Jay’s Story

Jay Shin, 20, is from Cleveland, Tennessee. Even with Cerebral Palsy, he lives a normal
life with an amazing support system. He was raised by his mom, Soonja Shin, and two sisters, Yoori Shin and Meeri Shin. He attends Cleveland State Community College where he studies Mechatronics. He also attends Korean Seventh-day Adventist Church in Collegedale where he has a great community around him. Cerebral Palsy affects Jay physically and some mentally, but he doesn’t let his disability define him.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.

Collecting Stories of Chattanooga

Story Corps preserves human history through the oral storytelling of its participants. With a travel trailer converted into a recording studio, Story Corps road trips to 10 cities around the country to record and broadcast the stories of local residents. This year, Story Corps has partnered with WUTC to showcase the untold histories of Chattanooga. Participants can tell anystory they want, and it can be told alone or with a partner.

Jacqueline Van Meter, Story Corps mobile tour manager, is the only staff member who travelswith the trailer full time. Van Meter facilitates the interview process with participants, and she also supervises the other staff members who come on and off the road to work with participants, she said.

“We’re kind of creating this democratized oral history collection,” Van Meter said. “We’re putting the documentation of the people’s history into the hands of the people themselves talking about it in the way that means the most to them.”

Participants can come up with their own questions to ask their partner or they can utilize the question cards provided by Story Corps. The recording sessions last for 40 uninterrupted minutes. Once the session ends, participants can choose to keep their recordings private or they can allow them to be aired on WUTC. The public recordings are archived at the Library of Congress.

“We think that listening is an act of love,” Van Meter said. “The experience of being asked
questions about your own life can be a really empowering experience especially for people who have walked through life feeling like their stories didn’t matter or they didn’t have a story to tell.”

Will Davis, outreach manager and producer at WUTC, prompted Story Corps to partner with the station knowing the impact it could have on the community. Story Corps was immediately interested in coming to Chattanooga when Davis contacted them, he said.

“I was really prepared to be like okay, these are the hundred reasons why you should come
here, but it never came to that,” Davis said.

Around 100 to 150 interviews will be recorded and shared with the station for broadcast, Davis said.

“That’s a ton of content,” Davis said. “Professionally recorded, professionally facilitated. That’s huge for the station, so it’s great PR, but it’s also a lot of content. That’s the reason I wanted to do it.”

The travel trailer is parked beside Miller Park on E MLK Blvd. The recording process will take place from March 19 to April 17. Those who wish to sign-up can do so through the Story Corps website. There is currently a waitlist, but participants can still secure a spot by signing up for it.

WUTC Brings StoryCorps to Chattanooga

As the outreach manager for WUTC, Will Davis, has worked the past eighteen months
since moving here to bring StoryCorps to Chattanooga. He was surprised to find out that they had never been to his new home and immediately knew he wanted to make it happen.

StoryCorps will do over 150 stories while in town which are available to WUTC to use
for future projects. Many of the stories the people of Chattanooga have told share common themes of the city changing and the celebration of it.

All of the slots to sit down and talk have been filled and there is a waiting list that Davis
encourages others to sign up for, but he says that he hasn’t decided if he will sit down himself. He has put months of work into this project and has numerous ideas of what he will use the stories for in the future. Even if he decides not to sit down in the airstream for a recorded talk his impression on Chattanooga through WUTC and StoryCorps coming together will last forever.

Meet the Storytellers

Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

Justin Metcalf

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.

McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos. She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Skater Dad

Since his freshman year at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Trent Comeaux, a junior Exercise Science major from Red Bank, has been pouring into young boys’ lives at the Chattanooga Skate Park.

The Chattanooga skate community “has got a bad rep,” according to Comeaux. “It’s looked at as this vandalizing, rebellious, careless community of people who just don’t care about anything else but themselves, and it’s really the exact opposite.”

From his involvement with the university as a member of the BYX fraternity to time spent with a community of Young Life leaders, Comeaux’s days are always busy. However, he always takes time out of his day to skate with his “lil homies” or the younger kids that hang at the skatepark.

One fourteen year old boy in particular, Camden Parcell, has become an extremely close friend of Comeaux’s. “When I first met Camden, my only goal was to just love him,” he said.

