Tennessee Tech’s inaugural Trailblazers class brings new approach to connecting with prospective students

The 2021 class of Tennessee Tech Trailblazers.

COOKEVILLE – Bringing together some of the top students at Tennessee Tech University, a new initiative is taking Tech’s campus visits and student recruitment to a personal level.

Partnering with the Office of Admissions and Campus Visits, the Tennessee Tech Trailblazers officially formed its inaugural class this fall with more than 40 members. This new group will be offering personal, one-on-one campus tours to prospective students and their families while also fostering genuine connections between current Trailblazer students and future Golden Eagles.

“At Tennessee Tech, we put students first and what better way to foster personal connections than by pairing prospective students with some of our top current students who have experiences and insight to share about what the college experience at Tech is really like,” said Tech President Phil Oldham. 

“Trailblazers are special. They are bold thinkers, fearless students, confident leaders and kind classmates. Being a Tennessee Tech Trailblazer means using your skills and knowledge to lead other students to connect with their journey to campus,” continued Oldham. 

Trailblazers now play an integral part in the admissions process and new student recruitment at Tech. Prospective students and their families planning a visit to campus will be paired with a Trailblazer to lead their personal tour of campus. With the diverse group of students who make up Trailblazers, the university’s goal is to personalize the visit experience for each prospective student by focusing on their interests and intended major.

In addition to leading one-on-one campus tours, Trailblazers will also interact with prospective students at various campus events throughout the year.

Members of the inaugural class of Trailblazers were chosen through a rigorous selection process and represent every college on campus. Students apply to be a Trailblazer and go through the interview process. 

Coordinator of Campus Visits Brandi Kriebel, who assists managing the Trailblazers, emphasizes this initiative also values student input.

“Many of our Trailblazers are also leaders in other organizations and groups on campus,” said Kriebel. “They have strong opinions about how to make the personal tour experience unique and better for our prospective students.”

Kriebel added that several of the Trailblazers students have been selected as captains, overseeing outreach beyond the campus visits, which includes running an official Trailblazers Instagram account (@tntechtrailblazers). Trailblazer captains for this year include Griffin Hawkins as student coordinator, Ellie Rogers as welcome center captain, Braden Hammer as campus tour captain and Jazmine Lawson as social media captain.

Members of the Fall 2021 inaugural class of Trailblazers include

  • Alise Clark, a secondary education major from Manchester, Tennessee
  • Allen Speigner, a child life and family relations major from Dickson, Tennessee
  • Ashley Wharton, a biology health sciences major from Cookeville, Tennessee
  • AJ Jones, a chemical engineering major from Greeneville, Tennessee
  • Baylee Dalton, a business information technology major from Smyrna, Tennessee
  • Bailee Kauffman, a marketing major from Lascassas, Tennessee
  • Braden Hammer, a biochemistry and cellular/molecular biology major from Lebanon, Tennessee
  • Brandon Slayton, a sociology/criminology major from Crossville, Tennessee
  • Briley Warren, an exercise science major from Columbia, Tennessee
  • Brittany Keeton, a wildlife and fisheries major from Collinwood, Tennessee
  • Cannon Johnson, a biochemistry major from Pegram, Tennessee
  • Ceagan Nolan, a business and information technology major from Knoxville, Tennessee
  • Ciara Riedlinger, a nursing major from Clinton, Tennessee
  • Devin Rains, a civil engineering major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Donovan Manogue, a computer science major from Nashville, Tennessee
  • Drew Martin, an accounting major from Franklin, Tennessee
  • Ellie Jenkins, a political science major from Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Ellie Rogers, a computer engineering and computer science major from Houston County, Tennessee
  • Emma Edwards, a chemist major from Watertown, Tennessee
  • Emma Hines, a secondary education math major from Mt. Juliet, Tennessee
  • Griffin Hawkins, a mechanical engineering major from Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Lupe Hernandez, an international organizational leadership major from Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Hannah Leftwich, a wildlife and fisheries major from Sparta, Tennessee
  • Hannah Thomas, a chemical engineering major from Atlanta, Georgia
  • Holly Wagner, a sociology/criminal justice major from Johnson City, Tennessee
  • Hope Disney, a nursing major from Clinton, Tennessee
  • Jalena Curbeam, an exercise science major from Nashville, Tennessee
  • Jazmine Lawson, a business management major from Lexington, Tennessee
  • John Clark, a chemical engineering and foreign languages major from White Pine, Tennessee
  • Johnathan Rich, a computer science major from Ashland City, Tennessee
  • Joseph Miller, an exercise science major from Cookeville, Tennessee
  • Joseph Thomas, an electrical engineering major from La Vergne, Tennessee
  • Julianna Hotchkiss, a special education major from Maryville, Tennessee
  • Kaici Bivens, a political science and business management major from Murfreesboro, Tennessee
  • Kallie Harris, a chemical engineering major from Signal Mountain, Tennessee
  • Kara Fulkerson from Morris, Illinois 
  • Kristen Pearson, a cellular/molecular biology major from Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Macy Savage, a nursing major from Livingston, Tennessee
  • Manny Gumban, a chemical engineering major from Memphis, Tennessee
  • Marlin Collins, a marketing major from Scotts Hill, Tennessee
  • McKinley Thomas, a zoology/marine biology major from Tracy City, Tennessee
  • Pranav Patel, a nursing major from Lebanon, Tennessee
  • Ryan Perkins, a nursing major from Dickson, Tennessee
  • Shione Stengele, an interdisciplinary studies major from Franklin, Tennessee
  • Taylor Anderson, an accountancy master’s student from White House, Tennessee
  • Thania Villicana, a biology/health sciences major from Loudon, Tennessee
  • Thomas Saliba, a cellular/molecular biology major from Knoxville, Tennessee

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