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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.

Chasing Steam

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Bob Kelley shoots a video of the Tennessee Railroad Museum’s steam engine as it goes over a bridge in Trion, Georgia on October 21, 2018 (Photo by Troy Stolt).

On certain weekends throughout the year, photographers from all over the south make a trip to Chattanooga, Tenn. in order to photograph the steam engines at the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum.

Often described as a moving museum, The Tennessee Valley Railroad offers an interactive, historical experience that adds an extra dimension to a visit to one of Chattanooga’s popular attractions. Not only is this museum a fun experience for visitors and locals alike, but the only regularly scheduled, full-sized train ride in Tennessee is offered at this museum.

With these factors taken into account, it is most fitting that photographers, artists, and admirers come to experience these steam engines.

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The Tennessee Valley Railroad museum steam engine #630 rolls through Rossville Boulevard in Chattanooga, Tennessee on October 21, 2018 (Photo by Troy Stolt).

One specific steam engine ride in particular, the Summerville Steam Special, follows a historic route from Grand Junction Station in Chattanooga to Summerville, GA, crossing the state line at Rossville and traveling past Chickamauga National Military Park and through Chickamauga, Rock Spring, Lafayette, and Trion.

This nine hour steam engine ride recently attracted photographers from the North Georgia Photography Club.

Numerous photographers from this prestigious club showed up on Oct. 21 to photograph the Summerville Steam Engine.

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Members of the North Georgia Photography club photograph the Tennessee valley Railroad museum’s steam engine made in 1911 as it pulls into Summerville station on October 21, 2018 (Photo by Troy Stolt).

 

Bob Kelley, member of the North Georgia Photography Club and leader of the train chases, has traveled to photograph these trains about ten to fifteen times and tries to go every chance he can get.

By calling this photography excursion a “once in a lifetime opportunity,” Kelley realizes the importance and fun of photographers experiencing these Chattanooga steam engines and encourages his club to come as often as they can.

In order to capture the smoke, the speed, and the beauty of these trains, photographers like Kelley have to chase the steam engines in their trucks.

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Chuck Baumracker waits with his camera in hand on the arrival of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum’s steam engine in Rossville on October 21, 2018. Chuck had travelled 100 miles to photograph the train on its 60 mile trip from Chattanooga to Summerville, Georgia (Photo by Troy Stolt).

“It can be extremely dangerous being that close to something so powerful, but it is one of the most exciting parts. Riding behind them is a rush of adrenaline,” Kelley said.

By strategically planning the nine hour day photographing these trains, photographers like Kelley make sure to take numerous factors into account. According to Kelley, he takes note of the arrival time to each location, traces the route on Google Earth, looks up each GPS coordinate, prepares camera setting in advance, and makes sure he is safe by keeping off of the tracks and out of the way.

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A member of the North Georgia Photography club photographs the Tennessee valley Railroad museum’s steam engine made in 1911 as it pulls into Ringold train station on October 21, 2018 (Photo by Troy Stolt).

Even though this is one the club’s favorite photography opportunities, numerous challenges can come into play. According to Kelley, each photography will face the problems of keeping up with the trains, trying not to get lost, paying attention to safety, and arriving at the right time.

However, even though struggles and challenges may arise, Kelley and the club understand the exciting and historical elements in these photographs.

“Why would you miss out on such a cool opportunity? It is rare that we live so close to such a magnificent piece of history and there are few railroads in America that you can ride on steam trains,” Kelley said.

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The Tennessee Valley Railroad museum steam engine #630 runs from Chattanooga, Tennessee to Summerville, Georgia on October 21, 2018 (Photo by Troy Stolt).

With the excitement of just one club photographing these steam engines, there are still so many other opportunities to capture the history and beauty of the Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum in this city, Chattanooga, Tenn.

The upcoming Summerville Steam Engine trips and last three ones for this year will be on Nov. 3, 10, and 11.

 

 

 

 

 

Meet the Storytellers:

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Troy Stolt

Troy Stolt is a student photojournalist based out of Chattanooga Tennessee, where he is the photo editor of the UTC student newspaper, the University Echo, he has experience covering news, sports, in the creation of multimedia, studio portraits as well as making featured photos. His work has also been published University relations, Nooga.com, and the Chattanooga Times Free Press.

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Abigail Frazier

Abigail Frazier is a senior communications major at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. She works for the student newspaper, The University Echo, as the News Editor. Frazier hopes to pursue print journalism or an online publication in News Media.

 

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Jessica Boggs

Jessica Boggs, Senior at UTC, is pursuing a degree in Communication and minoring in International Relations. She is an experienced international photojournalist as well as feature photographer for The Echo. Jessica is passionate about speaking for those without a voice through the lens of a camera.

 

 

 

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