

For more information pertaining to Assante and his run for county commissioner, students can visit lenassante.org.


Woman on the Quad 3/20/18 – Who is the most influential woman in your life?

We here at The Settler have one goal: to let the student’s voice be heard. So we’re beginning a new segment called Man on the Quad to get students’ opinions, thoughts, and ideas. You can send your question ideas for this segment to aperham1@volstate.edu.

This week, due to women’s history month, we’ve changed the name of Man on the Quad to Woman on the Quad.

Who is the most influential woman in your life?

The most influential woman in my life is my mother. She inspires me everyday to be the very best that I can be. She has a great work ethic and really works hard to help and support me to pursue my dreams and has always allowed me to have the foundation to do that.   – G.

My mother because no one loves you like your mother. – M

Ditto. – S

I would probably say my grandmother. She’s an incredible, strong woman. My mom actually had a stroke and she just took up. I’m from a family of 11, anyway. My mom being in a coma basically for a few weeks was really tough as a family, and my grandmother just picked up the slack. She’s always been there for us. – D

My mom. She’s amazing. – H

My mom because she’s amazing. She’s always there for me. – A

Probably my sister because she’s always there for me. – E

My grandma. She’s the strongest person I know. – B

My mother. She taught me how to be strong and fight for what’s right. – J


Melva Black: Educator, encourager, radio DJ


Black, Melva

Photo via volstate.edu

By Riley Holcraft

Dr. Melva Black, chair of the communications department at Volunteer State Community College, is a woman of many talents, passions and experiences.

Her responsibilities at Vol State include supporting goals, interests and ideas of the department; hearing from students; and keeping up with the schedule.

She has worked for Vol State for six years but has consistently served others throughout her life.

Her parents, both educators, were always committed to community service, and she has followed their selfless example. Her giving spirit plays a large role in her life as she volunteers for multiple organizations.

Black volunteers at the First Response Center, a program responsive to the community’s HIV/AIDS needs. She is a member of the Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Incorporated that participates in a number of service projects. She is the immediate past chair of the United Way Ryan White Program where she holds a roll in advising and overseeing grants. She organizes international education and health projects for her church. She is the president of the Faculty Breakfast Club, a collaborative club consisting of four historically black colleges and universities in Nashville.

Black is also the owner of a dog named Anastasia LaFontaine. Students can ask to see the pup’s picture if they ever stop by Black’s office.

While one would think all of these responsibilities would create a full-enough plate, Black is also a jazz radio DJ for WFSK at Fisk University. She has been volunteering at this radio station for 13 years. She also studied classical piano for eight years. However, music is not Black’s only area of expertise.

She began college at Dillard University in New Orleans and was recruited by LSU to study in East Berlin at Humboldt University, becoming the second African-American to study at the institution. She then attended the University of Illinois to study Germanic languages and literature where she returned to Germany to finish her master’s program in the city of Regensburg.

She came back to her hometown of Nashville after 13 years to complete a master’s degree in corporate communication at Austin Peay State University.

After this, she worked in nonprofits, travelling to South America and Haiti to focus on health and education.

In 2013, Black earned her doctorate in education from Lipscomb University.

Her undying passion for service combined with her brilliant mind makes Dr. Melva Black a valuable asset to the Vol State community. Her determination has taken her all over the world, but now Vol State is lucky to have her on staff.

She gave Len Assante, Vol State communication faculty member, all the credit for “taking a chance” on her and went on to explain that her job at Vol State has been one of the most inspiring and enriching professional experiences.

“I was interested in navigating out of the nonprofit world and into higher education. I really thought the work that I had done in the nonprofits provided a space for me to give through an educational landscape. Hopefully, one day you will have this experience in your professional career where you will feel like you were born for this. That’s how I feel: like I was born for this,”

said Black.