Erica Mendoza and Lauren Sanders send sparks flying in a metal studio

Inside the Fall 2020 Issue

Those fleeting moments of incandescence that sometimes—the oh-so-rare sometimes—catch fire and change everything is what we are celebrating in this issue of Tennessee Alumnus magazine. When those flashes, those sparks happen they can lead to a new invention, a new passion, a new class or a changed life.

One inventor says in this issue, “It doesn’t just happen.” Innovation comes, at times, through years of trial and error. Other times, the spark behind an innovation can come when faced with an enormous task that must be carried out by hand. However, when the frisson of an idea comes into being, it takes work to capture the spark and fan it into a burning fire of realization.

But all it takes is a spark, and UT has been part of that ignition point for so many faculty, students and alumni. In the Fall 2020 issue you’ll find just a few of your stories—for your stories are the stories of the University of Tennessee and part of our shared history. Whether the spark happened as you sat in a class or as you left with the kindling ready to catch fire, UT has played a role in your story, just as it has with those in these features.

Long may your passion for this university and for your ideas burn bright.

A 1 Percent Idea

A Recipe for Health

The Light on the Hill

Chattanooga’s Rising Rock

Finding a Better Way

N95 and 35 Years of Experience

Let us know your thoughts on this issue. Send us a letter at or reach out to us on social media. We can be found on Twitter (@TNAlumnus), Facebook and Instagram (@tennesseealumnus).