Maryville College community members receive Leadership Awards

Maryville College community members receive 2020 Leadership Awards

April 25, 2020

Maryville College students, faculty, staff and student organizations received awards for outstanding campus and community leadership, the College announced April 25.

The annual awards are typically given out during the Leadership Awards Ceremony, held every April in the Clayton Center for the Arts; however, the ceremony, along with other campus-sponsored events scheduled through May 31, were cancelled, due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead, the award recipients are being honored virtually, through videos posted on the Maryville College Facebook page during the week leading up to the April 25 announcement (see videos below). Awards are being mailed to the recipients.

“Through our annual awards, we recognize students who provide exemplary leadership across our campus community and in partnership with our surrounding community,” said Dr. Melanie V. Tucker, vice president and dean of students at Maryville College. “We get to honor students who consistently demonstrate passion and kindness, with grace and humility; who go above and beyond to make a difference in the lives of other students."

“Finding ways to virtually celebrate our Leadership Awards provided us an opportunity to reflect anew on how our students live out the mission of the College, on and off-campus,” Tucker continued. “Through our mission we urge students to live lives full of creativity and service to the world. Our award recipients evidence our mission in vibrant and exciting ways.”

Students, faculty, staff and organizations recognized are listed below. Award recipients can also download a PDF containing the full list of awards and recipients.

Spirit of the Covenant Award

Five 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 are: Daisy Martin, a staff member with Metz Culinary Management; Dr. Nancy Locklin-Sofer, MC professor of history; David Nibayubah, a freshman management major from Memphis, Tenn.; Alexa Maqueo-Toledo, a sophomore sociology and Spanish double major from Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Logan Dunn, a senior biochemistry major from Maryville, Tenn.; Maria Vanegas, a senior political science major from Kingston, Tenn.; and Ryan Lay, a senior mathematics with teacher licensure major from Maryville, Tenn.

Career Center Award

Abigail Tonos, a senior neuroscience major from Knoxville, Tenn., received the Outstanding Career Senior Award, which is awarded annually by the Maryville College Career Center to the graduating Peer Career Coach who has shown exemplary performance in their personal career management and their investment in developing career readiness competencies and skills in their peers.

Residence Life Awards

Mattie Wheeler, a sophomore sociology major from Sweetwater, Tenn., was named Resident Assistant of the Year. Jordon Muse, a senior psychology (counseling) major from Decatur, Ga., received the Resident Assistant Distinguished Service Award.

Nonprofit Leadership Alliance

The Nonprofit Leadership Alliance’s Outstanding NLA Student Award went to Lilly Nixon-Perkins, a senior psychology major from Maryville, Tenn. She also received the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential.

In addition to Nixon-Perkins, the Nonprofit Leadership Alliance also recognized the following students who received the Certified Nonprofit Professional (CNP) credential: Jessica Auchey, a senior human resource management major from Loudon, Tenn.; Daniel Beckett, a senior finance/accounting major from Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Angel McGhee, a junior marketing and human resource management double major from Alpharetta, Ga.; Zachary Plants, a senior religion major from Rome, Ga.; Sarah Woodward, a senior engineering major from Soddy Daisy, Tenn.; and Maria Vanegas, a senior political science major from Kingston, Tenn.

Community Engagement Awards

Miracle Walls, a senior biology major from Memphis, Tenn., received the Student Volunteer of the Year award.

The Student Activist of the Year award went to Nelson Smith, a junior finance/accounting major from Goodlettsville, Tenn.

The Maryville College chapter of Define American was recognized with the Building and Strengthening the Human Community Award.

The Community Engaged Faculty Member of the Year award went to Dr. Ariane Schratter, MC professor of psychology.

Debra Skyler, director of the Family Resource Center for Maryville City Schools, was recognized as the Community Partner of the Year.

Nick Clifton, a child development and learning with teacher licensure major from Sylvania, Ga., was honored for being named a 2020 Newman Civic Fellow. The Newman Civic Fellowship is a year-long program for students from Campus Compact member institutions. The students selected for the fellowship are leaders on their campuses who demonstrate a commitment to finding solutions for challenges facing communities locally, nationally and internationally.

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 Bill Tate, a senior art major from Maryville, Tenn.

The Maryville College Ambassador of the Year Award went to Brinley Knowles, a senior history and writing communication double major from Marietta, Ga.; Deon’te Starks, a senior writing communication major from Evansville, Ind.; Ahlanna Toms, a junior American Sign Language-English Interpreting major from Puyallup, Wash.

The Maryville College Ambassador Outstanding Lifetime Service Award was presented to Zachary Plants, a senior religion major from Rome, Ga. 

International Student Leader Award

Katherine Zacapa, a senior international business and international studies double major from San Pedro Sula, Honduras, received the Outstanding International Student Leader Award.

Religious Life Service Awards

The Charles and Mary Ensign Scholarship, which recognizes students’ contributions to the religious life of the campus, was presented to three seniors: Zachary Plants, a senior religion major from Rome, Ga.; Natalie Tankersley, a senior religion major from Knoxville, Tenn.; and Hayley Jeffers, a senior psychology (counseling) major from Huntsville, Tenn.

Diversity Awards

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

Miracle Walls, a senior biology major from Memphis, Tenn., was honored with the Sojourner Truth Award, which recognizes outstanding leadership in a Maryville College female student of color.

Aaron Solomon, a a senior 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.

Student Development Awards

The Outstanding First-Year Leader Award went to Maddie Taylor, a freshman sociology and political science double major from Memphis, Tenn.

Alexa Maqueo-Toledo, a sophomore sociology and Spanish double major from Oak Ridge, Tenn., was awarded the Outstanding Sophomore Leader Award.

Jacorey Jackson, a junior biochemistry major from Spring, Texas,  received the Outstanding Junior Leader Award.

Brandi Coley, lead ESL instructor at MC, was named Student Organization Advisor of the Year for her service as advisor of the Study Abroad Ambassadors (SAA) student organization. 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 Global Citizenship Organization (GCO) was named the Student Affairs Organization of the Year. The award is presented to the student organization that has extraordinarily served its student members, as well as positively impacted the entire college community with vibrant programming and service.

Written by Chloe Kennedy, Assistant Director of Communications



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.”