Skip to content Skip to main navigation Report an accessibility issue

Faculty & Staff

Dr. Mike McKinney Professor, Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences
Dr. Sean S. Lindsay Senior Lecturer, Department of Physics
Dr. Keith Stanfill Edwards Assistant Dean and Director of Engineering Design, Integrated Engineering Design
David Matthews Professor, School of Interior Architecture
Dr. Neeraj Bharadwaj Professor, Department of Marketing
Dr. Nathan Hicks Lecturer and Research Assistant Professor, Engineering Fundamentals Program
Dr. Anna Sandelli Associate Professor, Teaching and Learning Programs
Dr. Andrew Pulte Distinguished Lecturer and Director, Department of Plant Sciences
Dr. Jon Hess Professor and Director of Communication Studies

Former Honors Faculty Fellows

Dr. Joe Jarret Lecturer, Department of Political Sciences
Dr. Marina Maccari-Clayton Distinguished Lecturer, Department of History
Dr. Matthew C. Harris Professor, Haslam College of Business

Ex-officio Curriculum Committee Members

Dr. Amber Williams Vice Provost, Division of Student Success
Dr. Joe Scogin Chief Advancement Officer for Strategic Priorities
Dr. Carrie Stephens Professor; Department

of Agricultural Leadership, Education and Communication,

UT Institute of Agriculture

Dr. James Williams Associate Professor;

Retail, Hospitality, and Tourism Management; College of

Education, Health and Human Sciences

Dr. Laura Cole Director of the Masters Investment Learning Center
Dr. Joan Heminway Rick Rose Distinguished Professor of Law

Dr. Patrick Akos Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director
Dr. Francis Canedo Director
Dr. Talisha Adams Chief Admissions and Engagement Officer
Leisha Estep Associate Director, Coaching and Alumni Relations
Sophie Cole Honors Coach
Dr. Ryan McCormack Honors Coach
Joe DeFrank Honors Coach
Julie Cruz Haslam Leadership Scholars Coordinator
Caroline Christian Student Engagement Coordinator
Claire Morrell Admissions Coordinator
Lindsey Brindel Academic Affairs Coordinator
Andrew Seidler Special Assistant

Kaitlyn Smith Graduate Teaching Assistant, Haslam Leadership Scholars
Bri Vo Graduate Teaching Assistant

Regan Ailts

Regan is a Junior majoring in Sociology with a concentration in Criminal Justice and minoring in Business Administration. After undergrad, she plans to attend law school. This past spring, she completed the 1794 Scholars program. This experience has contributed to her success in her first two years at Tennessee as it allowed her to get connected with the campus community and provided her skills applicable to the field of law. In addition to being an Honors Ambassador, Regan serves as the Membership Chair for an organization called Campus Events Board. She is also a member of the sorority Sigma Kappa where she serves as the assistant to the Sisterhood Chair. Regan enjoys running, exploring the city of Knoxville with friends, and listening to podcasts. She is excited for this upcoming school year at Tennessee!

Sonakshi Arelli

Sonakshi Arelli is a Junior in the Chancellor’s Honors Program. She has a passion for business and is majoring in Finance with a collateral in Entrepreneurship at the Haslam College of Business. Sonakshi is an active participant in the Business Fellows Program, and is actively involved in the Women of Haslam, the Asian Business Club, the Real Estate Club, the Entrepreneurship Club, and the Women’s Club Volleyball Team. She was also selected to present one of her academic papers at EURēCA, the highly recognized research symposium. You can often find her studying in the Haslam Atrium, mingling with friends at the Student Union, working out at TRECS and, of course, cheering on the VOLS at sporting events.

Outside of school, Sonakshi has an eye for photography and enjoys capturing memories. She has an adventurous spirit and is always up for traveling.

Her previous work experience spans from working in the hospitality industry to interning in the finance department of an international company centered around the global economy and rooted in the worldwide supply chain.

Sonakshi is always willing to help if you want to be involved on campus or are just curious about how UTK can be a good fit for your academic goals!

Maddie Bell

Maddie Bell is one of our Ambassadors in the Honors Leadership Program. She is a Sophomore double majoring in Journalism/Electronic Media & Political Science as well as pursuing a minor in leadership through HLP. In her freshman year, she was part of an acapella group on campus (VOLT), served as social media coordinator for Dogwood Hall, and was the Student Government First Year Leadership Council.

