From Meek To Mentor

Friday, July 19, 2019 - by Julie Barcroft, Chattanooga State
Lauren Watkins
Lauren Watkins

Though the start of one’s college journey is exciting, it is also often accompanied by anxiety and fear of the unknown. What students do with this fear is part of their individual journeys and can impact their future success; recent Chattanooga State graduate Lauren Watkins has transformed her own challenges and uncertainties into a unique pathway for achievement.

Ms. Watkins was accepted to the Digication Scholars program, working with the college’s ePortfolio platform to offer workshops on tools and best practices, as well as competing against other Scholars in portfolio showcases. Additionally, she has been named a Super Mentor in the campus ePortfolio lab, taking on responsibilities of hiring, training, and scheduling student mentors.

Ms. Watkins was not always so confident or sure of her path, however, “Upon coming to ChattState, I was worried if I would like it, and if I would do well," she said. "I didn’t know anybody here and barely knew what major I wanted.”

She also notes that she initially struggled with using the Digication platform in her College Success class, “not understanding how to use it, its purpose, or its potential.” Over time, and with a chance to work in the lab, Ms. Watkins developed new appreciation for the exciting visual possibilities of the tool, considering it “a revolutionary step forward from the traditional paper resume in an increasingly digital-based world.” 

Working as a lab mentor has offered Ms. Watkins growth opportunities beyond learning technical skills. “For most of my life, I struggled to talk to people, and dreaded the thought of speaking in front of a crowd,” she says. “As a mentor, I now go to College Success courses and teach entire classrooms full of rising first-year students how to create their own portfolios.” Though taking chances on herself and expanding her comfort zone has not been easy, these risks forge important skills that will serve Ms. Watkins well in pursuing her Bachelor’s in Entrepreneurship at UTC and then her MBA. 

From her own experiences, Ms. Watkins has simple advice for other college students: talk to people. “One would never believe how much they have in common with a student who has a different major, age, or belief than them. Finding people to talk to around campus made me feel comfortable, opened the door to many opportunities, and helped me stay focused on achieving my degree.” She cites the helpfulness of staff and faculty as a major contributor to her Chattanooga State experience, describing herself as “overwhelmed with the kindness I found here. Throughout my time at ChattState, I always felt like there were people who would help me with anything I needed.”

Excitingly, now Ms. Watkins gets to be such a helper for other students who may doubt themselves, needing confidence and skills for their own academic and professional journeys. With courage and leadership developed while at Chattanooga State, she is ready for new challenges.



Cleveland City Schools Enrollment Underway

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic School Hires Caroline Carlin As New Principal

Hixson High School Air Force JROTC Receives 2 Awards


Cleveland City Schools is enrolling new and returning students for the 2020-2021 school year. The deadline to complete online enrollment will be Thursday, July 23. Instructions and links for ... (click for more)

From the time Caroline Carlin arrived on the campus of Our Lady of Perpetual Help just one year ago, she had a plan to promote educational excellence as the academic dean. Ms. Carlin said she ... (click for more)

The Hixson High School Air Force Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps had another amazing year in 2019-2020, according to officials. Headquarters Air Force JROTC announced the unit as a recipient ... (click for more)



Student Scene

Cleveland City Schools Enrollment Underway

Cleveland City Schools is enrolling new and returning students for the 2020-2021 school year. The deadline to complete online enrollment will be Thursday, July 23. Instructions and links for families may be found at www.clevelandschools.org/enrollment . Cleveland City Schools plans to open school in a traditional, in-person format starting on Aug. 10 with Reconnection Week. ... (click for more)

Our Lady Of Perpetual Help Catholic School Hires Caroline Carlin As New Principal

From the time Caroline Carlin arrived on the campus of Our Lady of Perpetual Help just one year ago, she had a plan to promote educational excellence as the academic dean. Ms. Carlin said she embraces a healthy tension between collaboration and challenge. As she completes her doctorate degree, she has had widespread exposure to 21st-century pedagogy that compels her to take a new ... (click for more)

Breaking News

Hamilton County Has Highest Number Yet Of Coronavirus Patients In Hospital; Tennessee Has 3,314 New Cases - A New Record For 1 Day

There are 74 coronavirus patients in Chattanooga hospitals - a new one-day high, Health Department officials said on Monday. Of that group, 39 are from Hamilton County. However, the number of Intensive Care Unit patients with the virus dropped to 15. Hamilton County had 52 new cases of coronavirus, but deaths remain at 38, officials said on Monday. The local case total is ... (click for more)

Dalton Municipal Court Suspends In-Person Sessions Due To Rise In COVID Cases

The City of Dalton’s Municipal Court is suspending in person court appearances through at least Aug. 12 in response to the recent increase in COVID-19 cases in Whitfield County and the northwest Georgia region. Payments for fines can still be made online or in person at the window in the Public Works building at 532 N. Elm Street. There will be no in person Municipal Court ... (click for more)

Opinion

Why I Will Not Be Voting For Commissioner Discretionary Spending

Most people that know me well know that I will not vote to reinstate the $900,000 commissioner’s discretionary spending of taxpayer money. My reasons are: 1. There could not be a worse economic time for the government to spend additional money. It’s time to tighten the belt of government spending and not expand it. All American families are having this conversation around their ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: B.B., Jesus Loves You

Minutes after I learned one of my very earliest friends, B.B. Branton, died early Sunday morning, another friend sent me an email that just fit the moment perfectly. When I was growing up, our back yard butted up against the Brantons' backyard, so B.B. and I were quite sure we started out as playpen partners and were close ever since. Both of our fathers were from Mississippi - ... (click for more)