Northeast State student invited to attend ATE conference

Northeast State student Jessica DelGrande has been invited to attend the national Advanced Technical Education (ATE) Principal Investigators Conference next month.

DelGrande received one of only 50 invitations made to community college students nationwide to attend the conference held in Washington, D.C., Oct. 26-28. The 23rd annual conference is being held by the American Association of Community Colleges with the support of the National Science Foundation (NSF).

“I was already interested in cyber security because I really want to help people,” said DelGrande, a full-time student and Computer Science major at Northeast State. “Attending this conference gives me a great chance to network with professionals in the cyber field and listen to their advice and experiences.”

Jessica DelGrande
Jessica DelGrande

Formerly a respiratory therapist, DelGrande is pursuing her associate of applied science degree in Computer and Information Science with a concentration of Information Assurance. She plans to become a web application penetration tester to build her career in Offensive Security. DelGrande said a passion for complexities of security in the ever-expanding “cyber domain” pushed her desire to learn.

“There are numerous certifications you can earn to stay on top of your skills and expand your expertise in cyber security,” said DelGrande. “I want to interact with those people and build a network that will help me grow professionally.”

She was nominated to attend the conference by Computer Science associate professor Allan Anderson who directs the program’s cyber security program. The College’s Information Assurance concentration will undergo a name change to the Cyber Defense concentration in fall of 2017.

DelGrande also seeks to mentor other young women considering a career in cyber security and expand their sights beyond traditional career pathways. She said the dynamic nature of cyber security gave women the opportunity to excel in their careers while staying connected to their families.

“Too much of the time, women get pushed toward nursing,” said DelGrande, a single mother of two children. “I hope my presence at the ATE conference will inspire other women to join the cyber security field and allow them to see other professional women lifting each other up.”

The NSF created the ATE program to improve educational opportunities for technicians in technologically-drive STEM fields that drive the U.S. economy. The conference brings together some 800 people from higher education, business and industry, as well as research and development centers to focus on the critical issues related to advanced technological education.

The College’s cyber security program expansion and enrollment follows an NSF Grant for Integrating Soft/Entrepreneurial Skills in Cybersecurity awarded to Northeast State in April.  DelGrande also serves as a student ambassador for Cyber and Networking speaking to high school counselors about the merits of cyber security as a solid major for young women entering college. Her ambassadorship role is funded through a grant from the Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College.

“The cyber security field gives you time with your family at home while you enjoy an amazing career in your field and continue to advance professionally,” said DelGrande. “Plus, there’s no heavy lifting beyond a computer monitor.”

Northeast State hosts Fall Open House Oct. 18

Curious about what awaits you at college? Get the basics and some inside information at the Fall Open House event hosted by Northeast State Community College on Tuesday, Oct. 18 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at the Blountville campus next to Tri-Cities Regional Airport. Register online now at and be entered into a drawing for an Apple iPad Mini!

fallopenhouse_2016_posterSponsored by Northeast State’s Office of Enrollment Services and Campus Information, the Fall Open House highlights the College’s academic programs, student support programs, financial aid, scholarships, and applying for admission. In addition, representatives from Tennessee Promise will be on hand to discuss students’ responsibilities to meet the criteria and complete the required information by the deadlines. Students will have the opportunity to apply for TN Promise, Northeast State Foundation scholarships, and/or admission to the College.

Attendees can check in beginning at 5:30 p.m. in the William Locke Humanities Building and enjoy a variety of learning sessions.  Faculty and staff will conduct three, back-to-back sessions starting at 6:00, 6:45, and 7:30 p.m. The Fall Open House will also feature a Student Services Fair where attendees can learn about what services are available to help students achieve success. In addition, campus tours will be conducted throughout the evening.

Reservations are highly recommended, but not required. For more information, contact Enrollment Services at 423.323.0243 or

Movie and music night features Czech Bluegrass and Eclectic-Americana

Northeast State and the PUSH! Film Festival are sponsoring a movie and music night Oct. 13, featuring a mix of Czech Bluegrass and Eclectic-Americana at the College’s Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts.

The night kicks off at 6 p.m. with Banjo Romantika: American Bluegrass and the Czech Imagination, a documentary produced by two East Tennessee University faculty members. Filmed primarily in the Czech Republic in 2011, the film highlights Czech musicians who are part of the global interest in bluegrass music.

According to the film’s website, Czechs first heard bluegrass during World War II when the Armed Forces Network broadcast American music for soldiers. The music represented freedom to dissatisfied Czechs living in a communist state.

The Czechs’ love for the music was solidified when Pete Seeger visited and performed in 1964. Inspired by classic American bluegrass sounds, an assortment of musicians from across the formerly communist Czech Republic have melded the past, the political, and the present into a lively musical tradition entirely its own.


The film was produced by Dr. Lee Bidgood, an assistant professor of Bluegrass, Old Time and Country Music Studies in the ETSU Department of Appalachian Studies; and Shara Lange, who leads the Radio, Television, Video and Film division in ETSU’s Department of Mass Communication.

At 7:30 p.m., Wise Old River, a popular regional band, brings its mix of tradition and originality to the stage. The band shares songs about the human experience, finding hope, grace, truth, and spiritual growth with its earthy, harmonic vibe.

The group has performed on local and national television programs such as the PBS syndicated show Song of the Mountains.  Other venues and events in the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, the Paramount Center for the Arts, the Virginia Highlands Festival, and the Little Chicago Blues Festival.

The group features vocalist/guitarist Jamen Denton; Jeanne Denton on harmony vocals and percussion; Jim Denton on acoustic lap steel, 12-string slide guitar, and bouzouki; and bassist Stephen Marshall. The band’s sound has been described as Eclectic-Americana.

For more information about movie and music night, contact Jessica Barnett at or 423.354.2589.

Jeff Little Trio and Wayne Henderson play the Paramount Oct. 20

As part of Northeast State’s 50th anniversary, the acclaimed Jeff Little Trio and Wayne Henderson will perform at Bristol’s Paramount Center for the Arts on Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.

The concert is being presented by the Paramount Center for the Arts and Northeast State. Tickets for the show are $15 and available online at or at the Paramount box office located at 518 State St., Bristol, Tenn.

jefflittleconcert_flyerJeff Little’s approach to the piano is based on the deep musical traditions of the Blue Ridge Mountains. With few exceptions, the piano does not play a prominent part in Appalachian or Americana music, and is rarely the lead instrument. But Little is an exception – and a remarkable one. His distinctive two-handed style, much influenced by the mountain flat-picked guitar tradition, is breathtaking in its speed, precision, and clarity.

Little’s performances include The Smithsonian Institution, The National Folk Festival, American Piano Masters, Merlefest and many festivals, performing arts centers, colleges and music venues throughout the U.S. He has released four CDs, and been featured on National Public Radio and PBS many times.

The Trio includes Steve Lewis, one of the most respected acoustic musicians lauded for his flat picking on guitar and his mastery of the five-string banjo. Lewis earned many championships for his guitar and banjo playing in competitions at Merlefest, the Galax Old Time Fiddlers Convention, and the Wayne Henderson Guitar Competition. He is also a two-time national champion on the banjo.

Rounding out the Trio is Josh Scott, considered to be one of the most talented upright bass players working today. Scott has been featured on stage and in the studio with many critically acclaimed artists of acoustic and Americana music.

The Jeff Little Trio
The Jeff Little Trio

Wayne Henderson is the Appalachian guitarist that Nashville pickers all talk about. Sometimes Wayne’s playing is mistaken for flatpicking, but he actually uses a thumb-pick and fingerpicks to achieve amazing speed and fluidity, transforming fiddle and banjo pieces, and even the occasional jazz standard, into stunning guitar solos.

In addition to his reputation as a guitarist, Henderson is a luthier of great renown. He produces about 20 instruments a year, mostly guitars.

Some of Henderson’s instruments are intricately decorated but are most respected for their volume, tone, and resonance. Blues guitarist John Cephas said that Wayne Henderson “is probably the most masterful guitar maker in this whole United States.”

Henderson was awarded the country’s highest honor for a traditional artist, the National Heritage Fellowship in 1995 in honor of both his fine playing and his guitar-making.