Pellissippi State student honored as Coca-Cola Silver Scholar

Pellissippi State Community College student Mary Denman has been named a 2010 Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.

Pellissippi State Community College student Mary Denman has been named a 2010 Coca-Cola Silver Scholar.

Pellissippi State Community College student Mary Denman has been named a 2010 Coca-Cola Silver Scholar. She joins a select few community college students across the nation to receive such high-profile recognition for academic excellence. Her selection was based on scores earned in the All-USA Academic Team competition.

Students are nominated for the award by their community college president or campus CEO. Denman was nominated by Pellissippi State President Allen G. Edwards. Nominees must have a cumulative college-level Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.5 or better on a 4.0 scale. The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation supports college students with annual scholarships of approximately $3.4 million. As part of her recognition as a Coca-Cola Silver Scholar, Denman will receive $1,250.

“I am extremely honored and grateful to have been selected for this award,” said Denman, who will earn her Associate of Science degree at Pellissippi State next month.

During her time at Pellissippi State, Denman has not only excelled in academics, she has also been heavily involved in extracurricular activities, including campus recycling efforts. It was Denman who coordinated and operated the school’s participation in RecycleMania, a nationwide ten-week competition among colleges and universities to promote waste reduction. More than 10,000 pounds of recyclable materials was collected at Pellissippi State.

“I weighed it all myself,” Denman laughs.

“Mary’s focus on campus recycling has included not only the work of doing the collecting, sorting and cleaning, but also taking it upon herself to shop for the ‘best deals’ for the college in transferring the collected recyclables to a recycling company,” said Ann Kronk, Pellissippi State associate professor in Natural and Behavioral Sciences.

After graduating on May 7, the scholar will transfer to the University of Tennessee (UT), where she will study environmental engineering.

“It’s such a broad field. With environmental engineering, I can go into conservation, management, administration, research…even public relations,” explains Denman. “After I finish at UT, I plan to work in the Knoxville area for at least five years and then plan to work with the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency).”

And this is a young lady who is accustomed to planning.

“I’m from a family that falls below the poverty line,” Denman says. “My plan was to make my education as cost-effective as possible and to work very hard on obtaining scholarships. Pellissippi State was definitely a cost-effective local choice; everything transferred to UT, so it worked out perfectly. Plus, it’s an intimate place. The classes aren’t large, so I could interact on a deeper level with people, especially the faculty and staff who are really helpful.”

The Coca-Cola Scholars program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by Phi Theta Kappa International Honor Society, the largest honor society in American higher education.

To learn more about Pellissippi State, call 865-694-6400 or visit

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