Date: March 24, 2011
Southwest Tennessee Community College recently sent a team of students to the Tennessee Intercollegiate State Legislature (TISL) held annually in Nashville, Tennessee. TISL hosts the mock legislative session which provides a forum for college students to learn first-hand the legislative process. It requires participants to draft, file, and present legislation at the TISL General Assembly.
During the last General Assembly, Southwest's team drafted and filed 11 bills. Six passed both chambers. The remaining bills passed in one chamber but did not come to the floor in the other chamber because of time constraints. "I wanted this team to not only learn about the legislative process but also to come away with the knowledge that each of them can make a contribution to that process. I expected the team to work hard and to do well and I was not disappointed," said Patricia Nozinich, professor of Paralegal Studies at Southwest.
Paralegal Studies major, Carla Rodgers, received a Carlisle Award, 10 of which are given to students whose performances in the General Assembly are deemed outstanding. Rodgers served as the Senator from Southwest. "When Dr. Nozinich told me I was going to be in the Senate, I was nervous at first. I knew I had to be ready to present all of our bills if they came up and hoped that the other Senators I had developed a relationship with would support the bills. It all worked out and I enjoyed it so much," said Rodgers.
Southwest also distinguished itself in the Advanced Moot Court (AMC) Competition, fielding a two-person team to compete along with 15 teams from other Tennessee colleges and universities. Jonathan Willis, a Paralegal Studies student, represented Southwest as a one-person team, when at the last moment, his team member was unable to attend the competition. Willis argued both the appellant and appellee's sides of the two issues raised in the mock appellate case to advance to the final round of the competition, along with a four-person team from Vanderbilt University. He won the case and the competition, bringing the AMC championship home to Southwest. Willis summed up his experience by saying, "TISL helped me to realize that every person, no matter how insignificant they may feel, has a voice in our government, and if he or she chooses to use it, has a very powerful voice."
"This was the college's first time to participate in this mock appellate competition," said Nozinich. "To have Jonathan Willis not only participate in but win the competition was a proud moment. Southwest can be proud of the students who participated in TISL and AMC this last session. Each of them exemplified the quality of our students at Southwest.
Photo Caption: Carla Rogers, Carlisle Award winner.
Photo Caption: Jonathan Willis, Advanced Moot Court competition winner.
Photo Caption: Members of the Southwest TISL team are (from left): Sabrina Ransfer, Jonathan Willis, Jessica Whittington, Elizabeth Tunstall, Danesha Winfrey, Elizabeth Gutierrez, Tujuana Perkins, and Carla Rodgers.
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