Updates and news for the week of March 19-25, 2024

The UTC Campus Weekly newsletter is distributed every Tuesday morning. If you have news, events or announcements you would like shared with campus, please submit your information to chuck-wasserstrom@utc.edu in the Division of Communications and Marketing by 3 p.m. on Friday for placement in the following Tuesday’s newsletter.

UTC News  UTC Events Calendar  |  Campus Updates

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Power C Tour heads to ChattState

UTC faculty, staff and students are making the six-mile trek to Chattanooga State Community College today (March 19) for the latest Power C Tour event.

ChattState students will get the opportunity to network with faculty, advisors, financial aid experts and current students and learn about the seamless transition to pursuing a bachelor’s degree at UTC. Click here to learn more.


Mocs women's basketball team, Brayden Palmer (top right), Isaiah Powe (photos courtesy of GoMocs.com)

Mocs women’s basketball team, Brayden Palmer (top right), Isaiah Powe (photos courtesy of GoMocs.com)

The Mocs women’s basketball team won its 20th SoCon Tournament title to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. The Mocs will take on North Carolina State at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday (March 23) in Raleigh, North Carolina.

On Thursday (March 21), Mocs wrestlers Brayden Palmer (125 pounds) and Isaiah Powe (141 pounds) will be participating in the NCAA Championships at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Missouri. Palmer and Powe both punched their tickets to the national tournament after winning individual titles at the 2024 Southern Conference Wrestling Championships.

UTC Celebrates Women’s History Month

Image credit: Wahyu Arfiansyah

Image credit: Wahyu Arfiansyah

March is Women’s History Month, and the Center for Women and Gender Equity is honoring and celebrating women’s contributions to history throughout the month. Check the Women’s History Month events calendar for a complete listing of activities.

This week’s events include:

  • Wednesday (March 20): Women’s Veterans Luncheon, University Center Tennessee Room, hosted by Office of Veteran and Military Affairs
  • Wednesday (March 20): Let’s Talk about Disability and Mental Health, University Center Room 352, 1:30 p.m., hosted by Disability Resource Center
  • Friday-Sunday (March 22-24): Women’s Leadership Academy, Ocoee Retreat Center

Join the 2024 Luncheon on Women’s Health in Higher Education

Join UTC’s Commission on the Status of Women for a free luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesday (March 20) in the University Center Chattanooga Room. The conversation with health care and psychology experts specializing in women’s issues will explore how topics like aging, regenerative medicine, sexual health and more can impact our daily lives.

The Commission welcomes all UTC faculty, staff and students to this luncheon. Click here to RSVP.

UTAA Outstanding Teacher and Public Service Awards

2023 UTAA winners (from left): Dr. Karen Babine, Dr. Spencer Usrey and Dr. Jamie Harvey

2023 UTAA winners (from left): Dr. Karen Babine, Dr. Spencer Usrey and Dr. Jamie Harvey

The University of Tennessee Alumni Association (UTAA) seeks nominations for two Outstanding Teacher Awards and one Public Service Award for UTC. The outstanding teachers must be full-time faculty and exhibit exceptional engagement in the classroom. The public service award is available for faculty or staff and aims to recognize someone whose service to our community goes above and beyond the standard to advance UTC.

Each winner will receive a $1,000 award and recognition at the UTAA Alumni Board of Governors’ reception at the end of May 2024. Applications are due by Sunday, March 31.

Nominate Students for the Blue and Gold Awards

Many students have worked hard this academic year, and the annual Blue and Gold Awards celebrate those achievements. This year’s Blue and Gold Award ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, April 3, in the University Center Tennessee Room.

The Student Government Association (SGA) invites nominations of students or student organizations deserving of an award. In addition, we encourage departmental, office, programmatic or student organization awards to be presented at the ceremony:

If you have any questions, please contact SGA Student Affairs and Academic Support Chairperson Jordan Fall at hhl476@mocs.utc.edu.

Send in your Information for the UTC Parent and Family Association Newsletter

UTC Parent and Family Association newsletter logo

It is again time to recruit campus partners to send in information for the UTC Parent and Family Association newsletter, a monthly roundup distributed to more than 5,400 parents/family members.

