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Grad Vols Shoutout!

Graduate Student Shoutouts

We have fantastic graduate students at UT. Check out what others are saying about them!

If you'd like to make your own shout-out to a graduate student that has had an impact on you, here's your chance!

Savannah Stewart

From: Sean Hendricks

Savannah brings a positive outlook to everything she does for the Graduate School. She is always willing to learn new skills and take on whatever each day brings and she does it with attention to detail and a genuine desire to keep graduate and professional students informed. She works hard to spotlight the work of graduate students across campus as often as possible, so that others can see what amazing things are happening right here in the UT community. She is an invaluable part of the Graduate School team, and I am grateful that she is part of that team.

Hannah Thompson

From: Shailey Curtis

Hannah has been a mentor to me and many graduate students in our department. She is an incredible example of an ABD student. And even though she is busy doing fantastic work, she makes time to support and validate her peers. I'm so grateful to be in a department with her.

Natalie Plaut

From: Olivia Walk

Natalie consistently brings great energy and a smile to every room she enters. She is so kind and respectful to those around her while also always willing to go out of her way to help anyone in need. She seems to balance graduate school, her graduate teaching assistantship, and work like a pro! Whether Natalie is your student, teacher, friend, and/or classmate, she has a positive impact on those around her each day.

Rosy Kamrunnaher

From: Laurie Meschke

Rosy, your efforts on the evaluation of Tennessee's rape prevention efforts is stellar. Your guidance and support of the team is much appreciated!

Daisy Cui

From: Olivia Chin

Daisy helps manage the library's institutional repository, TRACE, where research from faculty and students is stored and accessible. She makes sure that anyone who has a question about depositing their work in TRACE gets fast and friendly service, going above and beyond to schedule training for them and seek out other professionals who might assist them. She knows our handbook inside and out but is also able to think outside of the box in order to help our faculty and students. I've enjoyed working with Daisy so far and look forward to her continued success!

Angelica Nepomuceno

From: Thura Mack

Angelica is a new addition to our team at the Libraries Community Learning and Engagement Department, but from the first moment she arrived, she was curious, tenacious, and excited. She is a conduit; she has quickly gotten on-board with our department, and she has already connected us with several new campus partners in our outreach work. I love the way that she is intentional about useful partnerships which expose us to new connections, friendships, and opportunities in our ever-expanding network. She is fearless about stepping up to new opportunities, whether that be event planning, presenting and teaching, or administrative work. She is brave in her graduate student work and shaping and designing her career. I am excited to continue to do groundbreaking work with her; always keep smiling, Angelica!

Kaitlin Simpson

From: Tore Olsson

Kaitlin is my first doctoral advisee, and I couldn't have asked for a better first student - she has been an absolute delight to work with. In the past six years, she has probably taught me as much about intellectual growth and development as I have taught her. She's become a terrific scholar, a dynamic teacher, and an invaluable member of our community. We will miss her tremendously when she graduates this summer, but are thrilled to see her begin her career at the University of Louisiana. Three cheers to Kaitlin Simpson!

Laura Harmon

From: Kris Bronstad

Laura Harmon works in the Libraries' Special Collections, specifically with the Beauford Delaney and Alex Haley archival collections. Laura brings "above and beyond" to her work daily, treating the collections with the meticulousness and dedication they deserve. Her work is of high quality in part because she is always actively learning and experiencing more, asking excellent questions, and integrating what she learns back into her work.

Israel Adesina

From: Abby Sherman

Israel is a graduate assistant in the Graduate School. He did a thematic analysis of data from our pilot survey which collected feedback from students on their experiences with the thesis/dissertation process. His assistance in this project was instrumental in helping us identify what we are doing well and how to better improve our processes. Thank you Israel for all that you do for the Graduate School!

Mary Lyn Dyer

From: Abby Sherman

Mary Lyn is a graduate assistant in the Graduate School. While she primarily supports our office manager, she is always willing to help other staff. She has assisted me multiple times in compiling data for the Survey of Earned Doctorates which is necessary for tracking post-graduate success for PhD students. Thank you Mary Lyn for all that you do for the Graduate School!

