Southwest Tennessee Community College

The Southwest Scoop, Issue #606September 13, 2016

Jam-packed Week of Welcome Activities Get Fall Semester Underway August 22-26

The theme for Welcome Week at Southwest Tennessee Community College was "My Future's So Bright."

Welcome Week

Welcome Week Activities

A variety of student activities began the Fall 2016 semester at various Southwest campuses and centers. During the kick-off, political and community leaders were invited to join Southwest students, administrators, faculty and staff at both campuses in welcoming new and returning students for fall semester, and the start of the 2016-2017 school year.

There was something for practically everyone. There was an oxygen bar, a caricature artist, fruit smoothies and there was a balloon artist dazzling the crowd while a live DJ entertained the crowd at both campuses. For picture lovers, there was a photo booth at the Whitehaven, Millington, Gill, and Maxine A. Smith Centers. At all campuses and centers, students received sunglasses along with other promotional items that reminded them with the hashtag "FutureSoBright" that it is a great era to learn about the different education and career opportunities available to them at Southwest.

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Sneak Preview of 2016-2017 Saluqi Sports

The cities of Hutchison (KS), Salina (KS), Grand Junction (CO) and St. George (UT) may not mean much to most people but to the student-athletes at Southwest Tennessee Community College, they’re the places to be come next March and May. These are the Saluqis’ and Lady Saluqis’ desired destinations because they’re the sites of the NJCAA national tournaments for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and softball.

Southwest’s men’s basketball team, led by 2016 TCCAA Coach of the Year Jerry Nichols, did make it to last year’s national tournament in Hutchinson, finishing in the “Elite Eight” of this prestigious event. The Saluqis advanced to the nationals by winning the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII tournament, defeating Motlow State in the championship game. In addition, the Saluqis finished with a 30-5 record, were ranked 11th in the final NJCAA regular season poll and won the TCCAA regular season title with a 14-2 record.

Brandon Key

Brandon Key

Nichols, now in his fourth season at Southwest, has compiled an outstanding 77-13 record with the Saluqis. Five players return who played significant roles on last year’s championship team, including Brandon Key, who is rated one of the top point guards in the country after being invited to the “Elite 80 Juco Showcase” and “Jerry Mullen’s Top Juco” events during the summer. Other returnees are combo guard Julian Daughtry, wing Payton Wilson, and forwards John Crnogorac and Jaquez Johnson. “These players will bring experience, hard work, leadership, and several other facets to our team”, said Nichols. “If we stay together and share the basketball, this team can make a run to the national championship.”

Andrea Martre is entering her 21st season as Southwest’s women’s basketball coach and has won 314 games in her coaching career. Martre returns eight players off last year’s team that finished 17-12 overall and 12-4 in the TCCAA. They include Jazmine Burgan, who started all 29 games as a freshman as well as part-time starting forwards Victoria Middlebrooks and Asia Ragland. Burgan was the team’s second leading rebounder last season and was also among the blocked shot leaders.

Jazmine Burgan

Jazmine Burgan

Also back are guards Tatiana Love and Chayla Johnson and wing players Miah Kimbrough, Jerrica Johnson and Taylor Argue. All eight players saw quality minutes as freshmen. “Our 2016-17 non-conference schedule will definitely prepare us for the tough battles we’ll face during TCCAA play” said Martre. “We play Trinity Valley the second game of the season and they competed for the NJCAA national championship this past season. We are excited about our regional rivalry games and with the addition of several new coaches in our league it’s going to be very competitive.”

For the third year, the baseball team began fall practice with a two-week “Boot Camp” led by the United States Marines. “This marine fitness correlates with the core fitness for a baseball player,” said Head Coach George Sykes, who is in his sixth season at Southwest. “The camp consisted of two parts. The first was a 6 a.m. fitness workout with the marines while the second part was afternoon skill work on fundamentals.” Last spring, the Saluqis played very well during the TCCAA/NJCAA Region VII tournament, defeating both Roane State and Chattanooga State and placing fifth among the ten teams. Several key players return, including catcher Rusber Estrada, who led the team in batting average, runs scored, doubles and home runs.

Rusber Estrada

Rusber Estrada

Other position players who return for their sophomore season are outfielder Hank McKay, infielder Josh Hargett, catcher/outfielder Jackson Evatt and utility player Codi Sartain. Dillon Bonee is the top returning pitcher after leading the staff in strikeouts and saves as a freshman last season. Other returning pitchers are Houston Haag (who also plays outfield), Jeffrey Kohl, Scott Shellhouse and Blake Smith. “This group has a combination of veteran and new players that can blend together for a competitive team,” said Sykes. Next spring, the Southwest baseball team will begin the season in February with trips to LSU-Eunice, Jones (MS) and Mississippi Gulf Coast in preparation for the conference season which will begin in early March. According to Sykes, “this will be another year with a very demanding schedule.”

