Archive | March, 2010

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GLAWPIGT members help college students improve public speaking skills

Posted on 31 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

glawpigt1Members of GLAWPIGT (Great Literature Alive, Well and Playing in Greeneville, Tennessee) recently visited a Tusculum College class for a presentation about improving public speaking skills. The members accompanied Marilyn duBrisk, director of Tusculum College Arts Outreach, as she visited a class taught by Dr. Desirae Matherly, assistant professor of English, to provide pointers about overcoming the fear and nervousness that many feel about public speaking. duBrisk shared information about the importance of clearly enunciating words, varying vocal pitch and speed, showing emotion and knowing the subject to engaging an audience during a speech. The GLAWPIGT students taught the college students a technique to help improve focus, pictured below, and provided examples of engaging presentations in dramatic recitals of poems. GLAWPIGT is a program of Tusculum College Arts Outreach that involves Greeneville and Greene County students in grades 3-12 who meet weekly for a 90-minute session of sharing literature and learning presentation techniques. Members present workshops in area schools each year.

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History teacher provides Tusculum students insights into educational career

Posted on 29 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

griffith_presentationTusculum College history majors and minors had the opportunity recently to learn about a career in education from an experienced professional’s point of view. Dr. Charles Griffith, the chair of the Social Studies Department of Science Hill High School in Johnson City, visited with about 15 history and history-education majors on March 24 to give pointers about pursuing a career in education and share his experiences in the classroom. Griffith gave information to the college students about what to expect in the job market if they pursue a career in history education. He gave them tips about how to make the right impression as a student teacher and in a job interview. Dr. Griffith also told the students that a career in education is rewarding, sharing some of his personal experiences in building strong relationships with students and watching them grow.

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Tusculum students recognized for literary works

Posted on 29 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

owens2010Tusculum College students Danielle Armstrong, Phillip Dean, Andy English and David Roncskevitz are the winners of the 2010 Curtis and Billie Owens Literary Awards, annually given to recognize the literary achievements of the college’s creative writing students.

Danielle Armstrong of Blountville won in the non-fiction category for “Mature Realism.” Armstrong is a junior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.

Phillip Dean of Whitesburg won the poetry category for his collection of 10 poems. Dean is a senior majoring in pre-medicine.

Andy English of Greeneville was the winner in the fiction category for his story, “Crop Rotation.” English is a senior majoring in English with a concentration in creative writing.

David Roncskevitz of Franklin won the scriptwriting category with his work, “House of Autumn Fire.” Roncskevitz is a junior majoring English with a writing concentration.

Award-winning author and essayist Patrick Madden made the announcement of the winners of the literary competition during a program on March 22. Madden, whose first book won second place in the 2007 AWP (Association of Writers and Writing Programs) Award Series in Creative Nonfiction, was the judge for this year’s competition. The announcement of the award was made after Madden gave the audience of students, faculty and staff a taste of that book, “Quotidiana,” a collection of essays, with the reading of his essay, “Asymptosy.“ Madden, who teachers creative writing at Brigham Young University, is the fourth outside literary figure to judge the competition. Madden’s reading was part of the college’s 2009-2010 Humanities Series.

The literary award was named for Curtis Owens, a 1928 graduate of Tusculum College who went on to a teaching career at what is now Pace University in New York.  He and his wife established the Owens Award at his alma mater to encourage and reward excellence in writing among Tusculum College students.

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Lady Pioneers advance to Elite Eight in NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament for first time in team history

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

eliteeightThe women’s basketball team has taken Tusculum College to new heights during this year’s NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament. For the first time in school history, a women’s basketball team advanced to the Elite Eight in the tournament as the Lady Pioneers defeated three nationally ranked teams on its way to making the national quarterfinals.

The Lady Pioneers overcame an early 16-point deficit to defeat 11th-ranked Lander University 70-63 on March 15 in the Southeast regional title game on Lander’s campus in Greenwood, S. C. The Lady Pioneers carried a nine-game winning streak into its match-up in the Elite Eight against the top-ranked team in the nation in Division II, Gannon University. The game Monday evening in St. Joseph, Mo., was a thrilling one featuring 11 ties and 10 lead changes. Some clutch free throws and three-pointers by Gannon in the final minutes sealed the win for the Pennsylvania school.