From the skate competition that started the relationship to a daily outing to the nearby Wendy’s, their friendship grew into a much closer bond.

“I see Trent as almost like a father figure to me. He does so much for me and will probably always be there for me,” shared Camden.

Even though, according to Comeaux, the skate park in Chattanooga portrays a negative idea of what this community is like, the relationships between Comeaux and his “lil homies” shows the complete opposite. Instead, this community allows life giving and meaningful relationships to grow through something as simple as a skateboard.

 

Meet the Storytellers

Cassie Whittaker

Cassie Whittaker is a graduating senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She plans on pursuing a social marketing career in the private sector and is experienced in writing and presenting marketing plans. Her interests include volunteering and hiking around the city of Chattanooga which drives her toward a career that helps other people. Contact me for opportunity in these fields at qss692@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Abigail Frazier

Abigail Frazier is a senior majoring in Communication and Sociology at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She is passionate about journalism and works as the news editor for The University Echo. Frazier can be contacted at twg146@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Blake Davis

Blake Davis is a Senior Communication Major at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is passionate about creating and telling stories through a video camera. For over 6 years, he has been improving his craft in videography. He also loves playing Spikeball and is a collegiate National Champion. He can be reached at rlp233@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Bailey Frizzell

Bailey Frizzell is a student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and plans to graduate in May 2019 with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She is passionate about telling stories through photography, and hopes to pursue a career in photojournalism after graduation. She can be contacted at kdv822@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

The Read House: Preserving Chattanooga History

The Read House Hotel has been a place for not only travelers to stay but for the Chattanooga community to come together since the 1920s. A $25 million-dollar renovation has taken place over the past year and will finally come to an end over the next few months. This remodel is restoring the building to its historic form. Gatsby inspired décor and the feel of the roaring 20s bounds the hotel from the gold leaf ceilings to the antique mirrors hung across the walls.

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Sunrise over the Read House Hotel on Monday, February 18, 2019. (Photo by Elian Richter)

The hotel has endured floods, war, epidemics, the great depression, and an ever-changing city surrounding it.

Hotel Historian Tyler Hogue shares the story of the hotel’s past and his passion to preserve the history of each and every room. It is home to Bridgeman’s Chophouse, a Starbucks, bar & billiards room, and over a dozen meeting rooms for private dining, parties and business meetings.

“The owner was reading some newspapers,” Hogue said, “and one of the newspapers for the hotel was from around the 1920s and 30s. There were pictures of people sitting on the terraces, dressed in hats, dressed to the nines like it was shot straight out of the Great Gatsby. He thought wow, the Great Gatsby, that’s a great theme for this hotel.”

The feel of elegance and class radiates throughout the building as jazz is played over the loudspeakers through the lobby.

The Read House is not only home to people passing through for a night’s rest, but it is open to the community as well. Hogue wants to stay true to the way the original owners Samuel and Thomas Read ran the hotel by welcoming Chattanooga natives to engage with each other and embrace the rich history found in the middle of their very own city. Thomas’s wife Cynthia would even take girls at risk of being in prostitution or orphaned in and find a home for them.

“We wanted to bring that community feel back,” Hogue said, “so people can come in here, come to our library, get a book and sit down with a cocktail or a drink from Starbucks and enjoy the hotel.”

They left a legacy of compassion and hospitality that The Read House stays true to today and shares with every person that enters its doors.

 

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Meet the Storytellers

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Justin Metcalf 

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

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McKenzie Scott

McKenzie Scott is a junior at UTC studying communication with a minor in women’s studies. She is a writer for rising rock and has experience with telling stories through photos.  She is passionate about volunteering in her community and recently rescued a dog named Hank. Contact her at sjd955@mocs.utc.edu.

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Max Hanson

Max Hanson is a videographer and video editor pursuing a degree in communication at UTC. He has experience in live broadcast, news media, and has extensive work in short films. His passions are in vintage camera equipment, science, and the more bizarre stories in the world.

Abomination to Advocation

Reverend Alaina Cobb has experienced hate from a young age due to her identity. After seeing what the culture she was raised in looked like, she knew she had to do something. Her activism grows from her experiences growing up, but mostly from her children, fueling her to fight for others and their ability to be “fully human.”  As a mother, as a reverend, and as a fighter, Alaina Cobb is changing the world around her.

