Potomac State Welcomes New Math Professor Nikki Chandler

Professor Nikki Chandler poses for a photo on campus. Photo by Zoe Sypolt.

by Zoe Sypolt

“For me, I was coming back home.” Coming back home was a priority for new professor Nikki Chandler and her family.

Chandler learned early on what Potomac State had to offer. “My first college classes were taken through PSC when I was a high school student at Petersburg High School.”

Chandler’s love of math started early. “I always loved math. In high school, I think I liked it most because I naturally excelled in the subject matter and enjoyed helping my fellow students learn,” Chandler said.

“As a math major in college, I realized it’s an incredibly deep and powerful subject matter. Odd as it may seem to ‘non-math’ people, I believe it the most interesting and most beautiful subject one can study.”

After high school graduation, she started out in college at West Virginia University before getting married to a U.S. Air Force airman. To be closer to the air force base, she then transferred to a small university, The University of Mount Olive in North Carolina.

While there, her professors inspired her to become a professor of mathematics. “There were only three math professors in the entire math department at UMO. Those three professors became my greatest mentors,” Chandler said.

Her experience at UMO led her to PSC. “Their influence led me to want to teach at a similar small institution, where the professors can get to know all the students and have the greatest impact on the entire student body.”

Chandler’s best advice for students during the busy semester is to remember that college is not a sprint but a marathon. “Just keep swimming” is what comes to her mind when you may feel like giving up. She advises students to push through the semester and just do their best.

In her spare time, Chandler enjoys spending time outdoors or playing tractors with her young son, who will be two in January. She and her family love the West Virginia mountains and are thrilled to now be “home.”

What to Expect When You’re Expecting Finals

By SeVohn Hunter, Contributing Writer

IMG-2285.JPGSeVohn Hunter is prepared for finals week, wearing her signature hoodie and UGG boots. Photo by Cody Brazil

We are finally into the fall/winter months and we are undoubtedly so excited to finally break out the UGG boots and hoodies, but there is also a darkness looming ahead: finals.

There are horror stories about finals told years before you actually get to college. Getting No sleep, being super stressed and having mental break-downs. This can be absolutely terrifying.

Sleep is a human need that should never be sacrificed. A popularized way of studying for finals is cramming the night before; we should know by now that is not the way to go.

It is true that if you study before going to bed, sleep will help you absorb the information you just went over (I learned that in PSYCH 101.), but cramming and then sleeping for a couple hours will not give your brain time to process the information and will ultimately leave you sleep-deprived.The best way to study is to break it up into sections over one or two days with breaks in between.

Stressing is never fun, especially when it comes to a test that can drastically alter your GPA. Using the study habits mentioned above will help you feel prepared for nals and keep you from being stressed about your grades.

Whenever you start to feel that niggling in your stomach or chest, take a few minutes to focus on your breathing and be present.

After a long day of studying, a hot bath or shower and some selfish indulgences before bed will relax your mind and result in many hours of needed sleep.

These easy tips will calm the volcano inside of you and prevent the eruption that is a mental breakdown.

If you really think about it, finals are an insignificant piece of the vast life you will live. They may seem important in the moment, and they are, but they will not determine your life’s purpose.

After finals week, you can sleep for as long as you want and watch as many trashy TV shows  that make your heart happy.

Remember these words of wisdom, and you can laugh in the faces of those who try to scare you with their finals horror stories.

A Day in the Life of a Potomac State College Nontraditional Student



Nontraditional student Matthew Thomas finds time to balance his school work as well as life. Photo by Cody Brazil

“The biggest limitation I would say is time. Being a nontraditional student is definitely a practice of time management. Everybody takes something as simple as mowing your lawn for granted, but when you’re putting in a 60 hour week it becomes something you really wish you had time for,” said Matthew Thomas, a 46-year-old Potomac State College student.

Thomas is a registered respiratory therapist and the full-time manager of the Respiratory Therapy Department at the Hampshire Memorial Hospital. He decided to return to college for career advancement, as well as personal achievement.

Thomas believes that he’d never be able to balance school with his job and personal life alone. He has the full support of his wife of 25 years, as well as his 23-year-old daughter Madeline and his 19-year-old daughter Jordan.

“I really couldn’t be doing this without my daughters. Madeline has her degree in English so I like to get her to proofread my papers. She likes to make fun of my grammar so it works out,” said Thomas.

