A Student Acclimates From Across the Globe

by Katherine Lown

If you pass Slavik in the hallway at school, you might not guess him to be much different from every other guy you see on the way to class. If you sit down and talk with him, however, his smile widens and his story unravels in a kind, Russian accent.

Some people might simply label him a refugee, while others may just call him a student. But 29-year-old Slavik Malenchii has proved himself to be a man of determination, as he journeys toward a bright future.

Having spent the majority of his life in Eastern Europe, Slavik comes from the small country of Moldova. At age 17, he learned his family was going to move halfway across the world to begin life again in the United States. The move would mean leaving behind all his familiar surroundings, his friends, even his girlfriend, and starting over in America without speaking a word of English.

But with Communism growing in his home country and religious persecution increasing, the Malenchii family, all 11 of them, decided to make the transition in 2004. Originally, Slavik had not planned on spending more than a year stateside, but plans changed and he spent the next seven years in Washington. There he lived in a Russian community and worked as many construction jobs as he could pick up with his very limited English.

“In the movies, money grows on trees in America,” Slavik laughed, explaining that, in reality, he found himself making only $7 an hour.

By 2011 Slavik had begun to realize the opportunities a college education could offer. Following the example of some of his family members, he moved to Knoxville, Tennessee to begin school at Pellissippi State.

The first obstacle he had to tackle was mastering English. Slavik began with some adult education courses, and it wasn’t too long before he mastered the language. Four semesters later, Slavik prepares to graduate Pellissippi and transfer to King University in the fall, where he will complete a degree.

In faultless English, he explained that he is studying business management and dreams of starting his own business one day with his brothers. Considering the goals he has already reached and connections he has made, it probably won’t be too long until the brothers’ business is underway.

In the meantime, Slavik works as a project manager for a construction company. He combines his social abilities and hands-on skills by working with customers, as well as doing whatever odd jobs are needed around the workplace.

Looking toward the future, Slavik sees himself settling down with a family, but presently he continues to work hard. “Right now, this company…it’s perfect,” he said gratefully of his present job.

Though the United States has provided many challenges, Slavik has learned much through his experiences and has come to appreciate much more than his schooling. A professional musician, Slavik enjoys playing the accordion in his spare time; he also excels in martial arts. After a stressful day, you will probably find Slavik doing one of his favorite activities: riding his motorcycle through the Smoky Mountains.

Perhaps one day the Moldovan will return to his country and visit friends, but for now, Slavik is content with his future goals and is satisfied with where his journey has led him so far.

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

Talking With Your Hands

by Hailey Rudd

The American Sign Language Club at Pellissippi State offers opportunities to interact with the deaf culture. 

 Learning American Sign Language and experiencing deaf culture are some of the perks of being a part of the ASL Club at Pellissippi.

The ASL Club hosts activities like game night and takes trips to the Tennessee School for the Deaf to interact with the deaf and hard of hearing community, said faculty advisor, Guinetta Baker.

Story telling, arts and crafts, and science experiments are just some of the activities that students of Pellissippi can participate in at TSD.

“Students can join the club independently or join one of the four levels of sign language classes to be a part of these activities,” stated Baker. She reported that it was established four years ago as a bi-lingual and a multi-cultural experience for PSCC students.

Here are some ways that students can be involved within the club:

  • Sign up for the ASL Class
  • Attend the monthly deaf community ASL dinners
  • Participate in ASL game night
  • Be part of connecting with children at TSD

For more information, you can visit the ASL Please website at:


Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Bridging the Cultural Gap

by Kelly Morrison

Pellissippi State students and faculty are invited to attend a lecture featuring ChinaNOW President D.K. Wu in the Goins Auditorium (GN136) Friday, Nov. 1 at 9:40 p.m.

Wu has made a career out of helping people bridge the cultural gap between China and North America. During his lecture, he will talk about life in China with a special focus on the economy and how businesses function.

Wu’s goal is to help the world to better understand the Chinese language and culture. He co-founded ChinaNOW Institute of International Education with the belief that when people see firsthand why people do what they do in other cultures, it will help them to understand and respect each other. Wu himself is a prime example of this as he has taught many classes in Taiwan’s colleges and universities which have helped him to understand how schools in America and China are so drastically different from one another.

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

International Festival Returns

by Jamie Maples

Take a trip overseas without ever leaving!

Student Access and Diversity plans to host another week-long international festival which will feature a different country and culture each day of the week. President Gayle Wood believes that this is a good event for the college because it celebrates the many cultures of 265  international students here at Pellissippi.  This festival is a great opportunity to recognize these students and the contributions they have made.

Australian artist Seona Mcdowell pictured with a digerredoo.

The festival is set to happen from Nov. 15-19.  Australian folk music and storytelling will begin the festival Monday, as Pellissippiwelcomes Seona McDowell to the Goins Auditorium. Tuesday is European Day and special deserts from many countries will be offered to taste in the Goins Rotunda.

Wednesday will feature the “Tropical Island Players”, a musical group whose Caribbean sound will celebrate the heritage of  South American and African countries. Asian displays and traditional entertainment will be provided by Pellissippi students on Thursday and Friday will culminate in an North American Indian storytelling event.

The festival is free to all Pellissippi students and their families.

Thursday, October 28th, 2010