Magnolias earns award nominations for Theater students

The work of Northeast State Theater students continues to catch the eye of theater professionals with this fall’s production of Steel Magnolias.

The play earned actors and crew nominations to the Region IV Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival (KCACTF) that recognizes the best theater work of colleges in the Southeast.

“I am incredibly proud of all of our theater students,” said Brad McKenzie, director of Magnolias and Technical Director of Northeast State Theater. “The reputation for excellence of Northeast State’s Theater department continues to grow.”

Students Caitlyn Haltom and Shelby Minogue earned Irene Ryan acting nominations. Haltom played M’Lynn and Minogue portrayed Shelby, respectively. A second-year student and Theater major, Haltom has performed in the productions of The Odyssey Abridged, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, and I, Ebenezer at Northeast State. A first-year student, Minogue found her love of acting in high school performing productions of Xanadu, Check Please, and Daddy’s Girl.

Steel Magnolias Northeast State Nov. 1 2015. Photos by David Grace
(From left) Shelby (Shelby Minogue) and M’Lynn (Caitlin Haltom) earned Irene Ryan award nominations for acting.

Other students receiving nominations for Magnolias are: Sommer Hughes in the category of Scenic Design, Ashley Guy and Jessica Richardson for Costume Design, and Dustin Lawson for Stage Management.

Costume designer Guy and assistant designer Richardson sketched out costume ideas and searched out vintage clothing matching the character’s personality and pairing it with 1980s fashion trends. They designated each character with a thematic color that represented her personality. A Theater major and veteran of several NST productions, Guy was a costume designer and portrayed Tiny Tim in Ebenezer. Richardson is also a Theater major who did her first production work on Magnolias.

Hughes used her carpentry skills to build the beauty shop where all the play’s action takes place. She found reclaimed beauty salon chairs to create the right detail and look for the set. Her past work includes scenic design on The Laramie Project.

Lawson is a Theater major at ETSU and recent graduate of Northeast State. He previously earned KCACTF nominations in hair and makeup design for his work in Ebenezer and production design for Laramie. He performed on stage in the Northeast State productions of Laramie, and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.

Aaron Musselwhite earned a nomination for Sound Design. Mussel white performed on stage in previous NST productions of Ebenezer and Laramie before taking on sound design job.

Steel Magnolias Northeast State Nov. 1 2015. Photos by David Grace
The play’s exquisite costuming, scene design, and stage management were recognized by the KCACTF.

A proctor from Region IV attended performances of Magnolias during its run this fall. The play’s quality was graded and then considered for nominations to the regional competition. All nominees will present their work at the Region IV festival in February featuring the best work of theater students from colleges and universities throughout the Southeast. With multiple nominations and awards in recent years, Northeast State Theater students continue to earn accolades for their work by the theater professionals from around the region.

The KCACTF Regional Festival gives each nominee display space to exhibit his or her work. Judges review the student’s specific work as it fits into the overall production. Magnolias was one of three modern theater classics the Theater Department scheduled for the 2015-16 academic year. David Mamet’s American Buffalo was staged in November and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest opens April 7 during the spring semester.

iNortheast initiative gears up for Spring 2016 semester

The College’s iNortheast initiative recently completed its first semester of iPad instruction in selected classes and is gearing up for expansion in spring 2016.

The iNortheast initiative is designed to transform learning through the use of technology, giving students greater ownership in how they learn and how they access and retain information.

“Mobile devices, once viewed as being inappropriate for use in classrooms, are now seen as vital components in promoting student-centered learning,” said Jim Kelly, associate professor of History and director of the College’s Center for Teaching Excellence. “Initiating our iPad Initiative makes a strong statement that we are being proactive rather than reactive in meeting the needs of our students and staff.”

During fall 2015, 1,800 iPad mini 2 devices were distributed to students, including Tennessee Promise Scholarship recipients. According to enrollment data, 146 iPad-enhanced courses were offered during the fall.

iNortheast iPad initiative 2015
Northeast State distributed 1,800 iPad mini 2 devices for fall 2015.

