The cure for the common classroom? More myelinization!

A Friday morning in the TRiO Student Support Services lab find four groups of Anatomy and Physiology students studying and working together with a tutor.  Northeast State faculty members Dr. Brent Lockhart and Dale Ledford circle the classroom giving their time assisting tutors and furthering discussions.

But the session belongs to the students.

“To learn it is better to say something than to read it,” explains Theron Booher, a Northeast State student and tutor who volunteers his time every Friday morning this fall to help fellow A&P students. “This method teaches students how to study and learn outside of class.”

Theron Booher tutors students in anatomy at the TRiO Lab.

Tutors lead groups of three to four students on a variety of anatomy and physiology topics.   The tutors explain anatomy while connecting the subject to a visual cue such as moving their arms or legs to demonstrate the aspects of anatomy.  Each student gets a turn in the role of professor guiding his or her group.

Given the sheer amount of information students must learn, Anatomy and Physiology ranks as the most challenging subject health-related professions majors face during the first year of college.  The subject is divided into two semester long sections and is required for all health-related professions majors.

The TRiO hosts the Anatomy and Physiology tutoring session at the TRiO Lab in the General Studies Building. TRiO Director Teressa Dobbs suggested moving the A & P tutoring sessions to the TRiO Lab earlier this year.  The thought helps TRiO students enrolled in health-related majors and give A & P students a set time and place to get tutoring assistance.

“We volunteer our time, TRiO allows us to use their lab, and the students get a place to increase their knowledge through each other,” explained Lockhart.

Booher referred to the tutoring process as “more myelinization”.  Defined in Dorland’s Medical Dictionary, myelinization is the act of adding myelin sheath around nerve fiber.  The result is a faster, cleaner movement of information across the nerves synapses – a good analogy of how group tutoring shares information with peers and develops a student’s understanding of a subject.

Professor Dale Ledford lends his time to help anatomy students.

April Hodges, a TRiO student taking part in the tutoring sessions, said the group learning environment not only gave her a more intense understanding of anatomy definitions but how they worked as a system.  As the first member of her family poised to earn a college degree, Hodges also praised TRiO for helping her adjust to college life.

“The group setting gives you the back and forth communication that helps look at the subject and understand how everyone else learns it,” said Hodges, a Nursing major.

Lockhart added the rotating roles meant every student became a pseudo-professor for the group.

“What we are doing here is stimulating the student’s brain,” explained Lockhart, professor of biology at Northeast State.  “One student acts as the professor with the other students learning from them.  The role of professor then moves on to another student who must take on the role of teacher.”

The A&P tutoring model gives students the chance to be professor and student while helping their classmates learn the material.

Rita Muller heard about the tutoring opportunities in Dr. Lockhart’s A&P I class.  She jumped at the chance to improve her knowledge of the subject.

“The tutoring has been really helpful,” said Muller, a Surgical Technology major. “One thing I really like is learning the information in a different way and understanding how everyone’s style of learning differs and how we all learn from each other.”

The TRiO Student Support Services program is a federally funded grant program designed to provide an array of free services to limited number of eligible students each academic year.  Lockhart said the program’s willingness to lend their space and time was instrumental to his department’s work with students.

“If you want to know something, teach it,” he said. “This is what we are doing, and TRiO is making that possible.”

Northeast State hosts Sullivan County Financial Aid Night Nov. 29

Northeast State wants to help future college students discover financial aid opportunities by hosting Sullivan County Financial Aid Night on Thursday, Nov. 29 from 6 to 8 p.m., in the Wellmont Regional Center for Performing Arts at the main campus, 2425 Highway 75, adjacent to Tri-Cities Regional Airport.

Sullivan County Financial Aid Night happens Nov. 29 at Northeast State.

High school students and their parents attending the Financial Aid Night will learn how to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to apply for federal and state aid. Northeast State staff members will present information about the Tennessee Education Lottery Scholarships and other state programs available to students.  Staff members will also have information about the Educate and Grow Scholarship Program, Northeast State institutional scholarships, and other financial aid opportunities.

Representatives from the following institutions have been invited to attend: Carson-Newman College; East Tennessee State University; Emory and Henry College; Tennessee Technology Center; King College; Tusculum College; Milligan College; University of Tennessee at Knoxville; Northeast State; Virginia Tech; Virginia Intermont College; and Walters State Community College.

The event is sponsored by the Northeast State office of Financial Aid.  For more information contact 423.323.0252 or e-mail

Theater students earn Kennedy Center nods for NOTLD

Northeast State Theater’s Night of the Living Dead proved to be a big hit with audiences.  The production also won over the critics earning several students and the play’s director nominations for their work from the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) judging body.

Student earning nominations were: Anne Rowell and Richard Jackson (Acting); Aaron Bradley (Scenic Design and Sound Design); T.J. Laws (Costume Design); Richard Curtis (Makeup); and Amanda Neas (Stage Management).  Region IV judges also nominated Northeast State’s Brad McKenzie for the Faculty Directing award.

“I was very pleased with it,” said McKenzie, adjunct instructor of Theater at Northeast State. “The tremendous effort the students brought throughout the production made it so successful.”