Meet the Storytellers

Allie Schrenker

Allie Schrenker is a committed athlete majoring in Communication and Creative Writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with plans to graduate in May 2019. She is an international rugby player and an editor for UTC’s literary journal. She is currently pursuing a career in photojournalism and can be reached at kcb325@mocs.utc.edu.

 

Samantha Sargent

Samantha Sargent is a senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Originally from Memphis, TN, she came to Chattanooga to study Communication and Sociology. Sargent wishes to use this degree to pursue a career in digital media. Contact her at xcq518@mocs.utc.edu.

Princess Petrus

Princess Petrus is a junior at UT Chattanooga studying Communication and Spanish. She enjoys photojournalism and uses her skill to convey social problems through visual images. Petrus has a passion for learning other people’s stories and aims to connect with those around her. Contact her at rkt446@mocs.utc.

 

Katie Raabe

Katie Raabe is a Communication major and International Studies minor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga planning to graduate in May 2019. With a focus in Creative Writing, Katie is passionate about people and telling their stories in expressive and visual forms. Contact her at hfr546@mocs.utc.edu.

 

 

Singer Songwriter Series

Through a series highlighting young singer songwriters, Rising Rock Media decided to showcase the musical talents that hide in Chattanooga. With genres ranging from folk, americana, and rock, each musician creates a wide variety of talent that ought to be brought to light. This series focuses on each musician with a music video of Spencer Denning’s song “Pen Pals,” Rachel Smith’s recording of “Wedding Blues,” and Jamesen Rees’s recent spotify released song “The Weight of Change.” Through sharing each of these artists musical talent, Rising Rock attempts to bring about focus on the talent right on UTC’s campus.

E.Richter Spencer Poster photo for onlinecSpencer Denning poses for a photo in Cadek Hall on Wednesday, February 20, 2019. Denning was there participating in a music video with Rising Rock. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Spencer Denning

— Written by Katie Raabe

When you combine the poetic talent of Ed Sheeran with the wits of Betty White, you get Spencer Denning.

As a Knoxville native, Denning is an aspiring singer, songwriter, and pianist, as well as a full time student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. As a junior Communication major and English minor, Denning is able to transfer those skills into his songwriting.

His praiseworthy musical talent, however, has not always been a focus for Denning. He rather stumbled upon his singing ability after auditioning for musical theatre on a whim in high school.

Shortly after realizing that he was actually good, he began taking singing lessons that helped him physically train the vocal muscles needed to improve. While he only took singing lessons for a short period of time, they were instrumental to his current growing success.

Denning’s most recent song, “Pen Pal” is about the letters he wrote to himself when he began to lose sight of his goal. Nearly dropping out of school after his first year of college, his purpose was unclear to him causing him to become unmotivated in school.

After some soul searching, Denning realized he needed to find something he was passionate about or all of this would not be worth it.

Denning began to write as a form of therapy, which ultimately ended this doubtful phase of his life. Those letters and journal entries became the story of “Pen Pal.”

The song shows Denning’s raw talent through its harmonious and melodic tone.  By pairing his soulful voice with a mezzo piano, he creates a transparent song that repeatedly captures the attention of his audience.

Denning’s inspiration is primarily derived from Ed Sheeran, which in turn, created a merge of indie folk and americana music. His musical style seamlessly mirrors his personal aesthetic as a “granola frat boy,” as he describes.

Denning now has a clear goal of obtaining success in the music and entertainment industry. He auditioned for The Voice in 2018, advancing to the last round before the live show and plans to further excel in this year’s auditions.

Through the unavoidable trials of a college student, combined with the pressures of a star on the rise, Denning maintains a patient and composed presence. He hybridizes his relatable experiences and captivating voice to produce music that is timelessly sublime.
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Rachel Smith poses for a photo in Patten Chapel on Friday, March 1, 2019. Smith explained that she sings, writes music, and plays piano and guitar. (Photo by Elian Richter)

Listen to the audio of “Wedding Blues” here:

Rachel Mcintyre Smith

— Written by Justin Metcalf

Rachel Mcintyre Smith is a senior Communication and Spanish major at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga whose commitment to music began at an early age. A singer-songwriter who can play up to four instruments, Smith’s music ranges from sincere and emotional to sarcastic and upbeat.

