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GSS Awards Brunch 2024 Program

Hosted by the University of Tennessee, Knoxville Graduate Student Senate
April 1, 2024, 11 am – 1 pm; Student Union Pilot Company Ballroom A/B

Check out our recap video!

Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week (GPSAW)

Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation Week is a national celebration week of students pursuing post-graduate education. Hundreds of universities across the country host thousands of events that provide these students with extra opportunities for professional development and social connections including episodes of both growth and respite. The University of Tennessee’s GPSAW events are hosted by various offices across campus and a comprehensive list prepared by the Graduate School can be found here: There are many events with different benefits and purposes, including those that incorporate distance education students, so be sure to stay engaged this week!

Award Categories and Awardees

Click on an award below to learn more and see who won!

The Excellence in Graduate Research Award is presented to graduate and professional students who have received recognition in their field and show promise in their area of research and/or creative achievement. 


Xan Carlson

Anirban Roy

Ark Ifeanyi

Bethany Parker

Cailyn Ratliff

Changwha Oh

Charles Flowers

Cole Green

Dana Abu Haltam

Denise Morawek

Erin Van Berkel

Gretchen Cook

Hannah Thompson

Heng Li

Jen Shaneberger

Jennifer Tipton

Jeronimo Gomes Da Silva Neto

Jessica Garcia

Jordan Cannon

Julia Goncalves

Katie James

Katrina Stack

Kayleigh Hart

Kim Pestovich

Kinsley Frady

Madeline Crozier

Madison Henniger

Manu Rathore

Marcia Chavez

Mary Terry

Meagan Stewart

Megan Wolfkill

Nishita Gogia

Piper Gauthier

Rachel McGovern

Rachel Vincent

Rachel Williams

Reshma Nair Mini Ravi

Richard Dickson Amoako

Samantha Kuschke

Samuel Adotey

Sanjita Wasti

Sargun Singh Rohewal

Senjuti Dutta

Shailey Curtis

Shamiul Alam

Shokoufeh Soleimani

Sompa Reza

Swati Mishra

Temvelo Matsebula

Yanhai Wang

Zhenghao Zhu

The Excellence in Graduate Student Teaching Award is presented to graduate teaching assistants and associates for extraordinary performance in teaching.


Akash Phadatare

Anika T. Sarkar

Brian Boyce

Chase Blackwell

Chris Playter

Destiny White

Haiqiao Wang

Haley Dylewski

Hayden McKee-Zech

Hunter Porter

Jaachinma Okafor

Jake Buller-Young

Jalen Blue

Jamie Alumbaugh

Jessie Richards

Katherine D. Cook

Katherine Trubee

Katie Peterson

Kinsley Frady

Magnolia Alarcon

Mahnaz Sarker Meem

Margaret Knight

Matthew Cooper

Melissa Pulley

Michael Ebling

Minjeong Kim

Neil Truslow

Nicole Szafranski

Rachel Williams

Taliah Carlson

Yanhai Wang

The Excellence in Service Award is presented to graduate and professional students who exemplify extraordinary leadership, participates in service learning or other community initiatives, and/or provides service leadership to their academic discipline through service in professional organizations.


Aimee Pehrson

Ark Ifeanyi

Dana Abu Haltam

Dahkota Debold

Eliza Baker

Jessica Barfield

James D. Goates

Jill Walton

Kaitlyn Alford

Kayleigh Hart

Katherine Trubee

LaKesha Lee

Morgan Adkins

Mohammad Rahanur Alam

Paul Keener

Rebecca Lalk

Samuel Affar

Tania Dawant

Victoria Runion

Piper Gauthier

Allison Jones

The Excellence in Community Engagement Award is presented to graduate and professional students for their accomplishments in community-engaged (CE) research, learning, and scholarship.


Caroline Griffin

Katherine D. Cook

Kelly Sauskojus

LaKesha Lee

McKenzie Martin

Piper Gauthier

Sara Allaman

Stephanie Insalaco

Tanner Thornton

The Outstanding Graduate Student Organization Award recognizes graduate and professional student organizations/councils for their extraordinary contributions to graduate student life and/or to their respective academic department. 



