ChattState Boosts LaPaz Food Drive


Juan Santillana, instructor; Dr. Katheryn Thompson, associate professor; Spanish I students Abby Callahan and Misty Smith with Vivian Lozano of La Paz exhibit the 41 boxes of food collected for La Paz.


Chattanooga, TN — Students, faculty and staff banded together in support of the annual food drive to La Paz Chattanooga. A total of 41 boxes of food were collected, packed and delivered on Monday in time for Thanksgiving. According to Dr. Katheryn Thompson, Spanish Club advisor, “It was the most boxes we ever have been able to deliver and it was all due to the support of our students and campus community.”

Thompson was quick to praise student coordinators Chase Johnson and Abby Callahan for their communication efforts between departments and groups and all-round assistance with the entire drive. In addition she offered thanks to faculty members Linda Miller, Rachael Falu, Maria Spear, Kerri Lamb and Lori Barton; ChattState’s printing services department; communications, and the following clubs: Mechanical Engineering Club, Associated General Contractors Student Chapter and the Veterinary Technology Club. “These volunteers took our boxes and our message out across campus, broadened our appeal and increased our donations,” shared Thompson.

La Paz Chattanooga is the leading organization connecting the growing Latino community to the people and resources of the greater Chattanooga area whose mission is to empower and engage Chattanooga’s Latino population through advocacy, education and inclusion.

For more information about Chattanooga State clubs and organizations, contact Sandy Rutter at 423-697-4475 or see

Irizarry Chosen as Outstanding Student of the Year


Richard Claburn, senior instructor industrial electricity; Javier Irizarry, 2014 Outstanding Student of the Year; Dr. Jim Barrott, vice president, technology and director, TCAT

Chattanooga, TN — Javier Irizarry continues to “dream big.” Javier’s journey began with his birth in Puerto Rico 47 years ago. He immigrated to the U.S. and settled in Tennessee in 1989. The birth of his two sons and subsequent divorce in 1991 made him realize that minimum wages would not be sufficient for a family of three. Javier checked into local universities but found them unaffordable and therefore a very real obstacle to getting ahead. When a good friend suggested technical education as an option, Javier found Chattanooga State.

As a single father of two who graduated from Chattanooga State in 1996 with a degree in licensed practical nursing, Irizarry, now a grandfather, is back to earn a second degree through Chattanooga State’s Industrial Electricity program. His hard work, determination and work ethic made Javier’s instructor and others take notice. As a result, Irizarry was nominated and selected as 2014 Outstanding Student of the Year (OSY) at the Tennessee College of Applied Technology (TCAT) at Chattanooga State.

According to Richard Claburn, senior instructor of industrial maintenance, Javier is never absent and he works like he is on a mission. “I expect great things from him; Javier has some very good goals,” shares Claburn.

With an established career as an LPN for the past 18 years, Javier found that many of his homebound elderly patients required home repairs, but without funds to make the repairs or to hire professionals, Irizarry also became known as a “fix-all” handyman. His decision to return to Chattanooga State has to do with those patients. “My dream is to establish a home service business targeted mostly to the elderly, and those less financially able, so they can enjoy the benefits of owning a safe, carefree home,” states Irizarry.

His desire to be a licensed professional originated from those experiences with his patients. “I will finally be able to provide services that I can back up with true knowledge, a license, and the hands on experience,” says Irizarry proudly. “It is my hope that when I walk across that stage in 2015 for the second time (in my life) that my children and grandchildren also will be encouraged to get their degrees,” he shares.

In addition to Mr. Irizarry, three other students were nominated by his or her instructor – Mr. Raymond Crenshaw (massage therapy) nominated by Ms. Renee Richardson; Mr. Daniel Mendoza (evening air conditioning) nominated by Mr. Houston Graham; and Ms. Renae Miller (evening cosmetology) nominated by Ms. Rebecca Stewart. According to the panel of judges, all four students were excellent nominees and any one of them would have represented the TCAT well.

For more information about the Tennessee College of Applied Technology, visit

Film Studies Course Revamped for Spring 2015

Chattanooga, TN — “Film as Literature” has been renamed and revamped as “Intro to Film Studies” for the Spring 2015 semester. This class counts as a three-credit Humanities course. Due to its popularity, the course is now offered in two sessions: Mondays/Wednesdays, 2-3:15pm and Tuesdays/Thursdays, 9:30-10:45am.

The course provides an introduction to film theory, process and production. Its emphasis is on viewing, analyzing and writing about films as unique and culturally significant texts.

Visit to register for this class. For more information on HUM-2150 contact instructor Sarah Page at 423-697-2464 or by email

Transit-to-Transit Project Engages ChattState Class



Students in MD-184 classes exhibit the iPad kiosks built for the Transit-toTransit Causeway project.

