Skip to main content

Nine seniors have been recognized for their academic achievement, leadership, and outstanding service with the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s highest student honor—the Torchbearer award.

Each student learned of their selection through a surprise visit or call from Chancellor Beverly Davenport in recent weeks. They will receive a Torchbearer medal during the Chancellor’s Honors Banquet on Tuesday, April 17. The event is the university’s largest recognition event of the year.

The 2018 Torchbearers are:

  • Amany Alshibli, of Knoxville, a Haslam Scholar and Grand Challenge Scholar majoring in chemical and biomolecular engineering and aspiring to a medical career. She pursued research in cardiac regenerative medicine at the Scottish Centre for Regenerative Medicine. In addition to being a stellar student, she tutors students and assists with science programs at Pond Gap Elementary School. She also organized the Einstein Science Club at Annoor Academy.
  • Kimberly Bress, of Melbourne, Florida, a College Scholar majoring in neuroscience and mental A Haslam Scholar and the recipient of a prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship, she plans to pursue a medical degree and a doctorate in behavioral neuroscience. Her goal is to help develop more effective treatments for disorders such as depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  • Justin Crawford, a self-described Air Force brat whose family currently lives in both the US and Japan. A journalism and electronic media major, he is the founder and former producer and host of the Volunteer Channel’s VOLTalk, an ambassador for the College of Communication and Information, and active in the Diversity Student Leaders Society. He’s held professional internships at news and entertainment companies from Knoxville to Hollywood.
  • Feroza Freeland, of Memphis, a political science major with a Hispanic minor. She interns at the Legal Aid of East Tennessee, helping people who cannot afford legal representation. She has been the president of the College Democrats, an urban fellow in the City of Memphis Emergency Management Department, and a diversity educator in UT’s Office of Multicultural Student Life. She is also a Truman Scholar finalist, a Chancellor’s Honors Program Scholar, and a Baker Scholar.
  • Morgan Hartgrove, of Maryville, a College Scholar majoring in health policy and public health. She has served as the Student Government Association’s student body president and spearheaded the campus smoking ban that will go into effect in the fall. She’s held an internship with US Congressman Phil Roe and worked with a faculty mentor and East Tennessee Children’s Hospital on research that could help determine optimal withdrawal treatments for babies born to mothers addicted to opioids.
  • Cullen Johnson, of Memphis, who is majoring in industrial and systems engineering. As a freshman he revamped the Intervarsity Christian Fellowship’s men’s Bible study, Brother to Brother, which provides leadership and service opportunities to male students. He has served on the student advisory board in the Tickle College of Engineering and has secured internships at top companies including Norfolk Southern and Under Armour.
  • Hunter Jones, of Lafayette, Tennessee, who is majoring in animal science. He’s served as president of the Interfraternity Council, the governing council for 20 fraternities on campus, and has been recognized by the council as the Greek Person of the Year. Jones also led the Order of the Arrow, a national honor society for Boy Scouts. As the main representative for 2.1 million youth involved in scouting, he addressed the US congressional leadership and the president.
  • Katie Porter, of Bethesda, Maryland, a microbiology major. She plans to serve in the US Navy Medical Corps, become a doctor, and specialize in pediatrics. A member of UT’s rowing team, Porter recently visited Vietnam with VOLeaders Academy, a program for the university’s top student-athletes. She assists the school nurse at Dogwood Elementary through the Clinic Vols program; wrote a curriculum teaching concepts of healthy eating, living, and play to elementary school students; and played a key role in Sports Fest, an event that drew more than 60 participants with disabilities.
  • Cody Sain, of Medina, Tennessee, a Haslam Scholar, Peyton Manning Scholar, and Coca-Cola Scholar who is majoring in microbiology and aspires to be a doctor. His research on health issues such as cancers and cytomegalovirus could contribute to improvements in infant mortality and birth complication rates, organ transplants, and the lives of people with AIDS. Sain has been a driving force in the Clinic Vols program and serves on the Provost’s Student Advisory Council.

Read more about each of the Torchbearers.


Amy Blakely (865-974-5034,