Back to StaffDerquazia Smartt

Derquazia Smartt

College Advancement Mentor, serving students at Hixson High, and Chattanooga State

In her role as a College Advancement Mentor, Derquazia, works with Hamilton County seniors in the Gateway Scholars Program. She helps seniors navigate the college admissions process, and further assists them by identifying and addressing any financial, academic, and or personal barriers that may impact a student’s collegiate journey. In understanding the need for mentorship beyond the initial admittance process, Derquazia will work with students through their second year of college offering encouragement and guidance to support the social, emotional, and academic needs of students. She works directly with Hixson High School students and Chattanooga State Community College. In her current role, she hopes to transform students’ understanding, interaction, and overall experience within the college process.

Upon graduation from Middle Tennessee State University, Derquazia worked in the legal field for years. Her personal educational journey coupled with her undergraduate degree in criminal justice led to her volunteer experience. She served as a College Panel Facilitator with The Howard School’s Work-Based Learning Program for years after graduating high school and continued this volunteer work throughout her collegiate journey! Hamilton County’s Juvenile Court welcomed her as a Court Appointed Special Advocate in late 2017, where she gave a voice to many of the city’s youth who found themselves battling placement issues. Aside from this, she actively volunteers with Boys & Girls Clubs of Chattanooga and offers individualized tutoring to Hamilton County students. She is a recent graduate of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Master’s in Public Administration program.

In her spare time, Derquazia, enjoys reading, going to the gym, spending time with her family, and traveling.