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Getting Acquainted: Haslam Scholars 2016 Cohort

Each year the Haslam Scholars Program adds to its distinguished membership a new class of first-year scholars. These scholars are expected to grow, learn, and lead at the university, among their peers, and in the Knoxville community. The 2016 cohort is made up of vibrant personalities, diligent workers, and an incredible amount of potential. This is clear in how they write about one another. The description of each scholar below was written by a fellow within the 2016 cohort. These scholars believe in each other and give us reason to believe in them too.

Aubrey BaderAubrey Bader
Written by Kaylie Richard

Aubrey Bader is a music lover and an aspiring architect. As a first-year architecture student, she spends a significant portion of her time constructing elaborate molds and models in the studio. Aubrey maintains balance in her life by volunteering at the local Presbyterian church and running to stay fit. Ultimately, she aspires to bring together divided communities through architecture.

Thomas Clarity Thomas Clarity
Written by Benjamin Cruz

Thomas Clarity doesn’t comprehend the term “complacency.” He holds extremely high expectations for himself in all aspects of his life. Academically, his passion is neuroscience. Thomas is also actively involved on campus, as a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and the Neuroscience Club. He brings balance to his life by participating in intramural sports. Thomas intends on leaving a legacy of service and academic excellence during his time at the University of Tennessee.

Justin CrossJustin Cross
Written by Taylor Washington

Justin Cross is a Public Administration major and a hardworking, life-loving type of guy. He is most known for his love of Knoxville, his job at State Farm, and his utterly contagious laugh. Justin has a passion for agriculture and will not hesitate to tell you all about his life on the farm. Justin is a part of many organizations on campus because he believes in serving the campus community. In his free time, Justin loves to cheer on the Vols and spend quality time with his dog, Cricket.

Benjamin CruzBen Cruz
Written by Braden Lype

As a Biosystems Engineering major and a dedicated Baltimore Ravens fan, Ben approaches each new day with clarity and a motive to be productive. He displays passion about the many things in life he cares about. Undoubtedly, he is a dedicated scholar and never gives up when tackling difficult questions. On a personal level, he is genuine and trustworthy, always willing to lend a helping hand.

Sophia CuiSophia Cui
Written by Andrea Ramirez

Sophia Cui is determined, compassionate, and driven. Whether she is doing homework, watching funny videos, or looking at the latest Hollywood news, Sophia implements a go-getter attitude in all she does. She is most often seen power walking around campus with a java chip Starbucks drink in hand. As a pre-med student, she focuses most of her energy on working toward her life goals. Sophia has a burgeoning passion for research in her desired field of neuroscience and is diving into her future by planning her undergraduate research and participating in TEDxUTK.

Oumar Souleymane-Diallo Oumar Souleymane Diallo
Written by Cole Tipton

Oumar Souleymane-Diallo is hilarious and generous with a thirst for knowledge. A glimpse into Oumar’s life means stumbling across half-finished, eclectic tech projects and receiving an invitation to “grab lunch sometime.” A computer science major, he is anything but a robot. Oumar is often the life of social situations and is passionate about making sure others are included in any group activity. Oumar is a global citizen having lived in 3 different countries.

Braden Braden LypeLype
Written by Oumar Diallo

A veritable jack-of-all-trades is hard to come by – and even harder to become. A freshman nursing student, Braden Lype has tried his hand in various artistic and athletic fields and succeeded. When he’s not physically pushing his limits, Braden is frequenting the sound-proof piano rooms in the Natalie Haslam Music Center to relieve his stress and stimulate his creativity. Given his many talents, Braden has resolved to hone his skills and become the very best in his chosen field. Even though his adventure has just started at the University of Tennessee, Braden looks forward to seeing what his time here holds.

