Whether it’s gathered around a holiday table or from the cozy comfort of an on-campus apartment for one, many members of the University community will find themselves reflecting this week on what there is to be grateful for in 2021.

We asked students, faculty and staff from across campus to share their thankful thoughts. Here’s what they said:


Nathaniel Andrews

Freshman, computer science: cybersecurity major.

“I am thankful for a supportive family that is always there for me when I need them the most, and for being able to attend school at such a well- rounded, involving and beautiful campus like UT Chattanooga!”






Katie Crutchfield

Senior, psychology major

“The word I always use is ‘home.’ Home, to me, is not a building, it’s the people in it. So I’m thankful for the people in my life, be it really close friends, my chosen family, my given family. I know this can sound kind of odd, but the people I work with are really close to me, and they’re very dear to me, too. So being able to have people in your life that are reliable and helpful and are willing to be there for you, I’m thankful for that.”






McClendon Curtis

Graduated with a bachelor’s degree in sport management in May 2021, pursuing a master’s degree in school leadership

Offensive lineman, UTC football team

“I’m thankful for my family and friends. I’m grateful for the opportunity to meet new people here at Chattanooga and the chance to make new connections. I’m also grateful to help impact our community.”




Ian Cushing

Junior, business entrepreneurship major

Real Estate Club president

“I am thankful for my family and friends for always supporting me and loving me, for the University for supporting the club, for all of the students’ growth, and, lastly, for God for the blessings of the past and those to come.”







From left, Chris, Chauncey and Caleb Figgures

Triplets Caleb, Chauncey and Chris Figgures

Seniors, communication majors

Caleb: “What I’m thankful for is first off, God. He is the one that blessed me with health and strength each and every day. I’m also thankful for both of my parents, my brothers and sister, my girlfriend and my entire family who are all my supporting system. I’m absolutely thankful and grateful for UTC as well because they took me and my brothers in and welcomed us with open arms as family. I’m grateful to be a part of an amazing university.”

 Chauncey: “What I’m thankful for is my family, my mother and father, my girlfriend, and, most importantly, God. Without Him I wouldn’t be here. I’m also thankful for my photography business and all the support. I’m truly thankful for all those things and I’m grateful for the University of Chattanooga at Tennessee for giving me and my brothers opportunities to share our stories and give back to the community.”

Chris: “I’m thankful for my family, my mom and dad, all my siblings, my girlfriend and the ability to see another day. I am very thankful to have family on both my mom’s and dad’s side.”



Nick Galbreath

Senior, business management major

Real Estate Club co-founder and chair of the UTC Real Estate Club Podcast

“I’m thankful for the Lord, my family and my closest friends. I make sure to set away time for every one of them. Be intentional, be thankful  and be around people that will inspire you to pursue your vision.”








Tobias Headrick

Freshman, anthropology and criminal justice major

“I’m thankful for having people around me like my therapist and my really good friends that are there to listen when I need them but also there to distract me when I need that.”









Chris Johnson

Senior Instructional Developer, UTC Library

“I’m thankful for my wife, Susan, and my two sons, David and Oran.”










Megan Kaufman

Senior, nursing major

Former Mocs volleyball libero/defensive specialist

“I am thankful for my family and friends. I think that if there’s anything that I’ve learned over my 23 years, it’s that the people you’re surrounded by are the most important things in your life. I think that home is not necessarily a place, but it’s the people around you who create an environment that allows you to thrive and feel loved and supported. I’m just extremely thankful for my parents and friends and family and all the people that I have in my life.”






Celena Kirby

Senior, psychology major

“So often we get caught in the stressful cycle of school and focus on deadlines and due dates, forgetting how great of an opportunity we are afforded to even be students at a university. I’m thankful for the honor to be a UTC student and for the future that is so quickly approaching







Mary Lambert

Director of the city of Chattanooga Office of Community Health

I am thankful for many things. Most thankful for my family, especially my mom and my son. Also very thankful for the beauty I see every day in the Chattanooga area and for the wonderful educational opportunities and professional experiences I have been afforded. I am truly blessed.







Jerrell Lawson

Graduated with a master’s degree in business administration in May 2021

Defensive back, UTC football team

“One thing that I am thankful for are resources. Not many times are people lucky enough to have respectable authorities or people that are willing to give advice or help in time of need. Being here at UTC, I have been grateful to run into and build long-lasting bonds with a very wide, diverse group of peers and superiors that won’t hesitate to answer when the time is right.”





Shyanne Machotka

Freshman, human resource management major

“I’m just thankful for my friends and my family. That sounds so basic, but they’re my biggest support system, and I wouldn’t be anywhere without them. I’m also thankful for my cats and my dog because, you know, they’re the real ones.”







Madison Myers

Senior, marketing major

Participating artist, EPB 10th Street mural project

“I am really thankful that COVID-19 made me stay in Chattanooga. I was planning on leaving prior to the pandemic, but then my plans got rearranged. Since I stayed, I got to work on the EPB mural project, I met my boyfriend, and I got a really awesome internship at the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce. I am also very thankful for UTC for providing me with resources and assistance in starting my career. I am also thankful for my family and their support.”




Prisha Purohit

Freshman, computer science: cybersecurity major

“I am thankful for my family. Getting the chance to spend time with them and having their support is a great blessing.”








Marcella Rae

Sophomore, English: Literary Studies major

“One thing I missed during the height of the pandemic was having a structure to my day. I’m extremely grateful to be able to get out more and have more opportunities academically and personally. Getting adjusted to college and the pandemic has been challenging, and I would not have been able to do so without the support of my friends, family and my cat. I am thankful for the adult I am becoming and all those who have helped shape her.”





Amber Roache

Nurse Practitioner program coordinator, School of Nursing

“I am thankful to have great friends, to have a job I enjoy and can make a difference in people’s lives, to have a safe home to live in and to have my health.”








Chris Smith

Director of the School of Nursing

I am thankful that our campus has risen to the occasion, adapting to the limitations we had related to COVID. This allowed us to give the students a ‘near-normal’ college experience for Fall 2021.”








Nikolasa Tejero

Associate dean, College of Arts and Sciences

“As I reflect on 2021, I am thankful for my family and friends, both near and far, and for the technology that keeps us connected. I am also grateful for our passionate, dedicated and supportive campus community—colleagues and students alike—who make coming to work an enlightening and delightful adventure every day. Lastly, I am thankful for good humor and health, which help keep life in perspective, especially during challenging times.







Darrell Walsh

Assistant professor, Sociology

“I’m thankful for my family and my health, and I’m thankful for the experiences that I’ve had just working with a group of people on the campus. I’m thankful to be part of the educational experience of the students that we have here, and I enjoy the city of Chattanooga. I think the University and the partnership we have with the city present some great opportunities to do bigger and better things to serve our community, so I’m thankful for being a part of that vision and the execution of that vision.”






Yoseph Yemin

Senior, double major in cybersecurity and computer science: data science

“I’m thankful for being able to be around people again, even if it comes with some caveats (like masks). It’s just nice to not be at home by myself all the time.”

Media Relations Contacts: Email UTC Media Relations or call 423-425-5119.
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