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Introducing the Cohort of 2015

Integrity, diversity, social responsibility, and social justice: these are the four pillars of the Haslam Scholars Program. In its annual search for members of a new cohort, the program identifies students who can leverage these values for the pursuit of intellectual and personal engagement. The program’s call for a new class traversed Tennessee and the states beyond, eventually being answered by the fifteen impressive scholars who make up this year’s cohort.

Many factors distinguish the HSP Cohort of 2015 from its predecessors. Drawing students from ten different Tennessee municipalities and six different states, the group contains more out-of-state students than any other in the program’s history. With an average ACT score of 33 and average GPA of 4.49, the group has irrefutable academic potential.

As a community of scholars, the students of the 2015 cohort demonstrate a broad range of unique interests. While Jason Liang is channeling a love for mathematics through the study of computer science, his fellow scholar Patrick Sonnenberg is applying linguistics to his passion for human rights advocacy. While Julia Scott is crunching numbers in the realm of business, Emily Diehl is tinkering in the study of industrial engineering. With such a broad range of academic pursuits, the first-year Haslam Scholars are developing a unique community that is as engaging as it is interdisciplinary.

The group has wasted no time delving into academic and curricular engagements on campus. From the houses of Phi Mu, Alpha Chi Omega, and Alpha Delta Pi, Brianna Fiala, Avery Morgan, and Catherine Moore share an appreciation for the sense of sisterhood within the Greek community. Alayna Cameron and Patrick Sonnenburg have taken leadership roles in the planning of UT’s Sex Week programming through the student group Sexual Education and Awareness at Tennessee, or SEAT. Pursuit: The Journal of Undergraduate Research at the University of Tennessee recently welcomed Jordan Leith, Catherine Moore, and Grant Rigney onto its editorial staff. Jack Larimer is exercising his political voice through student government, while Mike Lidwin lends his creativity to advisory boards in the School of Architecture. Before completing even one semester as UT students, the Cohort of 2015 has made itself known from one end of campus to the other.

Beyond university life, the incoming class of scholars has also shown a commendable commitment to serving the Knoxville community. All of the scholars volunteer regularly at Pond Gap Community School and its garden facility. Matthew Lamsey leads the elementary Robotics Club, while Ainsley Ellington, Max Burzinski, and many of their peers organize demonstrations for the Science Saturday Club. Exemplifying their commitment to social justice and responsibility, these scholars are using their unique talents to make an impact on the community that they are just beginning to call home.

It is impossible to completely note all of these young scholars’ accomplishments. However, their involvement shares a common foundation in integrity, diversity, social responsibility, and social justice. By embodying these four values, the students themselves will become the pillars of the Haslam Scholars Program, supporting and sustaining its mission for intellectual curiosity and engagement.

It is with great privilege and pride that we welcome these students as members of the Haslam Scholars Program Cohort of 2015:

Max Burzinski, Hagerstown, Maryland

Alayna Cameron, Cookeville, Tennessee

Emily Diehl, Pottstown, Pennsylvania

Ainsley Ellington, Aloca, Tennessee

Brianna Fiala, Hendersonville, Tennessee

Matthew Lamsey, Signal Mountain, Tennessee

Jack Larimer, Belleville, Illinois

Jordan Leith, Arlington, Tennessee

Jason Liang, Collierville, Tennessee

Michael Lidwin, Chantilly, Virginia

Catherine Moore, Dyersburg, Tennessee

Avery Morgan, Columbus, Georgia

Grant Rigney, Normandy, Tennessee

Julia Scott, Nashville, Tennessee

Patrick Sonnenberg, Spring Hill, Tennessee


Kimberly Bress, Cohort of 2014