Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Four Honors & Scholars Students Receive Torchbearer Awards

Read the article in its entirety at Tennessee Today

Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek celebrated faculty, staff, and students for their accomplishments and service Tuesday at the annual Chancellor’s Honors Banquet. The banquet is the university’s largest recognition event of the year.

Four Honors & Scholars Students received the Torchbearer award, the highest honor given to any UT student. The award is based on academic achievement, leadership, and outstanding service.

Torchbearer-2016_Davis_-CayceCayce Davis, of Roland, Arkansas, is a Haslam Scholar. He pursued an independent research project on architecture built during ages of tremendous social upheaval. This work was done outside his normal coursework. Davis recently was selected as a Fulbright Scholar semifinalist and will focus his research project on new ways Poland can move forward socially and economically. His battle with brain cancer, now in remission, has led to a strong commitment to improve the lives of children. He leads hands-on science experiments at Pond Gap Elementary School through the Haslam Scholars Science Saturday Program. He also volunteers with Ronald McDonald House, St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, and the Mid-South Chapter of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.


Torchbearer-2016_Kahl_-MadisonMadison Kahl is a biological sciences major and a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program from Knoxville. Kahl has spent her entire college career holding positions in UT’s Student Government Association. She was a member of the Freshman Council and then became Freshman Council Advisor. She served as SGA executive treasurer and was then elected student body vice president. Kahl also volunteers with Remote Area Medical.



Wayne Taylor is a 2016 Torchbearer award winner, a Chancellor's Honors Award.Wayne Taylor is an accounting major from Arlington, Tennessee. His career at UT began when he attended Business Education for Talented Students as a high school senior, and he gives back to that program by serving as a tutor for current participants. He is a member of both the Chancellor’s Honors Program and the Global Leadership Scholars. He chairs the National Association for Black Accountants and serves with the Student Government Association, First Year Studies American Sign Language group, Venture Living and Learning Community, Rocky Top Roundtable student advisory board, and student advisory board for the vice chancellor for diversity and inclusion student advisory board. He has volunteered with the United Way of Greater Knoxville, Midsouth Food Bank, and Junior Achievement.


Torchbearer-2016_Seddighi_-SahbaSahba Seddighi of Knoxville is studying neuroscience through the College Scholars Program. She has received numerous awards for her research and has conducted neuroscience studies at the National Institutes of Health and Stanford University. Seddighi is a Haslam scholar, co-founder of the National Association for Undergraduate Research Advancement, the student coordinator for the International Conference of Undergraduate Research, co-chair of the Undergraduate Research Student Association, primary organizer of the Undergraduate Research Symposium, and editor-in-chief of Pursuit, the Journal of Undergraduate Research at UT.