Sullivan County Consent Campaign Contest open to designers

Flex your creative mind and enter the Consent Campaign Logo design contest, administered by Northeast State and open to students.

How to Enter: Contestants can enter by submitting their consent-themed logo design electronically before the deadline of March 4.

Artwork: Original artwork may be hand-drawn or digitally created and designed in any medium. Works should be suitable for reproduction on a t-shirt. All designs should fit within an 8.5” x 11” frame.

Submissions may be sent digitally in jpeg, pdf, or eps file formats only. Files must have a resolution of at least 300 dpi. Design files are to be submitted by e-mail to  The winning contestant will receive $50 cash.

Designs should use a Consent theme. The goal of “Let’s Talk about Consent” is to raise the awareness of what consent is and start the conversation about it about among the Northeast State community. Consent is when someone agrees, gives permission, or says “yes” to any sexual activity with another person.  Consent involves respect and it is freely given. Some popular example slogans are “Consent is sexy mandatory.” “Consent is ASKING every time” and “I Love Consent”.

Design a consent logo and submit your work before March 4.

Plagiarism is prohibited and entries must not contain copyrighted material. Contestants consent to the use and publication of their name, photographs, designs, in connection with the contest. Beyond the contest prize, contestants will not receive any other payment or compensation.

The winning designs will be selected by the Sullivan County’s Regional Health Department, based on originality, creativity, and appropriateness, as well as adherence to contest rules. All decisions made by the Sullivan County’s Regional Health Department are final and not subject to challenge.

All entries become the property of the Sullivan County’s Regional Health Department and Northeast State Community College and will not be returned.


Northeast State students, alumni win big at Kennedy Festival

With the impressive productions of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and She Kills Monsters, Northeast State Theatre participants again made their mark as nominees and winners at a prestigious theater festival competition.

Theatre students and alumni received a record number of nominations to the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) Region IV competition held earlier this month at Georgia Southern University. The competition recognizes the best theatre work of two- and four-year colleges across the Southeast.

“We are very proud of our students and recent alumni that participated in the KCACTF Region IV festival,” said Brad McKenzie, instructor and technical director of Northeast State Theatre. “Our students carried themselves with confidence and professionalism the entire conference.”

Northeast State student winners and participants in the KCACTF Region IV festival.

Northeast State alumnus Dustin Lawson won 1st place in Allied Design and Crafts for his work on the of She Kills Monsters. He will compete in United States Institute for Theatre Technology (USITT) later this year.

“Without Northeast State’s involvement in KCACTF, I wouldn’t have some of the best memories or experiences that I have ever had,” said Lawson, now a theatre major at East Tennessee State University. “Having graduated from Northeast State, I can honestly say the Theatre Department is one of the best around.”

Lawson also received a Don Childs Stagecraft Institute of Las Vegas award. That award qualified him to take a master class with industry professionals in Las Vegas.

Art work and design by Jonathan Brooks
Art work and design by Jonathan Brooks

Northeast State student and Theatre major Shelby Ashley won a 1st place award in the Weiss Lighting Design category. Ashley created a lighting design project from sketch to stage the play Sunday in the Park with George.

Northeast State students Madison Grace Phillips and Hayley Forbes received Irene Ryan Acting nominations for their work in Monsters. Alumna Meredith Muse also won a nomination for her role of Nurse Ratchet in Cuckoo.

“Attending the festival was an indescribable experience for me,” said Phillips. “This trip provided me with newfound knowledge not only about the art of Theatre, but about my fellow thespians and friends.”

The College’s Theatre Department has established a strong record of student and faculty excellence. KCACTF proctors have nominated more than 20 Northeast State students for awards during the past five years alone.

“It was nothing short of a life-changing experience for me,” said Forbes. “It has lit a fire in my soul to delve deeper into this incredible world of theatre.”

Cuckoos NestAndrea Marshall received an Honorable Mention Weiss Costume Design Award while Andrea Greer received an Honorable Mention Weiss Set Design Award. A non-traditional Northeast State student and double major, Marshall credited McKenzie and theatre director, Elizabeth M. Sloan, for their encouragement to succeed.

“Bringing my costume design project to the Kennedy Center was a surprise and an honor,” she said. “I only have to thank both of my mentors Brad and Elizabeth, they gave me the tools and the encouragement to succeed.”

