Columbia State Holds 2018 Spring Commencement

Spring 2018 PLS Grads
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 Students received the President’s Leadership Society medallion for completing all requirements of the leadership training program prior to graduation. Throughout the program, students attend a leadership retreat, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding and give back to the community through service. (Back row, pictured left to right): Elliott Bright, Franklin resident; Rodrick Harris, Clarksville resident; Victoria Reaves, Collinwood resident; John-Adam Bevels, Franklin resident; Stanley Sparkman, Mt. Pleasant resident; Alex Conyers, Columbia resident; Brittni Herron, Brentwood resident; Savannah Melcher, Williamson resident; Johnny Miranda, Spring Hill resident; and Cady Tice, Columbia State student leadership coordinator. (Front row, pictured left to right): Anna Kate Holt, Columbia resident; Tessa Davis, Summertown resident; Christina Davis, Summertown resident; Katie Vincent, Spring Hill resident; Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president; Kirkland Pinkerton, Centerville resident; Meagan Walsh, Lewisburg resident; Brianna Taylour, Spring Hill resident; Hailey Weise, Columbia resident; and Caitlyn O’Brian, Eagleville resident.


(COLUMBIA, Tenn. – May 5, 2018) - - - Columbia State Community College celebrated 343 degree and certificate candidates in the Webster Athletic Center Saturday, May 5 as they crossed the stage during the spring 2018 commencement ceremonies.

Dr. Janet F. Smith, Columbia State president, opened the ceremonies by welcoming graduates, faculty, staff, family, friends and guests, thanking them for celebrating the accomplishments of the students. 

“Today is a day of celebration of accomplishments,” Smith said. “It is a day of recognition, these graduates set a goal and accomplished it – it is a day of transition.”

Dr. Joni Lenig, interim vice president of academic affairs and associate vice president of faculty, curriculum and programs, then recognized the Distinguished Faculty Award winner, Ana Basoa, associate professor of English and Spanish. 

President Smith followed with a presentation of the President’s Medal winner, Linda Boshers, academic affairs administrative secretary.

Both were recently recognized at Columbia State’s annual Employee Honors and Awards Convocation.

Hickman County native, Kirkland Pinkerton, delivered the commencement address at the 10 a.m. ceremony for students earning Associate of Arts, Associates of Fine Arts, Associate of Science in Teaching and Associate of Science degrees.

Pinkerton encouraged students to persevere in life regardless of their circumstances, and to be whoever they want to be. He compared their experiences and next endeavors to honey – occasionally sticky and messy, but always leading to sweet new beginnings.

“Know your calling and your passion and stop at nothing to get there,” Pinkerton said. “In the wake of things, life really is like honey – sticky at times, but oh so sweet.”

Closing the morning ceremony, the alumni induction of the new graduates was presented by Betty Yates, Columbia State alumna and executive assistant to the president.

Meagan Walsh, Marshall County native, presented the 2 p.m. commencement address for students earning Associate of Applied Science degrees and technical certificates.

Walsh congratulated her peers on all of their hard work and reminded them to stop and appreciate their surroundings.

“Don’t forget to tell your family how much you love them, don’t forget to grab lunch with friends to catch up, don’t forget to stop and enjoy the view – see all that you have accomplished and do not try to move faster than life is willing to take you.”

Before conferring degrees, Smith recognized the 19 President’s Leadership Society graduates for their participation in the program that focuses on helping students develop and apply their unique leadership skills.

“We established the President’s Leadership Society in the spring of 2011, based on the belief that leadership is inherent to our lives and that we all have leadership roles,” Smith said. “PLS is open to all students at Columbia State and requires only their commitment to involvement for learning, participation and helping others.”

During the course of the program, students attend retreats, enjoy exposure to the arts, participate in workshops and campus life, develop civic understanding, and give back to the community through volunteerism. Today, there are 96 PLS members.

Closing the afternoon ceremony, the alumni induction of the new graduates was presented by Carolyn Mashburn, Columbia State alumna and assistant professor of nursing.

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Before the commencement ceremonies, Smith held a reception for the President’s Leadership Society graduates.

“This program is designed to give students the opportunity to explore new concepts and experience different areas outside of their own major,” Smith said. “PLS also encourages and helps students build and maintain relationships, which are essential to success.”

PLS is a free leadership training program focused on developing a student’s unique leadership skills from their first semester through graduation. The program focuses on participation in college-sponsored programs that promote educational attainment, career choices, volunteerism and civic responsibility.

