Students to Watch

In fall 2013, Torchbearer magazine put out a call to faculty and staff for nominations of students who are doing great things. We received more than 100 nominations for students who not only excel at academics, but also put their Big Ideas into action through philanthropy and outreach. The eight students featured in the magazine define the words “class act,” and we are proud to call them Volunteers.

The Philanthropist

globeA bow tie can say a lot about a man, and in Harrison Collins’s case it says he’s passionate about water. Specifically, clean water.

The Storyteller


Dabney Wilson was only four when her cousin Clayton died of cancer. The UT nursing student has few personal memories of him, but his legacy lives on through others’ stories about him.

The Entertainer

The Entertainer

Nathan Smith has spent the past year watching about 160 movies, organizing a pop-up movie event in Knoxville, writing for his own entertainment blog, and becoming director of hip hop programming for WUTK.

The Actor

The Actor

Tramell Tillman’s first stage role was at age ten, in a church play. “I was petrified,” he remembers. “I had to say one line, ‘Hello. How are you?’ When I said the line, all the nerves went away, and I was enthralled by all the energy. I thought, ‘I really like this.’”

The Designer

The Designer

Brayan Zavala is very aware of the value of the education he’s received since immigrating with his parents from Mexico when he was just one year old.

The Scholar


When UT senior Lindsay Lee interviewed in the Rhodes Scholarship finals in November 2013, she convinced the committee that she’s going to change the world. She became one of thirty-two Rhodes Scholars chosen from a field of 857 candidates.

The Data Analyst


Denise Koessler is working on the big picture. An academic superstar from her undergraduate studies at Ohio’s College of Wooster (where she was also captain of the swim team), the native Knoxvillian is completing her doctorate in electrical engineering and computer science at UT on a National Science Foundation fellowship.

The Attorney


As a third-year law student, Estefania Chavez has already dealt with complex legal issues and client concerns that would challenge an experienced attorney.

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