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2021 Rising UT Woman Award

The Rising UT Woman Award recognizes a woman in the early stages of her professional path who has made great strides in her area and shows exceptional promise for future accomplishments.

Kay Howell

Kay is a scholar from Chattanooga, TN that thrives on hard work, managing people, helping others, and paying it forward. She is a double major in Industrial Engineering and Mathematics. Kay has held leadership positions in volunteering and outreach in hopes of inspiring the next generation of minorities in STEM.

What does being a Volunteer mean to you? How has UT empowered you to make a difference in a way you might not have imagined elsewhere?

To me, being a Volunteer means being selfless and fearless in the pursuit of success and contentment. Vols help Vols is a statement that has carried me throughout my time here at UT. Whether it’s my classmates and I always being there for one another through engineering and math classes, or my professors being willing to extend office hours to help their fellow students, being a Vol means helping others.

I attended an all-girls STEM charter school in Chattanooga, Tennessee, that prided itself in leadership and growth. I committed to UT at the last minute because I feared that attending a big school would make me feel small. However, I am proud and glad to be a Vol. UT’s Office of Diversity Programs for engineers has provided an imaginable amount of support through friendship and mentorship. Truly, I do not think I would be able to be a double major in two male-dominated fields without the support of UT.

Additionally, I have gotten the opportunity to lead various groups of women in engineering in outreach events focused on girls in STEM through the Society of Women Engineers. I do not believe I would get so many opportunities for growth elsewhere.

Before UT, I never understood the importance of professional development. However, as a member of the Heath Integrated Business & Engineering Program (HIBEP), I have networked with dozens of company representatives, received a professional mentor, and solved real-world problems with companies like Procter & Gamble, PepsiCo, and more! HIBEP is the first integrated business and engineering scholars program in America, so I would not have gotten the opportunity to be a member of this scholar’s program elsewhere. I feel like UT is one big community. There is a place for everyone here given any interests. We have an abundance of opportunities available, and this is the primary benefit of being at a large school like UT! Go Vols!

Mariya Zhuravleva

Mariya Zhuravleva holds a PhD degree in materials science and engineering from Tohoku University, Japan. She joined the University of Tennessee as a post-doctoral research associate, then became a research faculty and then an assistant professor. Her research interests include crystal growth and materials for radiation detection.

Sydney Selman

Sydney Selman is a senior political science major with minors in child and family studies and women, gender, and sexuality. Sydney is involved in many organizations on campus, including the SGA Judicial Branch and Chancellor’s Honors Program; however, she is most known for her extensive leadership on the UT Mock Trial team, where she currently serves as president. Next year, Sydney will be attending law school, with plans to work on creating a world in which all people live free from gender-based oppression and violence.

What does being a Volunteer mean to you? How has UT empowered you to make a difference in a way you might not have imagined elsewhere?

To me, being a Volunteer means speaking up when injustice has taken place. It’s about doing everything we can to be supportive team players, building others up so that they may succeed with as few barriers as possible standing in their way.