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Four UT students were honored by the Knoxville News Sentinel for excellence in leadership, entrepreneurship, and innovation in the 2018 Knox.Biz 20 Under 20 awards.

Taylor Boyer, 19, is a sophomore studying accounting. Boyer was a dedicated Girl Scout for 12 years and focused her Girl Scout Gold Award project on encouraging early childhood literacy. Her project, Reading Ready TN, held book drives at local companies and created videos of Knoxville leaders reading children’s books. Boyer showed her inclination toward leadership in high school as she was heavily involved with the Teen Board of Knoxville as well as the Youth Leadership Knoxville Class of 2016. She continues her leadership pursuit at UT through her involvement in the Student Government Association and membership in the Student Alumni Assocation and the Haslam College of Business Global Leadership Scholars.

Dawson Houser, 19, is a freshman studying supply chain management. He was recognized for his performance as CFO in Bearden High School’s Virtual Enterprise class company, which won first place in the Virtual Enterprises International Tennessee State Business Plan Competition and 11th place in the National Business Plan Competition. At UT, he is involved in the Reformed University Fellowship and YoungLife Quest.

Chase Strickland, 18, is a freshman pursuing a degree in management. He was recognized for the graphic design work he did as a high school student. He began his venture by reaching out to social media influencers and offering free graphic design services. His skills and talent, however, eventually led to paid work. At 14, he founded Hiyroller, a video advertising and branding company where he developed his video and photo editing skills. After high school graduation, he worked at Bonnaroo for his father’s company, Bandit Lites, which has inspired him to pursue a career in the entertainment lighting industry.

Sofia Tomov, 14, is a dual enrollment student on track to earn her bachelor’s degree within a year of receiving her high school diploma. She is the founder of Qardian Labs, a software system that uses data analysis to predict the risk of heart disease in patients. After learning that heart disease was the leading cause of death worldwide, Tomov was determined to make a change. She has received international recognition for her work: She won first place in medicine at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair for her project on improving heart disease diagnoses and was named one of Business Insider’s 15 Young Prodigies Changing the World in 2016.


Katherine Saxon (865-974-8365,