Posted by: northeastnation | April 23, 2014

Northeast State celebrates year’s best at Honors Convo

Northeast State recognized the year’s distinguished students, staff, and faculty members at the annual Honors Convocation held Tuesday night at the MeadowView Conference Resort and Convention Center in Kingsport.

The college’s Outstanding Student Award was presented to Nikki Sumner. She holds membership in the College’s Alpha Iota Chi chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the Northeast State Scholars Foundation, and was named a Silver Scholar on the 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team.  She served as member of the President’s Student Advisory Council, the Council for Leadership, Advocacy, and Student Success, and the Green’s Club. She will graduate summa cum laude in May with a perfection 4.0 grade point average. She plans to transfer to East Tennessee State University this fall.

Nikki Sumner

Nikki Sumner

Samuel Carson Waugh received the Outstanding Alumni Award for 2014. A 2005 graduate of Northeast State Waugh owns Off the Waugh Productions, a client-focused high-definition video production company that provides graphic design, corporate presentations, video services, and web design. He holds a bachelor’s degree from East Tennessee State University. Off the Waugh’s stellar work has been featured in regional and national marketing campaigns.

Carson Waugh

Carson Waugh

The Northeast State Program Area Awards recognized outstanding students in the academic department. Program award winners are:

Advanced Technologies
Chemical Process Operations – Zachary Gilliam; Electrical Technology – Jordan Appiah-Kesse; Electromechanical Technology – Austin Dietrich; General Technology – Jacob Porter; Automotive Service –Alexander Riddle; Engineering Design Technology – Jonathan Ponder; Machine Tool – Derick Cook; Manufacturing – James Parton; Mechanical – Jason Miles; Motor Sports – James Barr; Welding/Metal Fabrication – Jonathon Blackwell.

Behavioral & Social Science Division
Criminal Justice and Criminology – Tyler Chambers; Early Childhood Education – Sommer Bauer; Mass Communications – Katie Parks; Psychology – Caitlin Meadows; Public Safety and Justice Administration – Anna Musket; Social Work – Sherry Boyer; Sociology & Anthropology – Philip Chambers; Speech Communication – Steven Hobbs; Teacher Education – Wilma Barnette; Teacher Education Pre-K-3 – Mary Crowe.

Business Technologies
Accounting – Kimberly Campbell; Management – Allana Jones; Small Business Management – Michaela Slagle; Computer & Information Science/Computer Programming – Samuel Wells; Computer & Information Science/Information Assurance – Mary Johnson; Computer & Information Science/Internet & Web Development – Odette Simons; Computer & Information Science/Network Engineering Technology – Megan Coram; Computer & Information Science/PC Management – James Price; General Technology – Terence Weber; Information Technology – Willie Riddle; Office Administrative Technology/General – Wendy Guinn; Office Administrative Technology/Medical – Jolene Combs; Professional Studies – Michael Grindstaff.

Health-Related Professions Division
Dental Assistant – Renee Powell; EMT-Paramedic – Katrina Ginelli; Medical Laboratory Technology – Amanda Haun; Surgical Technology – Chelsea Daniel; Invasive Cardiology – Jordan Pleasant; Non-Invasive Cardiology – Chelsea Davis.

Humanities Division
Art – Caitlin Meadows; English – Kelly Tolley; History – Haley Money; Honors Program – Kaleb Wentz; Humanities – Matthew T.E. Parker; Philosophy – Matthew A. Parker; Spanish – Jacob Slagle; Theatre – William Lambert.

Mathematics Division
Business – Renee Walden; Engineering – Steven Walker; Mathematics – Katelyn Salyers.

Nursing Division – Stephanie Brown.

Sciences Division
Astronomy – Teresa Duncan; Dental Hygiene – Ashleigh Haun; Health Professions – Sydney Hartley; Nursing/Articulated – Nikki Sumner; Occupational Therapy – Brenda Rankhorn; Physical Therapy – Dustin Neubrander; Physics – Elizabeth Terranova; Radiography – Kasey Johnson.