The team were busy after arriving in Missouri on Sunday morning for the Elite Eight.  The team was treated to a tour of the city as well as Missouri Western State University, the host institution for the tournament. After settling in at the hotel, the team then returned to the Missouri Western State campus for a practice session and had the opportunity to see their opponents for the first time as Gannon was finishing its practice session.

On Monday, the Pioneers were involved in a community event, meeting with students of Dekalb Middle School in St. Joseph, who had followed the Southeast Region very closely.  Reflecting the team’s activities in a partnership with a Greeneville elementary school, the students talked to the middle school students about the commitment to academics and athletics needed by student athletes and the importance of time management. Students from the middle school attended Monday’s game to form a very vocal cheering section for the Lady Pioneers.

The team also spent time at the St. Joseph Civic Arena, the game site for the Elite Eight. Tusculum Head Coach Adell Harris participated in a press conference at the arena later in the afternoon. The team finished their day by attending the NCAA Banquet of Champions at the Missouri Western State campus. At that banquet, it was announced that junior point guard Jasmine Gunn had earned WBCA All-America honors for the second straight season and had become the first player in program history to be named to the WBCA State Farm Coaches’ All-America Team.

The Tusculum women’s basketball team made its third straight NCAA tournament appearance. The Lady Pioneers punched their ticket for the tournament after winning the South Atlantic Conference (SAC) Tournament, another first in the program’s history.

pioneer_send_off2The women’s team finished fourth in the conference at the end of the regular season and was the winning host of its quarterfinal game of the SAC tournament. In the semi-final game, the Pioneers defeated the 24th-ranked Lenoir-Rhyne College, the top seed in the tournament. The women’s team led Newberry College from wire-to-wire in the final.
Junior point guard Jasmine Gunn, who is from Antioch, Tenn., was named the tournament’s Most Valuable Player. Joining Gunn on All SAC Tournament Team were senior forward Kat Spears of Memphis, Tenn., and junior center Catherine Hintz of Hastings, Minn.
Earlier in the week, Gunn had been named the 2010 SAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Year for the regular season.  Gunn has been a tremendous part of the Pioneers’ success this season, posting the program’s highest individual scoring average in 13 years, while entering the NCAA tournament week as the only player in the NCAA to rank in the top 35 in scoring, assists and steals.
Gunn has also been named 2010 Daktronics All-Southeast Region Women’s Basketball Team, garnering Southeast Region Player of the Year honors for the first time in her career and is the first player in program history to earn the honor. This marks the second year in a row that Gunn has been honored on the Daktronics All-Southeast Region Team, having garnered Second Team honors last season. Gunn has been also been named one of 41 national finalists for the 2010 State Farm Coaches’ All-America Women’s Basketball Team for NCAA Division II.
Also garnering SAC league honors were Kendal Baxter of Sevierville, Tenn., who was named to the conference’s All-Freshman Team.  Baxter led the league in three-point shooting – her 105 season triples set a single-season program and conference record. Kat Spears received the Senior Award in recognition of her outstanding four-year career. A strong contributor in points and rebounds, Spears is ranked second on the Tusculum program’s all-time list of blocked shots.
At the end of the season, the conference also recognizes statistical champions. Gunn lead the conference with 3.08 steals per game. Catherine Hintz led the conference in field goal percentage at 58.7 percent. Baxter led in three-point shooting with 3.20 triples per game.
In its first game in the NCAA tournament, the Lady Pioneers came from behind to win a thrilling game 69-63 over 19th-ranked Clayton State University.

The semifinal game brought new records as the Lady Pioneers defeated 20th-ranked Francis Marion University.  Gunn scored a SAC-record 45 points and set a trio of NCAA Division II marks in leading the women’s basketball team to a 103-95 win.  The difference in the game came at the free throw line, where the Pioneers converted 38 of 52 attempts (73.1 percent) and set an NCAA Tournament record for chances at the charity stripe. Gunn converted 23 of 29 free throws, setting school, conference and NCAA Division II Tournament records. She also set an NCAA Division II single-game mark with the 29 attempts. Gunn’s 45 points were two-shy of the Tusculum record for a game.