Elizabeth Ronald

From: Zachary Garrett

Liz Ronald is the NAGPRA GRA for the Office of Repatriation. Liz has gone well above and beyond in her efforts to assist UTK in NAGPRA Compliance and has helped ensure the respectful return of many Native American Ancestral Human Remains to the affiliated Native Nations. Liz has been invaluable in the organization and preparation of repatriations and has voluntarily taken on additional leadership responsibilities as our Office’s workload has increased. She has also served as a liaison for our Office, working with other campus partners as needed, including the Anthropology Department and the Library.
Liz’s expertise and attention to detail have been incredibly helpful as we have navigated various deadlines and competing priorities. Her dedication to the work is evident in the care and attention she gives to it. Liz also cares deeply about those around her and is always checking in on staff members and seeing how they are doing personally.
Liz is full of Volunteer Spirit and is an incredible asset not only to our office, but to the University of Tennessee community! Thank you, Liz!

Taliah Carlson

From: Shawna Taylor

Taliah puts passion and dedication into everything she does. From teaching, research, and learning you can tell that she goes above and beyond on the amount of time and hard work she puts in. She spends countless hours learning ways to help her students and how to become an even better TA on top of working tirelessly on her thesis. She motivates us to work harder and to not give up when things get hard. I truly don't know how I survived before meeting her in this program. I'm so grateful that I had the honor of meeting her and also the opportunity to learn from her.

Daria Podzolkova

From: Lola Alapo

Daria Podzolkova, our graduate student assistant in the University Libraries’ Department of Marketing and Communications, has been indispensable to the Libraries’ efforts to boost engagement with the Volunteer community. She has greatly enhanced our social media outreach — promoting library services, resources, expertise, and events. In addition, she scours the UT calendar and social media platforms for other learning opportunities for members of the campus community who are engaged in research and scholarship. If there are no readily available graphics, she creates her own illustrations. We rely on her talent and commitment. Thank you, Daria!

Katie James

From: Elsa Nownes

Katie is the first graduate student assistant I have ever had, and I am afraid I have been spoiled. Katie has set the bar very high for future GTAs for me. She knows exactly what needs to be completed and does it 100% on her own.

Katie plays a pivotal role in my two sections of Human Sexuality. Her meticulous approach to grading student assignments truly sets her apart. Katie's attention to detail and fairness in evaluating student work is unparalleled. She consistently provides constructive feedback that helps students grow academically.

I feel so lucky to have gotten to know Katie personally and professionally. Thank you, Katie, for all you have done for me and our 80+ students!

MaryBeth Mahne

From: Shannon Scovel

MaryBeth has been an awesome TA in my JREM-175 class! She's a huge help in grading essays and providing support to the 96 students in that class. I'm so appreciative of all of the time she puts into the course while balancing all of her other commitments as a graduate student in CCI!

Leah Jacobs

From: Phil Jacobs

Like many grad students, Leah went into beast mode! She went from finishing her master’s program in mechanical engineering in 2023, and working as a research assistant under the amazing Dr. Tony Schmitz, to a full-time employee at ORNL while busting chops on work towards a mechanical engineering PhD. Embracing the opportunities through the UTK Tickle College of Engineering and research at ORNL, Leah is a star among stars as more women embrace the importance of their impact as critical thinking engineers. Go Vols!

Patrick Ramey

From: Branden Ventura-Miller

Pat is an honest, humble person! Our cohort of history graduate students would not be as close as we are if it was not for Patrick. He is always willing to listen and give advice, especially when we feel overwhelmed with all things grad school. He is the glue that keeps us together as friends with setting outside of school events for us that keeps us bonded and close. He is overall just a great guy and I’m happy to call him a friend!

Gabrielle Cochran

From: Gail Williams

Gabrielle Cochran is an integral part of the U.T. Library’s Assessment Planning & Collection Strategy department. Her research, literature reviews, and work with collections projects are exemplary. Each day, she exemplifies personal excellence through her diligent work ethic, positive demeanor, and meticulous attention to detail. As a leader, Gabby provides valuable training and guidance to her peers, fostering an inclusive and welcoming environment. Thank you, Gabby, for your outstanding contributions!

