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News: Chadwick, Emch are Roane State's 2016 Outstanding Alumni

News: Chadwick, Emch are Roane State's 2016 Outstanding Alumni

Dec. 14, 2016

A healthcare expert and a leading geospatial scientist are Roane State’s Outstanding Alumni for 2016.

The recipients are Lisa Chadwick of Knoxville, Director of Risk Management for Functional Pathways in Knoxville, and Dr. Whitney Emch with the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency.

Chadwick graduated magna cum laude from Roane State in 1991 with an associate degree in nursing. She also holds a bachelor’s degree from Berry College and a master’s degree in health services administration from the University of St. Francis.

“It wasn’t until I had graduated and was working in the ICU that I realized the value of my Roane State education,” Chadwick said. “We were better prepared to provide bedside care and use critical thinking skills than any other graduate from any of the other local schools of nursing.  When I transitioned into a hiring position I would always look at the Roane State graduates first, knowing the quality of classroom, clinical, and skills lab preparation would yield RNs eager to step into the workforce ready to learn.” 

Lisa Chadwick

After Roane State, Chadwick became a nurse in Intensive Care at Methodist Medical Center. She eventually became manager of Oncology and advanced to positions of increasing responsibility within the Covenant Health System. In her role with rehabilitation and therapy provider Functional Pathways, Chadwick developed the risk management program for 125 national facilities serviced by the company.

Chadwick has helped organize Relay for Life events that benefit the American Cancer Society and been a longtime supporter of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She has participated in several of the society’s half-marathons as a runner and by assisting with the water stations.

Chadwick has volunteered for Remote Area Medical, an organization that provides free care to underserved communities, and supported Knox Area Rescue Ministries and annual PBS telethons. Chadwick’s greatest joy has come from three medical mission trips to Nicaragua and Honduras.

“This was probably the most rewarding thing I have ever done as a nurse,” Chadwick said. “The people there are so very grateful to have someone provide care and show concern.”

Chadwick’s former nursing instructor and colleague at Methodist Medical Center, Karen Wilken, said of Chadwick,  “She is level-headed in emergencies, resourceful, versatile, and considerate of others.  Many graduates of the Roane State program have benefited from having had the opportunity to be mentored by Lisa. She has served as a positive role model in the most challenging of situations.”

Dr. Emch, a 1995 graduate of Roane County High School, studied at Roane State from 1995-1997 before transferring to Middle Tennessee State University where she earned her bachelor’s degree in geology. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in geology from the University of Tennessee. Dr. Emch credits Roane State and her childhood friend’s father, Dr. Pete Charton, for sparking her interest in geology.

“My experience at Roane State was really the foundation of my future career,” Dr. Emch said. “I had great professors, like Dr. Pete Charton, Dr. Gary Heidinger, and Dr. Don Miller who introduced me to geology and anthropology. The Southwest Field trip was the highlight of my time at Roane State and really pushed me into wanting to major in geology and archaeology at MTSU. I also had a great experience working in the Roane State cafeteria with Berlin and Elma Lea Hood. When I found out Roane State was designated a Center for Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences, I knew I had to work with them. I have enjoyed my time engaging with the students and with Pat Wurth, who has done so much for the GIS program and her students. I am so thankful for everything that Roane State has done for me, and I am honored to be recognized by them.”

Dr. Whitney Emch

Dr. Emch began working for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (NGA) in 2008 as a Visiting Scientist.  She served as a Project Scientist and Branch Chief in NGA’s Basic and Applied Research Office prior to her current role where she is responsible for test and evaluation of new and emerging GEOINT technology and tradecraft solutions in support of the warfighter.

Dr. Emch is the recipient of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Meritorious Unit Citation, DNI Science and Technology Team Award, multiple NGA Meritorious Unit Citations, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency Service Chief Fellow, the National System for Geospatial-Intelligence (NGS) Imagery and Geospatial Sciences Team of the Year Award, the NSG Imagery and Geospatial Sciences Project Scientist of the Year Award, and the Civilian Global War on Terrorism Medal.

Dr. Emch was named by President Obama as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. She is currently working with the college as part of the college’s designation as a Center for Academic Excellence in Geospatial Sciences.

Tennessee’s Community Colleges is a system of 13 colleges offering a high-quality, affordable, convenient and personal education to prepare students to achieve their educational and career goals in two years or less. All colleges in the system offer associate degree and certificate programs, workforce development programs and transfer pathways to four-year degrees.

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