Students, groups honored during 2018 Leadership Awards Ceremony

Students, groups honored during 2018 Leadership Awards Ceremony 

April 26, 2018

More than 40 Maryville College students, faculty, staff and student organizations were honored for outstanding campus and community leadership during the institution’s annual Leadership Awards Ceremony on April 26, 2018. Students, parents, College faculty and staff and community members attended the event held in the Alumni Gym.

“Through our annual Leadership Awards, we recognize students who provide exemplary leadership within our campus community. These are students who go above and beyond, consistently demonstrate compassion and passion – students who seek the opportunity to serve and give back,” said Dr. Melanie Tucker, vice president and dean of students. “We also have the opportunity to honor faculty and staff who model outstanding leadership in their day-to-day lives, and notably, through their advocacy and support for student success.

“Taking time to share the Leadership Awards provides us an opportunity to reflect on how our campus, as a family, lives the mission of the College,” Tucker continued. “Our mission reflects our commitment to preparing students for lives of citizenship and leadership as we challenge each one to search for truth, grow in wisdom, work for justice, and dedicate a life of creativity and service to the peoples of the world. Our award recipients tonight are living proof of the Maryville College mission.”

Students, faculty and organizations recognized during the April 26 ceremony are listed below.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s Outstanding Student Award went to Hannah Kirby, a senior environmental studies and political science double major from Knoxville, Tenn.

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance also recognized the following students who received the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential: Liz Menendez, a senior environmental studies major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Albrianna Jenkins, a senior writing communication major from Lenoir City, Tenn.; Jennings Kelley, a senior theatre studies major from Cleveland, Tenn.; Hannah Kirby, a senior environmental studies and political science double major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Sammi Pamfil, a senior criminal justice and sociology double major from Maryville, Tenn.; Haleigh Smith, a senior writing communication major from Calhoun, Ga.; Josh Smith, a senior environmental studies major from Louisville, Tenn.; and Sarah Smith, a senior writing communication and literature in English double major from Louisville, Tenn. 

Community Engagement Awards

Molly Ridgeway, a senior child development and learning for teacher licensure major from Florence, Ala., received the Harold Love Outstanding Community Involvement Award.

The MC student organization Peace and World Concerns was recognized with the Building and Strengthening the Human Community Award.

Adrienne Schwarte, chair of the Division of Fine Arts and associate professor of art/design, was named Staff/Faculty Volunteer of the Year.

Amelia Geis-Scott, Food Service Director at New Providence Presbyterian Church and First United Methodist Church, was named Community Agency Representative of the Year.

Tatyania Watts, a sophomore American Sign Language-English Interpreting major from Lithonia, Ga., was presented with the Spirit of Service/Student Volunteer of the Year Award.

Aaron Soloman, a sophomore management major from Katy, Texas, was named Student Activist of the Year.

MC Ambassador Awards

Maryville College’s Admissions Office recognized outstanding leadership in its Ambassador program, which trains current students to give tours, assist with special events and represent the campus community to prospective students and their families and other guests to the campus.

The First-Year Spirit of the Ambassador Award went to Aaron Solomon, a sophomore management major from Katy, Texas, and Anna Dieter, a junior theatre studies major from Signal Mountain, Tenn.

The MC Ambassadors of the Year Award went to Sarah Glenn, a senior engineering and biochemistry major from New Tazewell, Tenn.; Juwan Hill, a junior finance/accounting major from Spring, Texas; Alex McCullough, a junior music education with teacher licensure major from Lebanon, Tenn.; and Mindy Reagan, a senior music education with teacher licensure major from Maryville, Tenn.

The Outstanding Lifetime Service Award was presented to Molly Hamant, a senior biology major from West Chester, Ohio; and Jordan McCullough, a senior history major from Lebanon, Tenn. 

