Fifteen incoming freshmen at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, are the newest members of the Haslam Scholars Program, UT’s most prestigious undergraduate academic scholars program. The program was founded in 2008 with a generous gift from Jimmy and Dee Haslam and Jim and Natalie Haslam.
Four of this year’s 15 scholars in this year’s cohort are Engineering Vols. The scholars will receive scholarships to cover tuition, fees, and room and board, stipends to pursue additional experiential learning opportunities, and a fully funded study abroad program.
The Haslam Scholars program is one of four university-wide, interdisciplinary honors programs for UT’s highest-achieving students, housed in the Division of Student Success. Since its inauguration, the program has produced three Rhodes Scholars, recipients of other prestigious awards such as the Fulbright, Goldwater, and Gates Cambridge Scholarships, and graduates who have gone on to attend top graduate schools and hold high-profile positions in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors.
“This year’s cohort is made up of a diverse and driven group of scholars who have already shown exceptional leadership and academic excellence,” said Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor David Manderscheid. “Haslam Scholars carry on a brilliant legacy of civic engagement and servant leadership, and I’m excited to see this group thrive at UT and beyond.”
Meet the newest engineering Haslam Scholars:
Logan O’Neal, of Knoxville, plans to major in computer science and wants to go into artificial intelligence research. In high school he was captain of the robotics team, lead of the CodeTN team, and president of his church’s youth group.
O’Neal volunteers for multiple organizations including Appalachian Outreach’s computer repair ministry, Access Life, and the CodeStock Convention.
He received the 2020 Prudential Spirit of Community distinguished finalist award for his work with STEM education community outreach programs. During the summer of his junior year, he interned in Oak Ridge National Laboratory’s Emerging Technologies Division, where he developed a tool used to educate the public about the capabilities of machine learning.
Micah Owens, of Cookeville, Tennessee, plans to major in industrial engineering. Owens served as a senator at Girls State and hopes to participate in student government at UT.
She plays volleyball and basketball and was co-captain of the varsity volleyball team. Her musical endeavors have included Mid-State and All-State Choirs, multiple musicals and concerts, playing the keyboard at her church, and a senior piano recital.
Owens works at a local catering company and teaches piano. She was the valedictorian of her class and graduated with both a high school diploma and an associate’s degree.
Alaina Washington, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, plans to major in industrial engineering.
She was president of her high school’s Science Olympiad team, co-president of the Model United Nations club, drum major in the marching band, and secretary the National Honor Society chapter.
A Girl Scout since kindergarten, Washington earned the Gold Award, advocating for scoliosis awareness in underrepresented community groups. She played flute in the All-State East Honor Band.
Anna Weis, of Murfreesboro, Tennessee, plans to major in computer engineering. In high school she served as president of the Girls Who Code club, secretary for the Society of Women Engineers, and a senior mentor helping a group of freshmen with academic and social issues.
Weis was awarded a paid internship as an IT technician the summer of her junior year. She was a varsity swimmer all four years and volunteered over 120 hours as a summer swim team coach.
She is interested in continuing research on a concussion detection device and alert monitoring system she created as part of her senior thesis.
This year’s cohort was selected from 550 applicants.
The Haslams’ intent was to create a program that would attract the best and brightest scholars in Tennessee and others from around the country to receive their education at UT and make important contributions to the state. The Haslam Scholars Program promotes the pursuit of knowledge, scholarly research, civic engagement, and community leadership and offers partnerships with high-profile institutions in Tennessee such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory.