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5 ChattState graduates tell their stories

Get ready to be inspired, NOOGA — we spoke to five ChattState students to learn what motivates them.

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students at a graduation ceremony holding diplomas and wearing caps and gowns

ChattState has 150+ different degrees and certifications — and students are either career-ready or transferring to a four-year university after they graduate.

Photo provided by Chattanooga State Community College

Table of Contents

Thinking of going to college (or have a student on the fence)? We spoke to five ChattState students to hear their stories and how ChattState helped them better themselves, start their careers, or transfer to a four-year university.

Read on to be inspired.

Tasha Lander

Engineering & Information Technologies | Starting career

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m a first-generation graduate. I came to ChattState after surviving a lot of adversity in life. I came as a single mother with no support, determined to gain the ability to independently provide a better life for myself and my children. Here I am, about to graduate with Magna Cum Laude global honors and filled with pride that I did what I thought was impossible.

Do you have any advice for students who are considering coming to ChattState?

Do it. Don’t wait. Everyone is so understanding and there is an excess of help along the way.

Do you have a favorite teacher or class you’d like to shout out?

All of my professors were amazing, but professor Hanadi Mohamed was the one that made me fall in love with programming, and Professor Randy Ricketson encouraged me and was always there when I needed help with computer issues.

Floridalma Mejia-Hernandez

Accounting | Transferring to University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m graduating with an Associate Degree in Accounting and I’m very excited to continue my education, especially because I am a first-generation college student.

What did you think when you first got to ChattState?

I felt nervous coming to ChattState since it was an entirely different environment. However, the campus was very welcoming, along with the staff members. I was also nervous about my classes, but since ChattState offers 7-Week Classes, it felt easier to manage.

Do you have a favorite teacher or class you’d like to shout out?

My math classes always went amazing. There are a lot of resources and the teachers were always able to help.

Trevor Harper

Respiratory Care | Starting career

Tell us a little about yourself and why you chose to come to ChattState.

I recently married, and initially graduated from a four-year university, but my degree didn’t help me secure stable employment. ChattState was the only place that had a fast track to a better career.

Do you have a piece of advice for students who are considering coming to ChattState?

Go into Nursing & Allied Health, specifically Respiratory Care!

Where are you going?

I’m going to finally be fully employed and will continue to grow my family.

Dakota Spann

Radiology | Transferring to University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m the only one in my family to graduate college and actually stick through with it till the end. I feel like there has been a lot more pressure on me because of that, but I know my family just wants me to be better than they were and to be successful.

Why did you choose to come to ChattState?

Because of the unlimited opportunities that they offer, on top of being able to do the first two years tuition-free.

What did you think when you first got to ChattState and what happened once you got in the swing of things?

I felt alone when I got here because I didn’t know anyone, and quite frankly was overwhelmed and nervous... [but once I got settled in] I was more free, it felt like, due to the fact that I felt more confident and calm, cool and collected about how things go at ChattState.

Courtney Jackson

Respiratory Care | Starting career + continuing education

Tell us a little about yourself.

I come from a very small town. I’m going to be the first Respiratory Therapist in my family and ChattState made this possible for me!

Why did you choose to come to ChattState?

I went to a different college previously and felt like I wasn’t getting any closer to a degree. I transferred into ChattState and within a year and a half of transferring I’m receiving my degree.

Do you have a piece of advice for students who are considering coming to ChattState?

Do it! It will change your life!*

Some answers adjusted slightly for length or clarity.


How can you attend ChattState tuition-free? Take a guess.

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