Thomas believes that the hardest part of balancing his school, work and personal life has been time management. In addition to his homework and studying he is responsible for maintaining his home and taking care of his elderly parents. He is also expected to cover extra shifts, so there can be some overlap in schedules. Luckily for him, it doesn’t happen too often.

“I’ve found that as I grow older, my attention span grows shorter, but my priorities have always been my family,” explained Thomas.

Thomas said that scheduling has never really been a problem for him while earning his degree, but he has had problems with his willpower and focus. In his current stage of life, Thomas has the time and the means to do more activities with his wife, so school is not his main focus.

“I do not regret any of the choices I’ve made. If I could go back and do it again then I think I would have absolutely gotten my degree earlier– certainly before having children. But I cherish my family, and I have a great job. So I am pretty happy where I am, but my advice for traditional students is focus on your studies and earn your degree.”

Thomas said that he hopes earning his Regents Bachelor of Arts (RBA) degree may help him work in the field at a corporate level.

Thomas added, “The years in college are short, and they really do help form who you are as an adult. I would also say that grades are not everything, and learning is not just done in the classroom; experience as much as you can and take in the moments, good and bad, because time, well, time likes to fly away.”

Potomac State College Veteran Goes From Building Bombs to Hitting the Books


Steffan Chapman said he has been a West Virginia University fan ever since he was little. He followed a dream and ended up at PSC. Photo by Molly Browning

“I was a troublemaker. I needed to get some foundation under my feet to kind of start a decent life,” Potomac State College student and veteran Steffan Chapman stated, explaining his original reason for joining the military.

Chapman worked on ships as Aviation Ordinanceman during his time in the military. “I built bombs, missiles, rockets, anything that went boom pretty much,” said Chapman. His training began in Pensacola, Florida. He then was stationed in San Diego, California for a short time before being deployed to Japan.

Traveling was Chapman’s favorite part of his time in the service. He’s been to Guam, South Korea, Hawaii, Florida, California, Chicago and Japan. “I have friends from all over the world now,” stated Chapman. “No matter where I go, there’s probably somebody kind of close to me.”

Chapman is an Upstate New York native, so the question arises: How did he end up at PSC? “Funny story, actually. I’ve been a West Virginia fan since seventh grade. Figured I’d try to follow a dream, and here I am at Potomac State.”

Chapman is studying psychology at PSC, with plans of becoming a high school guidance counselor. The laid-back atmosphere of Keyser allows Chapman to spend time focusing on his studies.

Although WVU and PSC are very helpful and offer plenty of veteran benefits, Chapman stated that the government made it especially difficult for him to receive the benefits. The process took over two months to finally get them. “The government isn’t only paying me, they are paying every single veteran who’s attending college, so they get backed up a lot.”

PSC also offers veteran parking and a veterans’ lounge, but Chapman said he doesn’t like to receive these special privileges just because he’s a veteran. “I’m just a normal person, you know? I had to take a different road.”

Chapman is also the Veterans’ Representative in the Student Government Association. Chapman expressed how it is somewhat hard trying to make a difference on the campus for the veterans, primarily because most of the veterans he knows are commuters who come to class then leave. However, Chapman states that he’s still working on ideas.

Potomac State College Volleyball Team Makes Second Trip to Nationals

PSC’s Volleyball Team. Photo courtesy of PotomacStateCollege.edu

Congratulations to the Potomac State Volleyball team for earning their second trip in the college’s history to the National Conference.

After winning the regional championships with a 3-0 victory over top-seeded Northern Virginia Community College at the Region XX Division II Women’s Championship, the team competed in Charleston as the #15 seed.

The Catamounts fell 3-0 to #2 Seed Parkland CC and lost to #10 Seed Iowa Central 3-0.

View photos of the Catamounts’ match against Howard on the college’s Flickr.

PSC Student Logan Scott Started in Radio at Age 13

Logan Scott in the sound booth. Photo provided by Scott

by Logan Scott

I got my start in radio when I was 13. My aunt was recording a commercial spot for the bank she manages, and she took me with her.  I  took a tour of the station.

I reached out to Amy Ryan, the program director of WQZK.  Amy hosted me as a guest on “Share the Chair” numerous times from my seventh grade year through high school. Amy took me under her wing and taught me everything I know about radio. On my 18th birthday, I turned in my application.  Six days later, I became a member of the Allegany Radio Corporation family.

