Fifteen incoming freshmen at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are the newest members of the Haslam Scholars Program, UT’s most prestigious undergraduate academic scholars program. The program was founded in 2008 with a generous gift from Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Jim and Natalie Haslam.
Thirteen of the 15 scholars in this year’s cohort are from Tennessee. The scholars will receive scholarships to cover tuition, fees, and room and board, stipends to pursue additional experiential learning opportunities, and a fully funded study abroad program.
The Haslam Scholars program is one of four university-wide, interdisciplinary honors programs for UT’s highest-achieving students, housed in the Division of Student Success. Since its inauguration, the program has produced three Rhodes Scholars, recipients of other prestigious awards such as the Fulbright, Goldwater, and Gates Cambridge Scholarships, and graduates who have gone on to attend top graduate schools and hold high-profile positions in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.
“This year’s cohort is made up of a diverse and driven group of scholars who have already shown exceptional leadership and academic excellence,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid. “Haslam Scholars carry on a brilliant legacy of civic engagement and servant leadership, and I’m excited to see this group thrive at UT and beyond.”
Meet the newest Haslam Scholars:
Ivanna Adames, of Orange County, California, plans to major in architecture. She is a first-generation American of Colombian and Ukrainian parents and has traveled to and explored 22 different countries and learned Russian on her visits to Ukraine every summer. Adames has supported the Ryan’s Reach Foundation for individuals with brain injuries by donating a custom pet portrait to their annual fundraising event for the last five years.
She enjoyed being part of her school’s track and field team and has practiced mantis-style kung fu for seven years. Adames volunteered with the California Scholarship Federation throughout middle and high school, and she plans to continue reaching out to her community and helping the environment as a sustainable architect.
Jacob Altrock, of Memphis, plans to major in chemistry on a pre-medicine track and has a passion for theater, his pets, and all things music. An All-State tenor and All-West alto saxophonist, he was president of his high school’s Thespian Society.
Altrock enjoys serving both local and international communities. He spent a month each in Belgium and South Korea teaching refugees, college students, and children how to speak English. He also organized and led a team to reform his school’s stance on LGBT acceptance. He hopes to participate in neuroscience-based undergraduate research while attending UT.
Christiane Alvarez, of Knoxville, plans to study biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology. Alvarez draws her inspiration from books.
Reading provided her with the assurance to work in a university lab over the summer, to volunteer for Susannah’s House, which serves mothers in recovery from substance abuse, and to graduate early from high school to pursue an internship at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Alvarez works to manifest her values, which include a love of the arts and music, science and reasoning, and travel and culture, into action and a way of life.
Ryan Beatty, of Franklin, Tennessee, plans to double major in political science and Hispanic studies.
She has participated in Model UN and Youth in Government courts, fueling an interest in law.
She serves as an ESL teacher to immigrants and is president of the United Way of Williamson County’s Youth Advisory Council.
Beatty is a music and film enthusiast who has been playing guitar and songwriting for six years and making short films, music videos, and documentaries for three.
Jack Duncan, of Cleveland, Tennessee, plans to major in political science and economics.
Duncan served as an ESL peer tutor at Cleveland High School and volunteered at a community after-school program. He wants to advocate for immigrants and economically disadvantaged students in the areas of educational and legal policy.
Duncan organized a faculty trivia night at his high school to raise money for a library in Cambodia. He served as a Boys State delegate and was active in Model UN, a member of the tennis team, and president of the National Honor Society chapter.
Isabella Enoch, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to major in marketing.
Enoch was a student in the International Baccalaureate program at her high school, where she served as president of the Spanish Club and secretary of both the Spanish Honor Society and Psychology Honor Society. Enoch also volunteers at her local church and teaches a second-grade Sunday school class.
Last fall she directed a fashion show to promote body positivity. The program involved women and girls of all ages and presented a platform of self-acceptance in a safe environment.
Jalen Humphreys, of Memphis, plans to major in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology on a pre-medicine track.
He enjoys talking about the socioeconomic standings of minorities in the US and related issues, along with learning about his community’s problems so he can find ways to help. With a strong drive to help the underrepresented and oppressed, Humphreys plans on starting an organization to provide medical treatment to those in need.
