Open Lectures Series Over Various Topics to be Held at Vol State

By Caleb Baldwin 

Vol State Community College will be hosting a Key Lifelong Learning Lecture Series at their Gallatin Campus. This lecture series will take place on Friday mornings between March 13 and April 24, in the Caudill Hall. The lectures are open to anyone available to attend, but they are targeted to retirees who may want to continue learning about different topics.

This semester’s series will include a wide variety of topics, ranging from “Safety Awareness,” to “Forensic Dentistry.” There is a $59 fee that will grant admission to one or all the lectures.

These are not lectures in the traditional class style; there is no homework or assignments, but they are rather a more casual lecture mainly focused on educating anyone who may be interested in the topics. Most of the lectures are given by teachers and faculty at Vol State, about any topic that they may be interested and knowledgeable in.

Eric Melcher works in Public Relations at Vol State and he is one of the parties responsible for organizing this lecture series. In an interview with Melcher, he explained how the program started and why it has been a success that has continued for years. “We thought it would be nice to have educational opportunities for people who have retired, or maybe just have time throughout the day,” said Melcher.

Melcher also discussed how topics are chosen for the lectures. “We have several of the classes that are taught by Vol State professors who have a special interest in one of these topics, such as ‘Evaluating the Kennedy Presidency,’ which is taught by one of the Political Science professors,” explained Melcher.

These lectures have been very successful in the community which is why they have been continued for years. “It’s been a good response through the years, I think we’ve had some core people that go every year to all of them but we’re getting new people all the time, and really it just runs the gambit of people that are interested,” said Melcher. This spring’s lecture series will begin on March 13 and run through April 24.

Coronavirus Showcases the Globe’s Susceptibility to Outbreaks

By Luis Quintanilla 

For all of humanity’s grand work, for all of its accomplishments and progress made through its undeniable ingenuity and adaptiveness, it is often reminded of its fragility and wobbly place in the world like anything else.

Recently, having flipped through news channels or even scrolling through the front pages of Facebook or Twitter, one has surely seen the infamous “coronavirus,” a word now as widespread as the virus itself. Beginning in China a little over a month ago, this virus, this microscopic pathogen has sent panic, and at times disorder, throughout the globe as well as subtlety reminding the world how ill-prepared it is to deal with a pandemic.

Recently the Centers of Disease Control warned the American public that it is not of matter of if it will spread in communities in the U.S., but a matter of when. It went on to warn that daily life could be disrupted as hospitals become overwhelmed, schools must close and people may become more absent from their jobs.

The virus appears to have began in Wuhan, China in early 2019 according to the Center of Disease Control. According to its website, the current coronavirus, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease 2019 abbreviated) is just one of various different types of coronaviruses such as SARs and MERS which caused their own concerns when they emerged in 2002 and 2012 respectively according to National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. These viruses, according to the CDC, are found in animals and are then transmitted to humans.

On an episode Vox’s documentary “Explained,” the topic of pandemics was explored. In it, it chronicled the outbreak of SARS in the early 2000s, its origins and how easily it spread. SARS, as well as the current coronavirus, appear to have originated in large seafood markets and live animal markets in China. The CDC backs this up by reporting the first people infected were usually around these markets.

Since these types of viruses are found in animals, they thrive in these types of markets where animals are stacked on top of each other in small cages, in filthy conditions and are often butchered on the spot to provide the freshest meat. These markets are a virus and bacteria’s paradise to reproduce and thrive in.

The viruses then spread to humans if the meat bought at these markets is not thoroughly cooked. Once in humans, the virus can begin to spread from human to human. From breathing in the air around a sneeze to more subtle and silent ways, the virus will soon be difficult to contain as it slips through officials hands like a phantom. In the same Explained episode, in the case of SARS an infected person checked into a hotel and on the way to his room, feeling ill, vomited and coughed up droplets in the hallway and elevator infecting the 16 people in the rooms along his path. After checking out, these people went back to their home countries spreading the virus in even further directions catalyzing the spread more.

18 years later, the world is witnessing another infectious snowball, one that has more momentum. In a world of eight billion people connected within hours or days with planes, ships, and cars all bundled up walking side by side in crowded cities and interacting with one another at school or work, a new pathogen would have a field day replicating itself in humans, as the world is not witnessing.

To make matters worse, media such as social media, while far reaching as anyone can become a journalist from their phone, can at times give unreliable information about outbreaks spreading more panic and disinformation. On top of this, the current government administration appears to be ill-prepared to deal with an outbreak, as it is currently downplaying COVID-19’s potential severity and even setting a gag rule as any government health officials must get Mike Pence’s , the person now in charge of the coronavirus task force, approval before making any statements on the virus.

The globe seems to have knit a tight infrastructure, one that is integrally woven into each other as billions of people depend on resources such as food, medicine, and the overall economy that is birthed from this interconnectedness. However, the virus is a threat to that infrastructure. People cannot work when sick, and therefore industry may halt as seen in China where factories producing important medicines where closed due to illness. Rapidly, a microscopic virus could wreak havoc on this global infrastructure.

