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Bluefield State College’s Recent Professional Development & Community Service

  • Created
    Tuesday, July 27 2010
  • Created by
    Jim Nelson/Media Relations - (304) 327-4103

Community Involvement

Bluefield State College recently received approval to participate in the Yellow Ribbon Program, a provision of the Post 9/11 Veterans Education Assistance Act of 2008. Bluefield State joins selected colleges and universities across the country that are taking part in this enhanced education program.  The Yellow Ribbon Program allows for institutions of higher learning to provide tuition assistance for expenses that exceed the highest public “IN STATE” undergraduate tuition rate.

The Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program at BSC has assisted an average of more than 500 individuals per year over the past 20+ years in completing their federal and state income tax returns—approximately 500 hours of volunteer time invested per year.  This year’s program helped residents receive $234,000 in federal and state income tax refunds.

Montoya Kemp, President of the Bluefield State College Student Government Association, has been elected to a one-year term as Chair for the State Advisory Council of Students (ACS).  He will represent all public college students in West Virginia during the year.

Bluefield State College was a selected site for hosting the first “West Virginia College Goal Sunday (CGS) on February 21, 2010.  This event provided an opportunity for students and parents to have financial aid experts provide free assistance in filling out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the cornerstone of the higher education financial aid application process.

“People First,” a Bluefield State College organization for differently-abled students and employees, partnered with several regional community service entities and individuals to present the first “Disability Awareness Celebration Program,” a day-long information and sharing program at Mercer Mall. 

Second year Associate Degree Nursing students at Bluefield State College delivered 200 “blizzard boxes” to four community service organizations.  The blizzard boxes were packed with items that are nonperishable and both hypertension-friendly and diabetic friendly.  The boxes can be heated up and serve as a complete meal to help individuals who can’t be reached during bad weather, and provide for their nutritional needs until help can arrive.

Recruiters from 55 employers spoke to 432 job seekers during the 22nd annual Spring Job Fair at Bluefield State College on April 7th. Although the event is hosted by BSC the students and graduates of Concord University, Bluefield College, New River Community and Technical College (NRCTC), Southwest Virginia Community College, and Wytheville Community College were also invited to participate.

The Healing Hands Club (Baccalaureate Nursing Students) at Bluefield State College distributed holiday stockings to residents of the West Virginia Manor with the help of the Salvation Army, Bluefield Regional Medical Center, Grant’s Supermarket, and Mercer Funeral Home.

BSC Nursing students conduct health education classes at Mercer Health Right

BSC Student Service and Greek Organizations take part in numerous community-oriented activities, including:

The Muscular Dystrophy Association Labor Day Telethon
“Adopt a Highway”
“Toys for Tots”
“The American Red Cross Blood Drive”
Ronald McDonald House
Mercer County Humane Society
Read Aloud program in Mercer and Tazewell Counties
The “Renew the New River” clean up campaign

BSC financial aid staff conduct annual financial aid workshops for prospective college students and their families

BSC president serves as vice chair of the Higher Learning Commission Board of Directors and the WVIAC Board of Directors

The BSC “Blue Chicory Players” present one play per semester and the BSC Jazz Ensemble presents one concert per semester for the college community, area public schools and the general public

BSC presented four Black History Month programs for the general public and college community in February 2010

BSC Radiologic Technology students invest more than 200 hours in volunteer service to area service organizations each year

A student-led panel discussion considered “Perspectives on Immigration” during an October 2009 program Center at Bluefield State College.  The focus of this event centered upon raising awareness of the issues surrounding immigration in the United States

Bluefield State College received an H1N1 Campus Grant Award from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission.  The grant was utilized to minimize the impact of influenza-like illnesses on the health status of the BSC community.

The third annual Bluefield State College “Gala Auction” this April brought together residents from the local and College community for a night of spirited fun and generous giving.  Funds raised through the auction will benefited the Bluefield State College Foundation’s unrestricted annual fund, through which the College can provide emergency loans for students, underwrite employees’ participation in professional workshops, and address emerging opportunities and challenges for which budgeted funds have not been identified.

Eight mine rescue teams recently participated in the fourth annual Mine Rescue Competition at Bluefield State College.  The daylong activity was created and coordinated by the National Mine Rescue Association Welch Post #1 Smoke-eaters and was hosted by the Center for Applied Research & Technology (CART) at Bluefield State College.


Bluefield State College was selected to receive a $475,200 grant award from the National Institutes of Health.  The grant from the Department of Health and Human Services/NIH will establish an Office of Sponsored Programs Office at BSC and result in significant support for developing and expanding the College’s research capacity.

BSC student team finished third, overall, in the 2009 Intelligent Ground Robotic Vehicle Competition in Oakland, MI.  Last year, the BSC team won a world title in the Autonomous Vehicle Race at the championships.

Several Bluefield State College School of Business student teams ranked in the upper 6% among more than 1600 higher education teams competing in the recent Business Strategy Game simulation, coordinated by the University of Alabama.  The game, a business simulation used by colleges and universities throughout the world, primarily involves senior-level business students who are taking a capstone course.

Four Bluefield State College students and a faculty member represented the College at the annual General Meeting of American Society for Microbiology, the oldest and largest single life science organization in the United States, with more 43,000 members from all around the world.   This is the first student group from BSC to participate in this prestigious scientific society of individuals interested in the microbiological sciences

A Bluefield State College student team finished in the top four among 17 teams representing radiologic technology programs from throughout West Virginia during the recent West Virginia Society of Radiologic Technologists’ Student Bowl at Pipestem State Park.

