Maryville College students honored at 2019 Academic Awards Ceremony

Maryville College students honored at 2019 Academic Awards Ceremony

April 6, 2019

Scholarship and the ideals of the liberal arts were celebrated April 6, 2019, when 61 awards were presented to 72 students at Maryville College’s annual Academic Awards Ceremony.

“All of us at the College take great satisfaction in the accomplishments of these students as we recognize them for their special commitment to learning, their passion for understanding, their sensitivity to nuance, their appreciation for social and cultural diversity, and their willingness to use their growing wisdom for the common good,” said Dr. Daniel Klingensmith, interim vice president and dean of the College, who served as the evening’s emcee.

Held in the Ronald and Lynda Nutt Theatre of the Clayton Center for the Arts, the ceremony was attended by numerous students, parents and family members. Macebearer Dr. Jenifer Greene, chair of the Division of Social Sciences and professor of management, led the procession of faculty members and administrators.

Below is a list of awards given and students recognized in all eight academic divisions, core curriculum and other departments. Additionally, the ceremony included recognition of eight honor societies, with 89 student members inducted this year. 

CORE CURRICULUM

The Glenn Hewitt Award in Ethics is given to the student demonstrating the most outstanding work in Ethics 490. The student’s name is engraved on a permanent plaque displayed in Anderson Hall. This year’s recipient is Samantha Burke, a senior American Sign Language-Deaf Studies major from Louisville, Ky.

For earning the highest grade point average in all core courses taken at Maryville College, seven seniors were recognized with the Liberal Arts Award: Gabriella Chavarria, a child development and learning major from Philadelphia, Tenn.; Elizabeth Coyle, a psychology (counseling) major from Prospect, Ky.; Danielle Everett, a psychology (counseling) major from Seymour, Tenn.; Kathryn Maley, a biology major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Ian Schomer, a mathematics major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Megan Wright, a literature in English major from Maryville, Tenn.; and Mackenzie Yaksic, a writing communication major from Gatlinburg, Tenn. 

BEHAVIORAL SCIENCES

The David H. Briggs Award recognizes the senior psychology major with the best academic performance in psychology as judged by classroom performance, overall scholarship and grade point average. This year, Caroline Ballinger, a psychology (counseling) major from Strawberry Plains, Tenn., and Danielle Everett, a psychology (counseling) major from Seymour, Tenn., were honored.

Taylor Leonard of Knoxville, Tenn., received the Neuroscience Award, which acknowledges a senior neuroscience major with the best academic performance in neuroscience as judged by classroom performance, overall scholarship and grade point average.

The Child Development Award, which is awarded annually to a senior child development and learning major who has demonstrated competence with children and achieved outstanding performance in the major, as well as in overall scholarship as reflected in grade point average, was presented to Gabriella Chavarria of Philadelphia, Tenn., and Kai Wang of Shijiazhuang, China.

The Irma Young Outstanding Senior Award in Interpreting, which is presented to the student who has shown exemplary potential for interpreting by performance and scholarship, went to Emma Schwarzmann, American Sign Language-Deaf Studies and American Sign Language-English Interpreting double major from Lexington, Va.

EDUCATION

Emalee Pressley, a senior exercise science and management double major from Candler, N.C., was awarded the Phi Epsilon Rho Scholarship Award, which goes to a rising senior in physical education or recreation who has at least a cumulative 3.0 GPA and has exhibited leadership in campus and departmental activities and professional organizations.

Colby Beach, a senior exercise science major from Maryville, Tenn., received the Exercise Science, Physical Education, PE/Health with Licensure, or Outdoor Studies Outstanding Senior Award. This award recognizes a graduating senior in the major who has at least a cumulative 3.5 GPA, serves as a role model in the classroom and community and is involved in professional organizations.

The Outstanding Student Teacher in the Elementary Grades Award was presented to senior Jessica Rhea, a child development and learning for teacher licensure major from Mt. Juliet, Tenn.

Eric Hart, a senior physical education/health for K-12 teacher licensure major from Gatlinburg, Tenn., received the Outstanding Student Teacher in the Secondary Grades Award.