To share information with the families of UTC students—upcoming events, important deadlines, helpful suggestions and departmental news—email hannah-turcotte@utc.edu by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 27. The April newsletter will be emailed to members Wednesday, April 3.

The outstanding people of UTC

Dr. Amir Alakaam

Dr. Amir Alakaam

Congratulations to UTC faculty and staff who received awards or submitted proposals for sponsored programs in February. The Office of Research and Sponsored Programs announced that faculty and staff attracted $115,151 in external grant and contract awards during the month and submitted proposals for the potential to generate over $2,178,164 in external funding, if awarded.

Among those receiving awards in February was Health and Human Performance Associate Professor and MPH Program Director Amir Alakaam, who received $49,632 from the City of Chattanooga for the project titled “Nutrition Education Program.”

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From left:: Coach Colette Murray, Violetta Fernandez-Tagle, Giulia Foresta, Nieves Martin, Kera Healey, Makenzie Cooper, Imogen Rafferty, Alexis Daniel, Carmen Belmonte and Assistant Coach Sarah Busey  (photo credit: Jax State Athletics).

From left: Coach Colette Murray, Violetta Fernandez-Tagle, Giulia Foresta, Nieves Martin, Kera Healey, Makenzie Cooper, Imogen Rafferty, Alexis Daniel, Carmen Belmonte and Assistant Coach Sarah Busey (photo credit: Jax State Athletics).

The Mocs women’s golf team, led by medalist Makenzie Cooper, won the Chris Banister Invitational in Gadsden, Alabama. The victory was Cooper’s second win of the season.

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Check out these Mocs making a difference:

  • A pair of Rising Rock students have recently been honored. Senior communication major Abby White placed 15th nationally in the 2023-2024 Hearst Journalism Award Program’s Photo II Picture Story/Series competition for her rodeo images featured in “Rocking the Rodeo Scene.” December 2023 graduate Noah Keur placed fifth in the Hearst Journalism Awards for Sports for his story “From Fracture to Finish.”
  • Assistant Professor Steve Davenport and accounting major Leo Jaramillo were featured in a Times Free Press story about Chattanooga-area volunteers providing free income tax assistance.

College of Arts and Sciences Presents Spotlight on Faculty Excellence

Dr. Jose Barbosa

Dr. Jose Barbosa

The College of Arts and Sciences and the CAS Access and Inclusive Excellence Committee will be holding the annual CAS Spotlight on Faculty Excellence at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 4, in the University Center Auditorium.

This year’s honoree is Dr. Jose M. Barbosa, professor in the Department of Biology, Geology and Environmental Science, who will give a lecture about his career mentoring students through his research projects. His presentation, titled “Cultivating Tomorrow’s Scientists,” will be followed by a Q&A and a reception. To RSVP for the event, which includes dinner, please click here.

Now in its third year, the series recognizes outstanding CAS faculty and provides them a platform to share their research, scholarship and creative activity with the UTC campus and Chattanooga community.

Support your Mocs!

The SoCon women’s basketball championship shirt has arrived at the UTC Bookstore. Support the Mocs as they participate in March Madness and shop this championship shirt in store this week.

Mark your calendar

Campus Recreation and UTC MPH nutrition student interns will host a “Lunch and Learn” from 12:30-1:30 p.m. today (March 19) in ARC Room 129 focusing on myths and facts about carbohydrates.

Enjoy lunch, compliments of UTC Dining Service, while future dieticians lead an informative discussion about carbs. Pre-registration is required and space is limited.  Please click here to reserve your spot.

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The College of Engineering and Computer Science continues its Distinguished Speaker Series with a visit from Dr. Gazi Akgün, professor in the Department of Mechatronics Engineering at Marmara University, at 3 p.m. today (March 19) in the Maytag Conference Room (ECS Room 426). The topic of his talk is “AI Application in Early-Onset Scoliosis Diagnosis.”

