Vol State Livingston turned into a rewarding family affair for the Bickles
Like many high school graduates, Misty Bickle was not sure what she wanted to do with her life when she graduated high school in 1990. She was interested in college, but was unable to secure the funds necessary to pay for tuition. Instead, she got a job, married and started a family.
Misty moved to Overton County in 1999 and landed a job in retail, where she worked for several years. Her hard work paid off and she was offered a management position. “I wasn’t sure if that’s what I wanted to do, so I prayed for a sign,” Misty said. “Two days later while working at my retail job, my coworkers and I were robbed. The robber had a gun and I thought I was going to die.” Shaken by the incident, Misty believed that she had received her answer and that it was time for a change.
Although college had not been an option for her previously, Misty started exploring colleges and soon enrolled in Vol State’s Ophthalmic Technology program. “I started slow by taking a few night classes, because I was still working to provide for my family,” she said. In 2010 Misty graduated summa cum laude with an associate degree in ophthalmic technology.
“My experience at Vol State was awesome. I liked the smaller classes and the one on one with instructors that Vol State Livingston offered,” she stated. “There was flexibility in the class schedules and I liked that the college was close to home.”
Misty attained Ophthalmic Technician certification and currently works at an eye center in Cookeville. “I am very happy. I love what I do. There is nothing more gratifying than helping people see,” she shared.
Misty’s husband Gary graduated from Vol State Livingston in 2012 with an associate degree in logistics management. “He had a grade point average of 4.0 and mine was 3.96 and I won’t let him live it down that he beat me,” Misty laughed.
While at Vol State, Gary participated in the Tennessee Consortium for International Studies (TnCIS) program and studied abroad in China.
He is currently working as a logistics manager at a powertrain company in Cookeville.
Both participated in the President’s Ambassador Scholarship Program while at Vol State. As President’s Ambassadors, they represented the student body and worked with faculty, staff, students, and members of the community to promote Vol State and its programs and services.
“Our daughter, Kacie Schook, just graduated from Vol State Livingston this past spring, with an associate degree in business and technology,” Misty stated, “and she is currently looking for a position in that field.” While at Vol State, Kacie was a student worker in the office of Student Services and won the Positive Difference Student Services Award for her contributions to the Livingston campus.
Misty recently joined Vol State as a lab instructor for the Ophthalmic Procedures III class during summer session I.
“I always felt like Vol State wants their students to succeed. You’re not like cattle being herded through…you’re not just a number.” Misty said.
This year marks Vol State Livingston’s 25th Anniversary and the college is planning a celebration event on Friday, June 17, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the campus at 113 Windle Community Road. Festivities include food, live music, fun, and special activities for alumni. The event is free and open to everyone.
Photo ID: Left – right, Kacie Schook, Gary Bickle, and Misty Bickle