Northeast State President Dr. Janice Gilliam presented the Distinguished Staff Awards to Northeast State faculty and staff who were nominated by their colleagues for their outstanding service to students and the College.

Mike Collins won the Distinguished Support Staff Member Award. Collins provides information technology support around campus. He is well-known as a consummate professional and one of the most upbeat people on campus.

Pat Chandler received the Distinguished Administrative/Professional Staff Member Award. Chandler’s dedicated service to Northeast State has long made her one of the most beloved people on campus.  She presently works in the Veterans Affairs office advising veterans who have returned to college.

Dr. Brent Lockhart was honored with the Distinguished Faculty Member Award. He is a professor of biology at Northeast State. Lockhart’s numerous nomination letters from students praised his dedication and skill as a professor for helping them succeed in the rigorous science disciplines.

Northeast State also recognized students graduating next month with academic honors. A total of 117 students are graduating cum laude (honors), 80 will graduate magna cum laude (high honors), and 84 students are summa cum laude (highest honors) graduates.

The College’s spring graduation ceremony will be held at 7 p.m. on May 12 at the East Tennessee State University/Mountain States Health Alliance Memorial Center in Johnson City.

Posted by: northeastnation | April 22, 2014

Build up credits with summer accelerated courses

It only takes 14 weeks to build up some serious college credit with Northeast State’s accelerated NextStep Program.

Northeast State at Gray

Northeast State at Gray

The College is offering four courses on Mondays and Wednesdays that are taught in seven-week blocks which start on May 14 and end on Aug. 6. The courses will be taught on-site at Northeast State at Gray and streamed to the College’s ITV classrooms in Unicoi County and Mountain City.

The classes, times, and dates are:
HUM2350 – Technology in Culture, 6-7:50 p.m., May 14-June 23
MUS1030 – Music Appreciation, 8-9:50 p.m., May 14-June 23
ENGL2110 – American Literature I, 6-7:50 p.m., June 25-Aug. 6
SOCI2010 – Marriage and Family, 8-9:50 p.m., June 25-Aug. 6

“The summer classes are an excellent opportunity to fill in the gaps on the general education core,” said Jennifer Thacker, a cohort and academic support specialist at Northeast State. “Students can get that English or Sociology class finished up and move on into their emphasis courses.”

Northeast State at Gray is located at 120 Dillon Court in Gray. The Mountain City ITV classroom is located at 2431 S. Shady St. in Mountain City. The Unicoi County ITV site is located at 700 S. Mohawk Dr. in Erwin.

Because of special requirements, students interested in the summer courses must contact Thacker at 423.354.5187 or to register for classes.

Posted by: northeastnation | April 21, 2014

Pianist Dishon Smith performs April 27

Northeast State welcomes pianist Dishon Smith to campus for a special performance on Sunday, April 27.

The performance begins at 3:00 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theater at the main campus in Blountville, next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert is free and open to the public.  Smith will perform classic works from Ernesto Lecuona, Franz Liszt, Claude Debussy, John Williams, and Joseph Martin.

Smith holds a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from Bryan College and a master’s degree in piano pedagogy from the University of Tennessee. He has been a guest artist with the Maryville College Orchestra and the Southern Adventist University Orchestra. When not performing Smith stays busy as a performing arts instructor teaching music appreciation at Northeast State, drama at Providence Academy, and piano and voice lessons at Smith Studios.

Smith also brings his talents to regional theater productions and orchestras. His recent credits include keyboards in Barter Theatre’s production of Kiss Me Kate. He has contributed to other theatre productions including Songs for a New World, Next to Normal, Little Women, Hairspray, The Wizard of Oz, and Charlotte’s Web.

He has also performed onstage in The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee (Mitch Mahoney), The Drowsy Chaperone (Robert Martin), and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat (Joseph).

Doors open at 2:30 p.m. For more information, contact

Posted by: northeastnation | April 16, 2014

Billy, Brits, and the Blues

It’s a night of Billy, Brits, and the Blues April 25 as Northeast State presents regional favorite The Billy Crawford Band in concert.

