Chattanooga Council Representative Demetrus Coonrod.

City Council Member Earns UTC Degree

Featured photo: Chattanooga Council Representative Demetrus Coonrod graduated from UTC in May.

Ten years and two Chattanooga City Council elections after she enrolled, Demetrus Coonrod graduated from the UT Chattanooga.

She was two course-credits shy of graduating in 2015 when life got in the way. Helping her daughter earn her college degree. Taking care of her grandchild. Serving on the Chattanooga City Council.

“It was a journey, trying to juggle being a parent, a grandma raising my 6-year-old granddaughter, serving on the council. It took a lot of sleepless nights,” Coonrod says.

Known for her distinctive eyeglass frames, Coonrod earned a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in criminal justice. Knowledge gained through earning her degree will help her work on the city council, says Coonrod, a first-generation college graduate.

“It helps me to understand people more and their behaviors and how we can impact them from the root cause or the issues that are happening within our city,” says Coonrod, the council representative for Chattanooga’s 9th District.

Program Created to Help Ukrainian Students

Takeo Suzuki
Takeo Suzuki

UTC has created the UTC Global Response Assistantship, opening doors to international students impacted by the crisis in Ukraine.

The program offers two selected students paid tuition, free room and board and a $600 monthly stipend while they pursue a master’s degree in public administration, business administration, computer science or engineering management at UTC from August 2022 through May 2024. The students’ undergraduate degrees should be in majors similar to the master’s degree concentration.

Preference will be given to students who are Ukrainian citizens living in or who once lived in the affected areas.

“I think it’s going to really open doors for the participants after the war. When they decide to go back home to help rebuild the country, what they learn from this master’s program and the experience they gain at UTC will enable them to make an impact in the community redevelopment. At the same time, they will be building bridges between Chattanooga, Ukraine and beyond,” says Takeo Suzuki, executive director for the Center for Global Education at UTC.

Grad Student Wins Fellowship to Protect Rare, Endangered Flora

Thomas Wiegand works on his research at UTC.
Thomas Wiegand works on his research at UTC.

Thomas Wiegand planted the seeds for his latest accolade a year ago.

Wiegand, a UT Chattanooga graduate student pursuing a master’s degree in environmental science, was awarded a National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship.

The five-year fellowship recognizes and supports outstanding graduate students pursuing research-based master’s and doctoral degrees in NSF-supported science, technology, engineering and math subjects at accredited U.S. institutions.

As a graduate research assistant, he has been studying ecological and evolutionary drivers of plant rarity with a current focus on rare, native sunflower species.