Haslam Scholars

2015 Haslam Scholars Program Finalists Announced

We are delighted to announce the 2015 Haslam Scholar Finalists. See below for a full list of the finalists, their interests, and a short excerpt from their personal statements.


Jasmine BlueJasmine Blue
Brentwood High School
Brentwood, TN
English and Communications

From a young age I have been instilled with a sense of purpose through my faith and family. I believe in the power of my experiences to help me move forward and grow in life. Playing lacrosse and being a student council representative in the past as well as a member of National Honor Society, National English Honor Society and Science National Honor Society have taught me the importance of honoring commitments, practicing cooperation, having vision and growing my leadership skills. Being a Girls State delegate and a reporter for my school newspaper has inspired me to be more vocal and inquisitive. Outside of school, working at Krispy Kreme and American Eagle Outfitters has helped me to learn how to pursue excellence even when completing routine tasks. During my leisure time, two of my favorite hobbies, reading and writing, challenge me to be more introspective and imaginative, to believe the impossible and aspire to reach new heights. Last but not least, serving in my church through children’s and outreach ministries has ignited my heart with compassion and empathy like never before. On the brink of my high school graduation, I am closer to finding my purpose because I know that my experiences have laid a solid foundation for the rest of my life.


Katya Bobrek Katya Bobrek
Bearden High School
Knoxville, TN
Biology and Global Studies

Over my four years at Bearden High School, I have been active with Student Council, becoming Student Body Treasurer my senior year. I am also a part of my school’s television broadcast station, Model UN, and Key Club. For fifteen years, I have been studying ballet and performing with the Tennessee Conservatory of the Fine Arts. My senior year I conducted research with the help of a professor in the UT biomedical engineering department. I love to travel (most recently, Brussels) and learn new languages (most recently, a little bit of Portuguese) and hope to continue these passions in college. At the University of Tennessee, I plan to pursue my interests in biology and international relations with a future in perhaps international or environmental law.

Max Burzinski
Max Burzinski
Washington County Technical High School
Hagerstown, MD
Biomedical Engineering
I’ve always loved science and have been curious to learn how things work, whether it’s a machine, electronics, or the human body. I often ask my parents to set aside broken computers and VCRs so I can take them apart and use the components for new projects. Recently, I created a working model of the human hand and used it during a presentation on the biomanufacturing of human proteins and the development of prosthetics throughout history at a U.S. Senate caucus in Washington, D.C. In addition to my love for science, I am the captain of my school’s Mock Trial team, I play three instruments (French horn, piano, and saxophone), and have performed in the marching and jazz bands throughout high school. I am also valedictorian of my graduating class and have enjoyed working as a recruiter for my school’s Biomedical Sciences program.

Alayna Cameron
Alayna Cameron
Cookeville High School
Cookeville, TN
Chemical Engineering
In my life as a high school student, I have participated in National Honors Society, National Spanish Honors Society, Leo Club, and Young Democrats. I have also served as the secretary of Interact and a member of the student leadership team of FCA. Also, I was elected as the state vice president for Mu Alpha Theta in which I will be helping to coordinate and organize the Tennessee Mu Alpha Theta convention. We are also coordinating a middle school math competition known as the Mini-Mu convention where we hope to engage the younger generation in mathematics. Additionally, I was awarded as the Rotary Student of the Month in November of 2014 and as an AP scholar with distinction. Furthermore, I was chosen to sing in the MTVA choir both years that I participated in high school chorus and to attend Girls’ State. Aside from school life, I enjoy playing piano and the ukulele, singing, knitting and crocheting, and volunteering with Rising Above ministries, an organization which seeks to help parents and members of the special needs community.

emily-diehlEmily Diehl
Owen J Roberts High School
Pottstown, PA
Industrial Engineering
Extraordinary has always been my favorite word because it gives hope to those of us who find ourselves extremely typical. Extraordinary means being able to be or do a little extra in order to reach beyond the ordinary in our lives to gain an experience that will last a lifetime. Throughout high school, I have found that it is the little things that matter the most. Extraordinary are the friendships I’ve formed on my ice hockey and rowing teams that will be remembered long after the ordinary results of the games or regattas are forgotten. Extraordinary is the sense of accomplishment and independence realized from branching out beyond the ordinary summer comforts of friends and family, to enroll in a challenging collegiate preparatory program for 5 weeks at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN. Extraordinary is the understanding that comes from the interactions with different ages and cultures- an understanding that I have gained from my research at the MIT AgeLab as well as my involvement in service activities such as Side by Side. History is full of ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things, and as I continue my education at University of Tennessee, I hope to become one of them.

