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FORMER MISS TENNESSEE TRADES CROWN FOR DIPLOMA

FORMER MISS TENNESSEE TRADES CROWN FOR DIPLOMA

FORMER MISS TENNESSEE TRADES CROWN FOR DIPLOMA

Hannah Robison, of Springville, hugs UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver as she  crosses the commencement stage May 7.

Hannah Robison, of Springville, hugs UT Martin Chancellor Keith Carver as she

crosses the commencement stage May 7.

MARTIN, Tenn. – Hannah Robison, Miss Tennessee 2015, appeared on stage at the University

of Tennessee at Martin for one final walk May 6 in front of a standing-room only crowd. This

time, however, she traded her tiara and ball gown for black commencement robes and honors

cords as she received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry during UT Martin’s spring

commencement ceremony.

Robison, of Springville, is perhaps best known for her year as Miss Tennessee, but she was an

active member of the UT Martin campus community long before donning her first tiara. She

served as a general chemistry recitation leader for the Department of Chemistry and Physics and

worked for the UT Martin branch of the West Tennessee STEM Hub. She was also an active

member of the Alpha Omicron Pi sorority.

She encourages incoming students to take advantage of the college environment to find their own

opportunities, even if they have to step outside their comfort zones and try something new.

“No matter how scary it may seem to put yourself out there and meet new people, it will be

something you do not regret. Getting involved in clubs and organizations on campus allows you

to build relationships with amazing people that you never would have gotten to meet without

trying something new,” she said. “In order to make good grades and build those long-lasting

relationships with people, you have to go to class, study hard and be open-minded about reaching

out to people and forming those relationships yourself. It was important for me to build those

relationships with faculty and staff on campus, because I realized they were here to help me

accomplish my goals, and they wanted to watch me grow and become successful.”

Competing in pageants was one of the new experiences Robison tried and, after winning the title

of Miss Scenic City in 2014, she advanced to the statewide Miss Tennessee pageant in June of

2015 and won the crown on her second try.

“My year as Miss Tennessee was filled with opportunities that I would not have been able to find

anywhere else,” she said. “As Miss Tennessee, I worked for Governor Bill Haslam as his

spokesperson for character education; I traveled over 80,000 miles and spoke to over 50,000

school children. I was able to highlight my work with the Arthritis Foundation on national

television, and I was able to promote UT Martin across the entire state of Tennessee. The public

speaking opportunities I had as Miss Tennessee and the people that I was able to meet have

prepared me for my future.”

Robison was selected as the People’s Choice contestant during the national Miss America

competition in September 2015 and ultimately finished top-seven for the title. However, she will

go down in history as the first Miss Tennessee to win the Miss America STEM Scholarship,

which totals $5,000 and is awarded to a contestant enrolled in a declared field of study in

science, technology, engineering or mathematics.

She was also named first runner-up for the Jean Bartel Quality of Life Award, given to a

contestant who excels in her commitment to enhance the quality of life for others through

volunteerism and community service. The first runner-up receives a $4,000 scholarship. This is

the highest finish a Miss Tennessee has received for this award, and Robison is the first Miss

Tennessee to qualify as a finalist for both preliminary scholarships.

Robison was also recognized as one of three USA gold medalists for the Duke of Edinburgh

International Award, introduced to the pageant in 2013. This accolade was first given in the

United Kingdom in 1956 and today is the world’s leading youth achievement award, available to

qualifying young people 14-24 years old.

When all was said and done, Robison had been awarded more than $46,000 in college

scholarship money through the Miss Tennessee and Miss America organizations.

Now, diploma in hand, Robison is packing her bags for a three-week trip to Sweden for a study

abroad program, after which she hopes to begin her chemistry career in a laboratory in the

Nashville area.

“As crazy as it sounds, my favorite place on campus is the Joseph E. Johnson Engineering and

Physical Sciences Building. Although there were many days and many nights that I did not want

to be there, I realize now that EPS is the place that my favorite memories took place,” Robison

said. “My best friends came from studying and working in the chemistry labs of EPS at all hours

of the night. EPS is also the place where my favorite mentors were, Drs. Phillip and Abigail

Shelton. I am so thankful for the relationships I have made through the chemistry department and

the things I have learned from UT Martin’s incredible professors.”

Robison may be moving on to the next phase of her life, but UT Martin will always be proud to

call her a Skyhawk alum.

 

VITA Program sponsored by United Way and BancorpSouth

VITA Program sponsored by United Way and BancorpSouth

Hometown News - U.S. Air Force National Guard Airman 1st Class Melnarious D. Brunson

Hometown News - U.S. Air Force National Guard Airman 1st Class Melnarious D. Brunson

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