Volstate App To Be Released Mid November

Kalynn Meeker

Volunteer State Community College students will have a new app available for download by mid-November of this year.

Kevin Blankenship, Chief Information Officer, said the existing app from a company called Campus EIA had limited functionality.

The new app from a company called Dub Labs will be a mobile portal.

Students will be able to access their courses on eLearn, D2L, bill pay, maps and records of students and staff. Downloaders will also have the capability of being connected to campus events.

Push notifications are a feature offered to increase the level of interaction and reach students quicker and easier. For example, if a student has a financial aid problem, a notification will show up on the mobile device to alert the student. The student has to allow the push notifications on his or her mobile device to obtain the feature.

In an age where paying bills can be done on the go via mobile device, having a mobile portal for students to access to assignments is next.

Blankenship said Dub Labs is making it easier to add features to the app.

“The course interaction at this point is read only but eventually you will be able to respond to assignments,” said Blankenship.

When asked if staff will have access to their portals as well, Blankenship said it is mostly geared toward the students to begin with but that it is a possibility that the app will branch out to them.

Matteen Mansoori and John Robert, students at Vol State said they would both download the app if they had access to eLearn.

The Vol State app will be available through the Apple Store and Google Play Store for free.

Dr.Ming Wang’s “From Darkness to Sight” Presentation

Melissa Farmer


On Oct. 22, Dr. Ming Wang came to Volunteer State Community College to give a presentation called “From Darkness to Sight.”

Wang has published at least eight textbooks that are used for students to study the eye and the science behind it. Wang does surgeries for people that help them get rid of their glasses permanently. People who could not see without a heavy prescription could see after Wang performed a surgery for them.

Wang has performed on many optometrists so that they can continue on with their practice. He is well known all over the world for his Eye “Ball” that he holds each year where ball room dancing is the main event.  

The presentation talked about how he was born and raised in China. Dr. Wang said he wants to help blind, orphaned children. He spoke of how he wants to encourage children young people to work harder. He wrote a book, and all of the proceeds of the book go to a foundation.

Dr. Wang grew up with an atheist family, who put a strong emphasis on education. Disaster occurred in 1966-1976. There was a massive deportation of junior and senior high graduates. The dictator did this so that he could continue dictating in China without any upraises or riots.

The children who were deported were condemned of a lifetime of poverty and hard labor. Any of the children that escaped would be jailed or killed. There was no option for the children to continue on with the education.

By keeping the next generation ignorant, they wouldn’t have the possibility of an uprising. Students in America get lucky enough to study for as long as they want. There is an infinite amount of knowledge available. For the children there was only one kind of exemption, if you could play an instrument or if you can dance, they wouldn’t send you to the fields to work. Wang picked up an instrument.

Eventually, the government saw that children were learning music to avoid being sent away and put an end to the music.  Wang began to pick up dancing in an effort to avoid being sentenced to a life of poverty. When he thought all hope was lost something good happened. In 1976 the dictator died and China reopened colleges. Wang skipped three years and started the 12th grade the very next day. Only 12 grade graduates will be allowed to participate in the college examination and they had to be in the top one or two percent to be permitted into college.

“Here in America we sometimes take freedom for granted. We think ‘freedom is here, freedom will be here tomorrow,’” said Dr. Wang.

Dr. Wang said if his father wouldn’t have pushed him into college that year, then they didn’t know what the next year would hold. They could shut down colleges at any moment.

“Freedom is what is most precious about America,” said Wang. We often take things for granted because we truly can’t imagine what it is like to not have freedom.

Halloween Party Preview

Halloween Party Preview

Barbara Harmon// Staff Writer

Volunteer State Community College will be having a Halloween Party Oct. 30, at 6:00 p. m., in the Tiled Dining Room.

“Student Life and Diversity Initiatives is paying for food and we are hosting it as our family event for October,” said Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities for Student Life and Diversity Initiatives

“Artisans Alliance is going to do pumpkin painting,” said Sherrell. “And the International Student Association (Visa) is going to do the costume contest.”

Sherrell also said the cheerleaders at VSCC are going to be running the spider ring-toss game and corn hole, and the Veterans Club is going to have a photo booth to take pictures and print out 4×6 photos.

“Those photos can be taken to the foam picture frame making station that RSO will be running,” said Sherrell.

Sherrell said SLDI would be having a superhero-themed coloring contest.

[The contestants] will be given a flier for homecoming, where all their cute superhero colored pages will be displayed in the hallway. They will announce the winner of the contest at homecoming, and the winner will need to be present to receive their prize,” said Sherrell. The Prize will be movie tickets.