Kirkland Pinkerton, CS 2018 Spring Grad
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Spring 2018 graduate and Centerville resident, Kirkland Pinkerton, earned his Associate of Science degree in sociology and plans to continue his education at Austin Peay State University. Pinkerton served two consecutive terms as president of the Student Government Association and served as the Tennessee Board of Regents Student Government President’s Council secretary in 2016-2017, and as their president for 2017-2018. In 2017, he was a semi-finalist for the TBR Student Regent position. Pinkerton, a President’s Leadership Society graduate, has been involved in other student organizations including PRISM, Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society, Charger Activity Board, Columbia State Foundation student representative and many more. Pinkerton said that his favorite thing about Columbia State is how the faculty and staff go above and beyond to make sure that students get the most out of their time at Columbia State – leading them toward success in their future endeavors.


Meagan Walsh
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Lewisburg native, Meagan Walsh, earned her Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. In the fall, she plans to transfer to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to complete the RN to BSN program online. Walsh served as regional president and regional secretary for the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society while also holding a leadership position on the chapter level as the Beta Kappa Theta chapter public relations officer. In addition to her involvement in PTK, Walsh is a President’s Leadership Society graduate; a PTK Honors Institute Scholar; has served as a tutor in the Teaching and Learning Center since January 2016; and was a member of PRISM, the Charger Activity Board for the Lewisburg Campus and the Student Nursing Association where she served as secretary and president. Walsh is the 2018 recipient of the Carolyn Allred/Lewis Moore Outstanding Student Award.

Rodrick Harris Spring 2018 grad
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Spring 2018 graduate and a President’s Leadership Society graduate, Rodrick Harris, earned his university parallel Associate of Science degree and will transfer to Austin Peay State University where he plans to earn a bachelor’s degree in business management. Harris said that his favorite thing about Columbia State is that it’s like the show Cheers – “everybody knows your name.” Harris, a graduate of Hillsboro High School and an East St. Louis native, currently resides in Clarksville.

 
Stanley Sparkman
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Mt. Pleasant resident, Stanley Sparkman, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in business management. Sparkman plans to continue his education at Austin Peay State University where he will earn his bachelor’s degree in business management. Sparkman is a President’s Leadership Society graduate and says he recommends Columbia State because of the welcoming faculty and staff that help provide a great learning experience.

 
Catherine Pedigo
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Columbia resident, Catherine Pedigo, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in radiologic technology. Pedigo, a U.S. Navy veteran, was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society, Lambda Nu, American Legion and American Legion Auxiliary. Pedigo chose Columbia State because she spent several years in sales and marketing and wanted a career change. She said that she recommends Columbia State to everyone, and especially to non-traditional students that can take advantage of the Tennessee Reconnect scholarship: “It’s never too late to get an education.”


Hailey Weise
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Columbia resident, Hailey Weise, is a President’s Leadership Society graduate and earned an Associate of Arts degree in psychology. Weise served as president of the Beta Kappa Theta chapter of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and as secretary of the Eta Beta chapter of Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society. Weise was a nominee for the Carolyn Allred/Lewis Moore Outstanding Student Award and was semifinalist for the Jack Kent Cooke Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Weise chose Columbia State because the Tennessee Promise made her education affordable and lessened her financial stress in her endeavors to become a teacher. She plans to continue her education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in the fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

Alex Conyers
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Columbia resident, Alex Conyers, earned an Associate of Science degree in business administration. Conyers was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, the International Studies Committee and is a President’s Leadership Society graduate. Conyers plans to continue her education at Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in business. Conyers recommends Columbia State: “I tell everyone I can that they should take the great opportunity of Tennessee Promise. It brings hope to people like me who never thought college was in the picture. Columbia State provides great opportunities, like studying abroad, which I also thought I would never be able to do.”

 
Tomika Blair
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Columbia resident, Tomika Blair, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in respiratory care. Blair said that her favorite thing about Columbia State is that the college is student-friendly and provides events that allow students to make new friends. Blair plans to enter the workforce before continuing her education at East Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in cardio-pulmonary science.

 Samuel D. Commencement 2018 Spring Grad
Photo Caption (DSC_5654): Summertown resident, Samuel Dunham, earned an Associate of Science degree in civil engineering. He was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and was the recipient of the 2018 Engineering Award. Dunham plans to continue his education at Tennessee Technological University to earn his bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. Dunham said that his favorite thing about Columbia State was that students have the ability to build good relationships with faculty and staff.