This is not meant to scare and spell doomsday prophecies nor compare it to plagues such as the Black Death, but instead should serve as precaution and reminder of our susceptibility to outbreaks. For as long as humans have been alive, we have been fighting perhaps our greatest enemies, microscopic bacteria and virus. These invisible enemies have the capability to render us weak and bring us to our knees as seen in extreme cases such as the Plague and the Spanish Flu. How such a minuscule thing can kill more than all the wars in history is fascinating yet terrifying at the same time. For the most part we have conquered most of these invisible enemies finding cures and vaccines to make our lives easier and smoother than could have been imagined even 100 years ago, but we are never fully out of the woods. It is now apparent there are still new pathogens waiting to be unfortunately discovered.

On a grand scale, the world perhaps needs refining in its preparation department for this and future outbreaks, hopefully this one serving as a wake up call. On a daily scale in one’s daily life, one should always take measures to prevent infection and spreading such as thoroughly washing his or her hands, following respiratory hygiene and seeking medical attention if any symptoms begin to feel off. Better education of these pathogens, how they begin and how they spread coupled with better response will not shield us from a blow in the future, but certainly give us more stable footing in handling them.


Musical Duo Kin of Hearts to Perform at Vol State

Musical Duo “Kin of Hearts”

Musical Duo “Kin of Hearts” Krystelle Lorraine and Kaylee Magro


By Harley Keene

A musical group by the name of “Kin of Hearts” will be performing on the Volunteer State Community College campus in the Steinhauer-Rogan-Black Humanities building. The performance will take place March 3, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. and is free to the public.

The performers, Krystelle Lorraine and Kaylee Magro combine musical performance with performance interpreting, the use of sign language, as well as shadowing. For this performance they will also be working with Kaitlyn Felicia Connor, a pianist. In the group, both Lorraine an Margo work to create an experience that is inclusive to all, so deaf and hearing audiences can enjoy their musical performances.

“After I met Kaylee I saw her passion for music accessibility and got to thinking, ‘Why isn’t there a band that includes sign language as another instrument or voice’?,’” said Lorraine.

The group is passionate about providing more accessibility to deaf audiences for musical performances. However, they strive to make sure that all audiences are their target, and that everyone can enjoy the performance. “The show is designed to eliminate labels and the barriers that we place on a performance. It is about creating a show where there is no ‘deaf’ or ‘hearing’ but rather connection through art,” said Margo.

Kin of Hearts performs whenever and wherever they can, on school campuses, sporting events, music festivals, even in restaurants. They try to perform to all types of audiences to get the most widespread effect of their performances.

Students hoping to learn more about the group Kin of Hearts and the members, can keep up with them on Instagram @KinofHearts_music. For the members of the duo one can checkout @KrystelleLorraine and @k_felicia_keys.


Business and Technology Division at Vol State Has a New Suite

New Business and Technology Suite

New Business and Technology Suite

By Georgia Smith

Volunteer State Community College’s Business and Technology department received an updated office space in recent weeks with a conference room.

Updates have been made in the Mattox building on campus. Before February 14, some faculty were located in room 101, which was the original suite. Now the faculty are in 118. A suite is an office space for people such as those in the Business and Technology division, Dean Andrew W. White and other administration to conduct work-related activities.

The purpose of this renovation is to provide “High quality facilities that attract students, faculty and staff and enableeducational excellence and student success,” according to White.

Some of the remodeling includes new carpet, desks, chairs, printers and other items. There are five offices, and are in the process of getting a computer with a scrolling screen.

Administrative Assistant, Lacey Goodrum, says it was a “Very nice step up.  “It is spacious and inviting,” she continues. The faculty enjoys the closer offices that allow them to complete their tasks in a more faster pace due to not having to walk down the hallway to reach another office.

“I believe it is going to be great. People can learn a little more about us,” said Administrative Associate, Jimmy Hairgrove.

The suite in Mattox 118 is located at the end of hallway as one enters the Business and Technology main entrance. When walking in the suite, there will be a desk to the left and a see-thorough conference room attached to the back of the space, where conferences will now be held.

White explains that everyone is very grateful for the new renovation. Updates like this help the campus to grow and become a better environment for students and staff.

The suite is located at the end of the main hallway upon entering Mattox

The suite is located at the end of the main hallway upon entering Mattox

Hidden Figures Screening Tonight At Vol State

E198F474-11D2-465A-948A-47398D06B6AFVolunteer State Community College will screen “Hidden Figures tonight, Feb. 26 at 11:15 a.m. and 5:00 p.m. in the Mary Cole Nicholas Dining Hall B in the Wood Campus Center. According to IMDb, the movie follows three female African American  mathematicians working at NASA and the genius these three women brought to the table in one of most pivotal missions in the space race. The three women Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn and Mary Jackson crossed gender and racial barriers in their time proving themselves to be “human computers” and crucial figures in the space race.

Johnson, at an age of 101, passed away on Monday. “Johnson helped our nation enlarge the frontiers of space even as she made huge strides that also opened doors for women and people of color in the universal human quest to explore space,” a key NASA administrator commented.

The movie will be screened at 11:15 a.m. and again at 5:00 p.m. Refreshments are served and students are encouraged to attend. The office of Diversity and Inclusion stated, “Clearly, Johnson and many other unsung heroes of both the race to space and the Civil Rights movement are essential to our student’s global understanding of historical figures and events.”