Northeast State students have competed at the festival side by side with their peers from larger four-year schools and graduate-level programs. Students present and past affirm the influence of McKenzie and Sloan for their love of theatre and dedication to help them succeed.

“I cannot thank Elizabeth and Brad enough for giving us this opportunity; Northeast State is lucky to have them,” said Shelby Minogue, a Theatre major and Weiss Design contestant. “They give us the tools and experiences we need to make it in this career, and then some.”

Nominees and winners expressed a shared the feeling of family within the department that made the program special to them. Lawson noted through the acting rounds and designer presentations, students supported each other.

“Hearing my peers announced as winners for their hard work was one of the proudest moments of the trip,” he said. “We took home five awards! If that doesn’t say something, I don’t know what will.”

McKenzie said that awards were a great honor, but seeing the students’ hard work recognized was inspiring as a faculty member. He said the winners and nominees returned from the festival with a fire and a hunger to grow and push themselves even further towards their dreams and career goals.

“We invite and challenge up and coming high school graduates and even curious community members to come see what Northeast State Theatre Department is all about,” said McKenzie. “With our recent and past successes, we are taking strides to hopefully becoming the first and obvious choice for students to get a jump-start on their careers and a solid foundation of theatrical education.”

Northeast State Machine Tool Operations earns NIMS accreditation

The Machine Tool Operations Program at Northeast State Community College reached a new height in program history when it became nationally accredited by the National Institute for Metalworking Skills (NIMS) beginning November of 2016.

NIMS Accreditation is the premiere benchmark for metalworking training programs in the United States as based on NIMS Skills Standards which are industry-written, industry-approved, and recognized by the U.S. Department of Labor. NIMS sets industry supported standards for accreditation in machining across America.

“Our NIMS accreditation validates our program and curriculum on a national level,” said Brad Stufflestreet, Machine Tool program director. “With this accreditation, we join an elite group of machining programs that have received this recognition, with the next closest school being over 100 miles away.”

Stufflestreet noted that not only does accreditation support the program, but Northeast State students are able to earn industry-recognized credentials through NIMS. The credentials are validated through local industries and attest to the students’ level of learning through practical demonstration of their skills.

“We continue to strengthen our local relationships and are investigating additional opportunities including registered apprenticeship programs with support from NIMS,” he added.

(from left) Barry Griggs, Barbara McCray, Brad Stufflestreet, and Keith Tittle hoist the banner recognizing Machine Tool Operations as a nationally accredited program by NIMS.

The NIMS accreditation resulted through the Labor Department’s Trade Adjustment and Community College Career Training grant that brought together Northeast State and five other colleges to form the Southeastern Economic and Education Leadership Consortium (SEELC) in 2013. One of the purposes of this grant was to add the opportunity for students to receive stackable industry-recognized credentials (such as NIMS credentials) in addition to college certificates and degrees.

“This national NIMS accreditation is a major accomplishment and is the result of a focused team effort that involved college faculty, local employer partners, and SEELC grant staff,” said Barbara McCray, project manager for the SEELC grant at Northeast State. “The NIMS accreditation will bring more attention to the Northeast State machine tool program from area employers and potential students.”

Accreditation is based on NIMS National Skill Standards for Machining Level I with a focus on CNC and manual machining skills. As a nationally accredited program, the College demonstrated its commitment to providing industry-level training for northeast Tennessee and for the greater U.S. manufacturing industry.

Led by Industry Certification Coordinator Barry Griggs, college staff and faculty met the stringent quality requirements set forth by NIMS. The College undertook several requirements including a self-audit, the certifying of faculty and students against NIMS industry credentials, and an intensive two-day on-site evaluation at the Blountville campus.

“Everyone has worked together well to meet all the NIMS requirements for a top-notch machine tool program,” said Griggs. “I think the school’s desire to meet these high standards shows the commitment of the school to its students and I’m very happy to see the school achieve this national recognition.”

The Fall 2016 on-site evaluation was conducted by NIMS evaluators. The visit included a comprehensive facility inspection, observation of student safety habits, and a series of in-depth interviews with faculty, administrators, and local employers.

Keith Tittle, interim assistant dean of the Advanced Technologies division at Northeast State, said the NIMS accreditation validated the quality and level of instruction offered at the College. He said the program’s dedication remained consistent with that of nationally recognized programs.