ainsleyAinsley Ellington
Alcoa High School
Alcoa, TN
Chemical Engineering
I am the girl who does it all. Throughout my high school career, I have engaged in a plethora of strenuous courses; my efforts and love for learning have paid off as I am the top student in my graduating class. Like my peers, I have participated in a multitude of extracurricular activities: from playing three varsity sports throughout all four years of high school, being part of and having leadership roles in a multitude of clubs, and logging hundreds of hours of community service. My peers though were given a luxury that I was simply not graced with—that of coming from financially pronounced homes. I have been working two jobs since I was sixteen, adding another thirty plus hours weekly to my already strenuous work load. I am also a student leader in my youth group; children have always held a place in my heart. In my spare time, I love to be outside. I am utterly amazed with the outdoors as an avid hiker, backpacker, and world-class sunset watcher. I would love, one day, to hike the Appalachian Trail. My love for travel also speaks monuments of my goals. So far, I have done missions abroad in India and Italy, and I hope my desire to help those less fortunate never ceases. I look forward to studying abroad in addition to continuing international missions. For as long as I am able, I hope to study and learn new languages in order to gain a glimpse into new cultures through the eyes of native speakers. I hope to study chemical engineering in the fall at the University of Tennessee, and I am anxiously awaiting the challenges ahead.

Daniel EspeyDaniel Espey
Central Magnet School
Smyrna, TN
My name is Daniel Espey, and I love mysteries and unanswered questions. Learning, discovering, and inventing new concepts, ideas, and machines thrills me. I love challenges and figuring out how to overcome the obstacles in front of me. I intend to major in Physics at UT so that I can learn the mechanisms that the universe works upon. Now, I’m not just a geek confined to mental gymnastics, not by any stretch of the imagination. I love movies, games, and books; I love Shakespeare, fountain pens, and romantic period piano; I love my family, my brother especially, and my dog. I love tutoring other students when they need help in a subject, and have a large amount of experience tutoring students with autism. I am an optimist tempered by hope, a thinker driven by dreams. I want to change the world and leave it a better place than how it was when I came into it.

Brianna Fiala
Merrol Hyde Magnet School
Hendersonville, TN
Growing up with a brother diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, I always had an innate love for taking care of others. Taking the next step to secure my passion, I took a part-time job after school at Senior Helpers, an in home healthcare company that services the elderly and disabled. Realizing my love lied in the medical field, I began volunteering at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital with patients ranging from the oncology clinic to the intensive care unit. There, I found myself in a passionate romance with loving others. Because of this, I will be majoring in nursing starting in the fall of 2015. While taking nearly all honors and AP Courses, I have maintained a 3.95 GPA throughout high school. Starting at Merrol Hyde in the second grade, I have grown academically at the number one school in Tennessee. President of DECA, Pillar Captain of one-fourth of the student body, and varsity cheer captain, I have learned the importance of teamwork and served as an example to those around me.

Katie Fowlkes
Katie Fowlkes
Farragut High School
Knoxville, TN
Finance and International Business
My intended major at the University of Tennessee is Finance and my goal is to one day lead a major company. What sparked my interest in business development of innovative products was my participation at the Tennessee Governor’s School for Business and IT Leadership. This valuable learning experience taught me how to create a working business plan, and I had the opportunity to serve as CFO of our mock corporation. Due to a wide array of interests, I have devoted much of my time to extracurricular activities such as state and national competitions for the Technology Student Association (TSA) and Ethics Bowl. I learned more about business development through TSA because we, in a team setting, discovered a need and designed an assistive device for those with moderate to severe arthritis. In addition my four years in Ethics Bowl have proven valuable to me, as it has taught me how to critically analyze moral issues from a variety of perspectives.

payton-garlandPayton Garland
David Crockett High School
Limestone, TN
Biomedical Engineering
Payton Garland enjoys the challenge of the AP classes that earned her the titles Valedictorian and National Merit Scholar, all while singing in her school’s Madrigal elite show choir and attaining All East honor choir status. She also enjoys learning to use drafting techniques and tools in real-world applications as part of her school’s FRC Robotics team. As both Student Council and French Club president she strives to bring a more globalized thought process to her peers. Organizing the school’s pep-rallies and volunteering as a peer tutor, she also helped bring about a Europe trip open to both her county high schools, and acts as Treasurer for the newly formed International Student Travel Club. She spent the past two summers working as a lifeguard at the local waterpark saving to pay her own way to Europe. She balanced work with her acceptance and attendance of the Tennessee’s Governors School for Computational Physics at Austin Peay University the summer prior to her senior year. As a United States Marine’s daughter, she spent most of her younger years traveling around the country, creating connections, and opening her mind to the bigger picture. Through the extensive travel she knows that students everywhere can be judgmental, so she now spends her days speaking as an EPIC anti-bullying representative in front of not only her high school, but the local Middle and Elementary schools as well, in an effort to encourage students to break out of their box and be more than a label. As a long standing type 1 diabetic she knows well that ignorance can lead to misconceptions, so she speaks out against quick judgments and encourages students to be the best they can be. Weekends she spends with her youth leadership organization at the local chamber of commerce and volunteering around the city in her position as Miss David Crockett High School, standing as Treasurer of her school’s Key Club, Civinettes, as well as Beta Club. Food drives, clothes drives, and organizing fundraisers for the school’s relief funds are just a few of the things she does to better her community.

