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KNOXVILLE –- Thirty high school seniors have been named as finalists for the 2009 Haslam Scholars Program at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.

The finalists will be on campus March 6-7 for the Haslam Scholars Program Interview Weekend. The 2009-2010 class of Haslam Scholars will be announced May 1.

Selection criteria include scholastic achievement, leadership potential, maturity and seriousness of purpose, and special talents.

Haslam Scholars will be part of an intimate academic and leadership group mentored by top UT faculty. Program benefits include a $1,500 laptop computer and a study-abroad experience valued at $4,000, as well as up to $5,500 to support honors thesis research and travel to present their work.

Haslam Scholars also will receive a Chancellor’s Scholarship -– the top academic scholarship -– which typically provides annual award amounts between $7,000 and $10,000.

The UT program was created with $2.5 million from Jimmy and Dee Haslam. Jimmy Haslam is president and CEO of Pilot Travel Centers. Dee Haslam is CEO of RIVR Media and also chairs the UT Development Council. The Haslams chair the Campaign for Tennessee for the Knoxville campus.

Jim and Natalie Haslam contributed an additional $2.5 million to support the program. Jim Haslam is chairman of the board of Pilot Travel Centers LLC and chairman of the board and president of Pilot Corp.

The 30 finalists include students born in Bosnia and in the People’s Republic of China. One attends high school in the City of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates, while others attend high school in Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Louisiana and Michigan.

“What the Haslam finalists have in common,” Associate Provost and Director of the Chancellor’s Honors and Haslam Scholars Programs Steven Dandaneau said, “is truly extraordinary academic achievement and exciting potential for leadership.”

Twenty-two of the students are either National Merit Semi-finalists or National Merit Commended Students and 13 are currently ranked first in their class. As a group, these 30 students have earned well above a 4.0 high school GPA and scored above a 34 composite ACT or SAT equivalent, the top 1 percent. Three students even earned perfect scores on the ACT or SAT.

The Haslam Scholars program finalists plan to pursue pre-med, pre-law, science, engineering, arts, social science, humanities, business and other combinations of liberal arts and professional degrees.

The finalists are:

– Desiree Ancar, Munford High School, Atoka, Tenn.

– Daniel Aycock, Sullivan South High School, Kingsport, Tenn.

– Charlie Borenstein, Benjamin Franklin High School, Metairie, La.

– Justin Boyter, Hendersonville High School, Hendersonville, Tenn.

– Aly Brunson, Tennessee Governor’s Academy of Mathematics and Science, Knoxville, Tenn.

– Ethan Cansler, Franklin High School, Franklin, N.C.

– Madelyn Crawford, Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tenn.

– Drew Evancho, West High School, Knoxville, Tenn.

– Hari Ganesan, Farragut High School, Knoxville, Tenn.

– Derion Givens, White Station High School, Memphis, Tenn.

– Camille Gregory, Brentwood High School, Brentwood, Tenn.

– Daniel Hamm, McNairy Central High School, Selmer, Tenn.

– Caroline Higgins, Virgil I Grissom High School, Huntsville, Ala.

– Heidi Klumpe, Riverdale High School, Murfreesboro, Tenn.

– Blair Kuykendall, Mount Paran Christian School, Kennesaw, Ga.

– Jenny Le, Hillwood Comprehensive High School, Nashville, Tenn.

– Suiwen Liang, Bolton High School, Bartlett, Tenn.

– Matthew Olive, Centennial High School, Franklin, Tenn.

– Zana Operta, Dobyns Bennett High School, Kingsport, Tenn.

– Hannah Parks, American School of Dubai, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

– Sarah Russell, Westminster Schools, Atlanta, Ga.

– Katie Smalley, Ensworth High School, Pegram, Tenn.

– Chelsey Smith, Girls Preparatory School, Jasper, Tenn.

– Peter Stultz, East Grand Rapids High School, Grand Rapids, Mich.

– Hunter Tipton, Maryville High School, Maryville, Tenn.

– Brooke Watson, White Station High School, Memphis, Tenn.

– Iby Wellborn, Gatlinburg-Pittman High School, Gatlinburg, Tenn.

– Ben Wibking, Franklin High School, Franklin, Tenn.

– Bronson Worthy, Whitehaven High School, Memphis, Tenn.

– Akshitha Yarrabothula, Germantown High School, Memphis, Tenn.

For more information about the Haslam Scholars program and the 30 finalists, see http://honors.utk.edu/.



Amy Blakely, (865) 974-5034, amy.blakely@tennessee.edu