As a freshman, she had a great opportunity to serve as a research assistant for Dr. Rachel White helping her gather data on every public school district nationwide to track superintendent attrition, specifically looking at gender and race. She was invited to present with the research team at the Association for Education Finance and Policy (AEFP) in Denver, Colorado.

As a sophomore this year she is part of the student government undergraduate senate, interning for the Episcopal on-campus ministry called Tyson House, serving as an Honors Ambassador, and continuing her work with Dr. White and the rest of the team. In her free time, she enjoys playing guitar, watching Disney movies, going to concerts, and hanging out with her friends and family.

She says, “Being in Honors has given me so many opportunities and I am so thankful to be able to share about my experiences in the Honors program to prospective students like you!”

Michaela Bianco

Michaela is a third-year student in the Haslam College of Business, majoring in Marketing with dual-minors in Honors Leadership Studies and Graphic Design, and a collateral in Leadership. As a first-generation college student, Michaela was unsure of what to expect upon arriving on campus. However, she has thoroughly enjoyed her time at UTK and has become considerably involved in campus organizations, on-campus employment, and leadership positions. As an Honors Ambassador, Halsam Ambassador, and Resident Assistant, Michaela works across campus to engage with prospective and current students. She is also a Student Alumni Associate and Director of AMAze Operations for the American Marketing Association, where she oversees and coordinates AMA’s on-campus corporate consulting program. She looks forward to progressing in her field of digital media marketing, but in the meantime she can be found hiking, attending concerts, and exploring Knoxville’s food scene in her free time!

Jasmine Crigler

Jasmine Crigler is from Memphis, Tennessee. She is a Junior Accounting major with a collateral in Information Management in the Haslam College of Business and a graduate of the 1794 Scholars program. Jasmine holds the role as the Professional Development Chair of NABA Inc. and is responsible for communicating and coordinating with most of the local, regional, and national accounting firms. She is also a member of Multicultural Enhancement for the University of Tennessee (ME4UT) to promote diversity to prospective students and engage with other underrepresented students with similar interests. Jasmine’s intended graduation date is May 2025, and after her undergraduate career she plans to pursue a master’s degree in Accounting and her certification as a Public Accountant. Jasmine looks forward to making prospective students feel at home within University Honors by speaking on her experiences in the 1794 Scholars Program and her academic field. When Jasmine is not in the classroom, she enjoys listening to music, watching streaming services, and spending time with family and friends.

Yash Deo

Yash Deo is a Junior in the Chancellor’s Honors Program from Knoxville, TN. He is majoring in Neuroscience with an Honors concentration and minoring in Business Administration. He is currently conducting research in Dr. Cooper’s Behavioral Neuroscience lab relating to stress and neuroplasticity with applications in PTSD and mental health. As for campus involvement, Yash is the VP of NuRhoPsi, Public Relations Officer of Advancement of Neuroscience, a liaison of NeuroNET, the Neuroscience Ambassador lead for the UT Psychology Department, and is a part of the DSAC. In addition, he works at UT Hospital as a Student Assistant. As a Pre-Medical Student, he frequently volunteers at the Magnolia Free Clinic and is a part of the UT First Aid Response Team during football games. Looking for Pre-Med opportunities? Ask Yash! Off of Rocky Top, Yash can be found working out at the TREC, cooking, or studying at Hodges!

Parker Fields

Parker Fields is a Sophomore in the 1794 Scholars Program from Murfreesboro, TN. He is currently studying Supply Chain Management in the Haslam College of Business. He is actively involved in Beta Upsilon Chi as historian and a recruitment team member, as well as a new member of the Academic Affairs committee in SGA. As a member of the 1794 Scholars Program, Parker has been able to learn how to balance Honors coursework with Greek life and stay active in both. He has also been through the process of changing majors, so he is happy to answer any questions on how it works! When not doing homework, Parker can be found playing tennis, working out in TRECS, or at an athletic event.

Mackenzie Galloway

Mackenzie Galloway is a Senior in the Honor’s Leadership Program from Bristol, TN. She is a Nutrition major on the Pre-Dental track. On campus, she is involved in the Rotaract Club serving as President, Leadership Knoxville Scholars, Honors Student Engagement Council, Honors Ambassadors, Student Dental Association, and Tri-Alpha Honor Society. Off-campus, she works as a dental assistant at Knoxville Endodontics. She hopes to pursue a career in dentistry to provide oral care to underserved communities.