“I’ve always been an uber competitive person in school and the girl who was competitive with me in class would always go back and forth with me to see who made the highest grade,” Smith said. “She started taking piano lessons, so I called my dad and I was like ‘sign me up.’”

This competitive spirit developed into Smith’s love for piano. She continued these lessons for 10 years, performing in various concerts and recitals. She also participated in piano competitions every year and won the state competition twice.

Smith’s passion for music did not stop at piano. She picked up claranet for her school band in the 6th grade and continued this throughout high school. At the age of 15, she taught herself to play ukulele. A year later, she taught herself to play guitar.

“I started writing songs when I was in the 7th grade,” Smith said, “but they were very angsty and Paramore-esque songs because I was also that kid who wore colored skinny jeans and skater shoes, and I tried really hard to be misunderstood. So I started writing songs then but I didn’t start writing what I consider mediocre or good songs until I was near the end of my freshman year of college.”  

She began singing and playing piano at her church when she was a junior in high school. She then traveled to Nicaragua where she performed in local concerts and taught music lessons at a church for two consecutive summers. Now, she leads music at a college ministry and performs in their worship services.

“I’ve written Christian songs before, and that’s definitely played a big role,” Smith said. “I love southern gospel groups and their harmonies, and in Christian music the lyrics are really important, and that also taught me a lesson about song-writing because, in my opinion, if the lyrics don’t mean anything, then the song doesn’t mean anything.”

Some of her other musical inspirations include Carole King, Feist, Kacey Musgraves      and Taylor Swift.

“I really like good songwriter lyrics, like clever lyrics,” Smith said. “Kacey Musgraves has a lot of those, so she’s probably one of my main influences especially for my snarky southern songs that are more upbeat.”

In her piano-based song “Wedding Blues,” she wrote about seeing her peers newly engaged or married on social media and how the same thing was not happening to her.

“When I wrote that song I was acknowledging that my self-pity was kind of crazy,” Smith said. “I’m just 21 years old, but it actually helped me get through that time where I just kept getting on social media and kept seeing all these people who were getting married.”

Songwriting allows her to compartmentalize and process her feelings, she said.

“Take an event that gave me a lot of pain or that I’ve struggled through,” Smith said. “If I’m able to write a song from it and tie it up in a neat little package, it’s just really nice to think of it as I have a song from this and not this really horrible thing happened to me. It really does help me get through a lot of stuff and helps me process it in a healthy way.”

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Jamesen Reese sings at a Young Life gathering at the Signal Mountain Athletic Club.(Photo by Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel)

Listen to the audio of “Weight of Change” here:

Jamesen Reese

— Written by Cassie Whittaker

It’s not every day a student can be discovered who writes folk music on the weekends and has the vocals of a young John Mayer, but Jamesen Rees has these qualities and more.

As a marketing student at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Rees’ love for music has continuously grown since the age of eleven. He started his musical career by playing guitar and shortly after he began to sing. During his middle school years, Rees played the saxophone, which he states, “Taught him a lot about music theory.” Once he gained a basic understanding of the fundamentals of music, he began to write his own music in high school, which he claims, “Were all pretty bad.” Listening to his music and lyrics now, this statement may be hard to believe. Along with writing music he performed at open mic nights in school in front of friends and family. He has come a long way since middle school guitar lessons and open mic nights.

Rees now records his own music in the basement of his parents’ house and releases these songs on Spotify and iTunes. This past Friday, Rees released a new song called “The Weight of Change” that has hints at his gospel journey while painting a picture of the changing season that is coming. He has two other songs called “Wait” and “Pure Imagination” which he says are about life and all that comes with it. These songs have a folksy vibe that would go along perfect with a morning cup of joe.

Writing, singing, playing, and producing music is a large task for anyone, let alone a fulltime student who is also involved in the youth ministry Young Life every week. During Young Life Rees strums the guitar and sings while the high schoolers sit circled around him. It is apparent these kids love watching him perform every week. One of his fans at Young Life asked

“Is Jamesen a Rockstar?” and the answer to that question is yes.