Chattanooga, TN — Stepping outside the box is a cornerstone that many ChattState instructors employ to give students real world experience in their field. The MD-184 Manufacturing Processes class will be partnering with CARTA, Prova Group LLC, The Transit App, Bike Chattanooga, and BikeWalk Chattanooga to create a multi-modal transportation conversation by employing the role of associated technology.

The Transit-to-Transit Causeway project will engage students by using interactive and experimental learning opportunities for new public technology resources. The goal is to provide a prototype to connect people with places in Chattanooga and be less intimidated by public transportation whether it’s the CARTA bus, Electric Shuttle or Bike Chattanooga.

Public transportation is a key element for cities with sustainable and growing economies, but locally there are few resources available in the downtown area that actually shows people the scheduling details of their bus or bike trip. The Transit App will allow people to see quickly where they are and where they need to go.

Mark Palmer is one of the professors who teaches MD-184 and works with CARTA representatives to provide them viable working iPad kiosks. “This was an excellent example of manufacturing processes, from conception, to design, to the actual building of the kiosk that allows the students to experience real life issues. For example, CAD drawings had to be changed several times as enhancements/improvements were decided upon; the schedule had to altered because the steel order did not arrive when it was expected; and discussions ensued about what color to paint the kiosk. But as in real life situations, issues were resolved and three totally different a products were delivered that may significantly enhance the way that members of the public interface with public transportation,” stated Palmer.

For more information about enrolling in the MD-184 class for spring 2015 and being involved in this project, contact Mark Palmer, assistant professor of Engineering Technology at 423-697-3274 or

Hospitality and Tourism Careers Start Here

Chattanooga, TN — One of Chattanooga’s fastest growing and most exciting career fields is hospitality, tourism, and food and beverage leadership. It offers great pay, exciting work, and fast advancement for ambitious people. Options range from the local hotel and attraction scene to international operations. Building on the success of new classes that focus on hospitality and tourism, Chattanooga State is offering seven additional classes during the 2015 spring semester. The program is designed with a strong emphasis on applied management.

With Chattanooga named as one of the “Top 45 Places to go” by the New York Times and “Best Town Ever” by Outside Magazine, students interested in a hospitality and tourism career need look no further than their hometown to begin their educational journey. Likewise, students interested in seeing more exotic places can begin studies here at home and then literally enjoy knowing the world is at their fingertips.

Classes will be held in the evening and may include visits to local businesses and guest speakers from successful area operations. Choose from the following classes:

HMGT-1030, Introduction to Hospitality

HMGT-1130, Supervision in the Hospitality Industry

HMGT-1140, Managing Housekeeping Operations

HMGT-1170, Hospitality Sales and Marketing

HMGT-1200, Managing Front Office Operations

HMGT-1300, The Guest Experience

HMGT-1500, Regional Tourism

For more information about these classes, contact Daniel Zink at (423) 697-3363 or

9th Graders Thrive in Collegiate High

Roy&Student-FIChattanooga, TN — In what could be described as a scene out of a CSI television program, high school freshmen in Dr. Roy Sofield’s Introduction to Biology I – BIOL 1010 class recently learned about and eagerly watched a banding process used in DNA testing. Beginning with the Fall 2014 semester, Chattanooga State Community College began accepting high school freshmen into college-level classes along with their fellow sophomore, junior, and senior classmen … and they are thriving.

Biology is a required high school class, but of course not every student plans a career in science. The college-level four-credit hour class introduces students to the principles of biology: basic chemistry, macromolecules, cell structure and function, photosynthesis and cellular respiration, cell division, cellular control, Mendelian and molecular genetics, and evolution. Class includes a three-hour lab and two lecture classes each week. The course is four credits but meets for six class hours each week. A recitation class each week (1 hour) is unique to the 9th graders.

When asked if the course is modified for use at the high school level, Dr. Sofield responded,” No, the content is exactly the same. Students enrolled in BIOL-1010 all learn the same principles, whether they are in 9th grade or not.” In this sense, students who are able to take college-level courses while in high school will be ahead of the academic game and well on their way to expedite their education.

Students were eager to find out more about the DNA process and were introduced to a scanning procedure that measures how far the DNA molecules have moved within 30 minutes. It is then possible to match up the DNA banding pattern of potential suspects to either rule them out or say with a percentage of accuracy that their DNA is suspect.

All students surveyed in Dr. Sofield’s class enjoy his class, but only two plan careers in science. Pierce Roberts comes from a family of doctors and he wants to become an orthopedic surgeon, while James Helferich likes animals and wants a career in zoology.