Sociology Graduate Student Organization

Multicultural Graduate Student Organization

UTK GradSWE, Society of Women Engineers

The Outstanding Graduate Student Support Award recognizes Directors of Graduate Studies and Student Graduate Coordinators who have shown outstanding commitment to mentoring and leading graduate students in their department.


Agricola Odoi

Alicia Reed

Amber Roessner

Ben Lee

Brad Ward

Catherine Cox

Derek Alderman

Dianna Beeler

Elizabeth Schussler

Ernest Brothers

Ian Down

Jonathan Garthoff

Leslie Tolman

Maggie Atchley

Millie Cheatham

Nick Jakel

Nneka Walson

Savannah Stewart

Sean Q. Hendricks

Toni Wang

The Outstanding Graduate Professor Award recognizes faculty members who have shown outstanding commitment to teaching graduate and professional students.


Francheska Starks

Jennifer Ann Morrow

Jennifer Richards

Jeremy Kanter

Kelsey Ellis

Mark Wilber

Shih-Lung Shaw

The Outstanding Graduate Research Mentor Award recognizes faculty members who have shown outstanding commitment to mentoring graduate and professional students in their research endeavors.


Abner Salgado

Amy Mundorff

Cathy Grist

Dawn M. Szymanski

Derek Alderman

Belinda Akpa

Brendon McNicholas

Brian Whitlock

Elizabeth Collar

Erin Hardin

Frances Harper

Gilvan Souza

Jamie Coble

Jana Morgan

Jennifer Morrow

Jonathan Garthoff

Kyung-Joon Han

Kai Zhuang Shum

Kelsey Ellis

Laurie Meschke

Leia Cain

Lori Caudle

Madhu Dhar

Margaret Quinn

Minjeong Kim

Nicholas Nagle

Phillip Meyer

Sreekumari Rajeev

Tanita Saenkhum

The Outstanding Graduate Student Senator Award recognizes Graduate Student Senate Senators who have shown outstanding commitment to the organization, its vision, and the graduate and professional student experience.


Adaora Ede

Anika Sarkar

Anirban Roy

Aritra Moulick

Dale TeGantvoort

Iyanouluwa Oyetunji

Jeronimo Gomes Da Silva Neto

Jessica Barfield

Kelsey O’Neill

Lygia Karagiozis

Maddie Ross

Mary Mahne

Max Neveau

Samuel Affar

Taylor Baird

Valentina Gomez

Note from GSS President Katherine Trubee

This past year has shown me both first and secondhand just how enthusiastic and resilient our graduate and professional students are. It has been a true pleasure working with each and every student, senator, faculty member, and campus partner to continue the mission of building a graduate and professional student community at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Going beyond the official boundaries of UT’s campus, our graduate and professional students have engaged in countless ways by organizing community programs and events including shows and performances, K-12 clubs, volunteer services, community engaged research, and more. 

Our students have reached new heights in the realms of research with thousands of publications and conference presentations as well as teaching with thousands of students enriched. None of this work would have been possible without our devoted faculty and staff who support and mentor our graduate and professional students dutifully. It is an honor to recognize the efforts of our campus support system and we encourage everyone to recognize and appreciate their supportive friends and family during this Graduate and Professional Student Appreciation week as well.

The Graduate Student Senate Executive Committee, Hannah, Nick, and I are ecstatic at the opportunity to celebrate all of the hard work of graduate and professional students and our community this year along with each of you! Special thanks to our Graduate String Quartet for the lovely musical stylings (Mike Perroud and Euclides Andrade-Silva on violin, Jackson Alderman on viola, and Dylan Jowell on cello).

2023-2024 Graduate Student Senate

GSS has achieved a lot this year, as evidenced by the extensive awards presented to our students and community. None of it would have been possible without the dedication of both our departmental senators and the executive committee.

Special Thanks to our Campus Partners