The food at the Halloween party will consist of pizza, chips and dip, Halloween punch, and cookies.

“Every station is going to have candy, so it will also be like trick-or-treating,” said Sherrell.

Only about 20 children attended last year’s event, but Sherrell said she is hoping for at least 50 children this year.

“I’m hoping since Student Life is trying this family friendly series; I’m hoping that helps,” said Sherrell.

This is a community event so anyone is welcome to attend, she said.

Brittany Villa, president of RSO, has been making the fliers and as well as the decorative, plywood frame with holes to have your picture made in.

“The Returning Students Organization has put a lot of effort into making the fliers and advertising for the party, and they are also supplying the games for each station,” said Sherrell.

Villa said she just wants people to come out.

“[People] can pick and choose which booths they want to participate in, and we are going to have music, so we can just hang out while the kids have fun,” said Villa.

She said that Artisan Alliance was able to get miniature pumpkins donated from a local church for their pumpkin painting booth.

Villa said the RSO is hoping, by making this a family event, everybody will get involved, both on campus, and in the community.

“I feel like community support, as far as school goes, is very important, and I like that we have the capability to make it something cool,” said Villa.

Jesse Versage, president of the Student Government Association (SGA), said he wants to encourage participation at this year’s Halloween party.

“Halloween is once a year,” said Versage. “Better take advantage of it.”

Annual Faculty Art Show Ending Soon

Barbara Harmon// Staff Writer 


The Volunteer State Community College Annual Art Faculty Exhibit in the Ramer will last until Oct. 9, in the Ramer Building and Thigpen Library.

There is still time for students to observe that their teachers are working from experience.

Nathaniel Smyth, Art Faculty, has digital art on display in the Ramer building.

Smyth said that these images are actually 100-250 images within these pictures.

“I’m usually surprised at the figure that emerges in the end. They feel to me like a kind of archetype in the end,” said Smyth.

He said that even if those who view his art do not understand what goes into making digital art, he hopes they have that same thought upon looking at it.

Smyth said he started working with digital art in 2001 and learned the basics from a course he took, but taught himself after that.

“Digital art is still a new and strange field. There are a lot of different approaches people take with it, but some of the most interesting work is when the artists embrace the medium and work in some way with data or external information, using the computer to process it in ways that can’t really be done in an analog fashion,” said Smyth.

He said people are surprised that he does not consider himself a very creative person.

“I’m always right in the middle on those tests that tell you if you’re left-brained or right-brained,” said Smyth.

He does not believe that art is just about creativeness by itself.

“Creativity alone is confusing and mostly uninteresting, it takes a balance of creativity and focus to really make interesting things that people will be interested in. Usually, the stuff I want to make, what I like about it, is that it reveals something to me that I didn’t know or expect,” said Smyth.

He said his art has most frequently been shown in Chicago, Ohio and Texas.

Holly Nimmo, Public Relations Receptionist, said she has heard several people comment about looking at Smyth’s images.

She said they might view one and feel frightened, but move to the next and feel comforted.

“People perceive and experience the process differently,” said Nimmo.

She said that she was surprised to learn that Smyth’s digital image of Jesus was more than 200 images layered on top of each other.

“He is studying how people perceive deities that they have never seen,” said Nimmo.

She said she herself did some research on the other deities that she was not familiar with and said Smyth’s work is not the only subject of several people’s discussions she said.

“There were several people that came through the Great Hall that really enjoyed Claire Hampton’s painting of the hill at the quarry and have commented about how it is more intact than it is now,” said Nimmo.

She said that many people who are familiar with that area enjoy observing Hampton’s “Station Camp Quarry 3” (oil on canvas).

“It reminds me of how the landscape looked in that area, when I was attending school at Vol State,” said Nimmo.

Laura Black, Department Chair of English Faculty, is purchasing this painting and was familiar with Claire Hampton, but said she had not seen this painting until the show.

“When I first saw the painting, I was emotionally overcome by the subject because I recognized it as Pilot Knob or at least what’s left of it.

“Claire Hampton’s work is one of Ecofeminism in that it makes an argument about the destruction of the natural environment, generally the result of patriarchal forces,” said Black.

She said that upon viewing this painting, memories of it from her childhood resurfaced. Being a native of Gallatin she said she has seen Pilot Knob gradually mined away.

She said she still travels by this area when she visits her parents.

