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Three Incoming Students Named Haslam Scholars

Haslam Scholars are athletes, musicians, community volunteers, artists, and world travelers. They work with their schools and communities as volunteers and activists. One has already started a non-profit to promote positive growth for at-risk youth.

Each year up to 15 first-year students are admitted to the Haslam Scholars program and become part of an intimate academic, service, and leadership cohort mentored by top UT faculty. Each student receives an endowed scholarship to cover the estimated cost of in-state tuition and fees and the average cost of campus housing, along with funding to support independent research. Out-of-state Haslam Scholars receive a waiver granting them in-state tuition.

Haslam Scholars reside in a living and learning community in the Fred D. Brown Jr. Residence Hall. They enjoy an exclusive curriculum, interdisciplinary seminars, and community service-learning. They also participate in a collaborative study abroad experience in Edinburgh, Scotland.

The Haslam Scholars Program was founded in 2008 with a $2.5 million donation by Jimmy and Dee Haslam and a $2.5 million donation by Jim and Natalie Haslam.

Three of the university’s incoming Haslam Scholars will join the college this fall:

Kinley KoontzKinley Koontz of West High School in Knoxville, Tennessee. She will major in biomedical engineering with hopes of going to medical school. An award-winning community volunteer, she’s organized partnerships between her school and civic organizations including UT’s Community Schools program at Pond Gap Elementary. She founded the Garden Project, a nonprofit organization that promotes positive growth for at-risk youth through artistic expression, and has developed a program that could allow the organization to spread nationwide. She is a student representative on the Knox County Board of Education.


Deanna Riley

Deanna Riley of Summit High School in Spring Hill, Tennessee. She will major in biomedical engineering and wants to be a pediatric neurologist. She plays bass drum. She is active in school organizations and volunteers with civic groups including Habitat for Humanity and the Well Food Pantry. She volunteers at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt University.


Athena Tran

Athena Tran of Blue Valley North High School in Leawood, Kansas. She will major in chemical engineering. She’s worked with Kansas City Interfaith/SevenDays Youth Alliance, a group formed after an anti-Semitic shooting in her hometown. She also an alumna of the Kansas City Women’s Foundation Girls’ Leadership program. She’s been active in school and community organizations and is captain of her state champion varsity tennis team.