College earns innovation award for mobile technology initiatives

The League for Innovation in the Community College has recognized Northeast State for its mobile technology initiatives.

The College received a 2017 Innovation of the Year Award for its iNortheast and iOPTin initiatives. The iNortheast initiative introduced iPads into the classroom in 2015 to enhance the learning environment. The iOPTin program delivered course materials digitally, allowing students to save about $900,000 in textbook costs for the fall 2016 semester.

Earning honorary certificates  were:

  • Dr. Janice Gilliam, President
  • Jeff Coalson, Instructor and Program Director of Surgical Technology
  • Tyra Copas, Executive Director of Human Resources and Organizational Effectiveness
  • Jim, Kelly, Associate Professor of History
  • Dale Ledford, Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Dr. Rick Merritt, Professor of Speech
  • Dr. Robbie Melton, Associate Vice Chancellor for Mobilization and Emergency Technology (Tennessee Board of Regents)

The recipients have been invited to share information about the innovations at the League’s 2018 conference in National Harbor, Md.
IPadInitiativeLogo_RevisedEstablished more than 30 years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year Award was devised as a way to recognize accomplishments at League Board and Alliance member colleges. These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded. The League is headquartered in Chandler, Az.

According to the League, winning innovations meet one or more of the following criteria:

  • Quality – Students and/or staff agree that the innovation increases quality in the course, program, office, or institution.
  • Efficiency – The innovation contributes to more efficient processes.
  • Cost Effectiveness – The innovation adds value to the institution while containing or reducing costs.
  • Replication – The innovation is easy to replicate at other institutions.
  • Creativity – The innovation is original and creative.
  • Timeliness – The innovation is not more than five years old at the institution.

Northeast State Theatre presents Crimes of the Heart April 6-15

Three eccentric sisters. A husband with a bullet wound. A lawyer with a vendetta. This 30th birthday celebration should be one to remember.

The Northeast State Community College Department of Theatre invites you to the production of Crimes of the Heart running April 6 through April 15. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the New York Drama Critics Circle Award, playwright Beth Henley’s Southern Gothic screwball comedy deals out family cruelty with equal parts irreverence and poignancy.

Crimes of the Heart wades neck-deep into the tumultuous lives of the MaGrath sisters of Hazelhurst, Mississippi. Eldest sister Lenny is celebrating her 30th birthday while contemplating her unmarried status. To make matters worse, her youngest sister Babe is awaiting trial for shooting her husband. Middle sister Meg has returned home from Los Angeles after a failed singing career and is struggling to recover from a nervous breakdown.

Crimes of the Heart opens April 6.
Crimes of the Heart opens April 6.

Facing down these troubles, unstable relatives, and simmering tensions from the past, the sisters must come together to survive. Touching, tragic, and wacky, Crimes of the Heart is a darkly comic family feud of epic proportions. The play is presented by special arrangement with Dramatists Play Service, Inc., New York.

Performance dates are April 6, 7, 8, 13, 14, and 15 at 7:30 p.m., and one matinée performance at 2:00 p.m. on April 9. All performances are being staged in the Wellmont Regional Center for the Performing Arts Theatre on the College’s Blountville campus, 2425 Highway 75.

For information or to purchase tickets call the Northeast State Box Office at 423.354.5169 or visit

For general questions about the productions or the Theatre Department contact or 423.354.2479.

Echoes and Images student winners announced

Northeast State’s award-winning student literary publication Echoes and Images has announced winners of the annual competition. Student entries were submitted during the fall semester in the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, and Visual Arts. A panel of judges, who are experts in each category, selected first-, second-, and third-place award winners earlier this semester.

In the Fiction category, Patrick B. Cooley won first place for his work On Church Street. Chelsea Temple earned second place for The Fun Ones. Kevin Matthew Bennett took third place with Forlorn Stranger. Honorable mention went to Kristi C. Fitzgerald for Sterling Muse.

In the Non-fiction category, June 22, 2015: Inmate Intake by Wesley Payer took the first-place award. Second place went to The Boy in the Green Jacket by Patrick B. Cooley and For This Child We Have Prayed by Kayla Mullins won third place. Honorable mention notices went to Bonnaroo “Fun” Run by Daniel Radle and Ice Cream Will Never Taste the Same by Delaney Dunne.

Rainbow Connection by Emily Overbey
Rainbow Connection by Emily Overbey

Cooley also took first-place and second-place awards in the Poetry category for his poems On the Porch, in the Summer and Marmalade. Kevin Carrier won third place for his poem Drawing in a Breath from the Sky. Honorable mention notices went to these contributing poets: Thought to Thought and Toxic Marbles by K.C. Fitzgerald; To Be Me by Rachel Starnes; Smoke by Kevin Carrier; Busboy by Cooley; and Wesscourt Lane by Shelby Minogue.

Finalists judged in the Poetry category were: Cheston Axton for Another Day For Mary Shelley; Kevin Carrier for City of the Timberwolves; Shianne S. Milbourn for Washington County Animal Shelter and Tweetsie Trail; Matthew Bennett for Consumerism Museum; and Madison G. Phillips for Unlovable.

In the Visual Art category, Brad Simon won first place with Metamorphosis, a mixed media piece on paper, and second place with Bound Skull, a charcoal on paper rendering. Kayla Miller took third place with her mixed media work Split Tessellation. Honorable mention notices went to Allison Smith for Benny and Emily Overbey’s work Rainbow Connection.

Other art noted for distinction by the judges were: Emily Overbey for Angelic Shadows, charcoal on paper; Shayna Richardson for What Lies in the Dark, charcoal on paper; Hannah McClain for Emotions, mixed media on paper; Tiffany Washburn for The Skull, charcoal on paper; Jenna Jacobs for Alexithymia, acrylic on canvas; Erica Birchfield for Symphony of Ravens, mixed media on paper; and Allison Smith for Fairy Tree, mixed media on paper.

First-, second-, and third-place award winners in all categories will be published this spring in Echoes and Images.  Other winning entries will be published as space permits.  Past Echoes and Images student contestant winners have won regional awards for their work Southern division of the Community College Humanities Association’s Literary Magazine Competition.

A selection of visual art submissions will be on display and writers will be reading their works at the Echoes & Images Exhibition scheduled April 12 at 6:00 p.m in L106 of Basler Library.


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.”