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News: Roane State Success Coach understands student needs

News: Roane State Success Coach understands student needs

Sonya Thomas

Feb. 5, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

CROSSVILLE, Tenn. – As a Success Coach at Roane State’s Cumberland County campus, Sonya Thomas has her hands – and her appointment book - full.

The popular success coach program at Roane State was launched in March 2016. It’s been so successful that the college is hiring more coaches to help new students as they adapt to collegiate life.

Success coaches guide and mentor students throughout their Roane State experience, providing assistance and advice on everything from enrollment to financial aid, from scheduling classes to helping explore potential careers.

Thomas started her work as a success coach when the program was launched but has been with the college for 11 years, previously working as a financial aid analyst and as a secretary in the math and science department. She started her Roane State career as a front-line staff member at the Campbell County campus.

She’s also a Roane State graduate who enrolled when she was 28. With that diverse background, “I understand the needs of our students,” she said. “I know what new students should be asking.”

She communicates with her students through texting, emails, office calls and appointments – plenty of appointments.

Most of her responsibilities involve traditional students entering Roane State after high school. “They’re just starting their life plans, and I’m not surprised if those plans change,” she said.

For those undecided about career goals, Thomas said she suggests general education classes and then encourages students to pursue studies where there’s “a flicker of interest.”

Thomas lives in Harriman and has worked at several Roane State campuses. She says the Cumberland County site “is a special campus” where there are now more than 500 students enrolled.

“I’ve felt from the beginning that there is unique support system here.”​

To learn more about academic programs at the Cumberland County campus, call (931) 456-9880.

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