Faculty Focus – Prof. Nona Shepherd

Faculty Focus, Prof. Nona Shepherd
English Professor & Fantasy Literature guru.
Clinch Valley College (University of Virgina’s College at Wise) Bachelor’s degree.
East Tennessee State University. Master’s degree.
She’s Morgan le Fay in another realm.

Has Southern Appalachia always been home to you?
My family moved to Wise, Va., from Baltimore when I was 12 years old. So my formative years were spent in Southwest Virginia. I graduated from Clinch Valley College (now University of Virginia’s College at Wise) where I was an English major with a concentration in Communications. I was also a dorm director for three years. My director of residence life told me I needed to move on to graduate school.

What prompted your decision to return to graduate school?
Initially, when I was going to graduate school I applied to get a degree in counseling. It was the loss of my dad and my friends’ discussion of their passion for layout design that nudged me back towards literature. That experience brought me back to language, stories, and the people telling them. I thought, ‘You’ve loved this your whole life.’ That is when I realized what I’m most passionate about. So I was accepted into the graduate program at East Tennessee State University where I earned my Master’s degree in English. After I earned my Master’s degree, I worked as a community educator for six-and-a-half years at the Sexual Assault Response Center.

Prof. Nona Shepherd

How did you find your way to Northeast State?
Someone told me that I should go talk to this guy (Humanities division Dean William) Wilson about becoming an adjunct instructor at Northeast State. So he gave me a few classes to teach. I was also teaching adjunct at ETSU. I applied for a full-time faculty position that year but didn’t get the job! But I applied again the next year and was hired as a full-time instructor. So I’ve been here 12 years full-time and 14 years overall. I never imagined being able to teach in college as a profession.

In an increasingly visually driven world of communication, why are English and literature critical to how we express ourselves?
I think you communicate the complexities of life through language. The use of written language handles the true depth of human communication whereas visual images give you a moment. Words are the most natural expressions of ourselves. Literature helps us understand each other because it is the story of others. Literature tells the story of humanity.

What is the biggest challenge for students to improve their writing?
Their confidence level. Students tell me, ‘I know what is in my head but I can’t get it down on paper.’ They don’t have the confidence in their ability to communicate well in their writing. So we develop that confidence through writing and practicing writing what we want to express.

What appeals to you about Northeast State?
Because we invest in students. I don’t know how many students I’ve had say, ‘I wish I could come back’ and ‘I hated to leave.’ I feel like we give them a foundation to do what they want to do and move forward to their next step in life. It feels more like a graduate school experience where the classes are more intimate and the relationships between the faculty and students are personal. We are in this together. We are a team. That camaraderie among everyone has carried us through a lot.

The Paul Brock Band plays Northeast State Nov. 1

Dance a jig and get your Irish on when the Paul Brock Band performs at Northeast State bringing an evening of unmatched traditional folk music.

This internationally acclaimed Irish folk band travels from Ireland to share Celtic, Irish and Global music and dance at a one-night-only show on Nov. 1 at 7:00 p.m. in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts on the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. The concert is free and open to the public.

Paul Brock

Button accordionist and melodeonist, Brock is one of Ireland’s most celebrated traditional musicians and has been at the forefront of Irish music for many years. He gets splendid support by bandmates Shane Ferrell on banjo, Denis Carey on piano, and Dave Curley on guitar and vocals.

A multiple All-Ireland accordion champion born in Athlone, County Westmeath, Brock pursued a solo career through the 60’s and 70’s by mastering the single-row, two-row, three-row, and five-row button accordions. His illustrated lecture “Irish Traditional Music in America – The Golden Era” has been widely acclaimed.

As a soloist, Brock has toured extensively throughout the world. He has performed with leading musicians and has been a special guest artist on a number of occasions with the beloved Irish band The Chieftains. His list of awards and accomplishments are many.

Paul Brock and bandmates tuning up at the Grand Old Opry.

Brock previously performed at Northeast State as a part of the renowned Brock McGuire Band which he co-founded with Manus McGuire. They produced many well-received albums including Green Grass Blue Grass, a collaboration with Grammy-winning musician Ricky Scaggs that celebrated the deep historical connection between Appalachian and Irish music.

The band will also perform at 1:30 p.m. in the Kingsport Center for Higher Education in the auditorium. The performance is open to students, faculty, and the public.

The concert is sponsored by Northeast State’s International Education Committee. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. For more information, visit www.northeaststate.edu or email internationaled@northeaststate.edu.


Be a mentor & be a hero – sign up before Oct. 31

Returning Northeast State students can leverage their academic achievements into leadership experience as an EDUC 1030 peer mentor for the upcoming spring semester.

The EDUC 1030 Peer Mentoring Program needs returning students to help transition new students into the college environment. A peer mentor is a second-year student who leads a maximum of five (5) students enrolled in EDUC 1030 classes throughout the 2018 spring semester.

College can be a climb. Peer mentors can help.

An eligible peer mentor candidate is a second-year student with a grade point average of 3.0 or above. Training will take place during the latter half of the current fall semester. Students selected to serve as peer mentors are compensated with meals during training and will receive a $250.00 stipend upon completion of assigned duties and responsibilities.

If interested, please complete the Peer Mentoring Application Form no later than October 31, 2017.

For questions and details, please contact Jane Honeycutt at jbhoneycutt@northeaststate.edu or Dr. Teressa Dobbs at tadobbs@northeaststate.edu.

Northeast State hosts College Transfer Day Oct. 4

Northeast State Community College students get a look at their next step in higher education at College Transfer Day happening Oct. 4 at the Blountville campus.

Hosted by the TRiO Student Support Services, more than 25 college and university representatives will be available to answer questions. College representatives will meet with students from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. in the William Locke Humanities Building (1st floor).

Students can get information about transfer opportunities, tuition, entrance requirements, articulation agreements, financial aid, scholarships, housing, internships, and more. No appointment is necessary. The event is free to attend.

Colleges and universities scheduled to attend include: Alabama A&M University, Austin Peay State University, Bethel University, Bryan College, Carson-Newman University, Cumberland University, East Tennessee State University, Emory & Henry College, King University, Lees-McRae College, Lincoln Memorial University, Lindsey Wilson College, Lipscomb University, Maryville College, Middle Tennessee State University, Milligan College, Morehead State University, Old Dominion University, Tennessee State University, Tennessee Tech University, Tusculum College, University of the Cumberlands, University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, University of Tennessee at Knoxville, and Western Governors University.

Northeast State’s university parallel associate of arts/associate of science degree programs are designed for students who intend to complete the first two years of a baccalaureate degree program at Northeast State and then transfer to a four-year college or university to complete the bachelor’s degree. Northeast State has developed course-by-course equivalency tables and articulation agreements with many four-year colleges and universities.

For more information about College Transfer Day, contact TRiO Student Support Services at 423.354.2540.

Get your BOYC 2017 apparel today!

The Because of You Campaign 2017 is here! The Human Resources & Organizational Effectiveness team will be selling Northeast State apparel for the BOYC in support of the General Foundation Fund.

The General Foundation Fund provides monetary support for the Scholarship Reception and other various Northeast State student-related events. Long-sleeved cotton shirts and polo shirts are available in the colors, sizes, and prices below.

Polo shirt options.
Long-sleeved shirt options.









To order, email Jessi Waugh  (jwwaugh@northeaststate.edu) and provide the style, color, size, and quantity desired.  All orders must be submitted by Friday, September 22.

Apparel must be purchased in advance. Please drop by the office of HR/OE (P315 Blountville) to submit payment. Questions, please call 423.354.5183.