Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

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

As the senior class Valedictorian and the first National Merit Scholar from my high school, I enjoy the challenge of balancing rigorous AP classes while singing in my school’s Madrigal elite show choir and attaining All East honor choir status. I also enjoy learning to use drafting techniques and tools in real-world applications as part of my county’s FRC Robotics team. As both Student Council and French Club president I strive to bring a more globalized thought process to my peers. To that effect, it was under my leadership, and the club’s enthusiastic response, that a Europe trip, open to both of my county high schools, was proposed and brought into reality. I was also elected as Treasurer for the newly formed International Student Travel Club, where we fundraiser to help students who wouldn’t be able to afford the trip otherwise. I have spent the past two summers working as a lifeguard at the local waterpark saving to pay my own way to Europe. I balanced work with my acceptance and attendance of the Tennessee’s Governors School for Computational Physics at Austin Peay University. Growing up as a United States Marine’s daughter, I spent most of my younger years traveling around the country, creating connections, and opening my mind to the bigger picture. Through the extensive travel I know that students everywhere can be judgmental, so I now spend my days speaking as an EPIC anti-bullying representative in front of not only my 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 I know well that ignorance can lead to misconceptions, so I speak out against quick judgments and encourage students to be the best they can be. Weekends I spend with my family, the youth leadership organization at the local chamber of commerce and volunteering around the city in my position as Miss David Crockett High School. While standing as Treasurer of my school’s Key Club, Civinettes, as well as Beta Club, food drives, peer tutoring, clothes drives, and organizing fundraisers for the school’s relief funds are just a few of the things I do to better my communit

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

I am the captain of the Scholars’ Bowl, Science Bowl, and Science Olympiad teams and a member of the U.S. FIRST Robotics team at my high school. I attended the Governor’s School for Computational Physics where I gathered a group of students to build and program a robot during our free time. Whether I am watching the travel channel or visiting countries around the world, I enjoy learning about and indulging in different cultures. In my free time, I pursue art projects such as making seashell earrings for my mom, creating and sewing pillows for friends, burning a wooden plaque for my 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.