Keith Gentry, now in his 14th season as the Southwest softball coach, returns three players from last season, all of whom started in the majority of the games as freshmen. Laura Hooker, last year’s shortstop, moves to centerfield for her sophomore season and is the likely leadoff hitter. Also back are pitcher/outfielder Maddie Lane and outfielder/third baseman Sarah Craig. Lane and Craig each received awards last season for the work in the classroom. Lane was an All-America Scholar-Athlete selection by the National Fastpitch Coaches Association and both she and Craig received the TCCAA’s Academic Achievement Award.

Maddie Lane

Maddie Lane

“Laura, Maddie and Sarah will be our leaders this season,” said Gentry. “All three are outstanding student-athletes and represent the team well both on and off the field. We’ll be a very young team with eight true freshmen. In addition to our three sophomores and one red-shirt freshmen, all of the newcomers will need to contribute for us to be successful.” “In addition, we’re playing a very competitive fall schedule which will definitely help prepare our team for the spring season,” said Gentry. The fall slate is highlighted by games against NCAA Division 1 Southeast Missouri State and The University of Memphis. Next spring, the Lady Saluqi softball team will open the season at the Carl Albert Festival in Poteau, Oklahoma and will also compete in the Tiger Fest Tournament in Booneville, Mississippi in February before conference play begins in early March.

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Southwest Partners With Artesian Schools to Increase Career Readiness and College Completion Rates

The Shelby County Board of Education approved a new early college high school on August 23 that is a partnership between Artesian Schools, Inc. and Southwest Tennessee Community College. The school is part of both organizations’ strategies to increase career readiness and college completion rates for Memphis students.

Southwest Early College High School will be locally-operated Artesian School’s first charter school. The school plans to recruit and enroll 100 ninth graders for the 2017-2018 school year and each year thereafter.

With this partnership, students will graduate with a high school diploma from Southwest Early College High School and an associate degree, or up to 60 transferable college credit hours, from Southwest Tennessee Community College—at no cost to students. During their high school tenure, students will get hands-on work experience in career fields of their interests and also be trained in soft skills that will help with their workforce transition after completion of a degree.

"Southwest is dedicated to achieving student success,” said Dr. Tracy D. Hall, president of Southwest Tennessee Community College. “Partnering with Artesian gives us an excellent opportunity to reach students earlier to help guide and prepare them for future educational and career opportunities.”

Ninth and tenth graders will be housed at Southwest’s Gill Center in Frayser, and their course of study will be focused on high school coursework and readiness to take college classes by their third year. Eleventh and twelfth graders will be housed at Southwest’s Union Avenue campus. There, the students will take coursework that completes their high school diploma requirements, and they will also take college classes that work toward an associate degree.

Gill Location

Southwest's Gill Center Location

“We are delighted to be joining forces with Southwest to offer Memphis students a clear path to strong post-secondary options,” said Ashley Smith, CEO of Artesian Schools. “This partnership ensures that we will be able to provide both the academic and social-emotional supports necessary to help our students stay motivated and work hard to succeed.”

“Skeptics tend to doubt whether urban kids can withstand the rigor of early college coursework. My experiences have taught me that, with the right wrap-around support systems in place, and high expectations, young people can and will rise to the challenge,” remarked Dr. Hall.

About Artesian

Great schools transform communities. Like the discovery of the artesian water that restored health to the city of Memphis during the Yellow Fever epidemic, Artesian Schools, Inc. will serve as a conduit to tap into already-existing community resources to revitalize Memphis neighborhoods. Artesian envisions that its alums will return to their communities with a post-secondary education with tools, jobs, and the ability to positively impact their city. They will have the knowledge and networks to drive change locally. They will become influential community members and reinvest in their childhood community through job creation and contributing more money into the local economy. For more information on Artesian Schools, contact Ashley Smith via email at:

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Southwest’s Physical Therapist Assistant Graduates Notch a Perfect Pass Rate on the National License Exam

Seventeen out of 17 current graduates at Southwest Tennessee Community College recently passed the national licensure exam for Physical Therapist Assistants (PTA) the first time. A 100 percent pass rate had not happened in well over 15 years.

“This is a significant achievement. The exam itself is very expensive if it has to be retaken. If a student does not pass on the initial attempt, they cannot take the exam for an additional three months, resulting in a significant loss of income. Also, there is the additional stress and difficulty regaining confidence in one’s ability to pass,” says Eddy Zeno, PTA coordinator.

