50 Faces of Gratitude: Giselle Palmer

February 8, 2016 | Heidi Cawood | College Advancement

Giselle Palmer, class of 2003

by Giselle Palmer, class of 2003

I’m grateful for Chattanooga State!

When I walked on campus for my first class, I was filled with excitement and a bit apprehensive. At 22, I was older than most freshmen. I had never attended a public school and had been homeschooled for most of my education. Chattanooga State represented opportunities I wouldn’t fully understand until years later.

Although I was nervous at first, I was soon embraced by an extraordinarily invested faculty that poured into my life and helped me experience learning at its finest! I discovered my passion and ability for writing under the instruction of a gifted and exacting English professor. A creative philosophy professor taught us through humor and spent time after hours leading a book club for those who wanted to learn more. A psychology professor expanded our knowledge through lively academic discussions that felt more like conversations than classes. I finally learned upper-level math from a professor who passed out candy on test days and illustrated infinity by drawing a line on the board, walking out the door, and heading down the hall to show that infinity never ended! A vibrant Spanish professor helped me fall in love with the language because her well-designed activities made every class so much fun. These were only a few of the many individuals who touched my life.

Chattanooga State helped me grow in many other ways, as well. The history of the struggle for civil rights became real to me on a field trip to Birmingham. As part of the Honors program, I was able to present a scientific research paper at an out-of-town conference. I was even enticed overseas several times during spring break trips to Europe, where I earned credits as I explored new countries with classmates and teachers. To be honest, I loved my years at Chattanooga State so much that I feel a wave of nostalgia every time I pass campus on the walking trail at the Riverpark or stop in to say hello to former professors. This was where I grew up and learned about the world beyond my little circle.

I went on to earn a bachelor’s and then a master’s degree, and now I teach third grade at a local public school. Some of my former students (and many of their parents) are also reaping the benefits of a Chattanooga State education. When I tell my students they can do anything if they set their minds to it, I know I am passing on a legacy that began for me here… at Chattanooga State.