Christina Davis
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Summertown resident, Christina Davis, earned an Associate of Science degree in anthropology. Davis was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society and the Campus Tree Advisory Committee. She was the recipient of the English Award, the Anthropology Award, and was a nominee for the Carolyn Allred/Lewis Moore Outstanding Student Award. Davis plans to continue her education at Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in anthropology. She eventually wants to earn her master’s degree and work as a criminal investigator. Davis said that her favorite thing about Columbia State was the instructors: “It’s nice taking courses when the teachers enjoy what they do.”

Katie Vincent, Spring 2018 Grad
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Spring Hill resident, Katie Vincent, earned an Associate of Science degree in marketing. Vincent was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and is a President’s Leadership Society graduate. She plans on transferring to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville to earn a bachelor’s degree in marketing.

Kaylee Fernandez Spring 2018 grad
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Spring Hill resident, Kaylee Fernandez, earned an Associate of Science degree in mass communication. Fernandez plans on attending the Tennessee Foreign Language Institute in the fall to learn to teach English as a second language so she can move overseas to help others. She said her favorite thing about Columbia State was the new Williamson Campus. Fernandez recommends Columbia State to all students looking to further their education.

 
Matthew Poarch
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Lewisburg native, Matthew Poarch, earned an Associate of Science degree in psychology. Poarch was a 2016-2017 member of the Student Government Association, served as a peer leader at the Lewisburg Campus and was a member of PRISM. Poarch won the Campus Leadership Award for the Lewisburg Campus in 2017. He plans to continue his education at Middle Tennessee State University to earn his bachelor’s degree in psychology. Poarch said his favorite thing about Columbia State is the inclusive and diverse environment.

Martha Bevis
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Waynesboro native, Martha Bevis, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in nursing. Bevis was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and the nursing class representative. Bevis is the fourth in her family to graduate from the nursing program. “I had only heard great things about the Columbia State nursing program from my mom, aunt and cousin. I have always looked up to them as nurses, and I knew Columbia State would be the perfect place for me to earn my degree.” Bevis is currently working as a full-time nurse and has been accepted to the University of Tennessee, Knoxville online RN to BSN program – in the future, she wants to continue her education so she can become a family nurse practitioner.

 
Terra Burm
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Columbia native, Terra Burm, earned an Associate of Applied Science degree in computer information technology. Burm was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, a senator for the Student Government Association and the historian for Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honor Society. Burm has already accepted a position as a ministry assistant for her local church. She recommends Columbia State to others: “There are many programs offered. Columbia State is an excellent and affordable college for furthering education and career goals.”


Elliott Bright
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Franklin native, Elliott Bright, earned an Associate of Arts degree in English. Bright is a President’s Leadership Society graduate and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society, Revive and the Storytellers’ Guild. Bright plans to continue his education at Middle Tennessee State University to earn a bachelor’s degree in English. He said his favorite thing about Columbia State was the small class sizes where he was able to build relationships with peers and faculty. Bright recommends taking advantage of the Tennessee Promise and attending Columbia State: “The Tennessee Promise is an awesome privilege and I am thankful for Governor Haslam for implementing this program. Columbia State is a great way to earn credit toward a four-year degree or certificate.”

Rebecca May Spring 2018 grad
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Ethridge resident, Rebecca May, earned an Associate of Science degree in sociology. May works at Columbia State as the TRiO secretary. The Summertown native said that she loves Columbia State because it is a great school and provides opportunities for so many people.

Savannah Melker, Spring 2018 grad
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Williamson resident, Savannah Melcher, earned a university parallel Associate of Science degree. Melcher is a President’s Leadership Society graduate and was a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Melcher is continuing her education at Columbia University in the fall to earn a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry, pre-med. The Maui, Hawaii native said her favorite thing about Columbia State is the professors that genuinely want students to succeed.


Johnny and Jacquelyn Miranda
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Maury residents and siblings, Johnny and Jacquelyn Miranda, graduated from Columbia State – Johnny, with an Associate of Science degree in biology, and Jacquelyn, with an Associate of Applied Science degree in radiologic technology. Johnny is a President’s Leadership Society and TRiO graduate. Jacquelyn was a member of Lambda Nu and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. Johnny will be continuing his education at Middle Tennessee State University; Jacquelyn will be entering the workforce.

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