COOKEVILLE – Ali Lannom has been awarded this year’s Derryberry Award, Tennessee Tech University’s highest student honor.

Lannom, a native of Lebanon, and the daughter of Gina and Jeff Lannom, graduated in December with a degree in pre-occupational therapy in the Dept. of Exercise Science & Physical Wellness.

“It is an absolute honor to be the recipient of the 2018 Derryberry Award,” said Lannom. “One of the goals when I came to Tech was to develop myself, and I set a goal to leave a legacy. I think being the recipient of the Derryberry Award is my goal coming to fruition.”

Lannom’s academic excellence, moral and intellectual integrity, commitment to good citizenship, and instincts for leadership helped her achieve this prestigious award.

“It has been incredible to witness the impact and respect Ali has had on this campus with administrators, faculty and her peers,” said Courtney Brehm, coordinator of new students and family programs. “She inspires others to work harder and be better versions of themselves.”

Lannom’s honors and awards include the Greek Life’s Outstanding Community Service award, Kappa Delta Sorority’s Corre Anding Stegall award and the Helping Hands Award given by the Office of Orientation and Student Success.

She took a leadership role as a Greek Life recruitment counselor, Kappa Delta Sorority PACE Leader and member of the standards board, and a student representative on the Tennessee Tech Parent Association Board of Trustees. She was also a student representative on the Presidential Student Affairs committee and the Common Book committee.

“Ali does not want to be a leader for the power and accolades high positions hold; she is a leader who lifts up others for the good of all,” said Melissa Geist, professor in the Whitson-Hester School of Nursing. “From her volunteer work with children with disabilities to her dedication to making new students feel welcome at TTU, Ali has proven herself to be a positive force for those whose lives she touches.”

Lannom’s work experience included spending three years as a student coordinator for New Student and Family Programs, Vanderbilt Stallworth Inpatient Rehabilitation Center, and Little Hands Little Feet Pediatric Therapies. Lannom also volunteered at the Pavilion Rehabilitation & Long-Term Care Center and Remote Area Medical clinics.

She focused her academic research on “Occupational Therapy: A Non-Pharmacological Intervention for Dementia Patients.” She also participated in a nursing and engineering course to collaborate and design new innovative medical devices, helping to build and prototype a chest tube latch to revolutionize medical care.

“Not only did she succeed herself academically, she also collaborated on other students’ projects so that they could be exceptional as well,” said Theresa Ennis, director of university assessment. “I often refer to her work as an example of current and future students.”

Lannom is currently at Huntington University in Indiana pursuing a doctorate in occupational therapy. She has been accepted into the summer research institute, continuing her research on the non-pharmacological intervention of occupational therapy with those with Alzheimer’s. She is also doing research on carpal tunnel syndrome.

“I tried to do everything that I could that would set me up professionally or also help me grow into the person that I wanted to be,” said Lannom. “I think Tech helped me do that. I am so honored to be in the place that I am now. Without the background I had here, my future dreams would not be possible.”

There were four finalists for this year’s Derryberry Award. Allyson Dunn, a biology major from Kingsport, Tennessee; Carson Cook, a business management major from Lafayette, Tennessee; and, Lydia Johnson, a civil and environmental engineering major from Elizabethton, Tennessee, were also finalists.

The Derryberry Award was established in honor of Everett Derryberry, who served as Tech president for 34 years. He retired in 1974.

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