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Two have founded nonprofit organizations. One is a sign language interpreter. Another was a high school offensive lineman who also served as a head teacher for an English tutoring program. They all excel in the classroom and have been active in school and community organizations.

These are just a few of the accomplishments of the 14 high school seniors who will be attending UT this fall as Haslam Scholars, UT’s premier academic program.

Ten of the 14 new Haslam Scholars are from Tennessee. The others are from North Carolina, Ohio, Illinois, and Nebraska. They were selected from more than 300 applicants based on their academic achievement, leadership potential, and service to their communities.

Haslam Scholars are part of an intimate academic, service, and leadership cohort mentored by top UT faculty. Each scholar receives an endowed scholarship to cover the estimated cost of in-state tuition and fees, the average cost of campus housing, and funding to support independent research. Out-of-state Haslam Scholars receive a waiver for in-state tuition.

The Haslam Scholars Program was founded in 2008 with a $2.5 million donation by Jimmy and Dee Haslam and a $2.5 million donation by Jim and Natalie Haslam.

Here’s a look at the 14 Haslam Scholars:

  • Allison Campbell, a senior at Bearden High School in Knoxville, volunteers at East Tennessee Children’s Hospital, attended the Governor’s School for Science and Engineering, and plans to study pre-medicine and biomedical engineering.
  • Leeah Caple, a senior at Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina, is a sports editor for the Hoofprint and plans to major in animal science.
  • Jenna Demeter, a senior at Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio, studied in the International Baccalaureate program and plans to major in architecture.
  • Michaela Faunce, a senior at Adlai E. Stevenson High School in Lincolnshire, Illinois, co-founded the nonprofit Hats for Hope and plans to major in finance.
  • Allison Flanary, a senior at David Crockett High School in Limestone, Tennessee, studied theater, attended Volunteer Girls State, and plans to major in French.
  • Hamilton Garber, a senior at Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville, is an offensive lineman, serves as a head teacher for an English tutoring program, and plans to major in pre-medicine.
  • Emma Kate Hall, a senior at Lebanon High School in Lebanon, Tennessee, is the president of her school’s student council, serves as a sign language interpreter, and plans to major in pre-medicine.
  • Jake Lacy, a senior at Central High School in Memphis, Tennessee, is a participant of Facing History and Ourselves and Our Lives Matter theater workshops and plans to major in pre-medicine.
  • Grace Neiman, a senior at Central Catholic High School in West Point, Nebraska, serves as president of the Cuming County Sharpshooters rifle team and plans to major in anthropology.
  • Raj Patel, a senior at Bolton High School in Arlington, Tennessee, serves as treasurer for Links of Luv and president of his school’s National Honors Society. He co-founded Bolton Renaissance, an effort to beautify Bolton High School, and plans to major in aerospace engineering.
  • Sydney Peay, a senior at Summit High School in Spring Hill, Tennessee, serves as vice president of the National Art Honors Society and the Gay Straight Alliance and plans to major in chemistry.
  • Tomas Starr, a senior at Brentwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee, serves as captain of his speech and debate team, is a student ambassador for Nashville’s Sisters Cities Foreign Exchange Program, and plans to major in chemistry.
  • Ben Thieme, a senior at Ravenwood High School in Brentwood, Tennessee, attended the Governor’s School for Computational Physics and plans to major in mechanical engineering.
  • Blake Turpin, a senior at Gibbs High School in Knoxville, Tennessee, interned for a candidate in the state House of Representatives, serves as member of Youth Leadership Knoxville, and plans to major in civil engineering.


Sylvia Turner, (865-974-7875,

Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,