Akgün’s research interests include adaptive control, predictive control, machine learning and mechatronic system design.

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Sponsored by the George C. Connor Professorship of American Literature and the UTC Department of English, the Take Five 2024 lineup explores what it means to be educated in the modern world.

Take Five sessions occur Tuesday nights at 6 p.m. in the University Center Chattanooga Room. Each session will offer a light dinner, and no RSVP is necessary. Upcoming spring dates:

  • Today (March 19):  Dr. Victoria Bryan presents R.F. Kuang’s “Babel, or the Necessity of Violence”
  • Tuesday, April 9:  Dr. Bryan Hampton presents Julie Schumacher’s “Dear Committee Members”

All books are available through online retailers and at the UTC Bookstore (423-425-4107). Contact Aaron-Shaheen@utc.edu with questions.

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Join UTC Veteran and Military Affairs for a celebration of women veterans. A buffet lunch event, open to staff, faculty and students, will take place from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 20) in the University Center Tennessee Room. Come meet women veterans and learn about their military service and unique experiences. Please RSVP as seating may be limited.

The guest speaker is Cmdr. Elaine Brunelle (U.S. Navy, Retired). Cmdr. Brunelle served for 10 years as an enlisted airman in the U.S. Air Force and was commissioned as a Surface Warfare Officer in the U.S. Navy after earning her bachelor’s degree.

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The Tasty Tidbit Leadership Lunch Series continues from noon-1 p.m. on Wednesday (March 20) with a session titled “Elevate Your Personal Brand with Katrina Farmer.” Farmer, a UTC alumna, will delve into the nuances of personal branding and share proven techniques. You will learn how to articulate your unique value proposition, identify your target audience, and strategically leverage digital platforms to amplify your personal brand.

The lunchtime session will take place in the University Center Chickamauga Room and is open to all UTC students, faculty and staff. An RSVP is highly encouragedEmail Daniel-Grzesik@utc.edu, the director of Leadership Development and Programs, with questions.

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The Department of Political Science and Public Service invites the UTC community to our spring Sweet Research series, where we share our research along with dessert. All events are on Wednesdays from noon-12:50 p.m. in 540 McCallie Building Room 462D (PSPS suite).

  • Wednesday (March 20): Dr. Hassan Afzal, “Navigating through Educational Pathways to Political Participation”
  • Wednesday, March 27 (Student Edition): Sophia Chrisco, “How Misinformation Regarding Covid-19 Caused a Decline in Childhood Vaccination Rates in the United States,” and Kristina Thompson, “Asian American Women: Political Prowess and Effective Participation”
  • Wednesday, April 3: Dr. Sarah Heise, “The Left-Right Spectrum: Another Look at Ideology and Partisan Sorting in the United States”
  • Wednesday, April 10: Dr. Christopher Horne, “Christian Public Administrators’ Integration of Faith and Work”

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Writer, actor, comedian and award-winning Los Angeles-based art critic Christina Catherine Martinez and four writers whose passion for creative writing blossomed during their undergraduate days at UTC— L.S. McKee, Emilia Phillips, Alice Smith and Cynthia Young—will be featured at the upcoming 2024 Spring Meacham Writers’ Workshop.

The workshop will take place Thursday-Saturday (March 21-23) at various UTC campus locations, ArtsBuild (301 E. 11th St.) and Stove Works (1250 E. 13th St.). The workshop’s mission is to give UTC students and underserved members of the community access to the literary arts.

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The Humanities Program invites all UTC undergraduates to participate in the North Callahan Essay Prize, awarded each year to an undergraduate whose exceptionally fine essay addresses a subject related to the Humanities (art, music, philosophy, religion, rhetoric/literature, history, theater, or interdisciplinary studies that combine these disciplines). Essays will be evaluated by an interdisciplinary committee of professors. The prize carries a $1,000 award.

Funding for the award is provided by an endowment established by the late Dr. North Callahan, distinguished professor emeritus of history at New York University, author of 17 books and an alumnus of the University of Chattanooga.

