For her first three years at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Billee Lassiter was a biochemistry major. Her goal was a career as a gynecologist.
“I still have a passion for it but, about a year and a half in, I was like, ‘Maybe medical school’s not for me. I don’t know if I want to go to school that long.’”
In May 2022, she made a hard left turn into a degree that’s a far cry from medicine—marketing.
“My parents were not surprised. They said, ‘We’ve waited for this phone call. Wish you would’ve realized sooner,’” said Lassiter, who grew up in Paris, Tennessee, and graduated from Henry County High School.
Lassiter, a fifth-year senior, is exercising her marketing muscles this year from May through December in an internship with Chattanooga Tourism Co. Her responsibilities run the gamut and include social media, website management, photography, video production and doing interviews with local residents.
“My first two weeks there I worked Riverbend,” she said. “We got photo and video coverage of the artists, the fans they brought and stuff like that to promote on our social pages—Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, Twitter. My job was to essentially just get as many photos and videos as I could.
“It was super, super fun.”
Lassiter spent more than two years as a tour guide for prospective students visiting UTC, and she said the job helped convince her that marketing was the way forward.
“My whole job was to promote the campus and try to market it to students and why they should come here,” she said. “I realized that maybe marketing is a good route for me because I thought, ‘It’s essentially what I do every day and I love it.’”
Lassiter intends to graduate in May 2024 and her post-degree plans are still up in the air. Maybe a big-name company such as Chick-fil-A or Coca-Cola. Perhaps “smaller local companies that just need a marketing person to promote their business.”
Another possibility comes out of left field, so to speak.
“I have a passion for sports, so I’ve also looked into going the sports route,” she said. “Marketing a team, marketing players, that kind of thing.”