Sophie Grosserode
Sophie Grosserode
Science Hill High School
Johnson City, TN
Writing, Journalism, and Political Studies
My name is Sophie Grosserode, and I’m from Johnson City. I go to Science Hill High School, where I spend my time involved in the band and the forensics team. I play flute in the band, which I’ve always enjoyed because of the challenge/reward process of studying music, as well as the teaching and leadership opportunities I’ve had through marching band. My favorite events to compete in forensics tournaments are original oratory and TV/radio broadcasting, though I certainly have fun with the more theatrical side of things as well. My favorite subject in school is definitely English, closely followed by history, especially studied from a government/economic standpoint. When I’m not in school, I like to be involved with my church, fueling my interest in theology and philosophy. In my spare time, I like to write, visit new places, and research material for political progressive club with my friends. My passions lie in all type of written and spoken word, travel, politics, and education. Currently, I am most excited to go to college!

Adam HasanAdam Hasan
Bearden High School
Knoxville, TN
I am currently serving on the Knox County Board of Education in the capacity of Student Representative, a position which has deepened my interest in education policy. For the past four years, I have served my school as Class President, and this year I also serve as yearbook editor. In addition to founding the Constitution Club and Model UN, I am the skip (captain) of my high school’s curling team and a business lead on my school’s robotics team. In 2013, I attended the Governor’s School for International Studies, as well as Boys State in 2014. I have served my community by fund-raising for Second Harvest Food Bank, volunteering at the Love Kitchen, and volunteering at the Pond Gap Community School. In my spare time, I am a home coffee roaster and a math tutor. My academic goals are studying economics/public policy and pursuing a degree in law.

Brent HurstBrent Hurst
Sequatchie County High School
Dunlap, TN
Electrical Engineering
I’ve been dual-enrolled at UT-Chattanooga since the summer after my sophomore year and will graduate from high school with 44 hours, having taken math through Calculus III and having completed the requirements for a minor in Spanish. I love math and linguistics, and because helping other people is one of our biggest obligations, I tutor in those subjects. Outside the classroom, I’m a part of the student council and play soccer for my high school, and I radio broadcast football, basketball, baseball, and softball games. I’m also a very active member of the Bethel Church of Christ.

(1) Anna Johnson - Google ChromeAnna Johnson
Hutchison School
Memphis, TN
Political Science, Language, and World Business
My interest in foreign policy prompted me to attend Governor’s School for International Studies in 2013. The following summer, I attended St. Albans School of Public Service, a four week, residential public policy program in Washington, D.C. and interned with Justine Magazine. At school, I serve as Vice President of the Honor Council, co-vice president of Rogers Scholars, a club dedicated to educating Hutchison students on Memphis issues, and lead Global Ambassadors. Additionally, I am the co-captain of Hutchison’s track team and a four year varsity track athlete. When I’m not at school or on the track, I enjoy hanging out with my cat, Teddy, frequenting coffee shops, and baking French macarons.

Aamna KabaniAamna Kabani
East Hamilton School
Chattanooga, TN
Global Studies and Pre-Med
I am cosmopolitan- not because I know of every fact about the world’s countries and its people, but because I embody an open-mind, a worldly perspective that allows me to practice global citizenship. I am humane, because if I were a superhero, I would be an Empath- not the kind that can absorb other superheroes’ powers but the kind that can absorb and understand the emotions of others. This “superpower” is the key to humanism, and the purest act of humanism is service- my life’s greatest purpose and dedication. I am transcendentalist. I believe that man embodies an instinctive conscience to do the right thing-always. It’s this instinct that allows me to remain completely intrinsic. I set my own expectations and goals. I don’t need material incentives to accomplish something. I am my own motivation. And this belief of faith within myself is the key intention in everything I pursue. Although only a few, being cosmopolitan, humane, and transcendentalist are some of the most integral qualities that make me who I am. Because of these attributes, I will pursue international development, policy-making, and health studies so that I am able to serve communities relentlessly through sustainable initiatives across multiple areas including education, health, and economic opportunity. Whether it be through my own social enterprise or presenting my research at a health summit or serving in the Peace Corps, my universal identity, passion for service, humanistic ideals, and belief that the strongest inspiration lies within man’s core will allow me to empower societies and improve quality of lives worldwide. On a side note, I am also an avid baker and enjoy deliciously unhealthy sweets. Along with my desire to help global communities, I hope to intertwine my obsession of creating desserts with philanthropy, an arduous task I am currently researching.