The Outstanding Post-Baccalaureate Student Teacher Award went to Jon Carney.

FINE ARTS

This year, the Barraclough Choir Award, which recognizes a senior who has been a Maryville College Choir member for at least two years and who is judged to have been outstanding in service to the choir, was awarded to Alex McCullough, a music education (vocal) with teacher licensure major from Lebanon, Tenn.

Robby Clemens, a junior music major from Maryville, Tenn., received the Robert Bonham Music Faculty Award for Superior Performance.

Anna Dieter, a theater studies major from Signal Mountain, Tenn., received the Bates Forensics Drama Award, which is awarded to the most outstanding senior in drama.

Allison Parton, a junior theatre studies with teacher licensure major from Knoxville, Tenn., was recognized with the Evelyn Seedorf Prize in Dramatic Arts, which goes annually to the most deserving student majoring in theatre.

Lenny Lively, a senior theatre studies and religion double major from Pikeville, Tenn., took home the Outstanding Senior Theatre Student Award, which is presented to the graduating senior theatre major who has demonstrated the most outstanding achievement in the major field. 

The Clark Family Prize recognizes rising juniors or seniors in art who have demonstrated outstanding academic and artistic achievement. This year, the award went to two students: Lauren McCarter, a senior design major from Seymour, Tenn., and David Peters, a senior design and writing communication double major from Rockford, Tenn.

For outstanding achievement in art history, Evan Gambill, a senior design major from Maryville, Tenn., was recognized with the Sarah Hardrath Kramer Art History Award.

The Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts scholarships are awarded yearly to two junior or senior students majoring in art or design, and covers tuition, room and board, and art supplies for a weeklong intensive workshop at that prestigious school in Gatlinburg. This year’s recipients are Caroline Hood, a sophomore art major from Seymour, Tenn., and William Tate, a junior art and theatre studies double major from Maryville, Tenn.

HUMANITIES

Zach Bible, a senior philosophy and religion double major from Lebanon, Tenn., was the recipient of the Bates Bible Award, which is presented each year to the graduating senior who has demonstrated the most ability in the study of religion or philosophy.

Brylie Mays, who is from Crossville, Tenn., was the recipient of the Frank A. Kramer Student Award, which is given to a junior history major who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, exceptional service to the college and significant involvement in extracurricular activities.

Danielle Everett, a psychology (counseling) major from Seymour, Tenn., received the T.T. Alexander Award, which is given to a student with the best paper on a subject from one of the following areas:   the relationship of philosophical or theological inquiry to social issues; the application of such inquiry to social issues; the consequences of social, theological or philosophical problems on religious doctrine; the consequences of religious doctrine upon social, political or economic thinking or social science method; or the consequence of religious doctrine upon social, political or economic issues and conflicts.

Dani O’Brien, a senior philosophy and history double major from Mount Juliet, Tenn., received the Otto P. Pflanze Prize for Excellence in History.

The Verton M. Queener Award for History went to Brinley Knowles, a senior history and writing communication double major from Media, Pa. The award recognizes outstanding study of American and English history by a junior. 

LANGUAGES & LITERATURE

For achieving the best four-year record in the study of English, Megan Wright, a senior literature in English major from Maryville, Tenn., was awarded the Alexander English Prize.

Eliza Komisar, a junior literature in English and sociology double major from Dickson, Tenn., received the Charlotta Cook Hensley Memorial Award for outstanding academic achievement and significant involvement on the staff of The Highland Echo campus newspaper.

The Ruth Lloyd Kramer Memorial Award is given to a junior English major who has demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, exceptional service to the College and significant involvement in extracurricular activities. The 2019 recipient is Brenna Tipton, a senior English with teacher licensure major from Louisville, Tenn.

Impressions, MC’s campus literary magazine, presented awards to magazine contributors. The award for best art went to Rebecca Branton, a freshman art major from Maryville, Tenn.; the award for best poetry went to Lexi Douglas, a sophomore chemistry and economics double major from Pikeville, Tenn.; and the award for best prose went to Megan Wright, a senior literature in English major from Maryville, Tenn.