The Center for Applied Research and Technology (CART, Inc.) at Bluefield State College (BSC) joined Preferred Chassis of Tucson, Arizona, soldiers and other civilian contractors at Fort Hood Texas for the recent inaugural Robotics Rodeo.  The event allowed the team to review and interact with a large group of robot systems contractors and to demonstrate how an autonomous Scorpion 4x4 might potentially find a place in the U.S. Army's robotic vehicle lineup.

Bluefield State College's 2009 Radiologic Technology graduates achieved a 100% passage rate on the certification examination by the American Registry of Radiologic Technologists.

A new baccalaureate degree program, the Bachelor of Science in Health Services Management, will be offered at Bluefield State College, beginning this fall.  The West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission approved BSC’s program proposal in January, 2010.  The program provides students with learning opportunities to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to prepare them for careers in middle and top level healthcare management positions and/or strengthen their current employment performance and advancement opportunities in healthcare

Dr. Albert Walker, Bluefield State College President, was named Vice Chair/Secretary of the Higher Learning Commission/North Central Association Board of Trustees.  He is currently serving one year as vice chair/secretary and chair-elect, then will begin a one-year term as chair, beginning in September 2010.

Dr. Tesfaye Belay (Associate Professor of Biology, Bluefield State College) has received over $99,000 grant sub award from the West Virginia-Idea Network for biomedical Excellence (WV-INBRE) to sustain and expand biomedical research at BSC.  Bluefield State College is among the selected institutions of higher education in the State of West Virginia who have partnership with WV-INBRE to enhance their capacity for educating and training their faculty and students in biomedical research.  Dr. Belay also received over $99,000 in a grant sub award from the West Virginia-Idea Network for biomedical Excellence (WV-INBRE) to sustain and expand biomedical research at BSC. 

Sarita A. Rhonemus, Director of the Educational Opportunity Center (EOC) at Bluefield State College, is the new president of the West Virginia TRiO Association.  She took office at the annual conference of the West Virginia Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (WVAEOPP) and the Virginia Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (VAEOPP)

Bluefield State College administrator John Cardwell was reelected to a three-year term as the West Virginia representative to the national ACT organization. Cardwell is Vice President for Student Affairs & Enrollment Management at BSC

Dr. Thomas Blevins, a career educator & administrator at Bluefield State College, received the Association of Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) “Presidential Service Award.”

Jane Miller, Senior Project Coordinator/Payroll at Bluefield State College, was named the recipient of the “2009 Ken Fuhrman Memorial EPICS Award” at the West Virginia State Auditor’s Conference at Snowshoe Resort, September 1-4.  The conference attracted nearly 400 employees representing more than 170 state agencies.

Members of BSC’s Psi Delta Beta Psychology Club attended the Southeastern Psychological Association’s (SEPA) 56th Annual Meeting in Chattanooga, Tennessee, March 10-13, 2010.  The meeting’s theme, “Exploring the Breadth of Psychology: Teaching, Research, and Service,” featured lecture and conversational workshops, panel discussions and more.  

The Bluefield State Criminal Justice Program recently completed its first Study Abroad program.  Three BSC Criminal Justice students and two faculty members were guests of the Bermuda Department of Corrections during a ten-day study of the Bermuda correctional system.  The group also met with the Bermuda Police Department to learn about the organization and operation of the department.

Area Schools

Eleven band instruments, many of which have not been used for more than 40 years, will soon be making sweet music again.  Bluefield State College recently transferred the instruments, which had remained in storage at the college since the 1960s, to Bluefield High School.

BSC’s Model United Nations team hosts and coordinates area public school Model UN competitions each year

Each spring, BSC student teachers complete a 12-week, 360-hour internship at local public schools under the supervision of a cooperating teacher and college supervisor

BSC School of Education faculty collaborate with ten area public schools in the Bluefield Consortium of Profession Development Schools in a variety of education delivery and enhancement initiatives

BSC faculty worked with RESA 1 to provide training to public school teachers to improve literacy for adolescents

Each spring, the Bluefield State College Jazz Ensemble and guest clinicians conduct a one-day jazz clinic for area public school student musicians and their faculty


Through an expanding relationship between Bluefield State College and the Institute for International Education, BSC welcomed its first Fulbright Undergraduate Scholar in August 2009.  Vieux Alassane Toure, who is from Senegal, is enrolled in BSC’s Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) program with an emphasis on Humanities

Bluefield State College and Southern West Virginia Community and Technical College signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the delivery of a Baccalaureate Degree program in Criminal Justice, effective July 1, 2010.  Bluefield State College will deliver the entire program beginning this fall at Southern’s Wyoming/McDowell Campus located in Saulsville. Courses in the collaborative program will be provided using flexible delivery modes including traditional on-site courses during evenings and on weekends.

The Center for Applied Research and Technology Inc. (CART) at Bluefield State College (BSC) will receive more than $70,000 through an agreement with the Marshall University Research Corporation on behalf of the Nick J. Rahall, II Appalachian Transportation Institute (RTI).  The RTI, contract renewal supports CART’s continuing service as campus coordinator for the Rahall Appalachian Transportation Institute.

BSC faculty member serves as a Board member on the New River Watershed Round Table and as a trustee on the Bluestone Conservancy Board

BSC faculty member serves on the West Virginia HIV/AIDS planning group

BSC is a contributing member to a national strategy study to increase the number of qualified nurses available to address health disparities and improve minority patient care.  The study is coordinated by the Winston-Salem State University “Center for Excellence for the Elimination of Health Disparities”