“I pass the quarry from 386 each Sunday as it is represented in the painting, and seeing it, in real life and in the painting, fills me with a sense of loss thinking about the scarring of the environment, the change over time. The subject of the image brings me sadness, but the light in the painting is warming,” said Black.

She said she will display the painting where she can get enjoyment from it everyday.

“It was strange to purchase it for me.  I don’t know if I believe that anyone can ‘own’ art.

Like the use of land, we can only be stewards of it.  I’m thrilled to be its steward,” said Black.


What Matters? Movie and discussion.

Melissa Farmer//Staff Writer 

On Oct. 9 in Mattox 104 there will be a screening of What Matters?, a documentary about three men who decide to learn what it is like to live in extreme poverty.

The film is extremely eye opening. It is a film to make one ask themselves “Do I care about what is happening in third world countries? If I do, what am I doing about it?”

The men start out trying to live in American poverty, even then they had dumpsters to eat out of, homeless shelters to stay at, and sidewalks to stand on and beg for money.

David decided to take it a step further and asks the guys if they’re up for a trip to Africa to get a first hand experience of poverty. As they continue on with their journey to Africa they sleep in parks and random places they find around the cities.

Two of the men are Christians and the other is an atheist. There is conflict in the film between them due to differences of attitude and religions.

The film shows the men on their journey, they see what it is like to be homeless in America, and a few other places before they make their long journey to Nairobi.

When the men make it to Nairobi they meet with Tony, a man that David had met on a previous mission trip to Nairobi, who gave them some advice about their time in Nairobi.

The men continue on with their very difficult journey to experience what extreme poverty is truly like. Rob, who seemed to have a bad attitude before leaving for Nairobi, has changed his views and saw it “in a very positive way.”

As they continue to go around the slums and impoverished areas, stepping through piles of trash, fecal matter, and dodging wild animals that roam, they think it would be a good idea to have Dan (the third man who came along) sleep in one of the houses made of mud, sticks and trash to truly understand the poverty the people live in.

Dave and Rob decide to take a plane above the slums of Nairobi to get some better footage. In a dramatic turn of events the plane goes down, both men are rushed to the hospital.

Dan sees the crash and eventually joins them at the hospital to check on them. From here these men have to figure out how they are going to get home, or if they will ever make it.

If you’d like to know how the film ends, go to Mattox 104, Friday at 9 a.m.


Health and Wellness Week

Barbara Harmon

Health and Wellness Week at Volunteer State Community College has been successful.

The purpose of this week was to bring awareness to both mental and physical well-being, and to show the students options for achieving this.

Vickie Dretchen, Associate Professor of Psychology, gave an informative presentation on differentiating between anxiety and stress and how to successfully cope with them, she said.

“Number one would be time management.  To learn what time management is, and to incorporate those strategies,” said Dretchen.

She said developing study skills is very important and needs to be implemented into a time management program.

Dretchen said she does feel that students at Vol State are stressed.

“If you take into consideration the schoolwork, in and of itself, then 90 percent of our students work.

“A lot of them are parents, even among the parents a lot of them are single parents,” said Dretchen.

She also said that their social life needs to be considered as a possible form of stress.

“What I’m most concerned about is our students not getting enough sleep, and that worries me because of the negative effects of sleep deprivation.

“It impairs your ability to learn, your ability to recall, your ability to concentrate, your ability to focus—all the things you need to do well on a test or take in a lecture,” said Dretchen.

She said she advices her students to have a helpful outlook on their college careers.

“Even though earning a degree is positive stress, it is still not going to be something you are going to be doing for the rest of your life.

“I just try to tell my students, ‘look, go ahead while you’re here, do what you need to do to get your degrees and you’re laying the foundation for a better life, for the rest of your life,’” said Gretchen.

She said she feels this week has been very beneficial and has created awareness.

“We will have covered it all—healthy eating, optimism, stress and anxiety, and even exercise—in four days,” said Gretchen.

Kenny E. Yarbrough, Th.D., CDP, Director of Student Life and Diversity Initiatives, said that they have had a Health and Wellness Fair for two years, but this year they decided to pair up with the Social Science and Education Division, which normally has a mental health week in their department, so the two thought their efforts would go good together.

“I think it is important to show the student body that both academic affairs and student services are able to partner and bring programming that is relative and relevant, and to make sure that they know we have a united front, and that is that we are always concerned about students,” said Yarbrough.

This week was an effort to bring awareness to students, because of how unhealthy people generally are in today’s society—mentally and physically, he said.

“The students have been engaged and we have had good crowds,” said Yarbrough.

