Skip to main content

Here are some of the faculty, staff, and students honored by outside organizations in recent months:


KudosThe McClung Museum of Natural History and Culture received an Award of Excellence from the Tennessee Association of Museums for the special exhibit Fish Forks and Fine Furnishings: Consumer Culture in the Gilded Age, which ran from May 26 to August 27, 2017.

The Haslam College of Business has received the 2018 UPS George D. Smith Prize from INFORMS, the leading international association for operations research and analytics professionals, for its business analytics program.

WUOT, the NPR member station licensed to UT, has won three first-place Golden Press Card awards. Brandon Hollingsworth won first place in the radio news anchor category.The station won first place in the radio category of documentary/public affairs programming for the HealthConnections episode “What Are the Demographics of Gun Violence?” HealthConnections was created by UT College of Nursing’s Carole Myers and launched in June 2017. WUOT’s monthly public affairs series, Dialogue, won second place in the category.

The Office of Communications and Marketing won 13 awards, including Best in Show and six gold awards, from the Tennessee College Public Relations Association. The Join the Journey campaign invitation, which claimed a gold award, also won Best in Show.


Lou Gross was honored with the 2018 SEC Faculty Achievement Award. The Alvin and Sally Beaman Distinguished Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Mathematics, Gross is director of the UT Institute for Environmental Modeling and of the UT-based National Institute for Mathematical and Biological Synthesis (NIMBioS).

Maureen Taylor, director of the School of Advertising and Public Relations, has been elected a fellow of the International Communication Association in recognition of her distinguished scholarly contributions to the broad field of communication.

Joshua Fu has been chosen as the recipient of the prestigious 2018 Lyman A. Ripperton Environmental Educator Award from the Air and Waste Management Association for his education efforts related to controlling air pollution.

Nan Gaylord has been named an Academy Edge Runner by the American Academy of Nursing for her model “Interprofessional Practice at the Vine School Health Center: A School-Based Nurse-Managed Clinic.” The award recognizes nurse-designed models of care that improve quality, impact cost, and enhance patient satisfaction.

Thanos Papanicolaou, the Henry Goodrich Chair of Excellence, has been named the 2018 Hans Albert Einstein award recipient by the American Society of Civil Engineers for his work in developing a way for researchers to see underwater sediment and predict its likelihood for mobility.

Mark Harmon, professor of journalism, received a third-place award in the recent Golden Press Card competition for his editorial “When Things Get Scary, Remember Mr. Rogers,” published online at last year.

Nuclear engineering Department Head Wes Hinesreceived the Thomas French Achievement award from the Ohio State University Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. The award is presented to alumni who have distinguished themselves as scholars and educators.

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, associate dean of academic and faculty affairs, has been awarded a 2018–19 Southeastern Conference Academic Leadership Development Program Alumni Fellowship.

Hollie Raynor, interim assistant dean for research and a professor in the Department of Nutrition, has received the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Excellence in Practice–Dietetic Research Award.


Amanda Womac, director of communications for the College of Arts and Sciences and president of the UT Science Forum, received two awards in the 2017 Golden Press Card competition hosted by the East Tennessee Society of Professional Journalists. She received a first-place award for freelance writing for “Hellbenders Revealed,” published in Smokies Life magazine in 2017, and a second-place award for “Fire Sparks Life and Research Opportunities in the Smokies,” published in the college’s annual report.


Nineteen students have been offered Fulbright US Student Program awards for the 2018–19 academic year to study, research, and teach in cities around the world. They are Rena Abdurehman, Jacqueline Adams, Carolyn Barnes, Kimberly Bress, Tiana Castillo, Stephen (Alex) Crockett, Savannah Dixon,William (Dillon) Dunn, Derek Galyon, Tamra Gilbertson, Brennan Hicks, Miranda Johnson, Yuki Minami, Miles Ownby, Katie Plank, Avanti Rangnekar, Trent Sanders, Joseph Wilson, and Conny Zhao. In addition, Christopher Neal is a Fulbright alternative and could be offered an award at a later date.

Natalie Campbell, a rising junior majoring in disability studies through the College Scholars program, will participate in the Fulbright UK Summer Institute, studying at the Queen’s University Belfast in Northern Ireland. She is the first UT student invited to participate in this prestigious and selective summer scholarship program.

Dara Carney-Nedelman, a rising senior in honors communication studies and a member of UT’s Air Force ROTC and Chancellor’s Honors Program, has received a Project Global Officer (Project GO) award to study the Indonesian language and travel. Project GO is a Department of Defense initiative aimed at improving the language skills, regional expertise, and intercultural communication skills of future military officers.

