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Haslam Scholars Receive Torchbearer Award

This originally appeared in the Haslam Scholars Program Spring Newsletter. To download the entire newsletter, please click here.

By Associate Director Dr. Sylvia Turner

This year the University of Tennessee recognized two Haslam Scholars for their exceptional academic achievement and service to others. Kenna Rewcastle and Julia Ross were named Torchbearers, the highest student honor conferred by the university.

Kenna, who is majoring in ecosystem ecology and biogeochemistry through the College Scholars program, is a member of SPEAK (Students Promoting Environmental Action in Knoxville) and a leader in the Undergraduate Research Student Association. She often assists with environmental and trail restoration, and co-organized the HSP’s Running with Hope 5K and Fun Walk, which benefited Redeeming Hope Ministries. She has conducted environmen- tal and ecological research in Denmark, China, and Switzerland. According to Nichole Fazio-Veigel, director of the Office of National Scholarships and Fellowships, “Ms. Rewcastle’s strength as a Torchbearer … is in her capacity to unite her exceptional intellectual capacity for success with a commitment to leadership and programmatic participation. With a leadership style that is bold, remarkably fearless, yet intuitive and sensitive, she has made terrific strides in raisingIMG_0374 awareness and advocating not only for undergraduate research, but also for other issues near to her heart.”

Julia, an economics major, is the founding president of UT’s chapter of the Roosevelt Institute, a national student initiative that promotes student activism and engagement in policy research and writing. An advocate for higher educational standards, she is an active member of the Baker Scholars, an honors program sponsored by the Howard H. Baker Jr. Center for Public Policy. Fazio-Veigel describes Julia as “a true change agent [who] has graciously and with profound commitment accepted the role of leading various efforts here at UT, but even more significantly has taken that leadership to the national level … Ms. Ross was selected as a White House intern, a highly competitive national opportunity to serve the current administration. She brought everything learned in her leadership roles at UT to bear upon service to the highest office in this nation. She supported an exemplary team of individuals in Washington, DC, responsible for managing the complex and as significant travel schedule for President Obama. On two occasions, Ms. Ross traveled with that team accompanying the president back to her home region—first to Atlanta and second on his most recent visit to East Tennessee.”

We are proud to have Kenna and Julia among the nine graduating seniors named Torchbearers this year.