Class: Honors Leadership Program, 2021
Major: Animal Science
Minors: Honors Leadership Studies, Hispanic Studies
Hometown: Loudon, TN
Honors and Scholars at the University of Tennessee made my first year experience unforgettable by providing a community of like-minded individuals who have become my fast friends. My initial hesitation about coming to UT was that I would be just one person in a sea of orange. However, being in Honors and Scholars has helped me find my community and made campus feel a lot smaller.
I was always a bit of an overachiever in high school but the thought of a college level honors program honestly frightened me. When I thought about college honors my brain immediately thought of all work and no fun. That assumption was completely off base. Honors and Scholars has provided me with a community of fun-loving college students that pushes me to excel both in the classroom and in my extracurricular activities. Through Honors and Scholars, I have been able to meet students who share my passions for leadership and service. It is evident that everyone in my program is just as driven as I am and determined to make a difference in the world. This drive can easily be seen by the level of campus involvement among honors students. Many of us are involved in the Student Government Association, the Ignite Program, and various other clubs that are focused on making campus a better place. By building on our shared experiences in Honors and Scholars, we work to strengthen campus organizations and the inter-organizational campus community.
Living in the Honors Leadership Living and Learning Community (LLC) was one of the best experiences of my freshman year! Being a part of our LLC events board, allowed me to take ownership of some of the events that we did as an LLC. My favorite social events were our holiday meals and the student organized white elephant gift exchange. The sense of belonging I gained through the bonds with my honors classmates made me feel like I was enjoying those meals with family, rather than friends. My belief in the value of Honors and Scholars is why I chose to become an Honors Ambassador. As an Honors Ambassador, I’ve been able to share my passion and commitment to an honors education. I am show prospective students my schedule, tell them about some of my activities on campus, and share why I believe UT and the Honors and Scholars Programs are a great fit for high achieving students. I love doing this because I am able to meet extremely bright prospective students who would be great assets to our community.
After graduation, I want to go on to either the medical or veterinary school. I know that my involvement in Honors and Scholars will add a distinct advantage to my marketability in the job market and any future endeavors I wish to pursue. Being involved in Honors and Scholars during my undergraduate career will demonstrate how motivated I am to become a well-rounded scholar to any graduate institution, while the leadership skills I have gained will set me apart from other applicants. Learning how to be a leader is important no matter the job field. All Honors and Scholars programs focus on improving your leadership skills inside and outside of the classroom. Taking honors courses encourages us to become leaders in the classroom, but all of the service and organizational opportunities we are given help us to become leaders in the community as well.
I believe that new Vols should join an Honors and Scholars program because it is a unique experience that helps Knoxville feel like home through a great community of friends and mentors. The staff members in Honors and Scholars are some of the most caring members of campus. These mentors and advisers have paid special attention to my needs, goals, and problems, and helped me to better navigate my freshman year. I have gained so much from the Honors Leadership Program and I sincerely enjoy strengthening the office that has undoubtedly changed my college experience.