CSCC Alumni Melissa Alley Woody

Thursday, September 7, 2017 - by Holly Vincent

How many people can say they have managed to always have a job they can be passionate about and believe in? According to CSCC Alum Melissa Alley Woody, she is one of those people. 

Woody, the vice president of Tourism Development for the Cleveland / Bradley Chamber of Commerce, told herself once she stops believing in something, then it will be time to move on, but so far, that just hasn’t been the case. When Woody started her educational journey at Cleveland State, she wasn’t quite sure what she wanted to do with her life. Fast forward a few decades and she couldn’t be more certain of her career decision. Another decision she is sure about—her decision to attend CSCC. 

“When you are at a community college, you are still finding out who you are outside your high school bubble. It is really a great time to better define what your interests are and then what your path is going to be to get there.” 

For Woody, she decided on a General Transfer degree before transferring to the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga where she majored in Communications with a minor in History. She came to this decision based on an interest exam in the CSCC Counseling office that assisted students in finding their strengths and weaknesses and then offering advice on majors. Woody scored very high in two categories—public relations and private investigation. Although the two topics may not seem related, Woody said she sees now how they can go hand in hand. With her position at the Chamber, she has to do a lot of research and questioning or as she calls it “investigating.” 

“When I looked back on my college career, I could not remember that many of my UTC professors, maybe one or two in the Communications Department, but I knew the names of so many people at CSCC who I had met during my time there—Jerome Taylor, John Bradley, Fred Wood, Spencer Culbreth, Bob Taylor, Tom Losh, Steve Longley, “Cig” (Jim Cigliano), Judy Watts, Renate Basham, David Suttles, Norma Davis…I have so many great memories of all of these people.”

And speaking of memories, Woody recalls one of her favorite memories from CSCC was having Dr. Renate Basham for French and being invited to her home to celebrate the end of the semester with a fancy French dinner. 

“We were able to invite people, so my mom went with me,” stated Woody. “It was such an amazing experience and something I will never forget. It still is such a wonderful memory for me. That was my first recipe using capers!” 

Woody received an Academic Principal’s Scholarship to attend CSCC which required her to work five hours on campus each week. For her work assignment, she worked for Coach Steve Longley in the Athletic Department and Bob Taylor in Student Relations. She was also actively involved in several clubs and organizations on campus including the Student Hosts where she was a tour guide for prospective students vising the college. Working on campus allowed Woody to meet a lot of new people. In fact, two of her best friends are people she met while enrolled at CSCC. One was a graduate of Polk County High School, and the other, Cleveland High School, while Woody was a graduate of Bradley Central, so without CSCC, they may never have met.

“Cleveland State is a real jewel in our community,” stated Woody. “The people there are great. You get one on one attention from your instructors. The campus is beautiful. It’s such an amazing place…My wish is that the campus will continue to thrive, and people will see the value of what’s offered there and the community will realize what a great institution we have right here in our community and continue to support its current and future growth.”

Woody takes her role as a CSCC alum very seriously and says she always recommends the college to students that come to mentor or job shadow at the Chamber. She has also recently taken on the role of Chair of the Alumni Community of Cleveland State. This is the newly formed organization established with a mission to “Connect, Engage and Celebrate” Cleveland State’s alumni within the wider community of employees and friends of the college. 

For more information on the Alumni Community at Cleveland State or to register as a CSCC Alumni, contact Cindy Dawson, coordinator of Development and Alumni Relations, at 423-472-7141, ext. 703. You can also visit the website at

Adult Education Moving To Chattanooga State On July 2

The TCAT Athens Adult Education program in Hamilton County will be moving the James A. Henry office to the main campus of Chattanooga State Community College on Amnicola Highway. Adult Education offices and classrooms will be located on the second floor of the Center for Business, Industry and Health (CBIH) building. “Adult Education provides critical educational opportunities ... (click for more)

Signal Mountain Student Earns Academic Award At Maryville College

Anna Dieter, a junior theatre studies major from Signal Mountain, was recognized with the Evelyn Seedorf Prize in Dramatic Arts during Maryville College’s annual Academic Awards Ceremony that was held April 21 on the campus of the liberal arts school.  This award is given annually to the most deserving student majoring in theatre. Ms. Dieter is a 2015 graduate of ... (click for more)

Red Bank Finalizes 20-Cent Property Tax Increase

The Red Bank commissioners voted Tuesday night to adopt the fiscal year 2018-2019 budget that includes a property tax increase. Mayor John Roberts said that along with the increase in both commercial and residential development, comes increased traffic. Infrastructure has not kept up with the growth, including the secondary roads. The cost of paving these roads is $1 million. Money ... (click for more)

Attorney Poston Says Man In Viral Video Seen Fighting Officer Was Trying To Break Up Fight

Attorney McCracken Poston said William Alexander Floyd, the young man seen in the recently published “viral” video who is seemingly engaged in a boxing match with a Chattanooga police officer, started out trying to break up a fight.   The attorney said, "Things are not always as they appear. There is a much more interesting story in the seconds leading up to the events ... (click for more)

The Boss, Claude Ramsey

I try not to overuse the word great, but we lost a great man today, Claude Ramsey. I had the pleasure of serving under him as director of Commercial and Industrial Properties for 14 years while he was the Hamilton County Assessor of Property. He was probably the smartest person I have ever known. He was tough but patient, kind, caring and compassionate. He knew how to get ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: So, You’re Invisible?

Several weeks ago I was in the middle of My Morning Readings when, somehow, I came across a wonderful story written by Nichole Johnson. Her website says she is a speaker, a motivator, and an author whose gift is to “capture the inner-most feelings of women facing life's daily struggles, and it has enabled her to create a unique sense of community for people of all ages.” That’s ... (click for more)