Congratulations to the following students for being recognized by peers for their outstanding accomplishments and leadership at the university. These students were nominated within the Division of Student Life and are being acknowledged for their work before they graduate in May.
Trevor is graduating from the university with a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Electric Media with a concentration in Political Science and Digital Production. Trevor has continuously shown great strength in this life. He lost his mother, and his only parent, to breast cancer in 2017 and on October 5th of 2011, he was diagnosed with Lupus and Kidney Disease. After receiving this news, it became clear he wouldn’t be able to continue classes for 3 weeks while undergoing chemotherapy and a noninvasive surgery to help sustain his health. Trevor was accepted into the University of Tennessee, Knoxville and began his studies as a Bridge Student in Fall 2014 while still having to submit himself for dialysis 3 days a week for 4 hours each visit. As a college student, his time became even more crucial, but he made the most of it. He became involved on campus in numerous ways. Since becoming a student, he has served University Housing as an Office Assistant and Conference Assistant since his sophomore year, and on April 9th, 2016 he became a member of Iota Phi Theta Inc. Remaining vigilant to his education and love for media, in 2017 he alongside his colleagues started StokedInfo for which he currently serves as COO. As he graduates this May, he will remain one of the strongest and most venerated people to have touched this campus. His story is one full of redemption and beating the odds. Similarly, Mr. Bass would just humbly tell you, “I had to make sure it was possible, and it is!” Trevor was nominated by Travis Bass, a junior studying industrial engineering at the university.
Jasmine is graduating from the university with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science with an Honors Concentration and an English Minor. Jasmine received the Torchbearer award this semester during a Student Alumni Associates meeting. In addition to the relationships she’s developed with faculty, staff, and students, Jasmine’s involvement in leadership and service has shaped her time at UTK. Through Student Alumni Associates and the Jones Center for Leadership and Service, she’s served as PR chair of SAA, a Vol Breaks leader, Emerging Leader, and Leadership Knoxville Scholar. She’s loved connecting with peers and serving the community and Big Orange Family through these involvements and others. Jasmine’s desire to serve runs in the family: a few years ago, her brother Jalen (Haslam College of Business 16′) also received the honor of being named a Torchbearer. One may say the Blues’ blood runs orange. Their dad is a proud UTK alumnus, and their mother is a constant support. To have raised two Torchbearers is quite a feat. Her brother Jalen graduated with a Masters in Public Policy from Vanderbilt University during the Spring of 2018. In the fall, Jasmine will attend the University of Pennsylvania where she will complete an MS in Nonprofit Leadership. Both Jalen and Jasmine remain dedicated to serving the communities they live in. She was nominated by Gina Martin, the Director of the Center for Student Alumni Programs.
Alexandra is graduating from the university with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Communication Studies. She was nominated by Taylor Thomas, director of Alumni Student Recruitment and Scholarships. Thomas says, Alexandra was a stellar student in high school and had a great GPA, but her test scores were not outstanding. She was very worried about her ability to be admitted to UT. When Thomas met with her, she could immediately see Alexandra’s passion for the university and her grit as a student. She was in tears by the end of the meeting because she wanted to attend so badly. Because of the impression she left on Taylor Thomas, Taylor advocated for her during the admissions review and she ended up getting admitted because of her numerous exemplary qualities; in spite of the test scores. Fast forward to today: she graduates in May and she will have a 3.88 GPA. She currently serves as the SGA executive secretary and is the former Vice President of Recruitment of the Panhellenic Executive Council. She was in charge of the entire Sorority Recruitment Process this past fall. She is working part-time for the Sevierville Smokies baseball team doing special event planning and loves it! She is a true representation of what a Tennessee Volunteer should be. Turns out test scores aren’t everything!
Gorav is graduating from the university with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. He is said to be a hard-working student who goes above and beyond in terms of academics and leadership services. Despite graduating this spring, he is still attempting to accomplish what he can to represent and expand the diversity of our campus. During his last two years at UT, he has served as the Vice President of the Asian American Association and is currently the Treasurer of the Badminton Club at UT. His involvement in both clubs has allowed him to connect and grow alongside faculty and students. His leadership in both clubs has also led to this expansion and increased their representativeness on the UT campus through the different events the clubs have hosted such as the 865 Night Market. Besides serving as a campus leader, he is also involved in other student organizations such as Asian American InterVarsity, Chinese Culture Club, and the Indian American Association. When issues arise that hinder our sense of identity, Gorav helps to represent and give voice to all the multicultural students by being involved with Multicultural Student Life. Although his undergraduate college career is coming to an end this semester, he is trying within his own ability to start new organizations for diverse students who want a space they could call their own. He was nominated by Xiao Mie Zhu, is a junior majoring in nursing at the university.
Cal is graduating from the university with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and Political Science. Cal has been advocating for LGBTQ+ equality nearly all of their time here at UTK. Their passion and persistence for making our campus and community a better place for all marginalized people has led to several significant contributions, such as the Qloset, a free gender affirming clothing closet for trans, nonbinary, and gender diverse people sponsored by the Commission for LGBT People. Cal is one of the very few undergraduate members and co-chairs one of the subcommittees, which is even more rare. They have also been involved in community activism and organizing with the Tennessee Equality Project, advocating to make Tennessee a safer, more accepting place. On top of all of this, they serve on the CEB Arts and Culture committee and have regularly been on the Dean’s List while double-majoring in Social Work and Political Science. They truly represent the Volunteer Spirit, and they deserve to be recognized. Cal was nominated by Bonnie Johnson, a pride center coordinator at the university.
Marc is graduating from the university with a Bachelor of Science in Social Work. As a chancellor’s honors student, he started his journey at UT engaging in community service as part of the Living and Learning Community. He participated in a variety of activities from Men’s Music Chorale and a theatre club to supporting advocacy and training events with the Bachelor of Social Work Organization. Throughout his time at UT he reached out to serve in the community with the Boys and Girls Club of TN Valley and the Tennessee Commission on Children & Youth. Marc embodies the Volunteer spirit, by displaying initiative and service year by year and with more passion and ability as he matured. From his sophomore to senior year he led the Macro Social Work Student Network as President and Special Projects Coordinator, planning and executing an annual trip to the Social Work Day at the United Nations in NYC. He coordinated advocacy events with other social work organizations and developed inter-disciplinary collaborations with other departments and colleges across campus. Marc is receiving his Bachelor’s in Social Work at the same time that his mother, Russette will receive her Master’s in Social Work. Marc was nominated by Elizabeth DeGeorge, the director of communication in Social Work Administration.