Generation Z has come to Rocky Top to make a difference in the world around us.
After Ashlyn Anderson found her passion for cooking in high school, she began making meals for cancer patients as a volunteer with the Heimerdinger Foundation in Nashville.
“The core philosophy of food as medicine is something I want to incorporate into my future calling,” she says.
As a member of UT’s Haslam Scholars program, Anderson is studying food science and plans to volunteer at a local elementary school, teaching children about nutritious food.
Anderson is one of the many members of the Class of 2022 arriving at UT determined to be change-makers in the world. Here are six more:
Daniel Dos Santos, of Knoxville, says his father, who emigrated from Brazil, taught him the value of hard work and has given him pride in his background and an appreciation of other cultures. Dos Santos, majoring in nuclear engineering, says he hopes to “spread the usage of clean and reliable nuclear energy and help dissipate the negative image that is generally associated with the term nuclear.”
Pre-med student Karalise Nikuze hopes to return to Africa as a doctor to help those in need. Born in a refugee camp in Tanzania, Nikuze was raised by her grandparents after her mother’s death. Her family immigrated to the US, and she became an academic standout at Knoxville’s Fulton High School. “My grandparents always say I have to get my education so that I can go make a difference for myself and for others while doing something that I love to do,” she says.
While Haslam Scholar Kinley Koontz was in high school in Knoxville, she founded a nonprofit, the Garden Project, to nurture at-risk schoolchildren. Now youngsters there are learning dance, yoga, and painting. “I hope to use the problem-solving skills I learn in my coursework to make a positive difference in the Knoxville community and beyond,” says the biomedical engineering major.
A Haslam Scholar and Peyton Manning Scholar, Nashville native Bradford Brewer says writing about his grandmother’s struggle with Alzheimer’s disease and his own experience with concussions led him to combine studies in neuroscience and English with work at the Pat Summitt Clinic at UT Medical Center. The clinic diagnoses and treats patients with Alzheimer’s disease and non-Alzheimer’s dementia.
Architecture major Shannon Story comes to UT from Madison, Alabama, to pursue her dream of building a national memorial. “I hope to one day build a structure that has important meaning within the community, much like the World War II Memorial or the Freedom Tower—something to give back to those who have sacrificed for our freedom,” she says.
Animal science major Caitlin Priester, of Arlington, Tennessee, is a Haslam Scholar who aspires to be a veterinarian, bringing together her interests in animal prosthetics, neurology, and surgery. “My overall goal is to help animals receive the best and most sound care—and push the envelope for how to achieve that high level of care,” says Priester.