The Extraordinary Campus Leadership and Service awards recognize graduating students who are extraordinary campus leaders for their significant service to others.
Mikaela Falwell will graduate in May from the college student personnel master’s program. She has influenced the lives of many undergraduates through her work as a graduate assistant with the United Residence Hall Council and the Living and Learning Community program. In her two years of service with the Department of University Housing, she’s encouraged many students to become campus leaders as resident assistants, orientation leaders, and active members of the SGA. Falwell came to UT from Sacramento, California. Her colleagues say that her vibrant personality reverberates throughout the department and the entire campus. Her work on Morrill Hall’s building-wide Safe Zone program has made a large impact and was recognized as University Housing’s Diversity Program of the Year. She was named the 2011–2012 Hall Association Advisor of the Year. Last spring her peers elected her president of the College Student Personnel Association.
A senior from Knoxville studying psychology, Eric Goins was one of only a handful of orientation leaders selected to return as a student orientation coordinator, a position in which he mentors and trains new orientation leaders. He has been instrumental in developing and implementing new training and leadership programs, and his co-workers say he gives selflessly of his time and energy to make sure all incoming students feel as much passion for UT as he does. He is a founding member of the Beta Upsilon Chi fraternity and a member of several honors organizations. Goins has been active in Alternative Spring Break trips and on- and off-campus ministries. One of his nominators notes that Goins demonstrates a commitment to service that is a compelling model for others. His integrity, character, and selfless spirit will help him leave a legacy at UT.
As a first-generation college student, Justina Jones has said she wants to pave the way for future generations to have it easier than she did. A senior from Mount Juliet, Tennessee, Jones is graduating in May with dual degrees in communication studies and political science. In her four years at UT, Jones has served as a leadership and service ambassador, a UT student ambassador, and a member of Minority Enhancement for the University of Tennessee (Me4UT) and the Vice Chancellor’s Student Diversity Committee. She’s active in the Zeta Phi Beta sorority and as a member of Taking Action for Social Conscience (TASC) Force. As current leadership chair of the Leadership and Service ambassadors, Jones provides programming to hundreds of student groups, classes, and professional organizations. She interacts with countless student leaders on a daily basis and has greatly contributed to the success of the program. She volunteers off campus with local organizations, including the Boys and Girls Club, the YWCA, and Knoxville Area Rescue Ministries. Her colleagues say she has put forth every effort to shed light on her fellow students and the Volunteer community as a whole.
“Regardless of what hat she’s wearing, Laura has always sought opportunities for growth, challenge, and innovation.” That’s how one administrator describes Laura Ketola, a senior from Arrington, Tennessee, graduating in May with a degree in psychology. Ketola is a captain in the UT Ambassador program, a member of the Student Alumni Associates, an Emerging Leaders participant, and a vice president in her sorority, and she participated in UT’s congressional internship program. As an ambassador, Ketola leads campus tours and shares her love for the university with groups of visitors. In addition to leading campus tours and working at recruiting events, she also plays an integral role in developing community service projects for the Office of the Dean of Students, recruiting volunteers, and seeing those projects through to the end. Her co-workers in the Center for Leadership and Service say Ketola inspires others to do their very best and give the most they can to better our campus and community. Ketola volunteers with Habitat for Humanity, United Way, and the Knoxville Botanical Gardens.
As a cadet lieutenant colonel in UT’s Army ROTC program, Porter Lockhart is, in the words of a nominator, “a high achiever, not so that he can rise to personal greatness, but rather so he can be in a position to help others succeed.” A senior from Brentwood, Tennessee, he graduates in May with a degree in logistics. He will be commissioned as a second lieutenant. As cadet battalion commander, Lockhart directs more than eighty-five cadets through physical training, field training exercises, and competitions. A member of the highly selective Tennessee Ranger Company, he was named to the National Society of Scabbard and Blade, which recognizes academic achievement and community service among university ROTC programs. Lockhart is a co-leader of the Reformed University Fellowship service outreach team and volunteers with Habitat for Humanity and SOAR Youth Ministries, an after-school program for economically challenged children.
Known for her vivacious personality, senior Jazmin Moore was voted Best All-Around Leadership Guide two years in a row. A psychology major from Nashville, she has worked in the Office of Leadership and Service for the past three and a half years, serving as a UT ambassador, Ignite team leader, and committee member of the Clifton M. Jones Leadership Conference and Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Off campus, Moore has interned for the Knoxville Tourism and Sport Corporation, Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Tennessee, and the Knox County Schools Family and Community Engagement Department. Moore’s co-workers say her outstanding leadership, dynamic personality, and constant dedication to all that she does set her apart from her peers and make her a genuinely deserving recipient of this award.
Cheshire Rigler has welcomed nearly 10,000 new students to UT’s campus during his two-year tenure as an orientation leader. Last year, as student orientation coordinator, he mentored twenty new orientation leaders to follow in his footsteps. When the student orientation coordinator position was new and undefined, Rigler was one of the few students selected to step in and help shape the position for those who would follow. A senior from Murfreesboro, Tennessee, studying geology, Rigler is in the Chancellor’s Honors Program and is known for both his academic achievements and his service to the university and fellow students. Last summer he studied abroad in South Africa as part of a geology field experience with students from across the country. Rigler is president of the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and has volunteered with Clinic Vols, working in local elementary school nurses’ offices. He served on the Knoxville Mayor’s Student Advisory Board for two years.
Taylor Thomas takes his role as campus tour guide very seriously. As a junior last year, he became the first university ambassador in the country to give 300 campus tours. He also received the Ambassador of the Year award, traditionally given to a graduating senior. This year Thomas, a philosophy major from Lexington, Tennessee, has captured even more honors. He’s been named the Most Knowledgeable Ambassador twice and received the Student Alumni Association’s gold pin for 120 or more hours of service. He serves on the Provost’s Student Advisory Council, and has been a member of the Admissions Advisory Board. Thomas is active in intramural sports. He volunteers with Clinic Vols in local elementary school nurses’ offices. Off campus, he volunteers with Boo at the Zoo, the Love Kitchen, and alternative spring break trips.