The Bristol-based blues rockers will turn their fiery style loose during a British Invasion-themed concert. There will be backbeat and backstory as the band presents a bit of history about the British Blues Invasion with each tune it plays.

The Billy Crawford Band

The Billy Crawford Band

The concert is the culmination of a semester-long tribute to the Beatles and the British music invasion of the 1960s. Most recently, Caravan of Thieves presented its take on the Fab Four’s Sgt. Pepper album.

The band’s repertoire reflects wide-ranging interests and influences and includes blues, ballads, rock, surf, and even New Orleans-style tunes.
Crawford lists rock guitar greats such as Randy Rhoads, Ritchie Blackmore, and Gary Moore as inspirations, but Elvis Presley, B.B. King, and Stevie Ray Vaughn are the real kings of his party. He has notched three decades of blues music and for much of the 1990s, audiences around the world heard Crawford’s intense work with blues-rocker Deborah Coleman.

Crawford gave up the road in 2002, but he still rocks regionally with a group that consists of singer/guitarist Rex Boggs, sax man Jay Corder, bassist Robert McClain, drummer Keith Chinault and on occasion, Hammond B3 player Jacob Tipton.

The concert will be staged in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the Blountville campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

The 7 p.m. concert is free and open to the public. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or

Posted by: northeastnation | April 10, 2014

Hypnopalooza returns to Northeast State April 15

How does he do it? Only hypnotist and mentalist Rich Aimes knows how!

Aimes returns to Northeast State with his mesmerizing “Hypnopalooza!” show on April 15. Aimes will give a free performance at 7 p.m. in the Auditorium on the College’s main campus, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Aimes makes audience members the stars of the show by putting them into funny situations as hypnotic subjects. The performance sheds some light on the power of suggestion and influence that can be exerted on the human thought with the right prompting. Aimes’ dramatic flair and uncanny mentalist abilities has won over audiences across the country.

Rich Aimes exerts his power of suggestion.

Rich Aimes exerts his power of suggestion.

Aimes is a board certified hypnotist with the National Board of Hypnotist Education and Certification (NBHEC) and studied psychology and theater as an undergraduate. As a student of hypnosis, he trained in Los Angeles and Florida with some of the top hypnotists in the country. Marielle, his wife and stage partner, is also a board certified hypnotist with NBHEC. The couple has wowed colleges, corporate clients, state fairs, and theme parks with his uncanny mental abilities.

This is the perfect event for relieving end-of-semester strains and stresses, and you are invited to bring your students, family, friends, and colleagues. Students of psychology, performing arts, and speech should especially enjoy this program (as well as anyone who needs a relaxing “escape”).

Aimes’ performances are being sponsored by the Northeast State Cultural Activities Committee. The performance is free and open to the public. For more information, contact 423.279.7669 or e-mail

Posted by: northeastnation | April 8, 2014

Megan Coram earns national O’Banion Student Technology Award

Northeast State student Megan Coram has earned the national Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College. This is the first time a Northeast State student has received the award.

Each year, the League honors two students with special talent in technology, strong financial need, and a passion for pursuing a career in technology.

“I love challenge of computer science and technology because there’s always something to learn,” Megan said. “No matter how long you’ve been in the business, you can’t ever know it all. That means I get to do something different every day, so there’s always a challenge, always a puzzle, always something to figure out. It’s just exciting.”

Megan, a Carter County resident and a Science Hill High School graduate, is majoring in computer and information sciences with a concentration in networking systems. She will graduate in May and she’s already landed a job with HUF Northeast American in Greeneville, Tenn., as a systems administrator. Eventually, she intends to pursue a bachelor’s degree.

Megan Coram is the first Northeast State student to win the Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award.

Megan Coram is the first Northeast State student to win the Terry O’Banion Student Technology Award.

During her three years at Northeast State Megan, a single mom, has put in many long days and nights raising her son, working a part-time retail job, serving as a lab technician for the College, and, of course, studying.

