Chattanooga State’s Mary Kamuiru was named the Outstanding Student of the Year from among Tennessee Technology Center students across the state. Initially nominated as one of 14 students at Chattanooga State’s TTC , Mary was chosen to represent Chattanooga State at the regional completion in Knoxville in December, 2012. Mary went on to become one of nine finalists, three from each region of Tennessee, selected to compete at the statewide competition annually held April of each year in Chattanooga. Her reward for being chosen Tennessee’s Outstanding Student of the Year was a salsa red 2013 Chevrolet Spark.
In addition to community service, leadership, attendance and performance in the classroom, nominees were judged on their strength of conviction. Many have faced overwhelming obstacles that had to be conquered in order to complete their TTC training. Kamuiru, a mother of one, is no exception. Her ailing grandmother in Kenya recently passed away, and she was called upon to lend support to a deeply depressed relative who tried to end her own life. If that wasn’t enough, expensive car repairs have plagued her in recent months. “I didn’t quit, even though most days I didn’t want to get out of bed,” she says.
Kamuiru and her family came the United States 18 years ago from Kenya, in East Africa, to join her father who was attending seminary. Thanks to winning a green card lottery, they were granted admission to this country and a chance for citizenship. The family is currently spread out. Kamuiru’s father is back in Kenya. Her mother is in Clarksville, TN and her brother is in Birmingham, AL. Kamuiru lives in Chattanooga with her daughter, Rachel. Her youngest sister also lives in Chattanooga.
Kamuiru earned her RN degree from UTC and has worked part-time in Memorial Hospital’s ER. She is currently working at Chattanooga State as a Licensed Practical Nursing instructor.
She has risen through the ranks of SkillsUSA from local chapter president in 2011 to secretary at the state level. She was elected national secretary in June of 2012 at the annual SkillsUSA conference in Kansas City.