Essays must be submitted by 3 p.m. on Friday (March 22). Click here for the submission form PDF. Email jose-luis-gastanaga@utc.edu with questions and to submit the essay.

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The Clarence T. Jones Observatory is located at 10 N. Tuxedo Ave. in Chattanooga.

The Clarence T. Jones Observatory is located at 10 N. Tuxedo Ave. in Chattanooga.

The public is invited to the Clarence T. Jones Observatory, owned and operated by UTC, for a free Star Party on Sunday (March 24).

The evening’s topic will be “The Moon is Going Through a Phase” and the featured constellation is The Summer Triangle. Gates open at 6:30 p.m., with a lecture and Planetarium show beginning at 7 p.m. and telescope viewing until 9 p.m. Seating is limited, so arrive early.

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On Wednesday, March 27, the Department of History and the College of Arts and Sciences are sponsoring a conversation with Sari Bashi. The event will take place at 3 p.m. in the University Center Signal Mountain Room.

Bashi, who will participate via Zoom, is the program director at Human Rights Watch—leading the organization’s research, supervising a staff of 270 people in 50 countries, and working on 18 regional and thematic human rights areas. Prior to joining Human Rights Watch, she co-founded and ran Gisha, the leading Israeli human rights group promoting the right to freedom of movement for Palestinians in Gaza. She has taught international humanitarian law at Yale Law School and Tel Aviv University and supervised research at Democracy for the Arab World Now.

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On Monday, April 1, the Department of History, the Department of Political Science and Public Service and the College of Arts and Sciences will partner to sponsor “The History of Israel/Palestine and the Geopolitics of the Middle East.”

Associate Professor of History Annie Tracy Samuel and UC Foundation Associate Professor of Political Science and Public Administration Saeid Golkar, both with expertise in Middle East history and politics, will lead the noon discussion in the University Center Signal Mountain Room.

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Join Dr. Hemant Jain, the W. Max Finley Chair and professor of data analytics in the Gary W. Rollins College of Business, on Thursday, April 4, to learn more about the effects of Artificial Intelligence during the W. Max Finley Chair Symposium on the Social and Business Impact of AI.

This half-day event is free and features some of the leading researchers in AI as well as some of the Chattanooga region’s business leaders. The learn more and register link will take you to a detailed landing page with more information about presenters and panelists.

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Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and sociologist Matthew Desmond

Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and sociologist Matthew Desmond

On Thursday, April 11, the College of Arts and Sciences will be co-hosting Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and sociologist Matthew Desmond in collaboration with the Community Foundation of Greater Chattanooga. Desmond’s latest book, “Poverty, By America,” reached #1 on the New York Times best sellers list shortly after its release; his book “Evicted” won a Pulitzer Prize.

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The 2024 Technology Symposium, hosted by the UTC College of Engineering and Computer Science, will be held on Monday, April 15, in the University Center Tennessee Room.

CECS is looking for volunteers to donate an hour of time to help judge projects at this year’s event. All professions and backgrounds are needed. Please click here to register as a volunteer judge.

The Technology Symposium showcases innovative research projects conducted across multiple disciplines, including engineering, engineering technology management and computer science. Students at all education levels, educators, business and industry representatives, entrepreneurs and the general public are welcome. There is no cost to attend. Click here to learn more about this year’s event.

Notice of Final Defense: Upcoming Research Presentations

The UTC Graduate School announced that the following students will be presenting their final works of research as advanced degree candidates. Everyone is invited to attend.

Campus Updates

The UTC Library has used past survey feedback to increase hours, improve study room availability and purchase new materials. Now’s your chance to help make the library even better by clicking here and sharing your suggestions and feedback.

Bonus: you’ll be entered to win one of two $50 Starbuck cards when you complete the survey before Monday, April 22.

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The Office of Financial Aid and Scholarships would like to hear from you. Help us review student expenses for the upcoming aid year by taking a couple of minutes to fill out the Cost of Attendance Survey.

The information we collect will be used to inform current and prospective students about the cost of attending UTC. Additionally, survey results will assist administrators in implementing policies/procedures that help keep the University affordable. Participation is voluntary and confidential. We appreciate your willingness to help our office review expenses.

