This Fentress County farm boy will likely soon have a new title: professor.
Kyley H. Dickson, who grew up on a farm in the rural middle Tennessee county, will be receiving a doctorate in plant and soil science this December from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville.
And his expertise in his doctorate—the safety of athletic fields—was put to use recently when he and a professor went to Bristol, Tennessee, for an inspection.
They were checking on the safeness of the Astroturf installed for the football game between UT and Virginia Tech, held September 10 at the Bristol Motor Speedway. Now, Dickson is setting his sights on a teaching job at UT-Martin, where’s he’s applied for a professorship.
Dickson, 27, is another example of how Roane State Community College’s dual enrollment program can be an early boost to a higher education a press release said.
A retired businessman, now deceased, played a key role in Dickson’s decision to take dual enrollment courses offered by the college. As a teenager, Dickson said, he used to mow Guy Pinckley’s yard, “and he urged me to take the courses.”
Pinckley and his wife, Claudine, for years offered to pay the dual enrollment tuition for students in York Institute and Clarkrange High—Fentress County’s only two high schools. The Pinckleys “funded it (dual enrollment tuition) 100 percent,” Dickson said.
Scores of students at both schools took the Pinckleys up on their generous offer. Dickson, a York Institute student, took Roane State dual enrollment classes in college algebra, art history, and U.S. History.
Those (dual enrollment) classes “showed me how much more I would have to study to succeed at the next level,” he said.
“For me, it was a good introduction to college. I wasn’t overwhelmed when I got to UT, so it gave me peace of mind.”
Dickson’s interests started in childhood and were influenced by his father, Dwight, who works for the Natural Resources Conservation Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
As a youngster, Kyley Dickson was involved in soil judging competitions, and after he graduated in 2008 from York Institute, he majored in plant sciences at UT. His concentration was in turfgrass management, especially as it pertains to athletic fields and golf courses.
He graduated with a bachelor’s of science degree in plant sciences in 2012 and received a master’s degree in that field two years later. For his doctoral dissertation, Dickson examined how increased moisture decreases the safety of turfgrass fields.
To learn more about dual enrollment, go to www.roanestate.edu/dualstudies. For more information about Roane State’s Fentress County campus, now located at York Institute, visit roanestate.edu/fentress or call (931) 752-8320.
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