Latest Southern News

January Employee of the Month
Melissa Deskins is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, January Employee of the Month. Deskins graduated from Southern with two Associate’s Degrees in Applied Science. She joined the staff of the Mining Academy as part time Administrative Assistant. In August 2012 she became a full time employee. She remained at the Academy until October 2013. She is now an Account Assistant in Finance. She describes her job as having the responsibility of processing invoices for payment. But it isn’t always as simple as it sounds. “The part I like most about my job is the teamwork, communication and all the duties my job consists of. I like how busy my job is and how I look forward to learning new things that will help our department. I am truly blessed to be part of the Finance Department,” she said. Deskins says her greatest challenge is realizing when to quit. “I cannot stand to leave my office knowing I have something to do and learning all the policies and procedures that is required for processing.” She adds that working at the college also allowed her to finish her degrees. Deskins describes it as one of her greatest accomplishments while working here. Away from the college Deskins is actively involved in the Cedar Coal Fair for area students and their projects at the Larry Joe Harless Center. She also volunteers her time to the Tug Valley Mining Institute. Her hobbies include; traveling, reading, shopping, being outdoors, baking, spending time with family and running her own catering business. Married for 18 years to her high school sweetheart, they are the proud parents of three children. When asked how she felt being named employee of the month Deskins said, “I am truly honored to be named Employee of the Month. This means so much to me because I love my job and what I do. I take pride in my job and look forward to coming to work. I appreciate this wonderful recognition. I am blessed to be a part of the Southern family.”
December Employee of the Month
Keith Finley is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, December Employee of the Month. Finley graduated from Southern with an Associate’s Degree in Applied Science. He joined the staff at Southern in August 2012. He is employed as an Information Systems Tech. Finley describes his job as having the responsibility to provide Allied Health and Nursing with new technology for teachers to use, provide technical support to those teachers, and to equip support classrooms. He also provides technical support to help automate and ensure a smoother operation of ICR equipment. Finley is being recognized by his co-workers for going beyond his assigned job duties. Finley has been working on the new interactive classrooms, lab computers and server infrastructure. He has been working with other technicians to automate many tasks, customize user experiences on lab computers, and design and deploy the entire student login system Southern will be using. He states that the best part of his job is being able to cross train within his department. Finley also strives to “successfully mitigate any down time that is caused by technology, whether it is a computer, the presentation system in the room, or equipment in the ICR’s, to ensure that technology doesn’t cause a hindrance but to augment the class.” Finley says his greatest challenge is trying to keep everything running smoothly and staying up to date with newer emerging technologies. He states that being able to adapt very quickly to different situations with all departments for technical support is a must. “I stay in the loop, with each group in IT, to at least know what is currently going on, to help with any technical problem”, he said. Finley volunteers as a Southern Samaritan. In his spare time he likes cars, electronics and computers.
ALA Presents to Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce
On November 12, Appalachian Leadership Academy students spoke to the Tug Valley Chamber of Commerce about the value of using entrepreneurship in rural communities as an effective strategy for economic development. The students made a case for entrepreneurship and provided examples of rural communities that have turned their economies around using this strategy. Students participating were: Jason May, Jennie Branham, Angela White, Haley Cook, Mary Fields, Jennifer Ray, Nicholas Allen, Kayla Colegrove and Shannon Cook.
BB&T Continues Support
Joe Raymond, Market President for BB&T Banks presented a contribution to the Southern West Virginia Community College Foundation as part of the banking institutions ongoing support as a Gold Level Sponsor. Accepting the donation was Ron Lemon, Vice President of Development and Tammy Toppings, Development Office Program Specialist.
President’s Student Circle Brunch
A President’s Student Circle Brunch was held this week on the Wyoming Campus. Students had the opportunity to share their ideas about the college. Dr. Debra Teachman, Vice President of Student and Academic Affairs, also joined the group.
Southern International Students

Students from China’s Shanxi Province recently completed training at the Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies at Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College.

The training focused on communications, rescue and safety. The students began with an orientation session that included a meeting with First Lady/President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin. They continued with basic classroom instruction, enhanced by the first class interactive experiences provided by The Academy.

The group had the opportunity to participate in an abbreviated version of a Mine Emergency Rescue Demonstration or MERD. They were instructed in the activation of a command and communication center. This included the deployment of the mine rescue team, as well as, the search and rescue dog.