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Mentioned Music Venues: This graphic shows a map view of the three music venues mentioned in the article below. Graphic By Marielle Echavez

Chattanooga to be Classic Tennessee Music Town

— Written by Lauren Justice

Nashville and Memphis are known as music capitals of the south. Chattanooga is catching up to the Tennessee music scene and is rising to the expectation of a true musical city.

With locations such as The Signal, Songbirds, and the Tivoli, Chattanooga has expanded its accessibility for artists to play in various hot spots in town. Local artists and famous bands have opportunities to play in small and large venues downtown.

Colleges in and around Chattanooga like UT Chattanooga, Lee University, and Southern Adventist University, have excellent music programs that have inspired young artists to pursue careers in performing. They have the ability to do so in this city as opposed to traveling all the way to Nashville for opportunity. Music students have plenty of opportunity to perform in local restaurants and venues.

Spencer Denning, UT Chattanooga student, independent artist, and contestant on The Voice, said the best part about the music scene here is the sense of community. “Everyone here is really supportive.”

Chattanooga is not known for one type of music, like Nashville is associated with the country genre. All performers and bands are welcome to show off and entertain crowds.

Riverbend Music Festival is a very popular event that music lovers go to indulge in music of all backgrounds and genres. Bringing this festival to Chattanooga has increased the musical tradition in Tennessee as a whole, while connecting Chattanooga to the music tradition.

Chattanooga is evolving into a true music city, furthering the tradition of music in Tennessee.

Meet the Storytellers

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Elian Richter

Elian Richter works as a photojournalist and action photographer. He has experience covering events such as USA Boxing qualifiers and Presidential arrivals on Air Force One. Elian has had works published on Rising Rock Media and the UTC Echo. In his free time, Elian enjoys rock climbing and being outdoors. Contact Elian Richter at wbn751@mocs.utc.edu.

 

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Katie Raabe

Katie Raabe is a Communication major and International Studies minor at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga planning to graduate in May 2019. With a focus in Creative Writing, Katie is passionate about people and telling their stories in expressive and visual forms. Contact her at hfr546@mocs.utc.edu.

 

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Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel

Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel is an artistic photographer who focuses on weddings, elopements, and portraits. She loves the 1970s and country music and incorporates those styles into her photographs. Johnny Cash is among her favorites. Her work is displayed on vintagekaitlynphoto.com and she can be contacted at dzm674@mocs.utc.edu.

 

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Justin Metcalf

Justin Metcalf is a junior at UTC who studies communication and psychology. Justin enjoys writing for the university newspaper, and their favorite pastime involves curling up with a warm tea and watching horror movies. They hope to continue their education in psychology and become a counselor for LGBTQ youth.

 

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Cassie Whittaker

Cassie Whittaker is a graduating senior at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in Communication and a minor in Spanish. She plans on pursuing a social marketing career in the private sector and is experienced in writing and presenting marketing plans. Her interests include volunteering and hiking around the city of Chattanooga which drives her toward a career that helps other people. Contact me for opportunity in these fields at qss692@mocs.utc.edu.

_MG_9263Lauren Justice

Lauren Justice is a senior at UTC, majoring in Communication. She is experienced in marketing, journalistic writing, public relations, and design. After graduation she wants to continue working for her current company, Red Bull, by transferring to the record label. Contact her at nsf433@mocs.utc.edu for details.

 

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Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.

 

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Blake Davis

Blake Davis is a Senior Communication Major at University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. He is passionate about creating and telling stories through a video camera. For over 6 years, he has been improving his craft in videography. He also loves playing Spikeball and is a collegiate National Champion. He can be reached at rlp233@mocs.utc.edu.

 

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Video Produced by Rising Rock

To Continue the Mission

The 33rd anniversary of the Challenger Shuttle accident was January 28th. Wife of the late Commander Dick Scobee, Dr. June Scobee Rodgers, and their daughter Kathie Scobee Fulgham, remember this day with peace and find power in making huge efforts to further the mission of the Challenger. It’s about keeping the fallen astronauts memory’s alive.