Nationally, Collegiate High students are some of the most sought-after students. Collegiate High graduates continue their education in colleges and universities across the nation. Ninety percent of Collegiate High graduates transfer to a four-year college or university. Additionally, Collegiate High ACT composite scores continue to rank above the state and national average.

The Hamilton County Collegiate High at Chattanooga State is open to all 10th through 12th grade students who have an ACT composite score of 19 or higher. Ninth grade students have an option of scoring a composite score of 19 or higher on the EXPLORE test or scoring a composite score of 19 or higher on the ACT. Collegiate High offers students the opportunity to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree. Even if students haven’t earned an associate’s degree by high school graduation, students have earned college credit hours toward a college major of their choice.

For more information on Collegiate High, visit or contact Dr. Sonja Rich at (423) 697-4492 or

Veteran’s Honored at ChattState Luncheon


Chattanooga, TN — Veteran’s Day is etched into the hearts of citizens as a day to give pause and pay tribute to the brave the men and women who have served their country honorably during war or peacetime. Chattanooga State was honored to have Rep. Gerald McCormick serve as guest speaker during its annual Veteran’s Day Luncheon on November 11, sponsored by the Student Government Association.

Following the presentation of colors by members of the Central High School JROTC, Darrin Hassevoort led the Chattanooga State Concert Choir in the National Anthem. Following a delicious lunch, Michelle Olson, director, student support services, introduced Rep. McCormick, current majority leader in the U.S. House of Representatives and a U.S. Army veteran of the First Gulf War. Rep. McCormick first asked for a show of hands to identify ChattState veterans from each branch of service before thanking them for their service. He then presented a short history on the origin and evolution of Veteran’s Day, which was initially known as Armistice Day, and set aside as a U.S. legal holiday to honor the end of World War I on November 11, 1918.

Veterans were invited to pinpoint their service location on a map of the world. ChattState veterans served their country in approximately 15 locations around the world.

For more information about veteran educational benefits, visit or contact (423) 697-2509.







Dinner of Firsts Funds 27 Scholarships



Toasters and roasters with the guest of honor. From left: Claude Ramsey, Jed Mescon, Grady Williams, James Catanzaro, Leonard Fant, Rhonda Catanzaro, John Germ and Warren Logan.

Chattanooga, TN — The event planning begins almost a year in advance. The honoree is chosen, committees are formed, meetings ensue and as momentum builds, it culminates in an evening that honors a respected and well-known community leader who is the first in his or her family to graduate college. This is the annual Dinner of Firsts … funding First in the Family scholarships for Chattanooga State students who are first-generation college students attending classes full-time. Since 2012, the number of students who benefit from this scholarship has grown from 12 recipients to 27.

This year, more than 375 guests helped Chattanooga State honor community leader Leonard Fant and support its first generation of scholars. Mr. Fant, the youngest of nine children and the first in his family to graduate college, is well known for his love of family, philanthropic efforts, and fundraising skills.

Event chair Grady Williams, with toasters and major sponsors Keith Sanford of First Tennessee and Greg Vital of Morning Pointe, joined roasters John F. Germ, Warren E. Logan, Rhonda Catanzaro, and Claude Ramsey for some good-natured ribbing of Fant. James Rogers also presented a tribute via video, performing an original song entitled, “Give it up for Leonard Fant.”

A highlight of the evening was hearing from 2014-15 First in the Family scholar Lin Miao who received a standing ovation after her remarks. “Your generosity means much more beyond financial help, it profoundly encourages me to rebuild the confidences and outlook of my life. I want to say thank you to you and to all of my teachers, faculty members, employer and friends. I will always remind myself to be a better person and to help others like you have helped me.”

A talented and hardworking group of volunteers helped make all the magic happen including Grady Williams’ Planning Committee members: Beverlee Bartley, Rhonda Catanzaro, Stefanie Crowe, Rose Decosimo, Bobbie Fant, Lori Hensley Hairrell, Linda Hisey, Katye Jones, Donna Knowles Killian, Randall Peters, Jude Weidner, Doris White and Mike Lees. Mr. Lees led a stellar Décor Committee who hand made incredible paper flowers and personalized centerpieces featuring things Leonard loves. Decor volunteers included Sheila Albritton, Betty Bishop, Judy Carscadden, Peggy Lees, Marion Reeves, Anne Roza, Dolores Wolfe, and Joy Worley.

For more information on First in the Family Scholarships or other giving opportunities, visit or call (423) 697-3359.

Amanda Flynn Presented Hu-Friedy Award


Hu-Friedy award winner Amanda Flynn with Karen Castleberry, dental assisting program director.