“I found the iPad Initiative to be an outstanding project,” said Johnny Bragg, assistant professor of Speech, who taught four iPad-enhanced classes. “Student engagement in the classroom is always a challenge. I feel the iPads helped to create interest in the course, and increased overall student engagement.”

Bragg said the iPads were particularly useful for in collaborative learning. He said in-class group projects, aided by research on the devices, increased the quality and efficiency of work. Perhaps most importantly, the iPads added a level of fun to the classes, he said.

Tennessee Promise student Seth Manning said the devices helped to level the playing field in his iPad-enhanced classes, giving all students access to the same device, operating system, and applications.

“The devices streamlined the process of doing work,” said Manning. “It’s all inclusive so everyone is working with the same thing.”

Mason Williams, another Tennessee Promise student, said he was initially skeptical of the initiative, but was soon impressed by student interest and classroom integration of the devices.

“I see my peers using the iPads in the library, outside, in their cars, and everywhere else,” Williams said. “As for myself, I honestly did not think I would use it; however, I have used the iPad every day this semester.”

Williams said he completed about half of his assignments this semester on his iPad. He used Office 365 to complete essays and presentations. He also said the iPad offered easy interface with Desire 2 Learn (D2L), a learning management system to access course-related materials, electronic drop boxes for assignments, on-line quizzes, and grades.

Williams and Manning said their instructors used popular apps such as Kahoot and Nearpod in combination with lectures to keep students engaged with assignments and quizzes, which helped gauge learning and retention. Both students said they used the iPads and other forms of technology to learn more about class content or amplify instruction.

“With my generation, you have to find ways to maintain interest or we’re tuned out in 15 minutes,” Manning said. “But the iPads, apps, and things like that are the best way to keep in line with current technology and educational standards.”

Williams said the convenience of iPads allowed students spur-of-the-moment research opportunities, which were beneficial because students found out information for themselves rather than having it presented to them in lecture form.

“When you research something for yourself, you retain that knowledge longer,” Williams said. “It’s these kinds of activities and mobile convenience which enable better long-term learning.”

“I see my peers using the iPads in the library, outside, in their cars, and everywhere else. As for myself, I honestly did not think I would use it; however, I have used the iPad every day this semester.”
– Mason Williams

The initiative required substantial increases in the College’s wireless capacity. During the fall semester 182 additional access points were installed in all buildings where students attend classes or congregate of class-related activities. In addition bandwidth was increased to handle network traffic. Efforts are continuing to add even more connectivity across all buildings and campuses.

Bragg said the iPad initiatives technology and technical support performed admirably.

“I appreciated how well the technology worked and the efficiency of the wireless system,” Bragg said. “Our computer and technology services did an excellent job offering support to me as a faculty member and to the students.”

For spring 2016, iPads will be issued to first-time freshmen (either full-time or part-time) and students taking EDUC 1030 and HRPR 1000 courses. Depending on enrollment, students in some iPad-required courses will receive iPads as well. Students who sign up for an iPad-required course – and are not in these categories – must either lease or buy an iPad device.

Currently, 89 iPad-required courses are scheduled for spring 2016 with more in the works.

For fall 2016, all students attending Northeast State will be required to have an iPad. Details on lease or purchasing options are available by e-mailing

Northeast State earns Military Friendly School distinction

Northeast State has been named to the Military Friendly Schools ® list for 2016. The Military Friendly® Schools designation is awarded to the top colleges, universities, community colleges and trade schools in the country that are doing the most to embrace military students, and to dedicate resources to ensure their success both in the classroom and after graduation.

“It is an honor to be included in this select group of colleges and universities for the seventh consecutive year,” said Pat Chandler, coordinator of Veterans Affairs at the College. “Northeast State strives to offer the best possible services to those who have already given so much. We want these students to be successful.”

Northeast State served more than 300 student veterans during the spring and fall semesters of 2015. The College also opened a new Veterans Center at the Blountville campus in November of 2014 to accommodate service veterans.

2016_MFS_Logo_200x200The Military Friendly School® designation is awarded by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs® and Military Spouse. Institutions competed for the elite Military Friendly® School title by completing a survey of over 100 questions covering ten categories, including military support on campus, graduation and employment outcomes, and military spouse policies. Survey responses were scored against benchmarks across these key indicators of success.

