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The University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s combination of academics, community, and traditions makes it the perfect choice to call home for first-year students who are pursuing a variety of studies.

A freshman rejoices in her family’s UT history

Eliza Crockett
Eliza Crockett

You would imagine a person would feel at home at UT where someone dressed as your ancestor patrols the sidelines as a mascot.

Yes, Eliza Crockett is descended from Davy Crockett’s cousin. But her UT roots run even deeper, and it all means something to Crockett.

“I’ve got a cool family,” says the freshman from Brentwood, Tennessee.

Read about the history of Crockett’s family.

First-Year Haslam Scholar embodies the Volunteer Spirit

Jalen Humphreys
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.”

Read about how Humphreys embodies the Volunteer Spirit.

UT feels like home to new out-of-state student

Kaki Kirk
Kaki Kirk

When it came time to pick a college, first-year student Kaki Kirk, from Tallahassee, Florida, says she fell in love with UT.

“Last year on a college road trip with my mom, we were touring campuses in Tennessee, and we came to UT. We toured it, and I loved it.

“It was the only one that felt like home to me—the vibes, being so close to the mountains. I can feel that everyone is so positive and supportive. It just feels so homey to me.”

Read about Kirk’s studies.

First-Year student uses scholarships to pursue studies in hospitality

Nik Dalton
Nik Dalton

It was on a 2011 family trip to the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas that Nik Dalton started thinking about a career in the resort business.

“The Bellagio blew my mind,” says Dalton, now a first-year hotel and tourism management major at UT, where he is a recipient of both the HOPE Scholarship and the national Folds of Honor scholarship for military spouses and dependents.

Read about what Dalton wants to do with his degree.

A first generation student dreams big

Jesus Sanchez-Aguilar
Jesus Sanchez-Aguilar

At Crockett County High School near Jackson, Tennessee, Jesus Sanchez-Aguilar served as senior class president, was active in the Beta honor society, and graduated fourth in his class.

The first in his family to go to college, he picked UT over Murray State University in Kentucky and East Tennessee State University.

“One reason I chose UT is the location and beautiful surroundings,” he says. “I am interested in the outdoors, and I want to go kayaking. When I visited, it was like, if I don’t come here I will always regret it.”

Read about Sanchez-Aguilar’s aspirations.


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,