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Mallory Risner

Mallory Risner's path to obtaining her associate of science degree from Motlow is one of sheer determination and like the English idiom, can be described as - the third time's a charm.

She began taking classes in the fall of 2004, right after graduating from Tullahoma High School. She describes her first attempt, "I was only enrolled for one year before becoming discouraged with furthering my education due to a lack of self-confidence, maturity and motivation."

Her second attempt ended after two life-changing events. Her sister, who was also a former Motlow student, was killed in a car accident and soon afterwards Mallory was faced with the challenges of raising a child as a single parent.

She said, "A year and a half later I found myself with nothing to show from my last attempt at college. Ironically, I gained a new boost of confidence to finish what I had started." She recalled thinking to herself, "If I can live through the death of my sister and giving birth to a child then surely I can pass college algebra."

Mallory returned to Motlow as an adult student, conquered her math requirements and began to focus on her passion - art. At this point she promised herself, "To try my very best to succeed at what I had failed at before."

That is exactly what she did. Mallory excelled in the art program at Motlow. She plans to transfer to a university to continue her art education. She explained, "I have been lucky enough to work with children in Tullahoma City Schools for two years. This lead me to realize the importance of helping children find the courage to believe in themselves and them find something that I once lacked."

Mallory credits her art instructor Brian Robinson for her success and her desire to help others. She said, "Watching him work with his students and seeing the time he dedicated to helping them develop their talent is extremely commendable."

At the student recognition awards ceremony in the spring, Mallory was the recipient of the Humanities Departmental Award in Art. She was recognized for her determination and dedication.

Debbie Zimmerman, chair of department, shared a statement from her instructor, "Since Mallory's return to Motlow she has been an inspiration to other students in her classes. She has helped set the bar higher with her projects and with her insightfulness in critiques. I look forward to following her career in the arts and I feel confident that she will make a great art educator."

After graduation Mallory said, "I cannot express how much my time here has meant to me. Motlow enabled me to learn while raising my child and working two jobs. My professors, classes and fellow students have left an impact on me that will last a lifetime."