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News: Roane State student, 45, has loved college experience

News: Roane State student, 45, has loved college experience

Lori Lee Staton

May 10, 2018

By Bob Fowler
Roane State staff writer

Lori Lee Staton admits she was not your typical Roane State Community College student. "That's what makes me love this experience even more," the Cookeville resident says.

Staton says she's been known by some fellow students at Roane State's Cumberland County campus as the lady with the heavy handbag in which she lugged around textbooks and other items.

Often, she says, fellow students - most years younger - offered to tote the bag for her. "The students here are so caring and have manners beyond what I expected," said Staton, who has been a professional photographer for several years.

"I thought it would be difficult to be taking classes with 18- to 20-year-old students, but they make me feel appreciated and respected," Staton said. "My love of people and education brought me back into the college setting."

Staton, 45, finished Roane State this spring, and she plans to transfer next fall to either the University of Tennessee or Tennessee Tech and seek a bachelor's degree in psychology.

Long-term, she said, she'd like to be in private practice as a psychologist or counselor. "I want to help people who are experiencing such challenges as depression, relationship difficulties or addiction."

Staton said she's been a professional photographer for years. "I love capturing the inner beauty of people."

Staton graduated from Cookeville High School in 1990, and she had considered college for years. A change of direction in her life spurred her to take that step.

She said she decided to enroll at Roane State and commute to Crossville in part because it's less expensive. She said she now knows she made the right decision.

"I absolutely love Roane State," she said. "It's like a family, is what it feels like. Everyone seems to want to be here, and the professors are willing to do anything they can to help."

Staton worked as a part-time writing tutor in the campus's Learning Center. Ann Berry, head of the center, "helped me in writing," Staton said. Staton said she went on to excel in the college's two writing courses and received the tutoring job offer.

"I love being a tutor," she said, "and as soon as I arrive on campus, I feel like I have come home."

To learn more about Roane State’s Cumberland County campus, visit or call (931) 456-9880. Remember, eligible adults can now attend Roane State tuition-free with the new Reconnect grant. Learn more at

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