By Cheryl Toomey
Student Government Association officers for the 2014-2015 year are President Robert Fisher, Vice President Hannah Turcotte, and Treasurer David Taylor.
Fisher, a political science major and a Brock Scholar, isn’t new to SGA – he first served as Treasurer in the 2012-2013 year. He was first elected SGA President for the 2013-2014 academic year.
In his second academic year as SGA President, Fisher says he hopes to, “encourage SGA members to engage in a public discourse about the issues that matter most to them and the students they represent…I really envision an SGA that acts as a market place for ideas—an arena where student leaders can work together to provide solutions to the university’s most pressing issues.”
Fisher was recently named a 2014 Truman Scholar by the Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. He is the fourth student in the school’s history to be named a Truman Scholar. He has served on the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC), the UT Advocacy Council (UTAC) Oversight Committee, the UTC Brock Scholars Council, UTC Complete College Strategic Task Force, and the UTC Chancellor’s Roundtable.
The Institute for Responsible Citizenship’s prestigious summer leadership program led to an internship for Fisher with the Center for American Progress. While he was in Washington D.C., Fisher met President Barack Obama.
He was appointed Presidential Fellow with the Center for the Study of the Presidency and Congress (CSPC). Fisher wrote a paper that discusses the impact of the “education philosophies” of Presidents Bush and Obama on 21st century K-12 education reform.
As SGA President, Fisher hopes to encourage even greater community involvement at UTC.
“The city of Chattanooga is experiencing such a tremendous period of growth, and UTC students, without a doubt, need to play a role in perpetuating that growth,” said Fisher. “The types of skills students need to be successful post-graduation come through a healthy mix of in-class and experiential learning opportunities; an even more meaningful relationship between UTC and local community/business leaders will certainly facilitate that type of learning environment.”
He also wants to ensure that, “SGA is informative, accessible, and responsive to students.”
Turcotte, a junior biology major, became a District IV senator and Vice Chair for the University and Academic Affairs committee as a sophomore last year. As SGA Vice President, she hopes to, “establish an even greater bond between the administration and the student body at UTC.”
“I believe it is SGA’s duty and responsibility to serve as the liaison between these two parties,” says Turcotte.
Turcotte has served on the Elect Her Planning committee, which works to plan and host a women’s leadership workshop that encourages women to participate in student government. She has also been actively involved in the Women’s Center at UTC and as treasurer of TEDxUTC, which supports TED Talks and plans independently organized TEDx events.
One of Turcotte’s goals for the 2013-2014 year is to create an empowering environment for SGA Senators.
“Given that a large portion of my responsibilities involve internal operations, I look forward to creating an environment in which SGA Senators feel empowered to take action on the issues that matter to them and the students they represent,” said Turcotte. “The influence they wield as student leaders— but especially as SGA Senators — is immeasurable, and I am excited at the opportunity to lead senators to fulfill their visions for our campus.”
Taylor, a junior in the Brock Scholars program, is double majoring in Political Science: Public Policy and Economics. Taylor served as an SGA Senator in 2014, where he worked with the SGA University and Academic Affairs Committee to identify the obstacles that inhibit student success.
Taylor hopes to continue to focus on the issues of retention and student success at UTC in his coming tenure as SGA Treasurer.
“I think the committee made good progress in that effort. Next year I look forward to finding solutions to the issues we identified,” said Taylor. “My hope is that SGA will provide the UTC administration with substantive policy recommendations that will lead to a considerable improvement in the number of students we retain and graduate year to year.”