After an injury forced Lamb to give up on playing soccer herself, she turned to volunteering as a soccer coach for children at the YMCA

Cookeville – Madelyn Lamb of Cookeville is racking up achievements early in her life. She is in her first year at Tennessee Tech University where she is majoring in business information technology with a concentration in data analytics. However, she is already classified as a sophomore due to dual enrollment credits she earned while at Cookeville High School.

She is also one of the select students this year to receive a Congressional Gold Medal. Earning the medal takes logging a minimum of 400 hours of voluntary public service; 200 hours of personal development; 200 hours of physical fitness and a five-day, four-night expedition or exploration.

“It was Sherrie Cannon, advisor in the College of Business at Tech, and the head of professional readiness and leadership program who suggested I go for it,” Lamb said. “I love volunteering and had done a lot through high school clubs. I realized I actually had most of the credentials already.”

After an injury forced Lamb to give up on playing soccer herself, she turned to volunteering as a soccer coach for children at the YMCA. She enjoyed it so much that she continued volunteering even after she’d attained all the hours she needed for the award. Lamb also regularly volunteered at the Cookeville Rescue Mission where she helped to serve Valentine’s, Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners to the homeless.

To meet the physical fitness goals, she started weightlifting five days a week. Her personal development hours were earned by starting a regular yoga and meditation practice.

“I worked on taking more time to myself,” Lamb said. “I made sure to start my day every morning with time to just breathe and not look at school or any of that.”

For her trip, she went to New York with her grandfather – a dream she’s had since she was a child.

“We went to every big museum we could find and the Statue of Liberty,” Lamb said. “We were there over Thanksgiving and actually got to have Thanksgiving dinner at a really nice restaurant. It was an awesome trip. I have always loved New York like ever since I was a kid. I want to live there,” she laughed.

It took Lamb three years to meet every goal to qualify for the Congressional Gold Medal. The awards ceremony will be held in Washington D.C. this summer and she hopes to be available to make the trip to attend.

When Lamb was preparing to choose her college, at first, she thought she would attend a university away from the town where she grew up. However, she says she changed her mind when she came to the Tech Spring Showcase where prospective students get the chance to meet professors in their major, participate in hands-on activities and learn more about campus life at Tennessee Tech.

“I realized just how much the College of Business had to offer,” she said. “I also spoke one-on-one with Julie Galloway (director of the College of Business Student Success Center) and made great conversation about the school and the College of Business and all the ways I could benefit from going there.”

Upon graduation, Lamb hopes to get a job in information technology that will enable her to travel.

“I want to get a job where I can be creative,” she said. “I started coding and I enjoy it so much because it’s like putting a puzzle together.”

For more information about the Congressional Awards and how to apply, visit

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Tech.

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