Chattanooga, TN — The American Dental Assistant’s Association (ADAA) awarded the prestigious Hu-Friedy Award to Amanda Flynn during a recent meeting of the Chattanooga Area Dental Assistant’s Association. Award winners receive a Merit Scholar Award from Hu-Friedy, one full year paid ADAA membership, have their names published in the ADAA Journal, other media and posted on the Hu-Friedy website.

Flynn, age 21, a resident of East Ridge and 2014 graduate of the Chattanooga State Dental Assisting program, currently works as a dental assistant in Ft. Oglethorpe, GA. “I am excited to start my dental assisting career at Calloway Family Dentistry,” says Amanda.

Volunteering to take X-rays and assist dentists during the GA Baptist Mobile Dental Health Clinics at First Baptist Church of Lakeview in August 2013 and at Second Baptist Church in LaFayette in April 2014, Flynn also provided oral health education to 50 pre-school and elementary children.

Ms. Flynn attended the Thomas P. Hinman dental meeting in Atlanta in March of 2014, where she attended two seminars and explored the technical exhibits. “As an excellent student and clinician, her commitment to community service and dental health mission activities contributed, in part, to her being nominated for this award,” shares Karen Castleberry, Program Director & Associate Professor of Dental Assisting at Chattanooga State.

The ADAA mission helps to advance the careers of dental assistants. They promote the dental assisting profession in matters of education, legislation, credentialing and professional activities which enhance the delivery of quality dental health care to the public.

Award recipients also embody the qualities represented by Juliette A. Southard, a pioneer in the dental assisting profession, that include loyalty, courtesy and professionalism.

Hu-Friedy is a company based in Chicago specializing in the manufacturing of dental instruments. Together, they partner with ADAA to honor dental assisting students who exhibit proficiency in four-handed dentistry and exemplify the critical contribution an educated dental assistant makes to the success of clinical outcomes, patient satisfaction and improved office efficiency.

For more information about a career in dental assisting, visit

Howard High School Embraces SAILS Program


SAILS instructor Mrs. Bleshette Coulter, far left, and Principal Zac Brown, far right, are shown with Howard High School seniors who have completed all SAILS modules as of October 16. Standing left to right, they include: Ashley Webb, Cintaysia Smartt, Shaderrika Ruffin, Kardae Jackson, DeAsia Brewer, Chris Norwood, Brittany Bussey, Robert Cobb, Kishayla Eberhardt, Kardaesia Jackson, Mykelia Hyter, Jaylon Hill, Chris Perez. Seated: Tanashia Clark, Brinique Malone, Teasia Cook, Tatyanna Appleberry, and Janae Dews.

Chattanooga, TN — The success seen by students enrolled in the SAILS Program (Seamless Alignment and Integrated Learning Support) has been well documented. The number of successful students increases each day as the program sweeps across the state of Tennessee. Earlier this year, reports showed that roughly two-thirds of students in Hamilton County schools have “wiped out their need for developmental math in college,” states Dr. Robert Denn, Dean of Academic Success and Support at Chattanooga State.

This fall, Howard High School seniors joined the ranks of those students who will have a real advantage in pursuing their higher education goals thanks to the SAILS Program. In fact, HHS seniors have done an outstanding job. At the halfway point in the semester, more than 37 percent have completed the modules and 50 percent are ahead while only 13 percent are behind. “HHS seniors are well ahead of schedule.  Nearly all of these students should finish the SAILS program by Thanksgiving break. Howard leads all Hamilton County Schools in SAILS accomplishment by a healthy margin,” states Dave Pickering, SAILS Field Coordinator.

The SAILS Program introduces the college developmental math curriculum in the high school senior year. Roughly 70 percent of Tennessee seniors do not meet the ACT Math threshold of 19 and are therefore considered not college-level ready. At Howard, they are working hard to “close the gap.”

“My students work hard and SAILS fills the gap between high school and college math readiness,” says Bleshette Mason-Coulter, HHS alum and the school’s math teacher for the past five years. Ms. Mason-Coulter is focused on student success at the individual level.

Howard principal, Zac Brown, takes success a step further by initiating a host of incentives to make sure the students stay motivated and are rewarded for it. During a recent fall break challenge, students who completed the six SAILS modules before October 3 were treated to a pizza party and one lucky winner, Jyneese Lane, was chosen as the winner of a Chrome Book.

“SAILS students who finish before Fall Semester ends are eligible to enroll in a Early College math class, wherein they will earn college credit in Statistics, Pre-calculus, or other math class… tailored to their intended course of study. At Howard, they can take this additional class in their high school,” explains Pickering. Howard expects some students to complete all math requirements for their intended degree before they graduate high school.

For more information about SAILS, visit or contact Dr. Robert Denn at 423.697.2648.