Eddie Zeno instructs a student

Eddie Zeno instructs a student

Zeno believes that, in addition to what his program has been doing for the past several years, technology access fees at the college have begun funding online practice exams for his students. The additional resources have helped PTA students reach this high level of success.

To date, six of the new PTA graduates have accepted job positions in their chosen field. Not all have interviewed for positions. There is a large job demand and so based on previous years, Zeno expects 100 percent employment as PTAs within six months.

In 2015, the program was reaccredited for another 10 years. Future plans are to make more courses web-assisted. End of semester oral exams are a new tool utilized to have students recall information and apply it to new situations. Zeno also plans to introduce some additional assessment tools and recent advances in treatment into the program.

For additional details, contact Eddy Zeno at (901) 333-5394 or via email at:

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Southwest to Offer AT&T Aspire Grant to Adult Students

Southwest Tennessee Community College is partnering with AT&T to offer five $1,000 scholarships to non-traditional adult students in technology fields through the AT&T Aspire Grant.

The adult scholarship program will complement the Reconnect + Completion Grant program by providing five scholarships for each community college to aid underserved non-traditional students in high-skill, technology advanced fields such as advanced manufacturing, computer science/technology, allied health and other career preparation programs utilizing advanced technology. Underserved students are defined as racial and ethnic minorities, low-income and underrepresented genders in programs of study leading to non-traditional occupations as defined by the U.S. Department of Labor.

“At Southwest, we are excited to partner with AT&T to offer adult students this opportunity to continue their education,” stated Karen Nippert, vice president for Institutional Advancement. “The AT&T program, and our Adult Learner Link grant go hand-in-hand with our commitment for even more adults in our communities to earn a college certificate or degree.”

The programs of study for this scholarship program focus on those within the Associate of Applied Science degree. This would also support the Governor’s “Drive to 55” initiative, and his Reconnect emphasis to realize more adults who achieve postsecondary credentials.

For more information on this scholarship call (901) 333-4577. For information on opportunities for adult learners, call (901) 333-5384.

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Southwest Tennessee Community College Police Services/Public Safety Procedures for Evacuating Campus Buildings Upon Activation of a Fire Alarm

Be aware of the following procedures when the fire alarm sounds in your building. You should also be familiar with your Southwest Tennessee Emergency Response Team (SERT) members, your emergency exit routes, and your assembly areas. Everyone will be expected to exit the building.

  • Leave the building and go to the evacuation area immediately if you hear a fire alarm.
  • Always close your door. Do not use elevators.
  • State law requires occupants to evacuate a building when the fire alarm sounds.
  • The Memphis Fire Department will assume complete control over all fire alarm conditions.
  • The occupants of the building may not reenter the building, even if the fire alarm has stopped sounding.
  • You should only reenter the building when notified by appropriate authority.
  • When the emergency condition is over, the Memphis Fire Department officer in charge will release the building to the Public Safety officer in charge.
  • The Public Safety officers and the SERT Team will allow occupants to reenter the building. The SERT Team will have on neon color safety vests.
  • Instructors- please take your student roster; you will be expected to take roll call. Thanks in advance for your cooperation.

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Love Shouldn’t Hurt

Did you know that one in three women will experience intimate partner violence during their lifetime? Either you or someone you know and love may have experienced domestic violence.

Come to the Domestic Violence Summit to learn more about resources that are available in Memphis. The Summit will be held on Friday, September 16 from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Southwest’s Union Avenue Campus-Nursing, Natural Sciences and Biotechnology Building Auditorium. This event is a collaborative effort by Southwest Tennessee Community College and the Athena Project at the University of Memphis.

Domestic Violence Summit

Domestic Violence Summit

The Domestic Violence Summit will be moderated by Fox 13 TV News Anchor Mearl Purvis. Additional special guests will include; the Family Safety Center, Crime Victim’s Center, Exchange Club Family Center, YWCA, and others.

Students are encouraged to attend!

For more details contact Dr. Osborne Burks at (901) 333-5769.

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Student Uses Photography to Communicate About Depression

Charis Barnes' work

Charis Barnes' "My Own Worst Enemy."

While instructors usually teach students all kinds of things about our academic disciplines and our larger culture, sometimes students are able to teach things themselves. These students are able to teach others things about their own experiences that are extremely valuable to not only their classmates but also to the community at-large.

Charis Barnes' work

Charis Barnes' work.

One such student is Charis Barnes, a photography student who recently showcased her photography in an exhibit called, "My Own Worst Enemy" at the Union Avenue Campus. Concerning her work and the exhibit, Barnes said, "My motivation for this exhibit was my own personal struggle with depression. I've battled depression and anxiety for a long time, but didn't really know what it was until just a few years ago, and even then I was kind of confused on the subject of what depression was and how it was affecting me."