Matthew Lamsey
Signal Mountain High School
Signal Mountain, TN
Biomedical Engineering
I enjoy following my intellectual curiosity inside and outside of the classroom. Whether rock climbing with my friends, organizing a student-led jazz band, refereeing local soccer matches, or serving as an officer in several school organizations, I strive to excel in all that I do. In college, I plan to study biomedical engineering and look forward to performing research in the areas of prosthesis and the development of artificial tissue.

JL 65Jack Larimer
O’Fallon Township High School
Belleville, IL
Astrophysics and Public Policy
I am Jack Larimer, a senior at O’Fallon Township High School, located right outside of St. Louis. I spend my free time during the school year trying to be involved in my community and school as much as possible. I am president of my school’s chapter of Fellowship of Christian Athletes, a leader in my church’s youth group, and run cross country for my school. I also spend my time working as a representative in my school’s student council, planning and running a bi-annual retreat through the club HOPE, in which I am also an officer, and helping out with my schools robotics team. All the time that I am not wrapped up in school work or clubs, I am playing basketball with my friends, working out, or relaxing at home. In the summer, I am a counselor at a summer camp in Ozark, Illinois for five weeks. In that time away from home, I teach children from ten to fifteen years old how to ride horses, in addition to looking after seven to nine year olds in the evening. With a degree in physics and public policy from the University of Tennessee, I hope to advise political candidates on issues of science and technology, working towards my goal of becoming an executive in NASA or a United States Congressman.

Jordan LeithJordan Leith
Arlington High School
Arlington, TN
Biomedical Engineering
I think I would be lying by omission if I did not mention how quirky I am. At any given moment, I am prone to break out in 80’s music using a lovely, if not antagonizing, falsetto to boost morale. I embarrass myself to get others to smile. I commit fashion faux pas to emphasize that what you wear does not define who you are. All quirks aside, I am a person that loves humanity. I dream of working for Doctors Without Borders to help the poor and sick who are dehumanized because of diseases or conditions they cannot control. The thought of using engineering to design proactive solutions to seemingly hopeless medical conditions brings a smile to my face. I believe that even though we are just organic compositions of elements fated to deteriorate, our ideas, values, and actions live on. I want my legacy to take the form of kindness, compassion, and humor.

Jason LiangJason Liang
Collierville High School
Collierville, TN
Mathematics and Computer Science
I came from China about four years ago. In the beginning, I was a really shy boy because of my language barrier and stuttering problems, but my love for mathematics and good performances in math competition gradually gave me more confidence. My happiest moment in high school is when I got first place out of six hundred students in both FARMAT I and FARMAT II math exams in University of Tennessee. In order to involve in new culture here, I have run for Student Government Association (I am the SGA Secretary now) and joined the Speech and Debate Team. Also in my free time, I like playing my oboe, running 5k, and volunteering in the Library.

Lidwin_Haslam Yearbook PhotoMichael Lidwin
John Champe High School
Chantilly, VA
After attending the tight-knit community of a brand new high school, John Champe High School, I am honored to be considered for the tight-knit community of Haslam Scholars at UT. As an inaugural officer and President of my school’s Student Council and Key Club, I look forward to continuing my enthusiasm for community involvement through similar activities in college. I enjoy tutoring each week in my highschool’s Writing Center, as well as my former elementary school. While I will pursue a major in architecture, I love anything related to the arts, and have enjoyed acting in musicals, singing in my school’s small vocal ensemble, and spending countless mornings and study halls in the art room. Outside of school, I am often running, and recently finished the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon in October.

Lin PhotoLin Liu
Dobyns Bennett High School
Kingsport, TN
Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, and Computer Engineering
Lin is the captain of the Scholars’ Bowl, Science Bowl, and Science Olympiad teams and a member of the U.S. FIRST Robotics team at her high school. She attended the Governor’s School for Computational Physics where she gathered a group of students to build and program a robot during their free time. Whether she is watching the travel channel or visiting countries around the world, Lin enjoys learning about and indulging in different cultures. In her free time, Lin pursues art projects such as making seashell earrings for her mom, creating and sewing pillows for friends, burning a wooden plaque for her piano teacher, and spending hours making snow sculptures.

Catherine MooreCatherine Moore
Dyersburg High School
Dyersburg, TN
Agricultural Communications
I hope to utilize my passions and interests in Agriculture and Law to obtain a major in Agricultural Communications and a minor in Political Science. I look forward to becoming involved on campus and throughout the community in different organizations, especially the UT Farmers’ Market. After graduation, I plan to attend law school to become an Agricultural Lobbyist to be the voice of the 2.2 million farmers in America. During my free time, I enjoy geocaching with friends and playing tennis with family members.