Hintz and Jasmine Parker joined Gunn in scoring at least 20 points, the first time this season that three Pioneers have scored 20 or more in the same game. Hintz recorded a double-double as she pulled down 12 rebounds. Spears pulled down 10 rebounds to move into sixth place on the program’s all-time list. Kendal Baxter also scored in double figures and became the third player in program history to knock down at least 100 triples in a single season.

The Southeast Regional started out well for host Lander University as the Bearcats opened up a 16-point lead about midway through the first half. However, the Pioneers battled back to within three points of their opponents at half time. The second half was a close, seesaw affair as both teams swapped the lead. But, the Pioneers held on with crucial shots and free throws by Gunn and Brittni Oliver.

Gunn, who finished with 30 points, was named the Regional Tournament’s Most Valuable Player. During the game, she also established a new SAC single-season record with 216 made free throws this year.

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Baseball alumni return for weekend of activities

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

Despite some rainy weather, the Baseball Alumni Weekend March 12-14 was a success. Fifteen baseball alumni returned to campus for the activities that included a golf tournament.

Alumni traveled for as far away as Florida and as close as Knoxville for the event, which was to begin with free admittance to a baseball game between the Tusculum College Pioneers and the Carson-Newman Eagles on Friday evening. However, a band of rain showers that blanketed East Tennessee during the afternoon and evening led to a cancellation of that game.

The alumni then gathered on Saturday for a tailgate at Pioneer Park on Saturday afternoon before a doubleheader between Tusculum and Carson-Newman, which also saw a delay in the beginning of the second game due to rain.

The weather was a bit better for the alumni on Sunday morning as they gathered for a friendly, competitive golf tournament at the Nolichuky View Golf Course.

The alumni’s fees for the golf tournament went as a donation toward the Tusculum baseball program.

Below is a gathering of the alumni during the tailgate at Pioneer Park on Saturday afternoon.

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Women’s Soccer alumnae advance to quarterfinals in annual tournament

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

During the last weekend of February, the Tusculum College Women’s Soccer Team hosted its annual Indoor Soccer Tournament.

Annually women’s soccer alumnae travel back for this tournament to see if they still “have it.” This year they did. The alumnae team advanced to the quarterfinals where it eventually lost to the tournament champions.

The tournament included 16 teams, including ones from Virginia Tech University, Carson- Newman College, Lindsey Wilson College, Milligan College, University of the Cumberlands, Young Harris College and Tusculum.

Participating in the game were Maggie Barta ‘01, Leah Bunger 07, Becky Carreiro ‘07, Myra Conley ‘96, Heather Craft ‘09, Kelsea Eschmann ‘02, Elaine Green ‘04, Courtney Hambel ‘09, Elaine Knudsen ‘05, Ashleigh Moreira ‘07, Melissa Piercy ‘02, Katie Raby ’03 ‘08, Ashley Shirey ‘09, and Susan Vonluehrte ‘02 as well as current student Kelly Barron.

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Find out the latest about your fellow alumni!

Find out the latest about your fellow alumni!

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

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40s
Ann Beeson Gouge ’40 was recently recognized by the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra for being a charter member of the symphony for 40 years. She is hoping to travel to Florida later this spring to see her brother’s granddaughter perform in the New World Symphony.

60s
James D. and Judith V. Williams ’65 ’65 have been retired for fourteen years. They live in northern Georgia about 50 miles away from Atlanta. The couple has four grandchildren, two of whom live close by in Georgia, ages eleven and fifteen, and two who live in St. Petersburg, FL, ages seven and three. They write that they love their retirement and “have never looked back. We especially love living in the foothills of the mountains in north Georgia and love the change of seasons after so many years in Florida.”

Bob and Bobbie King Brittain ’67 ’67 of Medford Lakes, NJ, have welcomed a new grandson, Brandon Robert Reinhardt, to their family. The son of their daughter, Kelli, Brandon is their third grandchild. The couple’s oldest son has two, Jack (4) and Ella (8 months). “Maybe this will encourage Bobbie to retire from teaching and join Bob who is retired from 40 years of education. All is well and we invite anyone who would love to visit south Jersey in the snow to please come,” they write.

70s
Robert W. Greene ’78 of Cleveland, TN, has retired and is enjoying more volunteer time with his church and the Boys and Girls Club. He and his wife, Pam, have been married for more than 37 years. The couple has two grandsons, six-year-old Braylee and six-week-old Silas. Robert is in the process of getting ready for his second mission trip to Honduras in July.