Many people saw the exhibit and were able to speak with Barnes about her art at the event. "This project really helped me explore my own mind and release a lot of emotions that had been bottled up. My goal was to create a piece that helped people who don't struggle with depression better understand the thoughts and emotions of their friends and loved ones who do. Depression and anxiety can be really hard to describe with words. It's not just 'being sad all the time.' I thought a visual representation of these illnesses would give more insight into the minds of people who are their own worst enemy."

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Girls Inc. and Southwest Partner for Eureka Summer Camp Program

Southwest Tennessee Community College has partnered with Girls Inc. Memphis as part of their Eureka Summer Camp Program. This past June, the Girls Inc. Eureka Summer Camp Program ran at the Maxine A. Smith Center. The camp attendees met every week day, and faculty and staff from different areas of the college provided teaching and learning sessions for the 8th and 9th grade.

Eureka, Girls Inc. students with Dr. Electa Park

Eureka, Girls Inc. students with Dr. Electa Park

Dr. Electa Park, a Southwest assistant professor of natural sciences, taught courses such as Introduction to Biology to the rising 11th grade students so they can receive college credit for the courses via our Dual Enrollment program. Additional courses she taught consisted of a fingerprinting lab with the girls and ecology-related sessions.

"Over the past two years, we have offered the 11th-12th grade girls the opportunity to take dual enrollment courses for full college credit. Last summer, the girls had the opportunity to take Introduction to Anatomy and Physiology I, and this summer Introduction to Biology I. As lead instructor for the Introduction to Biology I course, I am happy to say that all of the girls were hard working and motivated to learn. They were all successful, with many achieving an “A” in the course. It was a wonderful experience for both myself and the students, and gave them an introduction to the expectations of college classes. I look forward to working with the program again in the future," said Park.

Britnee McKinney, Eureka assistant coordinator with Girls Inc. of Memphis said that, "One of the key things about our program is that the girls come from all over our area and form important relationships. Our mission is let's develop, let's grow, let's form a sisterhood." McKinney said that the students come from schools such as Bartlett, Overton, Freedom Prep, White Station, Southaven and that the rising 11th grade group has been together since 2012.

Eureka, Girls Inc.

Eureka, Girls Inc. students

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70’s TV Star Soon Promotes Her Latest Book at Southwest

70’s TV Star Soon Promotes Her Latest Book at Southwest

Bern Nadette Stanis

Bern Nadette Stanis is best known as the quick witted, attractive daughter (Thelma Evans) on the groundbreaking African-American sitcom, Good Times. She visits Southwest on October 6 at 2 p.m. in the Verties Sails Gymnasium on the Union Avenue Campus to promote her latest books.

Those new publications are Situations 101: Relationships The Good, The Bad & The Ugly and her poetry book For Men Only. Stanis will also conduct an acting workshop earlier that day with Professor Levi Frazier and some of his acting students. The workshop is not open to the general public.

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An Innovative Credit and Money Management Workshop Takes Place Today at Southwest

Are you interested in budgeting, paying off debt, starting a savings plan, establishing or repairing your credit but don’t know where to start? If so, this is the workshop for you and it’s called Take Your Life Back.

Southwest Tennessee Community College and Operation Hope will partner in hosting workshops at two Southwest locations on various topics including saving money, understanding your credit score, settling accounts, your rights as a consumer and disputing inaccurate information.

The workshops are open to the general public and will be held on September 13 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Macon Cove Campus, Farris Building Meeting Rooms ABC; and on October 18 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Whitehaven Center.

One-on-one financial counseling will also be available upon completion of the workshop.

To RSVP or receive more information, contact Nikita Ashford-Ashworth at (901) 333-4287 or by email at:

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Tennessee State University and the Tom Joyner Foundation STEM Teachers Scholarship Program

Tennessee State University recently finalized a partnership agreement with the Tom Joyner Foundation to provide scholarships for students looking to pursue a career as an educator in math, biology or chemistry. The partnership offers full scholarships to students graduating from five Tennessee community colleges including Southwest Tennessee Community College.

The program will launch in fall 2018 so students beginning their first semester of community college this fall will be eligible.

  • Students must major in Math Education, Biology Education or Chemistry Education and maintain a 3.0 GPA while enrolled in one of the five selected community colleges.
  • Students must graduate from the community college with a 3.0 GPA and maintain a 3.0 GPA while at Tennessee State University.
  • Students must agree upon graduation to accept a teaching position within the Nashville Metropolitan Area or the Memphis Metropolitan Area.