“This is also an indication of the commitment of our highly qualified instructors to deliver training that will ensure students are successful in the workplace,” said Tittle. “Overall, this NIMS accreditation is evidence of a very successful program involving instructors, students, and local industry.”

For more information about the Machine Tool Operations program and how to apply for admission, visit or call 800.836.7822.

Career Discovery program offered for high school juniors, seniors

This summer, rising high school juniors and seniors will have the opportunity to take part in a five-day, rigorous, hands-on exploration of various academic areas such as Entertainment Technology, Welding, Drafting, and Criminal Justice.

Career Discovery, sponsored by Northeast State’s Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, aims to help high school students discover their career and academic potential within a fun and exciting atmosphere. Students will join in activities at the College and explore careers through industry field trips.

The Career Discovery program will allow CTE students to explore career and academic paths.

Career Discovery will be held June 12-16, 2017. The program is free, but limited to 20 high school students. Participating students will receive a t-shirt, lunch daily, and a $50 gift card for completing the program.

Any current high school sophomores or juniors interested in Career Discovery should speak with their high school’s CTE Principal by March 30. For more information, call 423.354.5297 or e-mail

NE theatre students, alumni competing at Kennedy Festival

Northeast State Theatre’s 2016 productions of She Kills Monsters and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest were hits with audiences and critics.

Northeast State Theatre students and alumni were nominated by proctors from Region IV of the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) to submit their work to the Festival’s Region IV competition Feb. 8-11 at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro, Ga. The adjudicated competition recognizes the best theatre work of two- and four-year colleges across the Southeast.

“I am continuously impressed and proud of the hard work and dedication our students put towards the shows they work on,” said Elizabeth M. Sloan, associate professor and director of Northeast State Theatre. “They really do push themselves and grow not only as theatre artists but as humans. It is a wonderful thing to observe.”

A proctor from Region IV attended performances of Cuckoo and Monsters to judge both productions.  The plays’ quality was graded and considered for nominations to the regional competition.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest cast and crew.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest cast and crew.

Current Northeast State students Madison Grace Phillips and Hayley Forbes both earned Irene Ryan Acting nominations for their work in Monsters. Meredith Muse won a nomination for her role of Nurse Ratchet in Cuckoo.

Phillips portrayed Tilly and Tillius the Paladin, a gaming legend whose death prompts her sister’s search for her identity. She also served on the crew as assistant fight captain and dance captain.

“Every performance we did was more exciting than the last,” said Phillips. “After our last curtain of the last show, I cried my eyes out not from sadness but joy from what we had all accomplished in putting on such an amazing show.”

Forbes stepped on stage for the first time in the role of Agnes, pursuing the adventure her sister Tilly started. Forbes tapped into her role through her relationship with her own younger sister and how her character dealt with grief and loss.

“This was my first play so I threw myself into it and discovered I had a passion for theatre,” said Forbes. “Though the play is funny and light-hearted, but I’m glad people saw how powerful love can be through the play.”

The She Kills Monsters cast and crew.
The She Kills Monsters cast and crew.

Northeast State alumnus Charles Clark will serve as the acting partner to the participating acting nominees during the competition. A theatre veteran, Clark portrayed Orcus in Monsters while serving as fight captain on the crew. Participating acting nominees will perform in dramatic scenes at the festival. Actors are judged with the winners advancing forward into new rounds facing longer scenes and more stringent critics.

Northeast State alumnae Erin Peters and Jessica Richardson were nominated for their work on Cuckoo.  Peters received her nomination for sound design while Richardson nabbed a nomination for costume design. Northeast State students Andrea Marshall, Andrea Greer, and Shelby Ashley will present their work in the Weiss Design competition hosted for theater participants at the festival.

Northeast State alumni Dustin Lawson and Grace Arrowood both received nominations. Lawson earned a nod for makeup and special effects design for Monsters. Arrowood was nominated as a Weiss Design participant in set design on Monsters. She will present a start-to-finish concept of a set design for competitive review. This is her second trip to the festival being a Weiss Design participant in 2015.

Theatre instructor and technical director Brad McKenzie was nominated for a Best Faculty Design award for his work as Lighting Designer on the production. Sloan said she was delighted to see Northeast State alumni returning to be a part of new productions.

“We had current students, alumni, and alumni who are now students at East Tennessee State University nominated for their work with us,” said Sloan. “The collaboration between Northeast State Theatre and the ETSU Department Theatre is at an all-time high.”