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Jalen Humphreys

First-year biochemistry major and Haslam Scholar Jalen Humphreys was prepared for academic achievement by his parents, Ryan, a firefighter, and Tijuana, a 2012 UT graduate who registers patients at the Elvis Presley Trauma Center, part of Memphis’s Regional One Health Medical Center. “Each summer my dad would bring home workbooks in English, science, math, and history appropriate to the grade above the one I was going into,” say Humphreys. “He made me complete the books. When I was moving into sixth grade, my mom pushed for me to be enrolled in seventh grade. She knew I could handle the work.”

Humphreys was class and student government president at Middle College High School, a Memphis public school affiliated with Christian Brothers University. He completed 13 CBU dual-enrollment courses; volunteered in soup kitchens and Youth Villages; founded a program, Bearers of Hope, to organize and implement a canned food and clothes drive; and was selected for the inaugural class of the St. Jude Leadership Society, a leadership-development experience for high school students who have given back to the community.

When he was applying to colleges, he was influenced by his mother and several aunts who are also UT alumnae. “I couldn’t see going anywhere but UT,” he says. “The Volunteer Spirit is something I’ve been a part of for most of my life. Then the Haslam Scholarship made it an obvious choice.”

After the scholarship selection weekend in March, Humphreys was pleased to get a call from James A. Haslam II. “He told me the committee had been really pleased with my interview,” he says, “and he welcomed me to UT.” As part of the Haslam Scholars Program, each 15-student cohort takes part in a summer mini-semester abroad. For this group, that will occur once overseas travel is feasible. “I can’t wait to study abroad,” he says.

“I am determined to be a doctor someday,” he says. Humphreys plans to concentrate in biochemistry and molecular biology and minor in Spanish, an area in which he already has five dual-enrollment credits. “Here at UT,” he says, “it feels like I belong.”


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,