The Allegany Radio Corporation in Cumberland is home to four FM stations and two AM stations. You can hear me on 94.1 WQZK and Magic 100.5 WDYK on the weekends.

I entertain my listeners with various celebrity and entertainment news along with other breaking news: accidents, inclement weather and regional events.

One of my favorite parts about working in radio is connecting with the listeners. Answering the request line, engaging on social media and interacting during live broadcasts.

I work in one of the most state-of-the art studios in the country. We use Axia digital consoles, edit audio in Adobe Audition and program in Wide Orbit Radio Automation.

I use these tools for production and to broadcast my live radio show. I get to work with the equipment when I cover football games, do remote broadcasts and for many other occasions.

In addition to working at the radio staion, I am a full-time education major at PSC. You can find me on Facebook, @LoganScott941.

Review: New “Thor: Ragnarok” Film Shines

Ryan Cook with the “Thor: Ragnarok” poster at the Country Club Mall in Lavale, MD. Photo courtesy of Cook.

by Ryan Cook

 2017 has been an excellent year for superhero movies. First, we were treated to the groundbreaking Wolverine film “Logan” in March. Then came the colorful and emotional “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” in May.

Audiences across the world fell in love with Gal Gadot in the blockbuster hit “Wonder Woman” in June, and July reintroduced Spider-Man to fans of all ages in “Spider-Man: Homecoming.”

Now, Marvel’s mightiest Avenger returns to the big screen in “Thor: Ragnarok.”

Directed by indie-filmmaker Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Hunt for the Wilderpeople”), “Thor: Ragnarok” picks up two years after the events of 2015’s “Avengers: Age of Ultron.”

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is now on a quest to stop the evil goddess of death, Hela (Cate Blanchett), from unleashing Ragnarok, “the end of all things,” upon his home world of Asgard.

After Thor’s first encounter with the goddess of death doesn’t go his way, the mighty Thor is cast off to the savage planet known as Sakaar.

It’s while he’s on Sakaar that Thor reunites with his fellow Avenger, Bruce Banner/The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo).

Comic book fans are treated to one of the most epic gladiatorial movie fights in recent years between Thor and Hulk before the plot of the film really starts running.

In a year with no shortage of great comic book movies, “Thor: Ragnarok” doesn’t disappoint. Hemsworth gives his best and most comedic performance as the god of thunder yet.

With “Ragnarok” being his fifth outing as Thor, Hemsworth seems to be having more fun than ever in his role.

Tom Hiddleston is outstanding as usual as Thor’s adopted brother, Loki. While he still lives up to his nickname of the god of mischief, Loki has a significant change of heart in this movie, and Hiddleston plays this to perfection.

The Hulk has never been more interesting than in this movie. For the first time in movie history, the Hulk speaks in full sentences, which provides some great comedic moments with Thor.

What makes this Hulk more interesting is that because his intelligence has improved, Banner and his Hulk side are fighting for mental control. Ruffalo brilliantly portrays this as both Banner and Hulk.

As for the new characters in the film, Blanchett’s Hela is a force to be reckoned with. Blanchett brings the perfect balance of humor and pure evil that makes Hela the best villain of the Thor franchise since Loki in the original film.

Jeff Goldblum (“Jurassic Park”) also joins the cast as the Grandmaster, and every line of dialogue he says is appropriately golden. No one can deliver a line quite like Goldblum, and his talent is on full display in this movie.

One of the many standout characters in the film is actually played by the film’s director, Taika Waititi.

In “Ragnarok,” Waititi plays Korg, a giant rock monster with a gentle, soothing voice who tries to befriend Thor.

It’s impossible to do the character justice by describing his appearance and lovable personality, but it’s definitely a highlight of the film.

Overall, the “Thor” franchise takes a pleasing direction with “Ragnarok.” The film has a similar look and color palette to Marvel’s other space franchise, “Guardians of the Galaxy”, but  “Thor: Ragnarok” has a very different sense of humor and adventure than the other superhero movies that were released this year.

The film has a runtime of over two hours, but it never feels too long. The jokes are related to the plot, and the sense of urgency in the movie makes its runtime fly by. “Ragnarok” is a funny action/adventure film to watch over Christmas break.

Heads up to Marvel fans who know to stay seated when the credits start to roll — there are two scenes during the credits of “Ragnarok.”