“To win the award is incredible, Megan said. “I’ve worked so hard, but I did it because I loved it. I didn’t really expect anything except a way to provide for my family and do something that I love. It makes me feel proud because of what I’ve been through – raising a son by yourself is hard. The award is God’s way of telling me I’m on the right path and to just keep doing what I’m doing.”

Megan originally attended a four-school and majored in painting; however she always enjoyed working with computers and found she spent more time on them than art. Her mother suggested she should look into Northeast State for possible computer science majors and everything fell into place.

“I called the school and the person that answered was so excited for me and happy that I called,” Megan said. “It just felt so easy and like I was home. I just fell in love with Northeast. The instructors are really there to help you – they want you to learn and they get excited for you – it’s awesome. I really want to thank the family that is Northeast. I’ve never, ever been so excited to learn. I’m just very thankful to have been led here.”

(from left) Dr. Janice Gilliam, Megan Coram, and Dr. Allana Hamilton.

(from left) Dr. Janice Gilliam, Megan Coram, and Dr. Allana Hamilton.

Danny Lawson, dean of the Business Technologies Division at Northeast State said Megan was a unanimous choice for the honor – a rare accomplishment for a national award.

“I nominated Megan for the award not just because of her need, but for her enthusiasm and love for computer science,” Lawson said. “She is very deserving of this.”

The League is an international organization dedicated to catalyzing the community college movement. The organization hosts conferences and institutes, develops Web resources, conducts research, produces publications, provides services, and leads projects and initiatives with member colleges, corporate partners, and other agencies to make a positive difference for students and communities.

Dr. Terry O’Banion was president of the League for Innovation in the Community College for 23 years until his retirement. Under his leadership the League became an international organization serving over 700 colleges. Since retirement O’Banion has worked on special projects for the League for Innovation, MetLife Foundation, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, The Chauncey Group International, and Walden University.

Posted by: northeastnation | March 25, 2014

Northeast State Theatre stages The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

The Northeast State Theatre Department will take audiences through an old coat closet into the strange nature-world of Narnia with its spring production of the C.S. Lewis classic: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

The production will recreate the magic and mystery of Aslan, the great lion, his struggle with the White Witch, and the adventures of four children who inadvertently wander from an old wardrobe into the never-to-be-forgotten land of Narnia. The story is one of love, faith, courage, giving, and the triumph of good over evil.

“Our goal is to create a totally original production of the play,” said Brad McKenzie, technical director. “Since nature plays such a large role, we’ve taken an organic bent and tried to incorporate wood and other elements of nature to help tell the story. It won’t be childish, but it will maintain the child-like wonder that’s inherent in the original story.”

Visit the land of Narnia.

Visit the land of Narnia.

The action features chases, duels, and escapes as the witch is determined to keep Narnia in her possession and to end the reign of Aslan. All the memorable episodes from the story will unfold: the temptation of Edmund by the witch, the slaying of the evil wolf by Peter, the witnessing of Aslan’s resurrection by Susan and Lucy, and the crowning of the four new rulers of Narnia.

The memorable supporting characters are also here: the unicorn, the centaur, and other forest animals, as well as Father Christmas, Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, and the faun, Tumnus.

The set will feature two, 13-foot tall arches and four large panels of material that will use multiple arrangements and lighting to adapt to various settings. McKenzie said stage hands dressed as wood nymphs will set the stage as needed and then fade back into nature.

A unique aspect of the production will be sound, which will be created solely by the actors or crew members – and require deft timing. For example, as the actors crunch through the woods or snow, a crew member will create the sound of footsteps off-stage.

“We think it ideas like this will make the production unique and be something that no one’s seen before,” McKenzie said. “We know we have a challenge presenting this story because it’s well-known, so we’re looking to stray from convention.”

The production is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students.

The production is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students.

The set is totally designed by students and all the actors are Northeast State students, McKenzie said. He said there are eight student-designers and 20-25 cast members.