Ian Kirkpatrick

From: Gail Williams

Ian Kirkpatrick joined the U.T. Library’s Assessment Programs and Collection Strategy department in December 2023 and swiftly became an indispensable team member. Ian’s efficient work and meticulous attention to detail have significantly contributed to the successful completion of several collections related projects. His enthusiasm, positive attitude, and eagerness to acquire new skills led us to involve him in several multi-departmental initiatives aligned with our data-driven collections goals—a valuable asset for the Library. Thank you, Ian, for going above and beyond!

Charlotte Beckford

From: Mark Bly

Charlotte has been a devoted member of the Math 142-017 teaching team all semester long. She diligently prepares for her in-class demonstrations, and she meaningfully engages student questions each class meeting. She is always attentive to students' needs during office hours, as she is a staunch defender of students seeing the main ideas of a given situation at as sophisticated a level of mathematical rigor which they can readily understand. All of these impressions are amplified by the fact that Charlotte is not even primarily interested in a career within academia (and rather expects to a researcher in government or industry upon graduation). The fact that Charlotte is so dedicated to a teaching pursuit (with that being just an ancillary professional interest of hers) is both noble and warm.

Meagan Stewart

From: Megan Haselschwerdt

Meagan is an excellent mentor to her fellow graduate students and undergraduate research assistants that they support. All students look up to Meagan for professional development, theoretical, and empirical expertise advice. You can always count on Meagan to attend departmental events, representing the department well, and engaging thoughtfully with questions and comments. Meagan is conducting exceptional research that will move our field forward in new and exciting and important ways. We are so lucky they have been in our department for many years, and we cannot wait to see where they go in the future. Their future is bright 🙂

Deanna Pliagas

From: Tyler Ricks

Deanna is dependable, kind-hearted, thoughtful, and deeply insightful. She is humble despite being the hardest worker in every room. She goes out of her way to help everyone and is always willing to provide support or a word of encouragement. Deanna leads with grace and love, and it is evident that she easily spreads peace and joy everywhere she goes. Deanna’s incredible work ethic is noticeable to graduate students and faculty, and she serves as a daily inspiration for us.

Sarah Rackley

From: English Fields

I have had the opportunity to work closely with Sarah over the last 10 months or so, and I must say that Sarah goes above and beyond for the Pride Center. Sarah's take charge capabilities, and willingness to advocate for not only the students that come into the center, but for others as well assures me that they have a bright and promising future in whatever they plan to do; especially if it involves advocating. Sarah continue to be persistent, and the impact will come. You are the epitome of a graduate assistant.

Kenyette Garrett

From: Kendra Rudder

Kenyette is an exceptional individual, currently pursuing her PhD in social work. Her dedication to helping others truly sets her apart, making her a valuable asset to our college community. Whether it's attending events or volunteering for a photo shoot, Kenyette's passion and commitment to her education, work, and college shows. Her infectious spirit, filled with fun and feistiness, spreads joy wherever she goes. We are grateful to have such a remarkable person like Kenyette among us.

Andrew Righter

From: Krystal Righter

Andrew had worked hard to complete his Master’s degree while working full time and raising 3 kids. He is passionate about teaching and has worked relentlessly to be the best possible teacher for his students. He is graduating with honors due to his great work ethic.

Melissa Baucum

From: Laurel Johnston

Melissa is a wonderful colleague and friend who goes above and beyond to create a supportive culture within the doctoral program in marketing in the Haslam College of Business. As a 4th year student, she sets an example of how to navigate the graduate school experience with persistence, positivity, class, and kindness. Shout out to Melissa!! Thank you for all that you do.

Eliza Galvez

From: Mary Held

Eliza Galvez is an incredible student who is serving the Latinx community through not only research but also by giving her time to provide trainings, mental health panels, and other forms of support in partnership with provider organizations! Way to go, Eliza!

Andrea Castillo

From: Mary Held

Andrea is a rock star! As a GRA, she has been essential for recruiting and collecting data with Latinx communities across the southeast. Andrea also SHOWS UP! Even as an online student, she attends events at both the Nashville and Knoxville campuses of the College of Social Work representing our College and profession so well. Thank you, Andrea, for all you do!