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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.”

Kirk is studying marketing at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville’s Haslam College of Business. “I’m drawn to the business school because everyone seems very motivated and driven,” she says. “It seems as if marketing would be a good way to move my photography business forward.”

Growing up, Kaki (short for Katherine) Kirk always had a camera. In her junior year at Leon High School, she got serious about photography. “I realized I liked color and creating things and influencing people through photos,” she says. She reached out to the Greek organizations at nearby Florida State University.

“They started booking me for events and parties, graduation shoots, and family shoots. It just really skyrocketed.” On her personal photography website Kirk writes, “I want to capture your moment. When I’m taking photos, I’m at my happiest state.” She danced competitively—contemporary, jazz, hip-hop, lyrical—for 13 years and did choreography for her school dance team but finished that chapter when her photo business ramped up.

Kirk is also interested in studying film and videography and intends to join a sorority. “I live in a residence hall with three girls from Kentucky,” she says, “and we’re already best friends. Even just sitting here in my dorm room, it feels like home.”


Maddie Stephens (865-974-3993,