Samantha Gross

Samantha Gross is a Sophomore from Waxhaw, North Carolina. She is a Biology major, with a concentration in Biochemistry and Cellular and Molecular Biology. She is also pursuing a minor in Honors Leadership Studies. As an Honors student, she lived in the Honors LLC her freshman year and has participated in many of the Honors events such as movie nights and study sessions. Outside of Honors, she is a member of the Pride of the Southland Marching Band. Both of these organizations have allowed her to make a home away from home at the University of Tennessee as an out-of-state student.

Lauren Haggerson

Lauren Haggerson is majoring in Mechanical Engineering; she is entering her third year here at the University of Tennessee. She attended the University of North Carolina at Charlotte for her freshman year and transferred two years ago. She completed the 1794 Scholars Program, and while in the program she volunteered with the Young-Williams Animal Center and participated in an Honors VOLBreaks. Lauren is very active on campus, she is a Resident Assistant in Geier Hall, she is an Honors Ambassador, as well as the Activities Director for our Honors Engagement Council. She just completed an internship with Lowes Home Improvement in Charlotte, NC this past summer where she worked as a store operations engineer. When she is not studying or working her two campus jobs you can find her volunteering as a puppy socializer with Smoky Mountain Service Dog.

Cole McFarland

Cole McFarland is a Junior in the Chancellor’s Honors Program from Marshall, Illinois. He is a double major, majoring in Anthropology with an Honors concentration, as well Biological Sciences with a concentration in Biochemistry & Cellular and Molecular Biology. His focus is primarily on archaeology and human origins. Cole is also a squad leader for the Pride of the Southland Marching Band and an FYP Peer Menor. Being a Chancellor’s Honors student has allowed Cole to take part in many different opportunities. Through his Honors thesis project, he has been able to take part in anthropology research in UT’s archaeology labs and the body farm. As a member of the PotS, Cole has been able to represent UT outside of Rocky Top. His favorite trump with the band was to London last summer! He encourages all students to take part in groups like Honors to meet new people, learn important skills, and take part in new experiences!

Ryan Mesler

Ryan is a Sophomore at the University of Tennessee majoring in Biochemistry with minors in English and Spanish. He is a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, acting as both an Honors RA for Dogwood Hall and the Events Team Lead for the Honors Student Engagement Council. On campus, he is also involved in All Campus Theater, the Museum Student Advisory Board, and as an undergraduate research assistant in the Johnson Lab. During his free time, he enjoys reading classic literature, going on runs, hanging out with friends, playing piano, and acting in local plays and musicals. After college, Ryan hopes to go to graduate school and possibly do research for the CDC.

Simbisoyashe Mushayamunda

Simbisoyashe Mushayamunda (Simbi) is a Sophomore at the University of Tennessee from Johnson City, TN. She is majoring in Interior Architecture, and is a part of the 1794 Scholars Program. Outside of academics, she serves as Secretary of the African Student Association, Treasurer of Strange Fruit Dance Company, and a peer mentor for the Multicultural Mentoring Program. In addition, she is a committed volunteer in the Knoxville and UT community. Within the next two years, she hopes to pursue research in preservation design/sustainability, and develop her understanding of design throughout the rest of her time as a student in the College of Architecture and Design.

Brandon Sisson

Brandon Sisson is a Sophomore in the Chancellor’s Honors Program from Raleigh, NC. Brandon is majoring in architecture within the College of Architecture and Design and is aiming to complete several Construction Science and Management classes as well as classes towards a minor in Business. He is a member of the American Institute for Architecture Students, YoungLife, Campus Outreach, and Rocky Top Rowdies.

As a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, Brandon has enhanced his education through Honors level classes, enabling him to engage in stimulating coursework, connect with similar-minded students, and gain experience with real-world applications. He has also grown in his leadership skills and community relations by volunteering with several organizations such as Grow Lab and Waste Warriors under the Office of Sustainability. When he’s not pulling an all-nighter in the Architecture building, Brandon can be found painting or sketching a new creative idea, running with his dog, eating Mexican food, or breaking a sweat at the gym. He also loves all things UT, especially the athletics!