Columbus High School
Columbus, GA
Supply Chain Management and Language
The summer after my sophomore year, volunteering as a research assistant to a German scientist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute on Barro Colorado Island, Panama redirected my goals in life towards working to learn more about the world outside of the United States and how I could equip myself to solve problems on a global scale. Eventually, this led to working with the indigenous Ch’orti Mayan community in Guatemala while producing a documentary on the cycle of poverty. This has been an integral part of my life in addition to my high school activities such as my role as a varsity lacrosse captain, public speaker at school recruiting events, and Vice President of the Georgia chapter of National Beta Club. At the University of Tennessee, I hope to continue my language studies and obtain a Business degree in supply chain management. As a Haslam Scholar, I would like to study policy and continue to work to combat the effects of poverty, and study abroad as much as possible. I also want to become fluent in French and Portuguese in addition to Spanish and English. One day, I want to work for the UN or establish an organization that effectively addresses the issues of extreme poverty.

Grant RigneyGrant Rigney
Tullahoma High School
Normandy, TN
Biomedical Engineering and Pre-Med
I am a professional musician who has won state and national championships on the fiddle and mandolin, performed over 400 concerts in more than ten different states with my family band, and released four CDs. Academically speaking, I am very eager to study engineering and medicine. More specifically, I desire to develop implantable surgical robotics that change the way we currently view the necessity of surgery, and I plan on implementing these developments as a surgeon. I am particularly passionate about using my own musical and academic blessings to serve others in the same way that I have been served in the past. In this desire, my family started a program, of which I am now the coordinator and teacher, which offers disadvantaged middle school students the opportunity to grow through learning how to play guitar at no cost to them. Looking past music, academics, and service, my identity is found solely in Jesus Christ. This fundamental definition of my life compels me to love everyone, serve the poor, and use what I am blessed with to the fullest extent possible in all aspects of my life.

Christopher Romanoski PictureChris Romanoski
Oak Ridge High School
Oak Ridge, TN
Aerospace Engineering
I have been blessed to be a part of a wonderful family with parents that support me in each and every adventure of my life, as well as three sisters who challenge and encourage me to live up to my full potential. I have always had a passion for solving problems, as I grew up tinkering with lawn mower engines and creating innovative ways to design engines out of spare plumbing and hardware parts. Through engagement in summer research programs, science fairs, and engineering-oriented clubs and competitions, I have nourished a keen love for engineering and the world of how things work. Inspired by one of mankind’s greatest stories of ingenuity, perseverance, and courage, I discovered my vocation as an aerospace engineer as I reproduced the Wright Brothers’ flight enabling wind tunnel experiments. Whether the future will find me engineering the next space module to take man to Mars, revolutionizing air travel, or designing geosynchronous satellites to broadcast a library of knowledge, I look forward to the adventure that awaits me in my career as an aerospace engineer. Although my fascination with flight has driven my desire to become an aerospace engineer, my life has been shaped the most by my identity as a Catholic. In every aspect of my life, from the baseball field to the classroom, my Catholic faith has been my foundation and source of strength. My involvement as a leader of Conquest, a program developed to engage middle school boys in their faith through community service, has given me the opportunity to live out my faith and exposed me to a higher call to serve others.

Julia-Scott-photoJulia Scott
Comenius School
Nashville, TN
Business and Biology
 My name is Julia Scott, and I am so excited to be a finalist for the Haslam Scholars Program. I have been homeschooled my entire life which has given me lots of time for the things I love: reading, sports, piano, volunteering, and relationships. I mentor a group of younger students throughout the year that I met coaching summer swim team. This experience has persuaded me that I would enjoy being a college professor, although I am currently undecided on a major. I am the Co-Captain of my varsity basketball team, and after being a swimmer for many years, I have loved playing a team sport where I can be an encourager on and off the court. I am interested in fitness and nutrition, and love to cook. My newest hobby is public speaking, something I have always been interested in, but never gotten to really pursue. I like to say that I am solar powered; I spend every day I can outside in the sunshine. My greatest strength is building community with the people around me. I am a natural leader and influential, but not bossy. I have a heart for service and volunteering, especially with underprivileged and needy people in my community. This heart has come from serving first in my church, then in a special needs student program, and then additionally using my Spanish in the Hispanic community. I cannot wait to go to college and open a whole new world of knowledge, people, experiences, and service opportunities. I am hopeful that should I come to UT, this school will broaden my local and global mindset, give me a community of diverse, motivated students, and help me achieve as a leader as well as a servant in our community.

