Walters State Receives Simmons Bank Grant

February 20, 2024

Foundation Photo
Walters State Community College has received a grant for $8,598 from the Simmons First Foundation to grow the college’s underwater robotics programs for middle and high school students. From left are Donnelle Curran, business development officer for Simmons Bank; Shayne Whaley, regional community president of Simmons Bank; Dr. Mark Hurst, vice president for business and finance at Walters State; Dr. Jama Spicer Sutton, dean of the Sevier County Campus; Lisa Shiveler, college grants writer; Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State; and Dr. Nicole Cardwell-Hampton, director of youth programs at Walters State.

Walters State Receives Simmons Bank Grant

The Simmons First Foundation has awarded a $8,598 grant to Walters State Community College. The Simmons First Foundation is the charitable arm of Simmons Bank.

“We are grateful to the Simmons First Foundation and our local Simmons Bank officials for this generous gift,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. “These funds will help us stir interest in science, engineering, technology and math by growing our underwater robotics programs for area youth.”

The underwater robotics camps began as part of the Talented and Gifted Program, offered each January by the college’s Division of Workforce Training. Camps are now offered during the spring and summer. Teams learn how assemble, program and launch underwater robots. Robots may be programmed to retrieve a tool or another underwater object.

“The primary goal of the underwater robotics program is to increase knowledge and enthusiasm for STEM programs,” said Dr. Nicole Cardwell-Hampton, director of youth programs. “Students learn about entrepreneurship along with engineering principles, hardware technology and computer programming.”

Cardwell-Hampton said the funds will be used to provide financial assistance to students in Sevier County.