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.