Darrius Cole Thriving At TVA After Training At Chattanooga State

Saturday, March 31, 2018
Darrius Cole
Darrius Cole

Darrius Cole, a Florence, Ala., native and graduate of Chattanooga State Community College, did not always know that he wanted to be in nuclear engineering. It wasn’t until 2009, while working at Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant as a contractor, that he realized his calling. In 2012 after doing some research online, he found out about an agreement between Chattanooga State and TVA. He made it his mission to move to Chattanooga without knowing anyone and enroll in the Nuclear Engineering Technology Program at Chattanooga State. He later received assistance through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA), a federally funded employment and training program.

Mr.

Cole considers coming to Chattanooga State to obtain his degree to be one of the most defining moments in his life. He said he used to be a very shy, reticent person, but having been a student at Chattanooga State brought him out of his shell. He now believes meeting and talking with people are among some of his best and strongest personal qualities.

He said, “Chattanooga State was wonderful to me. I didn’t think it would go as well as it did. It wasn’t much longer when I began to get to know people in my classes. During the summer between my first and second year, I began interning with TVA at Sequoyah Nuclear Plant. After my internship, I began working again as a contract laborer just like had in previous years. I worked 75 hours a week and only slept three hours a day. I kept this job throughout the majority of my time as a student.”.

During his second year as a student, he was nominated and elected as president of both Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) Honor Society and American Nuclear Society (ANS) student chapter. Later, he was the recipient of the Presidential Excellence Award. On graduation day, he received a Nuclear Uniform Curriculum Program (NUCP) certificate for receiving all A’s and B’s in his degree program. He also represented Chattanooga State at conferences held in Orlando and Penn State for both PTK as well as ANS.

Personally, he considers his late grandfather to be the most influential person in his life. Mr. Cole grew up without a father and without hesitation, his grandfather adopted him at a young age. I am especially proud to be doing what I am doing because I feel like I am able to better honor his memory,” says Mr. Cole, “I know that he would be very proud of me.”

In addition, nuclear engineering technology program faculty Lisa Miller and Terry Newman and PTK advisor Rachael Falu spurred him on to keep going despite his hectic work and school schedule. “They inspired me; especially Mrs. Miller. She pushed me even when I was tired and didn’t feel like I had anything left in me. Newman, who has a background as a Senior Reactor Operator (SRO) at Watts Bar Nuclear Plant, showed me that I had leadership potential,” “When he told me this fact I was very humbled,” he said.

Mr. Cole was the first African-American to graduate in his class in Nuclear Engineering Technology at Chattanooga State. His degree enabled him to get a great paying job and more recently allowed him to move back to Chattanooga to accept a job at TVA. If there is one piece of advice he could share with others, it would be to not give up. “If you want it bad enough, go and get it. Go and chase your dreams. Just because it is hard does not mean it is not attainable. Instead, it Is a sign of being brave. Chattanooga State and TVA are two great places that are right here at our fingertips, and I have the heart to reach out to my community and teach about energy and science to younger students to help give back.



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)