“These training exercises immerse the students in real life situations without the hazard exposure,” said Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies Director, Carl Baisden. “The more time a student spends in simulation the better prepared for real work experiences.”

The Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies at Southern has the reputation for unsurpassed, state of the art training, to recreate these real life scenarios. “Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has created a gold standard for mine training in southern West Virginia. These students are looking for that expert training, with the latest technology and best resources available. Southern offers that to them.” Tomblin said.

Providing off campus tours was also part of the learning agenda. The students visited a local mine site, and the Advanced Fire and Rescue Training Center. The Center offered Underground Fire Demonstration; including Rescue station and computer based training experience.

The students were also given tours of the local area, State Capital Complex, West Virginia State Museum and the Governor’s Mansion.

“This is an extraordinary partnership and we look forward to successfully providing other students this opportunity over the next four years,” Tomblin added.

Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College solidifies its global reach.

West Virginia First Lady and President of Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, Joanne Jaeger Tomblin, Director of Academy for Mine Training and Energy Technologies, Carl Baisden and Academy Instructor, Bethany Howerton joined members of the West Virginia Development Office for a Mission Trip to China. The group attended the 2013 China Coal and Mining Expo in Beijing, China, where Tomblin represented West Virginia during the opening ceremonies. It is the largest coal mining exhibition in China and draws a worldwide audience. It is the top event in the China Coal industry. The representatives from Southern also attended a meeting hosted by officials of the Shanxi Province. In August 2013, Southern signed an official agreement with Shanxi officials to permit students from their province to train at Southern’s Academy during the next four years. The meeting addressed the arrival of the first students in November. The training will focus on communications, rescue and safety. “Identifying the needs and successfully providing them to the students is likely to produce extraordinary results. Southern looks forward to offering this opportunity,” said Tomblin. “Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College has created a gold standard for mine training in southern West Virginia. These students are looking for that expert training, with the latest technology and best resources available. Southern will provide that for them.” Tomblin said. "Our understanding of educational experiences abroad is expanding, and there are more opportunities for students beyond the traditional study abroad for academic credit," she added. First Lady/President Tomblin also had the opportunity to visit the Affiliated High School of Shanxi University. Tomblin was given a tour of the 3000 student facility by the principal and had a chance to meet with teachers also. Senior students were invited to join a question and answer session with Tomblin. Visiting a new Coal Liquification Plant, Electric Power Plant and the newly created Trade Free Zone was an additional highlight for the group. The Free Trade Zone provides countries with the opportunity to export products at a reduced tax rate. “China’s economic growth is creating exceptional opportunities for greater engagement between West Virginia and China. Southern is proud to be a part of that partnership,” Tomblin said.

National Radiologic Technology Week
Southern celebrated National Radiologic Technology Week® . The annual event is to recognize the vital work of R.T.s across the nation. The celebration takes place each November to commemorate the anniversary of the x-ray's discovery by Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen on Nov. 8, 1895.The week-long celebration calls attention to the important role medical imaging and radiation therapy professionals play in patient care and health care safety. This year's theme is "R.T.s: Positioning Ourselves for Excellence." Students participated in activities throughout the week.
Program Assistant, Debra Johnson is being recognized as the Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College, November Employee of the Month. A graduate of Southern, Johnson received her AS in Business Accounting and General Business in 1986. Johnson began her career at Southern in 1986, helping at the switchboard on the Logan Campus. She then worked at a cashier until 1989. She was then transferred to the Boone Campus as a secretary where she holds her current position. As Program Assistant she is responsible for maintaining and explaining student accounts, billing students and third parties, invoicing refunds and giving out financial aid checks. She says she loves working as a member of the team at Southern. “We recognize potential problems and work together to resolve them. We have adopted the philosophy of adapt, improvise, and overcome,” Johns said. Johnson states that one of the best parts of her job is giving out financial aid checks, “you make everyone happy”. Her off campus actives include attending church, spending time family, crafting, cooking and decorating. She and her husband, Robbie, will be celebrating their 25th wedding anniversary on February 3, 2014. Together they have 4 children and 15 ‘fantastic’ grandkids. Being selected November Employee of the Month came as a pleasant surprise to Johnson. “It is really nice to be thought of.”