VidushiSinha_SeniorPicVidushi Sinha
Germantown High School
Germantown, TN
Neuroscience, Pre-Medicine, and Spanish
I was born in India in 1997, moved to New Orleans, LA at the age of three, and have been living in Memphis, TN for the past fourteen years or so. I am a neat freak, a perfectionist, and an advisor to all. Of course, my resume can paint a somewhat accurate picture of my weekend affairs and extracurricular involvement. I do have some hobbies that are, in fact, not listed anywhere on my application. First of all, I love music. If I am at home, there’s a ninety five percent chance I’m listening to music. I play electric guitar and flute, and I’ve grown up in a family that loves to sing. Music is an incredibly powerful tool, and I will always treasure it dearly. Visual arts, a more abstract form of expression, is my way of relaxing and distancing myself from the chaos of the world. I spend a great deal of time reading psychology and neuroscience articles, watching TedTalks, and observing social interactions around me. It’s incredibly difficult for me to resist Crime and Mystery- whether it be a riveting Agatha Christie novel or a new episode of Castle. I’m currently in IB Spanish V HL and plan on pursuing a major in Spanish in conjunction with a Pre-Medical Concentration and/or Neuroscience. I cannot wait to begin my college expedition, and I sincerely hope it is at UTK.

patrick-sonnenbergPatrick Sonnenberg
Summit High School
Spring Hill, TN
Reflecting my affinities for cultural relations in our global community as well as addressing humanitarian issues and inequalities, I have been involved and held leadership positions in Spanish Club, French Club, Model UN, Youth in Government, Gay-Straight Alliance, and Habitat for Humanity. I am an avid language learner, earning gold, silver, and bronze medals in multiple National Spanish and French Exams. Academically, I strive for excellence, earning high grades, inclusion into the National Honor Society, and numerous Outstanding Student awards, as well as being named an AP Scholar with Distinction. Ultimately, I plan to apply my strong work ethic, language skills, travel experiences, and cultural connections to advocate for human rights and spread a message of equality and peace around the globe in several languages.

sosa-photoRomulo Sosa
Bolton High School
Lakeland, TN
Business, Economics, Spanish, Pre- law and Political Science
They say all roads lead to Rome. However without proper time for construction and planning, the trip may be severed by obstacles and stifled by uncertainties that present themselves along the way. From San Salvador, El Salvador to Memphis, Tennessee, I have stumbled upon unpaved paths and borders pronounced so differently than those of my home city. Yet, with ceaseless hard work, backed with humanitarian incentives, I have pushed forward and been successful through rigorous IB and AP schooling, yearly SGA presidential elections, and countless fundraisers for the assistance of cancer stricken families. Through my curt but meaningful experiences, I have sculpted a service-oriented mind, and know that wherever my passions may guide me, I will always be a helping hand and a leg up to those in need.

Jonathan PortraitJonathan Thomas
Christian Academy of Knoxville
Jellico, TN
If there is one phrase that sums up my life, it would be “Carpe diem!” or “Seize the day!” Growing up in the middle of nowhere, I have learned to take advantage of every opportunity. I have been blessed to travel the world, seeing the richest Chinese and the poorest Palestinians. I have listened to the stories of coal miner’s sons at the hardware store and slaved over projects on ISIS and Kurdistan at Governor’s School. My hands have bled playing piano for hours. With a college track team, I have run through burning heat, rains, and snowstorms. I have watched the sun bathe the Tennessee hills and have photographed the Milky Way in the Yosemite Valley. In the operating room, I have seen the birth of children and the resurrection of men. Every day holds a new adventure.

DevinWilliamsonHaslamPhoto copyDevin Williamson
White Station High School
Memphis, TN
Mechanical Engineering
Since I was little, my passion has been in math and science. My dream has always been to make new and innovative creations and learn more about the universe we live in. I am an avid member of the Build and Design team of my school’s award winning FIRST Robotics Team. My free time is spent reading science magazines, watching scientific documentaries, and obsessing over my favorite science-fiction movies and shows. On another note, I have also developed a passion for experiencing other cultures. I am in my fourth year in taking German and also the former German Club president. Meeting new people from all over, sharing experiences, and learning about different cultures has proven most rewarding. In the future, I hope to use my knowledge and abilities to create new technology to help people and to bring people together across cultural, social, and economic boundaries.

Haslam Scholars

Haslam Scholars Program Spring 2015 Speakers

January 23 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Lynn Sacco, History 

“Sex: A Brief History”

Lynn Sacco is a social and cultural historian whose research and teaching interests are in gender, sexuality, and popular culture, particularly in the U.S. from the end of Reconstruction (1877) to WW II. She practiced law in Chicago for 15 years before deciding to change careers. She received her PhD in US history from the University of Southern California in 2001 and came to UTK in 2004. Her first book, Unspeakable: Father-Daughter Incest in American History, was published by the Johns Hopkins University Press in 2009. She is currently at work on a new book that looks at cultural representations of children as erotic objects of adult desire.