Tabitha Sherrell, Coordinator of Student Activities, said that she has noticed a big difference in attendance this year, which she contributes to the partnership.

She said all the seats were filled to hear Odell Bizzell on Tuesday and that the week has been a great success.

“I think this has helped [the students] think about health and wellness from a different perspective,” said Sherrell.

She said students even inquired about the juicing process from Yarbrough and recorded Dretchen’s presentation on their phones.

“It gets you looking at your life in a different way,” said Sherrell.


SGA Vice President Steps down

By Wesley Anderson// Web Editor


Dorie Williams, Vice President of the Student Government Association, stepped down from her position earlier this month. She made the decision after accepting a job that would leave her little time for the responsibilities of the SGA.

“Usually the President takes over if there is no Vice President before the next SGA meeting, but we are going to have another Vice President,” says Jesse Versage, President of the SGA.

The SGA has already made arrangements for a replacement Vice President, but they could not release a name as of yet.

Though it was a hard decision, Dorie said that the amount of recruiting made it easier for her to leave and for the SGA to find a replacement in a short time.  She went on to say that the concept of commitment is very important and for those interested in the SGA that it was a great opportunity and looks good on a resume.

“I’m happy for her, and I would have done the same thing,” said Versage when asked if he had anything to say to the former Vice President. 

There are currently two open positions for the SGA, Attorney General and Treasurer.  Students can stop by the SGA office in the Wood Campus Center to get more information on how to apply.

“We would love your participation, put in an application you get paid for it,” said Versage when asked if he had any words for the student body.  


Blake’s Book Bag


By Blake Bouza

Welcome back to The Settler’s book review! I’m here to sift through the hundreds of thousands of books (for free) that are released each year to bring you the best of the bunch (good thing I love it so much).


Skin Game by Jim Butcher

Harry Dresden, Chicago’s only professional wizard, is about to have a very bad day. He must help a group of supernatural villains—led by one of Harry’s most dreaded and despised enemies, Nicodemus Archleone—to break into the highest-security vault in town so that they can access the highest-security vault in the Nevernever.

It’s a smash-and-grab job to recover the literal Holy Grail from the vaults of the greatest treasure hoard in the supernatural world—which belongs to the one and only Hades, Lord of the freaking Underworld and generally unpleasant character.


The Dresden Files will always be a pure adrenaline ride with lots of moments that will make you think and reflect on the power of faith, love, and hope, often taking us to the darkest places in the Nevernever to do it. This is book 15, but let me persuade you to jump on the Harry Dresden, down-on-his-luck wizard for hire, bandwagon.

A major thing I love about this series is that it just never gets stagnant. Butcher always keeps it fresh and hilarious. You can get world-shattering events in one book (zombie-T-Rex stomping-through-downtown-Chicago doing battle with necromancers, no big deal) to intense character study in the next book. Both are equally fascinating. Never have I found myself saying, “here we go again,” a rarity with a series so long. These characters grow and change like real people should.

This urban fantasy series is a breath of fresh air in that it does not treat the topic of power – political or magical – lightly. Everything has a consequence; from accepting a favor to being the guardian of a special sword. It harps on this without seeming cliché or filler. This series has also tackled predestination and come out on top. Respectful and enlightened views on religion, too.

Skin Game itself seemed a bit disjointed in the beginning, the urgency of the mission undermined by the side trips Harry and company kept going on – but as always, every side adventure furthers the story and the characters so it is kind of necessary. These kinks are ironed out as we see that the side trips were necessary, like whoa.

If you’re new to the series give Storm Front, the first book, a whirl. You won’t be sorry.

A solid 4 out of 5 Stars.

President’s Ambassadors

Anthony Davidson//Contributing Writer


Dr. Jerry Faulkner, President of Volunteer State Community College has announced the following students as the new Ambassadors:

Jenny Hernandez of Gallatin; Brenly McDonald of Westmoreland; Brandon Herbert of Mount Juliet; Sarah Cody of Cookeville; KJ Kitchens of Lafayette; Peyton Leach of Hendersonville; Megan Ratliff of Gallatin; Charlotte Masiongale of Byrdstown; Whitney Dickerson of Riddleton; Kristen Dedman of Lebanon; and Allison Goodpaster of Hendersonville.

What exactly is a President’s Ambassador? “Ambassadors do a lot of door holding and other general public services for the community.

“Generally speaking, Ambassadors are very busy.