He enjoys playing Ping-Pong and watching science videos and anime. Humphreys is fluent in Spanish and holds weekly virtual English tutoring sessions with a friend in Argentina.
Sarah Lange, of Clarksville, Tennessee, plans to major in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology on a pre-medicine track.
Lange serves as a nationwide advocate for physical wellness for students of low socioeconomic status. She received grants to publish a canned food cookbook in partnership with her local United Way, where she serves as an intern and president of the youth volunteerism board.
She directed and produced a public service announcement empowering teens to seek help for mental illness, and as a senator at Girls State she campaigned for increased mental health awareness in high schools across Tennessee. She has served as a medical volunteer in Puerto Rico and hopes to eventually work as a surgeon for Doctors Without Borders.
Kevin Malone, of Memphis, plans to major in finance with a concentration in business analytics and pursue a career on Wall Street.
In high school, he served as the treasurer of both the student government and the Future Business Leaders of America chapter. He was also a captain of the varsity baseball and basketball teams.
Malone enjoys watching movies, riding roller coasters, and going to sporting events. He has a passion for economic equity and wants to use his leadership and education to serve low-income families in urban settings.
DeShala McDuffie, of Clarksville, Tennessee, plans to major in biochemistry and cellular and molecular biology on a pre-medicine track and aspires to be a pediatrician.
McDuffie served as president of her high school’s marching and concert band.
She was involved in several academic honor societies, and is an active member of her church.
She enjoys giving back to her community and has logged over 200 service hours.
Logan O’Neal, of Knoxville, plans to major in computer science and wants to go into artificial intelligence research. In high school he was captain of the robotics team, lead of the CodeTN team, and president of his church’s youth group.
O’Neal volunteers for multiple organizations including Appalachian Outreach’s computer repair ministry, Access Life, and the CodeStock Convention.
He received the 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community distinguished finalist award for his work with STEM education community outreach programs. During the summer of his junior year, he interned in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Emerging Technologies Division, where he developed a tool used to educate the public about the capabilities of machine learning.
Micah Owens, of Cookeville, Tennessee, plans to major in industrial engineering. Owens served as a senator at Girls State and hopes to participate in student government at UT.
She plays volleyball and basketball and was co-captain of the varsity volleyball team. Her musical endeavors have included Mid-State and All-State Choirs, multiple musicals and concerts, playing the keyboard at her church, and a senior piano recital.
Owens works at a local catering company and teaches piano. She was the valedictorian of her class and graduated with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
Courtney Tolbert, of Powder Springs, Georgia, plans to major in animal science and become a veterinarian. She volunteers at a local cat shelter.
Tolbert was vice president of her high school’s National Honor Society chapter and a member of the Spanish Honor Society, Tri M Music Honor Society, and Beta Club.
She also tutored fellow students in Spanish and math.
Tolbert plays the violin in the Mastery Orchestra and is a pianist for youth services at her church.
Alaina Washington, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, plans to major in industrial engineering.
She was president of her high school’s Science Olympiad team, co-president of the Model United Nations club, drum major in the marching band, and secretary the National Honor Society chapter.
A Girl Scout since kindergarten, Washington earned the Gold Award, advocating for scoliosis awareness in underrepresented community groups. She played flute in the All-State East Honor Band.
Anna Weis, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to major in computer engineering. In high school she served as president of the Girls Who Code club, secretary for the Society of Women Engineers, and a senior mentor helping a group of freshmen with academic and social issues.
Weis was awarded a paid internship as an IT technician the summer of her junior year. She was a varsity swimmer all four years and volunteered over 120 hours as a summer swim team coach.
She is interested in continuing research on a concussion detection device and alert monitoring system she created as part of her senior thesis.
This year’s cohort was selected from 550 applicants.
The Haslams’ intent was to create a program that would attract the best and brightest scholars in Tennessee and others from around the country to receive their education at UT and make important contributions to the state. The Haslam Scholars Program promotes the pursuit of knowledge, scholarly research, civic engagement, and community leadership and offers partnerships with high-profile institutions in Tennessee such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
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