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2024 CEHHS Top Grad Spotlight

CEHHS Top Grads | Class of 2024

During the commencement season, the College of Education, Health & Human Sciences spotlights students who are graduating from our college with the highest cumulative GPAs in their class. Learn about the Class of 2024 Top Grads down below!

Congratulations, Vols! We are so excited to see where the future takes you.


Emily Archibald

Hometown: High Point, NC

Major: Audiology & Speech Pathology

What You’ve Loved Most: I love how close I was able to get to my audiology and speech pathology cohort! Having every class together senior year forced us all to become very close. They became my biggest motivators and support system through hard classes and grad school applications.

Favorite UT Tradition: Checkered Neyland Stadium!

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Soak in every moment and say yes to all positive opportunities because four years go by so quickly.

Next Steps: Attending the University of South Carolina to pursue my Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology


Tori Bateman

Hometown: Atoka, TN

Major: Child & Family Studies, Early Childhood Education, Integrated Birth-Kindergarten

What You’ve Loved Most: The amazing, caring instructors and the ability to complete a teaching licensure program completely online.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Trust yourself and your abilities!

Next Steps: I have accepted a position as a Kindergarten Teacher with Tipton County Schools for the 2024-2025 school year.

Fun Fact: I am a Munford High School graduate. I maintained a full-time position as an Educational Assistant for Lauderdale County Schools while completing my bachelor’s degree, all while holding a perfect GPA.


Liza Burroughs

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Major: Audiology & Speech Pathology

What You’ve Loved Most: My favorite thing about AUSP is the relationships I’ve been able to make with my professors. They are all such kind and intelligent people and have been such a great guidance to me throughout my academic career.

Next Steps: Starting to work on a doctorate of audiology at UT in the fall!


Rebekah Davis

Hometown: Fayettville, TN

Major: Special Education

What You’ve Loved Most: I love how welcoming the special education program is; my professors and classmates have made my college experience so enjoyable! I am excited to watch everyone in my cohort provide the best education for their future students with the guidance received from our professors.

Favorite UT Tradition:My favorite UT tradition is the checkerboard game at Neyland Stadium. The atmosphere is like no other, and it’s such a nice view to see our school colors represented around the stadium.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Become involved in clubs and events.

Next Steps: Following my graduation, I will be working towards my master’s degree in special education. I plan to graduate in May of 2025 and teach in a comprehensive development classroom.


Mikayla Hain

Hometown: Lovettsville, VA

Major: Elementary Education, K-5

What You’ve Loved Most: I love how my professors want us to succeed and will go above and beyond for their students.

Favorite UT Tradition: My favorite UT tradition is the checkerboarded football and basketball games.

Next Steps: I will be continuing my education here at UT to receive my master’s degree in elementary education.


McKenna Herrmann

Hometown: Bristol, TN

Major: Special Education

What You’ve Loved Most: I love my professors the most! My major has some of the most educated, knowledgeable, and supportive professors. I am so grateful that I have gotten the opportunity to work with and be educated by these amazing people.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Take advantage of all of the services and supports that UT and CEHSS have to offer. Lean on your professors and cohort. Don’t be afraid to ask for help or support!

Next Steps: I will be teaching in a satellite classroom at Halls High School, working with students in special education who need behavioral supports!


Makayla Kindle

Hometown: Greeneville, TN

Major: Child & Family Studies, PreK-3 Education

What You’ve Loved Most: I love all of the faculty and staff in the CEHHS! Everyone I’ve had the privilege of working with in the CEHHS has been so kind and patient, and genuinely cares about the success and well-being of the students.

Favorite UT Tradition: One of my favorite traditions is walking around the seal on Ped Walkway until graduation, as there is some superstition that walking across the seal before then would mean a delay in finishing your degree!

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Take a breath and believe in yourself! It probably feels impossible right now, but it will feel so rewarding later!

Next Steps: This summer I will be taking graduate-level classes in pursuit of my master’s, and will begin my student teaching internship this coming fall.

Abby McConnell

Hometown: Franklin, TN

Major: Child & Family Studies, Community Outreach

What You’ve Loved Most: My favorite thing about my program is the practicum! My placement gave me some of the best experiences, connected me with wonderful supervisors, and helped me find my passion. I’m so grateful for the experience and miss my placement site very much!