Natalie Smith

Natalie is a third-year Haslam Leadership Scholar at the University of Tennessee studying Microbiology and Public Health on the pre-med track. She is very involved both on campus and in the Knoxville community, and the interactions she has had with members of her community as a result of this involvement have led her to develop a strong interest in the intersections between the fields of public health and medicine, and she is very interested in working in a community health setting. Her research interests broadly include host-microbe interactions, infectious diseases, and maternal-fetal health. Her ultimate goal is to work in the field of women’s health as both a physician and a scientist. Her campus involvement includes Honors Ambassadors, Phi Delta Epsilon Medical Fraternity, and Pursuit Journal of Undergraduate Research. In her free time, Natalie enjoys serving as a volunteer medical assistant at the Kim Health Center, acting as a youth mentor for Amachi, hiking, and trying every coffee shop in Knoxville!

Noah Steger

Noah Steger is a Sophomore in the Chancellor’s Honors Program from Peoria, Illinois. He is an Army ROTC Cadet majoring in Psychology. Noah is focused on his responsibilities as a future Army Officer and is heavily involved in the ROTC program on campus. He is a member of the Tennessee Marksmanship and Scabbard & Blade specialty companies and was an Army ROTC and Army Living Learning Community Ambassador. As a member of the Chancellor’s Honors Program, Noah has been able to engage in Honors coursework that has been intellectually stimulating and practical towards real-world applications– to include his recent summer abroad studying Cultural Psychology in Italy. Additionally, through his Army involvement, he has been able to gain access to many unique opportunities offered through the ROTC organization. Outside of class, Noah can be found focusing on his physical fitness, enjoying athletics with friends, hiking, or fishing. Upon graduating, Noah will be commissioned as a 2LT in the US Army before pursuing a career with the FBI.

Kelly Su

Kelly Su is a Sophomore from Knoxville, TN in the Haslam Leadership Scholars Program. She is currently double majoring in Economics and Global Studies with a possible minor in Geographic Information Sciences (GIS) or Public Policy. She is focused on advocating for a future that is socially, economically, and environmentally sustainable. She is the Co-President of the Compost Coalition and a member of other environmental groups on campus.

As a member of the Haslam Leadership Scholars, Kelly has been able to meet successful and influential business leaders, politicians, and social advocates. She has also had the privilege of visiting the beautiful country of Costa Rica with her Haslam cohort and hopes to continue soaking up the culture of other countries as she prepares for a study abroad in her Junior year. She has been involved with floating wetlands research on campus but is looking for more environmental advocacy and volunteering work now. In her down time, Kelly can be found running around campus, reading a good book, volunteering somewhere outside, hanging out with friends, or watching the vlogbrothers.

Jayda Thornton

Jayda Thornton is a Senior from Memphis, Tennessee majoring in Political Science with a concentration in Law & Courts. She is a research assistant in the Department of Political Science and works with a professor to find gun control policies. She is interested in law school and plans to practice business law after graduating. She is a member of Kapi Pre-Law and Government Fraternity and does a lot of volunteer work through the organization. She has served as the Political Action Chairperson of the National Association of the Advancement of Colored People and is a member of Sophisticated Queens Unafraid and Driven (SQUAD).

Rachel Velasquez

Rachel Velasquez is a Communication Studies student minoring in Entrepreneurship. She is a part of the 1794 Scholars Program. She enjoys volunteering on and off campus and serving at her local church. Some of Rachel’s academic extracurriculars include being an Honors Ambassador, Communications Club, and a member of the Diversity Affairs committee of SGA. Additionally, she is involved in her sorority, Chi Omega, and RUF, a campus ministry in which she holds minor leadership roles. In her free time, she enjoys reading, spending time with those she loves, and finding a good cup of coffee! Rachel hopes to build a career in sales one day and is ecstatic to see where her future at the greatest university in the world leads her!

Reece Wood

Reece is a Sophomore in the Honors Leadership Program. He is from Knoxville, but his family lives in Missouri. He is planning on majoring in Biology, possibly with a concentration in Public Health, with minors in Spanish and Leadership Studies. He is a part of the Water Polo team, as well as Director of Supplies for Global Brigades, a non-profit organization focused on providing medical relief to underprivileged communities in developing countries. Aas part of Honors Leadership, Reece has been studying leaders and leadership styles and practices. He has been able to use that knowledge as he becomes a leader not only on campus but in his community, like most Tennessee Volunteers. When not in class, Reece can be found on an adventure, hanging with friends, walking, or eating.