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TB Abby Ann Ramsey
Abby Ann Ramsey is honored as a Torchbearer by university leadership.

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville, has named seven students Torchbearers, an honor reserved for the university’s top-achieving students.

Each new Torchbearer learned of their selection through a surprise visit from either Chancellor Donde Plowman or a member of her cabinet in late March. The students were surprised among their friends, classmates, professors and mentors during a normal day on campus.

The award reflects the university’s Volunteer Creed: “One that beareth a torch shadoweth oneself to give light to others.” Through their exemplary leadership and service on campus and in the Knoxville community, this year’s Torchbearers light the way for future generations of Volunteers.

Meet the Torchbearers


Jack Duncan of Cleveland, Tennessee, is studying economics and mathematics in the College of Arts and Sciences. Duncan is a Haslam Leadership Scholar, Peyton Manning Scholar and Baker Scholar. His senior year, he was selected to attend a U.S.-Japan roundtable in Washington, D.C., on behalf of UT’s Baker School of Public Policy and Public Affairs. He has worked as a research assistant for the Baker School, the Department of Economics and the CURENT Engineering Research Center. He also interned with the Tennessee Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, where he co-authored two policy reports. Duncan was awarded the Ronald Wolf Scholarship from the Department of Economics his junior year for outstanding all-around performance in his economics courses. He is the co-director of the Student Government Association’s Student Government Affairs Committee and co-editor-in-chief of Pursuit, the university’s undergraduate research journal.


Carragan Fields of Wilder, Tennessee, is studying agricultural leadership and community engagement with a minor in food and agricultural business in the Herbert College of Agriculture. Fields is a member of the 1794 Scholars Program and president of the Herbert Ambassadors, winning the organization’s Volunteer Spirit Award her junior year. She was previously honored with the Outstanding Freshman Award from the Department of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communications. Fields is a Farm Credit Scholar through Farm Credit Mid-America and the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics. She has represented UT at the Tennessee Ag Leadership Forum, traveling to Washington, D.C., to learn more about agricultural policy, and is currently working full time for the Tennessee General Assembly in Nashville. Off campus, Fields has served as a coach for the National Fitness Center swim team and as junior counselor for the American Legion Auxiliary’s Volunteer Girls State program.


Sarah Lange of Clarksville, Tennessee, is studying addiction and behavioral neuroscience with a pre-medical concentration. Lange is a Haslam Leadership Scholar and is earning her degree through the College of Arts and Sciences College Scholars Program. She is a third-year undergraduate research assistant in the Department of Psychology, winning the Advanced Undergraduate Research Award her junior year, and has conducted research with with UT Medical Center’s Department of Surgery. Lange is president of the Undergraduate Research Ambassadors and co-editor-in-chief of Pursuit. She has served as a recovery intern with the Metro Drug Coalition and as a volunteer medical assistant with the Kim Health Clinic.


Abby Ann Ramsey of Knoxville is studying journalism and electronic media in the College of Communication and Information and religious studies in the College of Arts and Sciences with a concentration in religion and nonprofit leadership. Ramsey serves as editor-in-chief of The Daily Beacon, where she oversees the production of digital and print stories and provides editorial guidance to the staff. In spring 2023, Ramsey was nominated by the School of Journalism and Media to attend the White House Correspondents Dinner through the Carter Holland Memorial Scholarship, which supports student reporters who aspire to cover national politics and news. She has participated in undergraduate research in the Department of Religious Studies and received the Joan Nicoll Riedl Book Award from the department her junior year. She is a member of the UT improv troupe Involuntary Sports Party, has volunteered with local nonprofit Thrive, and has worked for Canopy Atlanta and Atlanta Magazine during her time as a student.


Alvin Robertson of Memphis is studying therapeutic recreation in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences with a minor in public health. Robertson is a member of the 1794 Scholars Program, where he served as the inclusion director for the Honors Student Engagement Council in spring 2023. He is also part of the Dean’s Undergraduate Advisory Board for the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences, visiting high schools and giving tours to prospective students. During his time as a student, he has been an undergraduate teaching assistant for the Department of Anthropology, a resident assistant for University Housing, a VOLbreaks leader, an ambassador for the Jones Center for Leadership and Service, and a campus ambassador with the VolCorps Program. Off campus, Robertson has worked as second vice regional director for the southeastern region for Phi Beta Sigma and served as a volunteer for the Knoxville Center of Autism.


Harrison Van Eaton of Hixson, Tennessee, is studying neuroscience in the College of Arts and Sciences with a pre-physician assistant concentration. He has been heavily involved with Greek life throughout his time at UT, most recently serving as outreach chair for the Alpha Zeta Chapter of Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity’s Matthew 5:16 Initiative. Van Eaton has also stood as the vice president for health and safety for the Office of Sorority and Fraternity Life’s Interfraternity Council. He won the IFC’s New Member of the Year award in 2022 and the Pillar Award for Dedication and Service to IFC in 2023, and was part of its North American Interfraternity Conference Peer Governance Award and North American Interfraternity Conference Outstanding IFC wins in 2022. Van Eaton has participated in undergraduate research in the College of Arts and Sciences, served as a lab assistant for the Tickle College of Engineering, and volunteered with Basic Needs, University Housing and the Emerald Youth Foundation during his time as a student.


Rylie West of Eastvale, California, is studying journalism and electronic media with a minor in advertising and public relations. West is a member of UT’s softball team and traveled to Rwanda with the VOLeaders Academy in July 2022 to complete over 30 hours of service with local organizations. She is also a board member for V.O.I.C.E., the university’s Black student-athlete community. West was chosen for the Southeastern Conference community service team in 2022 in recognition of her community service efforts. She was named to the 2023 Spring SEC Academic Honor Roll and has been on the Dean’s List since her first year at UT. West is a show host for the Players Lounge, a media platform led by student-athletes, and has worked with local and national media outlets including VFL Films, CBS and the SEC Network.


Maggie Palmer (865-974-3993,