February 6 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Ted Shelton, Architecture

“The Highway and the American City”


February 13 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Jeffrey Moersch, Earth and Planetary Sciences

“Results from the first (Mars) year of NASA’s Curiosity rover mission”


 February 20 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Dr. Mitchell Goldman, Medical Explorers

“Critical Limb Ischemia – A Personal Quest”

Mitchell H. Goldman, M.D., F.A.C.S, was named Chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine in July 1998. He was named Program Director of the General Surgery Residency Program in 1998. Dr. Goldman has been a dedicated member of the Department of Surgery since 1984. He is Assistant Dean for Research at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine. In March 2011, he was appointed Medical Director of the University of Tennessee Wound Care Center. He is actively involved the education of general surgery residents, e vascular fellows, medical students who rotate through the department and high school students who participate in his Medical Explorations Program, which he began in 1991. Since the inception of Medical Explorations, the program has grown to include over 40 students each summer and many participants have entered the medical field as physicians, nurses, and other allied health professionals.

He was an early member of the ASE, an active member of the APDS, President of the SAVS, and founding member of the International Society for Heart Transplantation. He helped develop the UT Center for Advanced Medical Simulation and serves on the Accreditation Committee for Educational Institutes of the ACS. His research centers on surgical education and intimal hyperplasia in vascular surgery. He is currently involved in coordinating efforts between faculty of UTK, UTCVM and the UT Graduate School of Medicine to enhance the biomedical research efforts in Knoxville.

Dr. Goldman received his undergraduate degree from Brandies University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He graduated from Harvard University Medical School in Boston and then entered Peter Bent Brigham Hospital in Boston for his general surgery residency. After his residency, Dr. Goldman spent four years of military service in the US Navy. He was then recruited by the Medical College of Virginia where he spent four years. Upon joining the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine faculty, he was appointed Professor and Chief of the Division of Vascular and Transplant Surgery. Dr. Goldman has received the Department of Surgery Faculty Teaching Award and the Spirit of Graduate School of Medicine Award for his dedication to teaching. Most recently he received the Knoxville Business Journal Health Care Heroes Award.



February 27 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Michael Buschermohle, Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science

“We Don’t Farm Today Like My Grandaddy Did”

Dr. Michael Buschermohle is a Professor in the Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science Department at The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, where he has more than 21 years experience with the University of Tennessee Extension. His educational background includes a B.S. degree in Agricultural Engineering from the University of Kentucky and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Agricultural Engineering from Clemson University. Dr. Buschermohle works with extension agents, producers and agribusinesses in developing and disseminating educational programs in the area of precision agriculture.


March 6 at 4 pm – Seminar Room or Toyota

Chad Hellwinckel, Agricultural & Resource Economics 

“The Importance of Place: Why the Land is calling the young to set down roots”

Chad is currently a research professor of Agricultural Policy at the University of Tennessee and has been an active supporter of permaculture and the local food movement in Knoxville for many years. He serves as Chair of the Knoxville Food Policy Council, led a successful campaign to legalize hens in the city, and has been converting a once-condemned house into an urban permaculture homestead. He has presented on permaculture to many audiences including a local TEDx and a Pecha-Kucha talk.

Chad received degrees from the University of Tennessee and St. Olaf College. He has worked at The Land Institute, in Salina Kansas, served as a Peace Corps volunteer in Panama, and worked with the US Forest Service in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. He founded the Knoxville Permaculture Guild and has facilitated the network for over 5 years.



March 11 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Louis Varriano Student Presentation 

“Potential Evidence of Mirror Dark Matter”

Louis Varriano is a second-year at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, and is studying physics with an interest in energy and science policy.  He has done research with Dr. Yuri Kamyshkov in the Department of Physics and Astronomy using a mirror matter model to explore effects on neutron lifetime measurements.  Louis is also heavily invested in promoting undergraduate research and science education at the University of Tennessee and in Knoxville.


March 25 at 7 pm – Seminar Room

Marianela D’Aprile Student Presentation

“A City Unfounded: Making, perceiving and representing public space in Buenos Aires”


 March 27 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Becky Jacobs, College of Law 

An International Perspective on Intellectual Property Law


April 10 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

John Sorochan, Plant Sciences

“Turfgrass Research focusing on Athlete Performance & Safety”

A native of Calgary, Alberta, Canada, Dr. John Sorochan began working on the grounds crew at Earl Grey Golf and Country Club in 1987. He received his Ph.D. in Turfgrass Science from Michigan State University in 2002, and is presently Associate Professor & Distinguished Scientist of Turfgrass Science and Management in the Plant Sciences Department at the University of Tennessee (UT). Dr. Sorochan is also the Co-Director for the UT Center for Athletic Field Safety. Dr. Sorochan is responsible for the department’s academic turf programs at both the undergraduate and graduate level and teaches several classes in the Turfgrass Science and Management Program. His research program coordinates investigations on environmental turf stress physiology including indirect heat, shade, drought, and wear stress for sports, golf course, and commercial and home lawn turf. A primary research focus is cool and warm season putting green management. His research also includes athletic field management, including athletic field performance and safety, athlete to surface interactions, new cultivar and species evaluation for management and use, sustainable strategies for reduced inputs, and residential turf and sod production. Since arriving at the University of Tennessee, Dr. Sorochan has given over 100 invited presentations at regional, national, and international professional meetings.