80s
Regina “Reggie” Bernard ’86 of Avon, OH, received an master’s of business administration in public administration in June 2009 from the University of Phoenix. She is an eligibility specialist with the Cuyahoga County Department of Employment and Family Services and will celebrate her 19th year with the department in June. Her mother, Naomi, passed away last March after a 10-year battle with Parkinson’s Disease.

Deborah A. Webb ’86 of Jonesborough, TN, has completed a master’s in history and in supervision and administration. She has completed 120 hours toward a doctorate in K-12 leadership.

90s
Lisa J. Stabler ’90 of Winterville, GA, has been promoted to Research Professional II in the University of Georgia’s Department of Population Health. She will continue to work with poultry, but will be able to expand her horizons scientifically.

00s
Lauren Abramson ’02 of Antioch, TN, is now a clinical assistant/athletic trainer to an orthopedic doctor at Elite Sports Medicine in Nashville, TN. She previously worked at several high schools in Nashville. In May, she will be completing her sixth marathon as she participates in the Flying Pig Marathon in Cincinnati. In October, Lauren will be marrying Kevin Baes of Brentwood, TN, with her parents Roger and Sanda (Montgomery) Abramson ’64 ’65 by her side.

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Dave and Sarah (McGar) Prichard ’01 ’02 of Crossville, TN, announce the birth of a son, Brody Walker, on February 9,  in Crossville, TN. He weighed 7 lbs, 3 oz and was 21″ long.

Natasha Carroll Moore ’03 of Morristown, TN, and her husband, Kris, announce the birth of a son, Brysen Thomas Moore, on November 10, 2009. He is a little brother to Parker.

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40s

Billy Rudder ’43 of Greeneville, TN, passed away February 24, 2010. Mr. Rudder had retired in 1982 as manager of the Pet Milk Company plant in Greeneville after more than 35 years of service. A veteran, he was a lieutenant in the Eighth Air Force during World War II and served as a B-24 Liberator bomber pilot. Mr. Rudder was a member of First Christian Church and the Christian Workers Sunday School class. He was also a member of the Lodge No. 463, F&AM, of Mosheim.
His survivors include niece and Tusculum alumna Donna R. Waddle ’88.

60s
Robert B. Anderson ’62 of Jonesborough, TN, passed away February, 19, 2010, following a long battle with colon cancer. A native of Poughkeepsie, NY, Mr. Anderson had been a resident of Jonesborough for over 50 years. He was an independent insurance agent and was a longtime basketball coach at Tri-Cities Christian School and Steed College. Mr. Anderson served in the U.S. Army Reserves in Poughkeepsie and Abingdon, VA. He was a member of Marvin’s Chapel United Methodist Church.

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Have an instrument you can spare? The Pep Band may be able to use it

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

pepband_graphicIt is about time for spring cleaning to begin. If in your cleaning of your attic, basement or spare room, you find a musical instrument no one plays, Tusculum College may have a need for that saxophone, flute, French horn or drum set.

The Tusculum College Pep Band has been practicing since January with hopes of debuting at a college event before the end of the spring semester. About 10 students are in the Pep Band and practice weekly in the Pioneer Perk under the direction of three volunteer band directors, David Price, band director at Greeneville High School; Jamie Walker, band director at Chuckey-Doak High School and Devon Lowe, assistant band director at Greeneville High School.

The Pep Band has grown out of an effort to establish a music minor at the College. In the fall, students were surveyed to gauge interest in a Pep Band. The results were favorable, and the next step was a meeting between the interested students and the volunteer band directors.

In mid-January, students were invited to another meeting for interested students and were asked to bring their instruments for a “jam session.” That meeting in the Pioneer Perk attracted about a dozen students, some of whom had instruments and others who were interested but did not have an instrument with them on campus. Two students that came are local high school students who will be attending Tusculum in the fall, but wanted to be part of the Pep Band from its beginnings.

The jam session showed good promise and attracted some students into the Pioneer Perk curious about the music that they heard. Since that meeting, the Pep Band has been practicing each Thursday in the Perk.

The Pep Band will debut at the culminating dinner for the Student Alumni Association’s Pioneering Mentoring Program on Tuesday, April 27.