Favorite UT Tradition: My favorite UT tradition is checkering Neyland! It’s so fun to be a part of!

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Soak up every single second of being here! These four years have flown by and given me the best friends and memories.

Next Steps: I’m pursuing my master’s in Human Development Counseling on a school counseling and clinical mental health counseling dual track from Vanderbilt University.

Haitham Rghebi

Hometown: Knoxville, TN

Major: Kinesiology

What You’ve Loved Most: Something that I really love about the Kinesiology Department is how most professors made an effort to connect and engage with students like me. Along with helping me network throughout my undergraduate experience, it showed me how passionate they are about what they teach. It just made me more excited to learn and ask questions along the way.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: It’s crazy to think about all the personal and professional growth I underwent these past four years. Freshman Haitham would have never imagined how he’d get this far, but I would tell him to stay true to himself and enjoy the present moment. It’s not worth stressing yourself out over the unforeseeable future. With hard work, passion, and integrity, everything will fall into place as it’s meant to be.

Next Steps: Now I’m in the process of applying to medical schools, so that will definitely keep me busy over the coming months. Shortly after graduation, I’ll be traveling to Italy to shadow physicians as a way to continue immersing myself in the medical field and gaining a more world-minded approach to healthcare.


Ella Scott

Hometown: Decatur, TN

Major: Child & Family Studies, Community Outreach

What You’ve Loved Most: What I love most about CEHHS are the exceptional professors who serve as guiding lights for every student. Their dedication and expertise have deepened my understanding of child development and family dynamics. I am immensely grateful for their mentorship, which has ignited my passion and prepared me for making a meaningful difference in the lives of children, families, and my community.

Favorite UT Tradition: My favorite UT tradition is not stepping on the university’s seal! Legend has it that stepping on it can extend your time to graduation. It is a quirky tradition, but I find it rather fascinating!

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Balance is key! Make time for studying, but also for rest, hobbies, and socializing. Optimize time by prioritizing tasks and avoiding procrastination. Peak performance comes from a healthy mix of work and play!

Next Steps: Next up for me is attending graduate school right here at UT pursing my graduate studies in Human Development and Family Science. I am excited for the opportunity to dive deeper into my passion for understanding human development and relationships.


Payton Sowder

Hometown: Cleveland, TN

Major: Child & Family Studies, PreK-3 Education

What You’ve Loved Most: What I love the most about CEHHS is the community of professors and students who have a passion for teaching, working with children, and making an impact in education.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: You are capable of doing more than you think you can! Be organized and disciplined in school, but also prioritize time for yourself and enjoy your time on Rocky Top because it flies by!

Next Steps: I will be getting married at the end of May and then will begin the job-embedded program through Lee University to finish my teacher licensure requirements while working as a lead PreK teacher in Cleveland, TN.


Troy Wilson

Hometown: Robbins, TN

Major: Recreation & Sport Management

What You’ve Loved Most: The thing I love most about UT is the sense of belonging that I have found during my time here. The friendships and connections that I have made during my four years here will go with me forever.

Favorite UT Tradition: My favorite UT tradition is actually a newer one, that being the Fans Checker games. I remember seeing the first Checker Neyland game on TV, and it was surreal to not only be part of three during my time as a student but also to take part in multiple Checker TBA and a Checker Lindsey Nelson game.

Advice You’d Give to your Freshman Self: Go out and start meeting people now. You never know who that person sitting in the chair next to you in class is or who they will become. Some of my closest friendships at UT have started in my sports management classes.

Next Steps: I am going to pursue a career in intercollegiate athletics development with the goal of eventually becoming a Division I athletics director. I hope to begin that journey soon with a full-time position within the Tennessee Fund as a development assistant for internal operations.


Not Pictured:

Alice Bassett
Major: Kinesiology

Makayla Bollier
Major: Audiology & Speech Pathology

Kiersten Dutrow
Major: Special Education

Kiersten Griffith
Major: Kinesiology

Lindsay Holmstead
Major: Audiology & Speech Pathology

Melia McCarter
Major: Hospitality & Tourism Management