Written by Laura Skipper
Blake Turpin is a third-year student in the Haslam Scholars program studying sociology with a concentration in criminology and criminal justice. Blake is also pursuing minors in political science and Hispanic studies. Originally from Montgomery, Alabama, Blake has enjoyed his time on Rocky Top as a part of the Honors & Scholars community. After he graduates in May 2021, he plans to continue his education at law school.
One of Blake’s most enriching experiences of his undergraduate career came in the summer of 2019 when he was afforded the chance to study at the University of Bristol in England as a Fulbright Scholar. Blake’s experience was centered around social justice, the arts, and activism. His studies took him places far beyond the classroom. While in England, he got the chance to visit a production facility for fast fashion, attend a pan-African conference, and tour monuments. Blake described his exposure to the city of Bristol, known for its social justice movements, as an invaluable part of his education. For Blake, participating in this Fulbright experience solidified the importance of community-based projects as a means of social change. “It gave me exposure to different issues that I hadn’t thought about before, and it’s helped inform the decisions I make now”, he explained.
Beyond the Fulbright experience, Blake has enriched his education through involvement in a number of extracurricular activities. He is a member of the SGA Diversity Affairs committee; a member of KAPi, UTK’s pre-law and pre-government fraternity; and is a dedicated volunteer at both Centro Hispano de East TN and Pond Gap Elementary School.. Blake described his work at Pond Gap with enthusiasm, sharing “I love working with the kids on basic Spanish-language skills and crafts.” Blake does these activities with students as a part of the Spanish club he founded at the elementary school.