The scholarship will pay all expenses including tuition and housing for four semesters. Students are expected to enroll in at least 15 hours each semester. Seventy-five percent of the scholarship funds will come from the Tom Joyner Foundation; 25 percent will come from the NSF funded Tiger Teach Initiative and the Office of Community College Initiatives.

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ITT Tech Closures and Upcoming College Fair at Southwest

As many of us are aware, ITT Technical Institutes nationally recently closed due to lost recognition by the U.S. Department of Education affecting the ability of its students to receive federal aid. The Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC) and Tennessee Board of Regents (TBR) have asked community colleges to reach out to these students in our vicinity and determine how best to serve these displaced students. For us, the affected nearby ITT location is in Cordova. Both THEC and TBR in association with Southwest will host a regional college fair at Southwest’s Macon Cove Campus, Nabors Auditorium on September 15 at 6 p.m. to assist displaced ITT students. ITT Tech students will be given information concerning available programs of study, financial aid options and information on the credit transfer process.

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College News In Brief

Southwest Hosted Desoto County Schools’ IT Hardware Challenge

Southwest’s Technologies Department partnered with Desoto County Schools to host their IT (Information Technology) Hardware Challenge on the Macon Cove Campus the end of last semester.

Southwest's Achieving the Dream team

Southwest's faculty and staff (seated) judge the Desoto County High School Hardware Challenge held in the Nabors Auditorium on Southwest's Macon Cove Campus.

“The competition was all about giving students the chance and opportunity to actually feel and see what a college environment is like," explained Southwest Alumnus Brian Hudson, who teaches IT classes for Desoto County Schools. “That's right, I graduated from here and it's very exciting to get to come back. And it's much more exciting being able to bring the kids that I teach back to a place where I graduated from,” he added.

Hudson brought a group of 11th and 12th grade students from his IT classes. Through a partnership with Southwest and Desoto County Schools, college credits will be offered to those students successfully completing their IT class.

Greater Memphis Chinese School and Southwest Join Together in a Community Partnership

In conjunction with the Greater Memphis United Chinese Association (GMUCA), Southwest Tennessee Community College recently hosted the Greater Memphis Chinese School in its’ Macon Cove Campus Academic Building.

Parents and students prepare for registration

Registration Begins.

Xinhua Yu, GMUCA president, and one of the main engineers of the partnership said that the partnership is a great thing. “We are so excited to be here with these modern facilities and the centralized location. With the warm welcome we have received, it is truly turning a new and good page for us and our parents and students.”

Parents and students prepare for registration

Parents and students prepare for registration.

While students and their parents registered for the new classes, the Academic Building was abuzz with excitement as students made their way to the new classrooms. Classes for K through 12 Chinese students are held at Southwest on Sunday afternoons for 15 weeks which started August 14.

Southwest Joins Achieving the Dream to Improve Student Success

Southwest has joined Achieving the Dream’s growing network of colleges dedicated to improving student success. Achieving the Dream (ATD), located in Silver Spring, MD, acts as a catalyst to help colleges strengthen and build their capacity to ensure that more students complete postsecondary education and have greater opportunity for economic success.

One of only 12 institutions selected this year, Southwest’s partnership with ATD will provide a capacity-building framework that will serve to pinpoint the college’s strengths and opportunities for improvement across areas such as leadership and vision, teaching and learning, and data and technology. Colleges admitted to the ATD network have shown improved retention rates, grown enrollment, and have increased their capacity to capture data and ultimately enhanced student success.

ATD appoints leadership and data coaches to college campuses who provide coordinated, personalized advice to help build necessary capacities, align student success efforts and support change where it is needed.

Southwest's Achieving the Dream team

Southwest's Achieving the Dream team

Cockrill to be Featured Speaker

Thad Cockrill, chair of the Department of Languages and Literature, will be a featured speaker at the annual conference of the Two-Year College English Association-Mississippi (TYCAM), to be held Sept. 15-16 at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Mississippi.

Thad Cockrill

Thad Cockrill.

Cockrill was honored in February with the Cowan Award by the Two-Year College English Association-Southeast (TYCA-SE). Laura Hammons, a conference planner for TYCAM, saw Cockrill’s presentation and said that she felt it struck such a big note with the audience that she asked Cockrill speak to the Mississippi group.

Hammons said that the community college system in Mississippi is the oldest in the nation, and that Hinds is observing its centennial this year.

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Save the Date: Scholarship Saturday

Scholarship Saturday

Tennessee Promise Scholarship Saturday at Southwest, October 1 from 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

Contact Joshua Conway for details at (901) 333-4987 or