Six students were recognized for outstanding achievement in foreign language study. Shelby Hix, a sophomore exercise science major from Gordonsville, Tenn., was honored for outstanding achievement in French. Sarah Cardall, a freshman international studies major from Clinton, Tenn., was recognized for outstanding achievement in German. The award for outstanding achievement in Italian went to Shane Byerley, a senior international studies major from Greenback, Tenn. The award for outstanding achievement in Japanese went to Kennedy Hardnett, a freshman criminal justice major from Hixson, Tenn. Shannon O’Brian, a sophomore biology major from Friendsville, Tenn., was recognized for outstanding achievement in Latin. Recognition for achievements in Spanish went to junior biology major Kelsey Birchfield of Knoxville, Tenn.

The Outstanding Spanish Major Award recognizes the Spanish major who demonstrates the best academic performance judged by classroom performance, overall scholarship, study abroad experience and grade point average. The award went to senior Spanish and international business double major Nate Long of Belmont, N.C.

Shane Byerley, a senior international studies major from Greenback, Tenn., was the recipient of the Outstanding Spanish Minor Award. This award is given to the Spanish minor demonstrating the best academic performance judged by classroom performance, overall scholarship, study abroad experience, and grade point average. 

MATHEMATICS & COMPUTER SCIENCE

Luke Koch, a senior mathematics major from Loudon, Tenn., was the recipient of the Russell N. and Frances Lane Edwards and Troy Bell Lane Waggoner Award. The award is presented to the most outstanding junior or senior in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science.

The George A. Knapp Mathematics Award, which goes to the most outstanding and most promising junior or senior student majoring in mathematics, was presented to senior mathematics major Ian Schomer of Knoxville, Tenn.

Zackary Welch, a senior mathematics and computer science double major from Maryville, Tenn., was awarded the West Chevrolet Academic Award, which recognizes students who score in the top 10 on the mathematics competition conducted by the College’s Division of Mathematics and Computer Science.

Two students were presented the William H. Dent Calculus Award for having the most outstanding performance in calculus: Susanna Cook, a senior mathematics for teacher licensure major from Tellico Plains, Tenn., and Brooke Denney, a senior mathematics for teacher licensure major from Seymour, Tenn.

The Jerry L. Pietenpol Computer Science Award, which recognizes the most outstanding and most promising junior or senior student majoring in computer science, went to senior mathematics and computer science double major Joshua Metcalf of Maryville, Tenn.

Chris Fernandez, a junior mathematics and computer science double major from Maryville, Tenn., received the Outstanding Achievement in Statistics Award.

NATURAL SCIENCES

Claire Willenbrink of Liberty Township, Ohio, received the Robert K. Godfrey Freshman Biology Award for demonstrated excellence in the study of biology in the first year.

Charis Ramsey of Greenback, Tenn., accepted the Sophomore Biology Award for outstanding ability and promise in the biological sciences.

The Susan Allen Green Award is annually presented to the most outstanding biology major in the junior or senior class. This year’s award was presented to Shannon Reagan, a junior biology major from Tullahoma, Tenn.

The A. Randolph Shields Award, which recognizes the graduating senior who has the most outstanding four-year record in biology, went to two students: Victoria Deal, a senior biology major from Huntsville, Ala., and Kathryn Maley, a biology major from Knoxville, Tenn.

Recognized as a woman in the junior class who shows excellence in the study of chemistry, biochemistry major Megan Houston of Maryville, Tenn., was awarded the Elizabeth Hillman Award.

The award for Outstanding Performance in General Chemistry was presented to Ben Walker, a freshman biochemistry major from Maryville, Tenn.

The Outstanding Performance in Organic Chemistry Award, which recognizes outstanding ability in the study of organic chemistry and structural analysis, went to Madison Gilliam, a sophomore neuroscience major from Sewanee, Tenn.

Recognized as the graduating senior who has demonstrated the most outstanding accomplishments in chemistry, Madison Davis, a biochemistry major from Louisville, Tenn., was awarded the Distinguished Achievement in Chemistry Award.

SOCIAL SCIENCES

The John W. Burgess Award for meritorious achievement in the field of political science went to two students: Sydney Perry, a senior political science major from Sevierville, Tenn., and Hannah Young, a senior political science major from Maynardville, Tenn.

