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Maria Cornelius




WRITER/EDITOR | MOXLEY CARMICHAEL

Maria Cornelius is a writer at Moxley Carmichael. She is also an editor. But in addition to that, she is an adventurer who continuously takes the back roads. She (with the help of her jeep) always tries to find the road less traveled. “I love the back roads,” she explained. “There is a back way to everything, and I discover new ones every day. In my early career while working for the newspaper, I drew night police reporter assignments. I had been in town for only a few weeks. This was pre-GPS and smartphones. We read maps while driving at a relatively fast speed at night to get to the scene of the wreck, crime, fire, etc. On my days off, I drove all over the greater Knoxville area. I learned all the major thoroughfares and then the secondary ones and then back ways. East Tennessee is full of beautiful back roads. Everyone should get out and find them. They will always be my favorite path to take.”

In addition to the scenic route, Cornelius appreciates many other aspects of Knoxville as well. “I appreciate the fact that Knoxville can be both urban and rural in the span of a 15-minute drive,” she said. “I can take advantage of all the amenities of a city, or if preferred, I can be on a country road passing pastures, barns and silence. Additionally, I enjoy college sports, so living in Knoxville is ideal. The Vols and Lady Vols are a major reason that I have stayed here. Also, a college campus provides access to the interesting people that inhabit UT in both sports and academics. When I first came to Knoxville, I thought I would only be here for one summer. And 30 years later, I am still here.”

The community she calls home is important to Cornelius, and she uses every opportunity she can to give back. “I always try to be available to volunteer, available to mentor young writers and available to listen,” she said. “I also regularly encourage people to be kind and do what is right. Remember those who helped you along the way. You didn’t get where you are all by yourself. I still maintain contact with a lot of people I covered as a reporter and former colleagues. Past relationships are important. Giving back and being kind are two of the most important aspects in life.”

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