The methodology used for making the Military Friendly® Schools list has changed the student veteran landscape to one much more transparent, and has played a significant role over the past seven years in capturing and advancing best practices to support military students across the country.

“Post-secondary institutions earning the 2016 Military Friendly® School award have exception ally strong programs for transitioning service members and spouses,” said Daniel Nichols, Chief Product Officer of Victory Media and Navy Reserve veteran.

The Military Friendly® Schools designation process includes extensive research and a data-driven survey of thousands of schools nationwide approved for Post-9/11 GI Bill funding. The school survey, methodology, criteria and weightings are developed with the assistance of an independent Advisory Board comprised of educators and HR, diversity and recruitment professionals from schools across the country.

Gerhard & Mize play Northeast State Dec. 10

They are back and better than ever. Guitar legends Ed Gerhard and Bill Mize return to Northeast State Community College for a free Christmas concert on Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for Performing Arts Theatre on the College’s Blountville campus. The duo will perform instrumental Christmas and holiday favorites as well as selected original works.

From Tokyo to Rome and venues across the US, Ed Gerhard’s music has touched audiences all over the world. Performing on 6-string, 12-string, slide guitar or Acoustic Hawaiian Lap Slide, Gerhard captivates his audiences with virtuosity, generosity and sly humor. Based truly on the quality of his work, Ed built his considerable reputation, beginning with his debut album Night Birds in 1987. It garnered a spot in the Boston Globe Critics Poll Top 10 Albums of the Year.

He has released his eighth CD Sunnyland in homage to his early blues heroes. He was awarded a Grammy for his inclusion on the CD Henry Mancini; Pink Guitar. Warner Brothers, MelBay and Hal Leonard have all released Ed Gerhard’s music in books.

Ed Gerhard (left) and Bill Mize.
Ed Gerhard (left) and Bill Mize.

Also a Grammy-winning guitarist and renowned instrumentalist, Bill Mize is a son of Tennessee, and a more fitting representative of his state’s rich musical heritage would be hard to find. His critically lauded fingerstyle compositions are fluid and intricate, and their delivery masterful. The links to his Tennessee roots are unmistakable, but so are the elements of the far wider musical realm he inhabits, and the mixture is as intoxicating as Tennessee moonshine.

He has released albums Sugarlands, Tender Explorations, Coastin’, and Joyful Noise. His release, The Angel’s Share, was called one of the “essential acoustic albums” to own by Acoustic Guitar Magazine. Bill has put the finishing touches on his newest recording, The Back of Beyond. This recording pays homage to Bill’s Smoky Mountain heritage with brand new acoustic guitar compositions, plus a stirring cover of Piazzolla’s “Milonga del Angel”.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and open to the public. For more information, visit and For additional information, contact 423.279.7669.

Workforce Solutions offers 10-week phlebotomy program

Workforce Solutions at Northeast State is offering a 10-week course in phlebotomy, which is projected to be one of the fastest growing health-care occupations in the next decade.

Phlebotomists specialize in drawing blood and work in hospitals, clinics, medical offices, laboratories, and public health facilities. Phlebotomists are crucial members of a medical team, providing quality laboratory samples and patient/donor care in a variety of medical settings.

Individuals interested in starting a career in the medical field, prospective patient care technicians, current nurses, or those looking to develop skills may be good candidates for the program. The training includes theory and hands-on instruction during a 10-week program. This course includes labs in a hospital setting and 100 documented sticks.

Students will gain the technical knowledge required to assist them in passing the National Healthcareer Association (NHA) certification examination, which is included in the course.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of phlebotomists is projected to grow 27 percent from 2012 to 2022, much faster than the average for all occupations.

Class Dates: Feb. 9 – April 19, 2016
Course Hours: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Location: Regional Center for Health Professions Building in Kingsport, 300 W. Main St.
Fees: $675 (includes the NHA Certification Exam)

The course’s instructor has been a phlebotomist for many years and has taught phlebotomy since 2005. Credentials include a bachelor’s in Management, and a master’s in Education.

Registration Deadline: January 26, 2016

For more information and how to register for this class, please contact Rebecca Moody with Workforce Solutions at 423.354.5520 or