Highland Leadership Program

Eight first-year students were recognized for their participation in the Highland Leadership Program: Phoenix Ball of Mooresburg, Tenn.; Jinming Chen, a mathematics major from Qingdao, China; Meridith Daffron, a writing communication major from Ragland, Ala.; Nancy Gonzalez-Rodriguez, a Teaching English as a Second Language and child development and learning with teacher licensure double major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Benjamin Kamden-Talom, a biochemistry major from Katy, Texas; Margaret Nielsen, a marketing and criminal double major from Sparta, Tenn.; Claire Willenbrink, an outdoor studies and tourism major from Liberty Township, Ohio; and Autumn Phillips, an exercise science major from Clarkrange, Tenn. The Highland Leadership Program is an empowering experience for first-year students that engages them in leadership development, critical thinking, self-reflection and teamwork.

Multicultural Service Awards

Claudia Pires of Cape Verde, Africa, received the International Leader of the Year Award.

The Nancy Smith Wright Unity Award, named for the first African-American to graduate from Maryville College following reintegration, went to the Black Student Alliance. The award recognizes an individual or organization that consistently demonstrates unity through diversity within the Maryville College community and beyond.

Danaya Randolph, a junior biochemistry major from Knoxville, Tenn., was honored with the Sojourner Truth Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in a Maryville College female student of color.

Aaron Solomon, a sophomore management major from Katy, Texas, accepted the College's W.E.B. DuBois Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in a Maryville College male student of color. 

Religious Life Service Award

The Charles and Mary Ensign Scholarship, which recognizes students’ contributions to the religious life of the campus, was presented to two seniors: Sarah Gregory, an American Sign Language-English Interpreting and American Sign Language-Deaf Studies double major from Prague, Czech Republic; and Grace Plemmons, a biochemistry major from Kingsport, Tenn.

Residence Life Awards

Cassidy Mahan, a junior psychology major from Knoxville, Tenn., was named Resident Assistant of the Year. Alexis Black, a senior psychology major from Hughesville, Md., received the Residence Life Outstanding Service Award.

Spirit of the Covenant Award

Six members of the campus community were named recipients of the College’s Spirit of the Covenant Award, which recognizes individuals who embody the spirit of the principles of scholarship, respect and integrity as outlined in the College's Covenant.

Recipients were Alexis Black, a senior psychology major from Hughesville, Md.;  Molly Hamant, a senior biology major from West Chester, Ohio; Ian Schomer, a senior mathematics and engineering double major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Dr. Terry Simpson, professor of secondary education and director of teacher education at MC; Rev. Dr. Anne McKee, MC campus minister; and Dr. Jesse Smith, MC lecturer in mathematics and chair of the Keepers of the Covenant. 

Student Development Awards

The Outstanding Freshman Leader Award went to Margaret Nielsen, a freshman marketing and criminal justice double major from Sparta, Tenn.; Aaron Solomon, a sophomore management major from Katy, Texas, was awarded the Outstanding Sophomore Leader Award. Jacob Williams, a junior economics and sociology double major from Cleveland, Tenn., was called to the stage to receive the Outstanding Junior Leader Award.

Ginnylyne Guisadio, a senior neuroscience and biochemistry double major from Kingsport, Tenn.; earned the Sharon A. Murphy Crane Award, which recognizes a rising junior or senior who is an active participant in the College theatre and/or student programming activities, and who deeply loves the College and is willing to raise issues intended to benefit the entire campus community.

Jerica Johnson, admissions counselor and multicultural recruitment coordinator at Maryville College, was named Student Organization Advisor of the Year. The award recognizes the advisor who has enabled his or her organization to reach its goals and make a significant contribution to student activities at Maryville College.

MC’s Black Student Alliance student organization was named Student Development's Organization of the Year. The award is presented to the student organization that throughout the year has made a significant contribution to student activities at Maryville College.


Maryville College is ideally situated in Maryville, Tenn., between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Knoxville, the state's third largest city. Founded in 1819, it is the 12th oldest institution of higher learning in the South and maintains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA). Known for offering its students a rigorous and highly personal experience that includes an undergraduate research requirement, Maryville College is a nationally ranked institution of higher learning that successfully joins the liberal arts and professional preparation. Total enrollment for the Fall 2017 semester is 1,181.