This originally appeared in the Haslam Scholars Program Spring Newsletter. To download the entire newsletter, please click here.
By Colleen Ryan, Sophomore, Global Studies
This spring, a group of remarkable scholars will graduate. Each of them has made a significant impact on the University of Tennessee, from undergraduate research to involvement in student organizations. Within and among their cohorts, they have built relationships centered on academic and personal excellence—and, in the process, they helped to grow and strengthen the Haslam Scholars Program.
Will Barbour (biosystems engineering) says, “During my four years at UT, I have enjoyed all the opportunities of a large research university and close academic setting through the Haslam Scholars Pro- gram. These have enabled me to work across multiple disciplines and prepare myself for graduate school.” He has also been able to travel for research, study abroad, and service leadership. In the fall, he will be pursuing his PhD in civil engineering at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign.
John Burnum (computer science and physics) will be continuing his education, with plans to attend graduate school in education and ultimately become a teacher. He says he enjoyed learning with and from his fellow scholars, especially on his cohort’s trip to Costa Rica. “The Haslam Scholars Program has given me the opportunity to learn from far more people than I would without,” he said. “I have had opportunities to meet with ambitious stu- dents and faculty from other fields as well as ambitious and impactful people from beyond the academic community.”
Imani Chatman (ecology and evolutionary biology) will be attending medical school in the fall to prepare for a career as an obstetrician and has received offers from UT Health Science Center, East Tennessee State University, and Georgetown University. Her college experience was marked by her time as an orientation leader, as well as serving on the executive board of the Food Recovery Network. “I loved welcoming new students to the university, and I love serving the home- less people of the Knoxville community,” she said. For Imani, some of the greatest benefits of the HSP include not only the opportunity to interact with the best and brightest stu- dents at the University of Tennessee and the chance to do research abroad in China, but also the self-awareness that her time in the program has helped her to gain.
Marianela D’Aprile (architecture) says, “The true challenge of the program came from the discourse with my peers, who both challenged and encouraged me to be and do my best and to see the world from their eyes.” Marianela has been extremely involved in the College of Architecture and Design, including study abroad with the Finland Summer Architecture Institute in 2013, as well as founding the publication and student organization IMPRINT. Marianela plans to complete a Master of Science in architecture at either UC Berkeley or Yale and then earn a PhD. She will ultimately pursue an academic career in architecture that will also include curatorial and editorial practices.
Phoebe Fogelman (mechanical engineering) will be joining Savannah River Remediation in Aiken, South Carolina, a Department of Energy facility that eliminates environmental hazards and secures tanks that currently con- tain radioactive materials from nuclear power plants and Cold War weapons programs. From her time at UT, Phoebe says she will most remember serving as a resident assistant for the Governor’s School for Sciences and Engineering, integrating many aspects of her education into robotics design for her senior design project, and engaging with her fellow Haslam Scholars. “The Haslam Scholars Program has allowed me to maintain relationships with a group of peers that continuously challenges and encourages me to excel both academically and personally. I cannot imagine my college experience without having met them,” she says.
Shivani Goyal (psychology and Spanish) is excited about her plans to help end education inequality by joining Teach for America as a 2015 corps member at a school in Indianap- olis. She says her study abroad trips to Chile and Costa Rica provided her with unique experiences and helped her develop her Spanish speaking abilities. She also credits HSP as being a crucial part of her four years at UT. “The program has truly helped me to constantly challenge myself and achieve at my highest capacity in order to give back to the campus and the community,” she said.
Emma Hollmann (chemical engineering) says, “I would not be where I am if Dr. Riedinger had not introduced me to Dr. Zawodzinski sophomore year.” Through her work in Zawodzinski’s lab, Emma spent a summer researching in Italy and won a Goldwater Scholarship, but she also learned how to take herself seriously as a researcher and how to have fun in the face of frustration. “I appreciate that UT provides experiences that help us grow into the people we want to be by making us a bit uncomfortable and out of our comfort zone.” Emma will be heading to Vanderbilt University this fall to study targeted drug delivery in their chemical engineering PhD program.
Chris Ludtka (chemical engineering) says, “My favorite part of HSP has been getting close to and learning from my fellow scholars. My classmates are so successful and impressive, all in completely different and unique ways. Being around so many driven, intelligent peers helps open my eyes to possibilities and interconnections and makes me reflect on what I can do to become better as a person and scholar.” Chris plans to pursue a research fellowship in Germany before attending medical school.
Tyrel Prentiss (College Scholars) took a unique path at UT. His research in applied film analysis has largely focused on Disney films and their corresponding rides at Disney parks, and he completed an internship at Disney World last year. He says experiences such as interning at RIVR Media with Dee Haslam and studying abroad in Urbino, Italy,
were the most valuable for him. He also credits HSP for creating a community and allowing him to meet the best people UT has to offer. He plans to pursue an MFA in themed entertainment design at Savannah College of Art and Design and become an Imagineer for Disney, turning films into a theme park experience. Following graduation, he will take a position with Disney in Florida.
Kenna Rewcastle (College Scholars) will spend the first six months following graduation as a laboratory and field technician with UT’s Classen Ecosystem Ecology Laboratory. She will then seek another laboratory technician position, after which she plans to enter a PhD program in the fall of 2016. She hopes to either begin a research career in academia as an ecosystem ecologist or take a more applied research approach and seek out science advisor jobs. She says she gained connections; colleagues who serve as a great sounding board for potential ideas; and endless mental, emotional, physical and financial support from HSP to make her successes possible.
Julia Ross (economics) will join the White House as an advance associate after graduation. “The community of scholars created by the program enhanced my education immensely, and the community provided much of the personal growth I sought during my college years,” she said. Julia credits HSP faculty member Lee Riedinger for his role in encour- aging and supporting her cohort during their time at UT. “We are all enormously grateful for the part he has played in our education.”
Fadi Saleh (College Scholars) designed a unique major— social entrepreneurship—and hopes to use his experience to help people. Throughout his time at UT, he has been running the YouTube account Baracksdubs, as well as creating videos for MTV and a health care campaign in California. Following graduation, he plans to start his career and is choosing between media groups in California and New York.
R. J. Vogt (College Scholars) will be moving to Yangon, Myanmar, to work for an English-language newspaper as a Princeton in Asia Fellow. R. J. served as editor-in-chief of the Daily Beacon his junior year and considers his involvement there to be his most valuable UT experience: “Organizing and coordinating a daily newspaper is a beautiful, wild process; nothing has taught me more about myself and the world around me.” R. J. says he has benefited from both the connec- tions and challenges offered by the Haslam Scholars Program. “Everywhere I went, I had a foot in the door. People respected me because of the Haslam distinction. And my cohort—the successes and strengths of my classmates—challenged me to be better at everything I do.”
It has been a great privilege learning from and with each of these outstanding scholars and leaders, and we wish them the best of luck in their future endeavors.