Four UT students have received prestigious Boren Scholarship and Fellowship awards for intensive language study, internships, and research abroad and in the United States. The recipients are Jordan Brasher of Milan, Tennessee, a doctoral student in geography, who will study Portuguese at Middlebury Language School in Vermont for two months this summer; Jordan Leith of Memphis, a Haslam Scholar and rising senior in chemical and biomolecular engineering; Michayla Robles of Memphis, a rising junior in political science and global studies and a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, who will study Swahili this summer at the University of Florida; and Sarah Smith of Knoxville, a senior majoring in Middle East studies and political science and a Baker Scholar and member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, who will study Arabic and humanitarian issues in Jordan.

Joshua Brown of Corryton, Tennessee, a senior majoring in sociocultural anthropology and migration studies through the College Scholars program, has been accepted into the Presidential Internship program at the American University in Cairo (AUC).

UT sculpture student Michaela Leib received the Juror’s Choice award from metal artist Preston Farabow at the 2018 Art of Recycling sculpture exhibition.

Students in the School of Journalism and Electronic Media received 14 awards from the Tennessee Associated Press Broadcast and Media Editors College Division. Winners were Tim Morris and Isaac Fowler, first place and best in show for Welcome Home BrotherSophie Grosserode, first place and best in show for “Heat and Homelessness”; Isaac Ward, first place and best in show for Life after War in East Tennessee; Jake Albright, first place for “Food for College Students in a SNAP”; Beverly Banks, first place for “Tennessee Governor Proposes Gasoline Tax Increase;” Adrien Terricabras, first place for “Football vs LSU;” Tyler Wombles and Damichael Cole, first place for “Football Coach Hiring”; and Alex Holcomb and Annie Tieu, second place for Rally at Confederate Monument Draws Thousands.” The university received a first-place award for “Fans Protest Tennessee’s Potential Schiano Hiring.”

Fowler and Morris also had their documentary Welcome Home Brotherchosen for the recent Nashville Film Festival.

Cullen Sayegh, a fourth-year student in the School of Architecture, received the 2018 Aydelott Travel Award for his proposal “Architecture as Infrastructure: Investigating Spatial Networks.” The Aydelott Travel Award was established by the late Alfred Lewis Aydelott, a fellow of the American Institute of Architects, and his wife, Hope Galloway Aydelott, to enable architecture students to research significant structures around the world.

Sarah Lou Ottinger, a senior majoring in environmental soil science, has been awarded a study abroad grant worth $1,000 from the honor society of Phi Kappa Phi, the nation’s oldest and most selective collegiate honor society for all academic disciplines. One of 50 students nationwide to receive the award, Ottinger will use the grant to study abroad in San Jose Succotz, Belize.

Eric O’Quinn, a graduate student in nuclear engineering, was chosen by the US Department of Energy’s Office of Science for its graduate student research program. The award goes to students conducting research in areas that the Office of Science has identified as being critical for the nation, providing them with research opportunities in a national lab as they work on their thesis.

UT’s soil judging team, representing the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science, claimed first place in the National Collegiate Soils Contest, a 57-year-old annual event in which students identify, evaluate, classify, and describe three soil profiles. Twenty-two teams from across the country competed in the contest.Winning team members include seniors Thomas (Beau) Badon, Emily Belanger, Will Luke, and Kendall (Skye) Roberts; juniors David Gentryand Daniel Sain; and sophomoreEli Oliver. All are environmental and soil science majors except Belanger, who is an animal science major. Team advisors include Andrew Sherfy, Sean Schaeffer, and Mark Radosevich, all from the Department of Biosystems Engineering and Soil Science.

Engineering students Kelsa Benensky and Daniel Rutstrom were among the recipients of the 2018 Innovations in Nuclear Technology Research and Development Awards sponsored by the US Department of Energy.

Two graduate students from the UT Space Institute received awards in the master’s technical paper competition at the 69th Annual AIAA Southeastern Regional Student Conference. Matthew Schwartz, an aerospace engineering major, won first place, and Alicia Ratcliffe, a mechanical engineering major, won third place.

UT’s YNOT competitive robotics team finished in 11th place in robot skills and received the Community Award at the 2018 Vex Robotics World Championship. The team is currently ranked fifth worldwide in this year’s VEXU Skills Competition.