“We do a lot of tours for incoming students and act as a bridge between the Faculty and newer students.  We go around asking ‘Do you need any help; is there anything we can do for you,'” said Ratliff.

Ratliff says that students that wish to become Ambassadors must undergo a rigorous interview process, maintain 20 volunteer hours during the summer courses and the Maymester, and maintain 40 volunteer hours during the Fall and Spring Hours.KJ Kitchens also had some insight to the interview process and a clue to the rigidity in choosing Ambassadors.


“My interviews were really intense. This program is a really big deal because they have to make sure you meet the very precise criteria to represent Vol State as an

Ambassador,” said Kitchens.


Kitchens says “It’s almost impossible to give you a description of what my duties are other than this: Do anything anyone asks you to do.


“We give campus tours, but sometimes our duties could be figuring out how to plug in a crockpot and tape the power chord under a table so people won’t trip over it, holding doors, speaking at an event, or serving food.”


President Faulkner’s own testimony reinforces Ms. Ratliff’s point. “The Ambassadors are chosen through a rigorous process that begins with an application.  The process includes both written assessments and face-to-face interviews,” said Faulkner.



Along with this volunteer hour requirement comes a 3.0 GPA academic requirement.   “Even if you have your volunteer hours met, you should never be complacent and should continue volunteering,” commented Ratliff.


What does it mean to be an Ambassador?


Ratliff says that being an Ambassador means “giving your 110%.  Whenever we don’t do tours we help around the offices and serve at dinner events.  You have to give your best at all times, you are the face of the college,” said Ratliff.


Kitchens says “It really means a lot to me to be an Ambassador. I take pride in representing Vol State at all the events and showing it off to perspective students who come on tours.


“It’s sort of scary to think that what I do reflects on Vol State, but this has made me a better person because I love Vol State and I always want to be a good representative for the college.


“Being an Ambassador is a huge honor, and I am so thankful to have this incredible opportunity.


“Being an Ambassador has positively affected my life in more than one way. Being an Ambassador has allowed me to make friends and meet new people that I wouldn’t have met before, as well as becoming a more well-rounded student and person.”


The Settler also interviewed with President Jerry Faulkner.


Faulkner says “The Ambassadors program is a service scholarship program.  In return for serving as an ambassador for the college, students receive a scholarship that covers their tuition and fees. 


“Money for the scholarship is raised through the Volunteer State College Foundation, a separate non-profit organization that supports the mission of the college.”


Faulkner also says “Ambassadors serve in a variety of ways.  They give campus tours to visiting prospective students and represent the college at a variety of events.  They help out with both college and foundation functions. 

“Very often they are the “face” of our students in very public events.  They are often called on to share their personal stories with groups from outside the college.”

A Nation of Americans

Dustin W. Hodges//Contributing Writer 


Every generation has their special date in American history that will, to quote FDR, “live in infamy.”  For my grandparents generation this was the 7th of December in 1941,  For my parents it was the 22nd of November in 1963.   For me it was the 11th of September in 2001.   My grandparents and parents always said they would never forget where they were when their big event happened, and this generation should be no different.  

At precisely 8:46 AM on September 11, 2001 America’s destiny and that of its citizens  changed forever.  This tragic event brought America together in a way not seen in sixty years.  For a brief time there was no black or white, no Christian or Jew, no rich or poor, no Republican or Democrat.  On that horrible day, and for years to come, we were all simply American.  Just as after Pearl Harbor, Americans bonded together, donated, volunteered, and enlisted in record numbers to fight evil and bring freedom to the world.  

With all the controversy and violence in 2014/2015, people attacking cops, burning down neighborhoods, even shooting at firefighters, America needs to remember the ideology that attacked us 14 years ago has not been eradicated.  All this infighting is just what they want, to destabilize and destroy this great nation.  Each time our country is attacked, America has come together as one. It is a shame it takes such a tragedy to make us see that our minor differences really do not matter.  If we can remember what brought us to stand together, nothing can tear us apart.

Thousands have died fighting terrorism since September 11, 2001.  Many people know someone close to them who has given the ultimate sacrifice to defend your freedom.  Many of those who do return become first responders. Let us not forget the hundreds of officers, and firefighters who lost their lives on 9/11.  So the next time you see a police officer, or firefighter, know that one way or another they have risked their lives to keep you free, say thank you.   Next time you see a military veteran, buy that person dinner, she or he risked their life in defense of your freedom. If by chance you are lucky enough to meet George W. Bush, shake his hand and say thank you, his decision to fight terrorism head on is the reason an attack like September 11 has not happened since.