Wow–What a Beginning!!

Wow! What an exciting week-and-a-half it’s been here at CMA@PSCC! Our rock-star faculty is here full time, and we have been having a blast getting to know one another. Staff pictures and brief bios can be seen on our Knox County Schools Website. We’ve been on the news so often, it’s getting to be “old hat,” but be sure to check out the latest news report on WBIR. We cannot wait for our scholars to join us on August 8th (9:30-1:00). Here is a “brief” rundown of some of the exciting events we have experienced since everyone arrived:

Sustainable Futures
_DSC4900bDavid Bolt at Sustainable Futures in Vestal was kind enough to invite us into his company and show us some cutting edge trends and technology in the world of sustainable living and alternative energy. David spoke to us about solar energy, aquaponics, and the sometimes complicated legislation involved in implementing and installing the latest sustainable technology. He also let us explore a “tiny house” which is a small, net-zero home that David builds, sells, and delivers to eco-conscious customers. David gave us some great ideas which we will reveal at a later date and has agreed to help us turn those ideas into reality. Thanks David!

911 Call Center
_DSC4923bAlan Lawson, director of Knoxville Emergency Management Agency, hosted our teachers at the 911 call center. We got to see the Emergency Operations Center where supervisors from the various sectors of KEMA come together in times of crisis to negotiate a plan of action. Alan spoke to us about disaster readiness and provided us some emergency starter kit bags.

Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Abbey Fields
_DSC4943bThanks to Keyes Williamson and Robert Hodge at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens and Arboretum for warmly hosting our visit. We were given a tour of the gardens which included a Dogwood garden, a corn field seeded by Cherokee seed and tended by Burundi immigrants, a market garden, and an outdoor classroom for “Every Child Outdoors” hosted by Wendy Prothro Howard. We also got to see a garden fertilized entirely with recycled “Zoo Poo!” We finished our day with a panel discussion where we learned a great deal about CSA’s from Brenna Wright, whose work at Abbey Fields has helped to revitalize urban areas right here in Knoxville, TN. Thank you to everyone at the Knoxville Botanical Gardens for opening up your home to us and welcoming us as part of the family. We look forward to working with you all in the future! Thanks to Robert Hodge for recommending Wendell Berry:

The Man Born to Farming

The grower of trees, the gardener, the man born to farming,
whose hands reach into the ground and sprout,
to him the soil is a divine drug. He enters into death
yearly, and comes back rejoicing. He has seen the light lie down
in the dung heap, and rise again in the corn.
His thought passes along the row ends like a mole.
What miraculous seed has he swallowed
that the unending sentence of his love flows out of his mouth
like a vine clinging in the sunlight, and like water
descending in the dark?


IMG_1919bWe wrapped up our journey with a visit to Denso Manufacturing in Maryville, TN where we learned a great deal about the cutting-edge field of advanced manufacturing and got to tour the plant where computer chips are programmed for such devices as keyless entry fobs and other wireless devices used in the auto industry. We also got to see a robot doing quality checks on the production line. At Denso we learned about the expanding and highly competitive advanced manufacturing job market for which we will be preparing some of our scholars here at CMA.

Guest Speakers

Joe Gipson, Manager at Cisco Systems

  • Mr. Gipson spoke to us about the field of cyber-security which is a rapidly expanding job market whose leaders are willing to generously compensate qualified individuals. Joe spoke to us about the job skills and soft skills needed to excel in the field of cyber-security and gave us some ideas for student projects that might help nurture those skills, such as online versions of Capture the Flag. Joe invited us to come visit his office at Cisco, and we look forward to working with Joe and his staff in the future as we begin to mold our cyber-security scholars into the protectors of the future.

Joe Matteo, Division President ProNova Solutions R&D and Manufacturing, Vice President of Research and Development for the Provision Center for Proton Therapy

  • Mr. Matteo spoke to us about the engineering and advanced manufacturing involved in proton therapy and the innovations he and his team have developed to make Pro Nova a leader in proton therapy. Joe also invited us to come see his facility at Pro Nova, and we look forward to learning more from him about entrepreneurship and advanced manufacturing.

Jon Shefner, Head of Sociology, University of Tennessee

  • Dr. Shefner spoke to us about the Green Economy and the role that it will play in the future. We were ecstatic to hear about the wealth of job opportunities that will be created in the new economy, and Jon is confident that scholars will be needed at every exit point in the job market, from certified professionals, to associate’s degrees, to four-year degrees, and beyond! Joe invited our faculty and a select group of our scholars to attend the “Let’s Grow Knoxville’s Green Economy” forum next spring. This forum is a collaborative effort made possible in part by the City of Knoxville, the Knoxville Chamber, and the University of Tennessee. The focus of next year’s summit will be to collaborate with local community colleges to create pathways of study that will prepare graduates to succeed in Tennessee’s Green Economy, which ranks 6th in the country for green economy jobs.


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