Autumn Ragland Autumn Ragland
Written by Chad Smith

When you meet Autumn you instantly know you must be her friend. Not only is Autumn sincere, aware and supportive, she is intentional in setting and meeting her goals. As an architecture student, Autumn hopes to contribute to society by melding her passions in humanitarian architecture and Hispanic culture. When Autumn is not diligently working on a project in the studio, she can be found binge watching The Office or practicing for a chorale concert. Being around Autumn is inspiring and fortifying, as she truly embodies what it means to be a Tennessee Volunteer and a Haslam Scholar.

Andrea RamirezAndrea Ramirez
Written by Sophia Cui

Andrea is fun-loving, easygoing, and sweet. Whether she’s working on her homework, listening to the new Kings of Leon album, watching Grey’s Anatomy, or playing soccer, Andrea is hardworking, committed, and caring. You can catch her at the best concerts and festivals around, volunteering at Inskip Elementary Spanish Club, or exploring the mountains (Max Patch is her favorite!). Andrea loves kids and aspires to become a pediatrician. Her future is bright, just like her.

Kaylie Richard Kaylie Richard
Written by Aubrey Bader

Kaylie Richard is an early morning go-getter. She is a dedicated climber of the hill and enjoys going backpacking on the weekends. Kaylie is a chemical engineering major with a biomolecular concentration. In her little free time, she likes to destress by playing the violin for the university’s Catholic church. She hopes to work in a lab over the summer and pursue a post-secondary degree.

Chad SmithChad Smith
Written by Thomas Clarity

Chad Smith is the type of person you want to meet when you first step onto UT’s campus. His outgoing and amiable personality is one you can connect with no matter who you are. Hailing from Bristol, Tennessee, Chad studies Anthropology with hopes of attending medical school. He is involved in multiple campus organizations such as SGA Traditions, First-Year Council, Diversity Affairs, CEB Entertainment Committee, and the Pursuit undergraduate research review board. Aside from school, Chad enjoys singing, running, and going to concerts. His greatest quality is his loyalty as a friend. If you do not already know Chad, seek him out. There’s a good chance he’s already stalked you on Instagram.

Cole TiptonCole Tipton
Written by Autumn Ragland

Cole Tipton is a bright and colorful scholar. His passion for plants and self-expression are evident upon getting to know him. Cole is majoring in Plant Sciences with a concentration in horticulture. He has a keen interest in music, specifically conducting. Cole recently performed in The Rocky Horror Picture Show and hopes to take the lead next year. He also plans to steal the spotlight in the spring drag show. Cole’s outgoing and humorous personality makes him an great friend.

Kellie VeltriKellie Veltri
Written by Courtney Wombles

Kellie Veltri is a true scholar. By majoring in both English and psychology, working as editor-in-chief for Fresh U UTK, and participating in a number of student organizations, she demonstrates dedication and commitment to her studies. Kellie is an amazing student and an equally amazing friend. When she isn’t studying or using her infinite Harry Potter wisdom, Kellie is always willing to share her insightfulness and kindness through conversation. Driven, intelligent, and intuitive, she is an undeniable asset to the first-year cohort.

Taylor WashingtonTaylor Washington
Written by Justin Cross

Taylor Washington can best be described as talkative and honest.  She loves UT almost as much as she loves music and Lucky Charms.  Taylor likes to stay busy through her involvement with several on-campus clubs and organizations, but she is never too busy to take some time to relax with an episode of Criminal Minds. Taylor is a proud native of Memphis, Tennessee, and is passionate about sharing stories about her hometown. Majoring in Political Science, Taylor hopes to eventually give back to her city.


Courtney WomblesCourtney Wombles
Written by Kellie Veltri

Courtney Wombles is affectionately nicknamed “Mombles” for her kindhearted and mature demeanor. Though she is often quiet, you can always catch her loudly singing along to “Rocky Top”  at UT football games. Courtney is perceptive of others’ feelings and shows kindness by writing her friends encouraging notes. The Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology major has a passion for medicine and is interested in pursuing a degree in medical illustration. When she’s not diligently studying, Courtney enjoys playing tennis, drawing coloring book-worthy doodles, and watching Gilmore Girls.