The Extraordinary Community Service award honors students and student organizations that exhibit the Volunteer spirit in the community.
Janine Al-Aseer is an outstanding graduate student in the Department of Educational Psychology and Counseling who comes from Huntington Beach, California. In addition to her studies, she has found the time to work as a grant writer, supervisor, and director. She has volunteered with a number of community planning and place-making groups in the Knoxville community as well as the Boys and Girls Club, INVEST Knoxville, Bridge Refugees, and Bearden Middle School. Her work shows a strong commitment to helping people expand their educational opportunities and succeed in American society. Her recommender describes her as “a credit to the University of Tennessee and an ideal match for its mission and values.”
Andraya Carter, from Flowery Branch, Georgia, is a well-rounded student athlete and a member of the Lady Vols basketball team. She completed her bachelor’s degree in just three years with a 3.83 GPA and is now pursuing a master’s in kinesiology with a concentration in sport psychology. She spent 100 hours this academic year volunteering with students at the Tennessee School for the Deaf and has been involved in multiple organizations, including Hoops for Hope and the Boys and Girls Club. She is also a member of VOLeaders Academy, a group composed of Tennessee student-athletes seeking to affect social change through the platform of sport.
Makayla Claussen, a kinesiology major from Nashville, had her college career unexpectedly suspended when she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma in the fall of 2012. She emerged from the life-threatening experience cancer-free and with a renewed commitment to her studies. She is a volunteer with Race for the Cure and Ronald McDonald House. On campus, she serves as a Black Cultural Programming Committee member and has founded a student organization, Be the Match on Campus, which encourages students to register for the US bone marrow program. Her many recommenders comment on her enthusiasm, sincerity, and positive energy.
Xylina Marshall comes from Newport, Arkansas. She is a Leadership and Service Ambassador who participated in UT’s Alternative Break program every year she’s been at UT, working to help a different community each time. She is also an Honors Program Ambassador and mentor, helping incoming students make the transition to UT, and a Leadership Knoxville Scholar. An Italian major with a concentration in world business, she has maintained a nearly perfect grade point average. According to her recommender, “the university is better thanks to her leadership.”
Bhumika Patel, a therapeutic recreation major with a minor in psychology, is a native of Morristown, Tennessee. She has a strong record of service on behalf of the disabled. She has worked with disabled children as a camp counselor for three years and devoted hundreds of hours of her time volunteering for local pediatric hospitals, clinics, therapeutic recreation facilities, and nursing homes. She also helped to found UT’s first Therapeutic Recreation Student Association and currently serves as its co-president. She is fluent in five languages, including American Sign Language.
Nichole Skender, from San Antonio, Texas, majors in recreation sports management. She worked with the Ignite program as both a team leader and the student director, helping incoming students transition into college life. She also worked in UT’s Office of Disability Services. She has been active in the Alternative Break program and Emerging Leaders. Her many hours of community service include working with the Emerald Youth Foundation, FUTURE Program, and Camp Koinonia.