Formal Education:

Ph.D. – Michigan State University. 2002

MS – Michigan State University. 1999

BS – Michigan State University. 1995

AG Tech – Michigan State University. 1993


April 17 at 6 pm – Seminar Room

Michelle Brown, Sociology 

“Visualizing Justice: Images, Media, and Social Protest in the Carceral Era.”

Michelle Brown is Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Tennessee.  Her research interests include carceral studies; law & society; media, theory, and culture; and transformative justice.  She is the author of The Culture of Punishment: Prison, Society, & Spectacle (NYUP, 2009) and co-author of Criminology Goes to the Movies (NYUP, 2011).  She is co-editor of the forthcoming Routledge International Handbook of Visual Criminology (2016); Media Representations of September 11 (Praeger, 2003); and the journal Crime, Media, Culture.

The United States has seen the revitalization of a variety of community organizing and activist movements directed against mass incarceration, police brutality, state violence, and, broadly, the racial injustices of criminal justice.  This presentation explores the various ways in which community-based movements, grounded in the lives of those facing the highest levels of psychic and affective trauma, have taken shape – movements such as #BlackLivesMatter, #ShutItDown, #HandsUpDontShoot, and abolitionist and transformative justice efforts.  My research explores the ways in which organizers have developed and relied upon images and media to mobilize communities in the pursuit of justice.  Activists, organizers, and scholars have countered mass incarceration and the violence of the state through the use of blogs, twitter, facebook, and a variety of other new and old media to interrupt mainstream media narratives; consolidate scholarship, information and resources; and create local, national, and international networks. These tactics include the generation and use of a recurrent set of images, hashtags, actions, and posts about the nature of injury, harm, and accountability, contexts in which the foundational problems of criminal justice and its life and death stakes become visible momentarily.  We will think broadly about what it means to visualize justice otherwise and the role of citizens in creating their own images of alternative justice.


Chancellor's Honors

CHP Students are Fulbright National Finalists

200162It was announced yesterday in UT’s Daily Beacon that three honors students, David Morse, Chris Lutdka, and Kenna Rewcastle are student finalists for the Fulbright National scholarship program. David Morse is a student in the Chancellor’s Honors Program, and Chris Lutdka and Kenna Rewcastle are also Haslam Scholars. The Fulbright program is an international exchange program sponsored by the United States Government that is both prestigious and highly selective. It is named in honor of J. William Fulbright, who was a “prominent and gifted American statesman of the 20th century.”

Students who are awarded the Fulbright fellowship are eligible to teach english, study, or conduct research abroad for a full academic year. Others may teach English or work in a foreign government ministry or department.  According to the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, approximately 8,000 Fulbright national fellowships are awarded each year.





Chancellor's Honors

Honors Week Announced – Feb. 23rd – 28th


February 23rd through the 28th marks the Second Annual Honors Week celebration, a week of scheduled events that recognizes and brings together honors students across the campus and across all disciplines. The week also highlights the variety of opportunities for involvement in the Chancellor’s Honors Program.

Honors Week is hosted organized by the member of the Honors Council. The week includes a yoga night, a roundtable discussion of dean’s from all the the university’s colleges, a special lecture from a Chancellor’s Honors Program Alum, a movie night, and a day of service just to name a few.

You can see the entire schedule of events by traveling to the Honors Week page as well as Chancellor’s Honors Program’s Facebook page. Be sure to RSVP to let Honors Council know you plan to attend.

See you there!

Chancellor's Honors

Honors Student Highlighted for Activism Efforts

Alina Clay, a student in the Chancellor’s Honors Program and College Scholars, was highlighted today in The Daily Beacon regarding her efforts to create an inclusive campus atmosphere through activism, policy, and discourse.

From The Daily Beacon:

For Alina Clay, senior in College Scholars, activism is …

“Working with others to fight for a cause inherently bigger than yourself,” Clay said.

Currently, Clay is working toward a more civil and inclusive campus environment through her policy-centric student activism. Serving as co-director of Diversity Affairs, a member of Vice Chancellor for Diversity Rickey Hall’s advisory council and the Commission for Women, Clay strives to push initiatives which promote the discussion and recognition of privilege and diversity on campus, including the “Gender-Neutral Bathrooms” bill as well as an upcoming civility campaign.

Clay said her personal experience as a Russian-American influenced her understanding of diversity, stating it is made up of more than just superficial differences, a realization that has inspired her to practice student activism and promote understanding amongst students. Clay said using policy to protect marginalized groups is what motivates her to continue her work.

Clay said, “Because you understand that what you’re doing breaks from the status quo that traditionally discriminates against so many different people, that is what gives you the power to continue.”