Based on the classic 1968 zombie film, McKenzie merged stage action with brief television news clips shared by the audience and cast creating an element of drive-in movie nostalgia. The play’s tension swept audiences into an apocalyptic vision being played out in a living room. The play ranks as the Northeast State Theater’s second most popular production ever staged only trailing last spring’s production of The Wizard of Oz in the number of ticket sales.

Actors showing off the work of T.J. Laws and Richard Curtis who were nominated for their work in costume design and make-up, respectively.

“I’m really proud of our department and what we are accomplishing. The KCACTF nominations reflect the hard work and long hours that our students put into the production,” said Elizabeth M. Sloan, professor and director of Northeast State Theater. “Brad’s dedication to Northeast State and the Theatre Department and especially the students is more than we can ask for.”

With the action set mostly in a rural Pennsylvania farmhouse during the late 1960s, Laws researched the look of that era’s clothing.  He coordinated the characters’ style with Curtis’s make-up effects.

“Richard and me worked to match costuming and masks trying to match up every detail,” said Laws.

Curtis identified each actor playing a zombie – milkman, paperboy, and bride – then custom designed each mask to fit each the character’s identity and the actor’s face.  He created the mask structure with a combination of latex and silicone. The masks were later painted and garnished with the grotesque zombie features.

“It always makes you feel good when you see it happen on stage,” said Curtis. “It is all worth the work you put in when the lights go up.”

Bradley’s design contrasted the house’s off-stage upstairs area to on-stage cellar for dramatic effect.  He framed the on-stage cellar area like a grave, dark and inescapable.  The home’s upstairs area stayed off-stage and unseen, suggesting an unknown fate and a possibility of hope.

Aaron Bradley’s scenic design of a lonely farmhouse and sound design of marauding zombies won over critics and audiences.

“I looked at a lot of farm houses from the 1940s because the house was dated back to that time,” said Bradley, who also played the character “Tom” in the play.

After using her talents as an artist and designer in past productions, Neas took on the formidable task of stage manager for Living Dead.  This new role meant long hours coordinating actors, designers, props, zombies, sounds, and stage cues to keep the production flowing.

“It involved a lot of work and very little sleep, but I think this is most satisfying work I’ve done so far in my theater career,” said Neas, a Theater major. “I tried to take care of everyone and keep the play moving as one unified event.”

The work of Neas and Curtis caught the KCACTF judges’ attention for the second consecutive year. Neas won a first-place award last year in the festival’s Weiss Design Competition for Lighting Design for her designs of Equus.  Curtis earned the Barbizon Scenic Design award for creating the Oedipus character masks.  He was also nominated by the KCACTF judges for his scene design work on the Godspell production done by Northeast State Theater in spring.

The Kennedy Center Theater Festival recognizes the best theater work in Region IV representing colleges throughout the Southeast.  McKenzie has won multiple Region IV awards and competed in the national Kennedy Center Theater festival.

“One thing I’ve tried to do is push my students as artists and theater majors,” said McKenzie. “Theater is a creative art form where you learn to use your imagination.  I want to see my students grow beyond what they believe they are capable of doing.”

Actors Richard Jackson and Anne Rowell were nominated for their performances.

A proctor from Region IV attended a performance to assess the play. The production’s quality was graded and then considered for nominations to the regional competition. The KCACTF Regional Festival gives each nominee display space to exhibit his or her work. Judges review the work as it fits into the overall production.  All the nominees will travel to the Region IV festival competition in Albany, Ga., next spring to compete against theater programs from across the Southeast.

“I’m really excited for Brad’s Directing Award and the opportunities these students are going to get at the Region IV festival,” said Sloan.  “It is because of his artistic vision, hard work and dedication to the students that we have these nominations and that once again, a national spotlight will be focused on Northeast State Community College.”

Echoes and Images accepting entries now

Echoes and Images, Northeast State’s award-winning Student Literary Magazine, invites submissions for the 2012-2013 competition.

The competition is open to current students at Northeast State. All entries must be original and previously unpublished, in print or online.  Entry deadline is Dec. 10.

Echoes and Images 23 wants your art.

Categories are: Poetry, Fiction, Non-fiction, and Visual Art.  Judges review submissions in each category and name winners.  First place is awarded a $50 cash prize, second place wins $35, and third place winners take home $25.

Students may enter up to three poems, three pieces of visual art, fiction up to 3,000 words, and nonfiction up to 3,000 words. Students may enter all categories. Students must submit two typed copies of each written entry, one with the author’s name and one without the name.

Each submission must be accompanied by an entry form, available in H129 of the Locke Humanities Building.

Entries may be turned in to the Humanities Division Office, H129.   Details, contact Tempi Hale @ 354.2594 or

Two Scholarship Tips Workshop sessions this week

Find the money at the free Scholarship Tips Workshop to help students apply for 2013-14 scholarships.  The week’s first workshop happens Nov. 14, 10:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. in Basler L226 on the main campus at Blountville.   The second workshop is set Thursday, Nov. 15, 12 noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room G108, Northeast State at Gray teaching site, Dillon Court.

Get information about scholarships available, financial aid, application deadlines, supporting documentation and formats, writing the scholarship essay, and the Northeast State Honors Programs.

The Scholarship Tips Workshop is sponsored by the office of Scholarship Programs.