The Judson B. Murphy Endowed Business Award, which is presented annually to a senior who demonstrates outstanding work in business and organization management with outstanding character and well-rounded achievement and career promise, went to two students: Connor Davis, a finance/accounting major from Maryville, Tenn., and Dante Hoppa, a senior finance/accounting major from Naples, Fla.

The Kyle and Roberta Myers Petree Endowed Award is given to an outstanding local student majoring in business. The 2019 recipients are Edna Hernandez, a junior finance/accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn., and Kyla Smith, a senior finance/accounting major from Maryville, Tenn.

Jacob Williams of Cleveland, Tenn., received the Outstanding Senior Award for a Student Majoring in Economics, which is awarded to the senior student demonstrating outstanding work in economics, outstanding character, well-rounded achievement and career promise.

The Outstanding Senior Award in Sociology, which is awarded to a senior with high achievement in the sociology major, went to Bailey Ritter, a senior psychology and sociology double major from Louisville, Tenn.

The Agnes Thornton Bird Award, which is given to a locally residing sophomore or junior woman interested in pursuing a career in the legal profession, was presented to junior international studies major Katarina Hill of Knoxville, Tenn.

The Hall “Ethical Thinking” Award is presented to a member of the junior class whose creative or practical essay on ethical thinking on a particular theme from a variety of perspectives, including historical, literary, theological, psychological and sociological analyses, could be published in a journal or magazine. Two students received the award: Christy Smith, a senior biology major from Miami, Fla., and Claire Willenbrink, a junior biology major from Liberty Township, Ohio.

ADDITIONAL AWARDS

Leeanna Beeler, a senior finance/accounting and music double major from Corryton, Tenn., and Adam Diggs, a senior finance/accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn., were presented the Ryan Newhouse Award. The recognition goes to the junior or senior student who, in the judgment of the business, fine arts and humanities faculty, typifies the finest characteristics of the liberal arts by uniting the fields of business and the humanities or fine arts in his or her academic life, personal growth and values.

Senior child development and learning major Kai Wang of Shijiazhuang, China, was named winner of the Outstanding International Student Award, which goes to a senior who has been a student at the College for one academic year, has a minimum GPA of 3.5 and has shown leadership inside and outside the classroom.

Senior biochemistry major Katelyn Moats of Maryville, Tenn., was presented the prestigious LeQuire Award by Maryville College President Dr. Tom Bogart. Named for Granville Dexter LeQuire, a Maryville physician, and his wife, Ellen Brickey LeQuire, the award was created in 1987 to help defray the expenses of applying to medical school, so preference is shown to a student who has chosen medicine as a career goal.

ALUMNI ASSOCIATION OUTSTANDING SENIOR AWARD

Adam Diggs, a senior finance/accounting major from Knoxville, Tenn., was named the 2019 Outstanding Senior. One of the most prestigious honors given a student, the Outstanding Senior Award recognizes a senior student who has been active in a broad range of activities, who most exemplifies the “ideal” Maryville College graduate and who has the potential to be an outstanding alumnus.

Finalists for the award included Dante Hoppa, a senior finance/accounting major from Naples, Fla.; Cassidy Mahan, a senior psychology major from Knoxville, Tenn.; Mindy Reagan, a senior music education (vocal) with teacher licensure major from Maryville, Tenn.; and Ian Schomer, a senior mathematics major from Knoxville, Tenn.


Maryville College is a nationally-ranked institution of higher learning and one of America’s oldest colleges. For more than 200 years, we’ve educated students to be giving citizens and gifted leaders, to study everything, so that they are prepared for anything — to address any problem, engage with any audience and launch successful careers right away. Located in Maryville, Tennessee, between the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and the city of Knoxville, Maryville College offers nearly 1,200  students from around the world both the beauty of a rural setting and the advantages of an urban center, as well as more than 60 majors, seven pre-professional programs and career preparation from their first day on campus to their last. Today, our 10,000 alumni are living life strong of mind and brave of heart and are prepared, in the words of our Presbyterian founder, to “do good on the largest possible scale.”