The student musicians are playing a variety of instruments. There is the horn section including saxophone, trumpets and tuba. The Pep Band also includes a pianist, flutist and drummer.

And while, most have their own instruments, not all do, which is where alumni can help through donation of a musical instrument. So, if you do have a good, used instrument, please consider donating it to the Pep Band. For more information or to donate an instrument, please contact the Office of Institutional Advancement at 423-636-7303.

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Tusculum alumni among those named Teachers of the Year at their schools

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

teacherTusculum College alumni have been among those honored as “Teachers of the Year” for their schools in Hamblen, Hawkins and Johnson counties.

One teacher, Sherry Price ’96, was selected “Teacher of the Year” for the Hawkins County School System in grades 5-8. Price teaches at Church Hill Elementary School.

In Hamblen County, three of the eight teachers selected by their schools in the PreK-4 category are Tusculum alumni, having earned their master’s in education from Tusculum’s Graduate and Professional Studies Program in Morristown. They are Laura Reece ’05, kindergarten teacher at Hillcrest Elementary School; Heather Stubblefield ’07, kindergarten teacher at Lincoln Heights Elementary School, and Scott Helton ’05, fourth grade teacher at Russellville Elementary School.

In the grades 5-8 category in Hamblen County, one of the teachers honored was Karen Holweg ’09, a sixth grade teacher at East Ridge Middle School.

One teacher in each category will be chosen to represent Hamblen County schools as School System Teachers of the Year. Winners are selected by a committee by McMinn County and will be announced later in the school year.

In addition to Price, Sherry Begley Bundy ’09 was named a “Teacher of the Year” in her school in the Hawkins County system. Bundy, who earned a master’s degree at Tusculum, teaches at Saint Clair Elementary School.

In Johnson County, Brenda Arnold ’96, who earned her master’s degree at Tusculum, was named “Teacher of the Year” for grades K-4 at Doe Elementary School.

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Tusculum College Students, professor present at national conference

Posted on 25 March 2010 by srichey@tusculum.edu

From March 17 through March 20 a dedicated group of Tusculum College students majoring in Sports Science and Sport Management worked on their professional development at the 2010 American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) convention in Indianapolis, Ind.

Seniors Vanessa Fyffe of Bellbrook, Ohio; Katherine Shelton of Dandridge, Altorion Reed of Darien, Ga.; Ryan Tallent of Knoxville; Micah Haney of Union Grove, Ala., and Simon Holzapfel of Nuremberg, Germany joined Dr. Kirpal Mahal, professor of physical education, in attending numerous sessions and presentations in the fields of Physical Education, Exercise Science, and Sport Management.

The students attended socials to meet the leaders in their respective fields, explore the range of professions and establish contacts. The exhibitions at the convention also proved tremendous resources as multiple graduate schools, sports companies and researchers provided information about themselves and their products or studies.

Mahal, along with Holzapfel, co-presented a session on Wake-Up Yoga on the morning of March 18, and a second session focusing on breathing-relaxation and Yoga in the afternoon of the same day. According to Holzapfel, although the first session was at 6:30 a.m., 20 dedicated people showed up, whereas the second session was attended by 40 people.

Funding for the trip was provided by Tusculum College. The group thanked the Faculty Development Committee and Dr. Kim Estep, provost and academic vice president, for approving the financing of this project. They also thanked the executive committee of the Physical Education and Sports Majors Club for handling funds from Student Affairs that provided partial financial support for student meals.

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Tusculum College named to Presidential Honor Roll for Community Service

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

serviceThe Corporation for National and Community Service has honored Tusculum College with a place on the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities.

“We are pleased to have been recognized for the efforts our staff, faculty and students put into the Civic Arts and community service projects here at Tusculum College,” said Tusculum College President Nancy B. Moody.

Joyce Doughty, director for the Center for Civic Advancement at the College, added that service projects and service learning experiences are part of the core of Tusculum College’s mission that includes the Civic Arts and service to others as part of its overall mission.

Launched in 2006, the Community Service Honor Roll is the highest federal recognition a school can achieve for its commitment to service-learning and civic engagement. Honorees for the award were chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

Poverty, homelessness and hunger were among many of the issues addressed by the most recent group of students participating in service projects in the East Tennessee region, according to Doughty. Students have worked with the Appalachia Service Project, George Clem Multicultural Association, Greeneville-Greene County Community Ministries, Greene County Habitat for Humanity, the Manna House (a transitional shelter for the homeless), the Melting Pot soup kitchen and the Mission Soup Kitchen at Tabernacle Presbyterian Church.