The play was dramatized for the stage by Joseph Robinette from the story by C.S. Lewis.  The novel was the first installment of Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia series. First published in 1950, it has long been a youth-fiction staple. Time magazine placed the book on its 2005 list of the 100 best English-language novels.

The play is being brought to the Northeast State stage courtesy of Dramatic Publishing. The play is being directed by Northeast State’s own Elizabeth M. Sloan, theatre department chair.

The show will be presented at the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on two successive weekends of April 3-6 and April 10-13.   Evening performances begin at 7:30 p.m., April 3-5 and April 10-12.  Matinee performances begin at 2 p.m., April 6 and 13.

Tickets are $10 general admission with senior and students priced at $8. Tickets for children under 12 are $6. Performances are free to current Northeast State students, but they must pick up tickets at the box office.

Tickets can be purchased online at or at the theatre box office one hour prior to the show. The house opens 30 minutes before show time.

The performing arts center is located at 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to the Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

For more information, contact Northeast State Theatre at 423.354.2479 or e-mail

As a bonus attraction, pop-culture historian Stephanie Murray will give free presentations about the book on April 10 at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in the performing arts center.

Murray, is an education specialist with a passion for mythology, will explore the novel’s influence on pop culture. Murray holds a bachelor’s degree in Literature and Religious Studies from Lees-McRae College. She currently serves as an educational advisor for adult learners in North Carolina.

Posted by: northeastnation | March 24, 2014

Nikki Sumner named Silver Scholar on 2014 Coca-Cola Academic Team

Northeast State student Nikki Sumner of Kingsport has been named a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Silver Scholar. She will receive a $1,250 scholarship and a special medallion.

The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation sponsors the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team program by recognizing 50 Gold, 50 Silver and 50 Bronze Scholars, and providing nearly $200,000 in scholarships annually.

“I was ecstatic when I got the news,” said Sumner, a Sullivan North High School graduate. “This is very helpful for me – I don’t have to worry about working so much and can focus on school,” Sumner said.

Nikki Sumner

Nikki Sumner

Sumner is a nursing major, planning to transfer to ETSU in fall 2014. Her career goal is to work as an operating room registered nurse and eventually become a physician’s assistant. In addition to her position as secretary/treasurer for the Alpha Iota Chi Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, she is the administrative liaison for the Council for Leadership, Advocacy, and Student Success; secretary of the Green’s Club; a member of the Northeast State President’s Student Advisory Council; and a member of the Scholars Foundation. She also holds the Academic Work Scholarship.

“To be recognized this way makes me feel really good and humbled,” Sumner said. “Getting this award helps me clarify that I’m doing the right things and that I am capable of achieving even more things in the future.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society administers the Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Program and recognizes Coca-Cola Academic Team scholars during All-State Community College Academic Team Recognition ceremonies held in 38 states. Student scholars also receive recognition locally during ceremonies held on campus and internationally for those who are able to attend Phi Theta Kappa’s Annual Convention.

More than 1,700 students were nominated from more than 900 community colleges for recognition. Judges consider grades, leadership, activities and most importantly, how students extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom. A total of 51 students received the honor.

Sumner will be recognized during the Parade of Scholars at the Second General Session of the Phi Theta Kappa Annual Convention in Orlando, Fla., April 25 and at a special reception for Phi Theta Kappa Scholars later that same day.

In addition, Sumner was recently named to the All-Tennessee Academic Team. The All-Tennessee Academic Team is comprised of students nominated by their colleges to be considered for the All-USA Academic Team, sponsored by USA Today and Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society. Each of the state’s 13 community colleges selects two outstanding students to recognize for their academic achievement, leadership, and service to the community.

“We appreciate the support of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and The Coca-Cola Foundation to recognize the outstanding academic achievement and leadership accomplishments of these outstanding community college students,” said Dr. Rod Risly, Phi Theta Kappa’s executive director. “These scholarships provided by organizations like Coca-Cola make the goal of college completion possible – especially during these challenging economic times.”

Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in American higher education with more than 1,285 chapters on two-year and community college campuses around the world. Nearly three million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 135,000 students inducted annually.

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