Kathie Scobee Fulgam (left) and June Scobee Rogers (right) pose for a portrait on February 10, 2019. (photo by Jessica Boggs)

For Dr. Rodgers, living during the age of space exploration has shaped her views on the importance of NASA. She remembers the landing of Apollo 11 on the moon and waking her children up in their South Carolina home that night so that they, too, could witness history.

“That was the most marvelous thing that could have happened in our country with the space program”, she said. “It became a wonderful part of history”.

Kathie Scobee Fulgam shows golden Apollo 11 coin on February 10, 2019. (photo by Jessica Boggs)

Fulgham is a board member of the Astronauts Memorial Foundation, a foundation that, among many things, recognized two major space exploration events with customized coins. The first coin manufactured was in remembrance of the Apollo 11 landing. It is a completely unique style.

 “It’s concave and has two sides. On one side the helmet of an astronaut looking out and seeing the American Flag is pictured, the way the astronauts saw it. On the other side is the very first footprint on the moon” Fulgham describes.

The coin has a larger purpose than to just be a collector’s item. Each time a coin is purchased, the funds are split into three areas: the Smithsonian receives half, the Astronauts Memorial Foundation receives a quarter, and the Astronauts Scholarship Foundation receives a quarter. The first day the Apollo 11 coin was released, it raised $31 million in funds.

 There will soon be a second coin, this time in honor of the Challenger crew.

 “It’s a celebration of everything mankind has done to get here”, said Fulgham.

The day of the Challenger accident is one that most people will never forget. For the families of the crew, this is an especially daunting day.

“Numbness. Numb. Just quiet. We just wept”, said Dr. Rodgers about witnessing the event. “It was tragic to our family. It was tragic to the nation. All the world knew.”

After losing their beloved husband and father, Commander Dick Scobee, these two women took it upon themselves to do something about it rather than dwell on the sadness.

“My priority was to continue education and further the mission NASA had begun”, said Rodgers. “We wanted people to remember how they lived. What they were willing to risk their lives for. Not just how they died.”

25 years and 25 centers later the Challenger Center at UT-Chattanooga was built as the first to be built on a college campus. Chattanooga is also the first home of the Micronaut program for children.

Leader of the mission, Cary Garrett, helps the team successfully run their simulated mission in space. (Photo by Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel)

“There’s a lot to be said about this University of Tennessee”, Rodgers said. Dr. Perry Storey is the director of UTC’s very own Challenger Center. He hopes the efforts of the Challenger Center help students gain an interest in space exploration. By hosting children’s field trips, private tours, and allowing UTC students to come and go, Dr. Storey and his colleagues keep the memory of the Challenger alive.

The control room where teams work together to have a successful mission in space. (Photo by Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel)

Dr. Storey said, “A new generation means a new generation of technology. The students of today will be the ones to do more exploration in space.”

The Challenger Centers promote interest in space exploration, in hopes to raise the next generation of people interested in science.

“I’m so proud of the students and educators for being inspired by our centers” Dr. Rodgers said.

We have Dr. Rodgers, Mrs. Fulgham, and directors of Challenger Centers like Dr. Storey to thank for bringing the Challenger Center program to life.

Meet the Storytellers

Jessica Boggs

Jessica Boggs, Senior at UTC, is graduating this May with a degree in Communication and a minor in International Relations. Jessica is an experienced photojournalist and graphic designer. She is passionate about speaking for those without a voice through the lens of a camera. Contact Jessica at xjh111@mocs.utc.edu.

Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel

Kaitlyn Evans-Witzel is an artistic photographer who focuses on weddings, elopements, and portraits. She loves the 1970s and country music and incorporates those styles into her photographs. Johnny Cash is among her favorites. Her work is displayed on vintagekaitlynphoto.com and she can be contacted at dzm674@mocs.utc.edu.

Lauren Justice

Lauren Justice is a senior at UTC, majoring in Communication. She is experienced in marketing, journalistic writing, public relations, and design. After graduation, she wants to continue working for her current company, Red Bull, by transferring to the culture department. Contact her at nsf433@mocs.utc.edu.

Marielle Echavez

Marielle Echavez is a junior pursuing a degree in Communication and a minor in Psychology. She manages her own branch of custom apparel on campus. She has a passion for videography and being creative. She plans to pursue video production post-graduation. Contact her at wcb788@mocs.utc.edu.