In addition, numerous projects have been completed by staff, faculty and other volunteer groups associated with Tusculum College.

“Congratulations to the awardees and students for their dedication to service and commitment to improving their local communities,” said Patrick Corvington, the Corporation’s CEO.

“Our nation’s students are a critical part of the equation and vital to our efforts to tackle the most persistent challenges we face. They have achieved impactful results and demonstrated the value of putting knowledge into practice to help renew America through service.”

The Honor Roll is a program of the Corporation for National and Community Service, in collaboration with the Department of Education, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation. The President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll is presented during the annual conference of the American Council on Education.

College students make a significant contribution to the volunteer sector; in 2009, 3.16 million students performed more than 300 million hours of service. Each year, the Corporation invests more than $150 million in fostering a culture of service on college campuses through grants awarded by its programs; the education awards that AmeriCorps members receive at the conclusion of their term of service to pay for college; and through support of training, research, recognition, and other initiatives to spur college service.

This is the fourth time Tusculum College has been named to the Honor Roll.

The Learn and Serve America program, in particular, is a catalyst for service-learning programs nationwide that connect community service with academic curriculum. Through these programs, in class and in extracurricular activities, college students serve others in their communities while strengthening their academic and civic skills. In addition, service-learning fosters partnerships between colleges and their communities that improve communities and helps meet immediate community needs.

The Corporation oversees the Honor Roll in collaboration with the Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development, Campus Compact, and the American Council on Education. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

For more information, visit www.nationalservice.gov/honorroll.

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Tusculum College Bookstore to host book signing for author/professor Dr. Lin Stepp

Posted on 25 March 2010 by eestes@tusculum.edu

stepp1Tusculum College’s Dr. Lin Stepp will be on the Greeneville campus Thursday April 22, from 2-4 p.m. for a meet and greet and book signing event at the Tusculum College Bookstore.

Stepp, who has taught developmental and educational psychology, as well as a research writing course at the Tusculum College Knoxville Regional Center, has released two of a 12-book Smoky Mountain Series, which have received positive reviews, including a glowing review from Dolly Parton.

According to Stepp, the series is set in the Smoky Mountains, with “The Foster Girls” set in Wear’s Valley. The second book in the series, “Tell Me About Orchard Hollow,” is set in Townsend and is the most recently released.

In the second book, the main character, Jenna Howell, hastily retreats to a rural cabin in Townsend from downtown Manhattan after several shocking events and heartache come her way. Having heard many happy stories about the Smoky Mountains from her friend, Sam Oliver, in New York, Jenna hopes escaping to Sam’s place will help her figure out what to do with the shambles of her life.

On Orchard Hollow Road in Townsend, Jenna meets many new friends, including local artist Boyce Hart. A quick attraction, unwanted by either, sparks between Jenna and Boyce, proving to be both exciting and confusing. With time and space away from New York, Jenna begins to heal and develop confidence and faith.  However, unexpected tragedy forces her to return to New York all too soon – where she has to try out her new-found strengths, resolve the problems in her life and decide on the direction for her future.  Choosing the right course proves to be more difficult than expected – as two very different lives vie with opposite allures for Jenna’s heart.

“The Smoky Mountain series are all contemporary southern fiction – with a generous sprinkling of romance, a dash of suspense, a touch of inspiration and a big dollop of Appalachian flavor,” said Stepp.  “Unlike many series books, each novel is a complete story in itself – with a warm, satisfying ending.  The link in the series is that each book is set in a different region of the Smoky Mountains, giving the reader a visit to those areas around the mountains with each read.”

She added that the books are interwoven in a way in which characters from one book might walk into another book.  For example, a minor character and social worker in “The Foster Girls” becomes the main character in the third book in the series called “For Six Good Reasons.”

“I am fortunate to have nationally-acclaimed artist Jim Gray’s beautiful art work on the cover of all my novels and very grateful to have the praise and support of Dolly Parton for my books,” said Stepp. “My national and regional reviews have been very good – such as the one from the well-known Midwest Review.”

For more information about Stepp and her novels, see her author’s Web site.

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