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Campus Recreation is hiring lifeguards for this summer, and interested college and high school students can apply now. Certification scholarships are available for UTC students willing to work full-time during the summer. Email Chelsey-Voigt@utc.edu or call 423-425-4222 for information about certification training and employment.

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Scrappy’s Cupboard needs you! Inventory is low and use has increased. Please consider donating non-perishable food and personal care items. Donations are accepted in University Center Suite 399.

If you are interested in hosting a food drive, please email ScrappysCupboard@utc.edu.

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Just like UTC employees submit a ticket to IT when help is needed, the Communications and Marketing team is excited to announce our own ticketing system. The growing service catalog list includes:

  • Submissions for the Campus Weekly Newsletter.
  • Request a publication number for campus-related print communication.
  • Request a story be published in the UTC Newsroom.
  • Logos and electronic letterhead for your college, department or unit.
  • University-related graphic creations.
  • Request campus-related photography.
  • Request campus-related video creations.
  • General inquiries if you are unsure of what you need.

Each service request provides prompts to help you submit a ticket. A team member will contact you with questions and/or next steps so that you will hear from a human within a business day. Bookmark this link and share it with folks around campus.

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Injured in intramurals? Tweaked something in the gym? Back and neck soreness from hours of studying? Just need guidance getting back to your favorite activities? Check out UTC’s free physical therapy clinic.

The Pro Bono Physical Therapy clinic, located in the Mapp Building, is staffed by UTC Doctor of Physical Therapy students and professors and is 100% free. Clinic hours are 8 a.m.-noon on Tuesdays and 1-5 p.m. on Thursdays. Call University Health Services at 423-425-2266 or email ptclinic@utc.edu for more information.

Looking ahead

Mocs tennis player Ryan Mudre (photo credit: Dale Rutemeyer)

Mocs tennis player Ryan Mudre (photo credit: Dale Rutemeyer)

This week’s Mocs home athletics calendar:

  • Wednesday (March 20): Women’s tennis vs. Milwaukee, UTC Tennis Center, time TBD
  • Wednesday (March 20): Softball vs. Jacksonville State, Frost Stadium, 6 p.m.
  • Friday (March 22): Beach volleyball vs. Morehead State, UTC Sports Complex, 10 a.m.
  • Friday (March 22): Men’s tennis vs. Samford, UTC Tennis Center, 2 p.m.
  • Friday (March 22): Beach volleyball vs. Eastern Illinois, UTC Sports Complex, 4 p.m.
  • Saturday (March 23): Women’s tennis vs. ETSU, UTC Tennis Center, 10 a.m.
  • Saturday (March 23): Beach volleyball vs. Lindenwood, UTC Sports Complex, 2 p.m.
  • Saturday (March 23): Beach volleyball vs. Tennessee Tech, UTC Sports Complex, 6 p.m.

Looking back

Devyn Johnson stands in the UTC Library

Devyn Johnson

UTC junior Devyn Johnson, who received an associate of arts degree from ChattState in May 2023, is now at UTC pursuing a bachelor’s degree in political science and public service with a concentration in public administration and nonprofit management. She is also a communication minor. She recently shared her ChattState-to-UTC story.

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Here are some other recent UTC stories featured in the Newsroom:

WUTC Spotlight: 2024 Spring Meacham Writers’ Workshop

Christina Catherine Martinez (photo credit: Jill Petracek)

Christina Catherine Martinez (photo credit: Jill Petracek)

The 2024 Spring Meacham Writers’ Workshop, which is free and open to the public, consists of readings and workshops with the goal of creating an informal setting where well-known writers from around the country, local writers, students, novice writers and their readers can freely and equally exchange ideas, works and readings.

A recent episode of Scenic Roots on WUTC-FM featured a conversation with UC Foundation Professor Sybil Baker, the Meacham Writer’s Workshop director and associate head of the UTC Department of English; Christina Catherine Martinez, the Spring 2024 Meacham Fellow; and UTC creative writing major Hannah Ritter.


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