published Monday, March 11th, 2013

Town Talk

"On Spaceship Earth there are no passengers; everybody is a member of the crew. We have moved into an age in which everybody's activities affect everybody else."

— Marshall McLuhan

  • photo
    Melissa Smith, of Chattanooga, holds her winning design for People Towels, a reusable cotton hand towel company.
    Photo by Contributed Photo /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Congratulations to Chattanooga native Melissa Smith, who recently won the Judge's Award in a paper towel designing contest sponsored by People Towels, a company that makes reusable cotton hand towels.

Smith, 23, a graduate of Tyner Academy and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, is presently a graduate student in the clinical psychology program at the University of Texas at Tyler.

Smith says that, regardless of the award, she doesn't consider herself an artist.

"It's just something that I play around with from time to time," she says. "I like designing things in Photoshop and I saw this contest on Facebook, so I thought I would give it a try."

The art contest was a joint competition between People Towels and the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program.

"They partnered with the Monterey Bay Aquarium and their Seafood Watch campaign to raise awareness of sustainable fishing," Smith says. "For my design (called "Tidal Change") I decided to go with something simple and I like turtles.

"I took art in high school, but that's really the extent of my training, other than that I've just done things on my own. It is a hobby."

Smith's design can be seen at

She also works in the computer lab on her Texas campus, where she tutors students with computer technical problems.

"Winning the contest hasn't really encouraged me to pursue art, but I will probably never stop making things in my spare time -- it's just something that I love doing," she says.

about Karen Nazor Hill...

Feature writer Karen Nazor Hill covers fashion, design, home and gardening, pets, entertainment, human interest features and more. She also is an occasional news reporter and the Town Talk columnist. She previously worked for the Catholic newspaper Tennessee Register and was a reporter at the Chattanooga Free Press from 1985 to 1999, when the newspaper merged with the Chattanooga Times. She won a Society of Professional Journalists Golden Press third-place award in feature writing for ...

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